Gunday- A Disaster in the guise of a Blockbuster……


Yashraj’s Gunday is everything a good film is not…..It is unbearably long, it abuses slo-mo to the extent of frustration (just like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag) and it tries to pelt us with one claptrap dialogue after another not realising that none of the dialogues have wit or charm of any kind. But what it does right is get its cast bang on and whips up an action drama which pays homage to the Bollywood of yore when friendship ruled and when love wasn’t just sex and dhokha but was a bone of contention between two best friends.

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Welcome to the world of Gunday where even the Calcutta police is as intelligent as RAW (all my Kolkata friends would definitely get the pun), and where if you go hide in Dhanbad, then the Calcutta police cannot catch you. A world where a man’s hair is always ironed and his chest well oiled. All this and more define Gunday, a typical commercial pot-boiler which had so much going for it but prefers to squander it away all in the name of commercial cinema. But it is Priyanka Chopra’s cabaret dancer act which shines in the film much like Banglar alo. Her drool worthy performance and the couple of chartbusters is what i took back home from a film which insists that the attention is sorely on the leading men-Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor a.k.a Gunday.

The film is the second effort of Ali Abbas Zafar who made the forgettable Mere Brother Ki Dulhan few years back. And like his previous effort, this film also is a rehash of films which we have seen umpteen number of times. Add to the mix Irrfan Khan (credited as special appearance although he appears throughout the film) and you have a film bursting at its seams. The story is based out of Calcutta, so every cliche like a Durga Puja, the Metro theatre, Howrah bridge and all such prominent landmarks have an integral part to play in the story. But then the story is of the coal Mafia and how two young men go from dishwashers to He-Men and ultimately lover boys. The film also has Priyanka Chopra returning to form after a long long time where she plays the seductress with élan.

Performance wise, Ranveer and Arjun give this film their all and you cant expect anything more from them. But then again, they are not Khans that anything done by them would be accepted blindly. Aseem Mishra has a blast shooting the film and the myriad colours lend the film its own charm. Sohail Sen delivers a kickass soundtrack, which makes me wonder why isn’t the man composing more frequently?

Gunday is all heart, but alas what it lacks is an exciting story and its predictability is its biggest bane. But I am guessing, it will do well and for that the makers have to thank Sohail Sen’s insanely catchy ditty, Tune Maari Entriyaan…..Man, I just cant stop humming this song….Bappi Da, are you listening?

Rating- 2/5

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D- Day: This one is a gritty and RAW watch which keeps you engrossed throughout.


Zero Dark Thirty anyone? That brilliant film on Osama’s capture won millions of hearts and fans worldwide. This one sets about on a similar mission. Not to win several hearts. But to capture a wanted terrorist. The terrorist in question is hands down the best Dawood portrayal we have had ever. I say this not because of Rishi Kapoor’s excellent portrayal of the D Man but because in this film Dawood is shown probably the way we imagine him. An enigma of sorts. More on that later, D- Day as a film comes across as a fine mix of fact and fiction which has been blended superbly keeping the tastes of aam junta in mind who expect our thrillers to be high on action and energy.

This film will not break any records, neither will it set the box office on fire. But like wine, this will grow on your mind. It would take rapt attention on your part to digest this film as it refuses to spoon-feed the viewer. Nikhil Advani delivers his best film since Kal Ho Naa Ho, and that was 10 years back. Meanwhile, he stooped down to distasteful levels and served us crass films like Chandni Chowk to China and overlong love story tripe like Salaam-e-Ishq. But with this film he returns and how.

Getting hold of a fabulous star-cast is one thing and extracting superlative performances out of them is purely something else. Advani succeeds on both counts and the result is a freshly baked crime thriller.

Cutting to the chase, the story is about bringing Goldman (Rishi Kapoor) back to India alive. When the prime minister ( a fine spoof of Manmohan Singh with references of Sonia Gandhi thrown in for good measure) refuses to permit a mission to officially bring Goldman back alive, the director of R & AW Nasseer (a bit out of form here) enlists the services of a an army officer, an explosives expert and a criminal who would be pardoned incase he returns successful. The troika sets off for Pakistan where they are joined by another R & AW employee who has been waiting forever (read 9 years) for that opportune moment to catch Goldman alive.  All 4 of them come together and almost kidnap Goldman before it goes horribly wrong. How the hunters become the hunted and how do they capture Goldman again forms the rest of the story leading to a brilliant climax.

The performances are all top notch but special mention should be made for Arjun Rampal who is terrific as Major Rudra Pratap Singh. Such searing intensity from the man who many dubbed as a wooden actor. This easily is his best performance.

Irfan Khan is uniformly brilliant and lights up the screen with his eyes and underplays his character beautifully. It is so good to see him getting roles which he can sink his teeth into and deliver marvelous results.

Huma Querishi left me surprised. She is in top form here after Gangs and delivers a knockout performance as the woman among the men. She has all the makings of a superlative actress and with time, she will go places.

Rishi Kapoor is good as usual, but somehow his character takes over and the credit lies in the fact that we see Goldman and not Rishi Kapoor. The man who has gone on a reinvention spree adds another gem to his crown with this performance.

The new actress Shriswara who plays Irfan’s wife is a dynamite of talent and her casting is so apt that not for once does her performance come across as an act. She is unbelievably natural and I would like to see her in more films for sure.

And here I come to the film’s most dazzlying performance. That of Shruti Haasan. She is the soul of the film and quite simply adds gravitas to the story. In a relatively smaller role, she burns up the screen and I must see she has truly arrived and her performance in ‘3’ wasn’t just a one off. In-fact her act in D Day makes me want to watch her more and I wouldn’t be surprised if I land up at a theater to watch the idiotic looking Ramaiyya Vastavaiyya only for her.

The technical crew is fantastic with Tushar Kanti Ray leading the charge on the cinematography front. One of the youngest cinematographers on the block, his snake like camera brings Karachi alive ( shot in Ahmedabad). The music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is terrific with respect to the film. For the second week in succession, I have found their soundtrack more groovy after I have watched the film ( last being Bhaag Milkha Bhaag). The song Alvida is a knockout, especially the way it is pictured. The writers (Niranjan Iyengar and Advani being the prominent ones) deserve kudos here for not getting carried away with the subject in hand and sticking to the most important factor- i.e delivering an entertaining film.

So, for me D-Day is a film which I never really had much hopes on, but what transpired in those two and half hours left me completely transfixed. Extremely topical and extremely well written, this one deserves a watch.

My Rating- 3.5/5

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BhaaG MilkhA BhaaG- A terribly exploitative film which overstays its welcome….


When i watched the first teaser of Rakeysh Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (BMB from here on) way back in November 2012 , it had me hooked. A bio pic on one of our greatest sporting icons seemed like a mouthwatering concept. So, i walked into the film expecting mehra to set the screen ablaze. And after an agonizing 3 hrs and 10 mins, i was left awed by one man-Farhan Akhtar. And this man’s total surrender to a character blew me away. It is by far THE BEST performance i have seen in recent times and that was the only redeeming factor in this regressive mess of a film.

Biopics as a genre haven’t really caught the fancy of our film makers yet, so films like Paan SIngh Tomar and BMB are an exception. But the spunk and grit which made Paan Singh Tomar a runaway success, that is missing here. And to make a film on an icon and then just scratch the surface is not doing true justice to his charismatic abilities.

And here in lies my problem with BMB. It is a film which is tedious and exploitative. It tries to abuse slow motion to the hilt to create that lump in your throat moments but beyond a point, the only pain you feel is your back which kinda hopes THE END pops up asap.

With top notch technicians at his disposal and one of the finest writers at his command, BMB was expected to be a milestone film. Add Farhan top the mix and you have a classic ready to serve. But there in, it goes horribly wrong and its so bloody wrong that if I were Milkha Singh, i would have felt shortchanged.

The reason for Milkha not going to Pakistan is so bloody obvious that it feels immaturely kiddish to watch a 3 hour long story unfold punctuated by that silly question time and again that why wouldn’t Milkha run in Pakistan? And talking about Milkha running, I believe every character was just given one brief- You need to scream Bhaag Milkha Bhaag at the top of your lungs at-least once during your screen-time.!!!!

The performances are all top notch. Farhan Akhtar’s bravura act is complimented by DIvya Dutta whose act reverberates extreme pathos that you carry her character home with you. And Sonam Kapoor in a 10 minute role takes your heart away. Her charm and screen presence is mesmerizing. And Pawan Malhotra and Prakash Raj are equally brilliant in their characters. It is Yuvraj’s father Yograj Singh who sticks out like a sore thumb. His character comes across as a caricature and the less said about him, the better.

The technicalities are A-grade with that magician Binod Pradhan lensing Bhaag Milkha Bhaag so commendably that you fall in love with the visuals. As i mentioned earlier, this is a film where slow mos have been abused to the hilt but that takes nothing away from Pradhan’s magic. Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s music is so foot tapping and terrific that not for a moment did i miss Rahman’s presence, who otherwise is a mehra regular.

So that brings me to the only two culprits who messed up this saga so horribly that it has taken Indian cinema back by 20 years. Prasoon Joshi and Rakeysh Mehra. With the script which lacks direction and with a director who has a wasted script, the film fails to rise above ordinary levels and with so much talent at your disposal, expecting a good film is not asking for much.

All said and done, this Milkha ends up running a little longer than what we would have savored!!!!!

My rating-2/5.

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