The Baap of Style and Uber cool romance returns! Many and I mean many had written off the great Mani Ratnam after two flops (namely Kadhal and Ravan), thus making his latest movie OK Kanmani all the more significant. Mani Ratnam being the celebrated filmmaker that he is, decided to answer in the way only he can. By returning with a film that throws cliché out of the window and delivering a crackling romance. Casting Dulquer Salman and Nithya Menon is another masterstroke. Both of them add the required gravitas to the film enlivening it up in the process. And then we have the man of all seasons Prakash Raj and the luminously beautiful Leela Samson playing the older couple.
The contrast shown in the ideologies of the free spirited young couple and the very much in love older couple is the film’s USP and without being preachy or sermonic at any point, Mani Ratnam drives the point home.
The story is about Adi and Tara, who meet by chance and fall head over heels in love. Both are ambitious, commitment phobic and define the new age romance perfectly. Adi moves in to Ganpathy’s (Prakash Raj) house as a paying guest and in turn embraces Bhavani, his Alzheimer stricken wife. How then does Ganpathy’s devotion for his wife change Adi’s outlook towards marriage and commitment is the core of the film.
One of my favourite scenes is when music plays the deciding factor in ganpathy agreeing to let Tara stay as a live in partner to Adi. That brings me inevitably to the music of the film. And where do I start. That I am in awe of Rahman would be an understatement. I am taken aback by the man’s consistent attempt to treat every film on a different level and give it a unique soundscape is what makes him legendary. The music is the soul of the film and the fine blend of EDM and Carnatic is eargasmic. The legendary PC Sreeram returns to Mani Ratnam’s gang after that unforgettable classic ‘Alai Payuthey’ and soaks every frame in lilting colors.
Nithya Menon is an old favourite. And apart from her dishy looks and fresh screen presence, the lady owns the role and makes us believe in tara. Dulquer Salman as ‘I care a damn’ Adi is a revelation. As a yuppie who dreams at 90 km/hr he is a class act.
But but but……above all this is a Mani Ratnam film and the man hits the bull’s eye. I am a fan and I desperately wanted a film that leaves me walking out of the theatre with a smile. This one though sent me dancing out. Thank You Mani Ratnam…..!!!!!!
This gem was made close to 3 years back. Back then, Nawaz was still a struggling actor, Niharika Singh was an unknown face and no one really knew Ashim Ahuluwalia. Now, Nawaz is a name to reckon with, Niharika Singh is still unknown with a weird Himesh film being her only credit to fame and Ashim Ahluwalia has become a champion of parallel cinema. Blame it on the effect of Miss Lovely.
Miss Lovely is a weird film. Strangely bizarre and absurdly filmed, it offers a peek in to the horror sex industry of the 80’s, something which made the Ramsays the king of shriek times. But what went behind the stage was an open secret and Ashim reveals every aspect in graphic detail. In the midst of all that sleaze is a quaint love story which goes all wrong. Its that man Nawaz again who steals the show and makes Miss Lovely a magically surreal experience.
The story is about 2 brothers. One happens to be a director of sleazy C-grade films and the other dreams of getting away from the sleaze world and direct clean films. He falls in love with a girl and promises to make a clean film with her called Miss Lovely. The various challenges he faces to make that film and the simultaneous crackdown of law on the C-grade industry forms the crux of the film.
The story has different layers to it and speaks about issues which still exist in the film industry. The narrative style is distinct and the production design is bang on target. The Bombay of 80’s has been recreated wonderfully and really helps in making the story believable.
The performances from the main star cast of Anil George, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Niharika Singh are all top notch and help bring believability to the film. The director deserves brownie points for choosing such a unique subject and executing it sincerely. The music is also good and the cinematography by Mohanan is fantastic. He captures every frame with panache and leaves a grainy feel to make it appear aged.
Miss Lovely may not be a film which would end up as a classic. In fact, you may emerge out of it confused as to whether you liked the film or not. But it definitely is a brave effort and deserves a watch.
Compass Box Killer is a fitting follow up to Pyiush Jha’s last smash hit…-Mumbaistan.. That book had 3 stories which had Mumbai as the protagonist. One of the stories called Injectionwala in that book, had a character called Inspector Virkar who plays the proverbial hero of the story. Piyush decided to give Virkar a book of his own and thus we have Compass Box Killer, Inspector Virkar’s quest to unravel a murder mystery.
This one is a cat and mouse chase thriller where the killer leaves behind a compass box and a the name of his next victim after every murder, challenging Virkar to nab him before he executes his next modus operandi. The story although sounds cliche on paper, but the way Piyush treats the characters and the plot, makes for a riveting read. I was left floored especially with the amount of detailing he goes into to establish the motive behind every character. He certainly takes giant steps and proves his first book Mumbaistan was definitely not a flash in the pan.
An entertaining and a racy thriller was what I was expecting and I can safely say I got double my money’s worth. If you are thirsting for a typical masala read where there is murder, double crossing, shady characters, theatrics and above all, maad thaad then Compass Box Killer will definitely quench your thirst.
Do you remember how you waited for the day when mummy will serve your favorite sabzi in your dabba? And that big wide grin on your face while relishing that. Life really was that simple. And that is what Lunchbox is about. Director Ritesh Batra narrates a simple, heartwarming tale of love, loneliness and food. The film is extremely minimalist in its approach. The director does not even care to include a background score during most of the film’s runtime and that is the film’s charm. This is also probably the most sound film in recent films. By that i mean, the ambient sound has been captured so perfectly that every sniff, every chop of vegetables, every droplet of water can be heard and felt.
The film is about two individuals, Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) and Ila (Nimrat Kaur). How a one in a million goof up by the Mumbai dabbawallas leads to a tender romance blossoming between the duo is the highlight of the story. Romance of the purest kind, where they exchange notes and share their experiences. And Mumbai as a city is a character in itself in the film. How the metro sometimes alienates you from the world is something the film attempts to showcase. The lead duo is ably supported by Nawazuddin Siddiqui who plays Irrfan’s junior at his work place.
Lunchbox probably is the best film I have seen in recent times. It is everything which Ship of Theseus tried to be and failed. It makes you remember your childhood, your neighbors, your companion and all those memories which form an important part of your life.
The technical aspects of the film are marvelous. Lensed perfectly it brings alive the spirit of Mumbai. The rains, the trains, the roads. The bustling metro was last showcased so brilliantly in Wake Up Sid.
Coming to the performances, Irrfan Khan is mind blowing as a man who has spent the last 35 years doing the same job and it perfectly reflects in his performance. Nimrat Kaur as the lonely housewife is terrific and it would be no wrong to say that this is the best debut performance of the year easily. Nawaz gets limited scope but owns his part and provides the film with its most entertaining segments. The smaretest character is of Bharti Achrekar, never seen and only heard. She wins you with her voice alone. Such command, such control. I am awed.
The Lunchbox is a gem of a film, nourishing and mouthwatering and would definitely satisfy your thirst for a quality film.