Jab Harry Met Sejal

I wish he had never met her so I would have never sat through this 150 minute ordeal of a non-story. A complete dud with the only thing going for it being gorgeous European settings and high production quality.

You would need to consult a Psychologist to understand all the things that are off with Sejal’s character. She starts searching for a ring given to her by someone she can’t stand, becomes complete chipku to a tour guide for no logical reason whatsoever, despite multiple warnings that he may not be the right person to hang out with and turns a womanizer inside out within a week or two.

Even from a stylistic perspective there was nothing going on here except her red and black jackets. SRK completely fell into the black hole of my memory in his permanent black/grey garb.

I was just so infuriated by the crappy story and frivolity of this movie that I couldn’t quite tell if I liked the acting or not. Had this not been set in the beautiful cities of Europe these two location points would have also gone down the drain. (2/10)

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Mom

Sridevi had her second come back with a bang. An actress of her caliber deserves strong stories like English Vinglish and now Mom. She is looking as ravishing as a 53 old can possibly look and the way she gets under the skin of her character really carries the movie on her two dainty shoulders.

A well made thriller except I am not sure it was necessary to bring in a stepmother – stepdaughter twist into it. It served more as a distraction to me rather than an enhancement to the story. Also, there was no need to alter Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s appearance so much since it wasn’t required for his character to come across any more authentic.

When you a make a movie that’s otherwise pretty flawless small things, such as unnecessary humor between Sridevi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is not required. All it did was interfere with the severity of the matter at hand.

All-round stellar acting by everyone and a story that is not at all unimaginable in today’s India. (9/10)

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Noor

Refreshingly simple and effective story revolving around a female lead character. I haven’t yet fully made up my mind about Sonakshi Sinha. I think her acting is better than some of her contemporaries’ and her atypical of Bollywood looks make her more “real” than them.

Sit through the first half as the second one gets better and touches upon morals in journalism and the role of media in shaping a society rather than just being the mirror of decaying social values.

I should mention that Purab Kohli has rarely looked better but then we already know douchebag characters require hella good looking people to play them.

Particularly enjoyable were the witty dialogues between the characters and Noor’s authenticity in her monologues. (6/10)

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Hindi Medium

In the face mockery of the Delhi social scene. Shall I call it a circus or a zoo? The show-off-giri in Delhi (and for that matter in many other places in India) is getting out of hand. “My sari is more bling than yours.” “My car is bigger than yours.” “I have more servants than you do.” “I eat at fancier restaurants than you.” “My kids are more accomplished than yours.” “My dog poops silkier than yours.” “I dare not speak Hindi with my kids lest I be considered downmarket.” Phew!

A couple tries to buy, trick, steal their way into the “upper echelons” of Delhi society to be able to send their daughter into a top Delhi school. While the topic clearly deserves attention, the execution lacks finesse. Great talent like Irfaan’s has been overshadowed with juvenile direction and a tad bit too much drama. (4/10)

Hindi Medium

Begum Jaan

Interesting walk through history as well as the profession of prostitution on the Indian continent. Much loathed but rarely understood. Where do these women come from? What kind of homes did they belong to? How did they end up in a brothel? And most importantly WHY did they end up in a brothel? Why do they exist?? Who frequents them?? You can’t blame the flame for burning down the forest without raising an eye at the match stick that lit it on fire!

This movie starts and ends on a provocative scene of an old lady/girl baring herself in front of assaulters – both times forcing them to step back in shame due to their age. What happens in between is the story of Begum Jaan who runs a brothel at a place that is to be separated by the India-Pakistan border in 1947 forcing her to give up her home. It’s a story of hope, despair, will, deceit, grit and gut that will hopefully be the beginning to an end of this entire vicious cycle.

Powerful acting by everyone. A dark but interesting watch. (7/10)

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Naam Shabana

Just like the second kid can rarely be as good as the first one (hoping my sister is not reading this!) the sequel to a movie often doesn’t measure up to the expectations set by the original.

The Director tried to use Baby’s recipe, including many of the key cast members but wasn’t able to replicate the taut storyline and magic of Baby. Danny’s scenes got cut down from four to two, Manoj Bajpai has been added as another layer of administrativia, and Akshay Kumar has only been hired to hold Taapsee’s arm and drag her through buildings as if she can’t walk on her own. Also, who in the world hires someone as handsome as Prithviraj Sukumaran as the bad man?

Awkward dialogues, lack of a good story and absolutely no explanation as to why they needed to cast a woman in the role of the secret agent when Akshay Kumar could have done all she does makes this a meh watch. Everyone these days is just trying to ride on the feminism gravy train which failed in this case. (5/10)

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Badrinath Ki Dulhania

Kavya from ‘Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania’ saw the Women’s Rights movement making the rounds around the globe, jumped on the bandwagon and came out as a transformed modern day woman called Vaidehi on the other end to now become ‘Badrinath ki Dulhania’.

‘Tis the story of a very real struggle of women who grow up in homes where an early marriage is the ONLY dream they are allowed to harbor and their parents bend their backs collecting dowry because grooms are sold according to the size of their daddy’s homes, cars and egos. Marriage brokers that come to your house and ask for “kitna lagaenge shaadi mein” as soon as they plant their derrières on your couch really do exist – I am speaking from experience that almost made me lose my composure and shoot darts at them before I nudged my parents to throw them out of our house.

There is a nice ying and yang between aspiration and realism in this movie which hits the pulse of today’s day and age. Though some scenes are really cliched and added for pure mass entertainment, such as Kritika’s swayamwar, her clarity in thought about who she is marrying is commendable. Vaidehi, too, is marrying “under her league” but she finds the unexpected in Badri which is all that a relationship sometimes needs to work out.

I found it interesting that the filmmaker chose to broach the topic of rebellion against a deep engrained system of patriarchy in which sons are merely puppets of their dangerously commandeering parents. Helping them move along with the times is as much their children’s responsibility as their own. For all the Vaidehis out there – if your Badri is not willing to create a reasonable environment for you two to live in within the fiefdom of his dad – run, run as fast as you can!

Alia Bhatt’s acting is like a cheese pizza from the same shop. Consistently good but always tastes the same. I can’t wait to see her in a more subdued, silent, thoughtful character. Even though Udta Punjab was quite different her angst filled role was very familiar.

Varun Dhawan tried visibly hard to act like the UP ke bhaiya but he was skirting at the edge of authenticity and childishness. Comic roles are not his forté. He did much better in a far more serious Badlapur.

Oh, and taking away a point for horrendously butchering Tamma Tamma when we know that remixes can be as good as the original – look at Humma Humma. (7/10)

 

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