Simmba

Simmba was quite the disgrace to Singham – and the Lion King too – until the real Singham shows up and the Dolby Surround Sound waale mukke start resonating through the movie theatre.

Ranveer Singh was an interesting casting choice. He looks tough, his acting can be great but it’s also tainted a bit much with his off-screen personality, especially during humorous scenes. I am generally a much bigger fan of Ranveer Singh’s than Ajay Devgan’s but, sorry, Ranveer has nothing on the real Singham! Maybe it is Simmba’s character, which by the way flip flops 180 degrees all of a sudden in the movie (bheja mat lagana!), or maybe it is his over the top acting that takes away the gravitas that Singham brought to the screen.

Granted Rohit Shetty wasn’t first in line when logic was being distributed by God but a little more subtlety wouldn’t harm him either. The movie is Captain Obvious throughout. Not only can you predict every scene, just in case you are also a bit dimly lit up there the characters explain it verbally too.

Sara Ali Khan is literally a tiffinwaali in this movie and that’s it. There was absolutely no reason for her to waste a few reels. She wasn’t even able to make chai in one of the final scenes. Watch out for this in the movie for a chuckle.

Sonu Sood made up for a lot of other crap in Simmba by delivering a solid performance and looking his best ever. What is it with tall, broad shouldered men in white kurtas??

Ashutosh Rana made me do a double take. When did he turn from a Sikander Khan into a pudgy old constable? His character is Simmba’s moral compass but fails to draw what an Ashutosh Rana can do.

Putting aside the ghisi piti story, the very clear and loud social lecturing on India’s rape “culture” – certainly with great intent but poor execution – and the ok but not outstanding acting this is an ok-ish sequel of Singham with some funny moments and two solid action sequences.

My favorite part of the movie –¬† and why I am bumping it a point higher than it deserves – is the absolutely amazing choreography of Aankh Mare. I loved the song in its original, I love it now and I have become a fangirl of the choreography. (5/10)

simmba

Advertisements

Zero

Brahmagupta was a man with foresight. 1,400 years ago he set rules to compute with ‘zero’ but this wise man knew one day ‘zero’ will be needed to label Shah Rukh Khan and his talent. (Please note: Talent and Luck are not one and the same!)

It took me two days to mend my mental bruises I carried away from watching Zero on opening day. I am still scarred but here is an attempt at saving some more casualties:

Zero…reason you should waste 164 minutes of your precious life

Zero…Dollars/Euro/Rupees/[insert your own currency] you should spend on sitting all this time in a torture chamber

Zero…pollutants you should add to the environment by driving to the movie theatre

Zero…sense you can expect this story to make: A mega star kisses a village dwarf and takes him into her house and life. He forces her to throw him out and ends up floating around in space to impress his physically challenged lady love. No, this is not me being delusional. This is truly how ridiculously bad the story (or lack of it) is.

Zero…chances Shah Rukh Khan should be given to star in a movie again.

On the one hand Bollywood churned out masterpieces like Andhadhun, Badhai Ho, Raazi, Sanju, Karwaan this year. I am no filmmaker but my guess is the process for movies as excellent as these starts with a story in mind, followed by a script, character development and then lots of thought into who fits the role. On the other hand there is crap like Zero where the process presumably looks like this: Shah Rukh Khan has too much money itching in his pocket (again) and feels it is time for some more self-validation. Gauri unlocks the tijori, starts throwing around money left and right to brainwash a director, every who’s who of Bollywood to appear for a cameo and popular actresses to benefit from the marketing machine that is SRK. Everyone gets high, hallucinates a “plot” and gets to work.

Shah Rukh Khan makes me believe in astrology. Why? This man may be charming when he speaks in person but he has Zero acting skills, scores a Zero on looks, is part of the worst movies in Indian cinema and yet is one of the biggest superstars walking the earth. All his shanis and mangals must be dancing in the right houses!

In case you are still on the fence for wanting to watch this atrocity, just know that Zero makes Happy New Year look like a good watch. (0/10)

zero

 

Baazaar

I am surprised Jains all over India haven’t created a ruckus about the misrepresentation and straight out disrespect of Jainism in this movie yet. Disclaimer: By no means am I claiming that there aren’t immoral Jain business people out there. There are a dime and a dozen for all I know. However, we Jain clearly don’t sit in opera houses to chant Michhami Dukkadam with our butts in cushy chairs and our hands waiving through the air. Also, temples are not places where business is conducted and cops and their likes walk in and out with their shoes on as they please to disrupt meditative practices.

Aside from that the movie had a solid plot, some good dialogues, great background scoring and a refreshing cast. Rohan Mehra was the perfect choice for the Allahabad ka middle class ladka who quickly grows on you as the big city ways groom him. This was his first movie so he may not be in the league of his co-actors just yet but he certainly has potential. What a great movie and role to be launched with!

A shrewd business sense, greed and hunger to succeed is what this movie is all about. It is no secret that “too much” education makes bad businessmen. Some of the most successful businessmen are the ones that have a raw edge to themselves where sophistication is replaced with courage, curiosity and a ‘what-have-I-got-to-lose-attitude’!

Saif Ali Khan may not look like a typical Gujju businessman but he stood his ground. Despite never making it mainstream I feel Chitrangada Singh is one of the most attractive actresses out there. If only I could age like her. Radhika Apte is putting the make up industry out of business with her not-pretty-but-you’ll-still-notice looks. (7/10)

P.S.: No. Angadiyas don’t put 40 carat diamonds in 10-year-olds peanut wrappers!

Bazaar

Badhai Ho

Badhai Ho…to Ayushman Khurana for not just one but two entertaining, incredibly well-made, masterpieces of Indian cinema in a row!

For just over two hours I was in middle of the lives of three generations of a middle class Delhi family and fell in love with each and every character. The credibility that the scriptwriter, director and actors have lent to each family member from grandmother to grandchildren is palpably real: a loud, nagging grandmother who is figuratively and literally the center of the household, a somewhat kanjus but very loving father, the proverbial middle class Indian mother who lives for her family and nothing else, an elder son who is not only stepping up to elevate the family conditions but also takes responsibility for every member of the family and a younger brother who is a bit pampered yet secretly in awe of his elder brother.

And then there’s this THING that happens. 17 years after the younger son is born the mother gets pregnant again and all hell breaks lose within the immediate family, extended family and of course – the neighborhood! Each family member, including the pregnant mother and her husband go through feelings of shame imposed on themselves by themselves and their surroundings. Now this is a topic that could have easily been handled very vulgarly and disrespectfully. However, the director did an incredible job of using the topic to further form his characters and strengthen their bonds from many different angles. Be it mother – son, mother-in-law – daughter-in-law, father – son, husband – wife, brother – brother, every single relationship got perfect air time with the right amount of emotion.

Nakul’s girlfriend was only needed as a contrast and to add some external tension but even that was handled wisely despite leaving a few questions unanswered.

Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta, Surekha Sikri, Ayushman Khurana are all what we like to call “manje hue” actors. Every millimeter of facial movement conveys a message and they know how to measure those movements with finesse! (9/10)

BH

 

Andhadhun

This. Is. Entertainment!

100 Shah Rukh Khan’s kurbaan on one movie like this that is a nail-biting thriller from beginning to end with top-notch writing, screenplay, acting and directing. I saw this movie at an 11.15 pm show because despite it being in week 3 it’s still sold out show after show – deservedly so! The normal me needs to put matchsticks between her lids to stay up past 10 pm these days but this movie had my heart beating at elevated rates for the entire 2 hours and 30 minutes of its runtime well past midnight.

Thrillers are usually a bit serious or even edging the dark but Andhadhun dexteroulsy managed to take a highly macabre subject and turned it into borderline comic scenes. Triple salute to the director for walking that tightrope between thrill and smiles so eloquently.

Just like an Abbas Mustan movie Andhadhun makes your eyes pop out (pun intended) with surprise every two minutes. The characters get under your skin and you start living the thoughts of each one of them thanks to excellent acting by every single one of them and masterful directing by Sriram Raghavan.

Love how Tabu is picking a few but very interesting roles such as her role in Drishyam and now this one. Her character is relentless yet so circumstantial. Every move of hers shocks you but at the same time makes you laugh a little.

Ayushman, is among my Top 2 favorite actors. He and Rajkumar Rao can be served any wildcard role and they’ll blow it out of the water! The ease with which he becomes one with any role he is asked to play is commendable and the reason why I’d anytime prefer watching a movie of his vs the overhyped Indian “stars”.

It’s been about 20 hours since I have watched the movie but I am still in awe of how every scene and dialog in the movie was strung together masterfully.

Do yourself a favor and go watch this on the big screen! (10/10)

Andhadhun

Yeh Meri Family – Summer of ’98

Binge watch alert!

If you are a 80s kid like me and have a fetish for engaging storytelling this is it. This is IT!

A TV series released just about a month and a half ago with only seven episodes out so far this one won my heart. Every minute of the 30-ish minute episode is a treat and one that I would watch over and over again.

This is the story of a middle class family in Jaipur (my other hometown!) with a father, mother, two sons and a daughter. The story is narrated through the middle child ¬†Harshu’s voice and the beauty of the art is that he breaks through the fourth wall by directly talking to the viewer as he narrates the happenings in his family life. Harshu is the rebel in the family, sandwiched between a studious and obedient elder brother and a little, playful baby sister. His father is a loving family man who is an investment broker with a bank and his mother is the ever-doting torn into a million directions housewife always looking out for her family. Harshu also has a wiser-than-his-age friend, Shanky, who is Harshu’s advisor for every life situation.

Each episode is a marvel of little emotional chunks of entertainment. Through the eyes of a 12-year-old you’ll see what he thinks about each of this family members, the love-hate relationship he has with them and what his hopes and desires are. At the end of each episode he comes to the realization that his family is what makes him tick.

This family is just so endearing that I feel like jumping through the TV and giving them a big group hug.

Hats of to Saurabh Khanna and Sameer Saxena for catching minute details of the 1998 setting, beautifully penning it down and then flawlessly bringing it to life on screen. From picking boy names in a cricket roster representative of late 90s fashion names to making the overweight father sit in two plastic lawn chairs, to the prints of the mother’s saris, to every single detail in the late 90’s Indian household – this is a masterpiece frozen in time!

For those of you with a penchant for personal finance you will love hearing the father’s analogies for mutual fund investing smartly woven into his everyday conversations. Love this educational angle by the writer.

In a day and age where TV serials are full of saas bahu politics, vengeance, snake ladies and black magic this is the best thing that happened to Indian television since Dekh Bhai Dekh and Hum Paanch. (10/10)

YMF

Stree

The day I run out of synonyms for the word “brilliance” I’ll just start using “Rajkumar Rao”. This man is sheer amazingness when it comes to acting! He is the only reason I went to watch this movie and he remained the only reason I sat through it. Ok, to be fair, Aparshakti Khurana’s and Abhishek Banerjee’s acting wasn’t bad either.

I am all for respecting women, treating them fairly, giving them all the opportunities they deserve etc. but my pendulum doesn’t swing to the far extreme of feminism where I feel like tooting the women empowerment horn at every crossing. So the rather convoluted feminist agenda of this movie didn’t rock my boat so much, nor am I a fan of ghost movies and horror but the pure genius of Rajkumar Rao’s acting skills makes this a somewhat enjoyable watch.

The attempt to combine a social message with horror and comedy at the same time is certainly novel and applaud-worthy but the movie just stretches a bit too far into the weird to be perfect for any genre – and maybe that’s intended.

If only they had picked another actress instead of the stone-faced Shraddha Kapoor it could have tipped the scale for me. (5/10)

Stree