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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Jolly LLB 2

My recollection of its prequel is weak so it would be unfair of me to compare the two but maybe this is a case where the Director decided to ride on the profit wave of an established success. And he did. Financially, Jolly paid off but the entertainment quotient was just mediocre. While Akshay Kumar did complete justice to his role the story just did not have the same gravitas I am used to from his films after watching a Baby, Airlift and Rustom.

Huma Qureshi had nothing to contribute to the story line. Nevertheless, it was a delight to see someone cast as the lead actress who is not a size zero. Breaking molds in the image obsessed Bollywood she is convincingly showing everyone that talent is not measured at the waist.

Far too rarely seen on the big screen these days, Annu Kapoor is brilliant as ever and Saurabh Shukla plays the role of a somewhat unbelievable, comic judge whose whim decides the course of the case at hand. (6/10)

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Umrika

Where do dreams come from? Where do they lead you? In this case a mother’s obsession with sending her favorite son to the promised land of Umrika (America) becomes her loss and the reason for the entire family to fall apart.

The son – that never made it to Umrika – lives a life in the shadows of Bombay, while her loving husband pretends to be the son and writes her letters from Umrika, which not only serve to keep the mother appeased but entertain the entire village. Years later the younger son sets out to find his brother. When he finds him no further than Bombay he decides to fulfill his mother’s dream himself. While one side of the story is described in much detail and finesse the repercussions of this dream are left to the viewers’ imagination. (6/10)

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Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Sometimes images speak more than words. If I had to summarize this entire 2 hour 35 minute experience into an image it would be this:

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A loves B, but B loves C, and C loves D but because D is not reciprocating D kinda loves C again but not the way C wants.

What starts as a “new age,” fun, use and throw relationship drama with aspirational characters for every born-into-wealth youngster quickly turns into an inception like abyss of love stories. Karan Johar peeled so many layers of the love relationships onion that nothing of the onion is really left to cook with in the end.

Choke full of one-liners, poetic and filmy dialogues – at times it feels this entire movie is overscripted. You gotta learn to use the right spices, not all of them, when you are trying to get the dish right, KJo. No really, what type of wit are your characters born with to always have the perfect answer? There is a scene in the movie where Ranbir even makes fun of it.

Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma clearly saved this one from being a pain to watch. Their acting is spot on and truly entertaining. Particularly Ranbir’s character hit home with me…I know a thing or two about carrying your heart on your sleeve after all. 🙂

Fawad on the other hand disappointed. His intoxicating face is not meant to be hidden behind a caveman’s beard. I feel sorry for KJo for stirring up such a storm by casting him when he really had pretty much nothing to do in this movie.

Undoubtedly, the glamor of a Dharma Production is smeared all over Ae Dil Hai Mushkil but at times you just want to disassociate with all of their past movies and not be reminded of them through the nose touches and the incessant Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam backdrop. All in all ADHM felt like the mis-orchestrated end of a firework. KJo pulled out all his pataake but the final show was a fuss. Happy Diwali! (6/10)

Special thanks to the little brother for organizing this family movie night the day I landed in Frankfurt!

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Phantom

The near consecutive releases of Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Phantom aptly personify the old adage of “everything is fair in love and war”. The India Pakistan topic is one that has been discussed, dissected and deliberated on by many Indian film makers. It works because it moves a nation of a billion and some. Phantom looked like it wanted to do what Baby did but it was not nearly as gripping as the later. It starts with good pacing and then slips into a lull never giving you a chance to really connect with the protagonist. (6/10)

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Dil Dhadakne Do

Some pretentious Delhi-ites (and every other city-ites) are about to burn up in their PJs. Zoya sarcastically pokes into all the ‘problems of the richie richs’ and peels away layers and layers of their fake lives. Masked emotions are uncovered scene by scene until they get to a raw family screaming and unveiling match which is one of the many very honest scenes in the movie. Lots of spades are being called spades which is hopefully going to be a balancing force to the “Log Kya Kahenge” in Indian society soon. If you can ignore the futile attempt at comedy during the last 10 minutes you’ll find yourself entertained by this uber rich Punjabi family event narrated through a dog’s perspective. Certainly no Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara but you’ll be left star-struck with good performances by everyone, especially Anil Kapoor and Shefali Shah, and some really nice camera work. (6/10)