Tumhari Sulu

#MainKarSaktiHai

Every housewife is more – some of them far more – than just a housewife. While women in the workforce get to play out their personalities with a legit tag of a working woman, the ones working in their homes are often ‘discounted’ as bhenjis. Here comes Vidya Balan to show you that personality trumps title and ambition trumps education!

Never have I seen a non-body-conforming Bollywood actress carry herself with so much confidence on the silver screen. A housewife, married to a sales manager and with a 11 year old boy facing peer pressure she is living a middle class life. Her twin sisters rub in their success every so often on their visits and tell her what’s right and wrong for her but she doesn’t let herself be belittled and goes on to become a RJ for a borderline raunchy late night radio show. With her unique people skills she shows the owners of the radio show that a saree-clad bhenji has more to offer than meets the eye. She takes the vulgar out of the show and is fully enjoying her work when the typical Indian husband surfaces in her otherwise loving husband. The loss of authority in his job and the happiness of his wife in her job don’t sit well with him so she leaves her job for 5 minutes to join it back in a jiffy as soon as she finds him a tiffinwaala job with the radio channel. Yeah, the last 5 minutes of the movie were just as confusing as my previous sentence. Not sure what happened there and why all of a sudden she decides to rejoin when she just handed in her resignation – but maybe someone else can explain that to me.

Fabulous acting by Vidya Balan and Manav Kaur. Totally not important to this review but I have a thing for men with strong jawlines. 😉 (6/10)

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Shubh Mangal Savdhan

Ayushmann Khurrana has this ability of getting scripts that allow him to play the every day man and he does an incredible job portraying the guy next door with a conviction that I keep hoping guys next door can actually be as cute as him. 🙂

In Vicky Donor Ayushmann took on a role of a sperm donor – a courageous move for an actor who is setting out to build his career in Bollywood. In this movie he plays a man with erectile dysfunction – an even more courageous move. Kudos to him for breaking the mold and bringing to light issues that actually exist but nobody wants to talk about.

It’s very easy to turn subjects like these vulgar and tasteless but the director nicely navigated around that without leaving out the humor entirely. Were some of the scenes exaggerated? Yes. Was it weird to see the family react like that? Yes. But nevertheless, it was an entertaining watch and a departure from the typical Bollywood formula. (6/10)

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Kahaani 2

I wish I had re-watched Kahaani before seeing its sequel to better understand what has shaped Durga Rani Singh into the person she is in this movie. All throughout this thriller I was left a bit irritated at the choices she is making without clearly understanding where she’s coming from. Inder, her ex-husband, also makes conflicting choices that need to be unraveled in the end in a rather anti-climatic manner.

Recently, there have been a multitude of movies on the topic of child molestation (Mom, Maatr, etc.) with this one being a less ‘obvious’ one, yet one that should not be shoved under the carpet.

Both Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal acted like veterans do. It’s still hard to understand why Arjun Rampal didn’t get more opportunity in Bollywood. He acts and looks far better than many a superstar of the masses. (6/10)

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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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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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