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)

Begum Jaan


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)



My Wife’s Murder

A 2005 release but one not to be missed if you liked Drishyam. A thriller pretty much based on a similar storyline but slightly less sophisticated. It’s full of fear and hair-raising thrill yet it comes from a good place. It made me think that while in the eyes of the law a crime may be a crime – punishable to the extent the law is written – sometimes it may make sense to look beyond the obvious before judging.

Anil Kapoor may not be the most good looking hunk that has hit Bollywood but he sure is one amongst the most talented. When he acts you can feel what it’s like to be in his shoes. Add a bit of Boman Irani to it and you got a fantastic watch for a cold winter evening. (7/10)



They say ‘Love can move mountains’ and then there was this man whose love broke mountains! One man took upon him the monstrous task of breaking an entire mountain with an axe to commemorate his beloved wife. I still gulp when I think that this is a true story. Purely from a logistical angle I was thinking to myself ‘Where would you start breaking the mountain when you are standing on it??’

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is born to act. What stellar performances this man has delivered and this one surely propels him even further to the top of the mountain of acting talent.

A raw rendition of a man’s immense love, stubbornness, perseverance and determination. (7/10)


Detective Byomkesh Bakshy

A Friday evening brain may be a bit slow to understand all the intecracies of this plot. Lots of storyline and stylistic details went into making a rare Bollywood detective movie skillfully acted out by Sushant Singh Rajput. Bye bye heros, welcome character actors. A bit of a weird pace during the first half and the introduction of a few too many characters make this one slightly hard to follow but the last half an hour thankfully recapped everything for those who may have missed a detail or two. (7/10)

Dam Laga Ke Haisha

This is what I like to call a “slice of life” movie. Similar to Aankhon Dekhi you are taken into two families’ reality in a small village. A bit slow paced and it lacks smooth transitions in the plot but great job of not making the female lead’s weight the main topic of discussion. The size of her confidence and character is what really mattered. (7/10)