Race 3

By God (Bhagvan/Allah/Jesus – or anyone else you may believe in) RACE as fast as you can in the opposite direction of the ticket counter.

Imagine…you go to a restaurant once and get served Paneer Butter Masala, the second time you go you get served Kadhai Paneer. With your expectations as high as they should be by this time on your third visit you are served a plate of rotten stinky onions. Yup, that’s exactly what happened to me here. After watching Race and Race 2, both of which were some of my most favorite thrillers, Race 3 was so anticlimactically bad that I am never going to trust another Race sequel blindly. And yes, there will be another sequel as announced by Salam Khan in the closing scene. Please just don’t let him be part of it!

The Race series is known for its plot twists, style, polish, glamour and class. Enter Salman Khan! The plot twists are still there but some of them more obvious than the sun rising from the East. Style, polish, glamour and class all gone to the dogs. All that’s left is Salman Khan cleaning the floor with his homegrown dance moves, dialogues that are cringeworthy, and his front-seat-whistle-inducing antiques.

Race is supposed to be an out and out thriller but since Salman took over he had to add his forced humor to the mix. The Bhojpuri dialect totally robbed the last graces off the plot and made this one a big dud!

I almost slipped off my plush movie theatre chair when the song “I found love” came on. Was this satirical content as part of the plot? The five words skirting my tongue the whole time were “Is this $#!+ for realz?!” … I found love … I found love in you … Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez super awkwardly posing on rocks and lifting their booties to twist their legs…I can’t get it out of my head!

Costumes likely didn’t cost much. Jacqueline’s designer ordered a bunch of monochrome bedsheets from Amazon, tore them up in different places and hung them on her. Salman and Bobby were rolling in some desert shirtless last I woke up to check how much longer until I can go home.

Overall, this movie served as a solid dose of diphenhydramine (main ingredient of sleeping pills) for me. I slept through about 30% off it and suffered through the remaining 70%. (1/10)

 

 

 

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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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Kaabil

Same story. I lost the draft that I wrote on the plane but in this case it was actually regretful. I watched this movie with very little expectations knowing that Hrithik Roshan mostly acts like a five year old in the body of a very – umm, handsome – adult. But buckle your seats because Hritik Roshan takes you on a surprising ride with his outstanding acting in Kaabil. Even more so because acting to be blind is likely more difficult when you can actually see.

Sanjay Gupta crafted very likable characters for Hrithik and Yami. They were underdogs to begin with but there was an ease in their personalities that instantly drew me to them. As the story unfolds they meet with an evil fate and their world turns upside down. It becomes a story of revenge in absence of justice by law.

Some of the dialogues stuck with me as they were unexpected and quite thoughtful, delivered flawlessly by our hotter-than-legally-allowed protagonist and a very skilled Ronit Roy, who is one of the finest underrated actors Bollywood has.

Yami, too, fit her role of a delicate girl full of grace and positivity well. She looked particularly gorgeous as a simple bride.

Glad to see Indian cinema bringing awareness to differently abled people even if in ways that are uniquely Bollywood. (8/10)

Naam Hai Akira

Promising topic treated poorly. Who doesn’t want to see a girl with integrity, mental courage and physical strength set things straight? There’s so much A.R.Murugadoss could have done right with a plot this novel in a film industry where women have little to do except dance around trees. However, he forced scene after scene into the screenplay in an endless recursive loop of “she’s gonna win” – “setback” – “she made it” – “setback”. Over the 2.5 hours you are trained to keep expecting bad stuff to happen making you go limp at the edge of your seat. Even the climax is anything but feel good. Someone with a sense of fairness like me felt cheated.

Sonakshi Sinha took a bold step by taking on this script but her acting needs more work. Konkona Sen Sharma was “handcuffed” by her limited role too. (4/10)

 

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Dishoom

When a director and script writer doubt their abilities they fall back on what they think will draw the Indian masses – cricket!

This Dhawan flick is mediocre in every sense: action, thrill, songs, acting. It’s a me-too of Baby but not nearly as exciting. Varun Dhawan really needs to rethink what he is signing on. How can the Badlapur star fall off all his graces and sign on sidekick roles such as this one? John Abraham is chiseled as ever, intense as ever, but he really needs to try another genre for a change. (4/10)

Sultan

A bit overdue but it hardly matters since most of the Bolly-world is split into either religiously watching Salman Khan films or boycotting them.

Salman Khan’s standard formula is at play again: buffed body, little brain, a semblance of innocence, rural setting, underdog status. If I could code I would write an algorithm to churn out his next predictable script.

With almost 600 crore INR in the bag who am I to say this was a futile attempt at entertainment? Salman rules the masses and that’s where the money lies.

Catchy songs, dusty action (literally), some female empowerment – to be undermined eventually – and a few signature hip shakes later I still had a hard time rooting for this underdog the way I did for Iqbal or Bhuvan in Lagaan. (4/10)

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Fan

It took me a full week to come out of the Inception like maze this movie has created in my head to be able to write this review. The only problem is I almost passed out finding my way out from the overload of narcissism created in this 2.5 hour mind-numbing piece of Shah Rukh Khan propaganda.

SRK plays himself and his own die-hard fan and then there are a million more instances you have to see his face postered all over the movie. Unlike many other bad Bollywood movies where the hero shares 10% of screen time with a B grade heroin SRK couldn’t even spare a minute of these reels on someone else so they removed the concept of a heroine entirely.

I have a feeling that he tried to maximize being on screen as much as he could because after four disasters (Chennai Express, Happy New Year, Dilwale and now this!) he feared no one would ever want to see him again…I certainly don’t. (1/10)

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