Pad Man

It’s commendable to see an actor use his celebrity to spread awareness about a serious issue plaguing the country. Akshay Kumar is no stranger to putting his muscle to use for good causes, be it supporting the Armed Forces, drawing attention to farmer suicides or now making sure the taboo around what’s part of a woman being fertile no longer stays a taboo.

This movie, based on Arunachalam Muruganantham’s life, explores how menstruation is associated with shame and how women themselves make something as routine as this an issue of impurity. On the one hand certain cultures in India celebrate the coming-of-age of young teenage girls when they get their first period with grand fanfare, on the other hand they are told periods are impure, they have to sleep outside the house, cannot visit the temple, cannot enter the kitchen and the list goes on. The moment you ask “Why?” you get a big imposing stare translating into “How dare you ask?” because even the people setting the rules don’t know the answers. Just like human evolution or creation (whichever you believe in) created the digestive system to keep the energy flow going it also created menstruation to support a woman’s fertility. Why is that a problem?

The movie has some slightly preachy, edging towards documentary style dialogues at the beginning which is understandable because many of its viewers may not even know why female hygiene is important and how big of an issue that is. From there unfolds the underdog to hero story that may not be incredibly entertaining but with an actor as fine as Akshay Kumar still becomes an interesting watch.

The crescendo of his skill comes to bear during his final speech at the United Nations where he is more convincing than many trained public speakers I have watched. This one doesn’t go to feminism, or entertainment, or any other motif of movie making. This one is an ode to innovation, perseverance and purely goes to Askhay Kumar’s acting ability. (7/10)

PM

Advertisements

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)

ns

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)

jolly

Rustom

While Rustom was fighting a case of life and death with utmost grace, integrity and those swoon worthy old school manners the only question that kept jogging through my head was “Why you no make men like these anymore??” I am the girl oddly stuck between the generation of yesteryear’s Rustoms and today’s Yo Yo Honey Singhs. The breed of men I had the misfortune to deal with were neither the respectable former nor the carefree later.

I wish I could step into a time machine and go right back to that era where men respected women, held the door open for them and knew how to give a genuine compliment, not to mention those graceful saris, gorgeous dresses, impeccable hair and an emancipation that meant something completely different.

But I digress.

Rustom is a web of true and false, right and wrong, fact and judgement, so tightly interwoven that it becomes hard to tell one from the other. A brilliant interplay of a relationship drama, a strategy game, betrayal, corruption, the influence of media and even glimpses of the workings of supply and demand.

Delightful casting from the main characters all the way to the supporting cast. Not to miss camerawork, particularly during some initial interrogation scenes. An old school charm that makes me want to shun my cell phone and put rollers in my hair.

What seems to be an impossible to prove innocence turns into a game of perceptions that trumps all else. Sometimes Wrong can be Right too!

The only reason for a 9/10 is the somewhat forceful humor that has no place in the plot.

rustom

Airlift

They don’t make men like them anymore. I am talking about both the characters this plot was inspired by – Sunny Matthews and Harbajan Singh Vedi – and Akshay Kumar. The first two set an example by putting the “I” behind the “We” and helping evacuate over 170,000 Indian from a war-torn Kuwait in 1990 and the later set an example by giving up 80% of his profit share back to the budget for this movie.

If you can ignore a few kinks here and there this movie is a solid watch with a taut plot and well executed screenplay. The story of unmatched heroism, unparalleled courage and unsung heroes, be it the protagonist, his silent ally in the sarkari hallways of the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi, or the courageous pilots of Air India.

Nimrat Kaur’s support for her husband throughout the ordeal is to watch out for and takes its culmination in her “speech” to an ungrateful evictee. Akshay Kumar proves once again that he is a seasoned and versatile actor with looks that I would melt for!

This story strongly reminded me of Shindler’s List and one man’s resolution to save thousands of lives. We need more people like this walking on earth. (8/10)

airlift

Gabbar is back

You will likely be more familiar with the popular songs of this movie than the movie itself. A one time watch carrying an important social message about corruption and how change has to happen from the bottom. Easier said than done. Akshay Kumar, as usual, delivers a solid performance. Shruti Hassan on the other hand needs to learn how to act and get some better roles for herself. (6/10)