After a six week hiatus & figuring out why I have more <randomstringofletters>@outlook.com blog followers than Donald Trump has typos in his tweets I am back!

I may have been slacking with writing reviews but rest assured I was on the top of my game watching movies! Let me start with the best:

Raazi, a beautiful play on word, signifying a young girls’ willingness to marry an unknown man, join an unknown family, call a rival country her new ‘home’ and her willingness to put all on the line to become a spy for her motherland. A deep bow of respect for real life Sehmat whose heart beat for more than just her own wellbeing.

Alia Bhatt is putting nepotism claims to rest with yet another talent-filled portrayal of the protagonist. What a nice contrast to pelvic thrusting, half-clad, dunked in a pot of make up heroins! Mind you, this wasn’t an easy character to play. It was equal parts grief and determination, confidence and sub-ordinance, hope and despair, courage and fear. Yet she brought each of these to life without flinching an eye.

Vicky Kaushal was a true surprise. How handsomely he slipped into a Pakistani army man’s, a son’s, a brother’s and a husband’s character. Ouuff! It’s not the first time I am asking and also not the last: “Where do they make men like these anymore??” Accomplished yet humble, not sappily romantic yet loving and caring in ways that don’t need words…

The direction was powerful, subtle and had just the perfect amount of patriotism, pride and clever.

Bonus: If Dilbaro doesn’t get you crying at “Babul ki Duayein Leti Ja” levels go get your eyes or your heart checked! (10/10)




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)



Dear Zindagi

Before I get into the review let me blurt out my first three thoughts:

  • I sympathize with the cotton and indigo industry because after watching this movie 1.2 billion Indians will want to wear jeans that are technically not jeans but more like a collage of holes.
  • Psychologists in India will either be rejoicing because Alia and SRK have made that profession “cool” or they will be sad because SRK shares quite a few “funde” that are widely applicable and less people will be looking up Psychologists now.
  • Last, but certainly not least: Only Aditya Roy Kapoor can look hot and cute despite (yes, I purposefully chose ‘despite’) his curly hair.

What starts with yet another entitled, spoilt, thinks-too-much-of-herself, imbalanced tween character – one that simply leaves your mental eye rolling – slowly over the course of the movie explains why she turned out like that. A majority of the movie is shot as a conversation between Alia (the patient) and SRK (the Psychologist). While I am all into this mushy stuff the first half really dragged itself and lacked the tempo that would allow the audience to associate with the characters. The second half improved quite a bit with the pieces falling together and the Psychologist’s advice getting more pointed.

Time and again Alia Bhatt surprises me with her acting skills. I wasn’t expecting her to be such a natural. Even SRK didn’t annoy the brains out of me this time. In fact, I loved that despite being the star he is he took on a role that was important to the movie but didn’t overshadow the main character, which was the patient’s. Had this been Amitabh Bachchan he would have demanded the entire screen time for himself.

It’s hard to stomach a pretty intense transformation rooted in deep causes over the period of a two and half hour movie depicting a handful of therapy sessions but the lightheartedness and humor of it all makes this an entertaining watch. (8/10)



Udta Punjab

A gut wrenching, stomach churning and heart breaking depiction of a systematic crime destroying not only individuals but entire families in the state of Punjab. The censor board would have committed another crime if they had banned this movie. Punjab’s drug problem – and likely other states’ as well – is too large to be shoved under the rug. Politicians, pharmaceuticals, the police – everyone is slow poisoning whole generations of youth. What hurts most though is the glorification of drugs by the rich and famous and the well-educated among our own peer group. I personally know people who find it “cool” to be high and wouldn’t miss any opportunity to oust you for not partaking. Imagine the impact of this juvenile and irresponsible behavior on vulnerable youth that become pray to peer pressure.

Tommy Singh reminded me every bit of Yo Yo Honey Singh. His lyrics are nearly as poisonous as Tommy’s. I wonder if anyone has ever thought about the impact his lyrics indirectly have on India’s rape problem and the fact that young adults care about nothing but their looks. Objectifying women, caring for nothing but appearances, inflated egos…an unfortunate manipulation of the social fabric.

Abhishek Chaubey hit the jackpot by getting this cast to play the finely crafted roles in this movie. Neither Shahid, nor Alia or Kareena had ever been my favorite actors but I was totally floored by how each one of them portrayed the characters they were given. It may have been Diljit Dosanjh’s first movie but he looked like he’s been at it for ages too.

I watched this movie at a 10pm show on a Monday night after being awake since 6am. The entire two hours and thirty minutes I was barely able keep my eyes off of the screen. Shaken, shocked and surprised, I walked out of the theatre trembling. (10/10)



Kapoor & Sons

First of all, how is it legal to have so many hot actors in one movie? Rajat Kapoor, Fawad-drool-Khan, Sidharth Malhotra…abh bas bhi  karo! Not only is this movie an assembly of some of the best looking actors in Bollywood they also represent some of the best acting talent in B-town. Add the cherry on top, Ratna Pathak, and you got your delicious Sundae (Sunday) funday. Some sprinkles to finish it off in the shape of Rishi Kapoor and Alia Bhatt and you are on your way to guilt-free movie snacking. Kudos to whoever did the casting!

Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak portray a couple that will make you question how long they practiced being married off-screen. If you can get past Fawad & Sidharth’s out-of-the-big-screen radiating hotness you’ll think they were actually meant to be brothers…so much love-hate-care. A tharki yet endearing dadu Rishi and an Alia, who tried too hard to show a cleavage she doesn’t have, make you laugh from the belly.

An absolutely honest portrayal of the inner workings of a family along so many dimensions. It takes skill to seamlessly showcase so many different angles of relationships in a movie that’s just a little over two hours. Yet it doesn’t leave you bereft of comedy, romance, thrill , tragedy and great songs that don’t seem to be intrusive.

If the mountains of Coonoor give birth to such gorgeousness (minus Boobly) it’s time to visit. 🙂 (10/10)


Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya

a modern and quite entertaining twist on DDLJ. A few script holes that can be excused, especially after your brain goes in delirium mode after seeing Siddharth Shukla.
Oh, and who cares about “Don’t talk to strangers” anymore? This was more like “Totally trust strangers to drive you around Delhi ‘coz who knows you may marry him one day.” (7/10)