Sanju

Pack your bags Khan brethren! Today’s heroes are about to pull the rug out from under your feet because of their acting skills and not just their superstar cult following.

Mukesh Chhabra deserves a hat tip for putting together a cast that is sheer brilliance. Ranbir Kapoor dazzles in all his Sanjay Dutt avatars. What Ayurvedic dope was he consuming to draw out a performance this stunning? Not only his physical appearance but also his walk, talk, mannerisms, body tilts – he has really hit it out of the ballpark as Sanju. Putting yourself into someone else’s skin and life so convincingly is no easy feat. I cannot imagine any other actor emulating the complicated life of Sanjay Dutt so authentically.

For a movie this epic it wouldn’t have been enough to just have one character put in their heart and soul. The entire supporting cast was magnificent – Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt, Vicky Kaushal as Sanju’s best friend and many more. Vicky Kaushal, by the way, is one to watch out for. Same caliber and some hunger as a Rajkumar Rao to make it in an industry of Khans.

The only character that felt a bit out of place was Anushka Sharma with her head of curls and scary – almost sci-fi – blue eyes. Her character seemed a little less sculpted – sort of left between a writer, a detective and a relationship mender.

People are criticizing the lack of airtime for his wives, sisters and other friends but to portray a life as complicated as Sanjay Dutt’s the director had to choose what he was going to highlight to make it a taut overall narrative versus a sprinkling of all the flavors in his life. The spotlight is on Sanjay Dutt’s relationship with his parents – primarily his father – and his friends who influenced how he got into and out of drug addiction.

There is also critique about the authenticity of the happenings but movie goers can be very double-minded at times: On the one hand they demand bona fide details about every incident, on the other hand they want the movie watching experience to be entertaining. Duh! Rajkumar Hirani struck the perfect balance by not glorifying Sanjay Dutt to make him look like a saint and at the same time creating sympathy for his character through endearments.

The opening of Sanju states that “bad choices make for good stories” – I’d say shedding light on those bad choices made for an excellent story! (9/10)

Sanju

 

 

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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. ­čÖé

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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Tamasha

Imtiaz Ali was onto something by conceptualizing a story that speaks of breaking free from conforming to social norms but man did he lose himself – and as a consequence his audience – with his artsy fartsy directorial fantasy. Rarely have I wanted a movie to end tout de suite because it annoyed me. Yes, it wasn’t just boring, it was annoying. Girl falls in love with boy. They decide to never meet again. Obviously they meet again. Boy also falls in love with girl. Boy proposes. Girl refuses. Boy goes nuts. Girl comes back. But boy quits his life and starts a new one. All of it ends with a stage drama. Whaaat? (2/10)

 

tamaasha

Bombay Velvet

Take Kramer from Seinfeld, put him through a cuteyfication machine and on the other end it will spit out Johnny from Bombay Velvet. I have a feeling Anurag Kashyap sat down each evening with a glass of whiskey, and then two and then three because the story he piecemealed got progressively worse. Hat tip to Ranbir Kapoor for getting really bad movies but acting out his characters so well. Anushka and Raveena’s dresses and make-up are to drool for. If I could flick a wand we’d all be in the 50s now wearing breathtaking dresses and glamorous make-up and hair. (3/10)

Roy

A colossal waste of three extremely good looking people (out of which two can even act). Seemingly ‘intellectual’ dialogues and stylish cinematography don’t make a good movie, Vikramjit Singh. You need real substance, a story, proper execution and much more to make a good one. After half an hour of absolute nothingness going on I fell asleep and I am still wondering how ironic it is that one of Arjun Rampal’s dialogues (a filmmaker in Roy) went something like this – “Some directors make movies just for the expression of their own creativity and the four people in the audience that will understand it.” True that, Vikramjit! (0/10)