Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana

Ah, these little gems of cinema shining through brightly amongst the behemoths of big budget movies of Bollywood! With a tiny production budget of 9 crore rupees this movie does what many 100+ crore ones can’t – engage the viewer until the end. I watched this movie from 10 pm – 1am on a weekday night and didn’t regret the ensuing lack of sleep even a tiny bit.

The story of an arranged, then canceled and re-arranged marriage in a small town in India it felt like this story could have been your next door neighbor’s. So realistic, so down-to-earth and simple despite it’s complex topic.

Rajkumar Rao is a powerhouse of acting! It boils my blood when I see stars being treated as deities when they have zero acting chops and then there’s someone like Rajkumar who is one of the finest actors we have in the country and yet he only gets roles by lesser known producers and directors. Oh well, their loss I say. I would blindly go watch a movie starring Rajkumar Rao vs a certain star referred to by a three letter acronym.

I had never seen Kriti Kharbanda’s work before but was equally thrilled to see an actress who not only looks cute but also has the acting skills to match Rajkumar Rao’s. What fantastic casting!

Had it not been for the somewhat dramatic ending and the sudden change of heart of the groom’s family in the end this one would have gotten a full ten. Even with a 9/10 it gets a must watch recommendation!

shaadi-main-zaroor-aana

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Shubh Mangal Savdhan

Ayushmann Khurrana has this ability of getting scripts that allow him to play the every day man and he does an incredible job portraying the guy next door with a conviction that I keep hoping guys next door can actually be as cute as him. 🙂

In Vicky Donor Ayushmann took on a role of a sperm donor – a courageous move for an actor who is setting out to build his career in Bollywood. In this movie he plays a man with erectile dysfunction – an even more courageous move. Kudos to him for breaking the mold and bringing to light issues that actually exist but nobody wants to talk about.

It’s very easy to turn subjects like these vulgar and tasteless but the director nicely navigated around that without leaving out the humor entirely. Were some of the scenes exaggerated? Yes. Was it weird to see the family react like that? Yes. But nevertheless, it was an entertaining watch and a departure from the typical Bollywood formula. (6/10)

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Bareilly ki Barfi

I wasn’t expecting too much from this. I went to watch this on a leisurely weekday afternoon on one of those days where life took priority over work. I thought it would be a low budget, poor story movie but I was very positively surprised by how entertaining and well made this was!

It’s a small town love story filled with all the drama you can imagine. Kriti Sanon wants to meet the author of a book she feels describes her real-life character in the novel. Since Ayushman Khurana published that book under a friend’s name to protect the identity of his ex-girlfriend who the book was actually about, he now has to introduce Kriti to his simpleton friend who has since moved to another town. His plan is to train the absolutely innocent friend to act like a macho for a few days so Kriti is heart-broken in her romantic pursuit and then he can step in to mend her heart and make her fall in love with him. Despite rigorous training to turn Rajkumar Rao into a douchebag his goodness shines through and Kriti and her family fall in love with him. Meanwhile Rajkumar Rao falls in love with Kriti’s friend but because Ayushman Khurana messes that romance up for him he decides to take revenge by stealing Kriti away from under his nose. In the end the right couples get together and all ends in an happy ending.

The way the story is woven is intricate yet very simple. Every scene is brimful of entertainment. I haven’t seen too much of Kriti prior to this movie but she seems alright. It’s hard to say with loud roles like these – something that Parineeti Chopra is always cast for. Ayushman and Rajkumar on the other hand blow it out of the water!! What amazing acting. I wish I had been able to rewind scenes in the theatre to watch them over and over again. (10/10)

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Jhootha Hi Sahi

Chanced upon this really cute romantic drama seven years after its release. It is to some extent modeled after the American sitcom Friends but still turned out refreshingly sweet and charming.

Seeing John Abraham in a sensitive romantic role for a change, instead of his action movies, was a real treat. Rarely have I seen such a pleasant, natural and real-life-like actress. This was Pakhi’s second movie ever and she clearly outshone many other “popular” actresses that unfortunately get a lot of footage in Bollywood.

The protagonists develop a relationship over a suicide prevention hotline not knowing each other’s identity and then happen to meet in the bookshop run by Siddharth. From there a beautiful story of double identity unfolds. Deep down what I loved most about the plot is that Mishka didn’t give up on Siddharth even after she felt betrayed not once but twice. What counted for her were his pure intentions and his heart of gold. People with an eye like hers and the patience to accompany it are rare to find these days.

Taking away one point from a perfect 10 for the overly filmy and unrealistic climax scene. (9/10)

JHS

Jab Harry Met Sejal

I wish he had never met her so I would have never sat through this 150 minute ordeal of a non-story. A complete dud with the only thing going for it being gorgeous European settings and high production quality.

You would need to consult a Psychologist to understand all the things that are off with Sejal’s character. She starts searching for a ring given to her by someone she can’t stand, becomes complete chipku to a tour guide for no logical reason whatsoever, despite multiple warnings that he may not be the right person to hang out with and turns a womanizer inside out within a week or two.

Even from a stylistic perspective there was nothing going on here except her red and black jackets. SRK completely fell into the black hole of my memory in his permanent black/grey garb.

I was just so infuriated by the crappy story and frivolity of this movie that I couldn’t quite tell if I liked the acting or not. Had this not been set in the beautiful cities of Europe these two location points would have also gone down the drain. (2/10)

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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)

 

Badri

Befikre

India is a country of dichotomies: old and new, rich and poor, love and war, spice and sweet…who knew these contrasts were going to carry over to the world of media? 2016 is the year when India (for a short period of time) banned pornographic content in media and it’s also the year India came out with Befikre, which is nothing more and nothing less than soft porn. The movie solely sold on the 23 kissing scenes between the actors and the “clothing optional” attitude of the filmmaker. Based on its box office performance of merely 43 crore so far it looks like even that doesn’t really have a market.

Ranveer Singh took his off-screen personality just a notch too far. I can’t tell if his character changed at all throughout the movie because I couldn’t watch this waste of a patch of reel for more than half an hour but it’s exactly characters like him and his friend with benefits that are contributing to a rapid decline of any sort of relationship values.

Plot-less, cloth-less, sense-less – don’t let it lessen your bank balance. Stay home! (1/10)

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