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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The Girl On The Train

Hardly a well kept secret but a good reminder that I should read the novel before I watch the movie. What was a bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins turned into a mediocre thriller on celluloid. It’s rare that someone can turn an intricate thriller into an equally well-made movie – as was the case with Gone Girl.

Emily Bunt’s acting is spot on but her deranged look and coldness never lets the viewer sympathize with her condition. For the first half of the movie she establishes herself as an annoying psychopath and when the plot turns things end so quickly that you never have the chance to celebrate her existence in any way.

Certainly watchable but not worth preparing for shivers and screams. (4/10)

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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)

Rahasya

This thriller, inspired by the Arushi Talwar double murder case, was released nine months before Talwar – the movie, yet I am utterly surprised I had never heard of it before and it got completely ignored by the media. The story is different from the actual happenings but the thrill factor is at par with its later cousin.

I watched this movie on a Friday night not knowing what to expect and I was blown away. The taut storyline left me firmly settled in my seat with some sort of heaviness sitting right up at my neck and shoulders. It’s funny how well made movies can evoke emotions that you can actually feel in different places in your body. Kay Kay Menon is such an artist! He gets into the skin of his character and makes it so much his own that you just can’t imagine him to ever have played any other character.

I won’t share too much about the content to not spill the beans but suffice to say that I didn’t feel comfortable going to the you-know-where all by myself after drinking too much water during the movie and had to sleep with the lights on. (10/10)

My Wife’s Murder

A 2005 release but one not to be missed if you liked Drishyam. A thriller pretty much based on a similar storyline but slightly less sophisticated. It’s full of fear and hair-raising thrill yet it comes from a good place. It made me think that while in the eyes of the law a crime may be a crime – punishable to the extent the law is written – sometimes it may make sense to look beyond the obvious before judging.

Anil Kapoor may not be the most good looking hunk that has hit Bollywood but he sure is one amongst the most talented. When he acts you can feel what it’s like to be in his shoes. Add a bit of Boman Irani to it and you got a fantastic watch for a cold winter evening. (7/10)

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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.

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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)