Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva | Movie Review

Brahmastra was announced in 2014, back when Alia was 4 films old, and Ranbir was dating another co-actor. Post multiple changes, the pandemic, and more changes, the film was finally released six years after its intended release of December 2016. So much has happened in the world since the announcement; Alia is now about 20+ films old, and now married to Ranbir. Anyhow, whatever the delay, what matters is the output. So, does part one of this trilogy deliver?

In one of the interviews, director Ayan Mukerji stated that he was fascinated by Hollywood action movies, particularly Marvel and other superhero films, and wanted to make Brahmastra on par with such films. He does make a grand film, yes, but what does grandeur do when you have a mediocre script and absolutely no idea or vision of what you want to showcase? You get a badly screen written and directed, incoherent dud!

Shiva, played by Ranbir, is a DJ in Mumbai. He is smitten by Isha (Alia) and stalks her on their second encounter, she acknowledges, they then go to his room where he shares his life story, she cries and holds his hand. Shiva suddenly has visions, acts strange, and asks her to leave. They meet the next day, he describes his visions and resolves to travel to Varanasi to aid someone. Isha decides to travel alongside him, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is their love story.

One day, not even 24 hours, is what it took for Isha to run away with Shiva, all based on what he told her. There is no information on her parents, what she does (but for she’s rich and is from London), no further information on DJ Shiva apart from what he tells her (he could be a stalker, psycho, murderer or anything), has a daura/seizure where he acts strange and pushes her away. But she still decides to travel with him saying Shiva ke saath Isha (Parvati) hamesha rahegi! 

This ridiculously shallow love story is the base for the plotline where they discover that love is the biggest astra of them all. Now don’t ask me what an astra is, or why Shiva has these episodes, visions or seizures (whatever you want to call them). You have to suffer like I did to find out more.

Ranbir and Alia are good on screen and their chemistry is apparent. But their underdeveloped characters make them look silly on multiple occasions. Some badly written dialogues don’t help either. Not just them, every character is underdeveloped and lacks a proper arc. Amitabh is alright as guruji but looks odd performing some of the action sequences. Shahrukh Khan and Nagarjuna do justice as keepers of Brahmastra. Dimple Kapadia is underutilized. The rest of the cast and casting is terrible. Mouni Roy is terrible as the lead on-screen antagonist for she does not have the stature or the persona to breathe life into the character. Her two minions were even more ridiculous.

Music by Pritam is passable. But for Kesariya, no other track makes an impact. The background music is not to the mark either. No comments on the editing by Prakash Kurup or the cinematography by a bunch of people; I feel there was nothing they could do to make this film better. For a movie with tons of money spent on VFX, the output is mediocre. 

Is it worth your time and money?: What happens when the director has no clarity or vision of what he wants? Brahmastra! Unless you have loads of patience and undying love for the lead pair, avoid this dud. I can’t believe it has two more parts to it. 

Worth mention: The only saving grace is the chemistry between Ranbir and Alia.

Acting: 6/10 
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 4/10 
Technical Aspects: 5/10

Verdict: 5/10

PS: I was sitting next to three VFX artists who walked on the film. They too were disappointed with the overall output (including the VFX), and spoke at length about how the director made them change the effects innumerable times over the years for he did not know what he wanted. 

On another note, they confirmed that Deepika plays Amrita, Shiva’s mom, and there is a possibility that his dad, Dev, is Ranveer Singh. Now that’s something! 

Laal Singh Chaddha | Movie Review

Laal Singh Chaddha

About 15 years ago, while watching Forrest Gump on TV, I pondered on how it would be if the movie was made in India, how the episodes could be adapted, and who could replace Tom Hanks. While I concluded that it’d be impossible to adapt the screenplay, I was sure that either Aamir Khan or Kamal Hassan could do justice to the role if it was ever done. Little did I know then that Atul Kulkarni was scripting Laal Singh Chaddha for Aamir at about the same time.

Let’s talk about screenplay first. Atul Kulkarni does a good job with what I thought was undoable, adapting the script for the Indian audience. From 1983 to the 2000’s, every major Indian event has been entwined perfectly into Laal’s journey. Yes, some of the elements from the original (such as ping pong and running into celebrities) are missing, but he does a commendable job. I loved the way the chaddi baniyan business turns out to be the largest knitwear brand in India.

Talking about the direction next. Forrest Gump is a classic, and it is difficult to helm the remake of such an iconic film. Advait Chandan, on his second directorial venture does a decent job, and brings out fine performances from all but one of his cast members. Yes, he fails big time directing one cast member and that might be the biggest drawback of this movie; his inability to direct the Khan!

As I said earlier, if anyone could replace Hanks, I thought it was Aamir. But I was wrong for he’s the one who spoils Laal Singh Chaddha. Forrest/Laal is a dim-witted character, but Aamir goes overboard by showcasing it as a disability. Enlarging his eyes for no reason, he does a combination of his act from PK and Dhoom 3. This might have been bearable if this were consistent, but no, every frame had a different pathetic expression. Not just from his films, he even tried to ape Mr. Bean in some episodes. And god alone know why he was humming and grunting in few scenes! 😠 Only if Advait could direct/manage him and bring out the same innocence and empathy he did from Ahmad Ibn Umar who played young Laal. Alas!

Another problem I had with the direction was how Advait handled some episodes of the film. The Army scenes were at times a mockery (loud screaming, etc.), and the chaddi baniyan arc was overdone. In the original, the friendship that Bubba and Forrest shared was genuine and honest, but that’s a miss in this one. Nuances!

It’s a cakewalk for Kareena Kapoor Khan who owns Rupa as her own.; she does full justice to the character. Mona Singh does a commendable job as Laal’s mother. Naga Chaitanya, in his Hindi debut, is good as Bala, but I thought he tried too much to be Bubba; only if he had made the character his own like Kareena did. Manav Vij makes an impact as Mohammad. The kids who play young Laal and Rupa (Ahmad Ibn Umar and Hafsa Ashraf) are brilliant.

Music by Pritam is good. I personally loved “Main Ki Karaan” and Sonu’s version of “Kahaani”. Editing by Hemanti Sarkar could have been better for the film seemed longer than it should be. Forrest Gump at 142 minutes had more meat in it than this 170 minutes film. The cinematography by Satyajit Pande (Setu) is great. The VFX team needs to be commended for the de-ageing job.

Is it worth your time and money?: If you walk in without expectations or haven’t watched the original, you might actually like the film. But for me, Aamir spoils the show. I ignored him on the screen to survive!

Worth mention: Every scene which didn’t have Aamir in it. 😑

Acting: 5/10 (it might have been 8 or 8.5 if it weren’t for Aamir!)
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 6/10 
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 6.5/10

Vikram | Movie Review

Vikram

Kamal Haasan is one of India’s best actors. But lately, his movies, similar to his personal life, seem too self-focused. Does Vikram stand out?

Scripted and directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj (part of his cinematic universe), Vikram starts with the murders of a couple of NCB members and an ordinary man, Karnan. Amar (Fahadh Faasil), a black-ops squad/sleeper cell commander is pulled in to investigate, and soon realises that the murders are related to missing drug containers owned by Sandhanam (Vijay Sethupathi), a local cartel leader and a ruthless man. It all comes down to who’s Karnan and how Vikram (Haasan) is connected to the all of this.

In the first half, Lokesh focuses on establishing the characters of Amar and Sandhanam, while the entire second half is about the triangular conflict between Vikram, Amar and Santhanam. While things might seem a little confusing, Lokesh holds our interest thanks to the crisp screenplay in parts. However, some episodes involving Sandhanam and his abilities after getting stoned are ridiculous and even funny. I also thought the interval bang was not well executed; c’mon, there’s one guy and 100’s of goons and police, but not a single gun? There are a quite a few illogical sequences like these in the film.

Kamal Haasan plays his age but looks sophisticated and stylish. He has a paunch in the first song, and I was like, whoa. But even with it, he delivers sleek action sequences in the second half. Fahadh Faasil carries the entire first half by himself and does a fantastic job. Vijay Sethupathi looks menacing, but I thought his character was not well scripted. Narain continues his part from Kaithi as Inspector Bejoy and is decent. Suriya impresses with his act as the antagonist (future films) in the climax. The rest of the cast is alright.

Music by Anirudh Ravichander is groovy and makes an impact on screen. The title track and the music pieces (Once upon a time & Wasted) are well used as background score. Editing by Philomin Raj is mediocre at best; films of this kind need to be sharp, but he fails miserably. The cinematography by Girish Gangadharan is top-notch. The action sequences are well choreographed.

Is it worth your time and money?:If you like action and slick films, Vikram is your cup of tea. But at the same time, the screenplay might be too much to handle at times for a regular moviegoer. Also, there are references to Kaithi/Khaidi, so it might be a little difficult for you to follow if you haven’t watched it. 

Worth mention: Kamal Haasan and Fahadh Fasil’s act.

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 8/10

PS: It would be great if Lokesh could combine Dilli and Vikram’s characters in the next film with Rolex as the villain, rather than making two separate sequels.

Major | Movie Review

major

I’ve heard good things about Major and was excited to watch this movie. However, I wasn’t much impressed. I believe that it is tough to make a biopic on a war hero, and while Adivi Sesh (script and screenplay) does his homework and comes up with a good film, too much cinematic liberty makes this just an average film for me. Maybe I would have better connected if it were a regular film.

Direction by Sashi Kiran Tikka is mediocre. The Taj siege sequence could have been better handled, for there was pretend and over-the-top action. I am sure there were some brave acts inside the hotel during the siege, but all the team did was make it look larger than life rather than making it real for the hostages and the soldiers. A more nuanced approach would have worked wonders! The woman being “alone” episode also doesn’t add any value to the film.

Adivi Sesh puts in all his mettle to look and be like Major and does a good job. Prakash Raj and Revathi are aptly cast and do their parts well. Revathi is brilliant in the last episode. Saiee Manjrekar and Sobhita Dhulipala are alright. Murali Sharma’s act could have been toned down.

Music and background score by Sricharan Pakala is effective. At about 2 hours, editing by Vinay Kumar Sirigineedi and Kodati Pavan Kalyan is good. The cinematography by Vamsi Patchipulusu is average

Is it worth your time and money?: Major isn’t a bad movie; if anything, it’s a good action movie. But when you add the tag of it being a biopic, it doesn’t work. I am sure Sandeep Unnikrishnan did more courageous stuff than what is showcased in the movie. But, Sesh and the director make his sacrifice for the nation look more commercial and action-oriented rather than making it real and connectable. Also, too much sentiment and cinema/drama dilute the effect. 

Worth mention: Adivi Sesh’s act as Maj. Sandeep.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 6/10
Technical Aspects: 7.5/10

Verdict: 7/10

Mimi | Movie Review

Mimi Poster

Director Laxman Utekar’s previous film Lukka Chuppi was a decent flick and the trailer of Mimi looks promising. But does the movie live up to its expectations? 

Scripted and screen-written by Utekar and Rohan Shankar, Mimi, a loose remake of the 2011 Marathi film Mala Aai Vhhaychy! (which was remade in Telugu as Welcome Obama in 2013), tells you the story of a young damsel from Rajasthan, wanting to make it big in Mumbai. In want of quick money, coordinated by a local taxi driver Bhanu, she agrees to be a surrogate mother of an American couple. Few months into the pregnancy, the couple backtracks when they get to know that the unborn child might have Down Syndrome. The rest of the story is about how she handles the situation, and whether she gives up on the child. 

Utekar does a good job handling the subject, infusing humor in most of the scenes. However, the reasoning for the doctor revealing that the child might have a disability, knowing that they might change their decision, seemed contrived and unconvincing. Also, Mimi’s parent’s reaction when they get to know about the pregnancy could have been better showcased. They are super upset in the first instance, and the scene turns comic when Mimi lies that Bhanu is the father. Some of the dialogues are well-written and impactful. 

Kriti Sanon gets a meaty role, and she excels playing Mimi. She should be commended for taking up such a challenging role. Manoj Pahwa and Supriya Pathak are alright as her parents, but their characters could have been more powerful. The showstopper however is Pankaj Tripathi. With perfect yet subtle comic timing, this is one of his best performances.

Music by A. R. Rehman is not the best, but passable. I liked “Hututu” song in particular. The background score was a little uneven though. The cinematography by Akash Agarwal, and editing by Manish Pradhan are good. A little over 2 hours, the film’s length is just about perfect. 

Is it worth your time and money?: It’s a good watch, yes. After Pagglait, Netflix has another good film under their belt. 

Worth mention: Pankaj Tripathi is at his best!

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 8/10

PS: I liked the fact that they set up the story in 2013 when foreign surrogacy was still legal in India (banned later in 2015).

I also came across a few comments on social media that the film showcases Down Syndrome in a bad light. I agree to disagree on that point for I thought that the entire episode was dealt with maturely. Yes, they still showed it as a disability, but Mimi rejects the idea of abortion and decides to carry the child to term. If anything, the American couple is shown as small-minded fold who return for the child when they realize that he’s alright. 🤬

Toofan | Movie Review

Toofan

We’ve seen quite a few sports dramas release in the recent past, and from the first looks of it, Farhan Akhtar and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Toofan looked very similar to Salman Khan’s Sultan. Their last collaboration, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was a sports drama as well, but it was a biography of the great Milkha Singh, which gave it the edge. But this time around, all we get is a boring drama.

Written by Anjum Rajabali, Toofan is a potpourri of Hollywood and Bollywood movies. He basically picked the storyline from the Rocky franchise and put it the mixer with some tadka. Right from the word go, it gives you the feeling that you’ve already seen this somewhere. And the feeling doesn’t end even after a wrenching 2 hour 40 minute drag.

As you’ve seen in the trailer, Aziz Ali is an extortionist, who discovers boxing overnight after watching a few videos of Muhammad Ali on YouTube, and becomes and becomes a state champion after 5 fights (wish life were so easy!). Supporting him through this journey are his doctor cum love interest Ananya Prabhu, and a khadoos coach Nana Prabhu (Wait, are they related?). You know what happens next; add an orphanage, some bigotry, love jihad, ban for 5 years, a daughter, a death, a comeback, an erstwhile opponent who becomes an evil boxing federation official, some melodrama, and a final bout with a maniac on steroids. Did I divulge too much?

It felt like Mehra and Akhtar were bored out of their minds and decided to rehash Bhaag Milkha Bhaag just for the heck of it. The training montage, the background score, the acting, the direction, all the same. Every time I heard “Toofan” in the background, “Zinda” was playing in my head. Okay, maybe this one has a different storyline, but it’s so god damn predictable and stereotypical. The unnecessary and illogical twists don’t help. It’s such lousy writing that they couldn’t even find a good reason to kill one of the characters (stampede on a Railway station, really?). Direction by Mehra is meh, screenplay by Rajabali is mediocre, and some of the dialogues by Vijay Maurya are, how to say this, uncalled for. Enough said.

Akhtar, as you’d expect, puts in all his effort to become a lean boxer, not once but twice. He’s good, but there’s nothing new in his acting. Paresh Rawal looks odd as a boxing coach, but is at home playing a bigoted character. Hussain Dalal is alright, Vijay Raaz and Supriya Pathak are wasted. Mrunal Thakur is probably the only saving grace. With a meaty role as Ananya, she does justice. The kid is good.

Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is decent. The title track, (if you forget its similarities to “Zinda”) is good, Purvaiya is neat. Todun Taak composed by Dub Sharma is groovy. All songs in the movie play in the background but for “Star hai tu” seemed odd on screen as the voices didn’t fit, especially with Akhtar. Cinematography by Jay Oza is neat. The boxing fights are well choreographed but don’t have any oomph factor associated with them. Editing by Meghna Manchanda Sen could have been better. There was no need for this movie to stretch for an eternity.

Is it worth your time and money?: As I said before, Toofan happens to be a potpourri of a dozen or so movies and offers nothing new. Sports dramas are to create an adrenaline rush that makes you root for the protagonist. But here, forget rush, you know the result of the fights even before they start. You may watch it at your leisure given that it’s on Prime, but I’ve given you enough head’s up, so don’t blame me later.

Worth mention: Mrunal Thakur?

Acting: 7.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 6.5/10
Technical Aspects: 7/10

Verdict: 6.5/10

Baahubali – The Conclusion | Movie Review

Baahubali - The Conclusion

Before reading my review of Baahubali – The Conclusion, I’d suggest you read my review of Baahubali – The Beginning 

I called Baahubali – The Beginning a half-baked biscuit. Having watched it more than a couple of times in the last two years, I might have eased a bit towards the movie, but I’d still say it could have been so much more. Tell you what, remove the first half of The Beginning, with the folk love story, and we had a winner. Alas!

Come Baahubali – The Conclusion, thankfully we’re done establishing the characters, and seem to have better grip on the script, which helps us delve right into the story. The result – an epic conclusion.

Rajamouli’s “conclusion” starts off right where it ended in the first film, with Kattappa reliving the tale of how Amarendra Baahubali and Bhallala Deva fight off the Kalakeyas, and Amarendra being appointed as the king by Sivagami. Before he takes oath, our soon to be king and Kattappa take off on a kingdom tour, to understand the well-being of the people. On this journey, they run into Devasana, a beautiful fiery damsel, princess of one of the small nearby kingdoms. Amarendra sneaks into their kingdom as a nobody, and soon we have love blossoming. Bhallala interferes, one thing leads to another, and we have the interval bang.

Rajamouli succeeds to keep the entire first half gripping without losing out on the entertainment factor. The grandeur is all there, the visuals are great (barring a couple of terrible graphic blunders), and here is the director we all know about. The second half finally reveals why Kattappa killed Baahubali (#WKKB). While this is for all the obvious reasons and an easy guess for most, Rajamouli showcases it beautifully, intertwining it with some tear-jerking emotions. We’re back to the present day, and like in the first part, the story drags a bit before ending with a clichéd yet perfect climax. Screenplay is near perfect, and overall, a grand conclusion to years of efforts from Rajamouli and team; an epic saga, but for its minor flaws, could easily be touted as a masterpiece! Don’t get me wrong, the movie has its share of noticeable flaws, but the overall big picture douses them. 

Prabhas excels as Amarendra. He couldn’t have asked for a better characterization, and he performs to the T. While I was not so happy with his looks and performance as Mahendra (Shivudu) in the first part, he ensures that he showcases subtle yet matured variation for this character. Anushka is gorgeous as the feisty princess. Who cares if they’ve digitally sculpted her when she looks so damn beautiful on-screen? And man, everyone knows that she can act. Rana has a limited screen presence, but he makes his presence felt in every aspect with a commendable job. Sathya Raj is very good, while Ramya Krishna and Nassar do justice to their roles. Subba Raju surprises with his cameo. Tamanna, who? Rest of the cast have improved their act.

On technical front, there is tremendous improvement when compared to The Beginning. Music and background score by Keeravani is better. And unlike the first film, almost all the songs are interlinked into the movie. I personally loved the title track and its use as background score. Cinematography by Senthil Kumar is spectacular, as expected. Special mention to the action sequences – they are all perfectly shot. The graphics are better, but a few make you cringe for they looked like scenes from an animation movie. Editing by K V Rao is perfect barring one shot during the climax sequence. Sets are grande, and production values are excellent.

Bottom line.. wait, did Rajamouli and team happen to read my review for Baahubali – The Beginning? They seemed to have improved or even bettered on almost every aspect I’ve highlighted. The story-telling is impeccable, and yes, now we are definitely a part of world cinema. World, look at us! 🙂

“It’s disheartening to see a director who took this path falling back and taking the easy road.” 

Rajamouli, I take back my words. You’ve walked the tough road, and succeeded!

Is it worth your time and money?: Oh yes. I can proudly say that Baahubali – The Conclusion is one of the finest works in recent time. Watch it not just for the grandeur but for the amazingly perfect storytelling.   

Efforts are channelled in the right direction, and Baahubali is now an epic.

Worth mention: Direction, storytelling, visuals and production values.
Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 8.5/10 + 0.5 for Rajamouli

Now we all know why Kattappa killed Baahubali. 🙂

PS: I believe a bigger chunk of people loved the first movie better, but this is the winner for me!

Dear Zindagi | Movie Review

dear-zindagi

Four years after her directorial debut, Gauri Shinde is back with what looks like another feel good film. The trailers looked promising, but does Dear Zindagi live up to the expectations? Let’s find out!

Kaira, aka Koko, is a mid-twenties hipster who is struggling with almost everything in her zindagi. Her career as a cinematographer is in doldrums mainly because of her commitment issues with the director of her dream film, her land lord kicks her out from her apartment in Mumbai cos she’s a single girl, and she isn’t happy about moving to her home town Goa because of unresolved issues with her parents. They might not seem like a lot for a commoner, but Koko is burdened by these issues in her zindagi. She unwillingly moves to Goa where she bumps into a dimakh ka doctor (psychiatrist) Jahangir Khan. Though reluctant at first, she opens up to the doctor. With lines like “don’t let the past blackmail your present to ruin a beautiful future” he makes her realise how petty she’s being, and voila, becomes happy with her zindagi.

Gauri tries her best to keep the feeling up-beat but fails on more than one occasion. The first half is vibrant yet dramatic, for everyone on-screen is trying too hard to fit into their roles. The film eases a bit in the second half, but the uncannily long therapy sessions make you feel like you’re sitting in therapy. Her intention of making you feel like that there is always more to life starts to lose charm, and you start yawning (some folks, in fact, left the theatre). Barring these slips, screenplay and direction are alright.

Alia shines as the protagonist. She gives her best performance till date when she opens up in the latter half of the movie. Shah Rukh looks mature and fits the bill perfectly. Thankfully, unlike himself, he’s very subtle. Ira Dubey and Yashaswini Dayama are good as Koko’s friends. On the downside, her parents seemed artificial, primarily because of their pitiable characterisations. 

Music by Amit Trivedi is peppy with “Love you Zindagi” making a mark. Background score, or the lack of it, should have been better dealt with. The silence during therapy sessions was traumatising. Cinematography by Laxman Utekar is neat while editor Hemanti Sarkar was too lenient with the final cut.

Is it worth your time and money?: Dear Zindagi barely makes the cut as a feel-good film. For some, it will sure seem like a lecture. Nevertheless, the performances by lead cast make it a onetime watch.

Worth mention: Alia’s performance in the second half.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 7/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

Manjhi – The Mountain Man | Movie Review

Manjhi

When a credible actor like Nawazuddin Siddiqui is playing the role of Dashrath Manjhi, your exceptions of the movie go up. However, just like he did with Mangal Panday, director Ketan Mehta makes you walk out of the theatre feeling disappointed.

Manjhi – The Mountain Man, tells the story of why and how Dashrath Manjhi from Gehlaur village, near Gaya in Bihar spent 22 years of his life chiseling through a mountain to carve a path. While the story is truly inspiring, Ketan doesn’t really do justice to it thanks to mediocre direction and some terrible screenplay. Instead of concentrating on the difficulties Manjhi had to face through these 22 years, Ketan focuses more on unnecessary skin-show for most of the first half. The second half of the film picks up pace initially but then feels laboured, with a number of untied loose ends. One wonders if Ketan did his homework before making the biographic. The story-telling is so terrible that Dashrath Manjhi must have rolled in his grave.

While the storyline is weak, Nawazuddin does total justice to the character. He is exceptionally good in emotional scenes. Radhika Apte is decent as Phalgunia, but it would have been nice if she didn’t show as much skin as she did. Ashraf Ul Haque, playing Manjhi’s father, looked younger than Nawazuddin, and overacted on most occasions. Rest of the cast could have been better as well.

Music and background score by Sandesh Shandilya is decent, and so is the cinematography by Rajeev Jain. Editing by Pratiek Chitalia could have been better, for the movie unnecessarily drags.

Is it worth your time and money?: Nope. Manjhi – The Mountain Man could have been a very inspiring motion picture, but Ketan Mehta makes a mess of another biopic!

Worth mention: Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s acting.

Acting: 7.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 5/10
Technical Aspects: 7/10

Verdict: 5.5/10

Masaan | Movie Review

Masaan

Masaan is one of the most realistic movie we’ve come across this year. Directed by débutante Neeraj Ghatwan, the movie showcases two parallel stories, different in many ways yet carrying similar essence. Direction is spot on; Neeraj gets the best out of every actor, and does full justice without ever deviating from the main plot. The screenplay is engrossing, and the way the stories converge in the climax is beautiful.

Richa Chaddha and Vicky Kaushal do full justice as the protagonists. While both of them come up with brilliant performances, I was particularly moved by Vicky’s display of emotions post a death scene. Shweta Tripathi charms in her brief role. Every other cast member comes up with an equally good act; be it young Nikhil Sahni as Jhonta, or veteran Sanjay Mishra as Vidyadhar Pathak, they are all perfect.

Music by Indian Ocean is soulful, without ever getting overwhelming. Editing by Nitin Baid is neat, while cinematography by Avinash Arun Dhaware is excellent.

Is it worth your time and money?: Masaan isn’t a movie for everyone. It is a serious movie close to reality, with some notable performances and exceptional direction. If you’re a movie lover, this one cannot be missed!

Worth mention: Acting and direction.

Acting: 9/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 9/10