Piku | Movie Review

Piku

After hilarious Vicky Donor and an engrossing political thriller Madras Cafe, Shoojit Sircar now comes up with heart-warming tale of Piku. It might be Mother’s Day weekend, but this one is sure to impress any parent.

Piku, played by Deepika, is a headstrong independent woman in her 30’s. She lives with her father, played by Amitabh, who happens to be a hypochondriac, especially obsessed about his bowel movements. The story, written by Juhi Chaturvedi is simple, and Shoojit does justice to it by keeping it simple. The chemistry between all the leads is amazing. Though a number of episodes focus on bowel movements, they never make you uncomfortable. Dialogues are brilliant; I especially loved the ones written for ‘not a virgin’ episode. I also thought that the climax was very well conceived. Screenplay by Juhi is neat.

I don’t think there is a need for me to talk about Amitabh’s acting. As expected, it was brilliant. His Bengali accent seemed almost perfect. Deepika does total justice to the title role. There’s no glamour associated with her character, yet she looks stunningly beautiful. It’s more or less a cake walk for Irrfan; this guy can play a variety of roles at ease. The rest of the cast, be it Moushumi Chatterjee or Raghuvir Yadav, is equally good.

Music by Anupam Roy is subtle and soulful; it never gets too loud. Cinematography by Kamaljeet Negi is very good; he showcased Kolkata so beautifully that I wanna make it my next travel destination. Editing by Chandrashekhar Prajapati is good. The only irritating part of the movie is the excessive, unnecessary branding!

Is it worth your time and money?: As already mentioned, it’s a charming tale showcasing the struggles of headstrong father and daughter. While some might find it too slow or even cumbersome (because of excessive mention of bowel movements), I feel it’s a good watch. If not for anything, it deserves applause for the brilliant acting by the three leads.

Worth mention: The witty dialogues and the father-daughter chemistry.

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 8.5/10

Margarita With A Straw | Movie Review

Margarita With A Straw

Margarita With A Straw is not a regular film. It’s one which showcases the realities of life very realistically, without sugar-coating it.

Director Shonali Bose tells the story of a young teenage girl who happens to be discovering her sexuality. Oh ya, she also happens to be suffering from cerebral palsy, but this doesn’t stop her from wanting to explore and do things every other girl her age would want to do. Shonali showcases this all naturally, without ever drifting from the subject. While direction is spot on, the screenplay is snail paced and one wishes for the film to move faster.

Kalki, hats-off! She’s absolutely brilliant and brings life to a character very difficult to portray. I don’t think anyone else would have dared to take up this role; she does justice to it to the T. Sayani Gupta is equally good in a challenging role. Revathi is outstanding as the mother, while the rest of the cast is perfect.

On technical front, music and background score by Mickey McCleary is good. Editing by Monisha R Baldawa is neat while cinematography by Anne Misawa is decent.

Is it worth your time and money?: It’s not a film which can be enjoyed by everyone because of its storyline. But it’s also a film everyone needs to watch just to get out of the shell we’ve built around ourselves, to face reality. If not in the theatre, must watch on DVD.

Worth mention: Acting by Kalki Koechlin

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 8.5/10

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy | Movie Review

Detective-Byomkesh-Bakshy

Detective Byomkesh Bakshi. People have been talking about the Doordarshan serial, and how good it was, but I somehow don’t remember ever watching it. And I’m glad I don’t, cause that kinda made me enjoy the movie without comparing it to anything.

I’ve enjoyed all of Dibakar Banarjee movies till date, and while all of his previous films dealt with reality, this is his first try at fiction. While the script does justice to the character created by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, I thought Dibakar faltered in showcasing it on the screen. For a thriller, the screenplay was awkwardly haphazard; I really had to concentrate to understand what was happening, and rattle my brain for it all to make sense. Yes, one needs to use their thought process to enjoy a thriller, but not to an extent when it starts to get onto your nerves. Nevertheless, I found the direction to be spot on. The climax proves the calibre of Dibakar as a director; pure genius.

The movie scores big time on acting front, with near splendid performances by almost everyone. Sushant Singh Rajput put his best foot forward and came up with a memorable act. Anand Tiwari is brilliant as Ajit, and so is Neeraj Kabi as the antagonist. Swastika Mukherjee and Divya Menon are decent, while the rest of the cast does well.

Music (by various artists) is perfect and goes well with the flow of the movie. Editing by Manas Mittal and Namrata Rao is neat, and cinematography by Nikos Andritsakis is excellent. Production values, especially the set, are great.

Is it worth your time and money??: If not for the chaotic screenplay, I think it’s a good watch. I’m actually looking forward to the sequel, and so should you!

Worth mention: The climax!

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 8/10

Shamitabh | Movie Review

shamitabh-poster

Both of R. Balki’s previous films (Cheeni Kum and Paa) have been different, and Shamitabh is no exception. However, this time, it gets too predictable and monotonous.

Shamitabh starts off with Dhanush accepting laurels for the performance in his début film, his speech being in Amitabh’s voice. Then we are told the story detailing a young dumb boy’s love for movies, his journey to Bollywood wanting to be an actor, and how he gets Amitabh’s voice. Balki showcases all of this in an entertaining manner. While the story seemed unrealistic, thanks to witty dialogues and perfect direction, you have a delightful first half. But come second half, the film seems like a bore, the flow goes for a toss, and the climax is clichéd. Wish Balki tried to do something different here (just like the ‘Piddly’ song).

Dhanush puts up an engaging performance as the dumb wannabe actor. His countenances when he makes it large, and his interactions with Bachchan are superb. Akshara has a meaty role and she does a good job. Her dialogue delivery was pretty good. The true star however, is not Amitabh Bachchan, but his voice. Not that Amitabh’s performance was bad, it was in fact splendid, but it’s his voice which adds life to this film.

Music by Ilayaraaja is a another asset to this film. It’s soothing and seemed just perfect. Cinematography by P C Sreeram is neat. Editing by Hemanti Sarkar could have been better; the second half seemed unnecessarily long, and could have done away with some cuts.

Is it worth your time and money??: Though the second half plays spoil sport, Shamitabh deserves a watch for the performances by all three leads.

Worth mention: Amitabh’s voice!

Acting: 9/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 8/10

Baby | Movie Review

baby

The Wednesday was a brilliant film, while Special 26 was a good watch. Come Baby, Neeraj Pandey seems to have got lost in the world of big budget Bollywood movies. One would expect something more sensible from him.

Director Neeraj Pandey’s Baby has nothing new to offer. Like most of the thrillers, Baby starts off with an episode where the our hero, a secret intelligence officer, saves the day by fighting tons of goons all by himself. Thanks to the big budget, this happens in Istanbul. Next we are told that there’s a bigger terrorist attack planned, and our hero and his team need to fight more goons (all from the neighbouring country). They first go to Nepal, and then to Saudi Arabia. Forget Hollywood, the same plot has been used in so many Hindi movies till date. Even the screenplay has nothing new in store; in fact, its at times stupid and illogical. The only plus point of this otherwise predictable and long movie are its witty dialogues. Pandey also succeeds in inserting humour in some episodes. These apart, Pandey disappoints big time (given the expectations). Direction actually is way below par, especially in the first 30 odd minutes.

Akshay Kumar shines in one of the sensible roles he’s played in recent times. While he looks good with a moustache, it could have been better groomed (for it looked more like a sticker on his face). Danny Denzongpa does a good job as the mission head. Rana and Taapsee have minimal screen presence (about 10 minutes each), and while Tapsee does a perfect job, Rana was expressionless. Anupam Kher entertains in a small role, and so does Murali Sharma. The guy who played the Maulana, Rasheed Naz, did good.

There’s only half a song in the movie (apart from the end-credit song), and both of them are decent. Background score is neat. Cinematography by Suddep Chatterjee is good. Editing by Narayan Singh could have been better. For a thriller, the movie was a little too long. Also, the second half being twice as long as the first doesn’t help in engaging the audience.

Is it worth your time and money??: Baby isn’t really a bad watch. But at the same time, it doesn’t match up to your expectations either. While the actors are a plus point, the mediocre screenplay and direction play spoilsport. Give it a watch only if you have nothing better to do. Actually, walk in without any expectations, and you might actually enjoy it.

Worth mention: Acting and cinematography.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 6/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

PS: It was funny to watch Akshay signalling a guy on the street to not to look into the camera (or at him) while in a shot. What the *beep* was the director doing?? :O

PK | Movie Review

PK

3 Idiots was a great film and it would have had to be something extraordinary to beat it. The expectations were super high, and after almost 5 years in the making, PK delivers, but does not excel.

All of Rajkumar Hirani’s three movies to date have had a social message, and PK is no exception. This time it’s about religious extremism. While a little jittery in the first few minutes, the next 90 minutes are absolute fun. Almost every episode makes you ponder over religious beliefs while making you roll in your seats. These 90 minutes are pure brilliance on direction front and showcase why Hirani is one of the finest directors in our industry. But then come second half, the script goes haywire, especially the talk show and the embassy episodes (both seemed goofy). Hirani and co-writer Abhijat Joshi also falter on screenplay in this half of the movie. Nevertheless, it’s a bold attempt on their front to showcase such extremism, and they need to be commended for their work. If only they excelled with a better ending!

The character is perfectly etched for Aamir and he is outstanding. Him carrying the same expression till he starts speaking Bhojpuri is worth a mention, and even otherwise, this probably is his best performance after Rang De Basanti. Anushka Sharma could have performed better (or rather should have underperformed), but she still is bearable. Sushant Singh Rajput impresses in his brief appearance and so does Sanjay Dutt. Surprisingly, Boman Irani has limited screen presence (for a Hirani film) and he is good. Saurabh Shukla is impressive as the godman.

Music by Shantanu Moitra, Ankit Tiwari and Ajay Atul is decent. Lyrics by Swanand Kirkire and Amitabh Varma need special mention for they are apt for the situations. Editing by Rajkumar Hirani could have been better. Cinematography by Muraleedharan is neat.

Is it worth your time and money??: There are a lot of expectations from an Aamir Khan movie, and they become ten-fold when the director is Rajkumar Hirani. While PK excels in most parts, the message is lost down the lane, and the ending seemed patchy. However, it is still a great movie thanks to some brilliant acting by the perfect Khan. While religious fanatics might not enjoy it, PK is a must watch for the rest.

So do you have company dhabba (stamp) on you?? 😛

Worth mention: Undoubtedly Aamir as PK. Him apart, the temple, church and mosque episodes are epic.

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 8.5/10 + 0.5 for Aamir

PS: I was just having the same discussion about religion with my mom the other day – God and religion are man-made concepts which help us live in sanity but not someone/something which punishes or instill fear in us. While I couldn’t convince her entirely, the movie helped in conveying my point to her 🙂

Happy Ending | Movie Review

Happy_Ending

The trailer looked similar to Saif’s own movies from his production house, especially Love Aaj Kal. And unsurprisingly, the movie is more or less similar. But…

Raj and DK are directors who’ve made different films till date. Be it 99, Shor in the City or Go Goa Gone, their movies have been really ‘hatke’. But come Happy Ending, they’ve played safe. While the movie is quite different from the regular RomCom’s, it’s still cliched and very predictable. Yodi, our protagonist is a once upon a time successful author who can’t commit into relationships. And as expected, he bumps into Aanchal, who doesn’t believe in commitment either. And guess what, he falls head over heals for her and is in love. How new is that? The directors try their best to make it appear fresh, but unfortunately you’ve seen it all in the past. Nevertheless, they’ve done a great job in creating simple humour, thanks to some amazing and realistic dialogues (Hussain Dalal). This adds the charm to the movie, and you might end up connecting yourself with the characters. The screenplay is neat while the direction is alright.

It’s Saif’s film all the way. He does a good job on acting front (for he’s already played similar character). However he looks aged for most of the film while Govinda, who charms in his brief appearance as a Bollywood actor, actually looked better and younger than him. Ileana looked really pretty and did a good job. She’s come a long way since her debut film Devdas (Telugu). Kalki is perfect as the naggy girlfriend while it was nice to watch Preity play a mature role.

Music by Sachin-Jigar is really good. I loved three songs, and can’t stop humming “Hilke naacho naacho“. The background score was decent. Editing by Arindam Ghatak is alright. I don’t think I’ve come across a Bollywood film using three cinematographers thus far; Chase Bowman, Yaron Levy and Mahesh Limaye all did a good job.

Is it worth your time and money??: While it’s all very predictable, I’d still say yes for the movie never bores you and I love the message put across. Apart from dialogues, acting is neat, cinematography is perfect and I enjoyed the music. With a runtime of less than 150 minutes, I feel it’s a nice way to spend your weekend. However, if you’re expecting something new, give this one a skip.

Worth mention: The title. While it remind us of a special kind of massage, I loved the way it was conveyed in the movie; you create your own Happy Ending 🙂

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 8/10

Happy New Year | Movie Review

HNY

They might have had their differences in the past, but Farah and SRK do have some great chemistry together; and that comes across on their hat-trick venture Happy New Year!

It’s no new story and like with the recent few movies, you’ve seen it all before. A family is destroyed because of the antagonist, and the family is thirsty for revenge (Doesn’t this remind you of Bang Bang??). The family here happens to be a bunch of buddies, who decide to rob a high security vault, aka Ocean Eleven style, to put the villain in trouble. Though it all seems redundant, Farah does a decent job of keeping the film on track without making it boring. There is a lot of richness associated with the movie and which gives it a nice look and feel. While direction is pretty neat, the screenplay could have been a better. A movie like this needed to be crisp, and a run time of 180 minutes just bogs you down. Nevertheless, she does a good job altogether for the movie is pretty entertaining. And ya, worth mention are the witty one-liners from old classics (should I be referring them to as classics? :-O)

On acting front, it’s SRK show all the way. And for once (after long), he puts away his stupid antics and comes up with a neat performance. While his body did look good, his face is starting to show age. Deepika comes into the movie one hour through, and does a decent job. I thought she looks over-toned, and would have looked better with some flesh on her belly. Abhishek overacts (like usual); good for him that his character needed over-action. Boman Irani is pretty good as the old chap, while he too seemed to overact on occasions. It’s nice to see Sonu Sood playing a positive role, and he comes up with a good act. However, his into and first fight were sad and totally unnecessary.

Music by Vishal-Shekhar is could have been way better. But for the title track, everything else is more or less mediocre. Background score by John Stewart Eduri is decent. Editing by Anand Subaya could have been crisper. As already mentioned, the length pulls you down and a few edits seem really necessary. Cinematography by Manush Nandan is neat. Dialogues by Mayur Puri are entertaining. On the downside, you’d expect better dances in a film by a choreographer.

Is it worth your time and money??: The movie is really entertaining and you never tend to get bored. The plus points are star cast and lavish sets and locales, while the length and pace play spoil sport. A few edits would make the film more engaging. It’s a good watch nevertheless, but only if you walk in without any pretensions; otherwise, you’d find it to be another run-off-the-mill flashy masala films.

Worth mention: The dumbness of the entire plot.

Acting: 6.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 5/10
Technical Aspects: 7/10

Verdict: 6/10

Haider | Movie Review

Haider

Vishal Bhardwaj has always made movies which stand apart from the rest. He’s already adapted two of William Shakespeare’s classics in the past (Maqbool – “Macbecth”, Omkara – “Othello”), and Haider (an adaptation of “Hamlet”) is another example of why he’s one of the finest Indian directors today.

Kashmir is considered paradise on earth, and Haider is a movie which showcases the plight of the people living in this paradise. Vishal does this by seamlessly integrating the tragedy of Hamlet into the riots of Kashmir (1995) which causes a number of civilian disappearances. Though a little slow towards the beginning, Haider kicks in beautifully thanks to some exceptional screenplay and direction. The way the entire storyline is showcased in one song is pure brilliance.

Shahid does an exceptional job in the lead role, and his performance at Lal Chowk is absolutely brilliant. Kay Kay Menon gets a meaty role, and for the fine actor that he is, performs with great ease. Sharddha Kapoor looks perfect as a Kashmiri beauty, and Irrfan shines in his brief appearance. But the real star of Haider is the mother torn between her man and son, Tabu She downplays for the most part, but does it so beautifully that you can’t help but fall in love with her character. Brilliant!

Music by Vishal Bhardwaj is another asset to this beautiful tragedy. The background score is probably the best I’ve come across for a Bollywood film – exceptional. Editing by Aarif Sheikh is perfect and cinematography by Pankaj Kumar is beautiful.

Is it worth your time and money??: As a film, Haider is exceptionally well made. But unfortunately, it isn’t a movie for everyone. So watch it only if you enjoy tragedies, or are eager to watch some amazing performances entwined into a perfect script.

Worth mention: Tabu; Shahid’s performance at Lal Chowk; background score.

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9/10
Technical Aspects: 9/10

Verdict: 9/10

Bang Bang | Movie Review

Bang-Bang

The trailer made a lot of noise, and the promotions have been extensive. If that’s anything to go by, the film’s a disaster. And bingo!

I’ve never been impressed with Siddharth Anand. All his previous films bombed big time at the box office, so one would have thought that he’d make sensible films now at least. But no, all he does is make a film which makes no sense. Bang Bang is an empty pot, makes a lot of noise. And he does this when he has a relatively average script (Knight and Day) at hand. Instead of just sticking to it all through, he just creates a mess, thanks to some slow and terrible screenplay. I mean, he ripped most of the original’s dialogues and some episodes frame to frame, then why not stick to the original screenplay in whole? Right from the word go, everything in the movie seemed too contrived, and there’s no such thing like logic. Common, no one moves countries so easily without being noticed; and what’s with the race car? Another big problem is that Bang Bang feels like a Hindi movie you’ve already seen, and therefore is very predictable. Direction is mediocre, and someone needs to tell Siddharth Anand that just visuals, stunts and fights aren’t good enough; he still needs to use the script which he officially borrowed (apparently) in an slick manner. It’s supposed to be a thriller for gods sake, not a drama!!

Hrithik looks amazing, and puts his best foot forward (like always). He carries the entire film on his shoulders, but that isn’t good enough. Katrina looks fine and acts in bits and pieces. She’s hot, ok, but she’s no Cameron Diaz! Both of them dance exceptionally well, especially in the title track. The rest of the cast, well, is alright.

Music by Vishal-Shekhar is decent. The title track is really peppy and ‘Meharabaan’ is good as well. Cinematography by Vikas Sivaraman and Sunil Patel is pretty good. Editing by Akiv Ali could have been way better.

Is it worth your time and money??: Unless you have nothing better to do over the weekend, give Bang Bang a miss. Hrithik is the only plus point in this sinking film.

Worth mention: Hrithik’s MJ moves in the title track. But you have to sit through 156 minutes to see this, so all hail YouTube!

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 5/10
Technical Aspects: 7.5/10

Verdict: 6/10

PS: Why would you want to remake a movie which in itself wasn’t a success?? :O