Category: Movies & Entertainment (Page 1 of 6)


Lucknow Central Review: An underplayed prison drama that works

What can you expect from a prison-break drama? I mean what ‘unique story’ can you expect from one? Having watched quite a few over the years, I wasn’t looking forward to ‘Woah! That’s new’.

I wasn’t entirely wrong. The story is most definitely ‘an-innocent-jailed-trying-to-escape’ with a Hindi heartland story and a musical twist to keep you interested. But there is more to the Lucknow Central apart from the music and the obvious escape strategies. The underplaying of every character by all the actor is something unique about this movie. Not one or two, but almost the entire ensemble has made sure to keep themselves in check to not go overboard to the point that the first half buildup appears a tad bit slow apart from a few high moments.

Farhan Akhtar takes time to grow into the UP Bhaiya role he plays in the movie but as you progress with the plot, you realize maybe they wanted to play a low-key and grounded role, instead of an over-the-top-emotionally-draining role. The character is part-fun part-helpless, whose dreams are what every small town guy can relate to. Making it big. However, he still doesn’t outshine the slew of amazingly written characters of Ronit Roy, playing the jailor, and other inmates who plan to escape with him. This includes, Gippi Grewal, Deepak Dobriyal, Rajesh Sharma and InaamulHaq. Each of them putting their best foot forward in aiding the central character of Kishan, played by Farhan, by making a mark of their own. Credit definitely goes to the writing for well-written characters.

It was also good to see no romantic involvement between Kishan (Farhan’s Character) and Diana Penty who plays the role of Gayatri Kashyap, helping in prisoner reformation. Considering how Bollywood movie stories are written, this is a good change.

One scene where he walks next to the projector where they’re playing Amitabh’s Vijay Deenanath Chauhan is the right amount of epic. Same goes with many of the prison-drama scenes, the ragging, the gang-fights and the fun. Each of them characteristically giving you an insight into what goes on behind the jails.

Music isn’t overpowering the narrative and that in a way is a good thing. So are the dialogues.

Lucknow Central has a slow 1st half start and picks up towards the second half as the screenplay goes. However, the beauty of the movie is in the underplayed performances by its ensemble and some action-packed second half and a good climax.

Lucknow Central is a decent watch in the theatre for how it deals with a concept that isn’t alien to audiences and for its mature handling of the subject.

I’m going with a 3/5 for Farhan Akhtar starrer, Lucknow Central.


Baby Driver Review: The coolest film of the year!

Once you’ve watched Baby Driver, your definition of what you consider cool gets an upgrade. After all, it IS one of the coolest movies you’ll watch this year. I’m pretty sure, you haven’t watched it yet. But take my word for it: Watch it!

It’s unlike any other movie you’ll invest your time (and money) in. From an expression of awe, your jaw drops by a few minuscule inches with every scene. You laugh from one scene to another without having finished your first laugh. The music booms past your ear along with the car chase that essentially is core to the plot of the movie.

The story is about a young car driver, to put it humbly, working for a heist planner (Kevin Spacey) who creates plans and leave it to expert individuals who are good at doing this type of work. While our driver, Baby (yes, that’s his name), who’s a devil behind the wheels helps them escape. You should also hear the remix/mash-up tape of ‘devil-behind-the-wheel’ version that the baby driver creates.

Each scene is iconic in its own way. I’m not going to divulge any other details about the plot. The plot is essentially very basic and mostly momentum driven. It is the treatment that is wonderful. The amalgam of music with cars and the background story is a beautiful symphony being played on-screen.

It is one of those movies which you can shout ‘once-more’ at the end of it. Yes, it was that awesome. It is, actually.

Ansel Elgort is perfect as the baby driver with a hearing issue. Seasoned actors like Kevin Spacey, John Hamm and Jamie Fox are at their usual best.

Apart from the adrenaline rush of the action involved, which keeps you hooked onto your seat, the romance between Baby driver (Ansel) and Deborah (Lily James) give you the feels. Not overpowering and just the right amount. The dream sequences are classy.

There’s nothing that I can point in the movie which isn’t good. Sure, if this isn’t your type of movie then you might not find it to be as awesome as I did, but it is worth giving a shot. Edgar Wright, who has directed Scott vs pilgrims, and co-wrote Ant-Man, and screenplay for Scorcese’s Tintin is spot on here.

I’m going with a 4.5/5 for Baby Driver. Watch it! The devil behind the wheel will take you on a ride.


JHMS Review: When Harry and Sejal don’t meet a good story

I’ve always left the theatre a little confused after watching an Imtiaz Ali movie; always questioned whether I’ve liked it or not. There’d be something really good and something that just doesn’t make sense. But for the first time, I’m certain of how Harry met Sejal is. It is a badly conceived movie.

How I wished for a sad ending to make little sense of the story. But hey, the director assumes we all want a happy ending, right?

How I wanted a wee bit extra sadness, a little more pain to allow myself to feel as to why is Harry like this? For the puzzle to fit, on why Harry had to meet a Sejal, just doesn’t get answered! But that’s not the only problem for this movie. There’s just lack of depth in the story. Except in two characters’ chemistry. The only saving grace.

But how far do you think that can steer a story which is going nowhere but to the usual clichéd ending of most of Imtiaz’ movies. Sure, there’s a good dose of realism and few scenes just hit you real hard without being grand. The brooding Shahrukh is unmatchable and so is the ‘layak’ Anushka, both of them capture the nuance of their characters perfectly. But. Yes, and a big B.U.T. There’s just nothing else there in the movie! A couple of scenes, once-in-a-while, is all that’s good about the movie.

Being a movie where the tour guide is the main protagonist and the entire movie is shot in Europe, there’s hardly much of Europe that the lens captures. Maybe taking a leaf out of Zoya Akhtar’ ZNMD would have helped? But hey, Imtiaz wants to stick to his own formula of loving someone who is about to get married! How many more times should we be watching that same damn thing?

Songs get added to the movie out of no reason. There’s an entire addition to Harry’s colleague’ wedding, which is just not required. The only possible explanation for that is to make Shahrukh wear a turban and touch upon his ‘Punjabi roots’. A flashback on the same which doesn’t pan out into anything substantial again adds to the irrelevancy.

The story follows a boring direction which Imtiyaz has taken us on numerous occasions.

Shahrukh Khan embraces Harry and so does Anushka Sharma in being the Gujju-accented girl out to search for her ring. As stupid as the idea of her finding it across countries is how she finally ends up getting it back!

The script is stupid and if it weren’t for the two stars in the movie, would appear like written in a hurry. And it’s only because of them, I’m giving a 2 star to this film. Watch it only if you’re a fan or a weekend with nothing else to do.

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review: Visual Masterpiece where you’re left asking for more

Nolan’s Dunkirk follows a nonlinear storyline as it tries to deliver a war-story with a music that keeps you on edge a brilliant cinematography. And it does. However, with the absence of a central character in the story your itch to root for one character, like every other Nolan movie, remains unfulfilled. But perhaps, that was the intended tone Nolan wanted to give Dunkirk.

To make heroes out of the spirit of survival. In a movie bereft of one-liner masterpieces, when one soldier upon returning home explains, ‘All we did was survive’ ‘And that’s enough’ pat comes the reply.

Dunkirk transports you to the hauntingly beautiful war-torn French beach-town where 400,000 soldiers are stuck on the beach; trying to find their way back home while the Germans make sure to not let them drop their guard even once. Dunkirk is about the rescue, about the spirit of the people in times of war, the casualties that war brings with it.

Like every other Nolan movie, your attention to the screen is critical, not that you’ll be able to take eyes off, in following the non-linear storyline.

While there are character bits like the Air Force pilot in Tom Hardy, the makeshift rescue boat captain, the soldiers stuck on the island; each being true to their character, as an audience your investment in their character is limited. And that’s the only drawback from the movie. You appreciate how people understand each other without speaking. You see how war and calamity change people.

Dunkirk’s take on war is a listing of all possible reasons how war changes people, brings out the worst and the best in them. The questioning your own survival and the perceived notions of having failed your country, and yet being the hope of your countrymen even after you return after you lose.

It definitely is not Nolan’s best film, as some of the critics have been saying, but is one good war movie that you need to watch.

As far as ratings are concerned, I’m going with a 3.5/5 for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Watch it on the big screen. It’s a visual masterpiece where you’re left asking for more and yet you’ll love what you get.

House of cards season 5 preview

House of Cards Season 5 Preview: Homecoming of Terror

‘I DON’T CARE!’ as President Frank Underwood shouted in the house. And, damn! He looked like it.

House of Cards is back, Folks!

As the first episode unfolds through the shocking cliffhanger of the last season when the Underwoods did what’s expected of them. Yes, look into the camera and share their guts.The first episode has all the bang they needed to start this new season.

The calm ‘I-don’t care’ look on Frank Underwood’s face as he sat in the house while the Republicans shouted, says it all. This is followed by Frank literally snatching a newspaper article accusing him of crimes commited during his Vice-presidency from a republican’s hand and walking down to the podium to speak while a mafia style ensemble of Democrats walked alongside him.

He not only snatches the war-rhetoric narrative away from the Republicans but ensures his opposition squabbles for a differing narrative to oppose him. It’s the Homecoming of Terror after all!

Remember how his Republican opponent, Will Convay, raised the issue of him being soft on terror and then they ended up a meeting to play video games?

And yes, the Underwoods are back together. Claire and Francis. The partners in power are back in harmony. Creating Havoc all around? You bet!

To those who might have forgotten about previous season, here’s a season-wise recap of where the story stands as of now:

Warning: Those who haven’t watched the series yet, please avoid this recap. Spoiler Alert!

House of Cards (Season 1): Season starts off with Frank Underwood being denied the role of Secretary of State as he was promised and ends with him becoming the Vice President. Exhibits of how to maneuver political players as well as Journalists without them knowing and becoming the beneficiary.

House of Cards (Season 2): From Vice President to, wait-for-it, the POTUS Itself. This season focused on how corporate clout indirectly governs a country. Foreign influences, Deals, favors, betrayals and frank’s political games.

House of Cards (Season 3): From President without having to be voted for to someone who now would have to actually win an election. A tumultuous journey of skeletons in the cupboard and the partnership with Claire going sour are the highlights.

House of Cards (Season 4): Francis and Claire’s fight, her mother’s death and then thanks to one journalist’ effort, all secrets coming out in the open. Alleged, we’d say. Time to divert attention? Terrorism is the answer.


I’m paraphrasing in 1-2 lines and that itself seems so much. There’s so much more to the show than just this.

However, the show is mostly Kevin Spacey! The man is the center of it all and undoubtedly the biggest factor in the show is a hit. How do you not like his ‘in-the-camera’ talking to you?

Coming back to the first episode, the show takes forward the diverting tactics of the ‘fight against terror’ and plays on the idea of how states use the fear factor of the mass to drive down agendas with this narrative. The season promise to take on a lot of tricky international political issues and give us a sneak peek into the background of it all with a good dose of drama. Typical Underwood style.

Given the present political climate, one can also expect potshots being fired through the show. But that’s just my guess.

The shows beauty lies in the shift of characterizations. From a typically theatre-like performance of Frank Underwood to the nuances of American politics wrapped in drama.

What I also love about the show is they don’t shy away from exploring a characters’ dimensions and there’s always a way to bring them back. Unless they get killed by Underwood. What’s the count again?

To those who have been awaiting this season in India, Frank Underwood is coming to India with the television premiere of House Of Cards Season 5 on Saturday, 3rd June, 5 PM onwards, only on Zee Café! Also, share your thoughts on social media using #HOConZCafe to discuss with everyone else who’ll be watching the show along with you.

TV shows

While binge watching another season of “The Good Wife”, one particular episode intrigued my professional curiosity. If I may say so.

The TV series, The good wife, is a court-drama and the lead is arguing on a case related to Search Engine optimization or SEO! Of course, apart from feeling a little extra excited, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the writing. They made sure the technicalities of SEO were accurate to the T. Especially when this particular season of the show was aired in 2012!

You know those ‘hacking’ scenes they show in movies and how they are just not accurate. I usually considered, by default, most of those as a dumbed down version of what actually happens! 

Television writing for most of American Shows is crisp and intellectually engaging. Not all shows work for everyone, but the quality of Television writing is axiomatically brilliant.  Even the blink-and-miss characters are pretty well-defined. 

At least the writing on Indian Web-series has started picking up if not the Indian TV, which continues to be the same. But maybe we’ll skip the ‘Television’ altogether just like most of India jumped to Mobile phones before Landlines could spread their wires across. A very unusual comparison, but why not ? 

Thankfully, Internet isn’t censored as our Television or Films are; and with numerous investments from YRF to Balaji, along with the existing TVFs and AIBs, can breathe in a something exciting in terms of writing. 

Which show are you hooked on to ?


The Salesman and other Subtitled Films

When watching a subtitled film, one hardly tends to miss out on a dialogue. Perhaps that’s why most of them, thanks to our unconditional attention, leave us with a varied set of emotions.

Although it’s true that I’ve mostly watched ‘recommended’ ones and most of them seem to have turned out well.

Today, I happened to watch ‘The Salesman’ by Asghar Farhadi. The Iranian film which got nominated for Oscars.

The film has floored me with its approach to storytelling and I’m trying my best to compare it with a style but not able to. The story is a suspense drama which keeps you intrigued. The twists are so beautifully moulded in the narrative that there’s no change of tone required for the story to unfold like the usual suspense-dramas with ‘the’ climax. And maybe that’s the beauty of it. One needs to absorb the expressions, palpable anger, contained trauma which makes you anxiously worried.

The backdrop did remind me of how Khaled Hosseini writes and blends the timeline of Afghanistan’s history into his characters. In Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, does that but very subtly and you can even miss it, if you don’t have the slightest notion of what it entails. This pseudo-similarity can be termed absurd on the account that most stories of the region will share similar sensibilities. And anyway, I’m not claiming to be an expert after watching just one film.

There’s a definite contrast when you watch a subtitled foreign film and the regional Indian ones. The concept of a ‘hero’ in a story is so essential.

But let me not jump to conclusions here and make it a ‘review’ when it’s not. I’m still not able to write a review for ‘subtitled’ movies even when I regularly watch a few Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada ones. Without the dialogues, I still feel there might be something lost in the translations.

Or maybe I’m wrong here. And hopefully someday will add a few of those to the Blog.


Oscare nominations 2017 The Hidden Figures

Applauding the Hidden Figures

I was watching “Hidden Figures” few days back, before the Oscars, in a bid to finish off all the nominated movies in the category. And I did finish all of them.

And I liked all of them. Yes, a few of those are my favorites, but they all were good.

The reason I mention this particular movie is, it blew open a new thought in me. The story is about 3 Black women working at NASA who rise against all odds and succeed. Even with the system designed in a manner which can deter anyone. It happens to be a true story and is so commendable that this inspiring story was told.

From segregated washrooms to a separate coffee container, to not being able to attend college along with the superior “whites”, were just the tip of the iceberg of discrimination that loomed large in America at that time.

While their story has to be applauded and the inspiration used to structure even more people to rise even further, I’ve had this question since watching the movie. The question is, “What if they would have failed?”

Would this story still inspire others to strive for the standards of greatness? To work hard and achieve something? To contribute to something substantial?

Would people have tagged them as “Just not good to compete”?!

The struggle for them to rise above those challenges are substantial and there can be so many of those other stories that might have never been glorified. We care for something only when it succeeds, when it doesn’t, it just doesn’t pique our interest.

Applauding an effort is equally important. We might not be able to put those in metrics, but maybe one extra applaud might help in pulling someone up, who has lost hope of ever making it.

Oscar nominations 2017 Manchester by the sea

Academy Award nominations 2017: Review of all the Oscar Nominated Movies

The Oscar 2017 is just a few hours away. Unlike other years, where I watch these after the award ceremony, I tried my best to finish at least the Oscar Nominated movies (Best Film Category).

Each of these movies are good in their own right. I do have my favorite of it all, which I’ll rank at the end of this post.

So, here they are, 8 Oscar nominated Movies, with their short-reviews and in no particular order.

The Hidden Figures:

In the backdrop of a time when USA’s space agencies were fighting the space race, the country had racism embedded in its system. Even the country’s top minds working at NASA were not untouched by it.

Oscare nominations 2017 The Hidden Figures

The story is about 3 Black Women mathematicians, working at NASA, who are brilliant but the system doesn’t give them the ‘space’ to grow more than what they currently are. Even when they visibly excel in doing what they do. While one woman struggles to complete her work because she has to use the washroom which is a mile away on the other end of the campus and she being black, cannot use the same ones as the other ladies. Another woman who is due promotion based on her work is not able to break the ceiling and similarly another is interested in joining the engineering team but cannot do so with her current degree and the required degree is not available in a college which allows black woman.

The characters played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe are representations of the racism at that time and the portrayal is brilliant. 

Even though the struggles vary in their own, the underlying theme is of how these women overcome these issues and make themselves heard.

Ably supported by Kevin Costner and Jim Parson, the movie has some amazing insights into that era. Watch it for the uplifting real-life story.

Hell of High Water:

The movie is about Bonding. Two brothers, played by Ben Foster and Chris Pine, bonding over a series of robberies they carry out to save their ranch they lost to a bank. Two Sheriffs, one half-Red-Indian half-Mexican, played by Gil Birminghim, and the other, a typical cow-boy played by Jeff Bridges, trying to crack these series of robberies.

Oscare nominations 2017 hell-or-high-water

This movie is like the yesteryear’s’ cowboy confrontation. The battle, between the two, builds up through hell and ends on a calming high. The idea of “hell or high water” or to push to achieve, no matter what it takes, is what drives both the brothers-in-crime and the sheriffs.

The story exposes a lot of things along the way. The ageing sheriff’s push to go with his instincts and inability to see sense in his partner, the varying forces which drive the brothers to go on a robbing-spree and a lot of male-bonding along the way.

Watch this movie for a classy cow-boy feel with a no-nonsense story to accompany it.

Hacksaw Ridge:

I must admit that I’m not a fan of war-movies and yet I found this to be an entertaining watch. Probably this was more about the conviction to stick to one’s value-system than giving in to the demands of the war. Not to mislead you, this movie sure has some of the most gory-war blood-bath scenes like all others before it.

Oscar nominations 2017 Hacksaw Ridge

The movie is about a devout Christian Desmond Doss who believes that he does not have the right to kill anyone but joins the US Army to fight the Japanese. The struggle to make his fellow soldiers, his superiors and even the judges at his Court Marshall is what makes the movie stand out.

With a good ensemble cast to go along, Andrew Garfield, brings out a sensitive performance while playing the protagonist who is adamant to not even pick up a Rifle.

Watch it if you’re a war-movie fan. Watch it even if you aren’t one. I’m sure you’ll like it in parts.


Arrival as a plot has a lot of similarities with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, although not too complex like it. It appears to be a cross-section between the sublime Interstellar and a tad-melodramatic Martian. Capturing similar genres of space-cum-time-travel, Arrival is entertaining nevertheless.

Oscar nominations 2017 arrival

Arrival banks heavily on its lead, Amy Adams, to anchor the story. The curiosity build-up, thanks to the interactions between our lead and the “aliens”, retrenches your attention. You’re always on, “what’s more to it, than this?”

The plot centralizes on a world where 12 UFO’s have landed on earth and naturally scared the world powers of the time. There’s a temporary cease-fire agreed upon before attacking the Aliens. Meanwhile, Amy Adams, who happens to be a language expert, becomes part of the team that will try to get a response to the ultimate question, “What is the purpose of your visit?” from the Aliens.

Apart from Amy, we also have, Jeremy Renner, who appears to be just another spoke in the wheel even though he does enjoy ample screen time.

Arrival throws up questions, about empathy, and perhaps that was the purpose of it, however without the investing performance from Amy, this could have easily fallen flat.

Cinematography is particularly interesting and breathtakingly raw, which makes it believable.

Arrival is entertaining, however, it misses out in threading plotlines with casting, which this story definitely deserved.

Watch it for the sheer joy of Amy Adams bring to life the story, all on her own.


There are very few father-son movies which are THIS real and bereft of melodrama than fences. In a never-before-seen avatar of Denzel Washington, this movie hits you in small bouts of realization much after it is over. It is as real as it can get.

Oscar nominations 2017 Fences

In one particular scene, Denzels friend, Jim, playe, say Stephen Henderson, “Some build fences to keep people out, others build it to keep people in”. This right here, sums up the philosophy that the movie tries to project. The entire movie has been shot inside one such fence.

Denzel plays a father working hard to make ends meet, week-after-week, bringing-in his paycheck to support his wife and kid, and a son from his previous marriage. He is a typical dad who is trying to push others to not make the same mistakes he did and the lessons he gained as a black man in a white-dominated-world where they live. As expected, this becomes a cause of conflict with his son who wants to play football. Going by this, you’d assume it’ll be like the hundred-odd-movies that talk about dreams, reconciliation and how to take inspiration out of it. Fences is different. Not in its story, but the treatment and the layers it touches and unearths with each scene. One conflict at a time.

The question of whether it is love that binds families together or a sense of duty is the central theme that Denzel, the director tries to help us ask!

The ensemble is brilliant. From Viola Davis putting in a wonderful performance to Denzel Washington acing it in the shoes of a tough father, the movie is filled with heartfelt performance.

It brings in a sense of reality and talks about racism and issues concerning the Black community at a family-level.


There is a sense of nostalgic addiction we have with certain places, time and the people we spend it with. They stay with us over time and shapes who we are. Moonlight captures the journey of a child with troubled childhood, finding solace in the company of a friend, being betrayed and how it shapes up his life.

Oscar nominations 2017 Moonlight

Moonlight works in parts, part disconnected, part getting its story heard without shouting, and mostly in the silent stares. It talks about the difficulty of coming out as Gay and how without the support of a family, it gets even difficult. It also talks about troubled childhood, drug addictions and seeking an identity for yourself in a world of unknowns.

The plot takes shape on how a young Chiron lives with a drug-addict mother who cannot take care of him, and is visibly bad at it. He meets a father-figure in Mahersha Ali , who tries to help him get through  difficult childhood before the struggling teenage years begin. The movie is about the three phases of Chiron’s life and his coming-of-age to become a man.

The best parts of the movie lies in its silences where the characters speak more. Special mention for Trevante Rhodes, playing the older Chiron, for an amazing performance.

Watch this to feel the struggles of a child confused about his sexual identity in a difficult neighborhood and the how it makes us feel.



Lion, based on a real story, hauntingly captures the emotions of a young man’s life who yearns to get back to his mother and brother. Evoking this on the screen, with a solid performance by Dev Patel, has been done brilliantly by director Garth Davis.

Oscar nominations 2017 lion

The longing and emotional outreach of a kid who got lost and adopted by an Australian couple is a story that will work for any audience. Lion takes you to the start of the story, on how the kid got lost, and doesn’t add up any surprises on its way. What it does well is, brings out the thought-processes of each of its cast.

The young Saroo, played by Sunny Pawar, puts you in his shoes all along the journey and the able photography depicting the sad reality will scare you.

You come to know of why the adopted parents of Saroo (Dev patel), played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham, decided to adopt and even at the expense of difficulties associated with raising adopted kids, they were ready for it.

The journey of Saroo’s life is filled with people who try to exploit him and the people who support him, including his on-screen girlfriend played by Rooney Mara, and each of these characters project and represent ideas in themselves that vary with great length.

Watch it for the amazing performances and a real-life story capturing the struggle of a kid who lost his way home.

La La Land:

A musical from Hollywood? Well, yes, there aren’t many in recent years and probably makes La La Land stand out.

Oscar nominations 2017 la-la-land

The plot is about a girl-meets-boy, both struggling to make it big. One is trying to make as a jazz player and the other as an actress. One gets a break and things get weird, expected? How this affects their relationship and how they come together to change it, is what La La Land is all about. However, this being a musical, there’s of course more to it. It is about the moments in-between. The songs, the cinematography, the costume and all-of-together in a story that flows like music.

The chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma stone is like a hot knife on a butter. Smooth.

It isn’t something you’ve not seen before but it is the treatment and the ability to connect with the audience is what makes La La Land special.

Watch it if you’re a hopeless romantic who lives by collating small moments in life.

Manchester by the Sea:

This is easily the Best movie at the Oscars this year. Tragic and Sad, and yet so real. Casey Afleck makes you connect with the distraught and tragic protagonist of this story, liking no one else could.

The movie is about a family. A family that was. Two brothers, one diagnosed with cancer and his wife leave him and his son. Another brothers’ wife leave him too. Why? Since it comes in the later part of the movie, I’ll not spoil it for you.

The movie doesn’t centralize itself on this, but on the emotional state of its characters, who are trying to deal with these emotions, in their own way. How death changes people and how people deal with these emotions, is what the movie is all about.

The movie touches a wide range of emotions without putting an extra effort. It is very real and believable.

It is that kind of sad movie which you’ll love to watch, drain out your emotions and connect with your own family. Watch it!

Now, that you’ve read all the reviews, my favorite of them all is, Manchester by the Sea. Although, I do have a feeling La La Land might win.

Which ones did you like ?

Raees Movie review

Raees Review: It’s worth a few whistles

There’s a scene in Raees where Shahrukh Khan beats up a “Saeth” while he was watching an Angry-young-man-avatar of Amitabh on screen,  where Amitabh is seen beating the “always-evil” Prem Chopra!

Raees’ storyline also reminds you of those Masala entertainers from the 80’s with multiple sub-plots infused in it. The bad guy isn’t actually “bad” but is a Robinhood at heart.
Raees Movie review
Raees is entertaining,  no doubt. But it relies heavily on the performances of Shahrukh and Nawazuddin, without which the movie fails to take-off in the second half. It just doesn’t hit the levels you’d expect it to. The build-up in the first half for the ultimate clash between Raees (played by Shahrukh) and Majmudar (played by Nawazuddin) is exciting and laced with amazing dialogues. But as the film develops it just tries to fit-in a little too much and strays away.
Watching Shahrukh in one of his best performances is definitely a treat. He essays the role of a bootlegger businessman delivering catch-phrase dialogues with a sense of charm that only he could have. It’s hard to find a frame where he misses the beat. Be it in the over-the-top action sequences where he’s bad ass and just cannot tolerate anyone calling him a “battery” or his “jugalbandi” of sorts in confronting Majumdaar Saaheb. Or being romantic with the leading lady, Mahira Khan, Shahrukh nails it with perfection.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, as always, delivers in his character as the Cop whose mission is to stop Raees. He’s a no-nonsense cop who belts one-liners and knows how to be funny. Scenes with Nawaz and Shahrukh are the highlight of the film. While Shahrukh adds in the masala, Nawaz keeps it grounded.
Background score and the Music of the film has and old charm like the cinematography. The eye for periodic detail by Rahul Dholakia (director) is visible but the screenplay falters as the story develops. Dholakia struggles to find the balance between fast-paced drama and touching character subtleness.
The movie is largely about Raees and Majmudar, and Dholakia ensures that it remains so. However, in an attempted push for commercialization, the beauty of numerous nuances get lost. The conflict which Raees undergoes after a gunaah ,he commits or how Mahira (his wife) consoles him post that or even the relationship between his partner-in-crime Siddique (played by the talented Mohd. Zeeshan Ayub) are the mis-hits. And these are the details that make you feel, something is amiss.
Another problem which the film faces is the “need to make” Raees the good guy, especially towards the second half.
Raees is a good movie which suffers the curse of the second-half but still survives thanks to Shahrukh and Nawazuddin. Watch it for the performances and the dialogues which are worth a whistle.
I’m going with 3/5 for Raees. Go entertain yourself.

Ye Taara, Wo Taara

One of the inspiring examples of cultural assimilation is this song from Swades.

Ye taara wo taara.. har taara..
dekho jise bhi lage pyaara”

This song is a pivotal point and a concluding suggestion to the problem the lead character is trying to solve. The problem of convincing families in villages to send their kids to school. The lead character visits 4 different families with varied issues/excuses for not sending their kid to school.

While the village heads outrightly reject the idea of “hamare bachchan aur unke bachchan ke saath?!” quite rhetorically. The other families have child marriage, poverty, child labour to carry on the family occupation and “ladkiyan kya karengi itna padh likh ke?”. 

The film was made in 2004 and there’s hardly a doubt that things have drastically changed since then. A visit to any village will introduce you to girls being married off before 18. And the ones who aren’t, are made to “learn household chores”. I mean, do they have to learn some form of martial arts? Otherwise this doesn’t make sense at all.

The whole idea of “ladki ki shaadi karwani hai” has been made into a Mount Everest to climb in our societies! But then why wouldn’t it be ? When even educated folks demand for dowry for marriage. Some of them might even be reading this post as well.

The nuances that Swades touched and brilliantly depicted deserves some introspection. Has anything changed ? Or will it ever be ?

The song ends with kids playing together.  Each from different caste and sensibilities. Together.  Is that a ray of hope? Or these kids also be moulded by the “tradition”? 

Jaane wo kaise log the

Yesterday I shared one of my all time favorite, “Jinhe naaz hain hind par, wo kahan hain ?“.

Sharing another one, “Jaane wo kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila” from the same movie, “Pyaasa”.

The beauty is not just in the songs of this era but how before the mukhda begins, there’s always a prologue to the song itself. Like it was a story in itself.

Humko apna saaya tak.. aksar begaar mila..”

Hamne to jab kaliyan maangi.. kaanton ka haar mila.. 

I clearly remember the first time I watched Pyaasa, I took my Dada’s shawl and draped it like Guru Dutt and tried my best to sing this.

I’d request you to take some time and watch this gem of a movie, Pyaasa, If you haven’t. It not only is Guru Dutt’s best but also has some of the best songs of that era. Thanks to Sahir Ludhiyanvi.

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