Category: Movies & Entertainment Page 3 of 9

The Youtube Tamasha

When there’s no TV at your place, you end up scanning through Youtube quite often. And when I end up clicking the “trending” tab, my immediate reaction is, “Why am I even looking here?!”.

Anyways, there are a ton of things that you end up discovering when you’re hanging on Youtube. Yes, some amazingly addictive Youtubers whom you love to follow and await their videos to get uploaded but at the same time, a lot of unwanted gibberish also flows through the network.

Sure there’s good content original generating channels which we all are big fans of, like the TVF for instance. Or others like AIB, SnG comedy, East India Comedy and the likes. Of course, there are quite a few which makes you wonder, are we going back to TV and making this just extra sleazier to get the eyeballs.

One of the most irritating ones are these “Prank channels.” Yes, the kind where they assume they can get away with anything, just because they have a camera in hand. If you thought the guy seen kissing and running off in Delhi was bizarre, you’d be shocked to see what others are upto. It is great that this fellow got arrested and it might help in stopping the flurry of those channels. These channels are like the “Item numbers” in movies. Not required but just because people watch it, they are there.

Shockingly these channels have thousands of ardent subscribers. The number of subscribers shocks me more than these channels itself.

It takes a lot of effort to create these videos. I’m sure. Why not do it for something more relevant, than asking people “Do you look at a guys’ junk ?” to girls on the street or “What do you look first in the girl?”!

If generating clickbaity videos is what you’re good at. Don’t you think there are other “better” sites for that?

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 limited to the song but how before the mukhda begins, a sort of prologue to the song. 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. Walking in front of the mirror, holding out my arms on the corners of the door, and being at my gloomy best.

The lyrics of the song, written by Sahir Ludhiyanvi, pierce through you. Especially, since the nature of the song-format is such that every word has a clarity, giving meaning to the scene. And of course, Guru Dutt, the legend at his very best.

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.

Jinhe naaz hai hind par wo kahan hain ?

Whenever I watch any of Guru Dutt’s classic, a question pops up in my mind, always!

How did we reach to what we’ve been watching now, considering many other of his classics were released in 50’s!

Anyways, I could go on and on about Guru Dutt, but that’s for another day and needs a lot more detailing.

Today, I just wanted to share this video of “Jinhen naaz hai Hind pe wo kahan hain?”. Of course, I’ve shared this on multiple occasions and I never get tired to watch or share it again. This is my attempt to make his films reach new audiences.

“Madad chahti hai ye hawwa ki beti..
Yashoda ki hamjins, Radha ki beti..
Payammar ki Ummat.. Zulekha ki beti..
Jinhen Naaz hain hind pe, wo kahan hain?”

Sahir Ludhiyanvi simplified his original, “Chakley” to make this reach out to the masses for the film, “Pyasa”. To think how much our new-age “filmmakers” have to dumb-down content makes me laugh at what they did in 50’s!

The song although just captures the life in Kothas amidst red-light areas can be easily transported to any setting to ask, “Jinhen naaz hai hind pe wo kahan hain ?”

And it’s not just about the beauty of the song but the less over-powering music by SD Burman and the visible pain in Guru Dutt’s eyes and the adaegi .

How I wish to be born in times when he was alive.


Top 10 Bollywood movies for 2016

Here’s my list of top 10 Bollywood movies for the year 2016!

Bollywood had an average year as far as blockbuster successes are concerned. But I am happy that most filmmakers tried to come up with something new. Hope to see more of that effort work its way in 2017 as well.

[Here’s last year’s list of Top10 Bollywood movies]

10. Udta Punjab:

Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab brings parallel stories converging onto the drug menace in punjab. With powerful performances from Alia Bhat, Shahid Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh, this movie, even with a few glaring issues gets the message across.

9. Sultan:

Ali Abbas Zafar’s Sultan is a film made with a big heart. Even with melodramatic freedom that one can expect from a Salman-starrer, the film was an entertaining love story with wrestling as its backdrop. One of those rare Salman Khan movies where you see him making dedicated effort. Also starring Anushka Sharma, Sultan was a family entertainer.

8. Dear Zindagi

Reema Kagti’s Dear Zindagi belongs to Alia who shoulders the movie all on her own. The vibe that this girl brings along is magical, the therapy sessions in help, not only Alia but the Audience as well. Shahrukh Khan plays an extended cameo which definitely adds value to the film and anchors the movie to a feel-good tag.

[Here’s a detailed review of the film]

7. Ae dil hai mushkil

Heartbreaks are the USPs of a good love story. Add a dose of unequivocal love as the central theme and you have a story that clicks. Ae Dil hai Mushkil does just that. The time when the hero leaves with his bag, as firecrackers burst in the sky, with teary eyes and an Arijit Singh song in the background. You get the picture, don’t you?

It will be very MUSHKIL for your DIL to not like this.

[Here’s a detailed review of Ae Dil hai Mushkil]

6. Aligarh

Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh brings out one of the best performances this year from manoj Bajpai. The movie talks about the real life issue of Homosexuality and how an Aligarh professor was suspended after a sting operation. With the amazingly talented Rajkumar Rao playing the role of a journaist who befriends Manoj in the movie, this film was powerful.

5. Parched

Leena Yadav’s Parched, on the outset appears to be heavy “art” which might put off a lot of viewers who don’t watch similar content. However, the movie even when touching dark and grim topics, keeps tight on an engaging storyline. The three female leads, Radhika Apte, Tanishka Mukherjee and surprisingly Surveen Chawla, do a phenomenally good job.

4. Neerja:

Ram Madhvani’s Neerja is an amazingly crafted Biopic that brought to light Neerja Bhanots story to light. I’ll admit, I just don’t like Sonam Kapoor. But in Neerja, she definitely impressed. Shabana Azmi, as Sonam’s mother, just wells up your eyes with her sincerity to the role.

3. Dangal:

It’s an Aamir Khan film. Enough said. Right from the start when the trailer dropped, it looked awesome and it sure was. The detailing in terms of wrestling and culmination of numerous issues in the framework of wrestling was beautiful. The young actors portraying the Phogat Sisters on whose life the film is based were the true heroes of the film. Director Nitesh Tiwari has done a fab job.

2. Pink

Pink is a movie which makes you think not just while you’re watching it unfold but is also something which remains with you long after you’ve left the theater. It’s a must watch for all men, all women, and even the grownup kids to realize why “NO means NO”. It strikes hard where it should.

[Here my review of Pink]

1. Kapoor and Sons

Shakun Batra’s Kapoor & Sons was a flawless emotional adventure which is filled with some amazing light hearted moments that will press the nostalgic buttons in your head and make you laugh and cry at the same time. Yes, it’s perfect. I even ended up giving it a 5/5. For me this was 2016’s best movie.

[Read the detailed review of Kapoor & Sons here]

Special mention: Akshay Kumar’s Airift

And when we finally got our SRK back in Fan

And of course the amazing MS Dhoni on-screen

Which of these were your favorites ? Let me know in the comments.

Dear Zindagi Review: It’s a therapy for all

Dear Zindagi is about finding life. A free life. A life Kaira (Alia Bhat) needs but doesn’t know where to find. She’s confused and complex like any other girl and refuses to let anyone in. The story tries to simplify the complexities of her life by making her ask the right questions to it.

The fact that Alia clearly over-shadows even Shahrukh in the movie speaks volume of the amount of talent she has. The vulnerability of her character through various stages of life oozes out, along with a multitude of other emotions, all of it very real.

The story is about relationships. In one scene where Alia laments in front of her Psychiatrist( or Dimag ka doctor a referred in the movie), that she’s never going to find anyone in life. Shahrukh remarks that why do we put the strain of everything on that ONE relationship? Why cannot we have a relationship for our varied emotions? This is the essence of what the film wants to talk about. That there’s more to  Zindagi than breakups or finding that “one”.

Dear Zindagi covers a lot of ground by covering the “Log kya kahenge?” part, apart from relationships with parents, siblings, friends and of course the variety of “Chairs”. (You’ll get this when you watch the movie).

Of course, you do end up with mixed feelings due to the range of questions that pop up in your head, which makes you question the narrative occasionally. Especially when you realize that everything centres around Kaira and her Zindagi. But then, this is her story. And only her Zindagi.  And that’s where Gauri Shinde’s story bounces back ad you try to fit it all together.

SRK anchors the character of Dr. Jehangir Khan with the ease and elegance with which he gives out his interviews. He underplays the character with such depth that you don’t feel anyone else could have done better.

Characters like, Jacky (played by Yashaswini Dhayama) and Fattu (played by Ira Dubey) also bring a natural charm and playfulness to the story and vivacious friendship. The character of Ali Zafar (who plays RUMI) is something that has been written really well. The story also has Kunal Kapoor who adds his own charm.

But in the end, Dear Zindagi belongs to Alia who shoulders the movie all on her own. The vibe that this girl brings along is magical and with Reema’s direction, the therapy sessions in help, not only Alia but the Audience as well.

I’m going with 3.5/5 for Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi. This slice-of-life film is a therapy for mature audiences. If you’ve liked movies like Kapoor & Sons or Piku or Gauri’s other movie English Vinglish, then you’ll definitely like this one as well.

Force 2 Review: Nothing works except the action

One particular scene straight out of counter-strike, where John Abraham beats up the baddies while constantly exchanging guns as he runs out ammo, is amazingly well-shot. This POV-sequence can make you feel as if you’re in control. Apart from this, there are quite a few seriously good action scenes spread across the film.

Alas! That’s all the good stuff that one can talk about this movie. The soul of this movie lies in action and it hardly moves an inch beyond that.

The storyline allows Force 2, the sequel to the John Abraham-Genelia starrer Force, to bring sub-plots within the main plot. However, in an attempt to do so, they deviate from the central plot.
John Abraham’s friend who happens to be a RAW agent gets killed and like the usual practice, government disowns him. Now, John is out there to catch the man who orchestrated it all. However, you never feel the angst of the hero to take revenge from it. Although there is a lot of effort invested by John and is clearly visible. The reason Force worked because of the “revenge saga” and that ultimate fight between John and Vidyut Jamwal.

There is no need of Sonakshi in the movie. Literally no need of her. You can eliminate her from the film and there won’t be any effect on the storyline. I bet you can cut out the scenes from the movie and it’ll still be the same. Not that she doesn’t act well but she’s as useless to the plot as any Vestigial Organ is to the human body.

While it is important to develop the character of the villain to make things interesting, just lending screen time does not mean doing that. Going by the image of our “Mumbai police” no-nonsense approach of John, it is baffling that he can listen to so much blabbering and not smack the hell out of him. At least as an audience, I felt like smacking him to make him shut up! In the prequel, Jamwal’s character made the role his own. However, in this case, Tahir Bhasin, couldn’t add that extra dimension to his character.

The movie has been shot well and is worthy of a good action movie. But you so wished they would have tightened the plot. Even though the movie isn’t very long, the presence of multiple storylines fitted into it,you’ll end up feeling it’s too much.
The force sequel isn’t worth your money if you are not an action movie fan. Unless you can watch a movie for its action sequences, you can definitely skip this one.

I’m going with 1.5/5 for Force 2. An extra .5 just for action.

Rock On 2 Review: There’s just too much going on in the Sequel

There’s just too much going on in the second installment of Rock on which was first released 8 years back marking the debut of Farhan Akhtar. On the face of it, this looks like a completely new film. Or perhaps too many films packaged into one.

Rock on was not a unique story but its subtlety in storytelling binded it all together with some great music. The best song of this movie is the new version of the original Rock On title song, which still cannot beat the original.

The first half has been edited nicely and the build-up keeps you interested but as soon as second half starts, the melodrama suddenly overtakes the storyline. So much so that the song “Jaago…” sounds like a wakeup call for the audience.

The sequel follows the band “Magic” and the changing life of its members. The lead singer, Aditya Shroff(Farhan), lives a life in a village in Meghalaya helping farmers with a co-operative. Joe Mascaranhas (Arjun Rampal) is a reality TV judge and KD (Purab Kohli) again seems to be the guy that brings the band together to make “music” again. Why did they stop? That forms part of the central plot of the movie.

Jia’s (Shraddha Kapoor) father in the movie is a well-known Music legend who disapproves of “fusion” music. While Uday (Shashank Arora of Titli fame) is a Sarod player who comes into Jia’s life and they together end up meeting the Magik band. Although Shashank seems to have been wasted or probably wasn’t needed at all!

The movie would have been sufficient had they stopped adding more to the storyline and just kept one theme as its central plot. But like many other sequels before, this one, also falls into the trap of “doing something more” than its prequel. The prequel worked because it focused on one thing, bringing the band together. Here it is not only about that (again), but bringing it together for a “cause”, then trying to tell how music isn’t limited to “one-definition”, relationships between children-parents, and a lot more. And all that in just 2 hours! Phew!

The time needed by the audience to invest in characters, especially when it comes to a drama, is missing.

What works for the movie is its acting. It is also commendable to notice the presence of local actors to provide it a refreshingly authentic look. Farhan, Arjun, Purab have done a good job. Shradha, however, ends up singing better than her acting and she appears out of frame in many of the scenes. The best scene of the movie is perhaps when a dejected Farhan after having come out of a tragedy drives around the hills. The Cinematography is amazing as well.

However, elements like these are far and few and the movie needed more of this than the over-the-top ones which have been pushed together towards the end of the movie.

Shujaat Saudagar, who dons the hat of the director for the first time, has put in the hard work to put life into the story and its characters. However, apart from the leads, the depth lacks in the characters. The presence of Abhishek Kapoor who directed the first one with perfection can be easily felt and a stark difference in approach can be seen.

I’m going with 2/5 for Rock On 2. If you’ve loved the first movie and your expectations are high, you might be disappointed. It isn’t a bad movie and is definitely a one-time watch for the acting of the ensemble cast.

Shivaaya Movie Review: A mountain might be easier to climb than watching this

Shivaaya has some of the best breathtakingly good looking shots throughout the movie, an attempt to up the action sequences where it swings pops up to superhuman level and Ajay Devgan at his best acting levels.

Unfortunately, that’s where all the good things I can talk about the movie ends. Yes, there are numerous emotionally charged scenes which are good but when they are in patches and in a 3-hour long movie, what’s the point? The problem is not only it is long, but it feels really long. As a viewer you can’t help but say, “What was the need of this scene?”. Clearly conflict between the director Ajay and the actor Ajay had troubling in cutting down the movie.

Shivaaya is about a mountaineer with superhuman skills of scaling Himalayan peaks like it was the tree in his backyard. He not only helps the Indian Army but also takes completely untrained people to trek or if it’s your 16th Birthday! Not only this, when he gets stuck in an avalanche with the leading ladies, swinging literally in a cliffhanger, he can make out with the ladies. Superhuman skills. And if all this sounds ridiculous to you, then you’re in for a treat.

Comparison with Liam Neeson’s taken were already being made and it was expected to be a Bollywood-version of Taken with added Drama. And even though you see shades of it here in the action-part and some might say even better, there’s just too much of build-up. The first half, comparatively, sails a little smoother as the story unfolds and gets your attention. However, the second half, especially the last 30-40 minutes are bluntly put, “Torturous”.

The actor Ajay has put immense effort to bring his A-game to the table but cannot say the same for direction. The casting of Ajay’s love interest in Erika Karr and his daughter (played by Abigail Eames) are appropriately essential to the storyline. But everyone else appears to have been stuffed in. In order to bring the concept of father-daughter story to the forefront, Ayesha Saigal (who debuts with this movie) and Girish Karnad have a parallel story running as well. Not just that, a forced induction of Vir Das, seems an addition that could have been not needed.

The movie might have worked better if they had tried not to do way too much in making the story complex. It is an honest attempt and filled with amazing action sequences but one can be easily disappointed, all thanks to the expectations.

Shivaaya is definitely avoidable and even if you are an Ajay Devgan fan, the length of the movie is definitely going to put you off.

I’m going with a 1.5 for Shivaaya. It’s a movie which takes too much time to preach its message and bores you out. A mountain will be easier to climb (as Devgan shows :P) than watching this.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Review: It’ll be mushkil for your Dil to not like this

Heartbreaks are the USPs of a good love story. Add a dose of unequivocal love as the central theme and you have a story that clicks. Ae Dil hai Mushkil does just that. The time when the hero leaves with his bag, as firecrackers burst in the sky, with teary eyes and an Arijit Singh song in the background. You get the picture, don’t you?

It’s a drama minus the melodrama even with cliched caricatured characters to sell its point across. But it does succeed in telling the story in all its sincerity.

Karan Johar’s Ae Dil hai Mushkil is about One-sided love and the repercussions it can have on relationships.

The Cast includes Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai and the prodigy from across the border Fawad Khan, who is hardly there in the movie. Even Salman Khan had a bigger role in Kuch Kuch Hota hai than Fawad. But hey, whatever keeps the jingoism alive, right ?

Ranbir seems to have worked really hard to get into the introvert character of Ayaan and definitely succeeds. Aishwarya Rai brings out a good performance perhaps after ages. But it is Anushka who shines in a role with a matured performance. She keeps the story together and anchors it to make it work.

The film works because it connects with the audience by never loses its central theme of “one-sided love”. Subtlety of the screenplay reflects the emotions brilliantly. You never get to hate or root for any character but instead understand the story from their vantage points even when the lead character is of Ayan, played by Ranbir, who narrates the story. I’m glad that it isn’t pushing those views but involving you to paint the picture, and makes you believe that you’re painting your own story in some form.

You can relate to Ayaan(Ranbir) or Alaiza (Anushka) or even Saba (Aishwarya) or all of them at different phases of your life, which was perhaps how Karan envisioned the story.

The music adds to the charm of the flow of the story and the background score isn’t a hindrance to it. The dialogues, even though are poetic and include a lot of Urdu words, doesn’t sound filmy. Surprisingly.

Talking about surprises, well, special guest appearances should be expected.

However, the movie does falter in how it plans to end the saga. The way you start relating with the characters till this moment suddenly changes. It’s akin to someone taking over the steering of the car while you sit in the backseat. Of course, the director drops you at a destination, but you do feel something amiss about the way the journey ended.

Even with the few faults, mostly towards the end, the movie is a ride you should experience. It answers the questions it throws at you and convinces you of those answers as well. It is one of those movies which you’ll keep in your hard-drive to be watched again and you’d never be tired of it.

I’m going with a 4/5 for Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. It will be very MUSHKIL for your DIL to not like this.

MS Dhoni Movie Review: It’s entertaining but nowhere close to perfect

Watching the untold story unfold in a theater is an experience that takes you back in time. Back to where “tum” is “hum”. Back to a place we call home.

For every Bihar/Jharkhand native, this movie is more than just the story about MS Dhoni. It is more than being about Cricket. It is about the journey that many have lived and only a few like the man himself have succeeded in. It is about the friends who’ll stick with you in thick and thin. Your family who wishes the best for you. Where your success is everyone’s success too.

If you happen to be a Dhoni fan or have grown up in the old Bihar or the younger Jharkhand, you’ll have a ride full of goosebumps. Instead of just being a movie, this is more of a melodramatic Documentary.

The research done to make places, people and scenarios appear as real-like is tremendous and kudos to the team for choosing the right brushes to paint.

Sushant Singh Rajpoot is believably a good reel version of the Captain Cool and this is perhaps one of his biggest role till date. There’s nowhere you’ll feel he has not given his 100 percent in essaying the role.

Anupam Kher’s portrayal as the father strikes chord with the familiar sense of concern visible across every father’s face and the joy of success when their kids succeed.

In a particular scene when MS calls up his father and asks, “Aap khush to hai na ?”, he replies, “Khud ko galat saabit hote dekh, kaafi khush hoon”. It makes you search for your own dad in him.

Another great insight the movie gives is on how Dhoni handles the setbacks from his life and how he doesn’t allow anyone else to know what goes behind the perceived “coolness” associated with him. How he lets himself away from the crowd to process emotions and tries to hold it all in, and how that has shaped him, is baffling.

Neeraj Pandey’s MS Dhoni biopic is unlike any of his movies and yes it does have flaws. The biggest is in its editing. The effort to fit in everything ends up making the movie long. As a fan, you’d feel like more could have been added to the story, however as a regular movie-goer you’d feel that a lot could have been edited out. The purpose of few of the scenes are to highlight, Dhoni doesn’t drink or that he meets his old-colleagues even after becoming a “big sensation”. The execution here just doesn’t seem right.

Another thing that irked me was the choice of superimposing Sushant’s picture on a young Dhoni which could have easily been played by any other youngster. A case in point is the much appreciated Netflix drama- Narcos, where the real-life Pablo Escabar features in the original footage to keep the story appear real. They could have even left the real-life footage of matches untouched and it would have brought even more cheers than it actually did.

Songs are good but the addition of this many could have been avoided. The leading ladies of the film, Priyanka played by Disha Patani and Sakshi played by Kiara Advani in the movie have done their part well. Although they do appear to essay almost the same character. But maybe that’s how they both were in real life as well.

However, even with all this, it does click the boxes of being an entertaining movie. The movie doesn’t bore you at any point in time. Neither the pace nor the content makes you take your eyes off. Even the authenticity of the accent and the life in general always keeps you hooked.

MS Dhoni: the untold Story is entertaining even with editing issues, gets you high and gives access to what goes in the mind of one of the most successful Indian Captain. Watch it for the entertainment value it brings with it. It is a good attempt to bring out the untold story of the Cricketer’s life but could have been perfect.

I’m going with a 3/5 for Ms Dhoni: The Untold Story. Go ahead and watch it. It’s Entertaining but nowhere close to being perfect.


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