Saturday, 21 December 2013

[Not a Movie Review] Dhoom 3: Nobody can cancel the Apocalypse, not even Aamir Khan!

The Writer/Director,
Dhoom 3: The Movie.

Date: 20th December, 2013

Subject: Some of us still have brains.

With due respect, let us assume, we overcome the overly preposterous notion of penning “Bank waalon tumhari aisi ki taisi!” on the walls of an international bank whose top management can’t even fathom Hindi; But how can a sane person shut his eye for the lack of competency of Chicago Police Department to not hire a language translator; and then to put icing on the cake, deciding to call two clumsy ham-fisted cops back from India? I’m flabbergasted.

Frankly speaking, I don’t think Uday Chopra cares much for his reputation or else he would have quit acting a long time ago. But sir, what was the dreadful need for those nincompoop facial expressions you made him do, which reminded me of those half-witted blockheaded apes back from my National Geographic days! Wait, was that his natural way of feinting acting? Damn, sorry!

It’s not that I did not try! I did made an effort to clap or hoot out loud, but then, a small voice quivered inside me, “Haven’t I seen this all before?” But no offense to your ingenious imagination as you definitely haven’t seen The Prestige (2006) or else you would have known that the master architect of modern cinema, Christopher Nolan, had also bamboozled the audience with the exact same twist seven years back.

One ten minutes chase, Ok. Two ten minutes chase, still, Ok. Third ten minutes chase, have you gone bananas or what? But yeah, I do understand your hardships as you had to make a selling point out of those stunt pieces as one can’t totally rely on an intelligent script now, right? And well, clearly, cerebral conversations are not your forte as the exchange between Aamir Khan and Abhishek Bachchan at one point of the movie made me crave for congenital deafness!

Why was there such an all-out blatant assault on our commonsense? How can such a monstrously hog headed paper thin plot got passed right under the noses of the producers? But truth be told, amid all these catastrophic blunders, you found redemption in Aamir Khan. Taking nothing away from him, he gave it all to save this ship from the wreckage it was heading to, but well, you can’t cancel the apocalypse!

Thanking you for annihilating rationality,
With due regards,
A movie enthusiast. 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

[Not a Movie Review] Man of Steel: Supermeh’s Soul Sold for Gold!

Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon 
Director: Zack Snyder
Producer: Christopher Nolan
Music: Hans Zimmer

There comes a point amidst the rumble of the structures, slaughter of humanity and the deafening roar of a city turning into barren ruins where suddenly our caped crusader realized that three lives are at stake and conveniently, he twitched General Zod’s neck in one smooth motion of his hand. If it was that meek, that pretentious; why didn’t he do the honors in the first 120 minutes of Man of Steel? God Damned!

From a director who is totally into blood bathing (Remember 300!), an actor you have barely seen before (Who remembers Immortals?), a villain with a fixation for mass destruction (Been there, done that) and a producer who turned down the offer to produce the next in this series; comes Superman’s reboot featuring a hard gel that holds your hair while traversing at light speed and a dress that somehow never loses its luster, Man of Steel.

Man of Steel did raise some gargantuan expectations in the first hour with the inside struggles of an adolescent trying to come to terms of his own existence in this grand scheme of universe. And then I reached the underlying conclusion of Superman’s fascination with wrecking a city which is Superman’s parenting. It is a glorious example of “How not to raise a child?” with his father and mother all cool about him letting others die around him just so to shield his identity.

Henry Cavill, the man chosen to wear the symbol ‘S’, did live up to the expectation of being corny as he delivered the most atrociously lame dialogue after kissing his lady love with a graveyard of a city lying in the background. And then we have Amy Adams whose face doesn’t know how to change that appalling expression of awe she wore throughout the movie but well, that comes as a pass as she is reportedly dating Superman and getting carried away by Kryptonians for no possible reasons. Meh!

Christopher Nolan knew better and Zack Snyder saw it coming; Superman alone could not have lift this franchise into the clouds they have imagined for it. Zack, thus roped in Batman for the next movie and maybe the ‘S’ in the Superman costume may now just stand for ‘subordinate’ rather than hope in times to come.

Friday, 18 October 2013

[Movie Review] Before Midnight

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Director: Richard Linklater
Genre: Drama, Romance

Well, that pained and hurt came down like a heavy downpour. All illusions of eternal love, sacrifices and affection come to a standstill, when a simple hotel room conversation between a couple in Before Midnight rained havoc on your fairy tale believes and leaves you with unforgiving and cold reality.

I adored Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) for their genuinely creative outlook towards relationships and what sails the boat in troubled rivers. And for a statement, I agree to have a zenith of emotions while watching Before Midnight (2013), the third in the series, for witnessing such a grander sense of maturity and scrupulousness while depicting love’s longevity.

It was never an easy watch, on the contrary, the moments from past came like waves of nostalgia when you least anticipated and left you teetering on the verge of a heartbreak on several occasions. If you think that misery and grief when love just vanishes between two people was agonizingly scrutinized in Blue Valentine, then this will leave you breathless for its intensity and brutality.

All hopes are not crushed for you know that there was romance; in an eccentric, bizarre, masked sort of a way; but romance there was in Before Midnight. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy shines yet again with natural flow of conversation and long shots from director Richard Linklater sets the bar high for the actors to deliver. Watch Julie Delpy in a scene when she says, “I used to sing, play guitar and write songs, I don’t get time to do it now”, and you will witness the astonishing commitment of the persons involved in making the moment sound so resonating and powerful.

One might feel this trilogy is an unprecedented ode to the power love has and how beautiful life can be, but Before Midnight in all its essence exposed how fruitless it is to capture the ephemeral, fleeting nature of love. Mature, poignant and heartbreaking, Before Midnight raises the bar of indie cinema.

Trailer of Before Midnight on YouTube:
Before Midnight on IMDb:

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Top 15 Movies of 2012

15. Les Miserables

14. The  Beasts of Southern Wild

13. Zero Dark Thirty

Link to the review of Zero Dark Thirty:

12. Silver Linings Playbook

11. Cloud Atlas

Link to the review of Cloud Atlas:

10. Gangs of Wasseypur

9. Skyfall

8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

7. Life of Pi

6. Perks of Being a Wallflower

5. The Dark Knight Rises

Link to the review of The Dark Knight Rises:

4. Lincoln

3. Django Unchained

Link to the review of Django Unchained:

2. Argo

1. The Master

Link to the review of The Master:

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

[Movie Review]The Master: A Confounding Masterpiece!

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Genre: Drama, Period

Boundaries are made to be broken, conventions exist to be challenged and a man is often asked to suspend his belief while following a figure in his journey to attain some meaning out of a mundane narrative.

At one point, The Master feels like a kaleidoscope of meaning, one extricating subtly into another; whereas, at the next point, it feels like a lost lamb which is striving for profoundness. It starts off awkwardly with a World War II vet, Freddie Quill (Joaquin Phoenix), remarkably mislaid in the world outside the war. By fate he meets Lancaster Dodd (Phillip Hoffman Seymour), the master, whose belief has laid the foundations of a cult. Characters develop, emotions reach a surge, egos are broken, relations are made and then, out of nowhere, rather than having an emotional storm at the end, it suddenly vaporizes into a quiet climax.

As Lancaster Dodd says, “As a scientist and a connoisseur, I have no idea about the contents of this remarkable potion”, we too are often lost in the seductive enigma that The Master weaves around us. It is in those small delicacies and in those cult meetings that The Master grips us and surprisingly, ends on an anti-climax mode, pulling out the punches when they were actually supposed to hit.

It is evident from this saga that how remarkably the narrative shift in movie-making has taken place. Now, it is the conundrum that dazzles and the open endings that leave one to discern and ruminate upon. At the nerve of being surreal, The Master creeps up upon you when you would least expect it and then, you’ll find yourself going back to it, seeking for the connotation hidden in the sub textual layers of this transcending drama.

Exemplary screenplay sauced up with the virtuoso direction, The Master carried the stamp of a classic which may get bogged down because people take it for something it does not even yearn to be. No, Paul Thomas Anderson does not want you to laud The Master for being profound; all he wants you is to take a leap of faith and to see the extremities of the elevations that art can conquer.

Such an audacious affair would have crumbled like a heap if not for the two bravura central performances that wheeled The Master on the verge of being emotionally upsetting. Extremely strong method acting from Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Hoffman Seymour escalate the drama until it reaches its final abode. One particular scene, when Seymour Hoffman questions Joaquin Phoenix is plain superb in terms of scale and manages to awe the viewer with superlative acting flair illustrated from the two veterans.

The Master is a confounding masterpiece. It is meant to astonish and astound you and makes you go down the road less travelled by. 
The progenitor of Modern Art House Dramas, take a bow! 

Friday, 29 March 2013

[Movie Review] Himmatwala: Even Maa Sherawaali’s Tiger Can’t Save the Day!

Cast: Ajay Devgan, Tamannaah, Paresh Rawal, Mahesh Manjrekar, Zarina Wahab
Director: Sajid Khan
Genre: Comedy, Drama

There lies a word in dictionary, ‘Dreadful’. The word is usually referred for something that is the cause of suffering and sorrow. Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala can be easily quoted in the dictionary beside that word, as an example for better comprehension to the readers. Or eventually, not many people will catch it, so it cannot even attain that feat. Sad for Sajid Khan!

When a movie starts with Sonakshi Sinha moonwalking on an appalling dance number, one ought to expect what lies in the hold of the remaining two and a half hours. The smarter ones will simply leave the theatres while the others will sit back so as to see the heights of clumsiness that can be achieved by the remake, oops, parody of 80’s Himmatwala.

No, there is no point in going into the plot details as it is nothing short of a heap of foul-smelling trash. Only thing you ought to know is that there is this son, Ravi (Ajay Devgan) who avenges his father’s death and the turmoil of his mother and sister from a local loony goon, Sher Singh (Mahesh Majrekar).

Rest assured people, there is not a whisper else in the story apart from a twist bomb dropped before the interval; and what an atrociously lame fizz that bomb was! Sigh!

Sorry Sajid Khan, you may have scored three back to back massive blockbusters, but you got your cards all terribly wrong this time. And guess who the king of the stack was? Yeah, Ajay Devgan! Limp-riding on trivialities, he perchance gave the most underwhelming performance of his career. Who to blame, Sajid Khan for writing such mundane script or the one who penned the inexplicably worthless dialogues?

Tamannaah tried her bit. She grooved when it was needed of her and regularly pitched, “I hate Garibs” with a retard-ness that may have you laughing for once. Paresh Rawal is wasted terribly with a squeaky voice as if someone is choking his throat; though, it did not help his cause to deliver a nuanced comic performance.

If this pile of cartoonish vileness was not enough, Himmatwala pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho by re-enacting the shower sequence in the most ghastly way possible. If the stick bashing was not enough, Ajay Devgan shamelessly uttered “Naha yeh raha tha, dho maine diya!”. Take my word that the master of suspense would have committed suicide if only he was alive today. Maybe now, his ghost will haunt Sajid Khan for the rest of his life and Maa Sherawaali’s tiger won’t save him either.

(first published in

Sunday, 24 March 2013

[Movie Review] Aatma: This Daddy is Pure Evil!

Cast: Bipasha Basu, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shernaz Patel
Director: Suparn Verma
Genre: Horror, Thriller

Another wooden chair rollicks, another worn-out creepy woman gives abysmal warnings that are meant to be disregarded and yet another time, a spirit enters another body and we find some lateral shifting in eyeballs accompanied with some grumpiness in voice. So, again, riding high on banalities arrive another horror movie, Aatma. Cartoonish, eh?

A sensitive girl Nia (Doyel Dhawan); a loving mother Maya (Bipasha Basu) and a malicious father, Abhay (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who is all set to expurgate the throat of his spouse if only he gets an occasion to do so, lives together in a flat. But there lies a timid twist in this story; father and the daughter are all in chubby-chubby love with one another. So much the love is that even death of the daddy can’t separate the duo. So he decides to chip back in this mortal world, only to take away the daughter once and for all!

If not for the cast, this would have been all down in litters. Bipasha Basu yet again carries a horror-fest on her shoulders. Being the central character, the wreckage of the tragedies was dripping from her face. Only this time, she was helped by an even more accomplished actor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Green fresh from his days of Gangs of Wasseypur, Siddiqui steals scenes as if he is one masterful heist man.

Suparn Verma had his intentions right. He sure wanted to scare the living hell out of the audience by churning a mind bending thriller. Sadly though, the attempt misfired and badly at that. It is in the execution and the turtle-slow pacing that the movie falters and not even the satisfactory visual effects helped this one from the mess it had become till it reached the climax.

A movie having a runtime under 100 minutes; that’s low, even by Hollywood standards. Never does it outstay its welcome. Though being thoroughly douche in three fourth of the affair, it is somehow redeemed by a climax, which is garden fresh in Bollywood.

Aatma could have been a stirring psychological drama but feels like a slave to the clichés. Generic and brain dead, this arrow went completely haywire!

(first published in

Friday, 22 March 2013

[Movie Review] Django Unchained: Good old Spaghetti Western!

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo Dicaprio
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Genre: Western, Drama
Movie Reviewed at: PVR Cinemas, Udaipur

You muse endlessly to have a faith in this world, where ‘being bad’ is the only route to rise against the evil. You come close to it and sniff the staple nature of violence and vengeance. This is one big bad world, a world of suppression and blood, in which you either are a demigod or a fiendish devil. You settle down to the tone of it, to the saccharine goriness of the miniscule idiosyncrasies spilled across the barren landscape and then you gapes open mouthed as the shockwaves of awe run all over you after witnessing this fiery masterwork of Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained.

The undercurrent themes of Blaxploitation, dominance of whites and slavery lies heavily besides the baritones of wit and wry humor that Django Unchained offers. The result is an immensely satisfying outing from the veteran director who just doesn’t know how to miss the bull’s eye.

Django (Jamie Foxx), with a silent ‘D’, is a rowdy black sword who mostly stays silent and when he speaks, inflammable boldness flies from his lips. When being rescued by a bounty hunter who gets paid for knocking people and selling their corpses, Dr. King Shultz (Christoph Waltz), his life takes an upswing and he finds himself along with the eccentric hunter in pursuit of the man who took his wife as a slave in the badlands of 1800’s. The man, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who turns out to be a plantation owner having an unusual craze for Mandingo Fighting and a flair for being a wicked businessman, is to be fooled by the duo and so the captive wife is to be rescued by the hands of Django. Sounds simple? Wait till you watch.

Right from the bombastic beginning to a resonating climax, Quentin Tarantino reiterates what he does best; spinning magic all over the screen. Oh yes, definitely it takes an ample amount of time to put his case in the court, a massive two hours and 45 minutes at that, but who cares if the results are so astonishingly raw and brutally hilarious at the same time. The depth of the ferocity of Quentin Tarantino is not to be questioned. He himself is a movie geek and pays his homage to the western of 60’s. And with what style he accomplishes it is a tale to be told to all!

When all the praises will die down and the pulpiness of the affair will be sedated, one will realize that it had a messy narrative.  Nobody doubts over its screenplay for it is surreal in its detailing and wildly creative; but it is the social commentary that somehow loses its worth owing to the self-indulgent nature of the director and the blind faith he had on his style statements. 

Ensemble casting can’t get better than this. When the screen space is shared by such dynamic personas, you tend to hoot every time someone throws a witty line out of the window. Christoph Waltz steals the show with his crackling moustache and a hefty beard while Jamie Foxx is the silent sufferer who unchains himself in the latter half of the movie. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a baddy and looms in the prospects of sheer brutality by his show-stopping sharp one-liners.

Quentin Tarantino plays the big dad and reinvents Western genre. Revenge has not been served colder in recent memories. Call the sheriffs and call the marshals because this Django has truly been unchained! Hat tip to Tarantino!

(first published in

Sunday, 10 March 2013

[Movie Review] Oz the Great and Powerful: Enough of Desserts, where is the Main Course?

Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz
Director: Sam Raimi
Genre: Fantasy and Fiction
Runtime: 2 hours and 7 minutes
Reviewed at: PVR, Udaipur.

Look, we have three hot-shot sorceresses, a con man illusionist from a carnival, a winged monkey, some dwarves and an utterly adorable china doll. Please, also allow this crew to chip in some jaw dropping CGI and a world so surreal that it carries the stamp of stuff dreams are essentially made of. 

Err, is something missing? Wait, I get it; a sense of storytelling.

It takes a considerable time to shake the aura of the visual splendor and the smoldering appeal that Oz the Great and Powerful casts around you. But, once you see past this curtain, you realize the potholes lying in the pavements of this kingdom. It is not that the potholes are frequent; it is just that, you expect more from such a wildly famous fable.

L. Frank Baum’s wizard character, Oscar Diggs (James Franco), who is a little apprehensive when it comes to morality matters, is a small time magician in a carnival in Kansas. When magically he gets to live in Oz, he comes across three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Glinda (Michelle Williams) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz) who are awaiting the arrival of a wizard that has been prophesized in a folk tale. No points for guessing, Oscar Diggs ends up being the wizard who is supposed to do away with the evil witch as well as transform into a better individual.

When Sam Raimi, who earlier directed the horror cult Evil Dead and then grabbed hold of the mega-blockbuster Spiderman franchise, was set upon to direct Oz, you knew you are in for firecrackers. What you did not expect was the humdrum execution of such an enthralling premise. Awkward temperament shifts along with some unintentionally funny acting also ruins the day for Sam Raimi as some characters feel terribly miscast.

What rescues this ship is its dazzling visual style and breathtaking CGI. Some movies are meant to be savored in 3D and this was one of them. With such awe-inspiring effects, you tend to get absorbed into the world quicker than you expect. Special cheers for the winged monkey and the china doll for being so warm and carrying a touch of genuine emotions throughout the movie. 

It is like having this spree of desserts only to realize that you have been robbed off the main course. Do not go searching for any latent self-realization undertones or any beauty-within-self templates; and you won’t come out disappointed for Oz the Great and Powerful is a visually gorgeous family ride with enough of wits and magnetism to swoon you into its magical world.

(first published in

Sunday, 3 March 2013

[Movie Review] I, Me aur Main: Who’s the Best? Definitely not this film!

Cast: John Abraham, Prachi Desai, Chitrangda Singh
Director: Kapil Sharma
Genre: Drama, Romance

Two successive Fridays and we have back to back coming-of-age tales. While Kai Po Che was a magnificent example of finesse cine-making, I, Me aur Main was an apt illustration of how degenerate such a subject can go when it is not handled with utmost care.

“I love me too”, that is how the doors of Ishaan’s (John Abraham) world open for us, a world where even the air smells full of him. Upon entering, we are introduced to Anushka (Chitrangda Singh), who apart from being efficacious and independent, is madly smitten, for no specific reasons, with our self-infatuated music executive.

Suddenly and maybe for the sake of narrative advancement, she decides to climb the steps of maturity and dumps Ishaan out of thin air. So, rather than getting a lift for some improvement, Ishaan finds refuge is his new neighbor, the effervescent Gauri (Prachi Desai). To nobody’s surprise, what then left is the act of making a man out of a boy that Ishaan was, in the most clichéd way it was possible.

The debutant director, Kapil Sharma, fails to deliver and with a clumsily edgy storyline falls like a winged bird who wanted to touch the likes of ‘Wake up Sid!’ The good he did was in the brightly lit frames he delivered, which makes it a feel-good movie. It also rides high on the peppiness of its music and many instants are carried alone on the shoulders of the background score. The editing is a strong department and with a tight run-time, this splash of dudes’ fairytale, though being tiresome, at least doesn’t drag.

In this ever falling heap of monotony, it is the boxer cladded John Abraham who stands out for his performance. Flowing with oodles of charm, he hits straight at you and sweeps you over with his self-assured smile. Chitrangda Singh carries forward her alluring persona from Inkaar but fumbles through scenes that require an emotional depth. Prachi Desai looked similar to Anushka Sharma from Jab Tak Hai Jaan and this is nothing short of a compliment.

Though being cinematically glamorous, I, Me aur Main ended up being a hollow cannonball with nothing but stereotypical dialogues and corny situations wrapping its surface. Not an Abraham die-hard? Avoid!

(first published in

Sunday, 24 February 2013

[Movie Review] A Good Day to Die Hard: Worse than the Chernobyl Disaster

Cast: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch
Director: John Moore
Genre: Action, Thriller.
Runtime: 97 minutes

Wait! You must be kidding me. This saggy faced, self-deprecatory lunatic can’t be the John McClane we used to love. No, you just can’t ruin a character to this level of absurdity. Really, Bruce Willis, you signed this vile junk of a movie? And trust me, throwing the Spartacus famed, Jai Courtney, won’t help either, for A Good Day to Die Hard was a pile of rubbish that reached its tipping point by the end of first hour and then collapsed stupidly in the climax.

Visibly old John McClane (Bruce Willis) goes ‘on a holiday’ to Russia to bring his dolt son, Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) back in line. What he realizes is that Jack is not a fool anymore but an undercover CIA agent (well, that doesn’t stop him from making his horrendously awful grins) working against people who are trying to set up a nuclear bomb. So, the duo teams up to beat the goons in every way possible while Bruce Willis, in between those rains of bullets, repeatedly says that he is on a holiday. Phew!

I wonder what was the franchise owners thinking when they gave the directorial nod to John Moore, who previously made movies like Max Payne and The Omen. Extremely silly direction combined with a broken screenplay wrecks this flick and makes it the worst entry for the franchise. Not even the action sequences, which were pretty breathtaking to be honest, can save this from the mess it had become till the end looms into perspective. 

Helicopters crash, glasses break and buildings collapse on a regular interval. Unapologetic loudness and crash dialogues steals away the fun that was so easily found in the previous entries of the franchise. Even the whole set up of Chernobyl feels derivative with the smell of clichés rotting the environment of the movie.

A Good Day to Die Hard is as pointless as it can get. With crass attempts at humor and a filthy American bigot premise, you can’t help but feel sorry for the fan boys who have stuck around for the unfolding of this chapter in McClane’s saga. Trust me, avoid this mess!

(first published in

[Movie Review] Kai Po Che: Sensitive, Soulful and Brilliant

Cast: Amit Sadh, Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kumar Yadav, Amrita Puri
Director: Abhishek Kapoor
Genre: Drama
Music: Amit Trivedi

Once in a blue moon a movie is made that touches you deep down and is poignant enough to pull your heartstrings; a movie that will stay with you long after the credits roll down. Kai Po Che is one such affair that stirs around your heart and spawns a moving portrayal of relations and ambitions against the backdrop of Gujarat riots that happened back in 2002.

Based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel, “The Three Mistakes of My Life”, Kai Po Che is a quintessential tale about friendship, dreams and getting back on your feet after being broken down into pieces. It follows the bend of three protagonists, Omi (Amit Sadh), Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav) whose lives were altered by the happenings that were out of their control and were governed by a single king, fate!

There comes a scene in the post-interval period in which two characters run through the streets of Ahmedabad and upon forgiving, they embrace each other as the camera revolves around them. Right in that fleeting instance, with breathtaking music playing in the background, you realize the achievement of Abhishek Kapoor, the director of Kai Po Che, in etching out characters that are realistic and authentic to the hilt.

Right from the solid writing to the outstanding acting from its cast, Kai Po Che impresses technically in all the departments. Be it the atmosphere of Gujarat or the violent rendering of riots or be it the soils of a cricket pitch, everything felt genuine and the emotions were heart wrenchingly honest.

The director, Abhishek Kapoor has done a scintillating task of giving Kai Po Che profound and a weighty appeal. The insightful details and the moments were strikingly moving and if you have read the novel, get ready for a wave of nostalgia to sweep over you. 

Howsoever daring Kai Po Che might be in its theatrics, being an adaptation of a famous novel works in a negative manner as the audience already knows the fate of the characters. Some of the effect of its climax was reduced as we were already acquainted with what was going to unfold on the screen way before the movie started. But instead of the destination, it was the journey of Kai Po Che that was of utmost importance and in that, the team has struck gold.

This coming-of-age saga of the three youngsters escalates from ground into fascinating heights and culminates at a very high point. Kai Po Che is the warm center of the emotions we feel around us. Strongly recommended!

(first published in

Monday, 18 February 2013

[Movie Review] Zero Dark Thirty: The Thorny Fences of Humanity

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler
Director: Katheryn Bigelow
Genre: History, Drama, Crime
Reviewed at: PVR Cinemas, Udaipur.

She stands alone in a room full of men, donning a fragile skin with a steel heart inside. The President of CIA asks, “Who is this girl?” Maya (Jessica Chastain) retorts, “I’m the motherf***** who found Bin Laden, Sir.”

To be candid, Zero Dark Thirty is not a subtle movie and believe me, guilt is a virtue found in every thread of every individual present in the movie; be it the terrorists or the CIA agents or the Navy SEALs. It kicks off with a cacophony of sounds with the 9/11 attack and sets the mood dark and grim. What then trails are the 10 years of journey and the greatest man hunt that took place in the history.

It takes a nonconformist to depict the archives as a documentary and still churn such explosive results from the material. Katheryn Bigelow, for sure, is one of them! 2008, she gave us a powerhouse motion picture, ‘The Hurt Locker’ which was lauded critically and also bagged 5 Academy Awards including the ‘Best Motion Picture of the Year’. Now, she has cooked the unflinchingly raw and ruthless thriller that chronicles the hunt for Al-Qaeda’s leading terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. And yet again, she has scored a home run.

Even at the start, we knew how Zero Dark Thirty is going to end. But, it is the undaunted and unflinching take of what rolls on the screen that takes your breath away. The feminism, the heroic attempts and the satire stands tall on its feet, as Maya (Jessica Chastain) gives up all to assassinate the terrorist mastermind. It is in those inflamed eyes, in the weariness of her shoulders and in her persona of dripping angst, that you can’t help but feel that the Oscars are in store for our lady lead.

If her acting was not enough to uproot your minds, we still have the impeccable direction of Bigelow to set things in motion and man, what track was she on! She takes a dig at humanity while showing the despicably gruesome torture sequences performed by the US officials while trying to nail Bin Laden. No plausible answers are given to what is justified or what is wrong and sometimes it makes us feel that in wars, the human inside us is replaced by a filthy, ugly monster. 

It often occurs that a movie which relies heavily on buried social comments becomes self-obsessed. Though being over indulgent at times, the slow building first hour reaches to an impeachable 20 minutes climax sequence that shows the superiority of art possessed by Bigelow. The night visions and the use of minimalist background score set the tone dead serious. Trust me; footsteps were never so prominent before!

Zero Dark Thirty might pale when being compared to Bigelow’s previous masterpiece, but it still is far more etched out and exhilarating than any other thriller you have laid your eyes upon in a long time. Yet again, in this incendiary dexterity of wars, Katheryn Bigelow has found her peace and ambition.

(first published in

Sunday, 3 February 2013

[Movie Review] Vishwaroop: Kamal Haasan’s Melody!

Cast: Kamal Haasan, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah
Director: Kamal Haasan
Genre: Comedy, Action

It starts with Kamal Haasan teaching Kathak to his pupils, middles with Kamal Haasan in Afghanistan along with a group of Mujahedeen and ends with Kamal Haasan saving the whole of New York City. This is a platform to show how dynamic a person can be, for Kamal Haasan is the actor, writer and director of the mega budgeted Vishwaroop and trust me, he is there in every frame of this movie; read again, every frame!

At one second he is down on the ground, begging his captors to set him free and the very  next second, he is making pulp out of their brains, beating them like there is no tomorrow. That is how Vishwanathan (Kamal Hassan) is, indestructible yet polite, humorous yet intense. 

On the other hand, Dr Nirupama (Pooja Kumar), a nuclear oncologist weds Vishwanathan for the sake of green card and quickly assumes that things are off the charts with her husband and thus, hires a personal detective to investigate him. What leads, is an inconsistent narrative jumping from flashbacks to present in an unconventional manner.

Terrorism has been tackled in countless Bollywood affairs before, but it is the context of Vishwaroop that makes it stand out in this horde. The execution, though erratic, is unflinching and compromises not a single shred of substance. Though, in the latter half of the movie, it loses the brainpowers and succumbs to gaping plot holes for the sake of delivering unabashed action sequences. But it is one thing that a thriller should always be, popcorn crackling entertainment.

And on top of that, the climax is disastrous. Seriously, A Faraday shield? What was all the setup for? To snatch a hurried climax of a movie that well exceeds its time frame with meaningless conversations and unnecessary characters speaking languages that one can’t understand. When being translated, you are already sighing for not being able to comprehend it in the first place.

As one realizes the countless times Haasan’s name been used in this review, one must realize that if not for Haasan, this movie would have been lost in the theatres without anybody knowing about it.  He gives an electrifying performance and carries the movie single handedly while the characters around him act like buffoons and behave like dumb retards on a runaway from an asylum.

What is unintentionally sidesplitting is the appearance of the villain, Omar (Rahul Bose). It is indeed a pity to see such a capable actor being reduced to nothing due to hysterical makeup and a terrible grin; wait, this grin was in the scripts, right? Actually, the problem is that the expressions never change; no, not even for a minute!

To sum the case; leave aside the morality take, leave aside the religious propaganda and leave aside the crude remarks splashed on the movie, this is semi-solid entertainment. It may get dumb by the end, but blah, who cares!

(first published in