Straight From a Movie

Pensive Thoughts on Paper | Movie Reviews and Quotes Website

Category: Indian Cinema (page 1 of 3)

You can find thoughtful movie reviews of Indian Cinema under this roof.

Lipstick Under My Burkha Review (2017) | Hidden Lives Behind Societal Veils

Bold and ballsy! Lipstick Under My Burkha was already narrating a dozen brave tales via its revolting moniker. The good news is this movie is a perfect paragon of it. It is the second big screen project as a director for Alankrita Shrivastava and she delivers it to perfection. She has also written the story for Lipstick Under My Burkha. It is a complete joyride of ups and downs in the lives of four trapped souls who are trying to breathe six feet under societal expectations.

The actors Aahana Kumra, Ratna Pathak, Konkona Sen Sharma and Plabita Borthakur do a fabulous job playing their respective characters evoking plenty of pathos. You can’t help but feel sorry for them. The fact that it lets you feel so is an achievement per se. The intent of the movie is to bring awareness and to leave it at that. That’s what we find the movie trying to say it loud.

Fuels Women Empowerment

Lipstick Under My Burkha is yet another exemplary product of parallel cinema that shows you the plight of different types of women trapped in a thriving secular community.  In a patriarchal society of India, women are yet to find their ground even though they have been fighting for it in hushed voices. It’s a voice that fails to scream for the fear of being blemished or the fear of upending the lives of all those who are rooted in them.

India is yet to register women as souls worthy of equal rights. It is a shameful picture that the movie so gorgeously paints. It forces us to acknowledge the blunt display of hypocrisy when Indian constitution dictates one thing whilst people shackled by their cultural chauvinism turn their faces away.

The picture takes the form of “things you do not do in plain sight”. If you pay attention that’s what the title of the movie too dictates. It is a metaphor for things that women are forced to hide under what seems as their societal idea of a veil. They have turned their cultural veil into a place under which they could hide, titillate and water their aspirations from.

All these veiled things are reflections of what women have been reduced to. They are stealing things to buy themselves a dream, they have dreams they wish to pursue but their lives have been upended by forced marriage, they are really good at something that they can’t pursue because it might make their husbands feel bad about it, and they have sexual needs at an old age which the society deems as outright criminal and unacceptable.

Stories of Lipstick Under My Burkha Movie

There are four storylines running parallel in Lipstick Under My Burkha. They intertwine under one roof and whenever they do, they are always beaming. But when they are out in the open, in the field, where the real action is, that’s where life gets shitty.

Rehana (Spoilers Ahead)

Rehana is a young college girl with her own aspirations and dreams. She is shown stealing products using her Burkha as a veil that security doesn’t mess around with. But these products are all tokens that she thinks will help her get there. She has become so numb in her life that conscience eludes her. Blame it on the way she has been forced to live like. Her life has been reduced to a mere diatribe when she’s home. Her parents are strict maniacs who impose their idea of living on her poor shoulders. She has an idea of herself that she lives when she is in college. She too wants to be cool (copies Miley Cyrus) wishes to live unfettered. And all that revolt becomes evident when she distorts her identity at both places.

still of Plabita Borthakur as Rehana in Lipstick Under My Burkha

Shashank Arora who plays Dhruv in the movie becomes her love interest. That angle of her senior getting pregnant was a dispensable addition to her story to show that Dhruv wasn’t the right guy for her. It contrasts with her getting into trouble with all the stealing.

Shirin

Shirin plays a saleswoman when her husband isn’t looking. She is good at the job and she knows it but there’s only one thing she fears the most – her husband (Sushant Singh). Shirin’s husband forces himself upon her every night despite there being complications with Shirin’s body. His blunt disregard of her wants plays an ugly symphony that a lot of men in the country still hum to. For instance, not using a condom for sex just because it takes away the pleasure, overlooking the price, of course, something helpless women end up paying.

She wishes to be something in her life, also to take care of her family but she can’t do that unless her husband approves. So she lives this hidden life trying to earn some money on the sides to support her family during hard times. When matters become worse when her husband begins to see another woman, and she tries to confront him, surprisingly we see the hubby still winning. You can’t help but feel immensely sorry for her. What has she become in her exercise to please her husband? She has become a man’s mere plaything and is tossed around like an ungrateful choice. It is really shattering to watch her plight.

Leela

Another aspirational tale comes from the perspective of Leela the wildling who has dreamt of a plan alongside a photographer (Vikrant Massey). They don’t leave out an opportunity to have sex ever, even though she is promised to some other man as part of an arranged situation. Though deliberately put to have some fun, her life is a tumble in her eyes as she is being sent off. The photographer boyfriend is the only good thing that closes in on her dream to make it big, but that too begins to slip away with the arrival of a new man in her life.

The angle of her mother posing nude for painters seemed like a stretch for the tale although it tried to swing in a deeper meaning to how she too had a secret of her own. That she needed all the money and there was nothing else she could do about. Being a widow she too had expectations but stranded at a juncture with a judgmental society that doesn’t eye you good when you are trying to get back on the saddle had left her no choice.

Leela ends up getting sandwiched between both the men in her life, who both end up leaving her in a theatrical display of emotions. Vikrant once again does a brilliant job especially after his extraordinary performance in A Death in the Gunj movie that released last month.

Usha

One of the most fun elements of the tale is brought to you by Ratna Pathak’s character Usha. Her diegesis as she reads a cheap sex thriller for most of the parts of the movie gradually gives us an insight on her life. Ratna Pathak nails her role as Usha who falls in love with a swimming trainer. It is that part of her life that she is ashamed to share with the world and hence creates another identity, the one that comes straight from the book Rosie. Fancying the trainer and fantasizing him based on the story she reads, she calls him up with ulterior motives.

Her life in the limelight as the powerful Buaji is the one that is impactful and is revered everywhere. She gets things done around the house. But it is also in perfect contrast with the one she ends up becoming every night. She becomes this vulnerable woman who has her needs to satiate.

With a bit of misunderstanding, and a series of bad luck Usha’s secret comes out in the open. And like a suitcase that’s too packed up to hold clothes in, her life upends out in the open losing all its reverence in a matter of seconds. People who used to respect her for what she stood, instead of understanding her, end up throwing her out of the house.

Final Bit in Lipstick Under My Burkha

The final scene is like a time of the reckoning for all the women although the movie ends leaving everything that might happen or might not for viewer’s imagination. We see all these revolting women or the women who had been leading a double life all this time, come at one place, smoking (a sign of being rebellious), trying to piece together torn pages of Usha’s secret books. All those words reflect on those dreams they couldn’t get to sew.

The only problem with that scene being, people other than Usha seem to know the story too which is like one major issue with the movie. Rehana reacts as if she knew the story well, on being asked to read the ending, as she drops in a line to make Usha understand what the end meant. Other than that the movie holds taut at all junctures.

still of Konkana Sen Sharma in Lipstick under my Burkha

I liked the way Lipstick Under My Burkha ends too, leaving all the threads open. Will the women remain bound by what society asks of them, or will they choose to fly free. It is a question that we have the answer to. These ladies are all currently living examples in the Indian society. So many dreams crushed, so many lives lived, and we know only a gist of it, and that too from Alankrita’s movie. So what’s it’s gonna be?

The Final Verdict

Lipstick Under My Burkha has been brilliantly presented. The story of the four protagonists is created such so as to reflect the lives of women in the country. The movie leaves a lot of things for viewer imagination in the end, but ends perfectly at a climactic point.

India is prudish when it comes to matters related to sex, and the movie’s got plenty. It flows unabashed to make a point, and the point resounds well. Even though the image of women plight is gradually changing all thanks to cinema and media, I think it would take more than an era for things to start making a difference. But it’s a great start and it’s all such intelligent efforts that count in the end.

Do not miss this movie for the world! Let the change, change you.

You can check out the trailer of Lipstick Under My Burkha here:

 

A Death in the Gunj Review (2017) | Diary of the Neglected

Konkana Sen Sharma’s debut A Death in the Gunj is a beautiful take of the neglected. It is so realistic and uncontrived that it makes you wonder why Konkana didn’t pick up direction in the first place. There was a director in her all this time, and it is so darn good that it instantly places her amongst the elite.

A Death in the Gunj also gives us an opportunity to see the very talented Late Om Puri onscreen once again. His acting is so relatable that it makes you miss him even more, now that he is gone. To constitute the primal plot of the movie, we have a family trying to spend a week’s holiday at their parent’s in a small town in Jharkhand. The backdrop is set in the year 1979 and Konkana Sen does a fine job to bring that period feel to it.

Direction of A Death in the Gunj

Whilst the Indian Film Industry is abounding with bad directors, it is going through a hopeful change. People are getting more focused towards making serious movies, and the educated audience has been responding well too. There are talented budding young directors showing up every month or so, who have their eyes set on parallel cinema to helm really good movies, and they are doing a fine job at that too. With people like Konkana Sen Sharma, that hope further solidifies making us cocksure of this revolution.

She started her career as an actor, which gives her an upper hand to witness story building up close. I am so glad that she has taken up all the good things. Her direction literally screams about her genius. She is outright brilliant for a feature film debutant. Her frames roll with a purpose, and she doesn’t omit the essential minutia worth capturing. Few minutes in her movie and you can feel the beautiful direction literally oozing out.

Konkana pays apt attention to the build up, giving us a proper insight into the story, introduces the main plot gradually unfurling it just how it is supposed to be. I think she needs to keep on directing. She is going to become a great director.

Plot of A Death in the Gunj Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

Death in the Gunj starts with a prologue of two people recklessly and unfeelingly talking about a dead body, so we know there’s a murder on the cards. It builds up its fair amount of suspense as it lets us introduce ourselves with the characters first.

It is a family who is visiting their parent’s Anupama Bakshi (Tanuja Mukherjee) and O.P. Bakshi (Om Puri) to spend their holidays. We have Gulshan Devaiah as Nandu who is the angry guy calling shots, Tillotama Shome playing his wife, Kalki Koechlin as Mimi and a litte one Tani played by Arya SharmaVikrant Massey plays the young protagonist Shutu as the cousin of Nandu. We also have Jim Sarbh playing Brian and Ranvir Shorey playing Vikram as Nandu’s two childhood friends.

vikrant massey in a death in the gunj movie

Shutu is always the butt of the joke, being younger, gullible and vulnerable. He is pranked upon, scolded and scorned by everyone. What the family forgets is his tendency to feel unloved in a place that is smothering him every second. And all of that begins to take shape owing to just one week of family time.

Shutu’s Mindset

Shutu is still trying to get over his dead father, wearing his father’s sweater all the time, crying himself to sleep. His pitiable emotional state is considered as a childish behaviour by Nandu who frowns upon him all the time. At one point he even hits him while teaching him how to drive.

Tani being the youngest is the only company he enjoys. They spend time together trying to pass time in a place that doesn’t have anything for entertainment. Shutu is constantly condescended by Vikram and Nandu who never miss out the opportunity to boss him around.

He has lied about his results to Anupama, who goes on to figure it out through a mail from Shutu’s mother. Shutu wishes to be away from home, and is going through a real hard time. But to fuel that fire we have this family constantly nagging him into doing things.

Mimi is in love with Vikram who is now married. She tries to rekindle the spark but fails to do that ending up drunk one night, and then having sex with Shutu playing him as a rebound guy. Shutu, too young to understand the situation, ends up falling for her hoping to continue the fling. He is rejected in an abject sense of disregard.

The Lost Soul

With hopes to win Mimi, he ends up overlooking Tani at one point. Tani becomes furious and ends up getting lost somehow. As Nandu and Shutu go into the woods to locate Tani, Shutu becomes a victim to a trap. Nandu ends up driving away leaving Shutu in a pit without even bothering to check for him.

Spending hours in the pit in the precarious woods, Shutu is discovered by their servant who then helps him out. On returning Shutu realizes Tani has been found and on seeing everybody on the dining table unbothered by his plight, it hurts him a lot. He goes to apologize to Tani, the only person he cared about in the whole house, but she refuses to talk to him as well.

Shutu realizes nobody cares about him. He feels like a neglected soul, constantly being hammered by the family, pushed around to get their own job done. Owing to all this neglectful buildup, he ends up taking his own life. It is hands down one of the saddest bits in the flick.

Evoking Pathos

A Death in the Gunj compels you to relate to the character. It evokes a sense of poignancy. It will have you thinking for hours about the neglect Shutu faces all along. And it isn’t just one person to blame for that, but the entire family. Sometimes we get so lost in our lives that we forget to pay attention to the people who need it the most.

The height is when in an attempt to find Tani the family forgets entirely about Shutu. His encounter with a wolf, the very paragon of death itself who chooses to leave him alone (nobody kicks a dead dog), is so beautifully captured that you feel like showering all the love to the poor fellow. And when he returns nobody bothers to even ask where he was, and in what perilous fate he had found himself in. They were busy dining forgetting him unknowingly.

shutu in a death in the gunj movie

It is just downright terrible what humans could do by simply being themselves.

There is one remark by Tani who is busy reading names on their family tree and wonders why Shutu’s name is not there. I loved how in the end Konkana decided to let his blood paint that same tree as if finally Shutu too makes it there by being dead.

You can watch the movie from here:

Minor Issues

A Death in the Gunj has this strange thrilling vibe to it that belies its original theme. For a second the movie has you duped into believing that it is a semi-horror flick. But you realize that it isn’t what it tries to sell through the trailers. It is something more entirely.

If the writers were keen on hiding whose death we were going to see in the end, I think it became quite clear in the prologue itself. While some couldn’t guess it by the vague frames, it was easy for the rest to crack the code. The sense of neglect Shutu faces even when he was sitting in the car, gave it away that he was nothing but a ghost sitting behind, looking at his drivers and wondering how could be a person still be so arrogant and neglectful towards him even after death.

The Final Verdict

I think A Death in the Gunj is a profound gem that needs to be celebrated. All of the characters in the movie did a fabulous job playing their roles with conviction. You can’t even sense a teensy flaw in their acting. They are absolutely natural in their ways.

The movie is really deep for a thriller and shouldn’t be placed in that genre, I feel. It keeps you constantly rooted, lets you enjoy all the family letting you relate to its characters. The movie also becomes successful in making you feel extremely sorry for its protagonist for ending up in such colossal sense of abandonment.

It makes you question your actions and tries to make a bold point of keeping your eyes open for people who need your love. Every soul needs your attention and you shouldn’t get so much lost in your life that you forget to notice fragile living beings around.

Konkana Sen Sharma has proven herself to be extraordinary with the camera. I hope we get to see more of her films in the long run.

Check out our other Indian Cinema Reviews too.

Check out the trailer of A Death in the Gunj here:

Hindi Medium Review (2017) | A Satire on India’s Education System

Hindi Medium is a satire on India’s current education system. While there are people who are against reservation system and wish to eradicate it completely, there are some who clearly think otherwise. Even though it’s a topic debatable, that’s not supposed to be the actual theme of the movie. It is how the rich have been trampling down the poor by hogging on their bread.

Hindi Medium tries to show the rich in their own light of abomination and how detestable they become in doing so. But it ends up trundling down some unrealistic territories, that makes it gradually dwindle down by the end. Also, it fails to tend to a lot of other sub-plots that it just leaves open ended.

The Plot of Hindi Medium (Spoilers Ahead)

The movie lurches forward with some brilliant comedy and comic timing that comes straight from Irrfan Khan. who plays Raj Batra. He is a natural at it and you can see him not even try. While Saba Qamar, who plays Mita Batra, is chosen to be a nagging element steering her husband’s life into making rash decisions. Her obsession to live a life King Size plucks them out of their house and places them amongst the affluent. The high society is like a gaudy display of pretence where no one believes in the institution of letting lose. It is a biased picture of restrained people and it isn’t pretty.

still of Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar from Hindi Medium movie

Then comes the question of their only child’s education. She wishes her the best the country has to offer, and so with hopes to put their daughter in a prestigious school starts their own charade of becoming something they are not. There are some blunt elements in the movie whom when you listen to, you are forced to say:

C’mon who talks like that?

Hindi Medium shows us the ugly picture of the hassle you have to put up with to get admission forms for your children. Long queues, delinquencies, and corruption, it is all in there. Not trying to fight it off and giving in just to make her wife happy, Raj is like a drum who beats himself.

Putting on a Mask

Finally, finding a way to admit their child via the government seats reserved for the destitute, and to prove to the scholastic reviewing detective, that the family were indeed poor and not rich, they start living in a dilapidated house surrounded by the poor.

Deepak Dobriyal plays the guy named Shyam Prakash who calls himself “traditionally destitute”, and just for a gag takes pride in it too. He has been typecasted and plugged in based on his humour and the way he pulls things up with his powerful acting. While all of it is intentionally kept fun and light, you can’t unsee how Saket uses subtle gimmicks to display the plight of the poor in India, and the difficulties they face on a daily basis.

Deepak, gullible as he was, buys into their lies, befriends them and helps them by being a true friend Raj never had. Raj and Mita score the admission but at the cost of Deepak’s very own child’s seat, which they then feel they were responsible for.

Feeling bad for Deepak and his family, Raj decides to take one final stand of trying to bring poor talented kids to light and to open the eyes of the corrupt, the rich and the insensitive. He eventually helps a government school to build itself up with a charitable donation, and then by winning her wife’s respect with his newly found sensitivity decides to admit their child to the same government school even though they had a seat in the elite.

There are a couple of great songs in the movie, for instance, Guru Randhawa’s Suit Suit.

You can order Hindi Medium from here:

Stereotypical Society

Even though good and bad are on completely different pedestals, Saket Chaudhary the director of Hindi Medium assumes every opulent being to be in a similar light. The rich are bad is the one flashlight he throws unknowingly as he tries to portray his take on the high society. In doing so, he deliberately demarks a line of rich and poor, and maybe fuels it up a bit too. He must understand that there is no such thing as rich being bad or poor being good. The fact is there are good people and then there are the bad ones. The latter’s presence is what we can beat with morality education.

At one point the movie seems to be heading to so many secondary subplots but unfortunately, those end up being overlooked. For example, the presence of Mita’s old college friend Kabir played by Sanjay Suri who is just there for a simple favour. Then her being smitten with ostentatious display doesn’t get a closure. Her stomping on Raj’s carefree lifestyle, subjugating and adjusting him as she pleases still remains untended even though we find them reconciling in the end.

The screenplay of the flick isn’t intelligently written and characters seem to have created for the sake of the movie plot. That being said, contrivance is at its peak in the movie. You see through everything.

By the end, you feel a lot of unrealistic things popping up, and even though Saket chooses to keep it real by showing one or two men clapping to Raj’s speech, that part still ends up becoming a forced addition.

Nevertheless, fun remains the topmost priority at all times. The flick never misses out on cracking you up for the better half. You choose to forgive it because you stay thoroughly entertained.

The Final Verdict

Hindi Medium is quite entertaining when you choose to laugh at your own plight. It addresses some of those towering issues in India that hover around a child’s education. The flick also tries to go behind the camera to show you one typical example of a household which is willing to do anything to get a seat, so in short every parent ever. It is a mockery of the Indian government that chooses to keep its eyes closed and overlook impoverished inhabitable conditions of their schools.

It tends to be a tad biased on numerous occasions to help the story reach the right areas. Even though it scores great on comedy, it doesn’t score well in drama.

Whatever the case might be, I think Saket becomes successful in making his point. I hope it helps turn the tide.

You can check out other Irrfan Khan movie reviews on this site as well.

Check out the trailer of Hindi Medium movie:

Sachin Movie Review (2017) | Sachin Hits a Six Again for the Big Screen

Sachin movie is the justice our God of Cricket deserves. It is an extraordinary biopic documentary that takes you on a joyride of your life trying to show what you deem closest – all things cricket.

If you are an Indian, love for cricket comes inbred. And if you are talking cricket, there is only one name that resounds in every corner of the country. Sachin! and it goes on two times in unison. That’s how we remember Sachin – the God of Cricket.

You hear that uproarious clamour, goosebumps ensue. That’s the power of chanting a mantra they say. Well, they got that right at least.

To be absolutely and hopelessly in love with mortals, so much that you epitomize them as Gods – it’s in the nature of mankind. It’s one hard to beat wont that we will never get over. And centuries from now, people who wouldn’t know about this gem of a man, will blindly pray for him and worship his idols. Weird stories will layer up, the good deeds will become blessings and what not. You can write that down, that’s how Gods have flourished everywhere. It’s an imminent reality that’s on the cards.

To break that stereotype from actually creating a story of its own walks in Sachin himself with his story on the big screen. James Erskine does him impeccable justice with a documentary to help us store his face as is in our minds, not to be obliterated by casting an actor, not to be decimated by the contortions of ugly visual effects – mistakes M. S. Dhoni: The Untold Story committed.

He lets Sachin himself do the talking while he assembles real life footage from his life to connect the dots. When you let someone narrate his/her life story, you know instantly justice has been already done. Because who else knows your life’s story better than you?

Plot for the Sachin Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

Sachin A Billion Dreams begins with a prologue set up to show us how cricket has been uniting us as a country ever since India‘s participation in the sport. It was a generation in the making and it was India’s bright face trying to shine against the world. It is beautifully portrayed via footages from the time, everything populous and real.

That’s when a little mischievous lad was busy playing pranks on his friends, lightening up neighbor’s cars, and what not. He was yet to realize his dream but was constantly accompanied by his elder brother Ajit Tendulkar playing regular cricket. Being gifted a bat at an early age was like being handed the weapon meant to conquer the world.

Sachin Movie still Sachin A Billion Dreams child Sachin

Sachin acknowledges and respects his bourgeois upbringing to teach him valuable lessons of his life, considers the hard work put in by her mother in her job to be the primal force of diligence in him.

That Cricket Dream

It was the World Cup that India had won in the year 1983 that had set the benchmark for Sachin’s dream. With that elation, capered in his conviction to achieve a similar feat for India.

At even a young age, his performance was germinating and his brother Ajit decided to put him under the aegis of Ramakant Achrekar. Growing up, there were ordeals he was supposed to conquer, like his coach keeping a coin on the stumps, asking others to bowl him and earn it. Sachin would stay at the crease every time and earn the coin himself on countless days.

Regular practice helped in carving him as a cricketer. His hectic cricketing schedule was making things hard to cope and so he moved in with his uncle and aunt who lived in Shivaji Park.

His major breakthrough happened when he came into the limelight for staying on the crease alongside Vinod Kambli for an unbroken 664 run partnership. The rest is history, as they say, but the one that we have lived every second of our lives.

Want to read his autobiography? Order the book from here:

Humility and Love

If you listen to his conversations and interviews, it is hard not to melt. Every time he spoke you can feel a humble child trying to do his level best, even in things that are off-field. The one interview where he is being asked whether he liked all the fame that came tagging along, you can feel the warmth in his answer. That unfazed nod and the “it’s alright but that isn’t the thing I am after” look is going to make you fall in love with this man again.

The film also steers on numerous occasions towards depicting the fun and light side of Sachin’s life, be it be with his personal conversations with Sara his daughter or pulling his son Arjun’s pants off on a recording, or having fun with his friends, everything is so beautifully cut in that it brings a smile to your face.

Few know about the love life of Sachin. The Sachin movie brings into the vanguard some of those exciting moments we hadn’t come across. It’s a great love story that happens between Anjali and Sachin, the import of which we realize by watching their delightful moods as they narrate it. A lot of people already know about the sacrifices Anjali had to make in letting Sachin follow his passion. Even though it might not seem apt to some, it is a cost one should be willing to pay when you have a prodigy for a partner.

Controversies in Sachin A Billion Dreams

Sachin Movie doesn’t delve into branding people when surrounded by controversies. It is a fact everybody knows about, and yet James chooses to show what is important – moving on.

That one event on Eden Gardens when India didn’t play well, reshowed us that ugly face of Indian crowd that is hard to fathom. It is one hideous page in the history of cricket that shows the ruggedness of it all. It is hard to believe there were/are people who are quick to deliver justice by one bad day. It’s like they are yet to understand the concept of failure, and that sports arena where worlds collide should be nothing but a slave to their will. If things don’t pan out the way they want it to, they would completely annihilate it.

You instantly hate the mob for it. It is a coarse cold heartless crowd, and with burning effigies, damaging properties, bringing harm they prove they are akin to savages, and that it is players’ moral responsibility to keep the savages entertained. That was one alarming reality that Sachin movie acquaints us with. It is like staring into a mirror that shows us our wicked side. Only it was in the uneducated uncouth past.

The Saddest Moment in the Sachin Movie

One of the saddest moments in the Sachin movie lurks right before the intermission when Sachin’s father expires. Frames play a symphony of emotions that’s hard to escape from. You give in to his exact words, and it is hard not to cry for Sachin’s loss.

Sachin shares what he felt, how he felt and describes every feeling for you to empathize. Tears follow. It is a reality that awaits everyone right around the corner. Being in someone’s shoes who has to go through such a nightmare is immensely heartbreaking. James Erskine makes those frames even more poignant by showing hundreds of slippers and shoes so as to depict that’s what you see when you are entering a house full of people when you are down and your eyes are all teary.

Rewatching Sachin deliver that interview with a heavy heart, and feeling the exact amount of despair and sadness he must have been carrying at that moment, would rip your heart out. When the cinema hall lights up for the interval, you are afraid people are going to see you in tears.

Remember all those times Sachin got out and how badly scathed you were from the inside. That pin drop silence, as if something horrible had happened? Just imagine being in Sachin’s shoes for a second and multiply that anger, frustration by 100. That’s how he felt every time he failed to score. He truthfully states that and it makes you want to revere him even more.

Can you imagine a mortal being judged for every second of his life? A man constantly playing in a shitstorm of pressure with expectations that could overwhelm you into defeat? Well, this mortal is no mortal, I say!

The World Cup Moment

Despite the ups and downs in the life of Sachin be it be injury or him struggling with his form, the finest moment in his life, or in any Indian’s life would be that big World Cup moment that sealed us a new cup. Watching Dhoni hit that six in style, a finisher that announced India’s arrival as new cricketing champs was a moment worth reliving a thousand times. It will once again put you in the right mood, overwhelming you with bazillions of emotions.

Sachin Tendulkar World Cup lift Sachin Movie

Watching everybody once again dedicating it to the guy who truly deserves it and every accolade in the world is deeply satisfying. You get to relive the World Cup vibes yet again. You go home extremely satisfied as if India had reiterated the wonder.

With a finisher like that Sachin’s journey as a cricketer was already being decided by the world. Everyone was talking about it, and even Sachin knew it in his heart. Despite he was still abounding with cricket, he decided to let go of the game.

That big retiring moment, it almost felt like it was yesterday. Watching Sachin acknowledge all the important people in his life and our prayers in the form of “Sachin! Sachin!” was deeply plaintive. Watching him go touch the pitch again will make you cry your eyes out, and so it did all over again.

The Final Verdict

Sachin movie is as if someone stripped away that one cricketing part of you and tried to show you your entire history tacked to cricket and Sachin on the big screen. You have lived all those days. You remember numerous minutia from matches but it’s like a highlight that goes in and out of your favorite matches.

It has strokes aplenty to make you go nostalgic with a snap of a finger. Ads and channels you have watched growing up. Interviews that you have seen live, and matches that you have watched whole. It is a dive into the reminiscent waters of cricket that you have lived all your life with Sachin waddling alongside all the time.

Each one of us has a Sachin memory, and it resonates with a particular time in our life. Mine was, whenever Sachin got out I would hit my clueless brother with a pillow saying, “It’s because of you, he got out. It’s your fault.” So many superstitions and so many memories.

It was hard to part with him even on 16th November 2013. It is hard to part with him even now. He will forever be in our hearts with that one song that all of his disciples sang together. It’s a song that anyone could sing, “Sachin! Sachin!” Tap – Tap – Tap.

Check out the trailer of Sachin Movie here:

 

Dangal Movie Review (2016) | Celebrating the Rigorous Phogats

The Phogat family finally gets the limelight they deserve. If it weren’t for Dangal movie, one of Nitesh Tiwari‘s best works hitherto, more than half of the country wouldn’t even realize a feat so colossal had happened once in their backyard.

It goes without saying, we barely care for things that aren’t there for big screen viewing. How much we weigh a feat depends on the who, the what, and the how of its portrayal. In a way things were already headed to awesome-ville the moment we saw Aamir Khan sizing this huge project with his thoughtful eyes. The bar was still in the hands of Nitesh though. Unfortunately he couldn’t really raise it to the extent we had expected it to reach in the climactic half of the movie.

Overlook that, and you still have a brilliantly directed flick in your hand. Right from the point where painstaking detailing has been put in its wrestling bouts to the point where personal ego is allowed to rip relationships apart, Dangal doesn’t disappoint.

Aamir Khan’s Dangal

It wouldn’t be wrong to say Dangal is entirely Amir Khan’s movie. We are already aware of how seriously he takes his projects. Heights he scaled for Dangal movie in order to crack perfection once again was quite evident from his “fat to fit” video. He got under the skin of Mahavir Singh Phogat and literally became him. That puckering of his eyes and that frown over his brow tell you he was living the constant turmoil the protagonist had once faced. He makes melodrama more interesting to watch. It is hard not to empathize with him whenever he delivers a crushing line. Then it wasn’t just him who was taking his role seriously, but the rest of the cast too.

still of Aamir Khan's transformation fat to fit in Dangal movie

Moving on to the flick’s deuteragonist, Geeta Phogat, is the one who is chosen to take the movie forward. As some might already know, Geeta was India’s first gold medallist in Wrestling at Commonwealth Games. Dangal movie is basically centered around her childhood, her ego clashes with her father, and then the onward journey to earn that elusive gold. It also serves as an inspiration for women all across India.

The Childhood Phase

Phogat kids had it rough. Geeta’s childhood portrayal was superbly aced by Zaira Wasim. It was complemented brilliantly by Suhani Bhatnagar, who plays young Babita Kumari. Zaira is a very talented artist who makes her presence felt every time she comes on-screen to deliver.

The ‘Hanikarak Bapu’ song beautifully captures the monstrosity levied upon by every Indian child by a strict parent in reticent words. Children’s innate knack to shudder the moment they hear their father roar was strangely relatable. Indian parenting is still as arrogant as the movie projects. It is in fact a way of living, which even though is gradually waning today, is still extant in less developed areas. People choose to believe in those obstinate chores to instill in their child a wont, hoping parents are actually doing the child a huge favour. Thus follows the Dangal theme trying to show the biopic as is.

A child is every reflection of their parent’s. It’s their hammering that gives a child’s life a perspective. In an attempt to prep them up to align them towards a purpose, Mahavir lays down questionable iniquities on the Phogat sisters. But in the end, they deliver. It is what the world remembers them by.

How many Phogats gave up trying to pursue a dream or a vision they couldn’t see all the way through? Or worse, ended up rebelling against cruelty and losing the image, the fate that was meant for them in the first place? There’s a reason the name of the Phogats will resound in eternity. It is all because of a constant painful struggle to reach an elusive goal, and a focused path manifested by a strict visionary topped with a rigorous lifestyle that helped in turning dreams into reality.

The Primal Aspirational Argument

There are two faces to a coin. It is aptly justified when a broken Mahavir visits his children at night to ease their pain. It crushes him too being that strict, but he believes to achieve bigger things in life sacrifices are inevitable. He puts:

I can’t be a father when I am being a mentor.

If you are thinking why one should be enforcing one’s thoughts and aspirations onto a child, you have to understand it is a child that can be manipulated. You can’t impose your thoughts on a grown up. Try to reason with a grown up and it will end up in a fuming debate. If there’s a direction you see, you can only tell someone with a clean slate to follow it, and not a person that questions you back.

still of Zaira Wasim as Geeta Phogat in Dangal movie

To a child who has yet to figure out a dream, it is a perfect phase to show him/her a path. If you prepare them upfront, they will come to understand one day why one’s doing what one’s doing and what needs to be done.

You put that in my head. It’s all I see.

That leaves us with two ways to look at it – What Mahavir did was absolutely unjust, trying to surmount your dreams on your children’s delicate shoulders, smothering their own dreams, making yours their own. Or you could look at it as what Mahavir achieved by pushing his children was exactly the kind of fame his kids expected from life. Isn’t that the job of every mentor? All great sportspersons who excelled at something had their coaches moulding them constantly at every juncture. If there was no Mahavir or his big dreams, we would have never heard about the Phogats at all. That’s where the former argument goes invalid.

Extraordinary Family Drama of Dangal Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

Whilst trying to justify Dangal’s heartwarming drama, we get to see some of the most havocking bits, all coiled up after Geeta and Babita grow up. There is this moment of egoistic clash between Mahavir and Geeta that will tear you apart. It is very engaging and makes you very emotional. It is the apt music placement that tingles the right chords causing you to have your blood-curdling moment.

You can order soundtrack of Dangal movie from here:


Also, when Geeta keeps losing, realizing her mistake, is contacted by Babita. She suggests her to talk with her father to ask for forgiveness. That’s another dramatic moment right there! It would again have you crying along with the protagonist. It’s quite nerve-racking in a way. You can’t help but empathize with them, and that’s why the tears end up becoming real.

Downsides and Flaws

Whilst Dangal is a great movie it isn’t entirely devoid of flaws either. After a dashing better part of the flick where all the melodrama lurks, when you realize you are about to reach the movie’s climax, things begin to kind of fall apart. Suddenly Geeta Phogat loses her awesome comportment; she becomes strangely submissive.

We find a coach who is shown in an ugly limelight. His character is made so wicked that it is hard to take him seriously. It is not good for the plight of Indian sports. People are so emotional that they are going to believe such elements exist in our country, and might blame a coach for someone’s poor performance. It is a fictitious character created from thin air, named Pramod Kadam played by Girish Kulkarni, since we can’t really do without a villain in our stories. Also, maybe we need all the hate to go somewhere I surmise.

Nitesh loses his touch when he makes sports a laughable affair. He shows international players in a negative spotlight, as if there’s no extant spirit of sports in people from foreign land. I doubt if the Australian actually made a smug statement of destroying Geeta Phogat. It was a villainous image she was framed into.

Climax of Dangal Movie

Nitesh Tiwari also changes some facts to make the final look like a nail-biting affair, which was okay actually. But when he decides to emote the whole climax by locking Mahavir away, you can’t help but shake your head. It’s as if he ran out of story, and was desperately looking for that modicum of a culminating point to satiate a patriotic crowd. That appears immensely contrived and artificial. Ending is written in a light so as to extract uncalled for nationalism from a parallel running anthem. Nothing subtle about it! It looked really daft!

Sakshi Tanwar ends up getting sidelined way too much for her one big on screen role. There is so much talent in her that never really came to fruition in the movie. Also, the screenplay of the movie is average and doesn’t carry that glint of subtlety to it. It becomes really disturbing at times when you are forced to listen to the weird juxtaposition of “Attack!” and “Defend!” shouts that break in during an intense match. You can’t help but wonder if that is the way international matches are really shredded.

The Final Verdict

If you really look at it, Mahavir Singh Phogat was the person who did things differently. He took the world by surprise by not following the normal ways of the living. He was bold enough to fight societal barriers, was prepared for any kind of backlash that emanated therefrom, and ready to take the world head-on. His resilience is profoundly riveting even though he seems to be layering his dream on his children.

The prime motive of biopics is to celebrate people. It’s sad, in India, it can’t be done without spicing things up. So much that we drift away from the original course. Dangal movie was no different when it ran out of stories to tell. It’s awe-inspiring energy goes missing in the later ending part. But when you take all the artificiality and the cheesiness out of the equation, you realize the movie is actually a byproduct of some really fine and intense diligence. All of it was possible because of a combined effort put in by its actors and the rest of the crew, not to forget its astounding outstanding melodrama.

You can check out the trailer of Dangal movie here:

Parched Review (2015) | Empowers Indian Women to Take a Stand

In a parochial world of male-chauvinism, parched stay the women. Parched for a little place in the world. Parched for teensy droplets of hope in a male dominant society. A rustic village of feeble minds constantly gnaws at them, laughs brazenly at their winds of change. But despite everything that stands against them, a coterie of three friends take on the challenge, defying dams that have them bound.

UNABASHED PLOT OF PARCHED (SPOILERS GALORE)

Parched wades beautifully into ballsy waters of change. A lot of times it goes lewd in doing so, but if you really look at it, you can’t help but think why is it alright in India to show just men being obscene? Why does it bother Indian men when they see women act like them? Why can’t they stand a sordid joke if it emanates from a woman’s mouth? If you try to reason with it, suddenly every coarse gesture becomes nothing but a mere hue of naughty.

still of Parched movie village head

One of the most appalling moments of Parched lurks right at the beginning. An unfortunate woman tries escaping the indecency levied upon her in her wedded land. She has taken recluse in her mother’s bosoms, but even so is brought under the gavel by her ugly community. The judge being one of those old inane fellas who, instead of doing what is right, bluntly orders her to go back.

What is even more nerve-racking is the fact that even when she confesses everything in front of her mother, she stands their motionless, emotionless as if the concept of injustice to women is an accepted way of living. It literally rips your heart apart when you watch her being taken as she looks at her helpless mother in tears of wrath and hatred. As if speaking,

“How could you let them take me?”

THE MAIN STORYLINE

For its primal plot, we have a prostitute named Bijli played convincingly well by Surveen Chawla who brushes off her defiance on her insular friends. She tries to show them what a good time is all about. Her freedom is eloquent in a progressive way, and if it were not for her, life would have been really punishing for her childhood friend Rani, a widow played superbly by Tannishtha Chatterjee, and Lajjo played extraordinarily well by Radhika Apte. The latter is a woman caught in the abominable clutches of domestic violence. The presence of Bijli in their lives gives them so much to catch up on that they forget all about the myopic vision of their parched land ephemerally.

still of Tannishtha Chatterjee as rani in parched movie

NUMEROUS SUBPLOTS

Along with several havocking subplots in the tale of Parched, the major one stays concentrated around Rani. We see her rustic world with her stinted eyes, where it is considered a disgrace if women cut their hair short. On her way to marry her son Gulab played exceptionally by Riddhi Sen, who by the way is picking up all the wrong things that their short-sighted world has, she comes across the reticent Janaki (Lehar Khan), who ends up getting instantly mocked at in hushed voices for her short hair.

Irritated by “what people think of her” and the lost honor, Gulab goes harsh on her doing what every brazen man in their little village isn’t afraid to do. He beats her, deprives her of the elusive good times, and shows her who the boss is.

still of riddhi sen as gulab in parched movie

Leena Yadav shows the bluntness of child marriage, even in those fleeting moments of geniality. She manifests the brusqueness of Dowry, and the pointlessness of the significance of something as trivial as hair. These contrasting things when placed together makes you hate such ugly traditions even more.

ACTING PROWESS

Riddhi Sen remains the element of misconduct. His acting is so brilliant, so convincing that you cannot hate him enough for his role, and yet love him for his acting. Radhika Apte’s effortless natural acts will have you convinced that she was built for that role. She acts like nobody’s watching her. Like there are no cameras on her; how acting is truly supposed to be like.

Sumeet Vyas’s Kishan is the only good the village retains. With the future of the village hating the guts of a man who is trying to do them some good, it goes on to show how no one really cares about winds of change. They look down upon him in disgust as a person progressing. Then they try to beat the crap out of him. Malice is written all over them.

THE REVERENCE

I loved how Yadav tries to depict the concept of love which was nothing but elusive in that wretched village. It is evident when Lajjo, with hopes of making amends with her husband and her body, visits a man in a cave to conceive a child. Her innocence is apparent when Lajjo lies down with her legs wide open oblivious to an imminent emotional uplifting. Adil Hussain the mystic man then bows down to her, a reverence she was alien to. Then makes love to her in a way she has never experienced before. You can’t help but feel happy for her.

still of Radhika Apte as Lajjo in Parched

Some conversations are powerful enough to hit you with a brick. Like the one where Bijli realizes ‘how there is no expletive meant to disgrace men’? How come we never thought about it? Even in its derogatory sense of change you realize Leena Yadav talks a lot of sense.

The culminating point of the movie finds every character trying to wring off whatever had them bound. It is quite metaphorical when the Ravana, the evil burns, when Lajjo’s husband catches fire. When she stops Rani from putting out the fire, it goes on to tell how pushed Lajjo had felt all her life. That she decided to let nature’s poetic justice bring home justice.

THOUGHTFUL DIRECTION

Leena Yadav’s direction is magnificent when she has issues to address. She finds beauty in the deserted barren shots by taking it down with her subtleties. She is a clean winner when it comes to bringing accuracy out in the open. However, where the drama is supposed to be the decimating kind, she doesn’t call out her actors to perform.

The beauty of the movie is that it doesn’t make amends right away. This helps it to stay miles away from artificiality. That being said, what its characters encounter is not an overnight change. It goes on to show how their way of living still stays accepted in their minds even as they come out victorious.

What miffs you is that even though the word police was mentioned once, you don’t get to see them at all. It could be metaphorical in a sense about how in an unlawful state of disarray, people break rules without caring for its repercussions. Gulab was one typical example of that.

You can order your copy of the Parched movie here on Amazon:

DRAWBACKS

When you try to squint hard at the drawbacks of the Parched movie, you realize that there aren’t that many. Except the fact that there have been plenty of movies on similar topics and Parched offers nothing original. Amongst other, there exists deliberate shots that seem pretty forced just to squeeze out fun. It appears at times like an unwrapped contrivance that you can see through to which you might shake your head to.

Rani wears a weird vexed layer of confusion. One time it feels like her character is trying to change, and is going to do something right hereon, but then she proves you wrong by doing the opposite of right. It is only until we reach the climax that we see her get on the rails again.

You can check out the trailer of the movie Parched here:

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story Review (2016) | MS Dhoni Movie Doesn’t Do Him Justice

The MS Dhoni movie tries to capture the unwavering sojourn of one of India’s greatest cricketing heroes, none other than the captain cool Mahi himself. Even though there were words galore in Dhoni’s original tale, they fail to come out right, owing to the movie’s ungainly direction. You end up with a vacuous contrivance of a flick that dawdles around for something to hold on to. It runs endlessly for a whopping 3 hours and unfortunately delves into the known and “told” bit more often.

Vexing Flaws in the MS Dhoni Movie

The first apparent ones amongst the movie’s numerous flaws is its nipping CGI that bothers you so much that you secretly wish it to go away. Do you remember the time when Captain America: The First Avenger tried a CGI makeover for Chris Evans as a scrawny kid? Well, Neeraj Pandey resorted to that medicine here as well. Unfortunately the difference is brutally unsettling.

What is even more punishing is that it is strewn all across the movie. Neeraj Pandey tries to wipe out all those original good memories you had of Dhoni with his cheap take, a hideous overlapping of Sushant Singh Rajput’s face on the actual footage. The end result: His face looks weirdly out of place, badly contorted. Throw in that with an out of context body and his actions end up looking terribly misconstrued too.

The Winner: Sushant Singh Rajput

Despite the obvious, that it is hard to take a man seriously, when his face appears to be literally slipping out of his head, Sushant shines through. He tries his level best to get under Dhoni’s skin. It is evident right from the moment he makes his way towards the stadium, when the movie capers over a fitting prologue, the one with the 2011 World Cup that ended with a rampaging Dhoni finisher. It was a superb way to begin and end the flick, which seemed to have been given a thought or two.

still of sushant singh rajput as ms dhoni in m.s. dhoni movie ticket collector

Sushant Singh Rajput masters the mannerism, the walking mien and the calm plain demeanour Dhoni is often seen with. He manages to ace his precise gait too, bringing that flamboyance both on and off pitch. It goes without saying, the one of a kind unconventional ripping style of Mahi’s batting is hard to imitate. Sushant creates a different batting character when he is on a constant smacking spree. I guess that is permissible, because MSD stands unique.

Editing of the Dhoni Film

Editing of MS Dhoni movie is terrible. When you think about all those instances that made it, even though they were outright dispensable, you can’t help but think how the director was keen on showing the sweet nothings, and wasting ample time on them. When there were obviously crucial elements in his life that could have done with a proper rewrite.

There is a constant apparent sense of artificiality to the MS Dhoni movie that seems to swallow up the cast right from the moment the flick commences. Their act stays transparent, and that miffs you a bit to be honest. But that’s how shallow Neeraj prefers his sea to be.

There is no glint of humour; small traces of it that are actually not funny. Where is that amiable side of Dhoni wherein his room stays always crowded with Raina, Jadeja and other young players all the time? You are presented a guy who is taciturn and likes to keep to himself most of the time, which is so not true.

The Emotional Angle

The pang of emotions that crawled its way toward him in the form of Priyanka Jha played by Disha Patani ends up becoming the unfeeling kind, going away in a snap, when clearly it was supposed to create a gut-wrenching havoc. What is even more frustrating is how cheesy her lines are. It is almost as if it is high-school all over again.

still of sushant singh rajput and disha patani in dhoni film

Kiara Advani doesn’t impress much either. Both actresses don’t even come close to matching the gravitas required to ace a pensive mode.

If you pay attention to the Dhoni film score, it is an unflagging humdrum that mostly carries the same tone throughout the movie. It kind of prepares you for a gargantuan feat, and when you are all prepped up, sadly delivers nothing.

The MS Dhoni movie doesn’t even have a proper screenplay. For most of the better part of the flick, words remain unspoken. If there are words, then none reek of profundity. If there is romance, it doesn’t bide by chemistry.

Best Bits to Take Away

Even though there were plenty of flaws, at the same time there were some pleasant goodies that can’t be ignored too. We get to see, and relive those thrilling matches that helped him climb that slippery slope of an elusive dream. Not only that, but we get to watch controversies that put him in the spotlight often, ads that literally paid him insane money, that infamous yet renowned Helicopter shot origin, watching him score tons, and of course his humble beginnings.

For me the most colossal moment from the flick would be that culminating train game-changer. I couldn’t help but convert it into a metaphor. Life gives you choices in the form of that train, and most of the time we don’t take it, for there is a shitload of responsibilities that count on you. The fact that Dhoni took it, reassures and restores our belief in doing things you love. It is one of those rare important lessons we need to learn, and apply without actually caring for repercussions.

still of sushant singh rajput waiting at the station MS Dhoni movie

I just wished it to be depicted better. There was too much theatrics engulfed therein that couldn’t nail that scene.

Another memorable moment from the MS Dhoni movie would be that huge match between Punjab and Bihar in the year 1999. The inclusion of Yuvraj Singh brings that insane awe-inspiring flip to the tale with Herry Tangri doing us the honors as Yuvi. He shares an uncanny resemblance to Yuvi that helps placing things in perspective. Sheer amazeballs!

You can order MS Dhoni The Untold Story from here:

The Final Verdict

I fathom, it is hard to put one lifetime in one screen-time. But if you let the right minds roll the camera for you, you have a chance of excelling, even accentuating at least a segment of your life. Dhoni deserves better any day. There are only a few things in the Dhoni film that do him some accurate justice to be candid, but that’s not enough.

You don’t really see the struggle, when you are not actually living it. For Dhoni to witness it all first-hand, it might have been devastating. For the people involved in his titanic project, to not able to paint it properly on the big screen, it is a huge loss. Not to be able to empathize with him is a bigger one.

Whatever the case might be, you still take two biggest things out of M.S. Dhoni The Untold Story. One of them being the powerful uncanny performance of Sushant Singh Rajput, and the backdrop of the story of India’s very own cricketing superhero Dhoni that you all didn’t know about.

Even though M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story doesn’t reflect good film-making, it is easily one of those rare sports movies that has ever been able to reach any standards in India. For a cricket movie, it is hands down the best we have got so far.

And a big wink for Sachin!

Here you can check out the trailer of M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story:

Pink Movie Review (2016) | Shattering Indian Societal Stereotypes

Pink Movie is exactly what India needs today. A clean wipe off to re-enter rules on our societal slate. To bend the rules that traditions have been shoving down our throats. You need to comprehend there are no rules to define stereotypes; it’s all in your head! Force-fed into your brain so you follow paths that were laid out by a dumb society. It is time to take a stand, and say no to them once and for all.

PINK MOVIE DELIVERS MAGNIFICENCE

Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s outstanding courthouse drama makes us dilate our eyebrows at Indian Cinema’s weird contrariety, when you let it stand against the likes of last month’s mediocrity Rustom.

Shoojit Sircar’s knack for making the awesome continues as he picks another pearl right off its mollusk. A topic so ballsy that people need to watch this movie with eyes wide open, with ears perceptive as hell and with muzzled heartbeats to feel its true touching rhythm.

MIND BOGGLING DIRECTION

Aniruddha’s direction is off the charts. When he chooses to begin the movie with the perception of what common man sees, you know the director is keen on gradual revelations. Plot unfurls within seconds though, but its pace is forever carrying that crucial element of doubt to leave you guessing invariably.

Aniruddha is careful enough to capture remarks of the conservative. He stays on the streets with the camera to depict what the average Indian mentality reeks of. It is disgusting, but is in its truest form. You can’t help but think how judgments are carried out outside the court too. Little heads with gavels they are, writing off people with their trivial acts.

THE SATIRICAL PLOT

still of tapsee pannu as Minal Arora in Pink movie

Minal Arora brilliantly played by Tapsee Pannu, is under the radar for assaulting Rajveer Singh with a bottle, convincingly played by Angad Bedi. Since the lad is the son of a minister, cards are completely against her. The prosecution tries to blemish her, demeans her in profusion in order to save Rajveer Singh from his own muck.

The chaotic jaws of allegations try to swallow Minal’s two friends too, who were at the crime scene. Stands in the vanguard of the prosecution, an extraordinary actor Piyush Mishra playing the role of a prudish typical Indian lawyer Prashant Mehra. He is willing to leave no stones unturned to see to it his client ends up a victor. Mehra comes with an ink of decadence and spills it on all three of them in his brazen sense of disregard.

still of amitabh bachchan interacting with a police inspector in pink movie

On the good side fortunately, there is a guardian Godfather, a retired brooding ace lawyer Deepak Sehgal who watches upon the fallen, silently. Played by none other than Amitabh Bachchan, hands down one of the best Indian actors to have ever existed. He mocks the extant narrow mindedness through sarcastic assertions, the Rule Book of Indian Women Safety as he calls it, and shows exactly what majority of the Indian multitude thinks today.

He openly mocks our parochial heads with his brilliant subtle one-liners that will compel you to contemplate. Magnificent screenplay paints the courthouse with his thunderous resounding voice, as he tries to show everyone the point of his prodding.

EPIC BATTLE OF PINK

What follows is an engaging questionnaire from both ends that make for an epic display of riveting melodrama. It spares nobody. The seated and the standing, the risen and the fallen, the privileged and the indigent; everyone is forced to stand stark naked against the law. It decapitates them all.

The final judgment will have your faith restored in the Indian Judicial System again. But you get to see the ugly side of a dodgy Indian Police Service system. Watching abominable acts of Police will make you shake your head in disgust. It is still the way of the living here, and you wonder out loud, “Where is the education?” No wonder everyone is afraid to get entangled with Indian Police Force even when there’s a minor delinquency.

STUNNING CAST

We can’t overlook Pink’s well carved actors at all. If it were not for a haughty ill-mannered Angad Bedi, we wouldn’t have looked into a proper impeccable reflection of grown up Indian brats. His presumptuous nature is a result of an incessant hammering that he has garnered over the years from a system of wrongs, and a wrongful upbringing.

still of Angad Bedi as Rajveer Singh in Pink movie

Then there is that natural flair of Tapsee Pannu that calls for an instant admiration. Kirti Kulhari’s gradual developing comportment that remains slave to any minor incitation is worth applause too. Words can’t weigh Amitabh Bachchan’s colossal experience. Well supplemented at all times stays Prashant Mehra’s effortless acting.

THE WRITING

The movie features extraordinary songs that go in the backcloth of enchanting images of Delhi, and feeds on the plight of the trodden. Very brilliantly written and performed. Screenplay of the Pink movie written by Ritesh Shah, drops you careful one-liners those that are superbly penned too. But with that, at times Pink movie becomes susceptible to its apparent contrivance.

ONE DOWNSIDE

In a chaotic ruckus a subplot from Pink movie gets immensely lost. Not just the subplot, but an actor too. An astonishing fleeting performance by Vijay Verma who plays Ankit Malhotra, who we find performing incredibly well in the first few scenes of the movie. Unfortunately courthouse ends up becoming the culminating need of the hour, and he gets overshadowed beyond limit. I wished to see more of him, and the sub-plot that never actually made it out in the open, to prove another crucial felony.

HITTING THE GAVEL

Pink movie is as grim as it gets. It stays well placed within superlative delineations of Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s exceptional direction and ravishing performances by the cast. There is sarcasm engraved in Pink, which is nothing but a slap on the faces of those who are still too conservative to change.

Finally to put the cherry on the cake, Amitabh Bachchan in his grave voice recites his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s beautiful poem:

“Tu chal teri wajood ki samay ko bhi talaash hai”

And the atmosphere erupts with a rare impactful profundity. That’s how I prefer my conclusions too. A must-watch everybody!

You can get the poem inscribed in the movie here on Amazon:

Check out the trailer of Pink movie here:

Rustom Review (2016) | Enfeebled Courtroom Drama | Celebrates Crime

Rustom is a perfect example of how tawdry cinema gets showcased in India. This is what sells, unfortunately seems to work as well for the Indian multitude.

The problem isn’t with the aspiring filmmakers though; it is with the average Indian mentality. Even though we are sprawled out at ease in 2016, our thoughts are still abounding in the narrowness of our past. We are changing no doubt, but it is more of a scionic change that derives inspiration from time. One’s thoughts, perspective and feelings are forced upon every newborn. The posterity, with the lack of proper healthy unscrupulous environment, learn whatever their ascendants are trying to enforce upon. They reek of their parent’s, and are literally moulded by inbred ideologies. So, whatever we see today we try to weigh it with time, and judge them with our preinstalled memories. That’s the crime we commit – leaving our judgments into the hands of our narrow-minded notions that we still unknowingly judge the world by.

RUSTOM DEBRIEFING

Neeraj Pandey walks in again, this time in a courtroom, with Akshay Kumar in the vanguard as is his constant wont, the face he still encashes upon without batting an eye. Neeraj invariably manages to find the actor in him somehow, and as long as they deliver nobody’s really complaining.

The movie released as part of Plan C Studios is helmed by Dharmendra Suresh Desai (Tinu Suresh Desai). The story of Rustom is inspired by the original 1959 Nanavati case however crashes in with a sub-plot that tries to celebrate the anti-hero primarily to justify murder.

still of Akshay Kumar as Rustom Pavri in Rustom movie

The case that had the nation by its throat finds itself in the spotlight again. It is a sad country we live in. Crimes tend to find poetic justice by the crowd. Criminals are worshipped like Gods as they bend the rules to their will. Courtrooms are akin mockery stages. Judges are like those people on the podium who fail to pacify the crowd despite bestowed with unrivalled power.

One good look at the movie and you will feel how it is nothing but a societal mockery of the Indian Judicial System. Oh wait! We have a living exemplary proof of that too. (Remember Bhai’s hit and run case?) Also, Rustom depicts Journalism in a way it has often worked in reality. This façade of it is abhorrent – trying to manipulate judgments, creating sympathy to save someone by painting its very own picture, inadvertently overlapping its thoughts on others and showing them a falsified misleading direction.

Yet there is a silent theme it gallops along, the one where we are expected to actually feel good for Rustom and Cynthia for making it out unfazed.

MOVIE’S DIRECTION

You have to give it to the director as far as frame-hammering is concerned. He manages to keep it engaging.

Tinu Suresh Desai is ambitious; you could see that from his frames. He occasionally tries to experiment by breaking the usual monotony of Indian Cinema by trying to make a scene fully furbished. Like that interrogation scene where he changed frames incessantly covering subtly and quickly the primal inquisition. Also, when the Prosecution lawyer asks Preety Makhija played by Esha Gupta to calm down and sit, we find her actually sitting in an altered setting – the courtroom. Well thought of, and superbly edited there!

Also, there are miniscule aspects consumed, like a waiting courtroom where close ups of fans, switches, gavel and door are covered beautifully from various vantages.

Whilst the direction had brilliant frames to show, there were numerous instances wherein enough ideas weren’t spread. Like the insipid build up and revelation of a second sub-plot that went on to create sole doubt in the brains of the Jury. Also, there was no follow-up that went on to show why the Jury system was shut down in India after this unique trial.

HUMOUR IN SOBRIETY

The stratum of prison is no longer demeaning. So Rustom proves by showing an unbothered Kumud Mishra giving mosquito ointment to Usha Nadkarni after she openly involves in an act of irreverence with the Judge. You can’t help but shake your head when you realize Desai found it funny enough to be included.

A guilty man walks out like a king, and the movie still celebrates him overlooking the despicable cold-blooded crime. The tone of the movie, the ‘story-ball’ is deliberately put in the court of Pavri. So that like million others in time, you too appreciate what he got away with. Rustom gives out the message:

“It is alright to kill a bad man.”

When are we going to truly escape this lawless pandemonium?

THE INEFFECTUAL CASTING

Also, Rustom has cheesy lines in profusion which might make you grit your teeth when they fall on your ears. There are some lines that are well executed, like when Akki and Pavan Malhotra play a game of chess in the prison. Others get lost in theatrics. Other important ones find themselves blended in with its lyrics.

My biggest complain however stays with the casting of the movie. Whilst there were actors that sat perfectly in their roles, like that of Kanwaljit Singh, Akshay Kumar, Pavan Malhotra and Parmeet Sethi there were others that didn’t fit the bill at all.

Even though Anang Desai plays a good Judge, he lacks a fuming persona that ends up making his act blunt. Choosing his light mien to judge makes it at once clear how the director wished to take the flick towards a light-hearted juncture.

Brijendra Kala shouldn’t have even been there. He was too overqualified not to get a proper screen time.

Still of Ileana as Cynthia Pavri in Rustom Movie

Ileana tries hard to wash away Cynthia Pavri’s acts with her tears. Vexed under her own guilt and Rustom’s wit, she portrays a character that is annoyingly contrasting. Her cheating act suddenly becomes an act of her helplessness which was obviously not the case at all.

Then we cannot overlook the chemistry section either. There was none. Period. Neither between Cynthia and Rustom or even in that feigned display of lust in the case of Vikram and Cynthia.

The cast made everything animated with their banal acts. It took out its staid naturality from the movie. Little things like the Jury shaking their heads when spoken to insinuated the apparent deficiency of vigour and verve that a court movie calls for.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Rustom ends up being a farce to bluntly put it out there. At the same time it is not really bad if you sunder out the originality and stare it as a separate issue entirely.

Rustom Pavri wasn’t a national hero. But this movie toils hard on making him one. We should not forget that it is just a perspective. A perspective that tries to project Preety Makhija as a rich spoilt brat with an evil sneer and Vikram Makhija as a spoiled horny perpetrator who deserved to die even before he set his eyes on Cynthia. It also tries to, without any justification, blemish the girl who cheated and then revive her at the same time. Above all, it tries to depict Rustom Pavri as a colossal national hero, a guy who murdered a man, a vigilante above the law who preferred calling his own shots to urging our Judiciary system.

Then again, when closely looked at, it isn’t that bad either. Because it touched a sensitive topic, it piggybacked mighty expectations naturally. On comparing it with other mainstream movies that Indian Cinema has been recently celebrating for no reason at all, I would say Rustom stays well above their echelon any day.

Check out the trailer of Rustom movie here:

Masaan Review (2015) | Powerful Cinema Unleashed | On Love and Loss

I have been meaning to review Masaan for so long. It had always lurked in the corner of my brain as a profoundly helmed beauty that calls for unparalleled attention. So I am writing this, to celebrate it so that those who haven’t watched it already, should, and those who have, read it to experience its sagacity all over again.

Masaan beats Indian mainstream conventions hands down. A powerful flick that carves itself like a beautiful poem that elicits unmatched elation, a shattering pang and an aftermath that will steer your thoughts towards a rare contentment. The Varun Grover tale is reflective of all that he wears on his sleeves: a rare poetic depression, abstract lost love, and a constant struggle to be understood.

DIRECTION OF MASAAN

I was blown away by Masaan’s direction. So beautifully shot, and edited that it left me wonder-struck. Right at the juncture it takes off, the movie edits itself in a gorgeous fashion to show us only the important bits, allowing us to adjust us to its stunning pace. With no diegesis to support the frames, (a wise decision) spectators are left guessing for imminent frames. Something that settles in quite quickly. It is after the first few events of each tale that the story begins to unfurl in a beautiful flower thus giving us a better insight.

Neeraj Ghaywan has become one of my favourite directors all of a sudden. His intensity on frames feels instinctive that makes his direction absolutely stunning. It is important for a director to understand how he feels for his work, to place his feelings out there in the open for the world to see. Frames of Neeraj induce that successfully.

POWERFUL STORIES (SPOILERS INSCRIBED)

We have two primal parallel stories running for plot. The way they meet at a juncture lets us marvel at the concept of destiny.

still of Richa Chadha as Devi Pathak in Masaan movie

The first one is beautifully taken up superbly by actress Richa Chadha who embodies Devi Pathak making her one of her own. She gets decimated by lowlife societal thinking; her fate constantly followed up by a corrupt policeman. It is hard not to feel sorry for her. Her laconic conversations will have you listen to her thoughts. She talks with her acting most of the times, and you could literally see her blood curdling inside her heart with every profane remark she finds.

Struggling for reconciliation for her mishap, which she tries to set right by visiting the family of the guy whom she loved, Devi Pathak finds herself at the ugly side of abomination. It is like a colossal rejection she ends up facing by life itself. For her character, Richa Chadda retains a constant depression in her eyes which I don’t think any other actress could have done justice to.

THE SECOND STORY

The second story is spearheaded by Vicky Kaushal who plays Deepak Chaudhary brilliantly. In a backdrop of constant funerals, he is leading a life, rather trying to escape the detrimental. He is searching for rays of hope to escape the smothering ashes of pyres for good. The constant deleterious fire is setting ablaze his dreams and he can’t seem to get out. Until one day he falls in love.

still of Shaalu Gupta and Deepak Chaudhary in Masaan movie

Shweta Tripathi’s Shaalu Gupta is magnificently built out of thin air. You don’t really see their love story coming, and then out of the blue it arrives. So stupendous! Also it is so marvelously played that you will fall in love with both of them instantly.

Whilst Deepak is aware that he is going nowhere, that love is for those who have a future, as he beholds those manacles of casteism, prejudice and stratum dangling ahead, he decides to end it all. But then realizes it’s difficult to live without Shaalu and so he becomes more focused to get out of his conventional misery that constantly eats him from the inside.

Then that tragedy befalls that uproots his world, aftermath which nothing matters. The point he was living for disappears into nothingness. The ill-fated Deepak Chaudhary slithers into a gut-wrenching depression. Watching him like that will bring tears to your eyes. Watch out for that bit when he breaks down near the bank of Ganges.

still of Sanjay Mishra as Vidyadhar Pathak in Masaan movie

Sanjay Mishra runs a parallel sub-plot as well with a predictable plot but his unique acting style uplifts it nevertheless. He plays Vidyadhar Pathak, father of Devi Pathak. His ill-fated abyss wherein a corrupt Police Inspector Mishra keeps gnawing at him constantly and mercilessly will melt your heart with empathy.

LEAVING THREADS OPEN

Masaan doesn’t try to delve into poetic justice of the corrupt. India stays the land of corrupt in the eyes of Neeraj Ghaywan. That is one of the best decisions that Neeraj abides by. It is important to bring the injustice out in the open and not circle it to fruition by adjudication. If Neeraj had chosen to show the Inspector Mishra getting caught, it would have made us complacent. A feeling of insouciance towards corruption would have crept up on us unknowingly and we would have accepted the way of things, thinking – “Okay! So it all got sorted out in the end. But manifesting him getting away with it was intentional just to boil the viewers up.

So he makes sure. How the ignorant gets fooled by the bribing eyes of those in power. The abuse and misuse of power will have you brooding how despotism still lurks in a place that should be completely absolved of it. The land of God is run by vultures, who can do anything to fill their pockets. There is so much exploitation still prevalent in India that you will incessantly feel bad for the uneducated.

The sad thing is that we are living amidst it all. The corruption, that has diffused in our holy waters in profusion. We are drinking it everyday, accepting it and thriving with it. That is the saddest part of it all.

SCREENPLAY AND LYRICS

Screenplay goes above average at times. Songs like these:

“Tu kisi rail si guzarti hai, main kisi Pull sa thartharata hoon”

still of Deepak and Shaalu played by Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi in Masaan

Help in driving Masaan’s nail deeper. Its true metaphor lies in the embodiment of the inanimate. Image yourself as a quaking bridge, as that reckless train (her) passes over you, leaving you tottering craving for her affection. Then there is another beautiful line that is on the lines of:

“I am like a bubble, when I think about you I burst.”

There are two other great songs imbibed in the frames of Masaan. ‘Bhor’ has been aptly placed to complement its love theme. Both Shaalu and Deepak do it justice. ‘Mann Kasturi’ ambles on its impactful lyrics as well.

THE FUTURE OF INDIAN CINEMA

Masaan is like rising from the ashes. Building yourself from scratch because nobody bats an eye when you fall, or understands you in a way you do yourself.

The movie silently brings home a whiff of change. We are at the center of it, and I can feel it. Now all we have to do is encourage movies like Masaan, give our riveting attention and love, and we might see the Indian Cinema metamorphose itself into a enclave.

Check out the trailer of Masaan movie here:

Older posts