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Qarib Qarib Singlle Review (2017) | Keeping Up with the Gifted Irrfan Khan

Tanuja Chandra‘s Qarib Qarib Singlle places Irrfan in a light we love to see him in – the ballsy carefree reckless man who doesn’t hold back from talking his heart out. The flick is built on romance but the chemistry, unfortunately, doesn’t have the right spark to make you really feel it. On one hand, Irrfan simply mesmerizes you with his realistic performance. On the other hand, there is Parvathy who fails to impress you as much.

Qarib Qarib Singlle is subtly put on the building block of moving on. It tries to pass down the message of how important it is to move on even though things from the past still cling to you. If you don’t let go, you end up chafing your present. The biggest strength of Qarib Qarib Singlle is that it is laconic where it matters the most. It allows the silence to do most of the talking. While it is a virtue well played by Tanuja Chandra, I believe, it might have also baffled some of the audience.

On a personal level, I felt the climax was brilliantly pulled off. That every movie should learn from the subtlety that went on in its ending. It leaves you brooding, speaking a thousand words without actually saying anything. It is a beautifully painted picture that tells us how a reconciliation scene should be properly theatricalized.

Direction of Qarib Qarib Singlle Movie

While Tanuja Chandra has garnered experience aplenty throughout her 22 years of cinematic run, she has forever kept herself on the learning curve. She is open to experiments, a fact evident through her work. She has literally grown as a director.

But still a lot of ground is left to cover, so you can tell by the unwanted shots she has ended up nodding to.

qarib qarib singlle movie wallpaper

Like some deliberate shots where you literally feel the pointlessness of placing small bulbs in front of the camera to deliberately milk the bokeh. You can picture her cinematographer asking her – “How about I take this shot like this?”

She chooses to mess with the “fourth wall” as in a way letting the protagonist talk to the audience. Although it isn’t intended for the audience in reality and is a bold decision per se, it just doesn’t feel right. What makes the work on the fourth wall really shoddy is Parvathy’s disconnect. She seems conscious when she talks, not to mention the slight camera zoom in, which appears to be clearly done on a software.

If we look at the bright side of Tanuja’s direction, she has learned to curtail the obvious from her frames, a strength which a lot of directors today are still struggling with. It is with time people move towards becoming better versions of themselves. Qarib Qarib Singlle is like a conch blaring of her arrival nay her revival, in a country that’s learning to revere the changing face of Cinema.

Irrfan Khan as Yogi

It is hard to cover Irrfan in words. He has become this peerless dome of perfection who is hard to keep up with. You put anyone against him, if they are not good enough, it simply shows.

The character Irrfan plays here is that of Yogi. He plays a lot of him taking liberty with his acts and creates this endearing character that is quite candid in his ways. Yogi’s superlative strength is in the way he treats the people he meets. He is a down to earth bloke who truly enjoys life as he lives it. At the same time, he is clumsy too as he makes a dozen mistakes in the wake of his existence.

Qarib Qarib Singlle Movie Irrfan Khan Still

The best thing is that he doesn’t take things as seriously as we often tend to. There is no problem in the world that’s so huge that it doesn’t have a workaround.

Yogi is literally ogling us to be like him, to sport a carefree attitude even when things go south on you. To appreciate little things in life, to talk, really talk with people, with strangers as you bump into them, making them forget all their problems. To tag people along your ride making life less miserable for them and to keep smiling and appreciating people despite how bitter life might become.

Parvathy as Jaya

While we have a man so relaxed and leading an uncomplaining life, we have the exact opposite Jaya, an uptight girl who is drowning in the sea of her insecurities. She has a past she is clinging on to. Moving on doesn’t feel right to her. She has been pushed so much that she has learned to compromise with everything, listening to right about everything.

Jaya keeps talking to his dead hubby breaking the fourth wall on us occasionally in a way asking for his permission in everything she does. Opening up to finally let someone in, she decides to do what the world around her is doing – finding a partner. That’s how Yogi happens.

still of Parvathy as Jaya in Qarib Qarib Singlle

To be really honest, there are a lot of times you feel disconnected owing to Parvathy’s performance. The way she is supposed to react to a thing sometimes feels not up to the mark.

However, good, she looks onscreen alongside him, in the end, you are left feeling, maybe Parvathy wasn’t the right choice for the flick. Since Jaya was the protagonist, her role demanded a heightened sense of charisma, so that one could start relating to her character almost immediately. But somehow it was difficult to stay on the same page with her. You fail to empathize with her emotions because she clearly doesn’t appear to be having any.

The Ending Explained (Spoilers)

The melodrama has been smartly pushed to the end of the flick so that the audience is allowed ample time to fall in love with the characters just as the characters fall for each other. It is written in emotions as you begin to feel how both Jaya and Yogi aren’t ready to move on with their lives. Even though they secretly want to, they are happy with the way things are. Grown accustomed to their usual way of living.

Yogi, the guy who has issues moving on, still carries tokens of memories from his past girlfriend in his pocket. He is okay with the life he has chosen to lead by keeping things from his past, occasionally bumping into them and letting his past take a piece of him. Then there is Jaya, who still talks to her dead husband, still uses his name on her password. Both of them are struggling with it unknowingly.

They are yet to understand what they have been doing. In the finality of meeting their exes, both of them end up hurting each other, only to realize the real value of moving on. They have no clue whatsoever of how things would pan out if only they chose to come to terms with the good things in their past, and chose to move on.

Exes Messing with Your Life Since Forever

In an uncaring theatrical display of emotions, Jaya bursts out losing it at Yogi, for making everything about him. That the whole trip was intended just for him, when in reality Jaya had agreed to come with him only for the sake of meeting her ex in Gangtok. Yogi’s terse reply forces her to see her own flaws too. The good in all that venting is that she becomes what she was unable to become – bold!

Irrfan and Parvathy in Qarib Qarib Singlle Movie

Meeting with an ex isn’t easy, and is a downward tumble. Whilst we see Yogi noticing how he has influenced all his girlfriends so much that they were unable to forget him, he comes to terms with himself, impressed by how good or bad the life had turned for them. The whole trip in his head was to see how the people he had affected so much were faring in life. Even though he realizes that some were fine, some weren’t, there were elements of him in every life nevertheless.

Happy and content with the bottom line that people never really move on in reality, that they keep the good things close to their heart even when they move on, Yogi ends up finding out how he had influenced Jaya too, who had clearly fallen in love with him, from the blog she had made about him. It should be well noted that Jaya had finally stopped clinging on to her dead husband as well when we find her coming to terms with him in a final goodbye after which she stops to look at the fourth wall.

In the Gandola Lift

Yogi then pursues her eventually running into her in a Gandola lift that he doesn’t miss this time. It, in a way, depicts how serious he has become about the relationship. That he is keen on loving her back and not letting life decide his fate this time.

We see Jaya in tears in the lift. It is fathomable that things didn’t go well for her either. As stated before, meeting an ex isn’t really easy. It’s headed nowhere, but the good news is that the lift they are on, is definitely going somewhere. With that, the movie ends.

The Final Verdict

Qarib Qarib Singlle might have been a play at a dating app, but what it becomes eventually is something huge.

It is like almost shouting at us that everyone in life is “Qarib Qarib Singlle” only. Everyone is having a hard time moving on. While we can’t really do anything about the past, one must choose to take the good from it and move on. That’s one lesson that the flick hides in its alluring storyline.

I am pretty sure Tanuja Chandra finally feels validated in today’s feminist era. It is great that time is doing justice to her at last. Watch this flick for its humour, for Irrfan and for its intense messages.

Check out our other Indian Cinema Reviews as well.

Check out the trailer of Qarib Qarib Singlle movie here:

Secret Superstar Review (2017) | A Mind-boggling Drama about Dreamers

Bewitching! Another gem pares out from the enthralling and artistic Aamir Khan Productions. Secret Superstar is a spellbinding tear-jerker of a drama that shouldn’t be missed for the world. It is a movie about a dreamer who dreams for the stars draped under a burkha of fetters. It is a flick about hope and despair that constantly resonates between the two. The good news is that it is outstandingly done.

The story of Secret Superstar deals with a girl and her mother trying to beat the monstrosity of societal arrest. It’s a revolt for those who have been giving up on their dreams owing to “hard to beat” circumstances. At the same time, it speaks of hope in a tone that’s definitely going to leave you with goosebumps. The movie packs messages aplenty. It addresses countless issues in its wake and leaves you immensely satisfied.

The Theme of Secret Superstar Movie

Words fail me as I try to put this movie into words. It feels personal on so many levels that it’s hard to explain how.

still of Secret Superstar Insia dreaming

The fact that Secret Superstar isn’t just limited to one theme makes it outright exceptional. There are so many issues lingering in the movie and it addresses all of them magnificently. Right from the issue of domestic violence to saving a girl child, to the issues people face nay…Indians face trying to live their dreams. It acknowledges them and portrays them in a way that racks your heart.

It is also educative when it shows you the wonders of the internet in a montage of frames. The fact that it shows the exact way of following your dreams through a simple medium like Youtube is something that is bound to open a lot of eyes. It is winning in every sense.

Since Secret Superstar revolves primarily around a singing dream, the inclusion of songs was inevitable. The gorgeous thing about the songs that were included in the flick is that their lyrics are so beautiful that they will tear you up. Complementing scenes from the movie, these songs help elevate the theme further. And it’s hard not to marvel at the creation and then of course, at the people who combinedly manufactured something so touching and impactful.

Zaira Wasim – The Secret Superstar

Such a lovely child Zaira Wasim is. The world saw her perform in Dangal last year which she aced like a true artist. Her role was limited and we couldn’t see much of her there. In Secret Superstar, being the protagonist, she gets a screentime she deserves, and boy does she deliver!

Zaira plays the character of Insia quite convincingly. She acts with a confidence many artists still struggle with.

Zaira Wasim in Secret Superstar movie

With time she is going to end up being a huge star, a bright future one can already foretell.

Dream dekhna to basic hota hai.

Her portrayal of Insia instantly becomes a relatable character. She feels forever connected, and that’s where her true strength lies. All those thoughtful things that she does for her mother, worrying about little things as if she is no longer a child are some of those things that force you to erupt at odd moments.

Meher Vij as Najma

To call Meher Vij cute would be an understatement. She literally becomes one of the songs “Meri Pyaari Ammi”.

You can hear it here:

In those fleeting frames of the song, you get the whole picture of how her portrayal of a mother was one of the most befitting portrayals that Indian Cinema has ever seen. She is flustered just the right amount, as pain literally writes itself on her face.

You can’t help but feel sorry for her character all the time. She literally epitomizes every mother in the country who chooses to suffer in silence until she doesn’t.

The Villainous Angle

Packing in arrogant perversion galore we have Raj Arjun who plays Insia’s father Farookh Malik. There is a certain aura about him that makes his sheer presence intimidating. That goes on to say nevertheless what a convincing actor he is.

still of Raj Arjun as Farookh Malik in Secret Superstar

He brings in those catastrophic elements that literally frame the story, making it clink glasses with reality.

Despite his extraordinary portrayal, you realize his true potential as a diabolical father often doesn’t make it all the way up there. Sometimes you feel the apparent lack of energy. Maybe it is the Anurag Kashyap in us that secretly wishes films to be depicted in their utter crude state.

That being said, Ronit Roy‘s portrayal of Bhairav Singh from Udaan comes to mind. The fear was more real and terrifying there or was it all amplified owing to Kashyap’s ravishing direction?

Getting into the Skin – Aamir Style

It’s amazing how Aamir Khan creates new personas out of scratch. He creates this fun character of Shakti Kumar that is not only hilarious and admirable, but also very deep. Shakti does things that people often frown upon, but the good thing is that he does it in a way that manifests that there is more to people than what shows.

still of Aamir Khan as Shakti Kumar in Secret Superstar

Talented children are like these bubbles. Nothing can stop them from going up.

Shakti Kumar is blunt in his ways, dismissive of people who do not play according to his books. But at the same time, he is a man with a golden heart. He plays that positive mentor, a guy who can actually make things happen, helping Insia wherever he could. In an emotional dramatic movie, he is that fizz of hope that brings smiles to faces even though he chooses to become a tad lewd.

Other Characters in Secret Superstar (Spoilers)

Another great perception comes from the eyes of a silent hero played by the child actor Kabir Shaikh. A child so innocent who once eavesdropped on a conversation about people leaving him behind. He does something so thoughtful that it melts your heart. The poor child who had been watching cruelty and misery upfront, sneaking behind a door, had so much heart in him that it brings tears to your eyes just looking at the colossal import of his intentions.

The movie has another beaming superstar Chintan played by Tirth Sharma, the once annoying brat who turns into a pleasant company. He insists on following the cliched adage:

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

The lad literally epitomizes the phrase through a fun catchy song as he witnesses the sweet nothings of his love. With an ease that’s hard to brace, he makes an inevitable break up, a fun final jovial joyride. While I know a generation that still scorns at scholastic love, I am so proud of the moviemakers who boldly defy them by showing such a cute exchange. It shatters conventions and opens eyes.

Direction of Secret Superstar

While budding directors choose to experiment with their frames and choose intense angles to mesmerize you, Advait Chandan chooses to stay with the basics. There is nothing subtle about him, as he picks areas that fail to tingle you.

His evident simplicity, or call it failure to incorporate visual stunners, end up staying under the wraps, owing to the excellent storyline of Secret Superstar. People fail to notice the contrivance in his frames, and cliched angles owing to the sheer fact that they become too busy “feeling” for the characters in the movie.

still of Zaira Wasim as Insia in Secret Superstar

The way the emotional angle comes into play right from the very first frame lets you get into the story immediately. Peerless performances by the cast elevate all the shortcomings that might have bothered some as the movie commences. Things sediment soon enough and then you are no longer worried about how theatricalized everything looks and feels.

Editing is a tad questionable too, since the movie ends up running for a whopping 2 hours 30 minutes. The fact that it doesn’t bother you is all thanks to its exceptional plot and that there is something poignant in every frame. You are too busy brooding and feeling that you overlook the minutiae that makes a film.

The Final Verdict

Secret Superstar insists on hope. That not everything is lost even when you give up. There are people who you influence too and they matter. If they take a stand, at the end of the day, something wondrous might happen.

The movie is sure to leave you in tears. I cried throughout the movie for the very fact that it connected so much on a personal level. There are tons of scenes that you can’t escape empathizing and when you do you become a sob story yourself.

The struggle is real. I know because I have my very own Youtube Channel “The Hidden Pea“. I could even feel the pain in the eyes of Insia when she was rooting for likes and comments. It was hard not to be on the same page even with her insane elation when the response became massive. It was like the universe was helping her out paving ways to hammer those dreams into fruition. Something that we should take from it and pursue our dreams.

At the end of it all, you can’t help but think about all those people who stop you from pursuing what you aspire to be, and layer you with their own ideas. To them I am just gonna say:

I am not your life. Don’t try to live me.

You can check out the trailer of Secret Superstar here:

Newton Movie Review (2017) | A Man Doing his Job the Right Way in India

What a beauty! Newton movie brings us up to speed with the cryptic reach of corruption in India. You thought you knew where subversion lies, wait till you watch this flick. It thrives in a place that is neglected. No one has a clue how elections get conducted in a populace that prefers hiding to coming out in the open in order to understand things. They are not to blame. It is the miscommunication, the misconduct, the neglect and the disregard that has left them where the primitives used to be.

It is all so shattering to watch that you can’t help but feel pity for your untended brothers and sisters, who never saw the light because they weren’t hit with it in the first place. They are cut off from the world, they are reeking of ignorance and content in their own land just because they don’t understand the ways of the world. There is no one to make them aware of the wonderful things that we are constantly brimming with. They are deprived of them, and the worst thing is that they don’t even know it.

The movie is directed by Amit Masurkar who marked his debut with Sulemani Keeda some three years ago. He has written the screenplay alongside Mayank Tewari for the flick just like he had back then. It’s a beautiful script about a guy Newton Kumar (Rajkummar Rao) trying to do his job the right way based on his education. Little does he know, nobody follows the things they are taught. It is about his struggle to do the things the right way, as he faces some of the country’s biggest enemies – lethargy, hacks, idiocy, and ignorance.

Rajkummar Rao as Newton Kumar

Newton garners some of the best theatre actors we have ever had the good hap of coming across. Sentinels of parallel cinema, people who are really serious about making films, giving their best in every frame. You put them together and you know you are going to get something really extraordinary.

Newton movie still of Rajkummar Rao

To begin with we have the insanely talented Rajkummar Rao playing the protagonist Newton Kumar with a flair that leaves you mesmerized. He wears the skin of an honest man who plays everything by the rules. Newton is the voice of the youth, the voice that speaks of derived wisdom. He has learned from the best – books written by the wise who have shown us a way that gets things done. He abides by a discipline that he has taught himself and has learned to live by it. Newton is a perfect paragon of what you might call as a student keen on applying his knowledge to a pragmatic field.

It is quite obvious during the conversation he has with a girl he is arranged to marry, how serious he is about the rules and regulations that define a person. Then there is that evident generation gap when his father shouts at him for being obstinate about his beliefs. Remember, you are going to get a lot of people in your life who will be uncomfortable with the new things you will learn, and your very idea of and for a society that is merely run by conventions. It is at that time you must not give in or you will end up becoming one of them.

Pankaj Tripathy as Aatma Singh

Then there is the extraordinary actor Pankaj Tripathy who plays Aatma Singh, a CRPF officer in charge at an unsafe Naxal prone area of Chattisgarh, India. The contrast he brings to the table is next to that of a villain in a movie. He is everything that is wrong with India today, and an exemplary procrastinator and sloth who will never move unless ordered.

Pankaj Tripathy as Aatma Singh in Newton moviePankaj plays a smartass who tries to bend the law to suit his needs, uses his power to show the meek who is the boss around. If you are an Indian, you have already come across such characters at one point in your life. With Pankaj doing us the honours of getting under the skin of one such man, it is hard to tell them apart. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Pankaj Tripathy’s acting prowess is hands down one of the best we have in the Indian Film Industry today.

Aatma’s negation and pessimism fail to break the spirits of Newton. We get countless ravishing conversations therefrom where the clash of opinions become the driving forces of the flick. They drive the movie forward until Aatma does something really despicable that gets a fitting rebound from Newton.

Other Brilliant Characters in Newton Movie

Sanjay Mishra, another great actor plays mentor to Newton. He is intrigued by this guy who asks the right questions irrespective of the slapstick and whacky replies he gets. Even though he makes fun of him, deep down he knows the system. How things work and have always been working in the country. However, it piques his interest too when he comes across Newton, a guy rock solid on his beliefs.

Then we have literally the paragon of persistence – Raghuvir Yadav who plays Loknath, the guy who adds a little bit of humour to the gravitas. The actor is one of the most underrated gems of the industry, whom people always fail to celebrate. His delivery is quite alluring.

Anjali Patil plays Malko a mistreated tribal girl who speaks the local dialect, making things less difficult for Newton. She reflects a ballsy girl who knows the place and the people. Her act’s equally brilliant too.

Anjali Patil newton movie

Important Messages (Spoilers)

Newton movie hides a thousand messages in its countless frames. Whilst it forces introspection on us, it does so without going preachy. It brings us up to speed with a situation that requires our immediate attention – voting in a technology deprived place.

The worst thing is the acceptance. When you are trying to change something and you come to believe it is the accepted way, and you accept it as is yourself, just so you don’t have to face all the inconvenience of a ground zero change, that’s the root cause of downfall. Aatma Singh is one such element. He fails to understand that change cannot be brought in if you yourself won’t allow the change to happen. To make things happen you have to get your hands dirty which is everything Newton aspires to do.

Aatma Singh is one such element. He fails to understand that change cannot be brought in if you yourself won’t allow the change to happen. To make things happen you have to get your hands dirty which is everything Newton aspires to do. Characters like Loknath and Malko know well the conventionally accepted way, and they are okay with things being wrong and unjust. It is killing to watch Newton the only person trying really hard to understand the ways this country is currently dealing with.

The Politics

How can one possibly vote for someone when they are looking at their faces for the first time? Newton movie is a slap to those politicians who never even visit the place they wish to obtain votes from. There is contempt in the hearts of all those people who have turned into Naxals and we see that via writings on the wall of a razed school. War is easy to learn. How do you make them understand that war isn’t the only solution? That the other solution requires them to vote, again something that they don’t comprehend.

Newton movie is a slap to those politicians who never even visit the place they wish to obtain votes from. There is contempt in the hearts of all those people who have turned into Naxals. We perceive that via writings on the wall of a razed school. War is easy to learn. How do you make them understand that war isn’t the only solution? That the other solution requires them to vote? Again something that they don’t comprehend.

All we can see a piece of neglected patch of land where the voting is supposed to happen. The problems Newton’s team faces in order to set up booth is beyond compare. Yet they somehow manage, all in a room without a door, with open see-through windows.

Then comes the wait. The punishing wait where the team sits doing nothing. Your mind begins to wonder why doesn’t anyone come? And if the conditions are really that bad owing to safety issues, will they ever show up in the entire movie?

Ill-Treatment

In a single display of power we see a bigger authority show up with a foreign reporter, who, by the way, has no clue as to what is going on just because we are good at painting pretty pictures to hide all the ugliness. We see all the clouds of lethargy parting then. However, to the poor innocent villagers who only understand the language of either peace or intimidation, CRPF soldiers roughhouse them, bully them to show up in order to put on a show. They are mistreated beyond limit. One of the instances clearly shows one of the old women being ordered to cook chicken to ease up their stay.

How much money will we get?

All the ill-treatment makes the villagers believe that there is something going on and the government (hitherto which they believe to be a scary thing) has commanded their presence. They might get paid too if they do something.

The Curse of Ignorance

The part in Newton movie where Newton realizes the ignorance of people, where they don’t understand what needs to be done in a voting booth simply shatters you. Amidst all the corruption stands an unheard voice trying to do the right thing, to make them understand why it is important to vote, and how it could help them to bring change in their place. While not even trying is a guy like Aatma Singh who coaxingly calls the voting machine a toy, and asks the villagers to press any button they like.

It is so heart-rending to watch when that insanity actually begins to happen. Ah! the ignorance, the sheer ignorance of the people, as they show their voting fingers not knowing whether they have voted, or what voting even means for that to matter. There is no way for a single man to educate them in a day, but Newton tries nevertheless in hopes to make them fathom what’s really happening.

It kind of reminds me how we used to be back in school. Not knowing the ‘why’ behind anything, not knowing why we studied what we studied, simply mugged things up only because it was asked. And that quotient’s still extant today in a lot of places. Ignorance is a curse. We need to educate people so they start asking the million dollar question – why.

The False Alarm

Just when you think the movie is focused on showing the plight of the ignorant alone, Newton movie proves us wrong as we actually hit some action in the backdrop. It is believed that an attack has happened and the team is instantly put on a rescue mission for extraction. But soon Newton figures out the real ugly truth behind the alarm. It was Aatma Singh who had asked his men to fire empty shots to curtail the waiting period so that he could force Newton’s team back home. Newton’s obstinacy bothered him, and the fact they would be forced to wait till evening for the voters seemed like a tiresome idea to him.

Rajkummar Rao as Newton in Newton movie

How do you reason with a man holding a gun? So, Newton does the unthinkable. He snatches the gun from one of the men and points it at the men in arms. To get a job done, he takes matters into his own hands.

The Last Scene of Newton Movie – Ending Explained

Ultimately he comes out a victor which is probably one of the most satisfying things to watch in the movie. It is shown subtly when we see Aatma Singh shopping with his family, as his wife suggests to remove a product from the shopping bag, implying that they are indeed going through a tough time. That Newton might have written a thorough report about the misconduct, and ill-treatment, and probably got him fired.

Eventually, we see Newton busy behind a desk as Malko pays him a visit. It is great to see that he hasn’t changed a bit. He casually shows her his punctuality certificate.

Clearly they think it’s a big deal when I show up at the office at 9 AM sharp.

It is a dig at all those Indian officials, nay, everything that’s Indian, who never show up anywhere on time. Being punctual is so much crucial and yet we take life for granted.

The curtain closes at an apt moment where we see Malko waiting for him to complete his work before leaving for coffee. We are left to wonder about a happy ending that might await him in moments to come.

The Final Verdict

Newton movie justifies its apt tagline that says “Seedha Aadmi Ulti Duniya” (Right Man Wrong World). It eats you from inside when you witness the plight of the villagers living in terrible conditions. The fact they are okay with it shatters you even more. They don’t even know how much we have progressed. How would they? They don’t even have a TV in their ramshackle houses for crying out loud!

Newton movie should not be missed for the world. It is packed in with powerful performances by some really good actors. It addresses numerous issues and tells us a little bit more about the country we live in. Newton movie squeezes out sympathy for a character that resonates with a lot of us. I think of a lot of you will like this flick for the powerful message it sends out loud.

Read my other movie reviews and analyses too.

Check out the trailer of Newton Movie:

Toilet – Ek Prem Katha Review (2017) | Addresses a Major Issue in India

Toilet – Ek Prem Katha is not intelligently built but it tries to address some fuming questions nevertheless. It is manufactured around one of the worst problems that India still faces today, and tries to bring awareness in a way the rustic may understand.

Raising your voice causes repercussions. It is evident from the way the conventional multitude begins to fight our protagonist in the movie. Then there are words, the parochial outlook of people who stand against you when you have something to say. Oh! the things they say don’t even make sense, and yet they say it because that has been the way. The movie captures that in a light of how one would really react to something revolting. Our country is abounding with such idiots and they are getting away with it too.

I am happy that Toilet – Ek Prem Katha tries to change that perception by acknowledging us with men similar in context to Bauji (Sudhir Pandey) or Sarpanch (Rati Shankar Tripathi). I guess it is only fair we see what we have become that we understand our pointless obstinacy that tack against old societal rules.

Sudhir Pandey in Toilet - Ek Prem Katha

Scraping off Conventions

No matter how progressive you call the country, or how much pride you feel swelling up your chest, deep down you know we are still light years away from getting there. We are nowhere there where we ought to be by now. And it’s all because of the little things that hold us down. Scriptures, religion and culture, you name it, they are all well blended in our idiocracy. People of now, they don’t even have to try. They just make sure their thinking stays driven and unfortunately we are all reading the same book without raising a voice. They will be here, even when they are gone. That’s the sad amount we pay for blindness and ignorance.

Toilet Ek Prem Katha tries to address that very issue in a fun light way. It is a satire that tries to bring us up to speed with the many scams India hides in its bosom. It also shows us that the very reason it does so is because of our indifference. We don’t want change. It says loud and clear:

“You can only bring a horse to the water. You can’t force it to drink.”

It also jostles with us head-on with the apparent reasoning that rings in the head of every Indian. It questions our empathy quotient and makes a mockery of it:

“A problem isn’t a problem unless we face the problem ourselves.”

Direction of Toilet – Ek Prem Katha

Unfortunately, the brilliant concept of an issue that still percolates in villages all across the country doesn’t find the director it deserves. We have Shree Narayan Singh directing this flick.

You get the feel of contrivance hitting you in the face right from the very first scene of the movie. Forced laughter, forced energy, and unrealistic reactions are a big bummer. Nothing appears innate and you know at once that it is going to be one of those movies where there’s no serious filmmaking involved.

The director chooses to place the camera right at an angle that shows an apparent cleavage of a dispensable character for cheap thrills. It almost seems the director is trying too hard to get a closure on an unwanted scene when there are plenty of other important scenes worth experiments.

To make matters worse, it is preaching all the wrong things as well. That too in a movie that is trying to address the wrongs? For instance, is it alright to flirt around and be done with it when your parents force someone else down your throat? Then if it weren’t enough, what about all the stalking that happens between Keshav (Akshay Kumar) and Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar), its lead actors? How do you justify it as a right thing to do?

Other Concerns

You get a feeling of being on set at all times, be it be a shoddy scene of Keshav trying to steal the toilet talking loudly right next to a sleeping guard, or the pathetic rain effects, or the easy to make out color layering effects to aggrandize Holi. The filters are an easy make-out which raises questions why it was so hard to walk that extra mile to get the perfect shot.

With the content of the story, you feel that it actually had the potential to become something huge. It is just that it doesn’t find a director like Anurag Kashyap or Tigmanshu Dhulia who have been known to ace India’s rustic scene.

Another concern one might have is about the length of the film. We could have whittled a lot of things out, but the movie chooses to keep all of them intact, raising questions on the editing front as well.

The Chemistry

The movie is trying to sell its story line as a “Prem Katha” (a love story). I believe it isn’t wise to write a story about people who are being treated as heroes and frame them as stalkers that nobody should look up to. The movie does that which could have been a tad acceptable if it were trying to paint things as is. But the absence of reality and the layering up of theatrics make it appear otherwise.

still from Toilet Ek Prem Katha

Toilet – Ek Prem Katha doesn’t feel like a love story at all, when the foundation itself isn’t strong enough. It is not fabricated to appear like a love story when the roots are so weak that it fails to stand on it in the first place.

Although as you move on, plenty of chemistry gets established eventually. In scenes where we see Keshav coming up with insane live hacks to manage around Jaya’s toilet problem, even though hilarious establishes him pretty nicely in the husband shoes. Times he goes out to reach her, to meet her, and to face her without a positive solution are all well taken, and flickers up some genuine concerned vibes.

But all of it disappears somewhere on account of the issue at hand. You sense something really missing in the ways they meet. There is an apparent lack of energy there, that we see taking a promising shape only when the movie songs flare up.

The Drama

Most brilliant lines of the movie get delivered once or twice when the anger meter explodes. It comes from Keshav when his own father drops the villainous bomb by getting the toilet he so diligently and tenaciously built demolished. That shot is one of the best the movie has and lets the actor speak his heart out. All that frustration and pain lingers on his face, and the director chooses not to cut it.

A similar revolting line is given to Jaya too who nails her part when given the opportunity. Sadly the way it is allowed to happen seems really unrealistic. Sadly there aren’t many moments where Bhumi Pednekar’s character is allowed to be as gutsy as it was supposed to be. She becomes meek when it matters the most. She is flamboyant only when the director or the story wants her to be, irrespective of how her character was supposed to be in actuality.

Divyendu Sharma sounds really preachy at times, owing to his crispiness when it comes to enunciating dialogues. Some of them he aces, some of them feel unfunny. It makes you miss the presence of a natural comic like Deepak Dobriyal in such movies.

Sudhir Pandey does a fine job as a recalcitrant father, and so does Rati Shankar Tripathi as Sarpanch. Atul Srivastava and Anupam Kher try to blend in with the flick’s humour and they do a good job too however limited their screen time is. Rajesh Sharma delivers once again with limited lines; his role is more like a cameo.

The Final Verdict

In terms of direction and screenplay Toilet – Ek Prem Katha doesn’t score much, but the issue it tries to scale is worth every applause. To those who don’t really care about the meticulous creation of a film, the movie is a mere “will-do” notion, as it hits just the spot. Its satirical humour and dozen one-liners even though not subtle and cliched, at the end of the day, end up being very effective.

Toilet – Ek Prem Katha does the job, even though it doesn’t do so to make you fall in love with it. It puts its case in a file that is worth giving an eye, and I think that’s where its real strength lies. That being said movies that address issues should be commended for what they are.

There are still many underlying daunting issues that need our immediate attention and despite how mucky or dirty they might sound we need to make the Orthodox aware of what wrongs they have been doing all this time.

A movie not to be missed by the orthodox, if you have a country to change. Make sure your parents watch this. 🙂

Check out other Indian Cinema Reviews as well.

You can check out the trailer of Toilet – Ek Prem Katha here:

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 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.

Check out our other reviews of Indian Movies as well.

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:

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