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

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

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

RUSTOM DEBRIEFING

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

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

still of Akshay Kumar as Rustom Pavri in Rustom movie

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

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

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

MOVIE’S DIRECTION

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

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

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

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

HUMOUR IN SOBRIETY

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

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

“It is alright to kill a bad man.”

When are we going to truly escape this lawless pandemonium?

THE INEFFECTUAL CASTING

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

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

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

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

Still of Ileana as Cynthia Pavri in Rustom Movie

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

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

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

THE FINAL VERDICT

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

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

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

Check out the trailer of Rustom movie here:

Sarbjit Review (2016)

Sarbjit starts off with overacting galore, blemished further by director’s shoddy style of depicting frames. You can’t help yourself from falling into pits of instant indifference, the moment songs come into play one after the other. It starts off on a bad foot, there is no doubt about that. But then it takes a pleasant pace, where you actually get to fathom the story of an unfortunate guy muzzled by the grinding gears of countries at war.

FLAWS IN THE DIRECTION OF SARBJIT

There are hundreds of flaws in direction that walk boldly around in prominence. The worst half of it appeared like a comedy movie. You cannot take seriously a character as they deliver detached unfeeling lines. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is the poorest choice one could make for a movie. She fails to get under the skin of the protagonist, and seems aloof from the gravity of the situation. Screenplay doesn’t have much to offer except for few occasional dialogues that will make you ponder. Like when she drops:

“Where is all the hate coming from?”

BEST BITS OF SARBJIT

The best part, the most sentient part of the movie, however is when Sarabjit, played exceptionally well by Randeep Hooda, meets his entire family for the first time in jail. You cannot stop yourself from breaking down empathizing with the head of a guy parched for years without love. One of the most shattering moments of the flick! Also, when Sarabjit mournfully broods he must have done something terrible to have met such a fate. You can’t help but feel extremely sorry for him. A life lost – as he reflects. Richa Chadha, a brilliant actor, stays overshadowed throughout, under the wraps forever, until one time in the end she tries to image memories from the past by holding Sarbjit’s belongings only to keep them so that he stays around in the house. Powerful stuff!

As you chug down the movie lane further, there is boisterous uproar from Dalbir Kaur (Aishwarya) which becomes impoverished further by the movie’s writing. Terrible I would say as goosebumps fail to register!

CONSTANTLY FALLING

At times it becomes akin an Indian TV soap, sometimes even worst. The music department makes a purposeful endeavour to squeeze in a melancholic tone to make everything sound gloomier.

But as you take a good look at it, you have to hand it over to the sister who endures unfettered yet shackled by the plight of his brother. There is so much she does, that is quite relatable of all stuffs, something you would do for your family.

IN NEED OF A BETTER DIRECTOR

All in all you cannot help wonder of ways the movie on Sarbjit could have been better. The real grim feel behind the situation has been obscured profusely to muster out sentience. If only a better director and writer had eyed Sarabjit first!

Check out other insightful reviews of Bollywood…er…Indian Cinema here: Indian Cinema Reviews

Airlift Review (2016)

A historical achievement enfeebled by poor film-making! Airlift is mediocre. Period.

Yes, we had a great plot in our baggage. A true story intended to pan out a biopic that could have turned heads, made some noise about the plight of 170000 stuck Indians in a warzone. An immaculate rescue operation that was so colossal that it lodged its name in the Guinness Book of World Records for being one of the largest evacuations of all times.

But what does Menon do with it? He changes facts, people, creates sheer fiction, rules out details, comes with a hand-woven shoddy script to replace the truth, places his own fake characters to enrich melodrama, throws in some songs in there to deliberately connect with the Indian audience, enforces unrealistic patriotism for emphasis, and squeezes in pointless unwanted tantrums to say the least.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

The movie begins by depicting the lavish life of the protagonist whilst noisily pointing out how little Katyal, a big fish in the Kuwait business suburbs, thought of his homeland. He had turned, as suggested by a brayed intentional laugh of his friends, more Kuwaitian than a Kuwaitian himself. These bits again seemed forced rather than appear natural so as to benefit the script.

Chaos depicted by some pathetic CGI bombing, tanks and helicopters raids manifest how little we have progressed in movie making. Third grade young actors chosen here try to scare you with guns and a foreign accent. They fail terribly at it. Their acts were excruciatingly unpromising as they try to kick someone lethargically on the butt, shoot people to nail in absent fear, make advances at young girls, or occasionally stop people for intimidating enquiry. Amidst all the mayhem Akshay Kumar cries which somehow doesn’t blend in with the unconvincing setup. Also, when he runs home to not discover his wife and child, whilst looking unperturbed by the snot lazily hanging from his nose (which seemed a very forceful shot by Menon BTW), really squeezed out acting from him, which pretty soon disappeared in its next impending frames. Menon tries to shoehorn drama in there which seemed more enacted to have ever reached a gut-wrenching point.

What was however quite endearing to watch was how the movie unfurls into better horizons from there as the protagonist starts taking effective measures to get the job done. The way the story oscillates with the ‘how’ is the crux of the flick. It however also tries to milk a character called George, played by Prakash Belawadi, depictive of a head that doesn’t work well with the mass. What it failed to cash on was its moniker. The fact that Air India flew over 488 air planes in a war-hit zone was humongous, but it was vaguely mentioned in a daft line by Akshay. True heroics get overshadowed right there.

After watching this you will miss Neeraj Pandey big time, or even hope the likes of Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee or even the newcomer Neeraj Ghaywan to have picked this up. Airlift failed to engage and rivet us. The music couldn’t captivate us and there was hardly an adrenaline moment to keep our jaws wide open for long. To say that it even came close to the likes of Argo would be downright foolish.

Alas! the damage has been done. What you have is mediocre served on your platter! What could have turned into something phenomenal ends up being an average Indian mainstream movie. It is quite unfortunate that the Indian mass loves this kind of stuff. I would call it nothing but an average crowd entertainer.

Go with lesser expectations and you might enjoy it.

Titli Review (2015)

A ballsy attempt at the dirty dark!

Kanu’s Titli is an insane scrutiny into the head of a protagonist born in shambles. Surrounded by a filthy immoral environment that has affected his upbringing, Titli is a complex character breathing in a rotting muck with a dream.

The direction of Titli is one of the finest kinds. Behl spends ample amount of time on mundane things, captures mire gorgeously. He has caught the broken and the shattered perfectly. He literally walks behind the protagonist with a shaky camera to execute a well prepared live action drama to perfection. His frames are slow, and fade to the next ones with a purpose. He also incorporates great backdrops to complement his work. Little unnoticed things have been brought into the vanguard. Things that we see and forget quickly have been slapped on his frames. Like a spider dangling to the movie’s score, or an old tattered ceiling fan making every effort to breathe in a trampled house. He captures an entire developing city marvelously to insinuate how a lot of people are slaves to dreams like that of Titli’s.

The flick begins with Titli’s dream, in a parking lot of a mall. It focuses on how the lad is trying really hard to escape from the swamp he has been breathing in. Then comes the unfortunate incident that topples his life over. He finds himself at Ground Zero once again. His brethren marry him to a girl for advantage. The girl on the other hand brings another story with her. The whole plot is about pursuing his dream, tackling hell whilst doing so and his life being smacked between his dream and someone else’s.

The movie also compels you to think about the choices Titli takes at odd crucial hours. It lets you dive deep into the head of an abnormal person whose life had been nothing but chaos. There are a lot of things going in the skull of Titli, character exceptionally portrayed by Shashank Arora, and you can almost read him like a book. Lalit Behl’s character is that of an onlooker and a freeloader, a leech who doesn’t involve himself in anything and yet piggybacks to feed himself. As Titli, eventually calls him a ‘pig’ an apt

Some of the bits in the movie are downright outrageous. There is a lot of retching going on, which might disgust you beyond limit. When you see someone take up a hammer or a stick, you expect some badass bludgeoning, but alas this wasn’t put a proper thought to, and it looks more animated than real. Such places you can almost see through their acts.

Titli touches the thrilling dark which might give you the chills at times. It is scintillating at many junctures, fills you with sympathy and a plenty of times with disgust.

Another great thing about the movie is its exceptional cast. Their acting prowess is extremely engaging. Little unaffected acts that cover ’em up with profundity are quite delightful. Everyone is engulfed in their bits and that just nails the coffin perfectly. We surely can’t overlook Amit Sial’s bit in the movie. Ranvir Shorey is simply outstanding too.

The editing department of the flick could have seen some more cuts, since the movie ended up being lengthy.

Bottomline: Titli isn’t for everybody. If you are into dark cinema or wish to watch quality movies, go for it.