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

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

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


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

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


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

still of Richa Chadha as Devi Pathak in Masaan movie

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

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


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

still of Shaalu Gupta and Deepak Chaudhary in Masaan movie

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

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

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

still of Sanjay Mishra as Vidyadhar Pathak in Masaan movie

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


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

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

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


Screenplay goes above average at times. Songs like these:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Check out the trailer of Masaan movie here:

Madaari Review (2016) | Gut-wrenching shattering drama

Madaari boldly dares into corruptive territories of the Indian Political scene. A world so chaotic and yet so powerful that nobody bats an eye or takes a stand to point fingers at those who run the nation. An everlasting pursuit of degradation that gradually gnaws at the soul of this country. A business that chugs on fuels of the diligent, whilst people rhythmically sway as per the will of the throne.


Irrfan Khan’s Nirmal Kumar is as he puts it – that average man who doesn’t have time to notice the negligence of the world, chiefly because he had his world in his lap. Then one day a mishap takes away the only he thing he ever cared about. That’s when he decides to take the world by the storm to rip them apart.

Still of Irrfan Khan laughing in Madaari

I will take this cheque and turn it into a dagger.

He kidnaps the son of the Home Minister of India, his wounds still fresh, to make a point and bring the whole Indian system down to its knees.

Vishesh Bansal was brilliant as Rohan Goswami. As a child actor with a loud mouth he does fairly well, and looks like he has a bright future ahead. Rajiv Gupta still doesn’t cease to bring that humorous tinge to every tale he is associated with, tickling you occasionally with his thorough expounding.


Madaari is Irrfan Khan. Fueled by his impressive acting, it is a movie embellished by his passion. His nerve wrecking performance will bring tears to your eyes. His Nirmal Kumar is a character who we might have come across on the streets quite often. A blended contour of emotions that you never had a chance to meet just because you were too busy in your own world. If only you looked, if only you cared enough to notice.

His best performance lies in those devastating bits of insanity – When he is holding onto a filthy school bag and a dilapidated water bottle, sitting on the hospital floor for hours. A tearful father stopping passersby explaining his grief, whilst the world takes him for a loon. When madness seeps over him and he becomes oblivious of his own existence. When he finds his son lurking at odd instances of his imagination.

still of irrfan khan in madaari when he kidnaps Rohan

There are other gorgeous moments in the movie as well; beautiful lines that the extraordinary screenplay of Madaari housed. The voiceover of Irrfan made it all better. Poetry seeped in occasionally making dialogues even more so gorgeous letting us prey on pensive sentience. Madaari is a constant feast of beautifully written remarks that will fling you into deep musings.


By the time you reach the climax of the movie there are two alternate endings inscribed within which the stunning editing of Madaari cashes in on – The first wherein Irrfan gets shot when he takes the bus, the other when he decides to take the train instead. The fact that the former is a more palpable story and would normally occur if you decide to take such colossal measures against the government, gives it more credibility. If Madaari is inspiring, which it is, a whole lot of the trodden are already thinking of a similar way to fight Government atrocities. To that I would say don’t. That’s how you will end up. That was reality right there. That’s where the actual movie ends too.

But Nishikant Kamat had different plans for it, taking into account our unflinching attachment for happy endings. Even though he does justice to it, the movie uproots when the confessions come dropping in. Tushar Dalvi loses his placid demeanour and things start to look a little animated therefrom. But Irrfan comes to the rescue nevertheless and saves them all with his spectacular performance.

Also, Madaari’s storyline is quite similar to that of Jodie Foster’s Money Monster, which poses questions at its originality. But surprisingly Madaari was everything that Money Monster couldn’t possibly become in its valiant attempt to stand against the corrupt.


Apart from the aforementioned insignificant issues, there was nothing wrong with the movie. Editing was magnificently done. Music was superbly complementing the theme of the flick.

Irrfan stays the soul of the movie. Highly recommended! Don’t miss it for the world.

Check out the trailer of Madaari movie:

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.


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?”


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!


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.


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

Kapoor and Sons Review (2016)

Kapoor and Sons changes the jaded frontage of dramedy!

It is good to see we are gradually rolling in an era where dramedy is no longer constrained to standing stiff characters, simulated backdrops and shoddy repetitive emphasizing music that we see on Television every day. The change is here, and we have stepped into it in an endearing mannerism.


Shakun Batra’s latest Kapoor and Sons walks in with a certain unprocessed aura that is suggestive of a relatable context as you skim through its plot. When you show trivial things, like where the key to the house is placed, it propagates a natural comportment at things that exist the way they do in real life. It is realistically close to how we live. That factor is well milked by Shakun in her direction.


Comedy is squeezed in galore as there isn’t a moment you stop smiling till things begin to go south for the family. A little instigation and the whole framework uproots into chaos flinging people into the depths of psychosis they aren’t aware of but are living amidst. We have on the platter a dysfunctional family that has a lot of things already screwed-up, as we take a peek into their lives with the arrival of two sons on account of a certain heart-attack mockery that goes awry.


Rajat Kapoor, is at his usual best, as he plays a crunched dad who is terribly close to a failing marriage with Ratna Pathak, the typical Indian mom who has her hands full with chores, and a brain full of complaints. She is a brilliant actress who aces everything she does to perfection. So she manages on with her worrying Mom acts with her ‘perfect’ son Rahul in the vantage played extraordinarily by Fawad Khan. Fawad was the perfect cast, an exceptional choice that we have, who fills in the shoes of Rahul Kapoor in Kapoor and Sons. He brings home the right warmth of brotherly love for his sibling Arjun, and projects a perfection that is rare to find, also in a way reflective of good people in our society. He accepts a challenging role and sees it to fruition without leaving his charismatic zone for a second. He is fluent, candid and understanding. A spectacular blend!


To have a glimpse into the tawdry side of the flick we have many elements that unfortunately take it downhill too. Sadly the awkward makeup lingering on Rishi Kapoor’s face can’t be ignored. What was terribly sorry to watch was the inexperience Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt manifest as they end up decimating drama with their unemotional acts. Sidharth’s incapability to react aptly to a sad story playing in front of his eyes, fill you up with indifference. Same goes true for Alia who was a charmer when it came to delivering brilliant comic lines, but time came to show her real acting prowess, where it all mattered, she went down the dodgy lane. Her cuteness obscures the veracity that was the need of the hour.


Also, we cannot completely ignore the script of Kapoor and Sons. We could have lived without including too many hotchpotch side stories to it. The one with the plagiarism of the novel and the revelation was the worst story to have been included as things seemed to be terribly out of place. The latter being the part where we see acting go on dwindling lanes. The Anu aunty plot was well put and executed magnificently. Two brothers single girl seemed straight from “Dan in Real Life” (That guitar scene couldn’t help but remind me of that flick). The reefer bit complacency came straight from the movie “This is Where I Leave You” and would make you question the originality of it. Also, humour hits a rock-bottom there!

Amidst all the confusion and vexation, grandpa with a dying wish to frame a perfect family picture gets lost as a side-plot conundrum. The poetry in it hasn’t been well milked.

The drama of Kapoor and Sons eventually goes from sentient to cheesy as we make a time leap, something which breaks the gloomy flow which I was averse against. Unfortunately the LGBT issue is still frowned upon in Indian mindsets as I heard laughter around me in the theater when serious notes concluded which was kind of sad.


Overall Kapoor and Sons was really great to come out from a soapy cocoon, and discover Fawad the true gem he is, see comedy for the way it should be, and explore natural instinctive acting style that Indian Cinema has been lacking hitherto in a dramedy. An enjoyable hoot made even better with characters like Boobly, Kishore and Wasim who made humour all the way better!

Totally worth your time!