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Report Dated February 26, 2017 11:03 AM
RANGOON REVIEW: Rangoon is an ambitious attempt to actually tell a triangular love story against the backdrop of war. The canvas is huge. Pankaj Kumar’s cinematography is exquisite. The narrative that marries Casablanca (1942) to Chicago (2002) — wish the music here was peppier — plays out interestingly in parts. You have grim war-scenes fading out to allow some naach-gaana. Then there is a good measure of romance thrown in, albeit without the fire. Also there is also an infiltrator angle that allows for intrigue. Bhardwaj, whose repertoire includes truly-fine works like Maqbool, Omkara, and Haider delivers, but not entirely. Some frames just hang, some scenes feel tedious. In his attempt to pack in too much on war, love and deceit, the maker ends up with some haphazard division of war scenes versus love games, leaving the viewer muddled.
Saif gives his movie-entrepreneur act a razor-sharp quality. And, Shahid is outstanding. Kangana of course is the piece de resistance. You can believe that two men would cross swords for her. While she is a child-woman or “kiddo” to the sophisticated Rusi, who treats her like an expensive buy, she becomes the heartbeat of the patriotic Nawab, who loves her spirited side. However, as pointed out earlier on, though the love scenes are written well and aesthetically shot, they lack passion. The multiple lip-locks between Shahid and Kangana don’t ignite flames.
There’s a dialogue in the film where Saif tells a British officer, “We’re actors, we know how to convince people.” That isn’t entirely true here. Borrowing Julia’s oft-repeated phrase, “Bloody hell’, one wishes these three had truly dropped their guard. It would’ve certainly added more rang to this movie extravaganza.
Report Dated February 18, 2017 1:46 PM
CRITIC’S RATING: 3.0/5
AVG READERS’ RATING: 2.8/5
CAST:Amit Sadh, Taapsee Pannu, Arsh Bajwa
DURATION:1 hour 55 minutes
RUNNING SHAADI STORY : Fresh out of a job, Ram Bharose (Amit Sadh), his friend Cyber (Arsh Bajwa) and his ex-employer’s daughter Nimmi (Taapsee Pannu) start a matrimony service to help couples elope. Will he find himself as a client some day??
RUNNING SHAADI REVIEW : Growing up, we’ve all heard stories about couples eloping. While we don’t hear many elopment tales anymore, at least in big cities, it still is a phenomenon in smaller towns. Mix that with technology and you have Running Shaadi, where writer Navjot Gulati and director Amit Roy pen a tight little romcom.
And it’s not just about eloping. The egalitarian relationship that the leading pair develops is commendable yet believable. They talk about her menstrual cycle, discuss premarital sex, abortions and other ‘sensitive’ topics casually, like how most young people do. A headstrong girl and a wild child at heart, Nimmy is totally in on Bharose’s latest, risky business venture — a matrimonial website that helps couples elope. Until the first half, the film convinces you about their absurd business concept. But it’s in the second half that the film really takes off and takes you along for a joyride. The twists, albeit expected, are entertaining and the comedy is very relevant; there’s always a chuckle around. The characters are believable and face realistic dilemmas in their lives.
The real fun parts, though, are that of the supporting cast. Be it Cyber with his subdued, subtle role as a nerdy sidekick, or Bharose’s English spouting Bihari uncle played by Brijendra Kala, or his to-be brother-in-law and his family or the many couples who the trio help elope — they are all hilarious. The story is funny and irreverent and the performances up to the mark. The music never gets in the way of the story and the length, at 1 hour 55 minutes, is just right. While the constant beeping out of the .com at the end of the title is a tad irritating, you can let that slide considering the film was stuck in limbo for three years.
While there may not be much of a Shaadi, there’s definitely a lot of fun running around that you may want to check out.
Report Dated February 12, 2017 7:01 PM
It is never be easy for a serious-minded courtroom satire that swivels around the grim reality of fake encounters to stick to a style steeped in wit and breezy humour without occasionally wobbling off its axis. Jolly LLB 2, caught in a cramped channel between gravitas and jest, does sometimes teeter dangerously close to straying on to shaky ground. But thanks to the politics that underlines writer-director Subhash Kapoor’s flashier follow-up to his 2013 sleeper hit, Jolly LLB 2 is a film that makes important and relevant points about distorted law enforcement and justice delivery in a democracy of disempowered and oppressed constituents.
While the playbook that Kapoor employs here is largely the same as the one he used in the inaugural entry, the key personnel on board this time around, barring the notable exception of the fabulous-as-ever Saurabh Shukla, are a new lot.
That apart, the follow-up is set in Lucknow (although references to the city are beeped out on several occasions on CBFC orders). “Muskuraiye, aap Lucknow mein hai,” a seasoned advocate requests his infinitely less experienced rival Jagdishwar Mishra ‘Jolly’.
The latter, of course, has no reason to flash a smile, having got into a major emotional and moral tangle owing to one of the minor shenanigans he indulges in to keep himself going. Jolly LLB 2 does, however, have moments that are both funny and thought-provoking.
If only the film wasn’t stretched so thin, its middle portions might have been far less dreary.
Its length sucks life and breath out of the film, rendering the scenes leading up to the climax rather limp. Matters are worsened by an underwhelming, tacked-on denouement.
The first time around, the director was driven purely by a spirit of creative independence. Jolly LLB 2, a ‘bigger’ production, plays more by rules that are skewed towards the needs of a mainstream audience.
With superstar Akshay Kumar stepping into Arshad Warsi’s shoes, the film sheds its commercial underdog tag. In the bargain, it also loses out on some of the charming spontaneity that Warsi’s natural comic flair had lent the legal drama.
Although many of the scenes in this film, especially the protracted ones in the courtroom, are scripted and staged very differently from how they were in Jolly LLB, Akshay Kumar, to his credit, never loses sight of the need for restraint.
Playing a callow but cocksure lawyer not averse to bending the rules when he is in need of money, he aspires to free himself from the clutches of a legal eagle (Ram Gopal Bajaj) who uses him as an errand boy.
Reminded that a lawyer without a chamber is like a politician without a seat of power and an actor without a super hit, Jolly resolves to acquire an office of his own.
Desperate for cash to buy his dream chamber, Jolly takes a young, pregnant widow (Sayani Gupta) for a ride.
The repercussions of that careless act are so grave and he is sucked into an unequal battle against the city’s most dreaded lawyer Pramod Mathur (Annu Kapoor).
It turns into an all-out fight to secure justice for a man wrongly accused of terrorism and slain in a fake encounter.
Up against a group of cynical cops and a legal system vulnerable to manipulation, Jolly has to summon up all his courage and wiles to find his around the daunting maze.
Saurabh Shukla is an absolute delight yet again in the role of the mercurial Justice Sunder Lal Tripathi. He conveys avuncular grace with as much ease as he does indignant exasperation. No matter what, his antics are rib-tickling.
Annu Kapoor strikes false notes occasionally, succumbing to the temptation of playing to the gallery. But Akshay Kumar holds himself back for the most part, enhancing the impact of his performance in the bargain.
The lead actor receives solid support from Rajiv Gupta as Jolly’s assistant Bribal and Kumud Mishra as the ambitious, cynical police inspector who will stop at nothing for a promotion.
Sayani Gupta has only four-and-a-half scenes to make her presence felt. She does. And how!
Unfortunately, Huma Qureshi’s character is hopelessly under-developed.
The screenplay does not tap the full potential of either the actress or the role she plays.
Certain underlying elements give Jolly LLB 2 an intriguing spin. For one, it presents a crusader who is completely believable, warts and all.
Jolly does speak of, and even demonstrate, his physical prowess once or twice, but it is his tough cookie wife (Huma Qureshi) who has to jump to his rescue when he is shot at by two assailants in a marketplace.
What’s more, Jolly cooks for his wife and makes arrangements for her when she is in the mood for a drinking binge. He obviously isn’t the kind of hero we usually run into in Hindi films.
Jolly LLB also, tangentially, brings into its purview the vexed theme of young Muslim men falsely implicated in cases of terrorism and not given a chance in hell by a police and a media all too eager to brand and hang them.
The film also slips in allusions to the “anti-national” versus “patriotic” debate that dominates the political discourse in the country today even as it emphasizes the centrality of a free and fair judicial system in a polity controlled by the wealthy and the powerful.
If all this sounds too solemn for a mass entertainer, do not be put off. Jolly LLB 2 does well not to take itself too seriously.
It has the feel of a good-natured banter between friends rather than that of an inflated inquest conducted from a pedestal.
Report Dated January 25, 2017 5:36 PM
CAST:Shah Rukh Khan, Mahira Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
DURATION:2 hours 35 minutes
DOUBLE BATTERY, SINGLE POWER
RAEES STORY: Raees Alam runs an illegal alcohol empire in a Gujarat shrouded in prohibition; ACP Majmudar is in charge of toppling him off his high position. Will Raees’s own brand of righteousness save him?
Gear up for a throwback to the great Salim-Javed blockbusters of the Seventies, where the hero grows up mid-action, every second line is meant to show off the character’s swagger, a Helen song (Sunny Leone here) breaks the tension and action sequences compel you to whistle.
Carrying that legacy forward, is Raees. Shah Rukh Khan plays the titular character of a spectacled goon who hates being called “battery”; he starts from harmless Ponzi schemes but graduates to pre-planned rackets and becomes the top bootlegger of his town. When ACP Majmudar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is posted in his area, he meets his equal. Raees forms a nexus with politicians who fuel his business, but he soon becomes the thorn in their side.
The first half is well-paced; it draws you in and makes you root for the bootlegger; Majmudar’s one-liners and the music whet your appetite and the Laila Main Laila sequence ups the ante. But the second half plunges into a weird Robin Hood zone where the antihero’s morals are suddenly defibrillated and he becomes a messiah. The movie takes a rough path there on, and the long runtime makes the ride bumpier.
Shah Rukh Khan has never looked better; he’s full of fury and for once, isn’t spreading his arms, but breaking others’. The film lies entirely on his shoulders and he carries the weight most of the times. When he doesn’t, the ever-so-reliable Nawazuddin Siddiqui steps in with his crackling performance. In the trademark Nawaz style, he delivers some comic relief while playing the Tom to Khan’s Jerry. Mahirah is restricted to songs and a few emotional scenes, but doesn’t really add much. If her purpose was to soften the baddie, it’s lost on the viewer.
The movie can feel a bit long, but if you’re going for a great Shah Rukh performance and some good ol’ popcorn-entertainment, it might just ‘raees’ to the occasion.
Report Dated January 14, 2017 10:55 AM
CAST: Shraddha Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah, Leela Samson
DIRECTION: Shaad Ali
DURATION: 2 hours 16 minutes
OK JAANU STORY:
Millennials Adi and Tara are in love and must deal with the most millennial of problems: commitment phobia and the pressure to appear emotionally detached.
OK JAANU REVIEW:
Throughout the movie, Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Tara (Shraddha Kapoor) seem to be running after trains or buses in motion, barely getting in before it’s too late – a great metaphor for the love lives of people of today’s generation.
Adi is a video game developer with the American dream; Tara is an architect, destined for Paris. But they lock eyes at a wedding and all their plans go out of the window. They flirt, take a trip together, move in and decide to date for as long as they’re both in Mumbai.
The thing that works most in OK Jaanu’s favour is its screenplay, kept intact from its Tamil predecessor. It is a scene-for-scene remake and capitalizes on great moments from the original film. The music (largely retained) with Gulzar’s new lyrics also does a throwback to OK Kanmani in the best way possible.
In this seemingly tailor-made role, Aditya Roy Kapur shines as a goofy, shorts-wearing man-child. Shraddha is mostly sincere too, but there are scenes where you can’t help but flashback to Nithya Menen, who had charmed people’s socks off with her performance in OK Kanmani. Adi and Tara’s impulsive infatuation is countered by Gopi uncle (Naseeruddin Shah) and Charu aunty’s (Leela Samson) golden-jubilee marriage; both senior actors grounding the movie and saving it from becoming frivolous.
In spite of its pros, one can’t deny that unsure young lovers and their battle with commitment phobia is a tired topic to begin with. Moreover, if you’ve seen the original Tamil film, it’ll get tedious after a while, knowing exactly what’s coming next.
If you haven’t seen the original though, you’re sure to walk out of the theatre with a warm-fuzzy feeling.