Zubaan

Bollywood has always welcomed all the genres of movies. Of late, the silver screen has witnessed many a diverse genre. This week's release ZUBAAN is a film about dreams and aspirations and the obstacles that come in the way. Will it have a dream run at the box-office or will it succumb at the box-office, let's analyze.

The film starts off with a religious song at the gurudwaara. This is followed by Dilsher (Vicky Kaushal) being bullied by some boys. When he takes resort in a construction site, he happens to meet Gurucharan Sikand (Manish Chaudhari) aka 'Lion of Gurdaspur', who happens to be a 'manager-turned-owner' of the said site. When Dilsher asks Gurucharan as to why he did not save him from the boys, pat comes the reply from Gurucharan that the only person who can save him is he himself. Saying this, he hands over a pen as a token of remembrance. Meanwhile, the sudden death of Dilsher's father puts him in a shock, thus leading him to stammer while speaking. Years later, when Dilsher grows up, he realises that Gurucharan has become an extremely successful person and that it is really tough to have a meeting with him. That's why Dilsher joins a security guards' agency in order to become one of the security personnels of Gurucharan. When Dilsher realises that his opportunities are almost bleak of meeting Gurucharan, he lands up 'creating' an opportunity to meet him. And when he meets him, he shows the pen and tells him that he also hails from the same native of Gurdaspur. In no time, Dilsher becomes extremely close to Gurucharan, so much so that he instructs Dilsher to stay with his family in their palatial house. The growing proximity between Dilsher and Gurucharan starts annoying Surya (Raaghav Chanana), so much so that he never misses an opportunity to make fun of Dilsher's 'position' in the house and his stammering disability. This is something that does not go well with Amira (Sarah Jane Dias), who happens to be the (one-sided) love of Surya. A few meetings later, Sarah Jane Dias makes Dilsher realise that he stammers only when he talks and not when he sings and that he should consider singing very seriously. Meanwhile, Dilsher, who always wanted to be as great and magnificent as Gurucharan, finds his true calling and lands up in Gurdaspur… only to be arrested the moment he gets down the train. On the other hand, Dilsher also discovers a startling truth about his 'Godfather' Gurcharan, which shocks him extremely. Who are the people behind Dilsher's arrest, what is the secret that he discovers about Gurcharan, what is the reason for him to comeback to his hometown of Gurdaspur and does he find the 'real calling' of his life is what forms the rest of the film.

The film has an extremely tight and engaging screenplay (Sumit Roy, Mozez Singh). Mozez Singh, who makes his directorial debut with ZUBAAN is definitely a name to watch out for. The ease with which he packages and delivers a sensitive film like ZUBAAN is simply exceptional. The hard work that he has put in as a director in ZUBAAN yields him rich dividends in the film. The film just does not look like being directed by a debutant director. The best part about his direction is that, places wherein any director could have either gone astray or over-the-top, Mozez Singh maintains his pace. All of this contributes in making the film a memorable affair to watch. The second half is not as watertight as the flawless first half, because, the film dips in second half… only to pick up pace again towards climax. The film also has many noteworthy scenes. For example, the conflict between protagonist and family (wife and son) has been shot really well.

As for the performances, the film rests majorly on the shoulders of its lead cast Vicky Kaushal and Sarah Jane Dias. ZUBAAN, which happens to be Vicky Kaushal's second film (his debut being MASAAN), also sees him grow superlatively as an actor and also leaps and bounds to become the scene stealer of the film. On the other hand, Sarah Jane Dias, besides looking good, has also contributed immensely towards the film. Her performance in this film will definitely go down as one of her most memorable performances. The other actors too bring in top notch performances in the film, which helps the film's progress in a smooth manner minus any guffaws.

The film also boasts of having some good music (Ashu Phatak, Ishq Bector, Shree D, Manraj Patar). Songs like 'Dhruvtara' and 'Kori Pukaar' stay with you for a long time. Rest of the songs are not that appealing, but that doesn't hamper the show. The USP of the film's music is that it has been integrated properly at the right juncture.

While the film's cinematography (Swapnil Sonawane) is superlative, its editing (Deepa Bhatia) is decent.

On the whole, ZUBAAN comes across as a magnificent masterpiece of the recent times. Strong performances and extremely relatable screenplay will surely bring the audiences to witness the film that speaks about love, ambition, trust, faith and betrayal.

Tere Bin Laden Dead Or Alive

When you have an iconic film to live up to, it is always going to be an uphill task when you come up with its sequel. TERE BIN LADEN is one of the best films to have been made in the last ten years. Even though the theatrical trailer of TERE BIN LADEN DEAD OR ALIVE boasted of a lot of promise, the movie is a half baked entertainer that makes you chuckle at quite a few occasions but it doesn't deliver a full throated laughter.

Sharma (Manish Paul) wants to become a film director and escapes from the clutches of his Halwai father to Bollywood. He meets Paddi Singh (Pradhuman Singh) who has an uncanny similarity with Osama Bin Laden and the germ of an idea pops up in his mind. He narrates a story idea to the silent producers Shetty sisters. 'Tere Bin Laden' starring Ali Zafar and Paddi goes on to become a big hit and a sequel is being planned. Scheming CIA agent David (Sikandar) turns into slimy Bollywood film Producer David Chaddha with a sexy assistant in Junior (Mia Uyeda) in tow. He is on the lookout for Paddi Singh. The dreaded Mujahid Khalil (Piyush Mishra) is also on the lookout for Paddi as well. Mayhem follows and even President Obama joins the cast too.

The movie is entertaining when you have the most unusual Olympics for terrorism. The mere idea is very funny. Piyush Mishra brings in the maximum smiles throughout the course of the film. He is first rate. The problem with the film is that it builds up excitement but then falls flat. Such is the story throughout the course of the film. Pradhuman Singh is a let down. He's not exciting enough. Manish Paul plays himself. He makes you smile at times. There's nothing substantial. Sikandar promised a lot during the promo but he is loud and over the top. Moreover his make up is too tacky. Ali Zafar in a cameo is wasted. Big time. The song 'Six Packs' that is picturized on him is atrocious to say the least. The needless extended cameo of President Obama was needless.

The screenplay is credited to Neha Sharma and Abhishek Sharma while dialogues have been written by Pradhuman. Writing is lackluster. Good in parts but average at most occasions. The dialogues are patchy too. When the references to weapons of mass destruction or Junior telling David, "I can blow your trumpet", you know there's intelligence at work. Piyush has punchy dialogues. But overall, a lot of forced humour is at work. Gags don't work if the timing between the actors is missing. VFX are uneven too. The American Helicopter is created out of VFX and it is neat but most of the VFX apart from that are tacky. Chandan Arora's editing is decent since the short duration of the film gives it a breezy feel. Chaudhary Amalendu's camerawork is average. Dhruv Dhalla's music isn't worth writing about.

On the whole, TERE BIN LADEN DEAD OR ALIVE doesn't live up to the first part. It offers you patchy entertainment. At the ticket window it will not enjoy an overwhelming word of mouth. If you don't have anything else to do, you can check it out else wait for the satellite premiere.

The Revenant English

Over the years actor Leonardo DiCaprio has entertained viewers with stellar performances, with recent ones being THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, THE GREAT GATSBY, and DJANGO UNCHAINED. This week, we see the release of the much talked about and highly anticipated film THE REVENANT starring Leo, for which he has also been nominated for the Oscars.

THE REVENANT is a historical action adventure film directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu is based on Michael Punke's novel with the same title, which is inspired by the experiences of frontiersman and fur trapper Hugh Glass. The story follows Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s, who fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left to die by John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), a member of his own hunting team. Starting off viewers be forewarned that THE REVENANT which features a rather mundane plot line of being yet another revenge drama, is nothing like the testosterone filled action flick APOCALYPTO that released a few years back. Instead the film starts off like a dream, with segments of memories depicting an idyllic life, followed up with the camera panning over gurgling water in a flooded forest and the inevitable loss of life. This opening sequence more than sums up the film that tells the story of harsh circumstances in a rugged unforgiving landscape with breathtaking views, and of survival and death with shocking acts of human indiscretion and loss. Following this elaborate start THE REVENANT throws the viewers into the midst of battle with the trappers being attacked by the native Americans.

After the attack by the natives, Glass's party is trekking across woodland when he is viciously attacked by a grizzly bear. Though terribly wounded Glass being a respected leader of the party is stretchered up and hauled across the landscape. When the going gets tough, Glass is held to stay back with John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), along with his half-Pawnee son Hawk and friend Bridger (Will Poulter), till he dies in peace. However, Fitzgerald not to be trusted abandons Glass in a shallow grave. If this is not enough, John kills Glass' son in the process and takes off, thus setting up a classic revenge tale, with Glass determined to stay alive to exact his revenge despite the odds.

While the film features hardly any dialogues, but instead opting to draw the audience in with sweeping visuals and gruesome violence that evokes reactions, it does provide the actors ample room to display their acting proves. In this aspect, Leonardo and Hardy is the perfect duo to play the main characters around which the film revolves. With yet another stellar performance, Leonardo DiCaprio pulls off the role of a man on a mission fighting life and death to avenge the death of his son. Hardy who seems to get a chunk of the dialogues does equally well as the gritty, cut throat mercenary John Fitzgerald.

Though at some points the film does come across as being a bit slow, with dreamy sequences thrown in which allow the audience to develop an emotional connect with the central protagonist, THE REVENANT is certainly an experience. In fact coupled with the stunning visuals thanks to the great cinematography, the sound effects have been cleverly used to draw the viewer into the film putting him alongside the cast. Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, much like his earlier films BIRDMAN and BIUTIFUL manages to make a rather simple story into a virtual experience.

On the whole, keeping true to its name, THE REVENANT is a stunning visual experience with a brilliant performance by Leonardo DiCaprio. Though in India, the film may not have a mass appeal and will primarily charm the multiplex audiences in Metros.

Aligarh

Many a times 'Reel life imitates the real life'. There have been many instances wherein many a real life incidents have got translated into silver screen affair. With the Hindi film industry going through a transition, there are several film-makers who are attempting films based on real-life episodes. This week's release ALIGARH also happens to be insured by a real life incident about a professor who was suspended from his job because of his sexual orientation. Will ALIGARH be able to shake up the Box-Office or will it succumb itself, let's analyze.

The film starts off on the premises of Aligarh University, the very 'Urdu dominated' place where Prof. Shrinivas Siras (Manoj Bajpayee) happens to teach Marathi to the students. The film gradually moves onto capturing the 'intimate moments' between Prof. Shrinivas Siras and a rickshaw driver Irfan. The moment they get intimate with each other, two 'reporters' (who claim to be from TV 100 channel) do a sting operation on the duo. As Siras and Irfan get caught in the act, Dr. Zuber Khan, Dr. Firoz Majid, Dr. Shadab Qureshi and Prof. A. K. Murtuza from the university enter the room. Even though Dr. Shadab Qureshi (who also happens to be the college's PRO) assures Siras that he will not leak his intimate video, he goes back on his words and tells the media all about the incident. The next day morning sees all the newspapers and channels screaming about Siras' incident, which also results in a mob burning his effigies, human protests etc. All of this results in Prof. Siras being suspended from the college and gets told to vacant the quarters within a week's time. Meanwhile, a young and 'fire in the belly' journalist Deepu Sebastian (Rajkumar Rao) starts writing about the case arming himself with thorough investigation, because he feels that Siras is not guilty and could have been framed. Initially, Siras is reluctant to speak to Deepu about the incident because the latter is a journalist. After a few meetings, Siras develops full faith in Deepu and he confides the whole incident that had taken place that night. While on one hand, Deepu goes all out to get justice for Siras, on the other hand, the court case against Siras only gets prolonged day after day. After days and days of struggle, when Deepu finally succeeds in being the 'agent of change' for Siras to get justice, a drunk Siras tells Deepu on the phone that he strongly feels that he should get settled in the US as that's where people of his sexual orientation get accepted with open arms. Does Aligarh University accept back Siras the 'tainted Chairman of the Linguistic Department', does Siras finally get settled down in the US or is there anything more than what meets the eye...is what forms the rest of the film.

ALIGARH boasts of a wonderful and heartfelt screenplay Apurva Asrani (who has also written the story). One has to give it to him for handling an extremely sensitive topic in the most sensible manner.

The film sees the no holds barred directorial prowess of Hansal Mehta, who has handled the film in an extremely skilful manner. Thanks to his direction, the film gets translated into a mixed bag of emotions such as fearless, captivating, moving and heart-breaking one. While the film has an extremely engaging first half, the second half sees the film losing its grip mainly due to its slow pace and starts looking disjointed. Many things remain unexplained which may confuse the audience.

As for the performances, the film solely belongs to Manoj Bajpayee. Manoj conveys the humiliation, loneliness and pain brilliantly. He gets into the skin of his character so will that you can't imagine anyone else in the part. ALIGARH marks yet another landmark performance from this supremely talented actor. As for Rajkummar Rao, he flawlessly adds tremendous credibility to his character. The rest of the film's cast, Ashish Vidhyarthi and others, bring in their value added performances to make the film reach its goal.

While the film does not have any mainstream songs, it's the background music (Karan Kulkarni) acts as an icing on the cake. While the film's cinematography (Satya Rai Nagpaul) is superlative, the film's editing (Apurva Asrani) could have been better as it could have worked miracles to the film's narrative and progress, especially in the second half.

On the whole, ALIGARH is a sensitive film which will touch your heart. However, due to its slow pace, it may appeal to a very niche segment of multiplex audiences.

LoveShhuda

Romance has always been the favourite genre of Bollywood and with time, even the movie titles seem to have gone through changes. Move over the term 'shaadishhuda', here comes this week's release LOVESHHUDA that stars Girish Kumar alongwith Navneet Kaur Dhillon. Will this film turn out to be a 'love' affair with the box-office or will it fizzle out, let's analyze.

The film starts with Gaurav (Girish Kumar) welcoming his Indian friends to London and escorting them to his house, where the preparations are underway for his marriage to a certain Vandana. Before the big day, all of Gaurav's friends insist on celebrating his bachelor party by having a night out. What follows after that is an overdose of booze that lands Gaurav up in bed with a rank stranger named Pooja (Navneet Kaur Dhillon), who happens to be an Arts student. The funny part is that Gaurav simply doesn't remember how he landed up in the bed with Pooja. Gaurav, who suffers from a nasty hangover, tells Pooja to leave his room immediately. Since Pooja misplaces her top in the room, Gaurav gives his white shirt and asks her to leave. As luck would have it, the white shirt happens to be a gift by Vandana's mother to Gaurav for the wedding. When the extremely finicky and over possessive Vandana asks about the whereabouts of the white shirt, Gaurav starts hunting for Pooja to get the shirt back. What happens after that are a series of meet ups and break ups, which ultimately leads to Gaurav living upto the film's title 'loveshhuda'. In couple of years, when Gaurav undergoes a divorce from his wife Vandana, his friends insist on travelling to Mauritius in order for him to loosen up a little. And as destiny would have it, Gaurav bumps into Pooja again, who has come for her bachelorette party with her friends. When Gaurav tries to rekindle his love, she tells him that she is on the verge of getting married to Vinayak Sengupta (Yash Pandit). Does Pooja end up marrying Vinayak or does she go back to Gaurav, does Gaurav mutter up the courage to confess about his love before everyone, what happens to the 'loveshhuda' birds Gaurav and Pooja in the end.... forms the rest of the story.

LOVESHHUDA marks the directorial debut of Vaibhav Mishra. With LOVESHHUDA, Vaibhav Mishra (who also doubles up as a scriptwriter) has tried to tell 'a love story that starts in bed'! The sad part is that he fails miserably in doing so. While the first half of the film shows promise and sets up the pace of the film (drinks overdose and drunk scenes notwithstanding), the second half of the film goes totally offtrack. The second half sees the film and the script going astray, thus making absolutely no sense. The whole film is 'dominated' by an overflow (read 'overdose') of alcohol and hangovers. The film's screenplay (Vaibhav Misra, Hussain Dalal) is literally inspired by many superhit Hollywood and Bollywood romantic movies, with many signature scenes from the old classics simply recreated in this film.

As for the performances, the film's lead actors Girish Kumar and Navneet Kaur Dhillon make up for a good and fresh pair onscreen. Girish Kumar (who was last seen in his debut film RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA) shows growth as an actor. While he has his set of struggles while handling emotional scenes, he does come across as a sincere actor who yearns for a proper script in order to showcase his talent. LOVESHHUDA is not that script which gives him that space. The film also sees the debut of 'yet another beauty queen turned actress' in the form of Navneet Kaur Dhillon, who delivers a decent performance (strictly in parts) in the film. Despite LOVESHHUDA being her debut film, she shows promise, but needs to polish her acting skills. The seasoned actors like Tisca Chopra and Sachin Khedekar do justice in their respective characters. The rest of the cast help the film in moving forward.

The music (Mithoon, Parichay) of the film is very youthful and trendy, and should connect well with the youth. The film's background music (John Stewart Eduri) is decent but way too loud at some places. While the cinematography (Bijitesh De) is good, the film's editor should have really reduced the length of the second half which is stretched endlessly for no reason.

On the whole, LOVESHHUDA is an amalgamation of famous rom-coms from both Hollywood and Bollywood with good music but fails to make an impact as it offers nothing new.

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