Sanam Teri Kasam

The 90s saw the rise and rise of music videos. Many of today's stars have, at some point of time, been a part of such music videos. One of the pioneers of such music videos were the impeccable director duo of Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru. They stepped into directing Bollywood films with the Salman Khan-Sneha Ullal starrer LUCKY...NO TIME FOR LOVE. The duo's latest offering at the Box-Office is in the form of this week's release SANAM TERI KASAM. Will this film hold 'promise' at the box-office or will it fizzle out, let's analyse.

The film starts off with everybody congratulating the leading lawyer Inder Lal Parihar aka Inder (Harshvardhan Rane) because he has won an important case. Steering away from everyone and all the congratulatory messages, Inder stands in front of a huge tree, which leads the viewers to a series of flashback incidents that connects Inder's yesterday with his today. The flashback events start off with Inder's 'I-care-a-damn-about-the world' attitude that makes Saraswati Parthasarthi aka Saru's (Mawra Hocane) extremely righteous and religious father Jayaram Parthasarthi (Manish Choudhary) hate him from the bottom of his heart. Even though he is a strict father, he wants nothing but the best (a bridegroom who is loaded with IIT-IIM degrees) for his dutiful and beautiful daughter Saru, who works as a librarian. The problem with Saru is that, despite being extremely cultured, self respecting and intellectual, she gets rejected by prospective grooms because she is a self-confessed 'vibhuti aunty'. The delay in Saru's marriage also results in her younger sister Kaveri Parthasarthi's (Divyetta) marriage getting delayed. This results in Saru being at the receiving end of Kaveri's constant bickering. Seeing an article of 'complete makeover' in a magazine, Saru decides to undergo the same, so that the prospective bridegrooms do not reject her. Amidst her transformation, a series of events takes place that turns not just Saru's but also her entire family's world upside down, so much so that her father Jayaram declares her dead for him and his family. He even performs the pooja for the dead in front of Saru's garlanded photograph. So, what exactly goes haywire in Saru's life, does she ultimately get an IIT-IIM man as her life partner, what ultimately happens to Inder and does Kaveri Parthasarthi's marriage get further delayed is what forms the rest of the film.

Even though there is nothing outstanding about the film's script, the film's premise still holds promise due to its unusual story (Radhika Rao & Vinay Sapru) and simplicity. The years of experience that the film's directors (Radhika Rao & Vinay Sapru) have in terms of technicalities and other aspects clearly shows in the film. Even though the film makes for a decent watch, one just cannot help but draw (immediate) parallels between SANAM TERI KASAM and 'like-minded' films ANKHIYON KE JHAROKHON SE and the more recent KATTI BATTI. While many scenes in the film leave a strong impact on the audience and make the film look realistic and emotional, there are a handful of scenes (like that of Murli Sharma's inspector act) that dilutes the seriousness of the film. While the film scores extremely well in the first half, the pace, the momentum and the excitement that was built by the first half totally gets lost in the film's second half. In simple words, the film's second half does nothing but dilute the impact of the first half to a large extent. And it is the director duo who have to be blamed for this. Despite the flaws and the melodrama, the emotional moments that are woven in the simple and sweet film work extremely well in favour of the film.

As for the performances, SANAM TERI KASAM marks the debut of the film's lead pair. While Harshvardhan Rane is a well-known name down south, Mawra Hocane is a Pakistani actress who is a well-established VJ, model and actress. Harshvardhan Rane puts up an above average act (his miniscule struggles with a couple of scenes notwithstanding). On the other hand, Mawra Hocane shines and excels in the film with her extremely believable and superlative performance. There are places where she overtakes Harshvardhan in terms of performance. It won't be wrong to term her as a 'scene stealer'. Given the right choice of films, she just could be the find of Bollywood this year. Other actors like Manish Choudhary, Murli Sharma, Pyumori Mehta, Divyetta and Rushad Rana deliver convincing performances. On the other hand, the cameos by Vijay Raaz and Sudesh Berry are interesting.

The film's music (Himesh Reshammiya) is extremely fresh and scores superlatively with the listeners and is a delight to listen to. Be it the melodious title track or 'Tera Chehra', 'Kheech Meri Photo', 'Rahnuma' the music is a clean winner and is definitely one of the USPs of the film. Had the film's music been promoted a bit more aggressively, it just could have worked wonders for the film. The film's background score (Sanjoy Chowdhary) only adds glitters to the film's progress and doesn't lag in anyway. While the film's cinematography (Chirantan Das) is top-notch, the film's editing (Deven Murdeshwar) could have been a bit more crisper, which could have helped the film's second half from being dragged endlessly.

On the whole, SANAM TERI KASAM is a decent assortment of good performances and superb music. However, the excessive length of the film will act as a biggest single drawback at the box-office.

Saala Khadoos

Bollywood has seen many films that have been based on sports like cricket, hockey, football etc. In the recent times, there was the Priyanka Chopra starrer biopic MARY KOM that brought the game of boxing in the public eye and gave it the (due) credit it deserved. This week's release SAALA KHADOOS too takes an inside look in the world of boxing. Will the film deliver a knockout punch at the box-office or will it hang its gloves, let's analyse.

The film starts off with the introduction of Adi Tomar aka Adi (R. Madhavan), who, by profession, happens to be a coach of the girls' boxing team. Courtesy the dirty politics (wherein he is falsely accused of sexual harassment), he gets transferred to Chennai. Adi is now on a lookout for a girl who has the much required passion for the sport and fire in her belly. And his search ends in the most unlikely person for the job Madhi (Ritika Singh), who, despite being a fisherwoman by profession, is a born talent in boxing and she idolises Mohammad Ali. After having agreed to pay Rs. 500 per day towards her training, Adi takes her under his wing. On the other hand, Madhi's elder sister Lakshmi aka Laks (Mumtaz Sorcar) also happens to be a boxer wanting to get into police department so that she can take care of the family. Seeing Adi's closeness and confidence in Madhi, Laks plays a dirty game with her own sister, this resulting in Madhi's ouster from an important match. Unaware of the real reason for Madhi's dismal performance, Adi gets wild on her at her poor performance and throws her away from his life and training. Situations then take a U-turn which leads to the imprisonment of Madhi who also escapes from being a prey of chief selector's desires. What action of Madhi leads her to be jailed, who is the person who tries to take advantage of her, does Adi ever get to coach his once favourite student Madhi all over again, what ultimately happens to Adi and Madhi is what forms the rest of the story.

First things first. One has to simply give it to the film's director Sudha Kongara Prasad for bringing out a film that is simply a class apart. While she has already made films in the South (ANDHRA ANDAGADU, DROHI), SAALA KHADOOS marks her directorial debut in Bollywood. In addition to SAALA KHADOOS, she has also directed the Tamil version of the film IRUDHI SUTTRU, which has a different tone and content from the Hindi version. Besides directing the film, Sudha Kongara Prasad is also the writer of SAALA KHADOOS. And she excels superlatively in both the departments. Her stint of being an assistant director to filmmaker Mani Ratnam for nearly seven years seems to have paid rich dividend and it shows in the film in the form of a tight and crisp screenplay. Director Sudha Kongara deserves distinction marks. This one's straight from the heart. Full marks to her for convincingly depicting a story of an underdog girl and her coach fighting against all the odds as they race towards victory. In addition to this, she has not only highlighted upon the existing (dirty) politics in the sports of boxing, but also the sorry plight of the players who represent India on an international level. While the film's narrative is fast and doesn't lag at any place, the sad part is that the film's dialogues lack the much needed 'punch'.

As far as the performances are concerned, it is the film's lead stars R. Madhavan and debutante Ritika Singh who carry the film on their shoulders right from the start to the end. R. Madhavan delivers an extraordinary and extremely realistic performance. His hard work and dedication shows in every step of his performance. Right from attaining the perfectly toned body to his impeccable control over his emotions, R. Madhavan comes a clean winner. His chemistry with Ritika has to be seen to be believed. As far as Ritika Singh is concerned, she is definitely a revelation and a find of Bollywood. She is not just a firebrand, but also surely a name to watch out for. Despite being a debutante, she doesn't show any signs of nervousness. Her being a real life martial arts expert has helped her immensely while delivering such flawless performance. Do not miss the nail biting finale. While Nasar and Zakir Hussain are first rate, Mumtaz Sorcar and also the couple who play Ritika's parents are extremely endearing and believable, which adds to the film's narrative. Every character in the film shines in his own right.

The film's music (Santhosh Narayanan) is limited to one romantic song, which is decent. The background music (Santhosh Narayanan) is good. While the film's cinematography (Sivakumar Vijayan) is average and could have been better, the film's editing (Sathish Suriya) is watertight and crisp. A special word of mention to the film's boxing scenes, which have been done by the Hollywood stunt choreographer Tom Delmar (whose works can be seen in films like ALIENS, JAMES BOND FILMS, SNATCH, STAR WARS II).

A special word of mention to R. Madhavan and Raju Hirani for having backed a film like SAALA KHADOOS as producers.

On the whole, SAALA KHADOOS is an euphoric and electrifying film with amazing performances from the lead cast. It is definitely engaging, and inspiring. It truly deserves an ovation and is worth your time and money. SAALA KHADOOS delivers a solid punch. Winner!

Mastizaade

This week's release is the Tusshar Kapoor-Vir Das-Sunny Leone starrer Mastizaade. If you were wondering as to what the term 'Mastizaade' means, then, Riteish Deshmukh does the honours in the film's trailers wherein he explains "Jise duniya kehti hai haraamzaada, jise pyaar se ladkiyaan kehti hain 'aur zyaada', wahi hota hai asli mastizaada". The film's promos promise a double dose of Sunny Leone and a triple dose of fun and masti. Will the film live upto its expectations or fail to rise (no pun intended) at the box-office, let's analyse.

Mastizaade starts off with the 'sparkling' introduction of Riteish Deshmukh, a self-confessed 'mastizaada'. Seeing his antics and his magnetism towards the opposite sex, makes the two self-confessed sex maniacs Aditya Chotiya (Vir Das) and Sunny Kele (Tusshar Kapoor) to become his disciples. While Aditya and Sunny get thrown out of an ad agency owned by Vivek Vaswani because of their extremely sexual content in all their ads, they land up starting their own ad agency named 'XXX'. On the other hand, in order to find a solution for their sexual obsessions, they check into a rehabilitation centre that's run by the twin sisters (who are sex addicts themselves) Laila Lele (Sunny Leone) and Lilly Lele (Sunny Leone again). While Laila Lele is modernity personified, Lilly Lele is a girl with simple values, but, stammers while talking. A lucky draw in the rehab centre wins Aditya and Sunny a trip to Pattaya alongwith Laila and Lily. Amidst all this, Aditya and Sunny land up falling in love with Laila and Lilly respectively. The problem is that Lilly Lele is already engaged to Deshpremi (Shaad Randhawa), a wheelchair bound wannabe army man who finds it tough to 'stand' on his feet. Amidst all this, there also exists 'Son-Das' (Suresh Menon), who happens to be the 'stereotypical gay' brother of Lilly and Laila. Situations go topsy-turvy when he starts developing feelings towards Sunny Kele. What happens to Aditya and Sunny in the end, do they get the love of their lives, who ultimately gets Sunny Kele between Lilly Lele and 'Son-Das' and do these 'mastizaades' find a solution to their sexual obsessions is what forms the rest of the film.

The film's director Milap Zaveri, who had made his directorial debut with JAANE KAHAN SE AAYI HAI and is best known his scripting abilities in many hit films, makes a 'comeback' as a director with MASTIZAADE. Even though one is mentally prepared for the kind of adult humour that the film promises to offer, still, one feels let down with MASTIZAADE. The reason being that Milap Zaveri, in an attempt to make a sex-comedy, goes extremely overboard and directionless with the film. Add to that, the film's baseless story (Mushtaq Sheikh, Milap Zaveri) which only makes the film extremely unbearable. The film is nothing but an onscreen amalgamation of one liners and punches with an overload of clichés jokes and viral videos.

As for the performances, when you have a film that has Sunny Leone in a double role, it's no rocket science to say that the camera refuses to leave her even for a second. The sad part is that despite having a double role, Sunny Leone fails to leave the much desired impact on the viewers. There's no doubt that she is indeed an eye candy, but, as they say that anything in excess becomes poison and MASTIZAADE is a perfect example of this saying. Tusshar Kapoor, who just had a similar kind of (read 'genre') film release last week in the form of KYA KOOL HAI HUM 3 (KKHH3), again struggles due to poor script. His act in MASTIZAADE seems to be an extension of his KKHH3. On the other hand, Vir Das too suffers due to similar reason but supports Tusshar well in carrying the film. Gizele Thakral (who plays the role of Titli Boobna) also seems to be suffering from a KKHH3 hangover. Besides the regular skin show and 'Titli-ation' and a few blonde acts, there is hardly anything to write about her. Suresh Menon, who has by now, got stereotyped into his (in)famous gay man act, offers a few laughs. Even though you would have wanted to see more of Riteish Deshmukh and his antics in this film, the sad part is that he is only in a cameo. A veteran actor like Asrani is totally wasted and one really feels sorry to see him in such a mindless film. The rest of the actors do no good in moving the film forward.

Barring a couple of tracks, the film's music (Amaal Mallik, Meet Bros Anjjan, Anand Raj Anand) is average. On the other hand, the film's background music (Sanjoy Chowdhury) is just about ok. While the film's cinematography (Sanjay F Gupta) is poor and also amateurish at places, the film's editing (Nitin Rokade) is good.

On the whole, MASTIZAADE comes across as a ludicrous movie with an absurdly inept story and screenplay. After the initial hysteria subsides, the film will struggle at the box office due to its weak content.

Airlift

'Kaun kahta hai aasmaan mein chhed ho nahin sakta Ek paththar to tabiyat se uchhalo yaaron'

To all those who look down upon Bollywood movies and snigger that they can never match up to the best of the West, the wait is over. AIRLIFT is here to make your cinematic spirits fly. Literally. Hats off to Bhushan Kumar of T Series, Nikhil Advani, Vikram Malhotra and Akshay Kumar for backing a film that deserves to be seen by every Indian and yes the world is waiting to salute the biggest and most historic air evacuation in the world history. With baited breath. Some stories should be told. AIRLIFT sheds light on the evacuation of Indians in Kuwait after the invasion by Iraq and it is narrated BRILLIANTLY!

Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar) is a shrewd businessman who liked enjoying the high society life of Kuwait. His wife Amrita Katyal (Nimrat Kaur) is happy in her own world with her little daughter. Their world is turned upside down as Iraq invades Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Circumstances get the best or worst out of people. Ranjit who was a selfish businessman turns a new leaf as he watches his driver murdered in front of his own eyes. He along with a group of rich friends organises a camp for 1, 70, 000 Indians. The subsequent days are a glorious account of his powerful negotiating skills with enemies as well as friends.

Writer-Director Raja Krishna Menon's relatives were part of the Kuwait crisis. It must have been a story very close to his heart for he has poured tears, cries and trauma that only those who've been through hell can narrate. His direction leaves a hammer strong impact. Raja Menon is a director to watch out for. Suresh Nair, Rahul Nangia, Ritesh Shah along with Menon share the writing credits. Screenplay is gripping. There's not a single false note. Dialogues are wonderfully written. At several junctures you shall get funny gems like 'Reti mein kheti karoon kya' and many more.

Akshay Kumar has delivered his career's best performance in AIRLIFT. He is outstanding! He is clearly the soul of the film. It is clear, this is not merely a film. He's willing to give it his all. The transformation from a man who lived for himself to a man possessed with the well being of his fellow countrymen in a foreign land is nothing short of genius. The scene where he communicates helpless guilt through vacuous eyes to the wife of an employee who has been murdered in the mayhem is simply brilliant. There are many scenes where Akshay towers as an actor. It is a National award winning worthy act. Nimrat Kaur essays the role of a disgruntled wife who comes closer to her husband more-than-ever-before in the moment of crisis. She's first rate throughout. Nimrat is fabulous in the confrontation sequence when she shuts up the cantankerous Mr George (Prakash Belawadi) at a crucial juncture in the film. Prakash Belawadi as the irritating refugee is very convincing and noteworthy. Purab Kohli as Ibrahim Durrani, the right hand man of Akshay is first rate. Inamulhaq as the Amitabh Bachchan fan Iraqi Major Khalaf Bin Zayd is a delight. The sinister villainy dipped in vilayati whiskey is a delight. Kumud Mishra as the Babu in External Affairs ministry brings in a laid back charm.

The background score of the film is a character in itself and pulls the strings of your emotions effectively. Amongst the songs, 'Tu Bhoola Jise' (excellently composed by Amaal Malik and outstandingly sung by KK) is an exceptional song that instills a unique wave of patriotism within you. Kumaar's lyrics are written with the blood of true feelings. As the crescendo goes 'Vande Mataram' a sense of satiating catharsis sets in. 'Soch Na Sake' (composed by Amaal Malik and sung by Arijit Singh) is another song that comes at a crucial time and thankfully only half of it is used that ensures that the effect of the moment isn't diluted.

Priya Seth's cinematography gives a unique texture to the film. She captures the locations of Ras al Khaima (UAE) and Rajasthan in a breathtaking manner. The framing of the desert sequences is outstanding. Hemanti Sarkar's editing is crisp and taut.

On the whole, AIRLIFT is a classic film based on a real life incident that is told extremely well on screen. It is surely one of the best films to come out this year and will pick up with a strong word of mouth. Just do not miss this one!

Kyaa Kool Hain Hum 3

The year 2005 witnessed a 'r-evolution' in Bollywood in the form of KYAA KOOL HAIN HUM, a film that had slapstick sex comedy in its 'raw form'. This was followed up in 2012 with its 'new and improved' version in the form of KYAA SUPER KOOL HAIN HUM. And, now, in 2016, the audiences are being treated with an 'upgraded' version of the franchise in the form of KYAA KOOL HAIN HUM 3, which is also touted to be India's first ever 'Porn-Com'. Will the third instalment of film will be more 'kool' than its 'superkool' predecessors, let's analyse.

The film starts off with the basic introduction of best buddies Rocky (Aftab Shivdasani) and Kanhaiya (Tusshar Kapoor), who have, so far, done everything together. Kanhaiya apparently suffers from a colour disorder, because of which every time he sees the colour red, he becomes 'squint-eyed' or as the makers put it... 'cock-eyed' (no pun intended there!). Due to their constant goof ups, the two end up broke and homeless. However, a ray of hope comes to them in the form of their long lost friend Mickey (Krishna Abhishek) who is based in Bangkok. Mickey invites Rocky and Kanhaiya to Bangkok to try their hand at making a living there. However, what Mickey refrains from telling them is that he makes porn films for a living, along with his regular set of actors in the form of Sakku (Gizele Thakral), Mary Lee (Claudia Ciesla), Sushil (Andy Kumar) and his colleague played by Danny Sura. Though Rocky and Kanhaiya are initially reluctant to work as porn stars, the lure for money convinces them to agree to be a part of Mickey's porn star group. All goes well till the time Kanhaiya falls head over heels in love with Shalu (Mandana Karimi). In order to impress her, he always is willing to walk that extra mile. But when Shalu tells Kanhaiya that her father Surya Karjatya (Darshan Jariwala) wants to see him and his family for their marriage, Kanhaiya, left with no choice, tells the 'porn stars' group to disguise themselves as his traditional 'sanskari' family. What follows is a comedy of errors, mistaken identities and chaos... all of this leading to a topsy-turvy situation. Will Shalu's father discover the reality of Kanhaiya, what happens to the duo of Rocky and Kanhaiya in the end, does Mickey help Rocky and Kanhaiya in getting out of the situation that has been created by him... is what forms the rest of the film.

The film's director Umesh Ghadge, who had earlier directed a Marathi film WELCOME ZINDAGI and had even assisted David Dhawan on films like MAIN TERA HERO, CHASHME BADDOOR and PARTNER, makes his Bollywood directorial debut with KYAA KOOL HAIN HUM 3 (KKHH 3). Said to be India's first ever 'Porn-com' the first half of the film lives up to its adage and decently plays along with the franchise theme of being a sex comedy. However, come the second half of the film, Ghadge seems lost and directionless with the entire film appearing to be comic scenes stitched together to make a full length feature film, turning what could have been an entertaining slap stick comedy into a pure disaster. Replete with negative aspects, KKHH3 hinges on a wafer thin plot, and relies largely on jokes and gags. Overall, with outrageous lines and scandalous visuals which appear funny at times but cheap in the overall perspective, the film is nothing but an assimilation of funny and not so funny scenes stitched together which does not create the desired impact. Filled with sexual innuendoes, adult jokes and impish humour that seems forced in the narrative, KKHH 3 turns into a serious letdown with the blame solely on the director Umesh Ghadge and its shabby writing cum vacuous screenplay by writers Mushtaq Sheikh and Milap Zaveri. Though there are instances where you feel like Umesh has somehow managed (read 'struggled') to maintain the film's proceedings, they are few and are limited to the first half of the film. In fact the only scenes which leave an impact are the funny takes on Bollywood films like KICK, ROCKSTAR, SINGHAM, EK VILLAIN, SHOLAY, CHENNAI EXPRESS... to name a few.

While the music (Sajid-Wajid) of the film is nothing to write about, it remains an average fair with the track 'Aaj House Party Hai' being the only song that leaves an impression of sorts. The background score (Raju Singh) does help lift a few moments but is not enough. The unmemorable music coupled with a bad script by Mushtaq Sheikh and Milap Zaveri, compounded with bad direction destroys the otherwise success franchise. Even dialogues by Milap are a letdown. The editing (Nitin Rokade), cinematography (Manoj Soni) and sound (Parikshit Lalwani, Kunal Mehta) are average. At many places, there have been audio replacements made from what was seen in promo, which adds to the list of spoilsports in the film.

As for the performances, the film that should have clearly belonged to its protagonists Aftab Shivdasani and Tusshar Kapoor, lands up being a no man's film. The camaraderie between Aftab Shivdasani and Tusshar Kapoor seems forcibly funny and comical. The sad part is that while Tusshar and Aftab are decent they are more often than not left out in the cold with a weak script. Krishna is good but underused; with a lack of dialogues his role is rather minimal. The scene that sees him justifying the reason he creates dirty movies to support Somalian kids is difficult to comprehend and evokes pity on the script writer. As for the heroines who should have ideally shown their acting talent, land up showing only skin. Mandana who could have had a more meaningful role has little to do except looking hot, while the other two actresses, Gizele Thakral and Claudia Ciesla, have little else to do but titillate the audience. If that wasn't enough the inclusion of Shakti Kapoor and the others in the cast seems to have no objective but to add to the confusion. Even a cameo by Riteish Deshmukh doesn't help the film from being a self-constructed 'Satyanaash'. With the viewer getting fidgety despite the barrage of jokes continuing non-stop, a large section of its target audience will spurn and snub this movie. What remains a mystery and a big question to everyone is, 'How did the makers of the film approve such a script in the first place?'

On the whole, KYAA KOOL HAIN HUM 3 suffers from a weak script and vacuous screenplay which will be a huge turnoff even for its target audience. The masses will be disappointed and box office prospects will also be a grim disappointment for the makers after the initial hysteria subsides.

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