A Flying Jatt

Bollywood has witnessed superhero films in the form of KRRISH, RA. ONE and a handful of others. This week's release is A FLYING JATT, which stars Tiger Shroff, Jacqueline Fernandez and Nathan Jones. Will A FLYING JATT pass the 'Box-Office' test with 'flying colours' or simply 'land' with a thud, lets analyze.

Balaji Motion Pictures' A FLYING JATT is essentially of the origin and inception of a reluctant superhero, who is afraid of heights. The film starts off with the introduction of the filthy rich and extremely money-minded Malhotra (Kay Kay Menon) and his expansion plans for his construction company. Amidst his plans of expansion, Mrs. Kartar Singh aka Bebe (Amrita Singh) acts as a barrier as it's her (late) husband's land that Malhotra wants to usurp for his project. Even when Malhotra offers double the value of the land to Bebe, she just does not budge to his offer, as she reasons that Malhotra's companies are the root cause of pollution in the city. That's when Malhotra summons the deadly and towering Rakka (Nathan Jones) so that he could throw Bebe and the other residents out of the 'Kartar Singh Colony', which is also home to an extremely pious and wish fulfilling tree. When Rakka is just about to cut down the tree, opposition comes in the form of Aman (Tiger Shroff), a normal martial arts teacher in a school. Just as when Rakka is about to chop the tree, a certain miracle takes place and, while Aman is blessed with superlative superpowers, Rakka on the other hand, gets the evil powers. Rakka's powers become deadlier whenever he inhales the polluted air. Seeing Aman with superpowers, his mother nicknames him as 'Flying Jatt', after his late father. What happens after that are a series of fights between Flying Jatt and Rakka, rescue missions galore and many such events. Amidst all this, there also exists Aman's unspoken love for Kirti (Jacqueline Fernandez), who is unaware of the fact that everyone's angel saviour 'Flying Jatt' is Aman himself. Does Aman ever muster the courage to confess his love to Kirti, does Kirti ever get to know that Aman and Flying Jatt are one and the same, does the Flying Jatt manage to beat Rakka's... is what forms the rest of the story.

The fight between good and bad, noble versus immoral, virtuous versus corrupt has been depicted in film after film. And if the fight between two extremes is portrayed in the most convincing manner, the viewer is bound to carry the film home and most importantly, return to watch the on screen clash again. In the case of A FLYING JATT, the film has a weak screenplay (Tushar Hiranandani, Remo D'Souza), which acts as a major spoilsport that runs across the film, which has a fragile storyline. While the film's story has the genesis of good versus evil, the theme has been 'Indianised' and localised with a Punjabi tadka, so as to cater and appeal to the Indian sensibilities. Even though the film does offer entertainment in tangible proportion, there are places where the film starts looking lost. Scenes like fighting in the space in the climax is bizarre. And Remo adding a corny quote of himself while the movie is still running is laughable. Despite the fact that the film's dialogues (Aakash Kaushik) do not qualify to be exceptional or extraordinary, they manage to be in tune with the flow of the film. The film's story is relatable and the religious sentiments have been captured and portrayed in a clever manner.

Director Remo D'Souza, whose last film ABCD 2 proved to be a Box-Office winner, does a decent job with A FLYING JATT, but the tacky VFX and weak screenplay overpowers the film's 'direction' (quite literally!). Despite Remo D'Souza's past laurels, one really wonders as to how he zeroed down and agreed upon the film's illogical climax. While the drama in the film's first half is pretty interesting, humorous and gripping, the film's second half loses track, and turns too preachy regarding environment and religion.

There are some not to be missed scenes in the film, which includes Tiger Shroff doing a Sunny Leone, Amrita Singh coaching Tiger Shroff to behave like a superhero, Flying Jatt's first rescue sequence (though its lifted from the Hollywood blockbuster X MEN: DAYS OF THE FUTURE PAST), the introduction scene of Rakka and also his transformation into evil during the interval.

As for the performances, with a title like A FLYING JATT, the film definitely belongs to Tiger Shroff. The film is all about the antics of Tiger Shroff, whose martial skills are in full display in the film. Tiger Shroff, remains sincere and true to his character, even though this film may not qualify as his career best. The role of a man with superpowers needs a robust personality to match and Tiger Shroff scores full marks in this department. Jacqueline Fernandez, on the other hand, does not do anything exceptional, besides looking pretty and providing the glam quotient to the film. The sad part about Jacqueline Fernandez's role in the film is that, despite being the film's heroine, her role is smaller in length as compared to even Amrita Singh and Gaurav Pandey. Gaurav does an extremely decent and convincing job as Tiger Shroff's brother. The wrestler turned actor Nathan Jones makes his debut in Bollywood with A FLYING JATT. Rakka, his character in the film, rides entirely on his towering personality and his muscle power. In the bargain, Nathan Jones does manage to instill fear in the minds of the audiences, which was expected of his character. Amrita Singh as the typical Punjabi mother delivers a decent performance and is extremely lovable in her character. Kay Kay Menon, on the other hand, does a decent job in the negative role. Shraddha Kapoor's cameo is effective. The rest of the actors do their bit in taking the film forward.

Besides the chartbuster track 'Beat Pe Booty, the film's music (Sachin-Jigar) is just about passable and has limited scope in the film. On the other hand, the film's background score (Sachin-Jigar) is impressive and enhances the film's narrative very effectively. With the film's choreography resting on the shoulders of the talented Remo D'Souza, it's no wonder that the film's choreography is bang on and extremely impressive.

While the film's cinematographer Vijay Kumar Arora lands up doing a shoddy job, the film's editing (Nitin FCP) comes across as pretty average. Even the film's production value and VFX look tacky, which is quite a letdown in a superhero film.

On the whole, A FLYING JATT has the ingredients that make an interesting superhero film. A section of the audience might find the film's proceedings to be corny; however, the mass audiences and kids might take a liking for the film. At the Box-Office, the film has the potential to fly, though, not to great heights. The extended weekend will help the film reap dividends at the Box-Office.
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Happy Bhag Jayegi

Last week saw the release of two films MOHENJO DARO and RUSTOM, both of varied genre. This week sees the release of a 'happy' go lucky film in the form of HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI. This film marks the 'return' of the petite Diana Penty, who had been missing from the silver screen ever since her debut in COCKTAIL. Will HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI manage to entertain the audiences… let's analyze.

HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI starts off in Amritsar, where happens an Indo-Pak agro conference. Presiding over this crucial conference is Javed Ahmed (Jawed Sheikh), the ex-governor of Pakistan, who wants his dearest son Bilal Ahmed (Abhay Deol) to enter politics just like him and 'change the history of Pakistan'. Even though Bilal's heart lies in becoming a cricketer, he sacrifices his professional desires for the sake of his father. As the conference gets over and Bilal reaches his home in Lahore (Pakistan), he is shocked to see a mysterious fruit 'moving basket', which then, turns out to the hideout of effervescent and free spirited Happy (Diana Penty). When interrogated, Happy reveals that she had run away from her wedding with the local corporator Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Sheirgill) in Amritsar, because she is actually in love with Guddu (Ali Fazal), but her parents have opposed to their relationship. At the same time, she also confesses that, even though she was to run away from her marriage, her landing up in Pakistan was purely accidental and totally unplanned. Amidst all this, Bilal Ahmed also lands up falling in love with Happy, despite the fact that he is already to Zoya (Momal Sheikh). What happens after that are a series of chases, hidings, kidnapping and confusion across India and Pakistan. Does Happy survive in Pakistan amidst such pressures, and who will she ultimately marry and under what circumstances, is what forms the rest of the film.

The film is written and directed by Mudassar Aziz. Despite the fact that the film's screenplay is predictable, it's the treatment that makes the film entertaining. The humour in the film is excellent and works magic in the first half. The second half however slows down due to multiple subplots and romantic angles, some of which seem quite forced.

As a director, Mudassar Aziz, who had earlier made the forgettable DULHA MIL GAYA (2010), springs a pleasant surprise in the form of HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI. The way he has presented the film's characters is extremely real and that's what works in the favour of the film. The film, which takes off with an impressive start in the first half, gradually tends to slow down and lag amidst the second half because of multiple tracks. The good thing is that, despite losing its track amidst the second half, Mudassar Aziz manages to get the film back on track towards the climax. Mudassar Aziz needs to be applauded for not just making the film's characters interesting and very relatable, but also for having penned the film's funny dialogues. Even though HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI bears heavy shades (read 'hangover') of the Madhavan-Kangna Ranaut starrer TANU WEDS MANU, still, Mudassar Aziz successfully manages to give this film its own unique flavour. Amidst everything, one cannot but deny the fact that HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI bears the inimitable stamp of 'Anand L Rai' all over it. The USP of the film is that, despite being set in both India and Pakistan, the film doesn't get involved in making any kind of political statement in its narrative.

As far as the performances go, as the film's title rightly suggests, HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI totally placed on the shoulders of the extremely talented Diana Penty, who returns to the silver screen after a long gap. While she showed immense promise in COCKTAIL, for reasons best known to her, Penty did not sign any films after that. With a tailor-made script like HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI (with a character that is in total contrast with her character in COCKTAIL), she just couldn't have had asked for more. Even though there are places where Diana Penty strongly reminds us about the spunkiness that Kareena Kapoor exuded as the iconic Geet in JAB WE MET, Diana holds her own by maintaining a strong and distinctive identity. Abhay Deol, whose last release was the damp squib ONE BY TWO, impresses to the core with his role of the Pakistani young politician Bilal Ahmed. His onscreen presence is extremely endearing and the way in which he enacts his character and holds the film is really laudable. Jimmy Sheirgill is decent in his role of Daman Singh Bagga. He plays his part with a lot of sincerity and dedication, which shows in the film. Making her debut in Bollywood is the Momal Sheikh (hailing from Pakisitan) whose approach towards her character exudes superlative confidence. Besides the fact that HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI is her Bollywood debut in which she had been pitted alongside seasoned actors, the conviction with which she handles her character is highly commendable. Ali Fazal, on the other hand, delivers what was required of him in the role of a lover boy. A special mention to Piyush Mishra for having the audiences in splits with his role of the policeman Usman Afridi. The rest of the characters help in moving the film forward.

While there is hardly any scope for music (Sohail Sen) in the film, it's the film's background score (Sohail Sen) which impresses and acts as one of the important elements in the film's narrative. The film's cinematography (Saurabh Goswami) is good and deserves to be applauded for having 'shown' Pakistan in an extremely convincing manner. The film's editing (Ninad Khanolkar) is decent.

On the whole, HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI comes across as a feel good film that will make you happy. At the Box-Office, its prospects will be rewarding for its makers.
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Ben-Hur English

It is never easy to convert a novel into a full length feature film; leave alone if the book in question is over a 100 years old and has three films already made on it. However, the makers of the upcoming release BEN-HUR have attempted exactly that with their film. But will BEN-HUR manage to live up to expectations that have been set by not just the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace but also those set by the previous film that was based on the book that released in 1959 is what we analyse.

The epic historical drama BEN-HUR starts off with a voiceover introduction being delivered by Morgan Freeman that details the setting from 33 BC. The film follows the life of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) a Jewish prince in Roman-occupied Jerusalem who is betrayed and falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell) and is sentenced to a life of slavery. Following the accusation Ben-Hur loses everything and spends five years in the galley of a Roman slave ship and later takes on the Roman Empire and avenges his adopted brother in a grand chariot race while finding redemption and being forever changed after a series of encounters with Jesus Christ.

Performance-wise, since the film relies heavily on Jack Huston as Judah and Toby Kebbell as Messala, it is just these two who make up for most of the screen time. Individually both Jack and Toby do a good job in their roles, but there is always a feeling of them being too overwhelmed by towering character sketches that they eventually fall a bit short of. But portraying the more sympathetic one time noble man who loses everything, hell bent on revenge only to find redemption, Jack fits in perfectly with the character. Similarly Toby as the ever chastised Roman orphan seeking validation and respect does equally well. In fact BEN-HUR hinges on the performance of these two actors who carry the film ably. Simultaneously, Morgan Freeman as Ilderim, who unlike the previous role, has a more grounded and serious character as compared to a comic one reprises his character with an air of authority. Here a special mention goes to writers Keith Clarke and John Ridley who have done well in developing the female character of Esther played by Nazanin Boniadi, especially since the new film gives her character a more independent and meatier role rather than just be another bystander in a war between brothers.

Consider the fact that BEN-HUR revolves around the years when Jesus Christ actively preached his message of love, compassion and forgiveness, director Timur Bekmambetov does well integrating the parallel plot between the background and foreground, the plot and subplot. Talking about Christ's depiction in the film, Rodrigo Santoro as Jesus Christ does a more than convincing job.

Since the film is based on chariot racing, we do see a load of races, however, unlike the more modern sport of racing, be it cars or bikes, chariot racing was a more violent sport with riders either winning the race or ending it either dead or maimed. Here the CGI appears to be seamlessly merged with the live action visuals, however apart from this, there are a few other places where the visual effects could have been made in a more polished manner.

On the whole BEN-HUR that is set around the last days of Christ does have a lot of references to the Christian faith that could leave the audience who are uninformed about the faith, a bit lost. However, BEN-HUR despite its lengthy run time does make for a decent watch.
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Mohenjo Daro

In the recent times, filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker has become synonymous with historic films and the surreal sets mounted on the larger than life canvas. Films like JODHAA AKBAR, SWADES, and LAGAAN stand as testimony to the same. This week's release is MOHENJO DARO, yet another period film from the stable of Ashutosh Gowariker. Will MOHENJO DARO have a 'historic' run at the Box-Office or will it bite the dust, let's analyse.

The film starts off with the era of 2016 BC in the North West region, which happens to be the prehistoric India. This gradually leads to the introduction of Sarman (Hrithik Roshan) and his victorious fight with a predator crocodile. While on one hand the villagers felicitate him for the victory, on the other hand, Sarman is adamant to visit the city of Mohenjo Daro, something that his uncle and aunt are not too keen on, for reasons best known (only) to them. One day, after much reluctance, Sarman's uncle and aunt give in to his demands of visiting Mohenjo Daro, but, not without handing him over a 'identity coin'. When Sarman reaches Mohenjo Daro, amongst the many other things, he sees the beautiful 'Sindhu Putri' Chaani (Pooja Hegde), the daughter of a religious pandit (Manish Choudhary). Both, for Sarman and Chaani, it turns out to be unspoken love at first sight. One day, the curious Sarman happens to visit the 'upper city' in search of Chaani. It is here, that Sarman, besides being stunned by the visuals and locations, witnesses the disparity that prevails under the rule of the evil ruler Maham (Kabir Bedi), who had once been earlier exiled from Harappa. In no time, Sarman becomes the people's representative and raises his voice against Maham's atrocities. Amidst all this, the pandit reveals a secret to Sarman that not just shocks Sarman, but also, sweeps him off his feet. What is the much guarded secret that Sarman gets to know, what is his connection with the city of Mohenjo Daro, and does the blooming love between Sarman and Chaani culminate into their unison... is what forms the rest of the story.

Despite the humongous canvas of the film, the film's story and screenplay (Ashutosh Gowariker) turns out to be a major letdown, thus disappointing the viewers to the core. One does agree on the fact that researching about an era (read 'civilization') that is as old as a whopping 5000 years is a task in itself. At the same time, while writing the screenplay of such a film, one has to ensure that the audiences and their sensibilities cannot be taken for granted. The sad part is that Ashutosh Gowariker fails on this front.

Ashutosh Gowariker, who has always emerged a winner with his previous attempts at historic and period films, fails miserably with MOHENJO DARO as a director. It just won't be wrong to say that in the name of 'cinematic liberties', Ashutosh Gowariker has taken the audiences sense and patience for granted. While the film's first half is slow, the film's extremely dragged second half acts more villainous. The film's second half totally takes the steam off the film. The film's climax only makes things worse. Ashutosh Gowariker, despite his goliath attempt in fictionally (re)creating the Mohenjo Daro civilisation, fails to convince the viewers about the same. What one fails to understand is how can someone like Ashutosh Gowariker, who is known for making some of brilliant films, can go so wrong with MOHENJO DARO.

As for the performances, the film clearly and rightfully belongs to the extremely versatile Hrithik Roshan, who has by now become the 'go-to-man' for such roles. With his Greek God looks and physical stature, Hrithik Roshan ensures and justifies his role of the unassuming farmer- turned-saviour. Hrithik Roshan walks that extra mile in terms of his spellbinding performance and muscle flexing action. He stands tall in every frame and delivers a towering performance. However, that by itself is unable to salvage a vacuous drama. In other words, despite the whole film riding (solely) on his shoulders, the film's extremely poor screenplay gives in. The film's heroine Pooja Hegde, after having done films down South, makes her debut with MOHENJO DARO. Despite her past experience, she's average in the film. The veteran actor Kabir Bedi, excels in the role of 'Maham'. What works to his advantage are his good looks and his baritone voice, both of which have been utilised beautifully by Ashutosh Gowariker. The other actors Arunoday Singh, Suhasini Mulay, Nitish Bharadwaj lend their able support in carrying the film forward.

While we would like to make a special mention to the film's costumes (Neeta Lulla), the film's VFX oscillates between amateurish and average. The film's music (A R Rahman) is nothing extraordinary, as one would have generally expected from the music maestro. The film's background score is decent, but, a bit loud in many places.

The film's cinematography (C.K. Muraleedharan) is above average. The film's editing (Sandeep Francis) lands up being one of the film's shortcomings.

On the whole, MOHENJO DARO comes across as a grand historical fictional tale which appeals only in parts. The lack of engaging and relatable drama act as spoilsport in the narrative. From the Box Office perspective, competition from RUSTOM and lack of crucial narrative will act as a major hindrance.
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Films based on real lives and real people have become very popular in Bollywood these days. This week's release is the Akshay Kumar starrer RUSTOM, a film that has been inspired by a 'sensational case of a Naval officer that led to the end of the jury system in India'. Will RUSTOM 'sail' its way through at the Box-Office or will it sink without a trace... let's analyse.

RUSTOM starts off with a periodic era of 1959, when Mumbai was still 'Bombay' and the times when justice was done by the jury members and not by the judge. This is followed by the introduction of the 'habituated to his uniform' Commander Rustom Pavri (Akshay Kumar) and his lovely wife Cynthia Pavri (Ileana D'Cruz). One day, when Rustom Pavri comes back home from he sea, earlier than his scheduled date, he is shocked when he gets to know that his wife Cynthia has gone out with the 'filthy' rich Vikram Makhija (Arjan Bajwa) and has not been home since two days. Rustom Pavri, then, starts breathing fire and reaches Vikram's house, only to find Vikram and Cynthia together. Unable to bear the sight of his wife's deceit, Rustom Pavri loads his official gun and shoots the evil minded Vikram, killing him. Being the ever righteous man, Rustom Pavri then goes to the police station and surrenders himself. When the news of Vikram's death reaches the ears of his 'well connected' sister Preethi Makhija (Esha Gupta), she vows to revenge her brother's death. As the case goes to the court however, Rustom pleads not guilty. What follows after that is a heated court room drama, mudslinging, the role of the media in the case... all eventually leading to one common thing. What is the ultimate conclusion of all the events, is Rustom Pavri really guilty or is there more than what meets the eye.

First things first. RUSTOM is essentially a crime thriller. While the film does not have a mystery element/ whodunit angle in the storyline, it becomes slightly predictable as it progresses. The fact also remains that, there have been two films that have been earlier made on the same premise. These films were the Sunil Dutt-Leela Naidu starrer YEH RASTEY HAIN PYAAR KE (1963) and the ?Vinod Khanna?-Farida Jalal? starrer ACHANAK (1973). The storyline of RUSTOM has been subjected to a contemporary treatment by Vipul K. Rawal, who is in charge of the film's screenplay, story and dialogues. When a film has Akshay Kumar as its hero, it's a given that the screenplay has to be essentially gripping which keeps the audiences on the 'edge-of-the-seat'. This element however is missing in RUSTOM. The film's screenplay not just slows down the film's pace, but also is very average. Had the screenplay been engrossing and captivating, it would have been a different story altogether. The film's narrative oscillates between 'convincing' and 'not-so-very-convincing'. Even though RUSTOM has been largely inspired by the famous case of KM Nanavati, the film does have its moments that make it furthermore enticing. Those who do not know anything about the (Nanavati) case, will surely take a liking for RUSTOM.

RUSTOM happens to be Tinu Suresh Desai's second film as a director (his first being 1920 LONDON). Tinu Suresh Desai has done a decent job as a director. While the film is set up in the first half, the second half is filled with court room drama galore. Even though there are moments when the film starts lagging, Tinu Suresh Desai's manages to put the film back on track towards the end. The flip side (read 'shortcomings') of his direction can be seen in the courtroom drama scenes. Generally, court room scenes are filled with high voltage drama and power packed dialogues, something that is totally missing in RUSTOM. On the other hand, it's the 'situational humour' that connects with the audience.

As for the performances, absolutely no prizes for guessing that it is the inimitable Akshay Kumar, who is the 'captain' of the ship. Akshay Kumar, who has been extremely versatile in terms of his (diverse) selection of films, adds yet another feather in his cap with RUSTOM. This is the first time ever in his career spanning many years that Akshay Kumar has played a Naval officer. And boy! He delivers such a spotless and flawless performance in this role by staying extremely true to his character. Lending him able support is Ileana D'Cruz as his wife Cynthia Pavri. Despite having limited scope as far as performance is concerned, Ileana D'Cruz holds her own with her restrained performance. Esha Gupta, on the other hand, is good in her role of a revenge seeking woman. Arjan Bajwa, despite his small role, is effective. Other actors like Kumud Mishra (in the role of a newspaper editor), Usha Nadkarni (as the servant), Sachin Khedekar (as Public Prosecutor Lakshman Khangani) and Pawan Malhotra (as Inspector Lobo) too have strong parts and keep the movie together.

The film's music (Arko, Raghav Sachar, Ankit Tiwari and Jeet Gannguli) is pretty average. The film's cinematography (Santosh Thundiyil) is decent, if not superlative. The film's editing by Shree Narayan Singh is average.

On the whole, RUSTOM comes across as a well crafted crime thriller that meets expectations. It has its share of captivating moments as well as the loose ones. At the Box-Office, competition in the form of MOHENJO DARO will limit its potential. However, the holiday period post the weekend and positive word of mouth will prove beneficial for the movie.
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