The Man from UNCLE English

Over the years, Guy Ritchie has become synonymous for a certain kind of filmmaking thanks to his gripping story telling abilities that we have witnessed in his previous ventures like LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, SNATCH and the SHERLOCK HOLMES series. Returning to the big screen after a four year gap, Ritchie promises yet another edge of the seat entertainer with THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

Set in the 1960s against the backdrop of the Cold War, CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) successfully helps Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) defect to West Germany despite the intimidating opposition of KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). Later, all three unexpectedly find themselves working together in a joint mission to stop a private criminal organization from using Gaby's father's scientific expertise to construct their own nuclear bomb. Through clenched teeth and stylish poise, all three must find a way to cooperate for the sake of world peace, even as they each pursue their own agendas.

The film begins with a rather 'bond-esque' chase sequence with Solo trying his level best to evade a persistent Kuryakin amidst the desolate streets in East Germany while simultaneously adding Gaby defect to West Germany. The plot features a simple story line, wherein Solo and Kuryakin are on a mission to find Gaby's father Udo (Christian Berkel) who has been kidnapped by a crime syndicate that intends to use Udo's skill at developing enriched nuclear grade uranium to develop a nuke. However, despite having a rather mundane run of the mill plot line, Ritchie does a brilliant job of bringing out myriad of emotions from his characters.

Though THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. is not a wall to wall actioner, it does have its fair share of action sequences and high speed chases. In fact while the film starts off with a car chase sequence, it also incidentally culminated with one that can easily be termed as one of the best thought out and well executed sequences. But what the film relies on is the comedic element that Henry Cavill (earlier seen in the MAN OF STEEL) does a marvelous job of, in portraying the slick cool thief turned super spy. His comic timing and straight faced gags are definitely a surprise element in the film. On the other hand, Armie Hammer who had the tougher part to depict, that of a straight shooting, no nonsense Russian spy, does an even better job. While at times his character appears a bit cliched, Hammer's performance along with director Ritchie's skills, manage to keep the audience engaged.

However, the high point of the film has to be Alicia Vikander as Gaby Teller. Despite her role teetering from being a victim to that of the main antagonist, Alicia manages to hold the fine line between quite literally making or breaking this film. However, Ritchie manages the directorial reins with aplomb keeping the audience in the dark almost till the end about Alicia's real true motive. While on the topic of performances, a special mention goes to Huge Grant who does a commendable job in his limited role as Waverly. However, while most films have depicted a rather demented or tortured soul as the main villain, Elizabeth Debicki is seductive, stunning and evil as the femme fatal Victoria.

Another aspect that deserves being mentioned is the fact that being a period film, the makers of THE MAN FROM U.N.CL.E. have managed to do a rather fine job that is evident from the effort to get things right. With detailed attention being paid to the look and feel of the decade that was, a keen observer will easily spot in the film certain iconic looks prevailing at that time.

On the whole, if you are a Guy Ritchie fan, despite its average storyline, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. is definitely worth a watch, with a lot to offer.

All Is Well

If you walk out of a movie with a big smile and a nice feeling in your heart you know all is well with the world. OMG-OH MY GOD is one of the finest films made in the last five years. It was not only a fun entertainer, there was a solid message in the film that truly made it a phenomenal movie watching experience. Everyone was keenly awaiting the next film of the director of OMG-OH MY GOD. Umesh Shukla has passed the litmus test with his second outing, ALL IS WELL. It is a full on family entertainer that will make you laugh, entertain with chart buster music and also make you shed some tears.

Indar (Abhishek Bachchan) is a musician based in Bangkok. Nimmi (Asin), a true blue romantic at heart (in the literal sense) loves Indar but the angry young man can't reciprocate her feelings as he belongs to a dysfunctional family where his father Bhallasahab (Rishi Kapoor) and mom (Supriya Pathak) were always at loggerheads. As he didn't want to be a part of his father's fledgling bakery business, Indar had been asked to leave the house. Quirky fate proves instrumental in bringing Indar back to his home town Kasol where his dad was under enormous debt while his mom was unwell. The local moneylender Cheema (Zeeshan Ayyub) makes Bhalla and Son run for their money and madness unleashes relentlessly.

Abhishek Bachchan is a fantastic actor. Everyone knows that. But when you watch him swinging rocking swag in 'ChaarShanivaar' in the end credits, you realise that he has updated himself enormously outdoing the shining young blood floating around in abundance these days. He is in excellent form especially in the emotional dramatic sequences with a stalwart like Rishi Kapoor. Mr Kapoor as expected is a treat to watch. The conflict between Indar and BhallaSahab is the high point of the film with both actors matching each other's wits to perfection. The hugely uncelebrated Zeeshan Ayyub is the most entertaining reason that makes ALL IS WELL a must watch. As the bumbling moneylender-goon with a propensity to make himself a buffoon, Zeeshan delivers the most memorable performance of his illustrious career. He and his gang of geeks pack in some of the funniest lines in the film. Asin looks beautiful in the traditional Indian girl avatar. She underplays her part and creates the desired impact. Supriya Pathak has very few dialogues but she's very competent. SeemaPahwa as the wily Maami is hilarious.

Story by Umesh Shukla and screenplay-dialogue by Niren Bhatt, Sumit Arora are the backbone of ALL IS WELL. In most of the cases, what parents do for their children can never be repaid by the kids. Many a times children don't value their parents as much as they should. They constantly bicker about the hardships and in turn devalue the enormous stress that their parents must have gone through in bringing them up. Shukla has chosen a story that the Indian Middle class can uniformly identify with. Niren Bhatt and Sumit Arora's smart dialogues evoke just-the-right-emotions at crucial moments in the film. Yes there are times when a few emotional scenes (between Abhishek and Rishi Kapoor) drag a bit. The humour element brought in because of Asin's whacky Punjabi family and Cheema's goofy soldiers is expertly aided by spot-on-writing-punches. Director Umesh Shukla pulls the strings of story telling as per his liking. He knows when you should laugh, cry or identify with his characters.

Music is first rate. Amaal Malik is in top form with 'ChaarShanivaar'. It's a party anthem that's gonna rock for a long time to come. 'BaatonKo Teri' is a beautiful love song composed by HimeshReshammiya and sung by Arijit Singh in his honey-soaked voice. Kanika Kapoor is enjoying herself in 'NachchanFarrate' and so did Sonakshi Sinha while shaking her zing to it. 'Ae Mere Humsafar', the classic from 'Qayamat Se QayamatTak' flows like a mountain river gurgling with innocence. Full marks to Mithoon for creating a magical version of a song that's deeply enmeshed in the collective psyche of millions.

Umesh Shukla's ALL IS WELL will surely find resonance amongst a hugely profitable family audience. It is having just-the-right-release and the word of mouth will ensure that the film will pick up from the evening shows on the first day itself. A film like this will stick around in cinema halls for several weeks.

On the whole, ALL IS WELL is a family entertainer that will effortlessly charm you and gently carve a place in your heart. It is time to get your extended family together and go for a picnic at a theatre near you.

All Is Well Movie Review - A Neat And Clean Family Drama

Expectations:

There was a time when our Hindi films were highly obsessed with the family drama type of social films. Actors like Ashok Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Jeetendra, Mithun Chakroborty, Anil Kapoor, Govinda and few more made their maximum contribution to this genre. With changing times this genre shifted its base from the films to the television screen with larger than life type of grand setups and over the top traditional values attached to it. Though there were few filmmakers who kept making these types of family drama films, but none of them could match up to the success and quality of the films from the 60's to the 90's era. There were some exceptional films like 'Piku', 'Waqt', 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham', 'Bhagbaan', 'Do Dooni Chaar' and few more where one could find the basic essence of the family drama types of films. The latest to join these type of films is, 'All Is Well' which is directed by Umesh Shukla, a well known name in the world of Gujarati theater and has made a highly successful Hindi film 'Oh My God'. 'Oh My God', was not only commercially successful, but was also loved by both classes and the masses and had made its mark onto the list of good entertaining cinemas. Thus, let's find out whether Umesh's latest venture 'All Is Well', will give us another entertaining family drama or fail to match up to the high expectations associated with the film.

All Is Well ReviewStory:

'All Is Well' is a story of an aspiring singer Inder Bhalla (Abhishek Bachchan) trying to make his living in Bangkok. He there meets Nimmi (Asin), who falls in love with him, but Inder is not ready for commitments or marriage as he does not believe in either of them. One day Inder receives a call stating that his father Bhajanlal Bhalla (Rishi Kapoor) is in trouble and thus Inder sets out for his home town. There he comes to know that his father has taken a loan from a local goon Cheema (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) and that his mother (Supriya Pathak), is suffering from Alzheimer's. Cheema wants Inder to surrender his part of the property and repay his debt. At that time Inder came to know that his maternal uncle has made some jewellery out of his mother's savings. Inder and his family thus, sets out to seek the jewellery and what happens next, is what the entire film is all about.

All Is Well Movie StillScreenplay & Technicalities:

The one liner story idea is decent and has good elements of comedy and drama attached to it. The movie starts with good comical scenes and ends with some emotional ones. It's only that the middle portions are bit dry and at times bland, followed by a weak and forced romantic track which fails to connect with its viewers. There are some good entertaining scenes like Rishi Kapoor asking Abhishek Bachchan to leave his house, followed by Abhishek-Rishi arguments in the auto rickshaw, Abhishek-Rishi escaping from Zeeshan's clutches, Rishi-Abhishek argument at Asin's house, Zeeshan and his goons track and few more. Towards the finale, there are couple of emotional scenes like Abhishek convincing Supriya Pathak for marriage followed by the marriage and Abhishek-Rishi confrontation towards the end making them as one of the best scenes from the film. These scenes will be loved by the family audiences. The road trip which starts with fun gets diluted due to the forced halts in the trip with the dhabba dance, Asin's marriage, police chase, etc. There is very minimal happenings in the middle part of the film which seems dragging and a bit boring. The humour at times seemed forced and pale, especially in the scene where Abhishek's uncle dies followed by meeting with Asin's family. The dialogues are simple and heart touching at times. The cinematography is not up to the mark.

All Is Well Movie WallpaperMusic & Direction:

The best part of a T-Series produced film is that it has some great songs attached to it. All the songs in this film are foot tapping and enjoyable. 'Chaar Shanivaar', 'Nachan Farrate' and 'Yolo' will highly appeal to the youth. 'Baaton Ko Teri' and 'Mere Humsafar' are soothing and melodious.

Director Umesh Shukla comes up with a decent film with noble intentions attached to it, but fails to do full justice to it as the movie gets let down by a half baked screenplay. The movie works in parts and thus fails to surpass the high expectations attached to it. Though, the comical and emotional part displays the expertise of the director who without being preachy conveys his message with an ease.

Performances:

Abhishek Bachchan is a highly talented actor who if given a good script has done wonders with it. Out here he does his part with full grace and integrity. He shines out in the emotional scenes and entertains you with his peppy dancing moves. It's only the half bake script does not do justice to the caliber of this fine actor. Rishi Kapoor is superb and acts as a parallel lead in the movie. His scenes with Abhishek are one of the highlights of the film. Supriya Pathak is fine in her small role. Asin looks cute in some part, but in rest fails to do justice to her role. Her track hampers the film in a big way. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub is highly entertaining and would have loved to see more of him in this film. Tiku Talsania and Seema Pahwa were wasted.

So bol meri 'Filmi Khopdi' iss film mein kitna hain Dum???

Dum??? Well the movie might not be as entertaining or enjoyable like director Umesh Shukla's last film 'Oh My God' nor does it have potential to match up to the brilliance of recently released films like 'Piku'. But, despite of having a half baked story line and dragging screenplay the movie has its own merits to cherish. The good music, fine performances, few comical and emotional moments makes this movie a neat and clean family drama for its targeted audience.

Rating - 3/5

Manjhi The Mountain Man

Amongst all the popular genres in Bollywood, the one genre which is fast gaining popularity is that of biopics. The recent times have seen the silver screen mirroring the biopics of many distinguished and iconic personalities. Be it PAAN SINGH TOMAR, THE DIRTY PICTURE, RANG RASIYA, BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG, MARY KOM, Bollywood audiences are opening up to such real life stories. This week's release MANJHI - THE MOUNTAIN MAN, is a biopic of the late Dashrath Maanjhi, who is popularly known as the 'Mountain Man'. Will it reflect at the box-office as a winner or will it find its survival in the box-office as an uphill task, let's analyze.

The story starts off with a 'conversation' between Dashrath Maanjhi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and a humongous mountain, in which he cries his heart out before the mountain with all the aggression. The 'heat' of his conversation is so much that it (quite literally) sparks off a fire! The story then gets into a flashback mode wherein it shows all the events that lead him to the present day situation. The flashback shows Dashrath, who hails from a totally backward class, getting married to Phaguniya (Radhika Apte) during childhood itself. Because of his father's inability to pay the debts, he plans to leave Dashrath with the village's merciless Mukhiya (Tigmanshu Dhulia) as his domestic help. But the self-respecting Dashrath bites off his father's hand and runs away from the village itself... only to return after a gap of seven long years. While he sees that things haven't changed much in the village in terms of progress, his love life blooms the very moment he sets his eyes on Phaguniya. His joy knows no end when he discovers that Phaguniya is no one else but the same girl whom he got married to in his childhood. After all the drama that takes place because of his unemployment, Dashrath and Phaguniya run away from the 'clutches' of their parents, only to live a peaceful life forever. Dashrath loves her so much that his life becomes impossible without her. After the delivery of their first child, Phaguniya conceives for the second time. The dutiful wife that she is, she climbs the hilly mountains to bring lunch for Dashrath, who works incessantly in order to give his family a happy life. One day, pregnant Phaguniya, while climbing the hills, slips from there and passes away after delivering her second child. Unable to bear the grief of the sudden death of her wife, Dashrath feels that the hilly 'egoistic' mountains are the killers. In order to teach these mountains a lesson that they will never forget, he starts cutting them with an axe ... all single handedly, totally devoid of the people's reactions and perceptions towards him. Does he succeed in taking his wife's death's revenge from the mountains, does he have a change of heart, and does the government or anyone else help in his 'uphill task' endeavour is what forms the rest of the film.

The veteran film maker Ketan Mehta makes a comeback as a director and a screenplay writer (alongwith Mahendra Jhakar) with MANJHI - THE MOUNTAIN MAN. He needs to be applauded for translating a real life story into a film with utmost ease and conviction is his characters. Even though the film starts looking like a docudrama at certain places, the film's screenplay and the leading characters' flawless performances raises the film's standards superlatively. Full marks to Ketan Mehta for having shown such confidence in Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte that it starts showing in their enchanting and endearing performances every time they come on screen.

In the process of ensuring that film's plot establishes itself in the first half, Ketan Mehta leaves no stone unturned while narrating the film's engaging second half, despite the fact that the film becomes a constant reminder about the Hollywood flick 127 HOURS a la Bihar style.

As for the performances, Nawazuddin Siddiqui comes a clean winner in the title role of Dashrath Maanjhi. The level of his performance in the film is so superlatively high, that you just cannot imagine any other actor performing this role with the kind of conviction, confidence and effortlessness that he exhibits in the film. One just cannot afford to miss the scenes wherein he and Radhika Apte emerge out of the mud, him cutting his toe after snakebite, his filling his hunger and thirst by licking the moss and eating leaves. All in all, his performance in the film is what one would call as 'shaandaar, jabbardast, zindaabaad'. Radhika Apte, on the other hand, offers able support to Nawazuddin Siddiqui as his ever-dutiful, loving, caring, understanding and inspiring wife. All of this, without being at the risk of going overboard. The onscreen chemistry that she exudes with Nawazuddin Siddiqui is something that needs to be seen in order to be believed. The rest of the film's characters in the form of Tigmanshu Dhulia, Pankaj Tripathi, Gaurav Dwiwedi and others, offer their support in taking the film to its well deserving climax. A special mention to Deepa Sahi (in a cameo) who does a near-to-being-perfect role of the late leader Indira Gandhi.

Despite the fact that the film does not boast of having any chartbusting music, the music (Sandesh Sandaliya) is very situational and does not look out of place. Even though the film's editing (Pratik Chitalia) could have been a bit tighter, it is the film's cinematography (Rajeev Jain) and the Art department (Nitin Chandrakant Desai) that takes the cake.

On the whole, MANJHI - THE MOUNTAIN MAN is a good film but will appeal mainly to Nawazuddin's fans. However, the film has potential to grow with word of mouth.

Manjhi - The Mountain Man Movie Review - Solid As A Rock...

Expectations:

Years back while surfing to catch my daily dose of Hindi movie I saw a telefilm being telecasted on Indian government owned TV channel 'Doordarshan'. This movie narrated a tale of a man and a woman trying to cross a huge mountain and the happenings associated with it. The movie starred veteran actor Amol Palekar and was directed by Tapan Sinha. The whole concept of this film was unusual and thus, when director Ketan Mehta announced making a film based on the heroic tale of Dashrath Manjhi who is also known as 'The Mountain Man' my excitement rose to its top most level. Later, while watching Aamir Khan's dedication to this common man who dared to do an impossible task in his T.V show 'Satyamev Jayate', I came to know more about him. Finally, after waiting for a couple of years, Ketan Mehta's film 'Manjhi - The Mountain Man' gets its theatrical release. So, let's find out whether this movie will do justice to the struggle and hard work of this daring man or might end up being yet another one liner subject based film without any detailing attached to it.

Manjhi The Mountain Man ReviewStory

'Manjhi - The Mountain Man' is a real life story of Dashrath Manjhi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who lives in a small village near a huge rocky mountain. The villagers have to climb that mountain to reach the nearest town and one day Dashrath's wife Phaguniya (Radhika Apte), while trying to cross the mountain accidentally falls down and dies. Dashrath, in order to avenge his wife's death, decides to break the mountain and carve a road through it. How does Dashrath fulfill this impossible task is what this entire film is all about.

Screenplay & Technicalities:

The story as mentioned earlier, is based on the real life happenings and have been documented in a Films Division documentary, 'The man who moved the mountain', but here it has been presented in a proper cinematic and entertaining manner. The screenplay is gripping and has enough moments and happenings from its protagonist's life to keep the viewers glued to the silver screen. There are some good scenes like Nawazuddin's entry in the village followed by his love track and after marriage happenings with Radhika Apte, Nawazuddin's conversations with the mountain and the journalist, Nawazuddin facing the hard times in drought periods, the Indira Gandhi track followed by his visit to Delhi, finale portions and many more. Many of these scenes are hard hitting and astonishes you over the struggle of this common man. Though, some side tracks and flashback scenes mildly dilutes the flow of the film due to which the second half seemed a bit dragging and bland at times. The dialogues are superb and cinematography is of top notch.

Manjhi The Mountain Man Movie StillMusic & Direction:

Most of the songs are used in the background, thus failing to make its mark, except for 'O Rahi' which is highly motivational and goes well with the flow of the film.

Manjhi The Mountain Man Movie Wallpaper

Director Ketan Mehta comes up with yet another unusual tale and extracts some brilliant performance from his lead actor. He presents the movie in an entertaining manner without being preachy or melodramatic at any given point. It's only that there were a couple of unwanted scenes and bit dragging screenplay in the second half, due to which the impact gets mildly diluted or else the movie would have ended up being one of the good cinema from our country.

Performances:

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is outstanding in his part and deserves to be flooded with awards for portraying this role. His body mannerisms, facial expressions, dialogue delivery connect you to his character. Radhika Apte does her part with grace and adds yet another good film in her basket. Pankaj Tripathi is good and does full justice to his character. Tigmanshu Dhulia, Gaurav Dwivedi, Ashraf Ul Haque are fine in their parts. Pankaj Berry and Prashant Narayan were wasted.

So bol meri 'Filmi Khopdi' iss film mein kitna hain Dum???

Dum??? Well, the masala film loving audience might shy away from this film, but as for others if you like realistic, motivational and good cinema then this movie is a must watch for you. The movie is as solid as a rock with various layers of emotion, creativity and fine performance attached to it.

Rating - 4/5

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