Bangistan

Bollywood has seen many films that were based on the theme of terrorism. Be it A WEDNESDAY!, BLACK FRIDAY, MISSION KASHMIR, FIZA...to name a few, Bollywood has 'been there, seen that'. However, there have been a few satirical comedies made in Bollywood on this subject that includes successful films like TERE BIN LADEN and FILMISTAAN. This week's release BANGISTAN is again a satirical take on terrorism. Will it hit the Box-Office 'Bang-on' or will it completely miss its target, lets analyze.

BANGISTAN begins with the 'demographical introduction' of a fictitious country named 'Bangistan'. The country is divided into two parts with North Bangistan occupied by Muslims while South Bangistan occupied by Hindus. As the name suggests, the country is full of people who believe that the only way to bring peace to the world is by the means of violence and the south and the north are always at war with each other. On the other hand, the focus shifts to a video conferencing call between religious heads of Bangistan, Imaam (Tom Alter) and Shankaracharya (Shiv Subramaniam), discussing about the upcoming '13th World Religious Conference' that is to be held in Poland. There happens the introduction of Hafeez Bin Ali aka Harold (Riteish Deshmukh), who quits his job at a call centre after a certain 'religious backlash'. He then gets handpicked by the chief of 'Al-Kaam Tamaam' to represent their outfit and to become a suicide bomber to blow up the peace conference. In order to avoid being 'recognized' by anyone, he completely metamorphoses into a Hindu as 'Ishwarchand Sharma'. On the other hand, there also exists a struggling actor Pravin Chaturvedi (Pulkit Samrat), a devout Hindu and also a follower of the religious Hindu outfit 'Maa Ka Dal'. He too gets handpicked by the leader of 'Maa Ka Dal' in order to double up as a human bomb at the peace conference. Just like Hafeez, Pravin too undergoes a completely metamorphosis, the only difference being that he disguises himself as a Muslim under the name of 'Allah Rakha'. Destiny makes the duo meet each other not only at the airport on reaching Poland (where they strip themselves to their bare minimum on 'humanitarian grounds'), but also end up as neighbours. Noticing how much they respect each other's religion and how similar they are, the duo become close friends in an alien country … until one day Pravin discovers (read 'uncovers') the real motive of Hafeez Bin Ali. What happens to their 'friendship' after this discovery, does the duo succeed in bombing the religious peace conference is what forms the rest of the film.

First things first. The film fails to start with a 'bang' (no pun intended!) and this 'bang-less ness' continues throughout the first half of the film. The two things that act as a uniform villain in this film are its terrible screenplay (Puneet Krishna, Sumit Purohit, Karan Anshuman), which is doubled with poor direction (Karan Anshuman). The film starts lagging endlessly in the first half and picks up its pace (only at handful of places) in the endlessly stretched second half. Karan Anshuman's lack of technical expertise in film direction shows throughout the film. He fails to extract the good performances from the star cast, even though the film's cast is way more capable than what they are made to do in the film. In this supposedly comedy film, there are barely any moments that bring a smile on your face and through the most, you stare in horror at the pointless happenings on the screen.

As far as the film's actors are concerned, no prizes for guessing that the film depends on lead actors Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat. Riteish has earned a reputation of being a brilliant performer when it comes to comedy with strong comic timing. However, it's shocking to see that he has been given a serious role with perpetually a dead-pan face in Bangistan. He is supposed to be a serious guy who for some reason has an emotional turmoil while funny things 'just happen' around him. However, none of these proceedings are funny enough and you can see a talented Riteish struggling with his part in this sinking ship. On the other hand, Pulkit Samrat tries his level best to be the loud funny guy that the director wants him to be, but struggles miserably. There are places where he starts looking and behaving like a rank amateur actor. All in all, Pulkit Samrat really needs to buck up his act fast in order to sustain himself as an actor in the long run. It was sad to see Jacqueline Fernandez getting reduced to a mere prop in the film, although her role could have held much more steam. She is just there for a handful of scenes and a song. Period. Sadly though, even the supporting actors in the film fail to successfully lend their support to the film as most of them are made to give hammy performances in this directionless film.

While there is nothing memorable about the film's music (Ram Sampath), even the lyrics fail to register in the mind. The film's editing (Shweta Venkat) is average. The film's cinematography (Szymon Lenkowski) is possibly the only saving grace of the film.

The problem with BANGISTAN is that it tries to be too many things at the same time. The film's promos promise a comedy however, the jokes soon start falling flat one after the other. Then the director suddenly decides to make a preachy film with a social message on religious harmony.

On the whole, BANGISTAN is a pointless film that fails to make you laugh or entertain. Skip it.

Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation English

Sleek and stylish, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies have been a rage among those who like to get the adrenaline rush watching some of the mind blowing action scenes featuring the charming Tom Cruise. With the last part of the series, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL failing to live up to expectations, let's see what the latest film MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION has in store.

The film starts off with the invincible Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) being assigned an 'impossible' task of retrieving a package from a well guarded plane, by the Head of IMF (Impossible Mission Force) William Brandt along with his partners in crime Benji (Simon Pegg) and his friend Luther (Ving Rhames). After successfully completing the assignment, Ethan Hunt is later hunted down by a group of highly skilled terrorists who torture him to extract information. However, he manages to make an escape with the help of Ilsa Faust, a member of this terrorist group.

On the other hand, IMF is in trouble and Brandt (Jeremy) tries to save IMF by telling the jury about the terrorist organization The Syndicate. But CIA Head Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) refutes the existence of The Syndicate by claiming it as a 'figment of Hunt's imagination'. Moreover, Alan also sends a team to find Ethan Hunt and orders a weekly polygraph test on Hunt's friend Benji (Simon) to discover the whereabouts of Hunt. But, Ethan Hunt goes underground for over six months and manages to contact Benji and invites him to an Opera performance in Vienna. However, the performance leads to a lot of mayhem resulting in the death of prominent personalities and Hunt is once again saved by the mysterious Ilsa. Hunt is termed as an international fugitive after Vienna fiasco and the only way he can save his life is to prove the existence of 'The Syndicates' and his first step in doing so, is by joining hands with the only clue he has, Ilsa!

Director Christopher McQuarrie has managed to retain the essence of Mission Impossible with high octane action sequences. Though the first half of the film moves in a slow pace, considering that the film focuses on establishing characters, the movie picks up speed in the second half with its well choreographed chasing sequences. Like any other film in the franchise, this spy-fi too deals with various plots and sub-plots and Christopher manages to keep you hooked to the seat despite the confusing and jumbled storyline.

What MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION also boasts of is some mind blowing performances. It's a well known fact that this is a Cruise film all the way, however, it is Sean Harris as Soloman Lane and Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa who shine in the film. Sean Harris' poker face, villainous attitude and arrogance as the Head of 'The Syndicate' manages to win him brownie points. On the other hand, Rebecca Ferguson is a delight to watch on screen. It is rare to find a woman playing a strong role in a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE film but Rebecca pulls off the role of Ilsa confidently and her smooth action moves make her every bit a match for Hunt aka Tom Cruise. Simon Pegg as Benji keeps you entertained with his one liners while Ving Rhames as Luther Stickhall and Jeremy Renner as William Brandt are rather convincing. Though Tom Cruise continues to reign as 'Ethan Hunt', MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION, hails the actor as a kind of superhero with many terming him as a 'manifestation of destiny'. Tom Cruise has been carrying the franchise on his shoulder since the first film and his role as Hunt has now acquired a cult status that comes with too many expectations which when unfulfilled, leaves you with a tad bit of disappointment.

However, despite its minute flaws, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION is high on entertainment quotient. For Tom Cruise fans, the film provides ample of 'edge of the seat moments' and is a visual treat for action lovers.

On the whole, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION will not leave the fans disappointed as it is one of the best films from the franchise. If the chase sequences and gun fights are your thing, then this film is definitely worth a watch.

Pixels English

It isn't easy to make a film based on any one single video game, leave alone making a film that incorporates multiple arcade video games from the 80s. But that is exactly what PIXELS is all about.

The film starts off in 1982, with two kids Brenner (Adam Sandler) and Cooper (Kevin James) heading out for a fun night at the video arcade. While Brenner excels at gaming, Cooper on the other hand is a master of the 'crane game'. As they continue to play, Cooper convinces Brenner to enter the World Arcade Championship. At the event, the MC tells everyone that a time capsule will be launched into space containing elements of the present culture filmed at the championship. Meanwhile, Brenner and Cooper meet Ludlow Lamonsoff, a weird but brilliant kid who's in love with Lady Lisa (the main character of the game Dojo Quest). After Brenner gets through every game, he faces hotshot gamer Eddie Plant (Peter Dinklage) in Donkey Kong. However, Brenner loses out to Eddie in the final tie breaker match.

Cut to 2015, where Brenner works for a company that installs software, Cooper has become the President of the United States who is mocked in the media. While each of them continue to struggle with their daily issues, a military base in Guam is attacked by unknown drone army. Calling for assistance Cooper calls in Brenner, who states that the base was attacked by aliens based on the designs of drones from the game Galaga. However, Brenner's observations are dismissed by the assembled heads of military divisions as nothing but fantasies. Later, Brenner drives his van back home to find Ludlow in there. Ludlow brings Brenner back to his home where he says that he received a message using manipulated footage of 80's icons like Ronald Reagan and Madonna to explain the alien's plans: since they perceived the items in the time capsule as a declaration of war, they are using the video games as a challenge, giving the people of Earth three rounds to fight back or it's game over for everyone. Armed with this footage, the duo approach Cooper and determine that the next attack will happen in India.

However, despite the warning that was taken lightly, Cooper and his generals are stunned when the aliens attack the Taj Mahal with Arkanoid paddles. Post the attack, Brenner and Lodlow are brought in to 'train' soldiers on how to fight the alien invaders, but will the duo manage to get the seals up to speed on how to battle video games of the 80s or will Earth fall prey to the giant Pac-Man is what completes the rest of the film.

We entered the film expecting to see a film that would bring back memories from childhood about the games we spent hours playing. Add to that, a story narrative that features these same games invading earth with a real life hero battling away to save the day, PIXELS had all the right ingredients to be a worthy film. However despite the film covering some of the most popular games in the 80s and managing to encompass a true to life feel of playing them, somewhere down the line, PIXELS begins to lose track and turns into yet another Adam Sandler film with the usual antics and gags. There are some truly funny moments in the film that help change your mind and keep you in your seat, but they are few and far between.

Coming to the performances, Kevin James has quite literally nothing new to offer, he is still from his King of Queens days playing the clumsy fat guy. Josh Gad is just too loud, though he does pull of the nerdy introverted geek with an obsessive love for a video game character perfectly; we fail to understand why he is always screaming. With Sandler, James and Gad offering nothing new, our hopes were pegged on the 'Game of Thrones' star Peter Dinklage who has more than once wowed us with his talent. But unfortunately Dinklage too is sadly a letdown, though he does manage to elicit a few laughs. Michelle Monaghan as Violet seems more like an after-thought addition with her role being resigned to that of a damsel in distress.

Despite the several loopholes, PIXELS makes for a simple fun watch. The visuals do play a big role in the film, adding a much needed novelty factor that coupled with the giant Pac-Man roaming on the streets is quite a sight. But what works best for the film is that PIXELS does not try to be anything more than just a fun time.

On the whole, PIXELS is light, fun watch for the fans of the 80s arcade games. Don't expect anything spectacular from it though.

Drishyam

The last few weeks have been really good for Bollywood. It all started off with the magical BAHUBALI, which, despite being a dubbed film, went onto register huge figures at the ticket windows all over. This box-office magic was continued by Salman Khan starrer BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN. This week sees the release of the whodunit mystery DRISHYAM. Will this film continue the magical 'vision' at the Box-Office windows, or will this film turn out to be a mere 'eye-wash', let's analyze.

For the uninitiated, DRISHYAM is remake of the Malayalam film by the same name, which was directed by Jeethu Joseph and starred the southern superstar Mohanlal and Meena in the lead. The same film was then made in Kannada as DRISHYA with V. Ravichandran and Navya Nair in the lead, and also in Telugu as DRUSHYAM with Daggubati Venkatesh and Meena in the lead. It is only recently that the film was made in Tamil language as well titled PAPANASAM, which starred the legendary Kamal Haasan and Gauthami.

Director Nishikant Kamat's DRISHYAM starts off with Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgn) waiting at Pandolem police station in Goa. The story, then goes into a flashback mode in which it mirrors all the events that led Vijay in the present day situation. Vijay Salgaonkar is a 'fourth standard failed' middle class hard working businessman, running a cable TV business. His life revolves around movies and his family consisting of his wife Nandini Vijay Salgaonkar (Shriya Saran), his teenage daughter (Ishita Dutta) and his younger daughter. Life goes on pretty smoothly for the Salgaonkars, till one day his elder daughter bumps into a notorious Sam in a school camp. Despite repeated warnings, Sam doesn't stop pestering her, so much so that he even plants a hidden camera in her washroom. Grabbing this 'opportunity' with both the hands, Sam demands sexual favour from Vijay's daughter in return of the MMS being deleted. And when Nandini intervenes, he asks for a sexual favour from Nandini instead! Raging with anger and helplessness, Vijay's daughter hits Sam with a rod that results in him collapsing on the spot. The mother-daughter get furthermore shocked when they learn that Sam was the only son of none other than IG Meera Deshmukh (Tabu). Frightened and helpless they narrate their ordeal to Vijay when he returns back from his office in the morning. Vijay then hatches a master plan that will help his family from the clutches of the police. After this begins the cat and mouse game between Vijay and Meera. Does the 'fourth standard failed' Vijay Salgaonkar manage to protect his family, does his foolproof plan have any flaws that act as a giveaway, what happens to Sam in the end.. is what forms the rest of the story.

First things first. Writer Jitu Joseph needs to be applauded for having created such a flawless masterpiece that Bollywood, probably, has never witnessed before. This is a whodunit film that will surely have its name etched in gold, because of the smart script. This film scores heavily, because, while most of the whodunit thrillers are all about finding the culprit, this film is all about flawlessly concealing the crime.

When you are aboard on a ship named DRISHYAM, which has 'powerhouse passengers' like Ajay Devgn and Tabu, the responsibility of the captain becomes more than double. And this responsibility has been carried off and executed not just extremely well, but also in the most meticulous manner by the 'captain' of the ship Nishikant Kamat, who makes absolutely no mistake right from the first frame till the last one. He succeeds immensely in keeping the legacy of the film's 'vision' alive. One really has to give it to him for keeping the audience on the edge of his seat, and not losing them even for a moment. Nishikant Kamat does total justice to the film's exceptional script and his direction is spot on. He is the boss and ensures you take note of the story the way he wants to...he's in complete control. While the first half of the film belongs in totality to Ajay Devgn and his 'vision', the film's engaging second half belongs equally to both Tabu and Ajay's. The film's climax is outstanding. One just cannot afford to miss the scenes in which the cops interrogate the Salgaonkar's family individually and also the small child's confession to the cops. Even though the film's pace is slow, you, as a viewer, don't lose interest at any point of time, because the mystery and the human dilemma keeps you hooked right from the first frame till the last one.

As far as the film's performances are concerned, it is needless to say that the film belongs totally to Ajay Devgn and Tabu. They are the quintessential torchbearers of the film right from the word go. It is really heartening to see Ajay Devgn (who is mostly known for his action roles) to underplay his usual self and yet come out a winner of sorts. One just cannot to afford to miss him in the scenes where he and his family recreate the entire events and incidents and also his helpless condition in the police station when his family gets beaten up mercilessly. His smoldering eyes emote effortlessly. On the other hand, Tabu (who had earlier played a policewoman's role in the 90's film KOHRAAM), plays an inspector with oodles of aplomb and elan. At the same time, she also handles the role of a concerned mother with equal ease. With the kind of portrayal that she has done in the film, it becomes almost impossible to think of any other actress to have played this role with such flawless perfection. Shriya Saran, on the other hand, comes up with a winning performance in the role of Ajay Devgn's wife. The other mentionable roles belong to Rajat Kapoor, Ishita Dutta and Mrinal Jadhav, all of whom jointly deliver a masterpiece called DRISHYAM. A special mention goes out to Kamlesh Sawant for his cop act, which was in top form. Even other small characters have done excellent job in their parts.

As far as the film's music is concerned, in a film like this, there is hardly any scope for music. Still, Vishal Bhardwaj manages to deliver a handful of soothing (if not exceptional or memorable) tracks that go with the flow of the film and do not seem thrusted. It is the film's background music (Sameer Phaterpekar) that acts as a major driving force in the narrative of the film. When a film is of a thriller genre with a 'whodunit' as its central theme, it's editing becomes one of the key factors that can make or break the film. In the case of DRISHYAM, it's editing (Aarif Sheikh) that keeps the film edgy. There is no single moment in the film suffers a lag. As far as the film's cinematography (Avinash Arun) is concerned, the camera work takes you on a trip of its own...simple frames but the requisite lighting and the changing camera angles add to the mystery. As for the taut screenplay (Upendra Sidhye), it keeps on playing with your mind all the time. You know what happened but even then you are taken for a ride and you start believing in it.

On the whole, DRISHYAM is an absolute winner that keeps you hooked completely right till the end. It is definitely a must watch movie this weekend.

Drishyam Movie Review - Relishing Brain Twister...

Our Hindi cinema is mainly dominated by romantic, action, dramatic and comedy films. Though, the cinema loving audience loves all sorts of genres, especially the thriller genre. Despite of having variety of film makers right from Vijay Anand to Abbas Mustan, this genre has a very small sect of notable films. Most of these films are, 'Who done it?' type of murder mysteries, thus restricting them for repetitive audiences. Along with these films, there are a few crime based thrillers where the filmmakers try to narrate the happenings in a chain format. Films like 'Chor Chor', 'Jhonny Gaddar', 'Manorama Six Feet Under', 'The Perfect Murder' and few such films are perfect examples of this genre of crime based thrillers. The latest to join this niche group is Ajay Devgn-Tabu starrer film 'Drishyam', which is an official remake of the Malyalam film with the same name, starring Mohanlal in the lead role. The Malayalam film is considered among a must watch films from our country and was remade in Tamil as 'Papanasam' starring Kamal Hassan in the lead role. Thus, let's find out whether Ajay and his team will manage to do justice to this unique thriller or might end up being a weak remake which works only due to its powerful content attached to it.

Drishyam Movie ReviewStory

'Drishyam' is a story of Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgn), who runs a cable network in a small village of Goa and lives with his wife Nandini (Shriya Saran) and two daughters (Ishita Dutta & Mrinal Jadhav). Their peaceful world turns upside down as the son of IG Meera Deshmukh (Tabu) goes missing and a local inspector Gaitonde (Kamlesh Sawant) starts suspecting Vijay's involvement in this case. What happens next it what the entire film is all about.

Screenplay & Technicalities:

The story by Jeethu Joseph as mentioned earlier, is an adaptation of the Malyalam film and has been neatly placed as per the requirement of a Hindi film. The movie starts on a dull note with minimal happenings in the initial part of the film, but as the movie progresses towards the interval part, it gains its non-stop momentum in the whole second half of the film. The movie moves with a jet speed in the second half with back to back twists and dramatic moments. The family part in the initial phase of the film fails to grab your interest, but, the thriller and dramatic part compensates everything and keeps you nail biting throughout. Scenes like Ajay Devgn's tiff with Kamlesh Sawant in the restaurant, Ajay hiding the evidences, Kamlesh Sawant suspecting Ajay Devgn, Ishita Dutta's statement in her school, Ajay giving account of his expenses, video interrogation of Ajay and his family, Tabu interrogating the witnesses, Tabu-Rajat Kapoor chat followed by knowing of the real facts, Kamlesh Sawant hitting Ajay and his family, climax part and many more keeps you entangled in the film. The cinematography and locations of these parts of Goa are visually appealing. Editing should have been bit scrict in the initial part of the film.

Drishyam ReviewMusic & Direction:

Music and thriller are totally contrasting to each other, yet 'Carbon Copy' and 'Dum Ghuttata Hai' does not dilute the flow of the film. The background music does full justice to the theme of the film.

Director Nishikant Kamat after giving us a realistic film like 'Mumbai Meri Jaan' and an action potboiler like 'Force', now ventures into the tough genre of crime thrillers and succeeds in doing proper justice to it.He could have presented the film in an artistic manner, but thanks to his expertise, he presents it in a total entertaining manner which will be loved by classes and the masses.

Performances:

It is a relief to see Ajay Devgn back into intense films after having an overdose of his action potboilers. Ajay has given some fantastic intense films in past and 'Drishyam' adds on to the elite list of these memorable films. He removes the 'Singham' skin and slides easily into the skin of a common man and displays a hard hitting performance. It would be naive to compare his work to the ace performances of great actors like Mohanlal or Kamal Hassan, but on an overall basis, Ajay shines out on his own. Tabu is brilliant in her part and displays her emotional and tough side of the character with such an ease. It's hard to take your eyes from this great personality. Kamlesh Sawant is outstanding in his role of Inspector Gaitonde. The audience will love as well as hate his character, as he displays his versatility as an actor. Shriya Sharan looks good, but fails to match up to the intensity of other actors. Rajat Kapoor, Prathamesh Parab, Ishitta Dutta and Mrinal Jadhav lend good support.

Drishyam Movie StorySo bol meri 'Filmi Khopdi' iss film mein kitna hain Dum???

Dum??? Well, the movie has lots of dum as it has some brilliant performances, gripping screenplay and a neat direction. As they say, good things come to all those who wait and in the case of 'Drishyam',you will have to wait through the initial snail paced part and once you pass this phase you will be rewarded with a relishing brain twister which is a must watch for all those who love good cinema.

Rating - 4/5

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