Big Game

It's not always that we see an action film featuring a story line that holds, but that's exactly what BIG GAME is. A relatively small budgeted (9m USD) Finnish film that pays homage to the Hollywood actioners of the 80's and 90's, BIG GAME follows Oskari (Onni Tommila) a young teenager coming of age camping in the woods to hunt down his first kill and make the transition into manhood. While on his hunt, Oskari is suddenly thrown into a situation, when the US President, William Alan Moore's (Samuel L. Jackson) aircraft AirForce One is shot down. From here on, the young boy on the cusp of manhood goes on a mission to help rescue the President of the United States. However all hell breaks loose when the two are chased by a maniacal terrorist bent on assasinating the President. Will Oskari manage to save the President, will the young boy manage to land his first kill and be recognized as a hunter, is what forms the rest of the story. But the main question here is, sans the usual glitz and glamour surrounding any Hollywood action film, will BIG GAME manage to pull it off?

BIG GAME starts off with Tapio (Jorma Tommila), Oskari's father talking to him about the long line of hunters he comes from and the trail the young lad faces in the days to come. Oskari on the other hand, who is gung ho to prove his mettle in the cold harsh and unforgiving forest, soon realizes it isn't a cake walk. However the story takes a turn when Airforce One is shot down, simultaneously Oskari oblivious to the happenings in the sky above finds himself faced with an alien looking rescue pod containing the President. But it isn't till the two are chased by Hazar (Mehmet Kurtulus) the maniacal terrorist and Morris (Ray Stevenson) a member of the Secret Service out to destroy the president that the action really starts.

A throwback to the action films of the late 80's, BIG GAME is a far cry from the action films of today that strive for a certain maturity in terms of story coupled with all the gloss that special effects have to offer. The director has surely grown up watching action films and has since decided to pay homage to an era that has long since gone. Though the real action in the film starts off pretty late, director Jalmari Helander has done a marvelous job of developing each character. However despite the film having a very high probability of being classified as a B-grade action film, BIG GAME manages to stand out with stunning visuals and good action sequences. Though the story of the film seems more like the two protagonists running amok in the wilderness, while trying to evade the bad guys, the film does have its fun moments.

Speaking of fun moments, an aspect that stands out in the film is the camaraderie shared by Onni and Jackson, two misfits left on their own. The casual banter between the two despite the life threatening circumstances they are faced with adds a bit of lightheartedness to film. Both their performances are simply delightful. Samuel L. Jackson manages to give his character an endearing touch. But it is Onni Tommila who really steals the show, pulling off some really intense yet casual devil may care attitude that can be expected in a Schwarzenegger film. He also manages to invigorate his character with comic moments.

Though it may not be perfect, BIG GAME is a ton of fun for the fans of mindless action films, who don't mind being stunned when some semblance of a story begins to form. However, a drawback is when the film ends, the viewer is left with a feeling of wanting more of this absurd journey.

Mad Max Fury Road

After a 30 year long wait, we finally see the release of the fourth film in George Miller's Mad Max series. Set in a post-apocalyptic Australia, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (MMFR) is the story of 'Mad' Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) and his battle to survive in a desert wasteland after the collapse of civilization. Taking the series forward after MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME, the film features Hardy taking the torch from Mel Gibson, with a promise of a journey filled with action, weird jalopies, unending deserts, grotesque mutations and almost bald women. If that wasn't enough, MMFR also features the gorgeous Charlize Theron in what is by far her most de-glam look ever as Imperator Furiosa. But does the film live up to expectations managing to please the action hungry audience as well as the geeky fan boys who have waited for this movie or does MMFR hold true to Hardy's dialogue in the film, "Hope is a mistake"… let's analyze.

MMFR starts off with a monologue by Max's character, detailing the post-apocalyptic world that has all but been destroyed, throwing light on the warring factions of the living and undead who are at battle to control the little resources left. From here, the film soon progresses to show Max being captured by the War Boys, led by a tyrannical cult leader king Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), who designates him as a universal donor (thanks to his O positive blood group). However, with nothing left but the instinct to survive in a harsh wasteland, Max soon breaks free from bondage. Simultaneously, there is another rebellion happening with Imperator Furiosa, deciding to break free from Joe's oppressive rule and make her way to the 'Green Place'. Accompanying Furiosa, are five of Joe's breeders, basically unblemished women specially selected for breeding. However, all hell breaks loose when Joe realizes of this mutiny and sets out in pursuit of Furiosa and his breeders along with the entire War Boys army, and the armies from Gas Town and Bullet Farm in tow. In the ensuing battle, Max who is strapped to a misshapen jalopy manages to break free, to eventually form an alliance with Furiosa.

From here on the film take a turn with intense action sequences, each of which is sadly followed by rather unimpressive drives to the endless desert expanse. While the action is beautifully choreographed, Hardy ironically 'hardly' ever gets a chance to live up to his action avatar (remember his action sequences in THE DARK KNIGHT), since most of the action centers around vehicular warfare. As for the story, George Miller's brilliance in developing a simple concept of Max's battle to survive against all odds, shines through encapsulating almost everything from dangers of climatic changes, to religious and superstitions beliefs. In fact, he seamlessly intertwines social messages within the film with subtlety that only speaks of his directorial skills. The dialogues in MMFR are limited, with Miller opting to develop inter-character relationships and conveying messages through action, cinematic visuals and dire circumstances the characters are faced with.

Talking about performances, Tom Hardy is exceptional in portraying the mentally troubled Max, who is constantly at battle with the demons inside him and is a definitive step up from the manic eyed performance of Mel Gibson in the previous films. His dry sense of humour evident from his dialogue delivery, especially in the sequence of him talking about hope ('Hope is a mistake, if you can't fix what's broken, you will go insane') adds to the overall experience of the film. Charlize Theron, who manages to look stunning, despite being shown with a missing limb and covered in tatters, does an equally brilliant job of portraying her character Imperator Furiosa. All in all, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD rests on both Hardy and Theron's strong shoulders.

On the whole, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is worth a watch if you are a fan of the series and if you enjoy watching action films on the big screen.

Bombay Velvet Movie Review - Synthetic Effect...

Expectations:

Raj Kapoor's 'Shree 420' was one of the pioneer film when it came to narrating a tale of a tramp, making it big in the city of opportunity. After that we saw many other actors, right from his contemporaries to the actors of the romantic era followed by the action and the multiplex era trying to attempt the same format but in a different style. Audiences love to see the transformation of a normal person and thus have always loved films like 'Agneepath', 'Deewar', 'Vaastav', 'Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman' and many more. The beauty of such films lies in the way it's been presented and despite of similar situation, it still has a different backdrop and styling attached to it. Director Anurag Kashyap's latest film 'Bombay Velvet' also has a similar style of tale but, set in the late 60's era with the backdrop of formation of India's financial capital city Bombay. Thus, let's find out whether 'Bombay Velvet' will be another hard hitting path-breaking type of film by Anuraag Kashyap or might add to the list of those big commercial films which went totally wrong when they were made by realistic film makers.

Bombay Velvet Movie ReviewStory:

'Bombay Velvet' is a story set in the late 60's of Bombay city. It narrates the tale of a petty thief Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor) and his friend Chiman (Satyadeep Misra) who accidentally bumps into a big businessman Kaizad Khambatta (Karan Johar). Kaizad introduces Balraj and Chiman to his world of crime and camouflages it, by making Balraj the owner of a high society Jazz club known as 'Bombay Velvet'. One by one Balraj's dreams start coming true as he starts leading a posh life he always wanted along with having his lady love Rosie (Anushka Sharma) besides him. But Balraj wants to become richer and thus strikes a deal with Kaizad and his fellow mates. Well, what happens next, is what the entire film is all about.

Screenplay & Technicalities:

The story as we all know has shades on the lines of 'Shree 420' and similar style of films. Also, one might find a thin reference to Maniratnam's, 'Guru' in terms of the settings of the Bombay city and the politics associated with it. The movie takes a lot of time in establishing its main plot and after a long time comes on its right track. There is lots happening in the first half and yet, seems like nothing is happening. The middle portions of the film are interesting right from the introduction of Karan Johar followed by his scenes with Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka-Manish Chaudhary track, Ranbir saving Anushka, Ranbir-Kay Kay chat and few more. Just as when you start to engross yourself in the film, the movie dives down with Bollywoodish climax, where the soul was highly missing. On one hand the makers take a lot of time in establishing a track while on the other hand, zooms it up in many scenes, without giving proper timing. There were many half baked tracks (Manish Chaudhary, Satyadeep Misra, Karan Johar) which should have been enhanced for the betterment of the film. The confusion in the screenplay is visible on screen with multiple tracks running in the film. The cinematography is good and the special effects in some scenes are worth watching. Sadly, after viewing the brilliant mixture of real and imaginary periodic world in 'Detective Byomkesh Bakshy', the setup of Bombay fails to impress to the fullest. Also, the forced press references begins to irritate after a while. Despite of these comparisons, the movie is presented in a stylish manner and has good grandeur attached to it. Editing is terrible as many scenes are abruptly placed and edited into the film.

Bombay Velvet Movie StillMusic & Direction:

Music By Amit Trivedi is notable with songs like 'Mohabbat Buri Bimari', 'Naak Pe Gusssa', 'Behroopiya' and 'Dhadaam Dhadaam', which is one of a finest song from recent times in terms of its singing. Fifi is a bad remix of a classic song 'Jaata Kaha Hain Deewane' from Dev Anand's film 'C.I.D'. Background music is good and adds up the international touch in the film.

Director Anurag Kashyap dares to make a periodic romantic drama set up in the late 60's era, with lots of technical detailing attached to it. Full marks for his vision and presentation of a periodic film, which might be a benchmark for Hindi cinema on the technical level. Sadly, he overburns it with unnecessary information and thus fails to connect to its viewers on the soul level. The Bombay of 60's looks more of Hollywood of the 60's and thus the politics associated with it seemed bit bland. It might be Anurag's biggest film till date in terms of production values, but in terms of content and uniqueness it might add to the bottom list of his films as there is nothing new or extraordinary in his style of direction in this film, which ends up being an average film.

Performances:

It was good to see Ranbir Kapoor doing what he is best known for and that is, dedicated performance. Despite of weak writing and average direction, Ranbir does his part with full grace. He adds his boyish charm as well as impatient behaviour to his character and ends up delivering a fine performance. Anushka Sharma looks gorgeous in her Jazz performances and delivers a decent performance. Karan Johar is fantastic in his half baked character and rises over the expectation level. The makers seem to have forgotten his small role in 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge' as they have added the introduction credit in the titles of the film. Kay Kay Menon and Manish Chaudhary are fine in their parts. Satyadeep Misra lends good support. Raveena Tandon looks graceful, but was illogically placed in the film. Vivaan Shah, Siddharth Basu and others were wasted.

Bombay Velvet Movie WallpaperFinal Verdict: So bol meri FILMI KHOPDI iss film mein kitna hain Dum?

Dum? Well the movie is not a bad watch if, watched without any high expectations, but besides that it's not even an exceptional film. 'Bombay Velvet' is a strictly out and out average film with some good performance and decent technical elements attached to it. The movie had full potential of having a smooth effect just like the velvet fabric instead, ends up being a product with synthetic effect.

Rating - 2.5/5

Bombay Velvet

We all know that Bollywood is yet another name for 'gamble'. Those in the business of making films will surely vouch for the fact that every Friday can make or break careers. Maybe that explains the reasons as to why majority of filmmakers intend to play 'safe' with their film's genre like rom-com, thriller and likes. Barring a handful of them, not many filmmakers are known for their risk taking abilities with a period film. The last period film which hit the silver screen was DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHI, which met with mixed reactions at the box-office. This week's release is yet another period drama by the name of BOMBAY VELVET. Will this film have a 'velvet' smooth run at the box-office or will it turn out to be a letdown, let's analyze.

The film, that's set in the era of 1949, welcomes the audiences with a track by Raveena Tandon Thadani (special appearance). On the other hand, while a young Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor) is busy taking his baby steps in this man-eat-man world, he also spends his time in the red light district nursing frustrations of seeing his mother getting slapped and abused. Youth throws him in the boxing ring of free-for-all fighting to earn some ready cash. He then comes across Chiman (Satyadeep Misra), who not just becomes his partner in crime, but also his friend for life. As they march ahead in life, they, gradually land up becoming the henchmen for Kaizad Khambata (Karan Johar), editor of the tabloid 'Torrent' and also a top wheeler-dealer. Impressed with his dare devil attitude, Kaizad appoints Balraj to manage his club named 'Bombay Velvet'. In addition to this, Kaizad also entrusts him with the task of wiping out the 'Communist's opposition to this 'Capitalist' plan. But he meets with a roadblock called Jimmy Mistry (Manish Chaudhury), editor of pro-labour class tabloid 'Glitz'. It is then, that the beautiful jazz singer Rosie (Anushka Sharma) is sent as a honey trap to lure Balraj by Jimmy. But the duo consummate their passionate romance and become inseparable. The henchman wants to have his share of the pie in the new money-order and that's when the drama turns bloody and what-happens-after. Meanwhile, Kaizad tries to adopt the policy of divide and rule between Balraj and Chiman. Does Rosie become successful in her role of a honey trap, does Kaizad become successful in separating the Balraj-Chiman duo and what ultimately happens to 'Bombay Velvet'... is what forms the rest of the story.

First things first. The film's director Anurag Kashyap needs to be applauded totally for having immense belief in his product named BOMBAY VELVET. Right from the word go, he transports you into an era that makes you believe in whatever you see and hear. Anurag, who has mostly been associated with offbeat cinema, sweeps you off the floor and also your imagination with BOMBAY VELVET. It won't be wrong to say that he has created the film with a right mix of great performances and eye-catching visuals. Anurag's impeccable proficiency and flawless mastery over the medium is something that needs to be appreciated. It was a noble intention when Anurag Kashyap wanted to portray the jazz culture of the 1960s through his movie, but that drastically reduces his audiences as far as the Hindi movie going public is concerned. The flip side of the film is that it tends to be way too lengthy in its first half. But the damage control of the first half's drag takes place in the film's enticing second half. It is in the second half the film's pace picks up with dramatic twists and turns, culminating it into a chilling and nail biting climax. The irony of the film is that while its length (148 minutes) plays a spoilsport, there is hardly anything in the film which could have been edited or snipped! In that case, one just cannot place the blame on the film's editors (Thelma Schoonmaker & Prerna Saigal). Besides the grandeur on which the film has been mounted, there are a handful of scenes in the film which are bound to catch your undivided attention. The introduction (bank) scene of Karan Johar and the sequences which follow it sets the tone and the direction of the movie. In addition to that, Ranbir Kapoor's fight sequences also form the highlight of the film.

The connoisseurs will love the jazz music (masterfully put together by Amit Trivedi), but, somehow it won't find resonance with the regular film going audience in India that's grown up on simpler more relatable forms of music. The remix of the Geeta Dutt number 'Jaata Kahan Hai Deewane' from the yesteryear's CID is the only song that will sway the mass audience. Wouldn't it have been better if Anurag had tried to rediscover Geeta Dutt brand of singing instead of the very niche jazz? All songs in the film are very situational. On the other hand, the film's dialogues (Gyan Prakash, Thani, Vasan Bala & Anurag Kashyap) are refreshing and their bunch of one liners are bound to hold your attention. The film's engaging and entertaining screenplay and neat cinematography (Rajeev Ravi) only add to the glitter of the film.

Ranbir Kapoor has delivered one of his career's best performances in BOMBAY VELVET. There is a crazy energy around his madness that gets you hooked from start to finish. In spite of his roguish ways, there is an impetuous innocence in him that strikes you as an audience. The relentless attempts to rise from being a mere thug (laughed off by his masters) to almost-being a 'big shot' has a Jonathan Livingstone Seagull intensity that carves a place in your heart-n-mind. Anushka Sharma, on the other hand, looks beautiful and delectably sensuous. She manages to say a lot through her silences and deep tear-laden-eyes. There is a mischievous side to her as well and also the one that learns to dominate the domineering men. She excellently portrays the singing-on-screen. The gigantic emotion in 'Dhadaam Dhadaam' has been brilliantly portrayed by her. The love story between Rosie and Johnny is heartwarming and endearing, but there's too much of blood that's spilled to really savor the romance. After PK and NH10, Anushka seems to be coming of age with the selection of the right script and also the character driven association. She gets into the skin of the character she is playing. By the time the film ends, you almost forget Anushka, because your mind is already filled with the memories of Rosie. If you thought that Karan Johar was only about making larger than life candy floss romantic films, BOMBAY VELVET is bound to change the way you look at him. He is bound to stun everyone with his acting debut. He gets into his character so effortlessly that you can't think of anyone else having played that role so effortlessly. He is outstanding in a scene where he goes out of the room to laugh uncontrollably at Balraj's demands. There is a sharp comment on Johar's sexual preferences. He coins the name Johnny for Balraj while looking at a strategic location in Ranbir's anatomy. There is at least one more incident where you get to understand that Khambata has a leaning for men and his trophy wife is just a honey trap for seducing powerful men in compromising positions. A special word of mention to Satyadeep Misra for having delivered such a realistic performance. The rest of the characters help in moving the film towards its destination.

Special brownie points to the film's production designer (Sonal Sawant) for having created the 'Bombay' of the 1960's. The vintage cars, the buses, the trams, the roads, the building spare no efforts in transporting you in a different world altogether. Niharika Bhasin has tirelessly crafted authentic costumes and the detailing is bang on.

On the whole, BOMBAY VELVET is a visual masterpiece that is rich in form. If you want to be wowed by the detailing of the 1960s, superb performances of Ranbir Kapoor, Karan Johar and Anushka Sharma, then go ahead and watch this film.

Kuch Kuch Locha Hai

A couple of weeks back, we spoke about the phenomenon 'name-esis' that is fast gaining momentum in Bollywood. Continuing the same tradition, this week's release falls under the same 'genre' as well. This week's release goes by the name of KUCH KUCH LOCHA HAI, which is an absolute reminiscent of the smash hit film KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI. Will KUCH KUCH LOCHA HAI manage to pace up the slow activity at the box-office... let's analyze.

The film starts with the introduction of Pravin Patel aka PP (Ram Kapoor), his family and the girl of his dreams Shanaya (Sunny Leone), who is a Bollywood actress. PP's family consists of his 'religiously religious' wife Kokila aka 'Krokodile' (Suchita Trivedi) and his son Jigar aka 'Jigolo' (Navdeep Chabra), who is an aspiring rockstar who are happily settled in Malaysia. However, they are totally unaware of PP's 'feelings' towards Shanaya. On the other hand PP's love for Shanaya becomes an obsession so much so that he has a secret 'worship chamber' of hers in his video shop! PP's luck hits a goldmine when he gets chosen as a winner in a contest whose bumper prize is a 'date with Shanaya'. Amidst the 'date', Shanaya, impressed with PP's Gujarati mannerisms, offers to stay with him as a part of her homework for the dream role of a Gujarati girl in her forthcoming film with a well-known director. PP, who just cannot believe his luck, lands up lying to her that he is unmarried and stays with his parents. On the other hand, PP sends his wife to India after making a fake call about his wife's mother's ill health. When Shanaya tells him that she would like to spend time in a close knit family, PP saves his skin and the situation yet again by convincing his rock star son to become his father and his son's girlfriend Naina (Evelyn Sharma) to become his mother! Does PP manage to pull off the 'child is father of the man' act flawlessly before Shanaya, does Kokila return to Malaysia and get to see the real face of her scheming husband, does PP ever gather the guts to propose to Shanaya and convince her marry him and does Shanaya ever get to know the real truth behind PP and his 'mysterious' family, is what forms the rest of the story of this comedy film.

The director of the film Devang Dholakia seems to hit the right cord with KUCH KUCH LOCHA HAI. Even though the film is not flawless, it does enjoy its moments under the sun. Full marks to Devang for creating a Gujarati household and, touching upon its nuances and finer points very meticulously. Even though the film has a long first half, the second half with his humor and comedy of errors pulls things back together. All in all, the end product manages to leave a smile on your faces by the time you leave the cinema hall.

As far as the performances are concerned, it is Ram Kapoor who carries the film, right from the word go. His portrayal of a middle aged Gujarati man obsessed with a hot and sexy Bollywood actress played by Sunny Leone is very much believable. There are times when he gets monotonous, but the film's plot helps him to pull through the role with ease. His performance in KUCH KUCH LOCHA HAI will definitely make you forget his performance(s) in the forgettable HUMSHAKALS. Sunny Leone plays the part of a famous Bollywood actress with aplomb. From making almost all the men in the film swoon for her, Sunny more than does justice to her role, which makes the viewer feel that she is quite literally living her real life on celluloid. Suchita Trivedi tries her level best to convince the viewers with her portrayal of a religious and 'pati-vrata' Gujrati housewife, who can, if the need be, go to any extent to get her husband back with her. She manages to make you laugh with her quirkiness. Evelyn Sharma, on the other hand, does what was expected out of her, as she manages to look sexy and acts well too. Navdeep Chabra despite coming across as a bit of an amateur in front of the camera tries his level best to put up a decent act. The theatre veteran actor Mehul Buch springs a solid surprise act in the film. The rest of the actors add their bit to spice up the 'loch' quotient in the film.

The music (Ikka, Arko, Intense, Amjad Nadeem, Dharam, Sandeep, Ali Quli Mirza, King, Color) is quite catchy and takes the story forward. The film's cinematography (A.K.N. Sebastian) and editing (Sanjay Ingle) is average.

On the whole, KUCH KUCH LOCHA HAI is a light entertainer that can be watched if you are a fan of Sunny Leone and enjoy Ram Kapoor's histrionics.

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