Raja Natwarlal Movie Review - This King-Con Has Some Tricks Under His Sleeves...
Con-drama has been one of the most interesting genre in our modern Hindi cinema. Though we did witness many films in the retro era where this angle was used as, one of the pivotal tracks in the film. Films like Shaan, Mr. Natwarlal, Shalimar, Katilon Ke Katil, Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri, Heeralal Pannalal and many such films had good track where the protagonist used to con people in the initial part of the film. These tracks attracted its audience as people love to see how does one person cheat another and that too in an entertaining manner. Looking at these factors film makers enhanced this track from a small part of the film to a whole plot line of the film, with films like 'Bunty Aur Bubbly', 'Bluffmaster', 'Special 26', 'Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye', 'Badmaash Company', 'Khosla Ka Ghosla' and many more. Probably, this could also be a main reason for Emraan Hashmi to do a con based film 'Raja Natwarlal', which also witnesses his comeback to his type of mainstream cinema after a gap of a few years. So lets find out whether, this master of masala entertainer will hit it right with his targeted audience or might have to struggle a bit to find his perfect form.
'Raja Natwarlal' is story of Raja (Emraan Hashmi) who performs small time con along with his partner Raghav (Deepak Tijori) in order to live their livelihood. Raja once get a huge opportunity, after which his whole life goes through a sad and tensed phase, where he meets the biggest ex con-artist Yogi (Paresh Rawal). Raja convinces Yogi to target a multi billionaire Vardha Yadav (Kay Kay Menon) and what happens next is what the entire film is all about.Screenplay & Technicalities:
The story is predictable and works very well in parts. The first half takes a lot of time to come on its right track. It's just before the interval, the film comes to its right track, but also has some hurdles in the form of romantic drama. In the initial part you are torchered with back to back three songs with an unwanted overdose of drama, especially the whole track of Humaima. The movie picks up drastically with the introduction of superb actors like Kay Kay Menon and Paresh Rawal. There are some interesting scenes like Paresh Rawal training Emraan Hashmi, Emraans first meet with Kay Kay Menon, Paresh Rawal and team trying to con Kay Kay along with the finale portions. Though, these scenes are not path breaking, but is still entertaining and engaging. They could have been more impactfull and sleek as its required in this type of genres. Whenever the movie picks up its momentum, the romantic and dramatic scenes dilute them and thus the whole fun element is short lived. In the movie Paresh Rawal tells Emraan Hashmi that people like them should not have any girlfriends or wife well, I would rectify it by saying that films like these should not have the romantic track, at all and should concentrate only on the thrilling and engaging con drama. Editing should have been sleek and crispier.
Music has been one of the biggest positive aspect in Emraan Hashmi's films, sadly, here the songs are not up to his caliber. They are wrongly placed in the film and does not go well with the flow of the film.Kunal Deshmukh made his mark with films like Jannat and Jannat 2, which were proper Bhatt-Hashmi styled entertainers. His latest attempt has a good plot line which is perfect for its targeted audience, but is presented in a very lethargic manner. It should have been razor sharp and bit high on an intellectual level. The forced melodrama and predictable narration style ruin the impact of the film.Performances:
Emraan Hashmi is super comfortable in his zone of masala entertainers. He performs well, but falls short due to the half baked script. Humaima Malik is terrible and hams to the fullest. She is a good actor, but fails to show her potential in this forced track of hers. Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay Menon are the true saviors in this film. It's due to their presence in the movie, that makes it worth watching, despite of so many loopholes. Deepak Tijori lends good support. Talented actor like Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub is super wasted. Prachee Shah is fine in her part.
Dum? Well, if you can tolerate the lethargic first hour of the film, there is a decent amount of entertaining dum in the later part of the film. Though it's nowhere close to the good and thrilling con based films we have seen in the past, but thanks to talented actors like Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay Menon, this king-con has some tricks under his sleeves. As for Emraan Hashmi, his fans will be relieved to see him in this type of film, but for all others... wait for a Bhatt camp film.Rating : 3/5
Mad About Dance
When it comes to films, there are many of them which have been a 'tribute' to varied forms of dancing, right through the ages of Bollywood. Be it Mithun Chakraborty grooving in DISCO DANCER and DANCE DANCE or the dancing sensation Sudha Chandran in the inspiring film NACHE MAYURI and the recent Remo D'Souza's ABCD - ANY BODY CAN DANCE, Bollywood has seen it all. And now comes, MAD ABOUT DANCE, a film that's about three Asian boys, who leave their home and country to study abroad and dabble with their struggles, heartbreaks, trials and triumphs.
The film is about Aarav (Saahil Prem) and his undying passion for the art of dance. The film starts with him attempting to convince a group of bank officials for a loan of Rs. 25 lakhs to train an Indian dance troupe for the world's best dance championship. In a persuasive move, Aarav narrates a (flashback) story about his love for dance and his dream to train a dance troupe for winning the coveted trophy. While Aarav sets in search of his inspiration, an ace dancer Caesar, he comes across the love of his life Akira (Amrit Maghera). As they succeed in forming an Asian group, they are constantly dragged into dance face-offs by the rival Caesar's dance troupe.
Saahil Prem, who is not just the director of the film, but also its lead actor and story writer, seems to have shot this film in a tearing hurry. Even though he makes a sincere attempt as an actor, he fails miserably as a director. Though the film has been shot in lavish foreign locales and has a blend of western and desi actors, the film fails to create an impact. In fact, choreographers Salah Benlemqawanssa and Supple Nam's dance is thoroughly disappointing. It's quite an irony to state that a film about dance has not explored the elements of the art form appropriately. The music department of the film has nothing noteworthy and if anything, the music was too loud compared to the tone of the film. The film's editing (Meghna Manchanda Sen), dialogues (Kanu Behl) and the cinematography (Uday Tiwari) could have been a tad crispier.
On the acting front, as mentioned earlier, Saahil Prem does a fair job. But the female lead Amrit Maghera comes across as an 'Evelyn Sharma act' gone wrong. With her heavy accent in Hindi and English, the audience is left confused considering that her Indo-Brit parents in the film have a rather strong command in Hindi. A special 'mention' to Facebook, which helps majorly in the film plot's 'update', thus saving a lot of unwanted dialogues. Even though the actor who plays Caesar does manage to deliver a decent performance, the one who plays the role of Henry is only a fashion toy as he lets his clothes and accessories do all the talking without really putting in any effort into acting. The film gets monotonous and its stereotypical portrayal makes the first half boring, however, the film manages to gain a little momentum in the second half.
All in all, MAD ABOUT DANCE is all about amateur acting with mediocre dancing and loud music adding on to the film's woes. No harm in giving it a skip!
Tackling a pertinent topic, Sarkar makes sure he stays faithful to the essence by not deviating to unwanted tracks, till a formulaic climax takes over [more on that later]. The question is, does Sarkar make a point? Or is MARDAANI yet another film that attempts to 'entertain' under the garb of realism?
The premise of the film, first! Shivani [Rani Mukerji], Senior Inspector, Crime Branch, Mumbai Police, sets out to confront the mastermind behind the mafia, which makes the mistake of kidnapping a young girl, Pyari [Priyanka Sharma], out of the city. Pyari is close to Shivani and her family and in her obsessive hunt for the girl, she stumbles into the world of decadence and debauchery, cruel desires and exploitation.
What follows is a cat and mouse game between a fearless cop and a young and ruthless mafia kingpin [Tahir Raj Bhasin].
Unlike the female cops portrayed in Bollywood thus far, the cop in MARDAANI is as real as real can be. Sure, the plotline may bear similarities with the Liam Neeson starrer TAKEN , but Sarkar steers clear of replicating the Hollywood movie or for that matter, Nagesh Kukunoor's LAKSHMI , making sure the story takes an altogether different route as it moves forward. Sarkar doesn't really venture into a new terrain frankly, since LAAGA CHUNARI MEIN DAAG did narrate the story of a call girl who supports her family financially. However, LAAGA CHUNARI MEIN DAAG did not throw light on the dark side of flesh trade, like this one does.
MARDAANI grabs your attention from the commencement and never relents. Padding the proceedings with several intense episodes, MARDAANI eventually becomes the good versus evil fight as the protagonist makes her way to the baddie behind the baddies. The simmering rage of the protagonist, as the mystery behind the kidnapping deepens, is illustrated convincingly, while the director also incorporates ample emotional baggage that would make you connect with the on-screen characters.
However, you cannot turn a blind eye to the blemishes. Sarkar knows the necessity of keeping the thriller moving in those 113 minutes, but there are times -- in the second half specifically -- when the film slows a little, before the protagonist zeroes on the kingpin. Moreover, MARDAANI adopts the standard route towards the penultimate stages, when Rani and the baddie come face to face. The culmination, although well executed, could've remained realistic, like the rest of the film. In fact, Sarkar manages to keep you hooked for most parts, but why this need to get formulaic in the concluding reels?
Sarkar's stance to sidetrack the soundtrack is indeed courageous. The conventional entertainment-seeking spectator, so used to the mandatory songs every 15/20 minutes, may whine initially, but let's face it, the same people also grumble if a song derails the story when the drama intensifies [there's just one song that appears towards the conclusion thankfully!]. Also, Sarkar steers clear of graphic violence, avoiding excessive blood and gore. The background score [Julius Packiam] is perfect and the composer makes sure he doesn't go overboard. The DoP [Artur Zurawski] depicts the gritty environ with striking visuals, closing in tight on the protagonist in dramatic moments.
Enacting the part of the tough-talking cop who goes in pursuit of those who run the sex trafficking ring, Rani strikes a true to life, forceful pose and also lends her character the much-needed intensity, strength and dignity. The agony that drives her forward is visible on her face and is one of the prime reasons that makes this story easy to swallow. In a lesser actor's hands, the written material would not have been so competently delivered.
Tahir Raj Bhasin, who portrays the antagonist, is intimidating. Despite being pitted against a powerhouse performer like Rani, Tahir makes sure he leaves an ineradicable impression, playing a cold blooded criminal but maintaining a cool demeanor wonderfully. Jisshu Sengupta gets limited scope. Priyanka Sharma doesn't get much to do either. Mona Ambegaonkar is convincing. Anil George is first-rate.
On the whole, MARDAANI is relevant, powerful and inspiring with a top notch performance by Rani Mukerji. Worth a watch!
Mardaani Movie Review : 'Celebration Of Women Power...'
If Amitabh Bachchan starrer film 'Zanjeer' could be termed as the inceptor of angry young cop drama, then films like 'Zakhmi Aurat', 'Tejaswani' and few more too definitely deserve to lead the list of female cop drama based films. There was a time in 80s and 90s when in order to enhance their stardom, most of the superstar actresses ventured into this genre. Sadly, in the recent time, female cop based films or even television shows have been portraying them either in a comical manner or as an added attraction. Thus, the curiosity factor instantly started raising as soon as we got to see the first official trailer of Rani Mukerji starrer film 'Mardaani'. So, let's find out whether 'Mardaani' will manage to enhance the level of female cop based films in our country or will it be a just another forced effort to create the star hysteria.
'Mardaani' is a story of Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji), a senior inspector in the crime branch department of Mumbai city. A daughter like teenage girl Pyari (Priyanka Sharma), is kidnapped by the child trafficking mafia, which is led by an unknown person (Tahir Bhasin). Shivani gets totally involved in this case and decides to track down the whole racket of female child trafficking and thus what happens next is what the entire film is all about.Screenplay & Technicalities:
The story is totally interesting as well as engaging. From the first scene of the film itself, the movie sets on its right track and never goes off track. There are no silly sidetracks or unwanted scenes as the writers have worked really hard and kept the film directly to the point without adding any nonsense to it. There are many brilliant scenes, especially the ones involving Rani Mukerji like Rani trashing a local politician, Rani's telephonic conversation with Tahir Bhasin, the whole cat and mouse type of track between Rani and Tahir, Rani's outburst over the system, Rani getting trapped, the fight scenes in the finale portions and few more, keeps you indulged in the film. Rani Mukerji adds the valor to the dialogues that are fiery and worth applauding. The only minor negative point that gets noticed in this movie is that at a few places it tends to get a bit over dramatic and unrealistic, especially in the finale portions which should have been more impactful. Also, the movie might remind you of the recently released hard-hitting, realistic film 'Lakshmi' as both are based on the atrocity of female child trafficking. The camera work is good and goes well with the flow of the film.
The background music is haunting and usage of the Mardaani theme song in the film is outstanding. It totally connects with the scene and the flow of the film.
Director Pradeep Sarkar manages to give us a good, hard-hitting film, which will cater to both classes and masses. In the time where everyone is trying to ape Chulbul Pandey type of police officer, Pradeep Sarkar showcases his main protagonist on the lines of real life dare devil female cop - Kiran Bedi. Pradeep Sarkar could have made this movie a total, realistic or an out and out commercial film, but instead, he uses his cinematic expertise and ends up giving a great masterpiece.Performances:
Rani Mukerji is marvelous in her magnificent character of a dare devil cop. You can feel her anger and pain and thus totally connect with her in every scene. She looks fabulous in the cop uniform and does some great stunts in the film. Tahir Bhasin is brilliant in his character, which reminds you of Farhad's track from the Akshay Kumar starrer film 'Holiday'. Anil George lends good support. Jisshu Sengupta was wasted whereas Mona Ambegaonkar was fine on her part.
Dum? Well, this movie has all the dum required for a good hard-hitting entertainer. The movie is thrilling, haunting, engaging and entertaining without even being preachy. 'Mardaani' is a mandatory watch for every female, who should be brave and bold just like the character of Rani Mukherjee along with every pervert man, who will never dare to use his animal instincts after watching this film. 'Mardaani' is the celebration of woman power for every woman who feels inferior in front of the opposite sex, and of course, every man who respects them and treats them equally.Ratings : 4/5
MAD About Dance Movie Review - Slow Dance...
Dance based films have been one of a favorite genre of our Hindi cinema right from the silent era. One can never forget some great films like 'Kalpana', 'Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje', 'Sargam', 'Nache Mayuri', 'Amrapali' and a few more which were based on classical dancing. 'Disco Dancer' successfully introduced the modern dancing in our Hindi films and we witnessed some great films under this sub genre in the form of 'Taal', 'Dil To Pagal Hain', 'ABCD' and many more. Thanks to the reality based television shows like 'Boogie Woogie', 'Jhakal Dikhla Jaa', 'Nach Baliye', 'Dance India Dance' and few more the modern dancing has attained a great fan following. Thus, in order to capitalize over this fad, actor-director Saahil Prem comes up with his latest film 'M.A.D: Mad About Dance', which is based on the modern day international style of dancing. So let's find out whether 'M.A.D: Mad About Dance' will manage to give us another dance based entertainer, film on the lines of 'ABCD' or might be among those films which along with the lack of star value, lacks highly over its content also.
'M.A.D: Mad About Dance' is story of Aarav (Saahil Prem), who goes to a small town of Sheffield in UK in order to learn the dance from his idol Caeser (Mark Monero). His friends help him in finding Ceaser, but Aarav fails to impress Ceaser through his dancing skills. This gives rise to an internal competition between Aarav and Ceaser's main lead dancer Henry (Jon Jo). Aarav and his friends start forming their own group and plans to participate against Ceaser and his group and what happens next is what the entire film is all about.Screenplay & Technicalities:
The story has lots of similarities with 'ABCD' and is narrated in a super slow manner, which after a while starts to test your patience level. The writers indulge lots of unwanted tracks and melodrama which dilutes the impact of the dancing scenes. The middle portion just keeps dragging on a never ending note till the final twenty to thirty minutes of the film. It's only in that part where you will enjoy the competition dance followed by the finale dances and the end credits. The drama is very weak and the film has many unwanted tracks along with weak screenplay consisting of back to back over the top type of scenes. The dances too, in most of the parts of the film were non-engaging and lacked the entertainment factor. There are more than dozen loopholes and weak moments due to which your entire interest in the film is lost and if you can survive these, you will witness some brilliant international and national dancing in the finale portions.
Music in such films has to be essential. Sadly in the case of this film, it fails to create any mark among its viewers.
Saahil Prem comes up with a story idea which is almost similar to 'ABCD', but packaged in an international and youth manner. He also opts out for an outdated pattern of narration, which are super slow and even boring at times. Though, he saves the best for the last which is totally entertaining.Performances:
Saahil Prem looks good and dances well in the finale portions. He is weak in the dramatic portions and lacks the energy level in his character. Amrit Maghera hams to the fullest. Salah Benlemqawanssa is brilliant in his dances, once he enters the film you won't be able to take out your eyes from him. Akhilesh Unnitan, Abhishek Saha, Raashul Tandon lend good support. Jon Jo and Mark Monero are the worst among all others.Final Verdict: So bol meri "FILMI KHOPDI" iss film mein kitna hain Dum?
Dum? Well, there is a fantastic dum for everyone who loves to watch some good dance, but only in the last twenty to thirty minutes. In order to witness this, you will have to sit through this never ending film till the finale portions. In short, this dance based film is on the lines of slow dancing, where every step seems same and repetitive, but grabs its momentum only towards the end of the dance.Ratings: 1.5/5
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