The Front Row Review of The World Before Her
A special mention here of Nisha Pahuja's award-winning documentary The World Before Her, which also releases this week. The World Before Her is an investigation of two diametrically opposed worlds - one, of Miss India contestants and other of girls enrolled in the Durga Vahini Hindu fundamentalist camp. With absolute clarity but with a non-judgmental eye, Pahuja presents India's cultural wars and explores what it means to be an Indian woman. This film is frightening but it is also deeply moving and significant. I urge you to time for it.
Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty Movie Review - 'Refreshingly Engaging...'
Director A.R.Murgadoss debuted in our Hindi films with 'Ghajini', which was a path-breaking cinema in various terms. Cine viewers loved the cinematic sensibilities of this director who changed the face of remakes and masala entertainers, as it was dealt in an intellectual manner. Now, after a gap of six years he comes back with his latest film 'Holiday' with Akshay Kumar, whose last few masala entertainers have been going totally wrong. Last year also witnessed the debacle of many south Indian remakes due to its overdose and non conviction level. The remaining masala entertainers ended up as half baked products or encashed only over its past glory. In such testing times for masala entertainers, lets find out what lies in for 'Holiday', will it join the endless list of weak south Indian remakes or might manage to bring back this genre to its right track with full dose of entertainment.
'Holiday' is the story of an Indian army officer Virat Bakshi (Akshay Kumar), who comes home in his holidays to get married. His parents want him to get married to Saiba (Sonakshi Sinha), but Virat rejects Saiba and after a while starts loving her. On the other side, a leader of sleeper cells (Farhad) starts planning a series of attacks in Mumbai city. But accidently Virat comes to know about these plans and what happens next, is what the film is all about.
The story might sound like a typical run of the mill types of film, but actually has lots of thrilling elements attached to it. It's an official remake of a super hit Tamil film 'Thuppakki'. Every scene involving terrorism will keep you glued to the silver screen. There are some superb scenes like Akshay nabbing the first terrorist followed by his confrontation with ACP, Akshay and his group trying to finish the terrorist, the whole cat and mouse chase between Akshay and Farhad, Akshay - Sumeet Raghavan arguments over the martyrs, Akshay saves the girls and a few more which will entertain you throughout the movie. On the flip side, the whole Sonakshi track seemed to drag in the second half. These unwanted scenes dilute the impact of the film. Also, the length of the film (almost 3 hours) works as the biggest negative point due to which one tends to lose interest from the film. Such movies have to be razor swift and direct to the point. The camera work is of top notch and all the action scenes (especially the ones coordinated by Greg Powell) are performed brilliantly.Music & Direction:
Music by Pritam is good and peppy. The songs go well with the flow of the film. 'Tu Hi To Hai', 'Blame The Night' and 'Aaj Dil Shayrana' are enjoyable.
Director A. R. Murgadoss gives us another good masala entertainer. 'Holiday' might not be as great as 'Ghajni', but is definitely miles above the recent trials we have been witnessing in the name of masala entertainers or south Indian remakes. The thriller part is handled brilliantly and gives cinematic pleasure to its viewers. The romantic track needed to be more entertaining as it could not match up with the standards of the thriller track. Murgadoss could have either restricted himself to around two and half hour in terms of the film's length or could have avoided some side tracks.Performances:
Akshay Kumar looks fantastic in an army uniform. He is tough, smart and raw. His action scenes are mind blowing and is totally in his character. The star power rises up only in the finale portions, which will give cinematic pleasures to the single screen audience too. Sonakshi Sinha is cute in her role, but her western attire and sporty looks misfires. Her track could have been more entertaining and not just as an addition to the film. It's great to see ace actors like Sumeet Raghavan in an important role, he shines in every scene of his. Farhad has a menacing character, which he essays with grace. Zakir Hussain is wasted. Govinda is sweet, but needed more detailing.So bol meri 'Filmi Khopdi' iss film mein kitna hain Dum?
Dum? Well, this movie has lots of dum for all good masala movie lovers. Its not a brainless comedy or an action film, but has intellectual thriller attached to it. It's one of the best masala entertainers from recent times and also from Akshay Kumar. Barring the length and few weak moments 'Holiday' is refreshingly engaging.Ratings : 3.75/5
Filmistaan Movie Review - A Love Saga Between Cinema & It's Lovers
We live in a country, which is highly obsessed with cricket and cinema. Cinema was and till date one of the biggest source of entertainment in our country, due to which people have connected themselves to the cinema and not restricted themselves with star worshiping only. There are numerous examples where in people actually believed what was shown to them on the silver screen like devotees started worshipping a goddess (Santoshi Maa) after watching the mythological film 'Jai Santoshi Maa', fans actually went in search of a village known as Ramgarh from the film 'Sholay', a small tale of romance between Emperor Akbar and one of his wives Jodha converts into a legendary love story with help of films like 'Mughal E Azam' & 'Jodha Akbar', Students actually started searching the chapter of Bhuvan in their history text books after watching 'Lagaan', almost half population of our country still think that snakes can dance over the musical instrument known as been/pungi due to films like 'Nagin', 'Nagina' and many more. These and many such examples explain the magic and power of cinema in our country and the belief of die-hard loyal fans. Sadly, when it comes to narrating a story of a cinema fan, we barely have good films like Guddi, Mast and a couple of others. Besides these few films, the filmmakers only added the fanism in their films to enhance the comical track by making their lead actors or comedians mimic, other famous actors. Just after the completion of the centenary year of Indian cinema, director Nittin Khakkar comes up with a unique tale of film lovers in his film 'Filmistaan'. So let's find out whether, 'Fimistaan' will manage to justify the fanism of Hindi cinema or might be one among those films with good concept going totally wrong.
'Filmistaan' is a story of a struggling actor Sunny (Sharib Hashmi) who in order to support his finances, takes up a job of an assistant director for an American team, who are shooting a documentary on the border area of Rajasthan. Being a victim of a mistaken identity, Sunny gets kidnapped by the terrorist group and is kept as a hostage in a remote village in Pakistan. With the help of his love for Bollywood, Sunny starts connecting with the locals of that village including Aftaab (Inaamulhaq). Thus, starts the interesting tale between Sunny, Inaamulhaq and the head of the terrorist group Mehmood (Kumud Mishra), which leads to a beautiful journey with a good dash of cinematic fun.Screenplay & Technicalities:
The story is unique and different, it reminds you of Iranian films made by the directors like Majid Majidi, Abbas Kiarostami and many others. It's the best story ever told in our country which narrates the tale of a film fanatic with India-Pakistan as its backdrop. Right from the first scene of the film till the end credits, there is not even a single dull moment in the film as this movie rides high over its moments quotient. There are some amazing scenes in the film like Sunny's audition, Sunny-Mehmood first meet, Sunny-Aftab first interaction, the whole 'Maine Pyar Kiya' scene, Sunny entertaining the kids, Sunny directing Mehmood and his team to make a ransom video, Javed's story, Cricket bet with Mehmood followed by Sunny's reaction, Sunny-Aftab chat over the India-Pakistan union, Sunny's talks with the kid and many more amazing scenes, which will achieve a cult status for posterity. The dialogues by Sharib Hashmi are realistic and heartwarming, which makes you laugh as well as cry at the same time. The movie slows down towards the finale portions as a bit more of the detailing was required to sum up the characters of Mehmood and his team. The film's climax takes the movie to an international standard, but your love for the characters in the film would want you to see a specific ending. Camera work by Subhransu Das is outstanding and every frame is set like a beautiful painting giving the movie an international touch.
Music by Arijit Datta is sweet and goes well with the film. Udaari, Uljhi Ulji and Bhugol works as an additional screenplay in the film. The basic flavor of Indian and Pakistani music can be seen in almost all the songs along with the mind blowing background score.
Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi Movie Review : 'It's All In The Name...'
Every month we have one such small film, that either releases with minimal publicity or tries to sell on a big banner or some known personality attached to it and most of the attempts stoop down to flop miserably! But yet, we can't ignore few of such small films that surprisingly rose up to big fame. Films like 'Bheja Fry', 'Mere Dad Ki Maruti', 'Love Sex Aur Dhokha', 'Ragini MMS' and a few more have worked well, despite not doing any great publicity or banking over the star power. In fact, most of these successful and controversial films have been churned out majorly under the banner of Ekta Kapoor and the latest to join this Balaji bandwagon is 'Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi'. So let's find out whether Ekta will manage to hit the bull's-eye one more time with her smaller film or might fail miserably as the controversial factor is highly missing.Story:
'Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi' is the story of Kuku Mathur (Siddharth) who has a teenage crush over a girl next door Mitali (Simran Kaur Mundi) and dreams of opening a restaurant in the heart of Delhi. But after the fall out with his best buddy Ronnie (Ashish Juneja), enters Prabhakar Bhaiyaa (Amit Sial) who wants Kuku to follow his footsteps in order to pursue his dreams. So what moves around Kuku's ups and downs to fulfill this dream is what the entire film is all about.Screenplay & Technicalities:
The basic story line is good but unfortunately, it's scattered very badly. Screenplay is weak, lethargic and moves at a snail's pace. While such movies prefer to limelight on good moments, Kuku Mathur barely has anything good to please. Couple of scenes between Siddharth and Ashish are enjoyable, but before you settle down to rejoice its fun, the side tracks pop up to drastically ruin the feel-good impact of the film. Sadly, the scenes get too predictable and boring, thus failing to grab any major attention towards it.Music & Direction:
Music in such movies has to be peppy and popular so that it can boost a not-so-happening film. But sadly, it turns out to be the other way round here. Either they are wierd or get over the top peppy. Though 'Facebook pe pyaar' & the Tarzan song lie entertaining to an extent, but the rest are sure to put you off to sleep.Performances:
Siddharth is cute, simple and remains convincible as per his first film. Simran Kaur Mundi looks pretty but barely has any meaty role in the film. Ashish Juneja is the best of the newer lot in terms of performance, whereas Amit Sial is entertaining.
Dum? Well there are some enjoyable scenes with clean jokes but besides that, there is nothing new to offer in this movie which ultimately makes it a film, 'That is all in the name.'Ratings: 1.5/5
The Front Row Review of Citylights
In a short span of four years, Rajkummar Rao has gone from being one of the many actors in Love Sex aur Dhokha to a National Award-winning leading man. Watch his performance in Citylights to understand why. In the film, he plays Deepak Singh, a Rajasthani immigrant, who brings his family from the village to Mumbai in the hope of a better life. Rajkummar alters not just his posture and accent but his inner being. He becomes the naïve, bewildered and ultimately desperate family man whose generous spirit is slowly crushed by the grinding wheels of an indifferent city. It's a wonderful performance in a strong film.
Citylights is the official remake of the award-winning Filipino-language film Metro Manila. The moving story, about the horrors an immigrant family endures in the big city, translates perfectly to India and director Hansal Mehta largely stays faithful to the original. He bolsters the powerful narrative with fine performers - Manav Kaul, who plays Vishnu, Deepak's charming but slippery partner in a private security firm and debutant Patralekhaa who plays his wife. Underneath his cheerful demeanor, Vishnu rages and schemes. Manav brings alive his tragedy.
But what doesn't work is the disjointed and blaring background music, presumably bunged in to underline every emotion. It's distracting and unnecessary since the story is moving enough already. The sex scenes are equally gratuitous. I also never really got a sense of the textures of Mumbai. In the film, the city remains generic and never becomes an additional character.
Still Citylights is persuasive. It will work better for you if you haven't seen the original. I'm going with three stars.
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