Bollywood witnessed a laugh-a-riot at the Box-Office in the form of last week's release HOUSEFULL 3. This week will see an intense whodunit drama in TE3N, a film that is an official remake of the South Korean film MONTAGE. Will TE3N be able to hit the bull's eye or will it miss the target is what remains to be seen.

The film starts off with a flashback event featuring Inspector Martin (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and John Roy (Amitabh Bachchan). This is then followed by the religious daily visit of John Roy to the police station to meet Inspector Sarita Sarkar (Vidya Balan), regarding the kidnapping and killing of his granddaughter Angela Roy. The story then oscillates between the past and the present. Amidst all this, there also exists the story of the guilt filled Inspector-turned-Priest Martin Das, the very man who was in charge of Angela Roy's case. While the police department (including Inspector Martin Das) gives up totally on the Angela Roy's case, John Roy simply refuses to do so and vows to his wheelchair ridden wife that he will not take rest until he nails the innocent Angela Roy's dreaded kidnapper and murderer. Around 8 years later, there occurs a kidnapping of a school going kid Ronny. The mysterious part about this kidnapping is that, it is totally similar to that of Angela Roy. That's when the trio of Father Martin, Inspector Sarita Sarkar and John Roy set out to search the masterminded smart criminal. While Father Martin and Inspector Sarita Sarkar go the legal way, John Roy, despite his old age sets out on his own to nab the criminal. What happens after that are a series of twists and turns, which ultimately leads to a shocking revelation in the end. Does John Roy fulfil the promise that he had made to his wife, do Father Martin and Inspector Sarita Sarkar become successful in nabbing the culprit and what is the shocking revelation in the end is what forms the rest of the story.

The film's director Ribhu Dasgupta, whose last film was the forgettable MICHAEL, returns with the whodunit thriller TE3N. While the promos of the film were enticing and thrilling, the sad part is that the same cannot be said about the film in totality. Right from the first scene, the film's oscillation between the past and the present leaves the viewers a bit confused. While the film's screenplay (Suresh Nair, Ritesh Shah, Bijesh Jayarajan) has many loopholes and is far from compelling, it fails to do complete justice to the 'shock value' that forms the crux of such genre of films.

Considering the film had three powerhouses of talent, the film's direction seems to be a bit of a letdown. In an attempt to make the film an indepth thriller, the makers drag the film at many places adding too many details which at times seem unwanted. The pace of the film is very slow in the first half until it picks up for a few minutes in the pre-interval sequence. The same is the case with the film's second half, except that the film picks up its pace here but only for a limited time. There are a handful of scenes and situations where the film goes astray.

As for the performances, TE3N boasts of three powerhouse performers in the form of Amitabh Bachchan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vidya Balan. Besides being proficient as ever, Amitabh Bachchan is totally 'in his character' and in top form. But the weak script does him in, in a couple of places. Nawazuddin Siddiqui comes a close second with his cop-turned-father act, but lands up being underutilized. The audiences who will go to see the film expecting the antics of Nawazuddin Siddiqui (like in BADLAPUR or BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN) will be sorely disappointed. Despite the fact that he tries to elevate his character, the weak script fails him too. Vidya Balan, on the other hand, lands up doing a 'guest appearance' in the film. Her portrayal of being a razor sharp policewoman required a bit more conviction (and scenes, in that order). On the whole, she does land up doing a decent job, if not a superlative one, something that is expected of her always. The other actors help the film move forward.

The film's music (Clinton Cerejo) is extremely delightful, with tracks like 'Haq Hai', 'Rootha' and 'Grahan' standing out. The film's background music (Clinton Cerejo) is reverberating and helps in the film's progress.

While the film's cinematography (Tushar Kanti Ray) is good, it's editing (Gairik Sarkar) could have been tighter which definitely would have worked in the favour of the film.

On the whole, TE3N, despite being a whodunit thriller, suffers extremely because of its slow pace and weak screenplay. At the box-office it will be unable to connect with its target audience.
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Housefull 3

It all started off in the year 2010, with Akshay Kumar, Ritesh Deshmukh, Arjun Rampal, Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta and (late) Jiah Khan all coming together under 'one roof' with the film titled HOUSEFULL, a film that proved to be a goldmine at the box-office. This was followed up by its second instalment titled HOUSEFULL 2, which, again, was a blockbuster at the ticket windows. This time round, the audiences are treated to the third instalment of the film, titled HOUSEFULL 3. Will HOUSEFULL 3 follow the fate of its 'predecessors' and live upto its name at the box-office or will it perish, let's analyze.

The film starts off in the plush city of London where a gang of three robbers steal diamonds from a museum in broad daylight but get busted by the cops, thus landing in jail. This is followed by the introduction of the self-confessed 'lucky papa' of London, Batook Patel (Boman Irani) and his three darling daughters Ganga Patel (Jaqueline Fernandez), Jamuna Patel (Lisa Haydon) and Saraswati Patel (Nargis Fakhri). While Ganga is a M.D. in psychoanalysis, Jamuna is a wax figure maker & Saraswati is socially connected to a physically challenged society. Despite being the lucky father to three beautiful and dutiful grown up daughters, Batook Patel just does not want them to get married, for reasons best known to him. On the other hand, while the three daughters behave extremely cultured and civilized before their father, behind his back, they become just the opposite, which means ultra-glam and modern party animals. In other words, Ganga becomes Gracy, Jamuna becomes Jenny and Saraswati becomes Sarah. Besides being ultra-glam, all the three also have a boyfriend each in the form of Sandy (Akshay Kumar) a footballer with split personality disorder, rapper Bunty (Abhishek Bachchan) and a car racer Teddy (Riteish Deshmukh). Because of the existing situations and circumstances that prevail in the house, getting married to their respective boyfriends looks like an impossible dream for the three girls. Lured by Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati's strong financial background, when Sandy, Bunty and Teddy convince the girls to marry them, all the three girls reject their proposals citing an astrologer's prediction. Amidst all this, enters the dreaded Mumbai don Urja Nagre (Jackie Shroff), who has a secret agenda of his own.

What was the reason for Batook Patel of not getting 'his' three daughters married, what is Urja Nagre's big secret, what was the astrologer's prediction that prevented the three girls from getting married to their respective boyfriends and how will the three boyfriends manage to marry their respective girlfriends, is what forms the rest of the film's story.

First things first. Because HOUSEFULL 3 is a strong franchise that possesses higher recall brand value, expectations from the film are bound to be humungous. But, the flip side of the story is that the buzz around it is not that huge as anticipated. After having tasted immense success with HOUSEFULL and HOUSEFULL 2, the pressure is obviously high on the film's screenplay writers (Sajid-Farhad, Rajan Agarwal) and its story writer (K. Subhash) to deliver with HOUSEFULL 3, who, after the initial hiccups and struggles, land up delivering what was expected of them. HOUSEFULL 3 belongs to the same school of zany comedies that gave us NO ENTRY, WELCOME and the GOLMAAL series. Conversely, to some, this genre of cinema may appear nonsensical and outrageous.

After having proved their mettle as film writers for a long time, HOUSEFULL 3 happens to be Sajid-Farhad's second film as directors (the first one being ENTERTAINMENT). Not new to directing a multi starrer film, Sajid-Farhad land up doing a strictly average job with HOUSEFULL 3. While the film's first half is funny with humorous one liners, the film's second half tends to lose plot and go astray at regular intervals. However, it picks up its pace towards the end. With entertainment being the lifeline of the 'HOUSEFULL' series, directors Sajid-Farhad try their best to live upto the legacy, but struggle their way through.

As far as the performances are concerned, because the film is a multi-starrer, the spotlight just does not rest on any one individual's laurels. Not new to such genre of films, Akshay Kumar is totally 'at home' in this film. Right from his impeccable comedy timing, his romantic scenes or action scenes, he delivers and how. Riteish Deshmukh, again an old and experienced hand with such a genre, seems to be on the home turf with this film. He does not disappoint the viewers with his comedy timing and delivery of punches and one liners. Abhishek Bachchan, a newcomer to the 'HOUSEFULL' series does try and put a decent act, although his character fails to convince the audience about his profession of being a rapper. A handful of scenes notwithstanding, the trio of Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh and Abhishek Bachchan take the comic quotient notches above the ordinary with their impeccable comic timing. On the other hand, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nargis Fakhri and Lisa Haydon do what they were expected to do - look gorgeous and provide the much needed glam quotient to the film. Despite the trio's hiccups while mouthing Hindi dialogues, it's Jacqueline Fernandez who stands out amongst the trio as far as the performances are concerned. Nargis Fakhri and Lisa Haydon are decent. Even though the veteran actor Boman Irani has been stereotyped in such over the top roles in many films by now, he still manages to bring something new to the table and lands up impressing. Jackie Shroff is as lovable and adorable. Other actors like Chunky Pandey and the three villainous guys (Nikitin Dheer, Sameer Kochhar, Arav Chowdhary) help the movie in moving forward.

Barring a couple of tracks like 'Pyar Ki' and 'Taang Uthake', the film's music (Sohail Sen, Mika Singh, Sharib-Toshi, Tanishk Bagchi, Milind Gaba) fails to impress. One does miss the hit track, which could have worked as a hook. On the other hand, the film's background music (Julius Packiam) is decent. A special mention to the film's witty one liners and dialogues by Sajid-Farhad, even though a handful of them have been picked up from the social media and WhatsApp jokes. The humour of the film is strictly average, however the good part is that at a time and age when comedies are associated with vulgarity and double meaning dialogues, HOUSEFULL 3 has clean comedy.

The film's cinematography (Vikas Sivaraman) is hugely superlative, with London and its plush locations captured and presented beautifully on the silver screen. Even though the film's editing (Steven H. Bernard) is decent (if not outstanding), one does feel that the film should have been trimmed a bit more in its second half.

On the whole, HOUSEFULL 3 has all the constituents of an archetypal Hindi masala movie with hilarity, absurdity, humour, gags and punches in abundance. The film is a madcap entertainer which delivers guffaws, belly laughs and over-the-top slapstick humour in gigantic proportion. The film however is bound to get diverse reactions from the audiences. If you admire and relish these entertainers, and are passionate about cinema of this variety, then HOUSEFULL 3 is definitely a stress buster for you. Else, you can stay away from this. At the Box-Office, HOUSEFULL 3 will appeal only to the masses, the aam aadmi, who relish hardcore masala movies.
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The Angry Birds Movie English

Filmmaking by far has become one of the most lucrative businesses not just for small time producers but for the mega corporations that pump in millions of dollars into production. But with the number of films being made each year original concepts (good or bad) are few and far between. In fact in the recent past we have been witnessing a rise in films that are based on bestselling novels, comic books or real life incidents hitting the screens. But there is another area from where quite a few films in the past have drawn their inspiration; yes we are in fact talking about films based on video games.

After the film HITMAN: AGENT 47, that was based on a game by the same name released last year, this week we see the release of yet another game-based film THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE. This 3D animated comedy delves into the ethos of the game itself to understand why the birds are really so angry. For this, the film takes viewers to an island populated entirely by happy, flightless birds and introducers the main characters, Red (Jason Sudeikis), a bird with a temper problem, speedy Chuck (Josh Gad), and the volatile Bomb (Danny McBride)... all 3 being always seen as outsiders. But when the island is visited by mysterious green Pigs, it's up to these unlikely outcasts to figure out what the pigs are up to. THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE, much like the game, follows the same plot line of the flightless birds leading an idyllic life till the pigs wreak havoc in their paradise and steal their eggs. Will the birds find a way to retrieve their stolen eggs or will the pigs outsmart the birds is what the rest of the film is about.

THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE starts off depicting the idyllic life of the birds, though everything is fine, Red aka Eyebrows (thanks to his trademark bushy eyebrows) seems to be always angry. After losing control of his anger Red is sentenced to serve maximum punishment and attend the Anger Management class. Here Red meets Speedy Chuck, Bomb and Terrance who are also dealing their issues of management. Totally disinterested in participating, Red longs to get out as soon as possible, and gets the chance to do so when the island is visited by a mysterious unidentified floating object which incidentally contains the pigs. Feeling something is amiss, Red goes on a mission to investigate the pig's ship along with Chuck and Bomb. While rummaging through the ship the trio happens upon an entire battalion of pigs just waiting for the word to come out. Fearing the worst, the anger ridden trio go on a mission to search for Mighty Eagle to guide them. Though they manage to find the elusive retired bird, they also realize the pigs have an ulterior motive, one that involves them stealing the birds' eggs.

Featuring an all-star voice cast that includes Bill Hader (Trainwreck, Inside Out), Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids, Sisters), and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), as well as Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters), Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development), Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors, Sisters), THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE is well animated. However, in an age when Pixar, Dreamworks and their likes are churning out engrossing animated films with captivating stories, THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE severely lacks a decent story. Though the plot of the film is rather limited to pigs stealing eggs and the birds going on a mission to recover them, the makers could have woven a more intricate story surrounding this premise. Another point that came across as a drawback was the fact that if a viewer has not played the game, the characters in the film seem highly underdeveloped and half baked.

But what works of the film is the fact that is it based on a game franchise that literally got the world hooked on to shooting birds out of slingshot coupled with seamless animatronics that make each character lifelike. Subtle references to modern day pop culture like the pigs featuring DJ modelled on Daft Punk, and subliminal humorous visuals work well in keeping the viewers in their seats.

On the whole, like most films that have been based on games, THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE follows a similar path. The film though entertaining, lacks the semblance of a decent story which can be attributed to the lack of a plot in the game. However, debutant directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly have done a brilliant job of adding life to the characters with impressive visuals and 3D.

All in all, if you have played the game, THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE will be a fun watch, while for those who haven't they can still enjoy stellar animated visuals. Kids will definitely love the feathered lot.
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Radhika Apte has delivered a National Award winning performance in Pawan Kirpalani directed Psychological Thriller PHOBIA. Radhika is so effortless and so much in control of the extremely difficult character that as a viewer you'd find it stunning. Writers Pavan Kirpalani, Pooja Ladha Surti and Arun Sukumar web an intriguing screenplay that keeps you riveted through the course of the film and the ending surprises you to no end as the ambiguous dots get connected in a surreal manner. In spite of cinematic merits, PHOBIA is not everyone's cup of tea. It is not your regular entertainment and has a niche appeal.

Mehak (Radhika Apte) is a vastly talented Artiste. She meets with an unfortunate mishap that traumatises her to a great extent. It is discovered that she is afflicted with agoraphobia. It is a phobia where the patient is paranoid about going in public places, especially marketplace. Shaan (Satyadeep Mishra), a close friend takes the responsibility of Mehak and takes her to a friend's house. Mehak was having issues with her sister and her family due to her panic attacks. Mehak had issues with Shaan too. The fact that she was an artiste with a vast imagination was getting compounded by the fact that she was imagining things that didn't exist. Or did they exist? Mehak befriends Nikki (Yashaswini), a neighbourhood college going girl who was an adrenaline junkie. Manu (Ankur Vikal), another neighbour was a weirdo who had been working on his anger management issues by being a part of a community laughter club. Mehak develops serious allegations against Manu and what follows is a series of mishaps. Sometimes the circumstances become unlikely villains. Kafka's quote in the initial credits sums up the experience very aptly: A cage went in search of a bird.

Director Pawan Kirpalani smartly weaves a thrilling story. Every scene has a deeper meaning and relevance. The screenplay stays true to the context. Nothing is out of the place. There are several scenes which are disturbing but then there are a few scenes which end up as humorous in spite of the thrilling built up (it isn't unintentional, it is part of the plan).

Radhika Apte is sensational as the helpless Mehak who grapples with her phobia as well as her vacuous loneliness. She's fierce, vicious, vulnerable, aggressor and a victim at the same time. The best part is that her histrionics are devoid of the pathetic horror tricks that a few of our horror experts employ on a regular basis. The physicality of Apte's acting is emanating from a psychological space and it is very creditable. Satyadeep Mishra is terrific as the guy who's grappling between being a friend and a lover. He's very realistic and human. Yashaswini as the young college going inquisitive but good hearted girl is an absolute Natural. She adds to the conflict beautifully. Ankur Vikal as the weird Manu does full justice to his role.

Jayakrishna Gummadi's cinematography is engaging and surprising at many a juncture. You are treated to 3D impact without the scene actually being filmed in 3D. Pooja Ladha Surti's editing is taut and the sharp duration of the film is a big highlight. There's one song in the film, 'Roke Na Ruke' (composer: Daniel George, singer: Sakina Khan and Sidharth Basroor) and it is a catchy light-hearted number. Karan Gaur's Background score is chilling and creates the desired impact.

On the whole, PHOBIA is a well-made taut thriller with an amazing performance by Radhika Apte. However the in film blood and gore may not be to everyone's liking affecting the film's overall box office prospects as it will appeal to a rather niche audience. Another factor that may affect the film is the low key promotion of the film due to which many people aren't aware of PHOBIA's release. But for them who have an appetite for the unconventional thrills and psychological mind games, don't miss PHOBIA.
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Till about a few years back, the whole of India was terrorised by a dangerous and merciless man named Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, who was commonly known as Veerappan or even the 'sandalwood smuggler'. After having killed many people, police officers, animals (elephants, majorly), his reign came to an end during the year 2004. This week's release is the Ram Gopal Varma directed VEERAPPAN, a film that has been inspired by the life of the dreaded Veerappan. Will VEERAPPAN make a 'killing' at the box-office or will it turn out to be a damp squib, let's analyze.

The film starts off with the ruthless and brutal killing of police officers in the dense jungles of Satyamangalam, situated in the southern India. This is followed by a narration of flashback of events by STF officer Kannan (Sachiin J Joshi), wherein he traces the past of Veerappan and the incidents that led him to become the most notorious criminal ever. The flashback states that Veerappan made his first killing when he was in his pre-teens. Once he tasted blood and money (in that order), there was no looking back for him. Despite being an illiterate, his sharp mind and meticulous planning could put anyone and everyone to shame, so much so that, even the combined police forces of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu always landed up being unsuccessful in nabbing him. Looking at the recurring gruesome and heartless killings, the sole purpose of Kannan's life becomes to nab Veerappan by hook or crook. During one such search operation, even though Kannan and his team become unsuccessful in nabbing Veerappan, they land up getting hold of his dutiful wife Muthulakshmi (Usha Jadhav). That's when Kannan hatches a masterplan with Priya (Lisa Ray), who agrees to be a part of the plan, because Veerappan had killed her husband as well. As per the plan, Priya poses as a landlord of a big house, where Muthulakshmi is brought in as a tenant. Priya then, befriends her with her sweet talks and caring nature. As days pass by, Muthulakshmi falls for Priya's sweet talks and gradually discloses the whereabouts of her husband Veerappan. Around that time, she also discloses many unknown facts about Veerappan's life to Priya, who becomes shell shocked after knowing the bare facts. After knowing the truth about Veerappan, does Priya have a change of heart and pull herself off the masterplan, does Muthulakshmi really land up telling the whereabouts of her husband, does Kannan single handedly become successful in nabbing Veerappan when thousands of his fellow officers have failed and perished, is what forms the rest of the story.

Ram Gopal Varma, whose last Hindi/ Bollywood film at the box-office was the forgettable SATYA 2, makes a grand comeback with VEERAPPAN. One has to give it to him for having the confidence and the conviction in an off-beat subject like the life story of Veerappan. Unlike his earlier films, Ram Gopal Varma has adopted a rather guerrilla method in the narration of VEERAPPAN. Ram Gopal Varma should also be applauded for convincingly extracting human emotions from his characters, without going over the top. The film script (R.D. Tailang), is convincing and believable. Both, the script and Ram Gopal Varma's direction complement each other. While the first half of the film builds up the story and the pace, the film's second half dips slightly. Even though the film cannot be termed as a 'visual masterpiece', still, one does get to witness a handful of scenes that have been shot superlatively. The film has the most fitting climax, by all means. Full brownie points to Ram Gopal Varma for having flawlessly shot the scenes like Veerappan's hideouts and the scenes towards the interval point. The climax of the film is as much fantastic and enjoyable, as much as the ultimate elimination scene of Veerappan.

As far as the performances are concerned, despite the film having an author backed role, the laurels oscillates between Sandeep Bharadwaj and Sachiin J Joshi. Sandeep Bharadwaj looks extremely convincing and resounding like the real Veerappan. Right from the mannerisms, expressions, body language and finer nuances, he scores from the word go. A special mention here goes to the veteran make-up artist Vikram Gaikwad for being responsible for the magical transformation of Sandeep Bharadwaj into Veerappan. On the other hand, Sachiin J Joshi excels in his role of a STF officer who lives with the sole aim of nabbing Veerappan. He exhibits aggression, angst, anger and helplessness in the most convincing manner, with a body language to match. While Usha Jadhav does a decent job with her character, Lisa Ray, who initially seems to be struggling with emotions, gradually becomes at ease with it. The rest of the film's characters help in taking the film forward.

While the film's music (Shaarib & Toshi Jeet Gannguli) is strictly average, its superlative background music (John Stewart Eduri) complements the film.

The film's cinematography is top rate. The DoP (Aniket Khandagale) has done an exceptional job with the camera. Even though the film's editing (Anwar Ali) is decent, one does feel that chopping away a handful of scenes from the film's second half could have done wonders to the film's narrative.

On the whole, VEERAPPAN has violence that may seem a bit over the top for a certain segment of audience. With its unconventional and extremely well-narrated story line and Ram Gopal Varma's trademark filmmaking skills VEERAPPAN will most likely be patronized by a niche segment of the audience.
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