Movie Review: This Barfi From Barielly Is Too Good!

After an impressive Nil Bate Sannata, I was looking forward to Ashwini Iyer Tiwari’s next – Bareilly Ki Barfi and frankly speaking I was not disappointed. This Ayushmann Khurana, Rajkumar Rao and Kriti Sanon starrer is a perfect mithai to celebrate the comeback of feel good movies at the BO.

Bareilly Ki Barfi tells the story of Bitti Mishra (Kriti) who is the only child of her parents played by (Seema Pahwa and Pankaj Tripathi). Bitti likes to smoke, drink and lay bets apart from break-dancing in every marriage at Bareilly. She is the quintessential son to her father and causes worry to her mother as she is rejected by every boy who comes to see her. Tired of rejections, Bitti runs away from home and to kill time she buys a book – Bareilly Ki Barfi from a book stall at the railway station. She is surprised to read the similarities between the heroine of the novella and herself and she decides to come back home and search for the author of the book who knows her so well. In her quest to meet the author, she meets Chirag Dube (Ayushmann Khurana) who owns a printing press that published the book. He falls madly in love with Bitti, while she falls in love with this enigmatic author of Bareilly Ki Barfi – Pritam Vidrohi (Rajkumar Rao). 

Chirag, wants Pritam to break Bitti’s heart so that she can fall in love with him. And therefore, Chirag goes in search of Pritam. Does Chirag find Pritam, does Pritam agree to Chirag’s plan to break Bitti’s heart, would Chirag and Bitti get married… these are questions that can be answered once you see the movie.

Content is the king and Nitesh Tiwari has done a fantastic job with his writing. The Dangal director weaves his characters inspired by real life people, and the language and situations showcased in the movie are very real and that in turn makes the movie quite a pleasurable watch.

Ayushmann Khurana does a wonderful job and he has justified the character of Chirag with shades of gray beautifully. Kriti Sanon is the life of this movie. Bitti is Kriti, Kriti is Bitti. She shows a lot of maturity in her acting and seems to be in perfect sync with her character Bitti. Rajkumar Rao is a dream to watch. He acts wonderfully and in a snap of a finger he transforms from a meek guy to a macho guy is something worth applauding. It definitely showcases the mark of a great actor. Seema Pahwa and Pankaj Tripathi as Bitti’s parents are again a treat to watch. I wanted more of them in every scene of the movie – am I greedy? You will find out when you watch the movie.

The dialogues are funny and situational. The cinematography is nice capturing the essence of the small town beautifully. Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari is a great director goes with no doubt. She is one talent that has the potential to change the movie scenario. I would say she is the lady Rajkumar Hirani. Her grasp on the script and the way she has got her actors to play their characters effortlessly tells a great lot of things about her talent. Music by Tanishk-Vayu is hummable especially Nazm Nazm and Sweety Tera Drama.

On the whole, go for this sweet treat as you will not be disappointed.

My Verdict: ****/5

Movie Review: Jolly LLB 2 – An average fare!

Taking the franchise of Jolly LLB ahead, Subhash Kapoor directed and Akshay Kumar starrer Jolly LLB 2 released this week. If you loved the sleeper hit Jolly LLB with Arshad Warsi then please do not go with humongous expectations to watch the second part in the franchise. The movie is good but in bits and parts and does not do much justice to the first part at all. However, Akshay Kumar takes the movie to a bigger high just with his sheer presence and acting. More on these later.

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What is the movie all about? Jagdishwar Mishra aka Jolly (Akshay Kumar) is a struggling lawyer who makes his living assisting a big time Lucknow lawyer / Nawab and also by taking up small cases individually. His wife, Pushpa (Huma Qureshi) on the other hand, is a supportive wife who loves her husband as well as her drinks. Jolly thinks he will be taken seriously as a lawyer only if her gets his own chamber at the court premises and gets a chance to have one but he is short on money. He sees an opportunity to make things work when he picks up the untouched case of Hina (Sayani Gupta). However, he messes up with her case resulting in her death. Jolly’s conscience takes a beating and he decides to bring her and her dead husband justice. He is set to fight against established lawyer, Mathur (Annu Kapoor) while Sundar Lal Tripathi (Saurabh Shukla) is the judge in charge. A complicated case that revolves around terrorism, corruption, and fake encounters becomes a tough affair for Jolly. Will he be able to unearth the truth is what is left to see.

The story is based on real events and holds promise, however, the screenplay lets down the movie. The dialogues are humorous and the real life situation inside a court is depicted very well. Subhash Kapoor could have mellowed down some drama in the second half and edited few portions to make the movie crisp and entertaining.

Akshay Kumar takes the movie on his able shoulders and delivers a power-packed performance. No other actor could have carried a wafer-thin plot on their shoulders the way Akshay has. Huma Qureshi is wasted in an inconsequential role. However, with just a couple of scenes, Sayani Gupta steals the show. Annu Kapoor, Kumud Mishra in a negative role and Saurabh Shukla as the judge has done a great job. Music is a hindrance in this movie and does not go with the flow. Editing as pointed above could have been crisp in the second half.

Overall, it’s a weak follow up to a strong first part. However, Akshay as usual excels.

My Verdict: **/5

Movie Review: Raees – Old Wine In New Bottle… Highly Disappointing!

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This week saw the release of much-awaited Raees starring Shah Rukh Khan (the movie was in the making and then in the cans for the longest time ever). The movie promos gave a perception that it had the best recipe for a sure shot hit. With few catchy dialogues thrown in – Baniye Ka Dimaag Aur Miyan Bhai Ki Daring…. a special item number with Sunny Leone thrown in for the front benchers. Some daredevilry fights punched in. And, overall the biggest star of the country SRK leading the way ahead. But, did the recipe actually work for Rahul ‘Parzania’ Dholakia and Farhan Akhtar‘s production house that we will have to wait and watch at the box office. Coming to the movie, let’s analyze if it was worth the wait.

Shah Rukh Khan plays Raees a spectacled goon who hates being called “battery”. He and his childhood friend cum sidekick (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub) – how can a hero be without a sidekick; start from harmless Ponzi schemes to pre-planned rackets and becomes the top bootlegger of his town. How can a story about a criminal be complete without a police officer; so Raees meets his equal when ACP Majmudar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is posted in his area. Raees forms a nexus with politicians who fuel his business, but he soon becomes the thorn in their side. No Hindi film hero can be complete without a lady love and therefore we have Mahira Khan added to the cast to give some respite to Raees’ character whenever he is tired of running his criminal activities and cat and mouse game with the police.

The problem is with the script in totality. Rahul Dholakia and his writers have not offered anything new that we have not seen in earlier movies. Just putting the characters in 70’s and 80’s does not bring novelty to a plot. Even Shah Rukh’s performance is hampered because of the shoddy screenplay. Also, it is high time SRK did some analysis of his atrocious choices of movies after Chak De India. We want better movies from you Shah Rukh.

Nawazuddin, as usual, is good in his character but again the story and screenplay is the villain here. Even a wonderful performer like Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as well as Atul Kulkarni are wasted in insignificant roles. Casting of Mahira Khan in the movie and creating a controversy around her was all a hoax. Any junior artist could have done her role.

Coming to the music. Ram Sampath does a decent job but the songs sound very jaded and very 90’s. Cinematography by K.U. Mohanan is first rate. Action scenes are okay and in few places, we feel the action director got confused if he was making a Superman or Batman or Antman movie and has made SRK perform like one. Editing by Deepa Bhatia could have been crispier especially in the second half. Coming to direction, I would rather advise Rahul Dholakia to make his brand of movies like Parzania than attempt potboilers that do not make any sense at all.

Overall, the movie is an utter disappointment.

My Verdict: **/5

9 Best Movies of 2016

2016 was one of those years in the Bollywood history where not many movies were Box Office successes, however, there were some really brave movie attempts made by unexpected quarters. Here is my pick of top 9 movies I felt were different and entertaining. Please do not go by the BO numbers.

Dangal: Like the saying save the last dance. Aamir did save his best performance and movie for the last week of 2016. Based on the true life characters of Mahaveer Phogat and his daughters Geeta and Babita, this was a great movie experience. Never was a sports based movie made with such passion and splendor. The wrestling fights looked so real that I had myself sitting on the edge whenever Geeta ‘Dhobipachadofied‘ her opponents. The highlight apart from the last fight was the bout between the father-daughter jodi played by Aamir and Fatima.

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Nil Battey Sanatta: This was one masterpiece that I was fortunate to see in 2016. Produced by Aanand L. Rai and directed by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari (the wife of Dangal director Nitesh Tiwari), tells the story of a housemaid played brilliantly by Swara Bhaskar and her daughter who is scared of mathematics. The moments in the movie were heartfelt and the narrative was so gripping that made you feel a part of Apu and Chanda’s lives.

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Pink: ‘Whatamovie’ was the first expression I let out after watching this simple but powerful story of a movie. Amitabh Bachchan was a sheer pleasure to watch as the bipolar lawyer and Tapsee Pannu showcased her brilliance with her portrayal of Meenal Arora. ‘No means No’ became the mantra of this tony courtroom drama directed by Aniruddha Roy Choudhary.

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Aligarh: Another biopic that made me cringe in my seat was Manoj Bajpayee starrer Aligarh based on Professor Ramchandra Siras’ life. Professor Siras was who was sacked from his position as a Marathi professor from Aligarh University for his sexual orientation portrayed the sad reality of our homophobic society. Also, the mysterious way in which he was found dead makes us question ‘whether sexual orientation is above humanity?’ Homosexuality is a crime in India and there are hardly any meaningful movies made around this subject. However, Hansel Mehta’s brave attempt on this real life character and Bajpayee’s sensitive performance is quite commendable. I will also give full marks to the writing department and one particular dialogue of Professor Siras from the movie still gives me goosebumps – Koi Mere Feeling Ko Teen Aksharon Mein Kaise Samajh Sakta Hai!

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Kapoor & Sons: There are many stories revolving around a dysfunctional family, however, Shakun Batra’s second movie outing was a beautiful piece of cinema. Grand Father who is preparing for his death and wants to have the last family picture clicked, Father – a cheating husband, Mother – lost in her own world, Elder son – a closeted gay, Younger Son – still trying to figure out his true calling in life etc. are characters inspired by true life. It was shocking to see King of Candyfloss – Karan Johar producing a true to life story. The movie was quite relatable and the performances were wonderful. Give me a choice and I would love to see this movie anytime, anywhere.

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Dear Zindagi: A slice of life movie that centers around a budding cinematographer Kaira played by Alia Bhatt, who hails from a dysfunctional family and after several failed relationships, is in search of a perfect life. She bumps into Dr. Jehangir, an unconventional thinker who helps Kaira in gaining a new perspective about life. Gauri Shinde after her endearing debut movie English Vinglish gave a near perfect movie – Dear Zindagi, and also gave Shah Rukh Khan a much-needed image makeover (it’s been nearly a decade that I liked any of SRK’s movies past Chak De India!).

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Neerja: Directed by Ram Madhvani, Neerja was another commendable biopic on Neerja Bhanot, AC, who was a purser for the airline Pan American World Airways, based in Mumbai, India. Neerja was shot and killed while saving 359 of 379 passengers on board Pan Am Flight 73, which was hijacked by terrorists on 5 September 1986 at Karachi. Sonam Kapoor gave her career best performance and also won the hearts of cine goers. A wonderful movie that every India should watch.

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Airlift: The film directed by Raja Krishna Menon follows Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar), a Kuwait-based businessman, as he carries out the evacuation of Indians based in Kuwait during the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The movie was inspired by the real-life character of Mathunny Mathews who was instrumental in carrying out the biggest Air evacuation in World History. Air India holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people evacuated by a civil airliner as a result of this effort. The operation was carried out during the Persian Gulf War in 1990 to evacuate Indian expatriates from Kuwait and Iraq. It is believed to be the largest civilian evacuation in history. The way the movie was shot and narrated is praiseworthy. Akshay Kumar, as usual, gave a great performance ably supported by Nimrat Kaur and Prakash Belawadi.

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Sultan: My list would not be complete without a Salman Khan starrer and this year he did make me proud as a fan. Sultan a love story of a wrestler had Salman living the character to the T. It was not a typical Bhai movie but a warm and heartfelt movie of a wrestler who gets into the game only to impress his lady love and in turn goes to win medals for the country. Pride and ego bring his downfall and soon his entire life is shattered. What happens next is the journey of Sultan who rises from the ashes like a Pheonix. Salman after Bajrangi Bhaijaan was a sheer pleasure to watch. His transformation as a wrestler in the movie was commendable and Bhaijaan did act well in this movie.

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It was difficult to pick 9 movies from the 100+ movies released in 2016. If you have your own favorites please do comment below.

Movie Review: Dangal – A Must Watch!

Aamir Khan is like Santa Claus every Christmas he comes with a nice gift for all of us in the form of a wonderful movie. This Christmas is special because of his latest release – Dangal. Based on the real-life story of wrestler Mahavir Phogat and his daughters Geeta and Babita. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, Dangal is a great story told on screen.

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Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan) is an amateur wrestler who was forced to give up wrestling due to financial difficulties. He was unable to win a gold medal for India and vows that his son will. He is disappointed when his wife gives birth to four daughters. He gives up his dream thinking that girls cannot wrestle and should only be taught household chores. But when his older daughters, Geeta (Fatima Sana Shaikh) and Babita (Sanya Malhotra) come home after beating up two boys, Mahavir realizes his daughters have the potential to become wrestlers and start coaching them.

In a society where women are traditionally not into wrestling Mahavir Phogat encouraged and fought against all societal norms to take his daughters to international wrestling competition and they also come back victorious. The story is quite moving and shows the dedication and passion towards this rustic game.

Nitesh Tiwari and his writers have done a great job in the writing department, however, the editing could have been crispier. There are few scenes in the first and second half where you feel it could have been edited out to make it gripping. The real bout scenes in the second half are so engrossing that you feel as if you are watching a live bout.

Performances by every artist are very good and commendable especially Aamir, Sakshi, Fatima, Sana and the two young girls and Aparshakti who are the main characters. The supporting cast is well chosen by Mukesh Chabbra and the entire movie experience is quite engrossing.

Music by Pritam is not up to the mark but goes with the tone and content of the movie. Cinematography by Sethu Sriram is very good. The Indian heartland is well-captured.

On the whole, Dangal is a movie with a heart. Go for it and surprisingly find yourself cheering for these girls as if you are watching a real game of wrestling.

My Verdict: ****/5

Movie Review: Kahaani 2 Fantastic Performances, Poor Script!

Kahaani, when it released in 2012 was a sleeper hit and a part two was eagerly awaited. This week, the wait is over and Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh got released starring Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal. Apart from Vidya Balan and Sujoy Ghosh, there is no connection to Kahaani.

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Coming to the story,  Kahaani 2 has no connection with the first part apart from Vidya Balan and Sujoy Ghosh. Also, it is not a sequel to Kahaani but it is in the same line where the main protagonist Vidya Sinha (Vidya Balan) is in search of her crippled daughter Mini (Tunisha Sharma). The movie starts with Vidya getting a call about her daughter being kidnapped and she hysterically runs around the lanes of a small town Chandan Nagar and within minutes she is hit by a speeding car leaving her comatose. Soon, Inderjit Singh (Arjun Rampal) is introduced as the Inspector investigating the case. A visit to the victim’s house reveals to Inderjit that she had acquired a fake identity and also her diary enlightens the fact that she had a trying life that she and her daughter Mini had survived. As Vidya’s condition sinks, she has a mysterious visitor at the hospital who tries to kill her by jabbing a syringe into her wrist. As scope for her recovery seems bleak, Inderjeet strives to get to the bottom of the affair, with or without her assistance. So, will Vidya ever be united with her daughter? Will Inderjeet detect what drove Vidya to adopt an alias? These questions are best unanswered to keep spoilers at bay.

Coming to the script, it is quite engaging in the first half. The story moves ahead at a faster pace and has you hooked with no time to think of any bloopers, however, Kahaani 2 also suffers from the curse of the second half which is quite evident in almost every movie released this year. Suddenly the entire plot is something that even a small kid can predict. However, Sujoy does a great job as a director but the screenplay lets him down.

Vidya Balan as Vidya Sinha / Durga Rani Singh is FANTASTIC. She emotes every emotion effortlessly and is a sheer pleasure to watch. This one of the best performances by Balan and might be considered for every award function that will kick start in few weeks time. Arjun Rampal surprisingly does a wonderful job. This movie has challenged the hidden actor in him and he proves that if given a right script and a director, he can definitely hit back with a great performance. Jugal Hansraj as the mean uncle does a commendable job and also a never seen before act, and every time he comes on screen you tend to hate his presence. That shows he has owned his character completely. Rest of the supporting cast also does a great job.

The editing could have been crisper in the second half as there are times when you tend to get bored with the proceedings. The music is situational and is not something you will ever listen to.

Overall, Kahaani 2 is not a better version of its predecessor, but it is still a one-time watch only for Vidya Balan.

My Verdict: **1/2

Alright so Christmas season is soon coming and I have a perfect gift for you. My book Alfie The Elf released recently and it is a good gift for you and your kids this Christmas, also every book sold will bring a smile on the face of a less-privileged child as 40% of the sale proceeds are going to DreamADream NGO. Please do see the book trailer below and if interested, click here to order. Also available on every leading online bookstore nationally and internationally in paperback and e-Book format.

Review: Dear Zindagi ‘I Love You’!

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I know it’s been a while I reviewed any of the new releases, however, I was busy with the release of my new book Alfie The Elf. Anyway, at no cost I wanted to miss out on Dear Zindagi that released this week starring Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan and directed by Gauri Shinde of ‘English Vinglish’ fame. Let me directly dive into the plotline of the movie.

Kaira aka Koko (Alia Bhatt) is an ambitious cinematographer (wait aren’t they called DOP these days?) who like many millennials has a messy love life and a yet to bloom career. She falls in and out of love instantly. She parties and also cheats on her boyfriend (Angad Bedi)  with another man. However, her entire world comes crumbling down first with a heartbreak when the guy of her dreams Raghvendra (Kunal Kapoor) dumps her and gets engaged to someone else. And, then her landlord  slaps her with an eviction notice and our cutie-pie Kaira processes this cumulative assault while biting into green chilies. Throughout you are subjected to a slight hint of her strained relationship with her parents.

Enter Jehangir Khan aka Jugs (Shah Rukh Khan) who is a DD – Dimag Ka Doctor, who tries to help Kaira with her problems and to love her Zindagi. In his ‘out of textbook’ ways, Jug helps Kyra open up about her on the surface problems and further digs into the bigger ones. With his ‘cool’ stories, he wins over Kyra’s fears and teaches her to embrace life. Alas, our baby-faced Kaira falls head over heals in love with Jugs. Now, what? Would Jugs reciprocate to her love or leave her like her previous crushes? Find out by watching Dear Zindagi at a theater near you!

Coming to the script and screenplay, which seems to be good, however, Gauri seems to have gone on a trip of her own. She tries to weave in multiple issues into one story for the character. The parental issues, love life issues, career issues etc. and in that process losses track. The sparks she showed with Sridevi starrer English Vinglish is missing. The dialogues though initially interesting tends to be very preachy and boring in the second half.

Performance wise, this is Alia’s best. She rises above the screenplay and gets perfectly into Kiara’s character making it more believable. Shah Rukh Khan as Jugs is impressive, however, the dialogues let things down. As the entire focus of the movie is on Kaira’s character, the characters supporting hers viz; Raghu (Kunal Kapoor), Sid (Angad Bedi) or Rumi (Ali Zafar) get no background whatsoever.

The music is average only the title song ‘Love You Zindagi’ and a rehash of yesteryear superhit song ‘Ae Zindagi’ from Sadma composed by maestro Illayaraja stands out. Editing in the second half could have been crisper.

On the whole, Dear Zindagi is a great watch for all Alia Bhatt and SRK fans.

My Verdict:***

Have you watched the book trailer of my latest book Alfie The Elf? No? See Below! 🙂

Book released all over the world… also now available for Amazon Prime customers!

Let’s Make A Child’s Dream Come True Today!

Alfie The Elf’s story begins all the way back in 2012, while I was in the middle of writing my most ambitious book; “A Pocketful of Sunshine.” (Fingers crossed, one day it will be released.) It was around Christmas and my brother and his family were visiting and my nephew – Nathan (four, then) had a head full of questions about Christmas. Santa Claus, how he got his gifts.

Alfie The Elf Shaiju Mathew
Meet the gang of Alfie

As I answered his curiosity, a story spun in my head about the magic of Christmas. I wanted to tell a story about hope, about spreading joy, about magic, about wishes coming true, a story that was set in a magical land, a story that would bring all the magical creatures to life and then suddenly I had a character coming to life and that was Alfie.

To me, Christmas has always been special, it was all about waiting for gifts and spending time with family, eating yummy Christmas goodies and going to church to sing carols and this time felt magical to me and I wanted this feeling to be translated into my book.

As impossible as it may sound, I wrote about Alfie in nine days straight and like Alfie and the other characters in the story, I went through an emotional roller coaster; mainly to get this story out to the world. Almost all the publishers I approached had the same response about this book: “It’s too Enid Blyton-ish, we are looking for something that is more J K Rowling.” Some publishers who showed interest asked me to don a western penname. And by the end, my literary agent, too, gave up hope, raised her hands up in surrender and wished me luck with Alfie.

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Book Cover

Determined to bring Alfie and his friends to the world, I reached out to the public and asked for their opinion, I shared a few of the chapters with about a hundred people of varying age group (8 years to 65 years) and the response I got was overwhelming; they loved the story, they loved the spirit of Christmas and innocence Alfie and his friends brought with the story.

This motivated me to self-publish my book that was so dear to me and now you hold in your hands.

During all those self-doubting days, there were a few wonderful people who were my support system and stood by me through thick and thin. This book would be incomplete if I go on without mentioning them.

The two people without whom Alfie would not have been possible and to whom I am indebted for life: Anusha Jha Rohom, my book editor who after reading Alfie The Elf, was kind enough to come on board with zero expectations and molded my story beautifully. Secondly, Vikram Nandwani, my childhood friend, and illustrator who brought every character to life and came up with the beautiful book cover.

Apart from that, I would love to thank my friends and family especially my parents who always taught my brother and me to never lose hope and to always pursue our dreams how much ever they seem to be impossible.

And last, but never the least, my nephews and niece – Nathan, Jeremiah, and Kiara – the little kids with big ideas; I hope I made you proud.

Dream A Dream, Shaiju Mathew, Alfie The Elf
Inside Cover of Alfie

Now coming to the question of ‘How Can You Make A Child’s Dream Come True?’ By buying a copy of Alfie The Elf, you will be able to do that, how? I have tied up with Dream A Dream Organization who is backing Alfie to fulfill the dreams of many less privileged kids. Every book sold will help a child’s dream come true as 40% of the profits are going to this cause. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and order your copy from any of the leading online bookstores where you can find the paperback as well as an E-Book version. Also, don’t forget to send me your feedback on mattshai@gmail.com

Please order your copies from the following links;

Paperback edition in India: Amazon.in,Flipkart, PayTM, Shopclues, Infibeam, Notion Press etc.

Paperback edition abroad: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, BarnesandNoble,

Ebook Edition: Kindle, Google Play, KoBo, Dailyhunt, iBooks, Rockstand

Let’s Talk Films With Sameer K Singh

Today on Let’s Talk Films With, I have one of my older associates and now a dear friend Sameer K Singh who is the Founder of Yoola. A fellow filmy guy and the biggest fan of Akshay Kumar, let’s hear what he has to say about his ‘Filmyness’.

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What kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
Well if there’s anything apart from my work and family that can excite me then it’s movies. I would rather watch an already seen movie again than going out to party. My favorite genres are comedy and thriller or something that can keep me on the edge of my seat. If it’s about my favorite Akshay Kumar and if my schedule allows, I can watch from 2 to 3 movies of his in a day be it same or different, doesn’t really matter.

Since what age are you watching movies?
I don’t remember exactly, which somehow suggests that I started watching movies from a very young age, not that I am not young now (laughs) but I assume I must be around 10-12 (smiles).

You being a business guy… tell me one movie that you remember that has the main lead playing a businessman to the T?
Well, there are so many that I am little confused here, if you watch Bollywood movies closely, you will get some or other entrepreneurship tip from every 2nd movie that releases. I will name few of my favorites which are Guru, Rocket Singh Sales Man Of The Year, Band Baja Baarat, Badmash Company, etc but the one that would be on top of my list would be Lagaan. Yes, you must be wondering what has Lagaan to do with business? But as you go deep into it, there can be no better motivational character than Bhuvan as an Entrepreneur. The character goes against all odds, builds a team, leads it till the end and wins because of team work, belief and his determination and of course a little luck (tongue out). These are the characteristics of a true entrepreneur.

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your briefs over your pants and tried to save the world?
Haha!! I am a 90s kid, pure desi who grew up watching Shaktimaan, pointing a finger towards the sky and rotating 360 degrees was more me. Never tried wearing my briefs over my pants at least not that I remember but yes I did wear capes and act like I could fly.

What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
My secret fantasy is to be immortal and the only medium that can make me immortal is movies. I believe whoever comes on the silver screen becomes immortal, we have lost so many legends in past but because good movies have that charm to connect with its audience by heart, actors stay with us forever. Like for example, I was watching DDLJ recently and didn’t realize that Legendry Amrish Puri isn’t between us, this sudden realization saddened me but at the same time, I was cheering that he will always remain with us throughout our lives because of his work. So yes, if given a chance I would love to try my skills to act as well, not immediately but definitely (smiles).

The most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
Believe me, I try and watch each and every movie that comes across. I have watched Bollywood movies that many don’t even know the names of. I do survive even the bad ones but one of the most bizarre movies was Jism 2, it was like a nightmare and I wanted to leave the theater but to maintain my track record of watching every movie till the end, I stayed and survived.

Your favorite movie and why?
It has to be Garam Masala on top, I watch it when I am upset, it makes me cheer up, I can watch it again and again and it will never be enough for me. I remember I once watched Garam Masala thrice in a day, it sounds crazy but yes that’s what I am when it come to Akshay Sir and his comic timings in his movies. Other favorites would be Dil Chahta Hai, Hera Pheri, Race, Taare Zameen Par, Munna Bhai, etc.

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
Can I mention my favorite instead?

Go ahead (smiles).
Okay, there’s this dialogue from the movie Ishq where Kajol and Amir Khan burns property papers to make a cup of tea and later after tasting it says, “Dhai crore rupaye jab ek cup chai ka zaika nahi badal saka toh hum pyaar karne walon ka irada kya badlega” Sheer brilliant!!

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
“Kyun Thaak Rahe Ho??” from Houseful 2 is one of the funniest and can be used in day to day life. I am very good with dialogues and easily relate to any situation with apt dialogues to express myself.

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
Yes please, if possible, let’s sponsor a one-sided ticket for the maker of Jism 2, it was such a disaster that I still can’t forget the trauma after so many years of its release.

Any actors you want to add with the director in the same island 😛 ?
Imran Khan maybe?

Any message to fellow movie buffs?
I have messages (laughs).

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Alright (laughs) let me reframe my question… Any messages to fellow movie buffs?
1) Don’t support piracy, a movie requires a lot of effort, time and hard work of a team. Piracy kills the enthusiasm and charm of watching a movie on the silver screen, ultimately making it less attractive.
2) Not all movies are same and comparing two different movies isn’t right. There are good movies and bad movies but every movie has a target audience if you go to watch an adult comedy, make sure you are in that mood and don’t expect it to be classic PK or 3 idiots. If you do so, you will be disappointed but if you don’t you will definitely enjoy it.
3) Don’t compare Indian Film Industry with Hollywood, If you do, compare the ticket prices and budget too. Indian films are as good as they should be. Movies are meant for entertainment, get entertained.

Wish you all the best for Yoola and may you have a great year ahead Sam!
Thank you and wish you all the best for your next book Alfie The Elf… I believe it is releasing in a couple of weeks?

Yes it is and like movie piracy, please do not ask a free copy from any author (winks)
Arre nahi, I will be buying my copy, First Day, First Show.

Err… it’s not a movie (laughs)
I know, sometimes the filmy keeda makes me say such things (laughs). On a serious note, I will be buying the book and I am sure it will be magical like your previous one.

Thank you (smiles)
So guys, if you are in Pune, then please do download Yoola and try it out. I am sure you will love the features of the app. Get more details at http://yoola.co/

Movie Review: Shivaay – A Feast for Ajay Devgan Fans!

The second BIG movie of the week is Actor, Producer and Director Ajay Devgn’s second directorial – Shivaay. After a round of controversies surrounding the movie courtesy Kamal R Khan aka KRK, this action packed movie released with much hype and expectations. Let’s find out if the movie was able to live up to the expectations or not.

Shivaay ( Ajay Devgn) is a mountaineer who conducts treks in the Himalayas and lives in a small house. On one of his tours, he meets the Hindi speaking Bulgarian student Olga (Erika Kaar) and falls in love with her after he saves her life in a deadly avalanche. Olga becomes pregnant and is not willing to give birth to a child but on Shivaay’s insistence, she agrees to deliver the child Gaura (Abigail Eames) but refuses to raise it with him and returns to Bulgaria.

Nine years later, Gaura who was told by Shivaay that her mother is dead, learns about her existence through a letter. The peaceful life of Shivaay is shattered when Gaura confronts him about this learning and forces him to take her to Olga. So, Shivaay and Gaura go to Bulgaria to meet Olga who is now married to a Bulgarian, however, in a twist of destiny, Gaura gets kidnapped by a child trafficking gang and thus begins Shivaay’s cat and mouse chase with the kidnappers. Will Shivaay be able to save Gaura? How far will a father to go for the safety of his daughter? Find out by watching the movie.

The plot is very good slightly inspired by Taken but the script lacks punch, However, the father-daughter angle is explored very beautifully by Ajay.  Ajay Devgn as a performer and director does a superior job but his writers Robin Bhatt and Sandeep Srivastava pull him down. The action in the movie is interesting. As Shivaay, Ajay Devgn lives the role and Abigail Eames as Gaura does a wonderful job. Erika Kaar and Saayesha Saigal are good in their respective roles, however, as the story is about Ajay and Abigail, the other actors get less importance in the narrative.

Music by Mithoon is average but the background score is impactful. Cinematography by Aseem Bajaj is beautiful. The snowcapped mountains are captured wonderfully. Editing by Dharmendra Sharma is average, he could have done some crispier cuts in few sequences especially the chase sequence which is too long and tends to get boring.

On the whole, Shivaay is a good attempt by Ajay Devgn and his fans will love this actioner from him.

My Verdict: ***