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: ***

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Movie Review: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil!

Diwali is the biggest festival of India and like every year, this year too, two BIG movies are clashing with each other to  get audience’s attention. The first movie I am reviewing is Karan Johar’s much-anticipated, much-talked and controversy surrounded – Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Without much talking, let me dive into the story of ADHM.

The movie starts with ‘private-jet ameer’ Ayan (Ranbir) trying to hook up with ‘Raees’ Alizeh (Anushka) after a chance encounter at a London pub. However, instead of they ending up in bed and bidding farewell later, they strike up a friendship instantly. They’re both Bollywood-crazy goofballs who love cheesy ’80s songs, poke fun at each other’s partners and fit into each other like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. But Ayan wants more from the relationship while Alizeh wants to have him as her ‘bestestest’ friend forever after reeling from her break-up with her ex DJ Ali (Fawad). Although, Ayan is a good singer, but Alizeh feels there is no feeling in his singing as he has never experienced heartbreak. Which he does when a chance encounter with Ali while Alizeh and Ayan are holidaying in Paris, makes her slip back into his arms, leaving him distraught.

Alizeh goes back to Lucknow and gets married to Ali against her parent’s wishes. Ayan tries to make Alizeh understand his love for her, but she rejects him as she is not in love with him. A distraught and heartbroken Ayan then finds solace in a physical relationship with an older divorcee Saba (Aishwarya), who helps him get a new perspective on one-sided love.

Will Alizeh fall in love with Ayan and accept him as her lover or will Ayan find his soulmate in Saba? To find out, watch the movie.

The story by Karan Johar is a mixture of his earlier movies like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kal Ho Na Ho, Ek Main Aur Ek Tu etc. and Rockstar. There is no originality in the story or script, however, performances by the lead actors keep the movie afloat and entertaining. Ranbir, as usual, does a fantastic job and Anushka is a dream to watch. Their chemistry is crackling and you don’t turn your face away whenever they mouth those typical filmy corny dialogues from the 80s and 90s. Aishwarya looks beautiful and does a decent job in her small role. Lisa Haydon is hilarious and makes the ‘Vaatavaran’ exciting with her presence. Fawad Khan and Imran Abbas are just okay and do not have too many screen time (there was no need for the entire controversy to be created around their presence in the movie). Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt lightens up the screen with their short cameos.

Dialogues by Niranjan Iyengar and Karan Johar is good and the first half is quite entertaining because of the dialogues and the lead pair’s chemistry. The second half drags in the first 20 minutes and then picks up once Anushka and Ranbir meet again. The music by Pritam is outstanding especially the title song and Channa Mereya which has a haunting presence even in the BG score.

Cinematography by Anil Mehta is very good and you will fall in love with the lighting and every frame which gives you that typical KJo signature style. Editing could have been crisper, especially in the second half.

Overall, ADHM is a feel good movie and keeps you entertained and therefore I would recommend you to watch it at least once if you are a fan of KJO movies.

My Verdict: ***

Let’s Talk Films With Maanvi Gagroo!

If you have watched the much appreciated short series by TVF – Tripling recently, then you would not have missed the vivacious and goofy Chanchal the sister of Chandan and Chitwan. Today, we have the most talented and beautiful Maanvi Gagroo talking about films with me. So here are some excerpts from our fun chat.

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What kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
Oh, I can watch movies all day, every day! That’s why I love attending film festivals because you just go from one film to another. My favorite genre is drama. A film with strong characters and a good story about these characters. About real characters with real issues.

Since what age are you watching movies?
For a non-Bollywood family, my sister and I grew up on a fairly filmy diet. Both my parents are big movie buffs. I remember them showing us ‘Sound of music’, ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘My fair lady’ as kids. They also loved giving trivia while the films were on. So yeah, there was always an interest in films.

How did your acting journey start?
Quite by chance actually. There were these auditions going on for a Disney show called ‘Dhoom Machao Dhoom’, I tested for a part on a whim, got the role and the rest, as they say, is history.

Your breakthrough role that made viewers sit up and notice you?
I think my first film ‘Aamras’. Although the film didn’t do well at the box office, I’d get great reviews. I remember all the reviews had mentioned and praised my performance and that was such a great feeling.

Tell me one movie that you remember where the main lead has done a great job?
I think Konkona Sen Sharma in 15 Park Avenue was outstanding. She played her part with such nuance and subtlety. It was a delight to watch her.

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your superhero cape and skirt and tried to save the world?
Nope, never. (giggles)

What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
It wouldn’t be a secret then, would it? (winks)

The most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
Tees Maar Khan (laughs). I am putting myself in a spot, but, I just didn’t get the film.

Don’t worry you are not alone (winks and laughs). Your favorite movie and why?
Revolutionary Road. I thought the idea itself had me impressed. And then the performances were so real and felt. I remember thinking the entire time how great it would be to play that part (of Kate Winslet).

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
Umm…(squints and thinks for a moment) I don’t remember which film but there was this scene where a police officer is reporting to his senior and it goes like this;
Junior cop : “Sir something is wrong”
Senior cop : “You mean something is not right?”
Yeah, that’s an actual scene in an actual film!

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
I know all the dialogues from DDLJ (winks). See I told you I am total filmy (smiles).

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
Hahaha..too many man, too many!

Any actors you want to add with the director in the same island? (winks)
Oooh..all the good female actors so I can do all the films they’re getting offered.

tripling

Message to fellow movie buffs?
Don’t go by the frills of a film. I often find people going to the movies for the wrong reasons and then getting disappointed. And I find myself asking them “yeah what else did you expect? ” So my advice would be to watch a film for its story, script, and performances and not for the music or the locations it’s been shot at!

So tell me about your future projects?
My film ‘Tu Hai Mera Sunday’ is premiering at the BFI London Film Festival so I’m really looking forward to that. I’ve done a few ads which should be coming on air soon. End of the year I’ll also be traveling overseas with my play. And apart from that, I’m looking for more exciting work (smiles).

Wish you all the best for your future projects Maanvi and thank you for being a part of my chat series.

 

What Would I Like To Be Remembered For?

Have you ever thought of leaving a mark in the world? After such a long time, I saw something that really touched and intrigued me – Seagrams 100 Pipers‘ commercial. This made me introspect about what I should be remembered for? The inner voice echoed the sentiments conveyed in the commercial viz. ‘Be Remembered For Good’. The goodness you bring out in others, the goodness you want to spread through your writing, the smiles you can spread on the faces of others with your stories and characters. That motivated me to give wings to my new character Alfie (from my upcoming novel – Alfie The Elf) who is a 14-year-old midget and is one of the closest characters I have given life to.

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To give you a heads up about the book and character of Alfie, let me tell you he does not have a great life. He is an orphan and he is a midget due to which he gets ridiculed and taunted every day by everyone around him, and after few failed attempts to increase his height, he writes to Santa to fulfill his wish. When his wish is not fulfilled by Santa on a Christmas Day, he goes out in search of Santa along with his two friends Bullet – a pug and Pedro – an Owl to demand a reason for not fulfilling his wish. On his journey, he meets a lot many mythical creatures like the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, a Snowman and an evil wizard hell-bent on becoming the master of the Universe. Through his innocence and lovely demeanor he is able to spread joy to everyone he meets in the journey.

Source: blog.celoxis.com
Source: blog.celoxis.com

It made me think if Alfie as a character brings joy to so many characters he meets in my story, why not extend that to real life kids too who are like him – orphan and underprivileged. Therefore, I decided to come up with a Trust named – Alfie For Kids where I will be donating the entire proceeds from the sale of Alfie series which could be used for the benefit of educating and upkeep of underprivileged kids.

When I look back and see, great authors like Enid Blyton, Jane Austin or near home Ruskin Bond and R K Narayan. These great legends are remembered for their characters viz. The Famous Five kids, Rusty, Swami, Elizabeth Bennet or Mr. Darcy, etc. Like them and every other author and storyteller in this world, even I want to be remembered for my stories and characters. However, now I want to go beyond and do something for the world. Something that my character Alfie and his friends in the story believes in doing. So this Christmas season when my new book gets released and Alfie comes knocking at your door, welcome him to your life and give him your love and appreciate him for the cause he stands for. As, with every sale of the book, he will get more power and magic to fulfill the wishes of any underprivileged kid in this world. This will not only help Alfie and the kids but will also give me a reason to smile as somewhere in time, I might be remembered for the good cause I was associated with through my character Alfie.

PS: Let me share the video that inspired me to ‘Be Remembered For Good’

Alfie The Elf – My New Novel!

Source: blog.celoxis.com
Source: blog.celoxis.com

It’s been a while since Knocked Up my debut novel released and I have been getting a lot of inquiries from my fans and readers asking about my next book. So finally after 6 years my next novel is going to release this ‘Children’s Day’ i.e. 14th November, titled Alfie The Elf.

Alfie is one of my favorite characters I have created and I am proud to say that I finished the manuscript in 7 days flat. Alfie is cute, he is brave, he is magical and he believes in making this world a beautiful place to live for each and every kind of being. He goes through a lot of hardships in life but he never gives up on hope and faith which leads him to become a real life HERO!

I approached a lot of publishers in India who discouraged me from releasing this book saying Christmas and Santa Claus themed books will never do well in India, as readers will not accept a local author writing about the same. They also told me that because of this reason, there are no Indian books based on these themes. I was also advised by few literary agents to change my name to a foreign sounding name so that publishers and readers will accept my book. However, when I did a small research group study involving 100 individuals of different age groups, where I handed over chapters of Alfie they all came back saying that it is a wonderful story and they want to read the full book, in turn giving me the confidence to release my book independently.  Sorry if I sound pompous and trying to pull up your expectations for the book, but wait until it is released, I am sure you will love Alfie :).

Now you might ask who is my target audience. Then the answer is anybody and everybody who has a child hidden within him/her will love this book :). Now, here is the synopsis of Alfie The Elf for you all. Also, I will be posting a few sample chapters along with the original cover for the book in a couple of days. I hope you love the book and Alfie the way I loved creating him 🙂

Synopsis: Alfie is a 14-year-old orphaned midget. He has just one wish – to grow tall. He believes that would help him gain lots of adoring friends and even impress Charlene, the girl of his dreams. He tries all tricks and tips to increase his height, but to no avail. Finally, he pins all his hopes on a miracle by writing to Santa and stays ‘good’ through the year. Christmas arrives, but Alfie’s wish doesn’t get fulfilled. Hurt, and deeply disappointed, Alfie runs away from his orphanage to look for Santa. That is only the beginning of a fantastical journey that takes him across mythical lands where he meets creatures straight out of fairy tales. With a wicked wizard out to dominate the universe and a worried Santa with his share of woes, Alfie has his hands full. Will he be able to achieve his dream? With the help of his best friend, Bullet, a pug and Pedro, an owl, he just might!

To grab a copy of Alfie The Elf please visit any of the leading bookstores eg; Amazon.com, Amazon.in, Flipkart, Branes&Noble, Infibeam, Shopclues etc. or just click here

Alfie The Elf Shaiju Mathew
Meet the gang of Alfie

You can reach out to me on authorshaiju@gmail.com or on my twitter – @shaijumathew profile 🙂

Let’s Talk Films With Tara Alisha Berry!

In the hordes of so many star kids in the industry, there is one girl who stands high because of her talent and talent only. I am not saying this because she is my bestie but she has truly defined herself in that mold. After entertaining us with Love Games, Mastram, and The Perfect Girl, I have Taasha Alisha Berry talking about her ‘filmygiri’! So here are excerpts from our conversation.

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Welcome to LTFW Taasha, it’s a pleasure to have you back on my web chat (smiles)
Pleasure is all mine Shy (smiles)… and you know how I lovveeeeee to have a fun chat with you (animatedly and giggles)

Okay… I get that… so shall we start?
Yup… (hesitantly)

What happened? The Yup didn’t sound too confident.
I am still figuring what controversial stuff are you going to ask me this time (giggles)

Hmmm… don’t worry this will be plain fun…Okay so let me start with the first question
Okay.

Tell me what kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
I love all kinds of movie except horror films hahaha get too scared! I can and have watched three/four movies back to back. Also, LOVEEE Hollywood TV shows and can finish entire seasons in a day. My mother, aunt and I have had movie marathons since my childhood!

Since what age are you watching movies?
Gosh, ever since I could remember! Everyone in my family loves watching movies so I started literally the minute I could! Hahaha

You being an actress… tell me one movie of actress that really moved you?
Nutanji in Bandini, Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music… so many more!

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your superwoman cape over your blouse and tried to save the world?
Hahaha YES! When I was a kid I loved playing these fantasy games, makeup stories and scenarios and act them out! Even now though would LOVE to portray a female superhero on screen!

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What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
My secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars is something quite simple actually – just want the opportunity to work in the best films with the best directors and best actors…haha not asking for much na? That’s the dream! But yeah a major dream of mine is to work with Wes Anderson!! In any of his films!

Wow! Okay tell me the most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Brilliantly bizarre film!

Your favorite movie and why?
I have many favorite movies! To name a few… Bandini, Sujata, Chandni, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Prestige ! Mainly because all these movies have blown me away and made me want to jump into the screen and be a part of them! They inspire me and solidify my passion to be in the movies!

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
Oh god… um hahaha! This answer will get me into trouble!

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
Kitne aadmi the!” is what comes to mind right this second! Hahaha and also “Thappad se darr nahi lagta sahab, pyar se lagta hai.” But haven’t had the chance to use either in reality! Hahaha

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
Hahaha I think your aim is to get me in trouble!

Okay… let’s move ahead (winks). Any actors you want to add with the director in the same island?
Really Shai….? Hahaha You really want to get me in trouble!

TAB2

Just trying hard so that you can give me a name (laughs) Okay… fine let’s move to your future projects… details?
I am currently prepping for a film which I am super excited about although can’t talk about it yet! The producers will make an announcement soon!

Okay cool… Any message to fellow movie buffs?
Keep watching, keep loving, keep obsessing! I know I can’t stop!

Nice… thank you so much for being a part of LTFW and may you achieve a lot of success with your future projects (smiles)
Thank you and yes all the best for your next novel ALFIE… I read the synopsis… it’s amazing… (smiles)

Hey thank you (smiles)
Waiting for the release… I want to read this book at one go… (smiles)

Thank you and I am sure you will definitely love it and thank you once again for being a part of LTFW!