Movie Review: Simran – Outstanding Performance, Weak Script!

If I say Kangana Ranaut is one of the most talented actors in India is an understatement. Kangana is the only actor in India who I think can hold up interest in a weak scripted movie with her performance alone, eg: Simran, this week’s release. A lot of hype was created around the movie about how Kangana was taking away the credits for the script from the writer of the movie Apurva Asrani. Kangana also claimed she improvised on the script and wrote numerous drafts over Apurva’s original draft and the movie is the result of those improvisations. However, if that is true, then Kangana should leave the writing part to the writers and stick to her part which is acting (she does that better than anything else).

Coming to the movie, Simran tells the story of a 30-year-old divorcee Praful Patel (Kangana) who works as a housekeeper in a luxury hotel in Atlanta. Praful stays with her parents and dreams of owning her own house. Things go out of hand when she loses all her money in a casino in Las Vegas and to win back her money she takes a loan from a loan shark. Meanwhile, her loan application gets rejected due to bad credit history. With the loan shark breathing down her neck, she has no choice but to start looting banks to pay back the loan amount.

The story is inspired by a true life incident however, the screenplay is a big let down. The first half is quite entertaining but the curse of second half puts its hands on this movie too. The second half is quite boring, unimaginative and blows the logic of our brains. The way Praful goes looting the bank and the way American cops seems to tackle the issue is quite childish and amateurish. Baring few really bad dialogues (eg: “Tumhe saans lete dekhna hi ek kamyabi hai” mouthed by Sohum Shah in a park while talking to Kangana), it is quite funny and real lifelike.

Coming to performances, the movie revolves around Kangana and therefore she is in the limelight. She blows your mind with her performance. The way she laughs, cries, emotes only through expressions is something only Kangana can do and it is quite believable. The way Kangana tries to flirt with a guy in a bar is quite hilarious. Also, the way she cries after losing her money in the casino reminds you of her drunken breakdown scene from Queen. There is a scene in the movie where Kangana does not have a dialogue, she just has to lift a champagne glass and toast it with the cityscape of Las Vegas, one can see and feel how she is celebrating the emptiness of her life. The scene where she lifts a stool to hit her father after he slaps her is again a wonderful scene. If Queen was one of her best, then Simran tops it. She is worthy of every award and rewards in the coming season. The director and writer have not given ample space for any supporting characters in the movie and therefore they do not leave a lasting impression.

Music by Sachin-Jigar is average but my favorite is ‘Meet’ and ‘Single Rehne De’. I think the filmmakers did a huge mistake by replacing the editor (Apurva Asrani) with Antara Lahiri as the second half editing is quite drab. The cinematography is good and so is the BGM.

Hansal Mehta is a wonderful director but in Simran’s world is a different ball game for him compared to his regular genre of dark and gritty ones, and it shows. There are a lot of scenes in the movie especially in the second half which could have been directed well especially the bank looting scenes and the car chase scenes. However, you cannot deny the fact that if Kangana does a great job with her acting then Hansal has to be praised for getting it out from her.

On the whole, I felt the screenplay lets the movie down but Kangana’s performance takes the movie to a different level.

My Verdict: ***/5 

Movie Review: Shubh Mangal Saavdhan – A Must Watch!

In the last few weeks, we have been catered to movies primarily revolving around small town characters whether it is Toilet: Ek Prem Katha or Bareilley Ki Barfi or even Babumoshai Bandookbaaz. This week comes another small budget movie with a small town flavor starring Ayushman Khurana and Bhumi Pednekar – Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. Directed by debutant R S Prasanna, this is a remake of Prasanna’s 2013 Tamil sleeper hit movie Kalyana Samyal Sadham.

Mudit (Ayushman) and Sugandha (Bhumi) are all set to marry, however, two days prior to their wedding, Mudit realizes he suffers from an erectile dysfunction, which almost sabotages their wedding after both the families get involved. Leading to a comical mess, Mudit attempts to treat his medical condition, using all the possible quacks.

Here again, the story is the main hero of the movie talking about a taboo subject – erectile dysfunction. Writer Hitesh Kewaly has done a great job of translating and remolding a regional movie for the North Indian movie goers. The dialogues and situations are quite situational and funny eg: Seema Pahwa explaining sexual act via Alibaba and Gufa, the soggy biscuit falling scene explaining gent’s problem etc.

Performances are awesome and actors are well-cast based on the characters. Leading the pack is Ayushman Khurana who is becoming better with every movie. He plays the character of Mudit with a lot of conviction and we can aptly call him the ‘Amol Palekar’ of this generation. Bhumi Pednekar is first rate. There is a scene where Bhumi tries to seduce Ayushman in a park which starts off as a funny scene ending into an emotional one – here you can see how well she like a chameleon shifts from one mood to another. Seema Pahwa is hilarious and has done a wonderful job. After Bareilley Ki Barfi, this is another performance of Seema that will be remembered for a long time. Among the supporting actors, Brijendra Kala is awesome.

Music is average, however, you might put the Kanha song on a loop to listen. The cinematography is good. Editing is crisp (the movie is just 105 mins). Background score is nice.

On the whole, this is one movie one should not miss!

My Verdict: ****/5