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: ***

Movie Review: Sarbjit Tragic But Real!

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Biopics are the flavor of tinseltown these days and soon after Neerja and Azhar we have another biopic hitting the screens this week – Sarbjit. If Omung Kumar showcased his expertise in storytelling with Mary Kom then Sarbjit confirms the fact that he is no flash in the pan. Based on a real life character Sarbjit featuring the ever so talented Randeep Hooda and beautiful Aishwarya Rai, is an eye opener of a movie. This brother-sister saga will churn your heart and will make you question being a human. Even animals will never put their kind through such atrocities the way one human being might do to another.

Sarbjit Singh (Randeep Hooda) is a farmer who’s a doting brother, husband and father who is humiliated in the most despicable ways in jails in Pakistan for allegedly being Ranjit Singh, the mastermind behind the ghastly Lahore blasts. His stoic sister Dalbir Kaur (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) makes herculean efforts to attain freedom for her brother. Sarbjit’s wife Sukhpreet (Richa Chadha) silently raises two daughters Poonam (Ankita Shrivastava) and Swapan (Shivani Saini) with a hope to see her husband free one day. Dalbir tries out every conceivable option including meeting the Prime Minister of India while Sarbjit desperately collects whatever vestiges of family that he could through stray letters. A Pakistani lawyer Awais Shaikh (Darshan Kumaar) takes over Sarbjit’s case and battles out fanatic forces to try to obtain a semblance of justice for Sarbjit and his beleaguered family.

Writing a screenplay about a real life personality is a Herculean task and one should applaud Utkarshini Vashishtha and Rajesh Beri for the same. The movie is a dark movie with no scope for entertainment but Omung Kumar does a fabulous job with his direction to keep the audience attention captivated. Randeep Hooda has given his career best and gets into the skin of Sarbjit. Some of the torture scenes in the jail will make you squirm in your seats.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan barring few high-octane scenes where she goes overboard with histrionics delivers a strong performance. Richa Chaddha as Sukhpreet does a wonderful job. She knew very well that the movie rests on the shoulders of Aishwarya and Randeep and therefore instead of competing with them for screen presence she does a fabulous job with her limited screen time.

The music by Jeet Ganguly, Shail-Pritesh, Amal Malik and Tanishk Bagchi goes with the mood of the movie. The background is quite gripping and the locales are well captured by the lens of Kiran Deohans. Editing could have been crisper especially in the second half towards the end.

On the whole Sarbjit is a gripping human tale which every Indian should watch.

My Verdict: ****

Movie Review: Jazbaa – Weak Script, Powerful Performances!

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This week we have the most anticipated comeback movie of Aishwarya RaiJazbaa releasing. Like every top heroine who made a comeback after a long hiatus, Aishwarya too chose a woman centric role and I must say the decision was wise. However the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

Jazbaa tells the story of prominent criminal lawyer Anuradha Verma (Aishwarya) whose daughter – Sanaya (Sara Arjun) gets abducted in broad daylight.  Anuradha who is a single mother, is informed by the abductor to defend and save a convicted felon – Nayaaz (Chandan Roy Sanyal), charged with rape and murder of a woman – Sia (Priya Banerjee), daughter of college professor Garima Chaudhary (Shabana Azmi), in return of her daughter. Left with no choice, she starts collecting evidence to free Nayaaz.

On the other hand, Yohan (Irrfan Khan) seeks his friend Anuradha’s help to fight his case as he is suspended from his services by Anti Corruption Bureau on corruption charges. However, as Anuradha does not respond back to him, he suspects that not everything is fine with her. Despite Anuradha’s warnings and requests, Yohan gets involved in her daughter’s kidnapping case.  Does Anuradha manage to save Nayaaz and get her daughter back? How is Nayaaz and the kidnappers connected etc. is answered during the course of the movie.

Aishwarya is in top form and delivers quite effectively (if you pardon few sequences where she goes over the top). Irrfan is quite effective as a street-smart cop and his one-liners are quite entertaining (however, after sometime it gets repetitive). Chandan Roy Sanyal stands tall with his performance as Nayaaz and so are the other supporting actors including Shabana Azmi, Siddhant Kapoor, Atul Kulkarni and Jackie Shroff. 

The movie is a rip-off of Korean film 7 Days however, if you compare the Indian version with the original then you can see some gaping holes in the screenplay. To make it appealing to Indian audiences, Sanjay Gupta along with Robin Bhatt has burdened the screenplay with too many dramatic situations and dialogues. If you eliminate the same this edgy thriller is quite a fun to watch.

Music by Amjad-Nadeem, Arko Pravo Mukherjee and Sachin-Jigar is wonderful. Background music by Amar Mohile is quite pacy and gripping. Cinematography by Sameer Arya is decent however,  editing by Bunty Negi could have been better to make the movie sleeker and crispier.

On the whole, I would say it is a decent one time watch movie.

My Verdict: ***