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: Bajirao Mastani ‘Epic’ Movie!

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The much awaited movie of the decade Bajirao Mastani has finally released this week in competition with Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol starrer Dilwale (more on Dilwale separately, later).

Coming back to Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s dream project which was in the making for the last 12 years with the original cast of Salman Khan-Aishwarya Rai-Rani Mukherji replaced with Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone-Priyanka Chopra, I must say has been worth the wait. Bhansali has not only painted a beautiful and visually striking canvas for the celluloid but has also packed some strong performances from the lead characters.

Bajirao Bhallal (Ranveer Singh) earns the ‘Peshwa’ title from Chattrapati Shahu Maharaj (Mahesh Manjrekar) and goes on to prove his bravery by winning one war after another. One day Maharaja Chatrasal’s (Benjamin Gilani) daughter Mastani (Deepika Padukone) approaches him to help her father save his kingdom from Mughals. Bajirao agrees to help the King and wins the war against Mughals but the much married Peshwa loses his heart to Mastani and marries her in a rare custom by unknowingly giving her a dagger. Bajirao leaves for Pune and resumes his duty as the Minister of the King, a dutiful son and loving husband to Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra).

Not able to stay apart from Bajirao, Mastani follows him to Pune. The Peshwa’s family as well as his subjects are against his union with a Muslim princess and a huge uproar happens in Pune. What happens to Bajirao, Mastani and Kashibai’s lives from thereon is a beautiful story that should be seen on the screen.

Although there are few blemishes in the script and Bhansali has taken few creative liberties to glorify the love story between one of the greatest warriors in the history of India and his second wife, the movie is an experience in itself. Each and every frame is like an independent painting with beautiful visuals, props, lighting and colors. It took almost 5 plus decades for India to produce another movie like Mughal-E-Azam and full credit goes to Bhansali.

Ranveer Singh has owned the character and brought life to Bajirao Bhallal. He is outstanding in the role and makes his critics sit back and eat their words. Deepika has not only looked gorgeous but also performed well. Although I never saw anyone other than Aishwarya as Mastani, but I was pleasantly surprised with Deepika trying to beautifully fit into the vacant shoes of the former beauty queen. Priyanka is the third strongest pillar of this love triangle and she has done a tremendous job. She looks and acts like a Maharashtrian lady and is quite a treat to watch on the screen. Tanvi Azmi as Peshwa’s mother Radhabai is praiseworthy. It is a pleasant surprise to see her carry out a dark character superbly.

Rest of the supporting cast especially Milind Soman, Aditya Pancholi, Mahesh Manjrekar, Benjamin Gilani are superb. The casting is perfect and one should applaud the casting director for doing a great job.

There are few glitches that I earlier hinted like, after building up Aditya Pancholi‘s character as a bad guy, he surprisingly goes missing from the plot. The dance sequences especially Pinga seems to be force fitted. The climax is cinematically good but it is far from what happened to Mastani – Oops… do not want to reveal further!

The war sequences have been beautifully picturized by Action Director Sham Kaushal. The dialogues are impactful and the cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is breathtaking.

Music by Bhansali is average; however, Deewani Mastani stands out. The sets by Nitin Desai are out of this world especially the Aaina Mahal which is worth a dekko after the Sheesh Mahal one saw in Mughal-E-Azam. The background music is quite captivating. The movie will definitely appeal to classes as well as masses.

On the whole, this is an EPIC movie one should not miss out on.

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: ***