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.


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

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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!).


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.


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.


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.


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

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’.


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).


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

Movie Review: Rustom – Akshay Saves The Day!

The Independence Day weekend brings today two big budget movies viz. Mohenjo Daro and Rustom starring Akshay Kumar, Ileana Dcuz, and Esha Gupta. 2016 can be ideally called the year of Biopics with so many of them releasing back to back and Rustom again is inspired by the famous Nanavati case the led to the end of the jury system in India.

The movie takes you back in 1950’s Bombay (not Mumbai) when judicial decisions were taken by jury members. Rustom Parvi (Akshay Kumar) serves in the Naval force and lives a happily married life with his wife Cynthia Parvi (Ileana D’cruz). The myth of a happy married life ends when one day Rustom comes back home from sea, earlier than expected and finds out that his much-in-love wife has not returned home for past 2 days. He comes across few letters that tell a story of an illicit relationship between his wife Cynthia and a filthy rich businessman Vikram Makhija (Arjan Bajwa). Unable to bear his wife’s treachery he in a moment of passion kills Vikram and hands himself over to the police and then pleads not guilty. When Vikram’s well-connected sister Preeti Makhija (Esha Gupta) comes to know of her brother’s death, she vows to take revenge and uses everything in her power to put Rustom behind the bars. What happens to Rustom? Would he end up in jail or will he go scot free? Is there more to what lies in front of the eyes? To know that one needs to see the movie.

Although there are few movies made in the past based on the Nanavati case viz. Yeh Raaste Hai Pyar Ke and Achanak, director Tinu Suresh Desai does a decent job, however, the screenplay by Vipul K. Rawal lets him down. The dialogues are okay, however, there are few scenes in the courtroom that evoke laughter.  The editing by Sree Narayan Singh could have been crispier as the movie lags in few places. Songs by Arko, Jeet Ganguli, Ankit Tiwari and Raghav Sachar are decent, however, the background music is quite loud and irritating.

When it comes to performance, Akshay Kumar is at his best. He gets into the character of Rustom Parvi with ease. He emotes well, romances well and Rustom will again be a great performance in his overfilled hat. Ileana D’cruz is good, however, not great. Esha Gupta is a disappointment, the lady needs to emote more than pout. Arjan Bajwa is good in a small role. In supporting cast, Sachin Khedekar, Usha Nadkarni, Kumud Mishra and Pawan Malhotra live up to their parts.

On the whole, the script is weak but performances are great. Go for Rustom if you are a die-hard Akshay Kumar fan.

My Verdict: *** (extra star for Akshay)

Movie Review: Dishoom – Lacks A Solid Punch!

After delivering a mediocre Desi Boyz, David Dhawan‘s son and Varun Dhawan‘s elder brother Rohit Dhawan makes a comeback of sorts with this week’s solo release – Dishoom. Starring John Abraham and Varun Dhawan in the lead and ably supported by Akshaye Khanna, Jacqueline Fernandez, Rahul Dev and whole lot of cameo making stars, Dishoom reminds you of many cop-buddy movies starting from Main Khiladi Tu Anari to Dhoom series. Does this high on octane movie with beautiful visuals packs a punch or not, let’s find out.

36 hours before an India-Pakistan cricket match in the Middle East, India’s star batsman Viraj (Saqib Saleem) gets kidnapped. The kidnappers demand Rs.400 crore for the release of Viraj or else they would kill him. India’s external affairs minister entrusts the brooding, chain-smoking top-cop Kabir (John Abraham) along with Junaid (Varun) who has a rare distinction of never solving any case, to solve the case and bring back the national hero before the news spreads and creates riots.

While on the journey of solving the case, Kabir and Junaid come across many suspicious characters that includes the heroine of the movie Ishika (Jacqueline Fernandez), Wagah (Akshaye Khanna) and Altaf (Rahul Dev). Does Kabir and Junaid find out the real person behind the kidnapping and save Viraj is all what the movie is all about.

The plot is a done to death one and we have seen many cop-buddy movies in the past (as mentioned above) where one character is brooding and strict while the other one is a bumbling buffoon. However, here Varun takes the cake and the bakery with his charming performance and innocence. Varun is proving himself to be a bankable and versatile actor with movies ranging from Badlapur to Humpty Sharma to Dishoom. It’s a sheer pleasure to see him perform on screen. John on the other end does not show much promise as an actor. However, he is exceptionally good with the action scenes. Jacqueline Fernandez has pretty nothing much to do. Akshaye Khanna in a negative role after a 5 year sabbatical shows promise and makes me feel that he is one actor who has never got his due. The rest of the supporting cast from Nargis Fakhri to Vijay Raaz to Rahul Dev and yes we do have a special cameo by Akshay Kumar here, does a great job.

Rohit proves himself to be a massy director however, he fails to have control on the script. The script by him and Tushar Hiranandani is pure average however some of the punchline does evoke laughter. The first half is bearable but the second half needed some trimming to make it more crisper and tight. Cinematography by Ayananka Bose is extremely breathtaking. The action sequences are well executed and music by Pritam is catchy especially the title track, Sau Tarah Ke and Parineeti’s first item song Janeman Aah.

On the whole it is a massy movie however, it still lacks a solid punch.

My Verdict: **1/2

Movie Review: HouseFull 3 – A Slapstick Entertainer, Strictly For Masses!


After two blockbuster predecessors in the form of Housefull and Housefull 2, this week’s release Housefull 3 produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and directed by Sajid-Farhad starring Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bachchan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Jacqueline Fernandez, Lisa Haydon and Nargis Fakhri comes with a lot of expectations. However, with a different set of directors (the previous two were directed by Sajid Khan) does Housefull 3 do justice to the hit franchise is something we can analyze below.

The movie tells the story of Batuk Patel (Boman Irani) who has three daughters with awful Hindi speaking skills, Ganga (Jacqueline Fernandez), Jamuna (Lisa Haydon) and Saraswati (Nargis Fakhri). In front of their father they are the ideal daughters who are cultured and quite dutiful however, to the outside world they are the ultra glamorous Gracy, Jenny and Sarah. The trio is dating Sandy (Akshay Kumar) who has a split personality disorder, Teddy (Riteish Deshmukh) a car racer and Bunty (Abhishek Bachchan) a rapper.

Batuk does not wish to get the three married due to some unknown reason and to discourage them he tells them of an astrologer’s prediction of him dying if they get married. Tempted by the girl’s strong financial background, when Sandy, Bunty and Teddy convince the trio to marry them, all the three girls reject their proposals citing the astrologer’s prediction. Amidst all this, enters the dreaded Mumbai don Urja Nagre (Jackie Shroff), who has a secret agenda of his own. What is the secret of Urja Nagre, how is it connected to Batuk not getting his girls married? What happens to Sandy, Bunty and Teddy in the end, and will the girls finally get a happy ending is what lies ahead.

Being a slapstick comedy do not expect logic here and you should not compare the movie with a Waiting or a Lunchbox or a Bajrangi Bhaijaan as the genres are totally different and Housefull 3 stays true to it’s genre of being a ‘Mass Entertainer’. Coming to the writing part – the writers have borrowed a lot of one liners and jokes from social media memes and whatsapp but does a good job with them. The movie starts strong but loses its steam in the second half however, it finally ends up in a fine way. Coming to direction Sajid-Farhad does an average job. Maybe the humongous expectation from the franchise would have weighed them down apart from handling a multi-starcast.

As it is a multi-starcast movie therefore it does not belong to any one actor. Akshay Kumar and Ritesh Deshmukh being pioneers in slapstick comedies handles their characters very well. Akshay’s split personality scenes are hilarious. Abhishek Bachchan although does a good job, fails to impress as a rapper. Among the girls Jacqueline Fernandez does a good job while Lisa Haydon and Nargis Fakhri are plain okay. Boman Irani, Jackie Shroff and Chunkey Pandey ably support in taking the movie ahead.

Even with multiple music directors – Sohail Sen, Mika Singh-Milind Gaba, Sharib-Toshi and Tanishk Bagchi, music is a sore point in this movie unlike it’s predecessors. Tang Uthake and Pyar Ki is average while the other two tracks are forgettable. The cinematography by Vikas Sivaraman is good. He has captured the locales in London beautifully while the editing by Steven H. Bernard could have been crisper in the second half.

Overall even with its flaws Housefull 3 is a one time watchable movie and it will definitely appeal to the masses.

My Verdict: **1/2


Chai With Shai: Aamir overrated, Akshay Genuine – Ashish R Mohan!

After a long hiatus I am back with my Chai With Shai series and what better way to start it again with one of my favorite people from the industry. He is one of the most promising directors to hit the tinsel town and he has made one of the biggest hits with Akshay Kumar – Khiladi 786. And if I have to describe Ashish R Mohan in one word then I would say he is a ‘Dreamer’. Here is an excerpt from our interesting chat we had recently over the customary ‘Chai’ and cookies for a change (winks).


How did your affair with Bollywood begin (winks)?
Affair! Nice way to put it (laughs). Okay, so it all started when I was a kid. I come from a small town Shimla and had no connections in the Mumbai film industry. My grandmother did her Masters in Music and Hindi and my dad was also an artist – he use to paint. One of my first teachers in school was also a great musician and French national. I was his favourite student. In short, I had a lot of creative influences around me during my childhood.

Right (smiles)
(continues…) My dad used to take me for movies whenever there was a new release in theatre. I remember watching The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Guide when I was a kid. All these influences made me grow up with an intent to join movies and pursue it passionately (smiles). My family was not too financially strong to support me when I decided to move to Mumbai. Moreover, I was too young according to my parents to live on my own. I was 18 when I left for Mumbai. My family did their best to support me. After two months of struggling for work and visiting few sets as a junior artist, I finally got to meet Mr. Anil Devgan, after I got rejected by one of the junior artist supplier for some small part as a background artist. Mr. Devgan was making Blackmail then. I met him few times and kept on pestering him to hire me as an assistant and one day he did hire me (smiles).

So persistence pays (smiles)
Yes, it did pay (laughs). After Blackmail got over I got a chance to join Mr. Rohit Shetty whom I knew since Zameen days. Rohit was very fond of me and knew I would never let him down. I worked with him for 7 years and finally got my first movie Khiladi 786. There’s a lot more in between which I would love to pen down as a biopic someday (laughs).

Please do hire me as your writer to pen your Biography (laughs)
Sure why not (joins laughing).

Khiladi 786 was one of the biggest hits of 2012. With a superstar like Akshay Kumar as the leading man and a big hit under your belt, these are dreams that most of the non-filmy debutants wish for. How did you manage that feat?
It was my writing team and Mr. Himesh Reshammiya who made it possible for me. I had approached many actors for another script which was a heist film based in the late sixties. But none of the actors I approached were ready to trust a newcomer. And when I met Mr. Reshammiya finally, he told me to come up with something that would be fit for a big star. I had no idea whom he was talking about and once we had the final dialogue draft ready, he made us meet Akshay sir.

Wow!!! Tell me all about the first meeting with Akshay?
You won’t believe it was one of the biggest high in my life to sit next to Akshay sir and narrate him my first script and imagine I was narrating him the script on his private plane (gushes). I was not too sure whether he would agree to work with me but he loved the script and had no insecurities working with a newcomer. He said ‘yes’ for the film at an altitude of 15000 feet in his plane flying back to Mumbai. He probably is one of the finest gentleman and the most secure star we have around (smiles).

Now this will definitely make an exciting chapter for your Biography (smiles).
I bet (smiles back).


Ashish, normally every director who works with Akshay Kumar repeats him for his next movie but you went for a Jackky Bhagnani to star in your second movie Welcome 2 Karachi. What is the story behind it?
I so wish I had a chance to direct him again after Khiladi 786. However, Welcome 2 Karachi script didn’t suit his image of an action superstar. I was making a movie with Mr. Irrfan Khan and if I would have taken few matured and professional decisions I would have ended up making a great film (frowns). I got carried away emotionally. But I don’t have any regrets as this experience taught me a lot more than what I learnt from the success of Khiladi 786.

You have seen super success with your first movie and disaster with your second, what has these two experiences taught you?
Rise and fall is just a state of mind.

Sounds very Zen like (laughs).
Yup (winks).

How was it working with Akshay Kumar?
I could not ask for more. I got to learn a lot from him. What makes him a huge star is his humble approach towards everyone on the sets and he creates a very positive atmosphere around him. I learnt a lot from him in terms of discipline and professionalism. I look up to him.

It was heard that the movie you scripted and planned (Welcome 2 Karachi), and the one that actually got made are as different as chalk and cheese. What is the truth behind this rumour?
That’s true but I would hold myself responsible for taking few wrong decisions and making wrong choices (frowns).

How did your family support your decision to become a director?
They always supported me with whatever I decided in life. All they wanted was to see me doing good for myself and people around me.

What are your future plans?
Currently I am working on a production from Costa Rica which is a Spanish language film with a lot of Bollywood influence. Simultaneously writing a script for a big star back in India.

Advice to your fans?
Keep watching movies in the theatre, say no to piracy. Enjoy every moment, live life entertained.


Okay Ashish, now is that part of my series where I would ask you few questions and expect you to reply in one word.
Okay… but be good to me…

What do you mean ‘Good to me’?
I have read your previous interactions and the questions… I am already squirming in my seat (laughs)

I never knew my fun questions can make people nervous (winks and laughs). Okay fine! As the Holiday season is just round the corner, I am going to be good with you… going with the mood of the season (winks)

Akshay Kumar or Jackky Bhagnani?

Got it (winks) Himesh Reshammiya or Vashu Bhagnani?
Himesh Reshammiya without any second thought.

Asin or Lauren the better actress?

The most underrated actor in Bollywood?
Ajay Devgn

The most overrated actor in Bollywood?
Aamir Khan

Ouch! If given a chance which movie you want to remake other than Welcome 2 Karachi (winks)?
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron

The sexiest actress in Bollywood?
Deepika Padukone

Romantic dinners or long drives?
Long drives

Name one person whom you want to be marooned with in an isolated island?
Alia Bhatt

Nice… you have answered every question so quick… so all the nervousness was just a facade huh? Let me ask you some really tough ones now…
No… Spare me (laughs) I think I have already ended up in trouble with few of the answers (laughs full throatedly)

(Joins in laughter) Okay Ashish, it was fun catching up with you and I wish you all the best for your future endeavours.
Thanks Shaiju… It was a pleasure…


Movie Review: Talvar – This sword is sharper than a pen!


This week the releases were as different as chalk and cheese. On one hand if Akshay Kumar entertained us with ‘Singh Is Bliing‘ then on the other hand Meghana Gulzar’s take on Arushi-Hemraj murder case, Talvar made us think twice about the justice system in our country.

Coming to the story. Talvar is based on the Noida double murder case which caught the headlines few years ago. Konkona and Neeraj Kabi play the victim’s parents while Irfan Khan plays an investigation office from CDI (Central Department of Investigation). Like the 1950 Japanese film Rashomon, Talvar presents three contradictory accounts of the case, which variously portray the parents as guilty or innocent.

There have been several crime shows on TV in the past that tried to replicate the Arushi murder case. There was also a movie by Manish TiwariRahasya loosely based on the same case, but the way Meghana brings out the story and shows the nakedness of our country’s police investigation system and judiciary system is applaud worthy.

Konkana and Neeraj Kabi as the accused in the double murder case puts in a very sensitive performance. Each and every emotion has been wrung out by the director from all her actors. Irfan Khan as usual fits into his character easily and delivers a power packed performance. Tabu in a cameo is quite effective. Prakash Belawadi and other supporting actors have done a great job.

In this movie the real king is Vishal Bharadwaj’s script. The dialogues are quite impressive and the background music is quite gripping. Music does not have much scope in this movie and therefore it is not something you are looking forward to.

On the whole it is a nice gripping thriller with a sharp edge.

My Verdict: ****

Movie Review: Singh Is Bliing – Total Paisa Vasool!


After a long time I could say happily that I saw a ‘total paisa vasool’ entertainer with this week’s big release – Singh Is Bliing starring Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson and Lara Dutta, directed by Prabhudheva.

Coming to the story, the movie starts with a bang introducing Akshay Kumar as Raftaar Singh with the Tung Tung song. Set in the Bassi Patna village somewhere in Punjab, Raftaar Singh is a good for nothing young man pampered by his mother (Rati Agnihotri) who is given an option by his father to either take up a job with his friend (Pradeep Rawat) in Goa or marry an obese girl from the village. Raftaar chooses to go to Goa. Meanwhile, somewhere in Romania Sara’s (Amy Jackson) life is in danger and therefore her multi-millionaire don father (Kunal Kapoor) sends her to Goa to his friend who also happens to be Raftaar’s boss too. Sara comes to Goa with the main intention to track down her long-lost mother.

Raftaar is given the job to take care of Sara and as he is not able to speak or understand English, his sidekicks (Arfi Lamba and Anil Mange) hire Emily (Lara Dutta) to work as a translator. Emily with her intentional wrong translations create a lot of confusion between Sara, Raftaar and his sidekicks.

There is another parallel story where Boxer a local goon is trying to buy the casino owned by Raftaar’s boss, which he refuses to sell. In the bargain there are small fights happening and in one such fight Sara shows her fighting skills and injures Boxer and his men. In turn Boxer informs Marc (Kay Kay Menon) the man who is trying to hunt down Sara and kill her about her whereabouts. Soon the story takes a change. Will Sara find her mother? Will Sara and Raftaar fall in love and lead a happy life or would she get killed by Marc and his men? To find out watch the movie.

Performance-wise Akshay Kumar does a wonderful job as always. His comic timing is superb and his scenes especially with Lara Dutta, Arfi, Anil and Amy is quite hilarious. Amy Jackson as Sara is a perfectly cast. As her character happens to be born and raised in Romania all her dialogues are in English. Moreover, she has executed the fight sequences very well and it is a joy to see her kick some ass. Lara Dutta in her comeback role is superb. It is a small role but she has done justice to it and raises a lot of laughter throughout her screen presence. Arfi Lamba and Anil Mange as Akshay’s sidekicks have done a good job and so are the rest of the supporting cast including Rati Agnihotri, Pradeep Rawat and Murali Sharma.

Prabhudheva after his last disaster Action Jackson is in full form with Singh Is Bliing. Prabhu has entered into an unchartered territory and has come out with flying colors. The story, screenplay and dialogues are good. However, the climax could have been more powerful and the second half could have been edited better by Steven Benardi.  Cinematography by Dudley is wonderful. Music is credited to Manj, Sajid-Wajid, Sneha Khanwalkar and Meet Bros. Every song is a chartbuster and gels perfectly with the story and setup.

On the whole this movie will appeal to anyone and everyone.

My Verdict: ****