Movie Review: Raees – Old Wine In New Bottle… Highly Disappointing!


This week saw the release of much-awaited Raees starring Shah Rukh Khan (the movie was in the making and then in the cans for the longest time ever). The movie promos gave a perception that it had the best recipe for a sure shot hit. With few catchy dialogues thrown in – Baniye Ka Dimaag Aur Miyan Bhai Ki Daring…. a special item number with Sunny Leone thrown in for the front benchers. Some daredevilry fights punched in. And, overall the biggest star of the country SRK leading the way ahead. But, did the recipe actually work for Rahul ‘Parzania’ Dholakia and Farhan Akhtar‘s production house that we will have to wait and watch at the box office. Coming to the movie, let’s analyze if it was worth the wait.

Shah Rukh Khan plays Raees a spectacled goon who hates being called “battery”. He and his childhood friend cum sidekick (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub) – how can a hero be without a sidekick; start from harmless Ponzi schemes to pre-planned rackets and becomes the top bootlegger of his town. How can a story about a criminal be complete without a police officer; so Raees meets his equal when ACP Majmudar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is posted in his area. Raees forms a nexus with politicians who fuel his business, but he soon becomes the thorn in their side. No Hindi film hero can be complete without a lady love and therefore we have Mahira Khan added to the cast to give some respite to Raees’ character whenever he is tired of running his criminal activities and cat and mouse game with the police.

The problem is with the script in totality. Rahul Dholakia and his writers have not offered anything new that we have not seen in earlier movies. Just putting the characters in 70’s and 80’s does not bring novelty to a plot. Even Shah Rukh’s performance is hampered because of the shoddy screenplay. Also, it is high time SRK did some analysis of his atrocious choices of movies after Chak De India. We want better movies from you Shah Rukh.

Nawazuddin, as usual, is good in his character but again the story and screenplay is the villain here. Even a wonderful performer like Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as well as Atul Kulkarni are wasted in insignificant roles. Casting of Mahira Khan in the movie and creating a controversy around her was all a hoax. Any junior artist could have done her role.

Coming to the music. Ram Sampath does a decent job but the songs sound very jaded and very 90’s. Cinematography by K.U. Mohanan is first rate. Action scenes are okay and in few places, we feel the action director got confused if he was making a Superman or Batman or Antman movie and has made SRK perform like one. Editing by Deepa Bhatia could have been crispier especially in the second half. Coming to direction, I would rather advise Rahul Dholakia to make his brand of movies like Parzania than attempt potboilers that do not make any sense at all.

Overall, the movie is an utter disappointment.

My Verdict: **/5

Movie Review: Baar Baar Dekho – A Total Letdown!

A news like Dharma Productions and Excel Entertainment joining hands is something to celebrate, as both premier production houses are known for some pathbreaking and good movies. However, after watching Baar Baar Dekho, I must admit that even best in the industry can also come up with a bad product. Debutant director Nitya Mehra had everything going in her favor viz. Big stars – Katrina Kaif and Siddharth Malhotra, big names/banners – Karan Johar, Farhan Akhtar & Ritesh Sidhwani, good songs – Kala Chashma, Nachde Ve Saare, Sau Aasman etc, big budget, picturesque locations and a grand release, alas all gone waste.

The movie tells the story of childhood friends turned sweethearts Diya (Katrina) and Jay (Siddharth) ready to tie the knot. However, on the day of their marriage, it dawns on him that they are different and he chickens out of the marriage. Then comes the time travel part where Jay with every sleep he wakes from finds himself in different time zones and he keeps aging and so does his relationship with Diya which is going for a toss and how he goes back to mend the relationship forms the rest of the story.

There is nothing new in the story or the premise as we have seen many similar ones churned out by Hollywood in the past. Also, if we jog our mind, there were few examples in Hindi movies too, eg: Love Story 2050, Kal Kisne Dekha and Action Replay. The first 30 mins are quite exciting and build up the expectations of the viewers, however, post the first time traveling expedition, the movie nose dives. Nitya Mehra needs to work harder as a director in her future movies as she is not able to leave a stamp with her abilities.

The screenplay, story, and dialogues by Sri Rao, Anuvab Pal, Nitya Mehra and Anvita Dutt is not up to the mark. Katrina and Siddharth do not deliver any noteworthy performances. There are not many surprises from the supporting cast either. The music is good, the editing is very average. The cinematography by Ravi K Chandran is breathtaking.

On the whole, you will not miss too much if you do not watch this movie.

My Verdict: *

Let’s Talk Films With Manoj Chandila

Today on LTFW we have one of my best friends – model turned actor Manoj Chandila talking about movies, masti, and magic. So here are excerpts from our short conversation.


What kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
Movies are a state of trance for me & I would want to be in that state for as long as I can be (laughs). If I have enough time on hand I can even watch films from morning 6am to 6pm. It’s difficult to choose one film as my favorite but Dustin Hoffman’s “TOOTSIE” remains a loved film forever.

Since what age are you watching movies?
It has to be the time when I started acting & I developed a feverish love for films (smiles).

You being an actor… tell me one movie that you remember that has the main lead playing an actor?
Oh!! It’s Dustin in Tootsie again and Farhan Akhtar in Luck By Chance.

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your briefs over your pants and tried to save the world?
(Guffaws) No… never in my wildest dreams… However, if I am provided with that kind of power I would most certainly want to save the world from coming atrocities and dangers.

What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
Why would I tell u my secret fantasy, as revealing it to u it would be no more a secret (winks).

Fine… Moving on, the most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
There was a film called “Boom” starring Amitabh Bachchan and Katrina Kaif, and it was a real headache (holds his head dramatically).

Your favorite movie and why?
Well DDLJ remains my all time favorite and when it comes to Hollywood, I already told – Tootsie (smiles). Oh yes, add The Scent of a Woman too….these films are special in their own way and style, and I like them for how beautifully they are woven and executed.

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
“Police ne tumhe charo taraf se gher liya hai” has been the one but I recently watched a Hindi film in which the judge in a court room scene repetitively & incessantly says “Order Order”.

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
We don’t normally use any film dialogue in real life unless the situation is funny but once I do remember I bought shoes and they had to be delivered to my house and telling a store manager my name as Vijay Dinanath Chauhan after writing this name on the bill he paused and said “you are joking, right sir?” We both laughed after that (smiles).

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
Let me reach that stage where I can name them…save this question until that next major interview, please (winks).

Message to fellow movie buffs?
Watch as many movies as u can and if you are an actor then stakes are much higher. You should be a walking film library. It enriches u both consciously & subconsciously.

Thank you so much for being a part of LTFW and wish you all the best for your future endeavors (smiles)
You too and I am waiting for your next book release Alfie The Elf… I just loved the first three chapters you shared with me, in fact, my daughter has already become a huge fan of Alfie (smiles).

Thank you, Alfie is on the way… we are planning a November release.