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: ***

10 Best Movies of 2015!

As the year 2015 is coming to an end, it’s time for us to look back and see the best movies of 2015. Statutory Warning: This is my opinion and it might differ from yours therefore please do not crucify me 😉

This year belonged to the letter ‘B’.  Most of the movies which had a title starting with the letter ‘B’ eg: Baby, Badlapur, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Baahubali, Bajirao Mastani etc. surprisingly not only did well at the Box Office but also garnered critical acclaim. So here we go.

Baby

Baby: One of the first movies to release in 2015 starring Akshay Kumar and Tapsee Pannu was a winner with the masses and the critics. Directed by Neeraj Pandey who had earlier directed A Wednesday and Special 26, this spy action thriller had some breathtaking stunts and edge of the seat moments. This songless movie made at a budget of Rs.58 crores set the ball rolling for Akshay Kumar and earned few crores short of Rs.100 Crores.

Badlapur

Badlapur: This Varun Dhawan revenge drama with some soulful music was released one week after the Valentine’s Day. Badlapur not only gave Sriram his first hit after Ek Haseena Thi, Johnny Gaddar and Agent Vinod but also gave Varun a major image makeover, who has always been associated with candy floss romances in the past. This Sriram Raghavan directed movie had some high power performances from actors like Nawazuddin Siddique, Huma Qureshi, Divya Dutta and Radhika Apte. Made on a budget of Rs.25 Crores, this action crime thriller earned around Rs.77 Crores at the Box Office.

DUMLAGAKE

Dum Laga Ke Haisha: This Ayushmann Khurrana – Bhumi Pednekar romantic comedy from YRF was one of the surprise hits of the year. Set in 1995, the movie tells the story of a loser who gets married to a fat girl against his wishes and how during the course of their marital journey they fall in love with each other. A simple story that not only won big hearts but also big money for the producers. This Sharat Katariya movie made at a budget of Rs.15 Crores (inclusive of Print and Publicity) earned around Rs.45 Crores net at the Box Office.

NH!)

NH10: The shy ‘Taaniji’ from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi turned producer with this movie and also went out of her comfort zone to do a slasher thriller revolving around her character. The plot inspired from the English movie Eden Lake tells the story of a couple whose road trip goes for a toss after a chance encounter with a group of violent criminals who kill their sister and her lover in the name of honour killing. This Navdeep Singh directed movie garnered a lot of critical acclaim for Sharma and the masses also loved the movie making it a sleeper hit at the Box Office. Made on a budget of Rs.13 Crores, NH10 made Rs.33 Crores at the Box Office.

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Baahubali – The Beginning: This is one of the rarest cases in Indian cinema where a dubbed movie made more than Rs.100 Crores at the Box Office. Directed by the hugely talented SS. Rajamouli this epic historical fiction movie is first of the two parts. Starring Prabhas and Rana Daggubatti as two warring brothers fighting for control of an ancient Indian kingdom Maheshmati, this movie was an answer to Hollywood productions such as Game of Thrones and 300. The movie not only broke records within India but also internationally. Made at a budget of Rs.120 Crores the movie made Rs.600 Crores worldwide, breaking all language barriers. The second part Baahubali – The Conclusion is one of the most awaited movies of 2016.

bajrangi-bhaijaan

Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Salman Khan starrers are a huge pull during Eid every year. However, 2015 Eid was special not only for Salman Khan but also to his fans as one of his career best movies released with a thundering response at the Box Office. This emotional drama directed by Kabir Khan tells the story of Pawan (Khan) a simpleton and an ardent devotee of Hanuman who finds a mute Pakistani girl (Harshali) separated from her family during her visit to India. He embarks on a journey to unite the kid with her family back in Pakistan. Also starring Kareena Kapoor and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bajrangi Bhaijaan made at a budget of Rs.90 Crores and produced by Salman Khan, garnered around Rs.324 Crores net in India while its worldwide collection was to the tune of Rs.625 Crores.

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Tanu Weds Manu Returns: This Kangana Ranaut-Madhavan sequel to 2011’s surprise hit Tanu Weds Manu was one of the much awaited movies of the year. Like its prequel, this Aanand L. Rai musical-romcom high on performances did very well at the Box Office. Kangana Ranaut in her career’s first double role as Dattu and Tanu won the hearts of the viewers apart from giving one of her career-best performances. After last year’s Queen, Kangana proved once again that she is one actor who do not need a Khan, Kapoor or Kumar to give a Box Office hit. Give her a good script and see her transform in front of the camera. Tanu Weds Manu is the only woman oriented movie made in India that has earned over Rs.150 Crores. The total budget of the movie was Rs.15 Crores.

Talvar

Talvar: This Meghana Gulzar movie was based on the 2008 Noida double murder case, in which a teenage girl and her family servant were found murdered, and her parents were convicted for the murders. The movie not only revived the case but also showed the investigation flaws conducted by the Police Department and CBI. The movie starring  Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Neeraj Kabi and Sohum Shah in leading roles garnered critical as well as box office acclaim. Made at a budget of Rs.15 Crores the movie made almost Rs.30 Crores at the Box Office.

Tamasha

Tamasha: This Ranbir-Deepika movie directed by Imtiaz Ali attracted a lot of debate. Some liked the movie, some hated it while some didn’t understand the story at all. Like all Imtiaz Ali movies this one was also an emotional tale that narrates the story of Ved (Ranbir) who loses his self by living according to the social conventions expected of him unless he is reintroduced to himself by Tara (Deepika). Made at a budget of Rs.60 Crores this movie made Rs.106 Crores worldwide.

BM

Bajirao-Mastani: The long in the making Sanjay Leela Bhansali dream epic released along with Shahrukh-Kajol hyped movie Dilwale. Minus the original cast of Salman-Aishwarya-Rani, this movie will go down in the history of Indian movies as one of the most well made and stylish movies after Mughal-E-Azam. High on performance and critical acclaim, this Ranveer Singh-Deepika-Priyanka movie was the best way to close a year filled with lot of cinematic surprises. Made on a budget of Rs. 120 Crores this movie has already made Rs.128 Crores at the box office and it is still going strong.

Movie Review: ‘Tamasha’ Zindagi Ka

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Two weeks back Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha released creating a huge division of opinion between the audiences. Some loved it while some hated it and some for no reason hated it because they were disappointed to not see an extension of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani only because of the lead pair. I had to wait patiently to come back to India and watch the movie, as I was holidaying abroad.

A man (Ranbir Kapoor) meets a woman (Deepika Padukone) on the French island of Corsica. They promise each other that they will neither reveal their identities to each other nor will they ever meet – what happens in Corsica remains in Corsica becomes their mantra. However, they both fall in love but as they have promised they go their separate ways.

After few years they meet but the man – Ved woman -Tara met in Corsica and the one she meets in Delhi are diametrically opposite in behaviour, attitude and personality. Which one is the real Ved – the one she met in Corsica or the one in Delhi? What happens to their love story? These are questions that get answered during the course of the movie.

The movie is a reflection of almost every person’s life especially middle class families where you are supposed to study hard, work hard and lead a robotic life that will give way to another generation of robots. What your heart really wants or what you dream about bears less importance, as generation after generation followed this pattern. It takes a Shining ‘Star’ Tara (Deepika) to make a Ved (Ranbir) realize how he has lost his true identity to follow the set pattern.

Ranbir has given his career’s best performance in Tamasha while Deepika has supported him ably. The story and direction by Imtiaz Ali is wonderful and it is one of those rare movies that will go down in the history of Indian cinema as a classic. A.R. Rahman once again proves that he is The God of Music. Each and every song starting from Matargashti to Agar Tum Saath Ho to Heer to Safarnama are musical gems and gels well with the storyline. Lyrics by Irshad Kamil is poetic and well versed.

On the whole Tamasha will definitely not appeal to the audience who are hardcore fans of masala movies but it will definitely strike a chord with the class audience.

My Verdict: ****

Chai With Shai XCLUSIVE: Kapil Sharma wants to ROMANCE Ranbir Kapoor!

Dunno Y…Na Jaane Kyu is regarded as the torchbearer for LGBT films from India after it got applauded and appreciated internationally. The movie not only bagged 11 international awards but also gave way to the first Indian-Norwegian movie collaboration with its sequel Dunno Y2, which is releasing coming Friday. Today on ‘Chai With Shai’ we have Kapil Sharma, my dear friend and the lead actor of the Dunno Y series opening up to me about everything from movies to his life, and future ahead over the customary Cutting Chai! Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

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From a child actor to a mature actor how has your journey been so far?
Fantastic! As a kid I got the opportunity to act with bigwigs like Dharamji and Rakheeji in superhit films like Shradhanjali, Hukumat etc. Infact I enjoyed my short little stint of fame in my school as I always grabbed a lot of attention from my friends, teachers and relatives (smiles).

I can understand (smiles)
I wonder at times how I managed to act when at that age as I was a shy kid. I used to get nervous every time, even while speaking to guests visiting our home. That does not mean I am now super confident and extrovert (laughs) I am still a shy and introvert person however, even now as well as when I was a kid, I just transform into some other person the moment I face the camera.

How was it growing up being Anil Sharma’s younger brother? How much did he inspire you to take your baby steps in Bollywood?
We are a big family. I have four older brothers and one sister. Being the youngest Anil Bhaiya was always like a father figure. I remember at times he used to come to pick me from school and we used to walk all the way home. He used to take me for ice cream treats and we used to have a lot of fun but when he had to be strict he was really strict.

Being Anil Sharma’s brother, K. C Sharmas’ son, I learnt a lot of things about this industry by default. Like I have seen phases when the attitude of the industry people changed with every Hit or Flop they made. I have seen them hitting the zenith and then falling down, only to rise back and so on. Their success and failure somewhere made me realize early in my life that nothing is permanent here. My Mantra – Never get carried away by success and never destroy yourself when you are down.

Also I learnt from Anil Bhaiya that you cannot take your success or good work for granted. One cannot live on their past laurels, instead one has to work harder and reinvent yourself continuously or this industry will not care if you are the son of a popular person or not.

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So true (frowns)… Tell me your earliest memories about Bollywood?
Since my father had started film production even before I was born, I was exposed to the movie industry from birth. At that time we had a small 1BHK house which also doubled up as my father’s office, so there was some or the other work related activities always happening at our home, all the time. Also as my father is also an astrologer, lot of industry people dropped at our home for consultation. Therefore, from childhood I was exposed to film personalities at close quarters.

I remember my brothers regularly watched classics repeatedly at home. Classics like Pyaasa, Mughal-E-Azam, Sholay, Amar Akbar Anthony etc. apart from English classics were seen. I was subconsciously exposed to all kind of cinema and for me biggest hobby was to watch films (laughs).

Same here (joins in laughter) even now I have to watch one more a day or I can’t sleep.
That’s the magic of movies I believe (smiles). Every week I had to see one film in theater otherwise I would cry (laughs) therefore, my mom used to force my brothers on my weekly holidays to take me for a movie. I used to imitate dance moves of actors and actresses I used to watch in those movies (laughs out loud).

You started out with a commercial movie like Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo directed by your brother Anil Sharma starring Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Bobby Deol. How was your experience working on that movie?
It was a tough movie to do. When I signed the film I actually didn’t realise that I am so fortunate that I am working with The Amitabh Bachchan in my first film itself. For this film I went for a one month army training at an army cantonment. I stayed over there as a jawan and followed everyday rituals of training, without giving away my true identity. The training was gruesome and I felt  a sense of achievement the day I completed it (smiles).

For the role, I also worked on my Haryanvi accent. Everyday shooting with mega stars like Amitabh Bachchan , Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol, Danny Dengzongpa, Naghma and thousands of crowds, and a huge unit in difficult locales of Manali and Rajasthan in the worst temperatures (sighs), was tough but worth cherishing for life time (smiles).

kapil yuvraaj zeenat

What was it that prompted you to experiment with a controversial subject in Dunno Y1?
Most of the Bollywood films portrayed gay characters in a clichéd way by caricaturing them and always used them for cheap fun. Films never touched the human side.

True… So how did it take shape?
Then I saw Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain and it made me think. I felt a sensitive story like it should also be made in India. But many people suggested me that it’s not the right time to make a movie on similar subject. But I feel there is no right or wrong time for a good story. If it has to be told it has to be told… Period (smiles).

How did you and Yuvraaj meet?
Yuvraaj and I initially met in our dance class. Though we were always cordial with each other, we became good friends once we started working on this film (smiles).

Lata Mangeshkar had long stopped accepting any singing assignments what was it that prompted her to sing one song each in both your movies?
I would say I am very very lucky. In the last 5 years she refused offers from some of the biggest directors and production houses, yet she sang for us in both the films. In fact in the last 5 years, ours is the only Hindi feature film in which she has sung songs (smiles). For me music means Lataji and my day is incomplete without listening even one song of hers. It was my dream that Lataji should sing for at least one movie of mine and the universe granted my wish (smiles). It is rightly said that what you really desire for, the universe does its best to get it to you. I guess when we approached her, both the times somehow she just could not refuse. But I am greedy and have taken a promise from her that she will sing for my next film too (laughs).

lataji

Did you ever feel that a movie with a gay theme will be banned by the purists and you might never see it release in India?
When we started the film, we thought it will create curiosity, but then we never thought that we would get such extreme reactions wherein we even got life threats via anonymous letters during the first movie’s release. Then there was a protest against the movie lead by a political party who stood outside my house (sighs).

You never felt like giving up?
Never! In fact most of the multiplexes had refused to screen the film for its theme even after the movie starred legends like Helenji, Zeenat Aman and Kabir Bedi. That was in fact a very big shock. Hopefully we are expecting this time around there will be changes in the mindset of those people who protested and theaters who refused to screen.

Is Dunno Y2 a continuation of what we saw in the first movie or a totally new story with the same set of actors?
Will this time the story is completely new. But the names of our characters are same of last films. This time we meet in a new background and with a different approach. Last time the film was more serious this time also the message is the same but in a more fun and celebration way.

What is DunnoY2 all about? (story in brief)
Dunno Y2 is a sweet funny love story between a Pakistani and Indian boy. It gives a message that love is above gender, religion, race and manmade boundaries.

What is the USP of DY2?
The freshness in the story. A different approach of script which is an amalgamation of Indian and Norwegian sensibilities. The beautiful locations of Norway and the lovely music and of course our performances (winks).

kapil

How confident are you of Dunno Y2 getting acceptance in present scenario?
This time we are much more confident with the acceptance. The generation next is very cool and open-minded. We pray things go fine and our film should lead to more awareness and acceptance to the LGBT issue.

Dunno Y1 has reaped some of the prestigious awards how confident are you to repeat the same with Dunno Y2?
Well Dunno Y1 is considered a cult film worldwide as it won 11 international awards and it’s still getting screened in some or other part of the world. To touch this benchmark for the sequel is not easy. But still, Dunno Y2 started with its first screening at the prestigious Opera House of Oslo, that’s an honor for a film if it gets selected to screen there. Lot of Norwegian political dignitaries, artists saw the film there and their response was terrific. It was again recently shown in Norway at a festival where also it got a good response. It is now selected to screen at  other prestigious film festivals in Barcelona, Germany and another one in Norway. Well things have started moving. Lets see where the sequel’s journey leads to…(smiles).

What was the inspiration behind both the movies?
To send across a message of acceptance of human rights which has been ignored for years. To make films, which many may not dare to make, at the same time try to make those films entertaining and simple so that any common man may connect to them.

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How did Anilji react to your decision to make Dunno Y series?
Before we started Dunno Y 1, he wanted to hear the narration of the entire script. He had said that if he likes the script then only he will allow us to go ahead with the film. When he heard the narration, he loved the script and after that he never interfered in any creative aspect of the film. He is proud that Dunno Y has won so many awards and has reached internationally without any push from his end or any corporate or Godfather from the industry. He liked my acting very much especially my introduction scene and my emotional scenes. Now he is looking forward to see what we have made this time (smiles).

Where no actors in India dared Yuvraaj and you have fully gone ahead and shot some really steamy scenes how apprehensive were you while shooting such scenes?
I believe if you are an actor and after reading the script you have agreed to do a film, then it’s your responsibility to follow the vision of the director. If the script requires steamy scenes then one should go ahead and do it, because when you are performing those scenes you are not yourself, you are the character you are portraying. Though its natural, while shooting such shots at times hesitations and nervousness occurs, but then I keep on reminding myself that I am an actor and it’s part of my job.

Future ahead?
My next release is a crazy comedy called Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. I am playing an interesting character which you can say is a grown up version of Dennis the Menace (smiles). It stars some very fine actors like Anupam Kher, Vijay Raaz, Dilip Joshi, Makarand Deshpande, Govind Namdev, Prem Chopra, Kulraj Randhawa, Sneha Ullal and Moushumi Chatterjee’s daughter Meghaa Chatterjee. Couple of more projects are also in the pipeline.

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Do we see Dunno Y3 happening (winks)?
I don’t know! As we had never planned Dunno Y2, similarly we have no idea about Dunno Y3 at least for now (winks). But, if fans of this franchise want more of it, then you never know it may happen (smiles broadly).

Okay enough of serious question answering… let’s move on to something fun.
Great! So what are we going to do?

After making such controversial movies, you should be the last one to worry about such things (laughs out loud together)
Okay (rubbing his hands together) Come on shoot!

Simple, I am going to ask you few questions for which you have to answer in one word (winks).
Okay (laughs) hope you won’t put me into trouble (winks).

Who is the most good-looking male actor in India?
Salman Khan

Mine too (winks). If given a chance which actor other than Yuvraaj would you like to cast as your gay lover in Dunno Y3?
Ranbir Kapoor (winks).

Aha! As Aryan who is your dream date other than Ashley in real life scenario?
Aryan has been flirtatious in both the parts. In part two his dream date is Ricky Martin (smiles).

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One Night Stand or Committed relationship?
Both (winks).

What do you prefer a dream dinner date or a long drive with your lover?
Dream dinner date.

Wow (smiles) now the last question. Drumroll…Who is your favorite author?
I am sitting with him now (laughs).

Floored (smiles)! All the best for your movie Kapil and I am sure we get to see in many more movies portraying varied characters and I am sure you will definitely shine out as always.

So girls and guys, brace yourself as Dunno Y2 is going to hit the screens on 17th September at a theatre near you. Please go and watch it!