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

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.

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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: Dilwale – Rohit Shetty Fails, SRK-Kajol Rises!

Dilwale

The most anticipated movie of the year – Dilwale starring the evergreen jodi SRK-Kajol and directed by ‘Hit’ machine director Rohit Shetty released this week. Considering the fact that SRK-Kajol does very few movies and they are coming after a gap of 5 years, the hype is unprecedented. Alas, not every movie starring SRK-Kajol can be a DDLJ or a KKHH and Rohit Shetty should be blamed for this fiasco called Dilwale.

The story revolves around Raj /Kali (Shah Rukh Khan) and Mira (Kajol) who belong to two warring Mafia families from Bulgaria (one more new age Romeo-Juliet attempt) who fall in love. However, if you are expecting for a happy ending waiting for this much-in-love couple then think again. They go separate ways hating each other due to misunderstandings.

Years later, Raj and Mira’s siblings Veer (Varun Dhawan) and Ishita (Kriti Sanon) fall in love in Goa. The ex-lovers come face to face once again bringing back painful memories of their past. Will Raj and Mira get over their past for their siblings? Will they rekindle their love as well is what the film further unfolds.

Coming to the script it is full of blemishes. There are unnecessary ups and downs which fizzes out by the climax. The climax is weak. The built-up to Boman Irani’s character falls flat on the face. The misunderstandings due to which SRK-Kajol split is not very convincing and when they patch up, it is again done in an unconvincing way. If the misunderstanding was so small and didn’t need much of justification and help was right at an arm’s distance for Kajol then why did it take 15 years (and 2.5 hrs screen time) to sort out?

The love stories of SRK-Kajol or Varun-Kriti is not much exciting. The five-minute dating scene is a ‘Joke’… really??? The comedy is okay with few comic punches provided by Johnny Lever and Sanjay Mishra’s characters. The music is average and apart from Gerua and to some extent Janam Janam, Pritam fails miserably. The picturization of the songs are superb. The action scenes are standard Rohit Shetty fare that we have seen repeatedly in all his movies including the cars flying in the air – nothing new! Rohit in your next movie please blast a tank or a plane or a ship or some other stuff maybe a UFO but give us something new ;).

SRK-Kajol chemistry is timeless and it is quite evident in this movie too. However, the screenplay does not live up to the actor’s caliber. Shah Rukh should select his future scripts carefully as he has not given one meaningful movie after Chak De! For Kajol it is not a great comeback character and script-wise however, you cannot point any flaws in her performance. Varun is okay – nothing much to deliver and Kriti looks beautiful and ‘tall’. Johny Lever, Sanjay Mishra, Varun Sharma and Boman Irani are superb.

On the whole SRK-Kajol chemistry works for me, DILWALE & Rohit Shetty FAILS MISERABLY!

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: ****