Review: Love Aaj Kal


Love Be Akal

0 stars

Mini Review:

The owner of a bar cum co-working space guides a young couple who have mixed feelings about love by narrating his own story of lost love. He tries hard to say that young people in love in the 90s had the same trouble of choosing between career or marriage that young people have today. Today? Thousands of people balance both rather well and with much less than the protagonists. The original film made by the same director had some heart. This film is so oxygen deprived the narrative is as tiresome as it is brainless. 

Main Review:

Poor Randeep Hooda is given the role of the bar owner who once chose career over love and hand holds Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aryan who play two young lovers. The two Zoey and Veer can’t seem to keep their hands off one another but stop right before they make love. Why? Not because ‘Sanskaar’ but because Veer wants ‘andar wali Zoey, bahar wali Zoey, career wali Zoey, roti banane wali Zoey…’ 

My brain froze there. These kids have not heard of Zomato? Young men still want their wives to make rotis? Young people today are more likely to order in, watch Netflix and never worry about career or love. Young men today are happy to move cities if their girl has a better job and then worry about finding one themselves, esp because Kartik Aryan is supposed to be a software programmer, something that does not need him to stay in a particular city. 

It’s just shoddy writing and poorly thought out story. Which generation is the filmmaker talking about? It’s worse because the original film had defined their career options better.

The story goes back and forth in the past as Randeep Hooda tells his story. It’s a time where QSQT plays in the theater, but Udaipur seems to be in the 30s or 70s or something because it is sepia toned. Why? Style? Seems needless. Then Kartik Aryan keeps spreading his arms like Shah Rukh, but the director forgot that Shah Rukh in the 90s was all about body suits/scuba gear type Polo jerseys. Why is Kartik Aryan made to wear strange coat collar bush shirts, only the designer knows. Even Raj Kapoor was better dressed in the movies of his time. It was certainly not the 90s. (Why they don’t refer to the gentleman’s guide to 100 years of fashion, no one knows.)

Why Bollywood, Why?

Why do men/women who have lost in love go to the Himalayas?

Why does Kartik Aryan pout so much? Why does he not have a hair person combing his hair? (bed head is fine, but…)

Why does Kartik Aryan work at a dam when he says he’s a software programmer hired by a water sustainability project?

Why do people always clutch their glass of tea with both hands in the mountains? 

Why does Kartik Aryan have to take his girl to meet parents when he does not live with them? Why do we never know why? Just like the two live separate lives in one home, couldn’t Kartik Aryan live with them? This just doesn’t compute…

This Love Doesn’t Compute. Actually.

Why make a bad version of a film people have already seen? Lack of new stories? Let’s say I have not seen the earlier version. Even then the story goes all over the place and you cringe when you hear: Oho! You can ‘feeeel’ (good, he means) even when the girl is not there?

Ugh. I just hope Kartik Aryan did not mean what the words said. I hope Imtiaz Ali does not now remake Jab We Met or something. Someone tell him: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.



P.S. A young couple attempting to romance one another (the movie releases on Valentine’s Day, after all) sitting next to me at the FDFS fell asleep during the movie, holding hands. 

    

Review: SHIKARA


A Beautiful Mess That Walks On The Edge Of The Deep But Never Dives

2.5 stars

Mini Review:

It’s a beautifully told love story where you fall in love with the leads instantly, but the timing of the film borders on propaganda which makes you want to question motives of the film. Why this? Why now? The film doesn’t take a stand like Harud or JoJo Rabbit even, but offers a very tame Life Is Beautiful version. 

Main Review:

First, The Problem

It’s been six months since the Indian government led by the saffron heads Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have scrapped the special status given to J&K since our independence and appropriated it as a state without a plebiscite. We have been told life is normal but political leaders have been under house arrest, there is no internet or phone services and there are reports of infiltration from a neighboring country. Kashmir is still a time bomb, now covered in saffron. Yes, life for Kashmiri pandits has been awful. They’ve been refugees in our own country, driven out by guns and a helpless government that made many mistakes.   

There is a dialog in the film where a dying ‘extremist’ says, ‘You killed and we killed and the killing will go on in Kashmir’ which gives you goosebumps, but every other time it tries a political dialog, you hear Nirmala Sitharaman struggle with Myon Watan in your head and you wonder why did they make this propaganda film now?

The war is brewing and I am afraid, this film is not going to help.

There Is A Bigger Film Buried In This Film

No matter how beautifully this film has been shot, Harud it is not. I was more touched – shook really – by the montage of forlorn, shattered, abused, empty homes (presumably Pandit homes) than the entire political propaganda the film tries to make. You wonder how many more refugee stories are there, you wonder what horrors are buried in the rubble, you wonder if those apple trees bear any fruit today or is that fruit poisoned too?

There is a shot in the film where the lead pair return to their former home and look at the corner which was their ‘Puja Room’. It has now been replaced by the kitchen sink. The poignancy of the moment hits you really hard. And somewhere you want revenge from people who for very obvious political reasons painted the whole house green. But it is just one moment which could have been a part of a very different narrative. 

Another moment is when the children stare at ‘masterji’ and he asks, ‘Why are you staring at me?’ One child answers, ‘He has never seen a ‘pandit’ before…’

Could have been Jojo Rabbit, this film, but isn’t. Of course it instantly reminds me of the social media post where the kids in Kashmir are playing a game called ‘Frisk’. A game where some children play ‘Kashmiris’ and others ‘Police’. The police frisk the Kashmiris. A horrific childhood, no? But this film does not go there.

But let’s make a love story instead.

A beautiful love story of Shiv and Shanti who fall in love over poetry (of course about shikaras) and then get married in the traditional Kashmiri way (insert folksy wedding songs/traditional wedding rituals here) and they have a wonderful family and a brother who is a doctor and they have friends who are Muslim and everyone lives wonderfully and they eat fat, juicy luscious apples, and Rogan Josh. Shiv Dhar’s best friend who is a cricketer and Muslim and they love one another and Kashmir is truly a paradise until buses begin to go to Rawalpindi right from the main bus stand and there are cops with guns and terrorists with Amriki guns leftover from the Afghanistan war and his best friend’s dad is shot and of course he runs away to Pakistan and becomes a terrorist. Months later Shiv is picked up and he meets former best friend who is now terrorist and is told to leave for India with family because of the said friendship… 

Eventually everyone who is a Hindu is made to leave and live in horrendous conditions in Jammu and later Delhi and yet there is something incredible about their love which is enduring and fragile and beautiful. They make a life in the tents and Shiv keeps writing letters to the American president for justice and teaches camp children, and Shanti keeps making Rogan Josh. 

You wonder why she isn’t playing Florence Nightingale since she’s been shown to attend nursing college when they were romancing… But everything has been shot so beautifully that you care about their despair and the Rogan Josh.

I feel awful for not feeling the pain of the thousands that were forcibly evacuated simply because this is not a partition film where trains full of refugees from both sides of the India-Pakistan border were hacked to death. This is not a story by Manto which tears you apart inside because he lives there even though his heart belongs to Bombay. No Toba Tek Singh, no Leon Uris’s Exodus which chronicles the pain of homelessness and the hollowness of the promise of a promised land of Israel like nothing before or nothing after… But this love story is tender. Too tender to survive the harshness of the realities, and hence seem unbelievable in parts. 

‘We will always have Paris,’ Rick says in Casablanca. This film has love, but does not kick you in the gut like Casablanca does. This is Exodus lite. Casablanca Skimmed.

The lead pair make their debut and are beautiful together. Aadil Khan and Sadia are so perfect in their love, we love watching them meet, fall in love, get married and get old with a smile on our faces. 

The cinematography in Bajrangi Bhaijaan showed us how fabulous Kashmir is. The Chinars in Haider have left a permanent mark on my brain. In this film their wedding night on the Shikara is beautiful but the shot of fat, juicy apples on their tree made me hungry.

This film has crappy timing, and knows it. The claims of displaced people all over the world are real, but when accompanied with tales that become romanticised collective memories that communication students will understand… 

The problem is that the film dog whistles so much you are left in a quandary whether to like it (and hence aiding the propaganda) or to hate it (and then everyone looks at you as if you are a traitor).

So I came away feeling as stranded as the calf on Patnitop. Unkindly wondering if it became part of some Wazwan…   


Review: SHIKARA


A Beautiful Mess That Walks On The Edge Of The Deep But Never Dives

2.5 stars

Mini Review:

It’s a beautifully told love story where you fall in love with the leads instantly, but the timing of the film borders on propaganda which makes you want to question motives of the film. Why this? Why now? The film doesn’t take a stand like Harud or JoJo Rabbit even, but offers a very tame Life Is Beautiful version. 

Main Review:

First, The Problem

It’s been six months since the Indian government led by the saffron heads Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have scrapped the special status given to J&K since our independence and appropriated it as a state without a plebiscite. We have been told life is normal but political leaders have been under house arrest, there is no internet or phone services and there are reports of infiltration from a neighboring country. Kashmir is still a time bomb, now covered in saffron. Yes, life for Kashmiri pandits has been awful. They’ve been refugees in our own country, driven out by guns and a helpless government that made many mistakes.   

There is a dialog in the film where a dying ‘extremist’ says, ‘You killed and we killed and the killing will go on in Kashmir’ which gives you goosebumps, but every other time it tries a political dialog, you hear Nirmala Sitharaman struggle with Myon Watan in your head and you wonder why did they make this propaganda film now?

The war is brewing and I am afraid, this film is not going to help.

There Is A Bigger Film Buried In This Film

No matter how beautifully this film has been shot, Harud it is not. I was more touched – shook really – by the montage of forlorn, shattered, abused, empty homes (presumably Pandit homes) than the entire political propaganda the film tries to make. You wonder how many more refugee stories are there, you wonder what horrors are buried in the rubble, you wonder if those apple trees bear any fruit today or is that fruit poisoned too?

There is a shot in the film where the lead pair return to their former home and look at the corner which was their ‘Puja Room’. It has now been replaced by the kitchen sink. The poignancy of the moment hits you really hard. And somewhere you want revenge from people who for very obvious political reasons painted the whole house green. But it is just one moment which could have been a part of a very different narrative. 

Another moment is when the children stare at ‘masterji’ and he asks, ‘Why are you staring at me?’ One child answers, ‘He has never seen a ‘pandit’ before…’

Could have been Jojo Rabbit, this film, but isn’t. Of course it instantly reminds me of the social media post where the kids in Kashmir are playing a game called ‘Frisk’. A game where some children play ‘Kashmiris’ and others ‘Police’. The police frisk the Kashmiris. A horrific childhood, no? But this film does not go there.

But let’s make a love story instead.

A beautiful love story of Shiv and Shanti who fall in love over poetry (of course about shikaras) and then get married in the traditional Kashmiri way (insert folksy wedding songs/traditional wedding rituals here) and they have a wonderful family and a brother who is a doctor and they have friends who are Muslim and everyone lives wonderfully and they eat fat, juicy luscious apples, and Rogan Josh. Shiv Dhar’s best friend who is a cricketer and Muslim and they love one another and Kashmir is truly a paradise until buses begin to go to Rawalpindi right from the main bus stand and there are cops with guns and terrorists with Amriki guns leftover from the Afghanistan war and his best friend’s dad is shot and of course he runs away to Pakistan and becomes a terrorist. Months later Shiv is picked up and he meets former best friend who is now terrorist and is told to leave for India with family because of the said friendship… 

Eventually everyone who is a Hindu is made to leave and live in horrendous conditions in Jammu and later Delhi and yet there is something incredible about their love which is enduring and fragile and beautiful. They make a life in the tents and Shiv keeps writing letters to the American president for justice and teaches camp children, and Shanti keeps making Rogan Josh. 

You wonder why she isn’t playing Florence Nightingale since she’s been shown to attend nursing college when they were romancing… But everything has been shot so beautifully that you care about their despair and the Rogan Josh.

I feel awful for not feeling the pain of the thousands that were forcibly evacuated simply because this is not a partition film where trains full of refugees from both sides of the India-Pakistan border were hacked to death. This is not a story by Manto which tears you apart inside because he lives there even though his heart belongs to Bombay. No Toba Tek Singh, no Leon Uris’s Exodus which chronicles the pain of homelessness and the hollowness of the promise of a promised land of Israel like nothing before or nothing after… But this love story is tender. Too tender to survive the harshness of the realities, and hence seem unbelievable in parts. 

‘We will always have Paris,’ Rick says in Casablanca. This film has love, but does not kick you in the gut like Casablanca does. This is Exodus lite. Casablanca Skimmed.

The lead pair make their debut and are beautiful together. Aadil Khan and Sadia are so perfect in their love, we love watching them meet, fall in love, get married and get old with a smile on our faces. 

The cinematography in Bajrangi Bhaijaan showed us how fabulous Kashmir is. The Chinars in Haider have left a permanent mark on my brain. In this film their wedding night on the Shikara is beautiful but the shot of fat, juicy apples on their tree made me hungry.

This film has crappy timing, and knows it. The claims of displaced people all over the world are real, but when accompanied with tales that become romanticised collective memories that communication students will understand… 

The problem is that the film dog whistles so much you are left in a quandary whether to like it (and hence aiding the propaganda) or to hate it (and then everyone looks at you as if you are a traitor).

So I came away feeling as stranded as the calf on Patnitop. Unkindly wondering if it became part of some Wazwan…   


Review: MALANG


Heroine: Tumhe Maza Chaahiye Ki Sukoon?
Hero: Lemme Take Off My Shirt As Answer 

star

Mini Review: 

Cops are being murdered one after the other in a stylish way. The lead investigator is murderous but sings karaoke in a stylish way. The cop killer wears a stylish leather hoodie and hoodwinks everyone through stylish Goa carnival at night, Oooh! Cop killer has stylish lust and drugs and bucket list angle…All of this knit together with howlarious (yet stylish) lifestyle dialog that makes cola come out of your nostrils. And that’s okay because the film is stylish, audience is not.

Main Review:

There’s a hot girl in ‘abroad’ who smiles a lot tosses her hair and gives her computer and phone to a busker and boards a plane to Goa. That’s a Sara by Disha Patani.

There’s a dude who lives in some soft focus apartment with pictures of parents on walls. He packs his backpack, hands the picture frames to garbage truck guy and heads to Goa. How do we know he’s hot? They show him taking off his tank top ever so often. That’s Advait by Aditya Roy Kapoor. 

Of course the two meet and fall in lust while fireworks are going on. But it’s so stylishly done, they show no hot and heavy anything, no bodice ripping, no acrobatic kiss like in the poster. Only a ‘forward’ dialog from Sara: I wanted to do this wild you-know-what with a stranger.

Before you choke on this so stylishly sanskari desire of her bucket list, I must tell you about the stylish bead band she wears. It has knots, each representing a fear she must overcome. If she does it, then she unravels one knot. That’s what happens when you give away your phone…

My fear was: That bracelet had many many knots!

That brings us to how the movie begins. 

Hot dude is in prison, having a fight with a whole lot of burly men. Why? No one knows, but the prison fight is stylishly done (like the Punisher, Arrow… Take your pick!)… After he has hit many baddies and broken many tables, we realise a big guy had snatched Hot Dude’s bracelet.

Awwww! He fought for her bracelet! So much love! Obviously, since he’s wearing the bracelet and fighting other prisoners she must be dead…

Logic and learning from prison movies says Hot Dude should be put in solitary for fighting so many other jailbirds. But he’s out. He’s then calling demented cop who rubs what looks like cocaine on his hand (like salt for your tequila shots) sniffing it and gumming it too. Whaaat? But it looks stylish and the demented cop sings karaoke so it’s okay.That’s Anil Kapoor giving it his all to sing-and-then-kill routine.

So Hot Dude calls Demented Cop and says, ‘I’m going to kill someone.’ 
‘Why?’
‘Because, Happy Solstice.’

Both laugh maniacally. One because he knows why, other because he’s hamming it up and we laugh helplessly.

There are more cops, each outdoing the other in stylish ways. Kunal Khemu looks like the educated cop but turns out that he’s got Edward Norton from American History buried inside. That part appears suddenly and the audience is like, ‘Whaa…’ But very stylish violence against women (almost like the curb stomping) so I suppose you want Hot Dude to kill him too.

Hot Dude in the meanwhile has killed another cop at a New Orleans type night carnival during Christmas (?!) in Goa. Whaaa? And then another at a giant CGI football stadium with basement parking. As a footy fan and someone who has visited Fatorda, Tilak, Pandit Nehru, Duler and Bambolim stadia in Goa where football is played, this part felt more fake than stylish.

And which basement parking has TV screens? But Hot Dude (on foot) and Demented Dude (in cop car) play chicken which was very nice. After which Hot Dude gets caught. 

In the middle of it all are endless stylish scenes of Hot Girl and Hot Dude in various skimpy attire super fancy bucket list things with endless love songs that sound good initially but then become the antidote to inane pop philosophy both hot leads are spouting at each other.

‘I am used to running away from relationships’
‘Let us create a world for ourselves and live in the moment.’
‘Sure, I’m Instagramming this moment. What’s your handle?’
‘I don’t Insta.’
‘Whaa?!”

I head out for another flat white trying to understand why Hot Dude needs to post videos on Insta when he’s given up everything?

And on screen they’re scoring ‘drugs’ stylishly, dancing with lots of ‘foreign’ hippes, never running out of money. And helping them is the only amazing character in the film: a hippie with dreds: Elli AvrRam. She is Jessie who does her bit spouting Swedish life mantras and carries a magic pouch with an antidote for all ‘drug overdoses’. The cops have killed Hot Girl and now Hot Dude wants revenge. But we got this from the trailer and the details are painful to watch. 

A story cannot rely only on hot bodies of the lead actors.Nothing they did on screen made them endearing to us. Neither could we root for the cops. They were all just caricatures of bad cops in movies.Even though this film is made rather stylishly, Woohoo to the reveal moment of angel wings tattoo on Hot Dude’s back with the rest of the screen burning as he takes off his tank top yet again (which is why the lone star). But the writing was cringe worthy. 

Kunal Khemu’s reasoning for becoming a psychopath is one of those moments: My parents used to fight, mum was in pain. Pain travels through your head and ends up dangling between your legs…

The person next to me demonstrated Nosecola and I sputtered coffee all over the person sitting in front at that confession. 

But the worst is the dialog between the two hot leads:
‘In life there are two choices: maza or sukoon…Which one will you choose?’ 

Alas, this film offered the audience neither. 


P.S. If you are a girl in the movie and want to extract revenge, you must cut your long hair. Then wear hoodie.
This could be a trope.  

Review: MALANG


Heroine: Tumhe Maza Chaahiye Ki Sukoon?
Hero: Lemme Take Off My Shirt As Answer 

star

Mini Review: 

Cops are being murdered one after the other in a stylish way. The lead investigator is murderous but sings karaoke in a stylish way. The cop killer wears a stylish leather hoodie and hoodwinks everyone through stylish Goa carnival at night, Oooh! Cop killer has stylish lust and drugs and bucket list angle…All of this knit together with howlarious (yet stylish) lifestyle dialog that makes cola come out of your nostrils. And that’s okay because the film is stylish, audience is not.

Main Review:

There’s a hot girl in ‘abroad’ who smiles a lot tosses her hair and gives her computer and phone to a busker and boards a plane to Goa. That’s a Sara by Disha Patani.

There’s a dude who lives in some soft focus apartment with pictures of parents on walls. He packs his backpack, hands the picture frames to garbage truck guy and heads to Goa. How do we know he’s hot? They show him taking off his tank top ever so often. That’s Advait by Aditya Roy Kapoor. 

Of course the two meet and fall in lust while fireworks are going on. But it’s so stylishly done, they show no hot and heavy anything, no bodice ripping, no acrobatic kiss like in the poster. Only a ‘forward’ dialog from Sara: I wanted to do this wild you-know-what with a stranger.

Before you choke on this so stylishly sanskari desire of her bucket list, I must tell you about the stylish bead band she wears. It has knots, each representing a fear she must overcome. If she does it, then she unravels one knot. That’s what happens when you give away your phone…

My fear was: That bracelet had many many knots!

That brings us to how the movie begins. 

Hot dude is in prison, having a fight with a whole lot of burly men. Why? No one knows, but the prison fight is stylishly done (like the Punisher, Arrow… Take your pick!)… After he has hit many baddies and broken many tables, we realise a big guy had snatched Hot Dude’s bracelet.

Awwww! He fought for her bracelet! So much love! Obviously, since he’s wearing the bracelet and fighting other prisoners she must be dead…

Logic and learning from prison movies says Hot Dude should be put in solitary for fighting so many other jailbirds. But he’s out. He’s then calling demented cop who rubs what looks like cocaine on his hand (like salt for your tequila shots) sniffing it and gumming it too. Whaaat? But it looks stylish and the demented cop sings karaoke so it’s okay.That’s Anil Kapoor giving it his all to sing-and-then-kill routine.

So Hot Dude calls Demented Cop and says, ‘I’m going to kill someone.’ 
‘Why?’
‘Because, Happy Solstice.’

Both laugh maniacally. One because he knows why, other because he’s hamming it up and we laugh helplessly.

There are more cops, each outdoing the other in stylish ways. Kunal Khemu looks like the educated cop but turns out that he’s got Edward Norton from American History buried inside. That part appears suddenly and the audience is like, ‘Whaa…’ But very stylish violence against women (almost like the curb stomping) so I suppose you want Hot Dude to kill him too.

Hot Dude in the meanwhile has killed another cop at a New Orleans type night carnival during Christmas (?!) in Goa. Whaaa? And then another at a giant CGI football stadium with basement parking. As a footy fan and someone who has visited Fatorda, Tilak, Pandit Nehru, Duler and Bambolim stadia in Goa where football is played, this part felt more fake than stylish.

And which basement parking has TV screens? But Hot Dude (on foot) and Demented Dude (in cop car) play chicken which was very nice. After which Hot Dude gets caught. 

In the middle of it all are endless stylish scenes of Hot Girl and Hot Dude in various skimpy attire super fancy bucket list things with endless love songs that sound good initially but then become the antidote to inane pop philosophy both hot leads are spouting at each other.

‘I am used to running away from relationships’
‘Let us create a world for ourselves and live in the moment.’
‘Sure, I’m Instagramming this moment. What’s your handle?’
‘I don’t Insta.’
‘Whaa?!”

I head out for another flat white trying to understand why Hot Dude needs to post videos on Insta when he’s given up everything?

And on screen they’re scoring ‘drugs’ stylishly, dancing with lots of ‘foreign’ hippes, never running out of money. And helping them is the only amazing character in the film: a hippie with dreds: Elli AvrRam. She is Jessie who does her bit spouting Swedish life mantras and carries a magic pouch with an antidote for all ‘drug overdoses’. The cops have killed Hot Girl and now Hot Dude wants revenge. But we got this from the trailer and the details are painful to watch. 

A story cannot rely only on hot bodies of the lead actors.Nothing they did on screen made them endearing to us. Neither could we root for the cops. They were all just caricatures of bad cops in movies.Even though this film is made rather stylishly, Woohoo to the reveal moment of angel wings tattoo on Hot Dude’s back with the rest of the screen burning as he takes off his tank top yet again (which is why the lone star). But the writing was cringe worthy. 

Kunal Khemu’s reasoning for becoming a psychopath is one of those moments: My parents used to fight, mum was in pain. Pain travels through your head and ends up dangling between your legs…

The person next to me demonstrated Nosecola and I sputtered coffee all over the person sitting in front at that confession. 

But the worst is the dialog between the two hot leads:
‘In life there are two choices: maza or sukoon…Which one will you choose?’ 

Alas, this film offered the audience neither. 


P.S. If you are a girl in the movie and want to extract revenge, you must cut your long hair. Then wear hoodie.
This could be a trope.  

Review: BAD BOYS FOR LIFE


Unkle, Ab Bas!

1 star

Mini Review:

Mike and Marcus who gave us mad buddy cop movies are suddenly old. Not in the movie, but really. No amount of Miami flash is going to help them. In fact, they look like they’re part of a Florida retirement home than South Beach hot rods. And the film even more so. It’s predictable, and the formula is tired. It’s like watching a bad Hindi action film in wearying slow motion.

Main Review:

The movie starts like 100% action movies do, with a car chase. With Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the car doing the ‘one is speeding and the other is frightened of speed’ routine’. We’re not told who they’re chasing. But then cops are chasing them. That’s old as the hills. Then you see that they’re driving around the same area again and again. 

Aaaaah! Cho Chweet! They drove like that because Martin Lawrence was going to become grandpa. We like our heroes to break rules, but when the cops chasing our heroes don’t show up behind them grinning or taking them away in handcuffs as it happens in other movies, we are shown a prison break

The prison break is really well done. I sit up! This is wow!

But what follows is just a paint by numbers buddy cop action movie.

1. Buddy cops are estranged because one wants to retire and the other thinks he’s invincible.

2. Invincible cop gets shot. Buddy is retired.

3. Team chips in, invincible cop takes time to become team player.

4. More people get shot.

5. Team has to track one bad guy who makes those ‘special bullets’.

6. Invincible cop botches operation. More people die. Buddy is still retired.

7. Bosses disband team. 

8. Invincible cop stares at sunset decides to go at it alone.

9. Buddy cop comes out of retirement.

10. The team shows up too, for final fight. Good guys win. Bad guys die.

It’s Abbas Mastan so gaye thay type action, but then there is this awful  ‘Luke, I am your father!’ moment.

Mexican people again are shown to be witches and mumbo jumbo black magic followers. Seriously, Hollywood? Live and Let Die is older than the hills!

One last thing, is there any Will Smith movie where his face doesn’t get swollen up? Ab bas karo unkle.



Review: BAD BOYS FOR LIFE


Unkle, Ab Bas!

1 star

Mini Review:

Mike and Marcus who gave us mad buddy cop movies are suddenly old. Not in the movie, but really. No amount of Miami flash is going to help them. In fact, they look like they’re part of a Florida retirement home than South Beach hot rods. And the film even more so. It’s predictable, and the formula is tired. It’s like watching a bad Hindi action film in wearying slow motion.

Main Review:

The movie starts like 100% action movies do, with a car chase. With Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the car doing the ‘one is speeding and the other is frightened of speed’ routine’. We’re not told who they’re chasing. But then cops are chasing them. That’s old as the hills. Then you see that they’re driving around the same area again and again. 

Aaaaah! Cho Chweet! They drove like that because Martin Lawrence was going to become grandpa. We like our heroes to break rules, but when the cops chasing our heroes don’t show up behind them grinning or taking them away in handcuffs as it happens in other movies, we are shown a prison break

The prison break is really well done. I sit up! This is wow!

But what follows is just a paint by numbers buddy cop action movie.

1. Buddy cops are estranged because one wants to retire and the other thinks he’s invincible.

2. Invincible cop gets shot. Buddy is retired.

3. Team chips in, invincible cop takes time to become team player.

4. More people get shot.

5. Team has to track one bad guy who makes those ‘special bullets’.

6. Invincible cop botches operation. More people die. Buddy is still retired.

7. Bosses disband team. 

8. Invincible cop stares at sunset decides to go at it alone.

9. Buddy cop comes out of retirement.

10. The team shows up too, for final fight. Good guys win. Bad guys die.

It’s Abbas Mastan so gaye thay type action, but then there is this awful  ‘Luke, I am your father!’ moment.

Mexican people again are shown to be witches and mumbo jumbo black magic followers. Seriously, Hollywood? Live and Let Die is older than the hills!

One last thing, is there any Will Smith movie where his face doesn’t get swollen up? Ab bas karo unkle.



Review: JAWAANI JAANEMAN


Stale Fare Not Even Saif Can Save.

1.5 stars

Mini Review:

Saif Ali Khan is Jassi and he lives it up in London, then learns he’s dad. Not only that, he’s going to be grandpa too. The movie tries hard to make us feel, make us laugh, but we have seen too many older men pretending to be young irl, and too many movies where hero discovers he’s a dad, to be impressed… 

Main Review:

Unkle In Disco Alert!

What is more pathetic than an older single man in a club? Bollywood believes he’s going to get a PYT to come home with him. I mean seriously? Which world? Even Will Smith in Bad Boys cannot get into a niteclub, but this is Bollywood, where ‘Unkles in club’ score.

I puked into my popcorn, but it’s Saif Ali Khan, so I watched.

He pumps iron, rides a bicycle, gets his hair styled all the time (who colors their hair so much?), wears mid-life crisis clothes and burns his candle on both ends…

Hero Has Daughter Trope

‘You’re my daddy,’  says the young gal from the disco just as Saif is readying his bachelor pad to seduce her. 

Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back goes through the same, and Colin Firth has to face his unknown estranged daughter in What A Girl Wants.

But this is Bollywood. But Saif does this well, and recovers rather well. But that’s it. The story just seems to stop here. No more twists, no more turns.

The young girl (decent debut Alaya F) moves in and does what freshly pregnant kids do, puke and create odd situations for her newly discovered dad.

The trouble with these events is that we don’t really get emotionally connected to either one of them. Even Mamma Mia, where there are three dads and the young girl doesn’t know which one is really the dad, even in that musical, we begin to care about the two young people who are going to get married.

Slow, Stale Train Wreck

Then Tabu shows up. Jangling with jewelry and a ridiculous lad in tow.

If I were Saif, I would have been less kind to a silly lad like that.  

Now Tabu is a fine actor and of course she tries to do the hippie mom thing. But Colin Firth’s hippe marriage in Morocco in What A Girl Wants is far funnier. 

Yes, there are Saif’s parents who vanish conveniently, a crooked real estate deal, and a perhaps love story between Saif and his hair dresser… Terribly tedious all this… Except that Saif really tries to hold it together. Then there’s Chunky Pandey who I want to kill because he pretends to have paralysis on getting a heart attack in the most overacted scene in the film. And that overacting gets Saif to make up his mind that he needs family? Ugh!

Baby Saves The Movie

Saif Ali Khan changing baby diaper and then cooing to the baby is the best thing about the film. 

It brought tears to my eyes to see him hold the baby. 

FDFS ka paisaa vasool.

I loved his bathrobe too. Everything else is just eminently forgettable.




  
  

Review: JAWAANI JAANEMAN


Stale Fare Not Even Saif Can Save.

1.5 stars

Mini Review:

Saif Ali Khan is Jassi and he lives it up in London, then learns he’s dad. Not only that, he’s going to be grandpa too. The movie tries hard to make us feel, make us laugh, but we have seen too many older men pretending to be young irl, and too many movies where hero discovers he’s a dad, to be impressed… 

Main Review:

Unkle In Disco Alert!

What is more pathetic than an older single man in a club? Bollywood believes he’s going to get a PYT to come home with him. I mean seriously? Which world? Even Will Smith in Bad Boys cannot get into a niteclub, but this is Bollywood, where ‘Unkles in club’ score.

I puked into my popcorn, but it’s Saif Ali Khan, so I watched.

He pumps iron, rides a bicycle, gets his hair styled all the time (who colors their hair so much?), wears mid-life crisis clothes and burns his candle on both ends…

Hero Has Daughter Trope

‘You’re my daddy,’  says the young gal from the disco just as Saif is readying his bachelor pad to seduce her. 

Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back goes through the same, and Colin Firth has to face his unknown estranged daughter in What A Girl Wants.

But this is Bollywood. But Saif does this well, and recovers rather well. But that’s it. The story just seems to stop here. No more twists, no more turns.

The young girl (decent debut Alaya F) moves in and does what freshly pregnant kids do, puke and create odd situations for her newly discovered dad.

The trouble with these events is that we don’t really get emotionally connected to either one of them. Even Mamma Mia, where there are three dads and the young girl doesn’t know which one is really the dad, even in that musical, we begin to care about the two young people who are going to get married.

Slow, Stale Train Wreck

Then Tabu shows up. Jangling with jewelry and a ridiculous lad in tow.

If I were Saif, I would have been less kind to a silly lad like that.  

Now Tabu is a fine actor and of course she tries to do the hippie mom thing. But Colin Firth’s hippe marriage in Morocco in What A Girl Wants is far funnier. 

Yes, there are Saif’s parents who vanish conveniently, a crooked real estate deal, and a perhaps love story between Saif and his hair dresser… Terribly tedious all this… Except that Saif really tries to hold it together. Then there’s Chunky Pandey who I want to kill because he pretends to have paralysis on getting a heart attack in the most overacted scene in the film. And that overacting gets Saif to make up his mind that he needs family? Ugh!

Baby Saves The Movie

Saif Ali Khan changing baby diaper and then cooing to the baby is the best thing about the film. 

It brought tears to my eyes to see him hold the baby. 

FDFS ka paisaa vasool.

I loved his bathrobe too. Everything else is just eminently forgettable.




  
  

Review: PANGA

Lovely little paint by numbers sports film. 

2 stars

Mini Review:

Happy housewife works at railway office in Bhopal was really India Kabaddi team captain. Now she’s looking after seven year old and husband. The child puts the idea of a comeback into her head and she gets back on to the kabaddi court, winning the championship for India. Sounds rather predictable, but director handles the matter gently, and makes for a very sweet watch.

Main Review:

Story Before The Star

Dangal this is not. It has humour, but real. No starry ‘Look I’m acting se well I have put on weight for the role’. Neither is it Mary Kom, which seems kind of impossible, superwoman homage film, again with a star dominating the story. This is not even trying to be the Indian girls playing football in England movie. 

Panga has a star too, and known for taking over the narrative. Kangna Ranaut is a very good actor but she has a reputation, and even before the movie people wondered if this film was going to be as terrible as Manikarnika. I must admit, I was wondering too. Thankfully credit goes both to the director and the star for putting the story before the star.

Kangna plays Jaya Nigam, housewife to Prashant Nigam and a seven year old mouthy boy in Bhopal. She works at the railway ticket counter, her husband is an engineer in the railways too and the boy, who has a delicate constitution goes to school. She kicks her husband in her sleep every night (cute scene), she’s organised about her child’s medicines and school routine (cute scene), she’s also cute with her coworkers. She has sweet neighbors and a crappy boss. who yells at her for being late telling us she is no longer India team captain (cute exposition here!).

Great Ensemble Cast

The husband Jassie Gill makes for a great debut. He fits in lookswise into the husband’s character. He’s sweet and accommodating and smiles sweetly and laughs a lot. He’s not a teensy bit irritated by his wife’s career, supports it, is a good guy… Jeeeeeejuss! Will be a pain to deal with in real life. But in real life most Indian husbands at least behave badly once like Manav Kaul did in Tumhari Sulu.

Then enters a fab, fab character: Meenu. She used to be team-mate with Jaya Nigam and they were best of friends until Jaya gave up her sports career when her child turned out to be weak and needing help (cute reason, because the husband is so sweet already!). Richa Chadda is brilliant as Meenu, coach, friend, confidant and commentator (sootradhar practically)…

Predictable Sports Hero Story

Hero works hard, fails, gets inspired, fights family and friends and himself and goes on to prove that they really are a hero… In the sports film, right from Rocky days, we’ve had (Burgess Meredith who plays) Mickey training Rocky to become a hero. Same here. The mouthy child wants mom to ‘comeback’ so he begins pushing her to exercise first. She then starts dreaming of a comeback too…

Yes, this film too has coaches. There are coaches who will use her ‘comeback’ story to get mileage for women’s sports, but at least it is not a sleazy coach who asks for sexual favours. Thankfully Rajesh Tailang is good coach. After all, we need this to be a family film…

But someone tell me one thing, why do all sports film have to show us ALL the matches in detail? From the word ‘go’ to flag waving after the win? It’s plain tedious. 

The police detective from Marathi film Saavat is the captain of the India team (Smita Tambe) and is the token villain who calls Jaya out for being the ‘bench warmer’, ‘token PR’. But here I wish the villainy was a little stronger for it to be believable. 

There’s even a secret move that will fox the opponents clearly mentioned and the whole audience said ‘Tiger Chan’ when the moment came… I admit most cinema is made for the lowest common denominator, but you cannot be so unsubtle…

But it’s so sweet and cute and family friendly, and tantrum free that we like it. Also because they say that this film is dedicated to all mothers who want a second chance… How can you be a monster and not like a film dedicated to moms?

Not me. I like, I really liked it. I’m not being sarcastic here…