As I write this AIW already has the biggest opening in movie history. It’s made 100 crores in India over the opening weekend. That itself puts many Bahubalis in Indian Cinema to shame. And this windfall is due to a meticulously crafted series of movies over the last decade. It’s no mean feat. Am wondering what the team creating this gargantuan plan would be feeling today. The sheer scale of it, the number of people involved, the number of stars made, the amount of money made is unparalleled. And for that itself you gotta give it to the visionaries behind it.
Infinity War is a challenging film to make – the converging plot lines, the amount of characters involved, the limited run time – but the Russo brothers come up trumps. They set up the 2-part epic finale beautifully for the last one to make even more money. And they take a page out of the DC world to do it!!!
Marvel films are generally fun films with very few emotionally charged moments. They are light, entertaining, crowd pleasing films. Yes, you have the odd Pepper Potts melodrama, but no real loss is felt in these films. DC movies on the other hand are dark, brooding, full of loss and grief. They do Emotional Atyachaar in SuperHero films and that’s partly the reason they don’t make as much money. Russo brothers take a dash of the Emo and pour it into the fun Marvel cauldron. And the result is even more moolah it seems.
The fact that so many things are happening in parallel makes the edit quite challenging. The story is simple. Thanos, is the Nirav Modi of this story! He is out to get all the Infinity Stones for himself. He doesn’t care about passports. He just apparates and disapparates from one planet to another to get his multi-coloured gem stones.
Apparently a Saadhu Baba has told him about collecting all colours so that he can finally save the world. And woh kehte hain naa… “Agar tum kisi cheez ko shiddat se chaaho, toh saari kaaynaat usse tumse milaane ki saajish karti hai”. Yeah, the entire world starts conspiring for him. Things start falling into place, coincidences galore occur, heroes go to him to hand deliver stones and he finds true love in his heart as well! Hai naa kahani poori filmy.... Aur toh aur, this time the gatekeepers (Avengers) know about Nirav’s fraud, but are as ineffectual as India’s extradition lawyers!
While the story is fairly straightforward, the screenplay has its pacing problems and the editing is choppy in some places. The fact that there are so many characters, means that the writers need to keep the scenes short. These scenes should also move the story forward in some way, hence things happen oh-so-conveniently. This makes emotional involvement, a little difficult. It goes from one scene to the other, one planet to the other, one set up to the other a little too quickly. And the fact that so much happens within that scene in so little time, makes you move on faster. So when there are deaths, of characters you have known for years – you have to move on fairly quickly. ( Yeah, be ready for some deaths)
But that's just one minor problem in this entertainment powerhouse. With set-pieces lighting up the screen every 10 minutes, you have more than your share of popcorn. It’s total paisa vasool. And if they had just deleted Star-Lord from the cast, this would have been perfect (He is the Pappu here)!
So go on. If you already haven’t spent money on this film, go ahead and give Disney your money for some Marvel-lous entertainment. Baaki….. Nirav Modi kya waapis aayega? Yaa sab kuch raakh ho jayega? For that we will have to wait for 2019. Until then, watch the film - the one in which Ramesh Babu finally finds out the Asli keemat of a Chutki!!
Rating: 4/5 - Despite its problems it deserves kudos considering the challenge of giving screen time to so many heroes and the fact that this is a culmination of something envisioned a decade ago. Staggering.
By now if you haven’t seen the film you atleast must have heard the buzz around it; of it being a very thoughtful and meditative film. Most of these guys would have slept through the film and are only saying so because they don’t want to be labelled ‘shallow’. Well, I for one am OK being labelled so, because for me sitting through October was like being trapped in my seat for the whole of October – the month, I mean!!!
Now don’t get me wrong. I have sat through and enjoyed the most long, arduous and languidly paced films. I am not averse to watching artsy, slow burning delights. But they need to have some meaning and October’s meaning escaped me completely. For it seemed more like the story of a man who stalked a girl in coma.
Here’s the plot. Dan (Varun) and Shiuli (Banita) are trainees at a 5-star hotel. They hardly talk to each other. They aren’t friends, just colleagues. But when Shiuli has an unfortunate accident and is put on life support, Dan who is a complete waste of a Trainee at the hotel, decides to wile away his time at the hospital. He gets “Kuch Jyadaa Hi Affected” by this incident, while he is absolutely flabbergasted how none of the other trainees are ( erm, for a girl he hardly spoke to!). Even Shiuli's best friend is shocked by his behavior.
When he finds out that her last words were to ask about him, he goes completely bonkers. Does she love me? Why did she ask about me? And then he starts stalking her every day. Amazingly, her family doesn’t think too much about it. If a guy, who is neither a boyfriend nor a very good friend, was loitering day and night at the hospital and getting involved in family discussions, any normal family would have started questioning his intentions. But while the whole world thinks it’s crazy, the family of the girl thinks it’s OK. The director lamely tries to explain this anomaly by showing that Shiuli’s mother (who is a single parent) found great moral support in him being there. Anyhow…. Does she make it through? For that you would have to watch the film. Beware: Some of you might need life support after that.
My whole problem with the film is that this guy is a stalker – so stop bloody condoning his behavior. He doesn’t know the girl’s intentions, but is still trying to find meaning in her last words, every day. In his mind, she has already said YES when she asked about him. Isn’t that the kind of mentality we are trying to discourage? Or just because he is a sort of a nice guy and is actually not physically assaulting her, this is deemed OK behavior? In one line - this film is about a Wastrel who tries to escape his Uselessness by trying to find meaning in a Tragedy and stalks a girl in coma for no apparent reason.
The cinematography, the background score and the acting of the ensemble cast are the upsides to this lesson in pseudo-art-filmmaking. Varun is only mildly irritating here. What is more irritating is the futility of it all. There is no reason to empathise with the lead character, for the reason behind his inefficiency or Chipku behavior is never explored. Why is he always sulking? Why is he always trying to escape his reality? Is he Ishaan Avasthi, 15 years later? Guess, I lack the depth to understand it.
Anyway, if you like Shoojit Sircar films then please have a dekho. But then you can wait for it to come on TV. Atleast that way you can fall asleep in your bed while watching it. And maybe if you watch it and find meaning in it, do let me know because quite frankly this was for me – a Jabardasti ka Art film.
I have been watching reruns of The Office lately. The American version. So, when I saw that John Krasinski is going to star in an upcoming film with his real-life partner and incredible actor ‘Emily Blunt’, I made up my mind that I had to see this film. I generally don’t watch Scary Films, but then I knew this was more of a creature feature and not really a supernatural horror. And I am glad I watched it.
It’s quite unlike anything you have seen at the movies. It’s a really quiet film, which is different from a silent film - because Silent Films are not quiet, as they have a lot of Background Music. This has no dialogues, no music and just a barely audible sound design. And everyone has to watch quietly. Even having popcorn might land you in trouble coz people around you might get pissed by the constant crunching sound!
The plot is simple. A Family is stuck in a post-apocalyptic world where Aliens have taken over. These creatures are blind, but they have an extremely keen sense of hearing. As soon as they hear a pin drop, they attack and kill. So, this family has to live extremely quietly. The rule is simple - if you stay silent, you stay safe. But then the wife gets pregnant. And you can’t keep a baby quiet, can you! And that is when things get really tricky.
In terms of horror, it’s all about the build up here. The film starts slow, but when it gets into a higher gear there are no brakes till the very end. The screenplay is brilliant and there is always a lingering sense of doom. You just know something might go wrong and a character might die. What gets your goat is the brilliant sound design and the stellar cinematography. Ofcourse, the Indian movie theaters completely ruin the build up with an ill-placed interval. Just when things start getting warmer, they spoil it. Anyway, even if the presentation is a downer, the film triumphs.
Is it scary? Well, if you go to watch this film expecting a horror, it will disappoint you. But if you go to watch a really thrilling drama, you will be more than satisfied. It’s a human tale about a family trying to survive against the odds. It touches you more that it scares you. The opening 20 minutes sets it up brilliantly and you start caring for the family. And that is its greatest strength. Now, you don’t want things to go wrong. A small misstep and you are wondering who will die. But you don’t want them to, coz you are emotionally invested in them.
Kudos to Krasinski for writing the screenplay and directing this gem of a film. He’s the last person you would expect to make such a film, but he does a stellar job. In terms of the performances, the kids and Krasinski are competent but Emily Blunt really powers the film with her amazing range.
After a long time it is a film I want to go watch again at the theaters. Because I want to notice the little things that the film does to keep one emotionally invested. It does have a few clichéd scares, but then most of the scares come from the cares! So buy a ticket right away and go to the cinema today. But remember, in the theater – just shut up and watch!
Very rarely is cinema used to show the world in all its glorious greys. They generally paint the world black and white. You root for the protagonist through their absolutely worst, because somewhere you know he/she has been wronged. But what if nothing was black or white. What if with every step you had to question your decision? Three Billboards is cinema at its powerful best. Because it opens up a separate can of worms at every step and makes you question where you stand morally. And that is what makes it a deeply affecting piece of art.
The plot is simple. It’s a mom’s quest to find the killer and rapist of her daughter, and she is ready to do absolutely anything to do the same. In one glorious move, she directly attacks the Police Chief by asking hard questions about the murder on 3 billboards placed on a freeway that is hardly used by anyone. And this, as they say, stirs up the hornet’s nest.
While everyone sympathizes with her, they also sympathize with the chief as he is not only a good man but also a dying man. While she doesn’t know about it when she puts up the hoarding, but even after finding out she doesn’t bend. She knows she is on the right path and no guilt can stop her from finding out the truth about her daughter. Now, she not only faces the wrath of the town but also of the Chief’s racist sidekick. Will she succeed in her mission, in embarrassing the police enough for them to find her daughter’s killer? Or will she succumb to the pressure put by the police on her? To know that you will have to watch the movie. And watch you must!
The movie will really make you think. You might find some things too farfetched, too sudden, but then most of it will just make you think what you would have done. You will judge each character, you will take sides, you will definitely be moved. It is not a perfect movie, but it is an affecting movie and very rarely does a movie put you on that moral seesaw. Is the mother going to far by going after a dying police chief? Is the police chief really a good guy if he supports a racist, aggressive subordinate? Is the subordinate really bad or is he driven to that by his wicked mom? Is the mother really any different than a racist subordinate if she discriminates against a dwarf? There are many questions and very few answers. You have to look within to find these answers and that is the triumph of the film.
Martin McDonagh, the writer-director of this film is truly a champ. After having given us marvels like “In Bruges” and “Seven Psychopaths”, he really ups the game in Three Billboards. He could be picking up some big ones at the Oscars soon. And what adds the cherry on top are the performances. While Francis McDormand is flawless as the grieving mother ( and almost has the Oscar in the bag), Woody Harrelson excels as the police chief stuck between a rock and a hard place. But the one who’s character is the most flawed is the wicked subordinate played by Sam Rockwell. You might question his character’s arc, but you won’t question the performance – it’s brilliant. It’s so good to see him get some meaty roles once in a while. And this might just get him an Oscar.
So you might catch it before the Oscars on Monday morning or maybe after that, but be assured that it will be hoarding a lot of awards. Coz whether you like it or not, Francis McDormand is a Volcano that will engulf you with her fury.
Rating: 4.5/5 - Yes, it has its problems, but then it is like nothing you have ever seen.
I got the news of her death as a tweet shared on Whatsapp. I had just woken up and my first reaction was #FakeNews. I didn’t believe it. So I clicked on what’s trending to check the veracity of the claim. She was trending at #no1 and a strange inevitability creeped in. Tweet after tweet confirmed the news. But then wasn’t she in her early 50s? How could this be? So I googled. And the results filled up with one eulogy after another. This couldn’t be, not Sridevi. Just when Bollywood had started writing beautiful scripts for this great actress, how could she leave us? After reading some reactions, I got up and switched on the TV. Every News channel was covering the same News. Saroj Khan’s voice quivered as she spoke fondly of Sridevi’s brilliance. And then it sunk in. She was gone. Gone too soon.
In the 90s, while I grew up, there were 2 powerful female influences in my life ( excluding my family member’s ofcourse). And I was crazy for the both of them. Sridevi and Steffi Graf. Both insanely talented, both at the top of their game and both dedicated to their craft. In this patriarchal world, these women showed me that they were second to none. While Graf blazed her way on the court, Sridevi sizzled the silver screen. And amazingly, both these women whose name started with an ‘S’ were pitted against 2 equally brilliant ‘M’s — Madhuri and Monica Seles. Evenings were filled with debates on who was better and I always sided with the ‘S’s. No matter what people said, I always believed Sridevi’s ‘Kaatein Nahi Kat tey’ was much better than Madhuri’s ‘Dhak Dhak’. Madhuri may have been the modern Madhubala, but Sridevi was a singular beauty who was unique and peerless. Her eyes mesmerised. Oh! those eyes.
A complete actor, equally equipped to make you cry or leave you in splits, she gave every hero she worked with a run for his money. In fact be it Kamal Hassan or Sunny Deol, I am sure they would be terrified at the thought of being outclassed by her. And more often than not, she did. When she came to Bollywood, she had already acted for more than a decade. And her ability to bring life to a scene was just incredible.
One of my favourite movies was Mr.India and Sridevi was like a tornado in this film. The intrepid journalist who falls for the superhero but is in many ways tougher than the hero himself. I was simply amazed by this character who disguises herself first as Hawa Hawai and then as Charlie Chaplin to get to the bottom of her stories. And the comedic timing was spot on. In the era when you had to be fat or deliberately ugly to do comedy, she did it with pure timing and an alarmingly expressive face. Be it Chalbaaz or Lamhe or Chandani, she was always the centre of attraction of every film. She carried it on her shoulders. If she was on screen, nothing else mattered.
I remember dragging my parents to Eros to watch ‘Roop ki Rani Choron ka Raja’ in the opening week just because I wanted to watch Sridevi’s magnum opus. That, it was a magnificent dud, didn’t matter to me. And I went with my friends to watch Army with the same enthu. It was so awesome to watch SRK play second fiddle as this Devi/Diva lead from the front. In those days, I felt proud to be living in Lokhandwala, just because she had moved into Green Acres! Every time I walked by that building, I wished I would catch a glimpse of her. Alas, I never did.
While she got some amazing roles in Tamil/Telugu/ Malayalam cinema, the thing that makes me most sad is that she was short-changed in Bollywood. After the masterclass in Sadma, she had to do a spate of ridiculous movies with Jeetendra (Himmatwala / Justice Chaudhry / Tohfa). The great films were too few and far between. While I lapped up Nagina, Nigahein, Joshilay, Sone pe Suhaga - let’s face it, these were atrocious films. Even the late 90s had films like Chandramukhi, Chand ka Tukda, Ladlaa, Mr.Bechara and Judaai. This was cinema at its worst, even though Judaai was a roaring hit and her performance was outstanding.
And that is why we have lost her too soon. Just when we could have had an outstanding second innings of which we had already seen a glorious trailer. As Shashi in English Vinglish, Sridevi showed that the queen had not lost her touch one bit. It was a commanding comeback, showcasing her in all her glory. And although I missed watching Mom, its hard hitting trailer had given me goosebumps.
I secretly had a desire of writing a film for her. But alas, that wish will never come true. And I am sure there are many like me who were itching to work with this stellar actress. Just when Bollywood had become more accepting and was finally writing some good stuff for actors of all ages and appearances, have we lost the brightest flame.
And all I can say is ‘Thank You’ — for the laughs, for the school boy crush, for the paper clippings, the mix tapes, the insanity, the rain dances, those hypnotic eyes and that beautiful, expressive face that could break the hearts of millions. Thank you Sridevi.
Do Like and share if you feel the same
This month onwards I will give you a monthly preview of the gems you can expect in the theaters in that month. So that you can start calculating those unnecessary spends and waste more money on popcorn! Hai naa jhakaas idea? Now you can plan vacations without missing out some terribly awesome or awesomely terrible stuff on the big screen...
And 2018 starts with a bang! Ofcourse, Tiger Abhi Zinda hai, par kuch movies aane waali hai jo shayad usse maar dein... Here goes :
If you discount Vikram Bhatt's 1921, then there are 2 films that can make you look for a 50 paise coin so that you can TOSS it and decide which one to Head to!
Akshat Verma's Kaalakaandi -
Written and Directed by the same guy who wrote Delhi Belly, this film seems interesting. But I know what you must be thinking. Saif Ali Khan??? Sure Shot Flop hai! Woh toh hogi hi. Uski Kalaa hi picture ke saath Kaandi kar deti hai. But then Vijay Raaz and Dipak Dobriyal hai naa.. Sambhaal lengay. I have a feeling that though this film is trying too hard, it might just be a fun quirky caper.
Anurag Kashyap's Mukkabaaz :
It's Anurag Kashyap. He had got a great cast. He has cut a brilliant trailer. So I am expecting another over-indulgent BO flop. But then he does spring a surprise once in a while. I am just hoping he doesn't give in to his instincts of going over-board in terms of gimmickry and sticks to powerful storytelling. If that happens, Mukkabaaz could be the KO punch Kashyap has been waiting for at the BO!
Kushal Srivastava's Vodka Diaries :
Weren't you surprised by the trailer? I was too. With Kay Kay Menon at the helm, this is bound to be an interesting watch! So if you haven't missed any film from the previous week, you can give this one a shot. It might turn out to be the 'Samay' of 2018 - i.e. an above average thriller. Else, headache bachaane ke liye do chaar Vodka maarke jaana!
And then there is a the Republic day trif#cta! Until last week it was supposed to be a 2 horse race, but now the Karni Sena has started sharpening their talwaars waiting for this day!
Bhansali's Padmavat (i) :
With so much drama already having played out, this film will surely set the box office on fire - one way or the other!!! And with so many saffron flags going up , it would be interesting to see if Bhansali gets a green flag from the audience. Mera toh Shahid Kapoor ko dekhke hi mood kharaab ho gaya!
R Balki's Padman :
You can call this Akshay Kumar's Yearly National Award Clickbait! Based on an inspirational true story, this seems to be a fitting followup to Toilet. And with R.Balki at the helm, we can expect a half decent film. Though Akshay Kumar's TED talk does seem a bit hammy, I hope Balki does a sanitary check on Akshay's hamming proclivities, so that the film stay's free of jingoism.
That's it for January. Hai naa ekdum JaanLeva Jan! It's chock-a-block. But which ones will become blockbusters and which ones will be blocked or busted, is yet to be seen... I have made my picks. What about you? Do comment to let me know.
Agar Mazaa Aayaa toh LIKE de do, Aur Nahi aaya toh SHARE deke doosron ko pakao!
Very early in the film, Salman is fixing a radio with his son, somewhere in Austria. He works his magic and the radio catches All India Radio – Amritsar… in Austria… on a radio…not the internet…on a radio… And that sets the tone for the film. Towards the end, he walks bare-chested and bare-nosed in Highly Toxic Gas and still remains zinda. No one knows how and why. They just whistle. Maybe he practiced his survival tactics on the roads of Delhi, without a mask! Maybe…You just don’t know. All you know is that Tiger is alive and kicking, and he's feeding you a big dose of hogwash!
So, Tiger and Cat-rina are hiding from their respective agencies and living happily with their Cub. After Tiger fights off a bunch of wolves (actual wolves) without killing them ( ofcourse, they are wolves, not black bucks), he is pulled back into action when a bunch of terror breeding hyenas (actually, men) kidnap some Americans and hold some Indian/Pak Nurses hostage at a hospital. The American administrators bark like rabid dogs and threaten to bomb the hospital. The only way to save the lambs from becoming biryani is to set the Tiger loose on the hyenas.
Ofcourse, Cat needs to Purr as well. And so starts a menagerie of sequences that defy gravity and logic. While Cat displays her cat-alogue of Martial Art Moves, Tiger displays his pecks. They infiltrate the pack of hyenas without raising a stink, even though every move they make is fishy and manage to remain bullish even when the chips are down. Afterall, Tiger Zinda hai. And after an elephantine period of time (2 hours and 50 mins), loads of horseplay and 15 utterances of the phrase ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’, Tiger blasts the living daylights out of the Hyenas with a machine gun and saves the Lambs urf Nurses. Then he goes back to living his Henpecked life!
While Abbas Ali Zafar has the capacity to write good stuff, it is apparent that he wants to make a hardworking Sallu film. So we have Slow Motion entries, whistle-inducing action sequences and a paper thin plot. Everything just falls into place for the protagonist. And ofcourse, Abbas has to add the crowd pleasing elements like – woman empowerment (a character actually points it out so that no one misses it – this is woman empowerment, she says!). Add in a bit of India-Pakistan bhai chaara, and you have a message as well ( Aman ki Asha).
Yep, Abbas embraces Sallu’s animal instinct of being human with aplomb and creates a movie fit for monkeys! And because he does that, you have a film with extra long action sequences, useless jokes involving tu tu tu tu tu tara ( don’t even ask) and a running time that is an hour too long! While the screenplay is slick, the editing delightful, action choreography sound and background score purposeful, it just has too many ebbs and flows - specially ebbs.
So, get ready for Sallu the Santa to reindeer in the Box Office Christmas Cheer. But then do not expect a nuanced action film with a dash of logic. Yes, there are some decent performances, but the usual action film tropes come in as thick and fast as animal references in this review ( can you count how many?). Go with a lot of patience and no brains at all. Coz, Tiger Zinda hai… but logic kuttey ki maut marr gaya!
Rating: 1.5 / 5 - Technically it is well made film... but please no 3quel, let Bhai-gones be Bhai-gones....
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And the biggest blockbuster in the entire universe is back. But this time, no matter what any review says – the force is extremely weak. Rian Johnson makes a predictable, boring, unaffecting visual spectacle that even Yoda can’t save.
The film starts off with a spectacular battle sequence where the resistance deals a telling blow on the dark side, but apparently there are strings attached! So they get tracked even at light speed and are pummeled mercilessly. While Rey tries her best to play Karate Kid with her Sensei ‘Luke Skywalker’ and Kylo Ren mopes a bit, Finn goes off on a mission to save the resistance. This leads to an entirely useless sequence of events which amount to nothing in the end, but yeah Luke comes back to save the day. Meanwhile Kylo Ren mopes some more. Finally, Rey meets Finn and the resistance is saved to fight another day and Kylo Ren gets a chance to mope some more in the next sequel.
If I could give out spoilers, this would have been filled with a list of plot holes, clichés and wasted opportunities, but let’s not go there. The problem with this stretched epic is that it doesn’t for a minute tug at your heart strings. If you were a Star Trek character watching a Star Wars movie, you would be a Vulcan - because you feel nothing! There is neither any excitement when Luke trains Rey nor any emotion in Kylo’s internal conflict. The action sequences, though brilliantly done, are filled with predictable and unnecessary plot twists which invalidate the worth of their preceding sequences.
The conflict between the Darkness and Light is the very essence of the Star Wars. And both Rey and Kylo Ren are going through the same, internally. Will Rey tilt towards the darkness? Is Kylo too far gone to come back? These questions bind them together. But the biggest problem with the movie is that this conflict is very loose. The ping pong of Rey and Ren between darkness and light is too stretched and ultimately causes a pain in the neck.
In terms of the characters, while Daisy Ridley, Boyega and Fisher are consistently good, Mark Hamill is on the mark and Adam Driver drives you crazy with his constant brooding. The most interesting character – Poe by Oscar Isaac is largely kept on a tight leash and Benicio Del Toro fails to pull off an intergalactic Jack Sparrow. And what do I say about the Supreme Commander Snoke? He is a disappointment of the first order!
While I know that Resistance is Futile and if you are a Star Wars fan watch you must, I warn you – you might get disappointed. Go without expectations of this being one of the best Star Wars movies ever made (as proclaimed by many reviewers) and you might just have a little fun. And yes, it will break a lot of box office records because of the holiday season revelry. But for me, the force wasn’t strong enough to make me glued to the screen (or my seat)!
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Rating Scale : on 10
1,2,3,4 - Poor
5,6 - Average
7,8 - Good
9,10 - Excellent