Movie Preview : Mary Kom (releases 5th September 2014)

We’re seeing more and more films on legendary sports figures. There was “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, and now there is Mary Kom.

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Movie Review : Kya Dilli Kya Lahore (2014)

Kya Dilli Kya Lahore Hindi DVD (Vijay Raaz,Manu Rishi,Vishwaj) (Bollywood/Film/2014 Movie)Rating : Average (3/5)
Genre : Drama
Year : 2014
Running time : 1 hour 38 minutes
Director : Vijay Raaz
Cast : Vijay Raaz, Manu Rishi, Raj Zutshi, Vishwajeet Pradhan
Kidwise : PG

I saw this film mostly because of the fact that Vijay Raaz had directed and acted in it. If you are unfamiliar with Raaz’s work, know that he is the impeccable actor we saw in Dedh Ishqiya, Delhi Belly etc. Although impeccable actors have been known to falter when it comes to direction, (like Naseeruddin Shah for example, who directed “Yun Hota to Kya Hota”) one always hopes for the best. Bollywood needs fresh, new talent after all.

KDKL is a war film about two soldiers from opposite sides of the border. There are just two main characters in this film – quite a rarity for a Hindi film. They appear on the screen most often. Other characters come and go, but these two remain.

Vijay Raaz plays Rehmat Ali, a soldier of the Pakistani army, pushed into going across the border to the Indian outpost to retrieve information about the supposed tunnels India has been building. Manu Rishi plays Samarth Pratap, the cook at the Indian outpost, left all by himself as the Indian soldiers are out at a skirmish. The film details out all that happens when the two come face to face.

First things first – this film is predictable. I knew what was going to happen when I read the little blurb for the film, and saw the trailer. The fruitlessness and the costs of war have been the subject of many a film. KDKL treads the same path, emphasizing the fact that underneath the animosity we are all the same people.

Raaz is marvelous as always. I was not too impressed with Manu Rishi; he appeared to be more of a blubbering idiot than I would have liked. Granted that Rishi’s character is just a humble cook in the Indian army, but he is still a soldier! While the Pakistani soldier, played by Raaz, plots and plans and is generally fearless, Rishi’s character, Samar, either seems to simply keel over in fright or dissolve into snotty, sniveling tears.

KDKL is interesting enough for the 98 minutes although there is precious little going on, action-wise. These are two lone men, in a godforsaken jungle, each taking potshots (both verbal and of the gun-powder variety) at each other. We are supposed to feel for them, and feel for them we do, although sparingly (Rishi’s incessant bawling seemed to drown out all other emotions – I’m not kidding).

This film was tepid. It left me largely unmoved. If you are tired of the other in-your-face masala Bollywood has to offer, and have nothing better to do, this slow-paced drama might be the thing.

Kidwise : Some violence, although not gory or explicit. The pace of the film and subject matter is probably only suited to older kids.

Posted in 2014, bollywood, drama, rating-PG, war | Leave a comment

Movie Preview : Daawat-e-Ishq (5th September 2014)

Habib Faisal writes and directs another love story situated in Hyderabad. Am looking forward to this peppy Parineeti-Aditya Roy Kapur starrer:

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Movie Review : Ankhon Dekhi (2013)

Ankhon Dekhi (English Subtitled)Rating : Very Good (4.2/5)
Genre : Drama
Year : 2013
Running time : 1 hour 48 minutes
Director : Rajat Kapoor
Cast : Sanjay Mishra, Rajat Kapoor, Seema Pahwa, Taranjit Kaur, Namit Das, Maya Sarao
Kidwise : G

I first got a whiff of this film when director Rajat Kapoor (of “Mithya” fame) was casting around for funding for the film on twitter, and later when he would post updates of the shooting and production. Now the film has made it to Netflix, and a very worthy addition it is.

In this film, Raje Bauji (Sanjay Mishra) and his family live together in the Fatehpuri area of Delhi. This is a typically old Delhi, middle class joint family, because Bauji’s younger brother Rishi (Rajat Kapoor) and his family also live in the same house. The house is a set of small, tightly packed rooms with a central courtyard and a common kitchen and bathroom. All co-exist in relative peace; the expected carping and quibbling is ongoing but does not affect the family dynamic much.

What does affect it though is Bauji’s vow of absolute truth – of not believing anything not seen with one’s own eyes – hence the title “ankhon dekhi”. This personal realization comes to him suddenly after a certain unpleasant incident involving his much loved daughter Rita and Ajju (Das), the young man she wants to marry. Once Bauji has made up his mind to keep the vow, he goes about it with much vigor, and his keeping to the absolute truth has unpleasant repercussions on daily life. His long suffering wife is much annoyed, and friends and relatives declare him unsound of mind. But Bauji keeps at it.

This film then is Bauji’s journey through life, the ups and downs, the joys and the sorrows. The film is centered around him and his unique “aankhon dekhi” philosophy, but it also tells us about all the people around him. He tells us that life has been happy and pleasant, but has it been the same for the other members of his family?

There is his wife Amma (Seema Bhargav Pahwa, whom you might remember as “Badhki” from “Hum Log”), his son Manu and his daughter Rita (Sarao). Then there is his younger brother Rishi, his wife (played by Kaur) and his kids. There are also an assortment of relatives, friends and employers (one played by Saurabh Shukla). Each of their characters is finely sketched, and the film comes alive under the director’s skilled hands. The film’s story has perspicacity, the ability to look beyond characters – it lays each one’s life out on display to the viewer but does not judge – it leaves that to you. You might consider Bauji an inconsiderate fool who has stuck on to his unwieldy oath, or you might consider him an enlightened man, but that is quite up to you.

Sometimes you watch a film, and it seems pleasant enough and engrossing enough and you go on, swept up in its flow, only aware that it is a thing of grace and beauty. “Aankhon Dekhi” is that kind of film. It is not extra-ordinarily fast paced or bombastic. It moves leisurely through the many events taking it’s time telling us of the effect Bauji’s unique vow is having. But it is smooth, and seamless and engrossing, and it stays with you long after.

Quite gorgeous! Highly recommended.

Posted in 2013, All Netflix, bollywood, drama, family-friendly, Hindi movies on Netflix, outstanding, rating-G, recommended | 1 Comment

Movie Preview : Raja Natwarlal (releases August 29th)

Emraan Hashmi returns after Ghanchakkar with another interesting looking film. Kunal Deshmukh directs this one, and while he’s directed other forgettable films, let’s hope this one’s the exception to the rule.

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Movie Review : One By Two (2014)

One by Two(2014)Rating : Poor (1/5)
Genre : Romance
Year : 2014
Running time : 2 hours 15 minutes
Director : Devika Bhagat
Cast : Abhay Deol, Preeti Desai, Rati Agnihotri, Jayant Kripalani, Yashika Dhillon
Kidwise : G

In this film, the end is more like the beginning. I’m not kidding; it really is. Here is why:

Amit Sharma (Deol) is a young man being badgered by family to settle down with a suitable girl, post breakup with girlfriend Radhika. Samara Patel (Desai) is a young woman seeking success in her dream career of dancing. For her, life is hampered by an alcoholic mother and a missing dad. Still, where’s the fun without the melodrama and the hardship, yeah? We are like this only and blah-blah-blah . . . You’d assume that angels sing and flowers bloom when the twain meet. Ha! But they don’t even meet; the angels went to bed, just waiting.

Therein lies the nub of the problem.

Amit and Samara are two separate people, potential lifemates, we assume. So we go on and on, perusing their lives and their struggles, but the two might as well be in separate movies for all the romance in this film. I mean, I can see what the director thought this was going to be – introduce us to two lovely, lovable people. Build them up as independent characters in their own right, so when the two do meet, the earth moves, the crescendo booms, etc. because this would be true love, no? The meeting of the minds, yeah? Except that this does not happen.

This could have been a refreshing film, but kinda goes south. The characters while interesting are not charismatic enough to anchor the film on their own, and they are on their own for most of the movie. The entire film is about the (boring) lives of the characters, but at the end of the film, I’d be hard pressed to say I “knew” them. The film also seriously lacks any romantic development; this is the Kalahari of romances and you are stuck in the middle, lost and thirsty. You think you spy an oasis, but sadly it is but a mirage.

Abhay Deol generally picks interesting films, but with this one he’s produced an actual dud, a non-starter. With his fauxhawk hairstyle and “I’m-so-pakaoed” shenanigans, he comes across here as a little boy throwing a tantrum. Desai we last saw in Shor in the City. She does well in the mother-daughter scenes (Dubey plays her mom) but as an Indo-British gal trying to find her feet in Mumbai’s artistic waters, she remains a little too distant and aloof.

Rati Agnihotri and Jayant Kripalani make a cute parental unit, and Lilette Dubey is lovely as always. Even the back-talking prospective “bahu” Shishika (Dhillon) had personality, so it’s a pity that the lead characters had none.

I’m so unimpressed.

Kidwise : Clean.

Posted in 2014, bollywood, family-friendly, rating-G, romance | Leave a comment

Movie Preview : Mardaani (releases 22nd Aug 2014)

Rani Mukherjee returns as a cop in a hard-hitting film about child sex trafficking:

Posted in 2014, action, bollywood, crime, Previews, social issues, thriller | Leave a comment