Friday, 13 March 2015


Bottomline : Brutal and unflinching, Navdeep Singh's NH 10 is that rare kind of film that sucks you into its world from the word go, mounting the tension that is so palpable at every stage of it.

Early on in the film, after being attacked by an unruly group of men, Anushka is advised by the police officer to own a licensed gun instead of being assured that she would be protected by the police. It becomes evident, straightaway, that director Navdeep Singh is interested to expose the underbelly of the society, be it the city of Delhi or the badlands of Haryana. The story, written by Sudip Sharma, is not a groundbreaking one, as we have seen films in the past on road trips going awry. And while NH 10 definitely doesn't fall in the horror category, whats sets it apart is the journey of the audience along with the characters to guess and predict what future has in store for them, which surely sends a chill down your spine as you witness the events unfolding on screen.

Unlike his previous film Manorama Six Feet Under, which was an intelligent thriller betrayed by its slow pacing, NH 10 is brisk, engaging and seldom loses grip over its realistic tone that accentuates the state of anarchy and brings to the fore the disturbing and appalling issue of honour killings. There is a tangible sense of stinging truth when the eldest member in the house wishes to dismiss the killing of a family member surreptitiously as a personal matter. It is only the last 15 minutes or so of the film which is a bit of a let down, not least because the end twist can be guessed from a mile away and also because the final act turns out to be a tad underwhelming.

The film, in the end, belongs to Anushka Sharma who subserviently and convincingly pulls off a role, which is the most taxing of all the characters in the film. In a never seen avatar before, she delivers a riveting performance bringing the required pathos to a character whose peace of mind has been buried under the debris of helplessness and despair.

I'm going with 3.5/5 for NH 10. The blood and gore may be hard to digest for many. But I still recommend a watch for the competent direction and brilliant performances.

Friday, 6 March 2015


Bottomline : A throwback to the good old times of the '90s that scores high on authenticity and portrayal of characters, but at the same time never really exploits the script's full potential.

Review : Those who have seen Rajat Kapoor's 2013 gem Aankhon Dekhi would completely agree that Dum Laga Ke Haisha seems heavily inspired from the former, whether it is in the storytelling, or the actors or even the setting up of each frame. But while Aankhon Dekhi dealt with a man questioning the very reason of his existence, debutant director Sharat Katariya ( who was Rajat Kapoors's assistant director) has a charming love story to proffer to reinforce the fact that "Love comes in all sizes" and everything ultimately boils down to how we rise above all odds to look at the brighter side of life.

Sharat Katariya nicely captures the essence of Haridwar in the music, the local dialect and the amusing characters, whose conversations evoke hearty laughs on more than one occasions. He has created a small world of his own, where almost everyone in the locality know each other, where one of our protagonist can't get over the songs of Kumar Sanu, where any word uttered in one corner of the house can be effortlessly heard in the other corner and where education is seen as a very respectable credential  by less fortunate ones. It isn't surprising, then, that the film moves at a languid pace as nothing much happens by way of story or plot. But even at a crisp running time of 111 minutes, DLKH seldom feels more than a sum of its parts. True, there are flashes of brilliance like the court scene where the two families erupt into a fight over the divorce issue, or the use of the '90s songs by the lead pair to articulate their state of mind or for that matter, the good-natured banter the friends share with each other. But to pull-off a script of this nature on celluloid more convincingly, the director could have peppered the film with more substance and wit and done away with all the "taane maarna" and "moti saand" which becomes hackneyed after one point of time.

Of the two leads, Ayushman Khurrana plays his character on one note throughout the film, which despite being sincere comes off as mildly disappointing. The rotund Bhumi Pednekar, on the other hand, injects the right dosage of believability into her role and never lets it slip into the zone of cliche, making her the best part of the film.

I'm still going with 3/5. It may not leave as lasting an impression as its big brother Aankhon Dekhi, but surely stands as a respectable debut, reminiscent of the kind of innocence that has long been forgotten today.