Monday, 25 May 2015


Bottomline: A crazily humorous roller coaster ride that sucks you into its world from the word go with its sharp, witty dialogue and terrific performances despite having a plot that is hardly unpredictable or novel. It has a contagious charm that's hard to describe and I can't recollect the last time I laughed so hard in a film.

Review : I have to admit that I wasn't particularly fascinated by Tanu weds Manu (first part), not least because it had weird characters and a love story which you could not root much for. But much like this month's Piku, the biggest strength of Tanu weds Manu returns lies in its writing. While the former gave us an insight into Bengali traits and emotions, the latter revels in unabashed humour with sparkling and amusing dialogues that form its backbone. It treads a familiar path in terms of story but it is the treatment which distinguishes it from your usual, predictable love story. So, while the last-minute turbulence the confused bridegroom goes through on the day of marriage is common, the bride's questioning him whether he's prepared or not for the marriage in the sixth circumambulation is something funny. There are many such instances when even a tepid scene is redeemed by sharp comic timing and brilliant acting. This sequel is, undoubtedly, umpteen times better than its prequel.

The sidekicks in the film are perfectly cast. Deepak Dobriyal as Manu's best friend, Jimmy Shergill as the man struggling to get on the wedding horse, Zeeshan Ayub as the rough, fearless advocate who'll go any distance for Tanu, and many others mine hearty laughs from the most unpredictable of situations and it is to their credit that the film races along without leaving you much time to crib about the minor hiccups and the convenient turns the plot takes, especially in the second half. Director Anand Rai has skillfully complemented the smart script by Himanshu Sharma and he seems to have mastered the art of an authentic portrayal of north India, which has become his hallmark.

There are a few portions in the second half that could have been obviated, but the witty one-liners, catchy songs and Kangana Ranaut more than anything else, make you carp less and accept the film as it stands. She's at the top of her game here and will make you feel for both her characters. She effortlessly slips into the role of a Haryanvi and dazzles with the terrific accent that may take some time getting used to. As Tanu, her awkward Hindi accent acts as a roadblock on certain occasions, but for most part she oozes sincerity in a role which comes most naturally to her. She's one of the main reasons why you should watch this film. Madhavan nicely reprises the role of a sweet, naive husband who's caught between his love for two girls with the same face, but strikingly different qualities.

I'm going with 4/5 for Tanu Weds Manu Returns. It's a nice way to spend the evening and I bet you'll return satisfied to the hilt. While it may not be a perfect film, it reinforces the fact that films are made to provide wholesome entertainment, which it delivers in dollops. Sometimes, that's not such a bad thing!!

Saturday, 16 May 2015


Bottomline : An ambitious film let down by a convoluted and conventional plot that is predictable at every stage of it. So, while the film is technically beautiful, there is a deep void in terms of thrill or urgency which behoves an Anurag Kashyap film.

Review : It is a given that Kashyap's films tend to get self-indulgent on many occasions but one can never accuse them of being predictable. Bombay Velvet, unfortunately, teeters between boring and predictable, reeking constantly of been-there-seen-that before moments and sacrificing story for aesthetic value. The inordinately long first half is over-crowded with twists and characters which are introduced every now and then and not each plot holds key significance by the end, except the "negatives" of photographs, a silly piece of evidence around which the entire film revolves which is stretched to the point of losing importance. Also, the film plods ahead without firmly establishing either a genuinely heartfelt love story or a revenge saga, as a result of which struggles to find its feet even as it junks in the usual double crossings, blackmailing, corrupt politicians and what not.

To give credit where it's due, the shootout scenes are terrifically shot, reminiscent of the kind of ebullience on display in his previous film Gangs of Wasseypur and you can't help wish Bombay Velvet had more elements from that mind-blowing film. Also, the attention to detail and excellent production design which transports you to Bombay of the sixties ensures the mood is set throughout. Then you have those trademark Kashyap moments when a guy ignorantly refers to Santa Claus as Santa Clock or that scene of telephonic silence between Johnny Balraj (played by Ranbir Kapoor) and Kaizad Khambatta (played pretty well by Karan Johar), or for that matter the scene where Kaizad breaks into a surreptitious laughter. These are only flashes of brilliance in an otherwise tiring film.

Music forms an integral part of the film. Amit Trivedi's phenomenal background score and soundtrack is one of the best works by a music composer in recent times. Devoid of any foot-tapping numbers or catchy fast-beat songs, the music stays loyal to the period in which the film is set and delivers accordingly.

Despite the shortcomings, one of the main reasons why Bombay Velvet remains watchable is the splendid acting. It features an ensemble of respectable actors like Kay Kay Menon, Manish Chaudhary, Karan Johar and of course, the two leads. Anushka Sharma does whatever possible within the ambit of her half-baked role, but it is Ranbir Kapoor who is the real show stealer. Nicely flowing with the shifting dynamics of Johnny Balraj, Ranbir is a treat to watch each time he appears on screen and with Bombay Velvet he has erased the stains of his previous debacle, Roy. Sadly, the script offers little room to emotionally invest in any of the characters, earnest as they may be in their performances.

I'm going with 2.5/5 for Bombay Velvet. It is an ambitious, scrupulously-mounted film but the unimaginative script has ultimately ripped this Velvet off its sheen. 

Saturday, 9 May 2015


Bottomline : Easily one of the better films in the year, this slice of a life journey is sure to win over you on account of its spot on casting and intuitive writing that make it rise way above the ordinary.

Review : Given that film is packed with Bengalis, like director Shoojit Sircar, music composer Anupam Roy, side actors like Moushmi Chatterjee, there is a distinct Bengali authenticity that diffuses through the screen and you can't help be bowled over by the simplicity and light-handed manner in which director Shoojit Sircar treats the film.

The real star of Piku is writer Juhi Chaturvedi (a frequent collaborator of Shoojit Sircar). This is some of the most insightful writing you've ever seen on screen. The dialogues, though delivered partly in Hindi and partly English, never seem laboured or contrived and credit must go to the actors for that. Juhi's meticulously written characters for the three leads and their exchanges make for some hilarious moments. The first half of the film is absolutely terrific where jokes keep coming thick and fast and virtually every dialogue evokes a laugh out of you. She displays affection even for the tiniest of characters like Amitabh's attendant, Moushmi Chaterjee (as Piku's aunt), Raghubir Yadav (as their doctor), all get to shine in their respective parts making each role a memorable one. In fact, the writing is so sharp that, through their conversations, she makes Piku's mother's absence felt even when she never appears on screen. Ever since he debuted with the lesser known Yahaan, director Shoojit Sircar has grown with every film of his; be it the amusing Vicky Donor or the gripping Madras Cafe. Piku, however, turns out to be his most mature film. He keeps all the actors on the leash, leaving no room for melodrama or over action. He treats even the most serious of scenes in a light-hearted tone, consciously steering clear of cliches. As a result, the film doesn't pack a punch but ends with a kind of relaxed naturalism.

The jokes in the second half, however, dry up and a kind of repetitiveness does seep in, but despite the slow pace you can't help be swept away by the characters and their situations which are so endearing to watch because they have been performed by one of the most talented bunch of actors Bollywood has. Anupam Roy deserves a special mention for his soulful, melodious soundtrack that lends a soothing touch even to the most ordinary of scenes.

As Bhashkor Banerjee, Amitabh is pitch-perfect as the hypochondriac who is eternally constipated, both physically and mentally. Irrfan is in his best form too. What else can be said about an actor who doesn't need a dialogue to convey an emotion. As Piku, Deepika does justice to the best written role of the film by underplaying her part in the only way it should have been done.

I'm still going with 4/5 for Piku and a thumbs up for Juhi and Shoojit. It's filled with moments that will stay with you long after you've left the cinema hall and more importantly, leaves a big smile on your face. How many movies these days can boast of doing that? Well, not many. Don't miss it.