Movies en Wed Nov 16 13:29:08 IST 2022 mrs-chatterjee-vs-norway-review-rani-mukerji-shines-in-a-highly-emotional-drama <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>There is an important moment in&nbsp;<i>Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway</i>&nbsp;in which during a courtroom scene, Debika Chatterjee (Rani Mukerji) makes an emotional appeal to the judge ‘<i>Main achhi maa hu ya buri, ye toh nahi pata, par maa hu</i>’. This entire courtroom sequence that happens towards the end of the film, like many other moments in the film, is crafted well lto make the audience feel the character's trials and triumphs.&nbsp;</p> <p>Bollywood, every now and then, comes up with a motherhood drama that tugs at your heartstrings, like Sridevi’s&nbsp;<i>Mom</i>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<i>English Vinglish</i>, Kajol’s&nbsp;<i>Tribhanga</i>, and Vidya Balan’s&nbsp;<i>Paa.&nbsp;</i>Rani Mukerji’s&nbsp;<i>Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway,&nbsp;</i>directed by Ashima Chibber<i>,&nbsp;</i>is a worthy addition to this line-up.</p> <p>Every few years, Mukerji steps out of her comfort zone and attempts a character that only she could bring to life –&nbsp;<i>Black</i>’s Michelle,&nbsp;<i>Laaga Chunari Mein Daag</i>’s Vibhavari, the unabashed and brave cop in&nbsp;<i>Mardaani</i>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<i>Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway</i>’s Debika. Mukerji outshines herself and is natural in the role of a mother seeking justice, based on the true story of Sagarika Chatterjee and her husband Anurup Bhattarcharya.</p> <p>Debika Chatterjee, her husband, and their two young children are settled in Norway. Debika’s world revolves around her children. Her occasionally abusive and self-centered husband, vying for the green card, does little to help her raise children.&nbsp;</p> <p>Debika’s world is shattered when her children are taken away as the state alleges misconduct in handling the children due to cultural differences. How a single woman fights a country to get her children back forms the story. Her husband abandons her, labelling her ‘mentally unstable’ to protect his citizenship while her in-laws create trouble in her fight to win back her children.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mukherji is in fine form as a distraught mother up against a culture and system that she is alien to. The makers of the movie have managed to make the audience cry and feel as the mother onscreen battles the pain of separation from her children.</p> <p><b>Directed by: Ashima Chibber</b></p> <p><b>Starring: Rani Mukerji, Anirban Bhattacharya, Jim Sarbh,&nbsp;</b><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Neena Gupta</b></p> Fri Mar 17 17:54:43 IST 2023 shazam-fury-of-the-viewers <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>When it comes to the most hyped movies of the DC Universe, let’s be honest. <i>Shazam</i> isn’t really way up in that list. Understandably, it is the story about a teenager – Billy Batson – who, after acquiring superpowers via magical means, transforms into an adult whenever he shouts the name &quot;Shazam!”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even so, when compared to his fellow heroes, Shazam! is one of the oldest of the DC Universe. Few superheroes were created as early as Shazam by the comic book giant, which debuted in February 1940. Considering the character’s ties to the Greek gods – one of the most ancient and culturally significant mythologies – Shazam! deserves to be acknowledged right alongside Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the light of the new appointment of CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran, there has been a lot of buzz about their plans for DC lately. According to social media, <i>Shazam! Fury Of The Gods</i> is an adequate sequel. The movie isn’t exactly a total game changer, but it’s watchable enough.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bearing in mind the financial situation, where the successor of Shazam! was given the same budget of a modest 100 million as before, the movie seems to have compensated here and there. Following the events of the initial film, Billy Batson (Zachary Levi) has settled into his new family but struggles to balance his normal day-to-day with his superhero alter ego. As traction rises among the family, they find themselves facing quite the threat from the Daughters of Atlas, who have escaped from their supernatural imprisonment and are on a mission to regain the power taken from their gods. With the fate of the world at risk, it’s up to Billy and his family to save the day and stop the Daughters from unleashing chaos on the world. Taking on 3 powerful gods and one gigantic dragon isn’t exactly a visual treat – the result of some questionable VFX work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Although there are a few good attempts to give it a comedic essence, most of the movie is seemingly bland. It may have been an attempt at creating a spiderman-esque feel, but they do not compare to their competition, Marvel Studios. The other siblings get hardly any attention as most of the starlight falls on Batson and Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer). They are (barely) joined by Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and Rachel Zegler as the Daughters of Atlas, and Adam Brody, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Ross Butler, Faithe Herman, and Meagan Good as the Shazam family (The Shazamily, if you will).Djimon Hounsou, however, excels in his act of the Wizard, brimming with the perfect concoction of humour and seriousness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Whilst the storyline remains mostly predictable, there are elements that keep us hooked. The CGI is not exactly stupendous, but the idea of a live dragon being wooden is simply unimpressive. It doesn’t really portray the depth of the original Greek mythology the story is based on. The movie lacks the life and rawness you’d expect from DC.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As so often is the case with these sorts of films, <i>Shazam! Fury of the Gods </i>becomes monotonous with its excessive spectacle relying, combined with the not-so-spectacular CGI that make you long for a little more movement. By the time an army of unicorns are recruited by young Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman) with a fistful of Skittles, you’re all set to slap your own forehead in exasperation. Yes, the Shazam films are geared to a younger comic book movie audience, but this leans more to the pre-schooler/cartoon terrain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Which leads us on to the million dollar question: Is the movie a total bust? Well, somewhat. If you really want to keep up with the DC storyline, it’s worth a watch. There are two juicy post credit scenes you do not want to miss. But do not go into the theatres with high expectations, as this one does not deliver.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Movie</b>: Shazam! Fury Of The Gods</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Cast</b>: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel,Jack Dylan Grazer,Marta Milans,Faithe Herman</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Rating</b>: 1.5/5</p> Thu Mar 16 22:33:07 IST 2023 thuramukham-review-rajeev-ravis-film-is-a-realistic-portrayal-of-workers-struggles <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, a dehumanising labour recruitment and discipline practice called the 'chappa' system was operational in Cochin. It was a system controlled by a network of port authorities, shipping agents, and worksite supervisors known as 'mooppans', who held power over thousands of manual labourers and porters.</p> <p>The 'chappa' system was such that copper coins would be thrown by the mooppen’s men, and labourers would fight each other to grab one to gain work for that day. Every day this ordeal would repeat.</p> <p>Later, mooppans were replaced by labour unions like Cochi Thuramukha Thozhilali Union (CTTU), which started assigning jobs only to those affiliated with them. The condition of the ordinary labourers remained the same, and the labourers associated with Port Cargo Labor Union (PCLU) went on a massive strike in 1953. On September 15, 1953, the 75th day since the “chappa samara” started, workers, refused to unload a ship of P.G. Khona company that was anchored at the Cochin port. The PCLU workers had a scuffle with the CTTU leaders. They believed that the CTTU settled the strike in favour of the shipping agents and prevented the effort of the agents to unload the ship using PCLU-affiliated workers. This soon led to the arrest of a major leader of CTTU.</p> <p>Provoked by the arrests, the CTTU members stopped the police vehicle and tried to get the leaders out of it. Soon, it became a street fight between the police and the workers, and three CTTU members—Syed, Saidalvi, and Antony—were shot dead. This incident known as Mattancherry Vediveyppu (Mattancherry firing) forms the backbone of Rajeev Ravi’s film <i>Thuramukham</i>. However, the film’s focus is not on the tragic incident but on the socio-economic and political factors that led to that incident.</p> <p>The film is an adaptation of a 1968 namesake play by K.M. Chithambaram. The play, which was one of the few literary accounts of the tragic firing incident, won the Kerala Sahitya Parishad Award in 1973. In 2018, Chithambaram’s son Gopan Chithambaram revived and brought back the play to the stage with the help of Collective Phase One, a production house of which Ravi is also a part. Gopan, who was the co-scenarist of Amal Neerad’s period drama, <i>Iyobinte Pusthakam</i>, wrote the screenplay for Ravi’s version of <i>Thuramukham </i>too.</p> <p>Ravi is a cinematographer-filmmaker who blends the uniqueness of his locations into his narrative as well. Such a treatment could be visible in <i>Thuramukham </i>too. Though the film tells the story of a land, everything is seen from the perspective of a Muslim family in Mattancherry.</p> <p>When the Cochin port was opened in 1928, people from different parts of Malabar and the princely state of Travancore flocked to Kochi in the hope of finding jobs. The film opens with the narrative of this early phase. It shows how the exploitative system worked while portraying the daily struggles of Maimu (Joju George) and his wife (Poornima Indrajith). This portion offers some beautiful black-and-white frames and tricks of light and shades.</p> <p>Then comes a perspective shift from Maimu to his sons, Moidu (Nivin Pauly) and Hamsa (Arjun Ashokan), who also become part of the labour force in the port like their father. But the similarity between the two brothers ends there. Moidu becomes a hand of the oppressors, while Hamsa stays with the oppressed labourers, and they cross paths at various junctures.</p> <p>The film conveys the idea that the biggest impediment to the progress of labour movements is the lack of unity among the labourers. It also explores how the bourgeoisie class uses—and later snubs—those from the working class to oppress others from the same class. <i>Thuramukham</i> also touches upon various other issues—debt traps, early marriages, illiteracy, and lack of awareness about rights—that were part of the lives of ordinary men and women in Mattancherry. The film’s script and narrative are faithful to the period it portrays.</p> <p>Poornima delivers a powerful performance as the mother of Hamsa and Moidu. She handles the different phases in the life of a woman—who had seen multiple tragedies—with ease. Joju uses his nuanced expressions to deliver a wonderful performance in the first phase of the film. Like Poornima, Sudev Nair, too, delivers a nuanced performance as a character that evolves over the course of the film. Nivin uses his physique to the advantage of his alcoholic and lousy character. However, in certain scenes—especially action scenes—his physique becomes an impediment to giving a fine-tuned performance. Arjun delivers a believable performance as Hamsa.</p> <p>Nimisha Sajayan plays the role of an orphan girl Ummini, and Darshana Rajendran plays the role of Moidu and Hamsa’s sister Kaachi. Both characters were unimpressive, as the actors could not bring a Mattancherry flavour to them.</p> <p><i>Thuramukham</i>’s runtime is 2 hours and 54 minutes. The story is spread over the lives of many different characters. The film employs a linear and slow-paced narrative, closer to a documentary-style treatment. However, too many subplots (though all related) in the narrative ruin the focus on the main plot. Also, tighter editing would have worked in the film's favour to become a theatrical hit.</p> <p>The film sees the struggle of the working class as a continuous event. This is seen in the narrative, too, which portrays the different phases of the rights protests. However, the film offers a bland climax that fails to shake the minds of the audience.</p> <p>The film’s art team deserves a huge round of applause for recreating Mattancherry of different decades. The music by Shahbaz Aman also gels well with the narrative. <i>Thuramukham</i> was a film that was supposed to hit theatres in 2021. However, its release was postponed multiple times—first because of Covid and later because of certain financial issues faced by the producer. But this was a film that deserved a theatrical release, though it is more likely to be appreciated when released on OTT.</p> <p><b>Film: Thuramukham</b></p> <p><b>Director: Rajeev Ravi</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Nivin Pauly, Joju George, Poornima Indrajith, Arjun Ashokan, Nimisha Sajayan, Darshana Rajendran, Sudev Nair</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 3/5</b></p> Fri Mar 10 17:00:25 IST 2023 creed-3-review-not-so-rocky-without-rocky <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The hit spin-off of the <i>Rocky</i> franchise is back for round 3, with Michael B. Jordan reprising his role as champion boxer Adonis Creed. Jordan also put on the director’s hat for this flick – the first time. The ninth instalment of the <i>Rocky</i> series is visually pleasing, which somehow makes up for the lacklustre narrative. But what the movie does achieve is a new dynamic, setting it apart from the repetitiveness of the earlier ones.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Creed</i>’s major hurdle was to step out of the shadows of his mentor Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and his father Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). <i>Creed 3</i> does it.</p> <p>In fact, it is the first movie in the franchise without Stallone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jordan doesn’t modify the format, but like any commendable sports movie protagonist, he portrays how he had a thirst to quench; that he’d had been mulling over the ideas on how to make one of these movies for the past eight years. Jordan’s co-star Jonathan Majors spoke about how Jordan had made him formulate the persona of Diamond Dame by watching anime. One can easily discern that Jordan had a vision. There are obvious influences from anime shows like <i>Dragon Ball Z</i> and <i>Naruto</i>. Jordan feels like he’s directing his own movie, rather than “a Rocky movie”, and that is another crucial distinction.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Speaking of Majors, whose career has taken him from <i>The Last Black Man In San Francisco</i> to Kang in <i>Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.</i> He’s an electrifying presence, with one of those effortlessly expressive faces that you cannot help searching for an underlying meaning, quite like observing renaissance art.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Creed 3</i> paints a picture of Donnie’s wealthy post-boxing lifestyle. He lives in an exquisite mansion, where his wife, Bianca (Tessa Thompson), produces music in her private studio, and similarly nurtures upcoming artistes rather than performing onstage herself, though her career choices weren’t entirely in her control. (Bianca’s hearing loss, established in <i>Creed</i> and the sequel, has worsened.)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The backbone of <i>Creed 3</i> is the fact that it stars a bunch of people who are interesting to look at, even when they aren’t doing much. Majors joins Thompson and Jordan, and with Stallone gone (his absence is neither addressed nor explained in the film), there’s room for even more of Wood Harris—as Creed’s trainer, Duke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Diamond” Damian Anderson was once like a brother to Adonis “Donnie” Creed. They grew up together in a violent group home. Before Donnie was adopted by Apollo’s widow Mary-Anne and became a securities broker, to then quit to become a boxer and eventually become a champion, we learn of the history and connection between the two: Donnie’s mentor in both boxing and life. Then Damian got incarcerated for 18 years, presumably shadow-boxing the walls around him and cursing his bad luck while Donnie was being crowned a champion. But now that Damian’s out, he’s trying to make up for the time he has lost. At first Donnie helps him, out of guilt, whose origins will become clear much later, but there’s always a sense of thanklessness and an undertone of menace with which Damian accepts Donnie’s help.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But what’s challenging about <i>Creed 3</i> is the way Adonis’s rage colours even his most seemingly gentle and caring moments as Amara’s father. The <i>Creed</i> series began with the question of what Adonis inherited from his father, and what these films inherited from the <i>Rocky</i> franchise. But three movies in, the cynosure has pivoted to what Adonis himself will pass on, and what the <i>Creed</i> movies stand for outside of Rocky’s shadow. The story is about violence as a medium that stifles true expression and reunion, and as a character trait that Adonis has to be careful about when training his daughter in self-defence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Although several opportunities present themselves for an emotionally charged scene between Adonis and Mary Anne, what we get whizzes by too quickly in a mechanical way, not leaving the depth we expect.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The movie's fighting frames are constructed as though it were in a specific mode of manga or anime where the action is intertwined with the character drama that it’s as if they’re almost inseparable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jordan and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau zoom in on the fighters’ body parts to emphasise the confrontation. (There are several anime-type close-ups of sharp glowering eyes.) They warp the fabric of action scenes around the characters, shaking the frame and blurring the focus during intense movement accustomed to stylised anime fights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jordan taking over the direction from Stallone is indeed a way of passing the torch and moving forward, as Jordan works to sever ties with the <i>Rocky</i> series in <i>Creed 3</i>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The movie’s tale of glory and riches, of facing retirement, of bottled-up emotions, and of dealing with open wounds head on, is all completely distinct from <i>Rocky</i>’s sequels .<i> Creed 3</i> instead roots these themes in the specifics of Black Americans and their experiences within unforgiving systems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over the course of the original series, Rocky’s biggest enemy was time, and the unpredictable shape of his future. Adonis’s villain has always been the past, and the ways they chain him in the present. The way Jordan addresses it in <i>Creed 3</i> makes it as definitive a chapter as the character’s fierce initial appearance. If Jordan continues working behind the camera, another stop or two with these characters and their story would be much awaited.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Film: Creed 3</b></p> <p><b>Director: Michael B. Jordan</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Michael B Jordan, Jonathan Majors, Tessa Thompson, Florian Munteanu, Phylicia Rashad and others</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 4/5</b></p> Fri Mar 03 14:04:34 IST 2023 ntikkakkakkoru-premandaarnnu-review-bhavanas-comeback-movie-is-an-enjoyable-love-story <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>Ntikkakkakkoru Premandaarnnu</i>, the comeback movie of Bhavana after a six-year hiatus, is a refreshing tale about family and ‘lost and found’ love, with plenty of fun and emotions thrown in.<br> <br> The movie focuses on the love story of Jimmy (Sharaf U Dheen) and Nithya (Bhavana). Jimmy, a middle-class man in his 30s, with a failed love story of 12 years, revisits the sweet moments of his lost love when he accidentally bumps into his childhood sweetheart Nithiya, who is now a mother and on the verge of divorce.<br> <br> The story is told from the perspective of a young girl, Marriam, played by Saniya Rafi who aced the role of Jimmy’s younger sister, taking us through the life of her ‘ikkakka’. Her character stands out as a vibrant, and supportive sister, and the bond between Jimmy and his sister is fun to watch.<br> <br> Although she comes into the scene only in the second half of the movie, Bhavana has come up with a wonderful performance in her comeback movie, as she plays a school teacher struggling to get out of a toxic and abusive marriage of nine years.<br> <br> Sharaf U Dheen comes across as a perfect lover boy with his excellent performance. Even as he portrays a character with some emotional baggage, he does manage to entertain the audience with a few witty dialogues. Other standout performances include Ashokan, who plays Jimmy's father, and Anarkali who plays Fida.<br> <br> Although it is <i>Ntikkakkakkoru Premandaarnnu</i> is a love story, with plenty of lighter moments, it also deftly deals with a few serious themes like domestic abuse, child abuse, women empowerment, and mental health. Through Nithya, the movie talks about the struggles of a single mother and a woman dealing with divorce. Of course in the end, Jimmy and Nithya have a happily-ever-after with Nithya’s villainous ex-husband out of the picture.<br> <br> The directorial debut of Adhil Maimunath Ashraf is powered by a neat screenplay that stays away from melodramatic scenes and cliche dialogues. The soulful songs composed by Paul Mathews, Nishanth Ramteke and Joker Blues, and a lovable background score by Bijibal add to the overall tone of the movie.<br> <br> Of course, there are no surprises in the movie and there is a bit of a lag in between. Besides, a fight between Nithya and Jimmy towards the end appears to be shallow and unconvincing. These minor flaws aside, <i>Ntikkakkakkoru Premandaarnnu</i> is a complete family entertainer.<br> </p> <p><b>Director: Adhil Maimoonath Ashraf</b></p> <p><b>Starring: Bhavana, Sharaf U Dheen, Ashokan, Anarkali, Shebin Benson</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 3.5</b></p> Fri Feb 24 18:00:42 IST 2023 selfiee-review-akshay-kumar-starrer-is-a-shallow-remake-of-a-malayalam-hit <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Akshay Kumar is back with yet another remake, and fans have been thrilled about his face-off with Emraan Hashmi since the trailer dropped. <i>Selfiee</i>, directed by Raj Mehta, is the remake of 2019's Malayalam hit <i>Driving Licence</i>, starring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Suraj Venjaramoodu. But the engaging script of the much-loved Malayalam movie doesn't find a match in the Hindi remake.</p> <p>The movie starts by introducing the character of Emraan Hashmi, an RTO sub-inspector named Om Prakash Aggarwal, who, along with his son, is a devoted fan of superstar Vijay Kumar (Akshay). As fans, Aggarwal and his son hope to click a selfie with their superstar someday. Vijay Kumar, who is in urgent need of a driving licence, arrives at the RTO office in Bhopal to meet Om Prakash in the hopes of collecting it and continuing the shoot for the climax scene that requires a car sequence. What appears to be a fanboy moment quickly turns into a clash between the two as the media intervenes for a piece of sensational news about a celebrity.</p> <p>From petty ego clashes to social media manipulation and #BoycottBollywood debates, <i>Selfiee</i> gives a glimpse into the other side of stardom. But the main theme centres around the fan-turned-foe moment, and the extent to which two men with bruised egos can go.</p> <p>Akshay pulls off the aura of a superstar, complete with swag and style. But, unlike the original movie, there is a lack of emotion that captures the audience's attention. Writer Rishabh Sharma has tweaked the story to suit the Bollywood audience—this leaves someone who has watched the original wanting to be just done with the remade version. The original, written by late Malayalam director Sachy, showcased two men who are neither the hero nor the villain. It is up to the audience to choose a side—much like in Sachy’s National Award-winning <i>Ayyappanum Koshiyum</i>, which revolved around ego and dignity that both the characters held onto tight.<i> Selfiee</i> has tried its best to match up to <i>Driving License</i>, but in one way or another has failed to do it.</p> <p>While the original gave equal space to both characters, <i>Selfiee </i>has been written as an out-and-out Akshay show. Although the script was decent, Mehta could have avoided overly focusing on a superstar's &quot;mass&quot; performance. The film does not give ample space for Emraan's character or his perspective to come through. Although Emraan has done a decent job in his role as an RTO officer, the character does not have the depth of Kuruvila, played by Suraj Venjaramoodu, in the original movie.</p> <p>Nushhratt Bharuchha, who plays the role of Om Prakash’s wife Minty, and Diana Penty, who essays Vijay Kumar's wife Naina, have just a few scenes as they support their spouses in this clash between the star and his biggest fan. Meghna Malik, who plays a local politician, has been a refreshing character. Abhimanyu Singh also makes a cameo appearance as Suraj Diwan, a self-proclaimed rival to superstar Vijay Kumar.</p> <p>While there was much hype around Yo-Yo Honey Singh's songs, they fail to make an impact. The loud background score also interferes with the movie-watching experience.</p> <p><i>Selfiee</i> may not be a disappointment for Bollywood fans who haven’t watched the original. It is a decent entertainer, but too shallow.</p> <p><b>Movie: Selfiee</b></p> <p><b>Direction: Raj Mehta</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Akshay Kumar, Emraan Hashmi, Diana Penty, Nushhratt Bharuchha</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 2.5/5</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Feb 24 17:12:59 IST 2023 ant-man-and-the-wasp-quantumania-review-villain-kang-is-only-saving-grace-in-this-marvel-film <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>With Kang, a Thanos-level villain, and a new universe in the Quantum Realm, the two hours of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is packed with plots that keep the audience engaged. After bringing it up in the Loki series, the MCU has reintroduced the concept of branching timeliness and multiverse through the third Ant-Man movie.<br> <br> Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania begins with the happily settled Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, who is relishing the attention after being revealed to be an Avenger. He has also released an autobiography, detailing his adventures with the Avengers. We are then introduced to a grown-up Cassie, Lang’s daughter, who along with Hope and Hank, is secretly creating a portal to connect with the Quantum Realm. Cassie’s method is a success but also a disaster as it shrinks all of them and lands them in the quantum world.<br> <br> In Quantumania, a world beyond time and space, they meet Marvel’s next big villain 'Kang, the Conqueror’, who conquers and destroys timeliness. As Janet, Hank and Hope try to find Scott and Cassie who got separated, Janet reveals her past encounter with Kang, establishing the new plot.<br> <br> Another plot twist is revealed when Darren Cross from the first Ant-Man movie reemerges with a ‘big head’ as ‘MODOK’(Mechanised Organism Designed Only For Killing). It is revealed that he was saved by Kang who weaponized him.<br> <br> The first half of the film is a bit slow, taking its time to introduce the viewers to the visually not-so-appealing 'Quantumania', with the VFX team creating a rich subatomic world of weird and strange creatures. The too much talking and slow narration may seem quite irritating and the dialogue between Hope, Hank and Janet becomes repetitive.<br> <br> The second half leads us to the terrifying performance of Jonathan Majors who plays the villain ‘Kang’, and is perhaps the saving grace of the movie. ‘Kang’ is the variant of ‘He Who Remains’, from the Loki series. His weird calmness and unpredictability make him the central character who keeps the movie alive.<br> <br> The film also brings out an emotional quotient when the father-daughter bond between Lang and Cassie is shown. Though the jovial and fun Lang from the first two Ant-Man movies is missing in the third one, a few of his one-liners have managed to enliven the audience. The Ant-Man, played by Paul Rudd, has maintained his performance with some thrilling action sequences.<br> <br> Michele Pfeiffer’s Janet also plays a key part with more meat to her character than in the previous film. Kathyrn Newton as Cassie gets plenty of screen time, including some action sequences.<br> <br> The last 15 minutes with two pre- and post-credit scenes sow the seed for the future Marvel movies with Kang. <br> <br> The Director, Peyton Reed, has made a concerted effort to live up to the standards set by his first two Ant-Man films. It did not succeed to reach that level as it lacked the fun element but has proved to be a head start for phase 5 of MCU.</p> <p><b>Movie name: Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania</b></p> <p><b>Directed by: Peyton Reed</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton and Jonathan Majors</b></p> Fri Feb 17 20:09:39 IST 2023 vaathi-review-dhanush-pulls-off-a-decent-job-trying-to-solve-the-private-vs-govt-school-education-challenge <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The trailer of Dhanush's latest flick 'Vaathi' was pretty straightforward. A school teacher, who was part of a private institution earlier, visits a government school in a humble village and tries to revive a government school and&nbsp;help the students there understand the importance of education.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>'Vaathi', a bilingual, seems to be inspired from a dialogue delivered by Dhanush himself in his earlier film 'Asuran': “Padippu mattum namaka kitairunthu eduthukve mudiyathu,” roughly means “no one could snatch education from you.” Dhanush plays a mathematics teacher, Balamurugan, who hails from a middle-class family, and is sent to teach at a government higher secondary school in Chozhavaram by a private institution run by Thirupathi, played by Samuthrakani. The incidents there and how Balamurugan succeeds in his 'challenge' form the rest of the story.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The film is set in the late 90s. Though the screenplay is predictable, director Venki Atluri tries his best to stay away from the usual narrative of private vs government school education theme. The film draws enough parallels between education and divinity. Samyuktha, who plays a biology teacher, Meenakshi, working in the same government school, is the female lead. Though she gets noticeable screen space in the first half of the film, it becomes minimal in the second half.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Though there are 'heroic' moments, Dhanush and director Venki Atluri have portrayed Balamurgan a bit modestly, with less 'mass hero' moments<i>.&nbsp;</i>The technical crew of the film has done a good job, and music director G.V. Prakash Kumar adds soul to the film through his background score. While the first half of the film is pretty engaging, the second half, feels elongated, as the audience are pretty sure of how the film would end.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Vaathi works as an one-time watch.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rating: 3/5.</p> Fri Feb 17 19:09:17 IST 2023 christopher-review-mammootty-stands-out-in-a-stylish-thriller-that-lacks-depth <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As expected from the trailer and tagline, Malayalam film <i>Christopher</i> is the biography of a vigilante cop. Like most other formulaic films about justice, <i>Christopher</i> features a protagonist who takes matters into his own hands after being duped by the system.</p> <p>The B.Unnikrishnan-directorial starts by introducing the antagonist, Sitaram Trimurthi Aiyer, played by Vinay Rai. The plot then jumps back a few months to introduce Christopher (Mammootty), handling a case. Following a series of events, Christopher is suspended and an investigation is launched against him. The investigation is overseen by Amala Paul’s Sulekha. What follows are incidents that leave the viewer perplexed and disturbed.</p> <p>The first half of the movie delves into Christopher's past, depicting who he is and how he works on the cases that come to him. Right before the intermission, Christopher is seen delivering a message to the audience: &quot;Justice delayed is justice denied,&quot; dropping a hint about what's to come in the second half.</p> <p>Characters essayed by Aishwarya Lekshmi and Shine Tom Chacko come in only in the second half. The movie goes back and forth between Christopher's past and present, weaving in the many encounters he has had in life. Although these add depth to the character, it confuses the viewer who struggles to keep track of the plot. Amala Paul, Sneha, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Dileesh Pothan, Siddique, Shine Tom Chacko and Aditi Ravi have done justice to their parts. But too many characters being introduced through the runtime add to the confusion. Mammootty's performance as a vigilante cop stands out in the film. However, even when his character goes through some serious life-altering events, the scenes fail to elicit the expected emotions from the audience.</p> <p>Graphic scenes of sexual assault can be really disturbing.</p> <p>Faiz Siddik has done a great job with the cinematography. Slow-motion shots, particularly in the action scenes, will appeal to Mammootty fans. Though the film's beautiful background score, especially in scenes that focus on Christopher, could generate fans of its own, the continuous use of the music at regular intervals is irritating.</p> <p>The movie might work fine as an entertainer for fans, but the storyline could have been developed better.</p> <p><b>Movie: Christopher</b></p> <p><b>Language: Malayalam</b></p> <p><b>Director: B. Unnikrishnan</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Mammootty, Sneha, Aiswarya Lekshmi, Amala Paul, Siddique, Dileesh Pothan, Shine Tom Chacko</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 3/5</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Feb 09 16:15:32 IST 2023 romancham-review-a-refreshingly-funny-story-about-a-game-gone-wrong <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The plot of <i>Romancham </i>is set in 2007 in Bengaluru and follows the lives of seven bachelors who share a house. The first moments of the film give us a glimpse into their lives and the dynamic of friendship they share. Things change when one of them, Jibi (Soubin Shahir), decides to use the Ouija board, and the events that follow determine the rest of the narrative.</p> <p>Though the storyline is primarily focused on the series of events that follow, the story is delightfully seasoned with laid-back comedy that appears casual, owing to the dynamic the friends have. The movie brings in some refreshing and relatable fun that helps the audience instantly connect with all the characters.</p> <p>The tension that certain scenarios create is easily matched with one-liners or comments that are certain to make you chuckle. The film's humour is refreshing since it is never over-dramatic or forced. It was truly simple situations that had the entire audience in stitches.</p> <p>A noteworthy feature was that the movie was not just humorous at the beginning or finish, but the team managed to have evenly distributed amusing parts throughout the film.</p> <p>There was no struggle in having so many characters to keep up with, thanks to the well-written characters. Sajin Gopu, Anatharaman Ajay, Siju Sunny, Jagadeesh Kumar, Afzal PH along with the others displayed realistic performances.</p> <p>Their one-liner jokes and facial expressions that were engaging ensured that the audience feel connected to them. A special mention has to be Arjun Ashokan who played his ‘interesting’ character in the best way possible.</p> <p>The characters of all the seven were so well-rounded that each of their personalities stood out in their own unique way. This ensures that none of them is left behind and gives them all the space to freely move around in the dynamic. The actors who played supporting roles delivered well even in their limited screen time.</p> <p>The movie has a set of catchy songs brilliantly made by the Sushin Shyam, that are bound to get stuck in your head. The promo song 'Aadharanjali' is a real banger with over 7 million views on YouTube.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jithu Madhavan, the director-writer of the movie, ensures that the pace of the plot does not lag at any point and has succeeded in leaving the audience wanting for more.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Film: Romancham</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Language: Malayalam</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Director: Jithu Madhavan</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Cast: Soubin Shahir, Anantharaman Ajay, Sajin Gopu, Arjun Ashokan and others</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Rating: 4/5</b></p> Fri Feb 03 17:37:25 IST 2023 gandhi-godse-ek-yudh-review-an-attempt-to-showcase-different-shades-of-godse <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&quot;It takes merely a day for someone to become Nathuram Godse, but it takes an entire lifetime to become a Gandhi,&quot; says Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in Rajkumar Santoshi's recently released <i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Gandhi Godse Ek Yudh</i>. </p> <p>The film depicts an ideological battle between Gandhi and his assassinator Godse, and in effect presents a narrative from Godse's perspective, giving him the stage to explain himself, to present his own ideologies and to defend the assasination on the basis of 'saving Hindutva, saving the Hindu Rashtra and saving the Hindu Dharma.'</p> <p>Basically, the film appears to elevate the image and stature of Godse from the bad guy, the assassin and radical to that of a &quot;nationalistic patriot', and Gandhi as an 'anti-Hindu, pro-Muslim, anti-Hindutva figure.' The narrative is fictionalised in a way that Gandhi and Godse come face to face, after the former survives the latter's attempt to assassinate him and insists on meeting Godse in order to 'forgive him.'</p> <p>But Godse never considered it to be a mistake in the first place. 'I was only doing what any proud nationalist would do. You're against Hindus, Hinduism. I will always be grateful to you for giving a direction to the country towards freedom but that's about it. Right now what you're doing by siding with the Muslims is unpardonable and you must die,&quot; says Godse to Gandhi, when they meet for the very first time inside the Central prison jail.</p> <p>The film moves on from there and the two are shown to engage in dialogues on ideology, nationalism and policy. Within the restricted time-span of 110 minutes, the film deftly touches various issues, yet, it seems it only scrapes through. The film tries to ignite an unbiased debate between the conflicting ideologies of Gandhi and his killer via a dialogue between the two on diverse issues, yet, somewhere the screenplay keeps tilting off and on, more on the side of Godse than Gandhi's. But there is no denying that a crisply written script and a watertight editing carry the viewer along with its lead characters all the way right till the end. You do not want to miss anything here, because there is no unnecessary drama anyway.</p> <p>The focus here is Nathuram Godse, not Gandhi. Even when the spotlight is on Gandhi, it is through Godse's eyes. At best, the intention of the film seems to be to show Godse in different hues - for a man who has all through history primarily been known as Gandhi's assasinator, there must be a reason for what he did; he must be a well read man with an ideology (mainly driving on Islamophobia, as evident in the film), someone who was ready to die for the nation and he should be someone who must be respected for what he did.</p> <p>This seems to be the premise of the film and the intention. The film highlights Gandhi's leadership in various struggles across the country, raises questions about his celibacy and then right at the end, shows how after spending time with Gandhi and learning more about him, Godse undergoes a change of heart - he saves Gandhi from another assassination attempt that takes place inside the jail while the two are serving their term. Really? It just seems so hard to believe.</p> <p>Written by Rajkumar Santoshi (this is his comeback films after a long hiatus) the film seems to echo the sentiment of the currently ruling political party. &quot;Remember Gandhi, one day the entire nation will be coloured in saffron,&quot; says Godse to Gandhi in the film. In the role of Gandhi, Deepak Antani is convincing as ever, but Chinmay Mandlekar seems too over-the-top to be identified as Godse, despite his stark resemblance to the assasinator. His high pitch and excessive dramatics, takes away from the ingenuity of the character.</p> <p>Towards the end, Santoshi shows how there could have been a world where the ideologies of both Gandhi and Godse would have co-existed. Even if the idea in itself might sound too far-fetched, it would have been interesting nevertheless to see how that would have panned out.</p> <p><b>Film: Gandhi Godse - Ek Yudh</b></p> <p><b>Director: Rajkumar Santoshi</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Deepak Antani, Chinmay Mandlekar, Tanisha Santoshi</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 2/5</b></p> Fri Jan 27 13:12:15 IST 2023 thankam-review-a-formulaic-but-engaging-murder-mystery <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala, is a city known for its ardent love for gold. With over 2,000 workshops that make gold ornaments, Thrissur supplies more than 80 per cent of the gold ornaments sold in Kerala. Gold ornaments made in Thrissur are sold not just in Kerala, but in other states, as well. The journey that certain gold agents of Thrissur make to supply the product (read unaccounted gold) to other state businesses got a nickname—‘gold ride’. <i>Thankam</i> (which means gold in Malayalam) is a movie that investigates a tragedy faced by a gold agent named Kannan (Vineeth Sreenivasan), who had gone on a gold ride to Mumbai.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The one-liner of the plot looks simple; however, <i>Thankam</i> had a narrative that was not easily executable. The plot development happens mainly in three locations—Thrissur, Coimbatore and Mumbai. And, its characters speak five different languages. Also, the nuances of the gold business are not something that common people are familiar with. All these challenges were handled decently by director Saheed Arafat and writer Syam Pushkaran to build up a decent murder mystery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The film starts at a slow pace. As it enters into an investigation phase, the pacing gets better. Pushkaran has a great talent for integrating dry-wit into serious moments; he has shown that skill in Thankam's script, too.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The film is, in a way, formulaic—it uses some of the most common tropes in murder mystery films such as a mysterious injury, a go-getter and keen investigator and an absent murderer. The film is almost a success in taking the audience also in a ride along with the investigators to solve the tragedy faced by Kannan. It also has a final deduction scene where the investigator would finally puts all the missing pieces together. Then there is another commonly used trope of murder mysteries which is used in the climax of the film. But revealing it would be a spoiler. As the film enters its final act, this reviewer, however, felt a sudden drop of energy—a kind of sluggish treatment that killed the thrill!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Vineeth Sreenivasan was an apt choice for the character of Kannan. His inherent innocence and warm smile are used effectively to create an image of Kannan in the audience's collective mind. Kannan is presented as an overtly religious person—who would even subject his body to a controversial temple ritual, <i>garudan thookkam</i>. Religious faith is a coping mechanism for many who are in financial hardship and psychological distress. However, <i>Thankam</i> does not make Kannan’s big financial troubles obvious to the audience until the final act. And, this made it hard for this reviewer to connect or empathise totally with Kannan and the fatally absurd decisions in his life.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Muthu (Biju Menon) who plays the role of Kannan’s partner has the maximum screentime in <i>Thankam</i>. Menon, who is one of the finest actors in contemporary Malayalam cinema, essays his character—which demands controlled acting—with ease. However, it is two-time national award winner Girish Kulkarni (who plays a Maharashtra cop) and Vineeth Thattil David (who plays the role of a friend of Muthu) who steal the show in <i>Thankam</i>. Aparna Balamurali, who plays the wife of Kannan, does not have much screen time. However, she has some fine emotional moments in the plot. And, she delivers them perfectly.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The background score of the film was kind of irritating, overdramatic and loud at certain junctures. Editing and creating the final form of this film was not an easy task. Though the film follows a linear narrative, it does have a slew of flashbacks. And, editor Kiran Das decently integrated them into the plot without many jumps or jerks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bhavana Studios which created critically-acclaimed movies like <i>Kumbalangi Nights</i> and <i>Joji</i>—and is jointly owned by director Dileesh Pothan, actor Fahadh Faasil and Pushkaran—produced <i>Thankam</i>. The film does have an interesting premise, however, it is unlikely to become a film that will earn a place on par with the previous films from Bhavana Studios.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Thankam director: Saheed Arafath</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Thankam caste: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Biju Menon, Aparna Balamurali, Girish Kulkarni, Vineeth Thattil David</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Thankam rating: 3/5</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Jan 26 17:42:54 IST 2023 alone-review-mohanlal-keeps-us-entertained-in-a-sluggish-one-actor-thriller <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The plot of the Malayalam film <i>Alone</i> is set in 2020 when India witnessed a frightening surge in the number of Covid-19 cases and the protagonist, Kalidas (Mohanlal), a motivational speaker, is the only character seen on screen. He has just relocated to a flat in Kochi from Coimbatore.</p> <p>Kalidas starts to hear conversations between a mother and a daughter in his head. Soon after, a series of strange occurrences indicate the presence of someone else in the flat. Despite the fact that his friend Yamuna (Manju Warrier) blames it on his excessive drinking, he resolves to pursue the spirits and secrets behind the sounds.</p> <p>Many of Kalidas’s acquaintances are introduced to the audience through their voices and their elaborate exchanges describe their relationship with Kalidas. These dialogues are useful, but they end up bombarding the viewers with background information that may or may not be pertinent to the main narrative. There are several opportune coincidences that give the necessary momentum for Kalidas's investigation.</p> <p>Everyone he talks to promptly obeys his directions and accomplishes whatever Kalidas requires of them. All of these people appear to either give him all of the information he requires, no matter how confidential or to perform precisely what he wants them to do, no matter the repercussions.</p> <p>Though Kalidas would start explaining ideas or philosophies at random, his eccentric demeanour and Mohanlal's entertaining acting alone keep the interest of the audience for the majority of the film due to the slow pace of its storyline. The other characters were merely placed in practical positions to assist Kalidas with something or to inspire him to delve deeper into the mystery.</p> <p>The film does lag at times when the events divert away from the core of the plot. Attempts to create an eerie or unsettling atmosphere did not add anything substantial to the storyline. Though the whole movie is set inside a flat, the view of the sky and time-lapses of the city come are welcome changes in visual settings.</p> <p>The background soundtrack created by 4 Music was used to develop tension while occasionally interfering with the actions on screen. Director Shaji Kailas has creatively employed unstable camera shots to vividly communicate the protagonist's emotions of uncertainty or panic.</p> <p>The transitions from one scene to the next were creative and seamless. Even though Rajesh Jayaraman's script struggled to keep the audience hooked, it was an admirable effort. Voice actors such as Prithviraj, Manju Warrier, Zeenath, Renji Panicker, and others deliver excellent performances and even manage to connect with the audience.</p> <p><b>Film: Alone</b></p> <p><b>Director: Shaji Kailas</b></p> <p><b>Onscreen Cast: Mohanlal</b></p> <p><b>Voice cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Manju Warrier, Renji Panicker, and others</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 3/5&nbsp;</b></p> Thu Jan 26 15:48:55 IST 2023 pathaan-review-shah-rukh-khan-shines-in-this-action-packed-joyride <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Who thought that the king of romance, who taught the Hindi moviegoers how to love, could also sweep us off our feet as an action hero? With his flowing tresses, signature impish smile, an eight-pack chiselled body and twinkling eyes that talk straight from the screen, Shah Rukh Khan is thunderous in this action-packed film.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Long back, Khan had admitted in an interview that he came into the industry wishing to be an action hero, &quot;but romance happened.&quot;&nbsp;<i>Pathaan,</i>&nbsp;it seems, is his dream project come true and YRF pulled all stops to give the Baadshah a free reign to launch himself as the face of their Spy Universe.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Pathaan</i>&nbsp;is a&nbsp;<i>dishoom-dishoom</i>&nbsp;joy ride between Khan and his perfectly beefed up antagonist John Abraham, that takes place in exotic locales from Spain to Russia to France to Dubai, on land, atop cars and bullet trains, in the skies and on the ice, basically everywhere and anywhere. There is no point looking for an eye-opening storyline or the most unusual narrative because the intention is not to let the narrative drive the story forward, but to let the larger-than-life magic of its lead superstars cast its spell.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The story begins with the revocation of J&amp;K's special status by the Indian government on August 5, 2019. A general somewhere in Pakistan wants to avenge this, and hires Jim (John Abraham), a former RAW agent gone rogue, to execute a dastardly attack on India that will result in devastation. And so, the plan is to get on board Shah Rukh Khan's eternally patriotic and nationalistic&nbsp;<i>jawaan</i>, as he is the only one who can stop Jim.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jim is on a mission to unleash a deadly virus in New Delhi and&nbsp;<i>Pathaan</i>&nbsp;is tasked with stopping him. Aiding him is Deepika Padukone as Rubiya, an ex-ISI agent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sadly, in the 146 minutes that the movie runs for, one cannot help but notice how abruptly scenes and sequences are cut short to move on to the next, leaving quite a few loose ends. Yet, one of the many heartwarming aspects in the film is that the villain isn't painted as a bad Muslim. In fact, he has his own shades of grey that make us want to root for him. Deepika it seems was mainly required to execute the image of a smart, sexy and seductive agent, and she aces the game there. Dialogues aren't punchy or impactful, and Khan's sardonic humour takes the cake.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Pathaan</i> has reignited the desire to watch more of Shah Rukh Khan on the big screen, especially at a time when the echo of his &quot;need for retirement&quot; from Bollywood have created a din. &quot;Yea, I think we should retire. But then who will replace us? Is there anyone out there? Sadly, no. So yes, we will continue,&quot; says Khan on the screen as if in an epilogue, alongside Salman Khan who plays a cameo in&nbsp;<i>Pathaan</i>. So yes, Shah Rukh Khan isn't going anywhere. In fact, this is only the beginning, and a rather electrifying one at that, of Bollywood's own spy universe.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Pathaan d</i>irector: Siddharth Anand</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Pathaan&nbsp;</i>Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Pathaan&nbsp;</i>Rating: 3.5</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Pathaan&nbsp;</i>Runtime: 146 minutes</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Jan 25 18:44:32 IST 2023 kuttey-review-this-dog-eats-dog-slugfest-is-boring-and-listless <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>This very first and much-anticipated Bollywood film of the new year sadly feels more like a video game in which both cops and goons are chasing big bags of cash and small packets of powder and everyone's on a shooting spree. Arjun Kapoor emerges as the last man standing to walk away with the booty, only to later lose it all away to demonetisation. In <i>Kuttey</i>, all one hears are expletives and all one sees is blood, gore and dance bars. Dialogues are bland, lacking both emotions and depth. The last time we saw a similar concoction of this kind on celluloid - a loud and hectic drama with crooks chasing a booty - was in 2009 with <i>Kaminey</i>, directed by Vishal Bharadwaj.</p> <p>With<i> Kuttey,</i> the father handed over the reign to his son, Aasmaan, and made his launch much easier by giving him the same set trope to play with. Sadly, the result was a dull, boring, languorous stretch of a film that seems to have been haphazardly put together, without any consideration for an engaging screenplay or a gripping storyline. Not even an ensemble with Naseeruddin Shah, Tabu, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kumud Mishra, Arjun Kapoor, Radhika Madan, Shardul Bhardwaj, could save the film in the face of a listless script.</p> <p>So, in gangs of <i>Kuttey</i> (Dogs), we have Konkona who is a Naxalite leading an army, Kumud and Arjun, both unscrupulous cops, Radhika as a rich brat who wishes to elope with her lover and Shardul as someone who chases crores in the hope of starting a new life with his girlfriend and Naseeruddin as a lead gangster who's bounded to the wheelchair. Among all these, the only character who stays with the audience even after the film is over is that of Tabu, who excels in the role of a no-nonsense lady cop; her electrifying screen presence outwitting and outsmarting everyone else's lackadaisical performance. Naseeruddin Shah hardly has any role to play, nor does Konkona.</p> <p>Arjun is seen moving around like a headless chicken, exactly the way his career is moving in real life. <i>Kuttey</i> was to be a crucial film that could salvage his fledgling career, which began with a smashing hit <i>Ishaqzaade</i> in 2012 but went downhill with each film after that. The plot is interestingly divided into four parts, an epilogue followed by three chapters – Sabka Maalik Ek, Aata Kya Canada and Moong Ki Daal. The film opens with Arjun and Kumud getting a contract to kill a politician's rival, but the plan goes kaput. Suddenly, their job is at stake and to rescue themselves out of the mess they need money. That money will come from a heist - looting a van full of cash meant to be loaded in ATM machines across the city - and what follows is a chaotic mess.</p> <p><i>Kuttey </i>makes one believe that perhaps Aasmaan failed to incorporate his father's inputs in the film, because had the latter directed this one, there's no doubt that the output would have been far different than what it is right now. Unfortunately, <i>Kuttey</i> fails to carry Vishal Bharadwaj's legacy forward. And even if one were to judge Aasmaan's work independent of his father's influence, <i>Kuttey</i> comes across as a big disappointment. A film one might watch to see where it goes, but definitely not a second time.</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Movie: Kuttey</b><br> </p> <p><b>Cast: Tabu, Arjun Kapoor, Kumud Mishra, Konkona Sen Sharma, Radhika Madan, Naseeruddin Shah, Shardul Bhardwaj</b></p> <p><b>Director: Aasmaan Bhardwaj</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 1/5</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Jan 13 16:13:31 IST 2023 varisu-review-an-overly-preachy-family-drama <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As I entered a crowded theatre full of Vijay fans, a friend of the man sitting next to me came near the exit gate. He shouted at his friend. “Dei, why do you want to watch a mega serial? Come with me, let us watch some action.” The man just smiled and said, “Soda. Ithu Thalapathy Vijay. Unga Thala illa.” (This is Thalapathy vijay. Not your Thala Ajith).&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the beginning, I never thought I was in a theatre to watch a mega serial filled with family sentiments. In the recent past, Vijay had starred in different genres of movies—<i>Bigil</i>&nbsp;was a sports drama,&nbsp;<i>Master&nbsp;</i>was about a man trying to reform a corrupted juvenile system even as he battled a drug lord, and&nbsp;<i>Beast&nbsp;</i>was a hostage drama.&nbsp;<i>Varisu,</i>&nbsp;his latest, as the name suggests is a family drama about a succession war.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The movie begins by showcasing the rivalry between two businessmen, Jayaprakash (Prakash Raj) and Rajendran (Sarath Kumar). Rajendran&nbsp;has three sons, but he avoids talking about his third son, Vijay Rajendran, played by Vijay.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Vijay is reluctant to take support from his father, wants to live on his own, and leaves home. However, circumstances force him to be back in the family. What responsibility the family expects him to shoulder? Will he take over his father's business empire?&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As expected, the movie has plenty of mother, father, and brother sentiments. Of late, Tamil cinema has been witnessing Sivakarthikeyan playing the dutiful son taking over the responsibility of saving a big family. In&nbsp;<i>Varisu,&nbsp;</i>Vijay does something similar. However, if you have watched the actor's movies in the late 90s, like&nbsp;<i>Poove Unakkaga&nbsp;</i>and<i>&nbsp;Minsara Kanna,&nbsp;</i>you realize that<i>&nbsp;</i>Vijay has already done better family dramas than&nbsp;<i>Varisu.&nbsp;</i>Of course, there are a few engaging scenes like<i>&nbsp;</i>Vijay's phone conversation with his mother, his return home, and his equations with the domestic help played by Yogi Babu.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Varisu&nbsp;</i>is a Vijay show all the way, with some lengthy dialogues that are overly preachy. Although the music is sufficiently peppy and there are some emotional scenes, the movie has nothing new to offer and may disappoint even hardcore Vijay fans.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>'Varisu' movie director: Vamshi Paidipally</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>'Varisu' cast: Vijay, Rashmika Mandanna, R. Sarathkumar, Prabhu, Prakash Raj and Yogi Babu</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>'Varisu' rating: 1.5/5</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Jan 11 20:41:00 IST 2023 thunivu-review-ajith-kumar-starrer-is-more-than-just-a-heist-thriller <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Beginning with a deep dive directly into the narrative, <i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Thunivu</i> opens with scenes of a local gang organising a major heist on Yours Bank with help from a police officer.</p> <p>Everything goes as planned until a mysterious stranger overtakes the robbery and proclaims that he is now robbing the bank. The true name, identity, and intentions of the protagonist, played by Ajith Kumar, remain a mystery. The takeover of the theft is quickly shown to be a part of the sophisticated scheme, while the purpose behind these actions remains unknown.</p> <p>The second part of the film veers in and out of the past, bringing in events that provide explanations and shed light on true motives and more. The aspect of amusement dropped substantially as the narrative progressed to focus on plot development. The subsequent events develop to expose a lot of deeper and uglier problems that emerge from under the surface. Because the true villain of the story is not revealed until the end, these twisted tactics and cryptic motives keep the plot's goals in a state of uncertainty.</p> <p>Ajith's character gets a spectacular introduction that is sure to amaze fans. Apart from the gangster swag that the character manoeuvres, he even displays hints of nuttiness as he literally dances through the bank that’s being robbed with a gun. His new baddie appearance was much praised even before the film's premiere, and it undoubtedly contributes significantly to the authentic essence of his character, called &quot;Dark Devil&quot; in the film. The all-guns-and-action technique and his frequent use of violence to get things done his way fail to establish an emotional connection.</p> <p>One powerful comment he makes against suicide is especially noteworthy. The film's double-crossing makes a connection with one of his previous roles in <i>Mankatha</i>, as he portrays the perfect hero-kind villain once more.</p> <p>Kanmani, the female lead played by Manju Warrier, impresses with her brave demeanour, action, and stylish all-black outfits. Though the supporting cast delivered excellent performances, they were cast in mostly functional roles in the storyline and lacked character roundness. A notable mention would be the senior journalist, who is a comic relief character— well executed with witty dialogue paired with his problematic personality.</p> <p><i>Thunivu</i> is the third collaboration of the iconic trio of Boney Kapoor, Ajith Kapoor, and H. Vinoth. It is undoubtedly a fast-paced film that focuses on deeper themes such as financial fraud and political propaganda that exploits the unsuspecting public and their money. Elements of political power abuse and the thirst for money serve as important undertones throughout the story. This 140-crore film throws in some high-octane action, including helicopters and ships employed by the National Forces when they intervene.</p> <p>With so many flaming firearms and violence, the film loses its sense of reality and comes off as a little exaggerated in terms of the number of bullets a human can take. Even at the film's finale, elements of humor and animated acting are present, slightly disrupting the intensity and momentum of the story. Ghibran, the film's music composer, has created catchy songs like &quot;Gangster&quot; that strongly support and contribute to the overall mood of the film. The background soundtrack is fantastic and wonderfully complements the onscreen action. Sundar Supreme's choreography for the fight scenes in the film is exceptionally clear-cut and crisp. The strategic placement of characters brings dimension and depth to the majority of frames in the film.</p> <p><i>Thunivu</i> is an action thriller that has its fair share of flaws and loopholes, but is surely a treat for Ajith fans as the film brings back the familiarity from his hit films while also offering something refreshing.</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Film: Thunivu</b><br> </p> <p><b>Language: Tamil</b></p> <p><b>Director: H. Vinoth</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Ajith Kumar, Manju Warrier, John Kokken and others</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 3/5</b></p> <p><br> <br> <br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Jan 11 16:34:04 IST 2023 lakiro-review-an-experiment-gone-right <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Two persons in their 20s, pursuing higher education, meet, like each other and get married. <i>Lakiro</i> (Lines) takes off from there and revolves around small conflicts the couple has in their day-to-day lives.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Lakiro</i> is a movie that will go well in any language as it is a story of a newly-married working couple. However, the charm is watching the movie in your mother tongue. And what sets apart this movie in Gujarati is its treatment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A Darshan Ashwin Trivedi directorial, <i>Lakiro</i> is pathbreaking in more than one way and raises the bar of Gujarati films. It isn’t a typical story in which you expect the two families to give suggestions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The couple, Raunaq Kamdar (Hrishi) and Deeksha Joshi (Richa), takes the decisions and both the families mainly stay out of it. As Deeksha says, “It isn’t a preachy movie.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The conflict starts when Richa takes up a job whereas Hrishi thinks she does not need to, as he earns well and that she should enjoy life. Richa, on the other hand, feels she should take up a job since she is a topper.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The next set of problems begin when Hrishi wants a baby and Richa does not at that point in time due to their work schedules. These are arguments that several working couples will be able to relate to.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the story progresses, what takes you by surprise are the intimate scenes between the lead actors, something unheard and unseen in Gujarati movies. Set in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru, the movie, including cinematography, has been treated like a Hindi movie.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Trivedi told THE WEEK, “The story line demanded these scenes. I told the actors and they were fine with it.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Richa loses her patience when Hrishi accuses her of sleeping with her boss Nikhil, played by Vishal Shah. She decides to file for divorce. Does the couple end up getting separated? Watch it, to know it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another first in Gujarati movies is the use of jazz music. It is good and the title song of the movie and other songs have made it to the top 10 charts. Another first is Warner Music India having its first Gujarati album.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At times, the movie seems a bit stretched. However, given the experimentation, it is definitely worth a watch.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Film: Lakiro</b></p> <p><b>Language: Gujarati</b></p> <p><b>Director: Darshan Ashwin Trivedi</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Raunaq Kamdar, Deeksha Joshi, Vishal Shah, and others</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 3.5/5&nbsp;</b></p> Sat Jan 07 22:34:17 IST 2023 cirkus-review-rohit-shetty-ranveer-singh-flick-fails-to-get-its-act-together <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Too many cooks spoil the broth, they say. Penned by three writers, Rohit Shetty's over-the-top <i>Cirkus </i>is a broth that leaves more than just a bad taste in the mouth. Ranveer Singh, who is in the lead, fills each and every frame (also because he is in a double role!) but fails to leave a positive impact on the audience, thanks to a forced performance. In fact, it is Sanjay Mishra and co. who take the cake and the cherry with their remarkable and exceptionally entertaining buffoonery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The plot revolves around the chaos which ensues when two sets of identical twins are separated at birth and end up at a hill station at the same time as grown-ups. They are identically named, too - Roy (Singh) and Joy (Varun Sharma). A doctor (Murali Sharma) who runs an orphanage swaps the babies at birth to test his dated nature versus nurture experiment in order to prove that it is the upbringing that matters and not the bloodline. This he does to encourage adoption. But the slapstick humour used to convey the message gets overbearing beyond a point.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is only after the entry of a line-up of Shetty's trusted team of comedians, led by Mishra, that the film begins to feel more interesting with its situational humour. Johnny Lever, whose entry promises a laugh riot, fizzles out too soon.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jacqueline Fernandez and Pooja Hegde as the love interests of the identical twins hardly add any substance to the buffoonery and ruckus that unfold in Ooty. <i>Cirkus</i> questions not just our logic but common sense, too. To further the concept in Hindi films that separated twins must feel some unexplained connection, <i>Cirkus</i> turns to electricity – when it courses through one Roy, the other one turns into a livewire. It is Shetty's best bet to evoke laughter but it falls flat on its nose.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Also, there isn't even a wee bit of nostalgia of travelling circuses - in fact, nothing that could take us down memory lane. That side is never explored in a film which is titled <i>Cirkus</i>! Perhaps, a bit more time, effort and creativity spent on bringing out the joys of circus would have elevated the film, which turns out to be nothing more a disappointingly sketched school skit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Film: Cirkus</b></p> <p><b>Language: Hindi</b></p> <p><b>Director: Rohit Shetty</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Ranveer Singh, Varun Sharma, Pooja Hegde, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sanjay Mishra and others</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 1/5</b></p> Sat Dec 24 11:43:57 IST 2022 kaapa-review-shaji-kailas-prithviraj-gangster-movie-malayalam <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>One of the movie subgenres that has immense public appeal is gangster drama. The first original in this genre,&nbsp;<i>The Great Train Robbery</i>, released in 1903, was a silent movie. In the last 120 years, plenty of classics and film movements emerged from this genre in world cinema.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There have been notable films in this genre in Mollywood, too. Still, this is a genre that is still underutilised in Mollywood. The 1980s was arguably the first big decade for gangster films in Mollywood. Films like&nbsp;<i>Athirathram</i>,&nbsp;<i>Rajavinte Makan</i>, and&nbsp;<i>Irupathaam Nootandu</i>&nbsp;played a crucial role in creating superstardom for Mammotty and Mohanlal. The early 1990s also had its share of gangster films like&nbsp;<i>Samrajyam</i>&nbsp;(1990),&nbsp;<i>Abhimanyu</i>&nbsp;(1991), and&nbsp;<i>Mafia</i>&nbsp;(1993) that revolved around ports, airports or metro cities like Mumbai or Chennai. However, in the decade’s later half, gangsters gave way to megalomaniac feudal heroes in Mollywood.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the 2000s, a new-found interest in gangster dramas developed in Mollywood. Films like&nbsp;<i>Stop Violence</i>,&nbsp;<i>Black</i>,&nbsp;<i>Big B</i>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<i>Chotta Mumbai</i>&nbsp;presented Kochi as a place of gangs and crime syndicates.&nbsp;<i>Big B</i>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<i>Chotta Mumbai</i>&nbsp;effectively employed black humour while portraying gang wars and the life of criminals.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bigger experiments in storyline, narrative and form in this genre happened in the 2010s. Critically-acclaimed films like&nbsp;<i>Second Show</i>,&nbsp;<i>Njan Steve Lopez</i>,&nbsp;<i>Kammattipadam</i>,&nbsp;<i>Angamaly Diaries</i>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<i>Lucifer</i>&nbsp;got released in this decade. There were also major flops like&nbsp;<i>Gangster</i>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<i>Double Barrel</i>.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When compared with gangster films of the 2010s, Shaji Kailas’s&nbsp;<i>Kaapa</i>&nbsp;is more of a safe-formula film. The film portrays the bloody gang wars in the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram.&nbsp;<i>Kaapa</i>&nbsp;opens from the perspective of an IT professional, Anand (Asif Ali), who takes a job offer in Thiruvananthapuram. Anand and his wife are expecting their first child. However, a special branch officer from Kerala Police shocks Anand by revealing a secret about his wife and her past. From there, Anand would inadvertently become a pawn in the gang wars between the dreaded gang of Kotta Madhu (Prithviraj Sukumaran) and the rival gang, which is named after Anand's wife, Binu Trivikraman (Anna Ben).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madhu grows up as a street-smart thug who dares to use even children for violent crimes. He becomes the uncrowned king of the underworld in the city by eliminating the other goons in the city with the help of the police. In the present, he is a white-clad man who is ambitious about his rise as a politician in a red party. This ambition for a political post act as a deterrent for many violent crimes.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the expected lines, Kailas glorifies this narcissistic character, employing his age-old cinematic formula for action films—slow-mos, stylised action sequences, ultra-close-ups, and punch dialogues. There are plenty of scenes for fans of Prithviraj to celebrate the raw violence on screen. However, the director also ensures to present Madhu as a character with a gentle and sensitive side—he is selectively sorry about some of his past actions.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The world of crime&nbsp;<i>Kaapa</i>&nbsp;tried to portray is too big for a feature film. The storyline was best suited for a crime drama series. Acclaimed post-modernist writer G.R. Indugopan wrote the screenplay for&nbsp;<i>Kaapa</i>. The dialogues he wrote for&nbsp;<i>Kaapa</i>&nbsp;deserve applause. However, this reviewer felt that Kailas did not succeed in taking the full potential of the script. The twists Indugopan kept for the climax in the script became wet bombs because of too much foreshadowing employed by Kailas in the narrative.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are a lot of characters who come into the narrative. The narrative follows different characters at different parts of the film. The problem in this approach was that many of the characters, including the main characters played by Prithviraj, Aparana Balamurali, Anna Ben and Jagadeesh, remain half-baked. This approach prevented this reviewer from getting emotionally attached to any character in the narrative. The backstories of these characters were explored via flashbacks or passive mentions in conversations. The film gave a feel of excessive use of flashbacks. It did offer some unexpected shocking moments of violence. However, at those moments where it is most required, it fails to give a shock! Shameer Mohammad’s editing and Kailas's direction fail to save those scenes. While portraying the gang members of Madhu,&nbsp;<i>Kaapa</i>&nbsp;followed the goonda stereotypes.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even with all these flaws,&nbsp;<i>Kaapa</i>&nbsp;ticks most of the tabs to become a box office hit in Mollywood. Prithviraj excels in action sequences, though his dialogue delivery in the Thiruvananthapuram dialect is inconsistent. Jagadeesh once again gives a stellar performance in a character role. He plays the role of Jabbar, the right hand of Madhu. Balamurali gives a decent performance as Madhu's partner. Her character arc is arguably the most interesting one. However, the film fails to give an idea of how crucial she was in forming the gangster Kotta Madhu. This reviewer felt that Anna Ben was a miscast for the role.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The film’s cinematography was done by Jomon T. John. He gave visuals that suit the aesthetics of Kailas. Dawn Vincent’s music is terrific and at times gave goosebumps. Gangster films are often morality tales: a lot of the films in this genre portray that the success of criminals and their gangs is just temporary and that crime and gang wars have a cyclical nature.&nbsp;<i>Kaapa</i>&nbsp;also follows this philosophy and ends with the indication that there are more stories left to be told about the gangsters of Thiruvananthapuram.&nbsp;</p> <p><br> <br> </p> Thu Dec 22 19:13:05 IST 2022 connect-review-this-nayanthara-starrer-scares-all-right <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>Connect</i> begins by a beach, as waves crash the shore. Somebody is strumming a guitar, and a girl – Ammu aka Anna, played by Haniya Nafisa – is heard humming a tune. <i>Meen kannadi thottikkul thedum oar kadale vazhava</i> meaning 'life for a fish who is searching for the ocean inside an aquarium'.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As she sings, her parents Susan, played by Nayanthara, and Joseph Benoy, played by Vinay Rai, talk about her going to the London Trinity College to learn music. Her father and mother disagree. Joseph, a doctor, gets a call from the hospital and gets to work. It is the Covid outbreak and Joseph works 24x7, without going back home. He begins treating Covid patients. Susan and Ammu get confined inside the four walls of their house. The three connect through Zoom and online calls. Susan’s father Arthur Samuel, played by Sathyaraj, too connects with them over the phone. Soon, Joseph dies of Covid. Ammu who is attached to her father, becomes distraught. To overcome her loneliness, she tries to reach out to him through an ouija board. Whether she meets her father, what happens to Ammu and how does Susan deal with it all, forms the rest of the story.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nayanthara is once again at her best in delivering whatever the director wanted. The fear in her eyes - sometimes as she looks for her daughter in a dark room, or when she turns the cross that is upside down, or when she prays while being terrified – is palpable. While it is her second film after <i>Maya</i> with director Ashwin Saravanan, for the latter it is his fourth - three of which have been horror flicks. <i>Connect</i> often gets scary, thanks especially to Nafisa's brilliant portrayal of Ammu.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most of the shots are in dark rooms, the only light coming from the candles.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the film revolving around the three characters, in the backdrop of the lockdown, 99 minutes might seem long.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Film: Connect</b></p> <p><b>Language: Tamil</b></p> <p><b>Director: Ashwin Saravanan</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Nayanthara, Anupam Kher, Sathyaraj and others</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 3/5</b></p> Thu Dec 22 16:20:52 IST 2022 govinda-naam-mera-review-another-damp-squib-from-dharma-productions <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>There is nothing unique, different or remarkable about&nbsp;<i>Govinda Naam Mera</i>. It comes across as a mish-mash of hundreds of films one may have watched in the past—a thriller where the protagonist tries every trick in the book to get out of the mess he finds himself in. In fact, if anything, the film does not even offer moments of genuine humour, hardly engages the mind, and leaves very little to take home.&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Govinda Naam Mera</i>&nbsp;is a film that is best forgotten as soon as the end credits begin to roll. Like every other Dharma film in the recent past—from&nbsp;<i>Brahmastra</i>&nbsp;to&nbsp;<i>Liger</i>&nbsp;to&nbsp;<i>Jugjugg Jeeyo</i>—this one too, banks on the charms of its lead star rather than a meaty, meaningful, and strong script. At the centre of the story is Govinda Waghmare (Vicky Kaushal), a budding Bollywood dancer-cum-choreographer who is miserably down on his luck. His wicked and domineering wife Gauri (Bhumi Pednekar) mistreats him at home, the house help leaves no stone unturned to humiliate him, his girlfriend Suku (Kiara Advani) exploits him for money and his mother (Renuka Shahane) pressurises him to stake claim to a palatial bungalow worth crores, located right in the heart of Mumbai. So here is our emasculated hero, who is also struggling at the hands of goons, a vile police officer and his father's first wife and her family who are after him over a piece of property.&nbsp;</p> <p>While this is a largely fun,&nbsp;<i>masala</i>&nbsp;plot, it is the frills around it that make it a cumbersome watch. Sequences seem disjointed, music is inserted where it is totally unnecessary, irrelevant and hardly noteworthy. The first half comes across as stretchy, boring, and languorous. It is in the second half that some action begins to set in. Anti-climaxes in quick succession keep the viewer gripped. But again, that is short-lived too. No amount of&nbsp;<i>thumkas and matkas</i>, flirtatious looks and skimpy clothes, and not even the electrifying chemistry between Advani and Kaushal can make one sit through this film; forget a re-watch.</p> <p>Given the title of the film, one is reminded of Govinda, the 90s actor known best for his comedy with which he could effortlessly elevate films revolving around nonsensical plots and over-the-top characters to entertaining affairs. Unfortunately, this movie does not come anywhere close to the comedy movies of the 90s.</p> <p><b>'Govinda Naam Mera' movie cast: Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, Kiara Advani</b></p> <p><b>'Govinda Naam Mera' movie director: Shashank Khaitan</b></p> <p><b>'Govinda Naam Mera' movie rating: 2 stars</b></p> Fri Dec 16 17:44:40 IST 2022 avatar-the-way-of-water-review-grand-in-style-lacking-in-substance <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>When the first installment of James Cameron's <i>Avatar</i> was released, it was hailed as a technical breakthrough in cinema—grandiose in vision and scale. It also managed to pack an emotional appeal that resonated with most of the audience.</p> <p>Thirteen years after he created a fictional earth-like moon, Pandora, and vowed the audience with visual brilliance while narrating a cautionary tale against exploration for the sake of exploitation, the director is back with <i>Avatar: The Way of Water—</i>a similar tale with even more visionary grandeur.</p> <p>It has been a decade since the last video log by Jake Sully and the successful expulsion of invading aliens to their miserable, dying planet. Sully is now fully Na'vi, with family in Pandora, which is beautiful and bewitching as ever. The happiness, of course, does not last because the aliens are back again; and this time around, they are better prepared to deal with Omaticaya people. The Sully family is forced to run and seek shelter with Metkayina reef people clan, and fight back when pushed to the corner.</p> <p>While the debate on if <i>Avatar</i> has aged well remains, the movie did have a political message that was sufficiently loud even as it toyed with the old science joke of 'unobtanium' for the plot to progress. Despite its anthropocentrism even while showcasing the &quot;men and women&quot; of Pandora, it did tell about the need to form a symbiotic bond with nature, while philosophically leaning towards deism.</p> <p>The plot was fairly basic though. There is an evil corporate ready to conquer and kill, mercenaries at their beck and call, scientists with scant regard for ethics, and an unlikely hero who defies all odds to fight for a “people” who he just met. Arguably, the simplicity of the plot made it possible for the director to focus on what the Avatar universe was all about—visual ingenuity.</p> <p>Like its predecessor 13 years ago, <i>The Way of Water, </i>too, has a plot that is far too pedestrian—an evil force wants to override an unsullied civilisation while also exacting revenge on the man who foiled their party last time around. The tropes of the invading alien corporate and their mercenaries continue in the second installment as well. However, Cameron has never been a sucker for plot complexities and character development. His forte has always been mesmerising the audience with out-of-this-world visuals.</p> <p>Over the 13 years after <i>Avatar</i> was released, the cinematic landscape has certainly changed. Hollywood's cash cows, the MCU and the DC, have been pushing the limits of visuals and techniques with every outing that happens way too frequently. Nonetheless, Cameron has managed to keep up with the changed landscape and come out with a piece of visual art that has plenty of awe-inspiring moments.</p> <p>The director has had a way with water. He has done it plenty of times before—with <i>Piranha II: The Spawning</i>, <i>The Abyss</i> and of course, <i>The Titanic</i>. In Avatar:<i> The Way of Water</i>, the director raises the bar and serves a world that is unrivaled when it comes to visual detailing. If you were blown away by the first installment in this universe, be prepared to be dazzled again, because the world underwater is definitely a notch above the trees and mountains of Omaticaya people. The cinematography and the background score by Simon Franglen is top-notch, especially during the battle sequences in the last act.</p> <p>Now, that is in no way saying that Cameron has come out with a perfect piece of art. If you were put off by the anthropocentrism in <i>Avatar</i>, it only gets worse in <i>The Way of Water</i>. While I am only glad to be mesmerised by the magic of Pandora and would hoot for the film's message about the need to respect and protect the oceans, it is hard for me to buy into the sentient blue humanoids (even when they are half-bred) who exactly think and behave like humans. Scant regard is paid to character development and dialogues, which sometimes come across as so corny that you wonder if you are watching a teen drama.</p> <p>The film does have an impressive cast, including Kate Winslet, Stephen Lang, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana. While Lang's Colonel Miles Quaritch was the only saving grace when it comes to performance in the first installment, in <i>The Way of Water</i>, this too is limited as the CGI department has more to do than in the previous affair. Edie Falco, (darn, I still see her as <i>The Sopranos </i>matriarch after all these years) as the baddie in a suit, comes across as intimidating initially, but is relegated to the background in the third act when the action in the sea takes over. Giovanni Ribisi has a blink-and-you-miss-it presence.</p> <p>A running time of 192 minutes works against the film’s favour as there is a chance that the audience might suffer a bit of visual fatigue as the director spends an inordinate amount of time in the second act to let Omaticaya people learn the ways of Metkayina clan.</p> <p>Despite the flaws, <i>Avatar: The Way of Water </i>is definitely a film you should watch on the biggest of screens possible if you love Cameron and his cinema.</p> <p><b>Avatar: The Way of Water</b></p> <p><b>Director: James Cameron</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi and Edie Falco</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 3/5</b></p> Fri Dec 16 16:56:51 IST 2022 nanpakal-nerathu-mayakkam-review-a-must-watch-for-those-who-would-like-to-see-a-new-pellissery <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A man wakes up from a lazy nap after lunch and forgets what he was, where he was, and to which place he was headed to. He starts to live a new life; starts to speak in someone else tongue; even his memories and music become that of the other person. Ace Malayalam director Lijo Jose Pellissery’s latest, '<i>Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam'</i>, is an exploration of his trance state.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>NNM is a welcome break from Pellissery’s own mould. The so-called ‘master of chaos’, crafted NNM as a film that is calm and composed in its demeanour. The film opens with a group of Malayali Christian pilgrims returning to Kerala by bus after a visit to the famous pilgrimage centre Velankanni in Tamil Nadu. James (Mammootty), who is travelling along with his wife and son, is presented as a typical mean Malayali chauvinistic male. His aversion and disgust for the rural Tamil culture are established clearly in the first part of the film. But once waking up from a nap on the bus, James would leave the bus, goes to a nearby village and start behaving like a man of that Tamil locality.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In order to bring James back, the entire pilgrimage party would then be pushed to a situation where they had to live in that village.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The film is arguably the most poetic work from Pellissery in his career. He keeps the mind of the audience floating in that rural Tamil village; he also asks the Malayali society to self-reflect on the kind of chauvinism it shows.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mammootty elevates the roles of James (and his Tamil alter ego, Sundaram). The method actor exemplifies what he is capable of doing when he gets a great script that offers for performance.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>S. Hareesh’s screenplay and dialogues, and the visual language in which Pellissery interprets them, are truly world-class. This is Pellissery’s third film with Hareesh. And, NNM does not follow any templates of the other two films, Churuli or Jallikkatt. The dialogues were all sharp, and it rightly wraps beneath the politics NNM wants to speak.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There is a highly effective use of old Tamil songs in this film in the sound design part. The film’s costume design also deserves huge applause. The cinematography of NNM is again a huge shift from what is set as a conventional style for Pellissery. The film’s story demands a treatment where more laid-back static shots are required, and Pellissery gives exactly such a treatment while portraying James’ delusionary journey.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Seems like NNM is a personal film also for Pellisserry. The pilgrimage group is shown to travel in a van of a drama troupe, Sarathi theatres, in the film. The filmmaker’s father, Jose Pellissery, belonged to a drama troupe of the same name in the real life, and the filmmaker has memories of him travelling along with his father to Velankanni on the troupe’s vehicle.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>NNM felt like a plain, simple film on the first watch. But it does have some exciting layers. In repeat watches, those layers also would also come to the fore and surprise the audience. It is a must-watch for all those who would like to see a new kind of Pellissery.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rating: 4/5</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue Dec 13 11:51:09 IST 2022 ariyippu-movie-review-mahesh-narayanan <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Migration and the struggles associated with it are recurring themes in Mahesh Narayanan's films. His films <i>Take Off</i> and <i>C U Soon</i> were built directly on the plight of migrant Indians in the Gulf. Meanwhile in <i>Malik</i>, one would find his protagonists migrating from their land to Lakshadweep, which initiates a chain of happenings that will have far-reaching repercussions on multiple generations. Coming to his latest film <i>Declaration (Ariyippu)</i>, which has become a favourite in the festival circles, the theme of migration again becomes the bedrock of the storyline.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hareesh (Kunjacko Boban) and Reshmi (Divya Prabha), a Malayali couple working in two different departments of a gloves factory in Noida, are the central characters of Declaration. The couple wants to migrate abroad, but the pandemic play spoilsport. The film starts with a scene where Hareesh shoots a “skill video” of Reshmi (she working at the factory). The couple would give this secretly shot video to a VISA consultancy to show Reshmi’s work experience. But things would take a murkier turn when this video gets leaked in a doctored form. To make things more complex, the couple becomes witnesses of corruption and secrets in the factory.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Narayanan uses this conflict to explore a wide range of emotions, gender dynamics and power balance. There is an effort to see the conflict from multiple eyes. The audience is given the freedom to choose, analyse and follow the perspective they wish to pick from the characters. Narayanan employs a “less is more” minimalistic filmmaking approach in Ariyippu. There is an effective use of locations and location sounds. The crew is limited. There is no background score in the festival version of the film. But in the upcoming OTT version, there will be a background score.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The delusional jealousy of Hareesh and the violence he directs towards Reshmi change everything between the couple forever. Narayanan effectively uses the marriage ring of Reshmi as an interesting motif to convey the fracturing of their marriage of convenience.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Boban delivers some fine acting moments while portraying his highly complex and unpredictable character. Prabha is also natural on screen; her dialogue delivery is unique. The themes and conflicts that Ariyippu explores are universal. But the film does make some very serious observations about the reach of corruption, the failures in policing system as well how workplace sexual harassment is handled in the Indian context. The film is remarkably deft in capturing the cumulative frustrations of families living in the holes and burrows of industrial cities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ariyippu had its Indian premiere today at the International Film Festival of Kerala. The film is competing in the International Competition section of IFFK. The film had its international premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Movie:</b> Declaration (Ariyippu)</p> <p><b>Cast: </b>Kunjacko Boban and Divya Prabha</p> <p><b>Director: </b>Mahesh Narayanan</p> <p><b>Rating:</b> 4/5</p> Mon Dec 12 16:26:34 IST 2022 vadh-review-sanjay-mishra-and-neena-guptas-stellar-performances-power-this-thriller-drama <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Helmed by Neena Gupta and Sanjay Mishra - both veterans and exceptionally talented performers - Vadh is a gripping crime thriller, the sort that takes one all in, right from the beginning to the end.</p> <p>The plot revolves around the issues of morality and ethics, selfishness and generosity, crime, and the ensuing remorse or the lack of it. What happens when a peace-loving couple is pushed to the limits? How does one get rid of a monstrous goon who continues to harass, blackmail and intimidate every single night, and unleashes violence and mental torture? How does one justify the committing of murder?</p> <p>In the city of Gwalior lives an elderly couple whose only child works abroad. The problem is that both aged parents keep waiting endlessly for their ungrateful NRI son Guddu (Diwakar Kumar) to send them money as they are constantly harassed for the repayment of a loan which was taken to send the son abroad for further studies. S</p> <p>Shambhunath Mishra (Sanjay Mishra) and his wife Manju (Neena Gupta) live a middle-class life, with loads of love, respect and regard for each other. Their everydays are full of peace, quiet and good humour, except when a local goon humiliates them every so often - using their home for sex with his partners, and treating them as puppets in their own home, to be at his beck and call.</p> <p>This is a period of the 90s when the internet was only accessible at a cyber cafe and so every time the couple dials a video call abroad, they burn their pockets by over 300 rupees for a few minutes. But even then, all the money and the effort spent amounts to nothing because the son is a rude, selfish and ungrateful lad who dismisses his parents' need for money as just another excuse to make demands. Years ago, Shambhunath Mishra educated his son to be an engineer and then upon his insistence to go abroad for further studies, took a huge loan that remains unpaid to date. The loan sharks keep coming home and harassing the parents and all they ask of their son is for money so that the loan can be repaid. When this does not happen and the thug Prajapati Pandey (Saurabh Sachdeva) stops at nothing to humiliate and demean them, Mishra, an otherwise quiet and peaceful man, takes matters into his own hands and kills the thug in cold blood. He does away with the body, and crushes any remaining evidence. At this point, the plot zooms into the minds of the two principal characters to explore the interplay of morality, righteousness and justice.</p> <p>Co-directed by Jaspal Singh Sandhu and Rajeev Barnwal, <i>Vadh</i> leads the viewer deeper and deeper into it, frame after frame. The backdrop, the characters, the screenplay as a whole is as close to reality as it can get.</p> <p>The editing is crisp and the narrative flows seamlessly. There are four principal charters who make for the most part of the film - the anguished parents, the thug and the inspector Shakti Singh (Manav Vij) who grows suspicious of Shambhunath and tried to pin him down for murder. Except he won't do it because he knows that Mishra's intentions were not wrong, the circumstances brought out the worst in him. What seems to be a bit unbelievable is the manner in which the character of Guddu is portrayed.</p> <p>It comes across as far-fetched to see a lad completely washing his hands off his parents, at a time when they find themselves in such misery which has resulted from his own aims and ambitions. At one point, Shambunath laments, 'Beti hoti toh phir baat hi kuch aur hoti (If we had a daughter, it would have been a different story).'</p> <p>This may not be the first time such a story is being narrated, as we have had <i>Baghban</i> before, as well as <i>Andhadhun</i>. But this is cinema that is as realistic and edgy as it can get. And for that reason alone, <i>Vadh </i>is a promising film that must not be skipped.</p> <p><b>Movie: Vadh</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Sanjay Mishra, Neena Gupta, Manav Vij, Saurabh Sachdeva</b></p> <p><b>Director: Jaspal Singh Sandhu, Rajeev Barnwal</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 4/5</b></p> Tue Dec 13 11:54:25 IST 2022 freddy-review-kartik-aaryan-shines-in-this-immersive-crime-thriller <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>What happens when a fumbling introvert in his late 20s, a seemingly naive loner who's been through a tragic childhood, turns spiteful and shockingly revengeful? It results in a gripping and immersive crime thriller, the sort that keeps you hooked right till the end. That's what <i>Freddy</i>, helmed by Kartik Aaryan and Alaya F, is all about.</p> <p>Out on Disney+Hotstar, at the heart of this film is a successful dentist, Dr Freddy Ginwala (essayed by Aryan) and his deep desire to seek companionship. He is demure, diffident and full of self-doubt when it comes to interacting in social company or asking a woman out but commands a good reputation in the community as an approachable and affable doctor who runs his own clinic. The only three things he does when he's not attending to patients is to check on his aunt, converse with his pet turtle, 'hardy' and paint miniature planes.</p> <p>One evening at a certain gathering he falls head over heels for Kainaaz Irani (Alaya F, Pooja Bedi's daughter), a married woman who's stuck in an unhappy and abusive relationship. That's when the film takes on the first twist. The film changes gears and moves from a slow and steady pace to a faster rhythmic one. All along till here, both Aryan and Alaya keep one engaged via a crisp but suspenseful storyline. The dialogues throughout the movie are sharp, meaningful and relevant. Background music adds to the drama.</p> <p>Now, while the two are shown to be desirous of each other, with passionate lovemaking and the works, it turns out that Freddy gets short-changed. With the intention of seeing himself with Kainaaz in their happily ever after, Freddy decides to kill her husband Rustom and he does with immaculate planning. And then when he visits her with the 'good news,' he finds her happily chilling with her boyfriend. Freddy feels used, betrayed, humiliated and shattered. That's when the otherwise, socially awkward and seemingly pigeon-hearted Freddy turns into a witty, intelligent and daring revenger who tricks and traps the duo and eventually murders them both, in cold blood.</p> <p>This film is very similar to <i>Fida</i>, which was released in 2004, starring Fardeen Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Shahid Kapoor. In <i>Fida</i> too, a seemingly naive and affable Jai (Shahid) falls in love with Neha (Kareena Kapoor), unaware of her and her boyfriend Vikram's (Fardeen) evil intentions. He easily gets trapped in their conspiracy but decides to exact revenge while being on the run from the police.</p> <p>Yet, <i>Freddy </i>is different in the characterisation of Aryan, and the eventual climax in the story. Aaryan's character seems to have been meticulously fleshed out and the actor has done justice to his role, in every frame. Alaya has nothing much to add in terms of acting, her emotionless stone-cold face remains the same throughout the film. But her character arc develops beautifully. The film is a good one-time watch.</p> <p><b>Film: Freddy</b></p> <p><b>Director: Shashanka Ghosh</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Alaya F, Karan Pandit, Sajjad Delfrooz</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 3.5/5</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Dec 03 15:29:38 IST 2022 india-lockdown-review-a-haphazard-and-half-hearted-take-on-lockdown-woes <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>It is very likely that the story told in Madhur Bhandarkar's latest film&nbsp;<i>India Lockdown</i>&nbsp;is one that every single Indian has known all along, and experienced firsthand in the last two years as a result of government-imposed national lockdowns in the wake of the transmission of the novel coronavirus.&nbsp;</p> <p>Watching the film is akin to revisiting the horrors of the lockdown when life came to a standstill and everyone became a victim of their own vulnerabilities.&nbsp;</p> <p>Bhandarkar picks up four scenarios with five different sets of people, blows up their stories and presents to the audience the trials and tribulations experienced by the characters, how each of their lives are suddenly and very profoundly impacted by extended lockdowns which at that time, felt as if they won't ever end.&nbsp;</p> <p>There is a sex worker (Shweta Basu Prasad) who cribs that her business has been gravely hit by the lockdown and so, she decides to try phone sex to keep her income going. A debt-ridden food-cart operator (Prateik Babbar) and his wife (Sai Tamhankar) who works as a housemaid, decide to walk back to their native village in Bihar along with their two little children—a stark reminder of India's migrant crisis, when so many of them set out for their village on foot, in the absence of work and shelter in the cities they lived in. A father in his 60s (Prakash Belawadi) is held back from meeting his expecting daughter in another city because of strict interstate curfews, and so he prepares to drive all the way. A female pilot (Aahana Kumra) represents the 'Instagram-friendly lockdown life,' for many upper and middle-class Indians who found themselves holed up inside their homes and took to learning new skills, mainly cooking. Because these are stories of people from different strata of society, they manage to appeal to everyone, but the stories themselves fail to keep us hooked for long.</p> <p>Yes, there are moments that move us, especially the desperation and despair of the migrant family and the helplessness of the elderly father who finds himself cooped up alone in his home, desperate to reach his pregnant daughter. But all the scenes appear staged and dramatised to the point that they seem unconvincing.&nbsp;</p> <p>The film seems to have been made in a rush, as if someone has desperately tried to weave disjointed stories together and has done it in a haphazard and half-hearted way. While each sub-text or sub plot is rich in itself, given that it delivers content, emotion and drama, it fails in the face of the larger whole. For instance, it is commendable that crucial aspects related to morality have been highlighted, such as when an influential politician uses an ambulance to satisfy his lust at a time when there is a severe shortage of ambulances, or when a sex worker rescues an underage girl and sends her home even at the cost of facing flak from her handlers. But the film as a whole simply moves on frame to frame without establishing a sort of seamless connect. Given that this is a narrative which the audience has actually experienced first-hand, one is bound to feel that the script deserved much more than simply scraping the surface of a past that haunts many of us even today.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>India Lockdown cast: Prakash Belawadi, Prateik Babbar, Shweta Basu Prasad, Sai Tamhankar, Aahana Kumra, Zarin Shihab</b></p> <p><b>India Lockdown director: Madhur Bhandarkar</b></p> <p><b>India Lockdown rating: 1.5/5</b></p> Fri Dec 02 22:36:15 IST 2022 dsp-review-vijay-sethupathi-police-movie-vasco-da-gama <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>DSP begins with the introduction of a few cops before we meet Vasco da Gama, played by Vijay Sethupathi. He then introduces the audience to his family in Dindigul, a town in south Tamil Nadu. Vasco da Gama is the obedient son of a flower seller and is in search of a government job. During his job hunt, he comes across ‘Muttai’ Ravi (Prabhakar), the henchman of the local MLA, and locks horns with him. Eventually, Vasco da Gama becomes a cop and returns to his village to take on Ravi. What happens next forms the rest of the story.</p> <p>DSP is the typical honest cop V/s politician drama which you may have seen several times in the past. Director Ponram does not try to do anything different with&nbsp;<i>DSP</i>. The introduction of Sethupathi as Vasco da Gama did raise expectations, but his character fails to impress as the film unfolds. His romantic scenes with Annapoorni (Anukreethy Vas) are devoid of fun. The character of Annapoorni is uninteresting except in a few comedy scenes when she breaks a beer bottle and when she packs sweets and snacks for the hero.&nbsp;</p> <p>There are of course a few interesting elements like when Vasco da Gama asks his father, “What if the government sells the organisation I am part of to the private?” Ponram takes a very long time to establish the plot and then the protagonist. By then it is the intermission, and what follows is a cat-and-mouse game between the hero and the villain. Prabhakar's Ravi is the typical villain that you see in Tamil movies and the actor is convincing enough.</p> <p>The cinematography, editing, and screenplay remind you of many of the old Tamil movies which have the cat-and-mouse game between the hero and the villain as the central plot.</p> <p>Sethupathi is a crowd-puller who wins the audience with his casual mannerisms and quirky dialogues. In&nbsp;<i>DSP&nbsp;</i>too, Sethupathi does have all these, but fails to impress the audience because of a commonplace plot.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>DSP cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Anu Keerthi, Prabhakar, Ilavaraasi&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>DSP director: Ponram</b></p> <p><b>DSP rating: 2/5</b></p> Fri Dec 02 19:27:38 IST 2022 gold-review-all-that-glitters-is-not <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>“All imperfection is easier to tolerate if served up in small doses.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Director Alphonse Puthren, in a Facebook post on the eve of the release of his film <i>Gold</i>, wrote that it is as “imperfect” as his earlier films <i>Neram</i> and <i>Premam</i> - both of which were hugely popular – and so, people are likely to love the latest flick, too.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Well played, Mr Puthren! The ball is firmly in our – the audience, that is - court now.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Puthren was right. <i>Neram</i> and <i>Premam</i> had their flaws. But the imperfections were, as Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska said, served in doses small enough to be tolerable. There was something gripping and endearing about both the films. And, the making, of course – the style was quite refreshing in Malayalam film industry then.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, did Puthren get his dosage right with <i>Gold</i>, too?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>True to its name, the film revolves around the yellow metal, which finds its way to Joshi’s (Prithviraj) hands. Does he get to keep it? If yes, what does he do with it? And, if not, what happens to all the gold? The story unfolds over four days and a bevy of characters – caricatures, in some cases – walk in and out of the film, most of who are connected in one way or the other, to the stash of gold.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There’s a bit of <i>Neram</i> in <i>Gold</i>, if one looks at how the sequence of events plays itself out. But the slickness of <i>Neram</i> is somewhat missing here. Puthren connects the incidents well, but there are far too many distractions, especially in the second half. One moment you might be drawn into the film, and the next, you may be throwing up your hands in despair as yet another caricature appears on the screen. To see what veterans like Lalu Alex and Sharat Saxena, and promising actors like Roshan Mathew and Soubin Shahir have been reduced to in the film, was disappointing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most of the supporting actors seem to have walked right out of <i>Premam</i> into <i>Gold</i>. It’s a reunion of sorts, albeit in blink-and-you-miss kind of roles.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The similarities with <i>Premam</i> don’t end there. Right from the credit scenes to the camera angle and shots, everything reminds us of the 2015 flick. Even the butterfly flutters in and out of the frames!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even Rajesh Murugesan’s music – he composed for Puthren’s earlier films, too – has shades of <i>Premam</i>, especially when the scenes switch to “mass” mode.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prithviraj is at his usual self (sometimes, exaggerated. It comes as a package, so, you cannot complain). However, the less said about Nayanthara’s character Sumangali, the better. And don’t get me started on the dubbing part. Sumangali has to be the biggest disappointment in <i>Gold</i>, especially when you have someone of Nayanthara’s stature portraying it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, set all such ‘overdoses’ aside, and you have a film that is tolerable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Film: Gold</b></p> <p><b>Language: Malayalam</b></p> <p><b>Director: Alphonse Puthren</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Prithviraj, Nayanthara, Baburaj, Mallika Sukumaran, Shammi Thilakan and others</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 2.5/5</b></p> Thu Dec 01 17:12:02 IST 2022 monica-o-my-darling-review-this-dark-comedy-crime-drama-is-a-fun-watch <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>Monica, O My Darling</i>, which premiered on Netflix, is a dark comedy crime thriller that fills the viewers with a sense of nocturnal aura with the old Hindi music “Piya Tu Ab to Aaja” which is echoed throughout the movie. Structured in pulp fiction style, the film, starring Rajkummar Rao, Huma Qureshi and Radhika Apte, is an engaging suspense thriller with plenty of twists, thrills, and robots.&nbsp;</p> <p>A cycle of murders, and a cat-mouse chase with the killer, with some romance and revenge added to the proceedings,&nbsp;<i>Monica, O My Darling&nbsp;</i>throws in several elements to make it a fun watch.</p> <p>Jayant Arkhedkar (Rao), a robot specialist who struggled his way up to the top from a small village, is found by the business tycoon Satyanarayan Adhikari (Vijay Kenkre) at an IIT fest. Jayant becomes an important part of the business and falls for Adhikar’s daughter Nikki (Akansha Ranjan Kapoor), who comes across as a spoilt rich girl.</p> <p>The smooth ride is interrupted by the entry of enticing Monica (Qureshi), and chaos follows. There is corporate jealousy, vengeance, a sequence of dramatic events, and some unexpected twists and turns which bring in the character of Apte, a cop. But Apte's is a fun cop, and says things like “give a little slack to the story, with feelings” when interrogating Jayant, which sums up the whole mood of the movie.</p> <p>The film also showcases a few innovative techniques for the action and murder sequences. The background score is enchanting too, adding to the fun and drama unfolding on the screen.</p> <p>Monica, O My Darling is a fun weekend watch.</p> <p><b>Monica, O My Darling director : Vasan Bala</b></p> <p><b>Monica, O My Darling cast: Rajkummar Rao, Radhika Apte, Akansha Ranjan Kapoor</b></p> <p><b>Monica, O My Darling rating : 2.5/5</b></p> Fri Nov 11 21:14:57 IST 2022 black-panther-wakanda-forever-review-mcu-latest-movie-release <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Marvel opening theme in&nbsp;<i>Wakanda Forever</i>&nbsp;is silent. The images of late Chadwick Boseman, flashing through the crevices of the famed Marvel logo, are an apt tribute to the graceful actor who brought the Black Panther to life in four movies. The passing of Boseman not only left the fans mourning, but also a gaping hole in the storyline as Marvel decided to portray the death of King T’Challa, the Black Panther at the starting of&nbsp;<i>Wakanda Forever</i>.&nbsp;</p> <p>With the Black Panther gone, what is next to one of the biggest hits in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)? Director Ryan Coogler has become successful to an extent in finding a band of women to pick up the mantle and lead Wakanda through its new challenges.</p> <p>Wakanda is vulnerable in a world without Black Panther. Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) who has assumed the throne makes it clear: “They have lost their protector.” Even as the Queen takes on the rest of the world nations, who are eager to get hold of Vibranium, the strongest metal in the world, she encounters an even stronger contender, K’uk’ulkan.<br> <br> The tech-savy sister of T’challa, Shuri, is shattered by the abrupt passing of her brother. She takes an ample amount of time through the movie to find herself.<br> <br> Namor, the Sub-Mariner, arguably the Marvel equivalent of DC’s Aquaman, has finally been roped in by the writers Ryan and Joe Robert Cole to the MCU.</p> <p>He is the champion of his people. At the same time, he has been given somewhat of a supervillain image as well. His people revere him as the ‘Feathered Serpent God’. He is the ruler of Talokan, the aquatic city isolated from the ‘surface-land’ deep down in the ocean.<br> <br> The movie shows the ancestors of the Talokans escaping the colonisers who speak Spanish and brought the small pox with them. They found refuge in waters and soon settle there, far from the grasp of the ‘Surface People' who they hate. The Talokan’s have mastered the life underwater. Their city, tactics for war and life are an experience that we have never seen in the MCU before.</p> <p>The hunt for Vibranium is a key element in&nbsp;<i>Wakanda Forever</i>. A college project which was started out as a hobby by an MIT student Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), triggers a series of catastrophic events for the Wakandans. Riri Willaims, known as Ironheart (a storyline that could ease the loss of Ironman), develops the machine, for her college assignment. The machine leads the military to Namor’s kingdom, and the real challenges for the Wakandans begin!</p> <p>If the truth about Wakanda was a startling revelation for the world powers who thought of it as a ‘country of farmers’, the movie has an even bigger surprise about Vibranium, the source of Wakandan might. Long before they could get a grasp around this newfound knowledge, the Talokan king tries to take advantage of the Wakandan vulnerability and wants them to find Riri Williams.</p> <p>Okoye (Danai Guriria) and Shuri try to save the 19-year-old Riri and fight the Talokans. Shuri is captured, and through her eyes we get to see the Talokan world. If you were awestruck by the visuals from the&nbsp;<i>Avatar: The Way of Water</i>&nbsp;trailer, be ready for a similar visual spectacle.</p> <p>Shuri finds herself facing a dilemma, when Namor places an impossible choice before her by asking Wakanda's support.</p> <p>Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), who has been away from Wakanda for few years, joins the fight and saves Shuri from Namor. Although she is able to track Shuri and rescue her, this triggers a war.&nbsp;</p> <p>The capital city of Wakanda gets attacked by Namor. M’Baku (Winston Duke) offers counsel and protection to Shuri, who mourns the death of her dear ones. The Jabari leader lightens the mood with his wits and humour.&nbsp;</p> <p>With Ironheart and Shuri, the long list of female superheroes who would be leading the fight in the latest MCU phase is growing. Ironheart, who is set to soon get a show of her own, will join the likes of Captain Marvel, the Scarlett Witch, Ms Marvel, America Chavez, and She-Hulk. Ironheart is portrayed not just as an ordinary MIT geek. Her name is apt as we get to see Ironman (obviously amateurish) like suit up action and fights. Ironheart’s love for machines and technology makes her an ideal partner for Shuri.</p> <p>With Killmonger burning the heart-shaped herb garden after his enthronement in the first Black Panther movie, Wakanda is devoid of her protector for most of the movie. However, the writers have found an effective storyline to work around this and as we see in the trailers, a Black Panther does emerge as Wakanda’s protector.</p> <p>Fewer fight scenes as compared to some other Marvel hits might leave the fans disappointed but the graphics in&nbsp;<i>Wakanda Forever</i>, both surface and under-water, is definitely up to the standards of Endgame.</p> <p>Shuri, Okoye, Nakia along with the Dora Milaje warriors leading the fights, brings an all women team to the forefront. In fact, apart from a few, most leading characters are women.</p> <p>The space that Boseman left due to his untimely demise, however, is still vacant. Throughout the movie, one would miss the ‘real’ Black Panther. The producers of the franchise too seem to have understood this as the mid-credit scenes in the movie give some crucial hints about the future of Black Panther.&nbsp;</p> <p><b><i>Wakanda Forever d</i>irector: Ryan Coogler</b></p> <p><b><i>Wakanda Forever cast</i>: Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman</b></p> <p><b><i>Wakanda Forever rating</i>: 3/5</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Nov 17 11:23:59 IST 2022 yashoda-review-samantha-shatters-stereotypes-to-shine-in-this-thriller <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>Yashoda</i> is an important milestone in Samantha’s journey to become south India’s female superstar.</p> <p>Simply put, Samantha rises above the regular commercial trappings of an actress to deliver a clincher. When you leave the theatre you cannot recollect any scenes of the actress grooving to catchy songs or watching mushy scenes of her with a male actor. The hero of the movie is Samantha—the mother.</p> <p>The plot starts with Samantha embracing motherhood, fighting off villains while pregnant and mouthing dialogues that intend to question why can't women be as brave as men. In one particular scene, Yashoda assures fellow pregnant women that she is like the Hindu epic character Yashoda (foster mother to Lord Krishna) and like her, will protect their unborn children. The glorified and emotional scenes elevate the screen persona of Samantha while striking a chord with the audience.</p> <p>Yashoda, for the lure of money, agrees to become a surrogate mother. Through an organised system, she is transported to a facility with the latest and most sophisticated infrastructure. There, she mingles with four other participants and forms a bond with them. The facility called Eva is run by Dr Madhu (Varalaxmi) who has laid down rules and regulations for the surrogate mothers to deliver healthy babies to her clients. The surrogate mothers are expected to follow a regime as per instructions provided to them.</p> <p>One can't help but notice that filmmakers might have been under the influence of squid games while designing the sets or filming scenes here. There is a parallel track unfolding. A supermodel and her boyfriend—a business heir—are killed in an accident. A police team investigating the deaths concludes that it was a planned murder masked as accidental death. The investigation leads them to a beauty product and its manufacturers who are linked to a beauty manufacturer. Murali Sharma as police commissioner keeps a close watch on the investigation but later ends up as an important link in the entire case. Before the interval, Yashoda grows suspicious about her missing friends who disappear into restricted zones of the facility immediately after developing complications. To investigate, she wades deeper into the dangerous terrain.</p> <p>Unni Mukundan is one of the doctors at the facility who seems to have his eyes fixated on Yashoda. Only post-interval, the two plots running parallel converge to unveil a dangerous crime that goes beyond surrogacy and Yashoda’s role has a suspense element to it. Samantha performs action sequences with ease and they turn out to be one of the highlights of the movie.</p> <p>Directors Hari and Harish came out with a gripping movie that keeps the interest of the audience intact. It is Samantha’s show all the way as she outperforms herself and continues to prove a point with women-oriented movies. Motherhood transcends languages and so does Samantha’s charisma in this multilingual film</p> <p><b>Movie: Yashoda</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Samantha, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Unni Mukundan, Murali Sharma</b></p> <p><b>Director: Hareesh Narayan, K. Hari Shankar</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 4/5</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Nov 11 14:54:11 IST 2022 phone-bhoot-review-a-horror-comedy-that-is-neither-funny-nor-scary <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>Phone Bhoot</i><b>&nbsp;</b>is a terrifyingly desperate attempt at comedy that fails miserably because instead of tickling the audience's funny bones, the makers seem to want them to snooze for three hours straight. This is that kind of film which forces one to wonder if the makers had taken a look at their final product at least once before releasing it.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the cinema hall at a prime-time show, everyone in the audience remained silent throughout the film. Not a single line got as much as a chuckle. This is what happens when one tries to be funny without context. This excruciatingly unfunny, balderdash of a film is the story of two horror fans-turned-ghostbusters (Siddhant Chaturvedi as Major and Ishaan Khatter as Golu). Their room is filled with all things occult—crazy lights, skeleton posters, bhooth masks, and scary red-eyed figures on coffee mugs—and they are desperate to monetize their love for 'bhooth pakdaai,' because, well, they can see ghosts and even speak to them! These ghostbusters devise a business plan: Make money by helping people ward off evil spirits from their lives and help the spirits attain salvation by fulfilling their dying wishes.&nbsp;</p> <p>In comes Ragini (Katrina Kaif), the 'ghost-on-a-mission' in bangs and leather boots, who dishes out cheesy lines and cheesier performance that only pulls the already flat film to even lower levels. The dialogues are so bland that it feels as if a school student must have penned them down.&nbsp;</p> <p>There’s Jackie Shroff as Atmaram, a monster who lures dead humans into crime on the pretext of helping them attain ‘moksha.’ Adding some drama is Sheeba Chadha as a wild-eyed, ‘ulte-pair-wali chudail’, who speaks Bengali accented Hindi and adds a punch with her performance in each frame.&nbsp;<i>Phone Bhooth</i>, has a Punjabi Major and Tamilian Golu, alongside a Bengali-speaking Chudail and a Tapori Shroff, and a line-up of bhoots who appear more silly and funny than scary.&nbsp;</p> <p>This film, along with a number of others released in recent times, must drive the entire Hindi film industry into introspection and may be even get them to go on a break, to make way for more creatively talented writers and filmmakers.&nbsp;</p> Sat Nov 05 14:27:04 IST 2022 kooman-review-engaging-thriller-jeethu-joseph-asif-ali <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Mollyood thriller maker Jeethu Joseph is back with another gripping mystery with Kooman after the stupendous successes of the&nbsp;Drishyam&nbsp;series and the watchable&nbsp;12th Man.</p> <p>Set in the backdrop of a small village,&nbsp;<i>Kooman&nbsp;</i>is the journey of a lower-ranking police officer, Giri Shanker (Asif Ali), told through a suspenseful tale. Giri might come across as a calm and intelligent officer, but soon you realize that beneath the serene facade is a shady, vengeful man. As the movie progresses, he emerges as a problem solver. The imperfect and insecure cops that he presents in&nbsp;<i>Kooman</i>&nbsp;remind one of another Jeethu Joseph film,&nbsp;<i>Memories.</i></p> <p>A few untoward incidents happening in the police station vicinity of Mangaadu village disturb people in the area and the cops are forced to come up with ways to solve it. The internal politics of the station also becomes a focal point and play a major role in the transformation of the protagonist.</p> <p>Asif Ali comes up with a brilliant performance. He brings out varying shades of a man who the audience may hate and feel pity for in equal measures. Even as the director tells a suspenseful crime story, he also makes a few observations relevant today.&nbsp;</p> <p>Like&nbsp;<i>Drishyam</i>, there is a tea shop where many character interactions, of people who are interconnected, take place. Even though Krishnaprasad’s script tries to narrate the tale unpredictably, the end isn't nearly as shocking as one wants it to be. Nonetheless, it is a neatly woven mystery, enough to satisfy the thriller enthusiast in you.</p> <p><b>Movie: Kooman</b></p> <p><b>Directed by : Jeethu Joseph</b></p> <p><b>Starring : Asif Ali, Renji Panicker</b></p> <p><b>Rating&nbsp; : 3.5/5</b></p> Fri Nov 04 20:27:15 IST 2022 saturday-night-review-nivin-pauly-rosshan-andrrews-unbearable-show <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>WTF! This expression is used multiple times—as an acronym for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday—in the latest Rosshan Andrrews film <i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Saturday Night </i>with 'Kirukkanum Koottukarum'. This reviewer also used the expression multiple times while watching this cringe-worthy film starring Nivin Pauly, Siju Wilson, Saiju Kurup and Aju Varghese. The trailer and ads tried to project <i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Saturday Night</i> as a film that offers “fun and entertainment”. The film offered neither fun nor entertainment.</p> <p>What it offered was an unbearable show from four middle-aged men, doing some nonsensical stuff and trying hard to be “cool”, just because they agreed to be the lead characters in this soup!</p> <p><i>Saturday Night </i>tells the story of four grownups, their troubles, and their so-called “friendship” (In the name of friendship, they harm each other’s personal and professional lives—sounds &quot;fun&quot;, right?). Nivin Pauly’s character Stanley is the Kirukkan (madman) mentioned in the film’s extended title. Stanley, who is undergoing a deaddiction programme, is stuck in past. Pauly presents this character as a Bohemian, who wears loose floral harem pants and kurtas. Stanley talks in an irritating accent—hmm, that is what he does to appear “cool” and “free”—and does a lot of pukeworthy stunts. Pauly’s previous film with Andrrews was<i> Kayamkulam Kochunni</i>—another film in which he was miscast. But, when compared with Stanley, Kochunni was a tolerable character.</p> <p>In the first half of the film, one has to bear only Stanley’s “madness”. However, in the second half, the torture rate triples—Kurup’s character and Wilson’s character join their friend’s “madness” to feel “happy and free”. Luckily, Aju’s character “poocha” is more or less an invisible character in the second half.</p> <p>There are some women characters also in the film. None of these characters got any depth. Saniya Iyyapan’s character, Vaishnavi, got the maximum screen space among them. Interestingly, the filmmaker keeps the audience in dark about who she is, for far too long.</p> <p>Some would say certain films can be enjoyed if you keep your logic and brain outside the theatre. Even if one does that and goes to the theatre with a hollow brain, this reviewer doubts whether this piece of work would provide any kind of enjoyment or “fun”.</p> <p>Naveen Bhaskar is a scriptwriter who had worked in the scripting department of some decent films in the past. But what he offered for <i>Saturday Night</i> is nothing but a trash script with a loose plot.</p> <p>But, it is not the scriptwriter, but the director of <i>Saturday Night</i> who is primarily responsible for the terrible Friday forenoon session this reviewer experienced. The only positives in this film may be the production design by Anees Nadodi and the music by Jakes Bejoy. Otherwise, all it could offer were yawns and sighs of frustration.</p> <p><b>Film: Saturday Night</b></p> <p><b>Director: Rosshan Andrrews</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Nivin Pauly, Siju Wilson, Saiju Kurup and Aju Varghese</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 1/5</b></p> Fri Nov 04 16:49:19 IST 2022 jaya-jaya-jaya-hey-review-darshana-rajendran-basil-joseph-plot-songs <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Jayabharti (Darshana Rajendran) is an average middle-class Indian girl, whose fate is decided by the men around her. From career to marriage, everything is planned for her to &quot;protect&quot; her. Her father wishes to bring her up like Indira Gandhi, but he is reminded by her uncle Mani (Sudheer Paravoor) that the girl's “hair should be grown long or she won’t get good prospects for marriage.”</p> <p>When Jaya attempts to get out of her suffocating small world by choosing her love interest—a toxic man who wants to tame her, played by Aju Varghese—her family is infuriated and forces her into an arranged marriage. The husband, Rajesh (Basil Joseph), turns out to be an abusive and toxic man.&nbsp;</p> <p>‘Rajbhavan’ is the world of Rajesh, and he controls every factor in it. He snaps at his mother, occasionally body-shames his sister, and gets angry when he sees his wife having a relaxed time. He is the epitome of toxicity, but Jaya cuts him down to size by making it hard for him to continue with his exploits at his home. She also comes up with a strategy to end his physical violence.</p> <p>A hilariously told tale of a man's fragile ego, the film gives the audience enough pointers for redefining love and respect.&nbsp;<i>Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey,&nbsp;</i>thus, can be interpreted as cheering for Jaya's strong will to survive in a male dominant world.</p> <p>Directed by Vipin Das, the movie is set in Kollam, giving the audience enough glimpses of the lushness of cashew trees, and exploring the lifestyle and mannerisms of the people there.</p> <p>The cast of&nbsp;<i>Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey&nbsp;</i>has come up with wonderful performances, making the characters easily relatable. Even though the end might appear a little rushed, the movie offers viewers something good to take home.</p> <p><b>Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey director : Vipin Das</b></p> <p><b>Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey cast: Darshana Rajendran, Basil Joseph</b></p> <p><b>Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey rating: 4/5</b></p> Fri Oct 28 18:30:59 IST 2022 ram-setu-a-half-baked-attempt-at-mythology-interspersed-with-history <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>On the backdrop of a make-believe story regarding the origin of Ram Setu and a tug of war between the hero and villain to make it man-made or not, the movie tries to depict a mythical adventure that is a half-baked attempt at mythology interspersed with history. The movie's plot is developed from a belief existing regarding Ram Setu, a 48-km chain of limestone shoals between Rameswaram, India’s southern coast, and Mannar Island near Sri Lanka’s northwest coast, that it is built by Lord Ram. The film tries to depict this as the truth by substantiating it with poorly-researched historical facts.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Successful Archaeologist Dr Aryan, portrayed by Akshay Kumar is an atheist, who is assigned a mission by his boss at the Archaeological Society of India at the behest of Nasser who portrays Indrakant Varma, a shipping magnate. Varma wants to establish that the Ram Setu predates Lord Ram. But on his expedition, Aryan realizes that the bridge is man-made. He finds evidence to prove that Lord Ram is the architect of the path. A stone from the ocean, on the margins of the Sri Lankan coast, which proves to be from Lord Ram's era becomes the focal object.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Aryan also finds a route map to Lanka and old scriptures to locate the mountain cave inscribed with ancient scriptures confirming the presence of Lord Ram.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The actors put forth an average performance.&nbsp; Poor VFX and lazily done art direction become an eyesore in every scene. Special mention to “Makar”, the poor man’s Iron man suit underwater.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Female leads portrayed in Ram Setu movie is an example of cis-men’s fantasy of women-- remain sexy while accompanying the protagonist.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With a predictable ending, this flick is thus not worth any adventure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Director: </b>Abhishek Sharma&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Starring: </b>Akshay Kumar, Jacquelin Fernandes, Nasser&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Rating:</b> 1.5/5&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Oct 26 16:52:01 IST 2022 prince-movie-review-sivakarthikeyan-sathyaraj-laughter-not-guaranteed <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>Prince</i>&nbsp;is the love story of a school teacher who falls for a British girl, Jessica, (played by Maria Ryaboshapka) filled with comedy of errors. Anbu (Sivakarthikeyan) lives in a village, where everyone is simple and have an irreverent sense of humour, near Pondicherry.&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Prince</i>&nbsp;movie plot begins with Anbu’s voice-over, introducing his father Ulaganathan (Sathyaraj). The film starts off promising to be a laugh riot, but as it moves forward, every dialogue that is intended to be funny is absurd and silly.&nbsp;</p> <p>Once Anbu accompanies Jessica to a vegetable shop, run by a couple. At the shop, the wife of the vegetable vendor claims that she married him because she fell for his English. When Jessica asks for a bottle gourd, both the shop owner and Anbu do not know what it is. The two struggle to save their face. Then comes one Anbu's students who also doesn't know what bottle gourd is. The entire film is filled with such silly jokes.</p> <p>And then there is Sathyaraj's Ulaganathan, the grandson of a freedom fighter. He is a man of principles, who wants his son to marry outside caste and religion, but not a Brit girl because his grandfather was killed by the British. He doesn’t have any role in his village but hoists the national flag on Independence Day and Republic Day. His son, a social science teacher, does not know about the World War, Hitler or Charlie Chaplin. It is his British girlfriend who introduces him to Chaplin.</p> <p>The villain, Bhoopathy (played by Premgi Amaran), fails to impress.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the end,&nbsp;<i>Prince&nbsp;</i>talks about humanity and patriotism. But even here if you expect a story or a decent sequence to know what actually the story is, the director disappoints you.&nbsp;<i>Prince</i>&nbsp;director Anudeep, could have thought for a moment that Jathi Ratnalu could have done well in Tollywood, but he somehow chose to give the Kollywood audience a film without a story and a hero without any goals in his life.&nbsp;</p> <p>Sivakarthikeyan looks good as always, and the audience could not be faulted for expecting from him something like his earlier&nbsp;<i>Varuthapadatha Vaalibar Sangam</i>&nbsp;or&nbsp;<i>Namma Veetu Pillai</i>. But the actor fails to deliver the laughs that&nbsp;<i>Prince</i>&nbsp;promised.</p> <p>It is also time that popular actors like Sivakarthikeyan stops normalising stalking in films in the name of comedy.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Prince cast: Siva Karthikeyan, Sathyaraj, Maria Ryaboshapka and Premgi Amaren.&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>Prince director: Anudeep KV.&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 1/5</b></p> Fri Oct 21 19:38:52 IST 2022 padavettu-review-nivin-pauly-director-liju-krishnan-kannur-movie-plot <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>Padavettu </i>set in a fictitious village, Maloor gramam, in North Kerala is the tale of a common man emerging as the hero who saves the villagers from a powerful system that seeks to exploit them. The Nivin Pauly-starrer opens abruptly, and showcases the journey of a man who society brands 'useless'. It then goes on to show how he used to have a comfortable life that was snatched away from him, and how he fights the evil that is trying to take over his village.&nbsp;</p> <p>The plot moves through the perspective of the protagonist’s outlook toward the society around him even as it tries to empathise with him by showcasing the pressures and dilemmas that he faces. There is also an element of nostalgia brought through his good past.&nbsp;</p> <p>The age-old plot addresses issues like capitalism, power politics, class distinction, and greed against the backdrop of Kannur agricultural society. Agricultural festivities related to harvest in the area like Theyyam are incorporated into the proceedings through the childhood memories of the hero. Even as the film attempts to celebrate the various moral elements of human nature, it fails to communicate the same effectively.</p> <p>The female characters have barely anything to contribute other than to be the love interest of the hero and support the male ego.&nbsp;</p> <p>Nivin Pauly has his moments of subtle performance, portraying the antagonist Ravi. Shammi Thilakan shines as the ambitious politician Kuyyali. Aditi Bala as Shyama also comes up with a good performance.&nbsp;</p> <p>The cinematography is fairly decent and the background score and music by Govind Vasantha deserve some credit.&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Padavettu</i>&nbsp;director Liju Krishnan has tried to bring various facets of society to the screen, but the movie ends up as a one-time watch.&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Padavettu c</b></i><b>ast: Nivin Pauly, Shammi Thilakan, Aditi Balan, Indrans, Sunny Wayne</b></p> <p><i><b>Padavettu d</b></i><b>irector: Liju Krishnan</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 3/5</b></p> Fri Oct 21 18:00:29 IST 2022 monster-review-this-mohanlal-starrer-tests-your-endurance-and-intelligence <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>M-O-N-S-T-E-R.</p> <p>Now that I have your attention, let’s get down to business. In fact, this is what director Vysakh, too, seems to have done when he chose this name for his latest Mohanlal-starrer. For the whole 120 minutes and a bit more, one can only guess and fail to find a sensible reason for the film’s title.</p> <p>Oh, how I wish that was my only concern with the film. It is difficult to even figure out where to begin. Let’s start with the story. A Malayali-Punjabi entrepreneur Lucky Singh (Mohanlal) arrives in Kerala to finalise the sale of his flat. Bhamini (Honey Rose), who works for a she-taxi service, is tasked with picking him up from the airport. A chain of events leads Singh to become an uninvited guest into her house and family. But, as even a 10-year-old would have guessed, there’s more to Singh and others than what meets the eye.</p> <p>The major flaw is right there – the script. Both scriptwriter Udaykrishna and director Vysakh are known to play to the galleries. Their last venture with Mohanlal was <i>Pulimurugan</i>, which was an out-and-out entertainer and a commercial success. In <i>Monster</i>, they have tried a different template… but one which they are not familiar with, and it shows. The initial <a href="" target="_blank">ban on the film</a> in Gulf countries didn’t help the film’s suspense at all. What begins as a cringefest masquerading as humour, transforms into a family drama and ends as a crime thriller, with an LGBT angle thrown in out of nowhere. To a less observant eye, the twists in the second half may offer some solace, but to others, it’s as predictable as Mohanlal’s beard now!</p> <p>Which brings us to the veteran actor himself. Mohanlal has been rightly accused of repeating himself for almost half a decade now, and even more if you count out <i>Pulimurugan</i>. <i>Drishyam</i> stood out mainly for the script more than anything else. For such a talented actor, he has hardly challenged himself or stepped out of his comfort zone. He can walk in and out of a film now or one of his recent ads, without batting an eyelid, and we wouldn’t know.</p> <p>Another worrying factor is how sexism has become a hallmark of his films recently – be it <i><a title="‘Aaraattu’ review: Unoriginal mish-mash of classic ‘Mohanlal moments’ and tropes" href="">Aarattu</a></i> or <a title="12th Man review: A ‘Drishyam’ here, a ‘Drishyam 2’ there" href=""><i>12</i><sup><i>th</i></sup><i> Man</i></a>. Dismissing it as mere coincidence will be insulting the viewer’s intelligence. It continues in <i>Monster</i> as well. The first half is an assault on your senses as Mohanlal puts on a stereotypical act of a loud-mouthed and irritable Punjabi, with sexual innuendos ruling the roost. It’s high time that the actor puts his foot down and steer away from such cringeworthy dialogues, as most of his contemporaries and younger actors have done already.</p> <p>The transition begins at the end of the first half, and the story finally starts moving in the second. Honey Rose has put in a commendable performance, especially as a mother and wife who is accused of a crime she has no idea about. Lakshmi Manchu packs a punch, literally. She steals the show in the otherwise absurd climax. In fact, the LGBT angle at the climax is so forced and shoddily written, explored and explained that one feels the filmmaker and the scriptwriter could have done a favour to the community, and the viewers, by not weaving it into the story at all.</p> <p>Which brings us back to the title of the film. Who is the monster here? The antagonists with the peculiar reason for their evildoings? Or the one who comes to catch the monster, as the ending depicts? Who knows.</p> <p>All I can tell you is when you see a monster, just run. Enough said.</p> <p><b>Film: Monster</b></p> <p><b>Language: Malayalam</b></p> <p><b>Director: Vysakh</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Honey Rose, Mohanlal, Lakshmi Manchu, Sudev Nair and others</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 2/5</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Oct 21 17:29:09 IST 2022 black-adam-review-dwayne-johnson-performance-dc-universe-the-rock-superhero-movie <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>From the mountains of Kahndaq rises a champion, who is all set to resurrect the DC cinematic universe. The franchise has pulled off a magical entertainer with the word Shazam!</p> <p>Can&nbsp;<i>Black Adam</i>&nbsp;trigger the resurgence of the DC Universe, which had been eclipsed by the stunning success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)? This was the question that fans were pondering ahead of&nbsp;<i>Black Adam&nbsp;</i>release. The verdict is out, and DC fans finally have a reason to cheer!</p> <p>It’s not just the mighty punches of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson that land, but also a few jokes and punch lines as well. But is it a movie that holds enough firepower to trigger sequels that can match the success of the MCU? The predictive storyline and the over-dependence on the pomp of CGI-powered action sequences would keep DC fans guessing.</p> <p>At the same time, without any doubt producers have brought out a crisp and solid entertainer that would keep the viewers glued to their seats.&nbsp;</p> <p>After the clash with Anh-Kot (the king at the time) Black Adam—‘The Champion’ rises after 5,000 years. The people of the city await its true hero to return and liberate them from their oppressors. But as the movie progresses,&nbsp;<i>Black Adam</i>&nbsp;storyline about liberation and freedom gets lost among all the blasts and slow-mo action.</p> <p>The tale of the present-day Kahndaq, where the people long for freedom is presented through Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) and her son Amon Tomaz (Bodhi Sabongui). They humanise the superhero, making him more relatable.&nbsp;</p> <p><i>However, Black Adam&nbsp;</i>runtime<i>&nbsp;</i>of 125 minutes makes it hard to devote enough time to the supporting characters. The Justice Society of America (JSA) featuring Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone and Pierce Brosnan as Dr Fate are roped in out of nowhere, making it difficult for those who are not familiar with the DC comics to understand the heroes.</p> <p>Crushing the storylines of others and focusing on Black Adam works to some extent but makes it difficult for the viewers to establish a connection with other characters. Hopefully, DC will rectify it in the coming movies.&nbsp;</p> <p>The scenes between Black Adam and Aldis Hodge (Hawkman) however are a treat.&nbsp;</p> <p>The charismatic aura of Pierce Brosman in the movie is again a highlight. The supporting roles by Noah Centineo and Quintessa Swindell also deserve applause. However, the viewers would be left with a want to see him more in action. A bit better writing to set up the stories of the characters would have scaled up the movie.&nbsp;</p> <p>A decent background score by Lorne Balfe lends more gravitas to the proceedings.&nbsp;</p> <p>The CGI for the movie as a whole is praiseworthy but the portrayal of the antagonist, Sabbac, comes across as weak.</p> <p>Is the movie worth a watch? Definitely. You’ll get your money’s worth. Just don’t expect a great story that will blow your mind.</p> <p><b>Black Adam cast</b>: Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahi, Noah Centineo, Pierce Brosnan, Quintessa Swindell, Jennifer Holland and Aldis Hodge</p> <p><b>Black Adam director</b>: Jaume Collet-Serra</p> <p><b>Rating: 3/5</b></p> Thu Oct 20 17:45:01 IST 2022 chello-show-review-an-ode-to-childhood-innocence-and-love-for-cinema <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>Mane Prakash bhanvo che, Prakash maj thi vaarta bane che </i>[I want to learn light, story emerges from light], nine-year-old Samay tells his Bapuji.</p> <p>Set in Kathiyawad (Saurashtra) region of Gujarat, <i>Chhello Show </i>(<i>The Last Film Show</i>) is the story of Samay (Bhavin Rabari) who aspires to study 'light', and is fascinated by the way movies are projected and the process involved in making the reels.</p> <p>India’s official entry for Oscars 2023, directed by acclaimed director Pan Nalin and produced by many, including Roy Kapur Films, this Gujarati movie of 1.5 hours gives a refreshing feeling, especially at a time when majority of the Bollywood movies are not doing good.</p> <p>The best part of the movie is that you will hardly find anything 'filmy' in it. The locations (all from Saurashtra) are natural and so is the acting, especially of the child artists. Except for a couple of elders in the movie, all child artists are new and hail from the region.</p> <p>Samay has been an observer. He keenly watches the trail left behind by a jet even before his first exposure to a single-screen cinema hall in a nearby small town.</p> <p>Notwithstanding his Bapuji’s (Dipen Raval) warning that this would be his first and last film exposure as films are not good and has taken the family for the show as it is a movie of a Goddess, Samay keeps bunking school only to take a train and reach the cinema hall.</p> <p>Once when he is thrown out of the cinema hall as he did not have a ticket, he bumps into Fazal (Bhavesh Shrimali), the projector operator. The movie beautifully captures the growing bond between Samay and Fazal and, how the latter allows Samay into the projection room and tries explaining to him the nuances that he knows. But there is a selfish bit too in this relationship. For Samay’s open entry to the projection hall, he has to give Fazal in barter delicious dishes dished out by his Ba (Richa Meena). Even as Fazal licks his fingers while relishing the dishes, the cinematography brings out clearly the colours of spices and Ba’s cooking skills.</p> <p>In between, one may find the movie moving at a slow pace but one is surely eager to find what Samay’s next move would be. Bapuji wants Samay to be an ideal son (even puts up a poster in the house) but the young lad is an explorer and full of curiosity. Amid selling tea at the railway station, he finds time for his passion. The way he makes stories from a collection of matchboxes reflects the character’s talent.</p> <p>The narrative where five of Samay’s friends join hands to make a projector and screen a film for the villagers at a haunted place has been nicely captured.</p> <p>The human relationships, may that be of the student and teacher, father and son, mother and son and, projector operator and student have been beautifully captured. Samay quickly gauges that something is wrong when his father is sitting silent, after being told that he will have to wind up the tea stall at the railway station following gauge conversion.</p> <p>Many a time, there is no sound in the movie. Silence, however, does the talking.</p> <p>What follows later is worth watching. The climax of the movie is full of emotions. The tag lines “When you have nothing, nothing can stop you” and “Learn and Leave” are motivations of sorts.</p> <p>The movie is a semi-autobiography of Nalin and was also inspired by his friend, a film projectionist, who had lost his job due to the death of single-screen cinema.</p> <p><b>Film: Chhello Show</b></p> <p><b>Director: Pan Nalin</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Bhavesh Shrimali, Richa Meena, Dipen Raval</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 4/5</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Oct 15 17:01:38 IST 2022 doctor-g-review-ayushmann-khurrana-rakul-preet-singh-new-movie <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&quot;How can I treat something I don't have?&quot; That's the question Dr Uday Gupta, a postgraduate medical student asks his classmate when she questions his reluctance in accepting a seat in the gynecology department. &quot;There are some things that do not suit a male. Only females do it. One such is gynecology,&quot; says Gupta in a cheeky sort of way. Orthopedics was his first and only choice but that was not meant to be, and he now finds himself hopelessly stuck in a department where he happens to be the only male. Inside the gyneac ward, women patients refuse to get themselves examined by him or for that matter, by any male doctor.</p> <p>In a country where the number of male gynecologists has gone down from 50 per cent to 2 per cent, the storyline of&nbsp;<i>Doctor G</i>&nbsp;seems both necessary and relevant. Through Uday's short but eventful stint inside the Streerog Vibhaag (gynecology department) at the government hospital Bhopal Institute of Medical Sciences, we get a glimpse of the highs and lows, falls and triumphs in the life of a male gynecologist, with a sensitive and humorous spin. But&nbsp;<i>Doctor G</i>&nbsp;is more than that.&nbsp;</p> <p>Directed and co-written by debutante Anubhuti Kashyap,&nbsp;<i>Doctor G</i>&nbsp;takes up multiple issues and tries to fit them all in two hours, and in doing so, it leaves quite a few loose ends. There's a talk around the issue of teenage pregnancy and the moral questions that follow when Uday's distant cousin, married and a father, turns his back on a 17-year-old whom he makes out with. But the screenplay seems so rushed that it fails to make an impact. Likewise, the prickly social theme of a single parent's romantic relationship is barely scraped through. It would have been great to see how the dynamics in that department play out. Uday's mother makes no bones about her liking for a man her age and is eager for companionship after having spent a lifetime as a single parent. But her son fails to see that side of her, until she is driven to point it out to him in a face-to-face albeit restrained conversation.&nbsp;</p> <p>Yet, the film keeps us hooked with Ayushmann Khurrana's very earthy screen presence and humour as he goes about his days as a solitary male in an all-woman department, putting up against a bunch of girls who give him a tough time before warming up to him. The head of the gynaecology department is Nandini Shrivastava (Shefali Shah), who makes him see the bright side of pursuing gynecology. &quot;Let go of your male touch. Think about a doctor's touch. That will be very helpful,&quot; she tells him as a way of getting him over his inhibitions in treating female patients. Gradually, as Uday begins to settle into his specialisation, amid the chaos and confusion of an overwhelmingly crowded OPD in a public hospital, he develops a romantic bond with Dr. Fatima Siddiqui (Rakul Preet Singh).</p> <p><i>Doctor G</i>&nbsp;is a fun film, with the right amount of humour infused at the right places. Yet, there are times when the screenplay does test one's patience, especially during the times when the protagonist is made to introspect, reflect and turn unnecessary self-deprecatory.&nbsp;</p> <p>There are also moments of sheer absurdity when one watches Uday carrying out a delivery inside the corridor of the hospital in front of fifty people on the pretext that it was an emergency. These lame scenes take away from the seriousness of the issue which forms the heart of the film. A sparkling performance by Ayushmann Khurrana is supplemented with a sharp screen presence of the other actors including Sheeba Chaddha. This is an entertainer that hits all the right notes when it comes to handling serious social issues and because of that alone,&nbsp;<i>Doctor G</i>&nbsp;is a film that also provides food for thought.&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Doctor G c</i><b>ast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Shefali Shah, Rakul Preet Singh, Sheeba Chaddha and Abhinay Raj Singh</b></p> <p><i>Doctor G d</i><b>irector: Anubhuti Kashyap</b></p> <p><i>Doctor G r</i><b>ating: 3/5</b></p> <p><br> <br> </p> Fri Oct 14 19:19:40 IST 2022 rorschach-review-mammoottys-performance-only-saving-grace-in-a-below-average-thriller <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A strange man comes to a village with a revengeful mind. The basic plot of Mammootty-starrer <i>Rorschach </i>is something that has been explored in world cinema multiple times. But a difference here is that the protagonist’s revenge is towards a dead man.</p> <p><i>Rorschach </i>is a confusing movie at multiple levels. It does not really fit completely into the boxes of either a psychological thriller or a horror thriller. There are some supernatural elements in the film. But the narrative did not help this writer to understand whether the presence of those elements can be attributed to the protagonist’s psychiatric issues. In other words, can the protagonist be seen as a person suffering from schizophrenia? The film does not answer it.</p> <p>What the film’s title has to do with its plot or narrative is another question that came to the mind of this writer after watching the FDFS. <i>Rorschach</i> is a projective psychological test used by some psychologists to examine a subject's personality traits and emotional functioning. This writer failed to capture the connection this test (or the title) has with the storyline.</p> <p>Mammootty is an actor who is not hesitant to take dark-shaded characters. In <i>Rorschach</i>, his character is literally in the ‘dark’ for almost the entire stretch of the film. There is injudicious use of dark colours. The colour scheme followed by <i>Rorshchach</i> is in such a way that every frame’s colour ends up feeling the same as every other frame.</p> <p>Directed by Nisam Basheer—whose debut film was the problematic <i>Kettyolaanu Ente Malakha</i>—and written by Sameer Abdul, the scenarist of <i>Iblis</i> and <i>Adventures of Omanakuttan</i>, <i>Rorschach </i>felt like a wasted opportunity. The script offers some interesting characters, but it fails to apply ‘common sense’ at multiple places while exploring their actions and crimes. It leaves multiple loose ends in its narrative.</p> <p>Even then, the film should be lauded for some fine performances. Mammootty excels as creepy, eerie Luke Antony. Senior artists like Bindu Panickar, Kottayam Nazeer and Jagadeesh also deliver great acting. Grace Antony and Sharafudheen should be appreciated for their controlled performance.</p> <p>A major issue <i>Rorschach </i>faces is that its narrative does not help the audience to empathise with Luke Antony or the tragedy that he faced in Dubai. It also takes the approach of hiding the antagonist—Dileep— behind a mask, even though there have been multiple close-up shots that reveal who is the actor who played the role of Dileep. The cinematographer and director could have thought of a more imaginative way to portray the antagonist. The film fails to give depth to this particular character, around whom the entire narrative revolves around. It won’t be an overstatement to say that Dileep is one of the badly written characters in the script.</p> <p>There are some stylised action sequences in the film. It also tries to explore mind games that people play. However, <i>Rorschach </i>lacks the pace demanded by its storyline (this writer had some occasional yawns while watching it). Overall the film was a below-average, boring experience for this writer.</p> <p><b>Movie: </b><i><b>Rorschach</b></i></p> <p><b>Director: Nisam Basheer</b></p> <p><b>Cast:&nbsp;Mammootty, Bindu Panickar, Kottayam Nazeer, Grace Antony, Sharafudheen, Jagadeesh</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 2/5</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Oct 07 16:59:34 IST 2022 vikram-vedha-review-hrithik-roshan-saif-ali-khan-are-in-top-form-in-this-hindi-remake <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A remake of a 2017 Tamil movie,&nbsp;<i>Vikram Vedha</i>&nbsp;is an intriguing tale of a cop hunting for an evasive gangster. Vikram (Saif Ali Khan) is hell-bent on bringing Vedha (Hrithik Roshan) to justice. However, Vedha has other plans—he surrenders. Vikram is in for a rude shock when he learns that his wife Priya (Radhika Apte) is defending Vedha and has applied for his bail.</p> <p>Directed by Pushkar–Gayathri,&nbsp;<i>Vikram Vedha&nbsp;</i>will draw you in if you are a fan of action thrillers. Much like the Tamil version,&nbsp;<i>Vikram Vedha</i>&nbsp;background music is superb and the movie has plenty of gripping moments.&nbsp;</p> <p>Hrithik Roshan does a neat job portraying Vedha. While comparisons between the performance of Vijay Sethupathi and Roshan are inevitable, the latter manages to bring his own charisma to this <i>Vikram Vedha </i>Hindi remake.&nbsp;</p> <p>While there is plenty of action in&nbsp;<i>Vikram Vedha storyline,</i>&nbsp;it is also about the puzzles that Vedha presents during his interrogation. Vikram must answer these if he wants to elicit the answers that he wants from Vedha. It is a hard task and&nbsp;<i>Vikram&nbsp;</i>finds it increasingly difficult to fathom if Vedha is the villain that he is made out to be.</p> <p>Saif Ali Khan shines as the honest cop, tasked with bringing Vedha down. The repartee between Vikram and Vedha is fun to watch. While they may hate each other, they also share a strange friendship because they seem to understand each other.</p> <p>This <i>Vikram Vedha remake</i> is certainly an engaging watch, especially for the charisma its lead actors bring to the screen.</p> <p><b>Movie name: Vikram Vedha&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Radhika Apte&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>Directed by: Pushkar-Gayathri</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 4/5</b></p> Fri Sep 30 17:59:41 IST 2022 palace-intrigue-and-the-power-struggle <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan has finally hit the screens with much fanfare. Mani Ratnam’s dream film PS 1 has given a royal treatment encapsulating every emotion — friendship, love, romance, valour, conspiracy and treachery— that brought down the Chola dynasty.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sundara Chozhan’s health is failing thus necessitating the need for a new king to the throne. He decides to crown his elder son Aditha Karikalan, while his daughter Kundavai feels her younger brother and Sundara Chozhan’s second son Arunmozhi Varman will be the best to be the king. But Sundara Chozhan’s nephew, Mathuranthaka Chozhan (played by Rahman) comes in the race backed by the empire’s finance minister Pazhuvettarayar. What happens and who wins the throne is the story.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The movie opens with a comet appearing in the sky and Kamal Hassan’s stern voice says it’s a bringer of bad omen and demands the blood of a king. The film then moves to Aditha Karikalan, played by Vikram and Valavarayan Vanthiyathevan, played by Karthi, waging a war near the banks of the Veeranarayanapuram lake. As they emerge victorious Karikalan sends Vanthiyathevan as a messenger to find out what happens at Kadambur Sambuvarayar palace, based on a tip-off. He also asks Vanthiyathevan, his friend to meet his father Sundara Chozha (played by Prakash Raj) in Thanjavur and also his younger sister Kundavai Devi (played by Trisha Krishnan) at Pazhaiyarai near Thanjavur. On the way, he meets senior Pazhuvettarayar (played by Sarathkumar), his wife the most beautiful Nandhini (played by Aishwarya Rai), his brother, junior Pazhuvettarayar (played by Parthiban) and later Ponniyin Selvan (played by Jayam Ravi).&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mani Ratnam has taken up a huge responsibility on his shoulders— a story which MGR, Shivaji Ganesan, Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan and many others wanted to bring on screen. No wonder, he got in a wonderful casting who have given their best. The ace director has adapted the novel completely. Like Kalki, Mani Ratnam too had told the story through Vanthiyathevan, the places he visits, the people he meets and unravels the plot slowly capturing the first three parts of the book in PS 1.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While Kalki would have taken most of the chapters explaining the characters and their looks, it came easy for the director. VFX stands out and Mani Ratnam doesn’t make it an usual period film like SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali. Ravi Varman’s cinematography caught the palace intrigues and politics etched with high sea climax, perfectly. The director hasn't delivered as expected and the emotions in Kalki’s book are lost. In scenes like the face-off between Kundavai and Nandhini, there are neither fiery dialogues nor power emotions running through the eyes. In one sequence when Vikram sparks a noisy brawl about betrayal, treachery and his love for Nandhini, the scenes remind the audience of the director’s own film Ravanan. Of course in PS1, it reminisces of the past and his love for Nandhini. Vikram, more than the warrior prince-in-waiting could only be seen as a man filled with anger and mistrust.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The interest in watching gets lost in scenes without Karthi. In the book too, Vanthiyathevan would move the story forward and Kalki would have narrated the story with his travel. Karthi like in the book keeps the film lively with his performance, while Jayam Ravi and Vikram could have put in more effort to deliver. And Aishwarya Rai is a revelation, while Trisha is awesome with her Tamil pronunciations. But again several other characters like the boat rider Poongizhali, played by Aishwarya Lekshmi and Azhwarkkadiyan (played by Jayaram) might not get into the minds of the audience who haven’t read the book. It feels like too many characters are cramped into just 170 minutes and it struggles to introduce each character, for lack of time. For instance, the introduction of Junior Pazhuvettarayar and the killing of Veerapandiyan by Aditha Karikalan gets lost</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While the film travels to Sri Lanka, then Eelam, brings in the Buddhist monks, King Mahinda and a bit of Sinhala, the Tiger flag of the Cholas doesn’t fly high. Dialogues of the Meenkodi or the flags of the Pandya kings are heard, but not even a single word about the Tiger flag. Again, the dialogues don’t sound well as it gets lost between classical Tamil and colloquial Tamil.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PS 1, for those who haven’t read Kalki’s book, will be classy and engrossing. But for the book lovers, of course, Mani Ratnam is no Kalki and the film runs just for 170 minutes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Stars:</b> 2.5/5</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Cast and crew: </b>Karthi, Vikram, Jayam Ravi, Vikram, Sarathkumar, Trisha Krishnan, Aishwarya Rai and others</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Director:</b> Mani Ratnam</p> <p><b>Cinematographer:</b> Ravi Varman</p> <p><b>Music:</b> AR Rahman<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Sep 30 15:13:20 IST 2022 hush-hush-review-this-amazon-prime-series-lacks-depth-and-nuance <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>There is something very exciting about stories centred around the intertwined lives of strong and financially independent women friends—especially in urbane, corporate setups—who stand up for one another, have each other's back, bitch, binge, and navigate personal and professional loops together.</p> <p>In that context,&nbsp;<i>Hush Hush</i>&nbsp;on Amazon Prime is a winner. In its very first episode, as we are introduced to the “hot, happening and highly eventful” lives of four well heeled women based in Gurugram, the viewers may be reminded of the narratives around equally well-placed women in&nbsp;<i>Four More Shots&nbsp;</i>or that of the luxe lives of four women in&nbsp;<i>Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives</i>&nbsp;or the foursome in&nbsp;<i>Big Little Lies</i>&nbsp;on HBO. The first three episodes of&nbsp;<i>Hush Hush</i>&nbsp;draw you in; there is a thrill in following the complicated, grey lives of these women who stand united in keeping a secret even as they are weighed down by the expectations they have from each other. From the fourth episode, the narrative shifts, gets stretchy, predictable and turns into a laborious watch.&nbsp;</p> <p>Juhi Chawla's Ishi is a PR professional and a power broker, Soha Ali Khan as Saiba is a former journalist who gives up her job to start a family, Kritika Kamra's Dolly is married to an infertile man in a Punjabi household where she is under pressure to provide an heir, Shahana Goswami as Zaira, is a fashion designer who is straddling between her love life and work life. The performances are all above par but the script lacks the 'masala' essential to grip the viewer. We want to know what happens as the women go about negotiating relationships and professional commitments and in between all that, how they guard closely kept secret, but what we actually get is a vanity and melodrama filled storyline that fails to keep us hooked.&nbsp;</p> <p>Co-directed by Tanuja Chandra, Kopal Naithani and Ashish Pandey,&nbsp;Hush Hush&nbsp;runs at a slow pace and the dialogues by Juhi Chaturvedi, tickle neither the mind nor the bone. The investigation, headed by a feisty female cop, Geeta (Karishma Tanna) starts out well, but wavers and even digresses from the plot several times.&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Hush Hush</i>&nbsp;has everything one could expect in a women-centric potboiler: there is a reference to trafficking, shelter home, love and romance, infidelity and the familial relationship saga. However, the screenplay feels slow and boorish. When a heartbroken Ishi and Zaira handle the disposing off of a dead body in the stillness of the night, one sees sisterhood and professional camaraderie. But we would also have liked to see from where these women hail, what leads to their mental and emotional turmoil and what justifies the positions they hold. Sadly, the narrative skips all of this. No backgrounders are attached to the stories of the leading ladies, all of who have given powerful performances and done justice to their experience and expertise. If only the script was a winner.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Hush Hush cast: Juhi Chawla, Shahana Goswami, Kritika Kamra, Soha Ali Khan, Karishma Tanna, Vibha Chibber</b></p> <p><b>Hush Hush directors: Tanuja Chandra, Kopal Naithani and Ashish Pandey</b></p> <p><b>Rating: 2/5</b></p> Tue Sep 27 17:53:04 IST 2022 chup-review-an-unconvincing-serial-killer-thriller <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Barely a few days before the release of his film, <i>Chup: Revenge of the Artist</i>, director R. Balki said in an <a title="Film critics must stop playing gods, says director R Balki" href="">interview to THE WEEK</a> that way back in early 2000, a film critic wrote such a stinging review of his first film <i>Cheeni Kum</i>, that he stopped reading film reviews after that. He revealed that he was &quot;so affected&quot; that he &quot;wanted to get back at the writer in any way possible.&quot; During the promotions of <i>Chup</i>, <a title="I like 'Chup' because it is out of the box: Pooja Bhatt" href="">Pooja Bhatt</a>, who essays the role of a criminal psychologist in this crime thriller, referred to film critics as &quot;killers&quot; and &quot;criminals who lack sensitivity and at times, are ignorant and revengeful.&quot;</p> <p>After all these remarks, <i>Chup</i>, which a failed-film-director-turned-serial killer goes on a murder spree maiming film critics seems incredulous, revengeful, and vain. &quot;If the audience wants to be fooled, if they like to be fooled, who are you to come in between,&quot; asks a self-proclaimed vigilante of Hindi cinema, Danny (Dulquer Salmaan) before gruesomely killing a critic who accords a one star rating to a particular film.</p> <p>A mild-mannered and reticent florist from Mumbai's Christian neighbourhood of Bandra, Danny reads every single film review, gives it his own evaluation and imposes his taste on those who he targets. &quot;Just one star? Why? Can't you see anything of merit in this?,&quot; &quot;Oh! four stars, why? This is simply fake praise!&quot; and so goes the killer, executing his prey in a dramatic and bone-chilling manner.</p> <p>In comes a hardened police investigator Arvind Mathur (Sunny Deol) who must crack the 'star' case to save the stars on his own shoulders. He ends up taking the help of Danny's girlfriend Nila Menon (Shreya Dhanwantary), an entertainment journalist and aspiring film critic.</p> <p>Written by Balki with film reviewer Raja Sen and Rishi Virmani, <i>Chup</i> does an excellent job of holding the viewer's attention throughout without once digressing from the plot. It isn't languorous, stretchy or overly dramatic. The background scores are soothing, contemplative, and the production design is perfectly orchestrated to create a lilting feel. However, the storyline fails to move the viewer. It is just as if there's only gore and mayhem everywhere caused by a deranged man and a cat-and-mouse game that is going nowhere.</p> <p>The audience gets to indulge in Dulquer Salmaan's psychopathic Danny in the 135-minute <i>Chup</i> film duration. The actor is believable as the serial killer, but there is hardly any mystery as we are given enough clues to figure out who the murderer is. If that was the intention of the makers, they did succeed. However, neither the crime thriller aspect nor the romance between the lead couple (a lonesome flower seller and a young journalist) actually take roots. Both sub-plots juts keep dillydallying throughout the film, in parts even as the script fails to impress. The dialogues are impressive, humourous, and catchy but the there are too many silent frames. The folkloric visual compositions and timeless songs from Gurudutt's <i>Pyaasa</i> and <i>Kaagaz Ke Phool</i> are enchanting; some murders are staged with the haunting S.D. Burman-composed numbers playing on the background.</p> <p>No justification is offered for the why and the how of the killer's actions. His laborious past and the long-term impact it has had on him seem too unconvincing. In a way, <i>Chup</i> is a film which seems like an cinematic exercise undertaken by Bollywood which is intent on showing film critics their place. Shreya Dhanwanthary is as real as it gets. In the character of a film-loving journo who dares to put her life on the line to achieve her goal she is every bit likeable and nuanced. Dulquer Salmaan gives out an easy-going charm, but somehow fails to frighten us as a murderer, even as he carries the film on his shoulders.</p> <p>Movie: Chup: Revenge of the Artist</p> <p>Directed by: R. Balki</p> <p>Starring: Dulquer Salmaan, Shreya Dhanwantary, Pooja Bhatt, Sunny Deol</p> <p>Rating: 2/5</p> Fri Sep 23 21:01:55 IST 2022