Badhaai Ho just didn't touch upon but went deep into a subject, none of the Bollywood movies has gone before. The director deals with the theme with finesse, putting in measured doses of comedy and drama to make it a truly mass entertainer for the Indian audience. Movies with such content depend highly on the acting and direction part to get them going, and this one just didn't pull through but brought the house down in laughter as well as gave lumpy throats in various scenes. It is hard to pinpoint any one performance at the cost of being unfair to others, but Gajraj Rao's (the father) mute expressions and initial unease while disclosing the news to his family and the discomfort while peers congratulating him, do show semblances with one Rowan Atkinson of Mr Bean fame; deliberate or not, it surely entertains. Surekha Sikri, whenever appears, the audience is already half smiling apprehending another good laugh, and Neena Gupta is as good as she has ever been acting-wise. Sheeba Chaddha as the girl's mother was perfectly cast and Sanya Malhotra, known as the Dangal younger sister, did well in whatever part she got and looked lovely with that hairstyle. Ayushmann's Delhi accent was too good for a Bong like me to pick, his back-to-back hits now following Andhadhun surely puts him at the top now. The director too smartly outwits the audience with the two sequences following the rehearsing scene in front of the mirror. The film also brings back memories of the Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee movies of late 70s and early 80s, which had a similar dramedy flavour to them. Overall, an assured good time watching it, with a positive social message too. Thumbs up to it, no hesitation in giving a 7/10...
The Finest Hour (1992)Way Under Rated
8 October 2018
It may not be a classic but it is certainly not crap as it is made out to be by IMDB rating. It is a pretty good, in a word, decent movie, with the US Navy Seals training, two rival-turned friends during training days, a love triangle involving them and their assignments during Iraq invasion of Kuwait. I found it a well-rounded enjoyable movie, with the opening soundtrack providing the ideal start to this kind of a story. Nothing got overboard, and the love triangle reminded me shades of Pearl Harbour. No qualms rating it 7/10 as against an unjustifiably low rating of 4.6 by IMDB.
Jim Carrey Has A Full Go With His Hysterics...
22 September 2018
Jim Carrey has understandably been given full liberty with his hysterics in this movie, and he obliged with his hilarious peak. He had his moments in the film, but the movie overall fails to impress. It has been all about a one-man show, who did best what he does best, and the Carrey fans certainly won't like to miss it. He might just have carried this movie on his broad shoulders to financial success, but that is just about it. 5/10
Soorma (2018)A Real Story, Howsoever Told, Deserved Every Bit To Reach Us . . .
3 September 2018
The movie Soorma, which showcases the real life story of ace drag flicker Sandeep Singh, never attempted to over-dramatize things and in doing so somewhat fell flat on the audience. It may have deliberately stuck to being true to the real life incidents of this former penalty corner specialist and captain of Indian national hockey team and his unfortunate twist of fate, but in trying to keep it simple, it failed to arouse the viewers enough to truly appreciate it purely as a 'moving' movie. The script and direction left a void I felt. The scenes with Vijay Raaz as coach packed a punch but acting of Angad Bedi, Bishen Singh Bedi's son, left much to be desired. Overall, I give it a 6/10, a story howsoever told which deserved every bit to reach us...
Maati (2018)Strikes A Chord...
27 July 2018
'Maati: In Search of Roots' is meant for a particular audience as the name suggests. True to the character of Meghla, people with origin from erstwhile East Bengal who came over to the other side after Partition, and have grown up listening to the stories of their forefathers bearing the scars of that painful history or have lived to see it, are expected to relate more to this film than an average movie-goer may do. I could see tears silently rolling down in some of their eyes during the narratives and the picturesque landscape of their 'roots' in undivided Bengal with a few mute utterances of their own, acknowledging some of the crucial meaningful speeches. Given the theme of the movie, its success depended centrally upon the acting skills of Paoli Dam and Adil Hussain, who I think did full justice to it. The film tried to spread the reconciling message that the country has seen a lot since and has fought its own fight during their independence from Pakistan on the principles of righteousness, justice and humanity but still remaining very vulnerable to the whims of religious identity. It should not though fail to strike a chord with someone who is noway related to this piece of history but is sensitive enough as a person to understand the pains and nostalgia of it all. Thumbs up to this project and a 7/10 for sure...
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)Walked A Thin Line...
25 May 2018
Saw none of the Mad Max movies when I decided to view this one running on TV to get a feel of what the series is all about. Minutes into it I could relate with the post-apocalyptic American movie Cyborg which I saw long back. There is little dialogue in this one, but the costume (had a touch of Star Wars), expressions, music, action sequences, typical of the 80s, did all the talking here. I was fascinated by the fact that it was running along a very thin line, where this unique directorial venture could either turn out to be a classic or a crap. I won't say I was particularly impressed by the movie but the style caught my eye, I found it different from what I saw till date. Hard to rate this one, would go with 6.5/10
Padmaavat (2018)Worth An Effort
3 April 2018
The first half of the first half was slow, but from then on it pretty much comes on track and keeps you glued, yet apart from a few scenes, particularly the one-on-ones and the dramatized climax, you find something amiss as a historical drama. Yes, the makers pretty much make it clear at the start that Padmaavat has nothing to do with history, yet one thing we know for sure that Alauddin did attack Chittor, and that Jauhar did take place after. Due to the controversies and public outcry pressure, all we find in the movie is more of a narrative on Rajput principles and valour and less on the intrigue and politics of medieval India. I do not know how much Bhansali's creative freedom was compromised and if not, how many more songs and sequences he would have added, but yes, it fell short of the quality of western historical or period dramas which Hollywood make. Could straightway compare the duel scene between Khilji and Ratan Singh with the one in Troy, and you can see the difference. Padmaavat was made more in 300 style than like King Arthur (2004) or Kingdom of Heaven. Ranveer Singh got the role of his life, and he had no option other than to work hard for and make justice to it, a big thumbs up for that, yes, he worked so hard that he had to consult a psychiatrist to get back to his normal self from the skins of Alauddin. Deepika, Shahid, and everbody else did their part as best as they could, and the movie rightfully made so much of a business, but my worry is with our so rich history and so many stories to tell, would a director like Bhansali or somebody alike ever dare to work on another such project again, that's the sad part... a 6.5
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)An Average Movie
23 March 2018
It is more like a remake of the overused formula plot of old Bond movies where a megalomaniac steals and strikes the superpowers from a hideout to create a misunderstanding and start WWIII and become the principal bargainer in the process. It lacked intrigue, suspense, twists, not that many of Bond movies have that, but was far too straightforward, predictable and cliche. I always liked Brosnan , he is one of the better Bonds I felt, hope he had something more play to with in the opportunities he got to play this iconic character. 6/10
Pari (I) (2018)A Welcome Movie To Bolly Of A Different Horror Genre
19 March 2018
Pari has garnered below average reviews, which I think is a bit harsh on a project which rather attempts to bring in a different horror genre to Bollywood, with kudos to Anushka for her brilliant acting and trying out yet another new theme under her production. Parambrata does very well in these good guy roles, for a change I quite liked him here, Ritabhari Chakraborty of "Ogo Bodhu Sundari" teleserial fame also made a mark in her Bolly debut. Rajat Kapoor and Dibyendu Bhattacharya (the morgue worker) are very convincing too. The music and background score need special mention as it reflected the mood of the movie throughout. The scare scenes I felt did not work that well sometimes (make-up of the KalaPari looked cliche), and yet at some other times these scenes were timed to perfect. Overall, it is worth a watch on big screen, particularly being of horror genre but with a humane angle, some viewers may have an issue with this different take on horror, but Bollywood is slowly going where Holly has far traversed in terms of content. 6.5/10
Fences (2016)Non-Stop Action
10 March 2018
It is non-stop action (action of speech) from the word go, and once you are well and truly into it, there is no escape. It is understandably the cinematic version of a Pulitzer-winning play, with a handful of characters and few location shots; but my word, what acting by all, Viola Davis rightfully claiming her Academy award for a memorable performance. Denzel made me remember my own very strict father who I lost early and to say the least, it is indeed very touching. 7.5.
Udaan (2010)Stopped Me On My Tracks...
5 March 2018
This is one movie which can stop you on your tracks, and that is exactly what it did to me. I was to go out but couldn't before I could finish watching it. It is riveting, soulful and realistic. Ronit Roy showcased his acting talent to the fullest here and since then he has been getting the bad guy roles. I was moved by this movie and could relate to the teenager protagonist's desperation to break free. 7.5 is what I give...
13 Hours (2016)An Authentic Take
5 March 2018
The first part I found a bit slow, but you can't take your eyes off the action once it all starts. An authentic take on the real time events of 11 September 2012 at Benghazi, Libya, a thumbs up to yet another Hollywood flick based on American presence in some war-ravaged part of the globe, almost all of them are good. 7/10
Teen Bhubaner Parey (1969)Sublime Cinematic Interpretation of Samaresh Basu Novel
3 March 2018
A beautiful story, fine direction by Ashutosh Bandyopadhyay, heart-warming music by Sudhin Dasgupta, and vocals by Manna Dey and Asha Bhonsle, make it a classic Bengali film with Soumitra and Tanuja who paired up also for Prothom Kodom Phool released the same year. Their chemistry was palpable and I particularly liked the silent and brooding character of Soumitra's brother in the film which somehow reflects the crisis the youth of the day faced in Bengal. 9/10, recommended.
Raat (1992)Best Ghost Movie From Bolly
3 March 2018
Pick anything out of Ramgopal Verma Part I and you will find a gem mostly, as was Raat, which to my mind is the best ever ghost movie Bollywood has produced. Revathi is the star of the show, stupendous acting, and the eeriness felt throughout is unmatched in even the directors's later movies. 8/10
The Living Daylights (1987)Loved Dalton As Bond
1 March 2018
Timothy Dalton came across as a refreshing change after almost a decade of Roger Moore's lighter portrayal of Bond. I, for one, have been a supporter of how Roger played Bond after a more serious Connery, but I think it was a tad overdone and needed a fresher take on the character. Dalton got offer to play Bond as early as 1968, but when he finally agreed to play his first one in this, he looked the part. He was intense, more human, the glitter was still there in Bond's eyes, and the cheeky one-liners were missing. You would find shades of Dalton in Daniel Craig later. The Bond girl in this one looked ordinary though, more like a next door chick, but I didn't complain. I loved this new Bond and thought he could have started a little earlier and done a few more from the franchise. The plane scene was well shot, the climax lacked some flow, and the villains too didn't look ominous. But for Timothy Dalton, I give it a 6.5.
Pathetic Fallacy (1958)A Masterpiece By A Mercurial Director
27 February 2018
I saw this movie long back, and I never knew who the director was, until of late. If you live a character in a movie, no matter how odd or eccentric it is, this is one, and Kali Banerjee absoultely nailed it. He was an immensely talented actor of his day, partly underutilized I say, much like Kharaj Mukherjee of now. Still he came up with breathtaking performances in Neel Akasher Neeche, Kokhono Megh, etc. Ritwik Ghatak shows his class yet again, and comparisons can be drawn of this film with Ray's Abhijaan, where both the characters share the love of what they drive. Very apt title for the movie... 8/10.
The World of Apu (1959)Part Of Cinematic Memory
27 February 2018
This is the first time I attempt to review any work of Satyajit Ray, as I don't really know how to describe this sublime director's art. If we have a collective cinematic memory as a Bengali, Apu tearing away his manuscript or the joyous father carrying his equally ecstatic son over his shoulders are the ones imprinted for life. If you feel for some characters as a cine watcher, Apu in Apu'r Sansar has to be one. On the contrary to Panther Panchali, it ends on a happier note, thus sparing you the pain and tears in your eyes. What to say more... 9-9.5/10
Talaash (2012)Intriguing Movie, Captivating Music, Cast Is Spot On...
27 February 2018
People have issues with the climax of this otherwise very intriguing thriller, the precise reason it was a lesser hit of the Perfectionist Khan, but that aspect aside, it is a wonderful journey throughout. I thought the movie was perfectly cast. Aamir was his usual self, but on the acting front I would give it to Rani Mukherjee who did remarkably well. Kareena was at her glamorous best and extremely seductive at times when required (like the scene in the elevator with Aamir). Nawaz had an important role to play and did so with aplomb, yet again giving a gentle reminder to the industry that he is the ready to succeed Irfan. The music gelled very well with the mood of the film, and I kept humming the numbers for almost a week after. An 8/10...
Sadma (1983)True To Its Title
26 February 2018
I write this review when I hear the sad news of Sridevi's demise. She announced her stupendous acting potential with this classic of a movie as early as 1983. She thereafter ruled Bollywood at a time when there were non-actors in female leads other than maybe Jaya Prada and Meenakshi Sheshadri and did so until the arrival of the likes of Madhuri and Juhi. The movie in question is one of my all time favourites, it is a beautiful narrative with a heart-breaking climax, reaching the peak of cinematic brilliance. Acting, music, cinematography, you name it, they did it. The film as well as the song "Aye Zindagi Gale Laga Le" is one of my favourites. I know not what is perfect, so I give it a 9...
You've Got Mail (1998)Warm
24 February 2018
Who can ignore the charm of a young vivacious Meg Ryan, I can't, neither does James Fox. A simple but lovely romcom with the right chemistry between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan makes this movie beautiful. If you are looking for an escape from all the other complicated and convoluted stuff Hollywood comes up with, you can try this one. 7/10.
Satyanweshi (2013)Rituparno Is Not To Be Blamed
21 February 2018
Byomkesh Bakshi suddenly became a darling of our film industry and when Rituparno Ghosh decided to do Satyanweshi, I had to take note. His choice of director friend Sujoy Ghosh as Byomkesh was already interesting and like everybody, I too had a lot of expectations. Whatever flak this film got thereafter has to do with the untimely death of Mr Ghosh as I feel if he could have completed this movie, it would not have been a disaster. It was a hurriedly finished project after his demise, the last few scenes and the CGI used were horrific. I will not even consider this as Rituparno's work, as anything which is even 90% finished can't bear your name till you give the final touches. 6/10
Simon Birch (1998)Close To My Heart...
21 February 2018
You see bad movies, good movies, great movies and the ones which leave a lasting impression on you. This is certainly one of a kind. Simon Birch is a character you won't easily forget. I am not the one to burst out in laughter in every comic scene, but there were quite a few in this. The baseball hitting scene was hard to describe, it was hilariously tragic. The school drama and dialogues, ohh, makes me remember the one from Jane Bhi Do Yaaro. Ashley Judd, I thought, was the right choice in place of Sandra Bullock, she is so charming here as the small town heartthrob and well and truly blows you off your feet in whatever screen time she got. The climax was true to Simon's character, it shows the ultimate triumph of human spirit, and you just come out of the theatre with the feel that everybody has a relevance and rightful place in this world. 8-8.5/10. Fantastic.
Kabuliwala (1957)Touching To Say The Least
21 February 2018
Here I was introduced to young Tapan Sinha and the giant of an actor, Chhabi Biswas. Based on a short story of Tagore, this leaves a mark, stupendous direction by someone who went on to become one of the best from his country. A heart-warming tale by the Nobel laureate gets perfect cinematic treatment and drenches your soul leaving you to tears. A must watch again... 9/10.
Saat Pake Bandha (1963)When Legends Meet...
21 February 2018
When the legends of their time meet with a powerful screenplay, what follows is an absolute classic. Suchitra Sen, Soumitra Chattopadhyay, Chhaya Devi, Pahari Sanyal, and the director Ajoy Kor, all legends in their own rights, come together to provide a truly memorable experience for a cinema lover, a one hard to forget. I would easily rate it as high as one of the all time best from the industry. Kudos to a young Soumitra who stood up to the challenge and stature of Mrs Sen who won her first international award at Moscow Film Festival for this. Unlike now when Bollywood regularly borrows from South, Holly and where not, in those times it was the Bengali movies which ruled the roost and were remade, as was this one with 'Kora Kagaz' starring Vijay Anand as actor and director and Jaya Bhaduri, but it failed to recreate the magic of the original, mainly due to Hindi cinema's obsession with happy endings. If you are open to all types of movies and stories, this is among those you would not want to miss before you die... 9/10.
After the Night... Dawn (2005)A Story Which Could Have Been Better Told...
19 February 2018
The singular most dominant feel that I had after watching this movie is that this is a tailor-made script for use by Senior Ray's true successor, not his biologic one. Sandip Ray has taken a keen interest in his father's profession and learnt the trade from quite a young age assisting him in various aspects of his late movies, but that is where it all stops. You can learn as much as you can, but you have to have the gift, the magic touch, to match your legendary father which I find always missing in his movies. And there comes Rituparno Ghosh, who could have handled this story by Narayan Gangopadhyay much better and could give it a treatment as good as Satyajit Ray. Sandip tried everything in it, but that magic just has to be created by the director himself, I guess, no matter how good everything else is. A 6/10, a fine story which could have been better told...