Friday, November 2, 2012

Chakravyuh: Movie Review


Chakravyuh: Movie Review

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review: I faced a lot of criticism last year for giving Prakash Jha’s ‘Aarakshan’ very high ratings. I was preparing myself for the same with Chakravyuh until the interval. But the second half crushed all my expectations. It quickly dwindled from a 4 star rating to a 3 star and by the end of the film it almost went from 3 to 2.5 thanks to Arjun Rampal’s wooden acting. Many critical scenes banked on his performance. Although other good performances might have saved face. A genuinely good build up that hit the breaks in performance, plot and pace; post interval. Based on the Government v/s Naxalites war, Chakravyuhis a classic case of good subject matter dealt with a shaky plot. It definitely had the potential to be much more.
S.P. Adil Khan (Arjun Rampal) has just taken up a controversial and dangerous posting at Nandighat, which is at the heart of Naxal activity. The government has vested interests in the area because a big industrialist called Mahanta (Kabir Bedi) has crores invested in their land. Mahanta wants the adivasivillages there evacuated. The Naxals led by charismatic leader Rajan (Bajpaee) and right hand commander Juhi (Anjali Patil) want to protect the villages. They do so by terrorizing anyone who comes near the area with guns and bombs. To stop this terror, Adil sends best friend Kabir (Abhay Deol) into the jungles as his informer to become a part of the Naxals. What happens when Kabir begins to believe in the Naxal cause?
    Some highlights include: the issue of the Naxalites looked at from a sensitive perceptive. They are portrayed as messiahs not demons with guns (baring a few violent scenes). Another noteworthy aspect of the film was 2 good performances, Manoj Bajpaee and Anjali Patil. Patil especially was brilliant. Known for highlighting socio-political issues in his films, Prakash Jha commands respect from reviewers like me for brave film making. Audiences generally want to take a break from hectic lives, and intense films like these don’t serve that purpose. Therefore, kudos for bravery Mr. Jha. 
Verdict: A good effort sidetracked by a shaky plot. Only for serious cinema lovers.
Malvika Rao
Movie Details
Release date: 
Oct 24, 2012
Language: Hindi
Genre: Drama, Social
Cast & Crew: Abhay Deol, Arjun Rampal, Esha Gupta, Manoj Bajpayee, Anjali Patil, Om Puri
Director: Prakash Jha
Music: Sulaiman Merchant, Salim Merchant
Length: 2 hrs 32 mins
Writer: Prakash Jha, Anjum Rajabali, Sagar Pandya

English Vinglish: Movie Review


English Vinglish: Movie Review

Rating: ★★★½☆
Review: 1997 had Sridevi playing a selfish housewife who sells her husband to a rich heiress in Judaai. More than a decade later she returns again as a housewife. But this time she returns to play Shashi, a kind, honest and dedicated homemaker. She is perfect in her duties as a housewife, even popular as the best laddoo maker in town. But as most Indian households go, she is constantly made to feel insecure by her family for small things. One of her family’s major concerns or rather to their annoyance, she cannot speak English.
The story is pretty much about the small journey Shashi undertakes to rid herself of the constant scrutiny and judgment she is subjected to for not being proficient with English. But it’s not this simple story that counts, it’s all the small things that make up the story. The film has been crafted with a simple message in mind and told in a very elegant and impactful manner. Shashi’s small struggles as she goes from everyday embarrassment and insecurities to self-confidence makes you empathize, laugh and cry with her. You feel yourself rooting for Shashi throughout this elegantly tied-together film.
When in her hometown, she is as it is subjected to constant judgment, but when she lands in New York for her niece’s wedding, her patience is tested and she breaks down. That’s when she decides to join a fast track course to learn English. And in a complete, Mind Your Language sort of setup, heartwarming friendships are formed between Shashi and the group. A jolly group that has a Chinese girl, a Pakistani cabbie, a South Indian techie, a Mexican nanny and a gay African. None of them understand each other’s language but manage to communicate in the most endearing manner. The handsome Frenchman develops a liking for our traditional Shashi. The delicate manner in which this has been handled is another aspect worth applauding for this brilliant debutante director. And if you haven’t been charmed by this story yet, wait for the climax.
Verdict: Sridevi’s comeback is a simplistic and warm effort that’s definitely worth a watch.
Malvika Rao
Movie Details
Director: Gauri Shinde
Cast: Sridevi, Amitabh Bachchan, Mehdi Nebbou, Priya Anand, Adil Hussain
Writer: Gauri Shinde
Music: Amit Trivedi
Length: 2 hours 16 minutes

Student Of The Year: Movie Review


Student Of The Year: Movie Review

Rating: ★★★½☆
Review: Two boys, one girl and a high-school romance… going by the trailers you may have thought the story is simple. In reality it isn’t. Here we encounter a glossy affair, called St.Teresa’s located (fictitiously) in Dehradoon. When it comes to Karan Johar’s work on screen, you really can’t expect subtlety. 
Student of the Year is the latest and one of the biggest films this year made under the magnanimous Dharma Productions banner, directed by the new-age romance weaver, Karan Johar himself. As seen in the past, all his films have well-known actors who’ve been seen on various platforms that K Jo brings together. Some of them are the faces you may have not seen for many years now. Then, there is the full-of-life, Rishi Kapoor, who doesn’t cease to exude charm whenever he speaks and acts. His character as Dean Vashishth was the most enjoyable one. Sharing some screen space are Boman Irani, Farida Jalal, Ram Kapoor, Gautami Kapoor (last seen in Ghar Ek Mandir opposite her husband), Ronit Roy and so many more. The perfect amalgamation of such seasoned talent couldn’t have got any better, I believe.
The debutantes, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra were spectacular as first-timers. Especially the boys, all oozing with talent. There were many Gossip Girl moments, as well as those that I would like to call ‘Poo’ moments ala Kareena Kapoor’s role as the bimbette in K Jo’s dream project,Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. The great divide that exists in the society, that of the upper class and middle class, has been highlighted once again here. When Aamir Khan got into a duel with Deepak Tijori back then in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, you felt bad for Aamir Khan every time he failed. This film, on the other hand, comes with high-octane drama but the feeling dies along the path. The result of the Triwizard Tournament-like competition called Student Of the Year is inevitable. No points for guessing who wins.
Next year’s best debutant award may be shared by the two leading boys in the film. You would keep wondering who was better of the two, yet not zero-in on either. If a masala Bollywood flick is your cup of tea, go watch this film, you will enjoy it for all the good reasons. The songs make the frilly drama even better, for the foot-tapping music, most of the songs that you have heard before, just remixed and re-enacted. At some point, the film was a Kuch Kuch Hota Hai meets Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, but I reminded myself how this one was a tad-bit different. It is winner at the BO. Also, a surprise appearance is from one of the most renowned actresses in the industry who also happens to be K Jo’s lucky mascot. While you may have already guessed it or read about it, you will still enjoy what you see on screen.
Verdict: High-school romance fizzles out with the competitive feeling, yet keeps you feeling warm and fuzzy.
Saumya Sharma
Movie Details:
Release date: Oct 19, 2012
Language: Hindi
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Teenage
Cast & Crew: Siddharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Rishi Kapoor
Director: Karan Johar
Music: Vishal-Shekhar
Length: 2 hrs 21 mins