Saturday, May 23, 2015

Movie Review: Tanu Weds Manu Returns – Spark Toh Hai!

Quite a few errors of logic, overacting here and there, an obvious ending but still Tanu Weds Manu Returns has the spark that qualifies it as a good entertainer. The audience laughed in the first half (I didn’t though) and laughed louder in the second half (well, I laughed too). This at least means that the price of the ticket has been taken care of. The movie brings out the right emotions, in adequate quantity at the right time…Well, this means that the price of popcorns and cold drinks has also been taken care of. In short, the movie is a total “paisa vasool”.

Apart from the few errors of logic, which I am okay forgiving; there is this one flaw that I could not ignore. The flaw is, Pappi’s character desperately trying to make the audience laugh at every scene. The attempt to make every dialogue delivery by Deepak Dobriyal a punch line is that only thing that irritates the movie critique in me.

A heart touching song expressing the emotions of pain, betrayal, bereavement and anger could have been a bonus. Not only would that have enhanced the movie, it would have also ensured that we remember the movie every now and then. After all, movies fade but the music stays.

This said, all in all, the movie is definitely a good watch. This one gets a 3/5 from me.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Movie Review: Bombay Velvet – You Will Not Regret Missing This One

The only thing that made me go and watch Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet is the curiosity to see Karan Johar acting. Now that I have watched the movie, I still maintain that the only thing that anybody should watch this movie for is to see Karan acting – he definitely acted well, at least way better than my expectations.

Ok! On a second thought, to say that there is nothing good about the movie apart from Karan’s acting would be being extremely critical. Let me just say that there are quite a few things in the movie that are really good – the cinematography, the sound effects, the background scores and the music; however these elements at best can only play the role of enhancers in a movie and cannot hold the movie together on their own.

Let me draw an analogy here.  Make-up can only enhance the beauty of a women and cannot define her as an individual. She can chose to wear very light make-up or no makeup at all and still create a lasting impression with her poise, her unadulterated beauty and her strength of character. Likewise a movie can survive with a bare minimum quality of cinematography, sound effects, back ground scores and music but without strong screenplay and acting and direction it will fall flat.
Bombay Velvet’s biggest short coming was its screenplay. The weakness of this single element brought down the charm of the movie even when the other core elements like direction and acting were good enough.

If there is anything from this movie that will remain with me for a long time is its music – with each piece that Amit Trivedi composes I become a bigger fan of him.  My favorite one from this movie is Naak Pe Gussa.

Bombay Velvet gets a 2/5 from me. It’s a movie you will not regret missing. If you are one of those who do not like movies where you have to stress your brain to understand the flow of the story, totally skip this one.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Movie Review: Mitti Na Pharol Jogiya - Do What The Movie Title Suggests (Pun Intended)

My decision to watch the movie Mitti Na Pharol Jogiya can be best described as a data analysis error. Are you wondering what has data analysis got to do with a movie? Let me explain...

When deciding whether I should watch a certain movie that I am not very sure about, I usually go by the Book My Show (BMC) ratings. If the cumulative ratings say that more than 70% of the viewers appreciated the movie, I go and watch it. In the case of Mitti Na Pharol Jogiya the BMS rating was a 93%. "Wow!" I thought to myself, "this must be an awesome movie!". The last Punjabi movie that I had watched was the classic Punjab 1984, so I guess the recency factor also influenced my decision. I was super convinced. So much so that I booked a 9:45 am show on a Sunday morning as no other show timings suited me well. Not only this, I did not even care that the multiplex was Movie Time - Raja Garden  ( for the information of the readers not familiar with Delhi, this multiplex is one of the worst in Delhi with the most unpalatable pop corns and nachos ever). All this for a movie that was not all all worth it. I somehow sat through the first half thinking that the "amazing" part of the movie is yet to come. But by the time it was interval, I could not hold my curiosity any more. I really wanted to know what was so wonderful about the movie that majority of the viewers appreciated it, when I thought it was shallow to say the least. To put an end to my curiosity I looked at the review section in detail, I found that only 4 people had reviewed the movie (I am guessing they must have been acquaintances of the director or actors and must have put up the reviews as a favor).  So now you know why I call the decision to watch this movie a data analysis error - the sample size was clearly too small to base a decision on.

Now coming back to the movie...Cinema-goers have seen such fantastic movies on the theme of partition in the past, that not writing a script convincing enough for a new movie on the same subject is like killing the movie in the womb. This is exactly what Avtar Singh did.
Though, a good direction would have anyhow not been able to bring the life back to the dead script; however, it is sad that no attempt to save the movie through good direction was made either.

Acting by and large was lifeless too. The actors who played the role of the family of the school-going boy who crossed the border and was later falsely convicted as a terrorist in Pakistan, were very unconvincing . It appeared that they had just left it to the imagination of the audience to fill up the missing emotions in their acting. Japtej Singh and Kartar Cheema acted well though ( Disclaimer: the drool-worthy looks of Kartar Cheema might have created an unconscious bias in my mind towards his acting :P). The only good thing beyond Kartar's looks in the movie was the song Dilbara.

Watch this movie that gets a 1/5 rating from me only if you are keen on seeing Kartar Cheema on the big screen looking Oh So Sexy! in Pathani Kurta Pajamas :-). Else give it a skip, even if you were to see it on TV later.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Movie Review: Piku - What a Fresh Movie!

Let me start this review by mentioning that I am not one of those who can laugh at the drop of a hat. With the kind of sense of humor that I have, it is EXTREMELY difficult to make me laugh out loud. I can sit through most of the so called "comedy" shows and movies wondering what's in them that is making the audience laugh or for that matter even giggle when I don't  even find them smile worthy.

But Piku made me laugh...not just once but N number of times during the 2 hours. So trust my review on this one - if a movie can make me laugh, it will definitely fit the definition of comedy of most of the people. If nothing else, one thing is sure that no one who goes for the movie will come out saying that the movie was a waste of money and time. It is an extremely safe bet that ways.

It requires a Soojit Sircar and a Juhi Chaturvedi to pick up a subject like constipation and create a 2 hour long super entertaining movie out of it. I bet that even the people who find "potty conversations" disgusting will enjoy the movie from the beginning till the last "poop" of the 70 year old digestive heath obsessed dad that Amitabh plays.

The readers who are passionate about cinema may ask, “Okay, good it made you laugh. But was it a robust story? Or was it a string of comic scenes that the story writer put together and then desperately tried to make a story out of those?" To this my answer would be that the comedy is surely backed by a heart touching story line. In fact, it is a rare combination of emotions and humor blended really well. While you enjoy the humor, you will not be able to ignore the subtle messages around women empowerment, true love and duty towards aging parents that the movie delivers. I laughed throughout the movie but came out wondering if I would ever be able to be a Piku to my parents?

Actually, if you think through, you will realize that the movie it trying to deliver the same message that Baghban did in 2003; just that, Baghban used heavy drama as the route while Piku uses comedy.

Let me try bringing out the beauty of this movie through an analogy which the readers who take buying perfumes seriously will understand. Piku is a perfume with a fresh top note of humor that attracts and the base note of emotions that lingers for long even after the top note fades.

With the combo of Amitabh, Deepika and Irfan in the movie you cannot expect the acting to be any less than fantastic. However, for me the success of this movie lies more in the direction and story than in the acting. Why do I say so? It is because of the ability of the direction and story writing to:
  •  Pass on a serious social message through the genre of comedy
  • Show the audiences the style of humor that is neither slapstick nor satire. (Well, I am actually not able to precisely define the style of humor that Piku can be classified under. Any theater/literature enthusiasts reading this, please come to my rescue - I know what it’s not, but I don't know what it is :P)
So then what is my final rating for this movie you may ask? It’s a 5/5 for this one.  But then, I wouldn't say go and watch it now! The producers and distributors of this movie would want to kill me for this but I would rather recommend that you open this bottle of freshness on the day when you need it the most - on a day when your mood needs an uplift, spray this perfume and you will feel refreshed.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Movie Review: Margarita With A Straw - Beautiful! But Not for Everyone

Rating: 4/5

Margarita with a Straw is a beautiful movie indeed! BUT it is not for everyone...

It is for those who are not judgmental...for those who believe that life is a journey where you learn from your experiences - experiences that are sweet, bitter, sour and salty...for those who believe that its okay to make mistakes...for those who believe that self-exploration makes life richer and intellect stronger...for those who understand that emotions and thoughts can be complex - that not every action or reaction can be bucketed as black or white; that there are no rights and wrongs, there are just is for those who are receptive to differences in human nature and opinions  and  yet can empathize with others..

The movie will trigger the reflective mode in you, it will bring in a storm of thoughts, some related to the plot of the movie and the others totally unrelated - it is this ability of the movie that makes it so good.

If the movie makes you reflect on your own journey of life, even when your experiences have nothing to do with those depicted in the movie, I would say that you understood the movie well.

The movie is so wonderfully crafted that it coherently puts together a number of emotions and thoughts while doing justice to all of them.

The acting, direction and story are blended so well that Margarita with a Straw gives the perfect high.