Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Hindi«

“A Flying Jatt”… An amiably silly superhero film flounders when it gets serious

August 26, 2016


Spoilers ahead… An indigenous superhero who isn’t just generically Indian but a Sikh? Part of me says “What an idea, sir-ji,” while the other part wonders if what we need now is the celebration – rather, valourisation – of specific communities as saviours. (Whatever next? Captain Arora? Iyer Man?) But at least for a while, […]

“Rustom”… Vaguely watchable, and that may be overstating it

August 13, 2016


Spoilers ahead… I hadn’t heard of the Nanavati trial until I watched Bombay Velvet, and then I realised I’d seen two films loosely based on it: Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke and Achanak. These films – like Rustom, the latest iteration – don’t really try to recreate the sordid (and sensational) case. They are content […]

“Mohenjo Daro”… Every bit the film the trailer led us to fear

August 12, 2016


Spoilers ahead… Ashutosh Gowariker’s Mohenjo Daro opens with a big disclaimer that none of what’s to follow should be taken too seriously. I suppose this injunction is meant for those who missed the trailer with the flying crocodile, but it does make sense, especially when you see what it really means: This isn’t a history […]

“Budhia Singh – Born to Run”… A solid drama that transcends rah-rah sports-biopic clichés and raises big questions

August 8, 2016


Spoilers ahead… A quick refresher from Wiki is all you need to know why a movie was begging to be made from the story of Budhia Singh: “Budhia Awooga Singh (born 2002) is an Indian boy and the world’s youngest marathon runner. Singh was born in the state of Odisha. He ran from Bhubaneswar to […]

“The Legend of Michael Mishra”… A painfully strained attempt at quirk

August 8, 2016


Spoilers ahead… Manish Jha loses little time letting us know that he’s made a quirky film. Over the opening credits of The Legend of Michael Mishra, we hear this song: “Film shuru hui hai, kursi pe set ho jao…” Jha wants us to be aware that he’s aware, that he’s not taking any of this […]

“Dishoom”… Disappointing action film, or a prototype of the Modi-era masala movie?

July 29, 2016


Spoilers ahead… John Abraham’s thesping skills have always been suspect, but after seeing Dishoom, where he plays a special agent named Kabir, I’m wondering if he’s losing the ability to do more basic things. Like smile. Or bring his hands close to his body. His torso resembles a tree trunk, and his hands angle downwards […]

“Madaari”… An unremarkable vigilante drama, with some Irrfan moments

July 26, 2016


Spoilers ahead… Madaari is about the catastrophic aftermath of a bridge collapse, but director Nishikant Kamath wants us to know that the film is about so much more. He gives us split-second visuals of the Uttarakhand floods, about farmer suicides, about train collisions, about petrol/diesel price hikes. Within five minutes, he wants to stir up […]

“Great Grand Masti”… The real boobs may be the audiences

July 16, 2016


Spoilers ahead… You know those pretty, shapely girls from Belarus or Lithuania who come to Mumbai on a holiday and end up as backup dancers in a Baw-ly-would movie? In the song that plays over the opening credits of Great Grand Masti, one of them opens her eyes wide and goes WOW! as Ritesh Deshmukh, […]

“Sultan”… A well-made, enjoyable sports drama

July 8, 2016


Spoilers ahead… Watching a Salman Khan film today reminds me of watching Woody Allen’s films in the 1990s, when the sixty-something actor/director kept pairing himself with decades-younger actresses like Elisabeth Shue and Julia Roberts. I remember thinking: Dude, I’m trying to look at this as just a movie, without bringing your off-screen story in. But […]

“Shorgul”… A good subject trivialised by bad filmmaking

July 4, 2016


Spoilers ahead… And the award for Most Gratuitous Item Number goes to… Shorgul. So this is what happens. It’s night. A door opens. A man slips out, clutching a bag. He travels to another part of town. He stops in front of a house. Another door opens. This time, a woman. She takes the bag. […]

“Junooniyat”… An old-fashioned weepie that barely works

June 28, 2016


Spoilers ahead… A week after Udta Punjab, the spring is back in Punjab’s step. Those big glasses of lassi, they’re back. As are parathas glistening with ghee, fields with yellow flowers. Also back are those ginormous weddings where no one, apparently, just sits around and catches up with family. Instead of an RSVP, the invitation […]

“7 Hours To Go!”… A thriller that tries so hard to be cool, it hurts

June 28, 2016


Spoilers ahead… Saurabh Varma’s 7 Hours To Go opens with four armed men, in masks, breaking into a hi-tech building. The background music does its best to make us believe Godzilla is in the building too. Who are these men, and what does this event have to do with Arjun (Shiv Pandit), who’s holding people […]

“Raman Raghav 2.0.”… A welcome almost-return to form

June 25, 2016


Spoilers ahead… Raman Raghav 2.o is divided into chapters whose titles appear in a lurid, pulp-fiction font – and the best chapter is titled The Sister. In a gut-churning subversion of the bhai-behen reunion scenes of Hindi cinema, we see Raman (or Ramanna, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) walk into his sister’s (a superb Amruta Subhash) […]

“Dhanak”… A ‘cute’ fairy tale that could have used other shades

June 19, 2016


Spoilers ahead… Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak, set in Rajasthan,  is the story of a boy named Chotu (Krrish Chhabria), who turned blind from malnutrition. His parents are dead. Dhanak is the story of his sister (Hetal Gada), who looks after him. She even fails her exams so that she can be in his class, helping him. Dhanak […]

“Udta Punjab”… Very well made, but also very banal

June 19, 2016


Spoilers ahead… Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab opens with trees swaying in the breeze at night, topped by a handful of stars. The calm composition is held for a while, but soon, light from a motorcycle pierces this idyll. The sound too. Three men are on the bike. “Packet nikaal,” someone says. You think they’re going […]

If rushes were horses

June 18, 2016


The ‘Udta Punjab’ verdict fills me with enough hope to draw up a laundry list of wishes for our cinema. The next time a demand for a ban comes up, I wish we’d remember the Udta Punjab verdict. I wish we’d stop being blackmailed by cultural policemen about the content in cinema. Most of us […]

“Do Lafzon Ki Kahani”… A missed opportunity for a four-hankie weepie

June 12, 2016


Spoilers ahead… Do Lafzon Ki Kahani is adapted from the 2011 South Korean film Always, which hinged on a plot point from the Kamal Haasan-starring Manmadan Ambu, made a year earlier. Strange are the workings of the remake world. This is one of those films about two lonely souls with troubled pasts who come together. […]

“Te3n”… A thoroughly underwhelming thriller

June 10, 2016


Spoilers ahead… Eight years. That’s how long John Biswas (Amitabh Bachchan) has been chasing a ghost. His granddaughter was kidnapped and she turned up dead – he wants justice. He wants to find the kidnapper who vanished into thin air. He keeps haunting the local police station, where the top cop (Sarita, played by Vidya […]

“Housefull 3.”… A flat, unfunny “comedy” that needed far better actors

June 8, 2016


Spoilers ahead… The surprise in Housefull 3 isn’t that it’s spectacularly unfunny. It’s that it needn’t have been so. Sajid-Farhad, who wrote and directed this film (that a “director,” leave alone two, was needed for this mess is surely some kind of in-joke), are good at thinking up running gags. There’s one about three women […]

“Waiting”… A lightweight drama about love and loss

May 29, 2016


Spoilers ahead… In the best scene in Anu Menon’s Waiting, Tara (Kalki Koechlin) is sending off her friend Ishita (Ratnabali Bhattacharjee). Tara’s husband Rajat (Arjun Mathur) has been in an accident, and he’s now in a coma in a hospital in Kochi. (He was there on work; the couple lives in Mumbai.) Ishita flew down […]


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