Category Archives: Movies Review

Marjaavaan movie review: Sidharth Malhotra, whatcha doin’ with this loud Neanderthal sermon?

Main maaroonga toh mar jayega tu, dobaara janam lene se darr jayega tu.” This line that the hero fires at the villain in Marjaavaan‘s climactic moments comes from an arsenal of rhyming bombast that he uses from the opening minutes of this exhausting film. Thankfully, there is an arsenal of adjectives in the English language to match his weaponry. Dated, loud, cliché-ridden, preachy, unimaginative, boring, flat – that is what Marjaavaan is.

Take the slotting of the characters for one. Each comes from a checklist that Bollywood in earlier decades felt compelled to cover exhaustively in most scripts. Virtuous hero, virtuous woman who exists solely for him to fall in love with her and thus give her the requisite qualification for the post of heroine, villain without a single redeeming quality, other woman in the ‘golden-hearted tawaif’ mould whose unrequited love for the leading man survives every trauma thrown her way – you will find them all in Marjaavaan.

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As if these Neanderthal formulae are not enough, there are more. The bad guy is a dwarf in a film that clearly sees a disability as nothing but a source of drama. The hero is a “lawaaris”. A glamorous woman pops up to do that thingie called an ‘item song’ with dance moves that include spreading her legs wide, thrusting her bottom out and wiggling it, and going down on all fours to lift her bottom again and wiggle it – gosh, there is no originality even in the objectification of women in Marjaavaan.

And while it is a relief to get a break from the Islamophobia that has been a regular feature of Hindi cinema in the last couple of years, there is no joy in returning, as Marjaavaan does, to an era when the co-existence of religious and linguistic communities was not treated as a fact of life but as a cause for sugary sentimentality and in-your-face messaging on secularism.

Oh, and then there is the fact that while the nice guy speaks in verse, the bad guy reels off “what is the height of (optimism, etc)?” kind of jokes and the female protagonist speaks in riddles.

Considering all this, it is appropriate that Marjaavaan’s soundtrack is dominated by remixes.

Sidharth Malhotra plays Raghu, the handsome orphaned foster child of the gangster played by Nassar. The latter’s son Vishnu (Riteish Deshmukh) has always resented his father’s love for Raghu, that resentment made worse by his crushing complex about his congenital short stature. Their life-long enmity is heightened when Raghu falls in love with the mute Zoya (Tara Sutaria) who tries to reform the children of the neighbourhood by steering them towards music and away from an otherwise inevitable life of crime. Rakul Preet Singh stars as Aarzoo, the sex worker who is devoted to Raghu.

Marjaavaan is written and directed by Milap Zaveri whose career has so far been built primarily on writing comedies, some of them largely harmless fun (such as the Varun Dhawan-starrer Main Tera Hero), many of them crude (case in point: Masti, Grand Masti). For this film, Zaveri ditches high-decibel sexist humour in favour of high-decibel sermonising. Perhaps in a bid to sound intelligent and relevant, at one point in Marjaavaan he has the hero yelling “mandir banega aur masjid bhi blah blah blah”, but in the absence of any political depth, that pointed allusion to the Babri Masjid imbroglio makes zero sense. In a more well-thought-out film it might have meant something that Zoya is a Kashmiri Muslim girl and she is assembling a troupe for a music festival in Kashmir. Here though it means nothing.

Marjaavaan is so hackneyed that even the usually restrained Malhotra is driven to intermittent over-acting during its two-hours-plus running time. Deshmukh hams his way through playing Vishnu. Ms Sutaria is bland.

Singh does better than her colleagues with the little acting she is required to do in her limited role. Her primary job here is to look hot, but she is not allowed to do that well by the photography, wardrobe and other departments who, for some reason, collude to highlight her protruding rib cage through much of the film – this inexplicable treatment meted out to an otherwise lovely-looking woman will hopefully spark off a debate on the impossible thinness required of Hindi film heroines these days. As for the great Nassar, his performance in Marjaavaan is a textbook example of how even the finest of actors can be reduced to embarrassingly strained performances by bad writing and direction.

Maybe the line Raghu should have delivered is this: “Yeh film dekhega toh mar jayega tu, dobaara koi bhi film dekhne se darr jayega tu.

Motichoor Chaknachoor movie review: A largely unaware script that manages to make meaningful social comment

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Annie, short for Anita (Athiya Shetty), claims she is ‘ambitious’. Her ambition is to go abroad and post a picture on Facebook that will provoke FOMO among her peers. It seems the only way to achieve this is by marrying a man who lives, or at least works, abroad. After rejecting almost a dozen suitors — as their status does not fulfil her aspiration – Annie’s parents are at their wits’ end.

Annie’s obsession is no secret. And yet, no one is suspicious when Annie is suddenly interested in her much older, unmarried, recently Dubai returned neighbour Pushpinder (Nawazuddin Siddiqui).

In 135 minutes, Motichoor Chaknachoor director Debamitra Biswal takes the audience on a roundabout ride about this odd couple. The story is limited to the two adjoining houses and their various inhabitants. Biswal works well to use this limited setting populated by a cast of characters including Annie’s parents and unmarried aunt on one side, and Pushpinder’s pushy mother, his younger siblings and other members of a joint family on the other. Both houses are determined to get their respective offspring married – but not to each other!

Pushpinder’s domineering mother (Vibha Chibber) sees her two sons as lottery tickets who will command substantial dowries. Annie, on the other hand, is completely against dowry demands. It’s the one progressive stand for this largely superficial character.

Annie’s aunt (Karuna Pandey) persuades her niece to woo Pushpinder, because Dubai is also foreign and better than nothing. Annie, once more displaying an absolute lack of integrity and independence, obeys. Pushpinder, 36, has thus far been dutifully following his mother’s plan. But he’s also been homesick and desirous of family contact. Easily duped by the taller, younger, fairer Annie, it takes time for us to see Pushpinder’s pluck.

The courtship is short and shallow, as is the wedding. In one of the only truly witty lines of dialogue, when a nervous Annie asks her aunt for advice on coping with the wedding night she’s told, “Just close your eyes and think of the Burj Khalifa” (a clever play on the 1900s English phrase ‘Lie back and think of England’). Pushpinder is desperate to consummate the marriage you see, unaware of its one-sided transactional nature.

Half-truths are soon exposed and Annie’s dreams of immigration check fade away. In the most telling moment, Pushpinder challenges Anita on why she needs a husband to realise her dream of travelling abroad. Expectedly Annie has no opinion.

Shetty throws her all into playing that one-dimensional small-town girl, but, pitted against Siddiqui, Chibber etc, the mismatch in aptitude is unambiguous. Within a regressive set-up, Pandey, Chibber and Siddiqui find nuance to their characters. However, the largely unaware script (Meghvrat Singh Gurjar, Biswal) does manage to make meaningful comments on dowry and the aspirational fascination with NRI life.

Ujda Chaman movie review: Director Abhishek Pathak forgoes finesse, subtlety in storytelling in this poor adaptation

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What do you do when an astrologer predicts that your 30-year-old son must marry before he turns 31 or risk a lifetime of celibacy? If you are mummy and daddy Kohli (Atul Kumar and Grusha Kapoor) then you go into a tailspin and panic about your first-born’s fate.

Chaman Kohli might have been shaken by this prophecy, and keen to find a suitable wife before the year is out. But Sunny Singh’s deadpan expression makes it’s impossible to gauge what Chaman is feeling. Singh looks vacantly unsettled for the entire 120-minute film that pivots around Chaman’s early baldness and repeated rejection by prospective brides. This deeply receded hairline also makes Chaman an easy target for heckling and teasing on the campus where he teaches Hindi. The students are cruel and unkind, exacerbating Chaman’s self-consciousness.

Desperation drives him to create a profile on an online dating app where he is paired with Apsara (Maanvi Gagroo). She is as aware of her ‘healthy’ build as Chaman is of his hair loss. Both judge the other based on appearance. The introduction to their two sets of parents is the meet-cute moment of the film and, even while Apsara and Chaman are disinclined, the grown-ups are over-enthusiastically plotting wedding dates.

Sunny Singh is given a monologue when Chaman, having had an epiphany, delivers a speech about being comfortable in your own skin and not judging a book by its cover, etc. But oh dear, the vacant, slightly obstructed expression is hovering around.

Your sympathy bypasses Chaman and rests with the more sorted Apsara whose affections for this selfish and spineless man are completely misplaced. Gagroo deserved a better written character. So then it’s up to Grusha Kapoor, Atul Kumar and Gagan Arora (as Chaman’s younger brother) to inject vitality into a dreary remake, but even their gags and heightened bickering become repetitive.

Ujda Chaman is a poor adaptation (Danish Singh) of the 2017 Kannada film Ondu Motteya Kathe (Story of Egghead) directed by Abhishek Pathak. The director amps up the background music and sound effects in an attempt to underline the lame attempts at humour and also forgoes finesse and subtlety in storytelling.

Saand Ki Aankh: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal declares Taapsee Pannu, Bhumi Pednekar’s film tax-free

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Saand Ki Aankh seems to have garnered the positive attention of some state governments. After Uttar Pradesh, the film has now been declared tax-free in Delhi as well.

Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, recently announced the news on social media, stating that the film’s “message should reach to people of every age, gender & background―The power of a dream, & the power derived from it to achieve it, despite any socio-cultural blocks.”

Taapsee Pannu, who plays one of the female leads alongside Bhumi Pednekar in the film, replied to Kejriwal’s news and thanked him. Bhumi had also thanked the politician after he attended the screening of the film. Kejriwal’s family, and education minister Manish Sisodia had also attended the screening.

Helmed by Tushar Hiranandani, Saand Ki Aankh depicts the heroic story of the world’s oldest sharpshooters — Chandro and Prakashi Tomar.

Apart from Taapsee and Bhumi, Saand Ki Aankh also features director Prakash Jha and Mukkabaaz actor Viineet Singh in pivotal roles. The film was criticised by senior actresses for casting two young actresses in the roles of 60-year-olds. Set in the hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh, the film went on floors in Meerut in February. Originally titled Womaniya, the film was renamed Saand Ki Aankh, following a title rights dispute.

Recently, Saand Ki Aankh was also exempted from the state Goods and Services Tax (SGST) in Rajasthan.

Housefull 4 box office collection: Akshay Kumar, Reteish Deshmukh’s film earns Rs 19.08 cr on opening day

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The latest instalment of Housefull, which released in theatres on 25 October, has had a moderate opening at the box office, despite the Diwali buzz. On its first day, Housefull 4 raked in Rs 19.08 crore.

Housefull 4 revolves around the theme of reincarnation, and follows a non-linear narrative.

Akshay Kumar is seen essaying the role of an emperor in the segment that deals with the past life, Bobby Deol plays a royal bodyguard and Riteish Deshmukh essays a dancer. Kriti Kharbanda, Kriti Sanon, and Pooja Hegde portray princesses.

The film was shot around London, Rajasthan as well as Mumbai, where a lavish set was built for the finale. The team wrapped up the shooting in November last year.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui made a cameo appearance in a song titled ‘The Bhoot Song,’ which showcased 500 back dancers, and the lead cast of the film.

Produced by Sajid Nadiadwala under the banner Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, in association with Fox Star India, Housefull 4 clashed at the box office with Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar-starrer Saand Ki Aankh, and Rajkummar Rao and Mouni Roy’s Made in China.

Tiger Shroff-Hrithik Roshan’s War CRUSHES more than 15 Hindi films in just two days at the box office

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And it’s the fever of Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff’s War across the country. The action entertainer, which took a gigantic opening on its first day, remained stable on its second day and currently stands with the grand total of around Rs 77 crore at the box office. With these figures, it has already surpassed the business of many Bollywood films at the ticket windows.

SOTY 2 – Rs 70 crore
Article 15 – Rs 65 crore
The Accident Prime Minister – Rs 23 crore
Why Cheat India – Rs 12 crore
Thackeray – Rs 22 crore
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga – Rs 12 crore
Sonchiriya – Rs 6 crore
Junglee – Rs 27 crore
Romeo Akbar Walter – Rs 40 crore
Judgemental Hai Kya – Rs 37 crore
The Tashkent Files – Rs 18 crore
India’s Most Wanted – Rs 12 crore
Section 375 – Rs 11 crore
Prassthanam – Rs 9 crore
The Zoya Factor – Rs 6 crore

Talking about his transformation in the film, Hrithik Roshan earlier said, “The biggest war of life has clearly been completing the film ‘War’. After ‘Super 30′, the fat content of my body was too much. My body had become lazy and I was given only 2 months to get in shape and it wasn’t enough. I started this film on a bit of a backfoot because my body was not ready.” He further added, “My work in this film was 24 hours. I was either visualizing, or I was doing clothes, or I was doing my dialogues, or I was icing my knee, or I had to go see my doctor, or I was working out in the gym or physio, so I was doing everything for the film throughout the day.

War is one of the most visually stunning films of our times and we have shot Hrithik and Tiger chasing and hunting against each other in seven different countries. We had to travel to Australia to shoot one of the key moments in the film,” Anand said in a statement. One of chase sequence is shot in the famous Bondi Beach in Australia for a crucial plot.

Dream Girl movie review: Ayushmann Khurrana’s comic timing and crackling dialogues make it a must watch

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Ayushmann Khurrana is back and how! After ruling the roots with his path-breaking performance in AndhaDhun Badhaai Ho and Article 15, the actor is all set to repeat the history this year as well with another quirky entertainer, Dream Girl alongside Nushrat Bharucha. Needless to say, the trailer promised a fun ride and created all the buzz. But is it worth a watch? Catch our full review here!

What’s it about:
Ayushmaan’s character Karam turns Sita maiya and then Puja and everyone is smitten by her mesmerising voice which leads to a series of unusual, crazy situations. Set against the backdrop of Mathura, Dream Girl is a comedy of errors that stars a crackling ensemble consisting Vijay Raaz, Abhishek Bannerjee, Manjot Singh, Nidhi Bisht, Rajesh Sharma, Raj Bhansali among others.
What’s hot:
It seems like Ayushmann Khurrana has figured out the trick of the trade. With effortless comic timing and expressions we didn’t think see coming, the actor delivers another knockout performance. Every part of his body emotes the lines he is saying. While we are still at that, director Raaj Shaandilyaa has given him some of the wackiest and hilarious dialogues. Even Nirmaan Dsingh’s screenplay holds tight and leads you right into a cackle or two and more. Annu Kapoor and Vijay Raaz have meaty parts and they shine throughout the film.
What’s not:
Apart from Puja’s dreamy tone, every other piece of music is noise. Music by Meet Brothers doesn’t do anything for the film’s track and the untimely ones even distracts one from the twisty tale that is the film. Apart from that, the narrative does falter at points where it takes unnecessary turns and plot twists. The film even suffers from the preach problem as it tries to push a social message, inconsistent from the entire film. Also, it could have been anyone else in the movie instead of Nushrat Bharucha. Not that she was given a lot to play with, in the first place.
BL Verdict:
Watch it for all the hysterical punches and Ayushmann Khurrana’s dialoguebaazi. Not to mention, the crackling situational comedy all of the above, make the film. We are going with 3 and a half stars!

Chhichhore Movie Review: Nitesh Tiwari is the real hero of this heart-warming tale of friendship

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Nitesh Tiwari’s Chhichhore is releasing on September 6. The film is a loving tribute to his days as an engineering student in IIT Bombay. Chhichhore has an ensemble cast led by Sushant Singh Rajput and Shraddha Kapoor. It is a story of eternal friendships, failures and how the education system and its flaws affect young people.
What is it about…

Aniruddha Pathak (Sushant Singh Rajput) is a divorcee who has the custody of his teenage son, Raghav. The kid has devoted two years for his life to clear the engineering entrance exams but fails to do so in the first attempt. He attempts suicide but survives with critical brain injuries. His father decides to recount his hostel days to his son and how his bunch of losers (friends) emerged as winners in their own eyes. It also leads to an emotional reunion between Aniruddha and his buddies.

What is hot…

The film beautifully captures the period of the early ’90s. Nitesh Tiwari, Nikhil Mehrotra and Piyush Total deserves full marks for their writing. The one-liners are hilarious and their execution is even better. You will laugh your hearts out in the hostel scenes. Coming to the performances, Varun Sharma steals the show as Sexa. He nails the role of the cute horny collegian to perfection. Sushant Singh Rajput has a ball playing the young Anni and his comic timing is good. Shraddha Kapoor does not have much to do as the young Maya but fares excellently in the emotional scenes. Naveen Polishetty, Tahir Raj Bhasin and Prateik Babbar play their parts well. However, Tushar Pandey as Mummy and Saharsh Shukla as Bevda are fabulous. In short, Nitesh Tiwari has made his cast deliver and how! Khairiyat and Pagle Fikar Not are songs you will enjoy. In a light-hearted manner Chhichhore delivers a message about how our self-esteem is what matters ultimately in life’s journey. It touches upon the flaws of the education system but it is not preachy.

What is not…

If you feel that Chhichhore is like 3 Idiots then you are mistaken. It is not even a middle class version of Student Of The Year. Yes, there are similarities but on a surface level. One of the things that people might argue about is that the tale is told from a male perspective.

Jabariya Jodi movie review: Sidharth Malhotra, Parineeti Chopra’s dialoguebaazi is the only saving grace in this film

Based on Pakadva Vivah that prevails in Bihar and some smaller town in India, Jabariya Jodi starring Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra starrer is hitting the theaters tomorrow. The film is directed by Prashant Singh and also stars Aparshakti Khurana and Sanjay Mishra in key roles. Catch our full review here!

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After multiple delays, Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra starrer Jabariya Jodi is finally hitting the screens this Friday at the ticket windows. The romantic comedy venture, which was earlier titled Shotgun Shaadi has been in the news since 2018 and was earlier slated to release on May 17, but to avoid clash with other films, the makers finally chose August 9 as the final date and the cherry on top is that it’s a solo release for the film. Even the trailer with its quirk and mass appeal managed to garner the right buzz. But is the Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra starrer worth the watch? Check out our review here!

What’s hot:

Sidharth steps into the role of Bihar ka goonda and pulls it off convincingly. Be it his flair in multi-coloured shirts and gamchas or the delivery with which he throws witty on-liners, Sid’s first rustic act deserves a pat. Even Parineeti does justice to her character with pitch-perfect diction and makes it seem effortless. SidNeeti’s chemistry is a treat to watch too. Slow claps are reserved for Aparshakti Khurana and Sanjay Mishra who light up the screen with their comic timing and punches.

What’s not:

The screenplay seems lazy and the editing, shoddy. Directed by Prashant Singh, the film wobbles at points and misses the plot more times than not. Especially the second half which beats around the bush for its entire duration without any plot device. The effort to soften the blow of social evils like dowry and forced marriage with comic intervention is note-worthy but debatable at best. And while Pari has caught hold of the accent, Sid’s is inconsistent. The film is also replete with one too many forgettable songs. Even the climax overstays its welcome with predictable sequences and dialogues.

Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan deliver great performances in a heartwarming film

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Mission Mangal is coming this Independence Day along with Batla House. The film chronicles the journey of the ISRO scientists who made mission Mangalyaan possible with so many constraints in a fictional way. The film stars Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan in lead roles. Actresses like Taapsee Pannu, Nithya Menen, Kirti Kulhari and Sonakshi Sinha join the team as the women scientists in the mission.

What is it about
The film is a fictionalised tribute to the team of ISRO that made mission Mangalyaan a success with limited budget and resources. Akshay Kumar plays the mission director Rakesh Dhawan while Vidya Balan is the project director, Tara Shinde. The film gives a glimpse into the lives of the core women team that made use of their common sense to accomplish such a project. Mangalyaan was a huge success for ISRO after the failure of GSLV.

What is hot
Mission Mangal’s prime strength lies in the crisp narrative and superlative performances. Vidya Balan is absolutely brilliant throughout the film whether she is talking of a power beyond science or when she tells her husband that as a mom she is equally clued in as she is as a scientist. Akshay Kumar delivers the good and has the best one-liners. Dalip Tahil as the cynical top boss is terrific. Sonakshi Sinha nails her role as the ambitious Eka Gandhi. She is fab. Kirti Kulhari and Nithya Menen are in top form as well. Chandan Arora has edited the film in a fine manner. Jagan Shakti has made a good solid debut as a director whether it is in extracting the emotions or creating the buildup for the climax. The background score of the film and some whistle worthy dialogues are extra highlights.

What is not
The film comes across as rather simplistic when it comes to the scientific part of space technology. Concepts are explained through home science but surely it could have been done better. The VFX is strictly average. It is evident that the makers stuck to a budget even when they could have splurged more on the technology. The song Dil Main Hai Mars just ruins the narrative of the film.

Verdict
Mission Mangal has a lot going for it especially in terms of narrative, dialogues and performances. It captures the spirit of scientists in a relatable light-hearted manner. Vidya Balan again proves why she is an acting powerhouse. It is a decent watch on Independence Day to celebrate the spirit of India space team and it’s passion.