Monthly Archives: January 2020

Street Dancer 3D movie review: More dance, less gyaan would have made this Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor film better

Two underdog rival dance teams, South Asian in origin but born and brought up in London, relentlessly fight against each other to be declared the ultimate street dancing ensemble, only to realise their real rivals are the Britishers (Bollywood’s perennial antagonist).

And so, on the Republic Day weekend, here’s a film that pits Indians and Pakistanis against each other, only to ultimately make them realise that their strength lies in unity, against white supremacy. (No brownie points for guessing who wins.)

A keen observer could gather all this from Street Dancer 3D trailer. There’s no real need to watch this play out in a painfully formulaic manner on the big screen. But then you are pacified by seeing Prabhudeva do a Muqabala 2.0. Total paisa vasool, as they say. And even though the rest of this review may end up being snarky, the dancers and their hard work deserve a special mention. These kind of films are not easy to make.

Street Dancer 3D couldn’t be more predictable with its plot and messaging (this would be a good time to remind everyone that the director Remo D’Souza’s last film was Race 3); but in these politically turbulent times, it’s heartening to see a film that puts peace and harmony above xenophobia. But sadly, Street Dancer 3D has nothing new to offer — even the choreography and the dance sequences seem familiar if you’ve seen Indian reality shows. It’s a breezy film that goes by rather quickly, but don’t expect any nuance or depth in Street Dancer 3D. 

The film follows the same track as its predecessors, ABCD and ABCD 2 — however this time the cause at the heart of the film is illegal immigrants in the UK, and rehabilitating them. Sahej (Varun Dhawan) runs a dance centre where he and his fellows dancer friends compete with the rival Pakistani dance troupe, fronted by Inayat (Shraddha Kapoor). Some familiar faces can be found in these groups, including Salman Yusuff Khan, Dharmesh Yelande and Puneet Pathak among others, whose claim to fame have been Indian dance reality shows.

Prabhudeva or Anna (sigh) owns a cafe where these guys kill time (because nobody really has a job in these films okay?), and it is his brainchild to unite these two teams and fight off the reigning dance champions, The Royals (brute Britishers who won’t smile even if someone paid them). The money they win will help illegal immigrants in their area get back to their hometowns in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

There’s also an extremely sanitised track involving four Punjabi dholwaalas, led by Aparshakti Khurranna, who enter London illegally with the help of Sahej, and they become the moral centre of the film. Street Dancer 3D has its heart in the right place, one only wishes the music and the choreography had something new to offer. The 3D and some semi-cool visual effects only slightly distract you from a wafer-thin plot that is constantly on the verge of breaking.

The last two ABCD films boasted of decent music and great dance sequences (‘Bezubaan’ and ‘Ga Ga Ga Ganpati’ have a combined total of 500 million views on YouTube), but the same can’t be said about Street Dancer 3D. That said, the real tragedy is that the insanely talented Nora Fatehi gets the short end of the stick, with a forgettable role and having to share screen space dancing next to Varun Dhawan, who always manages to steal the spotlight.

Street Dancer 3D box office collection: Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor’s dance drama makes Rs 10.26 cr on first day

Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor’s Street Dancer 3D performed well on the first day of its release. The movie, directed by choreographer-turned-director Remo D’Souza, has earned Rs 10.26 crore. It released alongside Kangana Ranaut’s film Panga, which has earned Rs 2.70 crore at the box office.

Trade analysts have said that film’s business has been affected in Mumbai because of Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’s dominance at the ticketing counters. The period drama, featuring Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan and Kajol in the lead, released on 10 January along with Deepika Padukone’s Chhapaak and has since been trending at the box office. Tanhaji has now surpassed the Rs 200-crore mark.

Street Dancer 3D portrays Dhawan as an Indian dancer, and Shraddha Kapoor as a performer from Pakistan. Shakti Mohan, Aparkshakti Khurana, and Nora feature in supporting roles. Mohan will make her Bollywood debut with the film.

While Street Dancer 3D has been dubbed “India’s biggest dance film,” director Remo D’Souza had clarified the movie is unrelated to his other directorial, the ABCD franchise. He said to Mid-Day, “This is completely different from the earlier franchise. Although we are exploring different forms of dance, including jazz and contemporary, when these dance forms are incorporated on the street, they become completely different.”

The film is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Divya Khosla Kumar, Krishan Kumar, and Lizelle D’Souza.

Panga box office collection: Kangana Ranaut film makes Rs 2.70 cr on opening day

Kangana Ranaut’s latest release Panga has had a slow opening day at the box office. The film, which released alongside Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor-starrer Street Dancer 3D, made Rs 2.70 crore on its opening day.

According to trade analysts, the film picked up pace during the latter half of Friday. However, the film has not performed well in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. It’s commerce is expected to improve during the weekends because of positive word-of-mouth.

Panga revolves around a retired Kabbadi player, essayed by Ranaut, who is hoping to make a comeback in the game. Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwary, also features Richa Chadha, Neena Gupta, Jassie Gill, and Pankaj Tripathi in key roles.

Speaking about the film to Firstpost, Ashwiny said in an interview, “Panga is not a sports drama in its purest form. It is a human story and just like the characters in my previous films they are all real and relatable people. It isn’t a biopic or based on any real person. It’s a very universal idea. It was very important for me to tell this story in the era of co-parenting and supporting each other. Today, we have both, husband and wife distributing work. It’s about co-existing and helping each other. There are hundreds and thousands of ‘Prashants’ and ‘Jayas’ (characters played by Jassi Gill and Kangana) in the country. It is a universal idea.”

Jai Mummy Di movie review: Pyaar Ka Punchnama’s team returns with a not regressive, not progressive, not anything film

If you are a fan of director Luv Ranjan’s brand of visceral misogyny in Pyaar Ka Punchnama 1 and 2 and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, and that is what you are hoping to get in Jai Mummy Di, then you will be disappointed. This new film, despite being co-produced by Ranjan, displays a surprising lack of animosity towards women.

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If you saw the trailer of Jai Mummy Di, were intrigued by the hint of a long-buried lesbian romance and were hoping to see a film on this still taboo subject, then too you will be disappointed.

If the pace and sense of humour you spotted in the trailer left you expecting a couple of hours of light-hearted fun, again, disappointment awaits you.

That is the thing about director Navjot Gulati’s Jai Mummy Di. It is not regressive, not progressive, not anything.

Jai Mummy Di is the story of Pinky Bhalla (Poonam Dhillon) and Laali Khanna (Supriya Pathak Kapoor) who have been sworn enemies for decades. They are neighbours in a north Delhi locality and their mutual antagonism is so strong, that their children ⁠— Saanjh Bhalla (Sonnalli Seygall) and Puneet Khanna (Sunny Singh) ⁠— dare not reveal to the families that they have been in love since school. When the youngsters realise they cannot live without each other, they set out to find the root cause of the mothers’ hatred which, they are told, dates back to their college days. Back then, their common friend reveals, the two were so thick that they were even rumoured to be girlfriends.

The first half of Jai Mummy Di is certainly mildly funny, but the comedy and the film as a whole fizzle out as it gradually becomes clear that Gulati does not know where to take it. This was also the problem with that earlier film he wrote, 2017’s Running Shaadi starring Taapsee Pannu and Amit Sadh ⁠— there was the seed of a good idea there, but it got lost on a road to nowhere.

Once Jai Mummy Di starts going round and round in circles, it becomes limp and purposeless. Dialogues are left hanging, extra seconds hang loose and it begins to feel like an amateur stage production where the actors don’t understand poor timing.

Veterans Pathak Kapoor and Dhillon get to shout and grimace a lot, but for a film that is supposedly centred around their characters, Jai Mummy Di has precious little about them and gives them hardly any screen time in the second half. Sunny Singh and Sonnalli Seygall, both of whom are recognisable from Ranjan’s most famous films, look dapper and deliver competent even if not sparkling performances. Singh needs to work on his dialogue delivery though. In several places in the film I found myself straining my ears to figure out what he had just said because of his tendency to swallow words or shoot them out too fast.

Possibly because the Pyaar Ka Punchnamas gained notoriety for their misogyny, this screenplay tries to compensate with occasional moments of overt feminism. Saanjh demands to know why a woman must follow her husband wherever he goes after marriage, and Puneet does not disagree. When they hear of the possibility that their mothers were once romantically involved with each other, they respond with a complete lack of judgement. But these instances of pointed liberalism add up to nothing when actor Alok Nath surfaces intermittently in the narrative as a hanger on, and it appears that although the man has no particular role to play in this film, he has been placed there as an act of defiance against those who asked why he was cast in Ranjan’s last production De De Pyaar De despite the allegations of rape and harassment that were made against him during the Me Too movement in 2018, allegations he responded to with the most bizarre, apathetic non-denial.

His presence is a distracting irritant. What really kills this film though is the supposed big reveal in the end about Laali and Pinky’s intense enmity. It is so poorly conceived and so so ordinary, that you have to wonder why this plain film was ever made. Seriously, why?

 

What’s in a name? Love Aaj Kal borrows its title from the 2009 Imtiaz Ali film; Is it a sequel, reboot or reimagining?

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The first look of an Imtiaz Ali film is always highly anticipated. In the case of his latest – Love Aaj Kal, more so because there has been a lot of online buzz over the past few weeks about what the film would be called.

The ‘original’ Love Aaj Kal had Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone essay the title roles, while this one has Kartik Aaryan and Sara Ali Khan. So why is everyone calling it a sequel? Maybe it is because our collective media dubbed it Love Aaj Kal 2 in the absence of an official title. For the longest time, I could not wrap my head around a sequel that did not feature the original actors —is a sequel not, after all, supposed to take a story forward? Unless this is one of those ‘saat janmon ka rishta’ thingamajigs, where Saif gets reborn with more hair. Well, who knows?

Now that the makers have settled on the same title as the 2009 film, one can confidently walk into a theatre knowing it is a reboot. Or is it? What if it is a reimagining? Or a remake?

Damn. All this Hollywood terminology is so confusing. Which is why we in Bollywood, use the word sequel to describe any and every film in a franchise. Take Dostana 2, for example. The upcoming film features Kartik Aaryan, Janhvi Kapoor, and Lakshya in the lead roles. Again, unless the characters played by John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Abhishek Bachchan had kids that have grown up to be 20-somethings in the last dozen years, it seems strange the studio would append a ‘2’ after the original title. But that is what they are calling it. Go figure.

This ambiguity creates an element of suspense Hollywood totally seems to have missed out on. I will be going to watch Dostana 2 knowing it has got something to do with the original, but will not know whether it is a case of new actors in a new story or new actors living in the same Miami apartment. Will they wear the same Manish Malhotra threads? And, more importantly, will they dance to a Tanishk Bagchi remix of ‘Desi Girl?’

As a true-blue believer in all things Bollywood though, I think, it is important to understand what I am dissing on the other side.

Hollywood reserves the word sequel for the continuation of a story. Studios add numbers like 2, 3, 4… to the original title in order to make it clear to people that what they are going to watch begins where they left off the last time. If you think about it, though, this shows an utter lack of imagination, and dumbs things down. Where is the fun in that?

Hollywood also loves a good prequel, where you dial back the story in time, and finish the new story where the old one begins. Sometimes, the prequels can have second and third parts, which are technically still prequels to the originals, but sequels to previously released prequels, as George Lucas (Star Wars) would tell you. And because they are spoilsports, they numbered the films with Episode numbers. A totally lost opportunity if you ask me. It would have been so much fun had they just announced every film saying it is a prequel/sequel, and let the audience figure which is which.

They also have spin-offs, which focus on aspects and characters that did not get much footage in the original story, but got uber-positive vibes from controlled audience tests conducted by their research teams. Take Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. When Harry Potter was done killing Voldemort, one would have thought that is the end of that cash cow. But Warner Bros and author JK Rowling were not ready to give up yet. They took a 12,000-word book, and announced a five-film series around it. See? Capitalism at work. However, they could have spiced things up a little bit more by calling it a sequel, and letting us imagine everything from Harry’s newfound interest in bestiality to the return of Voldemort as a dragon. No?

There are also remakes which essentially tell the same story, but with CGI. And then there are reimaginings, something Disney has built an empire around — take an old story, change one major thing, and you have got yourself a new Cinderella. So, what is a reboot then? This one is actually complicated. Here, the writers can either take an existing story and mess with the continuity, thereby creating a new status quo, or reconfigure the entire story. I am not sure I get it either, which is why I love Bollywood, and how it refuses to get caught up in semantics. Everything is a ‘sequel,’ deal with it. Even when none of the Housefull films have anything to do with each other.

 

Chhapaak, Deepika Padukone, Vikrant Massey’s film, makes Rs 4.77 cr on opening day at domestic box office

Chhapaak was one of the most Deepika Padukone films in recent memory. Based on true events in the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, audiences were eagerly awaiting Deepika’s treatment of such an unconventional subject.

The opening day collection of the film, as stated by trade analysts, was underwhelming in certain sections of the country, but the film did well in urban multiplexes. Chhapaak has made a total of Rs 4.77 crore on its opening day at the box office.

Leading film trade analyst Taran Adarsh has shared the figures, and added the film was unable to perform in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.

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But contrary to belief, the collections have not been affected by the supposed boycott declared after the lead actress extended her support to the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Trade Analyst Atul Mohan informs Firstpost, “Even before the boycott, we were expecting the film to open at Rs 3.50-4.50 crore, as the release was very limited. It is still a limited release. They haven’t gone all out. The film has received well in the multiplexes of Chandigarh, Delhi, and the northern part of the country. The film registered good occupancy in the high-end multiplexes.”

Another trade expert, Vishek Chauhan, adds no political stance could affect the box office numbers, mostly because according to him, film business and politics are unrelated to each other. “I think it all media hype. People don’t watch film depending upon the political ideologies of an actor. Please don’t mix cinema with politics, and that is the worst thing we can do. Deepika is one of the best actresses, and let’s not demean her by saying that her film worked because she went to JNU or vice-versa. The picture will work on its merits. Let’s not mix it as it becomes dangerous. I haven’t come across anyone who said that he’s watching Chhapaak because Deepika visited JNU or not watching it because of Deepika went to JNU,

Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan’s epic drama, makes Rs 15.10 cr on opening day

Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan-starrer high-octane period drama Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior released in theatres this past Friday, along with Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey-starrer Chhapaak.

The film, directed by Om Raut, has witnessed a healthy box office outcome on the first day of its release, making Rs 15.10 crore. According to trade analysts, Tanhaji started picking up in the latter part of the day, and has been performing exceedingly well in Maharashtra. It is expected to continue its upward trend during the weekend as well.

Featuring Devgn as the valiant Maratha warrior Subedar Tanhaji Malusare, the film charts the heroic character’s journey through the Battle of Sinhagad in 1670 AD.

Saif Ali Khan plays the role of antagonist Uday Bhan Singh in the film. Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior sees Kajol reunite with Devgn onscreen after over a decade. She is seen as the Maratha warrior’s wife Savitribai.

The film also stars Sharad Kelkar, Jagapathi Babu, Devdutta Nage, Pankaj Tripathi, Neha Sharma, Ajinkya Deo, Kailash Waghmare, Hardik Sangani, Luke Kenny, and Vipul G in supporting roles.

Ajay had earlier confessed his production house, Ajay Devgn FFilms, is looking to develop a franchise based on the warriors in history, who have not got their day under the sun. That is when the idea of Tanhaji Malusare came to Raut and Ajay. The actor emphasised the idea to build a franchise is to essentially take these Indian stories to global audiences.

Street Dancer 3D song Illegal Weapon 2.0 sees Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Dhawan gear up for high-stake dance-off

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After the revamped ‘Muqabla’ and the party number ‘Garmi,’ the makers of Street Dancer 3D have dropped the third song from the lineup, ‘Illegal Weapon 2.0.’ The song will serve as Shraddha Kapoor’s introductory number in the movie, reports Mid-Day.

Rivals Inayat (Shraddha Kapoor) and Sahej (Varun Dhawan) whirl, twirl, and shake a leg in perfectly choreographed and coordinated dance moves. They break-dance and hip-hop across the streets of an urban space, challenging each other to up their game at every beat.

In an interaction with Mid-Day, director Remo D’Souza reveals Shraddha Kapoor and Varun Dhawan belong to different dance groups, and keep competing with each other. In ‘Illegal weapon 2.0‘, the two groups meet for the first time. The director further says the makers were looking for a groovy number for the sequence when producer Bhushan Kumar recommended the 2018 hit. “We realised it could be a perfect song to introduce Shraddha’s character. We have retained the music and hook line, but have changed the lyrics. We have pumped up the groove and added a street mix vibe to the track,” Remo states. ‘Illegal Weapon’ is a Punjabi single sung by Jasmine Sandlas and Garry Sandhu. Ahead of the release of the song, a promo video was also launched.

The first song released by the makers was ‘Muqabla,’ a rehashed version of Prabhu Deva’s iconic number ‘Muqabla Muqabla’ from the 1994 film Humse Hai Muqabla. The song features Prabhu, Varun, and Shraddha locking and popping with ease, as they sway to the classic dance steps from the songs. There are many other interesting formations and rain dance sequences in the rehashed song.

The trailer, released on 18 December, portrays Dhawan as an Indian dancer and Shraddha as a performer from Pakistan. Shakti Mohan, Aparkshakti Khurana, and Nora Fatehi feature in supporting roles.

The film is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Divya Khosla Kumar, Krishan Kumar, and Lizelle D’Souza. Street Dancer 3D is slated to release on 24 January, alongside Kangana Ranaut-starrer sports drama Panga.

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