‘October’ Review : Unanswerable Questions of plaintive understanding!

Have you ever been there at a moment, when you feel totally exhausted, fatigued, challenged, frustrated in life, and yet there was a single tiny little bit of light, that kept you going? October is that essence, of awkward, weird, illogical waiting – with an understanding, that the wait is trifling, absurd and endless. It is an abrupt movie – of switching scenes of active participation, busy nuisances and calm passive in-action, where nothing happens.
October isn’t a movie. It is just an autumnal feeling juxtaposed with the genre of love. Love isn’t ecstatic, joyful or loud here. You cannot describe the feeling. It loses all definition. You can’t even judge whether this was love or we took ‘care’, deceiving to be ‘love’. But then you question “care” – why do people care? Why should Dan (Varun Dhawan) care for Shiuli (Banita Sandhu) ? The nurse asks, “uski boyfriend ho tum?” – he isn’t. He isn’t her family even. He is just a co-worker, with whom she hardly ever spoke properly! Then why? Juhi Chaturvedi, doesn’t even dare to answer the question – she leaves it to a much elevated level of paradoxically simple understanding of emotions – very subtle, soft, foolish, immature. The tale is as if enveloped by immaturity, and lack of practicality – yet the tale is about life’s fundamental essence – of living for oneself, of living for another.
It is wonderful to see how carefully Sircar has prevented reality and practicality to creep into the plot and disturb the harmony of a plaintive story. He never tries to drive away the mood of melancholy. He doesn’t let you have a moment of complete joy – He lets you soak in a full autumn, to smile at the aching joys, to laugh at the silly commitments, to enjoy the immature sentiments.  Sircar allows us to have a confused first impression about his protagonist, and just at a point where you will be ready to write him off,  Sircar exposes the soul – once you look at that – you fall in love with the character. You try to find reasons, you can’t and so fortunately you can’t that you feel happy with your failed attempt. October’s crux is based on your in-ability to find a meaning.
The movements in-plot are sudden. You are taken aback by the pace at which tragedies occur, till a point of time, where you feel the anxious anticipation of the next ‘fall’ – and as long as they aren’t falling in lives, they are falling in love – bit by bit, slowly, then all at once – without definition, without meaning, without purpose, without history.
The hospital scenes are horrifying, the visuals are pathetic, only to be punctuated by Dan’s appearance. There is no Varun Dhawan – the “hit machine” here. This is a nameless, faceless, man who has started acting perhaps, just now. He has given his all that he has been saving since Badlapur. Poised in anguish, calm in anger, satiated in sorrow. The constantly brooding individual who can question his hotel staff about why they have put an elastic underwear for laundry, and also the nurse about why there is more urine in Shiuli’s catheter pouch, than there was the previous day! He makes you participate in his melancholy. He makes you feel sorry for his suffering – yet you don’t quite know, why he chooses to suffer. And till the point, when you will not know – you will let October come onto you.
Banita Sandhu takes up a huge challenge. The points where she is just lying in the ICU of a hospital bed, with tubes and channels running all through her body – you feel the horror. That is passive acting at its very best. Her paralyzed self, where she is carried around by Dan, where she wants to smile, but can’t move her lips is delightfully sorrowful. And Sircar, perhaps, for that reason wanted a ‘not-so-famous’ actress, who doesn’t carry the fear of being lost in the action all around, without being herself able to participate in the happenings. She ensures, she does ‘nothing’ – so beautifully accomplished. Gitanjali Rao as her mother, is a delight to watch. She is the perfect mother, who can’t allow the doctors to plug off the ventilation, even after knowing that all hopes are slipping away. Her unseen tears pierce through the scenes.
Music, is all in the background. No song present as a whole sequence, and the constant interplay of fine chords set the perfect mood for celebrating the sorrow. The end is abrupt, extended, and then anti-climactic – there lies the success – anti-climax is the constant dramatic happening. Silence is the most important dialogue and absence is palpable. The camera works by suggestion. There is constant meaning and symbolism in-between the lines.
If you haven’t seen it already, then pick a day to participate in the sorrow. Shed a tear or two, be sad, enjoy the intricacies of not knowing why, and celebrate sadness – celebrate autumn, celebrate the end. Winter will be a harsh month and spring doesn’t necessarily bring rejuvenation. Engage your 1.54 hours of life, in contemplating, meaninglessness.

My rating 4.5/5.

Article by :- Anish Banerjee.

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‘Hichki’ Review : The best antidote for Bollywood’s hiccups!

The movie had a hype of a ‘come-back’ of Rani Mukherji, but it turns out to be a ‘come-back’ for the industry as well. This is Dead Poet’s Society extended into Bollywood, not alike, but a similar overtone. As refreshing as it gets, Hichki is a pure attempt towards capturing nostalgia of a school life, nobility of a teacher, combined with an urge to remove the ‘mental hiccups’ of the society through the literal hiccup of the Tourette’s Syndrome. This is the new woman movement that Bollywood frequently undertakes, which has the right amount of feminism, and the perfect blend of socialism. This is a nostalgia trip downtown to your uniform days. It is, at foremost, the story of a school and school tales always associate themselves with that extra bit of longing of “going back in time”. So, this was always going to be a success, provided, it got the spices right. And you bet, it had. First comes the story of the taboos – the “ill” child refused by her father, and the grown up highly educated lady refused by numerous schools for teaching jobs. The first mental “Hichki” of “ignorance” and “refusal”, thus presented, right at the center. In the slideshow of psycho-analysing its audience, the next “Hichki” is of poverty and the class system. Though a wafer-thin make-believe plot is introduced to bring in the students’ POV, but you will have no regrets. The “highly famous” school conducting classes for the poor children of the municipality school (which school has been erased off by this big brother) into a class 9F – No prizes for guessing what F stands for. Here the social constraints, the inequality, the unacceptability of the lower class are showcased via a very sensitive set of sequences from the students’ thought process. You may at one point, switch sides between classes 9A and 9F, but the letter F, attracts more, well, naturally speaking. Jokes apart, these sequences, will produce in you a sense of deep sympathy for the classes you have looked down upon. Siddharth Malhotra makes sure even to take you for a trip, down to their level, for having a better look where you can see poverty pushing education out of its way, into the sordid emotions of the ‘lesser’ Mumbai. The third layer is the “Hichki” of being a teacher, and finding out the right definition of how there are never bad students but only bad teachers. The inter-teaching competitions, are enlightenment messages, open and free for the modern day schooling system. All these layers, with the fine subplot of the “Parent-Son relationship problem”, makes the whole movie a tale of how this Naina Mathur (Rani Mukherji) convinces her robust kids, to rise above their lowly levels, as she accept the challenge of being successful with this batch. The students’ side of the coin is as delightful as it gets. The emotions portrayed are basic children emotions of ego, anger, mischief, love, anchored by a pure heart, shadowed by adolescence. Malhotra puts up the nation’s high level education system in a satirical stage-show – Rani Mukherji glorifies the attempt. Rani is no longer the Tina she used to be. The maturity of her experience glows on her shoulders. There is different sense of confidence and the continuous struggle of carrying off this role of suffering from such a hideous syndrome is highly commendable. Since SRK in My Name is Khan, this is perhaps, for the first time, a lead actor has so brilliantly dealt with illness in a movie. Wadia (Neeraj Kabi) is the teacher, that you wouldn’t want in your class, if you are not a marks hungry student. He resembles the modern-day practicality of the schools. Where the movie flies off, is, in its casting of the students. The Municipal students, just as they are seen in the society and the toppers, just as you hate to see (just joking). They are fantastically well groomed. Everyone so apt in their appearance that the whole classroom seems full of the right amount of sentiments. The music department is appreciable, and the title track is very well composed and placed. The end is a poetic justice, and the movie, even if it reminds you 10% of what you had seen in Dead Poets’ Society, is a must-watch. Yash Raj Films, fresh from shooting a Tiger, I mean, shooting with the “tiger” of the industry, packs a smaller, yet impactful punch with “Hichki”. This deserves all the praise it is receiving. Let your hiccups be mirrored there for a while, don’t forcefully stop them – rather, wait for Naina Mathur to touch your souls, and free you off your metaphorical “Hichki(s)”.

My rating : 4.5/5.

Article by :- Anish Banerjee.

10 Best Bollywood Films of 2017 : Which is your favourite?

1. Baahubali 2: The Conclusion :

I will keep this at No1, solely because of the landmark it created for Indian Cinema, which was no less than a fantasy. The worthy sequel to the hype of Baahubali, this one is straight out from fairytale stuff. S.S.Rajamouli takes off with Prabhas and Anushka Shetty as he tells you the story of “Katappa ne Baahubali ko kyun mara?” in the most spectacular way, ever done on Indian screens. Though, some actions very illogical, but you won’t need logic here. Read my full review of it : https://critiquesqueblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/baahubali-2-indian-cinemas-landmark/

2. Jolly LLB : 2
Akshay Kumar is on a golden touch, and he can never go wrong. Thus the sequel to a wonderful Jolly LLB, is well worth a watch. It is funny, satirical, serious and asks pertinent questions about socio-political conditions of the country. Doing both well in the box office (197cr) and in the critique department, LLB2 is all about a serious court room drama built up through fun-filled sequences.

3. Jagga Jasoos :
Personally, I loved this film. Anurag Basu in his typical best. Set in a Bengal locale and casting some brilliant actors (Except Kaif), the movie is a gem. It is a musical – and the best part is, it has a reason for being so. Though, the 2nd half drags and becomes boring, but again – Jagga takes you on a fun adventure. Saswata Chatterjee – a delight. Read my full review of it : https://critiquesqueblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/jagga-jasoos-review-anurag-basus-treat-to-indian-cinema/

4. A Death in the Gunj :
A not so famous film, lost in between few heavyweights – but pretty well made. Konkona Sen Sharma goes behind the camera and brings out the best cat from her bag. It is a coming of age story, about a shy student Shyamal Chatterjee. The holiday and the family trip that the film starts with turns out into something very messy and suspicious. Read my fellow blogger Srobona’s review on it : https://critiquesqueblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/a-death-in-the-gunj-as-an-anxious-calm/

5. Newton :
Rajkummar Rao is the finest product of Bollywood of recent times and he takes up this satire in a motif to put a mirror on society, on conducting a vote in a maoist region. It contains all the farce of the so called largest democracy of India. Pankaj Tripathi is a delight, again. Though it is slow and much of nothingness happens, it creates a stir. Lost in the crowd of Judwaa 2. Read my full review of it : https://critiquesqueblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/newton-review-break-away-into-reality-from-the-reels-of-cinema/

6. Bareilly Ki Barfi :
Perhaps the sweetest film of the year, and again Rajkummar Rao at the head of it. A very simple plot and a delicately built climax. Though predictable, but enjoyable throughout. Ayushman Khuranna and Kriti Sanon at their best and Pankaj Tripathi again doing wonders. A very Indian locale and brilliant narration by Javed Akhtar. Read my full review of it : https://critiquesqueblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/19/bareilly-ki-barfi-sweetest-cuisine-of-the-year/

7. Toilet : Ek Prem Katha :
You see Akshay Kumar, you know it is a good film. And in this social fable like movie – Kumar delivers a message more than a movie. Bhumi Pednekar, co-operating very ably and though the message is strong, but the movie is futile and parts and falter in its main motif. A very different type of film, and definitely a brave attempt. This is perhaps more of a government initiative than a entertainment process.

8. Subh Mangal Sabdhan :
A film about erectile dysfunction – yes, you heard it right, and this is an Indian film. 2017, already a brave year for cinema in this nation, this alone defies all odds. The old cliched rom-com given a new stage of scientific setback – again an awareness process. Ayushman’s second of the year, and that too for Bhumi – both are fantastic, combined by a brilliant cast.

9. Ittefaq :
Bollywood sees very less of suspense thrillers – and this is one of them. It includes all. The twist in the end, is one of the best, seen in recent times and for sure it will leave you stunned and very less of you can predict the end. Akshaye Khanna steals the show as the cop. Siddharth Malhotra does not though achieve full potential (except when he breaks down in the prison). Sonakshi Sinha is very under-utilised and seems unsuitable.

10. Raees & Tiger Zinda Hai :
Yes, you will need a bit of commercial stuff, to round it off, and ShahRukh Khan and Salman Khan packs punches in both of them, respectively. They both have seen setbacks in the fates of Jab Harry Met Sejal and Tubelight, but have earned box office collections with the show of muscles. SRK in Raees is fantastic. Salman Khan in Tiger Zinda Hai is in his comfortable pair of shoes. Read my review of Tiger Zinda Hai here : https://critiquesqueblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/28/tiger-zinda-hai-review-not-at-all-endangered/

Let us know your pick. Happy New Year.

Article by :- Anish Banerjee.

Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana : Its good if you can have an excuse for not attending!

Take Behen Hogi Teri, take Bareilly Ki Barfi and take Rajkummar Rao. In the next step, add some age old predictable story line, keep the climax as same as you can : Tadaa : You have successfully made Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana. This is a typecast movie with a slight change of recipe – the end product is a dish, that you have tasted many a times and your tongues are bored of having it over and over.
SMZA contains everything that you have seen in your tryst with Bollywood. From feminism, to “Beti is equal to Beta” campaigns, “shaadi” dramas and the very similar happy endings. The movie manages to fiddle with some chords “dil se”, bring out a smile or two, bring a thin cloud of the “what will happen next” flavour, but fails to create an overall impact – this shall not linger. If you have seen the trailer, you must have known that this is a leaf, straight out of the “How to make Cliched Movies”‘s book and if you are a victim of anxiety and cannot bear even a tinge of suspense, then this movie is for you, mainly because of two reasons : a. These movies never end without a happy ending (they have taken SRK too seriously from Om Shanti Om) and b. it is so predictable that, your diabetes(if there) will not take a leap, for sure.
Its an attempt of making a social parody which again hits out at the tradition of arranged marraiges and “ladki wale” inferior to “ladke wale” motifs and the career vs marraige theme. The bride and the groom are shown as commodities for sale, and their value is bargainable – and its all done with good heart by Ratnaa Sinha, but comeon, director, we have seen these before and we know what happens next (wikipedia can save you the embarrasment, if you don’t). The story of a boy and a girl falling in love after they have been arranged for a marraige, the twist on the day of marraige and the revenge of the Hero, which turns out to be a war for love, of love and from love, and the eventual rounding off of events and the shaadi finally happening – yes, you have seen all of these.
Rajkummar Rao is in a golden period of his bollywood career, with his CV containing a list of some brilliant movies – but he is in danger of being a typecast. Rao of Behen Hogi Teri, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana are being casted into a stereotype character with a fiddle here or there. Nonetheless, he masters the art – he is a masterpiece on display – from owning up accents, to changing moods in a space of minutes – Rao is a delight on screen.
Kriti Kharbanda comes from that era of Bollywood heroines, who have the right dose of glamour and skill – they are fresh faces on the screen, and a much needed breakaway from the “babuji mujhe jaane do babuji…” types. She makes the screen glitter with her presence, and looks beautiful, acts beautiful!
The very able and known sidecast of the film, suits to the needs of the marraige party. The musical section is pure ecstasy. Every song, very well spaced and so much in melody. The unnecessary “Pallo Latke” is thankfully in the end credits.
Again, very unfortunately, this is a movie of many promises, which it could’nt keep. It had the spark to start a fire, but lacked the fuel. Rajkummar Rao and Kriti Kharbanda make the film watchable (once), but sadly this marraige is full of old faces of relatives you don’t want to meet and a menu, you have had before. If you can, then avoid this invitation, and wait for the marraige’s video recordings to come to you (read : torrent).

Rating 2.5/5.

Article by : Anish Banerjee.

‘Newton’ Review : Break-away into reality, from the reels of cinema!

Amit V.Masurkar puts up a whole democracy on a trial – files and fights a strong case against his own people, comes out winning – tearing down the facade, and destroying a masquerade party of a nation’s celebration of being the “largest democracy”. It has been described as a “black comedy” – here, the black is too strong to envelop a tri-colour into it. The film comes from a production house, full of national awards. This house has been gifting us with gems, and this, though not as strong as the gravitational pull of Newton’s invention, but the effect too strong. This is the high-dose anti-biotic that a nation needed, to come out of the foolery – but the question is, can the Judwaa population allow the mockery to be stopped?
The story isn’t something of a genius, it is simple. Setting, even simpler, but Masurkar makes sure, it’s enough. Loaded with sarcasm, puns and a delightful dialogue writing, the story of an election being conducted in a Maoist territory, turns out to be an uncomfortable yet brilliant 106 minutes, where your own nation is put up on a mirror show.
Rajkummar Rao, is an actor, who outperforms himself in each of his films. He is a pocket-sized dynamite and he never dissapoints. With very able support from Pankaj Tripathi, Rao carries the film on his shoulders – the burden was massive, given that the film contains a very nonchalant cast line. Newton, both the movie and the character, is bold, fearless and haunting. It lights up a dark section of this vast society, which remains in the shadow of violence, madness, otherness, oppression.
Music, mostly background, is used beautifully, totally in accord with the tone. The not-so-famous cast, being used, is wonderful to look at and to devour into. Performances are stupendous. Camera work, specially framing of scenes, is as good as it can get.
This doesn’t aim at providing a solution to the permanent solutions to the problems of this democracy and its system, but just shows them as they are and in doing so, it hits pretty hard at the right places. Newton has the feel of Samuel Beckett, where we wait for nothing to happen, and nothing does happen, but that ‘nothing’ is the message where we arrive at, at the end – and its not a happy one – rather, its a mockery of all happy-endings around and we know that if there was a Newton 2, the things would have remained the same – there is zero progress.
The film is slow in its construction. Too many scenes have been used up in vain to arrive at the climax, which is itself a bit anti-climactic. 106 minutes is a bit too long for a movie which is sure about the little it has to offer. There has always been the danger of in making more of things than they actually are, but Masurkar curtails himself, excellently. With full of subtlety, he makes sure to bring out the best of what he had. Existential, ethical, political, personal – this is a blend of all.
Newton is one of those movies which releases in between blockbusters, quietly and suddenly generates the noise, it had to create. Once, that stir is created amongst the audience, Newton leaves quietly, again. It’s one of those reality checks that India needed, in between the glamour and ecstasy of huge budget commercials. This is like an awful tasting medicine, that you don’t like to have, but you need to have – for your health, and for the health of the nation. If you had been too busy with celebration of life, then take some time out and celebrate the fool’s party – this fool here, is too intelligent to handle, beware!

My rating : 3.5/5.

Article by :- Anish Banerjee.

Bareilly Ki ‘Barfi’ : Sweetest Cuisine of the year!

Just at a time, when Bollywood was going down the hill and even ‘Bhai’ and ‘Badshaah’ could not help but stare at empty halls, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari brings out the cat from the bag. This is just what the industry needed, the audience needed, the movie-lovers needed, at this point of time. Flying high with Nil Baatey Sannata, Tiwari keeps the altitude going, and how. This is that particular Barfi, you need after a heavy not-so-good dinner (JHMS), to re-activate your taste buds – a give-away to pure delight.

Bareilly Ki Barfi, is, one of those rare “feel-good”, “low-budget”, “not-so-appealing cast” movies, which brings out a smile, a laugh, a clap, and a whole lot of fun – all in the most appropriate manner. The plot kept so beautifully simple, yet so utterly delicious (pardon me for using so many adjectives from the dinner plate). This rom-com is full of love, yet not at all over-exposed, full of laughter, yet not at all slapstick, full of joy, yet not at all super-imposed. This is movie-making in its purest form – where everything seems to be in the perfect balance.

The sweet, simple story of the Mishra Family of Bareilly and their only loving-girl – Bitty Sharma (Sanon) revolves through one giant, yet very understandable plot web. She reads a novel and finds out that the novel’s protagonist and her character to be the same and this, thus becomes her search for the “actual” author of the book and whether he is that someone in the small town of Bareilly who could really love the free-spirit of Bitty, after many rejections by a dozen of suitors! There are very subtle, yet strong currents of the cynical feminist questions, which may seem tiring by now, but Tiwari does not indulge into that, too much, fortunately.

This is a movie, basically of three characters and thus, it depended on where they took this. There were no big names on the cast list (fortunately so) and oh boy, how amazingly, they take up their responsibilities and come out in flying colours.

Its a pity that Bollywood took such long time to finally unveil a gem – three movies, too long, but the wait could not have produced a sweeter result – Kriti Sanon, is finally here, and we can’t just have enough of her. Removing the dust from her closets full of Heropanti, Dilwale and Raabta, Sanon is here, in her full majestically charming flow and this Barfi is sweeter than ever. She looks superlatively beautiful and acts even better. First time perhaps, she gets the ground under her feet.

Ayushmann Khurrana is a fantastic find – little misused, in recent years, but he takes the baton, from where he left it at Vicky Donor. It was a tough task, filling in the vacant shoes of an un-attractive Jab Harry Met Sejal, but he makes sure that he makes his audience re-beileve in, on-screen “reel romance” in the most “real world” ways.

But, then comes Rajkumar Rao, who snatches away the movie from both of them, makes you fall for his acting and when time is up, gifts the climax back to Khurrana – in between, commanding every corner – from dialogues to appearances. The stupid fellow’s (Pritam Vidrohi) transformation to a bad-ass, and back to his natural self, is perhaps the backbone of this film. He is the one of those very few persons in the industry, who helps in keeping the fire alive.

Pankaj Tripathi and Seema Bhargava in the film, are those personalities, whom you will definitely find, if you visit the towns of India – very naturally done. Javed Akthar’s narration is the cherry on the cake.

Camera work is nothing very extra-ordinary, but very just and very apt. Interplay of township images and framing the subtle moods of fleeting love are brilliantly done. Music is inspiring and not too much in quantity. Tiwari knows where to stop the lyric and start the dialogue, pretty well.

Diabetes or No Diabetes, you have to taste this Barfi. This taste will linger, and may not have have proteins to add to your mind and body, but definitely has the charm of keeping you glued to the sweet shop, oops, cinema hall. Its difficult to regain trust on your wallet after TubeLight and JHMS, but this will be worth every penny, and who knows, you might order some more Barfi(s) from Bareilly for yourself and for your family, your loved ones, after tasting the first one. Grab your plate, before stocks run out, order as many as you want, devour yourself in the sweetness – because this is a limited edition cuisine, made with lots of love and care, and I believe, you will be licking your lips for more.

My Rating 4.5/5.

Article by – Anish Banerjee.

A DEATH IN THE GUNJ- AS AN ANXIOUS CALM

P.S :- Spoilers included.

THE COINAGE OF THE WORD “SEANCE” DIRECTLY COMES FROM THE FRENCH WORD FOR “SEAT”, WHICH GENERALLY IN FRENCH HAD A MEANING “TO SIT” OR TO HAVE A “SESSION”. HOWEVER IN ENGLISH THE MEANING GOT A LITTLE DEFLECTED AND CAME OUT TO BE A SESSION TO CALL UPON SPIRITS OR GHOSTS. THE MYSTERY OF THE AFTERLIFE OR THE MYSTERY BEHIND DEATH IS WIDESPREAD YET UNSOLVED.

KONKONA SEN SHARMA, USUALLY KNOWN AS AN ACTOR, UNFURLS INTO HER DIRECTORIAL DEBUT, A DEATH IN THE GUNJ IS TAKEN AND INSPIRED FROM THE STORY “A DEATH IN THE McKLAUSKIEGUNJ’ BY MUKUL SHARMA.IT IS AN UNCONVENTIONAL PIECE OF WATCH FOR ITS INTIMATE CONNECTION WITH THE HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND BEHAVIORAL TRANSITION. THE TITLE STRONGLY HOLDS A HINT OF A MURDER MYSTERY BUT AS THE STORY UNFOLDS IT RARELY STANDS UP TO IT.

THE DEATH AND WHAT LEADS TO THE CATASTROPHE IS AN UTMOST CONFUSION. KONKONA LEAVES A PERFECT EXAMPLE BEHIND IN DEALING WITH DEATH IN THE CALMEST WAY POSSIBLE. SHYAMAL OR AS HE IS COMMONLY KNOWN, SHUTU (VIKRANT MASSEY) PLAYS A SILENT PRONOUNCER OF THE DYNAMIC RAPTUROUS OF THE SITUATIONS THAT ARE PRECEDING. THE MOVIE IS FILLED WITH SYMBOLS OF DEATH. THE DEAD FATHER’S SWEATER WHICH HE PUTS ON, EMBRACES THE POSSIBILITY OF DEATH AND DISMAY ON SHUTU’S LIFE.THIS SHOWS HIS INTERNAL HE IS THE FEARFUL KID STILL TO BE A ‘MAN’, CONSTANTLY CHASED BY THE ANXIETY OF LOSS AND FAILURE. HE ACTS AS A PUNCHING BAG OF THE ENTIRE FAMILY, KEEPS ON TAKING ALL DIFFERENT COMMANDS OF DIFFERENT DEMANDS UNTIL HE DOES REVOLTS. HE IS DEFENSELESS AND VULNERABLE AND PLAYS THE PREY OF OTHERS. WE ALL MUST HAVE GONE THROUGH THAT CERTAIN PERIOD OF OUR LIVES WHERE WE HAVE FELT ALONE AND UNIMPORTANT. SHUTU IS THE BRILLIANT PORTRAYAL OF THIS, THUS BINDING HIMSELF IN THE SHACKLES OF CHILDISHLY THINGS AND INVOLVING HIMSELF IN THE ACTIVITIES OF TAANI. HE IS A SHY, INTROVERT BOY FEELING ALIENATED AND UNWELCOMED IN HIS FAMILY.

AMONG ALL THE PROMINENT ELEMENTS DEATH IS A CERTAIN AND MAJOR ONE IN THE MOVIE. THE VIEWERS ARE IN A CONSTANT ANTICIPATION OF AN EVENTUAL LOSS OF ONE OF THE CHARACTERS. INTERESTINGLY THE MOOD IS CALM AND EVEN IN THE IN MOMENTS OF AGITATION THE CALMNESS PRICKS IN AN UNEASY WAY THAT IT RENDERS THE MOOD OF EERIE.

IN THE BEGINNING WE ARE CERTAIN THAT THE DEATH HAS ALREADY TAKEN PLACE, AS A BODY IS BEING TRIED TO PUT IN A FOETAL POSITION. AS WE PROCEED IN THE MOOD WE WOULD NATURALLY FEEL A KIND OF AMBIANCE WHICH IS NOT SO HORRIFYING, BUT SHUTU’S OCCASIONAL PROJECTION OF HIS “OVER SENSITIVE” SIDE KEEPS US REMINDED ABOUT THE FACT THAT APART FROM BEING A TAG-ALONG IN THE VACATION HE PLAYS A MERE CARE TAKER OF THE CHILD.

KONKONA’S BRILLIANCE IS EVIDENT BY THE FACT THAT SHE DOES NOT PAY HEED UPON USING MUCH WORDS INTO AN ACTION; WHEREAS IT SHOWS THAT SUBTLE EXPRESSIONS AND PRECISED DIALOGUES HEIGHTEN THE UNDERLYING MEANING AND HELPS TO RESURFACE SUBTEXTS. MIMI (KALKI KOECHLIN) IS THE WOMAN WHO USES HER SEXUALITY AS A WEAPON BECAUSE DEEP DOWN SHE IS A VULNERABLE SOUL WHO JUST SEEKS UNDIVIDED ATTENTION AND IS NOW TORN APART BETWEEN HER INTEGRITY AND HER FORMER LOVER. AS A RESULT SHE THROWS HERSELF TO ANOTHER VULNERABLE THAT IS SHUTU, AND DECEIVES HIM BY GIVING HIM A FALSE HOPE OF A FUTURE WHICH IS NEVER TO BE THERE.

THE SÉANCE TAKES PLACE AS MERE INVOLVEMENT IN THE REMOTE RURAL STATE WHERE THERE IS NOTHING ELSE TO BE ENGAGED WITH AND TURNS OUT TO BE A PRACTICAL JOKE AGAINST SHUTU. IN ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE IT IS A VITAL SYMBOL OF DEATH. SHUT IS BEING BULLIED AGAIN AND BEING TOLD THAT HE WILL BE THE ONE TO DIE FIRST.THEY KILLED AN ALREADY DOOMED SPIRIT ALL OVER AGAIN. AS A RESULT SHUTU DREAMS OF A MAN WHO KILLS HIM IN HIS SLEEP WITH A GUN, WHILE THE SCENE IS TENSED WITH A TRIBAL SONG IN THE BACKGROUND. THE SLICE OF FRUIT CAKE IS ANOTHER PORTEND TO THE DEATH. IN THE CLIMAX WHEN SHUTU FALL INSIDE THE PIT AND EVERYONE FORGETS ABOUT HIM IS SYMBOLIC OF HIS OWN PREDICAMENT. IN THE MEANWHILE THE CALMNESS CONTINUES TO BUILD UP AND THE VIEWERS ARE LEFT UNSETTLED AND ANXIOUS.

SHUTU’S SECRET IS REVEALED IN FRONT OF ALL AND HIS IMPORTANCES EBBS DOWN TO A CERTAIN POINT WHERE HE IS TOLD TO GO BACK TO HIS MOTHER. THE SHY BOY, AFRAID OF RESPONCIBILITIES AND PRESSURED BY EXPECTATIONS, GETS SHATTERED. FINALY THE TONE OF CALMNESS BREAKS WHEN SHUTU IS LET DOWN BY MIMI AND GATHERS A HORRIFYING TRANQUILITY. AFTER THE GUNSHOT, I THINK MOST OF US ARE CONFUSED WITH THE NEXT SCENE. YES, IT WAS SHUTU WHO KILLED HIMSELF TO PAINT HIS BLOOD ON THE FAMILY TREE. BUT FIGURE AT THE BACKSEAT IS THE MOST AMAZING SYMBOL WHICH HAS TO BE DECIPHERED. EVEN AFTER HIS DEATH SHUTU IS NON-EXISTING, LIKE HIS BODY HIS MEMORIES ARE ALSO TUCKED INSIDE THE TRUNK AND WILL NEVER BE OPENED AGAIN. THIS MOVIE HAS A MOTIF WHICH HAS TO BE THOUROUGHLY STUDIED AND REVISED.

AN AMAZING WORK OF ART.

Article by :- Srobona Choudhury.

Jab Harry Met Sejal : Nonchalant Plot only lightened up by SRK-Anushka! 

Jab Harry Met Sejal is a long awaited meeting. A meeting of old times. Here is ShahRukh Khan, not of recent times, not the SRK – The King of Bollywood, The Badshaah – but that man who could tune a love story with his own personal chords, who could look into the eyes of a girl and express a million emotions all together, who could speak to the air of the mustard fields of Punjab, who could rule the heart of Sinorita on the screen, and thousands of Sinoritas off the screen.  This movie is the meeting of that particular ShahRukh Khan with his audience, with his fans – who had been waiting long to cherish those unsaid moments , so easily flushed out and blushed out  by a look, a stare, a glance, a move. Yash Chopra’s ShahRukh is back in the form of Harry and Imtiaz Ali, thankfully, uses ShahRukh’s personal property – his romance – as the main asset of the film. But he chooses a wrong film to do so.

JHMS contains one of the simplest of stories in the industry – very much recognizable, nothing extra-ordinary and quite predictable. Yet, it is said that it has been made to win hearts. Its soothing, vulnerable, light-hearted, and only at points you can’t help but sit there and take all of it inside, bit by bit, sip by sip. . Imtiaz Ali makes a strong start to the film. Within few scenes, it will grip you up. You will be well equipped with the theme and there is everything that is required in a beginning of a rom-com. But the movie falls after a while and suddenly, becomes monotonous. Added to it, is a continuous sequence of 3 songs which make you feel like you have been watching YouTube videos in a cinema hall. Fortunately, there is the intermission and Ali learns from his mistake pretty quickly. The result is a much better paced 2nd half and JHMS again picks up the tempo and here is where there is plenty to swoon for. But still the story doesn’t go anywhere and you know how it ends already. ShahRukh Khan at his romantic best with a fairy-alike Anushka Sharma. Here is where your original journey gathers little pace with those two on screen – your journey of love, heartbreaks, ‘sejal’ of emotional connections and an intense longing for a “happy ending”.  Imtiaz Ali hasn’t worked on anything here basically!

This is an age-old Indian love-story shot in Europe and Ali doesn’t complicate matters here and that is why the movie looks simpler yet calm, and nothing to beat the craze. The idea of “what you seek is seeking you” becomes clearer and you are guided to an ending, which by now you can have guessed (if you have been watching Bollywood for long enough). There is nothing of Tamashaa’s literature here, but a sparkling, loving chemistry.

Cinematography and camera work are simple too, but very bright, less symbolic and brilliant play of some amazing night shots. Locations all around Europe will make you long for a long paid holiday.

Anushka Sharma is like a fairy-dream lady here. She is fantastic throughout. Steals ShahRukh’s thunder at some places even. Matching a matured ShahRukh Khan, known for his everlasting romance, she is at the same tempo – even higher at places. She owns Sejal and true to her character name – she is like those waves of the river – with which you sway along. She looks immensely beautiful and is so at home with this genre. You just want her to be with you all the time on the screen.

ShahRukh Khan comes back to his comfort zone (a weak zone for all the girls around) from the psychological and mafia genres of Fan and Raees respectively – and sorry to say – he looks so better here in his own shoes. It may have taken time to see him back here again but he can rule a full time-space of 143 minutes without packing a punch, shooting a bullet or delivering a plebeian “Siti wala” dialogue. His eyes speak a thousand unsaid words. His expressions can build a storm in the calmness of hearts and he is here doing what he does best – mohabbat –  who can make thousands sing “humko hum hi se churalo” . His age although shows up on his face and there is perhaps not a place to hide from that. Sadly there is no plot to back him up and carries too much, burden shows up!

A very little (and very thankfully so) side cast – which again keeps to the simplicity. Music is good, loud, but very badly placed – congested. Run-time could have been lesser too.

Go with your “near and dear” ones to your nearest theatres, get away from over the top plots of intense drama all around – this will not hurt your brain muscles, but will surely tickle some of your heart’s – and how familiar the whole plot will seem – it will be a comfortable place to find yourself in, maybe – check out whether you, too, are seeking what seeks you. Go Go, begin the search soon, help your Sejal to find a ring, if you already have found your Sejal, that is.

My rating 2.5/5.

Article by Anish Banerjee.