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.

Advertisements

‘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.

Posto : Cinema’s gift to grandparents on Mothers’ Day!

Posto” on the dish, on the screen –  it is the same beautiful taste which the Bengalis are addicted to. This is a movie straight from the dining table of Bengali Households. All its emotions, feelings, sentiments are rooted in one soil – The Bengali family! This is a movie about matters of the heart – your childhood replayed, your family matters discussed, your love for two special persons on Earth, relished. This is  Nandita-Shiboprosad’s return gift to those extraordinary relations of Dadu and Thamma and how they overpower, eventually, every other relation (even that of parents) at the end.

“This is the most regressive case, I have ever seen in my career” – says the lawyer at a point of the movie. Ironically, this movie is all about “being progressive” and its “fake realities” pointed to you one by one. A simple story of grandparents who don’t want to give up their grandchild to his biological parents as they do not believe that they are responsible enough, or will have enough “quality time” to spend with him, out of their “working parents’ schedule”. This takes you for a toss – you switch sides often, but you will never question either side, as who knows, the screen is a mirror maybe. An incredible use of court-room drama with no unnecessary “tarikhs after tarikhs” – there may be no suspense in this court about who wins – Jashoda or Devaki – but there will be a simultaneous pity for modern society, a flooding of emotions for your aged parents or your grandparents, and plentiful of love for the Modern Gopal – who has been left in a choice of either stealing “makhan” (growing up in nature) or playing on a smartphone (in the city or in the UK).

So many actors have graced the industry (including Uttam Kumar) – yet one man, in his eighties, is standing strong there, with his perfect grandfatherly poise and a delicacy of acting touch. Soumitra Chattopadhyaya removes Posto from the realms of a movie to occurrences of everyday realities. You want to hug him, play with him, cuddle him – those who have been blessed by getting a grandpa’s love – will take him to another loving dadu just opposite of the screen. Lily Chakraborty is composed as a grandparent who loves her grandson more than any one else, yet is a mother and knows all about the pains of her sons. Jishu U Sengupta gets back in his grove – though belittled by the presence of Chatterjee, he makes full use of what he gets – the scene where he goes to hit his son for a crime of his own and understands the fault – is acting done brilliantly. Mimi is highly under-utilized and sometimes is barred off screen space even. Yet does, a commendable job. Another veteran, who has remained the pillar of Tollywood – Paran Bandyapadhyaya is as grand as ever.  His awe is magnificent. The little boy as Posto is saved by post shooting techniques, and could have been better in choice – but that flaw can be totally overlooked as he is restless, lovable, cute.
Sohini as the lawyer is over dramatic, and hasn’t been able to leave her stage to the camera. She forgets that this is not theatre. The Music department isn’t great either and the “Home Shanti Home” song is unnecessary and very badly placed.

Nonetheless, this is that once in a year outings with your family, to a place very well known, yet so vivid. The characters are from the next door, yet there is a longing to see them there. This is those once in a year times, when your mother tongue’s sentiments are in full flow. This is those once in a year times, when being a Bengali, really matters. This is the once in a year times, when the best director duo gifts Bengal with a special dish.

Go, enjoy being a Bengali, enjoy what your grandparents have done for you, love your parents more – have this specially made item in a restaurant, I mean cinema, near you. The taste will last long, you will come out fully serving your appetite.
My Rating : 4/5.

Article by : Anish Banerjee.

GALPO HOLEO SOTTI – AN UNCANNY REVELATION

During 1966 Bengali film industry witnessed some milestone movie works. Over the decades, movies like Nayak, Atithi, Galpo holeo Sotti, have still remained as one of the most discussed films around the table. And these genius works preceded some even greater works to appear on silver screen and helped Bengali movies get recognized in a wider scale fraternity.
While Ray created a benchmark with the reels of Nayak, not just a mere story of the name but of fame and the struggle to retain the fame which comes with the name that follows; Galpa Holeo Sotti was a complete contrast with its household comedy. Apparently the movie have been watched over and over again as the story of a family with its deformed inner stress, where out of nowhere a strange young man appears to work as a servant. Throughout the film the identity of this man (Dhononjoy) remains a mystery. And it is to be revealed by the film how this man reforms the family by helping each one of them finding their happiness in togetherness and silently working as their inspiration for fulfillment.
The movie was written and directed by Tapan Sinha, and the major characters were played by famous contemporary actors like Ravi Ghosh(Dhononjoy), Chaya Devi(BoroBou), Prashad Mukhopadhyay(borokhoka), Bhanu Bandhopadhyay(chotokhoka), Chinmoy Roy(thief) etc. this movie stirred such a huge appreciation that later a Bollywood movie Bawarchi(1972) was adopted and produced from this story.
The joint family culture was typical of a Bengali household, and the main theme of the comedy is generated from the mess and internal tension of this Haldar family, where everyone is seen quarrelling over minimalistic things. Each relationship of this family are shown to be highly codependent yet all of them are in complete denial of it.
The segregated condition in each rooms of the house show them being miles away from each other inside this tiny little rooms. They do not have any regard for each other’s profession or beliefs. Their own works are more of a baggage than a responsibility as they fail to understand Dhononjoy’s rendition of Swami Vivekananda- “jar jekhane kaj, sekhanei tar mukti(one’s liberation through his works)”. The family is infested with differences. All of the members are called by their relations like- boro khoka, choto khoka, and baba and so on. Ironically they were too unaware to recognize the weight of the title they were called by. Some may also find the family as the symbolic portrayal of the nation in its socio-economic and political adversities during the post-independence era. But the real excellence of the plot is in showing how the problems and their solutions are closely knit.
From the very first appearance to the very last Dhononjoy emerged in and out from fog, which is fully symbolic of an unconscious mind coming in surface to the conscious mind. As he introduced himself to be coming from an Ashram where they provide happiness and settle a peaceful environment into a family through their service. A tinge of fishiness is added to the atmosphere as Dhononjoy starts working himself into the family revealing a startling side to the story. Apparently Dhononjoy seems as an angel, a working-class representative trying to fit in the conception of Tapan Sinha’s romantic reformist. Thus he prepares food, runs errands and coaxes the family to come together. But if analyzed closely the hue of Dhononjoy’s character can be recognized as an outcome figure of human’s subconscious. As if he came as an angel to grant them boons and filling their interpersonal emotional gaps with his honesty.
Before Dhononjoy’s arrival, no servants could stick with working in this family. They are highly inconsiderate of one’s ability and they pour their own frustration over the household maids. The scene where this one maid is protesting against their ritualistic inability to come to vantage point about her wage may seem pretty comical with all the hassle and bustle but it is a sheer reflection of their middle class moralities. The movie walks us through a marvelous experience of life, keeping us less aware of the fact that this could be a “golpo” (tale) yet “shotti” (truth).
The master screenplay helps to bring out the perfect works of all the legendary actors. It is indeed a startling scene when a child is singing a song, taught by Dhononjoy which says “shukh bole otho shari ghumayona ar … ejibon gele fire ashena abar”(life is only given to you once, wake up don’t stay asleep) and the elderly members are in an awe. One servant has changed their thoughts and beliefs which led come to an inner peace with themselves.
The climax arrives when the family is seen standing beside themselves both literally and metaphorically. The box of jewelry represents their old clinging to material obsession. And the way they toss it from one to another depicts that they have overcome their own shackles of possessiveness. Krishna gains her identity for the very first time. But as Dhononjoy fades away in the fog we are left to question ourselves why is he going? When will he come back? But soon the director proves his genius once again by keeping the man in the khaki as a mouthpiece- “amar ashar ar dorkar-I hobe na”(I don’t need to come back anymore). The renowned famous director Srijit Mukherji perceives the movie as “After Ray, Tapan Sinha is one of my favorite directors especially his music. I think it was a perfectly structured screenplay that was impeccably written.It had a fantastic performance by Rabi Ghosh and it’s the finest example of the road cinema in Bengal. It is story telling at its effortless best.” I watched the movie nearly 50 times and it still is like the first time I watched it. I give the movie 5/5 believing that more people of our generation watch it.

Baahubali 2 : Indian Cinema’s Landmark!

Till today, people who have been in love with Indian cinema and its making, have taken Sholay to be the centre  – We have believed that, that 1975 film changed altogether how we look at cinema, and also how cinema started changing, post Sholay.
But on 28th of April, 2017,  Friday – India have seen something which we have heard stories of, fantasized about and dreamt of – but never hoped to see that re-created in the silver screen in a time space of 167 minutes. If Baahubali had created new standards of the visual spectacle – Baahubali 2, breaks it’s predecessor’s record and sets a benchmark, a new landmark, and a new identity. An identity for all Indians to be a proud of that – that S.S.Rajamouli has created magic and the spell is casted already – this fever is here to stay, this will be a new milestone of Indian Cinema – History has been made.
Rajamouli has kept a whole nation waiting for the eternal question, as it seemed, – “Katappa ne Baahubali ko kyun mara?” – and when the time has come to seek the answer, Oh Boy, he delivers. It is seldom we see sequels do better than the original, but this is not a sequel – this is not a prequel – this is carrying on, from where he left at Baahubali – this time better, bigger, stronger.
I won’t include the story, as that would lead to spoilers, but this scripting has taken a lot of brain work, it seems – the plot’s web is enormous and keeping the spider in the web, without getting strangled by it, is a huge task, and this has just done that. The audience feels at home to both what happened earlier (thanks to a pictorial visual at start) and also to what is happening on the screen space. No place to lose the material. Very well knit together.
The scale on which this movie is set, is tremendous, something the industry and its followers were seeing for the first time, perhaps. If you had been stunned by the set, the VFX, the graphics, the spectacle of Baahubali – you will be awestruck with this one. The sets remain as enormous as they were, with more grandeur added. The action takes a huge leap – the slow motion movements with a hard hitting background score, is surely goosebumps’ stuff. This is an epic, made, and hence everything that happens is neither ordinary, nor from everyday reality – this is fantasy being played with.
The plot sequences may sometimes feel over the top, and quite dreamy, but when you enter the hall, suspend your reality-longing censure, cause this kind of fiction does not need that longing to be afforded for.
Prabhas was a superstar – becomes a mega star. It seems that no-one in the world, could have done this better. Those biceps, as huge as elephant trunks and expressions, very solid makes us worship him. He evades the screen space and as if becomes Baahubali of the History books, if there had to be someone. Prabhas as Shiva, though falters a bit, and a lot of un-necessary screaming there, but Prabhas as Baahubali is magnificent – he lives in the character. Everything so suited to the role.
Anushka Shetty is a delight, both on acting terms and for womanhood as a whole. She is at ease with both emotions and physical strength. She carries a force within her, which makes her irresistible. At times, she snatches the scene from the hero. Tamannah vanishes within 5 minutes of screen time.
Rana Daggubati is the best villain in recent times. That body is to die for and for long, India had been waiting for a negative character, whose punches are stronger than the hero, at times. Sathyaraj as Kattappa and Ramya Krishnan as Sivagami carry their form from where they stopped at the first one.
The whole other cast inhales the script and exhales the perfect amount of finesse – keeping the rather long movie, feel not enough to indulge into – you start longing for more.
Though the songs are not that great, but that background score acts a second fiddle to the action in the cinema – without it, this would have been incomplete and kudos to  M. M. Keeravani for that. The second half rushes a little and the climax is more faster reached, than usual.
On a whole, this is imagination taking shape on the silver screen. This is fantasy blended with myth. This is a rampant visual ecstasy. This is a game changer for the cinematic inertia. This is movie making at its summit – Baahubali 2 will take you to the cliff, through an immense journey of awe – and will push you there to the end – while there will be a sadness for you do not want this to end, there will simultaneously be a joy of reaching the “Conclusion” – This wait, this journey and this arrival has been fantastic. This will be a grand reference to use, for generations to come. Go quickly, seek that answer, enjoy the epic ride – This cannot be missed. The summer has suddenly become warmer.
My rating 4.5/5.