‘Uma’ Review : A rich tale of expensive wish-fulfillment!

When this movie was announced, the trailer was launched, all eyes were on its director – Srijit Mukherji, was going through a period of time in his career, where nothing clicked for him. His usual cast ensemble, his high-profile scripts, and even literature adaptations couldn’t help his cause. All that wasted/un-used talent was stored somewhere maybe, all this while – until here, where he just uses a tiny spoon-full from his store-house, picks out a real-story for his plot, adapts it in his style.
Here basic human emotions, common parental feelings and cliched Bengali sentiments are dealt with, but with a difference – this is essentially a rich man’s expensive emotions, we are talking about. Srijit drives away the “mass”, with the upper class structure he creates, yet we all feel accomodated, irrespective of how fat our back-pockets are, mainly due to the fact that the crux is a basic father-child relationship – the struggles of a failed marriage, the responsibilities of a single parent, the melancholy of a dying child and the fulfillment of an immature, childish bucket-list.
Based on the life and death of Evan Leversage of Canada, for whom, a whole city celebrated Christmas, earlier than scheduled, as Evan’s last wish. Here, Srijit uses this story as per his need. He celebrates parenthood, childhood, he plays in the delicate corners of anticiapted sorrowful endings and he mixes all of these with the ultimate glorification of “Cinema” – as a life-saving drug, through one of the most beautifully pictured metatheatres of Bengali Cinema history. It is marvelous to see the courage he has to include a sub-plot too many.
Uma wishes to see a Durga Puja, of which she has only heard of, from her single parent, her NRI father. She has 3 months to live, and so (Jishu U Sengupta) Himadri decides to set an alternative reality, where Durga Puja will be celebrated, in April-May.
Without revealing any further, lets just know that, here enters Anjan Dutta, as Brahmananda – an once famous, failed director, who just needs one last chance to redeem himself – to create a master-piece. His sub-plot of a failed family and marriage co-incides with Himadri’s and here lies Srijit’s brilliance in merging plots, into one, making each coherent to other.
The antagonist named as Mohitosh Sur (Anirban) works by suggestion. “Sur” and “Mahisasur” – you understand, don’t you? Infact, this isn’t all of it – every name used, every scene shown has so much of symbolism filled into it. The director (Brahmananda) as God, the father as God, Uma as God – all bow to their creator, Srijit, when at the last scene, there happens a pure cinematic ecstasy, a highly-satisfying poetic justice. All may seem a bit super-imposed, but then, this is a movie about happy-endings to the ultimate tragedy.
The movie’s problem lies, in its celebration – much paradoxically. There is too much of everything, the completion of the bucket-list, defies all imagination, reality and practicality. Though Srijit dedicates this movie to all fathers, everywhere in the world, but there certainly will be a difficulty in identification with Himadri’s character – because he is ‘out-of-the-world’ rich and can grant a wish, too much. There are stretched out scenes, un-necessary dialogues and boring scenes.
Anjan Dutta grabs the movie by its collar, and like the character he plays, gives it, his all. Stunning, fantastic, dream performance from a fading away legend. You pray for his justice, you wish for his masterpiece to be successful, you sympathise him, you glorify him. Jishu U Sengupta enjoys a spell of Midas’ touch. His breakdowns, his joys, his satisfactions in all his impending tragedy almost speaks as a character. Anirban is as usually fantastic as he is, with that voice. At times, he mistakes the cinema for a stage, but he makes all that up in his final revelation. Rudranil and Neel are obviously delightful with Rudranil playing the comic relief. Sayantika appears and disappears before you see her, and fortunately so. Srabanti is little but very aptly used. And now comes the star – Sara Sengupta in and as Uma. What a fine performance from the little girl. Every scene she is in, is a delight. Her expressions, her ease of facing the camera, her diction, her dialogue-delivery, her body language makes her the soul of the film. I personally, never have seen a better child actor in Bengal, before. She is already a star, a long glorious path infront of her, and we wish her all the very best.
Mukherji’s use of surrealism twice, both very much related in parallel context is very successfully attempted. He always has the luxury of a star-studded cast line, a never-ending budget and a brand name – he, only can dream and achieve this project. This isn’t a common man’s movie. The plot isn’t ordinary – but the context is, hence you love it. Uma isn’t just about a terminally ill child’s wish fulfillment, it is about what human beings can attain with the power of love (rich human beings). Share the space with a pitiful father, watch him bring down the moon for her daughter. Share the space with the industry’s little intricacies, watch Brahmananda serve a poetic justice. Share the space with Uma – relive your Durga Puja memories, satisfy your Saptami-Ostomi hunger, for this religion is that of the human, where God plays a puppet.

My rating :- 3.5/5.

Article by :- Anish Banerjee.


‘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.

Mayurakshi : The symphony of matured melancholy!

This movie is of the oxymorons of life. This movie is about the pleasured and treasured burdens of everyday relations. This is a story of going back to your roots, to find a place to anchor your worries. This is “a tale told by an idiot” – of the last of the seven stages of man, and his futile tomorrows envelop and enroach you, so much so, that you can’t help but think about the most basic formulae of life – very simple, very sweet.
An age old father, in his “nerve illness” keeps on forgetting the mundanes of life on a stage. He though, being a history teacher, cannot even remember the death anniversary of his wife. He is a man living in the past, who can quote Jimi Hendrix or Gladstone with ease, but can’t remember what he had for lunch that day. A person who can, by one glance, understand that his son is suffering from a mental drabness, but can’t remember that his son is no longer a kid playing for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy, but a grown up man with a grown up stature of being a boss at a MNC, in Chicago. He gets irritated like a child, his desires are childish, his eighty-four years of earthly existence, have bundled up into a delicate frenzy of immature actions. And you know where the irony lies ? It lies in the relief that he cannot quite ‘re-member’ – otherwise he may have not survived the modern day wasteland.
Then there is the son, who finds time in his ‘busy’ schedule to visit his father at a tough time of this illness. He, himself has two failed marriages and cannot risk a third. He, himself finds himself in a mental illness – “Or Mon Bhalo Nei”. And that he comes to attempt a rescue of bringing back his father to normalcy, is his curing of himself with the realisation that, “tomorrow is yet another day” and he has to continue the race.
Now comes the acting part – who else in this huge industry could have done these two roles with so much control that it seems that they were born to act in this movie. Soumitra Chatterjee, in his all of grandfatherly poise and admiration will make you adore him. This isn’t acting behind a rigid set of cameras – this is just an overflow of emotions, irrespective of whether that is for the reel or the real. The way he shouts for nothing, the way he asks his son in the hospital, “amay niye jabi toh aj, bhulbina toh?” – fills your heart with an aching joy – the joy of seeing the beginning – the ache because this beginning is that of the end. He is no longer someone of tollywood and worldly fame – he is just as your grandfather or father, perhaps, would have been at that age. Simplicity redefined.
Then comes Prosenjit Chatterjee, with his baggage full of cinema experience and plays out a set of full 102 minutes in one single identity of being the son and no-one else. The rigidity of the self, shown throughout and his burdens, proven on his face. He can understand his father perfectly, as there has been a role reversal. He plays the guardian. Very calm, sorrowful, matured and graceful. He, on the other hand, dreads his past – not only because they were futile, but also because they are lost with the approaching winged chariot of time. Hence, he cannot shave off his tired beard, even after applying the cream.
The father, as he lives in the past, cannot even remember that his son has left him again, for the western shores, and the son, as he lives in his fatigues, cannot even get the basic humane warmth – Mayurakshi is what could have been, Mayurakshi is the inconclusiveness that life provides. She might have been the best “ashray” for Aryanil and Sushovan knew that – but life won’t give him the second chance, anyway – and she has to die, in the mind.
Sudipta Chakraborty and Indrani Halder play the necessary chords, with Sudipta playing the more important one of being the mother, the care-taker, the daughter to Sushovan. Beautiful dialogue interplay and a wonderful selection of Tagore’s melancholic music helps to stir the soup of over-flowing feelings. When the street-hawker asks Aryanil, “barite purono kichu ache?” – there is a gusto of rushing, crowded thoughts.
On the whole, the film goes nowhere, it is a tale of few fleeting moments of a parent-son relationship, which has no beginning and no end. But this “nowhere”, maybe is the message that Atanu Ghosh wanted to convey. Yet, this movie hurts you where it matters – it pleads with you, begs with you to give time, some time to respect the relations you are into. This film is an orchestra of symphonic heart-aches. If you haven’t watched this, then you should. The pain and the sorrow are necessary for your heart, maybe, for the bigger realisation to happen.
My rating – 4/5.

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.

AMAZON OBHIJAAN Review : Bengali Cinema’s new visual landmark! 

These 140 minutes are very new to Bengali Cinema –  very brave in Bengali Cinema and very spectacular for even world cinema. Kamaleshwar Mukherjee takes upon a huge task – a task of taking a group of bengalis for a jaw-dropping tour, where every scene is an ecstasy of places of which you have only read about or fantasized visiting. This is a setting of a new benchmark – the dimensions of this film are huge, the grandeur is marvelous – the adventure is exciting.
At a time when Tollywood is on a roll with gems being produced one after another – Mukherjee takes up the challenge of taking his hero back to where he left him at “Chander Pahaar”. This time, a tribute and penned by the director himself, Amazon Obhijaan is both a worthy sequel and a noble tribute to Bibhuti Bhusan Bandyopadhyay. This is one of those movies, where the attempt matters more than the product. He puts his faith on Dev, and except the pronunciations here and there, Dev doesn’t disappoint much (with his recent touch of form). The story is no less an epic, but is nagging – it is slow and very detailed. Kamaleshwar with his own voice as an omnipresent narrator, helps to build up the pace but at certain points, the travel is hectic, and you start longing to reach the destination rather than enjoying the journey. Half of the words are lost in translation – either because foreigners speaking in awful Bengali or Dev speaking in a pretty bad english accent.
Coming to the story, this surely took a lot of time planning the whole map out – once the ship sails out, it was all in the hands of Mukherjee – there was great freedom in the movements and he could have taken this anywhere. But he takes Shankar for a pre-planned trip to the rain-forests of Amazon, for an exploration of an imaginary ‘gold’ city  – yes, for real for the reel. Shot extensively across Brazil, this is the first Indian movie to be attempted there. This is a visual treat for Christmas and Mukherjee is the Santa! Dev, returning as Shankar, is very much at home. An actor with a meteoric rise by his side, is on a golden touch. Fighting the trolls and the memes of the social media, he performs where it matters. Its time, we start acknowledging his efforts now. His pronunciation still needs a lot of improvement, but he has moved away from “plabian” show of muscles to a classy show of hard-work.
It is sad how directors take it for granted that Bengali audience will not be able to understand english – and hence you see foreigners speaking in a cliched disgusting bengali tongue and Shankar speaking bengali in even, Brazil and translating every other english word  to bengali. Background score is gorgeous, it perhaps plays as a character – enhancing the feel of the whole building up. There are over-stretched scenes, unnecessary conversations and is 20 minutes too long. For the side cast, Svetlana Gulakova is brilliant and David James is bit too dramatic. Amazon Obhijaan is one of its kind – with a better use of CGI and VFX, this would have ranked amongst the best, but this is no less – it misses the mark in some areas, but the courage to bring this out in a regional film is brilliant, and there is where, Mukherjee will win hearts and hall collections.
Just at the right time, when the city starts celebrating and you are in an year ending mood, you will love this extravaganza to the El Dorado. You will see visuals which will stir you, frighten you and pump you up for the right kind of winter. This is movie making in a state of hyperbole. The winds and the tides are in favour now – board the boat, raise the sails of Bengali cinema, and sail away into a delightful embroidery of a stunning journey. Accompany Shankar and Co. to a fantasy – the dream may flatter, but the motive will not falter.

My Rating 3/5.

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.

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.

Jagga Jasoos Review : Anurag Basu’s treat to Indian Cinema!

Jagga Jasoos is one of those once in a blue moon occasions when something occurs for a period of time, which is beautiful and takes us in a transient journey to an unknown land full of all kind of emotions but all differently felt through. And when this ends, you are again back to your daily drabbing routine, longing for another such break. This is a breath of fresh air into the industry. This is daring. This is out of the age. This is unique. This is a basket of freshly picked out apples. Yet, this is too early. Indian Audience is still not ready to accept this genre, whose burden is enough to pull the movie down. The success lies in the attempt. And the attempt is glorious. Jagga Jasoos is a audio-visual treat in the age of some brilliant movie-making.
If you still haven’t figured it out, Yes! This is a “musical” – and hence don’t complain about too many songs. India has not seen many such films, hence this is something new in the market, which the customers will take time to get accustomed to. But where the movie ticks the right box is, this musical is totally logical. For, perhaps, the first time here, we see a musical where the characters have a reason to sing phrases, instead of delivering dialogues – and that is a masterstroke which wins over you right from start. The next aspect of this being a musical, yet so beautiful is, each of the songs (in dialogue form) are so well composed, that no line ever feels out of place. The music is infectious and you can’t help but sing along. Then again, in the 2nd half, this too drags a bit. By then, you have heard a song too many. Anyway, you will groove along to the end.
The non linear progression used, is, in place, but somewhere you struggle to catch up. A little bit scattered. Coming to acting, Saswata wins the scenes, our hearts. He totally bosses around showing India, what Bengal boasts about – accompanying him is Rajatava – a gust of cool wind blown into the movie, which you enjoy, you cherish. Ranbir Kapoor is going through that phase of life where he does everything right, yet fails to win fame in the box-office. Its a pity. He is amazing throughout. Donning the most difficult role, he out performs himself. He carries on from where he left at Barfi, but for that you cannot blame him. Anurag Basu has clung to Barfi tightly, and that carries the after effect here too. Its all so easy for RK here, it seemed, where many “legendary” actors would have failed. Katrina Kaif is the weak link, unfortunately. She feels as a fish out of water. How many times can “tum toh pada likha London se kiye ho” save Kaif’s hindi diction in a movie? She tries her best, and looks wonderful, but there were many others in the industry who could have been a better fit.
Saurabh Shukla is one of those artists, whom Bollywood found out a bit late. But as cliche goes, better late than never – beacause this man is a gem. Overall, the cast is the heart of the film, and this heart is very strong.
Coming to the one of the best things about the film – its cinematography. Out of the world visuals, delightful backdrops, jawdopping locations and some magnificent framing – some excellent eyes and hands behind the camera.
There are two major flaws here in this one – firstly, this could have have been well 20 minutes short. At the later stages of 2nd half, you are on the brink of giving up and it is tedious. Many chase sequences could have been cut short, or totally deleted. The second flaw is not at all countable from my side – that is, you may ask questions like “How can this happen? This never happens in reality. Why did he do that? How did it end like that?” – all these questions are unnecessary here. Because this film is far away from the realms of reality, and thankfully so. You have to let go of your “jasoosi” feelings, before you enter the hall. Fairly-tales are beautiful only in dreams. Let these 161 minutes of your life be a dream.
On the whole, this is not one of those films you get to see 365 days a year. This falls under a ‘Special’ category in the hall of fame. So, savour this feeling, give your ears a treat, your eyes a delightful visual and your over-working brains, a much needed rest. Let go of all that has been happening outside the doors of your cinema halls and drown into this. You will come out, soaked, totally, in a mixed feeling of joy, satisfaction, childish delight and a sense of curiosity too (for a very special appearance at the end). Go watch this ‘once in a while’ happening, Anurag Basu has prepared a musical treat for you – and its delicious, the taste will linger.
My rating – 4/5.

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.