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.

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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.