‘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.

Advertisements

‘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.

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.

VIKRAM AND VEDHA: AS STUDY OF DICHOTOMOUS MORAL JUDGEMENT

Language: Tamil

According to the Chinese philosophy of Taoist metaphysics, the everlasting conflict and duality between good and bad are not real. From this, the symbol of Yin and Yang comes along and describes how dichotomous moral judgments can be. And seemingly two opposing forces don’t repel but complement each other. However hazardous they are to one another but in the process of the conflict, the duality becomes One and creates a globe inside its own.
Vikram Vedha deals with some very basic human psyche which plays a silent role in each of our actions. It deals with the intricacies of both the worlds of thesis and antithesis. From the very first encounter between Vikram and Vedha the juxtaposition between good and evil is drawn by the apparent shirt-colors they wore; Vikram’s white shirt defines the obvious goodness in human nature for which he stands in the world of thesis and sleeps peacefully at night, being assured that his pursuits are for nothing but righteousness and justice. On the other hand, Vedha’s black shirt is supposed to represent the terrain of the human psyche which has a reflection of darkness and wrongdoing. This is the scene where Vedha first comes in front Vikram and offers to tell him a story much like ‘Betal’ telling Vikramaditya a story. So it is pretty evident that in this scene the prominence of the two extreme worlds is shown and divided by a line in between. As Vikram approaches Vedha about his sudden appearance at the police station Vedha offers to tell him the story of his life. But the only thing he keeps on implying to Vikram’s discomfort, that they both are same: they both are criminals, both are murderers.
Madhavan’s brilliant portrayal of Vikram renders a sense of draconian measures of what is right and what is wrong. The fine line between the good and evil might be prominent to the eyes of an ignorant, but as we come in the light from the shadows of illusion or in the case of Vikram, the shadows of denial, the line seems to fade away and becomes obliterated.
In fact, I was having this fascinating discussion with my friend who mentioned the character of ‘Vedha’ to be the villain in the story, and I am sure most of us who watched the movie imaged him in a similar manner. But, an antagonist is someone who stands as a hazard in the way to the development of the plot can be called a villain. Knowing this, those of you who have watched the movie can you call Vedha, a villain? Does he stand in the way of Vikram’s pursuit of truth or rather compliments it?
Vikram is absolutely unaware after the completion of the first story, that he is also playing the ‘instrument’ by taking a stroll in Vedha’s ventures. Vedha sets in a see-saw motion where Vikram is unaware of his stance and plays along, only to dilute the line between right and wrong. This instance again brings back the reference of the folklore of ‘Vikram Aur Betal’ where Vedha is constantly diminishing Vikram’s notion of being on the side of justice and honesty.
In the second story, Vikram is placed even further from this notion. Pulli’s unjust death leading to the death of Officer Simon creates an enormous ruckus when Vedha walks him through the point he is shaken to his core, knowing Pulli was an innocent young fellow and his blood is on his hands. Vedha takes his second escape by creating another commotion in the plot. In between all the turbulence of the events Vikram focuses on his motorcycle and tries to fix it, since it wasn’t being ridden for long, and to our surprise he receives a piece of machinery from Vedha which fixes it, at last, giving us the obvious hint that Vedha is the key to Vikram’s mind and vice-versa.
According to the folklore of ‘Vikram and Betal,’ it is described how king Vikramaditya is cursed by a monk, which entrails Betal to hang over his shoulder and to riddle him with different questions of challenges. At the end, we discover the police force is acting as the puppet masters, and how they plot Vikram to kill Vedha. On the final encounter like the color of their shirts, Vikram and Vedha becomes one globe, yet stand as the alter ego of the other. But when Vikram and Vedha becomes one, who belongs neither from the world of thesis nor the antithesis, he belongs to nothing but chaos. Chaos to the world and to himself. At the end, two of them at gunpoint with one another show the everlasting conflict.
The movie by its marvelous screenplay and how a folklore turns into a thriller amazes me to its best. I recommend all of you to please watch it. So, those you haven’t watched it yet, take some data out of those free gigabytes and get the torrent – you will be fascinated.

 

Article by Srobona Choudhury.

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.

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.