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 :

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 :

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 :

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 :

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 :

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 :

Let us know your pick. Happy New Year.

Article by :- Anish Banerjee.

‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ Review : Not at all endangered!

Salman Khan, finally, gets into his comfortable pair of shoes, and the “bhai-dom” immediately follows. From the dreadful downfall of a Tubelight, just when people were doubting, whether ‘Bhai’ has taken other routes – he brings the Tiger back – this time not from the faithful hands of Kabir Khan, but from the raw hands of Ali Abbas Zafar. Salman Khan has turned into a (super)hero cult for a majority of the Indian Audience, and on his birthday, Bhai has a return gift for the “Bhai-tards” (No offence meant).
Tiger Zinda Hai, doesn’t pick up from its prequel – rather this turns out a socio-religious fable, with an exaggerated amount of hypothetical fantasies, which perhaps looks and sounds good on the screen but not on practical grounds. Did I mention Practical? Oops, all those practicalities, logics, reasonings don’t have footage and don’t bring TRP, for Bhai – here Bhai decides what you see, and boy, he makes sure that the Tiger is still alive and kicking. No-one in this huge industry can ever look so effortless when it comes to action sequences (except Physics), and he gets his old chemistry back (I mean, on screen) with Katrina Kaif as Zoya. Nothing could have gone wrong for an injured Tiger (read : Salman Khan), returning for prey (read : Box office collections) and its very much will take away Bollywood’s Christmas monetary grief over Padmavati.
This is Salman Khan, returning for the masses – and this is where his space is. Tiger Zinda Hai is more about Khan, than about Zafar and at times you feel that Zafar was just catering to the delicacies, Khan was ordering for at the YRF Restuarant. What needs appraisal is, this movie contains a lot of religious overtones and undertones – and it was essential that the sentiments were not hurt, so what Ali did was, he played safe – thus you can see the green of the Indian Flag is not so different to the green of the Pakistani one – he brings together two nations in his script and gives Salman and Katrina the responsibilty to balance them together.
Ali takes up an original base – the story of the nurses captured by terrorist organizations, in Mosul, Iraq and gives his Tiger a platform for his own show of muscle power. He gives a very recognizable fictional name to the Terrorist Organisation and the story already had substance in it, the manner in which it was enacted is debatable.
Salman enters the scene fighting the wolves, saving his son, somewhere in Austria, where he is married to Zoya (Kaif), the ex ISI agent. Just when you were longing to see Kaif, she is introduced with a similar action sequence, but this time with burglars – just that you know that both the Tiger and his Tigress are still as able as they were, 8 years back. RAW needs Tiger to rescue the nurses and ISI needs Zoya to rescue them too – so for the first time in Indian Cinema – RAW and ISI works hand in hand to save the nurses from Iraq – nostalgia, huh? No space for that – full of jaw-dropping and crowd-pulling action sequences with a terrific use of slo-mo makes you go for a “whistle” here and there maybe, even if believe yourself to be far away from his fanbase. Use of guns, grenades and brains (very less) continues as you are stunned by Katrina Kaif’s body fitness. No other actress in this country can pack a punch as she does and thus, it is a happy return for both of them.
Plot movement is quick, scenes change very swifty and very fine amount of music. He never allows you to shift focus from the main event. We all know the end, but the process towards it, may be not classy, but definitely is enough to keep movie halls packed.
RAW, ISI – all these you hear, and you start thinking about Neeraj Pandey, and you start missing a character like Anupam Kher. Hence, Ali gives you Paresh Rawal. A man, very much away from his genre, tries to bring the same sense of comic relief, but at the end, you don’t go to watch Tiger Zinda Hai for Paresh Rawal. Kumud Mishra is under-utlisied and Girish Karnad is the same as you left him in Ek Tha Tiger. Sajjad Delafrooz as Abu Usman is terrific and can send a chill down your spine. Lots of familiar faces amongst the nurses and Angad Bedi as Namit makes his own space, easily.
At the end of all of these, its important, we don’t miss out on the seriousness of what is happening in these countries and what wastelands have we created for ourselves. This is cinema, so there will be happy endings – which will definitely bring in you a craving that how good it would have been if these endings were real ends and not reel ends.
Salman Khan is in his own here – he needs no help. He has built his body back (Am I hearing VFX?), and he will show you his abs, don’t worry. He gets in his grove and he is in a brilliant mood on his prowl.
Tiger Zinda Hai, is one of those movies which Bollywood needs, more than anything, at the end of the year – to make people crazy, to hang “Houseful” boards on single screen cinema halls and make and break records in the financial department. How shy you may feel about watching movies where huge machine guns can be hand held and used, without moving your body – but the bottom-line is, Bollywood still feeds on these, and you may not love them, but you have to respect them, just for what Salman Khan adds to the industry, just with his muscle power and Ali makes sure to keep a space for this Tiger, for future prowls, and as many times this tiger is out, in future jungles, that many times will he add to his cult image, those final pieces, before he moves out, forever. This tiger is definitely not, endangered, but frightening at parts.

My rating 2.5/5.

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.


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.

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

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

Rating 2.5/5.

Article by : Anish Banerjee.

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

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

My rating : 3.5/5.

Article by :- Anish Banerjee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating 4.5/5.

Article by – Anish Banerjee.

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.