Thappad – A Slap To Patriarchy

Here’s the thing! When Andrew Laeddis is revealed (to himself and to you in “Shutter Island”) you realise that all that while when you were following DiCaprio & Ruffalo, the plot had already engulfed you in its unassuming way and spat you out leaving you numb minded. And it was too late cause Scorsese had the last laugh! The only difference between that and Anubhav Sinha’s brilliance called “Thappad” is that you know that patriarchy is right there in your face, engulfing you with discomfort – but then again it’s too late. Because by the time this 145 min cinematic cramp for men ends, your discomfort has reached a level you’d be shy of. Through his unfeigned writing, Sinha conveys everything about what’s wrong with “men-tality”. The slap was simply a medium and there was lot more to read, unearth and said about the XY species. “Thappad” is more than just a movie. It’s a school text book and curriculum. Because boys who’ll become men tomorrow, need to be sensitised about the fact that”Ek Thappad….. Nahi Mar Sakte”. Karan Mally & Nandini Srikent yet again deliver a flawless cast including the new face Pavail Gulati who embodies who you and I are/ what you and I may have done. It’ll take a real good deal for Tapsee Pannu to reach to a whole new level because her choices are now a norm and we can only expect to go her upwards and onwards. For its writing, cast and the lesson, “Thappad” is definitely a must watch! #thappad #bollywood

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan – Arghh! Just missed!

Imagine your office coffee in a Starbucks mug or a shirt from Sarojini nagar underneath your suit for a black tie party! While it may seem decent or a “no problem” situation but you may feel the void/ dissatisfaction or even incomplete. The stage was set, the premise was contrived, the ensemble was strong and promising but the opportunity was still missed. That is how you may feel when you finish with Ayushmann Khurrana’s latest. “Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan” is like that project/ event (the plot) which you delivered within budget (a great premise) BUT could have optimised the cost (content) to show some benefits (story) to your stakeholders (audience). The movie has some momentous laughter owing to not-so-subtle jokes. Ayushmann & Jitendra Kumar are an opportunity missed by Hitesh Kewalya simply because of a flat/ glitchy storytelling. The movie is almost a list of pointers with jokes popping up in an objective fashion. SMZS doesn’t really have an innovative take on LGBTQ relationships and THAT’S where the cringe lies. Being the early movers in the mainstream cinema with the subject coupled with a strong cast, the makers could have done more with the movie. Nonetheless, for a decent attempt and performances, “Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan” is a one-time watch! #shubhmangalzyadasaavdhan #bollywood

Love Aaj Kal – A Wobbly Tale

There are times when you enter a place and you feel the vibe so strong that it leaves you anxious. A vibe so palpable, that it doesn’t leave any chance/ room for an opinion otherwise. You know it in your heart something won’t be right about the unfolding events. As soon the Rumi quote appears on the screen, you dread “Love Aaj Kal” will be treading on a thin wire where it’ll topple itself to a side you didn’t want it to fall at. And that’s simply because you know the director is going to unfold a web of complex emotions being portrayed by two amateur actors who clearly won’t know how to deal with layered and nuanced writing of Imtiaz Ali. “Love Aaj Kal” in its truest cinematic language is not a bad movie. It’s an experience ruined by the leads who fail to drive the character envisioned coupled with not being able to justify the intent of the scene(s). You are perhaps expected to:
1. Overlook the fact that the leads will not be able to carry the plot on their shoulders
2. Enter the theatre hall unbiased, unadulterated with the opinions of a love story in 2020 AND/OR
3. Push your subconscious mind to transcend beyond the on-screen antics and hear out Imtiaz Ali’s point of view.

Randeep Hooda is exactly the actor you want on screen every time you feel disconnected with the inner worlds of the leads. He has maximised his presence in the screen time offered to him. The music coupled with the colours weave a soothing marquee of visuals. For its moments, intent and Randeep Hooda, “Love Aaj Kal” should be experienced at least once. #bollywood #loveaajkal

Parasite – A Real Cinematic Organism

Have you ever wondered that with the evolution of mankind, our ability to differentiate and scrutinise has proportionately evolved? Perhaps that may be the reason why a color which was once just ‘Red’ is now a burgandy, a mahogany, a crimson or a hibiscus. The theory is simple: adding black to a primary color (like red) gives you a ‘shade’ which coalesces to become any of the mentioned colors. And for the worse, the theory is no different when it comes to the humankind. Because as pure as the human species was intended to be, we have indecorously added the ‘black’ of social & economic differences to divide and scrutinise it. And if all of this makes no sense to you, witness Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite”. This cinematic brilliance works superbly with its metaphorical and substantial storytelling to convey the societal incongruities. “Parasite” may leave you inconclusive until you start feeling the creeps and the twists swallowing you and eventually spitting you out with the moral dilemmas all over your conscience. The beauty of “Parasite” lies in the Bong’s shade of storytelling which does not spill the boundaries of existing differences and human conditions, making it a perfect picture. The camera movement is ingenious and the plot is worth the attention. For everything mentioned and off course for its “Oscar” worthiness, “Parasite” is a must-watch. #parasite

Chhichhore – Almost Nostalgic!

For people born in 90s: Pretty sure everyone remembers a TV set in their homes which would only broadcast Doordarshan. Now the deal with those TVs was that if you didn’t have a great antenna connection (which almost all of us didn’t have) there will be a moment where you’re watching your favourite show and there’ll be a glitch at the peak of the episode/ sequence you’re watching. And THAT would be frustrating!

For people born in in 2000s: When you’re ‘acclimatized’ to somebody like Nitesh Tiwari, you expect character arcs, plot structure with seamless build up and a great story which you can relish after finishing your bucket of pop corn. However, if you catch a show of his latest called ‘Chhichhore’, you may be transported to a scenario where you experience the ’90s’ glitch. A perfect premise, a perfect message but just when you realise he has it, you start finding those. Chhichhore is a nostalgic treat if you haven’t caught up with your friends in a long time or you haven’t watched a “back-in-time’ movie in a long while. It’ll take you to that touching trip which your heart yearns for. BUT (yes caps lock BUT) if you are someone who digs deeper in storytelling, you’ll eventually feel, that the 6 friends nearly miss the “heartfelt connection” which strikes a chord in your heart. And that is simply because ‘Chhichhore’ doesn’t allow the characters to build up/ develop. It’s in an unknown hurry where it wants to find the climax. Naveen Polishetty, Saharsh Kumar Shukla & Tahir Raj Bhasin give compelling performances. Rohit Chauhan as #crisscross will win your heart even with his quick on-screen presence. Overall, chhichhore is a definite one-time trip which your heart should take! #chhichhore #bollywood

Gully Boy – A mic-drop saga!

“Confidence Outfit”: The attire which makes you feel strong right at the centre of your head and chest. The deal with confidence outfit is that it never wears out. It keeps you levelled and at your best. And perhaps, this lady was wearing the best of her confidence outfits when she embarked the journey of the ever-lasting “Gully Boy”. Take a bow Zoya Akhtar. You have single-handedly steered Hindi cinema to the driveway of exquisiteness. The 153 min world of Indian rap scene is authentic and a force to reckon with. Gully boy isn’t your average melodramatic inspirational film. The beauty lies when you realise that the movie doesn’t topple the lines of being endearing. Ranveer Singh is relentless and crafty and delivers his career-best (up until now). But Siddhant Chaturvedi! Oh boy. This man is a treasure find. His performance is on-point, staggering and strong to his character’s inner world. Karan Mally and Nandini Shrikent might just have wiped a happy tear. For the captivating worlds, immaculate characterzation, brilliant direction and ek number on-screen performances, Gully Boy is booooot harrrrdd to miss bhaaaaii. #gullyboy #bollywood

Sanju – Refurbished’?’

What’s common between a chorsa garland (ladi) bursting in parts – A slice of pineapple on a meaty pizza – A rock song playing in a sufi playlist – A ringing phone in the middle of a candle lit moment with your partner and a complaint amidst laughter? That’s right! All of them precisely have an exciting and a joyous premise setup but that one off-beat element spoils the fun! And if you are willing to experience such a situation, get a ticket to Rajkumar Hirani’s latest, ‘Sanju’. Because at it’s core, this 161 min ordeal is an editorial mishap. Moreover, in case someone asks your verdict about the movie, here’s what you may use: “A powerful figure ran a crowd-funding project to refurbish the image of an infamous criminal by on-boarding a talented actor”. Heart sinks and fingers ache as I write that Sanju, unfortunately doesn’t live upto what we witnessed in the trailer. And as much as we love Hirani, Chopra and Kapoor, you have to admit that the authors of this one made a personal favour for someone with an invitation to the Indian audiences who’d love the cover of this book. The key problem? The editing! Before you can relish, perceive, judge or make anything about Sanjay Dutt or any aspect of his life, the chapter and arrangements change which is unsettling. Sanju is not exactly the best of the works by these stalwarts. Ranbir Kapoor is outstanding in parts where he convinces by being baba. But the real winner? Vikram Gaekwad and Dr. Suresh Murkey who sold RK as Sanjay Dutt to you with their make up and prosthetic expertise. All in all when you leave the hall and move to the parking, there’ll be only one statement playing in your head and I quote – “Tum kya leke aaye they aur kya lekar jaaoge?” #sanju #bollywood

October – The Lingering Moment

A peppermint or a simple toffee! The idea behind enjoying any of these is to let them melt or move them a bit back and forth inside your mouth and let your taste buds gradually brush each layer of the sugary coat. If you chew them, it’s a total waste. That sweetness needs to linger. It’s like when you play a key on the piano, you want to get close to the space where the sound originates from and feel the ‘aftertune’. Shoojit Sircar’s “October” is that cinematic ‘aftertune’ which you’d want to linger on. Because this 116 min experience does not move. It flows! and that’s the beauty of the film. Don’t try to reason the plot with logic otherwise because it’s beautifully wrapped with gloom, warmth and momentous happiness. You may choose to go for a movie for the actor, music or the director. But seldom does one choose to witness cinema for the writer and Juhi Chaturvedi is that writer. She’s the absolute star for this one and she respectfully earns the spot for bringing soothing 70 mm experiences to the audience. For the lovely storyline and for the mere sacredness of finding genuine relationships, “October” is a definite watch! #october #bollywood

Padmaavat – A Rajputana Testimony

And with that the dichotomy of Rajputana has been established to its true meaning. When hundreds of modern day ‘Rajputs’ damaged and vandalised public property and threatened to take human lives (and noses if I may add), there was one non-Rajput who safeguarded the story of what shall be one of the bravest communities of India. Take a bow Sanjay Leela Bhansali because “Padmaavat” will be remembered for its victory off-screen more than in it’s cinematic domain. There is not a single frame where pride and honour does not ooze and every moment in the film is a testimony to the warrior community. While Ranveer Singh will catch your attention with his antics and much-worked-upon character, Shahid Kapoor’s balanced and calm demeanour coupled with Deepika’s subtle approach weaves a perfect mood fabric for the audiences. Look forward to Jim Sarbh’s performance because he catalyses the toning of the movie. With a 2 hour 45 min run time, Padmaavat is still a crisp and on-point story telling. If there is a Rani Padmaavati somewhere in the heavens, there’ll be a water droplet in the “Jauhar Kund” because “Padmaavat” would only make her teary and proud for what she stood for and sad at the same time for what her people now stand for. For the brilliant performances, story-telling and most importantly to pay a well-deserved homage to the real Rajputs, Padmaavat is a definite and a more-than-once watch! #padmaavat #bollywood

Mukkabaaz – The Kashyap Punch

When they hunt, their diving speeds can touch a 200 mph mark. When he threw punches, it was more or less comparable. Known for their alertness, falcons are ruthless and dominant as hunters. When he portrayed his character on screen, there was an indistinguishable vibe. Falcons have an amazing aerodynamic body which allows them to fly swiftly. His built was the human interpretation of the same. If you put a falcon and Vineet Kumar Singh in a single frame, perhaps you’ll see the same ‘predator’ because it’ll be fair and reasonable to say that Anurag Kashyap puts the ‘Baaz’ in ‘Mukkabaaz’. Phantom’s latest is an apropos punch-starter to Bollywood in 2018. The 38-yr old Vineet is formidable and real to an extent that his struggles to get this role are reflected in his eyes and the glabella lines on his forehead. With substantial debut performers coupled with the unrestrained Kashyap-ness, Mukkabaaz has everything you can expect from the stalwart director & Phantom films. At a certain point you may also feel you’re in the Gangs of Wasseypur environment minus any cuss words. Mukesh Chabbra’s habitual casting methodology sets the tone for the film and brings the required flavour. For the story and newcomer performances, Mukkabaaz is a definite watch! #bollywood #mukkabaaz