Because MOM is always right!

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I know this might be a little late but considering there is still a lot of buzz around the movie and after all it’s about MAA, why not! So let’s see- what do we have here?! Take a yesteryear star looking for a comeback after every 3-4 years, some talent from the neighbor country, a buffed up dude to play the chichora launda, a nerve wracking background score and yes a tragedy which would instill all levels of heroism in an otherwise meek mother figure- rape in this case. Once you have all this, blend it into the most predictable and stereotypical screenplay and BAM! you have a movie like MOM.

But then wait. That’s not the end of it. There is a reason why films like this work at some level. Because it has the universal mother-offspring connect, because it shakes you up a little everytime you see something tragic onscreen and at some level you are still keen to see those yesteryear stars performing their hearts out in a film which is basically hanging on their shoulders. It still has impact and that is exactly what Mom is able to do.

Sridevi does not miss a beat. She is on point with her portrayal of a mother who is trying to build a connect with her stepdaughter, who later in the story goes through the turmoil of being blamed for the tragedy and who shines as the woman driven only by the sheer angst of avenging her daughter. Two things that you should just let go are Sridevi’s dialogue delivery and the necessary failure of the ‘system’ in such movies. Adding brilliantly to the star cast is Nawazuddin and Akshaye Khanna (who in my opinion is really a missed opportunity for Bollywood, oh damn that man has some serious acting chops!) The Pakistani actors playing the daughter (Sajal Ali) and husband (Adnan Siddiqui) are capable actors and will not let the energy drop down.

There are some interesting plot developments where you will be slightly pleased and then there are many which are as predictable as what you are having for lunch (Yes, you are having exactly what the maid packed for you so don’t be all cool and think oh we will order something. That is not going to take you far!). But overall the movie does not dip your interest or lose you anywhere- which is enough, right? And if you are watching it with your mommy dear then obviously you will feel that eventual streak of love for her. So at that moment, just HUG HER!

Hits- Sridevi, Nawaz, Akshaye
Misses- Predictable Plot, Too convenient a resolution, Bad special hill station special effects

(Picture Credits- Wikicommons)

Dear Mr. Jagga Jasoos, are you happy with what you did there?

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“OMG It is so long!” While those words might be the most flattering in some situations, they are definitely not as pleasant in all. Trust a person who has just been through the imaginative playing of the comic book written by Anurag Basu (and many others who are not credited but have influenced his work- TinTin anyone?!). If that description does not work for you, the movie Jagga Jasoos can literally be taglined as Barfi on steroids! You know while making this film, apparently there were so many points in time when Ranbir Kapoor just wanted to quit because it was too much time and energy that went in the process. You will not only empathise with him but will also feel the same at many junctures. India’s first (debatable) musical, Jagga Jasoos is made with good intentions for sure but experiencing this movie will feel like a love affair where the lover keeps telling you they love you dearly but that translates into nothing, nada, jackshit! Lip service can only take you so far.

Ranbir Kapoor is good. But isn’t he a good actor? But isn’t he also playing the same guy again and again in different scenarios? But still isn’t he good? He is. He is definitely the best thing about the movie; there is no doubt about that. Saswata Chatterjee, the man who played the bad guy in Kahani (remember the train scene?), plays the father- the centre point of the story and does such an amazing job. But that’s it. That’s all. If you have to have to take other aspects into consideration, then you might like the musical component of the movie initially and might enjoy watching the scenery at some points. But very soon, you will start searching for a storyline. And after a lot of searching, you will find a wafer-thin plot with a (social) message here and there. Last one hour of the almost three hours long movie was just another level of ridiculousness. In a South Delhi girl’s words- Anything was happening only!

Except for Ullu ka Pathha and Galti se Mistake, there is no song that stays with you. But yes the choreography by Shiamak is quite a feast to watch. And once you are finally done with everything in the film, there is a hint at a sequel. Seriously?! Please don’t even consider it. I might get hated for this one because this movie is definitely the one that is capable of dividing the families into halves fighting pro and against but those were my thoughts just after watching the movie. I expected at least a smile to cover my face through most of the movie and Jagga did not even do that for me. Maybe it’s the length of the movie, maybe it is those over saturated colors, or maybe it is that ridiculousness I talk about in the name of keeping it fantastical. It’s the overall package which is not likely to work.

Are you wondering why I didn’t even mention Katrina Kaif? Haha! Wonder about it, AGAIN!

Hits- Ranbir Kapoor, Some camera work, Father-son chemistry
Misses- Length, Banality, Plot, Lack of smile inducing charm

(Picture Credit: Wikicommons)

 

This ‘Baby’ sure can ‘Drive’!

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Every peace-loving movie goer, at some point in life, has to undergo the deeply disturbing times of watching a film with a yapper! It’s a not so rare breed of movie watchers who just cannot keep shut. They have a comment, a oh! a ye kya hai! on every scene. Well, we all have one or a couple of such ‘friends’ and we have to live with that. But why do I bring this here? I bring it here because something unusual happened. Something that I have personally never experienced. The yapper was shut. Throughout the movie (Pfft! That is not possible. Let’s ballpark it at 80% of the movie, which is a LOT!). And this movie did it. Baby Driver- a title that not a lot of people recognised, that is so unassuming but is such a brilliant piece of entertainment.

Revolving around the central character called Baby (I would not disclose the real name- yes you do get to know that at the end), the movie is about a brilliant driver who helps gangs to escape from their crime scenes. He is stuck in this shit hole for a reason. He has a condition in his eardrums which creates a constant buzz in his ears- because of which he listens to music at almost all times. And that’s how it is a pseduo musical with a genuine heart. You would not guess what is going to happen the next or at least how it will unfold. You will not be burdened with some sad back story. You will have a smile on your face throughout; obviously when you are not gasping! There are moments that you would not expect in this one. 

Music adds heart but the camerawork takes you deep in this world. Where there is thrill in skillfully crafted car chase sequences and where there is just romance in the air. You have this marvellous piece by Edgar Wright rated at a near 100% on Rotten Tomatoes because of the brilliant star cast. From Ansel Elgort to Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Fox, etc. everyone is ON POINT. There is Lily James too but is slightly far off from the point in question. 

I have a feeling that this would be a title like La La Land- one that slowly grows on people and gains a cult following. A definite watch if you like cinema that is not too hard on the soul but also is not frivolous. 

Hits- Performances, Direction, Music, Camerawork, Charm
Misses- slightly less fluid tone change from the first half to the second

Picture Credits- Wikipedia

Let’s talk about a death in the gunj!

Do you ever feel like you are reading a novel while you are actually watching a movie? That is the exact experience that A Death in the Gunj going to give your senses. It is slow, immersive and layered. It is going to give you characters which are fully fleshed out, with their individual quirks and their interactions with each other which define their relations. I mean even the maid in the movie has a personality. Set in 1979, the movie is a flashback of a week’s time with a family vacationing around New Years celebrations. 

You are also introduced to Shutu (His name is Shyamal but then when have we settled on calling Bengali characters with their actual names!) He is this subdued being in the family with no real implication in anybody’s life. He is loved but not admired. He is acknowledged but not respected. And most of all he is not understood. He is bullied, made fun of and the worst- he is treated like a kid. It’s his journey at the end of the day and you accompany him on this ride. You connect with him because you can see yourself in him and more so because Vikrant Massey, the actor who plays him, is just pure amazeballs!

If Lootera had better acting, Finding Fanny was less star studded and Kapoor & Sons was not from Dharma- they would be A Death in the Gunj. However, I do have to admit that the trailer seemed more fast paced and hence might be a mismatch for some of the people. You need to be patient to enjoy this one and once you invest in the characters and what drives them- you will enjoy the journey. 

I do have to give it to Konkana for making such subtle progressive undertones to the movie. It is a world where eating a cake offered to a grave is just frisked away. It is a world where an afternoon of a couple going at it is nothing unnatural. It is a world where desires are expressed and acted upon. 

It is not a movie for people who like them flashy and song-ey! It is for people who are inclined to invest. It’s an experience. 

Hits- Vikrant Massey, Konkana Sen Sharma’s direction, Simple yet effective plot

Misses- The Indian Accent!

Take a bow- Wonder Woman is here!

Image result for wonder woman 2017A dear friend asked me to describe the movie in just 3 words and I could only come up with- “It was great!” And most probably, that is what you are going to feel after you have watched this one. You start with the Greek Mythology of how the Amazons came into existence and how there was a God still lurking around to take his revenge. That very soon in the film is also interspersed with what is going on in the ‘human world’ and you are introduced to the times of World War 1, a British spy and a couple of megalomaniac Germans developing a poisonous gas for mass destruction.

The beauty of the script is that it is simple. It is exactly what Wonder Woman would see and experience throughout the film so the viewer never leaves her side. Well for good reason, HAVE YOU SEEN HER! Phew!! She is taken out of a paradisaical land and introduced to the world where men take charge, where women and children die and where she teams up with few who are righteous and want to really do some good, to save the day. Don’t expect anymore plot details because you don’t do that to wafer thin plots.

Gal Gadot, that beauty is everything that you wish for in Wonder Woman. It is not an easy role at all to take on. She looks absolutely stunning, she knows what to do with her body in that skimpy dress and she knows how to look vulnerable and innocent in the scenes where she realises that the world is not that simple. There were hoots in the hall when she walks in slow motion, in all her glory, to fight an attack from opposing army! But it’s not like the man in the film is any less. Chris Pine is so underrated yet so effective. He has this charm and comic timing that work for him throughout. He is the bridge between her world and his and he brings substance wherever required. You would have a constant smile on your face during their initial interaction and would feel for their pain in the end. I hate them for doing whatever they did to Robin Wright’s (Claire Underwood) character in the first part of the movie. And the villain (the initial one at least) is just too done to death with. At a certain point, I got confused if it was a Marvel crossover. Why do you have to cast such similar looking villains!

But the movie is entertaining throughout. You get some bit of mythology, action, drama, war, comedy and seemingly genuine emotions. And a lot of the credit should go to the amazing one, a wonder woman herself if you will- the director of the movie- Patty Jenkins. Baaki sab is all what you need in these high budget fantasy movies- the costumes, the scale, the effects- everything is right there. There is a lot of slo mo- a lot of it but it looks effective at most points. The final fight is slightly jarring because of it’s over saturated special effects.

Hits- Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Patty Jenkins, a probable revival of DC universe
Misses- Over stylised CGI, wafer thin plot, Robin Wright’s character- she could have done so much more

All in all- A good weekend watch!

 

OfHandmaid’sTale: Review of a classic

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How do you know something is so bizarre but so much possible? How do you know that a piece of literature is so aptly relevant even after decades of it being published for the first time? How do you know you live in a world of fear, subjugation and surrounding dystopia? All of this by watching the latest rendition of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Published in 1985, the book has been in continuous publication since its first appearance, has been a source material for a feature film and for several stage and audio adaptations. The latest entry to this is a show of the same name starring Elizabeth Ross (What an actress!). The series follows OFFRED, which by the way is not her real name. She belongs to Commander Fred and hence she is OF-FRED to own and use as a lifeless piece of meat to impregnate and bear children for his family. In the presence of his wife who holds Offred in her lap while he does the deed. If that does not send chills down your spine, what would!? Streaming on Hulu, the show is going to shake you in more than one way. Not because of how beautifully it’s shot, not because it has great actors working their best to liven up the super screwed characters but because it seems so so relevant. How all of it is so so POSSIBLE.

For the longest time, people have taken up this source material for its themes of female subjugation, same-sex relationships, the status of women and how they are the biggest enemies of their own kind and how any kind of extreme governance is a slap on the evolution of human race. And the show does justice to it all. There are extreme closeups of Elizabeth which would really take you into her headspace. We see brutality being a way of oppression if one does not comply with the totalitarian view of the Republic.

We follow two storylines around Offred- of her past and present life. How she is separated from her daughter and husband and how she hopes to be free one day to meet her daughter again. There are flashbacks that will make you weepy, anxious and just unsettled at times. The one thing that they don’t touch upon is racism as strongly as it was featured in the book. But I do get the logic behind it, it is not about a race- it’s about how everyone is the same in the eyes of ones who suppress. 

Eyes remind me- The Republic of Gilead can possibly spy on every move. Creepy? Well, think of your phone’s microphones listening to you at all times. #MindFuck 
And like any other dystopian setup, there is an uprising. That is something that you would see more of probably in the coming episodes. I forget that I have read the book so I know exactly what happens with the story. They might change some of it- they might extend some of it- because when has a successful show (if it is) stopped after just one season!

But there’s definitely a lot to be seen and more importantly felt! It’s a story to watch out for, it’s a story to internalise. Do check it out if you don’t want something slightly heavy and just plain creepy!

Hits: Acting, set up, source material, gripping
Misses- Maybe the pace, not a light show which you would watch after a tough day

BUT DO WATCH! Toodles!

(Picture Credit- Wikicommons)

Keep calm and speak in Hindi

You guys are going to be (maybe) slightly disappointed with the review because you are going to hear all good things about this one everywhere else. The much talked about Hindi Medium. It is completely fine if you didn’t hear about the movie till very recently. You are not alone. Maybe the Dank Irrfan meme video by AIB is more talked about than the movie. Yes, that was a promotional endeavour. 

Let’s not digress though; let’s talk about the movie. There is this understanding that we all have with these movies- we know that the movie is going to be a commentary on something prevalant in the world we live, it is going to caricaturise and create exaggerated copies of real life characters and then going to end with a ‘sermon on the mount’ scene where every heart will melt in one go and BAM! Problem? What Problem? But there is also a problem with that arrangement. Why can most of such movies not rise above that. Ever. 

Specific to this movie- that’s what largely happens. You will find it slightly ridiculous to believe that these super rich people albeit from Chandni Chowk will ever do even half of what is shown in the movie. The movie starts with the problem of immense pressure on parents to get their kids enrolled in Nursery (I am so glad I was born when I was born- and you thought I am going to give you the decade of my birth. Ha!). Delves slightly into how parents become a looming inhibition if they are not up to mark. And then suddenly becomes a commentary on classism. And then all these are resolved through a change of heart, some minutes of screen time for redemption and then finally a climax song and speech. 

Cool, you want me to believe all that, I will. But don’t expect to be happy to hear things like “Inn bachhon ko (referring to underprivileged kids from a government school) agar ye school (the best school in the city) mile toh ye aasman fodke aage nikal sakte hain.” Excuse me? Wrong messaging much? Are you resolving with the fact that education in these 5 star resorts in the name of schools is better than the average public or private school?

The films calls for all this upon itself because it promises to raise a problem and provide maybe an idealistic resolution. But all this doesn’t take away from the sheer talent that is Irrfan Khan and more than him, the STAR- Deepak Dobriyal. Watch this movie just for them. So effortless, so involved and so impactful. Irrfan’s wifey in the film is not bad too. She does what she is required to do. Sanjay Suri and Neha Dhupia- please! I mean please. Stay at home rather than doing these cameos. And Amrita Singh- how are you acting better than ever in your career now? She is good too. Don’t miss another stereotypical portrayal of a Delhi girl by Mallika Dua in a brief cameo. She gets some laughs out in the theatre though, so it is only a repetition for people who follow her on digital platforms. 

In conclusion, watch it because it is better than general shit that bollywood throws at our faces at most times. But get your patience pills handy for the second half. 

Positives- Irrfan Khan, Deepak Dobriyal. Do you need more?

Negatives- Stereotypical predictable story, hard to accept plot development
Picture credits- Maddock Films