October in April ‘smells’ good!

OctoberTime and again, cinema emerges out as one of the strongest mediums to invoke emotions that are not even apparent in most cases. October is one such example. A movie that revolves around relationships which are fluid, undefined yet strong. The lack of structured definition to the story, characters and their meaning to each other is maybe the most empowering components of this acquired taste.

The story starts with a group of 20-something hotel management trainees dealing with the grueling training days at a five star in Delhi NCR that soon takes a turn for the worse. During a Christmas party, one of the trainees Shiuli slips and falls from the third floor to experience a handful of near-fatal injuries. Here begins the endless waiting (for the characters and audiences alike) for her to get better and how that journey impacts her family, the other trainees and especially Varun Dhawan’s Dan.

Why I didn’t mention the nature of Dan and Shiuli’s relationship is because it is never defined in the film. Still, Dan becomes the last leaf to Shiuli and her recovery propels Dan to come of age in the span of four seasons and two hours of screen time. And it turns into a story of many feelings- unselfish love, duty, patience, longing, ambiguity and the overwhelming helplessness of life and death. Why he is so involved is anybody’s guess and is open to many interpretations.

The movie is shot so organically. Every frame is real, every beat of the background music hits hard and all seasons play out as the most effective storytellers. You will feel every bit of pain and bliss that the characters feel and the closure at the end of the movie is almost cathartic. It is not one of Shoojit Sircar’s movies that you have seen in the past including Piku and Vicky Donor but has the brand of cinema making for sure.

Varun Dhawan has been getting a lot of praise for his performance and he totally deserves it except for some scenes where his ‘acting’ might be the weakest link. I am left to wonder what would have become of this movie if someone else were cast in the same role. He makes some of the scenes which are supposed to be awkward unintentionally comical- and that did not work for me personally. The new comer Banita Sandhu has a huge task laid out for her to act with almost no dialogues in her first major break. And she does a brilliant job. The mother’s, played by Gitanjali Rao, is another brilliantly acted out role.

I would definitely recommend you watch this one. Maybe not in a theatre but at home on one of those lazy days in bed. It is not the first time that a story like this has been played out on screen- the latest one being Waiting starring Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin but obviously it never got that attention because it did not have the youngistan’s heartthrob Varun Dhawan! *slight eye roll*

BTW the title and the flower in it have some relevance. Wait till the end of the movie.

Hits- Acting, The way the movie is shot, real characters, background score
Misses- Varun in some scenes, Screenplay

(Picture Credits- Wikicommons)

 

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Because MOM is always right!

Image result for MOM sridevi

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?

Image result for jagga jasoos

“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’!

Image result for baby driver

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