In films from southern India, especially Tamil and Telugu industry, the film revolves around the lead actor. So whenever a film is announced without a title, the film is generally referred by the name of the lead actor and the forthcoming number of his (as per his filmography). Actors pay an important attention to milestone films likes their 25th or 50th and so on. Continue reading “V (2020) Telugu Movie Review: Bullets Misfired”
Very rarely do one get to witness a stand out climax in our romantic dramas like the one we see in Manmarziyaan. One that is sans the melodrama or the cliché settings (say like an airport or a railway station). It is something wonderfully set up by director Anurag Kashyap, who for a change grapples here with something more mainstream.
But the ending is only part of the tale. For first, you must reach there. And unfortunately, for that you need to tread a path that is familiar – as familiar as the Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam template, or the Rab Ne Banadi Jodi ones. Or for those familiar with South movies, as back as the Mani Rathnam classic Mouna Raagam or an Antha Ezhu Naatkal (remade in Hindi as Woh Saat Din). Here too, we watch as a young woman fall in and out of love, leaving the men in her life to helplessly sit back and watch as she sorts out the messy affairs of her heart.
The lady is none other than Rumi (Taapsee Pannu). She is a happy go lucky, free spirited young woman who likes to live life on her terms. Rumi has no qualms in sneaking in over her boyfriend Vicky and indulging in some ‘f-yaar’ away from the eyes of her family members. But when her folks do find out, she immediately takes control of the situation stating that she wants to marry her Tinder find. She even promises that if her boyfriend fails to show up with his parents formally with an alliance, she is willing to be the sacrificial ‘donkey’ and shall be up for an arranged marriage with any idiot who her family deems right.
That is the confidence she shows in her lover. But little does she know him. Vicky Sandhu (a terrific Vicky Kaushal) is a hopeless irresponsible bloke, a DJ by profession, is so in love with Rumi that he can leap rooftops for his love but the first to run away from any talk of commitment and marriage. He is the kind who is all set to elope with his girl, but without a penny in his pocket. And most of the first half is spent with Rumi trying to get some sense into the guy’s head and get him to be serious about their relationship in a more responsible manner for once.
Enter Rajbir aka Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan) , a investment banker from London, in town looking for prospective brides. But when the marriage broker shows him a pic of Rumi, he is immediately fixated on the woman. Despite being aware of her torrid affair with the Dj dude, Robbie still decides to risk things on an alliance with Rumi.
Anurag Kashyap thus brings these three diverse characters into the setting of middle -class Punjab to give you this bold take on the above-mentioned template. The loud Bhansali style Gujarati setting of Hum Dil De…,makes way for a subtler Punjabi one.
It is important to note how Kashyap and writer Kannika opts to keep the script free of any villains. Therefore you do not see the usual scheming family members or the screaming babu-jis in this one. In fact, all of Rumi’s family appear to be supportive of any decision that Rumi makes, that is she if makes up her mind. Having lost her parents at an earlier age, she cleverly manipulates things to her advantage with her aunts, uncles and grandfather to get whatever she desires. And as much as reckless and rebellious, she is also shown someone to be attached to things that she holds dear and near. Notice how she wears her father’s shirt when she goes to ask Vicky to propose to her.
But Rumi is as complex a character that can be, volatile and affectionate in equal measures and Taapsee Pannu has absolutely nailed this one. In what is easily her career best performance, Taapsee is in full control over her multi-faceted character. She is undoubtedly the life of the movie. But she gets wonderful support from the rest of the cast. Vicky Kaushal absolutely rocks as the irresponsible man-child and despite all the flaws of the character, Vicky still makes the character so endearing, without putting a foot wrong. Abhishek Bachchan, returning after a gap of two years, unfortunately is still playing the bland Ramji types- the kind he played in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna,. However, the writing fails to do justice to this third wheel and even performance wise- Abhishek despite his calming assured presence, fail to really bring anything new to his portrayal.
Despite its predictability , Anurag Kashyap and writer Kanika ‘s treatment keep things interesting. The characters here are not boxed into any stereotypes and each have enough shades of grey to keep the viewers hooked. In fact, there is this constant motif of duality that is the center-stage of this script whichKashyap keeps exploring with these characters. And to drive home the point, he deliberately keeps throwing the visual cues like the dancing twins (Poonam and Priyanka Shah) or the twin guys we see in the Kashmir episode.
It is a welcome return for Kashyap to the romantic genre after a series of crime dramas since tasting success with Dev D. But Kashyap being Kashyap, gets into his fair share of indulgence that makes the movie appear a slog at 155 minutes. As we grapple with Rumi’s indecisiveness, Vicky and Rumi’s antics get a little too repetitive and brings down the energy at a lot of instances. You would find yourself wishing that these two would for once make up their minds and move on.
Glad to find Kashyap and writer Kannika truly liberating Rumi and unchaining her from the Bollywood rulebook that defines how a leading protagonist should act and behave onscreen. Virginity and sex is never brought up as a hindrance to anything as the big issue over a small tissue is outright thrown out of the window in this unflinching take on love, lust and marriage. In fact, right at the beginning, in the scene when the family members discover Vicky in her bedroom Rumi’s immediate reaction is ‘ So what?’
Successfully aiding Kashyap’s return to the romantic genre is partner from Dev D days – Amit Trivedi. Together with lyricist Shelly, the team has come up once again with a scintillating soundtrack that really works wonder and is effectively used to keep the narration stay afloat , capturing the various moods as required.
Cinematographer Sylvester Fonseca does full justice in capturing the hustle bustle of the small-town Punjab. Kashyap also cleverly uses food as one of the crutch points. Lassi, pakoras and such mouthwatering delicacies are served aplenty and all the food talk could whet up an appetite in you. So it is best advised not to watch it on an empty stomach.
Manmarziyaan, like its title, seem to be content doing its own thing as it pleases. Refusing to cater to the tried and tested, it constantly pushes and rebels its way out of the labels. Kashyap and team may not have exactly hit it out of the park but has managed to carve out something distinctly bolder from the usual bunch of glossy rom-coms and romantic dramas that Bollywood churns out. And much like its characters, Manmarziyaan is a movie that needs to be accepted with all its imperfections.
cast: Taapsee Pannu, Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal
Music: Amit Trivedi
Directed by Anurag Kashyap
Secret Superstar’s trailer may give a feeling of a coming of age film, but it is not one for sure. It is much more than that. Directed by debutant Advait Chandan, it traces the story of a small town Indian girl who wants to follow her dream.Continue reading “Secret Superstar Movie Review: Breaking of the Glass Ceiling”
There is always a certain amount of anticipation that comes with watching an acclaimed director’s follow up to an acclaimed debut feature. When the promos for Gauri Shinde’s debut, English Vinglish first showed up highlighting the return of Sridevi to the big screen, one did approach the film with trepidation as most comeback efforts in Bollywood have displayed a tendency to either be dead on arrival, or crash and burn, Madhuri Dixit’s Aaja Nachle and the Big B’s Mrityudaata coming to mind.Continue reading “Dear Zindagi Movie Review: Talking Heads”
Directed by: Abhishek Chaubey; Written by: Sudip Sharma
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor, Diljit Dosanjh
Udta Punjab would go down as one of the most talked about movies from Bollywood even before it was actually screened, our own desi version of Passion of the Christ, if you will. So instead of delving on the entire saga from CBFC’s preposterous treatment of the film for so-called “profanities and mature content” (I didn’t know Udta Punjab was a pioneering film in this regard, but let’s stay politically correct, shall we) to the controversial leak at the time of release, let’s instead review the film itself for a change.Continue reading “Udta Punjab Movie Review: A Film That Flew for the Stars but got the Moon”
There is nothing quite as entertaining as a good controversy. And if this controversy involves Bollywood and the Government, you can be sure of the news channels having their fill of this TRP fodder until the movie finally releases (Or if it does, in most cases). Abhishek Chaubey, who made most viewers sit up and take notice with a crackling debut in Ishqiya, and followed it up with Dedh Ishqiya, a sequel that outshone the original, moves away from the badlands of Uttar Pradesh into the lush green fields of Punjab, and shows us the underbelly of the drug mafia that seems to have eaten away at the Punjabi youth and in the process, drives away in the opposite direction of the Yash Chopra school of filmmaking. But, is Udta Punjab a piece of mediocre cinema trying to stay in the limelight through a never-ending stream of controversies, or is it truly that subversive piece of mainstream cinema that has the censor board frothing at the mouth?Continue reading “Udta Punjab Movie Review: Flight Of the Phoenix”
So, who was scared/wary of Udta Punjab and its supposedly ‘damaging content’?
When I saw the film today, midst all the surround sound and fury, this question kept coming to my mind every now and then – like how ‘hurt’ keeps coming back to haunt fragile Indian sentiments. Because an hour into the film and you realize that it has nothing, absolutely nothing that can damage the reputation of Punjab or the dwellers of that state. More importantly, the film never ever glorifies substance abuse, it rather showcases horrors of addiction in such a naked, brutal manner that even an average cigarette smoker (cigarette that contains only tobacco and nothing else) would also be shaken.Continue reading “Udta Punjab Movie Review: The High of Coming Out of a Theater Feeling Low”
Fitoor roughly translates to ‘obsession’ in English. And, it’s a pity that a film called Fitoor suffers from bouts of directorial indifference throughout its runtime. Director Abhishek Kapoor, who had very good last two outings in form of Kai Po Che and Rock On!!, puts up pretty looking caricatures and canvasses in Fitoor but forgets to infuse soul into them. So, amidst the snow-laden, paradise-like Kashmir and Katrina Kaif’s gorgeousness and red hair, there’s something which is clearly amiss. Throughout. Right from the opening credits till the lights are turned back on in the theater.Continue reading “Fitoor Movie Review: Of Katrina’s Red Hair and Dickensian Red Herring”
Ask me no questions and you will be told no lies. If you still want to know how this adaptation of Dickens’ Great Expectations is, well, you asked for it.
Fitoor spares nothing, and no one, as it annihilates anything and everything that was beautiful and sacred in the source novel and the milieu this adaptation is set in. For the most part, this massacre is orchestrated by a disastrously miscast Katrina Kaif while some part of the blame should deservedly reach the doors of Aditya Roy Kapoor and Tabu (yes, the lady can misfire too).Continue reading “Fitoor Movie Review: No Love Here, Just Impossible Inanity”