KAALA Movie Review: Black Dynamite!

Cast:  Rajinikanth, Nana Patekar, Huma Qureshi, Easwari Rao, Anjali Patil, Samuthirakani, Sampath

Music:  Santosh Narayanan

Directed by Pa.RanjithContinue reading “KAALA Movie Review: Black Dynamite!”

‘NFDC Film Aaj Kal’ – A Marathon of NFDC Classics In Mumbai To Begin From July 15

NFDC India is coming up with its Cinema Outreach Initiative, Film Aaj Kal, a radio show as well as the Ground-Activation event – Film Aaj Kal Screenings and Conversations to build film communities and empower the viewer.

As part of the 360-degree initiative, NFDC collaborates with 92.7 Big FM for a weekly radio show named, ‘Film Aaj Kal’ on Cinema Education and Awareness program which has the filmmakers discussing about the classics, bringing these films back to the fore.Continue reading “‘NFDC Film Aaj Kal’ – A Marathon of NFDC Classics In Mumbai To Begin From July 15”

Natsamrat: A Quick Review

Natsamrat PosterNana Patekar is to ‘Natsamrat’ what Salman is to ‘Dabangg’ and Ajay Devgan to ‘Singham’. What they did with fisticuffs and item numbers, he does it with verbal volleys and unadulterated acting. Moreover, ‘the fit at 65” Nana (Ganpat Belwilkar aka Natsamrat)  along with the unfit yet highly talented’ Vikram Gokhale (Rambhau) wreaks havoc on the hearts of the marathi theatre lovers with their effortless rendition of dialogues from almost every play worth knowing. Their flawless act just before Gokhale’s death reminds one of the famous Amitabh- Rajesh Khanna act in Anand.Continue reading “Natsamrat: A Quick Review”

Natsamrat (2016) Marathi Movie Review: To Watch or Not to Watch- that is the question!

Ever since they released the trailer was released I was eagerly awaiting the screen adaptation of the iconic Marathi play-Natsamrat.  The movie directed by Mahesh Manjrekar with Nana Patekar in the titular role is based on the Marathi play by the same name written by Kusumagraj .Does this Natsamrat come close to the one immortalized by Dr Sriram Lagoo in the original?  Read on to find out.Continue reading “Natsamrat (2016) Marathi Movie Review: To Watch or Not to Watch- that is the question!”

Natsamrat (2016) Marathi Movie Review: To Be Or Not To Be

In one of the scenes, Ganpatrao Belwalkar (Nana Patekar) is watching a modern day adaptation of a Shakespeare play, the name of which we are never told. Being a reputed and acclaimed stage actor, Belwalkar is expected to mentor the lead actor and endorse his acting, writing talents or the lack of it. This is also expected of him with an intention of helping his dutiful son in law (Sunil Barve) win a few more brownie points with his boss, whose son (Jitendra Joshi) is directing and enacting the play. But being the theatre thespian and an upright individual, Belwalkar is disgusted by watching this seemingly pedestrian Shakespearean adaptation and makes no qualms about expressing his displeasure publicly. He also gives Joshi an earful and asks him to get into the soul of Shakespeare’s verse, rather than doing a hack job of it. Understandably, the other people around him are not pleased and accuse Belwalkar of being stuck in a time warp and hence being unable to appreciate this adaptation. How one wishes director Mahesh Manjrekar himself had paid heed to the above advice while directing this film.

Continue reading “Natsamrat (2016) Marathi Movie Review: To Be Or Not To Be”

Natsamrat (Marathi Movie): Trailer

Natsamrat PosterNana Patekar stars in Natsamrat which is an adaptation of the epic play by the legendary V.V. Shirwadkar. The film is about a celebrated Shakespearean actor – played by Nana Patekar – who has retired from stage but has a difficult time coping up with life away from the limelight of theatre.

It is directed by Mahesh Manjrekar and stars Vikram Gokhale, Medha Manjrekar and Mrunmayee Deshpande among others. The screenplay has been adapted by Hemant Edlabadkar and Ajith V. Reddy has handled the camera department.

The film is slated to release on 1st January, 2016.

Here’s the trailer :

Welcome Back Movie Review: Is It Really Welcome Back?

Welcome was a superb movie, a lovely entertainer. Probably the main reason for that being the impeccable comic timing of all the actors. Is the sequel as good a laugh riot as the first one was? Read on to find out.Continue reading “Welcome Back Movie Review: Is It Really Welcome Back?”

Welcome Back Movie Review: More Painful Than a Headache, Toothache and Heartbreak Put Together

Welcome BackLet me start this review by making a candid confession. I liked Anees Bazmee’s 2007 Blockbuster ‘Welcome’ to a great extent. The gangster duo Uday Shetty and Majnu bhai, played by a remarkable Nana Patekar and an ever-dramatic Anil Kapoor respectively, were etched in my mind for long. Add to it Akshay Kumar’s gifted sense of humor, Paresh Rawal’s impeccable comic timing and the iconic “Aloo Lelo, Kanda Lelo” sequence – Welcome had some genuinely uproarious moments. No wonder, the film was not just a huge box office success but also went on to become one of the most loved films on television that continues to garner great TRPs till date.

Eight years later, Bazmee comes with an absolute charade in the name of a sequel. There seems to be no genuine creative impetus or even an honest motive behind making Welcome Back, apart from the obvious urge for financial windfalls. Welcome Back has a plot that is so hackneyed, loop-ridden and even ridiculous at places that it makes a motley bunch of talented actors look like buffoons. Imagine yourself silently cursing Naseeruddin Shah towards the end because he and his uninspiring portrayal of ‘Wanted Bhai’ does nothing apart from stretching an already dreadfully boring film. Ditto for someone like Dimple Kapadia who does not know what she is supposed to do or the poor comeback man Shiney Ahuja who is put into a predictable and pointless role.

Poor Story, Screenplay and Direction:

The film’s story itself is a spin-off from its prequel’s plot with a couple of inexplicable son and daughter discoveries being used to repackage the old, worn-out drama. This time around Uday and Majnu bhai (Nana Patekar and Anil reprising their roles) take up the task of marrying off their yet another sister (Shruti Haasan) to a seedha and shareef man as the gangsters themselves have become good guys and settled down in Dubai. In their quest for a perfect groom, they yet again cross paths with Dr Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal) who has his own ‘son discovery’ to deal with. Ajju Bhai or Ajay (John Abraham) is Dr. Ghungroo’s step-son and a dreaded Mumbai gangster. Uday and Majnu themselves are in awe of a petite young thug (debutante Ankita Shrivastava) who along with her mother (Dimple Kapadia) pose as princess and queen of Najafgarh.

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Welcome Back’s screenplay is over-complicated and overcrowded to a point that it annoys you. There are too many worthless sub-plots in the film and actors come into and go out of the frame on their will (you can’t imagine what they do with Rajpal Yadav’s character). Anees Bazmee is not an auteur in the genre of comedy but Welcome Back definitely pitches him at par with someone like Sajid Khan and his brand of intelligence-insulting humor. I am all game for lowbrow and leave-your-mind-at-home kind of comedy but a film like Welcome Back takes the audiences for granted and only tries to cash in (and eventually destroys) the existing goodwill for its prequel.

Wasted Ensemble Cast:

The biggest disservice by Anees Bazmee is probably how he assembles such fine actors and lets that advantage fritter away. Not just that, he replaces the very likeable lead pair of Akshay-Katrina from the prequel with an odd and insipid jodi of John Abraham and Shruti Haasan. John Abraham tries to bulldoze his Shootout at Wadala act here but fails miserably. His contributions to the film end with his 10 packs, a good-looking face and a new found, weird baritone during dialogue delivery. Shruti Haasan, on the other hand, delivers such an amateurish performance that you wonder why is she in the film, or worse why is she into acting.

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Ankita Shrivastava, the debutante who is there in the film to wear skimpy clothes and deliver dialogues like a 10-year old, is a bizarre choice for the role of a temptress. She tries too hard but does not achieve an iota of what Mallika Sherawat did effortlessly in Welcome. And also, the girl is way too young to be singing tacky songs with Nana and Anil who look like her granddads. Dimple Kapadia is cast in a role that gives her no scope whatsoever. Shiney Ahuja makes an entrance post interval and does a few predictable screechy scenes before falling in line with the film’s overall tediousness. Naseeruddin Shah fails to be a worthy replacement for the Late Firoz Khan and I will not mince words in saying that he is plain bad in the film. He might be a great actor otherwise but there is no harm in calling a spade a spade when there is a need.

Nana and Anil Salvage Some Pride:

Welcome Back’s only saving grace is the delectable duo of Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor. The two veterans are in the same old form and try hard to salvage the pride despite being handicapped by poorly-written dialogues (Raj Shandaliya). Despite all the lacuna, there’s a memorable sequence in a graveyard where Nana and Anil play Antakshari with the ghosts. This one scene underscores the incredible chemistry that the two share as affable goons and makes you wonder how a good script would have allowed these two to come into their elements. It’s a shame that Anees Bazemee wastes the potential of two fine characters and two great actors by making what is easily a lesser of sequel.  Similarly, Paresh Rawal, who sparkled as Dr. Ghungroo in the previous installment, is undone by sheer lack of witty one-liners that were a trademark of his character.

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Outrageous Music and Tacky VFX:

Welcome Back perhaps features the most outrageous songs that I have had the misfortune of hearing to in recent times. Songs pop out of nowhere through the film and they are resplendent with horrible lyrics (Band kamre mein 20-20 hua!), suggestive dance moves and horrendous choreography. You would want to close your eyes and ears in disgust while these songs are bombarded on you without any prior warning. Do I need to say more?

As if the entire, almost 3-hour long film was not torturous enough, Welcome Back also has an inexplicable climax featuring hordes of camels, choppers, dessert gypsies, aircraft bombs and a sandstorm. The CGI of the sandstorm is a throwback to the 80s and it makes the special effects of a film like Hisss look good.

Final Verdict:

Welcome Back is an unbearable film that mocks your intelligence, breaches all the thresholds of stupidity and redefines the contempt with which many mainstream filmmakers treat their audiences these days. Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor try hard but fail to save this sinking ship and you dearly miss the good old Akhsay Kumar who was the rock-solid anchor of Welcome.

Do yourself a favor and do not watch Welcome Back. You, I and all of us deserve much better.

Rating: * (1/5) – Poor

Welcome Back Movie Review: Trying Too Hard To Be Like Its Prequel

In 2007, Anees Bazmee was at the top of his game when he delivered Welcome along with Akshay Kumar. Today, Bazmee is struggling to make his own comeback with Welcome Back and he does not have Kumar. However, he has managed to retain the majority of his motley crew and added a couple of stalwarts to the wolfgang as well. But he is straddled with John Abraham and Shruti Haasan playing the lead pair as opposed to a highly successful Kumar and Katrina Kaif pairing in 2007. Nevertheless, Welcome Back is mounted on an enormous scale with money spent profusely on every thing possible. Yet, there was much thanda buzz around it leading upto its release. So, has Bazmee manage to score an ace to bring his market back up in B Town? Recently, Anil Kapoor said in an interview that it is important for this film to work so that Base Industries (Firoz Nadiadwala’s Company) stays in business.

Welcome Back Poster 3Welcome Back, is more like a spinoff of its prequel using similar tropes and plot points, minimally turned on their heads to provide the pretense of freshness. The film starts with the don duo, Uday (Nana Patekar) and Majnu (Anil Kapoor) having bettered themselves for a life in Dubai. They find another lost sister, Ranjana (Shruti Haasan) who they have to get married. Ranjana likes Ajju Bhai (John Abraham) who happens to be Dr Ghunghroo’s (Paresh Rawal) illegitimate son. There is also Chandni (debutante Ankita Srivastava) who has wooed the dons once again, albeit she along with her mom (Dimple Kapadia) forms a team of con artists who are out to dupe them. To complete the wolfpack, there is Wanted Bhai (Naseeruddin Shah) and his drug-addict son Honey (Shiney Ahuja, making his comeback). While in Welcome, Uday and Majnu clearly had the upper hand over a meek Akshay Kumar, Ajju is a beast of his own kind and an infamous street gangster from Bombay. One of the reasons why Welcome Back does not ring true as much as Welcome did. If Ajju is a recognized criminal with many cases against him, and is clearly stronger than the dons, why does he need to play games with them to win Ranjana? A lot of the contrivances in Welcome Back look like they have been made to happen to regurgitate the success of the first part. That apart, a barrage of insipid songs haunt your senses as they play out, remarkably a romantic number between the lead pair. Infact, their chemistry is so half-baked that you would lose interest in them right away. Unlike Welcome, there are no clear motives of characters and they are used by the screenplay (Bazmee, Rajeev Kaul, Rajan Aggarwal, Praful Parekh) to satisfy the unreal plot.

However, Welcome Back is not all bad. There are numerous lough out loud moments, specially abled by the chemistry provided by Patekar and Kapoor, propelled by Raaj Shaandilya’s dialogue. Many a times I found myself guffawing at the punches, and very few times at the gags, specially the long gag at a graveyard in second half falls flat. Welcome Back gets boring at times, and is very entertaining at other times, but never does it get unbearable. The production values of Welcome Back are huge but still some frames suffer from bad CGI work. Kabir Lal’s cinematography is very touristy and grand, but also very tacky at times. The action by Abbas Ali Moghul is well suited for Abraham. Music of the film, despite done by a variety of artists, lags much behind its first part. 

Continue reading “Welcome Back Movie Review: Trying Too Hard To Be Like Its Prequel”