Uri Movie Review: A Lobotomy of the Senses

The Uri Attack of 2016 was the straw that broke the back in India-Pakistan relations, leading to a diplomatic war between the two countries, and when news of a surgical strike behind enemy lines broke out, a few days later, there was much rejoicing among the public. Therefore, it was only natural, that the incident would find its way to the big screen, but is debutant director Aditya Dhar up to the task of narrating this exciting tale of guts and glory?

Major Vihaan Shergill (Vicky Kaushal) is a dedicated young military commando who after a successful mission in Myanmar, decides to resign from the army to take care of his Alzheimer’s stricken mother (Swaroop Sampat), but at the insistence of the Prime Minister (Rajit Kapur) and the National Security Advisor (Paresh Rawal), takes up desk job at the Army HQ in New Delhi.

But when the Uri attack occurs, and ends up hitting a little too close to home, will Vihaan heed the call of his conscience, and take the fight back to the enemy? With the support of a hawkish establishment, a steely glanced intelligence agent (Yami Gautam) and a grieving pilot (Kirti Kulhari), can Major Shergill win back India its lost honor, by striking fear, deep in the heart of the enemy?Continue reading “Uri Movie Review: A Lobotomy of the Senses”

Hathyar (1989) Hindi Movie: J.P.Dutta’s Underrated Tale Of Crime And Violence!

A little boy sits on a rocking horse while his father sings a lullaby to him. Soon the mother joins in and adoringly vows to not let her son go away from her sight. Their idyllic conversation is interrupted by the kid’s uncle who gifts him a toy gun, much against the father’s wishes. The uncle quips that the kid is brave and toys like these are what brave men should indulge themselves with. The father retorts “aaj kal sharafat ko hi kayarta kehte hain” (nowadays decency is what is mistaken for cowardice) and asks the kid to hand over the toy gun to him. But the kid is enthralled by it and refuses to hand it over. We then see shots of a rifle being loaded with bullets and as the person holding it takes aim, his face is revealed. The kid has now grown into a young man, but what has stayed with him is his fascination for the gun. It also hints that this obsession is going to last for a lifelong. This powerful scene marks the opening of J P Dutta’s Hathyar.

Continue reading “Hathyar (1989) Hindi Movie: J.P.Dutta’s Underrated Tale Of Crime And Violence!”

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”

Raja Natwarlal (2014) Movie Review: The Con Film

I never knew when I become a Emraan Hashmi fan. When I saw the promos of Footpath, I said oh no not another Bollywood actor who got a chance due to nepotism. Whatever I saw of Footpath proved that I was right, but I guess the turning point for me was I found him bearable in Mohit Suri’s Zeher, and Kalyug proved that he could act in spite of an underwritten role. I so wish one day Mohit Suri’s makes a full length film on his character from Kalyug. And by the time Awarapann came I was looking forward for it’s release eagerly. Since then barring Ghanchakkar and Shanghai I have made it a point to watch his films on first day first show.

I must say I have enjoyed all Kunal Deshmukh films so far, Tum Mile being my favourite. It is one of those few Bollywood film which addresses the point that in love apart from romance many other things matter and otherwise we would all lead a life of misery. Kunal is someone who knows his job, that is to entertain the audience and he is pretty good at it.Continue reading “Raja Natwarlal (2014) Movie Review: The Con Film”

Nominations For the Best of Bollywood 2013!

Like most other years, 2013 too has been an eventful year for the Hindi film industry. And unlike other years, 2013 was also the 100th year for the Hindi film industry. However, the centenary wasn’t really a landmark in terms of quality; we didn’t have a watershed of extraordinary films. Yes, we had a few brilliant pieces of cinema but we also had a truckload of terrible movies. What has been most encouraging in this entire melee is the gradual acceptance and support rendered to smaller films. While we had Kiran Rao helping a “Ship of Theseus” to get a release, we had a Karan Johar taking “The Lunchbox” out to the masses. In this post, I enumerate my (completely) personal list of favourite films of 2013 and their different aspects. These are my nominations for the best of Bollywood in the year 2013. While I have considered six nominees for every category (most of which are non-technical), I have added one more as “Almost There”, whom / what I feel is good but not enough to be on the list. Would love to get your vote from the nominees or any additional candidate you feel like.Continue reading “Nominations For the Best of Bollywood 2013!”

Radio (2009): An Incomprehensible Howler (For the Bravehearts) !!!

Radio_(2009_film)“Mann Ka Radio Bajne De Zara
Gum Ko Bhool Kar Jee Le Tu Zara
Station Koi Naya Tune Kar Le Zara
Fultoo Attitude De De Tu Zara”

Shanaya (Shehnaaz Treasurywala) is in luv with Vivan (Himesh Baba). Her sister asks her “Kya dekha tumne usme?” Guffaws echoed in the theater. She replies, “He is a very simple guy and has a kinda vulnerability!” Bingo. Vulnerability is the word. I finally got word to describe Himesh Baba’s impenetrable expressions, which kept baffling me until then.Continue reading “Radio (2009): An Incomprehensible Howler (For the Bravehearts) !!!”

Himmatwala Movie Review: A huge dump on your intelligence!

Remakes are the order of the day in Indian Film Industry today. If you cant remake a recent South Indian film in Hindi, then why not make the film that started that trend in 1983? Guess that was the reasoning enough for Sajid Khan to dole out the crummiest film in many ages that leaves you with the most disgusting aftertaste, induces a brain-curdling effect making you wish you were in coma and assaults your existence to leave you scarred and scared for all your life. From the release of its trailer itself, I knew Himmatwala would be a stunning exercise of atrocious cinema. Every snarky tawdry promo and song was making millions of lives miserable all day everyday and the doomed day finally arrived, Himmatwala, a remake of K Raghavendra Rao‘s 1983 original hit the screens today.Continue reading “Himmatwala Movie Review: A huge dump on your intelligence!”