Vedalam Movie Review: Tried and Tested Formula, Works Here in Parts

Playing a larger than life character is something that all Tamil heroes have always been fond of, nowadays even actors who are just a few films old feel the need to play such roles, perhaps with a view of fancying a shot at the superstar’s throne. And if it happens to be a mass entertainer featuring a popular actor then it’s almost a given that the main lead would perhaps portray a larger than life character, often with a righteous instinct as well. When Siruthai Siva decided to work again with Ajith after the reasonably successful Veeram, it kind of looked like a win-win prospect for both of them. After all Ajith had done a slightly classier film after Veeram in the form of Yennai Arindhaal and so a mass film would have been good to balance the act. Also for Siva it would have meant that that he could prove his consistency by turning out another success after Siruthai and Veeram.Continue reading “Vedalam Movie Review: Tried and Tested Formula, Works Here in Parts”

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.

30

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.

Welcome_back_movie_still_hd_wallpaper_806316808

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.

nana-patekar-759

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

Srimanthudu Movie Review: A Star Vehicle of the Right Kind? Well Almost

In today’s time and age it is fashionable to be working in the development sector, not that there aren’t some genuinely interested people as well there. It is even more prestigious and worthy of talking about if you are trying to do things that can directly impact the lives of many other people. Politicians have been doing it for ages, a lot of other celebrities indulge in it as well, and of course there are the social activists as well. But how many of them are into it on a genuine basis? Well we don’t know, but let’s just say that they would form the minority here.  Film stars with an eye for the political arena certainly try to do work in the social space; it’s a sure shot way of catching the attention of the public. Of course not everyone has succeeded in this endeavour but people continue to try this route from time to time. Similarly doing films with a portrayal of being a do gooder for the society isn’t something new. Right from the time of MGR and NTR we have been seeing such films. A good recent example would be A.R. Murugadoss’s Kaththi where the message comes across loud and clear. So why am I rambling about all this when it comes to the review of Srimanthudu? Don’t worry you will find out soon.Continue reading “Srimanthudu Movie Review: A Star Vehicle of the Right Kind? Well Almost”

Gabbar Is Back Hindi Movie Review: Flawed Yet Enjoyable

After unleashing the atrocity called Rowdy Rathore (a remake of the Telugu superhit Vikramarkudu) more than 2 years ago, Akshay Kumar and ‘Producer’ Sanjay Leela Bhansali reunite for Gabbar Is Back – a remake of the Tamil movie Ramanna directed by A.R Murugadoss and starring Vijaykanth.

Aditya (Akshay Kumar) a college professor kidnaps and kills corrupt Government officials under the pseudo name ‘Gabbar’. This soon pits him against an old enemy Digvijay Patil (Suman Talwar) and has an honest constable Sadhuram (Sunil Grover) and a CBI officer (Jaideep Ahlawat) hot on his trail.Continue reading “Gabbar Is Back Hindi Movie Review: Flawed Yet Enjoyable”

Race Gurram Movie Review: This Race Horse Trots a Little, Steers off Course for a While but Still Wins the Race

Race Gurram PosterTill very recently I used to keep lamenting about the falling standards of Telugu Cinema and expressed my disappointment whenever I would end up watching anything and everything that was being projected as a good or great film, as I would disagree with the popular verdict on most occasions. Of late though I have made peace with myself and with the industry as by now I understand that the industry is passing through a tough phase, a phase that it has to pass through with great tact and control, to get itself rid of the mediocrity that prevails and all the ills that go along with it. Adding fuel to the fire is the constant political unrest that has now ensured that the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh has gone on to get split into two. For the Telugu audience for whom movie watching is a way of life and not a hobby, it is a little disheartening to see them starved of their regular dose of entertainment from time to time.Continue reading “Race Gurram Movie Review: This Race Horse Trots a Little, Steers off Course for a While but Still Wins the Race”

Race Gurram: Trailer

Race Gurram PosterDirector Surender Reddy has been considered a relatively safe bet in the Telugu film industry and for the first time he joins hands with Allu Arjun for Race Gurram (Race Horse). Allu Arjun has recently delivered hits like Iddarammayilatho (2013) and the recent Yevadu where he featured in a cameo. Race Gurram is written by Surender Reddy’s regular collaborator, Vakkantham Vamsi and is produced by Nallamalapu Srinivas and Dr. Venkateswara Rao. The film features Shruti Haasan as the female lead and the supporting cast includes Saloni Aswani, Shaam, Prakash Raj, Brahmanandam, Ali, Mukesh Rishi, Ravi Kishan, Sayaji Shinde, M.S.Narayana etc.Continue reading “Race Gurram: Trailer”

Yevadu Movie Review: Of Twists, Turns and all that Jazz for a Formula Telugu Film

Yevadu_posterFrom time immemorial we are used to films of big stars releasing during the main festivals of the year across India. This is a phenomenon observed both in case of Hindi and Regional films. And in this regard Pongal/Sankranthi holds a special place of pride as not only is it the 1st major festival of the year, but it is also a festival that’s equally big in both Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and thus crucial for big Tamil and Telugu releases. Over the last few years Sankranthi has always seen 2-3 big Telugu films releasing and it’s not a surprise for more than 1 film to succeed. Though by and large it is the big masala entertainers which work majorly during this time, there can be exceptions as well. During Sankranthi in 2011 we saw a regular masala film like Mirapakaya and a smaller slice of life film like Golconda High School succeed. In 2012 both Businessman and Bodyguard succeeded and last year we saw the clash between Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu and Naayak and not surprisingly both the films succeeded.Continue reading “Yevadu Movie Review: Of Twists, Turns and all that Jazz for a Formula Telugu 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!”