Dangal Movie Review

Well, the apparent disappointment of not able to watch a Mollywood film this Christmas and new year season for obvious reasons has been put to shelves, thanks to Aamir Khan and Co through a terrific and brilliant movie in the form of Dangal. This is one movie which has earned its place to be called a masterpiece on all counts. Carrying a heavy burden of expectations on its shoulders, Dangal serves to appeal to every class of audience irrespective of the age factor and genre preference.

I was thinking before the release about how Dangal is going to make it count and sustain at the box office when a similar movie dealing with the sport of Wrestling in the form of Sultan hit cinemas and went on to taste success. But the similarities just end up there. The stories are totally different and poles apart even though both deal with wrestling. Sultan was more of a fictional story having prominence for romance and thrills, Dangal is more of a biopic on real life characters.

Dangal is the story of Mahavir Singh Phogat hailing from Haryana who was a national wrestling champion turned coach. He wanted to represent the country and win a gold medal. Fate had other plans as Mahavir could not realize his dream but he retain the ambition of achieving his dream through his son. There also fate played its part as to his disappointment the man is blessed with four girl childs. Whether Mahavir can achieve his long cherished goal is the big question and Dangal the movie show what happens next.

Bollywood has a special preference for sports biopics. Movies like Chak De India, Budhia Singh, Mary Kom, Baagh Milka Baagh and Iqbal are all ample testimony to the fondness the industry has towards this genre. Each of these movies were able to make a deep bonding and instant connection with the audience. Dangal also is also on a similar terrain, if not much more than them.

Its an all out Aamir Khan show with excellent support from his co-actors but a movie cannot taste success unless it is backed by beautiful presentation and exciting screenplay. It is here that Dangal score the perfect rank or the full marks to take it to another level. Singh is King says our professional boxing hero Vijender Singh but in a movie, to be effective and successful, i would say writing is the King.

Director Nitesh Tiwari who is in terrific touch here along with his writers have been able to come up with a special film, by far the best to come out of Bollywood for a long time. In fact the director has set a new bench mark as far direction goes surpassing some best movies. Chillar Party, Bhootnath Returns are some of the movies to Nitesh's credit and he has made Dangal an exceptional and outstanding film.

Geeta Kumari and Babita Kumari's exploits at the Commonwealth Games representing the country is a known and familiar thing to the people loving and following this sport. Now it is a matter of how their story is going to be executed. The big question that will be raised is, has the movie done justice to their story with less predictability and ample excitement as a movie? Well, the answer is pretty simple and straightforward, Dangal has more than lived up to the hype with a near perfect film and is a pure must watch and a clear winner.

He is called Mr.Perfectionist by his ardent fans and followers and the media too has only golden words to describe his credentials as an actor and the the film that Aamir chooses. The role of a perfectionist is to ensure that the standards set by him is maintained every time he is out there, no matter what the role he is enacting. Aamir Khan has just done that.

A brilliant display of acting where each and every scene has this perfection in such a way that we cannot pick a scene which is the best since each and every scene that the actor is part of is done in remarkable fashion. The transformation he has done to his body to show different phase of his life is truly laudable.

Even though we can see Aamir Khan claiming bulk of the screen presence, few actors in spite of his towering presence still made it count and made performances which are truly memorable. The first and foremost among them are the two people who played Geeta Kumari, the eldest of the four daughters of Mahavir. The little girl who portrayed Geetha's younger days was upto the task. It is Fathima Sana Shaikh who is the chosen one to play Geeta when she is in her youth and believe me she was simply awesome with her acting as well as fighting skills. I think she is a real wrestler and if not have taken time and efforts to learn the sport.

Same goes for Sanya Malhotra playing Babita Kumari bringing in lot of freshness to the role. The girl who portrayed the little Babita too was noteworthy. The guy who played cousin brother to the girls as well as the actress (Sakshi Tanwar) who did the role of Mahavir's wife too deserves a word of mention here though their roles were quite small.

Cinematography is excellent while the cuts were perfect. One can say that one hundred and sixty one minutes is on the higher side but never does the film makes you bored or for that matter overstay. Pritam has given soulful music with a local flavor. Background score also had the apt feel in it. Another notable area is the way in which all the fighting scenes (Wrestling) has been choreographed. Whoever has done it deserves a round of applause.

Dangal is one film that will make you weep and at the same time provide excitement, joy and inspiration by the time the final scene wrap up on screen. I would say it is a remarkable movie that is a must watch. Goosebumps started appearing when the climax of the movie was on display. Such was the feel and power that the movie had in its possession to win over the audience. Go and grab your tickets is the final word from me.

Rating - 5 / 5

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival is a smart Sci-fi movie that calls for quite a bit of thinking to do unlike the alien movies that we have seen. A certain level of complexity is there in the plot but that extra level of complication adds a different dimension to the movie enriching it with thrills, entertainment and surprises. The tag line of the movie goes like "Why are they here?" and Arrival for the major part of its two hours running time explore and try to find out the purpose of the uninvited guests in our part of the earth.

When huge spaceships touchdown at twelve different parts of the world, an elite team gets into action. Linguistics professor Louise Banks is hired by the US military to unravel the mystery behind the surprise visit of these aliens to earth. Louise and her team have a tough proposition as within a limited time frame and in the process risking their life, they have to try some methods to communicate with the extraterrestrial life to know why they are here. The whole world is waiting with anxiety as nothing is clear and the movie slowly gets its shape with some unexpected surprises in it.

The movie is quite different from the usual alien movies and gives a new meaning to the genre. Arrival moves at its own pace and is not a fully packed thriller. Still, it has entertainment value in it and is a highly thought-provoking one bringing in unexpected surprises which goes all the way in giving a fitting finale to the movie. The thrilling feel is provided in a different manner and with the backing of emotional power in the whole story, this movie directed by Denis Villeneuive is a smartly executed work.

What makes the Arrival a special film is that it could retain that mystery element behind the whole drama till the very end as nothing conclusive comes out through the communication between the two parties. Credit to the screenplay for retaining suspense and at the same time deliver the results through a balanced way of storytelling. Production values are at its best here. Background score and sound design have played a major part in boosting up the scenes to the level the makers wanted to showcase. Cinematography also is of high quality standards and is soothing for the eyes supported by brilliant visual effects especially in creating those misty backdrop when the aliens appear.

Though both Forest Whitaker as Colonel and Jeremy Renner as the physicist didn't have much to perform they do decent jobs in their respective characters in front of the camera. But in the end it is Amy Adams as Louise Banks who steals the show from everyone. She is the real star here in a brilliant performance with a character of troubled and disturbing mind going through lot of confusions within herself. All these dilemmas were very much evident in her facial expressions and body language.

As a Sci-fi movie, Arrival is special of a kind with a different approach to story telling and an unconventional treatment in presenting the alien stuff. Without any gimmicks and giving the story the ultimate control to drive the movie till the end, this movie is something you can watch without any inhibitions.

Rating - 4 / 5

Dear Zindagi - Review

"Do not allow your past to blackmail your present and ruin your future", says Dr.Jehangir Khan, a brain doctor / therapist which is the character that Shahrukh Khan plays in Dear Zindagi, the second feature film of Gauri Shinde. This movie asks us to say Hi to life as there are many inspiring words that tries to create a positive vibe throughout and succeeds. Dear Zindagi is a refreshing film, a beautiful one that makes you laugh and also cry towards the end, it is emotionally touching and makes you think to drive our life in the right way through the right path.

Life is a scrambled puzzle and someone like a therapist can pick the missing pieces of ones life and join it together and guide our life in the right direction. Thats what Dr.Jehangir Khan does to Kaira's life, the young protagonist in Dear Zindagi who is going through a rough patch not in her profession but in her attitude towards life. Kaira is a promising cinematographer trying to build a career in this field but her troubled childhood is casting a huge influence in her present life. She is sad, depressed and sleepless and the film show how she recover from that phase to a new one with the help of an individual who is curiously a brain doctor.

Shinde's movie is woven with little and precious moments blended with thought-provoking dialogues. At times the movie makes you laugh, then it makes you cry and sometimes it preaches, preaching in the right way and sometimes you are emotionally drained in the whole drama. The dimaag kaa doctor theory is a nice concept in reel and real life. If we need to remove our inner fears and anxieties from minds and if someone can help overcome those, then what is showcased in here calls for a serious look.

Though the film runs close to two and a half hours at a snail pace, there is steady flow without that element of boredom and that is a big plus for a movie like this which can go into a shell affecting the flow. Still a two hour movie for this theme would have been an ideal proposition. All the beautiful moments has something in it as takeaways for the audience and at the same time they have valid message in the whole scheme of things.

Both in English Vinglish and Dear Zindagi, the two movies directed by Gauri Shinde has the prime focus on two females but the comparison just ends there. The approach and the intention of both the films are poles apart but both of them successfully passes good and valid messages.

On the performance side, this one is ought to be the best of Alia Bhatt. She is on top of her acting and ensured that a connecting link is established between her character and the audience. That final scene with SRK which was the final session of the therapy that Kaira was undergoing with Dr. Jehangir was a class act in an overall brilliant acting in the movie. There are many other scenes where she has gone one step ahead of the script which was fully visible in each and every moment.

Now coming to SRK, well what should I say. It was a different Shahrukh we are witnessing to who has shed all his superstar image and perfectly fitted into the shoe of the dimaag kaa Doctor role. All the supporting actors were also given ample space to perform. Be it Kunal Kapoor, Angad Bedi or Ali Zafar or for that matter the two friends of Kaira played by Ira Dubeh and Yashwasini Dayama are able to make their presence felt even with little roles.

Music was breezy, cool and peppy. All the songs matched the situations and were perfectly timed. It was not a heavy background score and the same was done as per the mood and situations. Cinematography was done effectively and edits were fine.

Overall, Dear Zindagi is fine piece of work and it establishes Gauri Shinde as someone who could be trusted and relied upon with a second successful film that has every right in to be called a beautiful film sans any mass masala elements that one would normally witness in a superstar film.

Rating - 3.5 /5

Kahaani 2 - review

Remember Vidya Bagchi, the pregnant software engineer who came all the way from London to Kolkata in search of her missing husband? I am obviously referring to the character played by Vidya Balan in Sujoy Ghosh's Kahaani. The movie gets a rebirth in the form of another installment to the series. Kahaani 2 directed by the same man with Vidya Balan at the helm once again is not a sequel as such since the story, characters and backdrop is completely different from the first part of the franchise.

Talking about the latest of the Kahaani series, its gripping and engaging but less thrilling like the first part. The film is shredded with mystery, tension and suspense right from the beginning but the suspense element is revealed way too early making way for predictability in each and every scene from thereon. Still the film is watchable for its quality performance, good direction, unconventional camera work and thrilling background score and little bit of tweaking in the end towards twist.

SPOILER ALERT : The content written in this paragraph has certain aspects relating to the plot that can be spoilers and hence the advise here is to skip it and this apply to all those who are yet to watch the film. Vidya Sinha and her paralyzed daughter Mini are living a middle class life in Bengal when Mini is kidnapped and Vidya gets seriously injured in an accident. This makes way for Sub-inspector of police Inderjith Singh for doing the investigation. But things are not as easy as he imagined and the case goes through different angles bringing Durga Rani into the picture. What is Durga's role here and what is actually the case all about is what Kahaani 2 narrates.

Sujoy Ghosh has perfectly recreated the Bengal/Kolkata we know just like the first part. Major portions of the film is shot at night and has few surprises also on offer but the surprises and twist are less effective here unlike Kahaani the first one which was less predictable and was so intriguing with exceptional performances. The movie happens in the present and also goes to the flashback angle also. Scenes are mixed this way without affecting the overall flow making the gripping feel retained for a fair share of time till that big revelation happens.

Screenplay has its share of credit in giving the push so that no element of boredom creep in at any moment of time. There are tense moments created by this effective and focused screenplay that gives a good build-up to the story narrated through the present and flashback mode.

Vidya Balan is a great performer and if she gets a character that has substance in it, she is one actress who has the ability in her to go up a level and make that role brighter and shining. Its that case here in Kahaani 2 where the characters of Vidya Sinha / Durga Rani are structured neatly to give the actress something in it to perform and she has successfully enacted it in the best possible way.

Arjun Rampal as the investigating officer Inderjith Singh and Kharaj Mukherjee as his superior officer were the standout performers on the supporting side. Sujoy Ghosh who tried many unfamiliar Bengali actors successfully in the first part goes for the same pattern by choosing unfamiliar but good actors to do supporting roles. Jugal Hansraj, the blue eyed boy (of course not a boy anymore) with his chocolate looks of the late nineties and early part of 2000 is back in a small role that had the minimal stuff in it to make a performance that can stay in our mind.

Cinematography was similar and resembled how it was done in the first installment. Excellent and unorthodox camera work with a color pattern matching the mood and tone of the story. This genre demanded a gripping background score to give that perfect feel and the same was done as it needed. No songs in the movie with just one that appear right at the tail end of the film when things gets wound up.

If you are going to compare the movie with its predecessor, you are in for a slight disappointment but if the approach is to take the movie as a totally different one with no connection with the first part, then Kahaani 2 would be a watchable film providing relief in the form of good excitement and thrills.

Rating - 3 / 5

Ore Mugam - Malayalam Movie Review

Our fondness for campus based stories have paved the way for many directors in Mollywood to tell stories based on this genre. Many of those movies have went on to become boxoffice spinners as well as getting critical accolades. A recent movie with a campus tag Aanandam from Vineeth Sreenivasan camp directed by newcomer Ganesh Raj is still running to packed houses. Another debutant Sajith Jagadnandan tries his luck in Mollywood through Oremugham, a movie that was getting indefinitely postponed and finally reaching theaters after those delays.

Oremugham belongs to a thriller genre narrated in a campus backdrop. Now the next big and valid question is whether the movie can thrill you for the suspense and murder mystery. Also can the movie provide enjoyment and entertainment for the campus portion of the story. Sad to say, the feedback from my end based on the satisfaction I received after watching Oremugham is a No.

Agree that this movie is coming from a director who is new to the field trying to make a big mark and at the same time going through some tough times to ensure the movie reach the audience. Major problem that caused uneasiness in the viewing pleasure was the over dramatic feel created when the campus portion of the story is told. Bulk of the dialogues and the way it was acted with an artificial flavor was the chief architect that created a feel as if we were watching a stage drama.

On to the story which is told with the past and the present begins with the murder of Aravind Menon, a wealthy businessman and an NRI. The resulting murder investigation shift its focus to Zachariah Pothen and his younger days in the campus. Story is structured and narrated with both the flashback and present moments shown one after another and naturally there is the chance of confusions happening with many characters being actively involved in the plot.

The screenplay had its share of confusion in establishing a proper flow as it struggled to give a clear picture to the story to successfully give the plot outline a clarity. The murder part and the final revelations were decent enough but how the screenplay approached that with a big share of confusion is a major factor that pulled the trigger in pushing the movie to a below average level even though the overall plot was good enough.

The romantic angle in the story all happening inside the campus wasn't effective at all and was more of a speed breaker halting the pace of the movie. A half baked screenplay, bad performances and poor presentation did the major damage to the movie that had potential in it to turn out to be a promising movie. But the above-mentioned elements didn't allow the product to get a result that the makers wanted and in the end Oremugham end up on the losing side.

Coming to performances, the character of Zachariah Pothen demanded an actor who was strong enough on the acting side to create a big impact. With all due respect to Dhyan Sreenivasan, in my opinion he was left wanting and missing at many places. There is a saying in Malayalam which when converted means something like asking a butterfly to lift a big stone. Same thing I felt while Dhyan was performing as Zakariah Pothen who couldn't get into the skin of that character due to his own limitations as an actor.

Aju Varghese, Deepak Parambol and Arjun Nandakumar are the other actors who acted as the close friends of Zakariah Pothen and they were just okay. The two female leads Prayaga and Gayathri were not able to do something worthwhile to make their presence felt with the latter going too artificial with her dialogue presentation. Chemban Vinod, Devi Ajith, Renji Panicker, Maniyan Pilla Raju, Haresh Perady, Abhirami and Jewel Mary were the other actors belonging to the supporting side.

Cinematography and the color tone used in the movie to create that eighties feel was quite good. Same goes for the decent cuts. Bijibal is the man behind the music and BGM scene and they were reasonably good.

Here is a classic case of a movie that had the quality and ability in it to be a more better product but unfortunately end up far lesser than it should have. Some of you might find it interesting to a certain extent based on the little dose of surprises waiting for you in the end but for me it wasn't.

Rating - 2 / 5

Moana Review

Disney has come up again with a cute little and beautiful entertainer in the form of Moana, an adventurous journey narratted through a beautiful island amidst some catchy songs and state of the art animation and 3D images. The movie is set against the backdrop of an eye candy island of Polynesia. 

Moana the Island chieftain's daughter is the title protagonist who sets out on a journey through the sea to save her island from destruction. Her job is pretty straightforward as she has to find Maui, the demigod who has stolen the Heart of Te Fiti (an ancient artifact), get the Heart from him and restore the Heart to save her island and her people from the environmental disaster they are going to face.

The movie is cool and a breezy entertainer no matter what age you are. Excellent music with that Samoan flavor added more spice to the proceedings. Animations are stunning and have been brilliantly done along with the visual background of the sea and island giving the perfect match and tone providing a soothing visual experience. The emotional touch in the story is an icing on the cake as it holds together the story where adventure and fun is guaranteed.

Voice of Dwayne Johnson and Auli'i Cravalho for the characters of Maui and Moana respectively were the best you can get that matched the appearance of the two. As I said, animation is top-notch and the bluish background provided an eye candy experience. Songs were highly notable for its rhythmic feel which had that Samoan touch in it since the story happens in an island inhibited by Samoans.

So venture out for this beautiful and visually enthralling animation film to relax, enjoy and make your weekend a colorful one. Take out the kids as well since Moana is one movie that can be enjoyed by everyone as no age barrier tag is attached with it.

Rating - 4 / 5

Befikre Review

As a writer, producer and distributor, Aditya Chopra is making his presence felt in the industry every now and then but as a director he is quite silent now maintaining a low key affair with the high profile job as the last of his directorial movie happened way back in 2008. That's eight years down the lane and it was an SRK starrer Rab Ne Bana De Jodi that we last saw this man wielding the megaphone. Befikre that hits the big screen today marks Aditya Chopra's fourth directorial venture has Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor playing lead roles which is extensively shot in Paris.

About the movie, its a rom-com and the prime intention is to present something entertaining and colorful with a romantic and sexy tone in the story. There is lot of energy involved with both Ranveer and Vaani putting in lot of efforts to infuse life into the film but the purpose is served only partially in the movie which has nothing fresh to tell and follow the same old pattern and template of stories that we have seen and are familiar in Bollywood.

Dharam and Shyra are the people in focus here as the two with a free spirited and carefree attitude meet in Paris and the story tells their sexy, hot and romantic affair that goes through ups and downs, highs and lows. The present and past moments are shown one after the other through the picturesque streets of Paris.

The opening scene has a series of kisses of different people both young and aged in the street of Paris with the Labon Kaa Kaarobaar song and at the same time the beginning title credits gets mentioned. The intentions are crystal clear from here as the film dwell through breakups, live in relationships, romance and mood swings in a casual, colorful and joyful manner. But the tempo stops somewhere in between and the movie could not sustain the energy level showed in the beginning till the end.

This can mainly be attributed to the lack of freshness in the story and also the story itself falling under the category of a wafer thin one. Music, Songs, dance, lip locks and everything that one can add to make the story lively and entertaining is flavored in the film in traditional Yashraj style in which the screenplay and story is written by the director himself. Everything looks perfect for the eyes as a colorful candy but these things works only partially as the movie struggle after a stage to get things wound up.

Ranveer Singh was high on spirits and energy as the free spirited and loud Dharam. I would say it was a good casting and the actor has done justice to the faith shown in by the makers in casting him as Dharam. On a lighter note, don't miss his complete naked show from the back which was a very brief shot but nevertheless will make you laugh and at the same time makes you surprised.

Vaani Kapoor played perfect foil to Ranveer and acted with the same energy like her male counterpart and their onscreen chemistry was very much notable. She was hot and sexy and that was as per the demands of the sexy tone in her character as well in the film. Not much supporting actors are part of this film as the entire frames are very much focused on the lead pair either together or separately.

Cinematography was very much notable and successful in capturing the essence and beauty of lovely Paris. Music, songs and dance required a colorful and peppy feel in it and it was quite good meeting the requirement of a story of this nature.

As an entertainer, Befikre does its job only partially as the film run out of steam after the halfway mark and struggle to end on a high. I would recommend the movie only for its bubbly on screen chemistry between the lead actors and also for some genuine funny moments that pops up here and there making you laugh.

Rating - 2.5 / 5