Sunday, January 11, 2015

15 films to watch out for in 2015


Shaamitabh




After working with Amitabh Bachchan in Cheeni Kum (2007) and Paa (2009), renowned ad filmmaker and director R Balki will be back with Shaamitabh starring Amitabh and Dhanush this February. Mahesh Bhatt, Karan Johar, Anurag Basu, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Rajkumar Hirani, wife Gauri Shinde, Javed Akhtar, Boney Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor would be seen in brief roles in the film.

Badlapur 



Ek Hasina Tha director Sriram Raghavan will swing into action with this thriller starring Varun Dhawan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Yami Gautam next month. After playing fun, lighter roles in SOTY, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya; Main Tera Hero, it will be interesting to see how Varun Dhawan melds into this aggressive, dark character.

Tigers 




Directed by Oscar-winning Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic, backed by Anurag Kashyap and starring Emraan Hashmi, Tigers is based on the true story of a salesman with an MNC in Pakistan. The film opened to much applause at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Margarita, With a Straw 



Director of the controversial and critically-acclaimed 2005 film Amu, Shonali Bose is back this time with Margarita, With A Straw, the only Indian film to win an award at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Lead Kalki Koechlin plays a rebellious young writer affected by cerebral palsy.


Bangistan 



Film critic Karan Anshuman is working on his debut directorial venture Bangistan, a comedy starring Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat, playing rival, blundering terrorists on a mission to change the world. Produced by Farhan Akhtar's Excel Entertainment, the film releases in April.

Bajirao Mastaani 



The much-speculated Sanjay Leela Bhansali film announced way back in 2003 will finally see light of day this December starring Ram Leela cast - Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra.

Shaandaar 




After the hugely successful Queen, director Vikas Bahl is now working on a destination wedding film, pairing Shahid Kapoor opposite Alia Bhatt. Produced by Kashyap's Phantom Films and Dharma Productions, Shaandaar will have Karan Johar play a cameo in the film.

Bombay Velvet 



Neo-noir period drama is being touted as the biggest collaboration of B'wood and H'wood (backed by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle). It took Anurag Kashyap nine years to finally get this going. Some of it has been shot in Sri Lanka, to recreate the Bombay of the 50-60s. Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka will be see in lead roles, while Karan Johar will make his debut with it, in a negative role.  Originally scheduled for release in 2014, the film will finally release in May this year.

Jagga Jasoos 



The director-actor duo of the 2012 blockbuster Barfi will be seen again in Jagga Jasoos, another Ranbir Kapoor film that was scheduled for release last year. Anurag Basu had initially wanted Katrina to play Illeana’s part in Barfi. His dream pair and real-life lovers will finally be seen together in this one, after 5 years.

Tamasha



After a dry spell in 2014, Ranbir Kapoor will finally wind up the year with his fourth film releasing December (third film Roy releasing in February), opposite ex-beau Deepika Padukone and directed by Imtiaz Ali. And with him at the helm, this has to be one of my most awaited film of the year.

Byomkesh Bakshi





Be it as the carefree, boy-next-door Ishaan of Kai Po Che, confused lovesick Raghuram in Shuddh Desi Romance or the devoted lover Sarfaraz Yousuf in a brief role in pk, Sushant Singh Rajput has already proved he’s here to stay. He took home all debut awards in 2013. Taking a make-or-break leap into an unexplored territory, in his still-early filmy career, the actor is sure to up the ante with this Dibakar Banerjee film. Another award in the offing? ;-)

Titli



Another Dibakar Banerjee film (co-produced by Aditya Chopra) to watch out for this year is Titli, directed by Kanu Bahl (who co-wrote Love, Sex Aur Dhoka with Banerjee), starring Ranvir Shorey. Titli was the only Indian film selected to compete at the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival.


Piku 



After the rib-tickling Vicky Donor and espionage thriller Madras Cafe, Shoojit Sircar will be back with a drama comedy Piku, which deals with a father-daughter relationship. Some bits of Piku, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone, were shot 10 minutes from my house which is another reason I’m so excited about this one. It’s another story that I missed the shoot coz I only found out about it a day later :p

Dil Dhadakne Do 



After Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Zoya Akhtar will be back with Dil Dhadakne Do, which revolves around a dysfunctional Punjabi family on a cruise trip, featuring an ensemble cast - Ranveer Singh, Anushka, Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar & Anil Kapoor.


FAN 



After the not-so Happy New Year, Shahrukh will be back this year in FAN, where he’ll play a double role - the superstar himself and his look-alike. Produced by Aditya Chopra, FAN has been directed by writer-director duo of Band Baaja Baraat - Maneesh Sharma and Habib Faisal. The film is slated for release August 14, 2015.

Did I miss something? Which films are you looking out for in 2015?

Let's talk in the comments below! You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter :)

Happy 2015!
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

pk (2014) - Review


pk follows director Rajkumar Hirani's signature template - formulaic, longish, with the regular song and dance routine (which by the way doesn't break the pace), homing in on a social message that rings with the masses. This time Hirani makes a commentary on the religious beliefs that mold our identity as individuals. The premise isn't much of a surprise after the recently-released religious satire OMG. But Hirani narrates his story in the most gripping, entertaining way. The humor is mostly subtle, dialogues incisive and with Aamir Khan's perfect timings, pk is easily one of the better films of this year. The film has its OTT moments (mostly in the second half) but those are passable in the commercial scheme of things.

While the first half is more about the protagonist - (an alien, whom most earthlings choose to address PeeKay/tharki for his absurd, mystical ways) - coming to terms with life and getting his way by as an inhabitant of a faraway planet, the second-half is more about him coming to terms with the obscurities of these earthlings - their individualities, their beliefs, even their language (He can't figure for the life of him, for instance, why humans would say they love chicken and still eat it). That's the unaffected innocence pk brings to this film which Aamir embellishes further with his perfected skills and experience.

For all the hype that surrounded the film before its release, it's a relief pk turned out the way it did and equally relieving is the fact that not every big actor banks solely on his star power to run a film. Aamir's hard work shines through in every frame.

Except for her egregiously ample lips, Anushka Sharma is a pleasure to watch and a delightful change from her usual super-hyper chirpy self. I wish pk had more of Sanjay Dutt (With the number of days he's out on a parole, Hirani could've easily managed that ;-) His comic timings are unmatchable. I particularly loved the song Tharki Chokro. Their moves are adorable.

Musically, it's Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra's best album after Kareeb. And a DVD for keeps!

Have you seen pk? How did you like it? Tell us in the comments below or you can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Ending (2014) - Review


Happy Ending takes a jibe at the cheesy romcoms, breaking away from the rhetoric at times while still giving in to the same rhetoric many a times. Despite the aberrations, it's the kind of film I wouldn't mind watching again. It's witty, often refreshing and effortlessly manages to keep you involved.

I Hate Luv Storys tried a similar spin, spoofing romcoms, but failed miserably. It's too insignificant to even merit a comparison with this one.

Saif Ali Khan here is pitch-perfect as Yudi. He balances minimal dialogues just as well as letting expressions take over, when required. Most times, he can just leave it to his face to do all the talking. And my my, Yudi cutie pie (like his beyond smothering girlfriend calls him) is getting hotter and younger by the day! (I'm hardly embarrassed to admit here that having watched the film along with the star cast may skew my opinion about him :P)

Kalki Koechlin is brilliant as the annoying, nagging girlfriend. Illeana D' Cruz too holds sway as the budding writer and a secure woman, confident in her skin. Ranvir Shorey plays the oppressed, hen-pecked husband to the hilt. Govinda brings more comedy to this romcom and for fans, there's even a dance number with his signature moves and expressions. Preity Zinta's short appearance brings back happy memories of her last outing with Saif and my muchly favorite - Salaam Namaste!

You'll see flashes of a lot of other Bollywood romedies (Bachna Ae Haseeno, Wake Up Sid) but Happy Ending is definitely a one-time watch and for Saif fans, a DVD for keeps!


Are you planning to watch the film? Or seen it already? Let's talk in the comment below. You can also get in touch with me on Twitter or Facebook.
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Haider (2014) - Review


The tremendously skilled Vishal Bhardwaj packs a terrific punch with Haider. His technical precision is palpable in every frame. I had no reason to complain about the length. He creates and builds upon every character, every scene with hearty indulgence, letting us soak up and savor every bit of it.

How he adapts this Shakespearean family drama to tell the story of Kashmir, adds a feather to his perfected storytelling!

His poetic rendition and minimalistic tone added to the overall impact. Bhardwaj's direction judiciously and compellingly emphasized reaction over action, which helped connect more passionately with the characters than just the plot. (The song sequence, for instance, where Haider enacts a story and his chacha Khurram's (Kay Kay) response to it or where he catches his mother Ghazala (Tabu) and Khurram sing and exchange a laugh, barely unmoved by his father's disappearance and many more much scenes).

The Oedipus complex between the son and the mother is explored excellently subtly, with just the appropriate overtone to go down well with the Indian audiences.

Shahid Kapoor delivers an explosive performance, reminding us of his remarkable breadth as an actor. From wrath to bewilderment, madness to vengeance, he captures every transition tellingly. Shradha Kapoor is strikingly convincing. Kay Kay and Tabu glide through with mastered ease but it's Tabu who eclipses all and shines in one of the most well-written characters ever. She owns every frame, to say the least.

I could go on but no word quite befits the glory this film deserves. Go watch it!

How about those of you who have seen it? Your views on the film? Let's talk in the comments below. You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Khoobsurat (2014) Review


Khoobsurat is as cliched-as-quirky coming together of lovers (and families) with contrasted upbringings.

While Sonam's unapologetically over-the-top act (mostly in the first half) takes some getting used to, she shows steely intensity and is rather endearing in a lot of other scenes.

Her excessively boisterous sense of style can pass for a young, 20-something but doesn't wash for her kind of profession. Or is it just me? Our blue-blood royal Prince Vikram Singh Rathore (Fawad Khan) impressively pulls off every bit of his act with swooning flair and restrained dignity.

Their chemistry is real and palpable. Their exchanges are fun and refreshingly enacted, particularly the scene immediately post interval. I also couldn't stop smiling at Sonam's brash yet innocent admission in a scene that comes towards the end "tumhe dekh kar gande khayaal aate hai."

Ratna Pathak plays the royal, snooty queen to near perfection but the character felt tad bit repetitive for bringing back memories of her famed Sarabhai vs Sarabhai's character. It has a cliched, uni-dimensional streak to it which is an overhang on an otherwise potentially strong role.


Aamir Raza Hussain (Shekhar Singh Rathore, the king) brings a graceful, natural ease to his role, which makes him a delight to watch. Kirron Kher charms and entertains as the loud Punjabi mother. Her timings are unbeatable.

The supporting cast does more for the film or even if as much, as the lead pair together.

Special mention to sound designers/supervisors who managed to address every subtlety, every nuance of a scene. 

With scant expectations, Khoobsurat turned out a pretty decent watch.

PS: Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai was cringe-evoking and a royal misfit in this sober setting.

Have you seen the film? How did you like it? Let's talk in the comments below. Or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.
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Friday, September 5, 2014

Priyanka Chopra delivers a knockout performance in Mary Kom


Riding high on emotion and melodrama, Mary Kom packs in enough punch to keep you rooting for the film and our protagonist till the end.

I'm not sure how much of this real-life tale was fictionalized but director Omung Kumar takes enough cinematic liberties to hold the audience's interest and get its cash registers ringing.

For a first-time director, Mary Kom is an above-average attempt. The screenplay is pacy, leaving no room for distractions except the dramatic flashbacks of Mary's child delivery scenes, which intended to create a build up, but end up all sizzle no steak.

If there's only one reason you must not miss this film, it's Priyanka Chopra. Her act is a fitting tribute to the real-life achiever Mary Kom and her unshakeable resolve to fight a hard-won battle.

You empathize with her, cry for her, smile with her, get inspired by her.

The downside is Mary Kom is not a richly-layered character. She's strong-willed, forever furious (except for rare hints of humor) and loves boxing. That's about it. For a biopic, you'd expect the director to explore beyond this. But Priyanka does complete justice with whatever material she had.

Mary's constant support, husband Onler (played by Darshan Kumar), had a pleasing screen presence. Even as times are changing today, men supporting their wives/families this staunchly is a rarity.


The rest of the cast Sunil Thapa (coach), Rajni Basumatary (mother) and Robin Das (father) fitted well in their roles. 


The film may have been made with a commercial intent, but warrants a one-time watch for the inspiring journey of the wonder woman Mary Kom.


Over to you!

Have you seen the film? What are your views? Let's talk in the comments below. You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.
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Thursday, August 14, 2014

...quoted in The Asian Age

The Asian Age ran a story on August 12, 2014 carrying our views :-)





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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I want to work with Gulzaar saab again: Jimmy Shergill


It's hard to come by actors, who can pull off every genre with such brisk ease, you can never get enough. The abundantly gifted Jimmy Sheirgill, who's come a long way from Maachis and dished out films as assorted as A Wednesday, Yahaan, Saheb Biwi aur Gangster, says this is just the beginning. In a quick interview, Sheirgill talks to me about the kind of films he enjoys doing, what he thinks about the "underrated" tag, his upcoming films and more! 


You've experimented with different films. What genre do you enjoy the most? 

I like light-hearted films. There's so much pressure on you all the time and then you do these intense roles, it just adds up. Somewhere while making these lighter films, you laugh, have a good time, enjoy with your co-actors and then you make other people laugh. Vo baat alag hai ki (It's another thing that) I'm always offered really intense, serious roles, and these roles and scripts are so good, one can't say a no. 

Did you always want to act?

Yeah. Once I went to Bombay for my acting classes I knew this is what I wanted to do. When I was In Bombay, I got to know that Gulzaar saab was making a film (Maachis) and I went to meet him. I thought even if he took me in his team I would get to learn -- production, direction or anything, as a student of cinema. But somewhere he saw something in me and offered me one of the characters in the film. That's where it all started. 

Which has been the toughest role/character to portray so far?

Quite a few. But the toughest was Saheb Biwi aur Gangster 2, where I was restricted to this wheelchair. I wondered how much can one do. But Tigmanshu (Dhulia) was very confident that we'd work this out. He assured me he would not make it look boring and I've always believed in him. Finally, when the film got made the kind of reviews we received from both the audiences and the critics were so encouraging.

What are you working on next?

Right now Tigmanshu is shooting for something else but let's hope he quickly gets the script of Part 3 (Saheb Biwi aur Gangster) ready. The work is going on. He needs to finish the script and then decide when we begin shooting. I'm really looking forward to it. Then there is Anand Rai's Tanu Weds Manu 2


A director you'd like to work with? 

I'm already working with Tigmanshu, Anand Rai. Then there is Soojit Sircar, Rahul Dholakia, Neeraj Pandey. These directors did their first films with me and I'm happy that all of them are big film-makers today. But Gulzaar saab is somebody I want to work with again. I did my first film with him and really wish he makes another film and I'm a part of it.

You're one of the most versatile yet the most under-rated actors we have today...

It's better to be called 'underrated' than to be called somebody who doesn't deserve it. I feel good about it. I take it as a compliment. 

Would you like to venture outside of acting, may be writing or directing? 

I'm very much enjoying this phase where I'm doing these different characters. I think it's just the beginning. I would not want to venture into anything else as of now
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