Sunday, March 9, 2014
Queen is a routine, familiar character, very one of us. Naive, docile, acquiescent, untraveled. Rani Mehra (Queen) is comfortably shuttered from the world around her until life gives her a bolt from the blue when two days before her wedding, her fiancee calls it off. She is shattered but not without faith. She picks up the pieces and gets going, much reluctantly initially. What follows is an endearing journey of her exploits and self-discovery (Without getting out of character, mind you!) That is where her honesty and earnestness come to the fore.
In many ways, Queen reminded me of Highway. Of how this character, not quite by choice, sets off for a journey into the unknown and what she explores about herself. And how she gradually begins to finds comfort in the unknown. Queen, like Highway, is about the journey not the destination. Queen also takes you back to English Vinglish. Expect that here's a younger Shashi Godbole. There are even some typically cliched characters around both of them. Kangana also reminded me of Sridevi's good old days of Chandni, bubbly, brimming with life, with amazing comic timings.
Rajkummar Rao takes up almost any role and makes it his own. As a regressive fiancee, he's perfectly unlikeable. Lisa Haydon looks natural for most part but her dialogues appeared clumsy at times. Kangana's Japanese friend Taka was annoyingly hackneyed. Her daadi and brother Chintu were amusingly lovable characters. Queen's strength is also in its deletable nuances. It's those moments that make this worth a watch. My only grouse was that the film loses pace in bits and is mostly predictable. It could've been wound up much faster.
But if there's one reason you must certainly watch this, it's for Kangana! From her unrehearsed, unfilmy dialogues to her innocent smugness, to her brilliant timings, it's hard not to fall in love with this queen.
PS: Don't leave before watching the credits ;-)
Thursday, February 27, 2014
The spell is on and I don't want to be free. For in that spell, I am liberated. Highway is so consuming, it's intoxicating. And overwhelmingly gratifying, despite (or possibly because of) the utopian world it creates. Cinema indeed is the most beautiful fraud.
There isn't a force-fitted plot or characters trying to be a certain way. Imtiaz lets them be. They grow as the film progresses, discovering themselves in the process. He pushes against convention and expands the vocabulary of cinema to create this little wonder. It's hard to find a flaw. Or am I too dazed to find one? I'm not sure.
Reams have been written about the superlative performances of the leads, from the understated yet staggeringly impressive Randeep Hooda to Karan Johar's gem of a find Alia Bhatt. Casting director Mukesh Chhabra played his ace with Highway. I can't think of any of today's actresses outgun this 20-year and 2-film old starlet. Randeep Hooda, a jat from Haryana himself, is pitch perfect playing Mahaveer Bhaati (a gujjar [whose dialect is similar to jats]). His body language, his silences, add more color than words to his uncultured, simplistic character.
Their chemistry is not the routine Bollywood staple. I remember reading one of Hooda's recent interviews where he said "romance is not about looking at each other. It's about looking in the same direction." That quite summifies their equation in Highway. Without giving away more, I say, go watch it!
For those of you who have seen it, how did you like it? I'm waiting to hear from you in the comments below!
Saturday, February 15, 2014
A story that has been with Imtiaz Ali for 15 years, Highway is finally set to roll this February, starring one-film old Alia Bhatt, and Randeep Hooda, in an unlikely pairing. Sucker for Imtiaz's understated, unconventional style, and with Rahman's music to boot, I'm all agog for this one.
An adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Vishal Bhardwaj's next will have Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor in lead roles. The film, which courted much controversy while shooting in Kashmir, highlights the present situation in the strife-torn region. Lets hope the film lives up to all the noise.
PeekayAfter a long haul and Bollywood's biggest blockbuster (3 Idiots in 2009), Rajkumar Hirani will be back this December with Peekay, a political satire, starring Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Boman Irani and Sanjay Dutt.
Detective Byomkesh Bakshi
Be it as the carefree, boy-next-door Ishaan of Kai Po Che or the confused lovesick boy in Shuddh Desi..., Sushant Singh Rajput, who took home all debut awards in 2013, well proved he's here to stay. Taking a make-or-break leap into an unexplored territory, in his still-fledgling filmy career, the delectably enchanting actor is sure to up the ante with this Dibakar Bannerjee film. Another award in the offing? ;-)
The long-delayed thriller, which received a standing ovation at the Cannes last year, is Anurag Kashyap's comeback as a director after Gangs of Wasseypur & Bombay Talkies, and the most anticipated film this year. The lesser-known lead Rahul Bhatt (TV actor, who gained popularity with Henna) garnered much appreciation for his role.
The director-actor duo (Hansal Mehta-Rajkummar Rao) that gave us one of the finest films of last year, Shahid, will be back this May with City Lights, a remake of the critically acclaimed 'Metro Manila.' (Metro Manila was Britain's Oscar entry in the foreign language film category).
One of the most talked about festival films last year was this period drama starring Irrfan Khan, Tisca Chopra, Tillotama Shome, Rasika Dugal. It took director Anup Singh 12 years to finally bring it to the audiences.
The dark, zany 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 long years to finally get this going. Some of it has been shot in Sri Lanka, to recreate the Bombay of the 50-60s. Ranbir, Anushka will be seen in lead roles, while Karan Johar will make his debut with it, in a negative role.
Finding Fanny Fernandes
An English-Konkani satire starring Deepika Padukone and Arjun Kapoor, Finding Fanny Fernandes is Homi Adjania's (Being Cryus, Cocktail) next. A story of five characters who set off on a road trip that ends up unexpectedly long, Finding Fanny... also stars Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur, Dimple Kapadia. Deepika's alleged 'lover' will also make a guest appearance in the film ;-) Sonam Kapoor and Imran Khan who were the first choices for lead roles, were hardly enthused and turned down the offer. Lucky we ;-)
Which films are you looking forward to this year? Let's talk in the comment below!
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