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Before Milkha Singh’s race against Pakistan’s champion runner Abdul Khaliq, the Pakistani coach says to Milkha, “yeh aapki zindagi ki aakhri race saabit ho sakti hain,” to which, Milkha replies “daudoonga bhi waise hi.” This is exactly what Farhan Akhtar has done for the film. He has put everything he has got in the film, as if this was the last film he would ever act in. 

Take a bow, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra – for you have created a masterpiece. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag redefines Hindi cinema and makes the audience realize that Hindi cinema is not just limited to item songs, over-the-top melodrama and cheesy dialogues. Our film industry has tons of potention, and the movies releasing this month are proving the same. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a tribute to the Flying Sikh, is a superbly directed and well-written biopic. Such a film takes a lot of hard work put in not just by the director, but by the entire cast and crew. Farhan Akhtar, who plays the legendary athlete Milkha Singh, plays his part with conviction, making the audiences believe – for the length of the film – that he IS Milkha Singh. After training hard for a year, Farhan was able to achieve the required physique for an athlete. Mehra makes sure that this dedication does not go unnoticed, and has therefore added a lot of wideshots, close-ups of Farhan’s ripped arms, legs and six-pack abs. 

The film holds your attention for the most part, but loses grip a few times after the interval. There are some scenes and a song sequence between Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor which could have been edited out. Scenes with Farhan Akhtar training for the races have also been dragged out longer than necessary, which in turn slows down the pace of the film. What saves the audience from boredom in the “training scenes” is Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s adrenaline filled music. Tracks like Zinda, sung by Shankar Mahadevan’s son, Siddharth Mahadevan and Maston Ka Jhund, hype up the energy of the film. Meanwhile, tracks like Mera Yaar and Rangrez add a touch of romance to the film. 

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag might be resting on Farhan’s shoulders, but he has a great team of supporting actors who make the film a delight to watch. Actors Divya Dutta, Prakash Raj (plays a no-nonsense military trainer) and Pawan Malhotra (plays Milkha’s coach Gurudev Singh) provide immense support to Farhan and also explore their own acting skills. The film is a handsomely crafted biopic – sure to win a lot of accolades from film fanatics worldwide. Surely, you don’t want to miss this one.      

FILM-O-METER RATING: 4 OUT OF 5

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Do me a favour and don’t waste the precious 2 hours and 10 minutes of your life on this flick. Rowdy Rathore is the perfect example of a situation where a producer should think a hundred times before taking the decision to pour crores into a flop idea. Directed by Prabhu Deva, and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rowdy Rathore is a disaster of a movie. 

The film is driven by a loose plot, one which involves a pick-pocketer, Shiva (Akshay Kumar) who also happens to be a “humshakal” (lookalike) of an honest, righteous police officer Vikram Rathore, (also played by Akshay Kumar, obviously). Because of being a lookalike of Vikram, Shiva is unwillingly caught in a game of revenge. Baapji (Nassar) and his goons who are the “bhais” of a small town Devgarh are under the illusion that Shiva is Vikram Rathore and they are now after Shiva to finish him off. The film is basically about how Shiva comes to know the whole story behind Baapji’s enemity with Vikram Rathore, and about how Shiva must now take Rathore’s place and kill off Baapji and his goondas. 

Sonakshi Sinha plays Paro, Shiva’s love interest. She is at times the damsel-in-distress, and at times the inspiration behind Shiva’s countless cheesy dialogues and dance moves. Sonakshi Sinha can pull of the dance moves and good looks, but unfortunately that is not enough to get you through the film. She gives a lot of awkward expressions and her dialogue delivery throughout the film seems a bit forced. This being a complete Akshay Kumar film, Sonakshi Sinha has little to do. 

Akshay Kumar gives it his all. His moustache, his built body, his humorous dialogue delivery, and of course, his fighting abilities. There are a few well directed action sequences, but nothing that stands out. All those scenes have been ripped off from Vikramarkudu anyway. If you didn’t know, Rowdy Rathore is a remake of Vikramarkudu, a telugu film. 

The music of film is something that’ll last in audience’s memory for a month or so, and then it will be forgotten. Sajid-Wajid being the music directors you can expect a lot of loud music throughout the film, but after the first song or two, it starts sounding repetitive. The “Chinta Ta Ta Chita” beat is used in almost every song in this film, and it makes every song sound similar. 

Films like these make me wonder what exactly happens at the narration sessions between the director and the actor. How does a director narrate nonsensical scenes to an actor and still manage to sound like a professional filmmaker? How does the actor react to these scenes after they have been narrated to him/her? 

There was only one thing that made this horrid experience more enjoyable for me in the theatres. And the thing was my tray of nachos and cheese that I was munching on. If you walk into the theatre expecting a life-changing experience, or mind-blowing acting, you will be majorly disappointed. You might get a few laughs out of the first few scenes, but later you’ll be sitting there cursing yourself for wasting 2 hours of your life. 2 hours of your life which you will never get back! 

FILM-O-METER RATING: 2 OUT OF 5   


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If you still haven’t watched Kahaani, here is something that will get you going. IT WILL BE THE BEST 2 HOURS 30 MINUTES YOU WILL SPEND IN A THEATRE.

And if that’s not reason enough, the thrill, the excitement, the plot, and the suspense will definitely get your feet walking towards the theatre on their own. Sujoy Ghosh, the director of Kahaani should go ahead and a take bow, because he has created a masterpiece.

Kahaani is a suspense-thriller about a pregnant woman, Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan), coming to Kolkatta to find her husband, Arnab Bagchi, who has gone missing. In her search of her missing husband, Vidya is aided by a local police officer, Rana (Parambrata Chattopadhyay). What follows is a roller-coaster of events that lead to the truth behind the hunt for a missing man and raise questions about the very existence of a man named Arnab Baghchi.

Shot in the backdrop of Kolkatta during the Durga Puja festival, the film is vibrant, colourful and has a rustic feel to it. Every shot has meaning to it, and nothing seems unnecessary or out of place. There are no songs used as fillers, and that helps in maintaining the continuity of the film.

Vidya Balan does a complete 180 turn from her character in The Dirty Picture. After seeing her seductive side, dressed provocatively in The Dirty Picture, her character in Kahaani is a refreshing change. She is covered head to toe, and has mannerisms and body language of a pregnant woman downpat. Parambrata, who plays Vidya’s pillar of support, has a gentle attitude towards everything which makes his character all the more amiable. The entire film is bound by the characters of Vidya Balan and Parambrata Chattopadhyay, and it is interesting to see how their relationship evolves over the course of the plot.

Other than the plot, the script and the acting, the background score is also something to watch out for. It brings a new feel to film, making the scenes seem darker, more dangerous, and heartwarming when necessary. Amitabh Bachchan’s rendition of Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Ekla Chalo Re’ touches the heart. All these separate elements come together to make the film into a package that is thrilling, exciting and – at the same time – entertaining.

In the past two weeks, the Hindi film industry has really outdone itself, and it has given us all a ray of hope. Kahaani proves that Bollywood is capable of making more than just “leave your brain at home” type masala films. If you haven’t watched this masterpiece yet, you are missing out on one of the most brilliant movies to be made this year.

This is where you stop reading, and book your movie tickets, because I am giving it 4.5 stars out of 5!

FILM-O-METER RATING: 4.5 OUT OF 5

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Paan Singh Tomar may not be a mainstream film, but it has more potential than any of the big commercial films which have released so far this year. 

     Directed and written by Tigmanshu Dhulia, and produced by Ronnie Screwvala, Paan Singh Tomar is a balanced film, with just the right amount of comedy, tragedy and revenge. Paan Singh Tomar is a story of an athlete (Irrfan Khan) who represents India in the International Military Games and wins a gold medal in the steeplechase. Later, he is forced to give up athletics in order to look after his family and farm – which has been illegally taken over by one his relatives, Bhawar Singh. After a turn of events, Paan Singh leaves his family behind and there begins his life as a dacoit. He forms his own gang of dacoits and together they plan kidnappings, extortion, and murders. 

     Irrfan Khan who plays Paan Singh Tomar brings the right attitude to the role. There is sarcasm as well as confidence in the way he delivers. The audience will get to see a different side of Irrfan Khan in this film where he brilliantly portrays a subedaar, a son, a husband, an athlete, and finally a fugitive dacoit who is feared by many. Mahie Gill who plays his wife also delivers flawlessly. The dialect and the language in the dialogues comes out quite effortlessly, and it almost seems like the actors have been speaking the dialect for years. 

     The cinematography is very well done and truly captures the essence of a place like Chambal with deep ravines, cliffs, and rivers. The music by Abhishek Ray is subtle and at no point does it overpower the performances, or the plot. The track “Kero Mama” which has been powerfully rendered by Agnee’s vocalist Mohan, is definitely something to look forward to. 

     The direction, acting, script, music and cinematography is what binds the film together, and it is a perfect example of the fact that Bollywood is truly capable of making meaningful and hard-hitting films. It does not take bare bodies, item songs and cheesy comedy to make a successful film. What it takes is a good script, and acting skills that set the bar high. 

FILM-O-METER RATING: 4.5 OUT OF 5

film biopsy: don 2

Posted: December 26, 2011 in Film Biopsy

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It might not be SRK’s year this time, but you have to applaud the man’s guts. After the debacle that was Ra.One, he had the courage to return in Don 2. Any Shahrukh Khan film is hugely anticipated, most awaited, and claimed a sure   shot success at the box office even before it releases. Don 2, directed, produced and written by Farhan Akhtar, belongs solely to Farhan Akhtar.

Shahrukh Khan, as well all know can do great things in movies. Don 2 is about the rise of Don (Shahrukh Khan). The first part of the film deals with Vardhan (Boman Irani) and Don coming together to get control over the Malaysian drug market. Boman Irani can be seen in some superb scenes where he manages to captivate the audience for a few moments. Of course, it is a film about the underworld, so you can go in expecting a lot of “dhishoom-dhishoom” and a lot of glamour thanks to Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta. The women in the film don’t have much of a role. Lara Dutta has a line or two here and there and stumbles through it without any kind of impressive dialogue delivery. Priyanka Chopra on the other hand, gets to beat up a few bad guys and establishes a certain kind of chemistry with Shahrukh Khan.

There a few twists and turns in the film that will have you gasping, but there are also a few predictable moments. The action scenes in this film are definitely worth a mention. Cars blowing up, glass shattering, burly men getting into brawls; it’s all there for your eyes to feast upon. But acting-wise, SRK disappoints, and so does most of the cast of the film. If you are a Hrithik Roshan, you might be able to satisfy your Roshan-craving with his cameo, which is one of the highlights of the film.

There is really nothing more to say about this flick. As mentioned earlier the film entirely belongs to Farhan Akhtar, and the 146 minutes that you can sit in the theatre is all thanks to director-sahab for directing the movie so fantastically. Other than that, as the phrase goes, why fix something that ain’t broke; there was no need for this film to ever be made, just like Shahrukh’s Don didn’t require to be made. Amitabh Bachchan’s Don was the perfect package.

FILM-O-METER RATING: 2.5 OUT OF 5

film biopsy: ladies vs. ricky bahl

Posted: December 10, 2011 in Film Biopsy

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Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl – for some reason, the film doesn’t quite stand out. After the promotions, the music videos, and the teaser trailers, one would expect a fantastic film. However, you will be disappointed if you walk into the theatre expecting the same chemistry as Band Baaja Baraat. 

     Ofcourse, it is almost the same team as Band Baaja Baraat, but this film definitely doesn’t have the same charm. Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl is about Ricky Bahl (Ranveer Singh), a conman who deceives unsuspecting, rich girls using his charm, his smile, his gentleman-like behaviour. Once his prey starts trusting him, he runs away with their money, never to be seen again. Dimple Chaddha (Parineeti Chopra), Raina Parulekar (Dipannita Sharma) and Aditi Sharma (Saira Rashid) play the naive targets of Ricky Bahl, who adopts various aliases to con them, and finally runs away with their money. Once the three “ladies” find out that they have been conned by the same man, they hire Ishika Desai (Anushka Sharma) to get back at him. Ricky Bahl finally meets his match in Ishika who is also set to con him. 

     The film follows the classic plot of any other con story, with a few innovations here and there, and catchy one-liners. Otherwise, the story is quite predictable, and follows the hit formula of men with dashing hot bods, abs, long fluttering hair, cars, and women in bikinis. 

     In terms of acting, Ranveer Singh is quite believable in his conman character, but definitely could have done better. It is almost as if Bittoo Sharma jumped out from Band Baaja Baraat and found his way into this film. Anushka and Ranveer’s chemistry is not as sizzling as expected. In fact, it gets a little cold after the initial 15 minutes. Parineeti Chopra, however, manages to impress. Her character as a loud, self-obsessed Delhi girl comes across very naturally, and she portrays herself as a very real person. Dipannita Sharma and Aditi Sharma have stayed within their limits, neither of them trying too hard, or too little. 

     There are some parts in the film that will excite audiences and it is all thanks to the background score. The songs are also a plus point of the film; especially Thug Le, which is being hailed as the next Ainvayi Ainvayi. Overall, the film is a one-time watch. Don’t go in with too many expectations, because you might be disappointed. The girls might enjoy Ranveer Singh’s shirtless scenes, and the boys might spare a whistle for Anushka Sharma, but it is a weekend film. 

FILM-O-METER RATING: 3.5 OUT OF 5

film biopsy: mausam

Posted: September 23, 2011 in Film Biopsy

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Pankaj Kapoor’s directorial debut, Mausam had created much anticipation due to the controversies that surrounded the release of the film. Because of all the controversy the audience was even more eager to watch the film. But is the film worth all this anticipation.

Mausam is a love story about Harinder Singh a.k.a Harry (Shahid Kapoor) and Aayat (Sonam Kapoor) who meet in a small village in Punjab, and that is where their innocent young romance begins. The story takes place over a long period of time, as due to circumstances, Aayat and Harry never get a chance to truly confess their love to each other. The rest of the film is about how they overcome the obstacles of time, and other incidents that occur in their lives, to be together. The ups and downs in their love story depends mostly on the major historic events that stirred India between 1990 to 2002.

The film starts off with a lot of humor, and scenes of celebration. Although, the story seems like a tried and tested formula, it has been directed in a unique way. It is not the typical action and romance film where the hero kills off all the villains and gets the heroine in the end. The film takes a long time to come to a conclusion, and there are points where you might just say, “When is it going to be over?” To enjoy this film, you might have to put yourself in that mindset. The film describes pure love, tried by times and still going strong.

The dialogue delivery and the acting are definitely worth mention. Supriya Pathak, who plays Aayat’s aunt, gives a great performance. While the first half is very colorful and a delight to watch, the second half is slow, and unrealistic. Many a times in the film, the sequence of the scenes is abrupt and irrelevant. The second half is spread out with many changes in locations and settings which makes the film hard to follow, and very jumpy. The time period goes by quite fast making it hard for the audience to really latch on to the emotions in the scenes.

After the intermission, it seems like Pankaj Kapoor got tired of making the film and just kept adding events and plots just to finish the film. Mausam has its fair share of cheesy dialogues, and impracticalities.

While the direction is superb, more effort could have been put into writing the screenplay and the dialogues. An improvement in the plot and dialogues would have given the film the continuity that it otherwise lacks.

Mausam is a worth a watch, if you keep in mind that it is not going to be a feel-good romantic movies. It is going to be an emotional journey: one that will last almost three hours.

FILM-O-METER RATING: 3 OUT OF 5