Saturday, September 16, 2017

SIMRAN : Movie Review

A Brilliant Simran With an Incoherent Script!
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Kangana Ranaut has repeatedly proved her acting prowess, though she has an equal number of flops as her hits too. Hansal Mehta’s outing this time with the film ‘Simran’ is a time pass movie and cannot be compared to the standards of his earlier ventures like ‘Aligarh’ and ‘Shahid’. Simran is watchable because of an actress like Kangana because she is undoubtedly loaded with talents to essay any role which is thrown to her. She fits the bill incredibly.
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Praf aka Praful Patel is a Gujarati divorcee settled in Georgia with her homemaker mom and her father who has a small time business of selling Gujarati delicacies to his fellow migrants who have settled there like him. Praf works as housekeeping staff in Hilton who shows no visible sadness or trouble of being a divorcee. She is as sprightful as a squirrel. She cherishes to own her own apartment one day and is delighted to zero in on one under minority scheme which she is eligible to apply for. What follows is a series of hurdles to get a housing loan approved and her impulsive squabble with her father and mother on her not settling down again in life which led to a reluctant trip to Las Vegas with her recently engaged friend.
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Her trip to the sin city makes her taste success at the baccarat table in a casino and true to her nature splurges on everything that she can lay her hands on. It seems that Praf may not have heard or read what Bill Gates once said - “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose”. As the age-old Hindi adage “मरता क्या न करता (drive someone to the wall), Praf is left with no options but to sin after her return from the sin city to pay back to her creditors a huge amount which she repeatedly lost for trying her luck at the baccarat table after her initial success.
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Simran is a film that is based on the real-life sensational story of an Indian-American Sandeep Kaur, infamously known as ‘Bombshell Queen” and “Gambling Queen”. Kangana Ranaut is brilliant as an actor but the script and the screenplay don't rise to the expectation of the audience. It seems that the controversy that surrounded in giving credit to Kangana Ranaut as ‘additional writer’ along with the original writer Apurva Asrani’ has affected the final outcome on the screen. The script is incoherent and the way Simran executes the bank robbery with ease is really funny. What is more laughable is how Simran follows the same modus operandi while the news channels telecast footage of her daredevil act. The banks are unmanned and have an easy entry as if it is an institution free for all to learn how to loot. Apurva Asrani is a talented writer and film editor who has showcased his ability in films like Satya, CityLights, Aligarh and much more.

In short, Simran is a time pass film. Maybe, Hansal Mehta wanted to make a light-hearted movie but didn’t expect him to make a movie too lightly after ‘Aligarh’. Go and watch Simran without many expectations and see the much talented Kangana Ranaut make you laugh.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2.5 /5

Cast: Kangana Ranaut (Simran), Soham Shah, Esha Tewari Pande, Aneesha Joshi, Mark Justice, Hiten Kumar, Manu Narayan, Rupinder Nagra, Usha Jerajani

Genre: Comedy Drama

Director: Hansal Mehta

Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Shailesh R Singh, Amit Agarwal

Written by: Apurva Asrani

Additional Writer: Kangana Ranaut

Music by: Sachin-Jigar

Cinematography: Anuj Rakesh Dhawan

Edited by: Antara Lahiri

Production Company: T Series, Paramhans Creations Entertainment, Adarsh Telemedia

Release Date: 15th September, 2017

Duration: 124 Minutes

Language: Hindi

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Gurgaon : Movie Review

Gurgaon: Tale of Fratricide!
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The first recorded fratricide was when Cain killed Abel (A Biblical Story). Abel, son of Adam and Eve was killed; God cast Cain into the wilderness, so Adam and Eve had to have a third son Seth, to propagate the entire human race.

Human history is of interest because you find in it many journeys of aspirations that is driven by good as well as bad intentions and deeds. The film Gurgaon is based upon the yesteryears Gurgaon that was slowly waking up to the designs of the land sharks who had a magnificent city with concrete jungle on their map displayed on their glass office table. A few years back, the Delhi-NCR woke up to the shocking news of the fratricidal fight that led to the murder of a business tycoon and his brother at a disputed south Delhi farmhouse. In the film Gurgaon too we find behind the veil of riches the tragic killings and spine chilling dark secrets.
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Shankar Raman’s directorial debut is commendable and the star casts have done justice to the characters they play. Shankar Raman seems to have taken utmost care not to tread the beaten path of many others who make such dark movies with loud background scores, car races, running with weapons behind rivals, chopping them into pieces and stuffing them in gunny bags, molesting and raping women, or with a sleazy item song etc. It seems Shankar Raman knows what he wants to convey without much melodrama.
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Pankaj Tripathi as Kehri Singh a man who rose from rags to riches needs special mention for his outstanding performance. Kehri Singh’s silent demeanour hides his past and he appears to be too scared to find his wicked shades in his young son Niki Singh ( Akshay Oberoi). Pankaj leaves no stones unturned to prove his mettle as an actor be it as the railway officer Satyaji in Masaan, Sultan of Gangs of Wasseypur, Principal of Nil Battey Sannata, the lover in Annarkali of Aarah and much more… Pankaj Tripathy has made a significant identity as a versatile actor in the tinsel town which by now has spanned more than a decade.
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Akshay Oberoi as Nikki Singh, the elder son of Kehri Singh has matched his performance to the hilt with his other co-stars. Akshay’s eyes convey a lot – rejection, hurt, insecurity and hunger for power. Akshay Oberoi as Rajesh in the film ‘Laal Rang’ had a given a noteworthy performance but then, unfortunately, the audience didn’t lap up the movie which he did with Randeep Hooda. He is another actor who is on a rise.

Ragini Khanna as Preeto,  the US returned daughter of Kehri Singh has done a good job. Bound for the rest of her life to mutely agree to all the decisions her father makes for her just because he never said no to her. An apple of her father’s eyes she is the heir of his ill-gotten wealth and also a potential threat to the aspirations of her brother Nikki Singh. Shalini Vats has a studied silence as the wife of the indomitable Kehri Singh. She has buried many doubts and anger within her because of the fear of losing her family’s peace. Her love for Preeto and Kehri Singh considering Preeto as his lucky charm has many things to say.

The other characters like Chintu, the youngest son (Verma), Bhuppi (Aamir Bashir) brother of Kehri Singh who knows the darkest alley of  Kehri’s heart has wins the audience heart.
In short, film Gurgaon deserves a one time watch for its story and treatment. At a time when you wonder why Harry Met Sejal why not visit Gurgaon in a nearby theatre and spend time worth watching a movie which is made well. What needs to be remembered is the story of Cain and Abel still hold relevance in this age too, where distinctive human passions, pre eminently wounded pride, anger, jealousy, and fear exists.

.Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 3.25/5

Cast: Pankaj Tripathy (Kehri Singh), Aamir Bashir(Bhuppi), Akshay Oberoi (Nikki Singh), Ragini Khanna (Preeto), Shalini Vatsa (Wife of Kehri Singh)

Genre: Crime Thriller

Director: Shanker Raman

Producers: Madhukar R. Musle, Ajay G. Rai, Alan McAlex, Nisha N. Sujan, Abbas Ali Ratansi

Screenplay & Dialogues by: Shanker Raman, Sourabh Ratnu, Vipin Bhatti, Yogi Singha
Music by: Naren Chandavarkar, Benedict Taylor

Lyrics: Manoj Yadav

Edited by: Shaan Mohammed

Cinematography: Vivek Shah

Production Company: A Jar Pictures Production

Presented by: M R Filmworks, Hashtag Film Studios

Release Date: 4th August 2017

Language: Hindi

Monday, August 7, 2017

Jab Harry Met Sejal : Movie Review

Jab Harry Met Sejal: What You Seek Is Seeking You!
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According to the 13th century Persian Poet and Sufi Mystic Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi, popularly known as Rumi, “Jise Tum Dhoond Rahe Ho, Wohi Tumhe Dhoond Raha Hai”(What You Seek Is Seeking You).  Imtiaz Ali known for his philosophical messages in his movies try to draw a point through Harry and Sejal that we all are seeking something.  We seek that something that we miss in people and things around us so that our weaknesses is complemented with their strengths and in the process, we become complete together as ‘One’.

Harry, a travel guide working with Euro Travels is also a womanizer and according to him has been fired many times by his bosses and had to shift places to continue in his profession. He is aware of his weakness and he also tries hard to overcome this vice but admits nonchalantly that he finally falls prey to it. He is also found to escape by being confronted by his past girlfriends.
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Harry’s carefree life takes a turn when one of his tourist, Sejal, a Gujarati from India, decides to stay back in Amsterdam to search her lost engagement diamond ring by letting her fiancé and family members to fly back to India. Sejal, a chirpy girl all set for her marriage doesn’t want to be listed as an irresponsible girl who lost a diamond ring gifted by her fiancé and is determined not to live with that tag for the rest of her life. Sejal has no other option but to hold Harry for ransom with a threat that she will complain to his boss if he doesn’t accompany her. Harry for fear of losing his job and being deported from Europe decides to reluctantly be with Sejal in her search for her ring.

Imtiaz Ali’s effort to convey a beautiful message gets diluted due to its lengthy, repetitive, pointless and dumb scenes. The various locations Harry and Sejal travels in search of the ring is depicted by a map that pops up at regular intervals whereas all the locations seem same. After every hug, they land up at a new foreign location. What is interesting to note is, at one point of time Sejal herself says that all the places look the same. I wonder, whether Imtiaz himself realized late that he didn’t  make the places look distinct in his film nor his scenes. Imtiaz Ali falters in justifying the romance between Harry and Sejal by not giving us compelling reasons to believe what is happening onscreen. He also doesn’t build up the character of Harry in regard to why and how he left his family in Punjab and migrated to Europe. There is just a fleeting mention that he wanted to become a singer and at one point of time sings at full throttle a Punjabi song justifying that it is because he got used to singing louder than his tractor’s sound on the field.
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Shah Rukh Khan as Harrinder Singh aka Harry tries hard to give his best performance but at times looks tired, over doing things and aged. Anushka Sharma as Sejal sounds different because of her Gujarati accent and has given a decent performance. As actors both of them seems to be aware of the superficial and forced romantic scenes and dialogues. The two have shared the screen space for the third time. There past onscreen outing Rab Ne Banadhi Jodi and Jab Tak Hi Jaan were far better and had a better audience too.
It is unfortunate to mention that Shah Rukh Khan who has done such wonderful movies in the past, is found off late not so deft in choosing the right kind of stories and films he should be doing.

The songs and background score are ok. Lyrics by Irshad Kamil are good. In short, Jab Harry Met Sejal, the audience keep wondering why they met and by that time when they realize, they find the credit lines roll on the screen. Imtiaz Ali, no doubt has offered good movies like Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal, Rockstar, Highway and Tamasha etc but this time he seems to be carried away by his own fancies somewhere getting disconnected with his huge audience who love his kind of films. What I would suggest is, if you are a diehard fan of SRK, go for it, otherwise, give a skip and wait for him to come up next time with a better one.

.Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2/5

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan (Harrinder Singh aka Harry), Anushka Sharma (Sejal Zaveri), Aru Krishansh Verma (Mayank), Evelyn Sharma (Neha), Chandan Roy Sanyal (Gas)

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Director: Imtiaz Ali

Producer: Gauri Khan

Written by: Imtiaz Ali

Music by: (Songs) Pritam, Diplo; (Background Music) Hitesh Sonik

Edited by: Aarti Bajaj

Cinematography: KU Mohanan

Production Company: Red Chillies Entertainment

Distributor: Yash Raj Films

Release Date: 4th July, 2017

Language: Hindi

Duration: 146 Minutes

Saturday, July 8, 2017

MOM : Movie Review

 ‘Mom’ Devoh Bhavah!
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Debutant Director Ravi Udyavar’s film ‘MOM’ is a family crime thriller with Sridevi playing the pivotal role of a mom to two young daughters. After ‘English Vinglish’ in 2012, Sridevi appears to be quite determined to win your hearts by her terrific performance as a mother who is disturbed by the unpleasant events that has rocked her family life.

‘MOM’ reminds you of many other similar films - like Ashtar Sayed’s ‘Maatr’ featuring Raveena Tandon and Kim Yong-han’s South Korean crime drama film ‘Don’t Cry Mommy’. Having said this, the topic is so sensitive and socially relevant that such films still stirs your heart and leaves you disturbed. ‘MOM’ also reminds us that though as humans we have become hi-tech but live in a society that is still barbaric in its act.
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Mom features an ensemble of highly talented actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna, Abhimanyu Singh, Sajal Ali (Pakistani Actor), Adnan Siddiqui (Pakistani Actor) and the versatile Sridevi. What MOM fails to offer is a unique story but it triumphs in terms of performance and handling the story sensitively.

Sajal Ali as Arya, the traumatized rape victim and Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the middle-aged Daryaganj based private detective Dayashankar Kapoor (DK) needs special mention for their stellar performances. Nawazuddin has always surprised us and he continues to do so in MOM too.

AR Rahman’s music and more than half a dozen songs in MOM fails to find space in your heart and mind even though they claim to have tried hard to be highly unconventional. MOM as a film nose dives when it stick to the traditional and clichéd Bollywood style climax which is highly predictable and boring. Shifting the films location for the climax seems forced and diffuses realism to a great extent.   
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Moreover, Sridevi as Devki Sabharwal sounds more like a South Indian because of her accent that is quite contrast to her title ‘Mrs. Sabharwal’ in the film. Devki, a Biology teacher is found to be tech savvy and quite at ease in attempting burglary. Akshayye Khanna’s role as Mathew Francis, the super cop is limited to give more focus to Devki. Girish Kohli’s screenplay is flawed at many parts of the movie. Adnan Siddiqui as Anand has nothing substantial to do except feel helpless. Making a woman centric film doesn’t mean that one should undermine the other characters’ contributions and importance in developing the story to its hilt.  

In short, MOM is all about what you have seen and heard before but it is watchable because of its cast and performances. Moreover, ‘MOM’ is Sridevi’s 300th movie and has released in the 50th year of her film career and therefore, she deserves to be appreciated for her incredible roles she has played onscreen convincingly. So, go and watch for her and for the subject it handles.

.Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2.5 /5

Cast: Sridevi (Devki Sabharwal), Adnan Siddiqui (Anand), Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Dayashankar Kapoor), Akshaye Khanna (Mathew Francis), Sajal Ali (Arya), Abhimanyu Singh (Jaggan)

Genre: Family Crime Thriler

Director: Ravi Udyawar

Producers: Boney Kapoor, Sunil Maanchanda, Nresh Agarwal, Mukesh Talreja, Gautam Jain

Screenplay by: Girish Kohli

Story by: Ravi Udyawar, Girish Kohli, Kona Venkat Rao

Music by: A.R. Rahman

Edited by: Monisha R. Baldawa

Cinematography: Anay Goswami

Production Company: Mad Films, Third Eye Pictures

Distributor: Zee Studio, Sridevi Productions

Release Date: 7th July, 2017

Language: Hindi

Duration: 147 Minutes