Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Movie Review of 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns'




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The Story Frame

'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' is sequel to the movie 'Tanu Weds Manu' released in 2011 by Anand L Rai. The film's plot revolves around Tanu and Manu's marital discord and moves from London to India - shifting places from Kanpur, New Delhi and Jhajjhar district of Haryana. The story is about how a couple's squabble reaches to the verge of divorce; realization of love once again; and how in this family drama an innocent Haryanvi athlete falls in love with one of the protagonist. 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' is high on entertainment quotient and packed with stellar performances by all the actors, so it deserves to be watched to know what happens to Tanu and Manu's marital life having Kusum Aka Datto in between them as a strong contender for Manu.

Cast: Kangana Ranaut (Kusum, Tanu), R Madhavan (Manu), Jimmy Shergill  (Raja Awasthi), Deepak Dobriyal (Pappijee), Eijaz Khan (Jassi), Swara Bhaskar (Payal), Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub  (Chintu), Rajendra Gupta( Tanu's Father), Navni Parihar (Tanu's Mother),  K.K. Raina (Manu's Father), Dipti Mishra (Manu's Mother), Rajesh Sharma (Kusum's Brother), Rahul Shankalya (Kusum's Brother in the Village)

Genre: Drama

Language: Hindi

Story: Himanshu Sharma

Director: Anand L Rai

Producers: Kishore Lulla & Anand L Rai

Production Company: Colour Yellow Pictures

Distributed by: Eros International

Music: Krsna Solo, Tanishk-Vayu

Film Editing by: Hemal Kothari

Cinematography: Chirantan Das

Theatre Release: 22nd May, 2015

Duration: 132 minutes

Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Kangana Ranaut, 'The Queen' rocks in 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns', though the film flounders a bit in the second half! Her stupendous performances as Tanu, the outrageous girl of Kanpur and Kusum aka Datto, the state-level Haryanvi athlete are worth mentioning. Kangana effortlessly slither into the character of Tanu and Kusum and it shows how Kangana has evolved into a bankable actor in Bollywood. 

The movie begins with the video footages of the wedding ceremony of Tanu and Manu and takes a four-years leap from where Anand L Rai left his characters in his previous film to chart their lives. Tanu and Manu, London based couple, approach marriage counselors to resolve their marital discord but their attempt lands Manu behind bars of the London's mental asylum for losing his cool during the counseling session. Manu feels that his wife is suffering from Bipolar disorder and to accentuate his statement he comes up with a long list of obnoxious observations about Tanu. The scene in the asylum turns out to be hilarious when the doctor listening to Manu states - "if that is the case then almost every woman in the world might be suffering from Bipolar disorder". When Tanu retorts with her version of reasons for their marital discord the asylum scene becomes too comical leaving the audience into splits.

Deepak Dobriyal as Pappijee, Swara Bhaskar as Payal Rathore, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as Advocate Arun Kumar Singh and Jimmy Shergil as Raja Awasthi standout by their stellar performances. Deepak Dobriyal wins heart as Manu's sidekick and his performance successfully tickles the funny bone. Zeeshan Ayyub as a problematic tenant, lover-boy, and the advocate of Tanu who has his own sinister plans under his sleeve is outstanding. And in the midst of all these towering performances R Madhavan as Manu tries desperately hard to impress the viewers - but in vain. He seems not to be in his zing in 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' and as Tanu comments in one of the scene that he has become like a ginger growing from anywhere he wants (Adrak bangaya hi yeh, kahinse bhi bhad raha hi).

There are many instances where one shall laugh out loud: Pappijee enjoying his sightseeing in London forgetting that he is there to release Manu from the mental asylum; Payal's guilt of having a child from artificial insemination and hiding it from her husband Jassi (Eijaz Khan); the nagging mother of Manu and his father who claims that married life is to bear till you can afford and when you lose your cool - he breaks the tube light; Pappijee being escorted to the dias in Delhi University to deliver a lecture on Heart strokes; Tanu's appearance in a bath towel to see the would-be groom of her cousin amidst relatives and guests; Raja Awasthi's grievance that Manu wants both the original and the duplicate as well; Kusum singing an English song and seeking appreciation from Manu for her American accent.

The emotional tide that swept the audience are when Ankit Tiwari's melodious song "Mat Ja Re' is played; when Kusum gives back the ear rings gifted by Manu and says that she tried her best to keep the tops safe but it has turned out to be costly for her; Kusum confronting Manu to check whether he is in dilemma to get married to her; the wedding stage where Kusum says that no one around her is happy and that she is an athlete - she either comes first or fails but never goes for a consolation price.

The second half of the film is plagued with flaws and idiosyncrasies, a few to mention - Manu Sharma rushing to India to find his wife Tanuja Trivedi and falling in love with a look alike Delhi University Haryanvi student half his age; Manu approaching Kusum's family to propose marriage even before getting a legal divorce and Kusum's brother being portrayed as too accommodative and progressive; both Tanu and Manu being childishly adamant and easily falling prey to each other's stubbornness; the whole family of Manu Sharma, Tanu, Raja Awasthi, Pappijee, Jassi  and family along with his kidnapped sister participating in the most controversial marriage of Manu and Kusum; Tanu wandering in the village lane in Haryana half drunk knocking at a closed beauty parlour in the middle of the night and picking up a wig to look like Kusum;  Raja Awasthi, an ex-gangster turned contractor, who  was actually engaged to Tanu previously once again going through the experience of losing his would-be bridegroom to Manu is found participating in the wedding arrangements and counseling Manu to go back to his wife; the seventh fera of the wedding ceremony turning out to be too bollywood filmi style and clich├ęd for a realization of the actual vows of whether to be together or not.

Having said this, it is ok to be sentimental and not be so judgemental when you have two Kangana Ranauts competing with each other vying for appreciation from the viewers by their spectacular performances and aptly supported by a galaxy of performers.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns songs - "Banno", "Move On", Mat Ja Re", "Old School Girl", "Mari Gali", and "Ghani Bawri"- are hummable and melodious, it stays with you for long. Watch Tanu Weds Manu for its entertainment quotient and forgive Tanu and Manu's crew for meandering into illogical fields out of enthusiasm and sheer entertainment purpose.


Life Connoisseur Movie Rating:  3.5/5

Monday, May 18, 2015

Movie Review of Bombay Velvet


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The Story Frame:

Bombay Velvet is inspired by Gyan Prakash's book, Mumbai Fables that narrates the colourful history of Bombay and its becoming a Manhattan of India. It has Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Satyadeep Misra, Karan Johar, Siddhartha Basu, Kay Kay Menon, Manish Choudhary as lead actors.

It is the story of a Goan girl, Rosie Noronha, ending up as a Jazz singer in the city's hottest jazz bar called Bombay Velvet and Balraj aka Johnny, a small-time criminal who manages Bombay Velvet for a shrewd real estate and media baron, Kaizad Kambhatta.

The film's plot is about how powerful people with vested interest settles scores with each other to decide the destiny of an emerging city as the financial capital of India. What happens to the love story of Rosie and Balraj need to be watched in a nearby theatre.

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor (Balraj), Anushka Sharma (Rosie Noronha), Satyadeep Misra (Chimman, Balraj's friend), Karan Johar (Kaizad Khambata), Kay Kay Menon (Vishwas Kulkarni, Investigating Officer), Manish Choudhury (Jimmy Mistri, Editor of Glitz), Vivaan Shah (Tony, Rosie's driver), Siddhartha Basu (Romi Patel, Mayor)

Genre: Crime Drama

Direction: Anurag Kashyap

Produced by: Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane

Production Company: Phantom Films

Written by: Vasan Bala, Gyan Prakash, Anurag Kashyap, S. Thanikachalam

Based on: 'Mumbai Fables' by Gyan Prakash

Cinematographer: Rajeev Ravi

Music: Amit Trivedi

Film Editing by: Prerna Saigal, Thelma Schoonmaker

Distributors : Fox Star Studios

Theatre Release: 15th May, 2015

Language: Hindi

Duration: 149 minutes

Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Bombay Velvet is surely not a movie for everybody but then it cannot be canned and trashed. Anurag Kashyap's experimentation with a different style of narrative to tell his story backfires as sluggish and phlegmatic. Bombay Velvet generates mixed responses among the viewers - for some, it is painstakingly boring and a weekend ruiner and for some, it is a time to savour a bollywood movie made with a different style.

Ranbir Kapoor as Balraj alias Johnny is effortless and he is here to remain in our mind for sometime as an overambitious small-time criminal with a single goal of being a 'Big Shot'. His rise from petty crimes and his attitude to jump in to the caged boxing ring to defeat 'Jappani' (another street boxer) extends to the ring of elite club of  English-spouting scamsters and criminals consisting of Media Barons like Kaizad Kambhatta and Jimmy Mistri (Manish Choudhury), City administrators like Mayor Romi Mehta (Siddhartha Basu) , Politicians and Real estate lobbyists. Balraj is told by Laazar, the smuggler when he picks him from the boxing ring to be part of his smuggling activities that -"There was lot of heart in your fight". And Balraj is seen putting lot of heart in his fight till the end. Balraj rechristened as Johnny is the victim of partition and brought up by a prostitute who he called mother but she too used him for her self-interests. 

His childhood friend and partner-in-crime Chimman (Satyadeep Misra) is a show-stealer by his calm yet ruffled demeanor. He is the shadow of the unruly, ruffian -Johnny and constantly warns him to slow down and be happy with what they have in hand. There is a scene where, Khambata asks Johnny, "Ghoda jockey se sauda karenga?" and Johnny responds, " Abh ghoda tai karenga kaunsa jockey baitenga ghode par". Chimman exudes loyalty and trust, but then at the same time displays displeasure and hurt when treated as a second fiddle by his bosom friend Johnny. He feels he is not cared, asked and consulted before doing any act. There is a scene where the shrewd Khambata sense his displeasure and try to influence Chimman to be part of his plot to do away with Johnny. The intensity of Chimman's and Balraj's bonding is depicted in the last scene where Balraj sits with a blood-drenched Chimman on his lap.

Karan Johar as Kaizad Khambata is stylish and suave as a real estate and media baron with dubious intentions. Khambata and Jimmy Mistri, a fierce ambitious newspaper editor are rivals and have their own agendas to fulfill in the making of Bombay the Manhattan of India. Both are found to follow different ideologies - Khambatta is seen calling him a Russian agent and Jimmy calling Khambatta an 'American tout'. But then Anurag fails to justify this accusation in the film and therefore, the viewers are either left to ignore this snide or to wonder that maybe Kashyap wanted to depict the rift between the socialist and the capitalist that existed in the erstwhile Bombay.

Anushka Sharma as Rosie Noronha, a Jazz Singer, plays the character of a sexually abused girl who was trained as a singer by a Portuguese (Remo Fernandes). She has a significant role in the film's plot as a pawn of Jimmy Mistri, a lover, a model out of compulsion for yellow press newspapers, a jazz singer and a lady with so much to hide about her past.  Anushka after a high from her NH10 seems a bit misfit in Rosie's character. 

Kay Kay Menon, as an investigator has nothing much to offer. He seems to be clueless and hopping here and there after each crime and one wonders why the police fails every time to lay hands on the culprit. It also seems so easy to kill anyone anytime and get away with it. Killing is portrayed as a quick solution to all problems. Unfortunately a talented actor of Kay Kay's caliber is wasted and is left with nothing significant to do in Bombay Velvet.

Amit Trivedi and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya's efforts in creating the music is worth mentioning. The Jazz numbers set the perfect tone for a Jazz bar like Bombay Velvet, where the whole film's plot resides in its belly.

Rajiv Rai's cinematography is commendable for its detailing. Its impressive and lingers.

In short, Bombay Velvet is not a  movie that can keep the viewers glued to their seats but one can take the risk to watch it once for its stylish portrayal and visual delight.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2.5/5