Tag Archives: film review

Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota (2018)

written by Souranath Banerjee

Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota Review: After ages I watched a typical Bollywood action masala film and enjoyed it to the bone. Ouch!

My ratings: 4/5

If a film keeps you smiling even after you have left the theatre, it has definitely done a job well!

Vasan Bala (writer of Raman Raghav 2.0) directs his second feature – and we have the best action comedy of recent times! An ode to the VHS era, Bruce Lee martial art flicks and also to the old Bollywood spells like Geraftaar (1985) and Aaj Ka Goonda Raj (1992)!

Separated childhood lovers finding themselves in adulthood, a set of good/evil twin brothers, a VHS inspired Karate kid who can beat 20 goons singlehandedly, a charming yet psychotic villain who kills in a wink – clichés lining up one after another. But the beauty of Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota is that it takes advantage of all these clichés, owns them proudly and churns them into pure cinematic humour.

Now what is fresh in this movie is the concept of ‘Congenital Insensitivity to pain’, Abhimanyu Dasani (his debut film), a brilliantly choreographed action sequence with Kishore Kumar’s evergreen song ‘Nakhrewali’ playing in the background and then of course the overall amazing performances!

Abhimanyu Dasani (son of Bollywood actress Bhageshree) stands out clearly as a winner in his debut film. Superb screen presence, he looks like a younger version of Madhavan plus the extreme level of fitness. Then there is the immensely talented Radhika Madan (earlier seen in Vishal Bhardwaj‘s Pataakha) and she is an absolute delight to watch. Mahesh Manjrekar and Jimit Trivedi are at their best perfectly blending into the roles and giving the film the additional support it needed. Even Shweta Basu Prasad made her presence felt in her cameo.

And then of course we have Gulshan Devaiah in his effortlessly charming double roles – he is so natural, funny and full of charisma. His best performance till date.

Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota is essentially a love story but told in style and a rare confidence that we search for but seldom find in our current day movies.

Paap ko jala ke raakh kar doonga” (Will burn all evil/sins to ashes) is the idea in prominence throughout the movie but it gets specially silly and enjoyable when told from a kid’s perspective.

Though the voiceovers repeatedly reminds us “Har mindblowing kahani ke peeche kuch bahut bure decisions hote hain” (There are always some bad decisions behind every mind-blowing story), but trust me, your decision to watch this awesome movie will definitely be a good one!

Go watch it.

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb0-Mw_V_bA

Poster courtesy:www.imdb.com.

Thadam (2019)

Written by Yogeswaran Ganapathy @moviemanyogi

My Ratings: 3.25/5

Thadam Review: Despite a slow first half, the murder mystery gets into full speed going into the second half and ends with one the best crime thriller twists in the genre!

Thadam means CLUE in Tamil. And in this murder mystery it is all about joining the right clues and finding the killer.

Arun Vijay since his comeback has chosen pretty good scripts and Thadam falls in that list. He plays dual roles here, one of an educated IIT graduate named Ezhil and other who is a petty thief named Kavin. He excels in both the roles and gives a satisfactory performance!

Magizh Thirumeni has done a pretty decent job as the writer/director. The hardwork, efforts, research he has put for the project is very evident. A crime drama which is very much in touch with legal tussles and its loopholes in a very realistic, gripping way. 

Tanya Hope makes a memorable debut performance. She plays the love interest of Ezhil. The chemistry between them is pretty good. She plays an integral and interesting character. Smruthi Venkat plays a naive character. She is instantly having a good emotional connect with the audience. The dialogues in her scenes are very effective.

Fefsi Vijayan plays a ruthless cop role to perfection.

Sonia Agarwal plays a cameo role which affects the story in a very impactful manner. Yogi Babu‘s character has totally been underwritten. His comedy feels very forced. I feel bad that such a good performer has been underutilized.

The music by Arun Raj (debutant ) is decent, the opening credits is very catchy.

A well written script, though the screenplay is a bit dull in the first half where the romantic portions seem a bit dragged but post interval the movie shifts to a whole new level of awesomeness.

The typical murder whodunit is given a fresh and clever twist. The final moments of the film will keep the audience on the edge of their seats for sure!

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWdqv8YiQjg

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Sonchiriya (2019)

Written by Yogeswaran Ganapathy @moviemanyogi

Sonchiriya Review:It is a movie that comes once in a decade and celebrates cinema in its purest form.

My Ratings: 4.5/5

The basic Plot line is simple enough – movie revolving around a gang of dacoits in Chambal valley during the 1970’s.

The first shot of this movie speaks volumes. The audience are given a feel of what the film is going to be right from the first shot. It is gutsy, violent, raw and yet peaceful at the same time. This is that kind of a film which makes you fall in love with cinema once again. The director Abhishek Chaubey has done a magnificent job of giving us this movie in the best possible way.

Manoj Bajpayee plays Man Singh, the leader of the Thakur baaghis (rebels). His character is such that, despite being a rebel, he follows certain principles and is deeply religious. He believes that once if you are cursed, no matter what you’ll definitely receive punishment for it.

Apart from that his highest principle is the Dharma of a rebel. That Dharma is given various genius interpretations throughout the film.

Manoj Bajpayee has once again proven that he can excel in any given role, and Sushant Singh Rajput is splendid as Lakhna Singh.

He is an important member of the Thakur gang. His character deeply resembles that of Manoj Bajpayee. And yet there are subtle differences which make their characters stand out in their own way. I believe this is Sushant Singh Rajput’s best performance since his portrayal as MS Dhoni. He effectively shows a range of emotions from fear to happiness to rage to disbelief.

Bhumi Pednekar‘s arrival with a child named Sonchiriya is the catalyst that elevates the film to a whole new level. Bhumi gives a stellar performance that is surely going to be remembered for a long time. The child artist gives a memorable performance as well.

All of the supporting cast like Ranvir Shorey, Ashutosh Rana, Mahesh Balraj and the rest manage to hold their own.

The most important fact to note is that of writing. Abhishek Chaubey and Sudip Sharma have written properly fleshed out characters who are given satisfying character arcs. There is very little shortcomings whatsoever. All the scenes are interconnected and the audience feel as if they are another character in the movie. The direction is pretty solid and screenplay is very fluent. Abhishek Chaubey gives us a realistic sense of women and their conditions in 1970s rural india. They are grounded and highly realistic. The dark humour scenes are the icing on the cake. The shootout scenes are well choreographed. The music is pretty decent.

The dialogues though few elevate the film to a whole new level. For instance when the rebels are involved in a shootout with the police forces, Manoj Bajpayee says “these government bullets won’t harm us but the government policies can Kill us !!”. This scene is even more special as it happens with the then prime minister Indira Gandhi declaring emergency in the background.

The cinematography by Anuj Dhawan does a fine job of conveying the desires of the characters even if they don’t utter a word.

Sonchiriya means a golden bird. People seek the bird truly knowing that they can’t find it. I urge you all to find THIS Sonchiriya in theatres before it becomes elusive.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aejAkKGiimk

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

A Quiet Place (2018)

A Quiet place Review

written by Anu Gopinath

A Quiet Place Review: John Krasinski, a terribly underrated actor with an abundance of potential comes off age and finally shows the world what he’s capable of!

My Ratings: 3.5

Though touted to be a horror thriller, A Quiet Place plays in to the hearts of the audience with its gripping tale of love, bereavement and forgiveness!

The young actor that is Millicent Simmonds, is an absolute
revelation and her acting prowess make us reminisce quiet fondly of
one brilliant Abigail Breslin swooping the world off its feet in M. Night Shyamalan‘s Signs.

The movie starts on an ominous note and the first quarter of an hour is well spent on explaining the storyline and ground rules of the plot. Now with the plot line set, Krasinski, in a move that can only be deemed ‘audacious’, thrusts the prodigal talent of Ms. Simmonds
into the limelight and boy, doesn’t she deliver! And that’s where Krasinski, the director shines!

A-Quiet-PlaceHe along with Emily Blunt, quite brilliantly plays the parents who are holding on to their loved ones at the times of adversity, coming in terms with the heartbreak of their lost child and giving hope to their progenies when they have the luxury of keeping none for themselves!

The young Ms. Simmonds carries the movie on her little shoulders depicting the heart break of an young girl who has to come in terms
with untimely and cruel death of her brother, the suppressed
laments of a deaf girl who blames herself for his untimely death and
the resultant isolation from her dad and ultimately, the stark
realisation and the defiant acceptance of her responsibility to save her younger brothers and her mother from the aliens!

Brilliant cinematography by Charlotte Bruus Christensen, a simple plot and credit goes to Marco Beltrami for the clever use of A-Quiet-Placebackground score or even the lack of it; the suspense plays well into the minds of the audience and keeps them engaged through out.

Though not exceptional by any measure, the success of the movie is in the vision of the young director John Krasinski to create a decent thriller devoid of any gimmicks and instead tell it though the pains and heartbreak of a grieving family – and that is what makes this movie a must watch flick of the year.

It’s not everyday that the world gets to see a prodigal talent unravelling its various layers and it took 16 long hard years since Abigail Breslin and a very underrated actor /director, to see the birth of one!

N it’s been worth the wait!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Loveless – BEST OF 19TH MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Loveless (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

Loveless Review: Cold and toxic, a disintegration of marriage metaphorically portraying an entire nation’s predicament!  

My Ratings: 4.4/5

A bitter divorce is never an easy experience for any couple but certainly the real victims are always the children. The most traumatic realisation a child has to cope with is that neither his parents wants custody of him, that he is just an unwanted baggage, a burden, that he is a mere glitch in their ugly adult world.

And that is exactly what happens to 12-year-old young Alyosha (Matvey Novikov), the terrible hard-hitting feeling of being loveless.

On one side Alyosha’s father (Aleksey Rozin) is having an affair with a younger woman who is pregnant with his child and on the other hand his harsh-speaking mother (Maryana Spivak) is passionately in love with a wealthy older man. On the verge of a nasty divorce the parents indulge themselves into a spate of brutal outbursts completely oblivious of the child who eventually decides to vanish from their lives for good.

Where is he gone? Has something happened to him? A kid cannot just disappear like that?

lovelessBut then writer/director Andrey Zvyagintsev (of Leviathan fame) along with writer Oleg Negin uses this tragic event to serve a bigger purpose, to narrate and critique the conditions in contemporary Russia, a country where everyone is desperately looking for – a lost loveless kid or may be it is simply Love that they are searching for?

Here we are talking about one nation (though I personally think it is a worldwide problem) where Happiness has become a piece of merchandise that can be negotiated and bought at a price while the value of Family-stability been reduced to a sign of status symbol. Where emotions and duty take the second seat while greed, ego and lust for a better-life gets the priority.

Absolute brilliance in the acting department – especially Maryana Spivak and Aleksey Rozin really make you hate and even sympathise lovelesswith them to a certain extent. The secondary characters Natalya PotapovaMarina Vasileva and Anna Gulyarenko also have such strong impact on the story and the audience.

But the best part is Mikhail Krichman‘s unique cinematography, the long takes and the subtle tracking of the camera brilliantly adds to the sentiments of the characters and the overall feel of the movie.

The music by Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine is spot on and cleverly used only when it is actually required.

Official submission from Russia in the ‘Best Foreign Language Film‘ category at the 2018 Oscars. This is undoubtedly one of the best cinema of last year; very rarely does one film achieves a feat of representing a country and the psychology of its inhabitance with such savage precision and success.

Go watch it!

Similar interest: Leviathan Review

Similar Interest: Best Russian Classic Comedy Films

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Call Me by Your Name – BEST OF 19TH MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

Call Me by Your Name Review: Intoxicatingly romantic, intensely erotic and definitely the best ‘Coming-of-age love story’ of our time! 

My Ratings: 4.3/5

‘Sexual awakening’ is a tried and tested theme and some brilliant movies in the past like Moonlight and Blue Is the Warmest Color have portrayed the typical indecisiveness of the young curious mind in the most engaging and cinematic ways possible.

But then Call Me by Your Name though delving with the similar adolescent dilemma hits the audience as the fresh morning air and takes away our breath by the sheer beauty and subtleness of the story and its charming characters!

Set in early 1980, surrounded by the dreamy countryside of Northern Italy, stands a picturesque villa in the midst of lush green valleys, fruit orchards and blue lagoons, and there blooms an illicit love story – an irresistible chemistry between a seventeen year old boy and a man in his mid twenties that finally oozes into one of the most emotionally captivating relationships painted on celluloid!

‘Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.’ 

Elio (Timothée Chalamet) the young son of an archeology professor meets Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome American graduate student, who visits as an intern for the summer – and those six weeks Call-Me-by-Your-Nameof summer changes their lives forever. Especially Elio’s as the story is being told mostly from his perspective – not only does he discover love but he also reinvents himself.

Now the genius of director Luca Guadagnino (famous for the films I Am Love and A Bigger Splash) is not only in unfolding passion in the most lucid and eloquent manner (almost as if in slow motion) but also for treating the characters with electric erotism and yet never being carried away to the extent of indelicacy.

Never objectifying the central characters, never categorising their desires (both the leading men are shown with relationships with women as well), titillating but always with an uncanny sense of Call-Me-by-Your-Namespontaneous sophistication – both James Ivory (writer) and Luca Guadagnino (director) have adopted André Aciman‘s novel and made it into something very special and ageless!

And kudos to the exceptional performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet – they have managed to perfectly portray the volatility of their relationship. And a special mention to Michael Stuhlbarg specially for his brilliant father-son dialogue delivery towards the end of the movie. Classic!

Poetic, alluring and ageless, as beautiful as the nude Greek male torsos that keep appearing in the film at regular intervals – probably the symbol for the eternal signature of love and passion.

Certainly one of the best films of the year!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

MOTHER! – BEST OF 19TH MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Mother! (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

Mother! Review: What on earth is happening and why doesn’t God do anything to stop these talented directors from going rogue in the name of symbolism? – there goes your cryptic God-Mother Earth theory!

My Ratings: 3.5/5

Mother! is one of the most talked about film of this year with extreme reviews from both the audience and the critics, extreme positives and extreme negatives!

Then the poster says ‘The most controversial movie in decades’ and you think why are these people trying to sell a Darren Aronofsky film by just hi-lighting on its controversiality aspect? Not as a brilliant horror film, or as a superb thriller or mystery or drama – but simply as ‘most controversial’. And then you watch the film and realise that the poor marketing people didn’t have much of a choice!

The story of a woman (Jennifer Lawrence), who wants to be a mother and eventually becomes one with the help of HIM (her partner Javier Bardem).  But in between, a number of guests appear at their house, all uninvited (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer to start with) and from there the film plunges into sheer catastrophe portrayed through a series of unimaginably horrific experiences that – let me see how to put it without giving away much details – that Mother!-Reviewtakes away all her fun of being a mother!

Now it’s difficult to merely narrate the plot of a movie like Mother! without wrapping it up into various symbolic metaphors. It is so uniquely chaotic and absurd for the real world (hopefully a caricature of the real world itself) that even while watching the film you constantly look for some allegorical inklings and eventually when you connect to the Biblical symbolisms which at certain points are pretty much on your face  – you finally feel at home and buckle up to absorb the rest of the gore and insanity!

Acting wise pretty decent performances by all, specially the supporting characters Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer are terrific! Bardem though given much less screen time makes his presence felt and Jennifer Lawrence – her naivety and helplessness somehow reflects the anxiety of the audience – it’s like ‘why is this happening to me’ and this feeling doesn’t leave you till the very end of the film!

The one thing I really appreciate is the cinematography of Matthew Libatique that creates a certain earthy Mother!-Reviewmood that is essential for the movie. The repeated close-up shots of the Mother character makes us feel what she is going through, we desperately try to relate with her inner turmoils.

I have been a big fan of director Darren Aronofsky‘s previous works – the likes of Requiem for a DreamThe WrestlerBlack Swan and Pi and they are all psychologically disturbing to certain extents but for me his latest film is a bit too deliberate an attempt to create uneasiness – it’s like forcefully pushing a certain riddle/cipher through the audience’s throat than actually trying to create quality Cinema! 

A film that you may like or dislike but certainly it will make you think and discuss and figure out what the hell did you just watch! May be Mother! was destined to be neither good nor bad but simply controversial. Fair enough!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

A Fantastic Woman – Best Of 19th Mumbai Film Festival 2017!

A Fantastic Woman (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

A Fantastic Woman Review: Love is an empty word without respect but the real question is how much disrespect can one endure for the sake of his/her love?

My Ratings: 4/5

A Fantastic Woman originally titled as Una Mujer Fantástica is a film directed by Sebastián Lelioone of the most prominent figures of the post-dictatorship Chilean cinema. And his latest is this years’s official submission from Chile at the 90th Annual Academy Awards for the Foreign Language Film Award!

The idea of a man who chooses to become a woman, to live and die as a woman and wishes to be loved and treated like one is something that often people cannot accept without a certain hint of prejudice. And this is the touching story of a trans-woman named Marina, a young night club singer who aspires in this brutal society to live her life with as much dignity as any other human being.

She is in relationship with an older man named Orlando (Francisco Reyes). They are happy and in love but again that doesn’t guarantee that their romantic liaison will be wholeheartedly accepted and/or respected by others, especially by Orlando’s direct family (his ex-wife and a prick of a son).

And thus after the sudden demise of Orlando, Marina has to go through a series of humiliating and degrading events that made her A Fantastic Womanfight for her self respect, her pride and also for the rights for her lost love.

Daniela Vega who is a trans-woman in real life played the central character in the film with surprising efficiency. Most of her inner strength is expressed through her eyes – a brave soul with immense determination and yet so emotionally vulnerable, ready to face all the odds for the one who she loved so dearly!

And very intelligent storytelling by director Sebastián Lelio as he keeps the film very real, not once opting for any overdramatic cliches and providing just enough information to keep the viewers hooked through the otherwise pretty straightforward linear script.

Certainly the best transgender drama of recent times; this is the story of a woman who doesn’t allow anybody to dictate terms in her life, a woman of integrity, bold yet compassionate, sensual yet devoted – yes, she is indeed a fantastic woman!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Simran Review

Simran Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Simran Review: Kangana Ranaut is a hit but that doesn’t mean Simran (the movie) shares the same fate.

My Ratings: 3.6/5

The Bombshell Bandit: In mid 2014 a young girl of Indian origin wearing a wig and over-sized sunglasses, and pretending to be wiredSimran-Review with bombs went on a five-week crime spree robbing four banks across three U.S. states (Arizona, California, and Utah), until finally she was arrested and taken into custody. Her name was Sandeep Kaur, who was a nurse by profession, a gambler by avocation and a bank robber out of desperation!

Now, in the movie Simran the character of this daring girl played by Kangana Ranaut has got a new identity, being called Praful Patel, her profession also altered to a housekeeping-lady and then with plenty of obvious dramatics tossed in – we are finally introduced to this bizarre tale of the lipstick bandit (yup, bandit-name modified too).

Directed by acclaimed Hansal Mehta, written by Apurva Asrani (and may be Kangana Ranaut too!) the film Simran is a women-centric movie perfectly balanced on the petite but confident and able Simran-Reviewshoulders of the lead actress, none other than three times National award winner Kangana Ranaut!

And this time (again) she is remarkable to watch, her transformation to a typical NRI Gujarati girl enjoying her independent Amreeki lifestyle is simply flawless. Her zeal for life, her intensity to fight back, her yearning to live life to the fullest and most importantly her flaws and deficits – is what makes the film worth watching (that too no comparison with her performance as Rani from Queen).

But then the real question creeps in – does the other characters or even the script of Simran match up to her brilliance? Honestly no!

Often a movie gets stuck midway in-between a sensitive drama and a commercial comedy flick and unfortunately that’s exactly what has happened in this case.

Stereotypical characters, certain forced dramatic dialogues, the abrupt unnecessary need of comic reliefs with funny background Simran-Reviewscores – such absurdities takes away the film far from what could have been an incredibly emotional film.

Sohum Shah as the potential husband was decent, surely far better than the ever-fuming dad Hiten Shah or any other secondary characters.

The songs in the film doesn’t make much impact neither does any particular set of visuals, overall a decent flick that seems to be made purely to promote the sheer brilliance of one lead actor.

If only the movie Simran could have emphasized more on the reality of the true emotions – the anguish, the torment and the helplessness of the characters rather than awkwardly trying to please the Bollywood crowd with a happy end.

If only films like Dancer in the Dark (2000) were made in our country, not necessarily dark or tragic to that extent but at least true to its intent and content. I wish …

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com, Simran Facebook Page.

Trapped (2017)

Trapped Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Up above the sky so high, invisible to the world, you cry, whisper and sigh!   

My Ratings: 4.1/5

When was the last time you were in a spot where there was no food and water – like literally – ultimate survival crisis – and you have to hunt animals for food and go ‘Morarji-Desai’ for your drink?

I know what you will say – that such extreme situations are only for the celluloid; like the shipwrecked Tom Hanks in Cast Away, marooned in an island with no company other than the mute round-faced Wilson; then there was this young James Franco who accidentally put his leg in-between some boulders and sat stuck Trapped-Poster-5alone for 127 Hours. I think WALL·E also did a decent job, forlorned up in the space – but then, he didn’t get much hungry or thirsty, if you know what I mean!

Now what if someone gets ‘trapped’ in an apartment, an ordinary flat in a multystored and otherwise uninhabited building, right in the middle of the concrete urban jungle (say around Mumbai’s Prabhadevi area); cooped up for days, without food, water, phone or electricity, entirely cut off from the outer world – with a birds-eye view of the entire city but still invisible to everyone!

This is exactly what happened to Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao), when he by a twist of fate gets locked inside an apartment in a high-rise, without any hope of ever getting rescued!

Trapped-Poster-1And the most scary part in the film comes from the sensation that it can actually happen to any of us so called ‘city-people’ out here!

Salute to the writers Amit Joshi and Hardik Mehta for such a brilliant idea and script. And then what a marvellous ‘jugalbandhi’ from director Vikramaditya Motwane and performer Rajkummar Rao!

National Award winning actor Rajkummar Rao was outstanding in the film. The combination of Rao’s boy-next-door looks and his brilliant portrayal of someone desperate for survival is what makes the film so real.

And for director Mr.Motwane, with only one character to tell his story, that too pinned in one location, he still managed to successfully Trapped-Poster-3grasp the attention of the audience till the very end!

Another very interesting human psychology portrayed in the film is that, when someone is in the brink of possible extinction, it is the general human tendency to discover an unfamiliar longing for some of the most banal things in their lives.

For example in the film, Shaurya trapped for days, often hallucinating from stress and malnourishment, never desired or yearned for anything particularly unique or remarkable. Rather he wished to relive those regular day to day events; his journey to the office in those overcrowded Mumbai local trains packed with sweaty co-passengers, those crammed up buses with irritating conductors, a simple plate of pav-bhaji with a dash of butter on top – in the time of an inevitable Trapped-Poster-4catastrophe the most ordinary things from our life become so special and desirable!

Geetanjali Thapa, in the short role as the love of Shaurya’s life was commendable, though honestly I thought her character wasn’t really required in the film other than the simple incentive for Shaurya to hunt for a place.

Siddharth Diwan‘s cinematography makes the film look very real while Nitin Baid‘s editing keeps it crisp and to the point. Alokananda Dasgupta‘s music works well, very subtle and used only when required. 

I just thank God, Shaurya has musophobia (fear of rats) and not vertigo (fear of heights), or else, it would have all gone down pretty worse!

Poster courtesy: www.moviescut.com