Tag Archives: Mukesh Chhabra.

Sacred Games ( TV Series)

Sacred Games Review

written by Anu Gopinath

The series takes a dark undertone from the word go and it’s highly appreciative of the directive duo for discussing the subjects of sex and violence with such level of authority!

My Ratings: 4/5

Long has been the content driven cinema taken a backseat and was pulled into the eroding deluge of memories of a lost generation who
revelled in their Bajaj and bell bottoms! Long has been the pride of Sacred-GamesIndian cinema taken a beating when the world was presented with the narcissistic, megalomaniacal and voyeuristic version of our life and cinema. The same pride that we earned and the respect that we commanded from the world cinema, which took eons of pain and hard work to achieve but still demanded the sacrifices of the lifetime of works of some of the greatest auteurs of Indian cinema like Satyajit RayGuru Dutt, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and company!

And when I completed watching the new web series Scared Games starring “the content “ in the lead, it is with absolute relief and pride that I can say, that all hopes are not lost for Indian Cinema!

Directed by two of the brilliant visionaries of contemporary cinema, Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap, the first Indian Netflix Original TV Series – Sacred Games tells us the story of the intertwined lives of a mafia don nearing the twilight of his life and the struggles of an honest cop trying to do right amidst a corrupt system. The series bears the rare stamp of authenticity and manages Sacred-Gamesto hit all the right tones in its adaptation of the Novel of the same name written by Vikram Chandra.

The series hinges on the story of the rise and fall of gangster Gaitonde, played brilliantly by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and how his life is intertwined with life of the honest cop, Sartaj Singh performed by Saif Ali Khan.

The TV series takes a dark undertone from the word go and it’s highly appreciative of the directive duo for discussing the subjects of sex and violence with such authority that was seldom seen in Indian cinema and has to be considered as one of their masterstrokes. The story deals with religious terrorism with a brilliant screenplay which has a heavy dose of bloodshed, sex, gore and violence and the end product which is devoid of any unwanted transgressions by the censor board, makes it a compelling watch.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the gangster with such elan and composure of an artist who is in control of his creation, taking his Sacred-Gamesown time to paint the shades of white when in love, dark when he’s avenging his enemies and grey, when keeping his comrades in line.

Saif Ali Khan has finally found his calling and he’s absolutely brilliant as the inspector Sartaj Singh and to his credit, underplays his role of a cop who is constantly being harassed, degraded and kicked around by his corrupt seniors. He in no way comes across as a conventional hero who fights the villains single handedly and saves the day. But he is our below average common man who is scared and thinks a hundred times before taking a step, an under performing overweight policeman who has a conscience, a simpleton who runs towards the warm embraces of his mother when things get too tough for him. And he absolutely delivers the goods with an astounding performance and
Sacred-Gamesfinally is given the platform to display his talents – the same talent which we had a few of the fleeting glimpses in the brilliant Omkara and Ek Hasina Thi. The Nawab is back and how!

But, when brilliance of Nawazuddin Siddiqui is always expected and Saif’s performance is worthy of appreciation, it’s the work of the supporting cast that completely steals the show and is what makes this series apart! Such is the depth and brilliance of their acting that one has the feeling of sitting in an Opera House and has been accorded the rare honour of seeing the brilliant performances of one sopran after the other, with each trying to outplay the other with the performances of their lifetime.

Sacred-GamesSpecial mention should go to Jitendra Joshi who was an absolute hoot as the constable Katekar, Rajshri Deshpande as Subhadra, Kubra Sait as Kukko, and then Neeraj Kabi and Geetanjali Thapa. Each and every single one of them gave a performance worthy of an ovation and carries the story on their shoulders and keeps the story moving.

Radhika Apte, the crown jewel of parallel cinema is surprisingly left with a role that is not as meaty compared to her colleagues but the woman holds her fort whenever pitted against the brilliance of Saif and the cast.

Superbly written by Varun GroverVasant Nath and Smita Singh, cool camera work and brilliant editing compounded with unique storytelling and absolutely mind blowing background score by Rachita Arora and Alokananda Dasgupta makes this thriller an Sacred-Gamesedge of the seat affair. Not to forget the perfect casting by Mukesh Chhabra Sacred Games is probably the best thing to have come out of Bollywood since Gangs of Wesseypur!

Sacred Games is, by no means over and with the serious talents of the likes of Pankaj Tripathi waiting in the wings and with a plot line left at an interesting juncture, one can expect a cracker of a second season in the cards!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com, Sacred Games Facebook page

Masaan (2015)

Masaan review

In the cinema hall (which was a full house on the Saturday night show) the audience (including me) felt a rare connection with the on-screen characters of the film; felt genuinely disturbed by their misfortunes and heartily laughed with them at their joy.

My ratings: 4/5.

At the time when big guns like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Baahubali are ruling the box-office, one would be surprised by the profound impact a relatively low budget film like Masaan can make on the audience.

massan-poster1There is a certain honesty about Masaan that eventually grows on you and within it’s 100 min screen time, the film compels you to relate to it’s characters.

May be it’s the power of the script (written by Varun Grover), or may be the boldness of the dialogues and the aptness of the poetry or is it simply the credit of director (Neeraj Ghaywan) or can it be the brilliant performances by each and every actor that make the film so real?

Most probably, it’s all of these factors combined together that make Masaan such a strong emotional cinema.

Shot in Varanasi, small stories and incidents are threaded together like precious little pearls and the thread being the holy river Ganges!

Richa Chadda (who proved herself in films like Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Gangs of Wasseypur) plays the part of a guilt-ridden daughter seeking an independent life where as Sanjay Mishra (after his brilliant role in the film Ankhon Dekhi) portrays the desperate father afraid of losing his social standing and morality.

Massan-PosterAnd then there is the innocence of first love between the teenagers from different caste Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi (both played to perfection).

Pankaj Tripathy as the railway booking clerk and the child actor Nikhil Sahni suited their roles perfectly.

I think casting director Mukesh Chhabra did a terrific job here.

Music by Indian Ocean and Bruno Coulais perfectly complements the script. And the beautiful poetry by various renowned poets cleverly weaved into the story-line adds a certain depth to the film.

Masaan, though often a bit predictable, has a soul of it’s own that reaches out to you.

No wonder Neeraj Ghaywan, the debutante director has won the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics Prize) and the Prix Un Certain Regard (Young talent, innovative and audacious works) at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Cinema lovers – don’t you dare miss this film.

Badlapur (2015)

My Ratings: 3.8/5.

“Revenge is a dish that tastes best when served cold.” – a quote from the book/film The Godfather. And then “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind” – the famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi.

Badlapur is a film that tries to establish a balance between the above two quotes; a movie that thrives on the concept of revenge but also condemns it in the process.

badlapur-poster4Within the first ten minutes of the film a bank gets looted, two bandits on the chase and two innocent hostages loose their lives. One of the thugs get caught but the other one runs away with the money!

Raghav looses his wife and son (both were hostages) and it shatters his life.

And hence the mood is set for a perfect revenge thriller.

Badlapur revolves basically around the two main characters and their goals in life – firstly Varun Dhawan (Raghav) and his thirst for retribution and secondly the gangster who gets caught Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Liak) and his unending desire for freedom, money and his long-lost love Jhimli (Huma Qureshi).

A film that burns in the flames of Violence and Vengeance.

badlapur-poster1A hammer used as a weapon (i guess this is an inspiration from the South Korean action flicks); make no mistake Badlapur is a hard-core, realistic action film where even the letters on an innocent scrabble board-game spells “revenge”.

Superb acting by all, specially Nawazuddin Siddiqui, his simplicity while delivering dialogues is outstanding. Even Varun Dhawan did give his best, his matured look with the beard and all looks very promising indeed.  

Huma Qureshi, Divya Dutta, Yami Gautam, Radhika Apte all played their parts pretty well.

Edgy editing by Pooja Ladha Surti and good casting choices by Mukesh Chhabra.

Sriram Raghavan is back; if you have enjoyed his earlier films like Ek Hasina Thi and Johnny Gaddaar i am sure you will like his latest Badlapur as well.

So go watch it.