Tag Archives: Pankaj Tripathi

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

Manjhi: The Mountain Man (2015)

Manjhi: The Mountain Man review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4/5

A man who is blinded by rage, a man who believes in true love, a man who has nothing else to loose, a man with tremendous willpower, a man with a mission.

manjhi_poster2The latest biographical drama by Ketan Mehta is inspired on the real life story of a poor labourer Dashrath Manjhi from a village called Gehlaur (near Gaya, in Bihar).

Gehlaur was surrounded by hills and the nearest town with school and hospital facilities was almost 70 km away, and that too one had to take a path around the difficult mountain road.

After the death of Manjhi’s wife Falguni Devi (she accidentally slipped and fell from the mountains and couldn’t survive due to delayed medical treatment), Manjhi in a feat of madness vowed to take revenge on the treacherous Gehlaur mountains and cut it down to make a short-cut road for the benefit of his fellow villagers.

And incredibly enough Manjhi kept his word.

dashrat-manjhiIt took him 22 years but Dashrath Manjhi, single-handedly, with only a hammer and a chisel did slice the mountain and made a passage through it, reducing the distance from his village to the nearest town to a mere 15 Km.

An achievement of which even Thor (the mythological God of thunder always seen with a hammer) would probably be jealous or even proud of.

The film Manjhi: The Mountain Man tries to depict the passion and determination of Dashrat Manjhi. And it succeeds too to an extent but in a very ‘bollywoodish’ and filmy way!

Ketan Mehta, undoubtedly a talented director with a vision but in this case his job becomes easier because of the choice of casting.

manjhi_poster3Nawazuddin Siddiqui as we all know is the one of the finest actor in India and he himself admitted in a recent interview that playing the role of Manjhi is his best performance till date. Probably it’s not just promotional talk but he is telling the truth!

Nawazuddin easily transforms himself from the easy-going comic lover to a delirious victim of love. The madness in his eyes, his hysterical laughter, the frantic resolution and the demented strength of character – i can’t imagine anybody else performing such a challenging character.

Radhika Apte, playing Manjhi’s wife (Phaguniya), has also done a great job. In her no-blouse-saree-draped costume, she is the perfect combination of innocence and seduction. 

manjhi-poster3And then Tigmanshu Dhulia as the corrupt Mukhiya and Pankaj Tripathi as his scandalous son did make their presence felt.

The mountain man’s journey wasn’t an easy one – not only for the sheer physical strength that was demanded for the job but also because the ignorant man was repeatedly mocked, harassed, cheated and once even arrested. 

But the important lesson to learn is that he never stopped doing what he believed is right.

Darshat Manjhi is a legendary figure in his own right; though this 120 min film may not be that legendary but it surely made Manjhi a much more popular legend than before.