Category Archives: Film Reviews (Indian)

Reviews of films made in India (from any state, in any language).

SUPER DELUXE (2019)

Written by Yogeswaran Ganapathy @moviemanyogi

My Ratings: 4.5/5

Super Deluxe Review: A unique Tamil film which can never be replicated and is a definite watch for any movie lover!

Super Deluxe is a film which encompasses various issues on a runtime on 176 minutes and still fresh, interesting and highly engaging. The film has managed to bring together A-list stars, child artists, budding actors and gives a satisfactory final output.

Thiagarajan Kumararaja who last directed the cult classic Aaranya Kaandam (2011) has returned after almost a gap of 8 years and he has returned with a bang! We have waited for 8 years and the film is worth the wait. This film is surely an instant classic. The director manages to make every shot in the film speak to the audience.

The background, the wall posters, the warning signs on the road, the songs being played on the radio, the scenes going on in the television, the flickering of lights, the designs on the T-shirts all convey something to the viewer. The art direction and production management team has to be appreciated on a whole new level.
The screenplay of this film is by 4 directors who have their unique vision. The way in which the director manages to combine the stories and visions of all of them and give us a mixture with his own unique style is to be highly appreciated. Super Deluxe also has some subtle nods to Aaranya Kaandam scattered throughout.

Vijay Sethupathi has taken a role, which any A-list star would outrightly reject. This is his best performance, second only to his portrayal of Ayya Aadhimoolam in last year’s Seethakaathi(2018). The sequences in which he appears are truly the USP of the film. The child artist Ashwanth Ashokkumar playing “Rasukutty” his son in the film also has a beautiful arc. Gayathrie who appears in only a few scenes gives a spectacularly subtle performance. We are able to instantly resonate with what the character goes through in the scene where she meets Vijay Sethupathy for the first time. Vijay Sethupathi is one artist true to his art and his character is sure to be remembered for a long time to come.

Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Fahadh Faasil’s story arc is a splendid dark comedy on the lines of Andhadun. Samantha as vaembu rocks throughout the film and gives a variety of emotions that suit the situations perfectly. Fahad Faasil is like the conscience of the director to talk to the audience on various issues. His rants on the stereotypes are sure to have a huge fan following or should I say a separate fanbase!!!

Then we have the story of 4 school boys whose intentions turn into eventful incidents which help in moving the film forward without compromising the story. I don’t want to reveal anymore about this story arc. It has to be enjoyed in person. Ramya Krishnan ties beautifully into this story and also adds to the narrative in a splendid way. Myshkin, as usual, gives a superb performance. He is probably the best director working as an actor in today’s times. The scene where Mysskin meets Vijay Sethupathi is the best scene of the film. The lighting and setting of that scene elevate it to a whole new level and draws the viewer into the screen. Their character arcs merge in a simple, beautiful and highly satisfying way.

Bucks/Bagsu (Bagavathi Perumal) of Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom fame acts as a ruthless, menacing, sexist cop. He makes you hate his character from the gut. That is what is truly intended and he manages to do that perfectly.

The background music created by Yuvan Shankar Raja is awesome. The music at various points of the film is always in sync with the mod and is effective.                   

Gender bias, lust, parenthood, LGBT discrimination, politics, social stigma, chaos theory, Celestial theory, Religious superstitions, relationships are all encompassed in a Pandoras Box. Each of these issues makes a film on their own. But the director has managed to tie them together and unravel them in splendid ways and then has given a satisfactory ending to every one issue/event he has taken up. Please make your next film a bit sooner.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-Xq_Zz3nPA

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

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

Vada Chennai (2018)

written by Anu Gopinath

Vetrimaran’s Vada Chennai, the first part of his ambitious trilogy sets the tone for an ultimate gangster flick which may well go down as one of the classics in the history of Indian cinema!

My Ratings: 4/5

With his film Vada Chennai, directorVetrimaran, in this first instalment, draws the battle ground and the pawns like a painter taking his time to pour out his life’s work in to the canvas. Each character is well defined, their shades, grey and the clouds of vengeance, ever looming!

One has to hail the brilliant efforts of the director as he successfully manage to sponge up the hard life of the fishermen. Dialogues are spontaneous, jokes never seemed to be forced and the language very much limited to the slang and colloquials of the slum dwellers.

Supported by a brilliant cinematography by Velraj, the director does an astounding in capturing the stench of rural perception in the life of the people and its colony, where dreams of a man starts at his doorstep and ends in the garbage bins of the same colony.

Vada Chennai tells the story of Anbu (Dhanush) a gifted carrom board player who inadvertently gets involved in the clock and dagger games of two rival gangs.

The movie if played in chronological order will come short of a decent action flick. But it’s the brilliance of Vetrimaran and the editing team lead by G.B.Venkatesh to present the movie the way it is presented, ever holding the cards close to their chest, tantalisingly revealing each cards, one at a time n each one of them making the storyline turn a corner, keeping the audience engaged and at the edge of the seats. 

The story goes back and forth in time and the narrative is so crisp and the editing so impeccable that each story is left hanging at a tantalising point before the director jumps to continue with thread of the next story, leaving the audience in an agonising wait while their fertile imagination tries to fill in the rest.

Music and background score by Santhosh Narayanan is an absolute revelation.

India  finally wakes up to the idea of the strength and power, a decent background score holds in the grand scheme of things. Santhosh Narayanan relies on the local folk songs, soft rock and at times even punk rock to set the tone of the movie. But his talent of deciphering the director’s perception of the story comes to the fore when he saves a “gem of a move” up his sleeves and reveals it  by letting the silence accentuate the boisterous effect of the compounding suspense in many scenes. Result, drool- worthy!!!

Dhanush as Anbu is brilliant in his portrayal of a simpleton who inadvertently get sucked into the scared games of betrayal and vengeance of mafia gangs.

Aishwarya Rajesh lends good support to Dhanush as his love interest and plays the supporting role to perfection.


The director has retained the core of the supporting cast of his previous cop-flick Visaranai and SamuthirakaniDaniel Balaji,KishorePawan, Radha Ravi and Aamir play their part to perfection and holds the different story lines of the movie together through their gritty performance.

So the board is set! The game is afoot! And Vetrimaran in a move which can only be described as audacious and brilliant, gives the threads of all storylines into the hands of Andrea Jeremiah. And Miss Jeremiah, in a career defining  last quarter of an hour , waltzes into the storyline by not only tying up all the ends of the threads but also put a fucking bow on it!!!

Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5GG5HJ1hVk

Similar Interest: BEST OFFBEAT INDIAN CINEMA OF RECENT TIMES (10+1 LIST)

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

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

The Window Review

The Window (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

The Window Review: The eternal agony, anguish, anxiety, the angst and the apprehension of a man/writer. 

My Ratings: 3.5/5

There have been numerous fictional films about writers that have emphasised on the weird imaginative world of a penman. Many of these movies make fun of their insecurity, some romanticise and even sympathise with them for being eccentric but very few have actually managed to empathise with a writer’s passion.

The Window, a film written and directed by VK Choudhary does exactly that and tries to portray the reality of an arrogant writer’s The-Windowlife (assuming writers being arrogant is part of that reality). 

The film revolves around Lekh Kapoor (Amit Vashisth), a man who claims to be superior to his surrounding world just because he is a writer, that too a self proclaimed one!

His personal life is a mess but still he peeps out of the window inviting himself into more trouble; he cribs and vents out enough frustration throughout the movie for choosing to be the stereotypical bearded, long-haired, bidi-sucking scriptwriter on his quest to change the form of Cinema for good. But at the same time he takes immense pride in his struggle for art, for representing himself as the misunderstood talent yet to be discovered.

This low-budget film with a very Indie feel is constructed out of a series of conversation scenes (mostly indoor and handheld) between Lekh and his friends and family who eventually shell out enough information to help us perceive the obsessed writer’s persona, his complexes and fears (which are quite a handful).

The younger brother (Atul Hanwat) who urges Lekh to get a life, join the well-salaried job for which he is perfectly qualified, and to get back with his sweet, soft spoken wife. The wife (Preeti Hansraj Sharma) who cheated just once in the past that too it seems because of Lekh’s negligence but still obviously loves him, wants Lekh to excuse their past differences and come back (and probably to shave his ugly beard). And of course the abusive mother (Sayoni Mishra) who is solely focused on making everybody’s life hell around her!

The-WindowThen there is his friend/film-industry-contact (Praveen Maheshwari) who wants Lekh to write something commercially sellable rather than the artsy stuff he is into. The authoritative producer fellow (Ravi Patil) who again wants the same thing but is less friendly while expressing it to our snobbish writer.

The thing common about these characters are that they all want to change Lekh in someway or other, make him lead a life he detests and take away from him his prized identity of being the distressed artist. But then comes Maya (Teena Singh), a seductress who can easily decode Lekh’s complexities, an enchanting captive from another world.

Intelligent use of music by Kasturi Nath Singh and Vishal J. Singh that goes well with Dhruvan Gautham‘s cinematography.

The film perhaps a tad too long and at times monotonously chaotic, has a certain honesty about it that stays with you for longer than you The-Windowexpect. The reason for this may be the natural performances from the cast (especially Amit Vashisth and Sayoni Mishra are fantastic) or may be the autobiographical treatment of the script by the young director VK Choudhary. The madness of his protagonist in a shabby claustrophobic 1bhk where he gets his brilliant ideas only to be rejected by the world seems somehow very possible and real.

And that is the reason we need more films like The Window to reach the theatres which strive to give you tangible characters and believable locations most often never an option for the so called big-budget movies.

Photo and poster curtsey: The Window production team.

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.

Mukti Bhawan (2016)

Mukti Bhawan Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A movie that probes into the psychology of death, but then also, it’s so full of life!

My Ratings: 4.2/5

Nowadays most of the Hindi films released can deftly be categorised to the limit of some particular genre, and easily conjecturable to a Mukti-Bhawan-poster3certain theme or message or even the complete lack of it!

But then once in a while a few unique films emerge (fortunately) which dare to defy such generalisations, and restrict themselves from spoon-feeding the audience with ponderous morals in-between ceaseless cheesy histrionics.

Yes, Mukti Bhawan is one such film that cannot be bound into one specific keynote, it has to be experienced on the whole, much like an opera, or like life and death!

When 77-year-old retired school-teacher Dayashanker Sharma (Lalit Behl) senses his life’s extremity (the hint being a curious recurring dream), it becomes obligatory for his son Rajiv (Adil Hussain) to comply (though grudgingly) with his old man’s somewhat odd request – an immediate visit to the holy city of Varanasi.

Varanasi, the essential and well utilised backdrop of the film, ordained by the sacred Ganges the ancient Indian city that Mukti-Bhawan-poster4epitomises spiritualism and divinity. And aged Dayashanker believes that death in this holy city can be his ticket to eternal salvation – an escape from the inevitable cycle of life and death!   

And thus, to the surprise of the rest of the family that includes Daya’s daughter-in-law Lata (Geetanjali Kulkarni) and Daya’s grand-daughter Sunita (Palomi Ghosh), Daya and Rajiv, the father-son duo leaves for Varanasi. They finally check in at an aptly named hotel called Mukti Bhawan or Hotel Salvation; where numerous people from all across India come and wait for their death, a tradition to achieve Moksha!

Director Shubhashish Bhutiani, who has also written the script along with Asad Hussain, has ingeniously explored the intricacy of human emotions on the face of death in his film. The script, the situations, the Mukti-Bhawan-posterdialogues, the relations are simply subtle yet so profound!  

UNESCO jury has already awarded the XXIIIrd prix “Enrico Fulchignoni” to the young debutant director and at the Venice Film Festival, the world premier of Mukti Bhawan, the film was cherished by the audience with a stupendous standing ovation after the screening!

Then again, the film is specially blessed with actors who are of such supreme control of their skills.

 Adil Hussain, just within a decade have become one of the finest actors of our country, made his presence felt in acclaimed movies like English VinglishLife of PiParchedSunrise; but in this particular film his performance excels like never before. No wonder he won a Special Mention from the National Award Jury this year!

And of course, the veteran TV and theatre actor Lalit Behl, this being his second film (after Titli) has played his pivotal part with such immense Mukti-Bhawan-poster2commitment, so brilliantly natural and believable!

And then, renowned actress Geetanjali Kulkarni, young and effortless Palomi GhoshNavnindra Behl as the sweet and smiling widow and Anil K. Rastogi as the weird manager of the hotel – all have given their best and are very much responsible for the success of the film!

Mukti Bhawan may be a statement on life and death or it may simply be a very precise discectomy of human relations; I hope you will decide yourself once you watch it.

Mark my words, this is a Cinema that shouldn’t be missed! 

Poster courtesy: facebook.com/muktibhawan

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