Tag Archives: Kangana Ranaut

Best of Bollywood 2015 (10+1list)

Best of Bollywood 2015.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Bollywood cinema essentially means films made in Hindi language, generally produced and distributed in and around the Bombay Film Industry.

Last year 2015, according to me, was a good year for Bollywood.

Films, some of them of finest quality have been made or released, which successfully maintained the thin line between aesthetics and entertainment, and kept both the critics and the audience content.

And so, here is the list of Best of Bollywood 2015. Hope you agree with me on this. (If not, then let’s at least disagree on it)

10. Drishyam

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuuX2j14NBg

Drishyam-posterA thrilling tale of a common man who by his intellect and imagination tricked everyone in order to save his family.

Directed by Nishikant Kamat, a south remake starring Ajay DevgnShriya Saran and Tabu.

A thriller that keeps you on the edges of your seat and doesn’t reveal the suspense till the very last shot of the film.

9. Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyX4toD395U

Bajrangi-Bhaijaan-posterA Salman Khan film, that has a realistic story line, enough scope for acting and most importantly high on emotions and less on dramabazi!

Directed by Kabir Khan, this one is about a big hearted man who went all the way to Pakistan to unite a cute little girl (who is also mute) with her parents.   

A perfect family entertainment clubbed with fun-filled sentiments.

8. Tanu Weds Manu Returns

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGGmyaurjAI

tanu-weds-manu-returns-poster1With a double role (playing the sexy Tanu and the tomboyish Datto) Kangana Ranaut yet again shows that she is currently THE best actress in Bollywood.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Aanand Rai and written by Himanshu Sharma Tanu Weds Manu Returns guarantees a smile on the audiences face as they leave the theaters. And believe me that’s a huge achievement. 

7. Nh10

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9icNqWlylw

nh10-poster1A perfect romantic trip turns into a nightmare.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Navdeep Singh, this is one hard hitting thriller where a urban woman experiences the brutal face of rural India, as she unintentionally becomes involved in a case of honor killing.

Raw, edgy, gritty and very much realistic, and undoubtedly Anushka Sharma‘s best performance till date.

6. Bajirao Mastani

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHOc-4D7MjY

Bajirao-Mastani-poster2A take on the life of Baji Rao Ballal Balaji Bhat, a Maratha general of the early 1700!

(Click for the review)

Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, there are rarely any Bollywood films (if any) that are so pleasing to your eyes that the story, content and characters almost get sidetracked by the sheer beauty of each and every frame.

5. Margarita, with a Straw

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

Margarita-with-a-Straw-posterDirected by Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar this is an exceptional film about a young girl with cerebral palsy who is not afraid to fall in love!

(Click for the review)

Kalki Koechlin – her innocence, her vulnerability, her dialogue delivery, her body language, expressions, her smile – she is the reason to watch this film.

4. Talvar

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQNMsw8Ljjc

Talvar-Poster2Directed by Meghna Gulzar, this one is a well researched version of the Noida Double Murder Case of 2008, also known as the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case.

(Click for the review)

A gripping tale that often makes it difficult for the audience to remember that after all, it’s a fictional representation of the dismal crime and its aftermath.

3. Piku

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeiKUlUUNQ8

piku-poster1Directed by Shoojit Sircar, one of the best entertaining films of the year, emotional, real and so much fun.

(Click for the review)

Amitabh Bachchan as the selfish constipated dad,  Deepika Padukone as the devotedly caring yet tired of taking-care-of daughter and Irrfan Khan as the suitable suitor (perhaps).

2. Titli

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOqiQiMkXDA

titliA family whose family-business is car-jacking, often violently abusing the passengers and looting their valuables. The youngest member of this family is named Titli, and this is his story of freedom.

(Click for the review)

Superbly directed by Kanu Behl, the film even got a nomination at the Cannes Film Festival!

  1. Masaan

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVZzYa0MxM8

masaan-posterBrilliantly directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, there 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.

(Click for the review)

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

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most crazy one. A must watch).

+1. Manjhi: The Mountain Man

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9KAoTQlEWs

mountain-man-poster-1Directed by Ketan Mehta,  a brilliant biopic of Dashrath Manjhi, a man who single-handedly (with only a hammer and a chisel) sliced open the mountain to make a passage through it, reducing the distance from his village to the nearest hospital to minimal.

(Click for the review)

It took him 22 years but he made the impossible possible.

Poster courtesy:  www.bollywoodmdb.com

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Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015)

Tanu Weds Manu Returns review.

My Ratings: 3.8/5. (i hope i don’t have to change my ratings in the future).

Whenever a sequel comes up of some successful RomCom, invariably it proves to be unworthy of it’s preceder. But Tanu Weds Manu Returns is probably the exception that proves this rule!

Tanu Weds Manu Returns may be not as subtle or emotional as Tanu Weds Manu (2011) but when it comes to pure entertainment it’s spot on target. 

tanu-weds-manu-returns-poster3And this time it’s an all and all show for Kangana Ranaut. With a double role (playing the sexy Tanu and the tomboyish Datto) Kangana Ranaut yet again shows that she is currently THE best actress in Bollywood. Extraordinary performance – her body language, her accent and the matured way she handles two completely different characters is highly creditable. 

Madhavan (Manu), though eclipsed by Kangana’s brilliance still holds the ground as an actor and plays an important part in balancing out the overall madness. 

Jimmy Shergill (marriage isn’t everybody’s game after all), Eijaz Khan (the Sardar in Dandiya custume), Swara Bhaskar (the best friend with a secret), Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub (the lawyer lover-boy) and Rajesh Sharma (the savior Uncle) – all perfectly fits into their characters.

But Deepak Dobriyal needs a special mention. His over-enthusiastic and hilarious performance adds an unique comic flavor to the film. 

tanu-weds-manu-returns-poster1Decent cinematography by Chirantan Das and the credit for the music goes to Krsna Solo and Rdb; specially the chartbuster song ‘Banno tera Swagger’ is definitely a dance number.

Even the beautiful song ‘Ja Ja Ja Ja Bewafa’ sung by Geeta Dutt in 1954 in the film Aar Paar is played in the background – nicely used for emotional effect.

Directed by Aanand Rai and written by Himanshu Sharma Tanu Weds Manu Returns guarantees a smile on the audiences face as they leave the theaters. And believe me that’s a huge achievement. 

Cheeky dialogues, hilarious situations, peppy songs and brilliant acting; no wonder Tanu Weds Manu Returns is this year’s most successful Bollywood film till date.

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Best of Bollywood 2014.

Best of Bollywood 2014.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

It’s time to ride the flashback roller coaster in search of some meaningful cinema in Bollywood that released in the year 2014.

The phase ‘meaningful cinema’ itself is debatable since everyone interprets cinema in their own way. For me a film that successfully walks the thin line between quality content and entertainment always wins the race.

So, let the race begin.

1. Queen

queen-posterMost entertaining film of the year and an award-winning performance by Kangana Ranaut.

(Click for the film review)

Girl power punched with fun and friendship.

Awesome music by Amit Trivedi, Vikas Vahl’s superb direction – a great story of a girl who learns to live her life Queen style!

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGC6vl3lzf0

2. Highway

highway-posterBrilliant performance by Alia Bhatt – so natural and spontaneous that she has even managed to eclipse a much senior actor like Randeep Hooda.

(click for the film review)

The film takes you in a tour of the whole North India; the combination of Imtiaz Ali’s direction and A.R.Rahman’s soulful music – a treat for film lovers.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o66nNnGZ5Rg

3. Haider

Haider-poster

Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider is a film that doesn’t shy off from it’s attempt to show the real Kashmir (set around 1995), the daily agony of the locales and their struggle to survive the police, the military and the numerous violent groups inflicting terror.

(click for the film review)

A combination of Hamlet and Kashmir that is definitely worth your time.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xakmvJ0WPa4

4. Ankhon Dekhi

ankhon-dekhi-posterThis film deserves a lot more appreciation, a beautiful story of a man with a strange conviction – he wants to believe only what he sees with his own eyes!

Rajat Kapoor skillfully directs this family drama and Sanjay Mishra gives the best performance of his life.

A rare gem – entertaining and thoughtful cinema.

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3yKUHI2mE4

5. City Lights

Citylights-posterAfter the National Award winning film Shahid, (director) Hansal Mehta and (actor) Rajkummar Rao comes together with yet another promising film.

(Click for the film review)

A remake of the British film Metro Manila, uncomfortably real and raw, the film forces us to look at poverty and despair from disturbing proximity.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fyO8OFK9yw

6. Ugly

Ugly-poster

Anurag Kashyap‘s Ugly is a thriller that revolves around the kidnapping of a little girl and the rigorous search that follows. A nasty tale of mayhem, greed and corruption that doesn’t spare anybody – no one comes out clean and innocent.

(Click for the film review)

Probably the most dark film recently made in Bollywood.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fyO8OFK9yw

7. PK

pk-poster

The much awaited film PK is the latest Aamir Khan flick directed by none other than Rajkumar Hirani; a blockbuster that seems to have broken all the records in box-office collection.

(Click for the controversial film related article)

A light-hearted comedy with an important social message! A film surely worth a watch.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fyO8OFK9yw

8. Miss Lovely

Miss-lovely-posterThe underground sleazy film industry of the 1980’s is never been explored before in such gritty details.

Ashim Ahluwalia (the director) has captured the dark underbelly of the C grade industry with brilliant realism.

Anil GeorgeNawazuddin Siddiqui and Niharika Singh have all given superb performances.

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzoAOoHdACk

9. Filmistaan 

filmistaan-posterA fresh take on the popularity of Bollywood and also the India-Pakistan tension.

(Click to see the film review)

Filmistaan deals with pretty sensitive issues but always with a divine comic touch.

Great acting performances overall; especially the dynamic and hilarious Sharib Hashmi.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-0LWnz8Ut0

10. Children of War

Children-of-War-posterHistory often gets blurred with time but such courageous films revive them and voices the truth.

(Click to see the film review)

The film successfully recreates the horrific crimes orchestrated by Pakistan over the Bangladeshi (Bengali) people in the pre-independence era of Bangladesh in 1971. Great effort by director Mrityunjay Devvrat.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzIa0wYfUwU

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most crazy one. A must watch)

+1. Mary Kom

Mary-kom-poster

Mary Kom, the biographical film on a farmer’s daughter from Manipur, who become a boxer and creates history by being the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships.

(Click to see the film review)

Directed by debutant Omung Kumar and produced by Snajay Leela Banshali – one of Priyanka Chopra‘s best performance till date.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzIa0wYfUwU

And some honorary mentions are Finding FannyMardaaniKya Dilli Kya Lahore2 StatesBhoothnath ReturnsDedh IshqiyaHolidayHawaa HawaaiLakshmi and of course Sulemani Keeda

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Best of Bollywood in 2014

Best of Bollywood in 2014.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Time flies by and we are already halfway through this year. Here comes the list – the best of Bollywood in 2014 yet released (till June end).

I feel 2014 is turning out to be a great year for Bollywood and these movies are enough to prove it. A perfect balance of entertaining and meaningful cinema.

If by chance you have missed any of these awesome films please do the needful as soon as possible.

Ok then, sit back and let’s hit the rewind button.

10. 2 States (April 2014)

2 states

Adopted from Chetan Bhagat’s autobiographical bestseller novel (of the same name), probably one of the best entertaining commercial films of this year.

(Click to see the film review)

Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor not only have a brilliant chemistry but also a set of parents who are culturally poles apart. Good music and it’s fun to watch.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGyAaR2aWcA

9. Hawaa Hawaai (May 2014)

Hawaa Hawaai

Amole Gupte (director) and Partho Gupte (actor) – the father-son duo gave us this superb emotional drama.

(Click to see the film review)

A boy with limited financial means had the courage to dream and also the strength to achieve it.

Roller skating is taken to new heights, overall brilliant performances; this film is a celebration of innocence.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8WEqUvoJw4

8. Kya Dilli kya Lahore (May 2014)

Kya dilli kya lahore

Debutant director Vijay Raaz came up with a completely different take on India-Pakistan war films – a fresh outlook and an interesting script.

(Click to see the film review)

Fine performances by Vijay Raj himself and Manu Rishi Chadha and the brilliant poetic lyrics by Gulzar. A daring film to attempt i must say.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H91RXZ0nRv4

7. Filmistaan (July 2014)

filmistaan

A fresh take on the popularity of Bollywood and also the India-Pakistan tension.

(Click to see the film review)

Filmistaan deals with pretty sensitive issues but always with a divine comic touch.

Great acting performances overall; especially the dynamic and hilarious Sharib Hashmi.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-0LWnz8Ut0

6. Citylights (May 2014)

CityLights

After the National Award winning film Shahid, (director) Hansal Mehta and (actor) Rajkummar Rao comes together with yet another promising film.

(Click for the film review)

A remake of the British film Metro Manila, uncomfortably real and raw, the film forces us to look at poverty and despair from disturbing proximity.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fyO8OFK9yw

5. Highway (Feb 2014)

highway

Brilliant performance by Alia Bhatt – so natural and spontaneous that she has even managed to eclipse a much senior actor like Randeep Hooda.

(click for the film review)

The film takes you in a tour of the whole North India; the combination of Imtiaz Ali’s direction and A.R.Rahman’s soulful music – a treat for film lovers.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o66nNnGZ5Rg

4. Children of war (May 2014)

Children of War

History often gets blurred with time but such courageous films revive them and voices the truth.

(Click to see the film review)

The film successfully recreates the horrific crimes orchestrated by Pakistan over the Bangladeshi (Bengali) people in the pre-independence era of Bangladesh in 1971. Great effort by director Mrityunjay Devvrat.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzIa0wYfUwU

3. Miss Lovely (Jan 2014)

Miss Lovely

The underground sleazy film industry of the 1980’s is never been explored before in such gritty details.

Ashim Ahluwalia (the director) has captured the dark underbelly of the C grade industry with brilliant realism.

Anil GeorgeNawazuddin Siddiqui and Niharika Singh have all given superb performances.

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzoAOoHdACk

2. Queen (March 2014)

queen

Most entertaining film of the year and an award winning performance by Kangana Ranaut.

(Click for the film review)

Girl power punched with fun and friendship.

Awesome music by Amit Trivedi’s, Vikas Vahl’s superb direction – a great story of a girl who learns to live her life Queen style!

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGC6vl3lzf0

1. Ankhon Dekhi (March 2014)

Ankhon dekhi

This film deserves a lot more appreciation, a beautiful story of a man with a strange conviction – he wants to believe only what he sees with his own eyes!

Rajat Kapoor skillfully directs this family drama and Sanjay Mishra gives the best performance of his life.

A rare gem – entertaining and thoughtful cinema.

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3yKUHI2mE4

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most crazy one. A must watch)

+1. Lakhsmi (March 2014)

lakshmiLakshmi – the young village girl who stood up alone in the court against a prostitution racket in Hyderabad.

A film that is both disturbing and real (based on a true story) and truly courageous.

Nagesh Kukunoor directs this dark film that shows us the horrors of human trafficking, the torturous lives of girls who are forced to prostitution.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wf4hOMpKlEI

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Revolver Rani (2014)

My rating – 2/5

Kangana’s last release ‘Queen’ has triggered my expectations to such a high that I was eagerly waiting to see my favorite actress in her new avatar – as the dynamic ‘Revolver Rani’.

But this time I am disappointed.

Disappointed not entirely from Kangana’s acting perspective – though i felt she was a little over-the-top a couple of times but still she did a decent job and pretty well morphed herself as the new-age ‘Phulan Devi’.

In fact most of the actors have given good performances but regrettably the story didn’t have the strength to shoulder these accomplishments.

‘Revolver Rani’ is supposed to be a dark comedy and Kangana Ranaut (whose skin color is made dark enough to suit her role) is the badass queen of this dark, merciless world.

Well I guess that was the general idea but unfortunately it didn’t work out in the favor of the audience.

 

Chambal the ever-sentimental place for the dacoits (who have now turned into politicians) is used as the backdrop for this gritty, violent drama.

On one side we have Alka Singh (Kangana as Revolver Rani) and her mentor Bali Mama (Piyush Mishra) and on the rival side we have Udaybhan Tomar (very well enacted by Zakir Hussain) leading the blood-thirsty Tomar family.

And of course how can we forget the ‘toy boy’, Alka’s one and only love Rohan Mehra (Vir Das) who though treated as a comic relief at the beginning evolves as the main player who decides Revolver Rani’s fate at the end of the film. (I think for this role a better actor should have been considered).

Comic only in bits and pieces the film especially after interval looses its focus.

So many characters, each having their own dreams, often getting unnecessarily more importance than the main character; well in a nutshell – too many stories spoiled the plot.

The film in its desperate attempt to join the ‘B-grade cinema’ club patronizes a never-ending chain of action sequences, sometimes unapologetically raw and over dramatic.

These action scenes are often slow-motioned and pumped up by loud background music but the effect is not always pleasurable. I personally think we have seen hundred times better-inspired versions of Tarantino and Scorsese in Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur saga.

 

Sai Kabir, the first time director undoubtedly tried his best to come up with something refreshing, a madcap film with an unusual story line. I must say he chose a daring script for his first venture.

To be honest the possibility of a sequel scares me but I love to think positive.

This one is only recommended for Kangana Ranaut fans who after watching her wearing Italian fashioned spiky bras should feel the entire film experience worth it.

 

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Queen (2014)

Queen is undoubtedly the most refreshing and well-made cinema I have recently seen. And the credit goes to Vikas Bahl (the director) and Kangana Ranaut (the queen herself).

An overview:

A hard-core feminist film.

An ideal chauvinist, hypocrite and selfish character (Vijay) is taken as a desi male representative (Rajkumar Rao perfectly slips into this role) who happily makes a bastard of himself from the very beginning of the film, just to make sure that our total sympathy goes for Rani (the innocent female victim).

From then on the film is about Rani’s journey, her struggle to blot out her past and achieve a certain level of self-confidence, her thrills in the roads of Paris and Amsterdam, making multi-ethnic friends, getting drunk and dancing on Bollywood remixes, indulging the firangs to have spicy panipuris – she does it all and in the process she rediscovers herself.

Now all this would have been much less entertaining and believable without the brilliance of Kangana Ranaut.

She is one of the very few Indian actresses of our times who is actually evolving, getting better in every film. From her early days of ‘Gangster’, ‘Woh Lamhe’ and ‘Life in a Metro’ (though she was pretty good in these films as well) Kangana has immensely matured as an actress as we see her in her later films ‘Fashion’, ‘Tanu weds Manu’, ‘Krrish 3’ and now certainly her best performance till date as Rani in the film ‘Queen’.

As the story goes:

Happy faces, loud music, semi-choreographed dance-steps – Rani’s pre-wedding celebrations have started. But the festivity gets abruptly curtailed when her fiancé Vijay takes the sudden decision to call off their wedding just a day before the ceremony. His excuse is simple yet dogmatic – according to Vijay his life has changed a lot since he went to London for business purpose and he is sure that Rani wouldn’t be able to adjust with him in the foreign land.

Now the heartbroken, conservative, middleclass Rani is left with nothing except her tears and her honeymoon tickets to Paris. After coming out of the initial shock Rani tells her family members (her parents, her chubby brother Chintu and her surprisingly modern granny) that she still wants to go to her honeymoon … alone.

With a touch of comedy perfectly blended with Rani’s innocence the film leaps into the foreign lands where after a short period of uncertainty Rani seems to meet all the right people and making friends out of everybody.

First was Vijayalakshmi, played by sultry Lisa Haydon who can be seen as the perfect alter ego of Rani. In Paris this sexy, ‘mixed Hindi French Spanish’ girl teaches Rani to enjoy the ultra-modern feminine life, to try fashionable clothes, to get drunk without a reason, to kiss boys ‘lip-to-lip’, take off the bra before going to the dance floor and also to keep a condom handy for the night.

Rani is thrilled and now on her way to Amsterdam.

There she has to share her room with three unknown boys Alexander, Taka and Tim (a white, an Asian and a black – a perfectly stereotype ethnic fusion) who eventually become her best buddies. And of course Marcello the cook who dares Rani to prove her theory that the Indians are the best kissers in the world. And how she proves it … my God … Rani’s first ‘lip to lip’ kiss!

Now there lies the success of the director Vikas Bahl as well as Kangana, they have successfully maintained the innocence of Rani’s character throughout the film even if she gets drunk and accuses her fiancé (without any proof though) of having sex with other girls in London, then she herself shares room with unknown boys (a sin in traditional Indian culture) and even kisses a sexy Italian man to prove her point.

Though Vijay suddenly u-turned his way to Amsterdam in search of Rani and tells her how sorry he is, how much he misses her and loves her and again wants to marry her, Rani this time played her cards not innocently but wisely. With her newly gained confidence and experience in life she knows exactly what to do with her selfish fiancé and how.

Music and Camera and Edit:

Amit Trivedi’s music once again takes us through a fantastic spectrum of emotions. Especially the song ‘London Thumakda’ is a true dance number from which you can’t escape.

Siddharth Diwan and Bobby Singh did a superb job with the camera; the sudden slow motions in high emotional situations are very well captured.

And the editors of the film are Abhijit Kokate, Karen Williams and none other than Anurag Kashyap (his first as an editor). And yes they have done a great job.

And finally:

Especial mention of the hilarious scene in an adult shop in Amsterdam where Kangana doesn’t have the slightest clue that the items she is looking at (even planning to buy for her family) are actually sex-toys and other kinky stuff.

Very innovatively as the film ends and the titles come up, Rani puts the pictures and videos of her entire journey on facebook where the number of likes and comments keeps multiplying.

In this part we see a picture of Vijay with the picture-name ‘kutta’ written and the likes and comments rises up speedily. The last touch of supreme feminism I guess.

Overall loved it, very entertaining and again an awesome performance by the lead actress. Watch it if you haven’t yet … you won’t regret it. Full paisa-wasul.

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