Tag Archives: rajkummar rao

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

Aligarh (2015)

Aligarh review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A cinema not just about gay rights, it’s about humanity. 

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

On the night of 8 February 2010, two men forced their way into a house in Aligarh where two adult people were having consensual sex. These hired goons who later claimed to be from a TV channel, took pictures and videos while illegally invading the privacy of aligarh-poster-1someone’s bedroom, and in the process humiliating and even beating up the residents.

It was the house of Dr. Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, and he was ambushed by these local TV-channel camera crew while having sex with a rickshaw puller; gay sex to be specific.

And effectively the very next day, the 64 year old professor Dr. Siras, specializing in Marathi literature and also the head of the Department of Modern Indian Languages at Aligarh Muslim University, was suspended from his post because of his illicit misconduct resulting to such a scandal.

Fortunately such an act of atrocity, discrimination and injustice was noticed and denounced by those few, who still believe in terms like justice and equality. With the help of efficient lawyers a case was filed against the University and eventually the verdict was in favor of Dr. Siras. But probably, the man was too heart broken to enjoy his victory.

aligarh-poster-3The film Aligarh is a sincere account of Dr. Siras’s life; a calm and composed man by nature, a poet who won the literary award by Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad in 2002. He loved to listen to Lata Mangeshkar songs with a few many drinks at night till he gets drunk.

And Manoj Bajpayee as Dr. Siras has given the performance of a lifetime. Such emotions in his eyes, the way he talks in a slow intellectual manner, his overall body language, even the way he moves his feet enjoying the song ‘Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha’ in Lata Mangeshkar’s voice – pure brilliance! 

Rajkummar Rao surely did support Bajpayee very well, the young reporter’s role was rewardless yet so important from the film’s perspective. Ashish VidyarthiSumit GulatiDilnaz Irani all were at their best. 

Almost 2 hours of screen time, slow paced, long single takes,  aligarh-poster-2emotional and brutally honest; the sheer authenticity and conviction of storytelling is enough to make this biopic a special one.

And exceptionally well directed by Hansal Mehta (this is even better than Mehta’s earlier two triumphs Shahid and City Lights).  

Based on the last two months of a man who was the victim of the university campus politics, framed by his own colleagues out of utter jealousy, a man whose life was turned upside down just because he was a homosexual.

‘I spent two decades here. I love my University. I have always loved it and will continue to do so no matter what. But I wonder if they have stopped loving me because I am gay’

Dr. Siras was a man who loved his life and expected to be loved back.

The film Aligarh has managed to keep alive his sentiments, it has the same poetic feel that so resembles Dr. Siras’s nature.

Poster courtesy:  www.bollywoodmdb.comwww.goldposter.com

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

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

City Lights (2014)

My Ratings: 4/5

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

The dazzling lights in the big cities are often tempting from a distance but on a closer look one notices the dark shadows they cast that can easily swallow the weak and the naive along with their little expectations.

Deepak Singh (Rajkummar Rao), his wife Rakhi (Patralekha) and their sweet young daughter – lost and fragile yet desperate to try their luck in the city of Mumbai.

In this film we get to see a glimpse of the ugly side of Mumbai, the famous city of dreams that ruthlessly crushes the dreams of the poor and the helpless only to feed the riches. People are cheated manipulated and humiliated, pushed to their limits until they fight back and demand their existence.

City Lights is uncomfortably raw; it makes us look at poverty and despair from disturbing proximity.

A remake of the British film Metro Manila, City Lights is a superb effort to tell the story of the ordinary – their lives, their wishes and their endless limitations.

Brilliant performance by Rajkummar Rao – I personally think he deserves another National Award for this act. The portrayal of a naïve Rajasthani villager – the accent, the body language, the tone, the expressions – he was just perfect.

Patralekha, the debutant actress also did a pretty good job but the surprise package in the film is Manav Kaul who plays the superior of Rajkummar in the film. A very powerful actor – so natural and spontaneous.

The director Hansal Mehta has done it again. It seems that he has perfected the art of telling stories of ordinary people in a simple, realistic fashion which is kind of rare in Bollywood. He along with his cinematographer Dev Agarwal has deliberately set a dark tone for City Lights to get the gritty feel of poverty and hunger. A wise decision.

Well edited by Apurva Asrani and of course with the backing of Mahesh Bhatt (in production and marketing levels) the film has evolved into a fine piece of cinema.

The only problem is the songs in the film; actually it’s not that the songs are bad but I think they are over-used. It can be irritating at times when every emotional scene is underlined by heavy doses of mediocre songs in the background. Then again Jeet Ganguly could have done better.

On the whole a very emotional film; it certainly makes you reach out for the central characters – to warn them, to protect them from this cruel world (or rather the cruel city).

It’s not advisable to miss this film.

Best of Bollywood 2012 and 2013 (10+1 list)

Best of Bollywood 2012 and 2013

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best of Bollywood 2012 and 2013 is the list of some of my most favorite Hindi films (in Hindi language) in the recent times.

Kind of a flashback of the last two years and if you have missed any of these films (though i very much doubt it) no need to feel guilty. Watch them as soon as possible and you will be forgiven.

This list is especially for my friends who are foreign based or foreign to Bollywood films and many a times ask me to suggest some meaningful Bollywood cinema … well, this list is all you need.

10. Kai po che! (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdXD5YIEhuA

Kai Po Che poster

Very rarely it happens that a film turns out to be better than the book it’s based on.

Rajkummar Rao, Sushant Singh Rajput and Amit Sadh have given their best performances – after ‘Rock on’ this is again a great film by director Abhishek Kapoor.

A story of friends and friendship beautifully told.

9. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3PZbL8JGYQ

gangs of wasseypur poster

Anurag Kashyap at his best, Gangs of Wassypur is an epic story of violence between two families.

A raw desi masala tale of revenge and betrayal that takes three generations to come to a resolution.

Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Piyush Mishra … entertainment unlimited.

8. Paan Singh Tomar (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT–NbNqiHE

paan singh tomar poster

A biographical drama on the life of the famous Indian athlete Paan Singh Tomar who turned into a decoit in his later days.

The film won that years’s National Award in the ‘Best Feature Film’ category and Irfan khan won the National Award for the ‘Best Actor’.

Tigmanshu Dhulia gives us probably the most unique and brilliant film of the year 2012.

7. Shanghai (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNbGmjD2_qQ

shanghai posterThe best political thriller of Bollywood till date.

A remake of the Greek director Costa-Gavras’s political drama ‘Z’ or rather adopted from the same novel written by Vasilis Vasilikos Shanghai keeps up to it’s promise.

Yet another feather on Dibakar Banerjee’s cap – superb performances by Abhay Deol and Emraan Hashmi.

6. Kahaani (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1wEeuAosNM

kahaani poster

Kahaani which literally means ‘story’ is indeed one of the best mystery stories of that year told by director Sujoy Ghosh.

Vidya Balan, the helpless pregnant lady desperately searching for her husband in Kolkata – a search that gets too dangerous and ends with a twist to remember.

If you haven’t seen this film yet you are missing something.

5. The Lunchbox (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK3R0rvnlPs

The LunchBox poster

Arguably the perfect choice for the Oscars from India last year (though the Gujarati film Good Road was sent instead).

A terrific film – simple yet crisp and full of soul.

Top rated performances by Irfan khan, Nawazuddin Sidiqui and Nimrat Kaur – what an extraordinary debut film by Ritesh Batra!

4. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u71swQ4ksgI

bhag milkha bhag poster

Another biographical film adds to this list – Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s take on one of India’s all time legend athlete Milkha Singh.

A brilliant film that received the national award for ‘Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment’.

Farhan Akhtar bagged almost all the popular awards as the Best Actor – splendid performance.

3. Barfi! (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ijur-W6vW8

Barfi poster

Barfi! was the film India sent to the Oscars in 2012.

Salute to the director Anurag Basu for such wonderful concept and direction.

Ranbir Kappor and Priyanka Chopra have given their performances till date.

A fun filled film that will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

2. OMG: Oh My God! (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nUwpoTrWFk

Oh My God Poster

In such a religiously frantic country like India you have to give credit to the film that raises its voice against religious corruption and that too in such an entertaining manner.

A common man who dares to take God to the court room!

Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar’s superb performance and Umesh Shukla’s direction – a real OMG film in a good way.

1. Shahid (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p8LyAte-M8

shahid poster

You can guess a film’s worth when that film has won National Awards in both ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Actor’ category.

Very recently saw the film and i was a spellbound.

Hansal Mehta has evolved into a fine director and Rajkummar Rao – what natural acting man!

Watch it. You won’t regret.

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

+1. Ship of Theseus (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5JW92zk32s

ship of theseus poster

Won the National Award for Best Feature Film – this film is truly an unique experience.

Three different stories brilliantly woven into one, arty and matured, intelligent and honest.

Anand Gandhi has paved a new path to sophisticated cinema and raised the bars for the other film-makers.

The success of this particular film proved that the so called Bollywood-audience only craving for hard-core commercial masala films is only a myth. Lets hope and wish for a better future of Bollywood in the coming years!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.