Shaandaar Movie Review: A witty take on the women empowerment issue

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A leap from Chillar Party to the elegant & thought provoking Queen, comes a movie directed by Vikas Bahl with another message. With his reputation and knack for producing films showing a different perspective to the ubiquitous issues, the hopes were too high for this new Rom-Com. Bringing a new romantic story to Bollywood is as difficult as making money from a Sci-Fi film (In Bollywood). Vikas always comes with a new crisp and he has outperformed himself every time. His Chillar Party was one of the few movies for children, which was actually suitable for the child’s eye. A spark of zest could be seen in every child actor. Then came the delirious Queen, who was equally funny, curious and inspirational. But with Shaandaar, the story cannot commensurate the novelty of his previous work. Nevertheless, it is “Shaandaar”.

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The trio of Pankaj Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor and the debutant Sanah, together conjure magic. And then there’s “Aila,” I mean, Alia Bhat. She’ll blend in with any actor and protrude everyone. Since her first film, she has burst into with quite the talent. Vikas has kept the screenplay overwhelmed with the entertainment quotient. A few dialogues between Pankaj and Shahid immerse you into the film. Over all, the writing unit impresses the brain.

With the duties of arranging the marriage of Isha (Sanah); the head of the family Mummiji (Sushma Seth), the lady Hitler, sets a business deal with a rich family. JJ- Jagjinder Joginder (Shahid Kapoor), the wedding planner falls in love with Aila Alia (Alia Bhat). The story moves around till the day of wedding. What happens during those 2 hours is humor and brain. But the key to the whole script was, it did not digress from the actual message, keeping in check with the comedy.

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The Final Word:

It is implied from this point of time, that when Vikas directs a film, it is going to be a good one. But keeping that in mind, Shaandaar is average when compared to his earlier films. If you’re looking for good actors, dialogues, a story with a subtle message, go buy yourself a ticket of Shaandaar. And another mention goes to the spellbinding narration. Digs on that, like totally (Watch the movie to understand this).

My rating: – 3.5/5.

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Rudrama Devi Movie Review: Other than Anushka Shetty’s galvanizing performance, the film fails to cheer up.

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Have you seen Tees Maar Khan? If you have, then you must remember the things Akshay Kumar pulled off in it. My point is, as was Akshay Kumar unaware of predicting the story of the movie he was shooting in the movie Tees Maar Khar, so was Gunasekhar, the director and writer of this movie. With so much pre-production, effort worth appreciating and the story of Rudrama Devi, which is borrowed from the actual ruler of Kakatiya, it’s a shame that this film didn’t put forth the best of the content.anushka-rudrama-devi-movie-regal-look-posters_142008756410

As much as I could read about Rudhrama Devi, the story of this film has bits and pieces of her life in it. A female child is born to Ganapatideva, the ruler of Kakatiya. But considering the precarious condition of the dynasty and consistent attacks from other empires, King Ganapatideva announces the child as a male prodigy to the eyes of his citizens. The people know her as Rudradeva, who defies all limitations thought to bring down a galloping woman. She manages the empire and overcomes many hassles. There are a few side characters and sub-plots appended to the film. As a result of which, the story and the screenplay lengthens. The story as it goes, is above average, but the dialogues were the one’s which really sucked the ambience out of the film.

Director Gunasekhar must have thought, a film with abundant war scenes could not fail. The last segment when the war breaks, there are a few army formations having a resemblance to this year’s war themed film Baahubali. But the major difference between these films was Rudrama Devi didn’t exude any realistic or logical formation. They are the most ludicrous formations I’ve ever seen and 3D made it worse. Of course, I didn’t go for a 3D show, but I can see what went wrong there. The thing is, apparentely you cannot produce a better film with hokum. It tried very hard to protrude the ubiquitous level fround in films in India. Another setback was, over a couple of times, a cartoon clip just slipped right in front of the screen, which was very irritating and ratified the limitations of showing those scenes through actual humans. And if there was no other flaw, this movie had songs. I don’t get the idea of showing those dances if they are not going to choreograph it coherently.This was such an experience, when we go for the gathering of a school and children of 10 dance and we laugh seeing them do cute little things.

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Rudrama Devi is portrayed by Anushka Shetty and she is very dazzling with a prince’s armour. She is fierce and exhuberant when Rudradeva & beautiful, coquetry and ravishing when Rudrama Devi. Her acting is very soothing and is the only reason why this film should be seen. With So much focus on Rudrama Devi, the other actors like Allu Arjun, Rana Daggubati,Nithya Menen, Vikramjeet Virk and Prakash Raj. Though most of them perform well, Rana Daggubati, Nithya Menen and Prakash Raj stand out.

The Final Word:

With this film going on floors four months before Baahubali, the storyline taken from the life of an empress, with a colossal budget and a sturdy starcast, Rudrama Devi as a film is really crappy. Right from dialogues to action scenes, it all looks like there was a rope tied to the person.The war and the cheap level of animation will seem like you’re playing kochadaiyaan on your mobile phone. This is an ingenuine and impromptu effort despite the surprising performance from Anushka Shetty and couple others. If you have to, watch it for Anushka Shetty.

My rating: 2/5. 

Rudrama Devi Trailer

Talvar Movie Review: The story will leave you devastated.

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It’s been little more than seven years, that the twin murder of Aarushi and Hemraj have drifted from the CBI getting one lead to another and then to being bogged down on several dead ends. With absolutely no evidence, the parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar being convicted of these murders under the tags of ‘honour killings’, stay in detention since 2013. The case would’ve been solved long ago, but the skillful work of the Delhi police, in garnering and containing the evidence, along with various labs storing them, managed to let the case run only on the hypothesis of CBI. Not that CBI was very dutiful in its task, but they successfully landed the charges on the parents rather than finding the murder on the loose.

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I have been following the events of the Aarushi murder, also with the help of a book (not completed reading) with the name of the girl who was murdered in her sleep. Written by the reporter, Avirook Sen, the book mainly shows how the parents were innocent of committing the crime but it also had the mindset of a person, who would likely write something biased. After all, had spent two and half years covering the investigation. As much as I was convinced that Rajesh and Nupur couldn’t imagine doing it, the book also hinted Avirook Sen pressing on how the police and CBI personnel wanted to close off the case rather than finding the killer.

If you’re just checking it out for the first time click here for trailer:

Talking about the movie, Meghna Gulzar had to deliver a notable film for one of the uncanny case/sensation of India, with Vishal Bhardwaj’s retelling to its effect. To begin with, a whole lot of characters were altered/deleted and a case was designed such a way so as to show Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan) as the savior. Needless to say, Ashwin, with his orthodox manner of getting the information out of suspects couldn’t save them from going to prison. The intention of the story was not to show a happy ending, but to get the audience to think about what’s going to happen next? Particularly, if the system doesn’t change. It was kind of like Prakash Jha’s movies. The screenplay did get a little messy, with many intricacies. For a typical Bollywood viewer, some of it might go over his head.

Konkana Sen Sharma was outstanding as the mother of Shruti (name changed from Aarushi). She was at her best while the scenes cut when Shruti’s body was taken into the vehicle for post mortem. Again, while the CBI worked out many theories of how the parents were the murders, in one of the hypothesis, she said, “Chal ab acting karni hai”(Let’s go, now we have to put on an act). The manner in which she exuded the characters of a loving mother and on the other hand a psychopath was frenetic and intimidating at times.

Irrfan Khan wasn’t the best as Ashwin Kumar, but was one of the attractions.  Among others, there were Neeraj Kabi, who was convincing enough as a doting father, Shishir Sharma, Gajraj Rao, Prakash Belawadi, Sumit Gulati, Tabu & Atul Kumar, who maintained the flow and kept the level in sync with what they had been expected.

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The Final Word:

This film is not only a take on the most enigmatic case in the history of India but also acts as a  reminder to us that even with the best of resources available in hand, anything could go wrong with the current caliber of system. A need for better system, always craves in our minds. If you’re free this week and want to follow up to “what happened to Aarushi”, watch this movie. Otherwise, a man is awaiting a probe to pick him off of the martian lands, in other screens.

My Rating: 3.5/5.

The Martian Movie Review: A graceful battle of survival, with Mars and eventually with the movie’s runtime

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“Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped”, said Mark Watney in Andy Weir’s novel. I’ve only completed as far as 64% of the novel, but that didn’t matter much as the movie just waded through what was left of it.  The Martian being one of the most admired and anticipated movie of the year is in fact a fast forward of the novel. There are a host of YA, Dystopian, Sci-fi books out there, being converted into movies. Some of those deserve a watch, but when it comes to writing the screenplay, the job is easier said than done. A novel, probably of 300-400 pages being curbed to 2 hours of runtime is like hampering the growth and development of the film. Though it does not weave the intricacy and share the details, The Martian is a ‘go’.

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If you havn’t watched the trailer, click Matt Damon’s face below:

I’m going to indulge in spoiling the story a bit for you. So, Ares 3 team land safely on Mars, as a part of NASA’s initiative. And the team receives a warning of an upcoming storm on Mars. Now, the Hab, where the team officially lives in, would tilt at 12.3 degrees and with limited available time they’d have to seek refuge in the Hab. But on the way back to it, Mark Watney gets hit by the antenna of one of the comms. He wakes up to see that his crew now, has long gone to return to planet Earth, along with Hermes gone and no communication to Earth. He ruminates about his viable options and draws out that he has to survive another 4 years on Mars alone till Ares 4 program team picks him up. With about 300 days food and a limited supply of water and Oxygen, he starts building up the resources. He works his way to get water: Use Hydrazine, a fuel, separate Hydrogen from it by lighting it on fire, convert Carbon dioxide to Oxygen through the Oxygenator, blow Oxygen and Hydrogen in a confined space and give birth to water, all with the chance of getting killed. Mark also becomes the first person to grow potatoes on Mars using his own shit. I know, isn’t science fun? So, now to communicate with NASA he gets the pathfinder, learns ASCII code language and using the imager on the pathfinder, he communicates with NASA. Mark survives through all the persistent and ‘Mars planning to kill him’ times and gets home safely. To reveal more about the movie, watch it for yourself.

Though the story is the dandiest, it majorly depends on the director, on how he wants to festoon the pomp. Ridley Scott needs no introduction, his films having run a good number on the box office. But that doesn’t make up for the shallowness of this movie in terms of details. They should have given more emphasis on succinctly elucidating how Watney did what he did. It just falls flat on the screenplay. But with a more elaborate runtime it could have crept into the minds who have tasted the blood of the novel. With such movies; 3D, cinematography and CGI have to be of top notch, and in this case, The Martian delivers it.

Mark Watney in the novel, was very real, pragmatic, convenient and quick with a joke. On the other hand Matt Damon’s zeal kind of keeps you committed to the big screen. As for seeing him in the skin of Watney is a little unconvincing, less empirical. Not that it’s the deficiency in his acting, but a pinned down runtime doesn’t give him the opportunity of being compatible with the character. A whole lot of stars of high caliber like Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor have starred in the movie, but their presence is very minimal, again the problem of having an average playtime.

The Final Word:

If you love Sci-fi movies, where the protagonist gets stranded on a planet for a shitload of 3 years, you’ll like The Martian. For those, who ranted about how bad the novel was because it had all kinds of calculations and was boring, watch the movie, you might end up liking it more than me. Apart from that, Matt Damon with all the above crew, and an adroit director Ridley Scott, it’s a must watch. But if you want to scavenge more about Mark’s bitter and lonely odyssey, then read the book.

It’s rare that, books-turned-movies work out with such elegance, but as short (that’s the flaw) as The Martian is, it deserves a 4/5.

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“In your face, Neil Armstrong!”