Friday, February 23, 2018


This film should be sent up the river!
And I hope they drown it before it reaches Sing Sing.

ZERO stars

Mini Review:

When you watch award shows, you know the stars in the
audience are cheering and clapping for something else. They
use the footage from the IIFA show and include it on terrible
green screens and edits to make a terrible copy of Mel Brooks
hit film The Producers. This film fails to extract even half a
guffaw, and proves that Karan Johar is better off behind the
camera and not in the front of it.

Main Review:

I 💓 KJo, But I love cinema more

Don’t get me wrong, I love Koffee With Karan, bad spelling and
all. He’s witty and clever and makes his guests talk. But in this
film, he’s intolerable. He’s a parody of everything bad. And my
sensibilities were hurt when he claims in the film that the red
blazer he’s wearing is ‘2017 December Prada’. The film is so
terrible, you google and confirm that Prada did not have
anything remotely red in their fall-winter collection, unless it was
a messenger bag. The K-Jo fan inside me died.

IIFA Murdabad!

So they take the story from The Producers, and Lara Dutta
wants to ruin the IIFA New York because she’s denied a
promotion. She runs a ‘talent contest’ and decides to choose
the worst of the worst. We could give the film a glimmer of a star
because they do not show us the different participants showing
their talent. Small mercies. But the glimmer dies with the hamming
from everyone. Boman Irani, Karan Johar, Sonakshi Sinha,
Diljeet Dosanjh… everyone should be hung and salted for Bigas
Luna’s Jamon Jamon part two. Except that everyone who sat
through this travesty should be allowed to watch shirtless
Javier Bardem standing in front of these ‘stars’ hung by great big
ham hooks.

Sonakshi Sinha overdoes the 'faint upon seeing Salman Khan'
bit, but it is not awful to watch. It's awful that she has to be a
Gujju girl and they have to add fafda and Modiji and 'Gujarat is
best' in everything she says. Ugh!

Sad to see Riteish Deshmukh be a part of this despite having
made Ek Villain, Lai Bhari and Faster Fene. As Marathi mums
will say, ‘Why, Riteish, why?’

Diljit Dosanjh is perfect example of a girl crush shattering.
He was brilliant in Udta Punjab and Phillauri. And now this? He’s
neither fully village bumpkin, nor is he a movie buff. He’s butter
chicken with butter gone rancid. What a let down the lure
of ‘big movies’ can be!

They made the film in 3D as well!

The movie itself is terribly made. It uses footage from the IIFA
awards, showing how stars arrive and are seated and are
cheering for something that’s happening on stage. It’s so terribly
inserted, even lay people in the audience can see clearly that
it is not shot for the film. And if IIFA paid money to promote
their brand, the audience will prove that content, not footage
is king.

Am sure Karan Johar’s cell phone has smarter and
more interesting video footage than this awful, awful film.

(this review appears on nowrunning dot com )



3 stars

Mini Review:

‘Bromance or Romance’ is the underlying premise of the
battle of the sexes film. Although it feels misogynistic to
paint women the way they have in the film, it is so delightful
and frothy and fun, you come away smiling. Are all
girlfriends needy or plain manipulative? Will Sonu save his
best friend Titu from his girl? What is true love? Do Punjabis
drink and wed? The film is a tad too long, but has enough to
make you finish gigantic popcorn tubs.

Mini Review:

What happens when the best friend of the groom does not get
along with the bride to be? It’s a wonderful mish mash of My Best
Friend’s Wedding and How I Met Your Mother but it stands happily
on its Punjabi feet, supported by Tandoori Chicken and alcohol.

Sonu is used to rescuing Titu from disastrous relationships. Kartik
Aryan (of Pyar ka Punchnama fame) is Sonu to his bestie Titu
played by Sunny Singh Nijjar (rather amiable). It is easy enough
for save Titu from a girlfriend who won’t delete a dating app from
her phone. But when Titu and his family get enamoured by
Sweety, Sonu faces a daunting, uphill task: How does one rescue
one’s best friend from someone who is just too good to be true?

Sonu is a part of Titu’s family. Titu’s mum, Ayesha Raza is
particularly amazing. Her suggestion: If it is an insult to carry
mithai from a rival shop when they go to meet Sweety’s family,
then we put the mithai in our family mithai shop box.

Titu’s granny rules the house, but there’s a pair of older gents
who steal the thunder right from under the younger bunch:
Titu and Sonu and Sweety. This pair is the older version of Titu
and Sonu: Grandpa Alok Nath and his best bud Virendra Saxena.
Alok Nath gets to say the most outrageous things and his
delivery is so good, you cannot help but guffaw at his wicked

‘I have one rule in life,’ says Grandpa Alok Nath, ‘Never tell an
asshole that he is an asshole.’ The curse word is of course
bleeped out in the film which makes the dialogue funnier than
it is. The grandpa and his bud are Sonu’s sounding board.
They help him plot the overthrow of the enemy that is slowly and
sweetly taking over Titu’s world. But the two old gents play from
both sides, and that adds to the fun.

At the engagement ceremony Sweety turns out to be not so
sweet. We’re not given any reason why she turns into such a
calculating miss, but the challenge to rescue Titu becomes even
more daunting and more fun. Yes, yes, the women are not
shown in a kindly light, but this film gives us a break from sweet
syrupy romances Bollywood is used to upchucking every week.

The war of the sexes gets to a point where grandpa offers
inadvertent advice: Poison cuts poison. And Sonu finds the perfect
poison in the shape of Pihu. Ishita Raj Sharma is brilliant and you
shake your head at how clever Sonu is each time Sweety reacts to
Pihu’s presence. The fact that it’s a wedding and the bride is
getting mehendi done, which means she cannot do anything makes
the situation hilarious!

There are many holes in the narrative, starting with Sweety’s
motives for being the way she is, and why Sonu believes women
are always wrong, but it is offers us reason to watch out for a
sequel. The film is as Punjabi as it gets (read alcohol and
expletive soaked), and boy, do the characters have fun!

(this review appears on )

Sunday, February 18, 2018


A Western That Makes You Love And Hate

3.75 stars

Mini Review:

An Army Captain who captured the 'Redskin' killer of many of his mates is now ordered to escort the killer across hostile terrain from New Mexico to Montana. He not only has to fight his hatred for the Native American chief who is now old and suffering from Cancer, but do his duty or his pension will be revoked. The film is a brilliant travelogue - about journeys inside your self and physically, and wonderfully shot. And Christian Bale is not just Batman, he can act!

Main Review:

Captain Joseph Blocker does not speak much, but his face speaks volumes. If it weren't for Christian Bale, this film would have not been the same. He is unapologetic about the violence that he has lived, and his inspiration is Julius Caesar. His troops respect him. When the mission is given to him he does not have a choice. he will have to escort a hated man and his family to the Indian Reservation in Montana. 

There is betrayal and friendship, and murders that are vile and from the very beginning you know this film is not going to be ordinary. The Commanche are horrendous scalp hunters and you begin to understand why the White conquerors called them 'savages'. 

Rosamund Pike is beautiful and gives a powerful performance as a grieving mother and a new widow.  

Captain tries to offload her at the nearest Army cantonment, but there's no stagecoach that will take her to Chicago and she may have to wait indefinitely. So when she gets ready to travel the next morning with Captain and his burden along with one more prisoner, he calmly asks for another horse to be included, without saying too much to the widow. His manners and gentlemanly conduct is tested when he cannot abandon her no matter how insufferable she gets a couple of times.

The new prisoner turns out to be another emotional burden. He has fought alongside the Captain and is hoping to be treated better. The weather has turned hostile now, and the Captain realises that the prisoner is no longer a soldier but a murderer. But when an animal is left out in the cold and the rain, he will turn on you. The episode is predictable and yes, you cannot but avert your eyes.

The travelers reach Montana, and you know there has been much loss. The views of sunset are so incredible you want to go back and explore the Glacier National Park and the Great Bear Wilderness and the Grand Teton National Park all over again to experience nature at its best.

My one grouse with the film is the cardboard cutout treatment given to the Native Americans. The proud but dying chief, the philosophy he shares, his family, their fears and their loyalty are all so stereotypical , the roles write themselves.

The film makes you question your own values. Enmity that festers inside heads, death and of course the meaning of home. Homecoming is a somber reality to the chief and you begin to wonder if there is a place one can call home as well. 

P.S. That said, it was amusing to watch the quiet decision of the hero to stay with the girl and the child because in my head i was wondering how a Hindi film would have played it: train catches speed (even in those times), hero makes a dash for it, heroine sitting inside eyes closed, child happy to watch hero run towards train, hero jumps on to the train, hero comes inside, child nudges the heroine, who is crying (make-up intact), they hug (or kiss) and the gawdawful voice of Sukhvinder Singh begins to sing a version of 'mera piya ghar aaya'... 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: Black Panther

Isme Action Hai, Bhai Hai, Badle Ki Bhawna Hai, Romance Hai
Aur Panther Hee Stong Nahi, Very Strong Women Bhi Hai!

3 and 1/2 Ninja Stars

Mini Review: 

This film is awesome, book tickets now!

Main Review:

The new Avenger has a fabulous back story. The country called Wakanda hides a terrific secret. The Women are all AWESOME! And yes, they have Black Panther protecting them from harm. There is a murder in the past, and Indians will recognise the tale from the Mahabharata. Cousins fighting each other. Woah! But this tale is amazing not just for that reason, but because the women play such a brilliant role. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting: DANAI GURIRA who plays General Okoye, and her all female warriors: 

There's a technology wizard in Wakanda who is a girl! She's the one behind all the marvels that Wakanda has. She knows how to heal spines, and also transport Vibranium safely. This is princess Shuri played wonderfully, playfully by Letitia Wright who gets the better of her hero brother, the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). The gorgeous Angela Bassett is the Queen Mother and she is beautifully dignified. Lupita Nyong'o plays the woman who makes the Black Panther freeze...

The central conflict is about 'what should a King be like' is wonderfully presented in all its angles. The hatred of the brother who grows up fatherless is as good as the lad who grew up in privilege who learns that his father may have made mistakes...

The film has great one liners that make you smile. The film has superb action sequences in Korea and back home in Wakanda. The film has a screenplay that does not pause. Not even for a minute. You watch it in IMAX 3D with awe. 

Then you come away wishing there are separate movies for Princess Shuri and General Okoye.  

(image via: thank you!)


Ai Yai Yaar! Yeh Film Kab Khatam Hogi?!

2 stars

Mini Review:

An Indian Army Covert Unit has gone rogue and threatens to
expose Army-Politicians-Arms Dealer nexus, thereby exposing
his own unit. The Covert Unit head goes undercover to catch him
before he sells out. The goings on seem interesting enough and
you know patriotism will win, but it takes almost three hours for
this supposed thriller to unfold. If it weren’t for Manoj Bajpayee,
this tedious thriller would have been even duller than it is.


Major Jay Bakshi is an important part of the special covert unit
called Data & Systems Diagnostics or DSD. Mid-surveillance,
he’s gone missing, and they’re looking for him. His Unit chief
Col. Abhay Singh (Manoj Bajpayee, the best thing about this
movie) goes AWOL after shutting down the regular offices and
moving them to a hangar and goes off in search of Jay.

Jay, the Intelligence Officer (who does not know how to hack into
a computer, seriously?!) of course has fallen in love with a girl
who teaches him how to hack (Rakul Preet Singh, rather
unimpressive). And you’re groaning into the multiplex coffee.
Then groan some more when you realise that his ‘hacking’ is
then never really utilised and he’s only listening in to
bugged recordings.

However, you’re on the side of the sharp-mustachioed
Colonel Abhay who is righteously angry about being betrayed.
Jay Bakshi (played by Sidharth Malhotra, who has fewer
expressions than John Abraham) and his girl are in London
now. So is Abhay. Abhay meets Anupam Kher who plays
Tariq Sahab, a player who knows everything about everything.
They need not have wasted Anupam Kher’s talent at such a
poorly written role (he has to send texts to Abhay organising
‘things’). The same goes for the big bad guy Mukesh Kapoor
who stands around holograms of guns to prove he is the big
gun runner doing deals with everyone. Why did they need
Adil Hussain? Anyone could be that guy.

But you like Manoj Bajpayee, so you watch. A few more
groanworthy, and eminently editable flashbacks happen where
Jay reminisces about the valor or Abhay Sir and we see how
cool Indian Army guys are and why Jay wants to be like
Abhay Sir. The hacker girlfriend is reduced to someone making
coffee for Jay. You know by now, or begin to suspect that Jay
and Abhay are on the same side. But Abhay sir telling all the
bad guys, kill Jay is just a ploy because Jay has learnt all the
techniques from Abhay sir only!

There’s also Naseeruddin Shah practically locked up in a hotel
room who has enough proof to blackmail to the Arms dealer in
India (Ex Army general Gurinder Singh played quite nicely by
Kumud Mishra). Why he needlessly cackles is a directorial
debacle, but hey, it’s Naseer-ji! Who can tell him to keep it
understated like he did in A Wednesday?
It takes almost three hours to get to the point. And by then you
know Jay and Abhay will be the best chaps in the Army. You
wish someone would teach Indian directors to tell their stories
simply and quickly. They’d be so much more thrilling.    

(this review appears on )


Kuchh Bhi Al-Bakwaas

1.5 stars

Mini Review:

This film is about a grown-up woman who goes on blind Tinder
dates, her friend-zoned pajama wearing bestie who works with
her at a meme generating social media company, and a
supposedly-popular late night RJ who spouts really smarmy
poetry. The film is about connecting with a wrong number,
Whatsapp forwards, and really bad life advice. In other words,
‘Hashtag One Tight Slap’ for wasting the audience’s time.  

Main Review:

If this film were to be believed, then there are grownups
everywhere who do nothing at offices but discuss Whatsapp
forwards. If this film were to be believed, then it is all right to
live off your mother and give up a paying job to write those
ridiculous Whatsapp forwards because ‘the goal is to make
the world a happy place’. If this film were to be believed,
you can actually dial a wrong number on your smartphone
and they are so jobless, they don’t mind the intrusion, because
you’re so-oh flirty. And if this film were to be believed, you can
be a rabid fan of a poetry-spouting radio jockey and not
recognise his same smarmy voice on the phone…

There are so many reasons to ‘facepalm’ at this ridiculous film,
let us first attempt to look at the bright side.

The heroine of the film is Archie (played rather well by
Geetanjali Thapa) who is shown to be suffering from a skin
condition called Leucoderma. Not something we see in a
Hindi film, so kudos!

But that's it! Archie goes on blind Tinder dates just to shock
them when they first see her. Now, it is a good thing that the
heroine is not picture perfect as in all Hindi movies. But you
just want to slap her for the things she does. Her skin condition
doesn’t come into it! The unsuspecting Tinder dates turn out to
be disastrous, but is it fair to put some stranger through what
she does? And if she’s so comfortable in her skin, then why not
put a photograph on the dating site?

But that’s not where the problem lies.

Archie’s bestie and friend-zoned lad is Apu (Will the Bengali folk
ever get over this name?!) played by a pajama clad Shray Rai
Tiwari who works at a meme generating company with Archie.
Why can he not have someone in his room? Inspired from teen
films, Archie should be leaving his room not by the door but by
by shimming down a tree outside the window like in the teen
movies from the 70s! Plus why is there an obvious stereotypical
mother who shouts from the background like Howard’s mother
from the television show Big Bang Theory? He’s made to look
dumb, but he’s the one writing funny lines to the pictures Archie
has taken on the phone. And looks like these characters do not
know that they can forward photos instead of showing up in
someone’s bedroom to get help for a clever line. Who wrote
this anachronistic stuff?  

Then there’s this perennially sad poet RJ who is named
Alfaaz. He wants to be invisible to his audience, but his photo
is stuck right there at the reception in the office! He is supposed
to rule late night radio, as shown by the many sweet shots of
people listening to radio. You buy the popularity, but then Archie
says, 'Who listens to radio, right?! Everyone is on Whatsapp

Woah! That is rather confidence sapping! This she says to
a wrong number (in this age of smartphones!) who is happy
to chat with her exchanging pointless messages about how
you need to let go of your past like sand from your hand…
Just like the RJ and it is the RJ! (Insert one of the many
Facepalm emojis here!) Who are these people who think
this is sublime?

The film is shot in Kolkata and they do speak Bengali in the film,
but when FM channels have all gone local it is difficult to believe
they will have a love poetry RJ for a late night show who speaks
Hindi. But who cares for logic? They show 25 years plus people
uncaring about jobs, but date, go to pubs and perennially chat
on the phone adding emojis. It is annoying, to say the least.
As far as the poetry is concerned, Archie’s room has a line in
chalk scrawled on the wall: So futile...Your words and mine...
written on the wall…

The movie experience is perfectly summed up by this line.
And stay away from walls after watching the film. You might
want to smash your head against it...

(this review appears on )