Friday, October 20, 2017

Review: SECRET SUPERSTAR



OBVIOUSLY SUPERBORING


2.5 stars


Mini Review:


A little girl with dreams of becoming a singing superstar has to deal with life as a daughter of a wife-beating Muslim man. Her loving mother has given her a life where she can dream but tells her that she cannot forget boundaries. How she becomes a burka-wearing YouTube sensation is the story. But the cliches drown what could be fun and frothy into sentimental molasses.


Main Review:

Tirth Sharma: Everyone's First Love Should Be Like Him


There is a genuinely sweet love story of a young girl Insiya, and her classmate Chintan (Tirth Sharma is the find of the year!) buried inside the cliches. He gives her chocolate, is there when she feels sad and angry, helps her with class notes, will not be insulted...


‘I sent you a Friends request on Facebook,’ he says.
‘Are we friends?’ she asks.
‘Oh! Aren’t we?’ he reacts.


And at that moment, you know that no one can teach this ‘react this way’. It is plain talent. Your collective hearts melt.


Apart from this gentle love story, everything else is just cliches.

A Superstore Of Cliches

A Muslim man who beats his wife, berates her for not putting any salt in food, throws the food, threatens to beat the wife when she forgets to pack his bag, who thinks nothing but getting his 15 year old daughter married off, threatens and breaks off his daughter’s guitar strings, orders her to throw her laptop out of the window, is applying for a job in Saudi Arabia.


The mother is loving, but she’s a cliche too: she tells her daughter, ‘You’re allowed to dream only this much and no more’, which reminds you of Farida Jalal in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Even Farida Jalal let her daughters sing and dance, but when Amrish Puri comes home, the daughters and mother pretend to be sober and pious. That is from more than 25 years ago. The loving mother who does for her kids, gets beaten quietly, apologising for her existence, has no spine until the last fifteen minutes of the film…


The talented daughter wants to be a singing superstar. As if television is not clogging the airwaves enough with shows for finding kids and grown ups who can sing and movies about small town bands who dream about making it big have been done to death. A teenager who calls her mother stupid and yet has a great relationship with her is different no doubt, but then the singing sensation, the adulation on social media, the melodramatic ‘I love my sacrificial lamb of a mother’ speech is horribly been-there-seen-that…


Aamir Khan who shows up as a caricature judge of song contest, a has been music producer has a fabulous over the top role. And he brings great laughs to what is otherwise mawkish sentimentality. You’ll love his expression when he hears the little girl sing. A mark of a true artist that.

Super Manipulative, So Super Boring.


Nobody is going to come out and say that a film about loving your mother is terribly cliched. But it’s festival time in India, where everyone is drowning in mithai (sweetmeats). If that is the case, go ahead, enjoy gold encrusted cliches dunked in sugar syrup.   


Review: GOLMAAL AGAIN


Lots Of Slaps And Schtick. But Second Half Funny.

2.5 stars

Mini Review:

Gopal, Laxman one, Madhav, Lucky and Laxman two are at it again. Slapping one another, hating each other in newer and un-funnier ways. But there’s Khushi, Anna the ghost whisperer and the regulars: the snake man in a new avatar, Inspector Dande, Vasuli Bhai and Babli bhai. Prakash Raj gets to play the baddie along with Neil Nitin Mukesh. The jokes are funny in the second half and some ghostly goings-on make you laugh. But it’s loud and lurid and you come away with a headache.

Main Review:

If you like to watch grown up men slap each other accompanied by comic background score and ear splitting slaps, then watch the film. Because it will make you laugh. And people do laugh out loud because Gopal (Ajay Devgn, looks like he overdid the tanning machine) who is bulkier is still pissed off at someone pointing fingers at him. This time, he is shown to be afraid of the dark. But don’t worry, this is a Rohit Shetty film, there are plenty of night scenes where they forget he’s afraid of the dark. The other characters - Madhav (Arshad Warsi), Lucky (Tusshar Kapoor), Laxman one (the lisper, Shreyas Talpade) and Laxman two (the deaf one, Kunal Khemu) - are the same ole, same ole. The first half of the film shows us their history and we wonder where this is going. Nostalgia isn’t getting anywhere, so they show atta falling on Arshad Warsi and then the tin, Finolex pipes being thrust into crotches (such a horrendous advertising placement!), Kunal Khemu being thrown into a gigantic washing machine (Intex, the brand gets an ad, but safety-wise, a terrible idea!)

So the five have to come together and save the orphanage they grew up in. Erm… Why do they take so long? The audience seems to be happy with the lowbrow slapping and hitting, but the story, the real meaty part begins ten minutes into the second half. This is where we get real laughs!

‘Balak balak! Paneer palak! Alakh Niranjan! Daant mein manjan!’ is inspired nonsense. Spoken with madness, the snake man (Vrajesh Hirjee) is back in a super funny role of Nag Baba. I have to say that Rohit Shetty keeps the franchise going by using the same characters well.

Vasuli Bhai is now a real estate wheeler dealer and Mukesh Tiwari does a good job (especially with a picture of Sanjay Dutt on his table! Good detailing that!).

Sanjay Mishra tends to be rather over the top with his terrible spellings (‘Piss spells Peace’, ‘Booty is Bhoot’) and it wears on you but then it’s better than seeing the lurid pink and green in the songs…

Parineeti Chopra seems like she’s having fun, but I wish she had taken Kunal Khemu’s advice: Baba is blind, you could change your clothes, no?

I wish the writers had used the incredible comic talent of Ashwini Kalsekar better (we saw her in the funny Poster Boys directed by Shreyas Talpade). She barely gets a line in, and that is not funny at all.

Prakash Raj's encounter with Nag Baba is hilarious. The two win the stars for the film hands down!

Johnny Lever goes berserk mostly, and tries hard. Tabu tries hard too, but when she’s given dialog like, ‘Hreem Breem Cold Cream’, you wish the writers had tried harder. Sigh. You are reminded that it’s a Rohit Shetty film, so don’t expect anything but slaps and schtick.

The really funny bits need to be searched for in the mayhem. The best moment? Blind baba (Sachin Khedekar) gets up to leave and the lads move the settee out of his way...           



(this review appears on www.nowrunning.com )


Friday, October 06, 2017

Review: BLADE RUNNER 2049


The Inner And Outer Worlds Of Replicants Remains As Fascinating As Ever

4 stars

Mini Review:

This visual masterpiece takes off from where the story left us in 1982. Philip K Dick’s post apocalyptic world of acid rain and metallic wilderness and flying cars remains the most fascinating piece on philosophy on creation. Do humans have a right to control the destiny of android life forms they create to be slaves? Should they evolve, do they become an enemy? Ryan Gosling thinks all these questions and more in this leisurely film that leaves you sighing with satisfaction. Of course Harrison Ford shows up and chews up everything in sight by being fabulous.

Main Review:  

In 1982, Blade Runner Rick Deckard left us wondering whether he was a replicant himself, obeying orders when he was hunting down rebel replicants. Racheal and Roy have made him think and Pris’s madness has revealed to him how replicants can also feel, that they are not mere marionettes. They have evolved.

The Denis Villeneuve version of Blade Runner is shot at a relaxed pace (yes, the flying cars are also slow and easy for LAPD Blade Runner K played by Ryan Gosling to fall asleep). You take in the pollution, the incessant acid rain, the destroyed terrain, the city and yes, the Chinese food stall made famous by Harrison Ford and James Hong’s Hannibal Chew is also there.

The origami unicorn is missing, but there’s sheep! Fans want to see the unicorn, but when Gaff (Edward James Olmos) hands Ryan Gosling an Origami sheep, you are sort of saddened, and you add a salty tear to your caramel popcorn.

Ryan Gosling’s Blade Runner, during a routine culling mission of out of date replicants stumbles upon a secret that will change the world for ever. And when ‘Madam’ (Robin Wright who looks like she just stepped out of House of Cards to shoot this film) asks him to pursue the secret to its logical conclusion things happen rapidly.

Yes, rapidly. Not in the physical sense, but metaphorically. The film seems to slow down time so much so that you can hear the restless shuffling of people used to a tad more action. But those of you who enjoy seeing wound heal slowly, will love the quiet contemplation of the subject.

This is where I began to miss the Vangelis score. The Vangelis score gave us the feeling of hope amid hopelessness, it offered us a glimpse into a dystopian world…

If you happen to have no patience then this film is not for you. The trick is to not think ahead, because it will inevitably be wrong. You can sigh at how much they make Ryan Gosling walk. But remember how Deckard ran and ran as well in his film… Some things in the film really annoy you: you never see where humanity has gone, you don’t understand motives of some characters, you don’t know why some characters betray, you don’t understand why there’s no security at the places you’d think there should be, you hate the fact that a lovemaking scene in the film is actually funnier than they intended, you don’t understand why Harrison Ford…

Yes, Harrison Ford shows up in the last part of the film and just owns it. Whether it’s drinking whiskey from that square bottle (I so want to buy the bottle if they manufacture it!) or telling off Ryan Gosling about the dog…

And if the last shot of Ryan Gosling resting on the steps as snow falls does not make you want the film to go on, then you should probably watch the song and dance Bollywood flicks.   




Review: CHEF


If This Film Were On Masterchef Australia, It Wouldn't Win An Apron!

1 star

Mini Review:

A remake of Jon Favreau’s film by the same name, this film is more of a kitchen disaster than a chef’s signature dish. Like the original, chef Saif Ali Khan gets into an argument with a customer in New York and ends up running a food truck and traveling with his son. But that’s where the similarity ends. The food they make is so awful you will not believe he’s a three Michelin star chef. Unappetising!

Main Review:

Jon Favreau’s film Chef was full of food scenes - the buying of fresh produce, the preparation of the food, the cooking, the presentation as well - and they were delicious, colorwise and otherwise. If you watched onions being caramelised, you could almost smell them as well as taste the sauces being poured over protein. The sizzle, the smoke and the presentation of the foods is so amazing, you emerge from the theatre, hungry. A simple thing like the cheese sandwich Chef Casper makes for his son makes the audience drool.

The Hindi version starts out similarly where Saif Ali Khan punches a customer and loses his job as a chef of a New York restaurant. We don’t know what dish it was, and why the customer hated it. You remember Jon Favreau take that Lava cake and lose his temper at the food critic.

Saif Ali Khan then goes home and makes pasta. If you’ve ever watched a TV show called Masterchef Australia (or for that matter Masterchef USA where even the kids make their own pasta) you’d have a heart attack watching a supposedly three Michelin star chef open a ready made packet of pasta. You begin to shake your head but hope the film will turn out to be as delicious as the American Food truck Adventure.

Yes, there’s a son who needs his dad and his dad need to find his lost mojo by figuring out what is it that he really wants to cook, but when the misery of the chef goes on and on and on and the word ‘Interval’ shows up on the screen, you have seen no sign of food, you begin to get restless. No amount of references to Saif’s role in Dil Chahta Hai works on an audience waiting to see food. Yes the chef is offered a double decker bus to use as a mobile restaurant by the ex wife’s supposed paramour, just as in the original movie. Milind Soman is that paramour and his easy charismatic presence offers some visual relief. The chef in the meanwhile has cooked nothing.

It’s only when he suddenly loses his temper at his son, when he steps into a beautiful old fashioned wood fired kitchen with a bowl of veggies/meat with gravy that he makes roti and spreads the veggies, grates Amul Cheese (yes, this film has many brands shamelessly endorsed!) over the veggies and slaps another roti over it, cuts the roti sandwich in four parts and serves it to the son (again, drooling over the cheese sandwich the chef in the original film makes for his son). And voila! He decides that is what he’s going to serve people as they drive from Cochin in Kerala to Delhi in the North. Before you facepalm, you remember how Chef Casper figures out he is going to make Cubanos.

All of a sudden, the child (who you wish pinned his long hair if her were working anywhere near a kitchen) tells Saif, he uploaded the video and has geotagged the vehicle so people will line up for the roti sandwich. Really? That unappetising looking quarter of a roti? Whilst the original gave you reason to visit (in real life) the places they showed on film to taste the foods (for example, the beignets in New Orleans), this film is just a poor shadow of the original. Such a waste of an opportunity, because you hope the chef will serve the tomato chutney he makes at the dhaba in Amritsar to his customers at the food truck. He doesn’t.

The movie comes at the back of a Bengali film called Maacher Jhol that has a very similar plotline (a chef flies back to Kolkata and his mother who is diagnosed with a brain tumor requests him to make a fish gravy dish called ‘Jhol’, and he makes the curry again and again in order to please his mother looking for the perfect taste) which has been made so wonderfully, even vegetarians look at the food scenes on the screen longingly, and laugh and cry with the emotional connect and the lack thereof with his family. Here, Saif Ali Khan just does convince us that he loves cooking, or his food truck team care about anything. The whole effort is bland and unappetising.


(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)

Review: TU HAI MERA SUNDAY


Title Chhodo, Film Bahut Acchi Hai!

2.5 stars

Mini Review:

Five friends who play football on the beach every Sunday get into trouble when their ball hits a petty politician. Each friend has a unique reason to escape his home. And even though they seem stereotypes -  a Muslim, a gentle Parsee, a henpecked Gujju, a Catholic lad and the Hindu hero - the dialogue, the acting of the supporting cast, the lovely music, the situations that the characters are pushed in are simply wonderful. You begin to care for the characters and enjoy the film.

Main Review:

In the hustle and bustle of the metropolis of Bombay, there is no place to play. And if there is, most places are taken by Cricket, that seems to be a national pastime. So when you watch Arjun, Rashid, Domi, Jayesh, and Mehernosh play seek a place for their game of football, you know that the movie must be more to the movie than just an open place for their game of choice.

And how this film surprises you!

The language is Hinglish - a smattering of English thrown in rather naturally. And you like that. Because that’s how Urban India speaks. Each character, speaks in his own unique voice and you don’t hate any character, not one. That’s a miracle, especially because there have been really terrible movies this year.

So Dominic or Domi (played by Vishal Malhotra) is a typical Catholic lad who lives with his mother (She’s so good, you want to step into her home and hug her!). The mother, played brilliantly by Rama Joshi speaks Konkani and English and Hindi to manipulate her sons, sometimes with tears, sometimes by scolding them and even resorting to emotional blackmail at other times. She serves food as she cajoles her son into coming to church, get married, yells at him for staying out late and then showers her love on him. Who will not love her?

Rashid played by Avinash Tiwary is the motorbike lad, who gets all the girls and seems to be doing a-okay until you see his home. It’s cluttered with his past and a four legged pest… You may not be the Rashid in your set of friends, but you know someone like him.

Jayesh escapes with football because his household is so noisy, he cannot think. You want to invite him over to the quiet of your own home for a cuppa because you will be aghast when you hear the decibel levels of his life. Jay Upadhyay does a fine job.

Mehernosh is a quiet Bawa - a Parsee who lives among neighbors who are fighting each other all the time. He’s an accountant in a firm where the boss is a nasty man, picking on a girl Mehernosh likes but is unable to say anything. Played by Nakul Bhalla you begin feeling pity for the harried man, but you smile when you know how wicked he can be…

Last but not the least, there’s Arjun, who has a fancy degree and used to have a job, but has given up everything to stay with his sister and runs a small consultancy firm but mostly likes to do nothing. Played by Barun Sobti (known for his roles in TV soap) you are almost jealous of his ability to play by his own rules. But is he perfect?

Shahana Goswami is a marketing professional who meets Arjun because her dad literally bumps into the football five. She’s so comfortable in her skin, you like her instantly. Then there’s Rasika Dugal who lights up the screen, and maanvi Gagroo…

This group discovers so much about their lives and you sit popcorn in hand, laughing at the on screen jokes, nod your head at situations that run a parallel to your own life, and know that you will call your friends once the film is over. The film sags a tad in the middle, but then the rest of the film makes it up. The laughs, the meltdowns, the fights, they are all worth. And you know, that the Director Milind Dhaimade has struck gold because in scenes where the football playing cop needs to report for duty and then in doing that duty, reverses the jeep and asks for the football as ‘evidence’

The film has been through the festival circuit and yet, it does not feel aged. There are some glitches, but you forgive them simply because you want this life with friends. All in all, this movie is a delightful watch.               



(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)

Review: THE SILENCE (Marathi)


Predictable Rape Victim Tale.

1.5 stars

Mini Review:

A rich commodities trader who beats his wife and sexually exploits women labourers rapes his very young niece. This traumatised child grows up and witnesses a rape. Will she speak up? Why does the aunt not speak up against her trader husband? Why do common people not defy the exploitation?The film is award winning, and despite the stunning cinematography of the countryside, it remains an extended TV show like Crime Patrol and Savdhaan India. Who also claim their stories are based on true incidents.

Main Review:

The screenplay sets the story back and forth between Mumbai and the village and a small town. Even though it’s a good use of flashback, the characters we see on screen are mere tropes: a lascivious film casting director in Bombay, movie extras (Junior artists) who given in because ‘such is life’ and ‘you have do such things to survive’, a defiant young girl who knows she will get into trouble but still raises her voice, the village bumpkin who sells candy floss in order to make a living for his daughter and himself, the innocent daughter, the exploitative trader who is rich enough to buy a hundred sacks of chillies and rice and what have you, his pathetic sad wife who he beats up ever so often, the women labourers who are raped and then their wages given…

There are so many stereotypes, you are so frustrated as you watch the film. Great shots like the little girl watching her candy floss seller dad fish in the lake are stunning and will soothe your disappointment. But is it enough?

The story of the exploitative trader reminds you of all the rapist zamindaar stories you have seen in Hindi movies with Ranjeet, Amrish Puri and other villains cast in similar roles. In Marathi films too Nilu Phule and his ilk have raped and pillaged women from the villages. So what’s new here? Even the drumming monkey toy that the child uses in the godown where she is raped is a such a tired device.

Amruta Patil plays the browbeaten wife of the trader (played Nagraj Manjule) who toys with the idea of adding rat poison to her husband’s tea. Even this is not unique. And she thinks about it so much you wish you could reach into the screen and dump the poison in the tea yourself.

Raghubir Yadav plays a simple village bumpkin who sells candy floss to send his little girl Chini to school (grows up to be Mugdha Chaphekar). He is earnest in his portrayal too.

The trouble with this film is the subject. It is so tired, that no matter how much the actors give of themselves to the roles, the result is boringly predictable.

Review: VICTORIA AND ABDUL


The Two Are Delightful, The Film Isn’t.  


2 stars


Mini Review:


The story of an unlikely friendship between Abdul Kareem, a clerk from India and Queen Victoria is fascinating because his diaries were discovered recently and give us a glimpse on her stubborn resolve to learn Hindi and Urdu and his strange devotion to her. Judi Dench and Al Fazal make the friendship look easy in its defiance of the Queen’s courtiers who just hate Kareem’s influence on the Queen.


Main Review:


The Hindoos Are Here!


Just as India has Anglophiles, the British probably did have just as much fascination (Exotic India is still being written about!) for India. After all, they found cotton, indigo, spices and gold and jewels in India. They ruled India for 200 years and it was during the Queen’s Jubilee year (1887) that someone at court had a bright idea of issuing a commemorative gold mohur in honor of the Queen. To give it a fitting setting, a tall clerk in Agra’s prison was chosen to travel to England to present the Queen with the mohur at one of the banquets. The Clerk, Abdul Kareem (played with wide-eyed wonder by Ali Fazal) finds himself fascinated by the Empress and the Empress (the brilliant Judi Dench) finds joy in this obvious adulation and soon a deep friendship develops between the two.


As unlikely as the friendship may be, the subject makes for a fascinating film with the fawning courtiers and the Prince who begin to hate the audacity of someone who should have been a compliant slave.


Judi Dench Is Marvelous


Yes, you cringe when you watch Ali Fazal kiss the feet of the Empress breaking protocol (he’s supposed to never look her in the eye, just present the coin and leave without turning his back to her), but you see a sparkle in the bored queen’s eyes and you know Judi Dench is better Queen than the real Queen could ever be.


When you see the dressing ladies wake her up, lift her like some marionette and dress her as her secretary reads out her schedule, you sorry for the ageing Queen. So the devotion the ‘Hindoo’ shows her makes for a joyful interaction. Plus he speaks English with such an interesting way, telling her about how the bird woven in the carpet is imprisoned forever in the weave or how after death you go to a great hall of eternal bliss…


Judi Dench is so amazing that you can actually see her resolve turn into steel. You see the friendship turning a bored, fat monarch turn into a Queen who orders a Durbar Room created for her, a Queen who begins to take interest in the day to day things (thereby creating ripples among her complacent courtiers) and begin to learn Urdu and Hindi from the ordinary clerk.


Judi Dench has played the Queen before in ‘Her Majesty, Mrs Brown’ where another ‘servant’ John Brown from the highlands (Billy Connolly) who drags her out of mourning after the death of her beloved Prince Albert. The story has many parallels with this film and ends with the death of the Queen instead of Mr Brown.


Ali Fazal’s Curious Devotion


As audience you cringe when the young clerk literally kisses the Queen’s feet, especially because the film is set 30 years after the 1857 mutiny. It is doubtful that a 24 year old was not unaffected by the stories of defiance against the British. But then there are accounts of strange servility, so his initial devotion seems more fascination than servility. The language he uses is odd and that makes the conversation between him and the Queen rather fun.


The Rest Of The Film


The courtiers, the prime minister, the royal physician, Prince Bertie (who inherits her as Edward vii) and even the other Indian are all such cardboard cutouts, you can actually bunch them as one annoyed mass who spy on the Queen when she’s interacting with her ‘Munshi’. Their plotting and planning seems to be like that you have seen in high school plays.


The interiors of the palace look like a set rather than real, but the outdoor locations are stunning.


Abdul Kareem’s wife and mother-in-law are dressed in this Talibanesque black burkhas which seem rather strange. And why does she have to be so extra large? I watched with as much fascination and curiosity as the Queen had when she watched Mrs Kareem unveil. And even though you want the movie to be authentic (maybe she was large in real life), you wish she would look like Deepika Padukone instead (no disrespect meant to the actor who plays Mrs Kareem).


Yes, the rest of the film is blah. But watch it because you love Judi Dench.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Review: SPYDER


Mahesh Babu Is Hawt. Story Could Have Been Too.

2.5 stars

Mini Review:

The Nerds are listening in to our cell phone conversations and Shiva helps people even before the police know a crime is going to happen. The idea is super and we know Mahesh Babu has a hit on his hands. But in the second half, the story takes a creepy turn and the film turns into a regular old masala movie. 

Main Review:

Is the government listening in to our everyday conversations? Cane they spy on every message we send, every social media we post?

Shiva and his group works for the government and they're listening in... But to help people even before a crime is committed. The moment the word 'Help' pops up in any conversation, the team jumps in and helps save the innocents. 

It's a great idea and you would think that it could be the start of a new kind of superhero story. But Shiva says he does not want to be a superhero. He does show up at work with broken arms and bruises while fighting crime, and you wish, you wish they would keep to this cool premise going.

The successful streak of saving lives goes awry when a young girl and a woman police officer sent by Shiva to save her are killed horribly. Their bodies are mutilated and thankfully the director refrains from showing body parts.

Shiva is horrified. All this technology at his fingertips and he could not save two lives?! He is disheartened. But his father inspires him to continue his good fight. Shiva begins to look for clues. And in a clever use of social media (seriously clever!) they narrow the suspects down and realise that the murderer is not alone!

SJ Surya shows up on screen as perhaps the creepiest villain in Indian cinema. He plays Bhairavudu the demented killer who has murdered people since childhood. The whys and hows will shake you. But if you are a TV show junkie, then you have seen many such demented serial killers in shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. After all, it's their 18th season on TV.

However, Surya does a fine job, gnashing his teeth and his smile when he's watching people mourn is the finest piece of acting you will see. Shades of Raghuvaran, surely!

Soon Shiva and his technology find him and the game of hero vs villain begins. This is where the film nosedives into a full on action movie mode. You've seen villain threaten hero's family, you've seen car chases, you've seen villain escape police custody, you've also seen stunts similar to the roller coaster ride. Bombs going off and scientists being coerced to doing bad things is fine, but you wonder how the villain (who's shown to have grown up poor) knows how the scientists can demolish rocks, or how he manages to get to Shiva's house...

Suspending disbelief we watch as bombs go off and disaster strikes at the hospital. The masala flick gives you everything: people screaming, chest beating, concrete slabs breaking off, bad guy suddenly kung fooing his way to a grisly end.

Mahesh Babu looks just as young as he did in Athadu and he still can punch his way out of burning, breaking buildings. And I mention Athadu because writer/director Murugadoss cleverly adds the name 'Parthu' to the TV show which becomes a huge part of the end game. 

There are plenty of great ideas starting with the spying and using the ladies who watch tv shows like crazy but the movie does not push the envelope and takes comfort in masala. Fans will love him regardless. I wanted to see the robot spiders I saw in the trailer...







Review: JUDWAA 2


Bechara Varun Dhawan!

2 sad se Stars

Mini Review:

David Dhawan is back with a remake of his old film with Salman Khan. This time the film is louder and bigger and bolder and Varun Dhawan may not be Salman Khan, but he holds his own, both as Prem and Raja, twins separated at birth. It is comedy that does not get tiresome but the film feels very long at almost 145 minutes long. Fun watch for the younger generation.

Main Review:

Full Marks For Trying

One wears tailored clothes, the other really tight pants. Poor lad looks uncomfortable in both roles. Varun Dhawan fans (mostly girls squealing in the theatre) will love his six pack abs and his sass. It’s tough to like Prem (the gentler twin) when Raja (the wilder twin) flaunts his body at every possible moment. But it does not matter. There’s so much happening on the colorful screen.

London looks like eternal sunshine because Varun wanders about the usually grey cold town in his undershirt and six pack abs. The girls - Jacqueline Fernandez and Tapsee Pannu too are dressed in short, skimpy dresses, but the men make up for the weather with jumpers.

What is there to not like when the songs from the original super hit are reprised again? ‘Oonchi Hai Building, Lift Teri Band Hai’ and the eternal favorite, ‘Tan Tana Tan Tan Tan Tara, Chalti Hai Kya Nau Se Barah’ that became notorious then are danceable even today.

The story of diamond smuggler Charles who tries to con Malhotra into carrying them out at the airport, kidnaps Malhotra’s child to escape the police, and this kidnapped child dumped on the train track grows up to be the wild child Raja and the twin left in the hospital is the gentle Prem.

The two bump into each other after a series of funny encounters that mix up the girls, the therapists, the families…

Bring Back Humpty Badri I Say!

Varun Dhawan has gone a-chasing a bride as Humpty and Badri. His friends (actor Sahil Vaid as Somdev and Poplu) were awesome in the film, helping him find his thing.

But in a film that already has so much situational comedy, adding Rajpal Yadav as the speech challenged friend ends up being so annoying, you wish he would be run over by the London double decker bus. Each time Rajpal Yadav got slapped, I cheered. Stuttering as a comic device fails with him. And he looks too ancient - more like 'chachaji' than 'brother' to Varun Dhawan.

Is Version Ko Dekhna Dil Rajamand Na Hai

Apart from Varun's story, everything else is rather scattered in the film: even Varun Dhawan's connect to his parents is assumed, not even a perfunctory 'khana toh kha lo beta' moment to show any emotion...

One feels terrible for Upasana Singh who is a wonderful comedienne in her own right, in a role of a desperate older woman. The London policewoman (you saw her in the ghastly 'Guest In London') and Pawan Malhotra though offer us fun comic moments.

If you are a Salman Khan fan, you will wonder why they needed to make the same movie again. But when you see Varun Dhawan manage both roles so well, and have so much fun mouthing nonsense dialog like, ‘Alu Bukhara, Main Hoon Tumhara’, you give him full marks. Watch it because it’s made with so much heart. And David Dhawan’s old fashioned gratitude to Salman Khan at the end of the movie will make you nod in appreciation.


P.S: Best to watch this movie in the evening. You can step out and drown yourself in three martinis.



(A politer version of this review appears on nowrunning dot com)