Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Gharche Loka Mast Aahet,
Joshibua Kadhi Shikteel?

2.5 stars


Pravah Productions and Dawn Studios
Producers: Sonali Joshi, Mangesh Joshi
Writer/Director: Mangesh Joshi
Stars: Chittaranjan Giri, Ashwini Giri, Om Bhutkar,
Seva Chauhan


After working for 35 years, Joshi is laid off from the factory.
The reason, automation. His wife has a thriving catering
business and his son repairs computers and machines and
they tell him to relax. But Joshi, who excels at the Lathe
machine wants nothing but to continue working. Can he
compete with modernisation?


The Joshi family lives in a dilapidated wada (old style home),
and they seem to be delightful simply because somewhere the
audience knows someone like the characters occupying the
house, or have been in similar domestic situations, like the
Joshi family.

‘Will someone give me tea today?’ complains the granny, who
wears the dark glasses that eye surgery patients wear.

Before you can say, ‘Old people never have the patience,’ the
on screen granny (played brilliantly by Seva Chauhan, has
already ranted five times about how she’s being ignored and that
no one cares… When the daughter in law brings the tea, the
granny is upset because the grandson Dinu (nicely done by
Om Bhutkar) has teased her about acidity and her old age.
Dinu’s mother (Ashwini Giri, terrific in her role) gently rebukes
him, ‘Why do you tease her! She’s already cranky enough!’
The granny hears the word cranky and now refuses what we
now know is the third cup of tea! She drinks it, of course, but we
are waiting for Lathe Joshi who has said nothing since the
beginning of the film, to tell his family that he has lost his job.

He cannot because his wife is busy cooking and finishing the
order for the day...And you realise, that he is not about to tell
his family that he has no job, because his factory unit has been
sold and the company has opted for automation.

The film is as slow paced as can get. Very old world, like Lathe
Joshi himself. He has little to say but he observes everyone and
everything. He doesn’t belong to the world where his wife watches
cooking channels on TV, wants to keep up with the Joneses
because she’s catering to their parties and events; his mother
wants nirvana, will not chant the mantras, but just counts the beads
as the recorded machine chants continuously, she cannot see,
but will hear her favorite TV show on channel 788; the son who
repairs computer, but knows how to charge more than the cost
because he wants to make money. Joshi cannot adapt to this world.

He looks at his colleagues who have accepted their fate, and is
determined to change his. The film has been shot with love.
Written with love too. There are blatant brand endorsements too.
But this is a film that goes nowhere and the solution offered is
too easy a way out. Cinema needs to infuse hope, this doesn't.
Watch it on a Sunday on TV.

(you should read the ghastly changes toi made and posted!)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Review: SOORMA

Soorma Starts Out As A Cool Sports Film
But 'Chak De!' It Is Not...

2.5 stars

Mini Review:

Sandeep Singh struggles to get himself a place in the Indian
team, and just when he’s making a name for himself as an
International hockey player, a gunshot paralyses him. His
rehabilitation comprises hard work and comes back to the
field and becomes a huge star. The biopic is delicious in
the first half, but the predictability of the second half
brings it down.

Main Review:

A little town Shahbad in Punjab has young people working really,
really hard to make it to the team, any team. But young Sandeep
is in the eye of the storm for being a slacker. And coach sir
(played with brilliant cruelty by Danish Husain) is unforgiving. He
knows that there are many kids hungry to get on to a team and
only strict discipline will get you there. Sandeep is ready to take
on the punishment meted to him, but has a rebellious streak,
which earns him severe beatings. Especially because his
attention is distracted by a pretty, sassy hockey player Harpreet
(played well by Tapsee Pannu).

His brother Bikramjit Singh is also a hockey player (but does not
get selected to the India team) discovers that Sundeep (now
relegated to looking after the crops after severe beating from the
coach) has a rare talent. That talent is flicking the ball into the
goal which earns him the title of ‘Flicker Singh’ and a place in
the Indian team.

The film has been written with a great sense of humor which
makes you want to be part of Sandeep’s family. Diljit Dosanjh
plays Sandeep Singh convincingly. He has a natural charm that
wins the audience over easily. And yes, he can dance! His
romance with Tapsee Pannu is very sweet and fun, a quality not
seen in recent crop of Bollywood films. Angad Bedi who plays the
older brother is surprisingly good. The connection between the
brothers is enviable and will bring a lump to even the most
cynical throats. The film is shot beautifully and intimately, which
makes the first half a breezy watch.

The second half though is as painful as Sandeep Singh’s
rehabilitation from a paralysing injury. It drags on and on so by the
time we reach the final grudge match between India and Pakistan,
you are tried. You do not come away as joyous and overwhelmed
as you did after you watched Chak De. You are just awed by the
fact that Sandeep Singh holds the record for the world’s fastest
flick even today, but glad that the film is over. Hockey is not cricket
in India. But definitely the choice of sport in the North. The music
is inspiring and the love song (Ishq di baajiyaan) is eminently
hummable. The Soorma anthem is memorable, but the dance
number is so Punjabi, and not easy to understand at all. Despite
many wonderful things, this film feels like a drag. Perhaps some
day, a hockey film will inspire us as Chak De did.

(this review appears on

Friday, June 29, 2018

Review: SANJU

Ranbir Kapoor Ka Mimicry Show!
Drugs, Guns, Dosti, Ghapaghap,
Sab Kitta Sweet Hai!

2 stars

Mini Review:

Let’s get one thing straight: This is a work of fiction
masquerading as a biopic. And Rajkumar Hirani may have
violins standing by to manipulate emotions, and he has
Ranbir Kapoor mimicking Sanjay Dutt’s mannerisms, but the
movie remains a vanilla version of a life full of violence
induced by drugs, guns, bad company and women.

Main Review:

Have you ever bought a fake bag, sunglasses, even books from
a roadside vendor who ran when the cops came? Have you ever
had a friend who was told they resemble a movie star and then
they became so annoying in that imitation that you are no longer
friends? Watching Sanju was just such an experience. Granted,
that Rajkumar Hirani’s craft is visible, because he plays with all
kinds of emotion. Granted also that Ranbir Kapoor has a
humongous talent for imitation.  

What should have been the story of a meteoric rise of a
privileged brat who turned into a superstar, brought down by
drugs and women and then guns and bad company, and then
rises against all odds, ends up being a two and half hour
mimicry show, which glosses over everything.

Kabhi Bambaiyya Kabhie Hindi

The storytelling style is like a conversation, Sanjay Dutt talking
about his life. And that’s a fine narrative device too. But the
writing swings from Bambaiyya style slang in dialog (‘Faad
daala’ and ‘Waat laagli’) to his internal dialog, when he’s
arguing with the lawyers, and pleading with the underworld don,
he speaks quite normally.

Grown Up Lads Fantasize About Phools Aur Butterflies
Whatever Happend to Pamela Anderson?

And what’s with seeing flowers and rainbows when showing us
drug induced hallucinations? Will troubled souls see flowers?
There is much better madness in Disney’s Fantasia, where
Mickey Mouse is a Sorcerer’s Apprentice and even he sees
pink elephants on unicycles, ostriches and hippos doing ballet
and twilring mushrooms and multiplying brooms when things
go out of control. And Rajkumar Hirani shows us flowers and
more flowers blooming and in his most drug induced sadness,
we see Sanju write his girlfriend’s name and blows on it and
the letters vanish as if made of smoke. If flowers is what Sanju
saw when he did drugs, then why is he so troubled?

350 Women Give Or Take, So Cute Na?

How cute and casual this is, about going through 350 women!
But that's not troubling at all! They casually dismiss his
womanising as a statistic. Something his wife jokes about and
the female reporter notes it down as, ‘How honest he is!’ No one
thought it was weird to reduce women to numbers? Who would
believe that a superstar who is rumored to have dated some of
the most beautiful women would just gloss over this part of his
life with one line? And no one tells us how he was married to the
woman who is shown to defend him with her all? Then call it
'Ghapaghap' to get laughs from the cheap seats.

Violence Bhi Sweet Hai!

Let’s gloss over the guns and the other violent parts of his nature
too! Show us how he ‘playfully’ makes a writer pray to him
because he dares to suggest that his biopic should have
comparisons to Mahatma Gandhi, and then forcibly removes
the writer’s shoes because he is made to look like a God in the
biopic he’s writing. Well, in that case, the same should be done
to the director who wants us to believe Sanjay Dutt was a super
good guy, just misunderstood.

He's As Innocent As A Daisy, The Press Is The Bad Guy

Cheap shots are taken at journalists because they're trying to
'sell' news, and again and again and again we are shown how
Sanju Baba got a bad rap. They forgot to show one big part of
his life as a movie star! And he’s been such a huge movie star,
the failure to show anything about his movies is a shame! In fact,
there’s nothing, nothing about his movies. No highs when his
screaming fans chase him, no lows when the movies fail. In fact,
apart from the first movie and one scene of his very first film,
and one of his last films we see nothing of Sanjay Dutt the
movie star.

All Is Not Lost...

But the one shining star in this movie is Vicky Kaushal. The friend
who stays with Sanju through all his ups and downs. He made me
cry and he made me smile. And you come away wishing you had
a friend like Kamli. This performance is not just the best, but
shows us what the film could have been, resemblance to Sanjay
Dutt be damned. Yes Paresh Rawal too gives off the Sunil Dutt
vibe and makes good dad to the Sanju.

But in the end, no matter how much lipstick and gloss and glitter
you put on a pig, it won't turn into a unicorn. Despite the creepy
similarity to the real Sanju baba, this film remains what it is, a pig.

(this review sans subheads appears on nowrunning dot com)