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Friday, April 19, 2024

The Family Man (Season 1 and 2)

This is a web series I had downloaded just because I love Manoj Bajpayee’s acting. But the other actors also left me impressed. A big high five goes to the cast selection - Srikant Tiwari (Manoj Bajpayee) looks like a next door man whom you cannot guess to be part of police force, whereas Priyamani, an actress from South Indian film industry, looks perfect in the role of his wife. Sharad Kelkar, Dilip Tahil, the children, in fact everyone, look tailormade for their respective characters.


Season 1 revolves around Moosa, who looks innocent at first but turns out to be a terrorist. He is guided by Major Sameer (Darshan Kumar), who look sinister and handsome at the same time. And there is Sajid, who is a key member in carrying out missions. Season 1 ends in a clumsy manner, leaving many ends open. They are tied up quickly in Season 2 which wants to develop around a new storyline. Tamilian rebels under cover planning an attack on the Prime Minister of the country when she intends on signing treaties with Sri Lankan Government, revolving around Bhaskaran and Raji. Major Sameer and Sajid join in their camp as well. Samantha Ruth Prabhu, who plays the character of Raji, has let go off her usual glamorous roles and has carried out lot of action. A total surprise, although unnecessary, is when Srikant Tiwari is shown to have moved into corporate world. However, his heart lies in the NIA and he joins back. You will get chills when it is revealed that Srikant’s daughter is befriended by a young terrorist.

 

I heard a new season is expected shortly – looking forward to that!

Image courtesy: Google

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Pippa

After having watched a handful of commercial movies, I chanced upon this film on Amazon Prime. I am usually someone who would avoid films centering around army, because I think there is too much bloodshed. That reason did not stand in the way as I got drawn by the innocent smile of Ishaan Khatter. With his chocolate boy looks, I was sceptical about how he would fit into a serious role – and has he pulled out a surprise for me!


He plays the role of the youngest son of a family of military men – his late father and elder brother were in the army, and he got drawn into the forces by them. He was the commander of an amphibious tanker, one which could operate both on land and swim in water, but gets posted to clerical duty as he defies orders of his senior officers. In the meantime, his elder brother is sent on a secret mission to Bangladesh, but gets captured by Pakistani forces. Ishaan is called to duty – to modify design of tanks to accommodate four persons and make it worthy for deployment in war. In recognition of the hard work put in by him, he gets to join the war. His sister, played by Mrunal Thakur, gets to know about capturing of their elder brother and informs Ishaan. He takes it as a personal responsibility and fights bravely not only to rescue his brother, but defeat Pakistani army and contribute in the independence of Bangladesh.

This is a real life story and has been narrated very well with realistic feel – blood, torture, bullets…and more. The movie is worth much more recognition than it has got so far.


Image courtesy: Google

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Bhakshak

Sometimes good movies are not lauded enough, maybe because they touch upon sensitive topics. This one centres around young girls, all orphans, being abused in a shelter homes in a small town in Bihar. On the other hand, Bhumi Pednekar plays the role of a journalist, who runs her own news channel, almost singlehandedly, gathering information herself with her cameraman in tow. Upon being tipped about the notorious activities against girls, Bhumi fights a sole battle against powerful people, her family members who are concerned about her safety, a police system that chooses to remain silent and more.


The narration is tight and you would not want to miss a single moment, be it heinous crimes against helpless girls, their purporment by powerful men and strong determination showcased by the protagonist to help the exploited. The characters speak in a strong Bihari accent, which gives a realistic feel. Although the end was a little hurried up, I felt this is a strong movie and should be watched by everybody. We need to raise our consciences beyond our ownselves. At the end, the movie urges you to raise your voice if you notice anything wrong being done to others, and not wait till something happens to you or your kin.

 Image courtesy: Google

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Indian Police Force : Season 1

I was attracted to this web series rightaway when promotions started. It featured Vivek Oberoi, who was looking good in police uniform. Siddharth Malhotra and Shilpa Shetty promised some good action to look forward to. And the topic: Bombing by terrorists is something close to my heart.

The series opens with serial blasts happening in various parts of Delhi, challenging capabilities of Delhi Police. Vivek Oberoi and Siddharth Malhotra jump into action, with assistance of Shipa Shetty. The role of the kingpin is played by Rituraj Singh (Rafeeq) and his right hand man is Mayank Tandon (Zarar). Rafeeq and Zarar move to Jaipur and then to Goa, wrecking havoc.


 

The web series tries to underline the fact that Police can do anything if they wish to, and stresses that there are people who divert young minds into terrorism in the name of religion. Siddharth and Shipa look good as police officers, who showcase fitness and carry off action scenes effortlessly. Vivek Oberoi’s role is too short. Mayank Tandon deserves some praise, as he switches between his versions: an innocent man named Haider, who is romancing his lady when not being Zarar, who is brainwashed towards his mission. Expect some cars flying around, being a series made by Rohit Shetty. There are some loose ends, but it is ok to overlook them.

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Dunki

The movie opens with Tapsee Pannu in a hospital, that too in an old version. While you are wondering why the heroine is so old, the film quickly goes into flashback mode and Shah Rukh Khan looks out of a train entering a small town in Punjab. Quickly you are introduced to the protagonists, who dream of going abroad in pursuit of better lives for their families. They are also joined by Vicky Kaushal, in a special appearance. All of them enrol for English classes and try honestly to appear for screening exams for Visa. However, only one of them gets through. While questioning the system for screening, Shah Rukh encourages his friends to reach England through illegal means, which bear tremendous risks – Going the Dunki route.

You would love the peppy characters of Tapsee Pannu and her friends. The short role played by Vicky Kaushal will leave your heart bleeding – it has won much recognition already. The greenery of rural Punjab will mesmerize you. However, there is nothing much in the movie for anyone who is not a Shah Rukh fan. If you are part of his fan club, then go for it.

It seems Shah Rukh was shooting for another movie (Jawan) simultaneously with this one, as his make up looks similar to his various versions in the former.

Image courtesy: Google

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Shastry virudh Shastry

This is a story about a 7 year old child who lives with his grandparents in a small town, Panchgani. His parents visit in the weekends from the nearest big city, where they have to stay due to their employment. Tiff between parents and grandparents begin when parents want to take their child with them to Mumbai, and grandparents don’t want to let the kid go because they think adequate care cannot be given to him while parents are out of home all day. The rift becomes wider when Malhar, the father, gets a business proposal in the US. The climax culminates in the court when senior Mr. Shastry (Paresh Rawal) files a case on his son, claiming the custody of his grandson.

The story attempts to showcase the challenges faced by working parents, and how they may end up neglecting their kids. One scene where both parents are looking at their phones and the child silently stares at them, tells the tale. The importance of having grandparents, who try their best to support the development of the child, inspite of their own health issues, is also touched upon.

Casting of characters is good. The central character of Yaman Shastry is played by an incredibly cute child. It is a pleasant surprise to see Mimi Chakroborty, a popular actress in Bengali films, in role of Yaman’s mother. Paresh Rawal is brilliant as the grandfather.

Image courtesy: Google

Thursday, February 22, 2024

12th Fail

What would you say to someone who had to resort to cheating to pass his exams, dreaming of becoming a civil servant? To crack the exam itself is a dream of many. It requires a combination of intelligence, perseverance, hard work and support of family and friends.

Vikrant Massey, almost unrecognizable in the rural boy makeup, plays the role of Manoj Kumar Sharma, who fails his Class 12 board exams because he is not allowed to cheat, due to the intervention of a local DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police). Inspired by him, Manoj gives up on unfair means and decides to become a police officer. Fate introduces him to Pritam Pandey, who brings him to Delhi. The story unfolds with failed attempts, endurance, friendships, guidance from seniors and finally culminates in Manoj becoming an IPS (Indian Police Service) officer. The romantic aspect of the story is presented finely, with Shraddha (Medha Shankar) playing a key supporting role in Manoj’s life.

Acting wise, Vikrant Massey has already gathered lot of recognition for his excellent and convincing performance. Anant Joshi, as Pritam Pandey, has also delivered a good supporting role. The rural flavour and its stark contrast with chaos in Delhi has been captured very well.

 This is an inspiring tale, which encourages one to pursue his dream to the best of his abilities, surpassing all challenges. Also, it is a real life tale.

Image courtesy: Google

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Annapoorani: The Goddess of Food

Lot of controversy started around this film just after I had finished watching it. I failed to understand it at all, because I had loved it a lot.

The story is about a talented girl who goes against traditions to follow her dreams, breaks stereotypes and surpasses all shackles to become a successful chef. The film rides on shoulders of the very lovely Nayanthara, who plays the central character very convincingly. No one rises to the top without the support of family and friends, and Annapoorani is also no exception. She is brought back to her destined path when in doubt in challenging moments..her grandmother stopping her marriage, her friend Farhaan convincing her to cook non vegetarian, her friend’s father attending college instead of her own father, and many more.

 

An unethical act by a jealous chef whom she had almost displaced, results in Annapoorani’s total loss of taste. Devastated, she is on the verge of giving up her profession when her father stands by her and takes her back to Chef Anand, who also happened to be her mentor. Annapoorani takes the setback in her stride and goes on to win a prestigious competition. At the end, she comes back to empower underprivileged women with interest in cooking to  pursue their interests.

So what is the controversy about such an inspiring plot?

Poorani offering namaaz before preparing biriyani: Biriyani was never her forte and Poorani could somehow never get it right however much she tried. Farhaan’s mother, who happened to cook the said dish very well, had once told her that she would cook in her usual way but only after offering namaaz. When faced with the challenge to cook biriyani in the final round of the combination, Poorani seeks blessings from God in the form of a naamaz before starting her preparation. Needless to say, she goes on to win the round and competition. 

Claims that Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman may have consumed meat during their exile in the forest: Tell me why not. They were Kshatriyas. They had weapons with them and killing an animal or two for the sake of survival is not such a bad thing to do. There is no proof to establish the veracity of this theory – it may or may not be true.

Then, why create hype? Does not make sense to me at all.

I loved the movie and I am sure you will too.

Image courtesy: Google

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Tiger 3

If you are a fan of Salman Khan, this movie has been made for you. Infact, this entire series is .. Ek Tha Tiger, Tiger Zinda Hain, and now this. Keep your brains aside. Just watch the hero playout his role. He does not look like he is in his fifties at all, and he carries off all the action with his natural swag.

You are bound to be amazed by the action scenes filmed on Katrina Kaif. She’s a pretty damsel, who could have spent her career romancing heroes on screen. She has raised herself beyond that and her action scenes reflect how hardworking she is.

If you happen to have watched a film named “Pathaan” starring another popular hero, Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), you would recall a cameo by Salman Khan in it. The favour is returned in this film where SRK comes to Salman’s rescue when in a fix. The duo entertains the audience with their ageless charm.

Another actor who has stepped out of his comfort zone is Emraan Hashmi, who has played the villain’s role. He has delivered a performance worth taking note of.

Needless to say, the budget of this movie is huge. Wonderful locations, helicopters, vehicles, all the action, etc are all in large scale. This has been made for plain entertainment and not for critics.

Image courtesy: Google

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Ahaan

Ahaan is a movie that revolves around an adult with down syndrome. In the fast paced world around him, he is surrounded by a judgemental society, including his parents, who are protective, sometimes much more than required. I have seen first hand how parents of special children feel, how they behave, how protective they are, how affected by social stigma they become. With due respects to them and their grit to face challenges, this movie can give a streak of hope to them.

Free of any false sense of superiority, or inhibitions, Ahaan has aspirations similar to that of normal people: to have a family of his own, a house, car, job, etc. He is befriended by Ozzy, whose wife had left him because of his behavioural issues. As the movie progresses, Ahaan’s simplicity overwhelms not only Ozzy, but the audience as a whole. I could not help loving him.

What do you want to be in 10 years?

There is a scene when Ahaan is being accompanied by Ozzy for a job interview and Ozzy asks him this mock question. His answer is “Ahaan”. I was absolutely floored by authenticity of the response, straight from the heart.

Good acting, believable story-line. A streak of positivity. Also a subtle message to society to be more inclusive towards people with special needs.

Image courtesy: Google

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Khufiya

An intelligence agency has identified an internal mole, and wishes to nab him red handed. The intent is also to identify the reason – catch the puppet and puppeteer both. The film is led by Tabu, an actress par excellence. She is not making any attempt to hide her age. Along with her senior officer (Ashish Vidyarthi), she embarks on a journey to uncover the prime suspect, Ravi Mohan, played by Ali Zafar. I have seen him on screen after a very long time and I totally loved Ali’s bespectacled look.

Wamiqa Gabbi comes across a very strong actress too. I had seen her in a small role in Mai, a web series starring Sakshi Tanwar. I have observed her in a TV commercial and in yet another very successful web series (Jubilee). Wamiqa has definitely travelled a long way to reach her present level of acting.

Tabu and her team are surprised to learn that it is not his wife, but his aged mother, who is Ravi’s accomplice in crime. The storyline is tight, and full of twists and turns till the very end. The mission behaves like a sine curve, troughs happen when Ravi manages to smuggle sensitive information across to a rival country, and crests can be sensed when you have him cornered; till he manages to flee again. The fact that everyone has to balance their personal and professional lives is underlined yet again. An extra flavour is added in this thriller for me as quite a few dialogues are spoken in Bengali. You'll love Khufiya also because of the directional excellence of Vishal Bhardwaj.

Image courtesy: Google

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Dhak Dhak

Biking is something that is essentially associated with men. This feisty movie breaks the stereotype and revolves around four women, all from different backgrounds, who choose to ride to Khardung La in Leh, Ladakh on Royal Enfield bikes. This is a dream destination or holy grail of bikers, men or women. Circumstances are different, inspirations are different for each. The screenplay has been weaved with their journey and individual stories of the characters. The name of the movie, Dhak Dhak, refers to beating of one’s heart once the engine of a heavy bike gains acceleration.

 


It is not about the journey alone. There are multiple challenges that one has to overcome to reach the final destination: punctures, health issues, loss of connectivity... you name it. Your belief that there are still some nice people out there gets reinforced as you watch a truck driver lend an extra phone to Sanjana, or when a fellow traveller comes forward to assist the girls in times of crisis. The movie subtly touches upon modern day risks such as videos going viral or phones getting hacked.

The star of the movie is Ratna Pathak Shah. She’s so good and lovable. The very beautiful Dia Mirza, Sanjana Sanghi and Fatima Sana Shaikh look well suited to their roles. You’ll love the empowered women and stay hooked till the very end.

Image courtesy: Google

Happy New Year!!