Friday, June 28, 2024


This is the debut film of Junaid Khan, son of the very popular actor, Amir Khan. He plays role of Karsandas Mulji, who has been questioning blind faith and unfair social practices since his childhood. He professed education for women, widow remarriage – and his reformist nature always ended him up in trouble – the very people he fought for turned against him. This movie draws inspiration from the real-life Maharaj Libel case of 1852. 

Karsan is exposed to another tradition when Kishori, his fiancĂ©e, is exploited physically by a religious leader, JJ Maharaj.  When Kishori realizes her misjudgement of exploitation as a religious act, she kills herself out of shame but urges Karsan to bring forth the truth behind Havelis, or lavish temples. What follows is a story of determination and grit. The climax is reached when JJ Maharaj sues Karsan for defamation, where tradition and logic battle it out in court.


The takeaways include Junaid Khan himself, the grandeur and Jaideep Ahlawat. Junaid looks convincing in his role with his freshness, and not like a first timer. I loved the way he carried attire of pre-independence times – dhoti and kurta, puffed sleeve shirts, etc. I saw some of his photographs, and he looks very different in this movie. The girls, Shalini Pandey as Kishori and Sharvari as Viraaj do justice to their roles. You would not be able to take your eyes off Jaideep Ahlawat – he uses his big frame and acting skills to portray the arrogant JJ Maharaj, who has never laid a foot on road, but on hands of his devotees.

The film strongly urges everyone to say no to blind traditions. This is a movie you would definitely like, and probably watch over and over again.

Image courtesy: Google

Friday, June 21, 2024

Dil Dosti Dilemma

This is a story about a young girl, Asmara who has all the privileges one can wish for. She lives in her own world – shopping with her friends, chilling out without much worry. However, she fails to give respect to her own maternal grandmother, who comes from a humble background, in front of her friends. As a punishment, her mother cancels her upcoming trip to Canada and sends her to stay with her grandparents during summer holidays. Asmara lies to her friends about her predicament, trying to create a false world of her own. On the other hand, she finds it difficult to adjust to her new environment, without air conditioners, attached washrooms, chauffeur driven cars and what is worse, full of nosy neighbours. However, she settles down and makes friends with the chirpy Ruksana, who is about her age only. She encourages Ruksana to pursue her talent and also to start a small scale business. Asmara befriends Farzaan, Ruksana’s elder brother and gradually develops feelings for him.

Parallel story lines are interwoven in the script wherein their humble surroundings lack basic amenities of water and electricity and also face impending threat of builders mowing down the old buildings in name of “redevelopment”. Asmara’s friends face challenges in their personal lives too and they come together to promise to face the challenges and never to lie to each other. The series is wrapped up in a hurried manner, but leaves some strings dangling, creating ground for an upcoming season.

Great acting by Tanvi Azmi and Shishir Sharma, who play Asmara’s grandparents, add weight to the series. The young actors also have done well.

Image courtesy: Google

Friday, June 14, 2024


Three airhostesses from different backgrounds and aspirations, played by Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Kriti Sanon, come together in Kohinoor Airlines. Unfortunately, the airline had not only gone bankrupt but was unable to pay their salaries for long too. Along with their colleagues, they face constant cash crunch, until they choose to do something bold to take charge of their lives. What follows next is indeed a roller coaster ride.

The story draws inspiration from the tale of Kingfisher Airlines which was closed down, leaving the staff stranded. The protagonists realize that they had been tricked only to benefit criminals and decide to mete out a befitting reply to those who had been utilizing them.

The lead actresses look good even though they are in different age groups. A small supporting role by Diljit Dosanjh is also apt. Saswata Chatterjee also looks convincing in his cunning character. Kapil Sharma, in his bid to diversify his visibility, fails to leave a mark in his short appearance.

However much the plot and impressive cast may impress you, and inspite of much media hype and large box office collections, you may find yourself disappointed with the overall execution. The movie probably needed to redo the elaborations and cuts – some sequences look long drawn whereas some parts, including the ending, feel abruptly done. Don’t look for logic or be too critical, enjoy the movie is a one-time watch, no brains required.   

Image courtesy: Google

Friday, June 07, 2024

Heeramandi : The Diamond Bazaar

When the perfectionist Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB) tries his hand at making a webseries, you are sort of compelled to watch it. Set in pre-independence era in Lahore, Heeramandi has everything SLB is known for: Careful narration of the story, huge extravagant sets, great shots, intricate details, powerful acting and more. I have read lot of discussion about this series and every member of the cast seems to have one thing in common to say: multiple takes of a shot to bring out the best.

The show introduces you to the characters one by one, beginning with Mallikajaan, played by Manisha Koirala. The cast is full of stars – other than Manisha Koirala, you have Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Fardeen Khan, Shekhar Suman, Richa Chaddha to name a few. The first part of the story revolves around courtesans, or twaifs, who are not exactly prostitutes, but mistresses of nawabs of Lahore and also Englishmen. While you are immersed in appreciating their internal struggles for power, you are surprised to see one of them team up with freedom fighters. A parallel storyline develops around Alamzeb, daughter of Mallikajaan, who dreams of becoming a poetess instead of taking up the profession she is apparently destined to; and falls in love with Tajdar, son of a Nawab. Small steps of breach of trust for personal gain have heinous consequences. Later, the women leave aside their internal enmities and come together to fight for Indian independence.

You may come across some negativity regarding Sharmin Segal's acting, but I think she has done a good job. She is a young fresh face, which was required for the role. Critics have much to say about historical inaccuracies, acting skills of young actors, etc. But those are not points you have to focus on. Immerse yourself in the visual extravaganza, the intricate details, music and master storytelling. You will be missing something if you do not watch this well-made series.

Image courtesy: Google