Saala Khadoos (Movie Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Adi Tomar (Madhavan) is bitter because his dream to win the boxing gold for India was thwarted by his devious coach Dev Khatri (Zakir) who spiked his gloves during an all-important match. So when he spots talent in a Chennai fisher-woman Madhi(Ritika Singh) he wants to see his dream fulfilled through his ward.

Like Mary Kom, Saala Khadoos is a heartfelt attempt at putting the spotlight on India’s women boxers. As it follows the life of siblings, Laxmi (Mumtaz Sorcar) and Madhi, (both trained boxers) brought up in poverty, but with their sights set on boxing, the film sheds light on many issues. Namely, the lack of sporting infrastructure and the corrupt selectors who subject the women athletes to sexual humiliation are raw nerves it touches on. A line by a power-drunk coach to a promising pupil, that goes— ‘If you wish to rise in life, you have to go down first (pun intended)’ is discomforting.

The film had great potential but it plays safe by taking the familiar route of the underdog becoming the champion. You know from the time when Adi picks up a wild child off the street and she over dramatically resists, that he will pursue her to follow his dream. Director Sudha Kongara also deftly weaves in an attraction between the amateur boxer and her khadoos coach, a man almost double her age.

Both Adi and Madhi are rebels. But their fights ( especially the ones outside the boxing ring) appear forced and out of sync. But then again, the film keeps you engaged till the proud-India bout in the climax because of the convincing performances. Madhavan is good as the cynical coach who wants nothing more than to earn his stripes. Ritika is raw yet manages a knockout performance. Nasser, Mumtaz and Zakir lend good support. Courtesy toi…

Saala Khadoos

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Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami (Movie-review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- When a righteous common man is disgraced, his integrity questioned, ideals dismissed and reputation damaged, he is forced to ‘ask’ for the respect he rightfully deserves. However, his sons find his principles outdated and futile in today’s practical world. Can they fulfill his last wish?

Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami is a fitting tribute to the common man who still values his self-respect more than his pay cheque. Nearing his retirement, living in a modest chawl in Mumbai, Purushottam Narayan Joshi (Anupam Kher) serves the BMC diligently as a jamadar for 37 years of his life. While he takes pride in his morals, discipline and work ethics, annoyed by his unyielding honesty, his sons Shekhar (Manu Rishi Chadha) and Subhash (Divyendu Sharma) think otherwise. They find his ‘lectures’ boring and low-paying job worthless.

However, a heartbreaking incident forces them to analyse their mindset. On his death-bed, their father demands a 21-cannon salute as an acknowledgement of his flawless character, a certificate of ‘respect’ he never received. On the other hand, a corrupt politician, his publicity-seeking mistress and opportunistic mother have their own agendas. Is honesty indeed a curse in today’s world?

Poignant and riveting, Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami deserves a salute for its unique concept. Films with a social message could get preachy, but thanks to unconventional execution, the director skillfully overcomes that. Having displayed his acting prowess a billion times before, Anupam Kher once again proves that he is the master of his craft. He moves you to tears with his heart-rending performance. He is also the reason you are able to relate to the story.

The supporting cast is equally competent. Aditi Sharma, Uttara Baokar and Neha Dhupia in particular make their mark. Music lends depth to the proceedings. However, while the film clicks as a social satire, certain comic situations in the second half seem far-fetched. The pace drops as well but picks up eventually.

In times where materialistic things have taken precedence over people and good old values, ETKS is one of the most socially relevant films to have come out this year. It’s not just a film but a philosophy. Courtesy toi…


Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami

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Jigariyaa (Movie-review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- A middle class boy falls in love with a rich girl. Theirs is love at first sight. Owing to the class divide, parents object to the relationship. Can their love survive societal pressure?

Set in Agra in the late 80′s, Jigariyaa revives the magic of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. It traces the lives of two young lovers Shyamlal Gupta (Harshvardhan Deo) and Radhika (Cherry Mardia), who dream of an idealistic future.

However, villains in their fairytale romance happen to be their parents, who are more concerned about their standing in the society. The two are forced to give up on their relationship as maan and maryada are of prime importance. Will they break the norms of society and get back together or succumb to it?

In spite of its run of the mill story, Jigariyaa is quite a commendable attempt. The newcomers are the film’s USP and they give their best. They deliver solid performances and have the ability to make it big in Bollywood. Harshvardhan Deo as an aspiring poet (shayar) is charming, while the beautiful Cherry Mardia makes an impression. Their depiction of the protagonists’ ‘innocent love’ sets the film apart.

The cinematography is stunning too. Colours, heritage sites and historical locations are used beautifully. That reminds one of Raanjhanaa. The music is soulful and the script allows you to feel for the central characters.

However, the film could have been at least 30 minutes shorter. The story stays static for a long time in the first half. You get impatient for the climax and while it’s effective, it does seem a tad pointless. A cliched story and sluggish pace are major drawbacks. If it wasn’t for that, Jigariyaa could have been a film worth remembering.

Nonetheless, the film can be watched for its purity and simplicity. It ably captures the beauty of small towns and first love…love before technology happened. Love before sexual desire found its place in films. Courtesy toi…


Jigariyaa

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Left Behind (Movie-review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Without any prior indication, the Rapture (an event referred to in the Bible) occurs and most of the planet’s population simply disappears. Of the people left behind are also some passengers in a commercial airplane on a flight. Not only do they have to make sense of what has happened, landing the crippled plane is also a concern.

An aircraft pilot needs to be prepared to effectively handle various emergencies that can arise when the aircraft is in flight. However, handling an event known as the Rapture (where good people, essentially those who have not sinned, are snatched up to heaven, and the others are, well, left behind) is probably not in any pilot’s emergency handbook.

People’s physical bodies quite literally disappear in the blink of an eye with only their clothes, and whatever it is they were holding, lying in a heap on the floor. Rayford Steele (Cage) is a pilot who is bored of his wife Irene (Thompson). Their young daughter Chloe (Cassi) comes over to spend time with her parents as it is Rayford’s birthday weekend. However, the philandering Rayford isn’t too torn up when he receives sudden summons for a long-haul flight across the Atlantic. Adding to that, he also has plans to bed the curvaceous stewardess (Whelan) as part of his own little birthday weekend fun on the side.

So when the Rapture hits, Rayford, not exactly in the running for sainthood, is still around. Now, however, he has to deal with a plane load of panicky passengers and of course, try to get the plane back on the ground safely. Back on terra firma, there’s chaos - cars collide, buses veer off cliffs and people run around helter-skelter. While meant to convey a global state of panic, such scenes are just not convincing enough.

The basic premise of the film could have made for an engaging and far-out watch. The very concept of the Rapture could have been depicted with power and mystery, but instead the opposite is achieved in a film that just looks slapdash.Courtesy toi…


Left Behind

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Tamanchey (Movie-review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Two un-reformables fall hopelessly in love. Their on-the-run romance is therefore played out against the backdrop of bullets and baddies.

In Tamanchey, instead of a self-righteous boy serenading a vestal virgin, you have a bad boy romancing a bad girl. No explanations are offered on why Munna (Nikhil Dwivedi), a petty thief, is infatuated with drug peddler Babu (Richa Chadha) or why either of them is so drawn to a life of crime. But does this alone qualify as a coming-of-age pulp fiction romantic thriller? By the end of the film, your answer is that only the intention should be applauded, not necessarily the execution.

A police vehicle carrying Babu and Munna to prison, falls into a ravine, leaving only three survivors — one cop and two criminals. While the cop is too shaken to notice, the baddies thank their lucky stars and escape. The two are inexplicably drawn to one another, considering he is shown as crass and she, hard-as-nails, attempting to be a stylish diva. What follows is their love-making on a truck, carrying tomatoes somewhere in the heartland of north India - and yes, that seals it for a love-struck Munna.

For a while, the lovers are oblivious but three becomes a crowd with the entry of a tainted-for-doping, medal-winning wrestler Rana (Damandeep Singh Siddhu) who is now a mafia kingpin. He and Babu, who turns out to be his mistress, peddle drugs on the India-Nepal border with the help of avaricious cops. And the drama becomes interesting when Munna who continues to be besotted by Babu - despite now knowing she is the don’s girl - joins the same gang.

The Babu-Munna romantic escapades in bank vaults and dimly lit terraces do have their own appeal. But their modus operandi gets stale because of its repetitive nature. All through, the 1983 RD Burman ditty Pyar mein dil pe maar de goli appears in a reprised version, thus making brave attempts to pep up the proceedings, as does the title track.

One star in the rating is reserved solely for the livewire, Richa Chadha. Like in Fukrey, in Tamanchey too, she gets her bindaas, badass girl act pat. Courtesy toi…


Tamanchey

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Haider (Movie-Review)

News4u- Entertainment Desk- Haider’s uncle kills his father and marries his mother. Can Haider resolve his dilemma - to be or not to be revengeful?

So, Haider is a brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet where a new character - Kashmir - joins the drama’s kings and queens. Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kashmir isn’t shikaras and Shammi Kapoor though. Set in 1995, amidst militancy and martial rule, this Kashmir is gray smoke and brown trees, frozen waters and fires glowing angrily on a lake.

Dr. Hilal Meer, to his wife Ghazala’s (Tabu) resentment, brings home a militant for treatment. Someone sneaks and the doctor’s ‘disappeared’, leaving Ghazala ‘half-widow’ - and half-bride, Hilal’s brother Khurram (Kay Kay) literally dancing attention on his beautiful bhabhi-jaan. As Ghazala giggles, her son Haider (Shahid) arrives and Hamlet - a young man driven to madness between grief for his father, anger for his uncle and a strange longing for his mother - begins.

But Bhardwaj’s brilliance - don’t miss Haider on ‘chutzpah versus AFSPA’, or his describing Kashmir between India and Pakistan with, ‘Hum hain ki hum nahin?’ - stretches beyond a beautiful re-telling. Vishal fires up his Hamlet by skillfully fusing personal anguish with political clash, where the violent dilemma of Kashmir - to free or not to free? - makes Haider even headier.

Haider is one of cinema’s bravest takes on identity, frightening, yet fun - Irrfan delights as rockstar-like Roohdar, Haider’s father’s ghostly voice who is, in another clever twist, a spectral agent from Pakistan. Like Pankaj Kumar’s stunning cinematography and Rekha Bhardwaj’s haunting voice, Haider’s actors excel - Shahid does justice to Hamlet, a quiet, fine-boned boy, descending into a man whose eyes gleam with hate. Shraddha’s luminous as Arshee, Ophelia torn between Haider and father, heartbreakingly unwinding a red muffler she’s just knit.

But the meat of Haider goes to Tabu, overpowering as gorgeous Ghazala, desirous of desire, blown away by guilt. Kay Kay excels as snake in the snow, craftily asking Arshee - ‘Princuss! Prince kahan hai?’ - an oily cog in the machine pinning Kashmir down. Haider’s performances are perfumed with such delicious amorality that a moral twist follows - one that might’ve surprised Shakespeare.

Sometimes, Haider wanders - elaborate background music frames some scenes too richly while the second half could’ve been tighter. But these are tiny ripples on this filmi lake. For the most, Haider is superb, witty, violent, tragic - magic.

To see or not to see is no dilemma here. Don’t miss Haider - he’s got chutzpah like none other. Courtesy toi…


Haider

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Bang Bang (Movie-Review)

News4u- Entertainment Desk- After 150 years, an Indian robs the Kohinoor diamond. And thus begins the cat-and-mouse game as the international mob and the Indian Secret Service (ISS) officials hunt him down.

Siddharth Anand’s Bang Bang makes more noise and little sense. This desi adaptation of the 2010 Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz action thriller, Knight And Day, has charm in abundance, primarily because of its effervescent lead pair — Rajveer/Jai ( Hrithik Roshan) and Harleen (Katrina Kaif). But it lacks coherence. Disbelief is writ large on the face, right at the start.

India’s most wanted, Omar Zafar (Danny Denzongpa), who is to be extradited to India, escapes from a maximum-security prison in Britain because his aide Hamid Gul (Jaaved Jafferi) blows up the place like it is a cardboard edifice. They also kill the honest ISS agent, Viren Nanda (Jimmy Sheirgill) in the process. Next, Zafar suggests that he can actually hold up the UK-India extradition treaty by getting an Indian to rob the Kohinoor. Really?

Aimed at providing more style than substance, the film makes you comfortably numb in the first 20 minutes itself. So you may perhaps just raise an eyebrow as you watch Katrina, a bank receptionist from Shimla (with a liberal grandmother who tells her to go chase love), on a global escapade — London, Prague, Greece… in the company of a “psychopathic schizophrenic” jewel thief, Hrithik, after meeting him on one blind date.

If you’re still looking to make sense, Hrithik has a back-story on why he attempted to steal the Kohinoor. Or why he chose guns over roses. Kaif, convinced of his good intentions, is happy to cling to him with gay abandon.

Anand’s film has no grammar. But it compensates with breathtaking locales and stylishly choreographed stunts. It also works as a show reel for the bronzed Roshan with his six-pack abs and the enviable midriff of Kaif wearing a red polka-dotted bikini top. Their horseplay caters to an audience that is low on IQ and high on adrenalin!

Full marks to the lead pair for not being overwhelmed by the commotion around them. Especially Hrithik, who knows the job at hand is silly, but never slips up. Courtesy toi…


Bang Bang

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3 A.M (Movie-Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk-After the mysterious death of his girlfriend at the haunted Rudra Mills, a reality TV host and his friends venture into the forbidden land to determine whether ghosts exist. To gather proof, they plan to capture the supposed paranormal activities on camera. Do they survive?

Going by the title, the film also enlightens those who’ve unheard of 3 A.M being the ‘devil’s hour’, where ghosts are thought to be at their most powerful. Can Sunny (Rannvijay Singh) and his friends (Salil Acharya, Kavin Dave) manage to decode the mystery surrounding the mills during this ungodly hour?

3 A.M borrows from Paranormal Activity and Mirrors to a certain extent. That’s not an issue since most horror films lack originality. However, this film fails to match up to the scares and chills provided by its Hollywood predecessors, that make you go numb with fear. And lack of deadly silence is a major reason behind the failure of the premise, which otherwise had potential.

A good horror film is atmospheric and this one falls flat here. You want the actors to ‘stop talking’ for a while but that doesn’t happen till the end. They constantly engage in silly banter, chatting or debating trivial issues, giving you headaches instead of fear.

No time or effort is invested to create the desired mood. Also, dialogues to the effect of, ‘Hum rudra ki aatma ko provoke karte hai’ do not work. Besides, a bizarre flashback at the most inappropriate moment ruins it.

About the cast, Rannvijay Singh looks good and his presence is the best part about the film. However, we wish he does something non-Roadies the next time on the big screen. Salil Acharya and Kavin Dave are decent in supporting roles.

3 A.M is a conversation-heavy horror film. If that doesn’t put you off, you can give it a shot. Else, watch Insidious or The Conjuring once again on DVD. Courtesy toi…


3 A.M

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Two Night Stand (Movie-Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- An online encounter between two singletons in New York leads to a one night stand. The morning after isn’t as sweet though and they have a mighty row. But thanks to a huge snowstorm, Megan (Tipton) is forced to stay put in Alec’s (Teller) apartment for a while and the two have no choice but to get better acquainted.

Megan has been unlucky in love, and is newly single. Her roommate Faiza (Szohr) gets busy with her boyfriend one weekend with an extended lovemaking session and Megan has no option but to allow them their privacy. She decides that she’d fancy a bit of some no-strings-attached fun.

Somewhat emboldened after a few glasses of red wine, the plucky Megan settles down on her couch and logs on to a dating site with one purpose in mind - to look for a prospective date who will not creep her out, for a one night stand. Her search is surprisingly quick and she comes across the profile of someone who catches her fancy. Casual banter leads to a video chat and she makes a snap decision to head on over to his apartment.

The awkwardness of the next day quickly degenerates into an argument as Megan feels slighted by something that Alec said upon waking up. He passes a remark which she thinks is a comment on her morals. And just as she leaves in a huff, hoping never to see him again, nature intervenes. Because of the massive snowstorm, nobody can venture outdoors and they’re stuck with one another.

Two Night Stand has the vibe of a reality show and the feel of a play, where most of the action takes place in Alec’s cozy apartment, in two or three rooms. Teller and Tipton both put in some charming performances. Their delightful repartee is quite clearly the movie’s strongest aspect. It keeps you engaged and is often amusing. While the plot is simple enough, this is, in essence, a pretty candid and contemporary take on young love, with its many colourful details.colourful details.
Courtesy toi…


Two Night Stand

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Desi Kattey (Movie-Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Two gangsters have a chance at a better life as sharp-shooters at the world championship. But will they leave their guns for real glory?

This one rips into the heart of the hinterland once again - with homegrown bullets, gundas and of course, other desi toppings (read: item number!). Simply put, it’s a convoluted tale of two friends looking down from different sides of the same smoking barrel.

Two orphan boys Pali (Akhil) and Gyaani (Jay) grow up making desi guns for a living in a small town in UP, modelling themselves on their deadly idol, crime lord Judge Saab (Rana). The boys turn into underage gundays - ‘toying’ with guns and spewing gaalis. Soon the inseparable hot-guns grow up to be ace shooters who want to get their hands bloodied with a one-way ticket to crime-land.

Meanwhile, ex-army officer Major Suryakant Rathore (Suniel) spots their sharp shooting skills and wants to train them to be national-level champs. But Judge Saab averts their only shot at a better life by offering an entry into his paapi duniya. Will they choose a better life or go back to gangsta rap?

Anand Kumar misses almost every target at making even a fairly watchable film. Damn the cliches, the film shows no semblance of a coherent story or believable characters. It’s plagued with weak dialogues and poor editing. Even the few possible high moments are treated so idly that even with all that gunpower and bloodspray leave you unmoved. The boys try hard to strike an emotional chord with their ‘bromance’, but even that fails to trigger a reaction.

Ashutosh Rana performs well, Suniel Shetty adds weight, Jay displays some good moments (though not enough) and debutant Akhil tries too hard with his long tress-mess gangster look, but doesn’t get the act right. Tia and Sasha play the better halves, but the same can’t be said about their performance.

There’s a scene in the film where Pali shoots with his eyes shut during a world championship. I wonder if the team that created this film did it the same way - with their eyes half-shut. Courtesy toi…


Desi Kattey

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