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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Baahubali: The Beginning (Movie Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk-A baby boy is miraculously found alive in the middle of a river by a few villagers. They raise him as their own. Named Shiva (Prabhas), the boy grows up to be an adventurous commoner until his past comes back to haunt him. Turns out, Shiva is royalty and heir to the Mahishmati kingdom. Son of the noble king Amarendra Baahubali (Prabhas in a dual role) and queen Devasena (Anushka Shetty), he must now fight the evil king Bhallala Deva (Rana Daggubati), who tortured his parents and forcefully seized their kingdom.

Touted as one of the most expensive films to be made in India, this highly anticipated part one of the two-part period epic, manages to enthrall you with its sheer scale and grandeur. Painstakingly made, paying acute attention to detail for the minutest of sound and visuals, Rajamouli (Eega, Magadheera) , who spent three years making this ambitious film ensures that the larger-than-life execution matches his grandiose vision. Though this swashbuckling adventure relies heavily on CGI and VFX, it doesn’t lack emotional resonance. It manages to be much more than a blood-soaked romp. The heart of the film lies in the simple thought that good is mightier than evil.

However, there are a few glitches, which may not be deal-breakers per say but do stick out. For instance, Tamannaah, who plays the Katniss Everdeen like bow-wielding warrior, breaks into a romantic song with Shiva, baring her slender midriff to cater to ‘popular demands’. Shiva’s impromptu dance under the waterfall is reminiscent of a Liril commercial. The film’s duration could be an issue for those not high on patience. Also, the movie reminds you of Troy, Thor, The Dark Knight Rises, Karan Arjun (Devasena chanting, ‘Mera beta aayega’) to name a few, giving you the recurring ‘been-there-seen-that’ feeling. Shiva has the values of Prince Hector, bravery of Achilles and can make the jump Bruce Wayne did to get out of the pit. Bhallala deva can be Agamemnon.

However, the elaborate battle-scene climax makes the film a spectacular watch nonetheless. Very rarely has an Indian film managed to achieve this feat. The casting is terrific. Ramya Krishnan in her short but substantial role is flawless as the feisty Raajmata. Tamannaah does the action bit well. Prabhas and Rana Daggubati are outstanding. They hugely contribute to making this routine good vs bad film a visual extravaganza…entertainment guaranteed. The scene which sees Shiva singlehandedly erecting a giant gold statue of Bhallala Deva is jawdroppingly iconic. Take a bow S.S. Rajamouli. Courtesy toi…

Baahubali: The Beginning

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Kochadaiiyaan (Movie-Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Two kingdoms are at war with each other and a young general, through cunning and valour, puts his nation at an advantage. But he also has another goal — bringing down his own king to avenge his father’s death.

Kochadaiiyaan opens with a prologue that tells us the two kingdoms, Kottaipattinam and Kalingapuri, have been at war with one another for generations. We see a boy from Kottaipattinam, who is about to drown, being rescued and the boy, Rana, grows up to become a soldier in Kalingapuri.

Rana is received with joy by his king and even gets him to marry the prince to his sister, but he also has an ulterior motive — to kill the king, who had unfairly sentenced his father to death.

Kochadiiyaan succeeds not because of technology but because of the writing. The film is motion capture 3D computer-animated but the animation is primeval; both the motion capture and the texture of the visuals are closer to The Polar Express than Avatar or Tintin. The long shots aren’t problematic but whenever the camera cuts to a close-up, we are drawn to the inanimate nature of the expressions. The characters feel like caricatures of the real-life actors we have known. The movements of the actors too are robotic (in dance numbers, it feels like the characters are doing yoga) and the detailing is far from perfect, especially for characters in the background.

There is also inconsistency in the animation. Some scenes seem to have sheen while in some, the perspective fluctuates; there are times when a boulder looks as big as the man standing on it and blades of grass look like miniature paddy plants. But the sweeping camera work, the proficient voice-over work by actors and the energetic background score compensate for these blemishes.

Once the plot kicks into gear, the narration starts to hold our attention. The songs and stunts are woven into the story and do not stick out. Like any other Rajini movie, Kochadaiiyaan too worships its star. His character appears in almost every scene and there are fan-pleasing moments in the form of stylistic gestures and dialogues.

The story initially seems like a typical revenge fantasy but soon, we realize it is a bit more complex than that. The film actually ends by leaving its lead character in a moral dilemma. His family has served and protected the king for generations but now, the son has acted otherwise.

What fate does his action beget him? What happened to Rana’s elder brother who vanished mysteriously? Where is his friend who abdicated the throne to marry the girl he loved? Will the enemy prince return? With such interesting questions, Soundarya has set up the knot for a deserving sequel. Courtesy toi…


Kochadaiiyaan

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D-Day (Movie-Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Four Indian agents plan to bring India’s most wanted criminal home from Pakistan - do they succeed?

Straight up, D-Day is explosive at three levels. The plot crackles. The acting sears. And the music flares with passion. Four Indian agents, angry and RAW, enter Pakistan to bring Iqbal Seth (Rishi Kapoor), a Dawood-like don, hated for his terrorism, home. Wali Khan (Irrfan) has married a local woman and fathered a child, but longs to find freedom from the truth and lies he lives. Irrfan amazes, switching from tender to treacherous in a flash, authentic as he calls out “Rudar!” to Rudra Pratap Singh (Arjun), a man of molten mysteries, introduced with a Lawrence of Arabia-like flair.

Arjun looks smashing and pulls off a competent act while Zoya (Huma) does well as a cutie-pie who can squeeze a knife real bad. Aslam (Aakash Dahiya), a gangster-turned-agent, forms the fourth wheel, but Rishi Kapoor stands out as Iqbal Seth, with his polyester-like silky malevolence, his mocking manipulations, his eyes behind red goggles, both frightened and frightening.

That mirrors the plot which flips rapidly, hunters becoming the hunted, then vice-versa. Nasser, as RAW director Ashwini Rao, is convincing as an official straining at the leash while Iqbal’s bhanja (Chandan Sanyal) is splendid with his simply asinine evil. A beautifully fragile Shruti Haasan plays a prostitute sheltering Rudra. Their track is short but sensual, a little lily-pool of beauty in an otherwise relentlessly harsh cinematography, where Karachi’s grey, gritty and gunpowder-laced.

But this being Bollywood, the plot can’t escape emotional excursions. Some - Rudra’s love-life, Zoya’s break-up - adds a halwa-like heaviness to this Karachi. But the second half refreshes your palate, sizzling sequences between Wali, Rudra and Iqbal Seth leaving you open-mouthed, the ‘c’ in this climax clearly for controversy.

Catch it - this ‘D’ company denotes both debate and desh-prem.courtesy toi…


D-Day

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