Category Archives: Movie Review

Hungama 2 Movie Review: Shilpa Shetty, Meezaan’s film fails to recreate Priyadarshan magic

Priyadarshan’s Hungama 2 is the continuation of his 2003 film of the same name. While it is mildly entertaining, it fails to recreate the laughter we expect from a Priyadarshan film.

Priyadarshan brought a bombshell of laughter to the screen with Hungama. Paresh Rawal’s Radheshyam Tiwari and the confusion caused by the name Anjali set up the right pretext for an entertaining, slapstick comedy of errors. And that’s what was expected of Hungama 2, if not more. However, the sequel, which in no true sense is a continuation of the 2003 classic, disappoints on many parameters. It creates a ruckus, and only sporadic laughter.

With Hungama 2, Priyadarshan is making a comeback to the Hindi film industry after a break of almost eight years. The film stars Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Meezaan Jaffri, Paresh Rawal, Ashutosh Rana and Pranitha Subash, among others. Like its predecessor, the film promises to be a laugh riot, born out of confusion. However, it lacks in writing. We are welcomed by the trademark Priyadarshan style of cinema, but we missed the flow and fast-paced situational comedy. The magic of the director seems to appear in bits and pieces throughout the film.

Hungama 2 doesn’t pick up from where the 2003 film left. It is a new film altogether, with its own ruckus in place. Shilpa Shetty’s Anjali is not the central character, but supports Meezaan’s Aakash in his life struggle. Ashutosh Rana plays Aakash’s father, Kapoor, and once again delivers a spectacular performance. Paresh Rawal as Anjali’s husband Tiwari struggles with a lack of trust and doubts his wife. Vaani, played by Pranitha Subash, is the cause of all the hungama in the film.

If you think the list of actors is over, then you are wrong. The film boasts of some of the biggest names in the Indian comedy scene. From Johny Lever and Rajpal Yadav to Manoj Joshi and Tiku Talsania, Hungama 2 has all the staple actors from every Priyadarshan film. At one point, Rajpal Yadav single-handedly manages to keep the film afloat with his impeccable comic timing when we lose all our hopes in this film. Johny Lever is clearly underutilised and we are still wondering why he was even part of the film in the first place. Talking about the lead characters, Paresh Rawal delivers what is expected of him, but there are no surprises. Shilpa Shetty is also satisfactory as the wife of a doubtful husband. But most of the time she appears as just a side character. Meezaan Jaffri brings energy to most of the scenes, while most of the time his animated and dramatic actions while performing compel us to question their need. Pranitha is subtle and doesn’t leave any long-lasting impressions.

Hungama 2 is entertaining in parts, but that was not expected of Priyadarshan, who is known for making unforgettable comedies. The film appears to be stretched a lot and is filled with predictable and cliched dialogues. Having said that, it is still a watchable film for all the nostalgia it may bring to the true-blue Priyadarshan movie fans.

Jagame Thandiram Movie Review: Weak Script, Careless Editing Make Dhanush-starrer a Bore

Kartik Subbaraj’s Jagame Thandiram, starring Dhanush sets itself a lofty goal, but begins to limp in the first few minutes due to its weak script.

Jagame Thandiram

Director: Karthik Subbaraj

Cast: Dhanush, Aishwarya Lekshmi, James Cosmo

Tamil cinema still, in this day and age, believes that a film must pack into its runtime every aspect of life and living or just about. Director Karthik Subbaraj’s almost three-hour long gangster adventure mostly set in London, Jagame Thandhiram, just does this, giving us a taste of dances, fights with bullets narrowly missing one’s ears and the radical side of British politics. Yes, you heard me right, with some of that country’s leaders trying to stop immigration of especially brown and Black people – with special reference to Sri Lankan Tamils — and deport them.
Immigration may be a pressing issue in countries across continents, but that a young man from Madurai – who runs a “parotta” eatery by the day turning into a sickle-weaving thug after sunset — should pop into London to “sort” things out appears farfetched, even with our thinking hats off. And this young man is none other than Suruli, played by Dhanush (who is increasingly copying father-in-law Rajinikanth’s mannerisms), a small-time gangster from Madurai.

With his marriage being called off at the eleventh hour, Suruli becomes an even bigger desperado willing to place his neck on the block, and flies to London.. While Suruli is turning the city into a bloody mess, I began to wonder what the heck Scotland Yard was doing! Come on, England is not the badlands somewhere in Africa or closer home. But with blazing guns and whizzing bullets, Suruli vanquishes the foes, taking on dozens of men singlehandedly to emerge supreme. This is imagination gone berserk.

Penned by Subbaraj, the movie is just a one line plot: Suruli is hired by racist British mobster, Peter (James Cosmos), in faraway Madurai to kill his rival, Sivadoss (Joju George), a Sri Lankan Tamil. Suruli’s girlfriend, Attila (Aishwarya Lekshmi), is at best a flower-vase on the mantlepiece, but she does turn him into a Sri Lankan Tamil sympathiser, and it takes just one weepy story from her to convert our man.

The film sets itself a lofty goal, but begins to limp in the first few minutes. Scripted shabbily and edited with little care, it fails to invest in this theme. Instead, it goes all out to make a hero out of Dhanush, who has been coming up with the same, jaded performance for a long time. He probably has potential, but would need a good and imaginative director to get him out of his comfort zone. And, the kind of bloody violence that Subbaraj dishes out can be difficult to stomach, and his tendency to be another Quentin Tarantino is a pointless exercise.

Sherni Movie Review: Vidya Balan roars in this man-animal jungle on Amazon Prime

Directed by Amit Masurkar, Vidya Balan plays a forest officer trying to resolve man-animal conflicts in Sherni. The film started streaming on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, June 18.

Movie Name: Sherni
Cast: Vidya Balan
Director: Amit Masurkar

Sherni opens to a panoramic view of the forest. You know you have landed in the middle of dense, raw danger. So does Vidya Balan, who plays Divisional Forest Officer Vidya Vincent, in the film. Vidya is here to resolve human-animal conflicts – stuff we read about in the newspapers every day. But her battles go beyond just that. She has to find her own footing as a woman in a man’s world.

Just like the central force of the film – tigers – Vidya also lies low, not from fear, but for aim. She subtly finds her way through the jungle, just as Sherni attempts to journey Hindi cinema to a terrain that has been probed, but not explored.

In Amit Masurkar’s Sherni, we are introduced to India’s wild spaces, which face seemingly unstoppable threats from poaching, deforestation and overgrazing. That’s one side of the story. On the other, there are communities that rely on forest returns for their livelihoods. Meanwhile, cattle and men venturing into the jungle are turning up dead. Yes, a wild cat is on the loose. Caught in the middle of this are forestry officials and our protagonist Vidya Vincent.

Sherni is reminiscent of Avni or T1’s case. The tigress was accused of killing 13 people. After months-long hunt, she was shot dead in 2018 in Yavatmal, Maharashtra, by a civilian hunter-led search accompanied by some forest department officials. Many activists described it as ‘cold-blooded murder’ and the case even reached the Supreme Court of India. The case is still going on with officials trying to find whether Avni was a man-eater or not.

Coming back to Sherni, Vidya soon realises that humans and tigers are both endangered. This fact hits her when lives are lost in the jungle and a politician grabs the opportunity to make big promises about showing the tiger its rightful place – sending it to a zoo or a circus, that is. Even the forest department remains complacent and corrupt. Things are not that different in reel or real lives.

Salman Khan issues strict warning, asks fans not to watch Radhe on pirated sites

Salman Khan issued a strict warning to people who are resorting to pirated sites to watch Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai. He issued a statement, warning people of serious consequences.

Salman Khan’s Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai released on May 13. Since theatres were not an option for the Indian audience to watch this film due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the makers of Radhe made the film available to the people on ZEE5 with ZEE’s pay-per-view service ZEEPlex at Rs 249 (per view) and on all leading DTH operators. However, on Saturday night, Salman Khan took to social media once again to warn people about the serious consequences of piracy. He urged his fans to not watch the film on pirated sites once again and told them that they could get into a lot of trouble.

SALMAN KHAN WARNS FANS OF SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES

Salman Khan took to social media to urge fans not to watch Radhe on pirated sites. “We offered you to watch our film Radhe at a reasonable price of INR 249 Per View. Inspite of that Pirated sites are streaming Radhe illegally which is a serious crime. Cyber Cell is taking action against all these illegal pirated sites. Please don’t participate in piracy or the Cyber Cell will take action against you as well. He added, “Please understand you will get into a lot of trouble with the Cyber cell (sic),” Salman Khan’s statement read. #Radhemovie and #249 have booked a spot on the Twitter trends list.

Sardar Ka Grandson Movie Review: Arjun Kapoor Does a Sunny Deol in Pakistan

Sardar Ka Grandson sees Arjun Kapoor hoping to bring a double storey building from Pakistan to India. Here’s how he fared.

Sardar Ka Grandson

Cast: Neena Gupta, Arjun Kapoor, Rakul Preet, John Abraham, Aditi Rao Hydari

This one is set in and around Amritsar occasionally drifting inside Pakistan. Amreek Singh (Arjun Kapoor) is a goofy, happy go lucky kind of a guy doing odd jobs for a company run by his girlfriend Radha (Rakul Preet) in Los Angeles. His grandmother, who everybody fondly calls Sardar (Neena Gupta), is a 90-year-old loud and boisterous industrialist. She has been a victim of the India-Pakistan partition and wants to see the house she built with her husband in Lahore for one last time. So, what’s the big deal? Well, the Pakistan government has blacklisted her for an angry outburst at a cricket match in Mohali against a senior official from the neighbouring country. She can’t go to the house but the house can come to her. Amreek has now taken it upon himself to bring the same house from Pakistan to Amritsar for Sardar.

The basic premise is definitely absurd but it also intrigues. On paper, it might have sounded easy to change the phrase homecoming to ‘home is coming’, but it’s much more than just an idea. It can fall flat if not done convincingly. Also, it’s tricky to shoot films with many crowd scenes. It can go both ways. You have to manage the sentiments despite quick transitions.

To the director’s credit, Sardar Ka Grandson works because of its core idea but then the actors fail the project. It’s heartening to see Kaashvie Nair attempting something as audacious as uprooting a house and then re-planting it in Amritsar, but the scenes demand more urgency from the actors. Most of the times, they look relaxed and don’t convey the earnestness the situation merits.

They also remain short of establishing a delectable chaos inside Sardar’s house. I am not even talking about the fun quotient here, which is mostly missing.

Neena Gupta and Arjun Kapoor try to shoulder the responsibility but couldn’t do so for a longer period. It needed more secondary characters to rise up and take guard. With De De Pyaar De, Rakul Preet has proved that she could be quite handy in situational comedies, but she has been grossly underutilised.

John Abraham and Aditi Rao Hydari’s cameos could have been extended. They look more in charge of the developments than the lead pair. Hydari, in particular, has evolved a lot in recent times, and this is another good performance from her.

At 139-minutes, Sardar Ka Grandson feels like a stretch, but you can always watch it for Neena Gupta and the audacity of the idea.

Salman Khan’s Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai Hit by Piracy on WhatsApp and Telegram, FIR Filed

Pirated versions of Salman Khan-starrer Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai have been doing rounds on messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. has filed an official complaint at the Cyber Cell, over pirated versions of the new Salman Khan-starrer Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai doing the rounds on messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

“Officials are actively tracking down phone numbers involved in the act of piracy and taking required legal action,” the Zee statement said.

Zee has also appealed to the public at large, seeking their support in bringing an end to piracy, not just for the film Radhe, but for any kind of content. Films create livelihood, employment and a source of income for millions of people working for the industry. Piracy being the biggest threat to the entertainment industry, curbs down this source of livelihood. Films also contribute to the economy with the taxes paid to the Government. People engaged in spreading the illegal version of the film, are not just embracing piracy, but are also negatively impacting the growth of the industry and the livelihoods of the people working for it round the clock,” the statement further said.

The appeal is being made to all responsible citizens, asking them to say no to piracy and to consume entertainment or information content only through official platforms,” concluded the statement.

Radhe is Salman’s release on Eid 2021, and the film had a pay-per-view release on May 13. The Prabhudeva directorial also features Disha Patani, Jackie Shroff and Randeep Hooda in pivotal roles. The film is based on the 2017 Korean action drama The Outlaws.

Radhe Overseas Box Office Day 2: Salman Khan Film Earns About Rs 9.3 Crore in 2 Days

According to the latest report on Boxofficeindia.com, the Salman Khan starrer has raked in nearly USD 1.3 million overseas in two days.

Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai couldn’t get a wide opening in Indian theatres, but the film has been entertaining fans in cinemas overseas. According to the latest report on Boxofficeindia.com, the Salman Khan starrer has raked in around USD 600k on its second day, taking its total overseas collection to nearly USD 1.27 million (Rs 9.3 Crore approx) in two days. The action entertainer is said to be getting a good boost from the Gulf, where it garnered USD 475k on day one and around USD 400k on day two.

With these figures, ‘Radhe’ is expected to cross the $1 million mark for the weekend in the Gulf. Interestingly, his 2019 film ‘Bharat’ had crossed this figure in one day, but the market was not affected by the pandemic at the time. Going by the present momentum, ‘Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai’ is expected to cross the USD 2 million mark at the end of its four-day weekend.

The film is being watched widely on the pay-per-view format in India. Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai is said to have become the most watched film on Day 1, garnering 4.2 million views across various platforms. In India, the film released on ZEE5 with ZEE’s pay per view service ZEEPlex; along with leading DTH operators and it released theatrically in international markets on May 13. Fans of the superstar made it the most-watched movie on the first day itself, sending the servers crashing. Salman took to Twitter to wish fans on Eid and for watching Radhe.

Radhe Movie Review: Salman Khan Floats Like a Butterfly, Stings Like a Bee in Eid Release

Radhe-Your Most Wanted Bhai is a celebration of Salman Khan’s stardom and his own filmography.

Director: Prabhudeva

Salman Khan lives in his own universe, quite literally. With Radhe: The Most Wanted Bhai, he brings back the memories of 2009 hit Wanted that, in a way, started his second innings to superstardom. With Prabhudeva back behind the megaphone, Khan has the license to go back to chequered shirts and his famous bracelet. Needless to say that at least 500 people must have been harmed in the process. Of course, we are not counting the sensitive audience and non-Salman Khan fans.

So, encounter specialist Radhe (Khan) has been brought back from suspension because the Mumbai Police is determined to eradicate the drug menace plaguing the city’s schools. However, the task isn’t as simple as Khan’s signature dance steps, mostly because of the lousy script and patrtly due to the menacing villain Rana (Randeep Hooda), who despite being shadowed by Khan’s mega-stardom manages to make his presence felt.

Prabhudeva has pulled out all the stops and given Bhai the freehand to mouth Eid oriented one-liners and back them with punches. He is faster than a flash and mightier than a mountain, and confronting him is not going to fetch you good results. So, just relax, sit back and see him making mockery of science and logic. You can also cheer if you want to, simply because the makers never promised it to be anything other than what it is: a celebration of Khan’s projected super human abilities around Eid.

You also have Disha Patani breaking into a dance right in the middle of a fight sequence and delivering such unconvincing dialogues that would put even Mithun Chakraborty at an election campaign to shame. I am not even talking about Jackie Shroff who dances in a sleeveless dress.

Radhe is a collage of high-pitched songs and slow-motion shots that made us cringe even five years back. You need to have a high appetite for Khan’s antics to enjoy this one.

Photo-Prem Movie Review: A Paranoia Dealt with Little Conviction

The core plot seems to be covertly lambasting the modern world’s obsession with selfies and photographs, but it is hardly fleshed out.

Directors: Aditya Rathi, Gayatri Patil

Cast: Neena Kulkarni, Amita Khopkar, Vikas Hande, Chaitrali Rode,Sameer Dharmadhikar

The latest Marathi movie, Photo-Prem, on Amazon Prime Video, reminded me of a 2014 Tamil work called Mundasuppati (Turban Village). Here the villagers have a huge phobia about being photographed. The story goes that an ancient superstition about faces being captured on camera will spell doom. The film had a great climax with the village mob chasing our hero, a photographer, as he is eloping on a two-wheeler with his lady love. And the contraption stalls, and in a clever move, he takes out his camera and points it at the angry crowd, which turns around double quick and scoots!

In Photo-Prem, helmed by Aditya Rathi and Gayatri Patel, the protagonist, Sunanda, also addressed respectfully as Maee (played by Neena Kulkarni), is also camera shy to the extent that she has a terrible fear of being being captured by the lens – paranoia that she has had ever since she was a teenager. It is never clear why she feels so, and as she grows older and gets married, it is revealed that she was not even to be seen in her honeymoon pictures. Her boorish husband (Vikas Hande), who keeps lording over her and hardly ever talks to her, complains in one scene that it appeared from the honeymoon pictures that he had gone all by himself. The directors, who are also writers, stretch this a little too far when Sunanda shies away from being photographed even during her own daughter’s marriage.

But this changes when Sunanda attends the funeral of a woman, and notices her family scampering around trying to find a picture of her’s for a newspaper obituary. Later, when Sunanda visits the woman’s home, she sees the picture of a young girl on the wall; obviously the family could not find a later-day picture.

This incident pushes Sunanda to ponder about her own death and how her grandchildren can remember her in the absence of a photo. And the rest of the movie wanders through her attempt, punctuated by reluctance and a deep sense of inexplicable shyness, to get a picture of herself. This sudden obsession is not written with a sense of believable conviction.

And, Photo-Prem seems such a drag even with its relatively short runtime of 90 minutes, peppered as it is with inane situations. Incidents such as an acquaintance repeatedly accosting Sunanda on the street with questions, and her own daily conversations with her house-maid are at best silly, and if the writers had fancied that these would produce laughs, they could not have been wide off the mark.

Raat Baaki Hai movie review: Annup Sonii, Paoli Dam’s ZEE5 film confuses vagueness for intrigue

Paoli Dam walking down a staircase of a palatial haveli in a perfectly draped sari, somewhere in Rajasthan (the film doesn’t bother with specifics), might make for an intriguing start to a whodunnit. Dam, who was the best thing about Anvita Dutt’s Bulbbul, uses her deceptive presence to a similar effect here in Avinash Das’s Raat Baaki Hai. However, the final impact is far from what one might expect. Or depending on your opinion of Zee5, barely surprising. Not for her own fault, Dam’s character, Vasuki, is infuriatingly simple. Having made a career out of playing the Tagore-ian character, who mopes and pines at the dressing table while looking like a million bucks, Dam’s eeriness is short-changed in the Zee5 film. Using her soft voice to cajole the leading man, Kartik (Annup Sonni, the numerology evidently not working for him) into dropping his guard, the film would have worked significantly better if it dug deep with Dam’s character. Instead, it takes the easy way out and plays out like a conventional murder mystery, where murders look awfully synthetic, and the mystery barely makes it past the first act.

A Bollywood star, Vaani Kapoor (Dipannita Sharma), also referred to as Vaani Chopra at one point, is found murdered in a hotel room. She had gotten engaged to her beau, Kartik, only a few hours earlier. Kartik we’re told, is a writer. Anyone familiar with the hierarchy in the film industry, understands the natural conflict here between an A-list actor and a lowly writer, a conflict that the makers don’t seem interested in. Rahul Dev is tasked with the role of a greasy investigator, who uses all his interrogation scenes to showcase his deadpan face. Dev’s Rajasthani-afflicted delivery isn’t consistent, but there are simple pleasures in hearing the expletives roll out of his tongue. Following up on the acts of the likes of a Jaideep Ahlawat and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Dev is understandably below par. His detective abilities are also questionable, considering how he fixates on a producer attending the engagement, instead of looking for Kartik, who seems to be fleeing from the scene.

The flashbacks in the film are lazily expository, only to colour the characters in shades of doubt. The final ‘reveal’ is incredibly facile too, something most viewers will see from a mile away. The vapid, leftover royalty of Rajasthan has been an interesting and recurring trope in recent films and the OTT space, especially in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Sahib, Biwi Aur Gangster franchise, and also in last year’s Aarya.

It’s no coincidence then, that Avinash Das’s film looks like a derivative version of Raat Akeli Hai, a film that also borrowed its title from a popular Hindi song, much like Avinash Das’s film. It’s an oft repeated pattern in recent films, like when the makers of Malang went out of their way to pay homage to ‘Aaj Ki Raat Koi Aane Ko Hai’  from 1982’s Anamika, via Anil Kapoor’s character. Directors probably think these add a bit of retro cool to the films. One fails to understand it is if they do go through the trouble to doff their hats to an era behind us, then why can’t they also write a story worthy of being a tribute to that era?

The only decent thing about Avinash Das’s Raat Baaki Hai, is its run-time at 89 minutes. At least, it ensures that we’re not wasting more than 89 minutes on such a basic ‘mystery’. The last half hour is particularly painful to endure, when the whodunnit suddenly morphs into ‘Here-is-why-I-did-it’. Characters go to great lengths to explain how they ‘chanced upon’ (not very subtly) the most bizarre clues, and what their motivations behind the murders REALLY are. The plot-points here are so contrived, that you can see smudges of the screenwriter’s ink, putting four and four together to make it 44.