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MALAAL REVIEW: Meezaan is impressive as a debutant and his Shiva will win hearts

MALAAL REVIEW: The Meezan and Sharmin-starrer is a re-packaged ‘90s love-story formula that suffers further due to the lack of a gripping storyline

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Star Rating: 

Produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and directed by Mangesh Hadawale, Malaal marks the debut of two newcomers – Meezaan and Sharmin Segal. The film is a remake of the hit 2004 Tamil film 7G Rainbow Colony. A remake releasing close on the heels of the recent blockbuster Kabir Singh, which was yet another Hindi remake of a South hit (Arjun Reddy), the film generates some excitement on that front. Needless to say there’s a certain curiosity around the two industry kids too and to be launched under Bhansali’s banner only raises the expectation bars higher. So, do the two live up to those expectations with Malaal. Read on to find out…

What Malaal is all about:

The film is set in 1998, when Mumbai’s home-grown mass-housing chawl-system had not yet given way to the mall culture and was still very much an integral part of the city’s distinctive character. It is in one such Ambewadi chawl that this love story is set in. Shiva More (Meezaan) resides here with his family. He is the local tapori with anger management issues, whiling away his time with the other boys, organising chawl functions and winning their sports tournaments. While he shares a loving relation with his doting mother (Chinmayee Surve), he finds himself at the receiving end of his worried father’s (Anil Gawas) abuses and beatings for being a no-gooder.

Among all this he gets picked up by a local politician, Pratap Rao Sawant (Sameer Dharmadhikari) to be his muscle-man. Sawant plays up the Marathi card with Shiva and tries to use him as a pawn in spreading hatred and driving out North Indians settled in Mumbai. However, all this changes when Astha Tripathi (Sharmin) and her family (Sanjay Gurbaxani and Sonal Jha) move in as Shiva’s neighbours. Rather rich and well-to-do once, Astha’s family moves there after her father suffers heavy losses in the share market. A simple girl-at-heart, she is engaged to the son of their wealthy family friends, the high-class US-returned Aditya (Ishwak Singh).

There is clearly a wide cultural as well as a society divide between Astha and Shiva who belong to completely contrasting backgrounds. As expected, after the initial fights, love blossoms between the two. And as expected, the great society divide comes into play too and that’s what the film is all about!

Yay:

Meezaan shows much promise and having been thrown in to play the challenging role of a tapori, wins hearts with his earnestness and charming personality. He is comfortable in the song and dance department as well as the action sequences. But it’s the romance department that he shines in. Letting his eyes do the talking mostly, it is easy to fall in love with his Shiva. The love angle between Shiva and Astha is beautifully-developed and established. He shares a good chemistry with Astha, inspite of the fact that Sharmin actually falls short in keeping up with her co-star on most levels. However, the two characters and their sweet love story is endearing.

Among the supporting cast, Chinmayee Surve as Meezaan’s screen mother makes a strong impact in her emotional scenes and  their mother-son equation is adorable. The others in the supporting cast including Sonal Jha, Anil Gawas and Sanjay Gurbaxani are equally good.

What’s impressive about director Mangesh Hadawale was his realistic grip at showing the ‘Bombay chawl culture’ as well as the Mumbai essence and spirit! His characters are also well-etched and make an impact. Although there’s nothing new on offer here, but he effortlessly transports you to that era. The film is also beautifully shot and Director of Photography, Ragul Dharuman has captured the rainy tones of the city really well. Full marks to the casting director Shruti Mahajan. The music is good, though not outstanding. The editing could’ve been tighter.

Nay:

Sharmin holds two expressions throughout the film and while Astha’s character lends itself to some beautiful moments, the newcomer falls short of delivering a praise-worthy performance.

The let-down is the story really. It’s a love story we have seen on screen time and again. The story sets out with a lot of promise and premise of the political agenda of the Marathi v/s North Indians, but it all fizzles out mid-way. The film by the end turns out to be a dull love story with a predictable storyline.

Also, while the rains in the city are beautifully captured on screen, the film seems to have been under a deluge. It’s raining during Ganpati celebrations, yes that’s acceptable! But it’s raining post-Diwali, and even raining in the months post that. The sets while real, have a major flaw when it comes to showing Bhansali-ish balconies (major eye-roll happening there). Like which part of the chawls have ever seen those kinds! The attempts to suddenly break from realism to dip into SLB’s world are points that don’t click at all.

CineBlitz Verdict:

Meezaan shows spark and a certain intensity that given the right roles will take him ahead. The movie is not bad for a one-time watch strictly for die-hard romantics who may not have anything else to do on rainy days. If you go in expecting Bhansali magic, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Movie Reviews

Mission Mangal review: A ‘Bollywoodized’ movie on India’s most inspirational achievement in space

When you’re watching a film based on your country’s biggest achievement in space, you want to believe everything that you see on screen. I believed some parts but those which I couldn’t, made it a forgettable space movie.

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Mission Mangal review

Rating:

After watching the trailer of Mission Mangal, it was quite clear that the film is going to be a Bollywood movie full of dialogue-baazi. And the movie was much like what was expected. It begins in 2010 at ISRO with Tara Shinde (Vidya Balan) messing up the launch of a GSLV rocket nicknamed ‘Fat Boy’. Her boss Rakesh Dhawan (Akshay Kumar) takes the responsibility for the failure and is transferred to India’s Mars Orbiter Mission which might never see the light of the day. Tara convinces Rakesh to take up this challenge and that it is possible to go to Mars according to her ‘Puri theory’.

As the story progresses, we’re introduced to more such home science theories that give ‘Eureka moments’ to each scientist working on the mission. The opening credits mention R. Balki (Cheeni Kum, Shamitabh, Paa) as the writer & creative director of the film. So, you automatically expect to see something marvelous. Only an ad-filmmaker can fit in so much information about a stellar space achievement in two hours – you’d expect that. But nothing much of that sorts happen here. It maybe based on India’s greatest achievement in space, but Mission Mangal is still a Bollywood movie that tries hard to dumb down the intelligence.

Mission Mangal Trailer:

There’s less space, science and more home science and personal stories of the scientists – to make you care for the characters. But that helps only a little. An entire first half goes into setting up the whole thing. You go into interval anticipating that they will get to the point now. They do, but in a haphazard manner with a song and dance as the scientists giving a makeover to the Mars department. Also dealing with the problems in their personal lives as they crack the Mars mission.

It is difficult to make science and intelligence look interesting. It’s fine to break it down in simpler language with the help of analogies of cricket and daily life to make the audience understand. But the simplification is overdone in Mission Mangal.

This is Balki’s second film after Padman where he is telling a story of real-life visionaries and trying to reach out to a wider audience, majority of them being the masses. Massy dramatization is not new to the Indian audience and we love it. Director Rajkumar Hirani’s (Munnabhai MBBS, 3 Idiots, PK) filmography is a prime example of that.

What hurts Mission Mangal is that the achievements of the ISRO scientists have been reduced to just the ideas that popped in from a sailing ship on a cushion cover, frying puris, recycling plastic, and the great Indian hack of rebooting a system to make it work. Maybe, all or most of it could have happened during the mission. But unfortunately, it wasn’t shown smartly enough on screen for one to be convinced.

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Arjun Patiala Review: Diljit Dosanjh – Kriti Sanon’s comedy tickles the funny bone, but only in parts

Arjun Patiala Review: Diljit Dosanjh’s bromance with Varun Sharma wins more hearts than his romance with Kriti Sanon

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Star rating:

Arjun Patiala
Cast:
Diljit Dosanjh (Arjun Patiala), Varun Sharma (Onidda Singh), Kriti Sanon (Ritu Randhawa), Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub (Sakool), Pankaj Tripathi, Seema Pahwa (MLA Prapti Makkar), Ronit Roy (Amarjeet Gill)
Director: Rohit Jugraj Chauhan
Producers: Dinesh Vijjan (Maddock Films) Bhushan Kumar (T-Series)

The makers of Arjun Patiala have been unabashed about admitting that their film is a spoof on all things filmy. They even had their promos highlight a checklist of all the kitsch formulas they’ve added in their film, that every Bollywood movie usually boasts of, including an item song. With the makers cracking jokes on their kind of cinema and their own film, Arjun Patiala claims to be a fun outing. So does the Diljit Dosanjh – Kriti Sanon and Varun Sharma starrer turn out to be one? Read on to find out:

What Arjun Patiala is all about:

Arjun Patiala is a cop on a mission. He is also the fictional hero of a story being narrated to a prospective Bollywood producer by his writer-director. Arjun’s mission is to fulfill his mentor DSP Amarjeet Gill’s dream of making his district crime-free. The super-goofy Onidda Singh is his loyal constable and together they make a plan to cleanse their district Ferozepur (in Punjab) of all criminals by getting them to fight and kill each other.

Besides, the mission, Arjun is equally passionate about his drinks and also has a weakness for women, though he is very clear that he respects women a lot. “Maa behen ki izzat karni chahiye, unki izzat ki maa behen nahin,” he sermonises two local goons who are caught eve-teasing. (Yes, eye roll moment here!) He soon falls in love with Ritu Randhawa who is an ambitious TV reporter for a local channel. Righteous in her approach, she is against Arjun’s way of getting rid of criminals and ultimately decides to expose him. Also involved in the happenings are MLA Prapti and the dozen goons whom Arjun gets killed. One of the goons is Sakool, who has his own style of operating. There’s also Sunny Leone who comes in for a cameo and an item song with the hero and his side-kick. How Arjun Patiala finally accomplishes his mission without losing his lady-love is the story? And if the story will become a hit if made into a film is the real question?

Yay:

The light-hearted entertainer is funny in several parts in the first half. Diljit is cute and exudes a charming innocence which wins audience hearts. Varun Sharma is a riot! Their easy-going bromance is fun to watch and together they pull off even the silliest of dialogues with laughter. Kriti plays her pretty card to the max and is a delight to watch. Her expressions are a strength here and try to make up for the otherwise drab lines. However, a weak story fails her as it does the others too. Her chemistry is adorable with Diljit, though we think the bromance scores more than the romance. Ronit Roy aces it effortlessly too. Overall, performance-wise the film’s a hoot. But it’s the other aspects that spoil it for us to be frank!

The music could’ve been a few notches higher and even Sunny Leone’s item number is easily forgettable and best forgotten! The situational comedy and dialogues work in some parts, but that is largely due to the actors and not much credit can be given to the writers here. The film is a family entertainer and clean comedy is a relief though just too childish in parts.

Nay:

The forced songs could’ve been totally avoided. The second half is a huge let-down. Right from the family and a rather weird grandfather – a victim of bad prosthetics make-up – to the entire storyline, it’s a graph taking a sudden dip. It’s so silly that you can’t wait for the film to wrap up and the climax is equally bungled up. The entire showing off ropes as in a badly made film, isn’t really funny anymore as the makers have used it already in the trailers. In the film it fails to make an impact. Also the entire scene of a drunk Diljit talking to a dead Varun is over-the-top!

 CineBlitz Verdict:

The film does have its humorous moments. The actors are worth a watch, but unsupported by a strong story or lines that pack a punch their performances fail to reach the level where they’d be called amazing! Varun Sharma is so effortlessly funny and with Diljit his energies bounce off really well. Watch it for the bromance!

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Judgementall Hai Kya Review: Rajkummar Rao’s quirky thriller is sinfully dark, edgy and twisted!

Judgementall Hai Kya Review: Good performances, Prakash Kovelamudi’s brilliant direction and Kanika Dhillon’s crisp dialogues make this taut thriller a must-watch   

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Star rating:

Whodunnits are a tricky affair in cinema. It’s not often that one sees a filmmaker ace in serving a deliciously whipped thriller that’ll keep you guessing and engaged right till the end. This breed of filmmakers is rarer still in Bollywood. Today the challenge in the genre also lies in battling the constant threat and fear of the ending being leaked, revealed or unraveled, not in the climax scene on the big screen, but via the chats and messages on the phone screens that travel faster than the word-of-mouth! However, master filmmakers figured out an aeon ago that the true victory lies in making a film that would draw an audience even if they know how it ends (you know the journey being as much fun as the joy of reaching the destination). That obviously explains the repeat value of the greats in the genre. Closer home, Prakash Kovelamudi has ventured into Bollywood tapping this very genre with his whodunnit Judgementall Hai Kya. So, does this Ekta Kapoor-produced thriller starring Rajkummar Rao pass the litmus test? Read on to find out:

What Judgementall Hai Kya is all about:

After witnessing her parents’ accidental deaths as a child, Bobby (Kangana Ranaut) grows up to be a complex and layered adult suffering from acute psychosis. In fact, she is required to take regular medication to keep it in check. A professional dubbing artist, she tends to internalise and obsess over the female characters she dubs for to such an extent that she starts believing that she is really them and starts seeing herself in their situations.

But that’s not all. Wanting to be them, she finds an easy way out by getting herself clicked in those avatars or getting herself photoshopped in others. She also has another quirk! She loves origami, which she only does using newspaper cuttings of cases of rape, domestic violence or abuse. She even does a brief stint in an asylum readily after attacking a senior colleague who tries to make a sexual advance. She is also somewhat wary of men and looks at them suspiciously. And through it all, bearing her idiosyncrasies is her boyfriend Varun (Hussain Dalal). On her return from the mental asylum, a young married couple Keshav and Rima (Rajkummar Rao and Amyra Dastur) move in as her tenants. A death follows and Bobby is convinced that Keshav is the killer. But is he really? Or is it her psychosis taking an ugly grip over her reality and distorting facts? There starts the mystery.

Yay:

One of the initial disclaimers at the start of the film mentioned that no animals were harmed in the making. And also that the cockroach in the film is shown using the CGI effect. Well, the cockroach bit had us intrigued. And from that moment on, the film has been one taut thriller keeping us on the edge-of-our-seat right till the end. To begin with, we are blown over by the fantastic performances of the lead actors. Rajkummar Rao in a slightly more macho zone is super-impressive and his chemistry with Amyra is sizzling hot. He is a delight on screen and proves that he can fit any role with ease and to perfection. Amrita Puri (Bobby’s cousin sister) has also done well.

The surprise package and one of the best things about the film is Hussain Dalal who plays the ‘out-of-love-luck’ boyfriend hilariously well. At one point, he and Bobby are shown grocery-shopping and discussing potatoes where she tells him to be as adjustable as the vegetable. Be like aloo, he is told. His equation with Bobby is just too funny and he’s also got the best share of the dialogues. Also there’s the scene when he complains to the cops (Satish Kaushik and Brajesh Kala) about an unused condom lying in his pocket for over two years. He just shines through his scenes. The two actors – Satisk and Brajesh – are comical and add to the zing. Jimmy Shergill once again charms effortlessly!

The actors apart, the two real stars of the film – the brilliant direction (Prakash Kovelamudi) and the cracker dialogues (Kanika Dhillon). The dark psychological thriller is helmed to near-perfection and not a single dialogue that won’t get a reaction. Take a bow there Kanika Dhillon, we’d give an extra star just for her writing. Every dialogue and its delivery hits home. The stark nature of Bobby’s mental illness and the intensity is balanced subtly with humour, twists and delicious turns. The director knew exactly what he was doing and the deft handling of sensitive issues shows his grip on the craft. The references to Ramayana present an interesting take too.

The sound design, lights and the music enhance the story and are used effectively. The renditions of the hit song Tauba tauba kya hoga are timed perfectly and used really well through the film.

Nay:

Well, frankly there isn’t much we’d want to see changed. But there are some parts in the first half that seemed a bit stretched and then towards the climax some parts seemed just too rushed. Some part also got a bit confusing. That spoilt the fun by a few degrees.

CineBlitz Verdict:

One of the best imports from the South is undoubtedly director Prakash Kovelamudi. He’s aced the genre as a master storyteller and the suspense holds strong right till the end. The elements of humour, drama, mystery and Bobby’s world – all blend into each other seamlessly. If 2018 had Andhadhun, 2019 has Judgementall Hai Kya. The quirkiness of the narrative interlaced with dark humour and gritty moments is a refreshing change and it resonates throughout the film. The madness of the characters is well-portrayed. Rajkummar Rao is a treat to watch on screen. The twists and turns are unpredictable and keep you hooked right till the end. Overall, it’s one crazy fun-ride with a cat-and-mouse-chase you wouldn’t want to miss. This sinfully dark and twisted fare is gripping and gets our thumbs up!

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