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Total Dhamaal review: Ajay Devgn, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Anil Kapoor make it worth the paisa!

Total Dhamaal review: Is Ajay Devgn, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Anil Kapoor’s comic caper worth your money? Find out here…

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Total Dhamaal review Ajay Devgn - Madhuri Dixit - Anil Kapoor steal the show

Total Dhamaal brings both – good news and bad news for the fans of the Dhamaal franchise. The bad news is that if you were expecting the third installment in the Dhamaal franchise to be as good as the first, then let us be very clear, it is not. However, the good news is that Total Dhamaal inspite of its shortcomings is way better than Double Dhamaal. With the cast that director Indra Kumar had put together, one had expected it to be a complete laugh riot, but it is not. Most of the actors in this ensemble cast are known for their comic timing. Yet – Ajay Devgn, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Mishra, Johnny Lever, Riteish Deshmukh, Boman Irani, Arshad Warsi, Jaaved Jafferi – together fail to lift the movie.

To call Total Dhamaal a must-watch comedy or a total paisa vasool is wrong! It is paisa vasool, but not total paisa vasool, if you get what we are trying to say. The director seems to have sat with a checklist with all funny things. Instead of concentrating on the quality, he has worked more on making sure that the funny things find a way into the film. So from toilet humour to WhatsApp forwards and from domestic humour to silly characters, every ingredient has been added to this comical serving. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a character representing all communities. From a Gujarati to Maharashtrian, a Bengali, to a North Indian, Total Dhamaal has very diverse characters! And let’s not forget there are the animals too.

What is Total Dhamaal about? Ajay Devgn and Sanjay Mishra steal Rs 50 crore from a corrupt police commissioner, played by Boman Irani. They are however double-crossed by Manoj Pahwa, who hides the money in a Janakpur Zoo. Manoj meets with an accident, but before dying he reveals the location to four pairs – including Ajay and Sanjay. The four pairs are complete strangers, but their greed for money sets them on a crazy treasure hunt. The film establishes early on who these four pairs are. There’s Ajay-Sanjay, then there’s Madhuri and Anil, a couple on the brink of divorce. Riteish and Pitobash are corrupt firefighters, while Jaaved and Arshad are on the lookout for a job. The crazy adventure that they set out on is what the film is all about.

Yay: Madhuri and Anil’s chemistry gets our thumbs up. Madhuri lights up the frame each time she appears on screen. Her comic timing is still as perfect as always. She breathes life into the most dull dialogues and salvages Total Dhamaal from being a complete wash-out. Anil ably supports her in this. Jackie Shroff’s ‘Chindi’ voice-over also brings about a few laughs. Ajay sticks to his swagger more than comedy and the director smartly makes it work for his character. Johnny Lever is his usual comical self, though this is not his best. Jaaved and Arshad are the ones who are consistently funny.

Nay: Total Dhamaal falters on several levels. A major drawback is the background score and the additional comical sounds added for effect. It’s a pity that the audience’s intelligence is so under-rated that they will need a sound to make them laugh. But then perhaps the makers were trying to fill in for the lack of punch in the dialogues. The last 20 minutes are when you actually realise that the film does have a dialogue-writer. But that’s a sputtering few lines! The dialogues do not do justice to any of the actors and they clearly don’t get to show their comic side to their full potential.

CineBlitz verdict: This one is a clean comedy that kids are likely to enjoy, thanks to the animals and Jaaved Jaaferi. Madhuri and Anil fans won’t be disappointed. The film tilts a bit towards entertaining than the borderline entertaining mark. So, if you are a Dhamaal fan and don’t mind their brand of humour, then Total Dhamaal might not be a totally bad idea.

Star rating: 2 stars

Movie Reviews

Dream Girl review: Ayushmann Khurrana shines again!

Ayushmann Khurrana is not going wrong with any of his brave movie choices. The actor shines effortlessly in and as Dream Girl

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Ayushmann Khurrana in and as Dream Girl

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This is the third film released within a span of a week that owes its strength to its screenwriting. Chhichhore, Section 375 and now Dream Girl, this week has been good for writer-directors. Dream Girl relies heavily on its dialogue and capable shoulders of Ayushmann Khurrana. And both help the film sail through easy-breezy. Ayushmann Khurrana plays Karam Singh, a youth from Gokul, Mathura struggling to find a job. He has been portraying roles of Seeta, Draupadi, Radha in the mythological plays since he was a child. He can imitate a woman’s voice to perfection.

Struggling to find a job even after completing his M.A. he eventually takes up a job at a ‘friendship call centre’. He speaks in a woman’s voice, pretending to be a girl named Pooja. He aces the job, starts making big bucks, falls in love with a girl, gets the girl, pays off the loan of his father and everything is going hunky dory.

In a film, things can’t go well for too long. Without conflict, there’s no fun. The conflict in Karam aka Pooja’s life does occur before the intermission when he realizes who he has been talking to as Pooja’s customers. Writer-director Raaj Shaandilyaa keeps things witty and free-flowing. Nothing looks force-fit. The situational comedy comes out naturally. The characters don’t look caricatures. And there are no villains for the heck of it.

Also read: Chhichhore review: Nitesh Tiwari’s masterpiece is hilariously profound and overwhelming!

However, Dream Girl has its loose ends. For instance, it’s a little difficult to digest how a girl doesn’t know what her fiancé does for a living. Karam aka Pooja manages to overcome any hurdle without much trouble. People around him/her may seem troublesome but not much. Maybe, sometimes, that’s how real life turns out that easy; albeit for a brief phase. Life is all about perspective and so are films. The loose ends of the films don’t hurt too much as humor makes up for it.

Also read: Section 375 review: Justice and law battle it out in this sensible courtroom drama!

Writer-director Shaandilyaa keeps it popcorn entertainment and thankfully doesn’t become preachy towards the business end. His direction doesn’t look like that of a first-time director either. Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Manjot Singh and Abhishek Banerjee do great justice to their supporting roles. Nushrat Bharucha has little to do as the film is mounted on Mr. Dependable Ayushmann Khurrana’s shoulders.

In his last three releases Andhadhun, Article 15 and now Dream Girl Ayushmann has portrayed polar opposite characters. In all his films he has managed to get into the skin of the character and managed to make it look effortless. Ayushmann Khurrana aka Pooja’s story in and as Dream Girl is a laugh-riot. So, if you’re looking out for fun-filled two hours in a movie theatre then there’s no harm in watching Dream Girl.

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Movie Reviews

Section 375 review: Justice and law battle it out in this sensible courtroom drama!

Akshaye Khanna spearheads Section 375 with his brilliant performance but the film’s real strength lies in its clever writing and direction.

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Section 375 review

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A lot has changed in the Hindi film industry in last few years as some of the age-old themes have found contemporary voices of writers and directors. One of those themes is courtroom drama. Bollywood seems to be getting over the over-sensationalised courtroom dramas where the lawyers are yelling over the top of their lung capacity and the judges are merely doing “order-order”. Director Subhash Kapoor’s thoroughly entertaining Jolly LLB and Jolly LLB 2, Anubhav Sinha’s thought provoking Mulk, and Chaitanya Tamhane’s poignant Court are some of the notable courtroom dramas in recent times. Director Ajay Bahl’s Section 375 – Marzi Ya Zabardasti is the new addition to this list. Point to be noted, the judges in these films have a great say in the cases than just delivering the verdict.

Section 375 decodes the rape law in India through a debate between following the law and whether justice has been done. A film director Rohan Khurana (Rahul Bhat) is accused of rape by a costume assistant Anjali Dangle (Meera Chopra). (Seems like loosely taken from actor Shiney Ahuja’s case.) The matter is taken to the court and the drama begins to unfold.

The narrative does not take anyone’s side. Rather it keeps you in pursuit of the truth through its twisted tale – his side, her side. The sympathy in any of the cases goes to the victim. How do you find the truth and most importantly how do you make sure that justice is done? The best thing that anyone associated with the cases – police, forensics, lawyers – can do is follow the law. It’s a complex and sensitive puzzle to solve.

Watch the Section 375 trailer here:

There are no fine lines in such cases, at least the one that this film shows. The lines have been blurred and crossed. Telling you more about the story will hurt your movie watching experience as the strength of Section 375 lies in the way the story unfolds, literally scene by scene.

Making a film on such a sensitive issue as rape in a rapidly growing, poorly informed, and easily manipulated population is difficult. Making an entertaining and though provoking film is even tougher. Writer Manish Gupta (Sarkar) who has also made films like The Stoneman MurdersRahasya provides all the information on the law and its layers, and plots the arguments between lawyers Tarun Saluja (Akshaye Khanna) of the accused and Hiral Gandhi (Richa Chadha) the prosecutor.

No emotional speeches, no feisty rivalries between the battling lawyers, no one getting into a physical fight in the court. It’s a breather from all the nonsense we have grown up watching. Director Ajay Bahl (he made B.A. Pass) and cinematographer Sudhir K. Chaudhary do away with the traditional pans and dollys. Instead they take multiple angles of the same scene, just like the story tries to show the different aspects of such cases and law. Even though it’s cleverly written and finely executed, Section 375 is a disturbing experience for the issue it tries to address. So, should it be watched in theatres? Yes.

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Movie Reviews

Chhichhore review: Nitesh Tiwari’s masterpiece is hilariously profound and overwhelming!

In Chhichhore, there’s less gyaan; more fun and emotion. Nitesh Tiwari’s masterpiece is hilariously profound and overwhelming.

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Chhichhore movie review

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It begins with a dunk fight at the hostel, started by Sexa (Varun Sharma) and Anni (Sushant Singh Rajput). All the boys of the hostel in their undies are throwing water over each other. Cut to years later when Anni is a mid-forty mature, grim father of a son. I wondered whether it is a version of Nitesh Tiwari (film’s writer-director) himself? It is known that this film is a semi-memoir of Tiwari’s college life. The film is being narrated to the audience as well as to Anni’s son by Anni and his college friends Sexa, Derek (Tahir Raj Bhasin), Acid (Naveen Polishetty), Mummy (Tushar Pandey), and Maya (Shraddha Kapoor).

The film finely shifts between 90s and present day, often between similar situations and dialogues in both times. Too much, too literal? Not at all. From Mansoor Khan’s Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar to the fantasy-world Student of The Year, Bollywood has produced many films like this. But Chhichhore is unique for its masterful storytelling. I can’t recollect a Bollywood movie managing to pull off A-grade dialogues describing ‘dirty’ things, putting across the point without being on-the-face, and not getting sloppy even for one scene.

Chhichhore is all in its writing (Nitesh Tiwari, Nikhil Mehrotra, and Piyush Gupta). And all the actors do a splendid job performing the written material. You can easily relate with the film/characters. Because whether or not you have gone to college, an Engineering one for that matter, you must have grown up with people like these. Film’s comparison to Rajkumar Hirani’s hugely popular 3 Idiots is inevitable. But Chhichhore surpasses it. While 3 Idiots was about teaching the education system a lesson and following your dreams, Chhichhore shows that there’s much more to college than just records and marks and achievements – sans the massy dramatisation.

Watch the Chhichhore trailer here:

Anybody who has watched the climax of Dangal, knows how well Nitesh Tiwari can show sports sequences. The climax of Chhichhore does not disappoint either. Bollywood filmmakers often exaggerate in order to make a point. But Tiwari and his co-writers and editor keep things natural, subtle and easy going. The ‘losers’ as the friends have been called in the hostel, haven’t achieved anything great in their lives. But that’s how real life is.

Probably that’s what the makers have aimed to show here. They succeed in keeping it close-knit around the college that happens outside the classrooms. Strangers meeting, giving each other tough time, later becoming friends for life. If you think of it, that’s what matters eventually.

Notable mentions in terms of acting performances: Varun Sharma as Sexa delivers a delightful performance. He delivers the film’s best punchlines. Sushant Singh Rajput as Anni, is earnest. His portrayal of the middle-aged version of his character is more convincing than the younger one. Shraddha Kapoor, Tahir Raj Bhasin, and Naveen Polishetty do a fine job too.

Hindi films are not known for being study material for use of colour, sound, editing and background score in the cinephiles’ world. But Chhichhore can become one of the firsts. Director Nitesh Tiwari has beautifully created the world of 90s. Everything flows naturally and smoothly. There’s less gyaan; more fun and emotion. It is hilariously profound. I’m not a big sucker for nostalgia but this film makes you want to reflect on the college life. This masterpiece by Nitesh Tiwari left me overwhelmed.

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