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May 2019

Movie Review: India’s Most Wanted

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 Dreadfully slow

Film: India’s Most Wanted

Release: 24.05.2019

Writer/ Director: Rajkumar Gupta

Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Rajesh Sharma, Prashanth Alexander, Shantilal Mukherjee

The film opens with a cafeteria where the customer asks for his bill. The waiter places the folder on the table and a few moments later, the customer walks out of the restaurant leaving his bag on the floor. The waiter opens the folder and is surprised to find 500 rupees tip for him. He stares at the customer walking out of the gate and within moments the cafeteria turns into flames!

India’s Most Wanted is a spy thriller following an intelligence team as they hunt for a terrorist called Yasin Bhatkal/ Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa founder of the Mujahideen and the mastermind behind 52 blasts (2007, 2013) across India and the man responsible for the death of 220 citizens.

Directed by Rajkumar Gupta of Aamir/ 2008, No One Killed Jessica/ 2011 and Raid/ 2018 India’s Most Wanted is inspired from true incidents where Prabhat Kapoor played by Arjun Kapoor and his team without any support, weapons from the Intelligence Bureau arrested the terrorist without firing a single bullet.

The film tells about the hardships and the commitment of these courageous officers, the obstacles faced from the system, their seniors. The regulations are crippling and in an exasperated moment, Arjun Kapoor asks ‘What system is this that permits a helicopter to drop flowers from the sky but is inaccessible to officers out to get a terrorist?’

The officers’ move incognito on the streets and we marvel at their patience and expertise. The sequence where they follow the informer and test his credentials to the smallest detail is compelling.

The problem with the film is the dreadfully slow pace!  Till the interval it is only about arriving in Kathmandu and contacting the informer and post interval is about nabbing the ghost who bombs!!

The climax is the most disappointing because all it takes for the team is to cover up the bungalow they have been watching for days, is to walk inside the unguarded gate, climb a few staircases, punch the two villains and drive across the border without a single security hurdle, wow!!

Supported by Rajesh Sharma, Prashanth Alexander, Shantilal Mukherjee, the team leader Arjun Kapoor delivers a relaxed performance.  Jitendra Shastri playing the informer is the surprise packet of the film, take a bow Shastri.

India’s Most Wanted is not path-breaking like Aamir or thought provoking like No One Killed Jessica but should be watched because it celebrates our unsung heroes who don’t get any credit/ mileage/ promotion/ money when the criminals are arrested.

I rate India’s Most Wanted with 2 stars

Bhawana Somaaya

Movie review: PM Narendra Modi

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Film: PM Narendra Modi

Release: 24.05.2019

Director: Omung Kumar

Cast: Vivek Oberoi, Boman Irani, Zarina Wahab, Prashant Narayan. Manoj Joshi

 

When the RSS Chief asks a young Narendra Modi/ Vivek Oberoi to join him in his fight for the nation, Modi says he has yet to determine his journey because at times his heart wants to be a soldier and at times, a hermit.

When his parents/ Rajendra Gupta and Zarina Wahab try to get their son married, he escapes to the mountains and meditates but is restless till he finds a guru. Some years pass by and his guru/ Suresh Oberoi has three questions to test his shisya

If he had the choice to cross the stream alone and the choice to row a boat full of people on the other side what would he prefer? If an old, ailing tree has to be axed what would be the next step? Modi waits for the third question but the guru asks him to pass him a weapon lying beside him and he does unthinkingly. It is now time for the guru to provide answers he is searching for…

That you have the power to cross the stream alone but choose to do so with other people make you a karamyogi, says the guru. That you choose to sow the seeds of an axed tree back into the soil reflects you are a healer and your offering of the weapon to me holding the cutting edge towards you says you will calamities upfront. You are meant to serve people not be in the mountains.

Modi returns home, works on grassroots with the RSS, impresses the old guards of BJP with his dedication and hard work and gets elected as Chief Minister, Gujarat. Post Godhra riots, he is forced into exile for five long years but on the behest of Amit Shah/ Manoj Joshi returns to aid the earthquake victims and is reelected, Chief Minister.

A journey marked with triumphs, defeats, mistrusts, controversies, so many scams, allegations and humiliations must bring a lump to your throat, it doesn’t. Barring a few scenes like his Skype communication in the America Stadium, his public address in the wake of a death threat and a live interview with a leading channel most of the stories you are familiar with via newspapers or television.

The problem is also that Modi’s life is too eventful and the conflict is to compress all the highs and lows into a limited screenplay. The narrative is embarrassingly sugar coated as if Narendra Modi has no failings as a man or as a leader.

When a filmmaker chooses a biopic, he also chooses the ideology of his subject but he has the option of projection and director Omang Kumar turns a blind eye to Modi’s failings as a man and as a political leader bypasses thus depriving the audience of an honest audience of an insightful story.

Vivek Oberoi portrays the dialect, oratory and the expressions of the prime minister but unlike Boman Irani who captures the spirit of Ratan Tata, Vivek fails to imbibe the spirit of Narendra Modi.

Must you watch PM Narendra Modi, yes, because it is our right to know everything about the Prime Minister. I rate PM Narendra Modi with 2.5 stars.

Movie Review: De De Pyaar De

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There’s more to love than age

 

Film: De De Pyaar De

Release: 17.05.2019

Director: Akiv Ali

Writers: Tarun Jain- Luv Ranjan

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Rakul Preet

 

‘Stop!’ screams Tabu in a crucial scene when the family blames Ajay Devgn for everything in the household.  ‘When a marriage fails only the couple knows what went wrong and if their children become inheritors of their assets they have to assume responsibility for their parents’ follies too.’

On the surface, a frothy, spunky romance De De Pyar De on a deeper level is an anatomy of attachments.

The first half explores a flirtatious attraction between a 50-year-old businessman Ashish/Ajay Devgan and the 26-year-old engineer Ayesha/ Rakul Preet. They meet at the wedding of a common friend and go on several dates to romance in picturesque London. Initially, it appears to be a love story of a generation gap but post interval, when the hero travels his young beloved all the way to India to meet his separated wife/ children/ parents; you discover that this is a story of a dysfunctional family.

What works about the film is the lighthearted treatment, the humorous narrative, witty dialogues, delightful characters, their complexities, circumstances and leads into song situations. Sharply edited and maturely handled De de Pyaar De  delves on deep, delicate, raw, ripe and forever changing relationships portrayed by a team of able actors like Javed Jaffery/Sameer  Jimmy Shergill/ VK and the best of them all, Kumud Mishra/ Atul.

We have watched Ajay Devgn do daredevil action/ Singham and also slapstick comedy/ Golmaal, this time he is in a romantic and responsible mood. Ajay plays roles that suit his age and performs effortlessly.

While Tabu shines in her three important scenes –with the family/ with Ajay and with Ajay’s love interest, she brings a smile to your face in her lighter moments. Rakul Preet Singh who made her debut in Hindi films with 2014 Yaariyaan followed by the number of South films is a revelation; she is not only beautiful but also a competent actress.

In 2011 writer Luv Ranjan presented a postmortem of love in Pyaar ka Panchnama, now in 2019 Ranjan redefines rules of romance

  1. Attraction, flirtation is natural and should not be resisted.
  2. If there is love, age is irrelevant; in fact difference in age should be celebrated.
  3. Family drama is part of life and every family has loads of it.
  4. If sex is not loved then sex cannot be the reason of breakup either!
  5. Passion overrules every obstacle.

I rate De De Pyaar De with 3.5 stars out of which half a star is reserved for breaking rules.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

 

 

 

I am That Woman – Day 1574

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The finale is a ballet that will haunt us long after it is over. Adapted from Shubhada Gupta’s inspiring poem I Am That Woman it tells about the sexual exploitation of women all over India. Subjugated, oppressed and defined by the patriarchal society the woman after so many years of independence is still struggling for her identity and dignity.

Music by Kalyansen Barat, father of Madhuparna Kumar.

 @bhawanasomaaya

 

Shabdam – Day 1573

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Lord Krishna evokes different emotions in different women in his life. For Rukmini and Satyabhama it is erotica. For Draupadi and Subhadra he symbolizes protection. For Yashoda and Devaki it is affection. And for the gopikas of Gokul and Vrindavan it is mischief and love.

PresentingVastalya bhaav in Shabdam.

I am privileged to find Madhuparna Kumar as a guru who instilled confidence in me to learn dance so late in my life, privileged to be a student of Madhuparna Dance & Research Academy and privileged that she gives me an opportunity t so often to perform on stage.

So far I have dedicated books to Lord Krishna, now I dedicate a dance to my favorite deity.

@bhawanasomaaya