Monthly Archives

September 2019

Movie Review: The Zoya Factor

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 Watch it for the spirit and the commentary

 

Film: The Zoya Factor

Date:  20.09.2019

Director: Abhishek Sharma

Writer: Anuja Chauhan/ Story, Pradhuman Singh- Neha Rakesh Sharma/ Screenplay

Cast: Sonam K Ahuja, Dulquer Salmaan

There was a time till the late 90s when filmmakers shied away from launching or releasing a film during the shradh period because it was considered ominous to start anything new during this period; as a result, it was mostly the B grade films struggling for a release that grabbed the opportunity. Most of these films did not generate business and therefore the exhibitors preferred to re-run blockbusters of superstars during this phase. The audience loved watching these old hits in the cinema halls for two weeks and so everybody was happy.

Sometime in the year 2000 all this changed, there were too many releases and too much at stake to indulge in old theories and so the new generation, aided by technology eclipsed shradh out of their dictionary and began celebrating movies uninterrupted. Not surprising that there are three important releases this week – Prasthanam, Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas and Abhishek Sharma’s The Zoya Factor co-incidentally addressing the superstition factor.

Actually The ZoyaFactor is about cricket and cricket knowingly or unknowingly is about everything related to destiny/luck and superstition even though our hero, captain of the team, Nikhil Khoda/ Dulquer Salmaan is a pragmatic, hardworking sportsman and far from superstitious. Not his team though, so one morning when Nikhil asks copy writer Zoya Solanki/ Sonam Kapoor to join them at the breakfast table and the team wins the match, everyone believes it is Zoya who brought them luck!

The subject is cricket centric so you get to watch the game on ground and also witness the anxieties and the pressures the team experiences off the ground. It is a story of projection, so we witness the power play of the sponsors, the politics of advertising agencies. Based on author Anuja Chauhan’s book by the same title released a few years ago, all the characters are detailed. Sanjay Kapoor plays a retired army officer bonding with his neighbors and concerned about their love stories.

Mention must be made of few special scenes…When the captain gatecrashes into Sanjay Kapoor’s party and the way everyone reacts to him…When Sonam attired in the Devi costume emerges out of the lotus to bless Nikhil and the climax match when the crowd awaits outside Zoya’s home are all hilarious!

Deliciously written with perfect punch lines and super pace, the humor keeps you engaged throughout the film. There’s nothing remotely negative about the film except an exaggerated fashion statement by Sonam Kapoor here and there which can be overlooked considering Kapoor is a diva!

Sanjay Kapoor is well cast as Zoya’s father and Sikander Kher as Zoya’s squabbling brother. Sonam Kapoor embraces the spirit of Zoya in a tailor-made role but it is the utterly charming Dulquer Salmaan who wins your heart.

Salmaan proves that he is his superstar father Mamooty’s son, is effective and earnest all the way and producers Pooja & Aarti prove that they are the flag bearers of their father’s banner Adlabs.  I recommend The Zoya Factor to all cricket and romance lovers. Watch it for the delicious commentary and the spirit of the film.

I rate The Zoya Factor 3.5 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya

The Flute is the closest to Keshava

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I am Murli.

I am melody.

I am tranquillity.

 

I am ancient, I am organic

I’m the oldest among the earliest musical instruments discovered

I am associated with Satyug and the deities.

 

I go wherever Krishna travels or let me put it this way he never travels without me.

My Lord has taught me that in giving is receiving.

I am Bansuri.

 

I am special because Krishna conceived me.

I am feelings.

Created with feelings…

Played with feelings…

 

Keshava:AMagnificentObsession available at www.amazon.in/Keshava-MagnificentObsession-BhawanaSomaaya

The Flute is the closest to Keshava (Day 1641)

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I am Murli.

I am melody.

I am tranquillity.

 

I am ancient, I am organic

I’m the oldest among the earliest musical instruments discovered

I am associated with Satyug and the deities.

 

I go wherever Krishna travels or let me put it this way he never travels without me.

My Lord has taught me that in giving is receiving.

I am Bansuri.

 

I am special because Krishna conceived me.

I am feelings.

Created with feelings…

Played with feelings…

 

Keshava:AMagnificentObsession available at www.amazon.in/Keshava-MagnificentObsession-BhawanaSomaaya

Keshava loves the Peacock (Day 1640)

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I am regal; I know there is grandeur about me.

I am Chandrak.

I am Ghanapriya.

I am connected to the moon;

 

I am connected to the clouds, to the rains….

I am Mayil.

I am Gusana.

I am fascinated by fables around me, some make-believe and some real.

 

Some call me Navilla.

Some call me Neelkanth.

I am Kekaa.

I am Mayinni.

 

Keshava:AMagnificentObsession available at www.amazon.in/Keshava-MagnificentObsession-BhawanaSomaaya

Keshava A Magnificent Obsession (Day 1639)

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I am Krishna.

People call me by different names in different regions.

For some I am Vishnu.

For some I am Ayyappa.

In different eras and different faiths my names alter, but not my faith.

 

Some call me Achyuta, the infallible.

Some call me Adidev, the original.

Some address me as Ajanma, the unborn.

Some name me Akshara, the indestructible.

 

I am all of this and none of this.

I am faith.

I am perception.

I am Krishna.

 

Keshava:AMagnificentObsession available at www.amazon.in/Keshava-MagnificentObsession-BhawanaSomaaya

 

Movie review : Dream Girl

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Trailer more promising than the film

 

Film: Dream Girl

Date: 13.09.2019

Writer/Director: Raaj Shaandiliyaa

Cast:  Ayushman Khurana, Nushrat Bharucha, Annu Kapoor

In the year 1968 a new heroine was launched with a memorable campaign where the tag line said ‘Dream Girl comes to town’. The dream girl was Hema Malini and the film, Sapnon ka Saudagar. In 1977 the title became synonymous with the actress and a film Dream Girl was conceived featuring who else but Hema Malini.

 Now almost 50 years later, a new Dream Girl arrives at thecinema halls, referred to as Phone waali Pooja’ because Poojaonly meets people over the telephone.

The plot is simple, a small town boy/ Karam/ Ayushman Khurana is educated but jobless after innumerable efforts.  Karam keep himself busy assisting his father at their shop and on better days enacting women parts in local dance dramasspecially Ramleela and Krishanleela where he plays Sita maiyaand Radha Rani.

This special skill to alter his voice lands him a job at the call centre where he impersonates an ex-employee of the companyPooja  and chats up lonely men unable to sleep at night.

Granted that the film is a comedy and not to be taken seriously, still certain things about it make you cry and cringe. In present times when art direction is the backbone of a film it is irritating to watch the pink lit plastic set where women are caged inside the cubicles and never interact with each other. I mean not even a tea/ coffee/ lunch/ bladder break, is this normal?

A call centre is connected to all kinds of people from all over the country and outside but Pooja receives only local calls from Gokul that too from people she has interacted socially, as a result the entire exercise appears t incestuous. Also Mahie/ Nushrat Bharucha is somebody Karam has passionately pursued but post engagement he prefers to spend more time with his friend than his beloved and strangely, she never complains. 

The pre climax is predictable and the climax, a disappointing anti-climax! Ayushman Khurana’s concluding scene hinting atthe alarming loneliness in modern times is far from convincing because life in small town Gokul is far too vibrant to trigger even remote isolation. Depression is a curse of the metropolis.

In my opinion Dream Girl is more about indulgence than about loneliness. I found it long, slow paced, repetitive and low in production values. The melody is engaging and the humour sporadic. I didn’t find it funny though I heard a few laughter’s around me. Some of the performances are sparkling- Vijay Raaz, his cantankerous wife and the very talented Annu Kapoor. Leading lady Nushrat Bharucha is promising but severelydeprived of an opportunity.

Ayushman Khurana is as always first rate, wish the film had the magic and lived up to the promise of the trailer.

I rate Dream Girl with 2 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya

Movie review: Article 375

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Hard hitting

 

Film: Article 375

Date: 13.09.2019

Director: Ajay Bahl

Writer: Manish Gupta

Cast: Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadha, Rahul Bhat, MeeraChopra

 

Defense lawyer Tarun Saluja/ Akshaye Khanna, in his address tostudents’ says “Justice is abstract but law is focused”. A few scenes later, the lawyer outside the courtroom tells his junior that they are not in the in the business of justice but in the business of law. For the layman there is not much difference between the two but those engaged in law understand the implications.

We have mourned about how justice delayed is justice denied, we have protested against media trial before the actual trial and now we ask if justice is really granted to everyone at all times.Article 375 is the story of a rape where victim Anjali Dangle/ Meera Chopra, junior costume designer accuses her film director Rohan Ravi Khurana/ Rahul Bhat of rape charges.

What Anjali goes through at the police station filing an FIR is equivalent to another rape and so is her interrogation conducted by the defense lawyer in the court room!! Writer Manish Gupta and director Ajay Bahl combine force to put forward all arguments  the victim v/s the accused, the defendant v/s the prosecutor, law v/s justice, truth v/s lies, evidence v/s story, man v/s woman, judge v/s media and finally perception v/s fact.

What works about the film is the detailed research, quality writing, presentation, spunky dialogues and characters made believable by sparkling actors. All the performances are praise worthy. As the sitting judge Krutika Desai speaks with her eyes, prosecutor Richa Chadha is sincere to the core, Rahul Bhatoppressive and vulnerable at the same time and above all Akshaye Khanna in a flawless portrayal!

The end is alarming and it is because the subject is disturbing. According to Section 375 IPC  both consent and will of the woman is imperative. It is important that all of us watch this film so that we never abuse the law that was initiated to protect us.

I rate Article 375 with 3.5 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya

 

Sangam v/s Mr India (Day 1638)

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In the olden days people went out of the cinema hall during a song, then came a time when audience came to theatres only for the item numbers. The choreographers learnt to carry forward the narrative in the songs and the two best examples of these are Vyajantimala’s energetic and suspense filled ‘Hothon pe aisi baat’ in Jewel Thief and Sridevi’s ‘Kahan se aayin hai’ taking you to dream land in Chaalbaaz.

But their iconic numbers which defined them as ultimate seductresses were expressions of love. ‘Main ka karu ram’ in Sangam where Vyajantimala seduces her husband at their honeymoon and ‘’Kaate nahi katti’ in Mr India where Sridevi in blue chiffon swoons to her invisible beloved.

They don’t make like them anymore and frankly the choreographers don’t conceive the dances the way did it in the olden days.

@bhawansomaaya.com

Madhumati or Chandni (Day 1637)

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Interestingly both had a wedding dance in their time. Vyajantimala’s was a post suhaag raat in Ganga Jamuna where the blushing bride escapes to the field to sing ‘Dhoondho dhoondho re sajnaa’ and the missing bala is actually entangled into Dilip Kumar’s shirt, a  different way of projecting romance and quite ahead of its time. Sridevi in comparison had a more predictable situation where she dances at a friend’s sangit to ‘Mere haaathon mein nav nav choodiyaan’ in Chandni.

 

Both were fortunate to get memorable folk dances to perform though Vyjantimala’s ‘Chad gayo paapi bichua’ in Madhumati was way superior to ‘Morni bagama bole’ in Lamhe the former choreographed by guru Sohanlal and the latter by his shishya Saroj Khan who to be fair to her tried her best to make it special with the radiant costume, desert location and Rajasthani dancers.

 

To be continued

@bhawanasomaaya

Kathputhli v/s Hawa Hawaii (Day 1636)

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It was not sufficient for the heroine to be a competent dancer, she had to be able to fit into all situations, costumes and dance formats be it peppy, frothy numbers or pure classical compositions.

In 1957 Vyajantimala played a street artiste who put up puppet shows and often danced like a puppet to engage her customers, remember ‘Bol re kathputli boli’ while this dance established herself as a  front runner, she had to wait a long time to portray a classical dance and the opportunity came in Amrapali where she played a rajnartaki.

In 1987 Sridevi disguises as a Hawain girl to gyrate to a peppy ‘Hawa Hawaii’ in Mr India when she invades the villain’s den and unlike Vyajantimala  Sridevi never got to perform a pure classical dance but Jaag Utha Insaaan came close to it.

To be continued

@bhawanasomaaya