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Movie Review: Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi (Day 1411)

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Film: Happy Phirr Bhaag Jayegi
Date: 24.08.2018

Producer: Krishika Lulla, Anand .L.Rai
Writer-Director: Mudassar Aziz
Cast: Jimmy Shergill, Sonakshi Sinha, Diana Penty, Denzil Smith, Jassi Gill, Bijou Thaangjam, Jason Tham
Music: Sohail Sen

In 2016 filmmaker Anand Rai introduced us to Happy/ Diana Penty who eloped on her wedding night to marry Guddu/ Ali Fazal and mistakenly landed across the border.

In 2018 Anand Rai introduces us to another Happy, Harpreet Kaur/ Sonakshi Sinha, a budding professor of horticulture.

Both land at the Shanghai Airport by the same flight and predictably get into the wrong car, as a result, Happy No: 1/ Diana accompanying singer husband Guddu is driven to the university campus while happy No: 2 /Sonakshi is kidnapped by Chinese villain Chang and his team.

Chang also kidnaps Daman Singh Bagha/ Jimmy Shergill from India and Usman Afrida/ Piyush Mishra from Pakistan who was an integral part of the prequel and therefore essential to the sequel.

Happy Phir Bhaag Jayegi is a simple story about simple people, all fascinating characters absorbed in their unique eccentricities.

Deliciously written and packed with witty, saucy dialogues commenting on Indo-Pak and Indo-China equations, here is an intelligent, socially relevant screenplay that nobody can object to.

The first half of the film rolls faster than anticipated. The second half is a tad lengthy but the editor grips you with her sharp cuts and even though the music is not exactly thrilling, the title track is energetic and the background score just perfect for the location.

Writer-director Muddasar Aziz expertly balances emotion with humor ably supported by ensemble performances from a sparkling team of actors be it Aparshakti Khurana or Jeeveshi Ahluwalia highly effective in cameos.

Piyush Mehra is as always effortless, Denzil Smith hilariously dramatic and Jessie Gill, the surprise packet of the film, his monologues particularly are applause-worthy!
Jimmy Shergill like old wine, gets better with every new film and character, and as Bagha delivers his most spirited and uninhibited performance, watch him break into a jig wearing the Superman costume and you will start clapping.

Sonakshi Sinha as the vibrant Harpreet Kaur from Amritsar is spontaneous and makes certain that there’s not a dull moment when she is on screen and is as endearing in her action scenes as in the emotional moments.

Does this mean that there is nothing wrong with the film? Of course not, there are many things unexplained for instance:

Bagga, Usman and Happy have no passports but travel all over Shanghai without obstacles. They have no luggage but change costumes every day and with just one man spending all the money, they dine at the fanciest bars and restaurants.

Doors open for them at China jail and strangest co-incidences work in their favor like they bump into Happy No: 1 just walking on the street and discover Happy 2’s father believe it or not, over an escalator.

These absurdities don’t matter because the bottom line is that Happy Phir Bhaag Jayegi is a fun filled, frothy, refreshing entertainer. Besides, some films are not to be analyzed and judged but relished in their pure essence and Happy Phir Bhaag Jayegi falls into the latter.

Watch Happy Phir Bhaag Jayegi with your friends and family and brighten your weekend.

I rate Happy Phir Bhaag Jayegi with 3.5 stars.

@Bhawana Somaaya

Joining the Dots (Day 1410)

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At the end of the last exercise Priya Kumar made us analyze our progress in a manner that we were able to join the dots of why we do what we do. At the end of the day everybody was emotional; some of us made new friends and kissed each other goodbyes.

That night I could not sleep because I kept thinking of Priya Kumar. What a wonderful woman and what a terrific workshop. She assembled strangers from all around and made them a part of a family in just two days. She participated in all our lives and allowed us to participate in her life. She had her team around her, alert and sensitive to any demand of the candidates. Priya Kumar had touched our hearts and after the workshop I am certain I fear nothing and nobody.

If you are looking to confront your fears and inhibitions, don’t think twice, contact and register if you need more convincing follow her @kumarpriya. Until you do a workshop with #PriyaKumar you will think of her as a magician and when you do the workshop you will discover that her work is sheer magic.


Bending the Rod (Day 1409)

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Day 2 had more surprises than I had imagined there were many experiments lined up and nothing appeared remotely easy. In the first half we had to bend an iron rod holding one end at out throat and the other at our partner’s throat. When one walks towards the other the rod bends if you grasp it at the throat at a right angle, if you don’t then you fail in the exercise. I don’t know if it is a miracle but I was able to do it.

Post lunch we had to all swallow a flame. Priya offered a flame made out of cotton that you promptly put it in your mouth. The trick of doing this successfully is to swallow it fast without thinking. Almost everybody was able to do this with the exception of me and a few others. I failed because I wasn’t able to follow the instructions and I wasted time in thinking and time lost cannot be gained.

The last exercise was the scariest – of walking on glass pieces and there was nothing pretentious about it because bottles were broken in front of us and the scattered pieces fitted into the carpet of glass.

Again I offered to walk first and gave it a clear thought of how many steps I would need to take to come out clean and fast. I said my prayers and sailed through the path without bruises. In the action world they say that if you think you can do it you will and if you feel you will bungle it you will a hundred percent get injured. I knew I would be able to walk through the glass pieces unburied and I did.


Walking on Fire (Day 1408)

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and then we would go ahead with our outdoor exercise of Walking on the Fire. She wanted all of us to be a part of building the fire and we saw how the flames were ignited. When the flames were loud and fuming, she asked us to get ready and stand in a line to walk on the fire. I initiated the process, stood close to the starting point and calculated my steps. I decided that if I walked fast I would cross the path in four/ five steps and did just that and wonder of wonders I didn’t get burnt.

Many were excited by the process and did it again and again and some were visibly scared but did it all the same. That night I came home a brave heart. Who would have imagined that I would be able to walk on fire? The process had taken away my fear of fire and more important, my perception of fear. Next time I would not be scared of anything, or let me put it this way that next time I would not the imagination of fear come in the way of my adventure.

I had a good night sleep and next morning I was happy to return to the workshop.


Breaking the Board (Day 1407)

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So next morning I arrived at the venue full of trepidation. There were brief introductions of the candidates, all from various regions and backgrounds. Priya has a way with words and with people and she has the knack of keeping you engaged, so there we were listening to her pep talk and before we knew it there was the lunch break. Considering we were all meeting for the first time, I sensed no discomfort and everybody was happy to share the table with each other about themselves and about life.

Post lunch we experienced our first exercise –Of breaking the board – where you have to forcefully hit upon the Karate board and break it with your lower portion of the palm. There is a technique involved in the process and those who understood the technique were able to break it. Some of them like me failed to act forcefully and failed. Priya emphasized that being able to break/ not break the board was not important, what was important was to participate in the process.


Madhuparna Kummar (Day 1406)

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Madhuparna Kumar started training in Bharatnatyam at the tender age of four. Her initial dance guru Shri Kohinoor Sen Bharat in Kolkatta is her maternal uncle and also her inspiration who introduced Kumar to the world of dance and expressions.

Post marriage Kumar moved from Kolkatta to Mumbai and was exposed to a variety of dance forms, some she experimented with for adventure like fusion and folk and excelled at but her heart belongs to classical dance, specifically Bharatnatyam. Says Kumar, “I have been dancing since I was a child and for me dancing is like breathing, my daily riyaz is a prayer to the Almighty and an offering to my gurus…”

Considered among the top Bharatnatyam artistes, Madhuparna Kumar is revered for her flawless footwork combined with matchless abhinaya. She has performed on every significant platform in India and abroad and singlehandedly runs a dance academy comprising 500 students of all age groups.

Kumar has done her masters in Bharatnatyam as her subject and is currently preparing for her doctorate under the tutelage of Dr Malti Agniswaram.

Workshop Invite (Day 1405)

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When something is going to change for you the universe gives you signals. One afternoon as I opened my phone I found a message from motivation speaker Priya Kumar informing me about her much talked about workshop Igniting the Fire Within. I have heard about Priya and her super workshops from a common friend and have always been curious to experience the same.

Everybody knows that Priya Kumar is one of the finest Motivational Speakers in India and overseas with experience of over two decades and has been acknowledged with dozens of awards. Priya’s rather offbeat experiential methods are reflective of self-conquering and shedding inhibitions.

Kumar is not just a speaker but also the fastest writing author in the universe. She has to her credit 10 bestsellers and much more growing in her mind. My instinctive reaction to the message was to enroll in the workshop, however, the night before the big day I could not sleep a wink because I kept wondering if I had made a mistake and will I be able to live up to the expectations? What if I get bored? Just the thought of being cocooned inside a room with complete strangers for two long days was scary but it was too late to backtrack.


Arjun Kapoor to essay Intelligence officer (Day 1404)

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Acclaimed director Raj Kumar Gupta known for taut narratives like Aamir and No One Killed Jessica has joined hands with Fox Star Studios for their next, an espionage thriller–India’s Most Wanted, inspired from true events.

Arjun Kapoor will portray the role of an intelligence officer for the first time on celluloid, says Arjun “Raj Sir was the first director to call me after the release of my debut film Ishaqzaade and I can never forget that. Since then we have been meeting to collaborate but it has not happened ever since and now suddenly it has all fallen into place. I’m aware that I am entering an uncharted territory with this genre and I am both nervous and excited to do so”.

Gupta endorses Arjun’s views, says it is a film close to his heart and he has been researching the subject for the past three years. He says he has believed in Arjun Kapoor and looking forward to his first collaboration with Fox Star Studios as the producing partner on this film.”


Film Review: Satyameva Jayte (Day 1403)

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Regular action masala film

Film: Satyameva Jayte

Date: 15.08.2018

Director/ Writer: Milap Zaveri

Cast: John Abraham, Manoj Bajpayee, Aisha Sharma, Amruta Khanvilkar, Nora Fatehi, Myrah Dandekar

Music: Sanoj Chowdhury

He knows everything there is to know about his victim and follows them till he is ready to strike. His way of killing them is to burn them alive sometimes in their home, sometimes at their workplace, sometimes making it appear as an accident and sometimes in full public view.

Veer/ John Abraham is a charcoal artiste who paints portraits but his goal in life is to hunt corrupt cops and to punish them.  He does this systematically and always warns the police station of his next move.

Police officer Manoj Bajpaye is on a family vacation and summoned on duty to nab the killer and while he cracks the jigsaw puzzle of his modus operandi he fails to nab the culprit.

First a few clarifications: Satyameva Jayte is not a patriotic film; it is just releasing on the Independence Day and it is a regular mainstream masala film.

What makes it different is that it is cop specific where the hero fights corruption from outside the system!

Writer-director Milap Zaveri serves you plate full of action sequences where human bodies are reduced to coal before the final message can be delivered.

And to make it palatable he adds family drama, a little romance, an item number, a flashback and a twist in the tale.

Satyameva Jayte is for the hard core formula film fans, watch it if you enjoy John Abraham do dare devil stunts or are fans of Manoj Bajpayee.

I rate Satyameva Jayte with 2.5 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya

Movie Review: Gold (Day 1402)

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Film: Gold

 Date: 15.08. 2018

Director: Reema Kagti

Story-Screenplay: Reema Kagti & Rajesh Devraj

Dialogues: Javed Akhtar

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Mouni Roy

Excel produced Gold is the story of an iconic moment in Indian history when Germany and British India played hockey finals at the Berlin Olympics and defeated the Germans in 1936.

The victory is meaningless for the team because they cannot hoist the Indian flag and therefore determined to come back and represent a free India.

But dreams die hard and as the World War II spread discontentment and devastation Tapan Das/ Akshay Kumar supporter of hockey becomes a wastrel and a hustler drowning in alcohol.

His heart beats for hockey however and when he reads about the forthcoming Olympics he wastes no time to prepare his team.

1947 celebrates free India but independence comes bathed in bloodshed and the hockey team is divided into India and Pakistan.

Now Tapan Das has to build a new team all over again and there are too many obstacles and challenges but come Olympics 1948 and the Indian hockey team fights to win yes, but also to overcome the British legacy of slavery of 200 years.

The positives of the film are the characters, the dialogues, the art design and to an extent the music.

The negative is the length and the pace but the climax more than makes up for the fluctuations.

Still the performances are praiseworthy. Vinet Kumar Singh as Imtiaaz, Amit Sadh as Prince Raghubir and Sunny Kaushal as Himmat Singh deliver with precision. Mouni Roy as Akshay’s better half is spunky and sparkling and sexy too, Roy revives memories of vintage Sharmila Tagore.

Akshay Kumar is effortless as the manager cum talent scouter and is given ample opportunities to romance and dance. Gold is one more feather in his long list of socially relevant films.

Director Reema Kagti inspires national pride without being jingoistic; she refrains from overemphasis and does not remotely resort to Pakistan bashing. Through subtle scenes, in the green room and on the playground Kagti makes you teary-eyed without being dramatic.

Gold is a story of a nation, of sports, of team spirit, of conviction and most important, of dreams. Time was when women filmmakers only made films only about women, today their gaze includes the universe which is reflective of how much India has changed.

Gold is a worthy watch for all families on Independence Day.

I rate Gold with 3.5 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya