Monthly Archives

September 2018

Movie Review: Pataakha (Day 1463)

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Film: Pataakha

Date: 28.09.2018

Director: Vishal Bharadwaj

Cast: Sanya malhotra, Radhika Madan, Sunil Grover, Vijay Raaz

Rekha Bharadwaj produced and Vishal Bharadwaj directed Pataakha is based on writer Charan Singh Pathik’s short story Do Behnein, about two sisters who look for a trigger to get violent with each other.

The village thrives on their wrestling matches at school and home because it is the only mode of entertainment for all. Father/ Vijay Raaz cannot fathom why Barki/ Radhika Madan and Chutki/ Sanya Malhotra erupt like a volcano at the mere sight of each other. Nor can the girls but both fantasize that marriage and separation from each other will bring paradise but does that happen?

The negatives of the film are one that the story does not appeal in present times. The duration appears longer than two hours. Then the frequent wrestling matches after a point become overbearing.

There’s not a single soft moment or a glimpse of affection between the siblings in their growing years and no insight from the writer for their exaggerated animosity, as a result when both suffer psychological disorders post separation it is highly unconvincing.

Even the metaphor of the warring nations India and Pakistan according to me is highly misplaced.

The positives are the performances. Vijay Raaz as the single father of the quarreling girls wins your heart with a restrained performance. As the supporter of the family, Sunil Grover is thoroughly entertaining. Radhika Madan makes a competent debut as the older sister obsessed with dairy but the best performance comes from the Danagal girl -Saina Malhotra who shines as Chutki through all her phases!

Two thoughts come to your mind when you emerge from the cinema hall. One, not all short stories have the potential to make a feature and two, Sadat Manto Hasan was right, Literature has to change with time.

I rate Pataakha with 2 stars.

Bhawana Somaaaya

Movie Review: Sui Dhaaga (Day 1462)

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Film: Sui Dhaaga

Date: 28 September 2018

Writer-Director: Sharat Kataria

Cast: Anushka Sharma, Varun Dhawan, Raghuvir Yadav

Yash Raj Films produced and Sharat Kataria written and directed Sui Dhaaga tells the story of a family struggling for survival in the outskirts of Delhi.

Father Raghuvir Yadav has just been given a farewell at work. Mother is a homemaker who needs frequent hospitalizations. Older son has moved out with wife and child, therefore, the responsibility of running the home falls on the younger son Mauji/ Varuṇ Dhawan and his wife Mamta/ Anushka Sharma.

Mauji works as a helper in a sewing machine office and is regularly ill-treated by the boss’s son who even makes him play a doggie. Mauji bears up with the insults for his salary but one day decides that enough is enough and quits.

Motivated by his wife Mauji sets up his shop on the street and does all the groundwork possible to attract customers but domestic distractions usher obstacles and business never takes off.

The first half of the film acquaints us with the daily routine of the household, the quirks and the complexities of the various characters.

The second half is about their aspirations. As Mauji supported by Mamta struggle to launch their small business there are many battles to be fought and many lessons to be learned.

Sui Dhaaga is about empowerment and more, it offers insight into marriage and joint families, is about a working couple, a movement, self-reliance, and aspirations.

The negatives are the paper-thin plot and the slow pace. The second half is repetitive and fails to reach a crescendo. The music is a major disappointment and the climax a foregone conclusion.

The positives are the intention, the message, to an extent the treatment and the performances.

Varuṇ Dhawan portrays Mauji with anger and amusement, his ability to smile under all circumstances with ‘Sab baḍhiyaaṅ haiṅ’ is endearing. This is his first role as a family man and he is convincing.

As the head covered daughter-in-law drowned in household chores Anushka Sharma is first-rate, her eyes light up when she is happy and face distorts when she cries. She is the new age woman who in time of crisis proves a true companion.

In the olden days director, Basu Chatterjee addressed common man issues through his light-hearted movies which the audience transformed into a personal experience.

Sui Dhaaga had the potential of having the same impact but despite his heart in the right place, writer/ director Sharat Kataria lost the mark.

I rate Sui Dhaaga with 3 stars.

Bachchan, Thugs and more (Day 1461)

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Amitabh Bachchan seen every night on Kaun Banega Crorepati celebrated the trailer release of Thugs of Hindostan with the team and is gearing up for his next Jhund in Nagpur directed by Nagraj Manjule of Sairat fame.

Jhund inspired from the life of Vijay Barse, founder of slum soccers. Mr. Bachchan plays a professor who channelizes the street kids to build a soccer team. The street kids have undergone training in acting and will do a workshop with the superstar before they begin rolling.

A candidate on the KBC show told Bachchan that while the youngsters lack the energy to work  for more than five hours how come he  has been working tirelessly for so many years without complaining to which Bachchan replied ‘Kya kare paapi pet ka sawal hai’



Impact of Partition (Day 1460)

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G5A, the wonderful space in Laxmi Mills Lane, Shakti Mills Estate, Mahalaxmi has over the months become a favorite hangout for both the intellectuals and the art world. Today at 6.30 in the evening Literature Live brings a new perspective to the trauma caused by the partition of India into two countries. An estimated 5,00,000 people were killed, and millions displaced.

When a country goes through crisis its countrymen take a lifetime to get over the tragedy which is why seven decades have not reduced the scars of what happened in 1947 however as the likes of as Dr. Sanjeev Jain, Professor of Psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, and Alok Sarin, Clinical Psychiatrist at Sitaram Bhatia Institute of Science & Research, release their anthology The Psychological Impact of the Partition in India there is hope for the country.

 Dr Guneeta Singh Bhalla who founded the 1947 Partition Archives (an oral history project collecting/ preserving first-hand accounts of the Partition in video interviews across San Francisco Bay Area), the archive has now grown to over 3000 interviews collected from nine countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, United States, United  Kingdom among others.

Writer and film-maker Paromita Vohra has agreed to chair the event.


Taanaji rolls (Day 1459)

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According to Ajay Devgan he had planned it correctly. First the promotion of Ella Helicopter then the release and as the frenzy settles down he announces his next film and starts shooting but Dada/ Pradip Sarkar director of Ella got diagnosed with dengue and the entire schedule went haywire.

The Devgans had the option of getting Ella’s post-production done by another filmmaker but Ajay and Kajol chose the difficult option of waiting for Dada. They put the promotion of Ella on hold and postponed the release by a few weeks.

In the meantime Taanaji: The Unsung Warrior who fought for Chhatrapati Shivaji has gone on the floor today at a suburban studio as scheduled.  Directed by Om Raut and produced by Ajay Devgn’s ADFL with Bhushan Kumar’ T-series will release on 22 November 2019.


Divya Datta Birthday (Day 1458)

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Waiting for the lift outside BigFM studio I bump into the versatile actor Divya Dutta who is here to celebrate her birthday on air with her fans.
In jeans hair tied up Ina bun on top of her head, she is almost unrecognizable from her avatars on the screen.
Last week I saw her in a cameo in Nandita Das’s Manto and marveled at her projection of the character.
And now, an hour after our meet at the studio I listen to her interview with RJ and fall down laughing. Divya calls herself lazy Libran and says on Sundays she is so lethargic that her family complains that they feel sleepy just watching her.
Doesn’t seem so at all watching you on the screen Divya.


Remembering ancestors (Day 1457)

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The day after the elephant God leaves for his abode begins the Sharad period.
This is the time when Hindus remember their ancestors and seek forgiveness for any failings during their lifetime.
They seek forgiveness for any failing in their final rituals and finally pray for their welfare.
The Sharad considered a mourning period lasts for a fortnight when nothing new or auspicious is done by Hindu families.
For years the film industry never shot /announced /released a film during Sharad and exhibitors screened old hits of superstars in theatres.
I don’t know when exactly all this changed. Perhaps with the entry of the studios or the young producers who came baggage free.
But suddenly Sharad time was zoom time without any restrictions on announcements or new releases.
Cannot believe that old production house like YRF will now be releasing Sui Dhaga during Sharad time.
Sab time time ki baatein hain ji.


Movie Review: Batti Gul Meter Chalu (Day 1454)

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Film: Batti Gul Meter Chalu

Date: 21.09.2018

Director: Shree Narayan Singh

Writer: Vipul Rawal-Sidhartha Singh-Garima Wahal

Cast: Shahid KapoorShraddha Kapoor, Divyendu Sharma, Yami Gautam

Music: Anu Malik, Rochak Kohli

There are many ways to describe director Shree Narayan’s Batti Gul Meter Chalu.

You can call it a love story, a story of friendship or a story of a movement supported by the entire city.

Set in the beauteous Uttarakhand BGMC addresses the issue of fluctuating electricity and inflated bills and how the common man struggles with these pressures without help from the establishment.

SK (Shahid Kapoor), Nauti (Shraddha Kapoor) and Tripathi (Divyendu Sharma) are childhood friends who make an effort to spend quality time together despite their individual careers.

SK is a lawyer who has short cuts for every problem. Nauti is a local designer who runs her own shop while Tripathi has recently invested in a Printing Press.

The first half of the film is about their bonding, adventures, some challenges and some mishaps. Tripathi is worried sick when he gets an electricity bill of 1.5 lakhs and by the time he complains about it the amount escalates to 54 lakhs in the following months.

The story really begins in the second half when the usually laid back SK decides to fight against SPTL, a privatized electricity company and becomes a hero.

The positives are one, the locations – the quint city perched on the hills amidst nature. Two, the issue of availing electricity to the remotest region and finally the message that it’s important to fight a cause, not important that you win!

Without attempting to the film is gender sensitive.  So we have Sushmita Mukherji as the cricket fan judge and Yami Gautam as the public prosecutor.

Shraddha Kapoor lives with two single women (mother and grandmother) without restrictions and makes her decisions at home/ work and in love.

The negatives: are primarily the length (close to three hours), the pace (takes too long to come to the point); the sutradhars are annoyingly invasive and a waste of screen time and the climax unfortunately overstated.

It is unconvincing that friendship can suddenly turn obsessive and some questions posed by Shahid to Shradha remain unanswered.

The film is a big break for Dwivedi Sharma and a new image for Shraddha Kapoor who pairs with Shahid for the second time. All of them speak the dialect effortlessly. Yami Gautam who played a victim in her last film Kabil plays a prosecutor but the film finally belongs to Shahid Kapoor- who is the first rate in his comic timing and restrained in the emotional moments, there are many shades to the character and Shahid has you addicted to SK!!

Director Shree Narayaṇ last time combined a social message with entertainment called Toilet Ek Prem Katha. This time he addresses another relevant issue – electricity.

Batti Gul Meter Chalu is long, a tad preachy but it is worth it for Shahid Kapoor.

I rate Batti Gul Meter Chalu with 3 stars out of which half star is reserved only for Shahid Kapoor.

Bhawana Somaaya