Monthly Archives

December 2019

Celebrating 10 years of Once Upon A Time in Bollywood – Day 1718

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Heard a lot about the Kanpuriyas but it was only while watching the video one understood why they are so unique, anyway video dekh kar Mogambo khus hua!


Movie Review: Good Newws – Day 1716

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Good Newws is Happy News

Film: Good Newws

Date: 27.12.2019

Director: Raj Mehta

Writer: Jyoti Kapoor, Rishabh Sharma, Raj Mehta

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor Khan, DiljitDosanjh, Kiara Advani, Adil Hussain and Tisca Chopra.

Ratings: 3.5 stars

The trailer of the film very clearly prepares you for the story.There are two couples seeking IVF treatment at Dr Joshi’s hospital in Mumbai – VarunDeepika/ Akshay Kumar- KareenaKapoor Khan and Honey- Monika/ Daljit DosanjhKiaraAdvani and both coincidentally share a surname Batra’.

Both have been trying to have a baby for several years but it has not happened, Akshay and Kareena because they have been preoccupied with their careers and DaljeetKiara because shesuffered two miscarriages in the past. Dr Joshi is their final hope and destination and as luck would have it, the tests are positive.

It should be time for celebrations but there is a problem. The technical department of the hospital has mixed up the spermsbecause of the common surname, so Honey/ Daljeet’s sperm is fertilized with Deepik/ Kareena’s egg and Varun/ Akshay’ssperm with Monika/ Kiara’s egg.

There are only two solutions to the crisis; the couples can opt to terminate the pregnancy or to accept the circumstances. After a lot of deliberation which included  suing the hospital and even seeking refund, the to be mommies decide to go ahead with their pregnancies and the film is all about their love- hate anxieties and pressures.

It is a novel concept and innovatively treated. What works about the film is the duration/ 2 hours plus, editing, writing, humor. The first half is comedy and moves super-fast, before you can blink it is interval. The second half is packed with emotion and drama but fortunately nothing is over the top.

Good Newws is probably the first film that seriously addresses pregnancy and related issues. In our country if you are married for seven years and there is no baby, the couple is subjected to parental/ societal and even spouse pressure; in short the baby is a topic of public debate. The discussion can be overwhelming but Good Newws addresses infertility, abortion, advance age, low sperm count and premature deliveries without being didactic.

A healthy child is a result of a healthy marriage and Good Newws promotes marital bonding and stress free life, alsoprofessionalism, because every character in the film is committed to their work. Kareena heads an entertainment magazine. Akshay sells cars, his sister and brother-in-law are criminal lawyers, Daljit and Kiara are show performers and AdilHussainTisca Chopra ( splendid in a cameo) IVF doctors!

The downside is that while we see the biological/ mental/ emotional/ moral/ social/ legal repercussions the couples go through, director Raj Mehta is unable to offer a solution to the problem in the climax. Probably because there is no solution to it and therefore ends the film on a happy, human note which is taking the easy way out.

If you can overlook this one feature, Good Newws is a full on entertainment with super chemistry and timing from all the four characters. Kiara Advani is delicious as Monika and AkshayKumar as effective in comedy as in emotional scenes, his sequence related with Kiara and bathroom is hilarious! KareenaKapoor looks stunning in every frame and delivers a fiery speech in support of mommies. Daljit Dosanjh is the life of the film, effective every moment.

Good Newws is a happy watch with friends and family in the New Year. I rate Good Newws with 3.5 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya

Watch out for my video/ audio review on @92.7BigFm

Dabangg to Dabangg 3 – Day 1715

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Show business is a cruel world, the box-office makes and breaks stars every Friday and nobody can predict which way the wind will blow. Ashutosh Gowariker’s Panipat was slow to pick up while rising superstar Kartik Aryan had everyone swooning over him in Pati Patni aur Woh.


I was surprised by the collections of the film because in my opinion, adultery was an issue in the 70s but not any longer but going by the audience reactions, they seem to enjoy the marital story or is it just an attraction for budding superstar Kartik Aryan, I believe it is the latter.


Yash Raj Films’ Mardani 2 presenting bahurani Rani Mukherji got fewer theatres than expected, is it because it is a woman oriented film or is it because of Jumanji got more eyeballs or because the box-office was getting ready for Saman Khan’s Dabangg 3.


A decade ago when Khan launched Dabangg produced by brother Arbaaz Khan and directed by Abhinav Kashyap none of them had imagined that the film was going to be a grosser but the casting, music, dialogue, Malaika Arora’s ‘Munni badnaam hui…’ everything turned out to be magical. Made on a budget of 420 billion the film earned 2.19 billion.

To be continued



Movie Review – Dabangg 3 – Day 1714

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 Prabhu Deva please restrict to dancing


Film: Dabangg 3

Release: 20.12.2019

Director: Prabhu Deva

Writers: Salman KhanPrabhu Deva and Alok Upadhyaye

Cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Saiee Manjrekar, Arbaaz Khan, Mahie Gill and Sudeep.

Ratings: 1.5 stars

The problem with franchises is that by the time the third installment is released, you have forgotten the plot and all the characters however that is not the case with Dabangg franchise for sure.

When Dabangg released in 2010 the producers had no idea they were going to turn it into a franchise but the story of a wayward cop Chulbul Panday/ Salman Khan and his unusual ways of resolving corruption in Uttar Pradesh caught the fancy of the audience in a manner they had never imagined. Made on a budget of 42 crores INR the film did a business of 2.19 billion, the producers decided it was time to announce a sequel.

Dabangg 2 set in Kanpur and directed by Arbaaz Khan released in 2012  and this time Chulbul Pandey fights with a crooked politician/ Prakash Rai who in turn attacks Chulbul’s wife/ Sonakshi Sinha, a regular revenge story combined with songs and romance. This time the budget was bigger, 74 crores and the business 265 CR so the producers decided to take the franchise forward. Six years later Dabangg 3 is a prologue to the franchise and narrated as flashback by Khan. This time we are introduced to Khan’s first love Khushi/Saiee Manjrekar and his first opponent Bali/ Sudeep the reason behind him joining the police force.

Chulbul Panday is now fearless man and kills his enemies in the climax, in 2010 it was criminal Cheddi Singh/ Sonu Sood, in 2012 it is politician/ Prakash Raj and in 2019 it is Khushi’s murderer Bali/ South superstar Sudeep.

The first half of the film is insanely slow, old fashioned and rhetoric, reviving memories of the worst revenge dramas of the 70s. You wait in anticipation for something to happen, it does not. Post interval is a display of meaningless action at times in the villain’s den and at times at the police station, what’s pathetic is that the characters mouth the same old lines like ‘Mere 500 karod de do aur tumhare 14 bande ko chuda lo.’ Uff!!

This should not have happened because the story makes a sincere attempt to join in all the dots but  there’s no attention to any details, subtext, sets, ambiance, character as a result everything appears fake and out of place. It is unfortunate because all the actors make a sincere effort. Debutante Saiee Manrekar is appealing and new villain Sudeep charismatic. Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha try their best to entertain you but nothing touches your heart.

Sad but true, Dabangg 2 was more engaging than Dabangg 3 and Dabangg so far was the best of the lot.

I have a request to make to director Prabhu Deva, you  are a skilled choreographer and we look forward to your dancing but can you please reserve your skills as a filmmaker for the South films please, can you please spare Hindi films???

I rate Dabangg 3 with 1.5 stars.



Sridevi again – Day 1713

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For a long time Sridevi tried living out of two cities, Chennai and Mumbai but  as she signed more and more films, she had to  find a base in the city and Boney Kapoor helped her find a home in Lokhandwala designed by a close friend. I remember visiting her at her new home one late evening for a cover story and getting attracted to haunting music emanating from her bedroom. Sridevi explained it was an album by a 27-year old boy who is so brilliant that he will soon be grabbed by the Hindi film industry. She was referring to AR Rehman.


Post marriage with Boney Kapoor and babies, Sridevi stayed away from arc lights for a while. It was around this time I bumped into her at a newly coffee shop with daughter Jhanvi and asked her when she was coming back to films, she just smiled. A week later came the announcement of her new film English Vinglish. I have never seen Sridevi as happy with her performance as with English Vinglish and eager to analyze and discuss the film which she never did earlier and definitely not with the media. Clearly Sridevi was changing; she was more communicative now, more trusting and eager to strike friendship.

We had an engaging chat after her last film Mom, she said she wanted to do more meaningful films, “I know there are not many subjects for my age group but I will fight for them”. I believed her. Those were days she was on all the fashion magazine covers, all the fashion shows. She was geared up for her daughter Jhanvi’s debut and then suddenly, she just vanished.


How can you do that Sridevi, you promised to do many more meaningful films and we are still waiting!




Remembering Sridevi – Day 1712

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Year 2018 has been a difficult year for Boney Kapoor and his daughters struggling to survive after Sridevi’s sudden demise. It has been more than a year since she is gone and a biography has been released on the actress first in Delhi and now in Mumbai.


The first time I heard of Sridevi was in the early 1980s. Actor Jeetendra mentioned her to me in his interview and took me to watch the screening of Himmatwala songs “She does not know a word of Hindi but look at the way she dances and emotes. Mark my words this girl is going to be a sensation”.


Over the decades, I interviewed Sridevi a number of times and even though she was magic on screen, off screen she only communicated in mono-syllables. She didn’t care that the media made fun of her, called her ‘thunder thighs’ because she knew that her producers relied on her and she never let them down.


I was on the sets of Mr India when Shekhar Kapur was briefing her for ‘I love you’ and Sridevi listened in silence and then repeated what he said to her to her sister Srilatha in Tamil. I was confused what was going on but not Shekhar “Probably that is her way of processing, all actors have different methods” he said, probably, because when the camera turned on Sridevi was magic with her chiffon flying in the air.


The 80s introduced two heroines from down South, Sridevi and Jaya Prada and while most thought Jaya Prada would win the race it was Sridevi who surpassed all her rivals to become numero uno. The Tamil and the Telegu film industry never really forgave Bollywood for stealing their biggest and the brightest star but accepted that Sridevi was meant for a bigger audience.


 To be continued


Ghosts of Gas Tragedy – Day 1711

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On the night of December 2, 1984 into the morning of December 3, approximately 40 tons of the toxic gas methylisocyanate (MIC) spewed from the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) factory in Bhopal. Blown by the wind, the gas covered an area of roughly 40 square kilometers. The entire population of old Bhopal was affected; pregnant women miscarried as they ran, children died in the arm of their parents. In days that followed all the hospitals in Bhopal were filled with those dead or dying.


Thirty five years later the scars have yet to fade, the congenital disabilities have been reported as significantly higher in the northern part of Bhopal than in the rest of India because 33 year after the tragedy the scars are still to fade. Children born in the city are being born with a range of disabilities not seen anywhere else in India



Alternative Reality – Day 1710

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Alternative Space Project as the title suggests is created to expose artistic works that excavate hidden aspects of society. Kashmir, Aksariyat Akliyat is an official selection for ‘Thespo 21’ and will be staged at Prithvi House on Dec 19, as part of the festival’s fringe presentation. Further shows are slated to be performed at the Five Senses Theatre Studio on Dec 21-22, according to the schedule attached below.


Written by Karan Chaudhary and directed by Vivek Tyagi Kashmir explores our perception of Kashmir that is beautiful and complicated and takes an inventive take on the history of  the place from mythology to contemporary reality, with haunting music from Diwakar Yadav and  performed by a team of talented actors -Harsh Haldani, Shrey Kaushik, Aryan Panwar, Jai Vardhan Rai, Tushar Ranga and Abhishkek Kumar Singh


In presesent times when anything related to Kashmir is controversial it is bold of the team to host a play on the subject and just for that director can take a bow.



Movie Review : Mardaani 2 – Day 1709

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 If the woman is so capable why call her Mardani?


Film: Mardani 2

Release: 13.12.2019

Producer: YRFilms

Director: Gopi Puthran

Cast: Rani Mukherji, Vishal Jethwa

Music: Annu Malik


Name: Shivani Shivaji Roy

Designation: Crime Branch, Senior Officer

Posting: 2014, Mumbai

Case: Child Trafficking

Details: Every 8 minutes a girl goes missing and every year 40,000 kids are kidnapped

Deadline: 30 days

Accomplishment: Organized gang busted

Team: Director Pradeep Sarkar, opponent, Tahir Raj Bassin


Six years later….


Name/ Designation: Shivani Shivaji Roy. Crime Branch Senior Officer

Posting: 2019, Kota, Rajasthan

Case: Serial rape and murder

Details: There’s a rape every 10 minutes, of the 2000 registered cases the perpetrators are minors.

This time Deadline: 48 hours

This time Team: Director Gopi Puthran, accused, Vishal Jethwa


Mardani 2 is a sequel of Yash Raj Films Mardani and is stronger and more effective than the prequel.

The opening shot giving a panoramic view of festive celebrations in Rajasthan is a treat to the eyes and amidst all the revelry you are introduced to the villain, Sunny/ Bajrang/ Vishal Jethwa looking for his next victim. He is self-assured and dangerous and is attracted to the strong and assertive women because he feels they have to be taught a lesson and he is the one who will do it, so Sunny lays the trap and when they fall for it he kidnaps them, tortures, assaults, abuses and finally murders them one by one!

Mardani 2 is a tale  of the rape victims between Dassehre  and Diwali, the story of Shivani Shivaji Roy/ Rani Mukherji and how she cracked the case with her team but most important, it a film that holds a mirror to our society where  women are still unequal to men.

Irrespective of whether she is in a position of power or not, working/ studying or even at home, she is molested in public space/ attacked in professional space and abused in personal space and Maardani 2 addresses that exploitation.

The merits of the film include the length/147 minutes, engaging screenplay, powerful dialogues, razor sharp editing, convincing action and impressive camera work so Gopi Puthran take a bow. The demerits are that the criminal is always able to strategize his plans even though he has no infrastructure or consistent resources. Shivani and team have a deadline of 48 hours and are on the field without a break but the strain and the exhaustion does not reflect in their appearance/body language or temperament.

Vishal Jethwa is energetic, unpredictable and the surprise packet of the film reminiscent of the menacing Shah Rukh Khan in Darr. Rani Mukherjee proves that she is as convincing wearing chiffon singing romantic songs in the Alps as dragging the villain by the collar and whipping him with a belt.

I have a complaint against producer Aditya Chopra; if you truly believe in the message of the film why title it Mardani? Think about it!

I rate Mardani 2 with 3.5 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya