Maharathi movie review

December 5, 2008


Starcast :

Paresh Rawal
Neha Dhupia
Naseeruddin Shah
Om Puri
Boman Irani
Tara Sharma
Vivek Shauq

Movie review:

The comedy-guru Paresh Rawal and the classic-actor Naseeruddin Shah will soon be seen sharing space on-screen. Their movie ‘Maharathi’ is all set for a release this Friday – 5th December 2008. It has been directed by Shivam Nair and will come out under the banner of ‘Shri Ashtavinayak Cine Visions’. The movie starts with Subhash (Paresh Rawal), a con-man who is struggling in the Film Industry for the past 10 years. Committing small time cons on unsuspecting victims, he makes his ends meet.

One night, putting his own life at risk, Subhash saves Mr. Adenwalla (Nasserudin Shah), a man who is filthy rich. As he accompanies Adenwalla to his home, he comes to know of the latter’s wealth and starts expecting a generous tip. Instead, he is kept by Adenwalla as his driver. Mallika Adenwalla (Neha Dhupia), Mr. Adenwalla’s wife, senses that Subhash is trying to take advantage of her husband and resents him for his proximity with the latter. Soon enough, Subhash comes to know of Mallika’s evil plans, against her husband.

Mr Adenwalla, on the other hand, is sick of his greedy wife and decides to put her in a no-win situation, taking revenge. Ungrateful Subhash decides to deceit his employer and joins hands with Mallika, to acquire money and property. Their plan involves getting a caretaker (Tara Sharma) with the help of their family lawyer (Boman Irani). Tara is intended to serve as a witness to the presence of a sick Mr. Adenwalla, in the house. As things go awry, ACP Gokhale (Om Puri) and Inspector Borkar (Vivek Shauq) enter the picture. How Subhash gets caught, but still manages to save himself, forms the crux of the story.


Varanam Aayiram Movie Review

November 15, 2008


Varanam Aayiram – Memoirs of a heart with abounding memories

The film designed as a tribute to Goutham Vasudev Menon’s father comes across as emotions spelt out in a reserved manner and thereby proves to be a tame affair. One can understand the director’s angst at losing a parent, and trying to make a film about the loss, but then the man’s (father) enigma never takes center stage throughout the film. Probably the biggest drawback of the film.

The narration of the film has been designed to follow a ‘classic approach’. Unfortunately, all the ingredients that go into the making of a classic are missing thereby making the screenplay stagnate at times to irritable proportions. All films that have been successful in being called classics portray enduring human emotions that can be related with instantaneously.  Goutham has most definitely missed the plot with ‘Varanam Aayiram’ giving more emphasis to incidents rather than connecting them well. The story follows the lead characters (the protagonist and his father) through decades. Much effort has been taken to bring out authenticity to the ‘period’ effect which is praiseworthy.

The story starts off with a senior citizen Krishna (Suriya) getting his hair trimmed in a saloon only to die after reaching home. The news is conveyed to his son, Major Suriya (Suriya) who is part of a rescue mission. With gritty determination, the young man declares he wants to go ahead with the mission. But the son in him overwhelms the Major that he is and events of his life unfold as flashes in his mind.

What a fantastic dad he had had! The story is narrated through montage sequences – the time his father had met his mother in college (as told to him by his mother) and the innovative way he had made known his love for her – his birth and the way he had always looked up to his dad as a real hero – his sister’s birth and the happy little family that they were – his peek at adolescence – his misadventures and the moment he was engulfed by the electric sensation of love etc.

Suriya’s adolescent days come across as a breath of fresh air. The antiques he indulges in once he sees Megna (Sameera Reddy) on a night train and his train of thought that goes on in his mind to woo her, gets across to the audience very well.

After the interesting introduction, the determined Suriya goes to her house to see her. Megna is surprised but then is not convinced that his love for her is true. She reveals her plans to study in America and her preparations to leave in a week’s time.

The happy-go-lucky Suriya does some business and using the gift of being a good guitarist makes money. And then he is off to America, not for a career, not for studies but to win his girl’s heart and marry her. They do meet in America and the interesting character that he is wins Megna’s heart. An unfortunate incident happens and Megna dies.

A reckless Suriya then starts smoking, drinking and becomes a horrible drug addict. His parents take care of him through these torrid times. His parents even want him to go away somewhere to find himself and come back as the person that he really is.

Suriya walks the streets of Kashmir and Delhi and even indulges in daring endeavors like rescuing a kidnapped child. Then the military bug bites him and he joins the armed forces. It is about this time that the director has made maximum usage of his good looks and the famous six-pack ab. After six years in the armed forces, he becomes a major and also has loving thoughts of a girl (Priya played by Divya Spandana) he had known for a long time but had really not given any kind of attention to. Does time wither away the association they had had?

The flashes of reminiscence stops and reality dawns….he is part of the rescue mission now, fighting terrorists….

The earthly presence of his father might have gone away forever….but will always have a home in his heart….probably thoughts that Goutham Vasudev Menon has….

Suriya the actor rocks throughout. The variety of emotions he has portrayed is very good and a strong mention has to be made about his good looks and charm. He looks unbelievably like a person in his early twenties in some sequences that require him to be so. Something very few actors can really do.

Harris Jayaraj has rendered a beautiful set of songs with this film. The Background score is good in patches and compliments the brilliant cinematography by Rathnavelu. The cinematographer needs special mention for a refreshing tone which he has infused especially in the youthful sequences.

Sameera Reddy has been casual and fits the role aptly. Simran has garnered all her experience and does justice. Divya Spandana with her girl-next-door looks performs a role that lightens up a depressed protagonist with good effect.

One gets the feeling Goutham could have used all of Suriya’s efforts with a better narration AND with all-round emotions to connect all the incidents in the script which would have made it more interesting.

Dostana Movie Review

November 14, 2008


Love triangle in Hindi movies often centre around two guys falling in love with the same girl, or two girls choosing to love the same guy. But DOSTANA is a first. It’s the first hindi film  that, at the core, is a rectangle [three men loving the same woman], but two of them, guys in this case, pretend to be a couple.

Sure, DOSTANA has ample shock-value since what has been witnessed in its promos is barely a fraction of what you’d get to watch in the movie. But more than shock-value, the film offers loads of fun-n-laughter and dollops of entertainment in those 14 reels.

A word of appreciation! It requires courage to fund a project like DOSTANA. Karan Johar, the producer, deserves to be lauded for treading the untrodden path. It requires courage and conviction to swim against the tide in your directorial debut. Tarun Mansukhani, the debutante, deserves a few brownie points extra for not thinking straight. It requires courage for two A-list actors to go all out and risk their professional [and personal] lives. Abhishek and John deserve an ovation for not only agreeing to play these characters, but also infusing life in them, without making a mockery of the gay community. It’s not a serious take on homosexuality either. On the contrary, it’s a madcap comedy where two straight men pretend to be gays. Although DOSTANA is a mainstream commercial film, it dares to push the envelope in its own way. It brings homosexuality out of the closet, gives it respect and dignity and doesn’t treat gays as ‘abnormal’.

To cut a long story short, DOSTANA is not to be missed. Dharma Productions, the late Yash Johar and Karan Johar’s film production  outfit, has produced several significant films in the past. Add DOSTANA to the list!

Miami is the setting for DOSTANA. When Sameer [Abhishek Bachchan] and Kunal [John Abraham] are turned down for an apartment because the landlady [Sushmita Mukherjee] doesn’t want two strapping young men to corrupt her young sexy niece Neha [Priyanka Chopra], they hatch a plan: they pretend to be gay to secure the apartment.

Over a period of time, Sameer, Kunal and Neha become buddies. When Neha’s boss Abhimanyu [Bobby Deol] enters the fray as the third contender for her affections, it gets even hotter…

DOSTANA shocks you all the while and that is its biggest USP. Don’t expect stereotypical situations or characters all through this film. Watch Abhishek cook up a romantic story between John and him in Venice. Watch Boman Irani’s interaction with Abhishek and John. Watch Kirron Kher’s dramatic entry at this point. Howlarious scenes all, they’re sure to bring the house down.

If the first hour is laced with crackling chemistry between the guys and terrific humour, things get serious towards the second half since there’s one more person vying for Priyanka’s attention — Bobby Deol. There’s humour in this hour too, but the focus is mainly on who’d get Priyanka in the end.

The length is a slight deterrent in the second half and the editor could’ve easily cut the unwanted flab to make the narration in shape. But the film works as a package! Also, the film has a shocking end and people are bound to raise eyebrows. It would have its share of advocates and adversaries. A debatable culmination, for sure!

Director Tarun Mansukhani is here to stay. He deserves kudos for choosing an offbeat story, then making a foolproof screenplay and most importantly, executing it with flourish. DOSTANA merges form and content beautifully, since the film is, technically speaking, sound. Ayananka Bose’s cinematography is top notch. The locales of Miami are a feast for your eyes. Costumes and styling are very upmarket.

Vishal-Shekhar’s music  goes well with the mood of the film. It’s young, peppy and energetic. ‘Desi Girl’ and ‘Maa Da Laadla Bigad Gaya’ are foot-tapping compositions. The latter is bound to be a rage!

Both Abhishek and John are fantabulous! Abhishek pulls out all the stops and delivers one of the finest performances of his career. His comic timing is superb! John will make guys and girls drool over his amazing physique. But, most importantly, people will sit up and notice how fine an actor John is. Both Abhishek and John compliment each other so well. In fact, had the chemistry and camaraderie been missing, the story would’ve failed to look convincing. Two thumbs up for these two guys!

Priyanka looks stunning and delivers a first-rate performance. First FASHION, now DOSTANA, Priyanka is back with a bang. Bobby Deol lends the required class to his role. No other actor would’ve looked so real while underplaying this character.

Boman Irani is sure to bring the house down, the auditorium is sure to resonate with laughter in his sequences. Kirron Kher is superb as the punjabi  mom. Watch her throw a fit when she learns that her son [Abhishek] is gay and much later, when she accepts John as family. She’s remarkable! Sushmita Mukherjee, as Priyanka’s aunt, is fantastic. She’s so, so funny. Shilpa Shetty sizzles in the opening track.

On the whole, DOSTANA is a winner all the way. In terms of content, it might just prove to be a trendsetter. In terms of business, the film holds tremendous appeal for the youth. The 16 to 25 age-group would go into raptures and bonkers over this film. Its business at multiplexes mainly will be amazing. In Overseas too, the film should emerge amongst the biggest draws of 2008. DOSTANA rocks… have a blast!


James Bond is back, and this time it’s mighty personal. Daniel Craig’s craggy agent picks up exactly where he left off in another bruising thriller that leaves you feeling both drained and exhilarated.

There are hand-to-hand fights that make your eyes water and old-school stunts involving motorbikes, speedboats, jet fighters and expensive cars that give you whiplash just looking at them. Really, nobody does it better than the new 007.

What makes Marc Forster’s film such an intriguing watch is that this is the first of the 22 Bond movies where the plot flows organically from the last instalment, and Quantum of Solace looks a far stronger picture for this rare continuity.

Needless to say the plot is as forbidding as the title. After the death of his girlfriend, Vesper Lynd, at the end of Casino Royale, Bond mixes revenge and duty dangerously as he hunts down the shadowy group that blackmailed Lynd to betray him.

A link to a bank account in Haiti puts Bond on the scent of Mathieu Amalric’s chief creep and ruthless businessman, Dominic Greene. All great Bond adversaries are generously blessed with kinks and quirks and Greene is no different. Amalric has a wonderfully wormy arrogance.

His sidekick, Elvis (Anatole Taubman), sports a monkish fringe, and Tarantino bad looks. But it’s the manner in which Amalric manages to poison all trust in Bond, even from his nearest and dearest, that makes him one of the classic arch-adversaries.

Cold rage threatens to derail Bond’s mission to crack Greene’s dastardly organisation known as Quantum, and I doubt that there’s a better actor at bottling rage than Daniel Craig.

All muscles, he has defined himself as a darker and more bare-knuckle Bond than any of his elegant predecessors.

The deadpan humour is still there. And despite the occasional blasts of visceral and grisly violence, Craig is threatening to become the most popular 007 yet, certainly with the younger generation.

Even the famous Bond babes seem to be getting tougher. Olga Kurylenko’s stunning, hard-as-nails beauty, Camille, has her own private vendetta that she wants to bring to a bloody conclusion, with or without Bond’s help. And Gemma Arterton’s effortlessly foxy Agent Field appeals to the better side of the wounded anti-romantic.

“Do you know how angry I am at myself,” says the naked, raven-haired M16 agent as Bond kisses his way up her spine. But Bond rarely lets a life-threatening difference of opinion get in the way of a decent flirt.

The familiar faces returning from Casino Royale pose a far more subtle, acidic test for Bond who has to tread carefully around treacherous old friends: Jeffrey Wright’s lugubrious CIA agent Felix Leiter; Giancarlo Giannini’s silky string-puller, René Mathis; Jesper Christensen’s duplicitous Mr White; and Judi Dench, of course, as his witheringly unimpressed boss, M.

“When you can’t tell your friends from your enemies it’s time to go,” growls Dench.

Of course, Bond is having none of it. There are new necks to break and toys to play with as the action rips across Austria, Italy, and South America.

The global stakes are as precarious as ever. Amalric’s masterplan to destabilise a South American regime, install a dodgy dictator, General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio), and take control of the biggest source of fresh water in the world is fabulously cock-eyed. But that’s one of the main reasons why we can’t get enough of the greatest franchise of them all.

The director, Marc Forster, has absorbed the lucrative lessons discovered in Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale. He has also managed to pace his sequel much better. Royale felt slightly wheel-clamped by one too many longeurs. If anything, the crunching chase sequences in Quantum of Solace are even more magnificently dangerous. And the daredevil leaps and tumbles through glass roofs are just as sensational as the splintering high-speed pyrotechnics.

But it’s the amount of heartache and punishment that Craig’s new Bond absorbs that makes him look so right for our times.

Bond is no longer a work in progress. He is now the cruel, finished article.