TUMBBAD : When Horror Becomes Poetic!

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When Folklore marries Fantasy marries Fear marries Fine Imagery, you get a gorgeous Film like Tumbbad. As a very ambitious project, it wants to leave a deeply philosophical message about the horrors of greed and how it creates monsters out of humans far scarier than literal gory demons who at least have nature imposed limits they cannot cross. But the human greed is a limitless pit and man keeps falling into it again and again, not realizing how the curse is gradually engulfing him and his entire lineage leaving nothing behind to take forward.

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BADHAAI HO : Celebrating Goodness!

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Badhaai Ho is a beautiful film. And its not because it possibly delivers the best humor of the year so far. But it becomes so much more effective because it doesn’t just trivialize the important but awkward issue of accidental geriatric pregnancy in the garb of comedy, but adds adequate depth to it with the right balance of emotions and well blended sentimentality. The film can boast of landing some of the most crackling lines of recent times perfectly laden with bouts of laughter; but the biggest strength of the film lies in how well each of characters at Kaushik’s and Sharma’s are developed, the kind of bond and understanding that they get to share with each other, and the complete redemption arc that each of them traverse to overcome the social predicament and welcome the little one with open arms.

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ANDHADHUN : Aphrodisiac for Good Cinema

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#MinorSpoilerAlert

Years ago, John Lennon had left profound thoughts behind when he sang along “Living is easy with eyes closed”. With Andhadhun, Shriram Raghavan almost pushes us deep into the same metaphorical world with his rhetorical question and response – “What is life? It depends on the liver“.

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PATAAKHA : A Dazzling Experience

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The sparkle of Vishal Bharadwaj’s latest oddball comedy Pataakha lies in the fact that in spite of riding on a wafer thin plot about two loud squabbling sisters who themselves do not know what do they fight for, the film keeps one fairly entertained and hooked at large, generating frequent chuckles and raising pertinent thoughts on futility of war at the same time. The quirky, dark and situational comedy plays out well primarily because of the authentic milieu it is able to create powered by terrific writing, great performances by the entire ensemble, in sync background score, and great attention to detail in building up the rustic charm.

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SUI DHAAGA : Vibrant Colors Of Happiness

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There are films that wow us with their layers & complexities, or captivate us with their gritty reality & unpredictability. And there are other kind of films that still wow us with their simplistic endearing qualities, or captivate us with their emotional but inspiring cinematic moments. They tell us stories we know and have seen before – but that honestly does not matter because they shine through the vulnerability and honesty of simple middle class dreams we root for; dreams we see patching up through the known twists and turns, dreams that weave seamlessly into vibrant colors of happiness, honor, and heroism.

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MANTO : Bhula Huya Afsana

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If Manto as a movie experience were to be summarized in a one liner, it would read – A film that is ‘designed‘ for the festival circuits! It is not to say that it does not deal with Saadat Hasan Manto’s life seriously, it does. The issue is that it takes itself a bit too seriously, and builds on certain assumptions that does not go with its intent.

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MANMARZIYAAN : Grey Shades of Complex Love

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“Ae logic na samajh paandi.. Tasalli na aenu aandi..
Ae gash khaandi ghazab dhaandi.. Siyaappe nitt nave paandi…”

Its exactly this grey shade of love that Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan is interested in exploring, and quite naturally so. Nothing is as complicated and convoluted as love, nothing is as illogical and whimsical as love, nothing is as treacherous and devastating as love, and yet nothing is as pacifying and inspiring as love. It surprises me hence that someone like Kashyap actually took so long to make a full-fledged feature on matters of the heart and the dark complexities of relationships; but when he does it finally, he does it like no one else.

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LAILA MAJNU : When Love Falters!

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Laila Majnu as a film is very similar to Majnu’s interpretation of love. More than Laila, Majnu is deeply in love with the idea of loving Laila, and hence flourishes in her longing rather than actually loving her even when she is right there. Similarly, the film is deeply in love with the classic concept of the magical love story, but doesn’t execute it with the finesse and softness that it rightly deserves. As a result, while it all looks gorgeously insane, the lunacy is more on the surface and doesn’t penetrate deep enough into the soul to truly internalize it.

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ONCE AGAIN : When Amar met Tara

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She is afraid of the seas and hence of the forgotten desires buried deep down her. He is afraid of the mountains and is not sure if he wants to conquer the unknown. Together they are soulmates that they were always searching for. Individually they are so used to their solitude that anything else, though terribly tempting is deeply uncomfortable.

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STREE : Naye Bharat ki Chudail

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With STREE, director Amar Kaushik brings a bizarrely refreshing film to the forefront of hindi cinema for a change. It is not a perfect film or great piece of art, and has its own limitations. But it works mostly because Kaushik is able to extract some very good performances out of all its lead actors, and also invests effort in some very intelligent writing to create quite a few genuinely hilarious and witty moments. The issue is that such moments come in and go inconsistently and hence do not leave the audience with a uniformly pleasant movie watching experience.

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