BALA : Has its Moments, But Just About That

The weakest parts of Amar Kaushik’s new film ‘Bala‘ is when it tries to go extreme by embracing the fake to drive home a point – whether it is the much discussed odd dark skin paint on Bhumi Pednekar’s Latika; or the ultra repetitive mimicry acts by Ayushmann Khurrana’s Bala or Javed Jaffery’s Bachchan Bhaiyya – whether of Shahrukh Khan or Amitabh Bachchan or Dev Anand; or the ultra-smart facade or soon getting stale desperate tricks by Bala to salvage his balding hairline; or most of all the entire tik-tok act of Yami Gautam’s Pari and her plastic courtship with  Bala built on an artificial and messy chemistry.

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MODERN LOVE : Heartfelt Stories of Life

Modern Love – Heartfelt Stories of Life.. Stories that make you laugh, cry, feel, breathe, fly, break away

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Amitabh Bachchan – Most Memorable Characters!

Amitabh Bachchan – The Biggest Superstar ever of Hindi Cinema completely 50 years of ruling the screen today! The range of his body of work is incomparable, and he has been tremendous in everything that he has done from Action to Comedy to Drama to Extrovert to Introvert to you name it, but my favorite ones have been his serious understated types! Making his debut as the voice narrator in Mrinal Sen’s award winning Bhuvan Shome in 1969 and then with an on screen debut with Saat Hindustani in the same year, the Maestro has come a long way! The Dadasaheb Phalke honour, Padma Vibhushan, 4 national awards, 15 filmfare awards, 41 filmfare nominations and a host of innumerable other accolades and counting, his journey continues! May be his performance of the lifetime is yet to come!

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JALLIKATTU : Overwhelming Technical Brilliance, but…

Noted Malayalam filmmaker Lijo Jose Pellissery‘s recent film Jallikattu got released on digital within a month of its theatrical release, and though the dazzling film is crafted in a way to be best consumed at the cinemas, this quick digital release will definitely help it to reach far and wide to many who have been wanting to experience the film, given the interest it has already generated with its critical acclaim and positive word of mouth. In fact there is much to learn from Malayalam and Tamil cinema how well integrated is their digital strategy in the overall distribution planning of their films, which has helped them to move ahead of the curve to gain much wider national/global following and appreciation. Jallikattu is no exception.

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KEDARA : The Soliloquy of Solitude

Silence speaks a thousand words in Indraadip Dasgupta‘s deeply immersive and stunning debut directorial Kedara. Through the almost forgotten art of Ventriloquism, the film takes us on a journey in search of humanity, to go back and grow intimate with many things lost or forgotten, befriend our solitude, and reflect back upon the definitions of success and failure of a dejected existence. In these ultra fast and busy times, Kedara is the much needed thoughtful pause that celebrates the songs of silence, and relishes on living life king size in a unique personal universe that is otherwise laden with the burden of not-haves.

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SAAND KI AANKH : Quite a Misfire

The unbelievable real life story of the Shooter DadisChandro Tomar and Prakasi Tomar is the stuff of legends. It is such an incredible story of triumph over so many kinds of isms – sex, age, class (and counting..), that it naturally fits in to be a very engaging cinematic drama with opportunities to explore so many layers of story telling.

It is a pity then that filmmaker Tushar Hiranandani is least interested in exploring any layers and complexities of such an incredible plot setup in Saand Ki Aankh, and wants to play it to the gallery in a full blown massy commercial setup in the most simplistic and loud manner. He shoots completely out of range, and there are only very few moments sparsely showing up in an unbelievably dragging long film, that genuinely connect and get anywhere close to the bull’s eye that he was aiming for.

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THE SKY IS PINK : ‘Coz the Colour of Grief is very very Personal

In one of the scenes in The Sky is Pink, Niren Chaudhary, the helpless father, asks his terminally ill child Aisha to consider going for a lung transplant because it can possibly add 10 more years to her life sinking off pulmonary fibrosis. To this, Aisha very pragmatically asks him back if saying goodbyes would become a tad easier at 28 instead of 18. Niren is obviously left speechless. And along with him we are also reminded how it is never going to be easy to face the final eventuality how much ever preparatory time you get. Not today, not tomorrow, not few years later; and not for any of the family members, who are possibly all dying their own emotional deaths even though only one of them will be finally going away. It is then a personal journey of every individual how one wants to deal with the impending death, and find moments of happiness and hope along the way in the zeal of life.

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MITIN MASHI : Too Preachy, Too Inert, Too Simplistic

Arindam Sil knows the fascination of the cinema going Bengali with the thriller and mystery genre. He knows that even when he delivers rather mediocre to poor Byomkesh and Shabor films, they still sell like hot cake. So why not introduce another franchise of the ‘meye chhele turned mohila detective’ – he thought, add multiple bouts of self protective action sequences, dollops of preachy gyan to make Mitin the all out feminist crusader, and present her as the all powerful Dashabhuja during Pujo to ring merrily at the cash registers? After all, what else will the woke Bangali buy in to, more so because this may be the only clean entertainer available for full family community viewing during the festival! Chances are, his intuition will be proved right and the film will do brisk business, but Suchitra Bhattacharya‘s popular young adult series investigator Mitin Mashi demanded a much better film!

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RAJLOKKHI O SRIKANTO : Love that transcends beyond time and more…

It is often said that the most memorable cinematic experiences are often about how much we buy in and immerse ourselves into its make believe world. And when magical realism is the unifying driving theme of most films of the filmmaker in focus, you somewhat know that the make believe aspects of his latest film will be its key strength. You know that he will make the story breathe and will let you the space to interpret it in your own unique way without feeding it all in a platter.

It is also said that inspirations or adaptations can become more interesting, when the filmmaker infuses his own imagination and narration style to the source material, allowing for significant deviations to integrally sync up with the storytelling. Gulzar’s Ijaazat became such a classic because of the way he treated the original story idea of Jatugriha and brought in his own complexities. Quentin Tarantino is a master of altering the facts of history to create his own immersive cinematic world across films, be it The Inglourious Basterds or the very recent Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The same can be said about national award winning filmmaker Pradipta Bhattacharya’s latest film Rajlokkhi o Srikanto, where he does take Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic source material for the base, but takes the film to a completely different space because of the deviations he takes and the narration style he chooses. The only thing that he possibly demands is your flexibility and patience to stay with him while he lays the foundation, so that the wings of magical realism can be built for us to take off on a flight of an immersive surreal experience.

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DO PAISE KI DHOOP CHAAR AANE KI BAARISH : Of Rough Weathers of Life

Do paise ki dhoop.. chaar aane ki baarish..
Baarah maas main mausam bechta hoon…

Watch Do Paise Ki Dhoop Chaar Aane Ki Baarish on Netflix for how the Mumbai rains, and the poetry from old hindi film songs become integral characters by themselves in the lives of three marginalized and struggling individuals seeking each other’s company for acceptance and affection.

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