Hansal Mehta, the director, has crafted a couple of fine movies – ‘Shahid’ and ‘Aligarh’ – based on real-life characters. It borrows heavily from the life of Sandeep Kaur, who robbed a string of banks in Los Angeles in 2014 by pretending to be a human bomb and who was eventually arrested.
‘A Gentleman’ is a stylishly made action film that seems to strike a good balance with an interesting premise, a breezy romance and some understated humour. Sidharth Malhotra and Jacqueline Fernandez have an engaging plot to work with. Is this a case of mistaken identity?
‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ is a typical Bollywood love story. The endearing characters, who are indispensable to this story, make this small-town tale heartwarming. Bitti from Bareilly loves break dance, English films and an occasional puff and this obviously doesn’t fit the description of a ‘suitable girl’.
This well-intentioned film is trite, verbose and protracted. ‘Toilet – Ek Prem Katha’ tries too hard to drive home its point – however valid – and in the process spends too much time circumventing the real issue. A topic such as this one needed dollops of humour to engage the audience, but the excruciatingly lengthy runtime of 155 minutes only serves to the contrary.
‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ starring Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma makes for a fun watch. This is one served with a dash of humour and lots of travel. Imtiaz Ali well understands the complexities of a romantic relationship. For those of us who have had too much of Ali’s edgy and dark love stories, this one comes as a breath of fresh air. Rummana Ahmed reviews this complete entertainer.
Anees Bazmee’s ‘Mubarakan’ is boisterous, unimaginative and lackluster. Add to it the tried-and-tested formula of having the male lead in a double role and the combination appears to be a winning one – I mean, how can identical twin brothers and the ensuing confusion about their love interests not be a recipe for success! Our filmmakers however manage to make a almighty mess of this clichéd template.
‘Munna Michael’ has aspirations of being a ‘different’ film, and it would have been, had it not fallen prey to the clichéd Bollywood formula. Sabbir Khan has an interesting premise at his disposal but a very predictable second half spells doom for the film. For once, I thought the director understood exactly what Tiger Shroff was capable of – showing off his well-sculpted abs and fluid dance moves to his advantage.
‘Jagga Jasoos’ is a well-intentioned musical adventure that takes too long to unravel. Anurag Basu and Ranbir Kapoor had previously collaborated on ‘Barfi’ (2012) – the film had deaf-mute hero (Ranbir Kapoor) and an autistic female lead (Priyanka Chopra) and yet, had one of the most coherent narratives of that year.
Ravi Udyawar’s film boasts of a strong script and compelling performances, but is let down by a run-of-the-mill climax. You discover right at the onset that Sridevi doesn’t have an easy equation with her adolescent daughter.
‘Tubelight’ needs a lot of patience and while Salman fans will surely be shedding copious tears at the theatre, for the rest this film isn’t as entertaining as his previous ones. Director Kabir Khan has an interesting premise for the story – a war’s impact on the families of the soldiers and their antsy wait for the return of their loved ones.
‘Raabta’ is an over-indulgent love story that needs a lot of patience. This romance progresses at a languid pace with the reincarnation saga dragging the plot all the more.
All of us wanted the win of the 1983 Cricket World Cup to be replicated because we were too young to have any actual recollection of the real match. A 10-year-old Sachin too had the same dream. As we retraced Sachin Tendulkar’s steps, we were almost reintroduced to our childhood – Doordarshan was the only channel we could watch on our black-and-white television sets, people would crowd around the few television sets available in the neighbourhood to watch matches and the epic India-Pakistan matches that were like war.
For Abhimanyu ‘Bubla’ Roy, the quintessential good Bengali boy, played by Ayushmann Khurrana, it is love at first sight. This childhood love story has all the makings of a perfect Bollywood romance and yet, the two best friends fail to strike the right balance when it comes to making the relationship work.
Sunhil Shetty’s ‘Noor’ works in parts – the light moments, the romance and comedy, make for a breezy watch but it flounders while trying to make a serious point. Based on the novel, ‘Karachi, You’re Killing Me!’, the protagonist of this story is rookie journalist Noor Roy Chaudhury played by Sonakshi Sinha. Noor, like most young female journalists in the country aspires to be the next Barkha Dutt but is trapped covering insipid stories and Page 3 events.
While the action sequences are riveting, it’s the loose narrative that makes this film an exhausting watch. Neeraj Pandey’s ‘Baby’ was an engrossing watch and I was looking forward to ‘Naam Shabana’, the prequel. But this film falters at all places where ‘Baby’ (2015) had held its own – a taut script, palpable tension and a brisk pace at which the story unfolded.
When the ‘foreign-return’, ill-fated, would-be groom, Kanan (Suraj Sharma), is asked to marry a tree before his actual marriage, he ends up marrying the resident-ghost of the tree, Sashi. Kanan is in a bind because he has no clue what to do with the friendly ghost with an impending wedding at hand.
The film is visually compelling, but the overall cinematic experience is sketchy and, at times, even tedious. This film is set during World War II – a time when Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (INA) was waging it’s own war of liberation against the British Empire. In this tumult, a feisty Bollywood action star Julie (Kangana Ranaut) is asked to entertain English and Indian troops at the India-Burma border.
Subhash Kapoor’s compelling courtroom drama is one of the best satires of recent times. ‘Jolly LLB 2’ addresses the pertinent issues of the day with skill and humour, all the while exhibiting remarkable restraint. The premise seems simple enough – Jagdishwar Mishra aka Jolly (Akshay Kumar) is a small-time lawyer trying to break into the big league.
Oh, ‘Raees’! I wish you didn’t leave me so sad. Action films aren’t my favourite genre, but I love fast-paced edgy thrillers. ‘Raees’ works at so many levels and yet, the end left me disappointed. Rahul Dholakia’s film – the rags to riches story of a self-made man, Raees Alam, who hates being called battery – has all the makings of a 1970’s potboiler.
Mani Ratnam’s ‘OK Kanmani’ had tugged at my heartstrings, alas, Shaad Ali’s remake just doesn’t strike the same chords. ‘OK Jaanu’ lacks the spontaneity and the effervescence of the original. Aditya (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Tara (Shraddha Kapoor) are instinctively attracted to each other but settling down to live happily ever after is not in their immediate scheme of things. This young couple is tenants at an older couple’s (Naseeruddin Shah and Leela Samson) place.