‘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.
It is as much a story about the sport, as it is about revisiting gender stereotypes and a complex father-daughter relationship. Nitesh Tiwari has infused this biopic with not only heart-wrenching emotions, but also spontaneous humour. Mahavir Singh Phogat’s indomitable spirit and his almost audacious ambition to coach Geeta and Babita to glory at the world wrestling stage indeed make for an inspiring story.
It’s a film by Aditya Chopra and you expect him to do more than just make it look slick and stylish. There is really nothing new about the plot – two people who are intrinsically attracted to each other and don’t want to complicate their relationship by making long-term commitments: this is the ‘No Strings Attached’ or ‘Friends with Benefits’ kind of storyline that has been done to death in desi versions such as ‘Love Aaj Kal’ (2009), ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ (2013) or even the very recent ‘OK Kanmani’ by Mani Ratnam.
Despite some good performances, Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Kahaani 2’ fails to pack the punch of its prequel. The first half of Vidya Sinha’s (Vidya Balan) story weaves enough intrigue to keep you hooked till the interval.
‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ is a take on the more complicated journey that love actually is in real life. This love story has two main leads – Alizeh (Anushka) and Ayan (Ranbir) and two supporting leads – Saba (Aishwarya) and Ali (Fawad) – and each of them approach love differently, yet with anguish and loss. Karan Johar uses his favourite devices to tell this story of complicated hearts.
Abhinay Deo’s ‘Force 2’ is high on style and low on rationale. John Abraham’s tough cop act is reminiscent of his earlier release this year: in ‘Dishoom’ he did pretty much the same thing. It is a shame to see Sonakshi Sinha reduced to a mere prop in this attempted thriller.
Shujaat Saudagar’s film is mature – this band of boys does not shy away from stylishly brandishing their greys! This is a complex story where our protagonist, Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar) seeks redemption far away from the bustle and comfort of the city: he works with farmers in Meghalaya. By making a difference to a small village in India’s North East, he hopes to find some measure of atonement for his guilt.
MS Dhoni’s surreal obscurity-to-fame life story makes for a fascinating tale, but the script staggers under the deadweight of the avoidable, delving too much on the redundant at the expense of stuff that would have set the pulse racing. Neeraj Pandey begins with India’s 2011 World Cup win – the high point of Dhoni’s career.
Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s film is a must-watch for more reasons than one. Three working girls, Minal (Taapsee), Falak (Kirti) and Andrea (Andrea), are out partying one night when things spiral out of control.
Remo understands dance, a superhero flick with a dollops of gyaan on environmental pollution and its impact is much beyond his ilk. There is very little to say about this unsuspecting, reluctant superhero – no super power can save Tiger Shroff’s preposterous choice of career.
At a time when films on Indo-Pak relations are steeped in jingoism, ‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’ is a fun outing. The jilted groom (Bagga) and her forlorn lover (Guddu) are desperate to find her, while she is scheming her comeback with a newfound Pakistani friend (Bilal Ahmed). Abhay Deol as Bilal Ahmed is in top form.
Inspired by the Nanavati case (1959), where a decorated Naval officer is charged with murdering his wife’s lover, this case has a certain allure. The public prosecutor wanted to prove this a premeditated murder, where the officer decided to fire three shots in cold blood, the defendant, however, pleads ‘not guilty’ saying that he fired the shots under extreme provocation and in self-defense. In fact, the public prosecutor played by Sachin Khedekar comes across as a bumbling fool.