Cast: Priyanka Chopra Jonas Rajkummar Rao Adarsh GouravDirector - Ramin BahraniRelease date - 22 January, 2020 3.5 stars ‘The White Tiger’ directed by Raman Bahrani is based on Arvind Adiga’s novel of the same name. Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rajkummar Rao and Adarsh Gaurav star in this story about the immense class and caste divide that’s prevalent in India. The novel won the Man Booker Prize in 2008, will this 2021 film make for a compelling watch?Stay tuned to find out Balram Halwai, played by Adarsh Gourav, has known only hardship since childhood. Having witnessed his father living a life of debt and his aspirations of higher studies being snuffed out early, he refuses to be shackled by poverty. He can read and speak English and he plans to use that to his advantage. The notion of servitude is so deeply ingrained in the Indian society - can Balram really break free?Ashok and Pinky, played by Priyanka and Rajkummar, are Balram’s employers. They have returned from the US and don’t approve of the way servants are treated in the household. The household or the patriarchs in this family are the Stork and the Mongoose - Ashok’s father and elder brother - landlords from Balram’s village.The director brings out the stark differences that coexist in India. The nation as the fastest growing global economy. The haves live a life of opulence and luxury. And the have-nots, who have no way of escaping their fate of impoverishment. What makes the chasm deeper is the caste-divide that allow some to always behave entitled. The cast of ‘The White Tiger’ - especially Priyanka and Rajkummar - belt out convincing performances. Priyanka as the NRI daughter-in-law fails to fathom how the class/caste dynamics play out in India’s heartland. Rajkummar plays her husband - he tries to behave emancipated but it is almost impossible for him to escape the trappings of the social structure that he is a part of. The hero of this tale is obviously Adarsh Gourav - his portrayal of Balram is at once, likeable and loathsome. At times, your heart goes out to the loyal servant who is trying to do the right thing but is always being reminded of his place. At the same time, I felt repelled by some of his actions - does the end justify the means? VO 6 The film is bilingual and the dialogue exchange isn’t seamless. Somewhere the interactions between the Mongoose and Balram, speaking in English seems to just not fit in. While the performances keep you engaged, the climax doesn’t have a dramatic impact. I am going 3.5 stars for this one. Please do share your views with us and don’t forget to like, share and comment on this video. Follow us on YouTube for more videos
Cast: Tanvi Azmi Kajol Mithila Palkar Director - Renuka SahaneRelease date - 15 January, 2020 3 stars This week’s release has three female actors, Tanvi Azmi, Kajol and Mithila Palkar in the lead. Written and directed by Renuka Sahane, Tribhanga is a dance pose in Odissi and represents the three protagonists and their unconventional life.Kajol is known to be very picky about the scripts she selects - what’s special about this one? Bollywood actress and Odissi dancer, Anuradha Apte, played by Kajol shares a complicated equation with her mother. Nayantara Apte, played by Tanvi Azmi, is the mother, an acclaimed writer, who decided to live life on her own terms. Nayan gets divorced and her ensuing choice in men dents her relationship with her children. Anuradha or Anu, grows up without a father figure and after being in abusive relationships becomes a rebel. She uses cuss words, smokes (or used to) and has a string of non-serious relationships. But when it comes to her daughter, played by Mithila, she is fiercely protective. Masha, played by Mithila, has two feisty female role models while growing up. But she chooses to marry into a very traditional family where she is expected to cover her head at all times. Why does Masha pick such an almost regressive set-up for herself? It’s interesting how each of them have a completely different approach to life The men in the supporting cast - Kunal Roy Kapur, Vaibhav Tatwawaadi, Manav Gohil and Kanwaljeet Singh in a cameo are integral to the tale of these 3 women. They provide insight into how some men can be empowering by their mere presence. Tanvi Azmi is convincing as a flawed mother, who has made peace with her decisions and mistakes. Kajol is good in parts but over-the-top in quite a few scenes. Playing a rebel doesn’t seem to come naturally to her. Mithila as the ‘balanced’ one fits right in. She resists the drama that seems to define the older women in this tale. Director Renuka Sahane does an interesting job of laying out the various elements of a woman's life but fails to bring it together seamlessly. It’s an engaging watch but not compelling enough. I am going with 3 stars for ‘Tribhanga’. Follow us on YouTube for more videos
Coolie No 1 Review 2 stars Cast : Varun Dhawan, Sara Ali Khan Director: David Dhawan Release date: 25 December, 2020 This year’s Christmas release has Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan as the romantic lead in David Dhawan’s Coolie No 1. Is this remake of the 1995 Govinda - Karisma Kapoor starrer worth a watch? Here’s the story - Raju played by Varun falls for rich girl Sara played by Sara Ali Khan. Their marriage seems like an impossible alliance but Javed Jaffrey plays matchmaker who has a score to settle with Sara’s father played by Paresh Rawal. He presents Coolie No 1 Raju as Raj, a billionaire and gets the two married. But how long before the truth unfolds? Coolie No 1 is bigger, it has fancier sets, stylish costumes and definitely a lot of money spent on production. But none of the big bucks spent really translates into a wholesome entertainer. For one, the plot that worked in 1995 doesn’t seem to really fit in 2020. Even if you were to suspend disbelief, the film seems more like a spoof. Govinda’s comic timing made all his associations with David Dhawan a fun-watch, no matter how ridiculous the plot was. Varun Dhawan who was completely convincing in the ‘Judwaa’ remake, seems under confident in Coolie No 1. The jokes fall flat and he seems to be trying too hard to be funny. Sara Ali Khan has shown promise in her debut film ‘Kedarnath’ and while she seems to enjoy playing the quintessential Bollywood heroine in this one, this performance is definitely not worth talking about. Sara enjoys the ‘thumkas’ but is really over-the-top in parts where she has to be emotional. The rest of the supporting cast - Javed Jaffrey, Paresh Rawal and Johnny Lever - none of them really tickle the funny bone. The dialogues, the humour and the comebacks were found wanting. The song and dance sequences also, fail to make you want to move and groove. A remake needs to be repurposed to be relevant to today’s audience. We can’t just force fit a formula that worked 25 years ago and rest assured it will work. Coolie No 1 disappoints on too many counts - I am going with 2 stars for this one. Follow us on YouTube for more detailed reviews
Flawless performances from HRVY and Maisie couldn’t spoil the party for the people’s champion
Cast : Rajkummar Rao, Nushrat Bharucha, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub Director: Hansal Mehta 3 stars Review by Rummana Ahmed The film’s first half has a lot of laugh-out-loud moments but the second half feels a little stretched. ‘Chhalang’ has subtle messages but it never gets preachy.
Laxmii is now streaming on Disney+Hotstar Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kiara Advani Director: Raghava Lawrence Review by Rummana Ahmed 1.5 stars ‘Laxmii’ is the story of a transgender who was rejected by parents and despite, the many challenges manages to become a role model. However, after her brutal death, her ghost wants vengeance. Can Akshay get Laxmii the justice she deserves? Watch more detailed reviews on our YouTube channel
Cast: Ishan Khatter, Ananya Panday Direction: Maqbool Khan 2.5 stars Review by Rummana Ahmed ‘Khaali Peeli’ means ‘just like that’ so if you have nothing much to do on this long weekend and just want some timepass, you can watch this movie. Follow us on YouTube for more videos
Cast: Konkona Sen Sharma, Bhumi Pednekar Direction: Alankrita Shrivastava 3.5 stars Review by Rummana Ahmed Dolly played by Konkona is married and settled in Noida, while Kitty played by Bhumi, is new in town, looking for a job and is temporarily living with her sister. Is Dolly’s life as perfect as it seems? And is Kitty as free as she claims to be? Can the sisters really bond over their dark secrets? Or will their differences drive a wedge in their already strained relationship?
Cast: Aditya Roy Kapur, Alia Bhatt, Sanjay Dutt, Pooja Bhatt Direction: Mahesh Bhatt 1 star Review by Rummana Ahmed ‘Sadak 2’ is a revenge saga - Aaarya played by Alia wants to avenge her mother’s death, who she has allegedly been killed by her evil stepmother and a fake Godman. Her boyfriend Vishal played by Aditya also joins her fight but he seems to have his own secrets. Aarya meets Ravi played by Dutt, who has become suicidal after his wife’s death. She gives Ravi a sense of purpose and he gets involved in her quest to get justice and fight evil.
Cast: Janhvi Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Angad BediDirector: Sharan Sharma 4 stars Review by Rummana Ahmed Gunjan Saxena’s story is for all women out there who have tried to infiltrate the boys’ club and found themselves having to work doubly hard to prove their capability. And even then, they don’t seem to fit in because well, your gender is different. It’s also for the men who nurse their chauvinism because they are actually insecure of their woman counterparts. I guess, it is time for everyone to take a closer look at our biases.
Cast: Vidya Balan, Sanya MalhotraDirector: Anu Menon 3.5 stars Review by Rummana Ahmed Director Anu Menon handles this biopic with skill. The various aspects of the enigmatic mathematician’s personality are nuanced. Menon beautifully presents the mother daughter relationship as complex and a terrain that needs to be negotiated together.
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Sanjana Sanghi Director: Mukesh Chhabra Review by Rummana Ahmed ‘Dil Bechara’ tugs at your heart strings, for all of us who have lost someone dear to cancer, the helplessness is painful. And so is the reminder, that Sushant isn’t among us anymore. He had wowed us with his performance in his films like Kai Po Che, Dhoni, Kedarnath and Sonchiriya. In ‘Dil Bechara’ his exuberance is infectitious. Like a friend said, it is impossible to see this film for its craft - I look at Sushant and there were so many questions, so many emotions, just the thought that he had so much more to live ….None of us every thought that this film will get a posthomous release…it’s truly heartbreaking.
The director deserves loud applause for not only normalizing gay love but also for not shying away from showing the couple hugging and kissing.
‘Jawaani Jaaneman’ is a short and sweet comedy that had the potential to be much more. A more thoughtful script and better character development could have really lifted the narrative.
While this film tries to make light of the situation, anyone who has ever tried to get pregnant will know that it is not easy.
'Chhapaak' is based on the real life story of acid attack survivor - Laxmi Agarwal. Laxmi was attacked when she was only 15 years old but she refused to be a victim.