Why Cheat India (2019) – Movie Review

Cheating Soon!

Why Cheat India is a crime drama film written and directed by Soumik Sen. The film talks about the reality of flawed Indian Education System and shows the struggles of students which they go through to complete their parents’ expectations.

The film revolves around Rakesh Singh (Emraan Hashmi), a con man, who provides a backdoor entry to undeserved rich students to get into premier institutes by exploiting the vulnerabilities of the system in exchange of a lot of money. He does it specifically by trapping clever but needy students, and by making them appear as a dummy for entrance exams in place of other students. The film’s story also involves one such boy named Satyendra Dubey (Sattu), who falls prey to Rakesh’s scam, what happens next forms the crux of the film.

The film talks on a really fresh and daring topic. The newness of the story is one of its plus points apart from the performances. Emraan Hashmi’s portrayal of a con man is flawless; he brings different shades to this character which makes it even more convincing and compelling. But the film falls behind on the front of storytelling, which gets really boring and messy towards the second half. The songs in the film do not complement the story, and actually makes the film slow-burning. Even if the film talks on the solid topic but fails to give a logical ending to it.

Verdict : The film is decent to watch for its performances and a fresh topic, but don’t expect more from it.

Rating : 3.2/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B6vjua8aK4


Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi (2019) – Movie Review

I won’t give up my Jhansi!

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi is a biographical period drama film written by Vijayendra Prasad, and co-directed by Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi and Kangana Ranaut. The film stars Kangana Ranaut in the title role.

Mainly, the film revolves around the rebellion against British dominance in India in 1857. A rebellion in a true sense, which had sparked the fire of independence in the heart of every Indian against tyrannical British rule. And queen Lakshmi Bai (Kangana Ranaut) was one of the leading figures of that Rebellion. The film tells the story of her becoming the queen of Jhansi after king Gangadhar Rao’s (Jishu Sengupta) death and her fierce resistance to the British Rule.

In the first half, the film narrates the early years in the life of queen Laxmi Bai. The film shows the different shades and stages of the queen’s life – a brave daughter to Moropant (Manish Wadhwa), who likes to read, who has a decent knowledge of history. An exceptional queen of Jhansi, who after marriage denies the traditional ways, and instead takes a keen interest in the political atmosphere of Jhansi and the state of the country.

Comparatively, in the second half, the things start moving in a much faster way. There happens most of the action, when Queen defends the fort of Jhansi by being a brave and fearless warrior. We also see the compassionate mother and generous queen who wins the love and loyalty of the people of Jhansi. The moment literally gives goosebumps, when queen rides on a horse, with a sword raised in the other hand, and her son Damodarpant tied on her back.

At the start of the film, the disclaimer is shown that some moments are dramatized and fictionalized for the film’s purpose. So the film is the larger than life representation of the valor of queen of Jhansi. The picturization of the film is beautiful and vibrant. The camera angles are very well utilized, especially for the wide angle shots. The battle scenes look impressive with cannons and sword fights. The flaw which I felt is that the screenplay was lazy which made the shots seem disconnected from each other. While watching the film, the things were too glossy for me, I’ll rather opt for something which is more raw and real.

The biggest plus point of the film is Kangana’s extraordinary performance as a fierce warrior queen. She has delivered some powerful monologues with her commanding voice and screen presence. Besides Kangana, some of the impacting performances are Danny Denzongpa as Ghulam Ghaus Khan, Ankita Lokhande as Jhalkaribai, and Atul Kulkarni as Tatya Tope. Definitely, the film manages to inspire and gives the feeling of patriotism.

First Uri and now Manikarnika, and as we all know that 26th January is India’s Republic day; And that’s why this year January has truly become a month of patriotism.

Verdict : Just go for it, and celebrate the valor of Laxmibai, the fearless queen of Jhansi, who fought for our independence.

Rating : 4/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKmkMVaNu9g

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Mary Poppins Returns (2018) – Movie Review

The magic always returns.

Mary Poppins Returns is a musical fantasy film directed by Rob Marshall. The film is based on the book series Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers, & the film is a sequel to the film Mary Poppins (1964). It is one of the longest gaps between film sequels in cinematic history at 54 years.

The film sets in 1935 London, 25 years after the events of the first film. Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is living in his childhood home with his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer), and his children Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh), and Georgie (Joel Dawson); having his wife Kate, who has died a year ago. Not so long into the film, the financial calamity strikes Banks family, in which they may lose their home. Now Banks family must find a way out of this distress, but soon Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), the former magical nanny of Jane and Michael Banks arrives at their home to take care of Annabel, John, and Georgie.

It is the beautifully made film in every angle, which truly compliments its prequel. The film is directed so well that every frame of the film is like a nice wallpaper. The film is colorful, vibrant, and soothing to the eyes. Like its prequel, there are some scenes where animated and real characters appear together on screen, which is just fun to watch. The characters are likable and compelling, like every good fairy tale should have. The performances are also convincing and entertaining, in particular, Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda as lamplighter Jack, Mary Poppins’ old companion, both of them have done a great job.

At the start, the film feels more of a childish, but as it moves forward with Mary Poppin’s life lessons and musical numbers, it gives the film a needed depth and makes it much more interesting. The background score of the film is cheerful which elevates the movie watching experience. The dance numbers, costume design, and production design of the film is apt and overwhelming.

Verdict : It is a light-hearted and a nostalgic family fun film.

Rating : 3.7/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3jsfXDZLIY

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – Movie Review

What makes you different is what makes you Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an animated action-adventure film based on the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales/Spider-Man. The film is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman.

It is the first feature film in the Spider-Man franchise to be animated rather than live-action. The animation of the film has its own unique style, combining Sony Pictures Imageworks’ computer animation pipeline with traditional hand-drawn comic book techniques including the stop-animation effect.

The film sets in a shared multiverse called the “Spider-Verse”, which has alternate universes having alternative versions of Spider-Man. The film follows a teenager Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and develops superhuman spider-like abilities. Not so long into the film, Miles witnesses the deadly experiment to access parallel universes being carried out by Wilson Fisk a.k.a Kingpin (Liev Schreiber). The experiment starts to malfunction which causes different versions of Spider-Man from different dimensions to collide in the present one. Now, Miles Morales must team up with other Spider-People to save New York City from Kingpin.

The animation of the film is one of its kind and it works really well. The plot of the film is very much intriguing with compelling characters and nicely woven humor. The film tells the really good origin story of Miles Morales/Spider-Man as we can clearly see the apt transformation of a teenager becoming Spider-Man. The other best parts of this film are brilliant voice actors and their comic timings. The background score and the soundtracks of the film just elevate the overall experience in the best way. With all these positive points this film will definitely get nominated for the Academy Awards in different categories, and can also possibly win some.

Verdict : The film is undoubtedly one of the best-animated films of the year, and one should not miss this.

Rating : 4.4/5

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Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) – Movie Review

Fearless Lives Forever.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biography and musical drama film written by Anthony McCarten and directed by Bryan Singer. The film depicts the extraordinary tale of the British rock band Queen.

The film features the life of Freddie Mercury/Farrokh Bulsara (Rami Malek), lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. The film starts with early years in 1970 when Freddie was just a college student working as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport. And in the spare time, he used to watch local rock bands; in particular, a band named ‘Smile’. One night, after the show, Freddie meets Smile guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and in his peculiar ways offers to replace their lead singer. And with the addition of bassist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello), the band known as Queen. Rest of the film follows the rise of ‘Queen’ in the world of fame with many ups and downs leading up to its legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert.

Without keeping many expectations, I had gone to watch this film, thinking that what a rock band film possibly could serve. But, believe me, besides its biographical and musical aspect, the story of the film alone is compelling and powerful enough to move you and cheer you up from inside. The film is just a perfect combination of music and biography elements, and those work really together. The film progresses smoothly and hardly feels lazy at any point. The film moves very fast by keeping ‘Mercury’ at the center(depicting his personal and sexual life) but because of the limited timeframe, the film fails to touch all the parts of the whole story.

The background score and all the songs in the film compliments the story. The performances by the actors are good, notably, Malek’s portrayal of Mercury looks authentic and commanding. The music sequences, especially the Live Aid scenes are convincingly epic. The film has become the highest-grossing musical biographical film of all-time.

Verdict : The film is compelling, enjoyable, and nostalgic treat for Queen’s fans.

Rating : 4/5

K.G.F: Chapter 1 (2018) – Movie Review

Powerful People Comes From Powerful Places

K.G.F: Chapter 1 is a period action drama film written and directed by Prashanth Neel. The film is the first installment in the two-part series.

The film sets from the year 1951 to the present time. In the present time, the senior journalist Anand Ingalagiis (Anant Nag) is narrating the story of Kolar Gold Fields (El Dorado – the lost city of gold). In 1951, the story of the film starts and proceeds parallelly with two incidents; the birth of the protagonist Raja/Rocky (Yash) and other in the K.G.F people locate the gold. On one side, the film tells the journey of Rocky, born in poverty, from his village to Mumbai to Bangalore, to fulfill his dying mother’s wish to become the richest and powerful man. And on the other hand, the film revolves around the world of money, power, politics, and secret empire of gold named K.G.F built by the ruthless land and gold mafia Suryavardhan (Ramesh Indira) and his allies.

The plot of the film is really interesting and it is filled with so many compelling characters. The lead character Rocky played by Yash commands his screen presence. Along with the leads, the performances by all the other characters are also convincing. Each and every scene of the film is beautifully shot, and it feels aesthetically pleasing. All the credit goes to the actors and the director who made it real.

The background score is another best thing about this film, which makes it even more enjoyable along with its stylistic nature. The only disagreeable thing about this film is its editing, it is different but very fast paced. The shots cut so many times in a single moment which makes it difficult to keep track of the story.

Verdict : The film is a full package of entertainment with action and drama, and definitely worth a watch. I watched this film twice, and believe me, the second time it was even more enjoyable than the first.

Rating : 4.2/5

Naal (2018) – Movie Review

Pure, innocent, and heartwarming.

Naal (Umbilical cord – in English) is a Marathi drama film co-written and directed by debutant Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti. The film is co-written and produced by Nagraj Manjule, the creator of the gem films Fandry (2013) and Sairat (2016), under his banner Aatpat Production along with Zee Studios.

The film follows the emotional world of an eight-year-old mischievous boy Chaitanya (Shrinivas Pokale). The film sets in a remote village in Maharashtra, where Chaitanya is living happily with his landlord father (Nagraj Manjule) and a loving and caring mother (Devika Daftardar). This is all that the trailer of the film has suggested that it is going to be a visually soothing and beautiful story of a small kid. The same it delivers in the first few minutes; and then what? And then something unexpected happens which turns things upside down for Chaitanya and sets him on a wonderful journey.

From start to end, the film is a stunning visual treat with interesting camera work and beautiful landscapes. Cinematographer-turned-director Sudhakar Yakkanti’s skillful efforts and magic can be seen in every shot. Along with the representation, the content of the film is simple yet powerful. While watching the film, the audience just delves into the naughty and unpredictable eight-year-old boy’s character and starts feeling the same way he feels. There are very few characters in the film, but all of their performances are very much convincing and compelling which actually drives the story forward. In particular, a little kid’s character is so well done that the dialogues and his expressions seem so true that it’ll just melt you down with joy. In the second half, the film becomes a bit slow, but director’s intention to do that is pretty much acceptable.

Verdict : A pure, innocent, and heartwarming tale. A must watch family drama film.

Rating : 4.4/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ajhEq4HqHo

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Ani… Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar (2018) – Movie Review

Here comes the Superstar

Ani… Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar is a Marathi biographical drama film directed by Abhijeet Deshpande. This film follows through the ups and downs of the life of legendary Marathi play and film actor Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar. The film is based on a biography titled “Nath Ha Maza” written by his second wife Kanchan Ghanekar.

The film sets in the golden era of Marathi play and film industry, specifically from 1960 to 1986. The film depicts the incredible journey of a dental surgeon and renowned stage actor Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar (Subodh Bhave) to the peak of fame, and events that shaken his personal and professional life, and which has ultimately brought him down. Kashinath was said to be the first superstar of the Marathi stage with a lot of glamour, and he was the highest paid star from the years 1960 to 1980 (from wiki).

The film which is based on a biography has to put efforts on deciding what parts it needs to focus on, and what it should not. And this film does this thing flawlessly, it focusses on the most important moments in the lead character’s life. The defining moments in Kashinath’s life are very well represented on screen, one of which is when he gets the role of Sambhaji in the play “Raigadhala Jevha Jaag Yete” (When Raigad awakens), and which made him a popular actor ever since. The arc of Kashinath’s life has been represented in such a beautiful way that even when the film ends and names start rolling on a screen you’ll definitely crave for a little more of it.

This film is definitely the nostalgic and surprising treat for the people who have actually witnessed this era. Along with Kashinath Ghanekar, the characters like Vasant Kanetkar (Anand Ingle), Balaji Pendarkar (Mohan Joshi), Sulochana Didi (Sonali Kulkarni), Prabhakar Panshikar (Prasad Oak), Master Dattaram (Suhas Palshikar), and Dr. Shriram Lagoo (Sumeet Raghvan) gets alive on screen one after the other. And seeing all these pioneers of Marathi film industry on screen is a just mesmerizing experience. A cold war between Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar and his rival Dr. Shriram Lagoo is a sheer fun to watch.

Each and every cast member of the film has delivered the solid and compelling performances. Dialogues and conversations between characters give more depth to them. The production design of the film is impressive, the recreated set pieces can be identified but never creates the distraction. As the film goes on, it feels choppy in some places and gets a bit slow, but the surprising series of events and the addition of new characters keep the film alive.

Verdict : Language and content-wise it is a regional film but for the solid script and the powerful performances it’s a worth watch.

Rating : 4/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ3HgG5eC9c

Baazaar (2018) – Movie Review

Make Money.. Money Money Money..

Baazaar is a crime drama film directed by a debutant director Gauravv K. Chawla, and written by Nikkhil Advani, Aseem Arora, and Parveez Sheikh.

The film heavily revolves around the corporate world of business and the stock market. The film sets in the Mumbai, a financial capital city of India, where people come to make their dreams come true. One such dreamer, Rizwan Ahmed (Rohan Vinod Mehra) comes to Mumbai to fulfill his big dreams. By keeping only one wish in mind is to meet his idol Shakun Kothari (Saif Ali Khan). Shakun Kothari, the billionaire businessman, whose only interest is his money and profit, who is known for his wicked ways of acquiring and expanding his business.

Not so long into the film, Rizwan gets a job in a stock trading firm, where he meets Priya Rai (Radhika Apte). In that firm to keep his job, Rizwan gets a challenging task of being a trader of bad performing stocks. In the catastrophic event with one of the businessmen from his list, Rizwan gets a chance to sell stocks to Shakun Kothari, which Shakun desperately wanted to buy. After witnessing the potential of Rizwan’s stock trading skills, Shakun takes him under his wings. From the struggles of securing his job to becoming Shakun’s one of the closest associates, Rizwan gets every pleasure of shiny life.

Reaching these heights of business, money, and power is fine, but maintaining that height is definitely difficult because when you fall on the ground from that height, one is definitely going to spread into pieces. This is the central theme of the film. The film’s topic is very fresh and interesting. The film is also informative in its own way, one does not have to possess all the knowledge of the stock market to understand this film. In the first half, the film really enjoyable and intriguing enough to keep the audience engaged. In the second half, the film loses its momentum as compared to its first half. The film has a very ordinary and satisfactory climax, which made me a little disappointed, but overall it is an enjoyable film. One more bad thing about this film is unnecessary long-running songs which just eats up the time.

Saif Ali Khan is in his full form, after his appearance as one of the leads in Sacred Games (2018), he is just unstoppable. Despite the little flaws in the film, Saif’s aura remains all the time. Saif’s commanding screen appearance as a ruthless businessman and the soft side of his character as a family man is worth applauding. Rohan Mehra as Rizwan Ahmed also does a good work despite being a debutant. Radhika Apte and Chitrangda Singh also have some crucial moments to serve which they do it seamlessly.

Verdict : For the movie lovers who want to watch something different than stereotypical romance, comedy, and actionBollywood films.

Rating : 3.7/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb7iJnIWzNk

Badhaai Ho (2018) – Movie Review

Delivering Soon.

Badhaai Ho (Congratulations – in English) is a comedy-drama film directed by Amit Ravindernath Sharma. The film stars Ayushmann Khurrana in a lead role. After the huge success of Andhaadhun (2018), in this film as well Ayushmann is just unstoppable. Like his debut film Vicky Donor (2012) and last year’s released film Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (2017), this one also talks about very unconventional (sexually-implicit and less talked but important) and fresh topics with the apt flavor of comedy to convey it nicely.

The film revolves around the middle-class Kaushik family consisting Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana), a 25-year-old working professional, his father Jeetender Kaushik (Gajraj Rao), a middle-aged man working in the Railways, his mom Priyamvada (Neena Gupta), a middle-aged typical housewife, his younger brother Gullar (Shardul Rana), and his Grandmother (Surekha Sikri). Without wasting much time, the film gets into its central topic and things go embarrassing for everyone when Nakul’s mother Priyamvada gets pregnant accidentally (it is embarrassing to be a middle-aged parent in the Indian society). Without a second thought, as being a mother, irrespective of what people are going to think and say, Priyamvada decides to have this child. What follows next is the fun and drama filled ride of Kaushik family as they deal with this awkward and difficult situation and how they all are able to get over it.

This film is a perfect recipe for a family drama with a loud laughter and convincing performances. The story of the film explores the moments of fun and confusion when characters are thrown in an awkward situation which they haven’t asked for. All the performances are compelling, in particular, Gajrao Rao, Neena Gupta, Surekha Sikri, and Ayushmann Khurrana impersonates the day-to-day characters with their exceptional acting skills. Sanya Malhotra, who had made her debut in Dangal (2016), who is playing the role of Renee, Nakul’s colleague plus love interest is worth mentioning, and by looking at her performance, a long inning can be expected from her in Bollywood. The film is deliberately kept short, sweet, and simple, and the audience will definitely enjoy every bit of it. The screenplay and dialogues are written beautifully and lands perfectly at every moment. Music of the film is also good and complimentary but seems overdone at some places.

Verdict : A perfect movie treat for this weekend.

Rating : 4.2/5