John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) – Movie Review

Prepare for War.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is an action-packed crime thriller film directed by Chad Stahelski, stunt-director turned director. The film is the third installment in the John Wick film series, following John Wick (2014) and John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017). And it is the third directorial film by Chad Stahelski, after its two prequels, which means he totally owns this film franchise. The film is written by Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams, based on a story by Kolstad.

The film starts exactly where it left off in Chapter 2. After killing a member of The High Table on continental grounds, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finds himself on the run from the guild of assassins after a $14 million contract is put on his head. Now John must find a way out of this deadly madness before he gets hunted.

The film is everything which John Wick fans are expecting it to be. This is the third time Keanu Reeves is reprising his role as an unstoppable killing machine, John Wick. And I must say, Keanu has got the perfect grab on this character, and he flawlessly does what this character is best at, hunt. His body posture, movements, and of course his performance truly makes this larger than life character alive on screen. And when the first time he made his entrance on screen, it just put a smile on my face, which just got bigger and bigger at that moment.

John Wick films are getting better and better at every installment. The film is trying to expand the franchise by exploring this fictional world of assassins. The film also goes ahead and gives some more character development, for some existing, and some new characters. It is a purely high-octane action-packed film with a really high entertainment value. The direction and the action choreography is just mind-blowing. We can clearly see where every punch, kick, bullet, and knife lands, and all the credit goes to Chad Stahelski. What made it even more enjoyable is its long-shot fight scenes, there is hardly any moment when it feels choppy. When the action is going down, one just cannot take his eyes off the screen. The film franchise has truly become the definition of best action films.

The film finishes on an open end, which clearly indicates the possibility of Chapter 4. Prior to the release of this film, Chad Stahelski confirmed that there has been a discussion for another film and that he would develop. Even Keanu Reeves stated that he will continue making sequels until the audience stops going.

Verdict: Parabellum makes it a perfect trilogy. A must watch for action film lovers out there. Just Go and feel the rage of Baba Yaga (The Boogeyman).

Rating: 4.2/5

Check the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU8-7BX9uxs

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Avengers: Endgame (2019) – Movie Review

Avenge the Fallen

Avengers: Endgame is an action-adventure fantasy superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers and the characters created by Stan Lee. The film is a direct sequel to the Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and a 22nd film in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). The film is directed by a very talented director duo Anthony and Joe Russ, who has previously directed three Marvel films – Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014), Captain America: Civil War (2016), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

The follows the terrific events of Infinity War, where Thanos (Josh Brolin) had accomplished his aim of balancing the universe by wiping out half of its population by acquiring all of the Infinity Stones. Along with the world, half of the superheroes had also become dust with Thanos’ snap. Now, the remaining superheroes must find a way to set all the things right and avenge the fallen by defeating the Thanos.

In this film, the difficult task was to bring together all these different storylines and characters, and that too without tampering with their appearances in previous films. But the Russo brothers have made it possible by finding the perfect balance between comic and intense moments in their films. They have brought the needed realism, gravity, and intensity to MCUs superhero films. Infinity War has a comparatively darker tone than any other Marvel films. Avengers: Endgame is the 4th film by Russo brothers as a director. And that is why it is going to be Epic, for sure.

Avengers: Endgame is a film with a really grand and epic conclusion to its third phase. There will surely be more phases to come, but this one is surely the greatest culmination of all time to date. I’m really happy that the makers were able to keep everything under wraps till the release date and gave just little things through trailers to boost up the hype amongst the fans worldwide. The film is full of overwhelmingly surprising moments, the moments which will make you laugh and cry, all at once. Seeing all our beloved characters once again and maybe the last time on screen really touches our hearts. And witnessing the fate of all these characters is another best thing about this film.

The film has really high entertainment value, there are a lot of fan service moments, but there are undeniably some plot holes and flaws in the storyline. The film is three hours long, but throughout its runtime, it never feels like three hours, It just keeps the audience engaged with its amazing storyline and character buildup. Towards the second half, the whole movie theatre turns into a cricket world cup match stadium, where everyone is just cheering, whistling, applauding like never before. Like its prequel, the action sequences are very well choreographed, and the interactions between different characters are just sheer fun to watch. The climax of the film is just beyond comparison which literally gives goosebumps to the audience. The Infinity War was the film about Thanos but Endgame is about Avengers, and how they assemble once again to defeat the menacing and all-powerful Thanos.

Verdict : A greatest culmination of all time, which no one should miss at any cost. Just go for it before spoilers come for you. 🙂

Rating : 4.4/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcMBFSGVi1c&t=29s

An Epic Journey of MCU to Endgame (2008-2019)

Whatever it Takes..

It’s been over a decade that Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around entertaining the fans worldwide through its superhero adventure stories based on the Marvel comics and the characters created by Stan Lee.

Over a period of ten years, MCU has established many superhero origin stories in the same universe. And now, MCU has reached the point where all these stories are going for an epic crossover, where Earth’s mightiest superheroes are going to assemble to fight the battle against greatest villain universe has ever seen.

The MCU had kickstarted with Iron Man (2008), which came out on May 2nd, 2008. The script was not completely finished when filming began, since the filmmakers were more focused on the story and the action, even the makers were not sure about what they were doing, despite all these difficulties Jon Favreau, the director of the film has pulled off everything so brilliantly, that eventually had laid the foundation of what MCU today is. The casting of Robert Downey Jr. as TonyStark/Iron Man was considered very risky for the project because of his past but Jon Favreau commented: “The best and worst moments of Robert’s life have been in the public eye. He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That’s Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic book character having trouble in high school, or can’t get the girl.”, and today we see Robert Downey Jr. as the biggest star of MCU who has ignited the never-ending flame of incredible filmography.

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From the very start, MCU hinted upcoming crossovers in the post-credit scenes, and from that point, it became a trend. So even after the film ends, fans still wait on their seats for these little scenes until the screen gets completely black. It started with the post-credit scene in the very first Iron Man film. In that, the fans were teased with the appearance of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., who approached Tony Stark for an Avengers initiative, and that’s where seeds for this greater universe were sowed. In the same year of 2008, along with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk (2008) was also released, and in this film also Tony Stark has made an appearance in the post-credit scene, which again hinted the crossover of superhero films in the near future.

Iron Man was Marvel Studios’ first self-financed movie but then in 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment for USD $4 billion. After this acquisition, the studio has not stopped yet and has delivered 21 in the saga out of planned 22 films. Avengers: Endgame is going to be the 22nd and final film in this chronology on three phases. Later, they’ve also added the 23rd film Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019), which will get released in July 2019. MCU has defined the solid style of interconnected filmmaking where different stories are running in the shared universe and concluding together in the end. The MCU has maintained their timeline of events happening in different films pretty well apart from the Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) which had some incorrect timeline as confirmed by Joe Russo in one of his interviews.

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Iron Man serves as the perfect start to the MCU and is surely the best origin story ever put to screen for a comic book character. After the success of Iron Man, the next milestone was The Avengers (2012) and before that MCU introduced the new superheroes through films like Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Thor (2011), which assembled the core Avengers team. Making the team of Avengers alive on the silver screen was one of the most ambitious projects MCU had ever done in the past. If we call Iron Man as the foundation, then The Avengers surely can be called as the backbone of this shared universe. The Avengers grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide and became the third-highest-grossing film during its theatrical run—as well as the highest-grossing film of Marvel production till the present day. And all the credit for its success goes to Joss Whedon who has co-written and directed the film, which ultimately fetched him a chance to direct Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

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MCU’s all the planned 22 films are divided across three different phases. The chronological order of these films is as follows :
Phase One: Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012).
Phase Two: Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015).
Phase Three: Captain America: Civil War (2016), Doctor Strange (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), Avengers: Endgame (2019).

In the first phase, MCU introduced the core characters through their standalone films and kickstarted the Avengers saga. Going forward, in the second phase, they not only introduced some more new characters and films having their roots connected but also discovered some deeper aspects of the existing members of the Avengers. Now, in the third phase, all the separate threads from previous films are coming together and are forming a big picture. Apart from the characters in the core Avengers team of phase one, the studio has also introduced some new superheroes like Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Guardians of the Galaxy, with similarly intriguing storylines.

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All these superheroes have already joined the fight against the Mad Titan in last year’s Avengers: Infinity War (2018). In that film, the major and difficult task was to bring together all these different storylines and characters, and that too without tampering with their appearances in previous films. But the very talented director duo Anthony and Joe Russo made it possible altogether, who has previously directed Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016). Russo brothers have found the perfect balance between comic and intense moments in their superhero films. They have brought the needed realism, gravity, and intensity to MCUs superhero films. Infinity War has a comparatively darker tone than any other Marvel films. Avengers: Endgame is the 4th film by Russo brothers as a director. And that is why it is going to be Epic, for sure.

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Along with the mighty superheroes, every MCU film has portrayed equally or more powerful villains – the villains which would act as the most important arcs in defining who the superhero really is. In the 1st phase of the Avengers, Loki played the villain character and threatened the Earth’s very freedom, which eventually united the Avengers. In the 2nd phase, Avengers faced the catastrophe in the form of Ultron, the AI program, which made the Avengers think about the meaning of their own existence. And Now, in the finale of the 3rd phase, the Avengers have come face to face with Thanos, the mad titan, who has an obsession with balancing the universe by wiping out half of its population.

Infinity War was the culmination of 10 years of MCU’s fascinating stories and characters. The film was titled as Avengers but the film was actually about the villainous character Thanos. The film’s storyline keeps him in the center and follows him through his quest for trying to acquire all the Six Infinity Stones, which are appeared in the previous Marvel films and are located at different places. The film discusses Thanos’ ideology in a really great way. One of his many great quotes, “The hardest choices require the strongest will.” says everything about him. And about his genocidal ways, he calls it mercy. He is so determined that he even sacrifices his own daughter for this cause. He’s not just a psychopathic mass-murderer, he also has an emotional drive, his love for his daughter, which we can see throughout the film’s runtime. He’s a villain with a good cause, the greater good, but with really evil and ruthless ways.

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All powerful Thanos was first spotted in the post-credit scene of The Avengers(2012), and later, in the post-credit scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), since then he was pulling all the strings from background, but in Avengers: Infinity War (2018), he has got the things done by himself. It is the first time in cinematic history when 22 superheroes assembled against one powerful supervillain, which was truly spectacular to watch. At the end of Infinity War, Thanos accomplishes his plan of wiping out half of the world’s population by defeating the Avengers. And now, in Avengers: Endgame, the finale of this epic saga, the fallen heroes are going to get back and fight Thanos one more time. So mark the date, 26th April 2019, and be a part of this never seen before cinematic experience.

Every single character from MCU has earned a special place in fans heart. And as Avengers: Endgame is the end of this saga, the film is gonna be an emotional ride for everyone. This may be the last film in which our favorite characters will reprise their roles (characters may die/end of their contact with MCU). Seeing all our beloved characters once again and maybe for the last time on screen really touches our hearts. And witnessing the fate of all these characters is another best thing about this film.

In every phase, MCU has evolved spectacularly, in terms of storytelling, technological advancements, mesmerizing visual effects. MCU films not only talk about superheroes and villains but also emphasize on emotional drifts of its characters, which enables the audience to root for them. It also talks about family, friends, and relationships which eventually makes it more human. Like any other films, even some MCU films are flawed, either in storytelling, or weaker script, or underdeveloped characters, despite all these factors, and as MCU is seen as a whole, every MCU film has its own fan base and has earned a place in the popular culture. Today, MCU has become the most successful and highest grossing movie franchise of all time and its gonna remain there for a long time.

Badla (2019) – Movie Review

Revenge

Badla (In English: Revenge) is a crime mystery thriller film written and directed by Sujoy Ghosh. The film is an official adaptation of the 2017 Spanish film The Invisible Guest.

The story of the film follows Naina Sethi (Tapsee Pannu), a young successful businesswoman, with a perfect family of a husband and a daughter. Naina’s world gets shattered when she finds herself locked in a hotel room with her dead secret lover Arjun (Tony Luke), and gets arrested for his murder. To get her out of this mess, her lawyer Jimmy (Manav Kaul) hires a prestigious defense attorney, Badal Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan) to defend her. What follows next is an interview between Badal and Naina to get each and every detail about and around the incident on the table, to prove her not-guilty.

Sujoy Ghosh is a brilliant storyteller who came in light with his surprising mystery thriller film Kahaani (2012), which has one of the biggest plot-twists among the Indian films. From that point, the audience expects a similar kind of films from him. Badla may not have that awesome plot-twist moment, but it surely has an engaging story to tell.

As the discussion between Badal and Naina goes on, we get to see the whole picture slowly. The story of the film is mostly straight-forward and slightly predictable. That’s where the director plays the game of deception, shows one side of the story and hides the other one. Which works to some extent, and even it gives some reveals towards the end, but unfortunately, those just don’t work as expected, and the film ends in silence.

The performances by the leads are really appreciating, those are the only ones who make the film believable, other supporting characters are there just for the sake of filling the gaps. Cinematography and the background score of the film are complementary to the story.

Verdict : It is a one-time watch film. Not so perfect film, but a decent mystery thriller with a gripping story.

Rating : 3.7/5

Check here for the trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSlgu8AQAd4

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

Searching (2018) – Movie Review

I didn’t know my daughter.

Searching is a drama mystery thriller film co-written and directed by Aneesh Chaganty. It is the first its kind film, where the film sets completely on smartphones and computer screens.

The film revolves around David Kim (John Cho), a single working father. David is raising his 16-year-old daughter Margot (Michelle La) alone, after the death of his wife Pamela (Sara Sohn) from cancer nearly two years ago. Pamela’s death leaves David and Margot in a phase full of grief, and both become distant from each other. The things go from bad to worse when one night Margot goes to a friend’s house for her study-group and does not come back home. Rest of the film focuses on David’s desperate attempts to find his daughter, firstly, by seeking help from police and then by breaking into her laptop to look for clues to find her.

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At very first, the film looks like a conventional missing-person drama, even at some extent the story resembles with Liam Neeson’s Taken (2008), but it is not, it is something quite extraordinary and totally outstanding in its style of inventive storytelling. Along with its absolutely perfect and gripping storyline, the film also shines in its visual execution. At first, it takes some time to understand the film’s screenplay, but when it does, it is just incredible. Not only at the technical front but also film does great on the performances’ side.

The missing Margot’s mystery keeps the audience at the edge of their seat till the end, and talking more about this film may give some spoilers but its climax is of some another level. The film also focuses on the parent-child relationship, and nowadays how speedy life has affected it badly.

Verdict : A truly outstanding storyline and inventive execution. A must watch.

Rating : 4.1/5

Click here for trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ro9ebQxEOY

Andhadhun (2018) – Movie Review

Every Artist has a Secret.

Andhadhun is a black-comedy crime thriller film directed by Sriram Raghavan, who is well known for his work in the films of the similar style like Ek Hasina Thi (2004), Johnny Gaddaar (2007), and Badlapur (2015). The film is inspired by the 2010 French short film L’Accordeur (The Piano Tuner).

The film revolves around Akash (Ayushmann Khurrana), a blind and talented piano player, who spends his time focusing and sharpening his skills. Not so long into a film, while playing the piano at a diner, Akash is noticed by yesteryear actor Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan). Pramod is blissfully wedded to Simi (Tabu), and on the occasion of their wedding anniversary, invites Akash for a private concert to his apartment. When Akash arrives at Pramod’s apartment, unknowingly he gets involved in Pramod’s mysterious murder, what follows next is the witty and gritty tale of complete chaos.

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Undoubtedly, Andhadhun is one of the brilliant films of the year. Sriram Raghavan, with his peculiar way of storytelling, glues the audiences’ eyes to the screen. This is the film where you may forget to eat a popcorn in your hand, because you may think that you might miss a little detail, which will make you lose a track.

The film portrays day-to-day characters and puts them in dangerous yet funny situations. The film also explores the dark sides of its each and every character. Characters are very well studied and put into the story, even a small character has a purpose and leaves a mark on the audience. Along with the leads, the remaining cast of the film is also great, in particular, Radhika Apte as Sophie, Akash’s love interest, and Zakir Hussain as Dr. Swami are excellent.

The background music and all the songs in the film are apt, which elevates the film’s overall drama and thrill component. Some of the moments in the film are very well shot and surprises the audience with the brilliant use of camera angles. At some places, the film slows down but picks up the momentum eventually. After the interval, I was stunned by each and every aspect of the film’s first half, which of course elevated my expectations, and when the film ended with an even more exciting second half, I felt just fulfilled.

Verdict : Without a second thought, just go for it. A must watch.

Rating : 4.4/5

Click here for trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iVYI99VGaw

Love Sonia (2018) – Movie Review

Reality hits hard.

Love Sonia is a drama film directed by Tabrez Noorani and produced by David Womark. The film is based on the real events, focusing on the dark and the dangerous world of international sex trafficking.

The film starts in a drought-ridden remote village in the state of Maharashtra, where it revolves around two loving sisters Sonia (Mrunal Thakur) and Preeti (Riya Sisodiya), belonging to the poor farmer family of four. The things go from bad to worse when their helpless and debt-ridden father Shiva (Adil Hussain) sells Preeti to the local landlord and money lender Baldev Singh (Anupam Kher). The harrowing tale of Sonia starts when she follows Preeti in the hope of rescuing her but becomes trapped in the flesh trade herself. Rest of the film follows Sonia in the city of Mumbai, the financial capital of India, and from there crawls worldwide.

First of all, this is not the usual entertainer film, it is the nerve-racking drama that progresses gracefully which makes the audience more and more uncomfortable at every step. The audience can literally feel the tormenting phases of Sonia’s journey. The story is slow burning at some places but the drama keeps it alive. Along with cast mentioned above the film also features Manoj Bajpayee as Faizal, a ruthless don running the brothel in Mumbai, Freida Pinto as Rashmi, Sai Tamhankar as Anjali, Rajkummar Rao as Manish, Richa Chadda as Madhuri, Demi Moore as Selma, and Mark Duplass. Apart from the hard-hitting story, by looking at the ensemble of this brilliant cast, two things can be surely promised, a gripping drama and outstanding performances.

Verdict : For witnessing the bunch of outstanding performances and taking near look at the dark world of sex trafficking, this film is a must watch.

Rating : 3.9/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhTTF13Fhug

Tc Gn: Take Care Good Night (2018) – Movie Review

Be Alert! Be Safe!

Tc Gn: Take Care Good Night is a Marathi language crime-drama thriller film directed by Girish Joshi, which is also his debut film as a director. The film actually explores the Techno-thriller genre in Marathi industry, which is first of its kind.

The film revolves around Avinash (Sachin Khedekar), who chooses to take a voluntary retirement from his job after a long service and live a relaxed life with his wife Aasavari (Iravati Harshe) who is a counselor and his teenage Daughter Sanika (Parna Pethe). Not so long into the film, while returning from his Europe trip with his wife, Avinash realizes that his life’s saving of around 5 million has vanished from his bank account. After this completely shattering event, Avinash immediately seeks the help of a Cybercrime branch and Inspector Pawar (Mahesh Manjarekar) to find whoever is behind it. Soon after this fateful event, someone threatens to upload the private video of the Avinash’s daughter Sanika on the internet, which endangers the family’s stability and pride. What is this unknown cyber criminal’s motive and will this family be able to win the fight against him?

The film is 110 minutes long, and throughout its runtime, the screenplay unfolds the gripping story, which keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. The story is very well put on the screen as it keeps the audience guessing until the end. The film is an intriguing techno-thriller, with nail-biting suspense component, and informative in its own way.

Throughout its runtime, the film discusses cybercrime, social engineering, phishing, and how we can be preventive about these, which manages to create awareness about it. Even if one is not a Techno-savvy, but just by having some basic knowledge of Internet frauds one can prevent these from happening. The film also talks about family dynamics in the modern world and parent-children relationship. At some places, the story loses its pace but picks it up eventually. The film fits really well in today’s time, and with some top-notch performances entertain the audience to the fullest.

Verdict : Nobody should miss this gripping and informative crime thriller. A must watch.

Rating : 4/5

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

Sacred Games (Season 1 – 2018) – Review

The Game has just begun.

Sacred Games is an Indian crime-drama web tv series by Netflix directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane. The series is based on Vikram Chandra’s thriller novel of the same name. The novel was adapted by Smita Singh, Vasant Nath, and Varun Grover. The series consists of eight episodes which were made available on Netflix for streaming on 6 July 2018.

The series tells the story of Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan), a righteous and jaded police officer, whose paths intersect with Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), the self-obsessed notorious gangster boss. Sartaj, who is at conflict with the questionable moralities of the police force, when receives a cryptic message from Gaitonde and learns about the lurking attack on Mumbai, starts his own investigation to prevent the attack.

The series chronicles a diabolical plot, one depicts the efforts of an honest police officer caught between corruption, dirty politics, and deadly conspiracies, and still has all the will to do the right thing, another one sets in the flashbacks of past exploring the rise of all-powerful Ganesh Gaitonde, a mob boss with delusions of grandeur, operating out of a Mumbai ghetto called Gopalmath, and how they both become part of these sacred games.

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Overall the plot is intimidating, and as the trailers had suggested, which were released a couple of months before, it is truly intense, darker, grittier than ever, and maintains that thriller vibe throughout. According to one interview, the Gaitonde’s gangster life portion has been directed by Anurag Kashyap, and it’ll definitely make the audience remember his previous directorial film Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). And the other part following the present day story of Sartaj’s character showing the underbelly of the society has been directed by Vikramaditya Motwane. Structurally, it is a well-put story, and well-shot as well. The lightings, costume design, camera angles, background score, and instrumental music are remarkable.

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Undoubtedly, the casting of characters is top notch, and this can be seen in their grounded and compelling performances. The role of a brash and brutal gangster is not new for Nawazuddin, but here it feels totally different from his previous portrayals, he steals every scene he’s in, and unknowingly audience loses the moment when they start feeling for an unquestionable baddie. For Saif Ali Khan and his character Sartaj, this series has become a point of redemption. It’s a stellar performance by Saif, he has literally embodied the broken persona of a mistreated cop who can go to any limit to set things right. Along with leads, the supporting cast is also impressive. In particular, Radhika Apte as the investigating RAW agent, Neeraj Kabi as Sartaj’s commanding officer Parulkar, Jitendra Joshi as constable Katekar, Jatin Sarna as Gaitonde’s henchman Bunty, Girish Kulkarni as Minister Bipin Bhosale, and Kubra Sait as Kukoo. Every single character in the series has their own character arc which creates the emotional gravity, and it’s just moving.

At its heart, it’s the raw and scary story told in a brilliant way, the story of Mumbai city where all this drama plays around religion, politics, corruption, and Bollywood. There are multiple themes run at a time in a story, one of which is a theme of corruption in the system, it gives a closer look at how it is crumbled from inside, and even if one tries to rebel will eventually have to compromise at some point. Another theme is the theme of religion, “The biggest business in the world is religion. Under the garb of faith, they make fools out of all of us.” when Gaitonde delivers this line, it firmly hints that what is going to come ahead, the catastrophic consequences of religious polarisation. For an international audience, India’s communal divide appears akin to the US’s institutionalized racism. Most of the parts of the story play in parallel with real-life past events which makes it relatable and interesting. The use of symbolism throughout the series can be seen, either in visuals or in monologues.

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There are intriguing endings to every episode, and in no time, the viewer goes for the next one, just like that. From the starting point, there are many characters been introduced one by one, episode by episode, and we actually need to keep track of them, as their paths are definitely going to cross somewhere ahead in the story. It is the mix of likable and unlikable characters, the good and the bad ones, which are going to intertwine in the interesting, upsetting and uncomfortable series of events.

At last, “streaming is liberating”, as it is the web tv series, there are no constraints of the censor board. Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane waste no time in exploiting the opportunity offered by a platform free of censorship to make a powerful and hard-hitting statement. The series doesn’t hold back while portraying an unapologetic content like a real gangster life, scenes of gore and bloodshed, sexually explicit scenes etc. Plus the brilliance and thoughtfulness of makers keep it understated and yet impacting.

Finally, with no doubt, on the global platform, Sacred Games has successfully made its mark and has earned the prestigious position among top international web tv series. Even the Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 91% approval rating based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3 out of 10. On IMDb, it is on the 25th rank as a top rated tv series, with an astonishing average rating of 9.4 out of 10.

Verdict : Without any second thought, just watch it, and get lost in Sacred Games.

Rating : 4.6/5