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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Me Shivaji Park (2018) – Movie Review

Unexpectedly Disastrous.

Me Shivaji Park is a Marathi crime-drama film written and directed by Mahesh Manjrekar. Since the official and poster and the trailer of the film were released, it has created a significant buzz with its promising cast. Even the strong background score in the trailers gave intense and thrilling effects, which elevated the expectations, but after watching it in theatres I must say it all went down.

The film revolves around five friends, a suspended inspector Digambar Sawant (Ashok Saraf), retired judge Vikram Rajadhyaksh (Vikram Gokhale), Professor Dilip Pradhan (Dilip Prabhavalkar), Doctor Rustum Mistry (Shivaji Satam), and Chartered accountant Satish Joshi (Satish Alekar). They all are regular joggers at Shivaji Park and spends their time discussing the current socio-political affairs. The things go sore when Satish’s granddaughter dies under mysterious circumstances and the prime suspect gets out clean from the investigation. Then they decide to take the matter in their own hands and investigate themselves by going on the other side of the law.

The peculiar ways they use to bring justice to the victims form the crux of the story. Now, there is some newness to the story but it can be just looked as old wine in a new bottle. The cast of the film is top notch but the weaker script and bad screenplay waste all of it. The lead characters try hard to keep the film engaging but none of that works. Not a single character is compelling, just feels underdeveloped. There are few songs in the film and those are so bad that audience literally started yawning. The film with highly talented cast and the renowned director like Mahesh Manjarekar obviously sets the expectations high but it feels sad when it turns out to be a crap like this.

Verdict : Save your time and money by not watching it.

Rating : 2.4/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India (2018) – Movie Review

Everything is alright!

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India is a comedy-drama film directed by Sharat Katariya.

The film sets in the state of Madhya Pradesh, the heart of India, and revolves around a low class sweet married couple Mamta (Anushka Sharma) and Mauji (Varun Dhawan). Mauji, an illiterate young man, has inconvenient work, whose father never stops cursing him, and he has not even touched his wife Mamta’s hand despite being married for years due to lack of space at home. But he always carries himself with a big smile despite facing odds saying “Sab badhiya hai” (Everything’s alright). Although he appears to be an incompetent man, Mauji is also a skilled tailor, which his father (Raghuvir Yadav) considers to be a disadvantageous mode of occupation. Soon after being fed-up of his boot-licking job and getting motivation from Mamta, Mauji decides to set with his own business of sewing machine. Although facing all the hardships from his surroundings due to their innocence and family responsibilities, Mauji receives constant support from his wife, and in no time, the couple sees positive results. The film talks about social issues and entrepreneurship, and at its core, it is the heart-warming story of Mamta and Mauji, who are constantly supporting each other, and finding their way towards respect and self-reliance against all odds.

The film has a good and fresh storyline, which keeps the audience engaged throughout its runtime, with the apt flavor of comedy. Varun Dhawan is known for his stereotypical comedy roles, but this one is surprisingly different and excellent. Anushka Sharma’s character represents the emerging strong women of Indian society, and it is definitely inspiring for everyone. Both of their performances are powerful and compelling. The story of the film has too many ups and downs, which drags the story a little bit, and makes it boring. The upcoming events in the film can be easily predicted, which makes it not so interesting.

Verdict : A good time comedy-drama family film for the weekend.

Rating : 3.5/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUe3p23AJMo

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

Mulk (2018) – Movie Review

Freedom. Equality. Fraternity.

Mulk (Country – in English) is a drama film written and directed by Anubhav Sinha who is mostly known for his directorial films Tum Bin (2001) and Ra.One (2011). The film stars Rishi Kapoor and Taapsee Pannu in lead roles.

The film sets in Benaras and revolves around a Muslim family(Don’t want to mention these words, but yes, the film is about this only), who are living in harmony in their neighborhood without any communal conflicts. Not so long into the film, the family gets trapped in the dark controversy of law when one of the family members commits the terrible act of terrorism in the name of ‘Jihad’. Now, as being the head of the family, Murad Ali Mohammad (Rishi Kapoor) and his daughter-in-law Aarti Mohammad (Taapsee Pannu) must take the responsibility on their shoulders to reclaim lost honor of the family.

The film discusses the very sensitive and important topic in India, which is a Hindu-Muslim communal conflict. And yes, the film brilliantly handles the topic and tries to put in it in a simpler way possible, which can be understood by a common man. Along with it, the film also penetrates the prejudiced thinking of a common man towards an act of terrorism. The film keeps on questioning the false beliefs which are very common among us regarding terrorism, communal and religious conflicts, casteism etc, and the film firmly talks about the true definition of terrorism, which is clearly not related to particular community or religion (every responsible common man should think about). The philosophy and the idea on which the film is based, it is excellent.

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The cinematography of the film is very understated and looks real. At some places, there’re shaky camera movements, but those are OK. The background score lifts up the thrill component of the film and serves just right. The characters are very well portrayed, kudos to the team, and each of their performances is outstanding, which make an audience feel for them. What a brilliant cast, the actors who can talk with their eyes; along with leads, Ashutosh Rana as the prosecution lawyer Santosh Anand, Prateik Babbar as Shahid Mohammed, Rajat Kapoor as Danish Javed, Kumud Mishra as Judge, Manoj Pahwa as Bilaal Mohammed, and seeing this brilliant cast on-screen is worth having experience.

Verdict : Every thoughtful, understanding and responsible person should watch this without any single biased thought. A brilliant drama film which talks on the sensitive and solid topic.

Rating : 4.2

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MjC30zo1KA

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) – Movie Review

Some missions are not a choice.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is an action spy thriller film co-written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. It is the sixth installment in the Mission: Impossible film series, and the second film to be directed by McQuarrie, after Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015). It’s been 22 years when the first Mission: Impossible came out in 1996, and still today Tom Cruise is shining in his role of Ethan Hunt.

The film follows two years after the events of its fifth installment, where Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) has been captured, and the remains of his organization The Syndicate have reformed into a terrorist group known as The Apostles. After Ethan’s (Tom Cruise) mission to fetch plutonium went wrong and the plutonium is taken by the Apostles, he must race against time to get those back before the nukes go off. In this mission, Ethan is accompanied by his former allies cum IMF agents Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames). The film also stars Henry Cavill with his legendary mustache as August Walker, a CIA assassin working for the Special Activities Division tasked with monitoring Ethan and his team.

The film is a full package of high-octane action sequences, chase sequences, and breathtaking stunts. Apart from its action, the film’s direction and the story is very crisp and to the point. The story never loses its pace, and chunks of exciting and thrilling moments keep on happening which keeps the audience engaged. The film is shot really well, especially the action and the stunt scenes, with a slightly shaky but impressive effect to make it feel real. Acting wise, the film is fair enough, and especially the comedy moments blends really well with film’s thrilling tone. Many critics hailed it as the best installment in the series, with some considering it one of the greatest action films of all-time.

Verdict : A fully action-packed film and totally worth a watch.

Rating : 4/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb49-oV0F78

Sanju (2018) – Movie Review

One Man… Many Lives

Sanju is an upcoming biographical drama film directed by Rajkumar Hirani, written by Hirani and Abhijat Joshi. The film is jointly produced by Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

Sanju is the fifth film by Rajkumar Hirani, after Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003), Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006), 3 Idiots (2009), & PK (2014). And all the films were massive hits, not just commercially but critically as well. He is well-known for his funny satirical way of narrating the stories on the crucial and sensitive topics with a subtle message encouraging idealism and humanism. His movies like Lage Raho Munnabhai had a strong cultural impact in India, popularising Gandhism. Even his both Aamir Khan starer movies have been raising issues like flaws in our study system & over-dependence of humans on God.

The film stars Ranbir Kapoor as the Indian actor Sanjay Dutt. The film follows Sanjay Dutt’s dramatic and enigmatic life, mainly through three stages, during his drug addict phase, his many love affairs, and during the phase of his life when he went to jail under TADA case.

Sanju is the most awaited and highly anticipated film of the year, and yes, after watching it you’ll realize that why there is so much buzz around it. A story that teaches you to face your hardships with courage and be unapologetic for who you are. One may think that this is the film about controversial persona, and what it possibly could have to serve, but believe me, without a question it’s worth to watch.

Totally moved by watching it, a remarkable film, salute to Rajkumar Hirani, Abhijat Joshi, and Ranbir Kapoor excels. A surprisingly versatile and notable performance by Vicky Kaushal. Paresh Rawal’s character as Sunil Dutt, a righteous and all-good father of Sanjay Dutt also stands out, he’s just flawless. A heart touching film narrated and directed brilliantly. Sanju is definitely one more gem which has been added to Raju Sir’s brilliant filmography.

In an interview with Rajeev Masand, Hirani disclosed that the story-telling procedure was “challenging as it’s not a story of an achiever” as most biopics are based on a heroic personality, yet Dutt is known for his tragedies and losses. He noted that “you can’t really tamper” and that the main scripting challenge was fitting “a very anecdotal story in a structured format”. Writer Abhijat Joshi also revealed that there was no “deliberate” attempt to make Dutt’s character sympathetic to the audience. Instead, the team realized having listened to all the anecdotes conveyed by Dutt that it’s a “very engaging, incredibly fascinating” story based on a “conflicted person, a flawed person” who “deserved empathy”. Hirani then confirmed that he has “put out the truth” which includes “good things and bad things”.

Verdict : Have faith in Rajkumar Hirani, and Just Go For it. Simply Extraordinary. 🙂

Rating : 4.4/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J76wN0TPI4

Incredibles 2 (2018) – Movie Review

Supers.. back to work..

Incredibles 2 is an animated superhero film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. The film is the sequel to The Incredibles (2004), which was a big hit of that time, it also won two Academy Awards for Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Animated Feature Film of the Year 2004. The film is written and directed by Brad Bird, who has also directed its first installment. Brad Bird is well-known for his brilliant storytelling style which he had already showcased in Ratatouille (2007) and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol ( 2011).

The film picks up exactly where it left off in its first installment where the family of supers (the Parr family) is fighting the Underminer. As per the first installment, the supers are banned to use their powers and are considered to be illegal if caught doing so. Soon, the Parr family has been approached by Winston Deavor, an entrepreneur, a true superhero believer, who offers them a plan to regain the public’s support and trust in Supers. Meanwhile, a mysterious villain named ScreenSlaver arises, who can hijack any screens in order to project hypnotic images that can brainwash and control people, who seek to spoil the public image of all supers. Rest of the film depicts the rollercoaster fun ride of adventure of the Parr family.

After 14 years, the family of supers assembles once again to save the world. The film is a sheer fun to watch with the deeper arcs to existing characters and introduction to some refreshingly new characters. In particular, Jack-Jack, a super-cute super-baby, just steals the show, every time he tries to mumble or do something it is just hilarious to watch. The swapped roles of Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, and a mysterious villain who challenges the morality of superheroes form the crux of the film. It is nostalgic to watch this film after so many years, and it simply puts a smile on our face, filling us with laughter and emotions.

Verdict : Disney and Pixar together are evolving over a period of time. Along with the best animation quality the film also delivers a good story. Just go and join this spectacular and hilarious rollercoaster ride.

Rating : 4.2/5

Hereditary (2018) – Movie Review

Evil runs in the family.

Hereditary is a supernatural horror mystery film written and directed by Ari Aster, which is also his directorial debut film. The film is receiving really positive reviews and getting acclaimed by critics, who called it “truly, upsettingly powerful on an emotional level”.

The film is centered around a family of Annie Graham (Toni Collette), a miniaturist artist, who is living with her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), their teenage son Peter (Alex Wolff), and their 13-year-old daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro). The film starts at the funeral scene of Annie’s mother Ellen, who was extremely secretive and had not so good relationship with Annie. Following this event, the strange things start happening with each family members, and not so long into the film, the family faces Charlie’s death in a fateful accident, which builds the more tension between family. What follows next is the deadly drama where the family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets, will the family be able to survive this?

The film has defined a completely different genre with horror and emotional gravity. The film has delivered the spine-chilling horror without using much jump scares. The film is unconventional in many aspects and will definitely make you remember The Witch (2015), Get Out (2017), and A Quiet Place (2018). The film is an unsettling, edgy, and really effective mixture of frightening visuals and background score. Most of the scenes are silent, but every time when background score joins the scene it’s just terrifying as hell. The film is slower at some places but picks up eventually. It is strictly not for faint hearted people, and not everybody can appreciate or handle the film filled with grief, others can go and just feel the horror being at the edge of your seat.

Verdict : It is not everybody’s cup of tea. Not everybody can handle uneasy and painful stuff. An artistic, unconventional, and emotional take on horror-mystery genre. The horror film lovers should not miss this at any cost.

Rating : 3.9/5

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (2018) – Movie Review

Real. Edgy. Unexpected.

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is an Indian action-drama film written and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane who is well known for his edgy storytelling style. In the film, Harshvardhan Kapoor is playing a lead role.

The film starts with two friends (I’m avoiding taking names to avoid spoilers), who are drawn towards sensitive issues like dirty politics and corrupt government. A question, as an individual, what are the possible ways to tackle these problems, which they keep on asking themselves, which ends up them making the online channel called ‘INSAAF’ (justice in English), which will become a stand against oppression. As they start working on the ground level, soon they realize that the system is very powerful and things can go lethal. While working on one of the issues reported by a user of their channel which could uncover the bigger conspiracy, things go wrong, and it results in the death of one of the friend. Now, the other friend must take a stand and must do the right thing, which will eventually bring the superhero out of him.

The film is a totally unexpected tale of a common man becoming a superhero. The film throughout is very raw and edgy. The story of the film is so simple yet impactful. The film is relevant in times that we live in. The only disappointment with the film is it’s slow-burning and unnecessarily lengthy. The film is not fully action-packed as per the trailers has hinted, but these action scenes were shot very beautifully. In terms of performances, Harshavardhan Kapoor does not shine as he should, better luck next time, rest all the other performances are best. The film is good in its own way but the audience may miss the excitement factor in it. As an origin story of a hero, it’s worth a watch.

This origin story of superhero almost reminded me of Ben Affleck’s Daredevil (2003). Even in the last scene of the film, the superhero and the main villain are standing face to face, with totally dark and stormy weather outside with some lightening (When the Daredevil and the Kingpin stands face to face).

Verdict : As an origin story of a hero, it’s worth a watch.

Rating : 3.7/5