Romeo Akbar Walter (2019)

Our Hero. Their Spy.

Romeo Akbar Walter is an espionage action thriller film written and directed by Robbie Grewal.

The film sets in 1971, when India was on the verge of a war with Pakistan. The film centers around Romeo Ali (John Abraham), an Indian banker, with patriotic family background, get recruited as an undercover agent by RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) for a top-secret operation inside Pakistan.

The story of the film is pretty straight-forward and predictable. This film sets at the same time in which the events of the film Raazi (2018) took place. Even this film has a similar story, characters, and situations as that of Raazi, but unfortunately not that intriguing. All the character performances in the film are worth appreciating. The film is all about John’s character and he justifies it by giving an intense performance. Besides John, the character played by Jackie Shroff as Shrikant Rai, the head of RAW, is also excellent.

The first half of the film feels a very slow burning and lazy, in the second half, the things start moving with some pace and maintains the same towards the end, but even climax doesn’t make an impact which it should have actually made. The film is an interesting attempt to make a drama-driven espionage film by breaking the stereotypes of action-packed film, but it lacks the grip it needed the most. The film has its own moments and patriotic feel to keep the audience engaged, but dull storytelling, an unnecessary romantic aspect & music tracks make it an average film.

Verdict : A patriotic film should make us feel proud and it surely does the same, but only when you endure its slow pace. A one time watch film.

Rating : 3.3/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSHjC8VdzCM

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Kesari (2019) – Movie Review

The story of Valor and Sacrifice.

Kesari (a saffron color representing bravery and sacrifice) is a period action-drama film written and directed by Anurag Singh.

The film depicts the events leading to the Battle of Saragarhi, a battle between 21 Sikh soldiers of the 36th Sikhs of the British Indian Army against 10000 to 12,000 Pashtun Orakzai tribesmen. The film stars Akshay Kumar in a lead role of Havildar Ishar Singh, who led the battle at Saragarhi.

The Battle of Saragarhi is considered one of history’s longest hold against the enemy and one of the greatest last stands. If we read history, we can actually see the valor and renunciation of those 21 Sikh soldiers. But this film hardly captures that. In the process of dramatizing and making it an entertaining one, the makers have totally ignored the crux of this historical event. The film lacks the authenticity and the rawness, which needed the most for a film like this. Everything in the film was just polished, for instance, the uniforms of the soldiers were looked like brought straight from the designer shop.

The film is a two and a half hours long, and out of which less than an hour was actually about the battle. In the remaining time, it focuses on some unnecessary subplots, the deceased wife of Ishar Singh played by Parineeti Chopra (the most irritating part of the film), and too many slow-motion shots. Some of the moments in the film will definitely make you remember the superhit war film Border (1997).

The film feels really slow and boring in the first half and comes to life only in the second half. The performance of Akshay Kumar is worth appreciating in a film. The film also has some interesting and compelling characters with apt comic timing, which makes the film watchable.

Verdict : Kesari is definitely not the best patriotic film of Bollywood but it surely worth a watch.

Rating : 3.2/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFP24D15_XM

Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019) – Movie Review

How’s the Josh?

Uri: The Surgical Strike is an action drama film written and directed by Aditya Dhar in his debut. The film is based on a true story of India striking back as the retaliation to the 2016 Uri attack.

The film follows Major Vihaan Singh Shergill (Vicky Kaushal) of the Indian Army, who has successfully lead many field missions and now has taken a desk job at New Delhi to take care of his mother who is suffering from Stage VI Alzheimer’s disease. On 18 September 2016, four well-armed militants attack the army headquarters at Uri, Jammu & Kashmir, killing 19 Indian soldiers in their sleep. Vihaan’s brother in law Major Karan Kashyap (Mohit Raina) also dies in a grenade explosion in this unfortunate attack. The Indian government decides to take strict action against this attack, and National Security Advisor Govind Bhardwaj (Paresh Rawal) comes up with the idea of a surgical strike. Eventually, Vihaan leaves his desk job and once again lead a team of elite commandos to carry out a covert operation to avenge the Uri attack.

The film’s story is nicely divided into five chapters. At the end of every chapter, there is a sense of fulfillment. And with this chapter-wise narration, the story gets more and more gripping, and keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. The soul of the film is its compelling story; the enthralling characters and engaging background score makes it even more enjoyable. Besides Vicky Kaushal and Paresh Rawal’s powerful performances, Yami Gautam as RAW field agent Pallavi Sharma and Kirti Kulhari as Captain Seerat Kaur are worth mentioning. The film has its own moments, the patriotic ones, the thrilling ones, the grieving ones, and cheering ones, all full of JOSH.

Verdict : If we ignore the political propaganda, this film is an official first hit film of 2019 of Bollywood in all aspects.

Rating : 4.4/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVY3do673Zc

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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Raazi (2018) – Movie Review

A Daughter.. A Wife.. A Spy..

Raazi is a spy thriller film directed by Meghna Gulzar who is known for her impactful work on film Talvar (2015). The film is an adaptation of Harinder Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat which is inspired by real events.

The film sets during the era of Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. When espionage became the prominent weapon to gather intelligence and to get an upper hand over the critical situations. Hidayat Khan (Rajit Kapoor), an individual working for Indian Intelligence Agency, having good relations with Pakistani military officers, after learning about his cancerous medical situation, he asks his only daughter Sehmat Khan (Alia Bhatt) to take his place in this war-like situation against Pakistan. Sehmat, having the same blood and equal sense of nationalism like her father and grandfather who worked to forward the independence of India, gets ready to take this job by getting married with Iqbal Syed (Vicky Kaushal), a younger son of Brigadier Syed (Shishir Sharma) of the Pakistani military. Rest of the film follows the incredible and dangerous journey of Sehmat and how she transforms herself from a vulnerable and sensitive girl into a strong person.

The plot of the film pretty simplistic, but the drama and the series of thrilling events actually make the film gripping. Even if the audience know that where the film is going, but the strong and compelling characters make the audience root for them. The performances by every individual are fantastic. In particular, after her notable work in Highway (2014) and Udta Punjab (2016), on the same line, in this film also Alia has given an outstanding performance, she has just ruled the whole film. Also, Jaideep Ahlawat as Khalid Mir has given full justice to his role. Soundtracks by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in the film are well placed and lifts the overall drama of the film by spreading the wave of patriotism in the whole movie theatre. Mainly, the film talks about bravery and sacrifice of those unsung heroes (field agents) who risks their lives to serve the nation and get never celebrated for their work.

Verdict : A must watch gripping drama about unsung heroes of our nation.

Rating : 3.9/5