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

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Anandi Gopal (2019) – Movie Review

Extraordinary story of an ordinary couple.

Anandi Gopal is a biographical period drama Marathi film written by Karan Shrikant Sharma, and directed by Sameer Vidwans.

The film is a biopic of Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi, also referred to as the first lady doctor of India. Originally named Yamuna (before marriage), Anandi was born and raised in Kalyan, Mumbai. In 1874, As per the practice of that time, Anandi (Bhagyashree Milind ) was married at the age of nine to Gopalrao Joshi (Lalit Prabhakar), a stubborn widower, who was almost twenty years older than her. Even at that time, Gopalrao was a progressive thinker about supporting education for women. And before getting married to Anandi, the same condition he puts forward that his wife would get educated and would go to medical school. It is the rebellious and extraordinary tale of an ordinary couple of becoming victorious against all odds. Gopalrao’s consistent support and Anandi’s focus and determination for becoming the India’s first lady doctor form the rest of the film.

This film can be stated as the mother of all feminist stories ever told on-screen. The film has a really compelling and wonderful story to tell. The direction and screenplay of the film do its job of keeping the audience engaged with stunning imagery and vibrant colors. At first, I thought that what this film could have to show. But believe me, the film has dragged me completely into it from start till the end. The film’s story is very simple but has been told in a really fascinating way, with its even more beautiful and layered characters.

It feels good to watch when a film is able to deep dive into its characters and is able to convey the same to the audience. At some points, the film seems to have become slower, but which is completely fine, because at that moment it is important to show the impact of some specific situations on those characters. And it gives time for characters to breathe and gives the space for understanding their particular behavior.

Verdict : It is a must-watch film, for its content and beautiful storytelling.

Rating : 4.3/5

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

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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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

Thugs of Hindostan (2018) – Movie Review

An epic fail

Thugs of Hindostan is an action-adventure film, written and directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, and produced by Yash Raj Films. According to the sources, Thugs of Hindostan is the most expensive Bollywood film. It was one of the highly anticipated films of the year, and had created a pretty much hype around it since it was announced. Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan are being starred together for the first time as leads, which was the most awaited thing of the film. Additionally, it is the second time, when director Vijay Krishna Acharya, Aamir Khan, and Katrina Kaif has teamed up together after Dhoom 3 (2013).

The film sets in the 18th century when the British East India Company has started expanding their rule across India. The film follows a group of rebel Thugs led by Khudabaksh Azaad (Amitabh Bachchan), who is trying to free Hindostan (India) from the British rule. A British commander John Clive (Lloyd Owen), who is desperate to tackle the rising threat of thugs, hires a talented small-time thug, Firangi Mallah (Aamir Khan).

The film is larger than life representation of a weaker script, trying to be incredible, that too on an epic scale, but in reality, it is the sheer waste of time, waste of talent, and a waste of money. Most of the characters and scenes seemed to be inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean, which is obvious. It seemed that the music department had no idea about what they were doing, they had 3-4 music samples, which they were playing repetitively. They were just bombarding the music samples abruptly in between even if something great was not happening on screen. The film has really lazy dialogues and screenplay, because of which it just gets more and more difficult to connect with characters and their emotions. The songs in the film are a total crap, and Katrina’s dance is worst than ever (she has no other significance in the film). The only bearable thing in this film is Aamir Khan and his character, that’s it. Even Amitabh Bachchan had not much to do to explore his character.

Verdict : So overall it’s a below average film, not even worth a single watch, rather be at home, and have a nice sleep. 😜

Rating : 1.5/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI-Pux4uaqM

First Man (2018) – Movie Review

We need to fail down here so we don’t fail up there.

First Man is a biographical drama film directed by Damien Chazelle and written by Josh Singer. The film is based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen, and it stars Ryan Gosling as a lead character Neil Armstrong (The first man to walk on the moon). It is the second time when Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling are teaming up, after working together on Academy Award-winning film La La Land (2016). Plus, Steven Spielberg has served as an executive producer on this film.

The film spans across 8 years from 1961 to the legendary Apollo 11 mission to the Moon in 1969. At the core, the film depicts the emotional ups and downs in Neil Armstrong’s life in that specific time span. The film starts in 1961 when Neil Armstrong is flying the X-15 rocket plane working as a test pilot for NASA. At the same time, his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Karen, is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. Neil is desperate to find the possible treatments to save her, but she dies soon afterward, which throws Neil in a lifelong grief. Soon after that, Neil applies for the Project Gemini of NASA, and get selected for the same, wherein 1965 he completes the extravehicular activity in the Gemini 8 mission. In 1968, after nearly being killed while ejecting from the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, Armstrong is selected to command Apollo 11, which will likely be the first lunar landing mission.

firstman

For the whole world, Apollo 11 mission was the giant leap of mankind towards space exploration. And for the American government, it was just another great mission to stay ahead of Soviets and the whole other world in a race. But this movie goes beyond that and explores the different emotional states of astronauts, their families and personal lives, the accidental deaths of astronauts, the government strategies, and people asking questions to the government about why to spend so much money and sacrifice lives and is it really worth it.

I watched this in IMAX format, and after a few shots, I noticed the grainy effect throughout its runtime. This particular film-format is intentionally chosen by the director and the cinematographer to make the audience feel that they’re actually watching the film of that time. Most of the film was shot in 16mm and 35mm film format, except for the breathtaking moon landing sequence which was shot on IMAX 70mm film. The background score of the film by Academy Award winner Justine Herwitz is very much effective and unsettling in some moments. All the shots, where the astronauts are in a cockpit of a spaceship in space, are noisy with shaky cams, which gives thrilling and real effect in a really good way.

Ryan Gosling does a really good job of portraying the legendary Neil Armstrong of very robotic, focused, and calculative nature. And Claire Foy as Janet Armstrong also delivers a flawless emotionally heavy performance. As the film is spanned across eight years, and that too in a running time of 141 minutes, it feels choppy and truncated. But above all, the moon landing sequence at the end gives the satisfaction.

Verdict : Worth to watch this compelling and fascinating biographical story of ‘The first man to walk on the moon’.

Rating : 3.9/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSoRx87OO6k

Tumbbad (2018) – Movie Review

You shouldn’t claim everything you inherit.

Tumbbad is a historical period Fantasy horror film directed by debutant Rahi Anil Barve. Anand Gandhi, the director of Ship of Theseus (2012), serves as the co-writer, executive producer and creative director of the film.

The film depicts a mythological goddess who blessed the universe with food and gold, the things go wrong when her first-born son ‘Hastar’ steals gold from her, and when he goes for food all gods curse him. The film sets in Tumbbad, where it revolves around the consequences when humans build a temple for ‘Hastar’ from the greed of gold. The story of the film spans across three generations of a Brahmin family. Vinayak (Sohum Shah) is at the center of the story who has inherited the cursed hidden wealth beneath the ancestral mansion in Tumbbad.

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At the core, the film talks about the consequences of endless human greed. Even before the movie starts, the famous tagline by Mahatma Gandhi is displayed on a screen, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”, which gives a fair idea about the film’s subject, but it shows that in a very fresh and inventive way. The film has so many things to serve like elements of horror, fantasy stories of mythological demon god, and well woven real-world message.

Tumbbad3

Atmospherically the film is surprisingly impressive, and every on-screen imagery is astonishing. The production design of the film is remarkable, no set pieces seem fake. The visual effects look so real and are at its best as compared to any Indian film. The camera work is splendid, some moments are shot with hand-held camera which actually feels real. The background music and songs lifts up the overall movie watching experience. The performance by Sohum Shah is flawless and very much convincing as a greedy protagonist. Some of the moments in the film really scary including some graphical violence.

One more thing, before the film starts, the film shows their sincere thanks to Anurag Kashyap and Rajkumar Hirani, not so sure about their contribution to this film, but it definitely boosts the audience for the ambitious and incredible story they’re going to witness.

Verdict : A surprising treat for horror and monster movie lovers, that too with great story and performances.

Rating : 4/5

Click here for trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN75MPxgvX8

Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran (2018) – Movie Review

Heroic and Patriotic.

Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran (Parmanu – Atom in English) is a period action drama film directed by Abhishek Sharma. The film stars John Abraham in a lead role, who has also produced the same.

The film is based on the nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by the Indian Army at Pokhran, Rajasthan in 1998. The film starts in the era when America and the other countries have already become a superpower with the possession of nuclear bombs. America, who had been a superpower for many years, and now are trying to have a grab on the warfare happening across the world by deploying ‘eye in the sky’ in the form of satellites. And now, it’s a high time for India to be a superpower by conducting nuclear test explosions, and that too by maintaining the secrecy of this operation.

The story depicted in the film is one of the most important events in the Indian history and the people who made this event possible. In the running time of this film, practically it is not possible to include all the little details of the operation, but makers have successfully accommodated the significant aspects and delivered a gripping drama film. It has a flavor of the documentary film, but the engaging storyline and compelling performances by characters made the film thrilling and entertaining at the same time. The only problem with the film is its bombarded background sound, which felt unnecessary and overloaded at some situations, which overtakes the drama and does not let it breathe.

Verdict : Overall it’s a really good, proud, and patriotic film to watch. Go for it.

Rating : 4/5

Phantom Thread (2017) – Movie Review

Kiss me, my girl, before I’m sick…

Phantom Thread is a period drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, who is known for his peculiar way of storytelling and has been nominated eight times for Academy Awards in different categories including this film as well. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis, the winner of three Academy Awards in leading actor category, and also got the nomination for this film in a similar category. Daniel Day-Lewis is a very much talented and versatile actor who is well known for his method acting. Supposedly, this is Daniel Day-Lewis’s final film, he announced the same on June 20, 2017, that he was retiring from acting. So sadly, this film is the last chance to see this time’s finest actor performing from his heart and bones and veins on screen. Just Go for it.

The film sets in 1950’s after war era of London and dives into the life of Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), a meticulous renowned dressmaker, who designs dresses for members of high society, and lives with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville), who manages the operations of his luxury fashion house. Not so far in the film, Reynolds gets interested in a waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps) and asks her for a date. Impressed with her willfulness and determination Reynolds asks her to move in with him where she acts as his muse, assistant, and love interest. Soon Reynolds finds out that Alma’s presence in his life is disrupting his daily perfect quality routines which he adores so much. Alma, on the other hand, obsessed with love, out of fear of losing Reynolds, and seeing her expectations being lashed, chooses some extreme ways, which will keep Reynolds closer to her. Rest of the film depicts the fate of their relationship when the moral clashes happen between both of them because of their ambitions, obsessions, love, insecurities, and vulnerabilities, and how they find their way through all this mess towards understanding, acceptance, and patience.

It is a pure romance drama film filled with heightened complex emotional moments, and definitely, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. The performances by all the leads are flawless and feel so real that one gets completely get drawn into the film. In particular, Daniel Day-Lewis is just phenomenal in his role, he just has the commanding presence on the screen, and he literally makes the character alive on screen by living the same. The storyline of the film is pretty straight-forward, but compelling characters and detailing in little things makes it very much interesting. The melodious piano music playing in the background is so good that it lifts up the drama beautifully.

Verdict : Just Go for it and witness the legendary performance by the legendary actor of our time.

Rating : 4.2/5

Padmaavat (2018) – Movie Review

Obsession vs. Honour

Padmaavat (formerly titled Padmavati), is a classic period drama film co-written and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who is one of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers in Indian cinema, and well known for his astonishing filmmaking styles filled with huge sets, powerful performances, soothing music, and epic storylines. The film is based on the epic poem Padmavat (1540) by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, and that’s where protests and bans on this film have started, stating that the film is deteriorating the history and hurting the sentiments of the Rajput community in India. After facing so many controversies, after making the required cuts (even the name of the film has changed), and then after getting a green signal from Supreme Court of India, the film has finally arrived at the movie theatres. The film has released in three different formats as 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D, and this is the first Indian film to be released in IMAX 3D format.

Set in 1303 AD, the film tells the story of bravery and sacrifice of exceptionally beautiful Rajput Queen Padmavati (Deepika Padukone), the wife of Rawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor), a righteous king and the noble ruler of Mewar. Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh), the power-drunk ruthless Afghan ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, who hears about Padmavati’s beauty, and lays siege to Chittor fort to obtain her out of his obsession. Before Alauddin Khalji could invade Chittor, Padmavati and her companions commit Jauhar (self-immolation) to protect their honor. The story of the film is not so convoluted, but the artistic directional approach, rich set designs, finest music, and theatrical performances are worth experiencing in cinema halls.

In the final moment, the film has literally given goosebumps to the audience, the chants, the visuals, the sound, just takes over the audience. The background score of the film is splendid. The film is a truly cinematic experience with breathtaking visuals that it does not let the audience to take their eyes off the screen. The storyline of the film is pretty straightforward but the characters are compelling enough to drag the audience totally into the film. The film has some really powerful performances. In particular, hats off to the portrayal of menacing and barbaric Allauddin Khilji by Ranveer Singh, which is truly outstanding and deserves all appreciation, he steals every scene he is in, audience hates his character and likes his performance at the same time. Shahid Kapoor as the noble ruler is shining in his own moments, he can talk so much with his eyes. Deepika Padukone as Queen Padmavati is to the point, not more, not less. The supporting roles by Aditi Rao Hydari as Mehrunissa, Raza Murad as Jalaluddin Khilji, and Jim Sarbh as Malik Kafur are surprisingly impacting, and seeing all these characters coming together is a delightful treat.

Verdict : The story of Obsession and Greed versus Bravery and Sacrifice is worth watching. Bollywood at it’s best.

Rating : 4.2/5