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

Advertisements

Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota (2018) – Movie Review

Get Wild, Get Crazy, Get Screwed!

Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota (In English: The Man Who Feels No Pain) is an action comedy film written and directed by Vasan Bala.

The film follows Surya (Abhimanyu Dassani), a young man, who has a rare condition called Congenital insensitivity to pain, meaning he can not feel pain. Because of the strange condition under tragic circumstances; Surya has been raised in solitude by the odd-couple combination of his father (Jimit Trivedi) and his mischievous grandfather Ajoba (Mahesh Manjarekar). In that solitude, Surya develops his fascination for fighting against the criminals by watching action films on VHS tapes, and even starts practicing martial arts on his own. What happens next is the real fun when Surya steps into the real world and starts fighting his foes.

I went for watching this film, without having any idea that what the film is about. I wanted it to surprise me with its content, and exactly that’s what happened. The film is something I’ve never seen anything like this before in the history of Indian cinema. As a director, its a second film by Vasan Bala, and he completely surprises the audience with his brilliant take of this film. The camera angles, lights, colors, slow-motion shots, and of course the unconventional story, all work together really well.

It is the debut film for Abhimanyu Dassani as a lead actor and totally steals the show. His relationship with his Ajoba is one of the best and core parts of the film. Along with leads, the film also has Radhika Madan as Supri, Surya’s childhood friend and love interest; and Gulshan Devaiah as Karate Mani and Jimmy. All of the characters in the film have a niche role to play, nobody feels out of place.

The story of the film is layered and filled with emotions, and as it progresses it gives the sense of fulfillment. The humor in the film is very well placed in the story, which works at all the moments. The action sequences in the film are so real, intense and funny at the same time. The action choreography of the film is so perfect that it’ll definitely make you remember old Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee films.

Verdict : Watching this film is like reading a comic book, which has a superhero, a heroine, an enjoyable story, and a cliched villain. 😛 Don’t miss it at any cost.

Rating : 4/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb0-Mw_V_bA

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

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.

SacredGames1

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.

SacredGAmes2

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.

SacredGAmes3

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

Blackmail (2018) – Movie review

Revenge is sweet.

Blackmail is the dark comedy-drama film co-produced and directed by Abhinay Deo. The film has a flavor of Abhinay Dev’s previously directed exceptionally brilliant film Delhi Belly (2011). The film stars Irrfan Khan in a lead role, his versatility in his performances, and peculiarity in picking his roles is enough to drag movie lovers to the theatres.

The film revolves around the unexciting life of Dev (Irrfan Khan), a middle-aged married man stuck in a full day-time job. One fine day, Dev decides to give a sweet surprise to his wife Reena (Kirti Kulhari) by coming home early, but things turn sore after he finds that his wife is having an extramarital affair. Broken Dev, being not so common person, rather going for any obvious reactions he picks to secretly blackmail his wife and her lover as a form of revenge. What follows next is the not so ordinary film filled with black comedy and unexpected turns of events with quirky fun-filled characters.

The best thing about this film is that the film has managed to balance it’s funny, emotional, dramatic, and dark comedy moments really well, it never seems overlapping, and that’s the reason it is worth watching. The plot of the film is very unique, and the characters arcs are totally refreshing and engaging. The film has its own flaws, and there are some loose ends, but writers have managed to give a satisfactory full stop to the story. Irrfan’s character is so uncommon, who does some really funny and sometimes dark and unexpected things, and he has given full justice to it.

Verdict : Despite it’s flaws, the film has pulled very fresh and unconventional topic brilliantly.

Rating : 3.7/5

Baban (2018) – Movie Review

It’s a bad world out there.

Baban is a Marathi satire drama film written and directed by Bhaurao Nanasaheb Karhade. It is the second film by Bhaurao Karhade after Khwada (2015) starring Bhausaheb Shinde as a leading actor in both of the films. Khwada represented the story in rural India about shepherds who suffer from the government policies and later dominance of the local goons, and how severely it affects their life permanently. This film is also no different from Khwada with a raw and gripping storyline.

In a small village of Maharashtra, the film revolves around Baban (Bhausaheb Shinde), a striving high school student who is running a small milk business to support his family and education. Determined Baban, who is ready to do anything to fulfill his big dreams tries to jump in the upper market by bypassing the local business authorities. In his naive but daring attempt to expand his business, Baban faces the monopoly of local landlords and goons, and this friction leads him elsewhere, which eventually destroys everything.

The film serves the solid and hard-hitting content in a very impacting way, talking about many social issues. This is the second film by Bhaurao Karhade, and he is just unstoppable in delivering the realistic and thought-provoking stories. The performances are compelling with interesting characters and their deadly disputes feel so real. The film focuses on how local politics and goons still controls the rural part of independent India. There is also a romantic aspect to this film which plays well here and that could have been made as a whole different film, but it eventually causes tonal shifts throughout the film. Some songs in the film feel unnecessarily embedded, making it slow-burning.

Verdict : Not everybody’s cup of tea. Not everybody has a strength to face the reality. A gripping and hard-hitting drama.

Rating : 4.2/5