Everybody’s Fine – Not So

I came across ‘Everybody’s Fine’ starring Robert De Niro along with Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell. Considering the mighty starcast I assumed the film would be good watch.

The movie is a family drama with Robert De Niro playing Frank Goode, a recently widowed father to 4 childeren who live across various parts of USA. On cancellation of their reunion plan he decides to visit them each and finds out more about their lives then he ever knew. De Niro plays his part very well and looks more intense then actually needed for the role. The role did not have enough challenge for an actor of his calibre yet he played it with enough seriousness. The other stars who all plays De Niro’s childeren do not have large enough and well defined roles. The movie is mostly about De Niro travelling across length and breadth of USA and learning truth about all of his children. He realizes that what he had dreamt for each of his children is not what the children have achieved and yet his guidance played a crucial role in them choosing their life’s path.

The movie was a typical American family drama to be viewed during a Christmas or thanksgiving. The movie was not bad and not very good either. One can watch any movie starring De Niro and not be disappointed. This one is just par .

My Ratings : 6/10 –  Watch it for De Niro in a role not meant for him.

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Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai – That 70s Show

Its time to rewind to the 70s.  When it was fashionable to smuggle gold and ‘imported’ swiss watches were in demand. The era when gangs ruled  Mumbai. Once Upon a time in Mumbaai creates that age and time. It presents to us the Mumbai of 70s or Bombay as it was known then.

The disclaimer says that lead characters are  ‘NOT’ based on any person living or dead but we all know that Ajay Devgn’s Sultan Mirza is based on Haji Mastan and Emraan Hashmi represents the menacing Dawood Ibrahim. The movie shows the rise and fall of Haji Mastan and subsequent rise of his protege Dawood through the eyes of a Police Officer. It depicts how the gangs worked, how smuggling was carried out and empires were built. How one man’s greed and immoral nature splits the Bombay gangs and leads to the situation that is now. Its also a movie about ‘generation gap’ between father and son, an older wiser don and his rogue younger protege.

Director Miltan Lutharia in past has made some interesting films like Taxi No. 9211 and Kachche Dhhaage but this one would perhaps be his best work so far. Technically the film is well shot and the 70s era, the costumes, the cars and generally the city of Mumbai are authentically shown. Ttoally ‘filmi’ Dialogues are the best part of the film. Music is good enough but according to me the background score of the film is KILLER, whoever has done it has done it wonderfully to elevate the mood of the era, it binds the film at times. If it was possible to buy just the background score of the film, I would buy it. Background score is what you take home, although the songs are nice and well fitted. ‘Duniya Mein’ remix has some bad choreography though, just like the good old days.

Acting wise, Ajay Devgn lives the role of Mastan nicel, he has done it all in past, he has played Dawood in RGV’s Company where he was the undisputed Don, here he plays a similar character of Haji Mastan, but a don with a different morality and sort of robin-hoodish nature,  Emraan Hashmi fits his Dawood role even better as he resembles the look of Dawood as we know, but he is okay in certain scenes and looks bit confused in some. Kangana Ranaut and Prachi Desai follow the tradition of heroines of the 1970s, they have hardly anything to do. Kangana plays a ‘normal’ woman for a change and doesn’t say ‘Bastard’ even once !! Prachi Desai looks a bit misfit on the big screen and why her character likes the rogue Emraan Hashmi is anyone’s guess. Randeep Hooda playing the Policeman, whose story is this, looks well fitting in some parts and awkward in some, but overall he is nice in smallish role, although he could do well with few more expressions on his face.

The movie is good entertainment and watching it in packed hall reminds you of that long gone era when watching a movie in theaters was an event in itself. But the movie is not a great one, it reminds you of Ramgopal Verma’s far superior ‘Company’ and not-so-good prequel ‘D’. You tend to compare it with ‘Company’ every time. This film doesn’t have much of action or violence and deals more in drama of the era. The romantic parts also do not fit in with the mood.

Incidentally now all the 3 leading actors in the film have played Dawood Ebrahim’s role in 3 different films.  Ajay Devgn in Company and Randeep Hooda in D played the role which Emraan Hashmi played in this movie. Dawood himself is a more a myth than real for most of us in India, but now we can safely he must be looking like Emraan Hashmi, acting and behaving like Ajay Devgn and hopefully falters like Randeep Hooda, pretty soon.

My Ratings :  6.5/10 – Worth taking a trip back to that era.

Raajneeti is Powerful – Film Review

Prakash Jha’s multistarrer Rajneeti released to packed houses last weekend. It boasted the starcase of Nana Patekar, Naseeurrudin Shah, Arjun Rampal, Ajay Devgn, Manoj Bajpayee, Ranbeer Kapoor and Katrina Kaif amongst others. The story is inspired from the greatest epic Mahabharata and set in todays’ times amongst the dirty world of state politics.

I found the film very interesting to begin with. The first half is very riveting and keep you hooked when every character is introduced. Of course you have the Mahabharata story at the back of your mind so you kind of know how each character is going to turn out to be. Although there are quite a few surprises as well. The movie gets more and more interesting as it progresses however in the last 30 minutes it becomes highly predictable and bit weak. The 3 hour length is not at all a problem as it keeps viewers engrossed throughout even though there are no songs to break the monotony of serious scenes. The film depicts the behind the scenes working of a party and politics within the party and a family. It reflects todays’ times and happenings very aptly. The election rallies, the slogan chanting, the crowd scenes look quite genuine and gives you a real feel of what elections are like in India, especially in rural and semi-urban India.

I do have some issues and questions with the film like what happened to Naseerudding Shah’s left- wing character, surely making 1 woman pregnant did not force him to leave his politics and life. I was hoping for that character to be back at some stage in the film. Also Katrina Kaif is truly expressionless and one things is sure that she was not selected for the role  for her acting skills or her Hindi speaking skills. Her character was not even foreign-returned or of a foreginer then why the silly accent?  Why couldn’t the director chose anyone else?  Maybe because she looks beautiful when she doesn’t speak and is a salable name at the box office !! Also the film has no real central character with whom you identify. All the characters have grey shades, which is good to see but you need to have one central figure with whom you want audience to empathize, here that was missing.

One big logical error which has mostly gone unnoticed is that the initial rally is shown to be taking place in the year 1983. Assuming that Ajay Devgan was concevied the very same night, he couldnt havt been born before 1984 and that would make him about 25 years old in 2009 and since he was the eldest amongst all, the other characters like Arjun Rampal, Ranbeer Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee  and Katrina Kaif all have to be under 25 and as far as my Civics knowledge goes one has to be 25 years to fight an election in India !!!  Did the story writer and the director miss this point ???

Acting of the leading characters is top-notch and Nana Patekar as Brij Gopal of course has the best character although I think that character is bit restrained and needed to have lot more witty dialogues. Ajay Devgn suits perfectly well in the role of Suraj/ Karna but again his character needed lot more depth. He looked confused in quite a many scenes. Arjun Rampal is perfectly cast as Bhim/Yudhistir combo and looks good and surprises us by acting decent enough as well. Ranbeer Kapoor’s ‘Arjun’ shoulders the film completely in 2nd half and his character is lot more like Abhishek Bachchan’s character in first Sarkar movie. Although it goes without saying that both Sarkar and this movie are inspired from Godfather. Manoj Bajpayee acts very well and his mannerisms perfectly suit his character. Finally he has a got a role worth his talent. Shruti Seth in a tiny role was a surprise too and she looks good enough for slightly lengthier roles in future. Even Sarah Thompson acted quite well and much better than plasticky Katrina Kaif, who I think should have been replaced by an actress with better acting skills. Also the lady playing ‘Kunti’s role was not so effective.

Technically, I wouldnt comment much but editing seems to be sharp and kept the viewers hooked for the entire duration of 3 hours. I missed some of the songs especially Aadesh Srivastava number  ‘Mora Piya Mosse..”, but the film didnt require any songs and am glad that the director stuck to his conviction. The film had quite a few crowd scenes and it must have been some effort to pull them off convincingly.

The film could have been much much better but I guess in today’s times of Houseful and Kites this film comes as a welcome relief to all cinegoers. The Box office performance of the initial weekend suggests that the film is bound to recover all its cost and make some good money for its makers. This is definitely a good news and films with better content need to do well on box office so as to inspire other makers to make films with even better content. Its not the stars and the marketing gimmicks that make a film work but a well written story and novel concept in story telling that does.

My Ratings : 7.5 /10 –  Do Not Miss

Badmaash Company is nice- Review

A person’s film review is usually based on what you see in a film and what your expectations of the film were prior to watching it. Expectations are built mainly from the television promos, music, caste and the production house behind the film and mainly reviews by other filmgoers, critics, journalists, trade analysts and friends and family.

Thus when majority of the above give favorable reviews to a film there are more chances of you liking it as well ,atleast the layman in me would ‘try’ to like it and vice versa. Sometimes when the reviews are not so positive you expect to’not like’ the movie or get bored by it, however thats when a decently made film takes you by surprise.

I had close to zero expectations from Badmaash Company and expected to get bored especially in the 2nd half, as per most of the reviews but I did not feel bored. The first half I though was breezy enough and 2nd half although a bit repetitive didn’t feel bored much. The settings of Mumbai of the early 90s was quite well done. The story is quite ‘hatke’ from the regular stories you expect and the actors fitted the part , all the 4 including Shahid Kapoor, Veer Das, Meiyang Chang and Anushka Sharma were quite well suitable for the roles they enacted. Perhaps Anushka Sharma was the producer’s choice rather than the directors, but she looked good enough to be there, although needs serious improvement in her speech. The film has a simple story about those 4 guys who use their little tricks and con jobs to earn lots of money and then the money goes to their heads and ultimately they realize their folly and then all is well that ends well. Several sub-plots in between muddle the story a bit  but overall the message was quite clear and a bit obvious.

Anushka Sharma acts as a bindass north Indian girl and looks modern enough for the part, Pawan Malhotra is decent and the Jameel Khan as the ‘smuggler’ boss is very apt. Anupam Kher’s and Kiran Joneja’s plot acts as a bit speed breaker and is too cliched. Veer Das and Chang were apt for the kind of roles they were selected, Chang has a face and personality which can make him the modern day ‘Danny’ but he has to be careful with the roles he select. Shahid Kapoor is natural, hams a bit and sometimes is too eager to do something but overall is quite restrained and carried the film nicely on his shoulders.

Technically the film is quite glossy and ‘good looking’  thanks mainly to the yashraj banner. The cost of production is lavish and appealing.The film falters a bit in its direction and editing part a bit, perhaps due to the fact that the director Parmeet Sethi is new and is also the story and script writer and a bit overenthusiastic at times. But with right experience he would improve and hopefully his next film would be a much better polished product. The music isn’t the blockbuster kind but most of the songs fit the situation and has a youthful appeal. The entire film is targeted towards the youth and going by the decent box office performance the youth have liked it as well.

My Ratings 7/10. Watch it, you wont feel bored.