The Common Man Speaks


Ragini MMS Movie Review

Direction: Pawan Kripalani

Production: i Rock Films, Alt Entertainment, Balaji Telefilms

Cast: Raj Kumar Yadav, Kainaz Motivala

Rating: * * *

If a horror genre flick starts off with a full length Hanuman Chalisa, it surely raises your expectations for a spine-chilling experience. Although Ragini MMS doesn’t fully succeed in terrifying you to your wits, it definitely deserves a watch (if you are non-conservative) for some creatively crafted scenes and for being a new age horror film.

Based on a true story, the film is about a brash foul-mouthed Uday (Raj Kumar Yadav) who takes his girlfriend Ragini (Kainaz Motivala) for a naughty weekend outside city at a friend’s bungalow. Ragini is unaware that Uday and his friend have rigged the bungalow with spy cameras in order to record the sexual activities between the couple. Uday’s plan goes haywire as the couple starts experiencing some bizarre incidents.

A well made horror film needs to be loaded with terrifying scenes which should also take the audience by surprise apart from telling an interesting tale. Pawan Kripalani and Vaspar Dandiwala’s writing provides that as the events in the first half have a number of frightening moments which keep the audience at the edge of their seats. There is an interesting mix of sex and horror which works and builds excitement for the second half.

As a director, Kripalani deserves applause for handling the subject with maturity. He also succeeds in shooting a horror film in a never-seen-before manner through some intelligent use of spy cams. He is aptly supported by Tribhuvan Babu’s cinematography and Jitendra Chaudhary’s background score, which thankfully doesn’t contain the overuse of loud sounds we often see in non-terrifying horror films.

The post-interval portions, however, do not amuse much. After a shocking incident (not possible to reveal), a good amount of time is spent in freeing Ragini from the handcuffs, which tests the audience’s patience after a point of time. Even the penultimate terrifying moments appear funny. It is also not explained why the ghost (who repeats the same lines in Marathi) commits all those killings. On top of that, we have an abrupt climax.

Performances are another plus point. Raj Kumar Yadav appears very real. He is terrific during scary moments. Kainaz Motivala plays her part perfectly and displays different emotions with ease.

Overall, the plusses of Ragini MMS manage to overshadow the minuses. The very low budget and positive word-of-mouth should keep its producers (i Rock Films, Alt Entertainment and Balaji Telefilms) happy.


Balgandharva (Marathi Movie) Review

Ravi Jadhav

Producer: Nitin Chandrakant Desai

Music: Kaushal Inamdar

Cast: Subodh Bhave, Abhijit Kelkar, Siddharth Chandekar, Vibhavari Deshpande, Kishore Kadam, Prachiti Mhatre

Rating: * * *

Musical plays with men impersonating women might sound unusual in today’s times but this was common in the pre and post 1900 era as women weren’t allowed to act or perform back then. This phenomenon is brilliantly presented in Ravi Jadhav’s Marathi movie Balgandharva, a biopic on the life of Narayan Shripad Rajhans aka Narayanrao aka Balgandharva, produced and designed by Nitin Chandrakant Desai. However, apart from a superlative presentation, the film lacks a powerful script.

The film follows the story of Narayanrao, a gifted singer with impeccable acting skills who won many a hearts with his performances as a woman (most of them) in Marathi natya-sangeet and how tragedy struck him.

Jadhav’s presentation and Desai’s realistic and stunning sets submerge the viewer into an extravagant yesteryear world. For this very experience, the duo deserves a huge thumbs-up. The film is loaded with a number of scenes which can move anyone. The one where Narayanrao performs even on the day of his daughter’s death takes the cake. Add to this, Kaushal Inamdar’s music, Mahesh Limaye’s cinematography, some heartfelt choreography and what you get is a treat for your senses.

Unfortunately there are flaws or setbacks in the script mostly in the form of too many songs. Although songs are an important part when a film is based on musical plays, it tests the patience of the viewer as they pop up after almost every five minutes throughout the film. Hence, viewing will be very difficult for those who aren’t interested in natya-sangeet. Apart from that, the writing slows down on numerous occasions.

As he had a mammoth task of playing a central character in such a movie, it was vital for Subodh Bhave to give a mind-blowing performance and this is exactly what he does. His acts as women appear so real that it is difficult to believe that it is a male portraying a woman. In short, he forces the viewer to stand up and applaud his act.

Vibhavari Deshpande also makes her presence felt with a mature act. Narayanrao’s comrades – Abhijit Kelkar, Siddharth Chandekar – are also lovable especially in their women acts while Kishore Kadam and Vidyadhar Joshi are perfect. Manoj Joshi does well in a cameo and Prachiti Mhatre impresses in a small role and looks naturally beautiful. Other supporting actors also deserve praise.

Overall, it takes a big heart to make something like Balgandharva. Despite shortcomings, the film is worth a watch because of the performances, music, sets and direction. At the box-office, it will surely be one of the highest grossing Marathi films of the year.


Luv Ka The End Review

Director: Bumpy

Producers: Y Films

Starring: Shraddha Kapoor, Tahaa Shah, Pushtie S

Rating: *

A girl sets out to take revenge on her cheating boyfriend. The girl succeeds in it but what about the audience? As the girl executes her plan (if we can call it), the poor junta is subjected to some non-believable and non-amusing events which eventually make them wince!

The plot of Y Films’ (youth wing of Yash Raj Films) Luv Ka The End is about how Rhea (Shraddha Kapoor) teaches Luv (Taaha Shah) a lesson for cheating her and deciding to ‘use’ her. There’s no problem with the plot but the way Rhea takes revenge appears plain brainless.

The makers have time and again stressed the fact that its film for today’s youth. But do they think today’s youngsters are so absurd that they will break the guy’s car, sprinkle itching powder in his underwear and portray him as a gay by making him dance in a Ghaghara Choli, in order to teach him a lesson? Even the humour thrown in fails to create a giggle, forget laughter. On top of that, the extra-dud climax provides a perfect icing on the cake for a poor product!

We also have characters like a girl who wears something like a swimming costume in an exam, a guy who is proud of himself as he can move his chest, an oversized pervert who can do anything to get hot girls for his party and a professor who is a replica of Savita Bhabhi!

But the biggest non-believable aspect of the story is that Luv is an active participant on a website where guys upload their love-making videos in order to earn points. The more girls, especially sweet virgins (as they call it), you lay; the more are your chances of being the winner. Imagine, guys openly participating in such a contest from all over India and happily uploading videos of their sexual adventures for the whole world to see!

Director Bumpy doesn’t make a bad debut. You can’t blame him if the script itself is shoddy. But the film somewhat scores in the music department as the title song and the Mutton song are hummable.

Although Shraddha Kapoor isn’t outstanding, she does justice to her character and looks confident. But casting Taaha Shah in such a role is a grave mistake. Not because he overacts in some situations but because it is difficult to believe that girls can be so crazy for such a character, as shown in the film. Pushtie S is the star of the show! Her dialogue delivery and witty dialogues do make you smile. Sreejita De is not bad while Rahul Pardasany is likable.

Overall, Luv Ka The End makes us shudder to think about Y Films’ forthcoming films, if this is what they wish to serve today’s youth. At the box-office, the film has some chance but only in selected metros.


Obama’s Illusion or Indifference?

After hunting him for 10 long years, finally the US managed to kill world’s most dreaded terrorist Osama Bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan. The US President Barack Obama broke the news and said, “Justice has been done.” This was enough to start national celebrations across the US. But is this really a reason to rejoice? Is justice really been done?

The way people are celebrating in US it seems as if terrorism is completely wiped out from the world. It will be idiotic to believe that with Osama’s death, terrorism will bow down to its knees. We all know Al-Qaeda is a large and powerful network. And they were also aware that Osama was living a very risky life.

In other words, Osama’s death was always on the cards for them. Al-Qaeda must have always thought about this possibility. Only a fool can think that Al-Qaeda must not have thought about Plan B. They surely have a good number of people readying to succeed Osama.

Plus, apart from Al-Qaeda, there must be thousands of terrorist breeding camps across the world. Finding and finishing them is going to be humongous task even for the most powerful nation on earth. But it seems President Obama isn’t concerned about this as he has made one of the funniest statements in recent times saying, “Justice has been done.”

India along with a number of other countries has been a victim of terrorism since very long. The number of lives lost in these countries is much higher than the lives lost in the 9/11 attack. So, what about the justice with India and other nations who have borne terror attacks and lost lakhs of its innocent citizens? We still need to capture the mastermind who trained and ordered Ajmal Kasab and his comrades for Mumbai’s 26/11 attack. But Obama’s statement clearly indicates he and the US were only concerned about the attack on the US without giving a damn to India and other countries.

This can also be seen from the fact that although US has promised to help India a number of times in solving the terrorism issue, they have hardly done anything practical in this regard. And Obama’s attitude towards Osama’s death indicates that he is either living in an illusion or is plain indifferent to India and other terror prone countries. I have a strong feeling it’s the latter. Well, time will tell us. Till then, let the US celebrate their Diwali.


Chalo Dilli Movie Review

Direction: Shashant Shah

Production: Big Daddy Productions, Eros International Media Ltd, Bheegi Basanti Entertainment

Starring: Vinay Pathak, Lara Dutta

Ratings: * * 1/2

Circumstances force a man and a woman to travel together on a long journey, which has a number of ups and downs. Before the journey ends, they develop affection and respect for each other. However, they don’t fall in love nor do they get a crush on each other. This is Shashant Shah’s Chalo Dilli’s noteworthy achievement. Other than this, this road trip saga (similar to Due Date and Planes, Trains and Automobiles) suffers from a slow narrative and lacks interesting moments. It is Vinay Pathak’s greatness that makes you somewhat satisfied in the end.

The whole idea was to let Mihika Banerjee (Lara Dutta), a high profile investment banker, experience the simple rural life of India with a chatterbox acquaintance Manu Gupta (Vinay Pathak) in a journey from Jaipur to Delhi. The way both the characters meet and are later forced to travel together is interesting and their interaction gives rise to a number of humorous moments. Although not fast paced, the first half is interesting and promising.

The script, however, starts going downhill in the second half where the situations and characters thrown in fail to amuse much. The goon track and Yana Gupta’s raunchy item number just don’t gel with the story. But thanks to a guest appearance by a superstar and some moving drama in the climax, the film manages to produce a smile.

And talking about smiles, they also produced in plenty by the dialogues which are the backbone of this flick. Apart from the song Matargashtiyan, the music is not much to talk about.

Although his character appears similar to the one he played in Bheja Fry, Vinay Pathak steals the show here. He carries the film on his shoulders with his lovable acts which also overshadow the weakness in the script. Having said that, Lara Dutta too produces a mature act. This is one of her better performances till date.

Overall, Chalo Dilli, is a strictly one-time affair as it falls in the could-have-been-great categories. Due to the multiple releases, the film will have a tough time at the box-office.