The Common Man Speaks


Phalke’s 142nd Anniversary: Overshadowed National Event!

Over the decades, movies have become an integral part of the lives of Indians. People of all ages, gender, religion, caste, language and class have been regularly thronging movie theatres ever since cinema arrived in India 99 years ago. The choice of movies among people might differ but visiting cinema halls and getting amazed, inspired and influenced by movies and its actors has become very common. Therefore, it won’t be an overstatement to say that cinema has become a part of Indian culture.

For making this possible, we all movie buffs should be thankful or even indebted to the Father of Indian Cinema Dhundiraj Govind Phalke aka Dadasaheb Phalke. It was his strong dedication and belief that made cinema possible in India. But when Phalke decided to make India’s first film Raja Harishchandra in 1912, there were many who tried to discourage him. There were some who even considered him a mad man.

Dadasaheb Phalke (Picture courtesy - Wikipedia)

But his dedication and passion was so strong that it had no effect on him. This was also because his wife Saraswati and his two kids too joined him in the mission. So, it won’t be wrong to say that the first Indian movie was made by the whole Phalke family.

After that, he could have easily settled in England and made films for the English. Financiers from London were ready to shell out huge amounts of money to produce his films. But he chose to stay in India so that the film industry develops and flourishes in our country.

It was filmmaker Paresh Mokashi and his team that enlightened the cinegoers about Phalke through his first film Harishchandrachi Factory (2009). Personally speaking, I will always be thankful to Mokashi for giving this hugely needed tribute to the great man. Without going overboard, the filmmaker presented Phalke’s struggle and the subsequent achievement by just using the visual medium.

However, from the huge number of movie buffs, how many are truly aware about Phalke? And from those who know about him, how many are there who truly think about him? I am sure a lot of people from the Indian film industry might not know about him.

I think even the mass media hasn’t given much importance to Phalke in all these 99 years. It wouldn’t cost much to our filmmakers to give tribute to Phalke at the start of their movie. After all, they are able to make movies only because he brought the medium to India. Apart from Harishchandrachi Factory, the only movie I remember doing this was Swarajya (2011).

I would like to give special mention to Fame Nakshatra (Dadar) for honoring Phalke by putting his picture with a garland inside their theatre (See below picture). I haven’t seen any other theatre doing this.

Monday April 30, 2012 marks the 142nd birth anniversary of Phalke. As expected, there is just no excitement or even awareness about it. But that is not going to stop me from rejoicing for the Father of Indian Cinema since it's a day every cinema lover should be proud of! 

Watch the 11 minute footage from Raja Harishchandra (1913), the very first film of India!

Nandu Madhav and Vibhawari Deshpande in a still from Harishchandrachi Factory

Picture of Dadasaheb Phalke inside Fame Nakshatra theatre, Dadar.


Tezz Movie Review

Direction: Priyadarshan

Production: Ratan Jain for United 7 Entertainment Ltd

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, Boman Irani, Zyed Khan, Sameera Reddy, Kangana Ranaut, Mohanlal

Writers: Robin Bhatt, Aditya Dhar

Music: Sajid-Wajid

Rating: * ½

Plot: Aakash Rana (Ajay Devgn) loses his money and assets for living and working illegally in the UK. As he is deported back to India, he is also estranged from his wife Nikita (Kangana Ranaut). Four years later he returns to the country to avenge the damage done to his life. To do this, he plots a bomb in the London-Glasgow train with the help of ex-colleagues Abid Khan (Zyed Khan) and Megha (Sameera Reddy).

Aakash demands a huge ransom from the UK government in return for the lives of the people in the train. He is pitted against the anti-terror officer Arjun Khanna (Anil Kapoor) and the railway traffic chief (Boman Irani).

Review: Judging by the action thrillers released in last few years, we can say Bollywood has taken giant steps when it comes to stunts, sleek editing and special effects. Examples – Cash (2007), Blue (2009), Prince (2010), Ra.One (2011), Players (2012), Agent Vinod (2012), etc. However, despite these films being superlative in the action department, they all suffered due to some weak writing.

The promos of Priyadarshan’s Tezz suggested that the film wouldn’t fall in the above mentioned list. But promos can be misleading and that’s exactly the case with Tezz. Therefore, it easily falls in the list for the same reason – poor script, which is also unintentionally hilarious during several scenes and dialogues.

The biggest problem with Tezz lies in its basic plot which defies logic. Why would the audience sympathize with someone who has been living illegally in a country and when punished for it, plots a bomb in a train to take revenge? Due to this, there is almost no emotional connect with the audience right at the onset.

What follows is a series of negotiation and action scenes (till the end of the movie) that hardly create an impact. In fact, after a point of time you barely feel the thrill by the repetitive chase sequences. All these instances will also remind you of various Hollywood movies; mostly Speed (1994) and The Taking Of Pelham 123 (2009). Although the first half turns out to be unsatisfying, you still feel like giving the movie a second chance after intermission.

However, the same negotiation and action is continued in the pre-interval portions as well. And as the story unfolds further in this part, a good number of scenes and dialogues inadvertently tickle your funny bone. Try to fathom this line where a character tries to explain the reason behind naming her son Aakash – Aakash mein ek kaash hai ki kaash tum yahan hote.

Later on, as the climax nears, you realize the film is stretched although the overall length is under two hours. It is difficult to believe how an experienced producer like Ratan Jain agreed to finance such a script!

There is just no scope for music (Sajid-Wajid). All songs are just thrown in unnecessarily but none more than Mallika Sherawat’s item number ‘Laila’.

Areas like action (R P Yadav) and cinematography (Thiru S. Appun) are the biggest plus points. Sandeep Chowta’s background score, however, forcefully tries to create thrill with some unnecessarily loud noises.

From the actors, Anil Kapoor stands out with a mature act. Boman Irani is another actor who impresses with a powerful act. The writing doesn’t give Ajay Devgn much scope to showcase his acting skills. Most of the times, he just has to be on the phone in order to negotiate and give threats to the railway officials and the anti-terror squad. Zyed Khan’s limited acting skills are seen here too while Sameera Reddy is average.

It is quite clear that a fine performer like Mohanlal opted to act in the film only due to his good relations with Priyadarshan. Not only is he a mismatch in the role of a London cop, but also his character is ill-defined. A scene where he clings on to a moving train is one of the various funny (pun intended) sequences. Kangana Ranaut disappoints too. The way she screams in her typical harsh voice in the pre-climax makes you wince!

Overall, Tezz falls flat due to a large number of minuses and hardly any plusses. At the box-office, it will have the same fate as Ajay-Priyadarshan’s first film together Aakrosh (2010), although the latter was a fine product.


Vicky Donor Review

Direction: Shoojit Sircar

Production: Rampage Motion Pictures Ltd, Rising Sun Films Pvt Ltd, JA Entertainment Pvt Ltd, Eros Entertainment

Cast: Ayushman Khurana, Annu Kapoor, Yami Gautam

Writer: Juhi Chaturvedi (Story, Screenplay and Dialogues)

Music: Akshay-Ajay

Rating: * * * ½

Plot: Vicky (Ayushman Khurana) is an unemployed youth who is under pressure to start earning. On the other hand, Dr Chaddha (Anu Kapoor), a fertility expert, is having a terrible time as none of his patients are able to conceive. One fine day, Chaddha’s eyes fall on Vicky. He gets a feeling that Vicky is the right person to become a sperm donor in his clinic. After strictly refusing Chaddha’s offer a number of times, Vicky finally agrees.

Due to this, Chaddha’s business suddenly zooms up while Vicky starts making a lot of money. In between, Vicky comes across a banker Ashima Roy (Yami Gautam) and falls for her. But will he ever be able to reveal his profession to her?

Review: What will be your reaction when a person reveals that he is a sperm donor? As the profession is hardly known in India, chances are you will consider him shameless or immoral. However, your opinion on sperm donors will change drastically and, in fact, you will also start respecting them after watching Soojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor, a tale which, although not a classic, will surely touch your heart.

The promos of Vicky Donor suggested that the film is a humorous account on sperm donation. But, apart from that, it is a mature and realistic take on a person who becomes a sperm donor with an important element of a love story. Juhi Chaturvedi (story, screenplay and dialogues) deserves lots of applause for carrying out this task while giving humour a high place in the narration through some intelligently witty dialogues.

(Review continued after picture.)

The kind of topic had lots of scope for the writer and director to go overboard especially in the choice of humour but fortunately that doesn’t happen here. Even in the jokes related to sperms and sperm donors, every care is taken to keep any kind of cheapness and vulgarity away.

The flawlessness does take a backseat in some portions of the second half where the emotional part seems extended. However, then comes the superlative and moving climax that deserves plenty of applause. In fact, the message given in the end is path-breaking as far as India is concerned.

From Akshay-Ajay’s compositions, ‘Rum Whisky’ and ‘Paani Da Rang’ manage to stay with you, although a couple of songs (although they are shortened) in the second half weren’t needed. Kamaljeet Negi’s cinematography suits the nature of the film and so does the background score.

Ayushman Khurana makes a superlative debut as he does the very difficult task of carrying the film on his shoulders in his very first film with ease. He shows his talent in both comic as well as serious scenes. A sure a lookout for the future. With another lovable act, Anu Kapoor once again proves why he is one of the best actors in India. His comic timing is terrific.

Yami Gautam, who also makes her debut, gives a confident performance too and looks gorgeous. Kamlesh Gill and Dolly Ahluwalia provide good humour in the role of nagging saas and bahu. In supporting roles, Jayant Das and Bhupesh Kumar do well.

Overall, Vicky Donor gives a daring message while providing good quality entertainment. The film will be the surprise of the season at the box-office.


Tezz Box-Office Prediction

Direction: Priyadarshan

Production: Ratan Jain for United 7 Entertainment Ltd

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut, Zyed Khan, Sameera Reddy, Boman Irani, Mohanlal, Paresh Rawal

Writers: Robin Bhatt, Aditya Dhar

Music: Sajid-Wajid

Release Date: April 27, 2012

Star Value: With Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor playing pivotal roles, you can say Tezz is quite high on star value. Apart from these actors, there are also experienced veterans like Boman Irani, Paresh Rawal and Mohanlal, along with known names like Kangana Ranaut and Sameera Reddy.

Hype: Despite such big names and a well-known and successful director, Tezz has failed to create any hype or buzz. According to me, this could be because the promos of the movie are quite similar to the various action movies that have released in the recent past. The makers have also failed to publicize their movie.

Music: Lack of an interesting or a hit track is another reason for the film failing to create hype. The title song, the romantic number ‘Tere Bina’ and even Mallika Sherawat’s item song ‘Laila’ haven’t become popular.

Prediction: Tezz will at the most get an average opening at the box-office. This is quite surprising considering the star cast and the image of the director. It’s made at a budget of Rs 40 crore. It will be very tough for it to surpass that amount and make profit. Its only chance lies if it turns out to be a super-impressive product. If it doesn’t, it will have the same fate as Ajay-Priyadarshan’s first film together Aakrosh (2010), which was also an action flick.


Masala (Marathi Movie) Review

Direction: Sandesh Kulkarni

Production: Umesh Kulkarni and Girish Kulkarni for Aarbhat Nirmiti, Pravin Masale

Story: Girish Kulkarni

Screenplay: Girish Kulkarni

Cast: Girish Kulkarni, Amruta Subhash, Mohan Agashe, Hrishikesh Joshi, Sneha Majgaonkar, Dilip Prabhavalkar

Music: Anand Modak

Rating: * * * ½

Plot: Revan (Girish Kulkarni) tries out a number of businesses but fails to find success in any. Due to this, he is forced to live a nomadic life in order to escape his creditors. Being an obedient wife, Sarika (Amruta Subhash) agrees with whatever her husband decides. Circumstances land the couple in Solapur, which is the hometown of Sarika’s cousin Kalyan (Hrishikesh Joshi).

Revan and Kalyan decide to join hands and start a business of selling groundnuts. Will Revan finally achieve success?

Review: Starting a business and running it successfully are two different things altogether. But if you keep your passion alive and learn from your mistakes, even fate will be forced to come by your side. This phenomenon is presented in Sandesh Kulkarni’s Masala in a light hearted manner that produces plenty of smiles.

As a writer, Girish Kulkarni continues from where he left in Deool (2011). He presents another subtle rural script that doesn’t go overboard and involves the audience right from the onset. Although there is not much romance shown between the lead couple, the interactions and actions between them clearly indicate the deep love they share hence making the audience feel for them.

Apart from this what keeps you entertained and provides humour is the inclusion of some interesting characters and incidents. The writer and director’s (Sandesh Kulkarni) efforts are seen in the realism that is oozed from the proceedings in terms of the conversations and truly realistic performances. Things do become a bit slow in the latter part of the second half. However, the climax makes up for it as the conclusion of the tale will move as well as delight you.

Top-notch effort is shown by M H Ramachandran as a cinematographer. A single take scene where Revan and Kalyan ride a bicycle together deserves special mention. Narendra Bhide’s background score is apt. Although there is not much scope for music, songs ‘Yan Madti’ and the title track go well with the film.

Girish Kulkarni gets into the skin of his character wonderfully. His portrayal of Revan is sure to fetch him lots of appreciation. Amruta Subhash deserves similar applause for playing Revan’s wife with realism. Mohan Agashe (as businessman Mehta) and Dilip Prabhavalkar (as a scientist) once again prove why they are respected names in Marathi cinema.

Hrishikesh Joshi and Sneha Majgaonkar play their part well while Dr Shreeram Lagoo excels in a cameo. Jyoti Subhash offers good support.

In a nutshell, Masala acts as a breath of fresh air that will be appreciated by the lovers of meaningful cinema. The movie has a chance of clicking at the box-office.


Hate Story Box-Office Prediction

Direction: Vivek Agnihotri

Production: BVG Films

Cast: Paoli Dam, Gulshan Devaiya, Nikhil Dwivedi, Mohan Kapoor

Music: Harshit Saxena

Release Date: April 20, 2012

Star Value: There aren’t big names in Hate Story although Paoli Dam is very much popular in the eastern region of India due to her bold acts in Bengali films.

Hype: The promos of Hate Story have managed to raise eyebrows due to the bold scenes and dialogues. Such high level of boldness is rarely seen before in Bollywood. However, the hype that one would associate with this film is missing despite the fact that the boldest Bengali actress is making her Hindi film debut.

Music: Songs of Hate Story have failed to become popular. There is not a single song that has managed to catch viewers’ attention from the promos and radio broadcast.

Prediction: At the most, Hate Story will get an average opening. It not only needs to impress initially, but, after that, will also require positive word-of-mouth if it has to succeed at the box-office.


Vicky Donor Box-Office Prediction

Direction: Shoojit Sircar

Production: Rampage Motion Pictures Ltd, Rising Sun Films Pvt Ltd, JA Entertainment Pvt Ltd, Eros Entertainment

Cast: Ayushman Khurana, Annu Kapoor, Yami Gautam

Music: Akshay-Ajay

Release Date: April 20, 2012

Star Value: Two debutants – Ayushman Khurana and Yami Gautam – are been launched in Vicky Donor. Hence, there is no star value in the movie. Just like last week’s Bittoo Boss, the film relies only on content.

Hype: A very bold issue of sperm donation has never been touched before in Bollywood. Due to this, the promos of Vicky Donor have made heads turn and have also managed to create some hype for the movie.

Music: Although songs ‘Rum Whisky’ and ‘Pani Da Rang’ are quite catchy, they haven’t gained popularity. They might become popular if the film does very well.

Prediction: Vicky Donor does stand a chance in getting average opening first up. Since the film is purely based on content, it is absolutely necessary for it to impress at the onset. If it manages to do that, it will become a surprise hit of the year. If it doesn’t, no need to mention about its fate. It has a chance only in urban multiplexes.


Baboo Band Baja (Marathi Movie) Review

Direction: Rajesh Pinjani

Production: Neeta Jadhav, Rajesh Pinjani

Cast: Mitalee Jagtap Varadkar, Vivek Chabukswar, Milind Shinde

Music: Rohit Nagbhide

Rating: * * *

Plot: Jaggu (Milind Shinde) is a member of a local band in a remote village in Maharashtra. He wants his son Baboo aka Babya (Vivek Chabukswar) to join the same profession. However, Baboo's mother and Jaggu's wife Shirmi (Mitali Jagtap Vardkar) is determined to educate her child so that he can enter a more respectable profession. Will Shirmi succeed in her noble task or will Baboo too end up being a band baja wala?

Review: Not-so-long-ago, Amit Abhyankar’s Jana Gana Mana (2012) gave an important message that every child has a right to education irrespective of his social class. The same message is put forth in Rajesh Pinjani’s debut flick Baboo Band Baja, although in a different way. Like Abhyankar, Pinjani too succeeds in spreading the message with honesty. But one has to add that the product is more feasible for the classes, especially due of the climax.

The story hardly moves forward in the first half but the interesting sequences, conversations and confrontations and most importantly, the direction makes sure your interest is very much alive. In fact, it works well here as you become absorbed in the rural mood of the flick and even start feeling for the characters. The same absorption is continued even in the post-interval sequences, although things continue to go at the same pace.

(Review continued after picture.)

Some appealing events nicely lead up to the pre-climax portion. However, it would have been much better and pleasant if the pre-climax had been the climax. A twist after the pre-climax which is followed by a startling incident could have been avoided. This would have also made sure the film gets mass acceptance. But having said this, the makers surely deserve applause for the message given.

Rohit Nagbhide’s songs are apt for the subject and so is the background score. The cinematography is applause-worthy as it beautifully captures the remote village. The editing should have been tighter, especially in the funeral scenes.

Mitalee Jagtap Varadkar gets into the skin of her character with such mastery that it is difficult to believe that she is putting on an act for a movie. It isn’t surprising that she won a National Award for the performance. Milind Shinde moulds himself perfectly to play Jaggu. He gives a terrific act too.

A difficult character is played by ease by child actor Vivek Chabukswar. The actor deserves a lot of applause as it could have been a daunting task for any kid. He too rightfully deserves a National Award for the act. The surprise package is the actress who played the mad woman. She is outstanding!

Overall, Baboo Band Baja will please those who prefer off-beat cinema. The film is in desperate need of positive word-of-mouth. The fact that it is released with four other Marathi movies will surely affect its chances at the box-office.


Kashala Udyachi Baat Movie Review

Direction: Pramod Joshi

Production: Balasaheb Bhapkar and Shashank Bhapkar for Sai Prasad Media

Cast: Sachin Khedekar, Anupam Kher, Atul Parchure, Mrinal Kulkarni, Anjan Shrivastav, Suresh Menon, Suresh Menon, Kishori Ambiye, Kishor Pradhan, Rajesh Upadhyay

Music: Salil Kulkarni

Rating: * * * ½

Plot: IT professional Aditya Pradhan (Sachin Khedekar) has reached the pinnacles of success in no time. This has ensured he has everything in life. However, the race to become successful has just reduced him to a money-making machine as he has just forgotten to actually live life. In fact, he regularly faces wrath from his wife Sakshi (Mrinal Kulkarni) and daughter Tanisha (Shruti Welankar) for not being able to give time to them.

Aditya’s life takes a drastic turn one day when he is confronted with a puzzling as well as a shocking situation. There is just nobody who can solve Aditya’s problem. Just then, he comes across a blind stranger (Anupam Kher). Is the stranger a solution to Aditya’s problem?

Review: You have a successful career, family, hefty bank balance, bungalow, expensive car and all the luxuries of life. But does that really mean you are living life and not merely existing? What is the use of such enormous success when you can’t share it with your family? Such harsh reality of today’s urban life is portrayed in Pramod Joshi’s Kashala Udyachi Baat! And while that happens, you get to experience a moving saga that will motivate you to live life to the fullest.

Although the puzzling situation, which Aditya faces, was earlier seen in the Hollywood flick Groundhog Day, it works very well here as it also gives a kick start to the proceedings. And those who haven’t seen the Hollywood film will be awestruck by the twist. Aditya’s confusion produces some humorous and interesting situations. However, dialogue writers (Joshi and Sanjay Dole) could have used the problem in increasing the funny situations.

(Review continued after picture.)

The hold is continued in the second half when Anupam Kher’s character gains full control. What follows is a series of incidents that will touch hearts of city dwellers as they will realize the importance of living rather than just being money-making machines. This is followed by a climax that will bring a smile on your face and you will come out of the theatre rejuvenated.

The film, however, also has few flipsides. At one point the events in the second half might appear stretched and preachy. This might not be accepted by entertainment-hungry audience.

Salil Kulkarni’s music suits the mood of the flick except the item number. Technical areas like cinematography (Salil Sahastrabuddhe) and background music (Bapi Tutul) score well too.

Sachin Khedekar once again gives a delightful performance. Whether it is comedy, tragedy, helplessness or anger; he portrays every emotion with flawlessness. Anupam Kher is simply lovable! It’s a delight to watch him perform as he gives some valuable gyan and at the same time makes you laugh.

The film is well supported by cameos from Atul Parchure, Mrinal Kulkarni, Anjan Shrivastav, Suresh Menon, Suresh Menon, Kishori Ambiye, Kishor Pradhan and Rajesh Upadhyay.

Overall, Kashala Udyachi Baat! gives an important lesson that will surely move the urban workaholics. The film relies heavily on word-of-mouth if it has to succeed at the box-office.


Bittoo Boss Box-Office Prediction

Direction: Supavitra Babul

Production: Kumar Mangat, Abhishek Pathak

Cast: Pulkit Samrat, Amita Pathak

Music: Raghav Sachar

Star Value: Bittoo Boss has debutant Pulkit Samrat in the lead while Amita Pathak plays the girl opposite him. Hence, there is no star value in the movie. The film is entirely dependent on the content, just like the makers’ first film Pyaar Ka Punchnama.

Hype: The promos of the movie have succeeded in tickling the funny bone of the audience, especially the line ‘Bittoo Sabki Lega… Photo’. Although the film appears promising judging by the promotional clips, the hype isn’t as much as the makers would have hoped for.

Music: From the songs, only ‘Bittoo Sabki Lega’ has managed to impress and become a bit famous. It looks like music is not the strength of the movie.

Prediction: Bittoo Boss will fail to get a positive opening. Its chances rely entirely on the film's initial response. Even if it does succeed at impressing initially, it will depend heavily on word-of-mouth publicity. No prizes for guessing the fate of the film if the content fails to impress at the onset.