Director: Kabir Khan
Producers: Eros International, Salman Khan Films and Kabir Khan Films
Writers: Kabir Khan, V Vijayendra Prasad, Parveez Shaikh and Asad Hussain
Cast: Salman Khan, Harshali Malhotra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kareena Kapoor
Rating: * * * *
Review By: Keyur Seta
Hindi cinema regularly churns out hardcore commercial entertainers that carry a message. But most of the times, the message is put across in a superficial or preachy manner in such genre of films. So far, only Rajkumar Hirani has emerged victorious in this genre. With Bajrangi Bhaijaan, we can add Kabir Khan’s name in the very rare list.
The film has a list of achievements. It fills you with emotions through its manner of spreading humanity but at the same time makes you laugh continuously. This is enough to label Bajrangi Bhaijaan as few of Salman Khan’s best films ever and one of the best commercial entertainers of modern day Bollywood.
The story revolves around the six-year-old Shahida (Harshali Malhotra), a mute girl staying in Pakistan. Her mother brings her on a visit to Delhi to visit the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah as she believes it will relieve her of her disability. But some circumstances ensure that she is not able to accompany her mother back home and is left stranded in Delhi.
Shahida comes in contact with the honest, innocent and large-hearted Pawan Chaturvedi aka Bajrangi (Salman Khan). Pawan vows to get her reunited with her parents. Over the course of time, he gets to know that Shahida is from Pakistan. As he is moved by the girl’s plight, he decides to take the risk of accompanying her to Pakistan. Chand Nawab (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), Pakistani news reporter, becomes an important part of Pawan’s mission.
The content here takes you by surprise. It is a commercial Salman film devoid of the usual Salman-isms. In fact, there is just one fight sequence. Kabir has kept the commercialism alive through drama, emotions and lots of comedy while keeping mindlessness at bay, barring few usual errors in such films. There is not a single moment that doesn’t hold your interest. The length of 2 hours 40 just flies.
But the biggest triumph of Bajrangi Bhaijaan is that it crosses some major borders. The audience also consist Salman haters and those who can’t stand anything related to Pakistan. But the story of a super cute innocent Pakistani girl and the character of Pawan are enough to even melt their hearts. More so, it is impossible not to be moved by the supremely overwhelming climax, even if you happen to be either Salman or Pakistan hater, or both.
From Pritam’s music, ‘Selfie Le Le Re’, which has already become popular, is enjoyable. The Qawwali number ‘Bhar Do Meri Jholi’ and ‘Zindagi’ add to the impact. DoP Aseem Mishra has also played his part well, especially while shooting the beautiful locales of Kashmir.
Salman Khan’s performance is also a surprise. After a long hiatus, he has succeeded in displaying his acting skills while getting into the skin of his character. It is easily one of his best acts. But what to say about the little girl Harshali Malhotra? She creates a new benchmark for cuteness and also succeeds in acting through expressions. You just can’t stop feeling for her.
There is Nawzuddin Siddiqui who just keeps impressing film-after-film. He is lovably outstanding here too. Kareena Kapoor doesn’t get much scope. Rajesh Sharma, the actor playing Chand Nawab’s aide, the actress playing Shahida’s mother and others provide good support.
Overall: Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a film that will be remembered for a long time. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride that fills you with joy. It is all set to create new records at the box office. It has earned box office collection of Rs 27 crore on the first day and Rs 36 crore on the second day.
Rating: * * * ½
By: Keyur Seta
The idea of presenting few short films as a whole film is slowly gaining acceptance. It doesn’t come as a surprise to see the genre entering Marathi cinema, as newer or experimental topics have been a regular feature here.
Bioscope, an amalgamation of four short films, is an interesting start to the genre in Marathi. Although not each of the four films can boast of being superlative, the experience as a whole is certainly pleasing due to the progressiveness on display in each, both in terms of the subject and treatment.
Based on a Ghazal by Mirza Ghalib
Director: Gajendra Ahire
Cast: Neena Kulkarni and Suhas Bhalekar
Writer: Gajendra Ahire
Music: Narendra Bhide
The story takes place in today’s Indore. A classical Ghazal singer (Neena Kulkarni) has been living with her musician friend (Suhas Bhalekar) since 30 years. The two of them are trying to come to terms to the fading days of gharana music and mostly spend their time reminiscing the old, golden years.
This one transports you to the Nawabi Indori Gharana of music. Beautiful tunes, rich production design (the revolving fan standing out) and royal Urdu dialogues continuously enchant you. But the film works as a whole due to the amazing bond between the two characters and the ending moments. Showing the two of them purely as friends is a bold statement. Neena Kulkarni and Suhas Bhalekar provide excellent performances and they also share some amazing chemistry.
Ek Hota Kau
Based on a poem by Saumitra
Director: Viju Mane
Cast: Kushal Badrike, Spruha Joshi
Writer: Viju Mane
Music: Soham Pathak
A young garage owner (Kushal Badrike) falls for a beautiful girl (Spruha Joshi) of a respected family. More than the social difference, it is his skin color that is stopping him from sharing his love for her.
The age old story of a poor guy falling for a rich and upper class girl gets another dimension of the issue of complexion. The undying stigma attached to the dark-skinned in Indian society is presented here in a bold and mature manner; the protagonist is smartly linked with crow. But the story appears dragged after a point. Thankfully, the killer moment in the climax saves the day. Kushal Badrike perfectly molds himself in his character. Spruha Joshi is fine too.
Based on the work of a folk poet Loknath Yashwant
Director: Girish Mohite
Cast: Mangesh Desai, Smita Tambe, Uday Sabnis and Sagar Karande
Writer: Abay Dakhane
The film focuses on the sorry state of affairs of cotton farmers by highlighting the plight of a famer named Panjab (Mangesh Desai). From his small village in the interiors of Maharashtra, he visits Mumbai to join the protest for increasing rates of raw cotton.
This is another not-so-novel subject narrated differently. The sorry condition of a cotton famer is arrived at in a creative manner. The fact that they receive almost peanuts for their produce while the clothes made out of it are sold in an abnormal price is a very appealing manner of highlighting their plight. But the film lacks proper flow. Also, an important event in the tale isn’t presented clearly. Mangesh Desai is fully believable as a helpless farmer. Smita Tambe is also perfect as his wife.
Based on a short story by Vijay Tendulkar
Director: Ravi Jadhav
Writer: Vijay Tendulkar and Ravi Jadhav
Cast: Veena Jamkar, Mrunmayee Deshpande
Music: Salil Kulkarni
The period is 1947. A boy (Sandeep Khare) is eager to share his feelings for his childhood friend Sumitra (Veena Jamkar). But Sumitra loves another girl (Mrunmayee Deshpande).
Story of a lesbian girl based in India in 1947 is something out-of-the-box considering queers’ struggle to gain acceptance even in 2015. Mitraa is a bold, beautiful and unconventional take on the issue of lesbianism. The protagonist’s manner of disclosing her sexual preference and the reactions to it sums up its new-age-ness. But you really can’t ignore its visually stunning frames despite the film being in black and white. One wouldn’t mind watching it as a full-length film. In a difficult role, Veena Jamkar provides a thoroughly skillful act. Sandeep Khare is dedicated as her childhood friend. Mrunmayee Deshpande plays her part well too.
Director: S S Rajamouli
Writers: S S Rajamouli, Rahul Koda, Madhan Karky and Vijayendra Prasad
Producers: Arka Media Works and Dharma Productions
Cast: Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Tamannaah, Anushka Shetty, Ramya Krishnan, Sathyaraj
Music: M M Keeravani and M M Kreem (for Hindi)
Genre: Action/ Drama
Rating: * * * *
Review By: Keyur Seta
When you have Rs 250 crore riding on your film, the pressure to deliver is enormous. Add to this, the nature of the subject that brings its share of painstaking hard-work. In fact, the stakes are so high for S S Rajamouli’s Bahubali: The Beginning that the overall satisfaction has to be spectacular. Being merely a ‘good film’ isn’t enough at all.
So, does Rajamouli fulfill the expectations born out of the costliest Indian film ever? The answer is a loud and energetic ‘Yes!’. He has dreamt super big and has dared to bring it alive on screen through a visual spectacle that just doesn’t cease to amaze you. Bahubali will be remembered as an achievement and landmark for Indian cinema for years to come.
The film takes place in an ancient city named Mahishmati. A drowning lady (Ramya Krishnan) somehow manages to save the infant she is carrying. The child is raised by a tribal couple. He grows up to be the mischievous and strong Shiva (Prabhas). Ever since his childhood, he has been obsessed with climbing the mountain with a huge waterfall.
After several attempts, Shiva finally succeeds. He finds the beautiful Avanthika (Tamannaah), who is a part of a warrior group. She and his group members are hell bent in freeing Devasena (Anushka Shetty), who is held captive by the evil Bhallaladeva (Rana Daggubati) since 25 years. Shiva, who has fallen in love with Avanthika, vows to help her in her mission. Will Shiva succeed? Who exactly is Shiva?
Bahubali: The Beginning is not just a film. It is an experience that stays with you long after you leave the cinema hall. You will notice some visual delight in almost every frame through some colorful visuals, breathtaking locations, high-octane stunts and, lastly, exciting and epic war sequences in the climax. Such a visual spectacle is not seen before in India.
But the film is not only about visuals. There is some smart story and character development in the first half. It was nice to see the love track leading onto the major twist. The script has succeeded in giving a good amount of importance to all major characters.
However, the romantic track is clumsy and regressive. How long will we sugarcoat harassment and stalking as romance? This is the only negative aspect in Bahubali, apart from few errors and the overall length. But nevertheless, these points don’t lessen your excitement for the part two or the sequel titled Bahubali: The Conclusion, whose release date is January 26, 2016.
National Award Winning cinematographer K K Senthil Kumar also plays a major role in creating such an end result. It is to be noted that his job was one of the toughest for a DoP. The powerful background music adds more life to the proceedings. Songs used in the background suit the content.
Coming to the actors, Prabhas gives a powerhouse performance, both as Shiva and Bahubali. Some sheer hard-work and dedication is on display from this fine actor. This is one performance that will be talked about far and wide. Rana Daggubati makes sure you love to hate Bhallaladeva, which means he is fantastic. Sathyaraj, in the role of Kattappa, is flawless.
Anushka Shetty too shines in a challenging role. Tamannaah does justice to the character of a warrior. But at times she tries too hard to appear tough through her expressions. Ramya Krishnan too chips in with a dedicated act. Nassar, Adivi Sesh, Tanikella Bharani and others provide perfect support. Sudeep is impressive in a cameo.
Overall: Bahubali: The Beginning is an epic visual spectacle. This film is an achievement for Indian cinema! It is going to break all box office records.
(This is the 1st episode of the section ‘Forgotten Cricket Moments’. As per the name, FCM will feature interesting cricket moments that are forgotten over the years.)
By: Keyur Seta
Sharjah hosted the most number of One-Day Cricket series in the 80s and 90s. The venue has seen some exciting moments. Two most memorable ones include Javed Miandad’s 6 off the last ball of Chetan Sharma in the 1986 Austral-Asia Cup Final and Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday special innings in 1998 against Australia in the Coca-Cola Cup final.
Like many other triangular series at this venue, there was one between Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Zimbabwe in 1997 called Singer-Akai Cup. This post features a round robin league match from the series between Pakistan and Zimbabwe. It was a match where Zimbabwe scared the daylights out of Pakistan in a manner no one could have imagined; not even Zimbabwean players.
With the likes of Wasim Akram, Inzamam-Ul-Haq, Saleem Malik, Ijaz Ahmed, Saqlain Mushtaq, Shahid Afridi, Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed in their team, the match pretty much looked like a ‘no contest’. But it wasn’t to be. That’s the beauty of the game and this venue. By the way, there were no floodlights in Sharjah then and all day matches were played in white clothes.
Pakistan won the toss, chose to bat and immediately started losing wickets. After losing 2 wickets at the score of 34, the veteran Saleem Malik was sent packing for a duck! Then Inzi succumbed to a run-out, one of his favorite methods of returning back to the pavilion. But even at this stage, it didn’t look so bad for Pakistan. A lot of times teams had managed to fight back against Zimbabwe after a poor start. Plus, Pakistan had a long batting line-up.
Unfortunately for them, this didn’t turn out to be a routine bad start against Zimbabwe. Wickets kept tumbling and the scoreboard soon read 51 for 7!!! Nobody was able to believe their eyes. I remember even the commentators, who weren’t expecting much from the match, were at a loss of words. Since it was an unimportant match, very few people, including my cricket-crazy friends, had tuned in. They missed a lot.
So, what was in store for Pakistan after being 51 for 7 and that too inside 20 overs? Batting out the 50 overs looked impossible from now on. But they managed to do something that looked like more than impossible at this stage. What if I told you they not only batted the full 50 overs but also managed to win the match in such a situation? Yes, that’s what eventually happened.
It all happened due to the wicket-keeper batsman Moin Khan. As they say, Cometh the hour, cometh the man. As per his fond habit, he bailed out his team from the deepest hole possible. He batted sensibly and fortunately found some great support from Saqlain at the other hand. Moin scored a heroic 61 off 97 balls with just one four and one six. It was sheer hard work. Saqlain, on the other hand, faced 81 balls for his 20. This is very slow even by the test cricket standards today!
Pakistan went on to score 151 for 9; a score that looked like almost a miracle after being 51 for 7. But one still expected the Zimbabwean team of that era to chase down the score. Sadly, they never looked like doing so. Pakistan’s deadly bowling attack was too much for them. They kept losing wickets in such a way that only four batsmen managed to reach double score. They were eventually bowled out for just 119 in 40.1 overs.
In this way, an inconsequential match turned out to be super interesting. Pakistan was expected to win but I am sure nobody would have predicted such turn out events.
See the full scorecard of the match HERE.