The Common Man Speaks

14Apr/170

Begum Jaan Review

Srijit Mukherjee’s Begum Jaan has an interesting and intriguing storyline with a lot of scope for drama. But a good concept requires convincing execution in order to provide overall satisfaction. Mukherjee, as writer and director, manages this only to some extent. This results in an engaging film that lacks complete appeal.

The film is the official remake of the Bengali film Rajkahini (2015) by the same director. Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan) proudly runs a brothel in Punjab in 1947. She has a group of girls working under her. Being a tough individual, she doesn’t feel ashamed of their profession.

Their life comes to a halt when India gets partitioned and the border is supposed to go through their brothel. Hence, they are told to vacate the house. But Begum and her girls would never budge. What will the authorities do now?

Rajkahini was 160 minutes long. The Hindi version is reduced to 135 minutes. This works for the film as it makes sure that the proceedings are gripping. Some dialogues at times too are praiseworthy. For example, ‘Mahina ginna humein achchhe se aata hai sahab. Sala har baar laal karke jata hai.’ The underlying message against patriarchy and the hypocrisy of the so-called elite class is also well stated.

But Begum Jaan has a major issue. You don’t feel much for the characters and their plight. This is simply because the execution lags behind in the very basic task of establishing the characters and their life story before they landed in Begum’s brothel. Even the back story of Begum is shown in a hurry. When you don’t know much about the characters, it becomes very difficult to have sympathy for them when their lives are in danger.

Furthermore, in trying to create drama, the director has resorted to too much of loudness. There are high screams by the characters and a jarring background score too. Surprisingly, there are hardly any scenes taking place outside the locality of the brothel. This coupled by its location doesn’t give a feel of Punjab, where the story is based.

Cinematographer Gopi Bhagat, however, has succeeded in artistically capturing the flick. The symbolic method of showing only the half faces of Vidyarthi and Kapur on a couple of occasions is too praiseworthy. The musical tracks are as per the need. ‘Woh Subah Humi Se Aayegi’ plays a big role in the climax.

Vidya Balan has once again succeeded in giving a powerful act. She has displayed both ruthlessness and softheartedness with ease. Unfortunately, her act becomes a victim of loudness on few occasions. Pallavi Sharda not only looks ravishing but also scores high on performance. Ila Arun is brilliant as the eldest member of Begum Jaan’s family.

Chunky Pandey comes late but leaves a resounding impact. Here is an actor who deserves more meaty roles than comical ones. Ashish Vidyarthi and Rajit Kapur provide fine acts. Vivek Mushran, known for his debut Saudagar (1991), is the surprise factor. As expected from someone like Naseeruddin Shah, he is fully believable. Pitobash Tripathy once again shows his supreme talent.

Gauahar Khan proves she is not behind when it comes to acting talent. Priyanka Setia, Ridheema Tiwary, Flora Saini, Mishti, Raviza Chauhan, Poonam Rajput and other girls of the brothel are alright. Rajesh Sharma and Sumit Nijhavan, as Salim, provide perfect support.

Overall: Begum Jaan is an average drama that deserved better execution. The film will have a tough journey at the box office. It is not expected to generate good collections.

Rating: 2.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Srijit Mukherjee

Producers: Vishesh Films

Writer: Srijit Mukherjee

Cast: Vidya Balan, Pallavi Sharda, Gauahar Khan, Ila Arun, Ashish Vidyarthi, Rajit Kapur, Rajesh Sharma, Naseeruddin Shah

Music: Anu Malik and Khayyam (for the recreation of ‘Woh Subah Kabhi Toh Aayegi)

Genre: Period drama

Runtime: 135 minutes

12Mar/170

Badrinath Ki Dulhania Review

Badrinath Ki Dulhania is a light-hearted romantic comedy. Films of this genre generally follow the same pattern all over the world. A boy and a girl meet, fall in love, get separated in due to some issue and reunite in the climax. But the Shashank Khaitan written and directed film goes further ahead by tackling a hard-hitting issue successfully while keeping the film thoroughly entertaining.

Story: Badrinath aka Badri (Dhawan) is a happy-go-lucky youngster from Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. He has studied only till 10th standard and looks after his family business. He stays with his father (Rituraj), mother (Prabhu), elder brother (Sinha) and his wife (Prasad). His father is an epitome of patriarchy and regressive practices. So, he doesn’t let women in his family to work and dowry is utmost important for him.

Badri also follows his father’s mindset. He comes across Vaidehi (Bhatt) at a wedding and instantly falls for her. But Vaidehi is a progressive thinker who is wholeheartedly against regressive mindsets. Despite that, Badri and Vaidehi fall in love. But how long can two people with such opposite set of beliefs stay together?

Badrinath-Ki-DulhaniaPlus points:

Badrinath Ki Dulhania is loaded with situational humour throughout its duration. It doesn’t generate giggles or extended giggles but proper laughter. There are various little moments or antics by the characters that play a large role in tickling your funny bone.

The most positive point of the film is the way it tackles the social issue of dowry, patriarchy and gender inequality. The film is more of a satire on these issues. It doesn’t speak against them but still manages to ridicule them through the presentation. It scores high mostly because of the hard-hitting and liberating climax. But even here, the lightheartedness is kept intact.

Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt have come of age as actors. The not only share a positive chemistry but complement each other in terms of the performance too. Varun gets every aspect of Badri right. The little nuances that he has brought do a lot in adding humour. Alia is fantastic as the righteous feminist. There is no doubt that she is a matured artist now.

The supporting actors play a large role in generating the effect. Sahil Vaid shines as Badri’s best friend. He is all set to get known after this act. Rituraj Singh is thoroughly realistic. You just love to hate him. Yash Sinha, brings the right temperament as Singh’s fearful son. Sukmani Lamba, as Vaidehi’s elder sister, Swanand Kirkire, Shweta Basu Prasad and Aparshakti Khurrana too chip in with impressive acts.

The film has three impressive songs – ‘Tamma Tamma,’ title  track and ‘Aashiq Surrender Hua.’

Minus points:

The sudden act before interval by one of the two main leads, which is the biggest turning point, isn’t convincing. The rest of the plus points manage to overshadow this somewhat though.

An incident of attempted rape on a male is shown in a funny way, which is absolutely hypocritical. Will you ever dare show an attempted rape on a female in a humorous manner?

The film should have been much tighter in the second half.

A couple of songs aren’t impressive, which make them as obstacles in the narrative.

A kidnapping scene might not go well with some if it is not seen in the right context (it went off well with me).

Overall: Badrinath Ki Dulhania succeeds in rubbishing off regressive beliefs and provides lots of entertainment too at the same time. It shows the mirror to the section of the society that practices evil practices in the name of ‘tradition.’ The film has had a good opening at the box office. The content and the hype will make sure it enters the Rs 100 crore club.

Rating: 3.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Shashank Khaitan

Producers: Dharma Productions and Fox Star Studios

Writer: Shashank Khaitan

Cast: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Sahil Vaid, Rituraj Singh, Yash Sinha, Shweta Basu Prasad

25Feb/172

Why we shouldn’t blame Nihalani alone for Lipstick Under My Burkha sexist attack

While we were busy analyzing the results of various municipal elections in Maharashtra, the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) imposed their downright sexist thoughts on the audience.

The board refused certificate to Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha. In other words, they feel the audience should NOT watch this film. The reasons stated by them have sexism written all over them.

In a letter given to the producers, the board justifies their act saying, “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of the society hence film refused under guidelines 1(a), 2(viii), 2 (ix), 2(x), 2 (xi), 2 (xii) and 3 (I).”

Now, let’s break down their so-called justification. They have given away their sick thoughts in the first five words itself by stating that it’s a ‘lady oriented’ film. When you feel offended by female-oriented films, it speaks volumes about your sexist and pro-MCP mindset. You look at it as a threat to your deep-rooted patriarchal thoughts.

Lipstick Under My Burkha and NihalaniThe second justification ‘their fantasy above life,’ means a female can’t be shown having fantasy. These people have had no problems all these years when a male, or ‘hero’ as they call it, fantasizes about a girl in various ways.

The other reasons – There are contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of the society – don’t hold ground because the job of the CBFC is not that of a Moral Science teacher.

To make matters worse, Nihalani has justified their actions by sugarcoating it with ‘Indian culture’. He said to the media, “The aim is also to protect our culture and tradition. Our motto is right film should go to the public.”

He should remember that it’s a film CERTIFICATION board. So, their job is only to certify films according to age groups and not pass judgments on which films are ‘right films.’ This was also said by the Bombay High Court during the Udta Punjab fiasco last year. Nihalani and CBFC surely couldn’t have forgotten it so soon. After all, who can forget such huge national embarrassments?

And for your information, the issue is not just limited to a film. It is about how a group of individuals are forcing the people to walk onto their patriarchal path. It is also an attack on freedom of expression in one of world's largest democracies.

However, during every such fiascos by the CBFC, we just don’t tend to look beyond. We criticize Nihalani and other CBFC members but that’s about it. We clearly forget who appointed them and why they are still not removed.

It is the Central Government that had revamped the CBFC committee in 2015. It happened after Leela Samson, the previous chief, and her team resigned due to issues while certifying MSG: The Messenger. The members are handpicked supporters of government ideologies.

Therefore, it is the Central Government that is to be blamed for every attack on freedom of expression by the CBFC. The list of dictatorial blunders by the CBFC is long. So, despite this if they are still not removed, it only means that the government supports them and is propagating its dangerously regressive mindset through the CBFC.

If the government doesn’t support such ideologies, what is stopping them from removing Nihalani and others from the CBFC?

Are they so helpless and powerless?

Conclusion: The film industry needs to unite in huge numbers and protest for the removal of the current CBFC committee team. It has to happen or else we would be discussing the rubbish decisions by these dictators after every few weeks.

By: Keyur Seta

19Feb/170

The Ghazi Attack Review

Story: The Ghazi Attack is based on the underwater warfare between India and Pakistan in 1971 in which PNS Ghazi, Pakistan’s submarine, was destroyed. The Indian Navy gets a whiff about Pakistan trying to secretly attack their submarine S-21 through theirs called PNS Ghazi. Pakistan’s aim is to get a clear route to supply weapons to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in order to continue attacking its rebels.

Indian Navy decides to take preventive measures before it’s too late. A secret operation is planned which is headed by Captain Ranvijay Singh (Kay Kay Menon). He is a hot tempered middle-aged man infamous for disobeying orders. His immediate senior, Lieutenant Arjun Verma (Rana Daggubati) and Executive officer Devraj (Atul Kulkarni) have their task cut out because of Singh’s presence. But a challenge much bigger lies ahead of them.

(For the real story of The Ghazi Attack, click HERE).

Review: While India claims that its naval force demolished Pakistan’s submarine, the neighboring country has always maintained that it became a victim of the detonation of its own mines.

The clear picture regarding the same is not known as the operation was classified. So, if you are okay watching a film with fictionalized events around a historical event, chances are you will enjoy The Ghazi Attack. It’s a gripping thriller with a sensible dose of patriotism.

The Ghazi AttackPlus points:

The biggest plus point for The Ghazi Attack is its gripping narrative that doesn’t go off track even a bit. You are glued to the screen throughout with interest-worthy events making sure you don’t realize when the 125 minutes pass by. The idea of not having a single song should also be appreciated.

The key areas when the attacks take place between both submarines are handled with precision. These moments provide some thrilling and nail-biting experience, especially the climax.

The complete working of the submarine with all the little details provide a learning experience (mind you, not preachy). Before this film, the inside of the submarine was well portrayed by Shyam Benegal in Bose: The Forgotten Hero (2005). Not with such detail though as that wasn’t the need.

Despite the film being based on the India-Pakistan war, it doesn’t resort to jingoism, which is a relief considering the times we are living currently.

The dialogues are appealing yet steer clear from being melodramatic of filmi.

Kay Kay Menon once again reminds you why he is one of the finest actors born in India. He provides a skilled act where he emotes through expressions. Rana Daggubati nicely underplays himself. Atul Kulkarni, another terrific artist, comes up with a mature act.

The rest of the supporting cast is perfect. The late Om Puri makes his presence felt in a cameo.

Minuses:

The technical details and jargons appear like bouncers for the layman sometimes. Too much of instructions also appear repetitive.

Taapsee Pannu has emerged as a talented artist in recent times. But over here, she disappoints. She has the same expression during the entire screen time.

Rahul Singh, an underrated talent, does what was required. But his character suffers from being a clichéd one-dimensional Pakistani officer.

Overall:

The Ghazi Attack is a gripping patriotic thriller. The film has received poor opening collections at the box office. It deserves to earn much more and for that it badly requires word-of-mouth.

Rating: 3.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Sankalp Reddy

Producers: Anvesh Reddy, Venkatramana Reddy, Prasad V Potluri, N M Pasha, Jagan Mohan Vancha and Karan Johar

Writers: Sankalp Reddy, Gangaraju Gunnam, Niranjan Reddy and Azad Alam

Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Rana Daggubati, Atul Kulkarni, Rahul Singh, Taapsee Pannu

Genre: Thriller

Runtime: 125 minutes

26Jan/170

Kaabil Movie Review

Director Sanjay Gupta’s Kaabil is a perfect example of how promos can be misleading. The film’s main trailer and the song promos weren’t enticing to say the least. But the Hrithik Roshan and Yami Gautam starrer turns out to be a pleasant surprise. The film is an emotional and intelligent revenge drama.

Storyline (without spoilers): Rohan Bhatnagar (Hrithik Roshan) is a blind dubbing artist staying alone in Mumbai. He meets the visually challenged Supriya Sharma (Yami Gautam) through a matchmaker common friend and fall in love. They get married and are happy in their little world. But fate has something else in store for them.

Amit (Rohit Roy), a roadside ruffian, stays in Rohan’s colony. He, along his friend Wasim, brutally rape Supriya. Rohan is devastated but fate isn’t done on him yet. Yet another tragedy falls on him. Now, he must fight not only against Amit but also his equally evil MLA brother, Shelar (Ronit Roy). And that too all alone despite being blind.

Kaabil posterPlus points:

-- When you know that a film is a revenge drama, there is a danger of the audience having to impatiently wait for the tragedy so that the film can take off from there. Sometimes, the entire first half is spent in this. Thankfully, this is so well taken care of by the writing. The road to the tragedy is smooth and interesting. Love blossoming between two blind people also appears real.

-- This is the biggest plus point. The whole idea of a blind person taking revenge from a corrupt politician and other baddies not only sounds impossible but also laughable. However, the writer and director prove us wrong. The protagonist’s manner of taking revenge is intelligent and sensible. The incidents where he outsmarts the bad guys are applaud-worthy since you automatically start rooting for him. Pulling this aspect off is in itself a big achievement.

-- Kaabil is also high on performances. Hrithik Roshan gives a dedicated and skillful act. The biggest challenge for him was to make the audience believe that he is blind, which he does convincingly. His rendition of those subtle, heroic dialogues help his cause further. On few occasions though he smiles unnecessarily which brings back memories of his character, Rohit from Koi Mil Gaya (2003).

After Vicky Donor (2012), Yami Gautam finally has a quality movie. She too lives up to the demand of playing a blind character convincingly. Rohit Roy forces you to hate him, which means he has done well. Ronit Roy has a more restrained character and he displays his talent successfully.

Narendra Jha, who also stars in Raees, is impressive as the cop, Chaubey. This might be his most noticeable role so far. Girish Kulkarni’s negative shades are a treat to watch once again. But after Ugly (2014) and Dangal (2016) and this film, he should make sure he doesn’t get stereotyped. As Hrithik’s best friend, Suresh Menon is alright.

Negative points:

-- When you have a blind person taking revenge, you have no choice but to take cinematic liberties. But on few occasions, there are certain flaws that you can’t ignore. Especially during the tragedy and the climax. Thankfully, the smart narrative and presentation doesn’t let you think much about them.

-- The music isn’t that impressive either. ‘Sara Zamana’ is an enjoyable foot-tapping number but Urvashi Rautela’s dance steps are horrendous. Plus, the song doesn’t fit the film.

Overall: Kaabil is an enjoyable revenge saga that is also high on emotions. The film has a steep task at the box-office as it is released with Raees. It does have hope of doing well till Sunday if it receives positive word-of-mouth. This film deserves to do well.

Rating: 3.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Sanjay Gupta

Producer: Rakesh Roshan for Filmkraft Productions

Writer: Sanjay Masoom and Vijay Kumar Mishra

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Yami Gautam, Ronit Roy, Rohit Roy, Narendra Jha

Music: Rajesh Roshan

Genre: Revenge drama

Runtime: 138 minutes

Kaabil Hindi poster

25Jan/170

How Dangal showed that patriotism can be felt, not preached

Nitesh Tiwari’s Aamir Khan-starrer, Dangal has shattered box-office records by becoming the biggest Bollywood blockbuster ever. The film has earned over Rs 370 crore so far. Collections in this range speak about a film’s wide acceptance. More so because the earnings have been constant. Its peak business wasn’t limited to the first few days or first week.

But the film, based on the life of Mahavir Singh Phogat, has also achieved something else subtly.

In today’s times, patriotism and nationalism are transformed to hyper-patriotism and ultra-nationalism. It is a ploy used by self-proclaimed patriots who are always ready to attack anyone not agreeing with their pro-government views in the name of Desh Bhakti.

Dangal stillThis is also seen the most if you disagree with their views of opposing everything that is Pakistani. Be it actors, cricketers, artists and who not. These are the same people who completely turn a blind eye to the non-stop trade between India and Pakistan, even after the Uri attacks. Some of them might even be staying in houses made from cement that comes from across the border. However, this is a different story.

Coming back to the main topic, in the midst of such hyper-national atmosphere, Dangal has shown the actual meaning of patriotism, which should be felt and not preached. This is in the climax when the National Anthem is played. It was an excellent technique to make Phogat realize that Geeta has won the Gold medal.

Tiwari got the audience rooting for Geeta Phogat in her quest to win Gold for India in such a way that most of us were forced to stand during the National Anthem. Some of us who have been opposing the playing of our anthem before films also stood up. Why? Because we badly wanted her and India to win the Gold and make Mahavir’s dream come true. So, the climax brought a sense of pride towards our nation.

But all this was achieved without a single dialogue highlighting the importance of patriotism. Without any sloganeering. In fact, there were no instructions on the screen either asking people to stand. Hence, it’s proven that patriotism is a feeling, not a slogan.

In all this, Aamir has also truly destroyed the morale of hate mongers, who were spreading messages to boycott Dangal. But he did that without saying a word against them and by just making his work do the talking.

They urged everyone to boycott his films. People made it the biggest hit ever.

They labeled him ‘anti-national.’ His film showed the true meaning of nationalism.

Hope for peace lives on...

- By Keyur Seta

6Jan/171

Om Puri: I like working with someone better than me (old interview)

Today, Om Puri reminded us the law of nature. The great artist passed away at his residence in Mumbai following a massive cardiac arrest. He was one artist for whom the word ‘irreplaceable’ can be used. Below is an old interview of his that I took for the annual 2014 issue of Trade Guide magazine. It is been posted with due permission of the publication.

A name like Om Puri doesn’t need any formal introduction. By going strong in the field of acting for 40 years, he is easily one of the finest acting talents the country has seen. For the special annual issue of Trade Guide, the veteran artist gets candid exclusively with Keyur Seta over his career and the recently concluded year.

You have done art-house cinema as well as hardcore commercial cinema. Which of the two genres makes you more proud?
To be honest, I am proud of both types of cinemas. Art-house cinema gave me recognition, credibility and honor as a good actor. Because of these films, I was able to travel all over the world by participating in film festivals. It also gave me two National Awards and other awards. But unfortunately, art cinema didn’t have much money. So, commercial cinema provided me with livelihood. I am having a decent living because of commercial cinema. Hence, I am grateful to both types of cinemas. But without art films, commercial cinema wouldn’t have recognized me at all. I didn’t have the type of personality commercial cinema needs. They would have considered me as one of the junior artists.

How would you describe your more than three decade long journey in Hindi cinema?
I am quite happy with my career to be honest. I have not only made a mark in art-house cinema but have also been a part of commercial cinema. Plus, I am also a known name in the west. So surely I am quite happy. But unfortunately, our cinema doesn’t have much material for elderly actors unlike the west. They have a lot of subjects where elderly actors are the main leads.

You started off by getting a job at a theatre group when you were very young. At that time, did you ever imagine that one day you will be counted as one of the finest actors?
No, I never thought that. I just kept working hard with sincerity and honestly and didn’t think about anything. I was focused.

Om Puri

Picture: Networthier.com

Naseer sahab (Naseeruddin Shah) has been your companion all through your acting journey.
He has a huge contribution in making me a better actor, knowingly or unknowingly. He was the one who inspired me enroll at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. As I had no money to study at FTII, he told me, beg, borrow or steal but come here. He said there is no future in Delhi. So I will always be grateful to him. We have been friends since almost 44 years now.

How was the year 2014 for Hindi cinema according to you?
To be honest, I don’t think the year was too exciting. I also feel that we have too many urban films made these days whereas a large chunk of our population stays in villages. Films about village and its issues are very rarely made. In fact, they are not made anymore.

A lot of unconventional films are tried in mainstream Hindi cinema nowadays.
Yes, there are filmmakers who are making good meaningful cinema. I am not denying that. There are a number of such filmmakers like Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap who make films with good content.

What are your expectations from our films in 2015?
Firstly, I don’t agree that films are just meant purely for entertainment. It is such a powerful medium that it can participate in educating the society. It has the ability to inspire people and create values. Today a lot of youngsters are into drugs and all such notorious activities. So cinema can play a role in it. I am not saying there shouldn’t be entertainment. But entertainment should have some weight. JAANE BHI DO YAARO was entertaining but it also carried a message. So along with entertaining films, there should be some serious films, which aren’t biased and prejudiced. One such film was OH MY GOD.

These days, 100 crore club is becoming smaller as 200 or 300 crore is considered the ultimate achievement.
There is no end to it. It is purely commerce and business. It is sad that cinema is only being treated as business. I can understand that there is a big investment. Of course, whoever spends money on a film should get the returns. But a person recovering 10, 20 or 50 times the money spent is a bit ridiculous. Why don’t you make more films? For example, instead of raising the price of one toy, why can’t I make 15-20 toys and keep making money?

But this was started in 50s itself. Initially, artists from various fields of theatre migrated to cinema. Once cinema established itself as a fruitful business, it attracted businessmen, who had no creative affiliation or background. They were purely businessmen, who started dictating terms for making films successful. Otherwise, that era was known for producing meaningful films by people like Bimal Roy, Gurudutt, V Shantaram, etc.

Do you think the current audience is more willing to watch off beat films as compared to 10 or 20 years ago?
There is nothing like that. It is just that off beat cinema should not be boring; it should be interesting. You can either write an essay or a short story. People aren’t interested in essays unless you are a literary person. But people like reading stories because it interests them. Very few people read editorials in newspapers; they like reading headlines and news. So you should not treat cinema as an editorial. ARDHA SATYA and AAKROSH didn’t have songs but they were successful films. The same was the case with films like KANOON and ITTEFAQ. When I was a student, I saw OONCHE LOG and I liked it although it didn’t have songs.

Any actor you haven’t work with yet but are eager to work?
I am ready to work with anyone. I would like to work with someone who is better than me because that will enable me to give my best.

24Dec/160

Dangal Dialogues

Dangal's dialogues play a large role in making the Nitesh Tiwari written and directed film so impactful. Of course, one can’t deny the enormous contribution of the screenplay, direction and performances, especially Aamir Khan. But the smart and witty dialogues surely lift the film further.

Here are 10 best dialogues (lyrics) from Dangal:

- Tu ek saal seene pe patthar rakh de. Agar kamyab na hua, toh main poori jindagi seene pe patthar rakh doonga.

(Translation: You bear it for a year. If I don’t succeed, I will bear for the rest of my life.)

- Pahalwan ke khoon mein kushti hove hain.

(Translation: Wrestling is inside the blood of a wrestler.)

Dangal poster- Medal jeete toh koi na poochhe hain. Magar haare toh sab gaali deve hain.

(Translation: People won’t be bothered if you win a medal. But they will surely criticize you if you lose.)

- Mhari chhoriyan chhoron se kum hain ke?

(Translation: Are my daughters less then sons?)

- Gold toh gold hota hain. Chhora laave ya chhori.

(Translation: A gold medal is a gold medal, irrespective of whether it is won by a boy or a girl.)

- Jyada dil chhota na kar. Tu national level ke pahalwan se hara hai.

(Translation: Don’t worry. You have lost to a national level champion.)

- Geeta ko kyun chhore dekhne aavenge? Woh khud chhore dekhne javegi.

(Translation: Why will boys come to see Geeta for marriage? She will go to see them.)

- Thara bapu thare baare mein soche toh hai.

(Translation: At least your father is thinking about you.)

- Agar silver jeeti, toh aaj nahin toh kal log tanne bhool jaavenge. Gold jeeti toh misaal banjavegi. Aur misaale dee jaati hai beta, bhooli nahin jaati.

(Translation: If you win a silver, people will eventually forget you. If you win a gold, you will become an example. And examples are set, not forgotten.)

- Thari ladaai har us insaan se hain jo maane hain ki chhoriyon ka kaam sirf chokha dhaani karna hain.

(Translation: Your match is against all those who feel girls are only meant to do household chores.)

24Dec/160

Dangal Review: A true Gold Medalist

Sports films have become an overdose in mainstream Hindi cinema. But Nitesh Tiwari’s Dangal won’t let you think about this statistic for two reasons. It is not just the best sports underdog film but also one of the best films to have come out from our part of the world.

Dangal is a real life account of India’s wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat’s efforts to make his daughters, Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat champions in the sport. As a young man, Mahavir (Aamir Khan) couldn’t fulfill his dream of winning Gold Medal for India due to his family condition. So, he goes on a mission to make sure his upcoming son will bring India glory.

However, he is blessed (or in this case, cursed) with not one but four daughters. This shatters him as he believes only a son can win Gold in wrestling. But one day he realizes that two of his daughters, Geeta and Babita (Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar who grow up as Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra) also have wrestling in their blood. Mahavir’s hopes re-emerge.

Although Dangal is a biopic, the makers honestly confess at the start that a lot of aspects have been fictionalized, including some characters. This might disappoint some but it won’t matter to you once the film begins. Dangal is an ideal example of an intelligent screenplay, mature dialogues and masterful presentation. The combination produces one memorable sequence after another. And like every intelligent film, at a lot of places it says a lot without saying much. Also, in a lot of places, serious situations are presented humorously.

Dangal posterThe film does have few logical errors here and there but the huge number of positive points makes sure you don’t get affected. Even Tiwari has done well in covering them up intelligently. But there comes one moment at the end which is too fictionalized. However, the incredible effect it produces in the end transforms it into a masterstroke.

In fact, in my opinion, it is the one of the most overwhelming climaxes. A lot of people, if not all, who are against the playing of National Anthems during movies would happily rise up when it is played in this film.

It is difficult to jot down the best moments, apart from the climax. The one that stands out is when Mahavir explains to Geeta that her fight is not against the opponent but with all those who believe girls should only be restricted to household chores. The entire gist of the film explained so simply.

The film’s technical department matches up to the content and even enhances it. Cinematographer Sethu Sriram has a long body of work including Tere Naam (2003), Wanted (2009) and OMG – Oh My God (2012). But with his fine work here, he has arrived.

The background score is minimal which is a smart move. There are no loud sounds during wrestling scenes to make them forcefully appealing, which a lot of films are guilty of. In fact, there is no background score on most occasions and rightfully so.

Pritam’s music and Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics add plenty of effect. The songs take the story forward and are not treated merely as songs.

Lastly, the film reaches this level because of Aamir Khan. He once again proves he is one of the few greatest artists from India. And with this performance, he shows he is the powerhouse of dedication. But it is not merely an Aamir Khan film. Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra make enormous use of the opportunity and manage to match-up to Aamir, which is no small achievement.

Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar, who play their younger versions, stay etched in your memory their limited screen time. Sakshi Tanwar should do more films. She provides a fine act as Mahavir’s wife. Girish Kulkarni is a phenomenal performer and he shows it with his act as the coach. Aparshakti Khurrana, as Geeta and Babita’s cousin, isn’t bad. At times, he is overused to provide humour.

Overall: Dangal is one of the finest films you will see and one of the very few ones with a lot of repeat value.

Box-office prediction: The film has gained a tremendous opening on the first day earning Rs 29-30 crore (as per BoxOfficeIndia.com). With the incredible word-of-mouth, it is sure to rise higher and has a fair chance of being the highest earner of 2016 defeating Sultan. If not that, it is sure to reach the Rs 300 crore mark.

Rating: 4.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Nitesh Tiwari

Producers: UTV Motion Pictures and Aamir Khan Productions

Writers: Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Meharotra

Cast: Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Sakshi Tanwar, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar

Music: Pritam

Genre: Biopic/Drama

Runtime: 161 minutes

Dangal Geeta Phogat

26Nov/160

Spoof: What the Common Man of A Wednesday thinks about Demonetisation

The Demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and the introduction of Rs 2000 notes are garnering mixed reactions among the people of India. So, I and a couple of my friends - Padmanabh Subramanian and Ankit Tripathi - came up with this spoof on how the Common Man of Neeraj Pandey's A Wednesday would think of Demonetisation if he is facing problems due to it.

 

This is it:-

Here are the words of it:

Main woh hoon jo aaj do hazaar ki note se darta hai. Main woh hoon jo ATM jata hai toh uski biwi ko lagta hai jung pe ja raha hai. Pata nahin bachega ya nahin. Har 2 ghante ke baad phone karti hai ki paise mile ki nahin, number aaya ki nahin. Darasal woh yeh jaan na chahti hai ki main zinda hoon ya nahin. Main woh hoon jo chunavi vaadon mein phasta hai. Kabhi jumlo mein.

Kala dhan kisi ka bhi ho, bewajah marta main hi hoon. Bheed toh dekhi hogi na aapne? Bheed mein se koi ek shakal chun lijiye, main woh hoon. I am just a stupid tax payer, wanting to jump ATM queues.

By: Keyur Seta