The Common Man Speaks

30Jun/181

Sanju Review: Rajkumar Hirani’s weakest film, yet not a bad film

Sanju poster

Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju is said to be a biopic on veteran actor Sanjay Dutt. As is the case with Indian biopics, this one too is more like an effort to glorify someone. But even if you watch the film as a work of fiction, it only turns out to be a one-time watch, which is surely not what you expect from a Hirani movie.

It is clearly his weakest film till date, although it’s not a bad film.

Sanju is a fictionalized account of actor Sanjay Dutt’s life. The film concentrates on his early days with drugs, struggle to come out of the addiction and, most importantly, his involvement in the illegal arms case related to the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts.

It is a pipedream to make a real biopic in a country like India. To be fair to the film, Dutt’s dark period with drugs is shown unabashedly in the first half. His struggle to come out of it gives a strong anti-drug message without preaching. But apart from this aspect, the film largely concentrates on making the actor look like a truly innocent human being.

Even in the scene where he grossly misbehaves with someone after being high on drugs, the victim volunteers to take the blame on herself, which is weird to say the least.

Dutt’s involvement with illegal arms and his links with the underworld and the surrounding incidents are presented like jokes. For example, along with AK-56 rifles and bullets, hand grenades were also procured by the actor, as per official records. However, the film doesn’t show him possessing grenades because that would make him look too bad no?

Hence, the blame of his fate is put on the media. There’s no denying that Dutt has been a victim of unethical reporting. But to show that the biggest villain in his life has been the media while the actor just can’t do anything wrong is outrageous, even by Indian biopics’ standards. If this wasn’t enough, there is also a song on media’s malpractices.

Sanju poster

So, the only way to enjoy this film is to watch it as a work of fiction (which is exceedingly difficult, mind you). Like Hirani’s brand of cinema, Sanju has a fast moving screenplay and appealing dialogues, which ensures that one is glued throughout the duration of 161 minutes.

But this surely isn’t enough to ensure that you leave the hall satisfied for two reasons. Firstly, the second half suffers from lack of proper conflict and flow. This ensures a half-baked climax, which comes as a rude surprise for a Hirani movie. Adding fiction in the all-important moment when Dutt is released makes it worse.

Secondly, the character of the author is shown to be too dumb. She believes everything she hears without giving it a second thought, leave alone cross checking. By the way, there’s another character who doesn’t notice a question mark in the headline of an article he has been carrying with him since more than a decade.

The acting arena is the biggest plus point of Sanju. Ranbir Kapoor has given the performance of his lifetime. His task was cut out as he couldn’t have afforded to just mimic Dutt. The actor succeeds in living different facets of Dutt’s life brilliantly.

Paresh Rawal too comes up with one of the best performances of his life. You feel for him every time he comes up on screen. The biggest surprise is Vicky Kaushal who is phenomenal as Dutt's best friend Kailash. This act will become the turning point of his career.

Manisha Koirala doesn’t have a lengthy role but she manages to leave behind a solid impact. Anushka Sharma too has shown her talent but her aforementioned characterization doesn’t help her cause. Dia Mirza and Jim Sarbh are above average while the actress playing Dutt’s sister, Priya Dutt doesn’t get to do anything except smiling continuously.

Overall: Sanju is an entertaining saga with great performances. But it is more like an image cleaning PR exercise than a biopic. The film has opened to excellent numbers at the box office but it won’t be a huge success.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Rajkumar Hirani

Producers: Rajkumar Hirani Films and Vinod Chopra Films

Writers: Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Vicky Kaushal, Anushka Sharma, Dia Mirza

Music: A R Rahman, Rohan Rohan and Vikram Montrose

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 161 minutes

16Jun/183

The incest angle in Race 3 (SPOILERS Alert!)

Race 3 poster

Director Remo D’Souza’s Race 3 is trending since its release yesterday, although not for the good reasons. The film is bashed left, right and centre by audience and critics alike. But while a lot has been said about the content or the lack of it, many of us seem to have missed a subtle incest angle in the film.

SPOILERS Ahead

Yes, you read it right. This is how it is. We are shown from the start that Bobby Deol’s character Yash works for Shamsher (Anil Kapoor). He is so loyal that he is as good as a family member. Shamsher is father to Sanjana (Daisy Shah), Suraj (Saqib Saleem) and Sikander (Salman Khan), who is his step-son.

Race 3 is full of twists, although not convincing. Deol is shown to be the love interest of Jessica (Jacqueline Fernandez). But later we are told that he actually shares a romantic relationship with Daisy’s character.

Race 3 poster

Now, here is where the fun begins. Just before the climax it is revealed that Deol is actually Kapoor’s son. So, this makes Deol and Daisy siblings!

A clean action entertainer that has the word ‘family’ included in the dialogues every now and then dared to show something as bold (not overtly though) as incest.

It might also be that the film has so many unnecessary twists that the writers or the director themselves didn’t realize this. And like a large majority of the audience, our sanskari CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification), popularly known as the Censor Board, missed it too.

In this way, Race 3 becomes the second film of 2018 to explore the incest angle after Arjun Mukherjee’s 3 Storeys.

By: Keyur Seta

3Jun/180

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero: A film that forced me to go down memory lane

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero

How I found director Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is not the aim of this article (still if you are too curious, you can scroll down for the snippet review). More importantly, the Harshvardhan Kapoor starrer created a deep, personal connect with me, which rarely happens.

The base of the film’s story is social activist Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption (IAC) movement of 2011 for the passing of Jan Lokpal Bill. It compels the characters of Kapoor and Priyanshu Painyuli, his best friend, to start their own movement against injustice through the medium of a YouTube channel called Insaaf TV.

They go around stopping people against wrongdoings like urinating in public, not following traffic rules, etc. The issues might sound petty but they mean a lot to them. It was their selfless contribution towards, what was then considered, India’s biggest fight against corruption or any kind of wrongdoings.

The movement is one of the biggest events in my life. Never even in the wildest of my dreams did I ever imagine lakhs of ordinary people selflessly taking on the streets waving Indian flags while demanding change (not chhutta or khulla paisa, please), which would also include me. The long march in heavy rains from Bandra station to Juhu circle still feels like last week.

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero

I remember few people whom I had acquainted then confidently predicting that the country is in for a major change now and this is in a way the second Independence movement. I thought this is far-fetched but still felt like agreeing with them. After all, the scenes looked like flashback portions from India’s freedom struggle.

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero also touches upon the diminishing impact of the movement during the second phase in December 2011. Just like the two characters, I and many others were standing disappointed, wondering how it all fizzled out so soon.

The film characters continued their fight, which saw dangerous percussions including death. This doesn’t deter Kapoor’s character. In fact, the death of his friend makes him a superhero of a kind who unmasks the corrupt while wearing a mask. Without giving away the climax, I would just add that the hero’s fight wasn’t like any other Hindi film where he would win against all odds.

This is where my path diverted from the film’s characters’. I didn’t venture out to be a superhero against such powerful villains because I am not a film character. I am a ‘normal’ human being who doesn’t fake being fearless of being hunted down and probably killed.

Anna Hazare movement

During the long march from Bandra station to Juhu circle.

In other words, my contribution towards the fight against corruption, if it can be called one, ended with the fizzling out of the Jan Lokpal Movement.

However, the movement did help me personally as I started taking a keen interest in the political atmosphere of the country. It increased my knowledge on politics, although I don’t have much right now. Before 2011, I didn’t even know the meaning of an MP and MLA.

It was also because this movement that I started writing on the current socio-political issues on my blog, which was earlier almost limited to just film related stuff.

In between I also heard from a lot of learned people that it is important to better yourself before you think of bettering the world. Samaaj ko behtar banane chale hain, pehle khud ko toh behtar banao. These words had a profound impact on me and I started making efforts in being a better version of myself, although I am not sure if I have succeeded.

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero doesn’t leave you in a hopeless state. It shows that there is still hope. Even though little but hope nevertheless. This is exactly what I would like to believe too…

(I never believe in writing so much about myself. But this movie just forced me to. Still I am not sure if this was relevant to you.)

About the film:

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is a decent film that could have been better if the flaws in the second half were taken care of. It is still an important film that makes you think in addition to providing some thrills.

By: Keyur Seta

20May/180

Race 3 box office prediction

The box office prediction of Race 3 will be the talk of the town as the film is now nearing its release. It’s another Salman Khan movie that will be releasing on the festival of Eid. Will the actor strike gold yet again at the box office?

A hardcore commercial film starring Salman is naturally expected to become a blockbuster. The same was the case with Race 3 until its trailer was released last week.

To put it simply, the promo hasn’t gone down well with the audience at all. In fact, no other trailer of a Hindi film has been trolled this much on social media. It has been five days since it was out but we are continuing to see funny memes (especially of Daisy Shah’s ‘business’) made on it despite other important event like Karnataka Floor Test taking place.

The song ‘Heeriye,’ which was released a couple of days ago, hasn’t helped the cause either. Hence, the trailer and song have wronged all the predictions that were made earlier about the film.

Race 3 poster

But, although the film is trolled heavily, we can’t deny that it is getting all the buzz. Any publicity is good publicity these days. Race 3 is talked about continuously, which will ensure that more people will go to watch it in the opening weekend.

Hence, Race 3 will enjoy good weekend numbers at the box office. It will at least earn Rs 55- to Rs 65 crore in the first three days. It is releasing on a Friday since Eid is on that day. This means that it won’t have a long extended weekend like other festival releases.

After the weekend, it will all depend on how the film has been received by the audience. If the content receives thumbs up, it will go onto earn well. If not then we are staring at another Tubelight (2017) or Jai Ho (2014), the only two Salman films that didn’t click much at the box office and are considered flops.

But Race 3 will surely reach the Rs 100 crore mark even if it gets a negative response, which the aforementioned films also did. But will this be enough? Certainly not since the film’s budget is very high, considering Salman and other actors’ fees and the huge scale on which it is shot in foreign locations. Plus, it has numerous action and stunt sequences.

So, the bottom line is that Race 3 needs to impress with its content or face defeat.

P.S: Race 3 has only two weeks to earn as Rajkumar Hirani's Ranbir Kapoor starrer Sanju is releasing on 29 June. The buzz for the film is very positive. Plus, it will be publiziced and marketed heavily next month which might eat into Race 3's buzz.

By: Keyur Seta

5May/180

102 Not Out Review

In India, it is believed that films for youngsters should have young actors playing modern characters along with other ingredients like romance and songs and dance. Without these elements, a film doesn’t get acceptance from the youth.

But rarely we see a film like Umesh Shukla’s 102 Not Out, which transcends age groups. The fun element and the emotional message ensure that it’s worth watching more than once.

102 Not Out is about Dattatrey Wakharia (Amitabh Bachchan) who is 102 years old man staying in Mumbai. He is energetic and full of life despite his age. But his 75-year-old son Babulal (Rishi Kapoor) is his complete opposite. He is tired of life and has ‘accepted’ his old age.

Dattatrey tries a trick to ensure his son starts living life in a jovial way. He gets the timely help from Dhiru (Jimit Trivedi), a guy working in a neighbourhood shop. Will they succeed in changing Babulal’s perception towards life?

Rajkumar Hirani had once said that he follows a theory that a scene should either make the audience laugh or move them emotionally and this is how he structures his entire film. This is seen in 102 Not Out as well. A large majority of the film is filled with moments that get you in splits regularly.

102 Not Out

At the same time, it keeps providing emotional doses. Mind you, this is not an tear-jerker in any way. There is a sequence pre-interval where a character goes down memory lane and enjoys the simple joys of life that he used to cherish at one point. This is one of the most delightful moments you would see in a long time. In fact, this part can even be seen separately as a short film.

More importantly, the person going through it might be aged. But it is appealing for anyone having a heart, irrespective of his or her age.

The story of Shukla’s much appreciated OMG! Oh My God (2012) changed track in the second half. The narrative does the same in 102 Not Out as well. But like the previous film, it doesn’t turn out to be a problem due to the message and the brilliant climax.

On the flipside, there should have been more insight into Bachchan’s character. The melodrama in a pre-climax scene should have been reduced. The main conflict constantly reminds you of Bachchan’s own Baghban (2003).

There is not much scope for music. But ‘Bachche Ki Jaan Lega Kya’ turns out to be impressive. The production designer deserves accolades.

102 Not Out has only three main characters and they all rise up to the task. Amitabh Bachchan effortlessly switches between humour and seriousness while showcasing his immense acting prowess. On few occasions though, it seems he tries hard to bring out the specific tone needed for his character.

Rishi Kapoor doesn’t get overshadowed by him in any way because of the depth of his character and, of course, his excellent performance. This one has to be one of his best acts. Amidst such powerful performers, Jimit Trivedi leaves behind a terrific impact despite being a debutant. He succeeds in building a rapport with both characters.

Overall: 102 Not Out is a delightfully moving saga that is worth experiencing for people of all ages.

Rating: 4/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Umesh Shukla

Producers: Treetop Entertainment, Sony Pictures and Benchmark Pictures

Writers: Saumya Joshi and Vishal V Patil

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Jimit Trivedi

Music: Salim-Sulaiman

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 102 minutes

8Apr/180

Salman Khan’s welcome reminds us of the horrors of hero worship

After getting released on bail yesterday, Salman Khan got a heroic welcome in his hometown Mumbai. Such was the delight in the hearts of his fans that a large amount of crackers were busted in celebration. A person alien to the entire Black Buck case would feel that the actor must have done some noble deed to have received such a reception.

Little would he or she know that Salman is actually found guilty of killing endangered species and has only received bail; he is not acquitted of the crime. On top of that, the judge who convicted him is transferred (co-incidence?).

Welcoming a convict by busting crackers is surely shocking. But after a while, it didn’t come as a surprise for me. The reason for this is simple. The same person has been let off of a much serious crime of killing one and injuring four in the 2002 hit-and-run case.

Anybody who has followed this case would know how he was let off. The silliest giveaway was Salman’s driver taking the blame on him all of a sudden 13 years after the crime.

Salman KhanBut the manner in which the prime witness, constable Ravindra Patil, was physically and mentally tortured to death not only points to foul play but also gets you disturbed. (Read Patil’s full story HERE and HERE.)

This point alone is enough to question the mindsets of those who can turn a blind eye to the above incidents and welcome the actor as if he carried out a noble deed for the nation. Unfortunately, a good section of the media is behaving the same way. It is shuddering to think that they are the custodians of the fourth pillar of democracy.

This is the extent to which the disease of hero worship has spread in India.

The usual excuse we get from these blind fans is that Salman has been doing a lot of charity. Now, which law states that a person should be excused from charges of such magnanimous nature if he or she indulges in charity work? For the uninitiated, his charitable trust Being Human was started in 2007, much after he got involved in such crimes.

Watch the fireworks and how Salman asks his robotic fans to sleep:

It is obvious that such bhakts won’t question as to how Salman received bail in just 48 hours when Dr Kafeel Khan is in prison since six months and that too for saving the lives of children during the horrific episode of lack of oxygen in Gorakhpur’s hospital.

I don’t think many of them might even be aware of the incident (read about it HERE, if you are one of them). In fact, there are lakhs of undertrial prisoners who are not even convicted but are still loitering in jails since months and years simply because their name is not Salman Khan.

And yet, the blind fans keep giving the laughable argument that Salman is targeted for being a celebrity when it’s the other way round. If he wasn’t a celebrity, he would have been one of the lakhs of undertrials.

The hero worship disease is not just limited to the fans of actors. It goes for politicians as well. So much so that their ghastly crimes are forgotten just because they possess the quality of uttering scripted lines with style and punches. If they say something you love listening to in their usual heroic way, you are clean bowled!

To think of it, this shows how the job of actors and politicians is the same. Both act in front of the audience and mouth scripted lines. The only difference is that actors admit to acting, although not while being off screen.

But the masses won’t realize this since this disease makes you disconnected with logic. One gets so madly attracted to some quality or style of a celebrity that thinking and reasoning is out of question. It makes you fight or even end relations with your near and dear ones just because they don’t agree with your blind worship.

All this for a person who is not even aware about your existence in the first place.

By: Keyur Seta

10Mar/180

3 Storeys Review

Dramatic thrillers are found in rarity in Hindi cinema. The last time such genre was explored successfully was back in 2012 in Sujoy Ghosh’s Vidya Balan starrer Kahaani. Debutant Arjun Mukherjee’s 3 Storeys succeeds in filling this void through a thriller that also manages to move you.

There is a pun in the title. 3 Storeys has three main stories, along with few other sub-plots, taking place at a chawl in Mahim in Mumbai. Flory Mendonca (Renuka Shahane) lives alone but receives high amount of respect from her neighbours. She has a dark past. She wants to sell her house and migrate to Goa. Vilas Naik (Pulkit Samrat), a businessman, arrives to buy her place.

Varsha (Masumeh Makhija) struggles to live with a drunkard and abusive husband. She was once in love with Shankar (Sharman Joshi) but couldn’t marry him. Eighteen-year-old Malini (Aisha Ahmed) is in love with Suhail (Ankit Rathi), who runs a general store nearby. The attractive Leela (Richa Chadha) leads a mysterious life.

The first and the foremost ingredient for such genre of films is the writing and that department is taken care of exceedingly well. The screenplay is not just water-tight but it skillfully travels from one story to another while keeping the background of the chawl intact.

3 Storeys movieAll the three stories, and the other sub-plots, are interesting and intriguing. They have subtle drama and can boast of being realistic. After last year’s Tu Hai Mera Sunday, here’s another Hindi film that shows a different side of Mumbai. The prologue at the start about life in Mumbai is what every middle-class Mumbaikar can connect with.

The epilogue, by the same character, brilliantly sums up the psyche of story writers. The content and the style of the narration makes you feel as if you read a book. This is felt further due to the prologue and epilogue.

The regular thriller element is what takes 3 Storeys several notches higher. The film is peppered with moments that either thrill or provide a subtle jolt; most of the times when you are least expecting it in between a simple scene. The one at the end takes you completely by surprise.

In between such positives, 3 Storeys also suffers from a couple of minuses. One important moment each in the stories of Flory and Shankar is difficult to believe.

London based cinematographer Will Humphris’ fine work is at display regularly. The shot where the camera zooms out of the room and continues till way outside the building of the chawl deserves mention. Hindi films are guilty of adding forceful sounds to add thrill. This is nowhere seen in this film, thankfully.

3 Storeys is laced with high quality performances. Renuka Shahane makes a memorable comeback to Hindi films with a thoroughly dedicated act of an old Christian lady. Masumeh Makhija also displays fine acting skills and speaks through her expressions. The acts of these two actresses make you feel bad for them not doing Hindi films for so long.

Sharman Joshi is believable as the simple common man. Aisa Ahmed, Ankit Rathi, Pulkit Samrat and few other supporting actors play their respective parts well. The actor playing Masumeh’s husband overdoes on few occasions. Richa Chadha makes good use of the opportunity she gets, especially in the end.

Overall: 3 Storeys is a well-made dramatic thriller that stays with you for long.

Rating: 3.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Arjun Mukherjee

Producers: B4U Movies and Excel Entertainment (Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani)

Writers: Althea Kaushal and Anvita Dutt

Cast: Renuka Shahane, Masumeh Makhija, Sharman Joshi, Pulkit Samrat, Richa Chadha, Aisha Ahmed, Ankit Rathi

Genre: Dramatic thriller

Runtime: 100 minutes

25Feb/180

RIP Sridevi ji: My first and last experience with her

At around 12:30 am today, a couple of chat screenshots were shared in a media What’s App group. It spoke about the death of veteran actress Sridevi. Thanks to the era of hoaxes and the casual tone of the chat, we didn’t take it seriously. It also made me recall how just last week, the death hoax of Sylvester Stallone had made the rounds. Hence, I went to sleep.

All hell broke loose when I was woken up by my brother’s voice announcing the death of Sridevi. Can’t remember the last time I was woken up with such a shock, which was soon overcome by sadness.

But not being in a fully awake state didn’t stop me from recalling that afternoon of July 2, 2017 when I and my brother had the opportunity to interview her (for different publications), although in a group, for her soon-to-be-released Mom. Suddenly it seemed as if it was just recently that we had met her.

People, obviously, dread working on a Sunday. And that day it was pouring badly; monsoon had settled in Mumbai. But who gets a chance to meet such legends again and again? So, I just took off all excited!

Sridevi Generally these interviews happen in hotels. But this one was at Sridevi’s residence. This was another reason to look forward to it. Quite expectedly, her apartment is luxurious. But it wasn’t the kind of modernly furnished home that provide a lifeless feeling despite being rich. I realized it provided a homely feeling as we waited in the drawing room. Her domestic help had welcomed us with respect.

The feel good factor in the home coupled with the high interest to meet Sridevi didn’t make me feel impatient despite waiting for more than a couple of hours. Finally, she walked in. We didn’t expect ‘the’ Sridevi to be wearing such simple attire although her agelessness was clearly visible. It seemed as if nothing much had changed from Mr India to Mom. Her thick-framed glasses added to her beauty.

As soon as she entered, she heartily apologized for keeping us waiting for long. She reasoned that she was caught up elsewhere. This is something you hardly see from big stars… The moment was worth already.

The question and answer session began in a usual way with the actress speaking about her upcoming film with a lot of interest. This is what generally happens in interviews. But this moment was special, not because the interviewee was Sridevi. It was because she is known for hardly speaking anything in the interviews. She has never been comfortable with it.

But that day we saw a changed Sridevi who gave proper long answers. I had sat in the Hindi media group. So, I also got the opportunity to listen to her Hindi. Apart from speaking about Mom and her co-stars, she also went down memory lane and recalled her stint as a child actor when her mother would always accompany her on shoots.

The close-to-25-minutes were spent in a jiffy. Needless to say, it was mandatory to click a picture with her. There was some pleasant surprise in store for us here too. Many a times, big stars prefer giving one group picture. But Sridevi didn’t show any qualms in posing separately with all of us.

Sridevi’s newly developed openness in speaking along with her humility already made me look forward to meeting her in the future. Her fitness level and acting form indicated that she would surely do many more films and would subsequently talk to the media regularly.

But the initial few seconds after I woke up today told me that it was my first and last experience with her.

By: Keyur Seta

READ THE INTERVIEW HERE.

26Jan/180

Padmaavat Review: Ranveer Singh walks away with glory

Over the years, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has evolved into another genre in itself. Big stars, grand costumes and sets, heavy use of colours, drama, songs and dances are some characteristics of his brand of cinema.

But despite such pleasing factors, there have been times when his films haven’t reached the pinnacle of cinematic satisfaction that it aims. Padmaavat (earlier titled Padmavati and later Padmavat) also falls in this list, unfortunately.

Padmaavat is based on the legendary poem by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi. It tells the story of Rawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor), the ruler of Chittorgarh, who, while on an expedition down south, meets the stunning Padmavati (Deepika Padukone). He falls for her and makes her his second wife.

Meanwhile, Aluddin Khilji, ruler of the Khilji dynasty, has acquired the throne of Delhi after murdering his uncle Jalauddin Khilji (Raza Murad). He gets to know about the splendid beauty of Padmavati and heads towards Chittorgarh to set his eyes on her.

Padmaavat DeepikaPadmaavat is one of the most visually stunning films to have come from Hindi cinema. Bhansali’s obsession with minute details is visible throughout. His peculiar use of fire, which is seen in his earlier films, is at the optimum here.

Nitin Chandrakant Desai’s opulent production design too deserves huge amount of credit in recreating different areas of the subcontinent. Like Bhansali’s previous films, he has created a different world for every region. But at the same time, every region is believable.

Bhansali has also displayed his speciality in creating drama, which is ably supported by the background score. But it is Sudeep Chatterjee’s fine camerawork that stands out as far as the technical department is concerned. It adds to the visual quality. The veteran stunt director Sham Kaushal too makes his presence felt. The fight sequence between Rawal Ratan Singh and Khilji deserves mention.

But unlike the filmmaker’s most of the films, the music isn’t as impressive. Songs like ‘Ghoomar’ and ‘Ek Dil Ek Jaan’ fall in the average category. The second one becomes an obstacle in the narrative. ‘Khali Bali’ is an energetic number and the best of the lot. But the weird dance steps don’t let you look beyond. It makes Bajirao’s ‘Malhari’ appear simple and subtle.

Spoilers ahead!

The negative points in Padmaavat are such that they cannot be highlighted without giving away spoilers. Some of Bhansali’s previous films have been guilty of being self-indulgent. The treatment overtakes the main plot, which ensures you don’t feel much for the characters.

Padmaavat Shahid KapoorBut in Padmaavat, character sketches of Khilji and Padmavati and Bhansali’s idea of staying true neither to history nor the epic poem hampers the film the most. There’s nothing wrong with this if the end result is satisfying. It is not in this case.

Going by the historical texts available, Khilji, although villainous, was a ruler with a sharp mind. But Bhansali’s Khilji is an animalistic and impulsive moron who is absolutely incapable of thinking logically. He leaves his kingdom in Delhi and waits outside the vicinity of the Chittorgarh palace just to catch a glimpse of a woman he hasn’t seen ever and that too for months in the heat of Rajasthan!

This certainly doesn’t make him look like a ruler of a kingdom as important as Delhi whatsoever. In other words, Khilji’s portrayal in the film is exactly what Right Wing supporters would love, especially the fringe Rajput groups.

More so, because we are regularly given doses of Rajput valour through dialogues that become redundant an ineffective after a point. Ironically, people claiming to represent them are the ones who have turned violent against the film without even watching it.

The bigger flaw here is the glorification of suicide (even though it is sugarcoated as ‘jauhar’) and the regressive idea of a woman losing her ‘honour’ if held captive or touched by the enemy. It is questionable to see such ideas being dished out at a time when there is constant struggle to free the nation from such dangerous beliefs.

Moreover, the jauhar over here doesn’t go with the character of Padmavati. She is shown to be a warrior who even rescues her husband from the clutches of the enemy. So, to see such a bravehearted person commit suicide without even trying to fight is disheartening and disappointing.

Padmaavat Ranveer SinghPerformances:

Bhansali is known for extracting quality performances from his actors and this holds true for this film too. Ranveer Singh is simply outstanding! He stuns with his dedication to bring alive an animalistic creature every time he appears. Needless to say, his acting graph goes higher with this film.

Deepika Padukone has given one of her best performances, if not the best. It was necessary for her to be the soul of the film and she manages that. She also ensures that the aforementioned flaw in the character remains hidden to some extent. Shahid Kapoor too rises to the occasion and gives a strong picture of a brave ruler. He is clearly the underdog here.

Jim Sarbh also makes an announcement of his supreme talent. His homosexual behavior is so subtle, yet effective. Aditi Rao Hydari and Anupriya Goenka also chip in with decent support. The latter, who plays Ratan’s first wife, should have got more opportunity.

Rating: 2.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Producers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures

Writers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Prakash Kapadia

Cast: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

Music: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

22Jan/180

We have forgotten how this group did worse than Karni Sena just 5 months ago

As we are all aware how the Rajput Karni Sena is violently dictating terms while putting forth their demand to ban Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padamaavat. The protests began in Rajasthan last year but have now spread to various parts of the countries. In fact, there have been continuous reports of violence over the last few days.

Needless to say, they are being allowed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led governments in some states and center to dictate terms. There has been no strict action taken despite the goons creating havoc uncontrollably.

If violence wasn’t enough, threats are being given by Karni Sena women to commit jauhar (self-immolation). The group is led by men and the violence is also created by them but they wish to be safe. How heroic!

However, although the spineless attitude of the governments is sickening, it is certainly not surprising. This is simply because they had made their intentions clear as far as appeasing fringe groups is concerned just five months ago. Strangely, I have not heard anyone recalling this disturbing incident despite its massive similarity with the ongoing Karni Sena crisis.

Karni Sena Padmavati

Picture: Hindustan Times

Self-styled Godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, known for his roles in and as MSG, was convicted of raping two girls in August last year by the Punjab and Haryana Court. Following this, his huge number of followers went on a violent rampage by randomly destroying public and state properties by either vandalizing or setting them ablaze.

What made it even worse was that 30 people were reported dead in the entire chaos by the supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief. See the entire timeline of events HERE.

Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana (the same person who has given some shockingly chauvinistic statements and has taken the recent rapes lightly and labeled some as ‘fake’) came under severe fire for allowing thousands of Dera supporters to gather outside the court premises despite knowing their gruesomely violent nature.

You don’t even need to be half intelligent to predict how his mad supporters would react once their hero is pronounced guilty of such heinous crimes. Not just that, Ram Rahim was allowed an entourage of 200 cars while going to the court! The state acted only after severe damage to lives and property took place. The Dera chief is close to the BJP and his supporters are a big vote bank for them.

In fact, the party spokespersons were not even ready to speak against Ram Rahim on news chat shows that night despite him being convicted of rape (the charges against him are far worse, including mass castration). These are the same people who are ready to bash the opposition even for a tweet.

Similarly, right now they are not ready to condemn Karni Sena’s goons, leave alone take action. After all, Rajputs form a large vote bank in the northern and central areas of India.

So, those who are aware of the five-month old history shouldn’t be surprised to see it being repeated.

By: Keyur Seta