Tag Archives: Hindi Movie

Film Review: Jogi (2022)

While Delhi builts scattered turbulence across the city, Jogi and his friends tries to liberate many Sikhs after Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated.

Jogi is a survival-thriller period film based on the horrible three days after the assassination, a tragic event that is now called “1984 anti-Sikh riots“. A film based on a highly sensitive topic and haunting political unrest, the dramatization of riots does have that gripping intensity but what avoids the film to be considered amongst the best period films of recent times is the lack of quality screenwriting.

The aesthetics are too Bollywood-scopic. Dubious writing, overhauled musical score, predictable continuity, and an extremely weak setting for the conclusion. Lali is obsessed with hating Jogi to kill him but not makes his chances when he had. Looks silly to gaze at him near his sister’s dead boy but not shoot him considering to be responsible for her death. With long hair and a beard, how was Jogi not suspected of his being a Sikh at the station and the warehouse, is quite surprising. Especially, when he requested a bottle of milk, how come no one raised eyebrows? Why would anyone ask for milk in a warehouse of weapons and kerosene oil?

The most awful writing of the film; is an MLA personally arriving to kill Jogi and the rest. Why would he drop his hands in the dirt? Why would he risk his position? Anyone in their right state of mind will order someone to get his hands dirty for them.

Diljit Dosanjh as Jogi gives a fabulous performance and carries not only the Sikhs but also the film on his shoulder. Why was Ali Abbas Zafar chosen as the director for this film? How can you expect a quality outcome from someone who directs Salman Khan films? If I was the producer of Jogi, I would have chosen Konkona Sen Sharma, Hansal Mehta, or Devashish Makhija. Jogi lacks that narrative crafting that compels and boils the blood to watch the riots.

RATING: 4/10



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Film Review: HIT: The First Case (2022)

STORY

Inspector Vikram Jaysingh is one of the most intelligent and stern officers of HIT (Homicide Intervention Team). But he suffers from PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) due to a tragic past that haunts him particularly when he sees fire. He doesn’t take pills because he thinks that the pills will weaken his performance. Vikram gets more frustrated when his girlfriend and colleague Neha go missing. This leads to Vikram taking one more case when another girl gets missing the same way as Neha.


REVIEW

HIT: The First Case is the Telugu remake of Sailesh Kolanu‘s film with the same title that he made in 2020. And it is Kolanu who has written and directed this too. The one thing that you have to make sure of is that a suspense-thriller must never fall short of intensity and attract the audience with groovy developments. HIT has these qualities.

The screenplay of HIT runs pretty fast. It is a commitment to not wasting time in principle shots of sequence developments. I sense the editors had a tough time setting the tone of the film with scene arrangements. But due to sharp cuts in editing, the dialogues in the film didn’t do justice and looked pretty disjointed.

There were some moments that didn’t look right at all. Why did the senior officer give Neha’s case to Akshay when he clearly knew that Akshay and Vikram hold strong grudges and hate each other? He could have handed the case to anyone. When the dead body is exhumed, Vikram begins to suffer PTSD and when he returns, the forensic team is taking the dead body. The forensics do not complete the proceedings that quickly.

How come an officer suffering from PTSD is handling not one but two cases? I have no knowledge of how mentally a cop has to be fit to handle the case despite PTSD.

Rajkummar Rao was fabulous in playing a cop of such a complicated mental character but there was something wrong with his tone. It was very monotonous. Sanya Malhotra didn’t have much to roll on the screentime as she disappeared for a long.


CLOSING REMARKS

HIT: The First Case is an exciting start with the conclusion of the first case in a very interesting suspense. It was unlikely to make a wild guess who would it be. And now the film is heading towards the second case. The Telugu sequel has been released last month. The genre of the film served its purpose and that is what is important. Surely recommended to all of you who are fond of watching suspense thrillers.

RATING: 7/10



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Film Review: Qala (2022)

STORY

After an emotionally struggling phase of her younghood and being under the shadow of her mother Urmila Manjushree a celebrated thumri singer, Qala Manjushree is now an established singer. But with the rise of fame comes unprecedented pressure from the media and Qala tries to cope which begins to deteriorate her health.


REVIEW

Qala is a period film set in Calcutta in the pre-independence era of the 1930s or maybe 1940s. And when it comes to period films of the golden age, the bygone era, there are two departments that become more responsible for enhancing all the technicalities and the aesthetics of filmmaking. That is the designing of costumes and the production.

It is hard for me to describe in the most perfect sense but both aspects of Qala are electrifying and give rich vibes of the earliest decades of Indian filmmaking artistry. A meticulous effort to present the old age that disconnects you from the present era. Gives you the same vibe as if you are in the music video of Khamaj and Shyam Benegal‘s Bhumika, or Guru Dutt‘s Kaaghaz Ke Phool.


FEMINISM

The angle of feminism clicked in the screenwriting. I liked this arc of Qala questioning the precise questions and receiving no genuine response. In a universally male-dominated industry, only a woman can describe how difficult it is to make a place in any department in the film industry and what she has to suffer mentally and physically.

Speaking of physical suffering, there is a scene that perhaps never happened before and may have triggered us to question ourselves. After Qala fails to sing the right notes, the music director takes her out and forces her to give oral sex. Minutes later, Qala returns and sings correctly.

It may look like an awful sequence but highlights countless behind-the-door horrors inflicted on women. At the same time, the question that triggered me was how did she sing so well minutes after swallowing semen? Does the vocal chord of the singer not affect or harm after that? I actually had to research on the internet and found out that it doesn’t unless there is a transmissible disease.


LANGUAGE AND PERFORMANCES

The Urdu language was the treasure of classic Bollywood. But here, there is a visible error in language proficiency when actors speak dialogues. I will limit my criticism by implying that the film is set in Calcutta but not Bombay. So perhaps this is how Bengalis spoke Urdu in those times.

The performances are not up to the bar where the period film can be judged with more splendidness. Perhaps it was challenging to perform in a different setting than the norm for the actors. You need actors who can fit in the language and justify the aesthetics otherwise they will end up like Suniel Shetty in Umrao Jaan. Happy to see the debut of Irrfan Khan‘s son Babil Khan. Amit Sial and Swastika Mukherjee were average.

Tripti Dimri as Qala, I don’t know why she reminded me of Sonam Kapoor in her earlier films. There was so much grace and beauty in Qala but her mental performance was bleak. She visibly struggled to collapse her settled persona.


MUSIC

Qala’s music is the signature and authentic reminder of the good old times of the melody. Amit Trivedi knows what to offer in a different setting and he is familiar with this. His music was fabulous for Bombay Velvet and not to forget Lootera‘s number ‘Sawaar Loon‘. This time it is more distinctive and time traveling to listen to the notes, the lyrics, and vocabulary. The music sets the mood and drops you to feel more about those times.

I want to specially mention this singer, Sireesha Bhagavatula; I don’t remember if I listened to her before. But here, her songs particularly the best track of the film ‘Ghodey Pe Sawaar‘ reminded me so much of Geeta Dutt‘s voice and her melodious songs of the 1950s. Qala’s music definitely is one of the best music albums of the year.


DIRECTOR

Anvita Dutt has usually been a lyricist all these years. But her ass on the director’s chair has opened the gates for period films in better crafting and finesse. She is really fond of the classical era. Her directional debut was Bulbbul which was beautifully set in the Bengal presidency of the 1880s.


CLOSING REMARKS

Qala compels the audience to fascinate with striking visuals and lush cinematography. 

Qala is the tale of the struggle for acceptance but jeopardizing it with jealousy. A girl who lost her male twin at birth, failed to convince her mother about successfully passing the legacy in the house of music, and later on being rejected by her. The events occurring in the second age of the film industry.

Qala is a reminder of unwanted rivalry when a professional begins to believe there is a competitor who will replace you and the general audience will accept your competitor and forget you that will distraught you. I wonder what reminds me of this? Yes. Black Swan.

RATING: 7.7/10



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Film Review: Monica, O My Darling (2022)

STORY

Johnny is promoted to the board of directors on the occasion of the company’s 50th anniversary. But the event turns out to be a curse as a series of murders of the company’s employees begins to shake the company and Johnny’s position is jeopardized.


REVIEW

Monica, O My Darling is based on the Japanese novel ‘Burutasu No Shinzou‘ by Keigo Higashino. A comedy thriller with the elements of neo-noir and a musical tribute to 1970s Bollywood.

The first hour is too itchy to the comical aesthetics as the development of the story doesn’t really settle that much. I felt the film tried to be way too funny. The direction wasn’t compelling to tone the real feel of the sudden crime scenes that should have depressed the whole foundation of the company. Maybe dark humor would have suited the script.


EASTER EGGS

I really took a shine to observe some classic references. When Monica waits on the street, the motel behind her is named ‘Bates Motel‘. Hitchcock fans know where this comes from. When Johnny’s sister calls to him, the board behind her mentions the names of many famous filmmakers. Johnny’s fiancee Nikki talks about her cousin and clearly says the words ‘My Cousin Vinny‘ which is a famous film starring Marisa Tomei and Joe Pesci.

Director Vasan Bala thanked Sriram Raghavan at the beginning of the film. And if you notice, there are moments of Raghavan references too. Rajkummar’s character is Johnny and Johnny Gaddaar is one of his most memorable films. When Johnny faces the cobra, Johnny Gaddar is played on television. The name of the bank from where ACP Naidu comes out is called ‘Bank of Badlapur‘. A Bollywood film giving interesting easter eggs deserves compliments.


MUSIC

Although the musical score went stereotypical in giving tribute to the 1970s and have listened to that score countless times. But I must praise the song compositions that were tuned to that era and didn’t look fake. And the selection of singers who mimicked the old timers so accurately. For a moment, I actually thought if Asha Bhosle was singing Bye Bye Adios. My favorite track was ‘Farsh Pe Khade’ because that track reminded me of Hemant Kumar‘s voice and Shankar Jaikishan‘s music. And Hemant Kumar is my favorite Bollywood singer so that touched me.

Although, the musical score and songs were all tribute to that era and excellently done by Achint Thakkar. But I gave a thought if composing generational songs is so likely to happen with quite an authenticity, why cannot the musicians tune in and make such music more often?


CLOSING REMARKS

I felt a murder mystery with dark humor could have been more compelling than what I watched in Monica, O My Darling. Someone like Sriram Raghavan, Abhinay Deo, or Abhishek Chaubey would have executed this story superbly.

A talented casting of Rajkummar Rao, Huma Qureshi, and Radhika Apte was all fair in their roles. Monica, O My Darling is a fiction that serves its purpose of presenting a comedy thriller in a different way.

RATING: 6/10



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Film Review: Goodbye (2022)

Tara has just won her first case as a lawyer and parties with her boyfriend. The next morning, she learns that her mother Gayatri has passed away.

Goodbye is about the Bhallas from Chandigarh where Gayatri was the heart of the house. Tara had a rigid relationship with her father Harish. Gayatri has also left three sons behind. Karan is the eldest arriving from Los Angeles with his wife. Nakul is a climber and has no knowledge about his mother’s demise because he is climbing. And Angad was adopted and is arriving from Dubai.

Goodbye is a different storytelling where the major character has already passed away and the film focuses on the funeral proceedings and the assembling of a dysfunctional family. There have been several films that picturized how the death of a major character unites a family.

After an ordinary start with a party song, the film lived up to its screen business in the first hour centered around struggling to complete Gayatri’s cremation. In this first half, the social satire was excellent. The exaggeration of believing in superstitions and old beliefs, and the attendees creaming their concerns and being too materialistic shaded some ugliness of the norms.

The second half had its moments, mostly sentimental, but it visibly struggled to maintain the tone of excellence that was set in the first half. There was nothing much to talk about, and most of the developments in this half were flat and poorly written. I mean that impact in writing was missing. Just for example, when Nakul returns and still has no idea what has happened. A strange vibe naturally builds that demands a capricious look with meticulous writing of emotions in such an awakening. The whole scene of revelation gives zero impact and the actor who plays Nakul does no justice to surpass that emotional collapse.

The performances were flat. Rashmika Mandanna in her Hindi debut playing the central character of Tara clearly looked struggling. The actors who played the three sons did no favor. Neena Gupta as Gayatri couldn’t give much to our delight due to extremely limited screentime. Poor Amitabh Bachchan as the patriarch has to carry the film on his old shoulders.

Over usage of the musical score also messed up the development. Played way too many songs that could have been easily ignored. Due to a limited development with no arcs in the story, the screen time of 140 minutes made it a slow cut with a depressive tone. The film stretched too long to cry for the deceased, for the beloved.

RATING: 5/10



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Film Review: Nazar Andaaz (2022)

Sudhir is blind since he was a child. He is a singer and his housekeeper Bhavani serves him for a few years. One day, he befriends Ali, a thief who broke into his house the previous night; and willingly allows him to live with him under one condition that he won’t commit theft again.

Nazar Andaaz is a dramedy that wants us to go deep into the eyes of the blind and feel his life. As much as I want to understand Sudhir, the trouble is the annoying chemistry between Bhavani and Ali who are on each other’s nerves to earn trust of Sudhir. The film wasted plenty of time on their lame humor and reduced the deserving minutes of Sudhir that could have filled more detailing about his work and the past.

The writing of the film did allow the audience to melt at some sequences where Sudhir meets an old flame and then visits his childhood home. The film’s only element that is praiseworthy is Kumud Mishra as Sudhir. This was one incredible performance of a blind person. I have never watched any role of a blind giving the most accurate facial detailing as Kumud did in the film. This was a meticulous physical effort by Kumud. I feel sorry for him that such a performance goes wasted in a film that deserved better quality writing.

Divya Dutta and Abhishek Banerjee are badly wasted. Nazar Andaaz is nazar andaaz-ed by its aesthetics. Watch the film only for one of the best performances of the year by Kumud Mishra.

RATING: 4/10



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Film Review: Double XL (2022)

Saira and Rajhri are two plus-size women from different backgrounds wanting their careers to hit the road for good. Somehow these women cross the path and find a common purpose that takes them to London.

I am glad that the social issue of plus-size women has been raised in Bollywood. The industry did raise the issue several years ago when Bhumi Pednekar made her debut in Dum Laga Ke Haisha. But that film had the story and did justice to the issue. And Double XL for all plus-size women is a complete disaster.

Why? Because there is not so much for plus-size women at all. For more than half of the film, the size is not the subject, life-changing opportunity is. When the film kick-started by showing us the problems these two women were facing in their lives, it really grabbed our attention. And when Saira and Rajshri joined hands for the project, I wanted to see where this story goes with their thickness. The follow-up after their first meeting to their London tour was so stereotypical and cringy.

The story proceeded somewhere else and I began to question myself, was this film about the traumas and ill-fates due to their size, or was that idea just a foundation on which a typical entertainer with cheesy dialogues and boring humor will spoil the enthusiasm and drain our brain.

The name of the film was just a title for having two central characters being plus-size. I feel like the makers didn’t care to dramatize the issues we need to understand about someone. The story of the film should have been about their personal or physical problems and how they have to tackle society with courage. Instead, our eyes were tortured with toxicity.

There was just one scene where Saira and Rajshri sit together and point out how the world is so mean and materialistic and addresses many social incidents about physical size.

As much as I liked the casting of Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi for the leading roles, they were nowhere close to giving a shot at the performance or raising questions about the credibility of the story to the director which led to nowhere when it came to health.

Double XL is a chance wasted and also, my two precious hours of life.

RATING: 2/10



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Film Review: Mili (2022)

Mili is a nursing graduate and planning to work abroad. She works part-time at a restaurant. One night immediately after checking out, she is asked to help the staff in loading some stuff in the restaurant’s freezer. The manager assumes that Mili left and he locks the freezer and leaves her there.

Mili is a survival thriller with a very interesting plot. The writing for such stories requires more care because the survival attempt has to stretch to the length and justify that whatever the film is depicting is making any sense. Unfortunately, Mili’s potential story meets with poor screenwriting and direction.

Mili is a Malayalam remake of the 2-time National Award-winning film Helen which was directed by Mathukutty Xavier. Helen met with critical acclaim and the same director remade Mili for Hindi audience. I cannot judge Helen because I haven’t watched so I really cannot explain why Mili’s aesthetics didn’t meet finesse.

This is a two-hour film which is quite long for survival. The films can be that long or more if someone is attempting to survive the war but if the story is that you are stuck in a freezer, the makers really need more than a masterpiece to justify that screentime. And here is the problem, the actual story of the film began after spending 40 minutes on Mili, her complicated relationship, her chain-smoking father, and her tough work under an irritating manager. Fine, I understand that things need to build up to feel settled with the character and the surroundings, not 40 minutes, maybe 15 minutes.

So one hour of survival is all that is left after wasting 40 minutes and I must say that the whole survival sequence was really good. Janhvi Kapoor as Mili surprised me. It was not mindblowing but an impressive display of the physical balance of survival. The psychological element was there and Janhvi set the tone well.

Mili misses a gripping intensity that was heavily needed in the cold horror stay. Despite being A.R.Rahman‘s music, the background score had nothing special to offer and kept playing in the survival sequences. And then some weird mistakes. When the freezer was finally opened and found Mili, why were all the people standing and looking at Mili’s father hugging her? Why didn’t they rush her out of the cold even if she was assumed dead? Why was the ambulance not called when her location was traced to be in the mall? Why didn’t Mili’s father shout her name in the mall? Especially when he heard a noise when Mili was hitting the tray on the pipe. Not even when the tray fell down.

Mili’s only pluses are the story and Janhvi’s performance. Would have been a fabulous film if the technicalities would have been on par with the story’s strength.

RATING: 3/10



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Film Review: Doctor G (2022)

STORY

Dr. Uday Gupta lives in Bhopal and is done with MBBS. He wants to become an orthopaedician but the particular course is unavailable in the city. So he chooses gynecology. And while working in a department full of female staff, he is surrendered in a series of awkwardness.


REVIEW

Doctor G presents to the audience a fresh plot, never depicted before. Ayushmann Khurrana in the leading role spices the aesthetics and increases the expectations. But Bollywood’s major issue for several years or maybe decades has been the predictability of screenwriting. We are fully aware of how this film will proceed and conclude. Doctor G is no mystery to the expectations. And if you have noticed, Ayushmann Khurrana films have set the bar for being funny in the first half and then addressing the actual subject in the other.

I totally get it that the story about one male doctor in a room full of female staff demands to be a comedy. But the turnaround in the second half was so sensitive that I felt, what if Doctor G was centered around serious content with dark humor. Even some of the jokes were silly. A comic segment about a husband unbeknownst to impregnate his wife at the precise body part is way too senseless for being funny of all sorts.

Another unnecessary push was the love angle. Although, it carried some sentimental weight about an asking-for-trouble affair with a woman who is engaged, but that time could have been covered in the core of the film.

Doctor G focused on entertainment more than depicting how a male gynecologist has to make a place in the department. Because Dr. Uday’s heart was not there and was still reading an Orthopedics book. The rescue attempt to save Kavya was his heroic effort but had nothing to do with his profession. Assumingly that would have been anyone’s effort if the staff was not attending the wedding.


CLOSING REMARKS

Ayushmann’s presence stuck with the usual performance he is known for. Doctor G needed quality screenwriting that would do justice to a welcoming plot. But I must praise the writers for forwarding two interesting issues that are critical and needs awareness.

One is Dr. Uday’s cousin Dr. Ashok, a surgeon who went into an extra-marital affair with his underage high-school student and impregnated her. The other is Dr. Uday’s mother Shobha, who wants a partner to speak to and get in relation with.

The latter’s writing was really dramatized well. And Sheeba Chaddha‘s performance as Shobha was actually the best part of the film. Just look at her mannerism in a scene when she asks her son to take her pictures. Shefali Shah in such an important role was not utilized to the maximum.

Doctor G is medically a professional situation that missed the opportunity to treat the audience with an accurate prescription.

RATING: 4/10



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Film Review: Sherdil (2022)

In a remote village in Uttar Pradesh, the wild animals of the jungle nearby eat the crops and starve the poor villagers. Running out of sources with the poverty line meeting its peak, the sarpanch (leader) of the village Gangaram (Pankaj Tripathi) decides to sacrifice himself in the mouth of the tiger that will aid his family and villagers get compensation through a government scheme. Shocking isn’t it?

Sherdil is actually based on some actual incidents that occurred in 2017 when the police officials accused some elders of the village of setting themselves as bait for tigers to claim compensation and help their families survive. The film depicts that the government acquires the land for wildlife preservation that halts entry for the villagers who had access in the past.

This development is new to me and it is quite tragic that poverty can be so cruel to mankind in some parts of the world. Is the government responsible for this? Wildlife preservation is also necessary. But what about the villagers whose life depended on wildlife and cropping the fertile land?

It is good to notice that Bollywood is ready for producing films based on wildlife. Vidya Balan starrer Sherni was released last year and Sherdil this year. Stories like these are what the audience is willing to spend their quality time on. What attracts more about Sherdil is that Pankaj Tripathi in the lead displayed a sensational performance of a highly innocent village sarpanch. Pankaj’s monologue in the court and his encounter with the tiger is his top acting features.

Besides a fabulous Pankaj Tripathi, Sayani Gupta surprised me with an impressive supporting role. Neeraj Kabi as the poacher Jim Ahmad had the most interesting dialogues in the film to listen to. Dialogues as well as cinematography were excellent.

Yes, there were minuses. It is impossible to have a perfect film without any objections. One major problem is the length of the film. With content so limited, this film is easily an 80 to maximum 90-minute drama but is actually two hours long. The film is awfully stretched in Gangaram searching for a tiger and convincing everyone that he has to take his life for good. Plus, needless songs are picturized on the lush scenery of the jungle.

With such an impressive story and casting well supported by other technicalities, Sherdil still lacks a ‘WOW’ factor. There is something about Sherdil that makes me think that this still cannot be counted as one of the best films of the year. Maybe the pace of the film and the last fifteen minutes are the reasons.

Sherdil is a wildlife drama with a very important message. Pankaj Tripathi fans should not miss this film.

RATINGS = 6.5/10