Tag Archives: Indian Movie

Film Review: Atrangi Re (2021)

Vishu (Dhanush) and Rinku (Sara Ali Khan) end up in a forced marriage that results in Vishu’s breakup with his girlfriend. Rinku was married to him so that she can stop dreaming about her lover’s return. Just when Vishu develops emotions for her, Rinku’s boyfriend surfaces.

Believe me, I am aware of the plot that I am writing to you and that has occurred millions of times in this industry. But the story gets interesting after wasting one hour of your precious life. So you may take it this way that the plot of Atrangi Re is interesting but the execution is outrageous.

While you begin to watch this film, the direction and the leading performances look spot on but somewhere in your heart tells you that there is something really wrong with the film. The film lacks the heart, all the hard work of Sara Ali Khan and Dhanush looks wasted because the script is not doing any justice. Just like the whole wrong sentence should be rephrased for a better meaning, the story deserved a better screenplay. Especially the second half is meaningless, overstretched, and lost. Instead of coming to the conclusion, we are wasting our time watching cheesy humor.

What impresses me about Dhanush is that he chooses the right role where he really fits in the story and does a better job. And his acting is upgraded for sure and you can judge that by observing him when he is laughing-gassed to get married. This is the first time I watched Sara Ali Khan’s performances and she really has some acting skills at this early phase of her career. Yes, she was reminding us of Jab We Met‘s Geet, in fact, the whole film was like Jab We Met crossing the path with Raanjhanaa.

I think the biggest plus of this film is A.R.Rahman‘s score. This has to be his best work since Raanjhanaa. Melodious and soulful. Even if a few songs were ordinary, that old beat was just right there. On so many occasions, his background score was disconnecting me; especially when Vishu and Rinku are getting married.

Overall, I wish I would say that Rahman’s music saved the day but Atrangi Re, despite two above-average performances, is a disappointment. Even the presence of superstar like Akshay Kumar didn’t help nor was he utilized.

Ratings: 5/10

Film Review: Village Rockstars (2017)

In her heydays in a village in Assam, Dhunu enjoys the company of her friends all over the village. One day, she decides to form a musical group out of her group and buy a guitar. Meanwhile, the villagers become concerned about Dhunu being the only girl in the group.

Village Rockstars is an Assamese-language Indian film that knocked the doors on many international films festivals and won most of the awards. It was the official submission for the Oscars in 2017. The most impressive part of the film is the backstory of the film’s production. The film in its entirety has been shot without a crew and Canon 5D has been used. There is no official budget for this film and most of the production is done by the director herself, Rima Das.

The film is shot in Rima’s home village. It may look like some docudrama but basically is a coming-of-age film that shows a girl as young as ten being harassed by the senior villagers for playing with boys and suggesting to marry her somewhere.

Dhunu may be a subject of observation that a 10yo girl can dream big if she will. She saves every single penny to buy a guitar and waits for the good days. The mother-daughter chemistry is also picturized well where she tries to convince her daughter and put in her mind to dissuade from her wishes and do what the other girls have to for the future.

Village Rockstars is a 90-minute drama that spends most of the time in Dhunu playing and enjoying with friends. The village activities are directed with meticulous care. Maybe, the film would do way more than that if the crew was involved with a productional budget. I think the film deserves the credit for being a faithful story in such a raw production.

Ratings: 6.5/10

Film Review: Sardar Udham (2021)

The name Sardar Udham is significant for all reasons that shaped the movement for independence from the British Raj. A tragic event that ignited millions of Indians and encouraged them to oppose British Imperialism. Shoojit Sircar‘s latest is a tribute to the national hero who stood for his people and avenged by assassinating Michael O’Dwyer in London, the man who appointed Reginald Dyer to supervise the ever-haunting Jallianwala Massacre.

I refuse to believe that this is an Indian film. I do not claim that Indian or Hindi-language films are that bad but the production of films like this still does not exist. The technical aspects of this film are extremely rich and carefully detailed. Excellent direction and stunning cinematography on many occasions.

Direction and camera work play a vital role if the screenwriting is to be justified, and this film is an example of an absolute masterpiece. Being lengthy is a problem that I will reason later but some portions need time investment and that demand is accomplished in the film. You may say that the time spent on Udham eating at her cousin’s place, his quest for O’Dwyer’s whereabouts, or speaking about freedom alone in the park were needless but I think Shoojit gave such minutes to build a thought about his character that meant a lot on all these occasions.

Vicky Kaushal‘s leading role will neither be criticized nor be pointed for objection because this, for me, will be remembered as one of the best performances in Hindi cinema for this new decade. You feel pain when his portrayal agonizes. There is much discomfort to watch his rage and hatred for British Imperialism and he has perfected that genuity you want to watch in the films about Indian freedom against the British. His tense courtroom scene of justification and in a lengthy struggle of saving many lives after the massacre are the best examples of Vicky’s notable performance.

Another factor that tops Sardar Udham is toning down the stereotypical elements of jingoism and giving rich feelings of sacrifices and excruciating pains of the British cruelty. No larger-than-life action sequences, no cosmetic dialogues. British portrayal and periodic productional set-up are so apt. The chosen actors for the British portrayal have done a fine job. Also, a superb background score by Shantanu Moitra made the mood to the audience.

Being a supporter of global diversity, I have a cordial affection for the name he used during his time in jail, Ram Mohammad Singh Azad. This name has been valued in the film that indicates the unification of the nation for freedom.

I have confusion about historical accuracy because the life of the freedom fighters was either a mystery or detailed with exaggeration. In some places, the readers won’t find strong pieces of evidence or authentic lead in their lives. Take the case of the Jallianwala Massacre; the film shows Udham to arrive late at the scene whereas one book ‘The Trial of Udham Singh’ claims that he was present during the firing. Whereas in other internet sources, there is no agreement on what official stats are about the casualties and survivors from that incident.

Also, there is no evidence of his love interest as shown in the film portrayed by Banita Sandhu. Was it necessary? Of course not. His involvement with Ghadar Party is also missing.

Minus? I’ll say the length of the film. It may be slow-burn to some extent but I am okay with the way the story moved with Udham’s character. The flow was acceptable. But I think the aftermath of the massacre was way too long. I understand the significance of the horror that still haunts millions of Sikhs worldwide but picturizing Udham and other fellows taking the severely injured victims from one place to the other for 20 minutes is overstretched. I actually thought maybe Shoojit stretched that scene so that Udham may eventually locate the body of his love interest but even that was not the case. The obvious ending could have been better.

I must mention the portrayal of the Jallianwala Massacre that was kept on wait after two hours well spent on developing the story and Udham’s character in entirety. Praising a massacre scene would make me foolish or call it great. So choosing my words carefully, I should write this way that the intensity and provocation of that bloodshed were extremely detailed. This scene was deliberately shot violent. The graphic detailing of this three-minute scene full of gunshots and painful cries was more savage than what Lord Attenborough showed in Gandhi. It was a scene that boiled the emotions and broke the hearts. Udham’s commentary about his fury for this incident all this time made his case.

Sardar Udham is an accomplishment in the Indian cinema that distinguishes the filmmaking of freedom-themed nationalist films from most of the others. Sardar Udham may not need to check the historical accuracy whether Udham was there or not. Maybe it is the directional artistry or some kind of representational theory that has been applied to demand an apology from the British government that India is yet to officially receive even after 100 years.

Sardar Udham is the ‘other’ side of a freedom fighter story that hardly any director wishes to direct. This film is about the crime for which the innocents had to pay that was demanding to the British to leave their country once and for all. Sardar Udham is not a film but a reminder to the present generation about what and how their great-great-grandparents suffered in the name of imperialism. Thank you, Shoojit Sircar.

Ratings: 9.2/10

Film Review: Milestone (2021)

Milestone is about the fallout of a night-shift truck driver Ghalib who has recently lost his wife, has to compensate to his in-laws, has a terrible backache, has to train a new intern, has to shoulder his friend who has lost his job, and (I am not done) is in danger of losing his own job. So basically, Milestone is a 90-minute art movie about the mental and physical struggle of a broken man who is lost in the wake of tragedy.

When I watched this film on Netflix, it reminded me of the peak era of Bollywood’s parallel cinema of the 1970s and 80s when the directors like Shyam Benegal, Mahesh Bhatt, Mrinal Sen, Goutam Ghose, Govind Nihalani, and many more were producing the best of art films. Or maybe this is some homage or tribute to their works.

It is a slow-burner and may not buy the mainstream audience or perhaps even the sensible viewers. But for those who are keen to watch some really good artwork, Milestone is that product to ask your 90 minutes.

There is no music, no songs, no entertainment, simple and on several occasions very thought dialogues. Direction and cinematography are unusual. The film clearly shows that the filmmakers were serious to present quality work.

Yes, I won’t miss my usual and favorite part of the review at all, writing/screenwriting. See the story is frankly about a few days of man after the tragedy. The real piece of work is in screenwriting. Some impressive detailing and camera shots made this film sublime. The director stretched pretty much time on a few scenes that may demand attention. For example, there is a scene in the truck when the intern asks Ghalib why he left and he responds if he knows who Saddam Hussein was. The intern is blank and Ghalib stares at him. So the director exhausts the scene on the audience to understand the depth of agony and political tense when millions of Indians were stuck in the Gulf war and left in the early 90s.

Milestone has been screened in some international films festivals and has made some distinctions. This film is highly recommended to that sensible audience who are eager to watch some quality film in a 90-minute slow-burn. For me, this pretty much is one of the best films of the year.

Ratings: 8.6/10

Film Review: Sarbjit (2016)

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Sarbjit is prominent for few reasons. One is that it presents you a very tragic story between the bitter threads of the two countries. Second is making Aishwarya Rai an actress and third is gifting us a treat to watch Randeep Hooda‘s another, in fact, his most unforgettable performance.

I am not interested in knowing the film’s fate on the box office but I have always been of the opinion that the making of great films based on true stories heavily rely on the direction. Sarbjit despite all the weapons and armour on the ground is where it falls from the peak to the truffles.

Director Omung Kumar is the man more familiar to the art direction or say, the production designing where he is very good at. In the past, he was involved in the production designing of Bhansali’s Black and Saawariya, Mishra’s Chameli and Ghai’s Yuvvraaj. And that is the same impression in his Sarbjit too but the technical aspects of narration are full of flaws.

First thing first, it is a boring film. By boring I mean the story of Sarabjit deserves a 90-minute screen time, not 130 minutes. When the film reaches the half, you begin thinking what is left in the remaining half. The narration is uselessly stretched in the second half and feels if the director is borrowing some time to connect the dots and reach the conclusion.

Like every other Indian film, the portrayals of the media and Pakistani civilians are hyper-hilarious. Why on earth a Pakistani is sketched with a topi on his head, shalwar-kameez on the body, over-disciplined Urdu like “Aap, Janab” in the dialogues, beards like pubic hairs or the one like General Aladeen, mufflers hanging on shoulders, kohl in eyes? Even filmmakers from the west are more skilful in portraying Pakistanis than the neighbours.

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Urdu texts are laughable. There is a scene when sister Dalbir (Aish) handover the Pakistani newspaper to father darji and the viewers have a chance to view mere 4 seconds of the newspaper. The one with the knowledge or Urdu will find hilarious mistakes and put a question mark on the technicalities of the film.

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Few of the scenes were out of logic like Dalbir being thrown and hit on her head while attempting to speak the minister. Another one is Pakistani policewomen checking Sarabjit’s family before they meet that is way too much. A policewoman takes out the glasses of Dalbir and checks it like what? Another one wipes the lipstick and removes the red dot God knows why?

The delight is the sibling chemistry between Randeep and Aishwarya. Randeep has defined ‘pain’ to a new dimension. He lost 18 kg in 28 days. And Aishwarya has displayed a strong command of emotional and vocal artistry after an acting career of totalled performances.

Sadly Richa Chadda doesn’t have enough dialogues or equal weight of performance on the screen as Aish’s despite being the wife of Sarabjit. The film is a genuine one-timer thanks to the directional disaster but the major plus of the multiple performances will keep you alive.

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Ratings: 5/10

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