Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Disha Patani, Tabu, Jackie Shroff and Vijay Varma
Director: Ali Abbas Zafar
Story: As it claims, Bharat is the journey of a man and a nation together. The film opens in 1947 in Mirpur, a village near Lahore. Bharat (Salman Khan) is a kid and his father Gautam (Jackie Shroff) adores him. Bharat, at a very young age, makes a vow to his father that he will keep his family together, irrespective of the circumstances. This is the time of partition, during which, Bharat and his family are forced to leave for India.
At the railway station, his sister Gudiya (Barbiee Sharma) goes missing and Gautam, who sets out in search for her, also goes missing. However, Bharat, his mother (Sonal Kulkarni) and his brother crossover to India. After being separated from his father, Bharat is forced to become responsible at a very young age and dedicates his life to fulfilling the promise he made to his father with the hope that someday, his family will reunite.
The narrative then traverses a period of over six decades from 1947 to 2010 and you can see Bharat taking up a lot of odd jobs to make ends meet. He even falls in love with Kumud (Katrina Kaif,) who is brave and honest. All seems to be going well, but financial limitations force Bharat to take up a risky job in an underground mine, where he meets with an unexpected accident. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Review: Bharat is the official adaptation of the Korean film, An Ode To My Father and has been Indianised very well. You witness the journey of a nation, people and culture through the eyes of one man.
Zafar’s direction is topnotch. Unlike his previous films, this film is in a different zone, but Ali handles it all well. Important events which took place in Independent India like the death of Jawaharlal Nehru, the 1983 Cricket World Cup and globalisation are carefully yet effortlessly inserted into the narrative. However, humour feels contrived in a few scenes and does not make the desired impact.
Bharat begins and ends well. Though it is a historic film, it does not claim any historic authenticity. As the story moves through six decades, from 1947 to 2010, the body language, demeanour and clothes of the characters hardly seem to differ.
In an attempt to cater to Bhai’s fans, the character of Bharat is written to be heroic from the beginning to the end. This takes away from the emotional connect to the character. Glamorous songs like Slow Motion do not seem to fit into the post Independence era. The film’s story also changes track every 15-20 minutes, making it a little hard to keep up with the story.
Salman Khan appears to be at his usual best in this film. Bhai’s fans are going to love him as Bharat. However, what stands out in Bharat is Katrina Kaif’s effortless portrayal of the feisty Kumud. The actress, who proved her acting capabilities in Zero, only seems to be improving. Katrina Kaif gave her best performance till date in Bharat. The performances of Disha Patani, Jackie Shroff and Tabu also add well to the film.
Overall, Bharat is a well intentioned entertainer, but lacks enough soul to make it more than a one time watch.
Game Over Movie Review
Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Vinodini Vaidyanath, Sanchana Natrajan, Anish Kuruvilla, Ramya Subramania
Director: Ashwin Saravanan
Story: The intense opening of Game Over sets the base for its proceedings. The prologue to the film is a string of horrendous murders and the victims are all young women. The movie then shifts its focus to the protagonist, Swapna (Taapsee Pannu.) Swapna is a broken in spirit game designer who lives in a cocoon away from all human connections. She has not visited her parents in years. The only human connection in her life is her house help Kalamma (Vinodini Vaidyanath.) We quickly learn that she is nyctophobic because of an unpleasant incident which occurred around New Year’s eve the previous year.
As the New Year approaches, Swapna has troubled thoughts and panic attacks and visits her longtime psychiatrist (Anish Kuruvilla) who calls her condition Anniversary Reaction. Swapna is also a compulsive gamer and constantly finds herself obsessing over Pac-man. There are subtle hints about her horrifying past throughout the narrative. The film then adopts the narrative technique of repeating the same incident again and again with varying outcomes just like a video game.
Though it starts off as a murder mystery, Game Over is a psychological drama. As promised, it has some intensely scary and horrifying moments, but the rest of it feels too stretched.
The writing is droopy and the narrative gets repetitive in the second half. Also, some of the characters in the film have no depth: a tattooist and a grieving mother come and go without any proper connection to the plot. However, what keeps your eyes glued to the screen is Pannu’s impeccable portrayal of Swapna. Vinodini Vaidyanath is also pretty convincing as the ever present house help.
When the film ends, it all feels like a patchy affair, with too many questions left unanswered. On the whole, Game Over is a poorly attempted thriller which does not achieve what it promises.
India’s Most Wanted Movie Review
Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Prashanth P. Alexandrr, Rajesh Sharma, Shantilal Mukherjee, Asif Khan and Gaurav Mishra
A Raj Kumar Gupta directorial, India’s Most Wanted shows how 5 officers led by Prabhat (Arjun Kapoor) track down India’s most wanted terrorist, Yasin Bhatkal. Without using weapons, guns or any kind of monetary support, the team of officers track and bring to justice India’s most wanted terrorist.
Inspired by true life events, India’s Most Wanted tells the story of how officers not only nab Yasin Bhatkal, a terrorist and the founder of the Indian Mujahideen. This movie showcases the hunt for Bhatkal renamed Yusuf, and also depicts the massive gaps with the way Indian law enforcement agencies deal with crime. The movie opens to a group of five officers who get a tip off about the whereabouts of Yusuf and they swear to bring him to justice in under four days.
Unlike other crime thrillers, this movie shows the officers as five ordinary men with no fancy frills or over the top gadgets. However, while the story is solid as it goes, the movie lacks the tension and drama one would expect. The underplaying of the officers seems to go against the plot and not work with it, making the movie seems slightly long and winded.
However, while the obvious tension is missing from the film, the fact that all the officers live with the fear of death at the hands of Yusuf keep you hooked. Filled with songs and different scenes of worried characters, the movie builds up to a nail biting climax.
What works for this movie is the way Raj Kumar Gupta uses a cast which perfectly portrays the ordinary life of the officers. Prabhat (Arjun Kapoor) plays the role of the leader who takes it upon himself to capture Yusuf.
All in all, the well rounded way the actors and director Raj Kumar Gupta, work makes the film a good watch. Telling the story of unsung heroes and silent officers who make India safe, India’s Most Wanted, tells a story which needs to be heard.
PM Narendra Modi Biopic Review
Director: Omung Kumar
Cast: Vivek Oberoi, Manoj Joshi, Prashant Narayanan, Anjan Srivastav, Darshan Kumar, Zarina Wahab, Rajendra Gupta, Boman Irani
Just like the name of the biopic suggests, PM Narendra Modi is based on the life of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Chronicling the beginning of his life as a tea seller at a railway station, the movie maps the political journey of the Prime Minister. The biopic climaxes at the point where Mr. Narendra Modi swears in as the Prime Minister of India in the year 2014!
Despite the release of PM Narendra Modi being delayed by the Election Commission of India (EC) till after the Lok Sabha elections, the release is nothing short of a victory parade. Since the beginning of the movie, the makers have made sure they pay tribute to PM Modi in every way possible.
Every frame is a tribute to the rise of man who was once a tea seller at a railway station who rose to first become a RSS member and then the Prime Minister of the Country. For those who love the man unconditionally, this biopic is a reaffirmation of their faith but, for those who like to watch biopics with a solid dose of reality, will question the finer points.
While Modi is shown in almost god like form, the opposition is shown as a weak and incompetent party. Perhaps what makes a stark notable point here is that Manmohan Singh has absolutely no speaking role in the film. While businessman Narayanan is seen working with journalist Kumar to bring down Mr. Modi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are shown as figureheads with not much of a role.
The only other character in the film who has almost as much screen space as Mr. Modi is Boman Irani, who plays the man responsible for giving Gujarat the Tata Group. Unlike other biopics (Thackeray for example,) PM Narendra Modi offers no points of debate.
Overall, the film is worth a watch if you are a Narendra Modi Ji fan but not if you want to watch a well thought out biopic.
Photograph Review And First Day Box Office Expectations
Director: Ritesh Batra
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra
Rafiq (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is a street photographer who walks the streets of Mumbai trying to create special memories through polaroids. Into his frame walks Miloni (a CA, played by Sanya Malhotra.) However, while Rafi seems to think Miloni should definitely get a picture clicked, the latter is reluctant. Miloni finally succumbs to Rafi’s charms and persuasion skills and gets a picture clicked. The moment Rafi takes the picture, a conversation strikes up between Miloni and Rafi. The rest of the movie maps out to a family meeting on pretense and a slow romance in the works! With Miloni pretending to be Rafi’s fiancé Noor, the movie shows how the leads start getting closer even though they are playing a facade.
Despite being part of a world which is constantly obsessed with social media and staying connected, Ritesh Batra has created a setting similar to old school romance. As always, Ritesh Batra has breathed magic into every scene. Something as simple as a photograph (not a selfie, mind you,) is so powerful, it draws two strangers together. Who would have thought?
Photograph works for one basic reason. It pulls at the nostalgia strings of your heart! Miloni and Rafi realise they really do have a lot of things in common and these similar tastes and similar dislikes form the basis of a beautiful friendship between them, with hints of something more in the offing.
Like always, Nawazuddin’s acting skills are par excellence. With every line delivered perfectly and a perfect characterization of Rafiq, Nawazuddin delivers his dialogues with skills only a seasoned actor has. On her part, Sanya Malhotra also plays the role of Miloni really well. While in the beginning, she plays a reserved and slightly aloof character, Sanya seems to grow in a manner which shows her acceptance of the character she’s playing.
With some lines of resemblance drawn from Basu Chatterjee’s Chhoti Si Baat, Ritesh Batra has made quite a masterpiece with Photograph. All in all, with the cinematography and music adding a really fine feeling to the entire movie, this Ritesh Batra directorial is a delight. Watch it for the subtle nuances and the simplicity of the entire tale!
Badla Movie Review And First Day Box Office Expectations
Cast: Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan
Director: Sujoy Ghosh
An almost direct adaptation of the Spanish film, The Invisible Guest, Badla tells an extremely gripping story. Opening to Naina (played by Taapsee Pannu) pleading guilty, the movie follows the story of how Badal Gupta (played by Amitabh Bachchan,) fights to protect her, no matter what. Naina is accused of killing her boyfriend, Aryan and Badal’s biggest challenge lies in proving how Aryan was killed by someone from outside the house, despite the police finding no external footprints or break in evidence! With the story in itself being so hard hitting, the movie progresses and through every twist, new skeletons are revealed!
Fast paced and quick to the very end, Badla works really well because of the way the story is rendered. Starting with how the story unravels, to moving forward and showing the multiple layers of the different characters in the film, the quick cuts and the multiple transitions between each scene keep you hooked to the very end.
What makes this movie such a treat to watch is how both Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu fit so well into their characters. Furthermore, the way Sujoy Ghosh narrates the entire story, makes Badla an extremely compelling watch. With the way the songs pull the film forward and the way the scenes are done brilliantly, one can really can’t help but marvel at the brilliance and effort which goes into directing a movie like this!
Known for directing other amazing films in the past (like the Kahaani series,) Sujoy Ghosh has once more proven, in order to tell a really great story, there is a certain way to get your message across. All in all, with the storytelling being what it is and the entire cast putting their best foot forward, Badla makes for a very entertaining watch!
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