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Article 15 Movie Review

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Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Nassar

Director: Anubhav Sinha

Story The film, based on the Article 15 of the Constitution of India, traces the lives of a few police officers. IPS officer Ayan Ranjan (Ayushmann Khurrana) gets posted in a village named Lalgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  As he hails from a liberal background, he has negligible understanding about the evils which rule our society.  However, the rape of two girls who hail from a lower caste, forces him to learn and fight the Indian caste system.  Article 15 showcases how Ayan Ranjan, along with other officers, embarks on a journey of acceptance and change in a Country where discrimination is everywhere.  

Review

“Aukat wohi hai jo hum dete hain” is a dialogue in Article 15, spoken by a brute male character, which immediately makes us confront the deepest and ugliest fault lines in the Indian society.  The film rips apart all the sugar coatings and shows you the actual, naked truth of the Indian society. 

Article 15 is set in the village of Lalgaon, where IPS officer Ayan Ranjan is posted.  Ayan Rajan is educated, liberal, urban and partially shielded from the ugly truth of the society.  The film opens to him appreciating the beauty of the interior in his office, but you are taken aback when you realise he cannot buy a water bottle from the village of the Pasi community.  Despite his good intentions, Ayan is at sea because of his little understanding about the caste system.   

What causes Ayan to study caste is the brutal rape and murder of two Dalit girls, whose bodies are found hanging from a tree, soon after Ayan’s arrival in Lalgaon. 

As he proceeds with the investigation against all odds and gets acquainted with Gaura, his colleague Jatav (Kumud Mishra) and the underground Dalit resistance leader Nishad (Zeeshan Ayyub,) he learns the magnitude of the implications of India’s caste system.  The indifference the other policemen have towards the two girls is evident by dialogues likeInn logon mein toh aisa hota hi rehta hai. Ranjan is made to learn Brahmins are on the top of the food chain, feeding upon those who belong to the “pichadi jaati.”  The officer’s ignorance of the caste system is used as the medium through which many customs are explained.

Director Anubhav Sinha’s craftsmanship is evident in his subtle portrayal of the horrors of the society.  With Article 15, Anubhav Sinha follows up with Mulk (2018,) which highlighted how religious rivalries are tearing India apart.  Sinha, in this film, highlights how the caste system is damaging our society.  

With regard to acting, Ayushmann Khurrana shines with his usual aura.  The actor leaves no stone unturned to make you believe he is indeed an ignorant cop from an urban society.  Actress Sayani Gupta is fabulous in whatever little we see of her. Her eyes convince you she is a woman trying to survive in this cruel world, where people are raped in the name of caste.

In Bollywood, where most films celebrate chest thumping patriotism, Article 15 is a brave attempt.  It introduces you to a whole new world where people don’t even share water with those who belong to lower castes, where a person’s caste is asked even before his name and where men think it is their right to rape girls from lower castes.  The film is hard hitting and in a style of its own, opens the audiences’ eyes to a truth from which they have been shielded—to a point where it almost becomes uncomfortable to watch that truth.  The extent to which caste discrimination is followed in India makes you squirm.

Article 15 is a brave attempt at filmmaking and is a really important film to watch.

Comment and let us know your thoughts on the film. 

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Panga Movie Review

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Rating: 4/5

Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Jassi Gill, Richa Chadha and Neena Gupta

Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

Story:

Jaya Nigam (Kangana Ranaut) is shown as a feared raider in the sport of kabaddi in the past, while she is a government employee and a mother stuck to the monotony of a domestic life in the present.  The story is about how Jaya makes a decision to pursue kabaddi again at an age which is normally considered a retirement age in the sport. It shows how Jaya Nigam overcomes societal judgement, criticism from her family and breaks stereotypes to realise her dream of once again playing the sport at the national level.

Review:

Kangana Ranaut is brilliant in portraying Jaya Nigam, an ex Indian Pro Kabaddi player who was feared for her raiding skills.  At the same time, Ranaut’s portrayal of a doting mother and a government employee stuck in a mundane day to day routine is relatable.  Jassi Gill plays the role of Jaya’s husband, Prashant Shrivastava and adds a certain amount of flair to how he portrays the character.

Kangana Ranaut is spectacular in the kabaddi sequences on court, which do not seem overly choreographed and feel realistic.  She is a burst of energy on the court, while she is a docile mother off the court. She nails these transitions with absolute elan.  Jassi Gill as Prashant offers a brilliant supporting act when he is thrust into the responsibility of looking after the home and their son, at which he has no experience, but manages to still assume responsibility for it.  He plays the role of a husband who is willing to put his ambitions behind his wife’s dream and gives her the freedom to pursue her passion.

The narrative is to the point and does not get overly dramatic, a trait otherwise very easy to find in movies which explore the genre of sport.  The film honours all the Indian mothers who put their dreams behind to assume the responsibilities of running a home and raising a child at the insistence of their family members.

Panga is a must watch over the weekend owing to the stupendous performances of Kangana Ranaut and Jassi Gill and the brilliant direction of Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari.  The film will have you coming out of the theaters feeling good.

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Street Dancer 3D Movie Review

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Rating: 3.5/5

Cast: Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor, Nora Fatehi and Prabhudeva

Director: Remo D’Souza

Story:

Street Dancer 3D is about two rival dance teams, each headed by Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor respectively.  Both these team heads are always at loggerheads to claim the title of the best street dancing crew.  The two crews ultimately unite to overthrow a common enemy, which is a British dance crew. This movie tugs at the Indian sentiments by showing how the rival dance crews, who are Indian and Pakistani respectively, end up joining hands to battle the white antagonist (the British crew.)  Considering Republic Day is just around the corner, it makes for an interesting plot.

Review:

The movie series is very similar to Hollywood’s Step Up series, which is based on street dancing as well.  This is the third dance movie Remo D’Souza directed and he left no stone unturned to portray various dance forms like jazz, contemporary, popping, urban and slow motion.  Having a crew of skilled dancers helped in giving the dance sequences authenticity.

Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor each have their own entrances with their own dance sequences and both the actors nail them perfectly.  Shraddha Kapoor as Inayat is spot on in portraying an arrogant and pompous crew head, while Varun Dhawan as Sahej is a polar opposite of Inayat.  He manages to brilliantly portray Sahej as a sentimental yet highly competitive rival crew head.

Nora Fatehi is quite a revelation in playing the sassy character Mia.  All the cast, including Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor, underwent intensive dance training to perfect their forms and postures, with Varun Dhawan having to learn how to execute a perfect backflip.  Prabhudeva is in his natural element as a dancer turned restaurateur. The Muqabla song is revisited in this movie and it is refreshing.  Watching Prabhudeva dance once again to the song is bang for the buck.

However, the movie, which is solely based on dance, tends to get overwhelming at times due to its continuous dance sequences.  Street Dancer 3D lacks a concrete storyline, but it makes up for it with brilliant dance choreography.

If you are a fan of this genre, this movie will definitely appeal to you as director Remo D’Souza brings all his experience as a choreographer to the fore.  The movie is solely about dance and if a storyline is what you are looking for, you may be disappointed. Nevertheless, Street Dancer 3D is a must watch for all its beautiful dance sequences.

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Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior Movie Review

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Rating: 4/5

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, Kajol and Sharad Kelkar

Director: Om Raut

Story:

This historical period drama is based on the story of the battle to reclaim the hill fortress of Kondhana from the Mughal clutches.  The fortress is held by a Mughal commander, Udaybhan (Saif Ali Khan.) Maratha forces under the command of Tanhaji Malusare (Ajay Devgn,) who are directed by Chhatrapati Shivaji, attempt to claim the fortress to stop the Mughal invasion into Southern India.  It is a story of mind versus might.

Review:

While there are historical dramas like Jodhaa Akbar and Padmaavat which were blockbusters, debut director Om Raut left no stone unturned to give us a film like Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, which is a treat to watch.  It has rich visuals owing to top notch VFX and showcases the Maratha valor, which sends the audience into an emotional overdrive.

The action sequences are brilliantly choreographed and Ajay Devgn delivered an outstanding performance as Tanhaji Malusare.  Every fight is cleverly choreographed and well written. When coupled with the immersive visual effects, all the elements deliver action sequences which are larger than life.

Saif Ali Khan is spot on as the antagonist Udaybhan by portraying him as mean, menacing and unpleasant, proving himself as a versatile actor.  Kajol, who plays Tanhaji’s wife Savitribai Malusare, is on point in playing the perfect wife who is with her husband in joy and in sorrow.

While the movie moves on at a good pace with song sequences melding into a moving plotline, there are instances where some scenes and dialogues seem to be dragged out.  However, they can be easily overlooked in comparison to the rest of the film.

Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is a movie which will keep you on the edge with climatic action scenes that lead to heroic instances at every interval.  The film will especially evoke a sense of euphoria, particularly amongst the Marathi audience, in scenes where Chhatrapati Shivaji is revered.

Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan’s portrayal as the good hero and evil villian, Om Raut’s vision and the spectacular VFX all come together seamlessly to provide a brilliant entertainer for the audience.

 

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Chhapaak Movie Review

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Rating: 3.5/5

Cast: Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey

Director: Meghna Gulzar

Story:

The movie opens with the protests which followed the gang rape of Nirbhaya in Delhi in 2012.  This sets the tone for Chhapaak.  The movie is based on the real life incident of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal.  The movie depicts the journey of how Malti (Deepika Padukone,) an aspiring teenager, falls victim to an acid attack.  The rest of the movie focuses on how Malti overcomes the emotional damage done to her, attends her trial in the court of law, runs a non government organization (NGO) for acid attack victims and finds love.

Review:

Coming back to the silver screen after playing a proud Rajput queen in Padmaavat, Deepika Padukone underwent an incredible transformation in shedding the ego and portraying the character of Malti, an acid attack survivor.  As the director, Meghna Gulzar managed to portray Malti’s journey without any over the top dialogues or asking for sympathy. The message and the pain echo through the grounded narrative which lets the acting do the talking.

Deepika Padukone delivers a stellar performance in the movie with the makeup to look the part of an acid attack survivor.  In the scene which shows the aftermath of the acid attack on Malti, Malti’s scream of anguish when she looks at herself in the mirror to see a ravaged face tugs at the heart.  So does the scene where she struggles to put on an earring but cannot.  

Vikram Massey plays the role of a former journalist who is now an activist and runs an organisation for acid attack survivors and falls in love with Malti.  The chemistry between Massey and Deepika has something amiss, but Deepika Padukone’s acting stands out. Archana Bajaj, who plays Malti’s lawyer in the film, deserves a mention for her splendid performance.

Chhapaak is a movie which manages to portray the reality of acid attack survivors and makes you empathize with Malti.  The film makes for an engaging watch by making you shed tears as well as making you laugh with witty humour.

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The Sky Is Pink Movie Review

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Rating: 3.5/5

Cast: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim and Rohit Suresh Saraf

Director: Shonali Bose

Story: 

The movie opens with grieving parents Aditi (Priyanka Chopra) and Niren Chaudhary (Farhan Akhtar) trying to cope with the death of their daughter Aisha (Zaira Wasim.)  The daughter posthumously narrates the story of her death and her parents, whom she affectionately calls Panda and Moose. The movie depicts the journey of Aditi and Niren as they try to do everything to save their daughter and eventually come to terms with the reality their daughter may not stay alive beyond the age of 19.  This drives a wedge between the couple, who find a way to rekindle their lost love while facing the tragedy.

Review: 

This Shonali Bose directorial perfectly captures the different phases of grief one has to undergo when they suffer the loss of a loved one.  It throws light on the question of how one should grieve the loss. The screenplay is well written and puts equal focus on the journey of the couple as well as the story of their daughter. 

The Sky is Pink is the last film of actress Zaira Wasim, who delivers an incredible performance in the heartbreaking story.  However, Wasim is outshined by Priyanka Chopra, who makes her Bollywood comeback with the film. Priyanka, as Aditi, perfectly channels the emotions of a mother who will do anything for her dying daughter.  Farhan Akhtar, as Niren Chaudhary, complements Priyanka and uses his eyes to channel all the emotions. Rohit Saraf, as Ishaan Chaudhary, delivers a strong performance as a son who is never the center of attention for his parents. He effortlessly portrays the role of an understanding and supportive son and big brother.

The Sky Is Pink is a heartwarming movie which is neither overly dramatic nor too subtle.  The direction by Shonali Bose and the lead actors’ performances give life to the film.

We recommend The Sky Is Pink for its amazing story.

What are your thoughts about The Sky Is Pink?  Comment below and let us know.

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