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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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Super 30 Movie Review

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Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Mrunal Thakur, Pankaj Tripathi, Vijay Varma and Aditya Srivastava

Director: Vikas Bahl

Story

“India is a third world country, a country of the labour class,” says the narrator, Fugga Singh (Vijay Varma,) in the opening scene of the film, to an audience in London.  He then contradicts his own statement by introducing us to all the brilliant minds India has produced and goes on to narrate his own story, taking the audience from London to the streets of Bihar.  

Here we are introduced to Anand Kumar (Hrithik Roshan,) a brilliant mathematician, who has completed his graduation and is extremely passionate about Mathematics.  He is so good at the subject, he receives the Ramanujan Award from the Education Minister of Bihar. 

Anand Kumar solves a complex mathematical equation which perplexed scholars around the world and this feat lands him a seat at the prestigious Cambridge University.  However, his financial situation becomes a huge barrier and Anand is forced to shed his ambition. One day, Anand Kumar bumps into Lallan Singh (Aditya Srivastava,) who runs the Excellence Coaching Center to train elite kids for IIT-JEE.  Anand Kumar joins hands with him and becomes rich and famous. Soon, he becomes the most sought after teacher in Bihar. Suddenly, a realization dawns upon Anand Kumar—some talented students in Bihar do not have access to quality education due to their financial situation.  He quits the Excellence Coaching Center overnight and starts his own coaching center to train underprivileged kids for free. The rest of the story is about how this man fights for education for all. 

 

Review

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Super 30 is a true story based on the life of Mathematics whizz Anand Kumar, who started the Super 30 program to train 30 talented students every year for the prestigious IIT-JEE.

This Vikas Bahl directorial stays true to its spirit and manages to perfectly capture the life struggles of Anand Kumar.  Hrithik Roshan, as Anand Kumar, is the heart and soul of this film. Roshan sheds his superstar image to play this deglamorized character and we must say, he is exceptional.  He is completely convincing as the Bihari underdog. 

There are some scenes in the film, like the scene in which Anand Kumar gets selected for the Cambridge University and the climax scene of the film, where the subtle nuances in Hrithik Roshan’s acting show the depth of his potential.  Mrunal Thakur, as Anand Kumar’s girlfriend, is convincing. Though she has very limited screen time, she makes an impact every time she appears on the screen. 

The direction, however, could have been much better.  Though Vikas Bahl manages the first half of the film well, in the second half, there are several loose ends.  While many scenes and dialogues in the film are extremely inspiring, some scenes are too dramatized and decorated, considering this is a true story.  The Holi scene is one such overly decorated scene and is the biggest drawback in the film. It falls so flat, it can make you cringe. The hospital scene in the climax also feels completely over the top. 

Though not the chartbuster variety, Ajay-Atul’s music makes the right impact, whenever required.  Sanjeev Dutta does a really good job with the dialogues.  “Ab raja ka beta raja nahi banega. Raja wahi banega jo haqdaar hoga” is a dialogue which will remain in the minds of audiences for a very long time. 

Despite these few flaws, we recommend watching Super 30 for its inspiring story. 

 

What are your thoughts about Super 30?  Comment below and let us know.    

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Malaal Movie Review

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Cast: Meezan Jaffrey, Sharmin Segal, Sameer Dharmadikari and Krishna Kumar

Director: Mangesh Hadwale

Story

The film is based on two characters, Aastha (Sharmin Segal) and Shiva (Meezan Jaffrey.)  The 22 year old Shiva is a local goon who spends his day getting into street fights, drinking and gambling.  This quintessential bad boy meets Aastha, whose family just moved into his chawl. Despite initial fights and differences, Aastha and Shiva fall in love with each other.  However, all is not well in the hood as they both hail from different backgrounds, cultures and ideologies. The coming together of their different worlds and the problems it causes in their lives forms the plot of the film.

Review

Set in Mumbai during the late ’90s, Malaal is a refreshing love story which immediately pulls you into its world.  It takes you back to a time where there was no social media and handwritten love letters were actually a thing.  It is small moments like these which actually make the film stand out. 

This Mangesh Hadwale directorial manages to capture the raw beauty of a chawl perfectly, especially the celebration of festivals.  While it may not have the grandeur and scale of a usual Bhansali production, this film sure does have an essence of its own. With a mesmerizing background score, songs to compliment the film and top notch cinematography, Malaal makes for a wholesome cinematic experience.  

The romantic and intense moments of the film are really well crafted in Hadwale’s able hands.  Debut actor Meezan Jaffrey makes a strong impression with his screen presence. His convincing acting and his ability to emote with his eyes show he is a promising actor.  Sharmin Segal is refreshing to see on screen, though she falls short of expressions during some intense moments.

The only visible drawbacks in this film are the facts it is too predictable and the plot seems a little too stretched during the second half.

All in all, Malaal is a must watch if you are a fan of intense love stories.   

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Kabir Singh Movie Review

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Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Arjan Bajwa, Suresh Oberoi, Kamini Kaushal, Adil Hussain, Nikita Dutta and Soham Majum

Director: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Story:

Kabir Singh is the official remake of the Telugu blockbuster Arjun Reddy.   Kabir Singh, a brilliant yet short tempered medical student, falls obsessively in love with his junior Preeti Sikka (Kiara Advani) and starts to claim her from the very first day.  From warning other students, to beating up a person who harrasses her, he does it all to tell the world she belongs to him. The girl eventually falls in love with him. However, their dreams of a happily ever after come to an end when Preeti is forced to marry another man.  How Kabir Singh deals with this forms the rest of the story.  

Review:  

In a span of 2 hours 55 mins, Kabir Singh takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride.  Be it love, anger or pain, you are bound to feel every emotion the protagonist feels.  Kabir Singh is the kind of boyfriend who is aggressive, obsessive and would go to any lengths for his girl, who he thinks he owns.  As a senior and topper of the university, he holds immense power in the college. He sees his junior Preeti, falls in love with her immediately and thus begins his deep, dark journey.   Shahid Kapoor plays this role with utmost honesty.  The power house performer absorbs every emotion of the character and presents it effortlessly on screen.

 Needless to say, the direction is well executed.  Sandeep Reddy Vanga recreates the same magic he did two years ago with Arjun Reddy.  In Vanga’s able hands, every shade of Kabir Singh is portrayed very well. The music compliments the film very well and counts for an overall cinematic experience.

However, the film becomes problematic with the amount of toxic masculinity it shows.  A maid in Kabir Singh breaks a drinking glass by mistake. The protagonist chases her, with the intention of beating her up.  “Frankly, sir, I do not care,”  is what Kabir Singh blurts out to the dean of his college when questioned about beating up a rival.  These two scenes, along with many others in the film, show signs of masculine pride.  Kabir Singh thinks this kind of behaviour is his birthright.

The girl, on the other hand, Preeti (Kiara Advani) is portrayed to be the girl we all do not like.  Weak and a mute spectator, she breathes and moves just as she is commanded. When an unknown man kisses her she does not twitch or say a word.  From where she sits in her classroom, to her friends, everything is chosen by her boyfriend and she surrenders to him without question.  Kiara plays this part to the best of her ability, but she hardly has any screen time or dialogues.  

The remake stays true to the original.  It steers clear of glitz and glamour and is a welcome change from the stereotypical love stories.  The darker side of life is captured and reflected effortlessly on screen.  When the film ends, you are left wondering if you should sympathize with Kabir Singh for his anger management issues or hate him for his misogyny.

On the whole, if you can bear with toxic masculinity, Kabir Singh is a one time watch.

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Game Over Movie Review

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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.  

 

Review:

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.

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Bharat Movie Review

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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.  

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