LenzScope http://lenzscope.com Reviews of Movies, Events, Books, Food, Products etc. by Bindu Cherungath (Bindu C) Fri, 28 Jun 2019 23:40:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.7 https://i1.wp.com/lenzscope.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/cropped-LOGO.png?fit=32%2C32 LenzScope http://lenzscope.com 32 32 114591675 Review of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga http://lenzscope.com/review-of-ek-ladki-ko-dekha-toh-aisa-laga/ http://lenzscope.com/review-of-ek-ladki-ko-dekha-toh-aisa-laga/#respond Tue, 05 Feb 2019 19:56:33 +0000 http://lenzscope.com/?p=2577
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Ek Ladki ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, a film by Shelly Chopra Dhar, comes up with a progressive topic. It is a love story with difference. It is very important to make films on such plots, tell the stories to create more awareness in our society, but Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga fails to do justice to the plot.

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The title of the film does generate the memory of beautiful moments of the film 1942: Love Story, in which this song turned out to be a superhit, and it still sounds so fresh even after 25 years. This song as well as the film had wonderful chemistry of Anil Kapoor and Manisha Koirala on screen. Somewhere, the film’s title generated curiosity to see how and what kind of love story this film projects. But it turns out to be a disappointing affair. The challenge with the film is its screenplay and acting. The screenplay does not explore the plot in depth. Indeed, such an issue is picked up, which needs to be heard by the society, but the treatment is so dampening. Love is an intense emotion and it does not deserve a meek and non-assertive form of narration. This is what happens in the film. It is not that such a subject has never been dealt earlier in Indian films, rather dealt with very much finesse and depth. The execution of the film is dull.

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Sweety (Sonam Kapoor) is a girl from Punjab, daughter of Balbir Chaudhary, the Ambani of Punjab (Anil Kapoor). She is shown to be a timid girl. Rajkummar Rao plays the role of a playwright Sahil Mirza. Although he is the son of a famous movie producer, he chooses to be away from family and work on his own terms. Sweety is shown to be scared of her brother (Abhishek Duhan) who keeps an eye on her movements. Sahil and Sweety happen to meet by chance in Delhi. Juhi Chawla plays the role of Chatro, a Chef and wannabe actress, with Sahil’s team. Sahil travels to Sweety’s place to explore love and write about the same for his play. Is Sahil in love with Sweety ? Is Sweety in love with Sahil or somebody else ? The story unfolds further but in absolutely disengaging and dispassionate manner.  

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The only grace of the film is Anil Kapoor. Rajkummar Rao is such a wonderful actor, who generally puts so much life into the character he plays, but in this film, his role is very much understated. He does not have much to do. It is strange that real father-daughter chemistry is also missing on screen. Seema Pahwa, Brijendra Kala, Kanwaljeet Singh have very less screentime. Anil Kapoor and Juhi Chawla have a few scenes on screen and supposed to generate humour, but it does not happen so.

‘Ek Ladki ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’ fails to do justice to the love story it wants to narrate, rather adopts a very apologetic, meek and non-assertive tone.

Rating: 2 / 5 (Average)


Cast and Crew Details (Source: Wikipedia page)

Cast: Anil Kapoor (Balbir Chaudhary), Sonam Kapoor (Sweety), Rajkummar Rao (Sahil Mirza), Juhi Chawla (Chatro), Brijendra Kala (Chaubey), Seema Pahwa (Billauri), Madhumati Kapoor (Beeji)

Directed by: Shelly Chopra Dhar

Produced by: Vidhu Vinod Chopra

Written by: Gazal Dhaliwal, Shelly Chopra Dhar

Cinematography: Himan Dhamija, Rangarajan Rambadran

Music by: Rochak Kohli, Score – Sanjay Wandrekar, Atul Raninga

Edited by: Ashish Suryavanshi

Production Company: Vinod Chopra Films

Distributed by: Fox Star Studios, 20th Century Fox

Release Date: 1st February, 2019

Duration: 120 minutes

Language : Hindi

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Review of Thackeray http://lenzscope.com/review-of-thackeray/ http://lenzscope.com/review-of-thackeray/#respond Mon, 28 Jan 2019 20:09:12 +0000 http://lenzscope.com/?p=2560

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Thackeray, by Abhijit Panse, is a biopic on Bal Keshav Thackeray, popularly known as Balasaheb, the founder of Shiv Sena. The challenge in reviewing such a biopic film is that how to articulate and write about a film where the titular character’s many acts are not in the interest of the mankind. It turns out to be so difficult to appreciate the rabble-rousing politician portrayed on screen. How to appreciate the character who had a controversial life ? He had no qualms in choosing violence, indulging in hate-speech, fighting for the rights of Marathis but demonization of other communities etc. One of the strange parts of the film is that Nawazuddin is chosen for the lead character, who ends up promoting Hindutva and talking against certain communities especially Muslims. One is certainly able to see the transformation of a cartoonist to a ferocious leader through the film and there is every probability of its sequel too.

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The film is disturbing due to many dialogues and the way Thackeray’s life and decisions are justified. There are many instances where the leader is looking at mass turning violent and still not apologetic about the same. So, one is forced to think, how to support a leader who promoted communalism and just rationalized every act. He projects that he believes in the unity of the nation first and then Maharashtra by saying : Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra. This is the inner conflict as a critic how to even rate and review the film which is not in favour of the mankind. But then, the film has to be taken as a piece of art. Now, looking at the film as simply a piece of art, Nawazuddin breathes life so effortlessly into the lead character Thackeray. Nawazuddin does not imitate every mannerism / voice of Balasaheb, but he projects the very essence of the character so brilliantly on screen.   

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The film begins with Thackeray being interrogated in court for the charges against him in being instrumental for Babri Masjid demolition and his hate speech. The flash back scenes are interspersed along with the interrogation process and Thackeray’s rational statements for every situation. Thackeray’s sense of humour is also captured well. Thackeray is shown to be working on his own terms even when he is employed as a cartoonist with Free Press Journal. He chooses to resign his job than to succumb to the political pressures. Then he decides to start up his own weekly newspaper – Marmik. His father’s goodwill in the market ensures him the loan to begin with this journey.

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Thackeray is shown to be very shrewd and blunt from the very beginning. Thackeray grows from there to a very influential position where he was able to win people over on his sides. He first worked for the rights of Marathis. He was adamant about calling Bombay as Mumbai even before 1995. He went to extremes to achieve the power. He neither bothers about his people picking up weapons against other people nor digging up and ruining the cricket pitch ahead of an India-Pakistan match. He himself protests from the front on many occasions. He does not hesitate to express his extremist views. At the same time, there are certain scenes in the film, where he is shown to be liberal as well in his viewpoints. Certain dialogues like “Pungi bajao lungi bhagao” are disturbing. But the film propels ahead glorifying the acts of Balasaheb and his ways of politics.  

His wife Meena’s role is essayed by Amrita Rao. The film does not explore much on his personal front except a few scenes at home, with his father as well as with Meenatai, who is shown to be a silent but strong support system of his life. Various leaders viz. Morarji Desai, George Fernandez, India Gandhi, Sharad Pawar are also seen in certain scenes to reflect upon the political scenario as well as certain major decisions of those times.

As far as the cast is concerned, Nawazuddin seems to be the perfect choice for the Balasaheb’s role. Even without mimicking Balasaheb, he could project the character so incredibly on screen. Amrita as Meenatai is also good. Rest of the characters are also ok.

In spite of Nawazuddin giving one of his finest performance in Thackeray, it is difficult to celebrate the film since it relishes the provocative politics displayed by Balasaheb. The film has its elements in place to convey that the transformation of Bal Keshav Thackeray from a cartoonist to the tyrant Balasaheb was need of the hour. It is indeed difficult to appreciate the rabble-rousing politician portrayed on screen but kudos to Nawazuddin for playing this character with finesse.      

Rating: 3 / 5 (Good)

Cast and Crew Details (Source: Wikipedia page)

Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Balasaheb Thackeray), Amrita Rao (Meena Tai Thackeray), Rajesh Khera (Morarji Desai)

Directied by: Abhijit Panse

Produced by: Viocom18 Motion Pictures, Dr. Shrikant Bhasi, Varsha Sanjay Raut, Purvashi Sanjay Raut, Vidhita Sanjay Raut

Written by: Arvind Jagtap, Manoj Yadav (Dialogues)

Screenplay by: Abhijit Panse

Story By: Sanjay Raut

Based on: Bal Thackeray

Cinematography: Sudeep Chatterjee

Music by: Rohan, Sandeep Shirodkar, Amar

Edited by: Ashish Mahatrae, Apurva Motivale Sahai

Production Company: Viacom18 Motion Pictures, Raut’ers Entertainment, Carnival Motion Pictures

Distributed by: Viacom18 Motion Pictures

Release Date: 25th January, 2019

Duration: 139 minutes

Language (s): Hindi, Marathi

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Review of Manikarnika http://lenzscope.com/review-of-manikarnika/ http://lenzscope.com/review-of-manikarnika/#respond Sun, 27 Jan 2019 17:22:50 +0000 http://lenzscope.com/?p=2550
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Manikarnika, a film directed by Krish and Kangana Ranaut, is a period drama based on one of the most iconic warrior and legend from our history Rani Lakshmibai. Her name has gone into history and is also used as a metaphor even today for all the empowered women who stand for themselves. Her very name generates a visual of a woman warrior fighting fiercely with a child strapped on her back. The poetess Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s poem Jhansi Ki Rani summarizes the whole life of Lakshmibai. These two lines of the poem are so famous:

बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,

खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वः तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी I

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Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi does justice to the character Rani Lakshmibai. As a movie lover, I did enjoy Manikarnika, but when I looked at the film as a critic, I was wondering about two things. First, the film talks about the warrior Lakshmibai, but not much about the person Lakshmibai. The screenplay does mention about her being an ardent book lover, fluent in English, a compassionate person, but nothing more than this. Second thing, the other characters in the film did not get due highlights and that is one of the major problem with the film. In History, other characters viz. Gangadhar Rao, Ghulam Ghauz Khan, Tatya Tope, Kashibai, Sadashiv etc. are also prominent but in the film, they turned into merely secondary characters without much highlights. And this is the same thing which happened in her last film Simran, where she was there in every frame reducing other characters’ sketching to almost negligible. In Simran, she had a major fall out with its writer Apurva Asrani (National award winner) and she brought so many changes to the original script that the film lost its sheen. Manikarnika was in controversy right from the time it went to floors. She had broken her commitment with renowned filmmaker Ketan Mehta whose dream project was to make a film on Jhansi ki Rani and he had researched heavily on the topic. Then she started this film Manikarnika with Krish but took the position of a director later on and even her name featured before Krish in credits. The articles with Krish’ interview are doing rounds in the media. According to Krish, his version was very much altered by Kangana. In fact, Sadashiv’s character was earlier played by Sonu Sood which was later done by Zeeshan Ayub. If reports are true, then Kangana would have to certainly grow beyond her own self-interest and be part of the team and ensure that creativity, story, presentation etc. takes higher positions than an artist. Her self-interest reflects in the film. Although Kangana shines in every frame of Manikarnika, but the film should not have been only about Manikarnika but also about how other characters became part of her journey or facilitated her journey to be one of the earliest patriots of our freedom struggle. This is where the film falters, but otherwise, accolades for terrific Kangana.   

Rani Lakshmibai, originally born as Manikarnika Tambe in Varanasi, nicknamed as Manu, is being trained for shooting, horsemanship and other skills in warfare right from her childhood itself. Her father is an advisor to the Peshwa in Bithoor. She is being married to the king of Jhansi – Gangadhar Rao Newalkar (Jisshu Sengupta). The king chooses to wear bangles in his wrists but Manikarnika, rechristened as Lakshmibai post marriage, never chooses to question him. She is shown to be firm when it came to decisions in regard to Jhansi or not succumbing to the pressures of British. She does give birth to a boy child, but he soon dies and she loses Gangadhar also due to his sickness. Although both of them had adopted Damodar as son and had declared him the heir, the British refused to accept him as successor. And so as per the doctrine of lapse, any kingdom without a legal male heir was supposed to be under the control of East of India Company. Lakshmibai decides to fight for Jhansi. She fought so valiantly that British government sent their best people like General Hugh Rose to strategically fight against her. Lakshmibai’s emotional side is also shown when she wears the pearls gifted to her by Gangadhar and goes for the final war. Rest of the film unveils in regard to how Lakshmibai puts up a brave front till her last breath. She becomes a martyr at the mere age of 29.     

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Certain scenes are very beautiful as well as powerful. The scene where Gangadhar takes her to the library which he set up for her in the palace and also the scenes where he understands the power of Lakshmibai and silently gives approval to her. The scene where Ghulam Ghause Khan questions her decisions and integrity behind writing to the British government and pleading for her rights on the palace post Gangadhar’s death, then Lakshmibai responds calmly saying that there is right time for everything. It shows, how she was not impulsive in taking decisions. One of the most powerful scenes is where Lakshmibai walks out of the ceremonies of widowhood in order to fulfill responsibilities for saving Jhansi from British. The iconic scene, where she jumps from the top of the palace sitting on Badal (horse) and with her adopted child on her back is captured well. The climax scene gives goosebumps.

The war scene could have definitely been better picturized. Its CGI (Computer-generated-imagery) towards the end is not too impressive.              

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Kangana is certainly terrific in all the scenes, be it riding horse, fighting scenes, wielding swords, leaping on elephants, giving unblinking expressions to the British people, not ready to bow her head before the general.

But other characters’ sketching is not at all great.  Screenplay and editing are moulded in such a way that other characters lose their power. Great actors like Danny Denzongpa, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Atul Kulkarni, Mohammed Zeeshan AYub, Jisshu Sengupta, Ankita Lokhande (who makes her film debut) are actually not utilized to their optimum and reduced to mere caricatures. They have nothing much to do. Even amongst artists who played British Characters, Richard Keep as General Huge Rose does stand out but he also gets less screen time.

Dialogues by Prasoon Joshi and music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is good with patriotic fervour.

Although Kangana shines in every frame of Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi but the film should not have been only about Manikarnika  but also about how other characters became part of her journey or facilitated her journey to be one of the earliest patriots of our freedom struggle. This is where the film falters, but otherwise, accolades for terrific Kangana.   

Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Cast and Crew Details (Source: Wikipedia page)

Cast: Kangana Ranaut (Manikarnika aka Manu aka Rani Lakshmi Bai), Atul Kulkarni (Tatya Tope), Jisshu Sengupta (Gangadhar Rao), Richard Keep (General Hugh Rose), Suresh Oberoi (Bajirao), Danny Dengzongpa (Ghulam Ghaus Khan), Vaibhav Tatwawaadi (Puran Singh), Zeeshan Ayub (Sadashiv), Kulbhushan Kharbanda (Dixit Ji), Ankita Lokhande (Jhalkaribai), Mishti (Kashibai), Nihar Pandya (Pran Sukh Yadav), Taher Shabbir (Sangram Singh)

Direction: Krish and Kangana Ranaut

Produced by: Zee Studios, Kamal Jain, Nishant Priti

Written by: Prasoon Joshi (Songs and dialogues)

Screenplay by: K. V. Vijayendra Prasad

Story By: K. V. Vijayendra Prasad

Narrated By: Amitabh Bachchan

Cinematography: Kiran Deohans, Gnana Shekar V. S.

Music by: Songs – Shankar-Ehsan-Loy, Background Score – Sanchit Balhara, Ankit Balhara

Edited by: Rameshwar Bhagat, Suraj Jagtap

Production Company: Kairos Kontent Studios

Distributed by: Zee Studios

Release Date: 25th January, 2019

Duration: 148 minutes

Language: Hindi

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Review of Zero http://lenzscope.com/review-of-zero/ http://lenzscope.com/review-of-zero/#respond Mon, 24 Dec 2018 21:28:24 +0000 http://lenzscope.com/?p=2529
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Zero, a film by Aanand L Rai, was certainly one of the awaited films of the year. This film has attracted negative feedback from most of the critics, whereas, I felt the film deserved a better viewership and feedback. Any film, especially our Indian film, has its major ingredients in terms of theme, plot, screenplay, dialogues, emotions, music, visuals, direction, mode of story-telling, character sketching of the lead protagonists as well as other characters and most importantly the actors associated with the film and their portrayal of characters. Let me speak first about what does not work in the favour of the film – it is probably the fact that certain aspects of story seem unreal, not so logical and practical. Barring this, there are so many other factors which actually work in favour of the film. First of all, Shahrukh’s energy, magic and charm are incredible. He infuses life into his character Bauvva Singh. Anushka projects her character with utmost sincerity. Katrina’s screen space is less but one cannot deny her character’s contribution to the plot. Zero has its heart in place, emotions play in its real flavour. There is love, betrayal, ambition, heartbreaks, sacrifice, repentance etc. Music and humour in the film also have enough power to engage the audience. So, the film deserves a better viewership and rating.

Bauvva Singh (Shahrukh Khan) is a dwarf – 4.6 feet, who lives his life in Meerut with style. Bauvva is a movie buff and has a crush on the actress Babita (Katrina Kaif). He does not shy away from showering money on his friends Guddu (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub) and gang when they read out the news of Babita’s breakup. The banter between father Ashok (Tigmanshu) and son generate add lot of humour. He looks up at the sky, counts from 10 to zero to turn stationery stars into shooting ones. Bauvva is now 38 year old bachelor looking for an alliance. Through his matchmaker, he does come across Aafia (Anushka), a NSAR scientist suffering from cerebral palsy. Bauvva is absolutely unsympathetic in his approach towards Aafia, right from the beginning. What happens, when two individuals fall in love, who are not normal as per the norms existing in and around our world? A space scientist falling in love with hardly a 10th grade Buavva and then the triangle with Babita in the scene, an alcoholic actress – the story unravels beyond this. The film wins here, since the plot does not succumb to any sympathy, the characters don’t fall prey to the victim trap even though they all are misfits in the world as per the norms.  

How does the love between Bauvva and Aafia evolve? When and how does Babita’s character get weaved into the plot ? Yes, Bauvva chooses to come back to his love Aafia and then how the story evolves further ? The film has special appearances by Madhavan, Bobby Deol, Sheeba Chaddha, Brijendra Kala too and how they become part of the story? Watch the film to know all these.

The dialogues have the underlying tone of humour most of the time, yet breaking many set norms and notions. In one scene, where Bauvva wants to dance as well as make Aafia also dance, there he first demands for a Shammi or Rishi Kapoor’s number and then later demands: Play any damn Kapoor song, it will work. He takes a dig on his own dimples. Babita, an alcoholic actress, heartbroken in love, does comment that she being fair does not need any make up.  

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The film also dedicates Shahrukh’s stardom in a scene to his leading ladies, where they come together – Kajol, Juhi, Sridevi, Deepika, Alia etc. The song Issaqbaazi, where Shahrukh and Salman are in the same frame along with Remo D’souga and Ganesh Acharya, is entertaining. It has Shahrukh wearing a t-shirt with Katrina’s image in it has wordings like one saying that she is his need whereas the other claims that she is incomplete without him.

Zero has its heart in place with emotions playing in its real flavour. Shahrukh infuses life in Buavva Singh through his energy, magic and charm. Certain parts of the film seem unreal, but the emotions displayed are so real, be it love, ambition, betrayal, loyalty, repentance etc. How can it be a Zero? It certainly deserves a better viewership and review.

Rating: 3/5 (Good)

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Review of Manto http://lenzscope.com/review-of-manto/ http://lenzscope.com/review-of-manto/#respond Sun, 23 Sep 2018 18:54:03 +0000 http://lenzscope.com/?p=2497

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Manto, a film by Nandita Das, is a biopic on the Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto. Manto lived during 1912-1955. This film depicts his life especially during pre and post-independence days and partition time seamlessly interspersed with five of his most famous and poignant short stories: Dus Rupay, 100-Watt Bulb, Khol Do, Thanda Gosht and Toba Tek Singh. The film narrates his life through these stories. Manto was known to write unpleasant truths of our society, which people generally did not prefer to write or talk about. And his writings made him a controversial writer too. Manto is best known for his stories of partition days which very genuinely covers what people went through those days. Nandita’s attempts need applause for the way she has depicted the various events, its contexts in Manto’s life through his works. Manto was an unapologetic writer and he used to pour his experiences, views in his writings. He had to even face court trials in lieu of the obscenity in his literary works, was accused of writing materials not worth of set benchmark of literature. But Manto believed in what he wrote since his writings mirrored the society. He even wrote about prostitutes, pimps, subversive sexual slavery of women etc. The film Manto begins in Bombay pre-independence and continues to his life in Lahore when he and his family shifted to Pakistan post-independence. The film recreates the old Bombay and Lahore. Kartik Vijay’s cinematography justifies the feel and era of the film.  It is painful to watch the film since it covers the reality. The tragedy is that things have not changed much even after seven decades of freedom. Manto’s stories reflect lot of happenings of our today’s society too. Certainly, the feel after watching Manto is that it could have had more depth and coverage of his life, but one would feel the pain, turmoil, the transformations of Manto and his growing sense of isolation during the most definitive period of his life. When Manto in the film feels the pain of leaving Bombay and misses everything he had in India, viewers are bound to feel the same pain and agony. The film not only narrates about Manto in his biopic but through Manto and his stories, it shows the glimpse of the trauma India and Pakistan went through post partition. Even though this biopic leaves one with the feeling of wanting more, but it certainly needs to be watched.

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Manto begins with a scene from his story Dus Rupay, where we see a young girl apply makeup before she leaves to be with her clients. Then we see Manto in Bombay, confronting a film producer (Rishi Kapoor) to pay him his dues for the script he wrote. Manto is also seen commenting on Ismat Chughtai’s (Rajashri Deshpandey) writing. Manto is shown to have sharp tongue where he does not refrain from mocking at his best friend and upcoming actor Shyam Chaddha’s smoking cheap cigarattes. Days change, India gets independence but Hindus and Muslims are ripped apart. Manto had to choose to migrate to Pakistan along with his wife Safia (rasika Duggal) and daughters. His life changes in Lahore. He misses everything about Bombay, his friends and his life over there. Manto struggles to come to terms with his new reality at Lahore, he does become addicted to alcohol. The film takes Manto’s story and struggles ahead through his own other stories. Parts of each of the story is filmed with independent set of actors projecting the story of real Manto and his challenges. Manto is shown to be a man who lived for writing. In a court scene, where Faiz Ahmed Faiz defended Manto when he was charged of obscene writing but commented about the standard of his writing not at par with literature, Manto was bothered with the latter more.

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Certain dialogues in the film are very hard-hitting. One of the dialogue when he is asked by his wife Safia that why he carries variety of caps (Hindu Topi, Muslim Topi etc.) he says: Jab mazhab ki baat dil se nikalkar sar par chadh jaye to alag alag topi pahanni padti hai.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui excels in the titular character. He brilliantly embodies Manto’s character and brings life to the same on screen. Rasika has given a great performance as Safia. Rest of the characters played by Tahir Raj Bhasin, Shashank, Rajashri Deshpandey had less screen time, but definitely good. Rishi Kapoor, Ranvir Shory, Divya Dutta, Javed Akhtar, Vinod Nagpal, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Ila Arun, Paresh Rawal, Tilotama Shome, Gurdas Mann, Bhanu Uday are also seen in the film.

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The music of the film is composed by Sneha Khanwalkar and Raftaar.  The music strikes the right chord with the heart. The much famous lyrics of Faiz Ahmed Faiz – “Bol Ke Lab Azaad Hain” is beautifully sung by Vidhya Shah and Rashid Khan. Nagri Nagri is in the voice of Shankar Mahadevan. The lyrics of other songs are being penned by Dibakar Banerjee, Seemab Akbarbandi, Meeraji and Saadat Hasan Manto.

Manto is a film on his life and brutally honest reflection of the society during pre and post-independence days and partition time seamlessly interspersed with five of his most famous and poignant short stories: Dus Rupay, 100-Watt Bulb, Khol Do, Thanda Gosht and Toba Tek Singh. The tragedy is that things have not changed much even after seven decades of freedom. Manto’s stories reflect lot of happenings of our today’s society too. Certainly, the feel after watching Manto is that it could have had more depth and coverage of his life, but one would feel the pain, turmoil, the transformations of Manto and his growing sense of isolation during the most definitive period of his life. Even though this biopic leaves one with the feeling of wanting more, but it certainly needs to be watched.

Rating: 3.5/5 (Good+)

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Review of Batti Gul Meter Chalu http://lenzscope.com/review-of-batti-gul-meter-chalu/ http://lenzscope.com/review-of-batti-gul-meter-chalu/#respond Sun, 23 Sep 2018 18:12:28 +0000 http://lenzscope.com/?p=2489

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Batti Gul Meter Chalu, a film by Narayan Singh, is the story of inflated electricity bills and corruption in the system. The film certainly has a very relevant message to convey but the melodrama dominates. The melodramatic depictions as well as the running time of almost 3 hours make the film weak, but one can not ignore the issue raised in the film. Love triangle between the three lead protagonists of the film in the context of the issue raised is not too strong to hold the audience engaged. The film does convey that corrupt energy suppliers don’t allow small scale industries to prosper since most of the time these businesses are plagues with load shedding and power cuts but still getting inflated electricity bills.

The premise of the story is that a young entrepreneur Sundar (Divyendu Sharma) who starts a packaging company, gets mentally tortured with the inflated electricity bills. His childhood friend Sushil Kumar Pant aka SK (Shahid Kapoor), who does not generally have any ethical stand as far as his profession is concerned, acts as per his conscience and fights the court battle against the mighty Power Company. Shraddha who plays the role of their friend cum designer Lalita ‘Nauti’ Nautiyal joins SK in his fight against the corrupt system. The film does show that when the whole set of consumers join hand together even the mightiest corporation can become weak and end up yielding to the justice.

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Set in Tehri in Uttarakhand, the film begins with two of the travellers in Bus – Vikas and Kalyan unraveling the story of three friends SK, Sundar and Lalita. The names Vikas and Kalyan are purposefully chosen to take a dig at the development and welfare activities of our country. Certain dialogues do project that how development and welfare activities are just on papers whereas not happening in reality in the afflicted areas. Sk is an advocate who makes money with out of court settlements. Sundar dreams of making it big through his entrepreneurial venture. And Lalita is a designer who thinks of herself as one of the best and superior designer. The first half of the film builds up the plot of how the friendship between the three gets converted into a love triangle. The second half is spent mostly in the court scenes where SK confronts with the defense lawyer Gulnaar (Yami Gautam).

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The dialogues are written in pahadi style with most of the statements ending with ‘Bal’. ending. SK’s over the top claptrap dialogues with cringey sexist jokes aimed at Gulnaar somewhere dilutes the message of the film.

All the three main protagonists – Shahid, Shraddha and Divyendu play their parts well. Yami is also good. Sushmita Mukherjee as judge is good. Samir Soni has a small role as the owner of the Power Company as Sanjay Baduriya. Badral Islam and Sharib Hashmi as Kalyan and Vikas respectively narrate the story.

Batti Gul Meter Chalu is a film which raises a valid issue that of inflated electricity bills and corruption in the system. But the melodramatic depiction as well as the running time of almost 3 hours make the film weak, although one can not ignore the issue raised in the film.

Rating: 2.5/5 (Average+)

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Review of Varathan http://lenzscope.com/review-of-varathan/ http://lenzscope.com/review-of-varathan/#respond Sun, 23 Sep 2018 17:16:43 +0000 http://lenzscope.com/?p=2484

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Varathan, a film by Amal Neerad, is a thriller which portrays different shades of voyeurism, misogyny and the lecherous looks of a few men leaving the female protagonist unable to feel safe within her own home. One can easily relate with the film since the story does talk about the paranoia which engulfs females in the society when their instincts tell them about the unsafe environment around them. The film also does justice to the helplessness, fear, pain and outrage experienced by women when they face the evil elements of the society. Its pace is slow but probably the story demanded this pace. The climax scene is gripping.

Abin (Fahadh Faasil) and Priya (Aishwarya Lekshmi) decide to relocate to India from Dubai. They decide to stay in the ancestral property of Priya where the antique things including gun used by Priya’s grandfather are kept safe. Amal Neerad does give clues from the very beginning regarding how intends to unravel the plot. Both Abin and Priya’s nature is established with a scene where a cockroach is seen. Abin just lets it go but Priya kills it immediately telling that she won’t allow the cockroach to enter her home. Priya instinctively picks up cues when she gets the uncomfortable looks from the people in the village and when she expresses this to Abin, he just asks her to ignore. Abin is shown to be having a very cool temperament. How their lives take an about turn when Priya experiences mental torture due to the voyeuristic deeds of Josey (Sharafudheen) and his gang.

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The film is engaging; especially the climax scene is fast, gripping and well shot. Even an important message is conveyed in the last scene that it is high time females stand up for themselves instead of expecting strength and support from their better halves since they are powerful and empowered from within. The film also highlights the importance of creating a society where everybody has the basic right to live in a fear-free environment and feel secure. Abin’s cool demeanour does make one uncomfortable in the beginning but the climax compensates where he transforms into a protector’s role.

Varathan’s cinematography is done by Little Swayamp which is brilliant and in absolute sync with the mood of the film. It captures the beauty of the location so nicely. Faahad, Aishwarya and Sharafuddin are brilliant in their respective roles.

Varathan, a film by Amal Neerad, is a thriller which portrays different shades of voyeurism, misogyny and the lecherous looks of a few men leaving the female protagonist unable to feel safe within her own home. One can easily relate with the film since the story does talk about the paranoia which engulfs females in the society when their instincts tell them about the unsafe environment around them. The film also does justice to the helplessness, fear, pain and outrage experienced by women when they face the evil elements of the society. Its pace is slow but probably the story demanded this pace. The climax scene is gripping.

Rating: 3.5/5 (Good +)

 

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Review of Karwaan http://lenzscope.com/review-of-karwaan/ http://lenzscope.com/review-of-karwaan/#respond Sun, 05 Aug 2018 16:46:39 +0000 http://lenzscope.com/?p=2463

Karwaan, a film by Akarsh Khurana, is a road trip with difference. Here, three individuals, who are different from one another, happen to travel together with a purpose. How the journey helps them to undergo the process of self-discovery and acceptance forms the story. The plus point of the film is the combination of two most effortless actors – Irrfan Khan and South Indian heartthrob Dulquer Salman. In fact the concept of the film is also nice that how one’s life itself is an ongoing process of constant self-discovery, exploration, acceptance, change etc. The film also focuses on how important it is to be tolerant towards others’ perceptions too. The minus point of the film is that in an effort to treat the concept unconventionally, the film takes a very subtle tone throughout, the screenplay has tremendous scope of improvement. It is a likable film.

Dulquer makes his debut in Hindi films through Karwaan. He plays the character of Avinash representing those people, who left their passion behind by succumbing to the authority figures of their lives. He always wanted to be a photographer, but yielded to his father’s command to be employed with IT Company in Bengaluru. Avinash is dispassionately living his job and life. He feels that his father is responsible for this unhappy choice which he had to make in his life. One day, he gets the news of his father’s death in an accident.

He contacts Shaukat (brilliantly played by Irrfan Khan) to help him with a vehicle to fetch his father’s body. Shaukat decides to join Avinash to fetch his father’s body. Shaukat’s van has Majrooh Sultanpuri’s shayri written on it:

मैं अकेला ही चला था जानिब-ए-मंज़िल मगर

लोग साथ आते गए और कारवाँ बनता गया I

Wrong corpse is given to Avinash. On enquiry, he comes to know that his father’s body has got exchanged with Tahira (Amla)’s mother (Cochin).  Tanya (Mithila Palkar), the grand-daughter joins Avinash and Shaukat and that is how Karwaan begins. Tanya represents the youth who does not believe in any rights and wrongs, and not at all apologetic for her relationship. She lives her life like a free spirit who chooses to live life on her own terms and conditions.

All the three characters are different from one another but the commonality between them is that all of them are emotional and sensitive in their own manners. What do Shaukat, Avinash and Tanya discover about self during this journey, and which aspects of their personality get exposed to the viewers? This Karwaan turns out to be functional for them or not? Do they realize, how they want to handle their lives ? Do they learn the art of forgiveness and tolerance?

About the cast, Irrfan is superb. He is an acting school by himself who carries the role with so much ease. His spontaneity in delivering the dialogues is very nice. Wish him speedy recovery from the dreaded disease. Dulquer who is known for his screen presence and effortless acting in the south is absolutely comfortable in the skin of Avinash. Mithila as Tanya is good, bubbly, certainly could have been more effective. We get to see Kriti, Amala and Akash Khurana on screen for a brief time. They do play pivotal roles which help us to understand the characters further. The cinematography is good reflecting the beauty of South India. Music could have been better. Certain dialogues are good : Haq jamane se pahle rishta nibhana chahiye.

Karwaan had the potential to be a great meditative film talking about some basic but very important philosophies of life but it takes a very subtle tone throughout and fails to make the impact which it could have created. Watch it for Irrfan, Dulquer and a few terrific scenes.

 Rating: 3/5 (Good)

 


Cast and Crew Details: Source – Wikipedia Page

Cast: Irrfan Khan (Shaukat), Dulquer Salman (Avinash), Mithila Palkar (Tanya), Kriti Kharbanda (Rumana), Amala (Tahira), Akash Khurana (Avinash’ father)

Directed by: Akarsh Khurana

Produced by: Ronnie Screwwala, Priti Rathi Gupta

Written by: Hussain Dalal (dialogues)

Screenplay by: Akarsh Khurana

Story by: Bejoy Nambiar

Music: Prateek Khuhad, Anurag Saikia, Slow Chettah, Imaad Shah

Cinematography: Avinash Arun

Edited by: Ajay Sharma

Production Company: RSVP Movies, Ishka Films

Distributed by : RSVP Movies

Release Date: 3rd August, 2018

Duration: 114 minutes

Language: Hindi

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Review of Fanney Khan http://lenzscope.com/review-of-fanney-khan/ http://lenzscope.com/review-of-fanney-khan/#respond Sun, 05 Aug 2018 04:53:33 +0000 http://lenzscope.com/?p=2458

Fanney Khan, a film by debutant Atul Manjrekar, generates mixed emotions. Similar to the distorted spelling in the title, the screenplay seems distorted at places due to not-so-believable plots with less of logic in place; but one can certainly connect with the film. One can give the benefit of doubt to the film for its genre being comedy. The film Fanney Khan represents lot of such people, who dare to see dreams but find them unfulfilled as well. Then they see the same dream through their children. There is nothing wrong in this, but the desperation to achieve the same may prompt them to cause some blunders. There are also scenes of body shaming. One vital question which is raised in the film is whether it is necessary to be star? In spite of having a great cast, the film fails to create the impact it could have made.

The film begins with the narration by Rajkummar Rao who explains about Fanney Khan, a person with whom everybody enjoys. The Titular character is played by Anil Kapoor, who is Prashant Sharma aka Fanney Khan. He is an artist by passion but had to join a factory for his job. Divya Dutta enacts the role of Kavita Sharma, Fanney Khan’s wife. She is shown to be a simple lady. Adhir, a younger colleague of Fanney Khan, is played by Rajkummar Rao. Fanney Khan is determined to make her daughter Lata (Pihu Sand) a known singer just like the celebrity singer Baby Singh aka Sumitra (Aishwarya Rai). The challenge with Lata is that she is obese which did result in humiliating comments from the audience, whenever she went on stage to sing and perform. Fanney Khan and Kavita act as strong support systems for their daughter. Fanney khan chooses a short cut to earn money so as to be able to get Lata’s dream come true. But things go awry.

Certain scenes are absolutely unexplainable. Daughter Lata’s irritation with her father Fanney Khan is not at all justified. A celebrity is being kidnapped, but with occasional news clippings, no other actions are taken in this regard. Screenplay does not focus much on Lata’s character. Kavita is always shown to be very understanding and tolerant, in fact, this character is also not well explored. Aishwarya and Rajkummar are looking good on screen together but their chemistry was explored very little in the film. Pihu does justice to her role as Lata. Girish Kulkarni as Baby Singh’s manager excels, but again he had not much to do. The film is supposed to be based on music, but except the climax song ‘Tere Jaisa Tu Hai…….’ the other songs don’t leave much impact. There is another song with the names of a few of the famous films, it seemed interesting.

Fanney Khan, a film by debutant Atul Manjrekar, generates mixed emotions. Similar to the distorted spelling in the title, the screenplay seems distorted at places due to not-so-believable plots with less of logic in place; but one can certainly connect with the film. One can give the benefit of doubt to the film for its genre being comedy. In spite of having a great cast, the film fails to create the impact it could have made. Still, one can watch the film.

 Rating: 3/5 (Good)


Cast and Crew Details: Source – Wikipedia Page

Cast: Anil Kapoor (Prashant Kumar aka Fanney Khan), Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Baby Singh),  Rajkummar Rao (Adhir), Divya Dutta (Kavita Sharma), Pihu Sand (Lata), Satish Kaushik (Kader Bhai), Girish Kulkarni (Karan Kakkad)

Directed by: Atul Manjrekar

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Review of Mulk http://lenzscope.com/review-of-mulk/ http://lenzscope.com/review-of-mulk/#respond Thu, 02 Aug 2018 16:29:58 +0000 http://lenzscope.com/?p=2447

Mulk, a film by Anubhav Sinha, strikes the right chord of humanity. It does convey in the very beginning that the film is inspired from the true events. Mulk is an attempt to raise the voice against the prejudices existing in our country (as well as at a global level too). The word Terrorism is connected instantly and spontaneously to the community Muslims. But the film very strongly tries to put across the dictionary meaning of the word ‘Terrorism’ which is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims”. So, as per the definition, many other activities could also fall under terrorism. Terrorism is actually criminal not communal. Terrorism does not have anything to do with the religion.  But the frame of reference is in such a manner that we label a community synonym to terrorism. The film also projects a very sensitive topic in the most sensible manner. The film highlights that the Mulk is divided between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’. This very differentiation makes the whole problem even more challenging to be solved. The film did attract controversies in the social media for the statistics mentioned in the poster. This review does not focus on any statistics or data or facts or figures but this review definitely highlights that how relevant it is to have such a film even in 2018, post 71 years of independence. The film is indeed very close to the reality. Some might compare the film with Garam Hawa (a masterpiece film released in 1973). Garam Hawa dealt with the plight of those people as well as the adverse situations faced by them who chose to stay back in India itself and decided not to migrate to Pakistan. Even after so many years, the wound of partition has not healed. Mulk not only focuses on the plight of a North Indian Muslim family who chose India post-independence, but also it emphasizes on the poisoned mindset which needs to be changed, the frames of references which need reality checks. It is not that the film does not get preachy at times, it is not that at times drama gets a bit exaggerated, but these can be very well ignored since the intention of the film is too good and needs to be applauded. Not only every Indian but every human being all across the globe must watch Mulk, since it is the necessity of the mankind to have peace all across the ecosystem especially when we are living in a nation of religious, social, cultural, linguistic diversities.

The film begins with a beautiful concept of how a simple dot and its placement changes the meaning of Khuda (خدا) to Juda (جدا). It is in the streets of Banaras, where Shahid (Prateik) enters the screen. Shahid is the son of Tabassum (Prachee Shah Pandya) and Bilaal Mohammed (Manoj Pehwa). Bilaal is the younger brother of Murad Ali Mohammed (Rishi Kapoor). Neena Gupta plays the role of another Tabassum as wife of Murad Ali. Aarti (Taapsee) is married to Murad and Tabassum’s son Farhad (played by Indraneil Sengupta – both settled in London). Shahid’s sister Aayat is shown to be attracted towards Shahid’s friend Rasheed (Ashrut Jain). It is the celebration time in the family, since it is Murad Ali’s 65th birthday and Aarti joins the family for the celebrations. The family is celebrating on one side but they are completely unaware of what is in store for them ahead. One of the family members is identified to be a terrorist responsible for a bomb blast and he is further killed in the encounter. There begins the ordeal of the whole family and a very intense court drama. Murad Ali, who himself is an advocate, finds himself to be accused by the prosecution. Murad’s family is ridiculed, humiliated, hounded, ostracized by the society, friends and they even get attacked by a stone-throwing mob. The public prosecutor’s character Santosh Anand is played by Ashutosh Rana. Santosh is sarcastic.  Dialogues used for his most of the arguments focus on the poisoned mindset, venom and the prejudices which the society holds against a particular community. He does not leave any stone unturned to tar the entire community for the violent actions committed by a few. Santosh versus Aarti courtroom drama is intense.

The film is predictable, rather the clue is given right at the beginning.  But what makes it engaging is how the drama unfolds. Most of the dialogues are hard-hitting. The characters of Rajat Kapoor (Anti Terrorist Squad officer – Danish) and immensely likeable Kumud Mishra playing the judge are sketched in such a way that the film does not turn out to be a one-sided affair. Although One must not expect the subtlety in the film.

Music could have certainly been better. ‘Khudara’ song is good. Another thing which the screenplay missed out to justify probably is the character sketching of one of the supporting cast, who admits only later after much reluctance that he was aware of his friend’s terrorist links. What made him change his decision to come out in open is not clear.

Rishi Kapoor is just awesome as a protective head of the family who gives a very restrained performance. In spite of being victimized, he kept his love for the nation intact. His helpless expressions at times itself raised many questions. A dialogue where he shares with his daughter-in-law Taapsee that how actually he could prove his love for the nation would pierce your heart. Taapsee has proved her acting mettle once again with Mulk. She is good as a defense lawyer, where she brings in the perfect balance towards her roles as a lawyer and also as the daughter-in-law trying to protect her family. Her aghast expressions would also leave you in shock at times. Manoj Pahwa, who is generally so good with the comedy, steals the show this time in the terrific and serious role of Bilaal. Ashutosh as Santosh Anand is also too good, one will hate him for his dialogues. Another set of noticeable performances come from Kumud Mishra as the judge, Neena Gupta and Prachee as Tabassum. Rajat Kapoor as always is very good as Anti-Terrorist Squad officer. Prateik Babbar, Ashrut Jain, Indraneil Sengupta, Atul Tiwari (Chaube) come on screen for a short while though, but are good and do justice to their roles. Ayaat’s role is also played well. Shot in the bylanes of Banaras, the cinematography captures the essence of the town – be it capturing the streets, or Masaan or street shops etc.

Mulk, a film by Anubhav Sinha, strikes the right chord of humanity. Mulk is an attempt to raise the voice against the prejudices existing in our country. Mulk not only focuses on the plight of a North Indian Muslim family who chose India post-independence, but also it emphasizes on the poisoned mindset which needs to be changed, the frames of references which need reality checks. It is not that the film does not get preachy at times, it is not that at times the drama gets a bit exaggerated, but these can be very well ignored since the intention of the film is too good and needs to be applauded. Not only every Indian but every human being all across the globe must watch Mulk, since it is the necessity of the mankind to have peace all across the ecosystem especially when we are living in a nation of religious, social, cultural, linguistic diversities. 

 

Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good+)

 


Cast and Crew Details: Source – Wikipedia Page

Cast: Rishi Kapoor (Murad Ali Mohammed), Taapsee Pannu (Aarti), Rajat Kapoor (Danish), Neena Gupta and Prachee (Tabassum), Manoj Pahwa (Bilaal Mohammed), Ashutosh Rana (Santosh Anand), Prateik Babbar (Shahid), Ashrut Jain (Rashid), Indraneil Sengupta,

Directed by: Anubhav Sinha

Produced by: Deepak Mukut and Anubha Sinha

Written by: Anubhav Sinha

Music: Songs – Prasad Sashte, Anurag Saikia, Score: Mangesh Dhakde

Cinematography: Ewan Mulligan

Edited by: Ballu Saluja

Production Company: Banaras Mediaworks, Soham Rockstar Entertainment

Release Date: 3rd August, 2018

Duration: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Language: Hindi

 

 

 

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