The Opening shot of Mahesh babu who plays Army Major Ajay Krishna in Sarileru Neekevvaru is that of him admiringly staring at the National Flag.This is symbolic of the superficiality and banality of this film. Of course the trailer and promotions promise exactly this, a Sankranthi commercial masala film. I don’t mind a formula film tailored to excite mahesh babu’s fans, I just wish there was more thought and bit more imagination while being fully commercial.
The screenplay chugs along swiftly ticking off all expected tropes starting with a Action episode, comedy sequence an Interval bang etc. Major Ajay stationed in Kashmir is assigned with a mission to rescue children from terrorists. During this operation, his name sake and colleague (Satyadev) is severely injured. Ajay (Mahesh Babu) is sent to help out the family of his injured colleague (Satyadev). Satyadev’s mother Professor Bharthi played by Vijayshanthi is an honest and upright professor who is awaiting her son’s arrival for the marriage of his sister.
Ajay embarks on a train journey and this is an extended comedy episode involving the lead actress Rashmika Mandana, Sangeetha and other ensemble cast. The scenes here resemble the staple material in all Anil Ravipudi films, characters with a defined mannerism repeating dialogues like “Never before Ever After”. Whats disappointing here is, not only are scenes slapstick but the fact the jokes are centered around rape. In a scene during this episode, the heroine accuses the hero of raping her, so that she could force him to marry her. of course this is all done in a light and comedic vein but in these times of Me Too, better judgement should have prevailed and such jokes about rape should have been avoided. This lack of judgement is a fall from grace for the actress Rashmika whose previous film Dear Comrade was exactly about the issue of sexual harassment. Mahesh babu who is a brand ambassador for MARD should have been much more vigilant. The story now shifts to kurnool where professor Bharathi and her family is in deep trouble due to a dangerous and evil local politician played in his typical style by Prakash Raj. You pretty much know what follows next.
what works for the film is, the pacing. Director Anil ravipudi manages to keep it pacy and never bore the audience. How much you would like the film really depends on what your seeking for, if you enjoy familiarity and looking for Mahesh babu to show unbridled energy with full conviction, then you have this in abundance. In the rest of the cast, Vijayshanthi makes a terrific comeback. She is dignified yet compelling in her performance. Overall Sarileru Neekevvaru is a low denominator entertainer, I did not regretting seeing it nor would i regret missing it.
Mathu vadalara (MV) is one more surf board coming out from the wave of new age telugu cinema.Director Ritesh Rana leading a team of debutants manages to convert an implausible idea on paper to an exciting, funny and gripping screenplay and employees all tools – cinematography, editing and background score at his command to produce a trippy cocktail of fun and thrill.
MV belongs to the who done it genre of films, the plot of the film revolves around the cascading events that get triggered when protagonist Sri Simha who is frustrated with his job and is under financial pressure attempts a short cut to earn a quick buck but gets caught up in a Crime.
The film dives right into the proceedings moving at a brisk pace from the word go till the end. What works is the sense of nervousness mixed with laughter the audience feel thanks to actor Satya who is the show stealer in this film. Essentialy this film is about 3 protagonists, Sri Simha, Satya and Naresh Agastya. While Satya is the Lifeline of the film, Sri Simha’s and Naresh Agasthya are decent.
The camerawork in combination of the editing and background music create a sense of urgency and lift the film to be a pacy thriller. Although the suspense is held till the climax, once the culprit is revealed it feels a bit underwhelming, but overall the film manages to entertain you thoroughly.
*note : This is not a review but an expression of joy felt by a movie buff.
Words will fail to describe the overwhelming feeling of joy, pride and goosebumps I am experiencing after watching this epic called Bahubali. Spectacular, magnanimous, mind blowing …….. add as many adjectives as you want, nothing will encapsulate the experience I have under gone watching this magnum opus. As an ardent movie buff, especially one who has grown up feeding on Indian cinema, I just want shout thank you SS Rajamouli.
Bahubali 1 was a mere introduction to the characters and a pre-cursor to the second installment, Bahubali 2 is where the crux of the story unfolds and grips you with a drama of epic scale. It’s in this film, that the characters of Amarendra Bahubali, Bhallaladeva, Devasena, Bhijaladeva, Kattapa actually grow on us. Continuing from where it left us in BB1, BB2 introduces us to the kingdom of Devasena (Kunthala Rajyam). It’s here where the love story of Devasena and Bahubali is depicted and thsese portions of the film are nothing short of a Visual poetry. If you were awed by the stunning visuals of BB1 then hold your breath for the song Hamsa nava, it’s just out of this world. The story marches forward swiftly involving the conflicts that come to fore between all these characters.
What makes this story epic is the Blockbuster scenes that are throughout the film which gives the viewer goosebumps, thanks to the masterful music composition of MM Keeravani which enhanced these scenes. Be it the introduction scene of Bahubali or the action sequences with Devasena or the interval block, many more scenes will be etched in the movie goer’s memory for a long time.
BB2 is a rare film where the Visual spectacle, the larger than life set pieces never take away the attention from the intriguing drama and emotions of the characters. They only add to the experience. It requires first rate performances to make these characters believable and all the actors involved bring their A game into this film. The VFX shots are of a superior quality than BB1 and needless to say all the technical aspects involved are truly word class.
As I walked out of the theater BB2 filled me with a sense of pride, a feeling of high that a telugu film, an Indian film has been made which can be proudly presented at an international stage. Hats off to SS Rajamouli for his courage to dream and perseverance to make it come alive. Generations to come will discuss the legend of Bahubali. Indian Cinema will be Before Bahubali and After Bahubali. Once upon a time ……..there was Bahubali.
Ghazi – This movie will fill you with pride about Indian Navy and Telugu Film Industry, hats off to the makers, especially director Sankalp who manages to put out a world class film, the detailing, Jargon and CG of the submarine are very believable and convincing. The film keeps you completely engaged with the two sides Indian Navy and Pakistan Navy trying to check mate each other and never deviates from the plot trying to include some so called commercial elements. The best part of the film is that even the Characters of Pakistan Navy are portrayed as thinking and capable men, not caricatures. The drama is built into the plot through the inherent conflicting characters of Rana and Kay Kay Menon. Rana is a stickler of the rules whereas Kay Kay Menon is a rebel who is determined to eliminate the enemy even without the orders from the political bosses. Atul Kulkarni does the balancing act between the two men. Kudos to Rana for not only accepting this film but also for sportingly playing the second fiddle in some of his scenes with Kay Kay Menon. Although all actors did a great job, the stand out performance has to be of Kay Kay Menon whose sharp eyes and stern looks convey more than any punch dialogues can ever. There are many moments in this film where you will be on the edge of the seat and the climax will give you goosebumps and fill you with Pride of watching Telugu/ Indian cinema reinventing itself. It will also remind you of the unsung heroes of Indian Navy. This weekend do yourself a favor and go watch Indian Cinema’s first ever under water submarine war film.
A rare film which showcases human deficiencies in a thriller formant.
If you look a Chandrashekar Yeleti’s Filmography Aithe, Anukokunda oka roju, Prayanam, Sahasam, it’s no surprise he has always made path breaking films which have original ideas and fresh treatment, hence when i heard his next outing Manamantha was with the great Mohanlal, the bar was set high for this film. Despite this high bar, yeleti manages to beat expectations.
Manamantha is a story about 4 characters, all of them regular middle class folks, there are no heroes or villains here, just regular people with simpleday-to-day problems whose life takes an unexpected turn. Thanks to some natural performances from Mohanlal, Gautama and the girl who plays Mahathi, we become invested in their world. The scenes between Gautami and Urvashi where they end up spending more while trying to get groceries at discount prices is especially funny and endearing, some of these scenes showcase the sharp observation prowess of Chandrashekar Yeleti of the society around him. Although the film has a thin plot point it’s engaging through out and culminates in a thrilling finale where all these 4 stories converge thanks to a masterful screenplay. The only weak link in the film is the 4th story involving computer science student.
Manamantha is yet another ground breaking film from chandrashekar yeleti and his best after Aithe. As a telugu film buff i am proud we have a director like Chandrashekar Yeleti and hope this film becomes a hit.
Finding fanny : it’s a mad film but madness is fun
Set in a remote village somewhere in Goa, director Homi Adajania sets his story in a world which is far removed from the busy lives which most of India lives in, Angie played by deepika padukone introduces us to
5 characters in the village including herself. Finding fanny is about the equations between these characters and their unending quest for love to bring some cheer to their rather dull and incomplete life’s.
Ferdie played by Naseerudin shah is a lazy, lonely old man who is the post man of the village but hardly delivers any mail, his only friend and confidant in the village is Angie. Angie is a widow who’s husband played by Ranveer Singh in a guest appearance dies on the wedding day itself in a rather funny way and there is Mother in law of Angie “Mai ” played by Dimple kapadia who is also a widow , Pankaj kapoor plays don Pedro a painter who is obsessed with voloptrous woman and his latest obsession is Rosie (dimple kapadia) and finally there is savio played by Arjun kapoor heart broken as his childhood love Angie chose his only other close friend Ranveer over him .
The drama starts rolling as an unconsolable Ferdie starts weeping after he receives a love letter which he had posted 46 years ago to fanny, as he realizes it was never delivered in the first place and he has lived all his life thinking fanny has rejected him. Now Angie takes on herself to help Ferdie find fanny and for this she manages to bring all five of them to embark on a journey for finding fanny.
Finding fanny is not about any story neither is about finding fanny, it’s about these quircky characters their interactions with each other and their inherent deficiencies and how through this journey they try and resolve them. The director chooses a slow narration but it goes with setting and characters of the film but it never ceases to have funny moments as you will be laughing through out the film with most of the humor comes from the conversations between these unintentionally funny people, portrayed exceptionally by all the actors but it is the 3 veterans Pankaj kapoor, Naseerudin shah and Dimple kapadia are in full form as they dive in to their well etched characters with ease. Special kudos to Dimple kapadia who leaves behind inhibitions and plays her part with irreverence .
On the whole Homi Adajania delivers a refreshingly new and mad little film with a distinct style of his own.
Highway – An involving Journey.
After watching Highway, I drove back home and all along the ride which is about 25 mins, I did not turn on my music or radio because my mind was preoccupied with the characters of this film, Highway is one such experience where you think about the film long after you have left the theater.
Highway is a film about two people who unexpectedly end up in a situation where they have to keep going on the road without a destination and in the process they start enjoying this timeless and endless journey as they heal each others sorrows of their past through this life transforming and a spiritual experience kind of a journey.
Veera played by Alia bhatt is a duaghter of a big shot businessman of delhi who is kidnapped by Mahadip in an attempt to escape a shoot out from police; and then embarks on a never ending journey touching punjab; Rajasthan,Himachal, Kashmir captured beautifully by the veteran Anil Mehta and this visual dream is nicely complemented by AR Rahman’s calm Background score.
Veera although initially terrorized by this situation,slowly starts enjoying this journey of discovering the completely new India and also her new found freedom which she never had in her otherwise cosmetic life in Delhi; She also realizes that mahadip although is a criminal is still very Human and feels a certain comfort and warmth with him as she understands that no matter what Mahadip is not going to hurt her.
Imtiaz ali the director of this film is in top form as he takes his affinity to travelling and story telling through journeys as evident in his previous films, to a whole new level and makes a full fledged film on a Road journey where you completely fall in love with the characters whose interactions brings a big smile on your face in many scenes. the master stroke of Imtiaz is the casting of Alia as Veera where her innocent and charming looks will endear us but Alia not only charms us with her looks but her acting beats the thresholds especially in the finale. Although the film belongs to Alia, Randeep hooda too gives a solid performance.
Although Highway is a really good experience it falls short of being a great film because it fully does not convince why would Veera through out her journey never feels for her parents and also the dark secrets of her past looks a bit forced and contrived.
Highway requires some patience and also a connect with a different kind of cinema for you to enjoy.
Bullet Raja – It’s crazy fun
If we have to choose a genre to describe Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Bullet Raja, then it has to be the genre of Quentin Tarantino, like in Tarantino films in Bullet Raja too grave situations are treated with irreverence and violence is mixed with funny interludes.
Bullet Raja simply put is a story of 2 best friends Raja misra and Rudra on the lines of Jai- Veeru (sholay) set in the Heartland of UP’s rouge political climate. Raja meets up with Rudra accidenly when he gate crashes into a wedding of Rudra’s cousin sister to escape from some goons. Right from the word go two friends take off and also get involved in an encounter where our heroes successfully eliminate a mob who have come to avenge the bride’s father and there by unintentionally getting into the gangster politics of UP and in this process Raja and Rudra start killing, kidnaping with ease and elan and become superstars among the youth of UP, Raja meets with Mithali (Sonakshi sinha) in one of these kidnap episode and she goes on to stay with them as she falls in love with him. Post interval the film deals mostly with revenge of Raja.
The high point and USP of the movie is not so much the story but Dhulia’s treatment of these violent situations with casualness and in a over the top manner with dialouge which is rooted and locale, with express peace. On the whole Bullet Raja is a fun masala film Tigmanshu style.
Ram Lela is a well crafted and well casted film
As expected from a Sanjay leela bhansali film Ram leela is a visual treat as he mounts each frame deliciously with vivid colors and grandeur but what’s different and what scores in comparison with his previous films is that he creates two feisty characters Ram and Leela and backs them with equally sharp dialogues and swift peace until the interval, post interval the film goes down hill but thanks to the terrific performances from the leads and other ensemble cast I never lost interest in the film.
Ram leela is an indianized version of Romeo Juliet set In a fictional village in rural Gujarat where Violence is a way of life between to waring factions of Rajadi and Sanera and expectedly Ram and Leela belong to these warring families but what works most in the film is the sizzling chemistry between deepika and ranveer Singh right from the first scene they are together and the films most enjoyable moments are between them, unfortunately as then story progresses to the point where the two lovers are separated by there respected families, movie slips and many scenes don’t make much sense and too many songs and fights don’t help either.
Over all Ram Leela can be a good one time watch for its performances, ace camera work from Ravichandran and of course in the end it’s a Sanjay bhansali film as he is credited as writer,music composer, editor and Director ,it’s a signature bhansali film.
YJHD – A mushy love story with some fun moments
As I walked out of the theater after watching YJHD, I was in a dilemma if i had fun or was i bored, the answer is i felt both, with a title like “yeh jawani hein diwani” coupled with the fact that its a karan johar production i would have expected a run of the mill rom coms, what raised the bar for me was, it was coming from the director of wake up sid has ranbir kapoor and also it showcased a life infusing promo with the song “Batameez dil” but unfortunately it fails to live upto those expectations and falls closer to the run of the mill kind of films.
The film is about bunny(Ranbir kapoor) and his 2 best friends played by Kalki and Aditya roy kapoor who are these cool fun loving college students who decide to go on a trecking trip in Manali and in this trip bunny meets naina (deepika padukone) his childhood school friend who is a studios, shy topper who struggles with in herself to break free from her boring life, while bunny thinks of marriage as having dal chawal for the rest of life and never wants to settle down in life, takes up a job as a travel journalist, naina on the other hand is a doctor and quite a contrast to bunny as expected. Its the coming of age story of these 4 friends filled with rich locales, dazzling set pieces and dance numbers.
Although there are lot of fun moments which we enjoy watching these four friends with first rate performances from all of them, what lets down the film is an incoherent screenplay ,some cliched scenes and too many songs, although the music is good by itself, but the songs act like a speed breaker in the movie except the foot tapping well choreographed “Batameez dil”.
clearly YJHD is a not a must watch but you will not repent even if you do.