Monthly Archives: July 2018


Let's Use Sanju Baba 
Baki Sab Chal Jaayega... 

one star

Mini Review:

Third of the Saheb Biwi Gangster films, the fine conspiracy that made the first film such a good watch has descended into the gutter. At first you are shocked. Is Sanjay Dutt so gullible that he doesn't understand that his role in this film ruins his carefully whitewashed image in Sanju? After 20 minutes, you don't care. 

Main Review:

Except for Jimmy Shergill, the cast of the film - Kabir 'Sandokan' Bedi, Deepak Tijori, Sanjay Dutt, Zakir Hussain - look like they've bloated beyond recognition. Did they drown in alcohol between shots? In fact the music of Purana Mandir 'the Saamri track' should play in your head (as it did in mine) each time there were close ups of Kabir Bedi and Sanjay Dutt.

Sanjay Dutt is a disgraced Rajasthani prince who runs a nightclub called House Of Lords in London. He was asked to leave home because he was in love with a nautch girl (why did he leave her behind?). He makes money on the side by playing Russian roulette again and again. He's an expert. And you don't have to be a film expert to figure out that Biwi will seduce Sanju to get his help and kill Saheb. Sigh. 

Sanju is shown to be violent and unpredictable and still in love with the nautch girl (played by Chitrangada Singh) who skypes love songs to Baba. Oh yes, Baba has his own track that probably was sold to him during narration...   

When Will You Kill Saheb?

That Mahie Gill will drop her pallu is a given. But she was believable when her loneliness led her to having an affair with Randeep Hooda. Here, she is as seductive as a used tissue. 

So when she and Zakir Hussain (plays father to Saheb's second wife whos is comatose) ask Sanjay Dutt, 'Purana Kila tumhare naam kar rahe hain, saheb ko kab maroge?' you know subtlety is dead. 

Sanjay Dutt does not have to say, 'Russian roulette ka game khel ke...'

All is not this bad though. If you get through really trite dialog about 'rajwade', 'hamari ijjat', 'parampara', 'privy purses' you will discover that there was a great possibility of toppling the wife's need to kill her husband: the possibility of friendship between two characters hated by their respective families: Sanjay Dutt and Jimmy Shergill. 

Of course that would be another film. 

Here, the 'game' is played at the party in front of everyone else, and of course in the middle of 'let's switch guns' double cross game, where everyone is wincing each time the trigger is clicked, we see Deepak Tijori dressed up in a plastic apron a la Dexter walking purposefully to kill Chitrangada Singh. You just laugh. 

The followng bloodshed should have finished the movie, but there's more to come the filmmakers say. I just hope the box office bomb will deter them from making any more Mahie Gill pallu drop movies. 

(I've tried to write this review all day, but had to step away from the computer to upchuck)

Review: DHADAK

Dhadak Has No Pulse!

2 stars

Mini Review:

A vanilla remake of the hard-hitting Marathi film Sairat,
Dhadak is just an overly long story about a runaway couple.
While Sairat was raw and gritty, the caste divide between
the lovers very obvious and cruel, here it gets a makeover.
The first half has a romance made tolerable because of the
lad Ishaan Khattar, but the second half is like the girl (Janhvi
Kapoor) annoying and unable to get out of a scene intact.

Main Review:

How delightful is the boy Ishaan Khattar! You saw him shine in
Majid Majidi’s disastrous Bombay story, Beyond The Clouds, and
now here. He is Madhukar here, and we are told by his dad, ‘Stay
away from the girl… They are of different caste… You will be in

The girl is Parthavi, the local politician's daughter sassy and pretty.
She knows the lad has been following her around, and just like
Sairat (set in a small town in Maharashtra), this film too makes the
same mistake. Udaipur is a small town - usually hotbeds of gossip
and telltale folk - and yet no one reports the romance to the rich
dad, not even to curry favor.

Well, the songs by Ajay Atul are sweet but Rajasthani they are not.
The kids are caught kissing and are separated and beaten up and
the girl comes to the police station and at gunpoint drags the lad
away to freedom. Of course they have not thought about the

Sairat really got gritty here, and took their penniless state to really
cringe-inducing levels where you could not pop a kernel of the
multiplex popcorn without feeling guilty. But these two runaways
find shelter immediately and then a way out. And yes, the awful
pointless reference to writer director Sachin Bhowmick is
unmissable. Did they not find a different Bengali name? Sachin
Bhowmick wrote way better characters than this film can count.
They needed a vertically challenged Shridhar Watsar who plays the
comic relief Purushottam to ham it out in every scene. Even
Parthavi’s brother (in Sairat, he’s called Prince, even though his
actions are anything but) is a cardboard bad guy. Ashutosh Rana
gets to glare at the camera and his ‘badness’ is unmissable. I wish
they had thought the story through to really adapt to the setting
in Rajasthan.

The end is too long coming. And the iconic slapping scene in
Sairat shows us how poverty and helplessness can dehumanise
anyone and kill the storybook idea of romance, does not shock you
here at all. Anyone else in the lad’s place would have slapped the
boring heroine much earlier. You are relieved to leave the theatre,
hoping the young actress will sign up for acting lessons if she wants
to step into her mother’s shoes (she’s late Sridevi’s daughter). But
Ishaan shines, and you hope he gets better scripts than Dhadak.
There’s no heartbeat here, no pulse. Dhadak just flatlines.  

(This review appears on ) 


Gharche Loka Mast Aahet,
Joshibua Kadhi Shikteel?

2.5 stars


Pravah Productions and Dawn Studios
Producers: Sonali Joshi, Mangesh Joshi
Writer/Director: Mangesh Joshi
Stars: Chittaranjan Giri, Ashwini Giri, Om Bhutkar,
Seva Chauhan


After working for 35 years, Joshi is laid off from the factory.
The reason, automation. His wife has a thriving catering
business and his son repairs computers and machines and
they tell him to relax. But Joshi, who excels at the Lathe
machine wants nothing but to continue working. Can he
compete with modernisation?


The Joshi family lives in a dilapidated wada (old style home),
and they seem to be delightful simply because somewhere the
audience knows someone like the characters occupying the
house, or have been in similar domestic situations, like the
Joshi family.

‘Will someone give me tea today?’ complains the granny, who
wears the dark glasses that eye surgery patients wear.

Before you can say, ‘Old people never have the patience,’ the
on screen granny (played brilliantly by Seva Chauhan, has
already ranted five times about how she’s being ignored and that
no one cares… When the daughter in law brings the tea, the
granny is upset because the grandson Dinu (nicely done by
Om Bhutkar) has teased her about acidity and her old age.
Dinu’s mother (Ashwini Giri, terrific in her role) gently rebukes
him, ‘Why do you tease her! She’s already cranky enough!’
The granny hears the word cranky and now refuses what we
now know is the third cup of tea! She drinks it, of course, but we
are waiting for Lathe Joshi who has said nothing since the
beginning of the film, to tell his family that he has lost his job.

He cannot because his wife is busy cooking and finishing the
order for the day...And you realise, that he is not about to tell
his family that he has no job, because his factory unit has been
sold and the company has opted for automation.

The film is as slow paced as can get. Very old world, like Lathe
Joshi himself. He has little to say but he observes everyone and
everything. He doesn’t belong to the world where his wife watches
cooking channels on TV, wants to keep up with the Joneses
because she’s catering to their parties and events; his mother
wants nirvana, will not chant the mantras, but just counts the beads
as the recorded machine chants continuously, she cannot see,
but will hear her favorite TV show on channel 788; the son who
repairs computer, but knows how to charge more than the cost
because he wants to make money. Joshi cannot adapt to this world.

He looks at his colleagues who have accepted their fate, and is
determined to change his. The film has been shot with love.
Written with love too. There are blatant brand endorsements too.
But this is a film that goes nowhere and the solution offered is
too easy a way out. Cinema needs to infuse hope, this doesn't.
Watch it on a Sunday on TV.

(you should read the ghastly changes toi made and posted!)

Review: SOORMA

Soorma Starts Out As A Cool Sports Film
But 'Chak De!' It Is Not...

2.5 stars

Mini Review:

Sandeep Singh struggles to get himself a place in the Indian
team, and just when he’s making a name for himself as an
International hockey player, a gunshot paralyses him. His
rehabilitation comprises hard work and comes back to the
field and becomes a huge star. The biopic is delicious in
the first half, but the predictability of the second half
brings it down.

Main Review:

A little town Shahbad in Punjab has young people working really,
really hard to make it to the team, any team. But young Sandeep
is in the eye of the storm for being a slacker. And coach sir
(played with brilliant cruelty by Danish Husain) is unforgiving. He
knows that there are many kids hungry to get on to a team and
only strict discipline will get you there. Sandeep is ready to take
on the punishment meted to him, but has a rebellious streak,
which earns him severe beatings. Especially because his
attention is distracted by a pretty, sassy hockey player Harpreet
(played well by Tapsee Pannu).

His brother Bikramjit Singh is also a hockey player (but does not
get selected to the India team) discovers that Sundeep (now
relegated to looking after the crops after severe beating from the
coach) has a rare talent. That talent is flicking the ball into the
goal which earns him the title of ‘Flicker Singh’ and a place in
the Indian team.

The film has been written with a great sense of humor which
makes you want to be part of Sandeep’s family. Diljit Dosanjh
plays Sandeep Singh convincingly. He has a natural charm that
wins the audience over easily. And yes, he can dance! His
romance with Tapsee Pannu is very sweet and fun, a quality not
seen in recent crop of Bollywood films. Angad Bedi who plays the
older brother is surprisingly good. The connection between the
brothers is enviable and will bring a lump to even the most
cynical throats. The film is shot beautifully and intimately, which
makes the first half a breezy watch.

The second half though is as painful as Sandeep Singh’s
rehabilitation from a paralysing injury. It drags on and on so by the
time we reach the final grudge match between India and Pakistan,
you are tried. You do not come away as joyous and overwhelmed
as you did after you watched Chak De. You are just awed by the
fact that Sandeep Singh holds the record for the world’s fastest
flick even today, but glad that the film is over. Hockey is not cricket
in India. But definitely the choice of sport in the North. The music
is inspiring and the love song (Ishq di baajiyaan) is eminently
hummable. The Soorma anthem is memorable, but the dance
number is so Punjabi, and not easy to understand at all. Despite
many wonderful things, this film feels like a drag. Perhaps some
day, a hockey film will inspire us as Chak De did.

(this review appears on