Guzaarish


Sanjay Leela Bhansali has given us some good thought provoking movies, with a right mix of drama & memorable music. One of his strengths include his star cast and the powerful performances he gets out of them, irrespective of their standing in the film industry.

Guzaarish is the story of Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan), a magician who due to a fatal accident becomes a quadriplegic (for more explanations – check Wikipedia). His devoted nurse is Sophia (Aishwarya Rai) and they are in a huge mansion in Goa. Ethan has not got out of his house since his accident. Enter Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapur – he’s so cute) to learn magic from him, but poses as a radio show producer just to gain entry in the house. Ethan is an RJ who also propagates how to live life despite the worst of conditions. Two more people are equally important in his life – his lawyer – best friend, Devyani(Shernaz Patel) and Dr. Naik.

Ethan has a wish, to end his life and gets a petition filed in court through Devyani. It gets rejected (quite obviously). He then uses his Radio show to get an opinion on his wish. Not many are supportive of his wish including Sophia. He then decides to make an appearance at court to justify his decision but again meets with a firm no from the law. In a dramatic twist, the final hearing is conducted at his house so that he need not be inconvenienced and all his near & dear ones testify his need to end his life. He also reminds everyone on who exactly was responsible for his condition.


Where there’s a will there’s a way is an old adage, which gives him the solution. He celebrates his last day of life and breathes his last, not before proclaiming his love for Sophia and marrying her. Even if it’s for a day of matrimony.
Anyone who has watched movies made by SLB earlier, will identify each movie with a medical condition or a color (Khamoshi – Speech & Hearing diasability, Devdas – Alcoholism, Black – Alzheimer’s Disease Saawariya – Blue). This is a little off the track since being quadriplegic is a result of an accident and the movie could have built a lil more entertainment with the magician angle. Euthanasia is relatively alien to the Indian audience and may have not made the connect.



What works:
Histrionics of the court session which gives the grounds of euthanasia
What doesn’t work:
No music to recall
Story not gripping enough
My rating: 2/5

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The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The 3rd installment in the Narnia Series brings in a new dimension. This one is made in 3-D. After an insipid Part 2 (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian), Voyage of the Dawn Treader looks interesting. This time we have only the younger 2 of the Pevensie kids are left back in England with their uncle and cousin, Eustace – an unwilling and unaccommodating kid. He thinks Narnia is a figment of the Edward’s and Lucy’s imagination and does not stop to make digs at them in his diary. Through a painting on the wall which reminds Lucy of Narnia, the enchanted story begins. They land up on the Dawn Treader, captained by Prince Caspian. The Dawn Treader is all set to sail to land of Aslan which is on the other end of the world. They have an obstacle on the course, the Dark Mountains, all evil and sucks in people alive. Lucy and Edward feel at home, and are treated like royalty whereas Eustace sticks out like a sore thumb, constantly whining.
A few hilarious moments where he hears a mouse (Reepicheep from the previous installment) talk, and attempts the same with a pigeon lighten the situation. They come across an island, face hostility and almost get killed. In a rare moment of bravery, tables are turned and the inhabitants share their woes to Price Caspian. They then set out on the stormy seas to the Dark Mountain. On their way, their way, they find clues to dispelling the curse the Dark Mountains hold. They need to find the 7 swords of Aslan.
While nearing their destination, they are warned to not think of their worst fears, but Edward does so – the Sea Serpent, which guards the Dark Mountains thereby preventing its prisoners from escape, attacks them. Eustace who is a golden dragon due to a curse fights the Sea Serpent along with Reepicheep. All’s well that ends well!!! Aslan is always there to help and makes his presence felt, though not significantly as expected. What works: Knowing it is a fairy tale, but it is believable Screenplay and special effects, which can be related to without reading the book. What didn’t work: A lil more of Aslan as needed Bit stretched out build up to the climax, or the movie maybe over in 30 minutes.
Prince Caspian - needs to be more charismatic and convincing


My rating: 3/5

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Break ke Baad

BKB shows a newbie director, Danish Aslam and aptly supported by Kunal Kohli as a Producer. Stars Deepika Padukone as Aaliya Khan,Imran Khan as Abhay Gulati, Sharmila Tagore as Ayesha, Naveen Nischol as Jeet, Shahana Goswami as Nadia and Yudi as Cyrus.

BKB revolves around best friends turned lovers, Aaliya and Abhay. She is a fire brand – smokes,drinks,tantrum throws, and calls her mum by her name and is referred to by Aunt Lilette Dubey as Chudail. Aaliya is rebellious for any reason that suits her fancy. Abhay is the thoughtful, sensitive, sensible dependable, a total opposite of Aaliya. She sweetly calls him Gulati, Gelato and Julati. They fit the bill of opposites attract to a T. They’ve grown up in Jeet’s cinema hall, watching all-time romantic movies starting from Mr.India,JJWS,KKHH etc. They even know dialogues by-heart.

One fine day, Aaliya has been accepted to a course in Australia which she portrays as a course in Mass Communication, which her mum knows well that it is to fuel her ambition to be an actress. Ayesha herself being an actress, blames her failed marriage to her own ambition and does not encourage Aaliya. But then ziddi beti doesn’t care and makes her trip to Australia where she has to stay with her Hitler maasi. Soon she finds it uncomfortable and makes her way to a shack, managed by bro-sis, Nadia and Cyrus. Long distance relationships take a toll on Abhay and makes him insecure when he hears too much noise and a call from him being answered by a random guy. Abhay lands up there only to be told by Aaliya that she’s breaking up with him.

But love keeps him strong and put right there. He takes up odd jobs, and soon realizes that he can make his livelihood with food. He makes Cyrus his partner and sets up a restaurant. All this while, he tries to woo Aaliya back. Meanwhile, she lands up a prestigious acting assignment that her mom doesn’t approve of. Rebellious streak has long died in Aaliya and realizes her priorities.

All along, she had taken Abhay’s love for her as granted but Abhay decides to move on, which does not go well with Aaliya. She then realizes her love for him and the need to be with him. All’s well that ends well.

What works:
Cute banter between Abhay and Aaliya – the scene between Shah Rukh and Sunita; the under-table comfort zone; Abhay being the maanjha to Aaliya’s patang.
3 good songs – peppy and nice
Predictability of Indian romantic movies and aptly fitted dialogues from them.
Take home Imran character – he brings back memories of Jai Singh Rathore of Jaane tu ya Jaane na
Yudi’s character
What didn’t:
Tacky storyline – doesn’t really grip you in any part, elongated in certain places
Will someone please take charge of wardrobe makeover for Deepika – same set of shorts from Love Aaj Kal, Karthik calling Karthik and BKB.
Scowling Shahana Gowsami – she’s proved that she can act, except that they forgot that angle to her here.

My rating : 2.5/5 - Absolutely average

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The Social Network

For most people, it would mean the movie on how Facebook came about in existence. It is essentially based on a book “The Accidental Billionaire” by Ben Mezrich.

Facebook is such a popular social networking site that one does not realize that it has risen from a person who suffered a heart break, due to lack of social acceptance by his peers Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg). With no business sense and one best friend Eduardo Saverin(Andrew Garfield), starts a revolution online way back in 2004, from his dorm in Harvard. He causes some serious issues and points our security flaws on the IT backbone of Harvard while achieving this.

In addition, he also brings upon himself 2 lawsuits, which is the thread of the screenplay, with the events leading to it making up for the rest of the script. One lawsuit is from Eduardo, who cannot believe certain business moves that Mark has made without his consultation (since he is the CFO of Facebook) and with advice from Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), who has a slightly dubious history but experience in the mean, mean world.

The other lawsuit is from the Winklevoss twins, who accuse Mark of stealing their idea on the creation of Facebook, albeit by a different name (the Harvard Connection). They approach him for coding and making their idea go live, but Mark subtly avoids them. During the course of the lawsuit with them, Mark is totally ignorant on the implication of his actions due to his lack of people skills and in love with what he knows best, coding .

No fluff, just plain business on the script. Mark mixes business and personal equations smoothly that betrayal of friends or enemies is alike and totally unintentional, while trusting a total stranger seems acceptable. He does not know how to celebrate on achieving 1mn users since he does not seem comfortable with the idea. The Winklevoss twins try every trick in the book (Law and Harvard) to sue him, which in its moments lighten up the story, but only end up with an out of court settlement of $65mn.

What worked which is the core of the movie:
Breezy script
Crisp dialogues
Easy rendition of the book with right mix of facts
What didn’t work: Yet to find in this movie
My rating: 5/5 (this is one intelligent movie)

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Aakrosh

Aakrosh is a Priyadarshan movie, who has taken a break from comedy to tackle a serious issue like honour killing. Quite relevant and current in India.

The film opens with a bunch of policemen chasing a bunch of youngsters, and then portrayed as missing in the next scene. A lot of media attention is given to the missing youngsters since they belong to high-profile families in the nation’s capital. Investigating this case is the CBI, represented by Siddhant Chaturvedi (Akshaye Khanna) and an Ex-army officer Pratap Singh (Ajay Devgn). They share a love-hate relationship on their approach to the case which props the story.

The face of the typical Indian bureaucracy headed by Ajatshatru Singh(Paresh Rawal), a cop and a bunch of politicians – essentially they are goons with a license from the government to do as they please. No one in the village is ready to cooperate with the Siddhant and Pratap, fearing their lives. Jamunia (deglam Reema Sen) is one of the few people in the village who is affected by the politics and the goons. Her brother is one of the youngsters missing.
Pratap also encounters his ex-flame Geeta (Deglam and bihari speaking Bipasha Basu), who is now married to Paresh Rawal to complain about the Shool Sena (the reference to a similar outfit in our country is very striking). Geeta knows the goings-on of her husband and his cronies but cannot reveal anything for obvious reasons.

A lot of demonstrations and gruesome displays hooliganism runs the rest of the story. Unable to crack the case, Siddhant faces a lot of flak and is asked to wrap up the case. Under serious pressure, they decide to use the old British approach “Divide and rule/conquer”. They then have the goons tried in the court of law and solve the case.


One item number by Sameera Reddy and one romantic number picturised on Bips and Ajay

What worked:

Movie based on a current and relevant topic

Strong performances by Ajay Devgn and Akshaye Khanna

The stunt by Ajay Devgn, sitting on the rooftop of an SUV while Akshaye navigated through the forest, trying to find the crooks.

What didn’t: Loose storyline – fails to grip the viewer

My rating: 2/5

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Action Replayy

Action Replayy brings back the team of Vipul Amrutlal Shah and Akshay Kumar, after hits like Aankhen and Waqt. It also pairs Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Akshay Kumar after Khakee. Also stars newbies Aditya Roy Kapur & Sudeepa Singh , veterans Randhir Kapoor,Om Puri, Kiron Kher and of course Rajpal Yadav & Rannvijay (from MTV), and Neha Dhupia.

The movie is ‘inspired’ by Back to the Future. The movie opens with Kishan (Akshay) and Mala(Ash) in one more of their fights and beta Bunty(Aditya) trying to keep peace. All the fights makes Bunty become averse to the concept of marriage. This is a constant problem between him and his girlfriend Tania (Sudeepa). Tania introduces Bunty to her grandpa Prof. Gonsalves (Randhir) and he sees the time machine.

Seeing the fight between his parents on their anniversary and allegations flying across, Bunty decides to solve the problem of their squabbles, with the Time Machine, of course. He lands up in the exact time frame when his parents were still single, but neighbours. Mala, Kundan(Rannvijay) and Bhiku (Rajpal Yadav) are constantly irritating Kishan and his dad Rai Bahadur (Om Puri). Kundan likes Mala but cannot declare it since he has failed before, with other girls. Love marriage was taboo on those times. Bunty decides that his parents need to discover each other and starts meddling. He makes timid Kishan a macho man and rowdy Mala a demure and coy girl. The movie ambles on with some infused humour which forces you to laugh. Kundan tries his best to be meddlesome so that he can get Mala and Bunty thwarts all plans.

The climax is a very familiar scene of the 70s where Bunty helps Mala and Kishan to run away, with Bholi Devi (Kiron Kher), Kundan, Rai Bahadur and Bhiku chasing them. As fate or rather the script demands, they get together. Mona(Neha Dhupia) falls for the cute Bunty, not knowing the twist in the tale.
The movie then shifts back to the present and the romance is still evident in the lives of Mala and Kishan. All’s well that ends well!!

What works:
Bunty as a debutant is very charming
2 songs – Zor ka Jhatka and O Bekhabar
Aishwarya’s 70s appearance
What didn’t work:
Humour was forced into the script- like stealing flower pots from Kishan's garden while keeping him engaged on the phone, stripping Kishan of his clothes (making him feel raped)
The 70s setup was very pedestrian
Talent of Kiron Kher and Om Puri was not utilized
Music was not very catchy for someone like Pritam who has delivered great music earlier
My rating – 2.5/5 – can catch it on TV soon

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Eat Pray Love

Eat Pray Love is based on the book of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert - a journey on self-discovery.

Stars Julia Roberts (Liz), who is a writer and suddenly discovers her marriage is not what she thought it out to be and finds herself weeping on the floor of her bathroom, before she runs into the arms of an actor (quite sudden). She watches his theatre performance and love strikes at first sight and soon she moves in with him. Things seem fine till a few days later, trouble starts in paradise and she decides to take a break, one from her life and the other from a writer’s block.

Eat – First stop is Italy. Discovers boarding and a land lady who explains that in order to fill her bath tub with hot water, she needs to keep filling it with a 1 gallon jug….. moves onto making friends and finds food as well. She discovers a tutor who helps her learn Italian, all cos she finds it romantic to talk in the language. On a whim she goes all the way to Naples just eat the best pizza in the world, makes a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, with her new found circle of friends. The turkey is not defrosted in time for lunch and they eat it later, hilarious but expected.

Pray – Next stop, India. She books herself into the ashram where the Guru of her actor boyfriend supposedly resides. Finds Richard from Texas, who is her guardian angel. He even takes her out for Thums Up, which she should drink only with a straw, as it is not advisable to touch anything else with your hands. (need to check which century was the director referring to on hygiene in india). She also becomes a mentor to Tulsi, a devotee from generations at the ashram and dedicates the Gita chant to her, since the girl is forced into an arranged marriage. Here, Liz looks very endearing in a Saree and does not look awkward at all. And just when her friendship with Richard was taking shape, he has to leave back to Texas, and she also accepts the ways of the ashram.

Love – last stop before she makes it back to face her life at New York, Indonesia (Bali to be precise) . She had been there earlier on an assignment and had made a medicine man/astrologer/miracle man called Ketut. He had predicted that she would lose all her wealth for a reason. She meets Ketut as soon as she lands there, just to let him know that he was right. Her divorce settlement made her lose her wealth. In one freak accident, which is not even Bollywood believable meets Felipe (Javier Bardem), a divorcee from Mexico. He shows her how to get out of her hangover, enjoy life and discover emotional self. As predicted, they fall in love, but she refuses to accept it. She even helps out a local Balinese healer build her own house with donations from her friends and family.

What works:
You can relate to it if you have read the book
What didn't:
Julia Roberts cannot pass off as a 30-35 yr old even with all her make-up
Adaptation not really justifies the book
Slow storyline and some unrealistic moments
My rating: 2 /5 – catch it on TV soon!!!

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Endhiran | Madhumitha's review

Endhiran (in Tamil) is touted as Asia’s most expensive movie and also the first pure sci-fi Indian movie, starring Superstar Rajnikanth (who can make onions cry and boil water just by looking at it), Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Directed by Shankar (Kadhal Desam, Jeans, Nayak) and music by, of course, A R Rahman.

Endhiran is an out and out Rajnikanth movie where anything n everything is possible, much beyond human imagination (that would be an understatement really). The plot has Vasi (Rajni), a scientist, who is designing the first Humanoid and is successful as well (quite obviously). Sana (Ash) is a doctor in the making, plays his love interest and is always livid with him since he does not have the time to spend with her. One find day, he successfully brings to life (electrically and electronically), Chitti, whose looks and swagger are modeled on himself. He needs to test it in the real world before having this approved and patented. Here is when the Rajniisms start – the whipping up gourmet meals, driving people crazy with his witty one-liners, fighting singlehandedly with a bunch of goons in a local train, recharging himself from a power outlet, near the railway tracks. On presentation to the Board for the patent, Chitti is rejected as unfit for society by Professor Bora (Danny Denzongpa), largely due to jealousy that Vasi, his protégé is successful while he’s not. He tries all ways to steal the neural schema, which is what makes Chitti unique, capable of human-like emotions.

Since the Humanoid is capable of emotions, trouble starts. Chitti is in love with Sana and will go to any extent to be with her, even at the cost of eliminating his creator. The story then takes on the flavor of Frankenstein. In a fit of rage, Chitti is dismantled and thrown in the garbage dump, only to be discovered by …. No guesses…Prof Bora. He needs this robot for his nefarious activities, which he has promised some terrorist group (not sure which country they are from). He is successful in copying the neural schema and makes a slight twist to the program, to suit his needs. Soon there is mayhem in the city and Vasi is accused of creating the monster. But he being a law-abiding citizen devises a strategy to capture his creation (which is only in destruction mode now). and in a typical story, Chitti has held the lady-love hostage. The rest of the plot involves a gamut of special effects, mostly unbelievable on a normal plane, but for a Rajni movie, “Impossible is I’m possible”. And all’s well that ends well.

What works:
Rajni – the movie is all about his star power, everything else takes a back seat.
Special effects – running sideways on a train, combining all guns and firing at the same time, the formations when the robots are in destruction mode are amazing.
Consolation prize to Ash – most Rajni movies leave little for the leading lady to do, but Ash holds her own for the sheer fact that it is her.
Dialogues: Typical Rajni witty one-liners

What doesn’t:
Music – I can’t recall even one song. A R Rahman lets us down again. You need a sabbatical after all the duds you have delivered this year (Blue, Vinaitthandi Varuvaya, Raavan)
Costumes – Garish colours and comical costumes for Ash in all the song sequences, enhancing her unappealing figure
Script – while a Rajnikanth movie normally does not warrant a script, this was a desi, special effects loaded rendition of Frankenstein. This includes lack of a convincing confrontation between Danny and Rajni, which usually is a mainstay of Indian movies.
My rating: Must watch only if you a die-hard Rajni fan (I’m not though)

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Anjaana Anjaani | Madhumitha's reveiew

AA has been projected as one of the most happening movies in terms of its hot leading couple and the location of the movie. Alas, it did not live up to the expectations. Produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and directed by Sidharth Anand (who directed Salaam Namaste), music by Vishal Shekhar , starring Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor…and shot mostly in New York, Vegas and San Francisco.

AA starts with Akash(Ranbir) trying to commit suicide on the George Washington bridge and bumps into Kiara (Priyanka), a little drunk. One is depressed cos of the downturn in the economy, the other in love life. Not successful on the first shot and then in another attempt end up in the same hospital from which they escape. They start living together, since it is just more convenient (;)) for the story to amble on and also try unsuccessfully to enjoy their lives. And then they get talking about each other’s lives. Akash has never had a serious relationship and wanted to wait for the perfect girl before losing his virginity and Kiara wants to do random mad things, now that they have decided to die in a few days. They both start planning their days based on each other’s wishes, but in a very strange just acquaintance way….but eventually end up becoming friends.

They share the reasons on why they were trying to kill each other. And then one night, changes the whole scheme of things which sees Akash falling for Kiara. They then decide on a road trip to Vegas, where surprisingly, Kiara also realizes her feelings for Akash but is unable to come to terms with it. He then drops her back home in SFO, and return to the family of one of his business partners, who welcome him with open arms and also decide to come back to India. Meanwhile Kiara is restless and is not at peace with herself and on an impulse return to the same bridge where they first made. After all, they did decide to end their lives on New Year’s Eve. Then we all know what will happen just like any other Bollywood movie….a happy ending where the two unite. Yawn!!! Did they have to make a movie to tell us this???

What works:
The title track – well filmed and Priyanka looks good with Ranbir in the song. Loads of spunk and attitude.
Locations – New York, Vegas and the sights.
Blush – the cranky car which needs mollycoddling to function as a car, owned by Priyanka and which takes them on the road trip.

What didn’t work:
The storyline – not fast enough…dragged out and straining mostly
Music – except for 2 tracks (Anjaana Anjaani and Tumse hi), no retention capacity
Chemistry – for 2 good looking Bollywood stars, the chemistry was as thanda as the ice in the Arctic.
My rating: 2.5/5 (You can watch it if you really have no expectations from anything in a movie and how to commit suicide and be unsuccessful)

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Rakta Chartitra | eagerly awaited

The promos of Ram Gopal Varma's Rakta Charitra are pretty interesting and violent. While the promos give you a faint resemblance of Sarkar, it appears to be a well knit violent political drama. The star cast is enviable. The music seems well adapted to the movie. Will this bring back RGVs magic ? Time will tell. Expected to release on 22nd October 2010

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Wall Street 2: Money Never sleeps

Oliver Stone brings back to the screen the tale of greed and markets after the immensely successful classic Wall Street.

Wall Street 2 is set about 9 years after Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) is sent to jail. He has returned. Meanwhile his daughter Winni (Carey Mulligan) is in a relationship with Jake Moore (Shia LeBouf) who, wonder of wonders is a Wall Street investment banker. When Jake makes contact with Gekko who is a successful author now, hoping to bring estranged father and daughter together, the story begins.

Will all turn out well ? Has Gordon Gekko turned over a new leaf ? In midst of the tumultuous markets (similar to the Lehmann Broethers meltdown), a mix of relationship drama, greed and good old Gekko, Oliver Stone tries to bring back the magic he created in Wall Street.

Sadly, after about mid-way into the first half while money may never sleep, you are slightly put to sleep. The sequel lacks the strong character driven plot although Shia LeBouf does well in his role. The costumes of the lead characters Gordon and Jake are sure to set a business trend in dressing. The background score is pretty sexy. What pulls the movie down is that your expectations are way too high after part 1 and this sequel just does not hold you together. While in part 1 you loved the villain and you thought he will almost get away, the sequel tries to go back to the good old happy ending and makes it predictable.

Michael Douglas still has his screen presence, old though he appears. Shia LeBouf is a star to watch out for. Josh Brolin does a good job as James Bretton. While the performances are satisfactory what does not hold together is the plot.

Is it worth watching ? Yes, for the business dressing, the performances and what the hell, it is Oliver Stone's Wall Street so you may as well watch it !

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Raavan

Much hyped. Eagerly awaited. Mani Ratnam's magnum opus made in both in Hindi and Tamil hit the screens this last Friday. I watched it in Hindi.

Raavan is depicted by Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) an outlaw who kidnaps Ragini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), wife of the Superintendent of Police Dev Pratap Sharma (Chiyaan Vikram) for revenge. Supported by the locals, living in the dense jungles Beera and his crew of men carry out daring raids on the police.

Dev is obsessed with capturing Beera and rescuing his wife. Mani Ratnam brings a tale which has many similarities to the Ramayana, be it the changing moods of Beera depicting the 10 headed Raavana. This made me think whether the 10 heads of Raavana depicted in mythology were nothing but representations of his 10 different personalities ? In the movie though Beera comes across as a moody and crazy outlaw. The 10 moods or personalities do not come out strongly. Dev as Rama is shown not as a principled good man, although his wife claims him to be but a result oriented police officer.

While there are a lot of incidents and circumstances symbolically similar to the Ramayana, the essence of Good vs Evil is lost in the spectacular cinematography and the contrived acting of Abhishek Bachchan. Definitely not his best performance till date. Aishwarya looks good and tries to emote through her eyes as much as possible, fairly succeeding. Thanks to Mani Ratnam and Santosh Sivan (Cinematographer) she appears in much better light as an actress than I would imagine she really is. Vikram as Dev is perennially angry and I would guess he has done much better in the Tamil version of the movie where he plays the Beera character. He has great screen presence. The music of A R Rahman gains a lot more value once you have seen the movie. The songs Behne de.., Beeraaa.. and Ranjha Ranjha really stand out.

The representation of incidents from the Ramyana be it the tale of revenge, Raavana kidnapping Sita, Rama gathering an army to rescue Sita or Raavana's obsession with Sita etc may remind you of the Ramayana but the core essence goes missing and the enigmatic Raavana is reduced to a caricature of a man who makes strange faces and is grimacing for no reasons. There are various references to what one would perceive as the naxalite movement etc. I had a feeling this movie would be far better in its Tamil version.

Is it worth watching ? yes, for the in-film music, the cinematography.

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The Karate Kid

You know how the movie is going to end. You know what the story is. You have seen the story before. Some of you would have watched 3 different parts of it before. Yet, this version entertains you because of the wonderful performance of Jaden Smith and the presence of Jackie Chan.

Directed by Harald Zwart, The Karate Kid is the contemporary version of the older Karate Kid stories. Dre parker (Jaden Smith) and his mother Sherry Parker (Taraji P Henson) move to China after Sherry gets to shift due to work. There among all the cultural differences seen through the eyes of Dre especially to do with the language and people, he gets to meet Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) a maintenance man who other than his tools also seems to know Kung Fu. After a few run-ins with a local group of boys and a challenge from their Kung-Fu teacher, Dre convinces Mr. Han to be his teacher and teach him Kung-Fu. In all the Karate Kid movies what always interests you is the training sequences more than the actual fights.

In this movie too, the visit to Wudang and the training thereafter is entertaining and you wish you had more of that. The climax and fights are pretty predictable. Like I said, the journey to the climax is what you will enjoy in this movie and any version of The Karate Kid which is made. Jaden Smith shows a maturity beyond his age in his acting and reminds you of his father Will Smith. Jackie Chan has aged gracefully and brings to the screen his quirky humor. The Chinese cast does well too.

An enjoyable movie. Is it worth watching ? Yes.

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Robin Hood

Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe return together to the big screen. Bringing to you the tale of Robin Hood.

Watched this on a lazy sunday afternoon and followed it up with Karate Kid so expect some of the comparison to seep through in my review. Russell Crowe plays Robin Longstride (later to be know as Robin of Loxly and then Robin of the Hood). If you are expecting to see the matching of wits and battles between Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham which kept you enthralled in your childhood ays, you can forget about it. This movie deals with the making of Robin Hood, from being a soldier in the army of Richard the Lion-heart to becoming the lord of Loxly and finally the beginning of the 'Prince of Thieves'.

The movie does not really stand out. While the performances are as commendable as they can be what is missing is the element of one man against the system. while the essence of Robin Hood is that, here it becomes more of a lesson in history. While that by itself would have been good, not with a character like Robin Hood. Russell Crowe's accent stands out as being not english in comparison to his co-characters. Cate Blanchett plays the role of Marion Loxley.

The battle of fight scenes do not really thrill you. All in all a pretty average piece of work from the Ridley-Crowe combine.

Is it worth watching ? Maybe when there's nothing more important to do.

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Shutter Island

Martin Scorcese and Leonardo DiCaprio return together to bring to you a thriller and psycho drama-Shutter Island. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island is the tale of US Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leo DiCaprio) who along with a new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) visits the Ashecliffe Sanatorium for the criminally insane on shutter island.

Their visit is brought about due to the disappearance of an inmate from a closed room. The institution is run by the quiet and unnerving Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley). In an institution where no one seems who they are, Teddy has his own demons from the World War and memories of the concentration camps to battle and the loss of his wife in a fire. As the day goes by and a storm brews on the horizon, it appears that all is not well on shutter island and all is not definitely as it seems. Three wards, with a ward C out of bounds to all. A lighthouse no one is allowed to enter, the disappearance of a patient. Teddy has pushed to get this assignment and for reasons of his own. This and more adds to the thrill, drama and chilling horror of this tale set in 1954.

As the tale unfolds you are moved to the edge of your seat for each person, each corridor, each tree, each moment fills you with the chilling fear that something is about to happen. As the clues unfold you are taken on a journey along with teddy in deciphering the mystery. The entire island is covered in misty haze and the camera angles and lighting only add to the effect. Ben Kingsley, Leo, Mark and all the supporting cast put in remarkable performances. The movie ends up being a tad too long and many of you will end up guessing the end. The background score is perfect. Leo shines as the US Marshal who sniffs a conspiracy on Shutter Island.

The movie is a departure from the usual Scorsese style of movie making in that it does not take time building characters and then bringing them together for the plot to climax. Instead right from the start every character, every shadow plays a role making you almost bite your nails. But, like I said if it wasn't dragged so much it may have ended up being immensely unpredictable and therefore horrifyingly chilling. Of course, at the end you will realize all the clues were there right under your nose.

Is it worth watching ? Well, if it is a Scorsese movie, it definitely is. Although in this one a tinge of disappointment is sure to creep in. Do watch though.

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Eagerly Awaited: Udaan

Produced by Anurag Kashayp and UTV Motion pictures. Do we need more reasons to await this movie ? I think not. A coming of age movie.

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Rajneeti

Rajneeti. For once the very impressive trailer almost lived up to the film and the expectations it created. Prakash Jha is brilliant at unfolding his plot, characters and keeping you hooked.

Rajneeti is the tale of a political family told against the backdrop of elections. Trust, brotherhood, betrayal, love, lust, sex, wisdom, illegitimacy, money, fear, blackmail- all these and more are the key characters in Prakash Jha's thrilling political drama. Largely incorrect to call it a political drama though since it is more focused on a family and the politics just forms the backdrop. What Prakash Jha does is put together an ensemble of some very good actors, takes parts of the Mahabharata, parts of the godfather, some resemblances to real life Indian politics, puts this all together in an almost seamless fashion and gives you about 3 hours of entertainment worth the price of a ticket.

The tale is of two parts of a family who are part of a popular party. When the elder brother is stuck with paralysis, Vir Pratap (Manoj Bajpayee) believes it is his birthright to lead the party. When the position of leading the party in the elections is given to Prithviraj (Arjun Rampal), Vir Pratap's vengeful self comes to the fore and to gain support he brings into the party Suraj (Ajay Devgn), the illegitimate elder sibling of Prithviraj and Samar (Ranbir Kapoor). Yup, those of you familiar with the Mahabharata (and if you are an Indian you better be familiar with it. After all, it is the longest epic in the world and has everything to do with life and politics explained in it) will recognise Manoj Bajpayee's character showing shades of Duryodhana, Suraj showing Karna, Arjun depicting Bheema (or Sonny Corleone in godfather) and Ranbir Kapoor depicting the crafty Arjuna (or Michael corleone from the godfather). Katrina Kaif as Indu displays shades of Draupadi who is sacrificed for power and yet is powerful enough to bring about destruction. There is the very impressive Nana Patekar as the wise, calm Brij Gopal (depicting lord Krishna- shrewd, powerful but who never took to arms in the war). A host of other characters remind of the greatest ever epic told in India. By now it must be obvious to you how much I admire the Mahabharata and therefore this movie.

The movie is well paced and unfolds well. There are a few loopholes in the plot and many sequences are bang on from The Godfather including an assassination, the character of Sarah (sarah Thomson Kane). Considering that the Godfather is among my all time favorites, and the way Prakash Jha has Indianised it, I could only admire it here. Some good performances from Nana Patekar, Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal and Katrina Kaif. Manoj Bajpayee is pretty impressive in some scenes and you wonder at the industry's loss in not grooming this fine actor. What finally bursts the bubble of this wonderful movie is the climax and prior to that an extremely pivotal scene between Suraj and his birth mother.

In spite of that, a movie worth watching and a must watch.

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Rajneeti: Impressive trailer

Considering that it is a Prakash Jha film, it ought to be good. One hindi movie I shall watch on the big screen






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Badmaash Company | Amrita's review


Badmaash company, directorial and writing debut of Parmeet Sethi, under Yash raj Films banner, doesn't really succeeds by its storyline, cinematography, music etc etc.

The funda of the movie revolves around the current generation and their aspirations to reach the top by any means no matter how good or bad. The moral teaches what we learnt from Ramayana, the victory of truth over evil.

The picturization starting with the sub urbanized Bombay of 1994 to the connectivity of today’s youth was catchy but not so impressive.

Shahid’s presence on screen is apprehensive but not commendable. The rest of Anushka Sharam, Chang and Vir Das had done justice to their roles being the newcomers. Solid screen presence is of Anupam Kher portraying Shahid’s father in the movie, the artist of his caliber has the potential to convey the message with the gestures itself. It’s a boon to watch such artists acting.

Overall I would rate movie as 2.5 on 5.

P.S. Instead go for Iron Man 2. :)

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Eagerly Awaiting : Raavan

Indian actor Abhishek Bachchan with wife/actre...Image via Wikipedia

The Mani Ratnam directed multi-lingual magnum opus - Raavan is one of the most eagerly awaited films. The secrecy surrounding the film as well as a few controversies have kept it in the news. The trailer is out prior to the music release (2h April 2010). The trailer is impressive. Abhishek Bachchan looks to have some solid screen presence (let us not forget that it was Mani Ratnam who resurrected his career with Yuva ). The film also stars Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Vikram, Govinda, Ravi Kishan, Priyamani among many others.

The trailer is available for viewing at the below links. Watch the trailer and be impressed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4e2O-JaIl8

http://www.raavan-thefilm.com/


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The Japanese Wife

Padamaja Nagarur gives you her take on Kunal Basu's latest.

The Japanese Wife….by Kunal Basu……and I pulled the book off the shelf. The cover had a picture of Chigasu Takaku (didn’t know it was her then) and a quote by Aparna Sen about how improbable and hauntingly beautiful the love story was…and how she immediately decided to make it a film. I couldn't’t resist and moments later I was back home…impatient to start the story….She sent him kites.

Short story that it was…I didn't take much time to get to the climax but it was hard to believe the silence I was observing long after I finished reading. That was when my wait for the movie began…I was glad to see a dedicated page on Facebook for the movie; read/saw every possible interview/article/video which made my patience worthwhile. Unfortunately there were not too many who shared my love for The Japanese Wife (TJW)…probably one did (my husband)...forcibly. Marriage does force you to commit yourself to your partner’s interests and so I dragged him along to TJW on the day it released. He couldn't’t help but acknowledge my unhesitating grin and sat along with me in the barely filled movie hall.

“Dear Snehamoy, I was waiting for your letter. Yes, I shall be your penfriend. The meaning of my name is ‘gift‘. – Miyage” in the beautiful voice of Chigasu Takaku followed by Snehamoy’s response in a heavily Bengali accented Rahul Bose’s voice and the backdrop of the enchanting Sunderbans – that was how the “hauntingly” beautiful love story began to unfold.

A Mathematics teacher in a village of Sunderbans, Snehamoy Chatterjee (Rahul Bose), finds a pen pal in Miyage (Chigasu Takaku) through a magazine. Loners that both are, they find a soothing companionship in each other and share stories of their lives, rivers and more. After several years of letters, Miyage offers herself as a bride to him. After considerable deliberation, Snehamoy accepts her proposal but cannot get himself to disclose this to his garrulous aunt (Moushmi Chatterjee) who finds it hard to believe that he’s married to a Japani.

While the husband and wife continue to share unconditioned love for each other through letters, Snehamoy involuntarily welcomes a complication in his life in the form of a widow Sandhya (Raima Sen). Unknowingly, he finds himself getting used to the presence of the mother and her son. And the Japanese kites that Miyage gifts him for their 15th anniversary develops a special bond between the kid and Kaku (in an Indo-Japanese kite competition or so the locals assume). But soon he withdraws himself into a cocoon when he receives a letter from Miyage about her ill-health. And the complication heightens when his aunt asks him to accompany Sandhya to a nearby town to pawn her gold to pay for her son’s thread ceremony. He experiences a strange comfort in the company of this woman while he follows her through the town making odd-little purchases.

This story could have been just another who-do-I-choose-finally love story but what makes this one unusual is its believable innocence even in this fast paced world of LSD….thanks to Ms. Sen. (Scenes where Snehamoy’s amused by Bipasha Basu’s Beedi Jalaile makes you wonder about the parallel worlds which still exist today).

Having said all this, I still agree with Anupama Chopra that The Japanese Wife is an acquired taste and you can appreciate it only if you are generously patient.

Rating: 3.5/5

Originally published by Padmaja Nagarur on Paddytalkies

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Teen Patti


Amrita Tripathi gives you the latest on Teen Patti.

Teen Patti, is the story of a mathematics professor Venkat Subramanium (Amitabh Bachchan) who is a perfectionist scholar in math and has rediscovered the randomness and has just 3 yeears left to retirement. With the suggestion and help of Professor Shantanu (R Madhavan) and three students he then tries to evaluate his thesis in practical sense and unveils the doors to the casinos and other underworld frames.

Starting it as an experiment they get trapped in a series of unpredictable situations, Prof Venkat starts getting a blackmail call which starts dictating when and where they should play. A good sequence of mystery is very well played out. The suspense is good and holds you for moments.

Later he gets the reward at Cambridge University, which he declines to accept, as he feels guilty for one of his student’s death and considers his knowledge as destructive and believes that knowledge should be constructively used.

Brilliant performance by AB like ever. In my view, no one else could have portrayed this role better than Big B, his presence itself makes the most of the scene. Tremendous energy and sync of the emotions.

R Madhavan is flawless and plays the negative shade very well in sync with his good persona and then the helper later in the movie. The new comers have justice to their roles and seem really confident in front of the camera.

Cinematography is world class and matches really well with the background music giving a pleasure to the audience in watching the phenomenal 3 hour flick.

My Ratings:
Direction - 4/5, story-line - 3/5, cinematography - 3.5/5, Music & background music - 3/5
Overall Rating - 3.5
Go for it to watch AB - 5/5 Ben Kingsley was good too.

Go for it and get the best out of your money.

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Karthik calling Karthik


Amrita gives you her take on Farhan Akthar's latest.

Much
to my expectation I entered the theater with a little high expectation from Karthik calling Karthik, but to my dismay, I was disappointed right from the beginning, the star cast intro was catchy and innovative, but the initial 15 minutes were boring and dragging to show and explain the character of Farhaan Akhtar, just a little later the movie picks up fast and goes smoothly but fails to entertain well, not even a single scene to be called as a fantastic one. A slow melodrama, with least scope to the actors to give their best.

It could have been much better if it was a suspense thriller rather than a psycho patient’s story suffering from schizophrenia. Farhan (Karthik) is a schizophrenic, and is afraid to face people, one early morning he gets a call, just the time he is planning to commit suicide because he considers himself a failure, devoid of friends and love in his life. The call changes his life like a miracle, he suddenly becomes confident and successful, has his beloved Deepika Padukone (Shonali Mukharjee) by his side and is happily enjoying his life, all with the help of this caller, he discloses the fact to Deepika, about getting daily calls from someone who is called Karthik. Deepika insists that he has some mental disorder and must seek a psychiatrist help.

His life becomes hell after this as Karthik had asked him not disclose about their conversations to any one considering people will interpret that he is mentally disturbed. Rebuilding of Karthik's life back is what can sensitize people, a good effort to create a suspense there but still lacks the perfection.

Movie is just average, I can rate it as 3/5. A one time watchable movie. I suggest you go for Teen Patti or MNIK or rather 3 idiots and wait for KCK to be shown on TV.

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Twilight: New Moon

Amrita Tripathi gives her review of the 2nd installment of the vampire saga- Twilight.

Twilight
, New Moon, went into my head like a story our grand parents narrate. The fantasy world of vampires, werewolf is creative. Directed by Chris Weitz, based on the novel of Stephenie Meyer, the film stars Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, and Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black.One of the USPs of this movie which amazes me is the fight between werewolf and vampire. Like in the first sequel I had loved the flying of Edward, this time I loved the charisma displayed on the screen by this scary wolf, Jacob’s scene where he runs to accelerate into a real large size werewolf, a totally unpredicted move in the story.The story line is pretty straightforward as Edward leaves Bella because, in spite of the fact that they accepted her they might end up hurting her as she is human.

Bella in his absence becomes heart broken and devoid of life, on her dad’s pestering to leave Forks and get back to her mother in Florida, she promises him to be with her friends. Jaocb becomes one of her best friend and eases her throbbing. While Jacob gets busy in finding Victoria, another Vampire who is finding a way to kill Bella, who has been a cause of her mates death. Bella engages herself in dangerous stints as she figures out the image of Edward asking her to stay back and protect her from the battering.

Alice, Edward’s sister inform Bella that Edward is trying to kill himself by coming out in public, by a powerful vampire Volturi, as he thinks that Bella has committed suicide, Both of them rush to save Edward.

Volturi, determine that Bella should either be killed or be turned into Vampire as she being human knows about the existence of vampires. Alice stops him by sharing her premonition with Aro, a Volturi elder that is able to read thoughts, in which Bella has been transformed to Vampire.Edwards’s family later suggests and votes that Bella be transformed into vampire. Later Jacob reminds Edward about the treaty the Cullens ad Quileutes made that they will not attack each other, as long as the Cullens never bite a human.

The movie is just average although some of the scenes are amazing. Apart from the story there is not much in the movie. The characters are well played but it lacks the aura of impressing people. A one time watchable movie.

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Eagerly Awaited: Wall Street 2

Am eagerly awaiting the sequel to the very taut and interesting Wall Street. Ttitled Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, it brings back Michael Douglas as Gekko and also has Shia LeBouf in it.

View the trailer on IMDB. Description from IMDB is given below.


http://www.imdb.com/rg/VIDEO_PLAY/LINK//video/imdb/vi875627545/

Emerging from a lengthy prison stint, Gordon Gekko finds himself on the outside of a world he once dominated. Looking to repair his damaged relationship with his daughter, Gekko forms an alliance with her fiancé Jacob (Shia LaBeouf), and Jacob begins to see him as a father figure. But Jacob learns the hard way that Gekko – still a master manipulator and player – is after something very different from redemption.



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An Experience - AVATAR


Amrita Tripathi gives her views on the 2nd highest grossing Hollywood blockbuster of all time !

Well, this is coming late but what a brilliant fantasy ride it was. While I realized that I had to continue it as some inevitable reasons let me come out of the show in middle of the movie and shut down my curious mind and let travel in another direction from the Navi’s , the Pandora and the amazing visual effects. I hit the show again this time for 3D and paying just 3 times of what I paid last and left the movie in between.

So, I am again into the theater meeting my nonetheless earlier experienced Navi’s kingdom through the eyes of James Cameron in 3D visuals. I am awestruck with the fairytale kind of situation in the Pandora, a planet some light years far from Earth which the Indian scientists want to conquer on and mix the Indian DNA’s to make people look alike the natives of Pandora called Navi’s (On earth AVATAR).

This was more like an experience than a movie, like a traverse which I wanted to continue for long but it had to end. I wish to again go and feel this entire multimedia instrumental work of the current technology which created this fantasy in front of my eyes.

The movie goes smooth by its storyline; the characters are played very well in sync with each other. The graphics are exemplary in today’s date. A movie like this comes once. Just another Titanic experience, which was of course brand new to movie watchers and this again a masterpiece by James Cameron.

A complete package of well done direction, screen play, background music, visual effects, photography makes it a must watch for all to experience the new phase in world’s Cinema. Like I said a fantasy trip which you would want to continue…

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3 Idiots


Amrita Tripathi gives you her views on '3 Idiots'.


It’s been more than 2 weeks since '3 idiots' released and I watched it. Ever since have heard and read a lot about it including some really contradictory statements about the movie. The movie as the director & producer say have been brought to life by one of the most famous writer of this decade Chetan Bhagat. To add here I have read all his novels and find his writing as the one which the generation of this decade can relate to and enjoy reading…and yes of course with some amendments done in the story of '5 point some one'…Raj Kumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra bring this biggest laugh riot of 2009.


Reading and hearing reviews can put anyone under stress whether to actually what to interpret but despite all ado, this movie has done amazing business in its first week of release and has been a real success in entertaining the crowd. In my lexicon a good movie is the one which can hold you tight for 3 hours, can make you go through the various emotions and feelings, make you laugh, cry, scare and most of all entertain you, that you feel that spending and getting a ticket for this movie has not been waste.


3 idiots does exactly the same. Most recently I read the blog of renowned reporter and writer where its said that 3 idiots is the movie which can be hit in the nation of idiots, I truly disagree and believe that though Indian cinema has grown and is spread across the globe and is getting all accolades for its work but it isn’t so powerful to start preaching, a normal person goes to multiplex to just get out of the stress and pass the time with loved ones instead to get a lesson of life, for that we have the institutes, schools and art of life kind of places…


The Indian government and Indian Institutes like IIM and IIT are of world known acknowledgment and are respected by the world for its topnotch quality students who are leading the various arena of the current global market. The movie though points a finger towards the current education system and some of its drawbacks we have encountered but it is not to teach the institutes how they should function. It’s a normal comedy meant to make the public laugh and go back home, I don’t understand why all the fuzz about it.

I personally take this movie as a fantastic effort of displaying the fun part as well as the pressure held by any student. Each and every actor has done their part with full justice. Aamir as usual competes with his own self every time he is seen on the big screen and heads away with the triumph, Sharman Joshi and R Madhavan again show their expertise in bringing a smile on your face with their innocent acts in the movie. A true masala movie blending in the way a normal Hindi movie is made and displayed.


I personally rate this movie as one of the finest comedy and suggest all to go with your family and loved ones to go and enjoy the 3 hours and yeah please don’t take it seriously and expect it to preach anyone, after all that’s what such movies are all about just to have FUN…

Note: Please fasten your seat belts, some hilarious torments are expected while journey from take off till landing. Wish you a comic and hilarious flight..

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Raat Gayi Baat Gayi


Amrita Tripathi gives you her views on Raat Gayi Baat Gayi.


Raat gayi baat gayi….a fantastic movie with excellent sceanic timing, amazingly surprising suspense which takes you through the gut and shakes you up heel when you hold your stomach and do nothing but laugh and smile. The apparently look alike of the Hollywood hit “hangover” is quite much the same and gives the sedulous picturesque show of the marital crisis which can occur at the quite normal parties and people getting along in such parties. The maestro of like Rajat kapoor, Vinay ptahak are in excellent form and have given their perfect performance which is unmatched.


The movie is shown with broken strings where Rajat Kapoor tries to remember about the last night stand out with Neha Dhupia and is worried if his wife(Iravati) already know about it who has behaved quite furious since the morning he wakes up and is victim of the hangover of heavy drinking. Much to his demise his friends Amit (quite into the similar marital crisis and thrown away from the house by his wife: Anu Menon (akka channel V’s Lola Kutty)) and Dalip Tahil are of generally no help. He tries to find out about what happens last night. The amazingly well played characters by Navneet Nishan and Iravati adds more value and presents you a top masala free yet quite entertaining and keeping you intact with the flow of the movie.
If you expect it to be a sex comedy, telling you are gonna be disappointed, but this parcel of great entertainment will give you a jolt with its entirely different story and the climax which stands truly well for the example of suspense…


Saurabh Shukla has done all the justice to his directorial career with movie. Sudhir Mishra and Ranvir Shore (the NRI trying to catch up all the lime light, throwing his amazing funny dialogues) are quite impressive with just few scenes. Neha Dhupia looks stunning and sexy and leverages with great justice to her character and her graceful seductive moves definitely calls for appreciation.


I suggest you go watch this one and get fully entertained for the money you pay…

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