Force | Mad's review

Force is inspired from the Tamil movie Kaakha Kaakha…starring Suriya and Jyothika in 2003. The Hindi remake stars John Abraham – in one of those single hero movies and Genelia D’souza., and is directed by Nishikant Kamath , who earlier directed Mumbai meri Jaan.
Force is a story of ACP Yashwardhan, who is unattached to anyone in this world. He is tough cop and beats his opposition to pulp for good measure. After all he has the body built to that effect and is put to good use.  He is part of the Anti-Narcotics team, headed by Raj Babbar, and puts together an inner circle to fight the drug mafia. They manage to wipe out the menace when they realize that the informer was making it too easy for their comfort. All that happened was set the stage for Vishnu (newcomer Vidyut Jamwal) to rule the drug empire. Meanwhile social activist Maya (Genelia) randomly bumps into him till he develops feelings for her and realizes when she meets with an accident. She then turns on her bubbly charm and makes all attempts to get him to reciprocate, which well takes a while. Why? ACP is a lil slow on the emotions department and thinks they are a distraction and he can lose his focus. But she will just not give up, till they finally decide to get married.
Vishnu’s brother is killed in an encounter and the rest of the movie turns into a run-catch-kill not just the team of the NCB, but their families as well.
What I liked:
Superlike: John’s awesome sculpted body
Masala movie with all the action – esp the opening scene where John tries a rock climbing thing like Tom Cruise in MI2
Amit Gaur as Mahesh (Khadak Singh) – very cute and nice to the eye
What I super dislike:
John cant emote or be romantic for nuts – too wooden, like his sculpted body
Monotonous characterization of Genelia – she has replaced Preity Zinta on the bubbly meter but is highly irritating
Story is too slow and can distract you from what’s happening on screen
My rating: 2/5 (just watch it if you wanna watch John’s abs and want a typical masala movie)

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Mere Brother Ki Dulhan

Yashraj is back again this time with Mere Brother ki Dulhan, with Imran Khan (Kush Agnihotri), Ali Zafar (Luv Agnihotri) and Katrina Kaif (Dimple Dixit). Slated as a Rom-com and a family entertainer as usual.
The movie starts with Luv, the investment banker in London, breaking up with his girlfriend Piyali (Tara D’Souza) of 5 years. Suddenly reality strikes him and he calls up younger bro Kush to find a girl for him to be married to. Reason: when they were kids, they both liked Madhuri Dixit. So he trusts Kush’s choice in women. Kush and parents go on a bride hunting spree and finally land up with Dimple Dixit as a choice.
But here lies a shocker. He knows Dimple from his college days where she was as wild as she can be. Predictably, the family likes the alliance and they are all set to get Luv married to Dimple. With the preparations, Kush feels attracted to Dimple but is not really aware of it. Kahaani mein slight twist happens with Luv coming down to India for the wedding. And with that Kush n Dimple realize their feelings for each other but do not know how to get out  of the engagement.
Putting their brains together, and infused laughter situations to sort this out is the rest of the story. And since there is no cog in the wheel, one gets created to just extend the story. All’s well that ends well.
My rating: 2.5/5 – very average
What is likable?
Kat is improving in the wardrobe and dance department
What is not likable?
The Imran of Jaane tu … and Delhi Belly is missing… Please come back soon
No memorable music
Zero sparks between Imran and Kat

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That Girl in Yellow Boots

Anurag Kashyap. That name on the movie poster is enough to draw me to watch the movie in a theatre. Whether he is producing it, directing it or just rooting for it, does not matter. There's bound to be something special. (Think about Black Friday, Dev D, Gulaal, Shaitaan )

Directed by Anurag Kashyap and starring Kalki Koechlin the movie is a dark, intense and hard hitting portrayal of the life of, that girl in yellow boots. It is co-written by Anurag and Kalki.

Kalki is Ruth, a British citizen in Mumbai looking for her father who left Ruth and her mother when Ruth was five years old and her step sister committed suicide. Years later, Ruth receives a letter from her father and sets off on a journey to find him. This journey takes her from the government offices to have her visa renewed to a spa where she works as a masseuse. In this realistic portrayal of Ruth's journey the camera weaves in and out and takes you into the massage parlor  where middle-aged and the young turn up for a massage and maybe something more.  Ruth's boyfriend Prashanth (Prashanth Prakash) a drug addict who gets into a debt with a local gangster Chutiyappa (Gulshan Devaiah) who strangely enough is a Kannanda (language of southern state in India) speaking don and who is determined to collect his debt from Ruth. 

While it may seem like parallel stories the entire plot comes together in a slick manner and with a common focal point of that girl in yellow boots. What this movie does is take you on Ruth's journey. Right through the lewd lascivious looks of the government officials, the lecherous 'hafta' collection of the policeman, the painful and disturbing behavior of the druggie boyfriend, the gangster whose emotional weakness is the story of a drunkard father and to the final climax of finding her father. Your journey is as involved as Ruth's and while the ending may seem predictable, what Anurag does through smart casting and some deft twists is ensure you do not guess it exactly. 

If you are looking for some fun and entertainment go watch bodyguard instead. If you are looking for some involved serious film-making then go and watch this one, again and again. Amazing performances from Kalki, Prashanth and Gulshan. Looks like Kalki has stamped her authority on any 'expat' kind of sensitive role. The cinematography is beautiful and caresses the streets of Mumbai, the dingy government offices and sets a tone for this movie while will add to the lump in your throat when it ends. What is possibly the only let down of this movie is that it could have been so much more but in trying to bring together various facets through various characters tends to weaken the 'search for the father' theme.

Is it worth watching ? Definitely.

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Aarakshan


Aarakshan, got me pulled to screen to watch it just for the reason that it is a Prakash Jha film. I dreaded for watching this sensitive issue of quota system being rambled in the Indian society for playing a big role in the political drama, affecting the country in large scale.
Unfortunately even the strongest star cast Big B could not help this script become powerful, reason being the story line starts with an impactful way of quota system’s effect on the society as a whole but eventually it more or less becomes the fight of a man who is trying to be practical and sincere with his approach of thinking and living.
The story starts well at bringing up the issue of caste based reservation systems in India but half way through loses its issue in show casing the arguments against demands of expensive coaching institutes. I feel the audience perhaps would have wanted to watch a deep insightful conversation of the topic reservation at more political level, as the promos of the movies tried to promise. You can nonetheless watch the movie for coarse performances and some real high recital drama in few scenes.
I would rate the movie 2/5.

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READY

Ready is directed by Aneez Bazmee and the movie revolves only around Salman Khan (whose fave dialogue is Duniya mein teen cheezon ko underestimate math karna – I, me, myself). Anyone whose not a Sallu fan can watch this for sheer mindlessness.

Also in the movie is Mahesh Manjrekar, playing Sallu’s dad and who with a memory problem makes most of his dialogues “fill in the blanks”, bordering on under-the belt jokes. Anooradha Patel as the sensitive mom, who can look good only and is supportive of anything her son does, except for the fact that she wants him married to someone who has him under control. And 2 uncles and aunts fill in the family picture perfectly. Add to this, a guruji, whose words the family sticks to syllable for syllable.


Enter Asin, into their family, while escaping from her maternal uncles, who are looking to usurp her property by their plot of having her marry their respective brother-in law, but obviously she’s not interested in them. She straight away lands into Sallu’s picture perfect family and actually fits in (am not surprised)


Few squabbles, silly fights later, the uncles are brought to task in terms of their appearances and attitude towards Asin. And all’s well that ends well!!


My rating : 1/5 – not cos I’m not fond of Salman – it’s more like the masala movies that have skipped 2 decades.
Possible bright spots: Songs – Character dheela and Dinka Chika – all mass appeal.

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Shor in the City

Produced by Ekta Kapoor and stars her brother Tusshar, is all about the seemingly normal city of Mumbai. The dark alleys exist along side the well-lit houses of the rich and famous. Righteousness exists with the wrong. Innocence co-habits with harassment and threats to life. The movie starts and ends with the 11-day Ganesha festival , with a befitting ending.

The film has 3 sub-plots: Tilak (Tusshar), who has a book publishing business, Sawan Kumar (Sundeep Kishan), a cricketer who needs money to ensure a place on the U-22 team and Abhay(Sendil Ramamurthy), an NRI entrepreneur who is setting up business in India and is being harassed by goons(Zakir Hussain).


Tilak and his 2 cronies are suddenly in the possession of a bag full of fire-arms that the cronies have picked up from a local train. They need to sell it off t make some quick money and are on the look-out for a buyer. Otherwise, he is a righteous book publisher, to the extent of threatening a famous wrietr in parting with the manuscript for exclusive publishing rights and newly-wedded man. He discovers “psychology” through “the Alchemist” and is surprised that he didn’t even know that his wife was educated. He has certain values in place and wants to let go of all nefarious activities, which his cronies think is a result of his marriage.


Sawan Kumar is an upcoming cricketer, who needs to get into the U-22 team, so that he can continue his relationship with his girlfriend, who otherwise will be married off to some guy chosen by her parents. They meet at the usual Mumbai hang-out for couples, Band-stand for some personal time and to resolve issues. He needs 10 lakhs to buy himself a place in the team and has no clue on how to get it. He approaches banks and then hits upon a plan to loot one, in a bid to make quick money


Abhay, an NRI, in Mumbai to set up a business, is harassed by goons for money to ensure his well-being and smooth functioning of business. They even follow him around and know all details of his model-girlfriend. He feels claustrophobic and cannot seem to arrive at a solution. He wants to get rid of this menace called mafia by himself, since he cannot find any other way out.
While you are trying to figure out how these three tracks are going to intertwine, the story arrives at an insipid climax and ends quite abruptly.


My rating: 3/5 – takes a while to grow on you

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Kung Fu Panda 2

Po is back and how… the adorable roly-poly Panda who loves his friends and food is back, this time in 3-D, making this an awesomeness experience regardless of age.

Po finds out from his Master that he has to fight Lord Shen – a peacock to save China. His dad, Ping is reluctant to let him go and in an emotional moment reveals that Po is adopted. Po with his gang Furious Five, set out on a mission to rescue China.
Before they encounter Lord Shen, they need to battle the pack of wolves as part of Shen’s army. They also discover that Kung Fu experts, Master Croc and Master Ox have been jailed in a bid to wipe out Kung Fu. They do not want to be freed citing that even if they were out, it was impossible to fight Shen who has a weapon that breathes fire and spits metal. Po manages to take on Lord Shen, who has been warned by the Soothsayer goat that a Shen is to be defeated by a warrior who is black n white.


While fighting Shen, Po is distracted by certain flashes of the peacock’s feathers and realizes that they figured in his childhood memory. At the end of round 1 of the battle, Po is severely injured and rescued by the goat who then explains the past behind Po’s traumatic childhood, which he has not yet come to terms with. His friends are captured and it looks like it’s all over.
Lord Shen, while on the way to destroy China, is suddenly confronted by a rejuvenated Po. His friends are rescued, and then a bitter battle ensues. Po dodges cannon-balls fired at him with such grace that it’s a treat to watch. All this as he has found his “inner peace”.
Good wins over evil and Po goes home to be with his dad Ping.


My rating:3.5/5….actually 4/5 – for Po’s calisthenics while displaying inner peace and the 3-D effects.

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Is 3D worth paying extra for?

 3D. The words accompanying many a movie draws crowds and we are made to pay a significantly higher price for the ticket, pay INR 100 as security deposit for the 3D glasses, stand in queue for it and then after the movie stand again to return the glasses and collect the 100 bucks back.

Most 3D movies have a few trailers which are in 3D too. Every month we are treated to at least 1 film which promises a 3D experience.

Sadly, all they have done is murdered the true 3D experience. 3D makes sense when
1. the content of the film demands an enhanced viewing experience. Ex: Avatar, Kung Fu Panda etc
2.  and it has been shot in 3D. Ex: Avatar

Unfortunately most 3D films are given a 3D treatment in post-production (I think it is called conversion to 3D)or only sections of the movie are giving a 3D feel. with my limited knowledge of cinema technique I can say that most of the movies provide a very sad 3D experience and not only kill the 3D experience but also kill the movie watching experience itself.

I understand shooting in 3D is expensive and painful. It requires a special camera that can replicate the way our eyes work, giving depth perception and therefore every scene has to be painstakingly recorded to capture foreground and background as separate images. (My knowledge is limited on the technicalities but the Internet can provide a lot of content on this if you are interested)

Regardless of technique some movie are best watched in 2D. Ex: Pirates of the Carribbean-on Stranger Tides, Priest etc

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Limitless | Amrita's Review


After hangover, The A team and Valentine’s Day, the movies I have watched of Bradley Cooper, I think Limitless is his flawlessly performed movie. The effort as the role demands is well understood and showcased by the actor. The entire movie looks quite promising, but at times seems dragging.

Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), a struggling writer meets his divorced wife’s brother on the street and gets to know about a drug which is an unreleased and not tested drug. It gives him the power to use 100% of his brain, driving the knowledge from all the small incidences happened earlier sometime in his life. All of a sudden he becomes an expert as a multi linguistic personality, who is enormously sharp and can finish his books in just four days.

He also does things which a super hero would do and then suddenly he realizes his ultimate goal which is way bigger than just being a writer. Movie after a drag moves to real mode of protagonist’s role and then it is roller coaster ride. As the great power comes with huge responsibility and problems, happens the same in his life and he gets involved with some of the threats with external elements. He also finds out that drug’s side effects are life threatening. The rest of it I leave for you to discover by watching the movie. It’s a good time pass and a one-time watchable movie. The background music was quite appealing to me. Robert de Niro is as usual always in form and performing the best.

Have fun watching the movie without high expectations and you will be able to enjoy this paranoia fueled action thriller.
-Amrita Tripathi

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Aathva Khoon Maaf!


If I were to go by Tweeple’s reviews, I should have patiently waited for my DVD copy but we’re talking about Vishal Bharadwaj here…the maverick who gave us extraordinary movies like Makdee, Maqbool, Omkara and the recent Kaminey. I wanted to judge the movie myself and a lesson learnt…don’t ignore the vox populi; esp on Twitter!


There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Ruskin Bond’s story, Susanna’s Seven Husbands on which the film is based – offers a perfect plot for a dark comedy & thriller. You couldn’t have asked for a better cast with Priyanka Chopra playing Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes, her six husbands played by some of the finest actors (including Irrfan Khan and Naseeruddin Shah). But what goes missing murder after murder is the magic Vishal cleverly weaves into his scripts – the ease with which he explores the intricacies of emotions, the leisurely pace with which he unfolds the plot and the perfection with which he defines and extracts the character he wants sketched on screen.


The film opens with the shot of Susanna shooting herself followed by a package delivered to a forensic expert Arun (played by Naseerudin Shah’s son Vivaan Shah). Arun’s hard task is to prove that Susanna is indeed dead. And we begin to revisit Susanna’s past through the voice of Arun (Susanna was his Memsaab and Arun her Sugar). Most part of the story set in Pondicherry, Susanna’s story starts with her father’s death and her marriage to a langda army officer (Neil Nitin Mukhesh). She has to deal with his insecurity and arrogance which reaches unbearable heights when he blinds Goonga (Susanna’s favourite jockey) in one eye. I could sympathize with her first murder when she throws Neil to a man-eating panther.


And then follow the serial-murders of a drug addict self-acclaimed rockstar (John Abraham, poetic-yet-brute lover (Irrfan Khan), a two-timing and a Russian spy a pathetic Hindi accent (during which Arun’s packed off to Russia to finish his studies), desperate-for-sex aging police officer (Annu Kapoor) and finally a bankrupt Bong pharmacist (Naseeruddin Shah).


The how of these murders are quite predictable but the why is not so evident. Was she a serial-killer? Didn’t look like. Was her love for her Sugar (Arun) that drove her to murder these imperfect men? Perhaps. Her butler offers a feeble explanation – that Susanna never believed in taking an alternate path if things didn’t work in her favour but just knocks out whoever comes her way.


There is no room for suspense and if these questions weren’t enough, her 7th husband leaves with you a “That does it!” expression! At a press conference in Berlin (at the 61st International Film Festival) Vishal is believed to have said that he, quite by accident, learnt that nuns are “married” to Jesus Christ. And this knowledge helped him work out the film’s ending. I wish he didn’t and he stuck to what he did best!


And on this happy note, I shall patiently wait for his next flick!


(Todd Tucker, Hollywood special make-up effects artist who’s created the different looks for Priyanka Chopra’s role in this film deserves a special mention. Brilliant job done!)


Rating: 2.5/5


Is it worth watching? Yes


-Padmaja Nagarur

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Someone Killed Jessica


The official trailer was out there for anyone to bite and I did too. Two talented actors and one powerful plot....how wrong could it go! A hybrid of fact and fiction, Rajkumar Gupta (after his promising debut film Aamir) narrates the story of two women with the Jessica Lal murder as the background. The director did justice to the extent that he managed to draw some great performances from Rani Mukherjee, Vidya Balan and Rajesh Sharma.


Strongly backed by Amit Trivedi’s background score, the film manages to keep you entertained through out barring some gimmicky scenes - esp the ones where purportedly the then President Kalam accepts public sms’s in support of Jessica and Manmohan Singh delivers a speech. Rajesh Sharma who plays the role of the cop handling the case does well in expressing frustration at the system’s inefficiency and elitist hypocrisy. Vidya consistently keeps the character believable with her appearances completely stripped of all the excesses. While Rani’s performance is among her best, there seems to be confusion in the overall character sketch - she talks like a bitch but doesn’t quite act like one; she wants to be associated with the biggest stories in media and shuns the Jessica Lal’s murder case but is suddenly bothered about justice being denied when the murderer walks away scot free. It leaves me wondering if she was genuinely interested in correcting the wrong done or she could foresee the potentially big story she was going to be a part of.


Overall there were, no doubt, some tears (or more of a sniff!), some anger and giggles. But the movie left me wanting something more - rave reviews followed but I came out disappointed - was I the only one? Was I becoming a loathsome cynic?


Luckily, I laid my hands on Rang De Basanti for the nth time and found my answers. Not very often do you come across films which spark an inspiration - Rang De Basanti’s candle march and Lage Raho Munnabhai’s Gandhigiri (incidentally both were 2006 releases). RDB was fiction but made us question our indifference towards everything that goes on around us. It inspired us enough to believe in the power of few to raise our voices against the power. And what hurt was the fact that “No one killed Jessica” had the potential of rekindling those emotions and driving the power of people yet again! Unfortunately, it does nothing more than be acknowledged with some good reviews and hopefully a couple of awards. I fear there’s another film in the making with the recent Aarushi case which will serve only as a good plot and nothing more.


- Padmaja Nagarur


Rating: 2.5/5

Is it worth watching: Maybe..but just once

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Band Baaja Baaraat

One more outing from the Yashraj camp, this time though…no big names and no claim to fame of size zero and appearance changes. Stars Anushka Sharma as Shruti Kakkad and New-boy Ranveer Singh as Bittoo Sharma.

The movie starts with Bittoo gate-crashing a wedding which has Shruti supervising the catering. A slightly heated argument and he’s head-over heels in love with her (How predicatbaly Hi-Fi - Hindi Film Industry). She shares her ambition to start “Shaadi Mubarak”, a wedding planning Businness (business). When asked to return to his village, he quickly decides to partner with her, just to avoid going back home to grow & harvest sugarcane. She is reluctant, quite obviously.

They start by assisting an established wedding planner, only to realize that they’re better off, being their own bosses. Buinness is set up and Bittoo conveniently has his living quarters right above the office. He lovingly makes adrak ki chai for his partner, orders dinner for both of them and even drops her home when they’re working late. He cannot reveal his feelings to her at any point as Shruti has already laid the ground rule “Jisse vyapaar karo, usse kabhi na pyaar karo” (You cannot be in love with your business partner). They soon fall into a comfort zone, organizing small budget weddings…and move onto the big league ones.

On the successful execution of their first big budget wedding, they celebrate with champagne and get drunk .At this stage, Shruti breaks her own laid rule,but a dilemma arises since he’s not sure if she’s in love with him. He attempts clarification and all hell breaks loose.

It goes to the extent where they break the partnership and openly tarnish each other’s reputation until a mega project forces them to work together. They do so despite their differences, with a promise that they will not tread on each other’s departments.

In this so called love story, the love declaration happens only in the end…with a confrontation and a confession..Yawn….. !! and obviously they live happily ever after.

What works:
Low-budget movie
In your face and raw dialogues…some that you would catch while walking in Delhi
No usual YRF candy-floss, Switzerland, chiffon sarees
What didn’t work:
Maybe the audience is not restricted to only one part of India
Music not very catchy, except one (Ainvayi Ainvayi). I don’t know why the item number was needed though
2nd half could’ve done with some crisp editing

Rating : 2.5/5 – One time watch only

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Fair Game

Directed by the maker of The Bourne Series, Doug Liman this movie maintains the same pace and feeling of an action thriller.
Based on the true life story of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, the movie is one more that looks at the truth and lies behind the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The Green Zone is one other movie that comes to recent memory but of course I am not comparing the two. This one is a political-spy thriller and really keeps you involved. The movie is based on the story that officials in Washington leaked to the press that Valerie Plame is a CIA Covert operations officer after her husband Joe Wilson, a former ambassador did an op-ed piece in the New York Times titled 'What I didn't find in Africa'. The op-ed essentially disputed the government's claim that raw material to Saddam's regime was purchased from Africa. This sets of a chain of events that lead to Valerie being left out in the cold and the many depending on her for safety and escape losing out.

The movie captures the journey of Valerie before and after the 'Plamegate' incident. The actors Naomi Watts (as Valerie) and Sean penn (as Joseph Wilson) remarkably resemble the real life characters to a large extent and put in easy performances. The story and the performances along with all the other material on this subject only make you ask yourselves- 'Was the Iraq war the biggest con job in history by the US Government ?' . What this movie does is make you ask this question. The answer is left to your own belief, political or otherwise.

The movie is well directed. It does not lose track or tempo and is intelligent enough to involve you without sensationalizing anything. Naomi Watts notably does a good job as valerie. Do not miss the real-life footage of the actual Valerie at a senate hearing, which appears when the credits roll.

Is it worth watching ? Yes

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No one killed Jessica

UTV once again brings to screen a gem of a movie. Directed by the immensely talented Rajkumar Gupta (remember the phenomenal Aamir ?) and with a star cast that does justice to the characters, No one killed Jessica is a must watch for Hindi movie buffs for many reasons.

First and foremost is the clever scripting that interweaves reality (the movie is based on a true incident. Do a google search for Jessica Lal murder) and fiction (all the dramatic sequences, dialogues and motivations). In essence you will find the movie engrossing even if you are not aware of the real-life murder case. The music by Amit Trivedi is pleasant and the background score is wonderful. Rani Mukerjee thankfully puts in a controlled and restrained performance. Vidya Balan has done a good job as Sabrina (sister of Jessica) has put in an effortful and not so natural performance. Rajesh Sharma (remember him in Khosla Ka Ghosla?) as the realistic inspector does a great job. Other than him nobody else really shines but just manage to put in enough to do justice to the movie.

The tale is of the murder of Jessica (Myra Karn), a model, working part time as a bar tender, and the subsequent fight for justice of her sister Sabrina (Vidya Balan) against the rich and powerful. While those of us in India familiar with the case would find the plot predictable it is the background score, the dialogue and the deft direction which keeps us engrossed. The film smartly depicts real life characters including president, primer minister, lawyers, politicians and page 3 personalities which most informed and aware Indians would recognize. Sadly the nuances of these characters gets lost on the informed and unaware viewer and therefore is bound to reduce the effect of the narrative.

Nevertheless, the movie is a lesson in film-making to the big budget commercial big names. A tight script, controlled performances, great background score all add up to a movie which is value for money.

Is it worth watching ? Yes.


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