Simple and Thrilling, Raazi Film Review

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Raazi Courtesy Firstpost

Raazi Courtesy Firstpost

Raazi is another spy story based on the real incident of how a young Indian girl saved her country from an attack from the Pakistani navy. The film is an adaptation of the book Calling Sehmat written by Harinder Sikka. (Read the Kenya Buzz Film Review)

Alia Bhatt is an excellent actress and she will have a very long career. She plays the role of Sehmat the Indian spy in the film Raazi.

Raazi is another spy story based on the real incident of how a young Indian girl saved her country from an attack from the Pakistani navy. The film is an adaptation of the book Calling Sehmat written by Harinder Sikka.

Director Meghna Gulzar has not wasted time in song or dance or full blown drama, she has kept the film real and human. The film story kicks off with news that Sehmat’s father is dying from lung cancer and they need to recruit another spy to keep the information links open and her father suggests the marriage of his daughter Sehmat to Iqbal, the son of a Pakistani General.

Sehmat begins her training and when she gets married, she gets to work on sending information back home to India. Subsequently the most vital information from her saves an imminent attack on the Indian navy and while her cover is blown she is extracted by the help of her handler and his team.

The film keeps you on the edge and race to not getting caught. When Sehmat is almost caught by the house worker she has to commit her first murder and this is a heart wrenching scene.

There are several favourite scenes, from when Iqbal presents her with anklets and they consummate their marriage, when she reaches out for help at the ration store and finally when her husband confronts her. The costume design for Alia is simple, sophisticated and not at all Bollywood, just real everyday wear.

The film definitely belongs to Alia Bhatt and very notable performances by Vicky Kaushal who plays her husband Iqbal and the handler Jaideep Ahlawat as Khalid Mir. Hopefully one day they can really cast Pakistani actors to play their characters.

The songs Dilbaro, Ae Watan and Raazi are superb.

Raazi will go down in history as an exceptionally crafted film for any filmmaker student or actor. Great work by Meghna and her team.


Vidya Lags Behind- Begum Jaan Review

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Begum Jaan

Begum Jaan has been the most anticipated release for a Vidya Balan film since her mega successful work in Kahaani. Begum Jaan has been written and directed by Srijit Mukherji who had earlier made the film in Bengali first, Rajkahini.

The expectations from the film have been high, especially since the plot is about how a brothel is at the Radcliffe Line dispute during the partition of India. Begum Jaan, played by Vidya Balan owns the brothel and has a supporting cast that includes Gauhar Khan (Rubina), Pallavi Sharda (Gulabo), Ila Arun (amma) and Sumit Nijhawan (Salim Mirza). Each officer handling the partition on behalf of the Governments of Pakistan, Muslim League Illias (Rajit Kapoor) and India, Congress Harshvardhan (Ashish Vidyarthi) visit Begum Jaan to hand over the eviction notice. She seeks the refugee of Rajaji (Naseerudin Shah) and he tries until he explains to her that times are changing and even Kings are no longer Kings. Thus, ultimately the women are left to defend themselves and the officers sub contract the dirty job to gangster Kabir (Chunkey Pandey) and obviously violence breaks out.

Begum Jaan is about a difficult real human story and it will shock you, there is no proof of whether it is based on a true story nevertheless if it did happen then the wounds of such a tragedy are still soar.

Vidya Balan is excellent, while Gauhar Khan, Pallavi Sharda and Chunkey Pandey surprise you. However the cinematography is poor and while the Director Srijit is trying to make you see things from their perspective with camera movement, it is shaky and almost amateur. The film meanwhile may have the potential to earn a National Award because of a very unusual dilemma yet prostitution is around us anyway.

What a Bang On Bloody Hell! Film Review Rangoon

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“Bloody Hell!” yes, Rangoon is full of British-Indian drama that leads you through a nation fighting for its freedom and a lover who needs to be set free.

This unusual trap laid by Director Vishall Bhardwaj will be interesting for some and not entertaining for most.

Rangoon is a story about a B-grade actress Miss Julia (Kangana Ranuat) who has been propelled to fame by her master, Rusi (Saif Ali Khan) and she is at his beck and call until she meets her real life hero, Nawab Mallik (Shahid Kapoor).

Screenwriter Matthew Robbins worked with Vishal for 7 Khoon Maaf, and it is no wonder there is a similarity in the love story plot, intense, surprising and demanding.

At the backdrop of the film is the ongoing quest for freedom, where Mahatma Gandhi wants to do it the anti-violence way and Subash Chandra Bose creates the Indian National Army. Nawab is crucial to making a promise to freedom happen, but he needs Julia, he never bargained for love, and only one must live.

Kangana Ranuat has repeated her Queen success, while Shahid has definitely stolen the limelight in terms of performance and Saif Ali Khan is at his most handsome best considering age. This trio handle the film superbly.

The other winner in the film is the Cinematographer, Pankaj Kumar who has captured the outdoors in a very new leaf on the silver screen.

Rangoon will be appreciated later in years to come.

I Lay My Life Down Mama, Neerja Film Review

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Neerja Courtesy of Roochster

Neerja Courtesy of Roochster

Neerja is a film based on the true-life story of Pan Am airhostess Neerja Bhanot. This 22-year-old girl was caught up with the rest of the crew and passengers at the Karachi Airport on 5th September 1986 in a hijack by a Palestinian terrorist organization.

The film starts off with Neerja coming home to a birthday party going on at the colony she stays with her family, that is mother, father and two brothers. Neerja is shown to be a fan of Rajesh Khanna and the life of that colony. The following morning her mother wakes her up for her Pam Am Flight 73 where Neerja will first time take on the duty of Head Purser. It was Neerja’s time in life to do something big.

We are shown Neerja’ boyfriend Jaideep who takes her to the airport, and her father remarks, that he should not have gotten her married to Naresh. Director Ram Madhvani then does something clever, he shows us Neerja’ married abusive life to her bravery in the hijack through flashbacks.

This is Ram’s 2nd film in Bollywood and he has surely got a hit on his record, because Neerja is a heroic story and it could possibly earn him or the protagonist played by Sonam Kapoor a National Award easily.

The film is about courage, love and an incident that killed innocent lives over terrorism. The dialogues written by Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh are going to be memorable, especially Neerja’s mother’s speech. The interesting thing was the authenticity, Ram seemed to have stuck to every detail that he possibly could and especially focused on Neerja and not the stress going on with the relevant authorities. For example even the hijackers spoke in Arabic.

Music Director Shekhar Ravjiani is Jaideep and he is cute and since he had a few lines, not much can be said about his acting skills. Shabana Azmi as Neerja’s mother was brilliant and especially so in her speech, which is a tribute to her daughter. Sonam Kapoor has her brilliant moments and you are at conflict because at some point you know she is 22 and has had previous trauma to her self esteem so there is a certain depressive silence about her, then she surprises you with courageous moments. Sonam can do better, this is was a strong character and film, but she can do more.

Neerja is a must watch but not with children, it is difficult to explain to them what terrorism is and why the hijackers did what they were trying to.



When You Obsess You Will Be Destroyed- Raanjhanaa Film Review

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English: Indian composer A.R. Rahman opens the...

English: Indian composer A.R. Rahman opens the studios at Subhash Ghai’s Whistling Woods International film school. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Indian actress Sonam Kapoor

English: Indian actress Sonam Kapoor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was only recently I watched a TV show where the main topic was if the heroes from the South of India creating a buzz in the North of India. I know it sounds strange but this Billion population has two mega-film industries, Bollywood and Tollywood.

Actor Dhanush surely is creating the buzz and he will be remembered as the first South Hero to do so, in his film Raanjhanaa. It was not long ago that his song “Kolaveri Di” became the first viral YouTube song in India and soon caught the attention of the world. He is also the son-in-law to the mega super star of Tollywood, Mr Rajnikant so some actor abilities are bound to spread.

English: Dhanush at a function in chennai

English: Dhanush at a function in chennai (Photo credit: Wikipedia)





















The other interesting newcomer is the director, Anand Rai, even though he is nearly four films old, Raanjhanaa has made a mark for him. Yes, his last film “Tanu Weds Manu” was a semi-hit and perhaps thats where Anand realized was his strength, romance. He kept Raanjhanaa authentic with the backdrop of India’s famous city, Benaras, located on the banks of the river Ganges. The story of Raanjhanaa has been written by Himanshu Sharma who has worked with Anand Rai before and it looks like this tag-team is going to have more success.

A simple boy falls in love and never gives up, despite religious differences, 16 slaps and slitting wrists. What makes the character of Kundan played by Dhanush very adorable is well the person Dhanush, its as if he is being himself and delivers with honesty and conviction. This Benaras boy doesn’t let you down till the end of the film, there are no fancy stunts for him or long lines of dialogue or dreamy songs, he is just being himself. That is also the strength of the film because even the heroine of the story is Zoya, played by Sonam Kapoor and till the end she remains true to her character. Zoya is a simple but well educated Muslim girl who only briefly falls in love with Romeo Kundan until she meets her Prince Charming Akram Zaidi, played by Abhay Deol and the wedding bells are about to ring. This brings in the main twist of the film and before you know it, there is more than meets the eye.

English: Abhay Deol at the 2009 Toronto Intern...

English: Abhay Deol at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




The backdrop of student politics maturing into real party politics has been cleverly used and in the middle of all this is Kundan’s undying love. This film is a winner in many ways and the music by the maestro A R Rahman, make it even more worth it.



Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Stands for Farhan, Milkha and Rakeysh

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Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is the next Hindi film release on 12th July based on the true story of India’s first Gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games in 1958. Nearly 50 years later and Bollywood has scooped this great man’s story to inspire the youth and athletes and hopefully give the country another gold medalist.

The film’s script has been written by Prasoon Joshi who once wrote lyrics for Kunal Kohli‘s HUM TUM and has diversified into story writing. He still lends his skills to several songs for the film too, which are becoming a sensation around the world, with music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

Immediately with the trailer shots and the active and focused marketing of the film by actor Farhan Akhtar is giving you the indication this product has gone through its own rigorous race. Farhan is a multi-talented guy, a director, writer, singer and actor. Thus he is well conversed and can portray the character of Milkha Singh with finesse.

Director Rakeysh OmPrakash seems to have better luck with a Sikh and more patriotic story. From the success of Rang de Basanti which was based on a drama into a film on the fight for freedom led by Chandra Shekar Azad and Bhagat Singh, he’s back with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag which also touches on the partition of India.

Actress Sonam Kapoor plays Nirmal Kaur and love interest of Milkha. Sonam has done this type of look before for MAUSAM and so there is nothing new, maybe she will be able to leave a longer impression as an actress with her role.

This highly anticipated film looks to win mostly critical audience and possibly inspire budding athletes or provide basic lessons of life for a person to chase their dreams.

Celebrating 100 Years of Bollywood

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Thank you for reading this blog, it is an attempt to give you all the craziness and quirks of movies from Bollywood to Hollywood to the smaller screen.

We start off with the most important date in the world of cinema today, 3rd May 2013 marks “100 Years of Bollywood”.

What is Bollywood? If you had asked this question over ten years ago then you may not have noticed it. Karan Johar the “Golden Director” who made the film “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham” in 2001 brought Bollywood to the map of the world of cinema. The modern clothes, songs and the old age family drama had never been presented in such style and depth before. Instantly everybody was singing the songs and soon other directors and producers have since followed to capture the Non-Resident Indian territory around the world. Bollywood remains strong in Canada, USA and UK mostly because of the numbers in population. When we come down to Africa, sure it has fans everywhere from Somalia to South Africa or Nigeria to Kenya but there is still time before it creates numbers for mega concerts, vast filming or even box office records for screenings.

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bombay Talkies releases today in India and it is a film that has been made by four directors including Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee. They have made their tribute to the fans of this huge industry where an average Indian still aspires to work and earn fame. There is no doubt that the superstar of the industry remains Amitabh Bachan, and later in the series we will discuss his contribution, but the essence of Bollywood remains emotions.

Emotions are captured through long pauses of silent actions, unspoken words and talking eyes. Never has a medium caught the audiences attention so much that there is worship of the actors and their Godfathers. This Billion Dollar industry is no doubt here to stay for another 100 years to come and we look forward to hearing your views or experiences.

Thus, the question is from our selection of stars, who do you relate to immediately as “Bollywood”?

(a) Amitabh Bachan

(b) Karan Johar

(c) Raj Kapoor

(d) ShahRukh Khan