MARDAANI

Yash Raj Films’ Mardaani (A) is the story of a strong and principled lady police inspector who takes on the people involved in sex trafficking. Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji) is a very able police officer, living with her husband, Dr. Bikram Roy (Jisshu U. Sengupta), and niece, Meera (Avneet Kaur). She is fearless and goes about her work with sincerity and diligence. She has adopted a roadside girl, Pyari (Priyanka Sharma), whom she had saved from being sold by her unscrupulous uncle. Pyari lives in a shelter home and often meets Shivani and Meera. Pyari is very excited about her birthday which is due very soon. Even as Meera has made preparations to celebrate Pyari’s birthday, Pyari goes missing from her shelter home. A troubled Shivani investigates and soon realises that Pyari has been sold in the flesh trade.

Shivani now takes it upon herself to reach to the depth of this sex trafficking racket. The path, obviously, is not easy and is laden with dangers. The first ray of hope comes with the arrest of Sunny Katiyal (Anant Sharma) but he is not of much help. A phone call from an unknown person convinces Shivani that the racket is huge. However, there is not much headway. As the drama progresses, Shivani comes to Delhi and, with the help of sub-inspector Sodhi (Mikhail Yawalkar) manages to unearth more facts. She reaches Vakil (Anil George), a key person in the sex trafficking business. Just as Shivani and her team are about to arrest Vakil, he kills himself. Shivani must now reach the unidentified caller but how will she do so? After all, she doesn’t even have his name. Shivani gets lucky when she learns that Vakil had a paramour, Minoo Rastogi (Mona Ambegaonkar). She reaches Minoo’s house and realises something of immense help to her mission but before she can act on that information, she is drugged by Minoo Rastogi.

Does Shivani succeed in arresting the criminals behind the sex trafficking racket? Does she meet the unidentified caller who is another key player in the racket? Who is he and how is he related to the deceased Vakil? Does Shivani meet Pyari ever? Has Pyari been initiated into the flesh trade?

Gopi Puthran’s script, based on a concept and story by Hussain Zaidi and Vibha Singh, is quite weak. The issue of sex trafficking, rape, kidnapping of young girls etc. is so commonly understood that it shouldn’t have been a problem to connect with the audience. However, the script is so half-baked and so predictable that the viewer simply doesn’t feel for the female protagonist’s fight. Worse still, Gopi Puthran is not even able to evoke sympathy in the audience’s hearts for the girls who are being smuggled and sold in the flesh market or initiated into the flesh trade. The writer has tried to present Shivani and her team as normal human beings who, alongside doing their strenuous jobs, lead normal lives like ordinary citizens but all that looks like it is done for effect. In fact, so much footage is given to Shivani’s daily chores in her house and to her behaving normally even while on duty that it often shifts the focus from the more important issue to the unimportant tasks. What was of utmost importance in a film of this kind was to evoke audience sympathy and a feeling of hatred towards the criminals but, unfortunately, that just doesn’t happen. The pace of the screenplay is so easy that the tension never really builds up to the desired level. It is for this reason that the audience never once experiences a rush of adrenaline, which is a must for a film of this kind. In other words, there is just no edge-of-the-seat thrill or excitement. Resultantly, there is no sense of fulfilment which the audience experiences at the end of the show. Gopi Puthran’s dialogues, which could have been hard-hitting and inspiring, are not anything close to that. In fact, except for a handful of dialogues, the others are quite routine. The dialogues in the telephonic conversations between Shivani and the caller whom she doesn’t know are definitely entertaining.

 

Rani Mukerji is ordinary in the title role. Although one can’t fault her acting, there is nothing in her performance which would excite the viewers or inspire girls to emulate her. Her cool demeanour in the midst of the storm of tension she is going through looks too made up for effect. Jisshu U. Sengupta is more of a functional character which has nothing worthwhile to do. Tahir Raj Bhasin shines in the role of Karan. He acts with style and elan and has the right attitude to carry off the role. Anil George is effective as Vakil. Anant Sharma performs very ably as Sunny Katiyal. Mona Ambegaonkar is first-rate as Minoo Rastogi. Aman Uppal makes his presence felt in the role of Mattoo. Priyanka Sharma has her moments as Pyari in the initial reels after which she doesn’t quite impress. Mikhail Yawalkar is alright as sub-inspector Sodhi. Avneet Kaur (as Meera), Digvijay S. Rohidas (as Jafar), Ashish Warang (as More), Sanjay Taneja (as Taneja), Gautam Babbar (as Tandon), Peter Manuel (as Mbosa), Eddie Teel (as Mbangwa), Rio Kapadia (as joint commissioner of police Sinha), D.V. Vivek (as joint commissioner of police Iyer), Sahanand Verma (as Kapil), Habib (as Bob), Manik Puri (as Prakash), Prashant Sutra (as Mushtaq), Kanchan Pagare (as the goggle seller) and the rest lend fair support.

Pradeep Sarkar’s direction leaves something to be desired. His narration neither has the fire required for the drama nor the excitement needed to tackle an issue-based film of this kind. Also, he has kept the pace of the film very easy and, at times, even unnecessarily slow, whereas the need of the hour was a faster pace. Salim-Sulaiman’s music and Kausar Munir’s lyrics are functional. Julius Packiam’s background music is fair. Artur Zurawski’s cinematography is good. Manohar Verma’s action and stunt scenes lack the thrill one waits for in a film of this kind. Sets (by Bhawani Patel) and production designing (Madhu Sarkar Kuriakose) are okay. Sanjib Dutta’s editing ought to have been sharper.

On the whole, Mardaani is too ordinary a film for an emotional and disturbing issue like sex trafficking. It leaves the viewer unaffected and fails to inspire the women to revolt, which is what the film ought to have done. At the box-office, it will not be able to make its mark. A section of the evolved and women audience will like it for the intention behind the film but that won’t be enough for the film to succeed at the ticket windows.

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SINGHAM RETURNS

Reliance Entertainment, Ajay Devgn Ffilms and Rohit Shetty Productions’ Singham Returns (UA) is the sequel to Singham. This film tackles the problem of black money being hoarded by the rich people and by politicians even as the poor in the country continue to become poorer. It also shows the nexus between evil politicians and Godmen.

Police officer Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgan) is posted in Bombay and goes about his job of cleansing society diligently. He has a team of like-minded and honest police officers who support him. One day, his trusted subordinate, Mahesh Jadhav (Ganesh Yadav), is found killed in an ambulance stacked with crores of rupees. The media blows up the accident issue and casts aspersions on the honesty of the deceased policeman, much to the horror of his mother (Sarita Joshi) and wife, Usha (Smita Tambe). Bajirao Singham, who used to have immense faith in Mahesh’s honesty, is convinced, there is foul play involved in the accidental death of his deputy.

The needle of suspicion points to Satyaraj Baba (Amole Gupte), a wily Godman who loots people and is known for the crores of rupees he has in black money, and also to Prakash Rao (Zakir Hussain), an alliance partner of the chief minister, Adhikari (Mahesh Manjrekar). However, Singham and his team as also the principled police commissioner, Shiv Rat­hod (Sharat Saxena), can do little without strong evidence to prove that Satyaraj Baba and Prakash Rao are involved in the crime. Bajirao Singham is confident, he would find evidence to nail them. He is also sure, the evidence would expose their other criminal activities too.

Even as Singham is trying hard to nail the culprits, Guruji (Anupam Kher), a principled politician and leader of a rising political party, is attacked and killed in cross-firing between policemen and goons. Singham is distraught and resigns from the police force, owning responsibility for the death as he was unsuccessful in saving Guruji. Singham and his girlfriend, Avni (Kareena Kapoor Khan), now go to their home­ town to meet their parents.

Singham and his team get lucky when they learn that the black money of the Godman and the evil politician are stacked at Vadhavpur. Singham catches hold of Altaf Khan (Pankaj Tri­pathi), who is the paid stooge of Satyaraj Baba, and arrests him. He is confident of nailing the duo with confessions from Altaf Khan. But Altaf is injured grievously and he slips into coma. Will he come out of the coma? Will Satyaraj Baba and Prakash Rao let him remain alive? Will Bajirao Singham be able to prove to the court that Satyaraj Baba and Prakash Rao are criminals? Or will the two use their influential positions and the power of money to go scot-free? What is the truth about Mahesh Jadhav’s death? Why was he driving an ambulance stacked with black money? Who killed Guruji? Are the perpetrators of crime exposed before the public? Does the court punish them? Or does Bajirao Singham have to bite the dust?

Rohit Shetty’s story tackles a problem which is relevant to every citizen of India. The story may not have much novelty but he has selected one which the audience can easily identify with and has penned incidents which are fresh. Yunus Sajawal’s screenplay is replete with mass-appealing scenes and he, too, concentrates on giving the audience high-voltage drama with a number of fresh scenes. There are many scenes and sequences in which the audience will be excited enough to clap, whistle and scream in sheer delight. Why, viewers will also cheer for the good characters in the film! The entire sequence in which police officers take off their uniform and march in vests and trousers is outstanding and will meet with a thunderous round of applause. The scene in which a poor woman incessantly fires Bajirao Singham for beating up her son who has accepted money from politicians is outstanding and shakes the audience. A number of scenes between Bajirao Singham and Satyaraj Baba are highly entertaining and the same can be said of the scenes between Singham and Prakash Rao, the best being the one in which Avni slaps Prakash Rao in front of the public even as Singham is on duty and refuses to arrest her, quoting sections of a relevant Act. These and several other sequences ensure that the masses get their full quota of entertainment. Even the light and comic scenes are interesting and entertaining and engage the viewers, making them smile and laugh. A couple of scenes will make the weak-hearted cry too. All in all, the story and screenplay may not be as shocking as Singham because that film had immense shock value but, having said that, it must be added that the story and screenplay of the sequel are hugely entertaining despite not being as novel. Farhad-Sajid’s dialogues deserve the highest praise because they are extraordinary and will evoke deafening rounds of applause. Their lighter dialogues are cute and funny.

Ajay Devgan breathes fire into the character of Bajirao Singham. He looks the character, having worked hard on his physique, which makes his breathtaking action scenes seem real and believable. He performs like a master player and uses his eyes and body language to great advantage to convey his emotions. Kareena Kapoor Khan is cute and endearing and plays the loud Maharashtrian mulgi with conviction. Her penchant for eating is a lovely punch which will evoke laughter in several scenes. Amole Gupte shines as Satyaraj Baba. Although comparisons are bound to be made with Prakash Raj, the villain of Singham, and the audience would miss him, it must be said in all fairness that Amole Gupte is truly terrific. Zakir Hussain acts with admirable ease and leaves a fine impression. Anupam Kher is natural to the core and makes his character of an honest politician very believable. Sharat Saxena has his moments. Mahesh Manjrekar is suitably subdued as the chief minister. Pankaj Tripathi is supremely natural. Ganesh Yadav makes his presence felt in a brief role. Sarita Joshi, as his mother, and Smita Tambe, as his wife, are both first-rate. Dayanand Shetty (as Daya) plays to the gallery. The scene in which Singham asks him to break open the door will be met with a loud round of applause as he is similarly asked to open doors in TV serial C.I.D.. Govind Namdeo leaves a mark as Bajirao Singham’s father. Ashwini Kalsekar makes her presence beautifully felt as TV news reporter and reader Meera Shorey. Her transition is wonderfully portrayed by her. Chhaya Kadam shines as the slum-dweller who fires Singham for having beaten up her son. Uday Tikekar (as Avni’s father), Shubhangi Latkar (as Avni’s mother), Meghna Vaidya (as Bajirao Singham’s mother), Sonali Kulkarni (as Menaka), Jitender Joshi (as Menaka’s boyfriend), Vineet Sharma (as police officer Dev Phadnis), Deepraj Rana (as Sunil Prabhat), Nattasha Rana (as Sunil Prabhat’s wife), Amit Varma (as Mayank), Sameer Dharmadhikari (as Kishore), Shriswara (as Neeta Parmar), Rakesh Kukreti (as Neeta’s husband), Sunil Godse (as the RTO officer), Uday Nene (as the biker boy), Jiten Mukhi (as the biker boy’s dad), Sandhya (as the lady cop), Sunil Deo (as the dhaba owner) and master … Pawar (as the kid in the ‘Aata Majhi Satakli’ song) lend admirable support.

Rohit Shetty’s direction is extraordinary. He has extracted fantastic work out of his actors, made a fast-paced entertainer and given the film a big canvas. His shot takings are excellent and he makes use of aerial shots tremendously well. He has made a film which will keep audiences of all age groups and all classes very happy. In spite of tackling a serious issue like black money, he has made the film very entertaining with light moments galore. Although he has made liberal use of Marathi in the dialogues, it must be said to his credit that his treatment will ensure that even the audience which doesn’t understand Marathi will find itself applauding the dialogues where necessary.

Music is good but not hit. The ‘Aata majhi satakli’ song (composed and penned by Yo Yo Honey Singh, with additional Marathi lyrics by Sachin Pathak) is mass-appealing. ‘Kuchh toh hua hai’ (penned by Sandeep Nath and Abhendra Kumar Upadhyay, and composed by Ankit Tiwari) is melodious. ‘Sun le zara’ (music by Jeet Ganguli and penned by Sandeep Nath) will be loved by the Muslim audience. The ‘Singham’ song (music: Meet Bros. Anjjan, lyrics: Shabbir Ahmed) is appealing. Choreography of the ‘Aata majhi satakli’ song (by Ganesh Acharya) is lovely. The choreography of the other two songs (by Chinni Prakash and Raju Khan) is fair. Amar Mohile’s background music deserves distinction marks for heightening the impact of the scenes. His use of Sanskrit shlokas in dramatic and action sequences is superb. Rohit Shetty’s designing of the action sequences is outstanding; their execution by Jai Singh Nijjar and Sunil Rodrigues is equally brilliant. The action scenes are bound to evoke huge applause from the masses. Dudley’s camerawork is remarkable. Picturisation of the action scenes, in particular, deserves special mention. Narendra Rahurikar’s sets are appropriate. Steven Bernard’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, Singham Returns is entertainment to the fullest. It will turn out to be a huge hit. It may not be as memorable a film as Singham but it is, nevertheless, an immensely entertaining film and its business will be far, far more than that of Singham. It will definitely prove to be the highest-grossing film of Ajay Devgan’s career so far. Business in Maharashtra will be simply stupendous!

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ENTERTAINMENT

Tips Industries Ltd. and PEN India Pvt. Ltd.’s Entertainment (UA) is the story of a young man whose father has died after bequeathing all his property and assets to his pet dog.

Akhil Lokhande (Akshay Kumar) struggles to make two ends meet and also has a father (Darshan Jariwala) to tend for. Suddenly, one day, Akhil is told by his father that he is not his biological father. Akhil plans to meet his biological father (Dalip Tahhil) in Bangkok but gets the news that his father has just breathed his last.

Akhil, nevertheless, goes to Bangkok and is soon joined by his bosom pal (Krushna Abhishek). To his horror, he finds out that before dying, his multi-millionaire father had willed his entire property to his pet dog, Entertainment (Junior). Akhil now struggles to have the dog killed so that he can convince his dad’s lawyer, Abdullah (Johny Lever), to transfer all the properties and businesses in his name as he is the only surviving heir.

Even as Akhil and his friend are trying to kill Entertainment, they rea­lise that Entertainment is fond of them. Why, Entertainment actually ends up saving Akhil’s life at the very place Akhil and his friend wanted to eliminate Entertainment.

Akhil now becomes friends with Entertainment. Soon, Karan (Prakash Raj) and Arjun (Sonu Sood), who are relatives of Akhil’s late father and who had been serving time in jail, are released. They come to stake their claim in the property. But Akhil, his friend, dog Entertainment and Abdullah do all under their control to not let Karan and Arjun usurp the property.

Does Akhil Lokhande succeed in his mission to oust Karan and Arjun from his father’s palatial mansion? Or do Karan and Arjun prove to be one-up on Akhil?

K. Subhash’s story may not be high on logic but it is, nevertheless, entertaining even if it is very implausible. The whole concept of a dog inheriting property worth crores and crores of rupees, from his master is quite unusual and unpalatable. However, Farhad-Sajid have written an interesting and entertaining screenplay to complement the story. Again, the screenplay goes to ridiculous levels to keep the audience smiling and laughing and because it succeeds in creating fun and laughter, the masses and family audiences will not really mind the ridiculousness of it all. Yes, a size­ able section of the audience will smirk at the proceedings but even that section will enjoy some of the jokes. The writers have tried to infuse a dash of emotions and that will go down well with the audience. Here, special mention must be made of Akhil’s friend who speaks only by referring to names of actors and celebrities to convey his thoughts. The outcome is hilarious! Also, Akhil questioning people about their professions is an entertaining track. Similarly, the track of Abdullah is very funny. In short, several scenes will have the audience in splits because they are so comical! On the other hand, there are some dull moments too, when the scenes appear to have been stretched too much. But the boredom doesn’t last too long for the audience. Climax is entertaining though predictable. Farhad-Sajid have penned excellent dialogues which increase the entertainment value of the drama. In fact, the dialogues are better than the screenplay!

Akshay Kumar does a fine job as Akhil Lokhande. He plays to the gallery and evokes laughter at a number of places. Tamannaah Bhatia is fair. She gets limited scope but does what is required of her. Krushna Abhishek brings the house down with laughter with his crazy dialogues and acting. He is a highlight of the film. Johny Lever is first-rate as the lawyer of Akhil’s dad. He raises laughter at many places. Prakash Raj is terrific as Karan. In the role of Arjun, Sonu Sood is effective. The use of the ‘Yeh bandhan toh pyar ka bandhan hai’ song in the background whenever there is a burst of emotions between Karan and his step-brother, Arjun, is wonderful. Junior, the wonder dog, is cute, endearing and expressive. Mithun Chakraborty is outstanding in a special appearance. Dalip Tahhil is alright. Vrajesh Hirjee makes his mark in a bit role. Ritesh Deshmukh makes his presence amply felt in a guest appearance. Darshan Jariwala, in a brief role, contributes in making the viewers smile and laugh. Shreyas Talpade is alright in a tiny special appearance. Hiten Tejwani is natural in a small special appearance.

Directors Farhad-Sajid have made quite a laugh riot but having said that, it must be added that the drama remains implausible. Considering that this is the duo’s first attempt at direction, the two have handled the film with the ease of a seasoned player. Their narrative style caters to the masses and the family audiences, with special masala for the kids. Sachin-Jigar’s music is very good but the absence of a chartbusitng song is sorely felt. ‘Veere di wedding’ and ‘Johny Johny’ are already very popular songs and are enjoyable in the film. Of the other songs, ‘Tera naam’ is melodious. ‘Teri mahima aparampar’ is fast-paced. Lyrics (by Mayur Puri, Priya Panchal and Ashish Pandit) are in keeping with the film’s mood. Remo D’souza’s choreography is nice. White Noise Production’s background music is effective. Manoj Soni’s camerawork is very nice. Sham Kaushal’s action and stunt scenes are good. Vinod Guruji’s sets are appropriate. Steven Bernard’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, Entertainment is an entertaining fare but with sectional appeal only. Its ridiculous story-line is a major drawback and will make its appeal restricted. It will be enjoyed by the masses, families and kids. Although it will keep the target audience in splits, its business will be less than its merits because it has just a week-long window, what with eagerly awaited Singham Returns scheduled for release next week. The producers may have made their profit but some of the distributors, particularly those who have paid heavy prices, will not be as lucky.

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KICK

UTV Motion Pictures and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s Kick (UA) is the story of Devi Lal Singh (Salman Khan), who is so brainy and so different that he just doesn’t fancy doing the usual, routine and mundane things. He gets a kick in his life when he does the unusual. Hence, by his very nature, he is adventurous.

Devi falls in love with a psychiatrist, Poland-based Shaina Mehra (Jacqueline Fernandez), whom he meets in Delhi under strange circumstances. Obviously, Shaina’s father, Brijesh Mehra (Saurabh Shukla), is not happy with Shaina’s choice because, among other things, Devi doesn’t even have a permanent job – he quits jobs within days as he gets bored very easily. Even as their romance is blossoming, Devi walks out of Shaina’s life after a tiff with her. For one year, there’s no contact between the two. Shaina is extremely sad about the breakup because she also loves Devi very dearly. Brijesh Mehra, who is very worried about Shaina’s marriage, sees a potential groom in Himanshu Tyagi (Randeep Hooda). Himanshu, the son of a family friend, is a police officer, who comes to Poland from India in connection with a criminal case and who stays in their house during his Poland stint.

Shaina, who can’t get over Devi, is in no mood to marry anyone else. She tells Himanshu the story of Devi and how he had gone out of her life. On his part, Himanshu tells Shaina about the case that has brought him to Poland. He wants to nab Devil (Salman Khan under a new identity; the name is got by adding the ‘l’ of Lal Singh to his name ‘Devi’) who has been killing rich businessmen on important dates but has still not been nabbed by the Indian police. In fact, the Indian police does not even know what Devil looks like or who he is! Himanshu, who has had a spotless and cent per cent track record, has taken it upon himself to arrest Devil, come what may. Himanshu is sure, Devil’s next victim would be Shiv Gajra (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), the corrupt nephew of India’s equally corrupt home minister, Vishnu Gajra (Vipin Sharma). Since Shiv Gajra is due to arrive in Poland for some work, Himanshu is sure, Devil would try to kill him on the foreign soil. Even otherwise, Devil has given Himanshu enough hint that he would be going to Poland.

As luck would have it, Devi Lal alias Devil also stays with the Mehras while in Poland – even as Himanshu is their guest. Meanwhile, Shaina has given her consent to marry Himanshu as Devi Lal Singh, she learns, is suffering from a mental disorder because of which he has forgotten his past. In fact, Shaina has brought Devi to her home from hospital just so that she can cure him and make him remember his past including their love affair. Himanshu and Shaina, of course, are unware that Devil is none other than Devi Lal. But Devi Lal knows that Himanshu has come to Poland to thwart his (Devil’s) attempt to eliminate Shiv Gajra and to arrest him (Devil).

Why does Devil want to kill Shiv Gajra? Is it a personal vendetta or is there some other reason too? Does he succeed in his mission? Or does Shiv Gajra prove to be too smart for Devi Lal alias Devil? Does Himanshu get to know who Devil is? Does he get to know that Devil is none other than Shaina’s ex-boyfriend, Devi Lal? Does Himanshu succeed in arresting or killing Devil before the latter can murder Shiv Gajra? Does Shaina learn of the fact that the criminal whom Himanshu is looking for is none other than Devi Lal? Does Devi Lal get back his lost memory? Whom does Shaina marry – Devi Lal or Himanshu?

The film is a remake of the Telugu hit, Kick. The story is very engaging and keeps the audience involved and engrossed right from the word ‘go’. The screenplay, penned by Rajat Aroraa, Keith Gomes, Sajid Nadiadwala and Chetan Bhagat, is so fast-paced and so entertaining that the audience doesn’t get time to even think. There are a few dull moments, no doubt, but they are for very short durations, be­cause of which boredom doesn’t creep in. Overall, the drama has so many twists and turns that the audience’s eyes remain glued to the screen lest they miss something. Actually, the second half appears a bit confusing for a while but that’s because the back story of Shiv Gajra is revealed later. Once that happens, all the confusion is put to rest.

The screenplay is so clever that it caters to the classes and the masses alike, to the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the guys and the girls, the multiplex audience and the single-screen cinema audience, the viewers in ‘A’ class centres as well as in ‘B’ and ‘C’ class centres. The film has a balanced dose of romance, comedy, drama, action, song, dance and even a dash of emotions. The romance is fresh, the comedy is extremely entertaining and enjoyable, the action is supremely breathtaking and the emotions definitely move the viewer even if they may not make everyone cry. The climax sequence, involving kids, is a highlight and will evoke a loud round of applause in the cinema halls.

Not just the climax, there are a number of other scenes which will be met with thunderous rounds of applause. Some of the highlight scenes and sequences are: the introduction sequence of Devi Lal in which he gets Vidhi (Sumona Chakravarti) married to Jignesh (Kavin Dave) against her MLA-mother’s (Manita Malik) wishes; the romantic scenes of Devi Lal and Shaina; the scene in which Devi Lal goes to Shaina’s house to meet her father (this scene will bring the house down with laughter); several action sequences and breathtaking stunts; the scenes of Shiv Gajra; the scene in which Devi Lal and Himanshu bond over drinks; the scene in which Devi Lal alias Devil puts a gun to Shaina’s head to escape from Himanshu; the very last scene when Devi Lal alias Devil comes face-to-face with Himanshu (there will be deafening applause in this scene); and several more. The cartoon characters used to narrate the story of Devi Lal’s growing up years are interesting. The scene in which Devil crosses the railway tracks and misses being hit by a speeding train by just a whisker will evoke shrieks and claps from the audience!

Rajat Aroraa’s dialogues are veritable gems and serve to heighten the drama. In fact, several scenes between Devi Lal and Brijesh Mehra as also between Devi Lal and Himanshu Tyagi are highly entertaining because of the wonderful dialogues. His dialogue, mouthed by Devi Lal (Salman Khan), about him (Devi Lal) endearing himself to people but about people being unable to understand him (‘Main dil mein aata hoon, samajh mein nahin’) is one of the best dialogues of this year so far, more so because it rings true for Salman Khan in real life.

Salman Khan gives a mind-blowing performance, playing to the gallery with all the conviction at his command. He excels in dramatic, romantic and comic scenes, is superb in action and stunt scenes and also makes a swell impact in the emotional scenes. He looks handsome as ever and also stands out in the dances. Jacqueline Fernandez looks glamorous and sexy and acts with admirable ease. Her dances are just too outstanding, leaving the audience staring in disbelief. Randeep Hooda shines in the role of Himanshu Tyagi. He delivers an extraordinary performance and makes his character so very likeable. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is unbelievably fantastic! His style of dialogue delivery and his acting in this film will win him lakhs of new fans. Saurabh Shukla deserves distinction marks for a job wonderfully executed. He provides many entertaining moments. Mithun Chakraborty has a brief role as Devi Lal Singh’s father but he definitely makes his presence felt with a solid show. As his wife, Archna Pooran Singh stands out in a very brief role. Vipin Sharma is superb as home minister Vishnu Gajra. His dialogue delivery is remarkable. Sanjay Mishra leaves a mark as police inspector Ram Avtaar Rathi. Arun Verma has his moments as the peon. Rajit Kapur is good as Dr. Jayant. Sumona Chakravarti (as Vidhi) and Kavin Dave (as Jignesh) lend able support. Baby Diya Chalwad is endearing and natural as Jhumki. Manita Malik is effective as Vidhi’s MLA-mother. Kamlesh Gill (as Shaina’s grandmother), Riya Vij (as Shaina’s younger sister), Sunil Pal (as the drunkard), Rajshri Deshpande (as Jhumki’s mother), Karan Anand (as Jhumki’s father), Pankaj Kalra (as minister), Ranjan Dumra (as Dr. An­sari) and master Shivansh (as the little Sikh boy) lend able support. Nargis Fakhri adds oomph, sex appeal and glamour in a song-dance. Others are effective.

Sajid Nadiadwala’s direction is so wonderful that it doesn’t look like this is his debut film. His narrative style caters to all strata of society and all age groups, to the multiplex as well as single-screen cinema audiences. Right with his first film, Sajid establishes himself as a force to reckon with among the tribe of directors. Music is very good. ‘Jumme ki raat’ (composed by Himesh Reshmmiya and written by Kumaar and Shabbir Ahmed) is already a hit song. ‘Hangover’ (music: Meet Bros. Anjjan; lyrics: Kumaar) and ‘Mar jaawaan’ (penned and composed by Yo Yo Honey Singh) are also very appealing songs. Mayur Puri’s lyrics in ‘Tu hi tu’ song (set to tune by Himesh Reshammiya) are meaningful. Song picturisations (by Ahmed Khan) are beautiful; the best choreography is of ‘Jumme ki raat’, followed by ‘Mar jaawaan’ and ‘Hangover’ songs. Julius Packiam’s background music is excellent and increases the impact of the dramatic and action scenes. Ayananka Bose’s camerawork is splendid. The cinematographer has made the film visually very eye-filling. Anl Arasu and Stefan Richter deserve distinction marks for their death-defying action and stunt sequences which provide great thrill to the masses. Sets by Acropolis (Rajnish Hedao, Sumit Basu and Snigdha Basu) are truly stylish. Rameshwar S. Bhagat’s editing is very sharp.

On the whole, Kick is a blockbuster of epic proportions! It entertains audiences of all kinds and classes. It is the kind of film which – to borrow from a dialogue mouthed by Salman Khan in the film – dil mein aati hai aur samajh mein bhi aati hai! With tremendous repeat value too, this one will shake the box-office, set cash registers ringing and ultimately emerge as one of the biggest blockbusters of Indian cinema. It could easily turn out to be the highest grosser of Salman’s career so far!

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KICK

UTV Motion Pictures and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s Kick (UA) is the story of Devi Lal Singh (Salman Khan), who is so brainy and so different that he just doesn’t fancy doing the usual, routine and mundane things. He gets a kick in his life when he does the unusual. Hence, by his very nature, he is adventurous.

Devi falls in love with a psychiatrist, Poland-based Shaina Mehra (Jacqueline Fernandez), whom he meets in Delhi under strange circumstances. Obviously, Shaina’s father, Brijesh Mehra (Saurabh Shukla), is not happy with Shaina’s choice because, among other things, Devi doesn’t even have a permanent job – he quits jobs within days as he gets bored very easily. Even as their romance is blossoming, Devi walks out of Shaina’s life after a tiff with her. For one year, there’s no contact between the two. Shaina is extremely sad about the breakup because she also loves Devi very dearly. Brijesh Mehra, who is very worried about Shaina’s marriage, sees a potential groom in Himanshu Tyagi (Randeep Hooda). Himanshu, the son of a family friend, is a police officer, who comes to Poland from India in connection with a criminal case and who stays in their house during his Poland stint.

Shaina, who can’t get over Devi, is in no mood to marry anyone else. She tells Himanshu the story of Devi and how he had gone out of her life. On his part, Himanshu tells Shaina about the case that has brought him to Poland. He wants to nab Devil (Salman Khan under a new identity; the name is got by adding the ‘l’ of Lal Singh to his name ‘Devi’) who has been killing rich businessmen on important dates but has still not been nabbed by the Indian police. In fact, the Indian police does not even know what Devil looks like or who he is! Himanshu, who has had a spotless and cent per cent track record, has taken it upon himself to arrest Devil, come what may. Himanshu is sure, Devil’s next victim would be Shiv Gajra (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), the corrupt nephew of India’s equally corrupt home minister, Vishnu Gajra (Vipin Sharma). Since Shiv Gajra is due to arrive in Poland for some work, Himanshu is sure, Devil would try to kill him on the foreign soil. Even otherwise, Devil has given Himanshu enough hint that he would be going to Poland.

As luck would have it, Devi Lal alias Devil also stays with the Mehras while in Poland – even as Himanshu is their guest. Meanwhile, Shaina has given her consent to marry Himanshu as Devi Lal Singh, she learns, is suffering from a mental disorder because of which he has forgotten his past. In fact, Shaina has brought Devi to her home from hospital just so that she can cure him and make him remember his past including their love affair. Himanshu and Shaina, of course, are unware that Devil is none other than Devi Lal. But Devi Lal knows that Himanshu has come to Poland to thwart his (Devil’s) attempt to eliminate Shiv Gajra and to arrest him (Devil).

Why does Devil want to kill Shiv Gajra? Is it a personal vendetta or is there some other reason too? Does he succeed in his mission? Or does Shiv Gajra prove to be too smart for Devi Lal alias Devil? Does Himanshu get to know who Devil is? Does he get to know that Devil is none other than Shaina’s ex-boyfriend, Devi Lal? Does Himanshu succeed in arresting or killing Devil before the latter can murder Shiv Gajra? Does Shaina learn of the fact that the criminal whom Himanshu is looking for is none other than Devi Lal? Does Devi Lal get back his lost memory? Whom does Shaina marry – Devi Lal or Himanshu?

The film is a remake of the Telugu hit, Kick. The story is very engaging and keeps the audience involved and engrossed right from the word ‘go’. The screenplay, penned by Rajat Aroraa, Keith Gomes, Sajid Nadiadwala and Chetan Bhagat, is so fast-paced and so entertaining that the audience doesn’t get time to even think. There are a few dull moments, no doubt, but they are for very short durations, be­cause of which boredom doesn’t creep in. Overall, the drama has so many twists and turns that the audience’s eyes remain glued to the screen lest they miss something. Actually, the second half appears a bit confusing for a while but that’s because the back story of Shiv Gajra is revealed later. Once that happens, all the confusion is put to rest.

The screenplay is so clever that it caters to the classes and the masses alike, to the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the guys and the girls, the multiplex audience and the single-screen cinema audience, the viewers in ‘A’ class centres as well as in ‘B’ and ‘C’ class centres. The film has a balanced dose of romance, comedy, drama, action, song, dance and even a dash of emotions. The romance is fresh, the comedy is extremely entertaining and enjoyable, the action is supremely breathtaking and the emotions definitely move the viewer even if they may not make everyone cry. The climax sequence, involving kids, is a highlight and will evoke a loud round of applause in the cinema halls.

Not just the climax, there are a number of other scenes which will be met with thunderous rounds of applause. Some of the highlight scenes and sequences are: the introduction sequence of Devi Lal in which he gets Vidhi (Sumona Chakravarti) married to Jignesh (Kavin Dave) against her MLA-mother’s (Manita Malik) wishes; the romantic scenes of Devi Lal and Shaina; the scene in which Devi Lal goes to Shaina’s house to meet her father (this scene will bring the house down with laughter); several action sequences and breathtaking stunts; the scenes of Shiv Gajra; the scene in which Devi Lal and Himanshu bond over drinks; the scene in which Devi Lal alias Devil puts a gun to Shaina’s head to escape from Himanshu; the very last scene when Devi Lal alias Devil comes face-to-face with Himanshu (there will be deafening applause in this scene); and several more. The cartoon characters used to narrate the story of Devi Lal’s growing up years are interesting. The scene in which Devil crosses the railway tracks and misses being hit by a speeding train by just a whisker will evoke shrieks and claps from the audience!

Rajat Aroraa’s dialogues are veritable gems and serve to heighten the drama. In fact, several scenes between Devi Lal and Brijesh Mehra as also between Devi Lal and Himanshu Tyagi are highly entertaining because of the wonderful dialogues. His dialogue, mouthed by Devi Lal (Salman Khan), about him (Devi Lal) endearing himself to people but about people being unable to understand him (‘Main dil mein aata hoon, samajh mein nahin’) is one of the best dialogues of this year so far, more so because it rings true for Salman Khan in real life.

Salman Khan gives a mind-blowing performance, playing to the gallery with all the conviction at his command. He excels in dramatic, romantic and comic scenes, is superb in action and stunt scenes and also makes a swell impact in the emotional scenes. He looks handsome as ever and also stands out in the dances. Jacqueline Fernandez looks glamorous and sexy and acts with admirable ease. Her dances are just too outstanding, leaving the audience staring in disbelief. Randeep Hooda shines in the role of Himanshu Tyagi. He delivers an extraordinary performance and makes his character so very likeable. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is unbelievably fantastic! His style of dialogue delivery and his acting in this film will win him lakhs of new fans. Saurabh Shukla deserves distinction marks for a job wonderfully executed. He provides many entertaining moments. Mithun Chakraborty has a brief role as Devi Lal Singh’s father but he definitely makes his presence felt with a solid show. As his wife, Archna Pooran Singh stands out in a very brief role. Vipin Sharma is superb as home minister Vishnu Gajra. His dialogue delivery is remarkable. Sanjay Mishra leaves a mark as police inspector Ram Avtaar Rathi. Arun Verma has his moments as the peon. Rajit Kapur is good as Dr. Jayant. Sumona Chakravarti (as Vidhi) and Kavin Dave (as Jignesh) lend able support. Baby Diya Chalwad is endearing and natural as Jhumki. Manita Malik is effective as Vidhi’s MLA-mother. Kamlesh Gill (as Shaina’s grandmother), Riya Vij (as Shaina’s younger sister), Sunil Pal (as the drunkard), Rajshri Deshpande (as Jhumki’s mother), Karan Anand (as Jhumki’s father), Pankaj Kalra (as minister), Ranjan Dumra (as Dr. An­sari) and master Shivansh (as the little Sikh boy) lend able support. Nargis Fakhri adds oomph, sex appeal and glamour in a song-dance. Others are effective.

Sajid Nadiadwala’s direction is so wonderful that it doesn’t look like this is his debut film. His narrative style caters to all strata of society and all age groups, to the multiplex as well as single-screen cinema audiences. Right with his first film, Sajid establishes himself as a force to reckon with among the tribe of directors. Music is very good. ‘Jumme ki raat’ (composed by Himesh Reshmmiya and written by Kumaar and Shabbir Ahmed) is already a hit song. ‘Hangover’ (music: Meet Bros. Anjjan; lyrics: Kumaar) and ‘Mar jaawaan’ (penned and composed by Yo Yo Honey Singh) are also very appealing songs. Mayur Puri’s lyrics in ‘Tu hi tu’ song (set to tune by Himesh Reshammiya) are meaningful. Song picturisations (by Ahmed Khan) are beautiful; the best choreography is of ‘Jumme ki raat’, followed by ‘Mar jaawaan’ and ‘Hangover’ songs. Julius Packiam’s background music is excellent and increases the impact of the dramatic and action scenes. Ayananka Bose’s camerawork is splendid. The cinematographer has made the film visually very eye-filling. Anl Arasu and Stefan Richter deserve distinction marks for their death-defying action and stunt sequences which provide great thrill to the masses. Sets by Acropolis (Rajnish Hedao, Sumit Basu and Snigdha Basu) are truly stylish. Rameshwar S. Bhagat’s editing is very sharp.

On the whole, Kick is a blockbuster of epic proportions! It entertains audiences of all kinds and classes. It is the kind of film which – to borrow from a dialogue mouthed by Salman Khan in the film – dil mein aati hai aur samajh mein bhi aati hai! With tremendous repeat value too, this one will shake the box-office, set cash registers ringing and ultimately emerge as one of the biggest blockbusters of Indian cinema. It could easily turn out to be the highest grosser of Salman’s career so far!

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LAI BHAARI
(Marathi)

Zee Talkies, Essel Vision Produc­tions Ltd., Cinemantra Production and Mumbai Film Company’s Lai Bhaari (Marathi; tax-free) is the story of good versus evil. Pratap Nimbalkar (Uday Tikekar) is a much-loved man in his village because he is very noble, generous and extremely helpful. His brother and nephew, Sangram (Shar­ad Kelkar), lose no opportunity to cheat and torture the villagers by usurping their land. Since Pratap Nimbalkar comes in the way of their nefarious activities, Sangram and his father have him murdered. Prince, the educated son of Pratap, is also killed by Sangram as he gets down to exposing the father-son duo.

Sumitra Devi (Tanvi Azmi), the widow of Pratap Nimbalkar, is humiliated by Sangram and thrown out of her own mansion. Accompanied by a family friend-cum-assistant, Sakha (Sanjay Khapre), Sumitra Devi goes to Pandharpur where she is in for a surprise. What is the surprise?

Sumitra Devi pleads with Mauli (Ritesh Vilasrao Deshmukh), whom she meets in Pandharpur, to avenge the murder of her husband and son. Why does she ask Mauli to come to her rescue? Who is Mauli? Does he come to the village and help Sumitra Devi and the helpless villagers? If yes, what is it that prompts him to aid people he has never met in his life? If no, what stops him from helping the helpless?

Sajid Nadiadwala has penned a story which is a complete masala entertainer. It has some excellent twists and turns, which keep the audience’s eyes glued to the screen. Ritesh Shah’s screenplay is absolutely mass-oriented. He has packed in a lot of action, some emotions, a bit of romance, a good touch of mythology, comedy, drama and songs to make the film a wholesome entertainer. The screenplay is so fast-paced that it doesn’t give the audience time to think or get distracted. Of course, the emotional appeal could’ve been stronger but that’s not a major aberration. Over­all, the film entertains the audience so thoroughly that the defects don’t really matter too much. There are, in fact, several clap-worthy scenes. Sanjay Pawar’s dialogues are excellent.

Ritesh Vilasrao Deshmukh does a very fine job and plays to the gallery after interval. He acts wonderfully and also impresses in the action scenes. Radhika Apte may have a small role but she shines as Kavita. Sharad Kelkar does a remarkable job as Sangram. He fills the screen with his presence, and his wonderful voice adds beautifully to his character. Tanvi Azmi is effective but she falls short in a couple of scenes in which she could have moved the audience to tears. Sanjay Khapre is splendid in the role of Sakha. He acts wonderfully. Uday Tikekar makes his presence felt with a convincing performance. Aditi Pohankar leaves a mark as Nandini. Baby Mrunal Jadhav is very cute and confident and impresses every time she comes on the screen. Maushmi Had­kar has her moments as Sumitra Devi’s maid. Salman Khan is supremely endearing in a special appearance. The dialogues he mouths are inspired by his real life and that will provide the audience a big reason to enjoy them. Genelia Deshmukh comes like a whiff of fresh air in a special appearance in a song-dance. Others in the cast provide able support.

Nishikant Kamat’s direction is excellent. He has given the film a huge canvas and his narration keeps the viewers engrossed all through. He could’ve handled the emotional scenes with more sensitivity, though. Ajay-Atul’s music is very good. The ‘Mauli’ song is terrific. A couple of other songs are also appealing. Guru Thakur and Ajay-Atul’s lyrics are good. Sameer Phaterpekar deserves distinction marks for his extraordinary background music. Sanjay Memane has shot the film just too beautifully. His cinematography is truly remarkable. His capturing of the scenes of the Pandharpur pilgrimage is outstanding. Arif Shaikh’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, Lai Bhaari is an excellent entertainer and will prove to be a richly rewarding film despite being a very costly one (investment is about Rs. 9 crore). Sureshot hit!

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HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA

Dharma Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (UA) is the love story of Rakesh alias Humpty Sharma (Varun Dhawan) and Kavya (Alia Bhatt). Kavya lives in Ambala with her father (Ashutosh Rana), mother (Deepika Amin), brother (Aditya Sharma), grandmother (Jaswant Daman) and a divorced sister (Mahnaz Damania). She is due to get married to an NRI boy selected by her father. She is keen to wear a designer lehenga on her big day and to shop for that, she goes to Delhi to her maternal uncle’s house. Since her family won’t let her buy such an expensive outfit, she decides to earn money by means fair and unfair, to pay for the designer dress.

In Delhi, Kavya meets Humpty under strange circumstances. They become friends and soon, the friendship turns to love. In spite of the fact that she is due to get married in less than a month-and-a-half, Kavya gets physical with Humpty, who is also aware of her impending marriage.

Back in Ambala, Kavya is unable to forget Humpty. She sends him a car he had yearned for, as a gift, in return for his help in getting back the money her friend in Delhi had paid her blackmailing boyfriend. Since Humpty is also madly in love with Kavya and as Kavya had returned to Ambala without buying the expensive designer lehenga, Humpty reaches her home in Ambala with the dress she would have loved to wear on her wedding day, taking his two best friends along. But Kavya’s father is too smart for Humpty and he smells a rat. He gets Humpty to vomit out the truth and he is livid when Humpty tells him that he and Kavya are in love with one another. Kavya’s brother beats up Humpty and his two friends, Shonty (Gaurav Pandey) and Poplu (Sahil Vaid), mercilessly but instead of returning to Delhi, Humpty is persistent in his quest to marry Kavya. Anyway, Kavya’s marriage is now just a few days away.

Seeing Humpty’s persistence, Kavya’s father thinks up a plan to get him out of Kavya’s life. As Kavya’s to-be-husband, Angad (Siddharth Shukla), is due to reach Ambala, he challenges Humpty to interact with and/or observe Angad and give him (the father) reasons why he is not the right life partner for Kavya. Left with no option, Humpty accepts the challenge and, along with his two friends, sets out to find shortcomings, if any, in Angad. For, if only he can prove that Angad is not the perfect match for Kavya would her father give her hand in marriage to him (Humpty).

So, what happens thereafter? Is Humpty able to prove to Kavya’s father that Angad is not the right choice for her or not? Does Kavya sacrifice her love and get married to Angad? Does Humpty reconcile himself to the situation and walk out of Kavya’s life? What is the stance of Kavya’s father? What does Angad do?

Shashank Khaitan has scripted a love story which midway turns into a family drama too. His story about a boy falling in love with a girl who is soon to be married, reminds of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Chalte Chalte but the similarity ends there. His screenplay is quite different. The first half is light and the emphasis is on the fun element. There are many scenes in which the audience ends up smiling or laughing. The first couple of reels are routine but once Kavya and Humpty meet in Delhi, the film moves very smoothly and at a good pace, keeping the audience entertained thoroughly. The second half becomes a bit repetitive but if, in spite of that, the audience’s interest remains alive, it is because of the several twists and turns in the drama. The sequences in which Humpty and his friends try to find out the shortcomings of Angad, are truly funny. The scenes of Humpty interacting with Kavya’s father are very cute. The climax is not as arresting as the issue (drama) warrants and it also looks hurried. But it must be said that the pre-climax scene, in which Humpty confronts Kavya’s father, is a highlight and would come in for a lot of praise and even elicit claps. All in all, the screenplay, despite some dips post-interval, is engaging and entertaining. Shashank Khaitan’s dialogues are very nice and if the funny ones evoke laughter, the dramatic ones also have a huge impact on the audience.

Varun Dhawan does a lovely job and plays Humpty Sharma with all the earnestness at his command. His dialogue delivery in the typical middle-class, Delhi-based Punjabi ‘Romeo’ style, is very endearing. Alia Bhatt shines, delivering a first-rate performance as Kavya. Her dialogue delivery and expressions are simply excellent. She looks pretty too. At the rate at which Alia is going, film after film, it shouldn’t be long before she reaches the top! Ashutosh Rana is extraordinary as Kavya’s father. He plays the character with remarkable ease and understanding. Siddharth Shukla is impressive in his maiden film role. He has screen presence and charisma and he also acts ably. Sahil Vaid is wonderful as Poplu and evokes laughter with his antics, acting and facial expressions. Gaurav Pandey also lends admirable support as Shonty. Jaswant Daman (as Kavya’s grandmother), Kenneth Desai (as Humpty’s father), Deepika Amin (as Kavya’s mother), Mahnaz Damania (as Kavya’s sister) and Aditya Sharma (as Kavya’s brother) stand their own, in well-defined roles. Jaswinder Kapoor (as the examiner), Jimmy Viryani (as Bhanu), Manish Walia (as the salesman at the garment store), Sagar Kale (as the tailor), Shivani Mahajan (as Mrs. Chhibber) and the others provide able support.

Shashank Khaitan, whose maiden release this is as a writer and director, adopts a narrative style which is very easy and of the kind which would appeal to audiences of all age groups. He has used a simplistic style of direction to match his simple story of matters of the heart, and he deserves distinction marks for that. Music is very good but rather than the original compositions, the two re-arranged songs (by Sharib-Toshi) – ‘Saturday Saturday’ (originally composed by Badshah and Titans) and ‘Samjhawan’ (originally composed by Jawad Ahmed) – are the best. They are, in fact, already hits and they are supremely appealing in the film, too. The other songs (composed by Sachin-Jigar and Sharib-Toshi) are good but they aren’t very popular. The ‘Daingad Daingad’ (Sachin-Jigar) song is the better of the lot. Lyrics (Indeep Bakshi and Feat Badshah for ‘Saturday Saturday’, additional lyrics by Kumaar; Ahmad Anees for ‘Samjhawan’, additional lyrics by Kumaar; Irshad Kamil, Shashank Khaitan and Kumaar for the other songs) are very good. Ahmed Khan’s choreography in ‘Saturday Saturday’ and Adil Shaikh’s choreography in ‘Daingad Daingad’ are excellent. Remo D’Souza’s choreography in ‘Lucky tu lucky me’ and Chinni Prakash’s, in the ‘D se dance’ song are also eye-filling. John Stewart Eduri’s background music is of a good standard. Neha Parti Matiyani’s cinematography is lovely. Vikram Dahiya and Deepak Sharma’s action scenes and stunts are fairly good. Parichit Paralkar’s production design is appropriate. Manan Sagar’s editing is crisp.

On the whole, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania is an enjoyable entertainer and will keep everyone associated with it, as also the audience, very happy. With around 75% of its cost of Rs. 28-30 crore already recovered prior to release, it is anybody’s guess that it will yield very handsome profits to the producers and distributors, right from the first weekend itself, while keeping the exhibitors smiling from ear to ear. Hit!

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