Hindi Medium

HINDI MEDIUM
T-Series Films and Maddock Films’ Hindi Medium is a comedy about a couple obsessed with getting their little daughter admitted to a top-line English-medium school.
Raj Batra (Irrfan Khan) owns a readymade garments shop in Delhi and lives in Chandni Chowk. Son of a tailor (Rajeev Gupta), Raj is rich but simple by nature. His wife, Mita (Saba Qamar), is too image-conscious. She is hell-bent on getting their little dau ghter, Pia (baby Dishita Sehgal), admitted to one of the leading Eng lish-medium schools in Delhi. But since both, Raj and Mita, are Hindi-speaking parents, it’s not easy for them to get admission for their daughter in an English school of stature. While the simpleton Raj sees no harm in getting his daughter admitted to a government school, his image-conscious wife is adamant that it has to be a private school of repute. The things, the Batra couple has to do for their daughter’s admission in a top-line school, and the comedy that follows has been shown in the film.
The Batras ultimately succeed in getting admission for their daughter in principal Lodha’s (Amrita Singh) Delhi Grammar School but in the low in come group category for which they have to pose as poor people. How ever, that’s not the end of their tale of woes. Something else happens on the day Pia gets admission, which dis- turbs Raj Batra’s peace of mind. What is it that has disturbed Raj’s peace? Will Raj take matters into his own hands and listen to the voice of his conscience? Or will his over-bearing wife not let him take charge?
Zeenat Lakhani and Saket Chau dhary have written a story which ex poses the hypocrisy associated with high-society people who look down upon people who can’t speak Eng lish. Although the story is basically a comic one, it also has an important and serious message about our edu cation system and about the vanity of the rich and famous. The story tackles a point which affects everybody in his/ her life and is, therefore, very relatab le. But the humour is of the kind that would appeal mainly to the class and city audiences. The comedy that hap pens when the Batras try to become cool and modern and when their des peration gets the better of them is so entertaining and so enjoyable that the city and class audiences will not be able to control their laughter. The first half has a fantastic dose of humour while the post-interval portion has a dash of emotions and a serious drama too. The duo’s screenplay is superb. The drama unfolds so logically and so seamlessly that it is sheer delight. There are a number of scenes which will bring the house down with laughter. The scene in which Raj Batra tries to sell a wedding outfit to a mother-daughter duo, the scene in which Mita Batra throws a party in her new house, the scene in which the Batra couple interacts with the consultant (Tillota ma Shome), the scene in which prin cipal Lodha’s Hindi teacher reaches Raj Batra’s house in the poor man’s colony (Bharat Nagar), the scene in which Shyamprakash (Deepak Dobri yal) reaches Raj Batra’s house – these are all outstanding scenes which will have the viewers in splits. There are many other comic seq uences which will be loved by the city-based audience and class viewers. No doubt, the climax is over-idealistic, which may not go well with the hum orous drama before that, but the cli max had to be that, to pass on the message which it does. The two writ ers need a huge pat on their backs for writing such a funny story and screenplay and yet conveying a lovely mes sage at the end of it all.
Amitosh Nagpal deserves distinction marks for his extraordinary dia logues. His is truly inspired writing and his dialogues add hugely to the come dy and humour.
Irrfan Khan is outstanding in the role of Raj Batra. The man is a class apart when it comes to getting into the skin of the character. Every single scene of Irrfan shows the actor’s brilli ance and his mastery over the med ium. Indeed, an award-winning perfor mance! It’s not just the actor’s spoken dialogues, even his expressions, his mannerisms, his sense of timing, his body language, his reactions – everything about him is tops! Saba Qamar is beautiful and plays Mita Batra so wonderfully well that it is delightful to watch her. She is first-rate and is just too natural. Her repeated dialogues about her little daughter growing up to be a drug addict and her repeated posers to husband Raj if he knew the spellings of selected English words is a very cute trait, used wonderfully well. Deepak Dobriyal appears only in the second half but the man is such an outstanding performer that he shines brightly whenever he is on the screen. His easy acting is as endearing as his selfless and helpful character (Shyam- prakash). Swati Das is natural to the core as Shyamprakash’s wife, Tulsi. Tillotama Shome plays the consultant to such perfection that it is difficult to imagine anyone else essaying that role. Her dialogue delivery, dipped in sarcasm, is to die for! Sumit Gulati leaves a mark as Raj Batra’s salesman, Chhotu. Amrita Singh lends dig nity to the character of principal Lodha with her stylish acting. Sanjay Suri and Neha Dhupia lend star value and are very good in special appearances. Mallika Dua (as the bride-to-be Dolly, shopping in Raj Batra’s store) and Kulbir Kaur (as Dolly’s mother) are terrific. Baby Dishita Sehgal is cute as Pia. Anurag Arora stands out as the Hindi teacher. Rajeev Gupta (as Raj’s tailor-father), Neelu Kohli (as Mita’s mother), Sanjana Sanghi (as young Mita) and Delzad Hiwale (as young Raj) lend decent support. Govind Pandey leaves a mark in a brief role as the factory supervisor. Rajesh Sharma (as MLA), Taran Bajaj (as the tout who gets school admissions done in the low income group category), S.K. Batra (as the principal of the gov ernment school), master Anshuman Nandi (as little Mohan, son of Shyam prakash), Sandeep Sachdev (as the rich Delhi guy) and the others lend excellent support.
Saket Chaudhary’s direction is fan tastic. He has made the film’s drama flow so smoothly and so fast that the target audience would marvel at his genius. Saket’s fantastic flair for comedy is evident in every light scene of the film. Music (Sachin-Jigar) goes with the mood of the film but a hit score would have been ideal. Priya Sarai ya and Kumaar’s lyrics are app ropriate. Song picturisations (by Ahmed Khan, Adil Shaikh and Rajeev Surti) are alright. Amar Mohile’s background music is superb. It serves to heighten the impact of the comedy scenes bea- utifully. Laxman Utekar’s camerawork complements the drama effectively. Production designing (by Mustafa Stationwala) is nice. A. Sreekar Pras ad’s sharp editing deserves a lot of praise.
On the whole, Hindi Medium is a very entertaining and fun film which will keep the audience in splits and the investors smiling. It has the strength to pick up due to positive word of mouth. Tax exemption in Maharashtra and Gujarat should help its business in Bombay, C.P. Berar and Nizam cir cuits.
Released on 19-5-’17 at Regal (daily 2 shows), Liberty (daily 2 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru AA Films. Publicity: good. Opening: so-so. …….Also released all over. Opening was ordinary everywhere.

 

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Hindi Medium

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HALF GIRLFRIEND

Balaji Motion Pictures Ltd., Mohit Suri and Chetan Bhagat Entertain ment Pvt. Ltd.’s Half Girlfriend (UA) is the love story of a young boy and a young girl, who belong to different strata of society.
Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) is complexed because he can’t speak correct English. His widowed mother (Seema Biswas) runs a school in a small town near Patna. Madhav is keen to do a lot for educating the children of his town and he, therefore, seeks admission in a coveted English school in the city. Despite his weak English, he gets admission on the strength of his performance in sports. In college, he meets Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor) with whom he in stantly falls in love.
Riya speaks fluent English but this is only one big difference between Madhav and her. She is also very rich whereas Madhav is not rich. Yet, their love for sports draws them close to one another. Even Riya likes Madhav, mainly for his simplicity.
Madhav’s friends in the college hostel keep admiring his luck for hav ing such a rich girlfriend but his room mate, Sailesh (Vikrant Massey), warns him about the class differences bet ween the two of them. Why, Riya her self has told Madhav that she would be his half girlfriend – more than a friend but less than a girlfriend. But Madhav is too smitten by her to con sider this as a deterrent. Then, one day, Sailesh tells Madhav to decide for himself whether this relationship would go any further, by inviting Riya to his room. Riya, broadminded as she is, sees no harm in spending some time alone, behind closed doors, in Madhav’s hostel room but she defini tely doesn’t like the advances he makes towards her in his room. That spells the end of Madhav’s relationship with Riya who walks out, comp letely dejected. Madhav tries to apologise but Riya is in no mood to forgive him.
Soon thereafter, Riya drops out of college because her marriage is fixed with an equally rich NRI boy, Rohan (Vikas Mandalya). Ready to forget the unfortunate incident between her and Madhav, Riya even invites him for her wedding.
Riya gets married and settles down in Paris. Two years pass. Madhav, now in his home town with his mother, is busy with his school.
Quite by chance, Madhav meets Riya after two years in Patna where he has come to seek a grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for his school. How is Riya in Patna instead of being in Paris?
Madhav and Riya start meeting again and their friendship grows. For Madhav, her return means the return of his lady love. But Madhav’s mother sees red in the relationship that’s re-developing. What happens thereafter? Does Riya return to Paris? Or does she grow closer to Madhav? Does Madhav get grant for his school? Why does Madhav go to the USA? What happens in the USA?
The film is based on author Chetan Bhagat’s novel of the same name. The story is interesting and engaging. It may not be novel because there have been innumerable love stories about mismatched persons but there are novel turns and twists in this story, and they keep the audience hooked. Tushar Hiranandani’s screenplay is engrossing as there’s a lot happening in the drama. The first half is entertaining and quite light-hearted. There is a dash of emotions too in the pre-interval portion when Madhav justifies why he had touched the feet of Riya’s mother only. The second half has a lot of drama and melodrama, almost equally engaging and engrossing. Yes, it appears a bit stretched but that’s a minor aberration. A couple of twists and turns in the screenplay do remind of a recently released love story (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil) but then, one realises that the similarity is not for real. Ishita Moitra Udhwani’s dialogues are appreciable.
Arjun Kapoor plays Madhav Jha with a lot of feeling and makes the audience fall in love with his simplicity and straightforwardness. It is this simplicity and integrity which he brings to the fore to moisten people’s eyes in the scene in which he explains why he had touched the feet of Riya’s mot her. He shows marked improvement in his dialogue delivery and body lan guage. Shraddha Kapoor acts with a lot of feeling and gives her cent per cent to Riya’s character. If she is effective in light, dramatic and serious scenes, she is also excellent in emo tional ones. She gets plenty of scope to showcase her talent and she does so with a lot of conviction. She looks pretty. Vikrant Massey is lovely as Madhav’s best friend, Sailesh. His Hindi diction is commendable. Seema Biswas puts in a dignified performan ce as Madhav’s no-nonsense mother. Rhea Chakraborty makes her pres ence amply felt in the role of Anshika. Sushant Sharma (as Ashu) and Akash Makhija (as Raman) are good. Dalip Sondhi (in the role of Riya’s father) and Sujata Saigal (as Riya’s mother) lend adequate support. Vikas Mandalya is alright as Rohan. Anisa Butt has her moments in the role of Rutvi. Kalol Banerjee, Bugs Bhargava and Deepak Kriplani (as the three professors who interview Madhav) are appropriate. Jiten Lalwani (as the coach), Mehar Daar (as Rohan’s mot her), Pravin Sisodiya (as MLA Ojha) and Paula McGlynn (as Samantha Brown) do what is required of them.
Mohit Suri’s direction is very good. He adopts an easy style of narration but shows his sensitivity in several scenes. To his credit, it must be said that he has extracted very good work from out of his key actors and has not let the drama lose its grip on the view ers. His song picturisations are exem plary; the songs almost always further the drama. Music is very good. ‘Main phir bhi tum ko chahoonga’ (compo sed by Mithoon) and ‘Baarish’ (by Tanishk Bagchi) are already hit songs and they gladden the heart when they come on screen. Other songs (by Rishi Rich, Farhan Saeed, Ami Mishra and Rahul Mishra) are also appealing. Lyrics (Manoj Muntashir, Kumaar, Kunaal Verma, Arafat Mehmood, Tanishk Bagchi, Laado Suwalka, R. Rekhi, Anushka Shahaney, Veronica Mehta, Yash Anand, Yash Narvekar and Ishita Moitra Udhwani) are weighty and meaningful. Song picturisations (by Raju Khan; ‘Mere dil mein’ is by Tushar Kalia) are eye-filling. Raju Singh’s background music is in synch with the drama. Vishnu Rao’s cinema tography is lovely. Javed-Aejaz’s action scenes are decent. Priya Suhas’ pro duction designing is of a good stand ard. Devendra Murdeshwar’s editing is neat and suitably sharp.
On the whole, Half Girlfriend is an entertaining commercial fare which will keep its audience and its investors happy.
Released on 19-5-’17 at Regal (daily 2 shows), New Excelsior Mukta A2 (daily 4 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay by NHStudioz thru August Entertainment. Publicity: very good. Opening: good. …….Also released all over. Opening was good in multiplexes and so-so in single-screen cinemas.

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BAHUBALI 2: THE CONCLUSION (Dubbed)

Arka Mediaworks’ Bahubali 2: The Conclusion (dubbed from the Telugu film of the same name; UA) is the second and final part in the Bahubali series. In the first part, Shiva (Prabhas) had been raised by commoners right from the day of his birth, as his grandmother, Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan), had left him right after he was born, to be tended by others while laying down her own life in the process of saving him from the clutches of his uncle, Bhalaladev (Rana Daggubati). Even as a child, Shiva had al­ ways yearned to know what was on the other side of the mountain and as a grown-up, he had crossed over to the other side and landed in Mahishmati kingdom. Not only had he found his love there but had also saved his own mother, Devasena (Anushka Shetty), from the clutches of Bhalaladev who had held her captive for 25 long years. Shiva had then realised that he belonged to the royal family of Mahishmati; that his father, Amarendra Bahubali (Prabhas), had been killed by Katappa (Sathyaraj), the trusted lieutenant of the royal family. Why had the ever-so-loyal Katappa killed Amaren­dra Bahubali?

The second film in the series sets out to answer why Katappa had killed Bahubali. It, therefore, tells the story of Shiva’s father, Amarendra Bahubali. In a sense, the second film in the series is a prequel to the first one as a major part of the second film deals with the flashback about Amarendra Bahubali. However, the last part of the second film is actually a sequel as the last portion takes off from where the first part had gotten over, once the flashback is over.

In the present film, it is shown that Amarendra Bahubali has been brought up by Sivagami along with her own son, Bhalaladev. In fact, the principled Sivagami has decided to make Amarendra Bahubali the king of Mahishmati kingdom, much to the shock of her husband (Nasser) and son, Bhalaladev (Rana Daggubati). However, on the day of the coronation, Sivagami makes Bhalaladev the king because Amarendra Bahubali wants to marry Devasena against Sivagami’s wishes. Sivagami has, a few days back, promised her son that she would get him married to Devasena but, unaware of his mother’s promise to Bhalaladev, Amarendra Bahubali has promised Devasena that he would marry her and look after her all his life. Even Deva­sena is keen to wed Amarendra Bahubali as she has fallen in love with him.

Unhappy with Amarendra Bahubali’s stand, Sivagami appoints Bhalaladev as the king, and Amarendra Bahubali as merely his lieutenant. Although Bahubali marries Devasena, the couple does not have the blessings of Sivagami. Soon, Devasena gets pregnant with Amarendra Bahubali’s child. Before she can deliver the child, Amarendra Bahubali and Devasena are thrown out of the palace by Sivagami due to the machinations  of Bhalaladev and his father. As if this were not bad enough, Katappa kills Amarendra Bahubali on the very day Devasena gives birth to their child. Why Katappa had murdered Bahubali is revealed by him (Katappa) to Shiva who has realised that he is actually Amarendra’s 25-year-old son, Mahendra Bahubali.

It is now the turn of Shiva alias Mahendra Bahubali to avenge his father’s murder and his mother, Devasena’s captivity by Bhalaladev for 25 long years.

What happens then? Who eliminates whom? And who lives happily thereafter? Who rules Mahishmati kingdom?

Vijayendra Prasad’s story is superb and has a number of twists and turns. It has emotions, romance, drama, melodrama, action, music, mythology, comedy and everything else a viewer wants to see in a commercial entertainer. The drama is so logical that the audience remains completely enthralled and captivated while it unfolds. Prasad’s story and S.S. Rajamouli’s screenplay move at such a fantastic pace and pack in so much that the viewers would not want to even blink their eyes for fear of missing out on a point or two. To the credit of the two writers, it must be said that they have packed the film with great entertainment for the audiences of all age groups and all classes. There is plenty of masala for the young and the old, for boys and girls, for men and women, for the rich and the poor, for the classes and the masses, for the families and non-family viewers, for the multiplex audience and the single-screen cinema audience. There are a number of scenes worthy of loud rounds of applause. For example, the scene in which Amarendra Bahubali offers his arms and shoul­ders for Devasena to walk over when the wooden plank leading to the boat gives way is heart-warming and clapworthy. Also clapworthy is the scene in which Amarendra Bahubali appears from nowhere and makes it possible for his mother, Sivagami, to complete her agni march. There will also be a huge round of applause when Mahendra Bahubali makes it possible for his own mother, Devasena, to complete her agni march 25 years later. The scene in which Sivagami declares a day-old tiny tot, Mahendra Bahubali, as the king of Mahishmati has a hair-raising impact and will make the weak-hearted cry tears of joy. Like clap-traps, there are many hair-raising sequences and several emotional scenes to activate the tear ducts. The scene in which Amarendra Bahubali tells his wife, Devasena, that she was wrong in cutting the fingers of the lieutenant is superb mainly for what he tells her and does thereafter. Another extraordinary scene is the one in which Amarendra Bahubali supports Devasena rather than his own mother when she asks him to let Bhalaladev marry Devasena. The scene in which Katappa raises his voice against Sivagami is also superb. The entire climax is hair-raising and supremely exciting.

Manoj Muntashir’s dialogues in pure Hindi (there is no use of Urdu at all), are extraordinary and several of them will evoke applause.

Prabhas looks handsome as ever and plays Amarendra Bahubali and Shiva alias Mahendra Bahubali to perfection. He has a physique which makes his mighty, larger-than-life and powerful character believable. His walk is majestic. His acting is terrific. He is outstanding in action and stunts. The actor can easily be accepted as the hero of a Hindi film. Anushka Shetty looks pretty and acts with effortless ease as Devasena. Rana Daggubati does a swell job as Bhalaladev. His physique, visible in the climax when he takes off his shirt, is fantastic. Ramya Krishnan shines in the role of Sivagami. Her facial expressions and her eyes speak volumes. She looks regal. Sathyaraj is splendid as Katappa. His acting is as natural as natural can be. Nasser is very effective as Sivagami’s frustrated husband and Bhalaladev’s manipulative father. Tamannah gets very limited scope as Avantika but she does well. Others lend terrific support.

S.S. Rajamouli’s direction is remarkable. He has made a film which has plenty of masala for every section of the audience. Undoubtedly, he is one of the best directors Indian cinema can boast of. His narrative style is so outstanding that there is not a single dull moment in it. With audience tastes being so varied in different regions and among different age groups and classes, it is not a mean task to make a film which can captivate every single viewer – and S.S. Rajamouli has achieved just that. M.M. Kreem’s music is good but there is no hit number for the Hindi-speaking audience. Yet, the songs are appealing in the film. The ‘Tana’ song is very nice; the ‘Surya’ song has a hair-raising quality about it. Manoj Muntashir’s lyrics are wonderful, making the songs sound more appealing. Song picturisations are lovely. K.K. Senthil Kumar’s cinematography is par excellence. Visual effects and computer graphics are of Hollywood standard. Sabu Cyril’s production designing is grand. The sets are superb. Stunts (by King Solomon, Lee Whittaker and Kecha Khamphakdee) are breathtaking. They will draw huge rounds of applause from the masses and youngsters. Editing (by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao and Thammi Raju) is razor-sharp. Dubbing is truly terrific.

On the whole, Bahubali 2: The Conclusion is not just a movie, it is a phenomenon. It will set new benchmarks for a dubbed film and will emerge as one of the biggest Hindi blockbusters of all time. Why, it may also turn out to be the biggest ever blockbuster in Hindi in spite of being a dubbed fare. If the business of all the versions (Telugu, Tamil, Hindi dubbed and Malayalam dubbed) is considered, it will prove to be the BIGGEST BLOCKBUSTER EVER, no questions asked. Its business in big as well as in small centres, and in multiplexes as well as in single-screen cinemas will be huge. This one has tremendous repeat value. This one is destined to smash almost all (if not all) box-office records. This one is destined to write new box-office history.

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MAATR

CDB Musical Production, Anjum Rizvi Film Co., Manoj Adhikari Production and Pugmark Films Pvt. Ltd.’s Maatr (A) is the story of revenge of a wronged woman.

Vidya (Raveena Tandon) is a teacher. One horrific night, she and her school-going daughter, Tia (Alisha Khan), are brutally raped by a gang of men. Vidya’s daughter dies soon after the gang rape but Vidya survives.

Devastated, Vidya seeks justice from the police but she soon realises that the rich and the influential are beyond the law of the land. With no justice coming her way, Vidya decides to seek revenge herself. How she eliminates the rapists one by one is the crux of the story.

Michael Pellico’s story is oft-repeated and does not have even an iota of novelty except that in this, the mother and daughter are raped at the same time and same place. The novelty stops there, after which the revenge drama is pretty much like in any other vendetta film. Michael Pellico’s screenplay, with additional writing by Mishka Singh, Appdeep Meshram and Nishant Singh, is dull, to say the least. Although it is a revenge story, the screenplay is so drab that it fails to really keep the audience engrossed. In fact, the revenge track is also not consistently exciting. For instance, the track of Vidya asking one of her students, Meenal Shrivastav (Amisha Sinha), to kill one of the rapists by getting into a hotel room with him seems weird, maybe even objectionable. Again, the ease with which Vidya successfully seeks revenge makes the plot seem implausible. Dialogues (by Mishka Singh, Appdeep Meshram, Nishant Singh and Michael Pellico) are hardly effective.

Raveena Tandon does a fair job as Vidya, the vendetta woman. Divya Jagdale is quite good as her friend, Ritu. Alisha Khan is effective in the role of Tia. Madhur Mittal performs ably as Apurva Malik. Anurag Arora is so-so as police inspector Shroff. As police officer Akhil, Saheem Khan lends ordinary support. Rushad Rana is average as Vidya’s husband, Ravi Chauhan. Nitin Sharma (as Inder Jangra), Piyush Kaushik (as Sikandar Beniwal), Pranav Brara (as Sophian Khan), Sutinder Singh (as Mama), Bhuvan Kaila (as Harshit Poojary) and Ishan Bhatt (as Kamran Qureshi) provide the necessary support.

Ashtar Sayed’s direction is routine. Music (Fuzon and Kavita Seth) and lyrics (Munawwar Rana, Swanand Kirkire and S.K. Khalish) are functional. Utkarsh Dhotekar’s background music is not very impactful. Hari K. Vedantam’s cinematography is alright. Vikram Dahiya’s action and stunt scenes are good. Ashish Porwal’s art direction hardly deserves separate ment­ion. Editing (by Girish Verma and Manoj Magar) is loose.

On the whole, Maatr will go largely unnoticed as it is too routine to entertain.

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NOOR

Super Cassettes Industries Pvt. Ltd. and Abundantia Entertainment’s Noor (UA) is the story of a broadcast journalist. Based on Saba Imtiaz’s novel, Karachi: You’re Killing Me, it talks about a journalist who suddenly becomes a sensation.

Noor Roy Choudhary (Sonakshi Sinha) works for a broadcast news agency run by Shekhar (Manish Chaudhari). She is frustrated as she is asked to do inane and inconsequential stories while she is keen on doing socially relevant stories. Her personal life is also not in a great space – for one, she is overweight, and secondly, she has just had a break-up with boyfriend Rahul Parekh (Nikhil Khurana). In short, she is far from being happy. She has two close friends, Saad (Kanan Gill) and Zaara (Shibani Dandekar). Just recently, she has started hooking up with Ayananka Banerjee (Purab Kohli), a war photo-journalist.

One day, quite by chance, she hits upon a great story about the illegal business of trading in human organs, carried on by Dr. Shinde (Hempushpak Arora) who works for a trust run by her boss, Shekhar’s in-laws. She interviews one such victim, Vilas (Suraj Kumar Roy), whose kidney was removed forcibly by Dr. Shinde. Noor also interviews Vilas’ sister, Malti (Smita Tambe), who works as a maid in her house.

As is his wont, Shekhar sits over the story for a couple of days, during which time Noor’s boyfriend, Ayananka, sells her story as his own. Noor is devastated as this was going to be her ticket to fame. To make matters worse, Dr. Shinde is acquitted by the court in the case that follows the news story. Dr. Shinde also has Vilas killed. Noor is now in a miserable state of mind. She had a great story which her boyfriend had passed off as his own; and she realises that her reckless interview of Vilas exposing Dr. Shinde had led to his murder. Even her boss, Shekhar, fires her for being so insensitive to human life.

And then, Noor does something which changes her life. She becomes an overnight sensation. Not just that, Dr. Shinde is arrested too.

Saba Imtiaz’s story, taken from her novel, Karachi: You’re Killing Me, is hardly impactful, probably because of the slipshod way in which it unfolds in the film. The screenplay, written by Althea Delmas-Kaushal, Shikhaa Sharma and Sunhil Sippy, is full of holes and fails to involve the viewers. The audience never ever feels for Noor and can’t empathise with her predicament. Why, the viewer doesn’t even feel too bad when Noor’s boyfriend steals her story. The audience expects boss Shekhar to be angry with Noor for exposing a doctor working in a trust run by his wife’s family but that never happens. Why it doesn’t happen is not even clear. When Noor meets Shekhar after her story is stolen by Ayananka, she accuses him (Shekhar) of sitting on her story, which is true. But what is just not understandable is her comment that her career was doomed now that her story had been plagiarised. Doomed? At the most, Noor could have cried that her career could not take off because of the story hav­ing been flicked. But how on earth was her career going to be doomed because of this aberration? Also, Shekhar fires her from the job but it’s not clear why he does so. Is it because the great story could not go with his employee’s byline? Unlikely, because it was Shekhar responsible for this rather than Noor. Then, is it because Noor’s reckless action had led to Vilas’ murder? But why would a boss fire his employee for failing as a human being and not failing as a journalist – that too, a boss who is not at all shown as being conscientious? There is another scene in which Noor is interviewed on a television channel for posting a video which goes viral. After the interview, Saad and Zaara hug Noor as if she had climbed Mt. Everest. Why the excitement? Whatever may have happened, if at all, after the interview may have taken days to happen – then why were the three friends rejoicing immediately after the interview? Is a television interview so important or such an achievement for a broadcast journalist? All in all, the screenplay is childish and often silly. Actually, the opening of the film, wherein Noor goes on and on about her life is such a put-off that it prejudices the viewer’s mind.

Ishita Moitra Udhwani’s dialogues are weak. Many of the dialogues, designed to be funny, fail to evoke laughter or even bring a smile to the face.

Sonakshi Sinha does an average job as a journalist. Her constant crib­bing gets on the audience’s nerves but that’s got more to do with her characterisation than her acting. Kanan Gill is not hero material. His performance is okay but his Hindi pronunciation needs improvement. Purab Kohli is charming as Ayananka Banerjee. Shibani Dandekar gets very limited scope as Zaara. Manish Chaudhari is alright as Noor’s boss, Shekhar. Smita Tambe acts in a natural style as maid Malti. M.K. Raina is wooden in the role of Noor’s father. Suchitra Pillai (as Lavina, wife of Shekhar), Sunny Leone (as herself), Nikhil Khurana (as Rahul Parekh), Shahnaaz Deshpande (as Nayantara), Hempushpak Arora (as Dr. Shinde), Suraj Kumar Roy (as Vilas) and the others provide routine support.

Sunhil Sippy’s direction is dull. His narration fails to involve the audiences who then passively view the drama unfold on the screen. Sippy seems to be at sea about commercial cinema! Amaal Malik’s music is ordinary. One song (by Badshah) is somewhat entertaining. Lyrics (Manoj Muntashir and Kumaar) are okay. Adil Shaikh’s choreography is fair. Background music (by Naren Chandavarkar and Benedict Taylor) is average. Keiko Nakahara’s camerawork is okay. Production designing (by Mansi Dhruv Mehta) could’ve been better. Aarif Sheikh’s editing ought to have been far more tight.

On the whole, Noor is a flop fare.

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ANAARKALI OF AARAH

Promodome Motion Pictures’ Anaarkali Of Aarah (A) is the story of a singer and her fight against people who want to sexually exploit her.

Anarkali (Swara Bhaskar) is a singer who lives in Arrah and entertains people by singing on the stage. At one such singing event, vice chancellor Dharmender Chauhan (Sanjay Mish­ra), in his drunken stupor, misbehaves with her and molests her, openly asking her (on the stage) to have physical relations with him. Anarkali slaps him, much to the discomfort of her manager, Rangeela (Pankaj Tripathi), who asks her to apologise to Chauhan and make peace with him. But Anarkali is in no mood for a settlement and goes to the police station to lodge a complaint. However, police inspector Chulbul Pandey (Vijay Kumar) is a paid stooge of the vice chancellor and refuses to file her complaint. Rather, he frames Anarkali on charges of pros­titution and arrests her. Rangeela bails Anarkali out and takes her to Chauhan to settle matters. But Anarkali is unrelenting.

Soon, Anarkali is forced to leave Arrah when Chauhan, Chulbul Pandey and their men don’t let her live in peace. Accompanied by her trusted friend, Anwar (Mayur More), she comes to Delhi and struggles to record her songs. A studio owner (Nitin Arora) gives her a break as a singer after his agent, Hiraman Tiwari (Ishteyak Khan), pleads with him. But Anarkali’s joy is shortlived as Chauhan’s men track her down in Delhi.

Anarkali is once again arrested. It is then that she enters into a pact with vice chancellor Dharmender Chauhan. What is the pact? Does Anarkali compromise on her principles? Or does she seek revenge on Chauhan?

Avinash Das has penned a story which talks of a woman’s fight to maintain her dignity. Although the milieu is different, the crux of the story is not very different from several other vendetta films about a woman’s dignity. The first half is fairly interesting but the drama loses its grip on the audience after that. Avinash Das’ screenplay does not have the desired emotional impact on the viewers if only because it concentrates on just one episode – of molestation. Anarkali is not shown to be a force to reckon with for her neighbours or singers of her kind or even in Delhi once she gets break as a singer whose album would be out. In that sense, the screenplay is limited in its appeal. After a point of time, it moves quite predictably. Dialogues, written by Avinash Das, are quite realistic.

Swara Bhaskar is natural to the core in the role of singer Anarkali. She walks, talks and sings like a professional singer from Arrah. Sanjay Mishra plays the lecherous vice chancellor with all the conviction at his command. Pankaj Tripathi is effective in the role of the spineless Rangeela. Ishteyak Khan makes his presence beautifully felt as Hiraman Tiwari. Mayur More has his moments as Anwar. Vijay Kumar is lovely as police inspector Chulbul Pandey. Abhishek Sharma (as Sukhilal) and Vishwa Bhanu (as Dukhilal) are ordinary. Nitin Arora lends able support as the studio owner. Ipsita Chakraborty Singh (as Chamki Rani), Manmohan Joshi (as Faiyazbhai), Brijesh Karanval (as Muffler), Dilip Kumar Gupta (as ATM), Nilesh Kumar Deepak, Indrajeet Kumar and Prashant Giri (all three as the vice chancellor’s men), Amit Navendu (as Satyakam Anand), Ram Kumar Singh (as the press reporter), Suman Patel (as Munni), Anshika Chauhan (as young Anarkali), Shobhna Bhardwaj (as the vice chancellor’s wife), Nisha Jha (as Chandni Chauhan), Monica Chowdhury (as the Sanskrit woman) and the rest provide the desired support.

Avinash Das’ direction is fairly good but the narration will not appeal to the multiplex audience. Rohit Sharma’s music is alright but there is not a single song which would appeal to the city youth. Lyrics (Ramkumar Singh, Dr. Sagar, Ravinder Randhawa and Avinash Das) are okay. Shabina Khan’s choreography is fair. Rohit Sharma’s background score is so-so. Arvind Kannabiran’s cinematography is okay. Production designing (by Ashwini Shrivastav) is fair. Jabeen Merchant’s editing could’ve been sharper.

On the whole, Anaarkali Of Aarah does not have the merits or entertainment value to make a mark at the box-office.

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