NAMASTE ENGLAND

Jayantilal Gada, Reliance Entertainment and Blockbuster Movie Entertainers’ Namaste England (UA) is a love story.

Param Singh (Arjun Kapoor) and Jasmeet (Parineeti Chopra) live in Punjab. They fall in love and get married. While Jasmeet is ambitious and wants to pursue jewellery designing as a profession, her guardians (grandfather and brother) don’t want her to work. They actually tell Param’s father that she should not be asked to work after marriage too. Jasmeet is saddened but she has faith in Param. On the day of the wedding, Param gets into an ugly fight with his well-con­nected friend, Gurpreet (Anjum Batra), who, therefore, vows to make it impossible for him to travel abroad. As months pass, Jasmeet expresses a desire to settle in London which, she feels, would be the ideal place for her work.

One day, Param meets travel agent Gurnaam (Satish Kaushik) who sends people abroad by unfair means. Gurnaam suggests that Param ‘marry’ a resident of London, shift there with the ‘wife’, get citizenship there, divorce her, and then call Jasmeet over to London. Although Param views this idea with the disdain it deserves, Jasmeet is quite excited. But she knows, Param would never approve of the illegal way of going to London. She also knows, Param’s friend-turned-foe Gurpreet would never let it become possible for them to travel abroad.

Then one day, Jasmeet gets lucky when she gets a chance to go to London. Param somehow convinces her family and ensures that she goes to London. The couple is excited that Jasmeet’s dream was finally going to be realised. However, before departing, Jasmeet tells Param something that shocks him.

Soon, Param realises that Jasmeet is not likely to return to India. He sets out to bring her back. Since he can’t go to London through the legal route, Param reaches the city illegally. He sees Jasmeet being so enamoured of London that he is convinced, she may not be willing to return to India. He now tries in his own way to bring her back to India. What does he do? Does he succeed? Or does Jasmeet convince Param to stay back? Or do the two go their separate ways?

Suresh Nair and Ritesh Shah have written a shockingly hopeless script. As scene by scene unfolds, what comes out loud and clear is the complete lack of conviction. The story is sketchy and one of convenience. Neither are the characters well-established nor are the incidents in the drama. The duo’s screenplay is so poor that it’s a wonder, someone could make a film based on such a half-baked screenplay. How Param and Jasmeet fall in love is simply not shown. What the couple does before Jasmeet goes to London is also not explained. It, therefore, almost appears that the only thing Param and Jasmeet do is day-dream and sleep and dream. Again, the ploy Param uses to take back Jasmeet to India seems ludicrous, given the circumstances. His philosophy of where one lives not being important as compared to with whom one lives and how loving that companion is, suddenly crops up in Lon­don, making the audience wonder why he did not explain this philosophy to Jasmeet while they were in India and while she kept pestering him to take her to London. Again, the track of Param interpreting Jasmeet’s insistence on going to London as childishness which had now turned to mad obsession is just too convenient. The viewers are clueless how Param thought, it was childishness, because they (viewers) all along interpreted it as mad obsessiveness. All in all, Suresh Nair and Ritesh Shah have penned a shoddy screenplay which fails miserably to convince the audience. Many things are sought to be established through dialogues – and this is another major minus point of the screenplay.

It is because of the glaring drawbacks of the screenplay that the audiences feel no empathy for the two despite the fact that Param and Jasmeet love each other a lot. In other words, they don’t root for Param and Jasmeet to come together in London. The viewers’ attitude is one of couldn’t care less! Resultantly, the audiences don’t cry when the couple does so. All in all, the emotional part of the drama does not succeed in engaging the viewers. The comedy and humour almost completely fall flat on their face. The romance, or whatever there is of it, is far from heart-warming. Even the climax is tame and dull.

Suresh Nair and Ritesh Shah’s dialogues are routine, save for a handful of them. One good dialogue is when a weeping Jasmeet asks Param to stop saying what he is saying lest she end up crying, and, immediately thereafter, a weeping Param tells Jasmeet to stop saying what she is saying lest he start crying. But impressive dialogues like the above are few and far between.

Arjun Kapoor delivers a performance which almost makes it appear that he is either not interested or he is not at all convinced about the script. Yes, he is fairly nice in emotional scenes but that’s about all. Arjun seriously needs to work – and work hard – on his weight and physique. Parineeti Chopra does not look fresh at all and her acting is also mediocre. She defi­nitely does well in the emotional scenes but that’s not saying much for the talented actress. Aditya Seal lends able support as Sam. Alankrita Sahai looks good and acts ably as Alisha. Anjum Batra has his moments as Gurpreet. Satish Kaushik (as Gurnaam) is fair, his comedy making the audience smile a bit. Shivendra Mahal (as Jasmeet’s grandfather), Kuljinder Singh (as Jasmeet’s brother), and Hobby Dhaliwal (as Param’s father) lend average support. Paras Oberoi (as Ricky), Shivendar Sharma (as Timmy), Jashandeep (as Kuljeet), Shreya Mehta (as Mitthi), Katie Iqbal (as Santo), Deepali (as Simmy), Nishu Bhatt (as Rinky), Jaswant Damania (as Chaiji), Susheel Kumar Batra (as Lalaji), Damanpreet Kaur (as Param’s bua), Sunny Gill (as Param’s uncle), Aman Bhogal (as Param’s aunt), Mallika Dua (as Harpreet), Robin Singh (as Gurnaam’s sidekick), Vinod Nagpal (as Sam’s grandfather), Pratik Dixit (as KG), Zahra Sheikh (as KG’s bride) and the rest are alright.

Vipul Amrutlal Shah’s direction is dull. Like the writers, the director also seems to be lacking conviction. His handling of even sensitive scenes is weak. Mannan Shah’s music is good. A couple of his songs are popular. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are of a good standard and ably bring out the mood of the moment. Ganesh Acharya’s choreography (one song choreographed by Tushar Kalia; montage song by Akansha Mantri) is okay. Prasad Sashte’s background music is ordinary. Yiannis Manolopoulos’ cinematography is very good. Sriram Kannan Iyengar and Sujeet Sawant’s production designing is appropriate. Amitabh Shukla’s editing is okay but lacks the sharp edge.

On the whole, Namaste England is a flop fare. The producers may have broken even before release, by selling the satellite and digital rights for a fantastic price, audio rights for a good price, Overseas and India territorial rights (while retaining some territorial rights) but losses to the distributors are inevitable because the dull film will almost face rejection.

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BADHAAI HO

Junglee Pictures and Chrome Pictures’ Badhaai Ho (UA) is a family drama.

Jeetender Kaushik (Gajraj Rao) is a middle-class TC working in Northern Railways. He lives in Delhi with his wife, Priyamvada (Neena Gupta), two children, Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Gullar (Shardul Rana), and mother (Surekha Sikri). Nakul is in love with his office colleague, Reene (Sanya Malhotra). Reene lives with her widowed mother (Sheeba Chadda).

To the dismay of the Kaushik family, a visit to the doctor reveals that middle-aged Priyamvada is pregnant with her third child. Not just Jeetender and Priyamvada themselves but Nakul, Gullar and Jeetender’s mother are so embarrassed that it actually becomes awkward. Nakul stops meeting friends because he doesn’t know how to react. He even stops taking Reene’s calls and bunks office too. Why, Nakul and Gullar don’t even talk properly to their own parents now! As if that’s not bad enough, there’s a marriage in the family. Shanu (Vibhuti Tomar), the daughter of Jeetender’s sister (Alka Badola Kaushal), is due to get married in Meerut. Nakul and Gullar refuse to go for the wedding under some pretext or the other but actually because of the embarrassing position they find themselves in due to their mother’s pregnancy. Jeetender, Priyamvada and the former’s old mother, however, do attend the marriage. Priyamvada has to bear the taunts and barbs of her relatives at the wedding but she maintains her dignity by not getting into ugly tiffs.

An incident changes things dramatically for Nakul. Likewise, an incident at the wedding function in Meerut changes things for Priyamvada too. What happens thereafter?

Shantanu Srivastava and Akshat Ghildial have penned an extraordinary story which may not be contemporary but which is easy for even the youngsters to identify with. Frankly, one must salute the conviction of the two writers (besides the director and producers) for choosing a story of an era gone by and making a film based on it, for today’s audiences. Coming back to the story, it is replete with humour, comedy and fun in the first half. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the pre-interval portion is full of scenes which make the audience laugh and even guffaw. There’s not a single dull moment, not a single shot out of synch. The story takes a dramatic turn in the second half and abounds in emotions which touch the core of the heart. All in all, it’s a story which will appeal to all age groups and all strata of society.

The screenplay, written by Akshat Ghildial, is amazingly brilliant. If the comedy and humour keep the viewers in splits, the emotions tug at the heart strings so forcefully that they would make the audience cry, weep and sob, at times, inconsolably. In fact, the screenplay is so outstanding that it wouldn’t be wrong to call it a text­ book for writers. There’s not a single scene or shot that’s unnecessary – and likewise, there’s not a single scene or shot which is lacking in any way. In particular, there are several scenes which are worthy of loud claps. For instance, the scene in which the forever-complaining mother-in-law praises daughter-in-law Priyamvada not just draws tears from the viewers’ eyes but also prompts them to clap their hands. The scene in which Nakul gives Reene’s mother a piece of his mind is another example of brilliant scripting. It will evoke a loud round of applause. The scene immediately following that, in which Reene confronts Nakul, would draw two terrific rounds of applause – when Nakul says “Ghanta” and when he says with finality and without thinking for even a split second, “Dekh liya, ab bol”. Again, the scene when Nakul meets Reene’s mother to extend her an invitation for his mother’s baby shower is such an honest scene that one can’t help but heap praises on it. Climax is tear-jerking and extremely fulfilling.

Akshat Ghildial’s dialogues are gems. That a simple dialogue of his, like “Khaana kha liya, beta?”, can make the audience cry, says it all. No flowery language or stylish dialogues for him. His simple ones touch the heart. The humorous ones, of course, tickle the funny bone and how!

Ayushmann Khurrana is extraordinary as Nakul Kaushik. He uses his body language and facial expressions so effectively that his performance in this film could probably be rated as his best so far. The integrity he brings to his character is absolutely remarkable. His monologue with Reene’s mother, when he meets her to invite her, would not have had the impact it has if it were not for Ayushmann’s integrity as an actor. Sanya Malhotra does a lovely job as Reene. She gets into the skin of the character and comes up with a superb performance. Surekha Skiri deserves the highest praise for a job extraordinarily done. Perhaps, every single award for the best supporting actress this year would go to her for what will be counted as one of her landmark performances. Gajraj Rao is just too wonderful. A phenomenal actor, he gives his cent per cent to Jeetender Kaushik’s character. His dialogue delivery is, of course, superb but one can’t overlook his body language. His style of standing and walking, with shoulders drooping, stomach pulled in, face down – to express embarrassment is worthy of praises galore. Neena Gupta is first-rate as Priyamvada. Her honest and sincere performance lends so much dignity to her character and her role that it’s amazing. Shardul Rana lends remarkable support as Gullar Kaushik. He is truly cute. Sheeba Chadda is phenomenal as Reene’s mother. Jeet Singh (as Banda), Kush Malhotra (as Sunny), Rahul Tiwari (as Juneja), Vibhuti Tomar (as Nakul’s cousin, Shanu), Aabhushan (as Dr. Bagga), Davinder Madan (as Baggi), Manoj Bakshi (as Jeetender’s elder brother), Alka Amin (as Jeetender’s sister-in-law), Vivek Dagar (as Sumit Malik), Tarun Bali (as Chawla), Arun Karla (as Sunil), Alka Badola Kaushal (as Jeetender’s sister), Manoj Kumar Patel (as Chawla’s son), Sharika Raina Ahluwalia (as Bhabhi) and the others provide outstanding support.

Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s direction is excellent. His narration keeps the audience across age groups and classes engaged thoroughly and completely. Kudos to him for creating the perfect atmosphere and ambience for the story. Music (Tanishk Bagchi, Rochak Kohli, Kaushik-Akash-Guddu, and Sunny Bawra-Inder Bawra) is fair. The absence of chartbusting music is sorely felt. Lyrics (Vayu, Kumaar and MellowD) are okay. Vijay Ganguly’s song picturisations are quite nice. Abhishek Arora’s background music is remarkable, yet non-intrusive, as it adds to the impact of the drama without being overbearing. Sanu John Varughese’s camerawork is truly lovely. Ratheesh’s production designing is very good. Editor Dev Rao Jadhav deserves distinction marks for his super-sharp editing.

On the whole, Badhaai Ho is a super-hit! It is a big box-office fare in the small film space. In a way, it is, therefore, landmark cinema. Writers Akshat Ghildial and Shantanu Srivastava, director Amit Ravindernath Sharma, producers Junglee Pictures and Chrome Pictures (for their conviction), Ayushmann Khurranna, Surekha Sikri, Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta and Sanya Malhotra are all heroes of this ‘multi-starrer’ blockbuster. This small film can easily cross the 100-crore mark because it will be loved by the young and the old, the masses and the classes, the men and the women, the girls and the guys, the rich and the poor.

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JALEBI

Vishesh Films’ Jalebi (UA) is a love story with a difference. Aisha (Rhea Chakraborty) and Dev (Varun Mitra) fall in love and soon get married even though they are quite different from one another. Dev is a tourist guide and loves the city he lives in. His home, having the old-world charm, is so dear to him that he often gets tourists home to see the place. On the other hand, Aisha is an outgoing and gregarious person who wants to stand on her feet. After marriage, she feels suffocated in her marital home because she can’t be the ideal daughter-in-law as desired by Dev and his family.

Things reach a stage where Aisha returns to her parental home. Years later, Aisha meets Dev in a train journey. She also meets his new wife, Anu (Digangana Suryavanshi), and their little daughter, Disha (Aanya Dureja). As she engages in a conversation with Anu and Dev, Aisha gets answers to several questions which had been troubling her over the years.

The film is a remake of Bengali film Praktan and it has been scripted by Kausar Munir and Pushpdeep Bhardwaj. The story’s underlying philosophy is that if you cannot take love to its rightful place, it is best to leave it at an interesting point. However, in the present story, it doesn’t appear as if Dev couldn’t have taken his love to its logical conclusion. His act of, therefore, leaving it and giving up so easily does not appeal to the audience. Dev reveals in the end why he had not tried to reconcile with Aisha but his reason is so lame that it doesn’t make him a hero in the viewers’ eyes. Even Aisha’s passive approach to the problem doesn’t appeal to the audience. The screenplay, penned by the duo, with additional screenplay by Suhrita, seems contrived and lacking conviction. It often appears that the drama moves in the direction in which the writers want it to rather than progressing seamlessly and naturally. As a result, the audience does not get convinced with the reasons offered, especially in the climax. The dialogues, written by the duo, are good at places and ordinary at others.

Rhea Chakraborty does fairly well as Aisha. Varun Mitra makes an ordinary debut in the role of Dev. He tends to overact at places. He looks fairly alright. Digangana Suryavanshi is reasonably good as Anu. Pravina Deshpande makes her presence amply felt as Dev’s mother. Poorti Arya lends average support as Dev’s sister, Renu. Mahesh Thakur is sincere as Aisha’s father. Arjun Kanungo (as Arjun) has his moments. Farida Dadi (as Saifa aunty), Yusuf Hussain (as Siddiqui uncle), Sonali Sudan (as Simar), Shabnam Kapoor (as Simar’s mom), Priya Yadav (as Anhaita), Rajsi Verma (as Sumi bhabhi), Sanchay Goswami (as Chaubey), Jimmy Sharma (as Rocky), Jashan Singh Kohli (as Sunny) and the others lend fair support.

Pushpdeep Bhardwaj’s direction is okay; it needed to be far more sensitive. Music (Tanishk Bagchi, Javed-Mohsin, Jeet Ganguli, Abhishek Mishra, Samuel and Akanksha) is fantastic, with several of the songs being very appealing and melodious. In particular, ‘Pal ek pal’ is a hit number. ‘Tera mera rishta’, ‘Tum se’ and ‘Mera pyaar tera pyaar’ are also very appealing numbers. Lyrics (Rashmi Virag, Manoj Kumarnath, Arafat Mehmood, Prashant Ingole and Kunaal Verma) are of a good standard. Song picturisations (by Raju Khan and Sana Khan) are nice but could’ve been more eye-filling. Raju Singh’s background music is decent. Manoj Soni’s camerawork is nice. Abbas Ali Moghul’s action scenes are okay. Production designing (by Sandeep Suvarna) is fair. Devendra Murdeshwar’s editing is good enough to not confuse the viewers despite the drama oscillating between present times and flashbacks.

On the whole, Jalebi is a half-baked attempt and will, therefore, not prove to be a sweet experience for its investors.

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TUMBBAD

Eros International, Colour Yellow Productions, Film I Vast and Filmgate Films’ Tumbbad (A) is a fantasy horror film. It is the story of greed as a vice, which can ruin people.

Tumbbad is a village in Maharashtra which is cursed because the Rao family, which lived in Tumbbad, had dared to build a temple of Hastar, the greedy but favourite child of Mother Goddess despite the latter’s edict against the building of temples in the name of Hastar. The edict was issued because Hastar had plundered wealth but was hungry for food.

The film talks about a scheming member of the Rao family, Vinayak (Sohum Shah), who becomes obsessed with finding the treasure of his ancestors. For this, he has hit upon a novel idea. He feeds the spirit of the hungry Hastar with food and while the spirit is feasting on the food, the manipulative Vinayak smuggles out the treasure in instalments. A time comes when Vinayak takes his young son too to the temple so that the latter can help plunder more. But greed can destroy men – and that’s what finally happens.

Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Rahi Anil Barve and Anand Gandhi have written a thought-provoking story but have tried to drive home the age-old lesson of life – that greed is a dangerous vice – through a horror drama which holds appeal for a small section of the classes, if only because the horror drama and its relevance to greed is a bit abstract. The writers have penned a screenplay which would appeal more to the intelligent audience and could leave the masses confused or at least not completely satisfied. The story of the Gods etc., shown in the prelude, only complicates matters for the large mass base of audience. Of course, the horror scenes are eerie but they are not scary like horror scenes in other horror films usually are. Furthermore, since there is no hero, who would destroy the spirit/ghost, the masses would find it difficult to relate to the horror drama because they are used to the hero triumphing over the ghost/spirit in horror films. In that sense, the screenplay is meant for evolved viewers who like understated scenes and novel content. Dialogues, written by the four writers, are alright.

Sohum Shah acts well as Vinayak. He has worked hard on his physique which makes him look both, handsome and believable. Jyoti Malshe is fairly good in the role of Vinayak’s mother. Dhundhiraj Prabhakar Jogalekar lends decent support as young Vinayak. Anita Date makes her presence felt in the role of Vinayak’s wife. Deepak Damle is fairly nice as Raghav. Ronjini Chakraborty makes her mark as Vinayak’s mistress. Rudra Soni has his moments as Sadashiv. Madhav Hari Joshi is decent in the role of Sarkar. Mohammad Samad (as Pandurang) and the rest provide fair support.

Rahi Anil Barve’s direction is too class-appealing. Ajay-Atul’s music is okay. No song is of the popular variety. Raj Shekhar’s lyrics are so-so. Jesper Kyd’s background music is fair. Prosthetics and special effects (by Dirty Hands and Studio Hash) are good. Pankaj Kumar’s camerawork is remarkable. Parvez Shaikh’s action and stunts are alright. Production designing (by Nitin Zihani Choudhury and Rakesh Yadav) is of a very good standard. Sanyukta Kaza’s editing could have been better.

On the whole, Tumbbad is a class-appealing horror film meant for the big cities mainly. Its poor start is a minus point.

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HELICOPTER EELA

Pen India Ltd. and Ajay Devgn Ffilms’ Helicopter Eela is the story of a single mother and her only son.

Eela (Kajol) is a budding singer who gets married to Arun (Tota Roy Chowdhury) and buries all her dreams of becoming a Bollywood singer once she gives birth to a son, Vivan. Soon, her husband leaves her and she has to fend all alone for herself and her little son. Eela’s life now revolves around Vivan. Her day begins and ends with Vivan. In fact, she becomes paranoid about him.

Years pass by. Vivan (Riddhi Sen) is now in college and although he loves his mother a great deal, he resents her overbearing nature and often wonders why she doesn’t do something herself so that she can have a life of her own. Their conversation gives her the idea to rejoin college – and that’s what Eela does. She joins the same college as son Vivan. Sitting in the same classroom as his mother embarrasses Vivan but he is fine as long as she doesn’t follow him everywhere he goes in college.

One day, Eela becomes responsible for the break-up of Vivan’s friend, Yash (Chirag Malhotra), and his girlfriend. That’s like the proverbial last nail in the coffin. An angry Vivan storms out of his house, leaving a devastated Eela feeling miserable.

Why does Vivan take such a harsh step? Do the mother and son make up with each other? If so, how? If not, why not? Does Arun return to Eela and Vivan?

Mitesh Shah and Anand Gandhi have penned a heartfelt story about a single mother and her son. However, it takes too long to come to the point or the crux. The first half is often repetitive and, therefore, moves at a slow pace. It gets boring at several times because it appears to not be moving. Scenes of Eela being bothered and concerned about Vivan and his food etc. do get on the audience’s nerves because not much else happens for some time. The reason why Arun walks out on his family also seems silly, to say the least. However, the viewer likes it when Eela starts going to Vivan’s college as a student herself. The duo’s screenplay moves at a leisurely pace before interval but catches steam in the second half. The drama picks up beautifully when Eela becomes the reason for the break-up of Yash and his girlfriend. From this point, the screenplay moves at a fast pace and engages the viewers completely. The drama now becomes emotional too and often makes the audience cry and even sob. The strong-hearted would at least feel emotionally moved or choked. The climax is less filmy and more realistic – and, therefore, not too predictable. The twist in the climax is least expected, making it more real. But the viewers do feel that Vivan did not need to take so long to convey to his mother what he wanted to. His round-and-about manner of conveying appears weird because he shares such a fantastic relationship with his mother that going round and about should never have been an option. It is for these reasons that despite the engaging second half, the impact is diluted. If emotions are the strong point of the post-interval portion, the light moments in the first half as well as second half do gladden the heart and evoke laughter but at places only. Mitesh Shah’s dialogues are very realistic and often touch the heart.

Kajol is outstanding in the role of Eela. Her character is layered and it is delightful to watch Kajol perform with ease and passion. If she is phenomenal in light scenes, she is mind-blowing in the emotional and dramatic ones. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Kajol comes absolutely alive as the effervescent Eela. Riddhi Sen is truly terrific as Vivan. Seeing him stand up to Kajol is in itself worthy of the highest praise. Riddhi is such a natural and effortless actor that no amount of praise is too much for him. Like Kajol, Riddhi too immerses himself completely into the character. He uses his body language, facial expressions and voice to the hilt. In one word, he is too endearing to be true! Tota Roy Chowdhury is fair as Arun. Neha Dhupia lends lovely support in the role of Padma. Zakir Hussain makes his presence felt as the college principal. Chirag Malhotra has his moments as Yash. Kamini Khanna is alright as Arun’s mother. Sushmita Bhandari (as Nidhi), Rashi Mal (as Nikita) and Muskan Bamne (as Dipti) lend good support. Bhaweeka Chaudhary (as Monisha), Koustuv Ghosh (as Kaustuv), Sagar Kudyar (as Sagar), Bishwadeep Dipak Chatterjee (as the sound engineer), Rupert Fernandes (as the music director), baby Rushika (as infant Vivan), Dev Pratik Parmar (as the one-year-old Vivan), Runav Shah (as the three-year-old Vivan), Hearty Singh (as the eight-year-old Vivan), RJ Alok (as the college professor), Maya Sarkar (as Eela’s neighbour), Simran Bakshi and Ajitesh Gupta (both as event organisers) and Tania Dutta (as event master of ceremonies) are adequate. Ila Arun, Anu Malik, Shaan, Baba Sehgal, Shibani Kashyap and Mahesh Bhatt make their presence felt in brief guest appearances.

Pradeep Sarkar’s direction is very sensitive. His narrative style engages the audiences. How he consumes the viewers completely with the emotional drama in the last part of the film is praiseworthy. Also creditable is his extraction of great work from his two main actors, Kajol and Riddhi Sen. Amit Trivedi’s music, with additional music by Daniel B. George (‘Chand lamhe’ and ‘Khoya ujala’ songs) and Raghav Sachar (‘Ruk ruk ruk’ remixed song), is fair. The absence of hit music is sorely felt. However, the ‘Almaari’ number as also a couple of other songs like ‘Mumma ki parchhai’ and ‘Chand lamhe’ are fairly nice. Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics (one song, ‘Chand lamhe’ by Asma) are good. Ranju Varghese’s song picturisations are decent. Daniel B. George’s background music is appealing. Sirsha Ray’s cinematography is of a fine standard. Madhu Sarkar’s production designing and Bhavani Patel’s art direction are of a good standard. Dharmendra Sharma’s editing is quite sharp.

On the whole, Helicopter Eela is a heartfelt drama with a good emotional quotient in the second half but it has its drawbacks too. Also, it has taken a very slow start and although its collections will pick up due to positive mouth publicity, the end result would not be exciting enough.

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PATAAKHA

B4U Motion Pictures, Kyta Productions and VB Films’ Pataakha (UA) is the story of two sisters who can’t stand the sight of each other.

Badki, real name Champa (Radhika Madan), and Chhutki, real name Genda (Sanya Malhotra), live in a small town of Rajasthan with their father (Vijay Raaz). Both the girls study in the same school. They fight like cats and dogs on the slightest pretext, abusing and even beating up one another. Their father is saddened by their constant fights.

Patel (Saanand Verma), a widower, is keen to marry any one of the two sisters. The father agrees to get one daughter married to Patel when he (Patel) gives the father a business loan after everyone else turns down his request. It is decided that Badki would marry Patel but on the day of the wedding, she elopes with her boyfriend, Jagan (Namit Das). The lecherous Patel now wants to marry Chhutki but she, too, elopes with her boyfriend, Vishnu (Abhishek Duhan), on the wedding day. To the horror of the forever-at-war sisters, it turns out that Jagan and Vishnu are real brothers who live with their grandmother (Usha Nagar).

Anyway, while the two sisters live with their grandmother-in-law, the jobs of Jagan and Vishnu take them to the city. Since Patel wants back the money he had lent Badki and Chhutki’s father right away, it falls upon Jagan and Vishnu to make arrangements for the same.

It turns out that for several years now, Badki and Chhutki have been living with the old lady while their husbands are away in the city, returning at intervals. Both, Badki and Chhutki, have a daughter each. It doesn’t seem likely that Badki and Chhutki would get to stay with their respective husbands any time soon. Their frustration grows.

Badki and Chhutki have promised their father that they would henceforth not fight with each other. Their friend, Dipper (Sunil Grover), comes visiting them one day and gives them an idea which would ensure that they would get to stay with their husbands. What is that idea? Do Badki and Chhutki agree with Dipper’s idea? What happens thereafter?

Charan Singh Pathik’s story is based on the real-life story of two sisters. But the writer has not bothered to explain why the two sisters hate each other so much. Besides, the manner in which the sisters fight will not be digested by a large chunk of the audience who may actually find the foul language they use for each other and the manner in which they beat up one another, repulsive. Vishal Bhardwaj’s screenplay is written with conviction but its universal acceptance is impossible. Rather, a very small section of the audience would be able to feel engaged in the drama which shows two sisters as being thirsty for each other’s blood, that too, for no solid or even any other reason. Why Dipper rejoices each time Badki and Chhutki get into a fight is also not clear because he doesn’t stand to gain anything. Yes, some of the fight scenes and other scenes are entertaining and even evoke laughter but the drama mostly is unpalatable. The second half dips quite a lot till Dipper arrives on the scene, from where it picks up again. But the pre-climax appears too farcical – and so does the climax.

Vishal Bhardwaj’s dialogues are very good but because many of them are in chaste Rajasthani, they would not be understood too easily pan-India. Use of too many expletives would definitely put off ladies and family audiences.

Sanya Malhotra is excellent as Chhutki (Genda). She immerses herself completely into the character and delivers a splendid performance. She looks every inch the character she plays. Radhika Madan is first-rate as Badki (Champa). She makes a fantastic Bollywood debut and impresses a great deal with her free performance. Namit Das gives a fine and mature performance as Jagan. Abhishek Duhan is endearing in the role of Vishnu. His and Chhutki’s awkwardly spoken English dialogues are pretty entertaining. Sunil Grover is outstanding as Dipper. He is supremely natural and effortless. Vijay Raaz lives the role of the helpless and hapless father of Chhutki and Badki. He shines with his superb acting. Saanand Verma leaves a wonderful mark as Patel. Usha Nagar lends good support as Jagan and Vishnu’s grandmother. Sameer Khakhar is adequate as the sarpanch. Baby Advita Tank (as the 4-year-old Badki), baby Priyanshi Damani (as the 3-year-old Chhutki), baby Zoya Shah (as the 8-year-old Badki), baby Samriddhi Jain (as the young Chhutki), Kunal Teli (as Ballu), Kusum Gupta and Minakshi Parmar (both as the women at the fair), Chomina Beyong (as the Nepali wife of Patel), Ajay Kumar (as the eye surgeon), Bhuvnesh Shetty (as the ENT specialist), and the others provide the required support.

Vishal Bhardwaj’s direction is very good but both, his screenplay as well as narrative style, have very limited appeal. Had the film been a laugh riot, its appeal would’ve been huge. Vishal Bhardwaj’s music is nice but there’s not a single hit song. Gulzar’s lyrics are weighty. Vishal Bhardwaj’s background score is impactful. Choreography (Shabina Khan for ‘Balma’ and ‘Gali Gali’; Ganesh Acharya for ‘Hello Hello’) is fair. Ranjan Palit’s cinematography is very good. Harpal Singh Pali’s action and stunt scenes are truly realistic. Production designing (by Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray) is of a fine standard. A. Sreekar Prasad’s editing is sharp, but the film itself is slow and repetitive at places for no fault of the editor.

On the whole, Pataakha has some appeal for the gentry audience only. Too many four-letter words, too many dialogues in Rajasthani, and lack of justification for the fights will go against its box-office prospects. In other words, its fate at the ticket windows will be poor.

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SUI DHAAGA

Yash Raj Films’ Sui Dhaaga is the story of a husband-wife duo who fight all odds to set up their own business.

Mauji (Varun Dhawan) is married to Mamta (Anushka Sharma). The two live with Mauji’s parents (Raghubir Yadav and Yamini Das). They hardly get to spend time together because Mamta is busy all day long, helping her mother-in-law in household chores. Yet, both of them are a happy couple. Mauji’s elder brother, Jugnu (Sawan Tank), has moved out with wife Kumud (Manukriti Pahwa) and they stay separately. They have a little son, Beenu (master Ridith Choukse).

Mauji works in Bansal’s (Sidharth Bhardwaj) shop. Although Bansal and his son, Prashant (Ashish Verma), pretend to be very concerned about Mauji, the fact is that they treat him like a servant and someone who can entertain them with his antics. This doesn’t go down well with Mamta who suggests that he leave the job. Mauji does exactly that and decides to revive the tailoring business of his grandfather. Mauji’s father, who is not fond of Mauji, is pretty angry with Mauji for quitting his job and again, for daring to dream about starting his own tailoring shop.

Anyway, Mauji starts a tailoring outfit on the street. He makes a gown for his mother to wear while she is hospitalised for a heart ailment. That gown catches the eye of other patients and their relatives. In this way, it becomes clear that Mauji’s business would take off.

However, life is not a bed of roses. Mauji has to surmount several difficulties and obstacles but he and Mamta don’t give up. They are soon conned by Guddu (Namit Das) into taking up jobs in fashion designer Harleen’s (Puja Sarup) workshop but the association doesn’t last too long and, in fact, ends on an acrimonous note.

Mauji and Mamta are at their wits’ end, having lost all. Over and above this, Mauji’s father and elder brother are not at all sympathetic towards him. So what do Mauji and Mamta do? They decide to participate in a fashion contest, competing against top designers of the country. Do they succeed? Are they able to set up a well-paying tailoring business?

Sharat Katariya has written a story of the heartland of India. Its undercurrent is of tension, confusion and family feuds. As such, Katariya has not infused light moments in the story. His screenplay is good in parts. At places, the drama appeals emotionally while at others, it seems a bit contrived and a bit too measured. Some of the emotional scenes bring a lump in the throat or even tears to the eyes. But the lack of comedy makes the drama too tension-ridden.

The screenplay also has some weaknesses. For example, the audience’s sympathy does not go to Mauji when he fights with Harleen over her business ethics. His outburst against Harleen seems to be misdirected because he takes out all his frustration of the hospital on Harleen. Surely, he shouldn’t be teaching Harleen to do business. Besides, his anger at Harleen overcharging for gowns is also incorrect if only because he would also be making a profit in his own business once it is up and running.

Another drawback of the film is that the need of the story was two smaller actors in the lead roles, not A-list actors like Varun and Anushka. In other words, Varun and Anushka seem to have been signed for a drama of this kind because of commercial considerations rather than due to the demands of the script.

The scene in which Mauji fights with his sister-in-law, Kumud, is very effective and realistic. Similarly, the mundane lifestyle of a lower middle-class family is very effectively brought out by Mauji, Mamta and Mauji’s family members. The climax is quite predictable, yet engaging enough. Sharat Katariya’s dialogues are very good but they should’ve been exceptional in the melodramatic sequences.

Varun Dhawan lives the character of Mauji and does a very fine job. He is especially good in emotional scenes. Anushka Sharma shines as the soft yet strong and resilient Mamta. She acts with effortless ease and delivers a truly nice performance. But she ought to have fared better in scenes in which she cries. Raghubir Yadav is natural to the core. Yamini Das leaves a wonderful mark as Mauji’s mother. Sawan Tank makes his mark as Mauji’s elder brother, Jugnu. Manukriti Pahwa makes her presence beautifully felt in the scene in which she has a showdown with Mauji. Namit Das leaves a mark as Guddu. Puja Sarup is excellent as fashion designer Harleen. Mahesh Sharma (as Yogesh) and Shrikant Verma (as Palteram) lend decent support. Sidharth Bhardwaj (as Bansal), Ashish Verma (as Bansal’s son, Prashant), Bhupesh Singh (as the sewing machine supplier, Naushad), Ayush Sharma (as Prashant’s sidekick, Sanju), master Ridith Choukse (as Beenu), Jeetu Shastri (as the cobbler on the street), Radha Khandelwal (as Shakuntala of the ironing shop), Abha Parmar (as Yogesh’s mother), Latha Nayak (as the Malayalee nurse) and the others lend good support.

Sharat Katariya’s direction is very good. He has extracted good work from his actors and has kept the interest level of his viewers high all through. Anu Malik’s music is okay. While the songs are fair, they are not very popular. Varun Grover’s lyrics are nice. Andrea Guerra’s background music is appropriate. Dinesh Master’s choreography is functional. Anil Mehta’s cinematography is excellent. Meenal Agarwal’s production designing is superb. Charu Shree Roy’s editing is crisp.

On the whole, Sui Dhaaga may have its weaknesses but it will stand strong at the box-office in spite of that. It will prove to be a richly rewarding film because of very good business at the turnstiles, controlled budget and recovery of almost the entire investment from non-theatrical sources. Word of mouth will see collections grow in the weekend.

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