T-Series and Emmay Entertainment’s Satyameva Jayate (A) is a lone crusader’s action against corruption.

Vir (John Abraham) is an angry young man. He detests corruption in general and corrupt police officers in particular. He, therefore, takes law into his hands and burns the corrupt police officers alive one after another. Police inspector Devansh (Manoj Bajpayee) is put in charge of the case but despite his best efforts to trace the killer, he draws a blank. And this, in spite of the fact that the murderer telephones Devansh and speaks with him about the murders. Soon, Devansh realises that there is a specific pattern in the murders and this at least makes his task a bit easier.

Soon, there’s a twist in the tale. And then, there’s another twist in the tale. But what happens finally? Is Devansh able to nab Vir? What is Vir’s reason for killing the corrupt policemen?

Milap Milan Zaveri has written a clichéd story about good versus evil with some additional twists and turns which again are not novel. In fact, his story is nothing but a recreation of similar films made in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Resultantly, there is not even a hint of freshness in the story. However, to his credit, it must be added that Milap has infused the story with strong Muslim sentiments which will appeal to the masses and Muslim audiences. His screenplay again treads the beaten path and although it pretends to offer the tried-and-tested subject in a fresh avatar, the fact is that it is not fresh. The biggest drawback of the screenplay, when the second suspense (why Vir kills corrupt police officers) is revealed, the intelligent viewers fail to understand how his actions can in any way be related to the incident which is sought to be connected by the writer. Yes, Vir does kill one person whom he should have killed but what’s his justification in killing the numerous other corrupt police officers. No, there’s no problem in eliminating the corrupt uniformed persons but the connection between Vir’s problem and his killing spree just doesn’t seem to happen. No doubt, Vir’s efforts to wipe out corruption are laudable but that’s not the issue here. The issue is that writer Milap Milan Zaveri tries to justify his killings of the corrupt police officers by showing something about his past. Now, however hard the audiences may try to understand the connection, they will not be able to because there isn’t any connection except in the case of one last murder. On the plus side, the Muslim sentiments in the first half (the Muslim mother cursing the evil police officer who is mercilessly torturing her innocent son and then doing the namaz at the police station itself) and the long Muharram sequence after interval are both very effective to cater to the Muslim mass audience base. Milap Milan Zaveri’s dialogues are mass-oriented and also clapworthy from their viewpoint.

John Abraham does quite well in the role of Vir. He breathes fire into the action and stunt sequences. Manoj Bajpayee is good but for a long time, it appears as if he doesn’t have anything worthwhile to do. Aisha Sharma makes a dull debut as Vir’s love interest, Shikha. She has not been photographed too well and her dialogue delivery is also found lacking. Manish Chaudhary does a fair job as the commissioner of police. Chetan Pandit (in the role of police officer Shiv) is effective. Amruta Khanvilkar (as Sarita), Rajesh Khera (as police officer Bhonsle), Neetu Pandey (as the Muslim mother), Jay Joshi (as the Muslim son, Aslam), Archita Agarwal (as the Muslim girl), Devdatta Nage (as police inspector Gaikwad), Ankur Sharma (as police inspector Mohan Srivastav), Abhishek Khandekar (as Sadashiv Patil), Shaikh Sami Usman (as Irrfan Qadri), Uday Nene (as Shinde), Ratnesh Mani (as DCP Rane), Ganesh Yadav (as Damle), master Arash Shukla (as young Vir), master Tirth Josisher (as young Shivansh), master Chetan Rathod and master Krish Soni (both as kids in the society) make their marks in brief roles.

Milap Zaveri’s direction is limited by the hackneyed script. But it must be said to his credit that he has made a film of the kind which filmmakers have long forgotten and has thereby succeeded in catering to the hardcore masses, particularly the Muslim audience. Musically, the ‘Dilbar’ remixed version (Tanishk Bagchi) is the best song in the film and its picturisation on Nora Fatehi is eye-filling. The other songs (Sajid-Wajid, Rochak Kohli and Arko) are alright. Lyrics (Shabbir Ahmed, Kumaar and Arko) are fair. Song picturisations (by Adil Shaikh) are okay except for the ‘Dilbar’ song which has been beautifully choreographed. Sanjoy Chowdhury’s background music is impactful. Nigam Bomzan’s cinematography is good. Action and stunt scenes (by Amin Khatib and Ravi verma) are quite gruesome and although they will keep a section of the ladies and family audiences away, they will appeal to the masses. Priya Suhas’ production designing and Vijay Ghodke’s art direction are quite nice. Maahir Zaveri’s editing is okay.

On the whole, Satyameva Jayate is a run-of-the-mill mass entertainer but it has Muslim sentiments in abundance and the hit ‘Dilbar’ song to see it through, that too comfortably. In other words, it will pay dividends to all concerned.

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Excel Entertainment’s Gold (UA) is a story set between 1936 and 1948. It deals with the sport of hockey.

Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar) is passionate about the game of hockey. He works for the Indian Hockey Federation and has been taking the Indian hockey team to participate in the Olympics. He feels saddened when it is the British national anthem that is played and the British national flag that flies high after the Indian hockey team wins in the Olympics. It is his dream to see the Indian national flag being unfurled at the Olympics but he understands that that would be possible only when the Britishers would stop ruling over India.

The World War II breaks out and looking to the unrest in the world, the Olympics are suspended for a few years. This breaks Tapan’s heart because nothing gives him more joy than India winning the Olympics. Here in India, the freedom movement is at its peak. In 1947, it is clear that India would gain independence soon. Around that time comes the news that the next Olympics would be held in 1948 in Britain. Tapan is ecstatic. He wants to revive the Indain hockey team. Although secretary of the Hockey Federation, Mehta (Atul Kale), has never been in Tapan’s favour, president Wadia (Darius Shroff) is willing to give Tapan a chance because he trusts his (Tapan’s) passion for the game. Just as Tapan is only gearing up to put together a great team comes the news that India would be divided into India and Pakistan. Some Muslim players, including Ismail (Vineet Kumar Singh), are forced to leave the country and move to Pakistan. A couple of players go away to Australia. In short, the Indian hockey team disintegrates and there seems to be no hope for the sport now. But then, ex-champion Samrat (Kunal Kapoor), who has devoted his life to training young players in the game, approaches Tapan and offers to train new players to form a national team. Surmounting all obstacles of cash crunch, place to stay and practice the game etc. Tapan and   Samrat put together a team which is ready to participate innthe Olympics. But the frustrated Mehta is not the one who will allow Tapan’s dream of India winning the gold medal and the Indian tricolour being hoisted on Britain’s soil to be realised so easily. He plays the spoke in the wheel and creates more problems for the already problem-ridden team. Why, Mehta even stoops down to playing a horrendous game by ensuring that Tapan does not go to Britain with the team. Instead, Mehta accompanies the team to the Olympics.

What happens thereafter? Does the Indian hockey team win the gold medal and, in a manner of speaking, avenge the Britishers who had treated Indians as their slaves for hundreds of years?

Rajesh Devraj and Reema Kagti have penned a story that may not be novel as one has seen earlier films like Chak De! India and Lagaan but yet, it has a fair amount of freshness ass the problems and, therefore, the solutions are different. The story mixes the excitement of a sports drama and the patriotic flavour of a nationalist drama beautifully. Another good point about the story is that it keeps the audience engaged right from the start till the end. Yes, it moves at a somewhat slow pace in the first half and also gets a bit repetitive before interval but the second half moves at such a fast pace that it doesn’t give the viewers any time to think. Reema Kagti’s screenplay is both interesting and entertaining. If the game of hockey keeps the adrenaline rush high, the patriotic flavour ensures that the audiences feel a sense of pride everytime there is a reference to the Indian flag or the national pride. There are a couple of clap-trap scenes and a few in which the viewer experiences a terrific sense of patriotism engulf him. The post-interval portion, especially, is very exciting as it is devoted to formation of the new Indian hockey team and the obstacles that Tapan Das has to face, the Olympic matches, the drama in Britain and on the hockey field etc. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the second half keeps the viewers hooked to the drama completely and absolutely. Reema Kagti’s dialogues are very nice.

Akshay Kumar does a very fine job as Tapan Das. He is endearing in light scenes and very believable in the dramayic and serious ones. He gets into the skin of Tapan Das’ character and delivers yet another fine performance. His no-holds-barred dance in the ‘Chadh gayi hai’ song is creditable. Mouni Roy is lovely as Tapan’s wife. She plays the Bengali housewife with elan. Kunal Kapoor leaves a martk as hockey player Samrat who later turns a coach. Amit Sadh acts with a lot of conviction as Raghubir and deserves praise for being in character throughout. Vineet Kumar Singh is supremely believable as Imtiaz Ali Shah. His sincerity is evident in every scene he appears. Sunny Kaushal is first-rate as Himmat. If he is endearing as the romantic boy, he is also outstanding as the frustrated player on the hockey field in the Olympics. Atul Kale underplays wonderfully well as Hockey Federation secretary. He does an extremely praiseworthy job. Darius Shroff leaves a mark as Hockey Federation president Wadia. Nikita Dutta leaves a good mark as Himmat’s girlfriend, Simran. Praveen Jaiswal (as Bashir), Pavraj Singh Lochab (as Harvinder Singh), Varun Singh Rajput (as Aasim Bilal), Naresh Malik (as Sadiq Abdullah), Lester Redden (as Russell Fonseca), Varun Sharma (as Aman Singh), Vijayant Narayan (as Waheed Younis), Raman Roshan Das (as Darpan Mishra), Vijay Sharma (as the junior monk), aAgast Anand (as the senior monk), Udaybir Sandhu (as Devang Chaturvedi), Rohan Mhatre (as Chandan Awasthi), Krishan Tandon (as 1936 Indian team manager), Sunil Taneja, Paul Kitchen (both as 1936 Olympics commentators), Siddharth Pandey, Phil Blacker, Stewart Clegg, Jonathan Tweedie (all four as 1948 Olympics commentators), master Joshua Sequera (as young Raghubir), master Mandeep (as young Himmat) and the others lend able support.

Reema Kagti’s direction is very good. She has been able to recreate the era between 1936 and 1948 effectively. She has also been able to keep the audience hooked to the drama without losing interest. Music (Sachin-Jigar, with additional music by Arko and Tanishk Bagchi) is good. The ‘Chadh gayi hai’ is a very good mass-appealing song while the ‘Naino ne’ is melodious and the ‘Monobina’ number is also good. Lyrics (Javed Akhtar, Arko and Vayu) are of a very good standard. Song picturisations are effective. The ‘Chadh gayi hai’ song picturisation (by Bosco-Caesar) is very entertaining. The ‘Naino ne’ song and the ‘Monobina’ songs are also well picturised by Rekha Chinni Prakash and Bosco-Caesar respectively. Sachin-Jigar’s background music is pretty effective. Alvaro Gutierrez’s cinematography is excellent. Production designing (by Paul Rowan and Shailaja Sharma) deserves first-clas marks because the duo has been able to replicate an era gone by effectively. Anand Subaya’s editing is pretty sharp.

On the whole, Gold will definitely strike gold at the box-office. It will keep everyone — the audience, the producers, distributors and exhibitors — happy and beaming with joy. This one is yet another Rs. 100-crore film from Akshay Kumar.

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Soham Rockstar Entertainment and Benaras Mediaworks’ Mulk (UA) is the story of a Muslim family living in Lucknow and, through that family, the story of how prejudices can make life hell for Muslims in India.

Murad Ali Mohammed (Rishi Kapoor) is a respected lawyer who lives in Lucknow with his wife, Tabassum (Neena Gupta), younger brother, Bilal (Manoj Pahwa), sister-in-law, ‘Chhoti’ Tabassum (Prachee Shah Paandya), nephew, Shahid (Prateik Smit Babbar), and niece, Aayat (Vartika Singh). Murad Ali Mohammed’s son, Aftab (Indraneil Sengupta), and his Hindu lawyer-wife, Aarti (Taapsee Pannu), live abroad. Aarti has come visiting the family, deciding to stay away from her husband who wants their child, as yet unborn and even not conceived, to follow Islam, something which the progressive Aarti feels, does not even merit discussion. The level-headed Aarti continues to give her in-laws the same respect and love despite the tension with her husband. Ditto for the in-laws.

To the shock of the entire family, Shahid is named as one among three terrorists who’ve caused bomb blasts in Allahabad, resulting in deaths of innocent people. Nobody in the family even had an inkling that Shahid had, right under their nose, become a jehadi, having been initiated into terrorism by Mehfooz Alam (Sumit Kaul). Anti-terrorist squad inspector Danish Javed (Rajat Kapoor) shoots Shahid on sight and the dead body is brought to Lucknow. Shahid’s respectable family is so distraught at the thought that one among them had become a terrorist that it refuses to accept the corpse.

Soon, Shahid’s father, Bilal, is taken by the police for interrogation. After a gruelling session of questioning, the police arrest him. In court, public prosecutor Santosh Anand (Ashutosh Rana) tries to prove that Bilal was aware of son Shahid’s terrorism activities and was himself involved in them. Murad Ali Mohammed defends brother Bilal in court but before he knows it, he too is accused by the public prosecutor of terrorism. Shaken and dejected at the prejudice against Muslims, the old Murad Ali asks daughter-in-law Aarti to become Bilal’s lawyer in court.

Is Aarti able to defend Bilal and Murad Ali? Are they pronounced guilty or acquitted?

Anubhav Sinha has written a nice and thought-provoking story about a Muslim family which is looked down upon as a family of terrorists because of one black sheep in the family. While being relevant and topical, the story also tackles the larger issue of prejudice against members of the minority community in India. His screenplay is very engaging in the first half. The second half is mostly devoted to the courtroom drama. In the courtroom drama, while trying to extrapolate the story of the Mohammed family to the story of Muslims in India in general, Sinha does lose his grip in parts but he gets in control in the climax again. Had the courtroom drama had far more fire and many clap-trap moments, the impact would’ve been greater. In trying to take the macro view, the screenplay somewhere is unable to do justice to the pain and sufferings of the Mohammed family. Nevertheless, the drama does keep the viewers engaged. However, it would appeal mainly to the class audience because it becomes a drama of a macro issue after some time. Had Anubhav Sinha not left his grip on the state of the Mohammed family and milked the emotions in that space, the film would have become a fare for the masses and family audiences too. Also, the courtroom drama looks a bit simplistic and often one-sided – when public prosecutor Santosh Anand argues, it’s just his viewpoint and, likewise, when Aarti argues, it’s just her version. The audience would’ve enjoyed the courtroom drama far more had there been at least seven to ten clapworthy scenes of one-upmanship in the court arguments. The judgement pronounced by the judge (Kumud Mishra) is superbly worded – entertaining, yet so weighty. Anubhav Sinha’s dialogues are excellent.

Rishi Kapoor is extraordinary, as always. He lives the character of Murad Ali Mohammed who feels so helpless and marginalised because of his religion. His nuanced performance is worthy of high praise. Taapsee Pannu delivers a mature and superbly understated performance as Aarti Mohammed. Ashutosh Rana is splendid as public prosecutor Santosh Anand. His antics in the court are enjoyable. Rajat Kapoor delivers a decent performance as Danish Javed. Kumud Mishra is absolutely delightful as the judge. Manoj Pahwa delivers a fantastic performance as Bilal. His scene in jail with elder brother Murad Ali will make the weak-hearted cry. Prateik Smit Babbar is good as Shahid Mohammed. Neena Gupta shines in the role of Murad Ali’s wife, Tabassum. Prach­ee Shah Paandya is effective as Bilal’s wife, ‘Chhoti’ Tabassum. Vartika Singh makes her presence felt in the role of Aayat. Sumit Kaul leaves a mark as Mehfooz Alam. Ashrut Jain is good as Rashid. Indraneil Sengupta is alright in a brief role as Aftab. Atul Tiwari, as Murad Ali’s close Hindu friend, is very effective. Anil Rastogi, Vinay Ghoshal, Ehsaan Khan, Ehsannur Rehman Khan, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Udayveer Singh Yadav, Manoj Dutt, Paromita Chatterjee and the rest lend fair support.

Anubhav Sinha’s direction is good. He has handled the subject with sen­sitivity. Prasad Sashte and Anurag Saikia’s music and Shakeel Azmi’s lyrics are appealing. Mangesh Dhakde’s background music is very impactful. Ewan Mulligan’s cinematography captures the sombre mood of the drama with elan. Nikhil Kovale’s sets are realistic. Riyaz-Habib’s action and stunt scenes are good. Ballu Saluja’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, Mulk is a purposeful entertainer and has the potential to do fair business but its dull start and the dual oppositions of Fanney Khan and Karwaan this week will tell on its business. The critical acclaim it wins will be far more rewarding than the box-office revenues. Collections should definitely pick up by positive mouth publicity.

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T-Series, Virrendra Arora, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures and Anil Kapoor Film & Communication Network’s Fanney Khan (UA) is the story of a man obsessed about making his daughter a famous singer and the lengths he goes to for that. It is based on Dutch film Everybody’s Famous (2000).

Prashant Sharma (Anil Kapoor) is a good singer who never got his due although he is popular amongst the locals, who often lovingly refer to him as Fanney Khan. He loves to sing, compose tunes and even write lyrics. He works in a factory where his best friend is Adhir (Rajkumar Rao). The day Prashant’s daughter is born, he decides to make her a world-famous singer like Lata Mangeshkar, and even christens her Lata.

Much to Prashant’s joy, Lata Sharma (Pihu Sand) grows up to be a promising singer but whenever she performs on stage in school/college, students literally boo her out because she is obese. This, obviously, disheartens her as much as it disheartens Prashant and his wife (Divya Dutta). Somewhere, Lata starts resenting her father accompanying her everywhere she sings and constantly questioning her about her choice of songs, clothes she wears for performances, etc. She snaps at him, talks rudely to him, even insults him. But Prashant behaves like an obsessed man with just one mission in life – to make Lata a singer. He even thinks in terms of cutting an album of Lata in the hope that it would make her an overnight sensation like Baby Singh (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), a popular singer who charges Rs. 30 lakh for ribbon-cutting! Lata herself also idolises Baby Singh.

When the factory in which Prashant works shuts down, he fears, he would not be able to cut the album. He begins to drive a taxi for a living, unknown to his wife and daughter. One day, the famous Baby Singh hails his cab and in his desperation, Prashant kidnaps her so that he can demand a fat amount as ransom money for her family and use that amount to cut Lata’s album. He involves Adhir in his plan.

Along the way, the plan gets chan­ged. Prashant, in disguise, meets Baby Singh’s secretary, Kakkad (Girish Kulkarni), and forces him to record a song in Lata’s voice if he wanted Baby Singh’s safety. Kakkad does so and after that, his evil mind hatches a plan to please his friend (Asif Basra) who runs a television channel and at whose talent hunt finale, Baby Singh was due to perform. Meanwhile, Baby Singh is being held captive and is tended to by Adhir.

What is secretary Kakkad’s plan? Does it find favour with the TV channel owner? What happens to Prashant’s dream of making Lata a world-famous singer? What happens to Baby Singh? Does Adhir go as per Prashant’s plan?

The story is inspired by the Dutch film, Everybody’s Famous, and it is quite nice. But the screenplay, penned by Atul Manjrekar, with additional screenplay by Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal, is far from good. In fact, there are gaping holes in the screenplay which trouble the viewers. For one, why do Lata’s school/college mates boo her merely because of her obesity? Are they deaf to not notice that she is immensely talented? Who­ever in the world today insults talent like that? In contrast, the inhabitants of the chawl in which Lata lives are so supportive and appreciative of her because she is such a talented singer. Also, why Lata keeps snapping at and insulting her father whose world revolves around her is not explained or, at least, not justified. Lata’s reprehensible behaviour towards her own father, in fact, takes away from the sympathy the audience should feel for her – and this sympathy is paramount because she is the one Prashant is rooting for. Obviously, what’s a story in which a man is moving heaven and earth to make his daughter a singer, and that daughter – who, incidentally, shares the same dream of becoming a singer – seems to be an ungrateful and shameless creature? Yes, they may disagree on their choice of songs but should that give Lata the licence to insult her dad at every opportunity? In one scene, Prashant refers to his daughter’s perseverance when he says that she does riyaaz daily, but even dialogues like these don’t create much of an impact because they are not substantiated by visuals. Prashant’s action of kidnapping Baby Singh makes him appear like a self-centred ‘villain’ even though he has done it for the love of his daughter. All in all, while the audience is convinced that Prashant’s intentions are noble, they may not really approve of his actions, more so because they do not feel as much sympathy for daughter Lata as they should. The track of Baby Singh and her dog, Ustaad, looks hurried and contrived. The track of Adhir does add humour but even that is not of the kind which would make everyone laugh loudly. The climax should’ve been a tear-jerking one but it isn’t so, per­haps, due to the aforementioned drawbacks.

Before coming to the acting, a question: why do brilliant actors like Anil Kapoor and Rajkumar Rao have to act in such patently poor films? Anil Kapoor does a superb job as Prashant a.k.a. Fanney Khan. He brings out his angst, desperation and innocence to the fore wonderfully, with a performance that’s brilliant. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looks glamorous and beautiful as Baby Singh but her performance could’ve been more layered and mature. Her style of dialogue delivery would be more suitable to a teenager – and she would do well to change it. Rajkumar Rao plays Adhir extraordinarily well. He is equally at ease in light scenes and in intense ones. But the scope he gets is limited. Pihu Sand makes a confident and decent debut as Lata Sharma. Girish Kulkarni goes overboard at times, as Baby Singh’s manipulative manager. Divya Dutta lends good support with her understated performance as Prashant’s wife, constantly trying to keep the balance between husband and daughter. Asif Basra is natural as the TV channel owner. Barbie Rajput (as Rhea) and Swati Semwal (as Jinal) are adequate. Ankit Sagar (as the factory supervisor) and Rajat Bhasin (as Jai) lend good support. Others are nice.

Atul Manjrekar’s direction is average. His narration does not make the audience feel too much for both, Prashant and Lata, simultaneously and that’s a major drawback. Given that the film is about music, it should’ve had outstanding music. But Amit Trivedi’s music (with one song – ‘Mohabbat’ – composed by Tanishk Bagchi) is not even hit, leave alone super-hit! Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are weighty. Ganesh Acharya and Frank Gatson Jr.’s choreography is alright. Tubby Parik’s background music is quite nice. S. Tirru’s cinematography is appealing. Ajay Vipin’s (Patanga Art) production designing is fair. Monisha R. Baldawa’s editing is alright.

On the whole, Fanney Khan is a poor fare and will not find appreciation. It will flop at the turnstiles.

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RSVP and Ishka Films’ Karwaan (UA) is the story of three characters who bond over a dead body.

Avinash (Dulquer Salmaan), who has not been on very good terms with his father (Akash Khurana), suddenly gets the news of his father’s demise in a bus accident. But instead of his father’s corpse, the coffin he receives has the dead body of a lady (Beena) who had been killed in the same accident. He gets to know that in a mix-up, his father’s dead body has reached Tahira (Amala), the daughter of the dead lady. He contacts Tahira and then sets out with her mom’s corpse to deliver the same to her in Cochin and get his dad’s dead body from her. Accompanying Avinash is friend Shaukat (Irrfan Khan) in whose van they set out. Along the way, they pick up Tahira’s daughter, Tanya (Mithila Palkar), who studies in a different city and lives in a hostel. The three bond well during the journey, teaching each other some lessons of life. En route, their van gets stolen and traced back; Shaukat lands up in hospital where he falls in love with one Tasneem (Donna Munshi); and Avinash meets his college friend, Rumana (Kriti Kharbanda), just by chance.

Bejoy Nambiar has written a heartwarming story that’s not just about a road trip but also about life and the lessons it teaches. It is infused with good fun moments and a couple of emotional ones too. The screenplay, penned by Akarsh Khurana and Adhir Bhatt, moves at a leisurely pace but it is laced with so much humour that it keeps the audience in splits or at least smiling throughout. No doubt, the single-track story as well as the humour are class-appealing and will not find favour with the masses or single-screen cinema audience, but it will appeal to a section of the gentry and audiences who frequent premium multiplexes in the big cities. The humour, especially, is lovely. Hussain Dalal’s dialogues are excellent and evoke laughter at many places. The way the writers have written the drama, it gives the impression that they are all keen watchers of human behaviour. Note, for instance, how the transport company official informs Avinash about his father’s demise in the road accident, or how a potential customer speaks with Avinash who works in an IT company, or how Tanya and Avinash react so differently to the same situations because of the age difference and the different value systems of the two, or how Shaukat views life because of his traumatic childhood.

Irrfan Khan once again delivers a performance that is beyond brilliant. He makes Shaukat’s character supremely endearing with his easy acting. His comic sense of timing and dialogue delivery are to die for. Dulquer Salmaan redefines effortless acting. His performance in his debut Bollywood film can best be described as outstanding. Although he does not have the traditional good looks of a hero, he is so endearing that he becomes the darling of the audience in no time. Mithila Palkar plays Tanya and epitomises today’s rebellious girl with an I-care-a-damn-for-the-world attitude. Her acting is very easy-going and she looks cute. Akash Khurana lends able support as Avinash’s father. Amala, as Tanya’s mom, Tahira, lends grace and dignity to her character. Her speech about mothers is tears-inducing. Kriti Kharbanda makes her presence felt in a special appearance as Rumana. Sameer Saxena is natural as Rumana’s husband, Raghu. Adhaar Khurana is pretty impressive in the role of Avinash’s boss. Nipun Dharmadhikari has his cute moments as Avinash’s colleague, Amey. Habib Azmi (as the shehnai player) leaves a mark. Donna Munshi (as Tasneem), Beena and Sarang Sathaye (as Avinash’s friend, Sanjay) are adequate.

Akarsh Khurana’s direction is lovely. He has made a cute film for the class audience. Music (Prateek Kuh­ad, Anurag Saikia, Slowcheeta, Shwetang Shankar and Imaad Shah) is in synch with the film’s mood. Lyrics (Prateek Kuhad, Akarsh Khurana, Slowcheeta and Imaad Shah) are appropriate. Anurag Saikia’s background music is very appealing. Avinash Arun’s camerawork is good. Tiya Tejpal’s production designing is of a fine standard. Sunil Rodrigues’ action and stunts are okay. Editing (by Ajay Sharma) is sharp.

On the whole, Karwaan is an entertaining fare but only for the classes and city audiences. Its collections will pick up in the premium multiplexes of the cities due to positive word of mouth but the dull start will tell on the ultimate business because films like these do not have the power to sustain in the cinemas for too long.

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Raju Chadha, Rahul Mittra Films and Jar Pictures’ Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 (A) is a sequel to Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns (2013) which itself was a sequel to Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster (2011). The third part is also a story of love, lust, sex, deceit, betrayal, extra-marital affairs, power and politics.

Aditya Pratap Singh (Jimmy Shergill) is still in jail while his first wife, Madhavi (Mahie Gill), and second wife, Ranjana (Soha Ali Khan), live together in their palatial home. Madhavi is as scheming and manipulative as she was. Busy on the political front, she is keen that her husband – ‘Saheb’ for her – does not get bail and towards this, she does all under her command to ensure that he stays in jail even if that means having new charges framed against him. However, Saheb tries his best to get bail. And one day, he returns home after being released on bail.

By then, the scheming Madhavi has tried to kill Ranjana but the latter has survived although she is now critical. Madhavi is scared about her evil actions and her extra-marital affairs being exposed in front of Saheb. She, therefore, extends Saheb an olive branch but he refuses. In a moment of passion, Saheb gets physical with Madhavi and soon, it turns out that Madhavi is pregnant with Saheb’s child. Since Saheb is very keen on an heir, he mends his relationship with Madhavi.

However, Madhavi is not in a mood to give up her position of power and she continues with her evil machinations. She meets Uday Singh (Sanjay Dutt) when she is on a holiday in London and develops a soft corner for him. Like Saheb, Uday Singh also belongs to a royal family. In London, Uday runs a popular pub. One day, Uday is deported to India. He leaves his wife and daughter in London and happily comes back to India to be with his mistress, Suhani (Chitrangda Singh), who is a nautch girl. Uday’s father (Kabir Bedi) and younger brother, Vijay (Deepak Tijori), hate Uday because of the disrepute he has brought to the family name. Why, the two even try to have Uday killed but when he survives the attempt on his life by murdering the stooge sent to kill him, his own father has him arrested for having committed a murder.

Madhavi comes to Uday’s rescue and has him released on bail. Meanwhile, Saheb files a petition in court against the abandonment of privy purses to royals, and seeks support from other royals. Uday’s father does not support Saheb’s petition.

Madhavi now asks Uday to kill her own husband. Uday decides to play a dangerous game with Aditya because of which, Uday tells Madhavi, Aditya would kill himself. To prod Saheb on to play the game with Uday, she tells Saheb that she would save him so that Uday would die. Armed with the knowledge of Madhavi’s game plan, Saheb has Uday’s father supporting him in the petition just so that Saheb would murder Uday.

What happens finally? Does Uday kill Saheb? Or does Saheb kill Uday? Or are both saved? Or do both die? Or does someone else kill Saheb? Or does somebody else murder Uday? Whom does Madhavi support?

Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sanjay Chouhan have written a half-baked story and in writing the story, they have made a patently incorrect assumption – that all who would come to watch the third part, have not only seen parts one and two but also remember the details about the first two parts. This assumption is, of course, quite ridiculous because it is not as if the first two parts were huge blockbusters which were seen by millions. Even otherwise, the story offers not much novelty as it moves on the same pattern as the earlier parts. The duo’s screenplay is also oft-repeated. Besides, because no effort has been made to establish characters or re-establish the relationship between old characters, the screenplay looks patchy. Actually, the screenplay in the first half is a bit con­fusing even otherwise. Since the viewers are unable to connect emotionally with any character, the drama fails to involve them. The second half is a bit more dramatic but again, the thrill element is not what it ought to be. Yes, the intrigue value is exciting but that’s not enough. Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sanjay Chouhan’s dialogues are excellent at places and good otherwise.

Sanjay Dutt does a fairly good job as Uday Singh. He does not look very good though. Jimmy Shergill is quite nice as ‘Saheb’ Aditya Pratap Singh. Mahie Gill does a splendid job as Madhavi. She looks every inch the seductress she plays. Chitrangda Singh gets limited scope but she looks bewitching as Suhani and acts decently. Kabir Bedi (as Uday’s father), Deepak Tijori (as Uday’s brother, Vijay), Nafisa Ali (as Uday’s mother), Soha Ali Khan (as Ranjana, in a special appearance), Zakir Hussain (as Ranjana’s father), Deepraj Rana (as Kanhaiya), Rahul Mittra, Kanika Dang (as Badi Rani) and the rest lend good support.

Tigmanshu Dhulia’s direction is just about alright. His narrative style is not of the kind that would have the audi­ence hooked completely. Music (Rana Mazumder, Aanjan Bhattacharya and Siddharth Pandit) is fairly nice. The ‘Jugni’ song is the best. Lyrics (Sandeep Nath, Revant Shergill, Kausar Munir and Kumaar) are appropriate. Song picturisations are alright. Dharma Vish’s background music is impactful. Amlendu Chaudhary’s cinematography is nice. Nishant Khan’s action and stunts are okay. Dhananjoy Mondal’s production designing is alright. Pravin Angre’s editing is fairly crisp.

On the whole, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 is a dull fare and will flop at the box-office.

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