Eros International, Salman Khan Films and Rockline Venkatesh’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan (UA) is a human drama which also makes a comment on the political animosity between two neighbouring countries, India and Pakistan, and what the people of the two countries desire.

Shahida (baby Harshaali Malhotra) is a cute little girl from Pakistan who can’t speak since birth. Her distraught mother (Meher Vij) brings her to a mosque in India to pray for her. While returning to Pakistan by train, Shahida gets left behind in India and by the time her mother realises this, the train has moved ahead. Shahida’s family is devastated and despite their best efforts, finds itself helpless.

In India, the mute Shahida comes across Pawan Chaturvedi (Salman Khan) and clings on to him. Pawan, a simpleton, is a devotee of Bajrangbali and is also known by the name of Bajrangi. He is honest to the core and a strict vegetarian. Since he doesn’t even know that the little girl’s name is Shahida, he calls her by the name of Munni. He keeps her with himself as the police refuse to take care of her. Bajrangi feels, Munni’s parents would come in search of her. All along, he tries to understand from Munni where she is from but meets with little success.

Soon, Bajrangi realises that she is a non-vegetarian and doesn’t like vegetarian food. Again, it becomes clear that Munni is a Muslim. Before long, Bajrangi understands that the cute little Munni is from Pakistan. He now takes it upon himself to ensure that Munni reaches her parents in Pakistan. Standing solidly behind him in his endeavour is his girlfriend, Rasika (Kareena Kapoor). Rasika’s father (Sharat Saxena), incidentally, is very particular about caste, religion etc. This means, Bajrangi and Rasika have to hide the fact about Munni’s religion and non-vegetarian diet from Rasika’s father because Bajrangi and Munni are staying in Rasika’s house.

Bajrangi is unable to secure a passport or visa for Munni to travel to Pakistan and so he tries to send her by unfair means on the suggestion of a travel agent but soon realises that the travel agent has ulterior motives. Bajrangi now decides to himself travel to Pakistan with Munni even though both of them have neither passports nor visas. They reach Pakistan with great difficulty but are soon being chased by the police there because Bajrangi is branded an Indian spy.

A Pakistani television reporter, Chand Nawab (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), also feels that Bajrangi and Munni are Indian spies but is quick to learn the truth about them. He now befriends Bajrangi and starts helping him in his mission. But the police is still hot on Bajrangi’s trail.

What happens then? Does Bajrangi meet Munni’s parents? Or does he get caught by the Pakistani police before that? Does Chand Nawab remain a true friend of Bajrangi or does he desert him when the arm of law tries to reach him?

  1. Vijayendra Prasad has written a novel story about a little Pakistani girl lost in India and how a simple, noble-hearted young Indian tries to return her to her parents in Pakistan. On the macro level, the story is also about the people of the two neighbouring countries and about politicians who keep the flame of enmity burning between the two nations. The human drama of two individuals is fantastic and the larger political and human drama of the two nations is equally dramatic and outstanding. Their juxtapositioning in the climax is mind-blowing and leaves the audience in tears.

The screenplay, penned by Kabir Khan, Parveez Shaikh and V. Vijayendra Prasad, is extraordinary. Although there are some dull moments in the first half in which the pace is also slow, the screenplay is brilliant because of the layered scripting. What is outstanding is that the screenplay tries – and very successfully at that – to include light moments in the otherwise tension-ridden drama so effortlessly that what emerges is a fantastic human drama which makes the audience laugh and cry. The pace picks up after interval and the last around 20 to 25 minutes of the film are so emotional that they’d make the audience cry, weep and sob. There are actually two climaxes in the film, one after the other, and both are so emotional that they’d repeatedly bring tears to the viewers’ eyes. The scene in which Chand Nawab shouts “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” in the climax will have the audience go wild with excitement and many among them will repeat the words in the cinema halls. If the first climax is entertaining and heart-rending for the message it conveys, the second climax will shake the audience, many of who will cry inconsolably. A very good thing about the screenplay is that every person in the film remains true to his character. For instance, if Bajrangi is shown to not lie, he doesn’t lie whatever the situtation. Another wonderful thing about the screenplay is that it blends mythology beautifully into the drama. The scenes with references to Bajrangbali and the dialogues referring to Bajrangbali will be loved by the audience. Similarly, the qawwali in the Pakistan mosque – ‘Bhar do jholi’ – will be adored by the Muslim audience.

Kabir Khan’s dialogues are very good and flow with the drama. Several of them will draw huge rounds of applause in the cinemas.

Salman Khan looks every inch the character (Bajrangi) he plays and he acts so wonderfully that he shines throughout the film. There is not a single scene in which he is out of synch with the character of Bajrangi. In other words, he doesn’t do his ‘Salmanism’ in this film even once. Of course, the audience loves his ‘Salmanisms’ but this time, they will love his performance even without the usual ‘Salmanisms’. He endears himself cent per cent to the audience. His dance in the ‘Selfie le le re’ song will be a hit with the kids. In one word, an award-winning performance by Salman Khan. Kareena Kapoor looks gorgeous and acts with aplomb. Her performance in the emotional scenes (with her eyes welled up with tears ready to roll down her cheeks) is lovely. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is outstanding as Chand Nawab. He is unbelievably funny and endearing. His acting is so natural that one actually can’t believe that someone can be so good! Another award-winning performance from the supremely talented Nawazuddin Siddiqui, this! Baby Harshaali Malhotra is extremely cute and lovable. She looks just too beautiful and innocent and wins over the audience’s hearts as soon as she comes on the scene. She delivers a noteworthy performance as the girl without a voice. Her acting in the climax will make the audience weep. This is one more award-worthy performance. Sharat Saxena is effective as Rasika’s father. Alka Badola Kaushal leaves a mark in the role of Rasika’s mother. Meher Vij makes her presence felt as Shahida’s mother. Although she has very few dialogues, she beautifully conveys the pain of a mother whose little child is lost. Rajesh Sharma has his moments as the Pakistani police officer, Hamid. Om Puri is lovely in a brief role. Mir Sarwar lends able support as Rauf. Krunal Pandit is nice as the evil travel agent. Khushaal Pawar is splendid as Chand Nawab’s cameraman. Adnan Sami is very good as the main qawwal at the mosque in Pakistan. Master Neel Tyagi is cute in the role of Deepu. Kamlesh Gill leaves a mark as the train passenger. Manoj Kumar (as the dhaba manager at Kurukshetra), Rajan Kavatra (as the police officer at Kurukshetra), Atul Srivastava (as Diwakar Chaturvedi), master Arush Shukla (as little Pawan), Najeem Khan (as the teenage Pawan), Sanjeev Jaiswal (as the shopkeeper at the bangle shop), Aneesh Kumar (as the visa oficer), Jeet Kaur (as the old lady in the brothel), Mursaleen Qureshi (as the border agent), Vijay Kumar (as the border officer), Pradeep Jangid (as the army man at the border), Manoj Bakshi (as Qureshi), Harsh A. Singh (as Shamsher Ali), Vikrant Singh (as the bus conductor in Pakistan), Sunil Chitkara (as the fat police officer in Pakistan), Habib Azmi (as Chand Nawab’s fake father-in-law), Karan Mehat (as the officer at the border in the climax) and the others lend excellent support.

Kabir Khan’s direction is outstanding. His narrative style has the audience taken in right from the word ‘go’. He adopts a racy style (never mind the few dips in the screenplay) and blends the mythological touches, the human drama and the political drama just too extraordinarily. Pritam Chakraborty’s music is very good but there is no chartbusting song. ‘Selfie le le re’ is a popular song. The ‘Bhar do jholi’ number is hair-raising. The ‘Chicken’ song is poor. The background songs, at various points in the film, are very effective. Lyrics (Kausar Munir, Mayur Puri, Neelesh Misra and Amitabh Bhattacharya) are superb. Picturisation of the ‘Selfie le le re’ song (by Remo D’Souza) is very mass-appealing. Other song picturisations (by Raju Sundaram, Ahmed Khan and Aadil Shaikh) are decent. Julius Packiam’s background music is fantastic. Aseem Mishra’s cinematography is remarkable. Production designing by Acropolis (Rajnish Hedao, Sumit Basu and Snigdha Basu) is terrific. Sham Kaushal’s action scenes will gladden the hearts of the masses and the front-benchers. Rameshwar S. Bhagat’s editing is suitably sharp.

On the whole, Bajrangi Bhaijaan is an unadulterated blockbuster. The last few reels of the drama will win the audience over so completely that the film will emerge as the biggest hit of Salman Khan’s career so far. It will score in big centres and small, in multiplexes and single-screen cinemas and will be loved by classes and masses alike and by people of all age groups. This one has all the potential to join the Rs. 300-crore club in India and thereby prove to be one of the biggest blockbusters so far.

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Fox Star Studios India Pvt. Ltd. and Mangal Murti Films Pvt. Ltd.’s Guddu Rangeela (UA) is the story of two young men, Guddu and Rangeela, who have been wronged by the local MLA and the khap panchayat. Guddu (Amit Sadh) and Rangeela (Arshad Warsi) are bosom pals who leak information about rich people to thieves who then steal money and jewellery from those identified by the duo. Gud­du and Rangeela earn by way of commission from the thieves.

One day, Guddu and Rangeela are approched by Bangali (Dibyendu Bhattacharya), a paid stooge of local MLA Billu (Ronit Roy), to kidnap Baby (Aditi Rao Hydari). Baby is the sister-in-law of MLA Billu. The duo is promised a handsome amount of money for the job, which is why they undertake it. Soon, the money they are going to get for the kidnapping is raised from some lakh rupees to several crores.

As the drama unfolds, it is revealed that Baby is out to avenge her sister’s murder at the hands of Billu. She has incriminating evidence against him, which could easily jeopardise his political career. The idea is to ask Billu to pay up not for securing the release of Baby but for hushing up the incriminating proof Baby has against him. For Rangeela, the kidnapping turns out to be a personal vendetta because Billu had shot his newly-wed wife, Babli (Shriswara), as she belonged to a different caste. Billu is the moral custodian of the village and religiously carries out and executes the orders of the khap panchayat insofar as they relate to dissuading inter-caste marriages. Rangeela had also been shot at by Billu but he had escaped. He had assumed that his wife, Babli, had been killed.

Who finally wins the cat-and-mouse game? Is Billu victorious or do Guddu and Rangeela emerge the winners? Does Billu realise that his own man, Bangali, was responsible for Baby’s kidnapping? Does Baby succeed in scaring the daylights out of Billu with the evidence she has?

Subhash Kapoor has written a story which exposes the atrocities perpetrated by khap panchayats on people going in for inter-caste marriages. His screenplay is engaing only in parts as layer after layer unfolds, but it never really arrests the viewer’s attention enough to make him wait for more with bated breath. Also, the characters of Guddu and Rangeela are not half as endearing and lovable as they ought to have been. Again, the track of Baby’s relationship with Billu has been explained in a hurry and in a half-baked manner. Once all the tracks are revealed, the film degenerates into a routine vendetta drama. Actually, there are so many tracks in the film – of Billu’s ruthlessness, of khap panchayats being against inter-caste marriages, of Guddu and Rangeela’s antics, of Rangeela’s inter-caste marriage with Babli, of Baby’s incriminating evidence against Billu, of Bangali betraying Billu, of Guddu’s romance with Baby, of Guddu, Rangeela, Baby and Babli’s revenge against Billu – that writer Subhash Kapoor does justice to none fully.

The first half moves at a leisurely pace till a little before interval when the drama becomes interesting and racy. The second half is faster but it is often predictable too. Some light moments are entertaining but they are not enough to keep the audience involved and engaged throughout. Yet another drawback is that the title, publicity materials and promotion of the film have prompted the public to assume that it is a comedy film but it actually turns out to be an action-filled vendetta film. Subhash Kapoor’s dialogues are good and inspired but not consistently so.

Arshad Warsi does justice to his role but how one wishes, his character had been more lovable. Amit Sadh is fair as Guddu but he looks too unkempt for a hero. Aditi Rao Hydari looks pretty and acts fairly well in the limited role she has. Ronit Roy breathes fire into the character of Billu, making him (Billu) believable and terrifying. Shriswara is okay as Babli. Dibyendu Bhattacharya leaves a mark in the role of Bangali. Virendra Saxena makes his presence felt. Brijendra Kala is effective. Rajeev Gupta provides laughter as Gulab Singh. Achint Kaur has her moments. Amit Sial is natural as police inspector Ajay Singh. Sandeep Goyat (as Billu’s younger brother), Amit Rastogi (as party president), Vishal O. Sharma (as Pujari), Arun Verma (as Amichand), Ashok Sharma (as Babli’s father), Manoj Bakshi, Dhirendra Gupta and Shamji (all three as khap heads), Dawood Sheikh, Vishal Dhindra, Maan Singh and Vijender Kumar (all four as Billu’s men), Tarun Kumar, Devender Choudhary, Ramesh Goel, Rakesh Bidua and master Mausam Dubey lend fair support.

Subhash Kapoor’s direction is quite nice but he doesn’t seem to be too inspired. Amit Trivedi’s music is good but not outstanding. ‘Kal raat Mata ka mujhe e-mail aaya hai’ is the best song, followed by ‘Suiyaan suiyaan’ and the title track. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are mass-appealing. Choreography (by Howard Rosemeyer and Sada Yadav (‘Mata ka e-mail’ song only)) is fairly nice. Hitesh Sonik’s background music is alright. James Fowlds’ cinematography is appropriate. Pradyumna Kumar Swain (PK)’s action scenes are effective. Suman Roy Mahapatra’s production design and Pallavi Bagga’s art direction are very good. Arindam S. Ghatak’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, Guddu Rangeela does not offer the desired entertainment and will, therefore, remain a dull fare at the ticket windows.

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Gangani Motion Pictures’ Bezubaan Ishq is a musical romance. Rumjhum (Sneha Ullal) and Suhani (Mugdha Godse) are cousins. While Rumjhum lives with her parents (Sachin Khedekar and Alexandra Ashman) in London, her paternal cousin, Suhani, lives in India with her widower-father (Darshan Jariwala) and paternal grandmother (Farida Jalal). Rumjhum is a very nice girl, caring and loving. Suhani is just the opposite – loud, brash and self-centred.

Suhani demands a swanky car as her birthday gift from her rich father but as there’s a waiting period for the car’s delivery, her father is unable to fulfil his promise on her birthday. Suhani reacts so violently to this that the family has to take her to the doctor who diagnoses her with a mental disorder which has no cure. The doctor suggests, in the presence of Suhani’s close friend, Swagat (Nishant), that the family should think in terms of getting her married in the hope that marital life will probably mellow her down.

As luck would have it, Swagat’s parents (Muni Jha and Smita Jayakar), who are close family friends of Suhani’s father, are more than willing to accept the eccentric Suhani as their daughter-in-law. They are sure, Swagat, who has known Suhani for so many years, would agree to the alliance. Swagat is not very happy but he gives in.

Meanwhile, Rumjhum and her parents have come to India for Suhani and Swagat’s engagement and marriage. After the engagement, Swagat falls in love with Rumjhum while on a picnic to Rajasthan with Suhani, Rumjhum and friends. Rumjhum, too, gets fond of Swagat. All hell breaks loose when Suhani sees Rumjhum and Swagat together in a bath tub where they had landed accidentally.

What happens thereafter? Whom does Swagat finally marry? Who sacrifies his or her love?

Jashwant Gangani’s love triangle story is as old as the hills with not even a hint of novelty. The screenplay, written jointly by Jashwant Gangani and Sanjay V. Shah, is as jaded as jaded can be. Quite strangely, Swagat’s parents are shown to be oh so excited about getting their son married to a girl who is diagnosed with a mental disorder – so excited that it would appear as if their son himself had some major shortcoming. Their reason for this – of sharing problems of one another – sounds tame and rather unbelievable. Again, why Swagat himself is not able to tell his parents that he wants to marry Rumjhum and not Suhani is unclear. After all, his parents are not idiots to force him to marry a girl with a mental illness – or are they idiots?!? It is because of this weak link that nothing really creates an impact after Swagat’s parents volunteer to get their son married to Suhani. Not even Suhani’s crazy behavior and suicidal tendencies, which come to the fore after the engagement, prompt Swagat to take up the matter with his parents – and this looks so weird that the audience is unable to sympathise with Swagat. The owner of Love Nest, where Swagat, Suhani, Rumjhum and their friends stay in Rajasthan, advising Swagat at the end of their trip, also appears unwarranted. All in all, the screenplay is not only dated, it is also confused and one of complete convenience. Sanjay V. Shah’s dialogues, like the rest of the script, belong to an era gone by.

Mugdha Godse does a fairly good job. Sneha Ullal is expressionless at many times. She looks alright in the initial reels but a bit stocky in the latter part of the film. Nishant has performed quite well. Of the supporting cast, it is only Farida Jalal who stands out with her expressions and acting. Darshan Jariwala, Sachin Khedekar, Smita Jayakar and Muni Jha have roles which are not very significant, and their performances are alright. Alexandra Ashman and Soniya Mehta pass muster. Others lend very ordinary support.

Jashwant Gangani’s direction is not bad but does appear dated like the drama. Music (Babli Haque and Rupesh Verma) is good. ‘Teri masumiyat’ (Babli Haque) is very well-tuned and the title track (Babli Haque) and ‘Teri meri ankahi dastaan’ (Rupesh Verma) are fairly nice. Lyrics (Jashwant Gangani; ‘Har lamha kar party’ song lyrics by Prashant Ingole) are nice. Choreography (Rajeev Surti, Longines Fernandes, Ricky and Pappu Khanna) is functional. Raju Singh’s background music is ordinary. S. Kumar Bhagat’s camerawork is average. Kaushal-Moses’ action and stunts are too ordinary to deserve special mention. Paresh Y. Manjrekar’s editing is not bad.

On the whole, Bezubaan Ishq will be a mute spectator to its rejection at the box-office due to lack of merits.

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Gakhal Brothers Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s Second Hand Husband (UA) is the story of a man who is in the process of divorcing his first wife and wants to marry his new girlfriend.

Rajbir (Gippy Grewal) is seeking a divorce from his vain wife, Neha (Geeta Basra). He has already fallen in love with lawyer Gurpreet (Tina Ahuja) and takes a marriage proposal to her family. Even while Gurpreet’s brother (Ravi Kishan) is against the liaison, her father (Alok Nath) is in favour of it. But since Rajbir has been ordered by the court to pay Neha a monthly alimony of Rs. 30,000, Gurpreet’s father is hesitant because Rajbir would be left with very little money for himself and Gurpreet.

Soon, Rajbir realises that he would not have to pay Neha alimony if she were to remarry. So, he takes it upon himself to get her a new husband. He takes advantage of the tension between his boss, Ajit Singh (Dharmendra), and his wife, Beant Kaur (Rati Agnihotri), because of his roving eye and drinking habit. While Beant Kaur applies for divorce, Rajbir tries to set up Ajit Singh with Neha. He even attempts to set up Beant Kaur with a police officer, Rakesh (Vijay Raaz), so that Neha could then marry Ajit Singh. Incidentally, Rajbir had also tried to get Neha interested in Rakesh but had failed.

What happens finally? Do Rajbir and Gurpreet unite in matrimony?

Smeep Kang has written a story which is comical and which runs on various tracks. The story offers no novelty but screenplay writers Smeep Kang, Vaibhav Suman and Shreya Shrivastav come up with fairly fresh anecdotes to build up the audience’s interest. However, while the scenes of Rajbir are interesting and funny enough, those of Ajit Singh are neither convincing nor funny. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that the entire track of Ajit Singh actually takes the film down to the point of boredom. If the climax is once again entertaining, it is because the track of Rajbir meets with the track of Ajit Singh. Dialogues, penned by the trio, are laced with humour and keep the audience entertained except in the track of Ajit Singh.

Punjabi films’ superstar Gippy Grewal makes an impressive debut in Bollywood. He looks charming and acts with a natural ease. His sense of timing is very good and he is also a nice dancer. Tina Ahuja makes a dull debut. She looks ordinary and her acting is average. She needs to improve her dialogue delivery. Geeta Basra looks glamours and acts with sincerity. Dharmendra is unable to create the humour which was needed in his scenes. His dubbing is not very clear as there is a slur in his dialogue delivery. Rati Agnihotri is earnest. Sanjay Mishra is very natural and funny as lawyer Jagmohan. Vijay Raaz is good in the role of police officer Rakesh. Mukesh Tiwari has a cute track and he does justice to his role as Beant Kaur’s brother. Supriya Karnik is quite alright as Beant Kaur’s sister-in-law. Ravi Kishan evokes laughter with his comedy; one wishes, he had a lengthier role. Alok Nath is effective. Karamjeet Anmol has his moments as Rakesh’s deputy, Balwinder. Gurpreet Guggi is wonderful as Bhagwan. Others do as desired.

Smeep Kang’s direction is fair. While he handles the comedy in the Rajbir track well, he is unable to do much in the Ajit Singh track. Music (Badshah, Dr. Zeus and Jatinder Shah) is nice. The ‘Mitthi meri jaan’ song (composed by Jatinder Shah) is very appealing; the ‘Bad baby’ number (set to tune by Badshah) is also nice; the other songs are quite interesting. Lyrics (Kumaar, Badshah and Rahul Behenpal) are fair. Devang Desai and Aadil Shaikh’s choreography could’ve been better. Sanjay Chowdhury’s background music passes muster. Manoj Shaw’s camerawork is fair. Sunny Prasad Phadte’s sets are ordinary. Ritesh Soni does a fine job of the editing, making the film sharp and crisp.

On the whole, Second Hand Husband is funny only in parts and will, therefore, not work at the box-office. It will flop.

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Fox Star Studios India Pvt. Ltd., Crossword Films Pvt. Ltd. and NG Film Crafts’ Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho (UA) is a satire on khap panchayats and the judiciary in India.

Arjun (Rahul Bagga) is accused by the chief of Tanakpur village, Pradhan Sualal (Annu Kapoor), of raping his buffalo. The fact is that Sualal had caught Arjun and his (Sualal’s) much younger wife, Maya (Hrishitaa Bhatt), red-handed but rather than tell the world that his wife was having an extra-marital affair with Arjun, he accuses Arjun of a bizarre crime – that of having raped his buffalo which, incidentally, had been crowned Miss Tanakpur at a beauty contest of buffaloes.

The rape matter reaches the court because an unscrupulous police officer, Matang Singh (Om Puri), accepts bribe from Sualal and registers his rape complaint. Even while the matter is being decided by the court, the khap panchayat orders Arjun to marry the buffalo.

What happens then? Does Arjun marry Miss Tanakpur, the buffalo? What does Maya do? Does she tell the court or the world that Arjun had been falsely framed by her husband?

Vinod Kapri and Abhishek Sharma have written a story which is novel and interesting even though it is far-fetched. The humour and the comedy in the drama keep the audience entertained. Writers Vinod Kapri and Varun Gautam have penned a screenplay which is full of humour and comedy. The characters in the film are very interesting because of which the viewers feel involved in the drama and enjoy it. The first half has many light moments and the satire is pretty entertaining. However, it must be added that although the humour is quite mass-appealing, the basic premise of the plot has limited appeal, mainly for the classes only. After interval also, the drama remains entertaining and engrossing but it also appears over-stretched beyond plausible limits. The khap panchayat ordering Arjun to marry the buffalo and the actual baaraat and wedding taking place are too much for even the class audience to digest. In other words, the last part of the drama spoils the impact. Also, as Maya is shown to be a lady who is supposed to win the audience’s sympathy, her silence when her beloved, Arjun, is being roughed up in public and humiliated in court, before the khap panchayat and by the people, looks rather unbelievable. Dialogues, by Vinod Kapri and Varun Gautam, are superb and they make the film truly enjoyable for the viewers.

Annu Kapoor is extraordinary as Pradhan Sualal. He acts with effortless ease and entertains the audien­ce. His ‘Don’t take me otherwise’ dia­logue is a highlight and so are his other dialogues spoken in English. Om Puri shines as the spineless Matang Singh. He gets into the skin of the character of an unprincipled police officer. Ravi Kishan is endearing as Bhim Singh alias Bhima. Sanjay Mishra is outstanding as Shastri. He evokes laughter every time he comes on the screen. It would not be wrong to say that he is the highlight. Rahul Bagga acts sincerely. Hrishitaa Bhatt looks pretty and performs ably. Kamlesh Gill is first-rate as Arjun’s paternal aunt, providing many a light moment. Rajeev Gupta is effective as the judge. V.K. Sharma (as Arjun’s father) and Amita Udghata (as Arjun’s mother) lend fan­tastic support. Munmun is suitably restrained as Arjun’s sister, Lajjo. Brijend­ ra Kala leaves a wonderful mark as Arjun’s lawyer, Luttan Singh. Govind Pandey is also effective as Sualal’s lawyer, Bhanwar Singh. Anoop Trivedi makes his presence amply felt as Rambeer, the fat police officer with Matang Singh. Arjun Singh Faujdar shines as Arjun’s friend, Narayan. N.K. Pant (as veterinary doctor), Dev (as the doctor at the hospital) and Sushil Tyagi (as the SP) provide good support. Sachin Kathuria (as bus conductor) and Abhushan (as the old man in the bus) are very good. Ankur Chaudhry (as Arjun’s friend, Sattu), Vidya Bhushan (as the aged hakim), Ajay Verma (as the head constable), Sanjeev Kumar (as the constable), Moolchand Prajapati (as Harkaara) and Gurudev (as Munadi announcer) are adequate.

Vinod Kapri’s direction is lovely. Although Kapri makes his debut as director with this film, the narration is smooth. He has extracted excellent work from out of his actors and he adopts a style which does not let the audience get bored. Palaash Muchhal and Susmit Sen’s music is alright. Lyrics (Sanjeev Sharma, Sakshi Joshi and Vinay Bihari) are appropriate. Song picturisations (by Pappu-Maalu and Nishi Rastogi) are functional. Vinayak Netke’s background music is excellent and adds to the drama. Vishnu Dev’s action and stunts are adequate. Yogesh Jani’s camerawork is very effective. Bhupendra Singh’s production designing is appropriate. Editing (by Devendra Murdeshwar and Nishant Radhakrishnan) is superbly sharp and deserves distinction marks.

On the whole, Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho is, by and large, an entertaining film which will be liked by the class audience but its box-office prospects are dull because its promotion has been extremely low-key and satiri­cal films, as it is, have a very limited market in India.

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Disney’s ABCD – Any Body Can Dance 2, as the title suggests, is a dance film. It is a sequel to ABCD – Any Body Can Dance. Suresh (Varun Dhawan) and Vernon (Sushant Pujari) have choreographed a dance which they and their dance troupe – Stunners – perform at a prestigious competition. Although their performance is excellent, the three judges (Remo D’Souza, Terrence Lewis and Seema Pandey) disqualify them after heaping insults on them for having blatantly lifted the entire choreography of a foreign dance troupe. Suresh and Vernon’s dance team has to face a lot of public humiliation because of which some dancers leave the team. But Suresh is convinced, he would leave the ugly past behind him, form a new team and aim to participate in the international Hip Hop dance competition to be held after three months in Las Vegas. Supporting him in his dream are his dancer-girlfriend, Vinnie (Shraddha Kapoor), Vernon, Raghav (Raghav Juyal) and a couple of other team mates. They don’t have a proper team, they don’t have the money but they dream of striking gold in Las Vegas.

Soon, Suresh gets lucky when he meets choreographer Vishnu (Prabhudheva) who also nurtures a dream to go to Las Vegas. Suresh and the team mates, who are still with him, try to convince Vishnu to train them for Las Vegas and it is after a lot of cajoling that Vishnu agrees. A few new dancers are inducted into the dance team and the old team mates also join in. After a lot of practice, the Stunners reach Las Vegas with Vishnu. The judges at the Hip Hop dance competition are inclined to disqualifying the Indian team for having cheated in the Indian dance competition but Vishnu pleads before the judges, asking them to give the dancers just one chance. The Stunners impress the judges and the audience so much with their dance moves that they are allowed to participate.

As the Indian Stunners win the first and second rounds, unforeseen and serious problems crop up. For one, Vinnie gets injured while rehearsing and she is advised rest. Secondly, Vishnu disappears with the money without informing the team which is now left with no money. Meanwhile, the team is asked to deposit more money to move ahead in the competition, failing which they would have to quit. Although Suresh and team find an Indian girl, Olive (Lauren Gottlieb), to step in for Vinnie, the lack of funds continues to threaten to jeopardise all their efforts.

What happens then? Is the Indian Stunners team allowed to continue in the competition and if so, how? Where did Vishnu disappear with the cash? Did he have any other agenda for coming to Las Vegas? Does the Indian Stunners dance team do India proud? Does it return home victorious?

Remo D’Souza has penned the story which is inspired by a real-life story of a dance team. It is a simple story of dance, passion, hardships, team work etc. and it mostly moves in a predictable fashion. Predictability is also the catchword for the screenplay penned by Tushar Hiranandani and Remo D’Souza but it must be added that the writers have very intelligently added all the ingredients of a masala entertainer including mythological touch, patriotic flavor, emotions, drama and melodrama, besides, of course, dance, team spirit, a bit of romance and a dash of suspense. This is one of the reasons why even the predictable screenplay engages and entertains the audience. In fact, there are hardly any dull moments in the film. The other reasons for the film being engrossing are its visual beauty, fantastic dances and some hit songs. Mayur Puri has penned dialogues which are simple but appealing.

Prabhudheva has a full-fledged role and he does a truly fine job. He is very restrained in the emotional scenes and manages to touch the hearts of the viewers. Of course, his dancing is to die for! Varun Dhawan dances very energetically and acts with effortless ease, essaying the character of Suresh with elan. Shraddha Kapoor is cute and endearing and her dances are absolutely graceful and mesmerising. Lauren Gottlieb dances like a million bucks and her acting is also good. Dharmesh Yelande is pretty impressive as Dharmesh alias D. Raghav Juyal is terrific as dancer Raghav; he seems to have an elastic body. Sushant Pujari leaves a mark as Vernon. Punit J. Pathak has his wonderful moments in the role of Vinod. Saajan Singh (as Saajan), Rohit Jadhav (as Rohit), Chandan Acharya (as Chandan), Praveen Solanki (as Praveen), Pravin Bhosle (as Pravin), Jack Gill (as Jack), Mohanlal Pandey (as Mohan), Nikhil Kasare (as Nikhil), Sumeet Pendam (as Sumeet) and Pavan Rao (as Pavan) lend terrific support, more as dancers than actors. Tisca Chopra is fantastic in a bit role, as Swati. Master Jeenit Rathi is very natural as Manu. Murali Sharma makes his presence felt as Suresh’s boss, Shetty. Manmeet Singh performs ably in the role of Raghav’s uncle. Remo D’Souza, Terrence Lewis, Seema Pandey and Shashank Khaitan leave their marks in the roles of judges. Pooja Batra comes as a whiff of fresh air in a special appearance. Prachi Shah Pandya is alright in the role of Suresh’s mother. Naresh Malik (as Vernon’s team leader), Sonal Bhatt and Mohit Abrol (both as masters of ceremonies), Partha Akerkar (as the man who orders pizza at home), master Kavin Bagaria (as little Suresh), Ganesh Acharya (as Vishnu’s friend, Gopi), Gary Tantony (as the doctor in Las Vegas), Will Roberts (as the organiser of the World Starz Hip Hop Challenge), Robert ‘Bob’ Amulo (as the master of ceremonies in Las Vegas) and the others lend the required support.

Remo D’Souza’s direction is lovely. He adopts a narrative style which keeps the audience engaged throughout. Credit is due to him also for making the film a visual treat for the viewers. Sachin-Jigar’s music is excellent. The ‘Bezubaan’ and ‘Saathiya’ songs are hit numbers whereas the other songs are also very appealing. Mayur Puri’s lyrics are meaningful. Choreography by Remo D’Souza and his entire team is outstanding. The song picturisations are veritably delightful. Sachin-Jigar’s background music could’ve been better. Vijay Kumar Arora deserves distinction marks for his cinematography which is of international standard. He makes the film look just too grand and beautiful. Parichit Paralkar’s sets and production designing are remarkably outstanding, making the film a big-canvas fare. Manan Sagar’s editing is sharp. Visual effects and 3D effects are lovely.

On the whole, ABCD – Any Body Can Dance 2 is a surefire hit. It has hit music, great choreography, brilliant sets, outstanding camerawork and superb masala for everyone. It will easily join the 100-crore club. Its opening day and opening weekend’s collections may be the best of this year so far.

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Junglee Pictures and Excel Entertainment’s Dil Dhadakne Do (UA) is a comedy drama set on a cruise ship. Kamal (Anil Kapoor) and Neelam Mehra (Shefali Shah), to the outside world, are a perfect socialite couple but in reality, they can’t stand each other. They have invited their family and close friends on a 10-day cruise around Turkey, in celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary. It is at this party that the seemingly Utopian world of the Mehras starts falling apart, leaving Kamal and Neelam aghast at how the world will judge their personal lives.

Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra), their elder daughter, who is a successful businesswoman, is married to Manav Sangha (Rahul Bose) and it is on this cruise that she tells her parents and Manav and his mother (Zarina Wahab) that she is unhappy in the marriage and, therefore, wants a divorce. Kamal and Neelam are shocked and Kamal actually tells her to think of a divorce at her own risk as she won’t be welcome back into the Mehra family. Neelam Mehra feels, marriage is a journey full of ups and downs and tells Ayesha to adjust rather than thinking about divorce. Also on the cruise is her ex-buddy, Sunny Gill (Farhan Akhtar), who is the son of Kamal Mehra’s trusted manager. Kamal had, some years ago, sent Sunny for further studies to the USA but the real reason for sponsoring Sunny’s education trip was to separate Sunny from Ayesha.

The Mehras’ second child is Kabir (Ranveer Singh), the sole heir to the huge business empire of his dad. He is passionate about flying and his dad has bought him a private jet. The seemingly successful Ayka company of the Mehras has actually hit bad times and is bankrupt because of which Kamal wants Lalit Sood (Parmeet Sethi) to buy a stake in the company and bail him out. But the egotistic Mehra can’t get himself to tell Sood to acquire a stake in the company, more so because Sood is known to be a shark who soon takes control of the companies he acquires a stake in. Therefore, Kamal has invited the Sood family on the cruise with the single intention of setting up his own son and Lalit’s only daughter, Noorie (Riddhima Sud). That way, Lalit’s acquisition of a stake in Ayka would ensure that the control remains within the family only. To the horror of Kamal and Neelam Mehra, however, Kabir falls in love with Farah Ali (Anushka Sharma) whom he meets on the cruise and who is a dancer and a Muslim.

What happens thereafter? Are Kamal and Neelam Mehra able to save their ‘family honour’ from the prying eyes of their socialite-friends even as they grapple to save Ayesha’s marriage and get Kabir to agree to marrying Noorie Sood so that their company can be saved from ruination? Or do Ayesha and Kabir, who are each other’s emotional anchors, revolt against their selfish parents, for whom, society and status are more important than the happiness of their two children?

Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti have penned a story which has many layers and at the core of which is the tension within the Mehra family on several counts. The duo’s screenplay keeps the audience engrossed, engaged and entertained but intermittently so. For, in several scenes, Akhtar and Kagti take too long to come to the point and, in the process, end up boring the viewers. Since the entire film is narrated from the point of view of the Mehras’ dog, Pluto, the narration does get monotonous at times, when it starts sounding like a sermon. In fact, the dog’s initial talking gets on the audience’s nerves after a point of time. However, the comedy punches and the inherent humour in the drama, although quite class-appealing, do save the drama. Resultantly, the screenplay emerges like a fresh and entertaining take on relationships but with boring portions in between. The first half has more dull moments than the second half. In fact, the post-interval portion moves at a fast pace as the simmering differences between the four Mehras come to the fore. The ultimate showdown which Kabir has with his father is supremely engaging. Having said that, it must be added that the humour is meant more for the classes and the city audience than the masses and public of the small centres. But the emotional part of the relationship drama is definitely universal.

The comic dialogues by Farhan Akhtar are witty and humorous whereas the dramatic ones are even cutting-edge at times. The dialogues of Pluto have been penned by Javed Akhtar and they are appropriately philosophical and humorous.

Anil Kapoor lives the role of Kamal Mehra and plays the selfish and manipulative business tycoon with elan. It’s a delight to watch his facial expressions and body language moving in synch with his mood, in different situations. Shefali Shah is equally outstanding as Neelam Mehra. She acts with the confidence of a seasoned actress who knows what the audience wants. Ranveer Singh is extraordinary in the role of Kabir Mehra. His layered character unfolds so dramatically because of his superb performance that he absolutely endears himself to the public. Priyanka Chopra is wonderfully restrained as Ayesha Sangha. She plays her character with a lot of maturity and leaves a brilliant mark. Anushka Sharma shines in a brief role. Her conviction comes to the fore in her scenes of a modern girl who knows her priorities. Rahul Bose is outstanding as Manav Sangha who is unable to understand his modern wife. He underplays his character so beautifully that he leaves a lasting impression. Farhan Akhtar is lovely in a special appearance. He looks very handsome and acts with effortless ease. Riddhima Sud is fair as Noorie Sood. Zarina Wahab is fantastic as Manav Sangha’s mother. She makes a lovely mark each time she comes on the screen. Parmeet Sethi, as Lalit Sood, and Dolly Mattoo, as Naina Sood, play Noorie’s parents with confidence. Aamir Khan’s voice acting as the voice of Pluto, the dog, is very fine. Sarah Hashmi is quite nice as Divya Mehra, cousin of Ayesha and Kabir. Khushi Dubey is cute as Putlu Mehra. Pawan Chopra (in the role of Kamal Mehra’s brother Prem Mehra) and Ayesha Raza (as Prem Mehra’s wife, Indu Mehra) act ably. Divya Seth Shah (as Saira Hashmi), Shireesh Kumar Sharma (as Saira’s husband), Ikhlaque Khan (as Amrish uncle), Manoj Pahwa (as Vinod Khanna), Preeti Mamgain (as Vandana Khanna), Vikrant Massey (as Rana Khanna), Vandana Sajnani (as Anju) and Debanshi Shah (as Nitya) lend very good support.

Zoya Akhtar’s direction is mature and she brings to the fore the smallest nuances so beautifully that one can’t help but marvel at her eye for detail. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is good but the absence of chartbusting music is sorely felt, especially because the backdrop is a celebration party. The title song and ‘Galla goodiyaan’are the more appealing numbers. The other songs are quite good. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are both, interesting and meaningful. Choreography of the ‘Galla goodiyaan’ song (by Bosco-Ceasar) is the best. The other song-dances are also well-picturised. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Jim Satya’s background music is lovely. Carlos Catalan’s camerawork is of a high order. The cruise ship, the sea and the foreign locales have all been captured beautifully by him in his camera. Neil Patel’s production design and Chandrashekhar More’s art direction befit the huge canvas of the film. Anand Subaya’s editing is sharp. Production values are rich.

On the whole, Dil Dhadakne Do is a good entertainer for the multiplex-frequenting audience. It will be liked by the youngsters and the classes more than the mass audiences. Business in the cities will be good on the strength of audiences of multiplexes and premium single-screen cinemas. However, business in smaller centres and in lesser single-screen cinemas will be dull. All in all, it will fetch some profits.

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