HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI

Eros International and Colour Yellow Productions’ Happy Bhag Jayegi is a love story.

Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Shergill), a corporator, is engaged to be married to Happy (Diana Penty) in Amritsar. However, Happy runs away from the marriage on the day of the engagement even as the celebrations are on, because she loves Guddu (Ali Fazal) and wants to marry him. Since her father (Kanwaljeet Singh) is against her marriage with Guddu, the plan is that she would escape in a truck of flowers sent by her boyfriend. Guddu does nothing for his livelihood and is fond of music.

As luck would have it, Happy lands in the wrong truck which reaches Lahore in Pakistan, in the house of ex-governor Javed Ahmed (Jawed Sheikh) who is obsessed with the idea of seeing his son, Bilal (Abhay Deol), enter politics and change the face of Pakistan. On his part, Bilal has no political inclinations whatsoever. Bilal is to be married to Zoya Rehmani (Momal Sheikh), daughter of Zia Rehmani (Manoj Bakshi).

By the by, Bilal and Zoya understand Happy’s plight and decide to get her married to Guddu in Pakistan itself and then deport the two to India. Towards this end, Bilal and police officer Usman Afridi (Piyush Mishra) come to Amritsar in search of Guddu. They bring Guddu to Lahore under the pretext of making him a singer. But no sooner does Guddu leave for Lahore, Bagga gets to know the truth – that his runaway fiancée, Happy, is in Pakistan and that Bilal would get her married to Guddu. All along, Bilal has to hide the truth about Happy and Guddu’s Indian origin from his strict father as well as from the Pakistani media.

To stop the wedding from taking place, Bagga leaves for Lahore. He is accompanied by Happy’s father.

What happens in Pakistan? Does Guddu marry Happy? Or is Happy forced to wed Bagga?

Mudassar Aziz’s story is quite different from the usual love stories one sees in Hindi films. Since there’s also a track of Bilal seemingly falling in love with Happy, it becomes a love story of a girl and three guys. The drama in the first half is quite interesting and consumes the audience but it becomes slow and a bit boring in the second half. The climax is again quite engaging. Mudassar Aziz’s screenplay emphasises on comedy and is funny throughout. However, the screenplay looks contrived at several strategic points, which comes in the way of the viewers’ full enjoyment. For instance, the track of Bilal and Zoya deciding to get Happy married off to Guddu comes all too suddenly and, therefore, looks a bit forced. Similarly, Happy disappearing in Lahore before her wedding looks like a weak link included only so that the drama can be stretched. However, it must be said to the credit of the writer that despite the contrived twists, he has kept the comic flavour of the screenplay alive, which ensures that the audiences feel entertained, the forced scenes notwithstanding. The post-interval portion, in which there is all-round confusion, is not as hilarious as it ought to have been. Mudassar Aziz’s dialogues are lovely and add to the humour quotient.

Abhay Deol is eandearing in the role of Bilal Ahmed and acts with effortless ease. He is natural as ever. Diana Penty looks chic and performs well enough to make a mark. Jimmy Shergill is effective as Daman Singh Bagga and it is fun to watch him express his frustration every now and then after Happy has run away. Ali Fazal does a fine job as Guddu and is cute. Momal Sheikh makes her presence amply felt as Zoya Rehmani. Piyush Mishra is remarkable in the role of police officer Usman Afridi. His patent dialogues and his chaste Urdu add to the fun element in the film. Jawed Sheikh leaves a mark as ex-governor Javed Ahmed. Jagat Rawat (as Fakhru) and Ayesha Raza Mishra (as Rifat Bi) provide fantastic support. Kanwaljeet Singh has his moments as Happy’s dad. Manoj Bakshi makes his mark as Zoya’s father, Zia Rehmani. Gaurav Dixit (as Bagga’s sidekick, Dimpy), lends lovely support. Nilima Sharma (as Reeto), Ashu Sharma (as Winkle), Rana Pratap Sengar (as Rasheed), Tasha Bhambhra (as Amjad), Lankesh Bhardwaj (as Rajinder), Surjeet Singh Rajput (as Moin), Neetu Pandey (as Ishtiyaq Khan), Manu Rishi (as Sardar) and the rest are adequate.

Mudassar Aziz’s direction is fairly nice. Credit to him for having kept the thread of comedy and humour running throughout the film. Sohail Sen’s music is nice. The ‘Yaaram’ and ‘Gabru’ songs are appealing while the other numbers also have lilt. Mudassar Aziz’s lyrics may not be easy on the lips but they are, nevertheless, good. Raju Khan’s choreography in all but one song is fair. The ‘Gabru’ song, choregraphed by Caesar Gonsalves, is quite eye-filling. Sohail Sen’s background music is effective. Saurabh Goswami’s cinematography is of a nice standard. Wasiq Khan’s production designing is appropriate. Ninad Khanolkar’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, Happy Bhag Jayegi is good in parts only, but the contrived screenplay will do the film in. In the final tally, it will not be able to do much at the box-office.

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RUSTOM

Zee Studios, Kriarj Entertainment, Cape Of Good Films and Plan C Studios’ Rustom (UA) is inspired by the K.M. Nanavati versus state of Maharashtra case of 1959.

Rustom Pavri (Akshay Kumar) is a principled naval officer with a spotless record. He loves his wife, Cynthia (Ileana D’cruz), very much. But he is shocked to learn that Cynthia is in a relationship with another man, Vikram (Arjan Bajwa). His anger knows no bounds when he learns of their affair and without even giving his wife a chance to speak, he rushes to Vikram’s house and shoots him dead. Not just that, he surrenders to the police, admitting that he had murdered Vikram.

Rustom is arrested and refuses to appoint a lawyer, preferring instead to argue his own case in court. Vikram’s sister, Preeti (Esha Gupta), appoints Lakshman Khamgani (Sachin Khedekar) as her lawyer. At first, Rustom refuses to meet his wife while he is in police custody. But just before the court hearing begins, he gives her one chance to meet him.

What happens in the court? Does Rustom Pavri get convicted for the murder of his wife’s lover? If not, how does he prove himself innocent?

The K.M. Nanavati case had created ripples when the naval commander had murdered his wife’s paramour. The case had received unprecedented media support and the Parsi community had rallied behind Nanavati back in 1959.

Vipul K. Rawal’s story is not a step-by-step account of the Nanavati case. He has written a very engaging and interesting story which holds the audience’s attention from the start till the end. His screenplay is beautifully penned and unfolds rather dramatically. The first half has some shocking points – prominent among them being the scene in which Rustom Pavri kills Vikram, the scene in which he surrenders before the police, and the interval scene (not being revealed here). Although almost the entire second half is devoted to the court proceedings, it has many flashbacks to break the monotony. Besides, there are a number of entertaining moments in the courtroom drama to lighten the tension-ridden drama. Of course, the court proceedings will be liked more by the city audience but the underlying drama of love, betrayal, revenge etc. does have mass appeal. Ladies and girls will particularly like the drama. A couple of scenes will moisten the eyes of the weak-hearted – the scene in which Rustom’s maid (Usha Nadkarni) testifies in court, the scene in which Cynthia is cross-examined by her own husband in court, the scene in which a lowly hawaldar (Brijendra Kala) exults in court, the scene in which newspaper editor Erach (Kumud Mishra) repeatedly defies the judge, all such scenes are heartwarming and somewhat emotional too. Vipul K. Rawal’s dialogues are excellent.

Akshay Kumar does an outstanding job as Rustom Pavri. The viewer falls in love with his character. His demeanour, his calm composure in the thick of calamity, and his gentlemanly behaviour in court with a lady witness (Vikram’s office receptionist) and with Vikram’s elderly house help, both of who testify against him, strike a chord in the hearts of the audiences. Akshay needs to be lauded not just for his wonderful performance but also for accepting the difficult role. Ileana D’cruz looks very pretty and fetching. Her acting is beautifully subdued. Esha Gupta looks sexy and glamorous and plays Preeti to perfection and with a lot of attitude. Arjan Bajwa is handsome and does a fine job as Vikram. Pavan Raj Malhotra shines in the role of investigating police officer Vincent Lobo. He deserves distinction marks. Kumud Mishra is just too lovely as tabloid editor Erach. Sachin Khedekar is so natural as Preeti’s lawyer, Lakshman Khamgani, that the viewers end up hating him! Indeed, a very fine performance. Anang Desai deserves a lot of praise for his acting in the role of the judge. Brijendra Kala is lovable. Usha Nadkarni lends fantastic support. Kanwaljit Singh (as K.G. Bakshi) and Parmeet Sethi (as rear admiral Kamath) provide able support. Sammanika Singh (as receptionist Rosy), Abhay Kulkarni (as police inspector Patil), Deepak Gheewala (as Vikram’s house help, Bhanabhai), Gireesh Sahdev (as Lt. Cdr. Pujari), Indraneel Bhattacharya (as Captain Cherian), Varun Verma (as Lt. Bisht), Ishteyak Khan (as Chandu), Naman Jain (as Dagdu), Subhashis Chakraborty (as Ranjit Das), Vipul K. Rawal (as Captain), Baldev Duggal (as Comcen duty officer), Tauseef Patel (as Comcen sailor), Naman Gupta (as navigating officer), Suresh Sippy (as chief sahab), Rajesh S. Khatri (as Damodar), Ranjan Raj (as the tout), Samir Shah (as Ramesh Shirke), Haresh Khatri (as Dr. Asher), Homi Wadia (as advocate Sorabh Khandwala), Mohit Satyanand (as Jamshedji Jeejabhoy), Alok Singh (as Erach’s office boy), Jyoti Patel, Pradeep Chaudhary, Ramakant Sharma, Burjor Dastoor, Om Prakash Mathur, Kamal Karamchandani, Rajeev Malik, Harshdev Sharma and Anil Madhusudan Khopkar (all nine as jury members), Devina Medda and Abhilasha Patil (as the two clerks in the GPO) and the rest lend fine support. Manoj Bajpayee’s commentary at the start is good.

Tinu Suresh Desai’s direction is remarkable. Credit to him for extracting good work out of the cast members and for keeping the narration so engaging and entertaining. He has recreated the era of the 1950s and 1960s very well. Music (Arko, Ankit Tiwari, Jeet Ganguly and Raghav Sachar,) is a plus point. ‘Tere sang yaara’ (composed by Arko) is already a hit song. ‘Dekha hazaron dafa’ and ‘Dhal jaoon main’ (both by Jeet Ganguly), ‘Tay hai’ and ‘Jab tum hote ho’ (both by Ankit Tiwari), and ‘Rustom vahi’ (by Raghav Sachar) are also melodious. Manoj Muntashir’s lyrics are lovely. Choreography (by Brinda and Howard Rosemeyer) is in synch with the mood of the drama. Surender Sodhi’s background music is excellent. Santosh Thundiyil’s cinematography is superb. Abbas Ali Moghul and Peter Pedrero’s action scenes are natural. Production designing (by Priya Suhas) is of a nice standard. Shree Narayan Singh’s editing is razor-sharp.

On the whole, Rustom is a box-office winner. It will keep the audience as also its producers, distributors and exhibitors happy and smiling.

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MOHENJO DARO

UTV Motion Pictures and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s Mohenjo Daro (UA) is, as the title suggests, a period film set in the era of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa civilisations.

Sarman (Hrithik Roshan) lives in Amrey village with his paternal uncle (Nitish Bharadwaj) and aunt (Kishori Shahane-Vij). One night, he dreams of a one-horned animal and is intrigued by it because he has never seen such an animal in his life.

Since some years, Sarman has been seeking permission from his uncle to go to Mohenjo Daro which is the hub of all trading activity of nearby villages. His uncle has invariably dissuaded him from going to Mohenjo Daro but this year, he literally forces the uncle to grant him permission.

In Mohenjo Daro with his bosom pal (Umang Vyas), Sarman falls head over heels in love with Chaani (Pooja Hegde) who is the daughter of the priest (Manish Chaudhry). Chaani also develops great fondness for him. Sarman soon learns that the chief of Mohenjo Daro, Maham (Kabir Bedi), is a tyrant who exploits his subjects. Sarman revolts against the hike in tax proposed by Maham, and the exploited villagers are only too glad to join forces with him.

To Sarman’s shock, he realises that Chaani’s marriage had been fixed with Maham’s arrogant son, Munja (Arunoday Singh), right at the time of her birth. One day, Maham and his son catch Sarman and Chaani together red-handed. Maham asks his men to kill Sarman as a punishment but relents when the priest (Chaani’s father) asks him to forgive Sarman. However, he throws Sarman a challenge – his life would be spared if and only if he would defeat two ferocious men, Bakar and Zokar. Sarman accepts the challenge, adding that if he indeed defeated Bakar and Zokar, he would be permitted to marry Chaani.

Chaani’s father soon makes a confession before Sarman, which shakes him. In the confession are also hidden answers which Sarman was seeking to the many questions in his mind. For instance, why had he dreamt about the one-horned animal? Why had he always wanted to visit Mohenjo Daro? Why was his uncle invariably hesitant to send him to Mohenjo Daro? Why, on arriving at Mohenjo Daro, had he felt close to the village despite the fact that he had come there for the first time?

Does Sarman finally marry Chaani or does Munja get Chaani’s hand in marriage? Is Sarman able to stop the atrocities of Maham? Is Sarman able to permanently win the confidence of the villagers of Mohenjo Daro?

Ashutosh Gowariker has written a period drama dating back to the Mohenjo Daro era. His story does not have much relevance for today’s audience. Besides, the story, even otherwise, is so devoid of exciting drama that it leaves the audience feeling completely alienated from it. In sum, his story is dull, dry, drab and insipid. Ashutosh Gowariker’s screenplay is boring, to say the least. The romance completely fails to touch the heart – and this, considering that the girl is a fresh face, is a big minus point. Emotions and comedy/humour are conspicuous by their absence. The drama between Sarman and Maham is so lacklustre that the audiences simply don’t feel involved. Frankly, the entire film looks unreal – and that is not just because of the period (era) with which the viewers are unable to relate. The real reason for the feeling of fakeness is that the screenplay seems to be a half-hearted job. It almost seems as if the entire concentration of the writer was on recreating an era gone by and, in the process, very little thought seems to have gone into creating an exciting story or drama. Even when the priest reveals all to Sarman, the audience feels no emotions towards Sarman. The last half hour of the film is something the viewer is not keen on watching, if only because its relevance is revealed too late in the day – just some minutes earlier. In short, the audiences are not prepared for the last half hour of the film, which, despite being well-shot, fails to impress, involve or engage them. All in all, Ashutosh Gowariker’s story and screenplay are pathetic and end up testing the viewer’s patience because nothing really touches his heart.

Preeti Mamgain’s dialogues are good at a couple of places only, but are otherwise too commonplace to be true. The high-flown Hindi used in the dialogues is an added disadvantage.

Hrithik Roshan does reasonably well but he fails to cast a magical spell on the audience. Except in the action scene with the two ferocious persons, Bakar and Zokar, his performance does not stand out, largely because of the dull script. The viewer gets the feeling that Hrithik Roshan’s presence has just not been justified by the script. It seems a mystery how Hrithik accepted the film! Pooja Hegde looks okay but the freshness and liveliness of a new heroine is totally missing. Her performance is ordinary. It must be added here that the chemistry between Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde is conspicuous by its absence. Kabir Bedi is average as Maham. His head gear, with two horns, makes him look weird. Arunoday Singh is hardly impressive as Munja. Suhasini Mulay is so-so. Nitish Bharadwaj and Kishori Shahane-Vij lend fair support as Sarman’s uncle and aunt. Sharad Kelkar has his moments as Sarman’s father. Manish Chaudhry is alright as the priest. Narendra Jha makes his presence felt as Jagiro. Umang Vyas (as Sarman’s best friend), Diganta Hazarika (as Lotha), Shaji Choudhary (as Maham’s aide) and Naina Trivedi (as Chaani’s friend) are adequate. Others provide ordinary support.

Ashutosh Gowariker’s direction is no better than his dull screenplay. He has been unable to capture the audience’s attention with his insipid narration. A.R. Rahman’s music is melodious but only the ‘Tu hai’ song holds appeal because the other songs are not even popular. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are nice. Raju Khan’s choreography in the ‘Tu hai’ song is eye-filling. A.R. Rahman’s background music is not as grand as it should’ve been. Muraleedharan C.K.’s cinematography is wonderful. Aamar Shetty’s action choreography is lovely, especially the fight between Sarman on the one hand and Bakar and Zokar on the other. Sanjay Karole’s sets are nice. Sandeep Francis’ editing leaves a lot to be desired.

On the whole, Mohenjo Daro is a box-office disaster and will be rejected by the paying public. It will entail back-breaking losses to its producers and distributors and to everyone associated with the film and will, therefore, go down in film history as a colossal flop.

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DISHOOM

Eros International and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s Dishoom (UA) is an action thriller.

Ace Indian cricketer Viraj Sharma (Saqib Saleem) is missing and there are only two days left for the final match between India and Pakistan, being played in a country in the Middle East. Viraj has been in exceptional form and it is quite a possibility that he will make India win the final match. But the news of Viraj missing spreads panic all around, and those in positions of power ensure that the missing news is not leaked. The external affairs minister of India (Mona Ambegaonkar) gets into action and sends Kabir Shergill (John Abraham), a no-nonsense Special Task Force police officer from India to trace Viraj. Kabir picks up Junaid (Varun Dhawan), a lowly and seemingly good-for-nothing local police officer in the Middle East, to be his aide. Junaid, an Indian by birth, has done nothing worthwhile in his life and has not succeeded in even finding a lost dog, Bradman.

It soon emerges that Viraj has been kidnapped by Wagah (Akshaye Khanna), who is into big-time cricket betting. Having lost hundreds of crores of rupees in betting, Wagah threatens Viraj to agree to his proposal – to lose the India-Pakistan final match, so that he can bet heavily on the rigged match and wipe out all his losses in one shot. Viraj is reluctant to oblige and so, Wagah threatens to kill him and his family in India.

The only lead Kabir has, when he begins investigations, is a video clip of a person claiming to be a fan (Faisal Rashid). The fan claims to be holding Viraj (seated in the video, with a mask covering his face) captive. Kabir and Junaid get going and soon catch hold of Ishika (Jacqueline Fernandez) who leads them to Altaf (Rahul Dev), the man who had abducted Viraj from a party. But who was Altaf working for? Before Kabir and Junaid can get to know anything else, Altaf is murdered.

Do Kabir and Junaid trace Wagah? Are they able to reach Viraj Sharma? Do they succeed in saving Viraj’s life? Does the ace Indian cricketer play the final match?

Rohit Dhawan and Tushar Hiranandani have written a story that engages the viewers right from the word ‘go’. The story may not boast of novelty but it has so many twists and turns and so many interesting characters (played by well-known actors) that it doesn’t give the audience time to think. The first half is light-hearted and has a lot of humour. The duo’s screenplay is pretty engaging and extremely fast-paced. Yes, several cinematic liberties have been taken, which make everything appear so simple for Kabir and Junaid to achieve! But in an action-driven thriller, one doesn’t mind such liberties provided one doesn’t get time to think – and that’s what this drama does, it simply does not give the audiences any chance to let their minds wander. Overall, there is action, comedy, drama, a hint of romance, chase and music – all ingredients to cater to masses, families and classes. Emotions may be lacking but that’s not a major roadblock. Another good point of the screenplay is the manner in which some interesting stand-alone tracks have been incorporated in the drama like, for instance, the track of Sameer Gazi (Akshay Kumar), the track of Khabri Chacha (Vijay Raaz), the track of Qureshi (Satish Kaushik; only voice), the track of Samaira (Nargis Fakhri) and the track of Muskaan (Parineeti Chopra). These are excellent add-ons.

Hussain Dalal’s dialogues are a major asset; the funny ones evoke laughter while the others, too, have the desired impact.

John Abraham plays Kabir Shergill with conviction. As the serious and no-nonsense police officer, he does a truly fine job. Varun Dhawan is endearing as his flamboyant partner. He is natural as ever and makes a comfortable place for himself in the hearts of the viewers. The chemistry between John and Varun is appealing. Jacqueline Fernandez is rather cute and makes a nice mark as Ishika. She looks pretty, acts well and dances gracefully. Akshaye Khanna leaves a good impression with his fine acting in the role of Wagah. Saqib Saleem lends good support as cricketer Viraj Sharma. Akshay Kumar brings the house down with laughter as Sameer. He is simply fantastic and will be a major discussion point among the audience. It would not be incorrect to say that he is a major highlight. Rahul Dev has his moments as Altaf. Vijay Raaz makes his presence felt as Khabri Chacha. Mona Ambegaonkar is lovely as the external affairs minister of India. As Qureshi, Satish Kaushik’s track as well as voice-acting are first-rate. Nargis Fakhri adds plenty of glamour and oomph in a guest appearance. Parineeti Chopra looks sexy and dances very gracefully in a guest appearance. Tarun Khanna (as Saeed Naqvi) and Mansoor (as Captain) are lovely. Digvijay Purohit (as the head physiotherapist of the Indian cricket team), Mohinder Amarnath (as the team coach), Faisal Rashid (as the fan), Sahil Phul (in the role of Kabir Shergill’s friend, Vishal Sinha), Anupriya Goenka (as Kabir’s girlfriend, Alishka Iyer), Deepna Kumar (as the birthday girl), Kashyap Kapoor (as the sketch artist), Jatin Gaur (as Rashid), Aamir Yaseen (as Hussain), Akash Dhar (as Wagah’s assistant), Ashu Sharma (as Kamleshbhai), Rashmi Nigam (as Wagah’s wife), Valeria (as the lady at the airport counter), master Tirth (as the kid-fan of Viraj Sharma), Pommie Mbangwa, Aakash Chopra, Ramiz Raja and Atul Waswani (all four as cricket commentators), Pawan Chopra (as BCCI president), Mushtak Kak (as the owner of the supermarket) and the others provide very good support.

Rohit Dhawan’s direction is lovely. For one, he has adopted a narrative style that is fast-paced and that suits an action-packed thriller. Secondly, his casting is very nice and he has extracted fine performances from his actors. Pritam’s music is a plus point. ‘Sau tarah ke’ is a very mass-appealing song. The other two songs are also good. Lyrics (by Mayur Puri and Kumaar) befit the drama and the mood of the film. Song picturisations (by Ahmed Khan and Bosco Martis) are eye-filling. Abhijit Vaghani’s background music is first-rate. The ‘Sau tarah ke’ tune playing in the background repeatedly is a fine stroke. Ayananka Bose’s camerawork is splendid and so are the heavenly locations and interiors. Action scenes, choreographed by Allan Amin and Stefan Richter, are stylish and sometimes, even breathtaking. Sukant Panigrahy’s production designing deserves special mention. Ritesh Soni’s editing is razor-sharp.

On the whole, Dishoom will emerge victorious at the box-office. The entertainer will keep its producers, distributors and exhibitors happy. A little less than 50% of the total investment in the film (Rs. 65 crore approximately) by Eros International (worldwide distributors) has already been recovered from sale of satellite rights (the revenue from sale of audio rights has gone to Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.). Recovery of the balance from India and Overseas theatrical revenues and from sale of digital rights is not at all a tall order, given that the film has a lot of masala for all classes of audience and for all age groups.

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MADAARI

Miraj Entertainment, Bharat Shah, Easemytrip.com, Paramhans Creations, Dore Films and Saptrishi Cinevision’s Madaari (UA) is the story of how a common man teaches the government a lesson of a lifetime.

Nirmal (Irrfan Khan), a common man, kidnaps Rohan (master Vishesh Bansal), son of the home minister (Tushar Dalvi). Nirmal is seeking justice for a wrong which has cost him dear.

All hell breaks loose in the corridors of power when the news of the kidnapping spreads. The home minister asks trusted police officer Nachiket (Jimmy Shergill) to investigate and ensure that his kidnapped son is brought back. While Nirmal keeps telephoning Nachiket and even speaks with the home minister, he doesn’t reveal where he is. He also doesn’t reveal his identity, where he is from and the wrong which had affected his life. This makes the task of Nachiket’s team extremely difficult. For, while they are asked by Nirmal to tell him who is responsible for the injustice done to him, they don’t even know what the injustice is. The information has to be given to Nirmal within the stipulated time period, failing which Nirmal would not release the home minister’s son.

What happens thereafter? What progress does Nachiket make? Is the government able to answer Nirmal’s query? Is the home minister able to secure his son’s release? What is the wrong due to which Nirmal goes to the extent of kidnapping the minister’s son? Does Nirmal succeed in getting justice?

Shailja Kejriwal has penned a story which is quite different from the routine stuff. However, there is not much of a suspense, because of which the audience is rarely on tenterhooks. The viewer understands quite well that Nirmal would not unnecessarily murder the home minister’s son and, therefore, the nail-biting excitement of a thriller is missing. In other words, Nirmal is shown to be too much of a gentleman right from the beginning, for the audience to ever skip a heartbeat or two. So, although the story is different, it doesn’t engage the view­ers as much as it should. Ritesh Shah’s screenplay is good in parts only. While some portions keep the audiences involved, there are other portions which bore them, sometimes because they are predictable and at other times because they are repetitive. The home minister’s son is made to mouth dialogues which do not suit his age, and this irritates the audience. All in all, the screenplay loses its grip on the viewers quite a few times, taking away the excitement quotient from the thriller. Climax holds promise of novelty and excitement before it starts but it turns out to be similar to climaxes seen in earlier films. Ritesh Shah’s dialogues are effective but he should have taken care to give believable dialogues to Rohan to mouth.

Irrfan Khan lives the role of Nirmal. Whether it is as the loving father, devastated dad, man on a revenge spree or a commoner, he is extraordinary. His acting is so effortless that it’s a delight to watch him perform. Jimmy Shergill gives a noteworthy performance. He underplays the character of Nachiket to advantage. Tushar Dalvi is quite effective as the home minister. In the role of his party secretary, Uday Tikekar is excellent. He uses his body language and expressions very effectively. Nitesh Pandey is entertaining as the television news host. Master Vishesh Bansal is confident as Rohan. Rajeev Gupta stands out in a brief role as Mr. Bansal. As Bansal’s son, Chiku, master Sadhil Kapoor lends proper support. Master Kedar Bagaria looks cute and acts reasonably well in the role of Apurva, son of Nirmal. Ravi Mahashabde and Akash Dabas lend lovely support as Nachiket’s assistants. Ayesha Raza is al­right as the home minister’s wife. Purva Parag (as Nirmal’s wife), Vikrant Singh (as barber), Jitendra Gupta (as home secretary), Rajat Bhalla (as political aide), Umesh Shrivastav (as NIA chief Raghuvaran), Manoj Bakshi (as director IB, Govind Bakshi), Sunil Bedi (as RAW chief Shivender Singh), K.N. Joshi (as defence minister), Gurvinder Singh (as army officer), Vikas Jain and Manish Raj (both as cops at the bus stand), Radha (as Chiku’s mother), Dr. Vivek Rajpal (as prime minister), Sachin Pathak (as lodge receptionist), Sabir Khan (as opposition leader Jogi), Sanjeev Sahay (as opposition leader), Deepak Shroff (as Fareed Wadia), Pallavi Mishra (as Fareed Wadia’s wife), Chandraprakash Thakur (as structural engineer), Vaibhav (as engineer’s son), Satya­jeet Bhattacharya (as contractor Abhay Sahani) and the others are adequate.

Nishikant Kamat’s direction is good but there are problems in it. He has not been able to keep the audience’s interest alive throughout the drama. Also, his narration is of the kind which does not give the audience a feeling of fulfilment at the end. The narrative fails to emotionally move the viewers. Music (Vishal Bhardwaj – ‘Dama dam dam’ song; Sunny Bawra and Inder Bawra – ‘Masoom sa’ number) is good but not hit or even hummable. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are weighty. Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetry (‘Bol ke labh azad hai’) at the end is meaningful. Sameer Phaterpekar’s background music is nice. Cinematography (by Avinash Arun) is appropriate. Kaushal-Moses’ action scenes are fair. Rita Ghosh’s art direction and Sukant Panigraphy’s production designing are good. Aarif Sheikh’s editing is effective.

On the whole, Madaari is an ordinary fare which will barely touch the average mark, if at all. Business in the big cities and in circuits like Bombay, Delhi-U.P., East Punjab and South will be better than in circuits like C.P. Berar, C.I., Rajasthan and Bihar. It will win more critical acclaim than box-office rewards.

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GREAT GRAND MASTI

ALT Entertainment, Maruti International, Sri Adhikari Brothers and Anand Pandit’s Great Grand Masti (A) is the third film in the Masti franchise.

Amar (Ritesh Deshmukh), Prem (Aftab Shivdasani) and Meet (Vivek Oberoi) are bosom pals and all of them are frustrated in their married lives. Amar, a sexologist, can’t consummate his marriage with his wife, Sapna (Puja Banerjee), because he lives with his strict mother-in-law (Usha Nadkarni). The mother-in-law is convinced that her late husband would be born again into the family and for this, she is guided by a fraud astrologer, Antakshri Baba (Sanjay Mishra), who will decide the time Amar and Sapna should get physical.

Prem, who is married to Nisha (Shraddha Das), cannot consummate his marriage because Nisha’s hot and sexy younger sister (Kangna Sharma) also lives with them. The sister-in-law lusts for Prem, and does not allow Prem and Nisha to even sleep together till she sleeps between them.

Meet is married to Rekha (Mishti Chakravarty) who has a twin brother, Laxman (Ketan Mangesh Karande). Since they are twins, the two experience identical feelings. Resultantly, Laxman revolts when Meet makes love to Rekha because he also gets sexually charged.

The three friends decide to go to Doodhwari village where Amar has a haveli which he is desperately trying to sell. The trio plans to have fun with the girls of Doodhwari while also trying to dispose of the haveli. The palatial house has no takers because it is believed that it is inhabited by a ghost. Amar, Prem and Meet reach Doodhwari in an excited state of mind. At the haveli, they meet Shabri alias Ragini (Urvashi Rautela). All the three are attracted to Ragini’s beauty and are so smitten by her that they lust for her. But soon, they realise that Ragini is the ghost which inhabits the haveli. They try to run away but the sex-starved Ragini won’t allow them to do so. She tells them that one of them would have to have physical relations with her, after which her spirit would go to heaven. She also says that the person with whom she’d have physical relations would die after the act.

Obviously, Amar, Prem and Meet fear for their lives and try to push each other to Ragini’s ghost to save their own life. They then bring in sex maniac Babu Rangeela (Shreyas Talpade) to satisfy Ragini without telling him the truth about her. Their plan goes phut when the three wives reach Doodhwari even as Babu Rangeela is readying himself to get physical with Ragini. Amar’s mother-in-law also arrives at Doodhwari. Obviously, the wives and the mother-in-law are clueless about the presence of a ghost in the haveli or about the three friends’ initial intentions of having sex with Ragini or even about the problem they had landed themselves in.

Ragini’s ghost now plays havoc with the three friends and their family members. What happens thereafter? Does any of the three friends have to oblige Ragini’s spirit? Do the wives get to know about the naughty plan of their husbands, which had got them to Doodhwari? What happens to Ragini’s ghost finally?

Tushar Hiranandani’s story is very silly and has been written with the sole aim of exciting the audience with vulgar jokes and sexual innuendos. The drama moves on a predictable path. If most of the comedy falls flat on its face, the emotional track looks like one big joke, given the extremely vulgar sex jokes in the drama. Screenplay writers Aakash Kaushik and Madhur Sharma, alongwith story writer Tushar Hiranandani, seem to be under the mistaken belief that the more vulgar the drama and the more obscene the incidents, the better the box-office potential of the film. The screenplay doesn’t tease the audience – which is what it should have done if the drama had to be made funny and appealing. Instead, the drama is so in-your-face and so overtly vulgar that it would irritate the viewers or at least a majority of them. Yes, a section of the youth and masses may enjoy the obscene drama but ladies, families, the older generation, classes and even a section of the youngsters and a section of the masses would feel thoroughly repulsed by the proceedings. The comedy at most places falls flat on its face because it doesn’t tickle the audience. The ‘Karwa chauth’ angle in the film looks like a pathetic – and horrendously wrong – attempt to salvage the obscene drama and woo the family audiences. It just does not belong to the film. Two sequences which can truly be termed rotten are: the one in which the three friends try to get physical with Amar’s mother-in-law; and the one in which the three wives are in conversation with Babu Rangeela whom they consider a potential buyer of the haveli. A few scenes are, of course, funny but they are just not enough. All in all, a terrible story is complemented by a shameful screenplay. Dialogues, written by Aakash Kaushik and Madhur Sharma, are double-meaning and too over-the-top. They are vulgar to the core and lack class!

Ritesh Deshmukh does fairly well. Aftab Shivdasani is quite okay. Vivek Oberoi performs with a reasonable amount of conviction. But none of the three heroes stands out. Puja Banerjee, Shraddha Das and Mishti Chakravarty look pretty but get very limited scopes to act. They are all mediocre. Urvashi Rautela looks sexy and her performance is average. Usha Nadkarni looks like fish out of water in an adult comedy. Sanjay Mishra sleepwalks through the role of Antakshri Baba. His track of singing hit Bollywood songs is entertaining. Kangna Sharma is okay as Prem’s sister-in-law. Ketan Mangesh Karande (as Meet’s bother-in-law, Laxman) barely passes muster. Shreyas Talpade makes his presence felt in a special appearance as Babu Rangeela. Sonali Raut leaves a mark as Amar’s sexy maid, Shiney. Calling her Shiney (alluding to actor Shiney Ahuja’s real-life rape case) is in terribly bad taste. Sudesh Lehri is effective as the mukhiya of Doodhwari village. Vijay Gupta (as Ragini’s father), Palash Dutta and Gazla Sharma (as the house-buying couple), Ravi Ujjain (as the broker), Bhadra Parekh (as the shepherd boy) and the others lend good support.

Indra Kumar’s direction fails to entertain even the target audience. Too much emphasis on below-the-belt male jokes and too many references to male and female body parts leave a bad taste in the mouth and this is the director’s biggest failing. Music is a plus point. ‘Teri kamar ko’ and ‘Tera ishq’ (both composed by Sanjeev-Darshan and written by Kumaar) are the best songs. ‘Resham ka rumaal’ (Sharib-Toshi; Manoj Yadav) and ‘Lipstick lagaa ke’ (Superbia; Sameer Anjaan) are also appealing numbers. Song picturisations (by Bosco-Caesar and Vishnu Deva) are eye-filling. Background music (by Sanjay Wandrekar and Atul Raninga) is okay. Nigam Bomzan’s cinematography is fairly nice. R.P. Yadav’s action scenes are functional. Production designing (by Dipankar Dasgupta) and art direction (by Nimishi Misra and Priya Shree) are alright. Sanjay Sankla’s editing could’ve been crisper.

On the whole, Great Grand Masti is an unworthy film in the Masti franchise and will be rejected by the majority audience for its excessive vulgarity and base and crass dialogues. Its online leak ten days back will only add to its tale of woes. Flop.

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Sultan

Yash Raj Films’ Sultan (UA) is a love story set against the backdrop of wrestling. Sultan Ali Khan (Salman Khan) lives a simple life in a village in Haryana. One day, he meets Aarfa (Anushka Sharma) who is a wrestler. Aarfa, unlike the other girls in the village, has studied in Delhi and has come back to her village to train with her father, Barkat (Kumud Mishra), because she has only one dream and that is to win a gold medal for India at the Olympics. Completely smitten by Aarfa, Sultan realises that Aarfa will only marry a wrestler and so he decides to start training to become a wrestler.

Soon, he becomes a wrestler and that too, a very good one. He even marries Aarfa. One by one, he starts winning not only national but international titles and even becomes the world champion in wrestling. But when he comes back from the world championship victory, a tragedy drives his wife away from him and he decides to give up wrestling for good. After a few years, Aakash Singh Oberoi (Amit Sadh) is trying to salvage his Mixed Martial Arts franchise, called Pro Take Down. After two seasons of losses, he convinces his partners to give him one more chance. His father, Gyan Singh Oberoi (Parikshat Sahni), advises him to get an Indian fighter in the mix because that is the only way they will be able to attract the Indian audiences. Following his father’s advice, he sets out to meet Sultan but he soon realises that Sultan’s dream in life is something else entirely. Aakash manages to convince Sultan that his dreams can be achieved by returning to the world of wrestling and gets him back in the ring. Returning to the world of sport after a long time, Sultan trains day and night to get back in shape and understand this new sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Will Sultan manage to win in the end? What was it that drove Aarfa away from Sultan? And will Sultan manage to win her back in the end?

Ali Abbas Zafar’s story is both, entertaining and engrossing. Although there is not much newness in the love story, which the film basically is, setting it against the backdrop of wrestling makes it look fresh. The core of the story – i.e., the love story and the family drama – is absolutely Indian at heart and will appeal hugely to the families and the ladies, in particular. Ali Abbas Zafar’s screenplay is wonderfully written and keeps the audience glued in without them losing interest for even a minute. The first half has a good dose of humour. The second half has a lot of emotional appeal, drama and melodrama. Both the portions, of course, have wrestling and action. A number of scenes in the film are clap-worthy and it will not be rare to see the audience scream, shout and applaud in the cinema halls. Some emotional scenes will bring a lump to the audience’s throats and the weak-hearted may even end up shedding tears. Dialogues, penned by Ali Abbas Zafar, are gems and if the light ones evoke a lot of laughter, the dramatic ones tug at the heart strings and the emotional ones move the viewers to tears.

Salman Khan lives the role of Sultan. He is outstanding as the lover boy, the wrestler, the loving husband and the brooding man. He is also brilliant as the man who strikes back. There is so much innocence on his face that he makes the character of Sultan endearing right from the word ‘go’. Not once does he get out of character. Indeed, a performance which could fetch him awards. Anushka Sharma shines as only few could. She is first-rate at whatever she does and it is a sheer delight to watch her performance. The chemistry between Salman and Anushka is magical. Anant Sharma, as Sultan’s bosom pal, Govind, is wonderful. His expressions are to die for. Kumund Mishra does an absolutely fantastic job. Even his facial expressions and body language are truly praiseworthy. Amit Sadh leaves a lasting impact as Aakash. Randeep Hooda may have a brief role but he stands his own as the coach who trains Sultan when he strikes back. Parikshat Sahni has his moments as Gyan Singh Oberoi. Sumeet Samnani is lovable as Vicky Kukreja. Abhishek Duhan (as Titu), Farrokh Jaffer (as Sultan’s grandmother), Naveen Kumar (as Sharief Ali Khan), Monica Verma (as the doctor), Satish Sharma (as the minister), Parevz Mullan (as Vicky Kukreja’s father), Meiyang Chang and Kubra Sait (both as commentators), Shibani Dandekar (as the news reporter), Himashu Bhutiyani (as doctor), Danesh (as Titu’s friend), Suzie (as Sultan’s daughter) and the others lend excellent support.

Ali Abbas Zafar’s direction is superb. He has kept the narrative style simple and extremely entertaining and engaging. Also, his direction caters as much to the classes as to masses, as much to the ladies as to men, as much to the old as to the young. Music (Vishal-Shekhar) is a major plus point. ‘Jag Ghoomeya’, ‘Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai’, ‘440 Volt’ and ‘Bulleya’ are hit songs. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are extraordinary. The picturisation of ‘Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai’ (by Farah Khan) is just too wonderful. Other song picturisations (by Vaibhavi Merchant) are also very eye-filling. Julius Packiam’s background score is outstanding and serves to heighten the impact of the drama. Artur Zurawski’s cinematography deserves distinction marks. Action scenes will be loved, more so by the masses and the youth as their choreography (by Parvez Sheikh and ‘Anl’ Arasu) is superb. The MMA fights have been excellently choreographed by Larnell Stovall. Production Design by Acropolis (Rajnish Hedao, Sumit Basu and Snigdha Basu) is lovely. Rameshwar S. Bhagat’s editing is razor-sharp.

On the whole, Sultan is a blockbuster and will go on to write box-office history. It will smash old box-office records and create new ones. It will turn out to be one of the biggest ever blockbusters, if not THE BIGGEST ever so far!

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