Bholenath Movies and Cinekorn Entertainment’s Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi (UA) is the comic story of a Gujarati family and a Punjabi family and what happens between them when the Gujarati girl and the Punjabi boy fall in love with one another.

Hasmukh Patel (Paresh Shah) is a shopkeeper who dreams of opening a supermarket. He is a widower who lives with his mother (Bharti Achrekar), elder daughter, Nimisha (Jinal Belani), and younger daughter, Pooja (Payal Ghosh). He is very orthodox in his thinking, is a teetotaller and does not approve of people eating non-vegetarian food or watching bold stuff on international television channels. He lives in an all-Gujarati housing society and runs his provision store in the same society.

A loud Punjabi family comprising Guggi Tandon (Rishi Kapoor), wife (Divya Seth Shah), son Monty (Vir Das) and father Prem (Prem Chopra) comes to live in the same society, having purchased the flat sold by a desperate Gujarati. Guggi’s family eats non-vegetarian food and consumes alcohol, leading to constant bickering between Hasmukh Patel and Guggi Tandon. While Guggi runs a motor garage in the same premises and also deals in second-hand cars, Hasmukh Patel is led into believing that the car business is just a front to cover up his connections with an underworld don in Dubai. Hasmukh begins to fear Guggi. By the by, Hasmukh’s fear of Guggi turns into friendship. Meanwhile, Monty falls in love with Pooja, and she also reciprocates his love in spite of the fact that her dad hates Punjabis with a vengeance because of an incident in the past.

Hasmukh Patel’s elder daughter, Nimisha, is due to get married to the son of a rich and conservative Gujarati (Tiku Talsania). On the day of the engagement ceremony hosted by Hasmukh Patel, Guggi arranges and pays for a dance troupe to generally add colour to the party. But the ultra-conservative father of the to-be groom is so disgusted with the dance that he calls off the marriage, holding Has­mukh Patel responsible for the ‘indecent’ song and dance.

Hasmukh Patel holds Guggi responsible for the break-up of his daughter’s impending marriage and swears revenge. But Guggi tells the prospective groom’s father that Patel is innocent, and thereby saves the marriage. This eases the tension between Patel and Guggi to an extent.

However, all hell breaks loose when Monty asks Hasmukh Patel for Pooja’s hand in marriage. Hasmukh reveals why he can’t stand Punjabis and, therefore, would not agree to the liaison.

What happens thereafter? Does Monty marry Pooja? Do Patel and Guggi make up? Does Nimisha marry the same boy, after the break-up on the engagement day?

Sanjay Chhel has written a comedy story which seems like that of a television serial rather than a film. There is not even a hint of novelty in the story in which the caste differences are very pronounced. His screenplay is one of complete convenience and also gives the feeling of a TV serial. The only intention of the writer seems to be to make the audience laugh, and for that, he often sacrifices logic. Patel begins to fear Guggi because he believes that he has connections with an underworld don, but that fear soon goes out of the window without any justification. Again, Patel agrees to Guggi’s suggestion of an item song-dance at his daughter’s engagement ceremony without so much as thinking of the repercussions. Moving further, Patel is livid with Guggi for the break-up of Nimisha’s engagement but he melts soon thereafter when Guggi apologises and the prospective groom’s father agrees to reconsider the marriage proposal. Of course, several comedy scenes evoke laughter but the childishness of the drama comes in the way of the engagement of the audience. That is to say, the audience laughs at places but yet, doesn’t enjoy the proceedings because of complete lack of conviction. Chhel has tried to make a comedy out of contrived situations with a thread of continuity running through them but the forced scenes and the very convenient drama make the film appear like a television serial.

The climax is hurried and hardly impresses the viewers.

Sanjay Chhel’s dialogues, and Sunil Munshi’s additional dialogues are entertaining.

Rishi Kapoor does a very fine job as Guggi Tandon. He is both, endearing and convincing. Paresh Rawal is good as Hasmukh Patel and has his moments. Vir Das is natural as Monty. Payal Ghosh looks ordinary, and her debut performance (as Pooja) is so-so. Divya Seth Shah lends excellent support. Bharti Achrekar is very imp­ressive. Prem Chopra makes his presence felt. Tiku Talsania is entertaining. Jinal Belani lends ordinary support. Sameer Khakhar is quite good. Darshan Jariwala leaves a mark in a spe­cial appearance. Rajeev Mehta makes his mark in a special appearance. Karanvir Bohra and Teejay Sidhu add value in brief special appearances.

Sanjay Chhel’s direction is routine. Music (by Lalit Pandit and Uttank Vora) is so-so. Sanjay Chhel’s lyrics are fair. Song picturisations (by Ganesh Acharya, Sameer Tanna, Longines Fernandes and Dev) are just about functional. Uttank Vora’s background music is routine. Neelabh Kaul-Venu’s cinematography is fair. Mahendra Verma’s action and stunts are ordinary. Production designing (by Nitin Wable, Ashish Maitry and Shyam Dey) is okay, giving the film a feel of a TV serial. Sanjay Sankla’s editing is reasonably crisp.

On the whole, Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi is funny in parts only. At the box-office, it will face an uphill task as it doesn’t have the merits to entertain the audience enough. Flop.

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Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Emmay Entertainment’s Lucknow Central (UA) is the story of a young, innocent music aficionado, framed for murder and put behind bars.

Kishan Girhotra (Farhan Akhtar) is a young man who lives in Moradabad with his old father (Robin Das). Music is his passion and he dreams of one day making his own music band. But his dreams come crashing down when one day he is framed for the murder of an IAS officer (Ajay Kumar). He is arrested and lodged in the dreaded Lucknow Central jail. He is given life imprisonment but that’s not all – the deceased IAS officer’s family is moving the court to secure death penalty for Kishan.

A social activist, Gayatri Kashyap (Diana Penty), works for the reformation of undertrials and prisoners. During the course of her work, she meets Kishan a couple of times.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Pawan Singh Chaturvedi (Ravi Kishan) is keen to have a music competition in the coming Independence Day celebrations to be held in the Lucknow Central jail and asks the IG Prisons (Virendra Saxena) to form a music band of prisoners in his jail. Although the IG is reluctant initially, he soon comes around because the chief minister will not take ‘no’ for an answer. But the jailor of the Lucknow Central jail, Raja Shrivastav (Ronit Roy), hates the idea of the music band and tries his level best to thwart it. However, Gayatri takes it upon herself to form a music band with the prisoners in Lucknow Central jail. Kishan volunteers to take the lead as he is interested in music. He also sees this as a golden opportunity to escape from jail.

Kishan forms a music band with four other prisoners – Parminder Gill (Gippy Grewal), Victor (Deepak Dobriyal), Dikkat Ansari (Inaam-ul-haq) and Panditji (Rajesh Sharma). The four prisoners are all serving jail time for crimes they’ve committed. They are not even remotely connected to music, but Kishan lures them into joining the music band by sharing his jail-break plan with them. The five work hard and practise regularly, much to the discomfort of jailor Raja Shrivastav who senses that they would escape from jail, using the music band as a front. The five also simultaneously make preparations for their escape on Independence Day.

What happens on Independence Day? Do the five prisoners perform? Do they win the competition? Do they escape? Does Kishan get death penalty? Or does he continue to serve life imprisonment? Or is he proved innocent? If so, how?

Ranjit Tiwari and Aseem Arora’s story is off the beaten track but it bears a lot of resemblance to the recently released (but failed) Qaidi Band. Since not many have seen Qaidi Band, the novelty value of the story remains quite intact. But since one has seen jail-break stories in several past films too, the novelty pertains to only the track of the music band. By its very nature, the story is depressing because it talks about undertrials and prisoners and most of the material drama takes place inside a jail. The screenplay, penned by Aseem Arora, is good in parts only. The first half is not very engaging as it takes too long to come to the point. Although the pre-interval portion establishes the characters, there is limited movement in the story and that too is slow. The pace picks up after interval but even in the second half, it is only portions of jail break planning and the actual jail break sequences which are exciting. Even this drawback may have been overlooked but what goes against the film the most is that the audience never really feels terribly bad for Kishan. Blame it on his confidence inside the jail or his happy-go-lucky nature or his arrogance when being ill-treated by a group of prisoners in the initial days, but the viewers never really shed a tear for Kishan’s predicament. For that matter, there is nobody among the five band members towards whom the audience’s sympathy goes, and this is because the other four are, in fact, criminals. Perhaps, the only scene in which the weak-hearted viewer would shed a tear is in the courtroom scene in the climax. Consequently, the screenplay fails to shake the viewer emotionally. It also does not give the audience an exhilarating high when Kishan realises his dream of forming a music band.

Aseem Arora’s dialogues are good at places.

Farhan Akhtar does well in the role of Kishan but he fails to evoke sympathy for himself. Diana Penty is average and is unable to get variation in her performance. Ronit Roy is pretty effective in the role of the jailor of Lucknow Central jail. He breathes fire into the role. Gippy Grewal is quite good as Parminder Gill. Deepak Dobriyal shines in the role of Victor. Inaam-ul-haq is fairly nice as Dikkat. Rajesh Sharma performs very ably as Panditji. Ravi Kishan is extremely entertaining as chief minister Pawan Singh Chaturvedi. Virendra Saxena delivers a fine performance as IG Prisons. Manav Vij has his moments as prisoner Tilakdhari. Alok Pandey makes his presence felt in a tiny role as Bunty and moves the viewers to tears in the climax scene. Robin Das (as Kishan’s father) lends able support. Brijendra Kala and Ajay Kumar (as the IAS officer) are adequate.

Ranjit Tiwari’s direction is average. The debut-making director knows the craft but needs to learn more about involving the audience and keeping them engaged. Music (Arjunna Harjaie, Rochak Kohli and Tanishk Bagchi) is appealing but a film about a music band ought to have had super-hit or, at least, hit music. Lyrics (by Kumaar and Adeesh Verma) are appropriate. Bosco-Caesar’s choreography is realistic. Arjunna Harjaie’s background music is reasonably good. Tushar Kanti Ray has done a fine job of his camerawork. Mohd. Amin Khatib’s action and stunt scenes are quite exciting. Production designing (by Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty) is alright. Charu Shree Roy’s editing ought to have been sharper.

On the whole, Lucknow Central is good in parts only but quite boring otherwise. It will, therefore, not be able to do much at the turnstiles. Flop.

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T-Series, Karma Features Pvt. Ltd. and Paramhans Creations’ Simran (UA) is the story of a bold and spoilt Gujarati girl living in Atlanta with her parents, and her misadventures.

Praful Patel (Kangana Ranaut) is a divorcee whom her parents (Hiten Kumar and Kishori Shahane Vij) are trying to get remarried to a decent man from their own Gujarati community. But Simran is not at all keen on marriage. Working in the housekeeping department in a hotel, she has plans to buy a house of her own, for which she has applied to the bank for a loan. She has finalised the property which she wants to buy and is only waiting for the bank loan to be sanctioned. Her conservative father, with middle-class values, is totally against Praful’s plans, and the two of them often end up fighting with one another.

Praful’s loan application is rejected by the bank. Driven to her wits’ end, she tries her luck in a casino but loses all her money. A private money-lender in the casino lends her money which also she loses then and there. For Praful, consuming alcohol, gambling, and sleeping around with boys are all a part of life.

She tries to seek financial assistance from her dad but fails in her endeavour. Distraught that she wouldn’t be able to buy a house, she agrees to meet a prospective Gujarati groom as her father has promised to help her if she meets the guy. The prospective groom, Sameer (Sohum Shah), is a decent man who wants to study further. While he approves of Praful, she doesn’t take him too seriously. The two, nevertheless, keep meeting and so do their families. Praful’s father does not give her any money for buying her house even though she meets Sameer and spends time with him.

Meanwhile, Praful has now started looting banks by threatening the cashiers and making away with the dollars they give her, fearing for their lives. Her immediate aim is to collect $50,000 which is what the moneylender is demanding by way of repayment of the principal amount plus interest charged at an exorbitant rate. She manages to conceal her identity in each of the bank robberies but soon comes to be referred to by the media as the ‘lipstick bandit’ because of the threatening notes scribbled with lipstick on pieces of paper which she pushes into the hands of the trembling cashiers.

The police, clueless about her identity, is hot on the trail of the lipstick bandit for the various bank robberies. In the meantime, Praful realises that all her stolen money, stacked by her in the locker at her workplace, is stolen by her manager, Mike (Rupinder Nagra). She revolts and even beats him up but to no avail.

What happens thereafter? Does Praful get her money back? Does the law catch up with her? Does she marry Sameer? Does Sameer get to know of her unclean habits?

Apurva Asrani has written a story, based on true incidents, with additional story by Kangana Ranaut. To say that the story is weak would be an understatement. First and foremost, this kind of a story, in which the main protagonist is a female who has all the bad habits one can think of, was not meant for a Hindi film as the audience’s thinking is, even today, quite traditional. Yes, a thin section of the audience would like such a bold screenplay and such a bold female protagonist but the majority of the audience would not even be able to identify with the character. Praful Patel is shown to be defiant for no apparent reason and that’s why she doesn’t get the viewers’ sympathy. There is also no consistency in her characterisation. She is shown to be smart enough to loot banks but dumb enough to keep the stolen currency notes in the locker at her workplace rather than in a more secure place like her home or in her bank.

Apurva Asrani’s screenplay is as poor as the story. For one, the entire screenplay revolves around a single character – Praful Patel – which makes the drama boring and monotonous. The Indian audience is not used to watching films where one character monopolises the screen time. Praful’s parents and the prospective groom are like mere props in the drama in which she is at the centrestage all through. Since Praful is so non-conformist, the audience simply does not empathise with her. Obviously, the viewer is not going to feel sorry for a woman who loots banks to repay the moneylender from whom she borrowed money to gamble. Her attitude towards her father in particular is reprehensible and too shocking for the audience to digest. Besides, the story is depressing because it is totally and completely about a dysfunctional family.

Why Praful keeps meeting Sameer, when she is not at all keen on marriage, is not clear. In fact, for a non-conformist like Praful to conform to tradition and ‘date’ an arranged match doesn’t ring true. The police in the USA is shown to be useless because they take so long to crack the bank robbery case. The climax is weak and makes little sense.

Apurva Asrani’s dialogues, with additional dialogues by Kangana Ranaut, are alright. They don’t really add much to the unconvincing drama. That many of the dialogues are in English doesn’t help, considering that the film caters to the Hindi-speaking audience too.

Kangana Ranaut plays Praful Patel with conviction and gives her all to the character. But her excellent acting doesn’t make half the impact it should, because of the weak script. This drama underlines the fact that a script – and not performance of an actor – is the backbone of any film. Sohum Shah is natural in his performance but he definitely doesn’t fit into the mould of the traditional hero of a Hindi film. Hiten Kumar does a fair job as Praful’s father. Kishori Shahane Vij is average as Praful’s mother, probably confusing frowning for acting. Aneesha Joshi (as Amber), Nikhil Dhawan (as Nikhil), Kavi Shastri (as Hitesh), Esha Tewari (as Salma), Rupinder Nagra (as Mike), Timothy Ryan Hickernell (as Joe, the casino bartender), Jason Londer (as Bugs) and Albert Roberts (as Jerry) lend decent support. Rajiv Nema (as Mr. Parekh), Monica Chitkara (as Mrs. Parekh), Usha Jarajani (as Praful’s maternal grandmother), Govind Chaudhary (as Amber’s husband), Parimal Desai (as Amber’s father), Geeta Thakker (as Amber’s mother) and the others are more functional than anything else.

Hansal Mehta’s direction is dull. For one, he has not been able to camouflage the many defects in the script. Secondly, he has failed to make Praful’s character endearing, and the film, engaging. Sachin-Jigar’s music is fair. A couple of songs are reasonably appealing but not a single song is hit. Lyrics (Priya Saraiya and Vayu) are okay. Song picturisations (Remo D’Souza and Rajeev Surti) are alright. Sachin-Jigar’s background music is fair. Anuj Rakesh Dhawan’s camerawork is quite nice. Parvez Fazal Khan’s action and stunts are okay. Tiya Tej­pal’s production designing is good. Antara Lahiri’s editing could have been tighter.

On the whole, Simran is a poor show and will be rejected by the majority. A tiny section of the class audience in the high-end multiplexes of the big cities would find the film interesting because it is so different from the usual Hindi films, but that would not bring the numbers.

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Nomad Movies Pvt. Ltd.’s Sameer (UA) is the story of a young engineering student from Hyderabad, who is picked up by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and used as a guinea pig to track down a terrorist.

A bomb blast in Hyderabad kills several people in the city. The ATS swings into action and spreads out in the city to arrest terrorist Yaseen Darji who is presumed to be behind the bomb explosion. Not able to nab Yaseen, the ATS arrests Sameer (Zeeshan Mohammad Ayyub), his room-mate in the hostel. Sameer pleads not guilty but ATS chief Vikram Desai (Subrat Dutta) and his men torture him a lot. Finally, the ATS officers are convinced about Sameer’s innocence.

But rather than letting Sameer go scot-free, Vikram Desai decides to use Sameer to track down Yaseen. As per the plan drawn out by the ATS, Sameer enters Yaseen’s house in Ahmedabad where his mother, Mumtaz Khala (Seema Biswas), lives alone as both, Yaseen and her other son, Shahid Darji (Chinmay Mandlekar), who is also a terrorist, have left home. Sameer wins Mumtaz’s confidence after initial problems and begins to stay in her house under some pretext, having introduced himself as Yaseen’s friend.

Soon, Sameer meets Yaseen’s brother, Shahid, and joins him as a rookie terrorist after winning his confidence too. Shahid informs Sameer about the impending serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad and includes him as one of the persons in the plan to carry them out. There is a journalist, Alia Irade (Anjali Patil), who is a crusader of sorts. Yaseen has been in touch with Alia over emails. He had also sounded her off about the ensuing Ahmedabad bomb blasts.

With the information at hand and with Sameer as his informer, Vikram Desai is now all set to nab Shahid Darji and then Yaseen Darji.

But then, something goes terribly wrong on D-day, pouring water on the ATS’s plan of action to nab the terrorists. Who is manipulating whom? Who is above board and who is a crook?

Karan Vyas has written an interesting story which keeps the audience thoroughly engrossed and also entertained. Besides, it gives an insight into how the ATS and power brokers use opportunities and people for their own gains. Karan Vyas’ screenplay is brilliantly written and keeps the viewers asking for more. The drama unfolds very effectively and often takes the audience by surprise. The climax comes as an enjoyable surprise and leaves the viewers gaping in disbelief. Karan Vyas’ dialogues are real and impactful.

Zeeshan Mohammad Ayyub lives the role of Sameer and delivers a stunning and totally realistic performance. Full marks to him for his splendid performance and for never once going overboard. It is a delight to watch his facial expressions and body language, both of which he uses to advantage. Subrat Dutta is terrific as ATS chief Vikram Desai. He is so believable that it would appear as if he is actually from the ATS. Anjali Patil is supremely natural as journalist Alia Irade. She makes her character fully believable. Seema Biswas underplays wonderfully in the role of Mumtaz Khala. Chinmay Mandlekar leaves a mark as Shahid Darji. Manoj Shah is lovely as the power broker, Bahubali Mehta. Alok Gagdekar (as Manto) has his moments. Abhishek Shah makes his presence beautifully felt in the role of ATS officer Parmar. Jay Bhatt (as ATS officer Dave) and Mitra Gadhavi (as Alia’s associate, Kedar) are adequate. Master Shubham Bajrange makes a confident debut as Rocket; he is quite endearing.

Dakxin Chhara’s direction is excellent. The film is also a fine satire in a way – and the director handles the sensitive subject with a lot of care. Pankaj Awasthi’s music is appropriate. Lyrics (Piyush Mishra, Vipin Hero and Neeraj Rajawat) are appealing. Sharaaz Khan’s background music is effective. Gargey Trivedi does an impressive job of the cinematography. Ravin Karde’s production designing is very fine. Ashish Mayur Shah’s editing is crisp.

On the whole, Sameer is a very well-made and well-enacted film which offers good entertainment. Unfortunately, it has been promoted and released very poorly, as a result of which people aren’t even aware of the film! As such, it will go largely unnoticed and flop at the cinemas despite having merits.

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Dharmendra, Sony Pictures Net­works Productions, Sunny Sounds Pvt. Ltd. and Affluence Movies Pvt. Ltd.’s Poster Boys (UA) is the story of three men who find themselves as the faces of the government’s nasbandi campaign although none of them has undergone the vasectomy surgery as claimed in the posters.

Jagawar Chaudhary (Sunny Deol) is in seventh heaven as his younger sister, Anjali (Lovely Singh), is to be engaged today. However, the to-be groom’s father calls off the marriage at the last moment as, according to him, Jagawar has brought disrepute to his own (Jagawar’s) family and, therefore, to the groom’s family too.

On the same day, school teacher Vinay Sharma’s (Bobby Deol) wife, Soorajmukhi (Samiksha Bhatnagar), reaches his school and tells him that she wants to divorce him. Saying this, she leaves their two little daughters with him and walks out.

On the same day, Arjun Singh (Shreyas Talpade) and his parents go to his girlfriend, Riya’s (Tripti Dimri), house to finalise his marriage with her, but Riya’s father (Ravi Jhankal) insults Arjun and refuses to marry his daughter to a man like Arjun.

Soon, Jagawar, Vinay and Arjun realise that they had had to face the wrath of their near ones because posters of the three of them exhorting people to go in for sterilisation, as they themselves had done, had come up all over their town. The sterilisation posters, with their photographs on them, had made the trio the butt end of jokes in the town and had led to the severing of relations as above. Since none of them had actually undergone the operation, they are perplexed and take up the matter with the health department officials. They soon learn that their photographs had been randomly used, without their permission. They now want the health department to clear their names in society so that they would not be the butt end of jokes and also so that the people (the to-be in-laws of Jagawar’s sister, Vinay’s wife, and Arjun’s to-be father-in-law) who had taken hasty decisions because of the family planning posters, would reverse their decisions.

The film traces the joint journey of the three innocent men dragged into a controversy for no fault of theirs. When the authorites fail to correct the situation, the trio goes to court and finally seeks public support to their fight with the government.

The film is a remake of Marathi film Poster Boyz. Shreyas Talpade’s story is interesting as it is replete with humour and comedy right from the start till the end. The screenplay, written by Shreyas Talpade, Paritosh Painter and Bunty Rathore, is both, entertaining and engaging. The humour quotient in the screenplay is so high that it keeps the audience laughing throughout. While many scenes are funny, there are some which will bring the house down with laughter. There are several comedy scenes/sequences which are simply hilarious: for instance, the scene in which the gynaecologist (Ashwini Kalsekar) is all set to examine Riya; the scene in which television viewers react to the three men taking off their clothes on the dais in a public place, one by one; the scenes in which Vinay keeps forgetting something or the other and has to refer to his book; the scene in which Jagawar rejoices over his Sheela delivering a baby; the one in which the trio meets the photographer and his assistant; the scenes in which an unstoppable Soorajmukhi fights with her docile husband, Vinay; etc. A minus point about the screenplay is that a single point has been stretched so much that it looks a bit far-fetched at times. Another weak point is that the screenplay sometimes gives the feeling of a stage-play rather than a film. Bunty Rathore and Paritosh Painter’s dialogues are extraordinary and contribute a great deal to the humour, fun, frolic and comedy. The duo has made intelligent use of popular dialogues from Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol’s past films and equally intelligent references to the two actors’ past films (eg. Soldier song ring tone, Border).

Sunny Deol is endearing as Jaga­war Chaudhary. He delivers a fine performance and is good in comedy. The scenes in which he loses his temper are extremely enjoyable. His selfie sceneas are also entertaining. Bobby Deol is very nice as the simpleton teacher, Vinay Sharma. Shreyas Talpade’s comic sense of timing is superb. His acting is terrific. Sonali Kulkarni is effective as Jagawar’s wife, Sunita Chaudhary. Samiksha Bhatnagar is wonderful as Vinay’s wife, Soorajmukhi. Tripti Dimri makes quite a nice debut in the role of Riya. Ajit Palawat (as Arjun’s friend, Murari) and Tasha Bhamra (as Arjun’s friend, Kishan) are truly terrific. Ashwini Kalsekar is outstanding as the gynaecologist. Sachin Khedekar lends dignity to his character of the chief minister. Bharti Achrekar leaves a mark in a brief role. Murali Sharma makes his presence felt as the health minister. Lovely Singh (as Anjali) and Randhir Rai (as Jagawar’s younger brother) provide good support. Ravi Jhankal is natural to the core as Riya’s father. Jitendra Joshi (as the photographer) and Meghna Irande (as the photographer’s assistant) are terrific in the single scene in which they appear. Brij Shukla is first-rate as Mongia. Rohini Somkumar (as Mongia’s assistant) is also lovely. Farhana Fatema leaves her mark as Rekha. Raashul Tandon is effective as reporter Aniket. Jiten Mukhi (as Balwant Chokan) and Jayesh Thakkar (as Balwant Chokan’s assistant, Ravi) are fantastic. Rajesh Khatri (as Arjun’s father), Shabnam Vadhera (as Arjun’s mother), Kamal Adib (as the judge), Aparna Ghoshal (as Riya’s mother), Tanya Babbar (as Riya’s friend), Sunita Shirole (as Riya’s grandmother), Ramshekhar Pathak (as Soorajmukhi’s father), Aditi Bahl (as Soorajmukhi’s mother), Bunty Rathod (as Subhash Offsetwala), Vikram Dahiya (as the chaiwala at Subhash Offset), Rama Ahuja (as Anjali’s to-be husband, Sunil), Jaywant Raval (as Sunil’s father) and Urmila Sharma (as Sunil’s mother) lend excellent support. Ajay Devgan, Parineeti Chopra, Tusshar Kapoor, Arshad Warsi, Kunal Khemu, Rohit Shetty and Ganesh Acharya (all from the unit of Golmaal Again) make exciting special appearances.

Shreyas Talpade’s direction is very nice. He has kept the entertainment quotient high consistently. Music (Tanishk Bagchi, Rishi Rich, Sunai Marathe & Shreyas Iyengar, and Sonny Ravan) is okay and doesn’t add much to the film. Hit songs could’ve made a big difference. Lyrics (Shabbir Ahmed, Kumaar, Saurabh Pandey and Sonny Ravan) are okay. Ganesh Acharya’s choreography is fair. Amar Mohile’s background music is alright and although it sounds dated, it goes with the mood of the film. Nigam Bamzan’s camerawork is good. Somenath Pakre’s production designing is fair. Devendra Murdeshwar’s editing is suitably sharp.

On the whole, Poster Boys is a thoroughly engaging entertainer and has the potential to do well at the box-office. But lack of promotion will come in the way of realisation of its full potential.

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Kundalini Entertainment and Karta Entertainment’s Daddy (A) is a biopic on gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli.

The film traces the journey of Arun Gawli (Arjun Rampal). As a young man, Arun Gawli’s poverty drives him to the world of crime, first as a petty criminal who then gets involved in murdering people. He soon starts working for Maqsood, also known as Bhai (Farhan Akhtar), but ultimately has a fallout with him and becomes an independent underworld don of Bombay city. His run as a don is blocked with his arrest for the murder of an MLA. Arun Gawli then decides to contest elections – and even wins them. For the people of Dagdi Chawl in Bombay, where he lives and rules, he soon becomes a messiah of sorts and comes to be affectionately referred to as ‘Daddy’.

Arjun Rampal and Ashim Ahluwalia have written the story of underworld don Arun Gawli but have been unable to make him appear like a hero of the masses. As such, the audience’s sympathy never really goes to Gawli who is the hero of the drama. Neither is the story inspiring nor is it so engaging that the viewers would feel entertained. In their quest to make the story as true to reality as possible, the two story writers have written a drama which gives the viewers a feeling of watching a docu-feature rather than a feature film. The duo’s screenplay becomes boring and monotonous after a point of time – and quite early on – because there is not much variation. It is the same killings, revenge, violence and the like. Since one has seen many underworld films in the past too, this film’s screenplay looks no different from that of earlier underworld films. The fact that it is a true-life story of a don who is still alive, hardly adds to the entertainment value for the audience. The screenplay is so replete with violence and murders that women and families will feel repulsed by the proceedings. Perhaps, the weakest point about the screenplay is that the audience does not feel sorry for or sympathetic towards any character when he/she is in trouble or is shot dead. Ritesh Shah’s dialogues are realistic but don’t have the punch one looks for in commercial films.

Arjun Rampal does reasonably well as Arun Gawli. With the aid of prosthetics, he looks quite like Gawli. Aishwarya Rajesh is okay as Gawli’s girlfriend-turned-wife. Nishikant Kamat delivers a nuanced performance in the role of the investigating police officer, Vijaykar Nitin. Farhan Akhtar does a fair job as underworld don Maqsood alias Bhai. Rajesh Shringarpure makes his presence felt as Rama. In the role of Babu, Anand Ingale is effective. Purnanand Wandekar leaves a mark as Vijay. Anupriya Goenka (as Hilda) and Shruti Bapna (as Rani) lend good support. Mir Sarwar (as Samad Khan), Usha Naik (as Arun’s mother), Shrikant Yadav (as Sada), Deepak Damle (as Pamphlet Bandya), Girish Pal (as Sachit), Raj Arjun (as Rafique), Vijay Sanap (as Salim Gurda), Sanjay Vichare (as MLA Mhatre), Sanjay Dadhich (as Papa Gawli), Aadesh Bhardwaj (as Sautya), Vishal Om Prakash (as lawyer), Kamna Singh (as MLA Mhatre’s maid), Saheb Singh (as the bodyguard), Vidhyadhar Joshi (as home minister), Prashant Deshpande (as politician Shinde), Nitin Bhajan (as Rama’s brother, Uma), Hridaynath Rane (as Parasiya), Sonika Barwa (as Rama’s bride) and the rest are adequate.

Ashim Ahluwalia’s direction is ave­rage. He has made the film like a documentary rather than as a wholesome entertainer. Neither are his dramatic scenes as impactful as they ought to have been nor are his emotional scenes heart-wrenching enough. Even the mob scenes lack in impact. Sajid-Wajid’s music and background score are not very effective. Lyrics (Prashant Ingole, Danish Sabri and Sajid) are okay. Song picturisations (by Kiran Giri and Santosh Bhangre) are functional. Cinematography (by Jessica Lee Gagné and Pankaj Kumar) is alright but shooting with minimal lights is jarring for the audience as all the scenes look dark and hence the viewers have to strain their eyes to see what’s on the screen. Sham Kaushal’s action and stunt scenes are very gruesome, as they needed to be. Parul Saondh’s production design is very nice. Deepa Bhatia and Navnita Sen Dutta’s editing may be sharp but the frequent flashbacks often get so confusing for the audience that the viewer has to strain his memory to remember who is narrating the past at what stage. In all, there are more than five people narrating about Gawli’s past – all at different points in the drama!

On the whole, Daddy is like a docu-feature which will not hold interest for the audience. It may appeal to a tiny section of the audience in Maharashtra due to its Maharashtrian flavour but in the rest of India, it will flop miserably.

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Eros International and Colour Yellow Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (UA) is the story of a young man who, on the verge of marrying his lady love, realises that he is suffering from erectile dysfunction.

Mudit (Ayushmann Khurrana) flips for Sugandha (Bhumi Pednekar) and sends an online proposal which her parents accept. The families meet and both agree to the liaison.

Before the marriage can be solemnised, Mudit and Sugandha get intimate one day at Sugandha’s home. But Mudit realises that he is unable to sexually satisfy Sugandha because of erectile dysfunction. He conveys the problem to Sugandha and, just a couple of days before the marriage, he even wants to call it off, but Sugandha insists that the two get married. The wedding is scheduled at Hardwar where Sugandha’s uncle and aunt live.

Somehow, Sugandha’s father (Neeraj Sood) gets wind of Mudit’s ‘gents problem’ and takes him to a veterinarian who dismisses it off as one born out of stress and anxiety. Soon, more and more people in the families learn of Mudit’s secret problem. Mudit’s father is unwilling to accept that his son can be at fault even though Mudit himself doesn’t quite get along with his father. As for Sugandha’s father, he is keen to call off the marriage. However, Sugandha’s mother is not in favour of calling it off.

As if Mudit’s ‘gents problem’ were not bad enough, Sugandha finds Mudit in bed with his ex-girlfriend in Hardwar even as the pre-wedding ceremonies are underway. That’s the time she walks out in disgust.

What happens thereafter? Do Mudit and Sugandha get married?

The film is based on Tamil film Kalyana Samayal Saadham which was written by R.S. Prasanna. The story is very unusual as erectile dysfunctioning has never been the core issue of any Hindi film so far. Although the problem is serious, the story is written in a way that the drama becomes comical. By its very nature, the story would appeal more to the male audience because a lot of jokes are male jokes. The references to the problem are subtle, which makes the otherwise mass-appealing subject more class-appealing. The screenplay, penned by Hitesh Kewalya, is fairly engaging but it also sometimes appears scattered rather than concentrated. It does have heartwarming moments like when Sugandha insists that she would not call off the marriage despite Mudit’s medical condition. The humour is sometimes universal and at other times, sectionally appealing. It would mostly be the menfolk and the youth (including young girls) who’d feel tickled by the jokes about Mudit’s erectile dysfunction. A section of the ladies audience and the families may feel embarrassed by the humour and constant references to the man’s reproductive organ not being in perfect condition.

Hitesh Kewalya’s screenplay appears to be unconvincing at times. For instance, Mudit is shown to be doing nothing to address his problem till Sugandha’s father takes him to a doctor, that too, a doctor for animals. Why he is taken to a veterinarian is not clear. The comedy in some scenes doesn’t come across – for instance, Sugan­dha’s father taking his prospective son-in-law to a veterinarian; Mudit repeating the baaraat entry; etc. Frankly, Hitesh Kewalya had a tough job at hand – to write a humorous screenplay around a serious problem.

The scene in which Mudit takes Sugandha in a room and locks it from inside, making all the guests outside wonder whether he’d be able to get physical with her or not ends in a peculiar fashion – Mudit says, he could do it, only to be corrected by Sugandha who says, he couldn’t do it. The viewers are left wondering how Mudit himself could not know whether he had done it or not. But the writer simply avoids explaining the anomaly. Again, in the climax, Sugandha is shown stomping out when she, and then her parents, see Mudit in bed with his ex-girlfriend, but Mudit continues to talk about his problem of erection even after that, as if his being caught red-handed was never supposed to be explained to anybody. The audience is completely at sea about the culmination of the track of Mudit and his ex-girlfriend in a compromising position. In fact, one doesn’t even know whether the issue was resolved or not! In that sense, the climax is not upto the mark. Hitesh Kewalya’s dialogues are funny at several places and evoke laughter.

Ayushmann Khurrana does a very fine job and delivers an impactful performance of a man whose manhood is being questioned. Bhumi Pednekar is sincere and natural to the core. Seema Pahwa shines as Sugandha’s concerned and practical mother. Neeraj Sood makes an impact in the role of Sugandha’s father. Chittranjan Tripathy leaves a mark as Mudit’s father. In the role of Mudit’s mother, Supriya Shukla is good. Brijendra Kala makes his presence amply felt as Sugandha’s paternal uncle. As her aunt, Flora Bose is effective. Anshul Chauhan has her moments as Sugandha’s friend. Master Anmol Bajaj is cute as Sugandha’s brother. Gopal Datt does justice to his role of a veterinarian. Manoj Sharma (as Duggal) and Rajan Tripathi (as Tyagi) lend the needed support. Jimmy Shergill adds star value in a special appearance.

R.S. Prasanna’s direction is good. Credit is due to him for ensuring that his narration doesn’t make the drama vulgar or obscene. But he has not been able to camouflage the shortcomings of the script. Music (Tanishk-Vayu) is quite good but none of the songs is a chartbuster. The ‘Kanha’ and ‘Rocket saiyan’ songs are appealing. Lyrics (Tanishk-Vayu) are alright. Raka’s choreography is functional. Rachita Arora’s background music is fair. Anuj Rakesh Dhawan’s cinematography is nice. Action scenes (Sunil Rodrigues) are okay. Production designing (by Laxmi Keluskar and Sandeep Meher) is appropriate. Ninad Khanolkar’s editing is reasonably sharp.

On the whole, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan has an unusual story and good male-oriented humour to appeal to a section of the public, mainly males and youngsters among the multiplex audiences. Its positive word of mouth will definitely see its collections pick up, mainly in the weekend. Overall, it will carry mixed reports and ultimately prove to be a safe bet, considering its investment and returns.

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