Film Kraft Productions’ Kaabil (U/A) is a love story and revenge drama. It is the story of a blind man’s revenge on the rapists of his wife who is also blind.

Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) is a blind young man who works as a dubbing artist to earn his livelihood. He is adept at modulating his voice and mimicking people. He meets Supriya (Yami Gautam) who is also blind like him. The two soon fall in love and decide to get married. They get married and are leading a very happy life, dreaming of a great future ahead. But their life is shattered when one day, the minister’s brother, Amit (Rohit Roy) and his friend, Wasim (Sahidur Rahaman), rape Supriya. They complain to the police but since Amit is the minister’s brother, he is soon allowed to go scot free. Also, Supriya being blind does not know who has raped her especially because the rapists were clever enough not to utter a word. The investigating police officer (Narendra Jha) and his deputy (Girish Kulkarni) are not at all sympathetic towards Rohan and Supriya. In fact, the deputy of the investigating police officer even accuses Rohan of using his wife to extort money from out of Amit and his rich and influential brother. Rohan finds himself completely handicapped due to the law not being of any help to him. On her part, Supriya offers to leave Rohan as she does not want to be a burden on him.

Then one day, Supriya commits suicide. Rohan is devastated. He gathers his wits and decides to take law into his own hands to avenge the rape and death of his beloved wife. Even as he is contemplating how to go about seeking revenge, he realises something that shakes him terribly. What is it that comes to his knowledge?

Rohan now goes to the police station and throws an open challenge to the investigating police officer that he would seek revenge in his own style. He even forewarns the police that despite this, they (police) would not be able to do anything to him. And then begins Rohan’s revenge. Is he able to get justice for the wrongs perpetrated on his wife? What action does Rohan take and against who all to seek revenge? Is he able to take revenge despite his handicap? If so, how?

Vijay Kumar Mishra has written a story which is quite different from other romantic or revenge stories. The blossoming love between two blind persons who don’t treat blindness as their handicap is heartwarming. The revenge of the visually handicapped Rohan is very exhilarating. The screenplay, penned by Vijay Kumar Mishra, is extremely fast-paced and keeps the audience glued to their seats. The first half is very fast-moving and also entertaining. The revenge drama of the second half is also pretty interesting. However, some people might feel that the modus operandi used by Rohan (not being revealed here) is quite a convenient twist in the tale. Having said that, it must be added that the foundation for Rohan’s modus operandi is laid well in the pre-interval portion and, therefore, would still be acceptable. Besides, the audience roots for Rohan so much that even though the screenplay looks somewhat contrived insofar as the tricks used by Rohan are concerned, the viewers don’t really give that too much importance. For, at the end of the day, the audiences want to see Rohan get justice for his late wife. In fact, the second half’s drama will evoke claps and whistles from the audience for the sheer genius of Rohan. Special mention must be made of the interval sequence in which Rohan openly challenges the police to catch him if they can. That sequence is so outstanding that it will be met with thunderous applause in the cinemas. The scene immediately following that, when Rohan leaves the police station, is also brilliantly conceived to show the attitude which Rohan has now adopted. The film has a fairly good dose of humour, some emotions and a fair dose of action too.

Sanjay Masoom’s dialogues are gems. The dialogues are so outstanding that they will often prompt the viewers to clap loudly.

Hrithik Roshan is extraordinary in the role of Rohan. He has delivered an award-winning performance. Whether as a lover boy or a doting husband or even as the wronged husband, he has done such wonderful work that he deserves the highest praise. He especially needs to be commended for his efforts at voice modulation and mimicry. His dance with girlfriend Supriya is simply outstanding. Yami Gautam looks pretty and plays the blind Supriya beautifully. She looks like the perfect foil to Hrithik. Ronit Roy shines. A man of few words, he underplays his character wonderfully. Rohit Roy lends very good support so that girls would detest him for being the rapist. Narendra Jha is natural to the core and leaves a lasting impression with his acting. As his assistant, Girish Kulkarni is a delight to watch. The man’s wily ways and his mannerisms as also his expressions are to die for. Suresh Menon makes his presence felt. Akhilendra Mishra leaves a mark. Sahidur Rahaman provides able support. Shaji Choudhary is good. Others lend the required support.

Sanjay Gupta’s direction is very good. He has let content prevail over style and that’s a very good thing. Rajesh Roshan’s music is fair. The film should have had at least two or three hit songs. The title song is melodious but doesn’t have the hit quality about it. Musically speaking, the other songs are fair but not hit. The remixed version of old song ‘Saara zamana’ is used to advantage as the vigorous dancing by Urvashi Rautela will be loved by the masses. Lyrics (by Nasir Faraaz and Manoj Muntashir) are nice. Song picturisations (by Ahmed Khan) are eye-filling. Ahmed’s choreography in the dance number picturised on Rohan and Supriya is exceptional. Also wonderful is the choreography of the ‘Saara zamana’ song. Salim-Sulaiman’s background music is exceptionally good. Special mention must be made of sound designer and recordist Resul Pookutty’s work. He has done a swell job of the film’s sound effects. Sudeep Chatterjee and Ayananka Bose’s cinematography is extraordinary. Sham Kaushal’s action scenes and stunts are praiseworthy. Production designing (by Sumit Basu, Snigdha Basu and Rajnish Hedao, of Acropolis) is excellent. Akiv Ali’s editing is superb.

On the whole, Kaabil is an entertaining fare with some great performances. It will do well at the box-office.

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Disney Pictures, UTV Software Communications Ltd. and Aamir Khan Productions’ Dangal is a film about wrestling. It is a biopic of Mahavir Singh Phogat, one of the well-known wrestlers of India, and has a story which is supremely motivational and inspiring.

Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan) is a wrestler who lives in a small town of Haryana and whose dream had been to win a gold medal for India in the international arena. But his dream remained unfulfilled due to reasons beyond his control. His only hope now is that his son would one day fulfil his dream.

As luck would have it, his wife (Sakshi Tanwar) delivers a baby girl. Mahavir is sad because he had hoped that God would bless them with a son. Anyway, the couple has another child but that is also a baby girl. The third and the fourth kids are, likewise, daughters. Mahavir is now convinced that his dream would remain unfulfilled. Even though he loves his daughters very much, he has even over the years never been able to get over the fact that his unrealised dream of a gold medal would remain just that – unrealised.

One day, he sees that his eldest daughter, Geeta (Zaira Wasim), and second daughter, Babita (Suhani Bhatnagar), have beaten the neighbourhood boys black and blue. This sets his mind ticking – he realises that his girls are in no way less than boys and that his daughters could turn his long-cherished dream into reality. From here, he begins rigorously training Geeta and Babita to become wrestlers. The two school-going girls have to bear the brunt of Mahavir Singh’s strict regimen for them and have also to face the taunts and barbs of people around them and in school for daring to venture in a male-dominated sport, that too, in a small town in Haryana. Geeta and Babita are trained so well that they win tournaments even against male wrestlers.

Soon, Geeta (Fatima Sana Shaikh) and Babita (Sanya Malhotra) grow up to become beautiful girls, now raring to go as wrestlers of national repute. Geeta gains entry into the National Sports Academy and begins to train under a new coach (Girish Kulkarni).

What happens thereafter? Does Geeta reach the finals at the Com­monwealth Games? Does she win the gold medal at the CWG and realise the long-cherished dream of her father?

The film, a biopic, is based on a story idea by Divya Rao. The script is penned by Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Mehrotra. The story is brilliantly inspiring and has so many twists and turns and highs and lows that it keeps the audience’s eyes glued to the screen. The screenplay is absolutely riveting. It has so much to offer that the viewers’ mind cannot wander for even a moment. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it is an almost flawless screenplay from the point of view of the audience.

The first half abounds in light moments even as the strict Mahavir Singh Phogat relentlessly trains his daughters and sees them win at the juniors level. The tension and melodrama begin after interval. While the family drama post-interval tugs at the heart-strings, the tension during the wrestling bouts often leaves the audiences biting their nails and tightening their abdomen muscles. The last about half an hour of the film is so full of drama and tension that the viewers would not want to even blink their eyes if they can help it. The climax has a masterstroke angle to it (when Mahavir Singh Phogat hears a strain of music rent the air) and this will make the audien­ce absolutely euphoric; the weak-hearted may even start crying with joy. Why, people in cinema halls may even stand up during this scene!!

The manner in which the four screenplay writers have woven the track of women empowerment in the drama is veritably remarkable. Two scenes which stand out in this regard are: the one in which Geeta’s friend, at the time of her marriage, tells Geeta and Babita something which gives the two sisters a completely different perspective of things; secondly, the scene in which Mahavir Singh Phogat tells Geeta what she should keep in mind while wrest­ling in the Commonwealth Games final match. Inherently, of course, there is the strong undercurrent of patriotism. These two angles (of women empowerment and patriotism) will ensure that the drama would appeal to people of all age groups and in all strata of society. Women, especially, will not just love the drama but will actually celebrate this film.

Dialogues are absolute gems. Without being overtly long, they are so effective that they invariably touch the heart before reaching the ears. So much is conveyed in such few words that one can’t marvel at the writers’ genius. The dialogues about women empowerment are sensational and often give the audience goosebumps.

Aamir Khan shines in the role of Mahavir Singh Phogat. He is so outstanding in his performance that this could be considered as one of his best works ever. That Aamir put on tons of weight to look the character speaks volumes for his sincerity. But the physical aspects apart, even his acting is so nuanced and so real that one can’t help but shower endless praises on him. There’s not a single scene in which unnecessary focus is sought to be put on Aamir and this speaks a lot for the director’s genius as well as for Aamir’s sense of fair play. One gets a hint of this all through the film but it comes out loud and clear in the climax. Fatima Sana Shaikh makes an excellent debut as the grown-up Geeta Phogat. She looks very pretty and gives her cent per cent to the role. Her scenes of wrestling are lovely. Sanya Malhotra is superb in the role of the grown-up Babita Phogat. She is also very impressive in her debut role and has a supremely expressive face. Her wrestling scenes are also wonderful. As the young Geeta, Zaira Wasim is first-rate, debuting with unbelievable confidence. As the young Babita, Suhani Bhatnagar is cute and extraordinary in her acting. Both, Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar, also shine in their wrestling scenes. Sakshi Tanwar is just too brilliant as Mahavir’s wife. Her expressions are to die for and her reactions are outstanding. Girish Kulkarni plays the NSA coach to perfection and makes his character detestable, which is what is required. His expressions are so understated that it is a delight to watch him act. Aparshakti Khurana lends admirable support as the grown-up Omkar, nephew of Mahavir Singh Phogat. His acting is so natural! Ritvik Sahore is also terrific as the young Omkar. Shishir Sharma leaves a mark as the head of department of the NSA. Badrul Islam has his moments as the chicken shop owner. Vivan Bhathena (as Mahavir’s office colleague), Anurag Arora (as Mahavir’s brother), Sumit Khanna (as Mahavir’s boss), master Anmol Char­an (as little Omkar), Jagbir Rathee (as the government officer in charge of sports funds), Gurpreet Toti (as the video parlour guy) and the others lend fantastic support. A word here about Mukesh Chhabra’s casting: he has done a tremendous job of the casting.

Nitesh Tiwari’s direction is amazingly terrific. His narrative style is so simple that even the Haryanvi language spoken by the characters in the film does not come in the way of conveying the drama to the audience in just the way it should be conveyed. He has extracted great work from out of all his actors. Also, there is so much maturity in his narrative style that he may well pick up awards for his direction. Pritam’s music is in terrific synch with the mood of the drama. ‘Dangal dangal’ is a very inspiring song and will soon become a rage. ‘Dhaakad’ and ‘Haanikarak’ are also very well-tuned. The ‘Gilehariyaan’ song has terrific charm of a different kind. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are great. The song writer may pick up some awards for his lyrics. Bosco-Caesar’s choreography is very real. Pritam’s background music deserves distinction marks. It heightens the impact of the dramatic and wrestling scenes to a different level altogether. The ‘He-e-e-e-e-y’ sound in the background score to underline moments of euphoria is masterly. Setu’s camerawork is just too wonderful. He has captured the wrestling scenes excellently. He has also captured the drama with phenomenal clarity. Wrestling choreography by Kripashankar Patel Bishnoi (who also trained the actors in wrestling) is truly extraordinary. Not once does the audience feel that the wrestling bouts are not real. Sham Kaushal’s action is very good. Production design by Laxmi Keluskar and Sandeep Meher is amazing. Ballu Saluja’s editing is super-sharp and crisp as ever.

On the whole, Dangal is not just a movie; it is an experience to be cherished. It is extremely engaging, brilliantly entertaining and phenomenally patrio­tic in its feel. It is as much a film for the young as for the old, as much for the classes as for the masses, as much for the city audience as for the viewers in small towns and villages, as much for the rich as for the poor, as much for the multiplex audience as for the single-screen cinema audience, as much for the men as for the women. It has special appeal for the ladies and it has terrific repeat value. To say that it will prove to be a blockbuster is to state the obvious. The film is destined to be one of the biggest blockbusters of Indian cinema. In fact, it can turn out to be THE BIGGEST BLOCKBUSTER EVER!

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Delhi Talkies’ Moh Maya Money (UA) is the story of a middle-class couple living in Delhi, and their greed.

Aman (Ranvir Shorey) and Divya (Neha Dhupia) are a married couple leading a middle-class life in Delhi. Aman works for a real estate company while Divya works in a media company. Aman is fed up of being middle-class and wants to become rich and live in luxury. He, therefore, often cheats his company to make quick money. In one such deal, he borrows money from Raghuveer (Devendra Chowhan) and invests that money to book a plot of land to build a home for himself and wife Divya. But his boss (Sandeep Narula) gets to know of Aman cheating the company and he sacks him from the job.

While Aman shows Divya the plot of land he has booked, he does not reveal anything about the loss of job to her. When Raghuveer asks Aman to return his money, Aman is in a fix. Raghuveer threatens Aman and even has him beaten up by his goons when he doesn’t return the money on the promised date.

Aman tries to borrow money against his life insurance policy but the insurance company refuses. It is then that Aman decides to fake his death so that his wife could claim money from the life insurance company. Divya is against the plan but finally gets sucked into it when he carries it out. While himself escaping in a stage-managed car accident, Aman ensures that the police find a charred body in his car. Divya identifies the burnt body as Aman’s.

Even as Divya is awaiting the cheque from the insurance company, she is shocked to learn of something horrifying from the police station. Meanwhile, Divya herself has done things which shock Aman. What are the horrifying facts which Divya gets to know due to her visit to the police station to collect the proofs of Aman’s ‘death’ in the accident? What are the actions of Divya, which shock Aman?

Munish Bhardwaj has written a story which has plenty of turns and twists and which is pretty intriguing. The story is so engrossing that the audience remains engaged in it right from the start till the end. The screenplay, written by Munish Bhardwaj and Mansi Nirmal Jain, is entertaining and engaging. It moves at a fast pace and doesn’t give time to the viewers to think. Yes, there are a couple of weak links like Aman objecting to Divya’s abortion, calling it the murder of his unborn child, which looks silly as he himself is guilty of another murder. Likewise, Divya is ready to walk out on Aman because he had not told her about being sacked from his job. But it later turns out that Divya herself has hidden a lot from Aman. Why later, even around the same time as Aman losing his job, Divya is shown to be preparing to go to Hong Kong for official work, without taking Aman into confidence. However, despite these lapses, the screenplay is well-written and very fast-moving. Dialogues, penned by Munish Bhardwaj and Mansi Nirmal Jain, with additional dialogues by Ranvir Shorey, are realistic and effective.

Ranvir Shorey lives the role of the unscrupulous Aman who can go to any lengths to make fast money. He makes the character very believable by his natural acting. Neha Dhupia is also excellent as Divya. She plays the scheming wife with such finesse that you marvel at her ease in front of the camera. Vidushi Mehra lends very good support as Bhavana whom Divya meets and befriends at the police station. Ashwath Bhat makes his presence felt as Divya’s colleague, Kabir. Devendra Chowhan leaves a mark as Raghuveer. Anant Raina is good as upcoming film director Rohan. Sandeep Nirula (as Aman’s boss), Priya Tandon (as Jiya), Sagar Jha and Pramod Kumar (both as Raghuveer’s goons) and Bittoo Ishwar Chhabra (as the cop at Kasauli) provide excellent support. Prateek Asnani (as Roy), Haneef Menon (as the accountant), Vaani Pahwa (as the doctor) and Srikant Verma (as the Delhi cop) are adequate. Others do as desired.

Munish Bhardwaj’s direction is very nice. His narration affords no time or gives no reason to the audiences to think or even let their thoughts wan­der. Harpreet Singh’s music and Varun Grover’s lyrics are appropriate. Tuomas Kantelinen’s background music is nice. Arun Varma’s camerawork is good. Shoumini Ghosh Roy and Dhruv Satija’s art direction is effective. Editing (Hitesh Kumar) is crisp.

On the whole, Moh Maya Money is a well-made and an interesting film which boasts of lovely performances. It would still not fetch returns because of lack of promotion and, therefore, a very dull start.

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Red Chillies Entertainment, Dharma Productions and Hope Productions’ Dear Zindagi (UA) is the story of a girl suffering from depression and how she gets cured of it.

Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is an upcoming cinematographer, very good at her work. She has shot many ad films and is keen to now shoot a full-length feature film, having so far only filled in for a cameraman who may have taken ill. Kaira has been into relationships but they’ve always ended in break-ups. While Kaira lives in Bombay, her parents live in Goa. The very thought of going to Goa to spend time with her father and mother puts her off. In fact, she can barely make telephone conversations with them.

Kaira tries to put on a brave front but it is clear that she is not a very happy person. Just recently, she has had a break-up with Sid (Angad Bedi) because she confesses to him that she has slept with her colleague, film director Raghuvendra (Kunal Kapoor).

Shortly thereafter, Raghuvendra gives her the good news that he would be directing a film to be shot in the USA and that he had selected her as its cinematographer. Raghuvendra flies to the USA for initial discussions and Kaira is due to join him later. Once he reaches the USA, Raghuvendra’s silence is quite unnerving for Kaira but soon, her friend, Fatima (Ira Dubey), informs her that Raghuvendra has gotten engaged to be married to another girl.

Kaira, who had been due to visit her parents in Goa, does so now because she has cancelled her plans to shoot Raghuvendra’s film in the US. In Goa, the strained relations between Kaira and her parents are very obvious even though her mother and father try their level best to make her feel comfortable and wanted in Goa. Kaira often spends time with her close friend, Jackie (Yashaswini R. Dayama), who is from Bombay but also happens to be in Goa while she (Kaira) has come visiting her parents.

One day, quite by chance, Kaira meets psychiatrist Dr. Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) in Goa. Embarrassed to talk openly to him about her depression, which doesn’t let her be a happy person, she approaches Dr. Khan with her problems as if they were the problems of a friend. Dr. Khan is so understanding and endearing that he soon wins Kaira’s confidence. Before she knows it, Kaira has become Dr. Khan’s patient, coming regularly for sittings with him. Dr. Khan is able not only to identify Kaira’s problems but also to help her get over them.

What are Kaira’s problems? And how does she battle them? Do her strained relations with her parents improve?

Gauri Shinde, Krishna Hariharan and Kausar Munir have penned an unusual story about a girl suffering from depression and who musters the courage to seek a cure for the same in a society which tries to push such illnesses under the carpet. The story starts on a good note and engages the audiences for two reasons – it is different, and most of Kaira’s friends are as interesting as Kaira herself. Even when the drama shifts from Bombay to Goa, the interest level of the viewers doesn’t dip because the tension between Kaira and her family members becomes the focal point.

It is only after Kaira meets Dr. Jehangir Khan and starts to have regular consultations with him that the story dips at several places because the conversations between Kaira and Dr. Khan are too technical, philosophical and, therefore, even boring and repetitive.

The writing trio’s screenplay is fast-paced and entertaining as long as the focus is on Kaira’s pro­fession and friends. Once the scene shifts to Goa, the audience is at first unable to understand what Kaira’s problem with her family is, and therefore, doesn’t feel as engaged as it has so far felt. While the screenplay once again consumes the viewers when Dr. Jehangir Khan is introduced in the drama, it dips when Kaira keeps visiting him and pouring her heart out. The dysfunctionalities of Kaira’s family depress the audiences and although they sympathise with her, they don’t feel very nice about her condition. While this is how it should be, the drama becomes too dry and even boring sometimes for the audience’s liking. The film then becomes a highly class-appealing film because all the philosophical talk between Kaira and Dr. Khan would interest only the gentry and city audiences. Further, since many people in India, who suffer from depression, don’t even address the issue and are probably not even aware that they are suffering, the drama would not make much sense to them. This is not to say that Dr. Jehangir Khan’s portion is completely boring. No, the interactions between Kaira and Dr. Khan have their cute and fun moments but they also have their depressing, repetitive and philosophical moments, which tend to bore even the target audience, the classes.

Kaira’s brief affair in Goa with Rumi (Ali Zafar) is, again, a boring episode in the screenplay. The climax is interesting, engaging and subtle. Dialogues, penned by Gauri Shinde, Krishna Hariharan and Kausar Munir, are very entertaining albeit class-appealing.

Alia Bhatt is exceptionally good as Kaira. She lives the difficult role and delivers an award-winning performance in a character that has so many shades. If she is outstanding in light scenes, she is also remarkable in the emotional ones. Shah Rukh Khan does a fantastic job as Dr. Jehangir Khan. He is so restrained in the role that it is a delight to watch him play Dr. Khan. Kunal Kapoor leaves a fine mark as Raghuvendra. Ira Dubey is brilliant as Fatima. Yashaswini R. Dayama is outstanding in the role of Jackie. Gautmik has his moments as Ganju. Ali Zafar is quite good as Rumi. Angad Bedi does a fair job in the brief role of Sid. Atul Kale (as Kaira’s father), Aban Deohans (as Kaira’s mother), Yashwant Singh (as Kaira’s uncle) and Salone Mehta (as aunt of Kaira) lend excellent support. Aditya Roy Kapur makes his presence felt in a tiny guest appearance. Rohit Saraf leaves a mark as Kaira’s brother, Kiddo. Baby Dishita Sehgal (as little Kaira) and master Amit Nagraj (as little Kiddo) are effective. Aashish Bhatia (as NRI Suresh), Nitika Anand (as family friend), Martha Xavier Fernandes (as Kaira’s maternal grandmother), Madhav Vaze (as Kaira’s maternal grandfather) and Aakanksha Chandrakant Gade (as maid Alka) are adequate.

Gauri Shinde’s direction is sensitive but she seems to have gone by the assumption that everyone would understand the meaning and implications of mental depression, which is not true. By its very nature, the drama holds appeal for a limited audience only. Music (Amit Trivedi) ought to have been nothing less than hit in a film like this, with a heavy second half. The ‘Love you zindagi’ song is appealing but the other songs, though fairly well-tuned, are not too popular. Kausar Munir’s lyrics are appropriate. Feroz Khan’s choreography is suited to the film. Amit Trivedi’s background music is quite nice. Laxman Utekar’s cinematography is outstanding. Rupin Su­chak’s production designing is of a fine standard. Hemanti Sarkar’s editing is sharp. But how one wishes, the script itself had been far more concise; a two-hour film instead of the two-and-a-half-hour film it is, would have been a big plus for it.

On the whole, Dear Zindagi is a film for the gentry and will do well mainly in the premium multiplexes of the big cities. Its business in lesser multiplexes, single-screen cinemas and other cities and towns will, generally speaking, be below the mark. Considering the cost of the film’s making, promotion and release (excluding Shah Rukh Khan’s fee which he has not charged), its entire investment has already been recovered from non-theatrical revenues. Therefore, it is a foregone conclusion that the producers will reap a fantastic harvest as every rupee of share from India (all-India distribution rights pre-sold to one company) and Overseas will go towards profit. For the all-India distributor, the film would prove to be just a safe bet. The film will do very well Overseas.

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Viacom18 Motion Pictures, JA Entertainment, Sunshine Pictures Pvt. Ltd. and Cinema Capital’s Force 2 (UA) is a sequel to Force.

Three RAW agents in China are murdered. While disowning the agents for obvious reasons, the government of India, nevertheless, sends a RAW agent, KK (Sonakshi Sinha), and a trusted police officer, Yashvardhan (John Abraham), to investigate.

Just before they are to embark on the investigation, Yashvardhan receives a book as a gift from his friend, Harish (Farhad), who is one of the slain RAW agents. Decoding the message written by Harish on the book, Yash­vardhan realises that he and KK would have to go to Budapest to catch the murderer.

In Budapest, the prime suspect is Shiv (Tahir Raj Bhasin). Yashvardhan and KK are hot on Shiv’s trail but they miss the chance to nab him and bring him to India. However, it is amply clear that Shiv is the guy who has murdered the three RAW agents. Two more agents are killed even as investigations are underway.

Along the way, Yashvardhan and KK get to know some details about Shiv, which help them in their probe. They realise, Shiv has a more sinister plan in place.

What is the ultimate plan of Shiv? Why is he against RAW agents? What are the details which Yashvardhan and KK learn about Shiv while they are in the thick of the investigations? Are Yashvardhan and KK able to nab Shiv? Do they foil his final plan?

Parveez Shaikh and Jasmeet K. Reen have written a story which has some novelty. But the impact of the novelty pales into insignificance once Shiv’s motives are revealed. It is then that the audience gets the feeling that Shiv’s anger is misdirected. The audience is also not convinced that Shiv should have gone about killing innocent RAW agents, because his ultimate aim was something else. Since the RAW agents are, in a sense, grey characters, there is nothing as cent per cent right and cent per cent wrong in this area. That is to say, the viewer could sympathise with the government’s stand of disowning agents when confronted with the question of whether they are agents, or he could disapprove of the same. Likewise, the viewer could feel sympathy for the family of the murdered RAW agents so much that he may feel that any step by the family members is justified, or the viewer could feel that the family members of the RAW agents should not react because the consequences come with the job. The way the story has been written, it is doubtful whether the audience would go with the drama – and this is the biggest problem with the story.

The duo’s screenplay is good in parts. The first half, especially, is fast-paced and exciting, what with several of the action and chase sequences being breathtaking. Of course, repetition does take its toll before interval but yet, the first half manages to sustain the audience’s interest. The problem starts after interval when the truth about Shiv and the rationale behind his actions and his ultimate aim are revealed one by one. Each revelation takes the interest level of the audience down rather than up because the audience starts questioning Shiv’s actions in the given circumstances. Besides, the screenplay suddenly appears to be about just one man’s eccentricities more than anything else. Worse still, the viewers can’t fathom why Shiv chose RAW agents to murder, given the background of his own family!

The second half’s screenplay is not upto the mark. What engages the audience after interval is, therefore, only action. The screenplay is also lopsided because the film has absolutely no comedy, no relief, no romance and no emotions. Songs fail to have the desired impact. Dialogues, written by the duo, are good but not outstanding.

John Abraham plays ACP Yashvardhan effectively. He looks the character and convinces the audience that he can do just about anything. Sonakshi Sinha gets into the skin of KK’s character and performs ably. Tahir Raj Bhasin excels. He is fantastic in the role of Shiv. His acting is praiseworthy. Narendra Jha impresses as Anjan. Adil Hussain leaves a mark as the HRD minister. Raj Babbar has a brief role as home secretary and he is good. Shubhangi Latkar (as Rudra’s mother) and Muskaan Tomar (as Rudra’s sister) lend able support. Genelia (D’souza) Deshmukh leaves a mark in a minuscule special appearance. Farhad is impactful as RAW agent Harish. Pramod Pathak (as Samant) and Patricia Mittler (as Martinez) are adequate. Others provide average support.

Abhinay Deo’s direction is good but his choice of subject is not so. Also, he has resorted to making the drama engaging by offering stylised action more than by giving arresting content. Music (Amaal Malik and Gourov Roshin) is functional; the songs are fair. Lyrics (Kumaar and Rashmi Virag) are alright. Ahmed Khan and Firoz Khan’s choreography is okay. Prasad Sashte’s background music is very loud but effective. Camerawork (by Imre Juhasz and Mohana Krishna) is very good. Franz Spilhaus’ action, stunts and chase sequences are exciting and will be loved by youngsters and masses. But the excessive violence will, to an extent, put off the family and ladies audiences. Production designing (by Attila ‘Digi’ Kovari and Aparna Raina) is appropriate. Editing (by Amitabh Shukla and Sanjay Sharma) is quite sharp.

On the whole, Force 2 has more style and less substance of the convincing type. It will, therefore, not be a force to reckon with at the box-office. Rather, it will entail losses.

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T-Series Films and Benares Mediaworks’ Tum Bin II (UA) is a sequel to Tum Bin.

Taran (Neha Sharma) and Amar (Aashim Gulati) are in love with one another and are due to get married shortly. Taran lives with her two sisters, Manpreet (Meher Vij) and Gurpreet (Sonia Balani), in Edinburgh. Amar lives with his father (Kanwaljit Singh) in the same city. Manpreet has a Sikh boyfriend, Navjyot (Jaipreet Singh), who has decided to marry her. Gurpreet has a Pakistani boyfriend.

Taran and Amar go on a holiday to the snow-capped mountains as Amar is into skiing. Calamity strikes when Amar meets with a terrible accident and loses his balance while skiing all alone. It is not clear whom he had dashed against. After searching for many days, the search party concludes that Amar may be dead. Obviously, Amar’s father, Taran and her family are devastated.

Amar’s father tries hard to convince Taran to move on in life but even after six months, she is still too shocked to forget Amar. Amar’s father then introduces Shekhar (Aditya Seal) to Taran and her family as a late friend’s son. Shekhar is a fun-loving and lively person and soon brings back a smile on Taran’s face. By the by, Taran and Shekhar fall in love with one another.

Even as Shekhar and Taran’s romance is blossoming comes the good news that Amar is alive and has recovered under the care of doctors. He returns home. Taran is now in a dilemma – should she marry Amar or Shekhar? Shekhar realises that Amar is Taran’s first love and voluntarily retreats. On her part, Taran has so fallen in love with Shekhar that she confides in Amar, telling him of her love for Shekhar. The understanding Amar asks her to leave him and marry Shekhar. But soon, Shekhar realises that Taran is meant for Amar. Amar and Taran then learn something about Shekhar, which shocks them both.

What is it that they learn? Who is Shekhar? Whom does Taran finally marry – Amar or Shekhar?

Anubhav Sinha’s story is as old as the hills. It is basically a love triangle and has a lot of resemblance with Deewana. Although Sinha has tried to make the drama very youthful, his sermonising bits about life and philosophy bore the audience. Anubhav Sinha’s screenplay is clichéd, to say the least. There is not even a hint of novelty in the screenplay as one predictable scene after another unfolds in front of the audience. Probably because there is no freshness in the subject, Anubhav Sinha resorts to a song every few minutes to further the drama. But the songs hardly take the drama forward. The audience finds the songs intruding sometimes, simply because there are too many of them. Another drawback of the screenplay is that the audiences do not connect with any of the characters so much that they would root for either Amar or Shekhar. The frequent flip-flops of Taran, Amar and Shekhar get irritating after a point of time. All in all, the screenplay is too routine to be true and it fails to engage the viewers. Anubhav Sinha’s climax is equally ordinary. His dialogues are okay; sometimes, they even sound jaded.

Neha Sharma has done a fine job as Taran, the girl in love with Amar first and Shekhar later and finally torn between two lovers. Aditya Seal is alright as Shekhar. Aashim Gulati is okay in the role of Amar. Frankly, both, Aditya Seal and Aashim Gulati, don’t look like enviable heroes. Kanwaljit Singh acts ably. Meher Vij lends reasonably good support in the role of Manpreet. Sonia Balani is natural as Gurpreet. Jaipreet Singh (as Manpreet’s boyfriend, Navjyot), Ishwak Singh (as Gurpreet’s Pakistani boyfriend) and Davinder Madan (as the mother of Gurpreet’s boyfriend) lend adequate support. Romanos Kassimis (as François), Chris Donald (as Daniel) and the others pass muster.

Anubhav Sinha’s direction is alright. Of course, his narration is unable to camouflage the many shortcomings of the script. Ankit Tiwari’s music is the best part of the film. All the songs are melodious with three or four of them being very hummable too. But while some songs are youthful, others are of the kind which would appeal only to the older generation. Lyrics (Manoj Muntashir; ‘Teri fariyaad’ song written by Shakeel Azmi, and based on the original ghazal by Faaiz Anwar) are weighty. Shampa Gopikrishna’s choreography is average. Ankit Tiwari’s background music is okay. Ewan Mulligan’s cinematography is lovely. The foreign locations are eye-filling. Peter Pedrero’s stunts are nice. George Morris’ production designing is appropriate. Editing (by Farooq Hundekar) is not upto the mark.

On the whole, Tum Bin II will flop at the box-office in spite of hit music because it has nothing more to offer except very good songs.

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Ajay Devgn Ffilms, PEN Movies and NH Studioz’s Shivaay (UA) is the story of a father and his little daughter. It depicts the extent to which a parent can go, to protect his child.

Shivaay (Ajay Devgan) lives in the Himalayas and is a mountaineer. He loves mountain-climbing and has no­body to call his own in this world. While guiding a group of foreign trekkers, he befriends a foreigner, Olga (Erika Kaar), in the group. She hails from Bul- garia and has a family to look after in Bulgaria. Shivaay and Olga are thrown together by circumstances one day. Their togetherness leads to intimacy and the two develop a physical rela­ tionship. Olga gets pregnant with Shivaay’s love-child and al­ though she wants to abort the child and is in a hurry to return to Bulgaria, Shivaay pleads with her to deliver the child in India and give it to him before returning to her country.

Olga obliges Shivaay. She returns to Bulgaria soon after delivering their love-child, a baby girl, whom Shivaay then names Gaura (baby Abigail Eames). Gaura is unable to speak right from birth. Shivaay raises the daughter as a single parent. He tells Gaura that her mother is dead. All hell breaks loose when Gaura gets to know that her mother is alive and in Bulgaria. She forces Shivaay to take her to Bul­ garia to meet her mother.

Shivaay reaches Bulgaria with Gaura. But before the duo can trace Olga, Gaura is kidnapped. Shivaay only has 72 hours in the foreign land to save his little daughter as otherwise, she would either be pushed into the flesh trade or killed so that her organs could be sold. Abducting children and initiating them into prostitution or trading in their organs is common in Bulgaria.

The drama then shows the extent to which Shivaay goes to ensure that Gaura is rescued from the clutches of her abductors. With nobody he knows in Bulgaria, he seeks the help of Anu­ shka (Sayyeshaa) who works in the Indian embassy in Bulgaria. Anushka, in turn, seeks the assistance of her close friend, Wahab (Vir Das), who is a computer hacker. Meanwhile, Olga learns from the television news that the father of her child is in Bulgaria alongwith their child. The mother in her takes her to Shivaay and she, too, joins in the search operation. All along, Shivaay has to do whatever he does, very discreetly because the police of Bulgaria is baying for his blood. Anushka empathises with Shivaay and also finds herself being attracted to him and his devotion as a father.

Does Shivaay secure his daughter’s release before 72 hours? Or does he lose her to the abductors? Does Gaura end up in prostitution? Or is she killed and her organs sold? Does Shivaay return to India? If yes, with whom? If not, what does he do ultima- tely?

Sandeep Shrivastava has penned a story which had the germs of an emotional family drama. But his screenplay (script consultant: Robin Bhatt) is not half as good as it ought to have been. For one, the characteri­ sations are weak. In the Indian con­ text, Olga is a vamp because she re­ turns to Bulgaria soon after delivering the love-child and doesn’t even bother thereafter to find out how the child is faring. The audience’s sympathy, therefore, never goes to Olga, not even when she pines for her after she has been abducted. Shivaay’s character is also of the kind everyone may not give cent per cent marks to. He forces Olga to deliver their love-child but never marries her. Little Gaura makes a place for herself in the viewer’s heart, more so because she has been des­ erted by her mother and she is unable to speak. Yet, the sympathy for Gaura is never total because she is shown to be headstrong rather than sad or helpless due to her disability. Besides, her disability has not been used at all to evoke sentiments. Showing a key character with such a major disability and then, not using that disability to arouse emotions is definitely not a wise thing to do. In other words, Gaura’s condition would’ve been no different whatsoever even if she were able to speak.

Sandeep Shrivastava’s scenes are so lengthy that they test the audien­ ce’s patience. The chase and action sequences, in particular, are too long and, therefore, too boring. The worst part of the screenplay is that it is un­ able to evoke sympathy for any char­ acter in the drama. Save for the last scene, which could evoke tears from the eyes of the weak-hearted, the drama doesn’t tug at the heart-strings. In other words, although Shivaay de­ fies death to save his daughter, the viewers hardly experience edge-of-the-seat thrill.

The entire drama has a depressing feel about it. Also, Shivaay does so many stunts that the audience, after a point of time, feel that he is nothing short of a Superman which he is act­ ually not.

Sandeep Shrivastava’s dialogues are weak. In a human drama like this, the dialogues ought to have drawn tears from the viewers’ hearts.

Ajay Devgan acts ably but the weak screenplay does take away from his performance which the audiences are, therefore, unable to appreciate as much as they should have. Baby Abigail Eames plays Gaura with understanding but she is unable to win the audi­ ence’s unconditional love and sympathy, probably because she is so loud and headstrong. Erika Kaar (as Olga) acts fairly well but her anglicised Hindi is jarring to the ears and serves to take away the emotions from her dia­ logues. Sayyeshaa looks pretty as Anushka. Although her performance in her debut role is alright, hers is, at best, a supporting role which gives her limited scope only. Vir Das does well as computer hacker Wahab but again, he doesn’t have a single scene to stand out. Girish Karnad hardly gets any scope as Anushka’s disabled father. Saurabh Shukla is routine as Sharma. Markus Ertelt (as Changez and Sgt. Nikolai) doesn’t impress much. Vladimir Kolev also fails to have the desired impact as Colonel Borris. Casting foreigners as the main villains is an error as the audience is unable to identify with them. Sandeep Shri­ vastava (as the Indian interpreter), Amit Behl (as the army Colonel), Vikas Shrey (as the army Major), Pratik Khattar (as the army Captain), Aakash Dabade (as the Indian trek­ ker), Raynu Verma (as the lady doc­ tor), Aadil Sharma (as the doctor), Miroslav Pashov (as Ustinov), Swen Raschka (as Ivanovich), Goran Mit­ rowski and Robert Masser (both as pimps), and the others lend ordinary support.

Ajay Devgan’s direction is ordinary. For one, he has reserved every heroic action and deed for Shivaay to do so that the film looks like a one-man story. Secondly, his scenes are too long and boring. Thirdly, he fails to make the human drama one which can pierce the hearts of the viewers. Mithoon’s music (with one song by Jasleen Royal) is okay. The title track is definitely impactful but the other numbers are not very hummable. Lyrics (Saeed Quadri, Sandeep Shri­ vastava and Aditya Sharma) are not too easy on the lips. Howard Rose­ meyer’s choreography leaves some­ thing to be desired. Mithoon’s back­ ground music is too loud and intrusive, reducing rather than heightening the impact of the scenes. Aseem Bajaj’s camerawork is splendid. Visual effects and computer graphics are good at many places but below the mark sometimes. Stunts and action scenes (by Jai Singh Nijjar and Stefan Richter) are breathtaking but also un­ palatable sometimes. Too much vio­ lence will restrict the film’s appeal as the womenfolk will find it excessive. Sabu Cyril’s production designing and Apurwa Sondhi’s art direction are good. Dharmendra Sharma’s editing is loose.

On the whole, Shivaay is a slow and often boring human drama with very limited emotional appeal and little entertainment value. It may find favour with the masses and single-screen cinema audiences but its run in the multiplexes will not be smooth at all. Given the high price at which it has been acquired by the distributors, it will entail heavy losses to them.

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