Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mardaani Review

Bollywood goes through it trends and the current is having the leading lady as the main protagonist. Love her, hate her, it’s the classic they cannot be ignored. Some cases are of the next door neighbour like English Vinglish, and some have the woman that lost everything seeking revenge like Kahaani. Mardaani follows this protagonist trend but is the story we would skip over after reading the title from the newspaper. The one that makes our blood boil but we redirect our frustrations to social media venting or domesticity.

Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukherji) is a senior inspector in the crime branch unit in Mumbai. She is a street smart cop that follows her duty and is no shrinking flower. She knows her law and she knows what’s right. But everyone has a nightmare they hope and pray don’t come true. For Shivani, when a child name Pyaari (Priyanka Sharma) from her local shelter goes missing, she makes it her responsibility to find her.  Yet even she will not be able to foresee how far she will have to go to get her back.

Now let’s begin the dissection. Regardless of what you have seen Rani do in the past, I suggest you forget all of that before you walk in. She is unlike other policewoman depicted on screen in Bollywood. However, Rani needs to work on her action and surprisingly how she delivers the hard hitting dialogues. On the opposite end, Tahir Bhasin who plays Walt sinks his teeth right in and makes you despise his cockiness. The age factor is brought out in dialogue but also adds the edge as Rani is taunted by her “Under 19 team ka 12th batsman”. The flipside of course, is how she drags out the ego in him during their interactions.

Even though there is nothing wrong with Jisshu Sengupta or Priyanka Sharma’s performance, literally everyone in the supporting cast is forgotten in the battle between Rani and Tahir. This may enhance the cat-and-mouse play between them but when the film starts to falter, even they can’t save it.  It’s disappointing when the film starts off slow, peeks your interest, only to let it slide again. Screenplay could have been tauter to maintain the consistency while Sanjib Datta’s editing needed to keep verbosity in check. Cinematography by Artur Zurawski slips between cinematic sheen and real life grit.

However, credit will be given where due. Gopi Puthran’s writing definitely needs a mention since the story and facts behind it are nerve rackingly honest. Pradeep Sarkar may have been battered blue with his first film for predictability and wafer thin story line but with Mardaani he engages emotion to a level. Despite having patchy work in the second half and almost all momentum lost in the climax, the fact that the audience literally clapped as the closing credit rolled up means they were invested in the film enough to be shocked by its truths and coaxed by the slight liberties taken by its makers.

Mardaani is not an untold story but perhaps one of the few that dragged to light statistics no one wants to know. If anything can be taken away from this film, it would be the awareness of a startling and horrific truth.

Rating: 2/5

Khoobsurat Review

 Sonam Kapoor playing the lead role in the Khoobsurat remake made enough of a splash in the water well of b-town for people to notice. And now that the film is out, I guess it’s now up to the audience to make or break the film at the box office. The slight changes in Khoobsurat are there to give this classic tale new life and its setting is in a different era to boot. When it comes to remakes, the industry has seen its fair share. The question that follows is to whether it was worth buying a movie ticket to watch it or not.

For the likes of the modern generation, Sonam Kapoor looks the part and attempts to throw in the YOLO (that’s you live only once for the uninformed) attitude they can relate to. Fawad Khan fits in the character of Vikram Singh Rathore to the T and is quite dashing at that. But the one thing that most people will see as the sour grape in the fruit salad is there is no chemistry between these two nor is there any empathy for Sonam Kapoor from the audience. The audience is left completely stuck between a rock and a hard place because of this awkwardness. We have seen our fair share of wacky ideas being implemented in a field on screen but this particular one doesn’t work on the basis you don’t feel for Sonam in her endeavours to bring happiness to the royal family.

Ratna Pathak Shah as the queen and Aamir Hussain as the king play their roles sufficiently. Aditi Rao Hydari isn’t required to do much. Kiron Kher plays the Punjabi mother once again with her quintessential charm. But none of these established actors could save the gaping holes in the story. Yes the Disney backed film announces this to be a candy floss cinema that doesn’t require you to think but even the fun-factor of this genre is lacking severely. Adding in the music doesn’t strike a chord, barring the peppy Engine Ki Seeti. There is only so much costume design and cinematography can do to lighten the on screen mood.

All of the above mentioned factors come into play when you look at the film as it is. This is without considering the cult classic original directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and lead by the golden Rekha. So while the Disney banner can be all grand, the couple can be younger generation and we replace a middle class family with royalty, you cannot avoid the main problem with watching a film like Khoobsurat staring Sonam Kapoor and Fawad Khan. You don’t fall for the misfit as much as do for the cute looking prince in a sherwani or suit.

Sonam may be a Disney princess with Khoobsurat but you definitely don’t feel like you watched a classic with this film.

Rating 1/5

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