Saturday, October 17, 2015

Jazbaa Review

It would be interesting to find out why a particular title is given to a film. Jazbaa can be translated to mean ‘emotions’ and on paper the story behind Jazbaa is to do with emotions. The protagonist’s relationship with her friend, her daughter and the kidnapper bring out emotions that drive the story. However, it also drives our emotions from bored to depressing to fed-up.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays successful female criminal lawyer Anuradha Verma. Life is perfect as she has just won her latest case by using her intelligence and a little bit of bribery. Even though she is a single mother, she is without guilt of repercussions due to her ambitions. That is until her daughter gets kidnapped right before her eyes. The kidnapper wants to utilise her ambition and fame to release a known rapist and murderer, Miyaaz Sheikh.

On the other side of town, Irrfan Khan plays corrupt and ‘under investigation’ police officer Yohan. While we are told he is highly decorated, this does not rely on the number of medals he has received. The bribery allegations against him give him a dark façade but his friendship with Anuradha (which is a strong relationship of many years) depict him the good guy, stepping up when he is needed.

What is supposed to ensue is a cat-and-mouse game where the successful lawyer becomes a pawn as she thwarts all attempts to hang Miyaaz Sheikh in exchange for the release of her daughter. Yohan provides the veneer of hired muscle to supplement Anuradha’s crafty investigative technique even though he was the investigating officer in the original case. Do they find the evidence that they need? Does he really get set free? These questions are supposed to be answered over the 2 hrs of the film but for any crime-loving, suspense-thriller fanatic the story and its twists are obvious from the 35th minute of the film where Sanaya (played by Sara Arjun) gets kidnapped. The only peak of interest you will gain after this point is when the case details against Miyaaz Sheikh unfold. After this once again we are subjected to melodramatic performances and uninspired writing.

The disappointments don’t stop there. Background score by Aman Mohile may have been on point but music by Sachin-Jigar, Abhishek-Ramya and Arko leave a lot to be desired. Aaj Raat ka Scene is most likely to be used in the club scene a little longer. The song was perhaps intended to be a relief in the nail biting screenplay. It truly is a relief to the boredom of that screenplay. On top of this the logic has taken not even a back seat but has been left behind altogether. One would assume that since the investigating officer is under corruption charges, a top notch lawyer would be able to use this to get her client off quite easily. Yet we go through episodes of investigation to give the premise that the killer is actually innocent.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan hams her way through the court scenes where she is half decent. Irrfan Khan needs no introduction but sometimes the weak writing even makes him look bland. Shabana Azmi who plays the mother of rape victim Sia is competent in the role but proves to be lacking in the final summation. Atul Kulkarni as public prosecutor is dignified but lacks screen space. Watch out for Jackie Shroff in what could be considered a cameo due to the length of time he is allotted. The remaining cast including Abhimanyu Singh, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Priya Banerjee and Sidhanth Kapoor give their two bits reluctantly.

Remakes are not something new in our industry and this too is a remake of a Korean film. Yet Sanjay Gupta’s everlasting love to extenuate and exacerbate the melodrama is once again at the forefront of this movie. The end result is watching for the sake of watching but not actually connecting with anyone. Jazbaa proves to be emotionless.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Puli Movie Review

*** This is a repost from my review on with minor changes***

As a renowned nation for mythology, kingdoms in faraway lands and fables in general, the big screen is seldom kind to the filmmakers who venture down this magical path and stand as pillars in history to rewrite that sentiment. But taking away the money bags, the bottom line shows that we love these stories. They fascinate us to no end. If they are told right… Puli is not competition to rewrite history but another venture to exploit the interest Chimbu Deven tapped into at the start of his career in 2006. How one wishes he didn’t.

You see, Puli is neither mythical nor does it have magical lure. There’s magic. In Natarajan “Natty” Subramanian’s camerawork that make you appreciate his skill of capturing a figment land of Chimbu Deven’s imagination. There is magic in T. Muthuraj’s production design. Makuta VFX listed on the crew was a selling point for me since they have been having praises flooding with each release. You appreciate their efforts and in the same breath wonder why. Why Chimbu Deven could not keep his end of the bargain up. The director who has made a career of refreshingly new stories and screenplays in the South has lost out as Chimbu Deven, the writer made a royal mess of the screenplay. The technical team and the cast could be giving the performance of their lifetime but it wouldn’t make up for the gaping holes and tacky writing. Even if you take the subject audience to be the kiddies, there is a good portion of the pre-interval that is just inappropriate for them as well. Result? Bheja Fry. And that is something that continues throughout the film. Devi Sri Prasad may need to re-jig his music mojo as the album/BGM is passable and that’s a lot less than what you can expect from the usually dependable music director. Yendi Yendi lingers long enough to score a spot on a repeat playlist. Jingaliya and Mannavane will work for a while but are like most drum heavy tracks.

In relation to the actors,“Ilaya Thalabathy” Vijay as he is fondly known should be applauded for the choice of role but all you feel is pity. He tries to make each scene count and fails miserably. The Queen even before Puli, the Sri the Devi the Ji (Thanks to Salman Khan for coining the phrase) has always been exotic but she brings on a new kind of hypnosis and radiates elegance. Kiccha Sudeep transforms every time you see him on screen. His smouldering sinister side just doesn’t get enough meat to nibble, let alone chew. The lovely ladies Shruti Haasan and Hansika Motwani have one portion of the film and 2 songs each with Vijay. They were definitely not expected to act with gusto but beautiful they both are. Nandita Swetha has 2 scenes and 1 line so I don’t know if that counts as a cameo. Thambi Ramaiah, Sathyan, Vidyullekha Raman, Prabhu Ganesan, “Aadukalam” Naren, Vadivukkarasi and lots more are in the cast. Yet there is little for them to do.

If you are looking for the story, you already know it. It’s LOTR, Prince of Egypt, The Hobbit, Gulliver’s Travels and etc. mixed in with a few badly made martial arts films. The repetitive isn’t going to bother you as much as being bored to death. And then being told there is another 2 hours to go.

Chimbu Deven’s Puli has less roar than a day old cub with pneumonia and no cuteness to substitute.

Rating: 1/5 
P.S. There was no mention of logic or Box office capability for this film on purpose.
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