Sarbjit Review

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I have both praise for and criticism of the film Sarbjit. First thing first, the story of Sarbjit Singh– the Indian farmer that accidentally crossed the border into Pakistan in 1990, who was arrested by the Pakistani army and then accused of being a spy and terrorist and who eventually died 23 years later after an attack in prison– deserves to be seen. No matter what the criticisms of the film may be, the film ought to be applauded for the initiative alone because such stories ought to be told and such individuals known and remembered. So from the start, I urge you to see the film, if for no other reason but to get to know Sarbjit, his life and the life of his family in their struggle to prove his innocence and free him.

The film is no doubt a serious one. It has to be serious because it’s a biographical of a harsh reality and I think the film was made very close to the real life incidents. Having said that, I think that the filmmakers were caught between making a serious biographical and making a mainstream Bollywood film, which often happens with such scripts. I think that they made mistakes on two points, the song in the beginning of the film and the casting of Aishwarya.

It is my opinion that if one has decided to take up a serious drama, one ought to go the entire way and really make it a drama from start to finish. What filmmakers often do instead is to try to combine best of both worlds by not only making a very dramatic and tragic film but also adding some promotional elements that they think will help the audience go to the cinema hall. This plan usually fails. Trying to maintain both of these aspects generally results in disappointment for all audiences– the ones who went to see the story and the ones who went for the lead actors and songs. The truth is that you’re selling both parties short. It’s not that Tung Lak is a bad song or Aishwarya didn’t perform well. I love the song but it doesn’t fit into that script. And Aishwarya… she performed exceedingly well but the problem is that Aishwarya’s image of being a very beautiful and glamorous actress does not permit one to entirely concentrate on her acting, regardless of her performance. And as much as this is superficial and unfortunate, an audience goes to an Aishwarya film for that glamour factor and may feel deceived. And promoting such a serious film with romance photos and photos of Aishwarya applying makeup is deception indeed.

Haider was no biography but it’s a classic tragedy and had reminded us how a tragic drama can succeed both with the critics and the audience. I realized that the original play guided that script but I was still mesmerized by the balance of tragedy and comedy in the adaptation. Achieving that is far more difficult than it seems. I wish Sarbjit could have gone along those lines and I think that the script was a perfect fit for such. Despite the criticism, I emphasize that this film must be seen. If not in the cinema, then at home.

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Atharintiki Daaredi Review

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Atharintiki Daaredi is a mass Telugu entertainer with Pawan Kalyan and Samantha in the leads. The cast also includes Boman Irani and comedians Brahmanandam, Ali, MS Narayana and Raghubabu.

This is the first Pawan Kalyan film I’ve seen. I had seen his films online before but never watched any. But having seen Atharintiki Daaredi, I completely regret this decision. Pawan Kalyan is a very good actor and his style and personality are just something else. He surprised me in this film and I am completely a fan now.

Pawan Kalyan is like a quiet force. He can have zero dialogues in a scene and still dominate it. His quiet demeanour is impactful and his eyes do all the talking. He is definitely the best thing about this film, even though the film itself is very good. His expressions of anger, love and sadness are all very real. He does not over-act at all. He doesn’t have to speak loudly and exaggerate his speech to make an impact. Moreover his body language and style are very unique. To sum it up, even though most of the scenes of the film were on Pawan Kalyan, I couldn’t not get enough of him. I wanted to see him in every single scene and I don’t usually feel this way about actors.

The film is about Gautam (Pawan Kalyan) who joins as a driver at his aunt’s house in order to somehow win her heart and convince her to return home. Boman Irani plays Gautam’s grandfather, who requests Gautam to bring his aunt. The aunt had eloped with her husband without her father’s permission and the family split many years ago. I have never seen Boman Irani in a role like this. I’ve not seen him in a South film previously actually. He is a perfect actor and delivers his role and dialogues well. I would like to see him in more South films. Sasi (Samantha) is the aunt’s younger daughter and doesn’t like Gautam from the beginning. The rest of the film is about whether Gautam succeeds and how he makes it happen.

The story of the film is solid. It’s a realistic, entertaining family film that delivers on all points—be it drama, action, romance or comedy. The film does not bore at all and keeps the audience engaged throughout. I constantly found myself wondering what is going to happen next.

The first part of the film is better than the second half. The first part is more energetic. The entry of Brahmanandam in the second half slows down the film a little bit and was completely unnecessary in my view. It’s as if the filmmakers decided that they want all the comedians in the film and wrote scenes for Brahmanandam just for this purpose. Ali, MS Narayana and Raghubabu’s scenes are perfectly in line with the story and are very entertaining. Brahmanandam’s scenes stick out like a sore thumb and divert the story. But the director manages to pull it all together and delivers an emotional and happy ending in the last half hour.

The action of the movie is very good. It’s well-choreographed and kept me engaged but did not bore me. The first action sequence and why it happens doesn’t really make sense. But it looks very good and introduces the hero. I really liked that the action in this movie was natural and realistic. Some movies go over the top with the choreography showing us things that could never happen. I think that’s a minus point. But in this film the action is not only effective but it’s also realistic making it even more exciting for the audience.

The dialogues are good. Some are average but some are perfect. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Sasi talks about her love and one of the last scenes where Gautam talks to his aunt and uncle at the railway platform. Pawan Kalyan’s stylish and arrogant dialogues throughout the film were also entertaining.

The music is average. Only one or two songs were enjoyable, the others just filled space. The choreography for the songs were poor however.

The chemistry between Pawan Kalyan and Samantha is great. I wish there were more scenes in the movie where we could see their chemistry. Pawan’s quiet and serious attitude as the heroine explained her love for him was beautiful. The way Samantha held a piece of paper so she could only see Pawan’s eyes was great. I also liked the following scene with the two, where Samantha tells Pawan to leave but is pulling him towards her at the same time. These are fairly short scenes but they were effective and delivered the romance well.

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I just have a few problems with this film. First of all, the hero, his aunt, his father and his grandfather all appear to be the same age. Secondly, I was not able to digest the fact that the hero had such a sudden change of heart about the girls. First he liked his aunt’s elder daughter, and in fact thought of marrying her. But when it turned out that she loves someone else, and when he found out that his aunt’s younger daughter likes him, he just switched to the younger daughter. What is this? Will he love just about anybody? Is it enough if a girl is interested in him? This was the only weak aspect of the hero’s character and left me a little uneasy.

Thirdly, as with most Telugu films, there is also “hero worshipping” in this film. I heard this term recently from a Telugu moviegoer and I completely agree. There is always an inclination in Telugu movies to show the hero like a God, representing the hero with above human characteristics. I wish filmmakers would stop doing this as it’s completely unnecessary.  Most Telugu heroes are very talented people who can act, fight and dance. Their performances are enough for fans in my view. It’s wrong to show them as a divine figure. They are just people like us.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this movie. It’s one of the better Telugu films of recent. Watch it for the story and watch it for Pawan Kalyan. I promise you will not be bored. I watched the film twice already and I’m sure I will see it again.

Ek Thi Daayan

I had high expectations from this film, I don’t know why. I guess I was on a Emraan Hashmi high after Dirty Picture and this film also has Konkona Sen Sharma, one of the most talented women in Bollywood. And I’ve always liked Bollywood mystic-horror films about ghosts, superstition and witchcraft. Raaz 3 was also about witchcraft and that was unfortunately a huge disappointment, I must review that too sometime. Ek Thi Daayan is better than Raaz 3, probably because it was produced by the real life daayan Ekta Kapoor. Just kidding! She does look like a witch though.

The film starts off fairly strong in the first half. It’s intriguing and scary too. But the second half, especially the last half hour really lost me because it became too ridiculous. I think script writers sometimes forget that in horror, one must make the story believable in order to scare the audience. Once it loses that, it’s not scary anymore.

Emraan Hashmi is playing a magician in this film.. who has the stupidest name on the face of the world– Bobo. Which bright writer’s idea was this fabulous name? It definitely beats “Bunny” from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.

Anyway, while Bobo the Magician is performing his tricks on stage, he hears a voice, the voice of his younger sister who died as a child. When he hears the voice, he cannot complete the trick and his assistant gets hurt.

In order to figure out what is happening to him, Bobo goes to his childhood psychiatrist and seeks his help. The psychiatrist hypnotizes him and Bobo goes back to his childhood and tells the events that lead to his sister’s death. His sister was sacrificed by a witch and Bobo had killed the witch.

The first half is basically about what happened in his childhood and the second half of the film is what happens when he thinks that the witch has reincarnated and returned.

Watch this film if you’re bored and if you get the film for free! And of course if you’re an Emraan fan. But don’t raise your expectations. Actually, it would be best watched with friends on a weekend night as you can make fun of the stupid scenes in the second half together if you get bored. I watched it with my mom and a big bowl of popcorn.

Something funny from the film: Did you know that hell looks like a dirty old apartment basement? I guess the film had a tight budget!

Kai Po Che

I’m going to tell you right off that Kai Po Che is a good film and you should see it. But it’s a serious film, so watch it when you’re in the mood for it, otherwise it might put you off.

This is a film about friendship and sports. It has strong messages about being united despite different beliefs, religions and families. It’s about three friends who set up a sports shop where they sell cricket equipment and also teach kids how to play cricket in the ground behind the shop. The film also has a strong political backdrop and goes through a serious of unfortunate events that get in the way of the friends’ dreams and how they try to overcome them.

I loved the film and I think everyone should watch it simply for its message of unity and how we should treat everyone equally despite their religious or political background. Because for sports, none of it matters, for humanity, none of it matters. You will also enjoy the film if you’re a cricket fan.

This film also brings us the debutante Sushant Singh Rajput. He is very talented, he did excellent in his first film and is already a craze with the girls.

The film does have a sad ending, so get ready for some tears if you’re the emotional type. I cried at the end.

London Dreams

There is just so many things wrong with this movie, that I don’t know where to start. First of all, who’s idea was it to pick 40+ guys (Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan) for a movie about a boy band?! Was I supposed to be watching two 20 year olds with a double chin and deep wrinkles? Ajay needs to get his double chin tucked in and Salman has been needing some work under his eyes for a long time. Or they could just play roles that are suited for 40+ year olds.

Secondly, Salman’s hair looked horrible in the film, it was long, greasy and the ends were orange. Yuck!

As for the script, oh man. The beginning was bearable, the middle got interesting, the end was like jumping off a high cliff. The first 2/3 of the film was very real and believable. Guy (Ajay aka Arjun in the film) has a dream about becoming a singer and making it big, gets the chance to go to London, works hard, finally gets there and then his best buddy (Salman aka Munnu) steals his sunshine (and his girlfriend) because he’s way more talented. So Ajay decides to take what ‘belongs’ to him by getting his buddy addicted to drugs so that he can no longer perform (and that his gf leaves him). Salman eventually find out whats going on and goes back to India.

It was all fine and dandy until here. Suddenly the scene happens where Ajay’s uncle tells him that he needs Salman and that he should go to India, apologize and bring Salman back. Ajay basically turns to his uncle and says “Okay!” Then they go to India, Salman welcomes them, hugs Ajay and hops back over to UK, where the band gets back together and has a huge concert. Happy Ending THE END!

Wtf?! Um, did the producers run out of money or did the editors/director suddenly realize that they have 5 minutes of movie time left? That was the dumbest ending I’ve seen in my life. And I’m sure we would all right away forgive our friend who got us addicted to drugs and ruined our life.

Oh and yes, there was also Asin (aka Priya) in the film. I don’t think Asin is a bad actor, but she didn’t even act in this film. She flopped around danced a little and looked pretty. I’m sure she took this role just to be on the same screen as Sallu and Ajay and nothing else.

As for the songs, not bad. I enjoyed a couple a lot. The music was probably the best thing in the movie considering the stupid ending, Sallu not acting well and Ajay being his same old annoying self.

Karthik Calling Karthik

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I’m actually not sure why they made this movie. I had not seen any reviews or trailers and found the film to be a bit of a surprise. First 20-30min was extremely slow, it picked up a little bit in the latter part of the film. It’s easy to find this movie pointless and boring, but as much as I try not to, I have this inevitable desire to learn a lesson from everything. Here are what I think the lessons of this movie are- if you find these at all relevant to yourself, then I’d say why not watch the movie. But do not have high expectations.

1- If you fear that you might have schizophreniac tendencies, do not purchase a phone that allows wake up calls with message recording

2- If you do #1 and call yourself, seek medical/psychiatric assistance immediately

3-Okay, okay…on a more serious note…attitude is everything, when your attitude changes, your life changes…

4-Be compassionate to yourself!!!! For years, I couldn’t understand the phrase “I am my own worst enemy.” It suddenly dawned on me during this movie. “Karthik” helped Karthik so much in the beginning, helped him gain self-confidence and then later… “he” treated himself so badly. It can be easier sometimes to be kinder to others, but compassion begins with ourselves. Forgive yourself!

5- It is so difficult to be there for a loved one who has psychological issues. Thank you God for the health you have given, please protect and give patience to those who take care of individuals with mental health issues!

Also-I like “Ufff Teri Adaa,” listen to & download here.

Yeh Mera India

I have trouble describing this movie, you have to see it for yourself! What I really liked about the film was how everything was connected. Everyone who did something wrong, faced a sort of divine punishment. Everyone who was good at heart finally attained their award. I think the overall message of the film is that we all need to learn humanity. Humanity doesn’t necessarily come with status, money or religion. Sometimes we gain it only when we are about to lose this life and what good is it then?