Badrinath Ki Dulhania

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My review on Badrinath Ki Dulhania got stuck in the recalcitrant wheels of my computer, who decided to sulk just when I started to write it out. Thus the delay and my having come across varied views to the film and so having had time to think those through as well.

 Films, like food are individual in taste and likes and My impression though, remains the same and I like and enjoyed the film, as I had its precursor, “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania”.

The film begins on an off-putting but truthful note, describing the birth of girls as liabilities and of boys as assets in the narrow mindsets of people. And then proceeds to state many more facts, which are part of our daily lives, and are all to do with not giving women their due respect and choices. A lot of it, while appearing extremely offensive to the more fortunate of us, is the bald truth of large parts of our country. Dowry, not being allowed to take up a job, kowtowing to a despotic husband-the issues women face. They are not always dramatic headlines. Rather, they are occurrences in our lives which happen to people we know well and around us.

(I recalled many situations which I had witnessed directly or fairly close to home-specifically to do with dowry, aborting female foetuses, not being allowed to work and underestimating women generally. All of these in and around the metros.)

What the film showed was that these issues are part of the conditioning we receive while growing up and shedding all or any of them is as difficult for women as is for men. Once the realisation, does happen, it is gradual, and one just has to keep it at it. Childhood conditioning can be deep and hard to budge and even acknowledging that a change is needed is a huge step forward-both for men and women.

So

 Badrinath Bansal, 10th pass, son of a rich, tyrannical through illness kind of dad, resident of Jhansi, good natured chap. Life for him means marriage with a girl with good dowry, approved by father and joining into the family business and raising a brood of children.

Meets

Vaidehi Trivedi- feisty younger daughter, ambitious, pretty and resident of Kota. Cheated out of her dad’s money by the apparent love of her life, she remains valiant in her drive to become a career person –all of this without a ‘naari mukti morcha (women’s liberation march)’ but in a steadfast and spunky way.

Badrinath declares intention to marry Vaidehi and engineers a proposal being sent to her parents. Aghast when she says a firm no and threatens him with the cops if he persists, he  is unable to wrap this novel concept of a girl not wanting to marry at all, and not marry him (!) and exhibits a spot of harassment but is promptly harassed right back. However, friendly relations are established.

Badri agrees to help her find a groom for her older sister (in an attempt to further his own cause) and actually succeeds! At which point Vaidehi, under some pressure, agrees to marry him as well. Badri also arranges for the shortfall in the dowry amount asked and discovers then, that his quiet, soft-spoken bhabhi (sister-in-law) is the brains behind his brother’s business success and that she can cook the books as well she does lunch (well just this onceJ). This is perhaps the beginning of Badri’s change –the realisation that a woman can be educated and qualified and yet be forced to stifle her own desires because”papa ne mana kar diya (my father forbade it.)”

The day dawns for the nuptials, and while the elder one gets hitched, Badrinath gets ditched. Vaidehi follows her heart and takes off to become an air hostess. Heartbroken and bewildered, he expresses his angst with violence. On his father’s caveman like instructions, he leaves to bring her back and flog her publicly for the embarrassment she had caused.

Except that he is faced with a Vaidehi who is financially independent, good at her job and has prospects of a flourishing career. She counters his anger with an apology but tries to get him to see her point of view. Over time, Badrinath finds his views changing slowly and steadily……

Badrinath is enacted very well by Varun Dhawan and one can see the metamorphosis from the set in thoughts and ways “man” to empathetic, thinking person. From his brash almost stalker to his declaration of independence to his emotionally blackmailing father (aided by spirits), he visibly evolves.

Alia as Vaidehi (interesting choice of name-one of Sita’s.) is brave, vulnerable and committed all at the same time. She takes a bold step to find her place in the sun, but loses none of her focus. Professional and hard working but missing her family very much, she does well, though not as brilliantly as in some of her other films.

These two are ably supported by Rituraj Singh as Badri’s heart clutching blackmailing father, Shweta Basu Prasad as his bhabhi and many more.

The dialogues are funny in parts and the look and feel very colourful. There is the hallmark Karan Johar synchronised song and dance. The music includes a reprisal of “tamma tamma loge’ from Thanedaar  (1989) which had Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Dutt look awful .This version was far more fun! Distinct notes of “pinjre wali muniya”from Teesri Kasam (1966) played out in the title track. The rest of the music was lacklustre.

As a second time director, Shashank Khaitan has handled his story, his actors and his film very well, and in just the right tone. One hopes he continues to make his films just so in the future as well.

On the whole, it is a fun, frothy film which does not turn preachy and does not portray dramatic, overnight transformations of thought and action. It shows that the jagged rocks of age old prejudices and subjugation can be smoothened through relentless efforts and the willingness to be open to change. And yes-the occasional confrontation or two does wonders!

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Rangoon

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War movie, struggle for independence, love story, or all three? Rangoon cannot make up its muddied mind and ends up being neither.There are perfectly chosen and styled actors -all of them-from the …

Source: Rangoon

Rangoon

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War movie, struggle for independence, love story, or all three?

Rangoon cannot make up its muddied mind and ends up being neither.There are perfectly chosen and styled actors -all of them-from the tiniest role of a nurse to Kangana (full marks for casting and acting), delivering some good and some great performances, mouthing the occasional relevant dialogue, but otherwise held together less weakly than the rope and wood bridge that is crossed and burned.

It skims the surface for love, hate, patriotism, jealousy, neither being felt deeply enough or conveyed effectively to reach the audience. Emotions get switched on and off like a flick of a button.

Rusi Billimoria –A suave Saif Ali Khan –(acting well after ages and looking good)is a film maker, Brit supporter  and mentor and lover for Miss Julia-a suitably groomed Kangana, doing a super job. Miss Julia is  an action heroine and hugely popular. In a bid to garner further help from the Raj to get raw film stock, Rusi agrees to let his beloved Julia go to Rangoon for a morale boosting trip for the soldiers at war.

A conniving British Major General (Richard McCabe-truly despicable angrez) assures her full security (in  awful, “I’m an Indian at Heart ,Hindi .Made me want to kick him hard.)Thus goes off Ms Julia on a long train journey.Her Rusi gets left behind due to the machinations of his father and a sulking, screaming Julia meets Jamadar Nawab Malik-An extremely rugged and desirable Shahid Kapoor (I Sigh-ed lustily-a lot!), her bodyguard, who has to bodily stop her from jumping off the train.

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 The travelling troupe gets attacked by the Japanese and while saving Miss Julia and leading her to safety, Nawab and the lady develop a bond which  eventually falls in the category of Fevicol ka mazboot jod.

Running parallel to this tale is that of the Indian National Army and its growing popularity.

The three tracks are woven together looser than bad gunny bags and are interspersed with many many songs, which on their own are appealing; but as part of the film, stretch it into interminable agony. Even then “tippa” , “bloody hell” and “alvida” stayed enough to make me listen to them again without the background of the film.Gulzar Sahab’s lyrics had something to do with that as did Sunidhi Chauhan’s lovely voice.

So it drags on almost as long as WWII possibly did, in classic Vishal Bhardwaj sepia tones, across some truly beautiful locales,but with none of the gut wrenching pathos he is capable of evoking. Think Haider.

 The possibilities for this film were very bright with its stupendous cast and crew. I Guess some refresher lessons in knitting and snipping are needed.

Bloody hell-I feel bad.

Jolly LLB 2

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Beneath all the humour and ultimate justice, it is an unnerving reflection of our times and these are a horrible, almost disgusting place to be living in.Of course, we already know how this can be …

Source: Jolly LLB 2

Jolly LLB 2

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The world is bursting with dishonest people, corrupt lawyers and policemen. They have sold their soul to the devilish duo of money and power and will not hesitate a nano-second to destroy another human being for their gains. Some don’t even stop at feathering their nests by helping unfriendly neighbours rip apart the fabric of the nation.

Loyalty is only to the self. Justice is deaf as well as blind and is easily manipulated by pieces of paper….with Gandhiji on them.

So blinkered are people in their own ambitions, that they think nothing of using a less fortunate person to achieve their ends. The conscience emerges belatedly after the long, lone struggler for justice gives up at being lied to and used just for the hard earned money she can provide and ends it all. Thereafter do or die attempts at a delayed justice and redemption on part of the scheming lawyer.To achieve this too, it takes bribes,bloodshed and underhand ways to just get proof that has been suppressed.

Jolly LLB had struck a chord with audiences and critics alike with Arshad Warsi’s restrained performance, Boman Irani’s panache and a Saurabh Shukla’s superlative act of the apparently bumbling but actually hard as nails Judge Tripathy.The sequel tries hard to continue from where the supremely honest and heartfelt Jolly LLB left but falters somewhat. It loses track often due to forced and frankly unmelodious songs and superfluous, unecessary attempts at comedy.

It is  worth one watch and a fair amount of laughs as part of the dialogues and not so much the situations.

Beneath all the humour and ultimate justice, it is an unnerving reflection of our times and these are a horrible, almost disgusting place to be living in.Of course, we already know how this can be fixed, but does anyone actually want to?

Carrying over Saurabh Shukla as Justice Tripathy from Jolly LLB , the rest of the cast includes:

Akshay Kumar as Jagdish Mishra-Jolly-in an average performance largely due to not being able to carry off the UP ka lehza.That, of course is the UPite in me quibbling.He has to be lauded for his choice of films these days and is an under-appreciated actor.

Huma Qureshi as Pushpa Pande, wife of Jolly -Underutilised.

Annu Kapoor and Pramod Mathur the successful lawyer-Overacting and over emphatic but a pleasure to hear him speak just for the Hindi.

Kumud Mishra-Spot on as Suryaveer Singh the rogue cop. At first glance a rotund, pleasant person, in a second he is a menacing encounter cop-and all the changes is the expression in his eyes.

Rajiv Gupta-Jolly’s friend-Birbal.An understated, suitable performance.

Sayani Gupta-As the wronged Hina Qureshi- Authentic.

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Saurabh Shukla, for me, was the star of this film.His calibre far outdoes anybody elses in the film, barring perhaps Annu Kapoor.I did also wish that Arshad Warsi was still Jolly but well…..that’s the way it works I guess.

Watch it.At least it tries.

 

 

 

 

Be A Staunch Star

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Beyond chaos,

Distant from noise.

Dusk dulls the edges,

A lone star gives light.

 

A close. Some silence.

An evaluation here and there.

Anticipation and apprehension in parts,

What brings tomorrow?

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Rest now though.

Let the day go.

It’s not an end.

Just a pause on the bend.

 

Remember the graceful goodbye,

The staunchly shining star.

You decide your tomorrow,

You carve your path.

Source: Be A Staunch Star