Archive for June, 2015


Release date: June 26, 2015
Directed by: Avinash Arun
Cast: Archit Deodhar, Amruta Subhash, Parth Bhalerao, Gaurish Gawde

Change is inevitable. Change is hard. It is defined by the replacement of an existing entity by another unacquainted entity. At times it is the deliberate loss of a possession for a new, advanced and improved one. This is when it could be pleasant, if it’s desired. The involuntary loss of a possession or a person is what hits hard.

Chinmay (Archit Deodhar) is a prepubescent boy, who’s grappling with the perils of a set of forced changes. His mother (Amruta Subhash) has been served with a job transfer to the coastal Konkans, from the urbane settings of Pune. Chinmay has to cope with the repercussions. He’s a timid, well behaved boy, who wears his hair neatly parted and chooses his friends cautiously. As an aunt of his points out, he’s wiser than his age.

But, yet, he is an eleven year old, faced with the urge to fit in with the boisterous bunch of Suhaas/Bandya (Parth Bhalerao) and his fellow hell-raising young ones. Chinmay shows his considerateness by taking in the stray dog that was almost sodomized by the same set of boys he’s trying to befriend. He gets into the cool backbenchers gang by helping Yuvraj (Gaurish Gawde) answer a math teacher’s question.

His mother is also dealing with monumental changes in the work atmosphere at her new office. There are co-employees who shirk their duties in lieu of comfort and convenience and she isn’t used to it. Debutant director, who’s also the film’s cinematographer, Avinash Arun shoots this melancholic tale in the serenly old world backdrop of the rural mangrove-inhabitated coastlines and the greens of the rain. The children ride bikes and catch crabs by the sea.

The proverbial transformation of the protagonists comes along in an understated sequence. The drama is subtle, assisted by the harmonious background score of Naren Chandarvarkar and Benedict Taylor. Archit Deodhar as the little Chinmay is adorably poised with the set of emotions he’s asked to deal with. Parth Bhalerao, after his powercracker performance in Bhoothnath Returns last year, returns as delightfully amazing mischievous Bandya. He’s loud, he’s cocky, and yet he retains empathy for his friends. He only speaks of an uncle at his house, and that’s all we know about his family. It would have been a monster truck sized incentive to see what his background is.

It’s evident, when Arun declares that the film is dedicated to his parents, it’s a story which has autobiographical roots in his growing up years. Tushar Paranjape, his cowriter, makes the film entirely relateable for every demograph. The Killa (fort) holds strong and dusts off the settled moss in all glory.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Dil Dhadakne Do


Dil Dhadakne Do
Release date: June 5, 2015
Directed by: Zoya Akhtar
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Rahul Bose, Farhan Akhtar, Parmeet Sethi, Vikrant Massey, Ridhima Sud, Zarina Wahab

If Karan Johar were to make Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham in the year 2015, and on a Mediterranean cruise, there’s a probability it could had have been closer to Dil Dhadakne Do. Pointless, unnecessary comparison aside, it would have had to cut down on some healthy jingoism and overt flash and the melodramatic razzmatazz.

2015 calls for a crisper, and a lighter hand at the job. 2015 calls for Zoya Akhtar to play with a family drama, which has bits and parts of relative predictability, with dollops of individual charisma and charm. The Millionaire Mehras, Neelam (Shefali Shah) and Kamal (Anil Kapoor) have an ordinary marriage crumbling on the inside, and a business that’s faced with a similar fate. To salvage one of the two, they host a wedding anniversary party on an exuberant ship which will take their guests around Istanbul.

Their son, Kabir (Ranveer Singh) is being prepped to take over as the heir once the Kamal steps down. Kabir tries. Kabir falters. Kabir flies a plane to get over it (!?).  Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra) is the driven-away daughter who’s grown on to be a successful businesswoman, post her halfhearted marriage to Manav (Rahul Bose) The Mehra parents are obviously discriminatory.

Along with being discriminatory, or sexist, they’re hypocrites just like every other human being, as their pet Pluto (voiced by Aamir Khan) points out. They are bigoted and dysfunctional, just like an ordinary set of old folks, no matter how rich or poor they may be. This is where the perennially impeccably dressed Mehras become fallible and vulnerable characters. What Zoya Akhtar doesn’t try to do out of her way is to make the supremely flawed parents become likable and utterly revered seniors from Baghban, instead she keeps them humane and grey.

The children bear the brunt and the fruits, of which they’re frequently reminded of their obligation towards the fruits they’ve cherished all their lives. They are asked of life-altering compromises in return at times. Ayesha and Kabir, as siblings, have grown past the age of petty fights and name-calling. They’ve graduated to silently understanding what the other feels, knowing where the other deserves his/her support, and when to let them handle the screw-up of the day.

The strongest relationship is shared by the siblings and the performances put in by Singh and Chopra enthuse the deserved spirit into their characters. Ranveer’s Kabir is cool, urbane and witty and not at all over-the-top boisterous showboarder; he’s the younger of the two and thus, fairly rebellious. Priyanka’s Ayesha is the older, much matured sister that knows her parents won’t give her credit where it’s due. Yet, she’s moved past that and is coping with a modern (go on, read modern as millennial, you internet-junkie) loveless marriage. And both of them run away with as much as they can by unrelentingly extracting from their screen time.

Anil Kapoor sportingly wields strands of grey hair and slips into the self-serving megalomaniac Kamal’s skin. He personifies the faulty patriarch. Shefali Shah’s Neelam is dealt a rough path. She’s stuck in a marriage, like many other women from any background find themselves, where the wife is being taken for granted and hence in turn, detonates the bomb of passive-aggression, forever. Shah is simply brilliant throughout, especially in the scene where she’s exemplifying the decorum for her son.

Dil Dhadakne Do is heartbreakingly authentic and harsh in the moments where the family is struggling to come to terms to the ground realities of their current lives. All the millions in the world can’t give you complete control over the events in your life. It’s here that the film earns its ticket price. It takes a set of elite, classic “10 percent” haves and makes them not seem stumbling drunks, addicts or weeping bags of douchebags. They manage to deal with it, albeit in stylish suits and on lavish locations.

Light humor and powerful cameos by Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar and the entire ensemble cast ensures there’s no seasickness on this voyage. How could I not make a sea metaphor!
Special mention to the single-shot approach on the song Gallan Goodiyaan. The song starts off as annoyingly loud and then seamlessly transitions into a fun number.

My rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5)

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