Posts Tagged ‘ Deepti Naval ’

NH10

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NH10
Release date: March 13, 2015
Directed by: Navdeep Singh
Cast: Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhoopalam, Darshan Kumar, Deepti Naval

In the cinematic universe, every time a conflicted couple go in for a roadtrip, things are about to get messy. In a similar setting, Navdeep Singh’s NH10 is conceived.

You know something is off, and keep fearing the worst right from the point where Meera (Anushka Sharma) is chased by masked men on an urban freeway. Arjun (Neil Bhoopalam) is her protective husband, who doesn’t see the need to argue with a police officer when he recommends Meera buy a gun for her own safety. The getting a gun advise by a cop makes us laugh in Linklater’s Before Sunset, but here it doesn’t and it doesn’t intend on either.

On their way to a weekend getaway, they are faced with an eerie troubled young girl and a boy. They’re like the last living pair of humans in a haunted house, who are trying to warn the new owners of the doomed property. Except here, they are asking for help, to elope and possibly stay out of their family members’ clutches. Darshan Kumar plays the obsessive Haryanvi brother Satbir, who’s out to right the “wrongs” of his sister. He will kill for honor and he does end up killing for way less than that.

The two disparate sets of characters cross paths when Arjun interferes after once standing up to Satbir and his other relatives’ public humiliation of the troubled young girl and boy. This crossing of paths triggers a confrontation and evolves into a constantly violent and brutal back and forth between the two sides. In the dark and blood-thirsty wild, a police officer echoes the film’s social commentary, i.e. where the malls of Gurgaon end, a land of lawlessness begins. Where every being is governed and “saved” by the caste system, and not the Constitution.

The said violence is extensive, and creates a mood for the film’s final payoff. The metamorphosis of a shriveling Meera to an iron-rod wielding steely eyed avenger is supremely brilliant. Anushka’s character grows from an ordinary ad professional to an unrelenting and an unrepentant crusader, from clean and chic outfits to walking with a limp and blood on her. Stellar performance indeed.

NH10 doesn’t deliver all its sermons in a preach-out-loud fashion, it shows more than it tells. Every woman is equated to a glorified sex-worker in a patriarchal society, where violence against its women is cheered on. The jungle back and forth between Satbir and his other blood-thirsty relatives and Meera and Arjun could be inspired, but the dystopia of life for women being bad is no more imaginary or unreal. The most telling sign of that is where a woman slaps her daughter-in-law and the abused’s own son laughs at that sight.

The detailing on the little things is immaculate here, yet sometimes the protagonist’s escapes seem a little more smart than they should be, and contrived to be a little harsh. But again, the wild goose hunt starts very soon and it’s obvious that the characters have to be sustained to tell the story. NH10’s cinematography is the surreal winner here, right down to the close shots of Meera dragging the iron rod through her numb walk up to the fallen Jats.

The background score is ample, and more than what’s needed here. Thus proving to be unnecessary at certain points, but it’s a bane you can live with. The soundtrack is a complete surprise though. Again, a tad misplaced at times, but it’s still very fresh and plot-centered in its lyrics. Not to forget, Darshan Kumar’s Haryanvi accent along with that of Deepti Naval’s sounds flawless.

NH10 is a thrilling saga with heaps of unflinching gore, and a topical story which could unravel in any part of India, or the world with a gentle tweak of the notes. If there ever were a film as synonymical with the colloquial “hard-hitting”, it is NH10.

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

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B.A. Pass

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B.A. Pass
Release date: August 2, 2013
Directed by: Ajay Bahl
Cast: Shadab Kamal, Shilpa Shukla, Geeta Aggarwal Sharma, Vijay Kaushik, Anula Navlekar, Raveena Singh, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Rajesh Sharma, Happy Ranjit, Deepti Naval

In the setting of urban Delhi, a much known topic of repressed women sexuality and its coming to the fore is cultivated with a haunting feel in the bylanes of a railway colony. B.A. Pass presents the story of a boy who feels cheated by the world around him.

Inspired by Mohan Sikka’s “The Railway Aunty”, director and cinematographer Ajay Bahl’s film has young Mukesh (Shadab Kamal) as the grieving orphan who has two younger siblings to look after. He finds himself relocated to Delhi, fighting poverty, jostling to sustain himself and eventually gets his sisters to live with him. Through a midsummer’s ladies soiree, he’s introduced to Sarika (Shilpa Shukla) the desirable wife of highly placed Railway official, Khanna (Rajesh Sharma)

Mukesh tries to stand on his own feet by getting pamphlets printed endorsing himself as a home-to-home private tutor. Sarika gives him his rites of passage to a sense of authority and financial independence. Hesitatingly, he finds himself in a huddle of middle-aged customers asking for his services to be fine tuned and customized as per their whims and fancies. Life in the shadiest strata isn’t smooth and soon starts getting difficult for our protagonist too.

Heavily lit by hues of neon and lavishly laid out middle-class spaces, Bahl constantly maintains a compelling frame throughout the film. As Dibyendu Bhattacharya’s character describes the city of Delhi as deceptive and heartless, this holds true right till the end. Armed with powerful performers like him and Sharma, the focus doesn’t entirely lie on Shukla and Kamal.  The support cast has individual characters with their own depth and makes it easier to move away from the sex scenes.

The dialogue is restrictive and the few light moments are awkwardly phased out, making them appear forced for viewer gratification. Kamal and Shukla are particularly restrained, perhaps especially instructed to do so in order to refrain from appearing as raunchy or sleazy. Nonetheless, Shukla’s sensuality oozes right from the start only for her character to remain insidious.

The subtle undertones leave you searching for some heavy drama, and the second half serves exactly that with Mukesh’s breakdown and sparring confrontations. The climax may be predictable, but leaves you with a gloomy sense of how the outcasted sections of our society cannot even find solace in law and order amenities and how the moral compromises of the more accepted sections bear life-altering consequences on the less privileged.

B.A. Pass will make you gulp down a lump of vacuum, even if in an underwhelming manner, it makes a lot of right moves in untouched territories.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Aurangzeb

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Aurangzeb
Release date: May 17, 2013
Directed by: Atul Sabharwal
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Prithviraj, Sasheh Agha, Sikandar Kher, Tanvi Azmi, Amrita Singh, Jackie Shroff, Deepti Naval, Swara Bhaskar, Sumeet Vyas, Kavi Shastri

Aurangzeb takes comfort in describing itself as an action thriller film, but it’s more of an etched out drama. Encasing an Indian family dispute into a game of power and a fight to the finish, definitely abiding by the long inculcated principles.

Prithviraj’s character Arya Phogat – a police inspector; plays the involved narrator who’s also one of the lead players of the story. His dying father (a brief guest appearance by Anupam Kher) asks of him a promise and Arya unwillingly starts his way towards fulfilling it. His uncle Ravikant (Rishi Kapoor) knows all about this and is also in the police. In fact Ravikant’s son Dev (Sikandar Kher) and son-in-law Vishnu (Sumeet Vyas) are also cops.

This isn’t good cop bad cop. Yet. Arya’s step brother Vishal and his long-lost twin brother Ajay – both the characters played by Arjun Kapoor; are the biological sons of Veera (Tanvi Azmi) and Yashvardhan (Jackie Shroff) who are separated due to some incidents and now they are required to swap themselves and convince the world around them. Sasheh Agha plays Ritu, Ajay’s girlfriend who is now used to his sadist tendencies.

The first half starts out with heavy drama and a few theatrical introductions, eventually building some intrigue at the halfway mark. Being the film that it is, the number of people in the cast is extensive but abused at times. Like Deepti Naval portraying a nameless wife to Ravikant, faces a shock that their son-in-law’s death wasn’t a suicide. She has a brief reaction in the background, probably aimed for greater consequences but sheared at the editor’s table.

That wasn’t the only awkward cut in Aurangzeb though. There are a few more loose ends and you begin to lose hope that this is just another semblance of family reunion fluff of the seventies, but the makers decide to emphasize on the builder-government-police corruption angle in Gurgaon’s ‘booming’ infrastructure sector and a beckon for the cops to act with a backbone and opt out of the influential cut.

Arjun Kapoor in his double role is flexible in ranging his emotions from the demure Vishal to the outlandishly cocky Ajay. Rishi Kapoor is entrusted to utter the forced Aurangzeb ideologies here and he doesn’t disappoint. What you take away with you after the film has ended, are the individual performances. Amrita Singh and Jackie Shroff shine here as well.

All in all, Aurangzeb has a story to tell, and with very less light moments, it does accomplish to make you believe in the what-is-he-going-to-do-next moments. For a film that takes itself so seriously, it flounders with technical absurdities at important junctures. (I haven’t specified because they could result in being spoilers)

My rating: *** (3 out of 5 stars)

Chashme Buddoor (Original Remastered)

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Chashme Buddoor
Re-release date: April 5, 2013
Directed by: Sai Paranjpye
Cinematography: Virendra Saini
Music: Raj Kamal
Produced by: Gul Anand
Cast: Deepti Naval, Faarooq Shaikh, Rakesh Bedi, Ravi Baswani, Saeed Jaffrey, Leela Mishra
Digitally remastered by: Reliance Media Works

This is not a review, it’s more of a summary on how the 1981 film is still relevant, entertaining and a source of reference for comedies even in this age.

Before starting with it, I made a pact with myself that I’ll refrain from using the phrase “cult classic” as much as I can. So if you do not catch the free flowing mention of the overused same adjective, it’s all a deliberate task.

Chashme Buddoor was a timeless tale of three friends with a love for a vice and no other interest in common, except for Jomo (Ravi Baswani) and Omi’s (Rakesh Bedi) penchant for hitting on women consistently. The basic storyline may have been exploited in just about a few hundred succeeding comedy shows and films, but to capture the inherent spirit of the original has been nearly impossible.

I’ll be reviewing the remake later in the day, thereby judging the subsequent flurry of relativity or a new creative invention altogether. What I am sure about at the moment is that the actual innovative plot devices used here are still very quirky and hilarious. The colour restoration manages to make the aged film appear rejuvenated and vibrant. There’s very less image distortion due to grains or pixels owing to the much larger current screen size as the original resolution seems to have been retained.

There’s nostalgia; the pure innocuous nature of the lead pair relationship can never fail to evoke those certain “Aw that’s so cute” out of you. No, I didn’t do that. Okay, I almost did. The wholesome and subtle entertainment factor of the eighties’ new wave is sure to make you reminisce, if you were around for its actual release that is.

Besides all of the reasons described above, the re-release market in India is fairly poor, so if you’re not sure whether you wanna watch the new remake or invest in a promised good product, Chashme Buddoor is an easy choice to make this weekend. Kudos to the developers for pulling off a good job with the restoration and not going overboard.

And yes, it’s a treat to watch the stalwarts in all their flawless glory and also relive Kaali Ghodi Dwaar Khadi with all its simplistic appeal.

P.S. How could I resist breaking that aforementioned pact! It’s a cult classic, and you’ll be foolish to miss watching a film with a lot of smoking and without the irritating, moronic “Smoking is injurious to health” footer.

No rating

Inkaar

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Inkaar
Release date: January 18, 2013
Directed by: Sudhir Mishra
Cast: Chitrangada Singh, Arjun Rampal, Deepti Naval, Vipin Sharma, Shivani Tanksale, Mohan Kapoor

The premise of a corporate fixture that has a serious accusation of sexual harassment lingering is quite interesting in itself. Throw in some confusing emotions between the victim and accused in it and you have a muddled plot.

Rahul Verma (Arjun Rampal) is an established advertising professional and while at an ad award function he spots Maya Luthra (Chitrangada Singh) She’s a newbie copywriter with a headstrong approach to her job. Their first encounter gets off of a more of a condescending note where Rahul tells Maya that her ad didn’t deserve any award since it didn’t focus much on the product. Soon he starts mentoring her and there is the harmless flirting turning into something more than that.

The relationship that they share becomes complicated with the commitment issues and trust problems forcing the protagonists to separate their paths. When Maya returns, she’s much refined and more goal-oriented than ever. Also engaged to another ad executive who lives in the States. Rahul’s stand over her return remains dubious with his residual feelings coming off as competitive and ego hassles.

The film runs as a background to the sexual harassment investigations held by an independent social worker (Deepti Naval) assisted by other employees of the same firm. The eventual incident which causes the stir is revealed much later in the second half thereby progressing the story between the leads. There are uncomfortable closeups, probably to cause that discomfort that the characters face. But there are moments that perhaps don’t go with the overall look and the feel of the film resulting in overdoing cinematographic gimmicks at many junctures.

The ensemble cast of Vipin Sharma as the sleazy Gupta and Shivani Tanksale as the suspecting co-employee along with Mohan Kapoor perform well, but again there are things that happen out of turn and for no significance. NOT TO FORGET: Saurabh Shukla’s atrocious lipsync to a rock number in hiphoppish attire. Also the dependence on Kanwaljit Singh’s character as Rahul’s dad to sneak out a moral high ground seems weak.

Though many would not agree with the movie’s ending, I, on the other hand find it somewhat reasonable. The message that the makers are trying to put forth is that of maybe acting on instinct and morally right decisions. Though all of this doesn’t make up for the clunky and patchy design of the film.

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 out of 5)

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