Posts Tagged ‘ Divya Dutta ’

Badlapur

Badlapur Poster

Badlapur
Release date: February 20, 2015
Directed by: Sriram Raghavan
Cast: Yami Gautam, Varun Dhawan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vinay Pathak, Huma Qureshi, Pratima Kazmi, Radhika Apte, Ashwini Kalsekar, Murli Sharma, Divya Dutta

In a war, there are excesses. In the modern world, these war crimes amount to conviction and greater ignominy. Badlapur harbors on being a metaphoric representation of that. Two forces of Raghu (Varun Dhawan) and Liak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) against each other, the initially wronged force goes to extents that go far beyond the narrative of a hero’s struggle (revenge here)

Raghu’s wife and kid are victims of a bank robbery outrun involving Liak and his partner. Liak is caught and jailed, Raghu is caught in the web of his misery and jails himself in faraway Badlapur until he exacts revenge. Liak is unrepentant, and unwilling to give up his charade even in prison. Raghu plots and schemes his vendetta methodically by tracing everyone who is beloved to Liak.

Right from the beginning, there are no shades of white and black attached to the supposed protagonist and antagonist; the deeds of the protagonist border on misogynistic and outright psychotic, and even the antagonist might claim that even he wouldn’t go so far.Kanchan (Radhika Apte) and Jhimli (Huma Qureshi) are women who defend their men for any crime they may or may not have done. Raghu viciously uses their vulnerability to inflict pain and humiliation on the men they love.

The cause behind the revenge is sympathetic, yet the revenge itself isn’t as sympathetic. All of this imbalance in a conventionally stacked universe is what makes Badlapur greater than it actually is. Extensively shot in rainy conditions, the mood is rightly kept grim and so is the look on Raghu’s face. All of the ensemble cast, which is lined up to relay good performances, have quirks and traits that flesh their individual characters with broad strokes.

Varun Dhawan is being lauded for “making a brave choice” by playing Raghu, rather it should be the other way round. His portrayal of Raghu lends credibility to his  so-far-one-dimensional acting profile. Nawazuddin Siddiqui cannot be ever praised enough for his performances, and I am not even going to try to read out his strenghts as Liak. As neither Dhawan’s part is a complete pity-case, nor is Siddiqui’s Liak an entirely unlikable bad guy.

Sachin-Jigar’s background score sets the mood perfectly well for the ghastly acts of violence and/or the relatively new (for mainstream Hindi films at least) moments of hate-sex. The violence on display in this quite literal revenge porn is scarce and powerful, owing to its intricately shot techniques. Director Sriram Raghavan extracts long continuous takes in confined spaces such as a basement, a bathroom and an open street, thus rendering a chaotic feel to the order of events.

Badlapur also traverses a time period of almost twenty years in its runtime, and yet doesn’t resort to cliched flashbacks to the start of the story or any other overused instruments of raking mystery. Raghavan smartly touches upon incidences of solitary confinement for Liak in prison and yet doesn’t delve indulgently. He knows that this is the age of understating, and throwing melodrama out of the window, and he executes it darn well.

In all its glory, Badlapur is adamant on hammering the point by ‘telling’ and not ‘showing’–breaking a basic rule of filmmaking. Though, this isn’t the only rule it breaks here. Only this one seems slightly unpleasant at the end with a character verbally spelling out what the climax means.

This here, is a very fun filled revenge story, except the definition of fun is slightly different.

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

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

bhaag milkha bhaag poster
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Release date: July 12, 2013
Directed by: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Pawan Malhotra, Yograj Singh, Prakash Raj, Divya Dutta, Rebecca Breeds, Meesha Shafi, Dalip Tahil, Sonam Kapoor, Nawab Khan, Art Malik

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag starts from a race and keeps building toward another race. Based upon Milkha Singh, a former track and field sprinter, it chronicles his glory days right through thick and thin. The timeline of events in non-linear though.

In the freshly partitioned landscapes of Pakistan, a young Milkha makes his way to India. He’s a tough kid, he gains a street cred by fitting in with the local teenagers. Isri Kaur (Divya Dutta) is Milkha’s much older and married sister who looks after him. Reveling in his cheap tricks, Milkha starts growing up. Beero (Sonam Kapoor) makes Milkha fall in love with her and he wants to straighten his ways just to impress her.

Much later in the army, he sleeps looking at her photograph. His running abilities have got him out of predicaments and all of the memorable situations that made him bhaag (run) are depicted at separate junctures throughout the narrative. One such interesting tale helps Milkha get selected for the defense sports team.

The film captures Milkha’s failures and victories along the way, all building up to a much hyped contest in Pakistan and why he won’t run in Pakistan. That is supposedly the film’s major and prime conflict which doesn’t connect you with his struggle. The intended suspense isn’t unpredictable or unforeseen, and you always have an inkling what is about to happen. And that’s the approach the makers have taken, they’re reaching a known conclusion by simply portraying Milkha’s journey and his outrightly likable demanour.

They play up his inner demons liberally and try to make the film all about it. Reasons for Milkha to run are presented to us and his urge to attain closure are what carry the film forward to its impending end. I usually don’t complain about a film’s running length if it is taut and riveting. BMB with all its heavy drama and beauteous picturization of the running sequences couldn’t warrant a three hour runtime if it hadn’t been for the number of subplots they’ve decided to show.

BMB is heavy on emotions and I am a sucker for them, but the dialogues couldn’t evoke the aimed empathy at times. Was it the writing or the delivery and casting, I gets hard to make out. Art Malik’s part as Milkha’s father was painful to watch for me, the extras were annoying especially towards the end in a press conference sequence. These flaws were more than compensated by Pawan Malhotra and Divya Dutta’s performances. Malhotra as Milkha’s guiding light is utterly captivating to watch.

Above all Farhan Akhtar’s acting grows on you, as you expect a typical loudmouth Sikh from him and instead he delves in his underplaying qualities and therefore helping Milkha’s character to grow. Not to mention his Hercules-like sculpted body. The amount of pain that his character is suffering, the strides in his run and his super sit-ups and push-ups finely accentuate Milkha’s disciplined drive for the sport.  For a period film, BMB doesn’t look particularly detailed. Binod Pradhan instead uses the easily available visuals and capitalizes on their unnoticed inherent appeal.

Is this a masterpiece by the standards of world biopics? No, it isn’t. Rather it grounds the title character. He is not an out-and-out-do-gooder hero, and the same can be said about the film. Bhaag Milkha … isn’t an enlightening lesson in history, it is more of a tale of true emotions and a story that deserves attention, not necessarily in this way.

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

Special 26

special-26-poster
Special 26
Release date: February 8, 2013
Directed by: Neeraj Pandey
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Shergill, Rajesh Sharma, Kishore Kadam,  Kajal Aggarwal, Divya Dutta

A quartet of conmen who conduct heists while pretending to be government officers are the gutsy fantastic four of Neeraj Pandey’s reality inspired suspense-thriller. Though embellished with a few quite passable songs, the film runs for a long time without feeling slow and boring.

As each character is introduced at the start, Ajay (Akshay Kumar), P.K. Sharma (Anupam Kher), Iqbal (Kishore Kadam), Joginder (Rajesh Sharma) present themselves as no-nonsense CBI officials on a mission to raid a minister’s house. They’re accompanied by Inspector Ranvir Singh (Jimmy Shergill) and Shanti (Divya Dutta) with a small troop of constables. Soon the raids increase and the victims refuse to report these instances. Ranvir Singh & Shanti face the brunt and are suspended from duty.

Actual CBI officer Waseem Khan (Manoj Bajpayee) is a straight-faced man who doesn’t like her wife’s cleavage showing. Hey, that’s in the actual plot! He’s contacted by Singh after he starts his private investigation against the gang’s various outings across India. Soon, two teams are set up and the fight to the finish ensues. The fake CBI are now up for a ‘final’ raid with a mega scale and that’s where the Special 26 is established.

The plot isn’t too thrilling itself, but it depicts the finer traits in a subtle but detailed manner. For example, the scene where the group lands to loot a place that is already being raided by authentic officials. This shows the over-confidence and charming capabilities of Ajay, but at the same time shows that they go in unprepared to steal millions. The latter detail, probably undesired, shows pivotal flaws in the narrative.

The writing isn’t too great, with another basic flaw at the end, and without any fresh or impactful lines. But all of these shortcomings are compensated by the many individual characters and performances. Akshay Kumar’s character is the flashy one, and disappointingly we don’t get to see much from his acting side, though the rest have been given meatier roles. Kher, Shergill along with Sharma and Kadam are subtle and particularly suiting.

Whereas Kajal Aggarwal who plays Ajay’s love interest doesn’t have much to do. The same goes for Divya Dutta’s character, she’s almost reduced to a caricature. Bobby Singh’s cinematography is pleasing, yet mundane at certain moments. There are filler music videos which don’t serve much purpose except for providing a breather to the much relaxed narrative; thereby becoming pointless and not required.

All in all, the film isn’t too high on adrenaline nor filled with any jump-out-of-the-seat points but yet manages to remain pact and entertaining. Special 26 isn’t a classic, though it’s fairly good at what it aims to do and is entertaining.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5) 

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