Posts Tagged ‘ Huma Qureshi ’

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)

Dedh Ishqiya

Dedh Ishqiya movie hd poster
Dedh Ishqiya
Release date: January 10, 2014
Directed by: Abhishek Chaubey
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Huma Qureshi, Vijay Raaz, Manoj Pahwa, Salman Shahid

Be it Ishqiya or Dedh Ishqiya, both the films have an ‘Ishqiya’ in their titles and what is Ishqiya (love) without an underlying element of fun in it? There is constant admiration, respect, longing and an eventual appreciation of each other’s choices. Similarities are aplenty between the prequel and this sequel, Krishna (Vidya Balan) was the center of Iftekhaar or Khalu Jaan (Naseeruddin Shah) and Razzakh or Babban’s (Arshad Warsi) romantic interests. She was poised and a firebrand simultaneously. In this film, both of them have separate women to catch their attention. Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit-Nene) is elegant and poised, Munira (Huma Qureshi) is the thrill-seeker realist who grounds her man.

There are the differences too. Quite in your face at that as well. Khalu Jaan transforms into his own as Iftekhaar and wants to live for himself. Khalu almost surrendered his feelings for Babban’s attraction for Krishna, here Babban is helping Iftekhaar acquire his unrequited love for Begum Para. There’s an evolution in Babban’s growth in subtlety. The original flavour is retained, yet the flavours are left out to evolve.

Begum Para is a royal widow who has to crown a new king for her subjects and Iftekhaar lands up in lieu of dillagi. He has his underhanded ambitions, little does he know the queen has her own ambitions too. Jaan Mohammed (Vijay Raaz) will go to any extent to become the said king of Mahmoudabad. Babban reaches Mahmoudabad to get his Khaalu Jaan back with him.  Munira is Begum’s confidant, comforter and closest associate. Every character has murky waters surrounding them. The suspicion is thus born.

The organized celebration of selecting a new king for the queen has a wondrous mushaayara in Urdu, patented by the soft Nawabs of every remaining province. This is the foundation of the poetic theme to the film. Some poets pretending to be Nawabs, some pretending to be poets, some pretending everything. In this fantasyland, Babban teases Munira about having a iPhone 2 in the times of 5s. The Begum tells of a story about an neo-homoerotic king and handles her panic attacks with as much anxiety as a commoner. She charms her suitors with equal panache and class. Yet, she fraternizes with her lower-ly servant-cum-friend in her quarters with cheap rum. Munira knows what she wants from men, and it isn’t long-term smothering love.

The writers have sketched out such a colourful character palette that Setu’s brilliant photography blends hand-in-hand with. I started out this review by comparing this film with its predecessor and halfway down, I have concluded that Dedh Ishqiya is perhaps the greatest of all sequels made in Indian cinema. Shah’s gentle humility equates his innocuous playfulness. Arshad Warsi reprises his role with glorious fervour and infinite energy. Dixit has strong competition from all her co-actors and does she stand her ground like a resilient Rocky Balboa. I have a strong aftertaste of the film left in me, so much that I almost suffixed revering ji‘s to every actor’s name.

Vijay Raaz is handed over a rare role and he laps it up sharply. I am consciously avoiding anything about Huma Qureshi’s sexy balance between being all that she is in the film. She is the extra-joyful little girl after her first night with a new guy, she is the hugging consoler like a warm mother. And she is the calculative, smart modern woman. The plot avoids overbearing displays of physicality, but it uses silhouettes and beauteous subtle underplaying to put its point through.

One of the film’s subtle and most powerful messages is portrayed very gently and in minute detailing. For the sake of not letting out spoilers, I prefer not to divulge on it. Also, there’s a modern take on the “Pehle aap peehle aap mein train nikal gayi.” and a desi-Mexican-standoff that only ends in no bloodshed. Dedh Ishqiya’s original poetry, original plot devices and smart punches are just what could possibly take the Ishqiya franchise forward in the best way. I am absolutely in love with this film.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5) 

D-Day

d_day_poster
D-Day
Release date: July 19, 2013
Directed by: Nikhil Advani
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Arjun Rampal, Nasser, Huma Qureshi, Shruti Haasan, Rishi Kapoor, Chandan Roy Sanyal, K. K. Raina, Imran Hasnee, Shriswara, Dwij

Nikhil Advani’s D-Day starts off  with a literal bang in the form of Duma Dum Mast Kalandar being performed (read as lip synced) by Rajpal Yadav as a member of a wedding band, in a plush Pakistani hotel on Goldman’s son Salim’s pre-marriage party and a secret op occurring in the background. Making you expect a muscling adrenaline infected punch-and-kick extravaganza.

As Goldman (Rishi Kapoor) is almost in trouble as are the special agents, the film goes in a reflective flashback. Building a backstory for all the major characters, namely Wali Khan (Irrfan Khan), Rudra Pratap Singh (Arjun Rampal), Zoya Rehman (Huma Qureshi) the screenplay becomes more inclusive and appears to be dragging. But much later in the second half, they use the same over-ripe character sketches to provide for a twist in the plot.

Rishi Kapoor plays the you-know-who India’s most wanted criminal and with his rose tinted glasses, he seems cut out for the role of an evolved and aging Dawood Ibrahim. Irrfan doles out fine emotions when needed and a mean streak when it gets heavy. He plays the soothing husband to the fittingly casted Shriswara and a spoiling father to Dwij. There are flaws in the plot and the usual “I am calling off the operation, but you don’t have to stop it.” line gets too cheesy for me.

Though the second half is bereft of any such explicit glitches, D-Day embarks on a fantasy trip of defeating the targeted criminals in an overbearing way turning out to be pleasantly (not exactly pleasant, but rather tightly) entertaining. The final story is gripping and glues your butt to the seat. Also, the short monologue by Goldman is utterly hilarious for a satirical tirade along with the final message in Arjun Rampal’s voice just sums up our audiences in a line. Pay attention to that.

The direction is smart and subtle, Advani pits parallel tracks stealthily distracting from the situational music numbers. And given the number of songs with Rampal and Haasan together, bless him for not succumbing to feature in a song and dance fiesta.  The mise en scene renders a hazy texture to the thriller saga and thereby catalyzes Tushar Kanti Ray’s stylish cinematography.

D-Day is intelligent and intentionally non-preachy. Never straying from the agenda, a very strong addition to the very limited Hindi action thriller category.

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

Shorts

Shorts-poster
Shorts
Release date: July 12, 2013
Directed by: Shlok Sharma, Siddharth Gupt, Anirban Roy, Rohit Pandey, Neeraj Ghaywan
Cast: Huma Qureshi, Satya Anand, Swheta Tripathi, Aditya Kumar,  Richa Chaddha, Arjun Shrivastav, Murari Kumar, Preeti Singh, Shankar Debnath, Kanchan Mullick, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Aditi Khanna, Vineet Singh and Ratnabali Bhattacharjee, Guneet Monga

As the release date shows, Shorts–a compilation of five short films, released 6 days back and I have only managed to catch it today. My viewpoints are a clear reflection of the angst and despair that I simply can’t keep to myself even though this film is out of screens in just a few hours.

A joint venture by the ever-expanding AKFPL and Tumbhi along with PVR Directors Rare, Shorts is an anthology of five different stories. Aimed at constructing a market for new filmmakers to market their skills, Shorts proves to be just that, a showreel of psychedelic lighting, voyeuristic camera angles, some acting here and there and over-dependence on nothing but background score.

The storylines present (or absent in a few) in the individual features have no connective theme and that’s not the part that’s frustrating, it’s actually usual for such a production to pack in different flavors, giving the audiences a chance to enjoy varied tastes and characters. But Shorts is plainly frustrating.

Shlok Sharma’s Sujata tries to build the entire narrative in flashbacks and constant cut-ins to the current setting. It deals with a complex theme of sexual abuse, but yet shies away from being naked in its sharpness. The said faults aren’t as distracting as the logical inconsistencies here.

Siddharth Gupt’s Epilogue is supposedly abstract and mysterious, but as the relationship drama starts to develop, it becomes unbearably repetitive and non-contextual. Richa Chadda’s sensuality isn’t enough to captivate you with a third symbolic character meandering with a shovel. The players are potentially most fascinating, but the said potential kills itself by self-aggrandizing.

Audacity directed by Anirban Roy tells a teenage-girl rebelling against her self-glorifying chauvinist father. Humor is an underlying theme in this feature as the girl defies the norms in her own way by capitalizing on the same beliefs of middle class Calcutta which restrict them in the first place. Again, the cultural background and a reasoning behind the characters’ activities aren’t established here as well.

Rohit Pandey’s Mehfuz also aims at being a subtle, minimal dialogue presentation like Epilogue and doesn’t quite fail as much. A blue and yellow tint is maintained throughout without making an ounce of an effort to actually ponder over its hokey appearance and contriving vibes. Mehfuz also carries on for the same duration that feels like a hundred eons. Only the choice of the protagonist’s profession is appealing.

The final film in this tiring experience is Neeraj Ghaywan’s Shor. The characters are boorish and real, the story isn’t pretentiously groundbreaking, yet it has a flow unlike most of the other parts. The only feature to have an extended dialogue and is explicitly reflective in its approach, turns out to be a good ending to the unseemly collaboration.

The incumbent ambition of the makers to popularize the concept of such initiatives shoots itself in the foot as the selection that they have preferred to come out with is woefully hit-and-miss (majorly miss) and amateurish. The ordinary uninformed masses won’t take the same number of risks in making their decisions though.

My rating: ** (2 out of 5)

EK Thi Daayan

Ek Thi Daayan Movie Poster
Ek Thi Daayan
Release date: April 15, 2013
Directed by: Kannan Iyer
Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Huma Qureshi, Kalki Koechlin, Pavan Malhotra, Visshesh Tiwari

Kannan Iyer’s directorial debut is a film that obviously deals with a Daayan (witch) what remains to be seen is how he uses the age old gimmick in a modern setting. Ek Thi Daayan is indeed based around a contemporary background.

Bejoy Mathur (Emraan Hashmi) is an accomplished magician under the stage name of Bobo The Baffler. He baffles his audience with his tricks and plays, while he continues to be baffled by events in his personal life. Baffler, baffled. Let the chuckles flow, maybe? There are flashes from his childhood and he can’t help zoning out. He seeks professional help and gives us an entire retelling of events from the eleven year old Bobo’s point of view.

The younger Bobo – played out by Visshesh Tiwari, gives us an account over his fascination for the dark world of ghosts, his belief in the philosophy of a local hell for every building where the troublesome oldies who object to children playing and sleepy guards reside. Cute and eerie at the same time. He addresses his issues with his governess Diana (Konkona Sen Sharma) by objectifying her as a Daayan.

The consultant points out that all of what bad he attributes to Diana could possibly be his hatred for a “stepmom” taking over and this is where a small doubt is created in your mind if Bobo is actually stable. Running perfectly until here, it captures the obvious ludicrousness of the plot consciously by inducing humor at various points. Huma Qureshi’s portrayal of Tamara, Bobo’s fiancee is fine by me and there’s not much ham-and-cheese by any of the actors. Konkona is the right muse that contains her character’s mystique.

The younger Bobo and his older counterpart are visually different, yet fitting in their emotional depictions. Kalki with her ‘obsessed fan’ persona puts up right amount of crazy. All problems with the much subtle horror approach spring up when the grand finale ensues, a fight between relatively unrealistic jumps and falls. Again, it’s all got to do with your suspension of disbelief but compared to the sophisticated handling of the topic until the climax, it might make you feel disconnected with a strongly supernatural flavor to it.

Ek Thi Daayan gives you the chills and also doesn’t put you off with a loud background score. It does go down the same beaten path of spirits and black magic rituals, but there’s a story with nuanced undertones. Simply put, it’s watchable and entertaining.

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

Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana


Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana
Release date: November 2, 2012
Directed by: Sameer Sharma
Cast: Kunal Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Rajesh Sharma, Vinod Nagpal, Rahul Bagga, Dolly Ahluwalia, Munish Makhija.

Chicken, fun flowing cinema, a man who doesn’t wear underwear, Amit Trivedi doing Punjabi music – what else do you need to instantly like this film? Ah, never mind. I’ll write out the reasons more extensively, because hey, review blog!

The story starts in London where Omi Khurana (Kunal Kapoor) is “livin’ it up” and is ironically a lot of money DOWN in loans to Shenti bhai (Munish Makhija) He’s given a limited period to repay him back and this makes Omi land back to his family home in Punjab, India. He’s greeted with changes and a new servant with a cool heavy name. His doting grandfather Darji (Vinod Nagpal) is now demented and doesn’t remember anything much, except for his dhaaba, Chicken Khurana.

Chicken Khurana is also the name of this joint’s most famous presentation, with a secret ingredient that only the old man knew and now is suppressed inside his retired mind. Omi’s aunt accepts him with love and treats him as he never did any wrong while stealing money from their own house and running away to London. His cousin Jeet (Rahul Bagga) is about to be married to Harman (Huma Qureshi) and there are buried emotions between her and Omi which leads to awkward or odd encounters.

And there’s Titu Mama (Rajesh Sharma) who claims to be mentally retarded at his sister’s life. He doesn’t like to wear underwear – boxers/trunks/ANYTHING! He eats, pees and lives the life of a hero. Or let’s just say, my hero. Days pass on and the noose tightens around Omi’s neck and he’s desperate to find a way out of his debt situation. After scrounging for a few days, he finally gets a light of hope when he’s offered one crore rupees (Rs. 1,00,00,000) for his grandfather’s secret recipe by their age-old rival Kehar Singh (Vipin Sharma).

Kunal Kapoor plays the part of a somewhat-wannabe-UK-return-Punjabi finely except for his stiff voice in volatile sequences. Huma Qureshi (gasp) looks as good as she did in Gangs of Wasseypur and depicts the transition of a pissed off doctor to a helping cook gracefully. The ensemble cast is as good, with the plot not being irrationally complicated the straightforward story moves on with no big glitches except for a few certain long conversations that could possibly give away the grip on your attention.

LSTCK isn’t just a comedy, it connects with you in its limited emotional sequences so much that you might even shed a precipitated liquid from your eye. The film is fun, unpretentious and does what it aims to do: entertain you. Anyone else saying otherwise is probably a douchebag that I won’t like for the rest of my life.

So, chicken, cinema, Titu Mama and Amit Trivedi should make you go watch this light and connective film.

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

Gangs of Wasseypur 2


Gangs of Wasseypur 2
Release date: August 8, 2012
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Pankaj Tripathi, Satya Anand, Raj Kumar Yadav, Zeishan Quadri, Richa Chadda, Anurita Jha, Vineet Kumar, Piyush Mishra, Jameel Khan, Reemma Sen

Revenge was the center point of Gangs of Wasseypur and with the change in characters and situations, the theme gets gory and murkier. The lines which were drawn earlier are now more unclear than ever. And with the evolution of the story the realistic moral values of the characters also get a tweak in the form of double-crosses and debaucheries.

The earlier part presented us with a massive narrative that spun around three generations with its central protagonist – Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai) – inflicted by gunshots mercilessly fired at him by Sultan (Pankaj Tripathi) and his partners at a petrol pump. This is the starting point of our second part.
This film is set in a shorter time-period. Starting from late eighties-early nineties and going up till 2009.

Danish Khan (Vineet Kumar) had always been the more active of Sardan Khan’s sons as he was the oldest and definitively loyal to his family, unlike some of his family members who held a few grudges against their patriarch. Nagma (Richa Chadda) insists her sons to avenge their father’s death and soon, the third generation of the Khan household steps into the battleground for a final all guns blaring battle of brutality.

Faizal Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) was shown as the ever ganja smoking, cinema-influenced physically meek brother who never wanted to get involved in  Sardar’s dirty business. The increasing number of deaths in his family drives him to the edge and soon, Faizal is the new Sardar. Faizal’s half brother Definite (Zeishan Quadri) was born and brought up at the Khan arch nemesis Ramadhir Singh household. Definite also, like the rest of Bihar/Jharkhand wants to be the next top-gun mafia head.

Perpendicular a.k.a. Babua is Faizal’s brother and is perhaps one of the most interesting characters ever created. With his razor blade chewing skills that terrorizes everyone alike, Perpendicular creates havoc by robbing everything from groceries to jewelry. Shamshad Alam (Raj Kumar Yadav) sweet talks his way into Faizal’s empire by making ridiculously inappropriate business plans with his own intentions of reaching the top.

Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) tries to rope in every wayward soul that works for Faizal and make them work in his favor. Though limited in presence, Ramadhir sure has some helluva punching lines. Mohsina (Huma Qureshi) is the anchor to Faizal’s struggling ship. She pumps up his confidence with a song and few sensual hugs, which never look questionable or unconvincing.

The chase sequences also get a touch of Wasseypur and turn out to be hilarious. They are so precious that I will not even divulge any more than that. Anurag Kashyap again guarantees visually appealing dimly-lit shots, nothing short of aesthetically orgasmic. Every loose end of the earlier part finds a logical connection and closing in this part except for a few. (Too intrinsic to be listed)

G.V. Prakash’s haunting background score reappears and still remains captivating alongside with Sneha Khanwalkar’s brilliant music which cannot be just described in enough words. Zeishan Qureshi’s debut isn’t your quintessential one, but it sure is brilliantly earthy and convincing. Nawazuddin Siddiqui treats the camera like it’s his long-lost lovelorn partner and gives out a passionately wonderful performance as the conflicted Faizal.

Gangs of Wasseypur Part One was defined by powerful ensemble actors and this part finely encapsulates the ‘other guys’ as vital players. This may not be as grand as the first part, but it’s more slick, cutting and hip. Hat tip to the well-depicted action scenes with detailing the tiniest of bloodspills. Gangs of Wasseypur 2 need not be compared with the first part as it is a completely different and separated product which delivers a new jolt to the impending masterpiece.

Now why do you even need any more reasons to watch it?

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

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