Posts Tagged ‘ John Abraham ’

Wazir

wazir-poster

Wazir
Release date: January 8, 2016
Directed by: Bejoy Nambiar
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Rao Hyderi, Amitabh Bachchan, Manav Kaul, Anjum Sharma, Nasir Khan, Neil Nitin Mukesh

Wazir hits the ground running with a quick montage to show us the origins of Daanish (Farhan Akhtar) and Ruhana (Aditi Rao Hyderi) marriage with Sonu Nigam’s sweet Tere Bin playing in the background. He’s with the Anti Terrorism Squad, and she’s a classical dancer. Together, they raise a daughter and due to Daanish’s one rash decision, their happy family is faced with a gruesome outcome.

There onwards, Daanish is continuously shown as a mope who’s too naive and impulsive for an officer with the amount of experience that he has. He deals with high octane violence and tactical ops, and yet he falls for whatever trap there is laid in front of him. Omkarnath (Amitabh Bachchan) extends an arm of friendship and consolation to the grief-struck Daanish, which he hesitatingly accepts.

The two men share a bond where both of them have a loss of a similar kind, except Omkarnath is an amputee chess maestro who’s organizing a play in his daughter’s memory. His character has a dead wife, a dead daughter, no legs, and was driven out of his home in Kashmir. There are times when he appears too happy for what he’s suffered. That, perhaps, is the gist of the writing for him. He mouths the wittiest of lines and yet, his eyes are too wide. They’re hard to believe. Shockingly, this small detail isn’t put to great use by making Daanish doubt his intentions at any point of the film.

Their common enemy, welfare minister Yazaad Qureshi (Manav Kaul) is the masterful antagonist who’s slimy and classy in equal proportions. Neil Nitin Mukesh gets a good, short cameo and John Abraham makes exactly three appearances as a “hacker” or an IT expert or, seriously, I don’t know what. The action sequences, especially the shootout in the dark scene is shot excellently. The pace never falls slow, which consequently helps yield a taut and gripping film.

Hints for the final ‘reveal’, or twist, are carefully left behind to answer all your questions. Farhan Akhtar brings a degree of restraint to his Daanish, but he can’t elevate the character above the poor writing for him. Daanish, the supposedly smart ATS officer, does things so stupid that Akhtar, the uber cool actor, can’t salvage. Omkarnath, on the other hand, is very calculative and so is Bachchan’s portrayal of the character. The amputee aspect isn’t hammered again and again (Good) and still used in subtle ways. Also, Aditi Rao Hyderi is utterly graceful with her moves and equally adept at being the fragile Ruhana.

Every song is woven well with the narrative, except a generic “Maula Mere Maula” that makes you wonder if you’re still watching the same film or a factory-made one-size-fits-all potboiler. The film earns a lot of points in the not-being-a-bore department by its sheer speed and direction. Bejoy Nambiar has delivered two richly stylized films earlier, and here he tones it down by a few notches and understandably so.

Wazir is a fast-paced film with a not a particularly smart protagonist, but it’s sharp and wily right from the opening titles to the rolling credits.

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

Madras Cafe

madras_cafe_poster

Madras Cafe
Release date: August 23, 2013
Directed by: Shoojit Sircar
Cast: John Abraham, Rashi Khanna, Nargis Fakhri, Siddharth Basu, Prakash Belawadi, Piyush Pandey, Dibang, Ajay Rathnam, Agnello Dias, Leena Maria Paul

First off, on a personal note, I managed to watch Chennai Express (August 8) and Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara (August 16) but owing to connectivity/system issues I couldn’t post complete reviews here. None of it was intentional, trust me I’d have so loved to bash OUATIMD.

The review for Madras Cafe starts here.

Shoojit Sircar’s ambitious docudrama on India’s efforts in Sri Lanka to maintain peace and the strong reactions of the Sri Lankan rebel forces borders more on factual detailing in a slightly fictitious background. Yes, it does takes guts to make a film on real-life incidents in our highly volatile country, but guts don’t necessarily guarantee a good product.

Major Vikram Singh (John Abraham) is an Indian intelligence officer dispatched to Sri Lanka to head Research And Analysis Wing’s covert operations. With the issues that a serviceman has to face in his marital affairs owing to long periods of separation, he arrives in the conflict-hit area of Jaffna. In a cliched laced encounter with Jaya (Nargis Fakhri), Vikram establishes a clunky relationship with her. She is an international journalist out to cover the civil war.

RD (Siddharth Basu) is Singh’s supportive superior operating from India and Bala (Prakash Belawadi) is the shady head of intelligence in Sri Lanka who likes to have his way. Confronted by tricky political decisions and life-endangering predicaments, Vikram is forced to change his approach towards resolving matters. As India’s interference grows in the rebellion army’s actions, an assassination conspiracy is hatched and the impending fate is inevitable.

it is the same path that the makers opt for in the film’s third act which makes for great viewing. A dark end in a culturally and politically neutral narrative is rare to come across, it’s the hesitation in going all the way with using authentic names for historical figures’ that left this viewer with a sour aftertaste. I know this India, where people are increasingly getting offended at the slightest of display of opinions even though they are increasingly getting offensive in public discourse. Yes, this calls for another blog post at another time but I just feel shortchanged a bit. And yes, it was somewhat compensated by the inclusion of Tagore’s “Where the mind is without fear” at the end.

The period setups may not be exactly realistic, yet the performances of the actors are extremely sharp and nuanced. Siddharth Basu in his first outing as an actor keeps you engaged with his confidence and poise, Prakash Belwadi is perhaps the star here. He delves into the aggressive body language and delivers very well. Abraham underplays and Rashi Khanna as his wife Ruby is competent. A gaffe that could potentially lead to disbelief arising in believable situations is that everyone talks in Hindi, even the Sri Lankan biggies, but Nargis Fakhri’s character doesn’t. Intentional or forced, hard to comprehend.

At the crux of it all, Madras Cafe is particularly good for a cautious espionage-thriller. The finale is purely brilliant and simply boosts the film’s flaws convincingly.

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

Race 2

Race 2 is awful.
Race 2
Release date: January 25, 2012
Directed by: Abbas-Mustan
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Jacqueline Fernandez, Anil Kapoor, Ameesha Patel

While the filmmakers unite for more creative power and liberalization against the tyrannical censor boards and innumerable religious/ethnic groups, Race 2 comes as a breath of fresh, sorry, stale air. Race 2 should have been bludgeoned by the censor board for its bordering obscene (and cliche) lines and by the other social watchdogs to prevent the masses from being subjected to continuous nonsensical  exhibition of in-your-face trash.

Rather than specifying the non-existent ‘plot’ and the other painful details I’ll just tell you why Race 2 should be abhorred and detested as a piece of cinema, writing, acting, skill or any goddamn thing.

Race 2 sucks at all levels because:

  • A sharpshooter has a sniper rifle and he doesn’t shoot his target (Bipasha Basu) instead he shoots a bullet on the petrol tank lid. Lamborghini explosion, you see?
  • Saif Ali Khan’s character Ranveer Singh has blonde highlights and long hair in his entry scene and one song, while he continues to have completely black hair gelled back for the rest of the film.
  • Everyone looks like a million bucks. That’s not a bad thing, given that million bucks is the actual budget of each character’s costumes and appearance.
  • The usual complaint of “women being reduced to objects” doesn’t stand true, because every actor is objectified and specifically ordered to not act.
  • Anil Kapoor’s character Robert D’Costa answers Ameesha Patel’s “Tum ladki mein sabse pehle kya dekhti ho?” with a “Wo depened karta hai ladki aa rahi hai ya ja rahi hai.” Lifted. Boring. Stupid. Ancient.
  • The ladies have been asked to maximize on their assets. That means, each woman has her own USP body part. For example, Deepika Padukone’s legs in dresses with long cuts, Jacqueline Fernandez’s abs and butt and Ameesha’s breasts. Not that I am complaining, but after a point even that gets monotonous.
  • The dialogue is as predictable as a, I’m falling short of comparisons here. It’s hauntingly reminding of the 80’s vague lines. With bits of English peppered, it still remains drab and seriously underwhelming.
  • A ‘street fighter’ Armaan Malik (John Abraham) becomes a billionaire out of nowhere. BILLIONS FROM NOWHERE. And his step-sister – what would a Race film be without foster siblings who double-cross each other – Elena (Deepika Padukone) claims she’s helped him get those billions.
  • The twists are just like a children’s fantasy game, where everyone gains an upperhand continuously by claiming their weapon is more powerful. There’ an Audi with parachutes installed in it, more parachutes, CCTV footage, and at the end, ‘tere glaas mein zeher (poison) mila tha’.
  • And to top it all, last but not the least, a locker’s password at the St. Turin’s Church is ‘OBEYGOD’. Obey God. Are the nuns allowed to have a Facebook account?

But credit must be given where it’s due. Race 2 brilliantly carries forward the legacy of Race 1 with its incredibly stupendous amount of belief in the directors’ conviction to deliver a preposterous lump of shit. Race 2 also joins an elite class of worst films of all times.

My rating: * (1 out of 5)

Vicky Donor Review

Vicky Donor
Release Date: April 20, 2012
Directed by: Shoojit Sircar
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam, Annu Kapoor, Dolly Ahluwalia, Kamlesh Gill.

A Punjabi boy talking about the achievements of Bengal, realistically modern outlook, amalgamation of tiny cultural & metropolitan nuances are some of the things that the viewer is presented with. With an underlining social message of the importance of sperm donation in our society & addressing the stigma attached to it along with keeping the audience bound with entertaining sequences and a story that connects emotionally is a fairly tough task.

Vicky Arora (Ayushmann Khurrana) is the stereotypical Dilli ka launda who’s ‘spoilt’ by his doting grandmother.  His mother wants him to get going and start earning. Vicky plays cricket, likes to party & shop a lot, not too much to ask for an unemployed living (yes, sarcasm) Dr. Baldev Chaddha (Annu Kapoor) runs a fertility clinic & a sperm bank in Dariyaganj. He’s in search of a physically & genetically perfect model that could help him appease his patients with quality sperm. The dots start joining, and Dr. Chaddha starts coaxing Vicky to donate his “excellent” sperm.

Ashima Roy (Yami Gautam) works at a bank where Vicky lands up to open a new account for his mother’s earnings. Ashima is the new-age independent woman who doesn’t need a boyfriend to guard her like a dog, at least that’s what she says. The first half is filled with a lot of laugh-raising sequences where all the Delhi slang terms are used. That touch adds to Vicky’s character and his inane sense of belonging to the Refugee Colony in Lajpat Nagar.

The film doesn’t boast of artistic camera shots, but it tells a story with all of its characters that make an extra effort to connect with the viewer. Be it Vicky’s AWESOME grandmother or Ashima’s Bengal loving father. It does get in a foreseeable path, but it is the execution that deserves the props. Shoojit Sircar makes his point with our unease and insecurity over the issue of infertility with a heart-warming tale of simple people that live differently.

Ayushmann is at ease with the character as it is familiar territory for him, since he’s a Punjabi boy himself. Yami adds to the ever-sincreasing list of additions to Bollywood from the TV industry, she does a good job at being contained & at control of her emotions with her subtlety.

Vicky Donor is an entertaining film which adheres to the age-old convention of delivering a social message in a positive fashion. The film turns out to be delighting and not too heavy on the senses of the viewer unlike the current fare running in theaters. Vicky Donor makes a very good watch.

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

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