Posts Tagged ‘ Kunal Kapoor ’

Dear Zindagi

dear-zindagi-poster

Dear Zindagi
Release date: November 25, 2016
Directed by: Gauri Shinde
Cast: Alia Bhatt, Yashaswini Dayama, Ira Dubey, Shah Rukh Khan, Angad Bedi, Kunal Kapoor, Ali Zafar

In one of the myriad marketing campaigns before its release, the film’s protagonist Kaira’s character was pushed as a ‘verified’ profile on a dating mobile application. All with a descriptive bio about her profession, likes and pet peeves, and pretty stills of Alia Bhatt from Dear Zindagi. Perhaps, in a bid to humanize her on-screen persona, unlike the “heroines” of the past, where a constant effort was made to sanitize and idolize the woman, as an object of desire and worship.

Gauri Shinde’s Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is a cinematographer with fluttering romantic interests, and a remarkable ability to disconnect from these men when they tend to get “serious”. After one of her another shocking departures from a dishy manbun sporting Raghavendra (Kunal Kapoor), Jackie (a charming Yashaswini Dayama) lectures her in an inebriated stupor on how he was the ideal ‘match’ for her. Creating a verbal checklist of qualities that she saw in him, only 2% of the world’s population is good-looking, why would Kaira want to give up on someone who’s in that precious creamy layer.

Of course, Kaira doesn’t have definite answers for her actions, her reasons still unfounded. After being on a momentary career high, things come crashing down for her, thus forcing her to get back to her parents in Goa. Her friends call her the world’s only person who’s averse to the idea of a trip to this Indian beach-haven. Once there, she is faced with exaggerated shaming and cornered into submitting into a wedlock, she continues to act out like a rebelling teenager and a part disgusted young, rich adult. Texts filled with hate, multiple exclamation marks, she types and backspaces before hitting the send button; bottling all her angst for an ex, a landlord, and another ex.

Faced with sleepless nights, she chances upon a gig for a family acquaintance’s hotel, that’s coincidentally hosting a mental health awareness summit. As she waits for the summit to end, she makes light of the serious medicinal jargon being spewn inside. Enters Dr Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) in his torn jeans and a scoop-neck t-shirt under his hoodie. Fascinated by his ‘different’ approach towards the business of secrecy and whispers around Rorschach tests, Kaira decides to start seeing him for therapy.

After an elaborate build-up, commences the most fulfilling and, simultaneously, cliche sequence of therapy where Khan repeats lines that we may have come across in TV shows, novels, and even agony-aunt columns in newspapers/magazines. But then, it hasn’t ever been Shah Rukh Khan telling us why we need to date people, opting out of very complex situations, and not letting our past blackmail our present into ruining our future, the pulp of Indian Uncle Whatsapp forwards. His character’s wit still subdued from that of his personal and public high-standards, yet as mature as a wise and accomplished fifty one year old.

Kaira’s development from flagging off her sessions by the classic “I’m asking this for a friend.” and evolving into letting off details of her anxieties and insecurities, slowly, is the fruit of Khan’s casual approach to his job. Not sure how many real shrinks would take their patients on long walks on the beaches of Goa; though, a comfortably-dressed Khan playing Kabaddi with the waves is endearing. The grandeur of a superstar doesn’t take away sheen from what is Alia Bhatt’s virtual diary. After Udta Punjab, she is back to playing a rich-kid, albeit with an underlying professional ambition, to reduce the shine from her character’s economical affluence, only slightly.

She settles into the skin of Kaira, a frustratingly confused millennial, haunted by a fear of abandonment from deep-rooted emotional upheavals. Her character’s journey is complete with a graph of metamorphosis, a little too good to be true, and a song-and-dance flourish to top off the film with a traditional cherry, when it consistently takes the path of being “off-beat”, where even the cliffhanging point of an intermission is also punctuated by a lack of any real conflict.

A trade-off between commercial filmmaking and a settled indie approach is thus achieved. The chopping of the loose flab of commercial celluloid cellulite could have easily rendered a tauter, and an equally relevant film about mental health issues, and the stigma attached to it, in a Hindi film universe, where we still continue to portray mental asylums as either pits of hell filled with delinquents possessed by spirits, or just sparingly exploited for comic relief.

In a society that continuously awards a person who shuts the lid on their vulnerabilities, Dear Zindagi asks us to be accepting of our life’s miseries as openly as we put ourselves out there in a dating pool with billions of other people, hoping to be that one snowflake who captures the imagination of the most right-swipes.

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

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)

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