Posts Tagged ‘ Mahesh Manjrekar ’

Bajirao Mastani

Bajirao-Mastani-poster

Bajirao Mastani
Release date: December 18, 2015
Directed by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Milind Soman, Aditya Pancholi, Mahesh Manjrekar, Priyanka Chopra, Tanvi Azmi, Deepika Padukone, Vaibbhav Tatwawdi

Newspaper gossip columns and bytes from the “entertainment” industry have a way of finding ways into our lives, how much ever we may resist their passive charms. There have been colored headlines talking about Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ambitions of making a magnum opus on the relationship between Bajirao Ballal Bhat and his wives Kashi Bai and Mastani. After publicly confessing of giving up on this project, Bhansali creates, right from his first scene of the film, a masterful universe from the eighteenth century.

The opening sequence is an open court where the appointment of a new Peshwa is in order. The Chhatrapati (Mahesh Manjrekar) indulges his political adviser (Aditya Pancholi) and his war-chief (Milind Soman) over their debate of who should be elected. Without song and dance, and armed with only a thumping and catchy background score and his sword, emerges Bajirao (Ranveer Singh) with a freshly buzzed head and a mouth full of memorable lines. His instant wit, will and skill seal the deal for him, and the decision is accepted with a warm ovation. Mr. Bhansali takes a detour from his usual ways and gets his film running at a good pace right from the start.

Bajirao leads his battalion to a smart victory in his first battle, proving his mettle to one and all. While he carried on with his conquers, his younger brother Chimaji Appa (Vaibbhav Tatwawadi) creates a new rambunctious home to complement Bajirao’s laurels. The home and the Aainaa Mahal are marvels of wonder, almost worth the price of the ticket just by themselves. Kashi (Priyanka Chopra) garnishes and adorns it with her conceding love and admiration for her husband. The two of them have a delicately playful and intimate relationship which is faced by the attractions of Mastani (Deepika Padukone), the love child of a Rajput King and his Muslim wife.

Mastani is the princess of Bundelkhand, out to seek the help of the brave Maratha warrior to fend off the claws of the Mughals. She can fight, and do Kathak, and elude swords with swords of her own. Her introduction to the dynamic brings the conflict along with it. A Muslim second wife cannot be accepted in a kingdom based on establishing a Hindu state. The Brahmins of Pune and Bajirao’s mother (Tanvi Azmi) along with Chimaji stand together in opposition of his union with Mastani. The entire drama between the wives, Kashi and Mastani, is handled with grace and tact.

Wars are shot in magnanimous scale, moments of passion between Bajirao and Kashi with warm diffusion, yet there’s an old school approach of keeping the second wife Mastani physically disconnected with her lover and just an amount of “obsessive” platonic love between them. Perhaps, to stay safe from more allegations and stupid “my sentiments are hurt” litigation suits against the film. If you’re denied of watching this film by the way of a protest against the film, then it’s just your bad luck.

Yes, there are cinematic liberties and a fair disclaimer before the film begins. There’s a Dil Dola like number where Kashi and Mastani dance to their heart’s content with the poetic undertone of being involved in a Rukmini-Krishna-Radha love triangle. Bajirao stomps and swirls in a shoddily-penned war celebration song. But then, Bhansali compensates for these excesses by giving us powerful exchanges between the protagonists and lines of dialogue that will be remembered for quite some time in the near future.

The beauty of it all is all-encompassing with the film’s cinematographer, Sudeep Chatterjee’s lens captures Bhansali’s vision immaculately. The color palette isn’t as diverse as that of Ram-Leela (2013), but the limited number of permutations and combinations are put to use smartly. Be it the rain in the times of war-cries, the golden glow on Mastani, or the earthy shades around Kashi, they all add to the mise en scene in more ways than one.

Ranveer Singh ascends to new heights of stardom with his all guns blazing display, with his impassionate Marathi diction and the swashbuckling flamboyance of a great mass-leader. His character is the center of the attraction for the two women, and the actor himself is the center of the movie. He holds the film strongly with good supporting actors subordinating the ranks beneath him. Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone’s characters are treated with equal importance, the way Bhansali did back in 2002 in Devdas. Chopra infuses a strong energy with her spirited Kashi Bai, Padukone is the glum, poetry-quoting, wronged lover to the hilt.

Bajirao Mastani is dramatic, and it’s poised. It’s majestic and it’s cruel. It is, undoubtedly, the film to watch this weekend.

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

Himmatwala

Himmatwala-movie-poster
Himmatwala
Release date: March 29, 2013
Directed by: Sajid Khan
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tamannaah Bhatia, Paresh Rawal, Mahesh Manjrekar, Adhyayan Suman, Zarina Wahab, Leena Jumani

By not choosing to waste precious bandwidth, I’ll keep this very short and scathing. Himmatwala, as Sajid Khan claims is supposed to be an ‘entertainer’ more than a film. Heck, Heck, it’s not even as captivating as a cat running after a laser light.

The ghastly duo of Sajid-Farhad are entrusted with providing a “screenplay” and the dialogues and trust them to come up with puerile jokes that are possibly cracked by kindergarten kids. The usual quick-paced delivery of those lines causes you to stay in amazement of how repetitive, unoriginal and uninventive can anyone working at this level be.

One piece of such genius is manifested by this, “Naarayan Das, jitni tum ne saansein li hain, isne (pointing at a killer) us se zyaada jaanein li hain.” Whoa! As unrealistic as what Sajid Khan’s definition of entertainment is. Tamannaah is blessed with unintentionally hilarious catchphrase, “I hate gareebs.” and that pretty much sums up her character’s gist.

Also, all actors were particularly asked to ham it up, cos that’s entertainment! Khan also vociferously negates his claim of creating “Family entertainers” with his regular homoerotic shtick featuring Paresh Rawal and Mahesh Manjrekar. He tries the spoof approach towards the original Himmatwala by constantly making the actors break the fourth wall, “surprisingly” choosing Paresh Rawal –  who handled the job in Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi, to interact with the audience for a major part.

The only small changes Khan makes in this remake are insignificant, but a special one is where Devgn is a “street fighter”, whereas Jeetendra was an engineer in the original. Quite progressive! Not to mention the cheap and immature ‘CG’ where the tiger’s fight sequences look like this:

If you’re going to stare at Tamannaah and/or the five-dance-girls-in-one-item-song novelty, you’ll kick yourself in the nuts and/or ovaries. The entire “entertainer” is irrelevant, boring and outlandishly demeaning to the viewer’s hard-earned hundred and fifty bucks.

My rating:  1/2 (.5 out of 5 stars)

OMG Oh My God


OMG Oh My God
Release date: September 28, 2012
Directed by: Umesh Shukla
Cast: Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, Govind Namdeo, Lubna Salim, Murli Sharma, Mahesh Manjrekar, Poonam Jhawer

More than any other source of rationale, the internet and different forms of entertainment have caused the most amount of disbelief in our respective faiths. OMG Oh My God borders on the lines of agnosticism, atheism and theism and the fake godmen business.

Adapted from a Gujarati play Kanji viruddh Kanji (Kanji vs. Kanji) OMG is a tale of an atheist Kanji Lalji Mehta who ironically runs an antique store where he stocks idols of Hindu Gods. Kanji never leaves an opportunity to gain a quick buck off the believers’ blind faith. His wife Susheela (Lubna Salim) is also a ‘god-fearing’ woman who disapproves of her husband’s tactics.

Kanji plays another game off the faith of the people on the occasion of Janmashtami angering a religious guru Siddheshwar Maharaj (Govind Namdeo) which leads Kanji’s family to believe that an earthquake that damaged only his shop was a punishment by God. Soon, he discovers it was indeed only his property that got affected. Being the one who never easily gets discouraged, Kanji files for a compensation from his insurance company.

As his claim gets rejected because the earthquake was an ‘Act of God’, Kanji decides to file a case against God. This is where the actual plot kicks off. Mehta transcends on to a path to make his case work when no lawyers offer their services. Akshay Kumar plays Krishna Vasudev Yadav or GOD! and helps out our protagonist to defend himself in a life-threatening attack on a motorcycle, a chopper bike! The whole sequence isn’t an action masterpiece but it kinda suits the production value of the film.

The second half of the film provides more content to the main lead’s fight against God and the eventual fight with the parasitic God’s men i.e. a few more Babas, a Mata and Muslim maulanas and a priest from the Church. Kanji becomes a mass hero for similar sufferers of a horrible calamity meted out on them by ‘God’. The film shows a journey of a non-believer who finds God in his own being and more importantly of the rich God’s ‘men’ who fool the God-fearing and self-beneficiary tycoons alike.

This story’s underlying theme is a much stronger one than the overlying virtue of believing in God. The early portions of the film aren’t too special, heck even the later serious sequences aren’t too magical either, but there are small glimpses of symbolism and the Kailash Kher song is a strong epiphany of that. Paresh Rawal does a fine job of balancing his portrayal of a sarcastic and ever-inquisitive rationale. The ensemble cast also supports him, except for a few bits of hamming.

OMG Oh My God borders on downright mainstream and socially enlightening applause-fest. The overall film connects but somehow you won’t see anyone taking it seriously.

My rating: **3/4 (2.75 out of 5) 

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