Posts Tagged ‘ Priyanka Chopra ’

Bajirao Mastani

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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)

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Dil Dhadakne Do

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Dil Dhadakne Do
Release date: June 5, 2015
Directed by: Zoya Akhtar
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Rahul Bose, Farhan Akhtar, Parmeet Sethi, Vikrant Massey, Ridhima Sud, Zarina Wahab

If Karan Johar were to make Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham in the year 2015, and on a Mediterranean cruise, there’s a probability it could had have been closer to Dil Dhadakne Do. Pointless, unnecessary comparison aside, it would have had to cut down on some healthy jingoism and overt flash and the melodramatic razzmatazz.

2015 calls for a crisper, and a lighter hand at the job. 2015 calls for Zoya Akhtar to play with a family drama, which has bits and parts of relative predictability, with dollops of individual charisma and charm. The Millionaire Mehras, Neelam (Shefali Shah) and Kamal (Anil Kapoor) have an ordinary marriage crumbling on the inside, and a business that’s faced with a similar fate. To salvage one of the two, they host a wedding anniversary party on an exuberant ship which will take their guests around Istanbul.

Their son, Kabir (Ranveer Singh) is being prepped to take over as the heir once the Kamal steps down. Kabir tries. Kabir falters. Kabir flies a plane to get over it (!?).  Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra) is the driven-away daughter who’s grown on to be a successful businesswoman, post her halfhearted marriage to Manav (Rahul Bose) The Mehra parents are obviously discriminatory.

Along with being discriminatory, or sexist, they’re hypocrites just like every other human being, as their pet Pluto (voiced by Aamir Khan) points out. They are bigoted and dysfunctional, just like an ordinary set of old folks, no matter how rich or poor they may be. This is where the perennially impeccably dressed Mehras become fallible and vulnerable characters. What Zoya Akhtar doesn’t try to do out of her way is to make the supremely flawed parents become likable and utterly revered seniors from Baghban, instead she keeps them humane and grey.

The children bear the brunt and the fruits, of which they’re frequently reminded of their obligation towards the fruits they’ve cherished all their lives. They are asked of life-altering compromises in return at times. Ayesha and Kabir, as siblings, have grown past the age of petty fights and name-calling. They’ve graduated to silently understanding what the other feels, knowing where the other deserves his/her support, and when to let them handle the screw-up of the day.

The strongest relationship is shared by the siblings and the performances put in by Singh and Chopra enthuse the deserved spirit into their characters. Ranveer’s Kabir is cool, urbane and witty and not at all over-the-top boisterous showboarder; he’s the younger of the two and thus, fairly rebellious. Priyanka’s Ayesha is the older, much matured sister that knows her parents won’t give her credit where it’s due. Yet, she’s moved past that and is coping with a modern (go on, read modern as millennial, you internet-junkie) loveless marriage. And both of them run away with as much as they can by unrelentingly extracting from their screen time.

Anil Kapoor sportingly wields strands of grey hair and slips into the self-serving megalomaniac Kamal’s skin. He personifies the faulty patriarch. Shefali Shah’s Neelam is dealt a rough path. She’s stuck in a marriage, like many other women from any background find themselves, where the wife is being taken for granted and hence in turn, detonates the bomb of passive-aggression, forever. Shah is simply brilliant throughout, especially in the scene where she’s exemplifying the decorum for her son.

Dil Dhadakne Do is heartbreakingly authentic and harsh in the moments where the family is struggling to come to terms to the ground realities of their current lives. All the millions in the world can’t give you complete control over the events in your life. It’s here that the film earns its ticket price. It takes a set of elite, classic “10 percent” haves and makes them not seem stumbling drunks, addicts or weeping bags of douchebags. They manage to deal with it, albeit in stylish suits and on lavish locations.

Light humor and powerful cameos by Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar and the entire ensemble cast ensures there’s no seasickness on this voyage. How could I not make a sea metaphor!
Special mention to the single-shot approach on the song Gallan Goodiyaan. The song starts off as annoyingly loud and then seamlessly transitions into a fun number.

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

Mary Kom

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Mary Kom
Release date: September 5, 2014
Directed by: Omung Kumar
Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Darshan Kumar, Rajni Basumatary, Sunil Thapa, Shishir Sharma (WHY ARE THE END CREDITS ROLLING DOWN SO FAST!?)

Biopics always get the viewers’ guard up, be it in terms of factual details or just the chronology of events in the title character’s life as compared to the real timeline of those events in the person’s lifetime. MC Mary Kom is a boxer who still actively competes, and that may have deprived the makers of this film from putting a definitive byline to it. Unlike Paan Singh Tomar or Milkha Singh. Yet, they don’t even make good of what they have at hand.

Mary Kom’s story is shown in a non-linear order, going back and forth between her current maternal state and her humble beginnings. The struggle to attend legitimate training, the opposition of a family member, her ‘love story’ and even her initial round of victories are shown in a matter-of-fact manner; which translates to no empathy/sympathy for the lead character. Everything just happens, and nor any of it is given any depth whatsoever.

If you replaced all of the actually-boxing-in-the-ring parts and substituted them with any other sport, you wouldn’t spot a difference. There’s absolutely no insight on technique, no interesting anecdotes. All of what I just mentioned might appear to be superficial flaws if they stuck with an uncompromising story at the core. But they falter at that too.

Kom’s fight against the Federation has no base to play out on. The disagreement with the officials who don’t select her for her comeback tournament comes up short, even somewhat (unintentionally) sympathetic to the apparently erring officials. An ill-placed self-victimizing racism allegation, in a film where not a single vague racist stereotype is depicted, left me with a strong pungent repulsion for the protagonist in that particular scene.

What’s likeable, you ask. Priyanka Chopra’s grit as Kom, the victory dances and her incoherent and unexplained anger outbursts. With an unnecessary mishmash of two floundering accents, she’s the hero *cough* yes, hero. You don’t have to use ‘heroine’ just because it’s a woman! She has various layers to her, a liberty that almost no other character was bestowed upon. Darshan Kumar, who plays her friend-lover-husband shows shades of range, only to be clipped by the editor or perhaps the writer. Sunil Thapa as M. Narjit Singh is stellar and thank the heaven and hells, he doesn’t have a horrible hybrid accent.Also, lo and behold Keiko Nakahara’s photography. If the film makes you shut up and watch, her frames have a major part to play in that.

The first-half of the film is just a series of shots and scenes highlighting no specific hurdles of Kom, making you question what direction is the film going in. Alas, in the second half, the screenplay starts to assume a certain shape and form. Notwithstanding the formulaic reuse of generic components, the lack of a potent downfall of the athlete and the persistent one-dimensional treatment of major characters, Priyanka Chopra and the spirit of Mary Kom keep fighting to grip you. Do they grip you? Of course they do, because they don’t make movies on influential women in India. Yet.

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 out of 5)

Ram-Leela

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Ram-Leela (Goliyon ki Raas Leela: Ram-Leela)
Release date: November 15, 2013
Directed by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Supriya Pathak, Abhimanyu Singh, Gulshan Devaiah, Sharad Kelkar, Richa Chadda, Barkha Bisht, and Raza Murad! (though only in a cameo)

Goliyon ko Raas Leela, which translates to a fair of bullets — holds true for a major part of the film, there are bullets being shot absolutely no reason. In my estimate, more random birds in the air must have been killed with guns than actual people. And that’s some figure, given the strong mafioso orientation of the film’s characters.

Ram (Ranveer Singh) is the comparably non-violent black sheep of a strongly violent Rajadi family, he runs neon-lit shady video parlors in a fictional village of Gujarat. Promenading through the small nooks, he dances with his roaring 6 (or 8?) pack abs, doing pelvic thrusts and never hiding his overt sexuality. This sexuality forms the bond between the rival Saneda’s wildly swaying daughter, Leela (Deepika Padukone)

LAHU MUH LAG GAYAAAA deepika-padukone-looking-ranveer-singh-still-from-film-ram-leela

Lahu Muh lag gayaaaaa 2
In a setting taken from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Ram-Leela’s first meeting is passionately raw and extremely, er, hot! A blood-soaked kiss (not down there) is just the start for this combustible couple. They incessantly text each other, exchange cheesy conversations just like any other contemporary new couple would. They click umpteen selfies and even talk about posting them on Twitter, only if they’d dropped an Instagram reference…

The love affair is everything right with the film. The drama surrounding them? Not quite. There are three dance numbers in the first half, making you wish for the interval to arrive at many points, but it doesn’t. Two more in the post-intermission part, testing your conviction and commitment to the film. Support characters like the two respective sister-in-laws Rassela played by Richa Chadda and Kesar done by Barkha Bisht, have more than one dimension to them, thus helping for a stronger depth. They aren’t the cruel bhabhis of our love stories, they are intelligent and somewhat righteous.

The men, on the other hand, are simply high on testosterone, and their lives are also shortened. Gulshan Devaiah’s Bhavani is the only male character with more to do, yet there isn’t much writing in his evil intentions. Writing, perhaps is the weakest department here. The raunchy jokes in the first half get increasingly boring (for me at least) owing to their lack of originality. Even strong players like Dhankor (Supriya Pathak) has so little rationale to the choices that she makes and the cold-heartedness that she portrays. The former jokes do help in lightening the subsequent grim climax though.

The violence isn’t in action as much as it is in its loudness. There isn’t much gore or blood, even if there are some real nasty things going on. Bhansali and his cinematographer S. Ravi Varman use masterful shots to make you feel the violence by minimalistic actual violence. They also paint greatly vivid pictures by using a diverse color pattern with their lighting. The rumored extensively long shooting schedule of 200 days seems justified by the production design, costumes and locations. Unfortunately, the same amount of detail is missing from the screenplay.

The music evolves with the growth of our protagonists’ characters. From the thrust-banging of Tattad Tattad to Ang Lagaa De‘s sensual ‘lovemaking’, it just suits perfectly. Hallelujah, Priyanka Chopra have some mercy on us! The picturization length could have been shortened in the synchronized dancing part which would have also helped reducing the film’s mammoth of a runtime. The end may put you off, probably due to its recent presence in so many films off late. It’s not repetitive, but rather a bit illogical. There’s storytelling logic missing in a few more places as well, and I better leave them unexposed as they might give away more of the plot.

Ranveer and Deepika look their parts and make you wish you were a part of the Ram-Leela universe, and maybe steal away either of them or both depending on your sexual preferences. Deepika’s every hip snap gets you swooning, turning up in your seat. Their kisses (probably chopped) are involving and tempt you for their next liplock. The Gujarati accent is present and its done well. It interferes with authenticity with the infused Hindi and that’s a personal grouse.

The actors, production designers and everyone except the writers and sound recordists/mixers/engineers try their best. Underwhelming to an extent, surprisingly entertaining even with the heavy end, Ram-Leela is just in the middle. Hey, Raza Murad’s back too!

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

Barfi!


Barfi
Release Date: September 14, 2012
Directed by: Anurag Basu
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D’cruz, Saurabh Shukla, Ashish Vidyarthi

Amateurish mime, fun rides along the inner scenic regions of Darjeeling and tests of friendship are what Barfi! is laced with. The film moves from Darjeeling to mainstream Kolkata (Calcutta) in the ’70s, thereby creating a young independent India developing in its technology and outlook. But hey, this isn’t a lesson in history, Barfi! is an amalgamation of simple emotions contrived in a heartwarming motion picture.

Murphy or Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) as he is fondly referred to, is a deaf-mute youngster who never falls short of ways to make his charm work. Murphy shares a pure connection with his father Rajbahadur which is nothing but purely frolic. Barfi asks his dad to stop guzzling on a bottle of Old Monk Rum and then sneaks the same bottle into his bed. He also has a unique way of ascertaining his friends’ loyalty towards him.

Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz) is an engaged young woman,  about to be married in the next three months but yet to grasp the arrival of a man in her life. In a fun encounter, she gets acquainted with Barfi and soon a friendship develops between the two. The pair of friends go on their own small adventures where Shruti tries to make the most of her single days by making late-night escapes to gallop on a horse. The loss for words between them never makes a short for feelings. But the inevitable fate doesn’t change its track and soon things go on their own predetermined paths.

Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra) is the third generation offset of the affluent Chatterji household. She struggles with autism and that’s reason enough for her negligent wealth-drunk parents to avoid her. Jhilmil is admitted to a house for the disabled where she finds some real affection and care even though at a price. Circumstances force some things on all of our protagonists and now Jhilmil is with Barfi.

Barfi! (Here, the film) is what happens in the sub-plots and the overlaying sidetracks. There are so many powerful moments with a varied range of emotions casting their impact simultaneously that you simply cannot hold your tears or your smile. Barfi! plays on the disabilities of its main characters and concentrates on their special abilities, you almost never care about the dialogues.

The story shows how everyone deserves a second chance and how ‘unconditional’ love should be actually unconditional and oblivious of the repercussions: economic, social or whatsoever. Already much has been said about Barfi!’s melodious soundtrack, but the accordion-violin band players in the narrative of the film along with the silent comic scenes pay a tribute to Charlie Chaplin. For the casual viewer, the length of the film might prove to be a bit long. But if you live with the characters, you’ll never want to leave your seat.

Barfi! adds another accolade in Anurag Basu’s list and heavily decorating Ranbir, Priyanka and Ileana’s acting credentials. Barfi! is a must watch for its rich tribute to film making and textured simple human emotions.

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

Agneepath Review


Agneepath
Release Date: January 26, 2012
Directed by: Karan Malhotra
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Sanjay Dutt, Rishi Kapoor, Zarina Wahab, Om Puri, Chetan Pandit.

No matter however “different” an approach a filmmaker uses, there are obvious referrals & comparisons with the set standards of the original film. The viewers always refrain from remembering what they don’t want to and carry a set of frame of reference while going in for the remade classics. I am a fan of the original Agneepath and its unabashed commercial nature. The new one doesn’t fall short of the mainstream nuances as well.

The film gets off at a brisk pace, considering the original Agneepath’s run time of a massive three hours. And somehow, the child playing the junior Vijay Chauhan (Arish Bhiwandiwala) is spectacularly similar in appearance to the child who played the same role in the original (Master Manjunath) Vijay has an inane righteousness and a will to stand up against injustice and he will put up a tough fight with the last thread of his soiled banyan (vest) The story goes on to bring up an evil Kancha (Sanjay Dutt) who is out on a self-inflicted treacherous path to overcome his hidden demons. Vijay’s father, Master Deenanath is lynched by the horrific ways of Kancha and an instigated village mob to get rid of all opposition to turn the local village factory into a cocaine hub. The gut-wrenching tragedy makes the doom-struck family to move on to the big city, Mumbai. The “fire”, of revenge that is, still simmering in Vijay’s heart, mind or body seeks out some support that would help him to become the powerful drug lord that would then avenge his father’s death. Rauf Lala (Riahi Kapoor) is that potion that makes our pint-sized Viju into the new ruler of Dongri.

Priyanka Chopra’s character, Kaali Gaawde is stemmed out of a clear stereotype. After the initial few scenes, the original characteristics of her character disappear and you get the ordinary heroine of our current times. The role of our actresses in our films, especially in the overtly-hyped ventures has just stagnated to a meagre “support” for our alpha male’s soft points to be highlighted. The usual journey of hardships and the survival of our protagonist is portrayed with empathy and loud background scores, though appealing. The original characters of the earlier Agneepath don’t have the same amount of screen time, but Karan Malhotra puts up vivid colours in the form of a varied range of character components.

You get a lot of muscle behind every scene, but the film never manages to reach the appropriate depth of each character. Kancha gets more of his vindictive appeal from his appearance than his deeds; the grown-up Vijay has no emotions raging through him, except for the usual monotonous ones. In all honesty, no other actor has more beef in his role than Rishi Kapoor. The film’s music fits in at some junctures, and makes a loss of continuous action at others.

Chikni Chameli will get them to sail past through the weekend storm, the twist in the original plot will help them go further, but this remake is definitely not better than the Yash Johar commercial masterpiece. (That comparison is too hard to resist for anyone) Agneepath stands for whatever it is meant to and entertains you with a garishly decorated ensemble of void characters.

My rating:  **1/2

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