Posts Tagged ‘ Raj Kumar Yadav ’

Shahid

shahid-movie-poster-1
Shahid
Release date: October 18, 2013
Directed by: Hansal Mehta
Cast: Raj Kumar Yadav, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Baljinder Kaur, Prabhleen Sandhu, K K Menon, Prabal Panjabi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vipin Sharma

Every time I read a “Based on a true story” disclaimer before the film starts, or even in trailers or on posters, my interest is pined and I may even Google about the person in question. Besides, I’d anticipate a certain level of justice to be done to the person’s story to an extent. Shahid is inspired from Shahid Azmi’s life, a person who faced the wrath of injustice only to value the importance of justice.

The film has a straightforward approach in terms of its storytelling and its narration as well. Crunched in a small Dongri apartment, Shahid (Raj Kumar) lives with his three brothers and mother. Out of his three brothers, Arif (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) is the oldest and he is Shahid’s confidant. The timeline stretches back to the January 1993 riots to give you the instant realistic creeps as crude violence jumps into your face at the very start.

In a fit of anger, or perhaps to salvage some lost dignity in his own eyes, Shahid joins a militia training camp in the snowy mountains of Kashmir. Soon he realizes he’s not cut out to be a religiously provoked militant, but he’s punished for being “poor and defenseless”, an unclear period of six years. While serving his time he finds his calling, influenced by another inmate, taking up law as a graduation major and putting it to use for fighting for the cause of implicated poor Muslim youngsters, or other persons of interest who are inherently innocent.

His journey makes him increasingly independent, as the organizations and people backing him constantly become worried about Shahid’s own well being in the face of recurring life threats from unknown mercenaries. The “other side” or the opposition is faceless and appreciably handled with the given mystique, as the actual motivations for Azmi’s murderers were never fully looked into. He was defending Faheem Ansari in his last case. The film refuses to focus on the various conspiracy theories and instead decides to tell an inspiring tale of courage and determination.

Raj Kumar’s performance is superlative. He is the bumbling teenager, caught in a web of darkness and the spontaneous firebrand in the courtroom; both with equal ease and conviction. His exchanges with Vipin Sharma, who is the public prosecutor in a case, are gems of unlikely familiarity. The insides of the Indian judiciary are depicted with careful precision, no garish benches, no outlandish glowing coats, just plastic chairs galore.

Again, Raj Kumar’s portrayal reaches other depths by the assistance of his support characters. Shahid’s brother Arif (Ayyub) turns tired of playing the go-to guy, Mariyam (Prabhleen Sandhu) is charmed by the dynamic lawyer’s honesty and eventually weary from his erratic work hours. His mother (Baljinder Kaur) displays the unsuspectingly feisty characteristics that every Indian woman surprises us with. The characters are given a fair treatment, and the actors in return give more than just a fair effort to the task.

Shot on location in Mumbai, there are the few cliched shots of the Haji Ali and the kabootarkhaana, yet they are passable. The cinematography is extensively handheld, which simply adds to the feel of small spaces inside Mumbai cramped houses. At a runtime length of two hours, Shahid (the film) is simplistically appealing and moving. It never wanders off the path and marches on with an underlining positive message even if the result is a known grim one. Perhaps, the best biopic of this year.

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

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Kai Po Che!

kai-po-che-posterKai Po Che!
Release date: February 22, 2012
Directed by: Abhishek Kapoor
Cast: Amit Sadh, Raj Kumar Yadav, Sushant Singh Rajput, Amrita Puri, Muni Jha, Dijvijay Deshmukh

Kai Po Che! is the adaption of Chetan Bhagat’s The 3 Mistakes of My Life. The original book had a lot of real life circumstances involved in it, and Abhishek Kapoor picks and plays with the more entertaining parts.

The plot picks up at a faster speed with the three friends, Omi (Amit Sadh), Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput) watching a cricket match and Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav) haggling with Ishaan’s father (Muni Jha) for a cheque to sponsor the opening of their own sports good outlet. Ishaan is a talented, yet unaccomplished cricketer who harbours the dream of establishing a sports academy. Govind is the careful, hardworking, money manager who’s pleased to let others take the front seat. The third wheel, Omi, is grounded yet adventurous.

They’re later financed by Omi’s Hindu-extremist uncle and soon the cricket training starts. Ishaan spots a boy wonder and goes out of his way to convince his Muslim sympathetic father. The story then makes use of the 2001 Republic Day earthquake, 2001 Calcutta test between India and Australia, and the Godhra riots. Depicting the individual and collective struggles of the principal parts, Kai Po Che! flies along very well.

Anay Goswamy’s cinematography takes the hustling camaraderie a few notches higher with all the different colour tints. Though the writing gets vague at a few points, the dialogue remains catchy and interesting. The acting prowess of all three leads is tested and witty through the storm. Also, Muni Jha’s character just has only one dimension, which is compensated by Amrita Puri’s bubblepop  yet charming character.

Amit Trivedi’s music employs the local flavor and works it up in his ever-refreshing style, though limited but effective. I guess I’ve actually lost count of the number of times he’s decked up the soundtrack with the relevant state folk. The amount of things working in favour of Kai Po Che! obviously outnumbers the things that don’t.

Only if it had a tinge of more emotion in the narrative, Kai Po Che! would have made for a more touching tale. Nevertheless, it is aesthetically and endearingly brilliant.

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

Talaash

Talash poster
Talaash
Release date: November 30, 2012
Directed by: Reema Kagti
Cast: Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherji, Kareena Kapoor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shernaz Patel, Raj Kumar Yadav

Chronicling the length and breadth of Mumbai on a usual evening in the city, colourful shots of twinkling lights and sea waves and ending the opening titles with a junkie smoking by the roadside who looks on as an actor’s car has a weird crash. This is how Talaash’s pace is set right at the start.

From there on, the talaash (search) for the reasons that caused a freakish mishap begins. As pieces of the impending mystery start piecing together, Inspector Surjan Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) realizes it wasn’t just a one-off accident. There are no obvious pointers to the regular drunken driving incidents as well. There are a lot of layers on the entire case. Surjan has a few personal and family issues too. As he publicly accepts, his wife Roshni (Rani Mukherji) is inflicted by a problem, he doesn’t quite figure out that it’s he who needs to ease up his knots.

As his interrogation leads him to further witnesses and more evidence, he’s acquainted with Rosy (Kareena Kapoor) who is a prostitute. Her character is so well-etched (never mind a few cliche lines) it brings the required mystique and adds another dimension to the characters she interacts with, including the drab and dreary Surjan. It’s these interactions that hold and release much of the pressure, but the same distracts from the actual search into the inner battles of our protagonists.

Talaash depends on a strong belief of the writers and the director, but the same beliefs could not go down well with many viewers who are looking for a hard-hitting totally realistic thriller. Sure, the imagery with beautiful shots prove that the camera work is impeccable. The persistent problem is of the path that the makers have chosen to demystify the story. After a point, you realize what’s happening and you don’t have to wait anymore to hang onto the edge of your seat.

The music is exemplified by the opening and haunting Muskaanein Jhoothi Hain, there are two more full fledged songs, out of which one looks like a square peg in the circle hole. But it’s not too painful. Rani and Aamir bring the poised demureness needed for their characters, while Kareena is simply indulging and enjoyable in all her moments with her seductive charm. The ensemble cast of Nawazuddin as a crippled shady guy Teimur , Raj Kumar Yadav as a junior to Inspector Surjan and Shernaz Patel as the creepy neighbour are all good.

Overall, Talaash is an attempt at classic suspense but a bit lost in the shuffle of letting every character attain closure and answers to their inherent questions. It borders on being a smart film and a thrown opportunity.

My rating: *** (3 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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