Posts Tagged ‘ Sanjay Mishra ’

Dilwale

Dilwale-Poster
Dilwale
Release date: December 18, 2015
Directed by: Rohit Shetty
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon, Kajol, Varun Sharma, Johnny Lever, Sanjay Mishra, Pankaj Trupathi, Mukesh Tiwari, Kabir Bedi, Vinod Khanna, Nawab Shah, Boman Irani

From the year 2006, Rohit Shetty strapped a jet-pack on and ascended to the heights of film success. Let’s not mention his debut film, Zameen, from 2003 which wasn’t quite of a party-starter for his arrival. Since Golmaal (2006)there hasn’t been a Shetty caper where there hasn’t been a butt-gag involved. There was one in each of the Golmaal films, he even sneaked in one in Chennai Express (2013). Off late, he seems to be moving away from hurling sharp objects into his character’s asses. If these trends were the biggest takeaway from films, then we’d all live happily ever after, in Bulgaria or Shetty’s outrageously vivid Goa.

Film reviewers, including me, sit on the sidelines and jeer at his films and the audiences get a film of little to no consequence to look down upon and have a few laughs. Some of these laughs are at the jokes and gags, some at the sheer idiocy of it all. Yes, people do like to feel smarter than/superior to what they consume, just like how a lot of us prefer to get smarter by what we consume. Film isn’t exactly a medium to convey for all, and it’s okay.

Dilwale brings along with it the colorful houses, cars and landscapes which Shetty used in All The Best (2009) and a similar setting as well. There are small-time thieves, bigwig “mafias”, reformed criminals and, the young and chirpy. Veer (Varun Dhawan) and Ishita (Kriti Sanon) make up the last part along with Sidhu (Varun Sharma). Raj/Kaali (Shah Rukh Khan), Meera (Kajol), Shakti (Mukesh Tiwari) and a token Muslim Shaikh Bhai (Pankaj Tripathi) are the reformed criminals. Mani (Johnny Lever) and Oscar (Sanjay Mishra) are the mid-level thugs and King (Boman Irani), Raj and Meera’s fathers are the “mafias”.

Everyone has a set brief given to them.
Dhawan is expected to pull off shenanigans from his earlier films, Main Tera Hero (2014) and Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya (2014).
Kriti Sanon is doing her thing from Heropanti (2014).
Sharma is doing what he’s done ever since his debut in Fukrey (2013).
Tiwari and Tripathi are reprising their performances from innumerable films where they’ve been the excessively loud and mellowed good guy at heart respectively.
Kabir Bedi and Vinod Khanna don’t have a brief. Just be a daddy!
Boman Irani is asked to be hip in don costumes from 1920s.
Sanjay Mishra’s Oscar talks in rhymes.
Johnny Lever does his average South Indian guy voice with his constant spirited vigor.

Shah Rukh Khan’s Raj fights like how a person who doesn’t know the controls on a videogame would play. He keeps hitting the same punch. A good chunk of the film is concentrated on Meera and his angle from a flashback. This part passes off breezily, and so does the most of the film. The supposed protagonists have a misunderstanding 15 years back in Bulgaria, which could have been easily resolved by a simple conversation in that same time, comes to a head when Veer and Ishita fall in love and want to be together. Their respective siblings, Raj and Meera disapprove of the union because they have trust issues over what happened in the past. Apparently, what happens in Bulgaria, doesn’t stay in Bulgaria.

The film’s premise is flimsy, but it doesn’t steer into the territory where it becomes downright insufferable. The usual imbecile puns by Sajid-Farhad are very much present, yes sir, but only in moderation. A few gags connect well and make you giggle in good measures. The last act of the film has a strong moment between the two brothers, no matter how forced it is. The film isn’t being carried by just Khan and Kajol, which is a minor respite but a dampener for the viewers heading in to watch a rehash of their earlier films. The sideshow acts get a lot of prominence and they miss, and they hit. The music is hummable, but Yash Chopra must be rolling in his grave by looking at the visuals from Gerua. Seriously, how bad is the CGI on it?

It’s not a spoiler, but there’s no actual conflict in the film. And that is how this film becomes painless. Lesson for the day in the Rohit Shetty School of Filmmaking. The lack of a conflict could have been used to keep the film shorter, and tauter (?!) and slightly more enjoyable. I’d take a painless mildly entertaining Dilwale over a painfully mediocre Katti Batti any day.

My rating: ** (2 out of 5)

Masaan

masaan-poster

Masaan
Release date: July 24, 2015
Directed by: Neeraj Ghaywan
Cast: Rich Chadda, Sanjay Mishra, Shweta Tripathi, Vicky Kaushal, Pankaj Tripathi, Nikhil Sahni

Death, relocation, and even a certain kind of trauma all have one thing in common; they can be the catalysts to change. I wrote about change in my review of Killaa Marathi film directed by Avinash Arun, who is also the DP of Masaan. He shoots Neeraj Ghaywan’s film, co-incidentally themed on the similar premise of forbearing to the thrusting waves of change and shaping one’s existence in the ways circumstantial activities force themselves upon the cinematic universe.

This universe is thickly veiled in realistic dimensions, subtly trying to grapple with the major forces of caste-barriers, a narrow-minded populace in a highly idealized place of pilgrimage and plays with innocuous young love. Devi Pathak (Richa Chadda) is the well-mannered, soft spoken daughter of a high-caste Brahman, Vidyadhar Pathak (Sanjay Mishra) who manages to work the computer by the day, eventually earning much more than her father and is more ambitious than he could ever be. In the midst of harboring this ambition, she sees herself in a bad predicament. A predicament which wouldn’t make much sense to a first-world inhabitant, but is a very grave situation for a young lady who aspires to a simple life where she wants to be enabled of leading her life with not much fuss.

On another bank of the Ganges, lives Deepak Chaudhary (Vicky Kaushal) of the Dom community, which has been unceremoniously handed the duty of crushing skulls of bodies that burn in the funeral pyre at the Ghats, so the souls of the dead can leave their bodies, as a character points out. He’s a mechanical engineering student vying for an urbane job that would possibly elevate him from his surroundings into a somewhat fair world where he’ll be judged by his potential and work.

Both of the parallel protagonists are closely connected by the common chord of a form of loss. They face a certain transformation brought along by the loss and try to sail along the calm waters of the Sangam. Devi’s conflict sets in motion at the start of the film, whereas Deepak’s surfaces in the later portion. Deepak’s infatuation and adoration for Shalu (Shweta Tripathi) is perhaps the dynamic that a lot of people in small cities have in their first romantic relationship, one that Devi could have shared with the boy at her workplace, which is never shown. The young love manifests itself very cutely, filled with prized gestures and amateur kissing skills.

Debutantes Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi enact their well-etched parts with equal portions of grace and charm. Never do they let you in on the jitters or any hints of discomfort. Chadda and Mishra are restrained as the emotionally wounded daughter and father. And little Jhonta (Nikhil Sahni) and Sadhya (Pankaj Tripathi) are delightful support players.

These characters indicate the strength in the writing of the film and the execution of combating with grief and other morbid objects isn’t gravely morose as it could have been. The film doesn’t steer clear of heavy drama, unlike stereotyped ‘film-festival’ movies. Neeraj Ghaywan and Varun Grover know when to delve deeper into the confrontations and when to pull back, when there’s a requirement for a breakdown and when there’s a need to stay composed.

Masaan never lets the backdrop of its location, i.e. the town of Banaras, or the shocks of the narrative, take precedence over the entire film. As one of the film’s featured musical composition goes, “Tu kisi rail si guzarti hai, main kisi pul saa… thartharaataa hun.” the film passes by melancholically and rattles you gently.

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

Dum Laga Ke Haisha

DumLagaKeHaisha_Poster

Dum Laga Ke Haisha
Release date: February 27, 2015
Directed by: Sharat Katariya
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Sanjay Mishra, Seema Pahwa

As a kid growing up in the 90’s in a yet obsolete suburb of Mumbai, I watched a lot of Hindi films and I loitered as much, emulating the trends of the films that I saw; often around boys who were much older than me. There were some who had given up education, dropped out of school and didn’t do much. Not very ambitious, not swashbuckling in the slightest of quantities. And my grandfather attended the “morning shakhas” in his khakhi shorts. These are my roots which I see thickly embroiled in the universe of Dum Laga Ke Haisha.

Prem Prakash Tiwari (Ayushmann Khurrana) is just one of those dropouts that I knew, clueless about his life, whiling away his hours at his father’s cassette shop in 1995. Except, he’s in Haridwar. He embodies the ‘small town’ naivete and is a man-boy who still doesn’t get to make his decisions, he’s literally browbeaten to marry a girl he doesn’t find attractive. A girl who’s more educated than he is, a girl who even speaks English well. What’s the dealbreaker, you ask? She’s just a tad too “healthy”, code for ‘overweight’ in middle class families.

Sandhya Verma (Bhumi Pednekar) is the girl in the equation. She’s evidently superior to our irritatingly Ganga Kinaare wala laundaa, in the “nature” and qualifications department. The incredibly shaky institution of arranged marriage unites this unlikely pair, at a community marriage ceremony, where a fifty other couples are also taking the rounds of the sacred fire. I’ve possibly listed a lot of quirks from the film at the risk of spoiling the film, but they are simply so delectable, it’d be injustice to them if I didn’t tell you how much character they add to every portion of the story.

Prem doesn’t understand the gravity of raising a family with his sperm, just like a substantially great number of other Indian men. He’s frustrated at his own insecurities and he piles them on his new bride’s physical appearance. It’s a difficult relationship, and the family members, just like in a majority of dwindling actual Indian marriages, offer their suggestions on how to salvage the situation so that they don’t have to face the stupid/stoneage ignominy of being the bearers of children who couldn’t keep up the charade of a perfect marriage, no matter how miserably, for their entire lives.

Set in Haridwar, the characters converse in country-accented Hindi, mirroring their friendships and the dynamics of the sweet-and-sour nature of closely-knit intricate families of the city. The cassettes are beginning to go out of favour and the Compact Disks are starting to roll in. Kumar Sanu is still hot property though. Anu Malik provides the modern soundtrack with Varun Grover’s whimsical lyrics. They successfully recreate the decade masterfully with Sanu and Sadhana Sargam, and juxtapose them with haunting tunes as themes to Prem and Sandhya. Andrea Guerra’s background score, as a few kids on the internet say, “is on fleek”. Pleasantly rhythmical and not at all over-the-top.

A strong ensemble cast, like the one in this film, can never be a bad thing. A good ensemble, like families, provides the constant badgering and the continuous kick-on-the-butt, which this film’s Tiwari and Verma clans keep doing. There is the mother’s emotionally manipulative BS, and another mother’s insufferable sobbing. There’s one father’s shoe-beating, and another brother’s teenage petty cribbing. Sanjay Mishra and Seema Pahwa, after last year’s Aankhon Dekhi, are just invaluably indispensable additions to any film, in any capacity.

Khurrana’s Prem is a particularly unlikeable lad, often with no redeeming qualities. The maker’s goal isn’t that, they don’t want to cause a turnaround in him, nor the viewer’s perception of him. He tries to pick up his studies from where he left them, but he suddenly doesn’t become the goddamn class-topper with his determination. He can’t conquer every hurdle that is thrown in his path, even though he does manage to overcome some of his prejudices–which is perhaps a bigger victory for him. Again, he isn’t likeable, he’s just real.

Bhumi Pednekar’s Sandhya is the thriving girl who finds herself on her groom’s bed wondering what to do. She’s reticent, and yet makes an exemplary effort in making a move to consummate her liaison. She knows that she isn’t in the right place, but she makes the effort to hang in there. She makes Sandhya real and affable.

Sharat Katariya presents what we know, what we’ve seen around. Dum Laga Ke Haisha is enjoyable and accomplishes well what it sets out to do, it succeeds in telling a story which is relateable and yet novel and effectively original.

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

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