Posts Tagged ‘ Sidharth Malhotra ’

Baar Baar Dekho

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Baar Baar Dekho
Release date: September 9, 2016
Directed by: Nitya Mehra
Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Katrina Kaif, Sarika, Ram Kapoor, Sayani Gupta, Rohan Joshi, Taaha Shah, Rajit Kapur

Katrina Kaif’s character keeps asserting that there are two kinds of people in the world, drivers and passengers. She says this to infuse into her husband’s confused demeanor, hoping him to finally take the initiative about something in their marital lives. Similarly, there are two kinds of films, ones that tell a story that we all know, and the others that focus on making something relatively new and light on cliches.

Nitya Mehra, self admittedly is fond of cliches. “I did not go out there thinking, “Oh I need to break away from the mould”. That’s what my upbringing has been and I am very inspired by world cinema. I don’t think there is anything wrong in clichés. Clichés exist because they connect with people. So I actually enjoy the clichés. Certain things like love and family, these are all universal and they are not going to be dated with time.” She says all of this here.

I agree with all of it. She takes old moral lessons and a few contemporary themes and weaves them into an ambitious story that bounces back and forth between the now and the very technologically advanced future. The film starts off with the opening credits along with a small montage of how Jay (Sidharth Malhotra) and Diya (Katrina Kaif) grew up together and fell in love. This footage is so well-made that it could have easily been passed off as a Taylor Swift number from late 2000s and early 2010s. Jay grows into a dork who has a thing for math, or “Vedic Maths” and he thinks that a family is expendable. A career isn’t.

Diya wants to make a marriage out of their decades-long romance. And just like in every other modern work of fiction, where a marriage is involved, we get a person questioning their choice of getting locked down with this another person for the rest of their lives. This has become so common, that every TV show, film, web-series, or a goddamned listicle can’t go without it. I’ll be surprised if someone suddenly shows me two very confident people sticking to their decisions.

Here starts the display of angst-ridden, commitment phobia and plain dickery by Jay who badgers the priest (Rajit Kapur) with questions about the “logic” behind all of the ceremonies in a Hindu wedding. I call it dickery, because he chose to be involved in this. He said yes to the proposal of a wedding from his girlfriend, and this isn’t a Christopher Hitchens invitational. His character could have set his foot down on the do’s and the don’ts of the whole affair, but he didn’t. Instead, he despises every part of the long drawn-out matrimonial procession.

There’s a breaking point for this already broken and feeble protagonist where he makes clear that marriage is a big, bad, ugly mistake. Okay, those may not be his exact words and could be mine, but he says something to that effect. Watching Rajit Kapur play that priest also felt like a big, bad, ugly mistake on the casting director’s part. Jay falls into a time spiral where he keeps taking exponential leaps in the future, and he sees how his life could be if he made different choices or stays unbent in his ways. He seeks the priest’s advice and every time Rajit Kapur spews his redundant verbiage about life and morality and blah blah blah, I couldn’t help grimace.

Minor factual inaccuracies pop up, like making people call the sport “soccer” and not “football” in England, and ordering a butter chicken and butter naan and extra butter and not showing it at all!? Where is all that glorious fat and diabetic goodness of butter and chicken gravy and naan, man?

The film needs to be lauded for its depiction of the future, be it 2018, 2023, or 2047. Technological advancements are omnipresent, reminding you of that large, sentient talking screen in Black Mirror. The scale of visuals is commendable, and the constant effort of burdening Sidharth Malhotra with emoting a lot is a bold decision. I opine that he isn’t a poor actor, but then his character is a confused customer. He only sees clarity in mathematical mumbojumbo, which in a way, contributes largely to him having a range of befuddled expressions throughout the emotional parts of the film.

The writing is potent at times, and even ends up developing a story for the supporting cast as well. The lines, not as much. Katrina Kaif, to her credit, in a role where she has to perform a bunch of feelings over and over again, in a recursive fashion, does mighty well. Though, she is incomprehensible in the scenes where she’s asked to cry and recite lines at the same time.

Baar Baar Dekho, with a cheesy name and a somewhat cheesy plot, isn’t particularly grating to watch. Rather, it’s an interesting film for the huge leap it attempts to make in futuristic storytelling. Then again, the protagonist’s resolution and transformation comes in a little too late and isn’t even fulfilling either. A heavier metamorphosis wouldn’t have necessarily helped the cause either, but the agents or harbingers of change are not very credible here.

A little bit more fun, and a little less labored contemplating would have probably made the film crisper.

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

Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)

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Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)
Release date: March 18, 2016
Directed by: Shakun Batra
Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Rajat Kapoor, Ratna Pathak, Fawad Khan, Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt

In the myriad of films that revolve around familial relationships, drops another flick about dysfunctional dynamics and the chaos that they can bring along. Last year, it was Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Dowhich was all about loving your family, albeit on a heavily fashionable cruise somewhere in Europe; Shakun Batra’s Kapoors are tucked in cozily in their mounded house in Coonoor. The Kapoors share plenty of similarities with other filmy clans, they’re good looking, charming, probably even good at sport! That’s where the similarities seem to end.

The family patriarch is a dirty grandpa (Rishi Kapoor) who practises falling dead at a dining table. He still harbors fantasies of skinny dipping into the ocean with attractive women beside him. An aggravated heart condition puts him in a hospital bed and the news is communicated to his two grandsons, Rahul (Fawad Khan) and Arjun (Sidharth Malhotra), both of whom have relocated to different parts of the world with a common underlying ambition. With prosthetic makeup on, Rishi Kapoor’s Daadu is the center of action and attention, as he expresses few of his “dying wishes”. One of those wishes is to capture all of his family in a happy picture.

There’s pent up tension manifesting in fights and confrontations between every possible pair of characters, be it Sunita (Ratna Pathak Shah) and her husband Harsh (Rajat Kapoor), or just the brothers, or Sunita and either of her sons. As frequent as the throwing of objects and abuses is, equally frequent are the apologies and ironing out of differences. Above all, there’s an overbearing theme of acceptance. Arjun strives to gain the acceptance of his parents as he’s always been the lesser of the two sons. Rahul seeks a nod of approval for settling down with the person that he loves. Suneeta struggles to acknowledge her sons’ decisions and her husband’s indifference.

All of this emotional heavy lifting and drama is eased in after creating a universe where the characters grow on you through hilarious exchanges between the main cast and light fringe characters, and amongst themselves. The humor borders on adult content, surprisingly, yet rarely coming across as too desperate. A lot of this humor is sucked out of the narrative in the post-intermission half. Alia Bhatt’s Tia isn’t always kept as a major player, and as the screenplay goes, it’s refreshing to see the “love interest” angle be sidelined. She’s smart, funny, and never too stuck up. Rahul and Tia’s cool make up for Arjun and Suneeta’s sentimental hotheadedness.

Fawad Khan has a slightly bulging waistline and suddenly I am no longer ashamed about mine. His character is the refined, vanilla good boy and gosh, he’s adeptly well-equipped at that. Shah and Kapoor, work well off each other, with their constant bickering and brief moments of affection. Rishi Kapoor holds it all together with his part-poised-part-boisterous Daadu. He is offensive, and an ardent Mandakini with a big mouth on him.

Unlike earlier filmy families of the past, where you’d be just amazed at the scale of the personal choppers, handbags, car sizes, Shakun Batra’s family drama is a blessing. They don’t even immediately fix the big dent on the rundown car after a minor accident! Nothing is sugarcoated, no silly aashirwaads and a hundred aartis; just some fists thrown at each other, a few smokes shared in dark nights and a healthy dose of realistic issues and a moving depiction of entertaining events.

Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921), as one of the characters mouth in the film, is all about giving an ending to the viewers that we all can’t seem to achieve, but an end that we all want.

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

Brothers

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Brothers
Release date: August 14, 2015
Directed by: Karan Malhotra
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Jackie Shroff, Sidharth Malhotra, Jacqueline Fernandez, Shefali Shah, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Ashutosh Rana, Kiran Kumar

Amongst the innumerable remakes that spring up in Hindi cinema every year, I can’t hold the remake against the original as a huge chunk of these films are unknown entities for me. I happen to be acquainted well with the film that Brothers is adapted from, i.e. Warriors. The 2011 original was supremely grim, slightly contrived and largely dramatic and ruthless in its handling of  severed bonds and their consequences.

Karan Malhotra willingly waters down every ingredient of the film, to accommodate two excruciatingly grating and intolerably long flashbacks and one of them is, to put it politely, quite useless. David (Akshay Kumar) and Monty (Sidharth Malhotra) are, you guessed it right, brothers. According to the film’s technicalities, foster-brothers, but yeah. The wedge driven between them is drawn by their alcoholic father Gary (Jackie Shroff) who is a former “underground fighter”.

The sons take off individually in their father’s flight and grow up to be… “underground fighters”! David has a family and is therefore forced to lead a more secure lifestyle. His daughter has an ailment which is mentioned verbally thrice in the span of thirty minutes and is almost forgotten thereafter. The film overloads itself with stereotypes and works up a formula for the order of proceedings, and that is how it plays out; emotions before the interval, and all the fighting humdrum after.

To be fair, the original film didn’t boast of being very innovative in the first place, but Brothers just goes on to kill any blemish of innovation or experimentation which could have possibly existed. It bludgeons your intelligence with mediocre storytelling, awful commentating and it thrashes your ears with its jarring background score and the painfully unimaginative soundtrack. The extensive length of the flashbacks rule out adequate screen-time and thus any scope for showing any range for the actors.

Jackie Shroff gets to be around as the bumbling, incoherent drunk and he’s a perfect 8 (8 because the film has obviously lowered its own set of expectations). Jacqueline looks good and talks her own limited Hindi. Who could have thought this would have been an achievement for an actor in a Hindi film! Kumar and Malhotra look their parts and immerse themselves in the often technically unsound action sequences. Kareena Kapoor does a faux striptease.

The film’s climax, which was very emotionally touching to see in Warrior, stands overwrought here as there is no empathy for the two pieces of beef grappling on the screen. You’re asked to feel an ocean of grief and a few more things when they fail to earn any of it.

My rating: *1/2 (1.5 out of 5)

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