Posts Tagged ‘ Sonakshi Sinha ’

Akira

Akira Poster

Akira
Release date: September 2, 2016
Directed by: AR Murugadoss
Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Anurag Kashyap, Konkona Sen Sharma, Ankita Bhargava, Nandu Madhav, Amit Sadh

AR Murugadoss has a reputation for rehashing South Indian blockbusters and infusing them with bone-shattering violence and a few metal rods scattered here and there, for the ease of more, right, violence! Akira, surprisingly, isn’t as loaded on the pow-wow where it could potentially render you indifferent to the proceedings on screen.

For its run-time of 138 minutes, the film crams in a lot of contrivances, themes, and not many didactic messages. Akira, the character’s exposition is laced with a strong little social commentary. The young girl in Jodhpur is enrolled in a martial arts class by her father and a very formative situation leads her to being locked up in the remand home. There’s tremendous scope of using this detail into something bigger for when she grows up, but then the makers choose to fly by all of it in a song sequence. Fortunately, the only song sequence of the film.

Post her return and acquittal, the adult Akira (Sonakshi Sinha) doesn’t face any major social stigma or ostracization. Her family thinks that they are transporting her to Mumbai for her greater good, and maybe, she will have more options in education. Akira is smarter than that. She knows better, yet she relents.

In Mumbai, ACP Rane (Anurag Kashyap) rolls a censored object in a police vehicle, while his subordinates look on, scared for their lives as he insists on driving the car and pulling off a stunt. Rane is the perfect antagonist for any and every protagonist. He is vicious, corrupt, cunning, and sadistically enjoyable to watch. A few hundred things and some terribly grating scenes later, Akira and Rane end up crossing paths and here begins an elaborate attempt to eliminate her.

The deck is heavily stacked against Akira, who, to her credit, never goes soft. Even when her horribly naive family believes a theory concocted by Rane’s men. If there’s ever an sequel to this, please make her abandon them. Rabiya (Konkona Sen Sharma) is a tepid implicit supporting character to Akira’s struggles. She labors her way through a pregnancy and acts all alone to investigate the film’s highlight case.

Did I mention there are a few more badly shot sequences inside a completely caricaturish mental asylum?

To the film’s credit, Akira’s character is never held as a damsel in distress, and never are her combat skills disregarded. In a slightly humorous moment, she even indulges herself in a little humble-brag while beating up chumps in a cafe. The action choreography, and her movements, on the other hand, aren’t as polished as one would expect from an out-and-out action film specialist. Sonakshi is given little range to play around with her facials, as her character remains majorly reticent and brooding in the second half.

Then there are the convenient logical flaws with the story which don’t hurt the plot much, but make it harder to invest thoroughly into the film. At the same time, the film doesn’t try to tick all the boxes of a commercial entertainer, wherein it doesn’t bother to append a mandatory love interest or deviates to a course that completely appears out of place.

Akira isn’t a film about women empowerment or a lesson in equality for female lead characters in Hindi cinema. But the fact that all of its focal story points are women: be it the girl who gets acid thrown in her face by an obnoxiously self-entitled jilted stalker, the girl who Rane exploits, the altruistic Rabiya’s earnest will or even the poorly dubbed transgendered sidekick at the asylum; the issues that these women face, and the strength which they depict and act with, makes it an important and a fairly entertaining watch.

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

Lootera

Lootera (2013) Movie Poster
Lootera
Released date: July 5, 2013
Directed by: Vikramaditya Motwane
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, Adil Hussain, Arif Zakaria, Vikrant Massey, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Shirin Guha

As one of the two on-the-run men is fallen, and the accomplice manages to escape, snowflakes start falling. A pensive autumn tree losing its leaves being looked upon from the misty windows of a house in Dalhousie. The restless fiddling with a light switch depicting a young lady’s constant reveling in the same. These are just a few from a series of charmingly beautiful visuals from Lootera.

Set in newly independent India of the 50s, in an affluent zamindaar household of bright and sunny Calcutta, Pakhi Roychoudhry (Sonakshi Sinha) is an aspiring writer with gleaming eyes and perfectly tucked in saris. She is playful yet contained, portraying an innocence of a bygone era. Cushioned by a formerly royal lineage, she makes time to cherish the smaller things.

Varun Shrivastav (Ranveer Singh) is a state archaeologist in search for ancient figures and in that pursuit lands in front of the Roychoudhry house. He starts his excavation on the property and finds a soft spot with the hospitable hosts. He creates a wooden canvas on his every assignment, and on being asked about his interest with blank canvases, he reveals he’s waiting to draw an eventual masterpiece.

From a head-on collision in a chance encounter to charring Varun’s hand deliberately; from stealing glances to sitting next to each other by the lakeside and whispering sweet nothings; from being passionately in love to forcibly injecting asthma curing drugs– it is this natural progression of Pakhi and Varun’s story that renders an intimate and uncontrived vibe to it. Abstaining from heavy declarations of feelings, Lootera thrives on situations and their power of carrying them through without unnatural dialogue.

Motwane and his cinematographer Mahendra J. Shetty elicit a vibrantly enthusiastic feel to the first half and at the same time juxtapose them with darker shades to consistently maintain a contrast that goes with the different characters. Open spaces are highlighted as diligently as the confined rooms and windowpanes. Amit Trivedi’s music and background score is more of a match tailor made for the film.

Sonakshi Sinha delivers one of her most valuable performances as she ranges between being young and chirpy, and morbid and gloomy. She is in such form that you’re often distracted by her expressions from her ethereal appearance. Ranveer Singh is not on her level here though, but even that’s enough to hold your attention. O. Henry’s short story, “The Last Leaf” is finely woven into the film’s narrative, so much that you relinquish a certain emotion and start cheering for one of the protagonists in a certain scene. (I don’t give away any spoilers.)

As much adjectives I’ve used up to this point to describe Lootera’s brilliance, I’m still left with a few more. But I’d rather not delve in the depths of its excellence again for that will simply not end. There may be a blemish or two, which I won’t tell you.

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

P.S. Excuse the shoddy rhyme in the last line and go watch Lootera with compassion and all silence.

Dabangg 2

Dabangg 2 poster
Dabangg 2
Release date: December 21, 2012
Directed by: Arbaaz Khan
Cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Prakash Raj, Arbaaz Khan, Vinod Khanna, Manoj Pahwa, Deepak Dobriyal

Before I start appraising/berating this movie, I’d just clarify that I am not going to waste any words and be all ‘straight to the action’ just like Bhai Salman or Salman Bhai.

Salman Khan’s character Chulbul Pandey is transferred from a small town to a comparatively larger town, and that’s what you expect from this sequel to Dabangg, to move to a higher level. But no. Director/actor Arbaaz Khan takes up the same mould as that of the first part and fills up the screen with almost repetitive gloss. There’s no room for the evolution of any of its characters, for example: Sonakshi’s still the same coy Indian bride, rather subsided, belittling everything that her “Thappad se darr nah lagta” line did in the prequel.

The plot is pretty much your standard 80’s ‘story’. Chulbul Pandey’s transfer to Kanpur ticks off the political bigwigs and goons alike, and a new ‘villain’ is born as Bachcha Thakur (Prakash Raj) and his brothers. One thing leads to another and just those two things happen and holy shit, you have the climax in front of you and you don’t even feel that major fight sequence brewing. There’s the shirt ripping too, but when you notice how desperately they’ve got to remove them, you’ll laugh. I laughed!

The only saving grace (?) could have been the lines and dialogue. But there’s not one memorable line that you’ll take along with you. So, a commercial entertainer without a thumping build towards the climax and all around short in most of the departments isn’t even a good ‘no-brainer fun flick’, right? Right!?

I know I am right. I leave this review the way I am leaving it so that you know how I felt when this film got over. INCOMPLETE. (Start singing this Backstreet Boys number, people)

P.S. Extra half star for the Fevicol item number.

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

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) 

Rowdy Rathore Review


Rowdy Rathore
Release Date: June 1, 2012
Directed by: Prabhu Deva
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, Paresh Ganatra,  Yashpal Sharma, Gurdeep Kohli.

The only way I could do justice to the film is by writing my review in rainbow colored font accompanied by jarring underlying sounds that could potentially cause bleeding from your ears. A mishmash collection of things from the ’90s that you’d like to forget (yes, a never-ending Kumar Sanu wedding song) along with a lofty, uninspiring plot is what this film is.

I’m trying to figure out what actually happened during the production meetings held between the makers.

Suit 1: Prabhu Deva sir, we all liked Wanted very much. Any chance of doing something similar with a different actor?
Suit 2: (Interferes) Everyone liked Singham as well, hope you can possibly incorporate some stuff from that.
Prabhu Deva: It must be in Hindi, right?
Suits unanimously: Yes, why else will we even convene a meeting!
Prabhu: Alright, I’m gonna take this film more down-South. We’ll have a lot of belly-button fixated shots. Long shots, close-ups. Doesn’t matter. But lots of stomach. Stomach is the new cleavage.
Suit 1: What about item numbers? Do you know any inexpensive alternatives to the mainstream heroines for that?
Prabhu: Reality show winner? Okay? Will add to the mass appeal.
Suit 2: Anything you say, sir. Keep it austere.
Prabhu: Fixed then. Let’s flip a coin now.
Suit 1: Sir, flipping the coin for deciding the tone of the film, or the cast?
Prabhu: What are you high on? I meant to do that about the script.
Suit 2: Oh, never mind, sir. We’ll just flip the coin about everything. So, when do I send over the check?
Prabhu: Let’s flip a coin for that as well.
Suits collectively laugh and walk into the sunset.

If you don’t get any of that, I’ll sum it up. The first half is as terrible as watching a cat trying to brush its teeth. The second half is your any South Indian masala movie-catalyzed with some 90’s moronic Bollywood trash. There are a few laughs & a rare item number with THREE superbly moving women (special mention to them, Mumaith Khan, Shakti Mohan and Maryam Zakaria) none of the performances are unforgettable. Entertaining in bits and pieces.

My rating: ** (2 out of 5) 

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