Posts Tagged ‘ Tigmanshu Dhulia ’

Manjhi – The Mountain Man

Manjhi_the_mountain_man_poster
Manjhi – The Mountain Man
Release date: August 21, 2015
Directed by: Ketan Mehta
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Ashraf-Ul-Haque, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Pankaj Tripathi, Gaurav Dwivedi, Prashant Narayanan

If you belong to the internet generation, which came across Dashrath Manjhi through a shared ‘viral’ post, you’ve seen him through the one dimensional spectrum of greatness that is alluded to him. And if you’ve managed to stay unaware of him, he, almost singlehandedly, broke a mountain in Bihar. The why, and the how of this fact makes up the entire film.

Again, it was a ‘viral’ post that put this man back into popular discourse, and each of these posts are manufactured for certain motives, and Manjhi – The Mountain Man reeks of a similar vibe as well. Right from the initial few minutes, where a voiceover explains things to you, and until the introduction of the adult Dashrath Manjhi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and he’s made to look like a complete jock. Sure, it was done to make him appear “entertaining”, but it doesn’t feel organic. It’s almost uncomfortable to look at.

On his first day back in his village, he chances upon Phaguniya (Radhika Apte) selling handmade toys by the bus stand. Here starts the shaky romantic angle and more hokey attempts at meshing shallow humor. The love story is quite believable and has some flesh in it, but the gag-like moments in the first half appear to be mere tools for making the film just commercially viable.

The film starts earning its ticket money when it gets serious. The serious “parts” keep showing up in between as the film paces in non-linear fashion. The parallel tracks make things confusing as at one point the film seems to be telling you three separate stories about the same person, simultaneously. Sandesh Shandilya’s background score and music is cussword-ing awful. Instead of adding to the moments on screen, it subtracts legitimacy with its unimaginatively titled Phaguniya sounding off every time Dashrath thinks of her. The generic sounds would have passed off in a student short film, not here.

The drama is powerful and even smart in spurts, one such scene is when the country’s then prime minister comes visiting to Manjhi’s hamlet. The whole sequence doesn’t overstay its welcome and is satirical in a subtle way. His struggle to survive, after facing abandonment on multiple fronts, in the mountains in extreme conditions is very well depicted. The earlier back and forth between the parallel tracks makes the film’s tone difficult to grasp. Once it leaves that approach and simply focuses on Dashrath’s journey, it starts to become compelling to watch.

Siddiqui is wasted in pulling off antics similar to the ones that he’s excelled in Gangs of Wasseypur and The Lunchbox. I’ll say the same thing again, he finds new strengths when he does things that he hasn’t done before; when he shreds the persona of being a goof. That, precisely, is the issue with the entire film. It tries to be many things that it shouldn’t have bothered to be. It casts Tigmanshu Dhulia, Pankaj Tripathi as the classic antagonists, to add more subtext to the plot, and to perhaps offer opportunities to build character actions and choices.

Manjhi – The Mountain Man isn’t as daunting and taxing to watch as breaking a hill, but it’s surely less effective as a film than what it could have been.

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

Shahid

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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)

Saheb Biwi aur Gangster Returns

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Saheb Biwi aur Gangster Returns
Release date: March 8, 2013
Directed by: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Cast: Jimmy Shergill, Mahie Gill, Irrfan Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Raj Babbar, Sitaram Panchal, Pravesh Rana, Deepraj Rana, Rajesh Khera, Rajeev Gupta

Saheb Biwi aur Gangster, the prequel was charming, arousing and scintillating. The task of maintaining the earlier film’s integrity and matching up to its levels was real tough, but there are many loopholes and cover-ups in this sequel.

Continuing from the first film, Sahib (Jimmy Shergill) has survived, but is paralyzed and wheelchair-ridden. Even with a handicap, his influence or rather mean imposing nature hasn’t diminished. With his wife, Biwi (Mahie Gill) serving political office, he decides to marry Ranjana (Soha Ali Khan) forcibly. Ranjana is another former king, Birendra Pratap’s (Raj Babbar) daughter. Pratap is promised other royal gains in return for a hushed engagement ceremony between his daughter and Sahib.

Inderjeet Singh, the Gangster (Irrfan Khan) gets involved in the plot as Ranjana’s lover and goes on to become a part of the larger plan. With romantic allegiances forming and crumbling, it is the same powerplay of Sahib Biwi aur Gangster that eventually takes the center stage. The writers devise contemporary topics into the narrative, like a localized version of Anna Hazare’s fast or the actual proposal of dividing the state of Uttar Pradesh in 4 smaller states.

The smart deployment of politicized gimmicks along with witty and the much sought after impactful lines provide the foil for the faults in the repetitive double crosses and lack of depth to one of the film’s major players, i.e. Mahie Gill’s character. She’s incredibly sexy but lacks the punch. The individual performances also try compensating for the mentioned drawbacks, wherein Irrfan and Shergill stand out.

Out of the repeated ensemble cast, Rajeev Gupta’s dumb minister is perhaps the best. And this is how the film sets up, there are exclusive flashes of brilliance but they never translate into a collective display of overall excellence. Sahib Biwi aur Gangster Returns’ valleys leave you tepid and drowned out even with its constant peaks.

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 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)

Gangs of Wasseypur

Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1
Release Date: June 22, 2012
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Richa Chadda, Jaideep Ahlawat, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Piyush Mishra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Reemma Sen, Huma Qureshi, Pankaj Tripathi, Jameel Khan

La vengeance se mange très-bien froide – which means, “revenge is a dish best served cold” from French novel Mathilde by Marie Joseph Eugène Sue is perhaps the center-point of this magnum opus. The canvas is set for fluent masterstrokes for Anurag Kashyap and his meticulously selected creative team and cast alike. Gangs of Wasseypur is set in different eras, where the definition of revenge keeps evolving.

The opening sequence starts from a scene that has a significant futuristic importance.  Shahid Khan (Jaideep Ahlawat) goes against the tide in his village and bears the brunt of that sin, giving rise to an insane need of seeking vendetta from the wrongdoers of Shahid in Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai). Sardar knows what exactly happened and promises to not rest until he gets blood on his hands. Literally, and figuratively. Richa Chadda plays the role of Najma, Sardar’s wife, and she brings the same amount of confidence and ease that she did in Oye Lucky Lucky Oye as Dolly. Najma puts up with Sardar’s all habits with her own inane traits.

Tigmanshu Dhulia with his portrayal of Ramadhir Singh shows you a formidable villain under that director’s hat. Sardar’s indiscretions carry on and reach their peak when he comes across incredibly attractive and young Durga (Reemma Sen) who’s yet a virgin. Ramadhir hangs on to his powerful position while Sardar carries on with his domination, unaware of his intentions. Meanwhile, Sardar’s neighbors from his village seek his help to get rid of the newfound dominance of Sultan Khan (Pankaj Tripathi) from the Qureshi household. Here cultivates the ultimate combination of gory means to establish dominance and put the adversary down in the most gruesome manner.

Nawazuddin plays Faizal Khan , Sardar’s younger son. He’s that somewhat dull kid of the family. He sets his eyes on the strikingly vivacious Mohsina (Huma Qureshi) and plays out an interesting small-town budding romance between them. Gangs of Wasseypur leaves at a break-point where you can’t seem to get enough of the flowing storyline. Do not leave your seats until the end credits finish rolling out, that’s when you get to see the trailer for the next part.

With little scope to display his love for brilliant cinematographic spots with colored themes in the background, Kashyap makes the optimum use of every possible chance that he gets. Making the already binding plot more juicy and visually appealing. The running time could be touted as long, but not once did this viewer stare at his watch in dismay and pain. Gangs of Wasseypur could spoil you with all its seeming perfectness and excellent background scores that provide that ‘extra’ bit of push into the building thrill. No point in raving more about Sneha Khanwalkar’s haunting and well-researched musical compositions.

Jiya Ho Bihar Ka Lala gives you that great question mark at the end making you lust for more of this film. Kudos to the writers and everyone involved in developing the rust-free screenplay that is exhaustive and extensive at the same time.

Gangs of Wasseypur might be compared to the Godfather series and the likes, but it has surely redefined Indian gangster flicks. GoW is a must watch in every aspect.

My rating: ****1/2 (4.5 out of 5) 

Paan Singh Tomar Review

Paan Singh Tomar stillPaan Singh Tomar
Release Date: March 2, 2012
Directed by: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Mahie Gill, Vipin Sharma, Imran Hasnee, Rajendra Gupta

An athlete is driven by higher amounts of inspiration and adrenalin which can only be compared with that of a possessed gun-flashing rebel. The finishing line or the result can only get them to salvation. Paan Singh Tomar (Irrfan Khan) is a no-nonsense disciplined army man who will take even a run around the planet, if ordered by his seniors. He’s seen as a very tough nut to deal with due to his dacoit lineage & Paan’s discerning pride of that, he speaks what he believes in. Paan’s running skills which he’s oblivious of, until they are discovered Major Masand (Vipin Sharma) proove to be a powerful tool to get him off the rolling lists and into the army athletics. 

Tomar travels the world and earns medals, he gets addicted to the finishing line.  The 1965 war is up on the country, and Paan yearns for his call to serve the motherland that he loves; only to be told that the military sportspersons cannot participate in the battle. Back in his village, his cousin is running wild with his seven licensed rifles and berates Paan in front of his brother Matadin (Imran Hasnee) and other villagers. He vandals their fields and brandishes all his metal-covered muscle. Meanwhile Paan, who was kept from serving in the war, wanted to satisfy all his desire. He’s said to be double the age of his co-participants, but still pulls together a win that makes him realize that his time with the games could be over. 

Concerned by all his family disputes, Tomar decides to take up early retirement. Matters get worse, and Paan is subjected to apathy from all quarters he seeks help from. He creates a troupe of men, which includes his god-fearing brother Matadin, Matadin’s son and a few more oppressed youngsters. The fire of vengeance reaches its fulfillment to some extent, but race still isn’t over. It is still a race for him and he strives to reach the finishing line. 

Irrfan Khan breezes through with the local dialect as if he was born into it. Tigmanshu Dhulia ranges the depth of Paan’s character from subtle to vociferous and abusive. Never falling out of line with the story’s needs. The film remains intriguing and evokes a certain amount of empathy at various points. You are provided with English subtitles, since the dialogue dabbles with a lot of local terms. Paan calls himself a Baaghee (rebel) and never a dacoit. This is one biopic you cannot afford to miss out on. 

My Rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5) 

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