Posts Tagged ‘ Varun Dhawan ’

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)

Badlapur

Badlapur Poster

Badlapur
Release date: February 20, 2015
Directed by: Sriram Raghavan
Cast: Yami Gautam, Varun Dhawan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vinay Pathak, Huma Qureshi, Pratima Kazmi, Radhika Apte, Ashwini Kalsekar, Murli Sharma, Divya Dutta

In a war, there are excesses. In the modern world, these war crimes amount to conviction and greater ignominy. Badlapur harbors on being a metaphoric representation of that. Two forces of Raghu (Varun Dhawan) and Liak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) against each other, the initially wronged force goes to extents that go far beyond the narrative of a hero’s struggle (revenge here)

Raghu’s wife and kid are victims of a bank robbery outrun involving Liak and his partner. Liak is caught and jailed, Raghu is caught in the web of his misery and jails himself in faraway Badlapur until he exacts revenge. Liak is unrepentant, and unwilling to give up his charade even in prison. Raghu plots and schemes his vendetta methodically by tracing everyone who is beloved to Liak.

Right from the beginning, there are no shades of white and black attached to the supposed protagonist and antagonist; the deeds of the protagonist border on misogynistic and outright psychotic, and even the antagonist might claim that even he wouldn’t go so far.Kanchan (Radhika Apte) and Jhimli (Huma Qureshi) are women who defend their men for any crime they may or may not have done. Raghu viciously uses their vulnerability to inflict pain and humiliation on the men they love.

The cause behind the revenge is sympathetic, yet the revenge itself isn’t as sympathetic. All of this imbalance in a conventionally stacked universe is what makes Badlapur greater than it actually is. Extensively shot in rainy conditions, the mood is rightly kept grim and so is the look on Raghu’s face. All of the ensemble cast, which is lined up to relay good performances, have quirks and traits that flesh their individual characters with broad strokes.

Varun Dhawan is being lauded for “making a brave choice” by playing Raghu, rather it should be the other way round. His portrayal of Raghu lends credibility to his  so-far-one-dimensional acting profile. Nawazuddin Siddiqui cannot be ever praised enough for his performances, and I am not even going to try to read out his strenghts as Liak. As neither Dhawan’s part is a complete pity-case, nor is Siddiqui’s Liak an entirely unlikable bad guy.

Sachin-Jigar’s background score sets the mood perfectly well for the ghastly acts of violence and/or the relatively new (for mainstream Hindi films at least) moments of hate-sex. The violence on display in this quite literal revenge porn is scarce and powerful, owing to its intricately shot techniques. Director Sriram Raghavan extracts long continuous takes in confined spaces such as a basement, a bathroom and an open street, thus rendering a chaotic feel to the order of events.

Badlapur also traverses a time period of almost twenty years in its runtime, and yet doesn’t resort to cliched flashbacks to the start of the story or any other overused instruments of raking mystery. Raghavan smartly touches upon incidences of solitary confinement for Liak in prison and yet doesn’t delve indulgently. He knows that this is the age of understating, and throwing melodrama out of the window, and he executes it darn well.

In all its glory, Badlapur is adamant on hammering the point by ‘telling’ and not ‘showing’–breaking a basic rule of filmmaking. Though, this isn’t the only rule it breaks here. Only this one seems slightly unpleasant at the end with a character verbally spelling out what the climax means.

This here, is a very fun filled revenge story, except the definition of fun is slightly different.

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

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