Posts Tagged ‘ Vipin Sharma ’

Raman Raghav 2.0

Raman-Raghav-2.0-Poster

Raman Raghav 2.0
Release date: June 24, 2016
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala, Amruta Subhash, Ashok Lokhande, Mukesh Chhabra

Raman Raghav was a serial killer in the ’60s and the rest you can Google for yourself. Raman Raghav 2.0, with a disclaimer, tells us that this film is NOT about him. It’s inspired from his brutalities, and in turn lead to an inspired character who looks up to the notorious criminal.

Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is mostly unnamed through the film, even when he pays a visit to his sister after being away from her for a period of seven years. His sister (Amruta Subhash) isn’t particularly happy to see him; nor her little son and old husband (Ashok Lokhande) but yet he makes himself feel welcomed, if not with his harsh words, then with a car jack and a motorcycle helmet.

Little is given away about his troubled past with his sister, and his individual past. He calls himself Sindhi Dalwai, an alias that the original Raman Raghav went by in his time. He maintains a small diary where he lists down his conquests, often giving them made-up names, as he kills indiscriminately. Or when he gets a call from god, as he claims.

On the other hand, is ACP Raghavan (Vicky Kaushal) who crosses paths with Ramanna, not by chance though. Raghavan is a cop with serious issues. He cokes up at a crime scene. He has an obnoxiously ignorant view on birth control and protected sex. And he has consistent daddy issues, so much so that his father (Vipin Sharma) still gets to threaten him and talk about what a great fuck up he is, in a room filled with strangers.

In an interview, Kashyap claimed this film to be a love story. Ramanna perceives Raghavan to be like him. He feels that they are made for each other because they are both killers. One of them is licensed to kill, and the other one finds killing to be a natural instinct. Just like eating, shitting and fornicating, killing is important too. His act of getting Raghavan to like him sets off the stereotypical cat and mouse chase between the supposed protagonist and the antagonist.

Kashyap even references a little shtick from his Black Friday, in the sardined shanties of Mumbai, brimming with filth and poverty. He plays to his strengths, which are packing in uncomfortable conversations and making them entertaining. Ramanna has a child-like glow when he confesses his transgressions. Simi (Sobhita Dhulipala), Raghavan’s girlfriend, cuts him off in the middle of a, what appears like a usual act of abuse he’d partake in any other night, and attends to a phone call by taking a timeout. You wouldn’t know if you should laugh level dark comedy is his strong point.

The women appear as mere props in the path of destruction, but they both have character. Amruta Subhash playing Raman’s conflicted sister is scared of him, yet she wouldn’t stand by as a spectator while he wreaks havoc in her house. Simi shares a volatile relationship with Raghav. She knows when to tighten the leash around his neck and when to hold back. Only detail they probably missed out on was her profession. A very small, yet confusing flaw.

The performances of all actors involved are thoroughly ingrained with their parts. The camera holds tight frames, fixed on the characters’ faces. The focus, though, slips away from the face to reduce the amount of gore on screen, and substitutes it with powerful sound. Basic storytelling rule done good. You flinch, and your toes curl up. You may even clatter your teeth. Nawazuddin lends a lot to that effect with his towering portrayal of a manic voyeur and a relentlessly honest truthfulness to his reality. The Hindi film industry would do better with some more Amruta Subhash around. She’s extremely gritty and nuanced in the only extended sequence of the film that she is in.

Side note: Mukesh Chhabra was in two films in two weeks. And this performance was a hoot!

Dhulipala has a strong presence and is quite potent in her role. Vicky Kaushal is trusted with a lot of heavy lifting, and he fits in as much as he can without fracturing his back. He is asked to be asserting, authoritative and simultaneously an addict. Again, that’s a flaw I find with the writing. A grouse that I have with the execution of the murders is that there is a consistent effort to dilute the gravity of every act of barbarism with a piece of background music. It’s not on the level that American Psycho did it, where there was absolutely no worth to the loss of humans in the film. But then it’s a recurring theme, which steals some of the investment from the viewer.

Raman Raghav 2.0 is Kashyap toying with a setting that he’s most comfortable in, and just how none of his films are, even this one isn’t about a moral lesson in living your life in a certain way, or not committing forty odd murders on the streets of a city. It’s a purely sadistic slasher film with a perfectly acceptable twist at the end, and with Kashyap’s brand of humor and wit.

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

Shahid

shahid-movie-poster-1
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)

Satyagraha

Satyagraha_Poster Satyagraha
Release date: August 30, 2013
Directed by: Prakash Jha
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Indraneil Sengupta, Ajay Devgn, Amrita Rao, Kareena Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai, Arjun Rampal, Vipin Sharma, Vinay Apte

Satyagraha, Prakash Jha’s take on corruption and its deep roots in our administration, has a lot to offer. Star power, acting prowess and a country background to evoke sympathy for a topic that is consistently in the headlines are the things already working in its favor.

Manav Raghavendra (Ajay Devgn) is an ambitious youngster with a capitalistic mindset, who is ironically best friends with a socially benevolent bureaucrat in the making Akhilesh Anand (Indraneil Sengupta) whose father is an upright system-bashing retired school teacher Dwarka Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) Quoting cliches and going out on a limb against Manav’s existence, Dwarka drives him out of their home and poor Manav can’t even attend Akhilesh and Sumitra’s (Amrita Rao) wedding. Flash forward a few years down the line and both Akhilesh and Manav are in their desired positions.

Tragedy soon strikes and the Anand family faces the ignominy of paying up bribes for their deserved rights and payments. This is where the premise of an impending revolution is laid, as the promises made by the partisan leader Balram Singh (Manoj Bajpai) turn out to be void. In the absence of a second-in-command for the awakening, a small time baahubali Arjun (Arjun Rampal) and the returning tycoon Manav offer support. Incorporating the Satyendra Dubey case and the inception and the eventual falling out of the Jan Lokpal committee,

Satyagraha has less to offer on the shock factor, but the focus at how the decisions and the internal conflicts of the members of the committee develops an interesting story. The individual characters’ dilemmas show how possibly the actual Jan Lokpal could have possibly disintegrated. As much as all other of Jha’s recent films are laced with an antagonist with an underlying dumb sense of humor, Balram and his lackeys possess the same traits.

The screenplay is testing at times, the drama starts gripping you around the halfway mark. The best part about Satyagraha though is that all the characters have shades of gray, they commit mistakes and they realize (of course it’s the good guys I’m talking about) there is character growth and a graph which is clearly visible. And as for the actors, they put in great effort to play their parts right. But there’s a certain level of phony air surrounding the film which simply doesn’t let go till the end. Like Bachchan is emaciated right until the climax, but suddenly cuts a different figure at the end. The sound quality of the dialogue is suddenly very low. The extras appear clueless.

Consequently, Satyagraha is a good drama with some usual staple typecasting and unimaginative lines. Not the best film about the concerned topic, surely competitive.

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

Inkaar

Inkaar Poster
Inkaar
Release date: January 18, 2013
Directed by: Sudhir Mishra
Cast: Chitrangada Singh, Arjun Rampal, Deepti Naval, Vipin Sharma, Shivani Tanksale, Mohan Kapoor

The premise of a corporate fixture that has a serious accusation of sexual harassment lingering is quite interesting in itself. Throw in some confusing emotions between the victim and accused in it and you have a muddled plot.

Rahul Verma (Arjun Rampal) is an established advertising professional and while at an ad award function he spots Maya Luthra (Chitrangada Singh) She’s a newbie copywriter with a headstrong approach to her job. Their first encounter gets off of a more of a condescending note where Rahul tells Maya that her ad didn’t deserve any award since it didn’t focus much on the product. Soon he starts mentoring her and there is the harmless flirting turning into something more than that.

The relationship that they share becomes complicated with the commitment issues and trust problems forcing the protagonists to separate their paths. When Maya returns, she’s much refined and more goal-oriented than ever. Also engaged to another ad executive who lives in the States. Rahul’s stand over her return remains dubious with his residual feelings coming off as competitive and ego hassles.

The film runs as a background to the sexual harassment investigations held by an independent social worker (Deepti Naval) assisted by other employees of the same firm. The eventual incident which causes the stir is revealed much later in the second half thereby progressing the story between the leads. There are uncomfortable closeups, probably to cause that discomfort that the characters face. But there are moments that perhaps don’t go with the overall look and the feel of the film resulting in overdoing cinematographic gimmicks at many junctures.

The ensemble cast of Vipin Sharma as the sleazy Gupta and Shivani Tanksale as the suspecting co-employee along with Mohan Kapoor perform well, but again there are things that happen out of turn and for no significance. NOT TO FORGET: Saurabh Shukla’s atrocious lipsync to a rock number in hiphoppish attire. Also the dependence on Kanwaljit Singh’s character as Rahul’s dad to sneak out a moral high ground seems weak.

Though many would not agree with the movie’s ending, I, on the other hand find it somewhat reasonable. The message that the makers are trying to put forth is that of maybe acting on instinct and morally right decisions. Though all of this doesn’t make up for the clunky and patchy design of the film.

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 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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