Gangubai Kathiawadi (2022)

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is synonymous with portraying strong women and their point of view. This is a tale which shows the heroics of Gangubai, a woman wronged by love, who rights the life of many as she fights the good fight.

SLB has struck to the brief. There is grandeur in the details, which form the backdrop for the talents of the entire cast. The highlights are Alia Bhatt, Seema Pahwa and Vijay Raaz. The performances grip you, the writing entertains, enlightens and jolts you, the songs and turning points give you hope in a world which has been cast aside.

We get glimpses of the lives of many such women, their back stories and tragedies, but the film doesn’t dwell on that. It’s always looking forward, as did the protagonist in real life, while imparting many life lessons, philosophies and truths in her candid manner.

Different from his earlier films but with his trademark for the dramatic, this one is another feather in his illustrious cap.

A must watch for its strength and dignity.

4/5

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De de pyaar de (2019)

Directed by Akiv Ali and written by Luv Ranjan, they present a mature and progressive film which looks at relationships for people both younger and older. It explores a new romance and an old bond, with ample doses of comedy and some innuendo.

Ajay Devgn is restrained and subtle in a role that demands him to be so. Rakul Preet Singh is confident and plays her age and all the emotions that come with it. Jimmy Shergil lends able colourful and comic support. Alok Nath does a repeat act of his previous film with Luv Ranjan, and Tabu walks away with the best in this film. She is graceful, vivacious, a sensible head on her shoulders who exposes her vulnerabilities just like any human being. A brilliant actor!

The film is fun and light for most parts, maintaining a healthy balance between emotions and comedy.

3/5

Drishyam (2015)

What could have been a taut thriller turned out to be a dragged, stretched drama which became predictable and at points, laughable.

What surprises me most is Ajay Devgn and Tabu agreeing to do such caricaturist roles where they are literally spoon feeding the audience, rather than emoting.

By the time the movie finished many people were repeating the clues as a joke, and the repetitive and simplistic nature of story telling diluted any impact it could have had.

All in all, a good story in an average film which needed to be atleast 40 minutes shorter with no songs. The character graphs were haphazard and the only relatable characters were Rajat Kapoor and the little girl.

2/5

Mahabharat (2013)

Director Aman Khan who also made the animated film ‘Krishna’ in 2006 brings us this tale in 2013. The interesting approach was to have the character’s facial features match the actors who were doing their voiceovers. The tale is known to all, but it was compressed well to fit the 2 hour film format, covering all the highlights.

It is very expensive to make good quality animation films, and takes a lot of time. When Hollywood releases such movies, their estimated production budget can be anywhere between $100 – $150 million dollars. The aspect which suffers here is the very unfinished and amateur animation which we are forced to consume. This could very well be a rough draft brief to an animator, but alas, it is the finished product.

There will not be a market big enough for such a film, though ‘Bal Ganesh’ and ‘Ganesha’ were a rage with children. I understand why much money couldn’t be pumped into the film to give it the look it deserved. Close up shots show us major faults and lack of expressions, such important details for an epic like this.

It can be educational for children, but even the stellar voices cannot save the film for adults.

2/5