Victoria & Abdul (2017)

A long awaited film for a Judi Dench fan, it didn’t let me down on her account. Stephen Frears, a royal family specialist, directs a lesser known story of Queen Victoria, Empress of India and her teacher and friend, Abdul Karim.

It was the curiousity of the story and how it would be presented, that drew me to it. The grandeur and pageantry is present, but the pace is haphazard. At times it moves too slow, at others too hurried, yet the royal protocols never seem to be in place where Abdul is concerned, from the first moment on.

Performances are average by the supporting cast, and let down further by the screenplay. Judi Dench, at the age of 82 shows us acting and character from every pore, line and wrinkle, whereas Ali Fazal is a worthy and an inversely proportionate tall co-star. He emotes volumes in his gestures and is not as much in awe as in reverence of his Queen and Empress.

It was a rare insight to what could have been her state of mind and loneliness, but we have to remain satisfied with conjecture and it’s limitations.

2.5/5

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Bobby Jasoos (2014)

Vidya Balan is back in many avatars to subtly amuse and investigate the going-ons in her neighbourhood. She is a budding detective, trying to get a decent case to make her independent and tickle her skills. Her accent is adorable and her antics unpredictable.

The strength of the film lies in its simplicity. It doesn’t pretend to be anything big or dramatic, it is sincere, funny, true to its socio-economic setting with characters we can relate to.

Bobby a.k.a. Bilquis is one of 3 sisters in a conservative Muslim family in Hyderabad. A boisterous rebel, she gets a mysterious case and takes us on a short 2 hour journey in the nooks and crannies of the old city area.

She is ably supported by a host of characters; Ali Fazal, Tanvi Azmi, Kiran Kumar, Arjun Bajwa, Zarina Wahab, Rajendra Gupta, Prasad Barve and Supriya Pathak as her ever understanding mother, quite a departure from ‘Dhankorbaa’ in Ram Leela.

Debut director Samar Shaikh presents us a refreshing story that entertains in an endearing way.

3/5

Fukrey (2013)

Fukrey : The beauty of a different story, though completely crazy, and its whimsical characters, directed well on a budget, is what makes this film a winner. Four guys need quick money and the scheme which seems simple gets them into a lot of trouble.

Pulkit Samrat as the ambitious Hunny, Varun Sharma as the dreamer Choocha, Ali Fazal as the lovelorn guitarist Zafar and Manjot Singh as the unconfident Lali are up against Richa Chadda, the female don a.k.a. Bholi Panjaban.

The comedy is superb and the scenes are strung together very well, giving ample doses of humour, tension and ‘what madness will happen next?’.

Well done Mrigdeep Singh Lamba (Director) and Vipul Vig (Screenplay, Story & Dialogue)!

3/5