Brahmastra – Part One: Shiva (2022)

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Gulabo Sitabo (2020)

Gulabo Sitabo

A rare gem of a film, bursting with authenticity and brilliant performances, it is a simple yet layered tale with well etched characters.

Amitabh Bachchan is not visible at all. All you see is Mirza, the landlord / petty pilferer who loves his mansion.

One of his many long term tenants are Ayushmann Khurana and his family, who are at odds with him. The drama that follows is accompanied with an ample dose of comedy of the classic kind.

A fitting and unpredictable end is the cherry on top of this superb film, directed by Shoojit Sircar.

For creative and nuanced cinema, excellent cinematography, background score, music, lyrics and a superlative ensemble cast, this film is highly recommended!

4/5

Badla (2019)

A murder suspense story, it does not disappoint! Taut direction and short at 120 minutes, it delves into the the expert questioning of Amitabh Bachchan and the evasiveness of Taapsee Pannu.

Twists and turns keep you guessing till the end as the case is turned on it’s head and all possibilities are considered.

Effortlessly keeping you hooked, it’s a recommended watch!

3.5/5

Thugs of Hindostan (2018)

Director of Dhoom 3, Vijay Krishna Acharya thought he could pull off another bad film on Aamir’s shoulders. This time round he had Amitabh Bachchan as well, but even after the big budget and supporting cast, he made a sub-standard film with no pace or thrill.

What worked for me is having no expectations, thinking I will hate it. What surprised me is that the film wasn’t that terrible, but definitely belongs in the bad category. Some jokes and scenes aside, and the excellent special effects, it was a predictable film, with not one or two, but three long scenes where I felt the film will end, but on it went.

Katrina has a few lines, and very odd outfits for the year 1795. Fatima Sana Shaikh has a few more lines and scenes. The action looks artificial, and the story is a rip off of Pirates of the Carribean, as are the characters and slapstick approach. The issue here is the backdrop of slavery and imperial rule which make it a serious affair, don’t work with the forced comedy.

Aamir is decent in a role which doesn’t demand much, and Amitabh, the man is faultless as an actor.

Should you watch it? No… the treatment is worse than formulaic, it’s stereotypical 90s where main leads dance in front of the villain.

Save money. He directed Tashan too. This makes 3 bad films. Wake up Yash Raj Films and Aditya Chopra.

1.5/5

102 not out (2018)

Director of the iconic film Oh My God, Umesh Shukla presents a fresh take on Life, and living it while we are alive. It’s peppered with many laughs and light moments by the three primary characters who bring the story alive from their unique perspectives.

Amitabh Bachchan can do any role with ease and this is no exception. What a cute 102 year old, and so progressive in thought and deed. Rishi Kapoor is his 75 year old son, an opposite personality who is taught to look at life differently. Jimit Trivedi binds them together, a simpleton who acts as a buffer from another generation.

The story isn’t complex but the way the purpose is handled isn’t simple, or easy. But it is very enlightening. A clear message and stance about who loved ones are and what they do.

A must see for every age and especially our senior citizens.

3.5/5

Pink (2016)

It’s a man’s world. From time immemorial women have had to prove and protect themselves, their chastity and their character. Indian society has separate rules for both genders and we need to see, understand and process films like PINK, again and again, to challenge our prejudices and hopefully evolve.

Amitabh Bachchan is a retired lawyer, simmering in the background, watching unfortunate events unfold for three young women. He eventually boils over into a formidable force who turns the entire case on its head with a single word.

Director Anniruddha Roy Chowdhury has created a film where people applauded and cheered at various points, a rare occurrence in a multiplex. The message is loud and clear, and so are the heinous attitudes that prevail for women across our great country. A lot needs to change. Movies like this show there is hope.

Performances are of a high standard from the entire cast. Every member plays his or her part well, whether negative or positive. Amitabh Bachchan is a rare actor who films seem to be written for. His own demons, the way he handles himself and the case, is trademark of his particular brand of legendary. The three girls are super, representing many social messages through the stories of their characters.

Many lines will be with you after you finish watching the movie. But one word will always remain.

Don’t underestimate the power of PINK!

3.5/5

TE3N (2016)

Director Ribhu Dasgupta brings us an unusual and unique set of circumstances which lead to two kidnappings and three people who try to unravel them.

Amitabh Bachchan is a beaten old man, a grand father who is not sprightly or happy. He has one mission and will leave no stone unturned to achieve it. Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays a priest but has a past he doesn’t want to face. Instead he hides behind the will of God. Vidya Balan is credited as a special appearance but is pretty much present through out. She plays the cop who wants to believe but needs proof.

While the premise of the climax is understandable it’s not entirely believable. That said, it is still a good film with some moments that really make you think.

3/5

Ki & Ka (2016)

What do you get when you reverse gender roles? When a man wants to be a home maker and the woman wants to earn? You get director Balki’s half baked film with some isolated messages.

The film moves quickly with Kareena / Kia and Arjun / Kabeer meeting and displaying their personalities, likes and dislikes. An unconventional relationship develops between a university topper and a competitive career driven executive.

My problem with the film was its inconsistency. While Arjun and his mother in law Swaroop Sampat were in character, it was Kareena who deviated. Some of her actions and words didn’t ring true with her decisive and strong outlook.

In the end the message by the ‘cameos’ was better than the real one, but a message nonetheless for the male dominated society that we live in. Arjun was the clear hero/ine of the film. The story would have made more sense if it was about a ‘stay at home dad’. Special mention for the creative interiors of their beautiful apartment.

Baby steps to a larger, stronger and more cohesive message.

1.5/5

Wazir (2016)

Wazir: Bejoy Nambiar brings two powerful actors in a film which centres around a metaphorical and theatrical game of chess. The expectations are high, but the product he delivers is tepid and predictable.

Short at 102 minutes, he extracts good performances from Aditi Rao Hydari who looks vulnerable and beautiful, Neil Nitin Mukesh who is menacing and Manav Kaul who is moderately unlikeable. The two leads of the film are not written equally well, resulting in a half baked character for Farhan Akhtar, and a complete one for Amitabh Bachchan. That is a surprise, because Farhan is a director/actor whose choices are usually spot on. Senior Bachchan can’t do no wrong. He carries the film effortlessly and though his character is wheel-chair bound, he still towers above the rest with his superlative portrayal.

John Abraham makes a wooden cameo, and different versions of the song ‘Tere Bin’ pulls us through what could have been a taut thriller, but is soon relegated into the ordinary and below average.

2/5

Piku (2015)

The high strung story of a hypochondriac father and frustrated daughter leaves us agitated, entertained, in splits and in reflection.

Amitabh plays the constipated feminist with élan, while Deepika aces the angry, caring, unapologetic daughter. Their interaction leaves you exasperated. Enter Irfaan, who is the catalyst of balance in their chaotic lives.

Though the film seems to be about bowel movements, it’s a clever metaphor for bottling issues, anxieties, suppressed  relationships and the delicate stage of life parents reach. It passes messages strong and clear, without pretence or censorship.

A fun film, it takes getting used to. Once you have caught the pulse of the characters you settle in. Sensitively made by director Shoojit Sircar, with an able supporting cast.

A difficult topic to bring to the table, handled in a matter of fact manner.

3/5