The sky is pink (2019)

One of the best films in 2019, the story of the movie had caught the pulse of the audience from the beginning.

Based on the true life story of Aisha Chaudhary, it chronicles the before, after and the beautiful and challenging in between.

Stellar performances by Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim and Rohit Saraf, capturing nuances of a real family, talking about things in a candid and meaningful way.

Shonali Bose had her own story to tell through this directorial, handling a sensitive subject beautifully.

A must watch before the year ends.

3.5/5

Gully Boy (2019)

Zoya Akhtar grows from strength to strength, presenting Dharavi in a way which we have never seen before. She makes a complete film, which has everything one can hope for.

Ranveer Singh shows us that he’s an ever evolving artist. We don’t know what he will grow into next, but every act, every effort, every film, is different. This time round, a demure introvert Murad has a story, a voice, which needs to be heard. And we all sat on the edge of our seats, rooting for him, and his humble talent while he discovered himself.

Alia Bhatt is a fiesty, crafty, intelligent Safeena, who knows what she wants and will do whatever it takes to achieve it. Their chemistry is palpable, and her inadvertent comic timing is perfect.

Siddhant Chaturvedi, who plays MC Sher, is a wonderful friend, mentor and guide to Murad, selflessly helping talent. The film wouldn’t work without the supporting cast, friends, family members, rappers, Kalki Koechlin, who have their own share in Murad’s journey.

The beauty of the film lies in its balance. In the way rap has been woven into thought, at times sublime like poetry and at others like ammunition for a comeback. Either way, the film is pure art, and presented so, unapologetically.

Not many films make me nostalgic, but this one did, for Mumbai, it’s struggles, the gift that it is, and the possibilities that lie there.

This film should be watched in every gully, suburb, town, city, village and country! #TeraTimeAaGaya

4/5

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

Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)

It’s holiday time and the destination is ‘human relationships’. The ever falling and rising of the waves and changing landscapes mirror the complex weave of the Mehra family, who take us on a cruise which turns inward.

At 170 minutes it prepares you for the long haul but it doesn’t seem so. You have a back ground score which relaxes the tension, you have characters which are developed to a depth and breadth rarely seen and you have an adorable narrator.

Having played Ranveer’s beau in Gunday, Priyanka has beautifully transitioned as his sibling in this film. Not only is she sensitive and understated but powerful as well. Ranveer plays the young under achiever with abandon, while Anil Kapoor the male chauvinist and Shefali his silently suffering, Delhi society wife. The family is a reflection of a typical wealthy North Indian set up, but there is much more substance. Not about designer wear or artificial projection of wealth, but classy, elegant and focusing on the issues that lie within.

We have Farhan, Anushka, Rahul Bose, Zarina Wahab providing able support, amongst a host of other characters. But it is the story and writing (by Zoya, Farhan and Javed Akhtar) that deserves special mention. From tense to chill out to comedy to love, they excel in all (pun intended).

The feelings of love are rekindled, romance is handled in a fresh light. Vulnerability is shown differently and so is the breakdown of relationships and the consequent mending. Nothing seems forced or farcical, it’s real family drama which you get to witness at a leisurely but not boring pace.

The film is rich visually, sweeping views which are breathtaking. Director Zoya Akhtar should take a bow for handling such a complex drama, while presenting it lightly and giving ample development to all her key characters and making the film about the contemporary family.

The one shot ‘gallan goodiyaan’ song is my favourite 🙂

4/5

Shaadi ke side effects (2014)

Sid and Trisha, played naturally by Farhan and Vidya, tell us a story not told often or well, for the Indian audience. A lot of aspects are touched upon in this film, how married couples can keep their intimate lives fresh, what changes after having a child, what women and men go through, independently and together, when they become parents.

These and many other nuances of relationships and how they evolve is shown very well on screen, with the right amount of humour and drama. It is only in the end that it becomes a little melodramatic, but they steer out of that zone quickly. How such a film would end is tricky and a very fitting conclusion prevails, where there is equality of the sexes and a twist to think about.

Director Saket Chaudhary, who made ‘Pyar ke side effects’ is back with a fun sequel in this ‘shaadi’ counterpart. Watch to be lightly entertained and come out with a balanced view of life after marriage and kids.

3/5

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (ROM): Sheer Brilliance

Farhan Akhtar: Pure physical strength as an athlete and 110% talent as an actor

With that out of the way, I will start with the one and only thing that I felt could deter the success of this film, and that’s the length. At 187 minutes ‘running time’ (pun intended), it is a medium paced drama that unfolds at reasonable pace. Not one scene or act or song is extra or un-required, but it may seem long for the majority of audiences.

ROM does what he does best, weaving history with cinema in a way that presents a time capsule to us, authentic and un-adulterated. ROM was a national level swimmer, and represented India in the 1982 Asian games, so he is no stranger to feeling the tension and excitement of the ‘games environment’. He has translated that wonderfully on to the screen, keeping in the mind how different the era was at that time.

The journey of the ‘Flying Sikh’, played wonderfully by the young Milkha and carried forward with a towering performance by Farhan, make this film a ‘record’ of sorts. From his humble beginnings, to the scar of partition, to growing up and proving himself, the audience is always with Milkha and watching him at the same time. We develop this relationship of an unsaid mentor, guide or spectator, wishing we could somehow change his path. But he always surprises us with his choices, doing the unsaid, treading the unknown, challenging himself beyond measure and the rest, is of course, history.

Perhaps the misfit in this film was Sonam Kapoor, but her presence doesn’t hamper the film in anyway, and ROM has managed to get a performance out of her too.

Divya Dutta, Prakash Raj, Yograj Singh, Pawan Malhotra, Dalip Tahil and a host of other actors have very well written characters. It would be wrong to say they support the story, as they are in some way part of Milkha himself, not only his journey. So in this respect lets call them extensions of the main character, which rarely happens in movies.

The camera work to shoot a sport like running can get repetitive, but they have paid attention to make sure the angles and shots are different and unique. The cinematography, especially in the scenes where he is training, is breath taking. The music is appropriate for the energy and circumstance of the many events depicted in the film.

I know this review is ‘running a little long’, but as you will realise once you see it, its hard to do justice to it in few words. I thought about who else could play Milkha, and there is no one in our industry who can do so, the way Farhan did. He was a revelation with his many facets, but his most prized was definitely the grit and determination he conveyed WITHOUT the use of his startling physique. He got across the madness, the religious discipline and the many small moments and misdemeanours, which Milkha himself would have come across.

I went with a Bollywood enthusiast who watches 2 films a year, and he wanted this to be one of them, so that should say something. Run to the closest cinema to you, this is one film which will inspire you.

4/5

 

Some Trivia:

–          Milkha sold his story for 1 rupee to ROM

–          Apparently, Sonam was paid 11 rupees for her role (too much, but hey the girl needs to shop!

–          ROM purchased Milkha’s original shoes which he won the Olympic games with, for 41000 USD and gifted them to Farhan