Hindi Medium (2017)

Director Saket Chaudhary weaves a tale filled with satire and wit about the English language in India. Irrfan and Saba play caricaturist roles, at two ends of the spectrum. Their characters are written to convey a social message, but Deepak Dobriyal is the one who provides a reality check. Entertaining and moving, it was a reflective watch.



Inferno (2016)

Rarely are movies better than books, this being one of them. I usually read Dan Brown’s books in a day or two, Inferno took a few months as it was written for a film. It was obvious from the beginning why this and not ‘The Lost Symbol’ was made into a movie.

Ron Howard has done full justice to the visually morbid and disturbing masterpiece by Dante. The film moved fast, keeping all but one main plot point intact. Tom Hanks is his usual dependable self, the only actor who can play the patient, knowledgeable and quick witted Robert Langdon. Felicity Jones is the strong and smart Dr. Brooks. Irrfan Khan has the unenviable task of playing Harry ‘The Provost’, an effortless act done with charm.

In the end, I was left with an experience of having watched a film but not having connected with it. It was all words and fury with none of the emotion or revelation that should have accompanied it.


Madaari (2016)

A must watch for every Indian, this film tells us a truth we all know. The way it is narrated makes us part of the injustice and connects it with our real life.

Director Nishikant Kamat takes on a difficult subject and handles it with a lot of courage, challenging everything that’s in power. Or the concept of power itself, which has been eating away slowly at our existence.

Irrfan has done many memorable roles and this will be counted as one of them. He is understated with sparks of immense angst that show from time to time. What caused that angst and his actions in general make up the film.

Jimmy Shergill plays the law who is cleverly trying to catch him. Child actor Vishesh Bansal plays an important role of a young boy that understands much more than you think it does, or should. We have a bunch of politicians which show us how agendas, loyalties and prejudices make such a big part of how our system is run.

The sad truth where we are left powerless on how to change it, but there it is.


Jungle Book (2016) Hindi version

Jungle Book – Hindi version : I am happy I saw the English version first, because the Hindi one had more humour. Had I seen it first, the English one would have seemed flat. Irrfan as Baloo was hilarious! His punjabi accent and comic timing gave depth to the character. Thoroughly enjoyed it! Priyanka Chopra as Kaa was perfect. Her voice has the right ‘hypnotic’ effect. There is nothing this girl can’t do. Om Puri as Bagheera was pitch perfect and Nana Patekar as Shere Khan was menacing. Shefali Shah as Raksha was strong yet nurturing. Bugs Bhargava Krishna does the voice of King Louie in a dramatic Anglo/Hindi style. The artist who has done Mowgli’s voice is appropriate. The only thing missing was the song ‘Jungle Jungle baat chali hai’. It could have easily been incorporated as the music for the End credits. That would have been complete entertainment for the Indian cinema goer. The film and all its dubbed versions has already crossed 100 crores. An equal, if not better watch!


Jazbaa (2015)

Aishwarya Rai lost a fan with this film. All Sanjay Gupta’s direction does is show different ways to light a scene. It doesn’t matter what content is being shown or spoken, but it should look good.

A nonsensical film which shows a disconnected Aishwariya screaming and screeching, doesn’t work. Poorly edited, laughably written and equally badly directed, he wastes talents like Irrfan, Shabana Azmi and Jackie Shroff.

I laughed a lot during the film, I assume that wasn’t the intention. Logic took a back seat and we wonder what made Aishwariya choose this? The film tries to redeem itself very late in the day, by which time our ‘Jazbaat’ have had enough.


Talvar (2015)

After a long time a gripping murder thriller drama hits the screens. No spoon feeding here ( a la drishyam) and very short scenes which flow fast but give you time to process and lead you to several conclusions.

Irrfan is… What can I say? He is himself. Dependable, real, talented as ever. Carrying out a complicated investigation in the circumstances that his character does, with his perfect reactions, is a treat to watch. Konkona Sen is powerful, has a tricky layered character which she does full justice to.

Megha Gulzar took up the formidable task of putting a real life controversial case on celluloid. Judging by her previous films which were good stories but didn’t get as much commercial success, this one is running house full and is a totally different genre. She keeps it crisp, taut and has a super cast, various supporting characters who do their job wonderfully well. Her capture of politics in the work place, power games and latent corruption are subtle but strong.

All in all you have a rare gem that demands to be seen. The fact that this really happened makes our legal system the scariest thing you would never want to be involved in.


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.


Haider (2014)

Adapting his 3rd Shakespearean text, Vishal Bhardwaj has pushed the envelope as far as he could, shocking the audiences to the micro problems of Haider’s life and macro problems of Kashmir.

The story is simple, and has been shown with a reality that kicks you in your face. The writing is deep, with little nuances you should watch out for by all principle characters. The visuals have been captured with a haunting flavour, telling the tales of deceit, murder, love and insanity.

Shahid Kapur proves yet again why he is set far apart from his peers. His madness, restrain and ‘tragic ballet like’ dance on Bismil speaks volumes for his talent. He looks the part, switches between sanity and unpredictability, giving us an insight into the trauma he has suffered.

Tabu comes a close second to Shahid, playing his mother, showing all sides of a woman who seems to be morally wrong but has her own tale. Her performance is filled with anguish, love for her son and husband and a characteristic streak which cannot be described, only experienced.

Shraddha is present for a few scenes and plays the ‘female lead’. Irrfan Khan plays the metaphorical saviour while Kay Kay Menon embodies a typical Shakespearean character with various shades. Khulbhushan Kharbanda has a few wise words to share and two ‘Salman Khan’ addicts provide some much needed comic relief.

When you read Hamlet you marvel at how well the director has been able to adapt it, given the political landscape and trying to fit the plot in an Indian family set-up. But he comes away leaving you in shudders, at how depraved humanity can be and how much our conscience fights evil inside our mind.

It is a heavy film, slow paced to mirror the life they lead and layered with terror, despair and hurt. One of the finest films of 2014, where all involved braved to swim against the current and present such a piece of art.


Gunday (2014)

A strong back story which starts with the creation of Bangladesh, shows us two young boys who are dealing with the consequences of being hungry refugees. How they survive and grow to be  proud powerful goons in the 80s, forms the riveting beginning. Bikram and Bala, acted in true 70’s style, by Ranveer & Arjun, exude excellent camaraderie on screen. Gunday is almost everything a period film should be in today’s age.

Priyanka plays a sexy cabaret dancer, who is wooed by both young men. Irrfan represents the law that is having a good time chasing them, more for the audience’s benefit than his own, rather than just arresting them. The first half goes by with entertaining amongst some over acting. The second half becomes more hamming, but still manages to retain the mood.

After an unnecessary song, shot ‘a la dil tu hi bata’ from Krrish 3, I was wondering what is Priyanka doing in the film besides looking stunning. She later established exactly why, in one powerful scene. The complications continue and have been given a fitting end, incorporating cow boy, Italian mafia, dramatic Bollywood cinema, all-in-one.

A ‘paisa vasool’ flick, stylised and shot well by director Ali Abbas Zafar.


The Lunchbox (2013)

There are films and there is film making. This movie is the latter and much like it’s name, serves a varied palette of delicate flavours which have to be eaten fresh!

Every nuance of the film, every frame, has a story which completes the recipe of this 109 minute gastronomical delight.

From the invisible ‘aunty’, the annoying colleague, the repressed house wife and the lifeless government worker, the scenes are packed with intelligent insights and a very high emotional quotient, supported by a strong undercurrent of humour and realism.

You can’t help but wonder why our realities are such, but you are hopeful that change is occurring. Awe-inspiring performances by 
Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bharati Achrekar and Lillete Dubey mirror many facets of human relationships in such a short span of time.

Written and Directed by Ritesh Batra, who should be applauded for his craft, one of the many brilliant lines of the film, which struck a chord deep and strong was, “You forget things if you have no one to tell them to.”

Skip every meal, but not this one.