Made in Heaven (2019)
It was so refreshing to see such exemplary content and no surprise it’s so moving once you know the team behind it, Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti. Created by them, and written by them and Alankrita Shrivastava, the stories are carefully crafted to evoke many emotions.
The stories are so beautifully written and presented, with a mature and understanding outlook. There is no melodrama as we dive into the most intimate thoughts and feelings of the characters.
The recurring cast has great performances, Arjun Mathur, Dhulipala, Kalki Koechlin, Jim Sarbh, Shashank Arora and Shivani Raghuvanshi invite you into their worlds, and you feel invested right away. That being said, each and every cast member is super, every character complete.
The four directors at the helm, Nitya Mehra, Zoya Akhtar, Prashant Nair and Alankrita Shrivastava deliver rich episodes with lots of superior content to process, real stories set in the current world that challenge every stereotype and include most sections of society.
I can’t wait for season 2!
From the moment this project was announced I was wondering how the subject would be treated, and how it would be balanced entertainment.
The way it was handled by Raj Kumar Hirani, no surprise there, was superlative. Not only has he managed to say one side of the story (as we know there are always many sides) in a remarkable way, but he’s done justice to all the characters, big or small.
Manisha Koirala is beautiful as the late Nargis, so much grace and spontaneity, she was perfect for the role. Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt was one of the three main pillars of the story, dependable and stoic, he was every bit the actor and person so many admired. Jim Sarbh was effective in a short role, as were Anushka Sharma and Dia Mirza. The second pillar, a fast rising actor Vicky Kaushal is a talent to be reckoned with. He holds his own in the frame with Ranbir and Paresh and has an exemplary presentation of his character ‘Kamli’.
The third pillar, Ranbir Kapoor, is someone who can never be accused of bad acting. He’s flawless in a role which walks the right rope portraying a living actor, who has been admired by many, so much so that the audience erupted in applause at the end of the film. He has shown a struggle with drugs/alcohol, the relationship with his parents, the underworld and his love life with such sincerity that it almost seems we are voyeurs to the real life of Sanjay Dutt.
This film is heart touching, reveals some facets which may be fiction, or fact, but make for good story telling. At the end, what is truth but a perspective and who knows it, but the ones who have lived through it? The film raises a very important point about media and how news is created. Something for the world to be wary about.
Do stay for the end credits song. It’s the icing on the cake.
Director Ram Madhvani brings a story on the silver screen 30 years after it happened. The highest Indian award for bravery, the Ashok Chakra, was given to Neerja Bhanot, who saved over 300 lives on a PAN AM aircraft which was hijacked in 1986, with the help of her crew. The film is a dramatisation of the event.
Sonam Kapoor works in the title role purely because she is supported so well by a gifted cast. She gives a sincere, strong and under-stated performance with sparks of brilliance and realism.
The film is as much Sonam’s as it is Jim Sarbh’s, a theatre actor who plays one of the menacing hijackers. He is unpredictable, unforgiving and truly terrifying. The other hijackers show us the varying differences between people and personalities who would take up such a mission.
Shabana Azmi as Neerja’s mother is a typical Punjabi woman in the 80s, who dotes on her daughter and tries her best to deal with her own trauma. Neerja’s father instills independent and fair values in her, while her brothers adore her.
Shekhar Ravjiani makes a special appearance as the man who likes Neerja. The film is cast heavy with dozens of actors playing passengers, airport staff, her neighbours, crew etc. They have recreated a tricky era well, getting nuances and details right for the most part.
The film is taut, with a riveting plot, crisp editing and appropriate tension. It pays homage to one of our heroes at the tender age of 23 and is a pure ensemble effort.