Bahubali: The Beginning (2015)

A very ambitious 2 part project, a total cost of 250 crore rupees (40 million usd) make this a mammoth undertaking for the Indian box office. Key word being Indian. Made in Telugu and dubbed in Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi, it is not a Bollywood film and neither are its sensibilities.

It’s been called many things. A visual spectacle, a special effects marvel, a first for India etc. For me it was a fantasy film which did justice to its theme. It put money on its aesthetics, a big gamble, and it won. They didn’t merely dress the film well, their preparation, casting and finished product were in sync.

Both Prabhas and Rana play their roles effectively, looking the part, which shows a lot of discipline. Prabhas allotted two years of his time to this film. They have a host of supporting characters who do their part well. Mixing fantasy with mythology, there are many inspirations from our tales and history.

The overall feel of the film is one of pride, entertainment and fulfilment. Director S.S. Rajamouli presents a cinematic experience, with brilliant visuals and fantastic action and war scenes. It has already made 230 crores in total worldwide sales in 5 days! I look forward to part two next year.

3/5

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Hasee toh Phasee (2014)

What seemed like a rom-com in the promos turned out to be a dramatic and disjointed film on screen.  

Sidharth Malhotra showed promise in his debut film because he was given a good character. This time round, his dancing has improved and his emotions are understated, delivering some tricky lines without going over the top. But he was simply the ‘male lead’. This was Parineeti Chopra’s film, and her performance was superlative. His character should have been developed and kept in sync with how they show him as a child, matching up to his co-star in every way.

The music leaves much to be desired and the production doesn’t bear the dharma productions trademark, although KJo makes an appearance, hoping it would add some value, but it doesn’t. Peppered with some very good scenes and humorous / emotional moments, it lacked the screenplay and story to make it a film to take home.

2.5/5

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.

4/5

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

Director Ayan Mukherji brings a variety of emotions and nuances of relationships alive on screen, in this closeted musical film. I guess he had hoped but not imagined that all the songs would be so well received, but they are not the only reason this film is good. Here goes…

The writing of the film is meaningful. You have a lot of depth packed into a few dialogues, scenes are short and crisp and so much is said and inferred with body language and eye contact that this doesn’t seem to be a second film of a 29 year old director. People have found the first half packed and fun and the second half slow. Well, the pace was meant to be a slower, and yes I found both halves in appropriate speed limits.

It is difficult to make Deepika look different, or act different, but they have achieved that. She has communicated silently, mostly using her eyes, which is a feat for a young actress. Kalki is a feisty young girl, and fits her character to the T. Aditya is suffering from a different addiction this time, but the last one made more than 100 crores at the box office, so go ahead, indulge! Ranbir, is, well, Ranbir. The perfect combination of genes, talent, looks and sheer hardwork, this man is flawless.

The songs are catchy, fun, different and well shot. I think it was a masterstroke idea to get the crowd revved up by starting with Madhuri’s item number. The womans’ still got it and we get a tiny peek into what entertainment awaits us.

We get to see some beautiful locations around India and the world, which act as mere props because the story is stronger than the visual. A Karan Johar production through and through!

The spectrum of human emotions served delicately, this film is friendship, love, family, work and passion!

4/5

Bombay Talkies

Celebrating 100 years of Indian Cinema, this film is a talented tribute by 4 directors; Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap. Four stories that cover totally different genres, social spaces, dreams, aspirations and goals. What ties them together is the string known as ‘our world of films’.

The story by each director is short, yet complete. The well written characters are played by a confident cast. Urban, rural, modern, conservative, everything is weaved in effectively with a message. As each story begins and ends, you feel you have had a balanced Indian meal, a little bit of every spice and food group, giving you complete nutrition and satisfying your palette.

There is a well shot and fitting song at the end, featuring many of our favourite actors and actresses, either through a montage of their previous work or live in the song. That was the best dessert for such a meal. A proud moment indeed for our cinema and the ones that enjoy it.

It is a time capsule worth watching.

4/5