Kalank (2019)

The film sets its period tone from the beginning, weaving its story slowly and introducing its characters.

The plot moves at a languid pace, some sequences are brilliant while others lack a punch. All actors have done their part well, Alia Bhatt, Madhuri Dixit and Varun Dhawan have a larger emotional spectrum. Sanjay Dutt, Sonakshi Sinha and Aditya Roy Kapur lend able support. The story and dialogue don’t support them as they should have.

Director Abhishek Varman presents an aesthetic film which could have done with better editing and writing. It was sad to see many talents get wasted, their characters not well written and scenes and songs which drag on or are not required.

30-40 minutes shorter with crisper lines, the film would have had more appeal. As it stands it’s an average fare.

2.5/5

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Sanju (2018)

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.

3.5/5

PK (2014)

Aamir Khan redeems himself from the Dhoom 3 debacle after his sincere and comedic performance in pk.

What looks like a drama on religion is actually a very clear message about how to be human. And it’s even more effective when told from pk’s character. It shows us how complex our lives are especially when it comes to matters of faith and love.

Though the message isn’t new, it has been told with a zest and humour which made it more appetising and definitely less preachy. Anushka Sharma plays the reporter and comrade Jaggu with an ease of a seasoned actress. It was nice to see Sanjay Dutt, Boman Irani, yesteryear Pyarelal aka Ram Sethi, Saurabh Shukla and of course Sushant Singh in short but effective roles.

Not relying on special effects or long winded theories this film goes straight to the heart of what it means to be human and have faith. While pk mimics the actions of those around him, he asks an age old question. He provides a fitting answer too, in a signature ‘finale mass media’ Vinod Chopra Raj Kumar Hirani way.

They have come up with a concept which is very delicate and a potential time bomb of a subject in a country like India, but they have walked the tight rope well. Since the ‘perspective’ is pk’s, its ownership too lies with his species. The writing is crisp, light and doesn’t leave anything unexplained. Logic and reason take center stage in a debate which was engaging as it was entertaining.

In the end it took ‘no understanding of ourselves’ to reflect what we have become and how we can still save ourselves. That was the films larger message amongst it’s many commentaries, all of which are sensitive, appropriate and not tipsy but very much in their senses!

4/5