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!

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

Lust Stories (2018)

Lust stories are four short movies exploring different stories where people explore intimacy in marriage, extra-marital affairs and a ‘no strings attached’ scenario.

It was definitely a step forward for both the actors and the directors Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Karan Johar and Dibakar Banerjee who have been able to direct and present this content thanks to a web release on Netflix.

At 30 minutes each, they were slices in the lives of the many characters played by a great cast, all of whom which give the viewer insights about how and why we may do and feel the way we do.

3/5

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

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