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Reviews

The Next Three Days
(2010)

Suspense and Emotional Interplay with admirable balance!
English review Suspense thriller with emotional play: The next three days 2010

You need to watch this excellent movie with stellar performances of Russel Crowe and Elizabeth Banks to see how to make a suspense thriller with a murder accused a working lady falsely sentenced and her husband a College professor evolving a detailed plan for her prison break. The movie with excellent jump editing , flashbacks with a non linear storytelling is both gripping and an emotional roller coaster showing the different hues of emotions the family of three goes through ... Superb performances, good production values and not too many action scenes and nothing overtly sexual make it worth watching with family/ friends. IMDB rates it 7.4/10. I would rate it 9/10. Well done!!

The Girl on the Train
(2016)

Dead giveaway dialogue spoils the suspense!
It went along non linearly from the beginning to end, quite unnecessarily, perhaps many directors believe that is the formula to success in any thriller.But hell of a lot of too much of back and forth makes the screenplay jerky and keeps you confused rather than engrossed. There is a thin line in between and The director has crossed it unfortunately. But the dead giveaway piece of dialogue was when Tom tells Anna that "Rachel did not kill Megan, She is quite harmless you know". He says it in such a tone and body language that I immediately knew that this guy is the culprit. It just remained to be seen and how and when he gets caught. And he does. He meets his end too in a very predictable way OKey-Dokey film.. 5/10

U Turn
(2016)

U Turn: Ridiculous plot holes in otherwise OK thriller
Ghost film ? Thriller? Mystery..? The Director is confused and leaves you too in the same condition in this underwhelming film..

SPOILERS:

Safe to write spoilers after nearly an year has elapsed. Because I want to express my anguish at the plot holes in what could have been an otherwise OK thriller.

1. Ghosts kill and take revenge just like humans. Not one but two, A mom and child who were knocked dead on the ill fated flyover.They ride home on bike pillions , making the bike falter till they climb on. They are so adept at murders that they can make them look like suicides too. They eat apples partially and bring them back to full shape too. Ghosts are super natural, remember?

2. You can see ghosts,( well only some of the characters, whosoever director decides that you can see) they talk and and touch and you can hug them too.

3 They( ghosts) can break the fall of someone who jumped off a skyscraper and make the body slowwwwlllly thud down without fatal injuries. WOW!. That is original!

One time watch, without putting any thinking caps...

RangiTaranga
(2015)

Poor Hotch potch story but good presentation
Hackneyed horror cum serial killer plots with unnecessary haunted house and bhooth thrown in to create red herrings and mislead the audience. Then the Director probably realized that he cannot scientifically explain a REAL bhooth to today's audience does a topsy-turvy and makes it a serial killer of pregnant women theme ( yuck )...This is nothing but cheating audience with horror elements like vehicles stuck in road and bhooth flitting across the road and haunted house with unnatural sounds finally left unexplained after the mandatory killing of the villain. well, no one gets punished for 2 murders committed in the movie, the heroine;s first one and finally the villains. The end is abrupt and leaves the audience hanging with many unanswered questions. Not an excellent thriller but for Kannada films today, Okay may be. I have seen better thrillers in our kannada like shh! and aparichita and aalemane.

English Vinglish
(2012)

Vintage sridevi returns and delights
Diamonds are forever…

No, I am not referring to the classic James Bond flick, but paying tribute to our own versatile actress Sridevi. The lady who went into hibernation after marriage and children decades ago, returns to show the same sparkle and magical class in a role that was made for her in the latest Hindi/ Tamil offering: ' English Vinglish' directed by Gauri Shinde who has at once established herself as a quality director of reckoning in this 'feel good' film about an ordinary middle class housewife, often belittled and snickered at for her lack of English skills in this modern " anglicized' world by her self-centred family members who take digs at her frequently, uncaringly.

She hides her tears and swallows her hurt and it is here that Sridevi is so real as the middle class house-wife Shashi, who is a 'laddoo- maker' by choice, that everyone can empathise with her. Even her proficiency and popularity as a good sweet maker is somehow held against her and derisively mocked at. She then gets a chance to go abroad to be with her sister in New York alone and she is naturally petrified at the thought of making it all by herself in an alien English land. But the lady is courageous, determined to learn English in a coaching class in New York to get back her self-pride and some 'show the world ' that she is not just 'born to make only laddoos'.

The movie has many endearing moments like a cameo by Amitabh who provide solace and comfort to her on the flight to a soft spoken, French student who inadvertently falls for her simplicity and grace, a Pakistani called funnily as Salman Khan and a home sick madarsi..

The movie is all about her fight not only with her inner demons of fear and insecurity but also the time which is running out as the wedding dates at her sister's house, get near and she is pushed to make a complicated choice.

This is a real heart touching movie and must be seen to appreciate. The characters and performances are so real that you can reach across and touch them. And Sridevi stands tall. Freckles and all. Now everyone will know ' what and who' we have been missing on the Indian silver screen all these years

Humshakal
(1974)

Double trouble for RK
This Hindi film stg Rajesh Khanna - Mausami-Tanuja is a straight lift from a 1970 Kannada Film Baalu Belagitu stg Dr Rajkukar-Jayanthi-Bharathi, But the Hindi team does not acknowledge the fact. The songs are fabulous esp in the Golden voice of Kishored and Lata. One song also by a rare Mohd rafi for Rajesh khanna.sticks out odd as the voice hardly suits him. Rajesh Kahanna is accused of two timing his poor wife Mausami and living it off as a rich man with Tanuja as her husband and in fact as his own master according to his first wife.What happens next is not very predictable but the only possibility!

Patriot Games
(1992)

Like a Bollywood Hindi FILM
This film started off well enough, ran half length huffing puffing and simply gave up.. The climax is startlingly similar to a typical mas-ala Hindi film(Indian)..the hero never dies after thousands of bullets are fired at him, while baddies die even with fluke shots..How artificial can it get..Wait till the end when guns and bullets give place to fisticuffs and sticks and rods,,almost a throw back to stone age.. Is this really a Tom Clancy novel..the same as Hunt for Red October? A bad film to see Harrison ford in..the child artist is wonderful but then that is all there is to it! The CIA and IRA surroundings also look clichéd and artificial..somehow no professional touch in Direction..

Bandhe Haath
(1973)

Less known good film of Young Amitabh
Bandhe Haath a 1973 film from OP Ralhan's stables is a surprisingly well told action thriller in the Masala genre of Double acting heroes, Crime and retribution and some sizzling dance numbers by a buxom Mumtaz.

Amitabh plays Shyamau 'chor' who sees the end of his mentor-god father Madan Puri and wants to turn a new leaf as he has met a lovely stage dancer who he has fallen in love with. His drama of acting like Deepak a writer to escape from Police turns into a hide and seek game as he dons the dead author deepak's role in real life after the latter breathes his last in front of him. But everything is not hunky dory in his new life as shyamu's past always keeps haunting Deepak with the help of a nosy cop, Ajit, Deepak's ex- girl friend Kumud chuggani who wants to marry him and an anguti ( ring) belonging to her father now in Deepak's possession, RD's numbers are not red hot unusually except for Kishore KIumar's haunting title song. Mumtaz looks pretty and dances away to glory. This is well shot, screen play quite taut except for the irritating essentials of comedy by OP Ralhan-Tuntun and Asit Sen trio.

Lahu Ke Do Rang
(1979)

Vinod Khanna and Shabana shine!
The review as given in Ultramovie parlour website reproduced:

Shamshir Singh who has deserted the British Army and joined Azad Hind Fouj, is given shelter from the pursuing Britishers in Hong Kong by Suzy, a local girl, with whom he falls in love. After six months he has to return to India and when he finds Suzy pregnant he marries her, promising to come back after independence to fetch her and their child. In India, he confides to his wife Laju about Suzy and the child. However, while looting a British Bank, he is betrayed by his comrade Shankar who tries to flee with the looted gold but he in turn is duped by his accomplice Mac who gets himself arrested after secretly dumping the gold in a lake. After independence, while Suzy with her son awaits the return of Shamshir Singh to Hong Kong, Lajus son Raj grows up to become a police officer. Raj follows Mac on his release from jail which leads him to his fathers killer Shankar, now known as Devidayal. Raj finds that the diver brought by Devidayal from Hong Kong for salvaging gold from the lake, is actually the son of Suzy i.e. his stepbrother. While investigating Devidayals activities, Raj comes into contact and falls in love with Roma-Devi, girl-owner of a Tea Estate in Darjeeling, who was caught in the web of Devidayal. Does Raj meet his brother? does Devidayal succeed in unearthing gold? what happens to Suzy, Roma-Devi and others?

Chakravyuha
(1978)

Satisfying Suspense and chase film!
Chakravyuha ( 1978) OK, On the eve of the New Year 2012 here is the review of a good suspense – spy film ( jasoos) based on the Hollywood film: The 39 steps.

Rajesh Khanna, is a lover boy engaged to be married to Neetu Singh and is an innocent common man. But he is unwittingly drawn into a spy network intrigue drama involving an assassination to be done at New Delhi. A spy ( Vinod Mehra) stages his own suicide , seeks shelter in RK's house and promptly gets murdered but leaves behind a tell -all mini dairy in a bottle of sugar..with instructions that IT MUST reach IGP OF Delhi before a certain date , otherwise! Then the movie takes quite unpredictable and even uncharacteristic turns leading to a good satisfying climax. It is one of the better 'manhunt and chase' variety of suspense thrillers seen in Hindi. See it if you like this genre of 'suspense and chase' films. I did and glad we saw it with family. No obscenity, No violence and not even unnecessary songs and comedy tracks. Kishore Asha duet "Shaadi karne se pyaar kam ho jaata hai" and Mohd Rafi solo " Chal, aage nikal" are the only two tracks

Nighooda Rahasya
(1990)

Horror without substance falls flat!
Oh, No..I can't describe how disappointed I felt after seeing this movie. A superb plot about body parts smugglers, a novel theme for Indian and especially Kannada films, falls flat because of poor screenplay and convoluted murder plot which fails live up to its earlier expectations.

Shankar Nag is thrown into the middle of some city extension where as a series of gruesome murders and a bhooth trouble its residents at night.No one seems to know why or how.

How does a CBI agent pretend to work day and night as an Architect in a live building project? How can Police keep mum about such a series of murders and not do anything?

How can a Building which is up and running one minute turn to a god- forsaken bhooth bungalow next second?

Director does not seem to have anything under control but crazily tries to thrown in horror and fearful scenes just to evoke cheap thrills..

An Avoidable horror masala thriller!

Bandish
(1980)

Two dream girls are better than one!
The year is 1980 and so Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini are past their youth but they play the leads in a commendable effort which boasts of a good screenplay , interesting plot and above average music .Rajesh a naughty Medical student is now reformed sensible doctor and has to forget the tragedy of losing his reformer, the heroine Hema Malini. She has been killed by Danny as she was an eyewitness to a murder committed by him. Rajesh goes away to a remote village where he meets a look-alike sister of Hema, his first love. Interesting plot where Rajesh suppresses the truth of the elder daughter's death and slowly falls in love with the younger. When the truth of death is revealed, the younger one takes a very important step to save her mother and carve a new life. Rajesh has to come face to face with Danny as a Doctor to treat him as a patient again.Very emotional melodrama and the kind made to order for Rajesh Khanna and Hema. Melodious songs - Mere hosh lelo and Rang bhare mausam se by Kishoreda and Lata linger in the mind. Certainly worth a dekho.

Devara Kannu
(1975)

Murder Mystery and amnesia makes good viewing
Dr Ramesh( Lokesh) is shown on the run from Police having ostensibly killed his sister's rapist in a fit of rage. He meets up with bride on the run ( Arathi) at a lonely railway station on a scary rainy night where a ghostly woman sings a sad song to boot! the two strangers realize that due to twist of fate they were betrothed to be married to each other but now the circumstances of Ramesh being hunted for a murder changes everything. It is revealed in flashback that his innocent sister was brutalized by an arrogant young man and now the same sister has amnesia and is being treated by another Doctor ( Anantnag). The Heroine arathi who sees his good nature somehow suspects all is not straight forward and fights for his release in a court while Ramesh himself does not want his sister to get cured and remember the horrid past. He would rather go to the gallows and see his sister safe! The climactic end has a few unexpected twists and the it is a worthwhile effort from the team led by Y R swamy on this story idea based on a Bengali Novel by Dr Nihar Ranjan Gupta. The performances are excellent by Lokesh and Anantnag who underplay and compliment very well and Jayalakshmi as the sister looks very innocent.Arathi is her usual self. Hummable music numbers include Ninna Neenu, naguvina aluvina sankole etc by Musician T G Lingappa. Very good suspense thriller to spend time on a lazy afternoon.

Idu Saadhya
(1989)

Maniac killer on the loose
In a drama theater , a maniac killer is on the loose bumping off one by one. A drama director, artists and crew etc ..One visit to a hospital proves deadly as the killer escapes in to the Drama hall.

Will he be caught, if so who and how?? The premise is good but the low budget and short time frame is strictly amateurish and leaves much to be desired. The movie though is a multi starer with Anant nag, Shankar Nag, Srinath, Devaraj, Ramesh and Revati, Mahalaskhmi and Disco Shanti. There is no song but some weird background music, and overall it is not a well fleshed out story and made within some record time of 48 hrs and sadly the effort shows. When suspense is replaced by gory scenes and horror becomes horrible , it becomes difficult to digest this film which sadly tries to imitate Hollywood maniac killer movies but fails!

Maha Badmaash
(1977)

Dishum Dishum with lots of skin
This recycled B grade Masala film starring Vinod Khanna as a macho hero is a mash-mash of age old Boss- smugglers-Duplicates and cabarets and two well endowed ladies Bindu and Neetu Singh (in double role) who show lots of skin in Bikins and low cut dresses , amusingly unnecessarily. The film has a weak story line, lots of loose ends about the id of the villains and innumerable fights with at least three cabaret dances too.. Go for it unless you have nothing to do but with some sari-don and coffee for after film blues. The music by Ravindra Jain is uninspiring and production values are quite low-key.

Kinara
(1977)

Poignant tale of guilt and repentance
Here is a tender and touching movie about an ill fated Classical dancer ( Hema as Arati)who is in mourning as her fiancé Prof Chandan ( Dharmendra) has died in a car accident. She gives up dancing and wants to publish his history research as a parting gift. Jeetendra (Inder) is a modern young architect who loves fast cars and faster music.He meets up with the dancer in Mandu fort and finds out to his shock that the accident he caused led to her fiancé's death. Ridden with guilt he tries his best to make it up for her (as Prakash) and pay it forward . But he once again causes another accident in her life. The rest of the movie is about the unfortunate well-meaning young man Jeetendra and how he tries to bring about positive changes in Hema, the dancer despite her resistance and obvious dislike for him.. The movie is very sensitive , moves slowly but gracefully like a royal elephant, serene and languid, but never boring. Kudos to its ace film maker Gulzar.

It has gem of a music track scored by R D Burman who comes up with classical numbers like Naam gum Jaayega, Jaane kya sochkar and Meethe Bol Bole etc..Hema dances her 3 kathak and Bharatnatyam numbers with grace and elegance and it is worthwhile dekho just for that.

Agar... If
(1977)

Dead do not stay DUMB?
This so called thriller is alright as far as the murder and mystery part is considered but fails to become nail-biting as the suspense and storytelling is mediocre and placid..somehow the mood of a thriller is missing. But it is worth seeing just for how Anil ( Amol) kills Vijayendra and Daver( Kader Khan) starts blackmailing him.. The climax supposed to be a shocking one comes off as a tame one with a usual dis-hum dis-hum and thus leaves one a little disappointed. Zarina Wahab making up the third part of this earlier Chitchor star cast, is adequate as Amol's wife.Nothing to mention about music score... Director Esmayeel Shroff's maiden attempt..OK for a lazy afternoon...

Vishwanath
(1978)

Very average Shatrughan film...
Can anyone make a Half good and half very bad film? Yes Subhash Ghai can and did...in Vishwanath a 1978 offering ..Riding on the success of earlier Kalicharan ( Note Cricketers name as titles in both) with the same team of Shatru-Reena Roy, this one is a dud ,a mindless crime and retribution movie with Shatrughan looking very good in the first half , but comes off very stereotyped and predictable with cheesy one-liners having a series of repeated showdowns with Premnath, the villain..

The film drags on interminably ..yaaawnnnn..and I was glad when it ended..even though it was the very typical good over evil finish...The music is average and Pran's performance is sparkling. Reena Roy as the glamour gal, gives bold skin show in cabaret dances, something surprising for her star status those days... An average entertainer , but it marked the arrival of Shatrughan sinha , the star...

Kohraa
(1964)

Spooky thriller with great music
I saw it on the DVD of Mosderbaer…

The Movie is great and works well with the Gothic ambiance, lovely photography and great music by Hemant da. Waheeda simply rocks as well…

But it left some loose ends after the Court punished the culprit who confessed… What happened to all the special effects which indicated her 'bhatakti atma' ( wandering restless spirit ) of Poonam, the first wife? All the rippling curtains, banging doors and rocking chairs, and white apparition which torments Waheeda? Did 'it' go away after 'hearing. the court verdict? or was it just her hallucination? Can they live happily ever after in the same Havel, just 'thinking' that spirit has finally gone away for good? If he Director means 'No explanation, just have fun', then its is mindless entertainment, isn't it? This kind of loose ends were plenty in another famous spooky thriller by Raj Khosla too–'Woh Kaun Thi'?

Yeh Raat Phir Na Aaygi
(1966)

B&W mystery with rebirth theme!
This 1966 B&W film is actually very good mystery movie, with supernatural/rebirth theme..It stars Prithviraj Kapoor, Biswajeet and Sharmila Tagore.

The theme is very well treated and watching old actors like the veteran Prithviraj Kapoor as archaeological professor, Gentleman actor Biswajeet's restrained role, young and cute Mumtaz and delectable Sharmila is haunting songs clad in ancient get-up is indeed a welcome change to present day brash and crude commercial films.. The story about a lost kingdom underground, and a dancer whose spirit come alive from her statue are all handled with care and credibility

The setting is excellent, the performances and screenplay are praiseworthy..It is a sweet enchanting mystery film with last scene revelation coming as a surprise to even seasoned minds like mine... a B& W classic this...

Shart
(1986)

Where is the suspense, please?
A Suspense thriller about a serial killer should work at two levels-one: the real motive of the killer and the other Suspense about the Id of the killer himself... To that extent, this arty looking, low-budget 80s movie failed me on both accounts..It is more of a manhunt than a suspense thriller. It is never clearly brought out why the killer hunts down individual loose character women of the street and murders them. Later on he even murders a girl who loves him and then tries to kill another who did nor reciprocate his affections..Pray, what is his motive , please?..Even insanity works on logic....

Even the id of the killer is not kept concealed till the end, as half way thru the movie the Police Inspector Kanwaljeeet exposes the identity of the killer correctly..It is only sheer luck that the killer manages to keep evading the cops but when the end does come, it is a certain dampener.. Plus add too many flash back scenes of hip young College life, songs and Theatre and drama acts of the heroine etc drag the movie down...

Oh,well, Murder mysteries or serial killer thrillers is not everybody's cup of tea...

Shabana Azmi and Naseeruddin Shah along with Kanwaljeet somehow prop up the movie with fine acting but a weak script lets everyone down..Plus the production values look like that of a shoddily shot art film... ( At least from the Al-Mansoor video print which I saw)

Bombai Ka Babu
(1960)

Music and intrigue makes a good watch
This is by far one of the most sensible and sensitive films Dev Anand has acted in..

Director Raj Khosla weaves a fine blend of Music, romance and intrigue in to a classic human emotions story that makes a lasting appeal to our sensibilities..It is known to be a story inspired by O Henry's short, but not acknowledged as such, but has an added romantic angle between a long-lost brother ( Impostor in this case)_ and sister in their youth falling for each other much against the norms of family and societal ethics. A bold attempt certainly in the 60s India although the story does not go fully on that route!

A criminal on the run ( Dev Anand) finds a fine refuge to hide as well make hay at the behest of a village crook with an eye on the family cash-box..

But a transformation of the heart and falling in love with the daughter of the house(A memorable performance by the mercurial Suchitra sen) was not in his original scheme of things, so the destiny decides to teach him that there are finer values in life like sacrifice, duty etc which are far more precious and lofty than making a quick buck as a criminal.

Excellent music, atmosphere, and a classic befitting climax makes this film a must see for discerning movie goers who like old classics. Easily an 8/10 rating...

Qila
(1998)

No Good suspense thriller..bah!
This is a completely ridiculous murder mystery. Illogical and even illegal with a court 'faisla' sanctioned by a lawyer wherein he acquits the real murderer and the court sentences another for a different murder...The circumstances concerning the murder are very artificial and too coincidental to believe..Bah!!

The move has old hackneyed comedy, over the top melodrama and innumerable songs that continuously keep derailing the main theme.. Unfortunate that Dilip Kumar saw this film fit to sign off his illustrious career..He naturally looks very old and jaded and his trademark dialogue delivery are not a patch on his original style..

Veteran Rekha is wasted in a inconsequential side role, Mukul Dev as the young hero barely passes muster .Mamata Kulkarni well, jiggles and bounces in very ordinary songs! Eminently avoidable farce murder mystery..

Saboot
(1980)

Not so tough to guess...
This movie has B-Grade written all over it...Not very satisfying in the end, very filmy and artificial ending.. The horror part is Okay but the costumes of the so-called Bhoot is quite raw and funny even for 1980..The identity of this killer is quite obvious from the suspicious behavior of the one of the main characters...I could guess it, and so could many others if you watch closely...

Navin Nischol with his wooden expressions underplays well but Vidya Sinha is a mis-fit as she looks neither vulnerable nor dangerous as made out in the end..Vinod Mehra is Okay and Kaajal Kiran adds glamour..Villains make faces, scream and ham a lot..as if we should suspect any of them to be the likely murderer!

Go see it if you have no other thriller classic from 60s and 70s with you on a rainy lonely night..and Keep the lights on!! Some screams and chills are surely there to be frank!!!...

Dulaara
(1994)

Aimless gory thriller
I knew that the golden age of murder mysteries had died since the 1970s with BR Chopras and Raj Khoslas and Vijay Anand (who made classics like Kanoon, Gumnaam, Woh Kaun Thi, Ittefaq, Teesri Manzil and Dhund..) 1990s, the era of thus film, is not well known for murder mysteries and Dulaara proves exactly that..

Violence , cheesy obscenity, unappetizing gory bloodshed have substituted the fine art of pulse pounding, nail biting style of the old, unfortunately in this college caper where Govinda and Karisma with their dancing skills first try to impress and then, stupid, unnecessarily screaming fuming 'third degree loving' cop Ranjeet and ridiculous sidekicks like Rakesh Bedi make a thorough hash of the mystery story..

Final scene where the real killer is shown is quite ridiculously picturized ; when the killer had the hero in a corner and was under no pressure to confess how he did it, simply starts blurting out the long confession just for our sake saying " you wanted to know, how I did it , Na?"..This is quite an avoidable movie on any day..see a re-run of Kanoon or Dhund or Hamraaz any day...

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