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Fast X

Critic proof but worth a watch!!
Fast X review :

First things first. The Fast and Furious franchise is critics-proof as its strong fan base would anyway watch it without bothering about a review. Quite like a Salman Khan film of Bollywood! So, digging deep in to its 'intolerance' towards logic or physics would only be an exercise in futility!!

This time, the focus is on family apart from the regular car chases. Trust me, you will hear the word 'family' at least ten times during its two hours of runtime. Vin Diesel has certainly come a long way from part one of this series, which always manages to up the ante on the action front with every sequel. The action sequences are truly awesome with the plot cleverly woven in to an emotional bond between Diesel and his kiddo. Jason Momoa as the main antagonist, is fantastic.

As an icing on the cake, there is a wonderful Paul Walker tribute and a surprise package in the end credits which indicates a further sequel. Bring it on. Fast!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

The Kerala Story

Relevant piece of cinema!!
The Kerala Story review :

Not as hard hitting and engaging as The Kashmir Files (2022), The Kerala Story is still a pertinent take on the religious conversions which we keep hearing in the news. The fact that these Hindu women were not just converted but also instigated to join the ISIS as sex slaves makes for a chilling and compelling watch.

The subtle manner in which the brain washing starts... and where it finally ends is accurately depicted in the movie. The desert locales have an authentic look and the performances from the entire cast, particularly Adah Sharma is first rate. Vipul Amrutlal Shah has touched a daringly realistic subject this time and done fair justice to it though the film has its share of flaws.

The background score jars at times. The Malayalam dialogues with sudden Hindi words in between don't work. And frankly, the easy peasy way in which the two nursing students get convinced by their conniving roommate to change their religion appears a tad too convenient from a writing perspective. The entire brain washing process needed more gravitas..

Having said that, The Kerala Story is a relevant piece of cinema. Such 'love jihad' incidents have indeed taken place and will continue until we have strict enforceable laws in place. This film will at least pose as a warning or a deterrant to the impressionable youngsters falling in to this vicious trap. Recommended stuff!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan

More Bhai less Jaan!!
Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan review:

Hey hey guys, please come near; here's a confirmed bachelor with three foster brothers; They want him married fast so their line is clear.. He loves to kick ass of a dozen goons but is ill at ease with his girlie dear; The dude's called Bhaijaan...and a 'ceeti' is all it takes to make his enemy fearl!!

The latest Salman Khan festive release may or may not be an ideal 'Eidi' for his fans but for the lesser mortal movie buff, this Bhaijaan can be nothing less than a 'jaanlevaa' experience..

Devoid of logic, coherence and sensibility, Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ka Whateva relies purely on superstar Salman Khan's swag to pull off a two hour twenty minutes of nonstop action and song collage. You get an action set piece, then a song, then another fight sequence followed by another song, this goes on and on in a loop..

Writer- director Farhad Samji disappoints yet again and it is really a wonder that he is getting to helm multicrore projects even after churning out creative disasters like Housefull 4 (2019) and Bachchan Pandey (2022). Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan joins his inglorious filmography and trust me guys, Salman's Bharat (2019) and Radhe (2021) were far better than this tripe!!

Of the cast, Pooja Hegde gets an opportunity of a lifetime to work with Khan and while she looks super gorgeous, her chemistry with Salman is zilch. In fact, their love angle in the first half is utterly boring. As for those three young couples including Shweta's daughter Palak Tiwari, the less said the better. On the other hand, Venkatesh leaves a mighty mark as Pooja's elder bro who abhors violence. Note his expressions when he has to fall at the feet of the villain Jagapathi Babu (equally impressive) in one intense scene. Venky rocks!!

The recent South influence on pan India audience is exploited here and it is kinda wise decision to shift the movie to Hyderabad post interval as the family moments are truly endearing. Reminded me of Mukul Anand's Hum (1991). The 'Yentamma' song where global star Ram Charan appears in a cameo, is 'taalimaar' indeed!!

More on the positive, the action sequences are superbly executed whether it is the metro fight or the final showdown where Bhai gets his mandatory shirtless moment!! Salman himself, is uber cool in some scenes while appearing totally disinterested in few others. It is an uneven performance but to give him his due, the superstar doesn't shy away from self deprecation. Note his conversation with Pooja where he gives one expression for all kind of emotions. Takes 'jigra' to poke fun at yourself, boss!! His changing hairstyle from the long haired tresses from Saawan...The Love Season (2006) to clean shaven close crop cut from Bodyguard (2011) revives the right nostalgia for his fans. I personally loved his climactic look though. He looks awesome there!!

Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan has its moments - like Bhaijaan's Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) re-union with Bhagyashree - which will make you cheer and clap loudly. The rest of this Bhai ki Jaan is just a lifeless fare though!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Mrs Undercover

Too silly to be taken seriously!!
Mrs Undercover review :

A serial killer is on the prowl... He's a misogynist targetting women without a doubt.

He's simultaneously killing secret agents till there's only one left amongst all.

Fikar not.. This undercover agent, posing as housewife for years, is actually quite a howl!!

Radhika Apte plays that agent who is literally coerced in to action by the agency chief (Rajesh Sharma) called Rangeela!! The manner in which they go about their duty should make RAW seek legal action from the filmmakers for such a dumb portrayal of the intelligence agency!!

More absurdity- the killer or terrorist, if you can call him that, is a part of an international organisation who wish to eliminate feminism from the face of planet earth. What!!! He is named 'Common Man' probably to highlight how the 'aam aadmi' male of this country is anti woman empowerment. Stupid analogy, indeed!!

Actually, Mrs. Undercover is too silly to be taken seriously though it aims to be exactly opposite. The climactic encounter of the main culprit had me in splits where the State Chief Minister orders the cops to step away so Radhika and a dozen civilian women dressed as Durga Maa, can get in to action mode. Haha!

The only scene which truly impressed me was the restaurant one where Rajesh Sharma disguised as a waiter, imparts a lesson or two to Radhika Apte's patriarchal husband on 'asli' women empowerment and how important a homemaker really is in any family.. that is a 'taalimaar' moment. Rest of Mrs. Undercover isn't!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.


Que Sara Sara
Gaslight review :

An old haunted palace, a female protagonist who sees ghost there, a hero who turns her saviour and finally, the twist in the tale as to who was faking it up!! A plot like this has been a Bollywood staple since the '60s. The Ramsays made it their own in the '80s. A bathing woman at midnight just before the monster strikes her was the most common scene. Only Sara Ali Khan doesn't take a shower here. Rest of this one hour fifty minutes of 'bhootiya' mystery called Gaslight is pretty much the same template.

Chitrangada Singh as Sara's step mom who seems to be hiding some sinister secret, catches your attention for her radiant beauty and elegance. Vikrant Massey as the estate manager who helps Sara, is earnest as always. Madame Sara herself bound to a wheelchair throughout the film, gets the meatiest role of all but still, her performance is strictly average. So is Gaslight!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.


Paisa vasool just for its action
Bholaa review :

Not a frame by frame remake of Lokesh Kanagaraj's Kaithi (2019), Bholaa rests completely on its high octane action and Ajay- Tabu chemistry to make you forgive its wafer thin plot. Producer-director Ajay Devgn dominates each and every frame but this cannot be called his finest performance. Not his fault as the main focus is on the 'maar dhaad' sequences which make for most of the two and half hours of its run time.

To his credit, the fight choreography is unique and mind boggling. I particularly freaked out on the bikers' gang on a rampage as well as Devgn's handiwork with the trident. Crash boom bang!! The climactic action is reminiscent of the recent KGF Chapter 2 (2022) police station sequence. Overall, the action jackson Devgn rocks once again!!

On the flipside, the plot is almost non existent. A prisoner Bholaa (Devgn) is set free after serving his term and is immediately requested by a lady cop (Tabu) to drive a truck full of her unconscious colleagues to the nearby hospital. The cops' drinks were spiked by a dangerous gang (Deepak Dobriyal and co.) to get even for nabbing their crores worth of contraband.

The entire film takes place in one night where this gang keeps attacking the truck driven by Devgn to get hold of these cops. One action piece after another follows with the emotional quotient provided in form of Bholaa's kid daughter who he yearns to meet at the earliest. There is Bholaa's backstory as well but it is never completed probably keeping a sequel in mind..

Of the cast, Ajay's intensity is intact though the film requires him to emote less and kick more. Tabu is assuredly competent as the cop Diana Joseph who is a nemesis for the gangsters. They call her Daayan, haha!! Deepak Dobriyal is impressive in a meaty villainous role. Gajraj Rao is effective as ever but why has he been filmed in perennial closeup!!! The gorgeous Amala Paul leaves her mark in a cameo.

Aseem Bajaj's cinematography is first rate. The 3D effects are sparse and you can easily book a 2D ticket if you wish to go easy on your pocket. The sizzling hot item number featuring Raai Laxmi will appeal to the masses but again, why those frequent cuts to Dobriyal's telephonic conversations in between!!

On the whole, Bholaa is 'paisa vasool' even with its share of flaws. Action movie buffs will simply love it. Those who have seen the original Kaithi will also not mind this adaptation!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway

Rani still rocks. Mrs. Chatterjee doesn't
Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway review :

The only reason I sacrificed my Sunday afternoon siesta to walk down to Citylight Cinema, Matunga and watch Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway was Rani Mukerji, an actress I have admired since her Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat (1996) and Ghulam (1998) days. And yet again, she didn't disappoint me. In fact, Rani is the only reason you can sit through the two hours of this melodrama overdose which could've been an incorrigible mess of a film under any smaller actor!!

Rani plays the expat titular Mrs Chaterjee whose toddler kids are snatched away by the Norway Government and send to foster home as per their law. "Incompetent parenting" is the reason offered initially which the authorities manipulate to be the mother's unsound mind after taking advantage of her hysterical behavior post losing her children all of a sudden. Bad enough!!

Surprisingly, Mr. Chatterjee (Anirban Bhattacharya) is shown to be a selfish wife-beater who ditches her later instead of offering his strong support. He clearly seems to be more interested in a foreign citizenship than his own kids. In fact, the penultimate scenes turn in to Mrs Chatterjee vs Mr. Chatterjee in an Indian court.

The Norwegain authorities are depicted like bloodthirsty banditos, no less!! Even Mrs. Chatterjee's in-laws are shown to be highly hostile and evil people who allegedly ill treat their own grandchildren. Truly, except for lady Chatterjee, the whole wide world including her family, seem to be villains of first grade hell bent on separating the mother from her kiddos. The narrative is extremely one-sided here and offers nothing beyond a mother's instinctive love for her children which is undisputable, of course! But the way Mrs. Chatterjee has to fight even her own close relativ es in court makes the whole plot highly doubtful. I found it schizophrenic at times. Sorry, not convinced at all!!

What you will take away from Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway is the splendid performance from Rani and Jim Sarbh who leaves a mighty impression even in a small role as the Norwegain lawyer.

To sum up, Rani still rocks.... Mrs. Chatterjee doesn't!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar

Logic-less but fun!!
Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar review :

He's a jodi breaker by profession. She is a cushy executive in a nine to five job. They meet, mate and decide to tie the knot. The girl then develops a commitment phobia and hires the boy to break their jodi..(she doesn't know he's the same dude, you see). Oops!!

Luv Ranjan's Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar (TJMM in short) is a timepass rom com which will leave you thoroughly entertained at the end of it provided you dont ask too many questions; primary one being how can the boy not recognize his girlfriend's voice on phone and vice versa!! Ask no such basic questions and just sit back, relax and enjoy the fun seems to be the funda here. Ok, theek hai!!

The Kapoors - Ranbir and Shraddha - make a wonderful pair. Their chemistry works big time for the movie. Shraddha seems to have exhausted her entire swimwear wardrobe in the first half. Admittedly, she looks ravishing in those multiple bikinis. The romantic hero is a cakewalk for Ranbir and he's a delight to watch on screen. These are the kind of characters he ought to do. No more Shamsheras please!!

The foreign locales (Spain, Mauritius) are well captured and the overall technical aspects are first rate. This is Luv Ranjan's most expensive film till date and you can see the money. His penchant for monologue continues as Ranbir and a few other supporting characters rant à la Kartik Aaryan from Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011) and Sonu Ki Sweetu ki Titti... whateva that title was!! And when Kartik himself appears for an interesting cameo, you know this is a luv corner, pun intended!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.


Highly underrated and beautiful movie
Bemisal review :

By the '80s, the angry young man tag was so synonymous with Amitabh Bachchan that the audience was unwilling to see him in any meek and mild avatar. As a result, some of his good films like Jurmana (1979), Silsila (1981) and Bemisal (1982) underperformed at the box office. In fact, Bemisal directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, had Bachchan in one of his best and highly underrated performance ever.

Based on Hrishi da's own Bengali movie Ami Se O Sakha (1975), Bemisaal was a poignant tale of a triangle between Bachchan, Rakhee and Vinod Mehra. As an orphan raised by Mehra's father, Amitabh not only sacrifices his love for Rakhee and gets her married to Vinod Mehra but eventually even takes the blame for an illegal abortion committed by Mehra.

R. D. Burman's scintillating music score complimented the scenic Kashmir locales beautifully. 'Yeh Kashmir hai' song became a chartbuster and it is still in my songlist. Another song which I love is 'Ek roz main tadapkar' picturised on Amitabh and Sheetal who got the chance of a lifetime to be his heroine though her role had negative shades.

Bemisal completed a silver jubilee at Mumbai's Opera House but was still called a box office flop as it didn't perform to Bachchan's high standards. The film is a must watch for his fans who will certainly enjoy seeing him in an emotional dual role.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.


Same old family drama shama!!
Gulmohar review:

Relying purely on its actors' performances than on content, Gulmohar turns out to be an average fare at best. Truly, the screenplay has nothing new to offer to its viewers - the same old dysfunctional family, generation gap, closet lesbian matriarch and an ending as predictable as Holi in March. There is zero novelty factor here!!

On the film's few positive count the still pretty at seventy Sharmila Tagore's graceful debut on OTT, Manoj Bajpayee's sincere act as her adopted son and Simran (remember her from Tere Mere Sapne (1996)) impressing as the dominating 'bahu'. The rest of the new gen cast is simply okey dokey. So is the movie as a whole.

Watch it if you have nothing to do this weekend.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.


A one time watch but no one's interested!!
Selfiee review :

After Shehzada last week, yet another South remake hits the cinemas this weekend. Selfiee is a Bollywood remake of the Malayalam Driving License (2019) which at premise level, is strikingly similar to Shahrukh Khan's 'jabraa' flop film called Fan (2016). Looking at less than ten audience turnout at Saturday morning show at Citylight Cinema, Matunga, Selfiee will also go that way for sure.

The plot is too simplistic to be true - A superstar lands up in Bhopal for a shoot and needs a driving license urgently. His biggest fan is the RTO inspector (Emraan Hashmi) but unfortunately, a misunderstanding leads to both the star and fan at loggerheads with each other.

Akshay Kumar plays himself (named Vijay Kumar here) to perfection. The nod to his past successes (Dont angry me, Main Khiladi, etc) as well as professional decisions (producer's actor, four films plus two OTT movies per year) will surely keep his fans happy. Emraan Hashmi is outstanding as the fan turned foe. Watch him in the police station scene when he meets Akshay for the first time. He literally speaks through his eyes!! Of the supporting cast, Abhimanyu Singh is impressive as Akshay's rival relegated to B grade cinema and Meghna Malik generates the right humour with her star struck corporator act.

Overall, Selfiee is a one time watch. Unfortunately, the audience seem to have made up their minds to wait for its OTT release!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.


Finest songless thriller that Bollywood could make!
Kaun review :

An amazing experience I had at Eros theatre Churchgate; Kaun was a suspense thriller involving only three characters - Urmila Matondkar as the lonely lady at a plush bungalow who gets mighty nervous after a TV announcement of a serial killer on the loose, Manoj Bajpai as her unexpected guest who she suspects to be this dreaded criminal and Sushant Singh who comes in later as a cop but turns out to be someone else.

A taut songless thriller which purely relied on its actors' performances; Kaun was another feather in the cap of Ram Gopal Varma (RGV) who was at his peak in this era. In fact, the dude was on an experimental spree and most of his attempts from Rangeela (1995) to Satya (1998) were enticing the box office then.

Kaun's greatest hurrah was its background score by Sandeep Chowta which perfectly captured its eerie mood. Urmila's performance was top class and Manoj proved to be a perfect foil to her. Their interaction paved the way for some amazing moments like the 'cheese sandwich' scene. Yea, this one was completely situational stuff unlike RGV's previous movies like Raat (1992), Rangeela and Satya.

The climax was a masterstroke where the audience including yours truly got a jolt of their lives. Trust me, I just didnt expect this to come!!! Kaun is finest example of creating a great suspense content on shoe string budget.... and delivering a box office hit with it. RGV ki jai ho!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

The Night Manager

Good performances elevate the show.
The Night Manager review :

A desi adaptation of the popular namesake British series; The Night Manager (on Hotstar) is a techinically sound suspense drama filled with some fine performances from the ensemble cast. Of course, it is an Anil Kapoor show most of the time as he plays the global arms dealer Shelly Rungta to perfection. Aditya Roy Kapoor springs a surprise with an assured act as Shaan Sengupta, a hotel manager who is hired by a RAW agent (Tillotama Shome) to spy on Rungta. Shaan's interaction with Rungta's extended family particularly his young son and his saucy wife (Sobhita Dhulipala) make for some engaging moments in the four episodes of approximately an hour each.

As aforementioned, the performances are great and I particularly liked Tillotama Shome multitasking as a RAW agent cum homemaker. The chameleonistic actor can fit in to any role and make it her own. Take Delhi Crime (2022) and Sir (2021) for example!! Saswata Chaterjee is superb as the gay crony of Rungta who doesn't trust the new entrant Shaan one bit. Sobhita looks stunning in her multiple set of bikinis!!

At the end of fourth episode, we are told that this one was just part one of the story and the conclusion will start streaming from June 2023. Well, why take so much time. Especially when the episodes seem to be already shot!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.


Kartik Aaryan impresses; Shehzada doesn't!!
Shehzada review:

Reminiscent of '70s Bollywood where new born babies would get exchanged in hospitals and re-unite as adults with their biological parents in the climax; Shehzada is an official remake of 'Pushpa' Allu Arjun's 2020 hit Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo with Kartik Aaryan replacing Arjun in Hindi.

To be fair, the film ain't bad for a one time watch with partner in tow and would've probably done better if released in last week's Valentine weekend. A week long delay has obviously impacted its box office prospects as the lovers have already spent their money and have little to spare now.

Directed by Rohit Dhawan, the film's first half is quite fresh and breezy relying completely on its lead Kartik's spontaneity and Kriti's long legs. Assuredly, they strike a pleasant chemistry together and make you want to see more of them in second half.

Sadly, that doesn't happen and the film morphs in to a mushy family drama when Kartik beta goes to stay with his richie rich biological parents and tries to integrate its highly dysfunctional members. Hum Saath Saath Hain, you see!! Shockingly, Rohit Dhawan deletes out some striking scenes from the original. Like the hilarious board room sequence!! The Hindi climax is also quite thanda and predictable.

Kartik Aaryan is a rising superstar and needs to choose his projects wisely especially since the Johars and Chopras of Bollywood don't cast him. Acting in substandard remakes of South blockbusters is something he should avoid and leave only to the aged superstars (!!) of Bollywood. Please!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Do Aur Do Paanch

Underrated Bachchan film
Do Aur Do Paanch review :

Amitabh Bachchan made a great pairing with Shashi Kapoor giving blockbusters like Deewaar (1975), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Trishul (1978) and Namak Halaal (1982). Do Aur Do Paanch, released in early 1980, was not so successful collaboration of theirs but nevertheless remains memorable for the masti mazaak and the amazing chemistry they shared onscreen..

Bachchan and Kapoor played small time crooks who are at loggerheads with each other for stepping on each others toes in every crime they commit. They end up as fake teachers in a hill-station school with intention to kidnap a wealthy guy (Sreeram Lagoo)'s son. Hema Malini and Parveen Babi are their colleagues at work who eventually become their love interests. Kader Khan, called Uncle for most part of the movie, was the main baddie.

Do aur Do Paanch was a perfect blend of comedy and action with both the stars getting ample scope to outwit the other. It was fun. It was entertaining. And yet it was called a box office flop. Actually in those days, Amitabh was off press and the press was totally against Amitabh. Thus, every film which fell even slightly below expectations was conveniently labelled a flop. This film also bore that brunt of his press boycott..

Later, most of these so-called Bachchan flops were revived with new titles particularly from late '80s till early '90s and they had successful re-runs at the box office. So The Great Gambler (1979) became Sabse Bada Juaari and Do Aur Do Paanch was released again as Do Ikke. I saw Do Ikke at re-run favourite cinema Paradise at Mahim and remember the show being housefull with the noisy crowd cheering and whistling at every dialogue of Amitabh Bachchan. Such was his charisma and star power!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.


Snake and Success.
Nagin review:

A trendsetter for Bollywood in terms of naagin revenge movies which pretty much dominated the '80s and '90s as well as flagging off a plethora of multicast actioners; Nagin is an important movie in history of Hindi cinema. It also holds the distinction of being the only film after Kismet (1943) and Sholay (1975) to celebrate a silver jubilee (25 weeks) in its re-run. No other blockbuster till date has achieved this feat except these three.

A snake shifting couple are making love when the male snake is hunted down by a group of friends (Sunil Dutt, Feroz and Sanjay Khan, Anil Dhawan, Kabir Bedi, Vinod Mehra). The female snake sees them in her dead partner's eyes and then kills them one by one assuming a human form. The plot was novel for 1976 and director Rajkumar Kohli had cast almost half the industry in key roles. Reena Roy was sizzling hot as the snake-woman who avenges the death of her lover Jeetendra. This is her career best performance no doubt!! Not many know that Saira Banu was approached earlier but she refused the offer and Reena got lucky.

Rajkumar Kohli got his formula of multistarrer actioners with Nagin and almost all movies he made after this right till his last Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahaani (2002) had a huge star cast with revenge and action as its main theme. Infact, the 2002 Jaani Dushman was a remake of Nagin where Manisha Koirala played Reena Roy's character. That film turned out to be the biggest disaster ever and Kohli didn't make a movie again.

I saw Nagin on VHS first in mid '80s and then at Kohinoor Cinema, Dadar in one of its multiple '90s re-runs. The film's massy appeal still hasn't become obsolete. It is the premier naagin themed movie which paved the way for hundreds to follow..

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Amar Prem

Love immortal
Amar Prem review :

After Aradhana (1969), this was another hit from Shakti Samanta who completed a successful hattrick with Rajesh Khanna (Kati Patang came in between) and second straight hit with Sharmila Tagore. She was truly mesmerizing as the unfortunate Pushpa who is forced to sell her body but still doesn't lose her good soul. Her regular customer Rajesh Khanna is also kind hearted human and loves Pushpa for her personal goodness.

The unique mother-son like bonding that Pushpa shares with her neighborhood child Nandu forms the crux of the plot and makes way for many emotional scenes between the two - like the one when the young Nandu defies his evil stepmom (Bindu) to tend to the wound on Pushpa's foot. He grows up to be a well educated engineer (Vinod Mehra in a cameo) and searches for his long lost maa Pushpa only to find her in a pitiable condition..

R. D. Burman's music score was extraordinary and every song was a blockbuster. Kishore Kumar literally breathed life in to those compositions and his voice suited Khanna perfectly. "Pushpa, I hate tears" catchphrase is still famous just like "Kitne Aadmi the.." from Sholay (1975).

Amar Prem was actually a Hindi remake of a Bengali hit where Uttam Kumar had played Rajesh Khanna's role but Kaka did lend his own touch to the character in the remake. He is outstanding, no less. But the film belongs to Sharmila Tagore and she looks absolutely gorgeous in those puff sleeve blouses. This is one of the finest performances of her career. Probably next to Mausam (1975) - another intense movie where she played a prostitute!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.


Akshay- Shanthi Priya's debut
Saugandh review :

Directed by Raj (Daddu) Sippy, the 1991 released Saugandh marked the debut of Akshay Kumar who had made a ten seconds uncredited appearance in Mahesh Bhatt's Aaj (1988) a couple of years before. The chef cum martial arts trainer in Bangkok was discovered by noted director Pramod Chakraborty who promptly signed him for his film Deedar (1992) which got a bit delayed and enabled Saugandh to hit the marquèe first.

A mix of Taming of the Shrew meets Romeo and Juliet; Saugandh had Akshay Kumar and Shantipriya playing the lovers who are torn in to the age old enemity between Rakhee and Mukesh Khanna. In fact, the confrontation scenes between Rakhee and Khanna were the film's highlight. Anand Milind's music was also a positive factor with "Laila ko bhool jaayenge" rising up the popularity charts.

Shantipriya got a meaty role and was completely convincing in her transformation from a rugged tomboy to a coy 'bhartiya naari'. An impressive performance indeed!! Surprisingly, it was Akshay who looked too raw and amateur though his screen presence was towering even then. Interestingly, his introduction scene starts with him walking inverted on his hands before he leaps up and we see his face for the first time. Rakhee and Mukesh Khanna had the 'ceetimaar' punchlines and they didn't disappoint.

Saugandh would've probably done better had it not clashed with Amitabh Bachchan's Hum (1991) which released a week later and completely stormed the box office leaving no space for other movies.

I had seen Saugandh at Citylight Cinema, Matunga where it had done decent business. I came out having mixed feelings for the debutant actor least expecting he would be the superstar of the coming decades. Speaks volumes of his hard work and perseverance. Kudos Akshay!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.


Bond with the girl!
Pathaan review :

First things first - Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) is back with Pathaan!!

The actor who took a four years break after the disastrous box office fate of his last few films regains his old form to a considerable extent though age is clearly showing on his face now. Infact, Megastar Chiranjeevi who is a decade older than SRK, looked more fresh and younger in his recent Waltair Veerayya.

Coming to Pathaan, the plot is merely an extension of Tiger (2012) and WAR (2019) to create a universe of Indian spies who have a penchant to fall in love with female ISI agents. There is even a dialogue in Pathaan stating this. SRK obviously plays the titular RAW agent while Deepika Padukone is his Pakistani counterpart who doesn't think twice before stripping down to a bikini or guzzling whiskey as if it were 'shuddh' mineral water. Hick hick!!

Both are after a biological weapon controlled by an ex-RAW agent turned terrorist (John Abraham) who goes by the name Jim. Just Jim. Ashutosh Rana reprises his role from WAR while the ever graceful Dimple Kapadia repeats her Tenet (2021) act. She plays the 'M' to SRK's secret agent. The action sequences have a Hollywood hangover with Mission Impossible and James Bond being the obvious inspiration. Basically, Pathaan is a wannabe Bond movie where the girl grooves to 'Besharam Rang' instead of hitting the bed with Bond.

SRK is known to take risks in his career and choose offbeat roles (Take Baazigar and Swades for examples) but this time, he plays it safe depending a lot more on his co-stars to give him that much elusive hit. Fortunately, they don't disappoint him. John Abraham is awesome in a negative role and totally overshadows Khan in every scene he appears. Deepika oozes sex appeal and is equally at ease in action scenes. She can be the next Bond girl if she wishes!! Salman Khan in a two scenes cameo, gets the maximum 'ceetis' from the audience.

Overall, Pathaan is high on entertainment but low in content. Nevertheless, the film achieves its main objective of re-launching SRK as an action hero and making a YRF spy universe. I hear Tiger 3 is already on the way...apne kursi ki peti baandh lo doston!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri

Baap beta of comedy!
Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri review:

Kader Khan and Shakti Kapoor were a formidable pair as comic villains throughout the '80s particularly in Jeetendra's South productions. It is rumoured that they came as a package deal where Kader Khan would write the movie dialogues and act along with Shakti Kapoor for a combined fixed price. Hanif Samir's Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri was the pinnacle of their success where the entire story revolved around them while Jackie Shroff and Aditya Panscholi were reduced to supporting cast!!

Playing the baap-beta duo, Kader Khan is the 'chor' baap who teaches his son Shakti to follow his inglorious profession. From selling off an unauthorized plot to promising fake employment in Dubai, their modus operandi makes for some hilarious sequences which are still most watched videos on YouTube. Later, the voluptuous Jamuna causes a breakup between baap-beta when she literally lands up in Kader Khan's lap and he loses his old 'dil' to her. In another crazy moment, Shakti Kapoor is married off to a street dog in a state of daze.."Tumhari shaadi ek kutiya se ki aur usse tumhe chatwa bhi diya!!"

Baap Numbri... is fun, infact its lol inducing most of the time. I had a blast with my school friends when we saw it on first Sunday afternoon show at Badal Bijlee Cinema, Matunga. The movie still cheers me up whenever I watch it.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Haré Rama Haré Krishna

Ahead of its time!
Hare Rama Hare Krishna review:

At the film's premiere, the guests went to congratulate the legendary Dev Saahab at interval point itself to which he laughed and said "Abhi toh aadhi picture hi dekhi hai. Watch the entire film guys..!!". Indeed, Hare Rama Hare Krishna (HRHK) was an instant connect for the '70s audience who were mesmerized by its three main factors:

First and foremost, the boldly depicted hippie culture of that era which thrived on drugs and sex. Dev Saahab loved Nepal and he based his plot in that beautiful country which enticed the audience for repeat viewings. Infact, Nepal came on my wishlist in the '80s itself when I watched HRHK on video. I went there much later with my family in 2019 and visited the same locations shown in the film. Surprisingly, it hasn't changed at all..

Secondly, for Zeenat Aman who played Dev Anand's sister in the movie but ended up overshadowing his heroine Mumtaz in it. The screenplay was centered on a brother travelling to Nepal to search for his estranged sister and discovering her high on dope amongst a bunch of vagabond hippies. Zaheeda was Dev's first choice but she refused the sister's role and Zeenat got lucky.

Last but not the least, for Pancham da's awesome music particularly 'Dum maro dum' which became an anthem of sorts. The song was remixed for Rohan Sippy's 2011 movie titled Dum Maaro Dum which also dealt with drugs and sex. Imagine how ahead of the times Dev Saahab was!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Waltair Veerayya

90s masala reloaded!!
Waltair Veerayya review:

The latest Chiranjeevi masala entertainer brought back fond memories of his two successful Hindi ventures - Pratibandh (1990) and Aaj Ka Goonda Raaj (1992). The claps and whistles in the single screen I visited were still intact for the ageless megastar who shines in the titular role of a dubious fisherman with a tragic past..

Indeed, at sixty seven years, Chiru still looks convincing beating his brawny opponents to pulp as well as romancing a girl half his age (Shruti Haasan). The megastar pulls it off and how!!

Admittedly, the plot and execution is rooted in the '90s and might feel largely over the top for 2023. But its still fun to watch and most importantly, packs in all the ingredients you crave for in a commercial movie. There is action, there is emotion, there is bromance, there is a love angle and there is an item song. Yup, Urvashi Rautela pops up to shake a hip with megastar Chiru while Shruti Haasan gets some high octane action sequences apart from the routine song and dance.

The icing on the cake comes immediately post interval when the title reads Mass Maharaja Ravi Teja and the star makes a spectacular entry carrying a small goat. By the way, that goat shows more emotions than what our very own Arjun Kapoor displayed in his latest flop called Kuttey!!

Ravi and Chiru's scenes are the movie's highlight and the penultimate one will give goosebumps to their fans. Special mention of the action scene just before the interval with the megastar atop an elephant. That was truly a 'taalimaar' moment!!

All in all, Waltair Veerayya is worth your ticket price. Provided you have an appetite for the masala entertainers of yore. Mega and Mass fans obviously cannot miss it!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Yeh Dil Aashiqanaa

Love hijack!
Yeh Dil Aashiqanaa review :

Director Kuku Kohli made an overnight superstar out of debutant Ajay Devgn in Phool Aur Kaante (1991). He tried the same formula - an action packed musical entertainer- with Karan Nath in Yeh Dil Aashiqanaa and though not a blockbuster like Devgn's debut, the film turned out to be a decent earner at the ticket windows celebrating a combined hundred days run at Imperial Cinema, Lamington Road.

Karan Nath and Jividha Sharma played college lovers who get on the wrong side of a dreaded terrorist (Aditya Panscholi) after Karan singlehandedly foils his plane hijack attempt. Jividha's brother (Rajat Bedi) is also an accomplice of the terrorist and plots to kill Karan.

Nadeem Shravan's music was filled with melody specially the title song. Karan and Jividha looked good together as the young lovebirds. Jividha had done the small role of Aishwarya Rai's sister in Subhash Ghai's Taal (1999) earlier but this was her true blue heroine wala debut. She had the spunk in her but sadly, didn't make it big in Bollywood. As for Karan, he too faded away just as fast and quick...

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Sanam Bewafa

Pathaan Salman's smash hit
Sanam Bewafa review:

One of the biggest hits of Salman Khan's career; Sanam Bewafa was another version of Romeo and Juliet indianized for the masses by Saawan Kumar Tak. It was the debut of actresses Chandni and Kanchan who sadly couldn't capitalise on the film's surprise success at the box office. Both got relegated to side roles soon after..

Salman and Chandni played the two lovers torn apart by their warring tribes led by Pran (ending every line with 'Saai') and Danny. Punit Issar and Pankaj Dheer from Mahabharat TV series, were pitted against each other for action. Salman had a chocolate hero image in those days and his role was restricted to songs and romance only. Actually, he didn't have much hopes on this film and allowed Nitin Manmohan's Baaghi (1990) to be his next release after the blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya (1989). But Sanam Bewafa belied all expectations and ran riot at the ticket windows.

Newcomer Chandni was not the original choice and Rukhsar was almost finalised for the lead role but things didn't work out at the last minute. Nevertheless, Saawan Kumar retained the name Rukhsar for his heroine in the movie. Newbie Mahesh Kishor gave some wonderful music and the songs are still popular in the Northen states where the movie attained blockbuster status.

Sanam Bewafa is Saawan Kumar Tak's biggest hit ever. It was bigger success than his Souten (1983) also. Unfortunately, it was also his last hit and the director went downhill after this. It is also one of Salman's biggest hit till date. In case, you are a true Bhai fan you must have already seen this film. If not, don't call yourself one!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.


Highly underrated dacoit drama.
Yugandhar review:

A lesser known and underrated dacoit drama; Yugandhar was directed by 'Tezaab' director N. Chandra and featured Mithun Chakraborty in one of the finest performances of his career. He played an aam villager called Krishna who has no choice but to turn dacoit after an unscrupulous foreign returned thakur (Mangal Dhillon) usurps the entire village land in connivance with the district collector (Dilip Tahil), opportunist zamindar (Paresh Rawal) and top cop (Kiran Kumar).

N. Chandra's landscape shots and crowd scenes were spectacular to watch. The Rajasthan locales were amazingly captured on celluloid. The ever charming Sangeeta Bijlani was cast as Paresh Rawal's daughter who loves Krishna and then rebels to become his accomplice cum wife. Johnny Lever got a meaty role and even a fight scene with Mithunda. Kabir Bedi was gracious as the kind hearted army man on duty. Om Shivpuri's voice as the Police Commissioner was dubbed after his death.

On the flipside, the film was overlong especially the song sequences. Laxmikant Pyarelal had composed amazing score for Chandra's Tezaab (1988) and Narsimha (1991) but the songs of Yugandhar were below average except for the 'Krishna aayega' number which had thoughtful lyrics. There was one more innovatively executed song where Mithun da challenges the proposal of Mangal Dhillon to buy the farm land. It was one of a kind concept but again, the tune was quite ordinary!! Another sore point was Mangal Dhillon's casting as the main villain and ideally, Kiran Kumar should have done that role.

Nevertheless, Yugandhar had many positive things going for it including a massive hype and was expected to be another blockbuster like Tezaab!! Unfortunately, it released in the first week of January 1993 right in midst of the communal riots which rocked India (particularly the all important Mumbai territory) after Babri Masjid demolition. Most of Mumbai was under curfew that time which severely impacted the film's box office prospects and it was declared a box office flop even with its tax free status in many states.

Today, Chandra is known for Ankush (1986), Pratighaat (1987) and Tezaab (1988). Yugandhar had the potential to enter that success list but alas..!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

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