nadkarnisumeet

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Reviews

Galiyon Ka Badshah
(1989)

Delayed disaster of Raaj Kumar.
Galiyon Kaa Badshah review :

A delayed 1990 release and Smita Patil's last release in her own voice.

Raaj Kumar played the titular role of Robinhood styled chor who distributes his loot to the poor. It is probably one of the few films where he is bare chested in many scenes. Smita was one of his heroines and she played a prostitute in the film. Hema Malini and Poonam Dhillon were the other two heroines romancing Jaani Raaj Kumar. Mithun Chakraborty had a small role of Jaani's galli ka friend who turns moviestar in the end. Aruna Irani was the main villain with the lusty Ranjeet as her henchman. The movie was delayed for close to a decade and the final product looked badly edited with improper flow to the narrative. A box office disaster.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Satyameva Jayate 2
(2021)

Teen Tigada..
Satyameva Jayate 2 review :

A honest patriotic hero is bumped off and his sons take revenge with one of them turning in to a vigilante killer. That was pretty much the plot of the original Satyameva Jayate (2018) directed by Milap Zaveri. The moderate success of that film meant a sequel was on the cards and Milap recycles the same story in part 2. Only John Abraham plays all the three roles here - father and his twins who are all hyper nationalists and who scream more and talk less. Subtlety is not their family virtue, you see!!

Juggling triple roles has never been a winning proposition for Bollywood stars - the late great Dilip Kumar failed with Bairaag (1976), Amitabh Bachchan's Mahaan (1983) met with an underwhelming response. So did the otherwise invincible Rajinikanth in John Jani Janardhan (1984). In all likelihood, Satyameva Jayate 2 too is likely to go that way if I consider the half empty Plaza Cinema at Dadar where I caught it on second day first show.

The script belongs to the bygone era when Manmohan Desai's logic defying mass entertainers were lapped up happily by the audience. Infact, the Sherawali song seems to be an odè to Desai's Mard (1985). Everything from dialogues to action is over the top here. The new found pop patriotism is generously sprinkled in almost every scene with most characters talking in rhyming couplets reminding you of Kanti Shah's oh so bad that its good Gunda (1998) which marvelously achieved this cheesy feat. One particular action sequence in a hospital room turns unintentionally hilarious when John is warding off a dozen goons armed with swords with just one hand while donating blood from the other. "Do Haath toh namard istamal karte hain taali bajaane ke liye", he says. Phew!! And yes, the climactic helicopter sequence is reminiscent of Vijay Anand's Ram Balram (1980) and T. Ramarao's Insaf Ki Pukar (1987).

Of the cast, John is first rate even though the writing doesnt support him. The actor deserves a salute for carving his own nichè without any mentor or "Godfather" and making it on his own stead in this nepotistic industry. Trust me, this film would've been unwatchable without John at the helm. He lends tremendous credibility and dignity to most implausible situations. Kudos!

The gorgeous Divya Khosla Kumar makes a comeback of sorts as the main lead after eons. I remember liking her in Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo (2004) and here, she not only looks pretty as always but also pitches in a competent performance. The other cast including Harsh Chhaya, Gautami Kapoor and Anup Soni are sincere as ever. Nora Fatehi sizzles the screen with her 'Kusu Kusu' item number.

On the flipside, the climax is slipshod and utterly unconvincing. It seems to be a hurried effort to just finish off the movie. As for that twist in the tale, even a school kiddo would be able to guess who the real villain is long before that person's evil intention is revealed.

Never mind!! With all its pros and cons, Satyameva Jayate 2 is an average fare which will appeal more to those who grew up relishing the '70s and '80s cinema. This film belongs to that era. Only it has released forty years too late!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Phool Aur Kaante
(1991)

Invincible Devgan.
Phool Aur Kaante review :

When Ajay Devgan made his big Bollywood debut standing atop two running bikes, the audience went crazy in the theatres cheering and clapping their newfound hero. Phool Aur Kaante was the best debut any actor could dream of - it had soulful music, pulsating action and baap beta emotional angle - everything to steer it to box office success.

Nadeem Shravan's songs were chartbusters and ensured repeat audience in theatres. The film enjoyed a golden jubilee run across India and Ajay became an overnight star.

Interestingly, Phool Aur Kaante clashed with Yash Chopra's Lamhe (1991) and actor Anil Kapoor was invited for one of its trial show by Ajay's dad veteran fight master Veeru Devgan. Apparently, Anil didnt like the movie and he exited the show in ten minutes flat advising Veeru not to clash a small movie like Phool Aur Kaante with his Lamhe. Veeru Devgan and team didn't budge and their film released on the same day with Lamhe. While the biggie Lamhe failed miserably, Phool Aur Kaante became an instant hit. The same story repeated next year in 1992 with Ajay Devgan's next release Jigar releasing on Diwali day with Feroz Khan's magnum opus Yalgaar. Jigar became a super hit while Yalgaar remained underwhelming at the ticket counters.

Coming to Phool Aur Kaante, my favourite scene is the mens cloakroom fight where Ajay takes on Dan Dhanoa and his goons. Its a brilliantly executed sequence and deserves a dekho even today!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Red Alert: The War Within
(2009)

Another great story by Aruna Raje.
Red Alert review :

Written by veteran Aruna Raje, Red Alert is a good exposè on the naxalite movement plaguing the country. Suniel Shetty plays the innocent cook who is drawn in to the naxal brigade for no fault of his and the film chronicles his incredible journey to redemption. The actors are good, the setting is quite realistic and the narrative doesn't over stay its time. I have been a fan of Aruna Raje since Shaque (1976) and here again, she is still in her solid form. Ananth Mahahdevan has directed the movie competently as well.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Dhamaka
(2021)

Kartik Aaryan shines in a decent thriller!
Dhamaka review :

Loosely based on the South Korean thriller 'The Terror Live' (2013), Dhamaka is a fairly decent attempt by Ram Madhvani to expose the TRP hungry media. It explores our modern world where "News" is created and sold to its viewers who enjoy the masala fare even if it is fake. Here, we have a down and out anchor (Kartik Aaryan) trying to further his career prospects by establishing live connect with a terrorist who has just blown up the Mumbai sea link.

It all starts when the anchor gets a threatening call from this person in midst of his programme which naturally, he takes it to be a prank. Booom!! There is a blast and the anchor sees an opportunity here for fame and TRPs!! It is even more surprising when the terrorist demands an apology from the ruling party minister in lieu of safety of the blast site victims.

The fact that Ram Madhvani has the knack of extracting the best from his cast was already established when he managed to make a dud like Sonam Kapoor perform so well in Neerja (2016). Kartik is anyway a much better actor than the nepo-kid and expectedly, knocks the ball out of the park. His demeanor, body language, expressions are first rate in each and every scene. In fact, the character itself goes through myriad of emotions and Kartik has aced all of them. Extraordinary, indeed!!

The supporting cast also doesn't disappoint. Particularly, Amruta Subhash, playing the ruthless and greedy boss, is top class. Mrunal Thakur leaves a mark even in a small role.

At just one hour forty minutes of run time, Dhamaka starts off superbly, comes to the point fast, gets slight sluggish in between but quickly picks speed again to conclude on a highly thought provoking note. Its unconventional climax may or may not appeal to all but here's a film which deserves a watch for those fantastic performances.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Love Marriage
(1984)

A forgotten rom com which is still enjoyable!!
Love Marriage review :

A musical rom com starring newbie Anil Kapoor and Meenakshi Seshadri; Love Marriage was directed by Mehul Kumar who achieved success later with his action packed patriotic dramas like Tirangaa (1993) and Krantiveer (1994). This was one of his initial movies and if rumours are to be believed, Anil wasn't particularly happy after seeing its rushes so he started giving preference to Yash Chopra's Mashaal (1984) instead. The producers saw red and gave an "impolite" ultimatum which made Anil and bro Boney reluctantly complete the film.

Anil and Meenu are actually unfortunate children of greedy rich parents who are on run after tying the knot against their papa's wishes. The film tries to infuse in humour in various situations these couple encounter. There is a Hyderabadi murgiyon ka doctor (Mehmood), an angrezon ke zamaane ka jailor (Asrani spoofing his Sholay (1975) character) and a counterfeit notes smuggler (Utpal Dutt) to tackle..

Not bad for a one time watch, Love Marriage didn't work wonders at the box office. It is largely forgotten today only because its main lead didn't have the guts and gumption to stand by his decision and promote it properly!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Red: The Dark Side
(2007)

Unforgettable guilt pleasure!!
Red: The Dark Side review :

Before hitting gold with the horror genre, Vikram Bhatt dabbled in everything from love stories to hard core action to erotic thrillers. Red: The Dark Side was one such erotic drama he directed starring Aftab (Faffy) Shivadasani, Celina Jaitley and Amrita Arora. It was quite an unforgettable experience for me at Movetime Starcity, Matunga where there were just a handful of patrons with me in the Saturday late evening show. I had strolled in to the cinema after enjoying a couple of drinks with my friends and that could be the reason I actually enjoyed the film tremendously as a guilt pleasure.

Red starts with a depressed looking Faffy who gets his ailing heart transplanted from a donor. The inquisitive type that he is, Faffy gets the information about his donor from his doctor friend (the ever pretty Kishori Shahane in a cameo) and then sets to befriend his donor's widow (Celina Jaitley) who is convinced her hubby was murdered by his girlfriend (Amrita Arora) with whom he was having an extra-marital. Oof!!

The acting was minimalistic. So was the lead actors clothing particularly Celina Jaitley.. Admittedly, she looked damn hot in the movie and I loved her more here than even in her debut Janasheen (2003). Nah, it wasn't the 'daaru' influence, I bet ya!! Faffy was totally misfit in his role and he transformed many serious moments in to unintentional hilarity. Amrita got relegated to sidelines due to her ill-written character. She looked stunning though!!

The best part of Red was Himesh Reshammiya's songs which were mostly utilized for lovemaking scenes between Faffy and hottie Celina. Normally, I have seen people walk out for a smoke during songs but no one ventured out during Red probably as they didnt want to miss the sex scenes.

Don't wish to play spoiler (not that you would care..), but Red ended on an expected note where you knew who the culprit was long before...but I still walked out getting my tickets worth. This is one guilt pleasure cinema I will never forget. Cheers!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Pukar
(1983)

Amitabh liberates Goa!!
Pukar review :

One of the few Bollywood films based on Goa Liberation; Pukar was produced by Ramesh Behl who repeated his hit jodi - Amitabh Bachchan and Randhir Kapoor - from Kasme Vaade (1978) and roped in Pancham RD Burman to compose the music which turned out to be a huge hit.

"Tu maiko mat jaiyyo" sung by Bachchan himself, was a Binaca Geetmala chartbuster while the sexy Zeenat Aman scorched up the Goa beach in "Samundar mein nahake aur bhi namkeen ho gayee ho". Yes, indeed!!

Amitabh Bachchan was cast in an anti-hero role of Ramdas, a son of a Goan freedom fighter, who despises fellow Indians and turns Ronnie owing allegiance to Portuguese after a childhood misunderstanding. Randhir was miscast as the brave 'sipahi' of Goan Liberation party and appeared out of place in most action sequences. Zeenat looked absolutely marvelous as Amitabh's amour while Tina Munim was shortchanged in a blink and miss role.

Prem Chopra played the Portuguese baddie efficiently. In one scene, Amitabh hoodwinks him in a comic scene inspired from Lone Ranger. Bachchan was in his element here and the film is watchable only for him and Pancham da's awesome score.

Being a Goenkar, Pukar holds a special place in my heart for its depiction of Goa independence. While British left India in 1947, Goa got liberated from the Portuguese rule only on December 19, 1961. The film's climax recreates this glorious moment when Indian army rushed in to the province and made the Portuguese flee forever.

A parting trivia : The original climax had Bachchan die after killing Prem Chopra but was changed to a happy ending after he suffered a near fatal accident during the shooting of Manmohan Desai's Coolie (1983). The audience just couldn't see their hero pass away even in the reel world after this incident. Obviously!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Johny Mera Naam
(1970)

Evergreen entertainer.
Johny Mera Naam review :

After Guide (1965) and Jewel Thief (1967), Dev and Vijay Anand jodi completed their hatrick with this superhit film. Johny Mera Naam is a complete entertainer and perfect mixture of emotions, drama, action, music and sex. In short, the film had everything to satisfy the varied taste of the moviegoers.

A typical lost and found formula of brothers (Dev Anand and Pran) separating in childhood and then re-uniting years later to fight a common enemy (Premnath); Vijay Anand's outstanding execution elevated the film to an altogether different level. Dev Saahab's magnetic charm and Hema Malini's beauty was utilised perfectly here and the song "Pal bhar ke liye koi hume pyaar karle" is still memorable for its imaginative use of window panes.

Another number "Husn ke lakhon rang" attained notoriety of sorts due to the sexy Padma Khanna doing a strip tease dance for the amorous Premnath. Reportedly, the theatres used to be replete with ceetis and catcalls from the front bencher crowd as Padma removed her clothes one by one through the song. The way Premnath just pounces on her in the end still gives me chills!!

Expectedly, Dev Saahab owned the film through his sheer style and swag. Pran and Premnath excelled in their roles. IS Johar had a triple role of Pehle Ram, Dooje Ram and Teeje Ram - triplets who Dev Anand keeps bumping in to one after another throughout the film.

Johny Mera Naam was seen as direct competition to Raj Kapoor's Mera Naam Joker (1970) and Kapoor had requested producer Gulshan Rai to change the title to Johny. Refusing point blank, Rai asked Raj Kapoor to name his film Joker instead. We all know the box office fate of both the films but today, both are regarded as cult classics and I personally love both of them.

Johny Mera Naam not only influenced the formulaic cinema of '70s and '80s but also made director Sriram Raghavan pay a rich tribute to the movie in his neo noir thriller Johnny Gaddar (2007) in which some clips of the film are also seen.

One of the finest entertainers of Hindi cinema; Johny Mera Naam is Dev Saahab's biggest success of the '70s. It is an evergreen film. Just like him!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Tezaab
(1988)

Ek do teen chaar....Acidic masala fare!!
Tezaab review :

Noted director N. Chandra celebrated a hat-trick of hits with this film after Ankush (1986) and Pratighaat (1987). While the previous two had an offbeat approach, Tezaab had known stars and super popular music by Laxmikant Pyarelal to steer it to success.

Anil Kapoor was truly convincing as Mahesh Deshmukh who turns tadipaar Munna due to unfortunate circumstances post his love story with college mate Mohini (Madhuri Dixit). The love saga itself is so interestingly handled by Chandra that all those light moments are sheer timepass entertainment. Whether it is Munna wooing the college hottie Nikita (sexy Mandakini) just to get Mohini jealous or the culmination of his bet with Babban (Chunky Pandey, impressive) in to true love..

Tezaab had a convincing action hero in Anil, a sizzling hot dancer in Madhuri and most importantly, a terrific villain in Kiran Kumar as Lotia Pathan who kidnaps Mohini with his biker gang at the very start of the film. That scene remains its highlight.

The Ek Do Teen... number is the movie's jaan with its unforgettable Madame Dixit's thumkas. Anil Kapoor got so insecure with the song that he persuaded N Chandra to film a male version on him. Another song called "Amitabh ko bulao toh jaane" was added to the film in its 12th week.

Tezaab is memorable for Chunky Pandey's Babban as well. Playing the hero's bestie, he infuses jaan in his tapori character particularly in the scene when he fools a Parsi bawa (Dinesh Hingoo) in to sponsering his gang member's birthday treat. "Murgi walon apni murgi sambhalo". Solid Hilarious!!

But above all my personal fave character of Tezaab is the slimy Shyamlal (Anupam Kher) who throws acid on his wife (Suhas Joshi) when she throws a tantrum. The film's title couldn't have got a more morbid relevance!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Sooryavanshi
(2021)

First experience after 18 months!!
Sooryavanshi review :

Finally something for the theatre owners to cheer about. Also for us, the audience!!

The first major Bollywood theatrical release since March 2020 (Baaghi 3 was the major release just before Corona struck us); Sooryavanshi can be called an ideal festive dhamaka to pull back the audience to cinema halls which have sadly, been shut or running empty since then...

Rohit Shetty's cop universe extends to Veer Sooryavanshi (Akshay Kumar), an ATS officer, who along with Singham (Devgn) and Simmba (Ranveer) take on the terror group (Jackie Shroff and company) planning to blow up Mumbai once again. À la March 1993.

Akshay is in top form again after Bell Bottom (2021) and the Bangkok action stunts are a treat to watch reminding us of his daredevilry in Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995). Katrina Kaif, playing his wifey, sizzles the screen in the remixed 'Tip tip barsa paani' number from Mohra (1994) though I preferred Raveena's sensuous jhatkas from the original. Yea, the plot is typical '90s stuff but cleverly updated to present times.

Infact, the first half is a breeze watch with all the action, emotions and drama unfolding at a super fast pace. Rohit even brings a secular touch in a particular scene where Muslims help Hindus to take Ganpati idol from Mandir to a safe place in course of a terror strike even as a remixed "Chodo kal ki baatein...Hum Hindustani" song plays in the background. Pop bhaichara, indeed!!

Post interval, the film dithers and withers a bit as the screenplay appears to be in a tearing hurry to introduce its two main cameo characters - you know who!!

Ranveer Singh and Ajay Devgn make their grand entry and then, Shetty completely lets the action department take charge. Which ain't a bad decision at all as the stunts are imaginatively executed. Notably, the continous shot of Ranveer bashing up a dirty dozen is superb. Taalimaar!!

The dialogues are massy, the technical aspects are okey dokey and the end finale promises to carry forward the franchise with a Singham sequel. Clearly, the focus is to entertain. Nothing more. Nothing less. And that is important...in the current times when audience hasn't been to theatres since early 2020. In that sense, Sooryavanshi truly achieves its objective. And thats why it should be seen. Only in theatres please!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Parinda
(1989)

Powerful and poignant!!
Parinda review :

THE MOST POWERFUL FILM EVER MADE!

Screamed the posters of this film directed by then relatively unknown Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The poster had a huge pigeon with mugshots of its impressive cast comprising Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit and Nana Patekar.

The poster with its tagline attracted me and I walked in to Mahim's Citylight Cinema to catch the first day evening show of Parinda. The movie was supposedly adults only but nobody bothered about checking age proof in those good old days.

As I came out three hours later, the film had engulfed me completely. Just like the flames which engulf Nana in its spellbinding climax. Chopra was right indeed. This was a super powerful film merging realism with popular cinema to create a never before experience.

The story is simple and clichèd if I may call it that. Two brothers grow up on opposite side of law. One becomes a gangster. The other is honest and clean till he gets embroiled in to a crime commited by his brothers boss. The victim is his childhood friend while the perpetrators belong to his brothers company.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra's direction was extraordinary with so many standout scenes. The shootout at Kabutarkhana for instance. Or the identification sequence at the police station. And of course, the tragic end to a honeymoon. Every scene registers a solid impact!!

Parinda would be incomplete without RD Burman's melodious score. The songs come as a fresh breather in the otherwise grim narrative. Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit romancing to "Tumse Milke" redefines a love duet. By the way, Madhuri wears the same salwaar kameez throughout the film. Only her dupatta changes perhaps reflecting her modest school teacher character.

Anil is believable as the good guy turning bad due to circumstances. Nana Patekar is outstanding as the main villain Anna who is only afraid of fire. The maniacal twist he lends to his character is truly awesome.

Having said that, Parinda belongs to Jackie Shroff, apun ka Jaggu, who pitches in his career best performance. Note the intensity in his eyes during the climactic scene where he crashes beer bottles in a room without uttering a word. Thats called acting bhiddu!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Krishna Arjun
(1997)

Too dated for the 90s.
Krishna Arjun review :

Jeetendra and Vivek Mushran are brothers who take on the might of the local thakur Raza Murad and his minister crony Pramod Moutho. Typical 80s style treatment with a rape scene involving Pramod and Upasna Singh who played a widowed teacher and Jeetu's love interest..

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Muqaddar Ka Sikandar
(1978)

Immortal classic!!
Muqaddar Ka Sikandar review :

Prakash Mehra's interpretation of the classic 'Devdas'; Muqaddar Ka Sikandar was an intense love saga where each of its key characters is madly in love with someone who doesn't love him or her.

Amitabh Bachchan loves Rakhee Rakhee loves Vinod Khanna Rekha loves Amitabh Amjad Khan loves Rekha.

Mehra's execution was extraordinary as he beautifully blended the hearttouching characters with superlative songs.

"Rote hue aate hai sab Hastaa hua jo jaayegaa Woh Muqaddar Ka Sikandar Jaaneman kehlayega" sings Amitabh racing down Marine Drive in Mumbai on his bike setting the tone of the film.

"O saathi re" and "Pyaar zindagi hai" are ever memorable tracks while Rekha's mujra number "Salaam-e- ishq" has attained cult status today.

Muqaddar Ka Sikandar is as much Amitabh's film as it is Mehra's. The superhit actor-director jodi had truly reached a creative crescendo with this venture. I simply love Amitabh's expressions while seeing his love Rakhee dancing with Vinod Khanna in the "Pyaar Zindagi" song. Admittedly, Vinod Khanna was a formidable angle to this love quadrangle and he impressed me with his swag even in a somewhat underwritten role. Trust me, any other actor wouldve fallen flat in this role and it is to the credit of Khanna that he could stand strong in front of the unbeatable Amitabh. Rekha looks alluring as the kind hearted courtesan and this is one of the finest performances of her illustrious career.

Amjad Khan, as Dilawar, was another brilliant character and his climactic encounter with Amitabh is a major highlight of the movie. Both are fighting for their love willing to risk their life for it...Super!!

Rightfully, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, a 1978 Diwali release, took the biggest opening in history of Bollywood. It remains the biggest hits of that year and one of the top grossers of the '70s decade. Many films tried to replicate this theme later including Sajid Nadiadwala's Jeet (1996) but Sikandar remains special. And immortal like the great Alexander from whom its draws its name!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Main, Meri Patni... Aur Woh!
(2005)

Rituparna's best Hindi effort.
Main, Meri Patni... Aur Woh! Review :

A suspicious husband accuses his beautiful wife of having an affair with a friend. It threatens his marital life..

Rajesh Khanna- Mumtaz starrer Aap Ki Kasam (1974) had the same plot where Khanna accuses Mumu of cheating on his buddy and well wisher Sanjeev Kumar. Director Chandan Arora gave a comedic twist to this grim drama in Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh - a fairly engaging effort which went unnoticed in cinemas when it had an unheralded release in October 2005.

Unlike Khanna who suffers from suspicion, Rajpal Yadav is basically a diffident person who ends up marrying a far more beautiful and taller lady (Rituparna Sengupta). Suffering from an inherent inferiority complex (presumably due to his chota height), he feels insecure even with the milk and vegetable vendor his newbie wife interacts with.

Next, he manipulates his bestie Salim (Varun Badola) to tie a rakhi to his wifey and assumes his problem is over. Nah! Enter wifeyji's collegemate Kay Kay Menon - a flamboyant extrovert - which makes Rajpal suspect his wife even more.

The film makes for a nice breezy watch at just over two hours of runtime. The performances are first rate. Rajpal Yadav suits the character perfectly and this is one of his most underrated act. Kay Kay Menon is earnest as ever. And Rituparna has never looked so lovely in Hindi Cinema.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Yalgaar
(1992)

1992 Diwali Dhamaka.
Yalgaar review :

1992 Diwali was special treat for movie buffs. Three films - Yalgaar, Jigar and Drohi- were vying for their attention in theatres. Obviously, Feroz Khan's Yalgaar was highly anticipated out of the three. It had Khan and Sanjay Dutt teaming together first time with an ensemble cast and Channi Singh's music particularly "Ho jaata hai kaise pyaar" had caught on the popularity charts.

I saw Yalgaar and Jigar on the first day of release. Yalgaar had released at Chitra Cinema while Jigar was running housefull at Plaza Dadar. Yalgaar was a good subject but it paled in comparison to Feroz Khan's Qurbani (1980) and Janbaaz (1986) and of course, Vicky was an extremely poor choice for the hero. I found the sexy Nagma stealing the show from film's main heroine Manisha Koirala who was hamming in most scenes. Nagma's chemistry with Sanjay Dutt was sizzling hot in the song "Aakhir tumhe aana hai.." They literally scorched the screen with this number. Wonder why Bollywood didn't repeat this pair again. As for Sanju Baba, he was super impressive as the anti hero and the screen just erupted whenever he appeared on screen.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Shaandaar
(2015)

Alia in Blunderland!!
Shaandaar review :

It's truly Alice in Wonderland kinda setting, maybe Alia in Blunderland would be the more apt title. That's cos the story of two bankrupt Indian families out to strike a business deal in England through a marriage doesnt look for real. Take Sushma Seth with big scowling eyes to convey authority, Sanjay Kapoor as a proud Sindhi hopelessly aping his big bro Anil from 'Welcome Back' (2015) and Pankaj Kapur faring worse than his Mandola ki Bijli..(or was it Bijli ka Mandola)!

Indeed, none of the key characters in this Walt Disney fairy tale meets Sooraj Barjatya wedding video are relatable or remotely convincing....and all this coming from director Vikas Bahl, whose last outing 'Queen' (2014) had both its plot and characters rooted in realism, is a massive disappointment. Haa boss, picture bahut gadbad hai..

Infact, your doubts of gadbad are confirmed from the very first scene with Naseerudin Shah's disinterested voice-over introducing us to Alia (Bhatt) in an animated avatar. She's the adopted daughter of aforesaid Mandola who's a core family member attending this wedding cum business arrangement in a wine red tinge british castle.

Enter Jagjinder Joginder (Shahid Kapoor) as the wedding planner to kindle some love shove feelings in our bijli Alia and angry disgruntled feelings in her Mandola baba. Sadly, all attempts to generate humor out of this brewing romance fall flat on its face.

Post interval, the film morphs in to a Sooraj Barjatya style shaadi video with co-producer Karan Johar making an unexplained (and unwanted) appearance; one sleep inducing sangeet competition follows and we slowly and unsteadily head towards the worst climax seen and endured this year. No kidding, it appears to me that this grand finale (!!!) was just randomly shot without any thought in mind or a bound script in hand.

On the film's very few positive aspects, the 'Monday ka khaana tuesday ko..' sequence is genuinely funny. The 'Gulaabo' song is zingy and also well choreographed.

Diverse material from Shekhar Kapur's 'Masoom' (1983) to Rahul Rawail's 'Buddah Mar Gaya' (2007) are borrowed for subplots but don't add any value to the final product.

Technically too, the movie looks dated inspite of its high budget spend. All those animated frog and roosters appear needless add-ons.

Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt look good individually but don't gel well as a pair. Their chemistry doesn't work at all. Shahid's (real life) sister Sanah makes a promising debut.

In cricket parlance, director Vikas Bahl hit a winning ton on his debut. In his second match, he's got out on a duck. It's ok. We can always forget his bad day on the field and wait for his next with hope. In the meantime, you are advised to stick to cricket and skip 'Shaandaar'.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Boss
(2013)

Apun ko kya hai!!
Boss review:

There is a certain dialogue in movie which the hero keeps repeating. It goes like this: "Apun ko kya hai, apne ko toh bas paani nikalna hai".

What Akshay Kumar may've meant: "Apun ko kya hai, apne ko toh bas paisa chahiye, story nai hai toh kya hua".

What director Anthony Dsouza may've thought: "Apun ko kya hai, apne ko bas koi south cinema copy paste karna hai"

What the producers may want: "Apun ko kya hai, apne ko toh bas 100 crores banane hai, cinema aesthetics be damned".

As for the audience, there's nothing much in BOSS... save for a couple of well executed action scenes and Ronit Roys solid villainous act (after Udaan).

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Kartavya
(1979)

Dharam vs Poachers.
Kartavya review :

Based on relatively unexplored issue of animal poaching, Kartavya was an out and out actioner starring Dharmendra, Rekha, Aruna Irani and Utpal Dutt in pivotal roles. In a first of sorts, Vinod Mehra played a negative character which frankly, didnt suit him even with that fake 'massa' to look evil.

It was actually Ranjeet who looked mighty convincing as Jacob, the driver who is discreetly on villain Dutt's payroll. They are poachers killing animals for their horns, tusks and skin...whatever sells in the international market. Dharam comes there as a forest officer and proves a tough nut to crack... Rekha has an interesting role of an informer going straight after falling for Garam Dharam's irresistible charm. Oh well!!

Kartavya was a decent actioner with some good stunts involving animals. The tiger fight is the film's highlight sequence which contributed significantly to its box office success. Rekha's sizzling number with Dharam was the other reason.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Jeeva
(1986)

Sanju Baba in a daaku mode.
Jeeva review :

A routine dacoit drama featuring a much younger Sanjay Dutt with Mandakini; Jeeva was directed by Raj (Daddu) Sippy for whom this was first film under this genre.

The screenplay was the same old clichè of a honest villager forced to become a rebel due to villainous thakur. It is a plot harnessed by Sanju's father Sunil Dutt in many of his past hits.

Jeeva was a decent grosser at the box office and Sanju returned to play a dacoit again in Sultan Ahmed's Jai Vikraanta (1994) which again had the same plot but couldnt succeed at the box office inspite of having the pretty Zeba Bakhtiar cast opposite Baba.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Sardar Udham
(2021)

Shoojit Sircar's best.
Sardar Udham review :

Of all the movies Shoojit Sircar has made till date, this has to be the most technically brilliant one. Capturing the landscape from Amristar to London, the shots appear like a beautiful painting on celluloid. The art design, recreating the 1930s and early '40s when most of this film is based, is top class. Sardar Udham is also the most unconventional historical movie made in Indian cinema. If you are looking for entertainment or patriotic jingoism here, sorry but this is just not the movie for you!!

Indeed, Sardar Udham is a highly realistic and at times, harrowing depiction of the relatively unknown freedom fighter who decides to avenge the Jallianwala Baug massacre. Travelling all the way to London to execute the two officials responsible for the most inhuman act in British India, Udham Singh takes a long time to execute his plan. But he is successful at the end.

Narrated non-linearly, the film may get tad difficult for the aam junta not used to such treatment as well as those who are not so well versed with the historical events of that period specially those second world war references and the communists' role in it. Udham Singh's torture scenes in British jail are also extremely discomforting to watch.

Vicky Kaushal, in the titular role, delivers his career best performance. This one deserves a National award, no less!! Kirsty Averton as Eileen Palmer, Udham's sympathizer from the local Communist party, is a standout. The other firangi actors are earnest and thankfully, talk in English instead of that oh-so-familiar accented Hindi patented by Bob Christo.

Sardar Udham reaches its pinnacle in the last forty minutes dedicated to the Jallianwala Baug tragedy. I have read and seen this event many times before but trust me, was never ever shaken so much!! It is a heart wrenching watch sure to move you to tears.

Finally, films like Sardar Udham need to be made and the sacrifice of these great freedom fighters deserve much more attention than just a footnote accorded to them in our school history books.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Rashmi Rocket
(2021)

Phooski bomb!!
Rashmi Rocket review :

A lady judge admonishes a lawyer in one scene; "Tum Hindi filmein bahot dekhte ho kya!! Itna drama nahi hota hai asli court mein." So very true for Rashmi Rocket. A film meant to chronicle the rise and fall and subsequent rise of ace runner Rashmi who is banned after a failed testosterone test.

The story held promise but the execution sucks...and it sucks badly. How can you possibly explain a lead (Taapsee Pannu) supposed to be a running champ but without a single scene where she is actually shown running like an athlete. Taapsee seems to be jogging rather than running on the track. Clearly, the actor hasn't worked hard on her character at all and still seems to be stuck in 'Thappad' (2020) mode looking sad, pensive and worn out...Not done at all!! Compare this to Farhan Akhtar's intensity and josh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) or Fatima Sana Shaikh's vigour in Dangal (2016) and you will understand how hollow Taapsee's performance is in Rashmi Rocket!!

She is not entirely to blame. The screenplay just doesn't offer her ample opportunity with the entire second half dedicated to a courtroom drama where Abhishek Banerjee and Varun Badola take charge as the two opponent lawyers. Rashmi Rocket fizzles out long before it reaches the climax. And Madame Taapsee seems to be losing her mojo getting repetitive and monotonous with every new release. I still have hope though!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Ek Hi Bhool
(1981)

A Hit mistake!!
Ek Hi Bhool review :

One more southern outing of Jeetendra which hit the bullseye at the box office; Ek Hi Bhool was a well executed family drama revolving around marital infidelity and consequences of suspicion. Rekha and Nazneen were cast opposite Jeetu Saar forming the angle of suspicious wifey and the other woman respectively.

Rekha suspects Jeetu of having a roving eye which actually isn't true. Nazneen is her widowed friend who Rekha asks Jeetu to help with her insurance claim. In an inadvertent incident, a bathing soap plays cupid on which Nazneen slips in the bathroom to land up straight in Jeetendra's arms and they end up having sex. Rekha promptly separates from Jeetu and they meet up some years later as boss- subordinate where he learns that Rekha is a single mom to his child Raju.

Befriending the kiddo Jeetu sings the popular "Ae Raju Ae Daddy" with him and tries to reconcile. But Madame Rekha is in no mood. What happens next?

Ek Hi Bhool is a perfect blend of emotions, drama and comedy making for a nice breezy family watch. The characters are easily identifiable and the situations look straight from the real world - no exaggeration and unwanted 'shor sharaaba'. Jeetendra is super competent in the lead role while Rekha elevates her suspicious biwi character to altogether different level. The gorgeous Nazneen is memorable even in a small role. Asrani and Mazhar Khan deserve a special mention.

Deservedly, the film was a silver jubilee hit and much loved by the audience. It was remade by Dharmesh Darshan in 2002 as Haan..Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya with Abhishek Bachchan, Karisma Kapoor and Simone Singh as the husband, wife and other woman. Akshay Kumar was the added angle but even he couldn't save this film from flopping badly. After all, public are willing to relish such "Bhool" only once...not all the time. Haha!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Haider
(2014)

Best of Vishal Bharadwaj
Haider review:

Let me forewarn you that this film lacks mass entertainment value. No regular dhamaal or masti mazaa here!! But yup, it more than makes that up with its technical brilliance, visual appeal and top notch performances from its talented cast (Tabu, Irrfan, Kay Kay Menon, Shahid Kapoor in order of excellence). Vishal Bharadwaj's "Hamlet" set in Kashmir milieu has a hardhitting screenplay and a superlative execution by the director known to indianise Shakespeare works for Bollywood. He did it before in Maqbool (2003) and Omkara (2006). This time around, he has knocked it out of the park and completed his hatrick.

Haider is highly recommended to the discerning viewer for its terrific performances and well, as its titular character repeatedly says, Chutzpah. Super cinema indeed!!

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

Armaan
(1981)

Desi Casablanca.
Armaan review :

Adapted from Hollywood classic Casablanca (1942), Armaan is memorable for Bappi Lahiri's disco songs - Rambha Ho Ho and Mere Jaisi Haseena - picturised on the glamour doll Kalpana Iyer who elevated the tracks to different level altogether.

The firangi plot is adapted to the Indian palette. In the pre-independence era, Deepak Parashar plays a freedom fighter landing up in Goa to migrate to Japan and join Indian National Army (INA). Raj Babbar, a Goan bar owner has a grudge against him as his lady love Ranjeeta ditched him for Deepak. Shammi Kapoor plays the jovial bar staff cum piano player who loves pulling the leg of Shakti Kapoor playing the freeloading Portuguese Captain Gomes. Shammi refers to him as HK which is Holy King as well as Haraam Khor to gather a few lol moments.

The Portuguese- British diplomatic relations is interestingly woven in to the narrative. So is the fact that Portuguese were even more cruel and corrupt than the British. An antique watch is enough to entice the authorised signatory to approve a visa application.

The film also had a bold scene where it is implied Raj Babbar has had sex with Kalpana Iyer in his car and then he ditches her there and then. Kalpana's bare back is shown even as Babbar asks her to buzz off.

But most importantly, it was the Rambha Ho item number which makes Armaan immortal. The song became an anthem of sorts in the early '80s and Kalpana Iyer's dance moves attained the level of immortality. This is one movie where Kalpana stole the show over the film's lead heroine Ranjeeta Kaur.

Regards, Sumeet Nadkarni.

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