Thursday, November 29, 2018

2.0 - One man's love for machines vs One man's love for sparrows. DOT.

Story -
The city is tormented by an unknown creature that stole every cellphone in the vicinity. When the concerned authorities are trying to figure out the phenomenon, few one per-centers get brutally murdered forcing Dr. Vaseegaran (Superstar Rajinikanth) & the government to reach out for Chitti the Robot for help. How Dr. Vaseegaran & Chitti team up to solve the mystery forms this visual extravaganza.

Movie -
The story takes off by introducing the familiar characters along with the new humanoid Nila (Amy Jackson). Shankar doesn't waste much time and gets on with the proceedings. The whole flying cellphone sequence is handled well and the mystery behind this kept effectively hidden. Though, this particular aspect is over stretched, the way Shankar & team presents it visually holds our attention. The link to Endhiran (prequel) is cleverly connected without having to deviate much. Cliched characters and scenes are there but don't hamper the narration. The murders that occur promises old school Shankar. The dramatic elevation till Chitti's entry is notable. The reveal of the person behind disappearing cellphones is terrifically done in the interval shot.

Second half starts with Pakshiraja (Akshay Kumar) narrating his backstory. This whole segment gives the much needed emotional connect to the proceedings. The flashback is true Shankar's trademark, which reminds us off all his main blockbusters. Unlike those films, where the victim turns a super vigilante, a face for the common people, Pakshiraja turns against the common people. The concept taken is the battle between positive and negative energy which is more literal, or to say visual. The pace drops during the flashback as it needs time to establish the emotional depth and the social cause without too much into preaching.

What you get post the flashback is real visual spectacle. Shankar ties up one action sequence after another. The whole Dr. Vaseegaran (Pakshiraja) vs Chitti battle holds our attention thoroughly. Once evil Chitti is resurrected, it is all Superstar Rajinikanth magic on screen clubbed with never seen before visual effects. The whole 20-25 minutes prolonged climax is in a way tribute to the prequel's climax fight, upgraded to the extreme. It is this segment that justifies the title 2.0. Shankar clubs socially relevant message in a sci-fi entertainer in his own style.

Performances -

Superstar Rajinikanth is fine as Dr. Vaseegaran without an iota of heroism. Superstar is good as Chitti who is in his elements. Superstar as evil Chitti brings the house down giving paisa vasool entertainment as expected. All in all a committed performance indeed.

Akshay Kumar is very good as Pakshiraja, both as the old Ornithologist as well as his evil self. Honestly, going by the story, it's his character who is the HERO in this story. He brings in a controlled performance in both the characters and it's commendable.

Amy Jackson as Nila brings in couple of chuckles as she gets couple of good one liners. Other than that, she's sidelined for most part of the film.

Sudhanshu Pandey as Bora's son from the prequel is average in a cliched weakly written role with hardly any scope.

Adil Hussain as Prime Minister is passable. This role is no challenge for him.

Mayilsamy as Minister's PA is routine & so is Anant Mahadevan.

Background Score & Sound Recording - 

A special mention has to go to Resul Pookutty & team from 4D SRL for delivering perfectly, a one of a kind sound mixing. The real paisa vasool comes from this new technology. Even the minute sound is captured, just elevating the scene. Even in the loud action sequences, attention to detail to each of the element [Talking about the big climax fight] was simply hair-raising. I got my money's worth thanks to the sound recording.

Direction - 

Shankar's vision definitely needs an applause. This time he went back to his stronghold, an emotional backstory to make this a meaningful outing. While, Shankar the visual genius gets full marks, Shankar the story-teller stumbles post interval. Mainly because the writing gets him into a tight spot where he has his usual "hero" with a cause mounted as a super villain instead of super vigilante and has been pitted against the "hero" as well as "anti-hero" of the Endhiran universe. This hampered the emotional connect in the visually grand action set pieces in the second half.

But then, a film with this budget and it's visual world, can only be conceived by Shankar. No other Indian director would dare to think about this let alone pulling it off.

Pluses - 

  1. A true blue 3D film. The effects are "neat". The budget spent on VFX really shows.
  2. The sound recording is exceptional. Gives an entirely different vibe to the experience.
  3. Superstar Rajinikanth as Chitti 2.0 & well, let's keep this a surprise.
  4. The funny one-liners which also gave a Nithyananda's epic speech reference.
  5. The Pakshiraja - Chitti - Vaseegaran face off in the second half.
  6. To an extent, Akshay Kumar's backstory as Pakshiraja.

Minuses - 

  1. Cliched screenplay.
  2. Lack of emotional connect.
  3. As audience, we are made aware who is the hero and we are also forced to support the robot to destroy the actual "hero".
  4. Just like first part, the way film ends is very underwhelming.
  5. Uneven dubbing for Akshay Kumar in one scene where the lip-sync has taken a beating. The film of this stature, it's unforgivable.
  6. The "Scientific Explanation" of Pakshiraja might not be appealing to all. Also, this segment slows the narration.

Final Rating - 2.5/5 [+0.5 for the one of a kind visuals & background score.]

Final Words - It is one man's love for chitta kuruvis (sparrows) buried under an army of robots. Dot

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Race 3 - Next level of disappointment.

Story - 

It follows the dysfunctional family of Shamsher Singh (Anil Kapoor) a kingpin of arms business and his attempt to keep his family together amidst hatred, betrayal and the illegal businesses they own. It's a race to the finish to reveal how the family stays together in the usual Race franchise template of greed.

Movie - 

Let me be honest. This tacky screenplay and lazy writing still could've easily worked. The lack of experience and inability to handle the biggest megastar of the industry has made the final product end up as an unforgivable mess.

So let me list out why the scenes which otherwise could've worked, failed big time.
  1. The lengthy introductory action scene designed for the main cast. Sure, it was meant to introduce Salman Khan in the usual larger than life manner. But, this action sequence is prolonged due to introducing each of them, Daisy Shah, Saqib Saleem, Salman Khan & Bobby Deol individually. And mainly this action scene follows a lengthy car chase scene which was designed to introduce Anil Kapoor's character. What was supposed to generate WOW factor, gets tedious soon.
  2. The follow up love story after this lacks spark. There is zero chemistry between Salman Khan & Jacqueline Fernandez pulls down the scenes. The slow number I Found Love just doesn't fit in, severely impacting the pace of the film.
  3. By the time, Party Chale On is over, the RACE template of revealing a twist comes out bland because of the poor dialogues and the slow pace.
  4. The first half ends on a stale note with another twist to justify the RACE brand. Sadly, the pace remains sluggish, the characters uninteresting and the tone seriously questionable.
Now, what made the entire first half terribly boring was the complete lack of entertainment. It's a downhill right after the lengthy action scenes. No proper scenes provided to choose which character to root for. Anil Kapoor's Shamsher Singh came out as a typical whining dad whereas every other character including Salman Khan's Sikandar was painfully one dimensional. The entire first half completely fails in establishing why should the audience care for any of these characters. No actor could've done justice to the terribly written dialogues and that remains a major turn off throughout.

Coming to second half,

  1. The makers kinda relied on audience to give the writing the benefit of doubt considering how the entire reason for the heist planned looked so silly. But the story slightly picks up for some action to happen on screen worth noticing with the chartbuster Heeriye.
  2. The predictable twist and another slow number Selfish not filmed on Salman Khan takes the center stage before the crucial and lavishly shot action sequence which is supposed to be the highlight of the film even takes off.
  3. Complete lack of elevating the scenes on dramatic front hurts the action scene. In the end, you just see Salman Khan kicking butt without really feeling the need to care for it.
  4. The film finally gets saved (hardly) by the much needed twist, something the entire screenplay is built upon. The pace quickens and the action mode is turned on. Too late ofcourse.
The second half is not as terrible as the first half. The twists do work to an extent, no matter how predictable they are. The problem here is the fact that we as audience still don't feel to root for any of the character. Once again I repeat, one of those character is The Salman Khan. Instead of the crisply executed thrilling scenes and carefully designed suspense, what we get is lavish sets and expensive stunts. Even the final action scene, a Salman Khan trademark one, turns out to be a rehash of all the shirtless fight scenes in this decade minus the fun part.

My biggest complaint will be regarding the lazy dialogues written. This is an event film to be this careless. If you felt mocking "our business is our business, none of your business" then you aren't ready for some of the gems like "Dil nahi Dell kholke dikhao" or frequent use of the word "bro" which would even put Aishwarya Rai from Dhoom 2 to shame for abusing the word "like". Who told them, using English in every sentence was necessary? or would make the characters sound cool? Salman Khan mouthing words like "See you later, alligator" or throwing "what is their modus operandi" out of nowhere just because of one dialogue which said he studied in Oxford was not enough to justify. Even if using English to sound cool was indeed the case then why over use the Awadhi dialect?

Pluses -  Since I am only bashing in the name of honesty.
  1. Anil Kapoor lives his character and he justifies perfectly.
  2. Action scenes are really well shot.
  3. Final twist involving Anil Kapoor.
  4. Saansein Hui Dhuaan Dhuaan song in the background.
Performances - 

Anil Kapoor excels in his role with few shades. Not much of a challenge but he has brought his A game.

Salman Khan is fine but his role is extremely one dimensional. The kind where he says "parivar, insaniyat, mohabbat" as a counter reply to Anil's "mere paas daulat hai, power hai". The struggle is evident to fit him into the Race franchise and it doesn't look good because he just never fit in.

Bobby Deol again suffers from one dimensional character. But the main problem is, he is made the parallel lead to Salman Khan. When you write the two lead characters to be this weak, then it's just going through the role without leaving any impact. It's a comeback role for him and Bobby Deol is committed. If only he was offered a better role & a better film.

Daisy Shah surprisingly gives it all to her character. Sadly she gets to mouth most of the badly written dialogues but it is commendable to see her try to bring out a noticeable performance despite everything. Again her character too is strictly one dimensional.

Saqib Saleem hardly gets anything to leave a mark. Unlike Daisy's character, all he gets is to whine about his brother and when he's not doing that, yell. The other scenes strictly have him one toned.

Jacqueline Fernandez sticks out as a sore thumb. She does pole dancing well. But she hardly tries to do anything for her terribly written confused character. She's there for the songs and she's there during action scenes. A weirdly written weirdo character.

Sharat Saxena gets one scene to say his dialogue. Freddy Daruwala without a doubt is wasted in a thankless role.

Direction -

Remo D'Souza fails in understanding how to handle the biggest megastar. Sure, as a fan he is aware of all the on screen moments featuring Salman Khan that were welcomed by strong whistles and hooting. Dabangg shirtless scene wouldn't have worked without elevating the scene dramatically. Same with other blockbusters. Those aren't deliberate pauses. Those are the necessary ones to make the tacky scenes whistle-worthy. To leave the desired impact.

Further, he failed to realise it's not about random twists. The importance of maintaining the suspense between one twist to another is completely omitted. Sure, the content he got was weakly written. But weak content doesn't have to be devoid of entertainment. The same scenes could've been elevated if he had realized the cuts he approved weren't really working. In Race 3, it was every other scene which didn't involve stunts. And the one thing that worked, was backed by strong writing. [Anil Kapoor's track]

Final Rating - 1.5/5 [0.5 for the action scenes, 0.5 for Anil Kapoor & 0.5 for the laughable dialogues.]

Final Word - It is the audience who will feel the next level of disappointment.
Oh the 3D! The TIPS logo in the opening credits is the only thing that justifies the 3D conversion.

Note: The entire heist is planned to steal an hard disk comprising of sex footage of politicians with call girls. There's a scene where the photos are spread across the table while the father & children (Anil, Daisy, Saqib & Bobby) are looking at it getting hysterically happy. This cringe worthy scene in an Salman Khan starrer with the biggest following from conservative family audience. Without the Salman factor also this scene was yucky and the makers thought of inserting it in Bhai's EID-wala event film?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Tiger Zinda Hai - It is India-Pakistan bhai bhai in Desi Rambo style.

Story -
It follows eight years after the events of Ek Tha Tiger. The dynamic duo Tiger & Zoya are happily married with their son Junior as they continue to live hiding their identities from the world as well as their agencies. An hostage crisis brings them back into the field serving their country once again.

Movie -
The initial 20 minutes is dedicated to the 25 nurses getting taken as hostages by ISC as their general Abu Usman is hurt in crossfire. Director Ali Abbas takes his time into introducing Abu Usman (Sajjad Delafrooz) as the dreaded terror chief & his group, establishing ISC's hold in that part of the world as well as subtle introduction of few nurses characters. Let me clarify, this is the only time you'll get to see anything subtle. As the story moves forward, these initial 20 minutes serve their purpose for the introduction of the man of the hour, Tiger (Salman Khan). He gets to save his son from a pack of wolves while staying true to the challenge posed by his son. This well choreographed sequence is well shot & needless to say whistle worthy. Quickly, we get to see a whistle worthy entry of Zoya (Katrina Kaif) too. Ali the writer once again re-establishes the characters of Tiger & Zoya to be well in their game despite having to live a silent life. The first song Dil Diyan Gallan is well placed & it showcases the impeccable chemistry between the lead actors.

The hostage crisis lands Girish Karnad at Tiger's place & he's brought back into the field. He has his own rules & brings in his own team. The scenes are quick paced as they team up to execute their plans. Ofcourse the plans are well laid out, does hinders the pace but the proceedings make up for it as the action pieces are very well choreographed & presented. The humourous conversation between the team members is noteworthy.

Zoya too enters the field & this whole scenario of RAW & ISI joining hands for a mission is presented perfectly. The patriotism though on our face doesn't go the preaching way. The humour continues here too & keeping things lighter despite the issue dealt is harsher.

Note: Malayalam movie Take Off, one of the top 4 best films released this year has dealt the same issue in a mature & realistic way. However, Tiger Zinda Hai is all masala as providing entertainment is it's main intent. Comparing these two films is just pointless..

Coming back, post interval the film cleverly retains it's pace. Thankfully the songs don't act as a speedbreaker. The second song Tera Noor is placed in a way, it gives the Katrina's best moment in this move while she rocks the entire number with her stunts (Kudos to the body double too). Entire second half is the newly formed team of RAW & ISI executing their plans despite the challenges imposed on them. Predictability exists right from the beginning but you won't sense any signs of boredom. It all comes down to Tiger in the end & a shirtless Bhaijaan is the final masala ingredient to end the film on a high. It is an open ending again.

Performances -
Salman Khan as Tiger is restrained. He isn't playing a simple child like innocence wala character which he got to play repeatedly in his last few outings. He gets to keep a straight face throughout & firmly carries the film on his shoulder. A showcase of Megastardom indeed.

Katrina Kaif does a fair job. She falters in dramatic dialogues but excels in the action scenes, every one of them.

Paresh Rawal is first rate. So is Kumud Mishra & Girish Karnad. Angad Bedi gets his fair share of whistles in the right time.

Anant Vidhaat Sharma appears alongside Salman once again after Sultan. Sadly he has very little to offer along with the blooper.

Sajjad Delafrooz impresses as the main baddie. He emotes really well. Yet another good performance from him after Baby.

Pluses -
1. Salman Khan
2. Katrina Kaif in the action scenes.
3. Bhaijaan shirtless scene.
4. Humourous banter between RAW & ISI.
5. Well choreographed & shot action set pieces.
6. Cinematography.

Minuses -
1. Predictability of the screenplay.
2. It's an outright actioner, logic does take the backseat.
3. Too many dialogues explaining the plans which does hinders the pace.
4. Prolonged climax. Film would've benefitted if trimmed by 15 minutes.
5. Dialogues about religion at the crucial part of the climax. Not that it is bad, it's just way too routine.

Final Rating - 3.5/5

Is it better than Ek Tha Tiger? Yes.
Is it subtle as Ek Tha Tiger? No.

Final Words - It is India-Pakistan bhai bhai in Desi Rambo style.

Friday, July 7, 2017

MOM - Sridevi shines in her 300th while the film ends up being a victim of it's all too convenient screenplay.

Story - 

Devki Sabarwal (Sridevi), a biology teacher's happy little family is shattered when her stepdaughter Aarya becomes a victim of physical and sexual abuse by her classmate and his gang. When the law acquits the criminals, it's upto Devki herself to serve justice.

Movie -

The initial scenes establish the main characters and Devki's troubled relationship with Aarya, her stepdaughter who is unwilling to accept her. The tone of the film is will set right in the beginning itself as we are introduced to the brat classmate right away forwarding a porn clip to Aarya. This incident leads to him having a grudge over Devki. The ordeal Aarya goes through on the fateful night is effectively captured with the overhead shots of the vehicle, while the background score ably supports it. The court proceedings go on a fast forward mode & the sufferings of the girl and her family is realistically captured. The culprits walk scott free due to lack of evidence & this leaves Devki with no other option but to take matters into her own hands. Help comes in her way in the form of a detective named DK (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). The first half ends on a powerful note.

The second half of the film goes into filmy mode where too many cinematic liberties are taken. The transformation of Devki into revenge seeking woman is presented way too softly to create the desired impact. Although the revenge scenes that does follow are clap-worthy only due to the writing capitalizing on audience's collective reaction towards the rape atrocities plaguing the society. While the scenes that unfold might actually gel well with the prevailing common emotions, the execution leaves very little impact. While Sridevi's Devki is a strong woman and Nawazuddin's DK provides able support, it's Akshaye Khanna's cop character that serves very little to this proceedings. The pace remains even throughout. The finale gets messed up as it gets way too filmy and repetitive. The predictability does act negatively in the second half.

Performances -

Sridevi shines in her role. She brings in much needed maturity and her histronics to portray this character is what makes this a memorable performance. Right from the go, she wins you over. Even during emotional outburst sequences, she never loses control. This was indeed an acting lesson by Sridevi to anybody who aspires to be an actress.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as DK is really good and succeeds with his funny lines at regular intervals in an otherwise serious film. It is indeed a treat to watch him share the screen space with the legend.

Sajal Ali as Aarya does well with the character given to her. The characterization is a bit flawed but that's expected when you see it from a parent's perspective.

Akshaye Khanna is yet again wasted post Dishoom. Abhimanyu Singh as Jagan plays the regular baddie. Adnan Siddiqui as Sridevi's husband is perfectly cast and he is first rate.

Pluses -

1. Sridevi's honest performance and the way she carries the film on her shoulders.
2. The hospital sequence where Devki first finds Aarya.
3. The strong interval scene.
4. Nawazuddin Siddiqui's funny replies.
5. The revenge scenes especially the very first one. Audience clapped in the theater during that scene.

Minuses - 
1. Convenient screenplay in the second half.
2. The transformation lacks the impact.
3. Too many cinematic liberties taken pull the film down.
4. Routine messy climax.
5. Akshaye Khanna is wasted yet again.

Final Rating - 2.5/5

Final Words - Sridevi shines in her 300th while the film ends up being a victim of it's all too convenient screenplay.

Monday, June 26, 2017

TUBELIGHT - It's a well intentioned yet a bumpy emotional ride.

Story - 

Laxman Singh Bisht and Bharat Singh Bisht are two brothers in a small village called Jagatpur. Inseparable from their childhood, the Sino-Indian war separates them. While one brother goes to fight the war, the other back at home tries everything he can to bring his brother back with the only powerful tool taught to him... faith.

Movie - 

The initial 15 minutes shows the brilliance of the director Kabir Khan to have Laxman Singh Bisht (Salman Khan) introducing himself and other characters with witty one liners. A scene featuring Mahatma Gandhi establishes the main theme of the film i.e. importance of having faith. As the news of war breaks out, the brothers are separated. The subtle humor during the army selection process balances the mood well. The pace remains steady with the two songs complementing the proceedings. Even the Gandhian principles are inserted without going into any preachy mode with Banne Chacha played by the legendary Om Puri. While the much hyped cameo falters in creating much impact, the film instantly recovers with the introduction of Li Leing (Zhu Zhu) and her son Gu Won (Matin Rey Tangu) who play Indians of Chinese origin. Once again Kabir Khan shines with scenes coated with strong messages which are relevant to the current times. The first half ends on an emotional note.

The second half is where the director feels handicapped with very little to offer in terms of screenplay. Several scenes, mainly emotional ones featuring Salman Khan feels repetitive. The desired impact is not fully achieved. The pace considerably dips here and the burden falls on the lead actor to carry the film on his shoulder. The songs in the second half are irregularly placed and this drags the film. While all the actors contribute ably here along with Kabir Khan finding a way to insert the messages, there is a lot left to be desired. Also, Bajrangi Bhaijaan hangover shows up glaringly. The movie does pick up in the last 20 minutes due to the strong emotional quotient before ending on a predictable note as the screenplay stays loyal to the American film Little Boy. What stands out here is Salman Khan pulling off a gem in the climax, which is worth watching on the big screen.

Performances - 

Salman Khan lives the character Laxman Singh Bisht. He has given it all for this role, shedding his image completely. There are multiple scenes both in first and second half where he shines impeccably. He cries on the cue and the way he balances his expressions is noteworthy. Watch out for his every emotional outburst, it's not just Salman Khan crying. Much of the credits go to Kabir Khan for exploring this side of Salman Khan - the actor to perfection.

Sohail Khan as Bharat Kumar Bisht gave a controlled performance. The Bhaihood is extremely natural and it was treat to watch the Khan brothers together. Only complaint, Sohail Khan's role tends to become more of an extended special appearance. More of bhaihood before them getting separated wouldn't have hurt the film.

Om Puri is magical. Even the simplest of dialogues got more weight-age when he delivered them. It's still unbelievable to realise this would be his last performance.

Zhu Zhu is first rate. Her Hindi dubbing will take a while to sync in. Matin Rey Tangu complimented Salman Khan well as his friend. He delivered in all the key scenes.

Zeeshan Ayyub as Narayan gave a commendable performance. He succeeds in making the audience hate him. Isha Talwar is hardly there.

Shah Rukh Khan is wasted in a poorly written cameo.

Pluses -

  1. Salman Khan's heart touching performance, coming out of his comfort zone entirely.
  2. "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" scene.
  3. Salman Khan and Sohail Khan chemistry as brothers.
  4. Scenes of Zeeshan Ayyub bullying Salman Khan.
  5. *SPOILER* When Salman Khan retaliates.
  6. Emotional outburst of Salman Khan thrice in the film where the situation of Sohail Khan is revealed to him each time.
  7. Salman Khan's performance in the climax.
Minuses -
  1. Tries very hard to be Bajrangi Bhaijaan 2.0 and it shows not in a good way.
  2. Shah Rukh Khan cameo falls flat and the entire scene contributes nothing despite the rest of the film entirely depending on this scene.
  3. Weak screenplay in the second half.
  4. Wrong placement of the songs in the second half.
  5. Too many repetitive scenes.
  6. Slow second half. 
  7. Doesn't match the high expectations.
Final Rating - 3/5 [2 for the film and 1 for the terrific performance by Salman Khan]

Final Words - It's a well intentioned yet a bumpy emotional ride.

Note: As it's been a regular habit, I watched Tubelight twice. Second time in a single screen with housefull crowd unlike the first day first show in a multiplex. Enjoyed it much better with the crowd being more involved in the movie.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion - SS Rajamouli's mammoth dream ends on a predictable note.

Story - 

The film continues from where the prequel ended. Amarendra Bahubali (Prabhas) touted to be the next king is asked to mingle with his subjects in disguise and know their problems before his coronation ceremony by Rajamatha Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan). This journey leads him directly to Devasena (Anushka Shetty) and they fall in love. Back at home, Bhallaladeva (Rana Daggubati) and Bijjaladeva (Nasser) continue to plot their revenge against Bahubali. Whether Bahubali takes over the throne or not? and the much awaited Why Kattappa killed Bahubali? is answered in this prolonged flashback.

Post flashback it's all routine story of how Mahendra Bahubali aka Sivudu (Prabhas) avenges his father's death and saves his mother as well as the kingdom itself from Bhallaladeva.

Movie - 

The first half really starts off on a high note with the established characters. SS Rajamouli is the best person to glorify the hero and with this scale, watching Amarendra Bahubali (Prabhas) showcase his skills is a treat indeed. The introduction of Devasena (Anushka Shetty) establishes her character of a no non-sense princess who is a true warrior by herself. A right match for Bahubali, It's a love at first sight and the follow up events laced with humour makes the flow pretty smooth. At it's core, this is a very simple story and SS Rajamouli knows how to present it. As Bahubali and Devasena fall in love, Bhallaladeva (Rana Daggubati) conspires to use this for his advantage. This covers the plot about who succeeds to get the throne. The interval block is emotionally high and of course along with Mahishmathi, even the audience would hold their breath considering the only unanswered question left to be Why Kattappa Killed Bahubali?

Second half has Amarendra Bahubali's flashback continue and the emotional angle is kept intact. The reason why Kattappa killed Bahubali might sound simple but the way SS Rajamouli builds up the scenes leading to the major reveal, shows his caliber. He succeeds in grabbing our attention throughout. Post this big reveal, the final battle in the second half again relies on the grandeur and CGI. The pace slows down post the reveal and the story becomes extremely predictable. And when it comes to heroism, Rajamouli is not the one to hold back. All such scenes totally play to the gallery and this old school treatment keeps the final act in a safe zone, ending this mammoth dream on a predictable note.

Performances -

Prabhas is good as Amarendra Bahubali and he lives that character. Sadly we don't get to differentiate between his two characters rather we are left with one option of accepting them as "like father, like son", as established in the prequel.

Anushka Shetty gets a superb introduction and ably supports Prabhas in the first half. In the second half, she gets sidelined. Tamannaah is hardly there in the sequel, while you hardly get a glimpse of her.

Rana Daggubati excels as the baddie. His efforts show on screen. In fact both Prabhas and Rana complement each other very well.

Nasser is first rate. Subbaraju as a comic relief succeeds in bringing in the chuckles.

Special mention to Ramya Krishnan as Sivagami and Sathyaraj as Kattappa who actually shine in this film. While, Ramya Krishnan looks majestic, she comes up with a fantastic performance. Sathyaraj gets to show his comic talent in the first half. He has given a commendable performance especially in the scenes leading to revealing why he killed Bahubali. It's their performances that stand out.

Plusses - 
1. The grandeur and the epic scale of the film.
2. SS Rajamouli's vision continues to keep the audience captivated.
3. The humour in the first half.
4. The hero elevation scenes as well as the scenes glorifying Prabhas as Amarendra Bahubali.
5. Devasena's introduction and the scenes where she confronts Sivagami.
6. The battle with the Pindaris.
7. The interval block.
8. The scenes leading to Bahubali's kill.

Minusses - 
1. The rope work during the action scenes stick out as sore thumb.
2. Songs act as speed-breakers. Apart from Dandalayya and songs from the prequel, rest don't impress.
3. Post the reveal, the film becomes extremely predictable.
4. The final battle between Mahendra Bahubali and Bhallaladeva has very little to offer and is no match to the battle scene in the prequel. It feels like a drag.
5. Once the flashback ends, the film gets least convincing.

Final Rating - 3/5 [plus 0.5 for the efforts.]

Final Words - SS Rajamouli's mammoth dream ends on a predictable note.

Friday, February 24, 2017

SRINIVASA KALYANA - Journey of LKB towards achieving his Moksha.

Story -

Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Mathsarya stops a human from achieving his Moksha. Srinivasa Kalyana focuses on Srini's journey of being L.K.Balu and becoming Srinivasa again where Akshara and Radha become the crucial partners in his journey.

Movie - 

The narration of the story is towards projecting it as a slice of life story with raunchy dialogues added to keep the flow entertaining. All the supporting characters are sketched in a way to serve this purpose. The film is told in flashback mode to showcase the life of Srinivas (played by M.G. Srinivas) right from his childhood to adulthood. The first love as he claims to be, Akshara (Kavitha Gowda) plays his teenage crush during his school days whereas Radha (Nikhila) is his love interest as an adult. The first half mostly is dedicated to narrate his first love story & how it ends. The pace is crisp as the proceedings are as real as it can get, beautifully capturing the innocence. None of the songs act as speed breakers in the first half.

The second half narrates his love story with Radha, journalism student who brings balanced amount of maturity & crazyness to the relationship. L.K.Balu representing the carefree, immature to handle any relationship, learns what it takes to be in a mature relationship built on trust. The situation Srini gets into unknowingly out of his carelessness threatens this very relationship & his hilarious attempts to salvage the situation intended towards providing entertainment doesn't really divert the film from it's basic premise. The film does get melodramatic towards the end, more or less as demanded from the commercial point of view, raises to top form with the climax.

The real highlight is the climax where the concept of Arishadvargas has been beautifully inserted to explain Srini's life. Srini achieves his Moksha. This is no spoiler, but the way it is explained to the viewers using the concept of Arishadvargas brings out the brilliance of the writer.

Performances -

M.G.Srinivas fits the bill, has screen presence & dances really well in the introduction song. His performance is as required by the script. Kavitha Gowda excels in her simple role where she wins over her infectitious smile. Nikhila Rao succeeds in bringing in the maturity & is good. Achyuth Kumar playing the father role once again proves his worth as an actor. Sujay Shastry is funny as the friend with his flop ideas. Aruna Balraj is hardly there. The actress playing the prostitute is first rate.

Special mention for senior actor Dattanna for the awesome climax.

Plusses -
1. Screenplay the doesn't drag.
2. Couple of songs & the use of stop motion technique.
3. Funny one-liners that mask those few sms jokes used.
4. Performances by the lead characters & of course a strong supporting actor Achyuth Kumar.
5. Climax.

Minusses -
1. Those abusive words were unnecessary. Though it helped create the buzz, the film would've come out the same even without these words.
2. Drags a bit due to melodrama pre-climax as a slow sad song is inserted.

My Rating - 3/5

Final Words - Definitely do watch Srinivasa getting his Moksha.