Sunday, August 9, 2020

RAAT AKELI HAI (2020) - HINDI


A classic whodunnit mystery that’s well performed and meticulously directed.

When it comes to writing a whodunnit story, the biggest aspect is the concealment of the motive of the murder until it’s revealed. This film did that job very well. Till the climax neither the murderer nor the motive was revealed although it’s sprayed all over the film that there are politics involved. For 2 and a half hours it just went on and on without giving any breathing space and kept me hooked. So that’s definitely a winner.

The acting by the ensemble cast is just perfect the casting is done nearly perfectly. A butcher looks like a real butcher, the policemen look real and even the maids are near perfect. Kudos to the casting director and a big thank you for selecting the OTT platform superstars Nawazuddin and Radhika Apte. These folks are ruling the roost I must say be it ‘Sacred Games’ or ‘Ghoul’ or this exclusive Netflix film.

Editing is a big factor that differentiates a great mystery film from a mediocre one because you got to know how much to show and when to cut to keep the suspense going. This film does not let us down in editing. Now, the editor, the master Sreekar Prasad. He is just getting better and better I guess.

The screenplay is tight and the direction is classic. There is a Hitchcock in there and I could see references for David Fincher too. So I must say this is a fine debut by Honey Trehan and hope to see more from him.

The use of lights just amazed me with not one moment having under or overly lit. They are just right setting the claustrophobic mood perfectly.

All in all, this is perhaps the best of the year so far from Hindi Cinema. Now the sad part of these whodunnit stories is that you rarely watch them a second time because once you know the mystery you may not like to revisit. 

So it’s a terrific one time watch that demands 4/5.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

GULABO SITABO (2020) - HINDI


A charming film that conveys a strong message subtly embellished with fun and realism. It's a satire that's realistic and hilarious.

First and foremost, there needs to be a mention of the setting and backdrop. The Haveli (Mansion) named Fatima Mahal in Lucknow becomes the central character of the film, it's contrary to the modern world. It stands tall against the forces of modern materialistic and greedy beings like archeologists and lawyers albeit the collapsing walls. Also greedy are the two main men Mirza played by the ever-reliable Amitabh Bachhan and Baankey played by the flagbearer of new-age Hindi films Ayushmann Khurana. I will talk about these two in a while.


As if the backdrop and the two main characters are not, it's the smart women who outsmart these men and runaway with few jaw-dropping moments. The ending is smartly done by the smartest lady in the film. Not just the octogenarian Farukh Jafar the smartest I believe is the writer Juhi Chaturvedi. Juhi has a knack for the low-key realistic stories and the way she brought this story to life is worth many accolades.  

This is the fourth film I have liked from this writer-director combination. The others being Vicky Donor Piku and October. Hope that Shoojit Sircar(director) and Juhi Chaturvedi(writer) give us many more such films. Shoojit's placing of scenes and setting up the mood and getting the right emotion is pretty perfect. There is never an off-beat moment in the film and that credit I give to the director. I believe he is getting better at his craft. 

The cinematography is worth a mention, the ambiance set up the mood. Although I watched this film at home it made me travel through the streets of Lucknow and took me to almost every corner of the haveli. The detailing is just right and blends well with the narrative and the usage of light is wonderful. Tungsten filament lamps, torches, and neon street lights, they give a strong feeling that there is still a long way to go for us as a country. Also, a mention to Vijay Raaz (Gyanesh) and Brijendra Kala (Christopher) who have done a fabulous job. Indeed all the artists have done wonderfully well.

Now, getting back to the two main characters - Mirza and Baankey who fight relentlessly and never give up a fight are the amazing aspects of this film. They hold the film and yet are split apart by their own vested interests. They own each and every frame they are in. When both are in one scene then it's electric. Thanks to the team for bringing these two great actors together in a meaningful film. 

The title is taken from the puppet show "Gulabo Sitabo" and it's wonderful to see that puppet shows are still being referred to albeit as a metaphor. 

A definite watch. A 3/5.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

MARRIAGE STORY (2019) - ENGLISH

A movie that moved me for the way it depicted contemporary relationships.

Marriage is part of life but family is definitely life. This is what I believe. Now the definition of family will differ from person to person. For a few 'family' includes their parents and for a few 'family' to begin after marriage. But once we decide what is family, we hold on to it, despite our own flaws or the spouse's flaws. Family means being there for each other and holding on what we made.

It is definitively one of the best productions I have ever seen by Netflix and on Netflix. Thanks to the director Noah Baumbach and the actors Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver who have given superlative performances. Adam Driver brought tender nuances to his highly self-centric character that made his performance stand out and kudos for such portrayal.

Also, I am appalled and astonished by how biased the system is for women. Empowering women does not have to weaken women but in reality the world over, men got to pay a lot more than women do. Just another day when my friend said 'Separations are tricky', I didn't get it fully but now after watching this film, I got it to an extent.

The separation ordeal between Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver) is extremely realistic and indeed highlights today's existing reality. That part although, the most sensitive in the film was also the most hard-hitting. Applause to the director for the way he handled this.

In one dialogue, Nora the lawyer of Nicole says that "The idea of the caring father who dedicates to uprising children and enabling his partner to follow a career is a very recent one as recent as last 30 years" And yet surprisingly, they got to pay hefty sum to the women and this I believe is the take away of the film. This film is a critique of the current legal system for divorce and the way it's all played out is interesting.

The pace is a bit slow and I understand that the content demands it that way. Apart from the pace, I loved all aspects of this film.

A 4/5 for a superb drama on marriage and the legal system. 

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I firstly declare here that all the content written in the blog is exclusively written by me and I hold the copyrights of each and everything. Be it a poem or a movie review. Also, the videos or photographs I upload or attach are exclusively owned by me. This declaration is important in a world that seems so worried of piracy. The prime purpose of these blogs is to put my writings and photographs on the net. and well to start with.... I live in my mind, and existence is the attempt to bring my thoughts into physical reality, I celebrate myself, sing myself and I am always happy in my own company.....I am not the best in the world but I strive for excellence and thats what keeps me alive... Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself--Friedrich Nietzsche