Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
General News Film Reviews
Padmaavat - Movie Review

[Image: padmavatideepikaranveersingh.jpg]

Cast: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh, Aditi Rao Hydari, Raza Murad, Anupriya Goenka

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Padmaavat, or the film formerly known as Padmavati, fits nicely within the impressive canon of filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali. After all, the legend of Sultan Alauddin Khilji’s obsession for the unattainable Queen of Chittor, the wife of Maharawal Ratan Singh, Rani Padmavati, and her preference for death over dishonor, has all the sweep, melodrama, and tragedy that have become Bhansali’s mainstay.

Expectedly he delivers a film that is richly cinematic, but whose story – as it turns out – has little of the emotional complexity that powered his last film Bajirao Mastani. Based on a 16th century poem of the same name by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi, Padmaavat is a pretty straightforward tale of a ruthless man’s single-minded pursuit of possibly the most beautiful woman that exists – a woman he is told he cannot have. Except that early on in the film, we’re already aware of his misplaced sense of entitlement. “Allah ki banayi hui har nayaab cheez par Alauddin ka haq hai,” he says.

Ranveer Singh breathes life into the character of the barbaric, power-drunk Alauddin, giving us a villain for the ages. Shrewd, oversexed, unrelenting, and eccentric, his Alauddin is a portrait of menace, and the most compelling character in the film. He plays the part with the sort of grotesque flamboyance that makes it hard to look at anyone or anything else when he’s on the screen. Sporting unkempt waist-length hair, kohl in those piercing eyes, facial scars, and the sex-appeal and swagger of a badboy rockstar, he’s both fascinating and repulsive at once. Alaudddin finds a loyal ally in Malik Gafoor (Jim Sarbh in good form), who indulges his perversities and reveals an equally cruel heart himself. Some of their moments together are pure gold.

In comparison, the romance between Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor) and Padmavati (Deepika Padukone), whom he takes as his bride shortly after he falls prey to her beauty and her arrow, is vanilla at best. The couple spends too much time besotted by each other, staring moonily into each other’s eyes, making you almost grateful for Alauddin’s rude interjection when he wages war on Chittor and Ratan Singh in a bid to claim the beauteous queen.

Bhansali stages spectacular war scenes, striking just the right balance between grand scale and intimacy. In one sequence, a cloud of dust fills up the screen when rival armies charge into each other, making it impossible to see what’s going on on the battleground. The image that follows, of a character emerging from the cloud of dust, is all you need to know about the severity of the battle, and it quickly establishes the brutality that the character is capable of.

There is opulence and poetry in virtually every frame of the film, and Bhansali applies the same ‘lavish’ approach to staging the controversial jauhar scene in the climax. It’s a tricky choice, treating that sequence as ‘beautifully’ as he does, given how these customs ought to be viewed today. Particularly ironic, given all the pre-release protests against Bhansali and the film for diminishing Rajput pride. If anything, he’s guilty of ‘prettying up’ a horrific, regressive practice.

Elsewhere too, the film becomes an ode to Rajput honor and valor, with multiple instances of characters bandying on about their values. As Ratan Singh, the virtuous Rajput king, Shahid Kapoor does a lot of posturing in the name of acting – some of it while baring his torso. Deepika Padukone gets a little more to work with, and she’s especially good in the film’s second half when her character slides into the driver’s seat, taking charge and showing the way.

But the film belongs to Ranveer Singh whose delicious performance is its biggest strength. The actor keeps you invested in the film even when it plods on for over two-and-a-half hours. I’m going with three out of five for the film and another half for his extraordinary performance, making it three-and-a-half out of five for Padmaavat.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
Thanks given by:
PadMan - Movie Review

[Image: akshay-kumar-instagram_650x400_51518149102.jpg]

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte

Director: R Balki

Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)

The PadMan protagonist, modelled on grassroots innovator Arunachalam Muruganantham and played by Akshay Kumar, has a question for his nonplussed wife: you make such wonderful malpuas for me, why can't I make sanitary pads for you? The interesting, if rather odd, quid pro quo is necessitated by the serious health hazards that the newlywed village woman exposes herself to by using a filthy rag when she is on her period.

Lakshmikant Chauhan - yes, Arunachalam inexplicably morphs into a central Indian school dropout in R Balki's PadMan - buys a pack of sanitary pads. It costs a bomb. His wife, Gayatri (Radhika Apte), is aghast. We'll now have to forgo milk, she argues as she wonders why her mechanic-husband should fret over a 'woman's problem'. She swears by the community's reeti riwaaz (traditions) and segregates herself on those five days of the month. It is now the man's turn to look askance. Lakshmi, too, cannot fathom why sanitary pads are so expensive. Itni halki cheez ka itna bhaari daam kyun (Why should the price of something so light be so heavy), he asks the medicine store salesman. The latter has no answer. So Lakshmi resolves to device a way of producing cheaper napkins to prevent the family budget from going haywire and, of course, to protect his wife from harm.

[Image: akshay-kumar-instagram_650x400_51518149611.jpg]

He runs into a series of hurdles: scepticism, superstition, ridicule, condemnation, and finally even banishment from the village. But he continues to chip away regardless. His obsession spells trouble. He is branded a mad man and eventually ostracized. His wife is yanked away from him, his mother threatens to leave home, and he is compelled to take off for Indore.

This, broadly speaking, is the first half of the 140-minute PadMan. Until the intermission, the film remains largely true to Arunachalam's real-life story. But despite the undeniable urgency of Lakshmi's onerous mission, neither the single-minded reformer nor the goal that he sets himself assumes the heft it should have.

This, however, has little to do with the overall quality of the film. PadMan is well-made; the writing (by the director himself with additional inputs from Swanand Kirkire) is generally neat; and both the cinematography (P.C. Sreeram) and the editing (Chandan Arora) are first-rate. PadMan is by no means a bad film hiding behind the cloak of social relevance.

The decision to relocate a Tamil Nadu story to a part of central India is the least damaging of the film's missteps. The most off-putting aspect of PadMan are its uneven tonal shifts: it goes back and forth between being earnest and facetious, when it isn't jarringly ceremonial.

Lakshmi, when he is down and out, receives a fair bit of help from a character that Balki injects into the plot - a talented female tabla player and MBA grad Pari Walia (Sonam Kapoor), who turns her back on the promise of a cushy career to become an active associate of the rural change agent.

Lakshmikant Chauhan is an ordinary man with extraordinary courage. The screenplay contrives a scene for Amitabh Bachchan, playing himself, to laud the hero's yeoman work. The Americans have Superman, Spider-Man and Batman, India has PadMan, he grandly declares at a National Innovation Fest in IIT Delhi. Riding on the famed baritone, it sounds great. But this sort of ersatz triumphalism seems out of place in a film about a common man who masterminded a real-life movement, sacrificing much - his wife, his mother, his village, his atma samman (self-respect) and 90,000 rupees, as Lakshmi himself enumerates - in the bargain.

As the film begins to wind down and Lakshmi inches ever closer to success with his low-cost sanitary napkins, he heads to the United Nations to deliver a talk. Playing on Pari's name, he acknowledges the role of a fairy who taught him how to fly. Getting the activist to share the credit with a woman is a canny move. It stops the film from being another Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, where it is a 'heroic' man who does all the heavy lifting in his mission to end open defecation in his village.

[Image: padman-youtube_650x400_41518150798.jpg]

But even as it seems to be mindful of enforcing gender balance, PadMan reinforces standard Bollywood notions of masculinity. In one scene, Lakshmi asks: Ek aurat ki hifazat karne mein nakamayab insaan apne aapko mard kaise keh sakta hai (How can a man who fails to protect a woman call himself a man?)

In another scene, Gayatri says to her husband as he slips into one of his rare weaker moments: Aap mat roiye, mardon ka rona achcha nahi lagta (Don't cry, it isn't nice when a man sheds tears). Lakshmi, as the title song emphasizes, is a superhero of a different timbre, but he, too, has to subliminally subscribe to Hindi cinema's take on who and what a mard should be.

The romantic sub-plot between the married Lakshmi and the much younger Pari - suggested by the way of an abrupt kiss that the latter plants on the man's lips and then a tentative snuggle - does not work at all. The forced emotional tug only serves to extend the film by a few minutes but adds no real meat to it.

At one point in the film, Lakshmi berates Gayatri for not moving with the times. This is 2001, he points out. Rani Mukerji ke zamaane mein Devika Rani ki baat kar rahi ho (In the age of Rani Mukherji you are talking about Devika Rani), he quips. So it is safe to assume that what we see on the screen spans a decade and a half. Muruganantham won his Padma Shri in 2016: this is factored into Lakshmi's tale. But at no point does the film indicate the passage of time. Lakshmikant and his wife miraculously keep the process of ageing at bay and look exactly the same all through the film.

But these flaws apart, PadMan is a well-intentioned film that derives strength from Akshay Kumar's gusty performance although he isn't strictly the right fit for the role of a just-married man. Radhika Apte is, as always, a scene-stealer. She contributes majorly to ensuring that the exchanges between the protagonist and his wife do not veer into corniness. Sonam Kapoor, who surfaces well into the second half, makes the most of the limited opportunity.

While the character that Sonam plays is not only the first genuine user of Lakshmi's two-rupee pads, but also an associate who extends the sphere of his influence by roping in other women to form self-help groups, the actor is called upon to merely stand by and watch a 'mad genius' at work. It is easy to see that her presence is largely superfluous.

But PadMan isn't because the story just had to be told. It's been done before - in last year's low-budget Phullu and the unreleased I-Pad. Here, it is the canvas and the presence of an A-list star that makes the difference. A wide audience is guaranteed.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
Thanks given by:
Panther - Movie Review

In the cinematic race between Marvel and DC Universe, Marvel manages to stay ahead every single time with its wry humour, sassy attitude of the superheroes and crossover cameos that leave the fans excited for more. However, the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe lacks all of the above checkpoints. Black Panther is different and we are glad that it is. In the recent times, Marvel has gone ‘content light-humour loaded’ way after the success of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 and Deadpool. Following the same path, even a dry Thor standalone franchise opened to showers of praise with Thor: Ragnarok making it the most hilarious and loved film starring the god slash alien.

Black Panther takes the path less trodden by the MCU. The film is heavy on content, makes radical statements, puts in perspective an idealistic world, and has no understated sass or ridiculous punch lines to tickle your funny bone. The first black superhero film is all that it needs to be - direct, political, empowering and a gateway to the second phase of Marvel after The Avengers pass on the baton to the younger, more radical and more diverse group consisting of Spiderman, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Ant-man and The Wasp.

Directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright, the film is a first of its kind — a Marvel film led by a black director and a primarily black cast. The film in itself is a flag bearer of diversity, a significant step especially in today's time and culture.

Opening in the mythical kingdom of Wakanda, Black Panther effectively anticipates President Trump’s alleged comments about “shithole countries” whose refugees prefer the American way of life ‘to their huts’. Without disparaging the rest of Africa, Coogler and his crew suggest what the continent might have become had it never been stripped of its resources — and if those resources would have included highly advanced alien technology and ultra-efficient energy sources. Hidden from the world, Wakanda is home to the world’s most technologically advanced city, protected by a ruler with special powers and a fearsome black panther costume.

The film for once doesn't focus on an All-American dreamland going to waste and doesn't aim at saving the whites. Ironically, it puts them under the term 'coloniser' and African land of Wakanda remains in focus through and through. There is a great disdain for white men in the film and that gives them a taste of their own medicine -- those men who have always shown the African-community as a sidekick or stuck to other stereotypical depiction.

The best part of this technologically advanced nation are the women. Fierce, bold, tech-savvy and decision-makers, the Wakandian women are the closest Marvel has ever come to portraying real-life females and that makes Black Panther a standout in a crowded Universe. The film upholds the tradition of celebrating strong and assertive black women.

However behind all the radical thought and being a well-deserved all-black feminist film, the film isn't flawless. It is a Marvel Superhero movie and thus meant for the 10-year-olds inside us. It is righteous to the core and the good-beats-evil attitude dominates the narrative along with finding one's own identity. At least from the surface. Of course, there are layers to characters that deserve their share of appreciation-from Jatari leader M'Baku to N'Jadaka's evil attitude in the film, everything has a reason that makes you choose your own villain in the end.

The film also gets preachy at times and even reminds you of Captain America (the first part) because of the protagonist’s journey to become a king and his findings along the way. No wonder, T'Çhalla and Captain Stevens share a good bond!

Talking about the cast, everyone fits the bill perfectly. While Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther is the star with his doubts and confusion, Michela B'Jordon brings to life the vulnerabilities of an abandoned child turned ‘Killmonger.’ The women in the film, however, take the cake with their attitude and strength, both emotional and physical. Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia is the perfect partner who doesn't want to give up on her calling, Danai Gurira as Okoye is the best Wakandian warrior, who is committed to her duty despite her heart telling her to do otherwise and last but definitely not the least, Letitia Wright as Shuri is a young girl with the best tech-mind, making fun of her brother, while keeping the funtioning of every tech in the kingdom of Wakanda on her wrist (literally).

Be it Marvel or DC, the comic books have always celebrated inclusivity and diversity in the pages, long before being entched on to cine-reel. The pages saw the presence of non-male, non-white heroes and though late, the screen is trying to fit itself into the progressive frame of comics. Though idealistic and at times, and a little stretched, Black Panther marks a beginning of a great era for diversity in MCU, which will only increase in the films to come, starting with Avengers: Infinity War in April. Till then, let's celebrate the Black Power in full Marvel mainstream fashion.

PS: The film has a cameo by Sterling K Brown and we all know all wrongs can be made right when touched by his presence! Amen.


Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
Thanks given by:

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  General News: Viu partners Phantom Films to co-produce Bollywood film ‘High Jack’ nairrk 0 90 Yesterday, 03:12 PM
Last Post: nairrk
  General News: NFDC to manage International Film Festival of India now nairrk 0 326 09-02-2017, 10:38 AM
Last Post: nairrk
  General News: Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2017 Announces its List of Nominations nairrk 0 277 07-05-2017, 11:56 AM
Last Post: nairrk
  General News: Disney India confirms ending Hindi film production nairrk 0 313 09-02-2016, 09:41 AM
Last Post: nairrk
  General News: Percept Pictures releases Youtube channel ‘Indian Chronicles’ and Musical Short Film nairrk 0 292 07-07-2016, 09:06 AM
Last Post: nairrk
  Prabhu Deva to act in a Telugu film SRK 0 700 03-11-2015, 12:39 PM
Last Post: SRK
  Dreamworks upcoming film "Me and My Shadow" adithya 0 782 02-18-2014, 06:11 PM
Last Post: adithya
  Movie Reviews Kanwar 5 7,537 03-28-2013, 06:00 PM
Last Post: Chetanmo
  Help: Sony Music Acquires music rights of the much awaited Dharma Productions film Sathish 0 1,453 12-12-2011, 02:43 PM
Last Post: Sathish
Thumbs Up Help: 58th National Film Awards. nairrk 0 1,220 05-19-2011, 04:59 PM
Last Post: nairrk

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)