Sachin – A Billion Dreams is an innings worth viewing

Directed by – James Erskine

Produced by – 200 NotOut Productions

Genre – Documentary

INTRODUCTION – 

Sachin Tendulkar , a name that needs no introduction whatsoever all over India and the cricketing world at large. A man who shouldered the responsibility of a billion hopes, who at times single handedly carried Indian cricket,who was among the best players of India, who had a long,incredibly spectacular career,who saw the ups and downs of the game and battled them all.Sachin Tendulkar is the man , the legend and as many call him , the god of cricket . So naturally , a documentary on one of the most profilic legends of Indian cricket comes in with humongous expectations. Does Sachin – A Billion Dreams deliver? Do we shout out ‘Sachin Sachin’ with the same passion again? Read on to find out……

REVIEW –

This is something that needs to be clarified right at the beginning ; Sachin – A Billion Dreams is not a movie like Ms Dhoni – The Untold Story , it is a documentary . One must keep this in mind before moving forward.

Once this has been clarified , there are no two ways about it , Sachin – A Billion Dreams plays a simply beautiful innings for Cricket fans.

For people who have followed Cricket, calling the documentary a treat would be an understatement. The footages of Sachin are simply priceless. All of the best as well as worst moments of Indian cricket during Sachin’s time are captured. Legends one would have never expected to see show up on screen to speak candidly about Sachin. The audiences get to see a confident, honest and candid Sachin,unlike the shy adult we saw at the numerous post match presentation ceremonies. We get an insight into the life of a living legend,and it’s worth every minute.

The music fits in reasonably well, with AR Rahman striking the right notes whenever required.

This is not to say there aren’t flaws. The direction is slightly saggy in the first half, with some minor flaws . Some personal moments of Sachin’s life aren’t handled as well as one would have expected. The background score becomes a tad melodramatic while showcasing Sachin’s bad times. Also the film has nothing in it for anyone who doesn’t love Cricket. Yet these flaws can be overlooked easily by any Cricket lover for one reason – The footages shown.

Special mention for director James Erskine, he has , for most part, gotten it right.

Sachin – A Billion Dreams evokes a nostalgia among Cricket lovers which we longed for. This is a film which shows Sachin at a personal level as well as him at his cricketing best . During these two and a half hours, we relive and recall all those historic moments , out happiness then and as we feel the same sense of adrenaline and  exhilaration , we realize that nothing’s changed, the Cricket fan within us has not died.

As I write this article , I realize that I’m not longer attempting to review this film, infact I’m attempting to write a humble tribute to a man who has contributed so some of the best moments of my life. Thank You Sachin , for all those good times, Thank you for those priceless moments, Thank You for those exquisite shots,the impeccable timing, enviously brilliant strokeplay,handy bowling skills…….Thank You for just being the Messiah you are for Indian Cricket.Thank You for your genius, which we were fortunate enough to witness.

CONCLUSION – 

Returning to the attempt of reviewing this documentary , Sachin – A Billion Dreams is a must watch for Cricket lovers throughout the world. However for someone who isn’t a Cricket fan and hasn’t followed the sport, this documentary has nothing much to offer. 

Rating – 

**** 4 stars – For all the cricket lovers out there , go for it , now!

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JOLLY LLB 2 – This legal eagle is another winner for Akshay Kumar!

*ing – Akshay Kumar , Annu Kapoor , Huma Qureshi , Saurabh Shukla and others

Produced by – Fox Star Studios

Directed by – Subhash Kapoor

INTRODUCTION – 
Jolly LLb 2 marks the return of Akshay Kumar after a spectacular 2016.The film is the third superstar release of 2017 and has been reasonably well promoted. It’s promos have received a great response, while the songs have not really caught up with listeners.All said and done,the goodwill of the first part as well as Akshay Kumar’s presence has ensured that the buzz and expectations surrounding the film are quite high.So does Jolly LLb 2 match up to its excellent prequel?Does Akshay Kumar continue his excellent run,both in terms of performances as well as box office profits?Does Subhash Kapoor, after a disastrous Guddu Rangeela,get back his form?Read on to find out ……….

REVIEW – 

While Jolly LLb 2 does hold its own,the film has a very different impact on the audience from the first part.When it comes to Jolly LLb 2,the scale,level of production and star power is clearly a level above its predecessor, which makes it far more commercial. The film is quite good,but certainly not flawless.

The direction, by Subhash Kapoor,is decent.The screenplay is ranges from good to excellent. The film is quite entertaining for audiences of all ages.The story is evenly spaced in both the first and second half.The editing is choppy in a few scenes.The background score is decent,while the songs unnecessary.The production values are excellent, as mentioned above. 

The storyline is very good,as it is based on real events.

Now for the performances. Akshay Kumar continues his golden run of excellent performances.He matches up to Arshad Warsi’s performance in the previous installment,which is something many had doubts about.One of the best performances in recent times. Matching up to his performance is Saurabh Shukla,who reprises his role,and as usual, delivers.Huma Qureshi has an inconsequential role,yet she does reasonably well.Annu Kapoor does a fine job,but falls pale in comparison to Boman Irani’s performance in Jolly LLB 1.Special mention for Sanjay Mishra,his cameo is excellent.

CONCLUSION – 

Overall,Jolly LLB 2 is a very entertaining watch.The film is a must watch for Akshay Kumar’s fans.Fans of the previous installment will have their reservations about the commercialization and filmy portrayal of some facts.Despite that,watch Jolly LLB 2,it leaves a good message, and gives one their money’s worth.

RATING – 

3.5 stars – Worth a watch!

SHIVAAY – Ajay Devgn returns to form with this visual treat

*ing – Ajay Devgn , Erika Kaar , Abigail Eames , Girish Karnad , Sayessha , Vir Das.

Produced by – Ajay Devgn

Directed by – Ajay Devgn

INTRODUCTION – 

One of the biggest releases of the year so far , Shivaay is touted to be Ajay Devgn’s Magnum Opus. A film that has been in the making for 2 years, Shivaay has had a few things in its favour right from the start. An overwhelmingly positive response to the posters and trailers and a favourable release date should have ideally proved to be a good scenario for the makers. However,the fact that the film is clashing with ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’,and that this clash has proven to be pretty dirty and controversial right from the time both films were announced has made things a bit difficult. The fact that the makers of Shivaay have been a bit lax with the promotions,and that there are questions over Ajay Devgn’s credibility to handle such a big project have certainly created issues. All said and done, Shivaay is one of the biggest releases of 2016 and has a lot riding on it.Thanks to a fantastic trailer,there are quite a few expectations the audiences have from the film.So does Shivaay deliver?Does Ajay Devgn handle the film well?Most importantly, despite all the controversies, does Shivaay manage to hold its own against Ae Dil Hai Mushkil?

REVIEW – 

Shivaay has a very average first half,while the second half is a bit better. The problem with Shivaay is that the emotional portions of the movie don’t exactly strike a chord with the audience,atleast in the initial portions of the first half. It is in the last 10-15 mins of the first half the the film really takes off,for this is where an action sequence takes place. The second half is better than the first simply because there is more action involved.

Shivaay is a breathtakingly stunning movie in terms of locations. From the very first scene, you’re left in awe of the snow capped  peakes of the Himalayas(shot in Bulgaria). The cinematography and DOP is simply outstanding.These departments had a tough job on their hands,and they’ve done outstandingly well.

The music of Shivaay is good. Darkhaast and Har Har Bolo make an impact on the listeners, and Har Har Bolo has been used well as the background score.

The storyline is decent.The film wavers from logic on many occasions.The editing is plain bad. While the first half could have been trimmed,the second half sees some scenes ending very abruptly. The screenplay is average.

The story reminds the audiences of other movies like ‘Taken’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ and ‘Rocky Handsome’ at certain points.

The production values of Shivaay are excellent. The film has been mounted on a lavish scale,and that clearly shows,for the film has a world class feel to it.

If anything makes Shivaay worth watching though, it is the action sequences.The film comes into its own when the action is on,and the fact that Ajay Devgn seems in complete control both on and off the screen during these scenes helps a lot.The action is simply mind blowing for an Indian movie, and does raise the bar for Indian films.If anything can help Shivaay in striking a chord with the core Mass audience, it is the action sequences.

As far as Ajay Devgn is concerned, he does a decent job as both Actor-Director.He makes his mistakes in both,but manages to make a mark overall.He deserves all the plaudits for taking such efforts in making this film.

Among the rest of the starcast,Girish Karnad conducts himself with grace.Vir Das is average.Sayessha does a good job.Saurabh Shukla has a small role,but he does well.Erika Kaar and Abigail Eames support Ajay Devgn pretty well.

CONCLUSION – 

Shivaay is a must watch for action lovers. For the average movie going audience, Shivaay has excellent production values,awesome action sequences and stunning locations,but lacks entertainment value.A film which will be majorly enjoyed by the core Mass audience and the single screen audiences, Shivaay can be avoided by someone who doesnot like action.Also,if you’re looking for something wildly entertaining, this is clearly not the film you should watch.A half star extra for Ajay Devgn’s massive efforts into making this film as well as the action sequences.

RATING – 

*** 3 Stars – For fans of Ajay Devgn and Action Junkies

Wishing all my readers a very Safe, Happy and Prosperous Diwali!Have a good time at the Movies!

MS DHONI – THE UNTOLD STORY goes the distance!  

*ing – Sushant Singh Rajput , Anupam Kher , Bhumika Chawla , Disha Patani , Kiara Advani , Kumud Mishra and others.

Produced by – Fox India Studios and Friday Filmworks

Directed by – Neeraj Pandey

INTRODUCTION – 

In a country where Cricket and Cinema are considered religion by most , a film being made on the most successful captain of the Indian cricket team will undoubtedly garner interest. To add to that,the fact that Neeraj Pandey(A Wednesday, Special 26, Baby) who has an impeccable track record, is at the helm of the project just makes the film more awaited. All in all , the buzz around ‘Ms Dhoni – The Untold Story’ , is huge. So will the film match up to its expectations? Will Sushant Singh Rajput enter the big league of rising young stars? Will Neeraj Pandey maintain his track record of excellent films? Most importantly , will the story of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of India’s most profilic and successful cricket captains be depicted well on screen? Read on to find out…..

REVIEW – 

There is a scene in the film, the introductory scene of cricketer Yuvraj Singh infact, where Yuvraj Singh walks with a swagger befitting his talent, while Dhoni walks with a composure befitting his own while the rest of Dhoni’s teammates look at Yuvraj with respectful, intimidated and defeated eyes. The scene aims at showing Dhoni’s one-in-a-million calmness, and it is at this moment that you realize that with ‘Ms Dhoni – The Untold Story’ , Neeraj Pandey hits bullseye , once again. 

While in the recent years , the Hindi film industry had been plagued by some underwhelming biopics, Ms Dhoni – The Untold Story mostly gets its act right.It isn’t a flawless film , but the plusses outweigh the minuses here by a big margin.

The filmmakers have chosen their story reasonably well. While cutting down on content in biopics isn’t an easy job, for most part, the makers have done justice to the story. The production values and set design is excellent . Each and every location has been captured very well. Apart from a scene or two, the editing is spot on. The camera work is superb,with the cricket scenes being captured brilliantly. The music is not particularly memorable , but it does fit in with the tone of the film. The ‘Besabriyan’ track stands out. The screenplay is pretty good, with quite a few scenes standing out.The casting is excellent, with every character fitting their role perfectly.

As a director , Neeraj Pandey simply nails it once again. The amount of research he has done is pretty evident, and the efforts that have gone into the detailing are commendable. In short, Neeraj Pandey does a great job.

There are however, a few flaws. For those who aren’t cricket fans,or fans of Dhoni, this is just a decent watch.Also, the length of the film(3 hours) will surely bother this section of the audiences. Also, though most points are covered well by the film, one wishes that the controversial points in Dhoni’s career were given a bit more attention. His relationship with his teammates is barely shown, and this irks the audiences at times.

As far as the performances are concerned, Sushant Singh Rajput has given a truly brilliant performance as Dhoni. Under Neeraj Pandey’s able guidance, he has transformed himself into the character to a point of being unnerving. He gets everything right, and one can say that this is a breakthrough performance for him.Supporting him exceedingly well is Anupam Kher, playing the role of Dhoni’s father with finesse. Bhumika Chawla , Disha Patani and Kiara Advani play their roles very well, despite their short screen time. Every other actor does well in their role , and the actor playing Yuvraj Singh has been excellent casted, despite being present in barely 2-3 scenes.

CONCLUSION –

MS DHONI – THE UNTOLD STORY gets it right for most part. While the film would be just a  decent watch for an average movie goer, the film is an absolute treat to watch for cricket fans and fans of Dhoni. A film which would give goosebumps to cricket fans, overall MS DHONI – THE UNTOLD STORY is a satisfying watch. Go for it!

RATING – 

**** 4 stars – Must watch for cricket lovers and fans of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Mohenjo Daro – Hrithik excels,but the film is a mess

*ing –  Hrithik Roshan , Pooja Hegde , Kabir Bedi  and others

Produced by – Siddharth Roy Kapur (Utv movies) and Sunita Gowarkiar

Directed by – Ashutosh Gowarikar

INTRODUCTION – 

Mohenjo Daro marks the return of Superstar Hrithik Roshan on the big screen after two years . The actor, who was last seen in the underwhelming ‘Bang Bang’ , has come back with a film that was in the making for a long time. On paper , Mohenjo Daro seems to have everything a big film could want – A Superstar male lead, a huge production house backing it and most importantly , a director who is known to recreate period dramas with finesse. However , the promotional campaign hasn’t gone really well for the film . A strictly average trailer , lack of top heroine and the fact that it is competing with a biggie like Rustom have  gone against the film. Yet, it is one of the biggest and most anticipated films of 2016, and there are certain expectations the audiences have from the film. So does Mohenjo Daro manage to meet those expectations? Does Hrithik make a strong comeback? Does Pooja Hegde make a good debut? Most importantly, does Ashutosh Gowarikar, who has disappointed his audiences in his last two films redeem himself? Let’s find out…..

REVIEW – 

Right from the word go,Mohenjo Daro is a confused film. This Ashutosh Gowarikar directorial meanders between being a film depicting historical events and a romantic saga and sadly,gets neither right.

The story of Mohenjo Daro is barely related to history,  and this proves to be one of the biggest downers of the film.

The production values are excellent.So is the cinematography. The editing could have been better though.The background score is decent. The vfx is average. The screenplay is uneven, and the story routine.The camera work is quite good.The music is one of the plus points of the film. All songs are beautifully picturized, and it is the songs that stay in one’s mind after watching the film.

As a director, Ashutosh Gowarikar fumbles. He seems confused , and that is what shows in the final product, which is a pity , given the potential the film had. 

However, special mention to the locations, picturization of songs and the fight scene in the arena. These help in compensating for an otherwise not-so-gripping movie. Also, though the climax barely suits the tone of the film, it is probably the best part of Mohenjo Daro. Excellently shot, well enacted, it was what Mohenjo Daro should have been throughout.

Now, the performances. Hrithik Roshan is sensational as Sarman. He has lived the role, immersing himself in it completely . It is evident that he has worked hard, and his efforts and performance will be appreciated by all. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that he’s what keeps Mohenjo Daro going. Pooja Hegde makes a decent debut in Bollywood. She suits the role of Chaani, looks pretty and gives a decent performance. Kabir Bedi tries, but fails to act throughout the film. His personality and voice help him in covering up a bit for his lack of expression, but he’s just not menacing enough to challenge Hrithik’s character. The rest of the starcast range from decent to good in their performances.

CONCLUSION – 

Mohenjo Daro is a golden opportunity missed. It can be watched by die hard fans of Hrithik,  but anyone looking for a depiction of the lost valley of India will be sorely disappointed.

RATING – 

2.5/5 stars – For die hard fans of Hrithik Roshan.

Rustom – Akshay Kumar hits bullseye in this engaging drama!

*ing – Akshay Kumar , Illeana D’cruz , Esha Gupta , Arjan Bajwa , Sachin Khedekar.

Produced by – Friday Filmworks , Zee Studios.

Directed by – Tinu Suresh Desai

INTRODUCTION – 

Rustom is superstar Akshay Kumar’s third and final release of the year. An intriguing and well received trailer , decent promotion campaign , decent soundtrack and strong names associated with it,Rustom has it all. Not to mention the fact that Akshay Kumar has been having a dream run at the box office has made Rustom one of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2016. So does Rustom meet the expectations it has set for itself ? Does Akshay Kumar continue his hit streak in terms of both, performances and box office returns ? Most importantly, will Rustom get affected due to the clash against Mohenjo-Daro? Read on to find out…..

REVIEW –  

Rustom is a film which gets most things right. A sensational story,based on the infamous K.M Nanawati case of the 1950s’, the makers ensure that they get the look of the 50’s quite well. The film has decent entertainment value.

The production values of Rustom are decent. The vfx used in some scenes is prominently weak, but it doesn’t hinder the overall effect the film has on the viewer. Except for a scene or two, the Cinematography is decent. The camera work and set designs are also quite good.The editing could have been better though.The screenplay is decent, and the story intriguing yet excellent. The background score ranges from average to good, while in the music department,’Rustom Vahi’ suits the tone of the film.

As a director, Tinu Suresh Desai finally shows his potential after a disastrous ‘1920 London’. He makes sure the film doesn’t meander , and keeps it reasonably engaging.

Now for the performances . Akshay Kumar continues his run of excellent performances. He takes the film to another level , making Rustom an excellent watch. Another sureshot success for him. Illeana D’cruz and Esha Gupta are decent.Arjan Bajwa is average as the antagonist. Sachin Khedekar does a good job.Kumud Mishra makes an impact even in a small role. 

CONCLUSION – 

Rustom is worth a watch. An excellent performance from Akshay Kumar , an interesting premise , entertainment value, this film has it all.

RATING – 

3.5 / 5 – Go for it!

Dishoom – Akshaye Khanna packs a punch in this masala flick

*ing – John Abraham , Varun Dhawan , Jacqueline Fernandez , Akshaye Khanna , Saqib Saleem

Produced by – Sajid Nadiadwala

Directed by – Rohit Dhawan

INTRODUCTION – 

Dishoom has been marketed by its makers in a way that it has created a general perception of being a typical masala entertainer among the movie going audience. A good starcast , a hit song (Sau Tarah ke) , big production values, aggressive marketing campaign, Dishoom seems to have everything going for it. So does this massy film manage to entertain? Does Varun Dhawan continue his successful run at the box office? Read on to find out……

REVIEW – 

Dishoom is a typical masala film , which tries it’s best to compete with various cop – buddy flicks from both Hollywood and Bollywood. It is due to this that there is a feeling of deja – vu while watching the film.While it doesn’t bore the audience, it manages to entertain only in bits and parts.

The production values of Dishoom are excellent. Everything from the costumes to the set designs and locations is excellent. One can easily see that the film has been made on a lavish scale. The action sequences are good, though not brilliant. Special mention to the cinematography department, the locations have been captured very well.

The story of Dishoom is average. The music is a real disappointment , and everything except for the ‘Sau Tarah ke’ track is irritating, especially the Dishoom title track. The background score is average at best. 

As far as the direction is concerned, Rohit Dhawan has done a reasonable job. He isn’t brilliant, but he does have the potential to do something better.

Now for the performances. John Abraham has barely  two expressions on his face throughout the film. Given the fact that his character has  been written that way, he has still done a reasonably good job. Varun Dhawan has the potential, but he needs to stop hamming it up and realize that he cannot be Govinda. He has his moments though. Jacqueline Fernandez looks great , dances well and gives a performance suited for her role. Akshaye Khanna is fantastic as the baddie. He’s made a spectacular comeback, and is totally in control of the film whenever he’s on-screen. Saqib Saleem is decent as the star cricketer of the Indian team. Akshay Kumar makes a hilarious cameo, which will be well received. 

CONCLUSION – 

Dishoom is a film which neither soars nor plummets. It moves along at decent pace and provides average entertainment value. The film will be received well by the single screen audience. Most recommended for fans of the masala genre and fans of Varun, John and Jacqueline. If you’re not one of the above, skip it.

RATING – 

2.5 stars – Watchable only for those who relish masala films or are fans of the lead starcast. Others can give it a miss!