Movie Review: Raees

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Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Mahira Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Director: Rahul Dholakia

Production: Red Chillies Entertainment

Music Composition: Ram Sampath

Release Date: January 25th 2017

Raees is a fictitious story of how a young boy named Raees spends his life becoming the leader of a smuggling enterprise – bringing in alcohol to the dry state of Gujarat, India. His mission in life is to have the utmost faith in business, until it is harmful to others. A mafia don turned politician, Raees uses his crime wealth to help the impoverished community while fighting the the police (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and corrupt politicians along the way. Raees’s character is comparable to that of Pablo Escobar, the Columbian drug lord, and also that of Abdul Latif, a Gujrati gangster who rose to fame in the 1980s by dominating the illicit liquor business.

The positives:

  1. Shah Rukh will never fail to impress you with his acting. Raees is very classically a SRK movie –the god-like man on his way to self-disruption.
  2. Mahira Khan – beautiful, simple, and so refreshing. This Pakistani actress unfortunately does not have much of a role in the movie, but she surely does have chemistry with SRK on the screen. At just 32 years old, she she carries a mature, womanly look that fits well with SRK’s character. Although this is her first Bollywood film, she’s been around in the Pakistani film industry since 2011. Fun fact: At age 17, Mahira moved to USA and studied at University of Southern California, but returned to Pakistan before completing her degree.
  3. The songs and music keep you entertained, thanks to music composer Ram Sampath. My favorite is the garba dance song “Udi Udi Jaye.” “Zaalima” is a lovely tune…but placed at an odd time in the story. Oh and how can we forget, Sunny Leone’s popular item number, “Laila Main Laila.” I’m sure there are many out there hitting the theaters just for her, if not for SRK.

 The negatives:

  1. The violence. Too much violence. Especially the butcher’s fight scene – I actually closed my eyes for that one. Keep your kids at home if you plan to see this movie in the theater.
  2. The first hour was pretty entertaining – good mix of action, drama, a bit of comedy, and romance. Suddenly at hour two onwards, the movie takes a sour turn. The plot becomes quite disorganized and the movie just drags…on and on.
  1. I wish Mahira had a bigger role in the film. Of course they couldn’t put an A-list Bollywood actress for this movie – god-forbid they take the slightest bit of attention away from SRK.

In summary, don’t sweat it if you miss Raees in the theaters. You can skip it entirely unless you’re a die-hard SRK fan.

Ratings:

Acting: 4/5
Story: 2/5
Costumes: 2/5

Action: 2/5
Sets/Filming Location: 2/5
Songs: 4/5
Eye Candy: 3/5
Length of Movie: 1/5

Overall: ** (2/5)

Key:

* = flop, don’t even bother
** = time pass, you’ll live if you don’t see it
*** = worth a watch
**** = A hit, see it in the theater!
***** = Bollywood Blockbuster

Top 10 Bollywood Songs of the Week: January 20th 2017

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Bollywood is off to a spectacular start in 2017! This new year brings a few remixes of old classics that are becoming quite popular with this generation’s listeners and dancers. A.R. Rahman’s “The Humma Song” is remixed from the original 1998 “Humma Humma” from the movie Bombay.  “Laila Main Laila” from Raees starring Shahrukh Khan is a modern day take on the original from the movie Qurbani in 1980. Ok Jaanu holds several spots on this week’s charts, and likely will keep #1 for several more weeks to come! Close behind is my favorite of the week, the garba song “Udi Udi Jaye.” This track will surely be a popular one for wedding performances. Check out the full list below.

Rank Song Title Movie, Starring Music Director, Singers Best Time to Listen
1.        The Humma Song Ok Jaanu, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor A.R. Rahman, Badshah, Tanishk Bagchi, Jubin Nautyal, Shashaa Tirupati Evening, Dance
2.         Udi Udi Jaye Raees, Shahrukh Khan, Sunny Leone, Mahira Khan Sukhwinder Singh, Bhoomi Trivedi, Karsan Sagathia, Javed Akhtar Anytime, Dance
3.        Zaalima Raees, Shahrukh Khan, Sunny Leone, Mahira Khan Arijit Singh, Harshdeep Kaur Daytime
4.        Ok Jaanu Ok Jaanu, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor A.R. Rahman, Srinidhi Venkatesh, Gulzar Evening, Daytime
5.        Enna Sona Ok Jaanu, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor A.R. Rahman, Arijit Singh Morning
6.        Channa Mereya   Ae Dil Hai Mushkil  – Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai, Anushka Sharma Arijit Singh Morning, Daytime
7.        Laila Main Laila Raees, Shahrukh Khan, Sunny Leone, Mahira Khan Pawney Pandey, Ram Sampath Evening, Dance
8.        Ude Dil Befikre Befikre ­– Ranveer Singh, Vaani Kapoor Benny Dayal Evening, Dance
9.        Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Ae Dil Hai Mushkil  – Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai, Anushka Sharma Arijit Singh Morning, Daytime
10.    Nashe Si Chadh Gayi Befikre ­– Ranveer Singh, Vaani Kapoor Benny Dayal Evening

 

 

Movie Review: Dangal

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Director: Nitesh Tiwari

Music: Pritam Chakraborty

Production: Aamir Khan Productions, Walt Disney Pictures, UTV Motion Pictures

Starring: Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra

Release Date: December 21, 2016

Genre: Sports Drama

Bollywood cinema in the year 2016 ends with the much-awaited release, Dangal, starring the one and only, Aamir Khan, and impressive debutants Fatima Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra. Dangal (translation: “wrestling arena,”) is a biographical sports drama based on the female Indian wrestler, Geeta Phogat and her sister Babita Kumari. Geeta Phogat is known as India’s first female wrestler to win (gold medal!) at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Dangal tells the story of how Geeta’s father and former wrestler, Mahavir Singh Phogat (played by Aamir Khan), struggles to coach his daughters to achieve this noble victory in a society where women are not recognized in the “man’s sport” of wrestling. How do the girls achieve this feat? Can they make their father’s dream come true? Check out Dangal to find out!

Fun Fact: Dangal has already hit the 300-crore club in just 13 days since its release, surpassing Sultan and PK.

The positives:

  1. Dangal is based on a true story. No worries about wasting your time on a cheesy masala flick. Best part is, you’ll learn a thing or two about mud and mat wrestling.
  2. Aamir Khan’s performance was impeccable – what else would you expect from this legendary Bollywood hero? He accepts his age and plays the roles that suit him, rather than pretending like he’s still a 25-year-old bachelor like some other Bollywood actors we know…
  3. The songs and music – great work by Pritam. My favorite is the title track, which will easily get stuck in your head. The songs don’t distract you from the movie itself and are more just background soundtrack. Another catchy song is the playful track “Haanikarak Bapu.”
  4. Dangal is NOT the same storyline as Salman Khan’s wrestling movie, Sultan, released July 2016. Both have their charms; Dangal is based on a true story while Sultan is a fictional love story with more traditional Bollywood masala and comedy. 

 The negatives:

  1. Okay, I lied. Not everything in Dangal is based on truth. After you’ve seen the movie, check out this link to read about the few scenes that deviated from the real story.
  2. “Fat to Fit.” If you haven’t seen this video on how Aamir Khan gained and then lost 55 lb for this movie, you’re in for a shock. Sure it’s incredible how he was able to transform his body so drastically, but why would they only show off his “FIT” phase in the movie for a mere 30 second flashback?? aamir-fat-to-fit_759
  3. The length of the movie – much of the first half was slow and dragged on a bit. Although you are captivated for most of the time, there are moments where you wish you could just grab a remote and press fast forward.
  4. The overall message: Dangal is not just a film about girl power. I was surprised how the focus of the plot felt more about Mr. Phogat’s desire to accomplish his dreams through his children, about the relationship between father and daughter, and the fight to achieve something for yourself rather than for someone else.

In summary, Dangal is a must-see Bollywood film that you don’t want to miss. Perfect for a family outing including parents, kids and senior citizens. Whether you’re an Aamir fan, a sports fan, or a daughter, father, or sister, this one’s for you!

Acting: 5/5
Story: 4/5
Costumes: 3.5/5
Sets/Filming Location: 4/5
Songs: 3.5/5
Eye Candy: 3.5/5
Length of Movie: 2/5
Overall: **** 7.5/10

Key:
* = flop, don’t even bother
** = time pass, you’ll live if you don’t see it
*** = worth a watch
**** = A hit, see it in the theater!
***** = Bollywood Blockbuster

Movie Review: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

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Movie Review: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil       Release: October 28th 2016

Director: Karan Johar                               Genre: Romantic Drama

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is this Diwali’s “masala” film – love, laughter,  romance and tears. The story is about an aspiring singer and MBA student, Ayan, who falls in love with a happy-go-lucky girl, Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) on a European adventure. Alizeh, however, doesn’t love him back –  she’s still in love with her ex, DJ Ali (Fawad Khan). The story questions, can a guy and girl be “just friends”? Can you fall in love again if you’ve been in love before? What is it like to love somebody who will never love you back?

The positives:

  1. The return of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. If this is the only reason you go see this movie, it’s worth it. She’s hot, beautiful, and sexy all in one. She plays a divorcee who is ready to entice you with her Urdu “shayari.”
  1. Exceptional acting by Ranbir, Anushka, and Fawad – this was quite possibly one of their best performances so far. The excellent chemistry on-screen makes their characters so convincing.
  1. The soundtrack by Arijit Singh and Pritam Chakraborty is definitely a strong suit of this movie. My favorites were: “Break Up Dance,” “Channa Mereya” and “Bulleya.” Here’s the link to the full video playlist, with some behind the scenes shots!
  1. Special appearances! Some of Karan Johar’s favorites will surprise you!

The negatives:

  1. The drag. The first half keeps you entertained pretty well, but you’re often wondering…where is the twist? If it weren’t for Aish’s appearance in the second half, I probably could have been happy just watching the first half of the movie.
  1. The ending. Quite possibly one of the poorest endings I’ve seen in a Karan Johar movie…completely irrelevant and inconsistent with the rest of the storyline. I can’t give this away so you’ll just have to see for yourself!
  1. Warning: this is a tear-jerker for sure. Whether that’s a good or bad thing for you, plan on bringing a few tissues!

On the whole, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is this year’s romantic drama that has Karan Johar’s love life written all over it. If you’re a fan of his type of movie, or want to see Aish on the big screen, then definitely check it out in theater. Otherwise, leave it to watch for a date night at home.

Fun Facts: Did you know this is Aishwarya’s first time starring in a Karan Johar film?

Summary:

Acting: 4/5
Story: 3/5
Costumes: 3/5
Choreography: 3/5
Sets/Filming Location: 3/5
Songs: 5/5
Eye Candy: 4/5
Length of Movie: 2/5
Overall: *** (3/5) or 6/10

Rated: R (not suitable for children under 17)

Key:
* = flop, don’t even bother
** = time pass, you’ll live if you don’t see it
*** = worth a watch
**** = A hit, see it in the theater!
***** = Bollywood Blockbuster

Movie Review: Mohenjo Daro

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233Director: Ashutosh Gowariker | Music: A.R Rahman | Release Date: August 12th 2016

Genre: Drama/Adventure/Romance | Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Pooja Hegde

“Mohenjo Daro” is an adventurous love story that takes place in the year 2016 BC. Hrithik Roshan plays the role of Sarman, a character who will remind you very much of “Aladdin.” Sarman lives in the village of Amri in the Indus Valley and is very eager to explore the nearby civilization called Mohenjo Daro. He finally sets off to see this land to feels that somehow this city is connected to him. Classic Hindi movie plot: Sarman meets and falls in love with the daughter of the City Priest, Chaani (played by Pooja Hegde). Tensions arise when the city’s evil aristocracy get in the way of Chaani and Sarman’s wish to be together. Watch the movie to learn about how Sarman discovers his roots to Mohenjo Daro and fights for his love, Chaani.

The positives:

1. The setting. If you want to learn about pre-historic India and the civilization of Mohenjo Daro, this is the movie for you! Fun Fact: This is the first and only Bollywood movie so far that depicts this era. Mohenjo Daro is a UNESCO World Heritage spot that is now Sindh, Pakistan. It was one of the world’s earliest major urban settlements. The site was abandoned in 19th century BC, and was later rediscovered in the 1920s!

2. Hrithik’s acting was the best out of all the other cast members. He also looks “Greek God” gorgeous, even in his simple, rustic village clothing. Yes, even pre-historic Hrithik has dance moves.

3. The songs and music – absolutely stunning soundtrack by A.R. Rahman! You can never be disappointed with that 🙂 My favorite was “Tu Hai” – the video makes a lot more sense when you know the story..!

 The negatives:

1. The extended story line – “Mohenjo Daro” starts off as your typical predictable Hindi movie… but this was OK because you are distracted by the time/era the movie takes place in. Then after about 1/2 way in, you expect it to end.. but no.. the story just continues…another 30 minutes goes by and you are at, what you think, the grand finale scene! Nope, it’s just intermission…

2.  Lead actress Pooja Hegde – she looked the part pretty well but her acting could definitely use some work. She definitely wasn’t as convincing as her role asked for..

3. Dance choreography – quite interesting as they tried to depict what dance may have been like in this era. I appreciated the classical, “story telling” type hand gestures. I do feel they could have enhanced Chaani’s dance steps to be more graceful and intricate as they were far too basic for A.R. Rahman’s melodious soundtrack.

4. The CGI – absolutely unacceptable quality!! Made me cringe.

In summary, the much awaited “Mohenjo Daro” disappointed many Ashutosh Gowariker and Bollywood fans. It may be worth a watch if you LOVE Hrithik or if want to learn about pre-historic Indian era. If you choose to see this in theater, leave your brains and high expectations at the door, especially for the second half of the film.

Ratings:

Acting: 3/5
Story: 2/5
Costumes: 4/5
Choreography: 3/5
Sets/Filming Location: 5/5

CGI: 1/5
Songs: 5/5
Eye Candy: 4/5
Length of Movie: 2/5

Overall: *** or 6/10

 

Key:
* = flop, don’t even bother
** = time pass, you’ll live if you don’t see it
*** = worth a watch
**** = A hit, see it in the theater!
***** = Bollywood Blockbuster

Top Ten Bollywood Songs of the Week – July 28th 2016

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Without a doubt, this summer’s hottest soundtrack is A.R. Rahman’s “Mohenjo Daro.” To be released August 12th, this is Hrithik’s next film after two years off the screen. Don’t miss the very romantic track “Tu Hai” – my favorite! The entire soundtrack is very majestic and soothing – perfect for the morning hours! Other hits this week are from the new movies starring Salman Khan, “Sultan” and Akshay Kumar’s “Rustom.” Are you a Katrina fan? Check out her newly released dance number with Siddharth Malhotra, “Kala Chasma.”

Here are this week’s top of the charts!

Rank Song Title Movie, Starring Music Director, Singers Best Time to Listen
1.        Tu Hai Mohenjo Daro, Hrithik Roshan, Pooja Hegde, Kabir Beid, Arunodaya Singh, Suhasini Mulay A.R. Rahman, Sanah Moidutty Morning/Daytime
2.        Sau Tarah Ke Dishoom, John Abraham, Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Akshay Khanna Jonita Gandhi, Amit Mishra Evening
3.        Mohenjo Mohenjo Mohenjo Daro, Hrithik Roshan, Pooja Hegde, Kabir Beid, Arunodaya Singh, Suhasini Mulay A.R. Rahman, Sanah Moidutty Morning, Daytime
4.        Let’s Nacho Sau Tarah Ke,  Siddharth Malhorta, Alia Bhatt, Fawad Khan Badshah, Benny Dayal Evening/Dance/ Workout
5.        Tere Sang Yaara Rustom, Akshay Kumar, Illeana D’cruz, Arjan Bajwa, Esha Gupta Atif Aslam Daytime, Morning
6.        Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai Sultan, Salman Khan, Randeep Hooda, Amit Sadh, Anushka Sharma Vishal Dadlani, Shalmali Kolgade, Isheeta, Badshah Morning, Daytime
7.        Kar Gayi Chull Kapoor & Sons,  Siddharth Malhorta, Alia Bhatt, Fawad Khan Amaal Mallik, Badshah Evening/Dance/Workout
8.        Jag Ghoomeya Sultan, Salman Khan, Randeep Hooda, Amit Sadh, Anushka Sharma Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Morning, Daytime
9. Sindhu Ma Mohenjo Daro, Hrithik Roshan, Pooja Hegde, Kabir Beid, Arunodaya Singh, Suhasini Mulay A.R. Rahman, Sanah Moidutty Morning/Daytime
10.  Kala Chashma Baar Baar Dekho, Siddharth Malhotra, Katrina Kaif Badshah, Neha Kakkar, Indeep Bakshi Dance

 

Movie Review: Tamasha

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Untitled.pngMovie: Tamasha

Director: Imtiaz Ali

Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone

Release Date: November 27h 2015

Genre: Romantic Drama

This year’s Diwali season comes to a close with Imtiaz Ali’s film, “Tamasha.” This is not your average Hindi movie…so don’t expect several song/dance numbers or a typical love story. Rather, it’s an abstract drama that will keep you hooked after the first 45 minutes of the movie. Ranbir and Deepika’s characters are two strangers who meet in Corsica on vacation and decide to not share their real identities with each other for the duration of their trip. They also agree to never meet or make contact ever again…but that’s just the beginning of the story. If you’re a Ranbir Kapoor fan, this is a MUST see for you. I’m pretty sure he will be nominated for some awards for his performance in this film. Deepika’s performs well and of course still looks stunning in casual attire/minimal makeup throughout the movie. Ranbir and Deepika make excellent co-stars, as they use to be a couple in real-life!

The positives:

  1. Ranbir Kapoor’s acting is phenomenal. His character was really difficult to portray, so kudos to him! He definitely comes out of his comfort zone for this role, but with such ease and incredible grace.
  2. Focus is entirely on Ranbir and Deepika’s characters with few supporting actors.
  3. The first part of the movie is set in Corsica, France – absolutely gorgeous!
  4. No useless song/dance sequences. “Matargashti” is the fun, memorable track. “Heer tho Badi Sad Hai” is the comic relief track with authentic Bhangra dancers. Way to go A.R. Rahman!

 The negatives:

  1. The message in “Tamasha” is quite cliché, but told in a non-conventional way. This movie will hit home with the young adult/professional crowd.
  2. The first hour of the movie is slow with boring series of flashbacks… but try not to give up on it.
  1. You might feel confused for some parts of this movie, but this is the intention.
  2. If you cannot completely “let-go” while watching this film, you will probably not like it.

On the whole, “Tamasha” is worth a watch if you’re a Ranbir or Deepika fan, but otherwise don’t sweat it, especially if you’re not a fan of unconventional Bollywood movies.

Acting: 4/5
Story: 3/5
Costumes: 2.5/5
Choreography: 2.5/5
Sets/Filming Location: 4/5
Songs: 3.5/5
Eye Candy: 3.5/5
Length of Movie: 2/5
Overall: *** (3/5) or 6/10

Key:
* = flop, don’t even bother
** = time pass, you’ll live if you don’t see it
*** = worth a watch
**** = A hit, see it in the theater!
***** = Bollywood Blockbuster