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

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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: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

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prem-rathan-dhan-payo-salman-khanMovie: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (PRDP)

Director: Sooraj Barjatya

Starring: Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Neil Nitin Mukesh

Music Composed by: Himesh Reshammiya, Sanjoy Chowdhury

Release Date: November 12th 2015

Genre: Drama/Comedy

This Diwali’s Bollywood release, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (PRDP), tells a story about a charitable, lighthearted man, Prem Dilwale (Salman Khan), who is on a mission to meet the philanthropic and beautiful Princess Maithili (Sonam Kapoor). His “Prince and Pauper” comedic role is the highlight of this film. PRDP is not just a love story, but actually moreso a glorified Zee-TV drama about family conflicts between siblings. If you’re a Salmaan Khan or Sooraj Barjatya fan, don’t miss this film – otherwise save your popcorn money on something more worthwhile.

The positives:

  1. Fan of retro, 1990’s classic Bollywood movies like Hum Aapke Hain Kaun? This one is for you. Fun Fact: Sooraj Barjatya last casted Salman Khan 16 years ago in Hum Saath Saath Hain.
  2. Sonam Kapoor is stunningly beautiful and all her outfits are simple yet gorgeous. Her acting on the other hand, is questionable. She has not yet found a way to surface above the spunky, goofy, giggly role she plays in all her movies thus far.
  3. Want a good laugh? You can always count on Sallu (Salman) to bring home the comedy. His character is similar to his “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” role.
  4. The colorful sets and scenery are worth watching this for. Don’t forget the hit title song “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” – perfect for a wedding dance song! Also don’t miss the romantic number “Jalte Diya.”

 The negatives:

  1. The story was quite mediocre and the screenplay was definitely nothing to brag about – I honestly expected more from Sooraj Barjatya.
  2. Other than the two songs mentioned above, the rest are forgettable fillers. Bollywood has largely revolutionized in the past several years to have fewer number of useless songs, yet this movie just reminds you something time-warped to old age Bollywood style with song and dance numbers every scene change.
  1. There are several cringe-worthy moments especially surrounding the “dishoom” scenes that remind you of old Bollywood movies.
  2. Neil Nitin Mukesh gets the award for WORST actor in this film. If Salman had co-stars who could actually act, this movie would have been successful.

On the whole, PRDP is nothing more than a time-pass Bollywood film to enjoy with your family this Diwali season. Leave your brains and high expectations at the door.

Acting: 2.5/5
Story: 3/5
Costumes: 4/5
Choreography: 3/5
Sets/Filming Location: 4/5
Songs: 3.5/5
Eye Candy: 3/5
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

 

 

Movie Review: Khoobsurat

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Release Date: September 19th, 2014   Length: 140 min

Director: Shashanka Ghosh

Producer: Walt Disney Pictures in association with Anil Kapoor Film Company

Based on the 1980 hit, “Khubsoorat” starring Rekha and Rakesh Roshan – this remake produced by Disney and Anil Kapoor Film Co. is a romcom starring the charming Sonam Kapoor, daughter of Anil Kapoor.

Dr. Mili Chakravarty (Sonam Kapoor) plays an uppity, colorful, high-energy physical therapist who is hired by an aristocratic family near Jaipur to rehabilitate the king (Aamir Raza Hussain), who has been wheelchair bound for ten years. His son, Prince Vikram Rathore (Pakistani heartthrob Fawad Khan) finds love interest in Dr. Mili…however a few obstacles stand in the way: 1. His mother (Ratna Pathak Shah), the authoritarian figure has strict rules and regulations placed on the Rathore family 2. the prince’s engagement to Kiara (Aditi Rao). 3. Vikram and Mili’s polar-opposite personalities. Watch the movie to find out how Dr. Mili wins over the Rathore family!

The Positives:

  1. It’s a comedy – just don’t forget to leave your brains at the door!
  2. Sonam Kapoor does a decent job given her ridiculous character role she has been given to portray. I prefer watching her in less ridiculous roles, though.
  3. Fawad Khan – beyond eye-candy. Can’t wait for him to be in more Bollywood films!
  4. The sets: this film is shot in Rajasthan at the most beautiful palaces!!
  5. Fawad Khan’s suits. He rocks much better attire than Sonam does.

Note: he only looks hot with facial hair…don’t believe me? Google image him.

The Negatives:

  1. Too many “cringe-worthy” scenes. Sonam Kapoor’s character was overdone.
  2. Sonam’s outfits – outrageous. She is a gorgeous MODEL…other than putting her in a few workout clothes here and there, her wardrobe was distracting and too outlandish. She never even wears the outfit in the “princess-like” movie poster!
  3. Songs – very disappointing. This movie had great potential for an awesome soundtrack – but yet, it did not meet my expectations.
  4. As a physical therapist myself, I wish they had shown more of the transition of the King’s rehabilitation progress throughout the movie (e.g., how she progressed him from being able to extend his knee to standing!)

Overall, it’s worth a watch if you’re a Sonam fan – of if you want to be a Fawad fan. Otherwise, don’t sweat it if you miss it.

* Fun Fact * Fawad Khan – Pakistani actor who played in a band, Entity Paradigm. Yes, he sings! Check out ‘Bolo Bolo’ they played at Coke Studio.

Fun Links:

What Royals Do 

Rating Breakdown:

Acting: 3.5/5
Story: 3/5
Costumes: 2/5
Sets/Filming Location: 4/5
Songs: 2/5
Eye Candy: 4/5
Length of Movie: 3/5

Rated: PG
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!
***** = Bollywood Blockbuster