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: PK

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Director: Rajkumar Hirani

Release Date: December 19th, 2014

Genre: Comedy Drama

Well, Bollywood, what a way to end 2014! PK, in my opinion, is one of the best films we have seen lately in Bollywood. As expected, Aamir Khan delivers an outstanding performance. Without giving much away, this movie is about “PK,” an alien who lands in the deserts of Rajasthan on a mission to learn about human life. Unfortunately, his remote gets stolen within the first few minutes of the movie. This remote is his only way to communicate with his planet to return home. He spends his entire time on Earth trying to find this remote, learning that he must pray to “God” to get it back.

The positives:

  1. Everything that may make you “cringe” about religion is openly discussed in this movie. PK’s child-like innocence sheds a light on the hypocrisies humans have created in order to practice their individual religious beliefs.

2. Anushka Sharma was fabulous in this movie: spunky, fun, and absolutely suited the part. Her short hair gave her a fresh, new look however I was not a huge fan of her lip-job…

anushka-unveils-new-poster-of-pk-12_th3. Supporting actor Sushant Singh Rajput (debut film: Kai Po Che!) was attention-grabbing for sure – but why was he wearing the same outfit the entire movie?? Check him out in the song, “Chaar Kadam.”

  1. Supporting actor Sanjay Dutt was entertaining as usual and perfect for his role. Fun fact: he was scheduled to go to jail on the last day of his shoot for this movie!

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  1. This comedy family-film will likely spur some philosophical discussions amongst moviegoers. It is interesting to hear the differences in perspectives on PK amongst grandparents, parents, siblings, teachers, friends and especially religious leaders.

The negatives:

1. The soundtrack is not the highlight of the film. Other than “Tharki Chokro” (which I love), it was clear that “song and dance” were not the focus of this film. “Love is a waste of time” was, a waste of time.

2. PK was a 2.5 hour long film, the average length for a Bollywood movie. I don’t mind 2.5 hours if there are glamorous song/dance sequences…however this was not the case. The movie did drag in the middle – but overall this did not outweigh the positives!

On the whole, PK is a must-see film for everybody at home. Don’t be late to the theater – the first scene is hilarious!

Acting: 5/5
Story: 5/5
Costumes: 3.5/5
Choreography: 3/5
Film Sets/Location: 3.5/5
Songs: 2.5/5
Eye Candy: 3.5/5
Length of Movie: 2.5/5
Overall: **** (4/5)

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

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Movie Review: Dhoom 3

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* Note: I will never put spoilers in my reviews – so don’t hesitate to read below. *

Finally saw Dhoom 3 last night! As expected, every single Indian person in Massachusetts was there celebrating Christmas Eve watching Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif, Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra strut their stuff in the much-awaited release of Dhoom 3. I was lucky to have my brother, Umang, sitting next to me narrating every shot that was filmed right in front of his apartment in Chicago.

First the positives:

1. The movie begins with a very intriguing intro scene starring Jackie Shroff (Iqbal Khan), who is definitely showing his age on screen. Child actor, Siddharth Nigam, plays young Sahir who grows up to be Aamir Khan (Sahir Khan). Siddharth is not mentioned in many reviews, but he is absolutely stellar as a young actor, and very cute! I’m certain he’s going to be pretty famous in Bollywood soon.

2. Aamir Khan never fails to give his best performance. He is THE reason to see this movie. His acting is flawless, his body is ripped, his dancing skills at his finest (see ‘”fun facts” below).

3. Katrina Kaif (Aliya) is as hot as I’ve ever seen her be. After seeing this movie, it’s certain she has the best-sculpted body amongst all Bollywood female actresses in my opinion. Her killer song is “Kamli,” in which she auditions to be part of the “Great Indian Circus.”

4. Abhishek Bachchan (Jay Dixit) is entertaining as expected, and very tall. He towers over Aamir the entire movie. Uday Chopra (Ali) was his same stupid-funny/goofy self. He gave a few laughs here and there but overall pretty corny and unoriginal.

A few negatives:

1. The movie is TOO long (almost three hrs) and could have been done easily in two hours.

2. The intro scene supposedly takes place in 1990…but whoever scripted this was definitely confused with the 1930s….

3. The Americans (Victoria, the blonde police cop and Anderson, the banker) have the WORST acting in the entire film. Why does this always happen in Bollywood movies?

4. I think Katrina should have been given more lines/appearance but it was clear she was just meant to be the item girl.

5. Some of the action sequences are outrageous – too many Matrix-like shots that are getting old and predictable. There is this one scene where police cars were crashing into each other for about 5 minutes – what the heck?! I was not a fan of Abhishek and Uday’s intro scene that took place in India – the scene was too lengthy and not what I had expected as their intro.

Overall, though, definitely a must-see film. With that being said, go with low expectations. It does contain the right amount of “masala” for a Bollywood movie. My recommendation is to leave your brains at the door and just go for the ride. If you get bored, just gawk at Aamir/Katrina’s body and dancing. Never been to Chicago? No worries – Dhoom 3 will take you through every hot-spot and side street there is of the Windy City.

5 Fun Facts about Dhoom 3:

1. Katrina and Aamir learned how to acro-dance within just a few weeks and were taught by Cirque-du-Soleil performers. There were no safety nets placed during the climax song “Malang.”

2. Yeah, so Aamir is no Hrithik when it comes to dancing, but did you know that Aamir spent three weeks in Australia learning how to tap dance for his intro song, “Dhoom Tap Instrumental” ?

3. Dhoom 3 is the first Bollywood film made in IMAX format

4. My brother’s friend, Ravi Shah, helped cast the background dancers for the film

5. Good news for you Dhoom series fans – there are rumors of Dhoom 4 releasing within the next 2 years – stay tuned!

Acting: 4.5/5
Story: 3.5/5
Costumes: 5/5
Choreography: 5/5
Sets/Filming Location: 5/5
Songs: 3/5
Eye Candy: 5/5
Special Effects: 4/5
Length of Movie (too long!!): 1/5
Action Sequences: 4/5
Overall: *** 1/2 (3.5/5)  or 7/10

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

Related links:

Making of Dhoom 3 “Malang” where Aamir and Katrina learn acro-dancing

Behind the Scenes filming in Chicago