Movie Review: Padmaavat

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Movie & Music Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Producers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali & Ajit Andhare

Note: there are no spoilers in this review.  

Padmaavat is a period drama based on an epic poem written in 1540 by the Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi. This is a fictional story about the Delhi Sultante Alauddin Khalji’s (Ranveer Singh) desire for the most beautiful woman, the precious Queen of Chittor Rani Padmavati (Deepika Padukone). Padmavati and her husband, the Rajput ruler Rawal Ratan Sen (Shahid Kapoor), fight to protect the Rajput honor from Alauddin’s merciless rage.

The positives:

  1. Song and dance: From the beginning credits, to Shreya Ghosal’s “Ghoomar” dance and Ganesh Acharya’s choreography for Ranvir’s “Khalibali” – it all lives up to the legendary Bhansali expectations.
  2. The grandeur of the sets were nothing less than jaw-dropping. The movie takes place at the beautiful Chittor fort in Rajasthan, one of the largest forts in India and a world heritage UNESCO site today. Unfortunately, members of the Karni Sena group vandalized sets at Jaigargh Fort where the Padmaavat sets were originally located and thus Bhansali recreated parts of the Chittor Fort in Mumbai.
  3. Ranveer Singh was FAN-TASTIC. He fully absorbed Alauddin into his soul (for better or for worse!) and I am convinced there was nobody better suited for the role. Although Deepika did very well as Queen Padmavati and looked gorgeous as ever, Ranvir stole the show. I think Mr. Singh is on track to win best actor.
  4. Costume design was just impeccable for each character: authentic, organic, luxurious handwork that truly depicted the 13th century royalty. Watch the behind the scenes of costume design by Rimple & Harpreet Narula here.
  5. This movie will change Aditi Rao Hydari’s career. As she was not featured in any of the trailers, Aditi was a very pleasant surprise as supporting actress, playing Alauddin’s naive begum, Mehrunissa.

The negatives:

  1. The storyline was weak and executed poorly. This was by far Padmaavat’s biggest flaw. The only reason it stayed afloat is because of the Bhansali larger-than-life experience (oh, and Ranvir too).
  2. Shahid Kapoor’s acting was underwhelming. He was most certainly overshadowed by Ranveer as there was an unbalanced character build – not really an issue though if you’re a Ranveer fan (*wink wink*). I do have to say that Deepika and Shahid had pretty good chemistry on screen.
  3. Padmaavat is the first Indian move to come out in IMAX 3D. Unfortunately, there were barely any “3D” effects like flying swords and severed heads in your face, something you would expect in any 3D war film.
  4. As usual, this was one of those lengthy Indian movies where you feel like the intermission could’ve been the ending. That said, the plot moved quickly and you had very little chance to fall asleep.
  5. Anupriya Goenka’s role as Rawal Ratan Sen’s first wife, Nagmati, was quite forgettable. She was the most unconvincing character and certainly a poor choice on actor selection for this character.

Fun facts – did you know?

  • Ranveer sought help from a psychiatrist after filming this movie to overcome the Khilji-ness that took over his behavior and mental health.
  • Deepika Padukone is one of the highest paid Bollywood actresses. She charged 12 crores for this movie and generally makes 10-12 crores per film. She is a SLB favorite!

On the whole, Padmaavat is a film that you should see once. If you’re a Deepika or Ranveer fan – this is a must-see, but go with low expectations and just enjoy the Bhansali experience.

Rating:

Acting: 4/5

Story: 1/5

Costumes: 5/5

Sets/Filming Location: 5/5

Songs: 3/5

Choreography: 3/5

Eye Candy: 4/5

Length of Movie: 2/5

Overall: ***1/2, 6.5/10

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: 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: 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: Mary Kom

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Release Date: September 5th, 2014

Director: Omang Kumar

Producer: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Genre: Drama

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has succeeded once again! This drama is based on the autobiography Unbreakable (2013) of the professional Indian Boxer, M.C. Mary Kom. It is undoubtedly a must-see film! I honestly believe this is Priyanka Chopra’s best work yet. Her acting genuinely portrays Mary Kom’s struggles, courageous endeavors, perseverance and dedication to both her personal and professional life. Mary Kom, however, could not have won five World Amateur Boxing Championships without her unbelievably supportive spouse, Onler Kom (Darshan Kumaar) and coach (Sunil Thapa). Watch the movie to find out how she balances being a mother of two while winning gold medals for her country!

The Positives:

1.The story is unique: Mary Kom is continuing to pursue her Boxing career today – whereas in many other biopics, the person being portrayed is deceased or retired from their career. The audience is better able to relate with the heroine while the real Mary Kom has certainly expanded her fan club!

  1. The acting – Priyanka Chopra gets a big thumbs up. She will definitely be winning some awards. The others including the coach (Nepalese actor, Sunil Thapa) and Onler (Darshan Kumar) were excellent supporting actors.
  1. The look – PChops did not take a break while working out for this film! Her makeup/body build was absolutely perfect and matches Mary Kom’s pretty well. Watch behind the scenes of her workout routines!
  1. Stereotypes broken – majority of Bollywood films still portray the woman as the home maker and the man as the bread winner – however this is a prime example of just the opposite. Mary Kom finds a man who is willing to put his wife’s dreams first and he opts to stay at home with the babies. How romantic!
  1. The songs – the soundtrack is fantastic! It’s the type you can hear over and over and not get bored. Patriotic, energizing, and peaceful. Did you know that Priyanka Chopra sang the “Chaoro Lori” herself?

The Negatives:

  1. “Behind every successful woman is herself” NOT true in this movie! The story is obviously about Mary Kom – but little attention is given to her support structure and loving husband, Onler! He is a true “hero” and portrays that fathers can make sacrifices too and be great in leading the parenting.
  2. The story is slow in the beginning – but develops Mary Kom’s character very quickly.

In theater or DVD, Mary Kom is more than worth a watch! I guarantee you will leave feeling nothing but proud, patriotic, and empowered at the end of this film.

Fun Fact: On October 1st, 2014, Mary Kom won her first Gold Medal at the Asian Games held at IncheonSouth Korea in the flyweight (51KG) summit clash. This was the first Gold medal for any Indian woman at Asian Games. Her future goals include winning the Gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil and setting up a Boxing Academy in Manipur/throughout Northeast India.

Fun Face #2: Mary Kom also has started a female-only fight club at Imphal to teach girls to defend themselves against sexual violence in India. Mary Kom wants Priyanka Chopra to become this program’s brand ambassador.

Rating Breakdown:

Acting: 4.5/5
Story: 3.5/5
Costumes: 3/5
Sets/Filming Location: 3.5/5
Songs: 4/5
Eye Candy: 3/5
Length of Movie: 3/5

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

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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

Bollywood Movie Previews – Fall 2014

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Let’s be honest…the Bollywood film industry gave us a pretty boring summer 2014. There were very few decent films or blockbuster releases. Not to worry though…there are a handful of potential “hits” with big name actors coming out in the next few months. Here is a glimpse!

Film: Mary Kom
Genre: Drama
Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Minakkshi Kalitaa
Director: Omung Kumar
Production: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Release date: September 5th, 2014

“Mary Kom”, is based on the true story about the Indian Boxer and Olympic Bronze medalist Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom. Priyanka Chopra plays Mary Kom in this much-awaited Sanjay Leela Bhansali production. The movie depicts Mary Kom’s struggles of life and her journey in pursuit of her passion: boxing. “Mary Kom” Trailer!

 

Film: Finding Fanny
Genre: Comedy
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia, with Ranveer Singh in cameo role.
Director: Homi Adajania
Production: Maddock Films/Fox Star Studios
Release date: September 12th, 2014

Now this looks like an entertaining one – an off-beat light-hearted comedy story about five oddballs who set out to Goa to find Stefanie Fernandes (Fanny). Throughout their journey, they discover love and friendship in one another. This is an English short-film you don’t want to miss! The director, Homi Adajania, is well known for his films “Cocktail” and “Being Cyrus.” “Finding Fanny” Trailer

 

Film: Happy New Year (HNY)
Genre: Action-Comedy
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachan, Boman Irani, Vivaan Shah, Sonu Sood, Sarah-Jane Dias and Jackie Shroff. Possible cameo appearance: Prabhu Deva and Malaika Arora Khan
Director: Farah Khan
Producer: Gauri Khan Production: Red Chilles Entertainment Pvt.
Release date: October 23, 2014

Get ready for this “masala” film with a stellar cast, releasing Diwali 2014! Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone return as co-stars once again after their blockbusters “Chennai Express” and “Om Shanti Om”. Judging from the trailer, this seems to be a story about con-artists and bank robberies (quite the common theme). With Farah Khan as the director, we can expect some much-needed Bollywood ‘naach-gaana’ flare!
“Happy New Year” Trailer

Top Indian Wedding Dance Songs 2014

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It’s Indian wedding season. And it’s likely you’ve been asked to “do a dance” by your friend, aunt, cousin, brother, sister, mother. Well, if you’re feeling stuck with selecting songs to dance to, no worries – I’ve created the list for you! These are Bollywood hits – old and new. Note: If you are looking for specific songs related to a theme/time era, contact me and I will help you out!

Group co-ed songs:

1. Diliwaali Girlfriend – (Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani – YJHD)

2. Balam Pichkari – (YJHD)
3. Tune Mari Entriyaan – (Ram Leela) 
4. 1234 get on the dance floor – (Chennai Express) 
5. Badtameez Dil – (YJHD)
6. Chingam Chabake – (Gori Tere Pyaar Mein)
7. Munde marde seetiyaan – (Aman Hayer)
8. Sadi Galli – (Tanu Weds Manu)
 
All girls:
1. Nagada Sang Dhol (garba/raas) – Ram Leela 
2. Ghagra – (YJHD)
3. Nimbooda – (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam)
4. Rangeelo Maro Dhol Na 
5. Maya Yashoda – (Hum Saath Saath Hain)
6. Badi Muskhil – (Lajja)
7. Genda Phool – (Delhi 6)
 
All boys:
1. Bachana Ae Haseeno – (Bachana Ae Haseeno)
2. Besharam – (Besharam)
3. Muqabala – (Muqabala)
4. Tera Hero Idhar hai – (Main Tera Hero)

 
Old School Wedding Songs:
1. Mehndi Laga ke rakh na (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge)
2. Are Are – (Dil To Pagal Hai)
3. Didi Tera Dewar Deewana – (Hum Apke Hain Kaun)
4. Bole chudiyaan – (Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham)
5. Mehndi hai rachnewaali – (Zubeidaa)
6. Mere haathon me nau nau chudiyan he – (Chandni)
7. Mujhe Rang de – (Thakshak)
8. Pairon me bandhan he – (Mohabbatein) 
9. Paise lo – (Hum Apke Hai Kaun)
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Have suggestions to add to this list? Comment below!