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