Monday, November 16, 2015

Movie Review: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

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The Story Frame:

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is a story of a Royal family and it's sibling rivalry. It also showcases how a commoner becomes a medium to bring the royal family back to peace and harmony. Amidst the royal family melodrama there are sparks of romance and mistaken identities and its aftermath too. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is all and all Salman Khan film with a strong Barjatya flavour. It marks the return of Salman Khan- Sooraj Barjatya jodi on the silver screen after 16 years.

Cast: Salman Khan (Rajkumar Yuvraj Singh & Prem Dilwale), Sonam Kappor (Rajkumari Mythili), Anupam Kher (Deewan Sahab), Niel Nitin Mukesh (Rajkumar Ajay Singh), Swara Bhaskar (Rajkumari Chandrika), Aashika Bhatia (Rajkumari Radhika), Deepak Dobriyal (Kanahaiya & Nadaan Mazoori), Sanjay Misra (Choubey Chacha), Sameer Dharmadhikari (Maharaj), Armann Kohli (Chirag)

Genre: Romance Drama

Direction: Sooraj R Barjatya

Produced by: Ajith Kumar Barjatya, Kamal Kumar Barjatya, Rajkumar Barjatya

Production Company: Rajshri Productions

Distributor: Fox Star Studios

Screenplay by: Sooraj R Barjatya

Story: Sooraj R Barjatya

Cinematographer: V Manikandan

Music: Sanjoy Chowdhury, Himesh Reshammiya

Film Editing by: Sanjay Sankala

Theatre Release: 12th November, 2015

Language: Hindi

Duration: 174 minutes

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Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo lives up to the promise as a family entertainer in all its grandeur for those who are a Salman Khan-Sooraj Barjatya kind of movie fan who can actually afford with ease to overlook the big black hole but for those who look for brains and entertainment it turns out to be a damp squib.

The movie begins with the entry of Prem Dilwale the stage artist who is quite popular among the locals in Ayodhya as the star performer in the Dilwale Ki Ramleela play. Before we could actually get over the hangover of Salman being a Bajrangi bakht in Bajrangi Bhaijan, he dons the cap this time as a Ram-Sita bakht spouting lessons on moral values.

Dilwale is love-smitten with the generous princess Mythili of Devgarh who is devoted in social causes distributing freebies and relief goodies to calamity-affected victims under the aegis of her NGO - Uphaar Foundation. Dilwale sets forth with his friend Kanhaiya (Deepak Dobriyal) who also dabbles as Sita in the Dilwale ki Ramleela play to handover the fund he has painstakingly collected to the princess personally in Delhi and that's when he comes to know from Jyoti (an Uphaar foundation volunteer) that she is going to be present in Pritampur for the royal coronation ceremony of Prince Vijay Singh, who also happens to be her fiancĂ©e. Reaching Pritampur, Dilwale and Kanhaiya  finds themselves entwined in the drama of a royal conspiracy and deceit which they find it hard to untwine.

The movie shifts its focus on Yuvraj Vijay Singh (Salman Khan in double role), his trusted family loyalist Dewan Saab (Anupam Kher) who is also the royal secret keeper. Yuvraj Vijay Singh is in the midst of approving the schedules and arrangements of his Raj Tilak and he is unaware that he is falling prey to a grave conspiracy to annihilate him and stop his coronation by his own dear and trusted people.

The royal family melodrama unfolds soon when the audience is taken through a brief history of the erstwhile Maharaja and his mistresses, their children, how they used to happily live together and an incident that changes the family bonding and harmony. Well, the half brother Rajkumar Ajay Singh (Niel Nitin Mukesh) and the other two half sisters  Rajkumari Chandrika (Swara Bhaskar) and Rajkumari Radhika (Aashika Bhatia) born from another mistress  are loggerheads with Rajkumar Vijay Singh for no good reasons which the filmmakers repeatedly fail to establish the logic apart from a trivial incident that shatters the peace of the palace. Trivial because the erstwhile king is shown all throughout the movie in flashbacks as a caring husband and a loving father who made a Palace of Mirrors (Seesh Mahal) for the children to keep their  childhood memories  alive. He is also quoted by Yuvraj Vijay Singh that his father use to tell him after his mother's demise that " Vijay, never feel that you are alone in your life, you have Ajay's Mother and Chandrika and Radhika's mother to take care of you. The character of Maharaj is positioned as a generous, lovable and mature king and therefore, it is hard to believe that he would have left his mistresses and his children born out of them to lurch in the dark.

 A person like Yuvraj Vijay Singh who is seen approving every minute details of his coronation ceremony and who is also advised by hardcore loyal Dewan Sahab is unaware about the Estate CEO Chirag (Armaan Kohli) withholding the funds released to his half brother Yuvraj Ajay Singh so as to create rift among them is an irony. The half brothers are also shown involved in fencing as a recreational sport with no animosity with each other, rather they are found taking care of each other, this makes the viewers fail to figure out the storyline.  

The movie also falters terribly in portraying the relationship with Rajkumari Mythili and Rajkumar Vijay Singh. There is a scene where Mythili tells Prem Dilwale presuming him to be Rajkumar Vijay Singh that they are engaged to each other since five months and they have hardly spoken to each other five times and that they still don't know anything about one another. But then contrary to this dialogue the viewers find Rajkumari Mythili reminding Rajkumar Vijay Singh about all those encounters they had in the near past, like appearing for him in a short dress which he likes, arranging a special barbeque in the erstwhile king's garden, sharing with him how he would look more handsome without a moustache, how they end up quarrelling and so on.

Sanjay Misra as Choubey Chacha who manages all props and accessories for the Dilwale Ki Ramleela play is not given ample screen time to showcase his versatility and therefore the filmmakers deprived the audience to relish his talent. It is the same in the case of Deepak Dobriyal as Kanahaiya and Nadaan Mazoori. Deepak Dobriyal who enthused the audience to the hilt in Tanu Weds Manu 2, struggles hard to keep the audience in good humour not because he is not talented but majorly because his presence is dwarfed by two Salmans.

Neil Nitin Mukesh as Yuvraj Ajay Singh acts well as an emotionally and financially insecure and jealous half brother who connives with estate CEO Chirag (Armann Kohli). Armann Kohli in his comeback as a villain makes his presence felt and has fairly done a good job. Swara Bhaskar (Rajkumari Chandrika) the talented actress has done justice to her role, but it would have been great if she had more to act and perform. Aashika Bhatia is an add on with nothing remarkable to do. God knows why the filmmaker wanted one more half sister to showcase the family melodrama.

Anupam Kher as the loyal Dewan Saab and the royal secret keeper is commendable. He acts with ease and is successful in generating a few laughable moments with Prem Dilwale. But at the same time Prem Dilwale coming up with funny nicknames  for Dewan Sahab like - bapu, immature bapu, virgin bapu, mature bapu and finally telling Dewan Saab 'aap pichle janam mai koi sant honge" is something that goes overboard.

Salman Khan as Yuvraj Vijay Singh Moochwale (Moustache) and Salman Khan as Prem Dilwale as Moochmunde (clean shaven) are a treat but then the story and its flaws takes the joy away too quickly. Falling from a cliff and treated in one of the secret chambers of the royal palace with full medical amenities by two expert doctors, Yuvraj lie immobile, with bandages on head, shoulders chest, and arms. But what is surprising and ridiculous is we find our Yuvraj chained and shaking the whole Sheesh Mahal with his mighty chained arms venting his anger. He is also found with an arm- to-arm combat as well as fencing with his half brother Ajay Singh and thrashing him red and blue. Our powerful Yuvraj is also seen repeating the history by saving his half-brother from falling into the deep waters that surround the Sheesh Mahal by holding him by his arms. Now, what we need to understand is, all these karnamas are done by an accident victim who has been medically diagnosed with possible 'Brain Concussion and Brain Edema' by the royal medical experts four days back. Amidst all these terrible climax scenes we have our Prem Dilwale 'the divine', lecturing and tutoring on values, ethics and morals to the two half-brothers who are fuming with anger and revenge. But then it's a Salman Khan-Sooraj Barjatya film after 16 years of gap, therefore, just chill, chill, just chill with the innumerable songs that you will lose count off.

In short, if you want to learn and watch 'Bhaiyon mai maafi kaisi maangi jaati hi aur behanon ko kaise manaya jaate hi, aur diwali ke do din baad bhaiya dooj kaise manaya jata hi tho please throng the cinema halls which is near you without any delay because the coffers are already overflowing and it cannot be complete without your offerings. So Enjoy...Prem Ratan Dhan Payo.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2.75/5

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Movie Review: Titli

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The Story Frame:

The debutant filmmaker Kanu Behl's movie Titli was featured in more than a dozen international film festivals including at Cannes Film Festival in 2014 (Un Certain Regard). The movie is co-produced by Dibaker Banerjee and Aditya Chopra. Titli has some super talented actors in it like Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial, Shashank Arora, Lalit Behl and Shivani Raghuvanshi. Kanu Behl is also known as the one who co-wrote and assisted Dibakar Banerjee in Love Sex Aur Dhokha (LSD) 2010.

Titli is a story about a world that co-exists with our world which we often dread and that emerges in the deserted dark alleys of Delhi in the middle of the night. The inhabitants of this world that Titli portrays has their own rules, logic and reason for their deeds and they are ok with not being ok. But what if one of the siblings of a dysfunctional family finds himself not to be ok with what is not ok, then?

Titli speaks about three brothers and a manipulative father who meets their ends as small time crooks and how their life spins and bears the consequence of their own creations. Writers Sharat Kataria and Kanu Behl tells us a compelling and a stark realistic story that hovers around patriarchy, intra-family conflict, gender based violence and insensitivity, and the inner urge to set oneself free.

Cast: Ranvir Shorey (Vikram), Amit Sial (Pradeep aka Bawla), Shashank Arora (Titli), Lalit Behl (Father), Shivani Raghuvanshi (Neelu), Prashant Singh (Prince)

Genre: Crime Drama

Direction: Kanu Behl

Produced by: Aditya Chopra & Dibakar Banerjee

Production Company: Yash Raj Films & Dibakar Banerjee Productions Pvt. Ltd.

Distributed by: Westend Films

Written by: Sharat Kataria & Kanu Behl

Cinematographer: Siddharth Diwan

Film Editing by: Namrata Rao

Theatre Release: May 20, 2015 ( Cannes Film Festival), October 30, 2015 (India)

Language: Hindi

Duration: 124 minutes

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Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Titli (Butterfly), in literal terms these insects that has a long thin body and brightly colored wings that flies mostly during the day are beautiful and catch your fancy but this movie is not about being beautiful or colorful. Titli wakes you up from a deep slumber to the harsh realities of the underbelly of Delhi, it talks about the shattered dreams and miseries of those youngsters who feel deprived of the good things of life and how they live their life to get what they want in their own terms by pouncing on any vulnerable victim/s in the dark alleys of Delhi.   

You end up having a love hate relationship with the characters. They scare you by their inhuman act, they make you empathize them by sharing their miseries, and their helplessness in dealing with odds in their life and at the same time repel you by doing those things that you would have never dreamt of to achieve anything you wanted to get in life.

Titli sheds light on a dysfunctional family of small-time crooks consisting of a manipulative father (Lalit Behl) and three sons. The eldest brother Vikram (Ranvir Shorey) has the final word and no one dares to question him not even his father, his second brother Pradeep aka Bawla (Amit Sial) is his confidant and partner in all crimes. However, the youngest sibling Titli (Shashank Arora) is a misfit among these brothers because he nurtures discreetly a dream of owning a parking lot in an upcoming shopping mall and thereby free himself from the clutches of his brothers and his manipulative father. Titli is a reluctant crook and this doesn't go well with seemingly responsible brothers and therefore, as any family they too decide to get him married with this hope that a girl in his life may make him more responsible to the business. Pradeep also convinces Vikram that this will lead to a new member in their gang and would increase the prospect of their business.

Titli the titular character essayed by Shahsank Arora goes through one setback to another, his whole plan to free himself from his ruined present to a better future goes haywire from frame to frame. The relationship of Titli and his wife Neelu (Shivani Raghuvanshi) is a marriage of convenience. Both of them have their plans up on their sleeves. It is quite interesting to watch how they negotiate with each other to ensure how both becomes instrumental to accomplish their dreams. Do they finally materialize their dreams? It's something to watch on screen.

Ranvir Shorey as Vikram, the decision-maker has done a fabulous work but Shahsank Arora has surpassed all of the characters by his act of helplessness, desperateness and his miseries. You experience the harsh side of life through him. Shivani Raghuvanshi is so real that you relate to her very well. Her timidity, her bold and blunt act to achieve what she wants are all awesome. Amit Sial as the peace keeper between brothers, advisor and a person in a pitiable state of distress and unhappiness driven by happenings in his life is well essayed for the role.


Debutant filmmaker Kanu Behl's Titli is harsh, disturbing but true to its core in storytelling. Titli is not a fun film that may appeal to all, especially not to those who only visit movie halls to escape from the realities of life. There are some sequences that may be disturbing and need viewer discretion. Titli makes you reflect and think after reaching to your comforts of your dwelling and accept that such world and people exists and have you ever experienced or thought about them and their lives.

Finally, whether Titli manages to fly to his dreamland is a question I would like to leave unanswered for the viewers to find. Titli is real, doesn't hide anything, you take it or leave it but for sure you would love it. If you expect me to issue a disclaimer for those who love only Kuch Kuch Hota Hi to please skip this one I won't, rather would like to urge them to take the risk and watch Titli, you never know after watching you may quote the popular brand's tagline 'I'm Loving It" !

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 4/5