Monday, November 13, 2017

Qarib Qarib Singlle (Movie Review)

Qarib Qarib Singlle: A Journey from Love to Love!
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“Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Jalaluddin Rumi

Tanuja Chandra’s film ‘Qarib Qarib Singlle’ is the story of the untiring quest of humans for love. The lead protagonist both Jaya and Yogi respectively played by Parvathy and Irrfan have their own past - love, break-ups and loss. In a crux, the film reinforces the law of nature that life goes on irrespective of what happened or happens in life. Some move on to the next level and some cling to the past and miss the beauty of the present.

Here, in this film, Jaya and Yogi explore the possibilities of finding a mate on an online dating site called ‘Ab Tak Single’. They hook up and with mutual consent decides to meet. What happens next is a journey, sometimes by flight, train, cab and by cable through different cities revisiting Yogi’s past love affairs. Jaya accompanies Yogi for some reason known to her only.

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Qarib Qarib Singlle has umpteen instances where the film will make you smile and enjoy the trip of these two characters. It is definitely a feel-good movie but it is botched with unbelievable situations and happenings. But then, Irrfan and Parvathy makes an interesting pair and keeps you engaged by their antics. Gazal Dhaliwal’s dialogue is catchy and interesting.

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There is a stage when Jaya decides to go with a guy like Yogi who is funny, mysterious, carefree and absent-minded on a trip. The trip turns out to be a challenge for her because she unknowingly starts questioning herself on many fronts in terms of her social image, her personal rapport with her so-called friends, and her inability to shed her past. Those scenes reminded me of what Rumi wrote: “Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” We occasionally find such people who follow what the Sufi poet has said.

 Having said this, the movie could have been much better if Tanuja could have made the characters more justified in terms of their past, their professions and even why Yogi’s girlfriends will happily fall for him even now after such a long gap and why they left him. What is the source of income for Yogi who looks like a buffoon but travels in business class and at the same time is ready to travel in a Kaali Peeli Taxi and a crowded bus? Why he met all his past girlfriends personally except one? Did Tanuja go a bit overboard just to make a story about two carefree and so-called modern progressive people?

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In short, Qarib Qarib Singlle with all its flaws in its script is still watchable and a bit different from the so-called romcoms. If you are Qarib Qarib Single, Ab Tak Single, intend to be single or neither of them - still go for this movie because it’s all about finding love again and again. When I walked out, I felt Rumi whispering: “Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”

.Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2.5/5

Cast: Irrfan Khan (Yogi), Parvathy (Jaya), Neha Dhupia (Anjali), Luke Kenny, Isha Sharvani, Bijendra Kala

Genre: Rom-Com

Director: Tanuja Chandra

Producers: Zee Studios, Sutapa Sikdar, Shailja Kejriwal, Ajay G Rai

Written by: Kamna Chandra

Screenplay: Tanuja Chandra, Gazal Dhaliwal

Music by: Anu Malik, Rochak Kohli, Vishal Mishra

Lyrics: Raj Shekher, Hussain Haidri, Varun Grover

Background Score: Naren Chandavarkar, Benedict Taylor

Choreographers: Tushar Kalia, Shampa Gopikrishna, Rajeev Surti

Edited by: Chandan Arora

Production Company: JAR Pictures

Presented by: Zee Studios

Release Date: 10th November 2017

Duration: 125 Minutes

Language: Hindi

Friday, November 3, 2017

Challenge The Challenges (Motivational Video)

Challenge The Challenges

‘Challenge The Challenges’ is the mantra today. As someone has said so aptly that “We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges”. To know more click the link below to watch my motivational video on “Challenge The Challenges”. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

RUKH (Movie Review)

RUKH: Sometimes Losing is Winning!
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Atanu Mukherjee’s maiden film has a kind of gloominess throughout, not just on the screen but it also seeps into you slowly. It’s the story of Diwakar Mathur (Manoj Bajpayee), a businessman who runs a leather factory with his friend and partner Robin (Kumud Mishra). The film begins at the dinner table with his wife Nandini (Smita Tambe). His wife seems to have already a whiff of what is happening with him. But there is a kind of untold sharing of miseries between this couples. Diwakar is constantly engaged mentally as if he is trying to loosen the knot that is tightening around his neck day by day. Both Diwakar and Nandini are in agreement that they need to keep Dhruv (Adarsh Gourav) their son away from all these troubles. Dhruv has been sent away from home to a boarding school because he is a short fuse and had some issues with his classmates and was expelled from his previous school.
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Meanwhile, Atanu Mukherjee is successful in keeping the audience thinking about what might have gone wrong because there are too many questions that pop up in our mind while watching RUKH – is it an affair that Diwakar is hiding? Is it some financial crisis that is troubling Diwakar? Or a trap, Robin has laid for him? By the time we get to know what it is, Diwakar is killed in a road accident.

The focus of the movie slowly shifts on the bereaved Nandini and Dhruv. For Dhruv. Every passing day after his father’s untimely death is like stumbling upon something new and sinister. His father death left Dhruv constantly trying to solve the mystery behind it. There too many characters around him that keeps his needle of suspicion shift from one person to another constantly. And Atanu keeps us engaged through Dhruv.

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RUKH has a story to tell which everyone can relate with. It is about what happens to a small time honest businessman in this greed driven market. The strength of the movie is its simplicity and, of course, its talented ensemble of actors. The weakness is that it is painfully slow and depressing. There is no happy faces around as if there is nothing good in anyone’s life at all. There is a fleeting moment where Nandini flips through an old family album that shows Dhruv as a kid in Diwakar’s arms but then it again to cement the sadness further.

Smita Tambe as the distressed wife and Kumud Mishra as a man involved nefarious deals in business and a less trustworthy friend are too good in their respective roles. Manoj Bajpayee as a helpless and overly stressed family and businessman does evoke empathy in the audience. What surprises us is about Adarsh Gourav as Dhruv and his acting skills. He constantly remains bewildered and suspicious about things and people around him. He very well displays his suppressed anger and his desperation to find an outlet is commendable.
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The songs ‘Hai Baaki’ and ‘Khidki’ are soulful. Arijit Singh and Mohan Kannan give voice to Siddhant Mago’s lyrics and Amit Trivedi’s music add soul to it.

But, however hard Atanu Mukherjee tries to narrate this story differently from the standard templates of Bollywood movies, it still doesn’t succeed to be edgy and gripping. After some time, you get tired because of the never-ending drama. Having said this, the film is a onetime watch but only for those who like to see a tiringly slow movie with a story to tell. It is not meant for the masses. So decide what you are – the ‘Aam Admi’ or the ‘Khass Admi’ who love watching such movies? Take your call.  

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2.75 /5

Cast: Manoj Bajpayee (Diwakar Mathur), Smita Tambe (Nandini Mathur), Adarsh Gourav (Dhruv), Kumud Mishra (Robin). Bharat (Jayant), Pawan Singh (Hassan)

Genre: Thriller/Drama

Director: Atanu Mukherjee

Producer: Manish Mundra

Written by: Atanu Mukherjee, Akash Mohimen, Vasan Bala (Dialogues)

Music by: Amit Trivedi

Lyrics: Siddhant Mago

Singers: Arijit Singh, Mohan Kannan

Cinematography: Pooja Gupte

Edited by: Sanglap Bhowmik

Production Company: Emmay Entertainment

Distributor: Eros International, Drishyam Films

Release Date: 27 October 2017

Language: Hindi

Duration: 147 Minutes

Monday, October 23, 2017

Golmaal Again (Movie Review)

Golmaal Again: Oh God Not Again!
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Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal Again the fourth part of the franchise can be summarized by one of the songs in the film – “Hum Nahi Sudharenge, Thoda Aur Bhigedenge” (we won’t mend our ways, we would rather become a little more spoilt brats). It seems that this franchise has nothing left to deliver and therefore, Rohit Shetty has invoked the spirits this time to ensure a safe sailing in the box office.

Tabu as a librarian is a gifted lady who can see spirits and repeatedly keeps parroting what Rohit Shetty said to her – “ The bottom line is Jab God Ki Marji Hota Hi tho Cheezo Mai Logic Nahi Magic Hoti Hi” ( When God’s will is there, there is no logic in the happenings”. But here, I felt God's will was less and Rohit’s will was more. And this statement holds true for this film, there is no logic and there are patches of gags crudely strewn as if they doubted their ability to tickle your funny bone.
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One of the Laxman (Tushar Kapoor), speaks gibberish and only the other Laxman (lucky) understands. Similarly, most of the dialogues don’t have any meaning and it seems even Rohit Shetty wouldn’t have cared much to decipher them in the melee of scaring Gopal and his likes in the film.
It would be unworthy to say that that the film didn’t generate laughter but a majority of the viewers were not laughing on what they were seeing on the screen; they were laughing thinking why they were laughing on these stupidities.   

Tabu, Parineeti Chopra, Ajay Devgn, Arshad Warsi, Tushar Kapoor, Shreyas Talpade, Kunal Khemu, Sanjay Mishra, Mukesh Tiwari, Johnny Lever, Nana Patekar,  Vrajesh Hirjee, Ashwini Kalsekar, Prakash Raj, and Neil Nitin Mukesh together tries hard to ensure the audience laugh and Rohit Shetty laugh all the way to his bank this Diwali week.
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The film ends with a message for the viewers “See You Soon” and the response on the faces exiting the theatre was “Rohit Shetty, Please not again”! If you want to laugh and feel that you have joined a laughter club and Golmaal Again can give you a therapeutic cure for all your sorrows then go and watch it. But please don’t regret the money and time spent on such silly films and filmmakers. I admit it requires guts to make such movies repeatedly with minimal creativity and escape unhurt every time in the box office ratings. Hail Rohit Shetty!!!

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2.5 /5

Cast: Ajay Devgn (Gopal), Tabu (Anna Mathew), Arshad Warsi (Madhav), Parineeti Chopra (Khushi), Tushar Kapoor (Lucky), Shreyas Talpade (Laxman), Kunal Khemu (Laxman), Prakash Reddy (Vasu Reddy), Neil Nitin Mukesh (Nikhil)

Genre: Comedy

Director: Rohit Shetty

Producers: Rohit Shetty, Sangeeta Ahir

Screenplay by: Yunus Sajawal

Story by: Rohit Shetty

Music by: Score: Amar Mohile; Songs: Amaal Mallik, S. Thaman, DJ Chetas, Abhishek Arora

Lyrics: Kumaar, Dev Kohli

Cinematography: Jomon T John

Edited by: Bunty Nagi

Production Company: Rohit Shetty Productions, Mangal Murti Films

Distributor: Reliance Entertainment

Release Date: 20 October 2017

Language: Hindi

Duration: 151 Minutes

Secret Superstar (Movie Review)

Secret Superstar: The Power of Manifestation! 
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Debutante director Advait Chandan’s Secret Superstar is all about the power to manifest your desires with the power of thought into reality clubbed with appropriate actions to support your dreams. We have heard and read a lot about the power of manifesting our desires. Many of us may have experienced the same too.

The main protagonist in Secret Superstar is Insia Malik (Zaira Wasim), a school girl who has a strong emotional desire to be a superstar and become a singing sensation in the world. And this desire germinates from a gift – a guitar given to her at the age of six by her little read mother Najma Malik (Meher Vij). The silent admirer and supporter of these two are Insia’s little brother who has an unusual presence of mind to save his sister from his tyrant father played by Raj Arjun.  
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There are beautiful instances in the film of visualizing self as a successful superstar by Insia – like, when she finds South superstar Dhanush’s Kolaveri song going viral with a 100 crore views on YouTube, she imagines about her YouTube video and in another scene when the best singer for Glamour Awards is announced she finds herself climbing the steps onto the dais to receive the award in the place of Monali Thakur from the super cool singer Shaan.   
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The film, Secret Superstar is inspiring because it helps many to rekindle the lost hope and confidence in pursuing their dreams. This movie reminds me of one of the paragraphs what Pao Chang the author of the book  ‘Staradigm’ has written: “In order for energy to manifest into matter, there must first exist something to draw energy into focus. That something is thought. However, thought alone does not effectively bring forth true manifestation. Thought needs certain energy forces to help transform it into expressions. One of these energy forces is emotion. Having strong emotional desires along with focused thought is the key to manifesting your desires at the energy level. This process draws in energy, and as the energy coagulates, manifestation begins. Physical manifestation is nothing more than an end result of focused thought.”
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Aamir Khan has become the King Midas of Bollywood. With every touch of his presence, the movie becomes a hit and an inspiration - be it Peepli Live, Taare Zameen Par, The Ship of Theseus, Dangal and now Secret Superstar. Aamir Khan as Shakti Kumar, the music director is repulsive and at the same time terribly funny with a golden heart. It is amazing to find this man slip into the character convincingly and transform himself into real on reel. Zaira Wasim as Insia is terrific and real. She makes you empathize and feel the desire to break the shackle and liberate yourself. Her outing on screen after Dangal and her first as a lead in Secret Superstar is making the news. It seems she is going to stay here for long.

What is worth mentioning about, is the role of Najma Malik played by the super talented Meher Vij. She moves you by her act as a tormented wife and a loving mother. She symbolizes many in our country. Her revolt against her husband’s tyranny is not against one man but against a sick mind-set that women are puppets of men. Her rebellion reminds me about one of the Tata tea advertisement “Desh Ubal Raha hi, aayenga dum, rang, mittas, badlenga desh ka rang … Chai peeye, soch badle’!!!

Raj Arjun as Malik, the father of Insia and wife beater is devilish. A perfect mirror to many in this world – who belittle girl child, treats her as a liability, treats women as a weakling and as a housemaid and an object of pleasure nothing more and nothing less. Raj Arjun has given his best. Tirth Sharma as Chintan is a surprise performer. He is a true friend who is madly in love. He is a friend in need who recognizes what his friend can achieve even in the midst of chaos.
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Music by Amit Trivedi and all the songs are too good and leaves a lingering impact on you, especially the two songs – ‘Main Koun Hun’ and ‘Meri Pyaari Ammi’. Kushal Choksi, Mika Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan and Meghna Mishra have a rendered their voice to the lyrics by Kausar Munir in the film.

In short, Go and watch Secret Superstar to find the one in you. It will help you to discard your self-doubt and build the required confidence to pursue what you want in life.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 4 /5

Cast: Zaira Wasim (Insia Malik), Meher Vij (Najma Malik), Raj Arjun (Farookh Malik), Aamir Khan (Shakti Kumar), Kabir Sajid Shaikh (Guddu), Tirth Sharma (Chintan), Farrukh Jaffer (Badi Appa), Mona Anbegaonkar (Sheena Sabawala), Shaan (Cameo), Monal Thakur (Cameo)

Genre: Drama

Director: Advait Chandan

Producers: Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Akash Chawla, Sujay Kutty, B.Shrinivas                        Rao

Written by: Adair Chandan

Music by: Amit Trivedi

Lyrics: Kausar Munir

Cinematography: Anil Mehta

Edited by: Hemanti Sarkar

Production Company: Aamir Khan Productions

Distributor: Zee Studios

Release Date: 19 October, 2017

Language: Hindi

Duration: 150 Minutes

Chef (Movie Review)

'Chef' Serves Delicacies of Life!
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Director Raja Krishna Menon's film 'Chef' is an official remake of Jon Favreau's 2014 film by the same name. Menon's film Chef explores life and its nuances in regard to changing relationships in personal and professional life. It takes cooking as a metaphor to understand life. We too need to be like a chef who pays utmost attention to what he prepares and is creative in presenting it before his clients as well as never hesitates to wait for their feedback. If so, life becomes too blissful. Unfortunately, often we fail to do so.  

Saif Ali Khan as Chef Roshan Kalra woos you by his culinary skills and passion to cook. Roshan as a 10 year-old boy only cherished to be a cook like  his neighborhood Chole Baturewala Chacha. He grows up into a celebrity Chef after running away from home and landing up one day in US after many hardships early in his life. But all these experiences had made him a hard nut to crack. Roshan knows his work very well and therefore, cannot take a 'No' easily. He desist anyone who criticize his dish because he feels he seldom fails. One such incident turns his life upside down because he punches a customer in his restaurant and lands up in prison.
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Left with no option after he loses his job, he decides to fly back to Kochi (Kerala) to meet his only son Armaan (Swar Kamble) who lives with his ex-wife Radha (Padmapriya Janakiraman). Menon without dwelling much into what went wrong between him and his wife transports us to Kochi where he is greeted happily by his son and his wife who in all ways  looks mature and a friend t`o him. The story picks up from there, the film beautifully portrays the emotional bonding between a father and a son and focuses on the embers of love that is still alive between Roshan and his ex wife. Love doesn't end if it is true love because it just manifests into different forms but it never allow it to die. Chef is one such movie that showcases the power of love and care for each other.

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Roshan Kalra's life changes after his coming back to Kochi where he realizes where, when and what went wrong in his life. His interactions with Armaan, Radha and her close friend Biju (Milind Soman) a business man leads one after to another. To his surprise, he embarks on a journey with a food bus christened as Raasta Cafe from Kochi to Delhi along with his son Armaan and his ex colleague and mentee in US Nazrul (Chandan Roy) who came back to his guru after being left out in US. The journey of all the three guys with the Malayali bus driver Alex is hilarious, touching and a learning experience for them as well as for the viewers.

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Padmapriya as Radha is elegant, expressive and is successful in portraying a very mature ex wife and a true friend. All these aspects comes so naturally to her on screen that it is difficult to believe that she is acting. Swar Kamble wins your heart by his innocence and his love for his father and mother. Milind Soman as a Keralite in a white dhoti impresses you by his subtle acting, though he doesn't have much to do but is able to leave a positive impact on you. Chandan Roy as a loyal chella plays his role as Nazrul with great conviction. He reminds you that there are friends who are always there for you in good times as well as bad times and therefore, treasure them. Saif Ali Khan looks different after a series flop for the last few years like Happy Ending, Humshakals, Bullet Raja, and then his last film Rangoon. Hope this outing fetches him the same response he got for his 2013 hit film Race. Amaal Malik and Raghu Dixit do render beautiful music and songs which add value to the story.

Raja Krishna Menon's film 'Chef' reminds me of the old adage - "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a  butterfly". In short, cooking food is an art so is living life happily without letting yourself down. Go and watch Chef along with your family, if possible don't resist the idea if anyone of you want to call your ex to accompany you; I am sure this film will give you a new perspective to handle relationships in life.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 3.5/5

Cast: Saif Ali Khan (Roshan Kalra), Padmapriya Janakiraman (Radha Menon), Chandan Roy Sanyal (Nazrul), Svar Kamble (Armaan), Pawan Chopra (Sunil Manohri), Raghu Dixit 9Special Appearance), Shaurya Chopra (Young Roshan), Sobhita Dhulipala (Vinnie), Ramgopal Bajaj (Roshan's Father), Milind Soman (Biju)

Genre: Drama

Director: Raja Krishna Menon

Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Raja Krishna Menon, Vikram Malhotra, Janani Ravichandran

Written by: Ritesh Shah, Suresh Nair, Raja Krishna Menon

Based on: 'Chef' by Jon Favreau

Music by: Raghu Dixit, Amaal Mallik

Cinematography: Priya Seth

Edited by: Shivkumar V Panicker

Production: T - Series, Abundantia Entertainment, Bandra West Pictures

Release Date: 6th October, 2017

Duration: 133 Minutes

Language: Hindi