Chehre

Vampire Owl: How many faces do we see here?

Vampire Bat: The faces of humans do not matter at all.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that it would matter to us more at some point.

Vampire Bat: The human identity is no longer significant in a world of chaos.

Vampire Owl: Well, at least we can know the lying faces early.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is the only thing that humans do throughout their lives.

Vampire Owl: I did trust too many humans, and that has made a mess. They are the true villains of all realms.

Vampire Bat: Humans are all about lying, cheating and stealing. Being the villains of the universe comes naturally to them.

Vampire Owl: Well, I would say that demons are better.

Vampire Bat: Let the zombies for eat their brains then.

[Gets an orange cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Sameer Mehra (Emraan Hashmi) is forced to travel through some strong winter in the mountains. He wishes to go to Delhi, but is forced to stop in the middle of nowhere, as the climate only gets worse, and his car is stuck, with trees right in the front. He searches for a hotel or a guest house to wait until the tree is removed by the authorities. He then comes across Paramjeet Singh Bhullar (Annu Kapoor) who asks him to join come to a friend’s place until things get any better, even though there are not signs of something like that happening. He is taken to the house of Jagdish Acharya (Dhritiman Chatterjee), and he also meets Hariya Jatav (Raghubir Yadav) there. Anna (Rhea Chakraborty) is already present there, helping everyone in the building, who are pretty much old. The mobile phones have no network connection out there, and the landlines also do not work, much to the dismay of Sameer who wishes to connect to his wife.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The group of old men is also joined by Lateef Zaidi (Amitabh Bachchan), who reaches there despite the snowfall getting much worse. Sameer is surprised to see everything that happens around this house in the middle of nowhere, which is nothing less than a grand mansion of some older time period. They tell Sameer that they meet there and play a strange game in which these retired professionals of law conduct mock trials. They take some very old well known case and go on with the same. In the beginning, they talk about the case of Phoolan Devi, but later chooses Sameer as the accused. Sameer says that he hasn’t committed any crime, and is ready to face anything that is put in front of him. He is confident that he will win the game, and none of these people are good enough to pose any challenge to him. But there is more than what meets the eye to these people in the mansion.

The defence of Chehre :: What works really well for Chehre is its setting in the middle of nowhere, with snow all around, and the building is also a thing of visual splendour which we cannot avoid. Everything is perfectly suited for what is to happen next in the film. It also seems to come up with a message, even though it seems to be confused about where that is leading. But it never leaves the messages behind, that is for sure. The film does stand for the right judgment and the need for justice to be served, even though it seems almost impossible to be done when law has its loopholes. The cast is also nicely selected here, and we see the signs of the same at different moments. It does need some courage and skill to create something like this which go highly unconventional, and one cannot deny the fact that there is some good research done in the background – the risk does have its own effectiveness to go with it.

The claws of flaw :: The initial introductory dialogue by Amitabh Bachchan during the beginning itself is one of the least interesting starts to a film, and it keeps us wishing to fast forward throughout those dialogues. There are many other dialogues which were not necessary, and often goes out of the equation, seemingly just for the sake of bringing them. Too much speech here adds to the struggle, which also lengthens the film too much. When you keep talking too much without coming up with any action, people can only be confused. Preaching doesn’t always get you were you want. It also struggles to use most of its elements in the best possible manner, even though there were indeed the available opportunities. This could have been something like Pink, or something stranger than we could ever imagine, but the same is not done here. There was even scope for bringing something supernatural into the scene.

Performers of the soul :: Amitabh Bachchan controls things around here, and he makes things clear from the beginning itself. We have seen him doing this a lot, in different movies belonging to various decades. The rest of the support including Annu Kapoor, Dhritiman Chatterjee and Raghubir Yadav are very much suitable for how the game moves on. They are all different when we look at them, and have some interesting perspectives. Emraan Hashmi is also pretty much suitable for this kind of role. Siddhanth Kapoor plays a mute role, a notable one indeed. Rhea Chakraborty shows some promise, but the role is not carried on that much, even though the world could have had more for her. Krystle D’Souza makes a bigger impact, as she blends in very well to the character. There is a certain amount of mystery about her character, and even with some predictability, leaves one with more than what originally meets the eye.

How it finishes :: Chehre is a mystery thriller which can surely boast about its moments, and even though known as an uncredited adaptation of a German novel named A Dangerous Game by Friedrich Durrenmatt, makes its point well within its adapted environment. During the days of COVID-19, containment, quarantine and lockdown, we all love to watch movies set in remote worlds. It is a fine decision to release this movie on Amazon Prime Video, some days after its release in the theatres, as we are yet to see the theatres being opened here. We do know that the movie could have been much better, but for now, we adjust with what we have, and enjoy it in moments. After all, the world as we know it also has had its own limitations in the last one and half years. Nothing is the same any more, and we enjoy what we have here, with less than three months to go to end another year of virus and all kinds of terror to behold.

Release date: 30th September 2021 (Amazon), 21st August 2021 (Theatre)
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Rumi Jaffery
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Emraan Hashmi, Krystle D’Souza, Rhea Chakraborty, Annu Kapoor, Raghubir Yadav, Alexx O’Nell, Sameer Soni, Dhritiman Chatterjee

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hindi film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jolly LLB 2

Vampire Owl: I know this Jolly fellow. He was so jolly.

Vampire Bat: It is not that Jolly, but this one can be quite jolly too.

Vampire Owl: So, we have a sequel which has another Jolly, who is also a jolly fellow.

Vampire Bat: Yes, instead of Jagdish Tyagi, we have Jagdishwar Mishra. But we call them both Jolly.

Vampire Owl: That explains the change of cast. But then, this won’t be a real sequel.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but this is the second story of a Jolly, and it is just that it is another Jolly.

Vampire Owl: This is rather confusing with two of them being called the same name, despite having different names.

Vampire Bat: Well, this movie actually happens after the first, and we get a mention about the first movie by the character of the judge.

Vampire Owl: It would have still be nice if at least one person of the two was called Jaggu.

Vampire Bat: Well, these humans have a strange way of naming people again and again.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Jagdishwar Mishra a.k.a. Jolly (Akshay Kumar) is a lawyer who wishes to make it big as a lawyer, but with his chances a long way away, works as an assistant to one of the most famous lawyers of Lucknow, Rizvi Sahab (Ram Gopal Bajaj) at Lucknow. Jolly is not considered as a lawyer who can go the distance, as he is the son of the man hailing from Kanpur who was only an assistant for his whole career, and Jolly himself doesn’t have his own chamber even after trying so hard. A pregnant lady, Hina Siddiqui (Sayani Gupta) spends most of his time in and around court area, trying to convince any of the well-known lawyers to take up the case of his husband. She begs Jolly to make his senior lawyer to accept her case. With the need there to get two lakhs for the final payment of his chamber, Jolly lies to her that the senior lawyer has agreed to take her case, and a sum of two lakhs need to be paid as soon as possible, to which she agrees.

So, what happens next? :: After getting the money from her, Jolly inaugurates his new chamber on the day of Holi in style with his wife Pushpa Pandey (Huma Qureshi) and the rest of his well-wishers. But Hina who finds out about the same, reaches there and creates a scene. Jolly tells her that he intended to return the money after this was done, but she tells him that he should have also rejected her appeal, as everyone else, instead of cheating her – she returns home and commits suicide. Everyone including his own father blames Jolly for causing the death of a pregnant woman. Jolly is unable to sleep or think properly with Hina’s death in his mind. With the help of his friend and lawyer Birbal (Rajiv Gupta), he decides to filed a public interest litigation to get justice for Hina and her husband, something which was to be his biggest challenge in life.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Jolly understands that the case about Hina’s husband Iqbal Qasim (Manav Kaul) was regarding his fake encounter by Police Inspector Suryaveer Singh (Kumud Mishra) on the very next day after their wedding, which brought him promotion. Iqbal was arrested by the police under the suspicion that he was an Islamic terrorist who reached the place from Jammu and Kashmir, and the same was confirmed later, and he is supposed to have shot a police constable while trying to escape, and the cop had died in the hospital later. The truth though, is that Suryaveer just shot him to make the encounter look more genuine, and by mistake he had ended up dead. Worried that he was going to land in big trouble, Suryaveer then hires his good friend and Lucknow’s best lawyer Pramod Mathur (Annu Kapoor), to take up his case, also paying fifty lakhs for the same. Can Jolly go against all odds to win the case and bring justice?

The defence of Jolly LLB 2 :: It is not that easy to work well with court-room drama movies and make them work, especially as things tend to get dull with the setting at the same place, and people tending to repeat the same thing again and again, but Jolly LLB 2, just like its predecessor, manages to be entertaining in more than one way. Well, the scenes inside the court are the best moments of the movie without doubt. We are so interested in knowing what happens by the end of the movie, that we find it difficult to move from the seat. The movie balances the comic side with the edge of the seat moments really well, and we get to see Akshay Kumar doing an amazing job as the protagonist who struggles to make it big. Saurabh Shukla brings the fun in between, and Sayani Gupta makes a heavy impact even with those lesser number of scenes. Huma Qureshi’s work is limited, but she does fine when she is there.

The claws of flaw :: There is the presence of those unnecessary songs and dance sequences which seem to make hardly any impact. The movie is also not without its ups and downs, and gets to the next level only later in the first half. There should also be questions about the way the truth is brought to light in this one, and you will also feel that some sequences are brought to us in such a way that the purpose is more to take melodrama higher rather than anything else. We feel that the innocence and simplicity of the first movie is not that much there in this one – we know how much that movie had raised the expectations so well. The audience also wonders if all of these, or at least most of these is actually possible inside a court. I am sure that this movie could have had many more interesting moments with some more divergence too. Also Huma Qureshi and Sayani Gupta could have been there for more.

How it finishes :: Jolly LLB 2 can be considered as good a movie as its predecessor when we have a look at it as a whole. Last year, Akshay Kumar had Airlift and Rustom to do the job for him after Baby and Brothers while going back longer, and this year, it is Jolly LLB 2 so far. There is also something to think about with this one, as one wonders how significant is the common man when facing the rich and the influential, for everyone don’t keep getting the saviours in time. Jolly LLB 2 could be the best Bollywood movies of the year for many people, and is sure to be in the top ten for almost everyone who watches movies regularly. There have been similar interesting movies in Malayalam too with Yes Your Honour starring Sreenivasan and the next level of the same was the Suresh Gopi starrer Melvilasom – all these are the kind of movies which could be watched together for some good quality court-room drama.

Release date: 10th February 2017
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Subhash Kapoor
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Huma Qureshi, Sayani Gupta, Annu Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla, Kaustubh Pile, Manav Kaul, Kumud Mishra, Inaamulhaq, Sanjay Mishra, Vinod Nagpal, Brijendra Kala, Avijit Dutt, Rajiv Gupta, Sunil Kumar Palwal, Shubhangi Latkar, Ram Gopal Bajaj

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.