Shershaah

What is the movie about? :: Vikram Batra (Sidharth Malhotra) had always wanted to be part of the military force, and achieves the same dream many years after he started thinking about the same. He has been someone who remained strong from childhood itself. He gets assigned to keeping an eye on the terrorist activities in the border area of Jammu and Kashmir area. Things seem safe and under control when he goes there, but as expected, there is always more than what meets the eye as far going close to the borders is concerned. They come against the first group of terrorists quick enough, and Vikram is blamed for not following the orders by Captain Sanjeev Jamwal (Shiv Pandit), even though everything ends perfectly. But Sanjeev still thanks him for saving his life in the process and making sure that the fight ended with them on the winning side, with no casualties at all – they end up being very good friends.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, there is something more terrifying going on in the background, with acts of terrorism ready to come across the border, and part of it also having roots already. At the same time, there is a flashback of the soldier’s life when he was at his earlier ages. While studying in Punjab University, he had fallen in love with Dimple Cheema (Kiara Advani), who hadn’t noticed him earlier, but had later gone to become his fiance. She had managed to get approval from her father only by telling him that if she won’t get to marry him, she will never marry anyone in her life. He also feels that he should join merchant navy instead of army to get a better salary so that he can get Dimple’s father to agree, but moves back on the same because his dream still drives him forward. She decides to wait for him, as he goes to be part of the army, and she would make sure that there are no more possible alliances being discussed at home.

And what more is to follow around here? :: Back at the camp, there seems to be many battles going on, and not just the small infiltration by the small scale terrorists. Vikram is quick to establish himself as a skilled soldier, and he is also good friends with the local people of Kashmir, due to which some people agree to become informers for him. He is also in charge of some risky operations in the process. There is also a bigger battle in store, as the Kargil War is about the begin. Despite being able to go back home on leave, Vikram has to return very soon, and join his team. Vikram is not someone who would stand back, and it seems that the enemy is crossing all limits, forcing them to quicken their actions. It would be a war which was to decide the future concerning two nations, as well as Kashmir, and the question remains about what is to follow in this for Vikram, as people back at home continue to worry. And then, there are more tales to come.

The defence of Shershah :: When we have war tributes in here, there was always something for us to watch, and this one also stays close to that idea. We also need acts of bravery to keep our world intact. There are some fine actions here which will be remembered, and are going to stay in our memory for the best. The combat scenes are all good, and there is something for our patriotic hearts, which stay on after the film ends too. The emotional side also remains strong, and we feel as part of the moments which the soldiers live through. It is always nice to have good movies dealing with the characters and subject. There are also some visuals of the world around them which never ceases to show the beauty of Kashmir. Along with the same, there is also the war during which the newer generation needs a reminder because even we were too young during the situation in Kargil, or were not born yet – we do get a reminder. You are always happy, and often in bliss to get the same in the name of the country.

The claws of flaw :: When we consider this movie as a work about a war hero, it could have been much more, with better elements of realism having scope to be present. After all, we have had many war movies before, not just in Bollywood, but also in Hollywood, even those works which were awarded well nationally and internationally. The background story, especially the love story remains too weak, and the same adds as an unnecessary part to an otherwise straightforward story of bravery in the border. Focusing on the romantic angle with songs never get old, and as far as love and songs being inserted somewhere when it should be kept at minimum, there is nobody in the whole world matching Bollywood. We do have the predictable moments in here too, and the film chooses not to go for innovation, going through the safe paths rather than anything else. The dramatic moments could also make way for more realistic style in comparison. There were immense possibilities regarding the same too, and there are moments which remind us of the same.

Performers of the soul :: Sidharth Malhotra handles things right, and he has blended into this role quite well too. This is a different kind of role compared to the type of roles in which I had seen him before. He looks very good in this role, and he is even more than that. In the scenes of war, he does the best, and he gets to be inspirational in the display. Kiara Advani is pretty good in what she does, but the love story is rather weak, and not that much suitable in the totality of the scheme of things. She could have got a better role if it was the college time period being shown with less focus on the romantic side, but romance always comes out of somewhere in these films, and that will continue to be the greatest cliché of all time. The other performers are also good, but they don’t really get that much to do. Shiv Pandit is the one who gets our attention the best among them, and there are a few more actors playing the soldiers that have something in here.

How it finishes :: It is always good to provide some tributes to the war heroes, and in doing the same, Shershaah does succeed. The movie still didn’t have that much of a promotion as Toofaan had in this part of India, and that is a shame, because the film should have released with more people knowing about its presence on Amazon Prime Video, the OTT platform which most people uses around here. Still, they would sooner or later understand that this is an interesting, as well as entertaining war drama. There is also a strong emotional side to the same. Being a tribute to the brave soldier who was awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, the great award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War, the film has those perfect moments which will work for the patriot among us. You can never have enough of films on our soldiers, and we pay our respect to the man of valour. Therefore, we watch this movie on Amazon Prime Video, and stay safe from COVID-19 for now. Happy Independence Day and Happy Onam in advance.

Release date: 12th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Vishnuvardhan
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Shiv Pandit, Jaaved Jaaferi, Nikitin Dheer, Himmanshoo A Malhotra, Anil Charanjeett, Shataf Figar, Sahil Vaid, Raj Arun

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

15 Minutes of War

Vampire Owl: This is till longer than our last war against the werewolves.

Vampire Bat: That was not a war, but an ideological difference problem.

Vampire Owl: Okay, then what about the war against the zombies?

Vampire Bat: There has never been a direct war with the zombies.

Vampire Owl: You are denying the existence of life-threatening situations.

Vampire Bat: I am only denying its status as something it is not, and not its existence.

Vampire Owl: Okay, what is this particular war about?

Vampire Bat: The movie itself is about a hostage situation and not a war.

Vampire Owl: It seems that nobody got time for a real war.

Vampire Bat: Yes, everybody is busy with the war against the Corona virus which seems to be a long and tiresome process.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: In February 1976 in French controlled Djibouti, a school bus suddenly sees a number of gunmen and is taken hostage. After continuing to drive to the border of Djibouti attempting to cross the Somalian border, only to be stopped just before that, as the border security forces of Djibouti shoots it on the wheels, leading to them to halt just before the border, with the Somalian forces looking on from the other side, ready for anything including a full shootout with their neighbours. A negotiation doesn’t seem to be possible, as they intend to take the bus to the other side of the border. The terrorists won’t show any mercy as they don’t care about the children at all because they are white, and are most probably all French. They would be happy to see some of them dead, and didn’t care if the kids are hungry or not. This creates a crisis on both sides of the border, with each second being important.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Francois Simon (Claudio Dos Santos), the bus driver is asked to inform the military and police that any attempt to come near the bus will lead to the death of the kids. Jane Andersen (Olga Kurylenko), one of the teachers of the students’ class rushed to the scene evading the barricades, and asks the terrorists to let her help the children, as they let her stay on the bus as long as she doesn’t create any trouble there. This becomes a crisis which is to be dealt with extreme care, as the life of children are at stake. Groupe d’intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale a.k.a GIGN, an elite police force from Paris specialized in counter-terrorism and hostage rescue reaches there with the intention of freeing the school bus with zero hostilities among children. They are lead by Andre Gerval (Alban Lenoir) who decides to hide behind the rocks around the bus, and wait for the signal from Paris. But will that be coming in time?

The defence of 15 Minutes of War :: It has to be noted that the movie doesn’t even take fifteen minutes to begin the initiation of action with the school bus abduction happening so early. The situation of the hostages and the terrorists are presented well, and the movie is always in control regarding the same. Saving innocent children from terrorists and criminals never really loss its value in movies, for having little kids in the captivity of cruel, remorseless men with guns is something that has everyone tensed, even those who do not care about the movies of this genre. The location has some nice visuals with the shades of the sand having one green bus in the centre. The action is all nicely done, and the tension has been built really well. The final shooting is something which has us at the edge of the seat, and as there is a large amount of uncertainty in play here, 15 Minutes of War has us hoping for the special skill or at least the miracle or luck to help the kids.

The claws of flaw :: Most of the big action, as said in the title is limited to the last fifteen minutes or rather been ten and fifteen minutes here. The movie doesn’t really rush around here, and there is a certain amount slowness that we can find, as it changes focus towards people outside the bus a little more than expected – it should have kept more within the bus unless there were some plans being made about the possible attack on the bus to kill the terrorists and free the children. There are movies which have dealt with the hostage crisis even better, when we look back further, and they had all focused more on where the hostages were held, and in this case, that was even more needed. Some people can choose to be on the side of the terrorists citing reasons from the past, but anyone who holds children at gunpoint to get what they want can only be pure evil, and someone creating terror on the innocents will be called by one name only.

Performers of the soul :: When the Olga Kurylenko is attached to a title, you feel that it could be an interesting thriller, for the Bond girl from Quantum of Solace has been a name associated with some of the most entertaining titles. From the video game shooters made into cinema like Hitman and Max Payne, to Centurion from the past and Oblivion in the future, both history and science fiction had some fine movies for her. Johnny English Strikes Again had her with the gun in a different way while The Courier had her back to action thrillers. We now await more of interesting titles with her in the lead, like The Translators, Empires of the Deep and The Bay of Silence, all supposed to have their own dosage of thrills. If you go in between, you will see Mara and The Emperor of Paris. So, there is not doubt about her skills in movies like these, and she continues her fine form. Alban Lenoir is the next one to catch our attention, and he is very good here.

How it finishes :: Originally titled L’intervention, the movie makes another fine French war thriller which will catch your attention by keeping the tension going, with a thrilling beginning itself. Well, when you see a school bus with white children in what seems to be an African country, and you have also seen that this is an action movie with a hostage crisis right in the middle – that is a heads up with only a few seconds advantage, as the movie takes you on the bus with the children so well. There has been the absence of movies featuring hostage crisis well enough, and this one does manage to solve that absence up to an extent. This is also among the three movies of Olga Kurylenko which I watched in the recent past, and I have to say that all of these have been eight plus out of ten movies for me, and that would make me consider the leading lady as one safe bet as far as movies are considered, both English and French in language spoken.

Release date: 30th January 2019
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Fred Grivois
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Alban Lenoir, Kevin Layne, Michael Abiteboul, Sebastien Lalanne, David Murgia, Guillaume Labbe, Vincent Perez, Josiane Balasko

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Uncle

What is the movie about? :: Shruthi (Karthika Muraleedharan) is a young lady on her way back home, to Kozhikode from Ooty, where she has been studying, on a day which has strikes and protests written all over it. The violent protesters are everywhere in Ooty and Coonoor, destroying public property and attacking private vehicles according to their will. After getting into a fight with her best friend Sam (Ganapathi), she is looking for a way to get home, and gets on the path of Krishnakumar (Mammootty), a rich businessman who is an old friend and former classmate of her father, Vijayan (Joy Mathew). He offers her a lift to Kozhikode as he is also going that way, and as she knows him well enough, she accepts, even though not without some initial hesitation. This begins a journey that would last many hours, and they get along quite well throughout the trip.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Vijayan and his wife Lakshmi (Muthumani) are worried about her safety, especially the former who is not a fan of the character of his good old friend known for being with many women and being under the influence of alcohol for most of the time. But they think that their daughter would be back before it is night, but as darkness falls, it turns out that they have only reached some kilometres away from the checkpost will stay closed until next morning. A small accident with a truck and the frequent stops for taking photos only delay things further. Now, the two have to stay somewhere until next morning, and the concerns of Vijayan rises to a new level. Krishnakumar is known to have divorced his wife, and is suspected to have some relationships which wouldn’t be acceptable to the society – the car is also chased by two young men on a motorbike; is there danger awaiting Shruthi?

The defence of Uncle :: The issues that Uncle deals with are more or less relevant, not just in one area of the country, but everywhere, in varying levels. The cases of moral poicing and having never-ending doubts about a man and woman traveling at night or to deserted places – no questions are lost here. There are the reflections of prejudice, strange judgment, unnecessary fear and more, which are more or less present in almost all of us. The movie also has some good visuals and a fine song which is to stay on for long. It is also a movie of infinite opportunities, a case which Thanos himself would take for his infinity gauntlet – you know this idea, which is difficult to work on, but if done correctly, can give the results better than any other. Maybe, at another point of time, another movie will develop this for another age, in a better and smarter way. We can see the signs of such possibilities here itself at some points.

The claws of flaw :: The focus seems to be lacking in the tale which could have been an efficient thriller, but it never even comes close. There seems to be an attempt to make the audience believe that the girl is in distress, but never does the flick attain success with that. Our protagonist could be an enigma, but never a threat to an innocent girl despite us trying to see it from many perspectives. To bring a message, this one seems to have taken the energy out of everything else, which is rather disappointing – if it was all about coming to those last moments, why stretch the whole thing so much? The movie is so long, but there is not that much of content to stay and keep the viewers engaged. The female protagonist never becomes worthy enough to be of someone whom we could feel for, and the male protagonist never even tries for the same – this is something which drives us away from the characters, and at some point, their fate becomes something of no concern for us, especially when the willing suspension of belief losses the suspension too.

The performers of the soul :: When Mammootty makes a wonderful walk through this movie, you are not surprised – there are elements of his characters in his earlier movies from the golden age of Malayalam Cinema right here, but with the difference that has come through the ages. There is no superhero mode here though, and expect for one final punch which might have been necessary for most of the superstars out there, we see him going through a natural path – the Masterpiece model is dead at least for now, with no slow motion and beating up multiple people who fly around. The dark shades which some of the viewers had expected were missing though, as the breeze is rather light. He is a man with some surprises, as mystery is there regarding his world, but it is never in the dark world, as he keeps himself close to light, without allowing the darkness to creep in.

Further performers of the soul :: Joy Mathew is amazingly good as the father figure, and his worries keep us engaged. We see the emotions of a father very well reflected on his face, as he comes to know more. Muthumani keeps scoring with her dialogues, and the strength continues to be there till the end. Karthika Muralidharan has some cute moments here, and we had seen her doing almost nothing in CIA: Comrade in America – this might be an improvement in parts, but there are moments of overacting which can be considered difficult to bear. It is a saga of ups and downs, and in the same, the level is reluctant to go up after a certain point of time. She can do more, but that much is not there to be seen. She doesn’t look like a minor as mentioned in the movie either. KPAC Lalitha and Kailash story would seem a little strange, but brings some humour, and has the extra content to give the audience something else to focus in between, without the same journey in the car being repeated again and again.

How it finishes :: Uncle is good divergence for sure, but losses some of the territory it gained because of how big it happens to be – it is more or less like the Roman Empire which couldn’t control its territorial gains when the weaknesses were revealed with further expansion of the empire; but there is no questioning the idea behind both of them, and the strength when it was present. But we do have some talented cast members and the premise with a difference, bringing a mirror to the society – it is something that we just can’t avoid, and for the same reason, Uncle deserves a watch. We can always have more of the movies which leaves a message for the audience or reflects the society’s troubles in one way or the other. Uncle is a good sign of better movies to come, and we can hope for greatness in them, or rather the infinity of quality with the industry’s further uprising.

Release date: 27th April 2018
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Girish Damodar
Starring: Mammootty, Joy Mathew, Karthika Muralidharan, Muthumani, Suresh Krishna, KPAC Lalitha, Kailash, Ganapathi, Meghanadhan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

CIA

What is the movie about? :: Aji Mathews (Dulquer Salmaan) spends most of his time working for the leftist party and keeping his communist ideology active to that extent that he keeps seeing his all-time favourite historical figures, Lenin, Karl Marx, Stalin and Che Guevara whenever there is some crisis or when something special needs to be done. He does visit his old college whenever there is time, even though he had passed the degree exams some time ago – he remains a respected figure among the students there. It is there that he meets Sarah Mary Kurian (Karthika Muralidharan), the daughter of a rich businessman settled in the United States, and is living with her maternal uncle Baby’s (Maniyan Pillai Raju) family. She has a completely different ideology, and wishes to return to the United States as soon as her studies are over, but falls in love with Aji who is a popular figure in the local wing of the leftist party and its activities.

So, what happens next? :: But things won’t go that smoothly as planned for the two lovers, as Sarah is called back to the United States as her mother is not well, and it turns out that they are making her marry someone against her will by the end of the month. Now without even having a passport for which there never seemed to be a need, Aji has to get himself to the United States with less than a month left. All travel agencies tell him that it is impossible, and his best friends Hari (Dileesh Pothan) and Jomon (Soubin Shahir) also asks him to drop the idea. It is then that Aji’s cousin brother, Cyril (Jinu Joseph) tells him about an idea which he shouldn’t try – it turns out to be the one that he was going to try, with hopes of being at her lover’s place before her wedding ceremony. His family bids him adieu hoping that he will find a job in the United States and settle there with the help of his cousin brother, but Aji’s plan is rather divergent.

And what is there to follow? :: Aji has the whole plan thought about clearly. The first item on the list is to travel to Nicaragua, after getting the passport on time. With it being the closest nation to the United States which doesn’t require a visa for a holder of Indian passport, that seemed to be the one right option at that time. It is something which he does with ease, and also makes it to the office of the Communist Party there. The next part of the journey remains the more complicated side, with the need to travel to Mexico on road through Honduras and Guatemala, and then crossing over the border to the United States, with his cousin brother waiting for him on the other side. During his journey, he will meet a Sri Lankan Tamil cab driver who has been eternally trying to get to the United States, a Mexican family of four that needs to cross the border for survival, a Pakistani man attempting to get to his wife and daughter who have left him, a Chinese man looking forward to the freedom in the United States and also a Malayali girl, Pallavi (Chandini Sreedharan).

The defence of Comrade in America :: Just like Amal Neerad’s previous effort sometime ago, Iyobinte Pustakam, this one also remains visually excellent, focusing in Kerala through Palai and Ramapuram, going towards the Latin American nations. It is the beauty and the style on the screen that brings the best here, even though we keep asking ourselves at times if this could have been a better experience. The funny side has strength in the first half. There is also a thrilling journey in the second half, even though it isn’t taken control of, completely. Love, politics and journey – these were the factors in focus for Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi, and maybe it is from this particular flick that we have Comrade in America, which is certainly a better movie if you look at it without prejudice. There are also emotional moments here and there which work, but the same is not the case for all of them. To add to it, the background music is perfectly suited for this movie, and will have you asking for more situations with it.

The claws of flaw :: The focus on the story seems to be rather so much less, with the movie going on predictable lines in the first half, and there is not much of an effort put in the second half too. Its comrade side is clearly half-baked, and the romance between the lead pair just doesn’t seem to be there – one often feels that there was no love, but the protagonist was just trying to keep his promise. The movie has style and mass more when it is rather not that much required – a protagonist seems to be someone who can even load and use a gun – when it is asked about why he doesn’t need a final anointment, he misses a trick, and doesn’t focus on his need to be with his love; even by the end, there is a struggle with the character which seems to be feeling a need to become “mass” for his fans, and for the same justifies hooliganism. There is no battle between the ideologies of capitalism and communism as the title seemed to suggest.

Performers of the soul :: It is Dulquer Salmaan’s star value and the effort that he seems to have put into this role that will catch your attention right from his stylish introduction to the credit scenes. The first half seems to be not of that much challenge, but the second half is surely something that brings the effort out of him, and he delivers here as expected from him. Still, it has to be noted that this is the nth movie that has him leaving his home, and he does the same thing that he did in Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi in a better way, and unlike Charlie, there is nobody searching for his character instead. The next one to catch our attention is not any of the heroines though, as it is Dileesh Pothan, the director of Maheshinte Prathikaaram in his role of the leader of the local party committee and combines with Soubin Shahir to bring the funniest moments of the movie; you remember the same in Rani Padmini. Then there is Siddique, once again flawless with his comic side.

How it finishes :: The movie, despite having two heroines, doesn’t use them much though, and among the two, it is Chandini Sreedharan who lights up the screen when she is there – as she returns after Darwinte Parinamam. Karthika Muralidharan gets less and does less, as far as this flick is concerned. Well, the focus had to be on Dulquer Salmaan; his fans are certain to find this a very nice treat for these holidays. Red has been a dominant colour and the movies have been going left with the likes of Oru Mexican Aparatha and Sakhavu, starring Tovino Thomas and Nivin Pauly respectively – Comrade in America comes with the addition of some romance and a journey abroad to add to the same, at the cost showing less of the leftist ideas. Instead, the focus is more on the protagonist’s attempt to get to his destination, with the support of some wonderful visuals – with all the crowd support, this movie is certain to give any other superstar’s flick a competition for sure.

Release date: 5th May 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Amal Neerad
Starring: Dulquer Salmaan, Chandini Sreedharan, Dileesh Pothan, Surabhi Lakshmi, Jinu Joseph, John Vijay, Siddique, Karthika Muralidharan, Priyanka P Nair, Soubin Shahir, Vishnu Gopal Nair, Nandamuri Balakrishna, Sujith Sankar, Maniyan Pillai Raju, Alencier Ley Lopez, Len Prasad, Julio Antonio Alonzo, Murillo Alves, Nathan Amir

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan

BajrangiBhaijaan (2)

Vampire Owl :: How come you decided to watch this movie all of a sudden?

Vampire Bat :: There is too much hate all around. I thought I could escape from it through whichever movie that proclaims universal brotherhood.

Vampire Owl :: But we don’t officially trust these kind of movies.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I have been reading the hate messages on social networking sites. People need movies like this to bring down the hate.

Vampire Owl :: But are you sure about this choice of movie?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, mostly because I don’t see any other. The reviews are also positive like the box-office collections.

Vampire Owl :: Whatever the collections are, I hope this one collects more than the depressing things like Krrish 3, Dhoom 3 and Chennai Express.

Vampire Bat :: Lets see what we can get from this one to contribute to the reviews.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I hope that you are right about this one.

Vampire Bat :: Well, even the Vampire Oracle has favoured me on this choice.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi a.k.a Bajrangi (Salman Khan) has a love story going on with Rasika (Kareena Kapoor), and as he is considered not good enough for anything, he got to prove his worth to her father (Sharat Saxena) with six months left. He has been traditionally declared as such a failure that his first success brought a heart attack to his father. Meanwhile, Shahida (Harshaali Malhotra), a speech-impaired little girl from Pakistan gets lost in India during a pilgrimage trip and ends up with him because she had to get down from the train and do a “Mary had a little lamb”. As everyone comes to know that she from Pakistan after she claps with a Pakistani win over India in a cricket match, he decides to get her to Pakistan in one way or the other. But he might have to break more than a few rules for the same.

The defence of Bajrangi Bhaijaan :: Strong in its messages and emotions, Bajrangi Bhaijaan does manage to keep people positively interested in the movie. The elements which would please the crowd and even bring them to tears are interestingly intertwined to create a nice effect in totality. There is comedy added here and there and a light tone is maintained. The actions scenes are less, but are there to make sure that the usual crowd will like the stuff. The visuals are very nice, and the second half does have a big advantage over the first because of getting rid of the silliness, and the ending, even though a little overdone, is okay and the movie finishes off with an emotional touch which seemed to be very much enjoyed by the audience in the theatre. The performances led by Salman Khan and the little kid also work very well.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is still old wine in a new bottle up-to an extent. The story is something rooted in many others of the past, and even with the current changes, the soul remains the same. Yes, there is more care taken in how certain things are managed here, but the melodrama comes up at times, and some jokes are not really effective either. The plot is just ordinary, and it is treated with all those which could make an impact on the audience. The love for truth displayed by the main character is rather overdone, and so are those songs, among which none makes an impression. The chicken song was rather too irritating. The romantic angle is completely out of order, and the flashback in the bus was the lowest point of the movie. There are also too many predictable events happening in the first half and things are not that much believable. Well, the end does justify the means up-to an extent.

Performers of the soul :: My favourite movie from Kabir Khan remain the more realistic Kabul Express. Salman Khan continues to bring the crowds into the theatres, and along with the same, he manages this character with skill. Even though the character becomes just “the good brother”, he has given the same some interesting moments which are going to stay in the minds of the viewers. Harshaali Malhotra, the kid remains the big star of this movie, and she is the one making the biggest impact, as one would expect; that too with no words spoken. Kareena Kapoor was totally unnecessary in this movie and so was the whole sub-plot related to her, but she does okay here. Nawazuddin Siddiqui provides great support.

Soul exploration :: The message of universal brotherhood is nicely used here. There has been too much hate going on these days, and if you look on the social media, it is crystal clear. The movie gives a lesson about how important it is to love the others beyond the borders, with respect for other religions, races and traditions. Patriotism and nationalism shouldn’t be about hating people of other nations. People should be free to support any nation when a sporting event is happening. Cricket is not a test of hate-based patriotism. The right patriotism should be about love for one’s country and not based on hate. It should be about working for the development of the nation and not to tarnish its image by intolerance and prejudice. At a time when even state-based hate is propagated and even dogs have better status than humans, can one hope for a better situation?

How it finishes :: People have been actually judging this movie by its title. I have actually heard people saying no to the movie due to the same. I don’t know about the Bollywood audience, but it has given a strange feeling in this part of the world. So, it is not easy to guess why I had almost nobody local in the theatre. People judge a movie by its title, but this movie is a fair watch. It is nowhere near perfect, but is enough to provide an entertaining and emotional ride. With its core, what it reminds me of, is about Picket 43, a movie about the relationship between two soldiers on the two sides of the border – there is no relation with the stories, but in the soul, both seems to have a similar connection, of people and their families.

Release date: 17th July 2015
Running time: 159 minutes
Directed by: Kabir Khan
Starring: Salman Khan, Harshaali Malhotra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kareena Kapoor, Meher Vij, Najeem Khan, Kamlesh Gill, Om Puri, Sharat Saxena, Alka Kaushal, Adnan Sami, Atul Srivastava

BajrangiBhaijaan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Picket 43

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Vampire Owl :: Is this the right time for a patriotic movie?

Vampire Bat :: Surely it is. We had harthal just a few days ago and observed another bane of our nation. After a negative thing for the nation, this is our chance to reclaim the good things.

Vampire Owl :: So after lots of harthals giving losses of thousands of millions of rupees, we can always gain patriotism by watching movies?

Vampire Bat :: May be movies like this will help. Lets watch and know more about it.

Vampire Owl :: Will such movies make the common man any better?

Vampire Bat :: People only take what they want. So, I doubt it.

Vampire Owl :: Still, they are all patriots on three days an year and if that Team BCCI or Indian cricket team wins the World Cup.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but when there is the need to do something for the nation, it is to be seen if what is preached can be practiced.

Vampire Owl :: This is the season of Facebook patriots and social workers.

Vampire Bat :: And lets see what Picket 43 brings to the season.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Hareendran Nair (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is one of the Indian soldiers who are posted at Picket 43, an area on the border which has seen regular ceasefire violations, and has also lead to the death of a number of soldiers from the Indian side. With the last soldier murdered by the militants, the place becomes something to be talked about a lot among the soldiers and Hareendran Nair is the latest person to be posted there, alone except for a dog with him. As his superior officer Vinaya Chandran (Renji Panicker) denies him leave to go back to his lover to marry her or to support his ailing mother, he is left with no option but to stay at the hostile area. The Pakistani soldier on the other side keeps shooting on regular intervals until a change is made, and another soldier Mushraff (Javed Jaffrey) comes for service. Hareendran and Mushraff becomes friends and the latter promises the former that no militant will come through his picket to attack India as long as he is alive.

The defence of Picket 43 :: The power of patriotism is once again on display here, and this is one of those movies that we need to watch now and then. This might also be our director’s second best movie after Keerthi Chakra that has come after a long time. The movie is also about friendship and that too beyond borders and all kinds of obstacles,as humanity thrives without limitations. There is also mutual respect and love for one’s country which are proclaimed again and again. It also makes things clear that friendship has no limits and it can be made with ease if needed in the presence of a good heart. There is an idea given about the hardships that the soldiers suffer and the sacrifices that they make to serve their country, keeping their personal choices away to keep the citizens safe. The beauty of Kashmir is well captured, as the snow covered world as well as the green side are equally amazing, even as the white side suits the working of the movie better. The shots at Picket 43 are the best of the movie.

The Claws of Flaw :: The family drama and romantic side are completely out of place. It is good that they mention that it is love, and otherwise it would have been really difficult to find any romance there – almost everything shot in Kerala remains clear negative and was not needed. Even the shots which were supposed to be in Pakistan should have been better taken with more imaginary power instead of just going through that Malala-Taliban model idea which needed not much thinking. The focus should have been even further on the friendship and talking about their philosophies about life and what they think about war, and how the two nations could go into a better relationship. Well, those who are expecting a Tango Charlie model philosophy and a powerful anti-war ideology are going to be disappointed. The heavy non-linear narrative style might also depress a few. The songs are also not that up-to the mark. The final shooting scenes also go into heroism, something that was not supposed to be part of this movie. Being slave to the clichés is sometimes a fashion, isn’t it?

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran shines in the movie as the Indian soldier guarding Picket 43; he excels in those emotional scenes and nicely manages the lighter moments too. He is there throughout the movie, and there is not much time in the movie without his presence, and we can safely say that this is his movie. The next big character, and among the two really significant characters is the Pakistani soldier played by Javed Jaffrey who steals our hearts from the other side. May be he was chosen because he played a Pakistani soldier in the war satire which was War Chhod Na Yaar. Whatever be the reason, he has done an amazing job here. Both of them get some nice dialogues, and a few memorable lines too. Then there is the dog which is a cool addition to the movie, even as there was more scope for things to be added with the pet. Renji Panicker is also good. Prithviraj’s love interest has a forgettable outing here, and so do most of the characters of Kerala episode.

Soul exploration :: Picket 43 links friendship, patriotism and sacrifice together to make an impact, and these are major elements of this movie. The first one is the major theme of the movie which also asserts humanity and hopes for peace, so that there could be humans who no longer hate each other for no real reason – friendship beyond boundaries is the factor at the core. Patriotism is present here and there, but I have felt better of the same with the other running movie from Bollywood, Baby. The use of patriotism was expected and in the beginning and end, it is even more strong – but it is still not a core element. The sacrifice element is also in abundance, and it is not just for the country, but also in the name of friendship and honour, thus the sacrifice element joining the other two together. May be the forced happy ending was not necessary. Even the dog becomes a symbol another friendship here, even as it has no role in the other two elements.

How it finishes :: Releasing on the Republic Day weekend, Picket 43 is doing a nice job at the theatres along with Mili, not really being a mutual challenge as the themes are entirely different with the two, bringing no comparisons into the question. It is also the right time for the release of this movie. There is no better time to get the best results at the box-office. What needs to be appreciated is the effort to take a movie like this, all the way from the South to the North, and using so many themes in it. The same thing seems to be rewarded nicely by the audience, and it was also the movie which has had most number of screens having shows. Yes, Major Ravi is back with this movie. Lets hope for peace and no war, and also pray for a bright future in the relationship between the two neighbouring nations which still have hope for better relations. May God bless our soldiers and may goodness and humanity thrive among chaos and destruction.

Release date: 23rd January 2015
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Major Ravi
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Javed Jaffrey, Renji Panicker, Sudheer Karamana, Kannan Nair, Haresh Peradi, Angana Roy, Anu Mohan, Anshu Sharma, Sreerag Nambiar

picket43

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.