Rocky Handsome

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What is the movie about? :: Somewhere in the state of Goa, Kabir Ahlawat a.k.a. Rocky (John Abraham) spends his usual boring life running a pawn shop. As nothing much happens in his life, he goes through his routine and has no friends as he is reluctant to talk to people. Despite his lack of interest in being friends with people, a little girl next door, Noami (Diya Chalwad) considers him as a friend and talks to him all the time. Even though he is not that interested in returning that friendship, he remains sympathetic to the girl and helps her or invites her for food at his apartment. Her mother Anna (Nathalia Kaur), is a drug addict and bar dancer and lives alone except for a boyfriend who is not any better. With nothing positive coming from her mother, Naomi looks at Rocky as a friend and guardian and calls him by the name “Handsome”.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: One day, Anna with the help of her boyfriend steals drugs from the drug kingpin, Mantoo (Uday Tikekar). This brings two of his fellow gangsters, the brothers who are into more than just drugs, Kevin and Luke (Nishikant Kamat and Teddy Maurya) to the scene. With a professional assassin Attila (Kazu Patrick Tang), they arrives at Anna’s apartment and tortures her for the drugs. She had hidden the drugs in a camera which she had pawned to Rocky, and both the mother and daughter are kidnapped. This brings Rocky to the scene, and with the desire to take over the whole business from Mantoo, the brothers Kevin and Luke bring a plan which will make sure that both Rocky and Mantoo ends up in the prison or get shot by the police. With an organ harvesting business and also child trafficking in their list, they will stop at nothing to gain more.

So, what is coming up after this situation? :: This does put Dilip Sangodkar (Sharad Kelkar), a cop from Anti-Narcotics Bureau on Rocky’s trail. He will stop at nothing to clean the city from drugs and those who deal with the same. After murdering Mantoo and Anna, and sending Rocky to police custody, Kevin and Luke thinks that everything is done, but that is surely not the case. Kevin might be the new kingpin of all crime in the city with Luke on his side, but that might not be enough to save him from what is coming to him. Rocky has a past that will make him almost impossible to keep down and he will stop at nothing to find the missing girl. He has a depressing past involving Rukshida (Shruti Haasan) and has had that kind of training which will make sure that he is going to have his way, in one way or the other. With his first loss, Kevin will understand he has made the wrong person angry, but the question remains if Rocky can save the girl in time despite all his skills.

The defence of Rocky Handsome :: The best thing about this movie is the action – the action sequences are all neatly done, with no exaggeration, but a lot of fights which even when having the protagonist a lot outnumbered, are believable for a character whom the hero is claimed to be. There is enough style here, and it is not overdone; unlike the usual dumb Bollywood action movie – there are weapons and sequences in the rain, and there is a powerful emotional side that we can feel right into our hearts rather than going the path of a ridiculous melodrama which Bollywood always brings for the viewers, like they did in thousands of movies, even in Dear Zindagi at a time when things were to get better for the movie. There are the thrills, and this an adventure that takes us through without giving chance for second thoughts as long as we get into it. It surely welcomes us into that world of chaos which has more chance for the evil to gain at least one small victory.

Claws of flaw :: For some reason, Rocky Handsome gets too lazy in between. Along with that predictable and boring flashback that comes in between, there are also those moments which won’t go well with the rest of the movie. The connection between the two main stars, even though one of them is only there for a cameo, is missing – she makes us feel that the scenes are outside the movie, and even our hero at those moments is in trouble. The movie will lack in connection with those who were looking for mass masala, as a certain amount of working brain is needed to go with this – it is more of a flaw as most of the people who watch Bollywood need flicks for the brainless, and Rocky Handsome won’t provide them that. We can’t ask for a Masaan everyday, but things can be better for sure. There is also the violence and sometimes the talk about the violent ways, which people can also choose to criticize. As an official adaptation of the 2010 Korean movie, The Man from Nowhere, I won’t be able to judge this one, but the original had 100% fresh rating earlier.

Performers of the soul :: John Abraham continues to impress with those fight sequences in the movie, especially those with the knives and fists. Nishikant Kamat has done nice to bring the looks and style of the evil druglord, but villain is still not that strong except when he is threatening, and the same is the case of most of the people on the dark side, except for Kazu Patrick Tang’s assassin who is not there for the words – still the whole darker setting makes sure that all of them work out better for the viewers; pure evil has to be stronger in any case. Shruti Haasan is there for one full song and also in the memories of John Abraham’s character, and does almost nothing, bringing no positives in a role which could have played by anyone else in a cameo – we come close to feeling that right at the first shot when she is shown. The kid, Diya Chalwad does a nice job for sure. Sharad Kelkar has a smooth run in this movie too.

How it finishes :: John Abraham does provide a similar performance in Force 2, and if you watch two of these movies together, you might end up confused with the action sequences except for those moments when this one chooses to go violent – it is the official remake of a South Korean movie, and so that was always supposed to happen. This one will also remind one as the other side of the highly realistic Madras Cafe starring John Abraham, all of these produced by the same man himself. Even as the remake, Rocky Handsome has been nicely converted from its Korean model and has been worked on well enough to make itself another movie that evokes our interest despite having a story-line that has almost zero difference. This one is a good mix of all things, and never tries to overdo its strengths, which is why Rocky Handsome deserves your attention.

Release date: 25th March 2016
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Nishikant Kamat
Starring: John Abraham, Diya Chalwad, Nishikant Kamat, Nathalia Kaur, Sharad Kelkar, Yash Tonk, Shiv Kumar Subramaniam, Suhasini Mulay, Teddy Maurya, Kazu Patrick Tang, Uday Tikekar, Shruti Haasan (cameo), Nora Fatehi (special appearance)

rockyhandsomee

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Force II

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Vampire Owl :: Do you know how long we have waited for a sequel here?

Vampire Bat :: Five years. Just have a look at IMDb.

Vampire Owl :: Why do we have to wait so long? Don’t we deserve the sequels much earlier?

Vampire Bat :: I agree. They tend to make it bad when releasing a movie after too much of time.

Vampire Owl :: The first movie a good one, even if it was a remake.

Vampire Bat :: Especially when we haven’t watched the original.

Vampire Owl :: And everything or rather everyone has changed in this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, except for John Abraham.

Vampire Owl :: So, we are going for this right now. May the force be with us.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, in a few minutes; just count till four hundred and twenty five.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: After the episode with Vishnu (Vidyut Jamwal), ACP Yashvardhan (John Abraham) lives in the memories of his dead wife, Maya (Genelia D’Souza), and gets into fight with the gangsters and criminals of the city, which goes on naturally cool for him. But when three Raw agents are killed in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, and one of them is his good friend, he decides to get involved in more than just fights in the streets with thugs. He finds a message from his friend, which he decodes and gives to the RAW chief Anjan (Narendra Jha) who is impressed. He is provided with the special permission to go on the mission to the place in the message, which is Budapest, the capital of Hungary, instead of one of those Chinese cities where the three agents were murdered.

So what happens next? :: The RAW officer Kamaljit Kaur a.k.a. KK (Sonakshi Sinha) also joins him in the quest, even though she is doubtful about the inclusion of a simple police officer. When they reach the city, they are welcomed by an explosion, which makes them realize that RAW agents are not even close to being safe. There is someone on the inside who knows the names of the agents undercover, and all of them, especially the seventeen agents in China are in grave danger. There are a number of people in their list of suspects, but everything points to Shiv Sharma (Tahir Raj Bhasin) in the end. But there is something about him, as he always stays one step ahead of them. They find it almost impossible to get him out of Budapest, and at the same time, another agent gets killed. This newly found enemy has something more to do than to just kill the RAW agents – what is it?

The defence of Force 2 :: The action sequences are well-planned and executed very nicely. The presence of patriotism and thrills are things of certainty here. There is quick pacing, and we are never bored, and you can see that there is the complete absence of drag throughout its run. There is not much of the songs here and it is a relief, which many other Bollywood movies should also provide us with, instead of throwing all those tunes towards us – maybe one would want the songs like the predecessor, but with our hero going on full attack, they were not to be here. The visuals of Budapest are really good, and there are so many occasions when we are lost in them and feel the need to visit Hungary, and even go further through Central and Eastern Europe on a special journey. The movie is emotionally strong too, and there is the tribute for the unsung heroes of the nation. The story has a lot with all these.

The claws of flaw :: The story is not something which we haven’t heard before – it is up to the hero to save more than just the day, with that extra dose of heroism along with the special dose of patriotism coming right through. The similarities with Hollywood situations are there, as you will notice depending on how much of those international movies you get to watch. There are also a little too much extra with the way in which the big action sequences are added – they could have been avoided, and the movie should have stuck to those which feel realistic, even when maintaining that style. There are lots of moments which remind one of a first person shooter, and it comes as kind of a pain. There are explanations which do go missing with the antagonist’s past and all, but within the movie’s scenario, things go fine, and that will satisfy your brains well enough. The comedy is not good.

Performers of the soul :: John Abraham comes up with an intense performance here, and we feel the force in his performance right from the beginning to the end. We have seen him in a similar role in a more realistic way in Madras Cafe, and here he goes more entertaining in this action-packed thriller – there is no real shortage of intensity from him here either. From the first time I had seen Force, I was sure that there was more to be done in that movie for him, and this sequel brings him the opportunity to do the same, for which he has no problem at all – we have the force right through him. Sonakshi Sinha looks nice and does mostly okay, and as expected, it is John who gets to steal the show. Tahir Raj Bhasin who is the antagonist in this thriller has managed to do a great job, and adds this performance to what he did in the much appreciated Mardaani.

How it finishes :: Force 2 is the right sequel to its predecessor, and it makes sure that we are thrilled throughout its run, and this one is a fine action thriller which is worthy enough to rule the weekends with all kinds of audience. As you can remember, the trailer was pretty much interesting, and this one stays strong to live up to the expectations. There were other choices to make this weekend, and for me, that included the Malayalam movie Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan, and the Hollywood flick, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them – I am pretty sure that I made the right choice to watch Force 2. I am sure that people will have many reasons to go for another movie, but Force 2 is undoubtedly the right movie, because it is one entertaining package with enough application of brains.

Release date: 18th November 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Abhinay Deo
Starring: John Abraham, Sonakshi Sinha, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Paras Arora, Narendra Jha, Boman Irani (cameo), Genelia D’Souza (cameo)

forceii

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Wazir

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What is it about? :: After a personal tragedy strikes the family of a police officer Danish Ali (Farhan Akhtar) in the form of the death of his daughter in the hands of terrorists, he is blamed for it; separating him from his wife Ruhana Ali (Aditi Rao Hydari). He is later suspended from service as he murders a terrorist who was the only key for the cops to find a minister linked with the terrorist. As he is extremely depressed and thinks about ending his life, he meets Pandit Omkarnath Dhar (Amitabh Bachchan), an old chess master on a wheel chair who used to teach chess to the cop’s daughter. They come across each other again and a friendship is formed between the two. Omkarnath had also lost his daughter only some time ago, and he suspects that a popular politician, Izaad Qureshi (Manav Kaul) is behind the murder even as the police records it as an accident.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Omkarnath tries to get the attention of the police department, the media and the government. But nothing really happens except for bringing more fury into the mind of the politician and his supporters. This is where the henchman known only by the name Wazir (Neil Nitin Mukesh) comes into the picture. But this person seems to be something more than a henchman, as he stays in the shadows and creates situations of terror for the old man, becoming more like a shadow assassin. Danish is mostly helpless as he is suspended from service, but makes the promise to protect his new best friend and play his part in the battle for justice as if it is his own. Their fates are going to join together and soon, the shadows of darkness which are cast on their lives shall converge. Can Danish stand this big test?

The defence of Wazir :: It always feels good to have a Bollywood movie with an interesting plot especially as there are too many of the flicks which don’t have one at all, and there are movies which asks “why always the same story” and while saying that, it comes with the exact same plot told in a miserable way. This is where Wazir uses its intelligence as well as the strong emotional side to become a better and different movie. I do wonder at times why Bollywood movies and good plots are never friends enough. But if you look here, Wazir shows how to become an interesting emotional thriller bringing the breath of fresh air which makes the beginning of the year a nice one indeed, as there are no mindless flicks floating around anymore. The thrills are present and so is the suspense factor. There is also variety and style in how the whole thing is handled. The action sequences are done in a smart way, no overdoing and no slow-motions; believable as well as exciting.

Claws of flaw :: Even though its short length will save some time, people will want more here. Well, we ask ourselves if this is the kind of protagonist whom we want in the investigative thriller flicks, and there are moments when we will think about having a sequel to complete this movie. The usual Bollywood fans who love the entertainment and masala elements are also going to like this one less too; for there is nothing of such kind in here. Even when I visited the theatre, there was so much less interest for this movie there, but I hope to see it get better in the coming days. The movie surely has some points when it becomes slower, especially as a certain emotional side tries to play its role. The fact that some actors are there for only an extended cameo or special appearance will also put some people into lesser interest for the proceedings. The movie could have done better with the thrills overtaking everything else; no doubt about that – but it works well as it is!

Performers of the soul :: Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar makes a highly impressive team here. One man in sorrow has his mind game going strong while the other one is physically fit and has been one of the best police officers of the department – both roles are played with such passion here. The intensity that Farhan Akhtar shows here should be the one thing for which you wouldn’t want to miss this one. Aditi Rao Hydari has a beautiful and at the same time, a happy-transformed-into-sad presence in this movie, and you will feel that even the absence of words speak in favour of her as seen with her expressions. I am pretty sure that she is a lot better than the overrated actresses of the industry. As I turn back the pages, I remember that I had seen her on screen, in the Malayalam movie Prajapathi in which she made her debut as well as in Murder 3; the rest I had missed.

Further performers of the soul :: Neil Nitin Mukesh makes the best out of what he has in this movie, even though it is more of a special appearance. He reminds one of the character “Musafir” in the Malayalam movie The Tiger, who has been an agent and contract killer for the terrorists; but it turns out that even with the essence and soul being the same, the existence is different, and you will know that by the end of the movie with that one final twist – your love for the movie is going to be ultimately decided by that. John Abraham stays strong while doing another special appearance, something which reminds us of him in Madras Cafe; his character will be a reason for us to ask for a sequel to this one – he can always excel in this kind of a role. Manav Kaul as Izaad Qureshi is a really strong presence in this movie. He makes quite a big impact here as the villain who needs to be brought down for the two protagonists.

How it finishes :: Wazir is a movie which begins well as well as ends well. The slowing down in the middle can be forgiven, and the shorter run-time will make sure that you will have an engaging experience with this thriller. Even when viewing it from here, Wazir is no Memories, but it is an engaging journey. The game of chess is also nicely used in parallel with the story-line. It was used not as part of the story-line in the Malayalam movie, the Mohanlal starrer Grandmaster, but here, it comes in as part of the plot; in a smart way of course. You will know better about the relation between life and chess as the movie gets towards the end; one of the protagonists do talk about a few things which relates them much earlier though. The songs are also pretty much okay here. I loved the director’s earlier movie David, and Wazir is the movie which becomes a fine start to the new year, and it is the movie that needs to watched; not those one hundred crore gaining movies, most of which never deserved to be there in the 100-crore club!

[Edit – This review was also later published at: http://kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1275-wazir-movie-review-2]

Release date: 8th January 2016
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Bejoy Nambiar
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Rao Hydari, John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Manav Kaul, Anjum Sharma, Mazel Vyas

wazir

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Welcome Back

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Vampire Owl :: Thank You. I appreciate it.

Vampire Bat :: What do you appreciate? Why?

Vampire Owl :: You said welcome back when I entered the theatre.

Vampire Bat :: I was telling the name of the movie when you entered. Why do you talk as if the theatre is my ancestral property?

Vampire Owl :: Actually, as you spend a lot of time here, I had the feeling that this is really your home. You should actually think about shifting here. This way, you can sleep in the queue and when you wake up, you will be the first one on the queue.

Vampire Bat :: This is why nobody listens to your ideas.

Vampire Owl :: Or you can marry the daughter of a theatre owner, or ask for some kind of season ticket for movies. See, I am giving you free advice which nobody else can offer.

Vampire Bat :: You can do me a favour by not giving me any idea.

Vampire Owl :: You are going to make me watch a Hindi comedy movie after you got me to watch Humshakals and Main Tera Hero. You will be forced to return to my ideas in return.

Vampire Bat :: That was because we missed the movies which we were actually going to watch on those days. Now you have ruined the day already by talking about those movies.

[Gets ready for the movie].

What is it about? :: Uday Shetty (Nana Patekar) and Majnu Pandey (Anil Kapoor) have ceased being dons and are running big hotel business in Dubai, as they try hard to control themselves from going back to their life of crime again. But they are finding a certain amount of loneliness in their lives, and the realization that even their low level henchmen are happily married with kids makes them very depressed. They look for the right person to marry as they find Nandini (Ankita Shrivastava), a stunningly good-looking girl who is also a princess from some royal family. With beauty and royalty there in store, both men falls for the same girl, and hopes to have the happy ending for themselves. Her mother, the royal mother, the Maharani (Dimple Kapadia) makes arrangements for the wedding.

And welcome back the problems and confusions :: There is the tough decision to make, based on which of the two to marry. Ever since they were shot on the heart with one sight of the girl in bikini at the beach, both of them are not ready to back-off. Meanwhile, Uday’s father comes to the scene with another daughter in his third marriage, Ranjhana (Shruti Haasan) and hopes that the former underworld dons try to get her married too. The mother-daughter team who are not really of royal blood, but con women who are hoping to steal as much money from the two friends as much as possible, come up with the condition that their sister has to be married off at first, because it is the tradition. This is where Doctor Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal) and his step-son Ajay Barsi a.k.a Ajju Bhai (John Abraham) comes to the picture.

The defence of Welcome Back :: There is no moment when this movie pretends to be smart, and you know what to expect here right from the beginning and throughout the movie. The visuals are stunning, and they have used Dubai to give some of the best treats for the eyes of the audience. The laughs are there, and most of the jokes are delivered through some interesting dialogues – the path is lead by the trio of Paresh Rawal, Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor as expected. With these three around, there is the certainty of fun; the comic timing is right there as even the more simpler situations are turned into scenes of comedy. The pick of all the funny scenes is the one at the cemetery. There is also no shortage of style and good-looking people in this movie. There are only a few comic situations which goes down in effect; otherwise the comedy, despite being mindless is right there.

Claws of flaw :: The silliness of the movie is heavy, and it gets more ridiculous by the end. There is a strange mayhem going on in the end along with some extra meaninglessness added as if to make things come together. There are big SUVs, helicopters, remote controlled copters which explode, gangsters shooting, people running around, random people falling – there is even a sand storm and running camels making no sense even with nothing in the mind. The songs are not much interesting, and the source material surely had scope for better development and even more fun. May be they never really needed another big don here, and may be the focus could have always been with how the former underworld dons are manipulated into agreeing to the marriage, with mother and daughter playing interesting parts in it happening. But this has chosen to keep any trace of logic out of the scene, and has also stretched the flick.

Performers of the soul :: John Abraham proves to be good – he is not the show-stealer here, but he has done his part with sincerity, and here he is showing some skills with the comic side. He has managed this avatar just the way one would expect it to be. Shruti Haasan looks very cute throughout the movie, and doesn’t have much to perform. The big performances go into the hands of Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor who steals the show along with Paresh Rawal. These three make this movie the fun that it has managed to be. They just can’t be replaced, not even a twenty sequels later (who knows how many more will come this way). The new comer Ankita Shrivastava might be the most beautiful person around, and she has some skills for the comic side – there is future. Dimple Kapadia joins the fun well and Rajpal Yadav has some short, but funny moments. Naseeruddin Shah and Shiney Ahuja get a few such moments too.

How it finishes :: About the special appearances, only Surveen Chawla makes some impact. This one actually has similarities with Main Tera Hero, but doesn’t go that way to become a disaster. The credit for the same goes to how things are managed without heroism and the overacting which was abundant in that movie no longer exists here in the case of Welcome Back. The cast itself is the big boost to this movie as Wecome Back can provide something to those looking for this type of mindless comedies. This could have still been shorter, and getting rid of some of the cliches and repetitions would have been nice – one has to wonder what is hindering the innovation when not much trouble has been taking with other departments including the script. What we need here is not to think and just to enjoy the comic side. The South actually got Kunjiramayanam to enjoy more at the same time.

Release date: 4th September 2015
Running time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Anees Bazmee
Starring: John Abraham, Shruti Haasan, Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor, Ankita Shrivastava, Dimple Kapadia, Naseeruddin Shah, Shiney Ahuja, Paresh Rawal, Supriya Karnik, Sakshi Maggo, Rajpal Yadav, Surveen Chawla (cameo), Lauren Gottlieb (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Madras Cafe

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It is not that often that we see spy movies which keep close enough to reality rather than the James Bond model with stylish action and a display of superior skills and strange, unbelievable gadgets. In that case, this movie has successfully resisted its temptation to be another Ek Tha Tiger or Agent Vinod with all the super-stylish espionage with a romance tone always ringing a bell in the background. A few people might find it difficult to keep away from the usual pattern, but not Shoojit Sircar who continues his success of Vicky Donor. This was actually a week which was plagued by the absence of good English or Malayalam movies, and therefore the choice had to be Madras Cafe, but not before suffering from the Malayalam movie Olipporu. What came to my mind when I heard about this title was Kerala Cafe, the 2009 Malayalam movie which was quite a landmark, and such a matching title is nothing less than inspiring enough to watch the movie, not only the positive reviews and the good personal opinions which has been gathered by this movie so far.  Its message is simple – that in the case of each and every war, it is the civilians who suffers the worst on both sides, and it is the terrible loss of human life and property that is the ultimate truth.

The movie is set mainly in India and Sri Lanka, and the action also shifts to the United Kingdom, Singapore and Thailand on occasions. So the movie is a political thriller as well as an espionage action flick with all the eyes on that defining moment in Indian history. It is the story of Vikram Singh (John Abraham), an Indian Army special officer in the backdrop of the Sri Lanka Civil War. He is appointed by the Indian intelligence agency to lead the covert operations in Jaffna just after the Indian intervention there didn’t really work out. He travels to Sri Lanka leaving his wife Ruby Singh (Rashi Khanna) at his abode at Cochin, and comes across Jaya Sahni (Nargis Fakhri), a British journalist of Indian origins. As she is there for humanitarian concers, Vikram is there for the Indian causes, and their paths meet consistently. But their world is still not that apart and their objectives are not that different in the end. The result is not just the uncovering of all the conspiracies which runs behind the scenes, but also finding all those people who work for the other side, and finally discovering a plot to assassinate a former Prime Minister of India.

This is undoubtedly one of the best roles of John Abraham so far. The most significant thing about this role is that our hero is completely out of his comfort zone except for those shooting scenes which comes quite often. He is still there to fit in, as the perfectionist covert operations officer, the loving husband to a lovely wife and a true patriot whom his department deserves rather than the other way around. He is tactically superior to almost everyone around even as his impact is limited due to the huge amount of backstabbing and treachery which is involved among his own people. Still, he is perfectly human and doesn’t come up with the typical John Abraham show as one would expect from the hunk. But this one is a more realistic, and the much need performance from him, a lot above what was expected. He has taken over his role as the leading actor with what was needed just like his role as the producer. There might surely be the people who are to find it difficult to agree to that statement, but it is proven, and John Abraham is back.

Nargis Fakhri’s Jaya Sahni, a British journalist and foreign war correspondant in Jaffna has a significant role in the totality of investigation, but not that much of an imposing screen presence. She looks beautiful, determined and adamant throughout the movie as a character who might have almost worked a miracle on the events. She is the daredevil, the exact opposite of Rashi Khanna’s Ruby Singh – the worried housewife who is troubled by the absence of her husband who disappears in Sri Lanka and is later consistently under threat. She still has a lovely debut though, opposite one of the most stylish actors in Bollywood, and does her part well. Siddharth Basu’s Robin Dutt is an outstanding performance which adds to the rating of the movie by a good margin. The others have also done well making this movie a very good combined effort which is brought together by its working of the plot, the narrative style and the effort of the director.

How often do we get such good political thrillers? The Malayalam movie Left Right Left was one of those political flicks which seemed to make a powerful impact. Well, this one is clearer in its vision, as it takes no sides and passes absolutely no real judgement. Its viewpoint is the same as that of any neutral person watching the movie. To add to it, this time there is the espionage element – it is present at the right dose, and not at all glorified or exaggerated. Nobody is killed in slow motion and no hero takes on a large group and throws bodies in all directions like a freak of nature. There are also no bloody songs or retarded emotional nonsense of dumb romance, as this one keeps its world alive in reality rather than in a romanticized pandemonium. But people might still prefer the wrong movies which makes absolutely no sense and at the same time, has not even that ability to inject nonsense at the right dose. What would happen to the real good movies then? That is a question which can be answered only by the statistics which show more of a world deserving depression.

3 Idiots, Chennai Express, Ek Tha Tiger, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Dabangg 2, Bodyguard, Dabangg, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Don 2 and Ra One are the highest grossing Bollywood movies according to Wikipedia. This clearly leads to the loss of faith in humanity and the need for the end of the world is asserted in a brutal manner. Unless movies like Madras Cafe, Go Goa Gone, Table No. 21 and a few similar ones have some spot in that list, there would no justice served. Well, they can add Malayalam movies like China Town and Maya Mohini to that list of pure nonsense which grossed the highest. Rowdy Rathore, Ready and Agneepath follows in the high-grossing list, and that adds to the need for a quick destruction of the world. The restoration of hope in this generation and the movie-watching people of this world can happen only after having a look at the final collections of Madras Cafe, something which could be fine, but nothing exceptional.

The movie is still slow, and that might be a bad thing for some – but the slow rhythm of the movie still can conquer some other hearts. There was so much of details and information being showered upon the audience and this slower pace might have helped it to blossom – come with the brains this time, for you have watched too many mindless movies which made no sense and scared the world’s best nonstop nonsense. We already had successful slow thrillers in the form of Memories and Mumbai Police, and it is time a slow political thriller takes its place among the best movies of 2013. It took me some time to watch this one only because of the horrible attack of the movie Olipporu and my fears on being not able to understand the political scenario in Hindi. But that went really smooth, and the whole thing was very impressive, ending with Rabindranath Tagore’s lines “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high…Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”

Release date: 23rd August 2013
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Shoojit Sircar
Starring: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, Rashi Khanna, Siddharth Basu, Ajay Rathnam, Prakash Belawadi, Tinu Menachery, Agnello Dias, Piyush Pandey

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shootout at Wadala

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There is always something about John Abraham, whether with his debut movie that is Jism, the special ones which were Kabul Express and No Smoking, my favourite performances of him which are Zinda and Taxi 9211 or even his most stylish performance ever, that is Force – as long as the fans of Dhoom won’t disagree. To add to it, however you look at it and whatever some of the critics say about it with an artificially created anguish which has created a fake reflection of imperfection which is more applicable to Chak De India, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal was also something special. Dostana didn’t fail to impress me and Garam Masala is of lesser importance only because of its Malayalam original eclipsing it. He has always been underrated, as all the fans stood by the actors who have a famous family background, and our man is more of what I would feel to be a self-made man, something which I consider to be of great importance in a world of pride, prejudice and reservations. As the Vampire Bat thinks a lot about where he is from, it is something which always catches the legendary bat attention. Well, once you catch the attention of the Vampire Bat, there is no lack of the paranormal analysis which would be based on a few cups of tea and the absolute truth which can be obtained only by seeking in the sea of lies which is shown to the common movie watchers through some reviews.

Consider Django Unchained for a change – what was in it? Nothing other than racism supported by gore. It leaves the intellectual ones with more wrong questions than anything else. If the performance of those actors alone would make that movie superior, our own shootout would be far ahead with an all-round performance. Well, this movie does take them all aside, and happens to be John Abraham’s best performance ever – from now on. No, it is still not going to mesmerize you, as that step is still far away. The movie is the sequel to the 2007 film Shootout at Lokhandwala, and is based on the book Hussain Zaidi’s Dongri to Dubai – but as I haven’t ventured into these two initiatives and my knowledge is limited, I shall not comment on them. Its dramatization of the first-ever registered encounter by Mumbai police is also something I know nothing about – by nothing I mean a perfect void which would justify all the absence, and I shall not talk about something which happened before I had fallen into this world of misery in an official way. For now, I would know that there is a location called Wadala and there was an encounter there, and the rest shall be my immediate conception of fiction through a movie which has already been praised enough by the critics – for this praise is the absolute truth and nothing else.

Well, as I don’t fall prey the type of nonsense which says like “Sholay is the greatest Indian cinema” kind of stuff, and the stereotypes like “men with muscles can’t act”. The presence of pride and prejudice is so much, and the absence of sense and sensiblity is evident even in this age; may be Jane Austen knew this when she named her novels. As the second axiom shall be easily proved when one watches the movie, I knew all the time that Sholay was so overrated that even the word would be ashamed of it. Even from a long time ago, I knew that it made no sense. It would always remain an unsuccessful imitation of the West in the most ridiculous manner. It had absolutely nothing to generate any feeling, and none of the events were of significance. The presence of only the DD National channel at home would still force people to watch it more than once, and it is surely this nostalgia that has helped in making it attractive even at this age. But, I will not compare this movie to that pseudo-classic, as this belongs to the new world. They would still make them worse with remakes, as there was Aag, as well as movies like Agneepath which might be the worse of them all. Coming back to this movie, it is beyond all those over-hyped movies. It is also not your typical masala entertainer even if the elements are there.

Well, by the time I finish deconstructing these pseudo-classics, the fake movie lovers will come up with more lies. There is this unreal world created by these people which doesn’t need to be turned upside down, but there is the need for the existence of the real world, the world of truth. But I am not going to publish them in detail as a movement against the majority who are brainwashed to believing that the name of the best movie is “blah blah” and “mr. blah blah” is the best actor. I am beyond these lies though, as now I know that the medium is the message. I would never watch a movie according to what the critics say, and I believe the same would be the case of anyone who has some individuality left within them. The media manufatures consent and makes you believe, and now the critical reviews seem to keep people from watching movies or preventing them from doing the same. In this movie’s case, there are a good number of positive reviews, which is a good thing to see, but for all the negatives, there is something we don’t know. It can still be subjectivity and the powerful assertion of oneself, but then, why would a common man read those reviews looking for objectivity? We can only hope that they are just personal opinions, in that case, I really wish they were all blogs like mine which is not really read by people before going for a movie.

With some apologies for thinking and being different, lets focus on our movie of the moment. John Abraham has done a fantastic job as the protagonist/antagonist, with a powerful transformation from the college student who aims at the ceiling to the merciless gang leader who aims at the clouds. From the man of fear to the man who creates fear, he has done a great job, and the latter works perfectly for him. This is quite different from all the roles he has done so far, as it is the main role and it requires so much effort, and he hasn’t lagged behind. He is the one who carries the movie forward on his shoulders, even as Anil Kapoor as the valiant police officer also comes up with a strong performance and the presence of Jackie Shroff as another police officer never ceases to bring some old memories back; but a cameo it is for Jackie. Kangna Ranaut is good in the limited screen presence required for an action movie. Tusshar Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai and Sonu Sood actually seem to come up with something better every scene. The first one surely requires a special mention for the moments he creates.

There is clearly the battle between two sides, plus another extra side, if you could find it. Between all these, there are three item songs, by Sunny Leone, Priyanka Chopra and Sophie Choudry, and the first one even if the most revealing is closer to the story than the others. The other two would seem to add more colour to the whole movie which is full of action, blood and gore – not as gory as your favourite Hollywood slasher movie, but by Bollywood standards. The second item song by Priyanka Chopra could actually be avoided as not belonging to its genre, and the third one by Sophie Choudry might be the most surprising and the more appropriate to what has been happening in the action scene. As the second one pales in comparison, and there is one other song, the whole world of Manya Surve gets so much longer than the average viewer would like. There is also a bit of slow-motion action to add to it, but the Keralite viewers has seen the biggest use of it, and it might not be even big enough to not notice. The power of the movie lies in the fact that it was executed so well, even as there is nothing extraordinary in there, neither in the script nor the adventure which moves a little towards predictability in the end.

Another thing is that this movie came so close to ending the legacy of the non-Indian named movies in my movies list, but with the words “shootout at”, the statistics remain that I have never ventured into reviewing a movie with a non-Germanic-Romance language name – it could be said non-English, but one has to think twice about the words like “Amen”. So this is a legacy which this movie too shall not break, and instead would choose to continue, with a place name which is out of it, but in totality an integral part of the legacy. As all those Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi movies which I found interesting to review had those type of names, it is interesting that most of the movies with local names have failed, especially in Malayalam; starting from Annayum Rasoolum, going through Lokpal to Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla. Well, this movie makes sure that the non-native titled movies keep their status above average. The two or three Malayalam movies in the theatres also continues this legacy, and so does a number of upcoming movies; therefore lets see if I can get to bless the reviews list with a movie of native title; Akam had come so close, but just missed out – that should make the masala entertainer/superstar flick fans who try to impose their lies in a violent and baseless manner incredibly happy.

Release date: 3rd May 2013
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Sanjay Gupta
Starring: John Abraham, Kangna Ranaut, Anil Kapoor, Tusshar Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai, Sonu Sood, Jackie Shroff (cameo), Sunny Leone (cameo), Priyanka Chopra (cameo), Sophie Choudry (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Commando

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Today, something exceeded the expectations of the Vampire Bat. No, it was not that line of expectations built with continuous gunfire by the 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie of the same name, nor was it that thinner line of thread woven by that arachnid of my favourite computer games of those “twenty four hour gaming” days – Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. With undeserving apologies to all those who misunderstood, this is a Hindi movie, product of Bollywood with a difference. Coming back to that arachnid about which I was talking about, this one belongs to its genre, even as this is no game to be controlled by the audience, but it is still one in its essence. It is surely one of the best action movies – I would rather leave a little doubt about saying it though, as this is not the kind of comparable action movie, for it has brought variety with it which makes it different. No, it doesn’t make it a pariah to the action-adventure-thriller group of genre. It is the same, but it has actually held on to what it is, unlike most of the Bollywood movies which strays away from the core or concentrate on too much shooting or slow motion melee combats which are more intolerable than all the over hyped movies like Agneepath and Krissh which went on to become super hits only on fans – but our movie is a silent killer, and the film itself is a commando as well as a hit-man.

As we move out of the nonsense which was Krissh and the void which was Agneepath, this movie takes over. In a world where movies can sell the nonsense of nothingness in a void with one celebrity, this movie is a boon and a redeemer. But it is still not the right product for your imagination on perfection. First of all, it doesn’t have a powerful story line to boast about. It starts off, goes on and ends with no surprises – it surely has no rocket fuel in it. There are also so many elements which can be compared to Tango Charlie (the least similarity), Koyla, Agneepath and Bodyguard. The story moves along predictable lines, and the element of suspense is missing even in the most thrilling moments. The story of Captain Karanvir (Vidyut Jamwal), a commando begins with him in Chinese captivity. As the Chinese government tries to take advantage of the situation, and brands him as an Indian spy, the Indian Government feels the pressure and chooses to simply deny his existence, despite of the fact that he has proved on multiple occasions as a valuable asset to the military forces, and in spite of his superior officer’s strong comments against it.

He escapes from China and on his way back, at the Himachal – Punjab border, he meets and saves a girl, Simrit (Pooja Chopra) who is escaping from gundas. Amrit Kanwal Singh (Jaideep Ahlawat) is the master and the owner of all illegal activities of the village, and it is from his wish to marry Simrit that all the trouble for the girl starts with her running away from home with the support of her helpless parents and relatives. Karanvir is forced by Simrit to accompany her in the bus to which he reluctantly agrees. But, the bus come up against a roadblock and finding himself outnumbered and nowhere to escape, he surprises and kicks the villain and jumps off the bridge with Simrit into a river, finally ending up in a forest. But finding himself embarrased by the former commando, Amrit Kanwal Singh decides to pursue them and make an example out of Karanvir so that he can keep the fear in the minds of the villagers going, as his failure would raise questions from the oppressed, and might lead to a challenge to his supremacy which he doesn’t want. There begins the high-voltage chase with a few moments of romantic touch. There, the numbers game of the cruel and brutal villain will meet the commando tactics of the trained hero, and it is a situation where there could be only one winner.

The movie belongs to Vidyut Jamwal, and there is no surprise in it. It was much expected with his first movie as the leading actor and with him placed in his familiar territory of powerful action and adventure. His roles in Thuppaki and Billa II as well as Force might have been incredibly negative, but here, he his a virtuous, patriotic commando of “rough and tough” chivalry. He has transformed from the powerful evil antagonist to the popular lead protagonist in this movie. That brings to us our new action star, already hailed as the next action hero. It does make one curious about what his role would be, in the upcoming action flick, Bullett Raja. This can’t help taking one back to Force, that 2011 Bollywood action movie directed by Nishikanth Kamath and starring John Abraham with Genelia D’Souza in the lead roles. As Vidyut Jamwal played the dreaded gangster, he was a force to reckon with, and his fight with John Abraham was the highlight of the movie. The confrontation between the two left the audience with a clue of what to expect from this rising star, whether they liked the movie or not. A movie with him and John Abraham on the same side would be a treat to watch, even as the verdict on this movie itself is currently on the balance with the side of success weighing much more.

The advertisement said that it is from the makers of Force and Singham, and we would never cease to see a few things of the former in this movie. Taking the “Khwabon Khwabon” song of teh John Abraham starrer itself, the background of that song would seem to be similar to that of the first romantic song of this one too, as only the audible side differs as well as the pairs. The other major difference would be that the hero of this movie had separated the other pair by murdering the lady in the other movie – so much for comparisons! But when you see a poster of Force, and later Vidyut Jamwal throwing a gunda through it and coming out through it, there is that feeling that we have another John Abraham in him. It wouldn’t be strange if one feels that the looks of John Abraham in that movie was also suited to the role of a commando. Coming back to Vidyut Jamwal, he conquers the audience more by the action sequences than anything else – to add to it, there are the one-liners, a few of them. To be frank, this was never a role which he couldn’t handle, as this commando is of best quality, and even if questions are asked and criticized, there is not much to take away from this man as an action hero of the highest quality.

From our skilled action hero, the scene has to shift, and we see that Pooja Chopra has a dream debut, playing a character of mighty significance, even if being the damsel in distress is the first thing to be noticed about her. Technically, it might not be her debut either, but on the intellectual ground of thoughts, it should be. Considering this as an action movie, the songs and the romantic side are of lesser concern, and might even damage the pace, but her character doesn’t really have that strong a romantic side, as she faces adversity and tragedy – but there is the presence of lighter moments. As the lady who never gives up, not when she is haunted by a villain and his minions, and not even when all hopes seems to have lost with the commando thrown down the cliffs, she hold on to the hopes, for the one “Karan”, like the mother hopes for Karan and Arjun in that movie which shall not be named right now. She is brave enough, but not George Bernard Shaw’s Joan, and also is the romantic one, but not William Shakespeare’s Juliet – but this is as much as needed in an action movie as long as the romance factor is concerned; in the charm, beauty and the innate cheerfulness, she conquers the hearts of the audience, and for a newcomer, and for non-action heroine in an action movie, she has done more than just enough.

Jaideep Ahlawat’s villain is as close to pure evil as possible for a weak man who always needs his minions all around him to support him and save him from a possible attack – more of the damned causing distress rather than our beautiful, gorgeous damsel in distress. His white eye balls which resemble the moon-blinked eyes of the Owls of Ga’Hoole seem to reflect his soul’s emptiness, its darkness eclipsing the outer eyes. He is a deadly force – more psychotic than anything else, matched only by the power of his nemesis. The beauty of nature, the sun rising, the beams of the sun getting into the forest, the river with the green background and the white mountains at a distance, they all create a feeling of beautiful mystery – where the commando is the predator for the villain’s team, for this time, the roles are reversed. For such an action hero, this reversal is a boon. The movie is recommended for being faithful to its genre in a remarkable manner, and for the people who search for the story lines of extreme depth and strong innovation, there will be other movies – for the ones searching for a heavy does of emotions which make them rain tears, there will be many more. For now, there is our own risk taking, gravity defying, rock solid commando who is in a familiar territory.

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Release date: 13th April 2013
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Dilip Ghosh
Starring: Vidyut Jamwal, Pooja Chopra, Jaideep Ahlawat, Jagat Rawat, Ishita Vyas
@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.