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Wanted October 6, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Wanted might not have turned out that huge a huge blockbuster as it seemed poised to be prior to its release – the most probable reasons being that – for our “intelligent” audiences that Salman isn’t the right “Khan” and the production house “BSK” doesn’t exactly rhyme with a certain “YRF”. Never mind because Salman Khan is back and how!

Given the long tally of flops credited to his account – most being inconsequential cameos, the biggest attraction of Wanted is that Salman is really in there all over the place. Wanted is a pretty faithful remake of Pokiri in terms of the plot but it really feels more like some South Indian superstar’s over-the-top masala flick. And that works here quite well because we don’t get to see such stuff nowadays – more likely because there aren’t too many stars around to pull off such a thing; which posits the obvious question to Salman – Why haven’t you done something like this until now? Apart from its leading man, Wanted has almost nothing to offer but then who cares. On the whole, Wanted will obviously draw unfavorable comparisons to Pokiri but Prabhu Dheva’s intentions are pretty clear from scene one – which is unabashed superstar worship.

Salman Khan is definitely having a ball – be it fighting, dancing or romancing. Needless to say I cannot think of any other actor who could manage all this with such elan. Ayesha Takia even in such an insubstantial role is very impressive and her chemistry with Salman is crackling. Prakash Raj actually gets quite a meaty part when compared with the original and he’s a lot of fun. Mahesh Manjrekar is also very effective. Salman Khan seems ready to break into a dance at any moment but barring a couple, Sajid-Wajid’s tracks lack the required steam. The solid action sequences (Vijayan) are definitely the best part of this enterprise.

If you are a fan of Salman, then Wanted is the movie you’ve been waiting for; but if aren’t one then do remember you were warned!

Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam February 20, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam could have been just another feel good family entertainer on the lines of Dil Raju’s uber-successful flicks – with the underlying thread this time being separated parents. This part is built around the usualĀ  boy-meets-girl and boy-trying-to-win-over-girl’s-father stuff. What makes it stand out is however is the effervescent lead pair of Siddharth and Tamannaah who complement each other so well – something you hardly seen in Telugu mainstream cinema.

The film is mostly lighthearted and even if Brahmanandam’s act happens to be the one which doesn’t impress relatively; still watching him in that hilarious “Geethanjali” gag suffices for it. Venu Madhav actually gets a better role as the hero’s sidekick. Prakash Raj, Ramyakrishna and Nazar are fine as usual. Another thing you’ll take home is the music by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy. It’s a wonderful score and the picturization of the songs is the icing on the cake. The title track is extremely catchy but the one I absolutely loved is the “Subramanyam” number. In terms of pure content there is hardly anything new about this film but the extremely good packaging and other factors combined make it a cool watch.

Apart from the film itself, I was much impressed with the really nice poster campaign – don’t get to see such things too often. Siddharth is in top form though it must be a cakewalk for him to do such roles now. Tamannaah might have a slightly subdued role but she always makes her presence felt – finally an actress who can be given a meaty role to handle and who is not called Genelia. The producer and director go by the names Bujji and Dolly but thankfully their work isn’t as frivolous.

On the whole, KIKK is a fun-filled outing – go for it!

Kotha Bangaru Lokam October 30, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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“Dil” Raju does it again. A largely hypeless film before its release it’s now having everyone rave about it. Once you watch it comparisons to Bommarillu are inevitable and for a change the filmmakers don’t have to be worried about that. Kotha Bangaru Lokam holds its own extremely well and will surely be remembered as yet another great entertainer from Raju’s stable.

To put it very crudely it could called Bommarillu for Teens for here too the underlying thread is about parents well-intentioned hopes and aspirations for their offspring and how they might conflict with the latter’s own desires. Unlike Bommarillu which definitely had a more complex conflict to resolve while fairly trying to represent each side, KBL’s content is much more straightforward – for here we have two students still studying Intermediate at a residential college who fall in love and as expected do not find favor with their parents. We have seen a lot of films where the protagonists are studing in a junior college (In recent years Teja’s films are the ones which might come to your mind first. I am sure if and when he watches this he’ll kill himself out of embarrassment). Coming back to the point, this is really the film where I’ve seen a rather realistic (compared to other films) portrayal of students and their life in a residential college. For once, all the actors really look and act their intended age and especially the gang of girls is hilarious. I also liked the way Balu (Varun Sandesh) and Swapna (Shweta Prasad) eventually fall in love. It might seem stupid when you see this in another movie but because of the setting it gels perfectly.

The film is beautifully shot (especially the song picturizations) – the best in recent times and Mickey J Meyer’s music works wonders. Varun Sandesh and Shweta Prasad do a nice job. Especially Sandesh’s styling to suit the look of an Intermediate student deserves mention. Prakash Raj and Jayasudha can sleepwalk through roles like these and it’s always a pleasure to watch them. There are a lot of new faces also who do well for themselves. Debutant Director Srikanth Addala (who is also credited for the story, screenplay and dialogues) makes a brilliant debut. The film is almost three hours long but you never feel the length as it is so unusually gripping for a theme like this. No doubt I had a great time watching this.

Mozhi May 17, 2008

Posted by Sai in Movies, Reviews, Tamil.
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In the beginning of this film, Prakash Raj makes a joke about ‘the daughters of rich landlords falling in love with beggars’ being a common scenario in recent Tamil cinema. I expected then that this film would not fall into the trap of creating an unexpected love story without plausible reasons. But it definitely does and that disappointed me a little.

The love here is between a handsome young keyboard player and a beautiful deaf and dumb girl. The boy proposes but the girl disposes. Will the situation improve? Will they get together in the end? It is as simple as it seems with the physical disability being the reason for its existence.

The movie does have some nice material but the problem for me was that director Radhamohan could have decided to make it a bit more subtle. A lot more subtle, actually. That, of course, means that this movie is made for the mainstream audience (despite its purported critical acclaim) and that is not necessarily a bad thing (as substantiated by its box office success).

The first half of this film breezes through quite quickly but it gets a bit turgid towards the conclusion when it moves into the romantic comedy conflict zone. One interesting aspect is that you don’t feel for the dumb girl with a high self esteem and short temper. The film makes her seem normal enough to be unlikable, which is quite unexpected in a commercial film, but it focuses too much on her disability to treat her as a normal person. A movie that could successfully achieve this would be worth a watch but this isn’t it.

I wouldn’t rave about Jyothika’s work too much but Prithviraj and Prakash Raj make an impression fas does Swarnamalya. It was surprising to see Brahmanandam in a major comic part in a Tamil film but it is the sort of role that he gets in every second film. The tunes composed by Vidyasagar are quite beautiful (that was what pulled me to this movie in the first place) and the lyrics (Vairamuthu) seemed good too (the subtitles were definitely much better that what I’ve seen earlier with DVDs of south Indian movies).

Overall, this is a reasonably entertaining film that isn’t a bad watch. Just don’t expect it to be a realistic portrayal of an uncommon love story.

Parting Shot: In a movie that projects itself to be sensitive, making fun of an obese kid is clearly a major faux pas.

Kantri May 11, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Despite impressing everyone last year with Yamadonga, NTR had people talking about his drastic weight loss and that it was a bit too much – he’s lost his charm etc. Now that one has gotten used to him in that avatar, his newest offering Kantri actually is the first film of his which you can watch without wondering if he is too fat or too thin. Kantri is a regular formula film – albeit shot better than others in this genre with a nice plot twist (inspired from a movie of course!) to make you think that you’ve seen something different from the ordinary.

Kranti aka Kantri (NTR) is a vagabond who joins a gang of baddies headed by PR (Prakash Raj). Now the movie begins with a young PR cheating and killing some folks for money, so you can guess there has to be some link between Kranti and PR. There are quite a bunch of baddies here (Ashish Vidhyarthi, Murli Sharma, Sayaji Shinde) who exist just to give a reason for the fight sequences. In between there are some nice comic moments – Krishna Bhagwan’s thread was the best of them all. Ali and Sunil are also good in a few scenes. Raghubabu as usual gets the same role as the villain’s comic sidekick and he is good too.

This film seems to have been made as a conscious attempt increase NTR’s audience base. If you go in expecting a regular NTR flick you’ll come out impressed as this is quite a stylized upgrade to the stuff he’s been doing until now. There are also some lines which explicitly speak about “class”ifying him to put across the point. Since this film is about NTR he does everything expected of him in style. The lengthy dialogues (with references to taathaiyya of course!), the fights and most importantly the dances. This time the moves which leave you wonderstruck are in the songs “Vayassunami” (reused from Vijay’s Pokkiri) and “I go crazy”. The only thing good about Hansika and Tanisha are that they aren’t hanging around for too long. Mani Sharma’s tunes are good and all the songs are nicely picturized. Owing to the “class”ification the fights also seem a bit restrained (in terms of flying people) when compared to other flicks. Meher Ramesh (quite a popular Kannada film director) makes a neat debut.

Finally, if you are a fan of NTR, Kantri is the summer-special treat you’ve been waiting for….if you aren’t then atleast you won’t crib about him for once.

Parugu – In the name of Love May 1, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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A film like Bommarillu is not easy to follow up. And you can’t blame the audience for having high expectations. It’s just my guess that writer-director Bhaskar seemed to have thought about this beforehand and decided that the best way to handle this situation is to make it clear to his audience right from the outset that they’ll be seeing a regular fun-filled Allu Arjun entertainer and nothing more – and that helps.

On the night of her wedding Subbalakshmi (Poonam Bajwa) elopes with her lover. Her incensed father Neelakanta (Prakash Raj) – who is a strong village henchman rounds up her lover’s friends and confines them to some kind of a dungeon until they trace the runaway couple. Krishna (Allu Arjun) is one of them and later turns out to be the guy who happened to have played an important part in the elopement. During his stay there, he ends up falling in love with Neelakanta’s other daughter Meena (Sheila). Now Krishna has to handle these twin troubles.

The first half moves at a breezy pace with the usual banter involving the hero and his gang of friends. At this point of time you are pretty much convinced that what you’ll get later is also some more of this stuff and if you still had Bommarillu in mind you’ll realize that Bhaskar isn’t interested in pulling off another one. But interestingly in the second half the film slowly and steadily changes track and has a go at the issue of runaway lovers. I then started wondering if the title Parugu actually was referring to this kind of “run”. Most of the sequences thereon are really well conceived – the one between Ali and Prakash Raj, between Arjun and a drunken Prakash Raj and the ones in the pre-climax. However, as the film nears its climax there is a lot of ambiguity and suspense as to what point of view the director is trying to convey – whether you call it clever writing or a confused mind you decide. At the end it works out pretty well though.

Allu Arjun is his usual self and nothing more is expected of him either. Watch out for his improvised “NTR’s Yamadonga step” in the song “Elagelaga”. Sheila (looks like a familiar face) is quite good in the initial portions but hasn’t got much to do after that. Prakash Raj – who is made to look like a regular villain in the first half does an about turn later in the movie into the sensitive father who loves his daughters more than anything else. This contrast in his portrayal is probably deliberate to bring about the intended effect but I still somewhat felt the inconsistency of his characterization was a sore thumb. Jayasudha does a small cameo. Mani Sharma’s music is okay – the kind of songs you’d enjoy watching just once on screen.

This film entertains quite well to merit a good “parugu” at the box office. More than anyone else Chiranjeevi would be pleased with Allu Arjun to have been part of this film.

Tailpiece: If you happen to be the “best friend” of someone who helped him/her elope then beware….this film is directed mostly at you!