India Insight

Movie Review: Gunday

(The views expressed here do not represent those of Thomson Reuters)

Ali Abbas Zafar’s “Gunday” is a film set in the 1970’s and 80’s, amid the grime of the coal mafia. It is supposed to be a gritty film about two friends and their undying bond, which is broken when a girl enters their lives.

“Gunday” is a throwback to the cinema of the 70’s and 80’s when the wronged hero was still virtuous; the heroine was seductive but still coy; and the system was something you had to fight against to get what was rightfully yours. Director Zafar gives us a more polished version of those films.

Bikram (Ranveer Singh) and Bala (Arjun Kapoor) are friends who escape from Dhaka in the aftermath of the 1971 Bangladesh war and find themselves orphaned and homeless in Kolkata. They quickly discover there is money to be made in wagon-breaking — robbing coal from trains and selling it at subsidized prices in the market.

They grow up; develop rippling muscles; run across sooty coal fields in slow motion; and are dressed in white. They also graduate from being small-time robbers to philanthropic gangsters who run schools and orphanages, which are funded by their kaala dhanda (illegal business).

But Zafar doesn’t devote too much time to specifics. He establishes that Bikram and Bala are into illegal activities; are wanted by the police (specifically by Irrfan Khan, playing police officer Satyajeet Sarkar); and that their friendship hits a roadblock when they both fall for cabaret dancer Nandita (Priyanka Chopra).

A Minute With: Ali Abbas Zafar on ‘Gunday’

Film-maker Ali Abbas Zafar made his Bollywood debut in 2011 with “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan”, a romantic comedy that was among the biggest hits that year.

For his second film as director, Zafar has switched genres to make what promises to be a dark and gritty 1970’s period film set in Kolkata about a pair of coal bandits and a cabaret dancer.

Gunday”, which opens in cinemas on Valentine’s Day, stars Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra in the lead roles. Zafar spoke to Reuters about the movie and the challenges of filming a period thriller.

Movie Review: Krrish 3

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Rakesh Roshan’s third film in the “Krrish” superhero franchise is the film you have been waiting for. It has world-class special effects, some brilliant acting, and a plot so gripping it will keep you entranced for two-and-a-half hours.

I am kidding, of course. There’s nothing of the sort in “Krrish 3”.

The tacky CGI animation — characters flying through walls and catching planes mid-air — reminds you of the special effects in Ramanand Sagar’s “Ramayan” television series two decades ago. Lead actor Hrithik Roshan twitches his facial muscles in his attempt to play an annoying old man, while flexing his biceps to play a younger avatar. And instead of a credible story, the plot of “Krrish 3” involves, among other things, a pen that captures the sun’s rays and brings the dead to life.

Hrithik Roshan does double duty here, playing ageing scientist Rohit Mehra and his son Krishna aka Krrish, who is married to Priya (Priyanka Chopra). All is going well till Kaal, a diabolical villain clearly inspired by Magneto from Hollywood’s X-Men series, makes an appearance.

Priyanka Chopra seeks her second touchdown with the NFL

Priyanka Chopra is not a household name in the United States, but the Bollywood actress and singer will try to change that on Thursday night when she kicks off the National Football League’s Thursday Night Football game with her single “In My City.”

In this case, the city will be Foxboro, Massachusetts, where the New England Patriots will play the New York Jets. While Chopra will be in Mumbai, heart of the Indian film industry, the NFL Network will broadcast a video of her singing the song against a backdrop of football players and sportscasters.

“The most important thing is exposure,” she said. “(It’s an) intro to who I am and what I do.”

Bollywood movie review: Zanjeer

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Everything is distorted in Apoorva Lakhia’s Zanjeer (Shackles), a modern-day version of the iconic 1973 action-thriller of the same name that gave Amitabh Bachchan his aura of Bollywood’s angry young man.

Inspector Vijay Khanna (played by Ram Charan) is not the brooding, intense young man of the original. The protagonist is now a sculpted statue that twists its face while expressing emotion.

Mala (played by Priyanka Chopra) is no longer the effervescent chakku chhuriyan street performer. She’s an irritating woman with too much make-up who gyrates to songs with offensive lyrics.

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