India Masala

Ghanchakkar: Not crazy enough

June 28, 2013

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

There is nothing ostensibly wrong with Rajkumar Gupta’s “Ghanchakkar”. The filmmaker builds a story about a bank robber who loses his memory and cannot remember where he stashed the booty from a heist three months ago.

from India Insight:

No ‘Dirty Pictures’ please, we are Indian

April 24, 2012

Indians woke up on Sunday to front page newspaper ads announcing the TV premiere of “The Dirty Picture”, a National-award winning film that was both critically acclaimed and successful at the box-office.

Kahaani: Vidya’s latest is a taut thriller

March 9, 2012

If you go by the Bollywood formula, Sujoy Ghosh’s “Kahaani” doesn’t tick any of the boxes. It’s a thriller — a genre Bollywood usually stays away from; it’s got a female lead, hardly any songs and no distractions in the form of a comedy/romance track.

The Dirty Picture: Vidya Balan, the hero

December 2, 2011

In one scene in Milan Luthria’s “The Dirty Picture”, the protagonist, determined to make life miserable for one particularly pesky journalist, stages an impromptu dance performance in front of the journalist’s house — gyrating atop her car and biting her lip suggestively. Soon, a crowd gathers, there are wolf whistles and catcalls, and the police are called in to control the chaos that ensues.

No One Killed Jessica: Flawed but has its moments

January 7, 2011
Raj Kumar Gupta’s “No One Killed Jessica” is based on the very gripping saga of the Jessica Lall murder case, one that captured the collective conscience of India at a point in time, and galvanised a dormant middle-class into taking action. A young model shot dead because she refused to serve a powerful politician’s son a drink at a party. The murderer gets away because of his connections, but when an aggressive reporter takes it upon herself to solve the case, things change. Vidya Balan plays Sabrina, Jessica’s sister, who learns soon enough that fighting against a corrupt system is of no use, even though more than 300 people witnessed her sister’s murder. Star reporter Meera Gaity (Rani Mukherjee), who initially doesn’t think the case is worth her time, takes it upon herself to crack the case, when a lower court acquits all accused in the case. Her investigative reporting shakes the system forcing public protests and re-opening of the case. Gupta’s source of inspiration is spot-on and perfect celluloid fodder. However, the director doesn’t utilise his raw material well enough for you to be completely gripped by this tale. Rather than packing in the second half with action and some sort of drama, he chooses to dwell on the emotional quotient — something he has already established, thus making it repetitive. The actual events which led to the reopening of the case are glossed over and there is much expostulating on the equations of the powerful in Delhi. Also, Rani Mukherjee’s character is not given enough time and you don’t really get a sense of her. Sabrina, on the other hand, is quite well-developed and Vidya Balan does the character justice, bringing out the frustration and grief that Jessica Lall’s family must have gone through. “No One Killed Jessica” is a film that does have its moments, but on the whole it doesn’t quite make the impact it should have. The length could have been cut by 20 minutes and some of the supporting cast doesn’t perform up to the mark. If you are willing to forgive these flaws, this is good enough for a one-time watch — to relive the horrific incident and its aftermath, if nothing else.

noonekilledRaj Kumar Gupta’s “No One Killed Jessica” is based on the very gripping saga of the Jessica Lall murder case, one that captured the collective conscience of India at a point in time, and galvanised a dormant middle-class into taking action.

Ishqiya: Raw, gripping cinema

January 29, 2010

ishqiyaEven if you didn’t know it before, the first few frames of debutant director Abhishek Chaubey’s ‘Ishqiya’, will confirm that he has imbibed a lot of his skill from his mentor Vishal Bhardwaj. The look, tone and feel of the film are all very reminiscent of Bhardwaj’s films.

Paa: Flawed but gives us a whole new Bachchan

December 4, 2009

paa1First things first. “Paa” belongs to Amitabh Bachchan. And Vidya Balan. Or actually it belongs to Auro and his mother. Because that’s who you really see on screen and that is the hallmark of a great performance.