movie reviews...and more
without giving the movie away
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Anuj has rated 126 movies,
and has posted 1145 comments.
Also check out the list of
wogma's top readers.
Right from ra1 to HNY to Golmaal 4 to thugs, diwali debacles this decade continue to roll on. Even the usually reliable Aamir Khan coming after an absolute masterpiece like Dangal gets it wrong this time. Time for him to stay away from Victor & YRF altogether.
@Meeta: Your statement makes it evident that you dislike an artists' performance only & solely because they're commercially star driven performers who're expected to carry a film on their shoulders. While the sole & only reason you admire Rajkumar Rao & Manoj Bajpai (both extremely limited & one dimensional actors imo) is because they conform to our definition of being the so called "character artists". That's some extreme insane level of bias which is bound to throw objectivity out of the window because the likes of Bajpai, Rao or even the usually wonderful Irfan cannot perform in films like Dangal, Chak De, Jolly Llb2 or Jodha Akbar. Performers are best identified when evaluated objectively on a film to film basis, leaving personal bias aside. The precise reason why I quite appreciate the usually over rated & hamming Ranbir Kapoor in Sanju & Raajneeti & completely disliked the otherwise brilliant Aamir in ridiculous films like Fanaa, Ghajini & Dhoom 3.
@Meeta : Your words on Akshay for Jolly and Airlift :
"Akshay Kumar (Jolly) on the other hand merges with the background – in a good way. Even if I discount my bias towards “stars” who tone their stardom down, Akshay Kumar makes you believe equally his helplessness and his over-confidence despite some very filmy lines."
"Akshay Kumar is always a pleasure to watch when he is in non-hero mode. Even here, when he gets into a fist-fight, he is a common man reacting to something that got to him."
~you basically contradict yourself when you call him "mostly jarring" or over the top.
@Meeta : Can't think of an actor who can do films like Jolly, Toilet, Padman and even Airlift as well as he did. That's just your personal bias that speaks!
So a guy whose done Baby, Airlift, Toilet, Jolly Llb2 & Padman in the last 3 years is jarring. Interesting!
Although slow paced, preachy and overlong, this movie has noble intentions and tackles a subject that impacts a large part of the population even today. This movie ought to have been made many years ago on the same theme. Nevertheless, netter late than never. The good aspect is that its been made in a mass entertainer commercial format rather than a pointless "intellectually appeasing" Kashyap/Bharadwaj/Basu format and hence coupled with Akshay's presence would help generate not only decent theatrical footfalls but also a good amount of DVD/Television viewership. 7/10
The worthless bi product of 4 generations of nepotism delivers yet another trashy musical opera that's got neither entertainment nor substance. Its an experiment gone horribly wrong, a fiasco of epic proportions.
@Fan : Where's your boycotting of Pakistani artists now? :P
Agree with you on Sridevi except for the fact that the next generation post her's was dominated by Madhuri Dixit alone & not Juhi Chawla, at least by box office charts.
All said & done, this is certainly not as bad a movie as some ridiculous and completely baseless reviews are making it out to be. Yes it suffers from a strong Bajrangi/Forrest Gump hangover and yes the writing and performance are uneven, however its nowhere near being unwatchable. For all the senseless negative propaganda by the trade & media, Tubelight still makes a lot more sense to me than Ra1, Happy New year, Dilwale, Bodyguard, Dhoom 3 & Fan. Its unfortunate that Salman Khan's fanbase is unwilling to accept him in a vulnerable humane character & always wanna see him as a bravado larger than life on screen figure. Perhaps the curse of having a fanbase that consists of mostly "blind star worshipping fanatics" than genuine cinematic fans!
This film had no commercial value to begin with, uninspiring promos & music and nothing going for it apart from the fact that it was an Eid release starring Salman Khan. Neither does it have a "selfie le le" moment for the core Salman fanbase and nor does it have the emotions and content of a Bajrangi Bhaijaan or even a Sultan for the neutral audience. This is something like Salman's version of Mohenjo Daro. Just that such is the man's popularity that even a Tubelight might end up in the 125-150 cr range!
A core Indian mythological fantasy film at its heart, Baahubali takes heavy inspiration from the Mahabharata & the Ramayana in terms of plots. subplots, conspiracies and characterization and thereby strikes a chord with every section of the audience, be it urban multiplex audiences or the single screen frequenting masses. Amarendra Baahubali shows shades of Arjuna & Bheema while Katappa's loyalty towards Mahismati reminds you of Hanuman's undeterred devotion towards Lord Ram & the Kingdom of Ayodhya . Bhalladeva's the evil envious Duryodhan of the story while his dad Bijalladeva does a Shakuni act. Powerful & commanding mother Sivagami shows shades of Kekayi & Gandhari while warrior queen Devasena's character is loosely based on Draupadi & Sita. Bhalladeva keeping Devasena captive is a direct spin off from Ravana kidnapping Sita leading to a war in the epic Ramayana. The narrative is non linear and goes back & forth keeping the viewer hooked on. The climax of part 1 turned out to be a masterstroke, perhaps leading to extensive viewership & unprecedented craze among audiences for part 2, just to know the answer to "why Katappa killed Bahubali". The movie inculcates the values of Sanatana Dharma right through its screenplay. There is a perfect blend of ancient Indian scientific techniques (Bhalladeva using a telescope to view long distance shots) as well as Hindu mythology (Krishna puja, Lord Ganesh at the Mahishmati entrance). Writer Vijendra Prasad has penned down a masterpiece. Although it must be said that the action sequences are a lot more refined and well edited in the first part while the action in part 2 is a lot more massy and stereo-typically Tollywood like. However, eventually this is Indian cinema's greatest mass entertainer since Sholay and the fact that its gonna become the highest grossing "HINDI" film ever proves my point that this is not just a south but a pan India ALL TIME HISTORIC BLOCKBUTER, the first of its kind since Mughal E Azam, Sholay & HAHK
The BAAHUBALI franchise is a masterpiece. Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, all versions all languages, cutting across geographical barriers, cutting across regional and linguistic divide, cutting across economic divisions, Indian cinema's biggest moment since #SHOLAY is here... Baahubali 2. SS Rajamouli has done to Indian cinema what BR Chopra did to the small screen with the #MAHABHARATA television series back in the 80's.For the record, part 1 is still the HIGHEST GROSSING domestic movie till date, even ahead of Dangal. Part 2 will only go exponentially higher.
RANGOON- catch on dvd for sure, BKD- watch if nothing to do? The reviewer whose perhaps among the exact 1000 admirers of the [comment partially deleted because it is a personal attack] Vishal Bharadwaj and Anurag Kashyap seems have have lost her mind yet again!! :D
DISASTER right from the word go! Right from the dull promos to the uninspiring music, RANGOON is a catastrophe of magnanimous proportions. Even psycho pseudo feminist queen's black magic cannot save this turkey. I still wonder why producers are interested in making magnamopous films worth 100's of crores with over rated disastrous film makers like Vishal Bharadwaj & Anurag Kashyap whose films never sell more than 50 Lakh tickets in the best case scenario, irrespective of the movie's cast, genre and content.
Barring his voice/baritone (something out of his control), every single performance of his has been near perfect, be it a mythological Lord in OMG!, a conman in Special 26, a commando in Baby, toned down intensity in Airlift, mass entertaining avatars in Holiday/Gabbar and Rustom or his usual buffonery in Housefull 3 and Singh is Bling. An absolute entertainer whose reinvented himself like few can at his age and stage of their careers.
If Akshay Kumar is monotonous I wonder what his critics have to say about the likes of Srk & Salman who give the same set of 5 expressions be it while playing a romantic hero, a gangster, a messiah or a wrestler. Jolly llb 2 is yet another feather in Akshay's cap after classics like Baby & Airlift and entertainers like Special 26 & Omg! His expressions, dialect and mannerisms in each of these films has been chalk and cheese. Jolly llb 2 might not be the best courtroom drama but is definitely entertaining enough and filled with dark humor to keep u hooked on for over 2 hours.
SRK does well on his part, however I would point this out that his expressions, dialogue delivery and mannerisms have become very repetitive now and somehow you do not see much variety in his approach towards different roles. Whether it is the Kabir Khan of CDI or the Jahangir Khan of Dear Zindagi or the Raees Alam of Raees or even the romantic Raj of DDLJ, SRK's mannerisms and expressions continue to remain within a limited domain. No doubt he's excelled within that domain but its all too repetitive now and as a viewer, even though I admire his acting skills I do find them very very predictable, irrespective of the character he's portraying.
Coming to the film, Raees is a predictable crime drama produced and narrated in a mass entertainer format that hardly offers anything entertaining barring its dialogues. Watch it if you have absolutely nothing else to do or are a die hard SRK fanatic whose idea of entertainment involves watching SRK walking in slow motion for over 120 minutes.
"because it is out of character" ~pure suspension of belief. The basic difference between real life & story telling. Especially when you watch Rakesh Roshan brand of films, be it Khoon Bhari Maang, Karan Arjun, Koi Mil Gaya or Kaabil.
@Meeta : "On the other hand, it has always bothered me when films have a common man, who is disappointed by the system, take matters into his own hands." ~why exactly would that bother someone while watching a movie? Secondly, what do you have to say about A WEDNESDAY in the same context?
Despite lack of novelty and plenty of loopholes, Kaabil excels thanks to a flawless performance by its main lead and some slick action that we associate with all Sanjay Gupta films coupled with a typical underdog [comment partially deleted because it gives movie away] Rakesh Roshan storyline
Both happy and amazed at the theatrical performance of DANGAL. Perhaps the first time in my lifetime that an 8/10 rated movie has gone to become a Mega Blockbuster and broken box office records.The last Mega Blockbuster movie that was an 8/10 or higher imo was SHOLAY. All the rest, be it MPK, HAHK, DDLJ, Gadar, 3I, PK & Bajrangi Bhaijaan are either a 6/10 or a 7/10. The one's rated an 8/10 or a 9/10 have either flopped (eg. Lakshya) or have only been small scale hits with a limited target audience (A Wednesday, Satya, Kahaani etc)
Mind you, this is not a wazir vs udtapunjab analogy and nor am i trying to justify which is a better film. Its an analogy based on trending scores and acceptance levels of the limited target audience of both the films. Of course everyone is bound to have their personal preferences, just like I do with films carrying a mixed response like Kahaani 2 and Shivaay.
The only reason Udta Punjab became a commercial success is due to pre release controversies and negative publicity. Box office trend is the best judge of a movie's acceptance & word of mouth. Wazir (5 cr) opened at half the initial number of Udta Punjab (10 cr) and yet in the final tally the difference between the 2 films was down to 30%. Wazir did close to 8 times its day 1 number indicating a 70% recommendation rate amongst its viewers, while Udta Punjab did just 6 times its day 1 number indicating a 50% recommendation rate amongst its viewers. Its not that Udta Punjab was a more accepted film, its just that it was a more watched film. Something akin to Happy New Year being a more watched film compared to Holiday, despite Holiday being a more accepted film.
Perhaps even the city multiplexes' and urban India's taste is a lot different from your's and hence you fail to fathom Airlift's success amonf the multiplex audiences, the same audience that gave a unanimous thumbs down to Udta Punjab which crashed to a 60 cr finish after a huge 10 cr initial (thanks to the bogus controversies associated with this B-grade drug drama).
bollywoodhungama, BOI.com or any other trade journal has confirmed WAZIR's cost to be between 35-38 cr and all India nett between 40-42 cr with a share of 20 cr+ and a footfall count of 42-45 lakh from 1600 screens, implying either an Average or a Below Average verdict. No distributor lost money on the film as confirmed by Komal Nahta in his FI journal. Even the small film, urban unfriendly BOI.com changed its verdict for Wazir from Flop to Below Average. So ya, i guess that's curtains down on 2016
Wazir is nowhere near being a flop. Recorded 20% ROI & did 7.5 times it's day 1 collection making it a 65% word of mouth & a clean Average grosser. As for Airlift, 12 cr on day 1 & 126 lifetime. Over 80% word of mouth and over 1.3 cr footfalls for a niche urban film. Case closed !
DANGAL is not a social commentary on women's empowerment and nor is it meant to be a feminist propaganda. It a mass commercial entertainer based on a real life and set in a state like Haryana, well known for its skewed sex ratio and patriarchy, honor killings and gender stereotypes. Mahavir Phogat of Dangal identified the talent in his daughters, nurtured them and was a strict "coach", not a strict "father". As for the imposing bit, all he asked was from his wife was "1 year". Is that what we call "imposition" in our Indian society? Nitpicking critics and people who think its "cool" to go against the norm based on non factual arguments need a reality check.
Mention of films like Udta Punjab, ADHM, RR 2.0 and no mention of one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful movies of 2016 Airlift! Wow.. :P
Requesting regular WOGMA users FAN & ANUP to pick their top 10 of 2016.
My favorite films of 2016 :
1. Dangal 2. Airlift 3. Neerja 4. Pink 5. Kapoor & Sons6. Shivaay7. MSD-The untold story8. Sultan9. Wazir10. Kahaani 2
Outstanding sports drama, perhaps the best in this genre by Bollywood. Leaves the likes of CDI, Sultan, MSD, BMB far far behind. Tight screenplay, solid performances and a style of film making that would find favor among every section of the audience, right from the Delhi's to the Dhanbad's and the Bangalore's to the Bikaner's of the country. This movie proves that you need no "Baby ko Bass's & Munni Badnaam's" to please the masses. All you need is solid content coupled with solid star power (unfortunate truth of our audience). DANGAL is a masterpiece, Aamir's best since LAGAAN (3I, RDB, TZP not withstanding)
Dear Zindagi is a 1 woman equivalent of ZNMD. A mushy, juvenile yet enjoyable urban metropolitan film on the issues relating to urban Indians alone. This is another one of those movies teaching life lessons on juvenile issues usually faced by the rich & the elite metropolitan population of our's for whom failed relationships seem to be the end of the world. Alia does well and SRK's restraint performance provides a refreshing change from his recent misadventures. However, the philosophical talk would not be related to by a vast majority of the audience outside the urban metros.
@Fan : Totally agree with you on Airlift. That's where I found BABY a lot more gripping and edge of the seat thereby making it a lot more watchable on repeat viewing. I never saw you write your views on BABY and PINK as yet though!
While almost the entire reviewer fraternity gives this a 2.5-3/5, [comment partially deleted because it has name-calling] Kapoor fangirl Mrs Kabra as usual sticks to her "nothing better to do" rating for almost every action movie ever produced in Indian cinema (hold your breath, this includes the legendary Baahubali-The Beginning too).
@Anup : ROI is a business verdict and is imperative only for the producers, distributors and exhibitors. It is not a true indicative of the audiences' response. Ex, Murder 2 and Ek Villain were Super hits on ROI but among the audiences, the word of mouth was extremely mixed for both the films and hence these movies hardly lasted in theaters beyond the first week. The final verdict for a film has to be a combination of ROI as well as audience verdict/footfall/trending. With regards to box office discussions, I do not see anything wrong with that as box office knowledge gives us a reality check of some of these so-called hits and false media propaganda stands exposed. Did u know that HAHK recorded over 2 crore more footfalls thank DDLJ? The media would have you believe that DDLJ was the biggest bollywood hit since Sholay but factually, its footfall count is even lower than Gadar. Did u know that DCH was just an Average grosser and just a 3 city hit? Ditto for RDB (although post multiplex/internet piracy era the footfalls have drastically reduced and even the biggest multiplex era hit 3I recorded just 3.3 cr footfall which is nowhere near DDLJ and Gadar). The media would have you believe otherwise! Nothing wrong in knowing facts even if they go against your personal choices.
@Admin : I don't see the point in publishing comments 2 days after they've been typed out under the pretext of "monitoring". Anything >2 hours and the entire essence of the comment is lost at most times.
@Anup : ROI is only one half of a movie's "final verdict" and has nothing to do with "audience acceptance and word of mouth". Pink and Neerja targeted 25% of the total audience so in a best case scenario they could generate 1 CR footfalls. Both the films generated footfalls in the 65-70 lakh range. Both the films started at 4-4.5 CR nett on day 1 and ended up with 65-70 CR nett lifetime total. That's >12 times their day 1 numbers and a 95%+ word of mouth among the people who'v watched the films. Contrast this with last year's PIKU, it started at 5 CR on day 1 and ended up with a lifetime number of 78 CR and recorded 80 Lakh footfalls. However, PIKU was a more expensive film. On ROI, PINK>PIKU, on Word of mouth they're both the same but on footfalls, PIKU>PINK. And hence the final verdict for both the films is a HIT+ although since PIKU has higher footfall thank PINK, PIKU becomes a more "popular" of the 2. That because PIKU is a light heated family drama while PINK is a broody thriller. And Indian audiences, both urban and mass prefer the romance/comedy/family drama genre a lot more than action/thrillers (star worshipping not withstanding).
BoxOfficeIndia.com's constant manipulation and downgrading not withstanding, another reliable website BoxOfficeIndia.co.in records Shivaay at ₹ 97 cr in 18 days. Collections have slowed down due to demonetization. However, the movie is still the first choice for audiences in B/C centers even now. 100 CR calling for this one man action/drama/adventure. After BAAHUBALI last year, SHIVAAY has well and truly raised the stakes as far as action choreography and Visual effects are concerned. Kudos to the 2 time NATIONAL AWARD Ajay Devgn. Keep rocking! #HarHarMahadev
@Fan : I'd like to know your rating of Airlift, Neerja, Kapoor & Sons and Pink out of 10. For me, they're the top 4 of the year with Shivaay and MSD being at #5.
1. Pink 8/102. Airlift 8/103. Neerja 8/104. Kapoor & Sons 8/105. Shivaay 7/106. Sultan 7/10 7. Wazir 7/108. MSD 7/10
Dangal and Kahaani 2 might change equation here.
@Admin : Why are my comments not being published?
@Fan : U say both the films have had "Average" trending. As per numbers, Shivaay began with 9 cr on day 1 and would end up with a 90 cr nett approx total with an AVERAGE verdict due to its high investment. That's 10 times its day 1 number. In a normal scenario that would imply a 90% word of mouth. But since the Diwali factor comes into picture, we would deduct ~20% off and yet the movie would carry a 70-75% word of mouth which is a solid wom imo. The only reason Shivaay suffered in collections is dues to the metropolitan multiplex audience not generating enough footfalls and revenue in the first 5 days of release. ADHM on the other hand started at 13 cr on day 1 and would end up with 110 cr lifetime. That's 8.5 times its day 1 number which in a normal scenario would be a 75% word of mouth. But with the Diwali factor into picture, we can safely say that the word of mouth is nothing more than 60%, mainly among the metropolitan and semi metro cities. Even on footfalls Shivaay might just inch ahead. A bigger initial and higher appreciation among the 5 major metros is what has tilted numbers in ADHM's favor despite lower appreciation and footfalls.
DCH in 2001 was a fresh and innovative movie from the Farhan school of film-making. Mold the plot and add a bit of music, we got a repetitive yet entertaining and endearing Rock On! in 2008. Mold a bit more, add a few rich brats with their "ultra urban metropolitan" problems in life and we got a decent one time watch in ZNMD in 2011. Now how many times would one possible mold, twist, turn and rehash the same done to death formula? If the Johar's and Chopra's of the world have flogged a dead horse, EXCEL entertainment with their formula films is no different!
@Anup : I did watch ADHM in bits and pieces on a poor quality print and frankly, i did not find anything different from whatever i'v watched in the equally mediocre KANK and KKHH and YJHD. If at all anything, the characters in this came across as even sillier. Agreed Shivaay is slow and tedious at times, but at least it offers something new and worth watching in the action department! As for costs, yes ADHM has made profits in metros and overseas but Shivaay too has covered majority of its ground as per BoOfficeIndia's latest update. That despite BOI under-reporting Shivaay (something that they tend to do with all single screen hits like Kick, Krrish 3, Chennai Express etc). If we are to believe trade numbers, Shivaay is gonna make losses for distributors in metros but profits for the one's in the tier 2 and 3 cities and would cross 100 cr figure soon. As per BOI, it would end at 90 cr nett with an Average lifetime verdict. Even by BOI, Shivaay would record higer footfalls than ADHM despite collecting lower. Not a bad result when you have a film with just one known face in the action/thriller genre (something that doesn't work too well in Hindi cinema unless made on shoestring cost like Kahaani and Pink), absolutely no comedy and a lackluster romantic track with an unknown female lead. Esp when its up against a Karan Johar film with Ranbir/Anushka/Aishwarya in the lead, romance genre and chartbuster music.
Mind you, BoxOfficeIndia is not a Bhagwat Gita. Its just one of the many manipulative trade sites out there with their own vested interests. Fabricating numbers, manipulating verdicts (Ra.1 hit?) and providing false statistics in the name of authenticity is an expertise with them. I'm cent percent sure that they're decreasing the collections of Shivaay on purpose as they're infamous for being an SRK/YRF/Dharma fansite.
@Fan & Gokul : Firstly, there has been no clear winner in this clash. The business has been splt wide open and both the films have underperformed thanks to the audiences being divided. As per BoxOfficeIndia, although Shivaay has done 63.5 cr in its first week while ADHM has done 78, the footfalls for both films is around the 75 Lakh mark & in the final tally, Shivaay might actually record higher theatrical viewership despite ADHM's collections being 18-20 cr higher. I have repeatedly mentioned this on this website and I continue to believe that popularity is directly proportional to footfalls (and not collections), so yes Shivaay might actually end up being the more watched (popular) film. Although in terms of ROI, ADHM will clearly make pore profits, although not by too much of a margin as ADHM itself carries a budget of 98 cr while Shivaay carries a budget of 103 cr.
@Gokul : Please watch Shivaay before calling it a run of the mill "masala" film. It is not your conventional Dabanng/Singham/Rowdy Rathore kinda action. This is world class action choreography, brilliant camerawork and stunts performed by action man Ajay Devgn himself. As to why Shivaay didn't perform in metros, that was bound to happen as Ajay's popularity among the metropolitan audiences has always been questionable, thanks to the metro audiences affiliation to anything and everything that looks mushy, chocolaty and pretty (SRK, Aamir, Ranbir, Hrithik etc).
I would definitely recommend Shivaay for the action movie lovers as this movie is a one of a kind action product in Hindi cinema. For the rest, you might just need a Disprine to sit through this one :
@Gokul : So a masala movie with word class action and brilliant camerawork/cinematography is a done to death formula while the same old Karan Johar nonsense that his production house has been dishing out for the last 20 years in fresh? Anyway, SHIVAAY will find more footfalls, if not collections as the audiences in the interiors would definitely prefer an action thriller than a romantic mushy pretty boy film. That would not show in the collections as ADHM would find an audience paying 4 times as that of Shivaay.
SHIVAAY is a technically brilliant film and one of the finest pieces of action even made in Hindi cinema. Pity that urban junkies prefer the same old done to death melodramatic formula of ADHM and ditch this fine piece of action and thrill. I do expect SHIVAAY to grow and perform well among the tier 2 and 3 cities though!
Vote bank viewership helped KNPH demolish "Phir bhi dil hai Pakistani" and "Mela" as a rank newcomer, give Mission Kashmir a bigger opening than Mohabbatein, deliver Bollywood's most successful sci-fi/superhero franchise which stood the test of time for over a decade, exponentially increase the value of the Dhoom franchise by 3 times, deliver Hindi cinema's most successful historical of the decade (unlike A-Mangal Pandey and A-dhoka). Darn, even ZNMD was a bigger commercial success than DCH...lol :P
@Joker : Yeah, Khan fansite boi and you verdict is what Ajay Devgn's life depends upon.
@Fan : Hahaha...good one! I guess Ajay could have Indian-zed the screenplay a bit more and casted more Indian actors in the film to make it seem more authentic. Nevertheless, Shivaay's easily got the most breathtaking action sequences I'v witnessed in Indian cinema since Baahubali. Coming to Baahubali, it would be interesting to see if any of these pseudo liberals, leftists and minorities would be able to prevent part 2 from becoming the highest grossing domestic movie of all time. Baahubali-2, which takes huge inspiration from Hindu mythology would not only find favor among the Hindi masses (thanks to its dubbed version) but also among the south Indian masses, something that Shivaay being a Hindi film could not achieve. Its interesting to note that while part 1 surpassed the likes of PK and Bajrangi Bhaijaan in the domestic market and did well even in the US/Canada market, its the gulf/middle east region that prevented the overseas collections from escalating. Something similar to what happened to Bajirao Mastani which fell short of Dilwale in the overseas markets thanks to Dilwale's humongous numbers in the gulf/Saudi/Iran/Pakistan and where not. Speaks volumes of the nature of the "Khan fanbase" worldwide :P