Friday, September 15, 2017

Simran - Movie Review

When Kangana Ranaut makes tall claims about having the ability to carry an entire film on her shoulders (a la the Khans and Kapoors of bollywood), she is completely right! But her impressive performance is let down by the poor narrative and direction of this film.

Simran is the story of Praful Patel (yeah, funny name!) aka Praf (Kangana Ranaut killing it with her Gujju-English), who works as a maid at a top Hotel in Atlanta. A 30-year old divorcee, Praf is unapologetic and does whatever she feels like. She takes a trip the sincity of USA - Las Vegas, and ends up getting addicted to gambling - making some money and losing a lot more! To repay the loan she takes from a mafia money-lender, Praf resorts to robberies and uses the alias - Simran.

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Kangana is simply brilliant. She acts exceedingly well and has an amazing screen presence. Sadly, she is neither supported by an abled supporting cast, nor by a good fast-paced narrative or a strong plot. The film falls flat and it is only its protagonist who makes it a bearable watch. Among the supporting cast, only Sohum Shah manages to make his presence felt, as the devoted guy trying to get a 'Yes' from Praf.

The movie has it moments in the first half. Kangana's trip to Vegas and her flirting skills do create a few laughs. The sequence where she picks up a glass of champagne and walks to the terrace in Vegas prove how beautiful her acting abilities are. It is well-nuanced and subtly done. While watching the movie, I was reminded of Saat Khoon Maaf - another movie where the powerful performance by the protagonist was sadly not supported by the other nuances of film-making.

Simran was promoted to be a slice-of-the-life movie, whose trailers gave us all the vibes of Queen and the likes. But what worked for Queen, apart from a stellar performance by Kangana, was its crisp script, engaging screenplay and simple direction. This is where Simran falls short and makes you call it Sim-RUN!

My Rating: 2/5

Negatives: Wafer-thin plot, poor screenplay, not-engaging enough narrative and direction.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan - Movie Review

Bollywood finally seems to have understood that you can make jokes with sexual overtures, and yet not make them sound cringe-worthy. Touching a hush-hush ‘Gents-problem’, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, is a hilarious take on erectile dysfunction, without making its viewers uncomfortable in their seats.

Set in Delhi, the movie is the story of Mudit (played by Ayushmann Khurrana) and Sugandha (played by Bhumi Pednekar), who find each other on a matrimonial site and are about to have a ‘love-arranged-love’ marriage. During a moment of heat and passion, the duo discover that Mudit suffers from a certain ‘Gents-problem’, which is hilariously explained to the viewers using a biscuit dipped in a cup of tea! The rest of the story forms how the couple and their families try to help the groom ‘raise’ to the occasion (It is this kind of subtle pun that you get throughout the movie :P )

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Directed by R S Prasanna, who directed the original in Tamil as well, the movie comes out to be a fun take on an issue which is seen as a taboo. The tongue-in-cheek dialogues, crisp screenplay and the stellar supporting cast make this movie a treat to watch. Special mention to Sugandha’s mother (played terrifically by Seema Pahwa), who gets the best lines and scenes in the movie and ensures you roll on the floor laughing! The sequence where she tries to explain Suhaagraat to her daughter by equating it to Ali Baba and the scene where they eagerly await the results of ‘test’ of the groom’s abilities are hysterically funny!

As the leads, Bhumi Pednekar and Ayushmann Khurrana have great chemistry and play the typical Delhi youngsters with perfection. You see Bhumi’s abled acting prowess especially in the picnic scene and the scene in her bedroom as she waits for Mudit.

While the movie has many such enjoyable moments and performances, the bumpy second half brings the momentum down. The entire sequence from the groom’s ex returning, to an unrequired cameo seems forced and looks like the writers just wanted to end it somehow. Nonetheless, barring these few glitches, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is a treat to watch, also with such a crisp and short run time (just about 2 hours)

Ayushmann and Bhumi seem to be on a roll with back-to-back good films (Bareilly Ki Barfi and Toilet-Ek Prem Katha). Ensure that you don’t miss this one.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Negatives: Messed-up climax