Updated on Nov 24, 2020 08:18:26

 

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21-Nov-2020 New Delhi

Target Number One: Slightly off target

It starts off on a quiet, lazy note but by the time the film has reached its halfway mark, you realise Target Number One is trying to be gritty, slowburn fare, based on a shocking true story.Daniel Roby's Canadian crime drama draws inspiration from the...

21-Nov-2020 Mumbai

A Simple Murder: Knotty naughty crime comedy

A Simple Murder does become contrived at times, given the willing suspension of disbelief it demands as the episodes roll, with unfailing frequency. But chances are you will not complain. This is a knotty naughty mix of crime and comedy, a little tangled...

12-Nov-2020 Mumbai

Ludo: Peculiar play of emotions

Ludo is brilliant as a concept, engaging in execution, but mostly mediocre in output. It is a film that ensembles four intertwined stories of love and relationships, and the idea is to spread out a narrative with a twist of irreverence and wry humour.Anurag...

07-Nov-2020 Mumbai

Gatham: Deceptively told psycho saga

Gatham starts off looking like a basic psycho thriller. A young couple is stranded in the middle of snowed-out nowhere when their car breaks down on a highway. A stranger stops, says he lives nearby and offers them shelter for the night. Once at his place,...

26-Oct-2020 Mumbai

Mirzapur 2: Back to the boondocks

Lots of guns and lots of blood, high drama and hint of sleaze, cuss and explosive dialogues, and a cast in good form with a few exciting new additions. Mirzapur 2 ticks the familiar boxes. So, does the show live up to the hype? . Yes and no, depending on...

23-Oct-2020 Mumbai

A Suitable Boy: Overwhelmed by the odds

One of two things happen when Mira Nair tries making an Indian film in India. She crafts a story that is beautifully authentic and inspired by India that is (think Salaam Bombay! or Monsoon Wedding). Or, she tries recreating an India that was, in which case...

21-Oct-2020 Mumbai

Comedy Couple: Fun while it runs

A dash of gender politics and a tall glass of gau-mutra are on the gag menu here with a sizeable helping of stand-up gigs plus the usual chaos over generation gap. You get a rom-com that regales, although without trying to explore the genre beyond familiar...

17-Oct-2020 Chennai

Putham Pudhu Kaalai : Many moods of lockdown

If OTT has directly benefitted in terms of viewership owing to lockdown, theoutcome of the situation has also served digital content well. A bunch of films and web series drawing plot ideas from lockdown have flooded OTT platforms. You have a new instance...

15-Oct-2020 Mumbai

Halal Love Story: Feel-good film with twist of satire

Halal Love Story crafts humour out of the sensitive issue of Islamic belief without being trivial about it. If that balancing act seems accomplishment enough, director Zakariya Mohammed and his co-writer Muhsin Parari reveal plenty of other cinematic qualities...

12-Oct-2020 Mumbai

Scam 1992: Retells a complex saga

There is a basic challenge that Hansal Mehta throws, while narrating the story of Big Bull Harshad Mehta. Instead of letting his story unfold through the mind games of his protagonist, which would have made the series lucid and enjoyable for all, he often...

10-Oct-2020 Mumbai

Ginny Weds Sunny: Band Baaja Blunder

Ginny, Sunny and their not so funny misadventure of love sets you wondering within 10 minutes of the start: Why was this film made in the first case? The question plays in your mind on the loop all through the runtime that follows. By the end of it, you realise...

04-Oct-2020 Mumbai

Nishabdham: Messed-up mystery

What could they have possibly said to Michael Madsen, to lure him into signing this one? Yes, Michael Madsen -- Hollywood maverick of Kill Bill and Reservoir Dogs -- turns out in this bizarre piece of bunkum passed off as a thriller, sharing near-parallel...

03-Oct-2020 Mumbai

Khaali Peeli: Taxi misadventure taxes patience

Okay, we get the point. This is supposed to be brainless fun. What was that hackneyed line our filmwallahs love to parrot -- about leaving your brains out and all that blah. But Bollywood often forgets even the brainless needs some amount of brains to create,...

25-Sep-2020 Mumbai

Utopia: Gruesome pandemic drama

A cult graphic novel seems to hold clues about viruses and other catastrophes that threaten to annihilate humankind. Fancy that as an eerie dose of entertainment in the time of pandemic.Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn writes and executive-produces eight...

24-Sep-2020 Mumbai

'Crackdown' is an okay option for a binge

National security, terror threats and intelligence-ops make for ready thriller scripts across cinematic formats. The OTT space, with its multi-episodic structure, allows a longer time frame for stories to gestate, and that would definitely seem like an advantage...

19-Sep-2020 Mumbai

Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare is well-intentioned

Dolly and Kitty could be any smalltown cousins. In the world of Alankrita Shrivastava, they become fictional case studies of real desires that the Indian woman of today might harbour, even as she grapples with an innate conservative mindset and a society that...

06-Sep-2020 Mumbai

Atkan Chatkan: Struggles to find rhythm

There are films that set out with noble intention but actually have no clue how to go about it. Atkan Chatkan is one such effort. The aim is to celebrate the underdog, and a spirit to win against all odds. Amateurish execution comes in the way, and rags-to-riches...

05-Sep-2020 Mumbai

V: Nani's film is formulaic fun for fans

Standard rule: If the top-billed star of a commercial entertainer plays a killer, the script will furnish ready justification for his murderous spree. Telugu top gun Nani makes an antihero splash with his new film, and the script makes it obvious within 10 minutes...

05-Sep-2020 Mumbai

The Boys season 2: Gloriously gory and witty as ever

Lots of insanity, lots of blood, a little politics and loads of quirks. Season two of The Boys is a continuing toast to irreverence, taking the brutally bizarre superhero universe of the franchise to a new high.Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's bestselling...

04-Sep-2020 Mumbai

JL 50: 'Desi' sci-fi takes flight

A passenger plane crashes somewhere in the mountains of West Bengal and it turns out the flight, JL 50, is actually one that had disappeared 35 years ago. As the CBI officer in charge of the probe sets out to solve the puzzle, he realises there is little...

01-Sep-2020 Mumbai

C U Soon: Experimental entertainer

Lockdown has had its upside, too. It has triggered off a whole new breed of cinema. Call it the Lockdown Movie if you will, but a series of well-executed efforts -- films as well as web series – have emerged in these past months that experiment and at the same...

29-Aug-2020 Mumbai

Sadak 2: Road to nowhere

Sadak 2 comes with a throwback whiff, though not a happy one. It reminds you of a lot of the kitsch that summed up Hindi commercial cinema once upon a time, which you thought had left the Bollywood screen for good.Mahesh Bhatt returns to direction after over...

29-Aug-2020 Mumbai

Ramsingh Charlie: Of dreams and despair

The clown as a tragi-comic icon has been a favourite device of filmmakers to define the quirks of life. From the Raj Kapoor classic Mera Naam Joker in Bollywood to Appu Raja starring Kamal Haasan among other films, numerous instances abound. Dig deeper for...

28-Aug-2020 Mumbai

Aashram : Skeletons in Godman's own country

Prakash Jha is back with a new smalltown story, and the familiar notes of crime, violence, caste and class kick in even before the half hour mark has passed. Jha has added a new relish to his brand of raw, realistic drama this time. He digs out skeletons (literally...

23-Aug-2020 Mumabai

Mee Raqsam : Simplistic but relevant

There is something very earnest about Mee Raqsam that endears, about the way debutant director Baba Azmi tries using his story to reiterate a message that is all-too familiar yet always relevant. Despite lacking in nuances that would have helped set up a layered...

22-Aug-2020 Mumbai

Class Of 83: Bobby Deol broods in dim, grim film

Twenty-five years into his career, Bobby Deol can at least claim to have given a debut performance worth attention. Class Of 83 technically qualifies as a debut -- it is his first bow on OTT -- and his act is far more impressive than the film itself. Of course,...

21-Aug-2020 Mumbai

The Gone Game: Lockdown thriller is a winner

Lockdown and Covid become tools to set up a smart thriller story in this limited series helmed by Nikhil Nagesh Bhat, which literally keeps the suspense behind closed doors.The plot introduces the Gujral family. Rajeev Gujral (Sanjay Kapoor), his wife Suneeta...

16-Aug-2020 Mumbai

Dangerous: Too amateurish to thrill

Vikram Bhatt products bear a trademark. The genre is normally thriller. The crime factor is juxtaposed onto inevitable sexual tension between the hero and the heroine. Music plays a big role. Content and execution often reveal, uh, foreign inspiration.You could...

15-Aug-2020 Mumbai

Khuda Haafiz: Old-school action drama

This time, Vidyut Jammwal keeps his shirt on for most parts. He is not much in the mood to fight either -- well, not at least to unleash the familiar choreographed martial arts blitz.In "Khuda Haafiz", Vidyut is a coy Lucknow boy who remains in non-violent...

13-Aug-2020 Mumbai

Gunjan Saxena: Set-piece biopic manages to regale

We will gloss over veracity of facts, particularly the presentation of Indian Air Force, and keep the scope of this review to discussing cinematic elements. Factuality has never been a strong point with mainstream Bollywood, after all.Gunjan Saxena's life...

01-Aug-2020 Mumbai

Lootcase: Fine cast in funny form

Every once in a while in Bollywood, you get to see the Second Half Syndrome. Put simply, a film starts off on a promising note, scales a sort of high as the plot builds up, only to lose steam somewhere post interval.The malady becomes particularly obvious...

10-Jan-2020 Mumbai

''Chhapaak'': Hard truth told the hard way

Meghna Gulzar''s "Chhapaak" is a hard film to watch. It is brutal in impact, horrifying in its depiction of pain and trauma, and seems a tad too long despite a runtime of just around two hours given the heavy subject at hand.At the end of it you feel "Chhapaak"...

12-Dec-2019 Mumbai

Mudda 370 J&K - A Gallant Effort By Rakesh Sawant

Article 370 is one of the most sensitive and responsible topic to be discussed through a medium of cinema, but so was the topic of Surgical Strike. And we have all witnessed the stupendous success of Vicky Kaushal starrer film ‘Uri : The Surgical Strike’. Similarly...

08-Aug-2019 Mumbai

Rajiv Ruia's Mushkil: Beyond The Supernatural!

Indian filmmakers have come a long way from the pioneering era of horror films in the Indian film industry from the Ramsay Brothers to this modern day paranormal masterpiece. From the spiritual banks of Benares to the picturesque breathtaking rock pools of...

26-Jul-2019 Mumbai

Arjun Patiala': drab humour

The makers of "Arjun Patiala" have obviously thrown caution to the wind and indulged in a care-a-damn attitude. They have given absolute hoots to the critics -- a fact that is blatantly spelt out by the end of the film.This screwball comedy, designed as...

26-Jul-2019 Mumbai

'Judgementall Hai Kya' : Killer thriller

"Judgementall Hai Kya" celebrates the bizarre, at the cost of giving in to glaring flaws, much like the grammatical gaffe in its title.At the film's core is the tested good-triumphs-over-evil formula, although done in a way few Bollywood efforts have ever tried. Quirky...

19-Jul-2019

'Kadaram Kondan ': Decent if not effective review

The Kamal Haasan-produced film is based on a French thriller named "Point Blank", and is not one of those run-of-the-mill, star-studded action films that are all style and no substance. It comes across as a decent attempt at giving the Tamil audience a Hollywood-style...

19-Jul-2019 Mumbai

'Family Of Thakurganj': Familiar hang-ups

The first thing you notice about "Family Of Thakurganj" is the sheer number of influences that overshadow its effort at storytelling. It is almost as if director Manoj K. Jha was trying to cross the thematic essentials of "Gangs Of Wasseypur" with the smalltown...

17-Jul-2019

'The Lion King' is visually fascinating

For the uninitiated, ‘The Lion King', is the story of Simba, a lion cub, who is dispossessed and made to feel responsible for the death of his father Mufasa, by his treacherous uncle Scar.The cub's birth is announced in the opening sequence of the film called,...

11-Jul-2019 Mumbai

'Super 30' is an outstanding inspirational tale

"Super 30" is magnificent survivor of a film. It survives Hrithik Roshan's atrocious "Bihari" accent, probably picked from one of the many Lalu Yadav skits on the internet. It not only survives the verbal abomination, it also stakes it claim among the most...

05-Jul-2019 Mumbai

'Malaal' is memorable for its purity of soul

He counts the numbers of steps she walks from the bus stop to her home in the chawl. She counts the number of missing buttons in his shirts and holes in his vest. East or ‘vest', Shiva and Astha, played by two enormously talented newcomers Meezaan and Sharmin,...

05-Jul-2019 Mumbai

Anupam, Kumud lend heft to 'One Day...'

It is an audacious idea, not fully or convincingly implemented. But nevertheless interesting for the way the theme of subversion of justice is used to create a whole narrative of anarchy.And then there are the actors, some of them like Anupam Kher, Kumud...

27-Jun-2019

'Article 15': A hard-hitting, eye opener

Good morning India! Director Anubhav Sinha's "Article 15", is a hard-hitting, wake-up call to those who unknowingly and unwittingly indulge in caste and political polarisation. It offers nothing new, but it mirrors our society to the core and reminds us that...

27-Jun-2019

'Article 15' is what cinema is meant to be

In one word, "Article 15" is spellbinding. It is everything that cinema was always meant to be. Thoughprovoking, questioning, disturbing and ultimately cathartic because the cop-hero (played with a simmering intensity by Ayushmann Khurrana) succeeds in...

23-Jun-2019 Chennai

'Mallesham': Pure, simple biopic with heart of gold

"Mallesham" - the gentle, beautiful and moving story of Chintakindi Mallesham, the handloom weaver from Andhra Pradesh who revolutionised the weavers' profession by inventing a mechanical loom -- why, because his mother's shoulder threatened to collapse with all...

21-Jun-2019

'The Extraordinary...': Spoilt by poor writing

An Indo-French-Belgian co-production, director Ken Scott's "The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir", adapted from French writer Romain Puetolas' novel of a similar title, is a picaresque chronicle of a poor Indian street performer who hoodwinks his audience....

21-Jun-2019 Mumbai

Rebel without a pause: 'Kabir Singh' is 'Arjun Reddy' reloaded

Remakes, more often than not, disappoint. This one doesn't. "Kabir Singh" doesn't quite better its precursor, the astonishing game-changing Telugu film "Arjun Reddy". And really, Shahid Kapoor is no patch on Vijay Deverakonda, who sweated, bled and urinated (literally)...

21-Jun-2019 Mumbai

'Kabir Singh': A Shahid Kapoor canvas

A Hindi remake of the popular Telegu film "Arjun Reddy", director Sandeep Reddy Vanga's "Kabir Singh", is the story of an academically brilliant medical student Kabir (Shahid Kapoor) who goes on to become an orthopaedic surgeon, but suffers from severe...

17-Jun-2019 Mumbai

'Kaafir' derives power from its political undertones

Kashmir and its blood-soaked political history renders itself well to cinematic treatment. It is to the credit of the makers of this series that not a moment of the eight episodes feels exploitative or artificial.There is a free flow to the narrative and the...

15-Jun-2019 Mumbai

'Leila': Terrifying yet mesmerising vision of future

In the beginning there is the swimming pool. A splashy symbol of the upper crust's affluence that is rapidly making the poor, poorer.Deepa Mehta's disturbingly devastating dystopian drama begins with a happy family: mother, father, child splashing in the...

14-Jun-2019

'Men In Black: International': Stylishly mounted, engaging

Director F. Gary Gray's "Men in Black: International", the fourth instalment of the extra-terrestrial investigation, is a spin-off from the "Men In Black" film series, which is loosely based on the Marvel comics of the same name created by Lowell Cunningham.For...

13-Jun-2019 Chennai

'Game Over': Smugly, convoluted, unrelatable kitsch

With all the trappings of its genre tropes, the film "Game Over" starts with a promise. But to accept the film as a psychological thriller or a horror thriller, one needs to reject the false premise it is based on.Living in a palatial bungalow with only a...

08-Jun-2019 Mumbai

'Hostages': Driven down by its absurdities

Sitting through the 10 artificially frenetic episodes of this thriller is a slog. Not because of any lack of tempo and tumult (both of which you will find aplenty), but because of a glaring absence of plausibility in the plot.Adapted from an Israeli series,...

06-Jun-2019 Mumbai

'Bharat' is a flawed but monumental achievement

It's easy to be dismissive of a film that has no formal structure, one which doesn't compartmentalize life's flow but chooses to go with it. The flow, I mean.But then again, it takes almost three hours of playing time for us to realize that "Bharat" is no...

05-Jun-2019

'X-Men: Dark Phoenix': Weak story, dull watch

What works for "X-Men: Dark Phoenix" is the simplicity of its narrative, but for its franchise fans this would be a disappointing issue.Dark Phoenix is the twelfth and final instalment of the successful franchise that began in 2000. It tells us how during...

05-Jun-2019 Mumbai

'Bharat': Writing and direction derails this epic

Adapted from the 2014 released South Korean film, "Gukje Shijang" aka "Ode to my Father" in the international market, "Bharat", mounted as a comedy-romance-drama, follows the exceptional life of Bharat (Salman Khan), from his childhood to his old age.Bharat...

01-Jun-2019

'Chasing Happiness' gives Jonas Brothers platform to shine

Confession time. I had never heard of, nor heard the songs of, the Jonas Brothers until Priyanka Chopra married one of them.Be warned. There is very little of our Priyanka in this exceptionally revealing documentary. But she is not missed."Chasing Happiness" is...

30-May-2019 Mumbai

'Nakkash': A balanced faith film

"Nakkash", meaning engraver (one who designs on metal or wood), is a balanced faith film that does not preach any religion but opens your eyes as to where humanity is heading. The messages hit you straight, on target, when you hear, "Kaam aur mazhab ke beech kissi...

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