THE annavetticadgoes2themovies AWARDS: BEST HINDI FILMS OF 2015

Let’s get this out of the way first: Thank you for the gratifying rush of questions in response to my Best Indian Films list published earlier this month. The most common of the lot was, “When will you give us your Best Hindi / Telugu / Tamil / Malayalam Films?”

A separate list for each language industry, in a nation that produces a couple of thousand films a year, is humanly impossible to do for a single journalist. This is why critics have areas of expertise, just as political reporters have beats. I will certainly give you a compilation though from the industry that has been my field of focus for years now, Hindi. So here it is, (oh how I love saying these three words) on popular demand, my list of Best Hindi Films 2015.

BEST HINDI FILM:
Winner:
Dum Laga Ke Haisha

Imagine a sensible film steeped in common-sense messaging sans sermons. Imagine a romantic drama in which the heroine is overweight yet the director views her through a lens that can see beyond her girth. Imagine such a film being light-footed rather than heavy and dull. Imagine that film being made by a production house that is as commercially inclined as they get.
You don’t have to trouble your imagination if you have seen Yash Raj Films’ Dum Laga Ke Haisha (DLKH), writer-director Sharat Katariya’s sweetly low-key film set in the Haridwar of 1995. DLKH is about a boy with low self-esteem and no achievements (Ayushmann Khurrana) who is compelled by his family to marry a smart, feisty, educated girl (Bhumi Pednekar) despite his objections to her plus-sized physique.
Bhumi was the find of 2015. Impressive though he was in his debut Hindi film Vicky Donor in 2012, Ayushmann truly arrived as an actor with this one, completely losing his own personality in his character. Together with one of the best supporting casts of the year, the two youngsters delivered an appealing coming-of-age love story far removed from the high decibel levels Bollywood too often resorts to in its bid to attract mass audiences. 
Anu Malik’s gentle tunes for DLKH are perfectly suited to the overall tone of the film, none more so than the prettily melodious Moh moh ke dhaage. When lyricist Varun Grover writesTu din sa hai, main raat
/ Aa na dono mill jaayein shaamon ki tarah (You are like the day and I the night / Come, let us meet as they do in the evening)” you could almost read this blossoming love as a metaphor for the increasing melting of boundaries between what is deemed mainstream and art cinema by one of India’s largest film industries.
DLKH is not just enjoyable and well made, it is one of many turning points for Hindi cinema witnessed in 2015.
(For the original review of Dum Laga Ke Haisha, click here)
First Runner-up:
Talvar

Recounting a real-life crime in a feature film is never easy. When the case is as recent and as controversial as the Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj murder, it is a massive challenge.
Director Meghna Gulzar is clearly up to the task in Talvar, a fictionalised, documentary-like feature about the double homicide committed in 2008.
Irrfan Khan headlines the film’s talented cast relating the botched-up probe into one of 21stcentury India’s most high-profile criminal cases.
Although Talvar narrates various versions of the killings and the investigation from differing viewpoints, painting the parents innocent and guilty by turns, it has its own stance too: that the messed-up Indian criminal justice system can be vindictive towards citizens to cover up its own inadequacies, that the police’s pre-historic social prejudices colour their work, that the financial and cultural chasm separating co-existing socio-economic classes has volcanic implications, and that when it is at its worst, the news media can destroy lives.
Despite its evident position on these issues, Talvar remains firmly focused on facts. In a cinematic landscape now used to Ram Gopal Varma and Anurag Kashyap’s more dramatic gangster flicks, Meghna’s choice of storytelling style makes this a landmark crime film.
Second Runner-up:
Drishyam

If you thought – as I did – that it would not be possible to improve upon director Jeethu Joseph’s Malayalam film Drishyam (2013), you thought wrong. The Hindi retelling by Nishikant Kamat is as suspenseful as the original, yet minor tweaks make it an interesting, thoughtful remake.
This is the story of a crime and its incredible cover-up. The author of that brilliance is a small-time businessman in small-town Goa, protecting his family when their relatively uneventful life takes a dramatic turn. His combatant in the case is the state’s Inspector General of Police (Tabu).
Even given the traditional patriarchal set-up in both films, with the male protagonist as protector-provider and his spouse as stay-at-home mother, the Hindi version still manages to be less socially conformist than the first film. The noticeably lower age difference between the lead couple here (Ajay Devgn and Shriya Saran) in contrast with Mohanlal and Meena in the Malayalam film and the slightly less conservative conversations between them, makes this a nuanced adaptation rather than a carbon copy.
Ajay wisely chose to play the central character as a more stoic fellow than Mohanlal did, thus pre-empting acting comparisons with a stalwart.
None of this, of course, would matter to those who have only seen the Hindi Drishyam, which stands tall even when it stands alone. In the universe of thrillers, this film is uncommon in the way it builds up a sense of urgency despite its unhurried pace. Good and evil are not black and white notions here. And in the end, the mystery lies not in whodunnit (we already know that) but in how – and if – they will get away with it, because it gets us to care.
(For the original review of Drishyam, click here)
Third Runner-up:
NH10

Anushka Sharma broke new ground by turning producer with NH10. She is not the first, but she is among the few female producers in this country. When the moneybags are almost all men, the male gaze is bound to dominate a nation’s cinema. If more such enterprising women emerge across states, in time more meaty roles for Indian actresses will follow.
This milestone, however, is not what recommends director Navdeep Singh’s NH10. What marks it out cinematically is its grippingly told saga of civilisational clashes between adjacent worlds whose inhabitants are often oblivious to – even disinterested in – each other’s existence.
Anushka in this film plays a city-bred professional living in the city of Gurgaon, a suburb of Delhi located in Haryana. Tragedy comes visiting when she and her husband (Neil Bhoopalam) stray into rural Haryana. What follows is a petrifying mix of extreme gender biases, caste prejudice and violence.
NH10 is filled with fine actors, but the discovery of the film is Darshan Kumaar’s versatility. In his turn as a murderous villain here, it is hard to spot the soft-spoken husband from 2014’s Priyanka Chopra-starrer Mary Kom.
Actress Anushka is already doing well for herself in Bollywood. What a splendid start this is though for producer Anushka.
(For the original review of NH10, click here)
THE CONTENDERS:
5: Piku
Who in Bollywood would choose as their film’s hero a physically and behaviourally constipated old man?
Answer: director Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi who earlier teamed up for Vicky Donor, a film with sperms and semen as its focal point yet – wonder of wonders! – not a single ewww-worthy joke.
Piku brings together Deepika Padukone playing a short-tempered entrepreneur from whose name the film draws its title, Amitabh Bachchan as her crotchety septuagenarian father with tummy troubles, and Irrfan Khan as Rana Chaudhary, a taxi company owner who finds himself thrown between them on an unplanned road trip.
Toilet humour is a dominant element in the film, yet it does not veer towards being a juvenile crapfest of the kind you might expect from Hollywood’s Farrelly brothers or Bollywood’s Team Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum. This in itself is an achievement. Even more commendable is the manner in which the comedic stream – unrelenting, unpredictable and hilarious – takes nothing away from the family and friendships around which Piku revolves.
The starting block of the story is Piku’s relationship with her testy Baba, but what envelopes later reels in warmth and tenderness is the developing, as-yet-undefined bond between the young lady and the older Rana. Who knew electricity could flow between Deepika and Irrfan? It does.
If you must visit a stereotype, do it the Shoojit-and-Juhi way, laughing with the Bengalis through the Big B’s Bhaskor Banerjee, rather than at them as most habitual community cliché users do.
The unexpected bonus here is Moushumi Chatterjee playing Piku’s maternal aunt. The pretty veteran was a firebrand in 2013’s Bengali film Goynar Baksho. Is she choosing to act less or is male-obsessed Indian cinema not offering her enough worthwhile parts?
For this and so much else, bless you Piku!
(For the original review of Piku, click here)
6: Masaan
If half a film could be featured on a list, then debutant Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaanmight have been my No. 1. Vicky Kaushal’s brilliant turn as an educated, professionally ambitious boy from a traditionally low-caste family, in love with a poetry-loving upper-caste girl played to charming effect by Shweta Tripathi is affecting in ways that no words can explain.
The direction of this portion of the film is assured, the writing (by Varun Grover) impeccable, the acting perfect. Apologies for sounding dramatic, but whenever I think of those two innocent, ill-fated lovers, I sigh and my heart breaks into a million pieces, only to heal itself with the memory of Vicky’s smile.
This boy is God’s gift to womankind and to acting.
Less engaging is the other half of Masaan featuring Richa Chadha and Sanjay Mishra as a troubled father and daughter. Individually they’re powerful characters, together though their relationship lacks something in its execution. Still, her strength, her sexual experimentation, the authorities’ response to it, her spirit that refuses to be subdued even through a traumatic phase and her determination to escape her suffocating environs are compelling to say the least.
Most moving though is the film’s spotlight on clandestine relationships and this excruciating question: how do you mourn the loss of your beloved when no one else they love knows you were together or is likely to think you had a right to be?
There goes my wretched heart again.

(For the original review of Masaan, click here)
7: Titli
This one too is a directorial debut. If Masaan is muted and poignant, Kanu Behl’s deceptively titled Titli(meaning: butterfly) is distressing and in places, difficult to watch.
This is a story of a violence-prone, car-jacking threesome of brothers and their instinctive bonding. The youngest (Shashank Arora) – named Titli because his late mother had been hoping for a daughter when he was born – is planning his escape from the nest when his elder siblings (Ranvir Shorey and Amit Sial) get him married to tie him down. The new woman (Shivani Raghuvanshi) in their so far all-male home comes armed with a fiery disposition and a secret.
Despite the appearance of a boys’ club, Titli is a stinging, unspoken condemnation of patriarchy. Ranvir delivers a career-best performance and Shivani is simply superb.
The detailing in the depiction of Delhi – her sociology and geography – is commendable. 
Interestingly, Kanu’s co-writer on Titli is Dum Laga Ke Haisha’s director Sharat Katariya. What a dream year it must be in which you can showcase your versatility with two vastly contrasting films within a span of just a few months. Equally a cause for celebration is that Yash Raj Films co-produced Titli, an unusual project for a studio closely identified with flying chiffons, acres of tulip and mustard fields, spotlessly made up women and immaculately turned out men.  
These developments and the emergence of distinctive new voices like Neeraj and Kanu could well be reason enough for history books some day to single out 2015 as a watershed year for Hindi cinema.
(For the original review of Titli, click here)
8: Margarita With A Straw
Hindi films centred around persons with disabilities have too often concentrated on the disability rather than the person. Margarita With A Strawis different. Shonali Bose’s film stars Kalki Koechlin delivering a remarkable performance as a woman whose cerebral palsy does not define her. Able backing comes from the ever-dependable Revathy playing her Aai.
Laila Kapoor is talented, sociable, sexually adventurous and wheelchair bound. Who would have predicted that such a woman could ever be the heroine of a cheery Hindi-English film from a once-formula-driven industry? In the not-too-distant past, she would in all likelihood have been placed in a dismal or melodramatic, high-strung film. This is not that kind of venture.
For the most part, Margarita is realistic in its portrayal of Laila’s physical constraints even while remaining positive at all times. Is the sunshine too much? Just occasionally it does seem so, but in a cinematic scenario that more often than not appears to assume that those with physical challenges must lead all-round depressing lives, optimism makes for a pleasant change.

(For the original review of Margarita With A Straw, click here)
9: Dil Dhadakne Do

It is weird that Anil Kapoor has received Best Supporting Actor noms in this awards season, because Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do (DDD) is one of those rare Hindi films with an ensemble cast. Clearly Bollywood award givers have not evolved as far as the industry has.

Anil in DDD plays business tycoon Kamal Mehra who is determined to keep up the appearance of a happy marriage with his wife Neelam (Shefali Shah). He bullies his son (Ranveer Singh) over his career inclinations while failing to recognise the evident entrepreneurial talents of his daughter (Priyanka Chopra) who, as it happens, is stuck in a loveless marriage. High drama occurs on the high seas when the Mehras take off on a cruise to celebrate Kamal and Neelam’s wedding anniversary in the company of their high-society ‘friends’.
The allure of DDD lies in its honesty about families. Nobody is as perfect as Sooraj Barjatya’s clans suggest. Kamal is an adulterer whose hypocrisy is exposed by his children. The easy route to the portrayal of Neelam would have been to excuse her as a helpless victim. Instead the storyteller refuses to accept her pretence that she did not know of or could have done nothing about her husband’s affairs.
The highlight of the film though is the brother-sister bond. It is a measure of Priyanka and Ranveer’s considerable acting talents and the quality writers they are working with that they could switch from playing such believably close siblings to the sexual chemistry between their characters in Bajirao Mastani within the same year.
DDD is highly entertaining and makes several points that mainstream Bollywood would usually not dare to make: that most human beings are flawed, some flaws are worth forgiving but some are not, most families are flawed, some are worth fighting to preserve while some are not. Take that, Mr Barjatya.

(For the original review of Dil Dhadakne Do, click here)
10: Bajrangi Bhaijaan

In a national context where “religious sentiments” are more prone to getting “hurt” with each passing day, Bajrangi Bhaijaanis one of the most cleverly handled films on communal amity you will ever see. Director Kabir Khan pulls at every conceivable heart string with his story of a Pakistani Muslim child called Shahida (Harshaali Malhotra) who encounters the Hanuman bhakt Bajrangi (Salman Khan) when she gets lost in India. Bajrangi is a man with a golden heart yet many prejudices derived from his background, but that tiny girl could melt a glacier. And she does.

His efforts to return her to her family across the border coupled with the intrinsic commentary about India-Pakistan and inter-religious harmony, could be seen as an enterprise in courage in a country that just months earlier was battling fundamentalists’ demands for a ban on PK and threats of violence. The film soldiered on anyway, getting an entire nation to fall in love with a Pakistani tot and getting Bajrangi – a committed vegetarian and a devout Hindu from a family affiliated to the Sangh Parivar – to sing and dance to a song with lyrics that go “Thodi biryani bukhari
/ Thodi phir nalli nihari
/ Le aao aaj dharam bhrasht ho jaaye (Bring on some biryani / Bring on some meat preparations / Never mind my religious restrictions today)”.

Salman is his usual self in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, a star aware of his charisma. There is more to Harshaali than her irresistible cuteness – the kid can act. She is a scene stealer along with a man who walks on to the screen half way through the story and walks away with the film, Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
I confess the play-it-safe ending almost ruined the film for me, being such a contrast to the refusal to mince words even while avoiding treading on touchy toes until that point. Yet in the denouement, perhaps to assuage the feelings of those Sangh members and acolytes who were offended by PK, the film has the Muslim child yelling out the words “Jai Shri Ram” repeatedly whereas a reformed Bajrangi merely makes a gesture towards Allah hafiz but stops short of saying the words. Ah well, sadly, such is life. We cannot blame artists alone for being overly cautious when we have repeatedly failed to protect them from the wrath of communal goons.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan is intelligent, sensitive and fun.

(For the original review of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, click here)
A Version Of This Article Was Published In Two Parts On Firstpost on January 18 & 19, 2016:

Related article: Anna M.M. Vetticad’s Best Indian Films 2015


OR


Photographs courtesy:
(1)    Dum Laga Ke Haishaposter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dum_Laga_Ke_Haisha
(4)    NH10 poster: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NH10
(5)    Piku poster: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piku
(6)    Masaan poster: https://www.facebook.com/MasaanTheFilm
(7)    Titli poster: Yashraj Films
(8)    Margarita With A Strawposter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarita_With_A_Straw  
(9)    Dil Dhadakne Doposter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dil_Dhadakne_Do
(10)  Bajrangi Bhaijaanposter: https://www.facebook.com/BBThisEid

THE annavetticadgoes2themovies AWARDS: BEST HINDI FILMS OF 2015

Let’s get this out of the way first: Thank you for the gratifying rush of questions in response to my Best Indian Films list published earlier this month. The most common of the lot was, “When will you give us your Best Hindi / Telugu / Tamil / Malayalam Films?”

A separate list for each language industry, in a nation that produces a couple of thousand films a year, is humanly impossible to do for a single journalist. This is why critics have areas of expertise, just as political reporters have beats. I will certainly give you a compilation though from the industry that has been my field of focus for years now, Hindi. So here it is, (oh how I love saying these three words) on popular demand, my list of Best Hindi Films 2015.

BEST HINDI FILM:
Winner:
Dum Laga Ke Haisha

Imagine a sensible film steeped in common-sense messaging sans sermons. Imagine a romantic drama in which the heroine is overweight yet the director views her through a lens that can see beyond her girth. Imagine such a film being light-footed rather than heavy and dull. Imagine that film being made by a production house that is as commercially inclined as they get.
You don’t have to trouble your imagination if you have seen Yash Raj Films’ Dum Laga Ke Haisha (DLKH), writer-director Sharat Katariya’s sweetly low-key film set in the Haridwar of 1995. DLKH is about a boy with low self-esteem and no achievements (Ayushmann Khurrana) who is compelled by his family to marry a smart, feisty, educated girl (Bhumi Pednekar) despite his objections to her plus-sized physique.
Bhumi was the find of 2015. Impressive though he was in his debut Hindi film Vicky Donor in 2012, Ayushmann truly arrived as an actor with this one, completely losing his own personality in his character. Together with one of the best supporting casts of the year, the two youngsters delivered an appealing coming-of-age love story far removed from the high decibel levels Bollywood too often resorts to in its bid to attract mass audiences. 
Anu Malik’s gentle tunes for DLKH are perfectly suited to the overall tone of the film, none more so than the prettily melodious Moh moh ke dhaage. When lyricist Varun Grover writesTu din sa hai, main raat
/ Aa na dono mill jaayein shaamon ki tarah (You are like the day and I the night / Come, let us meet as they do in the evening)” you could almost read this blossoming love as a metaphor for the increasing melting of boundaries between what is deemed mainstream and art cinema by one of India’s largest film industries.
DLKH is not just enjoyable and well made, it is one of many turning points for Hindi cinema witnessed in 2015.
(For the original review of Dum Laga Ke Haisha, click here)
First Runner-up:
Talvar

Recounting a real-life crime in a feature film is never easy. When the case is as recent and as controversial as the Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj murder, it is a massive challenge.
Director Meghna Gulzar is clearly up to the task in Talvar, a fictionalised, documentary-like feature about the double homicide committed in 2008.
Irrfan Khan headlines the film’s talented cast relating the botched-up probe into one of 21stcentury India’s most high-profile criminal cases.
Although Talvar narrates various versions of the killings and the investigation from differing viewpoints, painting the parents innocent and guilty by turns, it has its own stance too: that the messed-up Indian criminal justice system can be vindictive towards citizens to cover up its own inadequacies, that the police’s pre-historic social prejudices colour their work, that the financial and cultural chasm separating co-existing socio-economic classes has volcanic implications, and that when it is at its worst, the news media can destroy lives.
Despite its evident position on these issues, Talvar remains firmly focused on facts. In a cinematic landscape now used to Ram Gopal Varma and Anurag Kashyap’s more dramatic gangster flicks, Meghna’s choice of storytelling style makes this a landmark crime film.
Second Runner-up:
Drishyam

If you thought – as I did – that it would not be possible to improve upon director Jeethu Joseph’s Malayalam film Drishyam (2013), you thought wrong. The Hindi retelling by Nishikant Kamat is as suspenseful as the original, yet minor tweaks make it an interesting, thoughtful remake.
This is the story of a crime and its incredible cover-up. The author of that brilliance is a small-time businessman in small-town Goa, protecting his family when their relatively uneventful life takes a dramatic turn. His combatant in the case is the state’s Inspector General of Police (Tabu).
Even given the traditional patriarchal set-up in both films, with the male protagonist as protector-provider and his spouse as stay-at-home mother, the Hindi version still manages to be less socially conformist than the first film. The noticeably lower age difference between the lead couple here (Ajay Devgn and Shriya Saran) in contrast with Mohanlal and Meena in the Malayalam film and the slightly less conservative conversations between them, makes this a nuanced adaptation rather than a carbon copy.
Ajay wisely chose to play the central character as a more stoic fellow than Mohanlal did, thus pre-empting acting comparisons with a stalwart.
None of this, of course, would matter to those who have only seen the Hindi Drishyam, which stands tall even when it stands alone. In the universe of thrillers, this film is uncommon in the way it builds up a sense of urgency despite its unhurried pace. Good and evil are not black and white notions here. And in the end, the mystery lies not in whodunnit (we already know that) but in how – and if – they will get away with it, because it gets us to care.
(For the original review of Drishyam, click here)
Third Runner-up:
NH10

Anushka Sharma broke new ground by turning producer with NH10. She is not the first, but she is among the few female producers in this country. When the moneybags are almost all men, the male gaze is bound to dominate a nation’s cinema. If more such enterprising women emerge across states, in time more meaty roles for Indian actresses will follow.
This milestone, however, is not what recommends director Navdeep Singh’s NH10. What marks it out cinematically is its grippingly told saga of civilisational clashes between adjacent worlds whose inhabitants are often oblivious to – even disinterested in – each other’s existence.
Anushka in this film plays a city-bred professional living in the city of Gurgaon, a suburb of Delhi located in Haryana. Tragedy comes visiting when she and her husband (Neil Bhoopalam) stray into rural Haryana. What follows is a petrifying mix of extreme gender biases, caste prejudice and violence.
NH10 is filled with fine actors, but the discovery of the film is Darshan Kumaar’s versatility. In his turn as a murderous villain here, it is hard to spot the soft-spoken husband from 2014’s Priyanka Chopra-starrer Mary Kom.
Actress Anushka is already doing well for herself in Bollywood. What a splendid start this is though for producer Anushka.
(For the original review of NH10, click here)
THE CONTENDERS:
5: Piku
Who in Bollywood would choose as their film’s hero a physically and behaviourally constipated old man?
Answer: director Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi who earlier teamed up for Vicky Donor, a film with sperms and semen as its focal point yet – wonder of wonders! – not a single ewww-worthy joke.
Piku brings together Deepika Padukone playing a short-tempered entrepreneur from whose name the film draws its title, Amitabh Bachchan as her crotchety septuagenarian father with tummy troubles, and Irrfan Khan as Rana Chaudhary, a taxi company owner who finds himself thrown between them on an unplanned road trip.
Toilet humour is a dominant element in the film, yet it does not veer towards being a juvenile crapfest of the kind you might expect from Hollywood’s Farrelly brothers or Bollywood’s Team Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum. This in itself is an achievement. Even more commendable is the manner in which the comedic stream – unrelenting, unpredictable and hilarious – takes nothing away from the family and friendships around which Piku revolves.
The starting block of the story is Piku’s relationship with her testy Baba, but what envelopes later reels in warmth and tenderness is the developing, as-yet-undefined bond between the young lady and the older Rana. Who knew electricity could flow between Deepika and Irrfan? It does.
If you must visit a stereotype, do it the Shoojit-and-Juhi way, laughing with the Bengalis through the Big B’s Bhaskor Banerjee, rather than at them as most habitual community cliché users do.
The unexpected bonus here is Moushumi Chatterjee playing Piku’s maternal aunt. The pretty veteran was a firebrand in 2013’s Bengali film Goynar Baksho. Is she choosing to act less or is male-obsessed Indian cinema not offering her enough worthwhile parts?
For this and so much else, bless you Piku!
(For the original review of Piku, click here)
6: Masaan
If half a film could be featured on a list, then debutant Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaanmight have been my No. 1. Vicky Kaushal’s brilliant turn as an educated, professionally ambitious boy from a traditionally low-caste family, in love with a poetry-loving upper-caste girl played to charming effect by Shweta Tripathi is affecting in ways that no words can explain.
The direction of this portion of the film is assured, the writing (by Varun Grover) impeccable, the acting perfect. Apologies for sounding dramatic, but whenever I think of those two innocent, ill-fated lovers, I sigh and my heart breaks into a million pieces, only to heal itself with the memory of Vicky’s smile.
This boy is God’s gift to womankind and to acting.
Less engaging is the other half of Masaan featuring Richa Chadha and Sanjay Mishra as a troubled father and daughter. Individually they’re powerful characters, together though their relationship lacks something in its execution. Still, her strength, her sexual experimentation, the authorities’ response to it, her spirit that refuses to be subdued even through a traumatic phase and her determination to escape her suffocating environs are compelling to say the least.
Most moving though is the film’s spotlight on clandestine relationships and this excruciating question: how do you mourn the loss of your beloved when no one else they love knows you were together or is likely to think you had a right to be?
There goes my wretched heart again.

(For the original review of Masaan, click here)
7: Titli
This one too is a directorial debut. If Masaan is muted and poignant, Kanu Behl’s deceptively titled Titli(meaning: butterfly) is distressing and in places, difficult to watch.
This is a story of a violence-prone, car-jacking threesome of brothers and their instinctive bonding. The youngest (Shashank Arora) – named Titli because his late mother had been hoping for a daughter when he was born – is planning his escape from the nest when his elder siblings (Ranvir Shorey and Amit Sial) get him married to tie him down. The new woman (Shivani Raghuvanshi) in their so far all-male home comes armed with a fiery disposition and a secret.
Despite the appearance of a boys’ club, Titli is a stinging, unspoken condemnation of patriarchy. Ranvir delivers a career-best performance and Shivani is simply superb.
The detailing in the depiction of Delhi – her sociology and geography – is commendable. 
Interestingly, Kanu’s co-writer on Titli is Dum Laga Ke Haisha’s director Sharat Katariya. What a dream year it must be in which you can showcase your versatility with two vastly contrasting films within a span of just a few months. Equally a cause for celebration is that Yash Raj Films co-produced Titli, an unusual project for a studio closely identified with flying chiffons, acres of tulip and mustard fields, spotlessly made up women and immaculately turned out men.  
These developments and the emergence of distinctive new voices like Neeraj and Kanu could well be reason enough for history books some day to single out 2015 as a watershed year for Hindi cinema.
(For the original review of Titli, click here)
8: Margarita With A Straw
Hindi films centred around persons with disabilities have too often concentrated on the disability rather than the person. Margarita With A Strawis different. Shonali Bose’s film stars Kalki Koechlin delivering a remarkable performance as a woman whose cerebral palsy does not define her. Able backing comes from the ever-dependable Revathy playing her Aai.
Laila Kapoor is talented, sociable, sexually adventurous and wheelchair bound. Who would have predicted that such a woman could ever be the heroine of a cheery Hindi-English film from a once-formula-driven industry? In the not-too-distant past, she would in all likelihood have been placed in a dismal or melodramatic, high-strung film. This is not that kind of venture.
For the most part, Margarita is realistic in its portrayal of Laila’s physical constraints even while remaining positive at all times. Is the sunshine too much? Just occasionally it does seem so, but in a cinematic scenario that more often than not appears to assume that those with physical challenges must lead all-round depressing lives, optimism makes for a pleasant change.

(For the original review of Margarita With A Straw, click here)
9: Dil Dhadakne Do

It is weird that Anil Kapoor has received Best Supporting Actor noms in this awards season, because Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do (DDD) is one of those rare Hindi films with an ensemble cast. Clearly Bollywood award givers have not evolved as far as the industry has.

Anil in DDD plays business tycoon Kamal Mehra who is determined to keep up the appearance of a happy marriage with his wife Neelam (Shefali Shah). He bullies his son (Ranveer Singh) over his career inclinations while failing to recognise the evident entrepreneurial talents of his daughter (Priyanka Chopra) who, as it happens, is stuck in a loveless marriage. High drama occurs on the high seas when the Mehras take off on a cruise to celebrate Kamal and Neelam’s wedding anniversary in the company of their high-society ‘friends’.
The allure of DDD lies in its honesty about families. Nobody is as perfect as Sooraj Barjatya’s clans suggest. Kamal is an adulterer whose hypocrisy is exposed by his children. The easy route to the portrayal of Neelam would have been to excuse her as a helpless victim. Instead the storyteller refuses to accept her pretence that she did not know of or could have done nothing about her husband’s affairs.
The highlight of the film though is the brother-sister bond. It is a measure of Priyanka and Ranveer’s considerable acting talents and the quality writers they are working with that they could switch from playing such believably close siblings to the sexual chemistry between their characters in Bajirao Mastani within the same year.
DDD is highly entertaining and makes several points that mainstream Bollywood would usually not dare to make: that most human beings are flawed, some flaws are worth forgiving but some are not, most families are flawed, some are worth fighting to preserve while some are not. Take that, Mr Barjatya.

(For the original review of Dil Dhadakne Do, click here)
10: Bajrangi Bhaijaan

In a national context where “religious sentiments” are more prone to getting “hurt” with each passing day, Bajrangi Bhaijaanis one of the most cleverly handled films on communal amity you will ever see. Director Kabir Khan pulls at every conceivable heart string with his story of a Pakistani Muslim child called Shahida (Harshaali Malhotra) who encounters the Hanuman bhakt Bajrangi (Salman Khan) when she gets lost in India. Bajrangi is a man with a golden heart yet many prejudices derived from his background, but that tiny girl could melt a glacier. And she does.

His efforts to return her to her family across the border coupled with the intrinsic commentary about India-Pakistan and inter-religious harmony, could be seen as an enterprise in courage in a country that just months earlier was battling fundamentalists’ demands for a ban on PK and threats of violence. The film soldiered on anyway, getting an entire nation to fall in love with a Pakistani tot and getting Bajrangi – a committed vegetarian and a devout Hindu from a family affiliated to the Sangh Parivar – to sing and dance to a song with lyrics that go “Thodi biryani bukhari
/ Thodi phir nalli nihari
/ Le aao aaj dharam bhrasht ho jaaye (Bring on some biryani / Bring on some meat preparations / Never mind my religious restrictions today)”.

Salman is his usual self in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, a star aware of his charisma. There is more to Harshaali than her irresistible cuteness – the kid can act. She is a scene stealer along with a man who walks on to the screen half way through the story and walks away with the film, Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
I confess the play-it-safe ending almost ruined the film for me, being such a contrast to the refusal to mince words even while avoiding treading on touchy toes until that point. Yet in the denouement, perhaps to assuage the feelings of those Sangh members and acolytes who were offended by PK, the film has the Muslim child yelling out the words “Jai Shri Ram” repeatedly whereas a reformed Bajrangi merely makes a gesture towards Allah hafiz but stops short of saying the words. Ah well, sadly, such is life. We cannot blame artists alone for being overly cautious when we have repeatedly failed to protect them from the wrath of communal goons.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan is intelligent, sensitive and fun.

(For the original review of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, click here)
A Version Of This Article Was Published In Two Parts On Firstpost on January 18 & 19, 2016:

Related article: Anna M.M. Vetticad’s Best Indian Films 2015


OR


Photographs courtesy:
(1)    Dum Laga Ke Haishaposter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dum_Laga_Ke_Haisha
(4)    NH10 poster: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NH10
(5)    Piku poster: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piku
(6)    Masaan poster: https://www.facebook.com/MasaanTheFilm
(7)    Titli poster: Yashraj Films
(8)    Margarita With A Strawposter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarita_With_A_Straw  
(9)    Dil Dhadakne Doposter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dil_Dhadakne_Do
(10)  Bajrangi Bhaijaanposter: https://www.facebook.com/BBThisEid

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Movie Info:

Directed by: Ambarish B M
Produced by: Thiagarajan and Shanthi Thiagarajan
Written by: Thiagarajan
Starring: Jwala, Deepthi Kapse and Deepa Gowda
Release dates: 5 Feb 2016
Language of movie: Kannada
Rating: 4.0/5

Jwalantham movie review
Jwalantham 2016 Full Movie Watch Online & Download Free, Jwalantham Torrent Download, Jwalantham 2016 Full Kannada Movie Download in HD 720p avi mp4 3gp hq free Our constant concern to have pollution taking the Supreme Court said that the time has come to be the Green funeral homes, I.e. traditional methods use CNG or power except religion. To improve the environment around the Taj Mahal case hearings while the Supreme Court has asked the Central pollution control board just near the Taj Mahal funeral homes not only pollution but also the country’s second funeral homes work to reduce pollution. It is necessary to consider other options. The last hearing in the Court of Delhi’s power to burn bodies on funeral home to consider and to them was free, Discard the old methods, such as burning wood so people. The Court believes that increased pollution from burning wood that can be prevented. Before the National Green Tribunal also due to pollution in Benares carcasses resulting from our concern over pollution and the Government has take steps to instruct others. Last week Mumbai devnar dumping ground fires Wednesday once again arose sulag. Fire Department says the fire was the third day was overcome. But dumping ground of sight is something else statement.
Mumbai devnar dumping ground once again lift sulag. From this mountain of waste energy on Wednesday leaves show. Three days after the fire on Saturday were taking that overcomes the claim. Do not take the name of low energy there and people reappeared. Local residents say that breathing trouble and eye irritation like any difficulties with are increasing. This dumping ground to close has caught and emphasis.Human chains and grind through March are seeking to stop it.
Well take the dumping ground in Mumbai many kind of politics are getting together.Given the Congress-NCP bmc elections are now made it point Builder are also on the look out for land of devnar. Dumping ground of devnar if plans to shift the verdict is so will get to 300 acres of real estate. In Mumbai, the first such dumping ground off home plans are brought into play.
Last Thursday from the Fire Department’s 18 cars, 10 water tanker are engaged in frequent fires. Officially the authorities also claim taking fire overcomes but dumping ground fires that proved their claims is visible.

Screenshots:
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Movie Info:

Directed by: Ambarish B M
Produced by: Thiagarajan and Shanthi Thiagarajan
Written by: Thiagarajan
Starring: Jwala, Deepthi Kapse and Deepa Gowda
Release dates: 5 Feb 2016
Language of movie: Kannada
Rating: 4.0/5

Jwalantham movie review
Jwalantham 2016 Full Movie Watch Online & Download Free, Jwalantham Torrent Download, Jwalantham 2016 Full Kannada Movie Download in HD 720p avi mp4 3gp hq free Our constant concern to have pollution taking the Supreme Court said that the time has come to be the Green funeral homes, I.e. traditional methods use CNG or power except religion. To improve the environment around the Taj Mahal case hearings while the Supreme Court has asked the Central pollution control board just near the Taj Mahal funeral homes not only pollution but also the country’s second funeral homes work to reduce pollution. It is necessary to consider other options. The last hearing in the Court of Delhi’s power to burn bodies on funeral home to consider and to them was free, Discard the old methods, such as burning wood so people. The Court believes that increased pollution from burning wood that can be prevented. Before the National Green Tribunal also due to pollution in Benares carcasses resulting from our concern over pollution and the Government has take steps to instruct others. Last week Mumbai devnar dumping ground fires Wednesday once again arose sulag. Fire Department says the fire was the third day was overcome. But dumping ground of sight is something else statement.
Mumbai devnar dumping ground once again lift sulag. From this mountain of waste energy on Wednesday leaves show. Three days after the fire on Saturday were taking that overcomes the claim. Do not take the name of low energy there and people reappeared. Local residents say that breathing trouble and eye irritation like any difficulties with are increasing. This dumping ground to close has caught and emphasis.Human chains and grind through March are seeking to stop it.
Well take the dumping ground in Mumbai many kind of politics are getting together.Given the Congress-NCP bmc elections are now made it point Builder are also on the look out for land of devnar. Dumping ground of devnar if plans to shift the verdict is so will get to 300 acres of real estate. In Mumbai, the first such dumping ground off home plans are brought into play.
Last Thursday from the Fire Department’s 18 cars, 10 water tanker are engaged in frequent fires. Officially the authorities also claim taking fire overcomes but dumping ground fires that proved their claims is visible.

Screenshots:
Jwalantham 2016 Kannada Full Movie Download 700mb 300MB

Jwalantham 2016 Kannada Full Movie Download 700mb 300MB

Jwalantham 2016 Kannada Full Movie Download 700mb 300MB

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Directed by: Arun Raj Varma
Produced by: Thiagarajan and Shanthi Thiagarajan
Written by: Thiagarajan
Starring: Prashanth and Amanda
Release dates: 5 Feb 2016
Language of movie: Tamil
Rating: 4.0/5

Saahasam movie review
Saahasam 2016 Full Movie Watch Online & Download Free, Saahasam Torrent Download, Saahasam 2016 Full Tamil Movie Download in HD 720p avi mp4 3gp hq free Pathankot took off after the attack on the Ministry of defense has a meeting. After the meeting was told that the air force to the protection of your installations and settlement. News that the Indian air force has its own security concerns and attentive. This is the result of that he took off nearly 20 in the Western command at hailer has released. Direct means that if an illegal way off one of them tries to enter inside the posted guard these rights will give him that shot. Air force of the Western spans from suratgarh area of Leh.
Not only have that, after the attack on pathankot air force security audited of his 54 off too orchestrated. It all took off according to security risks and will link. For instance, now off the smart fence will be erected is a kind of electronic sensors which cannot only take these picture but through vibration or sound when it immediately grabs. CCTV camera, thermal camera type including Quadra drones and motion sensor will be framed.
Saahasam 2016 Tamil Movie Online Will upgrade existing technology. Because of this every off close to 100 would Costco million from the bucks. It offers the air force has sent to the Ministry of defenseIt has been said that as soon as it will be implemented on approval.
Air force commandos and their non-special force Aquila. Will focus its training wit hand. State Governments requested by the air force that transcends by deleting near took off in order to ensure the safety of the base. Significantly off terrorists by dent in pathankot, seven security soldiers were killed.Although still considers it the air force failure weakness. It says that terrorists did not break the second security cordon. In a time when infamous Bandit Bundelkhand remained synonymous with panic daduastatue in a temple will appear now. Dadua in Uttar Pradesh Fatehpur Temple is.Brother of former mp and Samajwadi Party dadua hair Kumar, Samajwadi Partylegislator and son of Veer Singh dadua Temple are obtained together. Five millionreward in year 2007 police mobster dadua remote bomb was killed. 200 cases werefiled against him. Stages of Bundelkhand dadua in 33 years active. That close to a dozen districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in the electorate is heavily impact of kurmi dadua.
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Movie Info:
Directed by: Arun Raj Varma
Produced by: Thiagarajan and Shanthi Thiagarajan
Written by: Thiagarajan
Starring: Prashanth and Amanda
Release dates: 5 Feb 2016
Language of movie: Tamil
Rating: 4.0/5

Saahasam movie review
Saahasam 2016 Full Movie Watch Online & Download Free, Saahasam Torrent Download, Saahasam 2016 Full Tamil Movie Download in HD 720p avi mp4 3gp hq free Pathankot took off after the attack on the Ministry of defense has a meeting. After the meeting was told that the air force to the protection of your installations and settlement. News that the Indian air force has its own security concerns and attentive. This is the result of that he took off nearly 20 in the Western command at hailer has released. Direct means that if an illegal way off one of them tries to enter inside the posted guard these rights will give him that shot. Air force of the Western spans from suratgarh area of Leh.
Not only have that, after the attack on pathankot air force security audited of his 54 off too orchestrated. It all took off according to security risks and will link. For instance, now off the smart fence will be erected is a kind of electronic sensors which cannot only take these picture but through vibration or sound when it immediately grabs. CCTV camera, thermal camera type including Quadra drones and motion sensor will be framed.
Saahasam 2016 Tamil Movie Online Will upgrade existing technology. Because of this every off close to 100 would Costco million from the bucks. It offers the air force has sent to the Ministry of defenseIt has been said that as soon as it will be implemented on approval.
Air force commandos and their non-special force Aquila. Will focus its training wit hand. State Governments requested by the air force that transcends by deleting near took off in order to ensure the safety of the base. Significantly off terrorists by dent in pathankot, seven security soldiers were killed.Although still considers it the air force failure weakness. It says that terrorists did not break the second security cordon. In a time when infamous Bandit Bundelkhand remained synonymous with panic daduastatue in a temple will appear now. Dadua in Uttar Pradesh Fatehpur Temple is.Brother of former mp and Samajwadi Party dadua hair Kumar, Samajwadi Partylegislator and son of Veer Singh dadua Temple are obtained together. Five millionreward in year 2007 police mobster dadua remote bomb was killed. 200 cases werefiled against him. Stages of Bundelkhand dadua in 33 years active. That close to a dozen districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in the electorate is heavily impact of kurmi dadua.
Screenshots: 
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Movie Info:
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Produced by: Aashiq Abu
Written by: Syam Pushkaran
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Anusree and Soubin Shahir
Release dates: 5 Feb 2016
Language of movie: Malayalam
Rating: 3.8/5

Maheshinte Prathikaaram movie review
Maheshinte Prathikaaram 2016 Full Movie Watch Online & Download Free, Maheshinte Prathikaaram Torrent Download, Maheshinte Prathikaaram 2016 Full Malayalam Movie Download in HD 720p avi mp4 3gp hq free Angered by the frequent safety checks a passenger Jet Airways has being granted IGI threatened to bomb. The Jet Airways flight 9W Chennai-821 from the Indira Gandhi airport Monday morning at 6:45 pm flight was retrieved. CISF sources said a person allegedly have bomb and threatened to blow the plane bomb. Priyanka Gandhi vadra, daughter of Congress President Sonia Gandhi also was going to same plane Chennai. Therefore, the Prime Minister, Former Prime Minister and his close relatives to protect the special security squad heard this conversation (SPG) seals. After SPG and employees informed about control panel. Security wise Priyanka Gandhi vadra later than other flight depart. Indeed, threatening the business of security check had been twice, but when he was asked to open the bag for the third time, it came in anger and he threatened to bomb the plane blow up.
Officials with China’s export business, “passenger was traveling. He has had some of the stuff and twice the metal security check was done. When he once again was asked to open the stuff he was irritated and she told her young CISF bomb and he will blow up the plane. “Threats do not take lightly, to assess the risk assessment Committee is created. All passengers exited the plane and baggage and the plane were searched.CISF sources said although later was dubbed the rumor bomb threat.
The intense interrogation to threaten police station moved and ensure the threat after it has dropped in the evening. Rashtriya Janata Dal (arjedi) President laloo Prasad Yadav’s son-in-law unobtrusive Yadav’s car on Wednesday, some unidentified persons near the subway station sikandarpur gun snatched away. Gurgaon police Assistant Commissioner and Assistant spokesman air Singh pointed out that in broad daylight four to five unidentified assailants gun on a Toyota fortuner car unobtrusive white drive Hari snatched from. Event unobtrusive car Were not present in the. Delhi residents are unobtrusive, Lalu’s son-in-law. Police have been looking for rogues.
Screenshots: 
Maheshinte Prathikaaram 2016 Malayalam Full Movie 700Mb HD

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Movie Info:
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Produced by: Aashiq Abu
Written by: Syam Pushkaran
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Anusree and Soubin Shahir
Release dates: 5 Feb 2016
Language of movie: Malayalam
Rating: 3.8/5

Maheshinte Prathikaaram movie review
Maheshinte Prathikaaram 2016 Full Movie Watch Online & Download Free, Maheshinte Prathikaaram Torrent Download, Maheshinte Prathikaaram 2016 Full Malayalam Movie Download in HD 720p avi mp4 3gp hq free Angered by the frequent safety checks a passenger Jet Airways has being granted IGI threatened to bomb. The Jet Airways flight 9W Chennai-821 from the Indira Gandhi airport Monday morning at 6:45 pm flight was retrieved. CISF sources said a person allegedly have bomb and threatened to blow the plane bomb. Priyanka Gandhi vadra, daughter of Congress President Sonia Gandhi also was going to same plane Chennai. Therefore, the Prime Minister, Former Prime Minister and his close relatives to protect the special security squad heard this conversation (SPG) seals. After SPG and employees informed about control panel. Security wise Priyanka Gandhi vadra later than other flight depart. Indeed, threatening the business of security check had been twice, but when he was asked to open the bag for the third time, it came in anger and he threatened to bomb the plane blow up.
Officials with China’s export business, “passenger was traveling. He has had some of the stuff and twice the metal security check was done. When he once again was asked to open the stuff he was irritated and she told her young CISF bomb and he will blow up the plane. “Threats do not take lightly, to assess the risk assessment Committee is created. All passengers exited the plane and baggage and the plane were searched.CISF sources said although later was dubbed the rumor bomb threat.
The intense interrogation to threaten police station moved and ensure the threat after it has dropped in the evening. Rashtriya Janata Dal (arjedi) President laloo Prasad Yadav’s son-in-law unobtrusive Yadav’s car on Wednesday, some unidentified persons near the subway station sikandarpur gun snatched away. Gurgaon police Assistant Commissioner and Assistant spokesman air Singh pointed out that in broad daylight four to five unidentified assailants gun on a Toyota fortuner car unobtrusive white drive Hari snatched from. Event unobtrusive car Were not present in the. Delhi residents are unobtrusive, Lalu’s son-in-law. Police have been looking for rogues.
Screenshots: 
Maheshinte Prathikaaram 2016 Malayalam Full Movie 700Mb HD

Maheshinte Prathikaaram 2016 Malayalam Full Movie 700Mb HD

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REVIEW 369: GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN

Release date:
February 5, 2015
Director:
Sunny Deol
Cast:



Language:
Sunny Deol, Narendra Jha, Tisca Chopra, Shivam Patil, Aanchal Munjal, Diana Khan, Rishabh Arora, Om Puri, Soha Ali Khan, Manoj Joshi, Nadira Babbar, Abhilash Kumar, Harsh Chhaya, Sachin Khedekar
Hindi
Ghayal Once Again marks the return of Sunny Deol as one of the best-remembered characters he has ever played on screen. Ajay Mehra from 1990’s Ghayal, directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, preceded the signature “dhai kilo ka haath” Sunny held up in court as a lawyer in Santoshi’s Damini (1993). These two films gave the actor the two National Awards of his career and were a source of much viewing pleasure, even to some among us with increasing reservations about flaring nostrils, red eyes and yelling in the midst of flying fists.
The sequel to Ghayal – directed by Sunny himself – seems to be the star’s effort to do a balancing act between an emerging audience with changing tastes and his own traditional following. It works for a considerable part of the film; but after a while it is neither here nor there and it all goes downhill.
The hero himself enters the frame 15 minutes into the proceedings, in a scene that is surprisingly low key in comparison with the many grand entries Sunny has made on screen in the past. When it is hinging itself on action alone, Ghayal 2 is effective, even when you cannot but be aware of the improbability of it all.
Sure there is silliness along the way, plenty of over-the-top action too, but it is nothing that we have not willingly swallowed in the past from Hollywood action adventures such as the MI, Die Hard, Indiana Jones and Bond series, all of which demand a suspension of disbelief from viewers. Admittedly too, there are spots of tackiness elsewhere, especially when the writers are trying too hard to be youthful and cool (such as a completely superfluous song and dance sequence involving the four kids at the centre of this story, or another where they hang out with the grandfather of one of them). Yet, not counting the needlessly extended ending where schmaltz is injected into what should have been some good old-fashioned, absurdly unapologetic dishum-dishum, Ghayal Once Again’s stunt sequences are fun.
In Ghayal, Ajay went on a rampage to execute a treacherous villain (Amrish Puri) for preying on his businessman brother (Raj Babbar). After the events of that film, he spent 14 years in jail and on his return, has been running a corruption-hunting media platform called Satyakam with the support of good-hearted souls he met in prison and a wide underground network of concerned citizens. The pivotal plot point of Ghayal 2 emerges when four students unknowingly shoot a video of a crime being committed by a powerful individual and decide to hand it over to Ajay.
The opening quarter hour of the film, which includes black-and-white flashbacks to the previous one, are deceptively calm. The chases that follow are nail-bitingly suspenseful, even though it makes no sense that not a single soul stops to help the children or Ajay, despite the latter’s evident popularity among the public. Besides, when blood-thirsty goons go on a rampage in a Mumbai mall, how on earth, in this day and age does it come about that not a single eye-witness manages to clandestinely shoot their violence and upload it somewhere?
No doubt police, politicians and a pliant or scared media have in real life colluded to cover up crimes committed by influential individuals. Those though did not happen before the eyes of thousands of witnesses. The initial murder in the film occurs in a private space and is hidden in a believable fashion. That part of the screenplay is convincing. But the effort to abduct the children and to punish Ajay for helping them, are both done so publicly that the silence of the onlookers is ridiculous.
Really? Not one person steps forward? Not even a few seconds of the bloodletting surfaces on Youtube or any other online space? Not even one media house, not even a marginal off-mainstream platform or unknown blogger, has the courage to report these very openly conducted goings-on on the roads, malls and trains of Mumbai? Really?
It is a measure of the effectiveness of the film’s well-paced action choreography that these chase scenes manage to keep even a cynic on edge despite this.
The script’s bigger failing though is that it skims over too many characters without giving them enough flesh. The murderer had particular potential because of his lack of redeeming factors, but we get to know little about him beyond the fact that he is a spoilt brat. Of the quartet who set out to expose him, you may remember Aanchal Munjal as the young artiste who played Kajol and Arjun Rampal’s child in We Are Family (2010). She and Shivam Patil – Anushka and Rohan here – are worth watching out for.
The execution of Ajay’s relationships in Ghayal 2 are too reliant on fan affection for Sunny and nostalgia for the first Ghayal. Sunny’s acting too remains dated, with every emotion over-stated and over-done.
There is, however, another note-worthy dynamic at play here. It is interesting to see an omnipotent industrialist (Narendra Jha, nice) and his wife (Tisca Chopra) torn between their conscience and their natural parental instincts when they recognise the potential for evil in their offspring; a wealthy father’s arrogance tempered by paternal fears; a mother who is shocked at the wrongdoings being committed in her presence yet does not stop them; another (Nadira Babbar) who points out to her son that it is the job of a parent to cover up a child’s mistakes, not his crimes.
This and the film’s well-executed chases are dragged down by its stupid improbabilities, its lack of focus, too many loose ends and oh yes, those bad white extras. When one of them tells Sunny in the end to drop his gun and follows that up with a laboured, “Now we are going to beat you up with our bare hands,” I laughed out loud. It reminded me of cars reversing with twangy, recorded voices warning bystanders, “Attention please, this car is backing up.” What is it with Bollywood producers that they will hire a helicopter for a grand finale but will not spend on above-average Caucasian actors for incidental roles or invest in good writing?
The name of Ajay’s newspaper in this film is no doubt a bow to Dharmendra’s 1969 film Satyakam in which Deol Senior played an idealist struggling against a corrupt world. That classic deserved a better-thought-out tribute than this one.
Rating (out of five stars): **
CBFC Rating (India):
UA
Running time:
126 minutes
This review has also been published on Firstpost:

REVIEW 369: GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN

Release date:
February 5, 2015
Director:
Sunny Deol
Cast:



Language:
Sunny Deol, Narendra Jha, Tisca Chopra, Shivam Patil, Aanchal Munjal, Diana Khan, Rishabh Arora, Om Puri, Soha Ali Khan, Manoj Joshi, Nadira Babbar, Abhilash Kumar, Harsh Chhaya, Sachin Khedekar
Hindi
Ghayal Once Again marks the return of Sunny Deol as one of the best-remembered characters he has ever played on screen. Ajay Mehra from 1990’s Ghayal, directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, preceded the signature “dhai kilo ka haath” Sunny held up in court as a lawyer in Santoshi’s Damini (1993). These two films gave the actor the two National Awards of his career and were a source of much viewing pleasure, even to some among us with increasing reservations about flaring nostrils, red eyes and yelling in the midst of flying fists.
The sequel to Ghayal – directed by Sunny himself – seems to be the star’s effort to do a balancing act between an emerging audience with changing tastes and his own traditional following. It works for a considerable part of the film; but after a while it is neither here nor there and it all goes downhill.
The hero himself enters the frame 15 minutes into the proceedings, in a scene that is surprisingly low key in comparison with the many grand entries Sunny has made on screen in the past. When it is hinging itself on action alone, Ghayal 2 is effective, even when you cannot but be aware of the improbability of it all.
Sure there is silliness along the way, plenty of over-the-top action too, but it is nothing that we have not willingly swallowed in the past from Hollywood action adventures such as the MI, Die Hard, Indiana Jones and Bond series, all of which demand a suspension of disbelief from viewers. Admittedly too, there are spots of tackiness elsewhere, especially when the writers are trying too hard to be youthful and cool (such as a completely superfluous song and dance sequence involving the four kids at the centre of this story, or another where they hang out with the grandfather of one of them). Yet, not counting the needlessly extended ending where schmaltz is injected into what should have been some good old-fashioned, absurdly unapologetic dishum-dishum, Ghayal Once Again’s stunt sequences are fun.
In Ghayal, Ajay went on a rampage to execute a treacherous villain (Amrish Puri) for preying on his businessman brother (Raj Babbar). After the events of that film, he spent 14 years in jail and on his return, has been running a corruption-hunting media platform called Satyakam with the support of good-hearted souls he met in prison and a wide underground network of concerned citizens. The pivotal plot point of Ghayal 2 emerges when four students unknowingly shoot a video of a crime being committed by a powerful individual and decide to hand it over to Ajay.
The opening quarter hour of the film, which includes black-and-white flashbacks to the previous one, are deceptively calm. The chases that follow are nail-bitingly suspenseful, even though it makes no sense that not a single soul stops to help the children or Ajay, despite the latter’s evident popularity among the public. Besides, when blood-thirsty goons go on a rampage in a Mumbai mall, how on earth, in this day and age does it come about that not a single eye-witness manages to clandestinely shoot their violence and upload it somewhere?
No doubt police, politicians and a pliant or scared media have in real life colluded to cover up crimes committed by influential individuals. Those though did not happen before the eyes of thousands of witnesses. The initial murder in the film occurs in a private space and is hidden in a believable fashion. That part of the screenplay is convincing. But the effort to abduct the children and to punish Ajay for helping them, are both done so publicly that the silence of the onlookers is ridiculous.
Really? Not one person steps forward? Not even a few seconds of the bloodletting surfaces on Youtube or any other online space? Not even one media house, not even a marginal off-mainstream platform or unknown blogger, has the courage to report these very openly conducted goings-on on the roads, malls and trains of Mumbai? Really?
It is a measure of the effectiveness of the film’s well-paced action choreography that these chase scenes manage to keep even a cynic on edge despite this.
The script’s bigger failing though is that it skims over too many characters without giving them enough flesh. The murderer had particular potential because of his lack of redeeming factors, but we get to know little about him beyond the fact that he is a spoilt brat. Of the quartet who set out to expose him, you may remember Aanchal Munjal as the young artiste who played Kajol and Arjun Rampal’s child in We Are Family (2010). She and Shivam Patil – Anushka and Rohan here – are worth watching out for.
The execution of Ajay’s relationships in Ghayal 2 are too reliant on fan affection for Sunny and nostalgia for the first Ghayal. Sunny’s acting too remains dated, with every emotion over-stated and over-done.
There is, however, another note-worthy dynamic at play here. It is interesting to see an omnipotent industrialist (Narendra Jha, nice) and his wife (Tisca Chopra) torn between their conscience and their natural parental instincts when they recognise the potential for evil in their offspring; a wealthy father’s arrogance tempered by paternal fears; a mother who is shocked at the wrongdoings being committed in her presence yet does not stop them; another (Nadira Babbar) who points out to her son that it is the job of a parent to cover up a child’s mistakes, not his crimes.
This and the film’s well-executed chases are dragged down by its stupid improbabilities, its lack of focus, too many loose ends and oh yes, those bad white extras. When one of them tells Sunny in the end to drop his gun and follows that up with a laboured, “Now we are going to beat you up with our bare hands,” I laughed out loud. It reminded me of cars reversing with twangy, recorded voices warning bystanders, “Attention please, this car is backing up.” What is it with Bollywood producers that they will hire a helicopter for a grand finale but will not spend on above-average Caucasian actors for incidental roles or invest in good writing?
The name of Ajay’s newspaper in this film is no doubt a bow to Dharmendra’s 1969 film Satyakam in which Deol Senior played an idealist struggling against a corrupt world. That classic deserved a better-thought-out tribute than this one.
Rating (out of five stars): **
CBFC Rating (India):
UA
Running time:
126 minutes
This review has also been published on Firstpost: