A Wednesday – Movie Review

There are some movies which make you stand up and clap. Movies which stand out as examples as to how powerful the medium of Cinema can be. Movies which symbolise our times and go down in the history as cult movies. A Wednesday is one such movie.

Quite frankly, when I woke up this morning, I was not even aware of the existence of such a movie. Since there was no other choice available and since Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah were heading the starcast, I thought of giving it a try (Even though my family was quite skeptical about the movie). By the time we came out of the theatre, we realised that our doubts were quite baseless.

In my father’s words – “Its a long time since I have seen such a meaningful movie.”

I actually jumped out of my skin because I don’t remember the last time he said this about a movie.

The movie traces the events of a Wednesday when Prakash Rathod(played by Anupam Kher), the Mumbai Commissioner of Police gets an an anonymous call demanding the release of four dangerous criminals responsible for bomb blasts across India. The caller (played by Naseeruddin Shah) warns the Commissioner that if the demand was not met, he would be forced to trigger five bombs which he has planted across Mumbai. Prakash Rathod is someone who is not ready to give in so easily to the demands of a fanatic and dispatches a team of his best men to track down the man. The caller is always a step ahead and the Commissioner realises that he cannot put the lives of so many people in jeopardy. He handpicks two of his best men, Jai Singh (played by Aamir Bashir) and Arif Khan (played by Jimmy Shergill) to hand over the four terrorists as demanded. The “Caller” on the other hand is keeping track of the police activities using a news reporter (played by Deepal Shaw) whom he sends after the police. 

What the audience gets is a thriller of a dimension which has not been seen in the Indian Cinema since a long time. Its not a conventional Bollywood movie because there is no hero. There is only a cast. Neeraj Pandey should be given a pat on his back for a brilliant screenplay. He does not waste any time in building up the well defined no nonsense plot. He does not slow down the tempo of the movie with meaningless songs or long stretched sequences. The movie has less than 2 hours of running time and is very well edited by Shree Narayan Singh. 

Anupam Kher is brilliant in his role as the Commissioner who despite being on his toes because of the threat does not lose the focus. The rest of the cast including Aamir, Jimmy Shergill and Deepal also have very believable roles.

A special word for Nasseruddin Shah. I think he deserves an Oscar for the performance. Its not the loud, over the top performances which we generally identify with. Its crafty and subtle. Yet it leaves an everlasting impact. And don’t miss the climax in which he delivers a set of dialogues which will give you a terrible gooseflesh and tears at the same time. The climax is so unexpected that it would be a good idea to put a tape on the mouth of any person who tries to tell you about it before watching the movie. 🙂 It will catch you completely unaware. 

Don’t miss this movie. I recommend it very strongly. 

Rating – 4.5/5

Director – Neeraj Pandey

Official Website – A Wednesday

Rock On – Movie Review

Some old photographs in a box – forgotten friends and dreams – a compromised life – success without happiness – a chance meeting with an old friend and nothing to talk – picking up the pieces of an unfinished story – that’s Rock on.

Many of us have gone through such feelings, when we have lost our most dear friends because of reasons beyond our understanding. When we pick up old photographs of those lost friends and find them meaningless and meaningful at the same time. What a time it was!! Did all that happened in this birth? Somehow, that is where this movie connects. Infact, that is why movies like Jaane tu and Dil Chahta Hai connected. All of us saw ourselves right there on the screen.

Rock On is a story of four friends who create a rock band called Magik. Aditya Shroff is the lead vocalist (played by Farhan Akhtar) who pens down unconventional poetry and give the band a unique voice. Joe is the lead guitarist (played by Arjun Rampal) who is very idealistic and does not believe in compromising with his principles or music. He is talented but does not know how to do the lobbying. Kedar Zaveri or K.D. is the drummer (played by Purab Kohli) who is the sole successor of a family of jewelers but prefers his drums to the suffocating family business. He is the joker of the gang and the most lively character in the movie. Rob is the keyboard player (played by Luke Kenny) who is the most level headed member of the band, someone you can rely upon to resolve the problems in minutes.

Everything was going fine and the band won the Channel V contract for an Album when the Band disintegrated and the success story died before its inception. The four of them went their own ways forgetting each other and leading a life which they never wanted to lead till Aditya’s wife (played by Prachi Desai) meets Kedar by chance ten years later and then comes across some long forgotten photographs of her husband’s life about which she was completely unaware. And thus starts the uphill task of the band’s reunion.

Rock on does not have the flamboyance of Dil Chahta Hai but is more grounded in reality. It does not reaches the standards set by DCH but is very believable in its own way. Yes, you can draw parallels but then you can do that with 99% of the movies in Bollywood. The movie works at many levels. The strings of your heart will be stirred.

The movie does not belong to a single actor. All the four lead actors never leave the skin of their roles. Arjun Rampal shows a maturity which was unexpected while Farhan is able to bring out the subtle difference in his character during the ten year span even though this is his first movie as an actor. Although he is the most successful of the four members of his band after the split, he is still angry about the way his life has turned up and it shows in his strained relationship with his wife. Prachi is the surprise package of the movie. She acts like a seasoned actress and it does not look at all that this is her first film. The scene in which she tells Aditya that she is pregnant is her best. Shabana Goswami Koel Purie as Joe’s wife is also perfect in her role of a frustrated woman who has to give up her dreams to run the business of her failed husband.

On the negative side, the movie picks up pace in the second half and does not have much of a comic dose which seems to be quite essential for the Indian audience(specially since they are lapping up crude movies with 15 over the top comic sequences). Also the movie trudges too close to the abyss of a typical Bollywood movie towards the end and it is on the verge of loosing its unique identity.

The music composed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is very apt and suits the mood of the movie like a glove. And the concert at the end of the movie will want you to get up and dance. A good story, crazy music, well etched roles and good acting. What else do we want?

Directed by – Abhishek Kapoor

Rating  – 3.5/5

Love Story 2050 – Movie Review

What could have been the first Indian sci-fi movie and a turning point in the Indian cinema turns out to be a damp squib. The movie reminded me of 10,000 B.C. and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. 10,000 B.C. because the promo of the movie were very promising to say the least and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom because I consider that movie a classic example of how a director can castrate a beautiful and fresh story. Love Story 2050 had a story which most of our movies are lacking now a days. It could have turned into one of the best movies of the year, but alas, just showing a “Star Wars” inspired Mumbai does not mean good direction.

Karan(Harman Baweja) is an only son of a multimillionaire who is very much deprived of love and affection as his mother passed away when he was ten and his father has no time for him. Sana(Priyanka Chopra) is a sweet and shy typical Bollywood heroine who is quite opposite to Karan. A few meetings and songs later, both fall in love. Boman Irani plays the eccentric scientist called Dr. Yatinder Khanna who is Karan’s uncle and on the verge of making a time machine. The couple is about to get married when tragedy strikes and Sana dies in an accident and Karan has to take a journey to 2050 to get back his lady love.

The movie takes inspiration from so many Hollywood movies that its mind boggling. Its hard to believe that the Mumbai skyline would undergo such a drastic and sea change in the next 42 years. Maybe the movie should have been titled Love Story 2350. The graphics are straight out of Star Wars with flying cars and laser guns. The female robot is straight out of Bicentennial Man” while Boo, the robotic teddy bear is copied from the movie “Artificial Intelligence“. Boman Irani’s character reminds one of Dr. Brown from the movie “Back to the Future“. The movie also defies our understanding of reincarnation. If Sana died in 2008, then she must be 42 years old in 2050 after her rebirth, but she is very much a young and successful pop star. Maybe she was taking a break in between and spending some time with our Gods. Dr. Khanna does not find it hard to fix a robot functioning on A.I. in 2050 although the technology has taken giant leaps. And yes, some scenes are shamefully lifted from the the above mentioned movies.

The movie is bearable in the first half when the couple is in 2008 and the love story is developing. It has its own moments although they are very few in number. The second half drags as there are too many unwanted scenes which could have been left at the editor’s table. I could not understand why the Mortal Combat sequence was there in the movie. The movie needs a very heavy editing to make it bearable specially towards the end.

Harman, who is touted as the next superstar, is good enough for his first movie, although its not a dream debut like Hrithik’s. He needs to watch his diction and needs to work on the emotional scenes. His starts squeaking when he cries. Priyanka is passable. Boman Irani overdoes the act a little bit at times although he does not have much of a role. Archana Puran Singh manages to raise a few laughs in her blink-and-she-is-gone role. The music is already topping the charts and is good. “Mausam Achanak ye badla kyun” and “Milo na milo” are certainly above average songs.

A terrific story gone wasted and a terrible amount of money too. But still i would not like to trash it completely as I have seen worse in the past few months. A two out of five as the movie didn’t turn out to be a sheer torture like Tashan. 😀

Rating – 2/5

Director – Harry Baweja

Official Site – http://www.lovestory2050.com/

Sarkar Raj – Movie Review

After shocking and terrifying the masses with “RGV ki Aag” and “Darling”, Ram Gopal Verma is back with the sequel of his most successful movie in recent times – Sarkar. Frankly speaking, I could never understand how a director who made Satya, can make movies like Aag. Thankfully, Sarkar Raj pulls up Ramu and he is in his top form.

The movie picks up where Sarkar left, but like our good old soap operas on the idiot box, the plot jumps two years in future. Shankar Nagre (Abhishek Bachchan)  has now completely taken his father’s place as Sarkar and his father(Amitabh Bachchan) is nothing more than a opinion provider and someone who can help with his contacts and pull in the crowds. Enters Anita Rajan (Aishwarya Rai), who is keen to set up a power plant in a rural area of Maharashtra but the only catch is that 5 villages and 40,000 people will have to relocate. Subhash Nagre refuses to help but his son talks him into helping Anita as he thinks that the project will be beneficial for Maharashtra in the long term. Soon, Shankar starts a campaign to convince the people of the villages to be displaced and is almost successful when the trouble starts. Things are not as simple as they seem to be and there are vested forces at work and this project turns into a landmine of tricks and betrayal. I would not like to go deeper into the movie as it would give away the plot which has its own share of surprises and shocks.

If you have liked Sarkar, then you would like Sarkar Raj too. Although comparison with the first movie is inevitable but the movie lives up to its successor. Abhishek Bachchan is at par with his father and both of them compliment each other perfectly well. Aishwarya is also good as the woman in power who is still helpless and groping with the system and her father. The movie has a dark feel to it and is too serious. Although no one will expect comedy scenes in such a movie, but I was wondering throughout the movie that when was the last time this family had a laugh or a good time? And Ramu used a lot of different camera angles which didn’t make sense to me. There were some scenes which almost made me dizzy because of the erratic and haphazard way they were shot. On the other side, some scenes were very effective because of the way light was used in them. Well, that’s Ramu for us. Always trying new things and not afraid of failing.

And yes, before you ask, there is ample scope for part three. Go ahead and watch it if you liked Sarkar and if you want to find out what finally happened to the Nagre family.

Rating – 3.5/5 

Director – Ram Gopal Verma