Movie Massala

For the love of movies

Year: 2016

5 Young ‘Bad Guys’ in Commercial Bollywood Cinema

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For years villains have been an integral part of our movies. Even though the protagonists in our Hindi films have always had the last laugh, yet it is the antagonist that makes them look larger than life. Since years now, the antagonists in our movies have evolved like no other character has. While the heroes’ characters are more or less cut out from the same skin, it is the antagonist’s character that has changed many a garb, many a persona, many a mode. All these years we have had some baddies, the names of whom have been etched in our memories. These characters have been able to leave a lasting impression in our minds with the likes of Kancha Cheena, Gabbar Singh, Mogambo, Shakaal, ‘Loin’ and so many more. In fact the evolution of the baddies has made the film writers challenge themselves to chalk out characters that can be bigger than the heroes.

Now we all know that the bigger the villain, the sweeter is the revenge that the hero succeeds in getting. That’s the fodder that audience relishes the most. In spite of how powerful the baddie is depicted in the movies, the hero must be able to succeed and yet all the strength, all the manpower, all the grandeur that the villain accumulates; everything gets diminished by the much loved hero. This not only makes the audience feel that they must and they can overcome the negative in their lives but also creates an ‘out there’ character that needs to be squashed. Nevertheless, over the years, baddies have evolved into people who are not developed as the larger than life persona with added histrionics, but people who are almost like the hero with just a streak of negative that needs more of a psychological strength to defeat than physical. Having said that, it is difficult to ignore that as the heroes beefed up to take on their role as the defeater, the villains beefed up too, in order to match up the strength. In the recent years, we have noticed some superb villains who have matched up to our heroes in every way and have emerged a winner with their performances on screen.


Who would have thought that after a blink and miss appearance in the film ‘Stanley ka Dabba’, Vidyut will emerge as a force to reckon with in his debut movie ‘Force’. More than John it was Vidyut’s muscle power that was talked about in the movie. That year, Vidyut got nominated for almost all the awards for his debut. Now, we don’t just have an action hero here, we have a stuntman who is a league of his own. With having learnt Kalaripayattu since the age of 3, Vidyut is pretty proficient in various other forms of martial arts and is now focusing on Anti Gravity Yoga and Suspension TRX as a part of his workout regime. With the movie ‘Commando’, Vidyut established himself as the new age action actor who did not use a body double or cables for his stunts in the movie.

BAD guy 1

Bestowed with good looks, Vidyut has made his presence felt in movies like ‘Bullet Raja’ and the Tamil movie ‘Thuppakki’. With successful appearances in Tamil and Telugu films, Vidyut is now busy with ‘Commando 2’ and ‘Yaara’ along with a few other projects. This vegetarian hunk is a promoter of healthy living and runs an initiative to teach self-defense techniques to women. We surely are looking forward to seeing him more on screen in 2016-17.


Tahir made a swift, smooth entry into the baddie world after making his screen debut with ‘Kismat Love Paisa Dilli’. He also made a brief appearance in ‘Kai Po Che!’ and ‘One by Two’, but it was his official film (baddie) debut with ‘Mardaani’, where Tahir made his presence felt in the most chilling way. Mardaani gave us a character, Karan Rastogi, who was ideal for women’s despise. Playing a human trafficking kingpin, he brought down chills along the spine with his psychotic representation that was loosely inspired from the American series Breaking Bad. His persona on screen was so intimidating that in spite of his good looks he was hated like no other. Without displaying any muscle power he was able to terrorize the audience by his sheer presence on screen.

BAD guy 2

The character fetched him a Filmfare Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and many other accolades like “The Times hotlist ’14” in the best actor in a negative role category and he won the best actor in a negative role at the Screen Awards. Currently Tahir is busy with shooting for another negative role in John Abraham and Sonakshi Sinha starrer Force 2 (scheduled 2016) and Kushan Nandy’s action thriller, Babumoshai Bandookbaaz alongside Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Chitrangda Singh (scheduled 2016-17). While we wait for him back on the screen, keep your eyes open for this firebrand performer.


Fashion-model turned actor, Freddy Daruwala is the face of the head, sleeper cells, in the A R Murugadoss’ ‘Holiday’, in a role that was played by Vidyut Jamwal in the Tamil movie Thupakki. Though the role of the terrorist was cut out to depict the new modern face of terror, the portrayal fell a little short. Yet, Freddie did not fail to impress. His good looks and sincere rendering of the role of a terrorist comes through.

Bad Guy 3

Freddie won First Runners Up of Haywards Mr. India World and is deemed to be one of Manish Malhotra’s favourite fashion models. His modeling days and struggle to get him into acting brought him to play Sexy Sam in a lesser-known Punjabi film “Mummy Punjabi”. Though that’s a role he is rather embarrassed of, yet that is not the end. He is now looking forward to playing some positive characters and seeks to establish himself as a hero in the industry. We certainly do wish him luck!


Sudheer Babu is a former Badminton player and the brother-in-law of Telugu actor Mahesh Babu. He made his debut as a leading hero in Telugu Film Industry with the movie ‘Siva Manasulo Sruthi’. After Sajid Nadiawala’s team, who watched his stunts and work out personal videos in YouTube noticed him; he was approached to play the antagonist in the Tiger Shroff starrer ‘Baaghi’. His well-chiseled and bulky physique made him a worthy opponent to Tiger Shroff who is at his fittest best.

Bad Guy 4

Sudheer also got to showcase his Kalaripayattu moves in the film that were exceptionally choreographed. Sudheer had ample scope to display his histrionics as well, but he refrained from creation a caricatured version of the villain. And that is a mark of a balanced actor. Sudheer is now poised to take on very many assignments in the Hindi movies as well and we do hope to see him more often.


Of the above, Nikitin Dheer seems to have tasted success the most as an antagonist in the movies. Debuting with ‘Jodha Akbar’ playing Sharifuddin, he was instantly noticed what with his good looks and his delivery and well built frame. ‘Mission Istanbul’ came next and here as well Nikitin made his presence felt, even though the movie did not fare well.

Nikitin Dheer

With ‘Ready’ and ‘Dabangg 2’ he definitely garnered more praise as the villain with the most muscle but it was his portrayal as the main antagonist, Tangaballi, in ‘Chennai Express’ that established him well in the industry. His robust frame and on screen presence was well appreciated. In fact, that the slightly built SRK beat him up in the climax scene was rather hilariously unbelievable. Well, as they say anything is possible in Bollywood. Nevertheless, we wish to see Nikitin achieve many more milestones in the Hindi films.


This post was first published on High On Films.

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Movie Review: Dhanak

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Cast: Hetal Gadda, Krrish Chhabria, Vipin Sharma, Gulfam Khan, Vibha Chibber, Vijay Maurya
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor
Music: Tapas Relia


There’s always one thing that you can expect from Nagesh Kukunoor and that is a story that would make you smile. If Dor was the kind of movie that made your heart warm then Dhanak is the one that will totally melt it. This story of a brother-sister duo takes your heart away right from the beginning where the premise is set to have the eyesight restored for the boy as promised by his sister, before his ninth birthday. Yes, that’s what the whole story is about! Nevertheless, from here to there, this is a journey not just across miles through the desert that the duo undertake to conclude their mission but a journey of emotions and experiences, that they gather along the way. A journey that changes their lives forever.


D1Pari (Hetal Gadda) and Chhotu (Krrish Chhabra) are orphaned when Chhotu was just 4 years old and now they live with their Uncle (Vipin Sharma) and aunt in rural Rajasthan. Chhotu is vision impaired since then and his sister suggests that he would get his vision back by his ninth birthday, which is just around the corner. When Pari suggests this to Chhotu, little does she know how this would ever happen but once when she sees her idol Shah Rukh Khan on an eye donation poster, she believes it is he who can help them. As soon as she gets to know that the actor is shooting somewhere in Rajasthan, almost 300 kilometres away, they set out to meet him and have their mission accomplished. This journey takes them to various places and they get to meet an assortment of characters, some who help them and some, well….who don’t. How a little girl manages to keep her promise to her brother and keeps her resolve alive inspite of adversity is the story of Dhanak.


D2Just like Dhanak (rainbow) has many colours, we witness various shades in this one as well. It is the camaraderie of the lead child actors that binds this well written story and keeps your interest alive till the end. The various other colours are brought in by the supporting cast who are well placed and earnest in their portrayal. The child actors show tremendous chemistry throughout the movie. It is not their portrayal of hugging each other or declaring their love for each other or over the top emotional spectacle, but the cute little bickering that they have-whether over their likeness for their respective Bollywood idol or simply their contrasting individuality- that makes this movie a delightful experience. Pari, the angel, is that sweet little optimistic bubble who only knows how to look upwards and Chhotu is the mighty spirited cherub who does not let his disability define him in any way. While on their journey they do have forked viewpoints, but they do manage to come to a safe conclusion, nevertheless.


D3Even though the fable is more on the verge of reality it still focuses on how fairytales can come true with a little bit of will power, fearlessness, benign intentions and innocent imagination. Nagesh Kukunoor has been able to bring out the child characters so beautifully that you are bound to feel the magic that ensues throughout. With the tiny little messages sprinkled throughout the narrative, like, ‘believe in others‘, ‘trust your instincts‘, ‘look inwards for magic‘, you, as an audience, are forced to evaluate your own beliefs as you practice in today’s world. Their infectious goodness and well spirited humour makes you smile at their banter, support and strength. Rajasthan has been brought to vivid character by the rustic and realistic cinematography of Chirantan Das. The music from Tapas Relia is honest just like the movie and forms an extension to the beautiful narrative.
This is story-telling at its best- surely Nagesh Kukunoor is a gem at it (Dor is other brilliant example). It is simple without being simplistic, it is a feel-good adventure without being rickety, it is dazzling without being disconcerting. This one surely has its heart in its right place and promises you ample smiles even as you walk away from the auditorium. Do watch it with your whole family- they deserve it!
Here’s why:

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Movie Review: Baaghi- A Rebel For Love

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Cast: Tiger Shroff, Shraddha Kapoor, Sudheer Babu, Sunil Grover
Director: Sabbir Khan
Music: Amaal Mallik, Meet Bros, Ankit Tiwari, Manj Musik, Julius Packiam


When you are an action loving cine-goer and something like Kalaripayattu, Kung Fu and bone breaking action is served then there is  nothing that can stop you from loving this one. Obviously a no-brainer, this baaghi3one does not intend to bring any thing new for the audience in terms of story/script/screenplay however there is entertainment bharpoor. From the initial shot to the end, the movie belongs to Tiger and his sincerity comes through in every shot.


While watching the movie, I was constantly reminded of Kung Fu Panda (the first outing) where Po, the most unlikely of the Kung Fu master comes to learn from Master Shifu and how he turns around to becoming the best at what he’s there for, while Tai Lung, the previous favourite remains a foe. Now here as well Ronnie (Tiger Shroff), an arrogant lad, comes to learn Kalaripayattu from his teacher/guru who baaghi4teaches him in ways that Shifu adopted as well and when he becomes proficient, he learns that there is a Tai Lung he is required to fight with, who took his strength for granted. Along the way comes Sia (Shradhha Kapoor) who is obsessed with rain and finds instances to meet with Ronnie over and over again while on the sidelines there is Raghav (Sudheer Babu) who falls for her charms as well and wishes to win her over even of it means kidnapping her and taking her off to Bangkok.


Ronnie takes it upon himself to bring Sia back from the clutches of Raghav after fighting and crashing the massive army of fighters the latter has. The first half of the movie fizzes past with song and dance sequences and showcasing the skills material arts has taught baaghi5Ronnie, but the second half is primarily where Ronnie gets to exercise his strength. It is amazing how a beaten to death story (since Ramayan era!), unimpressive dialogues, non-convincing emotions and distorted sequence of events still keeps you hooked on to your seat. The credit solely goes to the histrionics displayed by Ronnie on screen with utter sincerity. And oh, by the way, e also get to see Sia throw in some punches just like Tigress in Kung Fu Panda!


baaghi6Shabbir Khan does not deviate from the masala formula and gives us a movie that is half baked but Tiger Shroff’s hard work and grit sails it through. Tiger has shown immense growth since his debut (and his last release) and he does his best in this tailor made role. The craft that he displays in the action sequences is well choreographed and Tiger moves like a well rehearsed dancer. His moves are lyrical and crisp. He makes all the high end stunts look like a child’s play and that’s the beauty. If there is one this that we would want more from him is to see him emote well. Nevertheless, Tiger surrects a movie that would have otherwise dwindled. Having said that, I would not ignore the hard work put in by the rest of the cast as well. Sudheer Babu looks menacing as the antagonist. And it is always a bonus if the villain stands as tall as the hero of the movie and Sudheer barely fails at that.


The music of the movie is a mixed bag and only some of the songs like Cham Cham, Sab Tera and Agar Tu Hota are worth a mention. The cinematography is great throughout the movie, whether it is Kerala or Krabi. If you are still guessing whether you should watch this one or not, well, our only opinion is that if action is your thing, you would enjoy it. Here’s proof:


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Movie Review: The Jungle Book

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Cast: Neel Sethi, Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o
Director: Jon Favreau
Music: John Debney
Book adaptations are always a challenge, nevertheless, this remake of  the 1967 classic of the same name, is one of the best we have seen in the recent times. Nostalgia overpowering, when we walked into the theatre to watch this movie, we were expecting to meet friends we had left behind somewhere in the childhood. Those familiar voices, those familiar characters, the familiar story, the familiar jungle came rushing back. And we embraced it with the similar warmth that we felt every time “Jungle-Jungle baat chali hai” played in the distance.
TJB2One might argue, how a repeated classic can rake up the same emotions every  time. Well, my friend, that’s the magic created by Rudyard Kipling almost 100 years back that ceases to diminish its effect on young minds. The story is so relatable and inspiring that you are forced to pay attention to every minute detail on screen. Not only is the CGI to perfection but the cast of characters seems to fit the bill perfectly as well. Jon Favreau has ensured that some of the best voices are cast so as to leave a lasting memory of the characters. With the nostalgia factor riding high with this one, not much has been ruffled in the screenplay (I liked that Ka was given a female voice, inspite of the character being male in the original).
TBJ3The centre of attraction, naturally, is Mowgli which is played by Neel Sethi in the most adorable act. Neel has been able to bring Mowgli to life as if the role has been written for him. He not only acts well, but his comfort with the camera is amazing. Not even once do you feel that this is his debut outing. The courage, the humour, the innocence that the character required is projected so very well by him. We’re sure, good projects coming his way would be done with great justice by him in the future as well. The voice of Ben Kingsley as Bagheera is quite commanding. He is the one who is the mentor/guide in Mowgli’s life and shares wisdom with him like “If you can’t learn to run with the pack, one of these days you’ll be someone’s dinner.” Baloo with the voice of Bill Murray is the one who shows the fun side of the jungle to Mowgli. Nevertheless, he has his own share of wisdom to share with him, “They want to send you to the man-village? I say, you can be a man right here!” And the song by Terry Gilkyson between them “The Bare Necessities” is great, especially because it is sung by the artistes themselves.
TJB1The other artistes did justice to their part as well, like Scarlett Johansson the voice of Ka, Lupita Nyong’o the voice of Raksha and Giancarlo Esposito the voice of Akela but it is the voice of Idris Elba as Shere Khan with that menacing tonality that made for an impressive character. His voice was simply perfect for the air of threat that emanates from Shere Khan. We are a fan of Christopher Walken who plays the voice of King Louie and he surely means business. We are amazed how he takes every character and fits into it so beautifully. King Louie threatens but endears. His ignorance is winsome though he is the one who does his best to destroy Mowgli.
THE JUNGLE BOOKThe action in the movie is amazing too. From the first sequence when Bagheera is chasing Mowgli to when Mowgli is being chased by King Louie in the ancient temple and every other sequence in between, everything looks so surreal. It has a kind of a dreamlike quality to the way the jungle is portrayed. Where the wolves and the other animals gather for a meet, to the trees to the waterfalls to the man-village to the ancient temple, looks like we are one with the characters in the jungle- like the whole of the jungle is a part of our life. Amazing what CGI and animation can do to our world. Much appreciation for the animators and the vision of the director.
The narrative of the story is sprinkled with a great deal of wise lines that can be life-lessons for young children. This one is surely a must watch for kids who get a chance at understanding the epic-ness of this story and for the adults who revisit the treasure of nostalgia that it brings. We hope we have made a strong case for you to go watch it. Here’s what to expect:

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Priyanka Chopra: Stiletto trotting all over the world

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Over the last few years Priyanka Chopra has been taking the international entertainment by storm. She has been creating a niche for herself in an arena that is predominantly white. In spite of how much Hollywood is tolerant of the artistes of colour it has been always a toughie for Indian artistes to make way into mainstream international entertainment. Of course, we have had the likes of Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Neena Gupta, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan and so many others who have exhibited their talent overseas, however, we are yet to see an Indian actor play a female main protagonist in a series or a movie. Priyanka Chopra is well way ahead into making that change, what with her successful appearance in the international entertainment arena.

Priyanka-Chopra-1Emerging from Miss World pageant winner in the year 2000, to a successful career in mainstream Hindi films, to an International singing sensation and finally to a Hollywood heartthrob. She has done it all, one might say. But Priyanka definitely does not stop at just that. She seems to be jet setting across the world to make her footprints visible from the moon. An actress, singer, producer, philanthropist, she dons many hats and yet her head never seem to rest. It is so exciting to see her always on the move, always ready to take on exciting new projects, always keen on joining hands with the best names in the business.

Her reeling success can be attributed to her will to succeed, especially in the times of adversity. We are witness to how she has always risen like a phoenix when the media had written her off, or not so completely. She kicks off to a new journey even before she has completely closed the door behind and that is what makes her a force to reckon with. Jet-setting all over the world she pauses for just a while, seemingly to breathe in just enough to sustain herself and then packs her bags off to gain some more.

Her recent debut as a presenter at the Oscars was one such event that turned the course of her life as an entertainer. That brief stint at the Academy stage made more headlines than her National Award for the film ‘Fashion’, I guess. Her dresses, her demeanor, her coy smile and her overall personality triumph all make her one much sought after personality even in the Hollywood circuits. But she is not at all just that and one might not want to compare her appearance to that of other celebrities on the Cannes Film Festival Red Carpet. Her courage and wit emanates from the way that she walks, talks and manages her liaisons within India and abroad.

Priyanka-Chopra-2That she is a fine actress cannot be refuted either. Her choice of cinema and her body of work speaks volumes about the kind of statement she wants to make for her audience. Even from her earliest remarkable performance in Aitraaz she had carved a space for herself in the industry. Subsequently with films like FashionSaat Khoon Maaf and Barfi she further strengthened her position as a fine actress. Her (not so popular) outing in What’s Your Rashee may not have garnered numbers at the box office but that did not stop the critics from appreciating her work. Her portrayals of 12 different characters, stark from one another, were not only admirable but also evinced that she is capable of pulling off any character on screen. Her physical makeover in Don further helped her create a niche for herself and she was considered as one of the fittest actress in the country. Her appearances in Mujhse Shaadi KarogiKamineyAgneepath made her a favourite to play the girl next-door image. Playing a strong character like Mary Kom, in the movie by the same name, she was able to prove that no feat is tough for her to achieve. She was not only convincing in that role, what with going at length to transform herself physically,but she also gathered great respect from masses and critics alike for her acting prowess. Her recent conquest in Bajirao Mastani made the whole country love her even more.

Her exceptionally varied choice of characters and the roles that she has picked up all the years has made her a favourite for her audience and critics alike. She has had her share of failure as well but she has been able to bounce back ever so strongly, all the time. Taking on new challenges like establishing herself as an international singing sensation was no mean feat. Her being nominated for her single “In My City” at the World Music Awards is a major achievement in itself. Her philanthropic activities as a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador for Child Rights saw her promoting various causes around the globe and she continues to be extremely vocal about women and child issues. She managed to make the whole world sit up and take notice when she grabbed a role in the ABC television series Quantico and became the first South Asian actress to win a People’s Choice Award.

Priyanka-Chopra-3“Nowhere to go but everywhere to be…” when she says this, you just want to nod your head and say, ‘ah well, we know!’ So when she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and beat him in the wing-eating contest we were like, ‘wow! that’s our Punjabi kudi’. And that’s just the least bit about her that we are so proud of. She is so much more that just a pretty face and she has been able to prove that time and again with her conquests. She is presently shooting for Quantico and the movie Baywatch (where she plays a negative role) simultaneously and we wonder how she manages all of that, especially when it involves traveling every few days. But that’s who she possibly is. Having all that on the platter and doing much more than what is laid out makes her an achiever all through the way. Her tireless pursuits are just about to yield results now, seemingly.

The government of India just honored her with Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, in 2016 and that is a matter of great pride for this self-made woman. Stiletto trotting all over the world, Priyanka emerges as an accomplished international star. And she seems to have just begun! Go rule the world, girl!

This post was first published on High On Films.

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Movie Review: Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)

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Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Ratna Pathak Shah, Rajat Kapoor, Fawad Khan, Siddharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt

Direction: Shakun Batra

Music: Amaal Malik


When life gives you lemons…ah, well. Just be prepared, life is going to give you lemons, in abundance sometimes. This movie out here is one such lemon, which is fresh, fragrant and enjoyable but sometimes gets pretty sour. The story of Kapoor & Sons is the star of the move and the well-placed actors lend much help to elevate the characters they portray in the movie. After Shakun Batra’s last outing (Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu), I was looking forward to this one. Especially, because that was one movie that I thoroughly loved, and have watched multiple times.
k3The story is set in the lush green countryside in Cunnoor where Harsh (Rajat Kapoor) and Sunita (Ratna Pathak Shah) live with the eldest member of the family Mr. Kapoor (Rishi Kapoor) who is practicing playing dead for days. It’s when he suffers a heart attack that the sons Arjun (Sidharth Kapoor) and Rahul (Fawad Khan) come rushing back home from abroad. Rahul is an established writer/author and has a real estate business as well in London. Arjun is a struggling writer who has just quit his job to pursue writing and is presently a bar tender at a New Jersey bar.
k2Now that they are all together under one roof, we get to witness their insecurities, grudges, jealousies and pain. The bickering parents are struggling through a financial crisis and heart break/cheating. The siblings have their own grudges they have not been able to overcome and the granddad is trying to bring the family together, holding on to a wish of having everyone in a single frame titled Kapoor & Sons. On the surface the family drama seems simple but within its complex sub-plots is hidden lies that make the family comfort each other less and confront each other more.
k4Tia (Alia Bhatt) the neighbor is that one piece in this jigsaw that manages to bring them all together is her subtle, chic way. She is like a whiff of fresh breath that brings some light-hearted allure on screen. With her amidst the Kapoors, she manages to play her character just apt to be adored. Fawad playing the ‘perfect’ child of the family makes for a perfect impact and Sidharth with his confused, brooding-self manages to hold his character watertight. Rishi Kapoor is just too charming, even when he is playing a dirty old hag with heavy prosthetics. It is the characters of Ratna and Rajat that held my heart and I could relate to the most. The couple has managed to bring a flickering marriage to life beautifully. Their angst, their negativity, their absurdity, their grief, all shine through beautifully by their portrayal of a couple struggling to get their marriage and family together.
k5As far as the technical aspects go, the cinematography is beautiful especially in exhibiting the lush beauty of Cunnoor and the camera movements during the arguments as the characters shuttle from one room to another is exceptional. The screenplay is faultless as well. Not even for a moment you feel that the scene is off track. The music is likeable too with “Bolna” shining all the way, especially since it played in the background.
With tears and laughs galore, this one is a winner all the way. I am sure Karan Johar is extremely proud of the way the work has turned out. And of course, the message that the movie tries to deliver comes through as well- whether you love them or you hate them, it is the family that binds you, no matter what. And when they are not there, well, that’s when you realise how they hold you together. A must watch with the whole family.
Here’s what to expect:


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Movie Massala’s Top 5 Surprises of 2015

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This year has been pretty exciting for the cine-goers. Where on the one had we saw some smashing commercial hits we also managed to watch some brilliant pieces that took our hearts away. Her we list out the best five that completely were a refreshing surprise.
We hope to see more of experimental cinema to make impressive entries in the theaters in 2016.


Cast: Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Rana Daggubati , Tapsee Pannu

This is a masterpiece of a movie directed by Neeraj Pandey. Its beauty lies in its simplicity and its gripping script. The narrative is quick paced and manages to engage the audience from start to finish. It’s rare that spy thrillers like these make it to the beeline but with a screenplay that was nail biting and actors playing their parts to the hilt, this one made for a superb watch for those who enjoy a bit of adrenalin rush.

Manjhi: The Mountain Man

Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Tigmanshu Dhulia

Based on the story of Dshrath Manjhi who carved a road out of a mountain came to knowledge of the general public, thanks to this directed by Ketan Mehta. We can hardly call this movie a masterpiece or in any way a movie that would leave a long lasting impression but the earnestness portrayed by the main protagonist is extremely appreciable. Nawazuddin played his part with complete honesty making us believe in the story spanning a few decades. Radhika Apte was like a fresh breath made this slow paced movie a bit more interesting. Had the technical aspects (like make up, editing, lighting) been looked at in totality, the movie would have shone more than it did. Nevertheless, the movie stays as a landmark for Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Dum Lagake Haisha

Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Sanjai Mishra

This was one of the most adorable stories that we have watched in a long time on the silver screen. Sharat Katariya’s directorial venture makes for a nostalgic walk down memory lane where the world as we know is looking for a makeover. Prem and Sandhya’s love story warms your heart as they walk from different sides of the bridge to create their togetherness. Stirring multiple layers of emotions throughout the length of the movie, this one makes you look beyond the characters’ shortcomings. The story is excellent- it is simple yet complex and makes you want more. Not the “record-tod” blockbuster but definitely a “dumdaar” movie this year.


Cast: Ranvir Shorey, Shashank Arora, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Lalit Behl, Amita Sial

Kanu Behl’s Titli grabs you by your gut at most parts, especially the first few scenes. This is a story of a dysfunctional family in Delhi’s dark underbelly and the youngest son, Titli, who is torn between his present and the hopeful future that he secretly nurtures. The story sucks you into its dark alleys, brings you closer to the harsh realities of the strata of the society that the public largely refuses to acknowledge. It is like a wake up call, for all to take notice of the society and the way that it is growing. No, it is not a docu-drama on how one need to project oneself, but a hard-hitting reality check. Shashank Arora is a superb find who holds the character carefully and delivers an awesome debut performance (though he has performed as supporting cast before). This one is possibly the best “complete” film this year.


Cast: Richa Chaddha, Vicky Kaushal, Sanjai Mishra, Shweta Tripathi, Pankaj Tripathi

Neeraj Ghaywan in this Indo-French collaboration managed to get accolades in the Cannes this year, however the movie could find its audience in multiplexes only. That definitely does not take away from its excellence. The characters stand out completely in this social drama and the parts played by the actors bring complete justice to what is required of them. Focusing primarily on the evils that the society nurtures even in this century makes us relook at the way we perceive the world around us to evolve. Richa Chadha as Devi has played a part quite in contrast to how she comes across in her other outings and justifiably impresses. Sanjai Maishra is a hidden gem. This one is a must watch for its cinematic brilliance.


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