Bairavaa Review

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Dangal Movie Review

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Dangal
Cast: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Girish Kulkarni, Aparshakti Khurrana, Sanya Malhotra
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Rating: 4/5

First they ignore you,
Then they laugh at you,
Then they fight you,
Then you win.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games are years away. Geeta Phogat (Zaira Wasim, Fatima Sana Shaikh) has just returned to Balali, her village in Haryana, after months of preparation at the National Sports Academy in Patiala. Something about her has changed. She isn’t exactly the same girl her father, former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan), trained. She is more confident, ambitious, better skilled and ready to take on the world by storm.

On the other hand, the rustic Mahavir wants to keep things simple. The tough patriarch wants his daughter to remain focused on the elusive international wrestling medals for India. He doesn’t like the way Geeta has been sucked into the new training regime. He thinks his methods are better than the coach’s at the academy.

Mahavir wants a son to fulfil his dream. (YouTube)

This is the beginning of a war that’s surprisingly physical and abnormally mental. He challenges Geeta for a bout where he would test her newly acquired skills. As absurd as it sounds, the burly former wrestler, indeed fights his own daughter with all his might. He loses and with it, the years of conditioning of women and male domination are thrown out of the window.

This is the point where director Nitesh Tiwari had to decide the hero of the film: Will Mahavir curb his instincts and become an even more fierce coach, or will he let Geeta explore the horizon? He picks the first.

Chapter 1: Mission Impossible

Mahavir has four daughters after some years. (YouTube)

It is the early 1980s and wrestlers are treated as local heroes. This is yet not the time for gym-toned bodies and common folks like to believe that wrestlers are physically superior to them.. On top of that, Mahavir Singh Phogat is a former national champion. Now a government servant, Phogat, who wears a gold ring and a silver-plated watch, has a volatile temper and wants a son to carry his legacy forward.

Listen: Aamir Khan’s Dangal jukebox

Such sentiments have already taken Haryana to the wrong side of the gender equality debate by the beginning of the ’90s. His apologetic wife (Sakshi Tanwar) shows how you start liking your oppressor because there is nowhere else to go. Not so directly, though. Tanwar’s comic timing tries to deflect the focus from her life to the little girls who are forced to fight the local chauvinists because their father has decided to transform them into world-class wrestlers.

Chapter 2: Pride And Prejudice

Geeta’s gait and walk show her confidence. Remember it’s still early ‘90s. (YouTube)

Mahavir is doing it because he has a dream to fulfil, but the girls have taken up wrestling because they are tired of cringe-worthy men and unrepentant boys. No wonder, they get their first boy-versus-girl fight because the organisers believed, “Agar apne pehalwano ko sher se bhi lada dega toh itne log nahi aayenge,” (You won’t sell these many tickets even if your boys fight a lion).

Chennai 600028 2nd Innings Movie Review

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Years have passed; the uber cool fun gang of cricketers get old. They are no more single, not as passionate in cricket as they once used to be with family burden taking the front seat. But there is one thing that still keeps them together which is their friendship. So here we have the Shark team reuniting to save a love life of one of their friends. Were they able to do it? Check out the film.

Venkat Prabhu is best when it comes to using some of the nostalgic moments in a best way. Here again, be it the dance choreography in ‘Soppana Sundari’, that ‘bowling or fielding ah’ comedy, he has perfectly infused some of his best previous film moments adequately to boost the proceedings.

The first part had an ideal blend of cricket, sentiment, love, friendship and a seesaw battle with the rivals and nothing looked force-fitted. But here, we feel there is a slight compromise with the overall script to make it more edgy for neutral audience to enjoy. To make the game more interesting, VP had given an added weightage to the opponent which leads to a more intense battle. The way cricket is linked to the proceedings in the second half looks interesting and enjoyable.

One of the toughest jobs as a director while making a sport based film is to create suspenseful moments that the audience would not predict. There is moment where a ball is hit at Premji Amaran; it is a crucial wicket. We know how good a fielder he is in the 1st part. So did he catch it? Most of us would think he would since we know it cannot be dropped. So what happens? Check it out in theatres. That scene is handled very well.

 

As regards performance, Vaibhav gets it perfect. All that Siva has to do is to look at the camera and say a normal dialogue which is enough to bring the roof down. Venkat Prabhu has brought in lots of interesting elements such as his digs on online reviewers, wives at the match and commenatary of Badava Gopi to name a few.

Yuvan’s songs and BGM work big time for the film. However, a couple of songs could have been easily put away. Especially the ‘House Party’ number which looks a complete misfit to the situation. The screenplay is pretty fast; KL Praveen’s editing needs to be lauded for that. More so for the title song which is made from the collection of numerous fan videos, a fascinating edit work that is.

Love is the core purpose for all the struggles but since its essence gets hidden behind the sub-plot called cricket, you are not able to relate emotionally to the situation at places.

Chennai 28-II will satisfy the audience who adores Venkat Prabhu’s brand of comedies as you have plenty of them in it. There has been a lot of work behind comedy portions, loads of them were made in a subtle way which would only grab your attention while watching the second time.

 

In short, Venkat Prabhu has played an enjoyable second innings.

Verdict: An enjoyable second innings REVIEW BOARD RATING
3

( 3.0 / 5.0 )

Maaveeran Kittu Review

The title of Suseenthiran’s new film, Maaveeran Kittu, suggests a look at the life and times of the LTTE militant Sathasivam Krishnakumar, who was called Kittu. (This film’s protagonist, played by Vishnu Vishal, is even named Krishnakumar.) And while the broad beats of Suseenthiran’s story are similar – an arrest, a mysterious disappearance – this Kittu is a Dalit graduate who wages a quiet war against caste discrimination in a village in Madurai.

He isn’t even much of a “maaveeran,” at least not the way we know from our cinema. When confronted by an upper-caste elder for “touching” an upper-caste girl (Kittu was just taking her to the hospital), he apologises meekly. He fails in his attempt to teach an upper-caste cop (Selvaraj, snarled by Harish Uthaman) a lesson. He isn’t even much of a protagonist. He’s more a pawn. There’s a fascinating film to be made about this Kittu’s life and times, but Maaveeran Kittu isn’t it.

Viewed from a social angle, any film that talks about the evils of caste and the efforts to bring about equalisation is automatically important. But viewed from a cinematic angle – after all, that is the chosen medium – an important subject isn’t enough. The filmmaker needs to be less of a social activist, more of a storyteller – a compelling one.

Genre Drama
Director Suseenthiran
Cast Vishnu Vishal, Sridivya, R Parthiban
Storyline A young man tackles caste conflicts in his village
Bottomline A drama with very little… drama

Suseenthiran’s only concession to narrative excitement is the little twist that changes our perception of an event. Otherwise, this is a dull drama, shockingly reliant on dialogue to move the plot along as well as make its big points (most of them from Parthiban’s character, a kind of message-dispensing machine). The film begins with a voiceover that lays out the situation in the village, and people keep talking. And talking. The low point is when the Dalits get themselves their own bus, and a little girl exclaims, “Hai! Pudhu bus! Inime nadakka thevayilla.”

There are many narrative threads, but no strong centre around which they cohere. There’s the love story between Kittu and upper-caste Gomathi (Sridivya, who seems speak without moving her lips). Suseenthiran shows us what happens to another inter-caste couple, and those events could have cast a shadow over this romance. There’s the conflict between Kittu and Selvaraj. There’s the activist (Parthiban) who fights for the rights of his people. Then there’s Kittu himself, who’s first seen bathing a buffalo. He dreams of becoming a collector, but move the plot along destiny leads him elsewhere. The film – set, for no apparent reason, in the 1980s – keeps shifting focus. We stop caring.

Characters come and go. Like Soori. You want to ask him what he is doing in the film, but he probably doesn’t know either. Major plot points – where is Kittu? will Gomathi betray him? what will Kittu do at the end? – are treated with such disregard for suspense and drama that you wonder if the film was made from a screenplay or an essay.

Imman’s background score tries to compensate, but it’s too much. Everything is generic – the duets, the situations, the characters. There are no shades. Everyone’s defined by a single, simple adjective. Selvaraj is evil. The Parthiban character is good. Kittu is earnest. Suseenthiran is uninvolved. The audience is too.

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