Posts Tagged ‘Kaveree Bamzai’

This weekend there are two releases. Shyam Benegal’s Well Done Abba and Kabir Kaushik’s Hum Tum Aur Ghost. At 76, Benegal is still in no mood to rest. Well Done Abba stars Boman Irani, Minissha Lamba and Samir Dattani and like many of Benegal’s films, its a social satire.

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – The end result is that Well Done Abba is heart-felt and intermittently funny but not flat-out delightful like Benegal’s last film Welcome to Sajjanpur. You need oodles of patience to enjoy this one. I recommend that you wait for the DVD so you can speed up things yourself – 2.5/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Despite some genuinely comic portions in which Benegal exposes the extent of double dealing and bribery involved in Indian rural politics, the film as a whole is hard to enjoy because of its sluggish pace, and because of your inability to empathize with Armaan Ali – 2.5/5 

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – Benegal’s certainly locked in a lyrical, layered screenplay here. The subject’s grim. The optimism is unique. Armaan realises along the way the power of an election coming up, the RTI Act, the mike, and the media. The state legislature debates a stolen well. The film remains a fine black comedy, which could only disappoint in parts for its weakened pace, or the director’s discomfort with a soundtrack to help with the movie’s commerce – 3/5

Shubhra Gupta (Indian Express) – But the downside of `Well Done Abba’ is that it is too lax, and, after a point, too stuffed. The pace picks up so slowly that you nearly tune out, and when post-interval, everything seems to be settling down nicely, Benegal starts throwing about long winded acronyms : spelling out the Right To Information Act can stop a movie dead – 2/5

Gaurav Malani (Indiatimes) – Despite being a trail and tribulation journey, Benegal’s direction has a feel-good charm to it. The simplicity in his storytelling is so charming that even when the film extends beyond its climax into a celebratory song, you don’t mind much. The authenticity of a rural setting is something that can never go wrong in a Shyam Benegal film – 3/5

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – It’s not the work of a helicoptering writer. It is the work of someone who has watched this life closely and carefully, so well done Ashok Mishra for the screenplay. It’s a place where there are ever more creative terms for bribes–from Diwali to Dussehra to peele Gandhiji. Where dowry is asked for three-door fridges and deewar-wala TV. Where police stations spend time registering thefts of hens, breaking the bakri’s leg, or stealing a door. Watch it and laugh. And wonder at what we have all come to. Pity about the songs though. We could have done without them – 3.5/5

Minty Tejpal (Mumbai Mirror)Well Done Abba is a sweet, whimsical political satire, quite a rare breed in Bollywood. Veteran director Shyam Benegal explores the familiar theme of corruption and inefficiency in small town India in his wry, deliberate manner, a refreshing change in these hypercharged days – 3/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – The film is a sheer delight, with the events unfolding in a breezy, comic vein which keeps the ribs relentlessly tickling. But what’s more alluring are the colourful characters and the multi-layered approach to the problems of a village which becomes a microcosm of the entire nation – 4/5

Kabir Kaushik made a brillant debut with Sehar. But nobody knows what happened to Chamku. And now its Hum Tum Aur Ghost, which looks similar to GhostTown. Arshad Warsi turns producer & writer with this one and stars alongwith Boman Irani & Dia Mirza. So, is it really Ghost Town or just another coincidence in B-town ?

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – At the end of Hum Tum aur Ghost, a character declares: kisi ne sahi kaha hai, love conquers all. Not quite. For one, love cannot conquer this muddled script, which veers between rom-com, drama and high emotion, in the most meandering way possible – 2/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Ultimately the film is predictable and tiring because it’s an interesting idea that’s been stretched way beyond its potential. The usually dependable Arshad Warsi delivers a few light moments, and Boman Irani as a friendly ghost helps muster up a couple of laughs. But director Kabeer Kaushik, who gave us the gripping cop drama Sehar, doesn’t seem to have the light-handed touch required to turn this flimsy concept into a fun-filled ride – 2/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – Body dies, soul remains, and we all seek ‘mukti’ (salvation), is a very Hindu belief. It appears a natural subject for a Hindi film. The lead actor, also the producer, credits himself for the film’s story. He could’ve acknowledged the little help from David Koepp and the makers of Ghost Town (2008). The protagonist there has his dead buddy, a ghost, follow him around for a purpose. Here he makes contact with an entire town full of ghosts – 1.5/5

Shubhra Gupta (Indian Express) – The pow-wows between the ghosts and the sole human who can see them range from the funny and the lachrymose ( cue, close-up of Warsi, eyes brimming over), but the former are few and far. The interactions between the humans are equally contrived : Armaan’s girlfriend, the glamorous editor of a fashion magazine, is always dressed to the hilt ; his assistant exists solely to declare that she’s lesbian. Gosh. All of these are actors who can make a film thoroughly enjoyable . But `Hum Tum Aur Ghost’ is not that film – 1/5

Gaurav Malani (Indiatimes) – Arshad Warsi’s debut as a writer is so ‘lifeless’ in Hum Tum aur Ghost that even his ‘spirited’ performance isn’t able to save the dead slow film from dying a slow death – 2/5 

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – I couldn’t decide what was more grating. Dia’s mile wide smile? Warsi’s scruffy drunkenness? Irani’s desperate attempt to breathe life into a leaden script? Or Shernaz Patel’s faux seriousness as Warsi’s psychiatrist (by the way, why do Bollywood psychiatrists wear spectacles and speak in an accent like Shefali Shah in Karthik Calling Karthik?) And why has Bollywood suddenly discovered diseases? It doesn’t matter. The film is so boring that it threatens to put you to sleep. Hum Tum Aur Ghost is guaranteed to make you wish someone dead – 1/5

Minty Tejpal (Mumbai Mirror) – Whenever the screenplay sags, which is quite often, Arshad starts clicking babes in bikinis or the lovebirds start singing a song, both of which merely titillate to deceive. Arshad tries his best but seems lost through the film, Dia is ditzy but decent, Boman is quite wasted while Sandhya stays spunky – 1.5/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – When it comes to performances, it’s the Arshad-Boman chemistry that crackles and invests the film with sparkle and wit. Dia Mirza too has her moments as the feisty girlfriend while Sandhya Mridul ends up mostly wasted as a sidekick. What’s even more disappointing is Shankar-Ehsan-Loy’s audio track which fails to throw up a single hummable tune – 2.5/5

Well Done Abba seems to be clear winner this week but the reviews are not as glowing as it was for Welcome To Sajjanpur.

Dhen Tedan! Its friday! And the dope is out. Dibakar Banerjee’s Love Sex Aur Dhokha. Plus Vikram Bhatt is back again and is still struggling to scare us. Sir, aapka naam hi kaafi hai ab!  He has competition only from Ramu. And the third release is Lahore. First, its LSD. Click here to read our take on it.

Anupama Chopra (NDTV)LSD falters in the second half. The second story feels too long and the last isn’t as smoothly done as the first two. But the film is a worthy experiment created by one of Bollywood’s most imaginative and original directors. Let me warn you that it is a polarizing film. You’re going to either love it or you’re going to hate it. But I strongly recommend that you don’t ignore it – 3.5/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – In the end, Love, Sex aur Dhokha is consistently gripping, although the third story strikes me as a tad contrived. You will be shocked, you will be startled, but walking out of the theatre, you know you have just seen what is possibly the most important Hindi film since Satya and Dil Chahta Hai. Not only does it redefine the concept of “realistic cinema”, it opens a world of possibilities in terms of how you can shoot films now – 4/5

Raja Sen (Rediff) – It is, as the oft-abused phrase goes, an ‘important’ film, and one you should watch if only to acquaint yourself with the way things inevitably work. It’s bleak, bittersweet, funny and markedly unglamorous, and yet you come out humming the theme tune, your head blown clear off your shoulders. Hell yeah. Welcome to adulthood, Bollywood, can we get you another beer? – 5/5

Shubhra Gupta (IE) – It holds up an unflinching mirror to the primal screws that the world turns on, and shows us the way we are. I have one minor grouse : I wanted it to be edgier, darker, but it still took me to a place where practically no current Hindi filmmaker, barring an Anurag Kashyap or a Vishal Bharadwaj, has transported me to – 4/5

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – With Love Sex Aur Dhokha, he has shown how far a Rs 3 crore budget can stretch if you have ingenuity and courage. He tells the story of three intertwined couples, Rahul and Shruti, two film school students who elope with tragic consequences; Rashmi and Adarsh, who work in a store; and Mrignayana and Prabhat, a sting specialist and a wannabe star from Meerut. It’s partly hilarious, mostly sad, yes quite misogynistic but also very unusual – 4/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – It’s a sort of flick you ideally discover without burdens of expectation: a caveat you must bear in mind, in case you were planning on rushing off to cinemas right away. Where any Bollywood movie without a gyrating, lip-synching hero perceives itself as ‘different’, this one, from an audience’s point of view, is truly an experiment – 3.5/5

Gaurav Malani (Indiatimes) – Love Sex aur Dhokha shouldn’t be restricted with tags like experimental, offbeat, path-breaking, low-budget or multiplex cinema. While it happens to be all of these, it goes beyond with its smart story and superlative storytelling to be a brilliant and entertaining film. This autobiographical account of a camera is absolutely recommended! – 4/5

Minty Tejpal (Mumbai Mirror) – For today’s liberal, urban, rich India, Love, Sex Aur Dhokha is the new age roti, kapda aur makaan, a trio of issues that need urgent undressing, sorry, addressing. LSD is totally recommended to all adult citizens, regardless of gender or political affiliations – 4/5 

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, LSD is original, innovative and ground-breaking cinema, which will shock and provoke you. The film is definitely not for the faint-hearted or those who swear by stereotypical fares, but for those who yearn for a change. The youth, especially in metros, should fall hook, line and sinker for this one. The volatile title as also the explosive content should make this low-cost film [budgeted at approx. Rs. 1.5 cr.] a commercial accomplishment! – 4/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – Don’t expect time-pass entertainment. Think beyond run-of-the-mill and see how Ekta Kapoor re-invents herself as the producer of contemporary Indian cinema’s first full-blown experimental film – 3.5/5

Vikram Bhatt’s Shaapit marks the debut of Aditya Narayan. There is something really irritating about his face. Think that might easily lead to some fear factor. Lets check if it scared the critics or not.

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Horror films are meant to get your heart racing pumping. At the end of this film, you’ll have to check for your pulse – 1.5/5

Shubhra Gupta (IE) – Bhatt’s `1920’ gave us a ghastly ghost who hung upside down, and a couple of shivery moments. Practically nothing about `Shaapit’, which has the youngest looking debutant hero after Shahid Kapoor, is scary : not the bag of skeletons which floats around a 300 year old castle, not the wailing and the screeching, and the moaning and the groaning – 1/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, SHAAPIT is truly a scary movie, which comes across as a worthy follow up to RAAZ and 1920. If you are a fan of ghost stories, SHAAPIT should be on your list of ‘things to do and watch’ this weekend. Go for it and be prepared to be spooked! – 3.5/5

Gaurav Malani (Indiatimes) – You won’t curse yourself on watching Shaapit . But then again it’s not blessed with anything extraordinary – 2.5/5

Nithya Ramani (Rediff) – There are some genuinely frightening scenes that will make you jump off your seat. Those looking for chills won’t be disappointed – 4/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – The film works not so much due to its story. Rather, it’s the way Vikram Bhatt tells his story — with a certain polish and pizzazz — that draws you in. Also, it’s Pravin Bhatt’s multi-hued cinematography which adds a lyrical quality to the film – 3/5

And the third release of the week is Lahore. Directed by Sajay Puran Singh Chauhan, it stars Farooque Shaikh, Saurabh Shukla and Sushant Singh.

Shubhra Gupta (IE) – The recently-released `Invictus’ gave us the true story of how Nelson Mandela used rugby to cement ties between blacks and whites in post-apartheid South Africa. `Lahore’ uses another sport–kick-boxing– to suggest how India and Pakistan can come together, but to much less effect – 2/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – It’s well-intentioned, has its heart in the right place, and it’s an engaging enough watch. But it never rises above that to become a film that could truly make a difference – 2.5/5

Minty Tejpal (Mumbai Mirror) Lahore is a decent effort, a sports film with a political backdrop, both genres being a relative rarity in Bollywood. However, if it had been 20 minutes shorter, with clearer purpose, less dialogue and tighter direction, Lahore could have been a good film – 2/5

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – It’s a film that could have done with less length and more effort to find a better lead. Fewer cliches too. But for anyone who likes the crunching of bones, the slam of fists into each other and the twisting of muscle, go right ahead. Make your day – 2.5/5

Sukanya Verma (Rediff) – Though limited in its story-telling and undistinguished in execution, Lahore redeems itself somewhat by intently playing on the paradox of pacifist intentions realised in the face of a seriously hostile sport – 2.5/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – Lahore tells a fiery story, gently and lyrically and is embellished with some great cinematography (Neelabh Kaul) and action choreography in the kickboxing sequences (Tony Ching Siu Tung). But most of all, it boasts of a stellar act by the performers with Farouque Sheikh walking away with most of your applause as the genteel Hyderabadi who must train a team of winners, despite political and bureaucratic interference – 3.5/5

Gaurav Malani (Indiatimes) – With a perfectly predictable plotline, if a film still keeps you riveted through its runtime, you know there’s something earnestly right about it. Lahore has a right director. Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan has the finesse to package the standard story with the requisite action and intensity that a sports film demands – 3/5

Roshmila Bhattacharya (HT) – Even though a Pakistani kickboxer has a hand to play, literally, in the story’s shocking turnaround, there’s no attempt to get into jingoistic spiel or whip up pop patriotism. So Pakistan’s decision to ban the film comes as a surprise. Lahore is not without its flaws but it still leaves you wanting to punch the air! – 3/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, LAHORE is a small little gem that takes you by surprise and catches you completely unaware. The finale in the boxing ring itself is worth the price of the ticket and more. I suggest, you make time for this one – 3.5/5 

Guess its not difficult to figure out whats the film to catch this weekend. Go dope! And if you can, do watch Umesh Kulkarni’s marathi film Vihir.

Its filmy friday. Its Khan-day! Karan Johar’s big budget film My Name Is Khan is the release of the week, starring Shah Rukh Khan & Kajol. So, does its score or not ? Lets check out.

Anupama Chopra (NDTV)My Name is Khan is a film made with sincerity and sweat, ambition and conviction. It grapples with the most urgent and fraught issue facing humanity: religion. It features a striking performance by Shah Rukh Khan – 3/5

Raja Sen (Rediff) – Karan Johar’s finally made his first grown-up film, and made it well. It could have been the stuff of much more, but let us leave that for another day. This is a film that will inspire, make aware, make happy. And for now, let us celebrate how the man whose name is on the marquee just proved why he deserves that crown he so often boasts of  – 3.5/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – The film shamelessly tugs at your heartstrings and on more than one occasion wallops you to weep. Aided by solid camerawork, tight editing and a layered story, Johar crafts an engaging, stirring saga that is earnest and noble. With this message movie in the mainstream format, the director takes a step in the right direction. Watch it for its star who doesn’t miss a beat – 3.5/5

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – In khushi or gham, Karan Johar always wants to please. He stuffs his goodie bag with so many little bon bons that the viewer finds it difficult to look away. It’s the same with My Name is Khan – 3.5/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) –  Forrest Gump in its scope, Rain Man in its approach, slightly convenient in its ‘Bollywood opera’, world-class in its photographic treatment (Ravi K Chandran), more sorted than Kurban (from the same producer, along a similar theme); you can sense, throughout, honesty in the film’s purpose – 3/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, MNIK is a fascinating love story, has an angle of religion and a world-shaking incident as a backdrop. It not only entertains, but also mesmerises, enthrals and captivates the viewer in those 2.40 hours. At the same time, a film like MNIK is sure to have a far-reaching influence due to its noble theme. I strongly advocate, don’t miss this one – 4.5/5 

Gaurav Malani (Indiatimes) – Like his placard that reads ‘Repair almost anything’, Shah Rukh Khan makes up for every minor inconsistency in the film. My Name is Khan is worth a watch on his name alone – 3/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – It’s Khan, from the epiglotis (read deep, inner recesses), not `kaan’ from the any-which-way, upper surface. In other words, it’s the K-factor — Karan (Johar) and Khan (Shah Rukh) — like you’ve never seen, sampled and savoured before. My Name is Khan is indubitably one of the most meaningful and moving films to be rolled out from the Bollywood mills in recent times. It completely reinvents both the actor and the film maker and creates a new bench mark for the duo who has given India some of the crunchiest popcorn flicks – 5/5

Sukanya Varma (Rediff) – The verbose nature of the script doesn’t leave much scope for gestures. Although the image of Khan standing on a deserted highway with a sign board that reads ‘Repair almost everything’ is true to the soul of this film. Even if it’s the only one of its kind – 3/5

Khalid Mohamed (PFC) – At the end of 18 reels,  you do carry something precious  home – SRK and Kajol. They are absolutely electric. Undoubtely, they don’t make’em like that anymore. And never will, which is why MNIK is absolutely compulsory viewing. You may have problems with it. Yet it is a must-must-see – 4/5

Shweta Parande (Buzz18) – One of the important films of Hindi cinema. Although it messes up its length, there are some touching scenes not to be missed. My Name is Khan has many messages and not just an ‘Autism Alert’ and ‘Terror Alert’. Go for it and enjoy interpreting – 3/5

Phelim O’Neill (Guardian) – It’s stunningly shot, on mostly US locations, and tackles plenty of hard topics – its deceptively light touch gets heavier as things progress. It’s a shame that much of the intended audience will not see this well-intentioned, slickly constructed and just plain likable film, for reasons that are very little to do with the film itself – 3/5

So, the verdict is between 3 and 5, scoring 3.5, 4, 4.5 and 5 too! Seems like much better than KANK which had quite extreme reactions.

Three hindi films this weekend. Its quite a film friday! Two debutants and one veteran! And since we belong to BBC (Bhardwaj Bhakt Club), we made sure that we saw it even before the release. Click here for our review.

Ishqiya is directed by debutant Abhishek Chaubey and stars Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi and Vidya Balan. Lets see how it has scored with the reviewers.

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – I know its only January but I think its safe to say that Ishqiya is the most crackling film you’ll see this year. It’s feisty and sly and very, very sexy – 3.5/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, ISHQIYA is definitely worth a watch. The film has a riveting plot, great performances, soulful music, an absorbing story and skilful direction to make the viewer fall in ishq with it. It should appeal to the hardcore masses as also the multiplex junta – 4/5

Gaurav Malani (ET) – Regardless of the rugged-and-rustic ‘City of God’ kinda setting, the flavour of the film is predominantly light-hearted, as instinctive comedy oozes out from almost every sequence. The director’s hold on humour is remarkable as he makes good use of some dingy desi dialogues and some exceptional expressions by the lead male duo to hilarious outcome. The comic timing between Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi is absolutely flawless – 3.5/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Ishqiya, directed by debutant Abhishek Chaubey, is a delicious little film that teeters dangerously between saucy comedy and suspenseful noir. Unapologetically adult in its relationships, its language and its humor, the film sparkles for its inspired writing and uncompromised direction. It’s an assured, confident debut and one hell of a rollicking ride. A textured, compelling drama that’s unlike anything you’ve seen lately – 3.5/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – In Ishqiya lingo, the film is a sutli bomb (firecracker) that tickles and explodes. But for the hurried and harried end. Go, have a blast – 3.5/5 

Shubhra Gupta (Indian Express) – Small-town India is where the real stories are. `Ishqiya’ blends place and people in a way only those who’ve lived that life know how, and gives us a film with desirous flesh and pulsating blood – 3/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – Mira Nair is right. Bharadwaj is probably one of the few of Bollywood’s unique voices likely to corner any genuine attention in the West. This road film is in parts, an Yi Tu Mama Tambien sort of bizarre romance, an El Mariachi type curry-western, and a City Of God kind of grimy thriller. Yet, the pungent odour is entirely original. Oh smell it – for sure – 3.5/5

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – Imagine a sticky sweet jalebi with a cup of hot milk. Just as they would have on a foggy morning in Gorakhpur. Crunchy, sweet, and quite delicious. Now think Ishqiya. Set in a reimagined eastern Uttar Pradesh, where minor hoodlums dress like cowboys and women are earthy sex queens, the film elevates rustic chic to an art – 4/5

Sukanya Varma (Rediff) – Rarely are grace and profanity cited in the same breath. Debutant filmmaker Abhishek Chaubey’s Ishqiya, however, is a privileged exception. If VB is the equivalent of Quentin Tarantino in Hindi cinema, safe to say with Chaubey, we have a Robert Rodriguez in the making – 3.5/5

Aniruddha Guha (DNA) – Ishqiya, among other things, is a great start for director Abhishek Chaubey. The film — with its great music, superior performances, and memorable dialogues — cannot be missed, unless you are under 18 years of age. This is pure ‘adult’ fun – 3.5/5

Jaya Biswas (Buzz18) – High on drama and wild at times, you are bound to fall in love with Khalujaan and Babban – 3.5/5

The average rating seems to be 3.5! Go for it.

The other release is Ram Gopal Varma’s Rann. We are tired of RIP-ing Ramu, again and again but seems he still isnt. Lets see if this one is his comeback. Rann stars Amitabh Bachchan, Paresh Rawal, Sudeep, Ritesh Deshmukh, Gul Panag and Neetu Chandra.

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – Bachchan, Ritesh Deshmukh and Suchitra Krishnamoorthy, playing the mole, bring some restraint and dignity to this cacophonous tale. Otherwise it’s sound and fury signifying little – 2/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, RANN is truly a well-made film. No two opinions on that. The film should be patronised by viewers of serious, sensible cinema. Recommended! – 3.5/5 

Gaurav Malani (ET) – To be honest (like the film demands), Rann is not a new story but the news battle setting saves it from getting run-of-the-mill. Rather than a story designed around the media world, Rann is more of the clichéd corrupt politician chronicle (that Bollywood has been narrating since ages) set on the backdrop of the broadcasting business – 2.5/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Rann is not so much a bad film as it is a boring, predictable one. Varma and his writers borrow the Madhur Bhandarkar-blueprint and give us uni-dimensional characters who are either black or white, seldom grey. Although the film’s portrayal of a certain kind of Hindi news journalism may not be far from the truth, it is the film’s lazy stereotyping that is tiresome here. Varma uses crazy camera moves, tight close ups and a booming background score to create the drama that his simplistic script fails to – 2/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – It’s gritty. It’s grey. And it’s greatly topical too. Ram Gopal Varma returns to his let’s-dissect-the-real-world brand of cinema with the racy-pacy Rann that might run on predictable lines, nevertheless it makes for a gripping viewing with its behind-the-scenes dekko on the Breaking News, any which way, syndrome that seems to have overtaken certain sections of the media – 4/5

Khalid Mohamed (PFC) – All seen and said, the media ka kheema could have been infinitely superior. Gratifyingly, there are some redeeming moments which do leave you Zingin’ in the Rann. Thanks – 2.5/5

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – Ram Gopal Verma has been watching too much news. So much that he has made a movie on exactly the same principles that he trashes. Ensure your anchors/actors indulge in crazy histrionics, forget about the research and use hyperbole at all times. Watch it if you want a good laugh – 2/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – Exposes are cheap devices; explanations, precious. Most good art achieves the latter, great films do. This is neither an expose nor an explanation. It’s just an exercise in corniness, not very different from the subject of its scrutiny – 2/5

Sukanya Varma (Rediff) – There are a couple of moments in Rann involving a seemingly anonymous call to super tense Sudeep or Big B coming to terms with the humiliating truth about his son are reminiscent of vintage Varma, Then again, a messy climax, witless and uninspired writing and shoddy, detail-free narrative ensure these memories are washed out as soon as they are formed – 2/5

Aniruudha Guha (DNA) – Over the years, Varma has used, and abused, the same treatment in his films to such an extent that it has lost its novelty and fun factor now. Extreme close-ups, dark environs, a garish back ground score – Rann‘s soundtrack is awful, to say the least – we’ve seen it all in previous Varma films.  Rann just doesn’t work – 2/5

Shweta Parande (Buzz18) – Ram Gopal Varma brings us yet another gripping drama in the league of Sarkar and Sarkar Raj. The performances definitely make up for the flaws in the story. Also watch out for some good scenes and camera angles – 3.5/5

Ramu is still not back! The average rating seems to be 2/5! If you follow reviews every week, you know that Taran and Nikhat really dont count. Their operational cost is something different.

And the indie release of the week is Road To Sangam by debutant director by Amit Rai and stars Paresh Rawal, Om Puri and Pawan Malhotra.

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, ROAD TO SANGAM is mainly for connoisseurs of cinema and also for the festival circuit – 3/5 

Jaya Biswas (Buzz18) – No doubt the film got the best film award at MAMI and rave reviews at the International Film Fest of South Africa, Los Angeles Reel Film Fest and so on. And what better time to release the film when we are so close to commemorate Gandhiji’s death anniversary on Jan 30. It’s a journey worth exploring. Only if the packaging was good, the impact would have been more – 2.5/5

This filmy friday there are two hindi releases. Pyaar Impossible and Dulha Mil Gaya. Pyaar Impossible is directed by Jugal Hansraj and stars Uday Chopra and Priyanka Chopra. Lets see if its any good.

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE is a feel-good film. If you are a romantic, this one’s for you. Even if you’re not, still watch it. Its one of those films that will bring a smile on your face – something that most Hindi films don’t do these days – 3/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Pyaar Impossible doesn’t work because it’s hard to empathize with any of the characters and because the actors fail to rise above the flawed script. It’s back-breakingly long at two hours and twenty-odd minutes, and I can’t remember one single scene that made me smile. The humour is ordinary, and the pre-climax romantic scene in a Mac store is the most embarrassing I can remember in recent times – 1/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – This is not Notting Hill, in only as much as Uday Chopra isn’t quite Hugh Grant. This is still an incessantly stunted ‘Hollywood rom-com’ knock-off, to the point that a neatly dictated formula will allow – 1.5/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – Nothing stupendous here. Just a sweet and soppy flavour with a picture-perfect Priyanka: Watchable – 3/5

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – Uday plays the nerd with absolute sincerity but it’s hard to summon up any affection for him. And Dino seems to have decided that expression is a waste of time. His face just stays blank. Pyaar Impossible is depressingly dim-witted – 1.5/5

Sukanya Varma (Rediff) – It’s the kind of film, which could get over in five minutes if only Chopra 1 would let Chopra 2 finish his sentence. But no, Chopra 2 takes two and a half good hours to spill the beans leaving you with little besides a super hot Chopra 1 to admire – 2.5/5

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – She’s the beauty and he’s the geek. And she ends up falling in love with him. Yeah, right, if your father is one of Bollywood’s biggest producers, anything is possible – 2/5

Gaurav Malani (ET) – The moral of the film is that one shouldn’t judge a person by their looks. Going by that, however cool this candyfloss flick might appear, it’s still shallow on content. Pyaar Impossible might have certainly not aimed for a ‘10 on 10’. But is it really impossible to even strike an average? – 2/5

Meena Iyer (Mumbai Mirror) – Honestly guys wake up and smell the coffee. Forget love, even hate isn’t possible here.  This film leaves you bereft of emotion – 2/5

Shweta Parande (Buzz18) – There is nothing new in Pyaar Impossible. Watch it only if you don’t mind a predictable story with a hot Priyanka Chopra, and some catchy music – 2.5/5

The other release is Dulha Mil Gaya directed by Mudassar Aziz and starring Shahrukh Khan (5 or 70 percent ?), Sushmita Sen and Fardeen Khan. And here is the score card.

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – The recipe is simple and uncomplicated…Take My fair Lady. Add Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye. Spray Naseeb Apna Apna. Sprinkle DDDLJ and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Hey presto, Dulha Mil Gaya is ready to serve – 1.5/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Dulha Mil Gaya starring Fardeen Khan and Sushmita Sen, has been four years in the making, but has arrived almost fifteen years too late. A predictable old-fashioned entertainer that’s a throwback to those homogenous family films of the mid-90s, Dulha Mil Gaya borrows so much from the Yash Chopra/Karan Johar school of synthetic filmmaking that it’s hard to tell if there’s anything original to this story at all – 2/5

Anupama Chopra (NDTV)Dulha Mil Gaya is a film caught in a time warp both literally and figuratively. The much-delayed movie is a bargain-basement version of Yash Chopra-Karan Johar movies from the late 1990s – 2/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – The problem with Dulha Mil Gaya lies in the fact that it has nothing new to offer. And that’s ironical at a time when almost every film that falls off Bollywood’s conveyor belt is brimming over with newness: new ideas, new plots, new musical notes, new actors, new narrative styles. Unforgivable – 2.5/5 

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – I check my cellphone for the time yet again. The filmmakers could’ve checked for the year (they were making this film in as well) – 1/5

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – I suppose it’s funny to see Sushmita talking to her dog, Bozo, and kiss its miniature; or blow kisses to her invisible audience; or even behave like the eternal Miss Universe. But hey, that crown was in 1994. Grow up, please, Sushmita. Start acting. And do something less formulaic than “Indian girls rishte nibhana jaant hain” (Indian girls know how to keep up relationships). Grrr – 1/5

Preeti Arora (Rediff) – The West Indies and Trinidad are scenic and breathtaking. These locations haven’t been used too often in our films. But no film has ever managed to sustain itself on the basis of its locations. Watch the film if you can’t think of any other way to spend your weekend. Or else just avoid – 2.5/5

Gaurav Malani (ET) – Dulha Mil Gaya literally breaks new grounds with taking a Bollywood plot to Trinidad and Tobago. But beyond that this marriage miscarriage movie moves east of West Indies to introduce India for the zillionth time as nothing more than a small village in pastureland Punjab – 1.5/5

Meena Iyer (Mumbai Mirror) – They shot Dulha Mil Gaya all the way in Trinidad & Tobago. They could have shot it in Timbuktu and it wouldn’t stand an ice-cube’s chance in hell of surviving –  2/5

It seems impossible to expect even a half decent movie this week. Neither Pyaar nor Dulha. Head out for Sherlock Holmes in new avtaar or Paranormal Activity.

Enough of VVC, CB and 3 Idiots, lets move on to this week’s hindi release. We detest to count any Celina Jaitley release and so that leaves us with only one film Raat Gayi Baat Gayi, with the desi indie boys. The bunch we love! The film is directed by Sourabh Shukla ans has Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Vinay Shukla, Anu Menon, Dalip Tahil, Navneet Nishan and Irawati Harshe. But do they deliver this time ? Here’s the score card.

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, RAAT GAYI, BAAT GAYI? doesn’t work – 1.5/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Saurabh Shukla directs with an easy hand, allowing the actors enough room to interpret their characters, but it’s the writing here that’s mundane. Most scenes lack the energy that was required to elevate this film into the sly, tongue-in-cheek satire that it was intended to be. What you get is a promising but sadly tiresome film that feels too long even though it’s less than two hours in running time – 2/5

Shubhra Gupta (Indian Express) – The film plays footsie, without really going all the way. How about something braver and quirkier the next time around? This merry band filmmakers can do it – 3/5

Mayank Shekhar (Hindustan Times) – Bashes in ‘Bollywood’ back in the day meant a grand piano at the centre. The hero crooned away his message of love. The heroine joined him for a dance. A huge crowd of suits and sarees gathered in a circle, quietly stared, and sipped their drink. Some white people floated in the back-rows. Oh we miss those! This one neither touches nor tickles. Better still, get us Hangover any day – 2/5

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – Have you ever been to one of those excruciatingly boring parties in which the conversation is so stilted and the guests so banal that you want to pick up a fork and gouge your eyes out? If not, you might want to catch Raat Gayi, Baat Gayi, which is pitched as a romantic comedy but is neither very funny nor very romantic – 2/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – Watch out for some fine performances by the entire cast. Veterans like Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak and Ranvir Shorey are eminently watchable as always. But it is Neha Dhupia who is fast emerging as the natty new wave girl with her newfound talent – 3/5

Gaurav Malani (ET) – With a head-spinning narrative about the aftermath of an intoxicating late night party, Raat Gayi Baat Gayi is like wine that takes time to mature but is your perfect partner on a lazy evening – 3/5

Anand Vaishnav (Buzz18) – Raat Gayi Baat Gayi is very funny in parts, held together with delightful performances. Catch it for some spontaneous acting – 2.5/5

Meena Iyer (Mumbai Mirror) – RGBG starts well and its witty dialogue keeps the viewer engrossed up to a point. It makes no deliberate effort to copy the Hollywood hit Hangover either in its plot or treatment, yet there’s a borrowed sense of déjà-vu. And had the director kept the viewers interest level continuously going, he may have had a winner on hand. Where RGBG falls a few notches short is the pace – 2/5

 Seems like average is between 2-3 out of 5. 

Raj Kumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots is here! So, all is well or not so well ? Looks like its a divided house. It has Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, R Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani and Omi Vaidya in the the lead. Here are some of the early reviews….

Raja Sen (Rediff) – This isn’t a bad film, though. By which I mean it conjures up a few moments, it will doubtless make some people cry, and every now and then we glimpse some heart. Yet it hurts to see that this is traditional Bollywood masala schlock, with scenes calculated to tickle and to evoke sympathy. It’s not awful at all, but since when did ‘not bad’ become good? Dr Feelgood doesn’t make the cut this time, and we need to measure him by the high bar his previous excellence has set — by which degree this is a whopper of a disappointment – 2/5

Gaurav Malani (ET) – The film redefines Idiot as ‘I do it on my own terms’. After watching the film, you won’t mind being certified as an idiot. If you still don’t approve of the film, you are a certified cynic. 3 Idiots is one of the most entertaining films of the decade – 5/5

Anand Vaishnav (Buzz18) – 3 Idiots is a happy film with a positive message. But you never feel for or root for its characters. Releasing in the festive season, this film will deliver truckloads of laughter, but might not satisfy the expectations of watching an Aamir Khan-Rajkumar Hirani film. It’s just another feel good, time pass watch – 3/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, 3 Idiots easily ranks amongst Aamir, Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s finest films. Do yourself and your family a favour: Watch 3 Idiots. It’s emotional, it’s entertaining, it’s enlightening. The film has tremendous youth appeal and feel-good factor to work in a big way – 4.5/5

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – Mr Hirani, Mahatma, we bow to you. Aamir, we think you’ll make a great HRD Minister. And yes, a word for the man who produced it as he did the Munnabhais. More power to you, Vidhu Vinod Chopra. We know now why you speak so much, so long, and so loudly. It’s because movies such as these can silence everyone else – 5/5

Nandini Ramnath (Time Out) – The message is a bit mixed, since the movie ultimately celebrates achievement. Given how Ranchchod ends up, it’s clear that whether you’re self-taught or schooled, you’ll remain an idiot if you aren’t also talented to begin with – 2/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – Before 3 Idiots on screen, you still don’t feel like the fourth idiot in the theatre. That’s a non-Bollywood relief. This is the sort of movie you’ll take home with a smile and a song on your lips, unless the hype has entirely messed up with your expectations – 3.5/5

Since Anupama Chopra is married to Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Mayank Shekhar has reviewed the film for NDTV this friday.

Shubhra Gupta (Indian Express) – It makes the point, but not as magically as it could have, given Hirani’s unique gift of building extraordinary moments out of the ordinary. ‘3 Idiots’ was good in parts, but it didn’t blow me away – 3/5

Aniruddha Guha (DNA) – Even as you have come to accept Khan’s genius at ensuring a good product for audiences every time, this one is a Rajkumar Hirani show all the way. And it becomes easy to say that because even if you take Khan out of the equation, the film would probably make a similar impact – 4/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – The high point of the film is the fact that director Rajkumar Hirani says so much, and more, without losing his sense of humour and the sheer lightness of being. The film is a laugh riot, despite being high on fundas – 4.5/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – An earnest but calculated effort that runs, but never flies. Watch it anyway, because it’s the season to be jolly, and good laughs are guaranteed – 3/5

Whats your take ? Where do you stand between 2 and 5 ?