Posts Tagged ‘Mumbai Mirror’

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.

Not a very exciting friday if you dont count the IPL. At the movies, we are counting the scores of two films – Right Ya Wrong and Hide & Seek. Right Ya Wrong is directed by Neeraj Pathak, produced by Mukta Arta and stars Sunny Deol, Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma and Isha Koppikar. Its seems to be inspired by Hollywood film Above Suspicion. Yes, Sunny Paaji is back! So, who else is excited ?

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – Come to think of it, a film like this would’ve been infinitely more unbearable, were it for sharp performers like Irrfan, or Konkona Sen Sharma (lawyer), or even walk-on presences like Suhasini Muley, or Govind Namdeo. What a waste of talents again; I guess then! – 2/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Cleverly plotted and never revealing all its cards at once, the film is a smart thriller. And yet the director fails to deliver a tight, slick Bollywood entertainer on the lines of those Abbas-Mustan whodunits, because his treatment’s so archaic. Even the incredibly gifted Konkona struggles embarrassingly through a scene in which she must reveal to a young child that her parent is dead. Saddled with juvenile dialogue, fine actors like Irrfan, Sunny and Konkona are wasted in what might have otherwise been a promising film – 2/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, RIGHT YAAA WRONG is a powerful thriller, with a knockout second half. However, the film faces strong opposition from two quarters – IPL cricket matches and the ongoing examination period. But a strong word of mouth should change the tide in its favour. Go, watch it… this one’s a pleasant surprise! – 3.5/5

Shubhra Gupta (Indian Express) – The trouble with `Right Yaa Wrong’ is that it’s not tight enough, getting derailed when the little boy comes on for his I-love-my-papa scenes, and other extraneous stuff – 2/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – more than the story, it’s the performances that add meat to this small little film which comes unnoticed. While Sunny, Isha and Konkona are marvelously restrained, it’s Irrfan Khan who walks away with the film — and your applause — with his sledgehammer act of the nosey cop who knows something’s not right, but can’t actually put his finger on the hows of this whodunit. Of course, he knows who did it? But how does he show it to the world, specially when his own sister, Konkona, is determined to prove him wrong….- 3.5/5

Preeti Arora (Rediff) – Right Yaaa Wrong tries to raise issues about duty versus loyalty. Although the movie preaches a little bit it does keep you entertained and engrossed. Try not to miss it. The impact just wouldn’t be the same on DVD – 3/5

Minty Tejpal (Mumbai Mirror)For a typical Bollywood film, Right Yaaa Wrong has a fairly interesting story, except that the average direction and clumsy casting quite lets it down. Sunny Deol, remember him, returns as Ajay Sridhar, a deadly cop who is the ‘master of disguises’, astutely shown by the various wigs he wears through the movie -1.5/5

The other release of the week is also thriller. Hide & Seek is directed by Shawn Arranha, produced by Apoorva Lakhia and stars Purab Kohli, Mrinalini Sharma, Arjan Bajwa, Ayaaz Khan & Sameer Kocchar.

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – The final nail in the coffin is the amateurish acting. Everyone shrieks and shakes a lot. And even otherwise reliable actors like Purab Kholi and Arjan Bajwa move into full blown hysterical mode. Hide and Seek could have been mildly diverting entertainment but it doesn’t make you scream or shiver – 2/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Directed by first-timer Shawn Arranha, Hide & Seek struggles to create a real sense of fear or suspense, even though the idea of setting this film in a shopping mall is a clever one. Unfortunately, the film packs only a handful of jump-in-your-seat moments, and is let down completely by amateurish dialogue and insufferable acting from its ensemble. Purab Kohli, Arjan Bajwa and Sameer Kochar, in particular, ham it up in their respective roles, and to be fair the entire production doesn’t come off looking much better than a school play – 1.5/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – The tangled web of relationships does unwind gradually to reveal undercurrents that lead towards death and denouement. And as the odd assortment of friends try to resolve their old differences, Santa Claus comes gunning for them from the dark shadows of the deserted mall. One by one, the group begins to crumble and the mystery peels, layer after layer. There’s enough pizzazz to keep the adrenalin pumping here – 3/5

Shubhra Gupta (Indian Express) – Hide and Seek’ tries to be a Bollywood slasher film, but it doesn’t have the requisite thrill-and- chill factor. Purab Kohli is the only well-known face, so he has the largest part ( he’s the one who’s been let loose from the asylum), and if you are a fan of movies in which masked figures with sharp objects go after screaming victims, all of whom manage to reveal a body part or two at all times, the better to be skewered, you will know how it will end. The end should have been a shocker. But, given the general loose tone of the film, it’s not – 1/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – You couldn’t care less for these characters to bother with their bumbling back-story; never mind that the nuggets in the film itself don’t eventually add up. A group in an inexplicably nightmarish mess as this would pool in resources to figure a way out first. Not these happy campers – 1.5/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, HIDE & SEEK is a gripping suspense drama that keeps you guessing till its end. Go for it, if a good suspense thriller is what you’re looking at! – 3/5

Minty Tejpal (Mumbai Mirror)Hide & Seek is an amateurish attempt at making a super slick slasher thriller which doesn’t quite add up. The film stars a bunch of wannabe actors and is helmed by a debutant director who tries to be too clever by half – .5/5

Ok, we are going back to the small screen this weekend. IPL seems more exciting.

This friday its Ringa Ringa at the movies. In both the films, its too much confusion over one phone call. Karthik Calling Karthik is directed by debutant Vijay Lalwani, stars Farhan Akhtar & Deepika Padukone and produced by Excel Entertainment. Lets see if actor Farhan manages to score a hattrick.

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – Karthik Calling Karthik is inconsistent with its own internal logic. When you backtrack and see how the pieces fit, it doesn’t hang together. Eventually then, Karthik Calling Karthik feels like a vanity project for Farhan Akhtar, who is in every frame of the film. He’s compelling, especially in vulnerable loser mode, but he can’t add flesh to this sliver of a story. KCK isn’t a bad film but it isn’t very good either.  – 2.5/5

Shubhra Gupta (Indian Express) – ‘Karthik Calling Karthik’ is actually two films. One, an office romance between a colourless drone and a beautiful colleague who notices him only when the boss lashes out at him in public. And the other about a guy who hears voices in his head and gets strange phonecalls from someone who claims to be him. Karthik calling Karthik, geddit? – 1/5

Sukanya Verma (Rediff) – Films like Karthik Calling Karthik are all about winding up right. This one fails to make a connect. Pity, it could have been that all important call you’ve always been waiting for – 2.5/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – KCK a decent product with an unconvincing conclusion. Watch it for the wonderful performances of Farhan and Deepika, if you have to. Caters to the youth in metros mainly – 2.5/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – One does wish there was a bit more of the bubbly Ms Padukone, though. Where it doesn’t work is the entertainment factor. The screenplay does tend to get a bit clunky and the drama somewhat heavy as the director looks for text book resolutions of the teasing problem. But, by and large, there is a thrill factor that keeps the momentum on. In the mood for serious cinema? Watch Karthik Calling Karthik – 3.5 /5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – The genre of course has its limitations. And someone who’s seen the film before, will inevitable blurt out, what the film’s deal was, or, ‘Who’s the caller’. As an audience, you’re not always two steps behind the script either. But that doesn’t take away from how the film holds you, almost all the way. This isn’t easy. I suspect you’re not going to love the sound of a ringing landline for a while. I hope you don’t question the workings of your brain as much – 3/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – In the end, Karthik Calling Karthik appears confused and half-baked, and it commits that deadly unforgivable cinematic sin – it bores you! – 2/5

Aniruddha Guha (DNA) – Farhan may have put in a good act – it’s his best, certainly, among just three films so far – and Deepika looks smoldering and performs well too. But that’s hardly reason enough to sit through this one. Unless you don’t mind thinking to yourself in the end, “THIS is what it was all about?!” – 2/5

Minty Tejpal (Mumbai Mirror) – KCK is low on entertainment and remains a bit dark and dreary, so it’s entirely your call – 2/5

Teen Patti is directed by Leena Yadav (Shabd), Produced by Ambika Hinduja and stars Amitabh Bachchan, Ben Kingsley, R Madhavan, Raima Sen and a bunch of newcomers. Click here to our Twittereview review of the film.

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – Teen Patti is a train-wreck of a movie. It’s incoherent, lengthy and worst of all, agonisingly pretentious. Director Leena Yadav takes the kernel of the story from the 2008 Hollywood film 21, about an MIT professor and his students who figure out how to count cards and make millions at casinos in Las Vegas – 1.5/5

Shubhra Gupta (Indian Express) – The trouble with `Teen Patti’ is not that we’re all too familiar with its central idea. It lies in the patchy way the plot is laid out, and in the characters who do not, at any point, feel completely filled out. In too many places, the design is allowed to scream for attention, overwhelming the people, and the action, such as there is – 2/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Directed by Leena Yadav, Teen Patti is an incoherent mess of logic-defying scenes that never come together as a fluid script. It’s got snazzy camerawork and occasionally hip production design, but none of that matters in the end. What you take with you as you leave the cinema is shock. Shock that nobody associated with this film had the intelligence or the courage to turn around and say, “This sucks.” – 1/5

Preeti Arora (Rediff) – Three decades after Gandhi, Ben Kingsley still weaves magic for the Indian audiences. As Kingsley and Bachchan share their life experiences, there is the sheer pleasure of watching two legends share screen space. And since there is no attempt to overshadow the other, the experience is memorable. It’s difficult to visualise other actors in these roles. Teen Patti is worth a watch just for these actors – 2.5/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – On the whole, Teen Patti is a fresh concept for Indian viewers, made well, but limits itself to the intelligentsia and big city audiences mainly – 2.5/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – No kidding. This is the most elegantly lit (cinematographer Aseem Bajaj) rendition of pure gibberish that I’ve seen in a while. The filmmakers profess they came up with this script before the Kevin Spacey starrer 21 came into the theatres. Given this flick, you couldn’t care less for its alleged inspiration – 1/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – The second half does get somewhat repetitive, with the film refusing to move out of the gambling dens and the climax gets somewhat hurried. But majorly, the film holds as a taut thriller that keeps you glued for most of the screen time. Watch out for Sunidhi Chauhan’s item number, Teri Neeyat Kharab Hai. It rocks – 3.5/5 

Minty Tejpal (Mumbai Mirror)Teen Patti is a slick and stylish film with many stars, fancy styling, big budget but little substance and very convoluted logic. Part of the film is in English, part of it is in algebra and the rest seems gobbledygook – 2/5

Will update the list with more reviews as soon as its out. So, wondering what to watch this friday ? Bet its better to go for hollywood releases.

This friday, its Chandan Arora’s Striker starring Siddharth and Padmapriya. Earlier Chandan Arora gave us two delightful films Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon and Main, Meri Patni aur Woh. Will he deliver a hattrick ? Actor Siddharth has been going on and on and on about the film through his tweets. Lets see if its scoring well with the critics.

Anupama Chopra (NDTV)Striker is the kind of film that fills you with regret. There is skilful direction here, some nicely etched moments and commendable performances and yet the film never gathers enough momentum to make an impact. Striker never becomes the film it could have been – 2.5/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – The high point of the film is its authenticity, its heartwarming tale and its performances. Don’t believe the lack lustre promos. The film has more meat — and meaning — than it promises – 3/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – Striker, directed by Chandan Arora, falters because the story doesn’t arrest your attention in entirety and also, it seems like a never-ending ride, even though the running time is approx. 2 hours. Frankly, the story overstays its welcome – 1.5/5

Sukanya Varma (Rediff) – Ultimately what makes Striker a big deal is not its obviously visceral atmosphere or the various tangents it branches into but an impressive ensemble of little to unknown faces that allow you to interpret the story with an entirely fresh perspective. An interesting film with a lot on its mind, Striker isn’t comfort cinema but I will recommend it anyway -3/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – The story is in the grittiness of experience. Judgment isn’t fed; purpose, not expressly defined. This can be a problem for certain audiences who like to be told everything: who’s the loved hero or feared villain, why to empathise, when to emote… Sure this film is different then. Shouldn’t each be anyway? Worth it, all the way – 3/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Despite Arora’s solid efforts, the film loses steam well before the end credits roll. Although only two hours in running time, the movie feels endlessly long, and fails to culminate satisfyingly. It’s not a bad film by any measure, but it most definitely could’ve been better. Watch it for some excellent acting and for its gritty realistic feel – 2.5/5

Khalid Mohamed (PFC) – All said and seen, Striker lets off steam, like a pressure cooker come to boil. Now only if it had been smoothly edited, you would have said, “Wow.” In its current shape, you end up saying, “Hey, not bad”  about this Carrom-a- Cola. So, do it again Chandan Arora…but look at the final edit objectively. Please – 3/5

Minty Tejpal (Mumbai Mirror) – Finally, the story of the carrom player seemed far more captivating than that of the riots. Luckily, the dialogue is consistently sharp. Sitting on top of a water tank, Siddharth reminisces, “Us waqt humko yeh nahin maloom tha ki Bombay ko jitna bhi dekho, roz thoda aur dikhta hai…”. How true. In the end, Striker is a well-made film and worth a watch – 2/5

Shweta Parande (Buzz18) – All in all, it’s difficult to say if Striker will work in multiplexes or single screens. But if the plot were a little cleaner and crisper, it would’ve struck a chord with everyone – 2.5

So, the average seems to be between 2 and 3.

This friday, its the attack of the Pindharis! Anil Gadar Sharma returns with Veer starring Salman Khan, Zarine Khan, Mithun Chakraborty, Sohail Khan and Jackie Shroff. The story is by Salman Khan. Beat this!

Here are some early reviews which suggests that Veer belongs to that rare dud tribe who die on their birthday! Born to die friday Species.

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – The best thing about Veer is that it is comic book cinema no pretensions. Without a trace of embarrassment or apology, Sharma goes full throttle on speeches to the motherland, honour, mardangi. And as Manmohan Desai told us decades ago: Mard ko dard nahin hota, so Veer snarls and slices through men without pausing for breath – 2.5/5

Raja Sen (Rediff) – The son of a legendary hero grows up and attempts to follow in his father’s footsteps, however bloodthirsty this road may be. It is standard Bollywood cliche, but Salim Khan, one of our most iconic screenwriters, deserves a better tribute than son Salman, credited for the film’s story, churning out this unbelievably hackneyed period disaster – 1/5

Gaurav Malani (ET) – Salman Khan gives a powerful performance in real sense. He is so prominent in the film that not even his brother Sohail Khan gets one consolation scene. Mithun Chakravarthy is the only one who stands on his own other than Salman Khan. Zarine Khan is a replica of Katrina Kaif and using the same dubbing artist adds to the analogy. Lisa Lazarus is absolutely wasted in a 2 scene role. Jackie Shroff is repetitive in his villainous act. You have to be a braveheart to watch Veer – 2/5

Shubhra Gupta (India Express) – Salman is the last Khan standing. It makes not a whit of difference to him and his directors that the space for retrofitted 70s packages has shrunk to nothing : Salman, In and As Veer, defiantly dances, romances, and bests his enemies in combat— hand-to-bare hand, and because `Veer’ is allegedly a period film, sword-to-clanging sword – 2/5

Taran Adarsh (Indiafm) – VEER drives home a few hard facts…No amount of gloss can substitute for an engaging story. Not all directors are capable of pulling off a period film. No star – howsoever strong his rankings are – can infuse life in a comatose script – 1/5

Khalid Mohamed (PFC) – A battle’s on, followed by much prattle. How they rattle on about the British Raj and a desert-principality presided over by a king, mostly garbed in outfits which are crow-black. Quite tack. In effect, then, Veer is a waste or resources, talent and of course, our time..and ticket money – 2/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Even if you’re willing to forgive all the historical inaccuracies and the complete disregard for detail, Veer starring Salman Khan, is still an impossible film to appreciate.Unacceptable in these times. From Cameron’s Pandora to Anil Sharma’s Pindhari, we’ve come a long way baby – 2/5

Nikhat Kazmi (TOI) – Now no one’s doubting the fact that Salman Khan’s a thoroughbred veer. For, it does take a whole lot of bravado to pick up a blast from the buried past and present it an age when everyone is determined to tell a brand new story in Bollywood. Of course, films like Lagaan and Jodhaa Akbar did manage to strike a chord with the newbie viewers too, but they were more like exceptions to the rule. By and large, the scheming Brits and their grab-India story has been confined to the creative bin when it comes to modern Indian cinema, song and literature – 2.5/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – It belongs more to Bollywood of back in the day: a song designated for smokers every few minutes; crispness, hardly a narrative virtue; three hours, the accepted clock-time. And yet in trying so hard to win acclaim and scale, the film goes all over the place – *Gladiator, Troy, Braveheart* – complicating matters for its easy viewers – 1.5/5

Minty Tejpal ( Mumbai Mirror) – Veer is a very, very terrible film, which has lots of thudding hoofs, bloodstained swords, chopped-off heads plus brawny men hooting and fighting. What Veer doesn’t have is any kind of a script or a director, forget about any other related sense or sensibility. The film is a brutal assault on all your senses, with lousy direction constantly competing with mediocre acting struggling with a garbled period story, and one has to indeed be very ‘veer’ not to cry and run away in sheer fright – 1/5

Seems like Veer is already headed for Veer-gati!

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.