Posts Tagged ‘rediff’

If you were not among those lucky selected few who were invited to attend the Spielberg-Bachchan session, don’t worry, we have got it for you. Click on the video and enjoy.

Steven Spielberg is currently in India. All thanks to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment. All the prominent filmmakers of the industry were invited to attend the session.

The Hollywood Reporter has also done an extensive report on the session. Click here to read it.

Rediff’s Raja Sen has written a column on “How Steven Spielberg brought Bollywood closer”. Click here to read it.

So, what’s next? Reliance will release Commando. Himmatwala is our next big release. David Dhawan has remade Chashme Baddoor. And Bollywood will keep chasing 100 crore films. Aha, beauty.

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.

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.

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.

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