Lion

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Beautiful is the word to describe this film. I felt very connected to the story, went through a lot of emotions, and had tears in the end. It’s a true story, based on a five-year old Indian boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta. He gets adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he sets to look for his lost family.

The movie shows a person’s determination and hard work to achieve something. I could feel the pain and emotions Saroo went through, from getting lost to finding his family in India, and the pain of distancing himself from the family who have brought him up, as he didn’t want to upset them with the fact that he was searching for his lost family. Also, the pain of distancing from his lover due to the search. The scene where Saroo tells his lover, the pain he feels with the thought of his lost family looking for him. The movie also teaches us compassion. Millions of children get lost, or with no family. These children deserved to be loved. Sue and John had a great heart by bringing up these kids with love and affection.

The movie also showed India in a natural way, and didn’t glamorize or over exaggerate it. Beautiful cinematography.

Dev Patel was brilliant. His best performance till date. He was so into the role, that it seemed like he was actually Saroo. Sunny Pawar was excellent for a child artist, he has a bright future ahead of him. Nicole Kidman did a good job. So were the other supporting actors. Good direction by Garth Davis, for a debutant. Good music too!

This movie will connect you to your home and roots. I am missing India after watching this film. The movie also makes me understand the true beauty of India. Do watch the film when you get the chance!

My Rating:- 4/5

Parched

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“Brilliant” and “mesmerizing” are the words to describe this movie. It is about four women from a village in Rajasthan, a place that is all about pleasing the society, old-age traditions, child marriage, dowry, marital rapes, abuse etc.

There is Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee) who is a widow working struggling to support her family. There is Lajjo (Radhika Apte) who is abused by her alcoholic husband and is mocked for not having a child. Then there is Bijli (Surveen Chawla), an erotic dancer, an eye-candy for many men, but is always mocked and ridiculed by the village, and is not invited to auspicious events, due to her profession. Then comes Janki (Lehar Khan), a child bride who is sold by Rani to her son Gulab (Riddhi Sen). These four women go through a lot of torture and difficulties. They yearn for a better life. They yearn for freedom. Whether they do, you have to find out!

A lot of topics have been addressed this film. It’s sad that people a judge a woman’s character through her profession, for e.g Bijli’s case in this film. Though she is a dancer, she is still a human being with feelings. When will people see that those with such professions doesn’t make them a bad person. Also the case of Kishan (Sumeet Vyas) who was berated for marrying an educated woman from Manipur, and respects women by giving them good jobs and salary, and also liberating them, but then he gets beaten up and is half-dead due to this. Shocked to see such mindset. Hoping for a change.

The direction by Leena Yadav is brilliant. While her previous films “Shabd” and “Teen Patti” disappointed me, she is back with a brilliant story. Hoping to see more wonderful movies from her. Tannishtha Chatterjee and Radhika Apte as usual were terrific, but it is Surveen Chawla who stole the show with her performance. The child actors Riddhi Sen and Lehar Khan shine, they have a bright future. Even other actors like Sumeet Vyas, Adil Hussain and Sayani Gupta (both in small roles) did a good job. The cinematography, done by the award winner cinematographer of Titanic,  Russell Carpenter, did a wonderful job. He beautifully captured the beauty of the village. The music was good too.

It is very sad to know that movies like these fail at the box office. I seriously suggest everyone to watch this!

My Rating:- 4.5/5

Moana

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“Moana” is a very cute film. It makes you feel good. The movie is about a girl named Moana. This movie shows her determination to go on a daring mission across the ocean to save her people. She meets a demi-god named Maui, and together they go through an adventure, to restore the heart of Te Fiti, which Maui stole. They go through a lot of action, encounter monsters etc. In the journey, Moana also discovers her identity.

“Moana” is a movie that inspires women and other youths to follow our heart, and to be determined to try and achieve things.

The animation and special effects were amazing (oh how I am in love with the ocean). The voice cast did a brilliant job. The songs in the movie were also beautiful!

“Moana” is a must watch!

My Rating:- 4/5

Sairat

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This is my 3rd Marathi film after “Shwaas” and “Katyar Kaljat Ghusli”. This is a brilliantly made film. While it is a romance film, it is not like those typical cliched Bollywood Romantic films, but this one is very pure and very realistically portrayed. We could feel the emotions the pair has shown. It’s about a lower-caste boy and an upper caste girl who fall in love with each other. With a lot of tensions between the two family members not accepting each other, they go through a lot of hardships to be together. The movie ends with a shocking and tragic climax which will just give you chills.

The best thing I like about regional films is that they are more natural and pure, and they don’t try to glamorize too much.

The direction is superb. So is the screenplay. The cinematography is just beautiful. They showed the village in Maharashtra very beautifully. There are also some beautiful dialogues. The movie is full of newcomers. Debutants Akash Thosar and Rinku Rajguru did a brilliant job, it doesn’t seem like they were newcomers, but they did a good job as if they were professionals. They also shared wonderful chemistry. So did the other supporting actors. The music in the movie is brilliant. Ajay-Atul are exceptionally talented. They are definitely the composers you should watch out for.

“Sairat” is a tragic love story which will make you think about a lot of things. Please do watch this film! It is a must!

My Rating:- 4/5

Dhanak

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I was always a fan of Nagesh Kukunoor. There was a time when I always used to wait for his movies to get released. I was surprised I haven’t heard of “Dhanak” before until I saw it in Netflix, and also surprised to see him off the limelight and doing off-beat films.

“Dhanak” means rainbow. It is a film for children, a film that defines pure innocence. It is about two siblings, Pari and Chotu, who live their aunt and uncle in a village at Rajasthan, after the death of their parents. Chotu is visually impaired. Pari idolizes Shahrukh Khan while Chotu worships Salman Khan. Every morning, they toss a coin and the winner decides to say the story in a Shahrukh Khan or a Salman Khan. One day Pari sees a poster of Shahrukh Khan endorsing Eye donations. Thinking that by meeting Shahrukh Khan will get Chotu his eyes, Pari and Chotu leave their village to travel all the way to Jodhpur, where Shahrukh Khan is shooting for a film.

Pari and Chotu go through a journey where they meet several people. They meet two tribal women with guns, A god woman named Mata Sheera Wali, who apparently used to study with Shahrukh Khan, and a Mata Sheera Wali follower, who turns out to be a child trafficker. They meet an American musician where they sing a fusion track together. Then they meet a mute man who is going through trauma. Whether Pari and Chotu meet Shahrukh Khan, you need to watch that!

Beautiful direction by Nagesh Kukunoor, fantastic screenplay and cinematography. Rajasthan was shown beautifully. The acting by the children as well as the supporting actors were amazing.

“Dhanak” is a simple story said in a beautiful way. This movie will make you feel that a child is still within you. A must watch.

My Rating:- 3.5/5

Madaari

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“Madaari” is an eye opening film. It’s about a man named Nirmal (Irrfan Khan) who loses his son in a bridge collapse, that is responsible by the politicians. Nirmal decides to take matters in his own hands and kidnaps the home-ministers son to take revenge and all the measures he takes to bring out the truth about politics in India.

Good story, though the screenplay could be better. The 1st half was excellent. It was thrilling. We wouldn’t know the main point of the story until midway, and I got really intrigued to know what was going to happen next. The 2nd half did drag a lot, and did kind of lose its plot in between, but then it led it to a shocking climax, where we see the truth about politics, and all the revelations made by the politicians, which is quite sad.

Irrfan Khan as usual was brilliant. His pain, trauma and his determination  was conveyed very well through his acting. Vishesh Bansal as the home-minister’s son Rohan, shines. Jimmy Shergill, though in a small role, added more package.

The movie had 2 songs:- “Masoom Sa” and “Dama Dama Dam”, both these songs are very apt to the story.

Overall, “Madaari” may have some flaws but then again it keeps you engaged, and lets you see things in a different light!

My Rating:- 3/5

M.S Dhoni- The Untold Story

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This is what I call a biopic. It is brilliantly made. For someone who isn’t a fan of cricket, this film made me get intrigued. The movie shows all of Dhoni’s hardships and all the hardwork he has done to get to this position. There were some known facts and some unknown facts. There was some good research done.

Sushant Singh Rajput completely did justice to the role. His acting was just brilliant. This was his best performance till date. He gets into the skin of Dhoni very easily, and he also manages to look like him. This shows his hardwork. Disha Patani, in her debut film, shines and manages to bring the sweet side of her. Kiara Advani, who disappointed me in her debut film “Fugly” did a much better job here. All the supporting actors such as Anupam Kher, Bhumika Chawla (her comeback film), Kumud Mishra etc. also did well. Neeraj Pandey is an amazing director. He directed the amazing film “A Wednesday” and it proves that he is one of the finest directors.

Though the movie is amazing, there were some flaws and factual errors. I noticed that this movie only showed Dhoni’s positive side, and they didn’t show any of Dhoni’s scandals. I wish they had shown that too, to add some spice. Also, Dhoni never endorsed Garnier, Sushant did though. Also, isn’t Sakshi his schoolmate? They didn’t seem to show that in the film.

Cricket fans will love this movie. In fact even those who are not cricket fans will love this movie. Please do watch this!

My Rating:- 4/5

Umrika

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“Umrika” is a complex yet a story about reality. The film starts with Udai (Prateik Babbar) leaving his village for America. His family recieves letters from him which makes them content. Years later, Udai’s father dies, that’s when Ramakant (Suraj Sharma) finds out that Udai’s letters were actually forged by his dad and uncle, and Udai actually vanished when he reached Mumbai. He decides to go to Mumbai to find out the truth about what happened to his brother.

The movie then shifts to Mumbai. The movie shows Mumbai in a real and true way. Ramakant gets in touch with a gang of criminals involved in smuggling migrants out of the county. He gets fascinated with America too and is thinking whether he wants to head there too.

I couldn’t understand what the movie was about until the climax. “Umrika” is actually about the American Dream, and all that people do to get to America. The movie is also about the clash of different cultures and values.

The story started in a good way, it did lose focus during the 2nd half, but overall managed to convey the message. The screenplay could have been better. After doing a good job in films like “Life of Pi”, “Million Dollar Arm” and “Homeland” the series, Suraj Sharma did a fabulous job as Ramakant. This shows that he is the one of the finest actors around.

“Umrika” is different from other Indian films. This movie is not cliched nor it has any songs. It is worth a watch!

My Rating:- 3/5

Rustom

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This is going to be a brief review.

Akshay Kumar is the soul of Rustom. The movie works only because of him. His expressions, emotions and dialogue delivery was just brilliant. His acting seemed very real. I was upset when he wasn’t nominated for Filmfare when this was one of his best performances, but I was happy that he won the National Award, as he totally deserves it.

But as a movie, it was very average. The story did go on the right track in the beginning, then mid-way, it got lost completely and the climax turned to be rather disappointing. Even the screenplay and the cinematography were average. The rest of the actors kind of underperformed too, and couldn’t match up to Akshay.

So overall, only watch the movie for Akshay’s performance. He was the reason I could watch the entire film. Otherwise this movie isn’t worth it.

My Rating:- 3/5