Akaash Vani (2013) – A review

Akaash Vani – Poster

I wanted to watch this ever since I had heard about it. I wanted to watch it even more than Race 2, and so I did. And boy, did I like it! In a nutshell, it’s a regular, somewhat clichéd, true-to-the-matter, romantic love story with decent acting, decent direction, decent music and wonderful writing. Its good on its own, but many of you would have this big question in your mind – is it better than the team’s previous flick, the cult classic Pyaar Ka Punchnaama? Well, umm… no! It is quite tough to put up something better than Pyaar Ka Punchnaama you see. So, if you’re disappointed, don’t be. Do go for it but with a different perspective. Appreciate the talent in the writer-director Luv Ranjan and buy tickets counting on him. I assure you that you won’t be disappointed. Both the movies are quite different from their roots. Pyaar Ka Punchnaama was fun and we loved it because it was fresh, something new. Aakash Vani is a mainstream romantic film. We’ve had a lot of similar films in this genre in Indian Cinema, so you can predict the story as the movie progresses. But the factor that makes Aakash Vani so good a film is its treatment. There is something in it that gives you a sense of Imtiaz Ali’s charm around it.

Right from the first scene, the movie keeps you with it. It makes you smile with its freshness and originality. Hats off to Luv Ranjan’s writing and treatment to the characters. Though the flow of the story seems a bit too quick and haphazard but you still enjoy the ride. The dialogues are really cool, the songs are pitched at perfect moments and they sound good as well. You don’t seem interrupted suddenly when the songs appear, which shows wonderful handling of screenplay. The first half is really good. But unfortunately, like several potentially good movies, this one too suffers from the second half syndrome. Maybe, that’s because the story takes a complete turn and everything changes. The tone becomes grave and gloomy, and perhaps that’s where he will loose the attention from majority of audiences because majority of them would be there just to have a light-hearted entertaining movie like Pyaar Ka Punchnaama. Same thing happened in the half-filled PVR hall where I was watching. People started laughing & mocking at serious occasions and you could see that they were no longer attached to the movie. This was partly because the acting was weak and the presentation appeared naïve. For example, in one scene when both Akaash (Kartik Tiwari) & Vani (Nushrat Bharucha) are sitting at a railway station and they start to cry. It could have been a very strong moment. Akaash hadn’t cried properly for 2 years since Vani left him. He should have poured his heart out. But you just don’t feel convinced by the way they both enacted it. It showed that these guys are new comers and have a lot to learn. Its times like this when the director has to wave his magic wand and show some magic. But Luv Ranjan was badly missed as a director there. Scenes like these sets them apart from stalwarts like Imtiaz Ali, Rajkumar Hirani, Yash Chopra, etc. who make their audiences weep along with their characters. But it wasn’t complete crap. It was good. A touchy fellow like me wouldn’t mind all that.

The thing that made me like the movie, despite its weak treatment, is the story and its respect for reality and being true to the matter at hand. Its not a love story where in a girl dumps a guy because she made a stupid promise to god and the guy starts defusing bombs in Army in order to kill himself but doesn’t get killed by one and in the end they both meet. No, this isn’t crap like that. This story is the one that you can relate to, one that you’ll see happening next door. This is a part social message, part entertainment film from where I see it. It would make an impact on those parents standing at the crossroads of 2 generations – their and their children’s. This movie would tell them their kids’ side of story. But its not all social message and teachings, it’s a cocktail of fun, drama, romance and practicality stirred a bit carelessly and served. Had it been stirred properly and served with a proper garnish, it could have caught up to become a mainstream movie that would give Race 2 a good run for its money.

Talking about acting, it was good for both Kartik and Nushrat. Their previous roles in Pyaar Ka Punchnaama were relatively easy to portray, I’d say. But these characters were a bit more complex to justify. They had more shades and diverse emotions and they justified them pretty well. Kartik is noticeably good in the first half playing the fun guy and Nushrat comes out more mature in the second half wonderfully expressing her character torn apart in keeping up her marriage. The dialogues are good. The conversations seem genuine and not made up which helps in generating a tempo. If this film had a big banner attached to it and A-listed actors, I am sure it’d have been a huge hit. Not having a crowd puller will commercially affect them a lot. It was a good decision to repeat the same pair from Pyaar Ka Punchnaama; otherwise a fresh pair would have made things even worse. But one thing is for sure, now onwards Luv Ranjan wont need introduction in film industry and nor would Kartik and Nushrat. I just hope they have good agents with them, like the ones Ranvir Singh has, that can give them A-listed films with A-listed players. It’s a very important factor to make your place permanent in this industry; otherwise surviving without a godfather is extremely difficult over here.

I am so glad I chose this over Race 2. I read a couple of major critics’ verdicts on Race 2 and it is exactly what I expected. I haven’t seen that movie but there is one thing I can tell you for sure – there is definitely more as movie in Akaash Vani then there is in Race 2. People who can spot and appreciate talent would like this film, for others who just like things that sparkle, go for Race 2. But better know what they say about things that sparkle.


Inkaar (2012) – A review

Inkaar – Poster

After seeing the promos for this movie, I was quite impressed with it and had a lot of expectations with it. I don’t know why but this flick had a different vibe to it then other movies that I’ve seen earlier, like, Disclosure (1994), Crash (2004) or Akshay Kumar’s Aitraaz which were heavily focused on sexual harassment. I felt this one would have some edge to it that would set itself apart from others. Maybe it was because of the very fresh leading pair starring Arjun Rampal and Chitrangada Singh and the story focused on a complicated relationship manifested in a corporate backdrop.

And it sure didn’t disappoint me throughout! I am not saying it was a blockbuster or I felt changed after watching it or something, but it was presented in a very good way and my expectations felt quenched. I did get my money’s worth. When I saw Arjun and Chitrangada together on screen, I was convinced that there couldn’t be a better pair for these roles. It was a perfect cast! I can’t seem to get any other alternatives that would have been fit for Arjun’s role. Actors like Hrithik, Ranbir, Saif, Akshay Kumar, etc. seem too refined and overtly-big imaged stars for this role and I’m sure you’d have not liked Shahid, Imran, Ranvir, John, or other youngsters as a CEO of an advertisement agency for over a decade. Plus, Arjun’s body language has that sense of victim syndrome, which makes him perfect to portray a character accused of sexual harassment. Also, it had been more than 2 years since ‘We are family’ where Arjun last got a chance to act in a solo-hero movie, so this would have been big for him and he would deliver his best. While, on the other hand, Chitrangada is on her very successful 2nd innings in this industry. But somehow, her movies until now weren’t quite hitting the perfect spot. I missed watching her ‘Yeh Saali Zindagi’ and in Desi Boyz she didn’t have to do anything else except looking pretty. A lot of people, including me, were in thoughts and asking whether she will plunge herself in completely commercial movies or will we get a glimpse of the Smita Patil lookalike talent which we witnessed in ‘Hazaaro Khwaishein Aisi’. Well, here we got a mixture of both. Chitrangada had previously worked with director Sudhir Mishra twice in Hazaaro Khwaishein Aisi & Yeh Saali Zindagi so this wouldn’t have been new for her. Both of them delivered their parts well and thus the film came out well on the whole.

Another delight of the film was its music. I enjoyed what Shantanu Moitra did for this film. I am a big fan of Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics and songs and I loved 3 major songs from the film. Darmiyan and Zindagi ka karobar blend perfectly in the progressing storyline and compliment the presentation, thus helping in elevating the ambience of the film. I am glad that they were sensible enough not to go for any item numbers or dance numbers and paralyze the flow of the story. This is the result of sensible people making a movie and caring for what they make regardless of how its outcome would be commercially. I know, Inkaar would only last till Race 2 doesn’t burn it down. Arjun Rampal has never been able to carry a movie on his own they didn’t have Vidya Balan in the cast, nor did they have a killer script, so it all of us knew that this wasn’t going to be a big hit. On the top of that, the movie wasn’t released overseas. So, this wiped its chances of earning from there as well. Despite knowing all this, they cared to make a good movie, and I appreciate them for this.

The dialogues are fresh and catchy, and they need to be. The subject of the movie requires the dialogues to be bold and strong. The story is also innovative in its own way. It is more than just sexual harassment. It’s a corporate drama with an edge. I am glad this story was made in a movie and this part of our society was addressed to. It needs to be addressed badly what type of culture goes on in corporate offices today. There are lots of unquestioned, unanswered things going on around us where we work. It feels sometimes that all of that is becoming a major part of our lives without we consciously trying to acknowledge its existence around us. The story though, is bit of a cracker as the movie approaches its climax and is about to end. No one would have expected that Arjun Rampal’s character would be in love with the very woman who had accused him. But I guess that’s the heart of the film. The director wants us to focus on the confusing office relationships and the politics that goes on among fellow-colleagues. In our professional lives, we come across several such scenarios wherein relationships get strained due to external factors and complex circumstances. Rahul & Maya’s relationship was something like that. Before it could blossom into something beautiful, other people contaminate their relationship and both of them are left with prejudice at their ends. Thus their feelings remain suppressed and are never able to surface. Complex thing to digest but still better off to end the film on that note since they didn’t have any room for the classic happy-ever-after Bollywood ending. One more thing I felt was that Kanwaljit Singh’s character as Rahul’s father, could have been written better and shown to have a better effect on Rahul’s character. They have tried, but it couldn’t connect the dots and you don’t feel the connection.

On the whole, it’s an average film for a weekend, certainly better option than Mumbai Mirror. I was very disappointed watching Broken City as well, so this served as a delight to me. I hope you find it entertaining as well.

The Vow (2012) – A review

I had just seen the poster of this film before I went down to watch this movie in the theater. I couldn’t get a chance to watch the official trailer and make pre-assumptions about the movie. But according to the poster I came to know that the movie had Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams in the lead roles and it was based on a true story. Then a little bit of googling gave me more information about the movie. It was a story of a husband and wife and they meeting an accident. Wife suffers from memory loss and husband tries to recall her memories and their vows. It sounded like a strong plot and when it says that the movie is inspired from true events, it gets more attention from me than regular fictional stories. I was definitely excited in seeing what this movie has in store for me.

When I reached the hall, I was expecting a sort of a romantic film like Adam Sandler’s 50 First dates; a little serious though. I had thought that it would have a warm romance that would melt my heart as I had learnt that the movie was a huge hit in North America and it was really doing well during Valentine’s Day week. So, I was expecting a very touching, romantic film.

The film starts off with their accident and the film moving back and forth between current timeline and past events. It builds up very slowly. Initially I couldn’t feel connected with the characters. I felt that Channing and Rachel weren’t too involved in their roles. I felt that their acting was dull. The dialogues weren’t strong enough to make your girlfriend lean her head on your shoulder. But I guess, the director and scriptwriter wanted to keep the things real, and keep the essence of the story intact, and didn’t try to ruin it by making cheesy. No problem, I can live with that.

The first half passes and Rachel’s role develops wonderfully. Character of Paige has shown a lot of depth than in the first 30 minutes of the movie. Now, you start feeling connected to the film. You can feel that confusion that Paige feels when he looks at Leo, who claims to be her husband. But she remembers nothing about him. You can feel her trying her best not to hurt him. Even Channing’s character picks up the pace and develops as events start happening. Channing beautifully portrays Leo’s helplessness, which he feels when his wife leaves him out. You can feel Leo’s agony and frustration when he is cut off by the love of his life, as she remembers only the period before she met him. That awkwardness is well displayed between a husband and wife who were soul mates a while ago but have to live as strangers now.

As the film ends, it leaves me with a very nice impression. I really liked the movie. I liked it because it was different from traditional, conventional love stories that Hollywood filmmakers and fictional novelists have been making over years, that sometimes bend the reality to the extent of making it impractical. I liked it because it had a lot to do with reality. Being inspired from a true story was the biggest virtue of this movie and it carried on it quite well. Movies like this should be made more often, as it leaves a proper impression on current generation. Life is not perfect, and one should take it as it comes to you. A wonderful film! The music is good and Channing really convinced me that he can act and he can act well. I am definitely booked for his 21 Jump Street, which is yet to release here in India. As for Rachel McAdams, she is always a delight to watch. I have never been disappointed by her performances. But she definitely looks a bit aged in this one. In all those frames with Channing, she quite eminently looks older than him.

All in all, it’s a good movie. You can watch it one time if you like romantic films. You will be able to stand it just fine. If you like movies which are modest, real and whose scripts don’t try to act smart, you’ll love this movie.



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