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.


Dear John (2010) – A review


After watching ‘The Vow’ recently in the theater, I was tempted to watch more of Channing Tatum in romantic flicks. I was starting to expect more out of him and I started to think that he could be an amazing actor for serious romantic films. Just then, a friend of mine gave me a DVD of Dear John and WOW! It was an amazing film. I wonder how I missed this movie for so long.

The story of the movie is basically adapted from a novel of same name written by Nicholas Sparks and I have not been able to read any of his works but I have watched 3 movies adapted from his novels, namely ‘A walk to remember’,  ‘The Notebook’ & ‘The last song’ and the first two of them are among my all time favorites. So, I was expecting a very good romantic movie out of Dear John. Critics and reviewers have often criticized works of Sparks saying that they are way too emotional and sentimental. They say that he desperately writes characters that would make young girls weep. That’s true to some extent but I don’t find it entirely true. His characters do have some depth and an essence of reality. I know, those of you who have ‘The lucky one’ in mind won’t agree with these words of mine. But speaking of Dear John, I found the character of John Tyree very real and heartfelt.

John’s relationship with his father is the part that touched me the most. It was captured with great poise and the director Lasse Hallstorm did perfect justice to it. I could feel as if I was reading the book. It is very close to the heart and it grips you around it, and the major credit for that spellbinding effect goes to the actors Channing Tatum and Richard Jenkins. I’ve always admired Jenkins as an amazing actor; Tatum too was equally impressive alongside him. Both of them together can make you forget the world around you and take you along with them on an emotional ride like never before.

The romance between John and Savannah is equally wonderful and stays the USP of the film. The on-screen chemistry between Channing and Amanda is really wonderful and picturesque. I found it better than it was with Rachael McAdams in ‘The Vow’. So, has Tatum degraded as an actor or was he actually less comfortable co-staring alongside McAdams than Seyfried remains to be seen. I would go with the latter option though. The romance is real and warm. You feel connected and convinced. When the letters start, you’d expect the story to get stagnant and monotonous but it doesn’t. On the contrary it turns out to be the main storytelling and character-expanding medium. Excellent work! The letters are amazing. It does look a bit old-fashioned long distance relationship between a soldier and his beloved but I find it extremely beautiful and romantic. I am still passionate about old-fashioned romance and letters are still one of my favorite modes of expressing one’s feelings. So, full marks there from my end.

The only part of the story where I feel less convinced is when Savannah decides to marry the single father, who is her neighbor, because he is dying and has no one after his son. I think that the part where Savannah starts getting second thoughts to where the relationship is headed, is not portrayed with enough importance. I am assuming that it would be explained aptly in the novel but the director didn’t have that luxury. But still it is not that ugly and pathetic. It is still fine and doesn’t ruin everything. The last letter that Savannah writes to John, after Tim passes away, is a home run and seals the victory. You end up being completely moved as the ending credits start rolling. If you’re a person who loves sentimental movies and if you can connect yourself with the story being told, trust me, Dear John will make your eyes wet. It is an emotional odyssey that you’d not want to miss. It doesn’t have the romance of The Notebook or Titanic that will make your knees weak, but it’s the entire story, the characters, and the presentation that will make you take a dive in the ocean of tranquility. You’ll feel liberated and enriched. I feel sad that I missed it for this long. I highly recommend it to all of you, who have missed it so far like me, and who believe in whatever I said here. Awesome experience!

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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