Rumnique Nannar – BollySpice.com http://bollyspice.com The latest movies, interviews in Bollywood Sun, 24 Jul 2016 08:00:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 Udta Punjab Music Review http://bollyspice.com/udta-punjab-music-review/ Sat, 28 May 2016 03:04:25 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=124280 Half of the appeal for Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab is how the music would capture the trippy sounds of most drug movies. He won us over with the snippets of the hypnotic “Chitta Ve” and brash “Udd da Punjab” in the trailer. He’s in safe hands with Amit Trivedi, who brought a diverse mix of Punjabi and electro sounds in Dev D. Udta Punjab is a pretty fabulous and edgy album with music that matches the highs of its film. From the fizzy opening hook to Babu Haabi’s gritty “Dekho dekho,” Chitta Ve is an addictive song. Starting the album

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udtapunjabposters4Half of the appeal for Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab is how the music would capture the trippy sounds of most drug movies. He won us over with the snippets of the hypnotic “Chitta Ve” and brash “Udd da Punjab” in the trailer. He’s in safe hands with Amit Trivedi, who brought a diverse mix of Punjabi and electro sounds in Dev D. Udta Punjab is a pretty fabulous and edgy album with music that matches the highs of its film.

From the fizzy opening hook to Babu Haabi’s gritty “Dekho dekho,” Chitta Ve is an addictive song. Starting the album with a pulsating track is the right move, because Trivedi arranges the catchy drop of the film title so seamlessly amidst the electro beats. Babu Haabi’s rap delivery is raw and fast, but it works against Shahid Mallya’s earthy tones. The lyrics by Shellee steep you in the drug user’s frame of mind, with Trivedi matching the highs and lows with the meandering tempo. Keep this one on repeat.

With Da Da Dasse, Amit Trivedi delivers a fabulous track that gives Kanika Kapoor a chance to show off her versatility than the ‘Chittiyan Kalaiyan’ and ‘Baby Doll’ songs have. Since the song is laid back with its arrangement, Kapoor has fun with the chorus and the drop is perfect timed with Babu Haabi’s verses. Haabi and Kapoor do a commendable job here, both of them showcasing their alternative side.

I loved that Trivedi used a song by Punjabi poet, whose original ‘Ik Kudi Jide Naam Mohabbat’ was an elegiac lament on heartbreak. The first version of Ikk Kudi sung by Shahid Mallya is nice but it sounds as if he pitched it wrong with his staid melancholic sound. The reprised version by Diljit Dosanjh is much better because it’s got the grungy bass sound and Dosanjh infuses a bit more passion into his rendition. Pick your favourite, since both singers make it their own.

Varun Grover is quickly becoming one of the best lyricists around, and he uses that cheeky humour in Ud Daa Punjab. The lyrics take a caustic look at drug users, and Vishal Dadlani raps the edgy verses quite well. The arrangement is addictive with the tumbi and dhol lining the chorus, and the chorus completely stays with you after. Trivedi and Dadlani are their grizzled best, growling that opening, “Ander da kutta ajj kadhiye hai/Agg duniya petrol chal suttiye hai” that you can’t help but be impressed.

The low key song of the album, Hass Nach Le, is a welcome respite from the heady vibe of the album. The opening strums remind you a bit of ‘Rabba Toh Main Margaye Oye’ from Mausam, but the harmonium melody by Akhlak Varsi leads the way. With minimal arrangement, Shahid Mallya is soulful and dreamy with his vocals. It’s a nice track that’ll probably be used as the sole romantic number in the film.

Closing the album with a bang, Vadiya, finds Amit Trivedi going on an intoxicating trip with his airy and spaced out vocals. Getting into the drug-users POV with Shellee’s lyrics, “Chali jad hawa.. main udd gaya/Na puch kya hua.. main udd gaya.” It’s an effective song, and you’ll soon be chanting the title, because it’s such fun track.

Udta Punjab is another career high for Amit Trivedi as he’s using new sounds and original lyricists who push the album to that edgy level. He also pushes his singers into new territory which is an added bonus.

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A.R. Rahman Turns Screenwriter With 99 Songs http://bollyspice.com/a-r-rahman-turns-screenwriter-with-99-songs/ Mon, 14 Mar 2016 15:15:25 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=120895 After garnering Oscars, and Grammys for his music, A.R. Rahman is setting his sights on the filmmaking world, as he turns to screenwriting for his upcoming film 99 Songs. Rahman formed his production house YM Movies earlier last year and is producing 99 Songs. Initially Rahman was going to direct the film, but after years of trying to get if off the ground he signed Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy, a director with experience in TV like The Dewarists and Bring On The Night. Interestingly, Krishnamoorthy has a musical background as the former frontman for the hardcore band Scribe. It’s unlikely that the

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After garnering Oscars, and Grammys for his music, A.R. Rahman is setting his sights on the filmmaking world, as he turns to screenwriting for his upcoming film 99 Songs.

Rahman formed his production house YM Movies earlier last year and is producing 99 Songs. Initially Rahman was going to direct the film, but after years of trying to get if off the ground he signed Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy, a director with experience in TV like The Dewarists and Bring On The Night. Interestingly, Krishnamoorthy has a musical background as the former frontman for the hardcore band Scribe.

It’s unlikely that the music is going to be as punk as its director, but with Rahman’s input as screenwriter and music director, 99 Songs seems like a dream project. It’s said to be a “a sensual story about art and self-discovery,” according to a source from the Mumbai Mirror. The source said the film covers a struggling singer who becomes a celebrated composer, though it’s not autobiographical.

The poster was released last week and gives us a feel for the ethereal love story. With a huge piano dangling from the heaven with the hero holding to its leg and the heroine’s hand. The film’s title is spelt in rose petals, which is quite adorable and has attracted praise on social media.

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Aamir Khan praised the film’s poster on Twitter as well.

The film is expected to release in 2017, and one thing’s for sure 99 Songs is going to have a killer soundtrack!

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Kapoor & Sons Music Review http://bollyspice.com/kapoor-sons-music-review/ Wed, 09 Mar 2016 08:08:38 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=120688 Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921) has all the right ingredients of a Dharma film: two rumoured lovebirds Aalia Bhatt and Siddharth Malhotra with great chemistry, a deliciously handsome Fawad Khan, and a quirky director in Shakun Batra. Part of that list includes a great album that’ll continue to be played long after it’s left cinemas, and Kapoor & Sons has some gems on its soundtrack. The music has been composed by Amaal Mallik, Badshah, Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Tanishk Bagchi, and Nucleya. Kar Gayi Chull is an absolute banger, since it reworks Badshah and Fazilpuria’s original “Chull” in the best way.

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16feb_Kapoor&Sons-Poster02BKapoor & Sons (Since 1921) has all the right ingredients of a Dharma film: two rumoured lovebirds Aalia Bhatt and Siddharth Malhotra with great chemistry, a deliciously handsome Fawad Khan, and a quirky director in Shakun Batra. Part of that list includes a great album that’ll continue to be played long after it’s left cinemas, and Kapoor & Sons has some gems on its soundtrack. The music has been composed by Amaal Mallik, Badshah, Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Tanishk Bagchi, and Nucleya.

Kar Gayi Chull is an absolute banger, since it reworks Badshah and Fazilpuria’s original “Chull” in the best way. Instead of going with pounding drop that was spaced out in the original, they add louder horns and trippy electro beats. They also have Sukriti and Neha Kakkar chiming for the female verses, but it’s still a bit iffy to hear that Badshah kept the line, “Ladki nahi hai tu hai garam maamla.” Keep this version on repeat.

Next is Bolna, which showcases the amazing vocals by Asees Kaur, who has a deep and lilting voice. It’s a laid back tune that has lovely orchestration with the acoustic guitar, and flute solos throughout. Arijit Singh dominates the track, but Asees Kaur has a smooth voice that’s a nice alternative to Shreya Ghosal breathy style.

Buddu Sa Mann is a great trancey track that has a ‘Sooraj Dooba Hai’ hangover with the cascading electro beats around the chorus, and the whistling adds a catchy hook to the composition. Armaan Mallik handles the vocals with flair and has a very silky voice that makes you think of KK.

Saathi Rey works well as a showcase for Arko’s versatile vocals, which suits the stripped down feel of the song. I like the melodrama of the song from the opening strings and piano, but it soon segues into indie rock territory that feels like it’d suit the situational moments.

They saved the best for last in Let’s Nacho, which is a nice reworking of Nucleya and Benny Dayal’s banger Tamil Fever from The Project Resound for Sony last year. This time they’ve added Badshah to the mix, and it’s actually nice to hear him sing a bit and come up with some fresh bars. The pulsating drums and insanely catchy drops are intact which is another example of how to rework a song without ruining the original.

We can’t fault the composers too much for reworking songs, because it’s in vogue right now and they’re doing it right by keeping the soul intact. Kapoor & Sons is a funky and fresh album with songs that you’re bound to be hooked on.

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Ki & Ka Music Review http://bollyspice.com/ki-ka-music-review/ Wed, 09 Mar 2016 07:05:15 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=120684 R. Balki’s movies aren’t usually known for their music, as Cheeni Kum and Paa had one gem of a song, but Ki & Ka is the exception because it’s quite a funky album. The trailers gave us a snippet of ‘High Heels’ and ‘Most Wanted Munda’ that completely suited the quirky romance which gives a new spin on gender dynamics. Instead, he’s recruited the Meet Bros, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Mithoon, and Ilayaraja for this patchy but fun album. If you’re thinking you’ve heard High Heels before, you probably have with Jaz Dhami and Yo Yo Honey Singh’s original song

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Ki & Ka posterR. Balki’s movies aren’t usually known for their music, as Cheeni Kum and Paa had one gem of a song, but Ki & Ka is the exception because it’s quite a funky album. The trailers gave us a snippet of ‘High Heels’ and ‘Most Wanted Munda’ that completely suited the quirky romance which gives a new spin on gender dynamics. Instead, he’s recruited the Meet Bros, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Mithoon, and Ilayaraja for this patchy but fun album.

If you’re thinking you’ve heard High Heels before, you probably have with Jaz Dhami and Yo Yo Honey Singh’s original song that came out in 2012. I actually prefer this version because the duo have removed the cheesy electro beats of the original hook, and have used Aditi Singh Sharma. Sharma kills her verses and delivers them with attitude, especially with the sassy lines “To meri high heels se/Maar tu khaa lega.” As usual, Yo Yo Honey Singh’s raps are kept to a minimum like the original, and are still corny.

My favourite song is up next, Ji Huzoori, which is a lovely ballad that grows on you even with the repetition. It’s Mithoon and Deepali who really sell this track with that catchy chorus that makes you sing along. The lyrics by Sayeed Qadri are eloquent and simple, and Deepali’s verses are particularly touching. The orchestration is quite understated with tablas during throughout but the shehnaii solo is a nice touch.

Most Wanted Munda has an opening hook that immediately wins you over and gets you dancing. The lyrics which extol Arjun Kapoor’s virtues from being the “Arey re iski toh fan hain/Yeh saari auntiyaan” and the Meet Bros sing these zingers with cheekiness. The composition is a treat, and there’s a great moment where the tempo slows down to match the beats of the train. However, this is a track where I’d call on Yo Yo Honey Singh instead of Earl Edgar who delivers these cheesy lines, “He doesn’t need to make any money shoney/But he feels on top like a honey bunny!” Other than lines that make you unintentionally laugh, this is a solid track that’s worth playing on repeat. The song is reworked in Kabir Most Wanted Munda, which adds more Punjabi beats to be suited for a wedding song. But this version also features Arjun taking on the rapping, which he utterly sucks at thankfully that’s a really short interlude!

Ilayaraja tackles Foolishq, a minimalist love song that’s actually quite bland and doesn’t feel up to scratch. With chunky guitar riffs and lilting flute melody throughout, the orchestration works but it ends rather quickly and anticlimactically. Shreya Ghosal and Armaan Mallik have a cool chemistry together but it doesn’t save the track.

Pump It (The Workout Song) is only worth listening to for Yash Navrekar who has a great youthful voice and enough attitude to pull off the silly lyrics. Other than its quirky orchestration that integrates banjos and electro beats, this song is mostly forgettable.

Ki & Ka is a fun album for an R. Balki film, but with many composers on the album there are only a few songs that exceed the expectations.

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REFLECTIONS 2015: Top 10 Best Albums of 2015 http://bollyspice.com/top-10-best-albums-of-2015/ Fri, 15 Jan 2016 03:30:14 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=118513 Bollywood had an interesting year of music, whether it was A.R.Rahman delivering a cohesive soundtrack in Tamasha or Amit Trivedi conjuring up the jazz and swing sounds of Bombay’s jazz age in Bombay Velvet. There was also less pressure on one music director to deliver when multiple artists contributed to the film’s hits like Roy’s ‘Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan’ by Meet Bros, and ‘Sooraj Dooba Hai’ by Amaal Mallik. 2015 was definitely a year for experimentation for music directors, which we completely appreciated including the retro albums like Prem Ratan Dhan Payo with the title track capturing the nation on Dubsmash. Read on for

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Bollywood had an interesting year of music, whether it was A.R.Rahman delivering a cohesive soundtrack in Tamasha or Amit Trivedi conjuring up the jazz and swing sounds of Bombay’s jazz age in Bombay Velvet. There was also less pressure on one music director to deliver when multiple artists contributed to the film’s hits like Roy’s ‘Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan’ by Meet Bros, and ‘Sooraj Dooba Hai’ by Amaal Mallik. 2015 was definitely a year for experimentation for music directors, which we completely appreciated including the retro albums like Prem Ratan Dhan Payo with the title track capturing the nation on Dubsmash. Read on for our picks of the year, and let us know what your faves were.

1. Bombay Velvet – Irrespective of what you thought of Anurag Kashyap’s magnum opus of Bombay’s murky past filled with gangsters, business tycoons, torch singers, and hitmen, you can’t dispute that it was most original and innovative album’s of the year. The gorgeous ‘Dhadaam Dhadaam’ was stylishly shot with Anushka Sharma emoting her heart out and Neeti Mohan’s stellar vocals recalling the type of torch song you hardly hear in Bollywood anymore. Bombay Velvet is truly Amit Trivedi’s best album of his career, because there’s a genuine craftmanship at work in every track making it appeal to both the jazz purists and listeners wanting to dance. Bravo to Trivedi and his team for this fabulous album.

2. Bajirao Mastani – If the film was Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s tribute to Mughal-e-Azam, then working on the soundtrack himself was his effort to recreate that expansive and lovely Naushad style, and it paid off! Whether it was reworking his gem ‘Albela Saajan’ with more horns or creating a very contemporary song in ‘Malhari’, Bhansali shows us that he’s more than capable of handling all the duties to actualize his dream project. It’s hard to pick a standout on this album, because each song is textured and has lots of sounds to savour, or new voices like Vaishali Made or Payal Dev to keep you hooked.

3. Tamasha – There was a time when A.R.Rahman was going through a patchy phase from his middling Lekar Hum Diwana Dil album, but in 2015 he’s delivered one of his loveliest albums with Tamasha, where he’s paired with Imtiaz Ali who appears to bring out the best in Rahman. In this director-music composer team, all the songs have a certain mood they’re going for, and it’s evident in the upbeat songs from ‘Matargashti’ to the soulful ‘Safarnama’. We have to credit Rahman for letting us hear Alka Yagnik’s voice from the haunting ‘Tum Saath Ho’, and she’s in stellar form here.

4. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo – This was one album that you just couldn’t escape from in 2015, that was how ubiquitous the soundtrack was on social media, and Dubsmash especially. From Sridevi acing the steps or Bajrangi Bhaijaan moppet Harshaali Malhotra making us go “aww” everyone wanted to try the “Prem Ratan” dance and it’s easy to see why: retro sounds work. From the huge percussion section in the title song or the bantering in ‘Jab Tum Chaho’, Himesh Reshammiya showed us that he can apply his typically dated sounds into the right kind of film. Here’s hoping that at some point, Reshammiya can do his best again with another Salman film.

5. Baahubali (All Languages) – We’ll be talking for eons about how awe-inspiring Baahubali looked with its CGI and how amazing the fight scenes were in the second half, but it’s the music that’s suitably epic for the multilingual gem. M.M. Keeravani had the tough task of organizing three soundtracks in Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi and every song somehow wormed their ways into our minds. I definitely can’t think of ‘Prabhas’ without the huge horns and percussion in ‘Siva Sivaya Potri’ as he walks through waterfalls with a lingam on his shoulders. Keeravani has delivered a great album that definitely get us hyped to see what he might deliver in the second film with it’s likely big battle scene, which we hope comes complete with a rousing song.

6. Katti Batti – Shankar, Ehsaan, and Loy have delivered some lovely work when they are paired with Nikhil Advani, and Katti Batti, despite its middling plot, had a great soundtrack. The adorable stop-motion sequence for ‘Lip to Lip’ was extraordinary with Ritu Pathak and Nikhil D’Souza’s fun and sexy chemistry. The album was fresh and every song had its own buzz that’ll make it live on even if the film wasn’t great.

7. Piku – It’s an unwritten rule that all road movies, however long the characters are in the vehicle, have to have excellent music. Piku had Anupam Roy creating a soulful ‘Journey Song’ to punctuate the squabbles and great scenery that the characters pass by. The softer tracks like ‘Lamhe’ or ‘Teri Meri Baatein’ had great sitar solos and Roy has a very tender voice that’s not intrusive to the flow of the sequences they’re placed in. This one that’s definitely going to be a part of your driving playlist for the future.

8. Dil Dhadakne Do – If all road movies have good music, then all boat movies should take note of the joyful songs in Dil Dhadakne Do, which Shankar, Ehsaan, and Loy crafted. There’s the one shot sequence of ‘Gallan Godiyan’ that’s tons of fun with Sukhwinder Singh improvising and scatting, and it matches perfectly with Anil Kapoor’s very energetic dancing! But my personal favourite is ‘Girls Like to Swing’ that has that Parov Stelar neo-swing vibe and having Sunidhi Chauhan sing it is the icing on the cake! The less said about Farhan Akhtar’s singing on the title track the better, but Priyanka Chopra has a good few verses to showcase her husky voice, which is fab.

9. Dilwale – We doubt there’s ever been an SRK-Kajol film with bad music, and Dilwale delivers some gems with ‘Gerua’ and ‘Janam Janam’ where the Jodi show off their amazing chemistry and make you forget the rest of the madness around them. The funkier songs were definitely ‘Manma Emotion Jaage’ for which everyone needed to do a Dubsmash, and ‘Tukur Tukur’ where hoverboards are incorporated into the song.

10. Bajrangi Bhaijaan – How could we leave out an album that features an ode to chicken and a paean to selfies? Most Salman Khan films have catchy soundtracks which means half the battle is won already, but this time it was a rare treat that the story and songs were structured well into the narrative. Pritam made a versatile album that’s worth its repeat plays, especially ‘Selfie Le Le Re’, which you can use to justify all those shameless selfies you want!

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REFLECTIONS 2015: Bollywood Razzies of 2015 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-2015-bollywood-razzies-of-2015/ Mon, 11 Jan 2016 11:01:36 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=118540 “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” goes the Xmas song, but it also applies to sorting through the dreck and crap that came out of Bollywood in 2015. I watched many of these duds so that you don’t have to, and trust me they’re not as hilarious as I’m going to make them, because for every great Jodi like SRK-Kajol in Dilwale there’s Sunny Leone being paired with Ram Kapoor. Yet there were some awful gems like MSG and its sequel that came out in the same year – take that annual Fast and Furious franchise! Herewith is

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“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” goes the Xmas song, but it also applies to sorting through the dreck and crap that came out of Bollywood in 2015. I watched many of these duds so that you don’t have to, and trust me they’re not as hilarious as I’m going to make them, because for every great Jodi like SRK-Kajol in Dilwale there’s Sunny Leone being paired with Ram Kapoor. Yet there were some awful gems like MSG and its sequel that came out in the same year – take that annual Fast and Furious franchise! Herewith is the worst and secretly hilarious of the year.

Worst Actor – Emraan Hashmi for Hamari Adhuri Kahani/Mr X

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After doing so well in Shanghai, and Ghanchakkar, Emraan decided to play it safe with his performances in Hamari Adhuri Kahani (paired opposite Vidya Balan) and the atrocious Mr X. Taking the concept of being an invisible man far too seriously, Hashmi flounders as he worries whether he’ll be seen in his undercover mission, while still managing to snog the heroine as well. We doubt Mr India would eat the face off his Seema, but with a Hashmi film it’s an absolute must. He couldn’t acquit himself at all in the overwritten mess that was HAK, where he spouts the most obvious dialogues in the world and gets Balan to send him selfies as part of their courtship. We hope that Hashmi finds a better movie next time, where the music isn’t the only good thing in it.

 

Worst Actress – Shruti Haasan

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Whether it’s something lost in transferring to the Hindi film industry, Haasan was pretty terrible in Gabbar is Back with her shrill antics as Akshay Kumar’s love interest, where she seemed to scare him in playing it straight. In Welcome Back, she had zero chemistry with John Abraham and was lost in the fray when the loud comic scenes came during the finale. Here’s hoping Haasan can stick to roles in the South where she seems more at ease, or that she finds a hero in Bollywood who’s up to snuff.

 

Faltu Jodi – Sunny Leone and Ram Kapoor in Kuch Kuch Locha Hai

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You’ve got to feel for Sunny Leone who gets saddled with some of Bollywood’s worst heroes: Jay Bhanushali in Ek Paheli Leela, Tusshar Kapoor in the upcoming Kya Kool Hai Hum 3, but the worst pairing has been with Ram Kapoor. Kapoor goes full throttle with his uncomfortable and creepy behavior with Leone’s character from ogling at her to buying her company as part of a competition. Kapoor seems to be biding his time away from soaps in appearing as the stalkery second lead in these bad films that he’s completely out-acted by Leone. This is one jodi that made us want to shudder and take a shower after.

 

No Sex Please, We’re Cheesy – Hate Story 3

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Borrowing the pastel lighting from Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ video, the sex scenes in Hate Story 3 were artfully aided by all the lighting and gimmicks. If you thought that blue lighting sex-scenes went away with Parinda or Top Gun, seeing Zarine Khan ride Karan Singh Grover with the lights flashing different colours every other minute was laughable. Or the yellow-lit floors that poor Sharman Joshi was lying on while thinking inwardly, “I went from 3 Idiots to macking on Zarine Khan?” If you had a “what is this even?” look then rest assured, that was the look on the actors’ faces whenever they made their “o” faces. We won’t fault the director or cinematographer for trying to improve the franchise’s sex scenes which have gone from skeezy to cheesy.

 

Quit the Meta Remakes – Madhur Bhandarkar with Calendar Girls

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There was a very telling moment in Calendar Girls when the film’s director appeared as himself as the “superstar” who was shooting nearby, and one of the girls gushes over him as if he’s an auteur of thoughtful movies. Bhandarkar’s egregious appearance in his own film by flaunting his amazing talents as a director wasn’t the only familiar thing in this dud, which like the rest of his output showcases the depths that some unfortunate models get into from becoming an escort to dating cricketers. It’s almost as if there was a quota in mind: girl turning into alcoholic – check √, catty remarks at an industry party – check √, bizarro casting with Suhel Seth – check √, and even predatory photographers – check √. If the agriculture industry or IRS need an exposé, be sure to call Bhandarkar!

 

Bas Karo Song – Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

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Amidst the clutter of party songs this year, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’s ubiquity on Dubsmash and articles declaring this star did it better than the other, made us want to cry. There’s no arguing that the song is catchy as hell and the thumkas make us all amateur belly-dancers, but you couldn’t scroll through Instagram without hearing it. Much like the ‘Triple-dent Gum’ that keeps popping up in Pixar’s Inside Out, we really don’t want the “payo re payo re payooo” refrain to be stuck in our heads for eternity.

 

Dreadful Debuts – Sooraj Pancholi & Athiya Shetty

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With his troubling rap sheet aside, we have no clue why Sooraj Pancholi is sweeping the Best Debut prizes at awards season. Pancholi and his co-star Athiya Shetty were unbelievably bad in their debut film Hero which was already done better in the quasi-remake in Heropanti with Tiger Shroff and Kriti Sanon. From Shetty’s shrill voice screeching “Bathroom selfie guys!” reminding you of all the annoying people you meet at clubs, to the shots devoted to Pancholi’s gleaning abs and sweaty body, Nikhil Advani made it painfully obvious which of his two films this year were a cash-grab. It seemed very apt that Pancholi admitted, “Do hi kaam aate hain: dadagiri aur body bananaa!” Well, that should clear up why acting was left out of his contract.

 

Crazy Choreography – The Robot Namaste in Prem Leela, The Almost Fall in Manma Emotion

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Every year a Salman Khan movie comes out, and every year we are graced with another innovative dance step that Khan can kinda master with his stiff dancing. This year, Mudassar Khan who is a stunning hip-hop dancer in his Lil Masters show, but clearly concessions have to be made when training Khan who got to do a robotic namaste in ‘Prem Leela’. Starting low at his hip, Khan swivelled his hands into the right formations and did an interesting robot namaste for the devotional song. It’s a move that we’re definitely going to copy when greeting relatives, and it’s one that Khan can no doubt use when he’s dancing in his 60s much later on.

‘Manma Emotion Jaage’ featured two of Bollywood’s best dancers, Kriti Sanon and Varun Dhawan who couldn’t make us not think that they were about fall in that bendy-leg move. Like last year’s Action Jackson, it’s a cross between the “shit under my shoe” move and the “I’ve lost my footing” step, and it’s nicely capped off with a shoulder shuffle that we thought was left in the High School Musical films.

 

Put Down the Filter – Jazbaa & Dirty Politics

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We’re quite sure that Aishwarya Bachchan looks fine crying with regular daylight on her, but director Sanjay Gupta thought that adding a bright green filter would aid the drama, and what a mistake. He’s already been filter-happy before with his interference in Acid Factory which had the unnecessary sepia tone throughout. It’s like that friend on Instagram or Snapchat that’s obsessed with the Nashville filter, and insists on every frame being in that harsh lighting. The filter didn’t help the story nor improve the performances of the performers whose “Why did I sign this?” faces were plainly obvious in that glaring light. Dirty Politics had the unfortunate blue filter to punctuate its central and gross sex scene between Om Puri and Mallika Sherawat. To film a blue film, one doesn’t necessarily need a blue filter!

 

Reformed Character – Ajay Devgn

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We criticize Ajay Devgn every year with the Razzies but it’s only because we miss his stunning work in films like The Legend of Bhagat Singh or Khakee, his early millennial hits which cemented him as a thoughtful actor. We were in for a surprise when he turned in a moving performance in Drishyam. The film has five different remakes in various languages with the original Drishyam with Mohanlal in the lead, and more recently, Kamal Haasan in Papanasam (Tamil). It’s easy to picture Mohanlal and Haasan as an Everyman, but Devgn does a good job of conveying the fatherly anguish and it’s deeply satisfying to see him reined in and not slumming it through every scene. Here’s to more films that rehab his potential.

 

Recognize your Privilege, Dudes – Male Actors in Bollywood  

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With a national conversation about gender equality and pay differences between male and female actors happening in Hollywood, the conversation has been widely spoken about in Bollywood too. Anushka Sharma spoke of the micro-aggressions she’s dealt with in treatment from smaller rooms on outdoor shoots, to Priyanka Chopra talking about unfair pay for actresses. Yet when journalist Rajeev Masand asked actors Ranveer Singh, Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor and Varun Dhawan if they’d noticed this, they quickly got sheepish and deflected with “What set is she working on?” It’s disappointing that actors aren’t able to look beyond their privileged position in the industry and change things for the better. Perhaps take the memo from Bradley Cooper who agreed to negotiate his fees on par with his female co-stars. It’s a conversation that needs to be had, and having allies in male actors makes the most sense than downplaying the struggles of their female co-stars. It’s 2015 guys!

 

Worst Film or Unintentional Gem? – MSG/MSG2

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This year’s vainglorious production was Messenger of God (MSG) and its swift sequel, that starred Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the religious leader of the Dera Sach Sauda (DSS) group. I haven’t watched a religious propaganda film that made me so frightened for its followers and the viewers that it doesn’t convert in the process. MSG and its sequel are either the worst films you’ll ever see or they’re films that drinking games are made for, a fate I couldn’t avoid after laughing through a crowd calling him “Rock Papa!” for the umpteenth time. Whether he was showcasing his wealth like a hip-hop don in the song ‘Never Ever’ or trying to eradicate us of our social ills like AIDS, prostitution, corruption, and many more bad deeds that Singh thinks he can correct in the 197-minute film. The Fast and Furious franchise have nothing on Singh, who released a sequel in the same year, and it got even more offensive as Singh leaps about in the forest in an attempt to save adivasis from drugs. If there’s one thing the country can unite on, it’s in issuing a nationwide ban against multiple threat director-music composer-producer-writer Singh from creating more monstrous sequels!

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TIFF Special Movie Review: Angry Indian Goddesses http://bollyspice.com/tiff-special-review-angry-indian-goddesses-dir-pan-nalin-2015/ Fri, 04 Dec 2015 05:38:00 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=113220 Pan Nalin’s Angry Indian Goddesses is being heralded as “India’s first female buddy movie,” which is such a welcome change for Hindi cinema. But it’s also an overtly feminist film that balances its themes with such witty dialogues and powerful performances. Nalin introduces to an ensemble of friends who are routinely the subject of sexist micro-aggressions at work and in life. There’s Joanna (Amrit Maghera) an Anglo-Indian who’s struggling to make a name for herself in Bollywood and suffering through B-films to make a living; Pam (Pavleen Gujral) a housewife who has business ambitions but thwarted by a unconvinced husband;

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tiff-review-angry-indian-goddessessPan Nalin’s Angry Indian Goddesses is being heralded as “India’s first female buddy movie,” which is such a welcome change for Hindi cinema. But it’s also an overtly feminist film that balances its themes with such witty dialogues and powerful performances.

Nalin introduces to an ensemble of friends who are routinely the subject of sexist micro-aggressions at work and in life. There’s Joanna (Amrit Maghera) an Anglo-Indian who’s struggling to make a name for herself in Bollywood and suffering through B-films to make a living; Pam (Pavleen Gujral) a housewife who has business ambitions but thwarted by a unconvinced husband; Mad (Anushka Manchanda) a singer whose albums aren’t getting picked up; Freida (Sarah-Jane Dias) a photographer struggling to balance her art with a commercial job; Laxmi (Rajshri Deshpande) a maid who’s taking her harassers to task; Nargis (Tannishtha Chatterjee) an activist who’s got a personal beef with Suranjana (Sandhya Mridul) a businesswoman who’s building a factory in a disputed area.

While it may seem like there’s a lot of characters to keep track of, Nalin makes sure that each woman in the film gets her own story arc that’s refreshingly real and honest. The women all assemble for Freida’s imminent wedding and her betrothed is shrouded in secrecy for part of the film, which leads to some hilarious banter between the gang. This is one rare film that passes the Bechdel test with flying colours, because there are frank discussions of sexuality – “She means happy-wallah gay right?” says one – suicide, workplace drama, sex, and having it all. The dialogues keep from being too overwritten, because each actress rolls with the improv feel of the film so seamlessly that you almost want to become their friends as well.

There are some storylines that completely hook you in like Suranjana’s struggling to balance her career and family. You really feel for her predicament, especially when she takes it out on her young daughter Maya or swearing profusely when confronted by Nargis. Often, depictions of a woman’s struggle with the work and life balance can force an unnecessary ultimatum. It feels revolutionary to see that Nalin doesn’t offer a tidy resolution to everyone’s story and lets them be unlikable and selfish, but we grow to love them all. It’s an interesting choice, but also reflective of reality.

Mridhul is one of the complete standouts of the film, along with Manchanda who lets us into Mad’s conflicted inner world, Dias who has greatly improved as an actress and Chatterjee who makes Nargis rise above some of the activist clichés. It’s so amazing to see such a fine ensemble cast of women who bring everything to their roles and emerge with the audience’s sympathies.

When the film shifts gears in its final act, we finally get a glimpse at the film’s title when the women get furious and avenge the wrongs against them. This section gets dark fast and confronts the women about the social realities of true empowerment. It’s difficult to talk about without spoiling it, but the film finds its angry groove in the finale, which earns the audience’s respect in spite of this rushed section.

It feels as if Nalin packed in all the issues in case another film this witty and powerful would never get made again, which partly works in his favour. It’s a must watch film that will likely spark a dialogue around women’s issues, which is so vital at this time.

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Prem Ratan Dhan Payo Music Review http://bollyspice.com/prem-ratan-dhan-payo-music-review/ Tue, 13 Oct 2015 14:19:51 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=114864 Director Sooraj Barjatya is back with his eternal Prem (Salman Khan) in tow in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, which looks a fun throwback to the Rajshri blockbusters like Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Hum Saath Saath Hain. He’s roped in Himesh Reshammiya, who is no stranger to retro sounds with his composing work, which is both his weakness and strength to haters and fans. Yet Reshammiya shows that he’s up to task in recreating the big and grand spectacles of the Rajshri songs. If we were to compare the soundtrack to a food, it’s like a comfort food that delivers

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15oct_prdpmusicreviewDirector Sooraj Barjatya is back with his eternal Prem (Salman Khan) in tow in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, which looks a fun throwback to the Rajshri blockbusters like Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Hum Saath Saath Hain. He’s roped in Himesh Reshammiya, who is no stranger to retro sounds with his composing work, which is both his weakness and strength to haters and fans. Yet Reshammiya shows that he’s up to task in recreating the big and grand spectacles of the Rajshri songs. If we were to compare the soundtrack to a food, it’s like a comfort food that delivers the goods for that short while, which is part of the Rajshri treatment that we’re getting after so long.

The album kicks off with Prem Leela, which is a big and brassy number that was unveiled last week. The song is your characteristic Salman song with the loud dhols and drums, but it’s the lyrics by Irshad Kamil which save the track from its typical sound. Kamil’s lyrics retell the love story of Ram and Sita, but it retains its conversational tone and doesn’t get too preachy.

The title track, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, which we heard snippets of in the trailer, is a total gem and one of my favourites of the album. Palak Muchhal has a lovely voice that’s uncannily similar to Shreya Ghosal, but she’s got more restraint and a softer tone that completely works with the track. The tabla hook near the chorus is addictive and gets you dancing along as well. It’s a perfect throwback to all those iconic tunes Rajshri is known for with its fantastic composition.

Jalte Diye has a ghazal opening by Harshdeep Kaur, but Anweshaa takes over the main vocals and has a great voice for this tune. But, it’s Vineet Singh who does his best Sonu Nigam style vocals, which makes the track all the more swoony. The composition is grand in scale with a gorgeous sarangi solo during the bridge of the track. It’s a great track that definitely needs to be on repeat.

If you’re missing the quintessential 90s sounds of the cascading tablas, shehnaiis, and grating female chorus, then Aaj Unse Milna Hai is the song made for you. Shaan does his usual crooning in place of a Udit Narayan or Kumar Sanu who’d usually be right at home during a track like this. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics keep that conversational tone that characterizes most Rajshri tracks as Shaan even wonders, “Kya kya khareednein hum?” which made me laugh! It’s a catchy track but feels a bit too dated, but that’s the memo of the soundtrack unfortunately.

The song also gets a female version with Aaj Unse Kehna Hai with Palak Muchhal and Aishwariya Majumdar who ably croon the lyrics, but Majumdar has a very distinctive voice which keeps the track interesting. It segues into the title song near the end, which slightly jars after Majumdar’s version of the song. If that wasn’t enough, there’s Murli Ki Taanon Se, which is the sad version of the song where Shaan fares much better since he’s always great at bringing the emotions to a lagging track. You’ve got three versions of the track to choose from, but I’d stick with the second.

Jab Tum Chaho is the right kind of dated material that had me head bopping along to the fun harmonium and tabla chorus. Palak Muchhal has fun with the lyrics, as do Mohammed Irfan and Darshan Raval who keep the track peppy with their matched vocals in the chorus, but both get their solos to shine. It’s another fun track and reminds you that Reshammiya can bring the old-school sound.

Halo Re returns to the religious vein, this time Irshad Kamil lyrics turn to the Krishna and Radha banter that makes this song quite innovative. Aman Trikha takes the vocals and sounds perfect with the high tempo, and repetitive chorus. The arrangements are a bit cheesy with the keyboards and heavy drums, but it’s that typical Rajshri flavour that satisfies in the end.

Tod Tadaiyya is basically a recycled version of Reshammiya’s “Balma” from Khiladi 786, with the similar tabla melody, and Neeti Mohan’s shouty vocals. It’s a lazy track, but it’s worth a listen for being a very PC item sounding song for such a squeaky clean soundtrack. The “ouch” and heavy breathing by Mohan makes you chuckle and wonder about how this might look on screen. Mohan and Neeraj Shridhar do their best with the oldish melody and arrangements around them.

Finally, there’s a track where we hear Reshammiya and he’s chosen a great one to showcase his mellifluous and non-nasally voice with Bachpan Kahan. It’s perhaps the cheesiest song lyrically on an already very cheesy soundtrack, but somehow Reshammiya just sells it with his great orchestration and classical arrangements. Whether he’s singing about a lost childhood or about flying kites, Reshammiya makes this lullaby work and eases its way into your heart.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is exactly what you’re looking for from a Rajshri soundtrack: 90s retro sounds, conversational lyrics, and a song for every occasion. In that regard, Himesh Reshammiya delivers the goods with extra merit, because the compositions are solid and remain worth listening to even after the film’s release. Give this one a try, it’s not a guilty pleasure any more to crave that throwback sound.

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TIFF Interview: Pan Nalin http://bollyspice.com/tiff-interview-pan-nalin/ Mon, 21 Sep 2015 08:41:45 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=113580 Director Pan Nalin is ecstatic about the response to his latest film, Angry Indian Goddesses, a female buddy movie that won the first runner up prize at TIFF’s Grolsch People’s Choice Awards. He’s taking in all the sights of Toronto, and has been shooting a music video for the film with his seven goddesses for the week. We caught up with Nalin before his world premiere to chat about feminism, funding the film, and his goddesses. Was this film something that was gestating with you for a while? Earlier when I did Samsara, and Valley of the Flowers, I did

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Pan NalinDirector Pan Nalin is ecstatic about the response to his latest film, Angry Indian Goddesses, a female buddy movie that won the first runner up prize at TIFF’s Grolsch People’s Choice Awards. He’s taking in all the sights of Toronto, and has been shooting a music video for the film with his seven goddesses for the week. We caught up with Nalin before his world premiere to chat about feminism, funding the film, and his goddesses.

Was this film something that was gestating with you for a while?

Earlier when I did Samsara, and Valley of the Flowers, I did have strong female characters. I did write a couple of story lines, but it wasn’t fully developed. But very soon I realized that in India that it was very nearly impossible to raise any funds. You couldn’t even speak, because they [producers] would say, “Decades ago there was a film like Umrao Jaan and forget it, there’s nothing else to be done.” It’s always a question of we can have great ideas or I believe that it can work, and often we’d argue that it’s not about a woman or man being the hero, it’s a great story! Things change, when a few of the movies become successful, but even to do a female buddy film with so many characters wasn’t possible. Or then we were told if we get big names, so we did try to get in touch with a couple of big names and very soon we realized in 3 calls that they would not act with each other, because they were each other’s worst enemy! Dilip Shankar, who did the casting, was like, “Forget this, we’ll never be able to get 7 of them together.” Every time we were watching and researching, we realized there so many wonderful stories coming out from a college canteen, a workplace, or from friends. It wouldn’t have been possible if Gaurav Dhingra, a man who said, “No, this is great, we’ve got to shoot this.”

angry indian goddessesWas it the timing that fell into place in terms Queen or Kahaani doing well, with funding a female-oriented film like this?

It was still very tough. It wasn’t that easy, because when something is successful then they want that actress in the film. They think that will make the film a success. They say, “Can you do this film, but put Queen‘s actress and Kahaani‘s actress in it?” So that’s not a good formula, so we knew we couldn’t go that way. We had to spend one or two years to try convince people, but it wasn’t easy. Even when we reached Toronto, we’ve been struggling for financing.

So the film has a great feminist slant to it, was it surprising to others that a man directed this?

angry-indian-goddesses-1Oh yeah, people were really surprised and even before I made the film. They’d tell me, “Why are you on this suicide mission? 7 women for three months. You’re a dead man!” (Laughs) When the film came out, people have been very surprised. I had to do this but I had to it in a different way, I knew from day one that the casting director, me, and the producer are all men. So there is no way that this is film where you have to script it scene-by-scene and make a schedule like traditional film are made, so we had to create a whole system to incorporate the women’s views and their belief systems. It started with talking to women, bring on women writers, then we had to “meet” these characters. We had shortlisted 12-15 women characters who we thought could be interesting, like struggling Bollywood stars, or CEO, since India has the highest number of women CEOs in the world. So we had a plot line according to these real stories and then all that got really nourished in our storyline as we were auditioning girls. So the auditions weren’t normal that they had to read out a scene and act, for some of them it was like going to a shrink like, “Lie on the couch and open your heart!” (Laughs) So we literally had them crying, but we knew that there were many things which we had not looked upon that should be integrated in the film. We got a lot of good input in creating the group’s believability. Finally, when the seven actresses were found we knew that somewhat half the battle was won, because when we had them together for the first time, it was just magical. Instantly my first feeling was, “I want to be their friends!” And that’s a great success. Our writer, Subhadra too was like, “Two of them are bitches but I still want to be their friends!” (Laughs) So this is what we want people to feel when they watch it, that I know someone like her, or she’s like my sister, mother, etc. So we worked on that idea of being real: the moment you go over the top, the mix of Hindi and English, whether you’re wearing shorts, but just do what your characters would do.

The dialogue felt so improvisational and witty, how was it developing this feel?

angry-indian-goddessesYeah, so when the characters were developed, each of them developed their style of speaking. They have to perform in a vertical so that they know what their dark side is and what is funny for them or what is normal for them. Like in the case of Pavleen, she had to go through a very tough time because it would be very stupid in her comic scenes. So, she was able to go to Delhi ladies clubs and reference details about how they talk and how they behave. It could be simple gesture like when she says, “Oh mind my hair,” like you’re meeting friends after three years but still that obsession with hair comes up! Another character like Mad, wouldn’t care and would give a full-heart hug. Each one knew their character and within that they had to know the dialogues we had written that they had to adapt and improvise. So it shouldn’t be a literal line that they’re reading, and they were also given the freedom to have a spontaneous reaction, then we’ll choose whether we keep that in the plot. But it has to be within the character, so that constant exercise was reexamine and we would look at the dailies and say, “Maybe you were a bit out of character or she wouldn’t do that.”

The film definitely deals with a lot of issues like sexuality, women’s rights, and agency, how did you find that balance?

Definitely, we realized that all these issues had to be character-specific, and whatever we can carry within the character we will talk about.

angry indian goddesses 1The film shifts gears quite a bit in the conclusion, how did you approach showing their angry Indian goddess form?

Yeah, that was something we knew we had to earn that kind of climax that we need very strong believable characters. So that when they take their Kali avatar, their ferocious form, I have to buy it. I had seen quite a lot of films, be it mainstream or otherwise, where the moment a woman has to be strong, they start acting like men. For instance, when they’re holding a gun, they hold it like a man or if they fight, they kick like a man would. So this is one thing that came from the women that, “I wouldn’t do it like that or I wouldn’t be heroically brandishing my weapon.” Even the small things like that, they felt destroyed after their actions. So all those subtle details were really important.

The movie is powerful and shocks the viewers, do you hope the film sparks a dialogue around women’s issues.

I really hope so, and they it inspires people. But, I don’t believe movies should have messages, and I don’t like to give a preachy tone, so I try to make entertainment. If you’re entertained, then I feel that a couple of thoughts pass through your head or you feel a bit inspired and your heart will be open. That would be worth it. I even feel that if people are coming to see the film knowing that there are seven women and no man, neither on poster or in it, so for us that’s a big step.

angry indian goddesses 2Were there some differences between the version screened here at TIFF and the Indian one?

They are slightly different, but the story structure and characters are pretty much the same plot. The main difference is that the Indian version is longer, so there are a couple of additional scenes that we did remove for the international version, because they are so rooted in the Indian ethos and society. So we were not sure if everyone would get this. Something like Section 377, people do realize that ohh there’s this law, which was explained but there were other things that were not so clear so we did remove that. And then Indian version has the intermission, because without an intermission it’s impossible to release a film in India.

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TIFF Special Movie Review: Guilty (Talvar) http://bollyspice.com/tiff-special-movie-review-guilty-talvar/ Mon, 21 Sep 2015 00:31:04 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=113574 Meghna Gulzar’s Guilty has the tough job of dramatizing the Aarushi Talwar case without veering into sensationalism and heavy-handedness. It’s an extraordinary feat that Gulzar keeps the finger-wagging at bay, and delivers a sharply scripted and angry look at mishandling of the case. As expected, names are changed and certain details are elided to provide more narrative potency, so Hemraj, Nupur, and Dinesh Talwar are now Nutan Tandon (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Rajesh Tandon (Neeraj Kabi), and Khempal. There’s also Inspector Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan) who steps in as the chief investigator on the case, whose cool and cynical wit

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15sep_Guilty-Talwar-TIFFreviewMeghna Gulzar’s Guilty has the tough job of dramatizing the Aarushi Talwar case without veering into sensationalism and heavy-handedness. It’s an extraordinary feat that Gulzar keeps the finger-wagging at bay, and delivers a sharply scripted and angry look at mishandling of the case.

As expected, names are changed and certain details are elided to provide more narrative potency, so Hemraj, Nupur, and Dinesh Talwar are now Nutan Tandon (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Rajesh Tandon (Neeraj Kabi), and Khempal. There’s also Inspector Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan) who steps in as the chief investigator on the case, whose cool and cynical wit often breaks the tension during the dark moments of the film. The narrative is focused like a procedural drama, which is a good touch because it lays out all the details for the audience to pore over.

Gulzar also employs a Rashomon-like structure when it comes to reenactments of the crime from the POV of the initial faulty police reports, the testimonies of the likely killers, and from the parents. These sections of the film are excellent because the audience becomes the detective alongside Ashwin, who’s leaning towards the other servants as the killers. It’s interesting to see how minute details like the duplicate terrace key or the demeanour of the parents become so crucial in the conviction.

Much like Chaitanya Tamahe’s Court, Gulzar and writer Vishal Bhardwaj explore the corruption and high-level bureaucracy of the Indian justice system. When the case gets taken away from Ashwin, the film gains its urgency as we see usual steadfast witnesses being intimidated, evidence being mishandled, and CDI superiors shuffling the case along for years. It makes you feel the frustration of the parents, and Ashwin, because convicting them on the basis of circumstantial evidence feels so heartbreaking.

When the film culminates in both investigation teams presenting their evidence with dark humour seeping out, you can’t help but also incredulously laugh at the evidence presented. This section, although darkly hilarious, feels a bit forced and the conclusion loses all of the riveting force that kept us hooked by rushing through the verdict. That’s the only misstep of the film, which is thoroughly engaging beforehand.

The performances in the film are stellar, especially from Sen Sharma and Kabi, who capture that grief and frustration in their expressions and small gestures. When Kabi howls like a wounded animal in one reenactment, you can’t help but come on board with the family’s side of the story. Khan is terrific as Ashwin, and conveys that frustration with just one sigh or one wisecracking joke. The supporting cast of Shishir Sharma as the new head of CDI, to the trio of actors playing the servants, who bring out that chilling menace. Tabu also has a special appearance as Ashwin’s wife, but she only serves to colour his personal life as his annoyed ex-wife.

Guilty is a painstakingly detailed account of the Talwar double-murders and the horrifying mishandling of justice that continues to haunt long after its verdict.

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