BollySpice » Reviews http://bollyspice.com Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:43:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 LIFF Special Movie Review: Hemalkasa http://bollyspice.com/86626/liff-special-movie-review-hemalkasa http://bollyspice.com/86626/liff-special-movie-review-hemalkasa#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:15:30 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=86626 Hemalkasa is based on a true story on the lives and works of two influential figures that live in the remote village of Hemalkasa, Dr Prakash Baba Amte (played by Nana Patekar) and his wife Dr Mandakani Amte (played by Sonali Kulkarni). Both of them contribute towards the development of the rural village by providing […]

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14jul Hemalkasa 200x300 LIFF Special Movie Review: HemalkasaHemalkasa is based on a true story on the lives and works of two influential figures that live in the remote village of Hemalkasa, Dr Prakash Baba Amte (played by Nana Patekar) and his wife Dr Mandakani Amte (played by Sonali Kulkarni). Both of them contribute towards the development of the rural village by providing medicinal support to its people, as well as protecting animals who have escaped from harm. In real life, the Amtes are crucial role models for rural India, with regards to delivering and educating villagers on medicine and health. Both have been rewarded for their social activities and services by the government and have proved that in a vast land like India, even the smallest support to its people is incredibly helpful and can a positive impact on its society.

Though Hemalkasa has some poignant moments that will move you, I found that the film was not very strong and could have benefitted from a more robust script. Of course, the subject itself is an important one and this is something which has been well illustrated in many parts. Yet I found that the film was a bit rocky in places and required a smoother screenplay. Director Samruddhi Porey had in her hands a fascinating story that deserves to be told to the world. However, it’s a shame that this great story has not been narrated to the audience as effectively as it could have been. Having said this, the quality of the film with regards to cinematography, sound and lighting is very good considering that it has been made on a low budget.

14jul Hemalkasa Nana Sonali 300x200 LIFF Special Movie Review: HemalkasaLegendary actor Nana Patekar offers us one of his most memorable performances as Dr Prakash Amte. He gives the non-fictional character a lot of body and soul which I think the audiences can connect with on a human basis. Nana gets the emotions just right in many scenes and is able to blend well with other key characters in the film. Hence, he does justice to the character and I don’t think anyone else could have played it better (not even Aamir Khan, who apparently showed interest in the film). Female lead Sonali Kulkarni delivers a praiseworthy performance as Amte’s wife and partner. She projects a lot of strength and poise throughout the film and there are some scenes where she manages to be very convincing and heartfelt. Both Nana and Sonali are at the centre of this film and without them, the film would not have been as enjoyable to watch.

Hemalkasa was the film which closed the 5th London Indian Film Festival. Though it was a respectable choice due to its subject matter, the film required more to it in terms of its script and I was, therefore, left unsatisfied in the cinematic sense. It’s true when people say that a script is the heart of a film. Without a great script, you should be prepared to see a disaster of a film. Though Hemalkasa is nowhere near this level, I found after watching it that the script needed a lot of honing in order to make it a more impactful film. If I had to rate Hemalkasa based on the film alone, then I would give it two stars. However, I think a third star should be given purely due to Nana and Sonali, who have both set a great example when it comes to method acting with their performances in this film. If you sould watch Hemalkasa for any reason, watch it for them and also for its meaningful subject.

 

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LIFF Special Movie Review: Ilai (Leaf) http://bollyspice.com/86576/liff-special-movie-review-ilai-leaf http://bollyspice.com/86576/liff-special-movie-review-ilai-leaf#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 12:44:26 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=86576 Ilai (Diector. Rajiv Reddy) is a film tracing the journey of a young homeless girl in India, Chennai. As she newly arrives in the choc-o-block, bustling city over packed with traffic and people, she actively tries to make sense of the world around her. Harnessing an innate ability of knowing when to defend and when […]

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14jul Ilai Leaf 202x300 LIFF Special Movie Review: Ilai (Leaf)Ilai (Diector. Rajiv Reddy) is a film tracing the journey of a young homeless girl in India, Chennai. As she newly arrives in the choc-o-block, bustling city over packed with traffic and people, she actively tries to make sense of the world around her. Harnessing an innate ability of knowing when to defend and when to chase love, the little girl quickly learns how to carry herself on the bitter sweet streets. She befriends a woman who becomes a mother type figure. Ilai predominantly is an exploration of how the two influence one another to leave comfort zones.

At times, the cinematography will have you spell bound. Artistic shots of the sun and the streets make this film a visual treat: for instance, a particular shot of the heat rising from the train tracks is executed so well, you can feel the heat- an achievement for any piece of art.

The performances are outstanding and natural. The gang of boys on the street held an element of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, provoking: what would happen if a group of persons were left together on a deserted island? Another question Ilai asks: do dishonesty and manipulation become moral if being used to defend?

Unfortunately, the film is missing an extra element that would have poignantly delivered and summarised the powerful messages being conveyed. It seemed as if much was being stated through symbolism and silence, yet not being brought out fully in potential at times. Some moments did not gel well together and the narrative felt stretched out rather than succinct.

Nevertheless, Ilai is a good exploration of human emotion, survival and regeneration. A key element of Ilai is goodness – the goodness of people, the goodness of love. This was refreshing as very often, films exploring homelessness in India tend to emphasise the bad. True, Ilai does indeed touch on the negative challenges, however the goodness prevails.

Another element is the fact that love is a universal emotion transcending language. The young homeless girl (Manjula Odanadi) cannot speak the language, yet she communicates with the audience profoundly. The emotion captured in her eyes communicates what she cannot and perhaps will not say. The mother type figure (Pritham Chakravarthy) gives a strong performance reflecting a person who is on the brink of breaking yet holding on.

What the film does not do is delve into any of the character’s back story. This simultaneously gives power to the piece and disempowers the story. The lack of names reflects how the individuals represent everyman characters on the streets of India, therefore forming a collective and powerful message. Nonetheless, the ambiguity causes a void, a rift in rapport for the audience as the direction does not always deliver the connection needed. A back story would have helped to connect with the characters, yet the statement is strong: do we need to know a person’s history to appreciate whom they are?

Interesting to note is that the film ends where it began, in a sunflower field. Effectively, this visual highlights that although the girl has returned to the same destination, she has evolved without her essence being changed. The resonating message conveyed through the protagonist is to not let the journey break you. As the title suggests, the girl drifts like a leaf: whether we choose to see this as freedom or being lost, is at the viewer’s discretion.

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Pizza Movie Review http://bollyspice.com/86579/pizza-movie-review http://bollyspice.com/86579/pizza-movie-review#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:15:27 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=86579 People say comedy is a serious business. Nowadays action is a series of strings and well-timed explosions. Romance is only as good as the chemistry you can fake on screen and moves that move you tend to repeat themselves. The list goes on. With all these going on in Bollywood quite frequently, the horror suspense […]

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14jul Pizza in 3D 257x300 Pizza Movie ReviewPeople say comedy is a serious business. Nowadays action is a series of strings and well-timed explosions. Romance is only as good as the chemistry you can fake on screen and moves that move you tend to repeat themselves. The list goes on. With all these going on in Bollywood quite frequently, the horror suspense genre would have to be the most neglected and sadly to say the most unexplored. So naturally when a low budget film with new-to-upcoming artists leading the cast, and debutant director behind the megaphone pull a rabbit-out-of-the-hat magic trick at the box office, the interest is boundless. Brought to us by Bejoy Nambiar and Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Pizza is a remake of Tamil Film with the same name starring Akshay Oberoi and Parvathy Omanakuttan lead roles.

With a solid base for script, great performers and technical crew to bring out the punch for flavour and a capable director to cook up something you sink your teeth into, Pizza the original, had all the trimmings with a miniscule budget to add value. Pizza in 3D has the liberty of a bigger money bags to sponsor a few extra toppings but the delivery has made it stale. Even with a commendable performance from Akshay Oberoi, finely tuned background score and some decent moments in the writing, the poor execution takes away from the film and we are left with an empty stomach.

The premise was good enough. Fear has its moment. Everyone will experience their fair share. So what happens when a non-believer has his moment in the form of Anjali forms the crux of the film. Now it’s all good and fine to say the film isn’t for the faint hearted but at the end of the day, the film doesn’t have the backing for the horror factor that we need to squeal the theatre halls deaf. It takes far too long for the story to proceed and even longer to unfold the whys. Yes if you haven’t watched enough horror films in your life certain scenes will pop out and make you jump but this is by no means its brilliant. It doesn’t help that Akshay took his time to build on his commendable performance scrambling from point to point. Parvathy is plain plastic and is as believable as a door nail. Dipannita Sharma and Anuroday Singh play significant roles but it’s not up to scratch for either of their records.

K is the background score director, pinched from the original, and he delivers once again with this film. This incidentally is his debut to Hindi films so let’s hope we see, or rather hear of him more as he brings the eerie factor we need. However, there is not much that can be said about the music. Make up and editing does their parts but when the director Akshay Akkineni falters in narration, you can’t blame them. It would be as if the director loses sight of the script and then scurries back to deliver the cliff-hanger. This is the biggest disappointment in the film if you think about it as the cliff-hanger points are the highlights in the writing that work for the film.

Yet Akshay Akkineni has reopened the door to a genre that urgently needs some fresh talent to invigorate it. Hopefully, just maybe, someone that will deliver. For now, Pizza is a decayed affair with some fresh toppings.

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Daawat-e-Ishq Music Review http://bollyspice.com/86528/daawat-e-ishq-music-review http://bollyspice.com/86528/daawat-e-ishq-music-review#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:42:47 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=86528 Daawat-e-Ishq not only features the brand new jodi of Aditya Roy Kapoor (Aashiqui 2) and Parineeti Chopra (Ishaqzaade) but sees Sajid-Wajid (Dabangg) composing their first Yash Raj venture. Needless to say, music enthusiasts are curious to see what is in stock for us from this unlikely merger. Daawat-e-Ishq’s songs have been penned by Kausar Munir […]

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14apr Daawat E Ishq FirstLookPoster 300x225 Daawat e Ishq Music ReviewDaawat-e-Ishq not only features the brand new jodi of Aditya Roy Kapoor (Aashiqui 2) and Parineeti Chopra (Ishaqzaade) but sees Sajid-Wajid (Dabangg) composing their first Yash Raj venture. Needless to say, music enthusiasts are curious to see what is in stock for us from this unlikely merger.

Daawat-e-Ishq’s songs have been penned by Kausar Munir while vocalists featured on the soundtrack include Sonu Nigam (‘Abhi Mujhme Kahin’ – Agneepath), Javed Ali (‘Tera Deedar Hai’ – Jannat 2), Sunidhi Chauhan (‘Sheila Ki Jawaani’ – Tees Maar Khan), Shreya Ghoshal (‘Chikni Chameli’ – Agneepath), Shalmali Kholgade (‘Pareshaan’ – Ishaqzaade) and Wajid (‘Jalwa’ – Wanted).

The title track opens the soundtrack and is an energetic qawaali/electronica by Javed Ali and Sunidhi Chauhan. Ali and Chauhan make a brilliant pair and complement the lyrical back and forth well. Munir’s expert grasp of Urdu is only surpassed by his impressive culinary innuendos. All in all, a powerful start to the soundtrack.

Sonu Nigam’s rare presence is unfortunately undermined due to the ill-conceived Mannat. It gets off to a promising melodious start but quickly becomes an aged dramatic number that is immediately off putting. Similarly, the reprise gets off to a beautiful start, expertly penned by Munir and aptly crooned by Ghoshal but as soon as the chorus hits, the cringe-worthy theatrics takeover and the beauty fades, fast. If you were expecting to listen to a new Sonu Nigam number and delve into bittersweet nostalgia of his golden era, prepare to be sorely disappointed.

14jul Daawat e Ishq 300x136 Daawat e Ishq Music ReviewThe disappointment continues with Rangreli, which sounds just as aged and dated as ‘Mannat’, if not more. The baraati-brass gets old quickly and the lyrics are not impressive either. Wajid and Shreya do deliver enthusiastic renditions but ultimately ‘Rangreli’ is mediocre fare.

Shayarana comes as a savior in the form of a rock-ballad-meets-qawaali by Shalmali Kholgade. Comparisons will be inevitable so let it be known that it is a far cry from Amit Trivedi’s ‘Pareshaan’, but a light, all the same, at the end of the dank and dark tunnel that is this soundtrack. Ultimately, it is quite a girly and peppy number and Shalmali encapsulates that beautifully. That being said, it comes off as a bit superficial and ends up being a number that is strictly OK as opposed to genuinely impressive.

Jaadu Tone Waaliyan, unbelievably, combines all that is dismal about ‘Rangreli’ and ‘Mannat’ and creates truly tragic fare. The lack-lustre vocals and the re-plugging of rock and qawaali fails miserably. Moreover, the sense of being outdated is more prominent than ever.

Fortunately, the album ends on a good note with Dawaat-e-Ishq, a disappointingly short instrumental with a myriad of beautiful sounds.

In summary, Daawat-e-Ishq is possibly the most disappointing soundtrack from the house of Yash Raj. The tracks suffer from a serious case of mediocrity and outdated-ness that suggests Sajid-Wajid should contemplate re-evaluating their compositions. Here’s hoping the film fares better.

 

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LIFF Special Movie Review: Anima State http://bollyspice.com/86471/liff-special-movie-review-anima-state http://bollyspice.com/86471/liff-special-movie-review-anima-state#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:07:03 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=86471 Imagine a man with a bandaged face walking the streets of Pakistan. He has a gun. He isn’t shy to kill. He kills – Cold murder in broad daylight. He hands himself into the police – only to not be taken seriously and told to take a hike. Is this the state of the world […]

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14jul Anima State poster 203x300 LIFF Special Movie Review: Anima StateImagine a man with a bandaged face walking the streets of Pakistan.
He has a gun.
He isn’t shy to kill.
He kills – Cold murder in broad daylight.
He hands himself into the police – only to not be taken seriously and told to take a hike.

Is this the state of the world we live in? Where people are getting away with murder in different shapes and forms, and where the truth has little value? Why is he bandaged when he admits his crime? Is he an everyman figure?

This is our introduction to Anima State. Directed by independent film maker Hammad Khan, Anima State will make you shift in your seat – not necessarily uncomfortably, but confusingly. Hammad Khan is bold to make a film stepping away from the conventional mark and to dives deeply into the bizarreness of the human (sub) conscious. Questions provoked: how do we tackle the sub conscious in order to make the world correct? And anyway, what is a correct world? Can the media ever be separate from human beings or are people being turned into Facebook and Twitter at a rate of no return?

The first point to make clear is that the film is unusual – certainly in terms of story line, but also in terms of direction and cinematography. For instance, the romantic, heart wrenching quwalli set against a somewhat mundane chase bringing the scene alive in an unorthodox fashion. The direction is appropriately gritty, as reality is certainly not black and white, nor tidy.

Anima State is a film that is desperately trying to portray the reality of the world. For instance, an element of reality is emphasised through a particular episode with the protagonist looking directly into the camera, addressing the audience. The references to real life past episodes integrated into the story line has an almost haunting effect, suggesting: reality is not rose tinted.

14jul liff anima 300x283 LIFF Special Movie Review: Anima StateWhy are people wasting their lives away sitting in front of a screen, devoting their lives and their power to the media? Is it an escape? Is it easier to be brainwashed? A puppet?

The deaths suggest a play on being affected by the media and the dying symbolising brainwashing, being made into a conforming zombie. How we see the world and the workings of psychology plays a huge theme in Anima State.

According to a dictionary definition, Anima refers to (freedictionary.com):
1. The inner self of an individual; the soul
2. In Jungian Psychology:

a. The unconscious or true inner self of an individual, as opposed to the persona, or outer aspect of the personality.
b. The feminine inner personality, as present in the unconscious of the male. It is in contrast to the animus, which represents masculine characteristics.

The film explores the definition creatively; in fact during the questions and answers session (London Indian Film Festival), the director described how this film is like a strange sequence of dreams – a factor excellently portrayed throughout the film. There are scenes exploring themes provoking one to think without directly stating how to interpret; there are scenes that leave one utterly lost and wondering: what on Earth was that about?

Anima State is a bold film but one that requires patience: patience to understand it. Filled with symbolism, the film offers much to digest. A second or third viewing would perhaps make Anima State more decipherable. However, the film is let down by the excessive length and a weak ending. It is simply too long and begins to feel repetitive, making a second viewing a tedious task.

Anima State pivots on the struggle between honesty and dishonesty, on one hand striving for honesty and on the other asking: Does the truth matter? Isn’t it all right to just tell a story sometimes?

Anima State is worth a watch. However, expect to be confused.

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LIFF Special Movie Review: Barefoot to Goa http://bollyspice.com/86228/liff-special-movie-review-barefoot-goa http://bollyspice.com/86228/liff-special-movie-review-barefoot-goa#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 09:00:41 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=86228 Barefoot to Goa (Director. Praveen Morchhale) is an exploration of family. The above sentence may sound simple and clichéd even, but as this film conveys, the subject is far from simple and portrays the impossibility of families fitting into what may seem, the neat borders of cliché. A brother and sister being brought up in […]

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14jul Barefoot to Goa 199x300 LIFF Special Movie Review: Barefoot to GoaBarefoot to Goa (Director. Praveen Morchhale) is an exploration of family.

The above sentence may sound simple and clichéd even, but as this film conveys, the subject is far from simple and portrays the impossibility of families fitting into what may seem, the neat borders of cliché.

A brother and sister being brought up in bustling Mumbai decide to set out on the search for their Grandmother. Part of a normal nuclear family- an aloof nuclear family- the young siblings, Prakhar aged 11 and Diya aged 9, crave to know their estranged Grandmother who lives miles away in Goa. One day, the duo stumbles across a box of unopened letters hidden away by their mother. They then decide to run away from home and travel alone from Mumbai to Goa in order to bring their Grandmother home. Through the film, the question is provoked: what does it take to be courageous?

Is courage in the unconditional love of the Grandmother or the love-less children brought up in Mumbai who shine with innocence? Innocence and faith play a huge role in the film as both the Grandmother and Grandchildren depict this: something that the parents have chosen to discard perhaps.

An immediate strength of the film is the direction, the dialogue and the symbolism. The director has excellently directed the characters to push certain buttons and strike up emotion. Whether it is through the confused guilt in the father’s eyes for shunning his elderly mother miles away in Goa, or at the moment where he unsuccessfully argues to bring her home with his dominant wife, the father becomes a robotic member of the family, simply providing the material needs.

14jul Barefoot to Goa 01 300x168 LIFF Special Movie Review: Barefoot to GoaIt became clear that this film is about woman power: the Grandmother (Farrukh Jaffar), the Mother (Purva Parag) and the fearless little girl, Diya (Saara Nahar). Whereas the mother dominates her husband (Kuldeep Singh), the little girl convinces her brother Prakhar (Prakhar Morchhale) to set out on the search.

What is unique about Barefoot to Goa is how the film immediately makes the audience step into the shoes of the “catalyst” character, Grandmother. Why the term catalyst is appropriate is because the film is centred on this character despite her not having much screen time. Interestingly, she may seem vulnerable, she may seem “old”, she may seem lonely, however- she is the most powerful. Her power lies in her faith in unconditional love. Something that is perhaps an element we all crave. Symbolically she cannot speak or write and communicates through a letter writer. However, she holds a presence and can show her emotions- her pain and strength- crystal clearly than the “educated” Mumbai parents.  This could suggest that words take away the power of emotion and “education” as we know it, is actually teaching people how not to communicate. The portrayal of the female characters breaks away from the patriarchal mould often set in stone as the pillar of strength and family. The power of the male perhaps becomes blurred to emphasise maternal energy as the real spark that literally feeds the soul.

14jul Barefoot to Goa 04 300x168 LIFF Special Movie Review: Barefoot to GoaSpeaking of feeding, food has a symbolic place within the film. The opening shot of the Grandmother making mithai to post to her grand children serves as her introduction as does the Mumbai mother’s introduction. Whereas the Grandmother cooks with devotion and love, the Mumbai mother is clearly feeding her family as a “chore”: food becomes a way of communicating love and symbolism for nourishing not just the body, but nourishing the soul.

What may have made the film even more powerful is an insight into the Mumbai mother’s psyche. Why has she become aloof and cold? Why so disconnected from showing her children love? But perhaps, the distance is needed to highlight her removed character. She clearly cares, but the maternal spark diminishes until she is separated from her children. This provokes the question, does one need to lose what they have to understand the significance? But then, why doesn’t the Grandmother’s son bring home his mother? Does he not understand her unconditional love or does he choose not to as this may emphasize the lack in his life? This is echoed through his own aloofness to his children. Significantly, he is physically removed from the family to provide for them. I felt that this suggests how the contemporary world encourages chasing materialism and that “success” is labelled as managing to provide for a family. Or perhaps, the world is such a struggle that connecting with others, especially loved ones is buried away as a secondary necessity- the initial being protecting a family financially.

14jul Barefoot to Goa 02 300x168 LIFF Special Movie Review: Barefoot to GoaAs the saying goes, money certainly can’t buy love. The young boy’s expensive looking polo T Shirt, as he travels with his sister across India, creates a powerful contrast to the “poorer” persons they encounter. It is symbolic that the young children leave the comforts of home to encounter their adventure and set out for what they truly want: the love and beacon of hope that their Grandmother symbolises.

In terms of cinematography, the choppy camera work following the Grandmother down the streets in the opening scene and of the children on the scooter, en route to Goa, give this film a universal and human element: the audience are taken on this journey “physically” with the characters. The sepia coloured “dream” sequences emphasise being removed from reality. Although these scenes are “colourless”, so to speak, it is these scenes that bring life and colour to the ambition of finding love, of finding Grandmother.

 LIFF Special Movie Review: Barefoot to GoaAt the end credits of Barefoot to Goa, there was pin drop silence. The ending although powerful, lacked an element of closure- indeed a strength as well as a weakness. This is not so much because of the direction, but because of the message. However, I really wanted to know more on how the Grandmother’s son. Further exploration of this character would have added an extra dimension and add to the puzzle. Nonetheless, the film encourages the audience to find the missing piece independently.

Barefoot to Goa explores what it takes to communicate love, what it takes to nourish courage. The film asks, what are we all actually looking for? This film will remind you to be cautious on what you decide to chase, as the chase will become you.

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LIFF Special Movie Review: Qissa http://bollyspice.com/86135/qissa-movie-review http://bollyspice.com/86135/qissa-movie-review#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:00:30 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=86135 The largest human mass migration known to history is the Partition of India, 1947. Glossed over as the “independence” of India, this tragic and controversial event forced an estimated 10 million civilians to lose their homes and an estimated 1 million to lose their lives. The statistics with their definite tone conceals the complexities, the […]

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14jul Qissa Poster 209x300 LIFF Special Movie Review: Qissa The largest human mass migration known to history is the Partition of India, 1947. Glossed over as the “independence” of India, this tragic and controversial event forced an estimated 10 million civilians to lose their homes and an estimated 1 million to lose their lives. The statistics with their definite tone conceals the complexities, the tragedies and the trauma of Partition.

Both literature and film have become powerful mediums for re-visiting this time in history and Qissa (Director Anup Singh) is one such film. Brimming over with raw emotion, immaculate performances and a Pandora’s Box of questions, Qissa is a rare gem of a film that will shake you up and ask what identity and belonging truly mean.

When Umber Singh (Irrfan Khan) and his family are uprooted from their home in the midst of Partition, the trauma and loss of identity becomes a catalyst for a struggle between reality and delusion. Perhaps this symbolises the struggle to accept the reality of the horror of Partition. Obsessed with having a heir after three daughters, Umber Singh hides the gender of his fourth child and brings her up as a son, Kanwar Singh (Tillotama Shome).

We are told that it takes four years for Umber Singh to “re-build” his life. However, it is clear that there is something broken inside Umber Singh that he does not confront- but is this irreparable and does Umber Singh portray a broken man who deserves sympathy or a patriarchal tyrant who shoulders the responsibility of shocking consequences? Why is Umber Singh frighteningly obsessed with a having a son? True, this obsession unfortunately echoes the still relevant, popular South Asian mindset of a male child being preferable to a female child. However, in the context of a death ridden Partition, perhaps Umber Singh’s obsession symbolises his desire for the continuation of the family name that a male child traditionally offers.

The complexities of Qissa are intensified through the breath-taking cinematography, certainly a strength of the film. The night shots of the moon not only carry connotations of loneliness and darkness but of hope and desire.

14jul Irrfan Khan Qissa 300x250 LIFF Special Movie Review: Qissa The foundational strength of the film is the performances. Without the depth of the performances, the film would not have been as powerful as it is. The cast in particular that touch a chord are: Irrfan Khan as Umber Singh, Tillotama Shome as Kanwar and Rasika Dugal as Neeli.

Umber Singh comes across as a good man gone mad. His love for his son Kunwar Singh is presented as an addiction almost; it is not the “son” he loves, but the idea of the son. A bond profusely explored through the film is the bond between a parent and a child. Qissa delves into questioning what makes a parents’ love for a child conditional or unconditional. Irrfan Khan’s nuanced performance presents the audience with a character who has much simmering underneath the surface. His spontaneous emotion comes out powerfully in waves.

Umber Singh is not the only “the lonely ghost” who loses his identity with the Partition- Kanwar Singh also becomes a “ghost”: an entity existing yet not allowed to fully exist through the concealing of Kanwar Singh’s gender as female. This not only emphasises the women’s history of Partition being hidden away due to the shame and stigma set up by society, but also that the Partition impacts generations not present during the actual event. Kanwar Singh as the “son” portrays the confusion of who he is yet carries himself with perfect confidence. The paradox is moving: the body language may portray power but the turmoil inside churns with uncertainty. Significant to remember is that the partition was a displacement of identity. Perhaps Kanwar Singh personifies this. Through him, the question of what gender is becomes apparent. Is gender taught or is gender biological? Or perhaps, is gender actually an innate emotion devoid of both social construct and biology?

Neeli is a character symbolising female strength and a threat to patriarchy. She questions the norm and reaches out for her right to choose what she wants and how she wishes to live her life. Although patriarchy is suggested as ultimately powerful, women are depended upon and therefore, make the male vulnerable to her power.

14jul Qissa 02 300x200 LIFF Special Movie Review: Qissa A central element of the film is the same-sex love between Kanwar Singh and Neeli powerfully represented as a loving and emotional bond; therefore challenging the notion that homosexuality is only about sexual intercourse. The relationship between the two females brings up the question, can same-sex love only be “accepted” and allowed to exist behind closed doors in South Asian society whilst hidden?

Regarding the Partition of India, Gandhi had stated his disappointment and foreboding sense of doom, a theme echoing through Qissa“Freedom has come but it leaves me cold… I have come to the conclusion that our way was non-violent only superficially; our hearts were violent. It was enough to displace the foreign power. But the violence nursed within has broken out in a way least expected. Heaven knows where it will lead us.”  

Qissa is an artistic and hard hitting exploration of:
What is “home”?
What is “identity”?
What is “belonging”?

The biggest question raised was whether these factors need to be inter-related and what the consequences may be if one does not break away from the ghosts of the past.

 

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LIFF Special Movie Review: Sold http://bollyspice.com/86007/liff-special-movie-review-sold http://bollyspice.com/86007/liff-special-movie-review-sold#comments Sun, 13 Jul 2014 10:02:03 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=86007 [This review is taken from the London premiere, as part of the 5th annual London Film Festival, featuring a special Q&A with the director, producer and actress Gillian Anderson]. Sold is based on the award winning 2006 book by Patricia McCormick, brought to the screen by first time director Jeffrey D Brown. The story is […]

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[This review is taken from the London premiere, as part of the 5th annual London Film Festival, featuring a special Q&A with the director, producer and actress Gillian Anderson].

Sold is based on the award winning 2006 book by Patricia McCormick, brought to the screen by first time director Jeffrey D Brown. The story is the single tale of a young girl called Laxmi from Nepal, who is sold into sexual slavery and trafficked into India. However, these facts and figures put into context just how many Laxmi’s there are worldwide:

* There are 5.5 million people trafficked each and every year
* 20,000 of these are children from Nepal
* The sex slave trade is a $1.5 billion dollar annual industry
* It is the 2nd highest illegal trade in the world

In the words of the director, Sold is intended more as a movement, rather than simply a film. It was inspired by the award winning documentary ‘Born into Brothels’ (based in Calcutta) and by films such as Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay. If you know, or loved either of those, or films of those backdrops, then you will appreciate Sold.

As far as the film goes, it has some amazing performances from the young Laxmi, to all the characters she meets, good and bad. The casting of the film makes it feel all the more believable and real. Gillian Anderson’s role is short, but should hopefully add a commercial value to attract mainstream viewers in to watch the film. The gritty and real location settings bring the horrors of the red light district to life, but Jeffery also captures the beauty of mountainous Nepal on screen beforehand. Additionally the music by Sammy Chand is simply excellent, both uplifting and a great listen.

Going back to the story, although shocking as it is, Jeffery still manages to inject moments of humour, moments of hope and moments of happiness into the narrative. As viewers you are completely immersed into the world of the sex trade and get to understand just how the business works on a practical level. Through the films’ characters and back stories, we understand the context and background to what leads so many girls in becoming trafficked and how they become trapped and are unable to break free. What shines through as glimmers of hope within a horrible world, are the simple relationships Laxmi has with comrades around her. This makes SOLD a much more compelling human story, peppered with countless real life tales.

As we mentioned at the start, Sold is produced with a vision and mission in mind – to help eradicate child sex trafficking. If we were to review it simply as a film, we can confidently say it is an excellent piece of cinema – well written, well acted, well directed. If were to ask you get involved with the cause, then please please do so:

#TaughtNotTrafficked
http://www.childreach.org.uk/TaughtNotTrafficked/

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Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania Movie Review http://bollyspice.com/85955/humpty-sharma-ki-dulhania-movie-review http://bollyspice.com/85955/humpty-sharma-ki-dulhania-movie-review#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:15:09 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=85955 Now this is what you call a rom-com! Frothy, saucy, and having just the right emotional base. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge got it best two decades ago. Lots of films since then have followed the same template. So much so that it has become quite tiresome now. Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania is also an unapologetic […]

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14jun hskdmusic 207x300 Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania Movie Review Now this is what you call a rom-com! Frothy, saucy, and having just the right emotional base. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge got it best two decades ago. Lots of films since then have followed the same template. So much so that it has become quite tiresome now. Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania is also an unapologetic tribute to the evergreen classic and thankfully, one that appears fresh despite having the age-old plot.

Kavya (Alia Bhatt) meets Humpty (Varun Dhawan) when she goes to Delhi from Ambala for her wedding shopping. She is a self-professed ‘patakha’ and he a sweet rogue. The expected follows, but she has to return home and get married to the NRI that her father has chosen for her. In true Raj-style Humpty follows her to win over his Simran’s family.


Despite a predictable plot, debutant director Shashank Khaitan creates a fun ride which ensures that the smile never leaves your face. The first half especially is a breeze with a lot of cute moments and some hilarious one-liners. Alia and Varun share a warm camaraderie and their falling in love seems quite natural (unlike a lot of recent rom-coms). Post-interval the film goes into the DDLJ territory. Fortunately, the narrative stays perky though Khaitan doesn’t seem as comfortable with romance as he does with comedy. He also bungles up with the music. Except for old hits ‘Saturday Saturday’ and ‘Samjhaawan’, the rest of the songs are mediocre and their picturisation too is lacklustre.


A love story relies a lot on its lead pair and both Alia and Varun come out with flying colours. Alia is just getting better with each film. Her luminous presence overshadowed Arjun Kapoor in 2 States and here too it is difficult to look at anybody else when she is on screen. Varun too is spontaneous and endearing as the goofy Humpty. After Main Tera Hero, this is another confident performance from him. Ashutosh Rana plays Alia’s stern father with panache. Makes you wonder why we don’t see more of his talented actor on the big screen. Siddharth Shukla makes decent eye candy. A special mention must be made of Gaurav Pandey and Sahil Vaid who are excellent as Varun’s loyal friends

Good writing and good performances can bring alive even the most jaded of plots. Watch Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania without expecting any novelty in terms of storyline. You may just go ‘awww’ at a few places!

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Hate Story 2 Music Review http://bollyspice.com/85926/hate-story-2-music-review http://bollyspice.com/85926/hate-story-2-music-review#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 02:53:41 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=85926 Hate Story 2 is an upcoming thriller starring Jay Bhanushali and Surveen Chawla in the leading roles. Directed by Mayank Gupta, the film is scheduled to release in cinemas on 18th July, so if you’re looking to see something different, then perhaps this one may well be up your alley. The music to the film […]

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14jul HateStory2 300x300 Hate Story 2 Music ReviewHate Story 2 is an upcoming thriller starring Jay Bhanushali and Surveen Chawla in the leading roles. Directed by Mayank Gupta, the film is scheduled to release in cinemas on 18th July, so if you’re looking to see something different, then perhaps this one may well be up your alley. The music to the film has been composed by Mithoon, Meet Bros Anjjan, Arko Pravo Mukherjee and Rashid Khan. Lyrics have been penned by Mithoon, Aziz Qaisi, Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Kumaar and Tanveer Ghazi. So is the soundtrack to Hate Story 2 worth your time? Check out our review to uncover our verdict!

First up we have ‘Aaj Phir Tumpe’, which is a worked remake of Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s classic song from the film Dayavan (1988). I like how the song opens and the guitar has been executed very well, giving it that Middle Eastern feel. There are also some other standout sounds such as the piano and the trumpet, which helps to solidify its essentially erotic theme. Performed by Arijit Singh and Samira Koppikar, I think both singers have done their best in helping to renovate this forgotten classic. Though ‘Aaj Phir Tumpe’ is not the best songs to emerge this year, it is one of the major highlights of this album, so do make the time to check it out.

Next is ‘Kabhi Aayine Pe Likha Tujhe’, sung by K.K. The use of the piano at the beginning of the song gives it a soothing touch, whereas the guitar and bass play a key role in making it sound rhythmic throughout. A special mention should also go to the lyrics, which have been nicely written and is a suitable match with the composition. In addition, K.K sings the song flawlessly and he really does get the notes just right. You get an instant sense of just how passionate he is about what he is singing, which leads him to steer the song away from disaster. Instead you get a song that is tuneful and meaningful also. In short, do give it a listen!

Following this we have ‘Pink Lips’ by Meet Bros Anjjan and Khushboo Grewal. I found this one to be slightly tacky and lacking in flavour. Though you can hear a range of sounds having been incorporated into the song, it just sounds very amateurish for me to fully appreciate it. Featuring Sunny Leone in the official music video, I think this is a song which won’t go down well with Bollywood lovers worldwide.

Finally we have ‘Hai Dil Mera’, performed by the evergreen Arijit Singh. I like the Latino sounds at the opening of the song, which gives a sensuous texture to it. Instruments such as the guitar have been nicely played and will put you in a tranquil mood. Unsurprisingly, Arijit sings his heart out and he knows exactly what types of vocals to exude in order to tug on our heartstrings. Though it has little potential to become a classic, I still think it’s another key track in the album that is worth listening to and which you will appreciate too.

There are also remix versions for all four songs that are included in the album and composed by DJ Shiva, Meet Bros Anjjan & Sumit Sethi, Dj Chetas & DJ Nyk, as well as DJ A-Myth. Having listened to all four remixes, I found myself leaning only towards DJ Chetas’ version of ‘Hai Dil Yeh Mera’ where they managed to brilliantly transform a ballad into a cool underground upbeat tune that is both fiery and catchy. This is largely due to the way in which they utilised the bass sounds, which fueled it up with lots of energy.

In short, I found the soundtrack to Hate Story 2 to be a worthwhile listen that may be of interest to a number of listeners. Though it is not the ultimate soundtrack of 2014, it still contains some songs that have been respectably composed and interspersed with some top-notch vocals by singers like Arijit Singh and K.K. Hence, give it a chance and perhaps it will have a mesmerising affect on you.

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