Movie Review – Stree

Stree is the best movie of 2018. #moviereview
Movie Review – Stree

I am a big Rajkummar Rao fan. He never disappoints as an actor and delivers more than his viewers expect. So whenever a new movie of his releases, I make it a point to watch it in theatre.

Last Sunday, we went to watch Stree – it’s a horror, comedy. Now, the last horror movie that I had watched on the big screen was Ram Gopal Verma’s Bhoot, which I am sure you will admit is one of the last movies of RGV that proved genius of that man. I am not a big fan of horror movies and mostly close my eyes and cover my ears while watching them. But a horror with comedy plus Rajkummar Rao was too much for me to ignore.

So, about the movie – Stree. In a small town of Chander (famous for its Chanderi silk), outside every home it’s written in bold red paint – O Stree, kal aana (O Woman, come tomorrow!). This town is held captive by a mysterious woman called Stree who is actually a hag, who in the night calls men by their name and when the man turns abducts them leaving nothing their clothes behind. The funny part is she makes a visit only during the four days of an annual religious festival. No man is safe during those nights and are forbidden from venturing after dark all alone .

Rajkummar Rao aka Vicky is a brilliant ladies tailor. He pooh-poohs the whole Stree thing calling it nothing but a small town superstition. The next day, he is met with a mysterious girl (Shraddha Kapoor) who asks him to stitch some clothes for him. Vicky is spellbound by this beautiful girl wanting to be friends with him. On the 2nd night of the four day festival, a very close friend of Vicky is abducted by the hag. Vicky and his other friends (Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Bannerjee and Pankaj Tripathi) including the beautiful girl (who has some knowledge of witchcraft) vow to find the hag. They make a clever plan to defeat the hag and release all the men she has abducted.

Will they be able to overpower the hag? Who is this mysterious girl who is seen only during the four days of festival? Will the town ever be free from the curse?

Find out by watching Stree.

Of late, stories about small towns are doing well. Stree is also based in one such small town with its typical local dialect that is bound to tickle your funny bones. For instance, you will step out of the movie remembering and chuckling at the terms like ‘swayam sevi’ and ‘naye Bharat ki chudail’. But, don’t forget that it is primarily a horror movie with its nerve wrecking moments. So there will be moments when your heart skips a beat or two and then there are some where you will laugh so hard as to literally pee in your pants.

However, in the climatic moments, the movie does wobble a bit and spreads itself a little too thin. Also, the same age-old tips and tricks of stabbing a ghost in the heart do disappoint you some.

Stree between the scares and gags touches upon a few gender related issues, especially misogyny and chauvinism. A woman is often objectified and doesn’t receive the same respect in the society as a man does. In this story, the roles are reversed – when the men are abducted, they feel the same fear of safety and suffocation that a woman experiences in her day to day life. However, for being a film emphasising on gender equality, the item song ‘Kamariya’ with Nora Fatehi seems hypocritical.

For Rajkummar Rao I have only one word – Brilliant. He is a talented actor and keeps you on the edge of the seat with his focused yet effortless performance. Shraddha Kapoor, though in a limited role, has not only matched her co-actor’s skills but has also proved she is one of the finest actresses in the B-town. Apart from these, Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Bannerjee and Pankaj Tripathi give a performance to remember in their own uniquely droll ways.

The excellent lighting, the camera movements, the sound and the editing swing between spine chilling and absurd moments and keep the viewers on the edge of the seat.

This movie will make you sit forward, jump back in your seat and shudder with cold fear. And then will make you laugh with its deadpan comedy.

Verdict – Stree is the best experimental horror cum comedy movie of 2018. Watch Stree even if it is the only movie you will watch this year.

Image credit: DNA India

Mamma mia, mamma mia 2, movie review, mamma mia 2 review

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again #MovieReview

Mamma Mia is the first musical I loved. Or rather it is the only musical I have ever loved. So when I came to know that its sequel was coming soon, I was impatiently waiting for it. Today, when it finally released, I couldn’t have missed it for the world. Along with two of my enthusiastic friends, we went to watch the movie on the first day of its release.

Mamma Mia

If you don’t know about Mamma Mia or you’d like a little recap, here it is –

Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep) is hosting the wedding of her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) on one of the remote islands in the Aegean sea where she has been living since years. Sophie secretly invites the three men (Sam, Bill and Harry played by Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard and Colin Firth respectively) who played a major role in Donna’s youth. One of them, no one knows (not even Donna), is also the biological father of Sophie.

When Donna comes to know, there is a big scene. However, Sam apologises to Donna for the way he had abandoned her when they were young. The two resolve their differences and get married.

Mamma Mia 2

Now…No spoiler alert but…

Donna is no more. Yes, you read it right. I felt like leaving the movie hall as soon as I learnt this, but I didn’t because my love for the franchise was too great and also because I was curious to know if they would be able to pull off a movie without their greatest star – Meryl Streep. So did they? Read till the end to find the answer.

So Donna has left for her heavenly abode. And Sophie pregnant with her husband Sky (Dominic Cooper) is on the Greek island preparing for a gala opening of Donna’s inn turned into a luxury hotel. She has invited all – Donna’s college friends and her three fathers.

From here on, the plot swings backward and forward. Along with Sophie running around preparing for the big launch and battling with her emotions as she finds out Sky has been offered a job in the US, we also get a prequel into Donna’s youth.

In 1979, a young Donna (Lily James) has just graduated. She heads east which for her means Europe, to experience freedom and live her life on her own terms. On her adventurous journey, she meets three good looking young men. She falls in love with one of them, Sam, but her trust is betrayed when she finds out Sam is already engaged to be married to another woman. That is also the same time she learns about her pregnancy, however, she doesn’t know which of the three men has fathered the child. She decides to stay on the island in the Aegean Sea and run an inn.

Sophie is trying to achieve Donna’s dream by turning it into a hotel. On the launch day arrive, she is reunited with her husband Sky who comes home after turning down the job offer, three fathers, her mother’s friends and also her grandma who had refused to accept a pregnant Donna.

What I like?

Firstly, they could gather the same old cast which gets a big thumbs up from my side.

The three men – Hugh Skinner, Josh Dylan and Jeremy Irvine playing the roles of young Harry, Bill and Sam have done justice to their characters. However, the biggest surprise is Lily James. James had big boots to fill and she did a tremendous job. Not only she is pretty and looks fresh, but she has also acted and played the role of a young Donna very convincingly. Not to mention she is a better dancer than Meryl Streep. 🙂

The peep into the life of Donna is made interesting by way of flashbacks. We all knew Donna had three partners, but now we are able to connect the dots as we come to know how those men came into her life, about her heartbreak and all.

What upset me?

Well, a lot of things. For starters, there was hardly any role of Meryl Streep in the movie. A brief appearance at the end doesn’t count. Even Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth have no substantial roles. I felt cheated, because these were the three actors along with the incredible songs from ABBA which had made Mamma Mia one of the greatest musicals.

Cher who is the grandma of Sophie – Ruby Sheridan, with her botox-ed cheeks look younger than even her son-in-law – Pierce Brosnan. In fact, Sophie has more wrinkles than Cher; it looks fake and unconvincing. Also, the reunion of Fernando (Andy Garcia) and Ruby Sheridan, who had met in 1959 (and Fernando might be the father of Donna and the grandfather of Sophie), adds one more unwanted layer to the whole drama. The story line looks forced and compromised in order to introduce ABBA songs.

The new songs don’t have the same zing as the ones in the first movie. Though there were a few old songs that were recycled like “Mamma mia” and “Dancing Queen’, you don’t feel like tapping on them.


So did they pull off this sequel without Meryl Streep? I’d say NO. Meryl Streep is one of the greatest actresses in the history of cinema and a movie which had her in the first part cannot be good enough without her in the second part. Though Lily James comes as a breath of fresh air, neither the plot nor the motley of characters is able to lift up the movie.

Only true fans of the Mamma Mia franchise and ABBA will enjoy this film.



Tamasha - Movie Review

Movie watching, today, has become more like an adventure. And, after a few MIS-adventures recently, I visit a movie theatre with a sense of trepidation.

For Tamasha, well, everything seemed to be going in its favour, right from the word go. An impeccable and a bankable star cast of Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, along with Imtiaz Ali’s crowd-pleasing direction and A. R. Rehman’s faultless musical score – the movie was a hit even before it had hit the theatres.

Well, now coming to the actual film. The film starts on the beautiful French island of Corsica (well, for those who do not know, it is also the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte), where our hero, Mr. Don (Ranbir Kapoor) and our heroine, Mona Darling (Deepika Padukone) meet. The couple hit it off instantly, and decide to play a charade for 7 days where they will not exchange any truth about each other and once the week is up, they will go their separate ways, no questions asked. So, during the week, Mr. Don and Mona Darling assume several names and characters and roam around the beautiful sun-bleached landscapes of Corsica. And true to their promise, they part ways after their week is up.

Four years later, in India, in Delhi, Tara (her real name in the movie) finally meets Ved (Ranbir Kapoor in the film). Tara, who fell in love with Ved in Corsica wants to start off from where they left. Ved is more than accommodating. But, there’s a slight hitch. Ved is no more the carefree, full of life and amazing story teller Tara had met in Corsica. He is an average Product Manager in a company who eats the same breakfast every morning, works at a place he doesn’t enjoy and constantly tries to be in the good books of his boss. Tara is confused. Tara wants to stay with the real Ved, and not the automaton Ved. When she breaks off with Ved, he flips. He starts behaving differently, and even gets thrown out of work.

What happens then? Does Ved find out what is wrong with him? Do Tara and Ved finally reconcile?

Tamasha is a simple story of an average Indian only told differently. Every person is working and living like a machine, he or she wants to break free, however they can’t. For their own reasons, they keep on moving in the rat race till their last moments, shutting their beautiful and colourful dreams of the childhood which just remain that, DREAMS.

That Imtiaz Ali is a brilliant storyteller has been evident in his earlier movies. However, Tamasha will touch your heart because you will resonate with it. It’s a story of you and me, and everyone around us. A.R Rehman’s music is both peppy and soulful.

Watch Tamasha for Ranbir’s superb rendition of a man who wants to fly high, but finds his wings clipped. He is beautiful…so authentic and so believable.

As for the chemistry between Ranbir and Deepika, it’s very much still there and palpitating…makes you wonder if it’s for real???


Movie Review – Katti Batti

Katti Batti movie review

I have grown up on a steady diet of films. You won’t believe me; I had watched Jhoothi 20-25 times even before I had turned 6. And don’t even get me started on Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aaapke Hain Kaun! And this was way before DVD and YouTube came into being. Just imagine, how big a movie buff I was and am?

I love old classics Chupke Chupke, Chhoti Si Baat and Golmaal till date. Well, that was then, they have stopped making such movies now. (Sigh!) But never mind, I still lap up movies. I am a big fan of nice romantic movies, and mindless comedies also. But, movies like Kick, Gori Tere Pyaar Mein come…and I lose faith in this world and feel like renouncing it. And, then once in a while watching movies like Piku, Queen and Tanu Weds Manu makes me see the beautiful side of this world again; I can see the flowers blooming and hear the birds singing all over again. And then, there comes a movie so bad, so worthless…that I want to die in shame. Mind you, the actors won’t, the producers and the directors won’t and anyone who had anything to do with this movie won’t…! But, anyone who has even a little worth of their time will.

I mean, movies are important; they help you forget about this big bad world for a while. But, this movie will make you feel that the world outside the theatre is not so bad, after all. So run and run away, as fast as you can!

Yes, I had the misfortune to watch ‘Katti Batti’, first day, first show. And what a fiasco! I thought it had Kangana, so had to be a good movie; what I failed to realize was that it had Imran Khan too, so how could it be a good movie? Payal (Kangana) is a bindaass girl who falls in love with seedha-sadha Madhav (Imran) and they enjoy a 5-yr live-in relationship until one day she ups and leave her conjugal home without a forwarding address. Distraught Madhav runs helter and skelter…and finally after a lot of (torturous and muddled) flashback, the poor audience comes to know what transpired between them for her to leave him suddenly. However, the real truth is something else. You want to find out? (Please don’t).

Kangana is a good actor, but in Katti Batti, she looked tired and sounded forced. As for Imran Khan, all his movies are the same. Though he acted well, he couldn’t pull this through. The movie didn’t have anything substantial going for it; hence instances have been lifted unashamedly from other movies. The characters have not been well-defined…Kangana is shown as a bindaas girl, but somehow forgets to be one after a while. Madhav is shown to be boring, however it’s not very convincing.

This movie seems to be for teenagers…seriously, guys, grow up!

Verdict: The only thing interesting in the movie is its title. Stay away from theatres, lest people lure you with free tickets.

Movie Review: Happy Ending

Happy EndingI will confess something. Last week I had watched Kill/Dil. In spite of it being a decent enough film, I couldn’t draw up the enthusiasm to write about it. But with ‘Happy Ending’, as soon as the film started rolling, the words also started flowing on their own.

Saif Ali Khan as Yudi Jaitley (I so loved the name ‘Yudi’. It’s hatke – different) is an author of a one-time bestseller book. Also, he is a classic case of Peter Pan Syndrome; thirty-something but refuses to grow up. It’s been more than 5 years since his lone book was published but he is still high on its name, fame and money. He loves women, and apparently women love him back. But no sooner one of them utters the dreaded L-word than he starts having panic attacks. Soon his fame withers away and so does his money, and he is forced to find work again. Yudi is called upon to write a screen play for a romantic Bollywood movie by none other than Armaan (Govinda). A hit with the masses, Armaan now wants to conquer the heart of the elite too and for the same he needs a ‘kickass’ script. Yudi has no option but to take on the assignment. But as Yudi doesn’t believe in sweet romance and love forever, he finds it difficult to write a romantic script. Enters Aanchal Reddy, a budding romance novelist whose first book is a roaring success. Yudi strikes a friendship with Aanchal to learn writing romance. Aanchal is also quite like Yudi; doesn’t believe in eternal loves either. But during a crazy fun-filled week, Yudi and Aanchal realise how alike they are. Will they confess their love? Will they live happily ever after? There’s no suspense, guys. The title of the movie says it all.

Saif Ali Khan as Yudi is convincing. But his double role as Yudi’s alter ego Yogi is the one to watch out for. Yogi with his unkempt hair, protruding belly and short pants is sharp and hilarious. Ileana as Aanchal is quite good. She is not your sweet girl next door. She is the free-spirited woman of today who at one end believes in love with-no-strings-attached but at the other also relishes in the old world chivalry of a man opening the car door for her. Ranvir Shorey as Yudi’s only friend Montu delivers his part with aplomb. Kalki Koechlin as Yudi’s annoyingly obsessed lover is a delight. Sadly, she has but a cameo. But the surprise package is Govinda. He has played the role of a self-obssessed actor to a T. He eclipses everything and everyone with his witty dialogues and quirky mannerisms, and proves once again why he is still the ‘King of Comedy’.

The soundtrack of the movie is decent with a few hit numbers like ‘G phaad ke’, ‘Pussy Cat’ and ‘Meherbaan’. The cinematography by Chase Bowman is a visual treat especially where he has captured the energy and essence of LA. Dialogues are fresh and thankfully devoid of clichés. The film could have done with a sharper edit. 20 minutes or so shorter and the film would have been crisp.

My Verdict: If romcoms are your genre, Happy Ending will certainly keep you happy.

Movie Review – Haider

I sat for 50 minutes staring at my computer screen before I could write a word. I didn’t know where to start or what to write. The movie ‘Haider’ has that effect on you. It’s a rare film, something you might have never come across.

Movie Review - Haider

In the mid-90s when the militancy had surged in the beautiful Kashmir valley, we see a surgeon, Dr. Hilal Meer saving the life of a militant. He gets caught and disappears to one of the various secretive camps allegedly run by the Indian Army. His young son Haider (Shahid Kapoor) returns home only to find that not only his father has disappeared but also his mother Gazala (Tabu), who is now a half-widow (that’s what a wife of a disappeared man is called), instead of being devastated is finding solace in the arms of her brother-in-law Khurram Meer (Kay Kay Menon). Haider wants to know the real truth about his father – whether he is alive or dead. In his journey, he meets some interesting people, some of which are his genuine well-wishers while some are conspirators. Is he able to find the truth? Does he realize who is by his side and who is not? They are difficult questions; you need to watch the movie to find that out.

Shahid Kapoor as Haider has done a tremendous job. He has played various nuances in the film and played them effortlessly. I couldn’t have thought of a better Haider. His emotions as a confused, helpless, grieving, obsessed, insane and violent son have been laid bare for all to see. Tabu is the heart of the film. The beautiful ‘Mojhi’ of Haider is a complex woman. She is not your regular widow who howls and cries herself to death; she is a temptress and a woman searching for love and fulfillment of desires. But she is also a mother who lives for her son and can go to any lengths to save him. Kay Kay Menon has done a convincing job but he is getting stereotyped in his bad-ass roles. Irrfan Khan as Roohdar sets the wheels in motion with his short but important role. Shraddha Kapoor (Arshia) plays a journalist and also the love interest of Haider. Though a short role, she has delivered a powerful performance.

But the actual hero of the movie is the script that is jointly written by Vishal Bharadwaj and Kashmiri journalist-author Basharrat Peer. The movie is an adaption of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and portrays a strong story of trust and betrayal. It has black elements to it, particularly the scene where grave-diggers are shown digging the graves and lying inside them as it were the most normal thing to do. The dialogues are power-packed. Words are used with care and thought; there is no scope for frivolity. There are a few lighter moments  though like the Salman Khan fanboys and ill-pronounced English words by Arshia. Every scene looks like a picture frame, so beautiful and full of life. On the minuses, the length of the film gets to you, especially in the second half; the film loses its thread a bit and lowers its pace. Also, certain gory scenes could have been avoided. However, the climax of the film is completely unimaginable and leaves you shocked.

The film hooks you from the moment it starts. If you thought it was just another film on Kashmir insurgency, have another think coming. The film passes a strong message, but it is done subtly too. If you get it, good for you! If not, well, then good for you! The landscape is the same, the people have changed. The beauty is the same, the beholders have changed. It must be the first Indian film that doesn’t malign Pakistan. On the contrary, it targets closer home; the Indian Army that heaps down atrocities on the Kashmiri citizens.

Caution: Watch the movie at your risk. It might haunt you, forever.

Verdict: Such films don’t come every day. You might not want to miss it.

Movie Review – Finding Fanny

A funny thing happened with us. We went for a 12:30 show only to realize it’s a Hindi version. Google search revealed it should be better watched in English. So selling those tickets, we finally managed to catch the English version in another show.

Finding Fanny stares at you from a sleepy hard-to-find-it-on-a-Google-map village of Pocolim, Goa. Nothing seems to move here, not even the time. In such a lost-to-time place, you would imagine that people would be happy. But that’s not the case. Small or big, every person has their own problems.
Finding Fanny

Ferdinand aka Ferdie (Naseeruddin Shah) a postman, one evening out of the blue receives an unopened love letter that he had posted forty-six years ago to a girl called Stephanie Fernandes (Fanny). Suddenly his deep buried emotions resurface. His friend, a young barely-there-bride-turned-widow Angie (Deepika Padukone) gets him to agree to visit Fanny and propose to her, in person this time. She manipulates her mother-in-law, Rosie (Dimple Kapadia), who is a huge lady with her authoritative ways; Don Pedro, a world-renowned artist who tries to find her muse in Rosie and Savio, Angie’s bitter ex-lover. These five dysfunctional characters embark on a weird road trip in a restored vintage car to find Fanny and along the way they get more than they had bargained for; they lose bitterness, bury old hatchets, and manage to find hope and love.

Finding Fanny is about finding love in the strangest of places and in the strangest of circumstances. Just go with the flow and let life happen, let love happen. That’s the message this drama cum comedy movie gives you.

Veteran actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Pankaj Kapur have given brilliant performances as the sad and shy postman still living in the memories of his unrequited love and a master painter with shades of brilliance and eccentricity to match. Dimple Kapadia is another actor who has stolen the limelight with her portrayal of a widow, a self-proclaimed First Lady of the Pocolim village, who is authoritative but at the same time hiding a dark shameful truth. Deepika Padukone is the surprise of the film. She proves to the world that she is capable of matured acting if provided the correct platform. Arjun Kapoor is no less brilliant as the foul-mouthed Savio who is still in love with Angie. You feel as if each of these actors was born to do his/her role in the film.

The film is short and devoid of unnecessary clutter. There are no songs and dance either to take you away from the real film. But there are enough funny moments to bring a smile or make you split with laughter. After Cocktail, I was a little skeptical of a Homi Adajania film, but this movie has restored my faith in him.

Verdict: Take the journey, you will find it pleasing, fulfilling, unpredictable and exhilarating.


Movie Review – Queen

In her latest released Queen, Kangana Ranaut has proved once again that you needn’t belong to a filmy clan or have a Godfather to be a good successful actor. All you need are good acting skills and a heart at the right place. And the results are mindblowing.

movie review - Queen

Queen starts with a wedding sequence in a typical loud Punjabi family. It is the mehendi occasion of Rani (Kangana Ranaut) where the entire family from the uber cool granny to young overweight brother shake a leg. But in the next scene, the fiancé Vijay (Rajkummar Rao) breaks the engagement. A heartbroken Rani flies to Paris (the city of her dreams) and Amsterdam (the city of her fiancé’s dreams) on a solo honeymoon. And from there starts her journey to self-discovery.

Rani is a nice simple girl who hasn’t travelled before finds herself in a few precarious situations but with the help of a half desi-half French friend she learns a few lessons of life that she could have never done staying in the folds of her family. In her next destination to Amsterdam, she finds herself sharing a youth hostel with three men. Awkward at first for her, she soon adapts herself and makes friends with them. In the heat of the moment, she even locks lips with a ‘cute’ Italian. Mamma mia! In her journey, every day she deals with new situations and meets new people, but she never once loses the goodness of her heart or the faith in people. The high-handed fiancé comes back to her apologizing but does Rani take him back?

It’s an out and out Kangana Ranaut film. From the first scene to the last, she keeps you riveted to your seat. Power-packed dialogues delivered in a simple manner and her no-pretence acting will capture your heart. The shenanigans of her once drunken night or her shyness in a room full of strange men will make you reach out to her and hug her. The dialogues are funny and will keep you in splits. The songs are beautiful especially ‘London Thumakda’ will make you break into a jig. All the actors be it the spunky granny, the lively and promiscuous Vijayalakshmi (Lisa Haydon), the spineless fiancé or the three friends in Amsterdam have done a fabulous work. But it’s the flawless script that takes the cake. If Kangana is the Queen, then script is the King. Vikas Bahl, the director of Chillar Party fame, should get a standing ovation for making a fresh, simple and meaningful film.

My Verdict: If you have nothing else to do this weekend, then go watch this movie. Even if you have something to do this weekend, still go watch this movie. Such a film comes once in years. Don’t miss it!

Hail the Queen!

Shaadi Ke Side/Effects

With a star cast like Farhan Akhtar and Vidya Balan, what would you expect a movie to be? Awesome, right? Well, let’s see.

shaadi ke side/effects

Sid Roy (Farhan Akhtar) and Trisha Mallick Roy (Vidya Balan) are the quintessential modern day couple who have promising careers. In order to spice up their marriage, they play fun charades like meeting in a bar as strangers, making out in a hotel lift and sharing a hotel room. But a passionate night of unprotected sex renders them pregnant. And that’s where the actual side effects of the ‘shaadi’ come into the picture.

A new mother, Trisha is so engrossed with her baby that she’s hardly the time and the energy left to work on her marriage. Sid on the other hand wants her pre-motherhood wife backs and tries everything in the book to salvage their relationship. But the circumstances don’t favour him and he finds himself swamped by the new responsibilities dumped on him. That’s when he gets some age-old advice from his ‘been there, done that’ brother-in-law, Ram Kapoor, to take a couple of days’ break every month from the mish-mash of the daily life to connect with his old carefree life. Soon it becomes a way of life for Sid. Then there are more confusions and fights before the pretences are up and the couple decides to work on their differences.

What could have been a hilarious movie is reduced to a dud bomb. The film starts on a fine note but in just half an hour into the film, all seems to be lost. The title of the film doesn’t do justice to the film. This is supposed to be the sequel to 2009 Pyar Ke Side/Effects, but instead of talking about shaadi it directly jumps to ‘Bachche Ke Side/Effects’. The dialogues meant to be funny fail to invoke much laughter; apart from a few jokes you hardly get any reason to laugh. The music is non-descript. There are a few disconnects like Sid talks about the financial woes after having a child, but is hardly shown working towards it. Many characters are introduced like the next door neighbour, Shekhar and the nanny, Aunty which don’t fit well and seem like a last-minute introduction.

Vidya Balan looks natural as an obsessed new mother. Though after the child she puts her marriage on the back burner, she realizes it later and tries to work towards her marriage. But as the story is told from Sid’s point of view, she comes out mostly as an irritating nagging wife and you fail to feel for her character. Farhan Akhtar on the other hand single-handedly shoulders the burden of the film. You sympathize with his confusion and frustration as his orderly life goes out of control. Ram Kapoor does justice to his role and you await his turn as he provides the much needed relief. Vir Das provides some comic relief too.

My verdict: If you go through a montage of your own married life, I am sure you would enjoy it more. But still, if you have nothing on your hands this weekend, it might not be such a bad idea to watch Shaadi Ke Side/Effects. Just go with enough popcorn to make it seem worthwhile.

Movie Review: Dedh Ishqiya

A movie after 4 months. I had almost forgotten what it felt like stepping into a movie theatre.

Dedh Ishqiya

With a weird but funny name like ‘Dedh Ishqiya’ (sequel to Ishqiya in 2009), one would expect something zany and out of the box.  Well, it doesn’t disappoint much. With an experienced and stellar star cast like Naseeruddin Shah, Madhuri Dixit, Arshad Warsi and Huma Qureshi, you know you will get more than your money’s worth.

The uncle-nephew duo, khalujaan-Babban, is on the run after a robbery. They find themselves in a small and sleepy town of Mahmudabad where the widowed Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit) has organized a 3-day festival of Urdu poetry recitation. Urdu poets from nearby towns and cities come over to participate in it. The reward is unique. The poet who impresses the Begum will get to marry her and be the Nawab of Mahmudabad. No prizes to guess here. Our khalujaan aka Iftekhar Hussain is in the race and almost winning. Another strong contender is the powerful and dangerous local MLA Mr. Jaan Muhammad (Vijay Raaz). Looks like Begum Para has almost decided who her betrothed will be. But things are not as they appear. Everybody’s wearing a mask here and the viewer is left to guess who is using who. After a lot of twists and turns, the truth comes out. And in a bizarre black comedy-like ending, the film comes to an end.

Watching Madhuri after more than a decade is a special treat. A good actor doesn’t lose her touch just because she stops acting. Naseeruddin Shah as the lout and the madly-in-love Urdu reciting poet steals our heart. Arshad Warsi with his natural dialogue delivery endears us. He’s a director’s man; I don’t know why he wastes himself in films like Joe B Carvalho which has nothing to offer him or the audience. Huma Qureshi is impressive. And not to forget Vijay Raaz with his perfect comic timing who steals the show.

The film started with a bang. But lost the fervor somewhere in middle with stretched scenes, unnecessary dance sequences (just because they wanted to show Madhuri dancing) and songs. All the characters were neatly defined and were impeccable. The dialogues were beautiful and funny (there is extensive use of foul language though); and the poetry soul-stirring. The film could have done well with a few edits. The film may not be in the same league as the original Ishqiya where the bold and sexy Vidya Balan woos us all, but it still showcases the grace and charm of Madhuri Dixit.

My verdict: Watch it for it will surely make you grab a book of Urdu poetry.