Friday, 28 September 2012

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Visually Flawless, Same Old Action-Template

2.5/5 Stars

‘Resident Evil: Retribution’, fifth film in the franchise, is nothing different from the rest.

Honestly, too much is being done of this post-apocalyptic business! Filmmakers need to find newer settings. In almost every action film, there’s this after-the-end-of-the-world shanty township encroached upon by violent elements. It’s not working anymore. The story is not too different from the other films of the ‘Resident Evil’ series. To the credit of the filmmakers, the plot is kept concise and thankfully, short!

Post-apocalyptic setting, Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up in an Umbrella base, having been captured at the Arcadia. Upon being interrogated by Jill (Sienna Guillory), Alice realizes that something is amiss. An unexpected power failure enables Alice to escape from her cell. Here, she encounters Ada Wong (Bingbing Li), from Albert Wesker’s (Shawn Roberts) team. Apparently, Ada and Wesker no longer belong to Umbrella. Wesker needs Alice’s help to battle the base’s supercomputer Red Queen (Megan Charpentier), in order to save the remaining of mankind.

The build-up given to all the action sequences is fantastic. Not only has the cinematography (sublime work by Glen MacPherson) excelled, but the entire team contributing to the visuals (art direction, production design, editing, special effects etc.) have done a marvellous job! The opening credits, in particular, present scintillating visuals of Milla strutting all her action moves with a lot of gumption! Direction by Paul W.S. Anderson is just about fine. Performances by the cast are decent, nothing spectacular.

The film will be enjoyed by fans of the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise and, in general, action movies! Luckily, the 90-odd minute duration works in the film’s favour. Watch it for the spectacular cinematography and the brilliantly-executed action sequences! Yes, there is a sixth film in the pipeline. (First Posted in MSN)

Shivom Oza

Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Halaal!

2/5 Stars

Remake of the popular Malayalam film ‘Marykkundoru Kunjaadu’, ‘Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal’ follows the typical Priyadarshan brand of humour. A comedy of errors; involving a wimpy 25-year-old, an absconding thief and a stolen golden church cross, the film does not follow a distinct genre. In essence, it’s a mix of drama, humour and bucket loads of emotion!

Although the performances by the cast, comprising Shreyas Talpade, Nana Patekar, Om Puri and Paresh Rawal, are brilliant, the story fails to enliven the interest of the viewer. There’s slapstick humour galore in the first half, but the latter part gets embroiled in needless mystery.

Johnny Belinda (Shreyas Talpade), according to every man, woman and child in the village, is a wimp. He gets scared of everything and everyone. Not just that, he is a good-for-nothing soul who does not help out his ailing father David (Om Puri) and buys lottery tickets day-in-and-day-out hoping for a miracle which will make him a millionaire. Johnny is in love with Maria (Madhhurima), who happens to be the daughter of David’s sworn enemy Peter (Paresh Rawal). Johnny gets bashed up by every Tom, Dick and Harry in the village and it is due to this continuous humiliation that he is subjected to which earns him the nickname ‘Bakri’. Enter Nana Patekar (an unnamed thief), who gets convinced by Johnny to become his long-lost brother Sam. The newly-turned Sam wreaks havoc all over the town, bringing much-needed relief to the embattled Johnny. Everything is fine, until the real reason of the fake Sam’s arrival in town is revealed!

Although the performances put in by the cast, comprising Shreyas, Paresh, Om, Nana, are quite good, put all of them together in one sequence and you will realize that the adage ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ is so true. The supporting cast, comprising Asrani and Neeraj Vora, lend some life into the film.

Priyadarshan’s films are known to be the ‘theatre of the absurd’ but sadly, even the absurdity fails to evoke a guffaw anymore. His comedy-of-errors style of humour must have worked tremendously well in the 2000s, but it’s not just doing the trick anymore. Neeraj Vora’s dialogues are funny, occasionally, but overall, the writing is very disappointing.

Performances are fine, dialogue is well-written, but the writing and direction just goes haywire. ‘Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal’ is pretty much Halaal! You might laugh at a gag or two, but just not enough steam to go on for 2 and half hours! (First Posted in MSN)

Shivom Oza

Friday, 21 September 2012

Dredd 3D (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Brilliant Visuals, Action-Packed and nothing much else!

2.5/5 Stars

A drug lord ‘Ma-Ma’ wreaks havoc at the 200-storey slum located at the dystopian metropolis Mega-City One. It is up to Judge Dredd and the Trainee Anderson to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Visually, the film is marvellous. Action-packed to the hilt! Had it been a tad longer, would have been unwatchable.

Based on the ‘Judge Dredd’ comics, the Pete Travis-directed film ‘Dredd 3D’ is a British-South African production venture. It revolves around Judge Dredd (Karl Urban), who has been given the “power of judge, jury and executioner at Mega-City One, a vast metropolis located within a post-apocalyptic wasteland”. Accompanying him is a trainee Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) as both try to bring order to the 200-storey slum guarded by Peach Trees; drug lord Madeline Madrigal, known as Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). Ma-Ma injects ‘Slo-Mo’ (an addictive new drug that slows the user's perception of time to 1% of normal) into three men and throws them from the top of the tower. Dredd and Anderson take it upon themselves to end Ma-Ma’s menace. Ma-Ma’s henchmen seize the tower’s security control room and block the entire building using its blast shields giving an excuse of a security test. This is done to prevent the Judges from escaping the tower.

We don’t get to see Karl Urban at all as he is masked throughout the film. However, his robotic demeanour, deadpan dialogue delivery, relatively frail physique and flatly delivered ‘one-liners’ fail to create any sort of impact. Olivia Thirlby is just about average as Trainee Anderson. Her character is basically that of a psychic so for most of the film, she is getting premonitions about a dreadful past or an impending danger. Some of the scenes that she shares with Kay (Wood Harris), one of Ma-Ma’s henchmen, are quite intriguing though. Lena Headey, who plays the antagonist, could have done much more with her character. Sadly, in trying too hard to look like a drug lord, the performance faltered. Overall, there was nothing noteworthy about the cast.

The cinematography is exquisite. If you do end up going for the film, watch the brilliant slow-motion sequences unfold on screen in 3D. It gets to your nerves, undoubtedly, but looks great nevertheless. The 3D effects too, are better than most of the recent fare that has been churned out from the foreign films this year. The action sequences have been shot very well. Writer Alex Garland wrote the script in 2006 and by the end of the film, you do hope that it had gotten made around the same time. It’s 2012 and we’ve seen better movies. Director Pete Travis has pulled off the action sequences and the scenes involving the use of the drug ‘Slo-Mo’, brilliantly. You’d wish there were more humane moments in the film. To their credit, the film is short so if you do want to enjoy a good 90 minutes of non-stop action, ‘Dredd 3D’ is it.
Not as 'fun' as The Expendables 2, but if you dig action films, go watch! (First Posted in MSN)

Shivom Oza

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Rises And Shines

4/5 Stars

A tale about two (very) young lovers Sam and Suzy, who run away to a picturesque island, which they call ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, but a few people can’t let them be together. The film, a romantic-comedy-drama film, directed by Wes Anderson, fills you with much joy and laughter. The world out there is as utopian as it can get; so much that you wish it was real. Experience bundle of goodness in these 90-odd minutes!

‘Moonrise Kingdom’ - Never understood what the name meant in the context of the film, but it would not matter anyway. This was not just a film. It was an experience. There was not a moment when you could waive your attention away from the screen.

In 1965, on an island called New Penzance located in New England, 12-year-old Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) who is attending a ‘Khaki Scout’ summer camp, Camp Ivanhoe, led by South Master Randy Ward (Edward Norton), goes missing. Around the same time, Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), who is living with her attorney parents Walt Bishop (Bill Murray) and Laura Bishop (Frances McDormand) and three younger brothers, too goes missing with all her luggage. It seems Sam and Suzy had met the previous summer during a church performance by the latter, and had remained in touch through letters over the following year. They hatch a plan to reunite and run away together. While Shakusky brings his camping equipment, Suzy gets six books, her cat and a record player along with her. Hot on their trail are the Bishops guided by Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis). Sam and Suzy are off to a wondrous island, which they name ‘Moonrise Kingdom’. They share some very special moments on this island until they are finally hunted down by Suzy’s parents, the police and the Scout Master. While Suzy is banned from seeing him again, Sam faces the prospect of spending the rest of his teenage years in a ‘juvenile refuge’ as his foster parents refuse to take him back.
The rest of the pack from the Scout, which had been quite rude to Sam earlier, decides to reunite the young couple. The rest of the film carries on the charming flavour that inundates the initial bit. The delightfulness of the dialogues and the scenes cannot be expressed in words. 

The film belongs to Kara Hilman and Jared Gilman. The two kids are so immensely talented. The control in their performances was admirable. There was no conscious attempt to show the world that they were acting. It was just effortless.
Bruce Willis and Bill Murray may have aged. You may see the added wrinkles on their faces, their receding hairline and their bulging paunches, but you cannot ignore their charm. Edward Norton can still play the same role if a ‘Fight Club’ remake was done.  He may have aged by a few years but the sprightliness hasn't withered away. Amazing efforts put in by Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton (Social Services), Jason Schwartzman in a hilarious cameo (Cousin Ben) and the legend Harvey Keitel as Commander Pierce. Bob Balaban, who is the Narrator, amuses one and all with his deadpan expressions and dry humour.

The writing (Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola) is beautiful. The film kept on playing out one exquisite moment after another, backed with the finest dialogue in recent times. The cast, filled with legends, stayed trued to its reputation and delivered exceptional performances. The kids, especially, made this film truly special. Cinematography by Robert Yeoman was first-rate. The writing made the film great, but the visuals made it even more special. The art direction (Gerald Sullivan), production designs (Adam Stockhausen) and set decoration (Kris Moran), elevated this film to a different level altogether. Wes Anderson of ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ fame has another film to be proud of as a director. His writing ability was never doubted, anyway. Music by Alexandre Desplat is something else altogether. Watch the credit roll, it’s pretty much mind-blowing!

This was not just the magical cinematography or the wonderful locations or the charming dialogue or the scintillating performances or the transcendental music or the astute direction or the poetic screenplay. This film was EVERYTHING. Watch Moonrise Kingdom for sure, folks. It's a brilliant film. Wait till the end credits roll. You'll leave the cinema hall with a smile. (First Posted in MSN)

Shivom Oza

Monday, 17 September 2012

Fire In Babylon (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Touch And Go!

2.5/5 Stars

One can seldom get it wrong when you have the likes of Vivian Richards, Michael Holding, Gordon Greenidge, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner and Jeffery Dujon among other West Indian greats to give you a first-hand account of how a bunch of boys got together to form one of the greatest cricket teams of all-time.

The film 'Fire in Babylon' had all the prerequisites for a truly memorable documentary. However, somewhere in the middle, the plot is lost and so is the purpose.

The film revolves around the resurgence of the West Indies cricket team during a period when Blacks were not given equal rights in the society. It shows how the success of the sporting team gave hope to countless other West Indians that they can be world beaters too. The initial bits focus on the erstwhile migration of the present day West Indians from Africa during the colonial period. It talks about how the blacks were relegated to the position of being slaves in a country ruled by the Whites. Even after the Caribbean islands regained independence, the position of any inhabitant in the society was heavily dependent on the colour of his/her skin. Even cricket was considered to be a sport dominated by the Whites. The captain of the West Indies cricket team was a white and so were most of the officials of the cricket board. At the same time, the neighbouring United States of America was undergoing a process of change under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr., and the sentiment passed on to the Caribbean islands as well. The blacks, who were facing oppression of unimaginable magnitudes, needed a spurt of inspiration from somewhere.

Cricket, a sport which was interred within the soul of the Caribbean, united all the islands which were so different in all the other aspects, be it language, clothing or culture. The West Indian team of the 60s, although embellished with all-time greats such as Gary Sobers, Everton Weekes and Learie Constantine, lacked the winning spirit. The players used to consider cricket a fun activity and never took winning seriously. However, during the early 70s, a young team led by Clive Lloyd realized the perils of not being tough enough when they received a drubbing at the hands of the Australian team. The two bowling machines, namely Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, wreaked havoc over the visiting West Indian side. They abused, injured and annihilated the visiting side and pushed them to a corner. Clive Lloyd, being an astute thinker and a true leader, did not get bogged down by the defeat. He understood the significance of genuine fast bowling and so, got greats such as Holding, Roberts and Croft to form a world-class pace attack. From then on, the West Indies were unstoppable. They started with the Indian series and from then on went on to win one tournament after another. Issues that have been interspersed within the sporting exploits have been about how the triumphs of the cricket team had a positive impact upon people back home and other Caribbean migrants who were living in other countries. The cricket team’s domination was instrumental in instilling a feeling of pride in the hearts of the West Indian people.

There are various instances brought to light in this documentary – apartheid in South Africa, meagre payment to the players, World Series organized by Kerry Packer etc. Each of them is conveyed through the journey of this great West Indian side. Stars such as Vivian Richards, Michael Holding, Gordon Greenidge, Colin Croft and Andy Roberts steal the show with their impeccable articulating skills. They truly exhibit the emotions that the members of the great side must have been through during this wonderful phase of 15 years when the West Indian side did not lose a single series. There are few songs thrown in the documentary as well. Initially, the reggae add a lot of flavour to the on-screen proceedings but it got tedious as the lyrical tributes keep getting longer.

There has been wonderful use of archives in the documentary. It must have been quite a tough ask to assemble all the footage for this film, many of which dates back to colonial times. The bowling actions of the pace bowlers, shown in slow motion, look beautiful on the big screen. However, this particular visual of a fast bowler running in swiftly towards the bowling mark and delivering a thunderbolt is repeated often in the film. This, in my opinion, was unnecessary.

Also, there is one particular sequence in the film which talks about how the Indian team was so anguished by the injury-inflicting bouncers of the West Indian pacers that they refused to play and declared the innings prematurely. This instance was accompanied with visuals from ‘India v/s Australia’ series of 1981 during the Melbourne test match when the Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar walked off the field after being abused by Dennis Lillee. The advertising boards (which had ‘Benson and Hedges’ written on them) clearly suggest that series in question was in Australia and it has been inaccurately shown as a visual in an India-West Indies series. A documentary has to be accurate. If you don’t have the visuals, do not carry the story. It was indeed misleading to see a fuming Gavaskar shown to be protesting against West Indies when that was clearly not the case. This minor but significant mistake took a lot of credibility off the film.

Anyway, the director Stevan Riley should be lauded for incorporating such a brilliant concept. The execution left a lot to be desired though. The film seems to be driving home the same point time and again throughout the duration. The message of the ‘blacks being given equal rights’ in the society is driven innumerable times. While it was important to bring home the point of racism, it should have been either at the end or too far in between. In the end, the film neither ended up being a good cricket documentary nor a great cultural one. Barring the Gavaskar goof-up, most of the footage is quite accurate. The archives bring about most guffaws and cheering from the audiences. The film gives you a good idea about the history of the West Indies cricket team along with interesting information about the country itself. However, the emotion got lost somewhere in the middle. So much so, that even Bob Marley, whose footage features towards the closing stages of the film, fails to enliven the interest of the viewer.

The documentary does not impress you either as a cricket lover or a film buff. There’s too much inconsistency in the screenplay. You may be enlightened by this film, but you won’t be moved. There’s a lot of nostalgia in there, with all the West Indian cricketers coming together but you will have to bear a lot of other inconsequential stuff, if you watch this film strictly for the cricket. To use a cricketing jargon, ‘Fire In Babylon’ is a case of ‘touch and go!’ (First Posted in MSN)

Shivom Oza

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Tarbosaurus (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Dinosaurs Turned Into Dino-Bores

0.5/5 Stars

‘Tarbosaurus’, the film, revolves around the rivalry between two types of dinosaurs, Tarbosaurus and Tyrannosaurus. The story is about the coming-of-age of the young Tarbosaurus, Spot, who is exploring the perfect paradise, but the horrific Tyrannosaurus, One-eye, comes in his way all the time.

There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t watch the film – clichéd plot, annoying voiceover, amateurish CGI and a mundane screenplay.

Millions of years ago, when the world was inhabited by dinosaurs, rivalry between Tarbosaurus and Tyrannosaurus was quite the norm. Spot/Speckles, the youngest of the Tarbosaurus family, witnesses the cunning One-eye, the vociferous Tyrannosaurus, kill all of his family members. One-eye wreaks havoc all over the Kingdom annihilating one dinosaur after the other. Spot/Speckles, meanwhile, is slowly growing up, preparing to avenge the death of his family. Spot has a one-off duel with One-eye, where he manages he overpower him. He then meets Blue-eyes, a female Tarbosaur, and both of them hunt for food together. Both of them are leading comfortable lives along with their children, until One-eye returns.

This story will test your IQ, undoubtedly. In addition, there are lines like ‘Isn’t it exciting?’, ‘Isn’t it fascinating?’ which do nothing but rub salt in your wounds. The writing of the film is abysmal. Be it the dialogues, the story or even the opening scene, the monologue at the end, the characterization, everything is just too amateurish. The CGI is decent in some parts, but most of it is just a cut back to the 90s. The film does not manage to hold your attention.

Writer-director Han Sang-Ho’s attempts to make a fine ‘dinosaur-themed’ movie for kids do fall short. The kids may enjoy it in parts, but the film is such a drag that it will even put the toddlers to sleep.

An absolute must-not watch. The voiceover is so annoying that it won’t even let you sleep in the theatre. (First Posted in MSN)

Shivom Oza

Arbitrage (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Take A Bow Richard Gere!

3.5/5 Stars

60-year old New York hedge-fund magnate Robert Miller ‘appears’ to be leading an extremely comfortable life. Portrayed as an efficient businessperson and family man, Miller enjoys a great reputation among his family and peers. However, the too-good-to-be-true success story gets demystified as we learn about his deep, dark secrets. And then, a car crash ensues.

Armed with a gripping plot with sublime dialogues, ‘Arbitrage’ is one of the finest ‘drama’ films in recent times. 

Robert Miller (Richard Gere), a 60-year-old business tycoon, equates everything with money. In a dialogue from the film, he is unequivocally told by someone, “Money doesn’t buy everything,” and Miller almost vehemently retorts, “What else does?” He appears to be a very well-off family person; however, none of the two descriptions are true. In reality, he has been hiding the fact that the reason he is desperately trying to sell off his trading empire to a major bank is so that his fraudulent practices (misplacing funds amounting to $412 million) are not revealed to his investors. Even his family, including his daughter Brooke Miller (Brit Marling), are unaware about the discrepancies in the company’s balance sheets.

Moreover, the family person tag doesn’t quite fit him. As much of a devoted husband, to wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) he may appear in New York’s social circle, he has been having an affair with a French art-dealer Julie Côte (Laetitia Casta). Julie, who it seems is in love with Robert, is losing patience with him. Robert, meanwhile, is finding it really difficult to balance his financial doldrums with the extra-marital affair.

In the middle of all of this, there is a car crash, where Julie gets killed. The car is set ablaze and turns out; Robert’s dark secrets are on the verge of getting revealed to the world. One lapse of judgment risks Robert his money, family and freedom. Enter the NYPD detective Michael Bryer (Tim Roth), who will unrelentingly pursue the truth behind the crime, even if he has to use unfair means.

The plot, in a way, seemed very similar to Woody Allen’s ‘Match Point’. The ending might leave you a bit puzzled, but the fact is that this is very close to what actually happens in real life. As the dialogue implies, if money doesn’t buy everything, what else does?

Richard Gere and Tim Roth, as the suspect and detective respectively, are exceptional. The best part was that it wasn’t a case of black v/s white. Both of their characters were grey. It was more about who was luckier. Definitely, the colour of money (green) also had to play its part! Both of them offer a great mix of being subtle and theatrical. The female characters in the film come across as strong, independent women. Sure, their lives are affected because of one man (Robert Miller), but they do hold their own. Susan Sarandon plays the kept-in-dark, unassuming wife, not entirely aware about her husband’s secrets. However when she does learn about them, she knows how to settle scores. Brit Marling, who plays the chief investment officer of the fraudulent company owned by her father, gives a phenomenal performance. Even the French mistress, played by Laetitia Casta, is an important character. Although the screen time given to Laetitia isn’t much, but the character hovers over the proceedings throughout and she does a good job in establishing such a strong presence.

Nicholas Jarecki, writer-director, delivers an outstanding film. The story could have gone the conventional way, but the director chose to stick to his guns. Douglas Crise’s editing keeps the film taut and concise without a single low point in the 100-minute-long film.

There’s a powerful message (not necessarily righteous) embedded in the film. Watch it for the brilliant performances. Take a bow, Richard Gere, who hasn’t lost his sheen at all! (First Posted in MSN)

Shivom Oza

Thursday, 6 September 2012

To Rome With Love (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Vintage Woody, Benigni And Baldwin!

2.5/5 Stars

Woody Allen films do not have the ‘perfect’ narrative. The screenplay isn’t always logical, so to speak. The performances can go a bit over-the-top at times too. However, it is the charm that the director brings to his films. No one can capture a picturesque city as beautifully as Allen does. The way his ‘Match Point’ encapsulated London’s elegance, ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ emanated the serenity of the Spanish locations and ‘Midnight In Paris’ showed the eternal romanticism of the city, is unparalleled. Woody Allen, in the film ‘To Rome With Love’, wonderfully captures the Italian capital. Within the historic city, there are instances which are life-changing and yet, innocuous.

Although, not in the same league as Woody Allen’s previous films, the film is a must-watch for his fans. The film, even if a bit long and tedious for the viewer, does pack some wonderful moments. Definitely recommend a DVD-watch, if not in a theatre.

The film has four parallel stories; a well-known American architect John (Alec Baldwin) encountering a young couple, Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) and Sally (Greta Gerwig), and their irresistibly attractive friend Monica (Ellen Page), and becoming an active part of their daily lives and romantic liaisons; an average middle class Roman Leopoldo (Roberto Benigni) escalating from the position of a clerk to an overnight celebrity; a newlywed couple - Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi) and Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi) hooking up with the sensuous call-girl Anna (Penélope Cruz) and the Italian superstar Luca Salta (Antonio Albanese) respectively; and an American opera director Jerry (Woody Allen) trying to revive his flagging career. Confused? You shouldn’t be, because most of Woody Allen’s films have such a premise. The film slows down considerably when too much of time is dedicated to a particular track. Although the way Rome forms such a wonderful backdrop to these intricate stories is magnificent, the scenes do drag a bit more than you would expect.  

This film is full of exceptional moments. Be it Benigni revelling in his newfound popularity, Allen’s circumspect silence, Baldwin’s deadpan expressions, Eisenberg’s trademark dialogue delivery, Ellen Page’s range, Penelope’s audaciousness or the brilliant efforts put in by the rest of the cast, the film excels in the acting department. The scenes are a bit too long, but the dialogues are so delightful that you’d still let out a guffaw!

Woody Allen’s films are more about moments and less about impeccable narratives. However, ‘To Rome With Love’ slips during the second half. The pugnacity with which the initial half of the film is made, is found missing in the second half. It takes too long for all the tracks to reach their logical conclusion. Director Woody Allen, who also wrote the film, does not show the same form that he did with his ‘Midnight In Paris’. However, the film could have been a lot more monotonous had it been made by any other filmmaker. Woody, doubling up as an actor, manages to lift the film at crucial junctures.

Woody Allen fans will like it. For those who haven’t watched a single Allen film, you could give this a shot after watching a couple of his ‘noteworthy’ films. Woody, Benigni and Baldwin, watch it for the legends! (First Posted in MSN)

Shivom Oza

Chal Pichchur Banate Hain (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – ‘Pichchur’ Ain’t Good Enough

1.5/5 Stars

24-year-old MBA graduate with a lucrative job offer and an opportunity to go to London squanders it all away to pursue his passion – filmmaking. Not too different from the recent Suniel Shetty-Rajpal Yadav starrer ‘Mere Dost Picture Abhi Baki Hai’, albeit with a better premise.

The first 15 minutes of the film held some promise. The opening credits have been well shot. The music is pleasant and Rahil Tandon has done a tidy job. However, the story and the performances of the supporting cast are a big downer. There are a handful of decent moments in the film, but it’s just not worth your time and money.

Suraj Kumar (Rahil Tandon), an MBA-graduate, has an offer to go to UK with a salary of 5,000 pounds but he gives it all away to pursue a career in filmmaking. He wants to become a writer-producer-director and his only learning has come from watching countless movies ever since he was a kid.

However, in the bargain, he loses his girlfriend, best friends and family’s trust. Upon entering the ‘big bad world of Bollywood’, Suraj realizes that being a filmmaker is not as easy as he made it out to be. He encounters strange personalities such as the maverick money launderer Shakti (Sheikh Arif), the high-handed producer Irani (Shahnawaz Pradhan), the shady middle-man Mansoor (Mukesh Bhatt) and the self-proclaimed genius Khanna (Punkaj Kalra). So, he gets pushed from one set to another. No one is willing to promise him a break and everyone just wants to get their work done. So, Suraj puts up posters, helps actors with the lines, cajoles heroines into coming for the shot, attempts to write his own scripts, but nothing seems to impress the ‘big shots’ of the industry.

There’s another shocker coming his way! His father owes a family-friend-turned-foe Ramani a lump sum of 10 lakh rupees. It boils down to Suraj to be able to collect enough money to repay the debt. So, his passion now turns into desperation. He can no more afford to be choosy and has to adjust to the way in which the industry functions. This is where the film loses steam. There’s a ladylove too, called Melrena (Bhavna Ruparel). For some reason, the romantic angle looks forced. Overall, the story becomes repugnant after the basic premise is settled.

Rahil Tandon is promising. He displays great range in his acting. Yes, there are a few moments when the amateurishness shows up. However, Rahil does a tidy job. Look forward to seeing him in better-written films. The female lead, Bhavna Ruparel, is just about average. Thankfully, there’s no hamming done but her performance isn’t noteworthy either. The character, Melrena, shouldn’t have been there in the film in the first place. The supporting cast is a bit of mishmash. A few artistes, who have also appeared in big-ticket films, such as Punkaj Kalra of ‘Rock On!!’ fame and Mukesh Bhatt of ‘Rocket Singh – Salesman of th Year’ fame, have performed well. However, a major chunk of the character artistes just fail to leave any impact.

The film offers a fresh take on a relatively ‘done-to-death’ topic. The cinematography (Hari Nair) is not quite up to the mark. There are innumerable intercuts being thrown in during conversational scenes. The makers must have thought of giving the scenes a seamless look, but the end result isn’t too pleasing to the eyes. The opening credits have been shot well. The music (Gaurav Dagaonkar) of the film is pleasant. With big names such as Sunidhi Chauhan, Kailash Kher, Shreya Ghoshal and Javed Ali, the line-up of singers is stellar. Although there isn’t any memorable number in the film, the music tailors smoothly into the screenplay. The aspect where the film terribly lets down, is the story and the dialogue. Pritish Chakraborty (Director, Story Writer, Screenplay Writer, Dialogue Writer), in spite of being completely in-charge of the writing department, fails to uplift the mood of the film after a promising start.

Despite having decent music, a passable lead pair, interesting concept and good production values, the film just fails to deliver. Not worth it! (First Posted in MSN)

Shivom Oza