Posts Tagged ‘Sonam Kapoor’

bmb_titleI was in for a wonderful treat on the Sunday morning.

Yes, totally loved Bhaag Milkha Bhaag for many reasons!

I was reminded of ‘Chariots of Fire’, a film I had seen many years back, but which remains one of my favourite films till date. There is a certain excitement about stories based around sport, and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, is of course, in that genre. The sweat and toil, the determination, the hard work, the competitiveness, the rivalry, all of these are emotional elements and they draw the audience in.

At the outset, here was an extremely talented team at work!

Starting with the director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, one of the sharpest and most talented young filmmakers in Indian cinema today. I had found his first venture, Aks, to be a very interesting experiment. And then of course, Rang De Basanti was an iconic film. I had liked his next one, Dilli 6 also. So this one comes as yet another great piece of work by the young man. bmb_rom

His partner in crime from RDB and Dilli-6, Prasoon Joshi is very much present here as well!

He takes care of a super story, screenplay, dialogs and lyrics. His brilliance shows in all of these aspects!

Binod Pradhan does a fabulous job with the camera, especially on some scenes filmed in Ladakh. Shankar Ehsaan Loy put together a very credible composition for the times when the story has been based.

That’s an awesome team working at the back.

Of course, the one hero is the original story, and the man himself, the Flying Sikh, Milkha Singh!

It is amazing to see and note the life that he lived.

A child of the partition days, he saw the extreme pain and angst of separation, was brought up in very tough environs, took to stealing coal to make some money, and from that kind of background, emerged to be one of the best athletes that India have produced, and perhaps one of the best sportspersons that India has every produced. Now that’s quite a rollercoaster of a life!

Kudos to Farhan Akhtar for delivering Milkha Singh to us!


His is an absolutely brilliant performance. He has clearly put in massive effort to get it right. From the physical development, to the running style, the look, the accent, the Punjabi language, the dancing.. everything. And he delivers well on all of these. Clearly, he seems to be the perfect fit for this role.

Some great shots he delivers include the extreme face crunching pain that he feels as he runs hard on the tracks, or when (the many times) he falls and gets hurt, or his scenes with his sister, or the time when he returns back to his old home in Pakistan, or when he comes back with his medals and gives a medal to his first coach and falls at his feet, etc. etc. All great scenes, very well acted!!

There are good supporting performances from Pawan Malhotra and Yograj Singh as the coaches, and Divya Dutta as Milkha’s elder sister.

Divya Dutta and Pawan Malhotra were in Rakeysh’s Dilli-6 too, and are also two really good supporting actors, who leave their mark, even in short roles.

Sonam does not have much of a role in the film.

The young boy who plays Milkha Singh as a child also delivers a fantastic performance.

It was very interesting to see the country glued on to the radio when Milkha Singh was taking on his Pakistani counterpart, and when he emerges winner, the kind of celebrations that India witnesses, were bigger than what we see these days, when India beats Pakistan in a cricket match!

Overall, Milkha Singh’s story is told very well, in interspersed flashbacks, in almost a similar way that Mehra had mixed the characters and story of India’s pre-independence revolution with modern day characters in Rang De Basanti.

In summary, this is clearly the best film to be released so far in 2013. There is a good chance that the Best Director award for the year is already decided in favour of Mehra, and even if that were to be in doubt, rest assured that the Best Actor award’s a taken now! Others will be competing for 2nd place to Farhan Akhtar.

Not about the movie, but here are some life lessons that one picks up from the movie:

1. Sometimes there is a deep rooted event or incident that provides the maximum motivation / drive

2. Everyone could screw up. Recognise what’s happened, refocus, ensure elimination of the screwup factor, and dedicate yourself back to the motive

3. It’s all about FOCUS.

4.There are no short cuts in life. Hard work, dedication, obsession about one’s goals.. that’s what it takes to succeed.

5. A good coach makes a huge difference

6. A good coach will drive you to your limits, as he knows what you are capable of, and wants you to deliver it all

7. You need to consciously switch OFF your distractions if you want to get your ultimate goal

Go, see Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.. !



Mausam is veteran actor Pankaj Kapur’s first directorial venture. 

He has delivered some great work as an actor, on television as well as on cinema. And as per perception, he does appear to be a ‘thinking’ actor. As would be the wont for a serious thespian of his kind, over the years, he may have had a lot of ideas, on the kind of cinema that he’d like to make. If he got a chance..

And then he got that chance. With Mausam.

And he went ahead and put all those ideas into the one and same film! Perhaps not being sure if he’d get a second chance (after seeing Mausam, I do have doubts – maybe he should just stick to acting).

And so we have Mausam where the story moves from and covers:

– Incidents like 1992 Babri Masjid riots, 1993 Mumbai blasts, 1999 Kargil war, 2001 US 9/11 incident, and 2002 Gujarat riots,

– Locations from small town Punjab, to Mumbai, to Scotland, to Switzerland, to Ahmedabad.

All of these are not mentioned in passing, but have a place in the narrative.

You’d think that packing so much into a feature film would make the film a fast paced one, right?

Surprise, surprise!! With so much that Pankaj Kapur covers, he still manages to play the story in crawl mode. Ultra slow..

Yes, the story seems to not be going anywhere often. So sitting in the theatre, I check my mail on the phone, I put out some tweets, check Facebook etc., even as the story is unfolding (well, “not” unfolding in fact…!) on the screen in front of me!

Some of you may want to stop here, if all you wanted was a verdict. Yes, its a clear no-no.

But for what it’s worth, let me share a few more thoughts on the film:

– I love the visuals in the film. Then I look at the credits. And I am not surprised. Binod Pradhan’s an absolute master cinematographer. And he’s done a brilliant job here too. From the visuals of Punjab (the best of the lot) to Scotland and the cement pipes, the camera and the lights have worked their magic.

– Small-town Punjab has been captured well. The prosperity on the one hand, the humor (the ‘musical chairs’ scene is funny), the global connections, the characters like the taangewala, the youth and their options in life, the girl besotted by the handsome neighbor, etc. capture the early 1990s’ Punjab well. We also discover how Atlas Cycles and others have built their fortunes!

– It is also interesting to understand how, in this modern world, in a single lifetime, a person could go through so much. Aayat (Sonam Kapoor) is born and brought up in her early years, in Srinagar. She gets uprooted from there and sent to small town Punjab, for a while. From there to Mumbai, then to Scotland, back to small town Punjab, then again to Scotland, to the US, and then, to Ahmedabad. And by this time, she’s still about 25-26 or so. Wonder what else she has coming up, in her life. While this does not happen to everyone, it is not something that is unbelievable either. This is the kind of world that we live in. Amazing, isn’t it? The kind of extreme swings that life can give, and how one has to keep adopting today.. very interesting!

– I guess it takes an experienced and successful Aditya Chopra or a Raju Hirani to follow their  gut, and stay close to the conviction that they have, about their narrative. All other filmmakers are subject to tremendous insecurity and fear of failure, due to which reason, they include ‘elements’ that are not really connected to the story, but which have commercial appeal. Is that the reason for introducing Scotland / Switzerland in Mausam, for example? Could those locations equally have been Mumbai or Bangalore, otherwise? Why not? But a) the visual appeal of those locations, and b) the Scottish and Swiss Tourism Boards bankrolling some dollars in return for the “product placement” would have found attraction. The dance item a the end of the movie also, had no relevance, but added to appeal to the Shahid fans. You never saw such gimmicks in good films of yore, and directors narrated their stories, and that was it!

– I am sure girls swoon for Shahid, and he looks good, and uniforms do create a special appeal. However, other than some smart dancing (I rank Shahid only next to Hrithik in terms of dancing abilities, on Indian screen today) and cute smiles, there is nothing great about his acting here. There are scenes where he literally acts poor and in others, he is average. Perhaps his father, the director, has also not given him any special histrionics, which could have been a distinct possibility, given that he was the central character, and on screen, perhaps for more than 80% of the time! Rakesh Roshan drew out much better juice from his son’s talent pool, than Pankaj manages to do here.

– Sonam Kapoor has to look pretty, hum a few “haanji / naji” kind of dialogs, giggle a bit, etc. She does all of that. Along with the Kashmiri carpets and the Atlas cycles, she’s part of the furniture on the sets! Her height actually makes her look ungainly in many scenes. Dressed in the typical loose fitting Punjabi salwar kameez, as a student earlier, and and also in the last scene, as a married mother, she looks very funny. I think they have purposely not taken too many side-by-side standing scenes of Sonam and Shahid. Else she’d come out looking taller than him. She does give a perception of being taller, which Shahid obviously has a small frame. Not a great pair, in that sense..

– I did not quite see the relevance of the title, ‘Mausam’. Of course, it is a passage of time. But most stories are. What might have been a better title is “Taalen”. The story if anything, is a story of locked doors!! If you see the film, you will know what I mean… 🙂

In summary:

1. Amol Palekar did a terrible job as director of Paheli. Pankaj Kapur falls in the same trap now, with Mausam. Great actors, who when they have got their opportunity to direct a mainstream Hindi cinema with a largish budget, lose their original sensibilities of film making, and go overboard, trying to pack too many things. Also depend a lot on the main sellable actor (Shah Rukh in Paheli, and Shahid here). And end up making a dud. Mausam is a box office cropper. Pankaj will have a tough time finding backers for a second venture.

2. Shahid Kapoor is capable of more and has shown us too. He needs to put more into his work, and choose scripts that suit him better. His overall frame does not make him a convincing senior Air Force officer, no matter he thrown in a moustache there. Walking around inspecting the aircraft makes him look like a mechanic of the aircraft rather than an ace pilot!

3. Sonam Kapoor. Well, she’s fine. She’s not a fantastic actress, so she’s good to be in the glam face on screen kind of roles, make some money, have a good life. Yeah, she’s fine!!

It hurt more as the cinema had raised the ticket prices to 270/-. Was not worth the money. Hope the mausam changes and we get better cinema in coming weeks.. !!

There are some great performers in Delhi 6 – on-screen and behind it too. Before sharing my impressions on the film itself, I thought I would touch upon these.

On screen, Abhishek has the longest role, of course. But there is nothing much to write about him and his role. I mean, he does a competent job, but no huge scenes, nothing fantastic, considering that he was the absolute and complete hero!

Sonam Kapoor had a small role. But she did that well. And also came out looking extremely pleasant on screen. I repeat myself when I say that she looks like the Juhi Chawla. Especially that effervescent smile of hers. So much like Juhi’s. I would love to see her in longer and meatier roles in future.

I noticed that Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra was born in the same year that I was born! I know a few people from our generation who have a Waheeda Rehman fixation. I don’t. But I know others who do. Perhaps Rakeysh has one too. Waheeda Rehman, for her age, puts in an extremely credible performance. She did that in Rang De Basanti too. I am sure she has maintained her health well, and she has put in hard work to execute the role.

Likewise, amongst the older folks who come for character roles every now and then, Rishi Kapoor is one who again manages to leave a mark, even in smaller roles. In Delhi 6, he has a very small role. And he does a good job of it again.

Three very talented actors make their presence felt in small essays here. Vijay Raaz (who can forget his Monsoon Weddings character?!), Divya Dutta and Atul Kulkarni. All of them have good characters written for them in Delhi 6, and perform well.

Om Puri, Supriya Pathak and others do a fair job.

Among the behind-the-scenes acts, there are 4 outstanding performers.

First of course, it’s the director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra himself. I have paid a separate tribute to him. That he has also written the film makes for special mention. The heart of the film is in the writing. And more of it, when I cover the film itself. But suffice it to say that it is a great job of writing and direction that Mehra has done.

Then there is the cinematography of one of India’s best cinematographers, Binod Pradhan. Coming from the Vidhu Vinod Chopra stable, Binod has fabulous works like 1942 a Love Story, Mission Kashmir, Parinda, Devdas, Munnabhai MBBS, Rang De Basanti and others to his credit.

In Delhi 6 also, Binod leaves his magical touch. The camera panned across a nearly 360 degrees to capture the Friday prayers at the Jumma Masjid is breathtaking. Even the scenes capturing nightime life and lights in old Delhi are very well captured.

Then, there is lyricist Prasoon Joshi. Who comes up with some great lines once again. Considering his advertising industry exploits, he must rank as one of the most creative and talented persons in India. Period.

And of course, finally, you have to salute the master, A. R. Rahman. By tomorrow morning, he might have become an Oscar winner too (he has 3 nominations for Slumdog Millionaire, and the Oscars happen in about 12 hours from now). In Delhi 6, he delivers some great numbers.

The best and most hummable is Masakali. Check it out here:

My other two favorites are Rehna Tu and the title song, Delhi.. or Dilli.. whatever!

Rakeysh has managed to get some great performers together and they have delivered a fine result in terms of Delhi 6!!

While seeing Luck By Chance yesterday at the PVR Phoenix, there were two film trailers that I saw, Billu Barber and Dilli 6. The former releases next Friday. A Friday, the 13th release – wonder how that will affect its fortunes! The latter releases a week later on Feb 20th. A week’s gap is enough between two big releases, as really, the first 4-5 days are the defining days, to see if a movie succeeds or not.

Purely based on these previews, my call is that Billu Barber will be an average film and Dilli 6 will be another big winner.

Billu Barber comes from Shah Rukh Khan’s Red chillies entertainment. So the full force of the SRK publicity machinery is behind it. Also because of this reason, the film has been propped up (out of insecurity, I suspect) with a whole host of special appearances from stars.

When a film needs to do this, and then of course, give that little time and presence to these stars on the screen, it obviously deviates from the core story. Its a first indication to me that there isn’t enough core strength, and these props have become necessary to support the film. There is Irfan Khan, and he is an undoubted talent. So the film will rise and fall with him. The glamorous Lara Dutta has been ruralized to a village housewife. What a waste. None of the songs have stayed in my head. Priyadarshan, who loves to work with Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and the kind, has been given charge of this film. Might be out of place, to an extent. So an early prediction on this film is that it will be average, perhaps disappoint considering the extent of expectations.

And then there is Dilli 6. From the absolutely awesome talent which is Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra. The one who made the classic, Rang De Basanti. And an interesting experiment Aks before that.

Well, Dilli 6 looked good in the trailer. A classic capture of old Delhi life. Amazing cinematography by the best in the business, Binod Pradhan. One scene of prayers at the Jama Masjid is absolutely breathtaking. Sonam Kapoor is actually looking good.. like an early days Juhi Chawla. Very pleasing to the eyes. The music by none other than the maestro, A R Rahman, is so much fun. Check out this song to sense the energy of the kind last seen, only in RDB, I guess. Abhishek can deliver with the right directors, as we have seen in Guru, Yuva, etc. I think Mehra would have also got the best from Abhi and this should be one good movie to see. Waiting for Feb 20th now.

Here are my preview rating for a change.. Billu Barber: 2.5/5.0, Dilli 6: 4.5/5.0.