Film Review: ‘Bajirao Mastani’ by Neha Ravindran

BAjirao-Mastani-1st-Day-Total-CollectionMovie: Bajirao Mastani

Director: Sanjay Leela Bansali

Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Tanvi Azmi

Genre: Period Film/ Historical Drama

I love historical fictions; they add colour to the black and white stories of the years gone by. Amidst the love lores of Shah-Jahaan-Mumtaz, Jahangir-Mehrunissa and such, the tragic story of Baji Rao- Mastani had been lost in the winding lanes of history. Sanjay brings to screen a beautiful rendition of the novel ‘Rau’ by N.S Inamdar, as Bajirao Mastani.

Bajirao (Ranveer Singh) is a Maratha Peshwa, a Brahmin by birth. He falls in love with Mastani (Deepika Padukone) a princess from Bundelkhand with a Rajput father and a Muslim mother. The Marathas are against this alliance for as the Peshwa is a married man and moreover, Mastani is a Muslim. Will their love win over the hearts of religious fundamentalists or will their love face a tragic ending?

Sanjay Leela Bansali is a gifted director whose every movie is a masterpiece in its own right. Ranveer is convincing as the Maratha Peshwa. His accent, dialogue delivery and body language, all scream of royalty. Deepika Padukone is simply dazzling in every scene. I found her mesmerising in this beautiful song ‘Deewani Mastani’, sung by Shreya Ghoshal. The chemistry between Deepika and Ranveer will certainty tug at your heart-strings. Priyanka Chopra on the other hand is the silent show stealer of the movie. Her role as the first wife of Peshwa Baji Rao I, Kashibai is soul rendering. She enacts Kashibai’s heartbreak, sorrow and unyielding loyalty towards her husband with subtlety and great finesse. Tanvi Azmi’s acting as Peshwa’s mother Radhabai, is fierce like a tigress protecting her curb.

Bajirao Mastani has one of the splendid sets seen in any movie and each shot is a treat to watch. Cinematography by Sudeep chatterjee will compel you to keep your eyes glued to the screen. Sanjay Leela Bansali’s direction is awe-inspiring such that certain scenes were so poignant that they stayed with me long after the movie got over. Music by Sanchit Balhara with Sanjay Leela Bansali and Shreyas Puranik is a treat for music lovers. The costumes of the movie are a true winner, especially Mastani’s costumes. However, the story was a jigsaw with missing links. A common challenge in every historical fiction is to compile the entire story into a 2 and a half hour saga. The final editing inevitably leaves out chunks of linking scenes which made the storyline flawed.

Bajirao Mastani is a poetry in motion. It has its highs and lows but it will keep you in its grasp as if each verse is translating into a beautiful painting. This one has a heads-up from me!

My verdict: ***


Katrina Kaif named world’s sexiest Asian woman for fourth time

B_Id_434416_katrina-kaif-dhoomLondon: (PTI) Her absence from the big screen for a year has not stopped Bollywood beauty Katrina Kaif from winning the world`s sexiest Asian woman title for the fourth consecutive year in a poll by a weekly magazine here.

The actress narrowly defeated Priyanka Chopra, TV star Drashti Dhami and current Box Office queen Deepika Padukone. She secured the top spot in the world-renowned `50 Sexiest Asian Women List 2013` with Chopra coming second, Dhami third and Padukone fourth.

A permanent fixture in the top three for the past six years, Kaif beat off competition from the world`s most stunning Asian women in the tenth edition of UK based, Eastern Eye newspaper`s definitive Sexy List.

The fourth win comes just weeks before Katrina hits the big screen again in one of the year`s biggest Bollywood releases `Dhoom 3: Back In Action`. “I didn`t know it was a record! That`s a nice surprise and a lot of fun to hear. I like it because Eastern Eye newspaper is the one my sisters see because they live in London. It`s lovely, but also people are reacting to what they see.

“Obviously if everyone were to see me when I wake up in the morning or in my track pants and then vote for me, then maybe I would be a little bit more believing of it myself. But of course it`s very flattering,” Katrina said.

Chairman of the judging panel and magazine`s showbiz editor Asjad Nazir, who annually puts the list together, said it was a close race.

Like last year, the biggest surprise of 2013 list was the sheer dominance of television actresses from India. Dhami added to a dream year by becoming the first television actress to crack the top three while her friend Sanaya Irani entered the top 10 for the first time at sixth position.

Other Indian television actresses who made the list included last year`s highest new entry Nia Sharma (11), Jennifer Winget (15), Asha Negi (18), Krystle D`Souza (19) and Rubina Dilaik (26).

The highest new entry was `Aashiqui 2` star Shraddha Kapoor (12), who narrowly missed out the top 10. The highest placed Pakistani was Humaima Malick (15) and the only non-Indian in the list was `Anger Management` star Noureen DeWulf (10).

The American actress, who stars alongside Charlie Sheen in the hit US sitcom, dominated the non-Asian vote. The oldest women in the list were Bollywood icons Madhuri Dixit (23) and Sridevi (40). Other notable stars in this year`s list include Sonam Kapoor (5), Parineeti Chopra (14), Sophie Choudry (21), Mehreen Syed (22), Sunidhi Chauhan (28), Ankita Lokhande (29), Hina Khan (31) and Shreya Ghoshal (43).

2013`s full list is out on December 6 in the magazine.

Movie Review: ‘Barfi’ (***Three Star)

(By Akshat Sharma) Watching ‘Barfi’ on big screen is an experience in itself. Director Anurag Basu has tried to portray a love story featuring physically challenged people. The central character in the movie is ‘Barfi’ who is deaf and dumb but he doesn’t look like one. He lives in Darjeeling with his father and inspite of all odds ‘Barfi’ behaves like rouge on the street. He freely pinches your asscheeks, eve teases college going girls and manages to go scot free which even today is not something easy to get away with.

Ranbir Kapoor has actually played himself. His mannerisms and action is similar to all his previous characters in movies featuring him. The only difference is that he is physically challenged in the movie. Why is he shown physically challenged is still a mystery to me. I guess the director wanted to showcase cute Ranbir not to speak so that girls watching the movie would gush over him.

Honestly speaking even if he were not deaf and dumb he would have acted in the same boisterous and over the top manner. Only Priyanka Chopra has done justice to her character  She looks physically and mentally challenged and she behaves like the one. In cinema characterization is an integral part. Her character Jhilmil is well defined and portrayed by the director.

A newcomer in Bollywood but a reputed name down south Illeana D’Cruz adds a unique freshness to the movie. Her character named Shruti narrates the story of Barfi to the audience and it begins with her encounter with ‘Barfi’. Shruti has just arrived in the city and she bumps into Barfi who falls in love with her for no good reason. May be she got the looks. This should not be an issue since the entire Bollywood industry buys into this ‘Tujhe Dekha Aur Pyar Ho Gaya’ notion so it is oaky if Barfi gets into this love at first sight situation. Shruti’s character is more believable as she gets excited by the idea of a ‘deaf and dumb’ doing not so dumb things.

Shruti is thrilled by Barfi’s antics and wants to take the marital route but her Mum provides her wise consul, ‘Beta it is okay to get into these uncommon flings but get married only to people who belong to your class”. She agrees and takes the boring husband route who belongs to affluent class. Taken aback by this sudden turn of events Barfi again tries his luck and this time he finds a ‘Pugli’ who is also ‘Ugly’.

The problem lies in the screenplay because director doesn’t explain the reason for this love. Even if we buy in ‘pure and good heart’ angle not one scene depicts this angle in the movie. All we see Ranbir running helter skelter after  kidnapping Priyanka who gets clingy and lo they are in love. Director also wastes lot of time with Saurabh Shukla’s character which was needless. The incidents of three kidnappings do not add to the movie and these sub plots divert your attention.

In the end the so called triangular love story meets the filmi fate as Barfi-Jhilmil die in the same bed. Well the idea is sweet but pretty illogical. Even the most lovey-dovey couple find it extremely difficult to time their deaths. But then it is movie and it is okay for directors to take such liberties.

Performance wise Priyanka Chopra and Illeana D’Cruz steal the show. They play their characters whereas Ranbir Kapoor has played ‘Barfi’ in his own trademark style. The biggest asset in the movie is cinematography and music which make the movie look like a poetry on screen.

Music director Pritam has finally given some soulful music and almost all his numbers blend with the narration. Kudos to Pritam for brilliant work. The movie has attracted lots of positive reviews thanks to gigantic PR machinery of UTV films but if one tries to  be honest to the movie the movie under delivers what it promises.

‘Barfi’ is not a bad film. It deserves credit for trying to be ‘different from the run of the mill stories’ but the effort and the process taken lack somewhere. If you like movies and watch Bollywood films you should go to theatre atleast once and then you should decide whether the movie was worth your attention or not.

First Look: ‘Barfi’s Title Track Released

Ranbir -Priyanka starrer ‘Barfi!’ is ready to hit the screen in September. To generate pre-release buzz the producers of ‘Barfi’ released the teaser video for title track. The first response to the song is quite encouraging.

Singer Mohit Chauhan’s soulful voice makes ‘Ala Barfi!’ an interesting song. Music director Pritam has composed the song. Take a look.

First Look: Watch Trailer For ‘Barfi’

The trailer for director Anurag Basu’s upcoming movie ‘Barfi’ released online today. Starring Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D’Cruz this movie is scheduled for September release.

Set in West Bengal this movie has been very challenging to the lead actors as they play a mentally challenged couple.








Movie Review: ‘Teri Meri Kahaani’ (** Two Star)

 (By Akshat Sharma) A love story spanning three generations could be nerve wrecking if the storyline and sequences become predictable. Director Kunal Kohli is known for his penchant for rom-com movies. The man who gave us hits like ‘Hum Tum’ and ‘Fanna’ looks disoriented and vague in his latest offering ‘Teri Meri Kahaani’. With Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra in the lead Kunal could have delivered another impressive movie but he wasted the opportunity by essaying a story which had too many weak links.

‘Teri Meri Kahaani’ showcases three love stories in three different time period and geographies. The first one is set in Lahore of 1910. In 1960 the story is set in Mumbai and in 2012 it reaches England. The chemistry between Shahid-Priyanka tries to save the movie but the story line is so predictable that even the best of their efforts fail to inspire enthusiasm in cine goers.

Shahid Kapoor gives a credible performance in all his three characters. Specially in his role of Javed Quadri he manages to bring smiles on audience faces. Surprisingly Priyanka Chopra’s performance looks routine in all three characters played by her. It certainly disappoints her fans who were looking forward to a better performance from her.

Music of the movie is the only high point of  ‘Teri Meri Kahaani’. Songs like ‘Mukhtasar’ and ‘Humse Pyar Kar Le Tu’ already became chartbusters before the movie released on the silver screen. This weekend ‘Teri Meri Kahani’ was supposed to be a big draw but it could only manage a mixed response from the audience. Watch the movie only if you are die-hard Shahid-Priyanka fan.


Priyanka Chopra Pips Kareena Kapoor To Become Highest Paid Actress In Bollywood

Photo Courtesy: Punit Paranjpe (AFP)

Priyanka Chopra became the highest paid actress in the Tinsel Town with her signing the remake of ‘Zanjeer’. According to sources in the industry she has been paid a whopping Rs 9 crore for the movie which is way above what her nearest rivals like Kareena Kapoor and Katrina Kaif get for a movie.

Remuneration wise Kareena used to be the highest paid actress before ‘Zanjeer’ happened.  Kareena was paid Rs 7 crore for Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Heroine’ and also certain amount profit share.

Priyanka was recently going through a bad phase when reports of differences with certain top actor’s and their wives cropped up in the media. After tasting success in Ágneepath’ earlier this year she was hoping to get a big push in the industry and it seems that ‘Zanjeer’ could be her next big moment in the industry.

‘Zanjeer’ is a 1973 classic which had Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan and Pran in leading roles. Piggy Chops is playing the role played by Jaya Bhaduri.  Sources close to the producer claim that her character will be different from what Jaya Bachchan had played in the original. Priyanka would play a US-returned restaurateur and would not be seen in any songs or item numbers.

Apoorva Lakhia`s ‘Zanjeer’ would have Arjun Rampal essaying actor Pran’s role and superstar Chiranjeevi’s son Ram Charan Teja will be stepping into the  Amitabh Bachchan’s role.

Priyanka Chopra Flaunts Her White Dress For Grammy Event

Los Angeles: (IANS) Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra walked down the red carpet at the Grammy Awards in a gown created by designer duo Gauri-Nainika. The 29-year-old flew to Los Angeles from Berlin Sunday night to attend the function where biggest names from the music industry came.

“Ok guys!! Grammy time! Just landed into LA.. options of gowns.. Indian designer or western..?Hmmm..I`m biased towards wearing Indian talent..(sic),” Priyanka posted on twitter Monday morning. “A special behind the scenes pic only for you. On my way to the Grammy. In a Gauri and Nainika original! What say guys?,” she tweeted.

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Friday Review: ‘Agneepath’ (Four Star ****)

By Subhash K. Jha (IANS)

Long before the damsel in the den Katrina Kaif signs her writhe petition ‘junta ke naam’, the film’s imposing villain and by extension the film, have written their destiny. In bold bloodied letters. E-mail didn’t exist in the 1990s.

Sanjay Dutt as Kancha lording over a no-man’s-land called Mandwa where the only law that exists is lawlessness is so formidable in his vile antics, you fear for the hero, a decent bloke with eyes that tell a million untold stories.

Hrithik Roshan opts for a perfectly-tuned low-pitched performance to offset Sanjay Dutt’s larger-than-life diabolism. The combination of the flamboyant and the understated works.

This is Agneepath Retold or Agneepath Deconstructed. Either way, the revenge formula never seemed more rousing in its invocation of Good and Evil in their most elementary avatars.

Debutant writer-director Karan Malhotra has chosen to restructure one of the most complex but unsuccessful Amitabh Bachchan starrer. The plot leaps at you through its sanguinary design, building brick by brick an edifice of low-life and high-drama.

This new-rage “Agneepath” retains the core of Mukul Anand’s failed drama. And yes, it retains Harivnansh Rai’s “Agneepath” poem, though, alas, we don’t get to hear Amitabh Bachchan recite the lines.

Karan Malhotra’s script alters many of the original’s dramatic moments, adds new characters (most notable among them, Rishi Kapoor’s Rauf Lala), and finally fine-tunes and assimilates the plot’s subliminal statement on crime and retribution to a pitch where we often hear the screaming protests of social inequality through the protagonist’s pain-lashed expressions of angst, disgust and rebellion rather than his words.

Hrithik Roshan opts for a subdued interpretation of his vengeful character where he could’ve easily been larger-than-life. He lets Sanjay Dutt take charge of the blizzard of the bravura.

Sanjay Dutt is delightfully in form. During the “Chikni chameli” song when he quizzes the newly-arrived Mandwa-resident Vijay on why he’s where he is, Sanjay’s eyes go from the molten to the melting…His best in years.

But the finest performance comes from Rishi Kapoor. Playing a loathsome flesh trader and drug dealer who takes Vijay under his wings, he delivers a bludgeoning homage to skin-crawling villainy. A glorious departure from his lover-boy image.

The prolonged sequence where Hrithik Roshan takes on Rishi Kapoor is the single-most riveting episode of filmed violence in Indian cinema since Gabbar Singh’s mayhem over the Thakur’s family in Sholay.

“Agneepath” works so wonderfully within its high-voltage ‘masala maad-dhaad’ genre because of the actors who instinctively grasp the street-level gut-wrenching grammar of Malhotra’s storytelling.

Barring Priyanka Chopra who seems strangely cosmetic in a land of looming credibility, every character shines through the crime-drama maze.

The action sequences by Abbas Ali Mogul convey rawness. Every blow that Hrithik Roshan so manfully receives on his chin makes you flinch. You wait for him to give back as good as he gets.

This is not a film for the faint-hearted. Its basic structure and the leitmotif of the ‘tree of death’ (where Vijay Chauhan’s father was hanged and where his wrongdoer will finally meet his nemesis) draw audiences into a vortex of viciousness and sadism.

This is a dark brooding world; this is a world where the laws of retribution and redemption are re-written according to who rules the underworld. This is “Agneepath” where the poet gets hanged and the pervert gets promoted.

Karan Malhotra revels in the language of commercial Hindi cinema. The characters in Vijay’s chawl are all good-hearted. Every character in Kancha’s kingdom is a creep or a coward. The battle lines are tightly drawn. The pace is breakneck.

The mob scenes of violence and religion often merge on the streets of Mumbai and in the lawless backwaters of the imaginary Mandwa. The narrative features a Gokul Ashthami matki-breaking sequence at the start and a Ganesh visarjan sequence towards the end, both shot spectacularly on Mumbai streets.

The background music is a suitable banshee of memories and pain. Since Hrithik Roshan has chosen the language of understatement to portray the wronged wounded social outcast Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, it is up to the eloquence-level of the soundtrack to supplement the hero’s stunning silences.

Every component of the film falls into place, with a resounding thump. “Agneepath” is brilliant in its brutality. It’s a riveting and hectic homage to the spirit of the cinema when revenge reigned supreme. And content was King. This new “Agneepath” takes us back to the era when there was no computer or cellphones. And communication with the audience was immediate and electrifying.

Relive that tingling sensation of watching the hero get his groove back. In gory detail.

PC Kicks SRK’s Butt At Award Function!

Priyanka Chopra and Shahrukh Khan are not only one of the most successful movie stars in India but they are also alleged to be very close and intimate with each other.  If the media reports are to be believed then King Khan and PC were so charged up for their Zee Cine Awards assignment that they continued rehearsing till 3 am in the morning.

The amount of ‘hard work’ they put in together was clearly visible in their performance at Macau where the Zee Cine Awards function was held recently. Priyanka kicked some serious butt as she aimed at SRK.

When the media asked Shahrukh about his reaction to his ‘bonding with Priyanka Chopra’ he said, “I’m happy she’s around. I can take the advantage of calling her and asking her to do a three-day shoot for me, where all she’s doing is hanging from a rope. And she does it for me. She shoots on her birthday. It may be beyond professionalism, but that’s what friends do. The process of work becomes beautiful when you share that kind of relationship. I read what’s written, think about it, but it won’t come in the way of what we feel for each other. ”

Pictures Taken @ Zee Cine Awards 2012