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 Movie Review "ROCKY HANDSOME"

Cast: John Abraham, Nishikant Kamat, Diya Chalwad, Nathalia Kaur, Sharad Kelkar, Teddy Maurya, Shruti Haasan
Director: Nishikant Kamat
Rating: 3.5 ( 3.5/5 )
With the long weekend in place, this definitely looks like a fun week for movies. On the films' front, this week sees the release of the action packed ROCKY HANDSOME that stars Bollywood's action hero John Abraham. While there have been many action films that Bollywood has witnessed, this week's release promises to be a bit different as it also shows a strong bond between John Abraham and a small girl. Will ROCKY HANDSOME prove to be a 'handsome' hit at the box-office or will it meet an ugly fate, let's analyze.

The film starts off with an extremely silent Rocky (John Abraham) buying fishes and flowers. The very moment he smells the flowers, the film goes into a 'flashback mode' followed by the introduction of Rocky's beautiful wife Rukshida Kabir Ahlawat (Shruti Hasan). When the movie is brought to the present day, a cute little girl by the name of Naomi (Baby Diya Chalwad) gets introduced. She is a frequent visitor to Rocky's pawn shop. On one such visit, when she starts conversing with the ferocious looking Rocky, she confesses that all her friends call him as 'Handsome' and that, she has been deliberately told to stay away from him because 'he had committed a crime', something that her heart refuses to believe. As days pass by, she opens up about her dreaded life before Rocky. She confesses that her mother (Nathalia Kaur) is a hardcore drug addict who gets beaten up always by some men. The unsaid bond of friendship gradually increases between the two and Rocky (without saying) becomes extremely protective about her. One fine day, when Rocky enters his shop, he becomes shell shocked to see that his shop has been broken into and that some men are driving away with Naomi in their captive. All of this leads to a deal that Rocky strikes with Naomi's kidnappers Kevin (Nishikanth Kamath) and his psycho brother. As per the deal, Rocky should deliver a certain (drug) consignment to an assigned place, in return of the freedom of Naomi and her mother. And when Rocky lands up at the assigned place for the delivery, he realises that the police has cordoned the area. What follows after that is oodles and oodles of violence including many merciless killings and brutal murders all for a single reason. Amidst all this, the police department discovers Rocky's past that shocks the daylights out of them. What is the reason for all the killings, what is Rocky's past and what reference has it got with his present, does Rocky become successful in tracing out Naomi and her mother... is what forms the rest of the film.

The film's director Nishikant Kamat, who has made varied films in the past like DRISHYAM, FORCE, MUMBAI MERI JAAN, brings an action packed entertainer in the form of ROCKY HANDSOME, which happens to be an official remake of the South Korean film THE MAN FROM NOWHERE). He has effortlessly blended style and content and has maintained a fine balance between jaw-dropping action and heart-rending emotions. One has to give it to the action directors for raising the bar for action films, with ROCKY HANDSOME. Full credits go to Nishikant Kamat, John Abraham and the film's stunt directors (Suniel Rodrigues, Kecha Kammpakdee)

ROCKY HANDSOME has a story (Ritesh Shah) that is extremely average, which could have been much better. The same holds for the film's screenplay (Ritesh Shah) that definitely could have been tighter at many places. Despite the fact that the film has a small runtime, the film's story and narrative looks highly disjointed at places, which may just act as a speed breaker with the audiences' likings. The film also sees many clichés, which just could have been avoided. The flip side is that the film boasts of some of the high-octane action drama (including the blood soaked action punches and gun fights) that Bollywood has never witnessed before. The film's adrenaline rushing action provides reasons enough to keep the audiences engrossed till the end of the film. The film's first half takes some time to firmly establish the plot; the real story starts post the kidnapping of the girl and her mother. One has to give it to the director Nishikant Kamath for having wonderfully combined nail-biting action in the song 'Teri Toh Yaad Sataye'. One word to describe the unusual combo of fight and song is 'outstanding'. The USP of the film, however, has to be its climax, wherein John Abraham enters the villain's den and the action that follows after that. One really has to applaud Nishikant Kamath for the way he has presented the film - extremely stylish.

As for the performances, it's an out and out John Abraham flick, in which he leads the way from the very start. Even though he may not have many dialogues in the film, his breath taking action is what does most of the talking. Readers may know that, ROCKY HANDSOME is his second film with Nishikant Kamath, the first being FORCE. With ROCKY HANDSOME, John Abraham (who can rightly be called as the 'soul' of the film), takes the film notches above what one has seen in his earlier films. He has very sensitively handled the strong bond of relationship between him and the little girl. Even the reason for which he saves the girl in the film seems extremely valid. In simple words, one can very rightly say that John Abraham has carried the film on his brawny shoulders, essaying a part that fits him like a glove.

He is followed to a close second by Nishikant Kamath himself, who does full justice to his villainous avatar. The conviction and the confidence with which he has acted in the film, he lands up spitting terror with a capital 'T'. Shruti Hassan, who has a special appearance in the film, does justice to whatever little screen time that she gets. Baby Diya Chalwad delivers a very innocent performance, which is bound to strike a chord with the cinegoers. The other actors help the film in moving forward.

Even though the film's music (Sunny Bawra, Inder Bawra, Ankit Tiwari) is average, it's the film's outstanding background score (Sunny Bawra, Inder Bawra) that makes the film feel very international. While the film's editing (Aarif Shaikh) is watertight, the film's cinematography (Shankar Raman) is superlatively spellbinding.

On the whole, ROCKY HANDSOME is for people who like action films. Despite the film having a simple plot, it has been garnished with engrossing drama and action stunningly. One can find the right mix of tension, action, emotion under one roof. A well-made action thriller!

Theatrical Trailer "ROCKY HANDSOME"


Movie Review: Phantom


Rating:   (4 / 5)  : Very Good (Very Good )

There is only one explanation for Phantom: the cast and crew of the film really wanted a paid holiday. This in itself is not an objectionable aspiration. Who doesn't want to be able to bounce around London, Beirut, Chicago and other beautiful parts of the world, and get paid to do so? However, when the cost of that bouncing around is approximately Rs 55 crores and those who foot that bill expect the movie-going public to recover that amount as box office collection, things may get a little more complicated.

As an idea, Phantom crackles with possibility. Humiliated and furious after the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008, India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) decides to send an operative on a covert mission to teach those who plotted against India a lesson. He is a man who goes unnoticed in crowds and who has evaded Google's all-seeing eye. He doesn't care if his target has a human side or redeeming qualities — if you had any part to play in the Mumbai attacks, the phantom wants you dead.

A shamed army officer, Daniyal Khan (Saif) is living a life of anonymity. Court-martialed because evidence points out that he was not with his team when the enemy attacked, he yearns to earn his stripes back. As it so happens, there is a covert intelligence group, who is seething that the Centre has not been able to avenge the 26/11 Mumbai carnage.
They know permissions from official quarters will not come. So, they just take it upon themselves to launch a `punish-those-terrorists' movement. After all, like one young officer (Zeeshan Ayub) says, 10 audacious guys from across the border did bring Mumbai to her knees on that fateful night in 2008, killing 166 people.

So Daniyal is despatched across continents to find the fanatic four who plotted 26/11. They even whisper to him that, he can `accidentally' kill .

Based on the book, Mumbai Avengers by Hussain Zaidi, Kabir Khan, fresh from the super-success of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, doesn't extend a hand of friendship to our neighbouring country in this one. Instead, he is clear that if they house the Laskhar-e-Taiba or allow militants like Haris Saeed (the cinema-counterpart of Hafiz Saeed) then the blood-thirsty Indian will take revenge.

To add glamour, Daniyal is accompanied by Nawaz Mistry (Katrina) who works on special assignments for Indian intelligence from London.

As the prologue says, the Taj Mahal Hotel at Apollo Bunder, blown up that fateful night has a new facade now. But our hearts are still bleeding. Yet, we're a passive country that lamely does things like refusing to play cricket with Pakistan, rather than go in for a frontal attack.

As cinema, this thriller is over-simplified, though the gloss adds to the large-screen appeal. Saif is adept; Kat is pretty appealing (pun on the pretty because her make-up is intact even in the battlefield). Zeeshan and his jingoism in the climax gives you that proud-India moment. And, if you're still licking the wounds of that senseless Mumbai massacre, then Phantom is the balm you should reach out for.

In case you haven't guessed, Haaris Saeed is the stand-in name for Hafiz Saeed. Evidently, his name was changed to Haaris at the last moment since when speaking of him, all the characters' lips say "Hafiz" but voices say "Haaris". Sajid Mir, the Lashkar-e-Taiba commander, doesn't enjoy that privilege. Even the photo that we're shown of him is quite similar to the photos of Mir that are in circulation.

Considering how Phantom cheerfully borrows from real life and makes no bones about ISI being in cahoots with Lashkar-e-Taiba, it isn't surprising that the film isn't being shown in Pakistan. However, considering just how much of a bore Phantom is, for once the Pakistani courts may just have done our neighbours a favour.



Movie Review: "Cindrella"

Movie Review: "Cindrella"

Rating:   (4 / 5)  : Very Good (Very Good

Cast: Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Helena Bonham Carter

Direction: Kenneth Branagh
Genre: Fantasy
Duration: 1 hour 52 minutes

Review: You'll be happy to know that the adaptation of French author Charles Perrault's oft rendered Cendrillon is done with depth. After the studio's attempt to redefine the contours of preachy fairytales (with films like Maleficent), director Kenneth Branagh delivers quintessential comfort cinema with this flick.

It's a surprise that despite opulence being its selling point, the film doesn't shirk away from adding layers to the fable. It's tough to bring newness to a story this widely read but Branagh has smartly added nuances to his hoard of characters. The supporting cast is ruthlessly negated, despite visible promise. But this situation allows the film to remain invested in the myriad shades of its titular character, who is an epitome of empowerment in a very different sense of the term. She is pliant yet holds her ground without seeming priggish.

Over its runtime, you'll inevitably stumble upon the movie's finer elements. The scene, where the evil stepmother reveals her reasons for ill-treating Ella, is striking. Screenwriter Chris Weitz earns credit for being able to bring in perspective and highlight the stepmother's loneliness and age as legitimate reasons to be envious of Ella, instead of conjuring up a plain black-and-white narrative.

The film's simplicity is its boon. As passe as the terms 'kindness' and 'courage' sound in the real world, this movie ably catapults one to the era of quaintness, where faith could turn life around. It's an effort to reinstate hope that 'magic' still exists.

Technically, the film is spectacular. The grand ball scene is fabulously done and the CG is used correctly. Largely minimal on special effects, the visual marvel is exhibited in the fancy choice of locations. The scene where Ella meets the Prince is dreamy.

The film is vividly narrated and banks on the mettle of its story and acting. Lily James as Cinderella and Richard Madden as the Prince(Kit) deliver fresh performances with a pleasant chemistry.

Holding the trappings of its fairy tale source, Cinderella is a treat to watch.


Movie Review: "NH10"


Movie Review: "NH10"

Rating:   (4 / 5)  : Very Good (Very Good )
Cast: Rajkumar Yadav, Anushka Sharma, Deepti Naval, Neil Bhoopalam, Ravi Jhankal
Director: Navdeep Singh
Producer: Vikramaditya Motwane, Anushka Sharma, Krishika Lulla, Karnesh Sharma, Vikas Bahl, Anurag Kashyap
Production House: Phantom Productions, Eros International, Clean Slate Films
Music: Darshan Rathod, Sanjeev Rathod, Bann Chakraborty, Ayush Shrestha, Savera Mehta, Samira Koppikar
Background Music: Karan Gour, Lyrics: Kumaar, Abhiruchi Chand, Bann Chakraborty, Manoj Tapadia, Neeraj Rajawat, Varun Grover, Cinematography: Arvind Kannabiran, Editing: Jabeen Merchant, Story/Writer: Sudip Sharma, Action Direction: Armin Sauer, Abdul Salaam Ansari, Costume Design: Eka Lakhani
Release Date: Mar 13, 2015

s a stunning performance by playing an independent professional who is suddenly thrown into a violent situation. You can’t help but admire her for the conviction with which she has essayed her role. She is ably supported by Neil, who plays the caring husband and Darshan Kumaar, who is the antagonist. Dipti Naval impresses in her short cameo in the second half too.

The first half of the film is packed with nail-biting drama that unfolds in the most unexpected way. Somehow, the intensity level drops in the second half, but the unpredictable turn of events makes up for it. NH10 is a two-hour ride so brutal and ruthless, it leaves you jittery and shaken.

Why should you watch the film?
NH10 deserves a wat
- See more at:
Release Date: Mar 13, 2015Director: Navdeep SinghGenre: Thriller
Run time: 1 hr 55 minsLanguage: Hindi
Cast & Crew: Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhoopalam, Darshan Kumar, Deepti Naval
- See more at:
Release Date: Mar 13, 2015Director: Navdeep SinghGenre: Thriller
Run time: 1 hr 55 minsLanguage: Hindi
Cast & Crew: Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhoopalam, Darshan Kumar, Deepti Naval
- See more at:

Bad things happen in NH10.

That statement is both warning and promise: because Navdeep Singh’s new film is a tough film to stomach, a frightening and disturbing beast, and because it should be just that brutal, given how loyally it adheres to slasher/thriller genre conventions.

The thing about Singh, clearly, is the way he takes a familiar script or setup and makes it very Indian and very much his own.

The idea of two young urban lovers finding themselves in very harsh rural territory is a basic one but Navdeep is strikingly credible when it comes to dialect and flavour, and turns the Haryana belt outside Gurgaon into the most believable of badlands.

Everyone in those parts might not actually be evil incarnate, but from where we’re sitting, comfortably far away and constantly assailed by news of imperilled women and fundamentally messed-up defence lawyers, we’re all too willing to believe the nightmare Navdeep sets us.

NH10 is more a pure horror film than any of its companions in the slasher genre simply because we believe what we want to, and it feeds our fears.

Meera and Arjun are a young couple who aren’t quite on top of their game: she looks at him with regret in her eyes, he looks to be constantly seeking some form of escape from the hard parts of a relationship, and when in bed they wield individual laptops and send each other on-screen messages.

Things aren’t perfect, clearly, but sometimes a holiday can be potent tonic, and they head out to a small getaway not too far from the Gurgaon border.

They run into some honour-killing violence, and end up angering the killers. Things turn ugly… uglier than one might think.

I admit to wincing frequently as fresh, more violent misery was piled onto Meera’s helpless lot, and that is because of Anushka Sharma’s amazingly committed performance.

The movie’s masterstroke is to keep the audience squirming and the tension relentless by setting nearly 90% of the film in overwhelmingly linear fashion.

It makes the events feel like they’re taking place in realtime, but this takes its toll on Sharma who -- also brave enough to produce this film -- features in virtually every frame of the film and carries it on her athletic shoulders.

It is a bold choice as an actress and Anushka is at her absolute best as her eyes widen in disbelief at the growing horror around her.

A moment when she realises the preposterousness of goading a policeman into “doing his duty” is particularly stunning, as is a rousing scene later where she yells at her attackers.

She’s beaten down, on the run, powerless and defiant, and Anushka changes gears with immense authenticity, creating a character we can’t help but love.

And, more importantly, one we can’t help but feel for.

Movie Review : KHAMOSHIAN

Movie Review : KHAMOSHIAN
Rating: (Two stars)
Star Cast: Gurmeet Choudhary, Sapna Pubbi, Ali Fazal
Director: Karan Darra

Ali Fazal and Sapna Pabbi in KhamoshiyanKhamoshiyan is totally consumed by its cheesy scares-sex-scares-sex pattern, says Sukanya Verma.

Khamoshiyan, written by Vikram Bhatt and directed by debutant Karan Darra, is populated with such oversexed fools and, again, conveniently assumes the viewers will shove their brains in a corner as remote as the mansion on screen to revel in the cheap thrills that ensue.

It all begins when a one-book wonder (Ali Fazal) shaken by his bitter (read five minutes of flat out phoniness) breakup, ventures into the deep, desolate woods of Kashmir seeking inspiration for his next novel. It’s actually South Africa and that’s why such absolute nonexistence of army.

He’s instantly drawn to the manor’s lady, manager and housekeeper (Sapna Pabbi) as emphasized in the camera’s constant focus on her strategically bared cleavage. All that multitasking, plus nursing a bedridden husband (Gurmeet Chaudhary), would leave anyone sapped but her cold, robotic tone vies for a mystifying stature.

'Hum sab apne raaz ke shikaar hain,' she muses as if explaining why Vikram Bhatt is trapped in a horror rut.

Curious events ascertain that the site is haunted. Only Khamoshiyan is so consumed by its cheesy scares-sex-scares-sex pattern, the upshot is tacky and unintentionally hilarious. At one point, the exasperated ghoul actually has to explain the range of its supernatural mumbo jumbo to Khamoshiyan’s daft protagonists.

The demonic presence is one of the most juvenile representations of evil I’ve witnessed in a while.

As if it’s not humiliating enough that no one takes you seriously, the wretched thing has to resort to form shifting tactics that render it more mutant than monster. Also director Darra, please teach your bhoot some keyboard shortcuts, it’s embarrassing to see how much time it took to delete text from one measly document.

Thereafter Khamoshiyan slips into a hopeless mess of time worn ghost busting, freakish sights and comical gems like 'Hum yeh laash paidal nahi le jaa sakte.