Sunday, June 9, 2013

Aashiqui 2: Movie Review

Aashiqui 2 is actually a movie I did not intend on watching. The movie seemed really dull and boring, and I didn't really like the songs that much either. I haven't even seen Rockstar yet because it just didn't seem appealing despite all the good reviews I've heard, and Aashiqui 2 seemed very similar. I still don't know how true that is since I know nothing about Rockstar's story, so I can't comment on that. Regardless, a good friend of mine was obsessing over Aashiqui 2 and very strongly recommended the movie. Now it's summer vacation and I don't have much else to do, so I watched it. Here's my review of the movie.

As always, let's first take a look at the story. Rahul Jaykar (Aditya Roy Kapur) is a singer who is in the process of ruining his career and everything he has because of his alcohol addiction. After one of his concerts, Rahul goes to a bar despite the advice of his manager and best friend, Vivek (Shaad Randhawa). There he meets Aarohi Keshav Shirke (Shraddha Kapoor), who is the bar singer and happens to be singing his song. He is impressed by her voice and promises to take her to Mumbai. After a couple hurdles, he ends up mentoring her and she becomes a huge star. Meanwhile, Rahul's career is pretty much over, which he doesn't take very well. As much as he tries to be supportive, his jealousy does come in the way. It also doesn't help that he has an alcohol addiction. Aarohi does her best to better Rahul, and never gives up on him. I'll stop there so I don't give too much away, but that's the general storyline.

It is important to note that there are no big name actors in this movie. Both lead actors are just a few movies old, and so a lot of their mistakes in acting are forgiven. Let's begin with Aditya. He did a pretty good job for the most part as Rahul. It was a difficult role, and he did fairly well considering it's his first fleshed out character. All his other roles have been shallow and easier, so he's on the right track. Shraddha could have been better. I saw Luv Ka The End a few months ago, and she was alright in that. Her character in this film was very different from that in LKTE, and she could have been better. There were a lot of scenes where her character was sad or completely heartbroken, but those emotions didn't really come through. I think she has the potential though, and i want to see more of her. I think she's beautiful, and I hope she becomes a better actor sooner rather than later. These two are the main characters, but I'll mention Shaad too. He needs to improve his acting big time. The other substantial actor was Mahesh Thakur, but he knows what he's doing...he's been around for a while.

Granted the acting wasn't the best and the story could have been a bit more involved, but the movie was still touching and heartbreaking. The movie definitely worked for me. Even the songs have grown on me, as expected. My favorite by far is the female version of Sun Raha Hai Na Tu. I cannot get over how amazing Shreya Ghoshal is in that, and Shraddha and Aditya's expressions in the picturization were beautiful. Overall I liked the movie a lot, and I would definitely recommend this movie to people looking for a love story. That's pretty much what the movie is through and through - a love story.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani: Movie Review

So with this movie, I'm going to do something I have never done before. I wrote the review for this movie before I watched it based on the promos and songs, thinking I'd change and update it once I've seen the movie. Not much needed to be changed though, so I figured I'd leave it as is with a couple additions...

 - Deepika's acting has definitely improved over time, but she still has lots of room for improvement.
 - Deepika has beautiful hair!
 - The second half of the movie was SUPER long. A lot of it was dragged out, and I wish that was shorter.
 - I still love all the songs!

Other than that, I think the review was pretty accurate!

The much awaited Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani released last Friday, and has already become the highest grossing film of the year. I usually am one of the first people to watch movies, and for a change, I'm one of the latter people. That itself is a statement about the popularity of this movie.

I personally am not a Ranbir or Deepika fan. Ranbir is okay, but I wouldn't call myself a fan per se. That being said, the promos are very appealing, and I think most of the credit for that goes to the soundtrack. Badtameez Dil, Balam Pichkari, Kabira, Dilliwali Girlfriend, etc. I love each and every song, and I finally got the lyrics for Badtameez Dil down. It also helps that there haven't been very many young blockbusters out recently, so YJHD is perfectly time. Everyone has been waiting for a commercial film, and who better than this pair to deliver that? Bachna Ae Haseeno did well because of the same idea. That's a big reason I didn't care to watch the movie at its first day's first show. This movie seemed to be a remake of Bachna Ae Haseeno in the coming of age sense and falling for Deepika in the end. Maybe there aren't two other women he has to go around apologizing to, but it's still the same concept. Throw in an awesome soundtrack, a Madhuri Dixit item number, a bunch of glam, and a sprinkle of Love Aaj Kal, and ta-daaa you've got YJHD!

The story was what you'd expect. Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) meets Naina (Deepika Padukone) and go on an adventure that Naina wouldn't normally go on. Naina is a simple girl while Bunny wants to lead a more interesting life. Naina falls for Bunny, but that love is not requited. Then there's a leap in time and Bunny once again appears in front of Naina. This time they both fall in love and happy ending!! Of course on the side you've got Avi (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Aditi (Kalki Koechlin), the best friends, but their roles are fairly minor.

Acting wise both Ranbir and Deepika were decent. Ranbir was definitely better than Deepika, but Deepika was still decent. Kalki and Aditya were both fine as well. Nobody's acting really stood out though.

Overall, the story was super predictable and there were lots of ghisse pitte scenes. I'd say the movie is watchable, but that's about it.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani: Music Review

Badtameez Dil: This song is super catchy, and I think the video makes the song much better. Ranbir Kapoor in this reminded me for some reason of Shahid Kapoor from Jabse Mere Dil Ko Uff, which is definitely a good thing. The dance in this video is totally my style, and it went well with the song. I'm still working on getting the lyrics memorized. This isn't my favorite song from this movie, but it's still decent.

Balam Pichkari: It's always great to see a Holi song just because Holi songs are always super fun. This was no exception.

Ilahi: Mohit Chauhan <3. That's all I have to say about this song.

Kabira: There are two versions of this song. The first version is by Rekha Bhardwaj and Tochi Raina. I love Rekha Bhardwaj in this, and Tochi is not bad. The other version is by Arjit Singh and Harshdeep Kaur. I love Harshdeep, but I think this song suited Rekha heavy voice better. I did like Arjit better than Tochi though. That being said, both versions are pretty good.

Dilliwaali Girlfriend: This seems like a typical guy flirting with girl song that may have been in a 90s movie. I don't know why, but this song reminded me of Tera Rang Balle Balle from Soldier. I checked out the video too, and the partner choreography is really cool (when they're both actually dancing). Seems like this is a song from someone's wedding, and who doesn't love a good wedding song?

Subhanallah: I love seeing people from talent shows doing actual playback. Sreeram from Indian Idol sang this one, and he did a great job! The song overall though was pretty typical. Nothing new.

Ghagra: This is the Madhuri Dixit item number, and introduces her by calling her Mohini. Loved that part! This song sounded okay to me, nothing great. I can't wait to see Madhuri and Ranbir dancing together, though!!

Overall, the soundtrack is pretty good. There is a nice diverse set of styles. I love the subtle references in here, like "Gilli Gilli Akha" and Madhuri Dixit being called Mohini.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Nautanki Saala: Movie Review

Nautanki Saala is a subtle comedy starring Ayushmann Khurranna, Kunaal Roy Kapur, and Pooja Salvi. I had to check this one out anyways just for Ayushmann Khurranna, and then the music release happened. I absolutely love each and every song in this movie. So after the music release, I was just waiting for a chance to watch this movie, and yesterday, I finally had that chance!

As usual, let's start with the plot. Ram (Ayushmann Khurranna), is a theater actor/director currently working on the play Raavan Leela. Ironically, Ram plays the character of Raavan in the play. Ram's character is such that he always tries to help people, and when one day he sees Mandar (Kunaal Roy Kapur) trying to commit  suicide, he does just that. Turns out Mandar wanted to commit suicide because his wife, Nandidi (Pooja Salvi), left him. Ram takes in Mandar and gives him the role of Ram in the play, trying to help him get his life together and give him a desire to live again. Ram, being the helpful guy he is, decides to track down Nandini for Mandar. I don't want to give away anything after that point, so watch the movie and figure it out for yourself!!

On to the acting...
In a nutshell, everyone did a great job. Ayushmann Khurranna is amazing. I'm most definitely a fan, and I hope to see more of him. Kunaal Roy Kapur played a lallu, confused character the entire time, and did a wonderful job with that. Pooja Salvi did a great job as the romantically confused Nandini.

The movie overall was pretty gripping. I've seen some reviews that criticize the ending or flow of the movie, but personally, I loved it. There were a lot of good laughs in there, which for a change did not come from slapstick humor. The characters and dialogues were written well enough for scenes to be funny without specific punch lines.

One thing I don't say often though is that I liked the editing of the movie. I don't know what it was about this movie, but I thought it was edited really well. Sadi Galli Aaja was a dream sequence song, for example, and the transitions between dream and reality were done perfectly to go with the music. All songs fit well with the script and were successful in creating a comedic or dramatic effect, depending on the song. The change between Mera Mann Kehne Laga and Dhak Dhak in the balcony scene was hilarious. The end of the movie was a bit melodramatic, but it was handled well and didn't go overboard.

Rohan Sippy directed this movie, and he also directed Bluffmaster. I remember that movie being an intelligent comedy as well, and so it wasn't surprising that this movie was also intelligently comedic.

Lastly, I'd like to give a special shoutout to the picturization of Draamebaaz in the end credits. You all know how much I love filmy references, so obviously I gotta love this one too. There are a bunch of references to Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Mithun, Dharmendra, and other actors' dance styles.

Nautanki Saala is a subtle comedy that provides some hilarious moments as well as a decent plotline. And of course, let's not forget the beautiful soundtrack! I'd recommend this movie for sure!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ek Thi Daayan: Music Review

Ek Thi Daayan is an upcoming Emran Hashmi horror movie. I love Emran Hashmi, but horror movies are not at all my genre, and I get nightmares very easily. Therefore, I'll probably be staying away from this one, unless I hear it's not too bad.

Still from Ek Thi Daayan

Yaaram: This song starts out slow with Sunidhi and very little music. Then about two minutes in there's a beat drop, and the song picks up. The lyrics are kind of strange...I've never heard a Hindi song including a laptop. Overall this is a decent song, and my favorite part has to be the pick-ups and drops in the beat.

Totey Ud Gaye: This tries to be an upbeat and fun song, but it failed for me. I'm not a fan at all.

Kaali Kaali: This is almost an eerily soothing song. The violining is beautifully composed, it fits incredibly well with the rest of the music in this song. I was listening to this song with headphones only in on one ear, and could not resist putting the other earbud in as well just to hear the full composition. Clinton Cerejo, the singer, does a wonderful job with this song. All in all, definitely a good song.

Lautungi Main: The song has the haunting feel that a song from a horror movie should, which is nice to finally hear. Once again, the composition is brilliant in that sense and includes calm segments followed quickly by very intense segments.

Sapna Re Sapna: This is a lullaby sung by one of SaReGaMaPa's Li'l Champs. It's decent, but not at the top of my list.

Overall, this album is pretty good. Ek Thi Daayan is a horror movie, and this soundtrack remains very true to that, for a change. The majority of these songs have the haunting and eerie compostitions, which fit perfectly!

I Love New Year: Music Review

I Love New Year is a new movie coming out with Sunny Deol and Kangana Ranaut. I'm not sure if I'll be watching this one, but I thought I'd at least check out the soundtrack. Here are my thoughts!

Gud Naal Ishq Mitha: The older Punjabi party hit has been remade with two new versions in this movie, one with Tochi Raina and the other with Sukhwinder Singh. Hard Kaur is featured in both versions. It's nice to have an added beat in the song, but honestly neither compare to the original track. Being Punjabi myself, I have heard the original countless times, and they just did not match up. If anything though, the Sukhwinder Singh version comes closer than Tochi Raina.

Jaane Naa Kyun: This sounds like a very typical 90s song. I love Sonu Nigam, but this song was just average for me.

Judaai: I like the song a lot, as I do most songs of this genre. This song seemed very familiar to me, and I realized this is because the song was previously part of a fake album released for Jannat 2, but I guess it's now part of a real album! There is an unplugged version as well.

Halki Halki: This song tries very hard to be a modern type of song, but the raps were lame, the beginning seemed like a joke, and overall I just was not a fan.

Aaja Meri Jaan: I like this song a lot. Mauli Dave (from SaReGaMaPa) sang this song, and the song suits her a lot. Definitely one of my favorites of the lot, and it's currently on repeat.

Overall, the album is average. I was excited about the Gud Naal Ishq Mitha remakes, but they aren't as good as I expected them to be. My favorites were probably Aaja Meri Jaan and Judaai (and it's unplugged version).

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge: Movie Review

Mujhse Fraandship Karoge is a story about Vishal (Saqib Saleem) and Preity (Saba Azad) who are both college students and hate each other. Vishal's rockstar friend Rahul (Nishant Dahiya) has a concert that Preity and her best friend Malvika (Tara D'Souza) attend. After the concert, Vishal sends a Facebook friend request to Malvika using Rahul's account. Malvika thinks it seems "tacky and despo," but Preity accepts it. Vishal and Preity then chat with each other as Rahul and Malvika, and start developing crushes on each other. Vishal thinks he has a thing for Malvika though, and Preity for Rahul. Vishal and Preity are assigned to work on a project together become good friends. Meanwhile, Rahul and Malvika actually meet and click, but don't proceed make a move because of Vishal and Preity. I'm sure you can figure out what happens from there!

So there are actually a few reasons I'm doing this review, even though this isn't a new movie. Firstly, it's a super underrated movie that not many of my friends have heard about, and I liked it a lot! Secondly, I happened to rewatch this movie last night, so it was good timing for me. Also, Saqib Saleem's new movie Mere Dad Ki Maruti is coming out tomorrow, so this is perfect timing for that! Last but not least, Saba Azad sang a few songs in Nautanki Saala, which comes out next month!

Okay so now on to the "review" part of this review. As I already said, I think this movie is vastly underrated and have already recommended it to a few friends of mine. They liked the movie too, so it's not just me! The Wikipedia page says this was a hit in India, but I hadn't thought to watch it until my mom recorded it on the DVR and I saw it on there. I had heard of the movie before it came out, and my friends and I thought it was ridiculous to have a movie so dependent on Facebook. The entire concept of the movie is the difference between Facebook relationships and real life relationships, and I get really annoyed with the over-usage of new social media sites in movies. It's usually overdone to the point of tackiness and pushes the modernness of the movie. This movie didn't do that though. It was a simple love story and a cute movie. A lot of cheesy movies get boring in the middle where the story kind of slumps and I want to forward the scene. This movie didn't have those and had a decent pace. The only things I forwarded were the songs.

Acting-wise I liked everyone. Saqib and Saba did well as Vishal and Preity. Saqib played the stubborn typical college boy role well and Saba was cute as Preity. Tara as Malvika was okay. I was surprised to see that she's full Indian. She looks and sounds like a foreigner. Regardless, she fit the role for this kind of a movie, but I'm not sure what else she can do. Her role was to be sweet and a good friend, which she fulfilled, but having seen her in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, I know she can't really do much else. Nishant did a decent job as Rahul as well. He fit the college-age rockstar look pretty well.
If you haven't seen this movie and are looking for a sweet and semi-modern love story, I'd definitely recommend it. I think I've seen it about three times and would still watch it again!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Special 26: Movie Review

After seeing trailers and such, I thought Special 26 was going to be a serious political drama. Having heard this, I was waiting for a night where I was in the mood to watch a heavy film. I came home though and my mom recommended that I watch it. She said she liked it a lot, so I had to check it out. I know a lot of people dislike Akshay Kumar, but I'm from a family of Akshay Kumar fans. Sure enough, I saw it this past weekend and loved it!

Set in the 80s, Special 26 is the story of a group of guys, including Ajay (Akshay Kumar) and Sharma Ji (Anupam Kher) among others, who impersonate CBI or income tax officers to rob politicians and others who deal with black money. The opening scene in the movie shows them using police officers Ranveer Singh (Jimmy Shergill) and Shanti (Divya Dutta), who subsequently get suspended. Ranveer is looking for revenge, and (real) CBI officer Wasim Khan (Manoj Bajpai) is assigned to help him catch the gang.

I don't even want to talk about acting. I think everyone did well. Anupam Kher is a flawless actor, Manoj Bajpai did well too. I am an Akshay fan, so I liked him here as well. Jimmy Shergill was great too. Everyone in this movie was good. The only thing this movie could have done without was Priya (Kajal Agarwal), aka Ajay's love interest. Her character was unnecessary and didn't add anything to the movie. Nothing in the story would have been different if she didn't exist. Other than her, I don't really have any complaints about the movie.

What I liked most about this movie was the intelligence with which it was made. Every scene in this movie was intelligently scripted. The movie is a thriller and did not fail to keep me at the edge of my seat. Unlike most movies I've seen recently, the movie was unpredictable and turned out differently than I guessed. There weren't even many loose ends left to tie up! Everything (for the most part) made sense and played out well. I was left shocked in some scenes just because of how well they directed the movie. One scene was just the scene after the first robbery, where we find out that they were just pretending to be CBI officers. Sorry that won't be a shocker for you, but hey! You were looking for a review, which includes a basic synopsis! Another such scene was the end. It was so brilliantly set up that I could not help but chuckle at all the scenes that led to that conclusion. Basically, in case you can't tell, I loved it.

I would definitely recommend Special 26. It's an intelligent thriller with a simple but brilliant story that is very rare nowadays.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I, Me Aur Main: Movie Review

I, Me Aur Main is a story about a completely spoilt and selfish music producer named Ishaan (John Abraham), who has been in a relationship with Anushka (Chitrangada Singh) for three years. Anushka is a strong woman who loves and wants a commitment from Ishaan. Ishaan being the way he is, does not want this, and continues to live in her apartment with her without contributing anything back because he sincerely believes that any girl would do anything for him. Anushka finally dumps him, forcing him to move to a new apartment. His neighbor there is Gauri (Prachi Desai), who calls him out on everything. As expected, Ishaan falls for Gauri. Ishaan loses his job and soon after receives some news that changes his life. His first instinct is to ignore all his responsibilities and believe everything is fine, because accepting defeat or mistake would hurt his ego. He finally grows up and learns to accept and thrive in complicated situations.

Chitrangada as Anushka was by far my favorite person in this movie. She acted extremely well as a strong, independent woman who deals with what she goes through. Not only that, but I'm pretty sure Chitrangada becomes more beautiful every time I see her. I really wish she had a larger role in this movie. John Abraham was decent as the arrogant and egoistic Ishaan. Some of his scenes and dialogues were a bit ridiculous, so I guess I can't judge his acting there since the script wasn't that great. Overall though he was average as an actor. Prachi Desai was the weakest actor in this movie. She did not deliver dialogues well at all, overexaggerated lines, did not add the proper emotions in her dialogues, etc. Mini Mathur did well as Ishaan's elder and more sensible sister.

Apart from poor acting from Prachi and average acting from John, the dialogues were poorly written. There is actually a scene where Ishaan's ego doesn't allow him to use a ladder to come down from the second floor, and instead jumps off. The story had potential, but too much time is spent in the setup of the film, making the development in the story rushed. A better screenplay could have helped the story play out better. The ending was ridiculous and forced an advanced (and rushed) conclusion.

Overall I did not really like the movie. I think it definitely could have turned out much better with a better script, because the story wasn't bad.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Top 10 Beats of the Month: February, 2013

Here's my top 10 for the month!!

  1. Saadi Galli Aaja Nautanki Saala
  2. Saajna I Me Aur Main
  3. Bezubaan ABCD Any Body Can Dance
  4. Main Senti Hoon Mere Dad Ki Maruti
  5. Maanjha Kai Po Che
  6. Hum Jee Lenge Murder 3
  7. Khalbali 3G
  8. Lat Lag Gayi Race 2
  9. Shiv Shambho Rangrezz
  10. Kaun Mera Special 26
The top two this week (Saajna and Saadi Galli Aaja) were difficult to pick between...both are amazing songs!