Category Archives: news review

FryDay movie review: Govinda can’t escape the ’90s in this unimaginative, below par comedy

Govinda fans can rejoice. This FryDay marks the return of the entertainer number one, in all his 1990s glory. He throws his entire body into the comedy — jiggling, wriggling and contorting his face while delivering the modicum of entertainment and laughs scattered through director Abhishek Dogra’s sit-com.

A still from FryDay. YouTube

Writers Rajeev Kaul and Manu Rishi Chadha set this story in Delhi. Varun Sharma plays Rajiv, a down-on-his-luck water purifier salesman with a sleazy boss and an unethical colleague. Rajiv is no Einstein and those around him take advantage of this simplicity. His job now depends on installing this one water purifier on this fated Friday.

Somewhere else in Delhi, a theatre actor is performing Mughal-E-Azam and gobbling up the dialogues of his co-stars. It is vintage Govinda but, like many other scenes, is over-written and overcooked.

After a crash course in salesmanship by a bargain basement motivational speaker (Sanjay Mishra), Rajiv finally bags a client and on the appointed Friday, he arrives at Gagan Kapoor’s (Govinda) home. But the portly middle-aged man, who lives in a garish bungalow, has other plans for the day. With his wife Bela (Prabhleen Sandhu) away on work trip to Simla, Gagan has wasted no time inviting over his young paramour, Bindu (Digangana Suryavanshi).

Every time the doorbell rings, Gagan’s plans for a little hanky-panky are thwarted. Unwanted guests include a thief, Rajiv, the maid and a cop. Dogra’s bedroom farce, largely located in this one set, gains some momentum only thanks to Govinda’s energy. However crass the theme of infidelity might be, only he can turn out dialogues like, “Once in a week it is must, what about Gagan Kapoor’s lust?”

Although he is a fitting junior counterpart to Govinda, Varun’s act as hapless character (seen in Fukrey and almost everything else he has done) is repetitive and tiresome. Fortunately, the actresses play it straight, leaving the comedy to the main actors, supported by Brijendra Kala as the conman.

Dogra’s direction is unimaginative and the production values so sub-par that besides Govinda fans with a penchant for physical comedy, there is no reason to thank god for this FryDay.

Sui Dhaaga: Made In India song Sab Badhiya Hai is Varun Dhawan’s tribute to Mamata-Mauji’s optimism

Sab Badhiya Hai’ is a promotional song in Sui Dhaaga: Made In India which talks about Mauji and Mamta’s world. Being an unassuming couple who try and make it on their own through their business, both have an optimistic take on life. Yash Raj Films has provided the song with an interesting premise stating that Varun (the actor) wants the song to be part of the film. Having faced a lack of enthusiasm at his brainwave from the makers, Dhawan goes on to dream the entire song.

Still from Sab Badhiya Hai. Image from Facebook

Dhawan breaks character in the song, inching closer to his real-life persona. Playing the role of a narrator, he sings in abandon of Mauji and Mamta’s love story and their positive take on life. Picturised in various settings, ‘Sab Badhiya Hai’ has all the Bollywood masala with energetic dance sequences and vibrant sets.

Sung by Sukhwinder Singh and Salman Ali, the track has been composed by Anu Malik who has also penned the lyrics with Varun Grover.

Both Dhawan and Sharma have recently also been signed to endorse the Skill India mission to promote India’s skilled talent by engaging with them across different parts of the country.

Stree director Amar Kaushik says he’s made a ‘desi’ horror film with conviction: I find ghost stories fascinating

Amar Kaushik, the debutant director of Rajkummar Rao-Shraddha Kapoor’s Stree was very clear that he wanted to start his career with a rare genre – horror comedy. There are many directors who helm rom-coms or action-thrillers, which he considers to be safe. But that isn’t the only reason why Kaushik chose to direct a horror comedy. It’s also because he’s always found ghost stories intriguing and fascinating.

“I vividly remember, many years ago I was told about this challenge: whoever was able to watch Bees Saal Baad (Waheeda Rehman-Biswajeet’s horror film from 1962) alone in a theatre will get a reward,” recalls Kaushik.

Then, a short visit to a “ghost” town called Chanderi further ignited his passion. “I grew up in Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh). When I was in graduation first year, I was passing by this small town Chanderi. It was around 10 pm and I checked-in into a hotel. It was dark and nobody was seen around outside the hotel. I was terrified. Something about the place stayed with me,” says the director.

“Later,” he continues, “when we started researching shooting locations for Stree, I felt it should be somewhere in Central India. I thought of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and then I suddenly remembered my Chanderi experience. Once I went there for my recce, I was convinced about the location. It was as if every scene was tailor made for the film and I insisted on shooting in the most spooky locations. I deliberately chose those locations, the ones we were warned from frequenting by the local people. I wanted the actors to get really scared during the shoot. I deliberately shot at midnight. That has really worked,” says Kaushik, who claims to have made a “desi” horror film with conviction.

Also read: Rajkummar Rao on Stree co-star Shraddha Kapoor: She was supposed to do my debut film Kai Po Che

“We usually read stories, or watch movies that show an old, isolated, dilapidated haunted house situated in the mountains, or in some secluded spot. But the ghost in my film is very basic. We have used little bit of VFX but otherwise all the action scenes are real. I didn’t want too much of technology. Also, sound in a thriller or horror is quite important but music need not be very loud. Silence can also be effective,” he adds.

Starting his career as an assistant director, Kaushik was a part of the Rajiv Khandelwal-starrer Aamir (2008). Working with accomplished directors in the industry, he was also a part of Sorry Bhai (2008), I Am (2010), No One Killed Jessica (2011), Go Goa Gone (2013), Fukrey (2013), Ghanchakkar (2013), and Beyond the Clouds (2017). After years of playing second fiddle, he finally made his directorial debut with a short film Aaba (2017), which was the only award winning Indian short film at Berlin International Film Festival, in 2017.

Kaushik considers himself to be lucky to cast Rajkummar and Shraddha Kapoor for his first feature. “Raj and I would often meet during film festivals and when I had to choose an actor for the character Vicky (in Stree) it had to be Raj. When I told him that he was playing a tailor’s part, his immediate reaction was, ‘Okay, send a sewing machine to my house, I will learn tailoring’. For diction, he just needed one month and a teacher. Raj makes your work easy,” says Kaushik, further adding, “I wanted a girl with that small town innocence and Shraddha fitted the brief. The fact is, established actors are realising that new directors are coming up with fresh ideas. There is no pressure on us about our previous or next film. We concentrate on just one project, the one that is in front of us.”

Also read: Shraddha Kapoor on Stree co-stars Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi: ‘Huge fan of their work’

The film’s promotions attracted a lot of attention particularly because of its unique teaser and posters that said: ‘Mard ko dard hoga…Stree aa rahi hai’.

“‘Mard ko dard hoga’ is not just the tag line. In the movie we talk everything related to that. In small towns, girls are told to come home early in the evening. We have changed all of that by saying – ‘Boys, don’t leave the house late night, strees (women) are roaming around, they will take you with them’. In the film, we tell boys to come out wearing a saree and bangles to stay safe,” he explains.

From Rockstar to Sanju, how Ranbir Kapoor’s experiments as an actor also won over the box office

Often male actors are not lucky enough that their career-defining performances also end up becoming their biggest box office success. For a long time, Aamir Khan’s biggest money-spinner, Raja Hindustani, was not the performance that the actor would have ideally liked people to remember him by. Similarly, for Shah Rukh Khan a Happy New Year or a Chennai Express finding more box office success than a Chak De India or a Swades spoke of how the audiences loved him in a certain way. When it comes to Ranbir Kapoor, his most compelling performance — Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year — received a lukewarm response at the box office. However, films where his performances have been strongest — Rockstar and Barfi, for instance have also enjoyed commercial success. With Sanju opening to both critical acclaim (specifically for Kapoor) as well as brisk box office collections (the film has had the highest opening of 2018 thus far), the young star is poised to add yet another career-defining role that is also a commercial success to his repertoire.

(Clockwise from top) Ranbir Kapoor in Sanju; Barfi; Rockstar; Rocket Singh — Salesman of the Year

While Kapoor might not the most consistent contemporary male star in Bollywood when it comes to commercial success, there is little doubt about his unique position. For a long time, Kapoor has been considered the ‘great hope’ of commercial Hindi cinema and while one could ascribe it to his ‘Kapoor’ lineage, it’s not that he hasn’t proved he’s more than a famous surname. What does make Ranbir Kapoor unique among his peers is the manner in which he seems to be insulated from the box office fate of his films. Once again, a few might be quick to credit his pedigree for this ‘first in case of fire’ kind of love the industry showers on him, but there seems to be a genuine fondness for Kapoor in the viewer who is willing to forgive him for misfires like Roy, Besharam and Bombay Velvet.

One of the reasons why Kapoor gets — for want of a better expression — a slew of unending chances, is the earnestness that he displays as an actor.

Right from Saawariya (2007), which despite having Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s name attached to it was probably the worst debut a star child — and that too a ‘Kapoor’ — could have asked for, to Sanju where he ‘becomes’ Sanjay Dutt, there is rarely a moment from any of his films where Kapoor doesn’t seem to be working on his characters. Kapoor more than managed to get back on his feet post-Saawariya with Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) — a typical new Bollywood production — but it was the three releases that he had the next year that probably ensured Kapoor’s status for not just the industry but also the audiences as well as critics. In a single year, 2009, Kapoor had a masala Hindi film (Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani), a pitch-perfect story for the upwardly mobile multiplex audience (Wake Up Sid) and a favourite of critics and the discerning Hindi film aficionado (Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year). The first was Kapoor’s maiden blockbuster, the second a hit that enjoyed a following in some territories and the last — in spite being a complete washout commercially — charmed just about anyone who saw it.

Kapoor is also one of the few new-age male stars in Hindi films who seem to steer clear of multi-starrers or two-hero projects. He is also a rare variety, who, even within the trappings of popular Hindi cinema, has managed to infuse a semblance of experimentation. His Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, now seems like the ‘art-house’ foray that actors in the 1970s or 1980s would attempt — Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore in Avishkaar, Dimple Kapadia in Rudali, etc — and even Raajneeti (2010) seems like an attempt to push himself without going too far. Rockstar (2011) and Barfi (2012) fit the description of being same, same but different and both hit the sweet spot both in terms of commercial success as well as critical acclaim.

As someone who grew up in the midst of the film business, Ranbir (just like a Sunny Deol, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Karisma Kapoor or Sonam) could have a subconscious fear of spiralling out of orbit while attempting a particular kind of role. Who knows, this could be at the back of Ranbir’s mind when he agreed to do a Besharam, which was more of a ‘standard Hindi film’ than his other filmography. The last few releases might have seen Kapoor oscillate between success and abject failure — Bombay Velvet (2015), Tamasha (2015), Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016), Jagga Jasoos (2017). But when his enacting of the famous scene from Munnabhai MBBS (where he channels Sanjay Dutt’s character questioning if a patient should fill out paperwork before being admitted to a hospital even if he/she is on the verge of death) brings people in droves to the theatres — as is the case with Sanju — then you know that Ranbir Kapoor truly is living it up.

Sanjay Dutt’s niece to make her Bollywood debut opposite Krushna Abhishek in comedy film Teri Bhabhi Hai Pagle

Govinda’s nephew Krushna Abhishek and Sanjay Dutt’s niece Nazia Hussain are set to share screen space in Vinod Tiwari’s upcoming film, Teri Bhabhi Hai Pagle, reports DNA.

Teri Bhabhi Hai Pagle poster

Dutt’s niece Nazia is best known for her role in Telugu film Nee Jathaga Nenundali.

In the film Teri Bhabhi Hai Pagle, Krushna who plays the role of superstar Raj, is seen trying to woo his co-star Ragni, played by Nazia.