Category Archives: Movies Review

Padman banned in Pakistan; Akshay Kumar-starrer under fire for its ‘tabboo’ subject

Akshay Kumar’s Padman, based on the life of social activist Arunachalam Muruganantham who introduced low-cost sanitary pads, has been banned in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Federal Censor Board refused to clear the Bollywood movie for its release in the country. According to the members, the film deals with ‘taboo’ subjects such as menstruation and, thus, cannot be allowed to screen in Pakistan.

Furthermore, the Federal Censor Board announced a ban on the film in all cinemas across the country. “We can’t allow our film distributors to import films which are against our traditions and culture,” FCB member Ishaq Ahmed was quoted as saying by PTI.

A still from Padman/Image from Twitter.

The members of Punjab Film Censor Board also refused to watch the film saying it is based on a “taboo subject” and rejected any clearance certificate to it. “We can’t allow the screening of films on taboo subjects in our cinemas as it is not in our culture, society or even religion,” a member said.

Syed Noor, a well-known Pakistani filmmaker, said that there was a need to speak to the local film distributors and exhibitors about the films they import from other countries. “Not only this film Padman, but I think even Padmaavat should not have been released in Pakistan as it portrays Muslims in a very negative light,” Noor said.

Directed by R Balki, the film also stars Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor in pivotal roles. The movie has opened to a good reception in India as it earned Rs 10.26 crore on its first day, and is expected to cross the Rs 50 crore mark during the weekend.

Manikarnika: Rajput Karni Sena backs Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha’s claims over ‘historical tampering’ in film

Jaipur: The Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which has strongly protested against the release of periodic drama Padmaavat, has decided to back the Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha’s protest against the “historical tampering” of Queen Lakshmibai, also called Jhansi Ki Rani, in the film Manikarnika starring Kangana Ranaut.

The film is based on the life of ‘Jhansi ki Rani’ and allegedly shows the relationship of the queen with a British officer.

Kangana Ranaut in Manikarnika (left); Deepika Padukone in Padmaavat (right). Facebook

Shree Rajput Karni Sena founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi, asked if his outfit is lending support to the Brahmin Mahasabha in its fight against the film, said, “Agar Brahmin ka khoon bahega to Rajput kya chup rahega, jab Rajput ka khoon baha to Brahmin kabhi chup nahi raha (Rajputs will never keep quiet if Brahmins are affected, and vice versa).” He claimed that 10,000 letters were signed with blood by Brahmins to protest the release of Padmaavat.

On the issue of quashing of FIR against Sanjay Leela Bhansali, producer of Padmaavat, and against Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, he said it had to happen as the apex court has already declared that the film should be released and linked it to the matter of freedom of expression.

“The High Court will definitely follow the Supreme Court. There is nothing new in it,” he added.

Asked if there is any chance of the film being released in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat, Kalvi said the “Supreme Court cannot dictate to cinema halls to release the film and depute paramilitary forces outside cinema halls”. The four states had earlier decided against releasing the film, and three of them had approached the apex court.

“What we know is that cinema hall owners are not ready to screen the film in any of these states,” he said, adding that on 9 February, new films are releasing and hence cinema hall owners will be more interested in those.

Film distributor Raj Bansal, who looks after the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradeh market, has refused to release the film in the two states. The Multiplex Association has also refused to release the film in Rajasthan, Kalvi said.

“We have asked the government to set up a pre-screening board to look into issues related to historical tampering of facts. We strongly propose forming a panel to look into the controversies emerging in films as Padmaavat and Manikarnika.”

He said the proposal was liked by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and even Vice President Venkaiah Naidu when he was heading the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

“This board should be constituted by the censor board, state government or government of India and should sort out the disputes emerging at any time when any historical tampering is reported. In such times the expert panel’s role should come in,” he added.

He said the censor board had invited three panelists to watch Padmaavat but their views were not paid heed to, and added that a pre-screening board will have a legal voice.

Today in Wait, What? Karni Sena announces a film on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s mother

Through its actions in the run-up to the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati Padmaavat, the Shri Rajput Karni Sena has consistently shown that they’re possibly the most juvenile determined fringe group in the business.

After attacking school buses and burning down cars belonging to members of their own group (which, when you think of it, is really considerate of them), the Karni Sena have now announced a move that makes clear just who is going to win in this show of one-upmanship against Bhansali.

The revolutionary vengeance cooked up by the Karni Sena is this: They will make a film, on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s mother. And they’re going to title it Leela Ki Leela. Whoever said ‘Yo mamma so fat’ jokes were passé?

Poster for Padmaavat that will serve as the reference point for Karni Sena-produced Leela Ki Leela

Here’s some information from a news report issued by IANS:

Addressing a press conference in Chittorgarh, Govind Singh Khangarot, the district president of Karni Sena, said the film would be directed by Arvind Vyas and its script writing process had already started.

In the next 15 days, a ‘muhurat’ marking the commencement of the film would be performed and it would be released in a year’s time. The movie will be shot across Rajasthan, Khangarot said.

“Bhansali has insulted our mother Padmavati, but we will ensure that he feels proud of the movie we will make,” he added (presumably in a loud, thundering tone). 

“As our country gives right to expression to everyone, we will ensure that this right is used to its fullest,” he said.

Take that, Bhansali!

But in the true spirit of tit-for-tat, we wonder if the Karni Sena will allow Bhansali to respond to their film in exactly the same way that they reacted to his.

Here’s a small list of the courtesies they could extend Bhansali, to ensure the situation truly mirrors the one they created when Padmaavat was being made:

1. Let Bhansali protest the historical inaccuracies of Leela Ki Leela, beginning with the shoot in Rajasthan. Bhansali, as is a matter of public record, grew up in a congested Mumbai chawl in Bhuleshwar. The chawls are an important part of Mumbai’s landscape and are closely linked to this city’s history. By shooting in Rajasthan, presumably on a constructed set, the Karni Sena is doing a disservice to the authentic portrayal of a Mumbai chawl. Mumbaikars must be allowed to protest this show of stark disrespect on the part of the Karni Sena.

2. The Karni Sena must allow Bhansali — once again, in the spirit of true reciprocity — to visit their sets in Rajasthan, a minimum of two times. On one of these occasions, he must be allowed to slap the director. On the other occasion, his henchmen must be allowed to burn down the sets for Leela Ki Leela.

3. The Karni Sena must promise to raise a sum of Rs 150 crores to make this film on Bhansali’s life. It seems only fair since he and his investors expended as much money in making a film about the Karni Sena’s ‘mother’.

4. The Karni Sena must promise that they will maintain the highest production values for Leela Ki Leela. Anything less than eye-wateringly-opulent will simply not make the cut.

5. They must get one of India’s best actresses to play the title role of Bhansali’s mom.

6. They must not protest if their entry into  Mumbai — the city where Bhansali’s mother raised him — is barred to them perpetuity, seeing as how they tried to do the same with the Chittorgarh Fort.

7. The Karni Sena will hold a special screening for Bhansali before the film’s release and wait for his approval before releasing the film.

8. The Karni Sena will make changes to their film as recommended by a panel of Bollywood enthusiasts appointed by the Central Board of Film Certification. They will at this point also agree to change the film’s title, preferably substituting one vowel for another.

9. The Karni Sena must prepare for the governments of at least four states to ban Leela Ki Leela — of course, the Supreme Court (yes, the same one they acted in contempt of) will possibly salvage their expression of creativity by upholding their right to screen the film.

10. Even after the Supreme Court’s clearance, the Karni Sena must allow for Bhansali and his supporters to: threaten theatre owners and distributors (until they fear showing Leela Ki Leela for the damage to their property that might ensue), riot in as many places as possible and generally create as great a ruckus as they can. They must also anticipate 16,000 women sending a signed petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to perform a mass ghoomar — if Leela Ki Leela is allowed to release.

Padmaavat: Bhansali invites Karni Sena for screening, confirms fringe group after demanding Bharat Bandh on 25 January

Even after the Supreme Court stayed the ban by four states on the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat allowing it an all-India release, it seems like the film might not see the light of day in Rajasthan, the hotbed of a majority of protests, as there are no distributors for the movie yet.

Deepika Padukone in a still from Padmavati.

We have no distributor yet. The film has not been sold to anyone. All the rights lie with Bhansali alone. I don’t think the film will be released until the controversy is resolved within the state,” said film distributor Sunil Bansal, according to a DNA report.

State officials from INOX are also reportedly in touch with the local police to assess and evaluate the law and order situation in Rajasthan before finalising and deciding upon anything. “The distributor hasn’t been finalised yet. We generally don’t flout orders. So, we will go ahead with whatever the authorities decide. We are awaiting a police orders. Nothing can anyway be done until a distributor comes in,” said the official, according to the same DNA report.

Film exhibitors were relying heavily on the Akshay Kumar-Sonam Kapoor-Radhika Apte starrer Padman as an alternative for the loss in business that they might have incurred in case Padmaavat did not release in Rajasthan. However, after addressing a joint press conference on Friday, Akshay Kumar and Bhansali announced that the makers of Padman agreed to defer the release of their film on Bhansali’s request.

Owners of local theaters like Raj Mandir (which also doubles up as a tourist destination) however, have said that they will not release Padmaavat, regardless of whether Padman sees a release or not.

Recently, the Maharana of Mewar has also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a “ban on the film”. According to the prince’s letter, “If art misappropriates history then it is anti-national”.

1921 movie review: Vikram Bhatt adds every horror trope to this ghastly film, but none of them work

1921 opens in 1927: Ayush is a celebrated piano maestro who is reluctant to come on stage. As he drowns his sorrows in alcohol, a single tear staining the make up on his face, the scene flashes back to 1921.

Ayush is a piano prodigy. Spotting his talent, his mentor Wadia (Vikram Bhatt) sponsors the young man’s studies in England with one caveat – that Ayush also take on the role of caretaker of Wadia’s stately home in York.

York circa 1921 is a gloomy, foggy place with barely any sunlight and lots of Indians dropping dead. The aspiring pianist Ayush (Karan Kundra), who travels from India to York to study music, discovers this in the most horrifying way. Part-time student, part-time caretaker of a vast mansion, who makes an additional living by conducting private piano recitals in the house, his finely balanced life is shattered by the presence of malevolent spirits.

It’s rather convenient that another student in the same town is a medium that communicates with the spirit world. Ayush seeks out Rose (Zareen Khan) and implores her to help him rid his house of this paranormal activity.

Rose is a fan of Ayush’s music, and readily agrees to help a man she has long adored from afar. During the course of their paranormal partnership, and between solving the mystery of the vagrant spirits, love blossoms between them. But as their intimacy increases, so does the malevolence of the hovering spirits.

The scares, with a dependence on smoke machines, sound effects and shadowy figures, that build the atmosphere and frights in the first hour are frittered away later. Writer-director Vikram Bhatt adds in every horror film trope and genre trick into a story that in the end has no top or bottom – much like some of its decapitated zombie characters. There are disquieted spirits, a reference to the Mongolian plague and a vengeance plot line.

Given that this is a template Bhatt film, there are quite a few songs, which are indistinguishable from one another. Their song picturisation is also bland.

Some effort to play piano might have gone so way in convincing us that Kundra might be a musician, leave alone portraying a maestro. Since that kind of attention to detail seems superfluous to Bhatt, there’s no point expecting Victorian era period correctness in the costumes and production design either. The storyline gets more and more twisted as we go along the 2 hours 24 minutes running time.

Khan and Kundra put on their most sincere faces and you genuinely believe they want to get out of this situation alive. But it’s hard for the audience to keep a straight face as Bhatt’s screenplay bumps along from ghostly to ghastly.

A fellow audience member described it best: It’s like an onion—you cry as you peel it and you can keep peeling it and keep crying, but you can also stop at any time.

Tiger Zinda Hai, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, MCA box office collection – Salman starrer crosses 150 cr

This Christmas, theatres across the country saw an eclectic mix of films that spanned across genres, languages and stars. While Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif made their presence felt with Tiger Zinda Hai, Nani-Sai Pallavi won hearts with their film MCA. Akhil Akkineni and Kalyani Priyadarshan’s Hello has been slow on the uptake, but has been growing over this long weekend.

Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in Tiger Zinda Hai

And then, of course, there is the Star Wars franchise, which has emerged as a global cinematic phenomenon, ensuring the legacy of Lucas continues till the end of time. The recent release Star Wars: The Last Jedi has already minted above $745 million (as of Sunday 24 December) since its release,

reports Financial Express.

Hindustan Times, in one of its recent reports says, Tiger Zinda Hai crossed Rs 150 crore mark on Monday since its release on 22 December. It was reported earlier that the Ali Abbas Zafar’s directorial venture had already minted Rs 113 crore at the box-office.

Film trade analyst and critic Taran Adarsh took to Twitter and revealed the box office figures of MCA and Hello in the US market:

Tiger Zinda Hai box office collection: Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif starrer earns Rs 69.40 cr in two days

When it is said that there is an extraordinary connection between Salman Khan and his fans, it is after all not an exaggeration. So what if Tubelight didn’t fare well at the box-office early this year, Khan’s fans thronged to watch his latest offering, Tiger Zinda Hai.


Sequel to the 2012 film Ek Tha Tiger, Ali Abbas Zafar’s directorial venture, Tiger Zinda Hai brings back cross-border lovers-cum-spies back in action. Khan and Katrina Kaif’s film released worldwide yesterday on 22 December. Within the first two days of the release, the romance-action-drama has been able to mint Rs 69.40 crore.

It earned Rs 34.10 crore on its opening day and the collection rose marginally on Saturday as the film garnered Rs 35.30 crore on the second day. Going by the trend, trade pundits predict that Tiger Zinda Hai will become the quickest film to hit the Rs 100 crore mark on Sunday.

Tiger Zinda Hai movie review: Salman, Katrina deliver fun with equal parts swag, silliness and schmaltz

Yeh toh puri army lekar aa gaye hai,” a scared Indian nurse says at one point as she looks out of the window and sees ISIS troops landing up in droves at  a hospital in Iraq where she and her colleagues have been held captive.

Ghabrao mat,” says her companion, an Indian RAW agent, “abhi Tiger zinda hai.

Literally translated, those last three words — which are also this film’s title — simply mean that someone called Tiger is alive. But since this is conventional commercial Bollywood fare and the aforesaid Tiger is played by a certain Mister Salman Khan, they are also a metaphor for “all is well with the world kyunki (to borrow and adapt a signature phrase from the works of another iconic Khan) Salman hai naa“.

How foolish are the governments, policy analysts, intelligence agencies and academics of the world investing time and money in figuring out how to bring ISIS to its knees. They should have known that the solution lies in the muscular arms and golden heart of a character played by Salman.

Tiger Zinda Hai‘s strength is that it is unapologetic about its stupidity. And so, although it is for the most part simplistic in the socio-political statements it lays on thick, it is packed with so much action that it ends up being a fun, even if clichéd, Bollywood-and-Bond-style masala flick which, if you are looking closely enough, does make a subversive point or two.

Director Ali Abbas Zafar’s film is a sequel to Kabir Khan’s 2012 hit Ek Tha Tiger in which Salman played Indian espionage agent Avinash Singh Rathore a.k.a. Manish Chandra a.k.a. Tiger who, while on a mission, falls in love with a Pakistani spy called Zoya (Katrina Kaif). Tiger Zinda Hai continues where Ek Tha Tiger left off. Zoya and Avinash have quit their respective agencies and are now living in hiding along with their son Junior. Their calm life is interrupted when RAW seeks Tiger’s help to free a bunch of Indian nurses who have been taken as hostages in Iraq.

The opening text acknowledges that the film is inspired by true events. The reference here is to an episode in 2014 involving 46 Indian nurses who were held at a hospital in Tikrit, caught between ISIS and Iraqi government forces. This remarkable real life drama was chronicled beautifully by Mollywood earlier this year in Take Off Starring Parvathy, Kunchacko Boban and Fahadh Faasil. The Malayalam film though was told through the eyes of one of the nurses who was at the forefront of coordinating with the Indian Embassy in Iraq and ultimately helped get herself and her colleagues back to India. Bollywood’s take on this well-documented episode from our contemporary history sets this woman firmly aside (along with the embassy, the governments of India and Kerala) and puts a single man at the centre of the action instead.

If you have seen the sobre, credible, realistic yet supremely entertaining Take Off you may understand why Tiger Zindagi Hai feels so ridiculous in comparison and so shamefully male-centric. It took considerable strength of will this morning to put that film out of my mind while I watched Tiger take centre stage and make a meal of ISIS. (For the record, ISIS is called ISC here, and Tikrit is Ikrit.) I was rewarded for my efforts with humour — some intentional, some not — and intermittent adrenaline rushes.

Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in a still from Tiger Zinda Hai. YouTube

Both Salman and Katrina are limited actors, but they are charismatic and pleasing to the eyes here as always. Katrina is convincing enough in her action scenes to make you wonder why it has not occurred to any Bollywood director to cast her along with perhaps Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra in an all-out action flick centred around women. Salman has been heavy on his feet in recent years, but a combination of well-planned stunt choreography and clever camerawork ensures that we are not aware of that at any point in this film, unlike in Ek Tha Tiger in which he looked visibly tired.

Tiger Zinda Hai is a slick production (though the background score’s jarring resemblance to Don’s music is distracting) and the fisticuffs in it are enjoyable. It also clearly means well in most political matters even though it feels the need to underline its messaging repeatedly and plays to the gallery in an India that is increasingly demanding chest-thumping proof of patriotism from all its citizens and is openly suspicious of minority communities.

So, Tiger and the other characters stress and re-stress their love for India with lines such as this one from Zoya: “Sab log samajhte hai ki duniya mein sabse zyaada pyaar tum mujhse karte ho lekin mujhe pata hai ki tum mujhse bhi zyaada apne desh se pyaar karte ho” (everyone thinks that you love me the most in this world, but I know that you love your country even more than you love me). Tiger’s Muslim colleague gives triple evidence of his desh prem. And since the audience cannot be trusted to appreciate that theirs is a culturally disparate team, we are reminded of its Hindu-Muslim-Sikh composition in a pointed exchange between Tiger and his teammate (Angad Bedi) about what it means to be a sardar. We should have seen that coming considering that early on, in a scene in which Katrina’s Zoya bashes up a bunch of goons, the writer felt the need to throw in a character dispensing a line about this being an example of women’s empowerment. Does an audience that supports dumbed-down cinema lose the right to complain about spoonfeeding? Perhaps.

To be fair, Tiger Zinda Hai is not as tacky or loud as Gadar, a film it references with a mention of Sunny Deol’s infamous handpump-uprooting scene in which he scared off the entire Pakistan Army with a bellow.

Tiger inhabits a Bollywood that has evolved to a stage where Pakistanis can now be shown as allies in the face of a common enemy, and one character, when confronted over Pakistan’s wrongdoings in Kashmir, gets away with implying that India’s hands are not clean either. Considering the divisive times we live in, even this fleeting scene, sadly, is an act of courage that needs to be lauded, as does another contrived passage involving national flags that pushes the envelope up to a point (though without crossing a certain line). Even the ISC members we meet are not entirely satanic.

Tiger Zinda Hai’s supporting cast is a mixed bag. Kumud Mishra manages to be comical without allowing his comedy to become incongruous in this grim setting. Paresh Rawal, however, overdoes his villainous labour contractor. The handsome Angad Bedi is impressive in a small role that does not challenge him as much as last year’s Pink but still reminds us that this man is hero material.

Tiger Zinda Hai is not a film that is meant to be taken too seriously. I mean c’mon, Salman/Tiger takes off his shirt for no reason at all to give ISC/ISIS and us a generous view of his fabulously toned and oiled torso and arms in a scene that does not even bother to offer a logical excuse for his shirtlessness.

And after engineering the escape of those nurses, Tiger and Zoya dance to an item song playing along with the credits. I laughed through these two stereotypical scenes because by this point I had given up gasping with exasperation and had surrendered myself to the idiosyncrasies and ludicrousness of the genre (the genre being Bollywood masala). If you can see Tiger Zinda Hai for what it is, you too may not mind its unabashed blend of swag, silliness and schmaltz.

Tiger Zinda Hai: Protesters in Jaipur vandalise theatres screening Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif starrer

After the much-awaited Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif starrer Tiger Zinda Hai released on 22 December, there is a surging protest against the film’s screening in Jaipur. Protesters gathered outside Jaipur’s cinema theatres — the iconic Raj Mandir, Paras and Ankur to name a few; created havoc and vandalised the premises, claim multiple TV reports.


It was reported earlier that Salman Khan and actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra have been accused of hurting the sentiments of Valmiki community by uttering the word ‘bhangi’ in a disrespectful context. Thus the community has filed a case against both the actors and are staging protests in various towns and cities of Uttar Pradesh like Agra and Moradabad, along with Rajasthan.

While Salman Khan allegedly used ‘bhangi’ referring to his style of dancing in films, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, during an interaction with the media said that she is always dressed like a ‘bhangi’ at home. “I look like a bhangi doing this step,” said Salman in an old promotional video. Shilpa, when asked about her looks at home, said, “I look like a bhangi,” reports Times Now.

Tiger Zinda Hai is a sequel to the 2012 blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger and brings back the love story of cross-border spies — Tiger (Khan)and Zoya (Kaif) — along with some kick-ass action while they rescue people from the clutches of a fearsome militant group. The film is directed by Sultan helmer Ali Abbas Zafar and produced by Yash Raj Films.

Tiger Zinda Hai review: Salman is in his element in this visually spectacular action blockbuster

With Tiger Zinda Hai, Salman Khan is back — as the central part of an engaging action film that has its emotions and patriotic sense in the right place.

Getting back together with Salman after the successful Sultan, Ali Abbas Zafar takes the plunge to concoct a rewarding blockbuster that treats it’s star as importantly as it’s script.

Also read: Tiger Zinda Hai movie review LIVE: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif pulls off action sequences with conviction

As a sequel to Ek Tha Tiger, Tiger Zinda Hai picks up where it left off, plot wise. RAW is forced to seek their superhero, as the situation at Iraq gets out of hand: 40 nurses (25 Indian and 15 Pakistani) get trapped in a hospital, and need immediate help. In comes Tiger (Salman) to rescue the innocent from the claws of an aggressive baddie.

While the rest of the story is fairly predictable, what makes one sit through the film comfortably is Zafar’s skillful binding of the core plot, a little bit of romance, longing emotions and a strong Indo-Pakistan angle. The action in Tiger Zinda Hai is spot on.

Salman Khan, undoubtedly, is the centrifugal force of the film, never losing a single opportunity to throw around his Hulk-like image and own the screen.

It’s his film totally, and he aces his part comfortably. On the other hand, Katrina Kaif, in a rather straight-faced role, doesn’t have much to do other than being a part of the proceedings. But it would be accurate to say she’s not in the scheme of things; she does turn in a surprise in the ‘Tera Noor’ number, one of the best moments in the film.

It’s also great to see Paresh Rawal back with Salman Khan on screen, and the rest of the supporting cast including Angad Bedi and Kumud Mishra — who have a scene to score each.

Tiger Zinda Hai boasts of hotshot technical wizardy, which is an added asset. As a must-have for a film of this magnitude, the cinematography, the cuts and the music have been meticulously worked on. Kudos to Julius Packiam’s background score, which helps in upping the ante during both the tense and the explosive parts of the film.

Though Tiger Zinda Hai is not as deep as Zafar’s earlier outing Sultan, in terms of it’s strong message, it does have a significant load of style coupled with a belligerent star in Salman Khan.

Go watch Tiger Zinda Hai if you’re a fan of large-scale action entertainers, with probably just the right amount of logic. Salman Khan has well and truly arrived (again) with a potential blockbuster that has enough to keep you pinned. Good fun while it lasts.