TV Review – Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls and PM Modi

TL;DR – This was such a surreal experience even if it might have been the most uncritical political interview I have seen in a while.  

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls and PM Modi. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review


It has been a long time since I have been able to catch an episode of Man Vs. Wild. Back in the day it was this weird yet deeply compelling story of Bear Grylls dropping himself into the wild (or apparently wild) locations and trying to survive by consuming some of his own urine. Well if anything is going to get me back into a show it is Bear Grylls going on a trip with the Indian Prime Minister.

I was wondering how if at all the show had changed over the years and in the first five minutes of the show Bear picks up and examines some elephant dung. So the more things change the more they stay the same. Over the years, there have been some contentions as to how staged the show is if at all. Well here when you have a world leader in a place that he could get killed by a tiger so there is no chance they would be allowed to walk around by themselves and I liked that they acknowledged that the Secret Service is around.

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Movie Review – Kaake Da Viyah

TL;DR – A really interesting scenario with some memorable performances, but it could have been streamlined a bit and it could have dialled the zany back a bit.

 Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Kaake Da Viyah. Image Credit: Yogmaya Productions.

Review

If there is one genre that I always find interesting, it is the family politics of conflicting generations. There is that divide between tradition and the future, people taking sides, and in the case of Indian cinema a good song or two. Well, today we get to look at a film that is just that as three generations try to use marriage to outmanoeuvre the rest.

So to set the scene, Navi (Jordan Sandhu) is studying and spending as much time away for home as possible because he has found his one true love Mahi (Prabh Grewal). That is because at home his mother Tej (Priti Sapru) and his grandmother Bebe (Nirmal Rishi) are constantly fighting. As Bebe never forgave that her son married Tej without her blessing. He wants to marry Mahi, but he is not sure how to break it to both of them, well the one day he finally finds the courage disaster strikes when he discovers that both his mother and grandmother have found wives for him and they are not Mahi.

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Movie Review – Uyare (Rise)

TL;DR – A powerful look at overcoming adversity thrust upon you by a cruel and uncaring world     

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Uyare (Rise). Image Credit: S Cube Films.

Review

Today we are looking at a film that charts the lows and highs of someone who is recovering from one of the worst breaches of trust imaginable. This is a film that knows how to cast a light on a real problem in society by creating strength rather than spectacle.  

So to set the scene, we open in as Pallavi Raveendran (Parvathy Thiruvothu) who is taking her first flight in a plane and in that moment she found that joy that is discovering your passion. This is what she wanted to be when she grew up and she focused her life on becoming a pilot. When she finally gets to flight school, everything is going well until her boyfriend Govind (Asif Ali) could no longer accept the fact that she is the successful one in the relationship.  

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Movie Review – Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil

TL;DR – It is said that a film succeeds if it makes you feel something, well if that is all it took than this film would be a success, but considering this made me feel revulsion and anger, I think it takes more than that.    

Score – 1 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Warning – This film contains extensive scenes of abuse

Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil. Image Credit: Netlifx.

Review

Okay I’m going to be honest right from the start, I am coming to this film as someone who is from outside of India and does not have the most extensive experience with Indian cinema, so there may be some context I am missing. Also, by writing this review I feel like I am positioning myself in the same position as some of the people criticised in the film, an irony that is not lost on me. But all of that being said, you can skip to the end if you want because I do not in any shape or form recommend this film.

So to set the scene, we open in on a couple a man (Rohit Kokate) and women (Khushboo Upadhyay) who are walking along a coastal boardwalk in Mumbai. They are in a relationship but they are not married so they need to be discreet given the conservative aspects of Indian society. But as they talk it is clear that both of them want different things out of the relationship.

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Movie Review – His Father’s Voice

TL;DR – It filled with the mixed emotions that come with tracing your past a world full of nostalgia and pain.      

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

His Father's Voice. Image Credit: Indie Rights.

Review

Your past can be something filled with joy or tinged with regret. We dream of the past but sometimes forget the effect it has on our present and future. This is especially true when it comes to the issues around a parent’s separation because it adds a whole other layer of issues with how we interpret the past. Today we look at a film that interprets all of this through the lens of Indian performance art.

So to set the scene, we open on Kris (Christopher Gurusamy) making a long journey from the city to a complex deep in the jungle. This is where he spent most of his childhood growing up in a musical collective who put on performances based on Indian mythology and Hindu Religious epics. There is also a little trepidation for Kris as this is also a place of great pain for him. He is soon spotted by Valli (Sudharma Vaithiyanathan) who he uses to play with as a child and he asks the first of many pertinent questions “Where is my dad” but Jon (Jeremy Roske) likes to travel around India so while he is not here, though he should return. So Kris decides to wait at the compound for his father’s return and dredges up the memories of the past.

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Movie Review – Hotel Mumbai

TL;DR – This is an incredible, violent, and emotionally visceral film that will grab you in the first frame and not let go  

Score – I honestly don’t know how to score this.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Hotel Mumbai. Image Credit: Screen Australia.

Review

In a now previous life, I taught international relations to university students. This is a large discipline and one of the areas we looked at was terrorism, which happens to be one of the most pressing security issues in the modern world, or not, it’s complicated. All of this meant that when I walked into the theatre to review this film I thought I had a pretty good handle on what I was about to see, as I was quite familiar with the 2008 Mumbai Attacks, and well I could not have been more wrong.

So to set the scene, we open with a boat slowly making its way into one of the many harbours on the Mumbai shoreline. On the boat are eight well-dressed young men who could be there for work in the financial capital of India, but immediately you know that is not the case. Each of them carries a large duffel bag and they are listing to someone give them instructions, directing them to different landmarks across the city. Meanwhile, across the city everyone else is just going through their day as normal, Arjun (Dev Patel) is trying to get his dastaar perfect as he gets ready for work at the Taj Hotel, Zahara (Nazanin Boniadi), her husband David (Armie Hammer), and their nanny Sally (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) are arriving at the hotel after a long flight and everyone is racing to get the room ready for her as her mother is a VIP, and the hotel head chef Hemant (Anupam Kher) is just trying to work out how to get everything done in such a short time. None of them knows the hell that is heading for them.

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Movie Review – Gully Boy

TL;DR – A story about finding your voice through rap in the slums of Mumbai hits just about every beat perfectly.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a scene over the first part of the credits

Gully Boy. Image Credit: Excel Entertainment.

Review

It has been a while since I have watched a movie about becoming a music superstar that had any kind of weight and substance behind it. Usually, they are content just to ride on the fact that people know the music very well, and as long as you drop those classic songs every now and again people will lap it up. Today we get to look at a film that doesn’t just rest on its laurels and call it a day, it instead focuses deeply on what it is to come from nothing and try to make it in a very competitive world.  

So to set the scene, we open in Mumbai, India, specifically the Dharavi slums on the outskirts of the city, and we start immediately in a moment of tension when Aftab (Vijay Raaz) brings home a second younger wife, much to the annoyance of both Murad (Ranveer Singh) and his mother Razia (Amruta Subhash). Murad is working hard at school, working hard on keeping his relationship with Safeena (Alia Bhatt) on the quiet, but he has a real passion for rap. In his quiet time, he watches videos on YouTube and works on his own lyrics. However, he doesn’t have the confidence to take it to the next level, which is when MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi) gives him the push he needs.

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