Movie Review – Maska

TL;DR – A nice story that does tread some well-worn ground    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Maska. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

So to set the scene, we open in on Rumi Irani (Prit Kamani) who is living in his late father’s shadow. Like all things, he is fated to take over the family business which in this case is the Café Rustom an Irani café in Mumbai. His mother Diana (Manisha Koirala) cannot wait till he can take over the café and breathe new life into it. However, one night Rumi won the Mr Firozsha Baag and in it, he discovered his dream, he wants to become an actor. Of course, it does not hurt when he discovers that at his acting lessons not only is this his passion but one of his classmates Mallika Chopra (Nikita Dutta) might be his soul mate.

One of the things I like about Maska is how is it is about breaking out of the bubbles of our life. I once heard that tradition is just peer pressure from dead people and in this film that is both a metaphorical point and also a literal one as he sees an apparition of his father Rustom (Javed Jaffrey). It is about balancing the expectations of your past with the realities of the future.

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Movie Review – Yeh Ballet

TL;DR – a fun film about finding your place in the world through a talent you never knew you had   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Yeh Ballet. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

We continue our look at Indian cinema this week with an interesting film that has recently arrived on Netflix. It is a film that charts the highs and lows of two kids finding a new outcome for their lives. Also, it is kind of cool that it is all based on a true story.  

So to set the scene, we open in on the Mumbai slums as Asif (Achintya Bose) competes in a festival of people stacking on top of each other to get the prize hanging above. Elsewhere Nishu (Manish Chauhan) has made it onto the TV and while his raw talent is impressive, his lack of skill lets him down. Both of the boys have a trajectory of where their lives are headed and neither of them is happy with where it is going. All of this changes when a local talent scout and dance studio owner (Jim Sarbh) brings over the cantankerous Saul Aaron (Julian Sands) to coach his students in ballet and he sees something brilliant in the two boys from the slums.       

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Movie Review – Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (Extra Careful of Marriage)

TL;DR – A fascinating if a little blunt film about love in India  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (Extra Careful of Marriage). Image Credit: T-Series.

Review

In my endeavour to watch more non-English language films, I had been spending a lot of time with those coming out of Europe, but this week I want to shift things by focusing on India. With that in mind, today we look at the first of two Indian films out this week that really intrigued me and this is a film is all about finding love even in the face of your family.

So to set the scene, we open in on two guys making a last-minute rush to get to a train that is about to depart as we hear about just how much weddings cost in India. We then go back a bit in time to meet Kartik (Ayushmann Khurrana) and his partner Aman (Jitendra Kumar) who hide who they are from their families by living away in Delhi. One day as they are helping a good friend elope they get caught by her family and need to get out of town for a bit. Well, that’s good timing because Aman’s cousin Goggle (Maanvi Gagroo) is about to be married back in Ahmedabad. The only problem is that Aman’s family does not know he is gay and it goes about as well as you imagine it does.

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Movie Review – Drive (2019)

TL;DR – Today I have what might be the easiest pitch I have ever heard, its Fast and the Furious but Bollywood. Well, that is if you can get through the very uneven first hour that is and some super clunky CGI.    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Drive (2019). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I like me a good heist film, where you have shifting loyalties, betrayals, convoluted plans, misdirection, and of course a quick exit. So when I heard that there was a Bollywood heist film with a dash of the Fast and Furious and a sprinkle of well-choreographed dance sequences, I knew I had to give it a watch. Well, let’s dive into a world where you need to screech those tyres and aggressively change gears every half a second.

So to set the scene, the Director of Monetary Restrictions Authority Vibha Singh (Vibha Chibber) and her chief of staff Hamid (Pankaj Tripathi) are going about their days, using less than conventional technics to get businessmen to pay all their taxes when they get an urgent message from President’s office. As his aid Ifran (Boman Irani) explains there is a new thief on the scene called King because they leave a playing card with the location of their next heist at the place they have robed. Well the next place they are going to rob is right there at Rashtrapati Bhavan, India’s Presidential Palace. Their only lead is Tara (Jacqueline Fernandez) who runs an illicit courier business so they sent in a double agent Samar (Sushant Singh Rajput) to see what they can find out.

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Movie Review – Noblemen

TL;DR – A deeply painful and confronting film about the damage we cause to others and more the damage we do to ourselves.      

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Noblemen. Image Credit: Yoodle Films.

Review

Oh boy, is this a difficult film to digest, it is one of those films that deal with very important issues in a way that you cannot hide from them. But because you can to hide from them they are shown without restraint and that is really difficult to sit through. An important film dealing with important matters and it made me feel joy and real pain. I also should say right from the start that there are some very confronting scenes in this film and that some people should be careful to check out a more detailed plot summary before watching.

So to set the scene, in a private school in the mountains of India Shay (Ali Haji) is constantly bullied by the upperclassmen as a way of ‘making a man out of him’ but there is one ray of hope because he has just been cast as the lead in the school play of Merchant of Venice. The only problem is the best friend of his main tormenter Arjun (Mohommad Ali Mir) also wanted the role and Baadal (Shaan Grover) will stop at nothing to get it. But that is easy for the upperclassmen, they just have to torment Shay until he relents. Which starts a cycle with lasting consequences.

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TV Review – Bard of Blood

TL;DR – This an interesting spy series which is unfortunately held back a bit with inconsistent pacing and the flow-on effects from that.  

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Bard of Blood. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

One of my goals this year has been to expand my global cinema intake from places away from the traditional English speaking countries that I am used to. I have not been as successful as I would have liked, but when a new Indian spy thriller drops on Netflix you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Now I have finished it, wow, is this series a lot, and I think it might also have lasting repercussions.

So to set the scene, in Balochistan, Pakistan, a group of Indian deep-cover spies are in a lude video internet café using it as a cover as they upload important information back to New Delhi. However, before they can finish, they are captured by the local Taliban. Before they can be executed the Pakistani Intelligence forces intercede and save then, not to keep them alive, but to kill them at the right time and place. Back in India, one of the chiefs in India’s Intelligence bureau Sadiq (Rajit Kapur) feels that something is odd so he seeks out Kabir Anand (Emraan Hashmi) code name Adonis but there is bad blood between them over what happened last time in Pakistan. He instead sends Isha (Sobhita Dhulipala) to retrieve him, however, Sadiq is murdered in his home and Adonis is framed, and only he might be able to save the agents because there is a mole in the Indian government and he does not know who they might be. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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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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