Ashdoc's Bollywood movie reviews

→ in
Tools    





Kaun kitney paani mein ( How deep is the water you are in ? ) 2015






I was attracted to this film due to the presence of the seductive Radhika Apte , who was in the flower of her youth when this film was being made . Also I was intrigued by the film's setting---Odisha , a state I have once visited years ago but which rarely makes it's appearance in hindi films . The rustic setting of the film attracted me too . After all , it is the real India that I was seeing .

The only fear was the film going down the familiar path of vilifying my religion in the name of political correctness , and taking an increasingly dark tone as it approaches it's topic . Fortunately that was not the case . The film does show caste differences , but it tries to showcase the whole thing in a light hearted manner that partly succeeds in reducing the tension in some situations .

The film begins with the king of a former kingdom in Odisha still lording over the lower castes even after the loss of his power . Lower caste people have to bend their back for him to climb on their bodies in order to seat in his vehicle . But his daughter does the grave perfidy of falling in love with a lower caste man and the king kills them both , also banishing the lower castes to a village at a lower level in altitude .

Decades pass and the king is gone and his son is now king ( Saurabh Shukla ) . All his former grandeur is gone and he even has to put on false mustaches to show false bravado . Reason---due to climate change his village has no water and is parched . In frustration he tries to sell it but there are no takers for a parched village . And the tables are turned and the lower castes have plenty of water in their village due to far sighted building of a lake where water collects easily due to lower altitude of the village . The leader of the village is Kharu pehelwan ( Gulshan Grover ) who royally hates the king but has an enticing daughter---Paro ( Radhika Apte ) , the reason I was watching the film .

And I was waiting for Paro to fall in love with the king's son ; he had to have one to get the story moving….And the prince duly makes his appearance being played by Kunal Kapoor . His father encourages the romance to get water pipeline from the lower village , but tells his son to fool Paro and dump her after getting the pipeline with promises of marriage .

But best laid plans do go awry don't they....especially in films where the passion called romance exists . The prince really falls in love with the character of Paro played by Radhika Apte , invoking jealousy within my heart for I wanted to possess myself of her in vain . And all hell breaks loose with both castes once more on the warpath .

So is it 'Qayamat se Qayamat tak' redux ? Watch the movie for the answer . There are some other funny characters in the film , like the prostitute who takes her fees in bags of water ( such is scarcity of water ) and the priest who grows marijuana in his backyard and the weaver who is secretly building his own tunnel to bring much need water and the village goddess whose temple becomes the centre of attention in the climax .

Amidst all this , what gave me enormous satisfaction was the fact that the lower castes never gave up on their religion even in moments of humiliation ; that they continued to follow hindu traditions to the fullest . Colours photography acting background music and songs are all okay . Also okay is the film , taking on an art topic in a light hearted manner .

Verdict---Okay .

Two and a half stars out of fiveOdisha , a state I have once visited years ago but which rarely makes it's appearance in hindi films . The rustic setting of the film attracted me too . After all , it is the real India that I was seeing .

The only fear was the film going down the familiar path of vilifying my religion in the name of political correctness , and taking an increasingly dark tone as it approaches it's topic . Fortunately that was not the case . The film does show caste differences , but it tries to showcase the whole thing in a light hearted manner that partly succeeds in reducing the tension in some situations .

The film begins with the king of a former kingdom in Odisha still lording over the lower castes even after the loss of his power . Lower caste people have to bend their back for him to climb on their bodies in order to seat in his vehicle . But his daughter does the grave perfidy of falling in love with a lower caste man and the king kills them both , also banishing the lower castes to a village at a lower level in altitude .

Decades pass and the king is gone and his son is now king ( Saurabh Shukla ) . All his former grandeur is gone and he even has to put on false mustaches to show false bravado . Reason---due to climate change his village has no water and is parched . In frustration he tries to sell it but there are no takers for a parched village . And the tables are turned and the lower castes have plenty of water in their village due to far sighted building of a lake where water collects easily due to lower altitude of the village . The leader of the village is Kharu pehelwan ( Gulshan Grover ) who royally hates the king but has an enticing daughter---Paro ( Radhika Apte ) , the reason I was watching the film .

And I was waiting for Paro to fall in love with the king's son ; he had to have one to get the story moving….And the prince duly makes his appearance being played by Kunal Kapoor . His father encourages the romance to get water pipeline from the lower village , but tells his son to fool Paro and dump her after getting the pipeline with promises of marriage .

But best laid plans do go awry don't they....especially in films where the passion called romance exists . The prince really falls in love with the character of Paro played by Radhika Apte , invoking jealousy within my heart for I wanted to possess myself of her in vain . And all hell breaks loose with both castes once more on the warpath .

So is it 'Qayamat se Qayamat tak' redux ? Watch the movie for the answer . There are some other funny characters in the film , like the prostitute who takes her fees in bags of water ( such is scarcity of water ) and the priest who grows marijuana in his backyard and the weaver who is secretly building his own tunnel to bring much need water and the village goddess whose temple becomes the centre of attention in the climax .

Amidst all this , what gave me enormous satisfaction was the fact that the lower castes never gave up on their religion even in moments of humiliation ; that they continued to follow hindu traditions to the fullest . Colours photography acting background music and songs are all okay . Also okay is the film , taking on an art topic in a light hearted manner .

Verdict---Okay .

Two and a half stars out of five .



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



P Se Pyaar F Se Farraar

P stands for pyaar ( love ) F stands for farraar ( elopement )

( October 2019 )




Review has spoilers

The film was set in my favourite setting---the mofussil towns in the state of Uttar Pradesh , a ripe place for breeding caste conflict that makes for watchable movies if you have my taste....and this time it is Mathura , the birthplace of Hindu God Krishna whose ancient romance with eternal devotee Radha is stuff of legends....so much so that I saw that people greet each other with the words 'Radhe Radhe' when they meet each other in the movie .

But the modern world is a different place , and Kumud Mishra plays regional upper caste strongman Omveer Singh whose main task is to kill any couple which is inter religious ; even the girl is not spared but is butchered by himself . But what to do when his own daughter Jhanvi falls in love and elopes with a lower caste boy right under his very nose ? Erupt in violence what else....

Omveer's brother is the calm minded Rajveer ( Jimmy Shergill ) , who tries to bring some sanity to the situation . He chases Jhanvi and her lover Sooraj Mali ( Bhavesh Kumar ) up and down across the region and upto capital city Delhi , only to stumble upon the obstacle presented by Sooraj's relative Rajesh ( Girish Kulkarni ) who outwits him and helps the couple escape . And it is the older actors who provide the acting performances really rather than the juvenile couple in love .

The caste conflict is well shown in the movie in it's ideal setting of north India . The rivalries of upper with lower castes and the selfishness of politicians of both castes is well brought out . The movie does not fail to pay tribute in a scene to the original movie that is it's inspiration and that seems to be inspiring an entire genre of movies---the iconic 'Sairat' what else . But the tribute to 'Sairat' also means the movie is headed only one way---to a tragic end .

And the tragic end is a result of Omveer keeping an army of vigilantes who kill anyone who crosses the line of caste or religion for love ; they are hardly going to keep quiet if their leader's daughter is going to elope with a boy outside caste . As the vigilantes plan to make an example of Jhanvi by gang raping her before killing her , it is her own uncle Rajveer who has to kill her and her lover to save them from a fate worse than death....

The romance of Jhanvi with her boyfriend is well developed and so is their elopement , and the whole movie is interspersed with some melodious songs that enhance the viewing experience . Photography and colours are most decent and so is the background music . But the tragic climax put me in pathos even as it elevated the movie .

Verdict---Good .




Hirkani ( October 2019 )



Set in the time after Shivaji maharaj was coronated as King , the movie is on the legend of a woman who went down a very steep cliff off the fort of Raigad ( Shivaji's capital ) because the gates of the fort had been closed as they always were by sunset but she wanted to nurse her infant which was in a village below . There is no record of such a feat in the historical records of Shivaji , but a bastion called Hirkani buruj stands at the spot where she allegedly went down from the fort . It is named after the woman , whose name was Hirkani .

Heera ( Sonali Kulkarni ) is a simple woman living in a village at the foot of fortress Raigad , who has an infant child and a tall strong and strapping husband called Jeeva ( Amit Khedekar ) working in Shivaji's spy department . On the festival of kojagiri pournima she remains in the fort too long and the gates are shut as per rules at sundown . But eager to nurse her infant which is in the village below , she decides to climb down a steep cliff . On the way down which is nearly vertically down , she nearly loses her life as she slides down fast repeatedly hurting herself and gets slithered by a snake onto her body , As Shivaji's soldiers realise someone is going downwards , they feel that she could be an enemy agent . They throw boulders and flaming objects at her which narrowly miss her .

Finally when she reaches down , she finds her house being stalked by a wolf that has tormented her village . Using the technique taught by her husband she spears the wolf and kills it . Meanwhile the news reaches Shivaji himself and next day his soldiers take her back to fort for questioning . He asks her to prove herself by repeating the feat , but she admits that with the infant safe in her arms and not in the village below she cannot dare repeat the feat . Shivaji is convinced by her truthfulness and honours her and names her infant as Jhunjhar Rao , hoping that he will grow up to be a fighter for Swaraj like his father . The place where she scales down has a bastion built in her real name---Hirkani .

Sonali Kulkarni puts up an authentic performance as a mother worried for her child , and Amit Khedekar looks every inch a Maratha warrior fighting for swaraj . Colours and photography wise the movie scores and background music and songs are okay .

Verdict---Decent .

Three stars out of five .



Bypass Road



Vikram Kapoor ( Neil Nitin Mukesh ) is a rich fashion designer with a posh bungalow in Alibagh near Mumbai . Tragedy strikes as he meets an accident while driving on bypass road at the same time a model named Sarah Braganza ( Shama Sikander ) whom he has been dating gets killed . He is on wheelchair after this but police suspect him of having killed the model . But his father ( Rajit Kapoor ) supports him and he is taken care of by his loyal servant kaka .

He has a frosty relation with his step mother Romila ( Gul Panag ) , who is having an affair with another man . But his problems increase when someone repeatedly tries to murder him in his house . He and the police officer Roy ( Manish Chaudhari ) begin to suspect the fiance of the killed model named Jimmy ( Taher Shabbir ) . Vikram's only solace is the woman who is in love with him---Radhika ( Adah Sharma } , but he tries to reject her love thinking that she is only taking pity on him because of his condition .

But the game hots up as a masked man comes to kill him and Vikram decides to fight back . This leads to many twists and turns in the story and some action packed scenes . Problem is that there are twists and turns too many . You keep on wondering as the onus of villainy keeps on shifting from person to person and the plot gets over stretched .

The movie showcases the life of the rich and famous---their jet set lifestyle , their chic clothes and stunningly beautified women ( beautified by the clothes they wear ) , their parties and their money . Neil Nitin Mukesh is naturally handsome with pink complexion and brown beard , and both Adah Sharma and Shama Sikander look mouthwateringly beautiful .

Background music is just about okay , but photography and colours are top class . Acting is okay . Maybe cutting out a few twists in the plot would have helped .

Verdict---Okay .




FATTESHIKAST






The era is the second half of the seventeenth century. Aurangzeb has become Mughal emperor and has begun to set his eyes on the deccan , for here is the rising power of the grand rebel---Shivaji Maharaj ( Chinmay Mandlekar ) . To contain the rising power of Shivaji , Aurangzeb sends his maternal uncle Shaista Khan ( Anup Soni ) with a large army to unleash terror on Maharashtra . Shaista Khan's troops occupy Pune where Shivaji grew up and the khan makes Shivaji's Lal Mahal his abode along with his begums .

As Marathi people are dragged roped together as prisoners and slaves and their houses and farms are set afire after orgies of murder , the pressure is on Shivaji to retaliate against this tyranny . In this he has one trump card . Lal Mahal is where he grew up and he knows it's secret passages inside out . He is safe in his fortress hideout in the Sahyadri mountains , but he yearns to free his people from the Mughal yoke .

Shivaji first sends his trusted spies to find out where the guards are in Lal Mahal and the time of change of guard . His spy chief Bahirji Naik ( Harish Dudhade ) sends a female spy named Kesar ( Mrunmayee Deshpande ) to make friends with Shaista Khan's son's wife Rai Bagan sahiba ( Trupti Todarmal ) and thus gain entry into the harem and find out details of guarding etc . She has other male spies helping her pretending to be muslims . She is suspected to be a spy on several occasions but escapes capture as no proof is found . At grave risk to her life she still stays in the harem .

After due information is gathered , Shivaji gathers select troops for what the film makers have trumpeted as India's first surgical strike . Shivaji personally leads his men and they manage to slip into Lal Mahal for attacking the khan . Shaista is woken from his sleep to find Shivaji's men creating havoc in his residence . Shivaji attacks Shaista in dead of night and in the fight that breaks out cuts off three fingers of his hand himself . But other Mughal guards have woken up and the wounded Shaista clings on to his life . As Mughal soldiers chase a troupe of flaming torches they discover the torches have been attached to horns of animals . Shivaji and his soldiers have escaped after killing many Mughal soldiers .

As Shivaji returns back to his fortress to be welcomed by his mother Jijabai ( Mrunal Kulkarni ) and worried wife Soyrabai , there are tears in the eyes of Kesar for her king has returned safe from one more expedition that adds to his growing legend . The growing legend credits Shivaji with magical powers due to his sudden entry into heavily guarded residence of Shaista and the Khan vacates Pune in fear of those powers .

Acting is good by all actors and colours and photography is good too . The bhagwa jhenda ( saffron flag ) flies tall and mighty in many scenes , and background music and songs are decent too .

Verdict---Good .

Three and a half stars out of five .



Girlz ( november 2019 )



Ankita Lande plays Mati , a girl living in Kolhapur who feels stifled by her conservative mother's strict upbringing . She is not allowed to wear the short clothes she wants to wear , not allowed to poke out her bra out of her top and not even allowed to wear sunglasses after her mother catches her sex chatting with a boy on smartphone . The smartphone is whisked from her hands and replaced by an ordinary mobile phone . Mati's social media accounts are blocked by her mother ( Devika Daftardar ) and her ambition to travel far and wide is nipped in the bud .

But Mati makes friends with a boy ( Parth Bhalerao ) in college who tricks her mother into allowing her to go to Goa on a solo trip . But the mother keeps constant watch by regularly phoning and asking the lady hotel manager in Goa to keep an eye on her daughter . However Mati meets Maggie/Margaret ( Ketaki Narayan ) in her hotel , and dreams of wearing the hot and sexy clothes that Maggie wears . Also she meets Rumi , who is constantly reminiscing of the boy she once loved and lost---Aditya...but only after Aditya has had slept with her .

Rumi however is nothing compared to Maggie , who sleeps with numerous men and is a free bird . As the three hang out in Goa soaking in the nightlife , dancing in discotheques , partaking in adventure sports and lazying on beaches , Mati more and more wants to live the life Maggie lives . One day Maggie encourages her to wear nothing but a bikini on a beach and Rumi uploads the photos on social media .

But Mati's mother explodes in fury on seeing the photos and recalls her back , slapping her hard and curtailing her freedoms . However Maggie keeps on phoning her and one day Mati runs off back to Goa leaving her parents worried . She Maggie and Rumi paint the town red , drinking till they puke and uploading videos of that on social media .

But actually all is not well in Maggie's life and she comes from a broken household . The free life that she leads is a facade , and it is upto Mati to bring her to her senses and reunite Maggie to her father . Then the three girls teach a lesson to Rumi's ex Aditya , who is off to marry another girl . All this makes Mati realise the importance of remaining with her own family , and she returns home a bit tamed by her experience . Her understanding father helps her and her mother reconcile with each other .

The first half of the movie is full of fun and jokes and frolic , and the photography of Goa is really nice . Background music and songs are decent too . Second half is serious and the mood is a bit sombre . Acting is decent by everyone and comedy by Parth Bhalerao who plays Mati's friend . Ketaki Narayan looks really enticing as Maggie wearing sexy clothes and smoking pot in style .

Verdict---Decent .

Three stars out of five .