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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 .



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 .



Panipat





The movie showcases the third battle of Panipat , which was fought between the forces of the Indian Maratha empire led by general Sadashivraobhau and the afghan troops led by their king Ahmad Shah Abdali in the mid eighteenth century . Abdali had come to loot India several times before , but this time he was confronted by the marathas .

Sadashivraobhau was the cousin of the peshwa ( prime minister ) of the marathas , and he is played by Arjun Kapoor . He is popularly called bhau . He is reluctant to get married , but is constantly wooed by Parvatibai who is a practitioner of herbal medicine, played by Kriti Sanon . Their love story has been well built up , and Kriti has produced the best performance in the movie acting wise and she really stands out .

Also well brought out are the jealousies in the peshwa's court , where the peshwa's wife is uncomfortable with bhau's growing stature . But after he defeats the ruler of Hyderabad ( neighboring kingdom ) in the battle of udgir , bhau's position becomes too big to ignore and attempts to sideline him to other duties come to a naught when Abdali invades India and his henchman Najib ud daula kills a maratha general . Bhau is elected general of the army that is sent north .

Bhau has great reliance on the artillery that he has acquired by bringing to his side Ibrahim Khan Gardi , the commander of the Hyderabad forces. They are huge cannons capable of smashing fortifications and prove their use in the coming campaign by destroying bastions of Delhi and Kunjpura . As the army moves north Bhau stiches a host of alliances . But they unravel as the battle comes close , especially with maharaja Suraj Mal . Also the ruler of awadh in north India joins Abdali and Najib over appeals of common religion . And bhau's co religionist kings in north India prove traitors at the last moment . That is why the movie has the suffix---the great betrayal .

The moves and countermoves of the rival forces and the chase up and down opposite sides of the yamuna river because it is flooded due to excessive rains and cannot be crossed ; all has been well picturised . Ultimately it comes to battle at panipat in today's haryana . Abdali is played by Sanjay Dutt and menacing music is played wherever he makes his appearance . But Arjun Kapoor is more effective as Bhau .

The battle has been shown in some detail and I liked the way in which it has been picturised . There are some good fighting scenes and aficionados of war movies will appreciate them . The boom of cannon balls , the clash of gleaming swords , the firing of muskets , the throwing of spears at enemy troops and the marksmanship of archers is shown well . Some cinematic liberty has been taken but that is expected .

The sight of maratha royals dancing and singing is there ; it is now expected from bollywood , though in real life warriors and their wives don't dance . The movie has some grandeur in scenes of the peshwa's court and in the rich clothes and tents of maratha royals . The saffron colour of hinduism makes it's appearance in flags and turbans of the soldiers . Their is even a fictional meeting between the heavily bearded Abdali and bhau , though in real life they never met .

The battle results in defeat for the maratha forces and slaughter of it's chiefs and many soldiers , but the movie says that Abdali lost so many soldiers that he admitted in a letter to the peshwa that bhau was the finest warrior that he ever fought . The movie shows a crestfallen Abdali never invading India again , something that is not fully true . He did invade the province of Punjab in India again , but was gradually driven out by the Punjabis who benefitted from the losses he suffered in the great battle .The marathas marched on Delhi again within ten years and captured it , so they recovered from the defeat .

Photography is good and colours of the movie are very decent . Songs and background music is decent too , and so is the acting by everyone . As a marathi I must appreciate the history of my people being brought to the silver screen by Bollywood in finery and colours .

Verdict---Good .





Pati Patni Aur Woh

( Husband Wife And She )



The film is based on the iconic 70's movie of the same name , which was based on a husband's philandering and it's effects on both wife and girlfriend.

Kartik Aryaan plays a small town boy living in Kanpur . He is liberal enough to not mind a wife who has had a relationship before , but who promises to give him lifelong companionship---played by Bhumi Pednekar.

The wife aspires to live in big city Delhi , and constantly taunts her husband about this . But one day a modern girl from Delhi comes to Kanpur for some work---played by Ananya Pandey . Husband starts getting attracted to her and flirts with her . Tells her some false story about his wife having an affair due to which he is unhappy and wins her sympathy. The girl takes him to big city Delhi and they dance in discos and she wants to go the full extent with him . But he balks at the last moment remembering his wife .

But wife has got wind of the affair and gets drunk with her old flame. The in laws on both sides get involved and so does a boy who is attracted to the wife and sends her love letters, leading to a lot of funny confusion. The husband's only help to get back his wife is his loyal friend played by Aparshakti Khurana .

Husband feels that he has not crossed the limit with the big city girl, having stopped at the brink of crossing it . But what about the big city girl who is in love with him ? Will she allow him to successfully reunite with his wife? And most importantly, will his wife forgive?

The movie has some comic situations in the first half and some emotional stuff in the later part of the second half . All of which is engaging to watch.

Acting wise the movie has good performances overall. Bhumi Pednekar looks good in backless blouses and Ananya Pandey looks glamorous in western clothes. Background music and songs are okay and photography and colours are okay too . Will keep you interested for a couple of hours giving light entertainment.

Verdict---Decent




Tanhaji , the unsung warrior



The movie shows Ajay Devgan play Tanaji Malusare , the Maratha warrior who was instrumental in the recapture of the fort of Kondhana from the Mughals by the forces of Shivaji maharaj .

However , the history of what actually happened has been considerably changed in the movie . The entire movie has considerable fiction though some touch with what had really happened has been barely maintained somehow .

The one major plus point of the movie is that it gives publicity to Tanaji Malusare in regions of India outside Maharashtra in a similar manner in which the movie 'Bajirao Mastani' gave publicity to Bajirao . Thus warriors popular in Maharashtra but little known outside it now have become known outside Maharashtra . This has been helped by the tremendous box office success of both movies .

The fort of kondhana was defended for the Mughals by it's Rajput commander Udaybhan , who was nothing but a soldier doing his job in real life . But in the movie the character of Udaybhan has been raised to the status of a villain by the acting of Saif Ali Khan . He has kidnapped a Rajput widow with whom he was in love before her marriage and she and her brother play a part in helping Maratha forces capture the fort by keeping Udaybhan distracted---all completely fictional and no such Rajput widow ever existed .

Amazingly , in the movie Tanaji makes a trip to the fort even before he actually captures it---needless to say , all this is completely fictional . Also completely fictional is the huge cannon called 'naagin' ( female cobra ) which Udaybhan has towed to the fort and has pointed towards Shivaji's capital Rajgad .

The character played by Shivaji is relatively sidelined in the movie ; his mother Jijabai has relatively more prominence . The movie is dominated by the rivalry between the character played by Ajay Devgan ( Tanaji called Tanhaji in the movie ) and the character played by Saif Ali Khan ( Udaybhan Rathod ) . Saif hardly looks like a Rajput warrior . His clothes are almost completely black like a muslim warrior .

Kajol plays Tanaji's wife and she looks and acts nicely . Acting by Ajay Devgan and Saif Ali Khan in their respective roles is decent without being spectacular . Colours and photography are decent while songs and background music are okay . The film has some well directed action scenes of fighting between the opposing forces .

As a hindu nationalist I liked the prominence given to the bhagwa jhenda ( saffron flag ) of Hinduism in the movie . Inspite of all the changes made by the movie makers to the real story of the capture of kondhana , the movie was entertaining enough for me to forgive the radical changes made to the history I had heard since childhood .

Verdict---Decent .

Three stars out of five .



Shikara ( Houseboat )



'Shikara' movie is a beautiful love story full of old world charm....of two nice good looking people getting united in holy matrimony and living the rest of their lives in love with each other....of caring for each other and never leaving each other till death does them part....of sharing the joys and heartbreaks together....but sadly today's generation may not want to see it in that way , because it is set against the backdrop of a long running conflict that has torn such emotions from the hearts of those on either side of the conflict .

Needless to say it is another movie on Kashmir , the war torn region that arouses strong passions everywhere in the subcontinent ; passions that do not allow space for softer emotions like love . Yet a film maker of Kashmiri origin ( Vidhu Vinod Chopra ) has tried to make a love story stand tall in the midst of conflict .

Kashmiri pandits ( hindus ) Shiv Kumar Dhar ( Aadil Khan ) and Shanti Sapru ( Sadia ) fall in love during shooting of a film in Kashmir and get married with the help of their muslim friend Lateef Lone ( Faisal Simon ) who is himself in love with a hindu girl named Arti . They build a lovely house called shikara ( named after a type of houseboat that is used for sailing in Kashmir's lakes ) and dream of a future together . But as the muslims of Kashmir get radicalised and many of them start making trips to Rawalpindi in Pakistan , the whole future of Kashmiri pandits comes under a cloud .

The couple are warned by their milkman that muslims are eyeing their house to be taken over from them , and this should have warned them about the impending kickout of hindus from Kashmir . But the naive couple remain in their own world and blindly trust their muslim neighbours' claims that they will protect them even after hit lists of hindus are posted on street corners . Their friend Lateef has already got radicalised after his father got shot by government forces during elections and has joined Pakistan backed terrorists . Lateef warns the couple to sell their house while they are getting a good price and leave . But the couple do not think about selling their house even decades after they have been forced out , such is their old fashioned longing for their heritage .

This brings us to the exodus of the Kashmiri pandits from Kashmir . Certainly the movie is most effective in showing the atmosphere of fear and terror in which the community was forced to leave . The sadness of leaving one's own land , the misery of living in squalid refugee camps , the callous attitude of officials in charge of resettling them is all well shown . One particularly troubling scene shows hungry refugees running after a truck desperate for the meagre amount of eatables being distributed to them . In the first half such scenes make the movie certainly gripping .

But in the second half the movie becomes more of a love story rather than a real account of what Kashmiri pandits had to endure . The violence unleashed against the community is not really shown and the movie then becomes typical Bollywood emotional fare about how the couple never gets communally affected against any religion even after what they have gone through and how the hero still remains attached faithfully to the memory of his muslim friend even after Lateef admits to have mistakenly killed the hindu girl he loved in the midst of his involvement in terrorism .

The heroine's name Shanti was also the name of the director's mother who never was able to return to her homeland after being evicted from it , and you have to watch the movie with the mindset that the director wanted to make a endearing and enduring love story set in backdrop of Kashmir in order to enjoy the movie . I changed my mindset accordingly and was able to enjoy the movie . Others with a harsher reading of the situation may not be able to enjoy it .

The pain of having lost their homeland is writ large on the faces of the lead pair throughout the movie , and their acting is sincere and their endurance in the midst of despair is heartbreaking . Songs and background music are good and help in making the film an emotional journey . Photography and colours are okay . But those wanting a less emotion tinted and more reality based version of the truth to be shown on screen will be disappointed . It will however appeal to those with a yen for timeless romance in times of adversity .

Verdict---Nice .




Love Aaj Kal

( Love nowadays )



Review has spoilers

Directed by Imtiaz Ali , the movie follows Imtiaz's now familiar philosophy of following your heart and not getting bogged down by practical matters like career and money . The trick is of course to make it likable once again and the movie does deliver on that thing .

So Sara Ali Khan plays a hip modern girl who goes to discotheques and is ready for a one night stand with Karthik Aryan whom she meets there . But Karthik turns out to be a weirdo who refuses at the last moment because he does not want a one night physical relationship with her but wants her to fall in love with him . Are the girl's and boy's roles getting reversed here ?

Soon Karthik begins following Sara and it does irritate her initially , until she comes to know that he has chosen her to be the one for his entire life but wants her only when she gets out of her mode of impermanent relationships and is ready to settle with him forever . Gradually she is at ease with Karthik but is not ready to give up on her dreams of being a big event manager .

However she begins to hear the story of a older man ( Randeep Hooda ) she is friends with , of coming from a small town where he fell in love with a girl and was caught by the conservative small town folk with the girl . The girl was to be packed off to another city to be kept away from him , but he boarded her train giving up his career as medical student just to be with her . And Sara is so mesmerised by tale of the romance that she begins to date the man who is in love with her and has tears when she finally falls in love with Karthik as she has overcome what she was afraid of---commitment . Her mother is not happy as she wants her to concentrate on her job but Sara is in love.

But one day Sara discovers Randeep with another woman who is not the woman he had followed for love. He admits that his story was incomplete and that he outgrew his small town love on discovering physical relationships in big city and this shatters Sara's world of true love . She breaks off from Karthik on the brink of getting hitched with him and makes it big in her career .

But one night she is abandoned by her then boyfriend in the middle of the street and it is Karthik who comes to rescue her in her drunken state . And Sara once again wants to make love to him....and Karthik again refuses because she is not ready for commitment . He really loves her and is ready to wait till she is really in love with him again . But he is off to the mountains for work and may not see her ever again .

What to do....? Sara rushes again to Randeep to hear the last part of his story and learns that one day he grew tired of physical relationships and went back searching for his original lady love . And found out that she was pregnant and in a relationship with another man . Randeep had lost his love forever.....and he does not want to same to happen to Sara....What to do again ? Time to rush to the mountains where Karthik is staying in a quest for lifelong love .

Sara Ali Khan looks mouth watering exposing her lovely fair body in stylish clothes and I have become her fan . Karthik Aryan in contrast has been given a half shaven look and that makes him look as if he hasn't bathed in a number of days . He is quite a looker himself but the director probably wanted him to look different having quirky thinking on love and romance . Yeah , what seems quirky to men are exactly director Imtiaz Ali's own thoughts . Needless to say , they will be liked by women . Maybe women should make a beeline to romance Imtiaz instead of Karthik . Question is , will he practice in real life what he preaches on celluloid ?

Background music is good and melodious songs effortlessly blend into the film to create an atmosphere of undying romance . And I found myself engrossed in watching the film . Photography and colours are okay. Throughout the movie watching experience I found relaxation and contentment . Why isn't real life like that ?

Verdict---Good .