Ashdoc's Bollywood movie reviews

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Lipstick under my veil ( July 2017)

The setting is the city of Bhopal , which is half Hindu and nearly half Muslim . And appropriately the movie is about the lives of four women who live in the same neighbourhood , two of whom are Hindu and two are Muslim . The lives of the Muslim ones are cloistered under the Burkha ( hijab like garment that covers from head to toe ) , but under the veil they dream of liberation.

Rihanna ( played by Plabita Borthakur ) has to go to college wearing the veil , but changes clothes in public toilets to ultra stylish dresses that she has shoplifted from malls because she cannot afford to buy them . She is a fan of Miley Cyrus and leads a dual life . In college she auditions for singing western music and manages to give fiery speeches campaigning for wearing western clothing like jeans . But at home she has to work to make Burkhas to eke out a living. She goes to a late night party and drinks alcohol and falls in love with a westernized dude , kissing him shyly .

Shireen ( played by Konkona Sen Sharma ) works as salegirl while her husband works in Saudi Arabia. But her husband does not know she works outside and being short tempered would expressly forbid it if he knew. Whenever he comes back he has rough sex with her without foreplay. She too is forced to wear the Burkha but tries to improve her life financially while her husband cheats on her with prostitutes.

Leela ( played by Aahana Kumra ) is the third female, being forced to marry one guy even if she is in a on off sexual relationship with another. She dreams off running away with her boyfriend out of Bhopal to chase her dreams. She has sex with her boyfriend in total abandon in different positions without her fiance knowing of it .

fourth is Usha aunty ( played by Ratna Pathak Shah ) , who is a fifty five year old female. She is consigned by society to live a life without sex because of her age , but has sexual attraction for her swimming coach. She phones him and has sexual conversations stroking and stimulating her body without revealing her identity.

The lives of all these females however come to a similar end ; they are caught breaking the backward rules imposed by Indian society and get punished for it and become outcasts . But as they sit together in one room ruminating over the disaster of having been caught out , they decide to laugh it away by lighting cigarettes that are forbidden by Indian society for women to smoke. It is nice to know that even in this condition they still have the fire of rebellion smouldering within them...

Even after deletion of 27 scenes by the censor board the movie has some kissing and sex scenes , leaving you wondering how much sex the director wanted to pack in the movie . But why does the movie come to an unhappy end ? In my opinion the notion of happy ending would have entailed walking into the sunset with a guy in tow , and the director was loathe to tie the women's good fortunes to a guy . The director chose to show them unhappy but rebellious still . That's probably the way the director would like women to be---free through rebellion .

The movie has been made to remind us that sex and freedom are natural rights of women as much as they are of men . And it has been umabashedly hyped as a women's movie . Acting is decent by everyone and music and photography is okay too .

Verdict---decent .

Three stars out of five

Indu sarkar ( july 2017 )

Indu Sarkar ( sarkar also means government ) is a cleverly connived name---ostensibly it is the name of the heroine of the movie played by Kirti Kulhari . But the game of the name is different of course . The whole movie harks back to the time of the emergency ( martial law---akin to dictatorship ) that was imposed on the country by Prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975 , and the name 'Indu sarkar' also harks back to the time when her sycophants used to say 'Indira is India' .

Indu grows up with a stammer in a children's home , and struggles to find a mate because of her stammer even though she is beautiful . But she manages to catch the attention of Navin Sarkar ( played by Tota Roy Chowdhary ) , who is a high ranking government servant ( even high rankers were called servants during the time ) . And they get married soon . Indu is the meek wife who is totally dependent on her husband due to her stammer .

But as the emergency is launched she sees in a slum demolition drive in which innocent people are being killed and protects two children there , whom she brings home . But her husband wants her to abandon the children and does not want to hear a bad word about the emergency ( now you know the meaning of government 'servant' ) . But Indu , who has seen the horrors of the emergency at close quarters , decides to leave her husband who is clearly a part of the government machine of tyranny . She comes in contact with a group of activists who are organising people against the emergency and joins them . They are led by a Gandhi like figure , called Nanaji played by Anupam Kher .

This brings us to the villain of the movie , who is called 'chief' but his being Sanjay Gandhi ( PM Indira Gandhi's son ) is hardly disguised . In fact Neil Nitin Mukesh is near perfect in looks to Sanjay Gandhi , and his dialogues exude the same arrogance . His coterie is complete with characters who look like Kamal Nath , Jagdish Tytler and Rukhsana Sultana . When his footware falls from his feet ministers of government rush to put it back onto his feet . He spouts dialogues like 'Government of the country runs at the crack of a whip' or words to that effect .

The movie begins with a forced vasectomy ( sterlisation ) drive which was a draconian measure to reduce overpopulation of the country and was the most notorious hallmark of the emergency ; scores of young people are shown forced by the chief's minions to undergo vasectomy and therefore unable to beget children in future . Not surprisingly, 'Indira hatao indriya bachao' ( remove Indira from power and save your genitals) became a powerful election slogan among these people in the next elections .

Indu ( Kirti ) latches herself into the struggle against emergency with a commitment that surprises ; the frail sweet looking Kirti Kulhari looks too fragile for this . She looks like woman made for romance , so goodlooking she is . But Kirti has put all her acting talent to use to produce a spontaneous performance that makes the story all too believable . Her emotional speech in the end in the courtroom when she is put on trial for fighting against the government is great to hear as a case against the emergency , and her stammer has been put to good effect to make her appear so vulnerable . And in the end her husband too realises his mistake....but by that time it is too late for making good past mistakes .

The movie has decent performances all around , and background music and songs and photography are okay too . The climax in which Indu is reunited with the children she had saved in the demolition drive makes for an emotional ending .

Verdict---Good .

Three stars out of five .

Sonali cable ( 2015 )

This film features cute actress Rhea Chakravborty playing the role of Sonali---a girl from the Mumbai ( Bombay ) slums who dares to enter the big bad world of the TV cable operator business . Now I have seen TV cable operations owners at close quarters and all of them are guarded by sten gun welding bodyguards . So what is such a cute gal doing in the cut throat TV cable operator business , where every TV cable operator tries to encroach on other's territory leading to violence ? Well , like a typical Mumbai ( Bombay ) gal , Sonali is fiesty and fire spirited , even though she has to look enticing and inviting to the film's audience exposing a bit of flesh in navel showing and cleavage baring and tight figure hugging tops .

Hell , she's even got the right credentials for her spiritedness , for her father is a former goon who boasts of having taken part in every riot that Mumbai ( Bombay ) has ever had . And he's got a surname fitting for a goon---Tandel . And Sonali Tandel may be only undeucated , but her father has given her all the leeway to do anything she wants , including angling for the boy she loves since childhood . And that is Raghu , played by Ali Fazal . He is the local politician's ( played by Smita Jaykar ) son and has a major stake in Sonali's cable operator business . His mother cannot control his love for Sonali , and he can't bear to see his mom smoking cigarettes . Mom returns the favour by calling Sonali her daughter and therefore her son's sister , thereby declaring her opposition to the match .

Enter the big bad TV cable network owner Waghela , played by Anupam Kher . He tries every trick in the book through his slick agent to take over Sonali cable but fails , finally resorting to real violence . His goons kill Sonali's right hand man ( Played by Raghav Juyal ) who is more than like family to her , shattering her personally . Waghela's men then wean away Sonali's workers by offering higher pay , and try to shoot dead Raghu her love . But they have forgotten the old saying--hell hath no fury like woman wronged....

Sonali hatches a plan to take revenge on Waghela , but does she succeed ? Watch the movie for the answers . Meanwhile , Rhea plays a slum grown Mumbai ( Bombay ) gal perfectly . Her language from the slums is perfect . Her non ability to speak english is even more perfect . Forty become 'phourty' and fifty becomes 'phiphty' when spoken from her mouth . She is sweet and sassy and endearing . Her gang of workers from Sonali cables are a boisterous bunch from the slums ; they dance unsophisticatedly and they talk the language of the Mumbai street . But the heart of the film is Sonali as acted by Rhea Chakraborty . The whole film revolves around her .

The pace of the film does loosen up towards the end . Anupam Kher as Waghela is more like a comic book villain---more funny than menacing . Songs and background music are okay . Colours and photography and good . The drama in the film however cannot be called high octane .

Verdict---one time watch .

Two and a half stars out of five .

Gurgaon ( August 2017 )

I really like the haryanvi speaking people living around the national capital region . They provide endless fodder for violent films without complaining about their depiction as violent in films , thus proving that beneath their tough exterior they may be actually tolerant at heart . So we have to experience seeing one more violent film showing their violence....but when the alternative is seeing the horrible 'When Harry met Sejal' then a cinema buff like me has no choice....

So the character played by Akshay Oberoi ( Nikki ) does not particularly care for his sister---Preet , played by Ragini Khanna . Her father ( played by Pankaj Tripathi ) may have given her a foreign education , but actually she is an adopted child . She was adopted because her father wanted to atone for taking part in a horrible ritual of burying alive of a female child in his younger days....yeah you guessed right , the director wants to say that such things are common that region . So Nikki does not like his sister Preet , especially because father has named all his properties in her name . But he is the kind of person who does not like anyone except himself anyway , judging from the unsavoury deeds that he commits even before the story kickstarts .

So what are the unsavoury deeds Nikki commits ? For starters , he does the cinematically innovative act of kidnapping the guitarist of a rock concert because he and his friends were not allowed into the rock concert . Then he takes him to a remote place and forces the guitarist to perform for himself and his gang . But after this Nikki does not release the guitarist because he is in a particularly foul mood that see , he lost 1 crore rupees in a bet he laid on a cricket game and has no way of returning it back....

But all these troubles do not stop Nikki from having a thing for the foreigner female friend Preet has brought from America , and when she refuses to oblige him after he fights with someone in a disco he pours his frustration on the prostitute he visits by smacking her face right and proper....

But what to do about the fact that Nikki has to pay money back to the betting mafia ; the one crore he lost on the cricket match bet ? His dead emotionless brain invents the plan of kidnapping his own sister Preet in order to extort money from his father ; anyway she is not his sister in reality....
But as the kidnapping progresses , things go wrong as they always do in so many movies . But in this film they do go wrong in a very sinister way .

Akshay Oberoi plays the main villain with a deadpan expression of callousness on his face always ; that's the only way he can convince you that he is bad , because otherwise he is a goodlooking guy who could easily play hero....except that in this movie there is no scope for hero , for almost everyone is as bad as it gets . Preet is a tough cookie too , who doesn't crumble under strain . But she is a woman , and women are kept suppressed by these people . So ultimately she is crushed by events and by her so called brother's malevolence and by the patriarchy that exists in these parts of India .

The director has shown an orgy of betrayal in the movie along with the endemic violence . Pankaj Tripathi plays the patriarch of the nouveau rich people who have killed their own brothers for land disputes in their humble past and have since got into money due to the development of Gurgaon around Delhi , but have hardly been able to curb their primitively warlike instincts inspite of their newfound affluence . Amir Bashir plays his brother , who is brutal and merciless . Guns , pickaxes , shovels---all are used for killing both innocent and guilty people .

The colours have dark shade to them in the movie , maybe because many events take place in the dark or maybe because of the dark theme of the movie . Photography is decent , and so are the background music and the songs which are also strictly in the background ; this is not the kind of film in which the characters are going to start singing with their lips or breaking into a bhangda anyway . It's a grim thriller with twists and convolutions that keep you rooted to your seat .

Verdict---Decent .

Three stars .

Buddha in a traffic jam

Arunoday Singh plays a dynamic young man who has come to Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh to study in a university . He is talkative and can make speeches inspiring his peers . He has all the makings of a yuppie ; he is liberal and cool and as sophisticated as they come . His and his friends' lifestyle is as cool as it can be in India ; they dance and sing to the beat of rock music , they ( including the females ) drink and smoke and party . His female friend ( played by Akanksha Dwivedi ) is free enough to dance almost topless on the bartender's table in a lounge . So free that she act attracts the unwanted attention of the moral police , who violently interrupt the act .

But at not too long a distance from Hyderabad in the district of Bastar lives another India . The tribals living there are being crushed by both sides---by the communists who beat them up regularly for co operating with government authorities and the government authorities who humiliate them for being in cahoots with the communists . They have no hope of progress or development . Their only source of pride is their 5000 year old way of life that has not been change for 5 millenia . It is they who are focus of the film , even though it is played out mainly in the big city .

Back in the big city , Arunoday Singh takes part in a campaign called pink bra campaign against the moral police and he comes into the limelight due this . His articulate speeches against the moral policing win him admirers and he becomes a popular figure in the university . During this time he comes to the attention of a professor in the university ( played by Anupam Kher ) and his wife played by Pallavi Joshi . They run an Non Govermental Organization ( NGO ) which sells pottery made by the tribals from Bastar and the sales of the pottery are used to help raise money for the tribals' development....a worthy cause , no doubt . Along with them is Mahie Gill , who openly says to Arunoday that she is a believer in the tribals' cause. A communist sympathiser who grows close to Arunoday soon .

But the NGO runs on government grants , and the government has recently decided to cut the flow of funds to such NGOs because the money is being fuelled to the naxalites . So Anupam Kher approaches Arunoday to create a way of raising money for his NGO . Arunoday takes up the task with full gusto and soon comes up with a master plan to sell the tribals' pottery online and cut out all the middlemen , so that the money is directly transferred to the tribals for whose benefit the whole enterprise is supposed to be . But Anupam Kher develops acute discomfort at this idea , and he says that he is a professor not a businessman and his prestige as a professor will be affected if he goes into online business .

But the real reason for his refusal is different ; he is the typical communist type of professor , in cahoots with the communists and their brutal leader who is played by Gopal K Singh . Anupam goes to meet them in their hideouts , and this time when he goes there he is told that Arunoday must be killed immediately . For Arunoday's plan for helping the tribals' is too good ; it will bypass all the middlemen controlled by communists and even the government agents who are all revealed to be part of the money siphoning mafia . Arunoday has unwittingly got mixed up in all this and has brought about his own doom...or has he ? For Anupam Kher's aide Mahie Gill is not a corrupt person but a real passionate communist who genuinely cares for the tribals' cause and is appalled by this planned murder , and her personal reason for this is that she is in love with Arunoday too . Also Anupam's wife Pallavi Joshi is shocked by her husband's involvement with the communists and is prepared to help Arunoday . Together they and Arunoday hatch a plan to bring the situation to justice....

Straightway I must say that it takes courage to make such a film ; the communist type of anti nationals whom the movie villainizes have a tremendous hold on our media and culture . All reviewers panned the movie after it was released under pressure from the liberal/anti national mafia which controls our press . And the director's courage must be applauded by watching the film . For it brings out the true colours of the universities like the one Arunoday attends and their professors . They are clearly funding the communists and in cahoots with them .

I could see myself in Arunoday---a real person , a buddha like figure who believes in peace and wants to lead a liberal westernized free life . But he has peoples' good at heart and being liberal does not mean he wants to be anti national . But in this movie Buddha has been caught in a traffic jam created by elements inimical to our nation....

The movie scores on photography and colours and has decent music and songs . Acting by Arunoday is top class and Anupam Kher too excels , especially excelling in his last speech when he spells out his mad dream of naxalite revolution in the classroom . For anybody interested in politics and wanting to be in touch with contemporary issues , the film is a must see !!

Verdict---Highly Recommended .

Four stars out of five

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Tara---the journey of love and passion ( 2013 )

I saw this film because it deals with the vaghari community from Gujarat , a community which inhabits the area around my clinic and forms my patients in large numbers . Also because vaghari women are very beautiful with many having light eyes and fair skin and frankly I am attracted to them . But I never dared to ask a vaghari woman out for a date because they are mostly illiterate and lower class . Also other gujaratis have a low opinion of them and that discouraged me . The former british rulers of India topped in this vilification . They declared the vagharis to be a robber caste . The stigma has stuck . However , this very stigma has brought the art film world to showcase this film in various film festivals across the world and give it awards . The appetite of westerners is whetted by films like these showing the life of alleged robber castes from poor India .

The film shows the trials and tribulations of Tara ( played by Rekha Rana )---a feisty young woman living in a village straddling the Maharashtra Gujarat border , judging from the equal number of Marathi and gujarati characters in the film . She deeply loves her husband Baldev ( played by Rohan Shroff ) and spends many nights soaked in passion making sumptuous love on their bed . I also was dreaming of doing the same with her , considering the bare naked back she was showing throughout the film wearing backless blouses . Indeed , the whole film shows these vaghari women in backless blouses which turn up our temperature . The women selected are fair and with seemingly soft skin of their bare naked backs , and they make love with their mates with some zest .

But misfortune strikes---Tara's husband Baldev is contracted by Patil who is the rich man of the village to ferment an illegal concoction of alcohol , but the police arrive on the scene to arrest Baldev . A wailing Tara tries to save Baldev to no avail and the court sends him to jail for months . This gives the villain of the story ( Babanya ) the chance to prey upon Tara , and when she refuses he spreads the canard that she is pregnant with his child in order to take revenge for her slapping him .

While this is happening to Tara her neighbour Sumi's condition is worse . Her husband has also been arrested along with Baldev and her own father in law takes advantage of this to try to make her the prey of his lust . Patil also takes sexual advantage of the poverty of vaghari women---so all men are the same . When Sumi's husband comes back he takes terrible revenge on the father in law by murdering him with a pickaxe . Meanwhile famine strikes the land and the vagharis have to steal water which is scarce by force from tankers with Tara in the lead threatening the driver of the water tanker with her sharp sickle . But she is a woman with humanity---she helps an old helpless woman by giving her own jewellery .

The big catastrophe for Tara comes when her husband believes Babanya's tall claims after coming out of jail and calls a village meeting and throws out Tara from the village for becoming pregnant with Babanya's child allegedly . Tara walks out in despair and gives birth to a female child . A kind Marathi lady gives her shelter . Here she meets Kishna ( played by Ashish Saleem ) who is well read and teaches her to read , falling in love with her . But Tara rejects his proposal of marriage ; she says she has respect for him but is now disinterested by the idea of marriage due to her past experience . She still believes that a woman's place is with her first husband , but the Marathi lady tells of her own alcoholic husband who used to beat her before he died and convinces Tara of remaining alone .

But the task of removing the stigma from Tara's name remains , and a DNA test is duly called for .The test confirms that Tara's child's father is her husband Baldev . Baldev agrees to accept her back , and do they all live happily after that ?.....naah...this is art film , and art films get awards only when the women walk independent . So Tara having cleared her name kicks out the undeserving husband and walks away free of men....she starts her own handicrafts business with her Marathi mentor and becomes financially free too....

The movie is obviously poverty porn made for the west to savour with images of poverty like an old woman dying due to lack of care and kids playing in dirty clothes . Acting is juvenile . But somewhere the movie's simplicity and earnestness of the heroine touches your heart . I gained an understanding of the life of my patients ; those people whom I used to ignore after treating them became real life people for me . Tomorrow when I walk into my clinic I will know something about them . The vagharis eat nonveg food unlike other gujaratis , a fact shown in repeated chicken killing scenes in the film .

Colours and photography of the film is real good . I found it an okay watch .

Two stars out of five .

Daddy ( September 2017 )

'Daddy' is the honorific given to Mumbai/Bombay's well known gangster Arun Gawli, who grew up in the now famous dagdi chawl ( stone building ) and made it and it's people his fortress .

But the movie shows him to be a reluctant gangster ; not ready to fire a gun quickly at the person he is supposed to shoot at . The leader of his gang is first Babu Reshim and then his close friend Rama Naik ; he follows their footsteps seemingly with reluctance . And they are for the first half under the shadow of Dawood ( called Maqsood in the film ) , for whom they work.

The first half is full of shootouts and blood spilling in which Arun gets slowly involved , but his voice is always humble and no aura is built around him . But he does dare to fall in love with a woman of different religion called Zubeida and she runs away from her marriage to another man to be with him . He is shown forever loyal to her with no daillances with prostitutes that are common among gangsters . And Zubeida ( played by Aishwarya Rajesh ) is his pillar of strength ; she even follows his police cavalcade when the police are transferring him from one jail to another to ensure that the police do not kill him on the way .

The police sure want to kill him ; or rather one policeman does .He is inspector Vijaykar ( played by Nishikant Kamat ) , who dreams of promotion in the police force by killing Daddy . So much so that even when he has the chance to arrest Daddy he tries to kill him . But Daddy is too smart ; he and his cohorts consistently outwit Vijaykar almost until the climax .

It is after both Babu Reshim and Rama Naik get killed that Daddy gets his place in the sun ; the others have no choice but to anoint him as leader as the two are dead . And Daddy decides to bolster his reputation ( which is not that of a bold person at all ) by incurring the enemity of the ultimate gangster---Dawood who else . Though the shooting fails to kill Dawood , it finally brings Daddy out of the D gang's shadow.

And soon politicians make a beeline for Daddy . Dawood is forced to quit India and run to Dubai , leaving Daddy to boast about remaining in India while others have fled away. But Daddy does not join any political party and instead floats his own . Rejects all offers of political alliances. And triumphs over everyone by winning elections .

But at his moment of triumph he makes his biggest mistake handing victory to the police . He kills the politician who openly rebukes him In legislative assembly for being a gangster and this gives police the chance to send him in prison for life .

Arjun Rampal has put a superbly understated performance as Arun Gawli aka Daddy , and his acting has been complemented by Aishwarya Rajesh who really brings out the strength of their marital relationship . There are only a few songs but background music is commendable. Colours are appropriate for the settings and photography is good .

Verdict---Good .

Three and a half stars out of five

The final exit ( September 2017 )

A fashion photographer ( played by Kunaal Roy Kapoor ) lives the hedonistic life---a new woman every evening and drugs every night . It begins to affect his job and his work and his doctor gives him pills to ward off the drug habit . But a strange supernatural thing begins to happen every time he wakes up from a drug fuelled slumber ; he sees clips on his computer of a mysterious woman at his bedside every night . Later he begins to see her live on the screen of his camera every time he takes a photo , and she comes closer every time he takes a new photo giving the chills to the audience . But she does not hurt him ever and goes away every night after staring at him for endless hours leaving behind her high heeled shoes .

Later he begins to have dreams of a mysterious place high in the mountains where a damsel is in dancing pose with her lovely face hidden by clothing . He desperately yearns to go to this place , but apparently he gets to see this place only when he has dreams after taking drugs . His doctor tells him that drug fuelled dreams are remembered as reality after waking up and that is why he must give up his drug habit . So is the damsel and the place in the mountains just a creation of his drug induced stupor ? Or is it for real ?

But one day Kunaal meets a delicately beautiful maiden in exposing clothes at his photo exhibition who takes him on a ride in his vehicle and shows the route to the place of his dreams on google maps . She also tells him the story of a rishi ( saint ) who was meditating to God to achieve salvation , but a stunningly beautiful girl began to dancing around him touching him with her lovely body and aroused his senses , thus destroying his tapasya ( meditation ) . But Kunaal's vehicle crashes and he wakes up next morning with the maiden ( Ananya Sengupta ) having vanished , but the google map on his mobile phone still pointing the way to his dream destination .

So Kunaal sets on a lone ride to his destination riding his SUV at double quick pace . Just like that . No preparation or packing . And he soon leaves the city and the last vestiges of habitation to arrive in the misty mountains . Is this a real ride or a trip ?---I mean a drug fuelled one . God only knows....

But at this point I wasn't caring....the movie was moving into my favourite real life destination---the high mountains , where air is crisp and clear and the weather is cool and there are tons of breathtaking sights to see . But where was this ? Somewhere beyond the high himalayas most probably in Ladakh....or was it Sikkim or Arunachal or Bhutan , or had the chinese government given permission to shoot in Shangri la---Tibet , what else .

And the photography was stunning to say the least , of the tall mountains and the distant snow capped peaks . The stark grey beauty of the surroundings harked only to one place---Ladakh . And the cinematography was even better than that of the movie ( Three idiots ) that had made Ladakh popular among tourists . And the road that Kunaal travelled on winded through mighty mountains and alongside shimmering rivers and his vehicle stopped on bridges atop the shimmering water of those rivers . Words cannot describe the ethereal beauty of the majestic landscape that the audience was being driven on it's cinematic journey , and I am debating whether to take the long route to Ladakh and plan an actual journey to that place or to take the shorter route and visit Ladakh like Kunaal does by taking drugs at night and hoping to get a 'trip' to that majestic destination , I am only joking about the drugs part .

And I never wanted this cinematic journey to end ; the cinematic traveller in me had reached his destination in the high peaks at over 4000 meters . No more patients to examine and no more movie reviews to write ; just the nirvana of low oxygen levels at these rarefied heights that may send straight to heaven....but alas !! it was not me but Kunaal who was in this heaven !! And as he proceeded he met a number of goodlooking women who troubled him , or gave him directions on where to go and how to travel . And he met men who harassed him ( like the hotel manager of the shady hotel where he checked in ) or like the man in saintly robes who gave him good advice . And the journey was of ever increasing terror . Of interacting with mysterious strangers and experiencing sinister happenings . Of evil women bedding him ( always in woman on top position ) before terrorising him or evil men hanging themselves after filling him with fear .

But at the end of this magical tour Kunaal reaches the place he had dreamt of in his dreams . A place where there are white monuments in the mighty mountains filled with mist and snow . And there she is---the damsel whose face was covered by clothing in his dreams . And her face is revealed to be that of Ananya Sengupta !! The girl who had taken him on a ride in his car from his photo exhibition !! So is it a drug fuelled fantasy or a real journey ??

And Ananya reveals the truth to him ---that she was Mohini , the damsel who danced to destroy the meditation of the saint . But as she danced , she fell in love with the saint and could not bear to see it when when the saint reduced himself to ashes to atone for the breaking of his meditation and went to the earth to live as an ordinary mortal who was no one else but Kunaal !! . And the women he met on his himalayan journey were the women he had married in his several births since he reduced himself to ashes , and now had come the time to stop being born again and join the luscious looking Mohini in eternal bliss by stopping this cycle of rebirth....

The movie had transcended from horror to thriller to philosophical to metaphysical and I was spellbound....and the reason I told almost the whole story is that sadly no one is going to watch it . The theatre was practically empty . Does anyone even know that such a movie has been released ? The songs are forgettable , but music is decent and photography and colours are heartstoppingly stunning .

Acting is not the forte of any of the actors , but the women who come to haunt Kunaal on his journey have good looks . They are played by Archana Shastry , Elena Kazan , Reyhna Malhotra , Scarlett Wilson and Divya Agarwal . The movie moves from the modern life to explore the rich ancient indian culture and philosophy as easily as it moves from the concrete jungle of the city to the mountains . And it moves as easily from being spooked by horror scenes to being enthralled by the sheer beauty of the himalayas .

Verdict---for me , it was a magical experience .

For you , only two and a half stars out of five . For you haven't got it within you to appreciate what I did---The beauty of the tall mountains what else .

Newton ( October 2017 )

This movie clearly is the off beat kind of movie tending towards art cinema . And sure enough , the cast assembled to act in the movie is the staple for art films located in the rustic parts of India . The ever present Pankaj Tripathi is there ; which movie filmed in the mofussil parts of India would be complete without him ? And we have Raghubir Yadav and Sanjay Mishra too---both adept at playing small town characters . And is Anjali Patil being groomed to become the next Smita Patil---the doyen of Indian art cinema in the 70s and 80s ? Anjali was there in 'Chakravyuh' and 'Sameer' and is again in this film---all art films .

The hero of the film is Raj kumar Rao . He plays an impossibly honest man ; refuses the proposal of a girl's family because the girl is not yet 18 even though she is ready for marriage ; is thorough in his preparation for even the most unimportant task ; asks the most naive questions to the character played by Sanjay Mishra who is teaching him to be a polling officer ; and is punctual for every job and situation . His real name is Nutan Kumar , but he changes it to 'Newton' because Nutan sounds too feminine .

He is the reserve polling officer for an election , but the assigned polling officer refuses to serve in the region allocated to him because it is Chhattisgarh---the heart of communist rebellion in India , where life and limb is not safe ; indeed the film starts with the murder of a political leader by communist rebels in that region . So Newton volunteers and is whisked by helicopter to the heart of danger---the rebel affected district of Bastar in Chhattisgarh . A jungle region where there are as many snakes and scorpions as there are communist rebels . Where it is safer to not wear a bullet proof jacket than is is to wear one because any person wearing it is thought to be a government agent and likely to be shot at be the rebels .

In fact , so dangerous is the region thought to be that the security officer of that area ( Pankaj Tripathi playing Aatma Singh ) says that it is better not to go to the actual voting site that is 8 kilometres away . But Newton is too much of a stickler to the rules and forces the whole group to go there , using his powers as presiding officer . With them also comes a school teacher named Malko ( Anjali Patil ) , who is a local who speaks hindi but also can communicate with the tribals in their language because she is one of them .

After they reach the ramshackle election booth , no one turns up for voting because the elections have no meaning for these poor tribals who are sandwiched between the security forces of the government on one side and the communist rebels on the other . Enthusiasm for bringing them to vote is awoken only when a western english speaking female journalist is coming to cover the whole event . But the police officer bringing her is disappointed that she does not have blonde hair !!

Forget western blondes ; I was hoping to see the petite Miss Malko and the honest Mr Newton strike up some kind of romance....after all , the romantic in me wanted to see some love in a film even though it is arthouse stuff . And they did strike a rapport towards the end of the film , kindling hopes for the start of a relationship ; I am keeping my fingers crossed....

But where were the expected stars of the film ?---The communists who else ? And when were they going to make their appearance ?
Sure enough , firing is heard from all sides late in the afternoon . And this forces pack up of the voting booth . But at the end of it all is a twist . And that twist really tells us as to how much of a committed person is Mr Newton to his sticking to rules and to honesty....

The film tries to be neutral but it's director's heart is with the tribals ; numerous scenes show the security forces treating the tribals with contempt , even though Aatma Singh tries to be fair to the extent possible with them . And the tribals would like their own man to present their problems in Indian capital city Delhi but his name is not in the voting list . Many twists and turns occur in the film and keep us interested , but Newton's unique reaction to each twist and turn is what makes watching of the film special .

The heart of the film lies in Rajkumar's acting as Newton ; he is so earnest in his role that he lifts the film completely . Others are all good too in their respective roles . Photography is okay , background music is decent though I remember hearing only one song , colours are okay . Above all , the people and sights and sounds and the conditions of the communist infested regions are pictured perfectly .

Verdict---four stars out of five .

Chef ( October 2017 )

This movie is the official Indian remake of the American movie CHEF that was released in 2014 .

Saif Ali Khan plays a hot tempered north Indian chef named Roshan Kalra who works in a restaurant in USA . He hits a patron of the restaurant because of the patron's complaint over food and gets fired from his job . Even his past behaviour has not been fully responsible . His south Indian wife Radha Menon ( played by Padmapriya Janakiraman ) has divorced him due to this and lives with his only son Armaan ( played by Svar Kamble ) in Cochin in state of Kerala in south India .

Inspite of being the father of a young boy Roshan has not had a chance to bond with him due to his job in US , and so he takes the opportunity offered by the firing from the job to live in Cochin for a few days in his ex wife's house to reconnect with his son . The son is all too eager to bond with his dad and they go to Delhi ( which is Roshan's hometown in India ) to revive his old memories and to meet old acquaintances and too also meet Roshan's dad , who is still sore over Roshan abandoning him for the USA . Roshan tells his son of his hard struggle from poverty to achieve success and introduces him to north indian dishes as the son has been used to eating only south Indian dishes until then .

On returning to Cochin Roshan wants his wife back , but she has already got another beau named Biju ( played by Milind Soman ) who is so rich that he can afford to keep a full scale elephant along with several costly antique cars . Biju suggests along with ex wife Radha that Roshan take over a run down double decker bus that he has and convert it into a mobile restaurant . Roshan is at first appalled by the idea but soon accepts the offer because it gives him a chance to stay in India to reconnect with his son .

As Roshan assembles his team of driver Alex and Bangladeshi cook , they begin in Cochin and travel all the way to Delhi via Goa in the refurbished double decker bus . And they make and sell good tasty food all the way . The scenes of the dishes being made are torture for a foodie , especially if he or she is seating with stomach empty watching the movie---as I did till interval . Because the dishes are mouthwatering , but the same are not available around you . Intermission brought some relief as I ate food and the watching the dishes being served becomes tolerable on full stomach .

Biju's magnanimity in giving Roshan the chance to stay on in India proves to be foolish , as the chance gives the family the opportunity to reconnect and come close . In the end Radha gives in too and presumably dumps her rich lover for the sake of her son's wish to stay with his father . And Roshan's father is with them too....all's well that ends well .

But not all is well for the viewer . The film has more talk than anything happening , and all the talk bores you out . The father son bonding is okay , but the wife's change of heart back to her ex husband is not convincing . Acting is okay by everyone including the hard drinking and hard driving driver Alex and the Bangladeshi cook . Photography is good---of the backwaters of Kerala and the scenery of Goa . Colours are okay . Music is so so however and songs are forgettable .

The pace of events and the boredom of the scenes eventually tires you out . Roshan's son looks like a cute kid and Padmapriya looks good too . But the movie is not happening . Didn't like it much .

Verdict---Not good .

One and a half stars out of five .

Secret superstar ( October 2017 )

Review has spoilers

Young Insia ( played by Zaira Wasim ) is a muslim girl growing up in Baroda ( Vadodara ) in the Indian state of Gujarat , and is the apple of the eye of her mother Najma ( played by Meher Vij ) . Mother is a liberal at heart and supports her daughter's love for singing with guitar , and even buys her a laptop by selling off her necklace so that she can upload the songs she sings on youtube .

But the life of both mother and daughter is clouded by the presence of the head of the family---Insia's father , who is not only stern but is violent and beats her mother if she dares disobey him . Though at first he seems to be supportive of Insia's education to the extent of tearing apart the strings of her guitar because she does not get enough marks in school , he turns more and more backward as the film progresses . So the songs that Insia uploads on youtube have to be with her face covered by a burkha ( hijab like garment ) because she does not want her identity to be known ; if her father came to know of it he would go once again on a rampage of violence .

Insia frankly wants her mother to divorce her father , but mother rejects this idea for the simple reason that she has nowhere to go and has no money of her own . Meanwhile Insia's voice is so melodious that she becomes a youtube sensation who sings behind the veil---the so called secret superstar . And she has a not so secret admirer in school , a boy named Chintan ( Tirth Sharma ) who loves her and whom she soon begins to love back .

Enter Shakti Kumarr ( played by Amir Khan ) , a quirky crazy music director with a taste for zany songs that match his personality....he wants secret superstar to sing for his songs . And Chintan helps Insia meet Shakti , who is so impressed that he allows the recording to be done in the melodious style Insia wants rather than his style .

But life has taken a different turn for Insia ; her father wants her to marry in Saudi Arabia to some guy , for he is shifting to that place for a new job . And in his house his word is law ; Insia's mother has no say and does not dare to oppose him for fear of provoking his terrible rage . All her liberal dreams for her daughter come crashing down as her daughter seems to be headed for marriage in Saudi Arabia . Her laptop is smashed to pieces which her younger brother tries to stitch back in a pathetic display of more singing and no more superstardom....

But out there in Mumbai ( Bombay ) a world is waiting....a world that eagerly awaits to unveil the identity of secret superstar....where many people from Mumbai's film industry want her sing for their films....where secret superstar is nominee for best singer at an awards function....

So will Insia dare to break the veil of tradition to go on the path she chooses by revolting against her father ? Will her mother muster up the courage to go against centuries of tradition to tell her husband on his face that she does not want to go to Saudi Arabia and that she wants to divorce him ? The answer to this is predictable . But the manner in which this happens is emotionally rewarding to see . The maker of the film ( Amir Khan who else ) is a master of striking an emotional connection with the audience .

Amir Khan himself plays a comedy role with dialogues that suit his role . He has a quirky beard and a strange sense of clothing . But he does deliver the laughs . Acting by everyone is good . Meher Vij excels as the liberal mother who is trapped in tradition but is no nice that she allows her daughter one outing with her boyfriend before embarking for Saudi Arabia even at such a tender age because she thinks that it might be their last time together . Zaira Wasim looks pretty and acts well as Insia . Insia's father Farookh is played by Raj Arjun , who instills terror without appearing unduly abnormal .

Music is the strong point of the film , and the songs are very good if you like them to be melodious ; that's the way I like them at least . Colours and photography is decent enough . Critics could find many flaws in the film , especially about the lack of reason why Shakti Kumarr agrees to help Insia and about how could an obscure singer become an internet sensation in a month without powerful backing . But ordinary folks will like it , and always it is the common man's backing which helps a film get popularity . I see a winner at the box office .

Verdict---Good .

Three and a half stars out of five .

Rukh ( Direction ) October 2017

Manoj Bajpayee plays Diwakar---a businessman who runs a leather factory . But lately he has been out of his house for days on end , worrying his wife Nandini ( Smita Tambe ) . One day his car suddenly meets with an accident . His son Dhruv ( Adarsh Gourav ) who is only eighteen is studying in boarding school , and has to hasten home after hearing of this news . On returning he finds out that his mother has shifted to her mother's house and his house is now occupied by someone else .

Dhruv decides to find out if his father's death was really an accident , and as he investigates he begins to believe that it was murder . He begins to persistently question his father's associates and some of them begin to blurt out what was happening . His father's business partner Robin ( Kumud Mishra ) was using the leather company to launder black money for his Saudi clients , who used it to finance underworld operations . The income tax department had caught this fact and was handing over the matter to CBI ( central bureau of investigation ) . And Dhruv's father Diwakar had agreed to present all records of the company to the CBI , which would have led to Robin's arrest . Dhruv begins to believe that his father was murdered by Robin to prevent this .

As Dhruv begins to unravel the truth , he realises how much his father's real personality remained hidden from him due to his long absence from home in boarding school . Soon we learn about his own unsavoury past too . Dhruv has been sent to boarding school because of his fight with another boy whom he badly wounded and permanently maimed for life . His own personality is thus hot tempered . Soon he begins to plan revenge on Robin by fiddling with the pistol of his friend and dreaming of using it on Robin . He traces the truck driver with whose truck his father Diwakar met with an accident and threatens him with his gun .

But all through this Dhruv's mother Nandini wants him to not proceed further with his investigation . And who is the mysterious man who keeps following him in his car all the time ? Something is fishy out there....

As Robin and his cohorts try to pin the blame of the whole black money laundering operation on Diwakar in order to escape the CBI's clutches , Dhruv goes on an all out effort to resolve the mystery and clear his father's name . This leads to another fight ; this time with his father's associate Shinde , who is a hot tempered person himself . But when the truth comes out , Dhruv is left dumbfounded by what had really happened . He realises that his mother was trying to shield him from what had really happened , and the reality of life is to try to come to terms with bad news and not investigate it like some detective in a mystery thriller movie .

The movie moves at a languid pace in the first half and I was beginning to lose interest . Only in the second half does it perk up and gives a satisfactory climax . Music is the strong point of the film even though there are only two songs . Photography is okay though colours are one dimensional . Acting is okay by everyone , but Adarsh Gourav excels in his portrayal of Dhruv . Watch him as he comes to terms with his own past as he goes about the investigation of his father's death , to the point where we realise that the movie is about the cleansing of one's own faults rather than a typical suspense movie . In fact it is parallel cinema , what we lay public calls an art movie .

Verdict ---Decent .

Three stars out of five .

Aksar 2 ( Again and again---part 2 ) November 2017

An aged heiress called Madame Khambatta ( Lilette Dubey ) likes to surround herself with handsome young men....or so says her favourite among those young men , Pat ( Gautam Rode )---the person who manages her financial affairs . But obviously she does not want young women around , who would distract those young men away from her . So it is with difficulty that Pat manages to convince Madame to keep as governess the sexy young Sheena ( Zarine Khan ) with a hefty pay packet , because he wants to bed her and lusts for her . But when her forces himself on Sheena in bed , he also says some unsavoury things about Madame Khambatta that Sheena records on audio .

Not that the other young men around Madame are any better . Both her security incharge Bachchan Singh ( Mohit Madaan ) and her lawyer ( played by cricketer Sreesanth ) also are salivating for her estate , and are waiting for her death....and are not against hastening the death by all means fair and foul . Madame's will gives an important chunk to her fave---Pat who else . But the tape in the hands of Sheena gives her the chance to blackmail Pat with the help of Bachchan Singh to change the will in their favour . But her boyfriend Ricky ( Abhinav Shukla ) is devastated that she had to sleep with Pat to get the will changed . He is not swayed even by her tearful pleas to him that she had done everything for him ; yeah he is a long lost relative of Madame Khambatta whom she had kicked out of her life .

As all the young men and Sheena fight over the future of Madame Khambatta's money and estate , a game of deadly intrigue unfolds behind the unsuspecting Madame's back . Soon it erupts into violence and attempted or actual murders . But the problem is that the game gets too complicated as the movie progresses . And in the process the audience gets bored later .

The photography is good and the settings posh and beautiful . No scenes of poverty or uncleanliness . Everything in the movie is spic and span . Only rich well dressed goodlooking people living in luxury in penthouses and resorts . Music is good and so are the songs .

Zarine Khan looks hot , if you like buxom babes . Her skin seems so fair and her flesh seems so soft and her red lipsticked lips look luscious . Her boobs are flattened by the tight dresses she wears , but they are so big that they can hardly be suppressed . She has some kissing and lovemaking scenes with Abhinav Shukla ; arches her body while kissing him .

But Zarine fails to save the film even with her skin show . And she cannot match the oomph of Udita Goswami , who had played heroine in the first edition of Aksar . The convoluted happenings towards the climax eventually tire you out .

Verdict---Not good .

One and a half stars out of five .

Hampi ( November 2017 )

The setting of the movie is modern Hampi---the site of the ancient hindu empire of Vijaynagar ( city of victory ) . In 2009 I had spent a few pleasant days savouring the splendid archaeological remains of the once magnificent city , and the happy memories of that are what brought me to see the movie . Among the splendid ruins of the city , time seems to stand still . And that has attracted many westerners there , leading a life of free abandon which the conservative hindu people around them barely tolerate for the simple reason that the western white people are willing to spend lots of money to boost the local economy . But what brings a modern Indian girl to this place I wonder....?

Typically , the reason to come to Hampi is to escape....escape from the pain of the breaking down of the marriage of her parents that brings the character played by Sonalee Kulkarni to this place . And what better place to heal that pain than Hampi , where time stands still ; where western 'hippies' come to escape from their land and their people .

Seeing her parents' marriage leading towards divorce , Sonalee has stopped believing in love . This , inspite of being young and hip . Her female friend played by Prajakta Mali has ditched her after promising to come on this trip and so Sonalee has come here all alone . On coming , she forms a rapport with some local people like a rickshaw driver and a tribal woman . This due to her nature to let others lead the way in striking friendships . Isn't it dangerous for a lone young woman in a strange place away from home to let others lead her ?

But this trait of Sonalee to come under influence of others comes to good use in striking an instant rapport with a cool dude she meets---played by Lalit Prabhakar . As they hang around the temples and monuments of the city , he begins to talk about life and much of his talk is philosophical ; I guess Hampi brings out the philosopher in you . Together the two go rafting in moonlit night and together they bathe an elephant . They begin to flirt and Lalit asks her for a kiss....but all this is temporarily interrupted as her friend played by Prajakta Mali comes to join her on the vacation .

Prajakta is attracted to Lalit too , and asks Sonalee permission to flirt with him....and Sonalee prevaricates and blushes in giving that , this being the first sign of her having feelings for Lalit . The three then hang around the splendour of the ruins , with Lalit trying to make both jealous by flirting with white 'hippie' females that he meets . He shows them the podium where the queen of the empire used to dance , and Prajakta asks Sonalee to dance....Sonalee obliges ; the result is a song and dance . They visit the famous Vitthala temple , whose idol has been shifted to Pandharpur to escape past invaders . They admire the creativity of artisans long ago , who crafted the architecture on stone . Lalit regales the girls by anecdotes about the city .

But Lalit and Sonalee have a hot argument over the existence of true love in the world , and Lalit leaves in a huff the next day . And he is not to be found . Prajakta has to leave too , and Sonalee is left quite alone . And alone , she discovers that she has found true love . It is none other than Lalit . And she stays searching for him in every nook and corner of Hampi endlessly talking about him .

And I found myself rooting for her in her search , wanting her to find Lalit somewhere among the historical ruins . For this simple love story had made an impression on my heart . It is the way the director has simplistically projected it that you fall in love with the very simplicity of the story . And when she finally does find him , you feel caught in a wave of real emotion .

Colours and photography are good , and songs and music even better . The heroine is not conventionally beautiful due to her boy cut hair , but everyone acts well especially Lalit Prabhakar .

Verdict---Good .

Three stars out of five .

Ittefaq ( Coincidence ) November 2017

A famous author called Vikram Sethi ( Siddharth Malhotra ) finds his wife dead on the night his book is going to be launched and calls the police . But when the police threaten to hold him responsible for his wife's murder he escapes from there . As he is escaping in his car it overturns , and later he is found with the dead body of a lawyer named Shekhar Sinha ( Samir Sharma ) in the apartment of a woman who has come in front of a police vehicle for help---none other than the lawyer's wife Maya Sinha ( Sonakshi Sinha ) .

The presence of the same person around two deaths perplexes the police and the case is given to be solved by police officer Dev ( Akshay Khanna ) . The big problem is that both Maya and Vikram give totally different accounts of how events unfolded . As their accounts unfold before us , every part of what one tells the police is juxtaposed against the account told by the other person . At first , the story told by Maya seems to be more credible than the story told by Vikram . But both are suspects . Dev has to bring all the resources of his brain to bear to try to crack the case . This involves threatening and cajoling the two suspects to tell their version of what happened and try to find the truth from their differing accounts . Soon the story told by Vikram too seems credible and the mystery is a hard nut to crack .

The three main actors do act well in their parts . Siddharth Malhotra does look innocent in his acting and Sonakshi oozes sex appeal with her lacy short cleavage baring clothes and the lover with whom she is having an extra marital affair adds his own spice to the proceedings . Akshay Khanna is the balding police officer who acts tough with his own policemen and also the suspects .

As one person is thought to be guilty and then the other , the twists and turns predictably come into the story . And they do keep you engaged . The twist in the end does give a surprise because of the manner in which the murderer has taken advantage of a coincidence ( ittefaq ) , though I was expecting some sort of final twist to the story .

Colours and photography are decent and background music is okay . But the proceedings were too serious and one dimensional and lacked zing which gives much needed entertainment . Maybe an item song or some exciting car chase scene or fight sequence would have given the much needed zing .

Verdict---decent .

Three stars out of five .

Waarrior Savitri

WAARRIOR SAVITRI is the modern version of the story of satyavan savitri. So what is they story of satyavan savitri ?
It is a story from hindu mythology . Savitri was the daughter of a king . She fell in love with Satyavan . But the astrologer told her that Satyavan would die after marriage leaving her a widow . However Savitri was too deeply in love and married Satyavan nevertheless . And Satyavan did become lifeless soon . But Savitri took the lifeless body in her arms and prayed to the god of death ( Yama ) , who comes to take a person when his time on earth is over---according to hindu mythology . And she prayed for a long time . Yama was impressed by her devotion and appeared before her . She asked for him to spare her love Satyavan . But Yama said that when a man's time was up it was up . He had to take him away to heaven or hell , according to that man's deeds on earth . But he said that Savitri could ask him any other boon and he would grant her . So Savitri asked him to let her become the mother of Satyavan's child . And Yama granted that boon without thinking . But how could Savitri become mother of Satyavan's child if he was dead ? Yama had been tricked , and he had to bring Satyavan to life and reunite Savitri with her love . For this act , Savitri has long been considered the ideal wife by hindus for thousands of years .

So on to the movie....

Niharica raizada plays the modern savitri, who has martial arts skills and hence is a warrior. She marries against the advice of her astrologer , who says her husband will die after marriage as per his horoscope .

The couple shifts to Vegas, which gives Niharica the chance for some skin show in bikinis and some kissing smooching shots with her hero in bathtub .

But he has enemies there , who want to kill him . But they hadn't reckoned with SAVITRI---the warrior. She fights them all to protect her Satya...i mean Satyavan. Karate and kung fu chops are followed by entreaties by her to Yama ( Om Puri ) to spare Satya/Satyavan. And do I even have to spell it out that she triumphs over them all....

Photography of Vegas is good and songs are decent but editing of the film is rank sloppy. So sequence of scenes looks disjointed. Acting is not great .

One star out of five .

The house next door ( november 2017 )

Siddharth plays a doctor named Krish who inserts electrodes in the brain to cure parkinsonism . He and Lakshmi ( Andrea Jeremiah ) are a happy couple who live in the high snowcapped mountains . The house next door has been lying empty , but soon new neighbours move in . The family has two daughters , younger Sarah and older Jenny ( Anisha Victor ) . Their father is Paul ( Atul Kulkarni ) . Jenny develops a crush on Krish which he takes sportingly , though it irritates his wife Lakshmi .

But soon strange things begin to happen to Jenny ; she jumps into a well and has to be saved by Krish . She walks to the edge of a cliff , but does not jump off . Soon she acts possessed and the doctor Suresh who is called to treat her insists on an exorcism . The exorcism scene in which the pastor ( Prakash Belavadi ) tries to remove the spirit from Jenny is probably the best pictured exorcism I have seen in a movie , outclassing even the exorcism scenes of Hollywood movies . The bodies of some the protagonists are thrown off in different directions , some hang in the air and even the crucifix turns upside down and so does the pastor .

Soon a psychic ( Avinash Raghudevan ) is called and he announces that three malevolent spirits reside in that house . Research by a police inspector reveals about a chinese family that resided in that house log ago , and a sole eyewitness to the terrible happenings long ago still alive . The eyewitness tells about the chinese man who wanted to sacrifice a girl child in order to beget a son , and was forced to kill his own daughter . Unable to bear the shock , his wife killed herself and the chinese man committed suicide by jumping into the well . It is their spirits who are haunting the house . Everyone has to abandon the house if they have to free themselves from the malignant influence . But the spirit of the chinese man will come to complete the ritual he could not complete on that day itself as it is day of the solar eclipse .

But unknown to everyone , the spirit of the chinese man has already entered the body of one of the people among the protagonists . Who is that person ? What will that person do to stop them from leaving the house ? What gruesome things are going to happen in the house ? Watch the movie for the answers .

The photography is the movie is good , of the high mountains capped with snow and lush with greenery but also of the stupendous exorcism scene and the solar eclipse . The chills and jolts come at the right places in the movie , making your hair stand on end . Background music is good and helps in the shock value of the chilling scenes by making the right noises when the jolts come . Acting is good by everyone , especially by Anisha Victor as Jenny .

Verdict---Good .

Three and a half stars out of five .

Bhouri ( 2016 )

Bhouri ( Masha Paur ) is a beautiful 23 year old girl newly married to a 55 year old man in a rural part of India . The reason for the marriage is superstition . Her earlier 3 fiances have died due to various causes and in these rural parts she is considered as bringing bad luck , so she is has to marry a 55 year old man called Dhanua ( Raghubir Yadav ) who is the only one willing to accept her as wife . He is a labourer .

But Bhouri is so beautiful that all the men in the village begin to lust for her . The chaudhary ( headman---played by Mohan Joshi ) , the shopkeeper Baniya ( Manoj Joshi ) the labour contractor ( Mukesh Tiwari ) ,the corrupt priest ( Sitaram Panchal ) , and even the doctor ( Shakti Kapoor ) of the village---all openly lust for her . They openly and brazenly ask her husband to send her to them for sex in return for money . When he back answers them , he is thrashed . The whole village has this kind of atmosphere of sex addiction . Chaudhary has sex with a married village woman because she is poor and needs his money . Doctor gives free treatment to families in the village if their women agree to have sex with him . Only the police officer ( Aditya Pancholi ) is honest and brings to book any criminals . Two men who are chaudhary's brothers rape a girl and the police officer brings them to book by hanging them upside down and beating them . An older woman kaki ( Kunika ) tries to protect Bhouri and her husband from the sexual advances of the fivesome of baniya and chaudhary and doctor and priest and labour contractor .

Soon Bhouri's reputation of bringing bad luck to her partners seems to affect her husband too . He begins to cough violently . The doctor falsely accuses him of being HIV positive , so that he will be kicked out from the village and he can get his hands on Bhouri . But Bhouri begins to work as labourer in place of her husband and rejects all the lustful advances of predators .

One day a handsome young film maker from the city comes to film the lives of these people . But Bhouri finally loses her control and gets attracted to him and has a night of wild passion with him . The villagers who have unsuccessfully lusted for Bhouri beat the young film maker out of sheer jealousy and drive him out of the village . Her husband too forsakes her , for she is in love with the film maker .

But the film maker does not return and Bhouri who is left alone has to give in to the lust of the villagers to satisfy her monetary needs . Soon all the village men are having repeated sex with Bhouri . But many of the begin to die out and doctor's daughter who has sex with one of them is diagnosed HIV positive . Tests are done on the villagers and most of them are now HIV positive . But Bhouri's husband who was ironically falsely accused of being HIV positive turns out to be HIV negative .

So who has been spreading AIDS in the village ? In the end we find out that the film maker was HIV positive and Bhauri contracted the disease from him . And the villagers became HIV positive because of their unbridled and unprincipled lust for her . Nature has it's own ways of taking revenge for injustice....

The movie seems to have been made with India's current image as rape / lust/ sexploitation capital of the world in mind , and the shameless attempt of the film makers is to bolster that image in the eyes of the world in order to get awards . Foreigners who see the film will come out of the theatre with horrifying image of Indian men as rapists and sex addicts who shamelessly lust for even married women and openly ask their husbands to send their wives to them . Shakti Kapoor the eternal rapist of bollywood has been specially roped in to play role of sex predator , something that he is past master of playing . However , embarrassed by his atrocious role his daughter actress Shraddha Kapoor has forced him to disassociate himself from the film's publicity . But the damage to India's image has already been done . The liberal / communist lobby which backs making of these films openly encourages this self hate .

Photography is good and so is background music . Acting is good by most , if acting loudly as sex mad predators is your cup of tea . Masha Paur looks really good as Bhouri . But I was appalled by the open and brazen sex madness shown in the village .

Verdict--just about okay .

Two stars out of five .