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Taking Stalk

Film: The Intruder

Cast: Dennis Quaid, Meagan Good, Michael Ealy

Directed by: Deon Taylor

Duration: 1 hr 40 mins

Rating: * *

The Intruder is based on an incredibly shallow premise that drags on for a good 100 odd minutes. In principle, you want to wish everyone well but the characters in this film behave in such a silly and stupid manner that you actually want something nasty to happen to them to put them out of their misery.

A young couple buys a big house that is built on a large property – Scott (Michael Ealy) is an ad executive while Annie (Meagan Good) writes about ‘feminism and women’s issues’. The seller is Charlie (Dennis Quaid) who instead of leaving them alone after the sale, keeps showing up at their place (which conveniently happens to be in a secluded area) and practically stalks them, a bit like Cape Fear (1962, 1991).

Under some pretext or the other, Charlie is always there although he is supposed to leave for Florida, to be with his daughter. He is mowing their lawn, helping set up decorations and even brings pizza, unannounced – instead of kicking him out, Annie keeps welcoming him. Only when he smashes her and tries to choke her does she realise that her hubby was right all along, that there is something suspicious about Charlie.

You also get the feeling that the cast and crew just wanted to be done with the film – much like the audience. It is also one of those films where you actually wait and want someone to get killed so that some life is breathed in the proceedings.

F For Fake

Film: Student of the Year 2

Cast: Tiger Shroff, Ananya Panday, Tara Sutaria, Aditya Seal

Directed by: Punit Malhotra

Duration: 2 hrs 28 mins

Rating: * 1 / 2

Student of the Year 2 is set in a college where students do everything – they sing, dance, participate in sports, students are also indulging in some petting on the campus – well, they do everything, except study. Somehow this trivial detail about classrooms and studies escaped the attention of the filmmakers.

The story, characters and their actions are older than trigonometry which itself came into being sometime in the 4th century BC. There is the typical love triangle, rich guys Vs poor guy fight aka the underdog story – nothing wrong with that except that everything looks and is more fake than Pamela Anderson’s assets.

The first edition of Student of the Year (2012) was no great shakes but it launched a bunch of new actors – there was no real reason or need for this film which is pretty much a rehash of Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikander (1992) which had its heart in the right place.

This one has the budget in the right place.   The only thing different is a blink and miss appearance by Will Smith (at this stage in his career, not sure if people will pay to watch a full-fledged film starring Smith, let alone a cameo) and secondly, the climax of the film centres around a game of Kabaddi – a rather unusual choice of a sport for a film that tries so hard to be ‘cool’.

Set in Dehradun there is Rohan (Tiger Shroff, his muscles are more expressive than his face), a student of Pishorilal Chamandas – he is over the moon, not because he gets into Harvard or Oxford but because he is admitted to St Teresa’s, which is the most happening school, on this side of the hemisphere. He is good at dancing, running, and parkour-ing. In fact, he hardly ever walks straight – usually, he jumps or twirls in the air and seems to be suffering from some disorder, to do that all the time.   

Muscleman is in love with Mia (Tara Sutaria) since childhood and they are mad for each other – or so it seems. The new college is full of fancy people – the boys are wearing smart jackets while the girls prance around in mini, micro and nano skirts.

There is a brother-sister duo from a rich family, the Ambanis of Dehradun – Shreya (Ananya Panday), the bratty girl who seems to be eating bubble gum for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and her spoilt brother (Aditya Seal) who is the current ‘student of the year’ title holder. So what does it take to win the title? You have to be good at dancing, athletics, and kabaddi. Academics? You gotta be kidding.

Shreya develops a soft corner for Muscleman because he is kind and helpful. Before that, we also see a college dance competition where Will Smith turns up. The budget of some of those dance sets is more than the cost of my school and college building.

It is all very flakey from start to finish. I was already heading for the exit door when something called ‘The hookup song’ started playing where Alia Bhatt was dancing with Muscleman.

Student of the Year 2 is one of those films that hardly have any redeeming factor. Ananya Panday is just about passable while Tara Sutaria and Aditya Seal need a crash course in acting. Tiger Shroff knows his limitations as an actor and mostly sticks to those few expressions that he can emote. All in all, these students need to get a life – a real one.

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