Friday , 26 April 2019


Matters of  the Heart

Film: October

Cast: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu

Directed by: Shoojit Sircar

Duration: 1 hr 54 mins

Rating: * * * 1 / 2

It has been a while since we saw a poignant love story that stays with you even after the film is over. The last couple of outings that director Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi had were lightweight comedies (Vicky Donor, Piku) but this time, they get down to very serious business – that of love, loss, heartbreak, struggle and self discovery. Importantly, they do it with conviction and make you feel for the characters.

Even though this is just her third film, Chaturvedi has proved to be most refreshing writers in Hindi cinema today. Her characters look believable and someone you can relate to. The story itself doesn’t break new ground but the manner, in which it is told, complimented by Sircar’s direction, makes this a winner.

Commendably, Varun Dhawan sheds his glamorous image and plays the role of Dan, a 20 something young man who works in a 5 star hotel and does everything from the laundry to vacuuming the carpet there. He also has a touch of arrogance with his attitude towards work, which usually comes at his age.

In the initial parts, we see him and his friends go through the regular chores at work till a freak accident happens – one of their friends Shiuli (Banita Sandhu) falls off the hotel terrace and lands in coma. While everyone is distressed by the tragedy, Dan seems to be affected the most, which does come as a bit of a surprise because even though they were friends but they weren’t exactly the best of friends. But seeing her state with tubes stuck inside her, other equipment monitoring her progress or the lack of it, and her grieving family (Gitanjali Rao as the mother is first rate), Dan becomes dedicated to her well being and looks after her.

Without actually spelling it out, the screenplay, in the most moving manner depicts how he develops feelings for her, while she is bed ridden, almost brain dead – it is love in the time of trying conditions.

While the story progresses unhurriedly, it keeps you with the characters – in fact, it is the pace which helps feel what the characters are feeling.

With a sentimental story like that, there is ample scope for emotional manipulation but there is none of it here. Even the back ground music score (Shantanu Moitra), is one of the best and most effective that you’ve heard in ages.

The cast is in fine fettle – Varun Dhawan is sincere and earnest to the T while Banita Sandhu’s expressive eyes do most of the talking.

Just like the weather in that month, October is refreshing.


Animal Run

Film: Rampage

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris

Directed by: Brad Peyton

Duration: 1 hr 47 mins

Rating: * * 1 / 2

Directed Brad Peyton had previously teamed up with Dwayne Johnson for San Andreas (2015) which was a very shallow film and this effort is no different. There were lots of buildings going down in that film and ditto with this one too.

The primary objective seems to be to put up a story that will have lot of special effects, a decent role for Johnson to play and a few one liners to go with it.  The CGI part of it is decently done but mindless destruction of buildings is something we have seen once too often.

Written by four gentlemen who, from the looks of it, have contributed very little, this film is based on a video game, which I had never heard of before. It opens with what can be assumed as an inspiration from the 1979 Alien film.

Dwayne Johnson plays Davis Okoye a primatologist and a gorilla’s best friend  – once upon a time he was in the army and that is when he saved a little albino gorilla George, who has now grown up to be a big ape, who also knows how to show the middle finger. Our ultra-sensitive censor board seems to have taken it rather personally and have blurred the finger, more than once.

An evil company does some “genetic editing” which will enlarge the size of already big animals, including George, and drive them nuts when a particular frequency is emitted. The company is run by Claire (Malin Akerman) and her fidgety right hand man (Jake Lacy)

Our hero has to then flex his muscles and play the brave guy to save the day and he receives considerable help from a lady scientist (Naomie Harris) who was a part of the original experiment.

The animals go berserk and a large part of Chicago is destroyed in that process. Buildings collapse, vehicles are flung in the air, some are smashed as if they came out of the grinder – it all happens but the story just doesn’t have the power to back it.

Hopefully, they are not planning a sequel for this one.

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