……what started with one of the ‘worst cases’ in comedy MR JOE B CARVALHO, ended with one of the best thrillers UGLY!

2014 has quite been a surprising year for Bollywood where ‘KHOOBSURAT’ couldn’t actually charm us but UGLY took critics’ heart away. Madhuri Dixit starrer GULAAB GANG looked pale against non-starrer GULAABI GANG. Some completely acted as their names like HATE STORY 2 and some never took it seriously like ENTERTAINMENT & HAPPY ENDING.

And then, there were silly, mindless & shocking 100 Cr club entries! God bless the small-budget wonders like AANKHON DEKHI, KATIYABAAZ, FILMISTAAN & SULEMANI KEEDA for showing some signs of life in cinema.

Let’s revisit and conclude the journey with a quick recap of all those categorically deserving Friday releases….

—–the ‘HOW CAN YOU MISS ‘EM’ of 2014!———————————————————-

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डेढ़ इश्क़िया‘ उन चंद फिल्मों में से है जिसकी ख़ूबसूरती जिस शिद्दत से कलम से निकलती है, उसी बख़ूबी पर्दे पे भी रंग लाती है! फ़िल्म आपको एक ऐसी दुनिया में ले जाती है जहाँ के मिज़ाज कातिलाना, किरदार गुस्ताख़ और तबियत शायराना है। उर्दू महज़ लफ़्ज़ों तक नहीं रुकती, हवाओं और फिज़ाओं में रूह की तरह बेपरवाह बहती है।”

QUEEN’ powerfully belongs to the genre called ‘slice of life’ movies where every ounce of emotions, every piece in the settings and each shade of events is authentic, appropriate, raw & relate able. And then, there is Kangana Ranaut– the gifted conductor without any baton who single-handedly orchestrates all of it to create a magnificently charming film.”

” हालाँकि रजत कपूर की ‘आँखों देखी‘ आम लोगों की बीच उठती-बैठती, सांस लेती, बात करती ज़रूर है, पर एक आम फ़िल्म बिलकुल भी नहीं है, कम से कम उसके लिए जो सिनेमा को जानता हो-ज़िंदगी को पहचानता हो। यकीन नहीं होता, साल के शुरुआत में ही इस तरह की एक साफ़-सुथरी, सच्ची, ईमानदार और बेहद अच्छी फ़िल्म! ‘आँखों देखी’ को न देखने का मुझे तो कोई भी तर्क, कोई भी कारण समझ नहीं आता। कमोबेश ये हमारे यहाँ की ‘नेबरास्का’ है, उससे अच्छी नहीं तो उससे कम भी नहीं।”

Vishal Bhardwaj’s HAIDER is a strong political statement retold and represented covered in the long dark shrouds of Shakespearean emotional saga. It’s depressingly sad, gloomy, violent, nerve-racking and makes you bleed emotionally. A bollywood film trying to speak is rare and should get a warm welcome!”

“With UGLY, Anurag Kashyap returns to his territory where dark is the only illumination to reveal and discover one’s inner-self. The violent, sadistic, opportunist, selfish and vengeful self that come out in light only when it gets dark. And real. And well-suited.Watch it if you want to wake up yourself from laid-back dreams and don’t if you have a fragile heart. UGLY remains awesome, in both settings!”

——–the ‘OHH! IT WASN’T BAD AT ALL’ of 2014————————————————–

“If I could really take my eyes off the extremely sweet, lovable, charming, carefree and magically inexplicable Parineeti Chopra in debutante Vinil Matthew’s ‘no non-1-FotorCreated2sense’ romantic comedy HASEE TOH PHASEE, I would have certainly noticed the ‘time demands’ merger of one of the most celebrated production houses in the industry and the most promising pool of talents. No wonder the product in result comes out as one of the most refreshing, brilliantly acted, smartly written but quite a balanced in nature rom-coms in recent.”

“Expectations lead us to disappointments, by and large. But with Imtiaz Ali’s HIGHWAY, it is us who fall short of what to expect from this modern-age master of romance. Imtiaz is known to dig up diverse human relationships in order to drench us in the most vigorous and spirited emotions one can feel. HIGHWAY is no exception in substance but definitely in its approach. Through this journey of love, longings & togetherness in just not-so-feasible settings, Imtiaz dares to push his boundaries as a filmmaker and comes up with a love-story much darker, edgier and better than his bests.”

“Sincerity shows. Honesty pays off. And simplicity stays…in your heart, forever. If not so, how could Amole Gupte’s just another ‘underdog takes it all’ drama HAWAA HAWAAI not only manage to entertain, excite and impress you but also stirs you up with the ruthless reality we are in without being any sympathetic or sensitive about it. Moving and deeply thought-provoking!”

“कोई बॉलीवुड फिल्म एक छोटे से गाँव में अपना बसेरा बना ले,  हंसती हुई कहानियों में चुभने वाले व्यंग्य गढ़े और अपना नायक एक गरीब ईमानदार लेकिन इंसानी फ़ितरतों से कूट कूट कर भरे हुए आम आदमी में तलाशे, ऐसा अक्सर तो नहीं होता! दूरदर्शन पर चाणक्य से प्रसिद्धि पाने वाले डॉ. चंद्रप्रकाश द्धिवेदी की नयी फिल्म ‘ज़ेड प्लस‘ का नायक लुंगी और हवाई चप्पल में साइकिल के पंचर बनाने वाला एक आम आदमी तो  है, पर उसकी कहानी आम बिलकुल नहीं। देखिये, अगर कुछ अलग-कुछ अच्छा-कुछ सच्चा देखना चाहते हों! ‘जेड प्लस’ बहुत ही मज़ेदार तरीके से व्यवस्था-तंत्र और राजनीतिक गलियारों की सांठ-गाँठ और समझ-बूझ का मज़ाक बनाती है, साथ ही आम आदमी की बेबसी और नासमझी पर भी खासा व्यंग्य कसती है.

“In gist, as quoted by Sunny in the film, “film chahe chhoti ho, dil se banani chahiye”…and FILMISTAAN is a film made with heart, humor and drama all at its place. Flaws can be ignored if entertainment is there in a larger capacity. Watch it for a good film and good fun!”

“After his last being a 100 Cr club entrance (Deepika-Saif starrer COCKTAIL), FINDING FANNY is like Homi’s homecoming to what he had promised with his first (BEING CYRUS). No non-sense performances, grave humor and a good hand at writing. It is easily one of the most refreshing films you’ve seen this year! “

SULEMANI KEEDA is an indie best to celebrate friendship that doesn’t falter in extremes, is rudely controlling and a bag full of conflicting shades of different personalities but filled with loads of happier moments to rejoice later in life. Watch it, if you ever had a roommate who can convince you not to wear your favorite t-shirt on one of your big days and later, to find the same on his body at the same event.”

 —————the ‘WE ARE HERE TOO’ of 2014!———————————————————-

1-FotorCreated3“This all can never be completed without making it loud & clear that MISS LOVELY takes on a world popular in mass but is not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to an overall movie experience. It does have an arthouse movie feel with less dialogues, engaging but slow pace, lack of hardcore non-sense entertainment & anything that is regular and in routine these days. It is a film for cinema adults.”

“Documentaries are known to be dead factual and less entertaining but GULABI GANG is sure an exception. If it makes you cringe with deeply disturbing truth of our society, fuming over your helplessness to bring some change and feel extremely sensitive about the sufferings women are facing in some part of our country not very far from where we are, it also fills you with its sheer proportion of entertainment.”

Saad Khan’s STATION is the first Bollywood film that comes from Bangalore. A crime-thriller in its genre; it smells fresh, clean, crisp, mature, confident and quite a fine piece of film-making for so many newcomers involved in it. STATION is not some extraordinary thriller but it is not just any ordinary thriller too. It is a Bollywood film that doesn’t actually come from Bollywood.  It deserves a watch for the freshness it brings to the Bollywood crime-thrillers!”

MANJUNATH is a film that demands one time watch because of its social relevance and a real heroic tale we don’t see, hear or read much nowadays. Corruption has degraded our values in real life to much extent; hopefully this film doesn’t get affected much with cinematic corruption and stays true to its intention, execution and effect at most.”

“‘कटियाबाज़’ 85 मिनट की सिर्फ एक फिल्म नहीं है, ‘कटियाबाज़’ हम सबकी ज़िंदगी का एक हिस्सा है जहां ड्रामा, एक्शन, इमोशन सब असल का है. अगरआपको लगता है डॉक्यूमेंटरी सिर्फ कुछ चुनिंदा, बहुत ही संजीदा किस्म के लोगों के लिए ही बनती और बनायीं जाती हैं, आप ‘कटियाबाज़’ ज़रूर देखें। येआपकी अपनी फिल्म है और आप ही के लिए बनाई गयी है!”

“To show the aspirations, dreams and hopes of today’s Indian women, THE WORLD BEFORE HER handpicks two complete contrast characters and throws light on their lives under sheets.THE WORLD BEFORE HER honestly, impressively and without being critical to anyone specific puts the both on our table to dissect with our own receptivity and agree or disagree to either later. A very very important film! And yes, documentaries can also be entertaining. This one is a neat example! Do not miss it”

 ————————-the ‘WHAT THE HELL!’ of 2014—————————————————

“To be pronounced as ‘Mr jo bhi karwa lo’, debutante Samir Tewari’s ‘MR JOE B. CARVALHO’ is rather ‘errors in comedy’ than ‘comedy of errors’. The characters1-FotorCreated4 and I mean ‘each & everyone’ credited here acts and reacts like mad cows trying to eat as much grass from the field as they could.Cinema lovers can consider it a strictly ‘No-No’ and a case-history in the ‘worsts’ section of Bollywood.”

“With a lead starcast that is best to look at only on posters when they are not allowed to speak, act or emote, I was expecting surprises but ended up with possibilities of losing my mind, sense of cinema and high opinion for today’s youth that are in real more designed for future than the multimillionaire T-series headhoncho Bhushan Kumar’s talented wife Divya Khosla Kumar thinks and believes. Recommendations of any kind for this would need guts! I don’t have that in me.”

FUGLY is one hell of ride that merely knows where it is headed, much like the leading characters in the film. FUGLY also gets ugly while portraying the reality through the stupidity and idiocy its characters sport in their act. Film continuously demonstrates the lecherous, lewd and lustful behavior of men of all kinds against women. That’s the reality everyone should check without any uncertainty but when it is being spoken on screen, the pain goes missing by and large.  Don’t go anywhere near to this plain-unoriginal-uninspiring youth drama.”

“Do not judge a book by its cover and a film by its title, especially if it stars Akshay Kumar. Writer duo Sajid-Farhad’s first outing in direction ENTERTAINMENT sees a new low in the promised territory. With humor largely based on word-play one liners, plot that hardly believes in being logical and performances having tough time to justify even calling them one; it is just another slap-stick, mindless & lackluster comedy of absurdity Akshay Kumar is known to be a master of in recent past.”

TERE BIN LADEN fame Abhishek Sharma returns with remaking Basu Chatterji’s cutely titillating comedy SHAUKEEN. The new version is called THE SHAUKEENS and the Utpal Dutt-Ashok Kumar-A K Hangal trio is replaced with Anupam Kher-Annu Kapoor & Piyush Mishra. Undeniably, the cuteness is killed by the crudeness and the cheap sex-humor.”

Prabhudheva’s latest brainless entertainer ACTION JACKSON is a terribly torturous exercise not only to watch it as a viewer but also to recollect and reconcile it on paper as a film reviewer. Trust me, I could go and copy paragraphs from my earlier reviews of such mindless 100 Cr club entries to paste it here and you would never notice a thing. But then, I am no Prabhudheva myself.”

“What do you expect from a vengeance drama that has a woman as its main lead fighting for freedom, justice and right to live & love? At least to have a common courtesy to show the strength, sensibility and sensitivity of a woman in good light at the first place! Vishal Pandya’s HATE STORY 2 fails to remember this very simple logic. HATE STORY 2 is a rotten, regular & regressive revenge drama.”

 —————————–the ‘100 CR? HOW? WHY??’ of 2014——————————————–

1-FotorCreated7“Well, Salman is Salman. No one plays him better than he himself. He does things he believes in. His self-indulgence shows on screen and that is what his fans love to watch. Who am I to come between the God and his die-hard followers? All I can say to rest my case is that JAI HO is a confused platter of spicy southern curries with extra-mild Jain recipes. Better avoid ordering!”

“The consequences of a film joining the over-hyped ‘100 Cr’ club could be many but one you don’t really want to face in most cases, is its inescapable and obvious sequel. Rohit Shetty’s SINGHAM RETURNS is one of those. SINGHAM RETURNS is a mindless action entertainer that tickles your heart less and hammers on your head more. I hope it hints you enough to carry earplugs and a couple of pills, in case of severe headache!”

Siddharth Anand’s BANG BANG is a regular bollywood junk suitable only to those who crave for quick, forgettable and mindless adrenaline rush for their dose of entertainment.Problems with BANG BANG never really end. Where the original Hollywood flick had its own share of logic behind every action and plot developments, this Bollywood version hardly tries to be imaginative or logical.”

“Many describe most of the mass-entertainers a ‘paisa-vasool’ film. I really want to know what this reckless term is all about. Does a ‘dhaansu’ entry of the hero pay you back a 50 rupee note? How much a Nargis Fakhri item number is worth of, accordingly? And how to evaluate all those silly fight sequences and an emotional backup to the story to justify all the ridiculous actions our hero does?? I am still trying to locate my ‘paisa’ spent on Sajid Nadiadwala’s KICK in my wallet, if it’s come back! No, it’s not there yet! My ‘Paisa’ is not ‘Vasool-ed’.”

HAPPY NEW YEAR is nothing but a wastrel celebration of two Khan’s collaboration for a gala event where audiences are cordially invited but their sensibility is taken for granted at many levels.With a tiring, tedious and repetitive 3 hours of duration, HAPPY NEW YEAR falls short of juicy dialogues, enjoyable dance numbers and praiseworthy performances.”

 ——————————-the ‘SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!’ of 2014!————————————–1-HUMSHAKALS-9-times-the-fun

HUMSHAKALS is as illogical, as weird as its title. Neither there is a word like it in any of the dictionaries in the world, nor does this maddening world exist anywhere in this universe.

I hope it is the end. Let’s just not take cinema for granted in the name of entertainment. Leave Entertainment alone, this is an insult to Cinema! I just can’t throw my precious stars on such waste of time, money and efforts of thousands of people on a film-set. Stay away, or else you might release your anger, aggression and distress caused by the film upon your friends and family!

————-the ‘WHOLESOME ENTERTAINER’ of 2014!—————————————————

1-New-PK-Movie-Motion-PosterPK’ is another gem of Rajkumar Hiranis school of film-making where success can also be formulated by assimilating an unfussy entertainment of dramatic but simple nature & a ‘never gets preachy’ social message weaved in good humor and honest emotions.

There is so much to cheer-so much to cherish; you wouldn’t mind it going twice in its first week. I am ready for the evening show. Till then; my only reaction to the film is if Bollywood is meant to follow the latest formula for recreating similar box-office success, are we going to see many more ‘PK’s in coming years? I am sure, the answer is negative. PK is outstanding! PK doesn’t come to us too often! Go; get a slice of it…NOW!”

————————-the ‘OUTSTANDING PERFORMERS’ of 2014!————————————-

“Each performance has flares of spontaneity, honesty and effortlessness all over. How can you not love them? Some of the real ‘textbook’performances as well as some made it completely their own.”123

1. Irrfan as the mysterious ‘Roohdar’ in HAIDER 

2. Sanjai Mishra’s ‘Baoji’ in AANKHON DEKHI


3. Sharib Hashmi played hardcore bollywood fan in FILMISTAAN


4. The real Royal misfit Vijay Raaz in DEDH ISHQIYA & a passionate pakistani solider in Kya Dilli Kya Lahore


5. Adil Hussain’s earnest portrayal in ZED PLUS


6. Kangana’s heart-warming Rajouri girl wins hearts in QUEEN


7. Theatre veteran Manav Kaul in CITYLIGHTS

8. The ‘institution in self’ Pankaj Kapur’s lecherous womanizer in FINDING FANNY

9. Narendra Jha’s most confident and ‘gulon mein rang bhare’ moment in HAIDER


10. Girish Kulkarni as the ‘ever smiling’ curious cop in UGLY

[….in no particular order]      

Written By:- Gaurav Rai

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