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February 10, 2016 Wednesday     
Hindi cinema does have its own preset formats followed since decades and it’s rarely that we get to see a film focusing on its core ‘must-tell’ subject throughout with an almost impressive execution, performances, camerawork and background score accompanied by a few avoidable (but major) hiccups. The film once again is a project with a strong patriotic feel featuring Akshay Kumar and though his last few films have not reached the infamous 100 crore status, the actor is rightly choosing his subjects and fast moving on the path of becoming the new-age Bharat Kumar (aka Manoj Kumar) for the present generation with films such as NAMASTEY LONDON (which was in fact a re-worked version of Manoj Kumar’s PURAB AUR PACHHIM), SPECIAL 26 (revealing rare scams in India), HOLIDAY, BABY, GABBAR IS BACK and now AIRLIFT.
Based on the genuinely lesser-known heroes of the past, AIRLIFT is a completely focused and a sincere effort by director Raja Krishna Menon enlightening the viewers about the time of first Gulf War, when around 1,70,000 Indians left stranded in Kuwait were safely rescued by the efforts made by a few local businessmen of Indian origin, a few government employees and diplomats here in India going out of their way compromising with the set protocol.
The rare and unbelievable kind of incident deserved to be adapted on the silver screen as a must and team AIRLIFT does the given important task pretty well with only a few preventable minuses revealed in the later part of the review, mentioning the merits first.
The film begins with a non-Hindi sequence giving you a feel of where the story is actually based and then the lead character of Akshay gets revealed as a cunning, money-minded businessman with a song "Dil Cheez Tujhe De Di', reminding you of Khaled's hit track of the early ‘90s titled DIDI. However, the relief moments get over soon within the opening 10 minutes and the narration straight away comes to its basic shocking plot without wasting any more time as required.
The director, along with his cinematographer (Priya Seth), brilliantly recreates the absurd, life-threatening and hell of a scary scenario on the streets very intelligently (with fine detailing), without going into any hugely grand scale (try to catch the sight of all wrecked shops at the back with boards like of CASIO). As a result one truly feels the fear watching military tanks moving around the houses, heavy guns in the hands of young soldiers and people being shot dead on just hearing a word said in Arabic.
Personally speaking, the well-shot and conceived transformation of life within seconds – without caring about any kind of richness one might have achieved – reminded me of a similar sequence in Yash Chopra’s WAQT where the life-changing twist is a result of devastating earthquake and not any foreign attack. The story progression remains convincing and majorly gripping till intermission despite some unrequired songs and the film keeps heading towards an expectedly uplifting climax arousing patriotic feeling among the audience that honestly could have been much more energetic and exciting giving the event a thrilling edge.
Apart from the fact that AIRLIFT largely works due to its rare, unheard-of historical event and its (said to be) authentic portrayal, the other truth remains that the film completely relies on the strong shoulders of Akshay alone and the actor underplays the heroic act well without falling back to the usual Bollywood heroism. Akshay’s first-rate performance gets decently supported by Nimrat Kaur, who could have done much better underplaying it too, because at times it does make you feel awkward watching her calmly living in her big house overlooking the gravely dangerous situation in the country they are living in. The supporting cast has some effective portrayals from Purab Kohli, Kumud Mishra, Feryna Wazheir and above all Prakash Belawadi who successfully annoys the viewers too along with Akshay and others on screen.
Coming to the hiccups in AIRLIFT, which unfortunately don’t let you rate the film as any classic exemplary attempt making a major breakthrough, firstly it’s the usual inclusion of love songs (with another inspired one from a Punjabi hit number ‘Soch’) coming at a time when there is tension written all over the screen with people dying. Admittedly post the first acceptable party track, the moment a melody begins, you feel like why they are adding songs in such a finely progressing movie based on a serious subject? Thankfully the tracks are kept short for just 1-2 minutes of duration but it seems they were probably all there against the will of their captain of the ship having a clear vision. (Moreover its indeed strange to hear Akshay singing Hindi songs when he himself declares in the beginning that he doesn’t like Indian music anymore.)
The second drawback in the film for me was the casting of Inaamulhaq as the Iraqi general speaking with a funny accent. No doubt Inaamulhaq is a fine actor who tried his best to deliver the expected result in the assigned job. But as I felt, another terrifying face in that particular role could have resulted in much more scary impact in those important sequences with Akshay avoiding all the unintentional comic touches. (Here, I also felt weird watching Akshay enjoying a tandoori chicken in his house when everyone else in the town was not even having a complete one-time meal. Maybe I am alone here but I felt this was quite contradicting to his otherwise ‘emotional character-change’ in those crucial times.)
As the third and most important hiccup of the film, its climax lacked that expected exaggeration or cinematic tension that should have been there depicting probably the biggest civil evacuation in the world history. The detailing was completely missing as it actually had more than 450 planes airlifting the 1,70,000 people from the region, that took around one to two months as reported. Besides, the emphasis entirely remains on talks and requests made on humanitarian ground, without any kind of exciting cinematic moments bringing the viewer on to the edge of his seat as seen in similar attempts in the west like in ARGO.
Talking about the political involvement and will showcased in the film as per the real life happenings, AIRLIFT actually doesn’t make you feel proud for the government or political leaders of those times not taking any instant timely action as desired.  On the contrary, it makes you feel proud for those few government employees and concerned officials who in reality made it possible through their personal efforts fighting against all the usual political drama and time-lags.
Ending the review on another bitter truth, the film has a scene where an Iraqi soldier gets hold of a young Indian girl passing through him, pushes her towards the wall and starts rubbing her indicatively from the back. The minute it started happening on the screen, I heard sick laughs, shouts and whistles in the single-screen theater I was watching the film in. A clear indicator that we are still not civilized enough in the minds and there are many serious possible offenders around us, who can easily turn into DEVILS when the opportunity arises.
So thinking about this scary truth, do watch AIRLIFT as a good film inspiring us all to be together as INDIANS irrespective of any caste, colour or region. But don’t expect anything as exciting and effective as ARGO, HOTEL RWANDA or SCHINDLER’s LIST.
Rating : 3 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 for making the courageous move of adapting the ‘must-tell, lesser known’ historical event for a Hindi film)
(NOTE : As an interesting revelation, the very existence of any such person or persons in Kuwait is also denied and its said that the evacuation was actually facilitated by the governments only. However the review is as per how it is depicted in the film.)
Tags : AIRLIFT Movie Review by Bobby Sing, Airlift Film Review by Bobby Sing, Inspired Movies from Real Life Events, Inspired Soundtrack, Copied Music. Reworked songs, Punjabi song adapted in Hindi Film Song, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
 
 
23 January 2016 / bobbysing /
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ABCD 2

ABCD released in 2013 actually worked since it had all real performers from the TV dance reality show enjoying together in their debut film without any so called ‘Star’ in the cast other than their Gurus or teachers. Hence I was really doubtful that the inclusion of a ‘star couple’ might hamper the original raw spirit of the theme, sidelining all the genuine stars of its much appreciated 2013 hit. But luckily I was proved wrong, since the director Remo D’Souza doesn’t let that happen in his sequel using every known face of the reality show superbly and for that both Varun and Shradha deserve equal applause allowing them the bigger space without any personal ego or image hassles (defying the ages old tradition of the industry).
However before going into the more important ‘unseen’ merits of the film that I seriously wish to share with my readers, let me first give you a short review of ABCD 2 as a much bigger and lavish sequel eagerly awaited by many.
Beginning with the downers, ABCD 2 is completely based on a routine formula with no great storyline or script as such. There is a competition lost in the beginning and there is an international contest to be won in the finale as usual resulting in a stale plot. Plus despite having a real life Mumbai dance group as its basic inspiration, the film can still be easily called a clever mix of STEP UP series of the west, the last half an hour of Farah’s HAPPY NEW YEAR and the basic plot of replacing an injured co-dancer taken from Yash Chopra’s DIL TOH PAGAL HAI hinting towards a love triangle. There are too many illogical cinematic liberties taken by the writers in the film like no reason given for why they copied initially, no problems in the foreign travel by the entire young troupe, the boys easily finding a perfect replacement in an unknown foreign city, a huge difference in Prabhudeva’s elegant staircase and the interior of his adjacent room and the undisclosed ailment of one of its key dancer finding no mention towards the end, clearly affecting the end-product.
Plus the biggest disappointment (despite having some brilliantly arranged instrumental dance beat tracks) remains its weak soundtrack that though sounds fine while watching the film in the theater, but doesn’t give you anything to go for a second listening later after the show is over. Here as per the market news, a few of its songs have already been declared hit as the ‘fresh in-thing’ being liked by many. But frankly for me the melody was simply missing that ought to be ‘a must’ for a ‘music-dance based film’ like ABCD 2.
Moreover, along with the uninspiring writing, okay dialogues and a sudden end, it’s the over-length of the film going into more than 150 minutes that honestly reduces the overall impact on the viewers and they somehow feel ‘served less than the promises made’ due to the very reason.
Having said that, the film’s all clichéd formula still largely works reaching its young target audience since it has one thing in abundance and that too in the purest quality form, i.e. Dance, Stage Performances and their Amazing Moves. So one witnesses a loud applause whenever the youngsters get to see their favourite ones performing on the screen and mind you this doesn’t include either Varun or Shradha expectedly. In fact Remo uses his three main underdogs quite intelligently at intervals and the move really works wonders when you get to hear shouts or whistles each time Dharmesh, Punit, Raghav or Lauren (post interval) enter the scene with a quick, smart build-up grooving to some inventive steps.
As ABCD 2 (Any Body Can Dance 2) is solely based on its plot of spellbinding dance performances, the film has an outstanding choreography that is sure going to be loved by the ones who are actually into this particular dance form of Hip-Hop and doing similar stage performances as a team (with an appreciative mention of the actual inspiration behind the theme, Suresh Mukund and Vernon Monteiro in the end credits playing it rightly). So even if you are not a dancer yourself but do enjoy the act of dancing naturally, the spirited dedication and the huge effort is sure going to make you feel the excitement, tapping your foot along with the musical beats, particularly in all its well-conceived stage sequences and the patriotically charged climax.
ABCD 2The film has a remarkable production value, eye catching set-designs, fabulous lighting and superb cinematography (watch out for the love songs) generating a stunning visual end-result, especially in the spectacular opening sequence, a Chaplin inspired performance in the mid and then the charged up finale devoted to Lord Ganesha (along with a tour of the neon-lights lit Las Vegas as an added attraction). Besides this time for a change the 3D technology really becomes a major plus giving you something to cheer for and not just added for the sake of it as usual.
Coming to the performances, this is one of those rare films that is collectively supported by the entire team and not just dependent upon a single person alone due to his or her star-status. Both Varun and Shraddha perform earnestly, displaying a great amount of homework done for their demanding roles and they do impress a lot particularly Varun Dhawan. Here I would specifically like to applaud the two bigger stars for not throwing any tantrums and letting every single person in the film perform freely (taking the center stage) without any ego issues. An example that truly puts these two new generation actors much ahead than their seniors who were known to cut their opponent’s role in a film using their star-influence in the industry.
But having praised Varun-Shradha for their generous professional approach, the real heroes of the film still undoubtedly remain the famous performers of the dance reality show, namely Dharmesh, Punit, Raghav, Sushant and the gorgeous Lauren Gottlieb also doing well in the acting department. In fact its really a sight watching the whole theatre cheering them all in their individual entries so lovingly with claps, whistles and roars like some big stars.
Prabhudeva continuing from the first part as Vishnu Sir surprises you with a well handled emotional act besides his repetitive yet (always) impressive dance moves. Also the cameos of Tisca Chopra, Kapil Sharma, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Pooja Batra and Ganesh Acharya do contribute a bit in their given scenes.
To give the entire team their deserving respect, a film like ABCD 2 is certainly not an easy one to make conceiving a differently engaging dance act for every individual artist, for every major event in the script progression, for all its love-songs and the pumped up finale involving hundreds of artists performing together in the same frame on the lavishly designed bright sets. So you cannot pull down the show just like another routine film releasing any Friday made without any specific vision.
However if only Remo could have stressed more on the storytelling part, reducing the overall duration of the film giving less emphasis to its full length love songs having a better edit, ABCD 2 would have reached a much wider audience offering a non-stop music and dance festival moving ahead than its original hit.
So in the present version, it might not be liked by all but the ones who love dancing or have a suppressed dancer’s soul caught in their given bodies are sure going to have a blast watching it in the theatre forgetting & forgiving all its above mentioned shortcomings.
Talking about the film’s ‘unseen merits’ stated in the beginning, I would like to support ABCD 2 and the series for some different reasons you might not find in any other write-up addressing the present ‘west-obsessed’ net-age generation given below:
1. As shown in the film, please don’t consider Youtube or the Internet as your virtual teachers when it comes to learning the various art-forms. These sources can only be considered as some useful information providers helping in your overall growth but a personal one-to-one coaching is what’s exactly required going to a learned GURU, if you are really serious in any of your newly found artistic urges.
Because if truth be told, then such virtual practices just teach you how to COPY and not how to LEARN & CREATE, as rightly shown in the film’s initial moments.
2. Learning from ABCD 2’s well-presented climax, one should always aim at performing to the best of his/her ability in any competition of life, instead of just focusing on winning with a mean attitude degrading the others around. These TV reality shows are wrongly teaching us the ‘Sole Aim of Winning’ quite foolishly, whereas in real life (most of the times) its not the winners of these shows but serious performers who actually manage to make a name for themselves in the industry through their own hard work and sincerity. (For instance, read about Arijit Singh, the current in-thing in Hindi film music and taste the reality.)
3. Its easy to work individually, but its extremely difficult to work as a team since it asks you to get rid of all your false egos, anger and attitude, making way for understanding the other working together. And saying this from my personal experience of performing as a part of professional Bhangra group for years, believe me - it is really something out of this world when you are just about to step on the stage after making a circle holding hands together, loudly shouting ‘Bole So Nihaal, Sat Sri Akaal’ or ‘Ganpati Bappa Moreya’ as prominently shown in the film. Putting it honestly, if you haven’t experienced this yet then just try to do it by performing a specific task participating in a team, as the experience will teach you a lot, breaking the old, strong walls of your individual shell.
4. Lastly but most importantly, though ABCD 2 revolves around a western dance form (Hip-Hop) performed in a foreign country, it still thankfully doesn’t forget to showcase one of the oldest and unique Indian tradition of GURU-SHISHYA that is fast becoming extinct in this questionable net-age style of learning spreading widely. As a matter of fact, its quite heartwarming witnessing the rare gesture in the film, when Varun turns back before going on to the stage, only to touch the feet of his Guru asking for HIS BLESSINGS or Aashirwad for their important performance.
The scene truly represents our rich Indian culture, our heritage teaching us the important basics of life, fast getting ignored by the present generation unfortunately. No doubt, a very important and worth applauding insertion by director Remo, keeping the spiritual tradition alive in his new-age film.
Summing up, I would like to recommend ABCD 2 to all youngsters for the very reasons mentioned above and not willing to participate in the Indian Hypocrisy, wherein we loudly praise a well-made English film that has got just ‘Action & Action alone’ to showcase in its 2 hours performed brilliantly, but not ready to praise our own Hindi film that just focuses on ‘Dance and Dance alone’ in its 2.5 hours shot beautifully....
Strangely, we call the first one made as per a specific genre and target audience but forget the same rule when it comes to rate a similar attempt by our own filmmakers.... feeling the inferiority complex. So forgetting all the criticism, if you really love dancing and have a dancer’s soul waiting to be given a chance then do go for ABCD 2 in the theatres and just enjoy the show.
Rating : 3 + 0.5 / 5 (With the additional 0.5 for keeping alive the rich Indian tradition of Guru-Shishya, teaching the young ones rightly)
Tags : ABCD 2 Review by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Indian dance based movies, Spectacular show by Remo
 
 
19 June 2015 / bobbysing /
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There is no competition to Horror genre in India as almost everyone is ready to try it once (irrespective of the star-cast), expecting that probably this time they do it right coming up with a real scary film breaking the long jinx. But unfortunately, ALONE remains another silly addition to the category of all those lazily made ventures following the typical filmy setting of mixing horror with sex and some soothing songs. Moreover this time neither you get to feel the horror nor are served with any exciting sexual content as seen in director Bhushan Patel’s last scary film RAGINI MMS 2.
Adaptation of a Thai film with the same title ALONE (2007), it was earlier remade in south too as CHAARULATHA (2012 – Kannada/Tamil) before the present Hindi version. And the most disappointing feature of this remake is that despite having a decent, novel plot revolving around two beautiful (twin) sisters, the writers/director fails to materialize on it absurdly and goes on and on with the same old clichéd sequences completely ruining its interesting premise right from the beginning. Both the scary and steamy-quotient are not able to deliver anything significant and the film ends just like that making you feel as conned by the makers stealing your precious two hours and the hard earned money once again so easily.
Being too dark throughout (in literal sense), you get to see a brighter screen only in the well shot songs and few other sequences in gaps resulting in a more annoying experience. Plus the boringly slow pace with a routine progression and average dialogues further become its major downers unable to exploit the potential plot that could have been used differently as required. In the performance section, the key face of the project Bipasha Basu continues with her deliberate move of doing more horror movies but displays the same expressions and erotic appeal repeatedly proving herself as a much better kisser keeping aside the acting skills. However the lady surely deserves an innovative director and project to prove her untapped talent in this particular genre quite clearly. Karan Singh Grover makes a confident debut showing his worked upon body and knows well how to do the emotional scenes (learning from this TV serial experience) evidently. But the poor screenplay of the film doesn’t let him do something exceptional making the best use of the opportunity given. In addition the supporting cast provides few funny moments in place of the scary ones resulting in a weird laughter in the theatre post intermission.
In all, the soundtrack with few interesting (but not great) tracks can be rated as the only positive feature of this lousy horrex film (as it is called). And its really a pity to see such an uninteresting remake despite having two clear references right in front of you for the guidance. Therefore you can easily skip ALONE to watch something more scary from your own DVD collection that is compelling enough to be given a repeat viewing.

(For records, one of its song "Touch My Body" has credited 8 lyricist for its creation, since it is a reworked track from Dr. Zeus earlier two songs namely, "Feel My Body - Don't Be Shy" and "Kangna".)

Rating: 1 / 5
Tags : Alone Movie Review by Bobby Sing, Alone Film Review by Bobby Sing, Hindi remakes of Thai movies, Inspired Movies, Copied Films, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
 
 
17 January 2015 / bobbysing /
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