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December 22, 2014 Monday     
If one wishes to give it a particular genre, then yes THE XPOSE can be called a murder mystery, more interested in portraying something else ahead than its actual crime. A ‘Who-Dun-It’ investigative drama, in which the murder actually happens just before the interval and till then the makers remain too involved in reliving both the famous and not so famous controversies of the most memorable era of Hindi films (before the 90's namely 60's & 70's).
THE XPOSE begins exactly like a 60's film with a song playing with its titles and then a voiceover introducing its entire cast with some interesting one liners. Next it straight takes you on to a revival journey into the Golden Era, revealing few dark secrets of the industry pointing towards some known names and therefore fails to give you anything in the name of a murder mystery till intermission.
The film returns back to its actual theme in the second half dealing with the various suspects, but here too we have another detailed reference of a major 70s hit which flopped initially. The narration manages to keep you engaged in its final 20 minutes when the pace picks up and the revelations are made. But again a very weird & hilarious way to point out the murderer (by simply staring at them) ruins the minimal impact generated quite cruelly. Throwing another fine twist towards the end, the director tries to justify its basic genre forcefully. Yet the film simply cannot be rated as any highly focused, intelligent crime mystery, all together.
An intense crime drama all depends upon how the director conceives his individual characters and their mutual relationships on the screen skillfully. However that’s exactly where THE XPOSE falters badly since the script fails to justify any particular character, their various affairs, allegations and the hidden jealousy arising from the flops or hits. The culmination sequences start happening too easily without any major explanations provided, taking away all the charm. Further the well promoted but surprisingly small appearances of stars like Yo Yo Honey Singh and Irrfan Khan turn out to be mere ‘publicity cheats’ played by the makers to bring in some added footfall. In its technical department, the background score successfully manages to keep the spirit alive and the DOP effectively gives a glossy look to the film as required. However the same cannot be said about the Art Direction and Costumes which don’t really take you back in time as projected.
Musically, once again Himesh has more than one melodious track with some fine lyrics in it like "Sheeshe Ka Samunder" & “Dard Dilon Ke Kam Ho Jaatey”. Honey Singh shines in his part of the song in "Hai Apna Dil To Awaara" and here I would certainly like to compliment Himesh for his catchy, selective and minimal arrangements which really sound quite soothing, away from all the overstuffed noise served as music.
However in the performance section, Himesh looks too arrogant and stiff playing it over confidently (probably keeping RAAJ KUMAR in mind). Yo Yo is there for only a few sequences but handles them well carrying his own carefree persona as it is. Irrfan Khan plays a cameo of just two scenes and the leading ladies, Zoya Afroz & Sonali Raut strongly display their confidence in some good skin show. Ananth Narayan Mahadevan (the director) is fine playing the director in the film too. Nakul Vaid, Ashin Dhir play it well, whereas Adil Hussain, Rajesh Sharma & Jessy Randhawa remain wasted. 
In short THE X-POSE performs pretty badly as a murder mystery and can appeal only to the viewers who can easily relate with all the realistic events of the decades before the 90s. And in case you are interested to know which all instances have been used in the film to give it a wicked feel, then here is the list given below. And the film does become an exciting one time watch, once you perfectly know who they are referring to and in which scene.
1. Himesh plays the famous actors RAAJ KUMAR, who was in reality a police office before joining the films, as shown in THE XPOSE too.
2. It has a scene between Himesh & Nakul, which reportedly took place between Rajkumar & Govinda in probably JUNG BAAZ released in 1989 (as I can remember).
3. Sunil Dutt actually saved Nargis from the fire at a set and the instance is incorporated in a similar sequence here in THE XPOSE.
4. One can see Parveen Babi emerging from the sea line, like the Bond Girl, played by Zoya Afroz in the film.
5. You can easily recall Zeenat Aman in a transparent white saree, praying in a temple in Raj Kapoor’s SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM (1978), played by Sonali Raut in the film.
6. It depicts the era when there were no personal vanity vans for the artists to vanish into. And everyone had to sit in the open under the big umbrellas surrounded by their personal staff.
7. The time period when the main magazine was FILMFARE and the whole gossip trend was started by STARDUST in the 70s (with a famous woman editor).
8. A sequence relives the scenario when the competitors used to buy tickets in advance only to sell them at a lower price through the black marketers, as a clever strategy to sabotage a potential film of the opponent released on the same day.
9. The era of long cars, the Impalas.
10. Two fictitious titles used in the film are 'Ujwal Nirmal Sheetal' and 'Reena Mera Naam' hinting towards SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM & JOHNY MERA NAAM clearly. Interestingly this also reminds you of the tussle between the titles of MERA NAAM JOKER and JOHNY MERA NAAM before their close releases.
(Would soon try to post a detailed article on the same)
11. A song resembles the sound design and voice of R. D. BURMAN singing in films like APNA DESH (1972).
12. The sudden death of an actress, falling from a high rise building, reminds you of the sad, untimely & shocking demise of Manmohan Desai and Divya Bharti.
13. A detailed sequence in the second half, indicates towards the death of Meena Kumari just after the release of PAKEEZAH turning it into a late HIT. The makers here show that the director of the film records a fake message in the voice of his dead heroine by a dubbing artist and uses that message to bring back the audiences in the theaters. However whether this was actually done or not, cannot be said.
14. Irrfan Khan in his special appearance plays Alec D’Costa, a black marketer showcasing the truth that in those times, selling tickets in black was such a huge business that people used to make big houses out of it. Plus it was these “Blackiyas” only (as they were called) who were used by one producer against the other for sabotaging a particular film.
Now reading the above references, you can sure enjoy the film more, recalling each and every incident as they come on the screen. But in case you are just interested in watching a thrilling murder mystery using your grey cells, then watch Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s KHAMOSH (1985) instead. Because in THE XPOSE it seems the makers were more interested in the controversies than the murder mystery.
Rating : 2 / 5 (Including 1 for just reliving that Golden Era & the soothing songs).
Tags : The Xpose Review By Bobby Sing, The Xpose Movie Review By Bobby Sing, Hindi Films on Real Life Events, Realistic Films of Real events, Bobby Sing Bollywood Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Reviews, 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
16 May 2014 / bobbysing /
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A few weeks before when I was told that the upcoming film TOTAL SIYAPAA is an official remake of a Spanish comedy ONLY HUMAN aka SERES QUERIDOS (2004), I eagerly watched the original and was in big doubts as the script required a great amount of transformation suiting our Indian mindsets. The film had its entire story progression based on a typical element of foreign humour which essentially demanded a complete Indian makeover undoubtedly and therefore I was excited enough to see that how they are going to do that in TOTAL SIYAPAA. Moreover since the film was written (adapted) as well as co-produced by Neeraj Pandey, the mastermind behind A WEDNESDAY & SPECIAL 26, along with Eshwar Niwas being there as the director, I was expecting it to be at least a decent entertainer with some fresh interesting faces brought together.
But unfortunately what the team offered in those approximately 110 minutes was way below the mark or hugely disappointing, with the main culprit being the writing only, which is nothing but a scene to scene adaptation of its original Spanish film using the same elements of foreign humour, weirdly. In short we only get the nationalities changed here to Indians and Pakistanis, whereas the rest remains almost the same with only few minor additions by the makers. And certainly that is the reason why one feels like hugely disconnected while watching it and doesn’t get what was promised by its exciting promos in terms of family confusions, lovable fights and enjoyable humour served well in the short duration of less than 2 hours.
Talking about a family set in London, the film begins on a very routine note with a melodious love song coming in its first few minutes itself. A predictable, forced in sequence involving a Mr. Bean look-alike policeman comes next, which simply fails to generate any kind of laughter at all. And then the immensely likable Kiron Kher is there with some good entertaining sequences in the first 30 minutes. But soon, she also falls in the same trap of ‘tough to relate foreign humour’ after a while and the film starts moving on a downward swing from here on. Actually what hurts you the most, while watching TOTAL SIYAPAA is that the film never picks up post its initial good moments and stays in that same state of 1st or 2nd gear only throughout. The screen says interval in just about 50 minutes and the veteran Anupam Kher actually makes an entry in the second half.
The visible disconnection with the happenings on the screen continues to be the major drawback of the film, especially post interval and one doesn’t feel like enjoying its any supposedly funny scene in reality. The soundtrack does have a few melodious tracks such as ‘Palat Meri Jaan’ and ‘Nahi Maloom’ but they make no contribution in the overall impact of the film at all. Following a very questionable pattern, the director strictly follows whatever is there in the Spanish version as it is, like the problem created by the soup bowl, a little girl posing as pregnant, the father’s experience with the hookers and even the colleagues playing kinky in the office shown in the exact manner, which fails to make any kind of impact on the audience. Moreover even the Cinematography & Background score departments also take a lot of inspiration from its original source, probably skipping the tougher path of trying something new.
In the performance section, Ali Zafar suits the role perfectly and he tries his best looking fresh & involved. Kirron Kher once again delivers a polished but routine performance of a Punjabi mother and Yami Gautam leaves a positive impact as the gorgeous young lady in her second film too. As the blind grandfather, Vishwa Mohan Badola could have been used in a better way. Anuj Pandit Sharma gets nothing much to do playing the brother-in-law and Sagar Arya (Brother) overacts in his short role. Surprisingly Anupam Kher gets utterly wasted in a very silly kind of character and he is just there in few scenes towards the end only playing the lost father.  
However the one actor who simply catches your attention right from her first scene itself remains Sara Khan, playing Yami’s elder sister. In fact her act rightly proves that apart from the looks, its only the writing which can bring forward any single character out of a whole bunch of actors in a particular scene. The girl looks stunningly attractive and I truly found it amazing that despite Yami Gautam being there, my eyes were still searching for Sara Khan as she did manage to reach out to the audience much better than anyone else on the screen unarguably.
In all TOTAL SIYAPAA is a big letdown, particularly when it is coming from Neeraj Pandey and I was really surprised that its entire screenplay was not re-written but just adapted as it is from its Spanish original without putting in any serious thought, resulting in such a mediocre product.
Rating : 1.5 / 5 (Including 0.5 only for its 2 melodious songs)
Tags : TOTAL SIYAPAA Review By Bobby Sing, Total Siyaapa Movie Review By Bobby Sing, Total Siyapa Film Review by Bobby Sing,New Hindi Films Reviews By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Movies Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bobby Sing Bollywood Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Reviews, 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, Official Hindi Remakes of Foreign Films, Inspired Films, Copied Films
07 March 2014 / bobbysing /
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(Spoilers – The review reveals film’s basic storyline)
The appreciation showered upon this unusual but delicious LUNCH BOX all over and the well planned publicity campaign (turning it into a talk of the town in few weeks), did manage to cross the visible limitations of promoting such off-beat projects successfully. But the day I saw its first-look poster with a catchy tagline, featuring the lead stars sitting in vertically opposite positions (facing each other), it appeared to me as something, both seen and read before in some other projects. Still, the excitement was quite there due to its inviting star-cast and the film did manage to provide that expected creative satisfaction too, mainly due to its stellar performance and few innovative, well thought of insertions used brilliantly. So keeping the discussion on its inspirational sources for the last, let’s first talk about the exceptional merits of the film revolving around the wrong exchange of a LUNCH BOX by chance.
To begin with, this is not exactly a love story as widely publicized in its promos and posters. On the contrary it is a beautiful and expressive film on LONELINESS, experienced by various persons in their distinctive lives individually. And when a film dares to talk about those lonely moments of life so lovingly, then it is bound to touch every sensitive adult giving it a serious watch, since we all have felt that loneliness somewhere in our life, sooner or later. To give you a fair idea about all its interesting characters dealing with their own complexities of life alone……..,
 LUNCHBOX is a story of a loving housewife, who is being regularly ignored by his busy husband, probably due to an affair with another lady.
It’s about a lonely widower who is about to retire after 35 years of a single job and gets excited as he accidently gets in touch with an unknown housewife who is an excellent cook.
It’s about a grown-up orphan, who has an innocent smile and tries to learn every art of life alone with his own efforts.
And it talks about an old lady who is fed up of feeding and looking after her ailing husband single handedly, every day and night from years.
Now reading the above description it may sound like a depressing movie talking about all the gloomy days lived by its various characters on the screen as the sub-plots. But THE LUNCHBOX rises much above this negativity surrounding its entire proceedings and comes up as an extremely positive film with a single master stroke played by the director, of a voice without a face calling from the upper floor. And truly speaking, the whole film simply turns into an enjoyable tale, depicting the hard realities of life just because of this single insertion of Bharti Achrekar’s voice and her passion for music cassettes playing the hit track of SAAJAN and more from the floor above. Supporting these positive vibes, we have the ever smiling character of Nawazuddin too, providing those much needed lighter moments in the film to keep the memento going. But actually it’s that one invisible voice only, which certainly remains the most appreciable and innovative thought incorporated in the film directed by Ritesh Batra as his debut venture.
As expected, THE LUNCHBOX is a must watch for its powerful performances by Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin. But surprisingly the order of these worth watching acts is not the same, routine one as before. To be honest with their art, THE LUNCHBOX is more a Nawazuddin and Nimrat Kaur film than a Irrfan one. No doubt Irrfan puts up a great show playing the lead role of an aging old man (especially in the scene talking about that odd smell in his bathroom). Yet the show stealer here remains Nawazuddin as the trainee, followed by Nimrat Kaur, superbly playing the lonely housewife caught in a dilemma. The supporting cast featuring Nakul Vaid, Lillette Dubey and more are just fine. And so is the background score and cinematography of the film providing the desired realistic feel of our daily life impressively.
However despite the above praises, I would not be able to call it as an exceptional or near perfect film due to its few unfortunate shortcomings related to its length and the open climax. At around 109 minutes, THE LUNCHBOX goes beyond an acceptable length and becomes quite monotonous after the initial 20 minutes. Actually it can easily be called a short film of 60-70 minutes overstretched to an excessive length of 109 minutes resulting in some repetitive and forced in sequences (like the one of Nimrat’s parents). Secondly after playing it real well in a path breaking mode throughout, suddenly the film ends in an indecisive, confusing or inconclusive manner which just breaks the great momentum built leaving a sour taste. May be, both the monotonous sequences and the abrupt ending are kept to represent the real nature of life as it is (which is in fact repetitive as well as abrupt). Yet as a film, I strongly felt that it could have connected more with a different and enjoyable ending written with an unpredictable approach.
Therefore, YES as the representative of the new age cinema wave, THE LUNCHBOX is a must watch film, depicting ‘Loneliness’ in a positive way, rarely tried in our Hindi Cinema in the recent decades. But at the same time, its also not a masterpiece or a great path breaking film as being promoted. In reality, this is a more than a year old, unreleased project, which received wide appreciation in the festival circuits, waiting for a buyer. And probably it was only after seeing the success of SHIP OF THESEUS that the corporate production houses sighted this new arena of earning money (by promoting small budget films made on an off-beat subject) that they took THE LUNCHBOX and it got a decent release all over.
Now looking at the present scenario its indeed a tricky and debatable situation when Corporates acquire the rights of such thoughtful projects and then try selling them in the multiplexes at very high priced tickets by creating an overhype around them as per their known style. At one end it can be argued that at least they are making these films available for the willing audience in the theaters. But on the other, is it right to first create an undeserving hype around them in the media and then try showing such off-beat projects only in the high end multiplexes on some steep prices.
Taking the same thought further, Isn’t this biased practice going to make these unique films available only for the richer and elite section of the audience (who can easily afford the high prices multiplex tickets)? Or Are we assuming that the lower and middle class people of our country don’t have the intelligence, the mindset or willingness to watch such meaningful ventures in the theaters? Anyway keeping this subject open for further discussion in the comments, I would like to mention the inspirational sources of this LUNCH BOX as stated in the beginning of the review in the following points:
1. Firstly the poster of the film with the vertically opposite photos of its two lead characters seems to be highly inspired from one of the posters of film LOOPER (2012). And you can have a check by clicking at the link given.
2. Secondly the basic theme of the movie, wherein two strangers fall in love (without seeing each other), through their exchange of letters only, is not a novel or original one, since it has already been used more than once in English as well as Hindi movies stated below.
(In English)
THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940) - Exchange through postal letters.
IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949) (Remake) – Exchange through letters & Post office.
YOU’VE GOT MAIL (1998) (Remake) – Exchange through E-mails sent from different names.
(In Hindi)
SIRF TUM (1999), NA TUM JANO NA HUM (2002), MITR MY FRIEND (2002) – All inspired from the “You’ve Got Mail” (1998) syndrome and the same reference was also there in MUJHSE FRAANDSHIP KAROGE (2011).
Interestingly, what the writer & director of THE LUNCHBOX have done in their script is that they have beautifully mixed the borrowed theme of ‘Exchange of Letters Between Strangers’ with the Indian proverb ‘A Way To The Man’s Heart Is Through His Stomach’, introducing the lunch box in their plot quite smartly. So here we have the letters not coming through any post office or e-mail portal but inside a lunch box wrongly delivered to a different person who is just passing through a changing phase of his lonely life. Further they have used two triumph cards to reach the niche festival audience in the world over and they are “A feeling of loneliness” subtly depicted throughout the film and the insertion of “Mumbai Dabbawalas” who have already got a global fame for their management skills and undying spirit of doing it right.
Summing it all, due to an inspired subject, long length and unclear ending, I would not be able to rate THE LUNCHBOX as higher as compared to the other reviewers. Still it undeniably remains a must watch movie for sure for its fabulous performances and for that one strong voice full of positivity from the above, which has no visible face like the Supreme Power.
Rating : 3.5 / 5
(Note : As a suggestion, if you really wish to see a masterpiece of Indian Cinema on the subject of Loneliness then essentially watch Vijaya Mehta’s PESTONJEE (1988) and give yourself a visual treat.)
Tags : Lunch Box Review By Bobby Sing, Lunch Box Movie Review By Bobby Sing, Movie Review at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Movies Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bobby Sing Bollywood Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Reviews, 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, Copied Films, Inspired Films
21 September 2013 / bobbysing /
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