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Friday, August 21, 2015

Phantom

Casts: Saif Ali Khan, Katrina Kaif, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, Sohaila Kapur
Banner: UTV Motion Pictures and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment
Director: Kabir Khan
Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala and Siddharth Roy Kapur
Screenplay: Kabir Khan and Parveez Shaikh
Music: Pritam Chakraborty
Release Date: 28th August 2015

Story line: Phantom movie is about the post-26/11 attacks in Mumbai and global terrorism.  Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif were cast in leading roles, as secret agents/mercenaries. The film earlier had a working title as Daniyal Khan, before being titled Phantom.

Phantom is a political thriller that unfolds across various countries around the world. The plot revolves around protagonist Daniyal, whose journey to seek justice takes him from India to Europe, America and the volatile Middle East. However, he finds out that in a mission like this, there is always a price to pay, in this case, a very personal price.

Saif Ali Khan plays Daniyal an Indian agent who vows to get inside Hariz Saeed’s home, kill him on the spot, and take his revenge for attacking Mumbai. Hariz Saeed is a veiled reference to Hafiz Saeed, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief who is wanted in India for his involvement in the 26/11 attacks.

Know more about the captain of the Ship, the director:  Kabir Khan (born 1971) is an Indian film director, screenwriter, and cinematographer. He started his career working in documentary films, and then made his feature film directorial debut in 2006 with Kabul Express which was followed by New York (2009) and Ek Tha Tiger (2012).

Khan started his career at age 24 as a cinematographer for the Discovery Channel documentary film Beyond the Himalayas (1996) directed by Gautam Ghosh. He then made his own directorial debut with the documentary The Forgotten Army (1999) based on Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army. He then directed two more documentaries before shifting his focus to mainstream cinema. Kabir’s last directorial venture Bajrangi Bhaijaan was declared an ALL TIME BLOCBUSTER by “Box office India”.

 Facts And Figures:
• Film is an adaptation of Hussain Zaidi’s book Mumbai Avengers, and the screenplay of the film has been written in co-ordination with the author. Zaidi is also associate producer of the HBO documentary Terror in Mumbai, which is based on the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai
• Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif have reportedly learnt Kurdish and Arabic for their roles.
• The film earlier had a working title as Daniyal Khan, before being titled Phantom
• On 20 August, it was reported that the film was banned from release in Pakistan by the Lahore High Court after a plea was filed by Hafiz Saeed.
• Both Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif have performed intense action sequences, and have not used stunt doubles for most of their scenes, having instead done the scenes themselves
• The shooting of the film was completed in 90 days.
• The worldwide premiere of the film is scheduled for the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne on its closing night, 27 August 2015.
• Shooting of the movie is done in the various international location likes Beirut, Lebnon, Turkey, Wembley and recently they completed shooting at Vancouver, Canada and now they are shooting at Gateway Of India in Mumbai. Some shots of the movie is also shoot in the beautiful location of Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir.
• Budget of this movie is 50 crore and Running time is 2hr 28minutes.

My Gut Feel and comments:
Hats off to the versatility of a director Kabir Khan where last month he brought Bajrangi Bhaijaan to the audience and now coming up with Phantom where in both the cases our sensitive relationship with Pakistan has been shown with two different poll apart perspectives.  And in both the cases story seems to be presented with great conviction and honesty which is not an easy task.

Phantom is an adaptation of Hussain Zaidi’s book Mumbai Avengers which would lead to  a tight gripped screenplay and going by the credentials of Kabir khan who started his career as  documentary film maker,   I am sure he would have done justice to the this sensitive subject where margin of error is quite less .  Kabir khan did a decent job earlier as well in case of Newyork and Ek tha tiger which is of similar plot like Phantom. He knows the art of balancing the presentation of story in realistic manner at the same time keeping the mass appeal and commercial viability intact which resulted in box office success and getting decent critical admiration.

Performing consistently is a difficult task however till know Kabir Khan did able to manage to do the justice to audience expectations from his films even while choosing tricky subjects. I am expecting Phantom to be a good movie and with moderate budget it should recover the cost and do decent box office business.

I am giving this movie 3 stars out of 5 stars, six day before the release.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Brothers

Casts: Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Malhotra, Jacqueline Fernandez, Jackie Shroff
Banner: Dharma Productions, LionsGate Entertainment, Endemol India, Fox Star Studios
Director: Karan Malhotra
Producer: Karan Johar and Hiroo Yash Johar
Music: Ajay Gogavale and Atul Gogavale
Release Date: 14th August 2015

Story line:The film tells the story of a broken family, set in the world of mixed martial arts and underground street fighting.

Gary Fernandes, a former alcoholic and street-fighter, returns home after serving a prison sentence of 10 long years to find that the wounds of the past still haunt his family. His two sons, David and Monty, who had parted ways as kids, are grown men now, but are still bitterly estranged. Gary himself carries the burden of his guilt. His elder son, David is an ex-fighter turned school teacher. He and his wife Jenny work hard to make ends meet and to provide the best they can for their ailing daughter Poopoo. Troubled financial circumstances drive a desperate David to return to the world of street fighting. While, Monty struggles with his lonely complex existence. An alcoholic, he is active in the world of street fighting, but lacks focus and determination. He strongly yearns for the acceptance, love and respect of his family. As the story unfolds, we see the journey of these three men, as they seek to find redemption and healing.

Meanwhile, the arrival of 'Right to Fight' is announced in India - the biggest international event in mixed martial arts history. Both brothers, at the crossroads of their lives, end up enlisting to fight in this 'Winner-takes-all' event. And it is here after an age of estrangement, unknown to the two siblings, they finally stand to face off with each other and against their personal demons, in the ultimate final battle.

It is said, that when a deep injury is done to us, we can never recover until we forgive. Will this final battle between the two brothers repair old wounds?

Characters: Gary (Jackie Shroff): former alcoholic and street-fighter, he was once well-known in the underground street fighting nexus in Bombay. Due to certain events that transpired, he was sentenced to 10 long years in prison. He has now returned home to find that the ghosts of the past still haunt his present.

David (Akshay Kumar): David is an ex-fighter turned school teacher. He is Gary's elder son, and has a bitter estranged relationship with his father and younger brother. Married to Jenny, he works hard to make ends meet and to provide the best for his family. Extremely troubled financial circumstances drive a desperate David to return to the world of street fighting. When the arrival of the biggest international event in mixed martial arts history is announced in India, David channelizes all his focus and energy in to training hard for this winner-takes-all event. He pummels all his opponents one by one to find his rightful place in the finals of this mega-event.

Monty (Sidharth Malhotra ): A loner and an alcoholic, Monty struggles hard with his complex existence. He shies away from crowds and he does not have any friends. He is active in the world of Underground Street fighting, but he lacks a winner's attitude. He strongly yearns for the acceptance, love of his family. This yearning for approval and respect leads him to find the needed focus and determination to make it big in the street fighting circuit. When the 'Right to Fight' is announced, he makes it his life's mission to win it to earn respect and to find his rightful place in the world.

Jenny (Jacqueline Fernandez): Jenny is the ray of hope in David's life. She anchors him and brings faith and belief back into his life. She works at a bakery, but today, she is essentially a homemaker. Due to the dire financial conditions of the family she has to continue to work. She is David's pillar of strength and a nurturing mother to Poopoo. Aware of the differences between David and his family, she stands by David and respects him, but she also empathizes with Gary and Monty.

Maria (Shefali Shah): Gary's wife and the mother of David and Monty (we see her in the flashback portion of the film, when the boys are young). The Fernandes' household falls apart the day Maria learns about her husband Gary's extra marital affair and Monty, his son from another woman. Despite the circumstances, Maria holds the family together. She accepts Monty and raises him like her own son. For the boys - she is the face of gentleness and love - the only stabilizing factor in their lives.

Briganza (Kiran Kumar): He was a famous ex-fighter. He has a larger than life personality. In a way, he is the pioneer of the underground fighting scene in India, and he is also the forerunner for popularizing mixed Martial arts in the country. He is also the man responsible for bringing 'R2F' to India - the biggest event in mixed martial arts history.

Know more about the captain of the Ship, the director:  Karan Malhotra is an Indian film director and screenwriter. He is best known for his debut film Agneepath.  Before marking his directorial debut in 2012 with Dharma Productions, he worked for ten years as an assistant director in the Hindi film industry. Malhotra worked as an assistant director in the films such as Jodhaa Akbar, My Name Is Khan and Jaan-E-Mann.

Facts And Figures:
  • The film is an official remake of the 2011 Hollywood film Warrior.
  • Warrior was not a huge success and did manage to recovered the cost as per the rources.
 My Gut Feel and comments:
Plot seems engaging and emotionally charged. Karan had handled the remake of Agneepath well as a debutant director. It has been witnessed that generally a success followed by an average attempt by directors in Bollywood however this does not seems to be a case with Karan as far his latest offering Brothers is concerned.  Akshay Kumar and Sidharth Malhotra are looking good in their respective roles with apt supporting cast.  Action sequence seems to be captured in interesting manner which are the USP of the film. I am expecting it to be a good movie with decent performances.

Going by the canvas, star cast, story line and on top of that the narration style of Karan I am giving it 3 stars out of 5, two day before the release with partial thumps up from my side.

Gour Hari Dastaan

Casts: Vinay Pathak, Konkona Sen Sharma, Ranvir Shorey, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Rajit Kapur, Vipin Sharma
Banner: Siddhivinayak Cinevision Pvt Ltd
Director: Ananth Narayan Mahadevan
Producer: Bindiya Khanolkar, Sachin Khanolkar
Music: Dr L Subramaniam
Release Date: 14th August 20015

Story line: GOUR HARI DASTAAN is a story of an Odisha freedom fighter, Gour Hari Das who made his way through a long battle of silent war that lasted for 32 years, against his own government to prove his patriotic association towards the nation. He fought for a certificate recognizing his work as a freedom fighter which took three full decades to arrive. At the age of 84, the much sought-after certificate, when it was ultimately awarded, was a bittersweet victory. 'Gour Hari Dastaan' talks about the brutal reality of the country today that has lost the essence of what our freedom fighters had given up their lives for.
Gaur Hari Das loved to talk about his adventures as a freedom fighter...a favourite used to be, how at the age of eighteen, he was asked to deliver letters as a messenger of the "vanar sena". He used to be on the run at nights, along railway tracks, using the headlights of approaching trains to find his way in the darkness.
But soon he realized that people and kids were sniggering behind his back, dubbing him a fibber. It hurt, but he never craved to prove himself right. Until one day his son sought admission in the Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute in King Circle, and Das was told that a freedom fighter's certificate would facilitate an entry into the institute. Das had his first brush with bureaucracy when he was told that he could not obtain a certificate from Maharashtra, as he had fought from the state of Orissa. Which forced him to point out that he hadn't fought for a state, but for the country!

Disillusioned, Das backed out and refused to pursue the matter anymore. Even his family discouraged him. "My wife and children told me not to fight the government for recognition...they said I'd get nothing". I could see that today's generation was fast losing faith. I shuddered to think of their future...It was then that a friend, Rajeev Singhal suggested that he meet Mohan Joshi, an advocate with conviction and a tough man who wouldn't fall for any smooth talk. If Das could convince Joshi of his intentions, then maybe Joshi could find a way out...
Before he met Joshi, there were even offers for a certificate and higher pensions if Das greased a few palms. But he hadn't braved the British, and spent time behind bars for 180 days to succumb to red tapism now.

The utter callousness of the officials was an eye opener to Das. And a new Das was born... He suddenly realized that this wasn't the country he had fought for. And this was the country he couldn't abandon either! He was determined not to let the sacrifices of his ilk be squandered by a set of people out to erode a value system they had upheld in the face of near impossible situations. He is surprised to discover that today's youth have either no idea of independence or scant respect for freedom. There was a time when bombs were manufactured by them to blow up bridges constructed by the British. Today's youth had militant leanings, destroying the very fabric that Gaur and innumerable others had fought to build.  And not unexpectedly, the fight against his own countrymen was getting tougher. The law at one stage even accused him of being a fraud trying to cheat the government for pension. "When I asked them to stand by their theory, go ahead and arrest me, they just did not react. At least the British showed some self respect. We appear to have become a spineless nation". "Today there is no powerful ruling party or even a strong opposition in the country to raise and solve the real problems of the citizens" Standing on a bridge that connected the past with the present, Das waged a 30 year battle to prove his credentials. A battle strewn with the bodies of a decaying system, a fumbling democracy and guilty consciences. And then the struggle bore fruit...he won!...And as he walked out of the government office, clutching the precious certificate that proclaimed him to be a freedom fighter, he turned back for the most scathing famous last words..."the fight with our own people was tougher...we were better off in the Raj era!!".
Gour Hari Dastaan - The Freedom File based on Hari Gaur Das' memoirs, is a telling comment on a country's present that has failed to justify the past. It's the dramatic tale of two generations locked in a see-saw battle... one extolling values, the other groping in the dark. And it's the future that's at stake!

Know more about the captain of the Ship, the director: Anant Mahadevan, is a screenwriter, actor, and director of Hindi and Marathi films and television serials in India.Having been an integral part of the Indian television serials and Hindi movies since the 1980s, he is also actively involved in the professional English and Hindi theatre. Ananth along with Sanjay Pawar received the National Award (2010) for the Best Screenplay and Dialogues for the successful Marathi movie Mee Sindhutai Sapkal'. The Marathi film "Mee Sindhutai Sapkal " also fetched him the special jury award at the National Film awards 2010.

Facts And Figures:
Gour Hari Dastaan was part of the Indian Panorama at the International Film Festival of India (2014) Goa, at the International Film Festival of Kerala IFFK (2014), the International Film Festival of Bangalore, and the International Film Festival of Chennai (2014).

My Gut Feel and comments:

Going by the promo it’s evident that a sensitive real story has been adapted and presented with honesty and simplicity. It’s refreshing to see Vinay Pathak back in action with remarkable supporting star cast.  Story seems to be powerful and movie coming at very right occasion of Independence Day as a satire on our govt. norms and society’s insensitivity towards the value for which we fought for freedom. In reality now the fate of this movie seems to be harsh reflection of our society where movie like this applauded at film festivals already however will not reach to mass audience effectively. Its releasing against a commercial movie Brothers and as Bajrangi Bhaijaan still going strong for sure at theaters this movie find it hard to get due share of screenings. I hope it reach to larger audience as it hold as strong message around importance of patience and persistence.  I would give this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars, two days before the release.