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Vishwaroopan

Story; Vishwa is a kathak teacher whose wife Nirupama wants to divorce him because she's in an extramarital affair. And he's even not Alpha-male. But wait, she discovers her husband is not the simpleton she thinks he is. Saying anything more at this juncture will spoil the plot. Movie Review: Like Hollywood that is obsessed with Osama Bin Laden and terror post9/11, actor-writer-director Kamal Haasan, one of India's finest film talents, gets drawn to Osama this time.

The action moves from America to Afghanistan back to America. The timelines go from 2002 to the present. Pre-intermission, the action is set in the terror-infested arid locales of Afghanistan (enchantingly captured) where the hot-blooded Aghanis are all mujahideen, fighting their demons, the Americans. Rahul Boseheads a local terrorist outfit; Kamal Haasan joins in the strife. Life is hard, customs banal, punishments extreme. But Vishwaroop doesn't offer you anything you haven't heard or seen before. Here one should give the devil his due. The filmmaker is thorough in his study on the subject, transporting you to Afghanistan, making you partially empathise with what is the sad state of affairs in this kingdom ever since the US stepped on this soil. Rahul Bose's sentence - America is shedding blood for petrol, we're shedding blood to protect Allah - captures the essence of the plot. Kamal also captures nuances of how the gun-culture has seeped into the children of Afghanistan; even blindfolded boys recognise AK-47s and 11 mm bullets! In the second half, Osama is gone. Televised speeches show Obama preening on victory. But the film tells you that the danger is far from over. Muslim terrorists are still baying for the blood of the Americans. And, some psychos continue to dabble with dirty bombs and suicide bombers. The FBIand an Indian intelligence group are trying to foil an attack that could lead to mass destruction. Intentions of this film and the maker are good. Kamal's performance is A-grade. However the film fails, especially in the second half because there are no lump-in-the-throat moments; nor is there any shock and awe.

Mai
Story: A son is a son 'til he gets a wife, but a daughter is a daughter all her life...this ageold saying pretty much sums up the movie. Movie Review: Mai (mother in Marathi) happens to be the film debut of India's legendary singer Asha Bhosle and she impresses you with her acting ability too! As a mother who single handedly raises her four children and then gets abandoned by them in her old age, her performance is heartrending. She proves indeed that age is just a number. While her performance is a highlight of the film, the subject is cliched. Bollywood has made umpteen movies revolving around helpless parents and their ungrateful, insensitive children.Mai however has its moments when it comes to showing the mother-daughter bond. Mai (Asha Bhosle) is abandoned by her son Munna after he decides to shift to the US. Eldest daughter Madhu (Padmini Kolhapure) does not shrug off her responsibility for her ailing mother, like her siblings, in spite of being opposed by her journalist husband (Ram Kapoor). Madhu's teenage daughter and husband claim that they need space. Madhu ignores their displeasure and gets Mai, who is also suffering from Alzheimer's, home. The film tries too hard to be tragic. There was no need for the story to be so melodramatic. Ram Kapoor misbehaving and sulking owing to his mother-in-law staying in his house seems illogical. Why does he have a change of heart later is equally appalling. Few scenes seem equally unnecessary. Padmini Kolhapure is effective but doesn't have a well defined role. Her daughter's character seems to be written on the lines of Sridevi's ill-mannered daughter in English Vinglish. Songs are unnecessary obstacles that add to the length, except for the lullaby Chanda Ki Bindiya, which is sung beautifully by Asha tai herself. Ram Kapoor acts well. Anupam Kher shows what a good actor is, even in the few scenes he appears in. Scenes which show Madhu taking care of her mother like a child leave you teary-eyed. We wish this aspect was given prominence. Supporting characters and their woes prove to be a distraction. The modest production values don't help either. Cinematography is weak with most scenes looking hazy and out of focus. Asha Bhosle slips into the role of Mai effortlessly. We wish the story had something new to offer though.

Mumbai- Mirror
Story: A powerful and corrupt dance bar-boss exploits the Mumbai cops to boost his sleazy business; but a daring inspector cracks down on his plans, exposing 'rats' amidst his own men-in-uniform. Movie Review: Chor Police anyone? We've all played the game. But here comes a new twisted tale to show us that there ain't nothing like a good cop or bad cop. A cop is a cop. That sets the premise for this fast-paced police-drama, filled with bad boys and some good fellas. Shetty (Prakash Raj) is Mumbai's biggest bhai, owning several dance bars - a 'hot-bed' for other nefarious activities for his customers who are always 'tight'. Abhijeet Patil (Sachiin Joshi) is a cocky, super cool (a tad bit stylish too) and an audaciously overconfident inspector; who shows absolutely no mercy for one burning issue - atyachar against women. Of course, along with the 'khakee' comes some 'grey' too. He beds (one-night-stands), bets (on cricket matches) and snorts coke. On the other side, he hooks up with a pretty and pancaked TV crime reporter, Jiah ( Vimala Raman). Adding more weight to this underbelly drama are characters like the unscrupulous CBI Officer, Yadav (Sudesh Berry) who ends every dialogue with 'carrect me if I wrong?'; Patil's boss-cum-mamu ACP Gaitonde (Mahesh Manjrekar), Manish ( Prashant Narayanan), another cop and Patil's rival and Shetty's sex-pot, Rani ( Gihana Khan), who also doubles up as his item girl. Sachiin Joshi does a fairly good job of a cool cop with a chip on his shoulder. His bheja satkaoingwhenever he sees a woman abused - relevant in today's times. He slips into the character like a gun in a holster. However, what's missing is a booming baritone that could pack more punch. Prakash Raj, in his silk lungis and hard lines like 'jeeto toh rokda, warna Prem Chopra', adds humour with fear. Sudesh Berry strikes with his Bihari accent in a brief role. Aditya Pancholi tries to evoke fear, but doesn't go far. Ankush Bhatt's slick flick grittily exposes the nexus between seedy cops and sleazy bars barons, albeit with a lot of Dabangg-isms. It has flaws in the first half, and also too many killings - random and ruthless. However, the second half sums up the suspense - blood soaked in tragic truths and raw realities. It mirrors the ugly face of Mumbai, but one that's desperately calling for a clean-up job.