Category Archives: Weekly Reviews

Dangal

 

dangal-6

The plot follows the regular small-town-girls-make-it-big theme. Every beat is predictable. And inspite of that, some pitch perfect execution makes the journey exhilarating.

The gender bias is brought forth with the subtlety of a hammer. It’s like when some local men speculate if they’ll see the girl’s shirt get torn up rather than the kushti she’s about to fight.

The wrestling matches are have been shot with breathtaking efficiency and, combined with the background score, provide an edge-of-the-seat experience. You cannot help but appreciate the effort that has gone into every move that you see.

Disney’s production is visible in every arena & akhada and even that poor water drum with cement marks adds to the authenticity of the film.

Amir Khan plays Mahavir Phogat, a 60-year-old former wrestler, a caring father and a stern coach to his daughters, with the utmost conviction and sincerity. It’s astonishing to see him disappear into his character and Amir, the ‘hero’ never pops up.

Fatima Sana Shaikh plays the older Geeta very well but it is Sanya Malhotra (playing Babita) who stands out and I dare say does better than Shaikh. The girls who play their younger versions are rebellious but endearing.

Sakshi Tanwar, who plays the mother, does good with the small role that she has. There’s also the cousin who stands in as a narrator and the comic relief. Girish Kulkarni‘s national coach is unnecessary and clichéd but doesn’t take anything away from the film.

Ever since it came out in 2007, Chak De! India has been our go-to ‘patriotic sports-movie’. Dangal might just have earned a spot right up there with it.

Advertisements

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story

Lets face it. Neeraj Pandey doesn’t get romance. Period. He’s shown us just that in Special 26 (IMDb) and again in Baby (IMDb) (Both terrific films, mind you). M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story is no different.

ms-dhoni-untold-story

This movie is clearly in two parts.

The first is an exceedingly well made Iqbal..ish, dreams-of-a-small-town-boy part. The director spins an inspiring tale of the struggles and the disappointments and success of a boy who doesn’t settle for less. The practice, the friends, the samosas.. All done to perfection.

Neeraj Pandey excels at this and it is where the director’s, and by extension the film’s greatest strength lies.

Unfortunately, the second part is a stereotypical Bollywood love story complete with honeymooning, bike riding, shirt flying absurdity. Pandey’s lack of expertise shows and despite spending a large chunk of the film’s runtime on Dhoni’s love life, the whole thing comes off as half-baked.

There is a 180 degree tonal shift from the first half and the movie never recovers. The eventual payoff too comes off as extremely weak. The director fails to do what movies like Moneyball (IMDb) have done expertly. Towards the end the entire affair becomes repetitive and you start looking at your watch.

The movie never offers the “Untold” part it promises. It shies away from the controversies (barring a couple) and gives us a sugar-coated version of the story.

The cast does well. Sushant Singh Rajput handles the role like a boss. He shines especially in his scenes as the TC at the Kharagpur Station. He manages to imbibe Dhoni’s mannerisms but never to an extent where it overshadows his performance. He creates a hero we truly want to see succeed.

Disha PataniKiara Advani serve no purpose other than to be beautiful distractions. Anupam Kher is reduced to being a typical “Padhai pe dhyan do” dad but does well with whatever little he’s been given. The friends make a cheerful lot and provide some good laughs.

Watch it for Sushant’s fabulous performance and the inspiring first half.

%d bloggers like this: