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LIP CARE TIPS FOR WOMEN

1. EXFOLIATE Before you head to bed at night, apply a good quality lip balm. After waking up, use a damp washcloth or a toothbrush to gently rub off any dead or dry skin. 2. TRY A SCRUB A lip scrub contains two components: an exfoliant and a nourishing agent. The emollient or the nourishing agent provides a hydrating base for your exfoliator, making it easier to apply to your lips. These two go hand in hand for moisturizing and smoothing out your lips. 3. HYDRATE Use lip balm or vaseline to keep your lips hydrated. Drink a lot of

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I Saw Criminal Justice 2 After All The Hype & It’s Way Better Than I Imagined

I know I am late to the party but I just had to talk about the Disney+Hotstar web series #CriminalJustice2 , Behind Closed Doors starring #PankajTripathi and #KirtiKulhari . The series which is based on the BBC Series with the same name has led to many polarising reactions. I hope you like the Criminal Justice 2 Review & Analysis.

TRIED&REFUSED PRODUCTIONS . January 10, 2021

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If You Liked Tandav On Amazon Prime Video, Here’s 5 Other Political Dramas You May Enjoy

Here’s our list of five films and series set in the world of politics which you might want to dive into next if you enjoyed Tandav. The post If You Liked Tandav On Amazon Prime Video, Here’s 5 Other Political Dramas You May Enjoy appeared first on Film Companion.
Anupama Chopra . January 10, 2021
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ENTERTAINMENT

Review Of Malayalam Movie Nayattu, Out Now on Netflix: A Tragic Thriller About A Broken System And Its Broken People

Director: Martin Prakkat
Cast: Kunchacko Boban, Joju George, Nimisha Sajayan

Spoilers Ahead…
How much can the first fifteen minutes of a film pack in? For the makers of Nayattu, this is enough time to paint every lead character a complex shade of grey and also place them in an even darker world. The thriller begins with a literal tug-of-war in which Praveen (Kunchacko Boban) competes against his employer, the police force. His team goes on to win and this causes friction among his employers. The force retaliates with a slap to his wrist and a superior issues a veiled threat of dismissal, albeit in a friendly manner. 
Nayattu happens in a reality where punishments are easy to be issued because moral corruption has become a survival tool for all police officers. In this case, Praveen was on medical leave, that too for back pain, when he was out participating in the competition. His senior officer Maniyan (Joju George) shares these traits as well. He fibs about using the police jeep for official duty when he was actually out trying to retrieve his bike after a night of drinking. Maniyan’s regular work hours involve driving back home to check on his daughter or less innocent ‘crimes’ like planting evidence to trap a youngster in love with a minister’s niece.
Even their female colleague Sunitha (Nimisha Sajayan) isn’t a naive idealist. She briefly tells her mother to hide sacks of cement from their porch, purchased perhaps with money she hasn’t earned. Another officer asks Maniyan to register a couple of ‘suo moto’ cases on his way out, with the lightness of asking him to buy a pack of cigarettes. Within the opening minutes, we learn the true nature of this force and we also understand that no one is insulated from its workings.
Not least the police officers themselves. In what feels like a cliche, Maniyan shares a line of wisdom to Praveen about how honest officers suffer the most, while the corrupt end up winning the medals. So when Maniyan panics when his family fails to answer his calls for a brief while, it’s revealing of the faith (or the lack of it) he has in a system he has helped maintain. 
The experienced Maniyan knows how it works but the other two seem to still have faith in it. Which is probably why Sunitha calls a troublemaker relative to the station thinking that it would lead to some peace for her family. And when the same troublemaker picks a fight with Praveen inside the station, he too seems to think it’s fair game to fight back.

The stretch where this issue goes out of hand is among the most stressful in Nayattu. All three officers are pulled into a quicksand-like mess and the timing couldn’t possibly have been worse. A by-election leaves the ruling government in a limbo and the effect of this mess has the power to change the government itself. And when all evidence points to the trio having killed a Dalit youth during such a sensitive period, the situation snowballs into a State matter that involves everyone. 
This is when the film develops into a loaded thriller that follows the pattern of a hunting game. In a clever sequence, we see a farmer throwing firecrackers to scare away a wild boar. This  immediately segues to a shot of a senior police officer lighting her cigarette. She is now responsible for bringing back these officers and the hunt is now within the same species. 
These portions are directed beautifully with smaller, deeper moments getting as much focus as the wider, thrilling ones. In a long, handheld shot, we follow Sunitha through a panic attack as she abandons her quarrelling colleagues in a forest and walks on to the road. In another scene, their aide offers his mundu to Sunitha when he understands her discomfort and Maniyan makes us feel the shivers using his body language as he breaks down about why he could never become the father he wanted to be. 
The film’s always about the bigger picture and of how the entire police force is at the mercy of the ruling government. As Maniyan says, “even hired criminals have the right of refusal but not police officers.” But the film doesn’t spare anyone. It doesn’t make the case that the higher ups are in any better position than the ones much lower down. In a symbolic shot, the top cop himself is framed from behind metal bars before he negotiates a timeframe with the CM. And when a colleague wrestles Praveen to the ground to destroy invaluable evidence, we see the statue of Mahatma Gandhi peering over them. And where does a character choose to end their life? At an abandoned building of a court, because justice is a relic.    
But the caste politics the film discusses is obviously problematic. The film hints at a volatile Dalit youth misusing his party membership to exact revenge on the police officers that attacked him. Although the film tries to paint him as the outlier of this organisation, we see this character threatening the force by manipulating a law that’s meant to protect scheduled castes and tribes. Given the timing, it feels as problematic as showing a villainous female character who threatens to get what she wants by ‘using’ the MeToo movement. 

This particular stand sticks out in the film and it takes its focus away from the film’s intentions. In their defence, the makers do try to balance it out. In one scene, Maniyan speaks to the audience more than his colleagues when he described the victim to be a Dalit, “just like me”. This is meant to flatten the battlefield without the film looking like it is about Dalits misusing law to victimise their enemies. Despite this effort, the film might still come across as doing just that. 
But if you’re willing to overlook this as a result of the particularly specific election being fought, you can be completely convinced at the hopelessness Nayattu makes us feel. It is extremely well-made with Shyju Khalid’s most atmospheric work, reminiscent of Anjaam Pathira, with incredible performances all throughout. With an open ending that’s only comforting to the pessimist we get a terrifying film that humanises the police force without glorifying it. In a sense, the events of the film is a baptism by fire for both Praveen and Sunitha. Either you escape an enemy or you stay on long enough to become a friend of the System.

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A Case For Rajkumar Santoshi, An Overlooked Filmmaker

Some filmmakers get recognised in their lifetime and some have to wait a little longer. One hopes that the latter fate doesn’t befall Rajkumar Santoshi, a filmmaker who’s delivered several high-quality films over the years that are perhaps not as well-recognised as they should be. One would be remiss to not state from the outset that this write-up is not biographical in nature, so one shouldn’t expect to come out the other side knowing all there is to know about Rajkumar Santhoshi the man. One might, however, emerge on the other side with a greater appreciation for Rajkumar Santoshi the filmmaker. This write-up is more of a discussion of some of his films that one believes should be on the list of “must-watch Indian films”.
What is immediately apparent as one starts to watch Santoshi’s films is that they all tend to be extremely energetic in nature. His storytelling, barring a few passages of meandering, commercially-motivated diversions, always has a sense of urgency about it. So in keeping with the nature of his films, we’ll get right down to business.

Ghayal (1990)
Ghayal was Santoshi’s debut film as director and what an electrifying debut it was. The film is remembered more as a Sunny Deol vehicle but what a lot of people don’t realise is that Ghayal was arguably the first film that gave Sunny Deol’s larger-than-life, herculean persona a plausible raison d’être. Sunny Deol’s Ajay Mehra starts off as an aspiring, if slightly naïve, boxer, who must then navigate the dark underbelly of society to investigate and subsequently avenge his brother’s death.
Although the film starts slowly, the aforementioned energy that is seen in most of Santoshi’s work is present here as well. The film barrels through its scenes with great urgency. It proceeds headlong towards a cathartic climax that, seen in isolation, might seem outrageous to the casual viewer, but follow the story from its inception and you will be vindicated by the outcome. The story is told so engagingly that when Sunny Deol’s character grabs Amrishi Puri’s Balwant Rai in an unlikely chokehold and doesn’t let go even as policemen upon policemen try in vain to pry his arms open, you nod in cathartic empathy. No other Sunny Deol film before this one was able to make us believe that Sunny Deol could be one of us. His earlier films, barring a few exceptions here and there, presented him as a god-like entity, whereas Ghayal finally humanised him.
There’s another little titbit about this film. Some people might believe that 2016’s Udta Punjab was the first Hindi film to tackle the issue of illegal drugs on screen. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, as Ghayal, made some twenty-five years earlier, was also set against the same backdrop.
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Damini (1993)
Like Ghayal, Damini is also a film whose themes predate a more recent film by several decades. Champions of the film Pink were elated when a film of such strong feminist convictions finally hit our screens in 2016. Not to take anything away from Pink, but Rajkumar Santoshi was once more already on the same beat some two-and-a-half decades earlier.
Damini saw Santoshi reuniting with Sunny Deol and Meenakshi Seshadri, and taking on yet another social evil, this time the oppression of women. Like Pink, large portions of the film take place in a courtroom and employ the character of a disgruntled lawyer to take us through the proceedings. Sunny Deol’s performance as the tortured lawyer Govind is legendary, of course, with his courtroom speeches having become some of the most celebrated in history and sometimes even unfairly ridiculed. He was famously given the National Award that year for playing a character that was only present in the last 40% of the film, but it was an accolade well-deserved. That is not the say that the other 60% of the film suffers from his absence, however, for another thing about Santoshi’s films is that he tries to give all his characters and actors equal opportunities to shine. Meenakshi Seshadri, for example, as the eponymous Damini, is riveting and keeps the audience empathetic to her plight throughout. Although Sunny Deol’s blustering “tareekh par tareekh” speech has always been the most talked about part of the film, Seshadari’s soliloquy that follows it directly is equally poignant and penetrating. Rishi Kapoor, playing Damini’s flustered husband, is also given a considerable amount of meat to chew on. Kapoor never struck a false note in his entire career and he doesn’t falter here either. Most of the other actors are also given well-rounded characters.
On top of that, the film will give you much to think about, even some thirty-odd years after its release as of the writing of this piece. And that’s the real achievement of this film.
Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
There is little that can be said here that would add to the already legendary status of this film. I’ll say this, however: it is often said that the Mahabharata contains parallels and analogies for every situation that one might encounter in life. I’ll add a little postscript to the saying (and most people who grew up watching this film would vouch for its veracity): Andaz Apna Apna also contains parallels and analogies for every situation that one might encounter in life. There are lines one finds oneself using unconsciously that come straight from the film, there are times when one calls upon the wisdom of characters like Amar and Prem and Bhalla and Teja and Anand Akela to guide one through sticky situations, and there are times when one chuckles at how closely and how often real life imitates the screenplay of this film.
How Well Do You Know Andaz Apna Apna?
Something that is not often talked about in relation to this film, however, is its soundtrack. Perhaps, the other elements of this film are so enthralling that one often forgets what a distinct soundtrack this film had. The music was by Tushar Bhatia, a composer who never quite found a foothold in the Hindi film industry. Bhatia was interested in trying something a little different from what his contemporaries were doing. Not many people know that he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of both Indian and Western music and has composed several jingles for ad films. The soundtrack of this film is a testament to his passion and talent. And the lyrics by the legendary Majrooh Sultanpuri really add a distinct and soulful flavour to the soundtrack. One wishes Bhatia and Sultanpuri’s melodious soundtrack had found more takers with time, just like the film itself. Alas, that was not to be.
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Ghatak (1996)
Ghatak is a harrowing and powerful film that tackles many complex issues sensitively and evenly, albeit inside the confines of the commercial space. While the film eventually takes the side of its defiant protagonist, the arguments made by the oppressed shopkeepers are equally compelling. One understands their plight and helplessness even as one roots for Sunny Deol’s belligerent Kashi Nath to emerge triumphant.
Ghatak once again stars Sunny Deol in one of his more respected and memorable performances. Once again, however, the film belongs more to the ensemble cast as a whole than it does to any one individual actor. This time Amrish Puri gives one of the best performances of his career and his relationship with Sunny Deol’s Kashi is both touching and heartbreaking. The scene where he realises he’s dying is easily one of the greatest moments ever put on film. Meenakshi Seshadri has less to do this time and is used mainly to add commercial appeal to the film, but she has her moments. Another thing that is in keeping with the commercial appeal is the film’s main antagonist, played frighteningly well by the redoubtable Danny Denzongpa. Although his get-up is quite comical, as was the norm back in the nineties for villains, his actual performance is the stuff of nightmares. And, once more, several supporting characters are given compelling arcs. Tinnu Anand’s arc in particular is very interesting, as is the journey of Harish Patel’s character, a hapless flunky thirsting for revenge for the untimely death of his sister, the villain’s wife.
Ghatak contains numerous memorable scenes and should be required viewing for those who wish to understand Hindi cinema’s history a little better. It is a film that is steeped in drama and seething with anger.
China Gate (1998)
This entry might be a little controversial. At the time of its release, China Gate was said to be one of the most expensive Hindi films ever made. It was unable to recuperate its costs, however, and, like Andaz Apna Apna before it, proved to be a box office disappointment. However, unlike Andaz Apna Apna, China Gate never gained a cult following and as such remains an obscure film to this day. The only thing that is remembered about this film is the song “Chamma Chamma”, which is a pity since the film is all kinds of entertaining if you’re willing to give it a chance.
As mentioned previously, Santoshi enjoys creating compelling supporting characters and China Gate is no different in that respect. In fact, this film is largely made up of supporting characters, who all get their moment to shine at different points in the film. Perhaps what backfired this time around for Santoshi was the fact that the audience didn’t have any identifiable “hero” to root for. The film nonetheless is engrossing as a whole, with great performances all around by a talented cast. And in keeping with Santoshi’s penchant for dealing with complex issues, China Gate once more presents a moral conundrum to the audience and tackles it from as many different angles as possible. The issue of following military orders in the face of contrary evidence is what forms the crux of the story. The larger issue of personal honour is then explored as the film strides towards its gory climax.
One thing that might be said about China Gate is that its pacing is not as rapid as Santoshi’s other films, and maybe that’s why it suffered at the box office. But, overall, this is a film of very high quality and every self-respecting cinephile should watch it at least once. 
The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)
As many as six films on the life of Bhagat Singh were announced at the start of the millennium. Out of these, only four ever saw the light of day and nearly all of them proved to be financial and/or critical disappointments. The only film that enjoyed both commercial and critical success was Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti. Rajkumar Santoshi’s The Legend of Bhagat Singh, on the other hand, enjoyed critical acclaim but was unable to light the box office on fire. The film is a tour de force, nonetheless. It is arguably the best film ever made on the subject, with the possible exception of the Manoj Kumar-starrer Shaheed. And there are several reasons for that. For one, it contains a rousing soundtrack by A.R. Rahman, who managed to “out-Bollywood” even the most exalted of Bollywood composers with a stirring soundtrack. The songs in this film are the stuff of legend. And then it contains possibly the best Ajay Devgn performance of all time. He is simply electrifying in the film. And once more Santoshi gives us a great and memorable supporting cast. Sushant Singh and D Santosh play the roles of Sukhdev and Rajguru respectively with great élan. Raj Babbar shines as Bhagat Singh’s despairing father, as does Mukesh Tiwari, who plays Bhagat Singh’s jailor. His scenes with Ajay Devgn are exhilarating and the scene where he is given orders to shift Bhagat Singh’s execution date is heartrending to say the least.
The Legend of Bhagat Singh is a good showcase for Santoshi’s energetic style. The film clatters through its story at breakneck speed and almost literally crashes into its gut-wrenching climax. And when watched with a receptive audience, the silence that follows the fade to black is so heavy that one is literally afraid to swallow the lump that has formed in one’s throat.
Khakee (2004)
Khakee is another fiery film by Santoshi. Like most of his other films listed here, it deals with weighty themes and is filled with a great cast of characters. Khakee is also one of the few Hindi films that don’t treat cops as caricatures or superheroes. Instead, it gives them rich and detailed lives. The cops shown in the film have their own dreams and aspirations, and Santoshi gives them all enough screen time to come into their own. We sympathise with Amitabh Bachchan’s character when he laments having lived a life crippled by bureaucratic apathy, we root for Tusshar Kapoor’s starry-eyed rookie as he slowly learns that the world isn’t made up of black and white truths, and we laugh along with Akshay Kumar’s acerbic Shekhar as he makes light of every situation he finds himself in. Santoshi gives an especially poignant arc to the character of Constable Kamlesh Sawant (coincidentally played by an actor called Kamlesh Sawant). The scene where his wife, played by Ashwini Kalsekar with heartbreaking poise, receives the awful news about his fate would move a stone to tears.
Like the best of Santoshi’s films, Khakee is filled with unforgettable scenes and sequences. Chief among these is the equal parts thrilling and harrowing sequence at a lodge, where things take so many twists and turns that by the end of it you feel as if you’ve been in a violent firefight yourself. All in all, Khakee is commercial cinema done right.
Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009)
If one said that Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani fails to reach the heights of Andaz Apna Apna, one would be well within one’s rights. However, it is also important to remember that Andaz Apna Apna has set the bar so high that it is doubtful that anyone, including Santoshi himself, would ever be able to top it. So having got that out of the way, let’s try to look at the film on its own merits. And having done that, one would be remiss to not admit that the film has its moments. Some scenes and passages in particular will cause you to break into fits of laughter. Add to that, Ranbir Kapoor is fabulous in the film as the well-meaning Prem. Katrina Kaif also shines as the lovesick Jenny and the chemistry between the leads is crackling to say the least. Uncharacteristically for a Santoshi film, however, the other characters don’t have as much to do and the themes aren’t that serious.
In the wake of more recent and far more violent films, one-sided love has lost much of its perceived innocuousness. However, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani nonetheless remains a sweet little ode to it.
In closing, it would perhaps be correct to say that Rajkumar Santoshi hasn’t made an impactful film in a while. However, one takes heart at the fact that he is still active and has a slew of films lined up for release. Even if his new films don’t measure up he’s still made enough ones of note for his name to go down in the annals of history without reservation. Finally, please note that if your favourite Rajkumar Santoshi film didn’t make the cut, rest assured it’s not an indictment of the film, only of the writer of this piece.

Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Theeni, On ZEE5 With Ashok Selvan and Ritu Varma, Is A Sweet Fable About The Perfect Recipe For Love

Director: Ani IV SasiCast: Ashok Selvan, Ritu Varma, Nithya Menen, Nassar
Spoilers Ahead…

Theeni takes place at a Michelin Star restaurant in London called ‘Amara’ where three lost souls come together. Dev (Ashok Selvan) has just moved to London to work as a chef, Tara (a superb Ritu Varma) is also a new employee at ‘Amara’ who’s come to London looking for her lost father, and Head Chef (Nassar), a once legendary chef who’s now given up cooking so he can mourn his estranged family. Theeni is about how the three of them help each other find the love they’re missing—through food. 
Dev and Tara idolize Head Chef. Food helps the both of them experience sorrow and joy, like it might be with music or books for others. And they’re both emotionally broken. Theeni is a bittersweet drama that’s surprisingly reluctant to give in to easy emotions. What makes it feel good in spite of this is that the background to everything in the film is the child-like passion its characters have for food. 
Everyone in the film lives to eat. A good meal might replace a visit to the therapist for them; food is spiritual. And the restaurant is their natural habitat: we’re looking at regular people having problems, but while doing what they really love doing. So, even when these characters are going through dark things, the aftertaste of these events is always sweet and hopeful. And it’s these characters that transform Theeni from a regular drama into a delicate portrait of troubled and passionate people. 
Dev is a bit like a bearded Winnie the Pooh: rotund and always hungry. Ashok Selvan plays him just self-consciously enough to make him awkward and likeable but also just unselfconsciously enough to make him endearing. He gets these sudden muscle spasms (due to a traumatic event in the past). It’s introduced to us gradually until it feels like an endearing quirk that we even look forward to. The way he says that his spasms “were launched before a few years,” or the good-humoured attitude he has to his embarrassing condition make us identify with Dev—because of all of his quirks. He looks human because we can see his demons. When he bangs his head on the table — perhaps, both due to his joy and spasms — we can see how the tic that looked so odd at first doesn’t feel out of place at all. 

If it’s his body that shows us what’s on Dev’s mind, it’s her eyes for Tara. They are always fixed when she speaks to Dev, as if any movement could betray what’s on her mind. Only food can break her. When she tastes something prepared by the Head Chef, her eyes open wide and a tear drops. Dev prepares the same meal and the litmus test isn’t the tongue, but, again, the eye. The  intense recognition that Tara feels is shown through a close up of her eye dropping a tear. With Tara, her eye is the window to her gut. Through several touches like these, Director Ani IV Sasi stylizes a generic drama into a specific one about foodies who are all looking for love through food. 
There’s no meet-cute between Dev and Tara, because this isn’t a conventional romantic comedy. In fact, nothing is cute in the film, especially Head Chef who’s its most opaque character. No one even takes his name, as if ‘Head Chef’ is his only identity—and it is. 
He’s the kind of person who’s so bored when waiting for his instant noodles to cook that he puts a gun to his head and contemplates death. We get his broken life story through a quick and efficient flashback but Dev’s flashback with Maya (Nithya Menen) feels long drawn out with its montages. For a film that’s otherwise understated, these parts feel loud; though it’s inventive to make a character’s inner demon visual in the form of a friendly ghost of a girlfriend past.
The ending of Theeni feels too convenient, but this film was never about plot. It’s the kind of film where you feel more than you process. It’s characters start out as flawed and end up as flawed too—but they also become a bit more hopeful. It’s not the solution to your life that you might have been hoping for, but it’s that dessert you fixed for yourself at 2 AM in the morning that feels close enough.

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15 Movie Endings That Left Us Unsatisfied

How important is the climax of a film? In any storyline, why is it crucial for the ending to have recall value? If you think about it, sometimes, the ending is all that you remember about a film in the long run. It has the power to make or break a cinematic experience. An ending can elevate an average film and make it great… or it can go awry in a way that even a genuinely good premise can’t save its aftertaste.
Here are 15 movie endings from Indian cinema that could’ve served their otherwise promising plots better:

Rajnigandha (1974, Hindi)

This Basu Chatterjee film is remembered for several reasons. It had beautiful songs, it marked the debut of the gorgeous Vidya Sinha, and boasted of an opening sequence where the protagonist (Sinha) dreams of chasing a train… which at that time was a novel concept. But was it remembered for its climax? Unfortunately, not. Despite being highly educated and finding the job of her dreams away from her hometown and a seemingly negligent fiancé, she decides to let it all go – including her long lost, but ideal, first love – because that’s the ‘right’ thing to do. But really, was it?
Silsila (1981, Hindi)
Yash Chopra’s Silsila remains one of the biggest, most-controversial casting coups ever. Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan and Rekha (and some evergreen songs), this film could have been a game-changer when it came to addressing taboo concepts like infidelity. But the ending had it all messed up. Two very determined lovers decide to leave their marriages and run away from a society that judges them day in and out, only to have a sudden realization that they are… married? This is followed by a dramatic plane crash that has Amit (Bachchan) turning into a guilt-ridden firefighter.
Delhi 6 (2009, Hindi)
To have the hero murdered at the end was perhaps too pessimistic, and so Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the writer-director, gave in to the commercial narrative trappings and completely turned upside down the hyper-realism of Delhi 6 into a climax with god and white-washed heaven. The spacial dissonance with the empty, dimensionless heaven contrasted with the cloistered, crowded gullies of Delhi 6 was out-done by the narrative dissonance. The hero was resuscitated by a miracle but what died was the possibility of a wrenching end to a wrenching film. This was even more odd considering Mehra’s last film, the rousing and successful Rang De Basanti ends with mass murder.
Beautiful (2011, Malayalam)

VK Prakash’s Beautiful, starring Jayasurya and Anoop Menon, really is a beautiful film. It has lovely moments, great scenes in the rain and a motivational spirit. But does the ‘twist’ ending disturb the beauty of this film? Was the turn unexpected?  Surely. But does such a soft film require such an ending?  Guess it’s more of an acquired taste.
Cocktail (2012, Hindi)
Was Cocktail a great film? Not really. But it was one of those overall packages – with a promising cast, stunning locations and catchy songs – that could have been great. It had been a while since a rom-com had come up that was not just modern and fun, but also had something new to say. Instead, the film’s ending went for the tried and tested Archie-Betty-Veronica story, making Saif Ali Khan’s Gautam entitled enough to ‘choose’ between the two women. This film could’ve been great had both the women decided to dump him instead.
Lingaa (2014, Tamil)
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It would be hard to dramatically improve Lingaa even if its ending were fixed. But its climax prevented us from even appreciating it for its kitschy 90s sensibility. The film’s most impressive stretch features the swashbuckling collector Raja Lingeswaran (Rajinikanth), someone who could put down an English collector with an English punch dialogue. And he builds a dam for his people at great personal cost in impossible circumstances, in spite of numerous betrayals.
So it’s a bit difficult to be impressed when scenes of this epic sacrifice are followed by a daft climax: his grandson, Lingaa (also played by Rajinikanth), rides a motorbike up a mountain and jumps over a hot air balloon to save the heroine. The film goes South quickly: from grandfather Lingaa saving the country using all his money to grandson Lingaa saving his girlfriend using circus tricks.
Bhaskar The Rascal (2015, Malayalam)
Director Siddique’s Mammootty starrer was a lovely comedy that works even now. But like many previous films of the director, it’s the highly dramatic flashback that ruins a well-meaning rom-com. It takes leaf out of Parent Trap for it basic setting but it goes ahead and tires to pull off a wannabe James Bond movie at the end, with a silly ending, shot tackily. Sadly, the Tamil remake didn’t fix this either.
Dil Dhadakne Do (2015, Hindi)
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A Hindi film about a typically dysfunctional and wealthy Indian family on a European cruise ship simply has no business ending with one of the brats jumping into the ocean – and surviving – with a horribly film-school metaphor of a life-boat taking the now-united family to shore. It’s like Zoya Akhtar ran out of time and mental bandwidth after fashioning such a wicked and witty portrait of a First-World-Problems universe – choosing to turn the climax into a slapstick Priyadarshan comedy in the hope that viewers who’ve enjoyed the film up until the end might perhaps read between the lines and understand the stress of shooting overseas (quite literally).
Pyaar Prema Kaadhal (2018, Tamil)

When Sree (Harish Kalyan) confesses his love to Sindhuja (Raiza Wilson) in Pyaar Prema Kaadhal after they’ve just slept together, she tells him that what happened between them was casual and he shouldn’t make a thing out of it. Director Elan keeps steers clear of gender stereotyping right until the end when he capitulates to social mores. He makes Sree a coward and his parents get their way with him at Sindhuja’s expense. They do realize Sindhuja’s value in the end, but only after their first daughter-in-law doesn’t work out for them.
Even though Sree and Sindhuja end up together in the end (and this was probably the only socially acceptable path towards that), the ending of Pyaar Prema Kaadhal kills a lot of the film’s easy charm.
Article 15 (2019, Hindi)
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Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15 was a very good film. It had a plot that was much-needed. It even had characters that were strong enough to make the film great – if they had utilized them in the climax, that is. The problem with the film was that while it was based on the prevalent caste politics and divisions, it ultimately fell towards the familiar grounds of savior complex where an upper caste, privileged hero saves the day, while the lower cast Dalit activist succumbs to his struggles. If only there could be a U-turn.
Popcorn Monkey Tiger (2020, Kannada)
Killing off a lead character requires gumption and Kannada filmmakers regularly do that. And in Duniya Soori’s Popcorn Monkey Tiger, the climactic pay-off appears delicious, but it somehow doesn’t sit well within the story it charts. The movie has too many things going on from the beginning – it has a non-linear narrative, too. So, the ending which involves the killing of Tiger Seena (Dhananjay) seems more like a cop-out than a fitting finale with a bow on its head.
Kappela (2020, Malayalam)
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The reason why this 2020 thriller didn’t become ‘great’ is its watered down ending. Up until then, the twists work perfectly and we witness a role-reversal unlike any other with too many spoilers to elaborate. But with its ending, this thriller recedes to become just another cautionary tale for women, advising them to stay at home to be safe, rather than to encourage them to venture outside boldly, despite one wrong turn.
Gatham (2020, Telugu)
Gatham mostly stars newcomers. And everything about the film seems new – be it the storyline, or the locations. It’s an indie thriller that succeeds in surprising the viewers with its sharp twists. But the movie’s full-stop comes at a conventional pace. The protagonist triumphs over the antagonist after putting up a fight, but the wickedness of the screenplay doesn’t last till the final stretch. This happens in Sailesh Kolanu’s HIT: The First Case (2020) also.
Uppena (2021, Telugu)
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Uppena is a romantic drama where the leads belong to different castes. Their caste hierarchy is pretty much what the movie openly stands on, but director Buchi Babu Sana takes a deviation in the end and makes the young woman give a speech on the subject of love and masculinity. The filmmaker doesn’t make his characters question the crimes that are committed by the upper-caste villain. This is atrocious.
Hero (2021, Kannada)
When you watch Hero, you’ll laugh a lot and wince from time to time to register your displeasure when it comes to the scenes that depict domestic violence. What pulls down the film, however, is the lengthy segment that arrives in the climax where the Hero (played by Rishab Shetty) indulges in a game of hand-to-hand combat with another man. It doesn’t elevate the characters and their foolhardy nature beyond a point. It simply becomes an extension of an extension of an extension of a worn-out theme.
(Contributed by Ashutosh Mohan, Debdatta Sengupta, Karthik Keramalu, Prathyush Parasuraman, Rahul Desai and Vishal Menon)

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ENTERTAINMENT

How Anjaam Pathiraa’s DCP Catherine Rewrites Malayalam Cinema’s Narrative Of Female Cops

Malayalam cinema has not exactly been kind in its depiction of female police officers. They are often portrayed as uptight shrews who need taming, typically by the moustache-twirling, muscle-flexing male leads. So it is understandable why those of us who have watched movies like Ustaad and Chathurangam growing up find DCP Catherine Maria in Anjaam Pathiraa refreshing.
Unnimaya Prasad brings a restraint to Catherine that makes it very easy for the audience to immediately pay attention to her. Catherine is a thorough professional who listens to her colleagues and takes expert opinion seriously. And the movie thankfully doesn’t give us those glimpses of workplace misogyny that would’ve been so easy to accommodate despite being irrelevant to the plot, like her male subordinates speaking ill of her the moment her back is turned.

In fact, Catherine’s gender doesn’t even come up in the movie. One of the things that stayed with me long after I first watched Anjaam Pathiraa is a scene where Catherine is shown drinking beer with two male colleagues in a bar. There were no theatrics and there was no judgement for a woman to be out drinking with men. It was so matter-of-fact, just as drinking beer is in real life. That’s revolutionary for a mainstream Malayalam movie.
If anything, the filmmakers seem to have used her gender subtly to establish her as a kind person. She acknowledges the low-ranking officer who brings her tea during a tense moment. She apologises to the protagonist Anwar’s wife when the latter has a corpse delivered to her home. She asks Anwar to take a few days off to help his family recover from the shock, even though the investigation cannot afford to let him, the consulting criminologist on the case, go for that long. These may seem like little things, but they help elevate Catherine from a two-dimensional upright police officer to a real person. And of course, they completely do away with the hypermasculinity that is often attached to male police officers.
Also read: Anjaam Pathiraa, a Weak Serial-Killer Thriller
Police personnel are so often stereotyped in our films. Depending on whether he is the protagonist or supporting character or antagonist, male cops usually have to contend with conforming to a certain set idea of what a policeman should be. Male protagonist cops often get ‘mass’ moments that are typically directed at a negative character. The examples are aplenty, from Suresh Gopi’s famous “Just remember that” in Commissioner to pretty much everything Nivin Pauly does in Action Hero Biju.
While Catherine is, for the most part, very no-nonsense, she gets her mass moments too. One is when she tells a reporter off and, in the process, takes a pot-shot at the sensation-hungry news media. And then, of course, is the point in the climax when she delivers the coup de grâce, almost literally. But in all these instances, she retains her dignity, never once making the audience cringe.
I don’t know if the makers of Anjaam Pathiraa intended for Catherine to be a pathbreaking depiction of female policedom or not, but they certainly did a good job of normalising the part. And I know that I, for one, am not complaining about the lack of the toxic masculinity that is usually attached to the DCPs of our film world.

Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Vitthal Teedi, On OHO Gujarati, Is Rescued By Pratik Gandhi’s Standout Performance

Director: Abhishek Jain
Cast: Pratik Gandhi, Ragi Jani, Prashant Barot, Prem Gadhvi, Brinda Trivedi, Jagjeetsinh Vadher, Vishal Thakkar

I grew up on vintage masala potboilers and stylishly-executed crime dramas from the Hindi film industry. In the 70s and 80s specifically, Amitabh Bachchan, with his classic roles in Deewar and Agneepath, shaped the idea of the quintessential conman with a golden heart and a tragic childhood.
Vitthal Teedi begins on a similar note, instantly taking you back to the world of catchy yet dramatic background scores, street-smart dialogues and slow-motion romance sequences. A lot like the Bachchan films mentioned above, this Gujarati series too, starts with a retelling of a young Vitthal’s (Vishal Thakkar) background story, his childhood trauma, and how Teedi, or in card/teen patti terminology, the three of hearts, becomes his nickname. As the latter suggests, Vitthal, from a very young age, is fascinated with cards. His father, a man he grows up idolizing, is a wizard of the game himself, having lost to no one in his village before. Vitthal takes inspiration from his style of play, and grows up to become a maestro himself.

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There are some interesting frames that are smartly woven in by the cinematographer, that suggest young Vitthal’s deep inclination towards cards. In a dream sequence, where he sees himself interacting with his childhood sweetheart, you notice a queen of hearts card placed in the background. You can’t help but applaud the cutesy suggestiveness.
The grown-up Vitthal (Pratik Gandhi), is edgier, mature… and virtuous. His love for playing cards has now taken shape, and he now not only earns but pretty much makes a living out of his gambling prowess. His personal life now revolves around his family, comprising his father, elder sister and an absent elder brother. However, the centerstage is commanded solely by Vitthal. He puts his family over his own needs and desires.
That, somehow, ends up being a justification for his gambling. This is where the plot gets stuck. As the story moves ahead, it suffers because of the lack of plot points. In fact, there are several loose-ends in the narrative which hamper the screenplay further. The romantic angle, which provided some sweet, filmy, hair-flying-in-the-air moments, finds an abrupt conclusion in a lackadaisical one-line narration from the protagonist. Similarly, there is a small scene shadowing caste politics – still heavily prevalent in rural India – which is yet again left hanging in the air, finding no mention going forward. The second half of the six-episode series is slower than expected, and at times, utterly predictable too – including the climax.

But what keeps their boat afloat is a solid performance by Pratik Gandhi. He is the backbone of the story, appearing in almost every shot post the first episode. His controlled emotions, easy charm and effective-but-unforced dialogue delivery reminds you why Scam 1992 worked as well as it did. He keeps the story going, even when the story isn’t going anywhere.
There are certain things that work well for the show, especially in the first four episodes. It has one of the most creative time leap sequences in recent times, where director Abhishek Jain uses a long-haired man wearing a bandana, clad in a Mithun-esque polka dotted shirt and coloured pants, playing the song ‘Raat Ke Barah Baje’ from Mujrim (1989). Special props to composers Kedar and Bhargav for setting the masala potboiler tone perfectly with their background score.
The series is entertaining in some parts and lacklustre in others. It is likely to be back with a second season, and hopefully next time around the makers will focus more on a tighter script. Pratik’s spot-on performance deserves that.
You can stream Vitthal Teedi on OHO Gujarati

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Record Book – Best bowling on Test debut for Sri Lanka

https://0.gravatar.com/avatar/9337f4f77f68e97b96d499bfaf075793?s=96&d=identicon&r=GSri Lankan left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama bowled his way into the record books with an incredible display on Test debut against Bangladesh at Pallekele. The

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Specials – England in Chepauk Tests, Part 3

https://0.gravatar.com/avatar/9337f4f77f68e97b96d499bfaf075793?s=96&d=identicon&r=GIn the third and final part of this series, we look back at England’s last three Test matches at Chepauk heading into the ongoing series

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Specials – England in Chepauk Tests, Part 2

https://0.gravatar.com/avatar/9337f4f77f68e97b96d499bfaf075793?s=96&d=identicon&r=GHaving revisited England’s first three Tests at Chepauk in the first of this three-part series, we move on further through the 1970s and into the

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Specials – England in Chepauk Tests, Part 1

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In Focus – An exhilarating epic for the ages

Over the years, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has had no dearth of extraordinary cricket and riveting drama. But what transpired in Brisbane on 19th January 2021 was in a different realm altogether. Embattled by injuries and forced to field a greenhorn bowling unit, defending champions India entered the fortress of the Gabba needing at least a […]

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21 Made In India Skincare Brands You Should Support In 2021

Hello Hello! I’m back! Today I’ll be sharing a list of 21 skincare brands that are made in India and are worth your money money  🇮🇳

SHREYA JAIN . November 24, 2020

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Moving Day

What really makes a house a home?
Is it the walls, the roof and the floors? The furniture you bring in to cozy up the space? Some may think it’s the  color of paint you select for the walls or the way you bring your personality into a house with decorations, art and rugs. In many ways, the way we decorate and furnish our homes embody how we live and see ourselves.
But our spaces can, and will, evolve as we do as people. When Grant and I purchased this home, we were pregnant and moving from a house project that we had completely gutted and renovated from ground up. We were drawn to this 100 year old house because of its historic architecture, cozy feel and the community of the neighborhood it belonged to. A lot, and I mean a lot, has happened in our lives in the past three years. And a lot of life happened in this house: A pandemic, a pregnancy and the loss of our sweet Polly dog.
Grant and I both grew into new versions of ourselves while living in this home as we became parents. We also shed aspects of ourselves from the year’s leading up to life in this house. It’s hard to say that any “house” will be a forever home for us. As a couple who works and makes a living off of the real estate market and development, I can’t see us sitting still in one house for too long. But that doesn’t mean that this beautiful house didn’t feel like a home to us. It took care of us during some of the most challenging, and happy, years of our lives.
I think what makes a house feel like a home is the love that you pour into the space. We truly loved this house and it will always hold a very special place in our hearts.

xoxo jacey

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Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day has quickly become one of my favorite holidays.
It’s not because of the amazing fact that my sweet husband and daughter spoil me rotten with breakfast in bed, extra snuggles and home-made cards {that doesn’t hurt!}. It’s because it’s a beautiful day to stop and truly savor the progress that I have made as a new mom over the past few years. It’s also a great moment to truly appreciate the journey of motherhood.
When June was born, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. As I celebrate my third Mother’s Day this year, I can honestly say that I still have no idea what I’m doing {ha!}. However, I am more comfortable in admitting that now than ever before. Do I have all of the answers? Absolutely not. Do I have days where I break down in tears, feeling like I’m doing a terrible job? You betcha! Would I trade anything in the world over being June’s mom? It’s honestly my favorite thing in the world.
I am so proud, happy, thankful, humbled and incredibly grateful to be celebrating today as June’s mom.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of my fellow mama’s out there… to all of the mom’s, grandma’s, mother’s who have lost children, those who have lost mother’s, those yearning to be mother’s and to mother’s in strained relationships with their child – wishing you all love, peace and happiness today and always.

xoxo jacey

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Linen Lover

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April Instagram Round Up

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