‘Highway’ Review– A beautiful and botched up film!


  • Film: Highway
  • Starring: Randeep, Alia Bhatt
  • Release Date: 21st Feb 2014
  • Produced by :Sajid Nadiadwala,Imtiaz Ali
  • Directed by: Imtiaz Ali
  • Story/Screenplay:  Imtiaz Ali
  • Music: A.R.Rehman

Bluntly speaking, Highway is not your usual fare. Its more of a cinematic journey than a plot driven script, delivered from a maker whose previous outings has been candyfloss romantic comedies. But despite being shot on an honest scale and riveting performances, Highway loses its sheen due to a frail plot, and it actually tires you to death till the final credits rolls.

Veera ( Alia Bhatt), a rich unabashed brat, is kidnapped at gun point  by a bunch of goons led by Mahabir (Randeep Hooda), while on a late night drive with her fiance.  Soon as Mahabir discovers that Veera is the daughter of a reputed MLA, he goes on the run from the law, and in this process, both Veera and Mahabir undertake a never ending journey across India— Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal- and develop a strange bond which defines their future.  highway 2

Shot magnificently by cinematographer Anil Mehta, Highway bears the trademark stamp of Imtiaz Ali–exquisite locales and heart wrenching moments.  Each and every frame of the film depicts a textured look, perfectly complemented with unobtrusive background and lyrical musical score by A,R.Rehman. Some moments will certainly take your breath away–Veera’s outburst scenes, her realisation of  freedom and new found love,  and Mahabir’s helplessness in witnessing her victim turning a new leaf, a midst the entire chaos. A special mention of the scene where Veera breaks into unbridled dance in the mid of the highway,  and the goons are left straddled with haplessness.

But  after a promising start, Highway derails and slowly meanders into a nowhere zone–it just doesnt go anywhere after a point. Veera’s sudden transformation into a  ebullient co traveller  is unconvincing, so as her soft feelings for Mahabir. The common thread that brings this unlikely pair closer is strained , and fails to make an impact. Though both the protagonists undergo a catharsis process from their tormented childhood,  their solace in themselves seems too contrived.  The film does  end on a poignant note, but Imtiaz Ali stretches the insubstantial story so much that it tires and disengages the viewer completely.

Handicapped by his own story, Imtiaz balances by extracting remarkable performances from  the lead actors . Alia Bhatt is absolutely crackling as the fragile Veera, displaying histrionics in her second outing itself. Her coercive performance unravels the vulnerability and honesty of Veera seamlessly.  She is perfectly integrated with a simmering act from Randeep Hooda, whose, brooding intensity fleshes out a tormented yet susceptible character of Mahabir. Its easily one of his best performances.

Highway is an exquisite debris, a film which will bring laurels to their performers, but fails to work at the core level. I personally feel that the principal trio– Alia Bhatt, Randeep Hooda, Imtiaz Ali–certainly deserved better.

                       PopCorn Entertainment Rating: 2.5/5


First look- “Holiday” trailer

Holiday_motion_posterYes, so we have another southern blockbuster remake in the offing. And this time, its A.R. Murugadoss, the man who replicated his own southern hit Ghajini into a monstrous blockbuster in 2008, converting Aamir into a mean machine sorts.  He collaborates with Akshay Kumar this time and reprises his 2012 Tamil action thriller Thupakki, a box office winner.

Well, i did see Thupakki, last year this time, in You Tube with english subtitles 🙂 . And the incentive behind this was the raving reviews i read about this Vijay- Kajal aggarwal starrer. Though i was a bit confounded about its roaring success, i found it to be a decent entertainer.  The Bollywood trailer does remind me of a complete scene to scene reprisal, though, I have my expectations with the film, primarily because of the director.  Here’s the first look.

Holiday would be a critical test for Akshay Kumar, who is on a downhill after a spate of box office duds– Boss, Khiladi 786, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara. While Sonakshi Sinha seems to enact her ‘comfort zone’role, the film does promise some slick action sequences.

With a release date of 6th June, its surprising that the makers have released the full throttle trailer 6 months before the release date. It would be challenge for them now to sustain the audience’s interest till it finally hits the screen.


‘Hasee to Phasee’ Review– Cliched, but Highly watchable!

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  • Film: Hasee to Phasee
  • Starring: Siddharth, Parineeti, Adah Sharma, Manoj Joshi
  • Release Date: 7 Februray,2014
  • Produced by : Dharma Productions(Karan Johar), Phantom Productions( Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Bahl)
  • Directed by: Vinil Mathew
  • Story/Screenplay:  Harshvardhan Kulkarni
  • Music: Vishal Sekhar

The genre of Rom Com, the current favourite of Bollywood, seems to be coming of age, with  innovative stories being backed  by reputed production houses. Last week, it was the Abhay Deol starrer One by Two, which despite a promising story-star cast, squandered itself with insipid writing/screenplay. This weeks new release Hasee to Phasee(Dharma/Phantom Productions) treads a new line as well, and thankfully, despite being a bit predictable, it doesn’t disappoint, because of the refreshing treatment meted out by the newbie director Vinil Mathew and writer Harshvardhan Kulkarni.

The plot revolves around an aimless yet good hearted Nikhil ( Siddharth Malhotra), who is sandwiched between his own wedding preparations with his rather controlling fiancee  Karishma (Adah Sharma) and arranging funds for his event management company. In comes Karishma’s sister Meeta (Parineeti Chopra), a demented but a  genius scientist, who was on the run for 7 long  years, after robbing her family for being denied of financial aid for nurturing her dream project. She comes back to her family with her own selfish intentions, and Karishma chains Nikhil to take care of her crazy  sister till their D-Day.

The entire story is weaved with some wonderful yet subtle vignettes, unravelling to a rather cliched and predictable climax. There are  several moments incorporated in the screenplay which will win you over–A shopping day in Bhuleshwar  turns into a expedition of  sorts with one of the rickety grandmas losing her sandal-strap. Our  lead hero’s sidekick undergoes a traumatic experience while taking her bhabhi for a city ride. Nikhil’s retired IPS father faces a disconcerting experience when he is up for a grill in front of his family when an expensive necklace mysteriously vanishes from the house. One of the family  aids reprises his Indian Idol experience with ‘Garam Chai ki Pyaali Ho’, and in one of the most endearing scenes of the film, Nikhil wakes up his would be father in law , in the middle of the night, to discuss the wedding arrangements. Absolute fun!. There are umpteen poignant moments as well, specially in a remarkably restrained scene where Nikhil realises his mistake after locking out Meeta for a sizeable number of hours.

Parineeti Chopra churns a masterstroke with her geeky act of Meeta. An absolute delight to watch, she steals the show with her perfect sketch of a vulnerable and quirky scientist. Siddharth Malhotra is a revelation, impressively delineating a character dealing with the conflicts of head and heart. In fact, its the chemistry of the lead pair which is the selling point of the film. The film also gains marvelous support through its strong bunch of supporting actors. Manoj Joshi, Sharath Saxena, Adah Sharma, Sameer Kakhar..lend astute credibility to the film. Vishal Sekhar’s music impresses, with ‘Zehnaseeb‘ and ‘Manchala‘ being the stand out tracks.

Though the film is mired with a bit of a drag during the post interval portions and a done to death climax, a distinctive approach coupled with several  gratifying  moments and witty dialogues makes its a breezy entertainer. Despite the minor hiccups,  Hasee to Phasee is one of the earnest romantic comedies coming out of bollywood in recent times.

Popcorn Entertainment Rating: 3.5/5


Playlist 2013- My Top 10 Songs of the Year !


In my previous post of PopCorn Entertainment Awards, I didn’t include the ” Top Song” award for the year 2013. There was a specific reason for that, and the reason was simple:: I just couldnt collate the top 5 and pick up the best amongst them for the award :). Since there were several songs which i loved to watch on screen last year, i decided to list out my favourite 10 in this post, and yes, these are my personal favourites . Take a look!

#Chartbuster10-  Maula Sun Le Re ( Madras Cafe)

 A hummable song completely in sync with the grim undertone of the film, this only song from Madras Cafe  (sung by newcomer Papon) and filmed on John is a masterstroke from Shantanu Moitra.  
#Chartbuster9– Manjha ( Kai Po Che )
This Amit trivedi and Mohan Kannan crooned song instantly connected with us, with soulful lyrics (Swanand Kirkire) and brilliant composition (Amit Trivedi)
 #Chartbuster8–  Dichkyaion Dhoom Dhoom  (Chasme Badoor)
A romantic duet , this songs features in my list solely due to its refreshing music and choreography. Both Ali Zafar (singer and lead actor) and Shreya Ghosal are highly impressive ,  and this is definitely one of Sajid-Wajid’s memorable songs.
 #Chartbuster7–  Ranjhaana ( Ranjhaana)
Straight Up, I love this song. This Dhanush starrer A.R. Rehman song scores heavily due to its colourful picturization and that one man, Dhanush. Shiraz Uppal and Jaswinder Singh lend  pure credibility to it.
 #Chartbuster6–  Tu Hi Junoon, Tu Hi Karaar (Dhoom 3)
Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif, a rather unconventional pair, look stunning in this Mohit Chauhan-Pritam  solo song from the top grosser film of 2013. The exotic locales of Chicago adds an  icing on the cake.
#Chartbuster5–  Badtameez Dil ( Yeh Jaawani Hai Diwani)
A  rumbunctious and peppy song from this romantic blockbuster, this Benny Dayal Shefali Alvarez-Pritam helmed   Badtameez Dil humongously did well. through its infectious energy and lyrics. And of course, Ranbir-Deepika electrified the entire atmosphere.
#Chartbuster4–  Shikatayein  ( Lootera)
Lootera was one of the best music albums of 2013. Amit trivedi created a star out of Amitabh Bhatacharya , with this lyrical/soulful solo song befitting the beautiful canvas of the film.
#Chartbuster3–  Kabira  ( Yeh Jaawani Hai Diwani)
Pritam stamped his excellence again with this gem of a song from YJHD.  Both Rekha Bhardwaj and Tochi Raina are exemplary in their modulation.
#Chartbuster2–  Sun Raha hain Na Tu  ( Aashiqui2)
Jeet Ganguly/Mithun ensured a blockbuster musical track for Aashiqui2, very much like its predecessor. But I was floored with Ankit Tiwari’s rendition filmed exceptionally on Aditya Roy Kapur.
#Chartbuster1–  Alvida ( D-Day)
This rather mellowed song from one of the most riveting thrillers of 2013 tops my chart for two key factors: Innovative picturization and brilliant lyrics.
Shankar Ehsaan Loy through their multiple singers, crafted a gem which is so lovely to look and hear. Highly admirable.

“One by Two” Review– Unimaginative and boring!

One by Two

  • Film: One by Two
  • Starring: Abhay Deol, Preeti Desai
  • Release Date: 31st Jan 2014
  • Produced by :Abhay Deol, Viacom18 motion pictures
  • Directed by: Devika Bhagat
  • Story/Screenplay: Devika Bhagat
  • Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

The most ironic experience of a film presets when you witness a terrible execution of a refereshing concept in those slated three hours, and this Abhay Deol produced-starrer One by two stands tall in that list.While its indeed revitalizing to see him backing unconventional storylines, ( which he usually does), he is completely let down by a wafer-thin script and vapid direction.

The main protagonists of this jaded flick– a software simpleton guy Amit Trivedi ( Abhay Deol), who is unceremoniously dumped by his rather rude girlfriend,  and Samara Patel (Preeti Desai), an aspring dancer who is battling with her demons- a committment phobic boyfriend and an alcoholic mother (Lillete Dubey). These two track run in parallel throughout, with both the lead actors meeting during the climax.

Considering the current trend of rom-coms , this comes as a novel change in Bollywood. But inspite of a stimulating platform, the films falls flat due to an unimpressive screenplay. Newbie director Devika weaves out some engaging moments, which are very few and far between. While the first half sincerely drags, the post interval portions get humdrum due to its slow placing and excessive length.  Some of the scenes have been handled with dexterity, specially the ones dealing with Abhay deol and his mother (Rati Agnihotri) , and the ones between Preeti Desai and Lillete Dubey. But as mentioned earlier, good moments in fragments cannot build up into a absorbing film.

Abhay Deol, otherwise a consistent actor , delivers a tepid performance this time. His lukewarm efforts reflects in the production values as well. Preeti Desai impresses with her dancing skills, but is still nascent in her histrionics abilities. Seasoned actors like Rati Agnihotri and Lilette Dubey deliver impressive performances.

Music of the film (Shankar Ehsaan Loy) is nothing to cheer about. A special mention of the DOP, as the entire film boasts of a colourful canvas. 

I am going for a generous 1.5/5 for this flick. An interesting premise spiralling into a pedestrian output, One by Two is a literal disappointment.

Popcorn Entertainment Rating: 1.5/5