Ae Dil Hain Mushkil Review – Laced with terrific performances , this one is a winner all the way..


                  POPCORN ENTERTAINMENT RATING : 3.5/5 

With his latest emotional roller coaster Ae Dil Hain Mushkil, Karan johar finally comes off age from his rom com days (Kuch kuch hota hain) to a more matured take on enduring and platonic emotions of friendship and love. From  Pyaar dosti hain to dosti main sukoon hain,  ADHM revisits the theme of unreciprocated love with an honest and sensitive take on human relationships.

Ayan  ( Ranbir) and Alizeh (Anushka) hook up at a bar and end up being friends , with lots in common- both are crazy about bollywood songs, making fun about each others partners and both want to live life Kingsize. Complexity arises when Ayan gets attracted to Alizeh wants more from the relationship . She just wants to keep him as her best friend. Ayan is heartbroken, both seperate and find solace in different partners. Alizen with her ex  Ali ( Fawad) and  Ayan  with a divorcee – poet Saba ( Aishwarya).

Staying well within his comfort boundaries  of a ravishing star cast, exotic locales and soulful music, Karan Johar weaves out a complex yet  a genuinely engaging drama  of love and friendship which is bound to stay with your hearts and mind for long. You might get a sense of deja vu of karans own films in several scenes, but the authenticity of human emotions is sublime here through a  richly layered story which is weaved out with several poignant moments . The humour is laced with candour, and heartbreak is welled out with subtlety and  no superficiality.The chemistry between the two leads is so infectious and zany that you simply end up loving their banter, jokes and arguments. Though the film slackens a bit during post intermission , it pitches right up with a slight twist which i am sure will bring tears to your eyes towards the climax.


But the biggest strength of ADHM lies in  the riveting performances of its lead couple which keeps you invested throughout . The hugely talented Anushka Sharma is a definite treat to watch in every frame, pitching all the right notes  . She echoes the complexity and honesty of Alizeh with absolute  remarkability.  Aishwarya in a extended cameo of a poet justifies her role, and the same goes with Fawad Ali who is perfectly fits the role of a DJ. But its Ranbir kapoor who hits it out of the park with a superlative performance. His facial canvas encompassing emotions ranging from confusion to heartbreak is so heartening that you just cant take away your eyes from him. This one is a masterstroke from this magnificent actor.


Ably supported by a deluge of soulful tunes and music, ADHM provides a platform for a hero who loses out in love, yet wins the heart of love and affection of the viewer. Just go and watch it for the bravado of Ranbir and Anushka.





Shivaay Review – Breathtaking visuals, but lacks soul.


                  POPCORN ENTERTAINMENT RATING : 2.5/5

The much anticipated Ajay Devgn starrer Shivaay arrives this Diwali, and with much fanfare and hype surrounding the film ( it has been in the making for the last 2 years). And Shivaay starts with a bang, with a breathtaking   introduction of Shivaay, the mountaineer  descending the surreal mountains amidst the terrific background score of Bolo Har Har.  This visually outstanding  introduction scene sets  the tone nicely for an adrenaline pumping action adventure extravaganza to be unfolded . But despite a simple yet compelling premise, Shivaay ends  up as a half baked and humdrum film exposed with a shallow story.

With a plot loosely based on the Liam Nesson action flick Taken, the film evolves around a highly skilled mountaineer Shivaay ( Ajay Devgn), whose 8 year old mute daughter Gaura ( Ebigail) gets abducted on the streets of Bulgaria. The  father’s vigorous search and scour for her daughter and their emotional bond forms the crux of the story.


Shivaay’s biggest strength is its jaw dropping canvas and terrific execution of action sequences, which are simply outstanding. Special mention of the avalanche and an elongated car chase sequence which will blow your mind away. Also, Shivaays transformation into a mean machine on a killing spree is well portrayed. But the film falters miserably on several accounts, the primary being its duration. With a running time of almost 3 hours ,  Shivaay exhausts you with an overstretched climax and a poorly weaved out screenplay. With almost every frame focussing on emotional strings of a father daughter relationship, it gets overtly weary since you fail to connect to the characters. Also, overindulgence on action sequences (especially in the second half) with inconsistent characterization and some implausible logic adds chinks to the already debilitating armour of this film.  The love story ( Ajay Devgn and Erika Kaar) is nicely shot but ends up being amateurish due to lack of chemistry.

To say Ajay Devgn is the heart and soul of Shivaay would be an understatement. With a powerful presence in each and every frame of the film,  Ajay Devgn rides high on histrionics and renders a compelling performance. Menacing to the core in the impressively staged action scenes and equally vulnerable in poignant moments, Ajay proves yet again his mettle as a terrific actor.  And this is where he actually fails as a director since the supporting cast looks unwarranted in the scheme of things. Veterans like Girish karnad and Saurabh Shukla are completely wasted, and Vir Das is reduced to a caricature.  Sayeesha Saigal is noteworthy in her debut, though she doesnt get much scope to prove her acting chops.  Ebigail James is pleasing as the mute child, and Erika Kaar is strictly ok.

Inspite of mouthwatering locales and exquisite canvas, Shivaay ends up being a contrived and superficial effort. Just walk out after the first half, to avoid the noise and exhaustion of Shivaay.


MS Dhoni :The Untold story review – Watch it for Sushants class act




Starring : Sushant Singh Rajput, Anupam kher, Rajesh Chawla, Bhumika Chawla, Kumud Mishra, Disha Patani, Kiara Advani

Its difficult to portray a biopic on an inscrutable personality like Mahendra Singh Dhoni – the dynamic lad from Jharkhand ,who through his dogged determination and sheer focus ,rose to the highest echelons of the Indian Cricket team. Armed with a calm and impervious  demeanour and inspite of achieving paramount success, Dhoni still remains  an enigma for the billions of his admirers. MS Dhoni : The Untold Story traverses his meritorious journey from a small town boy to India’s most successful captain,    but it terribly falls short of providing a discerning insight to one of the most fascinating cricketing brains of Indian Cricket.

To give due credit, the biopic works wonders at several levels. Director Neeraj Pandey weaves out the early life portions of Mahi’s life in small town Jharkhand beautifully. Blended exquisitely with authentic characters and set up, the first half is an absolute delight to watch. A young Mahi is discovered by his cricket coach on the school football field, who persuades him to focus on keeping wickets. Though Mahi shows immense passion for sports, his skeptical and caring father (Anupam kher) insists he stays focussed on his studies and gets settled in a decent government job. But buoyed by immense support from his mother and sister (Bhoomika) and bunch of loyal friends, Mahi stays on track to achieve his dreams, despite of debacles. He graduates to become the TT collector in Indian Railways in kharagpur station but  struggling to maintain his rhythm in cricket, he leaves his job to champion his ever lasting dreams to play for Indian cricket team.  The film soars till this point but trudges to a hackneyed and a boring second half where the focus entirely shifts on Mahi’s two romantic episodes (Disha Patani, Kiara Advani) , which come in quick succession and completely stumps the film. We never get to know how Dhoni became the Indian captain, and how he channelises his strategies during key matches. His interaction with fellow cricketers is completely sidelined, and his controversial decisions gets fleeting prominence in the film, which is a shame since Neeraj Pandey never exploits the immense potential that the script could have achieved.


Sushant Singh Rajput performs a role of lifetime as Dhoni. He flourishes in each and every scene of the film, and is absolutely impeccable as a boy who is determined to achieve his dreams. Getting the rhythm of a cricketer bang on, he eternalizes the minute nuances of Dhoni, including his body language, cricketing shots, his frustrations and unflustered demeanour.  Its a riveting performance which keeps you invested in this onerous 3 hours 10 mins long film, which has a climax which every indian will cherish to rewind on big screen once again – the 2011 world cup final.

The film works primarily due to a fine package of accomplished actors led by Rajput, and brilliantly executed cricketing scenes. Special mention of the VFX enabled scenes which enlivens the real matches with Rajputs portrayal of Dhoni.

Despite its drawbacks, you will still end up rooting for MS Dhoni : The untold at the end because of the one man who has been inspiring millions of us, everyday : Mahendra Singh Dhoni.