“Dangal”Review – Take a bow!Aamir and the girls will win your hearts.



Straight up, Dangal is one of the finest sport films coming out of Bollywood stable in recent times.  Based on the real life story of the wrestler  Mahavir Phogat and his daughters,   Dangal not only chronicles their  ardous journey to reach the highest echelon in a male dominated sport of wrestling,  it also strikingly depicts their gritty battle against a parochial society with a feudal mindset of gender prejudice.

When former wrestler Mahavir Phogat ( Aamir Khan) has to renounce his  dreams to pursue his single minded purpose of winning Gold for India, he resolves to train his young daughters Geeta and Babita as professional wrestlers  . The daughters go through the  grind under an unrelenting father and against all odds, achieve historic milestones to bring glory to India.


A riveting tale of grit and gumption, Dangal is richly textured with an engaging screenplay and terrific writing.  Director Nitesh Tiwari nicely blends a healthy mix of emotions and poise with the right doze of tongue in cheek humour, never resorting to any sort of artifice. In this process, he successfully creates the right atmospherics and several poignant moments between the father-daughter duo. Though there is no scope for  surprise here in the story, since the Phogat daughters  journey is a fact known to everyone,  you are absolutely transfixed right from the opening scene till the rousing climax . The local dangal and wrestling championship matches are excellently crafted, and despite the usual contrivances expected from a Bollywood sports film, you end up rooting for the battered and courageous daughters . dangal2

The new girls are absolutely top notch. Both the younger and senior versions of Geeta and Babita ( Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar) are brilliant in their intense physical transformation and in the nail biting wrestling sequences. Their emotional delineation , especially with their father,  is heart wrenching.  Sakshi Tanwar as the supporting wife and caring mother is effective in a subdued role. Aparshakti Khurrana, as the nephew of Senior Phogat and a tortured brother of the girls, is a delight to watch. He enlivens the screen with his terrific comic timing .

But Dangal derives its core strength from Aamir khan, who unsurprisingly, delivers a sterling performance yet again. As an  ageing, battered and bruised national time winner turned coach  Mahavir Phogat, Aamir’s performance is devoid of any sort of vanity, hitting all the right notes in a thoroughly measured way. He brings a distinct sense of vulnerability in his characterization, with greying hair and pot bellied physique.  Watch him in one of the  agonizing scenes where he wrestles with his arrogant daughter and gets  bogged down to ground , losing his breath – it will choak your throat and bring tears to your eyes.  Dangal is one of the actors best performances, and proves yet again why he is considered the best amongst his peers.

Encompassing of towering performances from its entire cast and inspired by a spirited lead actor, Dangal is a winner all the way.  Highly relevant in current times, Dangal is undoubtedly the perfect end to 2016.


Kahaani 2 review – Balan’s terrific act keeps you glued in this uneven thriller!

kahaani-2-review-1                            POPCORN ENTERTAINMENT RATING : 3/5 

Straight up, Kahaani 2 is no way  related to its enormously praiseworthy 2012 prequel Kahaani . But one can easily gauge  the commonalities in terms of aesthetics and texture of the film, which are absolutely spot on. But though director Sujoy Ghosh derives a conundrum on a intriguing base to his much awaited sequel  , Kahaani 2  falters due to sloppy writing and underwhelming climax, after a gripping first half.

Kahaani 2 begins on a terrific note, with a riveting plot unfolding at a brisk space. Vidya Sinha ( Balan) is a struggling middle aged lady  staying on the outskirts on Kolkata. Her only objective in life is to get her paralyzed daughter Mini get treated in US. But her life turns upside down when she  meets with a horrific accident while searching for her missing daughter one night. Enters Sub inspector Inderjeet singh ( Arjun Rampal) who starts investigating the case and untangles the mystery surrounding Vidya Sinha and her past when she was Durga Rani Singh.


The makers weave out the plot perfectly, with a engrossing  narrative  alternating  between past and present. The actual core  of the story gets  terrifying and the simmering tension unfolding in Vidya’s life gets so  absorbing that you just cant take your eyes off screen. Adding to it the authentic mix of superbly crafted  atmospherics  and you know we have a winner on hands. But its the second half where the writing becomes sloppy and circumstances starts getting contrived . The pacing  gets  slow and the twists and turns becomes predictable. One is in for a huge disappointment when the film reaches its crescendo of climax because you might have  already guessed what it is going to be.

But what keeps you glued in this unsatisfying thriller are its performances , especially by its leading lady Vidya Balan, who is in a superlative form after a string of failures. In a completely deglamorized look and without any artifice, Balan delivers a knockout performance which is so genuine that you will end up asking more of her. Its a brutally honest performance by an actor who takes huge strides with this act.  Arjun Rampal ably supports her with a impressive act, efficiently internalizing the emotions of a caring husband and an officer who mostly goes with his gut feeling.  Jugal Hansraj , Manini Chaddha and Amba Sanyal lend credibility in their short supporting roles,  but a special mention of Kharaj Mukherjee here, playing the reporting officer for Rampal. He is an absolute delight to watch on screen.

Kahaani 2 lacks consistency and fails to clutch on its grip on the engaging premise it so skillfully builts up in its first half,  but its definitely watchable because it has so much going for it . Just watch it for the brilliance of Balan , and i am sure you wont be disappointed.