Posted in Reviews

“Popcorn Entertainment Awards 2014”- Deserving nominations, My winners!

Friends,

For the first time in this blog, I am not writing any review, neither I am reviewing any upcoming trailer. The Season of Awards for the year 2013 has arrived, with almost every significant channels hoisting their awards under numerous categories.

In my opinion, 2013 was an exceptional year in terms of genre of films that entertained the audience, with an eclectic mix of  some mega blockbusters ( CE, YJHD, D3) that provided wholesame entertainment, and niche offbeat films (Kai Po Che, Madras Cafe, Shahid, Lunchbox) which deserved a standing applause because of their courage and conviction in portraying thought provoking cinema.

My love for cinema is unfathomable. Devouring a movie in the closed archlights of a cinema hall has always been a delightful experience for me. With this undeniable passion, i have listed below my own list of categories, deserving nominations and my favourites for the year 2013. Needless to say, I had a tough time in selecting my winners, but at the end of the day, i personally feel that among the deluge of films that are released every year, to earn a nomination is an achievement in itself .

PopCorn Entertainment Awards 2014 

Popcorn

Best film of the year:

  • Madras Cafe
  • Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
  • Special 26
  • Ranjhaana
  • Lootera
  • Kai Po Che

Winner: Madras Cafe ( This was a difficult one . All these movies had a close tie, as each and every one were brilliant in their own way. Madras Cafe was the final winner for me because of its courage and gumption in delving into a sensitive subject , which has never been explored in Bollywood till now)

Best Actor in a Leading Role- Male

  • Dhanush (Ranjhaana)
  • Ranveer Singh (Lootera)
  • Farhan Akhtar (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag)                                                                                          
  • Hrithik Roshan (Krishh3)
  • Rajkummar Rao ( Shahid)
  • John Abraham (Madras Cafe)

Winner: Farhan Akhtar  ( Farhan scores over others in portraying a complex character with sheer simplicity.  Dhanush comes a close second for his heartening take on a man lost in love, but it was  John who really surprised me with his competent performance in Madras Cafe. )

Best Actor in a Leading Role- Female

  • Deepika Padukone (Chennai Express)
  • Deepika Padukone (Ram Leela)
  • Sonakshi Sinha (Lootera)
  • Sonam (Ranjhaana)
  • Nimrit Kaur (Lunchbox)
  • Parineeti Chopra (Shudh Desi Romance)

Winner: Deepika Padukone (Ram Leela) ( Hands down to this leggy lass, with an indefatigable performance in Ram Leela. Year 2013 primarily belonged to her, with all her films hitting the bulls eye big time, but it was Ram Leela that showcased her talent through her supremely calibrated performance. Sonakshi Sinha and Nimrat Kaur come a close second here , for pitching in the right notes in their respective films)

Best Director

  • Shoojit Sircar – Madras Cafe
  • Anand L  Rai (Ranjhaana)
  • Rakesh Omprakash Mehra (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag)
  • Neeraj Pandey ( Special 26)
  • Vikramditya Motwane ( Lootera)
  • Abhishek Kapoor ( Kai Po Che)

Winner: Shoojit Sircar  ( Madras Cafe was dealt with complete dexterity, blending fiction and facts in a subtle and compelling way. Special 26 and Kai Po Che comes a close second due to their taut and gripping storylines. I immensely liked BMB and Ranjhaana, but it was predominantly for their lead actors)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role- Male

  • Arjun Rampal  (D Day)
  • Saurabh Shukla (Jolly LLB)
  • Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub ( Ranjhaana)
  • Amit Sadh ( Kai Po Che)
  • Rajkummar Rao (Kai Po Che)
  • Anupam Kher (Special 26)

WinnerSaurabh Shukla   ( Now this was really tough to decide. All the performances were award winning, but it was Saurabh Shukla who deserves my vote for his magnificent act as a lawyer caught in cross roads. Anupam Kher,  Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub and RajKumar Rao  battle for the second spot, while Arjun Rampal showed significant improvement as the gun trotting hard core loyalist in D -Day)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role- Female

  • Divya Dutta  (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag)
  • Swara Bhaskar (Ranjhaana)
  • Huma Qureshi (D Day)
  • Kangana Ranaut (Krishh 3)
  • Konkana Ken Sharma (Ek Thi Daayan)
  • Supriya Pathak  (Ram Leela)

Winner-Divya Dutta   ( BMB had the trump card of superlative performances, and apart from Farhan, it was Divya Dutta who carved out a classic act in this biopic. Swara Bhaskar and Huma Qureshi were exceptional, a notch above Konkana and Supriya Pathak)

Best Actor in a Negative Role

  • Rishi Kapoor ( D Day)
  • John Abraham (Shootout At Wadala)
  • Vivek Oberoi (Krishh 3)
  • Kay Kay Menon (Ankur Arora Murder Case)
  • Shilpa Shukla (BA Pass)
  • Boman Irani (Jolly LLB)

Winner: Rishi Kapoor ( Rishi Kapoor’s Dawood was a solid punch by this thespian, who seem to be enjoying his acting to the hilt currently. Vivek oberoi as Kaal got the eyeballs rolling as well, so as Shilpa Shukla in the uncoventional BA Pass )

Best Actor in a Comic Role:
  • Divyendu Sharma ( Chashme Badoor)
  • Arshad Warsi ( Jolly LLB)
  • Pulkit Samrat (Fukrey)
  • Manjot Singh (Fukrey)
  • Siddhartha(Chashme Badoor)

Winner: Divyendu Sharma ( When you cant change the girl, change the girl. Chasme Badoor might have been labelled as a loud remake of the original, nevertheless, it had me in splits , and Divyendu with his tongue in cheek shaayari was a delight to watch)

Best Music:

  • Pritam (Dhoom 3)
  • Pritam( Yeh Jaawani Hai Diwani)
  • Amit Trivedi ( Kai Po Che)
  • Mithun,Jeet Ganguly, Ankit Tiwari (Aashiqui2)
  • Amit Trivedi ( Lootera)

Winner: Aashiqui 2  ( All the nominees had an astounding musical score, but Aashiqui 2 scores for his soulful tunes , just like his predecessor.  The rather ordinary film sucked up to blockbuster status , with the nation crooning to “Sun Raha Na Tu”)

Best Debut (Male)

  • Dhanush  (Ranjhaana)
  • Sushant Singh Rajput  (Kai Po Che)
  • Ram Charan Teja  ( Zanjeer)
  • Manish Paul ( Mickey Virus)

Winner: Sushant Singh Rajput ( This was a close battle between Dhanush and Sushant, with both displaying histrionics in their first every bollywood outing. But Sushant scores for his freshness and despite his zero experience on celluloid , Kai Po Che did unravel one of the rising superstars of hindi cinema)

Best Debut ( Female)

  • Vaani Kapoor (Shudh Desi Romance)
  • Taapsi Panu ( Chasme Badoor)
  • Nimrit Kaur ( Lunchbox)
  • Shraddha Kapoor ( Aashiqui2)

Winner : Nimrit Kaur  ( To orchestrate a debut in a rather offbeat film like Lunchbox requires gut, and Nimrit  was bang on in this flick , amidst a  dignified ensemble of Irrfan and Nawazuddin. )

I would be really looking forward to your comments/opinion/criticism/feedback on the debut of “PopCorn Entertainment  Awards” 🙂

Posted in Reviews

“Madras Cafe” review- Grit and Gumption, minus the Gore!

Let me get straight to the point : Madras Cafe is an ideal example of a cinema where content is treated as the king, with both John and Shoojit Sircar churning out one of the most compelling and engaging political thrillers we have seen off late. It deserves a standing ovation primarily because  for exploring a subject -Sri Lankan Civil War- a territory hitertho untouched by our film makers.

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Gripping yet grounded, Madras Cafe is set against the background of the ethnic crisis in SriLanka during the 80-90’s, which ultimately led to the assassination of the then Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi. The entire story unravels through the experiences of Vikram (John), a RAW officer who is entrusted with the task of surreptitiously conducting  operations in Jaffna by his chief RD ( Siddhartha Basu), to break the strong  nexus of Anna Bhaskaran ( Ajay Rathnam) , chief of LTF.  Working along with his inebriant superior Bala (Prakash Belawadi) and a london based correspondent Jaya (Nargis),his mission unravels a web of conspiracies, deceit, and truth- which alters his life completely .

Merging facts and fiction with complete dexterity, director Shoojit Sircar unfleshes a compelling story on a highly sensitive topic, and deals it with austerity, authenticated with strong research . He sets the tone of the film right from the first frame, keeping the pace and momentum taut and trim, till the climax which is predictable , yet is superbly crafted. While the first half weaves the  the grim background it sets for the erupting crisis in Lanka, its engrossing second half keeps you on the edge every minute, flourishing a complete masterstroke from the makers.   But what makes the film stand out is its honest treatment to the references it takes from real events. The film never resorts to violence nor takes a specific stand to make a point, convincingly delineating the intricate political spectrum and the machinations involved.  Additional brownie points for its meritorious cinematography and legitimate action scenes, elevating the film two notches higher. Shantanu Moitra’s haunting and unobtrusive music adds as a  icing on the cake.

Madras Cafe serves as a platform of exceptional performances from its principal cast. John does a commendable job as a competent RAW officer, suitably mellowed down to display his anguish and helplessness. For once, you see the actor in John rather than his usual overbearing physicality, which speaks volumes of his career best performance till date.Equally good is Nargis Fakhri, who takes the daunting task of a correspondent role with proficiency. Siddharth Basu and Prakash Belawadi deliver exceptional acts, so as Dibang and the rest of the supporting cast. Special mention of the linguistic casting done based upon the film’s requirements, right from beginning till the end. Brilliant..!

Holding up the ideology that a War is Futile, and there are no winners or losers involved in the game of death,   the film magnetizes and stands a winner purely based on its story,screenplay, and performances. A taut and absorbing political thriller, Madras Cafe is a true hallmark of a sensible cinema. Get off the train guys, enter Madras Cafe, to devour a  dark, simmering and an absolutely riveting cup of coffee..!!!