Merry Christmas for Murder Mubarak, Regional movies storming up OTT

Thanks to Netflix, and other OTT platforms, I can watch a good deal of movies while nursing my toddlers. Sleep bereft during pregnancy and post-delivery, became a luxury that I could not afford or buy until my mom came. Of course. 

While watching movies at theatres has its own fun but new mother like me esp with twin children, can only dream of going out. Hence, OTT comes as a fresh breeze wherein you can watch, re-watch, and snack on movies and series in the comfort of your child's mood and your sleep availability. 

So earlier this month, I caught these two movies [read title] using my husband's Netflix account. Thank God, I didn't have to buy a Prime subscription like I did for Dahad and Satyaprem.  It was worth it for Dahaad though and Satyaprem could have been better than the bha oops pasuri it turned out at many places. Never mind, Karthik Aryan and Kiara Advani's film had one of my favorite stars- Supriya Pathak, and that made up for it. That reminds me- if Kehvat Laal's family been released on OTT yet and is there any update on "Carry on Kesar"? 

For the uninitiated, these are two Gujarati films I have meant to watch. Yeah, after moving to Ahmedabad, I have developed a strong liking for Gujarati movies too. There are so many good Gujarati films to watch like Golkeri, Dear Father, Thai Jase, and more.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to find them on OTT whereas you can find almost every K drama or typecast Hollywood film online. BTW, you can watch some quite good Malayalam films on OTT [with translation and subtitles of course]. Start with Jaya Jaya Hey on Hotstar, which also houses some other amazing movies including the recently released Baipan Bhari Deva [Marathi].

Murder Mubarak

Murder Mubarak is a modern-day multi-starrer with popular names like Karishma Kapoor, Sara Ali, Dimple Kapadia, Vijay Verma, Pankaj Tripathi, Tisca Chopra, Sanjay Kapoor, and more. However, if one guy steals the show is [un] lead actor but a very important part of the film- ... GFY [Go Find Yourself, sometimes it is good to search deserving actors on Google too]. You would have seen him on TVF Aam Aadmi Family or the recently released- Mamla Legal Hai.

The rest of the stars are either too overwhelming [like Sara Ali's Bambi Todi] or too underplayed [Like Dimple Khanna in a very minuscule role yet looking so delish and Tisca Chopra playing a typical Aunty Turn Modern in Chetan Bhagat' era]. Actually, the film's treatment is quite CB's style, and no matter how interesting the plot is or could have been, the characters look caricaturish. The film also has Grusha Kapoor who brings ease and freshness in her small role. Pankaj Tripathi looks the same as in almost all his films of late and his constant dig at his assistant looks borrowed. 

Overall, the film is indeed a good one-time or a repeat watch if you ignore the over-imposing cliche characters built in Indian Novels, further translated on screen. You expect some suave characters too and no Vijay Verma alone enough cannot fill that gap completely for the film with Brijesh Kalra.

Merry Christmas on the other hand has just one star- Vijay Sethuraj. I am sorry but I am big fan of Vijay Sethuraj, especially when he acts in Hindi films or series. Yes, I watched the whole Farzi for him. And he was the reason, of course along with the mystery built-in with Bollywood demi goddess Katrina Kaif in the film's trailer. I am so oblivious to the directors these days that I learned it is S Raghavan's film from a friend's Facebook post. However, the unkind comparisons with the director's previous venture- Andhadhun didn't act as a dampener. Until they showed Luke Kenny's dead body, the film made me think they were going to kill Vijay Sethuraaj or he would kill Katrina as it was obvious that he killed Rosie. Radhika Apte played the gold mining lover's role perfectly. Am sorry if you have not seen the film but I didn't tell you that she played Rosie or Bouganvillea. 

Bad jokes aside, except for the over-extended demolition scene [which may have been a good watch in theaters as the suspense unfolds], I was quite besotted watching Sethuraaj and his Tamil accent Hindi. Sanjay Kapoor was loud as ever in his new-found stereotyped genre but if that's what it is, it is what it is. 

Notwithstanding any comparison with the director's previous hits, I liked Merry Christmas and you know why. 

So, here's a short and sweet personal review of the two murder mysteries hitting the OTT. If you have seen the film, do care to share your views in the comment [if you are still reading my blog even after years of inactivity]. 

Both the movies are 1000 times better than Neeyat [reviewed earlier in this blog]

And since I mentioned Mamla Legal Hai, I must share it is a great watch. Go and watch it [again] on Netflix. Oh Netflix, I love you. 

Jaane Jaan Killed Devotion of Suspect X for Me . Read Full Review

 I was equally thrilled and doubtful when I heard that one of my favorite novels [read the review here] will be made in a film soon. With Kareena Kapoor as lead, the expectations went higher and I was eager to see it translated into a motion picture. While I had my doubts about the Bollywood mainstream execution. The doubts were somewhat backstage when I learned about other character lines, esp Ahlawat and Vijay Verma. If you know me, you would know that I had extra soft corners for character actors [ all due to their immense yet underrated acting talent] than the stars. To me, these character actors are the real stars, and not otherwise, as they really live up to the role and leave a better impression in any film. 

Coming back to the Devotion of Suspect X, being translated as Jaane Jaan in Bollywood, were my fears real? Did the film live up to the great expectations that the novel created? What went right or wrong for me? Read more to know...

1) Prose to Picture: First thing First, the storyline was unique with a dash of maths for mystery. I read this book way back in the early 2000s. I must say that when the book was given to me for review- I wasn't at all excited. I wasn't a big audience of Japanese or Asian Fiction books [given low exposure of course] but given the genre, I picked up and needless to say, was left being a fan of this book. Yeah, I read the English translated version of course. 

Now, converting a Japanese story into Indian Parlance may be a tough cookie and needs a little more genius than expected. Since am not a genius, I would leave that comment but will talk only as a viewer who chanced to have read the book before the film. Many other films were being made on this book, including the famous Drishyam [the Malayalam version which is leagues ahead of the Hindi one] allegedly being inspired by this book. Yet, I haven't watched many of those films but now am eager to watch one of them. 

So translating the Japanese story into Indian parlance was a tough cookie and the makers played safe by placing it in the eastern part of the country. The cloud-kissed roads and muggy mornings were all beautiful but not as dreamy as NE is. The book was quite elaborative [ of course] and could paint a picture of everything while you read black and white. The film fails to do so despite an impressive North East backdrop. The story, characters, and the background didn't blend for me. 

2) Stars over Characters: Kareena Kapoor looked great yet she looked less like Sonia or Maya and more like Kareena. In the novel, you feel empathetic with the protagonist Yasuko, here that was missing. Ditto with the other 2 actors. Jaideep A, I felt was most brilliant but he was made to look unnecessarily repulsive when he could have gotten away with being made to look just plain and unattractive. Now, these two things are different hope you will understand how. The charisma of a maths-led narrative was reduced to mere a backdrop when it could have been more impactful.

3) Emphasis on the star rather than story, dojo rather than double genius.

Unnecessary emphasis was given to the opening fight scene of Vijay Verma. Was it an action film? No. Itna playing to the gallery could have been avoided kyunki then the story would become the backdrop and the stars would look like focus objects. Stars and not characters I must clarify. 

you feel as if those scenes and references were created to push/ maintain an image rather than being part of the storyline. It looked superficial. 

We all know Kareena is hot and could see that. Kareena. Yet the repeated instances looked rather odd, over-pushing than emphasizing. It felt like actors were not paid adequately and the director promised to substantiate that less by portrait and more by repeating sentences. 

The actor who played Ajit could be a good case in point. No efforts or lines were made to tell how sinister he could be, yet with his limited screen time and presence he seamlessly, creates that impression about him. 

While I liked how they infused mathematics with A=B=C in the film, much for the comprehension of a mathematically challenged person like me, the overall impact was missing. And so was the conjecture of the film's title [the famous Bollywood song] with the story. You keep on wondering why the film was named Jaane Jaan. 

4) Too much Too fast

So Vijay Verma was portrayed as a genius police officer with a sharp mind and great fitness, yet his solving 2+2=5 within a few minutes, looked disjointed, too quick, and to the fashion of reverse calculating a problem when you have the solution.

The climax was different than the book but was cliched. 

Numerounity Verdict: The film is a good time to watch and could have done better in theaters with its sound, backdrop, and subject. As a person who read the book accidentally [as I am not in Japanese lit] and loved it, the film falls short of expectations. Given the fact that it borrower almost everything from the Kai Wang film. If you separate the film from the Novel, then this film is way better than Neeyat. Otherwise, it is just another bad copy.

Is this film better than OMG 2? Stay tuned to this blog.

Update: OMG 2 had a brilliant subject but again a star-struck treatment. the film banked too much on its star assets that it failed to focus on overall editorial. OMG1 was way better and crisp. This one was a mishmash and again a case of a lost cause. 


Neeyat or Bad-Neeyat? Film Review

The problem with most new whodunnit, Indian murder mystery movies is that they lack novelty. They all look almost alike, drawn from multiple Hollywood films, widely and popularly streaming on OTT.

Here you can question my use of widely and popularly in the same line, however, that will not change the fact that Neeyat turned out to be a Badneeyat for me. Here let me tell you my views in bullets. 

1) Deja Vu, Over a top setting that doesn't just blend it.

Ok when you saw Glass Onion [one of the many inspired by films], you know it was made in a typical American, OTT manner. The island, the costumes, and the characters looked entirely from the land, part of the plot. In Neeyat, they looked mostly caricaturish. It is like the elaichi in your biryani or let me say- pasta ingredients inside the biryani handi. Ram Kapoor may be taken as an exception along with Prajakta but this can't be said for the rest of the cast. 

The actors were good and made for an interesting cast for me but their portrayal was below expectations or injust for their skills. And pl no matter how much we may have liked Shashank Arora in "Made in Heaven", he looked quite a misfit for a grown-up, estranged son. Most of them including Vidya Balan were wasted except for Rahul Bose who after an initial cliche appearance, looked quite true to his character in the film. 

Shefali Chayya was a fresh breath but then her role was hit and miss. What if she played Vidya Balan's character?

2) Vidya Balan's role looked less like a character than the scriptwriter's. 

She played the role of an impersonator, a CBI head, and from 1st scene, you can make out that she is far from the Officer and something else is cooking. On top of it, her finding answers to every single question in the room was far-fetched and again nauseating. You can easily guess that she has something to do with the lady in the news who committed suicide and the unleashing was less surprising but looked like a tick in the box. you know what I mean. Anyways, moving ahead.

3) Far-fetched Climax

I will not spoil for people who have not seen the film but if you have watched a few crime films, you will make out whether it was a murder or suicide. The truth is interesting but again the narration is just poor. It felt like they wanted to make a lavish murder mystery somehow, by hook and crook without actually spending time on craft and quality.

The movie indeed had a good story but the execution was more caricaturish than cherishable. It neither makes you think nor gives you an "Oh my gosh" moment at all. For me, it was quite a yawnfest and I wonder if my experience would have been different if I had not seen Glass Onion and Murder Mystery.

It is a one-time watch and the best watch on TV. 

Numerounity Rating 2/5

Raakh Dil [राख दिल]

सुना है कल तुम्हारे शहर में बारिश हुई थी
खूब गरम पकोड़े और चाय छानी।
थोड़े बूँदे यहाँ भी भेज देते
नेह की सूखीं ज़मीन तर जाती
मैंने कई ख़त भी तुम्हें भेज दिए
कुछ सस्नेह, कुछ दिल के हाथों मजबूर लिखे थे।
खून से लिखे रिश्तों में पिरो,
कई कही-अनकही जज़्बातों के
मुज़ाहिरे किए हुए।
कई दर्द छुपाए हुए।

लगता है तुमने वो सारे ख़त जला दिए
और राखों को किसी जंगी संदूक में बंद कर,
किसी समुंदर के हवाले कर दिए।
चलो वो समंदर ही भेज दो
खारा सही पानी तो होगा
में उन्ही को पालकों में समेट फिर किसी कोने में छुपा दूँगी।
या बारिश समझ गले से उतार लूँगी।
कुछ छलकेंगे तो सही,
छलकना इनकी क़िस्मत है,
छलकना इनकी कुदरत है।
छलकना अगर कुदरत है तो, कुदरत ही सही।
कल को मुझे भी राख ही होना है।
चाहे इंतेज़ार में या ऐतबार में।
बंद संदूक़ो या समंदरो के हवाले।
चलो राख है तो राख ही सही।

यह एक original कृति है। उम्मीद है कि आपको पसंद भी आए। यह copyright protected content है।
सो कृपया इसे मेरी जानकारी के बग़ैर इश्तेमाल ना करे। धन्यवाद।
©️ एकता खेतान  

भीड़ में तन्हाई

 अकेलापन इंसान की नियति है। 

या यह कह लो इंसानियत के बदलते दौर की प्रगति है यह। 

जितने भी रिश्ते बना लो, दिल से, मोहब्बत से या अहत्राम से। 

कौन कितनी दूर चलेगा यह कहना मुमकिन नहीं।

हर दिन नया रूप बदलता है वक्त।

हर दिन नए रंग बदलते है रिश्ते 

जो तुम्हारा था वो ज़रूरी नहीं की तुम्हारा ही रहे 

खून से सींचने से भी बाज दफ़ा पौधे सुख जाते है। 

रिश्तों पे मेहनत ज़रूर करो, मगर आस को घर मत बनाने दो।

यह जो आस व उमीदें है ना, यही सबसे ज़्यादा दिल तोड़ती है।

कभी वक्त, कभी हालात और कभी फीके हो चुके इंसानी जज़्बात 

रिश्तों के रूप उजागर करते है। 

एक पल की ख़ुशी में, महीनो की तन्हाई छोड़ जाते है। 

में या नहीं कहती की लोग ग़लत है।

ना ही दोष कभी वक्त को दिया है। 

यह सब ज़िंदगी की हक़ अदायगी है,

जिसे क़ुबूल कर आगे बढ़ना ही मुक़ाम है। 

बेगाने अक्सर हवा के झोंको से ही छूट जाते है।

जो अपने होते है वो हाथ साथ छोड़ते नहीं। 

जो अपने हो बेग़ाने हो जाए, उनपे सुभा करना फ़िज़ूल है।

कभी कभी माफ़ करने से भी दुनिया आगे नहीं बढ़ती।

और जो मूड के पीछे ना देखे तुम्हें, उन्हें हवा के मतालिफ छोड़ देना ही बेहतर है। 

सो गिला ना कर दिल ए मुरब्बत, अकेले होने का।

यह दुनिया कब किसी की थी जो तेरी होगी?

हर शक्श जो पास हो, वो ज़रूरी नहीं की ख़ास हो।

जो दूर रह के भी रिश्ते निभाते है,

वक्त-बेवक्त आपसे दामन नहीं छुड़ाते है,

वही अपने कहलाते है।

जो ऐसे अपनो को ना पाओ तो भी गिला ना करो,

तन्हाई भी अपनी है, 

यह वो राह है जिस पर सभी को चलना होता है। 


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