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How I "Mind The Malhotras" ?

June 17, 2019 0 Comments

Mind The Malhotras on Amazon Prime


Happiness reached a mile when I saw a brand new show on Amazon Prime. I was so Gung ho about to see Mini Mathur back on screen and that too on a comic caper. When they entailed it is the show about a couple talking about their marital life on a shrink's chair, I was on the moon.

After all, after Made in heaven and Four More Shots, what less would you expect from India's favorite online streaming media. I wrapped all my plans and decided to watch the show right there, right then.

Halfway through the first episode, I felt the need to stop then and wait for my spouse to come home and watch together. I was getting greedy with so well weaved premises, the bubbling Mini Mathur and "just the perfect" Cyrus Sahukar. The cherry on the pie was the presence of my other onscreen persona- Sushmita Mukherji [The memorable Kitty].

I was quite elated about the show and as decided wrapped it all in almost 2 sittings. Finally a good watch for a not so TV person like me who may watch random content on YouTube or loop watch Big Bang theory first season repeatedly but still wouldn't download Game of Thrones. Cause I like smaller yet not so ambitious projects that come with more meat than the foofaraw. You know what I mean? It is alright.

So, how was my overall viewing experience of this brand new caper in town-  Mind The Malhotras?

I am sure while reading the above lines, you all must have felt a show up of the word "but". I was so excited to watch the show and all...BUT!

The dreaded "but". Well, the news is that there is no BUT in this review of mine. I liked the show, the premises, the lead actors and all. 

I found the show quite relatable, relevant and endearing. The house was beautiful, the characters were well-dressed and perfectly air-brushed, giving quite a few styling goals [not as much as MIH or 4MS though] 

No, no. MTM [Mind The Malhotras] had its own share of some chaos. A lot came through a Preity Zintaesque kinda Shefali Malhotra, who I felt started as the star of the show but soon took a second preference over the "bearing selling", bearing husband-father played by Cyrus Sahukar. Cyrus as the simple, unassuming, henpecked husband was quite a delight to watch.

So, what is special about this series? Indeed, the premises adapted [not build] on modern-day parenting, the invisible competition to be better than your own friends, the chemistry between mature couples and all that jazz makes MTM quite a refreshing watch.

A Comic Caper on Parenting 2.0

I loved the first episode so much that I began to doubt if this could be an original story. It appeared too good to be an original story. [well can't blame them, the kind of inspirations our high headed Bollywood draws, makes you as suspicious].

A hit on Google key and I learned that the series is an adaptation of a very popular Israeli show- La Famiglia, which I Have not seen but made a note to watch soon. 

I may or may not watch the original series but I indeed liked watching MTM. And if there would be a second season, I may tune it too on the day one. 

The overall ensemble including Jason De Souza [the adorable Yohan], Nikki Sharma and Anandita Pagnis who played Dia and Jia, and the psychiatrist Gulfam Rastogi played by Denzel Smith [with a great baritone and onscreen presence] were good and likable. 

Scenes to watch out For-

Watch out for the episode where Rish talks about his dreams of Capsicum or Rish and Shef playing good cop vs bad cop. 

Another scene when the couple discusses pink or baby pink with the doctor.

Even the scene when the family shoots for Tamma Tamma "Ahha" is quite hilarious and familiar. 


Numerounity Verdict

Mind the Malhotra on Amazon Prime is a refreshing, fun watch. It has its own share of clumsiness and bad execution in spite of a reference or the lead actors "trying too hard" to up the ante or production stereotyping. However, I still liked watching this one. Off course it is not as good the series I mentioned above, it still makes for a good watch.

Binge watching? Maybe yes. Or If I can suggest, watch it in 3 sittings.  

Numerounity Rating: 3.5 out of 5 

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The Tashkent Files Is A Must Watch Film on Shashtriji

April 25, 2019 , 2 Comments

Not Just A Movie but An Important Lesson in History for all

People talk passionately about Shahstriji's mysterious death, but no one cares to raise the issue. No one even cared to bring India's 2nd PM Lal Bahadur Shastriji's life and glory to the big screen ever, leave alone his mysterious death.

Kyunki yeh desh Gandhi ka hai, Nehru ka hai but the question arises- Shashtri ka kyu nahi? We accredit 2nd October for Mahatma Gandhi but not Lal Bahadur Shastri?

And for this reason, I admired Vivek Agnihotri, the director of this bold yet very balanced film- The Tashkent File.


The Tashkent File

TTF is a film raising a very important question- not just about the real contribution of India's 2nd PM who was a catalyst in India winning the war against Pakistan, the perpetrator of White Revolution, Green Revolution in India. The film demands a probe that never got fulfilled.


And you may wonder how come? Independent India's popular PM who had victory against Pakistan on his cap, goes for a peace treaty to a foreign country and comes home dead?

A PM dies, and nothing happens in the world. The country which boasts of democracy and independence, does nothing about it?


5 Reasons Why You would Love This Film?

I liked this film. It is indeed a one-time watch. I have compiled all my reasons to watch this film in one video. You can watch this video below or on my YouTube Channel.


The Metaphors That You Cannot Ignore


Like I mentioned in my Video, that there are few metaphors in the movie that you have observed or noted. Some of them were quite strong that I couldn't avoid noticing. They may be planned or no. I thought I must share with you!


1) The Aided History now on Wheelchair: Pallavi Joshi who played the historian and biographer of the best-selling book on the late PM is shown aided to a wheel-chair. Her book is as rigid or limited as her own perceptions. She fails to acknowledge or record any fact other than what she coined in her book.

2) The Failed Committees- When the Committees are formed, what are they formed for? How do you select committee members? How you play the agenda meritoriously? Or you have your own agenda? Off course. The director minced no words in acknowledging it. Watch for the ending/conclusive speech by Mithun C in the film. 

3) The historian smoking beedi- I did not understand why Pallavi Joshi was shown smoking and that too smoking a beedi. Well, this is the question that filmmakers can answer. What I felt that Beedi is a sign of extreme addiction wherein a beedi contains more amount of nicotine than cigarettes yet are cheaper. So does it signified the sorry state of historians or their urge to infuse something stronger as this into their senses to live with the history they are asked to? think!



4) The lost voice of truth seeker Editor Bakshi. The film suggests how the renowned editor had to flee to save his life when he thought he found the truth. His feeble voice was suggestive of the downtrodding. Werre those planned metaphors or just bouts of some over-fertile thinking.

5) The scoop writer turns objective. Shweta Basu played a low moral journalist who ruined her stance for fake news but when she comes face to face with a naked truth, she could not stay away hogging the publicity it got her but she actually goes finding more about it.



6) The Responsible Media: The jarring media that still sells trash in name of reporting and story of truth in the name of truth. Unfortunately, there are plenty of them and how their voices are governed by their motives.


The film was a mix of art and history. Off course it had its share of unwanted creativity, but they were brief in nature. Ignore unnecessary if you can and, focus on larger pictures. What I liked most about this film is it cleverly touches all subjects/topics from secularism to pseudo-secularism to racism to powerlessness.

In one scene, the retired judge candidly admits how the loss of position often results in loss of identity. Cleverley signaling how our motives and meanness are often a result of the deep seeded insecurities. Insecurities that leads to terrorism, unfair means, injustice and everything else.

You must watch this film. Go with an open heart and keep the trashy verdicts aside. Think if only India had not accepted trashy verdicts, would Shastriji's death still remain an unresolved mystery? 

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Badla is Trying Too Much!

March 15, 2019 0 Comments

Critics Review and Badla

When I first saw the trailer, I felt it's going to be a good suspense thriller.

After reading and watching the critics review, I could not wait to watch this film. After all, I love a good suspense thriller.

Alas, Badla is an old coke in a new bottle. I would not say wine for the obvious reason.  



After sharing a stupendous lawyer-client relation in the movie- Pink. It was quite given that this time they might be teaming up together but against each other. I mean how would you justify a title called "Badla" when the trailer suggests that a lawyer with 100% win record is defending a woman accused of killing her lover.

The film starts on a good note. With Amitabh Bachchan trying to assure his client to entrust him with minutest details. You can sense a lot of sharp, across the table, constructive interrogation. And you like the lawyer's straight-jacketed approach. You like the "on your face" confrontation which leads you directly to the film without playing unnecessary to the gallery.

If only, it could sustain that momentum. 

Taapsee Pannu AKA Naina Sethi is unconvincingly a successful businesswoman who is cheating on her husband with a photographer. She looks pretty but seems to be trying too hard as everyone else excluding Amrita Singh. Amrita Singh is a natural charmer and her role of Rani is super expressive and emotive even in the scenes when she doesn't even speak a word. 

Sujoy Ghosh tried to create tension and grip. Alas, it didn't last as much as it did in Kahaani. Kahaani was a tight script. Kahaani 2 was insipid. This movie is another dud. It is like you pay a premium amount to watch Sujoy Ghosh's next film after Kahaani, and you get Kahaani 2. 

All the amazing background score, cinematography and all makes no sense if the storyline is weak. 

I really want to ask director Sujoy Ghosh if he had not heard of CDRs [a permanent in crime Patrol every night] that he had to stretch the story this far from the prosthesis to the synthetic session. And that too when you have the entire inspiration or the original open in front of you to refer. 

The movie is totally based on the Spanish Movie- An invisible Guest [You can find it on Netflix] I am yet to see this film but am pretty sure it would be a better film. 


Do not get fooled by the exotic Glasgow cinematography and the very Hollywood like feel. The trailer looks great but the movie is equally disappointing. 

You may better watch Ting Tey strips to entertain. This one is pseudo suspense. Someone like me after 2 scenes understood the story. There was no suspense. Except for some strong performances by Amitabh Bachchand and Amrita Singh, the film has very less to offer.

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Luka Chuppi Movie Review


I paid Rs 500 plus to watch this movie, seating at the front most row, on a Saturday night. Yes, I  really loved the trailer and notwitstanding the critics review I thought if its running full houses must be a good film. 

Was this film worth the price? Well, you have to figure out from my review below.




It is my first film in Ahmedabad, and I went to the biggest mall around- Alpha One. But the seats were so clumsy that they should be removed or people sitting in the first row should be awarded food, drinks, and a pillow, so they can make use of the open space in front of them, kyunki the screen look so distorted from that angle.

It took me a while to adjust and I barely missed anything. 

Do not get carried away with my "pillow statement". The film was not that bad. In fact, it made us keep awake, waiting for the story to takeoff or entertain. Alas, the entire 1st half was wasted in that expectations. And rest of the thrill was killed by the ever useless commercial ads in between. If multiplex owners complain of piracy, they need to be mindful of not playing all those stupid ads during the break. 

Let's back to the review

The Story
Keeping abreast with the ongoing trend of stories in small town genre, the film is based at Mathura and Gwalior. The story is of two consenting lovers who get into a live-in relationship to decide whether they are compatible enough to marry. Who are these characters and whats' their personality is not explained in the film? It's like they just emerge from thin air, start working to bring the plot, execute and go back to their boxes as the pawns. There is little done to build their characters. 

The couple in order to experience the real rigamarole moves into an all furnished house with pickles and quilts, all in mint fresh conditions. Except for one discussion on dividing the duties, any other trace of household life is not seen. The sexual conducts were more hinted than life as usual but well that's how we see the live-in relationship. Don't we?

The film progresses once they decide to get married and move into the guy's parental house.



The Film

The starting is very insipid as if lead actors are trying to hard to fit a bill or unfit it. The first half is dull except for this one scene before the interval.


Comedy looks highly forced into. The gags are not funny even if they are very vyakti vishes or specific to that setting. Unfortunately, it doesn’t humor you, even when I decided to keep my brain outside the PVR box office.

Performances

That goes with stars as well. Karthik Aryan looks trying too hard sans his legendary monologue. His Guddu Shukla sweeps from UP to Bihar to MP but lands nowhere, Kriti Sanon had a better share but guess she did her Bitti better than the Rashmi. She does look pretty in the majority of the frames sans that heavily set hair which may begin to irritate sometime.

Aparshakti is the quintessential "different" friend of the hero, this time a Muslim. He has a very small role but he sails well. His casting is akin to Pankaj Tiwari who is also brought in to salvage the film, adding some humor but in spite of best efforts, sinks.

Pankaj Tripathi is a fab actor who is badly wasted in this film. Wish the director/makers tried to add more layers to add on his character rather than those garish pants and shirts.

Speaking of costumes, I could sense a lot of fashion styling and forced diction. Except for the character actors, the stars couldn’t fare it well.


Songs


Songs were plenty and went well with the story. Though I couldn’t register the songs in the first half, and baring one song do not have recall value of any other song. That one song was Laung Illachi which was again wasted at the wrong place.

Apart from this song, there were many other remixes in this movie, emphasizing the overall lackadaisical approach. 


The film had an interesting storyline but it lacked storytelling. I felt the screenplay should start from Guddu-Rashmi Romance and then building towards Najeem Khan's story and whole of the "live-in" relationship in India Brouhaha. But when the film intends to waste some good opportunities. there is little you can do. One was to trivialize the issue of "live-in" relationship.

The film is based on the premise of local people going against live in relation. But somehow setting that up failed or was not much impact full. For me, a good start enforces good sales in snacks but that too went missing here. As I just wanted to see the 2nd half and rush to the home.

It is not that the film was not funny. There were fewer funny moments. say 2 in the first half. One I mentioned above and the second time when I felt humoured was when a happy Guddu applies face pack before setting for his live-in relationship and a Bollywood Bidai geet playing in the background. Ideally it should have stopped at kitchen but they chose to stretch n dilute it.

Another funny moment was the in-room pheras were the shaadi is halted as the data plan gets over and the house has no wi-fi to offer.


What I Liked

There were a few different things that the makers tried and worked well. They were-

1) The struggle of a live-in couple trying to get married

2) The Middle brother angle wherein Vikas feels traumatized when his younger brother gets married while he is still undesirably single and had to suffer cause his younger brother gets married before him. However, looking at him you see no reason him being single since I was asked to keep brains out, hence.

3) The angst of the elder sister in law who wants her to devar to get married so she gets a helping hand for household chores.



Numerounity Verdicts

I had greater expectations from a movie from the makers of Stree, starring Kartik Aryan and other impeccable actors. I loved the trailer of the film more than the film. Well, this was my unbiased opinion after wtaching this film. Maybe I will like this movie better if watched again. Question is will I watch this film again?

You decide.

Numerounity


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The Accidental Prime Minister

January 14, 2019 4 Comments

Politics and Drama

There is a similarity between politics and movies. They both sacrificing facts over drama and portrayals. 

However, like life, Not all that you portray gets as perceived. Over drama can often lead to loss of credibility. And that holds quite true with the film- The Accidental Prime Minister.

The Accidental Prime Minister is a film based on Sanjaya Baru's Memoir of the same name. The pre-release controversies and the timing when elections are around got the film quite some eye-balls. Smart move!


Plot
The film "aims" to portray ex-PM Manmohan Singh's Tenure in PM office. Especially in words of his political aide and media advisor- Sanjaya Baru. 

I have not read the book, nor was I inside the inner corridors of power to ascertain the truth from the drama. So I will give you a movie review strictly from an entertainment and creative part.

The film is a political drama- highlighting the making of the PM Manmohan Singh and his tenure. It briefly talks about his standing in PMO, his contribution to the nuclear deal etc. However, there is a little story from his side. 


Performances in a not so scripted movie

Anupam Kher played the titular role rather caricaturish-ly. I believe the former PM and economist of his stature deserved better than this. Though the actor mastered the body language quite well, a lot of time you feel that he performing for an animated movie rather than a real movie. The baritone was quite irritating and looked more Disney than the erstwhile PM. 

Akshay Khanna and not Kumar [thank god] played the role of Sanjaya Baru and he played it so well. Baru is a journalist turned media advisor who insists on reporting directly to the PM, and ably sails him through public appearances. His scenes with PM and other ministers were cliches as well as interesting. 

Akshay Khanna played this role to the T. He is confident, intelligent and loyal. He was quite brilliant even in the OTT breaking the 4th wall kind of chatter, a la Kevin Spacey from a house of Cards. He got a stronger character and played it well too. Have you noticed his well-tailored suits and overall fashion style? I did. Besides, I liked the overall styling of his character. 

The good thing about the movie was the caste. Except for Baru, a lot of characters looked exactly like the real-life politicians they played without changing the names. 

Some good performances came from Sussane Burnett as Sonia Gandhi, Arjun Mathur as more intelligent looking Rahul Gandhi. 
Ahana Kumra as Priyanka was a wasted prop for a scene wherein they could have taken anyone and made them wear the wig. Paise bachte aur expectations bhi

The narration was incoherent. The scenes moved from one narration to another without stitching enough details. The writer of this film is the same guy who wrote "Newton" and in spite of having a readily available book, wonder what went wrong when it came to stitching the story. What an opportunity wasted.  Wish someone diligent did this film to give it creative justice. 

The Accidental Prime Minister turned to be less of Manmohan Singh but more of Sanjay Baru, brilliantly essayed by Akshay Khanna. At some parts, the movie was largely emphasizing on the power center. Dude, power centers do exist. And if they don't exist in politics, people will rip them apart. There is a wolf every corner 

The movie ends with "Vote for BJP" propaganda but it serves us right. We as the nation deserves the propaganda we get.
It may not be highly factual but quite a cocktail of fact and drama. The Bollywood way!

Go watch, indeed one -time watch with lots of popcorn [unless u want to hear all dialogues]

The movie succeeded in making me want to read the book. Lenders anyone?


Numerounity Rating: 2.5 out of 5. 

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Flip To The Smart Life With the Smart Device

When Khanna Aunty and I discussed technology evolution and #SmartHomeRevolution

I was returning from my morning walk when I saw Khanna Aunty waving at me.

I waved back at her and said- long time, Aunty. Mom told that you have gone to Dubai for the holidays? How was your trip?

Khanna Aunty: [sigh] It was a good trip but ended so bad.

I: "What happened Aunty, you look/sound so miserable. So unlikely the cheerful you".

Khanna Aunty: What to tell you beta, I spent 3 lakhs INR for this trip. Such a beautiful place, total Instagram made. Can't tell you such lovely pics I took there on that Rs 50,000 Camera that My Guddi [daughter] bought from the USA. I thought of coming back and uploading them all on my Facebook. But someone stole my camera bag. Money toh I lost but along with it, all my lovely photos, diary and two CD of song collection also gone. 

Now what will I upload on my facebook and how will I make neighborhood Chadda Aunty feel jealous. Sigh!

I: Oh no! That's really unfortunate. Did you not kept any backup of the pics? like on the cloud or your phone?

Khanna Aunty: Back up? Yeh cloud ki honda hai? [what is this backup?] How can I keep my photos on the cloud and what if it rains?

I: Aunty not that sky wala cloud but smartphone cloud.

Khanna Aunty: Arre Betaji, we are old generation people, we know the only camera. And since I am ahem, smarter than other women of my generation, I just learned using a DSLR camera. But baap re, it was so heavy. I had to do so much weight lifting but I thought at least I will get good pics to burn these Chadda, Chopda, and the Khurranas in envy. So I made your uncle to carry the camera in one hand and hold me on the other hand for support. 

I: That's so romantic, Aunty!

Khanna Aunty: Arre no romantic-shomantic beta! Your uncle is so unromantic. That Miracle garden was so beautiful. I said- beautiful flowers, let's do Titanic wallah pose but he replied- let's buy flower seeds from here. What Romantic? Huh! Hand in Hand because I asked him to hold me for support as I am not so used to walking a lot and my knees gave up during the trip. 

I: Ohh! Hope your knees are fine now, Aunty. Did you see the doctor?

Khanna Aunty: Doctor ko consult Kiya. He gave so many medicines, saying my muscles are loose and asked me to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Who will tell them whether I will do my work or count every step?  It's not practical, no?

Plus, we eat such a high quality, organic Punjabi food. And Punjabi Muscles are like Milkha Singh, they never deteriorate.

I: Aunty the muscle deteriorates because of aging and lack of appropriate physical activities. Even Milkha Singh does workouts to get fit

Khanna Aunty: Hai Mere Rabba, So now I have to wear boxer pants and do pushups?

I: [Chuckling] No Aunty. Walking is good to start with. However, casual walking at home does not count much and you need to go for proper walks. And who told you to count your steps, manually? There are so many pedometer type apps on a smartphone these days, download one and activate once you walk. It will automatically count the steps.

Khanna Aunty: Aye-Hai. That means I have to keep my mobile all the time in my hand?

I: In that case, aunty pl go for a fitness band.

Khanna Aunty: Hai Betaji, I am such a delicate woman, how many devices can I carry with me? One mobile, one fitness band, house keys, small purse in case I want to have some pani puris on way, earplugs. Can't carry so man things. What if I forget?

I: Go for a Smartwatch then. It will not just keep a tab of your steps but will sync with your smartphone for other uses like heart health, you can pick your calls from the watch. It is easy to use and look very stylish too. Something that will suit your enviable personality. ahem!

[This Made Khanna Aunty's big eyes twinkle]

And Auntyji, do buy a nice smartphone with good camera quality so you do not have to carry an additional DSLR on your trip and can save your pictures on direct Google/iTunes sync-in even if you lose your phone.

[Now I can see Khanna Aunty eyes going wide. She planned to surprise Khanna uncle with secret candlelight this evening, so he is pleased enough to do all the heavy market visits and bring all these things for Aunty.]

At this moment I told Aunty how candle-light is not eco-friendly and will cause her lot of mess. Instead, she can opt for Smart Lights solution wherein in one click of a button, she can switch the entire mood lighting on and set up the ambiance.

Khanna Aunty: But Beta, how will I go to market alone? My knees are still painful and buying so many things means I have to go from shop to shop and counter to counter. Besides, I do not have enough cash with me now. Have to wait till your uncle comes. And what if he doesn't like the product after coming home?  Going back and asking to return/refund is a huge mess na?

I: Arre Apna Flipkart hai na. Why you need to go market and search from shops to shops. Just download the app on your smartphone, browse and pick from the wide variety and different price range. You can go through customer reviews also and if you do not like the product or found it faulty, they have a door pickup and a replacement policy.

And for payment, go for "Cash on Delivery".

It is called "Smart way of shopping".

Khanna Aunty: Wow! so many smart features but online shopping would be expensive na?

I: On the contrary, Aunty. Online shopping is smart shopping and is often cheaper. And have frequent sales ongoing too.

Khanna Aunty: Hai! They sell everything? Music CDs also?

I: Why you need Music CDs, aunty, when you have Smart Home products that will play music on your demand, answer your questions and switch on/off the lights also for you.

Khanna Aunty: Yeh Flipkart hai ya Google hai? It has everything I need it seems. from Smart Phone to Smart Lights to Smart Wearables.

I: Click Smart life with Flipkart aunty!

Khanna Aunty: Waah-waah! Betaji, take my phone and Jaldi se download the app. I will order everything today so I can organize a "Smart Kitty Party" at my house next week. Need to show my Smart products to these Mrs. Chaddas, Chopdas, and Khurranas. Next club election, club secretary, I only have to become.



I: Haha sure aunty. But first, you order your Smart Wearable and get to fitness mode. Smart evolution begins from Home.

Khanna aunty: Yes betaji but not homes, "Smart Homes".





-------------

Well, Khanna Aunty is going to follow and share the #SmartHomeRevolution with all her friends. How about you?

Sincerely,
Ekta
------------------

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