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Angry Young Man

Film: Bhavesh Joshi Superhero

Cast: Harshvardhan Kapoor, Priyanshu Painyuli

Directed by: Vikramaditya Motwane

Duration: 2 hrs 35 mins

Rating: * * *

After an overdose of super hero films from Hollywood, a desi superhero has come alive on the screen. But unlike those comic book heroes, Bhavesh Joshi doesn’t have super natural or healing powers or a suit that is more in the realms of science fiction rather than reality – he is just an ordinary guy with a lot of guts and a few skills that he has worked hard for and that, actually makes him more interesting. The best he has is a modified bike that can go really fast- kind of like a very poor man’s Batmobile.

Early in the film, a conversation between friends goes something like this: “We are the Indian Justice League,” a guy says. “So you’re like Spider-Man?” a girl asks. “No, that’s Marvel. We’re DC Comics, darker, edgier and cooler.”

Directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, Bhavesh Joshi is darker and edgier for sure. But at the end of it all, you are neither very elated nor disappointed with this effort – it has its moments but it takes a while for the story to get off the ground and cut to the chase. Speaking of which, there is an extraordinarily well shot bike chase on the streets of Mumbai which ends up on a railway platform and eventually in the local train – if ever I watch this film again, I would like to fast forward it that particular chase.

The film is about two friends Bhavesh (Priyanshu Painyuli) and Sikander (Harshvardhan Kapoor) who become a part of the anti-corruption crusade. They start their own web channel Insaaf TV and take on the law breakers by exposing them without revealing their identity – they wear rather clumsy looking paper bags to cover their faces. Eventually, the two friends have a fallout, and as a result, a vigilante called Bhavesh Joshi is born who takes on criminals and corrupt officials. A fair bit of time is devoted in coming to the point. Nishikant Kamat plays a corrupt politician involving a water scam which seems to be a nod to Chinatown (1974).

There is certain vulnerability in the hero that works well for his character – he is driven by his ideas rather than anything else – the force doesn’t seem to be on his side.

While Motwane is a fine film maker, going by previous films (Udaan, Lootera and Trapped), this one has a flatter trajectory with few highs and not too many lows. While such crusader films have been made occasionally in Hindi cinema, this is closer to Shahenshah (1998) than Krrish (2006).

Siddharth Diwan captures the darker side of Mumbai with admirably and it is been a while since we saw the city in this light. On the acting front, both Harshvardhan Kapoor and Priyanshu Painyuli are the surprise elements and they essay their roles convincingly.

On the whole, this hero may not be super but he is not a let-down either.





Four’s Company

Film: Veere Di Wedding

Cast: Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhaskar, Shikha Taslania

Directed by: Shashanka Ghosh

Duration: 2 hr 5 mins

Rating: * * 1 / 2

While there have been more than a handful films about bromance and male bonding, there hasn’t been a lot going for the ladies as far as Bollywood is concerned, but that is changing, albeit slowly – Angry Indian Goddesses, Lipstick under My Burkha, Parched are some of the recent films that come to mind.

Also, when was the last time you saw them smoke like a chimney, drop f-bombs and cuss words like a sailor (in Hindi and English, both), swing hip flasks and get pissed drunk at the drop of a hat – occasionally leading to the drop of their whole designer attire. It was pleasantly surprising to see a lot of it getting past through the censors, who otherwise go berserk at the slightest instance.

The film has its highs and lows – to start with, it is fluffy but more often than not, fun, primarily because of the bonhomie and attitude of the characters. At the same time, they are not your average everyday people that you meet – they are ultra rich, weardesigner clothes and paint their faces with enough make-up to decorate a single bedroom apartment.

This is like a Delhi version of Sex and the City. Everyone has problems but rich people seem to have a different set of problems but they can always fly to some exotic location, in this case Phuket, to drown their sorrows.

The ladies here are a bit messed up, some circumstantially and some otherwise. The wedding in question is that of Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor) who starts getting cold feet when she sees the elaborate process and the possible outcome of her marriage to the one she loves, Rishabh (Sumeet Vyas). The in-laws call the shots, even when it comes to the engagement dress –the fact that she has issues with her own family makes her a good case for psychotherapy or psychoanalysis, whatever works. In fact, her other friend Sakshi (Swara Bhaskar) is also in need of the same. Her divorce is on the way and there is hardly any scene where we don’t see her smoking or drinking. Her other friend Avni (Sonam Kapoor) is a lawyer – she is single but is being pestered by her mother to tie the knot. She is open to the idea of an arranged marriage but is looking for Mr. Right. That leaves Meera (Shikha Talsania) who is married to a firang causing tension in the family. Apart from that she also has to cope with her two year old son and weight issues.

The women appear to be free-spirited even though they are all battling issues of their own – some of the I-don’t-care-a-damn attitude comes off naturally while some of it is contrived. Either way, the first half of the film sails through smoothly. In the latter, particularly towards the end, it gets all very schmaltzy and loses its charm. There is a sudden and convenient realisation that happens and everything falls in the place in a non-convincing manner.

There isn’t much of a story, it rests on the characters which propel the film – as flawed as they may be, they are fun when they are in their element. There are plenty of stereotypes, including a gay couple thrown in to state a point.

Of the cast, Swara Bhaskar fits in the unusually glamorous role with ease. Shikha Talsania is particularly impressive and more of a natural born actor while the rest of them are passable. This wedding business is okayish because it dares to be different – till it slips into the familiar Bollywood mode.

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