The Program Review – The movie crushes the love I had for Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong had been a major influencer in my life ever since I left college, in pursuit of my dreams. His book ‘Every Second Counts’ actually helped me navigate several dark sessions of my life, where no solution was possible. After reading that book, and his quotes, my heart said that if a cancer survivor can win the toughest sporting competition 7 consecutive times, then heck, nothing is impossible in this world.

The Program movie review

But the movie destroys all these goodie-goodie thoughts and inspirations, and lay bare the cheating and deception which Lance did for winning the race. The movie depicts how Lance intentionally, and deliberately took performance enhancing drugs, encouraged his team members to do the same, and manipulated, twisted World Cycling Federation to approve his cheating.

The best part about the movie (and the actual incident) was a passionate sports writer, who investigates Lance’s case, and collects proof which eventually nails him. At a time when Lance was declared a super hero, celebrated all over the world, he questions the drug thing, and this writer’s colleagues ask him why he is doing it? And he replied, “Because I love this sport, and I don’t want chemists fighting each other to win it..”

Lance Armstrong was stripped of all Tour De France victories in 2012.

Moral of the story: Winning by cheating is a sin.. And, always, always be selective in choosing your heroes.

4/5

ABCD 2: A Dance-Musical Extravaganza Which Has Very Few Parallels In Bollywood

Remo D’Souza delivers yet another installment of a musical-dance extravaganza, which can give a good fight to the Step Up series now. Carrying forward from the original ABCD, this dancing franchisee is taking some serious form now; as Disney has already backed the project, and mainstream actors such as Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor are now part of the team.

If we leave aside the script and the story, then what we get is a series of high performance dance performance, sprinkled with patriotic zeal and ofcourse, Ganpati bappa mourya.

ABCD 2 review
Image Source: Wikipedia (ABCD 2 review)

Remo, along with Prabhu Deva and a team of outstanding dancers such as Dharmesh Yelande as Dharmesh; Lauren Gottlieb as Olive; Raghav Juyal as Raghu; Pravin Bhosale as Chotu; Sushant Pujari as Vernon; Punit Pathak as Vinod; Karthik as Raju and others deliver a solid punch of creativity and dance, which has very few parallels in Bollywood.

On a hindsight, someone who is not that great dance enthusiast, can find some of the dance sequences tad too long, and a bit too many. But in case you love dance, then you will lap up every twist, and turn of the movie. God, when you see an auditorium in a city like Lucknow, filled with dance enthusiasts clapping and shouting on some out of the world dance moves, then you got to believe that ABCD series has found its niche audience.

Varun has tried his best to learn and deliver dance sequences like a pro, but he has still a long way to go before he can be compared with legends such as Hritik and Shahid. Was a bit disappointed with Shraddha, as her dance moves couldn’t generate that intensity which was visible with other dancers on screen, including Varun. But again, she can’t be blamed as the director chose to give her bit less space, as the feeble romantic story between her and Varun was half-heartedly accomplished.

Prabhu Deva as Vishnu sir, the Guru of the troupe, is the central pillar of the movie, and he has acted, danced and performed exceptionally well. I can see that IMDB has given ABCD 2 a rating of 6.5 as of now (June 20, 3.00 PM).. I cant be that harsh with this musical-dance spectacle. 8 would be my justification of this movie.

Disclaimer: Even if you don’t love dance, do watch this one as who knows.. Any Body Can Dance!

Zoya Akhtar’s Liberation of Life Manifesto Is Here; Break The Shackles With Dil Dhadakne Do!

Zoya Akhtar wants to change this World; she wants to make a dent in the Universe, and her way of doing so is changing the world view. If Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was the bromance and bon homie between close friends, then Dil Dhadakne Do is the guide using which you can liberate one’s life and break the shackles which are limiting you.

Yes, everyone is saying correct: the movie could have been shorter, with some strong editing. But the canvas of this story was so huge, that 2 hours wouldn’t have done justice to the whole melo-drama. Such was the intense characterization that the audience finds itself clapping when a stubborn father decided to protect his only daughter from a failed marriage; or when a son speaks up against his mother, and makes her realize her life’s greatest mistake.

Dil Dhadakne Do review
Dil Dhadakne Do review

DDD is a direct assault on hypocrisy, fake emotions and dogmatic life (living on someone else’s expectation); which our Indian society shamelessly tries to impose.

Screenplay was absolutely flawless, script loose at some points but the impeccable acting by everyone makes it a treat to watch.

Ranveer Singh was the show stopper of this movie, with his spontaneous acting and brilliant emotions. Anil Kapoor was the base on which the movie is based, and Priyanka Chopra is the dark horse. She scores above Anushka, only because her role was stronger, and she grabbed more screen time. Along with Anushka, Shefali and Rahul Bose strongly support this melo-drama.

Farhan Akhtar’s role was strangely reduced, when he could have been another major pillar. Maybe Zoya didn’t want to show partiality! Javed Akhtar’s dialogues, wonderfully recited by Aamir Khan, were strong, massively emotional and touches the heart directly.

Humor is something which the move showcases at every point of time; with every major scene. The cruise journey, and some outdoor locations, especially Istanbul and Greece were shot magnificently.

Although, collectively, there is hardly any fault with the movie, but individually, there are some minor distractions which could have been avoided. Public had this hangover of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, and wanted more of Farhan. But both of these expectations will reduce your joy of watching this movie.

Zoya, we will together change this world. Soon.

7.5/10

 

Welcome to Karachi: A Daring Cinematic Attempt At Comedy, Bromance & Unorthodox Screenplay

On a very broader, macro level, ‘Welcome To Karachi’ is heavily inspired from the concept which created Dumb and Dumber franchisee: The protagonists are dumb, half-wit but smart enough to pull it through.

It takes guts to experiment with such cinema in Bollywood, as comedy lies in the crust and everything seems like a spoof, a deliberate alternate take on the realities. The script has to be intelligent, the dialogues need to be sharp, witty and there should be an underlying message for the audience.

I am glad to say that Ashish R Mohan’s ‘Welcome To Karachi’ proves it’s mettle on every count, and thus, a new form of cinema has been created which needs attention. If Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal series and Sunday can become 100 crore grosser, then Welcome To Karachi atleast deserves applause. (Incidentally, Ashish was Asst. Director for Rohit Shetty’s previous movies)

Welcome To Karachi review
Image Source: Wikipedia

I am really appalled by the negative reviews this movie has received from major critics. Considering that the movie is fictional, the characters are dumb (intentionally) and there is high degree of brain dead comic sequences, why has the critics tried to discover logic here.

Arshad Warsi is the pillar of this movie, with his impeccable performance and timely humor, he dominates the screen. But credit should go to Jackky Bhagnani, as he has improved a lot. In some of the comic scenes, he has acted fabulously, as the audience finds hard to resist the laugh.

But the highlight of the movie is the screenplay: its twisted, bended and molded as per the situation and rather builds up the tempo at every point. Yes, the graphics and special effects could have been better, but it’s the way of telling a story which makes all the difference, and Ashish has done a remarkable job here.

Special mention of the way Pakistan has been shown – its actually funny. Director has thought creatively here, and has tried to interlink global issues, including terrorism with the plot. Songs are again, unconventional and radically different from what regular Bollywood movies churn out. ‘Chal Bhag’ will remain with you long after you leave the theater.

Dialogues are crispy, hilarious and hard hitting: Apt for such type of cinema, where the main characters have to justify their stupidity at every scene. Somehow, each of these factors are aligned perfectly to create an intelligent yet half-wit laugh riot which will make you laugh out loud, with guarantee.

Due to the daring attempt at creating a cinema which has, unfortunately, few takers in India, I will give ‘Welcome to Karachi’ 4/5. Go, watch it if you are taking life seriously!

Avengers: Age of Ultron – Mega Star Cast & Interesting Plot; But The Buzz Is Missing

The biggest drawback of this most awaited sequel is that, it doesn’t create that high of adrenaline rush which its prequel gave, in abundance. Afterall, when the World’s most efficient super heroes gather, then sparks are supposed to fly!

Yes, sparks did fly in the Age of Ultron, but it doesn’t manifest into that ‘memorable’ experience.

Avengers: Age of Ultron review

All the previous Avengers are present here: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man; Chris Hemsworth as Thor; Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk; Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America; Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow;  Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye; Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes / War Machine. Two new special heroes join them here: Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver and his twin sister Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch who are initially in the wrong camp.

The main villain of this saga is Ultron (voice over by James Spader), which is a computer program developed by Stark to maintain world peace. But something goes wrong, and this computer program suddenly wishes to destroy humanity and end this world. All the super heroes, assemble together to fight Ultron, and finish his evil desires.

In the way, almost all heroes are fighting their own internal battles as well, which force them to realign their priorities, and fight for the common enemy.

Director Joss Whedon could have edited it tight, and included some more blistering, raw action sequence.

What  To Expect:

  • Superhero power, accumulated into one place. The fight of humanity vs artificial intelligence make it even complex
  • Some boring, over the top emotional scenes which can put brakes into the momentum
  • Some high end, scintillating, fast and intense action sequences

Trivia:

  • The movie will be released in USA on May 1st. It was released all over the world one week before the US release to create more buzz. The movie has already grossed $200 million (April 27) which doesn’t include China, US and Japan
  • Two sequels: Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 are planned, and would be released in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
  • Avengers is part of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” franchise, which started with Iron Man in 2008. It includes: Iron Man, Avengers, Captain America and in 2015, a new hero Ant-Man will be released. This is world’s second most profitable, and America’s most profitable movie franchise. It is expected that Age of Ultron will gross over $1 billion (Rs 6000 crore)

Image Source:  www.ibtimes.co.uk | www.moargeek.com

Bobby Jasoos – Colorful, creative, optimistic and simply wow!

Its a colorful, creative and totally kickass movie. Vidya has done it again.. She is now one of those ‘successful’ actors who doesnt need to find a movie: movies are made around them! The script is tight, accurate and the screenplay is fast.

Bobby Jasoos review
Image SOurce: Wikipedia

Diya Mirza as a producer has proved that she knows how to invest in movies.. Direction is somewhat is sloppy, but a great story makes up for that. And, Kiran Kumar! Boy, what a comeback.. he is classic with impeccable style and grandeur.. he fits the image of a larger than life ‘Mr Khan’ character we all have in our minds..

This is a movie which people like Salman Khan and others with Rs 200 crore ‘assured’ BO collections power have.. they should invest in such movies! As I asked people around the theater about ratings, I received 3.5 to 4.5 / 5 on an average. Personally, its 4/5. Very optimistic, fun fueled movie!

Dhoom 3 Review: Hats Off To Aamir; Carries Forward A Weak Script With Amazing Performance

Only Aamir could have done it. Any other actor would be sabotaged the whole drama. “Hats” off to Aamir! 

Dhoom 3 should renamed to Aamir Khan’s greatest tryst with double role. Although a weak script, and even weaker first half; Dhoom 3 is a full and out masala entertainer, and should be treated that way only. Mixing sensibilities and technicalities of movie making will take the fun away.

The 15 year old kid sitting besides me was thrilled at each and every bike stunt being showcased, and the uncle besides me loved Katrina Kaif’s performance in her song “Kamli” that he was clapping once the song finished. The movie has some amazing action stunts and the bikes have become more menacing and the stunts more devilish. Story is weak, direction way below the standard and the ‘story-telling’ technique is going wayward. Unfortunately, the same old Chopra family traditions were applied. Oh yes, there is one kiss as well.

Dhoom 3 Review

Aamir Khan stole the show, with his amazingly intense acting and delivery. There are two Aamirs in the movie, and the double role he has played can be compared with that of Robot’s Rajanikanth or Dilip Kumar’s Ram aur Shyam. It can easily be equalled with Ishwar’s Anil Kapoor as well. (Disclaimer: Aamir is my favorite Bollywood actor, and I am heavily biased towards him. Sorry.. 🙂 )

Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra, well, they were just extras. Katrina Kaif has two songs, and few interesting dialogue sessions in between, and did her best. She danced, she cracked jokes, she romanced and she did her part good.

Uday Chopra should seriously officially retire. His stupid smile and antics have not changed a bit since last 10 years. His presence irritated the screen and shifted the focus away from the main plot. Abhishek was looking cool, and don’t know why, he is not picking up movies. He has matured a lot, and in a way, he too played double role, though for a short time.

The whole movie has been shot in Chicago, USA, and the songs are ok. Malang and Kamli were above average and Tu hi Junoon by Mohit Chauhan was good.

Dhoom 3 Review

The climax of the movie was awesomely shot, and the ending will surprise you. I observed that few movie goers are revealing the end by posting updates on Facebook and Twitter. For those: Please, don’t do that. Keep that as a surprise. Respect the director’s view and his efforts!

I will give it 4 out 5, and for Aamir, 6 out 5. If you are a Aamir Khan’s fan, then don’t miss it.