Categories
Film Review Lite Blogs

‘RK/Rkay’: A delight for cinema lovers

The film opens with a background score weaved from French horn, pizzicato and clarinet as a tuxedo clad Rajat tries to find himself through different doors…reviewed by Akshay Acharya

(Released in theatres). Duration: 95 minutes. Director: Rajat Kapoor. Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Manu Rishi Chadha, Ranvir Shorey, Chandrachoor Rai, Mallika Sherawat and Kubbra Sait. (Rating: ****)

Even as the debate surrounding the future of event films and independent titles continues to spiral and evolve with new factors adding to the churn, the box office this week will see two films from the respective territories of tent poles and indie space dropping on big screens.

The other film that has taken the brave onus to square off against ‘Shamshera’ is the Rajat Kapoor directorial ‘RK/Rkay’ which incidentally also has Rajat playing the double role – that of a film director RK and the protagonist of RK’s film – Mehboob Alam.

Kapoor has returned to direction 2 years after his last film ‘Kadakh’. This time, he delves into the world of cinema and brings the story which is not just a food for thought but also entertaining in many ways.

‘RK/Rkay’ tells the story of a film’s protagonist who goes missing from the film’s negatives and permeates into the real world through a porous membrane between the reel and real world.

Who we really are? Does free will really exist? Or is it a simulation being fed to us by a higher authority operating from a different dimension? ‘RK/Rkay’ attempts to solve this conundrum with its sleek narrative of 95 minutes.

The film opens with a background score weaved from French horn, pizzicato and clarinet as a tuxedo clad Rajat tries to find himself through different doors.

Mehboob Alam (played by Rajat Kapoor) – the plum coloured tuxedo clad protagonist of RK’s film transcends to the normal world where he lives, eats, breathes, prepares food, pretty much everything thereby leaving his own world behind.

He is exactly like RK, only with lots of charm and likeability, something which trickles down from RK’s ink – every writer always wants their characters to be charming and likeable, don’t they? Initially perplexed as to what is going on around him, Alam soon becomes acclimatised to his surroundings and eventually proves to be a better version of RK.

RK, on the other hand, is frustrated, for the ending of his film has now been thrown out of gear as Mehboob refuses to return to the universe of the film – a dimension where he belongs. To add to that, people connected with RK soon start finding Mehboob better.

However intellectual his line of cinema is, Rajat never fails to entertain the audience. The subtle use of perfectly timed humour shines through in ‘RK/Rkay’ as well.

The film also boasts of a powerful cast in the form of Manu Rishi Chadha, Ranvir Shorey, Chandrachoor Rai – three of Kapoor’s dear friends and two entrants – Mallika Sherawat and Kubbra Sait. The performances from the cast complement the writing and direction and there’s never a dull moment in a film which touches upon a philosophical nerve.

The other superstars are the film’s production designer Meenal Agarwal and the director of photography Rafey Mehmood. Since RK’s film is set in the era of 60s, it’s a no-brainer that the production design had a major role to play and Meenal doesn’t disappoint, she has designed a world so perfect that scatters a million shades under the magical lens of Rafey Mehmood.

Another highlight (pun intended) of the film is the way it has been lit, full marks to the gaffer for putting up such a good show with light that brings to life the stark contrast between the RK and Mehboob.

While Mehboob bathes in the warm spotlight, RK is shown in cool light temperatures for a generous part of the film’s length, something which ‘reflects’ in the choice of cool coloured clothing for RK’s character as well.

ALSO READ-Rocketry OTT release on July 26


Categories
Film Review Films

My Dear Bhootham : Neat, enjoyable fantasy entertainer for kids

Karkimuki is overjoyed and spends time playing with his son. One day, he takes his son to another world to play and it so happens that the son disturbs the penance of a seer who has been meditating for thousands of years…reviewed by Manigandan K R

Duration: 122 minutes (Releasing in theatres). Director: N. Ragavan. Cast: Prabhu Deva, Master Aswanth, Ramya Nambeesan, Samyuktha, Suresh Menon, Imman Annachi and Param Gukanesh. (Rating: ***)

Director N. Ragavan, who made the highly enjoyable ‘Manja Pai’, returns this time with a fantasy film for kids. Not only is the film enjoyable, it also has a couple of significant points to make.

‘My Dear Bhootham’ begins with the story of Karkimuki (Prabhu Deva), the king of spirits who rules the spirit world in a just and fair manner.

The spirits are happy and satisfied with Karkimuki’s just rule, but the king himself has an unfulfilled wish. He longs for a child. After a point, his prayers are answered and he is blessed with a son who loves him unconditionally.

Karkimuki is overjoyed and spends time playing with his son. One day, he takes his son to another world to play and it so happens that the son disturbs the penance of a seer who has been meditating for thousands of years.

The seer, angry that the effort of thousands of years had gone waste, is about to curse the boy when Karkimuki pleads on his son’s behalf for the seer’s forgiveness.

When the seer is unfilling to forgive, Karkimuki pleads that he be cursed instead of his son. The seer agrees and curses Karkimuki to turn into a statue and be buried in the earth for thousands of years.

The only way Karkimuki can return to the spirit realm and meet his son again is when the person who finds the toy on earth and sets him free, also finds the secret chant hidden in the toy and utters it within a time period of 48 days. Otherwise, he will perish for good.

It is under these circumstances that the toy is found by a young boy called Thirunavukkarasar( Master Ashwanth).

Thirunavukkarasar, the son of a single parent, has a stammering problem and is hated by schoolmates and loathed by teachers. What happens when Karkimuki enters Thirunavukkarasar’s life is what the film is all about.

The film gets off to a crisp start with Karkimuki’s story being narrated through animation. However, when the focus shifts to Thirunavukkarasar’s life, the story begins to lose steam a little.

But it soon picks up pace with the entry of Karkimuki into Thirunavukkarasar’s life. By the time the second half begins, the film has you interested. From that point on to right till the end, the film has your undivided attention.

The credit for keeping the film engaging must go to two people. One, the director for narrating a good, interesting story with a number of valuable takeaways for kids and two, to actor Prabhu Deva, who does a great job as the king of spirits.

Prabhu Deva’s antics and his dance moves perfectly fit the role and comes up with a sterling performance to steal the limelight. Young Ashwanth impresses with his brilliant depiction of a child with a stammering problem.

Imman’s background score and Senthil Kumar’s visuals are added pluses for the film.

Full marks to director Ragavan for making a clean, neat, enjoyable fantasy entertainer that parents can enjoy with their kids.

ALSO READ-‘A lot of physical training needed to depict sports stars on screen’

Categories
Film Review Lite Blogs

‘Iravin Nizhal’ : A technical masterpiece

A single shot film means the film does not have an editor. It means the film crew has shot all the scenes of the film at one go in a single show… Reviewed by MANIGANDAN K.R.

Duration: 96 minutes (Releasing in Theatres), Director: Parthiban. Cast: Parthiban, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Robo Shankar, Brigida Saga, Chandru, Anandha Krishanan, Sneha Kumar and Sai Priyanka.
Music: A. R. Rahman (Rating: ****)

Director and actor Parthiban has always looked to push boundaries. The man, who won a National Award for his very first film, the hard hitting ‘Pudhiya Paadhai’ in 1989, has never stopped thinking about how to take Tamil cinema to greater heights.

Just when people began to write him off, Parthiban shot back to limelight with his ‘Oththa Seruppu – Size 7’, a film that had only him as an actor in it. What was impressive about the film was that not only did it do well commercially, it fetched him a National Award yet again.

Ilaiyaraaja, who scored the music for ‘Oththa Seruppu – Size 7’, is believed to have asked Parthiban, “What more can you do now? You have surpassed all limits. What next?” ‘Iravin Nizhal’ is Parthiban’s reply to Ilaiyaraaja’s question.

A single-shot, non-linear film, ‘Iravin Nizhal’ is a technical masterpiece, the making of which leaves one awe-inspired.

A single shot film means the film does not have an editor. It means the film crew has shot all the scenes of the film at one go — in a single shot!

This means the sets for each of the scenes of the 96 minute-long film must have been ready simultaneously. It also means actors featuring in one scene will have less than 20 seconds to change their costumes and rush to the set of the next scene where they will have to deliver all their lines by heart.

One small mistake from any one member of either the cast or the crew in any department would mean the entire film having to be reshot from the beginning! The challenge is compounded by the fact that the film has a non-linear pattern of storytelling. What this means is that story’s time period keeps shuffling back and forth.

Parthiban’s move to screen a making video of the film before screening the actual film is thoughtful. For, it shows the enormity of the challenge that lay before the cast and the crew and the brilliant and professional manner in which the entire unit of over 340 people overcame it.

In other words, it makes one appreciate the phenomenal effort that has gone into the making of this film, which is definitely one of a kind.

The making video shows that the unit worked tirelessly for several months to first find a place that could accommodate so many sets. Then, finally, they zeroed in on a 64-acre piece of land on which a whopping 58 sets were brilliantly erected.

After this, the entire cast had to undergo several rounds of rehearsals before the actual shooting began. The making video shows that the unit failed 23 times and that the film had to be shot from scratch each time!

Moving on to the plot of ‘Iravin Nizhal’, Parthiban narrates a grim story about an individual’s life in this challenging film. The story is about a person called Nandhu(played by Parthiban) who is on the run from the cops.

As he longs for his daughter to come back to him, he takes a walk down memory lane. ‘Iravin Nizhal’ showcases the different points in the life of Nandhu, a man trying to survive this cruel world, from the time he was a boy till the time he is on the run. Why is Nandhu on the run? Why has his daughter separated from him? ‘Iravin Nizhal’ gives you the answers.

The film has fantastic performances coming in from all its actors, especially Parthiban. Varalakshmi as Premakumari, the mistress of a fake godman, in particular is impressive in the brief period that she appears.

The performances of Brigida Saga as Chilakkama and Sai Priyanka Ruth as Parvathi also stand out. Chandru, who plays the role of Parthiban in his 18th year, and Anandha Krishnan, who plays Parthiban while he was 30 years old in the film, are fantastic.

On the technical front, A.R. Rahman’s music is just outstanding. Be it his background score, or his songs, the music lifts the film’s standard by a big margin. It is easily the film’s biggest strength.

Arthur Wilson’s camera work too is simply phenomenal. To think the man has shot all the scenes in one go leaves you astonished.

But beyond all their contributions, it is Parthiban’s contribution as a director that really makes the difference. The manner in which one scene transitions to another without the crew actually having to effect a cut is all due to the director’s brilliance.

First coming up with a story that can be shot in this way and then envisioning the entire process and then actually implementing it talks volumes of the understanding the man has of his craft.

Iravin Nizhal’s story might not be the most appealing or entertaining but it certainly is one of a kind and for that, it needs to be appreciated.

ALSO READ-‘Iravin Nizhal’ BTS video for audience before first screening

Categories
Film Review Lite Blogs

Khuda Haafiz tends to weigh more towards violence but narrates right

Apart from intensity and brutality, the film also narrates a tale of emotion, love and redemption for a father and mother, a husband and wife. The emotional angle is pretty high and there are moments when you feel your throat tightening up…reports Asian Lite News

(Running in theatres). Duration: 144 minutes, Director: Faruk Kabir. Cast: Vidyut Jammwal, Shivaleeka Oberoi, Sheeba Chaddha, Dibyendu Bhattacharya and Rajesh Tailang.
Rating: ****

Like the old saying goes, never mess with a man’s family and if you do, make sure that man is not Vidyut Jammwal, as he will tear your heart out without caring much about the consequences.

The sequel of ‘Khuda Haafiz’ picks up from where the first part ended. Sameer and Nargis are trying to put the Noman mishap behind them, but it is not easy. Nargis suffers from PTSD, depression and doesn’t trust a soul, whereas Sameer is trying his level best to save the broken marriage.

As fate would have it, Nandini, an orphan, is introduced into their lives, Sameer opens his heart and soul for the little girl, but Nargis is a little irritated about her arrival. But with time, she opens up to her and Nandini puts life back into the couple’s life.

Just when everything is going fine, tragedy strikes. Nandini and one more girl from the school are kidnapped by four boys, and one of them is the son of a local politician, Thakur Ji, played by the formidable Sheeba Chaddha.

Sameer and Nargis move heaven and earth to find their missing daughter, only to find her raped and killed by those four boys; fortunately, one girl survives, and Sameer rushes her to hospital, saving her life.

Broken, beaten and angry, Sameer pummels the local cop, who refuses to write the FIR, which results in prison time and that is where the film takes a turn. He makes friends with the rival gang and starts turning into a formidable gangster, and finally, secures bail.

Once out, there is nothing to stop Sameer from seeking vengeance for his daughter. He kills everyone coming in his way to find the real culprit.

Sameer was driven and focused in the first part, but in the second, he is angry, raw and brutal to a point where he rips open one of the accused with his bare hands and that is what we love about Jammwal — his raw intensity and physical prowess as he beats baddies.

Apart from intensity and brutality, the film also narrates a tale of emotion, love and redemption for a father and mother, a husband and wife. The emotional angle is pretty high and there are moments when you feel your throat tightening up.

Shivaleeka Oberoi shines. She doesn’t miss a beat or emotion, a woman who doesn’t seem to catch a break. She has a tough role to play, but she does it with aplomb.

Sheeba Chaddha and Dibyendu Bhattacharya, both seasoned actors, perform magically and make you hate them from the bottom of your heart. Finally, the lead character, Vidyut. He’s an inspiration, or rather a surprise when he cries bitter tears of pain, and makes you feel for the tough nut that he is.

‘Khuda Hafiz: Chapter II – Agni Pariksha’ is helmed by Faruk Kabir, who has done a stunning job with the movie. Though the film tends to weigh more towards violence but its narrative is in the right place. The music of the film is absolutely spot-on, the songs are situational, and they are well-written, composed and presented.

There is one spoiler as well, the way the second part ends, with Vidyut killing everyone, and becoming the leader of the gang, and Shivaleeka on the verge of becoming a mother, so there is a third part coming.

ALSO READ- Yaanai : A proper good mass entertainer

Categories
Film Review Lite Blogs

 Yaanai : A proper good mass entertainer

The story of ‘Yaanai’ is set in the southernmost tip of Tamil Nadu, where two powerful families, each headed by Samudram (‘Aadukalam’ Jayabalan) and PRV (Rajesh), respectively, are at loggerheads with one another…writes Manigandan R

(Showing in theatres); Duration: 155 minutes, Director: Hari; Cast: Arun Vijay, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Samuthirakani, Aadukalam Jayabalan, Yogi Babu, Ramachandra Raji, Pugazh and Radhika (Rating: ***1/2)

Director Hari is undoubtedly a master when it comes to making commercial entertainers. He is very good when it comes to narrating family dramas laced with action sequences and he proves it yet again with his latest offering ‘Yaanai’.

You know pretty much what to expect from a Hari film — a close knit adorable family, a notorious goon who is looking to hurt the family in some way just to settle scores with the hero and a powerful hero who looks to protect his family even though some of the other members of his family are not as understanding or affectionate as he is.

Despite knowing fully well that is what the film will offer, one still comes out entertained by the time the film ends and that is exactly where Hari scores as a director.

The central idea is the same, but Hari’s films stand out simply because his narration is fresh and intense and his presentation interesting. These factors make each of his films come across as being different and entertaining. ‘Yaanai’ too is no exception.

The film is a proper commercial entertainer that has as its soul a good, proper script. The film allots space in equal measure to family drama, romance and some really intense action sequences.

The story of ‘Yaanai’ is set in the southernmost tip of Tamil Nadu, where two powerful families, each headed by Samudram (‘Aadukalam’ Jayabalan) and PRV (Rajesh), respectively, are at loggerheads with one another.

Samudram has two sons (twins played by Ramachandra Raji) while PRV has four sons. Of the four, the first three (played by Samuthirakani, Bose Venkat and Sanjeev) are born to his PRV’s first wife while Ravi (Arun Vijay), the fourth, is born to his second wife (Radhika).

Both Samudram and PRV happen to be good friends at one point. But a particular development leaves one of Samudram’s sons killed and the other in prison. An enraged Samudram and his family hold PRV and his family accountable for this loss and seek revenge.

Under these circumstances, trouble erupts inside PRV’s family and Samudram’s son, who has just returned from prison, looks to capitalise on the misfortune that has befallen PRV’s family. Does Ravi manage to thwart the evil designs of Samudram’s son to destroy his family? ‘Yaanai’ gives you the answers to questions like this.

Just like how Hari’s narration and script are a big plus, his casting is also perfect. Arun Vijay as the vociferous but affectionate fourth son delivers a solid performance. Samuthirakani as the eldest brother is equally good and comes up with a spectacular performance that raises the credibility quotient of the film.

One other person whose performance needs to be mentioned is Priya Bhavani Shankar. She makes the character of Jeba Malar look absolutely adorable. The romantic portions between Jeba Malar and Ravi are neat, clean and dignified and are a treat to watch.

Yogi Babu’s jokes evoke laughter and provide some much-needed relief in an otherwise intense, emotional story.

On the technical front, G.V. Prakash’s music is mellifluous and Gopinath’s cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful. In particular, Gopinath’s shots of two water bodies being separated by a thin stretch of land are just captivating.

The film in all is just a proper good mass entertainer that delivers!

ALSO READ-On screen Prime Ministers of India

Categories
Film Review Lite Blogs

Anya’s Tutorial: Cyber horror tale of two sisters and demons of past

Produced by Arka Media, the team behind Bahubali, Anya’s Tutorial brims with good production values, right from cinematography to special effects and the music…reviewed by Narendra Puppala

Duration: 30 minutes per episode (seven episodes in all). Director: Pallavi Gangireddy, Lead Cast: Nivedhithaa Satish and Regina Cassandra. (Rating: **1/2)

The paranormal overtakes cyberspace in this tale of two sisters battling the demons from their troubled childhood with an evil spirit in the wings. ‘Anya’s Tutorial’ released in Telugu and Tamil on OTT platform Aha, is the story of Lavanya aka Anya who sets out to become a social media influencer.

Living all alone in a flat, Anya is also the lone inhabitant of the entire apartment building. She starts streaming make up tips online only to find that an apparition behind her is stealing the show. Set in covid lockdown times, Anya’s tutorial soon becomes the talk of the town. Even as Anya tries to cope with the situation, she is caught up in a simmering relationship with her elder sister Madhu.

It’s a good thing that the makers decided to stream seven episodes initially. Although initially snail-paced, the twists and turns in the tale make the story interesting as it progresses through the episodes. It’s evident that more episodes are in the offing.

Produced by Arka Media, the team behind Bahubali, Anya’s Tutorial brims with good production values, right from cinematography to special effects and the music.

The story and screenplay by Soumya Sharma, however, seem too cluttered and keeps zig-zagging between the past and present, cyberspace, the supernatural and the outside world. It gives the impression that the idea was to stuff as many angles or topics into the storyline.

Although a bit shaky in the initial episodes, the director Pallavi Gangireddy soon has the show moving. But the fact remains that too many changes in scene will require the full attention of the viewer to stay on track.

Casting for the movie is a plus point. Nivedhithaa Satish as Anya lives her role and makes it look effortless, even in contrived situations. Regina Cassandra as Madhu has done a good job while other characters come in and go making it difficult to really keep track.

All in all, with its slick production values and horror factor, Anya’s Tutorial despite its sedate pace should appeal to horror buffs.

ALSO READ-Rashmika joins vegan skincare brand Plum

Categories
Film Review Lite Blogs

Bandon Mein Tha Dum: Worth watch for people who love sports entertainment

The docu-series has maintained a fine balance between events and characters and is not too melodramatic. One can argue whether a cricket-based documentary should be more dramatic or not, especially when the sport itself comes laden with so much emotion…reviewed by AVINASH KUMAR ATISH

Documentary Series: Bandon Mein Tha Dum (Streaming on Voot Select), Duration: 45-50 minutes per episode (Total four episodes), Director: Neeraj Pandey. Cast: Cricketers, Journalists.

Test cricket, no doubt, is the absolute pinnacle of the sport. Though the introduction of T20 has seen the popularity of the game soar to new levels, players universally regard Test cricket as the toughest format to succeed in.

There are series that live long in the memory of the cricket fanatics. And to relive one such moment, Neeraj Pandey, who had previously made ‘M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’, has delivered yet another cracker of a production, the docu-series ‘Bandon Mein Tha Dum’ on the Indian cricket team’s memorable Test series against Australia in 2020/21, when they showed real resilience and courage to overcome odds and win the series, despite being short of resources.

The series succeeds in reliving the historic moments with the help of archival footage and recollections of some of the key players and cricket journalists. It takes the audience inside the pavilion via candid interviews with Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mohammad Siraj, Rishabh Pant, and others.

Among the cricketers, Ashwin stood out because of his articulation, spontaneity and sense of humour. In Episode 3, which is all about the Sydney Test and there is a dialogue — “If it meant dying, I would rather die” — in which the off-spinner modulates his tone according to the unfolding situation, where he was battling severe back pain.

On the other hand, Cheteshwar Pujara, like his batting, narrates his side of the story without much fuss. There is a sequence in the final episode, which features Pujara taking brutal blows on his body. The shots and angles, depicted in that particular moment in the series, are so real that one can almost feel the ball colliding with his chest.

There are various sequences of Ajinkya Rahane, who was the protagonist-in-chief during that series in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, in which he reveals about his game plans and thought processes behind making certain decisions. But the frame of the run-out involving Rahane and Virat, when both were batting smoothly in Adelaide, comes as a painful flashback.

“The moment it happened, I somehow got the feeling that it would cost us the game,” says an emotional Rahane. That run-out moment also appears immediately after Rahane’s redemption hundred in Melbourne following the Adelaide debacle. At the end of the final episode, he is shown wiping a tear.

The rest of the Indian players — Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar and Rishabh Pant — try to be earnest. Pant makes an honest admission that he was quite sad that India drew the Sydney Test. “A draw is a draw and win is a win,” he says philosophically. “A draw is never the same as a win.”

There is a teary Siraj when India’s national anthem is being played and he remembers his late father. Another scene shows the pacer looking heavenward after picking his first five-for in Test cricket. On the other hand, Hanuma Vihari is shown saying that his mother told him that the “purpose of his life has been served” after the grit and determination he showed in Sydney to save the Test for India.

The docu-series has maintained a fine balance between events and characters and is not too melodramatic. One can argue whether a cricket-based documentary should be more dramatic or not, especially when the sport itself comes laden with so much emotion.

The four-episode series could have been a bit more engaging as sometimes it gives the feeling of repeating what has been said and read multiple times. Neeraj Pandey has had experience of directing a sports biopic, so the audience could justifiably expect a bit more engagement from his side. Actor Jimmy Shergill has done a brilliant job as the narrator for the series.

Overall, “Bandon Mein Tha Dum’ is worth a watch for people who are suckers for good sports-based entertainment and want to relive the moments from the Ultimate Test Series Down Under.

ALSO READ-South lacks Hindi…not content

Categories
Film Review Lite Blogs

O2, a nicely made, engaging thriller

G.S. Viknesh Cast: Nayanthara, Rithvik (child artiste), Bharath Neelakandan, RNR Manohar, Jaffer Idukki and Aadukalam Murugadoss. (Rating: ***1/2), ON DISNEY+ HOTSTAR. DURATION: 125 MINUTES

The film has some fantastic performances to offer. Interestingly, the best performance does not come from Nayanthara but from child artiste Rithvik, who does a stellar job of playing Veera…reviewed by Manigandan K.R.
Director Viknesh’s ‘O2 (Oxygen)’ is a nicely made, engaging thriller that keeps you hooked from start to finish. The story starts off in an unassuming fashion but soon turns into an intense thriller, thanks to a well-thought-out plot.

Parvathy (Nayanthara) is a single mother whose life revolves around her eight-year-old son Veera (played by child artiste Rithvik), who suffers from a chronic lung disorder. As a result, the child cannot survive without an oxygen cylinder.

Parvathy gets to know that a surgery could help her child recover from the disorder and lead a normal life. So, she chooses to take Veera to a hospital in Kochi, where such a surgery has been arranged for him.

Mother and son board a private bus to Kochi. The other passengers in the bus include a politician who is out of power and his assistant, a father who is disillusioned with his daughter as she is in love with a young man from another community, the girl’s lover who is a student of medicine, a convict who has just been released from prison and a corrupt policeman who is off to Kochi for an illegal deal that is bound to make him super rich.

The bus sets off on a stormy night to Kerala. What happens during the journey is what ‘O2’ is all about.

The film has some fantastic performances to offer. Interestingly, the best performance does not come from Nayanthara but from child artiste Rithvik, who does a stellar job of playing Veera.

Joyful when he is with his mother, scared when she becomes unconscious, brave when he offers to step up for a task that could make the lives of the other passengers so much better, cute when he does an altruistic deed to save people, Rithvik is just adorable and steals your heart.

‘Aadukalam’ Murugadoss, who plays the God-fearing, conscientious driver, is a delight to watch as well. His performance in the scene in which he chooses to stick to doing what is right, disregarding life-saving benefits that some people have to offer, is just brilliant.

Nayanthara, who plays Parvathy, comes up with a neat performance. Equally good is RNR Manohar, who plays the politician no longer in power.

Bharath Neelakandan as the police officer Karunai Rajan looks truly menacing. He looks the part and is able to induce an element of fear in the hearts of audiences with absolute ease. Bharath’s impressive acting skills combined with Vishal Chandrashekar’s apt background score enable director Viknesh to strike terror in the hearts of audiences.

Tamizh Azhagan’s aerial shots are a treat to watch.

On the flip side, the film has a climax that is not very convincing and that comes across as a big letdown. Otherwise, ‘O2’ is a neat family entertainer that is definitely worth a watch.

ALSO READ-Remembering the ‘QUEEN’ of beauty, melody and acting

Categories
Film Review Lite Blogs

‘Feels Like Home’ is real, funny, tender and relatable

A brand-new take on bromance features Preet Kammani as Lakshay Kochhar, who is raised by a single mother and believes in adding some levity to every situation to make it fun and bearable…reports Asian Lite News

(Streaming on Lionsgate Play). Duration: Six episodes (42-43 minutes each). Director: Sahir Raza. Cast: Preet Kammani, Anshuman Malhotra, Vishnu Kaushal, Mihir Ahuja, Himika Bose and Inayat Sood. (Rating: ***1/2)

Real and relatable characters with coming-of-age experiences is the crux of this show. ‘

‘ is a series about four boys who move into their first house away from their families. Each one has his fair share of reasons for doing so and they find themselves dealing with life without any support except from each other.

Lionsgate Play comes with its third original series, which is completely different from the last two. Each episode of this show is rooted in reality with certain premises built upon elements of farce. Parties with crazy settings, a pet iguana, a lesbian wedding, girlfriend and daddy issues, and a finale that celebrates friendship. The series stars Prit Kamani (Preet Kammani), Vishnu Kaushal, Anshuman Malhotra, Mihir Ahuja, Inayat Sood and Himika Bose.

A brand-new take on bromance features Preet Kammani as Lakshay Kochhar, who is raised by a single mother and believes in adding some levity to every situation to make it fun and bearable. He is someone who is the centre of every party, mess-up, break-up and hook-up. On the surface, he is quite a thick-skinned Delhi boy, but deep down he’s caring and sensitive. Preet brings emotions to the forefront and tackles his character well.

Anshuman Malhotra as Sameer is the reasonable voice of the group. He is calm and collected, writes poetry but his personal life is in shambles; he hates his father, can’t admit to his girlfriend / friend that he is scared to perform in front of a crowd, and has an imaginary person with whom he talks and interacts. A complicated character portrayed well by Anshuman.

Vishnu Kaushal as Avinash, he wants everything to be perfect. He is hyper, confused and doesn’t know anything until it is too late. He has been thrown out of the hostel and ends up with the boys in their home. Vishnu debuts with ‘Feels Like Home’, but those who know this influencer would love to see this side of him on the show.

Mihir Ahuja plays Akhil Gandhi, an import from Ghana, who wishes to be the best cricketer of India. He is a sweet and sensible boy, who slowly turns into the pet of the house. As he finds his place not just in Delhi but among the boys, we get to know him as the kind, loyal and extremely unfiltered person that he is. Mihir is a promising actor and showcases his character to the tee.

Each episode will be standalone, with moments of growth for the characters, etched into the themes that the makers have set out to tackle. The overall story arc of growth is well mapped out. Four different personalities living under one roof find themselves dealing with love, life, parents, education, relationships and learning some of the important lessons in life.

The dysfunctional boys gang might be a little loud and crazy, but there are some tender moments that take you by surprise, and the situations are very relatable. Despite having different opinions and takes on life, the boys walk through parties, emotions, fights, drama, family issues and personal journeys, standing by each other. ‘Feels Like Home’ is a real, funny, tender and relatable show that will connect with the audience.

ALSO READ-Reel life Mithali pens heart-warming note on ‘CAPTAIN FOREVER

Categories
Film Review Lite Blogs

An incredible and inspiring true ‘Jungle Cry’

Director Sagar Ballary took the sports biopic genre, laced it with patriotism and made a film that is substantial in terms of content. And of course, seeing Abhay Deol back in action and in his element, is something worth anyone’s time…reports Asian Lite News

(Streaming on Lionsgate Play), Duration: 117 minutes. Director: Sagar Ballary. Cast: Abhay Deol, Emily Shah, Atul Kumar, Julian Lewis Jones and Stewart Wright. (Rating: ***1/2)

A proud moment for the entire nation, when tribal children from Odisha, won a Rugby Championship with the help of a local mentor and an ambitious butter-ball coach named Paul, sounds unthinkable, but it is a true story.

‘Jungle Cry’ is based on the as-yet untold story about two coaches and 12 boys mentored by the Bhubaneswar-based Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, who had no clue about rugby, taking on the world’s toughest team on their home ground and beating them in the 2007 Under-14 Rugby World Cup, pulling off a historic win for the Jungle Cats from India.

Director Sagar Ballary took the sports biopic genre, laced it with patriotism and made a film that is substantial in terms of content. And of course, seeing Abhay Deol back in action and in his element, is something worth anyone’s time.

An incredible and inspiring true story about 12 tribal children, who enrolled for football coaching for different reasons. For shoes, food, shelter, safety, or just to stay out of trouble, they are enrolled by Rudra (Abhay Deol) for a local football training programme. But Paul, a rugby coach from Wales, wants to train them for the world rugby championship.

After some deliberation, Rudra and Paul align their goals, but these underprivileged boys are still without shoes, equipment, and have no clue about rugby. The two coaches, fired by a lot of determination and putting in a lot of hard work, train the children in just just four months and the Jungle Cats take on the world, literally, and go on to become the Under-14 Rugby World Cup champions in Wales for 2007.

During their visit to Wales, the entire team is introduced to Roshni Thakkar, the team physiotherapist and a constant source of inspiration for the boys and Rudra. She’s played by Indian American actress and Dharma Dry Gin maker Emily Shah, a stellar discovery for Indian audiences.

The movie is not just about underdogs. It is a reassuring statement of the fact that sports can help a child overcome all odds and make a mark in life. The director did not waste time on patriotic speeches or shows of emotion, but kept the narrative simple, but the undertone is remarkably clear.

During their first tussle on the ground with beefy, athletically built Welsh youngsters, the Jungle Cats almost bailed out on the coach, but their comeback, using their abilities to the fullest, is inspiring and will definitely make the viewers misty-eyed.

It is a well-balanced, well-crafted and multi-layered emotional sports drama with a happy ending. Who wouldn’t love such a movie.

ALSO READ-KGF team announces new Kannada movie release