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No Rating Movie Review

Hindustan Times - HT Smartcast

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The podcast brings to you latest film reviews from Bollywood. And without any star rating, Monika Rawal, the Entertainment Editor of HT City, gives you a detailed lowdown on what works for her and what doesn't and what can you expect from the film. This is a Hindustan Times production, brought to you by HT Smartcast.
 
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Watching Ranbir Kapoor on the big screen after four years is in itself good enough a bait to draw audiences back into theatres. But Shamshera isn't just riding on its protagonist's shoulders. It has all the elements needed to make a mass masala entertainer hit the right chord. It has action, emotions, well-written characters, and a solid backstory.…
 
With aviation dramas, it’s the thrill factor and visual spectacle that the director creates, that promise an edge-of-the-seat experience. Ajay Devgn’s latest directorial, Runway 34 lands perfectly in these departments. The film is inspired by true events from 2015 when a Doha to Kochi flight had a narrow escape after facing difficulties to land at …
 
Lazy writing, poor execution and ridiculously stylized characters — Heropanti 2 goes from bad to worse. A sequel to Tiger’s debut film Heropanti (2014), this one is directed by Ahmed Khan, who also collaborated with Tiger for Baaghi 2 and Baaghi 3. It seems Khan is in a rut and isn’t even letting Tiger come out of the stories that don’t let him gro…
 
A Hindi remake of the 2019 Telugu film by the same name, Jersey has been written and directed by Gowtam Tinnanuri, who also helmed the original. And no prize for guessing, the remake is a scene by scene copy of the original. Jersey traces the tale of an exceptionally talented Ranji player Arjun Talwar (Shahid Kapoor), who quits cricket at the age o…
 
KGF Chapter 2 is an explosive tale of brash, unapologetic, and larger-than-life characters. Director Prashanth Neel has created something that’s way more immersive than part one and worth all the hype that he managed to sustain for three and a half years since the first part came out. KGF 2 once again recreates the dark and deadly world where chopp…
 
With all good intentions to educate and entertain the audience, Dasvi starring Abhishek Bachchan, Yami Gautam and Nimrat Kaur, somewhere falls prey to its own chaos and confusion and ends up all over the place. Director Tushar Jalota has mixed too many elements to convey one simple message, and it loses focus way more often than you would expect. A…
 
For those who've often complained about Bollywood's lack of original scripts and innovation, Attack, to some extent, can give you an adrenaline rush for its novel idea (seen many times in Hollywood by now but still quite a fresh prospect for Bollywood). And some might find it plain bizarre and too unrealistic to even believe any of it. John Abraham…
 
Rishi Kapoor's swansong Sharmaji Namkeen serves a perfect tribute to his tough yet jovial person. Directed by Hitesh Bhatia, this is the first time in Bollywood we see two actors - Kapoor and Paresh Rawal - play one character on-screen. Sharmaji Namkeen doesn't have any over-the-top dialogues or a lessons in morality that hits you hard. It's a swee…
 
Based on the chapters from Hussain Zaidi's book Mafia Queens of Mumbai, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Gangubai Kathiawadi creates a world of its own that's sleazy violent, reckless but still overflowing with emotions. Starring Alis Bhatt in the titular role, the films shows the lanes of Kamathipura, one of the oldest red-light districts of Mumbai, and Bh…
 
Bollywood’s fixation with humor to narrate stories on taboo subjects seems to be working pretty well so far. So, it comes as no surprise to see Badhaai Do also resort to a lighter tone while highlighting an important issue of homosexuality. Directed by Harshvardhan Kulkarni, Badhaai Do revolves around the story of Shardul and Sumi played effortless…
 
A twisted tale of love, lies, trust, betrayal, complex relationships, and moving on with the dark realities of your past, Shakun Batra's directorial Gehraiyaan is an intimate film. While this is not the first time Bollywood has shown infidelity on screen, the narrative has surely matured, the characters are allowed more depth, and it’s no longer me…
 
Based on Team India’s first-ever World Cup win in England, Kabir Khan's 83 transports you to that era, allowing you to be a part of that victorious moment. In all honesty, I very much felt like I was sitting in that stadium, cheering for Team India each time they hit a boundary and tearing up on the loss of every wicket. On top of it, I couldn’t se…
 
Ever since the trailer of Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui landed, there's been a lot of secrecy around the film's plot. The trailer gave us a hint but kept most of it under wraps. While we're used to seeing Ayushmann Khurrana take up films based on taboo subjects, this time, it is Vaani Kapoor, who has taken the plunge and dived deep into uncharted waters…
 
Satyameva Jayate 2 is a sloppy and shoddy portrayal of jingoism and vigilantism at its most heinous. In the name of a vigilante action thriller and to capitalise on the nostalgia for masala films from the ’80s, writer-director Milap Zaveri delivers a stale script that doesn’t even attempt to add anything new or unique. ​Showcasing the fight against…
 
Antim: The Final Truth is an official adaptation of the hit Marathi film Mulshi Pattern and director Mahesh Manjrekar adds a lot of Bollywood masala and massy flavour to make it a wholesome entertainer, but not without over-the-top drama and loud action sequences. Set on the age-old premise of farmers losing their land to mafias and then working fo…
 
After just 15 minutes into Bunty Aur Babli 2, one realises what a terribly written and poorly-executed film it is. The original, which most of us so thoroughly enjoyed when it first released 16 years ago, was best left untouched and director Varun V. Sharma should have just followed this rule. With Rani Mukherji reprising her character as Vimmi, th…
 
Directed by Ram Madhvani, action thriller Dhamaka introduces to us Kartik Aaryan 2.0 and it is, by far, his most challenging performance. After being labelled as the monolouge king, and having mostly done comedy and romance, Kartik's Arjun Pathak in Dhamaka not only shows his range as an actor but also touches upon a whole different genre and emoti…
 
It has now been more than a year and a half since Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a standoff at the border. There have been thirteen rounds of talks between the two sides but increasingly, it has become evident, that the two sides may be locked in an impasse. HT interviews the former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao who has just authore…
 
Rashmi Rocket, starring Taapsee Pannu as Rashmi Vira, picks on the archaic practise of gender testing, to ascertain testosterone level among female athletes and how it has ruined many careers and sometimes, the entire life of these girls. While Bollywood has churned out several sports films, director Akarsh Khurana's Rashmi Rocket is slightly diffe…
 
Based on the life of late politician J Jayalalithaa, Kangana Ranaut-starrer Thalaivii is about how a naive Jaya transformed into someone more formidable — an Amma to millions. Staying true to the story he set out to tell, director AL Vijay tackles aspects of her life that Jaya's followers may have never got to see up close. Thalaivii takes you to t…
 
BellBottom is the first film to release on the big screen after theatres reopened post the second wave of coronavirus pandemic. Starring Akshay Kumar as a RAW agent, the film is a heady blend of emotions, action, entertainment, drama and stunning visuals. Directed by Ranjit M Tewari, BellBottom is an edge of the seat thriller with a well-researched…
 
Directed and co-written by debutante Abhishek Dudhaiya, Bhuj: The Pride Of India, is a majorly fictionalized tale of an episode from the India-Pakistan war of 1971 when the Bhuj airbase was completely destroyed in deadly airstrikes by Pakistani forces. It highlights the heroic tale of soldiers and 300 female civilians from a local village Madhapar,…
 
A biopic based on the life of Param Vir Chakra awardee, late Captain Vikram Batra, Shershaah pays an honest tribute to his bravery and laurels. Captain Vikram laid his life during the 1999 Kargil war while leading one of the toughest operations in mountain warfare. His code name was Sher Shah which translates to Lion King. Actor Sidharth Malhotra d…
 
Mimi starring Kriti Sanon (Mimi Rathore), Pankaj Tripathi (Bhanupratap Pandey) and Sai Tamhankar (Shama), is a story of an aspiring actor, who, in a desperate need for money agrees to become a surrogate mother for a childless American couple. But on learning that the child might be born with down syndrome, the couple decides to flee without any exp…
 
Haseen Dillruba starring Taapsee Pannu (Rani Kashyap), Vikrant Masey (Rishu) and Harshvardhan Rane (Neel), is a twisted tale of love that lives up to the genre it belongs to. Directed by Vinil Mathew and written by Kanika Dhillon, this mystery thriller has some crazy twists and unexpected turns that keep you on the edge till the very end. The refer…
 
Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai is Salman Khan's Eid release amid the pandemic, and has opted for a hybrid model release given the shutdown of theatres in the country. Directed by Prabhu Deva, Radhe also stars Disha Patani, Randeep Hooda and Jackie Shroff in pivotal roles. With hard-to-digest action sequences, mindless romance, and cringeworthy one-li…
 
Ajeeb Dastaans is an anthology of four films that do not revolve around any common theme. Perhaps that's why each of the stories in Ajeeb Daastaans gets a chance to stand out and make an impact without the baggage of being compared to each other. Kayode Irani's Ankahi stars Shefali Shah and Manav Kaul, Neeraj Ghyawan's Geeli Pucchi features Aditi R…
 
Touted to be a suspense thriller and a dark comedy, Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar somehow just misses the plot despite having so much to explore. Its lazy writing and slow pace ruin its chances of clicking with the audience. Director Dibakar Bannerjee's film touches upon bank scams and the elderly people who are victimised by them, an idea that had pote…
 
A quintessential action drama directed by Sanjay Gupta, Mumbai Saga stars John Abraham as Amartya Rao and Emraan Hashmi as encounter specialist Vijay Savarkar, along with a stellar lineup of cast including Gulshan Grover, Suniel Shetty, Mahesh Manjrekar, Amole Gupte, Prateik Babbar, Rohit Roy and Samir Soni. Inspired by true events, Mumbai Saga is …
 
A story of a dysfunctional family of three generations of mothers and daughters, Tribhanga explores the complexities, emotions and dynamics of three generations of mothers and daughters. Directed by actor-director Renuka Shahahe and starring Tanvi Azmi, Kajol and Mithila Palkar in lead roles, the film pushes you to re-examine your relationship with…
 
Starring Anil Kapoor and Anurag Starring in lead roles playing their real parts of that of an actor and director in reel life, AK vs AK is your conventional Bollywood masala film, and no, you can't afford to leave your brains behind while watching it. It's made intelligently, has a clever screenplay, even smarter direction and some ace performances…
 
A remake of 1995 Govinda and Karisma Kapoor starrer by the same name, Coolie No. 1 is directed by David Dhawan who also directed the original. Starring Varun Dhawan (as Raju Coolie and Kuwar Raj Pratap Singh) and Sara Ali Khan (Sarah Rozzario) in lead roles, the film is old wine in new bottle with both Varun and Sara adding their own tadka, but it …
 
Ludo is a kind of a film where even the smallest of distraction can make you miss out on the whole turn of events that follow. Directed by Anurag Basu, the film features an ensemble cast including Abhishek Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Rohit Saraf, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Pearle Manney and Pankaj Tripathi. Ludo is a modern…
 
A remake of Tamil film Kanchana (2011) directed by Raghava Lawrence, Laxmii stars Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani in the lead roles and is directed by Lawrence himself. Given the kind of buzz that the film had been generating, mostly around Akshay's transgender character, Laxmii had set a high benchmark. Was it crossed? Not entirely. Or maybe not as …
 
Picking a trope from the 80s and 90s, Khaali Peeli is proof that stale storytelling doesn't work today. Starring Ishaan Khatter (Blackie) and Ananya Panday (Pooja) in the lead roles, the film is a story of two childhood sweets who have to part ways due to circumstances but they meet again as adults and their story takes a twist. Directed by Maqbool…
 
A sequel to the 1991 cult film Sadak, the latest release Sadak 2 starring Alia Bhatt, Sanjay Dutt, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Jisshu SenGupta, Makrand Deshpande, Gulshan Grover comes across as a half-hearted attempt that lacks the charm and nostalgia of the '90s. Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, who returned to direction after 20 years, the film has a lot of poth…
 
Starring Janhvi Kapoor in the titular role, this biographical film, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is inspired by the life of Indian Air Force pilot, Gunjan Saxena — the first Indian female air-force pilot in combat, and the first and only woman to be part of the Kargil War in 1999. Directed by Sharan Sharma, the film stars Pankaj Tripathi and Anga…
 
With Vidya Balan in the titular role, Shakuntala Devi is a biographical comedy-drama based on the life of world-famous mathematician, also known as Human-Computer. Written and directed by Anu Menon, the film also stars Sanya Malhotra in a pivotal role with Jisshu Sen Gupta and Amit Sadh in supporting parts. The film is high on emotions and comes ac…
 
Bhoot Part One: The Haunted Ship doesn’t tinker with Bollywood’s funda for a horror film —horrifying make-up, loud background score and a few well-timed jump scares. There’s a ghost; a creepy doll, and an old professor who chants mantras to shoo away the ghosts and the hero, Vicky Kaushal, with full-on josh trying to solve the mystery of the haunte…
 
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan talks about a serious subject but gives it a lighter treatment. Touted to be a quirky take on same-sex love, the film traces the journey and struggle of a gay couple — Aman Tripathi and Kartik Singh played by Jitendra Kumar and Ayushmann Khurrana respectively. The film takes on homophobia, and not homosexuality. It showc…
 
The 1st thing that comes to mind is what prompted director Imtiaz Ali to tell a decade old story again, with messed up modern characters, who are also frivolous? Was it just a mindless decision to cash in on the craze his lead pair generate?بقلم Hindustan Times - HT Smartcast
 
Malang begins with a high voltage fight sequence and soon Aditya Roy Kapur goes on a killing spree; then a flashback as we are familiarized with Aditya and Disha Patani's love story; cut to the present day where he’s again killing cops; and wham, we are back in the past. A series of events unfold to reveal the climax. Yes, that's pretty much the or…
 
Panga is an honest, relatable film and a sincere ode to motherhood and those countless sacrifices that a woman makes for her family. Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Panga presents the finer points of our daily lives as compelling cinema. Panga is a must-watch for the way it’s told and for being real from the word go.…
 
Tanhaji (Ajay Devgan) narrates the story of yet another unsung Maratha hero. Also starring Saif Ali Khan and Kajol, the film is a visual spectacle from the word go with elaborate sets, larger than life characters and edge-of-the-seat war scenes. You come out of the theatre calling it a paisa vasool film.…
 
Chhapaak is based on a real-life incident of acid attack violence and a survivor’s (Laxmi Aggarwal) story. Chhapaak narrates the story of 19-year-old Malti (Padukone) who, as a happy teenager, aspired to be a singer, but ‘chhapaak’ of acid changes the course of her life. It’s a sensitive, brave and gut-wrenching story that’s not easy to watch, but …
 
Good Newwz brings glad tidings – we get a talented cast led by Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor Khan, a story that resonates with parents and those desperate to begin their family, and a delightful mix of comedy and emotions that never gets preachy.بقلم Hindustan Times - HT Smartcast
 
Mardaani 2 is a compelling watch that makes you uncomfortable time and again but stays with you for a long time. Written and directed by Gopi Puthran with Rani Mukerji in the lead role, the edge-of-the-seat thriller packs a punch and evokes the desired angst in you, as it highlights the gruesome crimes against women and also delves deeper into issu…
 
Bala is way more than just a good comedy film. It cracks right jokes at the right time and leaves you in stitches much more than you would expect. Director Amar Kaushik understands the mechanics well – something he displayed earlier in Stree, and Bala takes it a notch higher. The film starring Ayushmann Khurrana as a prematurely balding man is outr…
 
Based on the life of India's oldest sharpshooters, sisters-in-law Chandro and Prakashi, Saand Ki Aankh is an inspiring tale touching upon pertinent points such as gender equality and women empowerment. Directed by debutant Tushar Hiranandani, the film stars Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar as shooter daadis who deal with the patriarchal ways of the…
 
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