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NTR Kathanayakudu - Honest Movie Review

With over 280 films experience and releasing a single movie every month in his prime years, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao is Telugu Cinema's First Male Superstar, considered as an icon and a demigod of the industry and is most importantly a hard-working individual with an admirable work ethic. Been discussed and in-development for several years, his biopic is specifically curated, performed and produced by his son Nandamuri Bala Krishna with Krish Jagarlamudi (Gamyam and Vedam fame) handling the directing job.

Verdict - “Underwhelming!”

The narrative of the film follows NTR's journey from his early days working as a sub-register at a government institution, him finding his first-acting job, his immediate rise to stardom, his directorial jobs, social and charity works to him finally joining politics due to public demand and announcing his political party name.

Although I hate to draw comparisons, let's take a look at what last year's blockbuster hit Mahanati accomplished to do. It gave an in-depth look at the highly regarded yet emotionally fragile superstar in Savitri and never backed down in showing the stardom and also the dire downfall of one of the prominent actors in the industry. In Kathanayakudu, although, Krish (director and screenwriter) succeeds in crafting the significant aspects of NTR's character and personality, the struggle was barely shown, and the setbacks were invisible. Subsequently, it was tough to feel or cheer for his character apart from admiring his gentlemen qualities. The movie felt more like a celebration or his greatest hits collection other than as a seamless narrative between his real and reel life. As a result, the movie was three hours long, and the snail-paced screenplay progressively deteriorated the film to boredom.

However, the film accomplished to what it set out to do. It showcased the stubborn, no-nonsense character of the superstar who never gave up when asked to perform a ten-hour long immovable shot. It also established, the kind-hearted side of the legend when he performed and organised charity events with the aim of helping the poor and unaided people. If the goal of the film is to celebrate the bright side of his character and to remind the audience that a performer of his talent and integrity will never be born or will see the face of the industry, consequently, Krish and NBK had done justice to their roles respectively.

Complimenting NTR's gargantuan character is his wife Basavatarakam played by Vidya Balan. The care, relation, support and understanding between the two was displayed well throughout the runtime, and Vidya Balan impressed with her decent acting skills. But, the main focus of the film is on its titular character played magnificently by Balakrishna. Despite the fact that his 58-year old age is distracting at times, he commanded his role with confidence and excellence all-around and did not disappoint or fail performance wise.

Overall, with only one phase of his career displayed, a three-hour runtime is, in my opinion, a tough flick to cruise through. Kathanayakudu suffers from its storytelling flaws of being slow and uncultivated but impresses when it comes to exhibiting NTR as a prodigy that we all already know and love. Nevertheless, I'm still excited to watch the second part and hopefully it's not 180-minutes long.

Rating - 2.75/5 | Grade - C+

An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks
Twitter Profile - @JFMFOfficial

Vinaya Vidheya Rama - Honest Movie Review

“A parody is an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.”

'Burning Star' Sampoornesh Babu, who is notoriously famous for his ridiculously comical romantic-action movies at least understands the meaning of parody and doesn't expect his audience to take them seriously unlike the highly regarded commercial director, Boyapati Sreenu who went balls-out-crazy with his recent action film, Vinaya Vidheya Rama bringing back the nostalgia of the early 2000s Balakrishna films that we dearly do not miss or care about.

Verdict - “An Atrocity!”

Starring Ram Charan Tej in the lead role with Vivek Oberoi portraying the heavily dramatised antagonist role, the storyline amplifies the journey of five orphan men who persevere by living their lives together as brothers, and one of them (Rama [Ram Charan]) single out and becomes the human shield of the family defending them from all-around chaos and foolhardy gundas until he meets a super slick, death-defying Bihar native, Raju Bhai Munna (Oberoi) in one his crazy normal escapades.

Question: List one of the main aspects which distinguishes the difference between a well-written script and a horribly written one?

Answer: A well-written script branches out and is easily memorable even after you reach home and reminisce about it. A horribly written one is so easily forgettable that you can't even recollect what happened previously in a five-minute old scene.

The primary problem with Vinaya Vidheya Rama is not even it's routinely old, tried and tested, rehashed and revamped storyline. The actual pitfall is Boyapati's chaotic screenplay which takes numerous turns by making zero sense along the way and the bothersome continuity errors that are literally spread all throughout the film. Although they're a few good one-liners and punch dialogues adjusted for comic relief, the confusing narrative makes you question How and Why a particular scene is transpiring right in front of your (already sleepy) eyes.

Question: Who is a Superhero?

Answer: A superhero is a type of heroic stock character, usually possessing supernatural or superhuman powers, who is dedicated to fighting the evil of their universe, protecting the public, and usually battling supervillains.

Question: Is Rama (Ram Charan) a Superhero in Vinaya Vidheya Rama (2019 Telugu Movie)?

Answer: Absolutely not! But... Wait...!

Jumping on a rapidly running super-fast train, blasting through brick walls and saint-gobain glass, killing 300 super-angry hooligans in your expedition from point A to B are outrageous tropes which were heavily criticized and made fun of in the past. But, in an era where smaller budget films like Arjun Reddy and Goodachari are re-defining how an audience member enjoy an action sequence by shooting them more realistically, it is, in fact, sad to see Boyapati Sreenu still stuck in the bygone era where death-defying and out-of-this-world bombastic scenes were a thing. Filled with one atrocious scene after another, I've never heard an audience scream out so loud not with joy or excitement, but with disbelief and anger. The entire auditorium loaded with Ram Charan fans went nuts and shouted "Reiiii!! Boyaaaaa!!" and those were the only few moments which made me laugh in the entire film.

However, Ram Charan come across as the only saving grace for the film even with a half-baked character. His delivery and charisma boarded well with the film's vibe that the director is aiming for and his performance was not that bad. Other characters and performers including Vivek Oberoi, Sneha and Kiara Advani (who is solely underutilized only for duets and displaying glamour) didn't have much to add and were again overwhelmed by idiocy. Devi Sri Prasad, who generally impresses with his commercial music numbers completely missed the mark with this monotone and joyless songs and the background score is not that great either.

Overall, I hope this movie will be a healthy reminder and a straight answer to all the directors and producers who still think that the audience member will enjoy and support mindless action scenes and poor storytelling. With that being said, Vinaya Vidheya Rama is a failure and a movie that never should have existed in the first place.

Rating - 1/5 | Grade - D

An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

Petta - Honest Movie Review

When director Karthik Subbaraj promised that Petta (2019) would be a tribute to Superstar Rajinikanth, he delivered as promised. The film is basically a modern re-imagination of Baasha and as the audience, you pretty much know the course of where the film is headed. However, the director has placed certain clever plot twists that keeps you from guessing how it ends. The director constantly reminds you that Petta is a throwback film by subtly throwing in certain “feelers.” The film consistently has old Tamil film songs littered throughout the movie and the side characters and their names are a throwback to Baasha, which I found smart. There were some impressive Gun-Kata action sequences towards the climax of the film which is a breakaway from the usual Tamil cinema hero fights.

Verdict - “Intha Aatam Pothuma?”

Bringing back vintage Rajinikanth with his trademark swag and bounce works for the masses because it encapsulates the very root of his acting dexterity. Superstar Rajinikanth, with his larger-than-life screen presence, is simply a performer. Thus, Karthik Subbaraj paints the film with bouts of Rajinism, allowing the actor to showcase emotion, throw punch dialogues and capture the audience with his inimitable style. Personally, I think this is one of the main strengths of the film as it does not pretend to be director’s film and it belongs uniquely to the Superstar himself. 

However, the film did have its drawbacks. The first half of the film was a bit too long for me and I wished it could have been edited shorter to get the actual plot of the film going. There were many characters introduced that were not really necessary and if they had actually been edited out, the movie would have rated much better. Simran and Trisha barely had 15 minutes of screen time before they disappeared. The antagonists of the film, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vijay Sethupathi felt really underused and underwritten and it could literally have been just anyone else to play their roles. Vijay Sethupathi is delightful to watch and the screen times he spends with Rajinikanth are some of the highlight of the film. However, if you’re thinking of some sort of Vikram Vedha type of cat and mouse game between the two, you’d be left disappointed.

It could have been a much smoother ride if not for certain speed breakers, but Petta (2019) is a treat for ardent Rajinikanth fans who have been waiting to see their Thalaivar of old.

Rating - 3.75/5 | Grade - B+

An Honest Movie Review by Siddharthen R.
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

Antariksham 9000 KMPH - Honest Movie Review

Taking a chance and directing one of the most enthralling and diverse movies of last year in 'The Ghazi Attack', Sankalp Reddy's new directorial venture, Antariksham 9000 KMPH, is Tollywood's first sci-fi space film and stars Varun Tej and Aditi Rao Hydari in the lead roles and is touted as one of the most ambitious (Telugu) project in recent times.

Verdict - Riveting!

The storyline of the film involves an unresponsive and soon-to-be-crashed (Indian) satellite (Mihira) slowly declining in its trajectory and requires manual intervention to avoid the thunderclap. Indian Space Center (ISRO in real-life) requests their former astronaut/expert Dev (Varun Tej) to involve and save them from a disaster. Sooner than later, they realise that Dev is a  tough-nut-to-crack because of his past experiences with the organisation and he might not be interested in assisting.

For any (or at least, most of them) film with a set-goal, the end result will most definitely see the 'good guy' or in this film's case, the 'hero' coming out on top and saving the world. It's the usual trope that every Superhero film falls into, Antariksham doesn't let go of that attribute as the story is pretty much predictable for the most part. But, notorious for his sterling screenwriting ability (demonstrated in 'Ghazi'), Sankalp keeps the movie interesting by changing things, taking detours and adding edginess to the script when needed. Although labouring under overly-dramatised scenes and long dialogue at crucial times, the film keeps the significant tension intact and uses it to create a captivating atmosphere around that most of the Telugu films abstain from.

Additionally, the film also delivers with reference to emotional moments between the well-established characters. They're combined and portrayed well when needed and genuinely gathered the poignant expressions rather than manipulating them for no particular reason. More on the positive side of things, the performances from the entire cast complimented excessively with the engaging characters as everyone involved worked splendidly with the different range of emotions that their characters had to offer in various sequences.

Furthermore, Sankalp also deserves some special appreciation here for investing his time, researching and executing a technically sound movie which involves more scientific terms rather than magic and believable production sets rather than hi-tech extraterrestrial technology. On the other hand, the visuals are predominantly impressive, and the camera-work by Gnanasekhar V.S felt immersive especially with wide and the steady-cam shots. Prashanth R. Vihari's music (songs) and background score can be noticed as the backbone of the film as it accommodated flawlessly within the narrative and didn't feel like a distraction.

Overall, Antariksham 9000 KMPH is Tollywood and Sankalp's courageous attempt to diversify and tell great stories in different genres which are left unexplored. Although the film has its own flaws, it still dispenses the plot with riveting and emotional moments and constructs an entertaining two-hour nail-biter worth watching on the big screen.

Rating - 3.25/5 | Grade - B

-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

ZERO - Honest Movie Review

This Movie Review was first posted on Anurag's The Filmy Basti]

It is almost 2019 and the Indian audiences have exposure to some of the best Sci-Fi movies from the other side of the world. Yet, we have a big-ticket Hindi movie insulting our intelligence! Director Aanand L Rai’s biggest movie till date, ZERO, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif is an ambitious idea, killed by lazy and uninspiring writing.

Verdict - "Insipid and Uneven!"

Bauua Singh (Shah Rukh Khan) is a 38-year old son of a well-to-do Meerut-based businessman, Ashok (Tigmanshu Dhulia). Bauua is free-spirited, fun-loving singleton with just one drawback – he is physically stunted. At 4 feet 6 inch, he is short, but not in ambition. Along with his motley of friends, especially the half-blind Guddu (Zeeshan Ayyub), Bauua idolizes, loves and revers reigning star Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaif). He is the quintessential fanboy from the Hindi heartland – wear shirts with Babita’s pictures, dances in gay abandon, calls her ‘iss ghar ki bahu’ and even throws a bundle of money to celebrate her break-up with a ‘Kapoor’ (too much of reel-life mirroring real-life)! Here enters Aafia Yusufzai Bhinder (Anushka Sharma), a renowned space researcher with Cerebral Palsy. The rest of the movie is an overdrawn mixture of unnecessary and illogical twists, filled with dozens of cameos.

The problem with ZERO majorly lies in its story and execution. I pity the lead actors for their earnest efforts, because only they seem to have complete conviction in the narrative, even when the screenplay and the direction falter. Writer Himanshu Sharma is known for his witty dialogues, best of which were seen in 'Tanu Weds Manu', and does not disappoint here. The dialogues are effervescent, funny and with a lot of references to yesteryear’s Bollywood. It is in the screenplay that Himanshu disappoints. There is no mention of what Aafia’s disability is. (I got to know from Wiki and IMDB that it was Cerebral Palsy) The love story between Aafia, a renowned scientist, and Bauua, a ‘Tenth Pass’, is not built well enough and when they part ways, it comes up as an unconvincing plot twist. The audiences wonder what really led to these chain of events – was it just to lead up to the fantasy-like Sci-Fi filled second half? Only the makers can answer!

I understand that a movie with the Badshaah of Romance does not necessarily need scientific logic. Even at this age, Shah Rukh Khan has his charm intact and his trademark romance is in full display in the beautifully shot song, ‘Mere Naam Tu’. But before the launch of a spacecraft, as a checklist, if a character asks the lead scientist on the space mission – ‘Maths Theek Hai?’ and she replies ‘Yes’, it appears fake and reflects on the lazy writing! Even the ‘scientists’ in the mediocre ‘Krrish’ had better and more intelligent questions to ask! While it does not ridicule or poke fun at physical disabilities – something commonly seen in Bollywood comedies – it does reduce them to outliers amongst normal people. It is understandable that people with stunted growth are poked fun at or called ‘Bauna’, but not even discussing about the disability of a lead actor and referring to her as ‘Hilti rehti hai’ is almost like ridiculing them and their abilities. Even Guddu, played by Zeeshan Ayyub, is shown to be partially blind and is made to evoke laughs with his improper demeanor.

Giving credit where it’s due, the camerawork by Manu Anand and the music by Ajay Atul are top-notch. The next best thing about the movie is the performances by all the three leads. Anushka Sharma looks beautiful and delivers well, though she seems like a caricature before you get used to her. Shah Rukh Khan is sure to charm his fans with his trademarks histrionics – he has a charming flamboyance, perfect comic timing and repeats his favorite tropes – wide-stretched arms and ’toote hue taare’. Honestly, he does not look like a physically stunted man – his body is not disproportionate or has smaller hands. He just looks like a man shrunk in his size by the ray gun from Honey I Shrunk the Kids! Kamal Haasan looked more believable in his 1989-hit, 'Appu Raja'. But SRK’s charm lets you overlook it. The other performance that made me sit up and take notice was by Katrina Kaif! I think after 'Namaste London', this was the first time she tried emoting. Playing an almost autobiographical role, she displays the insecurities and sadness that some of the biggest actors in our country go through. Though a relatively smaller role, she shows the vulnerabilities of a superstar ‘jiska poora UP deewana hai’, who puts up a happy façade for the outside world while crumbling within. Zeeshan Ayyub is the only one who stands out among the supporting cast and is fine as the supportive friend/sidekick.

The culprits here are writer Himanshu Sharma and director Aanand Rai, for making an insipid and uneven movie. If not for the audiences, they should have worked better at least for the hard-work put in by the leads. While the movie’s name itself says ZERO, thanks to the lead actors, I would rate this movie slightly higher!

Rating – 2/5 | Grade - C

-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)
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Maari 2 - Honest Movie Review

Having witnessed how the sequel to films like 'Saamy' and 'Endhiran' turned out this year, I was extremely skeptical about how Maari 2 was going to do. But I’m glad it turned out better than its predecessor. Maari 2 is a good entertainer to close out the year. With interesting new characters and a different side to the “Maari” persona added to the mix, this film is fun and entertaining.

Verdict - "A Joyride!"

I really liked how the script allowed every actor the opportunity to shine. Special shout out goes to Tovino Thomas, the antagonist of the film, who is miles better than the baddie from the prequel. With his Jamaican hairstyle, tattoos and “Thanatos” moniker, Thomas actually felt like a worthy adversary to Dhanush’s Maari. Sai Pallavi is a good actress and she gives a committed performance as Anandhi. You just can’t help but smile at her attempts to covet the protagonist and her comedy timing alongside Robo Shankar and Vinoth is commendable. There were also certain scenes where Maari is shown to be absolutely respectful of women and certain dialogues that were written for these scenes were spot on and relevant.

However, when Maari (the predecessor) came out in 2015, Dhanush’s role felt fresh. His character was that of an anti-hero that had more than a few shades of grey. It was refreshing to watch him strut his stuff without needing to cater to the typical Tamil hero mould. But I Guess when you talk about character development, there has to be new elements added to his disposition to keep the story interesting. So to watch a mild Maari, because of certain circumstances, feels rather old and reminiscent of other movies, in an ironic sort of way. This made the plot more predictable than it should be. Also, I personally did not feel that Dhanush and Sai Pallavi was a great match. While they are individually good actors, their chemistry felt less than 100%.

A masala entertainer usually does not have much to offer plot-wise. It’s the new dimensions added to them that makes or breaks a film. Maari 2 makes it and throws in the extra fittings. (Please feel free to disagree with me)

Rating - 3.25/5 | Grade - B

An Honest Movie Review by Siddharthen R
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Aquaman - Honest Movie Review

Believed as one of the last rays of hope in the downtrodden DC Extended Universe, Aquaman, directed by James Wan serves as the origin story of Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa's) character and stars Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe as the supporting cast in a superhero-fantasy-drama drenched in the Kingdom of Atlantis.

Verdict - "Crazy Ridiculous Fun!"

The storyline follows the journey of Arthur Curry, a half breed (who can swim and breathe in deep sea and also can drink beer and have fun as all normal people do) and the love child of Thomas Curry (from Maine, USA) and Queen Atlanna (from Atlantis). Sooner than later, Arthur gets oppressed by an overwhelming proposal from Mera and Vulko to visit and acquire his rightful throne as the King of Atlantis and put an end to his younger step-brother's belief to start a war with normal humans.

Let's dismiss the negatives first! For an origin story, especially with a gargantuan scale and countless possibilities (like Aquaman), setting up a storyline from scratch and introducing new worlds and characters to the mix seemed like an uphill battle for the writers accompanying James Wan in bringing his idea to reality. And, in the course of creating a visually appealing action-entertainer, the storytelling aspect of the film takes its toll, as the screenplay doesn't resemble fluidity from scene-to-scene. With more than two storylines developing at the same time in the midst of gigantic action set-pieces, the narrative moves on a decent pace and doesn't feel tedious, but, forgettability definitely plays a factor. However, thankfully, the plot is not as complex as the other DCEU movies like Dawn of Justice and Justice League, which is always a plus point.

Having said that, Aquaman delivers when it comes to bombastic action sequences. The entire narrative is jammed and overwhelmed with one fight scene after another, and they do not let you down at any moment. Owing to the fact that James Wan shoots spellbinding action scenes with his unique camera angles and compelling tracking shots with no fast cuts, the entire stack was incredibly enticing and entertaining enough to watch on the big screen. Glorifying the spectacle of action were the MARVELous visuals, which were, by far, the best I've seen in any film. The creative imagination that allowed Wan to build this aesthetically appealing world filled with the most ridiculously riveting aspects like a giant octopus playing the drums, people riding on seahorses and herculean crocodiles, the innovativeness felt endless and Wan excelled with his skill to make everything look out of this world and unlike anything you've ever seen before in any superhero film.

Additionally, the pivotal characters and the performances from the entire cast also play a significant role in the film. Jason Momoa fully embraced his character of Aquaman and portrayed it with utmost joy, charm and personality that he expresses everytime he's on-screen or off-screen. Most importantly, he transformed a character from something that is disparaged as a joke to more of a badass magnetic hero that we all deserve. Amber Heard as Mera had a crucial role to fill in the film, her addition as Aquaman's apprentice was peppered well throughout the entire script and her performance didn't feel substandard or poor. Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna had some of the best emotionally riveting scenes in the entire film and the supervillains Patrick Wilson as King Orm, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta commended their roles decently with minimal screen time.

Overall, Aquaman is a game changer extravagant with some of the most outrageous, ambitious and spectacular set designs and visuals which will ensorcel you to the fullest. James Wan took a script which shouldn't work or tough to present and offered something really special and monumental to watch on the big screen. Although the movie suffers at times with subpar storytelling issues, Aquaman will safeguard the sinking DCEU ship and will remain as a contemporary movie in years to come.

Rating - 3.5/5 | Grade - B+

-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal
Twitter Profile - @JustMovieFreaks
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks 

Kedarnath - Honest Movie Review

[This Movie Review was first posted on Anurag's The Filmy Basti]

This week’s release, Kedarnath, brings an interesting collaboration between two contrasting film personalities – director Abhishek Kapoor and writer Kanika Dhillon. I say contrasting because if you have followed Kanika Dhillon’s work, she gives a distinct voice to the female protagonist and requires abled filmmakers to bring that out beautifully. Abhishek Kapoor, though extremely ambitious in his scale and execution, slightly falters in building his characters emotionally. And both these traits are visible in Sara Ali Khan and Sushant Singh Rajput starrer, Kedarnath. Unfortunately, it is not a great blend.

Verdict - "High and Dry!"

The story was predictable from the trailer itself – an inter-faith love story set against the backdrop of the devastating Uttarakhand floods of 2013. Mandakini ‘Mukku’ (Sara Ali Khan) is a feisty, confident and a frank girl, born to a Pandit’s family in Kedarnath. Belonging to a well-to-do family that runs lodges in Kedarnath, she is an outlier. She cusses, picks up petty fights, has a sharp tongue that does not even spare her opportunistic father and openly woos the guy she likes. As one would expect, she falls for a Muslim Pitthoo (the ones who carry pilgrims on their back), Mansoor Khan (Sushant Singh Rajput). The love blooms in the backdrop of a picturesque Kedarnath, till the deluge hits them and wipes the city off.

As I mentioned, the story has a distinctive Kanika Dhillon stamp. Her stories always revolve around the female protagonists and includes a third wheel. Third wheels like Simran (Sonal Chauhan) in Size Zero, Vicky (Vikky Kaushal) in Manmarziyaan have had strong roles in her stories. Interestingly, while we do have a romantic antagonist in Kedarnath, I felt Brinda (Pooja Gor), who plays Mukku’s elder sister was the third wheel in this case. The writer deserves another brownie point for creating a sub-track on the friction between the two sisters, which adds to the main love story. Also, like Sweety (Anushka Shetty) in Size Zero and Rumi (Taapsee Pannu) in Manmarziyaan, Mukku is a girl who lives on her own terms. It was refreshing to see a female lead eyeing the male protagonist and wooing him. It could have looked awkward, given the rural setting, but the dialogues (also by Kanika Dhillon) give us some endearing moments. The progression of their love story, while taking Pitthoo rides from Kedarnath to Rambada have been developed well.

Making her debut, after repeated delays, Sara Ali Khan appears confident and makes a promising start. Dressed in best of the clothes, which seem out of place given where the movie is set, Sara looks comfortable in the character and delivers a variety of emotions, though she needs to work on her romantic lines. It is a well written role for an actor to make her debut with. Complementing her well, Sushant Singh Rajput, delivers a strong performance. His shy demeanor and hushed smiles in reply to a flirting Mukku, are a delight to watch. There are a few sequences where the religion of Mansoor and their communal difference are touched upon, but these never come out convincingly.

Director Abhishek Kapoor’s 2013-hit, Kai Po Che, set against a communally fragile Gujarat riots had a better weaving of the story of three friends in a communally disturbed environment. Here, it seems rather forced because during the development of the love track between Mukku and Mansoor, their different faiths never really comes out. Again, this is the fallacy of Abhishek Kapoor, where he assumes the audiences are emotionally connected and hence keeps certain things unsaid. And this is how the movie starts to crumble in the second half, where suddenly a love story is meddled with religion at first and then an overdrawn sequence of the Kedarnath floods. The tonality of the movie changed completely in the last 10 minutes, when it seemed more like a documentary on Kedarnath floods and not a love story that it began as. Not to mention, the graphics and VFX used for creating the flood scenes looked very mediocre. Giving credit where it is due, the music by Amit Trivedi and Cinematography by Tushar Ray are beautiful and bring Kedarnath alive. I almost packed by bags to visit this picturesque place!

Kedarnath had way too much cramped in a run time of 2 hours– a beautiful love story, inter-religion troubles, the rampant urbanization and the devastating deluge! If not for the strong performances by the leads, despite the deluge in the end, the movie may leave you high and dry.

My Rating – 3/5 | Grade - B

-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)
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2.0 - Honest Movie Review

Costing just over 540 crores, Shankar's tour de force 2.0 is India's biggest movie ever, in terms of budget, production and technical grandeur. Lead by Super Star Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar fulfils the role of the antagonist with Amy Jackson as the supporting character and Chitti's love interest. Also marketed as India's Biggest 3D Spectacle, 2.0 serves as the sequel to the 2010 Blockbuster Hit 'Enthiran' and is easily one of the most anticipated films in the past few years.

Verdict - "A Visual Spectacle!"

The film's storyline aligns with the unsound situation of modern-day India, a social-media and a selfie-clicking infused lifestyle which culminates to mental health issues and other environmental calamities. Pakshi Rajan (Akshay Kumar), the bird-friendly supervillain takes matters into his own hands by stealing every mobile phone in the city which develops into an immense government issue, who sooner or later seeks help from Vasee (Rajinikanth) and his andro-humanoid robot Chitti.

Written and directed by Shankar, it is evident that the storyline of the film is predictable from the glimpses of the trailers and the TV spots that we've already seen. The narrative explicitly moves in the same direction that we prevision and takes no twists and turns to elevate the uncertainty factor. But, for a two-hour fifty-minute runtime, the film doesn't feel like a chore to get through and manoeuvres at a decent pace. Furthermore, on the positive side, Director Shankar utilizes the opportunity of the film's wider reach and expresses a significant yet disturbing message about the current day's environment and subject matters in an engaging fashion.

However, the film's heart, years-long hard work and dedication were clearly exhibited in the visual effects and the special effects department which resulted in a product, unlike anything we've ever seen before in Indian Cinema. The extravagant scale and inventiveness of Shankar and his crew were magnificently brought to life on the silver-screen as every single frame and scene felt like monumental and splendid referring to the production design, cinematography and the creative outreach. On top of that, shot (not converted) in 3D, this film also succeeds in resisting a fierce competition to it's Hollywood counterparts when it comes to the immersive three-dimensional theatre experience rather than being a distraction.

Penultimately narrated only between a limited star cast, Rajinikanth doesn't let you down as far as his Super Star Swag goes. He super quirky one-liners, classic style and mannerisms were all on-point and were utilized flawlessly for entertainment purposes. Akshay Kumar's CGI-filled adversary role lacks emotional depth, but, was never a let-down relating to the thrilling action sequences against his challenger Chitti. On the other hand, Amy Jackson's casting choice was spot on and impeccable as she possesses all the right attributes needed for a female andro-humanoid robot; the good looks, robotic movements and minus the acting skills.

Overall, barring the mundane storyline which is easily predictable from a million miles away, 2.0 flourishes when it comes to its majestic visuals, ostentatious production design along with Shankar's rich visualization and ambitious imagination. The movie has all the right ingredients needed for a commercial entertainer, capped with an important social message and is a real treat watching it on the big screen in 3D format.

Rating - 3.5/5 | Grade - B+

-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks | Twitter Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

Bohemian Rhapsody - Honest Movie Review

Celebrating the life of Rock's Greatest All-Time Entertainers, Bohemian Rhapsody chronicles the inspiring yet involute life story of Queen's lead singer Farrokh Bulsara, professional known as Freddie Mercury. The film stars Emmy Award-winning Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek in the lead role and co-stars Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzello as the supporting cast with Bryan Singer as the spearheader of this prestigious project.

Verdict - "A Celebration!"

The movie commences by introducing us to Freddie's initial working days as a baggage handler at the Heathrow Airport and builds up by narrating his first taste with the band to selling out arenas throughout different cultures and countries to his emotional and distancing complications with his band, friends and loved ones. 

Nailing all the right notes essential for a typical biopic, the movie, by and large, serves more like a Greatest Hits Collection of Mercury rather than a comprehensive in-depth look of his arduous journey to preeminence and beyond. Screenwriter Anthony McCarten offers a storyline which is, on the whole, paint-by-numbers and predictable from start to finish. Contrary to that, if you contemplate this movie as a celebration rather than a detailed observation, these criticisms might surface as a nonsensical argument.

But, the positives overweighs the negatives, as the rocking Oscar-worthy performance of Rami Malek and the overall journey of Mercury is engaging enough to keep you glued to the silver screen. Coming from a conservative family in Zanzibar, Mercury inspired generations of artists and millions of fans worldwide with his talent, music, charisma and flamboyant persona. However, although moving forward on a straight line shorn of any abstract deviations, the film did a decent job unveiling the man behind-the-mask, Farrokh Bulsara. His intentions were pure, but the ignorant decisions he made from time to time labelled him as controversial or hardhearted and distanced him from his friends and family perpetually. The movie discusses every aspect of love and emotions, highs and lows, success and failure, and Malek triumphs every hurdle with ease by making his exemplary character likeable, relatable and above all the focal part of the entire movie.

Adding to the celebration aspect, similar to its awards season counterpart, 'A Star Is Born', this movie had that concert-like-feel especially the glorious, breathtaking climax which will make you clap, cheer, and absorb that unreal musical experience to the fullest. 

Overall, Bohemian Rhapsody is not perfect considering the screenwriting issues, but, it is, in fact, a virtuous display of Freddie Mercury and his extraordinary life. This is more than just a movie it's a Celebration!

Rating - 3.5/5 | Grade - B+

-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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