18 Jun 2017

Johny Mera Naam: Hand Painted Poster

Nobody could make a musical Hindi film thriller work like Vijay Anand. Johny Mera Naam (1970) had several things going for it, despite the rawness, awkwardness, formulaic proceedings and flimsiness of it all. One flimsiness example: In the opening credits, the film title appears in blood dripping red font, for some strange reason.

But the Dev Anand chemistry with Hema Malini and Pran is rollicking, so is the Kalyanji-Anandji soundtrack. At almost three hours and still entertaining. Check out the opening scene boxing match between siblings. A unique Vijay Anand touch.    

Mera Naam Joker: Hand-Painted Poster

With a marathon running time of 255 minutes, Raj Kapoor's Mera Naam Joker (1970) was the actor/director's most ambitious film. It was also his biggest box-office disaster. In the making for over 6 years, a lengthy metaphor on life and its phases, the film has gradually gained cult status over the years.

22 May 2017

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (3D): Sweet Irreverence and Fun Keeps it Interesting

There is a thin vein of something pretending to be a story in the latest Marvel comic books adaptation Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Happily, you don't even have to know what is going on, except that the good side is winning.

For the film is finally about great jokes, great jokes, great jokes, great jokes, the lovely 80's, 90's throwback moments, hilarious deadpan TV series references, more cracking jokes, a zippy soundtrack and superb visual effects.

Oh yeah, and the 3D is put to real cool use here. Don't miss the Baby Groot opening credits dance, amidst a giant octopus mayhem. Groovy!

Stretched, but so damn funny
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 does pull it off in keeping us interested in a 2-hour, 18-minute running time.

A rocking, crazy celebration when it works, this sequel tells us why we love comic books -  not the heavy-mindedness but escapist, crazy, rebellious rule-bending characters to root for. High five Rocket! And you too Drax! A dizzy, firecracker festival of the unreal, in a glittering color combination mixtape. The film adapts essential comic book aspects to chirpy effect, in so many parts.

That said, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 still feels stretched in its climax. There's no immediacy or grave thrill to its villainy. But so much of it is so damn funny, you will not complain.

Go enjoy most of what is served as mad intergalactic space fun. Frankly, I would ignore the lack of any solid story altogether if they make Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 madder.

Here are a bunch of superhero saviors for whom the jokes and chemistry fit pat right. Comic books fans, the 3D version is highly recommended.

21 May 2017

Movie Review: Hindi Medium: Irrfan Khan Saves the Day!

Two teenage lovers and their oh so innocent cuteness decorate the opening credits of Hindi Medium over an Atif Aslam song, though these scenes have no effect on the remainder of the film. Just episodic rather than consequential.

15 years later... (All Hindi, little bit English) Raj (Irrfan Khan) and (Knows her English) Meeta (Saba Qamar) are happily married. Raj is a successful businessman with his own women's attire store. Meeta is meanwhile obsessed over getting the daughter admission in any of the top five English medium schools in Delhi. Raj and Meeta haplessly join the rat race for admission forms, learning activity and consulting classes. When Pia doesn't get admission, the couple takes an extreme step in changing their social status for an admission seat at a coveted school.  

Good, When Light
As a comic satire on the Indian education system, Hindi Medium has many moments of genuine laughter in its first half. How much English matters as a language in India is lightly put across here. It is the labored, wannabe 'social message loudspeaker' second half that almost ruins it. Whenever Hindi Medium opts for seriousness and preachy monologuing it stumbles and falls. 

Irrfan Khan Rocks!
Irrfan Khan is exceptional here, nailing every scene, even lifting otherwise contrived scenes with sheer exuberance. Saba Qamar is decent as his wife. The criminally-talented Deepak Dobriyal makes us believe his character of a good-hearted poor man. 

Overall, Hindi Medium is a good one-time watch for its comic scenes. This could have been a mad satire if they had kept the comic ring going all through. The makers have Irrfan Khan to thank for holding the whole film together with sheer talent and uncanniness. Do watch it for Irrfan!

5 May 2017

Baahubali 2: Five Prominent Plot Holes

There are several logic bending scenes in Baahubali 2, and with no backstory or explanations, many elements are just passed over. The source of superhuman strength, for example, and why it is confined to only Amrendra Bahubali, Mahendra Bahubali, and Bhallala Deva is never explained. What special steroid-flooded diet were they consuming? Listing four prominent plot holes here:
  1. There is no explanation given to the people who capture Katappa. Is this a deliberate plan to ambush Amrendra Bahubali? We never know.
  2. Katappa gets to know of Bijjaladeva's intention to kill his wife Sivagami and decides to tell...nobody!
  3. On hindsight, Katappa's killing of Amrendra Bahubali is still unconvincing. Katappa could so easily have warned Bahubali in advance. Considering Katappa really liked Bahubali, his actions are contradictory to his character.
  4. Sivagami has always known that her husband Bijjaladeva has evil intentions and roots for their son Bhallala Deva. She is easily the most intelligent and commanding character in the film. So for her to get influenced by her husband's wicked instigations is just not done.
  5. How Mahendra Bahubali and his mini-army manage to defeat the mighty Mahishmati Kingdom within hours of hearing Katappa's story narration, is just convenient, rushed storytelling.

On a Lighter Note
A joke doing the rounds on WhatsApp:

Don't just bow down to what the top management tells you to do.
Forge your own path.
Log on to naukri.com!
Don't be a Katappa!

28 Apr 2017

Movie Review: Baahubali 2: The Conclusion: Loud Mass Audience Fun!

Yes, I know why Katappa killed Bahubali and soon you will too. This potential stumbling block is handled competently. But arriving there takes way too much screen time, affecting the movie's impact. Now, about the rest of the movie. 
Good First Half: It was with childish glee that I greeted the opening credits of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. The Hindi dubbed version continues Katappa's narration. The two-part film is finally the father, Amrendra Bahubali's story. With an unanticipated humour track, before the fight scenes queue up, SS Rajamouli sets up the first half with some believable plot twists.
How Amrendra (Prabhas) falls for Princess Devasena (Anushka Shetty), how it affects his relations with Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan) is good (though rushed) writing. The evil duo of Bhallala Deva (Rana Daggubati) and Bijjaladeva (Nassar) add a Shakuni-Duryodan touch to proceedings. Katappa (Sathyaraj) is but a helpless catalyst to the intrigue. Sathyaraj gets a nice surprising comic cameo though.
Epic, Exaggerated Treatment: There is no letting up to the epicness and magnificence of it all. No punch just lands, it sends you flying. When you stomp the ground, it cracks and breaks. A crowd erupts in protest and a mini-earthquake ensues. I loved it! Buildings, statues, chariots are fragile items when superhumans fight.

Rajamouli revels in the action sequences. Even an unconvincing airborne flight of soldiers over fort walls is detailed to part-conviction. As with Eega/Makkhi (2012), the director adds intelligent solutions and touches to otherwise bloated action. Baahubali 2 rests on its action, Rajamouli addresses the dynamics and creativity of fighting to entertaining, if invincible effect.
Glitches: Religious symbolism shows up in the film's critical parts, the resultant scenes end up as contrived. MM Kreem's loud, crass background music is ear-splitting and headache-inducing. The soundtrack is decent though. Art and VFX are fabulous. 

The final confrontation is a predictable, crass, age-old revenge saga. How Mahendra Bahubali regroups a handful into facing off with a 30000+ army in no time, is one among the film's many logic-blinders. Depicting violence and beheadings as deserved punishment is a misdirected, dangerous film concept.  
Influences: Characters and the storyline echo Ramayan and Mahabharat, the great Indian epics. A dam bursting sequence has a Lord of the Rings film trilogy deja vu. Numerous kung fu movie sequences echo in the action sequences. But nothing is plagiarized, the action scenes especially, sparkle with original touches. 
Performances: Prabhas plays up both Bahubalis with a macho-regal demi-god command to it. Satyaraj almost steals the show but is matched by Ramya Krishnan and Anushka Shetty, both women playing powerful, dynamic parts with great assurance. The antagonists, well played by Daggubati and Nassar are one note, victims of poor, lazy writing. Tamannaah has little to do here. 
Verdict: Baahubali 2: The Conclusion builds up as a great summer entertainer, but loses much of its fizz in the packed up final 30 minutes. It still holds up as a good fantasy adventure film, thanks to a certain standard Rajamouli sets up, superior special effects and the performances. An enjoyable one-time watch at the theaters, certainly not disappointing...far from it. 
By the way: They added an extra 'a' to the film title overnight. Superstition? Numerology? Phonetics?
Read the Bahubali:The Beginning Review 

21 Apr 2017

Movie Review: Noor: Missing the Mark, Despite the Flavour

Noor Roy Chaudhary is a broadcast journalist into her late twenties, residing in Mumbai. Noor is still a teenager at heart, with insecurities, negativity, weight issues, sobbingly single, constantly mumbling and cribbing. Noor interviews Sunny Leone in utter boredom, yawning, sneezing on camera, thus losing her job. Looking for stories that make a difference, Noor stumbles on an organ racket story. The rest of the film crawls towards resolving this angle.

Sinha dazzles as Noor 
Sonakshi Sinha as Noor is a triumph in characterization. It is Sonakshi's endearing turn and monologues that had me invested in the movie. A Bridget Jones similarity lingers, endearingly.

The other characters are sketchy at best. Noor's childhood friends, Saad (Kanan Gill) and Zaara (Shibani Dandekar) are given successful careers, but no back stories or shades. They are omnipresent as Noor's drinking, driving, support partners, the friendship needed more flesh.

Ayan's pivotal character (Purab Kohli) begs for detailing, considering his actions. Manish Chaudhari as Shekhar Das is another unelaborated role.

No Stand Out Moments 
Despite the first hour breeziness, Keiko Nakahara's aptly diluted cinematography, contemporary chitchat, Noor is weighed down by its pace and lack of a core idea. It stands up as Noor's life journal but barely registers as an uneven mix of drama, coming of age tale and attempted social thriller.

Director Sunhil Sippy gives us moments of laughter and cheer but falters in championing justice. A light-hearted comedy would have done, or a complete journalist-as-heroine thriller. It stands up as neither.

Noor largely ends up as underwhelming. This, despite the well-written, Mumbai, you are killing me monologue. Social media fame as a movie climax doesn't connect as much as human interaction does. Watch it for Sonakshi Sinha's mercurial talent in a sluggish, but well-intended film. Sinha as Noor surely has great film potential. Probably Sippy can do better in a sequel. Noor 2, anyone?

Noor is based on Pakistani journalist Saba Imtiaz's novel Karachi, You're Killing Me! 

11 Mar 2017

Movie Review: Kong:Skull Island: Not So Good, Not Too Bad

(Caution: Hyphens and brackets prickle this review.) 
Set at the fag-end of the Vietnam war (1973), a government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman) hires a British Air Service Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) and a military squadron led by Colonel Packard (Samuel Jackson in another stereotyped 'bad ass' role) to explore the mysterious Skull Island in the South Pacific.

The mandatory female lead Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) makes for commercial decoration rather than the photographer she is supposed to be playing. A madcap, chuckle-inducing, endearing cameo by John C. Reilly lightens up the second half. Reilly's Marlow is the only character with any connect here.

A ship sails without anything remotely ominous happening. The CGI created XXL-sized storm cloud is yawn-inducing, As a bevy of helicopters break through to Avatar-like geography and the talented cast contorts awe-stricken faces to a Jurassic Park-like soundtrack, an airborne tree trunk meets a windshield. Enter Kong, bloody red-eyed, mammoth, all too familiar and one-note.

Big budget blues  
Filled, or more precisely, populated with the movie (Apocalypse Now), anti-war (in uppercase and underlined many times over) and literature (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad) references, Kong: Skull Island gathers audience attention due to its ballooned up budget and cast, rather than anything remotely spectacular.

Lame jokes, cardboard characters 
Mammoth-sized creatures on an unknown island battling man's greed, weaponry and ego is oft-repeated big screen potential.

Kong: Skull Island borrows from all previous reboots and the original King Kong (1933) but falters, scene after scene. Cliches, overcooked dialogues, loud in-your-face action ensures the utter lack of surprises.

Only for a minute, in a haze-induced hunted-hunter waiting does this wannabe monster movie come alive. A decent final Kong-Giant Lizard confrontation ably mimics bits from Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005). These two action episodes just about hold our attention.

No genuine moments, zero on the thrill meter, a brief, forced human-Kong connect, guns, fire, ho-hum.

Too full of itself and a loud chest-thumping, grizzle of a movie, Kong: Skull Island in 3D is a shallow breeze thanks to its incident-filled screenplay and CGI. An optional, not so boring watch at the theaters this week.

For a better experience, catch Peter Jackson's inconsistent but impressive, high-quality King Kong instead.

5 Mar 2017

Movie Review: Logan: Quality Summer Entertainment

Logan is easily among the best of the X-Men film series so far. The X-Men movies have all either been either good, lukewarm and underwhelming, but Logan cuts above the rest for its grittiness and execution. Some films seem almost gifted with rhythm and cohesion, Logan is that movie for most of its running time.

Mortal heroes 
With an apocalyptic and a looming mutant extinction setting, Logan is a dark, edgy comic book adaptation. This is the most identifiable and connectable of all X-Men movies.

That Wolverine/Logan is dying, his wounds not healing fast enough, that Professor Charles Xavier is down with degenerative nerve disease, is a believable human connect. One promptly relates to this mortality, decline concept, as compared to the usual invincibility scenario.

Impressive action sequences
The opening hour is an arresting, lingering, slow-burner. An engaging mimic of Hollywood westerns’ pathos suits the film’s sober mood. The proceedings have a cool Clint Eastwood (Sergio Leone trilogy) shade in the early scenes.

The action sequences are sparingly and cleverly placed.One particular action set-piece lights up the first half, involving gun-wielding intruders, a fleeing car entangled in barb wire, a train and murderous steel claws. From then on the tempo seldom slackens.

Performances rock!
Hugh Jackman has covered a huge acting curve since his first appearance as Wolverine. He plays Logan with a mature, abuse-ridden distress, snarling, growling, living the role. His dialogue delivery is right down perfect and damn effective. Dafne Keen is a steal as Laura, the young enigmatic mutant kid. Her performance adds sparkle and unpredictability to the film's standout moments. Patrick Stewart as Prof Xavier is an absolute hoot. This is a cast that is clearly enjoying itself.

Ample engaging moments 
The gruesome violence is no poetry for this A (aptly rated) certification movie. The repetitive in-your-face, decapitating violence pulls down the film a few notches. But as two heroes succumb to their graves and a new mutant tribe seeks refuge, the entertainment benchmark hits way above average.

Logan is a sci-fi action drama with oodles of thrilling moments. If you an X-Men film series fan, this is a must watch. A deserving summer blockbuster in the making.

19 Feb 2017

Movie Review: Jolly LLB 2: Uneven But Heartfelt

Akshay Kumar plays Jagdishwar Mishra alias Jolly, a Lucknow-based, unscrupulous assistant to Rizvi Sahab, the city's famous lawyer. Desperate to make his mark, Jolly lies (for want of money) to a pregnant prospective client Hina (Sayani Gupta) that Rizvi will take up her case. A resultant suicide hits Jolly like a whiplash, he now tries to vindicate himself.     

Familiar Strands, More Ambitious 
Just like its predecessor, Jolly LLB 2 sets up a crooked-lawyer-now-standing-up-for-truth premise, gives him an intimidating, seemingly invincible adversary (David vs Goliath in ultra-repeat mode), a rooting lover and an endearing small town judge, makes him fight for victimized clients....

This Subhash Kapoor sequel to his (written and directed) Jolly LLB (2013) takes it notches higher in intent, jumbling and stumbling before finally finding its touch.There are several standalone moments, almost cinematic. The lapses in the plot mitigate impact, but these images stay with us. Jolly LLB 2 is patchy, yet top grade black humour.      

Potentially Iconic
That justice delayed is justice denied is no laughing matter. Indian courts are infamous for prolonged cases, witness deaths and occasional sentences. Jolly LLB 2 addresses a pertinent issue. Only Subhash Kapoor doesn't get it as convincingly across like a (similarly social-message-with-entertainment themed) Rajkumar Hirani. Just when it seems to break apart, Kapoor gets us there with two heart-rending monologue moments. 

Monologue: A (usually long) dramatic speech by a single actor

Black Humour: The juxtaposition of morbid and farcical elements (in writing or drama) to give a disturbing effect

Some Astonishing Performances       
We usually have so much praise for stars and so less for actors. Sayani Gupta is astonishing and empathy-provoking as Hina. Watch how she cracks apart in that one heartbreaking scene with Kumar. Saurabh Shukla reprises his judge role and adds nuances to the character. It's a memorable, controlled performance. 

Kumud Mishra (usually laced with goody, goody roles) as a corrupt cop is a wise choice. Annu Kapoor is very good as the devious lawyer. Huma Qureshi is good in whatever little she gets to do. Akshay Kumar is his competent self, he's fits in the accent and look into the small town ethos. He is as good as Arshad Warsi was in Jolly LLB, if not better. Kumar doesn't put a foot wrong.   

The songs add nothing to the story, the background music is good, so is the steady cinematography. Death to lip-syncing songs, unless it is a musical. Certain sections could have done without background music to build impact. But Bollywood goes with overtly emotional high-tuned music so often now. A bad TV serial hangover?  

The Saurabh Shukla Moments 
i.The judge spellchecking his daughter's wedding card sample in court. 'Goon' to 'Groom', 'Wets' to 'Weds'. Chuckle, chuckle.
ii. A heart patient stubbornly makes his dance moves. 
iii. A father squabbles with his daughter over expensive wedding wear. 

Yes, because the film strives with sincere intent, despite the hiccups, it comes together for 15 minutes before the end reels. Jolly's final argument, followed by the judge's quiet lament hit the right chords. That is a long duration of engagement for a film to reel us in. These moments salvage the film, take it a cut above average. Jolly LLB 2 is worth watching because its heart is at the right place. Awaiting Subhash Kapoor's next. 

18 Feb 2017

Movie Review: Kaabil: Lame, Compromised Thriller

A blind man, Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) and a blind woman, Supriya (Yami Gautam) meet up through common friends.Over a course of meetings, dance (inevitably) and a shopping mall lost & found episode, love blooms and they decide to get married. 

Everything is rosy in a lip-synced, well-dressed Hindi film song world until Supriya is raped by two local goons at her residence.One goon is the brother of the local city politician. As we have come to expect in reel-life and real life, the helpless couple is tortured and harassed by our 'social safeguards', the politician and the police. Things seem to simmer down, until tragedy strikes.Pushed to a corner with nowhere to go, Rohan just walks up to a police station and proclaims, "I gonna get my revenge. Catch me, but you can't." Words to that effect. 


You wait for a nice juicy, even fun, vengeful second half. Instead, we get a slow, predictable cathartic conclusion. The director runs over the horror of rape with a body show. How else does one explain the cleavage-dipping Urvashi Rautela item number, post interval? It is a classic drab Hindi film 'escape to your dream moment'. Forget the film's premise, the tension, it says. Jumbling up multiple genres into one film has made bad movies of so many Hindi commercial movies, masala as we call it.  

Rohan's salary-earning talent is put to good plot use, though, but the rest is oh so filmy and loopholedLittle bits do stand out as impressive. That one clever instance about smelly socks, the safety harness bit. These are ruefully rare moments of smart writing. 

The hero-villain bashing each other up scene is another irritating Sanjay Gupta trait. Either the villain or hero has a gun, but they still prefer to beat up each other. No easy killings. The hero keeps leaving his fingerprints all over the 70mm screen and nobody cares to check. The law is blind, hence proved.

Contrived, No Thrills
Built on a tantalizing premise of a vengeful blind man, director Sanjay Gupta barely holds the first half together. It is a decent first hour, though, characters and plot connects are set up neatly, surprisingly spread over a thin layer of realism. Its finally ends up too fragile to last.   

Wanted: Faster, Sharper, Tenser 
A fast-paced format, sharper editing could have heightened the impact. But that is not to be. Again, performances make the film. 

Hrithik Roshan carries the film with all his sincere, stray-eyed dedication. In an average venture, Roshan stills engages us all through. He is easily among the most underrated, underutilized actor of our times. 

Yami Gautam is good too. Ronit Roy oozes menace in what is becoming a typecast role for him. But nobody is getting more typecast than the mercurial Girish Kulkarni, given another bad cop role here. Rohit Roy is adequate. Narendra Jha could have made more out a meaty top cop act.       

Great Idea, Poor Interpretation 
A great, novel concept on paper comes across as shallow. That Rohan finds peace post revenge is a dangerous concept. You can't be the same calm self after murdering people. That, among many other misplaced life-deviant elements, brings down Kaabil. It never feels immediate and close to the bone, despite the harrowing cruel act and its consequences.

Watch it for Hrithik Roshan, the undoubtedly exciting story premise and a cool first hour that brings out the best in Sanjay Gupta. The rest is a much-traveled tiresome trip down film-reel road.

4 Feb 2017

Movie Review: Raees: Lost in Hero Worship & Mass Appeal

Once upon a time in dry Gujarat of the 1980's and 90's, Raees (Shah Rukh Khan, good act) builds an empire out of selling alcohol illegally. Shrewdly safeguarding his throne on political connections, Raees bypasses murderous competitors and a stubborn police officer Jaideep Majmudar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui, show stealer). He is finally done in by his lofty ambitions, things fall apart and death looms.

Raees begins breezily enough, overplays that one-line, life defining mother-said-it moment, "No trade is small, and there is no religion bigger than trade." From then on, everything gets larger-than-life and repetitive in tone. From flashy dialogues, tea glasses as a face off metaphor, and the hero-defining,"Don't call me battery!" (Or I will bash you up! Because I am the hero!) moment.  

Safe, Mitigated Treatment
Raees undoubtedly has damn good bio-epic potential in its story, but it remains consigned to paper. Loosely based on the life of notorious Gujarat bootlegger Abdul Latif, Raees goes for Hindi film chutzpah, rather than grittiness. 

Pity, for there are so many quality moments of genuine flair here. Be it Jaideep's Micheal Jackson imitation (potentially rocking set piece), Raees' filmy wooing of Aasiya (Mahira Khan, sketchy role), Raees-Jaideep and politician exchanges, best friend chemistry (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, zesty reprisal of a familiar role) fight scenes...every scene dangles midway between straight storytelling and a brash 'make bad look epic and morally right' appeal.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui Rocks!  
Finally, the acting ropes us in, salvaging the film's loose ends. Shah Rukh Khan sails through with experience, owns a few scenes. That dreary look before shooting down his mentor, breaking down before his wife and the final dialogues. But the film is at its (stunted) zenith in Nawazuddin Siddiqui's no-nonsense police portrayal. In all his sections, you see how good Raees could have been.   

Hero Worship vs Logic 
Hindi film dialogue-baazi rules over content. Also, this is a Shah Rukh Khan package, rather than a character driven protagonist.No surprises then, when:  
  1. Raees thwarts a sniper shooter with impossible aim and range. 
  2. Chases the same shooter across roofs, kicking, flying, ends up largely unhurt. 
  3. Walks through tear gassed streets unblinkingly, stylishly.
  4. Lip syncs through songs, dances (the classic masala film template).  
  5. Shoots down a gang of henchmen without a sweat through a Sunny Leone item song. 
  6. Raees is always neatly-dressed, through it all. 
We expected a lot more apt starkness and realism from director Rahul Dholakia. Especially from the man who made Parzania (2007). Another surrender to our intolerable times?

A bearable one-time watch for the story, performances, flashes of quality cinema. Due to legal tangles, the filmmakers had to declare it fiction, a knowing audience will catch the real-life threads. Just a little, teeny-weeny lump in the throat by the end credits. Rest, as they say of Hindi cinema, we sell dreams, seldom tell stories.  

14 Jan 2017

Movie Review: Ok Jaanu: Cheery Live-In Vibes

Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Tara (Shraddha Kapoor) dash into each other's lives at a (unusually non-chaotic), symbolic Mumbai railway station. He is a video game developer with America in his emigration plans. She is an architect raring to go Paris for further studies, post a breakup.  

Their first lively conversation reveals a mutual dislike to marriage and commitments. Further meetings lead to fun, frolic and unmistakable magnetic attraction. Unable to live without each other, Tara moves in with Adi, thanks to his elderly landlord Gopi (Naseeruddin Shah) and his carnatic singer wife, Charu (Leela Samson). Gopi tends to his Alzheimer's ridden wife lovingly. The older couple's story has more compelling possibilities. 

The story doesn't touch any great heights from here. The culmination is tense, ending on a conventional path, rather than adventurous or open-ended. By the end credits, you have seen a movie that could have been a little gem. 

A full circle for Shaad Ali 
Shaad Ali began his directorial career remaking Mani Ratnam's Alaipayuthey (2000) into Saathiya (2002). Fourteen years on, Ali returns to remaking Ratnam's OK Kanmani (2015). The result, OK Jaanu, is a playful, endearing film. (Having watched only snatches of OK Kanmani, watch this blog to know (soon) if this is a shot-by-shot remake.) 

Mani Ratnam's signature moves are all over the film. Romantic film leads who are spontaneous, fun and bursting with joy, is a typical Ratnam touch. Also the affinity for rain scenes.It is in little moments that you get Ratnam's timeless, chirpy, life-affirming appeal. 

Performances add spark 
Adiyta Roy Kapur brings a natural high-spirited tone to his character. Shraddha Kapoor matches him scene for scene. Their amazing chemistry sparks up the film's best parts. Subtle little snatches are few, but for the last scenes. Leave the nuances to Naseeruddin Shah who steals the show as the caring, hearty husband. Leela Samson is good too, as is Kitu Gidwani. 

Ok Jaanu is still an impressive watch for its treatment, relevance, performances, AR Rahman's (original score and music) relentless, enigmatic verve and Gulzar's dialogues. 

Ok Jaanu's greatest, rarest moments occur when it lingers. This could have been a more layered, deeper take on live-in relationships. It works as a pleasant, entertaining film, best seen on 70mm. 

The Hindi film of the fortnight, a decent year opener.