This is easily Bhansali at his best as he has been able to marry craft with content; here, he attempts a Pakeezah for the millennials and almost succeeds
Gangubai Kathiawadi opens to the world with the visual of a little girl with a mass of cotton stuffed into her mouth and a pin being forced through her nose, one wonders how will this film speak. But, after a few fumbles, it does and goes on to charm with its eloquence. Without being pedantic, it takes a clear stand on how sex workers deserve an equal life, on a par with other professionals in society.
Set in a part of Kamathipura that is often called Mumbai’s red-light area, it is about a part-real, part-fictional character called Ganga (Alia Bhatt) who hails from an illustrious background, but is sold into the flesh trade by someone she believed. Unlike Raj Kapoor’s Ganga, she gets really sullied, questions the hypocrisy of society, and eventually rises from the ashes to make a home out of a brothel, and fights for the rights of its inmates.
Writer-director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, thankfully, doesn’t paint a breathless hagiography of a woman who rises up the social ladder by hook or crook. Instead, he focusses on Ganga’s interactions with the people that came into her life, the bruises and heartaches that she suffered, and what she becomes by the end.
There is a mafia don inspired by Karim Lala (Ajay Devgn) who becomes a brotherly figure to the sex worker. Then there is a tailor (Shantanu Maheshwari) who dresses her desire for a life outside the brothel, and of course, there is a rival in Razia (Vijay Raaz) who threatens to spoil her ambitions. Not to forget her bonds with the inmates of the brothel. It is these bittersweet sections that make us invest in the narrative and keep us engaged.
Playing on the margins of his safe terrain, Bhansali, who triples as composer and editor, restrains himself from selling torture, from rushing into those dark rooms where hopes are mutilated. So much so that in the build-up to the centre of flesh trade, he cuts scenes just before they threaten to enter the exploitative zone.
Instead, he chooses to linger around the bed of black roses, as Gangu describes her ilk, and translates that smell to us. It is strong, pungent, redolent in turns, and ultimately leaves you with something ethereal. Take the scene where the inmates dress up the dead body of a sex worker who has died after giving birth to a child. It is as raw as it could get, but in Bhansali’s hands, even death looks elegant and evokes multiple emotions.
This is easily Bhansali at his best as he has been able to marry craft with content. For a long time, he is trying to create a modern-day Mughal-e-Azam, here he attempts a Pakeezah for the millennials and almost succeeds. Devoted to the visual grammar of cinema, here Bhansali carefully peels off the element of lust through lilting melodies that are enough to convey the convoluted layers of the human heart beneath the linear tale. In fact, two songs, Meri Jaan and Jab Saiyaan, form the crux of the narrative. You can watch them on loop and are worth the price of the ticket.
In Alia, he has a muse who could depict multiple emotions in one frame, through words, silences, and expressions. Be it the body language or dialogues, she minimises the element of acting in her performance. Watch her perform in Meri Jaan as she crystallises the complex that Ganga holds inside her in one song, she makes you cry, laugh, and feel guilty simultaneously. The way Alia gradually transforms from Ganga to Gangubai, laughs in pain, and gently hectors a child at the sight of impending conflict, makes even the predictable compelling.
The dialogues by Prakash Kapadia and Utkarishini Vashisht remain conversational even when Gangu threatens to be in the lecture. The casual presence of Dev Anand is more than just symbolic.
The support cast responds strongly to Alia, particularly Vijay Raaz in a short but memorable performance. As the eunuch sex worker, he sends chills down the spine and leaves you craving for more. Shantanu brings his dance training to help the elegant romance come alive. Devgn is supposed to bring the star value and that he does that with ease.
Sudeep Chatterjee’s cinematography reminds us of the Kamal Amrohi film as the camera permeates through prurient surfaces to align with the soul of the residents. Together with Bhansali, he carves a visual treat. In the entry shot of Razia, the larger-than-life film posters in the background and playing a feature film in the middle of a street, Chatterjee rustles up dollops of nostalgia and awe but at the same time, he generates a gentle urge to make us walk in the forbidden lanes of Kamathipura.
The pragmatic could still question the dependence of the heroine of the piece on a don, the absence of a potent climax, but this one is for the romance of a petite underdog with a tenacious character, someone who bites with her golden smile.
It is a remake of the 2020 Malayalam film Ayyappanum Koshiyum by Sachy
Movie Review: Bheemla Nayak
Director: Saagar K Chandra
Producer: Suryadevara Naga Vamsi
Music Director: Thaman S
Starring: Pawan Kalyan, Rana Daggubati, Samyuktha Menon, Nithya Menen, Samuthirakani
Release date: 25th February 2022
Bheemla Nayak Movie Review: Pawan Kalyan, Rana Daggubati, Nithya Menen, Samyuktha Menon starrer Bheemla Nayak, the remake of Ayyappanum Koshiyum, directed by Saagar K Chandra has hit the theaters today on 25th february 2022. Let’s see the story of Bheemla Nayak.
Story: Danny, a retired Miltary personnel gets into trouble when Bheemla Nayak ‘subordinates arrest him for carrying liquor in a prohibited zone. The arrest bruises the ego of Danny who plans to avenge his insult. After having promised his wife that he would return home soon, Danny is now in jailed without bail for few weeks. Will this be the beginning of a battle between Bheemla Nayak and Danny? What is the involvement of Nayak’s wife (Nithya Menon) in this? Who is Daniel’s father(samuthirakani) ? to get these answers watch the movie on the silver screen.
Performance: Once again Power star Pawan Kalyan delivers his finest performance. His body language, way of dialogue delivery as a cop and the way he interacts with Rana Daggubati is Superb. Rana Daggubati has brilliantly portrayed the inner conflicts of Daniel Shekar, who is striving to move away from the shadow of his dominating father and wants to create his own identity. Pawan Kalyan and Rana Daggubati, both overshadow the rest of the star cast with their outstanding performances. When it comes to the supporting cast, it is Nithya Menen in the role of Pawan Kalyan’s wife and she looks good on the screen. Samyukta Menon is fine as Rana Daggubati’ wife. Samuthirakani gets limited screen presence but he is ok. The rest of the star cast of Bheemla Nayak is good in their respective roles.
Technical: The narration of Bheemla Nayak falls into a slow pace despite the tightly-packed screenplay. The supporting characters are well-written and neatly developed. The songs and action sequences are well executed and elevate the cinematic experience which the action drama offers. The situation humor is used intelligently in the narration, that deserves applause. Cinematography is the soul of Bheemla Nayak . The background score is outstanding and editing is good.
Analysis: Saagar K Chandra amazes the audiences with this out and out out mainstream commercial film which actually portrays a different picture of toxic masculinity. The movie Bheemla Nayak doesn’t really have a typical hero or villain, but it is all about the clash of two men and the extent of their respective egos.
Arjun, a police officer, sets out on a mission to hunt down a group of violent bikers after they're involved in a theft and murder
Movie Review: Valimai
Director: H Vinoth
Producer: Boney Kapoor
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Starring: Ajith Kumar, Kartikeya Gummakonda, Huma Qureshi, Sumithra, Chaitra Reddy, Pearle Maaney Achuth Kumar, Selva GM Sundar, and others
Release date: 24th February 2022
Valimai Movie Review: Ajith Kumar, Kartikeya Gummakonda, Huma Qureshi, and Sumithra starrer Valimai, helmed by H Vinoth has hit the theaters today on 24th February. Let’s see the story of Valimai.
Story: ACP Arjun (Ajith Kumar), is someone who does notbelieve in custodial violence or encounters. When a gang of bikers wreak havoc in the city, snatching chains and murdering the innocent people mercilessly, Arjun takes the responsibility to save the city. What is the role of Karthikeya in this? How does Arjun nab the mastermind of the bike gang network? To get these answers, one should watch the movie Valimai on the silver screen.
Performance: It is known that Ajith Kumar is a car racer and is an action junkie. Super energetic Ajith kumar’ swag and performance are highlighted. In action sequences and bike chasing scenes, he steals the show. The mass audience feels Kartikeya is perfect in the role of slick villain. Huma Qureshi has done justice with her role. Though Ajith’s screen presence is one of the big plus for this film, but a bigger positive is that Valimai doesn’t depend on that alone. Huma Qureshi and Kartikeya Gummakonda too shine well. Kartikeya’ physique and menacing looks add more weight to the antagonist character. Rest of the cast of Valimai perform accordingly.
Technical: The highlights are the breathtaking action sequences that involve a bike chase between Ajith Kumar and Kartikeya. The action sequences are of an international standard. Coming on the work of director H Vinoth, he takes his own time to establish the characters and how the crimes happen before introducing Ajith Kumar. Nirav Shah’s cinematography is eye pleasing. The songs slow down the screenplay slightly. The BGM by Yuvan Shankar Raja keeps the narrative engaging. The editing is good and the production values are rich.
Analysis: The audiences love the madness and adrenaline rush that Valimai offers them. The movie is all about the battle between good and evil.
Rating : 2.75/5