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‘Kedarnath’ Review: Competently crafted but lacks soul

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Kedarnath

Mumbai, Dec 7: Film: “Kedarnath”

Director: Abhishek Kapoor

Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Sara Ali Khan, Nishant Dahiya, Nitish Bharadwaj, Pooja Gor, Alka Amin

Rating: *** (3 out of 5 stars)

Director Abhishek Kapoor’s “Kedarnath” kind of wears its premise on its title. It is sensitive, competently crafted and appears genuinely regional in flavour.

It also brings together two opposing worlds of Indian cinema; the narrative of the traditional cinemas of the 70s and the modern technicalities of the 21st century. There are sequences that remind you of films like “Waqt”, “Jai Santoshi Maa” and “Mother India”.

Wasting absolutely no time, the director drops the viewers into the picturesque pilgrim town of Kedarnath and introduces us to the harmonious lives of its residents which consists of human-porters who are locally called “pithoo” and the shop-cum-lodge owners and tells us how their lives are dependent on the flow of the pilgrims. And interestingly, we learn that despite being a pilgrim centre for the Hindus, there are a few Muslim families that live there too.

Soon the narrative focuses on the affable Mansoor (Sushant Singh Rajput) a human-porter and Mandakini aka Muku (Sara Ali Khan), the rebellious daughter of a local business man. How romance brews between the two of them, forms a major part of the narrative.

kedarnath

The plot is actually an interesting one that feels both timeless and current, in the way that it plays with romance and a recent natural calamity.

What holds your attention is the cast. While Sushant Singh Rajput delivers a sincere performance, all eyes are on Sara Ali Khan who makes her debut with this film. As the spunky Mandakini, she reminds you of her mother Amrita Singh in her debut “Betaab”.

And, while Sushant and Sara deliver their chops earnestly, their on-screen chemistry lacks charisma and the fault lies not with them, but the script.

Supporting the couple in conventional roles are; Nishant Dahiya as Kullu the local politician and Mandakini’s fiance, Nitish Bharadwaj as Mandakini’s father – “Pandit”, Pooja Gor as her sister and Alka Amin as Mansoor’s mother. They deliver a uniformly strong performance.

Technically the film is astutely mounted. Cinematographer Tushar Kanti Ray uses the fluidity of the hand-held cameras in an attempt to capture the freshness of a spontaneous experience. The action and melodrama sequences too are competently handled.

Hitesh Soni’s music brings Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics to life. The songs “Qaafirana” and “Namo Namo” sung by Arijit Singh and Amit Trivedi respectively, add a mystical flavour to the narrative.

Chandan Arora’s editing has also got that finely-tuned, perfect blend of every technical element that it takes to make a great film, especially the climax, which is painstakingly done by incorporating effects with sound design and music into a seamless fabric that is emotionally satisfying.

But overall the shift of tones while blending a fictional, inter-faith romance with a historical natural disaster, the film suffers to some degree from the maker’s romantic and idealistic ideas and thereby leaves you unsatisfied.

IANS

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People still get moved by Anuradha Paudwal’s performances, says son Aditya

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anuradha-paudwal

New Delhi, Jan 22 : It has been a while since singer Anuradha Paudwal lent her voice to Bollywood films. But her son Aditya Paudwal, a music arranger and producer, says the singer, who now focuses more on devotional music, is still able to move people through her performances.

Anuradha has given many hit Bollywood songs like “Dil hai ke manta nahin”, “Jaane jigar jaaneman” and “Mujhe neend na aaye”.

Asked if he misses her singing Bollywood songs, Aditya told IANS in an email interview: “She has made a mark in devotional music. People still get moved by her performances. I have seen people’s lives changing after listening to her devotional ‘aartis’ and ‘mantras’.

“I would like to come up with a composition for my mother,” he added.

Meanwhile, Aditya is currently associated with “Thackeray”. He is the song arranger and producer of “Saheb tu” from the film which is based on the life of Shiv Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray.

“When I was working with (composers) Rohan-Rohan on a Marathi film’s score, they had mentioned to me about this song which they wanted on a epic scale with symphonic kind of an arrangement. This song basically shows the journey of Balasaheb Thackeray,” he said.

“This is the first time that a 72-piece orchestra has recorded in one go in a studio,” he added.

On why the song has an European feel, Aditya shared: “The film is set in the 1950s to the 1960s.”

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Madhavan’s painfully long transformation for ‘Rocketry…’

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ROCKETRY - THE NAMBI EFFECT

Mumbai, Jan 22 : Actor R. Madhavan says getting the look of scientist and aerospace engineer S. Nambi Narayanan for “Rocketry – The Nambi Effect” was a “painfully long” process.

“The process took painfully long…about 2 days of sitting on a chair for 14 hours at a stretch,” Madhavan said in a statement.

“Initially it looked easy but later I realised how tough it was on the body,” he added.

The actor says getting the look right is “definitely half the battle won”.

“But the other half was really really tough because the age group I’m playing is around 70-75. Mr. Nambi is a very good-looking man and he has got his own charm and charisma so it took me around two-and-a-half years to actually imbibe him and learn how to walk like him.It wasn’t easy and it’s probably one of the toughest looks and characters I’ve had to pull off”.

The film is based on the life of the scientist. As a senior official at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Narayanan was in-charge of the cryogenics division. In 1994, he was charged with espionage and arrested. The charges against him were dismissed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 1996 and the Supreme Court declared him not guilty in 1998.

Madhavan has got the look right, and the actor says the biggest encouragement came from Narayanan himself.

“Nambi sir couldn’t stop laughing and getting amused by my look. There are so many pictures on the set that it looks almost eeriely how similar we both look.”

The film is slated for a release later this year.

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Entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia: Pahlaj Nihalani

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

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Pahlaj Nihalani

Mumbai, Jan 22 :Govinda, “Rangeela Raja”, Pahlaj Nihalani-backed comeback vehicle for Govinda, did not open well. Nihalani says it is because his film did not get the theatres required as the entertainment industry is run by a “glamorous mafia”.

“I am being targeted for my blunt views on the workings of censor board, and because of me, my leading man Govinda is being targeted. If you ask me, Govinda and I have the maximum number of enemies in the film industry,” Nihalani said.

Lamenting the lack of theatres for “Rangeela Raja”, Nihalani says he was refused a release in places like Bihar and Jharkhand.

“These are traditional strongholds of Govinda. And not a single theatre in Patna or Ranchi agreed to play ‘Rangeela Raja’. Why? Because my film is bad? Are only quality films released in theatres? And who decides that my film is substandard? A handful of critics for whom I did not have a press show, so they are upset with me and they are taking it out on my film,” he said.

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

“I know who they are. I know the people who want to finish off Govinda and me. The entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia. They all sit, eat, sleep and make movies together. Solo producers like me with no corporate backing are being pushed out of the film industry in the name of corporotization,” he said.

But Nihalani says he isn’t going away anywhere.

“I belong to this industry as much as those who are currently monopolising the A-list stars. I will make another film with Govinda and prove he too is an A-list star.”

Nihalani says he has always believed in introducing new talent and will continue to do so.

“I introduced Govinda and Chunky Pandey. In ‘Rangeela Raja’ I’ve introduced Mishika Chourasia. I am confident she has a very bright future. Unless the industry will punish her for being Pahlaj Nihalani’s protege.”

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