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Saturday, 10 February 2018

Pad Man (2018) (Hindi)

Take a couple of minutes before you read the review or at least watch the movie to read the story of Arunachalam Muruganatham who is the real Pad Man ( Heroes like these are basic fodder for film makers like R Balki who usually treads the off beat path and this time he takes up an issue that most of us city slickers will be unfamiliar with.

The penetration of Sanitary Pads in India is lower than 20% - despite the efforts of Pad Man.  Arunachalam has been at it for over a decade now and if numbers from the movie are to be believed then it was as low as 10% when our hero started his work.  A big contribution to the growth has to be credited to Arunachalam, who now has a network spread across 23 out of the 29 states in India.  WOW!!!

Laxmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar) is a genuinely nice person who lives somewhere in Madhya Pradesh (Central India).  He gets married to Gayatri (Radhika Apte) and makes for a perfect husband.  Balki has established the empathetic character of The Pad Man through several quick shots like Laxmi building a back seat on his cycle for his wife amongst others.  Good work there I must say.

Laxmi soon realizes the when Gayatri has her periods, she is forced to live outside the house and more importantly uses a cloth to soak up the bleeding – probably the most unhygienic way possible.  More importantly, the same cloth is washed and used again.  Unable to accept this, he first buys very expensive sanitary pads (₹55 a pack) and when that doesn’t go down well, he embarks on a project to make cheaper pads for his wife.

But as always is the case in India, anyone who tries to do some good will be pulled down by the other millions – the perfect example of Crab Syndrome.  Starting with the villagers and eventually moving onto his family, one by one, Laxmi is ostracized.  But he doesn’t give up and keeps at it.  Eventually to find success and acceptance.

Some great dialogues – as always with Balki.  When Pari (Sonam Kapoor) congratulates Laxmi on making such a cheap product he responds by saying, “सस्ता ? कई रातों की नींद, एक बीवी, एक माँ, एक गांव और ९० हज़ार का कर्ज़ा” (cheap alright.  Just cost me several nights of sleep, a wife, a mother, a village and about ₹90000 in debt).  Delivered genuinely and from the heart from Akshay.  There are a few other good ones but I will leave it to you to hear them when you watch the movie.

Stand out performance from Radhika Apte and Akshay Kumar.  Some typical Amit Trivedi music provides the right garnish over the 140 minutes.  The movie could have been tighter for certain.  Sonam Kapoor is tolerable which is more than one can say for her at most times – but I definitely would not have made her pretend to be a great tabla player.  Too many coincidences again leave you with a feeling of what could have been.

The one thing that kept nagging me through the movie and even before - and it has nothing to do with me being a South Indian - is that the story is about someone from Tamil Nadu.  Balki could have made the movie in Tamil with a Tamil Cast and maybe dubbed it in Hindi to make it work.  Would have been brave and worth commending. I get the rationale of pandering to the masses but it would have made for so much better watching if they had stuck to the regional nuances.

But the negatives kept aside, Pad Man is a good watch.  Take your kids along because they need to know.  One can only hope that the movie inspires many others to do some pathbreaking work.  More importantly, it would make the remaining 400 million women of age to take up more hygienic options.  Because remember – “Woman Strong, Mother Strong, Sister Strong – Then Country Strong”.  7 on 10.  Watch it!!!

Watch the actual trailer on

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Hindi Medium (2017) (Hindi)

A good cast and a good plot / storyline doesn’t necessarily make a good movie.  No other movie in recent times can come close to this adage as much as HINDI MEDIUM.  The movie has Irrfan Khan in it and therefore it must be good. Keep in mind that Irrfan also have non-movies such as Jazbaa, Thank You and Acid Factory amongst others to his credit.  He is human.  He makes mistakes.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Half Girlfriend (2017) (Hindi)

So if you haven’t seen Fitoor Mishra's CommentArré on the Half Girlfriend Trailer then believe me, the 2 minute narration by this man is definitely better than the 2+ hours of Half Girlfriend – Damn I have to stop stating the obvious.  Have a dekko at the Fitoor Mishra CommentArré first  And for those who aren’t familiar, Shuturmurg = Ostrich.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Baahubali The Conclusion (2017) (Telegu Tamil Hindi)

Bijjaladeva (Nasser) in Bhallaladeva’s (Rana Daggubati) presence, along with his cronies, rants and raves about his wife Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan).  He believes that they should kill her and pave the way for Bhallal’s coronation.  He calls Katappa (Sathyaraj) a dog (kutta).

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017) (English)

I have never been a fan of using English as a primary language of communication in a movie that is set in a country where English is not a first language; even more so, in a period drama.  To me, that is where The Zookeeper’s falls short.  There is a dialogue in the second half that made me cringe. When Antonina Zabinski (Jessica Chastain) tells Urszula (Shira Haas), “I have always wanthed tu dhraw”.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Maatr (Hindi) (2017)

The posters and the reviews screamed out that it was Raveena’s magnum opus and no less.  I would not say that it was far from the truth but then again it was nowhere close to a power packed performance that one would have expected from a role that offered so much.  It was controlled in parts but more often than not exposed the gaps that Raveena always had in her armoury (if she had one that is).

Noor (Hindi) (2017)

A mic was thrust upon my face by a couple of rank rookies – much like Noor, in the movie – who were obviously asked to survey people who had watched the first day first show of Noor.  It was a first for me and I was caught off guard and all I could muster is, “Theek Thha”.  Eh? Your 15 seconds of fame and all you could do was say “Theek Thha”???

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Bajirao Mastani (Hindi) (2015)

At the outset, let us first tip our hat or in fact give a standing ovation to a few people involved in Bajirao Mastani.  Fistly – Sriram Kannan Iyengar, Sujeet Subhash Sawant, Yantra Design Studio and Saloni Ankush Dhatrak for some breathtaking Production Design – probably the best we have seen since Mughal-e-Azam!!!

Friday, 18 December 2015

Dilwale (Hindi) (2015)

Ever get a feeling that you tried to do something differently but could not change who you stand for and ultimately landed up making a big hash of everything? If the answer is yes, then Rohit Shetty’s Dilwale will give you that sense of déjà vu.  It would have definitely given Shetty that feeling.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Tamasha (2015) (Hindi)

He started with a very simple movie 10 years back.  One which would qualify to be a sleeper hit.  It was called Socha Na Tha and starred a certain relative of someone with a 2.5 kg fist.  He has released a movie around every 2 years since.  Jab We Met (2007), Love Aaj Kal (2009), Rockstar (2011), Highway (2014) and now Tamasha (2015).  He is one of my favourite writer directors in India today – Imtiaz Ali.