May 032018
 

It’s a shame really that Omerta lacks depth, never giving an insight into Omar’s criminal designs

Omerta
Rajkummar Rao in a still from Omerta

Omerta
U/A, Drama
Director: Hansal Mehta
Starring: Rajkummar Rao
Rating: Ratings

In a scene in the final act, Hansal Mehta laid open the pivotal reason why he attempted a movie on Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. A bunch of Pakistani officers who have to arrest Omar for killing Wall Street Journal scribe Daniel Pearl, put it perfectly – You have the making of leader; you are an educated man who can command respect unlike scores of illiterate Jihadis. Which I believe would have been the trigger point for Mehta to consider making a movie on the man. Tracing the journey of this London School of Economics graduate, Mehta walks us through the incidents that could as the highlights of his eventful life – Bosnian genocide, his arrest in India after a failed attempt at kidnapping foreign tourists, his involvement in Kandahar attack, 9/11 and eventually the brutal execution of Pearl. It would have been dreadful if Mehta staged it as a cautionary tale; understandably he didn’t want to glorify Omar. But it isn’t the best thing that at the end of the film, you don’t quite know who Omar is. A large part of the problem lies in the fact that Mehta or his writer Mukul Dev never delve into how a seemingly well-raised, educated man turned to fundamentalism. But skimming through incidents is how Mehta approaches the character. Omar’s ideals are never elucidated; his involvement in 9/11 and Kandahar are conveyed in background narration, sans dialogues, and his marriage to a trophy girl from the creme de le creme of Pak circles is gratuitous. Mehta makes no effort to analyse the psyche of this dreaded criminal. In a folly, I even assumed that Omar was smitten by the rush of power when he tells his Abba (father), how much people respect him.

A fair share of work is, thus, on the shoulders of Rajkummar Rao. You buy into how earnestly committed he is to his part. Never rising above the script, but filling large loopholes of the screenplay with his nuanced act. He demands one to remain invested in the film. The turn of the character from a naive boy consumed by hatred, indoctrinated into Jihad by training to an icy, cold terrorist is reflected in Rao’s demeanor. Of course, he nails it in the scene where he murders Pearl. With a cannibalistic thirst, Rao thrusts the body with a shovel, eventually beheading the scribe and holding up his cut head with a visible satisfaction, will make chills run down your spine.

It’s a shame really that Omerta lacks depth, never giving an insight into Omar’s criminal designs. As a thriller, it’s pacy and yet, distinctly half-baked and stiff. I assure you, this movie could be about one of most dreaded men of our times but this film tells us nothing about the man that a quick google search wouldn’t. As for Rao, a friend rightly puts it – He was good even in Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana; what’s special about this then?

View gallery: Rakul Preet Singh, Saiyami Kher, Bhumi Pednekar watch Omerta

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Sep 302017
 

On the auspicious occasion of Dusshera, Bollywood celebs have taken to Twitter to wish love, light and happiness to their fans and followers.

Here’s what the stars tweeted:

Anil Kapoor: May the victory of Good over Evil inspire you towards having your own victories! #HappyDussehra #VijayaDashami

May the victory of Good over Evil inspire you towards having your own victories! #HappyDussehra#VijayaDashami

— Anil Kapoor (@AnilKapoor) September 30, 2017

Akshay Kumar: May all your problems burn along with the effigy of Ravana and may you get success in everything you do. #HappyDussehra

May all your problems burn along with the effigy of Ravana and may you get success in everything you do. #HappyDussehrapic.twitter.com/QJT6Z60kFu

— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) September 30, 2017

Bhumi Pednekar: Wishing all you beautiful people a very #HappyDussehra .May the good in your life take over all the evil.Light,love and happiness

Wishing all you beautiful people a very #HappyDussehra .May the good in your life take over all the evil.Light,love and happiness ðÂ?Â?ðÂ?»

— bhumi pednekar (@psbhumi) September 30, 2017

Sridevi Boney Kapoor: Wishing everyone a very Happy Dusshera. May this day bring victory, happiness and peace to all. #HappyDussehra

Wishing everyone a very Happy Dusshera. May this day bring victory, happiness and peace to all. #HappyDussehra

— SRIDEVI BONEY KAPOOR (@SrideviBKapoor) September 30, 2017

Vivek Anand Oberoi: May this Dussehra burn all your worries with Ravana and bring you and your family loads of happiness! A very #HappyDussehra to all of you!

May this Dussehra burn all your worries with Ravana and bring you and your family loads of happiness! A very #HappyDussehra to all of you! pic.twitter.com/BvyFiLTx82

— Vivek Anand Oberoi (@vivek_oberoi) September 30, 2017

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Sep 192017
 

Bhumi PednekarBhumi Pednekar. File pic

We spotted Bhumi Pednekar near the canteen at Yash Raj Studios, Andheri, recently. She looked unrecognisable in track pants and sans make up.

Akshay Kumar
Akshay Kumar

When she realised that Toilet: Ek Prem Katha co-star Akshay Kumar was shooting for The Great Indian Laughter Challenge elsewhere in the studio, she dropped in to meet him. The two kept chatting till the Khiladi had to give his shot for the TV show.

Also see: Remember ‘Khallas’ girl Isha Koppikar? This is how she looks 15 years later
Remember 'Khallas' girl Isha Koppikar? This is how she looks 15 years later

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Sep 122017
 

Movies today can be considered one of the best ways to convey a social and historical message. 2017 has been all about specific genres, out of the box storylines and a great shift towards more thought-provoking scripts.

From mocking the Indian legal system and the conventional societal norms to inflicting vengeance, the first half of the year gave us some of the most unusual films. Here is a list of top 10 movies which have created their own niche all this time.

10. Haraamkhor

A teacher falling for a student is not something uncommon, but from the Indian cinema’s frame of reference, this was a bold attempt. Characters played by actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Shweta Tripathi unveils the reality and shocking truths.

9. Kaabil

The perfect married life of a blind couple ends when the wife commits suicide. ‘Kaabil’ serves the revenge story on-screen where the lover seeks revenge against the corrupt system after his life turns upside down.

Best Bollywood Films Of 2017 So Far© Filmkraft Productions Pvt. Ltd

8. Raees

Shah Rukh Khan plays the role of a brutal murderer and a reigning gangster who controls the booze trade. The film is said to be inspired from the life of gangster Abdul Latif, however, the film-makers have denied any such links. The film is a sure treat for Khan lovers and promises a good script.

7. Jolly LLB2

Uninspired sequel of the first hit, it is a story of a lawyer satirizing the Indian legal system. The foremost reason for the movie emerging a winner at the box office was Akshay Kumar’s magnetic appeal and the plot strong enough to hold the viewer’s attention.

Best Bollywood Films Of 2017 So Far© Fox Star Studios

6. Mom

This film is a clear portrayal of a mother’s love. After an unfortunate accident with the daughter, the mother has to choose between what’s right and wrong.

5. Anaarkali of Aarah

Playing a dancer who performs on lewd numbers, Swara Bhaskar has impressed the audience with her accent and raw acting skills. The protagonist is an epitome of valiant feminism. This film stands out both in terms of performance and script.

4. Lipstick Under My Burkha

The highly opinionated film ridicules the male chauvinist society. Blatantly bold, this movie points out the depth of women issues.

Best Bollywood Films Of 2017 So Far© Prakash Jha Productions

3. Toilet- Ek Prem Katha

A critically acclaimed film, a satirical comedy emphasizing the elimination of open defecation. The story takes an interesting turn when the female protagonist played by Bhumi Pednekar leaves her husband’s house after discovering that there is no toilet in his village.

2. The Ghazi Attack

Based on true events during the Indo-Pak war of 1971, the film is based on mysterious sinking of PNS Ghazi. With a praise-worthy plot and amazing water action sequences, the movie is a technical brilliance.

1. Hindi Medium

The movie has a bitter-sweet storyline of the middle-class parents struggling to admit their daughter to a good English medium school. This film clearly mocks the excessive importance given to the English language in our country.

Best Bollywood Films Of 2017 So Far© T-Series

All these movies have not only raised the bar of Indian Cinema but they have made us believe that people are moving back to good scripts and thought-provoking themes. We wish Bollywood continues to film original and strong content.

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Aug 192017
 

Akshay Kumar in 'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha'Akshay Kumar in ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’

Hindi film ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’, which attempts to spread the message of eradicating open defecation in an entertaining vein, surpassed the Rs 100 crore on the eighth day since its release in India, its makers said on Saturday.

Directed by Shree Narayan Singh, the film features Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar and Anupam Kher in key roles.

“Day 8: Akshay Kumar’s Toilet: Ek Prem Katha crosses Rs 100 crore,” said a statement issued on behalf of the film’s makers.

The movie, which hit the screens on August 11, minted Rs 100.05 crore till Friday.

Its success has — in Akshay’s wife Twinkle Khanna’s words — helped the box office to break free from constipation after big ticket films like “Jagga Jasoos” and “Jab Harry Met Sejal” failed to elicit the expected response.

Bhumi, who plays the role of a woman who demands a toilet in her husband’s house, is ecstatic.

“Today is a special day and I really want to thank our audiences tht laughed and cried with us, believed in us and gave us love. Shree sir, thank you for choosing me to be your Jaya and making this film.You truly are amazing,” she tweeted.

“Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” also takes forward Akshay’s golden run at the box office after his entertainers “Airlift”, “Housefull 3”, “Rustom” and “Jolly LLB 2”.

According to trade analyst Taran Adarsh, “‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ is Akshay Kumar’s eighth Rs 100 crore grosser… The second highest after Salman Khan (11 Rs 100 crore grossers).”

Meanwhile, Twinkle posted on social media a beach selfie and in the backdrop is a man relieving himself. The accompanying tongue-in-cheek caption — true to MrsFunnybones’ style — read: “Good morning and I guess here is the first scene of ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha Part 2’ #WhenYourWalkGoesDownTheToilet.”

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Aug 112017
 

Do you have a personal toilet or are your part of a ‘lota party’? For people who are alien to the concept of ‘lota party,’ it means a group of women going to relieve themselves in the farms or behind the bushes before the sun rises. In short, ‘jaha jagah mile, waha hug lo’. 

Well, I bet for many of us, even the thought of that sounds like a nightmare. But what if you had no other option? Have you ever thought that having a toilet in your house is a privilege? If not, then maybe it’s time you do. 

For most of us, the issue of 58% of India defecating in open is not our concern but director Shree Narayan Singh shows us the real picture of what our society has to deal with. ‘Toilet’ clearly shows how our religious beliefs, corruption, and government are responsible for converting India into a literal shit-hole. 

A Review OFf Akshay Kumar's ‘Toilet – Ek Prem Katha'© Twitter

Inspired by a true story, ‘Toilet – Ek Prem Katha’ is about Keshav (Akshay Kumar) And Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar). The story begins when Keshav falls head over heels in love with Jaya, who lives in a neighbouring village in Uttar Pradesh. They get married but Keshav forgets to mention it to her that he doesn’t have a toilet in his house and that causes a ton of issues and is the driving force of the plot. Keshav tries his level best to do what his wife wants, but his father and other village members are against the idea of anyone having a toilet in the house. The issue of basic needs becomes the root cause for Jaya to file for a divorce. 

The film is a satirical take on how in the name of religious beliefs and traditions we justify the act of defecating in the open. And it just isn’t a stubborn persistence of ideology, these beliefs and traditions haven’t even caught up to modern sanitation yet. 

A Review OFf Akshay Kumar's ‘Toilet – Ek Prem Katha'© Twitter

Looking at the concept, it sounds more like a satirical take on a serious issue but director Narayan Singh has made it a very engaging and an entertaining film as well. The makers have done both the work of creating awareness but keeping the humorous element alive in the film. 

It’s fascinating to see how the issue of a toilet that might not even sound like a problem to us, forms the gist of the story. The film clearly states how it is essential for us to build toilets for our women; after all, it’s a necessity. 

A Review OFf Akshay Kumar's ‘Toilet – Ek Prem Katha'© Twitter

You will undoubtedly love Bhumi and Akshay’s chemistry. Akshay is the backbone of the film and like always, he brings out the best of acting skills, making us love him even more. Bhumi on other hand is extremely efficient, honest and so natural. You are bound to love them toegther. 

From Anupam Kher, Sudhir Pandey to Divyendu, all the other actors are great additions to the film. The first half is crisp and entertaining but it is the second half of the film that feels a bit too stretched. However, despite some glitches, Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar’s film, ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ feels like a ray of sunshine after all the dull releases that have taken place this year. 

A Review OFf Akshay Kumar's ‘Toilet – Ek Prem Katha'© Twitter

This film makes you laugh, think and contemplate. For many of us, this film might look and sound unbelievable because we haven’t faced such sanitation issues hence it is necessary to get a ‘whiff’ of what the other 58% of the population does in the open.

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Aug 112017
 

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha Movie Review‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ poster

‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’
U/A: Satire/Drama
Director: Shree Narayan Singh
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar
Rating: 4/5

There is a point of no return in the plot when we, the audience, become so immersed in the protagonist’s crusade for a better tomorrow that we are cheering and stomping our feet in encouragement for that bright sunshine-drenched tomorrow of which Sahir Ludhianvi dreamt in ‘Pyaasa’ and ‘Phir Subah Hogi’.

Our protagonist Madhav’s battle is not really reformatory in the way the great heroes of our times meant it to be. In Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Satyakam’, when the protagonist Dharmendra marries the rape victim, he does it with the least amount of self-congratulations. In ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’, Akshay Kumar’s mission to build a toilet for his wife is compared with Shah Jahan building the Taj Mahal for his wife.

I wonder who should feel more affronted by such flamboyant self-glorification: Moghul history or Modi politics. Either way, there is much too much self-congratulations and heroic hurrahs playing at the foreground of this eventful drama, accompanied by an over-punctuated background score.

Akshay Kumar means business. This film is not so much a vehicle to promote the Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat campaign as to promote Akshay Kumar, period. He milks the film for all his trademark chuckles and giggles, making Madhav seem like a Basu Chatterjee hero with a certain sly and smooth sinewiness to his heroism.

It is debutant director Shree Narayan Singh who proves you don’t need extra sinewiness to shine in every frame. He is the Basu Chatterjee and Hrishikesh Mukherjee of our times. He makes hygiene and sanitation seem humorous without trivialising or tempering the issue. The sorority evidenced among the village women as they troop off in the morning for nature’s call is captured with a respectful laugh.

Here is proof that a film can make a social point without wearing a constantly sullen demeanour.

Throughout the lengthy film, the director maintains a kinetic momentum. He has his character’s feelings on his fingertips. He digs into the high-points in the drama with the disarmed delight of a kid scooping into a bowl of ice-cream. He negotiates the dips and curves in this bombastic tale of a man who must fight ‘sanskaar’ (no no, not the kind favoured by the censor board) to build a toilet for his newly married wife.

A warm earthiness and a nimble wisdom pervade the storytelling. The plot is a pyramid of high-pitched drama captured in the basic colours of nature’s components by cinematographer Anshuman Mahaley (he had shot the first ‘Jolly LLB’ film using an equally gritty palate). That the director is also the editor, helps him to remain on top of the commodious material. But the film could have been shortened post-interval where some of the toilet-building drama gets repetitive and shrill.

Though the high-pitched propagandist tenor and tone of the narration become overpowering after a point — as does Akshay Kumar’s exaggerated humanism — the film keeps us absolutely close to its heart as Madhav and Jaya’s love story acquires a universality by dint of their intimate affinity to the grassroot level of existence.

Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar play against one another in sparring spasms, their age difference notwithstanding. They look like a couple. The real performing sparks fly when the supporting cast — Sudhir Pande, Divyendu Sharma, Anupam Kher — are around to lend heft to the socio-political argument on how women in rural India need dignity before empowerment.

This is essentially a cause-without-pause melodrama set at an opulent octave. Happily, director Shree Narayan Singh counterbalances those shrill notes of self-righteousness and propaganda with just the right doses of warmth, humour and irony.

Don’t look for subtlety in the storytelling in ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ and you will come away a happy viewer with some relevant thoughts on how non-metropolitan India exists without caving into a depression.

Watch ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ trailer

[embedded content]

Also see: Photos: Sara Ali Khan, other celebs at ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ screening
Photos: Sara Ali Khan, other celebs at 'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha' screening

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Aug 102017
 

Whenever it comes to promote his films, Akshay Kumar has always gone the extra mile.

Lovely visiting the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force this morning. Nothing but deepest respect for their never-dying spirit! pic.twitter.com/UiKeNN6b3K

— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) August 9, 2017

And in his promoting spree, his immense support to the army personnel is very evident too

The 49-year-old actor, who was in the national capital to promote his upcoming movie ‘Toilet Ek Prem Katha,’ met the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force.

Taking to Twitter, he posted a picture with a caption, “Lovely visiting the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force this morning. Nothing but deepest respect for their never-dying spirit!”

Varun Dhawan was also present at the occasion.

Meanwhile, Akshay is doing all it takes to raise curiosity around his film. He recently collaborated with Kaya Constructs to make public toilets in many cities, including Delhi and Mumbai too.

Helmed by Shree Narayan Singh, the movie also stars Bhumi Pednekar in a pivotal role.

The film releases on August 11.

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Aug 072017
 

The upcoming episodes of COLORS’ show Ek Shringaar… Swabhimaan will see Naina (Ankita Sharma) and Karan (Samridh Bawa) crossing paths with Bhoomi (Bhumii Pednekar) and Keshav (Akshay Kumar) who are having a fight over building a toilet in their village.

They meet Naina and Karan who share their journey of love and how they overcame various difficulties and obstacles to support each other. They advice Keshav and Bhoomi to stop fighting and collectively work towards their goal of bringing about a change in the society.

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Aug 042017
 

Akshay Kumar

Actor Akshay Kumar, who is surprised by how 54 per cent people in India don’t have toilets in their homes, released a toilet anthem titled ‘Toilet Ka Jugaad’ from his upcoming film ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’.

Akshay released the song on Twitter. “Next stop Agra! Unveiling the Toilet Anthem, #ToiletKaJugaad at @Live_Hindustan event! @ToiletTheFilm@psbhumipic.twitter.com/cg6PKTlfqY

“Do you know that 54 per cent of people living in India do not have a toilet attached to their homes? Hence, I requested the music director to compose a song with this important message,” Akshay said. “The intention to create this song was to make people realise the importance of having toilets in their homes. I want everyone to educate their kids so that they can grow up and bring this big change,” he added.

‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’, directed by Shree Narayan Singh, deals with the need of sanitisation in India and is based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign. It features Bhumi Pednekar with Akshay and is slated for a release on August 11.

WATCH THE SONG HERE:

[embedded content]

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