Reviews 2022

Darlings Review – A dark comedy with a social issue landing well. 

Darlings is about a woman finding her inner voice and understanding the difference between love and violence.

Debutant director Jasmeet K Reen makes a brilliant attempt to balance the act. The film has a very unusual combination of the cast, Alia Bhatt in the lead, with Shefali Shah, Vijay Varma, and Roshan Mathew in supporting roles.

The film revolves around a lower middle-class Muslim mother and daughter who veers between crises and amusements.

Badrunissa Shaikh(Alia Bhatt) is married to her lover Hamza Shaikh (Vijay Varma), who hits her daily. He is profoundly alcoholic, and that is never changing. 

Badru is a submissive, complaining, doting wife. Her aspirations are limited to her home with her husband. When Hamza chomps on stones that have been unintentionally cooked in rice Badru has made, Badru extends her palm for him to spit into. Badru believes that their love for each other and, eventually, a child will save their toxic marriage, which is impossible since Hamza is deceitful, aggressive, insecure, and can change colours like a Reptile. He appears to work as a ticket collector and begins his day by cleaning his boss’s toilet. His home is the only space where he can show his superiority.

Vijay Varma gives a stellar performance as this cruel man. He goes very smoothly with every shade of Hamza.

Alia Bhatt as Badru will remind you of Safina Firdausi, which she played in Gully Boy. The only similarity between these two characters is their looks. Rest they are opposite of each other.

Shefali Shah, who plays Badru’s mother- ‘Shamsunissa,’ popularly called “Khalla,” is as terrific as in her other performances. Khalla knows men like Hamza very well, as she had a similar experience in her married life. Alia and Shefali rock on screen as a mother-daughter duo.

Another highlighter in the narrative is Zulfi(played by charismatic Roshan Mathew), their apprentice whose love life gets a fortuitous track.

The script is written by Jasmeet K Reen and Parveez Shaikh (who wrote the exquisite Queen).

The dialogues in the film are co-written by Jasmeet K Reen, Parveez Shaikh, and Vijay Maurya, which gives a finishing touch to the film’s writing. Maurya also appears as the cop towards whom Badru and Khalla go. When he advises Khalla that times have changed, she laments, “Twitter walon ke liye duniya badal gayi hai” (The society may have changed for those who utilize Twitter. Not for us).

Jasmeet’s creation of Chawl in Mumbai is as realistic as Dharavi in Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy

Cinematographer Anil Mehta (who previously worked in Lagaan, Saathiya, Veer-Zaara 

and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna) captures every element surrounding the characters and them in the frame. He even uses the narrow spots to highlight Badru’s repression- the way she is trapped in her world, which she signed up for. From romantic fantasy, her red dress, nail polish, and high heel shoe transition into a rebellion. 

The film’s color palette is made of dark shades to display love, revenge, passion, and frustration through dark humor.

The mischievous title song of the film, sung by Mika Singh, which has a retro theme, will make you laugh out louder and make a few moves on its’ beat. Arijit Singh’s La Illaj makes a graceful fit into the narrative.

Darlings is the first film co-produced by Alia Bhatt’s production house Eternal Sunshine, and it’s a beautiful way for her to get started as a producer.

Darlings is now streaming on Netflix.

Maja Ma Review: A silly social-comedy that goes flat.

Maja Ma is a package of love, drama, comedy and a social issue all at once. It is the first Indian film to release on Amazon Prime Video. The film has a long list star cast- Madhuri Dixit Nene, Gajraj Rao, Ritwik Bhowmik, Shrishti Srivastava, Barkha Singh, Sheeba Chaddha, Rajit Kapoor and Simone Singh. The film is directed by Anand Tiwari, who worked in films like Go Goa Gone, Barfi, Finding Fanny, Love Per Square Foot and many more.
Pallavi Patel(played by Madhuri Dixit) is a middle-class, middle-aged woman who is a dutiful homemaker, a devoted wife and a loving mother. She is also a dancer and… READ MORE

Phone Bhoot is a tacky horror-comedy with a creative home décor.

Horror and comedy are two different genres; one scares you, and the other makes you laugh. But when these two genres come together as horror comedies, “Phone Bhoot” is just that. they do both simultaneously. But in Bollywood, that’s rare. When I last remember, horror comedies are Amar Kaushik’s ‘Stree’ (2018 film) and Anees Bazmee’s ‘Bhool Bhulaiya and Go Goa Gone, but the rest were just comedies with mediocrity.... READ MORE

Monica, O My Darling Review: The film’s soundtrack hits a sixer in this game of Snake and Ladder.

Monica, O My Darling is a film about greed, lust, murder, blackmail, class conflict, corruption, and jealousy. The film is adapted from the 1989 Japanese novel ‘Burutasu No Shinzou’ by Keigo Higashino. The protagonist Jayant Arkhedkar(played by Rajkumar Rao), or ‘Jay’ is an ordinary man from an average Maharashtrian family. He works at a robotics company named ‘Unicorn’. Director Vasant Bala creates a world of a snake and ladder game where… READ MORE

The Guardians of Galaxy Holiday Special Review: Marvel’s pre-Christmas treat to its fans.

Christmas eve is next month, and Marvel Cinematic Universe is back with another television film. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, by James Gunn, is a spinoff of ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. The first two volumes of the film are out, and the third one is expected to be released next year(in 2023).

The plot is set in the post-events of Avengers Endgame and Thor: Love and Thunder. Peter Quill(played by Chris Pratt), AKA Star-Lord, is lonely and heartbroken with the fact that Gamora (played by Zoe Saldaña) is dead and continues his travel through space. It’s Christmas time, and he is missing the planet (earth) he left years ago when he was a kid. So... READ MORE

Freddy Review: Kartik Aaryan gives another unusual performance after Dhamaka. 

After Dhamaka (directed by Ram Madhvani), we can see Kartik Aaryan giving his most exceptional performance in and as “Freddy.” As a psychological crime thriller, Freddy’s plot is not so unusual. 
Freddy Ginwala(played by Kartik Aaryan) is a shy, socially awkward and lonely man with a traumatic past. Though being a successful dentist, he is a loser in his personal life, especially in his love life. He goes on a date with women through a matrimonial site, but sometimes, women don’t show up, or he gets pranked. He gets mocked and humiliated by many …READ MORE

Qala Review: A musical masterpiece with aesthetic visuals.

As an artist, everyone has insecurities and fear. Even if they cope, some people pull them down with either criticism or comparison. But what keeps an artist motivated is their will and passion for practising their art for the rest of their life. Qala is that art, and Qala Manushree(played by Tripti Dimri) is that artist. Set in … Read more