Tubelight Movie Review

Cast: Salman Khan, Sohail Khan, Om Puri, Zeeshan Ayub, Zhu Zhu, Matin Rey Tangu
Director: Kabir Khan There’s a whiff of a promising idea at the heart of Tubelight, a film built on good intentions and a flimsy conceit. It’s intended as an uplifting tale about the “taakat of yakeen” (or the power of self-belief), but it’s weighed down by a wafer-thin plot, cloying sentimentality, and a central performance so labored, so contrived it’s painful to watch.

Salman Khan has made a career and achieved dizzying heights of success playing parts that have barely required him to break a sweat. Ironically, one of Bollywood’s most controversial stars found his groove playing various iterations of the mild-mannered, pure-hearted simpleton, most notably in Kabir Khan’s entertaining and emotionally impactful Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

Tubelight, which Kabir has officially adapted from the American film Little Boy, about a tiny-built eight-year-old who becomes convinced that he can bring his father home from the trenches of World War II through the sheer strength of his faith, remodels the central role to accommodate the 51-year-old superstar.

Salman plays Laxman Singh Bisht, a slow-witted but endearing fellow in the mould of Forrest Gump. He’s a child trapped in a man’s body; naïve enough to cheerily embrace the idea that faith can move mountains – literally. Laxman lives happily with his protective younger brother Bharat (Sohail Khan) in a small town up in the hills in North India. Frequently mocked by the local bullies for his lack of sharpness, Laxman is nevertheless loved by the townspeople…much in the same way that we tend to love the three-legged stray that has wandered into our street.

The film is set in 1962, although the only effort by way of attention to detail seems to be ensuring that there are no mobile phones in sight. When Bharat enlists in the army to fight in the war between India and China, Laxman is heartbroken. As the war rages on and uncertainty looms over his brother’s fate, Laxman must put his faith to the test.

These are bold ideas and they rest completely on Salman’s ability to portray the character without a hint of artifice. And he tries. Which is the kindest thing I can say about his performance. Far from pulling off naïve and innocent, Salman comes off sounding and behaving like a patronizing adult goo-goo-gaa-gaa-ing to a baby. In the more intense, emotional scenes, he’s clearly out of his depth, and you watch transfixed as he struggles like a non-swimmer, flailing arms and all, who’s been thrown into the deep end.

On the upside, there’s a charming subplot about the friendship between Laxman and a little boy named Guo (Matin Rey Tanga); their scenes together are the film’s best moments. Guo and his mother Liling (Chinese actress Zhu Zhu) are Indians of Chinese origin, and their arrival in town during the Sino-Indian war is met with anger and violence. Kabir, who has co-written the film’s screenplay, seizes the opportunity to address racism and question our notions of patriotism and nationalism.

The director surrounds his leading man with an ensemble of dependable actors who don’t disappoint. The late Om Puri, Brijendra Kala, Yashpal Sharma, and particularly Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub are all in good form. To be fair, poor Sohail Khan has very little to do but he delivers without any major hiccups.

A film like Tubelight which espouses the power of faith and belief through the uncorrupted eyes of a man-child needed a lightness of touch that is conspicuous by its absence here. Tubelight is well intentioned but overtly manipulative and doesn’t so much tug at your heartstrings as it punches you in the face demanding that you care. It’s also over-long at nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes, and excruciatingly slow and boring in parts.

It’s a crushing disappointment on all counts. I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five.

Rating: 1.5 /5

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Transformers-The Last Knight

The latest instalment of popular Transformers franchise, The Last Knight, is here. The sci-fi action film based on Hasbro’s toy line of is the fifth film from the franchise and a sequel to 2014 Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Directed by Michael Bay, the film features Mark Wahlberg returning from Age of Extinction, along with Josh Duhamel and John Turturro reprising their roles from the first three films, with Anthony Hopkins joining the cast.
The film follows Optimus Prime finding his home planet, Cybertron, now a dead planet, where he discovers that he was responsible for the destruction. He finds a way to bring the planet back to life, but in order to do so, he needs to find an artifact, on Earth. Bringing the fight to Earth, Prime now has to fight his friends and humankind in order to mend his guilt. Sameeksha from News18 is inside the theater to find out if the fifth instalment stays true to the franchise and in fact adds more to the franchise’s storyline.

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Bank Chor Review

Director: Bumpy
Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Vivek Oberoi, Sahil Vaid, Rhea Chakraborty Bank Chor begins as a usual comedy caper with unfunny jokes landing at the end of every 3 minutes (roughly) and eventually turns into a thriller, not so intriguing. The film sees an ensemble cast, who doesn’t have much to do – except for playing dimwits in the first half and extra smart lads in the second. The entire first half, it seems, was meant to impart them wisdom to justify the title Bank Chor.

Champak (Riteish Deshmukh) and his sidekicks Genda (Vikram Thapa) and Gulaab (Bhuvan Arora) are in a bank to pull off a robbery which is visibly too tough for them. They haven’t probably picked a pocket before and here they are, behind the masks of ‘Swami, ghoda and haathi’ to rob a bank named the Bank Of Indians. While there are dimwits inside, waiting outside is CID cop Amjad Khan (Vivek Oberoi) who devises a ‘smart’ strategy to save the hostages, prevent the robbery and arrest the robbers (who he thinks to be repeated offenders) and claims that one of his men is inside amid the hostages. Meanwhile, two other people – an eminent corporate employee and Home Minister, elsewhere in Mumbai are too miffed with the robbery and that’s when you sense a bigger plan in play here. Why is CID employed for a mere bank robbery? Why does a gang of three innocent chaps sort to robbery? Why is the undercover cop not capable enough to prevent the burglary? What are the political and corporate connections in play here? As the film unfolds, one finds answers to these questions.

bank-chor-1Image: Youtube/ A still from Bank Chor

Interestingly enough, just when you’re almost 20 minutes into the film, the incompetent robbers start regretting their decision to enter a bank and you, the decision to buy the film ticket. The comedy and the jokes, to be precise, are so unfunny that more often than not, you find yourself looking at the watch out of boredom. There’s plenty of clichéd jokes to put you off the hook right in the beginning. The only moments, that you’ll find chuckle-worthy perhaps, are the war of words between Delhi’s Genda and Gulaab and Mumbai’s Champak, both sides defending its city and insulting the other’s.

While Riteish plays the innocent and helpless robber, Bhuvan and Vikram are his overtly smart aides. The three are so embroiled in their own confusion of what to do and how to do, that a new hero, in the face of Sahil Vaid emerges and steals whatever bit of limelight the film deserves. He is probably the only actor who brings in the thrill in Bumpy’s over-ambitious film. Riteish does justice to his character and pulls off his usual expressions just fine but doesn’t have much to play with this time. Vivek, on the other hand, is mostly either pulling his mustache or growling at reporters and police officers apart from the occasional flaunting of his action plans outside. Rhea Chakraborty, who plays the reporter, adds little to the film. There’s also Baba Sehgal playing himself onscreen. One that he does zilch to enhance the overall humour of the film, second he’s thrown off the plot too soon to be even considered. Perhaps, one should’ve dealt with the curious case of Baba’s presence in the film rather than focussing on the main plot.

bank-chor-1Image: Youtube/ A still from Bank Chor

However, what’s wrong in this film is not the casting or the acting, but the decision of basing a full-fledged film on a theme so trivial. The first half doesn’t interest much but from the scene right before interval, the film gains both – pace and a slight sense of thrill. Twist after twist and revelation after revelation, even though predictable, begins to interest you a bit. But fades away too soon to label it intriguing or even thrilling for that matter.

Bank Chor is a misfit in both comedy and thriller genre but it sees Riteish and Vivek undertake something different from what they’ve been doing too much off late – slapstick adult comedies and just for that, you might want to watch the film.

Rating: 1/5

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Cars 3 Review

Few studios have delivered as consistently as Pixar, banging out inventive, emotionally resonant films since starting with Toy Story in 1995. Occasionally they’ll come up with one that falls short of their own high standards, and Cars in 2006 was the first of a handful of films that we shall politely describe as Pixar Lite. It’s a subgroup that includes such underwhelming titles as Brave, Monsters University, and Cars 2.

But third time’s the charm for the studio’s most polarizing franchise, which appears to have finally found its groove with an installment that’s less frantic and more thoughtful than its predecessors. Closely following the beats of that other memorable hit Rocky III, Cars 3 tells the all-too-familiar story of an over-the-hill pro out to prove himself against a world that’s changed.

When we first meet him in the new film, former Nascar champion Lightning McQueen is still racing. But his status as an unsinkable superstar is challenged by a new generation of cars led by Jackson Storm, whose sleek, modern design and enhanced power threatens to send our hero into permanent retirement. There are no major surprises in the way that the plot unfolds. This is a standard-issue underdog story, and director Brian Fee packs in all the tropes of a traditional sports movie. The formulaic arcs notwithstanding, it’s McQueen’s emotional journey that you connect with…from his reliance on his old mentor, to his equation with a young trainer who’s been assigned to him. As the trusted voice of Lightning McQueen, Owen Wilson nicely captures the insecurity of an ageing star who’s on the cusp of redundancy. It’s a genuinely moving performance that’s full of feeling. There are some terrific set pieces too, particularly an explosive smash-and-crash rumble at a dirt track, and dazzling race sequences.

It’s a tad long at 109 minutes, and the overarching theme of mortality feels unsuited for very young children. But it’s a movie that has its heart in the right place, and ends in a bold, surprising climax that you probably won’t predict.

I’m going with three out of five. Cars 3 is no masterpiece, but it’s worth your time.

Rating: 3 / 5

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