‘Mirzya’, ‘Queen of Katwe’ highlights of the week

Besides Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s ‘Mirzya’ and Mira Nair ‘s ‘Queen of Katwe’, there’s British-American-Belgian 3D fantasy adventure drama ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ for Hollywood fans

A still from ‘Mirzya’
A still from ‘Mirzya’

New Delhi: Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Mirzya, starring newcomers Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher, is visually spectacular, but also spectacularly stupid when it comes to dealing with star-crossed lovers, says Gulf News. The way Mehra has juxtaposed two love stories—one set in ancient times where clan wars and men on horseback battling with bows and arrows are common and the other a forbidden courtship set in contemporary times—is interesting and introduces a novel way of storytelling. The recurring title score of Mirzya is haunting and some of the romantic scenes are poetry in motion. But it’s the content that jars. Read more

Koimoi.com agrees the film is dramatic, poetic and visually appealing, but fails to strike a chord. The lyrical narrative is difficult to fathom. Also, while the folk tale makes sense, its modern day take seems too archaic. Read more

For Hollywood fans, there is American biographical sports drama Queen of Katwe, directed by Mira Nair and starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and Madina Nalwanga. The film deserves praise, both for the story it tells and how it chooses to tell it, says The Atlantic. While inspirational biographical films are some of Hollywood’s favourite projects to make, this one stands out for being a rare major studio movie with an all-black cast (including a female lead) that’s directed by a woman of colour. Statistically, such movies barely exist. So when they do exist and they happen to be gorgeously shot, well-acted and with an original story to tell, it feels like a clear victory for the industry, filmmakers and audiences alike. Read more

The Guardian agrees the film has enough zest and intelligence to carry through. There’s one too many bits of basic chess lingo co-opted into feel-good life mottos, yet the game itself often feels happily incidental to the narrative of the film. What’s instead key is the earnestness and the exuberance, executed with a conviction that makes this that rare thing: a kids’ hobby movie where something really is at stake. Read more

British-American-Belgian 3D fantasy adventure drama Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, directed by Tim Burton and starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield and Chris O’Dowd, is a greatest-hits hodgepodge, says A.V. Club, mashing together X-Men, Peter Pan, Groundhog Day, Harry Potter, Back To The Future and the director’s own Big Fish and Beetlejuice. But what the storytelling lacks in innovation it often makes up for in sheer quantity—the endless supply of bizarre stuff Burton packs into two convoluted hours. Read more

The young adult novel is adapted in classic Tim Burton fashion, though not with much originality, agrees The Guardian. Full of baroque curlicues and a macabre steampunk supernatural vibe, Miss Peregrine’s is Burton almost to the point of self-parody. Read more

In the south, Kannada-Telugu bilingual romantic action film Jaguar, directed by Mahadev and featuring Nikhil Gowda and Deepti Sati, reeks of predictability, says telugucinema.com. Grappling with a formula-based storyline from the word go, all focus seems to be on presenting action sequences with as much style and grandeur as possible. The rich visuals, imaginative action and choreography deserve appreciation. But the climax sequences lack tempo and there is no detailing around the hero’s expressions and demeanour. Read more

Prakash Raj’s Telugu-Kannada bilingual film Mana Oori Ramayanam, starring Raj along with Priyamani, is a simple tale lacking any commercial elements, says 123telugu.com. Made for a select audience, Raj’s superb performance and Pruthvi’s role are some major assets. On the flip side, the serious subject might not work for family and mass audiences. Read more

Director Girish Kulkarni’s Marathi comedy Jaundya Na Balasaheb, starring Kulkarni along with Sai Tamhankar, attempts something ambitious, looks for meaning in the randomness of life, tackles a huge cast and uses humour to advance its agenda but there is something fundamentally lacking, says Pune Mirror. The film takes on many issues but the shallow attempt makes even the suggestion of an actual change completely absurd. Read more

Marathi drama Family Katta, directed by Chandrakant Kulkarni and starring Vandana Gupte, Dilip Prabhavalkar and Sai Tamhankar, has a strong emotional core and is likely to hold a mirror and coerce us into rethinking the relationships in our own lives, says Pune Mirror. The inevitability of the actions of individual characters is often questionable and while some may agree with the presented solutions, others may find the idea convoluted. While the film smoothens things out near the climax, its overall impact will depend on our ability to take a leap of faith. Read more

Several releases this week haven’t elicited any reviews yet. These include Tutak Tutak Tutiya, starring Prabhu Dheva, Sonu Sood and Tamannaah Bhatia and directed by Vijay, releasing in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu; Hindi film MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart; Tamil romantic comedy Remo; Tamil action film Rekka; Telugu romantic comedy Premam; Kannada romantic comedy Dana Kayonu; Malayalam comedy Thoppil Joppan; Malayalam action adventure film Pulimurugan and Bengali movies Byomkesh O Chiriyakhana, Gangster and Zulfiqar.

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