Film wrap: ‘Parched’, ‘Banjo’, ‘Wah Taj’ highlights of the week

Besides Leena Yadav’s drama ‘Parched’, there’s Antoine Fuqua’s action film ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and Sharon Maguire’s romantic comedy ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ for Hollywood fans

A still from ‘Parched’
A still from ‘Parched’

New Delhi: Director Ravi Jadhav’s musical action drama Banjo, starring Riteish Deshmukh and Nargis Fakhri is exhausting and confusing, says Gulf News. Should it be a formulaic action drama or a feel-good drama about underprivileged musicians living in Mumbai slums seems to be the debate raging in Jadhav’s head. The film should ideally have been a showcase for Deshmukh to flex his acting muscles in a solo hero project but strikes all the wrong notes. Read more

Bollywood Life agrees Banjo would have been a really good entertainer, had it stuck to what the title had promised, instead of straying to other sub-plots. The confused film is further let down by lazy writing, snooze-worthy editing and average performances. Read more

Director Ajit Sinha’s Wah Taj , starring Shreyas Talpade and Manjari Fadnis, is clean, simple and engaging, says The Statesman. Ostensibly a comedy drama, the film slowly delves into the plight of thousands of farmers across India who struggle to make ends meet. Read more

Director Leena Yadav’s drama Parched, starring Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte and Surveen Chawla, is an irresistible beast of a film, says NDTV Movies. As incendiary as it is entertaining, it goes where Indian cinema rarely does without becoming exploitative—into the erogenous fantasies of long-suppressed village women who are no longer willing to countenance their restrictive veils. Tackling themes that are both universal and elementary, the sheer verve that the writer-director packs into her compelling tale of three women and a child bride battling rural India’s gender gridlock gives the film a distinctive texture and quality. Read more

For Hollywood fans, director Antoine Fuqua’s action film The Magnificent Seven, starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio, comes to India this week. There isn’t anything nearly clever, funny or insightful enough in the script, says Yahoo Movies. It feels like no one ever quite agreed on what the tone should be. The pieces are there but never quite come together. By the time the credits start rolling, it’s a little too late to do anything besides make you even more nostalgic for what came before. Read more

Variety magazine adds that Fuqua is trying for John Ford meets Sergio Leone: a funky classical sweep, with room for delirious shoot-outs. The trouble is that he mimics the trademarks of those directors without their élan, and the plot that was once catchy is now rote. Read more

Romantic comedy Bridget Jones’s Baby, directed by Sharon Maguire and starring Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth, is a third helping of comfort food, lukewarm but edible for anyone in the mood, says A.V Club. It is a much better follow-up to the original than The Edge Of Reason and Zellweger shows that she can still play this part with charm, gamely keeping up as the movie keeps jumping ahead in her nine-month ordeal. Read more

Variety magazine agrees the film is a sincere effort that could perhaps have done with a few more really sharp gags. Still, it’s a pleasant enough change from the irrational, wildly overwritten jealousy that drove the plot of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. The sequel is caught in something of a bind as far as the zeitgeist is concerned. Should the filmmakers attempt to service fond memories associated with the turn-of-the-century character or opt to update with modern dilemmas? Bridget Jones’s Baby aims to do both, resulting in something of an identity crisis. Read more

3D computer-animated adventure comedy Storks, directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland and starring the voices of Andy Samberg, Katie Crown and Kelsey Grammer, is a buoyant, delightfully madcap animated romp, says The Hollywood Reporter. While it doesn’t manage to hit the gleefully inspired heights of Lord’s and Miller’s The LEGO Movie, the team’s irreverent brand of humour is very much in play here, combined with a measured, organic sweetness that inescapably goes with the territory. Read more

The newest incarnation of Warner’s animation house, Warner Animation Group, debuted with The Lego Movie, and while Storks isn’t produced in the same distinctive imitation-stop-motion style, it does attempt to adopt the Lego style of rapid-fire visual and verbal delivery, says A.V Club. This works well enough in speeding through the story’s convolutions, but less so in the landing of jokes. The filmmakers’ assumption appears to be that if lines are said very fast and in silly voices, they will become funny. Read more

In the south, Tamil romantic thriller Thodari, directed by Prabhu Solomon and starring Dhanush and Keerthy Suresh, is let down by its half-baked script and weak characters, says The Indian Express. While the first half struggles to build the idealistic romance, the second half is chaotic amusement that ends up messing the storyline. Read more

Several releases this week haven’t elicited any reviews yet. These include director Krishnadev Yagnik’s comedy Days of Tafree: In Class. Out of Class, Tamil romantic comedy Geethaiyin Raadhai, Telugu romantic comedy drama Majnu, Punjabi film Teshan and Marathi movies Mr & Mrs Unwanted and One Way Ticket.

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