New Delhi: In the run-up to the festive season beginning next month, a bunch of small films jostle for space at the box office.
JP Dutta’s war film Paltan starring Jackie Shroff, Arjun Rampal, Sonu Sood, Harshvardhan Rane, Esha Gupta and Sonal Chauhan on a little known event in India-China relations lacks clarity, and authenticity from its cast, says Gulf News. The plot isn’t particularly engaging either. The conflict, which is an obscure-but-remarkable victory by the Indian army, doesn’t have any sense of urgency. Instead of focusing on context and giving us a wholesome perspective, precious minutes are wasted on giving us an insight into soldiers’ love lives.
Manoj Bajpayee’s psychological drama Gali Guleiyan directed by Dipesh Jain is a disturbing exploration of trauma, fading memory, and life-damning truths blown away by the ravages of time and destiny, says NDTV. Jain is aided in his approach by Bajpayee, an actor who, having internalized the character’s anguish, does not need dialogues to convey the severity of his inner turmoil.
Family drama Halkaa starring Ranvir Shorey, Paoli Dam and Tathastu directed by Nila Madhab Panda is a very simple tale, about what having to defecate in the open means, says The Indian Express. It brings perspective to a problem we are all aware of, but as easily turn away our eyes from. The slum setting is where Panda scores, bringing alive to us the places we pass by every day, even if the suggestion of grime is fleeting.
Laila Majnu starring Avinash Tiwary and Tripti Dimri directed by Sajid Ali is a good break from breezy rom-coms and one that will stir emotions within, says The Times of India. In his first film, Ali takes a very deep look at romance and there’s definitely no space for frivolity here. Towards the end though, the film dips considerably, as it tries to wrap up loose ends.
For the Hollywood fans, American supernatural horror film The Nun directed by Corin Hardy starring Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga and Jonas Bloquet comes to India this week. The film knows exactly what it wants to do, says Variety magazine. Employing just about every trick from the Hammer Horror playbook without wasting time trying to make any sense, it provides a serviceable 96 minutes of standard-issue jump scares and supernatural hokum, keeping the franchise fresh in moviegoers’ minds and raking in some easy cash while we wait for the next proper instalment.
Telugu mystery drama Manu starring Gowtam and Chandini Chowdary directed by Phanindra Narsetti has a strong story to tell, it’s disappointing that it doesn’t build on that promise, says The Times of India. The execution is top-notch but that translates into indulgence soon. The deep faced-expressions, conversations, spelling out almost everything that the characters think, delay the inevitable beyond necessity. Not much is left for the audience to interpret.
Telugu drama C/o Kancharapalem starring Praveena Paruchuri directed by Maha Venkatesh does the impossible by being both succulent and light, says Firstpost. With a steady stream of racy, unforced humour, the idiom and irony of which aren’t always captured entirely by the subtitles. Debut director Venkatesh gives you one of the sweetest, stand-up-and-clap climaxes you’ll see in a long time, with a denouement that will make your heart and mind meet in a head-on collision.
Malayalam revenge thriller Lilli directed by Prasobh Vijayan starring Samyuktha Menon and Aaryan Krishna Menon whose set-up bears a faint resemblance to the Hollywood film(s), Going In Style, is mildly bearable to a point, despite the TV serial-ish picturisation, says The Times of India. But once the hold-up begins, what we start getting is sheer idiocy in the name of comedy. Of course, once again, the sub-plots feel perfectly fine on paper but the scenes aren’t credible enough.
Malayalam crime drama Ranam directed by Nirmal Sahadev starring Prithviraj Sukumaran, Rahman and Isha Talwar is a gripping drama, says Filmibeat. The story isn’t unique or special, but the backdrop brings in that required freshness. The script has followed a realistic format and is devoid of over-the-top heroisms or mass commercial flare that we are used to in routine films.
Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Tamil dramas Padithavudan Kizhithu Vidavum and Avalukkenna Azhagiya Mugam, Telugu movies Silly Fellows, Premaku Raincheck and Sagipo Nestama, Kannada drama Pathibeku.com, Malayalam political satire Theevandi, Malayalam comedy drama French Viplavam, Marathi films Bogda and Pari Hoon Main, and Bengali horror thriller Kuasha Jakhon.