‘Kadvi Hawa’, ‘Ajji’ prominent releases this week as ‘Padmavati’ postponed
New Delhi: With Padmavati, the big-ticket Bollywood offering of the season, indefinitely postponed, a bunch of small releases vie for attention in movie theatres.
Director Nila Madhab Panda’s Kadvi Hawa, starring Sanjay Mishra, Ranvir Shorey and Tillotama Shome, is an engrossing watch, says The Times Of India. For a serious film on global warming, it’s non-preachy and entirely watchable. The chemistry between Shorey and Mishra is darkly entertaining. Panda never tries to shove global warming in your face. He shows how the changes happen gradually, like a failing crop. But the effects of it, like the loan a farmer takes, linger on.
NDTV Movies calls the film a pill so bitter that no palliative can lessen the sharp aftertaste that it leaves. And that is precisely what it is meant to do: force the audience to think long and hard about the dangers that lie ahead of mankind if climate change isn’t taken seriously and addressed on a war footing at all levels. Delivered without any sugar-coating, Kadvi Hawa blows the lid off our collective indifference to the worsening impact of wobbly weather systems on lives and livelihoods in ecologically vulnerable regions.
In Ajji, starring Smita Tambe and Abhishek Banerjee, director Devashish Makhija effectively creates a phantasmagoria, but relies too heavily on stylised cinematography and grungy locations rather than well-sketched characters to convey the idea of hell on earth, says Scroll. Outrage over the rape of children is easily provoked, but it takes hard work to make a movie about the justice that is due to them. Ajji takes the easy way out.
Julie 2, starring Raai Laxmi and directed by Deepak Shivdasani, deploys an unusual level of melodrama to create an aura of progressive ruination around its protagonist, says ZEE News. It finally slumps to a groaning halt. But not before executing an end-game that attempts to take the saga of the casting couch to a suspenseful level. An old-fashioned high-pitched melodramatic take on an actress’s journey from zero to wow, the film has plenty of unexpected twists and turns in the plot, not all of them convincing.
For Hollywood fans, American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy adventure Coco, directed by Unkrich and featuring the voices of Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt and Renée Victor, comes to India this week. Vulture calls it a charming if belaboured adventure right out of the Pixar playbook. Coco is as indebted to Ratatouille as it is to Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, but the combination of sensibilities and the colourful, semi-spooky milieu of the afterlife realm where most of the film is set is not at all unwelcome.
Mystery drama Murder on the Orient Express, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Branagh along with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp, is a ride worth skipping, says The Atlantic. The retelling of the classic Agatha Christie tale is visually sumptuous yet otherwise inert, a series of what are essentially cameos by performers far too gifted to waste their time like this. It’s not a bad movie per se, merely one that feels self-indulgent and thoroughly unnecessary.
There is also biographical war drama Thank You for Your Service, directed by Jason Hall and starring Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Beulah Koale, Amy Schumer and Scott Haze. Striving for the elusive goal of political neutrality, Hall has made a less jingoistic film than American Sniper, says The New York Times. Instead, Thank You for Your Service is a macho weepie, whose message—that wars are permanent for those who fight in them—has broad appeal.
Marathi drama Happy Birthday, starring Shashank Shende and Arun Nalawade and directed by Narayan Gondal, has all the necessary elements of a big-ticket launchpad, says The Times of India. The film, which clocks two-and-a-half hours, is replete with many songs, fight sequences, comedy tracks and romance. What ruins it, though, is the unnecessary comic track that is seen as a must have. The comedy is lame and cringe-worthy and the film might have seemed less longer had they been trimmed.
Several releases this week haven’t elicited any reviews yet. These include Tamil comedy drama Guru Uchaththula Irukkaru, Tamil action adventure Indrajith, Telugu drama Ippatlo Ramudila Seethala Evaruntarandi Babu, Kannada action thriller Athiratha, Kannada drama Mombathi, Malayalam comedy drama Paipin Chuvattile Pranayam and Malayalam drama History Of Joy.