New Delhi: Like every year, the run-up to Diwali makes for a dull week at the movies.

Ranchi Diaries, starring Himansh Kohli, Soundarya Sharma and Anupam Kher and directed by Sattwik Mohanty, could have been a well-designed film with every possible ingredient of a comic thriller, but turns out to be a nightmare, says The Asian Age. Monanty is a subtle writer, but has a distorted vision. Despite a few comic punches and fillers which are a breath of fresh air, the film tells a small-town tale in the most boring way possible.

For Hollywood fans, biographical comedy drama Victoria & Abdul, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Michael Gambon and Eddie Izzard, comes to India this week. In the shift from comedy to drama, the movie goes wobbly, says The New York Times. The narrative of cross-cultural understanding by way of individual affinity is comforting but ultimately a dubious one. The notion of Queen Victoria as the most progressive figure of the Victorian age is also peculiar. But this is a handsomely packaged collection of such notions, and will provide genteel entertainment to those of a mind to swallow them.

Victoria & Abdul is a pleasant enough entertainment, says Variety magazine. But as prestige period pieces go, it’s far from top-drawer (more like second drawer, or even third), because its cozy lack of enlightenment is echoed in the standard but far from scintillating play of its drama. What we once liked to call “Masterpiece Theatre" movies—an archaic term even before “Downton Abbey" came along—were built upon a certain vital and up-front nostalgia for the age of manners, civilized romance, and courtly Britishness. But Victoria & Abdul is a movie that appears to be specifically nostalgic for the relationship between England and India under the British empire.

In the south, Telugu horror comedy Raju Gari Gadhi - 2, directed by Ohmkar and starring Nagarjuna Akkineni, Samantha Akkineni and Seerat Kapoor, is an average fare despite a promising cast and interesting premise, says AP Herald. A better screenplay could have helped avoid several drags. The first half is a routine horror comedy while the second barely has any scary moments.

Malayalam comedy Lavakusha, starring Biju Menon, Neeraj Madhav and Aju Varghese and directed by Gireesh Mano, isn’t boring cinema, says lensmenreviews.com. But at the same time, predictability in the screenplay and the exhausting length of the movie pull it down.

Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Hindi film Kaun Mera Kaun Tera, Telugu drama Andamaina Jeevitham, Kannada gangster film Kariya 2, Kannada horror thriller Kataka and Bhojpuri film Baap Re Baap.

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