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A still from ‘Nil Battey Sannata’  (A still from ‘Nil Battey Sannata’)
A still from ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ (A still from ‘Nil Battey Sannata’)

‘Nil Battey Sannata’ a small spark in a dull movie week

The intimate and bittersweet moments and judiciously chosen cast make ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ worth a watch

New Delhi: Director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari’s Nil Battey Sannata, starring Swara Bhaskar, Ratna Pathak Shah and Pankaj Tripathi, is a heartwarming, mostly winning tale of dunces and dreamers set in Agra, says Scroll.in. The choppy editing is somewhat of a distraction and the larger message about the working class climbing up the socio-economic ladder not very interesting, but the intimate and bittersweet moments and judiciously chosen cast make this worth a watch. Read more here

Hindustan Times adds that it’s not just a touching story of a mother and her daughter, but also a great chapter on the importance of education. Bhaskar sinks into her character, making sure along with Iyer Tiwari that the film is completely shorn of the kind of pretension one sees in a large number of Bollywood movies. Read more here

Laal Rang, directed by Syed Ahmed Afzal and starring Randeep Hooda, Akshay Oberoi and Piaa Bajpai, is half-baked and unconvincing, says The Times Of India. The drama in the dark, murky film on blood theft runs out of steam soon enough and unnecessary melodrama takes over. Despite having all the makings of a macabre thriller, Syed goes for drama and fails to deliver something memorable. Read more here

Koimoi.com adds that the film isn’t a must-watch but tries presenting a serious issue with a commercial twist. At the same time, it doesn’t get many details of the blood mafia right since it isn’t a docu-drama. Of the cast, Hooda is especially charming. Read more here

Comedy drama Santa Banta Pvt Ltd, directed by Akashdeep Sabir and featuring Vir Das, Boman Irani and Lisa Haydon, expends great effort to ensure a chortle-free comedy over 122 minutes and succeeds spectacularly, says Scroll.in. The actors have to deal with sloppy writing and mind-altering contrivances, and what seems like a paid vacation in Fiji further inhibits their need to earn the respect of the average audience member. Read more here

For Hollywood fans, American fantasy adventure The Huntsman: Winter’s War, directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and starring Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Nick Frost and Sam Claflin, comes to India this week. Variety magazine calls it a rhythmically flat, seemingly committee-helmed franchise outing that never decides on its dramatic centre. The sheer abundance of on-screen ornamentation isn’t quite enough to make it a beautiful film and too many designing hands reflect the shapelessness of what we see. Read more here

Empire adds that visual inventiveness and spectacular casting can’t quite salvage a muddled fantasy epic. Allegiances switch back and forth, obvious twists come lolloping over the horizon and it all starts to resemble stray fantasy elements cynically thrown into a whirring blender with the lid off, making a perplexing tangle of different timelines and retconned plot threads. Read more here

Marathi film Bho Bho, directed by Bharat Gaikwad and starring Prashant Damle, Subodh Bhave and Sharad Ponkshe, is not the standard mystery film and deserves credit for originality, says Pune Mirror. The concept isn’t bad but the details and inconsistencies in the plot prove to be problematic. Although Damle excels in comedy, he doesn’t fit the character profile. Read more here

A few releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Hindi thriller Aakhri Sauda: The Last Deal, Tamil drama Amma Kanakku, Telugu action film Sarainodu and Punjabi film Vaisakhi List.

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