NEW DELHI: Zoya Akhtar’s musical drama Gully Boy single-handedly dominates movie theatres in a week bereft of major Hollywood or non-Hindi local releases.
The film starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt shines a light on those who have, over the years, been made invisible in mainstream Bollywood: the minorities, the underclass, the people who have no access to the fancy arcades of wealthy India, says The Indian Express. Some of the predictable arcs, are, well, predictable. But, ultimately, this is a film to enjoy. In today’s India, to bring a Murad (Singh) and Safeena (Bhatt), their Muslim-ness a matter-of-fact statement, into the centrestage, to give traction to those who live on the wrong side of the tracks, is an act of bravery.
Gully Boy is unconventional in terms of its setting and the larger issues of class perceptions and social prejudices that it addresses, says NDTV but its central narrative construct - a defiant underdog fighting daunting odds in a bid to become a rap star - traverses familiar ground. Gully Boy does not subvert the conventions of the genre, which restricts the game within a predictable arc.
Romantic drama Facebook Waala Pyaar starring Rahul Bagga and Rajesh Sharma directed by Narayan K.Sahu, just like its title, is stale and oh-so-predictable, says The Times Of India. The actors seem to have internalised the 90s idea of romance and refuse to let go of it even though the setting is new age.
For the Hollywood fans, American drama The Wife directed by Björn Runge starring Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, and Christian Slater comes to India this week. It is a smart, supremely watchable and entertaining film, and Close gives a wonderful star turn, says The Guardian. Hers is a fascinating and bravura performance in this hugely enjoyable dark comedy, perhaps her career-best – unnervingly subtle, unreadably calm, simmering with self-control.
The adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s novel of a long-suffering spouse who hits her breaking point is blessed with a tour-de-force performance, says Rolling Stone. Along with the canny script by Jane Anderson, it also doesn’t hurt that, though this portrait of a woman who finds the courage to stand up in a man’s world is set in 1992, this particular story comes at the height of our #TimesUp moment.
Tamil action adventure Dev directed by Rajath Ravishankar starring Karthi and Rakul Preet Singh is a tiresome love saga, says The News Minute. From the trailer, it was apparent that Dev is about an adventure-loving man and his romance with a corporate bigwig. Unfortunately, the film never progresses beyond this one-line description.
Kannada crime drama Bell Bottom starring Rishab Shetty and Hariprriya directed by Jayatheertha is entertaining, no doubt, says The Times Of India. But what is more commendable is the fact that it has those little nuances that ensure the imagery to the time that the film is set in remain intact. Bell Bottom is worth that weekend trip to the cinema halls for its laughs and clever writing.
Malayalam romantic comedy Oru Adaar Love starring Priya Prakash Varrier and Noorin Sherif directed by Omar Lulu is a conventionally planned film, says news18. Lulu’s unidirectional story refuses to rise above the average. It’s the same boy-meets-girl story with the possibility of a love triangle, ensuring Varrier’s viral wink goes in vain.
Marathi biographical film Anandi Gopal starring Bhagyashree Milind, Lalit Prabhakar and Geetanjali Kulkarni directed by Sameer Vidwans isn’t the cracking portrait of a proto-feminist that it needed to have been, but it is always absorbing, says Scroll. While the movie isn’t always smoothly narrated and suffers from melodramatic flourishes, it works best as an unconventional romance between a fanatical reformist and the woman he sought to mould in his own image.
Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Hindi film Hum Chaar, Tamil dramas Chithiram Pesuthadi 2, Goko Mako and Kadhal Mattum Vena, Kannada thriller drama Gahana, Kannada comedy drama Chemistry of Kariyappa, Malayalam drama June, Marathi action drama Shiva, Bengali horror comedy Bhobishyoter Bhoot, Gujarati comedy drama Lapet and Punjabi romantic comedy Kala Shah Kala.