Half way through the year already and we can say some films have already set the cash registers chiming. Padmaavat, Padman, Baaghi 2 and the recent Sanju have alone made the industry almost 700 crores already. Like every year we do get the odd few films that go unnoticed but do find a life on television or now we can say the digital platform. Over the years, thanks to the accessibility of 4G, the quality of digital material is marking a new life for films, some already have announced the films to releasing direct to digital in which the medium to small budget films will get a breathing space then rather producers battling for 1-2 shows in multiplexes. So here are some of them films that maybe we have missing throughout the year.
Akshat Verma, of Delhi Belly fame makes his directorial debut set on a monsoon night in Mumbai, dealing with various characters and plots that brings together a wacky black comedy about greed, lust, love and hope. Many of regular cinema visitors missed this one due to lack of exposure it got before its release. It went through a bumpy ride, firstly the film being stuck at the censor board for various issues as it took months for the board to give it a green signal. The second being that the film was supposed to be a direct to digital release but upsetting the feelings of many and to please many, it just had to be released theatrically. Being lost within the hype of Padmaavat and released during the early weeks of January with the working class still recovering from their New Year’s Hangover, Kaalakaandi just missed the bus at the cinemas. One could argue that Kaalakaandi suits the digital life more and will more than likely will build its life there. Despite its issues, the film does make an enjoyable weekend watch.
What works: The humour, punch lines and of course Saif Ali Khan!
What doesn’t: Flaws in the screenplay, runs out of steam in the second half
My Birthday Song
Released a week before the grand Padmaavat, a big section of the audience missed out on this opportunity of watching probably one of the best psychological thrillers in recent years. Sadly over time, we haven’t really seen very many psychological thrillers, films in the genre that have set the benchmark like Kaun, Ugly, Ek Hasina Thi, one can say that My Birthday Song finds its slot amongst these. Made on a very substantial budget with combining energies from actors turned producers Sanjay Suri and Samir Soni, My Birthday song turns out to be very captivating and thought-provoking watch. Interestingly, Samir Soni who is remembered as the ‘bad son’ from Baghban actually has turned out to be ‘good director’ with his directional debut. About an ad agency owner who has a nightmarish-of-a-day on his 40th Birthday trying to unravel the puzzle of the strange happenings in the day but what occurs is him falling into a whirlpool of complexities in which he cannot escape. Sanjay Suri aces as the protagonist as a confused, scared and a person full of guilt. Be sure it’s one on your watch list!
What works: Well executed thrilling plot, well directed, great performances
What doesn’t: deserved a better climax
Anurag Kashyap’s saga about a boxer from Bareilly (no sorry, no barfi this time) who struggles in getting recognition from the Boxing Federation due to his personal issues with the upper caste jatts (Played by a menacing Jimmy Sheirgill) in which then he hires a tough-to-match coach (played by a brilliant Ravi Kissen) who teaches him about the do’s and dont’s of the ring as well as life. The film was the opening film at JIO Mami 2017 at Liberty Cinema which came the source of attention but sadly the film struggled for a theatrical release and even sadly opened to empty halls! But that also could have something to do with the fact that it’s Anurag Kashyap’s longest film he has made and people preferred watching it at home!
What works: Great performances, great narrative, well executed
What doesn’t: Jimmy Sheirgill!
One wonders why it was advertised as Blackmail/Blackmale during the promotions when actually everyone in the entire film including women just blackmail each other! The film was ready for release when it was announced publicly that Irfan Khan has been diagnosed with cancer, despite that there still wasn’t any pity holders who came to the cinema to see the film, maybe a majority of the audience who saw the film just found it too strange or didn’t get the ‘black’ humour, who knows? But we can certainly say it was definitely an enjoyable watch, possible an even be more of an enjoyable fare for married couples! Interesting fact actually – Rakesh Roshan was to produce this film back in 2015 – we kind of know why Roshan senior had backed out as it would have been like eating Sabzi with Chopsticks!
What works: Interesting plot, humorous moments
What doesn’t: Too much Blackmailing to the core!
Okay, firstly it’s not the best film of the year, nor is it a great film but yes, it certainly is not the worst. Its plot is actually lifted from a Zee TV Episode of Saturday Suspense (Remember? the goody-goody version of Zee Horror Show) which says a lot in its self how illogical things can get but we can say that the director has made a decent attempt at a thriller set in the exotic locations of Mauritius. The strength of the film lies in keeping the audience within the guessing game till the last second of the film. As things begin to unravel, you can say to yourself that it was an entertaining fare despite the 101 flaws in the film. It’s a decent watch for Friday drunk evening with your pals!
What works: Keeps you on the edge of your seat till the end, good performances
What doesn’t: Childish-like plot