Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

October 26, 2018

Old stock

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 9:58 am

October 26, 2018

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Rohan Mehra, Chitrangada Singh, Radhika Apte

Director: Gauravv Chawla

Name this film: a rookie stockbroker gets his wish of working with his hero, a shrewd millionaire trader famed for his relentless pursuit of wealth. The protégé rises fast under his idol’s mentorship, but sacrifices his integrity as part of his deal with the devil.

You’re thinking Wall Street, aren’t you? Well, I’ve just narrated the premise of Baazaar.

While ripping off the major beats of Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning drama, director Gauravv Chawla and his writers relocate the story from the cutthroat corridors of New York’s financial district to the cramped trading floors of the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Saif Ali Khan slips under the skin of ruthless high-roller Shakun Kothari, who’s not so much the wolf of Dalal Street as he is a shark in sharply tailored suits. Swooping in to make the kill anytime he smells vulnerability, never sparing his friends even, Shakun is a man with a cash register in place of a conscience. Saif plays this self-made, self-taught millionaire as an ‘outsider’ who crashed the party and intends to stay till the booze runs out. His Shakun is suave and sophisticated even while executing hostile takeovers through underhand means, but frequently the veneer cracks to reveal his typically ‘angadia’ dimaag and Gujarati zubaan.

In comparison, the character of Rizwan Ahmed, the ambitious but impressionable small-towner who falls under the spell of the unscrupulous tycoon is a lot less interesting. This is your standard narrative of the poor misguided fellow seduced into selling his soul for a piece of the king-sized illusion, but newcomer Rohan Mehra takes an earnest stab at it.

First-time director Gauravv Chawla knows the world he’s putting on screen, taking us into those high-powered South Mumbai boardrooms and glamorous shindigs where tips are exchanged, rivalries ignited, and companies coldly traded. Some scenes pop, like one in which Shakun destroys a competitor even as a religious ceremony unfolds behind them. Or one in which he brazenly engages a regulatory officer who’s raiding his premises in a cheeky joke.

But scenes like these are few and far between. A big problem is that the film is entirely predictable. The twists can be spotted from a mile away, and the plotting is strictly by-the-numbers. There are way too many songs that stretch the running time, and the filmmakers are unable to bring that tension needed to convey the anxiety of fluctuating stock prices.

Radhika Apte is an unlikely but inspired casting choice as Rizwan’s morally ambiguous colleague and girlfriend, and Chitrangada Singh is appropriately elegant as Shakun’s long-suffering wife, a role that demands little heavy lifting.

It’s Saif Ali Khan’s Gordon Gekko-esque character that is the strength of Bazaar. Saif does amoral characters especially well, and he turns Shakun Kothari into an utterly compelling cold-hearted villain.

Wall Street, with its “Greed is good” punchline, was a timely cautionary tale about the repercussions of limitless greed and ambition. Bazaar, although it makes the same point, does it in far too generic sort of way. It’s far from unwatchable; it just doesn’t demand that it be watched right away.

I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

October 18, 2018

London bawling!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:05 pm

October 18, 2018

Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Aditya Seal, Alankrita Sahai, Satish Kaushik

Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah

I’m not sure there’s a word in the English dictionary that can accurately convey just how boneheaded the characters in Vipul Shah’s Namaste England are. This is a movie about stupid people who do stupid things while stupidly trying to convince themselves and others that they’re doing it for love.

If every idiot character that ever appeared on screen had to take an IQ test, Param and Jasmeet, the protagonists of this film, would rank lower than Harry and Lloyd, the imbeciles from Dumb and Dumber.

Arjun Kapoor is Param, a boy from the Pind, who falls for Jasmeet (Parineeti Chopra) the moment he spots her during Dussehra celebrations. We watch his interest in her, and their subsequent romance, develop strictly over various festivals, which made me want to ask if they have any contact in the months between Diwali and Holi for example. But let’s not digress.

The pair is promptly married after progressive Param promises to support Jasmeet in pursuing a career after they’re wed. In fact he’s such a nice guy he agrees to move to England so she can follow her dream. But an entirely unconvincing series of plot twists leads to Jasmeet heading westwards, leaving Param heartbroken and unable to follow after her.

It’s brave that Parineeti Chopra agreed to play a character so singularly manipulative and unlikeable. She hurts the man she loves repeatedly, she uses him to escape her own strict family, and like Param tells her at one point, she’s so selfish she’s happy to be in a relationship with a city than with a person. Add that to the fact that Jasmeet is also fantastically foolish, and you’ve got a heroine with practically no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Param, meanwhile, is just a doormat with very little self-respect, and not particularly smarter than his wife. Arjun and Parineeti are hardly at the top of their game here, and it’s easy to blame the actors for this film’s shortcomings, but the truth is that “Namaste England” wouldn’t be a lot better if Aamir Khan or Meryl Streep were in it.

Which brings me to wonder how a film like this was made in the first place. Why no one – from the actors, to the studios bankrolling the project, or frankly anyone who’d looked at its ridiculous script – asked why good money was being pumped into such drivel? That will be one of Bollywood’s big mysteries.

In 2007, Vipul Shah made Namaste London with Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, and it was a pleasant enough entertainer with catchy songs and good chemistry between its leads. In Namaste England, Shah and his writers attempt to recreate some of what worked the last time around, including a rousing patriotic monologue by the hero addressed to a snotty India-basher. Alas, this scene has none of the impact of the original. It feels tired, recycled, and rote.

It’s hard to apply a traditional rating yardstick to a film that’s bereft of logic, one that possesses not even a modicum of common sense or plausibility. I’m going to skip rating Namaste England. Yes, this is that kind of awful film.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

Baby bother!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 8:43 pm

October 18, 2018

Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Sanya Malhotra, Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta, Surekha Sikri, Shardul Rana, Sheeba Chaddha

Director: Amit Sharma

Facing up to the fact that one’s parents have a healthy sex life is a scenario most Indians would rather not confront. Because who thinks of their parents as sexual beings? When their bedroom is locked, mom’s probably changing. Or dad’s taking stock of the Black Labels he’s stashed away safely. What else could they be doing?

Badhaai Ho isn’t about a guy walking in on his parents ‘doing it’. No, that might be a bit much even by New Bollywood’s liberal standards. But it does present a scenario that proves nearly as awkward.

The Kaushiks are a middle-class family living practically cheek to jowl in a modest flat in Delhi’s Lodhi Colony. This is a family that’s instantly familiar: the mild-mannered man of the house Jeetu (Gajraj Rao), his long-suffering wife Priyamvada (Neena Gupta), and his overbearing mother (Surekha Sikri) who blames her daughter-in-law for everything that’s wrong in the world. There are his sons too, the rebellious school-going Gullar (Shardul Rana), and twenty-something Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana), from whose perspective the story unfolds.

When his mother becomes pregnant, it’s a cause of much embarrassment for Nakul, who is of marriageable age himself. He can barely put up with the constant sniggering from friends and neighbors. “Hawww, your middle-aged parents are having a baby!” “Hawww, your parents have sex!”

The film’s writers mine this premise for some sharp humor. There are plenty laugh-out-loud moments, especially in the first half, and a bulk of them involve Nakul’s acid-tongued granny, whose response to learning about the pregnancy is pure gold. Veteran actress Sikri is the film’s secret weapon; her cantankerous Amma the film’s most compelling character.

The other big strength of the film is the tender relationship between Nakul’s parents. Gajraj Rao is wonderful as a loving husband hard-pressed to demonstrate his affection for his wife openly. Neena Gupta brings real empathy to the part of a woman frequently made to feel like she’s solely responsible for this ‘shame’. Their chemistry as they navigate this unusual scenario is charming.

Badhaai Ho is on solid ground as long as it stays focused on this couple and the effect their actions have on the family. A joke about the virility of the father-to-be lands perfectly, as do those about using contraception. The dialogues too are crackling. But in the film’s second hour director Amit Sharma commits too much screen time to Nakul’s relationship with his girlfriend (Sanya Malhotra), and throws in a somewhat forced conflict that involves her mother (Sheeba Chaddha).

The film does become a tad sentimental in its final act, but I will admit those bits work too – more than once I had a lump in my throat. The makers tie up the loose ends nicely, and although emotion replaces comedy as the film draws to a close, it’s hard not to stay invested in these folks.

It’s the senior actors who take centrestage, but Ayushmann Khurrana does a bang-on job of playing yet another fellow trapped in a ‘mess’ not of his own making. He’s convincing at every stage, as his Nakul alternates between anger, anxiety, and confusion.

I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for Badhaai Ho. It rings true for the most part, benefits from terrific casting across the board, and uses a winning combination of humor and genuine, unmistakable feeling to go to a delicate place where Hindi films have seldom gone before. Don’t miss it.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

October 13, 2018

Mother smother

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 12:58 am

October 12, 2018

Cast: Kajol, Riddhi Sen, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Kamini Khanna

Director: Pradeep Sarkar

Helicopter Eela stars Kajol as a woman who doesn’t know the difference between mother and smother. She’s every teenager’s nightmare…the sort of parent who doesn’t respect boundaries, who doesn’t understand the meaning of privacy, and whose entire life revolves around her offspring. She’s a ‘hoverer’, and hence the ‘helicopter’ in the film’s title.

It’s an interesting starting point for a story, except that the story of this film doesn’t go beyond the usual clichés. Eela, the character Kajol plays, sacrificed a shot at Indi-pop stardom to start a tiffin business from home when she became a single parent. (Don’t even ask why she’s raising the kid solo – it’s one of the film’s most bizarre plot points!) Her son Vivaan (Riddhi Sen) is a good kid who somehow puts up with her ‘helicopter’ personality. It’s when Eela decides to complete her graduation by signing up for the same course he’s taking in college, that the suffocation gets serious.

Based on a Gujarati play, Helicopter Eela makes a case for women to discover their identity beyond their roles as wives and mothers. It’s a well-meaning idea, but the screenplay (by Anand Gandhi and Mitesh Shah) is driven by contrivances instead of authentic scenarios, and the conflicts never ring true.

A big part of the problem is Kajol. She’s way too intelligent and self aware to pull off a character this clueless. I never bought into the supposedly yawning generation gap between mother and son that’s meant to account for her being so out of touch with Vivaan’s feelings. That, in turn, could have something to do with the fact that she’s presented as a cool, hip, smart-talking modern mom – which, by the way, I totally bought into.

That’s perhaps why the performance doesn’t come off as convincing either. Kajol is shrill, way too animated, and exploding with nervous energy. It’s as if she doesn’t know what to do with this half-baked character and she’s dialing up the performance as a result. When she cries though in the film’s quieter portions, you’ll struggle trying to hold back your own tears.

Her chemistry with her co-star Riddhi Sen works nicely, and Sen, who won the National Award for his performance in the Bengali film Nagarkirtan earlier this year, breezes through the relatively easier role of Vivaan without much fuss.

A chunk of the film’s second half is focused on the comedy that arises out of mother and son attending class together, and while some jokes land the truth is that none of it feels particularly fresh. That’s true of the film too. You’ve seen all this before…and done better too.

I’m going with two out of five.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

Horror high!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 12:57 am

October 12, 2018

Cast: Sohum Shah, Mohammad Samad, Anita Date, Ronjini Chakraborty, Jyoti Malshe

Director: Rahi Anil Barve

Tumbbad, named after a coastal village in Maharashtra where it rains all year round, is many things at once. It has elements of horror and fantasy, it’s a monster movie, there’s a search for hidden treasure, and it also works as a parable about the consequences of endless greed. Frankly it’s a lot to take in, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Director Rahi Anil Barve and co-director Adesh Prasad execute their staggering vision with minimal compromise. Marrying the mythology of disgraced demon god Hastar, with a real-world narrative about a family whose three generations have plundered his cursed wealth, the story spans some thirty years, beginning in 1918 and culminating shortly after Independence. The film is shot and mounted handsomely; the evocative camerawork and remarkable production design contribute to a textured and atmospheric portrait of a mysterious, macabre world.

The imagery on screen is astounding. From the lushness of the rain-soaked outdoors to the claustrophobic recesses of the sprawling, ancestral home that hides more than one creepy secret, we get a varied canvas. A number of scenes in the film’s second half unfold in a live ‘womb’, and these portions are especially impressive for the sheer imagination and inventiveness on display.

Sohum Shah is in solid form as Vinayak, the film’s protagonist, and a man at the centre of an all-consuming cycle of greed. Mohammad Samad turns in a credible performance as his young son, who appears to have inherited his father’s worst qualities.

Tumbbad is scary in portions, there are moments that are grotesque to say the least, and a shroud of impending tragedy hangs over the characters’ heads throughout. The moral at the heart of the story – that nothing good ever came out of greed – isn’t particularly original, but nicely links the folklore and reality threads of the story.

Above everything else this is a wildly original film with a look and feel that is of the highest standard. The middle portion is long drawn and flabby, and there were times I found myself scratching my head unable to keep up. But these are minor grumblings. Tumbbad employs the mythology of the monster and the curse as a kind of allegory for the history of India. It’s a big, bold idea that it doesn’t entirely pull off, but you have to admire the ambition.

If you have an appetite for the experimental, give this film a chance. I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

Star bright

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 12:56 am

October 12, 2018

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron

Director: Bradley Cooper

There have been many stories about the transient nature of fame and success in show business, but none has endured quite like A Star is Born. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga feature in the fourth version of this timeless romantic saga about an A-list star who discovers and woos a young aspiring artiste, only to watch her career rise even as his gradually fades.

The formula still works even 81 years after it was first put on screen…possibly because it’s an irresistible fairytale story (albeit without the happy-ever-after ending), and because it invariably attracts top-tier talent like Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand who starred in previous versions of the film.

The new one is directed by Bradley Cooper himself, who stars as Jackson Maine, a jaded, forty-something rock-god who still sells out entire stadiums but he’s got a steadily worsening alcohol and drug addiction problem. Lady Gaga plays Ally, a plucky wannabe singer who just happens to be performing at the drag club he turns up at one evening looking for a drink.

This is Gaga, scrubbed free of the make-up, and channeling none of that provocative meat-dress persona. Her Ally is gloriously talented, but unconventional looking and lacking in confidence. Gaga’s chemistry with Cooper is undeniable; watching their characters fall in love is one of the film’s great joys. These are people we care about and their romance feels genuine.

Cooper is especially good as a sort of poet-in-rockstar-garb. He plays Jackson as a gin-soaked legend, a tortured artiste rescued by his music. This version of the film downplays the jealousy angle, introducing a conflict that feels more contemporary.

It’s true that the story’s beats are familiar, and like so many films set in the world of showbiz the rhythms of success and failure seem hurried and rushed. But the winning performance from the leads, and the memorable music they make together compensates for the predictable plotting. The two stars performed all the songs live, and good luck trying to get them out of your head, particularly Shallow, which I found myself humming until a few days after.

A Star is Born tells a story that many of us already know (especially those of us that have watched Aashiqui 2), but it does so in a manner and style that feels fresh and totally involving. Although it’s his first time in the director’s chair, Cooper reveals an assuredness while handling big scenes like the concert sequences, and also remarkable sensitivity in the more dramatic portions…like a scene between Jackson and his brother (you’ll know which one) that breaks your heart.

I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for A Star is Born. This is a film about love and music and dreams, and it’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy if you succumb to it.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

October 5, 2018

That voice in the head

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:26 pm

October 05, 2018

Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed

Director: Ruben Fleischer

A wisecracking, sarcastic anti-hero, bent on taking out the villain who turned him into a mutant mess. You’re thinking Deadpool aren’t you? But I’m actually talking about Tom Hardy in and as half-man, half-alien Venom. Despite starring a charming leading man, and featuring some heavy-duty set pieces with a smattering of witty scenes, this movie simply isn’t the fun amusement park ride that Deadpool was.

The problem is that it can’t make up its mind about its tone: Should it be about the hilarious hijinks or the character’s inherently dark undercurrent?

Venom is the famous Spider-Man villain, the webbed superhero’s arch nemesis who appeared in many comic book issues and even in Sam Raimi’s 2007 film Spider-Man 3. But director Ruben Fleischer decides to go for the origin story here – showing us how a “loser”, Eddie Brock (played by Hardy), gets “infected” by the alien and turns into his alter ego Venom. In this movie, he is an anti-hero – Brock lends Venom a sense of right and wrong and together they go after the alien organisms that want to annihilate our world.

Sadly, the film can’t shake off its been-there-seen-that feel, starting with cocky investigative journalist Brock taking on the evil corporation magnate Drake (Riz Ahmed). Drake has transported alien organisms to earth and wants to morph humans with the alien “symbiote”, callously using San Francisco’s homeless folks as lab rats. One of the film’s more engaging scenes is the one in which Brock breaks into the lab and gets infected. Venom can transform Brock into a super-being; an enormous, ugly creature with big snake eyes, a big slithery tongue and big, scary piranha-type teeth. Yes, Venom has enormous strength, but he also shapeshifts, has telepathic powers, and, to Brock’s horror, can control his mind.

The film’s best bits are the ones in which Brock acclimatizes to Venom. The repartee between Brock and the voice in his head reminds you of the Jim Carrey hit Liar Liar, while the physical comedy in which Venom possesses Brock, making him do things that he wants to resist, is reminiscent of another Carrey classic, The Mask.

The film has a thrilling bike chase through San Fran’s zigzag roads, much more enjoyable than the overwrought CGI battle between Venom and Drake’s symbiote Riot. There’s also an insipid love track between Eddie and his estranged fiancée Anne (Michelle Williams, who’s utterly wasted in the role). Even Riz Ahmed, as nefarious space corporation honcho Drake, is forgettable at best.

The film then rests largely on Hardy, who already delivered a memorable bad guy turn as Bane in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Returns. Here he infuses Brock and his alter ego with a witty sort of charm, but it’s not enough to keep you invested.

I’m going with two out of five for Venom. It’s got a few inspired moments, but believe me you wouldn’t miss much if you caught a short snooze in between.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

That sinking feeling

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:02 pm

October 05, 2018

Cast: Aayush Sharma, Warina Hussain, Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor

Director: Abhiraj Minawala

It’s bad enough Love Yatri was always going to be tainted as a vanity project to launch the acting career of Salman Khan’s brother-in-law. But couldn’t they have at least made a half decent film so they wouldn’t be accused of laziness on top of the criticism they already face for exploiting privilege, entitlement, and yes, nepotism? Because, say what you will, Love Yatri is an excruciating bullet to the brain. It’s nearly two-and-a-half hours of predictable, formulaic, charmless love story that has as much spark as a box of matches soaked in the rain.

Its plot scraped together from dipping generously into standard tropes like desi boy-falls-for-NRI girl and strict-father-throttles-daughter’s-romance, the film is basically a rehash of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. There are also echoes of Salman’s own Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, which remains the most lavish cinematic celebration of Gujarati culture.

Love Yatri, which was formerly titled Loveratri as a nod to the nine-day navratri festival that practically consumes the state of Gujarat, opens in the city of Baroda where local slacker Sushrut aka Susu (don’t even ask!) and London girl Manisha, who also goes by the name Michelle, meet-cute during garba celebrations.

Played by newcomers Aayush Sharma and Warina Hussain, Sushrat and Manisha are put through the paces in an insipid, bland love story that you’re not for a moment even remotely invested in. Every beat of the story is familiar, the conflicts come off as outdated and unconvincing, and practically every character is a cliché. Ronit Roy shows up to repeat his angry, disapproving dad shtick, which frankly is getting a little old now. Ram Kapoor, meanwhile, slips into the Anupam Kher mould as the indulgent, irresponsible parent-figure. There are also the hero’s friends – a cynical fellow referred to simply as Negative, and a supportive chap dubbed Rocket.

Written by Niren Bhatt and directed by Abhiraj Minawala, Love Yatri is, for all practical purposes, the Aayush Sharma show. He gets the proper ‘hero’ treatment with soft-focus, slow motion entry, multiple opportunities to lose his shirt and flaunt his body, and catchy songs to show off his dance moves. To be fair, his dancing is on point, and his acting is serviceable but nothing to crow about. The big question is, does he land as the star he’s being positioned as? The answer is no. His co-star Warina Hussain is pretty. And that’s about all one can say.

The blame for Love Yatri rests not with these young actors, but with its makers for setting them up to fail. Frankly even Salman Khan would have trouble making this script work today. I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five.

The only thing that works is the music, especially the Chogada song, which shows up all the way at the end of the film. By which time you’ve practically passed out in your seat.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

Aao twist karein!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 8:51 pm

October 05, 2018

Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu, Radhika Apte, Anil Dhawan, Manav Vij, Ashwini Kalsekar, Zakir Hussain, Chhaya Kadam, Kabir Sajid

Director: Sriram Raghavan

If it weren’t for the macabre nature of the deed, a scene in Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun – in which two people struggle to get rid of a corpse – could well pass off as something straight out of those classic silent era comedies. Never speaking a word, merely signaling instructions even as a piano theme drowns out the silence, the pair in question, or frankly the sheer physical interplay involved, is unmistakably reminiscent of a Chaplin or a Stan & Ollie short.

Andhadhun is a film of many pleasures. And chief among them is the thrill of being constantly surprised. For the better part of the film, you’ll be glued to the screen, reluctant to so much as peek at your phone for fear of missing a crucial moment.

Ayushmann Khurrana is Akash, a blind pianist who somehow finds himself embroiled in a murder. But this isn’t a whodunit. The identity of the killer is never hidden from us, or even why the crime was committed. Like in his best films – Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddar and Badlapur – Raghavan is interested in exploring the darkness that resides within the hearts of ordinary people. A few of the characters in Andhadhun are plain immoral, some are easily corruptible, and practically everyone has something to hide.

Akash is at the center of the story, but there’s a lot going on in the film. In a case of genius casting, yesteryear movie star Anil Dhawan plays Pramod Sinha, a yesteryear movie star still hung up on his glory days. He’s married to the seductive Simi (Tabu), who doesn’t share his enthusiasm for watching his old hits over and over again. Radhika Apte is Sophie, a young woman who befriends Akash, and into this mix Raghavan throws in an assortment of supporting players. It’s worth noting that every character – no matter how small the role – serves a very specific purpose in the script, including a naughty kid, and a seemingly random rabbit.

The unpredictable chain of events in Andhadhun appears to occur in the moment – one accident leading to another, one misdeed triggering the next. But make no mistake, Raghavan and his co-writers (as many as four of them) exercise tight control on the characters and their actions, shrewdly choreographing every movement in the plot as per a larger design. The script uses humor – dollops of the dark kind – as the body count rises, frequently making you chuckle as terrible things happen to people that don’t necessarily deserve them.

In the second half, however, things become especially convoluted, and a bizarre organ-smuggling subplot threatens to derail the film. Thankfully, before that can happen the makers bring the narrative back on track, piling twist upon twist as it heads towards a crackling climax.

Consistently inspired performances from a solid ensemble is the fuel that powers this film. Manav Vij is especially good as the desperate cop who can feel the walls closing in on him, and Ashwini Kalsekar is a hoot as his hysterical wife. Although she isn’t required to do any of the heavy lifting, Radhika Apte is nicely convincing as an innocent and confused love interest, while Anil Dhawan sportingly sends himself up as an exaggerated, slightly sad version of himself. Ayushmann Khurrana really gets into his part, giving us a wholesome sense of Akash, warts and all, never letting his disability alone define him. Ayushmann is in solid form, better than he’s even been.

But, not surprisingly, the film’s towering performance comes from Tabu. Her Simi is a woman of many faces, and the actress makes a meal of the part.

It is to Raghavan’s credit that he packages this sinister thriller with such bells and whistles like popular 70s film songs and nods to Anil Dhawan’s own pulp hits. The result is a deliciously twisted film that delivers more fun than any other Hindi movie this year. I’m going with four out of five for Andhadhun. Don’t miss it.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

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