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May 30, 2016 Monday     
Hindi cinema hasn’t got many worth watching psychological thrillers since the genre never got any big encouragement either from the viewers or the makers ever since the origin. And I still recall the pleasant surprise I had watching Nargis’s National Award winning performance in RAAT AUR DIN, based on the split personality disorder performed brilliantly as her final appearance on screen in 1967. In the last few decades, Urmila shined brightly in Ram Gopal Varma’s KAUN playing the obsessed psychopath in 1999, and now we have Radhika Apte entering into that elite list giving a worth applauding performance in PHOBIA as an artist suffering from severe agoraphobia post a tragic incident, developing fear of people, market places and public interactions leading to some serious consequences.
Interestingly, the initial moments of the film dealing with a ‘sexual assault’ and its traumatized victim straight away reminded me of Konkona in 15th PARK AVENUE (2005) and Rekha in GHAR (1978) too for a moment. But the similarities ended right there as the film moved into a completely different direction with elements of horror and black comedy smartly incorporated in its otherwise ‘mind-related’ theme giving it a distinctive edge.
As a psychological thriller directed by Pawan Kriplani (of Ragini MMS fame), PHOBIA works superbly in its first half mainly due to Radhika’s fabulous act and the unpredictable story progression that keeps you guessing throughout creating an enjoyable tension. However when many big loopholes get visible in the second half and some major questions remain unanswered in the climax (ending on a confusing note), the film loses the chances of becoming ‘a masterpiece thriller’ and remains a more than decent one time watch, especially for Radhika alone.
Delivering a knockout performance in her first full length lead role in a Hindi film, Radhika Apte carries the complete movie on her strong shoulders and makes it worth watching for the viewers interested in this specific genre, without any slightest of doubt. The girl is simply sensational and highly impactful playing the suffering character and that too without any sensual sequences usually found in such ventures defying the set format.
Providing her a perfect support we have Satyadeep Mishra effectively playing the close friend, Yashaswini as the energetic college going girl and Ankur Vikal as the suspicious weirdo neighbour doing complete justice to their given roles. Cinematography, background score and editing successfully add a lot into the film’s overall impact and so does the catchy song ‘Roke Na Ruke’ used well, without disturbing the pace.
However it was really unfortunate to see the film slipping in its writing post a taut and engaging first hour contradicting its own conviction. And these visible flaws honestly didn’t match the master vision found in the script’s initial impressive moments. For instance, how can such a serious as well as dangerous (self-destructive) patient of agoraphobia be left alone in a new and big house by her own beloved so carelessly and how can the boy even leave a knife and all similar appliances openly lying in the house despite knowing his girl’s severe condition and intentions? Moreover when it suddenly ends without giving clear explanations of all the illusions, premonitions and hurting events happening in its final hour, one doesn’t feel like highly satisfied while leaving the theatre as if gone through an incomplete experience largely saved by the lead performer.
Having said that, despite these unanswered questions and a good dose of unpleasant blood and gore served with the pinch of horror, PHOBIA still deserves to be seen for Radhika Apte alone, who now officially announces her arrival as the mainstream Hindi film heroine, far ahead of many known names of the industry relying on their family bloodlines.
Rating : 3 / 5
(For friends interested in knowing more about Nargis’s RAAT AUR DIN, here is the link for the article including the references of its foreign inspirations too in details.)
Tags : Phobia Review by Bobby Sing, Phobia Film Review by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
28 May 2016 / bobbysing /
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A deadly sandalwood-ivory smuggler and the most wanted criminal in India in the last four decades; a criminal for whom the costliest and the longest capturing operations were undertaken by the authorities of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; an extremist who had LTTE chief Prabhakaran as his inspirational idol and the killing machine who didn’t even think for a second before shooting a group of people together, certainly deserved an intense, informative as well spine chilling biographical movie unarguably.
So when I heard that RGV is planning to go for the same with a docu-drama style of making similar to his worth watching THE ATTACKS OF 26/11, then I was both glad and excited together being an ardent fan. And further when his KILLING VEERAPPAN (majorly revolving around Operation Cocoon) became a Hit in Kannada language getting rave reviews (to the extent of saying RGV is back) then the excitement got even bigger, waiting for its Hindi adaptation to be released soon (in the same year).
However, it’s really sad that the much awaited Hindi version VEERAPPAN doesn’t turn out to be anything exceptionally great or novel allowing us to declare ‘he’s back’. So the man is not really here with any great movie, but thankfully does manages to deliver an average straight forward biographical film that’s (at least) much better than many of his recent awful attempts in comparative terms.
Interestingly this time it’s the amazing-scary resemblance of its lead actor (to the real VEERAPPAN) that works big time for the movie, much more than any famous directorial touches, out of the box narrative or supporting performances. In other words VEERAPPAN works only when Sandeep Bhardwaj captures the screen as the killing machine and not in any other moment at all to be straight. Though even Sandeep doesn’t display any wide range of expressions throughout the long duration, yet its his strong presence alone that largely saves the film from becoming another forgettable venture from the once ‘trendsetter of our cinema’.
Apart from Sandeep, there is only Usha Jadhav who shows a decent sincerity in her portrayal as Veerappan’s wife along with some new faces towards the end, whereas the rest of the cast boldly exhibits its peculiar standard of acting following a ‘trashy’ mode. For instance, Sachin Joshi confidently keeps conveying I am the hero of the film-as I am the producer too, in his every single scene with a similar expression and Lisa Ray keeps making weird faces into the camera playing her own games. Plus it was really strange to see the gang members running along the man, treated as some unimportant extras called in just to stand in the frame.
Technically generating a ‘deja-vu’ kind of feeling through all familiar sequences, camera angles, character movements and jaded chases, VEERAPPAN isn’t any breakthrough film from a director back in form, crushing all the big expectations raised by some recent ‘must watch’ interviews, like the one taken by Anupama Chopra.
Yes, we do get some glimpses of the maverick in the brutal killings, scenes of ripping off ivory tusks from the dead elephants, the hiding with the kid and the waterfall sequence. Yet the script doesn’t have any grand narration on the subject knocking you down with its every next scene like the RGV we remember from the 90s. It keeps proceeding on the same pace without building any kind of mystery around the controversial figure and then simply ends missing that much awaited exciting thrill or extreme characterization mostly seen in the director’s innovative films. As a matter of fact, Ram Gopal Varma’s JUNGLE (2000) had a much better suspenseful mystical aura built around a similar negative figure with a different name.
In addition, I personally found the presentation quite confusing as it was not clear, how the writer-director actually wished to portray Veerappan before his audience. To give you an example, at one end he is shown to be brave as hell, whereas on the other he quickly runs away without caring about his unarmed wife when the police attacks their hideout unexpectedly. Besides, watching Lisa Ray standing in a police interrogation room right behind the person being beaten to death honestly forced me to think that, was this really a scene from a Ram Gopal Varma film?
Moreover the background music that always has been a forte of RGV ventures, disappointingly turns into loud scary score after a fine start and I really wish the veteran had used “Veer veer veer veer Veerappan” repeatedly in the film just like he did in his earlier gems (instead of going for an unnecessary variety).
Summing up, this is neither any century nor a 50 hit by our not-in-form famous batsman. But it isn’t a duck either and the man does score a good 30-40 runs showing that he has still not lost the touch and is bound to get back soon in the coming years.
Rating : 2 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 just for the perfect lead casting that couldn’t be any better.)

[And now I would honestly like to know what actually went wrong in this Hindi version falling way short of its original Kannada hit KILLING VEERAPPAN in comparison.]
Tags : Veerappan Review By Bobby Sing, Veerappan Movie Review by Bobby Sing, Hindi Version of Killing Veerappan in Kannada, Hindi biopics, Biographical movies in Hindi cinema, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
27 May 2016 / bobbysing /
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The day wasn't that exciting as I was expecting it to be with the clear winner being 'WAITING' followed by PHOBIA (and FREDRICK still to be seen).
WAITING - Do watch this beautiful, thought provoking film, particularly for its inspiring, realistic dialogues (though mostly in English).
PHOBIA - A well enacted, experimental thriller that isn't great, but still an interesting one time watch.
VEERAPPAN - Sadly RGV is there only in parts, in this brutal but average bio-pic made on the man who ruled till decades.
SAADEY CM SAAB (Punjabi) - A decent plot lost in a clumsy writing-execution, loud performances and unrequired songs.
(Detailed Reviews Coming Soon)
Tags : This Friday Releases One Line Reviews from Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com
27 May 2016 / bobbysing /
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