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May 25, 2017 Thursday     

OK JAANU is the second official remake of a Maniratnam film by director Shaad Ali (post SAATHIYA/2002) that unfortunately fails to generate any kind of excitement, passion or love amongst its viewers, especially the youngsters, lacking the much-awaited novelty factor.

Going back to the experience of watching the original O KADHAL KANMANI, I liked the Tamil film for its spirited execution (direction), outstanding soundtrack and the four lovable leading actors reaching out to the viewers with their natural acts. The film majorly worked because of a genius like Maniratnam calling the shots and the music by A. R. Rahman, but it still didn’t have something entirely new or fresh exploring a unique idea that hasn’t been there on the screen before in a young love story.

Honestly that was the reason I got pretty confused hearing the news of its remake being made in Hindi for the viewers who had already seen several similar stories in the last couple of years and had rejected them too.

Thinking on these lines, I strongly believed Shaad must have made some major changes into the script differentiating it from the most recent ones (like Tamasha, Befikre or more) and the young at heart Gulzar surely would have contributed a lot through his magical lyrics for the melodies composed by Rahman (like many earlier Maniratnam film’s soundtrack dubbed in Hindi).

However every such positive expectation got brutally crushed by this completely lifeless film made by Shaad Ali once again going for a frame to frame remake of the original. Yes we cannot expect him to deliver the outstanding Maniratnam touches and the emotional masterstrokes, but I never expected they would also dare to mess with the film’s original hit soundtrack too in such a way including the lyrics of the veteran Gulzar. Ironically the music itself was the backbone behind the success of its Tamil original, which strangely seems to be so ordinary and technically inferior too (sound wise) if compared to the immensely likeable Tamil tracks (despite the language issue).

Keeping apart the status of an official remake, even if one watches OK JAANU as a new individual release (without making comparisons with the original), it still fails to make any kind of impact on the Hindi belt audience, since it neither delivers in terms of entertainment nor any novel or fresh storyline presenting the same seen before sequences and dialogues till we thankfully get to see something bearable in the last 20 minutes. The repetitive interactions keep on going even after the intermission without any plot revealed and that’s where one begins to think that,
“Why the hell this was remade when it had nothing new to deliver different from the already seen?”
Also the song "EnnaSohna" comes at a point when one wishes to say... ‘Oh please no more song now... and just come to the damn point cutting this silly crap’.

Moving ahead from the music and direction, even the performances don’t give you much to write about despite having Naseeruddin Shah and Leela Sampson lovingly playing the elderly couple living alone in a big house. Interestingly Leela played the same role a bit differently in the original too, but there she had Maniratnam directing the scenes adding his incomparable depth and insight to her touching portrayal. Also Prakash Raj was too good in the original in comparison to Naseer in this lackluster remake made with a pretty casual, overconfident and uncaring vision. May be a few more scenes focusing on Naseer and Leela alone would have helped the film to establish a much better connect with the viewers.

In the lead, Shraddha progresses as an actor and Aditya Roy Kapoor looks fresh and nice too playing his carefree character. But with nothing new in the storyline or their individual roles, even their pretty faces lose their charm post the initial 30 minutes. Basically because their director and his DOP remain more interested in the look, colour and the frames following an ineffective writing.

In all, if you are not willing to ruin the experience of enjoying a good emotional film with all fine performances and an upbeat, melodious soundtrack too, then watch the original O KADHAL KANAMANI (with English subtitles) instead and forget about this poor, un-required remake doing yourself a favour.

Rating : 1.5 / 5

For friends interested in reading the review of O KADHAL KANMANI, its available at the following link:
O KADHAL KANMANI (Tamil) - Review by Bobby Sing

Tags : OK JAANU Review by Bobby Sing, OKJAANU Film Review by Bobby Sing, Maniratnam Film Remakes in Hindi, Shaad Ali remaking Maniratnam films, 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
15 January 2017 / bobbysing /
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When a film is planned specifically talking about an ugly communal chapter of our history post three long decades, then the makers are ideally expected to come-up with something relevant to say, adding into the already known, reaching out the younger audience in particular born in the years after. Moreover an important subject like this essentially needs to be handled with an exceptional extra-care without provoking or misinforming the present generation of the actual violent events, maintaining the peace & harmony.
Unfortunately 31st OCTOBER doesn’t turn out to any important film as mentioned above. On the contrary it neither serves any purpose of information nor is willing to make any strong convincing comment on that particular time period ruining the opportunity given. In fact it’s nothing different form just another routine Friday movie simply interested on focusing on its lead couple’s miraculous (filmy) escape from the attacking goons and therefore deserves no brownie points for its chosen subject rudely screwed through its ineffective, feeble and predictable onscreen portrayal.
In other words, spending a good 25 minutes on the casual build-up in its 102 minutes of duration, 31st OCTOBER is a too simple film made on a too complicated and horrifying subject talking about those ghastly attacks on Sikhs beginning from the evening of 31st October (around AIIMS, South Delhi) and continuing till the next 3 days in the city, putting the entire nation to shame.
As a matter of fact, it’s not only a simple film but also a poorly conceived, written and researched project which marginally works only due to the emotions involved in a few sequences in its second half. The film neither has any fresh angle to reveal nor has any exceptional vision to convey the history to the younger generation of the country born after the mid-80s.
In short there seems to be no other purpose or vision behind the making of this film except a personal attachment with its subject of its emotional producers, who most probably wished to make a film on ‘Delhi-84’ as some kind of duty to be fulfilled towards their own people and community.
However I seriously wish they could find a better, mature and knowledgeable team researching, writing and making the project, performing much more than just some professionals hired for a job.
Anyway without going into the details of those ‘ugly days’, would like to mention why 31st OCTOBER fails to reach the level of even an average project made on a still burning religion-based subject unexpectedly.
A. The film doesn’t work as it tries to present everything in a typically filmy style, adding (sad) songs right in the middle of all tension-filled sequences along with many clichéd characters and last minute miraculous escapes of the hero that don’t appear to be realistic or natural from any angle. In fact throughout the film you just feel like watching a highly dramatized filmy version of the terrifying events far away from anything close to the scary actual happenings. 
B. Adding a few look-alike faces like a one with black glasses (pointing towards H. K. L. Bhagat) and another with French-cut beard (reminding you of Jagdish Tytler), the makers try to sensationalize the issue without incorporating any noticeable brave sequence or some powerful revealing dialogues. Probably it was all done keeping in mind ‘The Censors’. But if you are fearfully making an attempt with such obvious concerns in mind then there is no use of taking up a subject like ‘Delhi-84’, delivering an ineffective and weak film unclearly and timidly pointing towards ‘the justice promised’, when even generations have changed of those hundreds of unfortunate, victim families.
C. In the entire film the director keeps trying to recreate the scenario within his limited budget using a group of 20-25 men roaming around shoddily designed sets (unlike Delhi), generating a feeling of nothing significant or drastic happening on screen like a typical B-grade Hindi film showing some road-side killings. A few of the goons also have big scars on their faces holding a sword just like any trashy movie.
And this only remains the biggest drawback of 31st OCTOBER unintentionally misguiding the young viewers about the actual magnitude of the brutal killings, loots and shameful sins committed on the Delhi streets in those 3 unforgettable days of November 84.
In cinematic terms, if budget constraint is there then you ought to find a different symbolic way of recreating the similar tension and bloodbath on screen justifying the crucial subject. But you cannot and should not conceive those sequences with only a group of 20-25 people attacking the unaware Sikhs, when in reality there were hundreds and thousands of well instructed men coming in trucks from ‘God knows where’ to attack the already known addresses and shops in the market.
In more clear words, either you show it ‘as it is’ on screen in ‘a similar measure’ or try to convey the same through some other intelligent means as seen in film AMU. But its nothing less than a criminal and unforgivable mistake portraying the unbelievable SCALE of killings with such a miniscule vision, misguiding and wrongly informing the youngsters painting a relatively smaller picture.
Explaining it further, if you are portraying an inhuman genocide of more than 4000 people on roads (in the capital of a country) including men, women and small kids burned and thrown away like dead animals on roads to be later picked up as trash, then the viewer should strictly get the same solid impression in mind or else there is no use of making it, wasting both your time and money.
D. As said earlier, if you wish to educate and enlighten the present generation about those black days of our history, then just poorly showing the unexpected political assassination and its after effects doesn’t work, unless you tell them at least something about the backdrop of ‘Blue Star Operation’ and more, may be, with some still pictures and a voice-over mentioning the specific sequence, which is nowhere to be found in the film confirming its unclear vision or purpose.
Coming to the research, writing and art direction of the film – Don’t know how many people with personal experience of those days were involved in the film’s research and art direction. But it was quite disappointingly done, unable to provide any kind of realistic touch to the movie hampering its overall impact. 
E. Was surprised to see Tilak Nagar area of Delhi and its lanes in the year 1984, presented as a remote village of Punjab with heritage kind of buildings used for living. In reality the region never looked that way in 1984 at all (as experienced personally).
F. There was a difference between DTC buses and private buses running under permit in Delhi at that time wherein DTC buses were owned by the government having a particular look and colour different from the private ones. But a sequence still shows the goons spotting a DTC bus owned by a Sikh setting it on a fire immediately.
G. The writers give Vir Das and Soha Ali Khan a mixed language to speak with words from both Hindi and Punjabi merged together, which becomes the major reason why they both always look like uncomfortable playing the given role of a Sikh couple rendering a weird kind of lingo.
H. In one of its scenes mentioning the choice of religion, a character says,
“I was also a clean shaven boy like you, but my Sikh uncle always used to tease me. So I also kept long hair and beard ……. became a Sardar……What big deal?”
In exact spoken words he says, 
“Bas Rakh Li Kesh Aur Daadhi….. Aur Ban Gaye Sardar..... Ki Pharak Penda Ae”
Now what kind of pathetic writing was that, I honestly cannot even comment upon!
I. Further tackling the religious aspect on screen, in one of its tension filled sequence Vir Das looks upwards towards the Almighty and says “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh” asking for help.
Here although at personal level one might say anything to that Supreme Power. But in a film, the expression should have been either “Waheguru Mehar Karin” or simply “Satnam Waheguru” asking for a timely help looking towards the sky.
Because probably the writers were not aware that actually “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh” is a phrase to be used as a mutual greeting by two Sikhs meeting each other like an official salutation. Yes, “Sat Sri Akal” is also used as a common phrase by all, but the more prescribed way of salutation is “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh” in Sikh religious circles (strangely used in the film while addressing the supreme power!)
J. At a fewplaces a complete dialogue has been muted by the Censors and something else has been dubbed in a hurry. But in one particular dialogue the word ‘Hindu’ gets muted abruptly, whereas there wasn’t anything objectionable in the dialogue expressing the reality. And the line is,
“Sikh Kaum, Hindu Dharam Ki Raksha Ke Liye Bani Thi”  (with Hindu muted).
Perhaps now everyone is willing to rewrite the known proven truths of our ‘collective-proud-past’ for their own vested interests.
K. Surprisingly the film has been directed by Shivaji Lotan Patil, a National Award winning Marathi film director who probably wasn’t aware of the scale of killings seen on the those four days starting from 31st October, 1984. But even if one gives him the benefit of doubt, the film’s overall feel, the below average performances, the irritating background score and the forced songs thrown right in between the tense sequences isn’t anything even close to the expected results from a National award winning director to be straight.
In all no doubt there must have been noble intentions behind the project of its concerning producers. But the end product cannot even be recommended lacking the desired depth and vision representing 31st October. Sadly, sincerity and honesty alone cannot make a solid, thought provoking film reaching its target audience.
Rating : 1.5 / 5
Apart from the Review:
For friends really interested in knowing more about those times and the brutal, unspeakable killings in the capital itself. Please watch AMU (2005) directed by Shonali Bose, which till date remains the most appreciable and thought provoking film made on the issue and that too by a non-punjabi director understanding the pain, anger and the loss in a much better and relatable manner.
AMU is also included in Movies To See Before You Die List at BTC. And here is the link to the write-up for all new friendly readers.
One of the film's sequences also shows a school bus of "Guru Harkrishan Public School" coming for picking up the kids, where I used to study in that period in the Vasant Vihar branch. And what a big mob did to our school on the 1st of November 1984, will probably be there in details soon in one of my next write-ups.

Concluding it with an important observation,

reading many online reviews and write-ups I found that almost every critic/correspondent/interviewer has used the word SIKH RIOTS of 1984 in his or her article on the film 31st October released this Friday……… which means that even the educated need to be re-taught the actual meaning or definition of the word RIOTS.
It was not SIKH RIOTS dear respected, knowledgeable writer friends...... it was SIKH GENOCIDE.
So now onwards whenever you read, discuss or talk about those four dark days beginning from the evening of 31st October 1984 till the 3rd November, please ensure that they are referred to as SIKH GENOCIDE and not SIKH RIOTS in particular, since there were no two sides clashing with each other as per the definition of the word RIOT.

There was only one side on the receiving end…………….. still waiting for the JUSTICE to be served…….. even after 32 years.
Tags : 31st October Review by Bobby Sing, 31st October Film Review by Bobby Sing, Sikh Riots-Genocide Debate, Hindi film inspited from Real life events, 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
21 October 2016 / bobbysing /
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Once Upon A Time In BiharMoving ahead of all those over dramatic and filmy takes on the issue by the renowned director Prakash Jha, here we have a much responsible film written and directed by Nitin Chandra that sincerely tries to reveal the actual state of Bihar, hinting towards the intended bias, humiliation and exploitation of its people both within and outside the state following a sick tradition.
To be honest, we are not talking about any classic here having its own avoidable shortcomings with many debutant artists in the team trying to perform to the best of their ability. But its actually the true to life execution and the purposeful vision of the film that forces you to consider it respectfully with many ‘realistic dialogues’ talking about the distressing life of even the highly educated youth in the ‘much talked about’ state.
Opening with the real life inspired riots-sequences of Patna during March 2005, it goes into more than a year old flashback introducing three key characters set in Buxar district of Bihar. And then starts looking into their individual life-struggles faced within their home-state dealing with their own people in power quite shamelessly. With the first half stumbling in the beginning moving on a slow pace, it’s the second half that makes a much better connect with the audience through all the thrilling moments related with the planned abduction gone wrong. In other words, as soon as the script starts talking about the crime-angle introducing the character of Ashish Vidyarthi, it pulls you in and starts delivering as an engaging film in terms of entertainment. However, despite the two halves dealing with their distinctive plots, Nitin never loses the vision of enlightening the viewers about the conflicting situations faced by a Bihari youth finally choosing the path of crime unwillingly.
The typical regional language used in its key conversations (with some noticeable lines) is sure going to appeal the people of Bihar undoubtedly and it’s the indicative insertion of many burning issues of the state that actually lifts up the film in totality. For instance the writing intentionally includes the reference of competition tuition classes business in Bihar, the bribe rate cards for government jobs, the gunda-raj of not paying for anything by the relatives of politicians, the fearless loots in front of spineless public in absence of effective Police-control, the known business of ‘ransom-earning’ chosen by the youth, the social problem of arranging big amounts for marriage by the girl’s family, the under-employment of highly educated youth forced to do some labour jobs, Bhojpuri films and music being made and promoted so openly close to soft-porn poisoning the present generation and naxalite problem hurting the nation since long.  
Musically OUATIB has a few well composed soulful tracks (played in the backdrop) working fine with its core subject and story progression, though the lyrics remain in the local lingo appealing to only selective audience (like “Chanarma Mein Daag Baa” & more). In the technical department the noteworthy art direction, background score and cinematography majorly help the film to make a decent impact shot at actual locations. Particularly the dark sequences executed well in the final hour of the film certainly need a special mention here giving the team of technicians their deserving due.
In the performances, both Kranti Prakash Jha and Deepak Singh underplay their given roles in a decent manner effortlessly along with Ajay Kumar playing the most nervous one of the trio quite well. Ashish Vidyarthi as usual impresses in the film’s concluding moments but being the only female character in the entire narration, Arti Puri keeps trying her best to bring in the emotional factor as required.
Coming back to the downers, OUATIB does become preachy at times (especially in the beginning or towards the long climax) and with many other films already been there made around the same theme of ‘ransom business in Bihar’, it could have done much better if released along with the ‘over-hyped’ Prakash Jha films in the gone years. Besides a more clear and explanatory climax could have added a lot to the last-minute impact on the viewers as I strongly felt. Because in the end it still remains a film focusing on the problems alone without any possible solution to give as a visionary project.
Having said that, there is no denial to the fact that ONCE UPON A TIME IN BIHAR has been made with all positive vibes and intentions by its writer-director Nitin Chandra hoping for the much needed change coming soon in his home state. The film will no doubt appeal more to the residents of Bihar and the people migrating to the other states only due to its regional feel, but its time such problems are considered as ‘national issues’ by the central government too before its gets blown to much grave proportions reaching the other states.
The basic idea of the film is to enlighten the viewers about the present scenario with a highly authentic portrayal of its regional theme and that’s exactly one of the most important motives of ‘Cinema’ along with providing the usual entertainment to its target audience. Hence at times, we as the viewers also need to strongly support such courageous attempts made giving us the real (scary) picture by purposefully ignoring any of its visible shortcomings.
Ratings : 3 / 5 (including the special brownie points for the sincere and concerning intentions of the talented team)
Tags : Once Upon A Time In Bihar Review by Bobby Sing, OUATIB Film Review by Bobby Sing, An authentic Hindi film on Bihar, Bihari Language, Bhojpuri 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, Inspired movies
30 October 2015 / bobbysing /
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