A warm welcome to all friends visiting the site with a loving invitation to read my personal expressions on movies, music, poetry and life.

Music and Movies are like Ears and Eyes to me and if you also feel the same, then you are going to enjoy every moment spent on my works here, for sure.

Do send in your valuable comments and suggestions as they would be my guide for all the future works.

ENJOY!

ANAARKALI OF AARAH - You praised Amitabh teaching the meaning of a woman's NO in the court, now praise Swara doing the same in a differently authentic manner. (Review By Bobby Sing).

PHILLAURI - It's a confusingly conceived Punjabi film made in Hindi, based on an interesting but inspired idea with the only merit being its emotional climax. (Review By Bobby Sing).

TRAPPED - Post an unconvincing start, it fairly keeps you engaged as a praise-worthy off-beat attempt featuring an impressive solo act and some notable merits. (Review By Bobby Sing).

This Friday's One Line Reviews by Bobby Sing for making your weekend movie plans..

KONG SKULL ISLAND (English) - Though lacks an emotional pull and the original charm, it's still an incredibly made entertaining comic-book adventure to be experienced in a well-equipped theater. (Review by Bobby Sing).

BADRINATH KI DULHANIA - A unique case of the makers returning with the same lead pair, a similar title, identical looks and the same old premise of a wedding, mocking at the viewers patience & choice. (Review by Bobby Sing).

LION (English/2016) - An emotionally uplifting film which once again depicts INDIA in a bad light and we know the westerners do have a fascination for such dark representation of our country since decades. (Review by Bobby Sing).

ANUPAMA (1967) - Its touching emotional climax and DDLJ - By Bobby Sing.

COMMANDO 2 - Focusing on suspense instead of action, Vidyut gets no support in this poor and so casually conceived film unfortunately. (Review By Bobby Sing).

LOGAN (English/Hindi) - You will make faces, tighten your fists and do several things going through this brutal, cold blooded must watch thriller for sure. (Review by Bobby Sing).

 
 
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March 29, 2017 Wednesday     

Anaarkali of AarahYou must have heard about the drastically fallen standard of ‘Bhojpuri films and music’, its vulgar, double meaning songs and their hugely hit status in the market putting a big question mark on the standard or mindsets of the writers, performers, music companies and the public supporting the act altogether.

Now though ANAARKALI OF AARAH doesn’t deal with this crucial burning issue but it does bring forward the stressful life and ‘the daily mental/physical torture’ faced by the local stage singer/dancer girls or ‘nautch girls’ as they are called, who are just performers and not at all involved in any kind of flesh trade, probably mistaken or taken for granted due to the crudely obscene songs they mostly are famous for.

A subject, that has been rarely taken up by Hindi filmmakers in the recent decades probably considering it too regional (local) or not suitable for the so called sophisticated multiplex viewers coming for their weekly (casual) entertainment spending a good amount of money. Therefore both the writer-director Avinash Das and his lead actress Swara Bhaskar deserve some extra brownie points for courageously going for this eye-opener, exceptional subject despite its limited reach and grim chances of a huge success at the box office in the present scenario.

Yes the film has its own share of downers affecting its overall impact lacking the much needed fire and explosion in its onscreen execution, yet it remains one of those rare meaningful ventures which deserve to be seen and applauded, both for its socially relevant theme and the terrific lead performance overcoming your individual apprehensions.

The film begins with a shocker kind of death sequence which might not be a shocker any more in the present world of Whats App videos, wherein you might have seen similar real life bloody instances happening in the loud wedding celebrations in regions like UP, Punjab and Bihar more recently.

To be honest, this very first sequence raises your expectations to many folds which remain partially fulfilled till the end as one keeps waiting for more similar fiery scenes in the next two hours. The film’s first half keeps you hooked with all authentically presented story developments and songs having typical regional touch enjoyed by the local public. But in the second half we sadly get to see some clichéd sequences once again, showcasing the artist getting rediscovered by a music company regaining her local star status. Thankfully the final 30 minutes of the film successfully deliver the message through a well-conceived thoughtful finale and you do take home the lesson recently taught by Amitabh Bachchan too in his PINK explaining the importance of NO said by a woman to any uninvited advances.

Performances
Completely belonging to an aggressive Swara Bhaskar from her first scene to the last, this is another highly realistic, unexaggerated and honest, gem of a performance from the actress post the last year’s NIL BATTEY SANNATA. And the girl beautifully brings in the much required local swag too in her fiery act along with the accent cracked perfectly besides the distinctive stage expressions and vulgar dance movements transporting you straight to the rustic interiors.

Giving you a clear idea, this is not any of those deliberately orchestrated Bollywood item number kind of stage performances reminding you of names such as Bipasha, Shweta or more. But here is an act which might knock you out with surprise, in case you haven’t personally witnessed any of such local stage acts in the specific regions.  

Pankaj Tripathi tries his best enacting a poorly written role unable to exploit the immense potential in this underrated actor and Ishtiaq Khan wins your heart as the fan-cum-valuable friend of Swara in her difficult times. However I honestly found Sanjay Mishra not in his elements due to a confusing kind of portrayal of a university Vice Chancellor, who more looks and behaves like a political power broker surrounded by violent goons and not a reputed educationalist in charge of a university from any angle.

Key Merits
Apart from the lead performance ANAARKALI OF AARAH needs to be seen for its detailing captured by the camera, the realistic environment and the rare regional feel not normally found in the present Hindi cinema mostly focusing on the rich and the affluent.

Particularly watch it for its songs, their picturisation and the authentic first half having many small supporting acts silently contributing in the backdrop like the team members of Swara’s musical troupe, her close young male associate and the goon who intentionally gives an incomplete information to the VC about the shameful night.

In addition, it’s the climax which impressively delivers the message, making you feel the desperation, anger and revolt as felt by Swara on stage performing in front of the evil VC.

Downers
Among the downers, the script doesn’t have even a single male character with a strong spine revolting against the disgraceful act of the night. Post intermission it largely loses the novelty factor and goes back to the same seen before sequences of a struggler getting a chance and making it big. Plus a few sequences are written too casually, like the one wherein Swara is brought to the court for her case hearing and is straight away forgiven outside the court only without any hearing or consent of the honourable judge just on the instructions of a university Vice Chancellor.

In fact as mentioned above, the only thing that dosen’t work in the film is Sanjay Mishra being shown as a VC, who actually should have been either a corrupt politician or higher police official (having much more destructive power than a university’s VC).

Conclusion
In short, a film that right away begins as well as ends with its best and most powerful sequences, ANAARKALI OF AARAH can rightly be rated as a worth appreciating, meaningful debut attempt from the writer-director Avinash Das largely relying on its commanding key performance by Swara Bhaskar. And giving the deserving due credit to Avinash, his next is sure to be a much more solid, polished and impactful venture as it seems overcoming the shortcomings of the first.

So do give this ANAARKALI a chance and witness the ground reality of the interiors supporting the sincere attempt of Avinash and Swara together as a promising team.

Ending on a personal note, I myself have been in the stage show line for almost a decade, and sharing my untold experience I can ensure that leave alone the lower (illiterate) section of our society, even the most respected, influential, well-educated, and wealthy figures mostly consider the female performers on stage as ‘the easily available’ ones at a price post the show hours.

And I have seen many taking off their fake masks………… once the show is over.

Rating : 3 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 just for Swara Bhaskar alone for her BINDAAS act)

Tags : Anaarkali Of Aarah Review by Bobby Sing, Anaarkali of Aarah Film Review by Bobby Sing, Avinash Das an Swara Bhaskar, 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, Bhojpuri Vulgar songs and crude cinema, Regional double meaning songs, Stage performer girls, Nautch Girls
 
 
25 March 2017 / bobbysing /
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It hurts when a very fine potential idea goes wrong due to various reasons and PHILLAURI exactly makes you feel the same, even though its basic plot has been actually blatantly borrowed or lifted from a foreign source.

Conceived with a clearly flawed vision, the film confusingly tries to reach both the Punjabi as well as non-Punjabi audiences through its completely mixed-up visuals, broken language and the title too referring to a village in Punjab, PHILLAUR.

The forced, uneven and mismatch language used.
To be straight, PHILLAURI is yet again a Punjabi film made in Hindi with a view to cater a wider market, actually ruining its original flavor of the subject and its essence. In other words, its really quite weird to see that even when its entire script is based in Punjab, focusing on all Punjabi characters and the entire writing remains dipped in the regional language throughout including the dialogues, lyrics & songs, still they decided to make it in a ‘forcibly mixed language’ instead of Punjabi alone, hugely affecting its overall impact and performance, which otherwise could have been much more stronger and fruitful, if made in the regional language.

For instance, as a partial period drama going into the past (almost a century back), the film showcases a weekly magazine (or RISALA as it was called) published in Punjab in Punjabi language, but having its entire content in Hindi including the poetry (written in Punjabi script). So though the story is all about the Punjab of 1919 and punjabi people - speaking, conversing and thinking in Punjabi as their way of living, strangely the poetry they are writing is in Hindi and the magazine also has all Hindi content published in Punjabi script with even the title saying “Preetam Ka Parcha” instead of “Preetam Da Parcha” ……….clearly revealing the confused mindset of the writers as well as the entire team behind its making.

Moreover it also shows the foolish and unaware status of the writers/makers when they try to portray Punjabi families and their ladies as heavy drunkards who begin taking their pegs from the early morning itself and be proud of that too. Wonder why Diljit didn't object to that kind of silly and wrong portrayal of Punjabi families in the film or was he not even aware of that at all? 

Misleading Promos
Nothing can hamper a film more than its misleading promos and the problem is right there with PHILLAURI too, since the film is neither any funny, light hearted comedy nor a thoroughly enjoyable film as projected in its misguiding trailers focusing majorly on the comic sequences. So if you are assuming it to be fun-filled family entertainer, then you are going to be disappointed the most as it’s a completely different film unlike the one projected in the trailers.

The Two Halves
PHILLAURI right away begins with some unexpected psychedelic visuals before introducing the two Punjabi families meeting each other enjoying the pre-wedding functions. The forced Punjabi dialogues spoken with the wrong accents clearly get noticed in the opening minutes itself (continuing right till the end). The proceedings do manage to keep you fairly entertained for a while before the flashbacks start coming in at intervals, seriously hindering the pace before the intermission.

The fun element goes completely missing post the initial hour and the second half has too many dragging moments till the director reveals the actual reasoning behind the tragedy, leading towards a highly emotional and mostly likeable climax interestingly linking the story to the Vaisakhi massacre in Jallianwala Bagh of Amritsar in the year 1919.

So the final 20 minutes of PHILLAURI can easily be rated as the best feature of the attempt thankfully saving the film from being a complete disaster.

As A Period Venture
It’s really difficult to go for a period film in your much awaited debut attempt, but director Anshai Lal presents this specific part of PHILLAURI fairly well, despite the restricted budget and minimum support coming from his writing department. An actor like Raza Murad gets simply wasted in these particular sequences and Manav Vij remains the only person excelling in his short role of an elder brother to be bluntly honest.

Besides, it’s this repeatedly travelling to the past only which actually makes the film largely inconsistent, unimpressive and extremely slow in the second half adding to the unwanted length.

Emotional Climax as the only merit
As mentioned above, just when you are ready to reject the film as a big disappointment, it comes up with a well-conceived twist and successfully manages to bring you back as soon as the Jallianwala Bagh link gets disclosed. So the finale insertion does establish an emotional connect with the viewer and you don’t feel like completely exhausted while moving out of the theatre praising its appreciable conclusion.

In fact I strongly sense that the climax might have been the only feature impressing Anushka Sharma the most as the film’s producer.

Performances
To be fair, the performers do try to give their best in their assigned roles, but many of them still appear to be miscast at times maybe due to the unengaging writing and a dragging screenplay. Suraj Sharma as the young boy returning from abroad is just okay whereas Mehreen Pirzada looks sweet in absence of any well-written scenes to prove her undisclosed talent. Anushka Sharma fails to impress as the friendly ghost and looks more natural only in the flashback sequences. Yet she doesn’t come up with anything exceptional in her portrayal of two contrastingly different eras. Diljit Dosanjh as the strongest feature of the film might bring in the audience in the North belt of the country, but he too largely looks like a misfit in the film who keeps trying hard to be subtle as per his given character of a regional singer (again questionably singing in Hindi instead of Punjabi). Having said that, Diljit still remains the biggest saviour of the film unarguably.

The Technical Department and Music
The VFX looks fine in the beginning with the revelation of the ghost and as soon the focus shifts to the past, the cinematography catches your attention creating a different aura along with the background score. However both the special effects as well as BGM does tend to go over the top towards the end as I strongly felt. In the soundtrack, ‘Sahiba' remains the only notable song among the uninspiring lot, effectively enhancing the romance on the screen. But the melody remains largely missing representing the forgotten golden era of the early masters. Personally I loved the reference of Gauhar Jaan (one of the first artists to be recorded in the country) and the display of recording equipment of those years bringing in the novelty factor.

The Inspired Status.
PHILLAURI simply borrows or lifts its basic plot from the English animation film COPRSE BRIDE (2005) and it was really laughable reading the official denials for the same in the media reports. But at the same time, it deserves to be mentioned that the plot has been certainly adapted well in the Indian context, though it couldn’t get transformed in any equally entertaining script or film.

Giving you the exact reference, in CORPSE BRIDE, the young would-be husband keeps fumbling in the pre-wedding rehearsal in front of the priest and thus is asked to go and first practice the same in front of a tree. While doing so, he bends on one knee and puts the wedding ring in a root like figure at the bottom of the tree, which incidentally is the hand of a female corpse coming out of the ground, buried under the same tree long back. So he unknowingly gets married to a corpse, who then starts following him as his bride and now willing to take him back into their world of the dead.

The writers of PHILLAURI took the exact premises changing it to the Indian context of a Manglik boy being married to a tree before his actual marriage, which happens to be the house of a female ghost, and then added a predictable flashback plot bringing in Diljit’s character. However, I would still like to appreciate the way they later connected the story to the horrifying history of Jallianwala Bagh in a truly emotional manner.

In all, you might like PHILLAURI if you are a die-hard fan of Diljit Dosanjh, willing to appreciate anything and everything featuring your hero in the lead role. But the film cannot be included in the list of any highly appreciable ventures in the career of both Diljit and Anushka together, wasting a potential idea.

Rating : 2 / 5 (The film gets literally rescued/saved by its climax)

Tags : Phillauri Review by Bobby Sing, Phillauri Film Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Punjabi film made in Hinid, Phillauri and Corpse Bride (2005), Inspired Hindi Films, Copied Hindi 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
 
 
24 March 2017 / bobbysing /
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Trapped

With films like UDAAN (included in BTC’s Movies To See Before You Die List) and LOOTERA (a slow, off-beat romantic drama) to his credit, Vikramaditya Motwane is certainly a director who wishes to break through the traditional barriers of Hindi cinema opening new avenues for all, and his third film TRAPPED yet again turns out to be a rare experimental attempt led by a solid performance.

A unique attempt in Hindi cinema reminding you of survival series films such as BURIED (2010), 127 HOURS (2010), ALL IS LOST (2013), the classic CAST AWAY (2000) and more, TRAPPED as per its title revolves around a young man locked inside the apartment of an unfinished, deserted high rise building (in one of its higher floors) without any stock of basic necessities or means of communication for days (or weeks unclearly). Actually the promotional trailer of TRAPPED gives you everything about its basic content or plot and the only thing left to be seen remains the execution, performance and the way its director keeps you engrossed in a 102 minutes of duration (almost) without any supporting cast.

Thankfully, apart from its unconvincing dicey start and a few cinematic liberties taken in an otherwise realistic film, TRAPPED partially delivers the expected excellence through the visible efforts of an exceptional team of a daring director, cinematographer, background score composer and a lead performer largely overcoming the monotonous feel.

(*Spoilers ahead)
Not an easy watch for all, it has some gruesome, uncomfortable scenes focusing on the main protagonist struggling for existence going after pigeons, rats, cockroaches, insects and drinking his own urine too. Particular the ones having fear of rodents are sure to have some difficult time watching a few scenes focusing on them in particular. Expressing a lot about the uncaring nature of the city and its citizens through some interesting metaphors, the narration drags you in once you readily assume that this can possibly happen right in the middle of the ‘never sleeping’ city on an unfortunate bad day.

Appropriately shot in (mostly) natural light with a mix of extreme close-ups and realistic visuals, the director makes you part of the struggle and then you do feel the joy in every small victory of the survivor in the final hour of the film to be exact. Well supported by Geetanjali Thapa in the first 15 minutes playing the love interest, TRAPPED remains entirely focused on Rajkummar Rao in the rest and the actor once again proves that he is undoubtedly one of the finest talent of our cinema, who does deserve an equal respect and attention as given to Nawazzudin Siddiqui or Irrfan Khan by the media to be fair. Very aptly named as Shaurya (meaning bravery), Rao performs with perfection, though he does seem to be repetitive in the initial office sequences reminding you of his earlier films. Having said that you still cannot assume anyone else doing the role while moving out of the theatre giving the due credit.

Coming to its hurried, unrealistic beginning and the cinematic liberties taken, any survival drama’ key requisite is to convince the viewer about how its main protagonist gets caught in such unexpected, unpleasant situation with no possible contact with the outer world. In TRAPPED though the door getting locked by itself with the key in it and the later proceedings largely appear to be believable, it’s the initial build-up and the premise which sadly remains too fast, unconvincing and flawed.

Explaining the downers in details, first of all post a few weeks affair and physical intimacy, the entire urgency of getting married to an office colleague in a day, who is already engaged and going to be married in a few weeks appears to be too fast and unrealistic, and that too when the girl is not entirely convinced or ready.

Secondly, what kind of a well-educated, decently employed young man simply trusts a stranger broker (met in a corridor) who hasn’t even got an office of his own and who is not even the owner of the house or interested in arranging your meet with the actual owner in the first place? What kind of an educated person goes in a deal like this without any legal papers, clarifications or confirmations?

Thirdly, who takes up an apartment on rent in such a lonely high rise building, which is still under construction, left deserted for last two years for unknown reasons, with no one else living in any of its 30+ floors since last two years like a haunted place? What kind of sane mind opts for an apartment like this and that too for beginning your post marriage life bringing in the newly wed wife? (Frankly it more fits as a premise of a Ramsay film instead.)

Moreover, if you are selecting an apartment for shifting post your immediate marriage, then the apartment needs to be first approved by the lady, who has to live there as a wife converting it into a home in the coming days. But here Rao doesn’t even find it necessary to show or even inform the girl about the new apartment selected so strangely.

Besides if an under construction building is lying unused from last two years due to some legal trouble, then how can it get an official electricity and water supply like a normal society? Who will be paying for that…. the builder?

Next, as a major technical setback, the film doesn’t give you any timeline of its happening keeping you guessing. We are given no information about how many days Rao spends in that locked apartment and how many days he survives without food, before deciding to eat the pigeons, insects and more as the desperate last resort? So missing such important details in the script, one doesn’t get convinced about the saturation point coming so early in the narration, making it appear like too superficial on the surface lacking the required depth.

Also there are not any great nail-biting or scary moments in the script with the final escape missing the much awaited solid punch weakening the overall impact. Plus being right within the town surrounded by an active population, its more logical for a person to find the escape route first somehow climbing down the floors, before starting eating birds, rodents and insects as if he is living on a lost island with a never ending sea all around and sure death beyond the room if one decides to cross it swimming.  

In other words, finding the way to climb down would have been the first choice of a logical person in reality before thinking it’s all over and no hope left for life going for the pigeons and rats. Keeping myself in his place, honestly I would have gone for the climbing down option first before opting out for such desperate ‘zombie step’ without any doubt. Interestingly Rao also finally takes the same decision only in the film too but after doing all those activities since it was supposed to be a tense survival drama as conceived by the talented director.

Here would also like to add that as shown in the film, the narrow shaft looked like a more safe escape route climbing down the floors in comparison to the open balconies, falling from where, a person was sure to get more severe injuries or an immediate death.

Further I was really not amused watching Rao’s jeans slipping down while walking out of the building in the end, as if he has spent not days but months in the locked apartment eating almost nothing for survival losing so much weight.

Putting it differently TRAPPED works, if only you simply assume that it’s all quite possible and can happen to anyone (ignoring the logical facts). However if you start thinking about the reasoning then it does seem to be just a fairly engaging, decent off-beat attempt with a sincere solo performance and some notable merits. For instance the master class of a director is truly visible in the way we are shown how Rao is a strict vegetarian due to his followed religion and not by choice, how he is not comfortable in holding the girl’s hand first feeling shy and the way he quietly chooses to walk out of the building without saying a single word to the half deaf watchman looking at him in amazement. In my opinion this particular shot was the best shot of the film showcasing the director’s vision.

Regarding the film’s no-interval release.
It was widely quoted in the media that this is officially a no-interval release in the multiplexes with a motive to have a much stronger impact on the viewer. But to give you the truth, just saying or declaring doesn’t work here, as you also need to educate the exhibitors/theater owners/operators too as they did stop the movie (abruptly) at around 50 minutes in the multiplex I was watching in and probably the same is the case in many others too (like the routine practice they follow while screening all English films). So it wasn’t any no-interval film for me and perhaps many more giving you the actual ground report.

Summing up,
despite having a flawed basic premise and a partially convincing narration, TRAPPED still remains worth visiting for all supporters and lovers of experimental cinema featuring a splendid solo act. So do watch it in a theater giving it the much deserving chance, as possibly you might love the movie much more than I did.

Rating : 3 / 5 (Including a big one just for the praiseworthy solo act of Rajkummar Rao)

---------
For friends willing to read an after-thought with an alternate premise for the script that might sound more logical (but not for the faint-hearted).

Just a few days back, I watched a masterpiece attempt as OZHIVUDIVASATHE KALI (meaning: An Off-Day Game/2015/Malayalam) wherein a few friends go for a drinks outing in a deserted guest house situated right in the middle of a jungle with no village or building around in the radius of a few kilometers. They reach there all alone and just have a lady cook to take care of the food and nobody else even knowing about their visit planned as a secret tour.

Now for a different version of TRAPPED, let’s assume that these four friends are there in a similar deserted guest house which is looked after by a lady whose husband has gone to their village and will only be returning after next 20 days or so. The four friends who are there for playing cards and booze on a public holiday, get heavily drunk and in that state go after the lady-cook serving them unaware, waiting for her promised tip.

In their attempt to rape the cook, incidentally the lady gets killed in the room itself and they all are in a big trouble. In that state of panic the four decide to leave in their individual vehicles and also promise not to reveal anything to anybody about this secret visit and not to meet or call the other for the next 15 days too as a safety measure.

While running towards their own cars or bikes, one of the friends finds that he has left the bike’s key in the room. He gets back to find the key and meanwhile all the other three move in different directions in their cars or bikes. The fourth friend is searching for the key when his mobile battery also gets over. As he reaches the same room where the corpse is lying, he finds the key there on the table. But in a hurry to pick up the key without looking towards the corpse, he accidentally shuts down the only door of the room, with the key hanging in its hole getting locked inside.

Now he is standing locked in that awful room with the left-over cooked meat lying on the table along with plates, spoons and a knife, the lady’s corpse on the bed and the door closed with no charger with him of the phone already gone dead. Plus neither the cook’s husband is supposed to return before the next 20 days nor the three friends are expected to contact each other for the next 15 days as decided.

So how the person is supposed to spend this given time period in the locked room with the lady’s corpse all alone?
What he will eat and what he will drink post a day or so………..?
Will he pick up the knife and move towards the stinking corpse to have its flesh and blood?
OR
Will he decide to kill himself with the same knife itself and finish the story forever………..?

Surely this could have been a much more intense, brutal and shocking, bloody TRAPPED than the present one.

Cheers!

(All Rights Reserved - Copyright © March 2017 – Bobby Sing (Harpreet)/Bobbytalkscinema.com)

Tags : Trapped Movie Review by Bobby Sing, Trapped Film Review by Bobby Sing, Trapped Experimental Film Review by Bobby Sing, Udaan Lootera and Trapped. 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
 
 
18 March 2017 / bobbysing /
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