Home movies Reviews Mohalla Assi movie review: Sunny Deol-starrer is provocative, pungent and relevant

Mohalla Assi movie review: Sunny Deol-starrer is provocative, pungent and relevant

There is a lot to be said about Varanasi, the holy city at the riverbank of the Ganga where culture and religion are the twin lifesavers. Everything including Gangaajal is for sale in Varanasi.

Based on Hindi litterateur Kashi Nath Singh`s “Kashi Ka Assi”, a scathing indictment of merchandised religiosity in Varanasi, Dwivedi`s freewheeling adaptation doesn`t shy away from letting the narrative hang loose to accommodate characters from different strata and owing allegiance to polarised political interests which seem to have a meeting point in the dhaba, an adda of ideas where political opinions are fired fearlessly.

Some of the thoughts expressed on the communal conundrum of this great nation of ours are so steeped in relevance and immediacy that we have to remind ourselves that the film is set during the years just before the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

So it isn`t surprising really, that one elderly wise man asks, “How can the Ram temple in Ayodhya be built brick by brick? Have you ever heard of a temple built of bricks?”

This atmosphere of free speech allows renowned actors to come together for a pow-wow that is layered in sarcasm. At one point, Sunny Deol playing an impoverished semi-redundant Brahmin priest, tells his screen wife Sakshi Tanwar that he must leave for Ayodhya to support the construction of the Ram temple.

“Why do you need to go to Ayodhya to encounter Ram? Just stay here and chant His name,” the wife snorts from her meal-time thali.

While the first half of the film picks out characters with all their quirks of radicalism and scatters them everywhere, it is the second half that comes to grips with the crux of the theme.

When all is said and done, “Mohalla Assi” is not a film about the politic of rhetorics. It is an intimate portrait of a social fabric falling into a cultural abyss. It is the story of a Hindu priest Pandey (Deol) perched on the precipice of penury. As Pandey and his wife stare at a life of hopelessness for their children (they have to go to a neighbour`s home to watch television) all around them, their neighbours bloom and blossom by selling their souls and renting their rooms to tourists.

Dwivedi`s narration steers us into Pandey`s fear of losing his relevance to a society that has left Sanskrit far behind and is now chasing the English language. Deol and Tanwar are in fine form as the priest and his supportive yet discontented wife. Their scenes together are brimming with unstated emotions. Tanwar seems more comfortable as Deol`s better half than she did as Aamir Khan`s wife in “Dangal”.

In the way Deol is coerced into compromising his cultural and religious purity, I was reminded of his father Dharmendra in Hrishikesh Mukherjee`s “Satyakam”. This is easily Deol`s most emotionally unalloyed performance. There are other actors contributing pitch-perfect performances that give a swivelling spin to this saga of a downward spiralling social structure.

Ravi is fabulous as a slimy tourist guide who knows which buttons to press to get the right currency out of the dharmic vending machine. And Faisal Rashid as a barber-turned-baba is a telling comment on the cancerous spread of consumerism.

But my favourite sequences are between Sakshi Tanwar and Seema Azmi, the latter playing a socially inferior neighbour who comes into affluence after her husband brings home a firangi tourist. The two ladies nudge the wackiness of Varanasi`s cultural schizophrenia and the rampancy of adulterous sex in the holy city, into a state of awakened bitchiness.

They could be allies in a beauty parlour if they were parlour-worthy.

“Mohalla Assi” may seem a bit scattered in its characterisation. But eventually, it proves as portentous and pungent as the city that its brilliant cameraman (Vijay Arora) captures in rolling waves of gossiping mobocracy.

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Home movies Reviews Gully Box crosses 50 crore mark in 3 days: Strikes right chord...

Gully Box crosses 50 crore mark in 3 days: Strikes right chord with audience

It seems like Ranveer Singh’s charm with audience has worked once again as Zoya Akhtar directorial Gully boy has impressed the audience with its easy-to-connect storyline, performances and impactful rap numbers.

The film garnered Rs 19.40 crore on its opening day and has received good reviews from critics as well as the audience.

Gully boy earned Rs 18.65 crore on the third day of its release, taking the total collection to Rs 51.15 crore.

As per film critics Ranveer Singh brings a restrained swagger to the part: there is a gentleness to his anger. His Murad shows that Singh can tamp down on his characteristic boisterousness to create something of value, even though sometimes you can see the effort show.” Ultimately, this is a film to enjoy. In today’s India, to bring a Murad and Safeena, their Muslim-ness a matter-of-fact statement, into centre-stage, to give traction to those who live on the wrong side of the tracks, is an act of bravery. ‘Inka time aa gaya’. Rap along.”

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Home movies Reviews Gully Boy starts minting money on box office: Day 1 collection around...

Gully Boy starts minting money on box office: Day 1 collection around 15 crs.

Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt’s Gully Boy opened to great reviews from film critics and audience alike on February 14. The fourth feature film from Zoya Akhtar’s kitty unravels the underground hip-hop scene in India and also stars Siddhant Chaturvedi and Kalki Koechlin

Inspired by the story of underground rappers Divine and Naezy, it has Ranveer playing the role of Murad, a young man trying to break free through his street rap. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh revealed on Thursday that the musical drama has released on 3350 screens in India and a total of 4101 screens worldwide.

According to film trade expert Girish Johar, Gully Boy is expected to earn Rs 15 crore on its opening day and will maintain its stronghold with a positive word of mouth.

“The film is releasing on a Thursday, which is neither a holiday nor a festival day. Although it’s Valentines Day, it has no official status. Still, I am expecting the film to do Rs 15 crore business on day one because the youth will definitely go and watch it. They will be attracted to the film very strongly. Rest is definitely based on the word of mouth,” said Johar as he talked about the box office prediction of Gully Boy.”

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Home movies Reviews Gully Boy Movie Review: Ranveer Singh & Alia bhatt explodes. Zoya Akhtar...

Gully Boy Movie Review: Ranveer Singh & Alia bhatt explodes. Zoya Akhtar delivers one more blockbuster

Zoya Akhtar who is know to give brilliant and blockbuster films like Luck By Chance, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Dil Dhadakne Do, changes gear with Gully Boy. It’s the story of Murad (Ranveer Singh), his aspiration, ambition, his family, his love Safeena (Alia Bhatt), his friendships and the path he takes to fulfil his dream. At the forefront, Gully Boy may seem like a movie about the underground rappers but actually, it is much more than that. 

The movie is mainly about human relations, connections, emotions and dynamics. There is no filmmaker better than Zoya Akhtar who can portray and handle human complexities in such a brilliant way. Gully Boy will surely be counted amongst her best work. 

To know the genius of Zoya Akhtar, there are several scenes in the movie that will hit you right in the feels. Like the scene when Murad’s father (Vijay Raaz) re-marries. The silence in that scene speaks louder than words. Or the scene when his employer, for whom he works as a driver, casually makes him aware of his social status or the bouncer of a pub asking him to move aside. The movie is filled with such gems. 

I loved the friendship dynamics. It all felt so organic and real. A scene featuring Vijay Verma and Ranveer Singh towards the end will choke you up. And Ranveer and Alia’s chemistry is too cute to be true. They are like a house on fire.

If the writing of the movie and Zoya’s direction is of the highest order, Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, debutant Sidhant Chaturvedi and other actors complement it with fabulous performances. 

Ranveer Singh is phenomenal. It’s hard to imagine that he is the same guy who just delivered a blockbuster playing an over-the-top cop in Simmba. I don’t think any other actor could’ve pulled off this role the way Ranveer did. He explodes when he raps and gives a restrained performance throughout. He is a pro at rapping.

Alia Bhatt, for me, was the scene stealer. Every scene she appears in is a riot. She is endearing, to say the least. This is one of her best performances and her character is a crash course in women empowerment. I am sure everyone’s going to fall in love with her.

Making his debut on the big screen, Sidhant Chaturvedi makes the character of an experienced rapper his own. He stands tall with Ranveer Singh. His performance is so natural that many might confuse him for a real-life rapper. Watch out for him. He is surely going to go places. 

Vijay Raaz, Sheeba Chaddha, Amruta Subhash, Vijay Maurya and Kalki Koechlin are all good in their parts. Special mention to Vijay Verma. 

The music is also a character hereThe meaningful lyrics are icing on the cake.

The dialogues by Vijay Maurya will surely receive a lot of seetis and taalis. The cinematography is perfect. It gives the movie the much-needed authenticity. 

Over all, Gully Boy is one of the best movies to come out of Indian cinema in recent times. Watch it for Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt and Sidhant Chaturvedi’s dazzling performances. And moreover, watch it for the master filmmaker Zoya Akhtar. Hats off to her. The movie is all in all a winner.

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