Raja Sen

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  • Batla House

    There’s promise here in a film about a specific police encounter being scrutinised with extreme cynicism by the rest of the nation, and it builds towards an engaging finale, but Advani takes too long to get there, meandering through wooden actors and limber item-dancers in subplots that really aren’t the point of the story.

    Aug 2019
  • Mission Mangal

    ...while there are times Mission Mangal plays out pleasantly enough as a cheesy entertainer with a message, complete with a caricaturish villain in Dalip Tahil with an unholy accent, there are other times everything feels like too much of a stretch — even the runtime.

    Aug 2019
  • Khandaani Shafakhana

    It’s as if the filmmakers were instructed to amp up the drama to increase the storytelling stakes — I keep picturing producers and executives asking for more conflict, the way characters in this film want more ghee on their parathas — and that hurts this film’s simple, good-natured spirit.

    Aug 2019
  • Super 30

    Mathematics whiz and educator Anand Kumar has led a remarkable life, coaching hundreds of underprivileged children past the rigours of the Indian Institute of Technology entrance exams. His story deserves attention, but director Vikas Bahl confoundingly embellishes it into typical filmi fare in Super 30.

    Jul 2019
  • Kabir Singh

    ...I assumed Vanga (Director Sandeep Reddy Vanga) was making a cautionary tale. Instead, Kabir Singh actually applauds its pathetic protagonist, and ends up an obnoxious celebration of toxic masculinity.

    Jun 2019
  • Game Over

    ...reaches its triple-header final act swiftly, then devolves into a witless muddle, with filmmakers ramping up sudden thrills but not seeding in the problem-solving elements the film needed.

    Jun 2019
  • India‘s Most Wanted

    All this film needed to be was smart. It is thorough — there is much waiting around and scrutiny of agents and potential double-agents — but for a film about intelligence, this isn’t particularly bright.

    May 2019
  • De De Pyaar De

    There is genuine fodder for situational comedy, but debutant director Akiv Ali can’t strike the balance between clever humour and broad farce, making something that wants to be intelligent but looks (and sounds) like a Priyadarshan slapstick climax.

    May 2019
  • Blank

    ...this could have been pulpy fun and there is some promise. The hand-to-hand combat sequences are shot grungily, with extreme close-ups, but while Blank wants to be a heavy metal movie, it is basically a kid with a noisy amp.

    May 2019
  • Kalank

    From verbose lines to obscene opulence, Kalank is too theatrical and stage-y to feel current, which is where the old-world setup works… until it doesn’t. More attention is paid to the chikan embroidery on the husband’s kurtas than to the climactic revolution, and the third act exposes the story’s hollowness while the film flits inconsequentially between timelines.

    Apr 2019
  • Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota an ode to joy, an ebullient celebration of the cassette-tapes its maker has been brought up on. It is an action film, about fights and villains and the importance of pain, and Bala serves up chopsocky goodness not only with directorial flair, but with the benevolence of a friendly neighbourhood ‘Chinese-van’ cook, drowning chowmein in soya sauce and vinegar.

    Mar 2019
  • Photograph

    More than anything else, this film is poetry. Photograph reminds us to believe in minor magic. Here is a film about a city that makes room for everything, from formulaic films to ghosts. Like when posing for a camera, all we need to know is where to look.

    Mar 2019
  • Badla

    ...remains an engaging film, and while we can blame Ghosh for casting Bachchan and somewhat spoiling the climax, he can’t possibly be blamed for casting that man in a role that requires a lot of talking.

    Mar 2019
  • Total Dhamaal

    The script is unforgivably lazy. There are setups galore — a car has a bonnet both at the front and at the back — but there are no payoffs. Instead, Kumar and his actors move from setup to setup, hoping we have indeed left our brains at home.

    Feb 2019
  • Gully Boy the first great Hindi film of 2019 and a rousing celebration of spunk. The writing is enthralling, the texture fantastic, and this world is a revelation.

    Feb 2019
  • Thackeray

    This is either an oblivious or blatantly self-aware film, a work not of propaganda as much as it is a work of pride, celebrating a legacy of violence.

    Jan 2019
  • Manikarnika

    There is much intent on display, and while Manikarnika could surely have been sharper, its very existence feels like an arrow against cinema’s patriarchy, a broadside against the boys.

    Jan 2019