Saturday, March 26, 2016

Rocky Handsome Movie Review : Superman? Batman? Naw, John Abraham!

Maybe it's just me, but then there is something really charming about a man in black suit going around assassinating people like its a part of his daily routine. When Director Lee Jeung-beom made The Man From Nowhere (2010), little did he know that the film would be ripe for an Indian remake. Thankfully, Director Nishikant Kamat and Ritesh Shah (Screenplay/Dialogue) dont mess too much with the original material and serve it right back to us in India as Rocky Handsome. What works for them is John Abraham fits right in as the lead and also produces an otherwise not so masala film as the trailers would have shown. And ahoy, Rocky Handsome turns out quite a good watch on a weekend where you have a largely disappointing magnum opus right next to it. 

Rocky Handsome tells the story of a man (John Abraham), called colloquially as Handsome, who lives a reclusive life in Goa after the demise of his beloved wife. His depression eats him up day in and out and his only friends are his neighbours, Anna (Nathalia Kaur) and her eight year old daughter Naomi (Diya Chalwad). When Naomi and Anna get abducted, Handsome cannot help but go out to get them as he cannot remove Naomi's face from his memory. During his search, he gets entangled in the web of Goa's drug, organ theft and human trafficking mafia as all three of them seem to be having common roots with the abduction. As he goes about setting the record straight, he crosses path with Goa's local police and ANC, led by Sharad Kelkar, which ultimately reveals his long drawn past of being Rocky, the assassin. With a pretty simple plot as its foundation, Rocky Handsome is still a multi-threaded film which intertwines a lot of antagonists and their motives in a simple kidnap and escape story. And somewhere along the line, all the threads of the story do not get their equal share of development. Thankfully, Kamat does not try to tone down the thematic darkness of the original much and it only elevates Rocky Handsome from being a no-brainer. However, this one is definitely much less brutal than The Man From Nowhere to better suit the tastes of Indian audiences. 

Produced by John Abraham Entertainment and Azure Entertainment, Rocky Handsome is mounted on a respectable scale. Renowned cinematographer Shanker Raman lends an experienced hand to the camera and manages to capture some of the best moments in highly fresh yet intuitive ways, making Rocky Handsome look bloody good without any flying vehicles or men. Aarif Shaikh's Editing could have made the film a tad more edgy. Music by Inder and Sunny Bawra is okay but almost unrequired at most places. Sanjay Mourya and Allwyn Rego's sound design is super. However, a film like Rocky Handsome relies heavily on its action and stunts. Using simple hand-combat skills, and slasher objects over guns, director Kamat gives us a juicy bunch of action sequences which give you the exact thrill you are looking for when you walk into the theaters. To top it all, John looks kickass doing all that. The snappiness of the action could get to you after a while and it is one of the key elements enhancing an already stylish film.

Now we all know that John Abraham cannot act. It has been 15 years since he debuted and he still cannot. Nope. So what do you do? You put him in a film where he has less than 2 pages of dialogue, has to cry once, feel angry once, and pretty much maintain a wall's expression all through the rest of the film. There, you have your Rocky Handsome. To make him look better, you cast an absolutely despicable actress (Shruti Haasan) next to him. All set, done. And then you cast yourself as the main villain. Yes, Nishikant Kamat plays Kevin Ferreira, one of the main villains in the film. Sharad Kelkar is good as the selfish cop, while Nathalia Kaur must only dance. The little girl Diya holds her ground well in scenes where she has long dialogues as well. 

I watched Rocky Handsome in a multiplex which functions almost like a single screen, mainly due to its audience. For the first time in my life for a John Abraham film, I reached the theater and found that the show was houseful. I had to wait for the next show. When I took my seat and the film started, the whole theater erupted into cheers and applauds. Truly, I never expected John to have such a fan following. Or maybe it is the action/romance shown in the promos which made all of them make a visit to the theaters expecting a hardcore masala film, which is abominably low on story and logic. As the plot got more twisted and intricate, I saw a majority of the audience losing any idea of what was going on. They seem to have no clue about drugs, organ theft or even human trafficking and how it made sense to the story. They seem to be only there to see John beat up a dozen goons and would erupt intermittently every time he did so. In the end, one fine gentleman made the remark - 'Woh choti bachchi ka story daal ke thoda dheela kar diya picture na?'

I gave up right then. Our Indian audiences cannot take it if anyone messes with their masala. Yet, Rocky Handsome balances it quite well walking a tight rope. And its runtime of 125 minutes, there is never a dull moment. The film has its share of flaws and it does take things a little too conveniently at time, but then its worth a trip to the movies. Go watch!

Rating - 3/5

Originally published for MadAboutMoviez here

Teraa Surroor Movie Review : Giving Meaning to Meaningful Cinema

Himesh Bhai is back! And so am I, with my review of his latest offering, Teraa Surroor. Yes, the Suroors dont end, they keep coming back to please your senses, if I may say so. Just when you think you would be done with them, there is one more Surroor waiting for you. No, I understand that keeping films with similar names to famous songs, does impart it quite a bit of recognition in fleeting memory of the audiences. But my question is, how many times can you do that? What is a good number of times for Surroors to stop? Because the problem remains the same. HR Musik may have Himesh's soothing music and T-Series' unlimited cash flow for the sake of good old times shown to them by the former, but how many movies does it take for one to understand the complete scarcity of any acting charisma in one's own self? Jacky Bhagnani seems to be on a break after 6, but Himesh Bhai is going strong at 8 with another release lined up this year. Much to everyone's surprise, most of those on the list have been able to recover or make money. So why not Teraa Surroor?

Director Shawn Arranha had been credited with a couple of despicable films in the past apart from a bunch of assisting work. However, Himesh Bhai blessed him by giving him the reigns of Teraa Surroor. But this did not pay him well because Arranha has made a royal mess. The camera angles are dizzy, the slow motion is used almost more than the runtime of the film, and the action sequences look like they missed a lot of shots so made them up by random jumps at the edit table. The story revolves around Raghu (Himesh Bhai), a 'gangster', who is in love with Tara (Farah Karimaee), who is a model? Tara and Raghu break up, she travels to Ireland and gets involved in a drug scandal and is jailed. Raghu travels to Ireland to realize she was misled by an unknown person named Anirudh Brahmin. Firstly, Tara was dumb enough to make friends with Anirudh over Facebook and then travel alone to Ireland upon his request, carefully carrying a package provided by Anirudh's obviously fake grandmother from India. Now, Raghu must take the help of lawyer Elle Jordan (Monica Dogra), Indian Ambassador Rajeev Kaul (Shekhar Kapur) and a jail inmate who has broken through 14 prisons, Robin Dharmaraj Santino (Naseeruddin Shah) to free Tara but the roots of this mystery lie deep within Raghu's past. No kidding, but the twists are so intricate that the poor villain has to deliver a monologue to explain them all in the climax. That apart, no matter what your name is or from where you belong, everyone speaks Hindi, including Elle Jordan and Robin Santino. 

While the India portion are bearable, the moment the proceedings shift to Ireland, cinematographer Maneesh Bhatt literally throws his camera at anything or anyone. Despite a filmography of over 8 films, his outdoor shots are horrible. There are atleast a thousand drone shots in the most unrequired places, chase sequences look like they have been shot on a phone camera and the action, oh well, lets not even go there. A lot of this has to do with the direction. For reasons best known to him, Himesh Bhai has loaded the film with an overtly loud Background Music which are basically differently pitched and arranged loops of the Aap Ka Surroor song chorus. 

But not all is bad about Teraa Surroor. Himesh Bhai manages to maintain the same expression and mannequin-like stiff body throughout the film. There are a bunch of stalwarts in the film who have no idea what they are doing here, like Naseeruddin Shah, Shernaz Patel, Kabir Bedi and Shekhar Kapur. Well, all is well as long as their cheques were fat enough. If you can ignore the irritating spelling of her name, Farah Karimaee is still a pretty plastic face, like a poor man's Katrina Kaif. Oh wait, that was Jacqueline Fernandez. The film deserves a special mention for casting of extras in Ireland. All of them look like they were promised some good beer and nothing else. 

On the whole, one does feel a little sad when huge sums of money are wasted on shoddily made films. At its heart, Teraa Surroor may not have a terrible concept or script, but the execution, right from the scratch is heralded by skill-less people right from the first to the last. Including Himesh Bhai, who by the way gives great music for the film and launches a new singer, Darshan Raval, previously quite a hit on social media and Bombay circles. With a runtime of just 105 minutes, Teraa Surroor is excruciatingly long and I would choose listening to Rahul Gandhi over it. However, while many films dont reach a crore on the first day, this one touched around 3Cr on Friday. That must tell you all about Himesh Bhai's fans. If you have seen The Xpose, this will be a welcome surprise!

Rating - 1/5

Originally published for MadAboutMoviez here