When a fatal accident is followed by a murder

Maut Ki Aahat (footstep of death) is a murder mystery written in Hindi by well-known Hindi mystery writer Surendra Mohan Pathak which was first published in 1979. This novel is the 75th (diamond jubilee) venture of his press reporter hero – Sunil Kumar Chakravarty who is a committed journalist with a sensitive heart and who works full time for a national daily – Blast which is published from the fictitious metropolitan city of Rajnagar.maut-ki-aahat-surendra-mohan-pathak-925703465-435994-1The story of Maut Ki Aahat starts from a reference to a fatal accident of two cars which collided head-on in such a way that the driver of one car – Jagdish Sethi died on the spot whereas the driver of the other one – Sonia Khanna suffered severe injuries and she died in the hospital after oscillating between life and death for many hours. In the opening scene of the novel, it is known that Sonia who was struggling to survive, has finally passed away and now her husband – Naarayan Kumar Khanna has been overpowered by the grief of losing his wife who was pregnant, to such an extent that he has drunk a lot of liquor and is about to interrupt the cremation of Jagdish Sethi who was actually guilty for the accident that took place and led to the death of himself as well as Sonia.

In such a situation, Sonia’s aged mother makes a phone call to Sunil informing him about Sonia’s death and Naarayan Kumar’s reaction to it and then seeks his help to stop Naarayan Kumar from doing anything unreasonable and undesirable. Sunil rushes to the cremation ground amidst heavy rainfall by a car of Blast but cannot reach there because the car which was ahead of his car in the traffic suddenly moves in back gear and hits his. Before Sunil could do anything about it, he finds that a high-collar raincoat and hat wearing man comes out of the car (with his back towards Sunil and others) and moves away giving the excuse of getting medical help for the driver of his car who is injured. But then it is found that the driver of that car who was a lady, has been killed. Apparently the man who had come out of the car only has murdered the lady.

Quite naturally our crime reporter hero starts his quest for the murderer. His quest also covers this issue as to how could Jagdish Sethi do that accident when he was a skilled driver and not much drunk also at that moment. The victim lady is a nurse named Padmini who was employed in the clinic of Dr. Kailash Naath Khurana. Sunil meets several people in this regard including Dr. Kailash Naath, Padmini’s employer; Maadhav Rao, Padmini’s boyfriend; Zarina, Jagdish’s ex-wife; Sarla, Jagdish’s elder sister, Rajendra Naath, Jagdish’s brother-in-law; Sumitra, Jagdish’s step-grandmother (the grandfather of Jagdish and Sarla had married very young Sumitra in his advanced years); Deepak, Jagdish’s very close friend and a theatre artist; Roohi Paranjpye, the lady director of the play in which Deepak is going to act; Gulzaari Laal, a financier who had entered into a business deal with Jagdish regarding his inherited wealth and life insurance etc. The needle of Sunil’s suspicion moves from suspect to suspect and finally, he is able to unearth the mystery behind Padmini’s murder and unmask the murderer. Amidst his investigating endeavours, Sunil also admonishes Naarayan Kumar after mortifying him for his immature reaction to his wife’s demise and shows him the right path to move on in life.indexThe novel is damn good but the plot of this more than three and a half decades old murder mystery seems dated as it is based on an insurance fraud. Now-a-days, it is not that easy to commit insurance fraud of the kind as shown in this novel. Hence the plot appears to be out of sync with the contemporary scenario.

The novel has many pluses. It covers the black money issue also and underscores the significance of being an honest tax-payer. The novel also signifies that a modestly earning person need not be greedy and his integrity and honesty should not be suspected just because he is not well-off or high-earning.

This novel also pinpoints this fact that the price of every life is the same. Considering one life as more precious than the other (as we often see in real life) is incorrect. This fact is spelled out by Sunil when the issue of Sonia’s death is discussed with Sarla and Rajendra Naath in the office of a renowned advocate – Mr. Chatterjee who has filed a damage suit on the estate of Jagdish on behalf of Naarayan Kumar.

Another emphatic plus point of this novel is highlighting this fact that consuming liquor to forget one’s grief is futile. Sunil’s dialog to Naarayan Kumar is the highlight of this novel –‘Liquor consumption may make a happy person happier but it can by no means mitigate the grief of an aggrieved person. On the contrary, the feeling of grief intensifies in the intoxicated condition. The people who advocate drinking under the pretext of forgetting (or getting relief from) their grief actually deceive themselves, that’s the point of the author and his brain-child, i.e., Sunil. And mine too.

Like many other novels of this series, the author has highlighted this fact that Sunil is a committed journalist as well as a sensible and sensitive human-being. To reach the cremation ground in time, he snatches the brand new car of the newspaper from its driver and has to furnish an explanation to the owner and chief editor of Blast for that act of his. But the author has also highlighted this fact that an idealistic and committed journalist finally gets the affection and backing of his employer only. The owner and chief editor of Blast – Mr. B.K. Malik does not remain unhappy with Sunil once he comes to know the reason behind his act of snatching the car from the driver of the newspaper.

The story flows very well. The accident leading to the death of both Jagdish and Sonia has only been referred to in the novel and the story actually starts after that only. Once the murder of Padmini takes place, the story moves very fast alongwith the investigation of the hero and the climax arrives at the opportune point. In the end, everything gets logically connected to everything else and the novel ends on a satisfactory note.

The dialogs between different characters are impressive though the language used is simple Hindi only. Some humour has also been inserted through the interaction of Sunil with Roohi, the director of the play and also his conversation with his perennial love-hate buddy and the investigating officer of the case – Inspector Prabhu Dayaal.

Summing up, Maut Ki Aahat may not be a great novel, yet it is an engrossing murder mystery with some very useful lessons for life. No Hindi reader will repent after reading this diamond jubilee venture of the idealist hero known as Sunil Kumar Chakravarty.

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Yaad Kiya Dil Ne Kahaan Ho Tum . . .

All of a sudden, I just remembered something today and immediately felt an urge to express my feelings that have welled out of my memories. Today is 19th January and this is the date on which I had heard the three magical words – I LOVE YOU – for myself from someone (of opposite sex) for the first time and the last time in my life.

I am a Hindi lover. However perhaps these three words are the magical gift of the English to we, the Indians because asserting them is much more easier than expressing the same thing in Hindi or any other vernacular. Hence I did not mind the language though we used to converse in our mother-tongue, i.e., Hindi only. Moreover, the sentiment embedded in these words was above all other aspects including the language. It happened when we were talking over phone sometime between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. The winter was prevailing in Rajasthan but listening to these three words suddenly gave rise to the spring in my heart.

I had read the following line in a great Hindi literary novel – Jhootha Sach (authored by renowned Hindi litterateur – Yashpal) – ‘To be in love is a great thing, you feel alive’. So true. However it’s not just the issue of being in someone’s love, the bigger thing is knowing that the other person was also in love with me. Oh ! What a bliss it was ! I have always been an emotional person and the readers of my reviews can very well endorse it because my emotions are only spread through my words. So this could be the biggest gift for a person like me.hqdefaultThe Almighty did not bless me with either money or love in abundance. I got much less of both these things. And this is the only case when I had felt that someone (adult) genuinely loved me. Being a music lover, I used to get audio cassettes specially prepared with the songs of the choice of both of us. Two identical copies of every such cassette were prepared, one each to be kept by both of us separately. I was not fortunate enough to get her association for life and I don’t know where she is in this mortal world now. However I am sure that she must still be keeping (and listening to) those cassettes. Her favourite song was – Guzra Hua Zamaana, Aata Nahin Dobara. Absolutely true. But that Zamaana (period) haunts the lovers for the rest of their lives.maxresdefaultIn those days only, sometime I had recited the following lines to her from a lovely Hindi poem (I do not remember the name of the poet) :

Sajne Aur Sanwarne Ke Din
Ek Dooje Par Marne Ke Din
Behti Nadiya Mann Ke Bheetar
Shefali Ke Jharne Ke Din

 Years back, I had read in a Hindi story – Koi Nahin Jaanta Ki Aurat Jab Kisi Se Pyar Karti Hai To Woh Usmein Kya Dekhti Hai (nobody knows when a woman loves a man what she sees in him). Perfect. I am also not able to understand even today what she saw in me to find me as worthy of her love.patita-yaad-kiya-dil-ne-kahan-ho-tumToday, just throwing a glance at the date, a lightening flashed in the clouds of the thoughts wandering in my mind that this was the day when the three magical words were poured into my ears and suddenly the weather started appearing exceedingly pleasant to me. Such is the effect of memories for someone who has loved and has been loved sometime in his / her life. The lines of the classic duet of Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar from the movie – Patita (1953) are striking my heart:

Yaad Kiya Dil Ne Kahaan Ho Tum
Jhoomti Bahaar Hai Kahaan Ho Tum
Pyar Se Pukaar Lo Jahaan Ho Tum
Pyar Se Pukaar Lo Jahaan Ho Tum

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Blender’s pride

Blender’s Pride is a premium whiskey and hence, before I start reviewing Hindi movie – Kai Po Che (2013), let me put forth a disclaimer that I do not promote consumption of alcoholic drinks and this review has nothing to do with that whiskey. I have titled the review as such because this movie is a rare blend of Cricket, sentiments, friendly bonds, communal tensions and biased politics in Gujarat and above all, the passion of three youths to move ahead in life on the basis of their love for sports, turning this love of theirs only into their profession. All these ingredients have been blended so well in the narrative that it is difficult to segregate any one of them from the others. That’s why I term this movie as a blender’s pride.indexCricket is no less than a religion in our country. Putting it frank and straight, now it is the most popular religion encompassing all the nooks and corners of the nation and all the strata of the society. The craze for this sport transcends all the bounds viz.caste, creed, religion, gender, age, province, language, class, profession etc. etc. etc. Many movies have been made taking this sport as the subject matter but only Patiala House (2011) blends it pretty well with and makes it an inseparable part of the theme which is different. Kai Po Che is another one and the filmmaker has done this job with perfection. Unlike Patiala House whose protagonist is a Cricketer himself, the protagonists of this movie are Cricket lovers who live this game.b13b5e54fddc51e97ed727eb1f61599bI read Chetan Bhagat’s novel – The 3 Mistakes of My Life which this movie is based upon after watching the movie. And I feel that this extremely well made movie is an improvement on the novel. The narrative grips the spectator from the word ‘go’ and thereafter that grip does not get loosened anywhere till the final shot.img_book_3_coverThe three protagonists of Kai Po Che are Govind (Rajkumar Yadav), Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Omi (Amit Sadh) who love sports, especially Cricket and dream to make it big in life by following their passion and running a business of sports materials and a sports academy combined together. How their dreams take shape amidst the financial and practical troubles, how they keep their friendship intact despite differences in views and nature, how they face the natural and man-made calamities and finally the communal riots after the painful Godhra train-coach burning incident; everything has been presented on the screen in the most appealing manner. And amidst all these phenomena, there is Cricket and their love for it just like the love of the millions of Indian commoners. This love blended with their mutual love, works as the adhesive between them, not allowing them to get separated, come what may.celebrate-kai-po-che-2013-500x500I am from Sambhar Lake, district Jaipur, Rajasthan and my maximum relatives are in Jaipur, the Pink City. Every year, on the Makar Sankranti day (14th January), the world famous kite festival takes place in Jaipur and nearby areas when the kite fliers fill the sky with colourful kites and go for knocking the kites of others (such fights of kites are called PECH in North India). And when someone is able to knock the kite of someone else by his, then the surroundings reverberate with the victory shout – Woh Kaata (I have cut it). The same victory shout is known as Kai Po Che in Gujarati. This joyful roar is symbolic of the small victories gained by the protagonists in the battle of life.

kai-po-che-2013Another very significant thing about this movie is the emotional bonding between males. The trend of making modern movies based on male bonding had started with Farhan Akhtar’s debut directorial venture – Dil Chaahta Hai (2001) and it was followed up by movies like Rang De Basanti (2006), Rock On (2008), 3 Idiots (2009), Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) etc. Kai Po Che continues this trend in style with an utterly different setting and backdrop. Ishaan’s passion for Cricket and exasperating the talent hidden in a young boy of a modest Muslim family is unique but his two comrades are also crazy for Cricket. The best scene in this regard is the watching of India’s historic victory over Australia in the Kolkata test match in 2001 by Omi on TV and thereafter his craving to share his abundant joy with his pals. An unfortunate incident post the earthquake in Gujarat had created a rift between him and Ishaan. But when he runs out of his house to find someone to share his joy, he finds Ishaan coming to him with open arms and they embrace each other, forgetting the past things. That scene is able to leave an indelible imprint on the heart of anybody who puts a premium on friendship and camaraderie.1280x720-ny3This movie is so realistic in terms of milieu, characters and events that any middle class person whether a kid or a teenager or a youth or a mature one, can easily identify with the things shown in it. The characters of the movie are not from some other world. We know them. We recognize them. They are from among us only. How local politics is run in our country, how biases for or against some particular community are propagated and how bloody they can be when taken to the extreme; everything is damn real. Nevertheless, the sensible director has not allowed anything to go out of his hand and kept everything under strict check. That’s why this movie has turned out to be well-balanced and highly impressive.kaipoche

The only superfluous and irritating thing I found in this movie is the romantic track of Ishaan’s sister Vidya (Amrita Puri) and Govind. Though this track is on the lines of the novel, it disturbs the flow of the movie and is not in sync with its overall mood. Over-enthusiastic Vidya’s advances towards submissive and meek Govind might be appealing to the romantic female audience but to me, they appeared as unnatural and unduly imposed, diluting the otherwise high quality of the movie.

The climax is a hurried one which could have been given some dialogs between the friends facing each other. The movie may appear as biased against the Hindu community but considering the Gujarat setting of the story and the period being the same when the flames of communal hatred had enveloped the state, it had to be that way only.

All the three heroes have delivered mindblowing performances. Sushant Singh Rajput has entered the skin of the character of the greatly humanistic and utterly sensitive Ishaan quite effortlessly. It’s very difficult to imagine some other actor in that role. Rajkumar Yadav and Amit Sadh are not far behind. Among others, the one who truly stands out is Manav Kaul playing Omi’s politically biased maternal uncle. Child artist Digvijay Deshmukh playing the young Muslim child – Ali whom Ishaan aspires to develop into a great Cricketer, also leaves his mark.

Technically, the movie is just outstanding with the Gujarat of that period coming alive on the screen. Length is apt. Editing is praiseworthy. Music prepared by the team of composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist Swanand Kirkire deserves high accolades. Suljha Lenge Uljhe Rishton Ka Maanjha is definitely the best and an unforgettable song but the other two songs – Meethi Boliyan and Shubharambh are also praiseworthy.

After Rock On (2008), director Abhishek Kapoor has proved once again through Kai Po Che that he knows his work very well and is able to make heart-winning movies. As said in the opening para, it’s truly Blender’s Pride, pleasantly intoxicating and leaving a long lasting impact on the consumer (that is, the viewer).

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By all means worth a watch

My Name is Khan (2010) is the first (and till date the only) movie created by Karan Johar without keeping the box office in his mind. Seemingly inspired by Hollywood movie Forest Gump (1994), the movie is based upon the hatred and bias towards the Muslim community because of the terrorist activities by certain groups, especially in USA after the unforgettable 9/11.my-name-is-khanThe movie very correctly emphasizes that a person should be assessed as a good person or a bad person only whatsoever religion he may be practising. Why should a good and kind-hearted Muslim and his family face the hatred and discard when they are in no way connected to the anti-human deeds of the Muslim terrorists ? Their religion is their identification and their faith. If they are good, loving and kind towards the other communities and the mankind in general, why should they suffer ?

However Karan Johar could not find himself able to underscore this point through a normal Muslim individual. For his cinematic convenience, he has created the character of Rizwan who is suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. He is naive and innocent like a child and hence believable with all his mannerisms. But then the story does not look like a really flesh and blood individual’s story. It seems a bit artificial since beginning. After losing the little child who was born to his Hindu wife through her earlier marriage, in the post 9/11 hatred in USA towards Muslims, Rizwan has to face the brunt of his beloved wife who feels that she is a loving wife later, first a grief-stricken mother. Challenged by the discarding wife to meet the US president and convince him that despite being a Muslim, he is not a terrorist, Rizwan starts a journey covering many people and events full of sensitivity. In typical bollywood style, Rizwan ultimately succeeds in meeting not George Bush (to meet whom he had started the journey) but Barack Obama. Reason ! The US gets a new president, an Afro-Americal one, till Rizwan’s journey comes to conclusion. Obama (the actor and not the real Obama) tells him – ‘Your name is Khan and you are not a terrorist’. And our beloved Rizwan (Shahrukh) Khan is happy to have achieved his objective and quite naturally regain his lost love.shahrukh-khan-my-name-is-khan-hindi-picture-wallpaperThe treatment of the story by Karan Johar is highly sensitive. The character of Shahrukh Khan is simply lovable courtesy his marvellous acting through which he has put himself aside completely and attained the soul of Rizwan Khan, a golden hearted person suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. However, some incidents are unnecessary as well as making the look of the movie a bit unreal. The easier path has been followed by the director to bring his movie towards the desired climax. However, for the first time, a director has shown the courage to depict a Muslim showing mirror to Muslims themselves by quoting Koran Sharif and the Muslim legends like Hazrat Ibrahim, warning them to beware of the Satan (the misguiding Muslim leaders in the modern sense).

Shahrukh Khan has made even those people his fans through his performance in MNIK who were earlier his critics. Simply a gem of a performance by him. Kajol is as natural as cold in Delhi in the month of December. But the complete supporting cast deserves a special mention for the cameos by different characters making a greater part of the movie’s ultimate impact upon the viewers. Zarina Wahab, Sonya Jahan, Jimmy Shergill, Vinay Pathak, to name a few. The child artists (plus the non-Indian actors) have also done a splendid job.

The music is according to the mood of the movie. The art direction and the locations are highly impressive. Overall a good movie, not for the people fond of movies like KKHH or K3G (Karan’s formula ventures). It is a movie low on entertainment value but high on inspirational value. A thought-provoking one.

Strongly recommended for all the Muslim and non-Muslim viewers who believe in the religion of humanity.

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When the plan of a perfect murder goes awry

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie – Dial M for Murder (1954) was remade in Hollywood after 44 years as A Perfect Murder (1998). However its Indian version had come thirteen years prior to that as Aitbaar (1985). Director Mukul Anand adapted the classic story of Hitchcock with finesse and presented a memorable thriller to the Indian audience.indexAitbaar (trust) is the story of Neha (Dimple Kapadia) who loves a singer – Saagar (Suresh Oberai) but finding him as not prepared to marry her immediately, she gets married to a Tennis player – Jaideep (Raj Babbar) according to the wish of her father. But her married life proves no better than a nightmare for her. Aggrieved due to the ill-treating of her drunkard and wife-beater husband, she is about to commit suicide when suddenly she comes across Saagar again. Immediately thereafter, an unexpected but apparently joyful twist arrives in the tale of her life when she finds her husband as transforming himself for the better. She is extremely happy for the welcome change in him and the consequential pleasant change in her life but her happiness proves to be short-lived when a letter of  Saagar that he had written to her, gets stolen from her purse and then someone blackmails her on the basis of that. She pays the demanded money to the blackmailer but does not get the letter back. One day a stranger known as Vikramjeet (Sharat Saxena)  breaks into her house and tries to kill her but loses his own life in her hands. Neha is arrested, tried and awarded death-penalty for the crime because it is proved in the court that she has deliberately killed Vikramjeet. However police inspector – Barua (Danny Denjongpa) smells a conspiracy against Neha in the chain of events that has taken place and starts re-examining the facts silently. And before Neha is executed, he is able to unearth the conspiracy and unmask the conspirator. He only tells (now proved innocent) Neha how a perfect murder had been planned to eliminate her, how it backfired, how the conspirator cashed even the unplanned result of his conspiracy to his advantage and how the destiny ensured poetic justice leading to her exoneration.aitbaar-1Aitbaar is an edge-of-the-seat thriller. Director Mukul  Anand has been able to indianize the classic work of Alfred Hitchcock very well and present a highly entertaining and virtually spellbinding movie for the Indian audience. Nowhere the story slackens and nowhere any boredom creeps in. It’s a brilliant drama in which there is hardly any suspense for the viewer, nevertheless there is no dearth of curiosity for him. It’s the sheer brilliance of the story idea as well as its proficient execution that the viewer cannot leave the movie in between even for a single minute. The viewer should watch the movie keeping his brains with him because everything is logically linked to the other things and to understand (and enjoy) the logically connected sequences, one has to be attentive.posterThe director has wasted no time in beginning to tell the main story and right from the word ‘go’ the narrative starts moving ahead on the right track. The story runs swiftly towards its desired end like a bullet and the focus is maintained throughout without any diversion at all. The web of the murder-conspiracy which is the theme of the movie, starts getting woven around not only the prospective victim but also the spectator from the very first scene. And till the words ‘THE END’ appear on the screen, no superfluous scene intervenes. And that’s called the ideal script of a thriller.

Tight and speedy screenplay has been ably supported by the power-packed performances of the principal characters and the melodious and meaningful songs are the icing on the cake. Resultantly, the overall impact of the film is just superb.

Producer – Romesh Sharma and director – Mukul Anand have nowhere compromised with the production value or quality of the movie. Cinematography is brilliant, editing is par excellence and all the other significant aspects of the movie have also been taken care of very well.

All the four principal actors – Raj Babbar, Suresh Oberai, Dimple Kapadia and Danny Denjongpa have performed excellently. However if I have to choose the best performer, I will select the coughing but cunning police inspector – Danny Denjongpa for the honour. And needless to mention, Dimple looks very pretty also. Though she was a mother of two children in her real life at that time; her beauty, grace and innocent looks in the movie are able to make several unmarried beauties jealous of her.

Bappi Lahiri has composed laudable music for this movie with the meaningful lyrics being penned by Hasan Kamaal. Two songs out of total four, are unforgettable. Kisi Nazar Ko Tera Intezaar Aaj Bhi Hai, sung by Bhupinder and Asha, is one of the best Bollywood Ghazals of all times. However my liking is even more for the Bhupinder-Asha duet – Aawaaz Di Hai Aaj Ek Nazar Ne Ya Hai Ye Dil Ko Gumaan.

All in all, Aitbaar is a breath-stopping thriller which should not be missed by the thriller-fans. Such razor-sharp thrillers are rarely made in Bollywood. Even those who have seen Dial M for Murder or A Perfect Murder will also find it worth their time and money.

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Avoid using your brains to enjoy it properly

I can’t imagine that it’s the same Farhan Akhtar who had made a classic movie like Dil Chaahta Hai (2001). Don 2 (2011) entertains but it’s far from what can be considered an excellent movie. Most of the movie seems to have been directed by its action director. However I give credit to Farhan for making a movie with a new story this time because for making its prequel, he had got a readymade story in the form of the original Don (1978).11dec_don2-3dposter04I feel, while making Don (2006) itself, Farhan had decided to make its sequel and as the groundwork of the sequel only, he had shown in the climax that the deceased person was Vijay (who had been sent to the gang as the undercover agent of the police) whereas Don was alive although he had not bothered to furnish any logical explanation for that as to how it could have been possible. Anyway, picking up the thread from that end only, he has started the story of the sequel and furnished sufficient twists and turns to keep the viewer engaged for a major part of the movie. However these twists and turns are by no means great. Anybody fond of reading thriller and mystery novels can identify them and guess the resolution before the suspense is unravelled by the narrator.don-2-2011Don was the story of an undercover agent of the Indian police whereas Don 2 is essentially a heist story in which punches related to the hero’s checkmating his opponents, have been inserted. The heroine and the supercop of the original movie are now shown as having joined the Interpol and got posted at Malaysia where our hero surrenders himself. His surrender is bound to be motivated which throws the screenplay on its main track. First an escape with an old foe-turning-accomplice (Vardhaan) is masterminded and thereafter the heist. The double-crossing game is also at large alongwith the original heist plan. Mind games are being played by the law-breakers to outwit each-other. No prizes for guessing as to who emerges triumphant in the end.indexI advise the viewers that to enjoy this movie properly, they should put their brains behind before heading to watch it because it defies logic at several places and in several ways. If I go on detailing all those points, the space provided for writing the review may prove to be very very inadequate. Anyway, let me assert that the scene involving Hrithik Roshan is the height of stupidity. It reminded me of an old flop movie – Heeron Ka Chor (1982) in which it was shown quite in a kiddish manner that a criminal commits crime by wearing the facemask of a straight citizen. Ditto for the scene of Hrithik in this movie. Farhan Akhtar conveniently forgot that just by wearing a facemask, a person cannot change his true height as well as the true colour of his eyes (hiding it from the heroine who has been pretty close to him in the past) and above all, his voice. Had Farhan dubbed Hrithik’s dialogues in Shah Rukh’s voice, it would have gone down the throat of the viewers seeking (somewhat) logic in the movie. The jailbreak and the heist as well as getting away after that have been shown in an oversimplified manner. The hero’s enemies have been shown as damn fools in the climax which is unnatural.don22011The thing that Farhan has worked upon the most is style. It is by all means a style movie. Style is there in everything. The movie has a glossy look and a very high production value. Action scenes and thrill are the essence of the movie and it is worth a watch mainly for them. Technically the movie is superb and matches the Hollywood action flicks. However, it is the overdose of action in the second half that bores. It can be compared to Dhoom2 in which the adrenaline-pumping job had superseded the story aspect.

Witty dialogues have nothing original in them but they are very impressive and add spice to the narrative. Music is one of the biggest disappointments in this movie. Completely forgettable.

Shah Rukh Khan’s self-indulgence is a very big problem for any movie now. He feels that he is the best. Fine. But blowing that trumpet frequently is irritating for the audience. Confident heroes are welcome, arrogant heroes are not. However himself as well as all others have done well. I specially admire Priyanka Chopra who has proved that she is the new-age Zeenat Aman (the heroine of the original Don).don-2-free-wallpapers106_cr_1330600045Farhan has laid the foundation for the third part of the story. However he took five years in coming up with the sequel and God knows how much time he will take in making the third part. In this movie itself, age has clearly taken over SRK and wrinkles are visible on his face. It’s good that this movie contains little romance else it would have been very difficult to endure aged (and ugly) SRK romancing with still very pretty Piggy Chops.

While recommending this movie as an entertaining one time watch (no repeat value like the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Don), I pose a question. Earlier, the (Indian) movies did not show criminals going scot-free because the common assumption was – crime does not pay. Now, should we change it to – crime does pay (and much more than the honest and lawful activities) ? If a person is intelligent, smart and daredevil; why shouldn’t he become a criminal and enjoy life (like Don) ?

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The murderous full moon night

It is said that if someone is a bit abnormal since birth or childhood, his / her abnormality may manifest its ugly face during full moon nights because a full grown moon has something to do with the people’s unconscious motivation. Today I am reviewing a long forgotten black and white Bollywood movie which is a suspense-thriller whose story has been written with the involvement of the effects of full moon on people’s behaviour patterns. It’s Poonam Ki Raat (1965) directed by Kishore Sahu who had directed many good movies from the early forties to the early seventies and also acted in a few movies (In Dev Anand’s classic movie – Guide, Kishore Sahu had played the role of Marco, Waheeda Rehman’s husband).index1Poonam Ki Raat (full moon night) starts with the hostelled student life of the hero, Manoj Kumar and his college-mate (and hostel-mate), Shiv Kumar. Due to the news of the paralytic attack on Shiv Kumar’s father (D.K. Sapru), he had to rush to his home with Manoj Kumar accompanying him. After entering the city, when they are yet to reach Shiv Kumar’s home, Manoj Kumar happens to overhear some talks (on a roadside shop) related to the death of a woman named as Rani who was considered to be the keep of Shiv Kumar’s father. She had died mysteriously on a full moon night. After reaching Shiv Kumar’s home, Manoj Kumar gets introduced to all of his family members and effortlessly comes to know of the property related intrigues and conspiracies spread in that joint family. The very first, yet very romantic encounter with Shiv Kumar’s sister, Kumud Chhugani leads to blossoming of love between herself and Manoj Kumar. However there’s a lot more for him to see and feel in that house.crop_480x480_25802In the night, he happens to hear a mystery-filled song (Saathi Re, Tujh Bin Jiya Udaas Re) being sung by a female. However when he tries to locate that singer, he is able to find none. Moreover, this is not the only mysterious incident in the house. Many mysterious and not understandable things are taking place, mostly in the night hours. The gestures of certain members of the family are no less mysterious than the incidents. And then, the already paralytic and bed-ridden aged father sees something horrible in the night and falls from the cot. Resultantly, his paralytic condition gets worsened and he loses his power to speak too. Simultaneously, the nurse who has been hired to take care of him (being a resident nurse) goes missing. Her dead body is found from a well in the house after a couple of days. These events have also taken place on a full moon night only. Manoj Kumar’s own behaviour is also getting abnormal day-by-day (due to living in such an environment). The family doctor (Kishore Sahu) who had deputed the nurse to take care of the old man, is approached by Shiv Kumar to understand something about abnormal people because he suspects that his friend Manoj Kumar is actually insane and he only has committed the murder of the nurse. The mystery is finally unfolded when another eventful full moon night arrives.poonam-ki-raat-925660093-435994-2The mystery of this story starts with the beginning of the movie itself but it is spread quite gradually and the director has taken his time in enveloping the viewer in the mysterious web of the things lying scattered in the script. However, the way the storyline moves, albeit at a slow pace, it proves to be an engrossing suspense-filled experience for a mystery-fan. The spectator finds himself as lost in some fog or mist which clears only in the climax. Despite songs, romance and hilarious sequences being placed in the movie, finally it’s the suspense only which prevails throughout. Thus Poonam Ki Raat can justifiably be called a pure mystery. The climax is not something like action-packed. It may appear to be dry for the typical Indian audience who have got habituated to see a high profile climax. However the climax is thoughtful and logically explains every particle of the mystery. I award full marks to the director for that.poonam-ki-raat-925660093-435994-1Since it’s mainly an in-house drama, the production value did not need to be high. However the cinematographer has ably maintained the mysterious environment throughout this black and white movie. If the camera work is efficient, the suspense can be exasperated better in a black and white movie than in a coloured movie. Poonam Ki Raat proves it. Otherwise also, the movie is technically good.

Salil Chowdhary has prepared good music for this suspense movie. Saathi Re, Tujh Bin Jiya Udaas Re is a famous suspense song of Lata Mangeshkar. Other songs – Bhole Piya, Tum Kahaan Le Chale Ho, Sapno Mein Mere, Ta Deem Tana Deem and Dil Tadpe Tadpaaye are also quite good. The music director has aptly used the voices of Mukesh, Rafi and the Mangeshkar sisters (Lata, Asha and Usha) for different songs.

Performances are not great but not bad either. It’s the debut movie of the heroine, Kumud Chhugani and she looks charming and innocent. Among others, if someone really stands out, it’s Leela Mishra who plays the role of the sister of the head of the house.

Priyadarshan’s so-called horror movie – Bhool Bhulaiya (2007) is more or less on similar lines only. Since Poonam Ki Raat is a long forgotten movie and not known to today’s generation, nobody has contrasted Bhool Bhulaiya with it to find out glaring similarities between these two movies (with the sole exception of yours truly). One more illustration of plagiarism ! Who cares ? However this black and white movie is far better than Bhool Bhulaiya because it explains everything happening in the movie in a perfectly logical way in the climax which is not the case with Priyadarshan’s movie.

I wholeheartedly recommend Poonam Ki Raat to the audience of suspense-thrillers.

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