Arjun Reddy – An Amazing Telugu Film

Arjun-Reddy-1Many of my commenters on my Pardesi Youtube channel encouraged me to do a trailer reaction for Arjun Reddy, and then the drumbeat started, “When are you going to review Arjun Reddy?  It’s a sensation here!”

I am SO glad these people let me know about this film.  I’m not sure I would have gone to see it in the theater otherwise, and I’ve now seen it twice in one week.  It’s that amazing.

This video review is spoiler free.  I recorded it right after I came out of the screening.

 

I was gobsmacked by the film.  It is unlike any other Telugu film I’ve ever seen.  This is no Masala film.  It is raw and real, both in the story and the dialogues.  It’s a debut director Sandeep Reddy Vanga, and was made on a shoestring budget.   It’s more like an indie film in many ways, and it is a sensation.

There is an intense romance between two medical students played by Vijay Deverakonda and Shalini.  I have never seen a romance with a seduction by pulling the girl out of anatomy class to draw the muscles and bones on her hand.

arjunreddy250717_002Because they are of different castes, here family is adamantly against them.  And then the film becomes very much like a modern Devdas, but it goes places I wasn’t expecting.

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Arjun is a complete hot head, and it’s a cautionary tale on how because he cannot control his rage, he loses everything in his life.

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The actor, Vijay Deverakonda is amazing in the role.  He was willing to show himself wetting his pants during an overdose, something I can’t imagine pretty much any other Indian actor doing (well, maybe Rajkummar or Nawaz).

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The film has intense romantic kissing just as a matter of course.  The freakin’ poster is the kiss.  A politician ripped the poster off buses, and Vijay at the press conference said, “Granpa, chill.”  There’s a real attitude around the film.  It’s not trying to be a film festival art film.  It’s out there, and proud about it.

This is a five star film for me.  It’s that good. It felt realistic in the way that Malayalam films often do.  I felt like the characters were real people and I was seeing inside their lives.  I love a film like Mirchi, too, but there are no machetes or goondas or Masala elements in Arjun Reddy.  Arjun Reddy is intense about his calling as a doctor, about his romance and his friendships.

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Rahul Ramakrishna, who plays Arjun’s best friend, was my favorite secondary character of the film.  He gets some of the best comedic lines, too.  He says at one point something like “People don’t understand what it’s like to be your friend.  It’s like I’m pissing all over myself and only I can enjoy the warmth.”  Amazing!

This is a film that is going to stay with me.  I cannot recommend enough that you try to see this film in the theater with a crowd.  I know I wasn’t getting all the wordplay, but people around me were laughing a lot at the dialogues.

Margaret of Don’t Call It Bollywood and I saw the film together my second time, and then we had an on camera spoiler filled discussion.  ONLY if you’ve seen the film already, should you watch this video.  Seriously, watch the film first, so you experience for yourself.

 

Margaret has on her blog a spoiler free review here, and a spoiler review here.

 

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Movie Review Shubh Mangal Saavdhan

 

ayushmann-khuranna-saavdhan-bhumi-pednekar-reunite-mangal_84baecb4-769c-11e7-83e1-68866f5cbeee (1)I enjoy the chemistry of Bhumi Padnekar and Ayushmann Khurrana together.  This is a really sweet romantic film.  I have to hand it to Ayushmann to go there.  He is the same one who tackled sperm donation in Vicky Donor, a really enjoyable film, and now stars in a comedy about erectile dysfunction.

shubha_1501590643_725x725In an Indian romantic comedy, nothing is private, and every family member has to give their two cents about the couple’s predicament.

One of my favorite scenes has Bhumi insist that Ayushmann give her the band baaja baaraat she really wants, and when he does it is a glorious moment.

67073-blkqvcljdb-1504012014Both Bhumi and Ayushmann are riding the success this summer of their last pairing, Dum Laga Ke Haisha.  I wish their films hadn’t been clustered so close together.  I’m not sure the public is ready to see so much of them all at once.  This film has a lot of charm, and it’s definitely worth a trip to the theater.

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Hindi Trailer Roundup

 

I am really looking forward to Varun Dhawan in Judwaa 2.  This seems like the perfect kind of comedy for him.

 

Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi seems like a good fit for Rishi Kapoor, but I’m not familiar with the actor playing his son.

 

Newton, starring Rajkummar Roa, will be the opening night film for the Chicago South Asian Film Festival.  I’m not going to be able to attend that screening, but Rajkummar will be staying through the weekend and doing a Q&A for his film Trapped.

 

Saif Ali Khan is remaking Jon Favreau’s Chef.  This is a good fit for him.  I’m going to enjoy seeing Saif as a father onscreen.

Telugu Trailer Roundup

Here’s a roundup of some of the latest Telugu trailers.  I think I’m most looking forward to Chay Akkineini’s newest film.

 

Rana Daggubati is center in this trailer for what may be a web series.  Looks like a cross between Mr. Robot and Scandal:

 

Meda Meeda Abbayi:

 

 

Mahanubhavudu starring Sharwanand and Mehreen Kaur, directed by Maruthi.  I like this nerdy persona by Sharwanand, an actor new to me.

 

Paisa Vasool just looks insane.

 

Ravi Teja in Raja the Great:

 

I’m also really psyched for Jr. NTR in Jai Lava Kusa.

 

Rajinikanth and Akshay – Making of 2.0

 

Rajinikanth’s Enthiran (Robot) was pretty mind-blowing in the imagination.  It’s also very unusual to have a Sci-fi themed Indian film.  I love this first look behind the scenes of 2.0.  We get to see the makeup sessions for Rajinikanth and Akshay (love that look!) and some of the green screen work.

This is a Tamil film I’m looking forward to.  The release date will be in January.

Malayalam Trailer Roundup

With the holiday of Onam, there is a cluster of big releases in Kerala.  There are new releases from Nivin Pauly, Mohanlal and Prithviraj.  Also we’ve had a few teasers now for Solo, Dulquer Salmaan’s upcoming film Solo.

Mohzin ( ) reports from Kerala that the Prithviraj and Nivin Pauly films are doing well in Kerala and getting decent reviews, while the Mohanlal is average.  There can be a couple of week delay until we get Malayalam films here in Chicago, but I hope I can catch some of these new films in the theater.

Here is my song reaction to Enthaavo from Nivin Pauly’s Njandukalude Naatil Oridavela.  Enthaavo has been on the top of the Malayalam charts on Saavn.

 

There’s also been a  trailer and a song from Mohanlal’s Velipadinte Pusthakam.  Mohanal plays the vice principal of a school in the film.

 

 

Adam Joan is a new thriller starring Prithviraj.  It seems to have been mostly filmed in Scotland.

And finally, we get another teaser trailer from Dulquer Salmaan — the character Siva from Solo.  I’m not sure we’ve ever seen Dulquer play a gangster like this.

Movie Review: Ajith in Vivegam

 

vivegam-800x450Ajith Kumar’s Vivegam is a pure action film by Siva, the same director as Vedalam. And that’s my issue with the film.  It’s trying to be something like a Bond film or a Mission Impossible type of movie.  Spies and double crosses and missing nuclear codes and so on.  But it doesn’t have heart.  It doesn’t have a story between all the great action set pieces to keep you interested in the story.

kajal-1Kajal plays Ajith’s wife in the film, and there is no romance track.  She becomes a woman in peril, as you would expect in a film like this.

There are some wild action scenes and nearly the entire movie is set in Serbia.  If you want to see Ajith doing amazing motorcycle chase sequences and fight a samurai sword wielding warrior woman with nun-chucks.   Then this is the movie for you.

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I was hoping since it was the same director, Siva, as Vedalam, that it would be a similar experience.  It was more Hollywood influenced.  Maybe that’s what the Tamil audience wants, but the NRIs I saw the film with were also disappointed.  I talked to two different groups in the lobby to see if it was just my negative reaction.  It wasn’t just me.

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But, it was a roller coaster ride of action.  I’ll give them that.  And Vivek Oberoi was a good villain.

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Movie Review : Ajith in Vedalam

In anticipation of seeing Ajith Kumar’s new Tamil film Vivegam, I watched his 2015 film Vedalam (Phantom).  I thought that it was my first Ajith film, but in looking him up I realized he was in Ashoka as SRK’s younger brother,  and most notably as the dream boat young filmmaker in Kandukondain, Kandukondain paired with Tabu.  Hubba, hubba.

 

I really enjoyed Vedalam.  It has fantastic action sequences but it really has heart at it’s center.  The romance with Shruti Hassan provides some comic relief and a few nice song sequences.  The interval point is when Ajith tells his story, and gives us the flashback that explains  how mild mannered Ganesh came to Kolkata and what happened to his sister.

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I absolutely adored Ajith’s relationship with his sister (Lakshmi Menon), and the story of how they became close.  I love the trope of a rowdy who blossoms from the love of family.

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The moment that Ajith turns was quite something and one of the most memorable sequences I’ve seen in Indian cinema.  I can see why Ajith has such a fan following.  He won over this new fan with this film!

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A Gentleman is Super fun!

A Gentleman was at first talked about as a sequel to Bang Bang.  It isn’t really, but it’s very similar in the tone and feel.  Which means that I liked it a lot.

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Siddharth Malhotra is great in the action scenes.  And I loved his dorky persona, too.  Lots of inside jokes about Desis in America.  The fight sequence in the middle of Home Depot cracked me up.

 

sidharth_malhotra_is_looking_smokin_hot_in_this_trailer_of_a_gentleman_980x457Jacqueline Fernandez is great at comedy.  I gained new respect for her from this film.  She also had a great American accent.  She doesn’t really get a big dance number, but she pole dances (!!!) in a song sequence at a karaoke bar.

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Jacqueline had great chemistry with Siddharth.  She’s got Guarav in the friendzone, and then is attracted to the exciting dangerous Rishi.

Basically if you like films like Mr. and Mrs. Smith and True Lies, you’re going to like this film.  A Gentleman is just a fun action comedy.

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