MAN OF STEEL
After humanising Batman, Christopher Nolan makes yet another superhero tangible. We always knew Superman as the man of steel but the mode of cementation has always been comic book and over the top. Now Nolan – as a producer here – joins hands with director Zack Snyder to generate a Superman that is more soul than spandex.
We know Clark Kent joined Daily Planet as a stringer but what happened before it. How he reached there from Krypton, the planet of his birth. The myth that the two seasoned creative forces have woven around Superman (Henry Cavill) is sagacious in thought and spectacular in form. They show us the bigger picture in more ways than one.
The revision of superhero cult is timely and the point it raises rings a bell as it hints at the present state of affairs. Here Superman has to stand against his own kin from Krypton for they are not ready to share. General Zod (Michael Shannon), who survived the doomsday on Krypton, is the embodiment of the dictators breeding around us in the name of national interest, often criticising the slowness of democratic process.
For once the villain of a superhero piece is not completely off the mark. What we see in the opening moments on Krypton reflects how demagogues play with opposition without taking a stand on the real issue. Snyder shows us the middle path in the form of Jor El (Russell Crowe), the father of Kal, who goes on to become Clark. He tells us that Krpyton died because of indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources and gives his son the power to choose his future. These are all fundamental issues we are grappling with and many of us are taking Earth to the Krypton way.
Kent’s struggle on Earth has been captured with certain sensitivity. His relationship with his parents (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner make the characters breath) is poignant.
The good thing is that all this subtext doesn’t hit you in the face and the moment we begin to sense the preaching part, Snyder shifts gears and we see an intergalactic battle between our man and Zod. It is bigger in scale and magnitude than whatever you have seen before.
Henry Cavill as Superman is a pleasant blend of strength and vulnerability. Shannon makes an impact. The only problem is Amy Adams. She gets a cardboard to play with and the tame bond between her and Cavill is the only factor that disappoints in this spectacle with a heart.
It is often said one should pick films with care. For a hit can lead to ten different variants of it. When Delhi Belly became the darling of the English speaking young elite, one wondered how it will sound in Hindi. Here it is. Full of youthful exuberance and uninhibited use of street language, Fukrey is the story of four wastrels, who get caught in a situation because one of them has the gift to realise his dreams. Or are they nightmares!
Yes, Nolan’s spell can be seen here as well. In a parody of sorts of Inception , Choocha has an amazing power to dream and his buddy Honey has the ability to deconstruct his absurd sounding reveries. It wins them illegal lotteries. Well, when the two decide to use this power as a gateway to the college, things turn topsy turvy. They are joined by Lali (Manjot Singh) and Zafar, who have their own reasons to invest in Choocha’s dream. The four approach a wicked hustler called Bholi Punjaban (Richa Chadda) for money but the adventure turns turtle when Choocha flounders.
As long as the film remains a series of snapshots of middle-class Delhi boys desperate to get into college and woo girls, it keeps you in good humour for the one-liners keep coming.
Director Mirgdeep Singh Lamba, who gave us a forgettable Teen They Bhai has an eye for detail and he picks the local accent and situations with flair. The use of smack addict, college watchman and old people doing exercises for generating situational humour are some of the highlights that will stay with you.
Newcomer Varun Sharma excels as the hopeless Choocha and Pulkit Samrat impresses as the cocky Honey. Manjot has done such straight-faced humour before, and here again provides good company. Ali Fazal lends the only serious element to the story as the struggling singer Zafar.
But when Lamba, who is also the co-writer, comes to the point, the screenplay fails to deliver. Richa has been reduced to one-note character where she has to repeatedly use cuss words. It makes no sense unless the director thinks that this is the only way to establish a female actor as the villain. Also, when Choocha loses his core competence at a crucial juncture, Lamba fails to provide any plausible justification. The usual rave party, police raid situation has run its course. From then on it is all downhill for these dream merchants. The saving grace is that they don’t lose their sense of humour.
ANKUR ARORA MURDER CASE
A simple operation results in the death of a patient because of medical negligence. These days we often find such news stories crying for attention but Bollywood’s interest in such cases has largely been vestigial. Here director Suhail Tatari, who knows more than a thing or two about the medical profession – his last film Summer of 2007 also dealt with the medical world – picks a story from the news pages and dramatises it for the celluloid.
Dr. Asthana (Kay Kay Menon), a reputed surgeon, goofs up big time in a small operation and his young patient Ankur Arora emits life just because he ingested a few biscuits before the procedure to remove appendix. Romesh (Arjun Mathur), an intern with integrity, gets to know the details and together with Ankur’s mother (Tisca Chopra) files a case of medical negligence against Dr. Asthana’s hospital.
Romesh’s integrity comes in the way of his love as live-in partner (Vishakha Singh), who was also present at the time of operation. She doesn’t want to sacrifice her career by taking on the big boys but it doesn’t deter Romesh. In comes Kakori (Paoli Dam), a lawyer, who doesn’t mind hobnobbing with her rival (Manish Chaudhary), and the action shifts to the courtroom.
Kay Kay Menon has been the face of vanity in Bollywood for sometime and he knows how to play to the gallery.
Tisca Chopra is efficient as the modern day working mother who doesn’t give in to melodrama easily and Arjun is appealing as the young doctor grappling with a system which is trying to suggest that negligence is no big deal in a matter of life and death, reputations are.
Be it the medical terms or postures, the detailing is praiseworthy but the way Tatari has shaped his protagonist you are never in doubt which side he will tilt. Romesh’s family or background is never discussed. So it seems comparatively easier for him to pick conscience over career. But then you don’t expect depth from Vikram Bhatt’s productions. Some of the twists in the plot remind you that it is penned by Bhatt himself.