Wednesday, 16 December 2015


Directed by: Tanuja Chandra
Starring: Kajol, Ashutosh Rana, Sanjay Dutt
Released: 1998
My rating: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Few crimes are as awful as a rape. Not only it causes physical harm, it strips the victim of their dignity, violates their privacy, often it crushes their spirit. And when a rape ends with just as violent murder, hardly anything the darkest nightmare could conjure up even compares. And yet that is exactly how this film starts and what it deals with. 

The lives of two twin sisters Naina and Sonia seem happy enough, with both going to the college and one of them accepting a marriage proposal from her boyfriend. In the good Bollywood tradition of twin behaviour, Naina (Kajol with long hair) is a calm, angelic and gentle being, whilst Sonia (Kajol in the most awful wig since the beginning of Bollywood until Anushka Sharma in P.K.) is loud, intimidating, roughened up kid. But then they capture attention of a rapist and Sonia pays the price. The angelic Naina sets on a quest of finding her sister´s killer, and hopes to prevent his perverted actions in the future. Her journey involves overcoming her own demons and fears, as well as some jogging and weight-lifting under the careful guidance of blind Sanjay Dutt.

Horrifying as it is, Dushman is a great film. I have not seen the Hollywood original, but I dare say Dushman definitely is a more than worthy remake. Perhaps the best scene are the moments before Sonia´s death, as Naina helplessly, verging on hysteria, runs among the cars in traffic jam, all the time listening to Sonia´s screams over the cell-phone. The portrayal of the rapist and murdered is excellent, showing him not only as a disgusting deviant, but also a cunning liar and sly operator, who manipulates the only woman who (for whatever reason) actually cares for him.

The star of the whole thing is of course Kajol, who is only challenged in her performance by truly terrifying Ashutosh Rana. It is by far the best work I´ve seen Kajol doing and I would be much happier if people would talk about her talent with references to films like this rather than to mediocre stuff like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or even worse to K3G. Dushman gives her a great scope and great material to work with and she seizes the opportunity. However I would have been much happier had there be no love subplot, which I found completely unnecessary, not to mention Sanjay and Kajol do not work as a jodi to me, not at all. Sanjay overal did well, but his character, just as the whole subplot, was given more importance than I would like, as I was hyped about all the thrilling stuff and confrontations between Kajol and Ashutosh, and Sanjay bits were only slowing everything down and distracted one´s interest. For the sake of everything it would have been better if we saw more of the training than romance.

The climax was way too violent, way too long and the music behind it way too awful. And the very ending took away from the feeling of satisfaction brought in by the climax. The romance nobody cared about should not have diluted the sense of relief and justice previously brought on by the bloody death of the rapist at the hands of his upcoming victim.

Excellent thriller I cannot recommend to ladies as a late night movie unless you have a box of chocolate, strong boyfriend and fully loaded Beretta by your side.

Monday, 14 December 2015


Directed by: Nishikant Kamat
Starring: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Shriya Saran
Released: 2015
My rating: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Watch more Bollywood films so you know how to get away with murder. That is the basic message of Drishyam. Also - teach your sons not to be slimy creeps. Otherwise they may not make it home one fine day. The film´s plot touches upon the topic of leaking of extremely private video footage, which leads to an accidental killing of the blackmailer by the victim. However the whole family becomes involved and Ajay Devgn (an uneducated TV-addict as we are constantly reminded) weaves a web of lies and half-truths that ultimately lead to a sort-of-happy ending.

The plot is definitely stretched in probability (there is NO bloody way the police inspector would have put it all together with so little information), but to be fair to much lesser degree than most movies Ajay Devgn has done in the past few years. Some explaining parts get tedious and you better not drop your attention any time during the film otherwise you may loose on some important points. The ending scene finishes everything brilliantly, bringing everything to a wrap, and leaving no questions unanswered. Except for one: Whom did the brother-in-law call? I am sure I must have missed something, and I have suspicions, but this piece of the puzzle is missing in my brain. However Drishyam definitely provides suspense and three-dimensional characters. Even the "good" and "righteous" have a dark side. The seemingly "evil" police officer has a motivation that has driven many a hero, over the years, to commit pretty awful stuff as well.

Furthermore the picture is very well acted. Ajay gives a very solid, balanced performance, without any ridiculous flying and smashing tricks that inevitably would transform the film into something else. His strength as an actor is that even when he keeps his voice and expressions down throughout the whole movie, he projects so much inner strength he never gets boring. Tabu is excellent, and to make a little confession, this was the absolutely very first time when I could see how good she is. Not even Haider and Chandni Bar had endeared her to me, but in Drishyam I could truly feel her emotions. The problem I´ve always had with her was how painfully boring she usually is to watch. Not here though. Shriya Saran (looking beautiful and more like one of Ajay´s daughters than his wife) gets lesser scale of emotions to project, in fact is destined, by her role of a mother (who apparently does not watch as much TV as her husband), to be scared and worried. Still, to be fair, she does very well. Both child actresses did a good job too, there was just no point in the teenage girl being adopted other than actually acknowledging how young Shriya is. But we need someone that young beside 50-years-old Devgn, amirite?

I was not sure whether to rate this film as good or great. It is something in between, so let´s just agree it is very good. And actually there is one more question that remains unanswered: Why does the "bad" police officer always needs to be the darkest one they have at the station? Where are the Aashiqui days when it was the white ginger psycho we had to worry about?