Movie Reviews by Rajesh Kumar Singh
23rd September 2016

PARCHED: Pretentious art house mediocrity


This is a kind of purgation of constipated ideas some of our female filmmakers are perennially obsessed with. It’s about four women Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee), Janki (Lehar Khan), Lajjo (Radhika Apte) and Bijli (Surveen Chawla).  All are totally dissatisfied in life, living in a village in Rajasthan desert, leading a sexually oppressed, depressed, repressed, and abused life in a patriarchal society. The most important metaphors of this art house balderdash are women looking out of bus windows and savoring the winds of freedom and driving a heavily embellished & decorationally lighted ‘phatphtaia’ in the nights on desert roads. It’s a boring and fake tale, an outsider’s perspective of Indian rural life. Garbed in ‘magic-realism’, the film loudly tom-toms the pompous message of gender emancipation and justice while the filmmaker supplants her rather juvenile and clichéd urban sensibility and agenda on rural womanhood and pretends to be a savior.

Directed by Leena Yadav, Produced by Ajay Devgan, Written by Leena Yadav, Starring Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla, Adil Hussain, Lehar Khan, Sayani Gupta, Music by Hitesh Sonik, Cinematography by Russell Kent


CHAPEKAR BROTHERS: A good idea wasted


This could have been an important film. The martyrdom of Chapekar Brothers is an important part of the history of our freedom struggle and the new generation must know about how the three brothers Damodar Chapekar (Abhijeet Bhagat), Balkrishna Chapekar (Sanjeet Dhuri), and Vashudev Chapekar (Manoj Bhatt) stood up against an oppressive British administrator of Pune W C Rand (Hemant Jha) and killed him to avenge the humiliation of their people. It’s an engrossing and inspiring historical story with huge cinematic possibilities. The poorly researched, developed, directed, cast, performed and produced ‘B’ grade film does little justice to its subject and the memory of the great sons of Bharat Mata who inspired countless young men and women of the era to take to the path of armed revolutionary struggle. I have been saying for long that there should be an embargo on making films on such historical subjects. These stories and events are our precious legacy. We must not allow them to be squandered like this.

Directed by Devender Kumar Pandey, Produced by Ghanshyam Patel, Screenplay by Dhiraj Mishra, Starring Abhijit Bhagat, Sanjeet Dhuri, Manoj Bhatt, Govind Namdeo, Megha Joshi, Kanchan Awasthi
Akhilesh Jain, Kumkum Das, Music by Dushyant Dubey
Cinematography by Eugene D'souza, Production Company Giriva Productions

KALICHAAT- THE IMPREGNABLE BLACK ROCK: It could have been a world-class film competing with the best of world cinema


This is yet another subject that could have had a huge impact on cinema audiences around the world if developed, directed, performed and produced a little more carefully, competently, and imaginatively. It’s almost there yet does not come up to the mark. The film is about a farmer in dry lands of Madhya Pradesh who stakes his all including his life to dig a bore-well in his land.  Had this film been made well, it would have been playing in competition in the leading film festivals of the world and may even have won a Golden Bear or Palme d’Or. The subject of the film is as potent as this year's Berlinale Golden Bear winner FIRE AT SEA by Gianfranco Rosi and the Cannes Palme d’Or winner I, DANIEL BLAKE by Ken Loach.

Directed & produced by Sudhanshu Sharma, Written by Dr. Sunil Chaturvedi based on his own novel Kalichaat, Starring Prakash Deshmukh, Geetika Shyam, Virendra Kumar Nathenial, Music by Sanjeev Kohli, Edited by Jeetu Rall

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