MARCH 2014
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Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra

Kangana Ranaut travels solo in “Queen”

“QueenStarring Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao, Lisa Haydon; directed by Vikas Bahl; music by Amit Trivedi.

This film is named after its heroine, Rani, played by Kangana Ranaut, who possesses a delightful comic charm. Rani is a young Punjabi girl in Delhi from a conservative family. For her safety, her brothers escort her everywhere. Though she lacks in confidence, she has a determined spirit. After her wedding to fiancée Vijay, played by Rajkummar Rao, gets called off, Rani gets the shock of her life. In her confusion, instead of crying or lamenting her fate, she decides to move forward. Since the couple had made plans to go to Paris and Amsterdam for their honeymoon, Rani bravely decides to take the trip alone. The film focuses on Rani growing as an individual and her journey of rediscovering her identity while on her solo honeymoon. After winning raves in “Fashion” and “Tanu Weds Manu” Ranaut has proved her talent and is an actress to watch out for. The fresh music by Amit Trivedi is already topping the charts.

Gulaab Gang“Gulaab GangStarring Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Divya Jagdale; directed by Soumik Sen; music by Soumik Sen.

The many fans of Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla are in for a treat, contemporaries in the 1990s, they had never worked together previously. Set in a matriarchal society, the film tells the story of a gang of women fighting against social injustice, in central India. Madhuri plays the group’s firebrand leader in the ashram where they ground spices, make handmade baskets and saris while also fighting for their rights. Juhi Chawla plays a shrewd, ambitious politician and was initially unsure if she would be accepted by the audience in this negative role. While she had prior experience of learning Taekwondo, Madhuri trained in martial arts to get the action scenes right and has done most of the stunt scenes herself. Producer Anubhav Sinha denies that his film portrays Bundelkhand's real life gang of women who wear pink and are featured in a recently released documentary called “Gulabi Gang.”

Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra

Sonam Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and
Ayushman Khurrana in “Bewakoofiyan”

Bewakoofiyan” Starring Sonam Kapoor, Ayushman Khurrana, Rishi Kapoor; directed by Nupur Asthana; music by Raghu Dixit.

This romantic comedy produced under the Yash Raj banner is the second offering from director Nupur Ashtana after “Mujhse Fraandship Karoge.” Bewakoofiyan movie is a slice of life. The Delhi-based story is about two young people passionately in love. Ayushmann Khurrana plays Mohit Chadhdha who seemingly has it all, a good job and gorgeous girlfriend Mayera, played by Sonam Kapoor, who has agreed to marry him. They strongly believe love can help them survive anything, even when recession strikes. But Mayera’s determined bureaucrat father, V.K. Sehgal played by Rishi Kapoor, strongly disagrees. Expect many comic situations when the two attempt to win over her father as the lack of money tests their love. This fun-filled satire is written by Habib Faisal of “Ishaqzaade” fame. And like his previous movies, Ayushman Khurrana has sung one of the songs.

The LunchboxThe Lunchbox,” directed by Ritesh Batra, releases in Florida this month. We first reviewed this wonderful film last year. If you have not seen it yet, now is your chance.

Winning accolades at film festivals around the world, this simple story by a debutant director is packed with seemingly effortless yet powerful performances. Set in Mumbai, this drama begins with Ila, played by Nimrat Kaur, cooking a delicious meal and carefully packing it into a tiffin for her husband. She hopes the meal will somehow bridge their silent distance. A delivery mistake by the dabbawala (lunchbox service of Mumbai) leads to an unlikely friendship between a lonely widower and the unhappy young housewife. Leading a solitary existence, Irfan Khan plays widower Saajan Fernandez, a meticulous employee in a government office set for early retirement. As usual, Khan is enveloped in his character with each minute action. The story progresses as he and Ila exchange notes which confess their memories, regrets and joys, delivered through the daily lunchbox. In perfect form, Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays Shaikh, the young replacement he must train. Eventually, Saajan regains an appreciation for life, thanks to these new relationships. We are reminded that food brings people together. And in the age of Internet and social media, people still crave a genuine human connection, the value of which is priceless. While it addresses themes of loneliness, loss and despair, the movie will not leave you disheartened, thanks to several lighter moments. Khan has reportedly said this film “is a complete dish.” I wholeheartedly agree. If you have a discerning palate for sensitive cinema, “The Lunchbox” is a treat is not to be missed.

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