DUM LAGA KE HAISHA (2015)

Writer / Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Ayushmann Khurana, Bhumi Pednekar, Sanjay Mishra, Seema Pahwa, Alka Amin, Sheeba Chaddha

Music: Anu Malik

Producer: Maneesh Sharma, Aditya Chopra

Running Time: 111 mins

Genre: Romance, Drama

BollySitter Recommended Age:  12+

BollySitter GO Factor: 3.0/5.0

BollySitter Says

“Dum Laga Ke Haisha” is a simple yet charming film about an unlikely lower middle-class couple who learn to look beyond each other’s shortcomings and slowly develop a mutual love, respect and understanding for one another.  Due to sexual innuendo and certain mature themes, the film is recommended for kids in the 12+ age bracket.

Content

DLKH depicts the story of an ordinary boy who gets married to an overweight girl and how, over time, they both fall in love with each other, overcoming a series of hurdles (both physical and mental) and looking beyond physical appearances. The story, set in Haridwar circa 1995, is simple, using chaste Hindi dialogues and situations that are true to life.

DLHK Poster.jpeg

Violence

There is no objectionable violence per se in the film. However, fathers are shown abusing and beating up their grown-up sons, mothers are shown throwing tantrums and wailing, sons are shown shouting at their parents (in frustration), wives are shown crying and repenting and friends are shown mocking and making fun of each other.

Intense / Frightening Scenes

A character attempts to commit suicide through self-immolation. A father beats up his son with flip-flops. A couple hurls abuses at each other and exchanges a few slaps under emotional distress.

Sexuality

There is a scene when a girl goes to a departmental store to purchase undergarments. In another scene, the shopkeeper of the same store expresses his life’s frustration by holding female undergarments in his hands. A girl dresses up in a simple nightgown in preparation for a night of lovemaking, while light sounds of moaning coming from a film playing on a TV are heard in the background. The lead couple share a few loving kisses.

Language

Overall language is mild other than a few curses in chaste Hindi that are exchanged between various characters.

Drinking, Drugs and Smoking

Friends are shown consuming alcohol together at a marriage party. A character is shown smoking in front of his wife and drinking alcohol from a bottle prior to entering a house.

Discussion Points

DLKH has a slew of important points parents can discuss with their children, starting with how physical appearances are not always important for a relationship to blossom. A married couple can lean on each other at all times and should not only accept the strengths of their life partners but should also attempt to overcome their own shortcomings, with each other’s help.  Family support plays an important role in a person’s life and how every member of the family contributes to a healthy and loving environment in a household plays an important role in the film. The movie is emotional and heart-breaking at times, especially for younger kids, but the payoff is eventually rich, endearing and entertaining.

Bechdel Test (2/3)

There are four primary female characters in DLKH. Most of their conversations, however, revolve around how to ensure a successful marriage and how to win the hearts of their spouses.

For the quality of the film, check out the review at http://www.thereviewmonk.com/movie/dum-laga-ke-haisha/

 

Censor Board’s cultural policing effects on Artistic Freedom

This weekend the controversial feature MSG – The Messenger finally released in theatres. We at BollySitter do not plan on reviewing a film that anyone other than the followers of self-proclaimed Guru/demi-god Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh will find worth spending their time or money on. Most of the Bollywood cinema is kitschy at best and sheer torture at worst served in the name of entertainment, and we at BollySitter have more than often felt the pain while reviewing so-called “popular masala films”.

msg

Earlier this week when popular Bollywood star Aamir Khan called AIB’s Roast of actors Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh a “violent” act, he received counter-criticism from certain quarters with people calling the actor, who has himself produced a “violently” raunchy comedy called “Delhi Belly”, a hypocrite. But Aamir cleverly hid behind the curtain of the censor board, stating that his movie was made for a specific audience and was approved by the board for that category of viewers, while also highlighting the difference between fictional characters (in a movie) and real people (the recipients of the AIB roast). When the Roast also drew flak from other authorities and the self-proclaimed “culture police” across the nation, AIB was forced to take down the controversial video recordings of the event from their YouTube Channel, fearing legal action.

aib

This past Friday when CBFC Chairman, Pahlaj Nihalani, sent out a circular to the Regional Offices (ROs) of the Censor Board, listing out words and phrases that he feels are objectionable and abusive, and worthy of being deleted from films, he drew criticism from within the board itself. Nihalani was appointed as Chairman of the Board by the Central Government after the previous Chair Leela Samson and her entire Board quit over MSG – The Messenger being cleared by the Film Tribunal despite the Board calling it a propagandist film and refusing to give it a Certificate. The Tribunal has the authority to override CBFC’s decision and clear any film for release that the board may have raised objections with, in the first place, but it appears certain rules were overlooked and film was cleared without the due process. In a somewhat related story, recently there was also a huge cry on Twitter when the Censor Board reinstated a ban on usage of the word “Bombay” (instead of “Mumbai”) in Mihir Joshi’s music video of the song “Sorry”.

Freedom of expression is an essential ingredient in a true democracy and censorship and restrictions on speech do not allow creativity to flourish.  Over the past few days, we at BollySitter have passionately debated the role of CBFC members in certifying (or not) movies like MSG – The Messenger, banning the use of words like “Bombay”, forcing the annoying appearance of the phrase “Smoking Kills” anytime someone smokes on screen, criticizing AIB’s roast of Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh and how it all relates to BollySitter and its core mission.

Whether one likes a particular film, song, book or a written piece is entirely the freedom of choice that they have. It should not be up to CBFC or anyone else to decide what one can or cannot read or watch. CBFC has anyway been inconsistent in its job to appropriately rate content, especially for the younger audience. On one hand, a bloody and violent sequence in a movie rated U/A is not approved by the censor board while on another, an overtly sexual situation or a scene containing objectionable language is passed without appropriate rating or parental guidance. There are no set parameters or rules and it often appears that their job is to either please the culture police (by banning words or content that some group finds objectionable) or to please the higher authorities. Of course none of us want inappropriate content to reach impressionable children, but banning should not be the solution. CBFC’s job should be to provide a medium that informs people, and let the audience decide on their own what is good for them and what is not. The need of the hour is not stringent censorship but an overhaul of the parental guidance system, a source that provides fair and trustworthy information and tools to the viewers, as well as a discussion forum so that families can make an informed decision about the media they consume.

Let us give the artistes their freedom, and not give undue attention and unnecessary hype to the likes of MSG-The Messenger, a movie that probably would not have garnered this much attention had it been certified in the first place, and would have died a natural death on the day of its release anyway.

 

SHAMITABH (2015)

BollySitter Recommended Age:         12+

BollySitter Family GO Factor:           2.0/5.0

The Review Monk TRM Score:          5.8/10.0

 

Directed by:    R. Balki

Starring:          Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush, Akshara Haasan

Written By:     R. Balki

Language:       Hindi

Music by:        Illaiyaraaja

Produced by:   R. Balki, Sunil Lulla

Running time: 153 mins.

Genre(s):         Drama

ShamitabhPoster

BollySitter says

SHAMITABH is director R.Balki’s follow-up to “CHEENI KUM” and “PAA” that continues to highlight his fondness and appreciation for Amitabh Bachchan. The film is appropriate for viewing with kids 12 years and older due to language and sexual situations. SHAMITABH narrates the story of three individuals – an aspiring actor from a small-town village, a failed actor who has taken to drinking in his old age and a budding young female director – all three of whom join hands for a purpose that will eventually serve their selfish interests.

Content

SHAMITABH starts off as a simple, clean family film in the first half but degenerates into something suitable for more mature kids as it progresses. A character is shown drinking alcohol throughout the film. A love-making scene is depicted in a song (No nudity is shown but the expressions and actions of the actors make the act fairly obvious). There is a scene when a character is shown repeatedly hitting another character. In another scene, one character blurts a series of curse words, some of which are fairly gross and inappropriate for kids.  A female uses phrases like “Kiss My A**”, “Fat Bloody A##es”, “Brainless Pigs” etc. during her fits of anger. A male professes his love for a girl using inappropriate language.

In short, SHAMITABH is an amateurish attempt with a storyline that continuously oscillates between being manipulative, needlessly melodramatic, ludicrous and preposterous. The only positive message the film delivers is about how to never let your ego take precedence over what is right and what is wrong in life. Parents may wish to save a trip to the theatres and watch the film at home, when it is releases on home video.

For the quality of the film, check out the reviews @ http://thereviewmonk.com/movie/shamitabh/

BABY (2015)

Directed by:     Neeraj Pandey

Starring:           Akshay Kumar, Rana Daggubati, Anupam Kher, Madhurima Tuli, Taapsee Pannu, Danny Denzongpa, Kay Kay Menon, Sushant Singh, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Rasheed Naz

Written By:      Neeraj Pandey

Music by:         M. M. Kreem, Meet Bros Anjjan, Sanjoy Chowdhury

Produced by:   Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Shital Bhatia

Running time:  159 minutes

Genre : Action, Thriller, Drama

BollySitter Recommended Age: 15+

BollySitter Family GO Factor: 2.5/5.0

baby_poster_202315aBollysitter seal_15+_2.5 star rating

BollySitter Says

Baby” is a fairly good, albeit long and drawn out, thriller that is appropriate for kids in the 15+ age bracket.  As expected in a film that has a backdrop of terrorism, it offers an overabundance of realistic action and violent sequences. However, the writing is a bit lazy and the actors seem to be just going through the motions, at times with no interesting arc that one would expect in such a thriller.  Even so, Neeraj Pandey does establish himself as one of the better Indian directors in this genre, and he displays expertise at mixing traditional Bollywood masala elements with witty humor and other essential elements of films in this genre.

Content

Baby is about a newly established group of professionals out on a mission to fight terrorists. They are required to protect Indian borders as it faces threats from immediate neighbors. The group learn of a new plot, and slowly start to eliminate the masterminds behind it. They track the international cells of the terrorists and eventually prevent them from striking terror in India.

Violence 

The film is full of violent scenes including endless killings & shootings with guns. There are real life-like fight sequences shown with knives and bloody faces that are depicted being hit repeatedly. There is plenty of blood shown as well as an attempted murder by gagging the victim. The film shows a couple of bomb blasts shown including one involving a suicide bomber. A scene involving a gruesome accident on a highway is followed by more bloody violence.

Intense & Frightening scenes

There are numerous frightening scenes involving chases and loud background music. There are incidents involving car blasts & fires. Most of the violent and action scenes are fairly intense to watch, especially as the violence shown is not stylized but realistic and graphic. There is an extended fight scene between a man and a woman.

Sexuality 

None.

Language 

Language is mild except the word ch**iya is used a couple of times.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

None.

Discussion Points

Violence in the name of religion is a very relevant topic in current age. The film can be misunderstood to present a very black and white picture (not with a deliberate intention to do so, but just consistent with the scope of the film); however,  parents should discuss with their children that even though some terrorists kill in name of the religion doesn’t make that religion or its followers evil. Secularism, national pride and protection of country against ill-meaning forces is another topic of discussion that film touches upon. It’s especially relevant in this era where people tend to take pride only in their personal gains and/or follow a faith blindly to extremes.  There are a few scenes showing propaganda and training camps which might invite questions from younger kids.

Bechdel test 0/3

Movie has only one female character in a minor role.

 

For the quality of the film, check out the reviews on http://thereviewmonk.com/movie/baby/

 

2014: THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Yet another year nears its end where Bollywood gave us a few reasons to retain our faith in quality Hindi cinema. How much of this quality was actually geared towards making the movie-going experience a memorable time for the entire family, remains an endless topic of discussion.

On one hand, films like Mary Kom, Hawaa Hawaai and Bhoothnath Returns not only provided some wholesome entertainment for the entire family but also delivered positive messages for kids of different ages. On the other hand, 2014 also gave us disasters of massive proportions, like Humshakals, Happy Ending, Kill Dil, Gunday and The Shaukeens, which unfortunately upheld the saying that for every step Bollywood takes forward towards churning out good family entertainers, it also takes two steps backwards.

As we usher in the New Year with renewed hope, ending 2014 on a positive note with Aamir Khan’s PK, BollySitter is proud to present its Annual Year in Review. We list the top Bollywood films of the year (in no particular order) that parents can use as a guide to spend some guilt-free time together as a family.

PS: You may not find some of your personal favorites of the year on this list simply due to the fact that they did not qualify in accordance with BollySitter’s core Mission Statement.

 

HAWAA HAWAAI (Age: 12+, Family GO Factor: 4.0/5.0)

One of the two prominent films of the year that featured a story about kids and taught children how to never give up on their dreams. After “Taare Zameen Par” and “Stanley Ka Dabba”, this was Amol Gupte’s third outing as a writer and starred his own son as the lead.

BHOOTHNATH RETURNS (Age: 10+, Family GO Factor: 3.5/5.0)

Despite a flawed second-half, Bhoothnath Returns offered enough fun moments for kids to laugh at…and learn from…with Superstar Amitabh Bachchan and Boman Irani. The second mainstream film to feature a child in a major role.

PK (Age: 10+, Family GO Factor: 4.0/5.0)

An Aamir Khan outing with a social message and Raju Hirani’s deft direction. What more can parents look for, when it comes to treating their kids with some quality cinema?

KICK (Age: 10+, Family GO Factor: 3.5/5.0)

Finally Salman Khan gave us something that the entire family could enjoy, whistle at and go home rooting for the DeVil himself. This was the most fun parents could have, with their children beside them, watching a Sallu movie, after a long time.

MARY KOM (Age: 10+, Family GO Factor: 3.5/5.0)

The “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” of 2014, Mary Kom was a perfect example of how to overcome the odds and come out on top, despite your humble upbringing and your own personal shortcomings. Mary Kom had a message for everyone, adults and kids alike.

HASEE TOH PHASEE (Age: 7+, Family GO Factor: 3.0/5.0)

No message. No histrionics. Just pure, simple fun, some poignant moments to tug your hearts and a great acting turn by Parineeti Chopra. Hasee Toh Phasee is a highly recommended watch for the entire family by BollySitter.

KHOOBSURAT (Age: 10+, Family GO Factor: 3.0/5.0)

Obviously Sonam Kapoor is no match for Rekha and neither was her official remake of the classic film. However, this Khoobsurat still offered some clean entertainment for today’s generation and was a relatively safe bet for parents to sit and watch with their children.

HAPPY NEW YEAR (Age: 10+, Family GO Factor: 3.0/5.0)

We picked the SRK-Farah Khan caper over Hrithik Roshan’s “Bang Bang” for the marginal edge it had over the latter in terms of providing masala entertainment. Good music, good locations and a decent ensemble cast made this a watchable family year of 2014.

DAAWAT-E-ISHQ (Age: 7+, Family GO Factor: 3.0/5.0)

A small film with a big social message on the antiquated and yet still prevalent dowry system within India, Daawat-E-Ishq told a simple story in a simple fashion. With Hyderabad and its culinary delights as its backdrop, this film gave parents a lot of topics to have some meaningful discussions on, with their kids.

QUEEN (Age: 15+, Family GO Factor: 3.0/5.0)

Finally, the only 15+ film that is on BollySitter’s Top Films of the Year, Queen was a classic example of quality cinema from BollyWood. It had everything working in its favor – a heart-warming story, catchy music, wonderful locations, great comedy, characters we could all relate to and a superb acting gig by Kangna Ranaut. The film had certain adult situations/language but this was essential movie-watching for kids who fall into the appropriate age-bracket.

PK (2014)

BollySitter Recommended Age:         10+ (For adult language and sexuality)

BollySitter Family GO Factor:           4.0/5.0

The Review Monk TRM Score:          7.9/10.0

 

Directed by:     Rajkumar Hirani

Produced by:   Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Siddharth Roy Kapur

Screenplay by: Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani

Starring:           Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Boman Irani, Saurabh Shukla, Sanjay Dutt

Music by:         Ajay Atul, Shantanu Moitra, Ankit Tiwari

Lyrics by:        Swanand Kirkire

Language:       Hindi

Running time: 153 minutes

Genre(s):         Comedy, Social Drama

 

PK_Theatrical_Poster

 

BollySitter says

Aamir Khan’s PK is a no waste of time. It’s a complete entertainer and can be enjoyed with the whole family. Apart from a mild reference to implied sex (which are already shown in the trailers) there isn’t anything to be worried about. The film’s director Rajukumar Hirani has already proved himself to be a master storyteller who portrays society’s problems in a light- hearted manner. PK also deals with complex stereotypes, philosophies, and orthodox beliefs in a very humane way without getting heavy-handed.

Content

PK is a story about a stranger named PK in the city, who asks questions that no one has asked before. They are innocent, childlike questions, but they bring about catastrophic answers. People who are set in their ways for generations, are forced to reappraise their world when they see it from PK’s innocent eyes. In the process PK makes loyal friends and powerful foes, mends broken lives and angers the establishment. PK’s childlike curiosity transforms into a spiritual odyssey for him and millions of others. The film is an ambitious and explores the complex philosophies and beliefs. It is also a simple and humane tale of love, laughter and letting-go.

Violence 

Apart from some slapstick violence and chases there is no physical violence shown. There is a scene of bomb blast in which few dead bodies are shown.

Sexuality

There are a few scenes where moving cars are shown implying couples having sex in them, no nudity is shown, faded moaning can be heard. In the opening scene PK is shown to be naked but nothing explicit is shown. Those scenes are also shown in the trailers. In one scene a character visits a prostitute. Age appropriate romance and one lip kiss is shown.

Language 

Language is mild with only minor cuss words like “tharki”, “harami” and “kamina” are used. In one sequence where two characters talk about a condom and its purpose, the discussion is humorous.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

None

Discussion points

*SPOILER ALERT* (Only because the main plot of the film is not revealed in the trailers)

PK is an important film because it provides a lot of talking points for parents and other moviegoers. The main character, who is shown to be ignorant of the societies’ beliefs and other stereotypes, asks a lot of innocent questions which leave people tongue tied. The film questions fundamentalism and organizations of all the religions and how Godmen and priests are taking advantage of innocent people’s fear of God. PK asks some very smart questions which can be a good discussion points for the parents, and what kids think about the place of religion in life.

Apart from religion, the movie also questions how politics of the two neighboring countries has created a pre-conceived bias in the minds of their citizens who form views of other country’s citizens without fully knowing or understanding them. PK also brings up the taboo Indian topic of sex as a topic of discussion.

PK touches upon the current model of 24/7 news channels who feed news not to educate people about important current affairs and worthy stories, but to simply raise viewership to increase revenues. PK the film itself, however, doesn’t feel shy about product placements which are thrown in throughout the film.

Bechdel Test = 0/3

PK has only one main female character.

 

For the quality of the film, check out the reviews on http://thereviewmonk.com/movie/pk/

BollySitter Recommends: SHOLAY (1975)

BollySitter Recommended Age:         10+

BollySitter Family GO Factor:           4.0/5.0

 

Directed by:    Ramesh Sippy

Starring:          Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Amjad Khan

Written By:    Salim-Javed

Language:       Hindi

Music by:        RD Burman

Produced by:   GP Sippy

Lyrics by:        Anand Bakshi

Running time: 204 mins

Genre(s):         Drama, Action, Adventure

 

Sholay

 

 

SYNOPSIS

An all-time classic, Sholay is an amazingly well-crafted saga that is forever etched in memories of fans of Indian cinema. It demonstrates the highest level of skill in both the art and technical craft and ultimately is complete entertainer of a film that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

The story is essentially a revenge drama full of action, thrills and emotions! In the small village of Ramgarh, a retired policeman summons a pair of small-time thieves that he had once arrested, to help him capture a notorious dacoit wanted by the authorities.

 

WHY RECOMMENDED

The film is a master class in techniques of filmmaking. It’s primarily a triumph of incredible writing with many unforgettable characters, dialogues and sequences penned by Salim-Javed (even as they drew some very high level inspirations from other sources). The film also serves as an amazing vehicle for director Ramesh Sippy to show his talent with unforgettable set pieces. The film is a sheer explosion on the screen that includes top-notch contributions by the who’s who of top stars of Hindi Cinema. The background music by RD Burman is a huge bonanza!

The film isn’t just sheer entertainment and thrills but has some takeaway messages as well, in terms of friendship between the two protagonists. It shows that one of them lies to save other’s life or helps the other person make the right choices. The film also somewhat positively shows the possibility of a widow starting another relationship, which was taboo in India.

A lesser known fact about Sholay is the role played by the Indian Film Censor Board in those days. Originally, Sholay was filmed with an ending sequence which is gory and shows the policeman taking the law in his own hands. The Censor Board had objected to this ending and asked the director to film a milder alternate ending. This is a great fodder for discussion – how much power should the censor have? Should they just provide an objective rating assessment and suggest appropriate cuts?  To what extent should they actually influence filmmaking? (Readers can view the “original” ending here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6p-_OIDp_g)

 

CAUTION ZONE

The film is clean in terms of sexuality. There is very minor use bad language, e.g., words like Kameena, Haramzada, Kutta are used. There are only a couple of smoking scenes and other than one long drunk (& funny) sequence there isn’t much drinking shown either.

However, there are many violent scenes that may often be intense & frightening. A train robbery is shown in the opening sequence, followed by visuals of a bloody dead body. There are many chase sequences involving horses and intense background music. One female character is shown to dance on broken glass with blood shown. There are sequences of escape from jail and scenes showing stealing. One gun sequence involves a game of Russian Roulette in a memorable but scary sequence where the dacoit’s henchmen are initially spared but eventually shot dead. There are plenty of scenes of arson, looting, stampede at the village and some gruesome sequences involving the cop and the dacoit.

Please note, however, that since the film is set as an action-adventure-drama, the seemingly chilling and violent scenes in fact come off milder than the description above suggests, when viewed on screen. The film is more focused on thrills and advancing the plot than the dwelling much on the action scenes.

The main protagonists are also shown as petty thieves and swindlers who, at one point, are willing to cheat their own employer. Parents might want to discuss aspects about criminal reform and grey characterization of the main characters with children.

 

FINAL WORD

Sholay is a must watch film, one that frequently finds an entry in Top 5 or Top 10 lists of all-time greats of Indian Cinema. Every aspect of the film is crafted with care and immense mastery, be it dialogues, characterizations, background music, photogrpahy, screenwriting or acting!

The film is appropriate for viewing with kids in the 10+ age group due to the frequent and long violent sequences. BollySitter gives Sholay a “GO” rating of 4.0/5.0.