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.

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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/

 

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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”.

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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.

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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/

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.

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.

KILL/DIL (2014)

BollySitter Recommended Age:           12+ (For sensuality and violence)

BollySitter Family GO Factor: 2.5/5.0

The Review Monk TRM Score:           4.5/10.0

 

Directed by:     Shaad Ali

Starring:           Govinda, Ranveer Singh, Ali Zafar and Parineeti Chopra

Written By:      Nitesh Tiwari, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Mehrotra

Language:        Hindi

Music by:         Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

Produced by:   Yash Raj Films

Lyrics by:        Gulzar

Running time:  127 mins

Genre(s):          Romance, Action

 

BollySitter says

From the promos and the talented team associated with Kill/Dil, it promised to be a madcap thriller comedy. Unfortunately the film has a weak story and poor execution, it does have some saving grace in terms of smart dialogues and very well executed songs, but as an entire package Kill/Dil disappoints big time. There is  little in the film for a family viewing.

Content

Set in North Indian hinterland – Kill/Dil is a story of two contract shooters Ranveer Singh and Ali Zafar who were abandoned when young and vulnerable. They were raised by a professional contract to hire Govinda who nurtured them to kill. All is normal in their lives until destiny throws free-spirited Parineeti Chopra into the mix. The film is a game of defiance, deception and love of these four characters.

Violence 

The film is about lives of two contract shooters who work as hitmen, there are some liberal doses of action sequences throughout the film. There are few scenes of shooting people dead from a close range; blood and dead bodies are shown.

Intense & Frightening scenes

There are a few scenes showing mass shootout, killing on the street, attacking random people to complete the killing task. There are scenes of execution by surprising and catching victims unexpectedly. Many intense scenes are accompanied by frightening music, which might frighten the young children.

Sexuality 

Apart from a mildly erotic kissing scene, there is no overt sexuality in the film. In one sequence it is implied that a couple have had sex. They are shown afterwards in a bed covered with sheets, no nudity is shown.

Language

Apart from Harami(Bastard) and Kutta(Dog) no hard curse words are used.  But, characters are shouting and using threatening language to intimidate people throughout the film.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking 

Various characters are shown consuming alcohol throughout the movie.

Attitude/Behavior

The life of two contract shooters is the basic premise of the film, and they are the protagonists of the film. One character has a change of heart and decides to self-rehabilitate after he falls in love.  The free spirited female lead is shown to be working as a social worker who works to rehabilitates criminals.

Discussion points

The film offers few points worthy of discussion due to the premise of the story. Parents can talk to kids about how love and social fabrics can help rehabilitate criminals in the society and how society can shed the taboo to accept them as reform human beings.

Bechdel test 0/3

There is only one female character in the film; her character is etched out nicely, she is shown to be progressive and free spirited.

For the quality of the film, check out the reviews @

http://thereviewmonk.com/movie/kill-dil/

 

 

RANG RASIYA ( 2014 )

BollySitter Recommended Age:   17+
BollySitter Family GO Factor:       2.5/5.0
The Review Monk TRM Score:  6.1 /10.0
Directed by       Ketan Mehta

Produced by     Deepa Sahi, Aanand Mahendroo, Ketan Mehta

Written by         Sanjeev Dutta Ketan Mehta

Starring             Randeep Hooda, Nandana Sen, Feryna Wazheir, Triptha Parashar

Music by           Sandesh Shandilya

Language          Hindi

Lyrics by:        Manoj Muntashir

Running time: 115 Minutes

Genre(s):        Social Drama, Biography, Romance, Independent

 

BollySitter says
Rang Rasiya is more than just a biopic/period film – a sheer delight for the independent/art cinema connoisseurs.  However, there is not much in the film for children or for a family watch scenario unless you have budding & mature art and cinema buffs in your family. The sexuality is quite explicit in a few scenes though the film is quite clean in terms of language and violence.

It is a colorful triumph of a film that critiques censorship, social norms, religious dogmatism and commercialization of art complete with a self-referential nod to the birth of Indian Cinema about 100 years ago. It’s well written and performed, however, it suffers from poor detailing of the milieu and lazy dialogues in addition to often cringe-worthy background music.

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Content

Ravi Varma who is married to a princess, is more interested in painting than leading a practical life. He faces rejection and becomes a rebel. His paintings and their style leads to trouble and he leaves home for Bombay. The film follows Raja Ravi Varma’s growth from a rebel youth to a great artist and early inspiration for the artists’ freedom of expression  in India.

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