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Char Cutting’- an initiative by Jamuura releases four widely-acclaimed short films this week in selected theatres around India, as part of PVR Directors Rare. Being from Vadodara, where there is no scope for such screenings, I couldn’t catch up with all the shorts under this umbrella. But, I was lucky enough to attend a screening of Skin Deep, arranged by Hardik Mehta for some close friends, family and cinephiles in the city. So, here I try to interpret Skin Deep from my point-of-view.

(Spoilers ahead)

Skin Deep, written by Motwane and directed by Hardik Mehta, follows a young couple in Mumbai, who face a problem while making love on a certain day. The problem being an extra tag of skin on his penis. Convinced that this is something that can’t be carried on further, the guy decides to undergo circumcision before their marriage. Destinies interfere, things go wrong at the operation table, and soon he finds himself in a completely new reality. His girlfriend has moved on, and is now pregnant with someone else’s baby.

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The film uses a wonderful metaphor by incorporating the subject of circumcision in the script. Until one is circumcised, they never realise the pain and utter sensitivity that lies beneath the skin. But once it is removed, the penis gets to face the harsh reality of the new milieu it is in. At times, the pain is more than it was before. But, it learns to adapt to that new surroundings. And it eventually does.

Similar is the case with the ‘feelings’ of the characters in the story. Once the female protagonist is stripped of the ‘hope’ of a new life she sees with him, abandonment is the only harsh way to go on with her life. It hurts her, for sure, but she has accepted it. The guy too, on realising that the girl who loved him so much has moved on, is unable to accept it for some time. But, as the last scene shows, he too has decided to move on with his feelings.

So basically, the movie puts a light on how our lives can be affected by some events in the milieu we live in and how our emotions, which are just a ‘skin deep’, can be peeled apart from our soul.

Hats off to Hardik Mehta for portraying those emotions so wonderfully on the screen. Naveen Kasturia and Aditi Vasudev do a brilliant job as well.

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mad about moviez

mad-max-fury-road-banner-posterWhen George Miller made the first Mad Max movie, little did he know that he had set out to create a much loved and awe inspiring movie franchise.

Even if you haven’t seen the earlier Mad Max films, there’s no way the brilliant promos of Mad Max Fury Road would not have caught your attention, especially if you proclaim to be a movie buff. If not, then frankly you have no business calling yourself one.

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Cinema is like a battleground: love, hate, action, violence, death. In one word, emotion.”

That is the reply Samuel Fuller, portrayed as an American director himself, gives in one famous scene of Godard’s Pierrot le Fou, when asked about the meaning of cinema.

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Being a critic of Cahiers du Cinema, Godard believed the very purpose of cinema, was to make the audience think, to introspect. So when he couldn’t tolerate it further, he went on to make movies, which were in a way thought-provoking, which catered to his instincts. These films, through which he hinted towards cinema, politics, America and wars, were heavily booed by the masses; each time one released, and they were tagged as nonsense.

Few years later, that same auteur would be hailed as one of the most influential movie-makers of all time, and his styles would be adopted and praised world over.

An Anurag Kashyap film has hidden layers in its stories. His earlier films No Smoking, Paanch, Gulaal had subtexts too, which were very beautifully disguised inside the outer skin of the script. Recently, a song ‘Taar bijli se patle humaare piya’ from his film Gangs Of Wasseypur was finally dissected on a social platform, to hint at such a subtext about the politics of India.

So while, the whole nation was busy criticising his recent release Bombay Velvet and leaving no stones unturned to make it a huge box-office failure, I interrogated myself: Can Kashyap do this to himself? Or is he simply playing with us?

The film which externally looks as the simplified love-story of Johnny Balraj and Rosie Noronha against the enmity between the media moguls Khambata and Mistry over the politics of Bombay is actually a film-study that points us to myriad conclusions.

The Roaring Twenties

Yes, this James Cagney-starrer movie is referred to, quite at the beginning of Bombay Velvet, as an element of foreshadowing in the script through the line ‘He used to be a Big-Shot.’ But, very few know that The Roaring Twenties, per se, was actually a golden era in the United States and Europe, which had witnessed tremendous development from economic and cultural point of view.

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During that glorious decade, America witnessed a change in its economic development post-World War I. Real-estate boomed, skyscrapers built and huge businesses were invested in. That was also the time when labour unions disintegrated due to the rising power of the politicians and employers. Number of strikes dwindled, and the poor became poorer. The fact how Khambata tries to change the face of Bombay post-Independence is a direct reference to this history of America.

Also, it was the same time when American government imposed its Prohibition Act on alcohol, and which led to the rise of ‘speakeasies’(cover-up bars selling illegal liquor) all over America. It was a huge money spinner, and many tycoons invested in that. For here in our film, Bombay Velvet is that very ‘speakeasy’ that is being referred to in the face of prohibition put up by the state.

At a time when the American culture was going through such changes, jazz was introduced for the first time along with dance forms like waltz, foxtrot, which has again been highlighted in the film from Bombay’s perspective.

Homosexuality was getting accepted, and people had started coming out, baring their desires out in open. Now, we know that typical gait, those subtle hints which Khambata gives to Johnny, were essentially, pokes by Kashyap at our numb consciousness.

Khambata’s wife was the perfect description of how females had started realizing their sexual freedom during the 1920s in America. They were not anymore confined to inside their homes. Wide kohl-rimmed eyes, new hair styles, freedom to drink and smoke were the trademarks.

Lastly, the newly found organized crime and gangsters flooded the cities of America, as they were hired by powerful people to get their work done. That led to rise in murders during that period, and thus a drastic enforcement of law and order on the streets. The emergence of Balraj, as a gangster is again an allusion to that episode.

There is one scene in the movie, when Khambata walks out of his room and secretly sniggers at Balraj’s naiveté. It is epic, and I so wish to wonder it’s actually Kashyap sneering at those who didn’t get his references. The film itself is a mock on clichéd cinema.

Bombay Velvet might be a tribute to Scorsese, De Palma, Tarantino for its styles, but it is a bigger tribute to America. In one of the scenes, where Mistry calls Khambata an ‘American agent’, Kashyap just throws it directly at your face to grab it.

The movie may have been based on Gyan Prakash’s Mumbai Fables, but here the rise of contemporary Mumbai has been compared to America.

Godard here?

This method of bringing out important issues about politics, cultures is quite pro-Godard. But the important thing to note here is the limited indulgence of the characters, like in the films of the New Wave auteur. Just before they are building the bridge to connect with you, it snaps. You do not get deeply involved into their emotions. It remains superficial, like Ferdinand and Marianne, in Pierrot le Fou.

And yet, for the masses, for those who don’t wish to go deep, Bombay Velvet has: Love, Hate, Action, Violence and Death. A perfect cliché-filled cinema.

Parallels to Kashyap in Bollywood

I know this may sound silly, but here I see Balraj as Kashyap’s alter-ego. His entry into Bollywood with nothing to lose, working up his way through the street noir (indies), laughing at his own (street fight) failures, fighting against the system, just to be a Big-Shot one day in the industry, until the industry’s masala mafia smothers him and his kind of cinema.

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But, he still sees a hope that the ones who knew him well, whom he gave a platform to grow and spread their talent, would look up to him and exclaim that he was indeed a Big-Shot!

With that, I rest my views here. Only Anurag Kashyap can tell if these were a bit valid.

– Arnab Sarkar

P.S. This article was also published on MoiFightClub.

“Apan ko jo bhi mangta hai, sab log bolte hai apan ke aukat ke bahar hai. Apan ko apan ka aukat badalne ka hai.”

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This was what Anurag Kashyap might have been going through inside his head, before making this multi-starrer blockbuster. And oh well, was it able to gain that aukat?

Set in a period of post-Independence, from 1949 to 1969, the film opens with a wonderful background score by Amit Trivedi and visuals of Old Bombay in a newsreel format against the song Aam Hindustani being sung by Dahlia (Raveena Tandon). Honestly, just that start there gives you a hope. An assurance that this might turn out to be the best film you have seen so far. But, oh wait!

Soon, the film has you running through the life of Johnny Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor), who wishes to become a ‘big-shot’ some day, have his squeeze by his side and drive through the streets of Bombay. Another man with dreams to plunder the lands of mill-workers, to build up huge developments, Kaizad Khambata (Karan Johar), also a media-honcho, gets a taste of Balraj’s angst to become big, and makes him his aide.

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Rosie Noronha (Anushka Sharma), a talented singer, finds her way into Bombay, chasing her dreams, when she is spotted by Jimmy Mistry, a print-media biggie and rival of Kaizad. Soon, she is put into action by him, to get the negatives of an illicit affair of an important minister with Khambata’s wife, which indirectly acts as a weak mac-Guffin, and pushes to drive the story forward.

Finally, Balraj is a big-shot and in company of his love Rosie Noronha, who brings wonderful jazz to the ‘Bombay Velvet’ club, and that acts as a cover-up for the nefarious liquor trade bereft of the prohibit announced by the state.

Meanwhile, conspiracies are planned. Politics are being thrown in. And the shameful story of Bombay’s rise to metropolitan is being presented to you.

Things go haywire, and by the time the ‘stretched’ interval arrives, Johnny becomes blood-hungry for Rosie. Then, comes a bizarre plot-twist, and before you realise, the film has already lost its direction. Meaningless murders, deception and new characters into the plot later, Bombay Velvet doesn’t do justice to the first assurance it had given you.

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The final climax scene is grand and sexy, with Balraj entering with the Tommy guns against those militaristic drum beats, which remind you of Buddy Rich. The end was quite an expected one for me, but it was visually pleasing.

Kay Kay Menon as an honest cop, was quite brilliant in the film, struggling his way through suspects and always late on his trail.

Ranbir as Johnny Balraj, was absolutely as one would have wished. Eccentric, crazy and yet the die-hard romantic, a role perfectly put up on the screen by him.

Karan Johar as Khambata, was splendid as the mysterious villain. A particular scene in the film, when he walks out of the room, to laugh at Johnny’s understanding of ‘tender’ was fucking brilliant.

Anushka as Rosie, sucked. Yes. She did. After watching the movie once, you’d soon realize who would have suited the role better.

Manish Chaudhary as Jimmy Mistry, is powerful and mean. A pro-Communist, he hates Khambata to the core, and wishes to save Bombay from the real-estate hawks through journalism.

But, the real hidden gem of this movie was Satyadeep Mishra as Chiman Chopra. Being the trustworthy friend, keeping aside all his desires, he finds himself always in aid of Balraj, till the end. His subtle, poised acting does a wonderful thing to the film, which hardly anyone would notice.

Wonderful production design by Sonal Sawant and cinematography by Rajeev Ravi, gives the film a sepia-tinted makeover.

Script by Gyan Prakash, Vasan Bala, Thani and Kashyap loses its way through the film.

Thanks to the joint effort by Thelma Schoonmaker and Prerna Saigal, the film is quite consolidated and paced up. You can see Thelma’s trademark style of cuts through photograph flashes in the film a couple of times.

Lastly, the score by Amit Trivedi is kickass. That’s one more factor that keeps you glued to the seats, despite the flaws in the story. You just want to ignore the flaws just for the music. ‘Dhadaam dhadaam’ in one of the pivotal scenes in the film, energizes the whole atmosphere with its operatic tone.

There have been many debates in film history, of comparing a film’s story to that of the auteur’s life, who made it. I may be wrong, but I see quite an allusion to Anurag Kashyap’s life in Bollywood here. His entry into Bollywood, his fight through the system, to ultimately become the ‘big-shot’ i.e. transition from indie to commercial, all can be referred to.

In fact, the very friend who makes him walk on the grass of the other side, is himself in the movie, doing something similar to the protagonist. Helping him, to become big. Anyways, that’s just a thought.

P.S. If you get your hands upon, do watch Nachom-ia Kumpasar by Bardroy Baretto, that actually ferries you through the story of Lorna Cordeiro, to whom Bombay Velvet is dedicated. Full of Goan music and the entry of jazz into Bombay, it has Palomi Ghosh playing the main lead, for which she won a National Award this year. If you get a DVD, do pass on it to me too.

Here is a 6-min preview of the film.

– Arnab Sarkar

This article was first posted on MadAboutMoviez.

piku

Piku has been seen. Yes! And it has never been such a personal experience for me ever, in a theatre, by a film. The synopsis may point out that it is father-daughter chemistry; and though it is, still, it’s more than that. More chemical reactions than you can imagine! And all, exothermic, dissipative!

Being from a bong family, this post might sound biased, but the film is not. From the first frame onwards, it starts with the dynamics between the father and daughter brilliantly portrayed by Mr. Bachchan and Deepika Padukone. The suave yet traditional lifestyle of the contemporary Bengali films has been appropriately painted on the screen. Ekdom tule dhore che(absolute depiction of it),my mom says. And yes, not to forget the biggest obsession and subject of fascination of a bong, The Digestive System.

Motions are the drive force of a typical Bengali. From the time we are born, we are surrounded by such kakus, dadus etc. who are in some or the other way suffering from a digestive ailment and its related paranoia. As kids, we imbibe that into us somehow. But, in this film, the constipation is not just constipation. It’s more than that. ‘Motion se emotion’.
Who loves to die with a constipated feeling in his heart? Everyone just wants it thrown out. Because it is what gives relief. Though at times, it can be painful, or joyful, everyone wants to vent it out.

Bhaskor was so much relatable to my own grandpa. And maybe, too many such grandpas around there. His constant fears about his motions, his health problems, his pre-journey motion problems, his attitude towards others, to his daughter, that constant khit khit, birokto (rebukes,irritation) and so on, each and everything was so personal to me. Even his death. The Happy Death. Even that putting on a ventilator dialogue was so apt. Bengalis surely to this date, have that thought in their head. At this right moment, if you ask ten Bengali dadus, seven will say its inapproporiate to put a dying man on ventilator. Juhi Chaturvedi is a genius.

Piku, is psychologically what her dad Bhaskor is, physiologically. Constipated. With her emotions. About her life. She is trapped, and that comes out in her behaviour towards others. Until, she gets to know about the laxative, Rana, played so fantastically by Irrfan Khan.  Infact, at one point of time, he himself is questioning himself. He himself feels trapped between the daughter-father duo.

The direction by Shoojit Sircar is as modern as you see it around yourself. The families, the homes, their lifestyle it is as consistent as it had been in Vicky Donor, resembling the contemporary India around us. Best thing was how he inserted the song ‘Paagla khaabi ki jhaanjhei more jaabi’ from Open Tee Bioscope, which is one of his productions, in a background radio music being played in one scene. The Bengali platter with fish fries, begun bhaaja, chicken, pulao along with the full-on chit chat the relatives get into, all reminds you of a typical Bengali lunch.

Apart from all that, the music by Anupam Roy is fresh. The frames by Kamaljeet Negi are beautiful. The editing by Chandrasekhar Prajapati is crisp.

And again, Juhi Chaturvedi, for sure, needs a standing ovation for that beautiful screenplay and the dialogues.

That’s it, folks! Go and watch it.

Arnab Sarkar

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In the beginning, there were two families which branched out right from a single mother- Cinema. Both of them ruled over the Land of CineFandom without any restraint and envy. Soon, the thirst for power urged the Clichés to drive away the Contents from a major portion of the territory thus creating a dictatorship over the whole Land.

As for today, King Content ruled over a small piece of the territory with his minimal population of fans and army of supporters, who believed in him and his methods. He was quite contended with all the love he acquired from them. Until, one day…

“Your techniques are great. They are overwhelming and I see a great potential in you…to change the future of our Land of CineFandoms. You deserve a place, not here in IndieLand, but right at the capital…the BollyLand,” said the most famous Critic of the Land.

“Thank you so much, Lord Critic. But I like it better here,” said the king of IndieLand.

“Come on, Content. You yourself know you are tired of tasting this same love and appreciation from your people all the time. You want competition, you want a challenge. And BollyLand provides you that.”

King Content stays silent, churning his thoughts.

“What’s there to think about it, Content? Are you afraid?”

“No.”

“You see…you are the King. In the end, the subjects want nothing but a good story. And you’re the one who can provide them with that. You are after all, King Content, Lord of the IndieLand, Creator of Meaningful Stories, Protector of Lesser-known-but-great Actors!”

The King looks into the eyes of the Lord Critic, searching an answer for him. He lets out a heavy breath, looks at his Queen, his family and his people gathered in the Court.

“Yes, I will march for BollyLand.”

It creates a stir amongst the crowd. Some sad to see their king going away, others delighted expectantly to see him triumph in the war.

King Content was fearless, bold and never hesitated with his methods. He was grim looking, had a ‘long-cut’ hair and stylistically dyed hair. He was a true piece of art. That was the reason his subjects loved him so much.

***

Faster than wildfire and Cersei’s legs, if anything could spread, then that was gossip of the citizens of the Land of CineFandoms.

While the BollyLand was shook by fear and expectations, there was someone in the seas, who saw that as an opportunity to dig his claws into the realm. The Lord of all pirates of the Sea of Internet, the Torrent. This was the chance for him, to become the God and rule over the people of CineFandoms. Already many of them had sworn allegiance to him, but he wanted the whole realm to approach him forever.

He had started making his plans.

***

The Ruler of BollyLand, King Cliché was quite shocked to hear the news. Unlike the King Content, he was always quick in his actions, melodramatic, mainstream and had ‘short-cut’ hair. He soon ordered the beheading of Lord Critic, who had influenced King Content to march for the capital. The newly appointed Lord Critic, aka Best Reviewer was a cunning fellow.

Unlike everyone, Best Reviewer had risen to his present status through a life of turmoil and poverty. They say he has a powerful friend watching over his back. And that is why he is never afraid of choosing his words in his opinions. He had saved the King’s ass a lot many times by convincing the people to remain faithful to him and his films.

Now appointed as the new Lord Critic, he had been handled with a major responsibility.

***

Meanwhile, King Content had devised out a strategy to win over the people of BollyLand. He had started smuggling CDs and DVDs of his works, his films to the BollyLand. That way, he planned to influence the people to look for meaning in the films, rather than gulp down whatever meaningless was forcefully served to them. An insider of BollyLand, the Distributor helped him with this.

The story of Distributor was quite similar to that of the Best Reviewer. Growing up as a poor yet talented boy, he was first spotted by King Content at the Film-Festival, the annual festival in the Land Of CineFandoms. The King had adopted him, fed him and nurtured him. In return, the Distributor had sworn to protect the King and help him whenever the need arises. And today was the day.

In a matter of few days, the demand from the people of BollyLand grew enormous. King Content was overwhelmed to see this huge response. He was now in a fix to find the means to meet his demands. He knew he had support from the people of BollyLand, so he decided to take a huge step forward. A step, for which he would curse himself soon.

***

King Cliché was not worried about the crisis as much as his brother was. Lord ClichédContent was the only one in the family who was despised upon by all around him, the reason being quite obvious. He was born a bastard from a woman at IndieLand. He was a half-Cliché and half-Content. For his unique features, he was often referred to as the Misfit.

ClichédContent knew the trades very well, more than his brother. He could see who would stand up against them, the revolt by the people and so, he tried to push him to take stronger actions because the ‘Indie was coming’.

***

Upon the request by King Critic, Distributor went to the court of King Cliché to ask for a screening of his King’s work. Enraged by this betrayal of his, King Cliché orders his execution in public. Soon, King Content gets to know of this and feels sorry for him. He had lost a great soldier in this war.

Torrent, the Lord of Pirates, sees this as his opportunity to enter into the war. He makes a proposal to King Content one day.

“All the people of BollyLand are, in one way or the other connected to the Internet Sea, whose one and only lord is me, Lord Torrent. I have the means by which I can reduce the revenue of King Cliché.”

“How?”

“By supplying his films to his people for free. They will no longer go to see his films in the theatres and that will decrease his revenue, and his administration would grow weak, and then cease to exist. Together we can rule the Land of CineFandom.”

The proposal sounded to be the perfect weapon of victory to King Content and he shook hands with Lord of the Pirates.

***

In a matter of weeks, the revenue had stepped down to nothing and Cliché’s administration suffered a lot. King Cliché had grown weak and weary of this. To make matters worse, King Content also made alliance with some small platforms, collectively known as SocialMedia, promising them some revenue in return. The whole force of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, VimeoOnDemand and of course Torrent devastated the reigning power by influencing the citizens towards more content-driven and meaningful films.

King Cliché was killed in the fight, and so came the rule of King Content. The whole family except Lord Clichéd Content; for his dual roots, was sent to exile. The Land Of CineFandoms was happy to see their new king at the Box-Office. Content was the new King! Soon, his films were being showcased at BollyLand’s most prominent theatres. King Content was finally watching his dream come true. But, someone else had other dreams too.

***

Lord Torrent had been successful in removing one thorn on his way to rule over the people of BollyLand. But, the other was still there. He finally called for his friend Best Reviewer to help. Upon his order, the new Lord Critic started giving mixed reviews about King Content’s films. He trashed some of them, and wrote confusing reviews about others. Before he could fathom, King Content was facing losses the same way Cliché had. This wasn’t what he had expected.

Furthermore, the autonomous body of judging films all over the Land Of CineFandoms, The Censor Board was banning many of his films for being too violent and sexually explicit. All that led the films to lose their actual juice and meaning. People stopped going to the theatres due to this and instead, resorted to Torrent for the free viewing. This added to the losses.

Soon, Torrent was indirectly ruling all over the Land. With the help of ads, he had begun grossing huge profits out of this. The Box-Office was now completely his. Indirectly. But his. Shattered by this, King Content succumbed to death. And Lord Torrent knew there was no one to challenge him now.

***

The Misfit was still to avenge for his brother’s loss, when King Content was himself shown the door to death. He knew Lord Torrent was unofficially ruling BollyLand and so, the Land of CineFandom from the sea. He had to bring an end to this.

Since his childhood, Lord Misfit had seen an extreme potential in King Content and his films. He had somehow hypothesized that the perfect amalgamation of Content and Cliché was the way to rule the hearts of people all over CineFandom. It was just waiting to be put into action. With some of his loyal associates, he made a pilot film which was a ripe mixture of both Content and Cliché in balanced proportions.

The film had all elements from both the families in such a way that it was hard for Lord Critic to bash. The citizens of BollyLand noticed this sudden change. Some of them dared to go to the theatres and returned with joy all over their face. In addition to that, The Censor Board had given a complete green signal to the film, thus maintaining its original essence.

And so it was. Lord Misfit understood the recipe at last. Being a common representative of the IndieLand and BollyLand, he was widely accepted all over the Land Of Cinefandom. Soon, people avoided the use of Lord Torrent’s free supplies and accepted Lord ClichédContent aka Misfit as their new king at the Box-Office.

The war was finally over. It was the balance that the subjects needed. Not an excess of anyone.

A perfect mixture.

@tweetbyarnab

Once in a while there comes a movie series that not only creates a genre for itself, but makes a special place in its fandom’s heart, who would always be excited to see one more movie featuring some of their favourite stars – GOOD or BAD. Fast and Furious is definitely one of them. Some movies create some superstars in such a way that when a certain situation presents itself, the first thing that flashes in your mind is the guys. For me, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker have always been THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS. Unfortunately, this is the last movie for one of them, Paul Walker. So I imagine everyone who ever liked a FF movie is going to rush to cinemas as soon as possible, good or bad doesn’t really matter. And I am happy to report: it is ALL GOOD, VERY VERY GOOD!

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After a few hiccoughs ( looking at: 2F2F and FF4 ), the series went back to its base of outrageous , over-the- top action and fun with FF5 and kept improving. With FF7 we finally get back on track with the convoluted timeline of FF series, FF4, 5, 6 being prequels to FF3: Tokyo drift, we start movie from the final part of FF3, the death of beloved Han. As we know from end of FF6, JASON STATHAM ( Transporter, The Italian Job, Death Race, Lock stock and two smoking barrels  <Hera Pheri 2 being a very poor copy of this BRILLIANT movie for those who don’t know, if u haven’t see it ASAP!>) plays the avenging brother of previous big bad Luke Evans’ Shaw – Deckhard Shaw. He starts the movie with a great entry and a combat with DWAYNE JOHNSON( A.K.A the Rock, Scorpion King, previous FF movies among others) and never looks back on his journey to kill everyone who had anything to do with his brother’s death. There are very few stars in Hollywood that can stand in front of VIN DIESEL‘s (FF, XXX, Riddik series, GOTG) Dominic Terrano otherwise Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham might have been the best choice they could have made. He is totally believable in his Terminator like character which keeps showing and keeps coming at you NO MATTER WHAT. For the first time, an FF movie has some truly good Hand to Hand combats and really, Jason Statham gets most of the credit. His dialogue delivery is impeccable, his every movement, even calmly finishing dinner is threatening, he is cold hearted and menacing, he is the ideal FF7 big bad!

fast-and-furious-7            From there, Dom and Brian O’Connor (PAUL WALKER) go through a stunning journey and race against time to save their family aided by Kurt Russell’s ( Silkwood, big trouble in China, the thing) impressive Mr. Nobody to secure a genius hacker named Ramsey (NATHALIE EMMANUEL  – Game of thrones, looking as fabulous as ever) and her mighty new weapon God’s eye, so they can capture and put an end to the shadow – Deckhard Shaw.

Speaking of the actors, let’s first take the central quartet …

Vin Diesel as Dom is as good as ever, be it the team leader, the family patriarch, the big brother, kickass driver or the street fighter. His action sizzles, his emotions mists you too. We all know he considered Paul Walker his brother in real life too, and that shines through this movie. His emotional good bye is just heart breaking and REAL. Speaking of good byes, I feel this movie was always supposed to be a send-off for Paul Walker’s charming Brian and Jordana Brewster’s Mia. According to reports, movie was shot 80% by the time Paul passed away, and still from the very start you can see the conflict of Paul’s to stand by his new family or the thrills of the fast lane. Paul is just as good as ever in his role of charming heartthrob turned devoted family man. His moments with his son tender, his driving cool as cucumber, his action scenes explosive.( especially with his hand – to – hands with Tony Jaa.)

MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ as Letty is finally back to her original bad-assery here, her fight with Ronda Rousey (the MMA star) is another great hand-to- hand combat and her scenes with Dom give the movie an emotional depth that FF usually lacks. Her little stolen moments with Dom sparkles through the movie, and ends with a great scene you would not expect in an FF movie.

Dwayne Johnson here has a smaller role than previous ones, but whatever moments he has on screen, he DOMINATES. He is funny and he is furious. Hoping for a bigger role for him in future.

TYRESE GIBSON as Roman Pearce is finally funny again after a few okayish movies, his every dialogue well written, and his delivery is smooth! He is hilarious every time he opens his mouth! CHRIS BRIDGES “Ludacris” as Tej Parker has a short role but leaves his mark. LUCAS BLACK as Sean Boswel from FF3 : Tokyo drift makes a little cameo for continuity’s sake. Kurt Russel is impressive as Mr.Nobody , he is funny, he is smooth and he kicks ass!

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Speaking of the movie itself, it is a true FF movie that we fans love, and the send-off that Paul Walker deserves. It is not JUST ABOUT SPEED this time, it is funny, it is emotional, it has great hand-to –hand combat, it has breath-taking scenery, it has its outrageous stunts, it has some of the best street racing we have seen in last few years. It is also filled with little nods to original movies that would delight a true fan of the series. You may say that movie is a bit over inflated with action, but hey, this is FF7, are u really pulling TOO MUCH ACTION CARD here? Story, especially God’s eye part is a bit weak, a lot of stunts range between over-the –top to ridiculous, but hey, THAT IS WHAT FF MOVIES are all about!

Special mention to its mountainside race/chase scene and the final race. The movie’s racing action is innovative and fresh. One special mention to the Mountainside race, it ends in my opinion with the FAST AND FURIOUS SOLUTION TO THE ITALIAN JOB PROBLEM (The Italian Job –a 1969 classic movie that inspired the 2003 remake ends with a cliffhanger ,< a real one 😛 , u will get the joke once u see how the mountain chase ends>  a lot of solutions have been put for that.In 2008, the Royal Society Of Chemistry held a competition for a solution that had a basis in science, was to take not more than 30 minutes and did not use a helicopter.)

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Another special nod to the climactic race. It was fun, it was fresh, frankly one of the better movie ends I have seen recently.(not gonna spoil it.)

Special commendation to Director JAMES WAN and screenwriter CHRIS MORGAN! They had already created a pretty good movie by the time Paul passed away, and after a grieving period they have worked well  on a seamless movie with rest of scenes put together with help from Paul’s brother ( Caleb and Cody – my sympathies), unused footage and CGI. I frankly was not able to say which scenes were shot without Paul.

The movie ends with a moving tribute by all the actors (especially Vin).They could have honored Paul’s memory in two ways, and for me, they went with the better option ( I guess u know which two I am talking about, see the movie to know which one they went for.)

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CONCLUSION

Fast and furious is an enjoyable ride that is for everyone, ( all who are 18+, I mean 😛 ).

If you are an average movie goer, go for it, it is non stop fun! I rate it 8/10 for you.

If you love Hollywood movies, this is a great Summer block buster, it is 8.5/10 for you!

If you love FF series, THIS IS THE MOVIE THAT WE WANTED AND THIS IS THE MOVIE WE NEEDED… A 9.2/10 FOR YOU!

WHERE WE GO FROM HERE…

This movie ends perfectly as either a conclusion to a great movie series or beginning of a new era.

If you are a fan of the series, good news for you. Paul may be gone, but the life in the fast lane goes on. Lucas Black will be back in bigger role in FF8 and FF9. Some may say he has big shoes to fill in, but ToKyo Drift worked because no one tried to be the new Dom or Brian. I am sure Lucas can work his own place in our hearts…

And while Paul and Vin may always be ‘the brothers’, I am so looking forwards to this new pairing!

By: Vitan Patel