Review: Golmaal Again is Diwali’s bumper offer



Review: Golmaal Again

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Arshad Warsi, Tushar, Shreyas Talpade, Kunal Khemu, Vrajesh Hirjee, Tabu, Parineeti Chopra, Ashwini Kalsekar, Prakash Raj, Mukesh Tiwari, Johnny Lever, Sanjiv Mishra, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sachin Khedekar and Nana Patekar (special appearance).

Director: Rohit Shetty

Rating: Four stars

Verdict and plot:

Over the years, Rohit Shetty has successfully built a strong and reliable brand with the Golmaal franchise and his latest outing not only garnered sky-rocketed expectations among the die-hard fans but it’s worth the wait for the horror comedy that lives up to its name with the various twists and turns. Like the film-maker marketed it, Golmaal Again is pure magic and true to the adage of leaving the brain at home. In short, the latest installment is a laugh riot with high voltage drama and emotional quotient that ups the fun to an escalating height.

Golmaal Again is about the trouble makers, Gopal (Ajay Devgan), Madhav (Arshad Warsi), Lucky (Tusshar), Laxman Prasad Apte (Shreyas Talpade) and Laxman Sharma (Kunal Khemu) who all grew up in the Jamnadas orphanage. Of course, there is Pappi bhai (Johnny Lever) and Pandu (Vrajesh Hirjee) while the new entrants, Damini (Parineeti Chopra), Anna (Tabu), Vasu Reddy (Prakash Raj) and Neil Nitin Mukesh joins the fun. Anna can see the dead and helps the troublemakers to uncover the truth. This time, Rohit Shetty spun a twist in the tale with a revenge and conspiracy angle.

Hot Quotient:

What works for Golmaal Again are the various twists that make the huge difference this time and the venture is unique with the director pushing the bar a notch higher in comparison to the prequels.  The first half is fantastic and the hilarious moments are paisa vasool with Ajay Devgan playing a ghost fearing man and together with Shreyas Talpade, they not only weave magic but get along like a house on fire. Superb chemistry by both artists. Of course, Tushar is in terrific form so is Shreyas Talpade lisp act that wins hearts. This guy is simply a treat to watch while Kunal Khemu is decent. Tabu plays her part well and injects her brand of comedy in an effortless but subdued manner.

It is Parineeti Chopra who takes the pie, particularly in the second half. Pari is brilliant in playing this complicated role where her character is central to the plot. Prakash Raj is not only supremely talented but also superbly hilarious, ably supported by Johnny Lever, Mukesh Tiwari, and Sanjiv Mishra. Neil Nitin Mukesh as the baddie is effortless and it’s always a pleasure to watch Sachin Khedekar.

The second half kicks in the same fashion as the first and the moments of fun cum laughter raises the tempo and frenetic pace of the film. Golmaal Again is crazy and wacky where Rohit Shetty beautifully marries the crazy laughter with an equal dose of horror.  The comedy scenes and dialogues are weaved in a superbly intelligent manner and the scene where Prakash Raj breaks into an uninterrupted jig is kick ass. The scene where the gang reads the diary and at the same time, Gopal fights the villains is executed in an aesthetic fashion and with sheer competence, something we haven’t seen in recent years. Or, the five fighting over samoosa and Kunal Khemu is spun inside the washing machine brings the house down.

It’s refreshing to see that Johnny Lever is not irritating and provokes a mad riot during the Jamnadas prayer meet. Of course, the entry of Vrajesh Hirjee helps to break the monotony, if there is any, and the various instances where the possessed characters speak like Nana Patekar are one of the best moments in the film that will ensure taalis and seethis are thrown on-screen. There is a surprise element to that.

There are several precious moments be it, Kunal Khemu giving a kiss to Pappu Bhai mistaking his name for a kiss, Tabu reciting the mantra om bhim bheem cold cream, Lopa Mudra and Kattapa jokes or the lamed ones mouthed by Madhav about Damini having the figure and Gopal is the father for father-figure or from father to boy friend will make you laugh so hard that will hurt the stomach.

What’s Not!

There are quite a few glitches in the film, two back-to-back reprise songs of the 90s which is quite lazy and except the title song, there is a lack of foot tapping numbers. The revenge plot appears a bit too typical and I sorely miss the cars bursting and exploding in the air which is Rohit Shetty’s  brand and USP that we love seeing on-screen.

Final Words:

The ensemble cast of Golmaal and the lovable characters, right from Gopal to Madhav and Lucky, Vasooli Bhai, Pappi Bhai as well as the new entrants make this latest outing paisa vasaal. Golmaal Again carries repeat value that will make you laugh the heart out and offers the perfect masala, comedy, emotions, drama, romance, and action that the glorious 80s and 90s were famous for.  The special effect is visually appealing and Golmaal Again is the perfect Diwali Bumper Offer this festive season. After seven years, Rohit Shetty proves that he has not lost his golden touch over the franchise that gets bigger and better every time. A secret: Do not forget to leave your brain at home to experience magic.





Review: Secret Superstar is path breaking and ‘Baahubali’ of Hindi films


Movie Review: Secret Superstar

Ratings: Four stars and beyond

Cast: Aamir Khan, Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij, Tirth Sharma, Raj Arjun, Shaan and Monali Thakur (guest appearances).

Director: Advait Chandan

Rating: Four stars and beyond

Every Diwali, a string of movies jostle for space to cash on the moolah at the box office and on very rare occasions, a small masterpiece slowly struts its way to stand tall and win hearts. This movie is Secret Superstar, a winner in all aspects, be it the brilliant performances, superbly woven script, screenplay and an endearing charm through the uniquely written characters.

Secret Superstar is a gem that will find its way among the best films churned this year in the Hindi film industry. It wouldn’t be wrong to call it, the ‘Baahubali’ of the B-town.

There is one legend who never ceases to amaze. No prize for guessing, it’s the maverick Aamir Khan who proves once again that he is not just a legendary superstar but knows the pulse of the audience by heart.  An actor who has always given a chance to newcomers by lending credibility to good cinema through the sheer belief in a project, be it a Delhi Belly, Dhobi Ghaat or Peepli Live.


Secret Superstar is the story of a middle-class Muslim girl Insia (Zaira Wasim) who secretly nurtures to be a pop idol and she wears a burqa to upload her first song on YouTube. She is helped by her mother Najma (Meher Vij) who incurs the wrath of the husband Raj Arjun, an orthodox and violent man. Secret Superstar narrates Insia’s journey who is helped on her way to stardom by the maverick and narcissist singer, Shakti Kumar (Aamir Khan).

The film belongs to Zaira Wasim and as Insia, she is simply terrific, thus proving to be one of the best finds by her mentor Aamir Khan. The girl will go places and case in point is the innocence and vulnerability portrayed with utmost ease.

Meher Vij plays the battered woman Najma where she brings depth and intensity in showcasing her vulnerability. She is simply brilliant. The chemistry between Najma and Zaira as mother-daughter is one of the highs of the movie coupled with the conflict in the climax that has been handled with maturity by director Advait Chandan.

Of course, the romance between Zaira and Tirth Sharma playing Chintan is refreshing and takes us back to the teen days as kids. The director injects freshness in the innocent romance scenes that break monotonous moments if there is any.  Raj Arjun delivers a composed and restrained performance as the chauvinist husband.

Coming to the man himself, Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan plays the ‘has been’ singer Shakti Kumar and showcases the various shades of wickedness, crass, lust or loud act in a convincing manner. The costumes, be it, the tacky jeans or tee-shirt may appear stereotypical in places but Aamir Khan lends so much charm to this act to make it one of the coolest characters enacted in recent years. This act is the film’s USP that audience irrespective of age or gender will love. He gives an entirely different shade to the Gabbars or various characters played by Shakti Kapoor. Somehow, Aamir Khan reminds us of his cameo song, I like you like I hate you in Delhi Belly or Ghulam.

Director Advait Chandan gently touches the issues that women face in everyday life and how voices are stifled through violence. The climax scene where Meher Vij gives it to her husband bears a powerful impact that drives home a valid point, look at the aggressor straight in the eyes and show no fear.

What’s Not!:

The main drawback in the movie is the lack of foot tapping numbers taking into account that Secret Superstar is about pop aspirations, music, and dreams. Except Mein Kaun Hoon and Mere Pyaari Aami, the film lacks the kind of music that gel with the film’s theme and it fails to stay in the mind for a long time. There are few cliché sequences, right from breaking the laptop or father’s plan to force his daughter to get married to a much older man in Saudi Arabia where he is settling for a job.

Final Words:

Secret Superstar comes as a breeze of fresh air that captivates the audience, in particular, the young generation and shows what drama is all about with the right dose of emotions, laughter, and aspirations. Of course, Monali Thakur as herself adds to the freshness of the theme. The movie will pave the way for the rightful place of pop music and define its place in Hindi cinema in years to come. Secret Superstar is path-breaking.



Happy Diwali, splash of sweet and celebrating identity



Earthen lamps,

colorful candles,

golden hearts,

swing together,

it’s celebration time,

a splash of sweets,

indulge in the exuberance of lights shining on faces,

make someone’s joy,

a child not favored by the stars,

after all, it’s the festival of lights,

igniting passion,

tolerance of each other’s culture, rites and food,

it’s not a preserve of a few,

happiness of sharing tons of sweet,

lighting the lamp forever in the hearts,

the land of the free,

the vibrant crowd,

uncover the lid of prejudices,

it’s Diwali,

magnificence cut beyond border,

caste, religion or gender,

celebrating our identity,

fireworks minus the cracker,

seamless horde of people sashaying,

together where there shall be no difference,

shed ignorance.

get rid of the darkness.

Happy Diwali


Pune Memoirs Diwali (3): Happy Diwali, friends, mithai and shopping


Happy Diwali people. Wish you love, abundance of wealth, limitless alcohol, spicy sex and of course, perfect health, blessing and happiness soaring in the sky. May you not suffer from the dearth of anything and shed the darkness for a better India removing religious, caste or class and gender prejudices. May the dream of every child come true and we remove poverty. Let the wisdom prevail so that we become tolerant of each other. Sharing a new chapter from the Pune Memoirs on the Diwali spent in the final year of 2005.

Pune Memoirs 2005/06

November 1, Diwali 2005,

Fergusson College Road:

Diwali image: Google

The last year of togetherness. Lights kindled and flashed inside our hearts.  The friendship, lifetime memories carved over three years. Our Diwali moments of celebrating the bond of forevers and evers. Love, unadulterated moments of happiness and the laughter. Who knows where we would be in the next year, separated by the distance or some relations will strangely grow apart.

We wanted to make the most. I was already feeling the emotional pang and shuddered to think that next year, that we may not celebrate together and the Diwali eve was spent planning how to shed the tight pocket-money at MG Road and Laxmi Road to shop for a plain and simple white Kurta. I wasn’t too much into colorful attire during those days and dunno why.

The eve of Diwali started early morning to ensure that I avoid last minute rush and don’t miss anything on earth in the final year, rushing my way to the sweet mart at  Dyaneshwar Paduka Chowk that was within walking distance of the apartment. There was no time to lose and stormed past the crowd making a beeline for Mithai but made a quick exit after Neraj buzzed. The man was always on a shopping spree festival or not and he is the best man to take along shopping for Kurta Pyjama and what’s not.  After all, Diwali is the time to indulge in the favorite mouth-watering Gulab Jamun on every corner of the street. We hopped on the rickshaw during the early sunshine, plodding our steps under Pune’s scorching sun like flaneurs to explore the shops from the huge ones or the small ones wading past the corridor of old buildings.

Finally, we zeroed on a shop and the shop walla spread the cotton Kurta Pyjamas one after the other on the table where I was almost game to grab something.  But, Neraj hard pressed my leg that was his way of protesting not to take, either it was too expensive or the material not good enough for the price. We got out and kept walking to enter shops and exiting as quickly as possible. Me being me, such a difficult person to please when it comes to shopping. I think that we spent the entire day at MG Road and cutting corners in Camp but ended not buying anything. We came back to FC Road. I accompanied K and M to Laxmi Road, wriggling the way among the crowd that occupied every space on the road, feeling lost at times in which shop to enter or not.

Met a classmate and we cheerfully greeted each other Happy Diwali and the festive season is a time where there are bright chances of meeting friends or random acquaintances who are on a shopping fest with family.  Now, I am not very sure and faintly remember which Kurta I got and where. But, I did!  Laxmi Road offers such a beautiful sight of the shops glittered with lights, displaying the materials, the colorful crowd spreading and unfurling at length on the bustling road teeming with activity.

D-Day arrived on November 1. I haven’t yet got the sweets and after lazing around in the room, having cups of tea or coffee, headed to Savera our college hang out. I went back to the same sweet mart sweating among the crowd to push my way that was an excruciating sort of time to select the different variety of sweet meat. It felt like being in the middle of war. Finally, it was done and time to head back to the room where each and every one of us waited, in turn, to enter the small kitchen to sort out and pack our sweets in tiny dabbas to distribute to our near and dear ones.

Decked in the white Kurta and Pyjama, I trod my steps in the sunshine-laden afternoon and careful to avoid the first splash of crackers on my way while walking towards Model colony off FC Road where the famous Police Ground lingers to meet my favorite and personal Doctor, AB. She was my first doctor when I first came to the city and over the year, I became family. I gave a call or knocked on the door and Ma’am came down to wish me and took me upstairs where I met Sir who along with her run the clinic, greeted me with the mandatory Happy Diwali.

Ma’am ushered me inside the Puja room for prayer and once it was done, the ritual of exchanging mithai was over, I sat by the table where a sumptuous treat waited with mithai and namkeen spread along with tea. I was wondering how to stuff so much in the stomach and my good doctor’s first priority it seemed was to make me taste and eat in huge quantity. I protested but she was like, ‘Aaj Diwali hai. You can go on a diet for the rest of the year.’ Of course, she was not done and as a parting gift, gave me a bundle of sweet variety enough to feed the entire of our flatmates and friends for days that dinner could be deleted from the dictionary.

It was not over for the day. The next visit was at Adi’s parents’ home in the Peth areas and people who know the city will vouch that this region is no less than an explosion ground on Diwali day where crackers zoom in the air. Walking on FC road and dropping at Savera for tea which was a must in those days to meeting friends on the way, exchanging Diwali hugs to finally hop my way inside the rickshaw facing the barrage of crackers exploded by the over-enthusiastic kids on the street who laughed behind you as you jolt your way back and forth. I have always hated and abhorred crackers. As the rickshaw rode past Mhatre bridge to enter the Peth area, it felt like an explosion and being in the middle of war zone, the crackers not only burst and spluttered its might right in front of the passenger as the skillful rickshaw driver spun the vehicle from left to right.

The familiar hall at Adi’s house wore the colorful decorations and sweets were splayed on a golden tray on the table while everyone lined up in colorful attire, Kurtas and saree. I hopped my way straight in the kitchen to touch aunty’s feet and of course, coffee was my obvious choice since she makes the best coffee in the world.  It’s Diwali and any excuse is a good one, with uncle telling us to have more, me grabbing the mithai with both hands be it ferni, barfi, ladoo and the favorite Gulab Jamun. We were having the best times of life, laughing and relishing every moment. It’s another thing that between having delicacies, the forwards messages kept hitting the inbox to our generation, who was alien to WhatsApp.

The evening was spent hopping to the restaurant on JM Road for dinner and at first, I refused saying it’s my sweet day but Adi forced me to order like grandpa shouting, ‘Have a proper dinner you asshole.’ The night was spent downing bottles of Kingfisher beer as we squatted on the floor and still in Diwali attire past midnight. The empty beer bottles rolled on the floor close to our legs and feet as we played Truth-and-Dare to unveil our darkest secrets, from the latest crush in college or the one we lusted for. Of course, for me, it’s always Truth and no dare.

It feels like yesterday only when we were college kids celebrating Diwali with gay abandon and as I look back wondering where all those flawless years have disappeared.

joyful feeling,

hundred lamps lit inside the heart,

years may have passed or elapsed,

emotions of celebrating Diwali and bonding remains,

moist eyes,

seasons may change,

the feeling remains intact,

bright and smiling faces,

sparkling moments

Happy Diwali





Flash fiction: Mithaiwala


He was wandering aimlessly in the market and the crowd brushed and shoved him past the shoulder. He was clueless and zigzagged his way among the bustling crowd that scared him to death.

The hands and limbs were shaking. He turned left and right, aiming for the shrilling voice that called his name, coming closer to his ear and at times from a faraway distance, ‘Jerry!’ He stood face-to-face in front of the Mithaiwala in the open market who was expertly making the hot jalebi. An assortment of sweets, round gulab jamun, crimson white Rasgullah and delicious chakki were splattered on the huge gold coated thali.

The mithaiwala hand was sticky and played around expertly with the sweets, exchanging coins and the Gandhi notes that were carefully slipped under the red plastic sheet covering the wooden table. He yelped in pain. The knife ruthlessly slits his chest and he stumbled on the wooden chair. In a span of minutes, his vision of the last jalebi made became blurred before he saw darkness everywhere.  A sadistic smile lit Jerry’s broad face. He exuded a triumph at his act of spotting the knife on the table with which he stabbed the mithaiwala in the fleeting seconds.

Blood spurt down his stomach and ran inside his black trousers. Jerry was calm and stood still. He took a step and caressed the mouth-watering gulab jamun, crushed it and poured the juice on the inert body of the mithaiwalla. He bit another piece and squeezed it like lemon on the dead man’s wound.

Little Jerry was a seven-year-old innocent child when he clumsily walked into the crowded market 10 years back. He would reach early at 5 a.m to help Mithaiwala make the ladoo and the man won over the child by feeding him a piece of huge and round ladoo every evening.  One day, Mithaiwala told him that he has to earn the sweet and slowly unzipped Jerry’s short, ran his hand inside his tiny penis.  Jerry was scared on that day and couldn’t comprehend what was happening to him. This game continued for two long years.

The little child choked to death every second and hid from the world for Mithaiwala threatened that if he ever opened his mouth, the knife that lay on the table would cut its way inside his tiny body.  He lost all his emotions and his eyes went dry until the day he ran away from the market, mithaiwala and his parents to the big city that taught him to be street smart where he indulged in the petty crime of looting people, hanging with criminals and pushing people off the train to run away with their gold rings or mobile phone.

The world of crime suited Jerry. He became one of the trusted gang members and it took him no time to graduate into a fearful don in the locality. There was something that haunted him, the fragrance of sweets suffocated him to death every second.

Reality flashed right in front of his eyes.  He grabbed the hot jalebi and the juice lashed inside his tongue as the sweet cut through his tooth with delight. The other half of the sweet was saved and stuffed inside the mouth of mithaiwala. Jerry took another jalebi and crushed it for the last time, rubbing it inside the lower body of the mithaiwala that soaked in blood. “I have kept the last bit for you and after all, you made it with your sweat and blood. Happy Diwali.” Jerry walked away and the taste of the sweet still lingered in his mouth for he knew this Diwali was special and will stay with him till he is alive.



Har ek pal bit gaya aur reh gaya


Ek hawa ka jhonka

Aur neend udh gaya

Yeh mere bewafa sanam nahin tha

Par waqt ka takaza,

Iss par se uss par,

Uttar dakshin se

Purab paschim tak,

Hawa ka tez ruk koi nahin badal paya

Hum kaun hai

Sirf ek aatma

Yakayat se koi nahin jeet paya

Ek mulakat tha,

Bohot saare mulaqatein kyon ki hum sab panchiyaan hai

Iss safar mein

Jo rehengaya sirf yaadein

Ek biti pal jo dil mein bas gaya

Aisa lagta hain ke yeh tooti pooti zindagi

Hum se aagey nikal gaya

Celebrating the man with the midas touch: Amitabh Bachchan at 75


A self-confessed fanboy. I have no qualm in saying that Amitabh Bachchan is my pinned up poster-boy who adorns the wall. A huge collection of posters, postcards, magazine covers, books is what propelled me looping to the bookshop buying magazines or newspapers whenever he graces the cover. Of course, this file that has neatly been preserved over the years filled with Big B’s posters and newspaper cutting is quite something accumulated in the past. I still go for Bachchan on the magazine cover and next one will be the Filmfare Platinum Power issue.

While many of his contemporaries have hanged their boots, Bachchan is re-creating and making history at 75 as the new and cool 18 in town where he is all over the place, be it movies or entering our house with KBC or TV ads. Is there anything that this man cannot do or turn into gold? He puts relatively young people like me to shame with his terrific energy be it in his films, blogging everyday and social media or being physically all over the place. To imagine that he functions with 25 percent liver. Isn’t it admirable?

There are so much about him, be it immortalizing the screen name Vijay that it’s almost hard to fathom anyone else lending credence to this character even one or two decades later. The brooding and angry Vijay carved a place in our hearts so much that it clashed with the grey Vijay who fell in love with a girl old enough to be his daughter in Nishabd which was not a bad film in itself. I think there is a certain clash in the way the audience love and adorn their heroes giving them almost God-like status that can go against creative effort in cinema. Of course, I loved the Viju of Buddha Hoga Tera Bappa in the same way as the Vijay of Nishabad. Of course, my favorite Vijay remains the ones in Aakhri Raasta, Shakti, Don, Deewar, Shahenshah, and Agneepath.

Call me crazy but October 11 is a day that I religiously follow, bearing AB’s KBC tee that I bagged a decade back at the Colaba Causeway, tweeting the Big B and watching at least two of his movies on TV. I finished with Shahenshah in the afternoon which remains one of my favorite Bachchan film as a child and shall wrap up the day with Khuda Gawah or something else coming on cable. Honestly speaking, it is tough to assess the career of Bachchan the star and the actor or both on the role it played in my life. Ok! Let me try this one. I think the reason I am a crazy and passionate film buff dreaming of making at least a short film a day is Amit Sir. He is the ultimate reason that I watch Hindi movies like crazy and celebrating Hindi cinema that spurts in my mind like anything.

There is a considerable debate heralded by people telling how there was a disconnect with the times when he started his corporate venture ABCL that faced heavy losses. I’d disagree to argue that he has set the trend and today corporate have stormed in our movies and raking the moolah much the same way he took the biggest risk in his career by embracing TV that made him a household name that saw many of his contemporaries shy away from. First all, Bachchan introduced the corporate culture in the early 90s through his company ABCL and was ahead of the curve and times since he was convinced of the role that it would play in the future. Secondly, remember Asia TV that worked like crazy but unfortunately, it suffered in the long run because perhaps it wasn’t the right time to launch owing to the audience maturity and sensibility. Today, corporate culture is working on such a big scale in cinema.

Big B is a brand that has not only become increasingly reliable but powerful over time with equity pegged at hundreds of crores at the age of 75 and is beyond generation or time. Perhaps, the only character actor for whom roles are being written taking his personality in mind and in the same fashion or breadth as the main lead romancing the heroine. That’s the difference, here. The hero should kick the villain and get the girl. How do you call Big B? The mature hero transcending age or defying logic a bit like his characters in the heydays.

There are so many things that Big B can teach us in the way we do business or lead life. Be patient and go ahead with the times, never say no to experimenting with roles, risk-taking or turning the tables when the time is ripe. For sure, he can give several of the B-schools a run for their money. Of course, the buzz should be communicating with clients and in this case, audience through a down-to-earth approach and do not force marketing down the throat. Picture this, lock kiya jai or computer-ji as the buzz words of business and giving it mass appeal pretty much like his dialogues, jahan hum khade hote hai line wohi se shuru hota hai.

The stage where Bachchan no longer carries the burden of box office on his shoulder is the most exciting phase for any actor to experiment with a variety of roles and he performed brilliantly whether it’s Sarkar, The Last Lear, Black, Paa, Pink, Aks or Piku but I miss my favorites massy roles with the terrific hero ka dhamakedhar entry of kicking dozen villains. Call it cliché or illogical, I just don’t care. I love his entries in Deewar, Agneepath, Aaj Ka Arjun, Shahenshah or Hum. For me, Bachchan is the cleanly shaven guy.

As a die-hard fan, I hope that he was never in the frame of movies like RGV ki Aag, Department or Sarkar 3 but then the emperor cannot be flawless and it’s the sheer madness of cinema that drives stalwart to take wrong steps. It is surely not the end for I believe there are so many roles and myth-breaking experiences he can indulge into since whatever we have seen of him in recent times is very less of what he can achieve as an actor, pushing the bar higher. The man with the midas touch just needs directors and scriptwriter who understand his emotions to the hilt, his vision of cinema and of course, not star struck by the larger than life and enigmatic personality.

How many of you remember this entry of the camera panning on his shiny black shoes, trousers, shirt and close-up zooming on Bachchan’s face? A true fan will!

Happy birthday Amit-ji

Die-hard AB fan

With love