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Finding Fanny

Seldom do we make films that stay with you long after they have ended. They stay with you because of their unique storytelling, memorable characters and a watertight narrative. Finding Fanny ticks all the above boxes. It’s the kind of film one has never seen on the celluloid when it comes to mainstream commercial cinema, it’s the kind of film that cleverly blends content with commerce, style with substance. With the trailer, one already knows it’s a film about 5 oddballs, quirky and whacky characters and their road trip to find a friend’s long lost love Fanny.

It’s a film that may be anything but relatable for many, a film whose characters can exist only in a Homi Adajania venture, he’s one of the only incredibly gifted filmmakers who can present quirkiness and unpredictability with effortless ease and still manage to make it a joyful ride. It seems he has learnt the ropes of painting and texturing his oddball characters with different shades and moods. Being Cyrus being a fine example which no one could predict and every actor had multiple layers which were peeled off only towards the end.

Every performance will leave you awestruck as all the actors have shed their inhibitions and sunk their teeth into their roles; they all are chameleons who’ll come back to their own only after the reels begin to end.

Deepika Padukone is a dapper young woman who loses her husband way too soon. She has a luminous presence, warms up with her nuanced act and is likely to gratify the carnal appetite with a titillating shot love making scene.

Pankaj Kapur plays a promiscuous and perverted old man and his performance is easily one of film’s best. Dimple Kapadia is whacky, outrageous and wildly unpredictable. Arjun Kapoor is nowhere close to what you’ve seen of him on the screen in the past, his Goan act is convincing and the actor shows a knack for embracing different characters with open arms. Naseeruddin Shah is little loud and over the top, but his character demands the same.

Finding Fanny works largely for its boldness of being absolutely unapologetic in the way it is. It’s a film you’ll either passionately love or mercilessly despise. You’ll adore it for its eye watering camerawork by ace Cinematographer Anil Mehta who has meticulously and magnificently captured the beauty, essence and the flesh and blood characters of Goa, and the fact that the film is in English and Konkan makes it another reason to watch it. This will stay with the consciousness of the people till they continue to be narcotized and numbed with the movie world. It will be remembered for shattering all the clichés of filmmaking.

The industry which was known for passion and love for movies, over the years has been drugged with the obsession to make money, the commerce has sky – rocketed but the content has reached possibly at its lowest ebb, in a nutshell, it won’t be incorrect to say that we have succeeded backwards.

Finding Fanny takes cinema forward and proves there’s still a glimmer of hope.

Mary Kom Review

The idea behind portraying the inspiring and tireless journey of a very much working sport athlete sounds ambitious from the word go. Ever since the dawn of Hindi Cinema, the biopics that have been portrayed on the celluloid have been of iconic personalities who have either retired or passed away.

MARY KOM is one of those rare brave and bold films that shatters all barriers and cliches. Today, the impact of social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook is so humongous, the film has already become a rage among the cine goers and the tax-free status only adds cherry to the cake.

First things first, actors who are entrusted with the responsibility of essaying the role of the gigantic personality on whose life the film has been made ought to look like them. A lot of meticulousness is required for the actor and the entire team to work on his/her body and language. A slight flaw and they might miss the bus.

To be really honest, Priyanka Chopra doesn’t even come close to looking like Mary Kom so the makers and the actor herself bled and perspired to work on the physique.

Coming to the film, it has all the elements one expects from a sports film. Dreams, Hope, courage, Passion, Fearlessness, Disapproval, Rejection, Rise, fight and ultimately Victory.

A sweet love story has been endearingly woven in this tale which tugs your heart strings. Priyanka’s undying love for boxing will perhaps make you realize to never give up your passion and pursue what you adore.

It’s a film that takes you to an emotional Roller Coaster ride.

You’ll laugh, cry, love, cheer, whistle, clap and get inspired. Inspired by the stunning performance of the leading lady who delivers not only punches but also a rock solid and flawless act. She’s supported by a taut screenplay, razor-sharp editing and flesh and blood characters. Be it the cantankerous father, a lovable husband or her coach who infuses courage to her vision and dream.

Their training scenes, not to be compared with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, are exquisitely shot and leaves your adrenaline pumping, there’s an urgent breathlessness that’s unique and cannot be described in mere words.

Already it has been an empowering year for female performances at the movies, Kangana in the joyful and heart warming Queen, Rani in the thrilling Mardaani and now Priyanka in the nerve cracking Mary Kom.

In the industry dominated by opening numbers and 100 crore it’s a rare film wanting to make a difference.

The leading lady not only delivers some punches but also enough bang for your bucks. Truly an INSPIRING BLOCKBUSTER.

Raja Natwarlal Review

In the last 11 years, Emraan Hashmi has painted a variety of textures in his films, known only for erotic and titillating films in his earlier days, he was completely unapologetic about serving high doses of sexuality but suddenly donned a different hat and showed his ability to reinvent himself with films like Awarapan and Shanghai, which still remain highly underrated.

After the esoteric Ek thi Daayan and Ghanchakkar, the actor returns almost after a year’s hiatus with Raja Natwarlal, a film the actor believes has all the elements of a commercial masala entertainer.

Con films have always caught the attention and acceptance of the audiences – The Sting and American Hustle being 2 very fine examples. But Raja Natwarlal is very desi at heart.

It has been made keeping the masses of the county in mind.

It’s the story of a man’s indefatigable thirst for revenge and how he succeeds in outsmarting the culprit through his wits and some help from his mentor.

Despite looking like a replica of the actor’s own hit, Jannat, the film has some unpredictable twists and turns and a cracking chemistry between Guru and Chela.

The Guru here is played by the marvelous Paresh Rawal, who wasn’t seen on the celluloid for a long time. The scenes between Rawal and Hashmi are the film’s biggest strengths and often intrigue you about the plot that lies ahead. The antagonist is the indomitable Kay Kay Menon, and it’s always delightful and invigorating to see two fine actors chewing up the scenery. But the only crabby bits are the obligatory romantic portions between Emraan and debutant Huamaima Malick.

The actress has an ebullient presence but needs to chose future projects wisely or else she’ll evanescent from the consciousness of the people very soon.

The soundtrack is nowhere close to what you call a BLOCKBUSTER or CHARTBUSTER, and it’s quite flabbergasting that the actor whose films’ music always was known for being soulful and soul-stirring, has been at its nadir and going through a parched phase in recent times.

As for the performances, Emraan Hashmi reprises his act of a Tapori goon of Jannat 2, there are many scenes that are vintage Jannat. But Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay Menon are the 2 reasons why you should watch Raja Natwarlal.

Both the actors are powerhouse of acting and brilliance and can sink their teeth completely into the character. If Rawal is quick, witty, spontaneous and funny. Kay Kay is smart, suave, ruthless and menacing. Looking forward to seeing more of them in the future.

So a 2.5 star rating for the film will be apt. It may not give some an urgent breathlessness but people will not be bored.

It is the kind of film that hasn’t been made to awaken the masses of the country with the grim realities of the world but to narcotize and numb them with illusions.

Mark ZuckerbergAfter reading this if you are still clueless about the whole #ALSIceBucketChallenge, you really need to get out of your rabbit hole! It is wave which is swiftly spreading over the social media, with a noble cause to contribute in wiping out ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

ALS Ice Bucket challenge is a dare which involves pouring a bucket of ice cold water on your head; if you fail to do so, you are required to donate $100 to the ALS Association, otherwise nominate three other people to do the challenge before completing yours. Also the person completing the challenge is required to film the action and post it online within 24 hours of getting nominated. It has raised $100M in just a month.

This challenge is taking over the most of America and other parts of the world, be it the people on streets, tech giant nerds, or even the celebrities!

1. Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, was challenged by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He approached the dare in a systematic way and did this:

2. Tim Cook, Apple CEO who had been challenged by Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller, completed his challenge at the hands of American musician Michael Franti.

3. In such viral event, our pop stars are never behind. Taylor Swift pulls the challenge in a celebrating way, and passes on the dare to bff Selena Gomez.

4. Soon after Selena posted the dare on her Instagram profile saying “Accepted!!!! @ryanseacrest @taylorswift my whole team is donating!”

5. Justin Bieber took part too, and challenged President Barack Obama! However,  the White House has confirmed President Barack  Obama will not take part, but will be donating.

Mardaani Review

From lighting up the celluloid with ethereal performances in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Hum Tum to stunning the entire movie world with one of the most galvanizing acts ever in Black, Rani Mukerji has always displayed her versatility and proved that she can sink her teeth into the character if written with honesty and sincerity.

It’s only for this reason this week’s latest release Mardaani largely works.

The film has been produced by the Yash Raj, one of the leading banners of the industry known for their larger than life filmmaking. It’s a gigantic leap from the kind of films they have ventured in so far.

Transcending from the world of visually extravagant locales and gorgeously looking people to the real and relatable one with ordinary citizens can be a huge risk but fortunately it works here. 

The film narrates the tale of Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji) , Senior Inspector, Crime Branch, Mumbai, who has been assigned the task of unraveling the mystery behind the kidnapping of a young teenaged girl named Pyaari. As she digs deeper into the investigation, she discovers a horrifying racket of human trafficking and swears to find the mastermind behind it in 30 days.

But how do you find a criminal no one has seen or even heard of?

Unlike the endless number of cop dramas that have been churned out of Hindi Cinema in recent times, Mardaani is short, crisp and moves at a breakneck speed.

It’s a film that sucks you in its drama and characters from the word go. You’ll find enough clap-trap lines delivered by the protagonist that can give Chulbul Pandey and Bajirao Singham a run for their money.

Rani delivers yet another compelling performance and proves she’s still got her mojo. Be it fighting with a goon or a thrilling chase sequence, the actor has completely submitted herself to the part and shown that she’s a chameleon.

The supporting cast is equally satisfying. Although a bunch of new comers, they have succeeded in leaving a thumb print with their performance.

The cinematography is top notch, it is helped that the film has been shot on real locations which gives it a much required punch.

But the film doesn’t come without its shortcomings. Too dramatic and shamelessly manipulative at times, to force the audience to clap or whistle, it loses it’s well intentioned dramatic narrative as well its momentum.

But these are only minor flaws in an otherwise gripping tale of heinous criminal activities against women, and how one woman undertakes the responsibility to infiltrate these criminals. Wish we all stand together as a nation and protect the women of our county. A good message by a powerhouse of an actor in a compelling film.

Way to go Rani..
Looking forward to seeing more of her on the screen now..

Shreyas Rajagopal aka Shrey - Author of Saltwater


Shreyas Rajagopal aka Shrey’s first novel Saltwater explores the lives of rich young adults living in Mumbai. It’s a collection of stories based on the author’s personal experiences as a college student.

Youth24x7’s editor, Charvi Arora, in conversation with Shreyas Rajagopal.

What is the book essentially about?

Saltwater is about growing up.
It is about South Bombay.
It is about sex and drugs and EDM.
It is about being 20 and fucked up and loving it.
It is about loneliness and heartbreak and second chances.
It is about girls and boys and pills and pools.

Saltwater is not a story of armchair epiphanies and easy answers. This is a raw, uncensored look at an entire generation losing it, together, one shiny party at a time.

For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional/ hardback books?

I love hard backs – the feel of the paper, the weight of the book and how it subtly changes in your hands from right to left as you keep reading it.

Though I must confess – due to practicality and ease of carrying I have been buying most new books in electronic formats. I am not proud of it.

How close is the protagonist to reality?

Rish to me is the lynchpin of the book and a character I have attempted to breathe a lot of life into. He is very real to me – and it is his insecurities and his weaknesses that make him real.

I have known a lot of people like him.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Don’t worry about the marketing bit. Write it. Write it good and then re-write it better. Make it strong and essential.

Marketing is, and always should be, an afterthought.

Saltwater by Shrey

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I write at night. I start around 11 PM and go on till 3 or 4 in the morning. My mornings are super easy – I eat breakfast, go to the gym. Afternoons I read and reply to emails and the like. Evenings I like to step out and see the world, grab a coffee.
Night it all restarts.

Which Indian actor would you like to see playing the lead character from your recent book?

That’s a very tough one – as I know no one who is the right age / right look.

They are all too pretty. A 20 year old SRK would be a dream.

Tell us something about your current projects?

I am working on my next novel. Also, collaborating with artists on a Graphic Novel project. Also, exploring film scripts. It’s a busy and interesting time.

Where do you see publishing going in the future?

Traditional publishing will have to change.

The average individual is reading more than before – all the buzzfeed articles and their like shared through social media. The content has become bite sized – and the supremacy of the Novel as a narrative medium is perhaps past.

Having said that, human beings need stories – it is essential to who we are. It is like food, water and air. Enslaved cultures through history had rich mythical traditions. And stories still need words and languages – they are the coda to our souls.

Maybe serial narratives will come back. E-books and Audio books are very successful. Diverging narratives taking advantage of technology – an updated version of the choose-your-adventure books we read as children.

Books aren’t going away in our lifetimes – publishing companies need to rethink their delivery models, there will be pain in the medium term but it is not all gloom and doom.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Work out. Don’t worry so much. Ask every pretty girl out for coffee.