'Shab' movie review: Onir's pragmatic story dearths enough bang | Bollywood Bubble

‘Shab’ movie review: Onir’s pragmatic story lacks enough bang

Shab Onir
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

‘Shab’ movie review: Onir’s pragmatic story lacks enough bang

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Directed By: Onir
Produced By: Sanjay Suri, Onir
Cast: Ashish Bisht, Arpita Chatterjee, Raveena Tandon
Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 2.5/5

I couldn’t shake this feeling that I had uncovered more than something ordinary.

-Nicole Gulla

That’s the kind of repurcussion we looked for, from Onir’s ‘Shab’, especially after he created slice-of-life films like ‘I…am’ and ‘My Brother Nikhil’. He starts with what looks like an account of how the world of fashion and glamour works. We are quite intrigued at the felicitous characterisations while the story develops into a more complicated one.

In whisper of hankerings, in the pang of futility and in love that’s forbidden, ‘Shab’ struggles to tell a story of multiple crises put together. But where’s the powerful corollary we were looking for?

Through the blazing summer, the deluging rains and the glacial winter of Delhi, the story flows as a few individuals, with their share of inner battles, come close and float away with the course of time. Mohan (Ashish Bisht) comes to the capital city from Gadwal with the aspiration of becoming a renowned model one day. He miserably flunks his very first audition, but wins over judge Sonal Modi (Raveena Tandon). Sonal takes him home, promising to introduce to him a leading designer. This portion is particularly noteworthy since it firmly puts across how it’s not just the women who fall prey to sexual exploitation. Sonal and Mohan’s relationship is dark, but not delicious. As the guy, inexpert at such trades, develops a strange association towards Sonal, he is only left with more emotional dismissal. Life brings him across Raina (Arpita Chatterjee), a woman with an initially mysterious livelihood that we discover later, who stays with her sister. Raina is in proximity with Benoit (Simon Frenay), a French man who has kind of run away to India. Raina is an intriguing character who secretly longs for love but wouldn’t surrender her heart. During a phase on intense dilemma, she happens to meet Mohan. By then, the struggling model has lived a hundred years of misery within quarter of a year.

Onir is a maestro at reading and painting human relationships with their smallest conflicts. But this one has gone haywire. The overriding problem with the film that feels throughout is, none of the crises comes alive. You long for something impactful which would be an acid test for your perceptions. But nothing like that happens, despite the characters giving in the finest performances.

Ashish Bisht has this wholesome simplicity about him, which works in his favour; since his character is that of a naive guy who just floats himself with circumstances. Arpita Chatterjee shines through with her moods and will probably be a discovery for Bollywood. But Raveena Tandon takes the cake here. She can trounce you with her glare.

We would rather rate ‘Shab’ high in terms of production values. Sachin Krishn’s cinematography almost becomes a language of its own as it captures the perfect frames for narrative. Mithoon’s music is fitting for the vivid moods.

The film’s pace further fails it. Throughout first half, you are unable to figure out which way it is heading. We were intrigued with the characters, their own silent sufferings, cramped relationships and the nanoseconds of emptiness that gloom up their skies. But it doesn’t just stir our senses. At the end, ‘Shab’ remains a film with brilliant possibilities that remain unexplored.

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My Birthday Song movie review: Has its moments of density among abruptions

Directed By: Samir Soni
Produced By: Samir Soni, Sanjay Suri
Cast: Nora Fatehi, Sanjay Suri, Zenia Starr, Ayaz Khan
Duration: 1 Hours 36 Minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 2.5/5

‘My Birthday Song’. That’s a bit too poetic for a psychological thriller. As if, a little less rasping. As if a bit mellifluous. Albeit, it gives hints of a birthday going eventful, probably in the wrong way.

Actor Samir Soni delves into making films with this one and opts for a genre that’s not yet prevalent in mainstream Hindi films. Does he succeed? Yes, and no.

Rajiv Kaul (Sanjay Suri), an ad-man with a neat house, a beautiful wife and two happy children, is like how those happy men in TV ads look. His postcard-ish life, however, is in for a hurricane one night. As he rings in his 40th birthday with a cosy party sans his wife at his residence, he meets Sandy (Nora Fatehi). And a romantic hiccup is assumed.

“Do you cheat?”, whispers Sandy. “Depends on whether it’s worth cheating for,” smiles Rajiv. I am smirking as they make out through a chain of sequences, actually beautiful to look at. A minute later. Sandy lies in a pool of blood, dead. Boom.

There begins the story. Rajiv wakes up on his birthday, to a cleanly done room with no blood and no trace of Sandy and thinks of it as a bad dream. But every tiny thing that he saw in his ‘dream’, starts coming true. And oh, the birthday party is tonight. Hence, the misfortune is supposed to happen tonight too!

Through the next hour, We’ve Rajiv running around like a possessed person, trying to set things right as if he has foreseen the future. Does he? Does he not?

Before we start analysing, ‘My Birthday Song’ had the ingredients of becoming so much more than what it is. It is a technically strong film with a potentially powerful story. Soni, who can’t escape glitches here and there, came up with a decent first attempt. At one point, the tense gets dense, and we start wondering if the characters we are witnessing are at all there, or are surreal. But surrealism is where it goes wrong as well.

After a few shifts between reality and surrealism, the thin line disappears and it is difficult to figure out which course is it following. Probably to make it psychologically tickling, Soni has added elements of hallucination, which is justified. But it is also necessary to place hallucinatory events in a way that they don’t disrupt a story’s rationality. Here, that happens.

Since the film majorly banks upon its events and not the number of characters, it is mostly shouldered on Sanjay. The intention was probably to allow us to sync in the uncertainity. But it results in the film losing pace.

Barring that, ‘My Birthday Song’ has its moments of cinematic expertise. Sanjay Suri is a delight to watch and Nora Fatehi is decent in her shoes. Australian beauty Queen Zenia Starr steps into Bollywood with this one, and will probably stay. I also like how the director’s approach is to move the viewers with subtlety. And I admit, it brings end with a climax I had never even imagined.

To watch or not? The call is yours.

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1921 movie review : Less spooky, more comical...

Directed By: Vikram Bhatt
Produced By: LoneRanger Productions
Cast: Zareen Khan and Karan Kundrra
Duration: 2 Hours 24 Minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 1.5/5

Filmmaker Vikram Bhatt has given us some good horror cinema in the form of the ‘Raaz’ franchise, so one would have high hopes from the director from his newly released horror flick ‘1921’. This fresh series is nowhere close to the last ‘1920’ series which was a decent horror fest.

To start with, the story begins with a young man named Ayush (played by Karan Kundrra) who shifts to London to learn music and works as a caretaker in a huge palace. Those times were all about royal palaces right? It’s barely been a month and the man with a penchant to heal through his musical skills starts experiencing paranormal activities in the house. So, he decides to seek help from a psychic medium named Rose, played by Zareen Khan who too is mesmerised by his music. The beautiful lady has earned this special power to communicate with ghosts through her late mother, or so she claims.

Together, they decide to unravel the mystery of finding the adhoori ichcha of the evil spirit looming freely in the house. Since this is the first evil spirit that Rose has ever encountered , the task is way too tougher for her than it seems. Will they succeed or they will succumb to spooky ghost? It is something you discover when you sit through two hours of mindlessness.

As simple as the story seems to be, the plot gets confusing and too boring with every progressing scene. The horror scenes are forced and predictable and even evoke laughter many a times. You know that something spooky awaits you in the next scene and you’re all prepared for it and more than getting scared, it makes you laugh out loud. The loud and spooky background music on every second scene just doesn’t help the immensely boring plot which tries its level best to scare you off your seats. Forced elements of romance between the protagonists makes it even more worse and to add to it, a dozen romantic songs to enchant the viewers which are more irritating than interesting.

We’ve seen romance in various movies but when the lead actors break into a romantic song after every four scenes, it somewhere starts scaring you, making you wonder as to where exactly the story is headed towards. And to add to all the agony, the ending will leave you cringing heavily because you wouldn’t really know what just happened.

Moral: Two good looking actors Alone can’t save the fate of a horror movie with their love story.

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