The House Next Door movie review: Subtly spooky, serves the punch effectually | Bollywood Bubble

The House Next Door movie review: Subtly spooky, serves the punch effectually

The House Next Door U. Milind Rau
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The House Next Door movie review: Subtly spooky, serves the punch effectually

The House Next Door review

Directed By: U. Milind Rau
Produced By: Siddharth
Cast: Siddharth, Andrea Jeremiah
Duration: 2 hour 20 minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 3.5/5

The year was 1934. Amid the picturesque scenic landscapes of North India, lived a Chinese family. Small, and unhappy. One morning as the sun spread glee all across, the mother was found dead, and her daughter, slaughtered. No one knew how death crept in. Through years, the mystery surfaced in secrecy…

Cut to 2016. Krish (Siddharth) and Lakshmi (Andrea Jeremiah), a young married couple, one day find a new family moving into the house next to theirs. The neighbouring affection unfolds, along with Jenny (Anisha Angelina Victor), the teenager member of the new family, quite crushing over a charming Krish. But the happiness lasts only till Jenny starts having frequent unexplained encounters with… umm… spirits?

Then, one night, she jumps into a wail, unable to resist a calling that comes from whom, who knows? So does Krish, to save her.  This leaves everyone in the family, especially her father Paul (Atul Kulkarni) perplexed. Jenny is saved, but we know the mystery has begun. Who is it that wants them to leave the house and why?

The whispers that can’t be decoded. The piano that plays on its own. The unknown who bangs on Jenny’s washroom’s door at wee hours of night. The quick shadows that pass by, throwing a chill down your spines. The eyes that follow your back, and the glares that you can feel. ‘The House Next Door’ is absolutely effective on your nerves.

The entire phase of addressing the mystery is equally powerful. Meanwhile, Lakshmi is pregnant and seeing her being chased by two spirits at once is a nail-biting feeling. Director Milind Rau has carried out sub-plots effectively, and sub-characters too.

Sitting through the film, we figured out what made this one stand out from run-of-the-mill Bollywood horror flicks. Gross half-melted corpse with one eye open. Uncheck. Hihihihahahaha… that sounds straight from my childhood favourite ‘Bumroh’ mobile phone. Uncheck. Live Akaashvani by the Ghost. Uncheck. In fact, forced horror. Uncheck.

On the contrary, well-filmed shots and well-knitted sequences make real impact here. Siddharth and Andrea certainly are good, albeit Anisha as the possessed girl steals the show. But! I also vouch the climax is something you didn’t see coming. Unforeseen, and powerful.

We also have to give a shout-out to the production designers for creating a completely and convincingly spooky environment here. We can do fine without a haveli and a Ramu Chacha, you see?

A slightly stretched second half might have a few takers. And oh, wait, did we also get hints of an open end?

‘The House Next Door’ could be a decent watch this weekend. Don’t say you’ve a weak heart. Why else do boyfriends exist?

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Aiyaary movie review: The men in army fail to shine through the muddled up plot

Directed By: Neeraj Pandey
Produced By: Shital Bhatia, Dhaval Gada, Jayantilal Gada, Karan Shah
Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Manoj Bajpayee, Rakul Preet Singh, Pooja Chopra
Duration: 2 Hours 40 Minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 2/5

After delivering taut thrillers like ‘A Wednesday’ and ‘Special 26’, hopes are high from his new outing ‘Aiyaary’, but does it manage to convey it’s message efficiently? Let’s unravel in the movie review…

‘Aiyaary’ (which means ultimate trickery), is about a young army officer named Captain Jay Bakshi (Sidharth Malhotra) who goes rogue with a hefty purpose to expose the dirty secrets of the military forces. His mentor Col. Abhay Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) is an incorruptible army man who heads a covert cell and guns down traitors. Ever since Major Jay Bakshi absconds, Col. Singh has only one mission, to hunt him down. Here begins a cat and mouse Chase although with loads of unwarranted confusion.

While Col. Singh believes himself to be the smarter one, Major Bakshi outsmarts him and he isn’t Alone, a nifty hacker in the form of Sonia helps him. Bakshi wants to expose the deadly misgivings of a retired army man played by Kumud Mishra who has grown corrupt and earns help from a businessman played by Adil Hussain. Does he succeed or does Bakshi manage to expose him? Does Singh manage to catch hold of his protégé gone rogue? Too many questions that could have been dealt with methodically, but everything goes down the drain with poor execution and unnecessarily over explained and stretched portions. The entire plot gets lost and confused with too many sequences jumbled up together which right till the end remain a mystery.

Manoj Bajpayee is the only standout in this muddled up, almost three hours long thriller. Sidharth Malhotra is decent while Rakul Preet Singh is fairly okay. Pooja Chopra is barely seen whereas all senior bunch of actors like Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Kumud Mishra and Adil Hussain are utterly wasted with no clear character sketches drawn. Naseeruddin Shah’s dialogue delivery seems like a hangover from ‘A Wednesday’ whereas Anupam Kher is totally wasted. The only character that makes sense is Colonel Abhay Singh and Bajpayee rightfully delivers.

Overall, ‘Aiyaary’ is a complex and too stretched thriller with no clear direction of the happenings. Clearly avoidable.

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PadMan movie review: Story of an ordinary man who spun wonder out of life's straw

Directed By: R Balki
Produced By: Mrs Funnybones Movies, KriArj Entertainment, Cape of Good Films, Hope Productions, SPE Films India
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte
Duration: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

Bollywood Bubble Rating: 3/5

If you believe you can, you are halfway there. Parents use this therapy to their children who are sinking in schools and colleges. Just, they don’t tell you there would be teenage crushes, diet fads, breakups, insufficient pocket money and unbearable math classes. Was that too weird to begin my ‘PadMan’ review with?

Even before I begin analysing ‘PadMan’ as a film, I think films like these should be lauded just because they’re being made. That actors and filmmakers are using cinema as a tool to strike conversations, tickle thoughts and raise debates, itself is a relief; especially in a country of over 100 crores with numerous problems, most of them neither spoken nor understood.

The film is based on a Tamil Nadu based social activist who invented a low-cost sanitary napkin producing machine. Lakshmikant Chauhan, a man from an MP village, learns of rural women’s plight during menstruation after he is married to Gayatri (Radhika Apte)… Or, why am I even using ‘rural’ when the taboos are equally prevalent in urban spheres as well? Determined to bring more hygiene to how the women at his home handle periods but aware that they can’t afford to buy the sanitary napkins available in stores, he begins attempts of making them himself.

For every innovative idea, you’ve to pay a price. For Lakshmikant, it’s on the heavier side. In the course of communicating to women and understanding the problems better, he earns the tag of ‘loose character’. His two sisters and wife leave him. Devastated with the constant emotional ups and downs, he leaves his village; however, with the determination of succeeding at his attempts one day.

Rest shapes a man’s bumpy journey towards fulfilment. Not without hiccups, though.

Through the first half, we’re taken to visit how the revolutionist has to walk on thorns if he decides to mould the society’s behaviour. This portion, although necessary and paves way to the latter part, is dragged and feels longer than what it is.

In the latter part, as Lakshmikant nears his goal, enters Pari (Sonam Kapoor), a beautiful, intelligent and compassionate woman who becomes an indispensable of Lakshmikant’s journey. How a fresh MBA and a deserving candidate of a fat-paying corporate job leaves many prospects and sets off on a mission to help village women and spread health awareness on menstruation, is empowering, to say the least. BUT! Why would Bollywood necessarily instill romantic equations whenever we have a woman and a man playing equally crucial parts in the story’s development? That part feels not only forced, but also cliched.

Other than that, ‘PadMan’ is purely a testimony of a man’s journey from nothing to contentment; solely banking upon on his own desires of bringing about positive changes and helping them sustain. If you ignore a few exaggerations (and I fear I don’t have takers for saying this), it is an inspiring film and could create positive impacts. Decently shot by P.C. Sreeram and rightly complemented with soundtracks composed by Amit Trivedi, it features noticeable performances from both Radhika Apte and Akshay Kumar; and not to forget, a fluent Sonam Kapoor in a short yet pivotal role.

Watch ‘PadMan’ to encourage more films that talk about REAL problems; more real than fairytale love stories. 🙂 Even the real love stories are tested with bad times, remember? Like that of Lakshmikant and Gayatri.

Author’s Note: My first ever day as a menstruating girl? ‘Congratulations’ from mom, and a huge bowl of Mishti Doi after dinner. 🙂

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