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‘Baadshaho’, ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ among few Bollywood offerings this week

LiveMint logoLiveMint 01-09-2017 Lata Jha

New Delhi: A cluttered week gives way to a relatively relaxed Friday as a bunch of new releases vie for attention in theatres this time.

Political thriller Baadshaho, starring Ajay Devgn, Ileana D’Cruz and Emraan Hashmi and directed by Milan Luthria, is adequately thrilling but allows supernatural heroics to take over a promising plot, says Khaleej Times. Stronger writing with less repetitive lines, firmer editing, and a more realistic approach to the central narrative without the predictable invincibility of the protagonists could have made Baadshaho a more compelling film. For now, it is strictly time-pass.

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar and directed by R.S. Prasanna, is a comedic tale on love and lust caught in a zone of grave uncertainty that never flirts with prurience, says NDTV Movies. Prasanna skirts around the potential pitfalls of erectile dysfunction with the help of loads of maturity and a consistently light touch. Breezy enough at its core not to be bogged down by the weight of its daring and untested pivotal plot point, the film, though not flawless, is never less than entertaining.

The Indian Express is less impressed though. When the lines fit right into the situation, we laugh out loud. But this comedy of middle-class-Dilli-manners-and-mores suffers from a sit-com flatness, it says. And when everything is meant to make us laugh, you can quite easily deflect attention from the main premise. A lecture on female empowerment is stuffed in, too.

For Hollywood fans, American abduction thriller Kidnap, directed by Luis Prieto and starring Halle Berry, Lew Temple, Sage Correa and Chris McGinn, comes to India this week. Variety magazine calls it a tight, effective 100-yard-dash of a thriller that’s as single-minded as the title makes it sound. Without an ounce of fat on its 81-minute running time, we never learn enough about the character to guess why custody might be in danger, but Berry fills in the blanks: She’s convincingly tough, yet humanly vulnerable—an everyday hero pushed to super extremes, powered by a formidable combination of adrenaline and maternal instinct.

Prieto doesn’t waste time trying to build an arc to Berry’s desperation, says The New York Times. Her adrenaline kicks in the moment she sees her son being shoved into the back seat of an unfamiliar Mustang, and it doesn’t dip until the credits roll. The greatest strength of Kidnap is that it casts the maternal instinct as a primordial will to enact violence, to drag a man from a moving van, to beat a kidnapper with a shovel. We see Berry find her best weapons in blunt objects, and to its credit, Kidnap is a blunt movie.

In the south, Malayalam comedy Velipadinte Pusthakam, starring Mohanlal and directed by Lal Jose, is slow, lazy and quite unimpressive by Jose’s standards, says FilmiBeat. Though some comic sequences may work with the masses, overall the script has nothing new to offer.

Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Tamil action film Oru Kanavu Pola, Tamil psychological thriller Puriyatha Puthir, Malayalam romantic thriller Adam Joan, Malayalam comedy Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, Malayalam comedy drama Pullikkaran Staraa, Kannada film Happy Journey, Marathi drama Bandookya, Punjabi film Jora 10 Numbaria, Bengali dramas Bilu Rakkhosh and Chilekotha, and Gujarati comedy Colorbaaj.

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