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‘Munna Michael’, ‘Lipstick Under my Burkha’, ‘Dunkirk’ part of busy movie week

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-07-2017 Lata Jha

New Delhi: In what may be one of the busiest weeks at the movies in recent times, a host of new film releases vie for attention.

Director Sabir Khan’s dance film Munna Michael, starring Tiger Shroff, their third outing together, continues providing formula for the intellectually challenged, says The Times Of India. But Shroff fans will have a field day with his break-dancing. New addition Nawazuddin Siddiqui continues to be a revelation in each film. Here he adds a new dimension to his terribly mean, horribly funny routine, making you chuckle. If you’re in the mood to get rid of the monsoon blues with the foot-tapping ding dang, ding dang ditty, you should get introduced to Munna Michael; he’s not breaking any new ground, but his moves are certainly infectious.

What makes director Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, starring Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak, Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur, the film it is, is the upfront, frank manner in which female desire and fantasy are treated, running like a strong, vital thread through the film, says The Indian Express. A song in the film goes: where do you go to my lovely, when you’re alone in your head? Lipstick Under My Burkha takes us into that space, and lets its characters out, to start walking down forbidden paths, finding support in sisterhood, and in the recognition that we all have shades of the characters in us. It is a film to be celebrated.

Shrivastava does something uncommon in her film—she finds compelling stories where you thought none would exist; in the prosaic lives of four ordinary women in Bhopal, rather in the secret lives they lead as a reaction against the everyday repressions, says The Hindu. The background narration of erotic pulp fiction is the thread that knits all these stories together and lends a definite pattern to the seeming randomness of the putting together of the scenes. On top of it, it also lends a delightful, whimsical, humourous touch to what could have otherwise been a grave and sombre matter. Lipstick remains breezy in its audacity. It is unapologetic in giving platform to something largely brushed under the carpet—women’s sexuality—without making a big deal about it.

The Black Prince, directed by Kavi Raz and starring Satinder Sartaj, Amanda Root and Jason Flemyng, is a dreary period drama, says The Los Angeles Times. There may be a gripping story to tell about Maharajah Duleep Singh, a.k.a. the last King of Punjab, but Raz’s turgid costume drama quashes all hope of that. The historical saga can feel cursory, at times unconvincingly rendered given how many events and far-flung locales this overly ambitious film strains to cover on a seemingly limited budget.

For Hollywood fans, Christopher Nolan’s war film Dunkirk, starring Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney and Jack Lowden, comes to India this week. The best war movies of the last 20 years, including Saving Private Ryan and Hacksaw Ridge, have also placed viewers in the centre of the Second World War, says the BBC. Nolan has not reinvented that immersive approach, but he comes close to perfecting it. With relatively little dialogue, and characters who are not given histories, Nolan lets the action carry the story and build suspense. Hans Zimmer’s perfectly-modulated score is an understated mix of music and sound effects. It knits the movie together and contributes to the tension without manipulating emotions the way clichéd, soaring melodies do in old-fashioned war movies.

Dunkirk makes a case for the theatrical experience in an era when those still championing the multiplex must yell that much louder, says Forbes. It is a powerful meditation on mere survival in a war zone as a triumph, and about how we act during a time of seeming defeat providing the key to eventual victory. The picture ends on a note of measured optimism, acutely aware of both the past (it wasn’t always certain that the Allies would win the war) and the present (our current political madness). This is just remarkable, superbly-crafted major studio multiplex entertainment, and it damn well deserves to be seen on a big screen.

Marathi film Manjha, starring Ashwini Bhave and Sumedh Mudgalkar and directed by Jatin Wagle, is a solid entry as far as psychological thrillers go, says Pune Mirror. Though we have seen elements of this genre in many films, rarely do we get a dose as concentrated as this. Sadly, Manjha peters out in the final 15 minutes reducing the impact by several notches, but it’s impressive up until this point. An edgy thriller set in the real world, the film has the capacity to have every parent worried about the things they do not know about their children.

Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Tamil neo noir action crime thriller Vikram Vedha, Telugu romantic dramas Vaishakham and Fidaa, Kannada suspense thriller Operation Alamelamma, Malayalam sports drama Team 5, Marathi drama Bus Stop, Punjabi film Thug Life and Bengali drama thriller Meghnad Badh Rahasya.

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