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After ‘Baahubali 2’, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ pales this week

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-05-2017 Lata Jha

New Delhi: Post the spectacular success of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, it’s a dull week at the movies.

Historical drama Mantostaan, starring Raghuvir Yadav, Sonal Sehgal and Veerendra Saxena and directed by Rahat Kazmi, is a straight-to-web production that has somehow found its way to the theatres, says Kazmi examines the horrors of Partition through Saadat Hasan Manto stories Khol Do, Thanda Gosht, Aakhri Salute and Assignment. The acting is largely amateurish, the scenes are poorly paced and directed, and the production is far too tacky for the big screen. Manto deserves better, as does Partition.

Mantostaan seems like the first draft of a potentially unputdownable book, says The Times Of India. A slightly more experienced filmmaker would have done wonders with it. The switch from one story to the other is not always smooth and the attempt to connect them is at times too obvious. Add to that a cast of mostly inexperienced actors, whose dialogue delivery and acting-school performances often take away from the subtlety of Manto’s work. The pain of the Partition, the urgency of the situation and the sheer fear are lost in translation.

For Hollywood fans, Marvel’s superhero film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, directed by James Gunn and featuring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, comes to India this week. If the first film was about bringing this group together, then convention dictates that the sequel should be about forcing them apart, says Empire magazine. But Gunn is clearly uninterested in what he should do and so this is actually a film about the group realising that, despite their huge differences, they function best as the universe’s most dysfunctional family. Almost everyone here has daddy, mummy or sister issues, with Quill, in particular, finding himself in a weird version of My Two Dads, torn between the dependably swaggering Kurt Russell’s aptly-named Ego and Michael Rooker’s gnarly space pirate, Yondu. But the emotions this engenders are unexpected and genuine. Beneath the film’s sass—and there’s plenty of that again—there’s a real beating heart.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a sequel that fills in story gaps and paints certain plot points/characters from Gunn’s first Guardians movie in a different light, more than it progresses the franchise’s overarching narrative forward, says Screen Rant. Vol. 2 similarly continues to expand the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, putting the pieces into place for more exciting developments to come, without delivering an equally satisfying standalone MCU film, in the process. In these respects, the second Guardians film is a solid-if-standard MCU follow-up more along the lines of Avengers: Age of Ultron, rather than one that sets a new benchmark a la Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Tamil drama Enga Amma Rani, Telugu romantic comedy Babu Baga Busy, Kannada romantic actioner Happy New Year, Malayalam political romantic comedy Comrade in America and Punjabi comedy Arjan.

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