NEW DELHI: A day after the Lok Sabha election results, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s delayed biopic hits theatres this week.
PM Narendra Modi directed by Omung Kumar starring Vivek Oberoi inhabits muddled, post-truth territory as a biopic, says The Indian Express. As a hagiography though, genuflecting at the altar of the man, it’s perfect. It’s uncritical, unquestioning, high on rhetoric. Hardly a frame passes by without the leading man dominating the screen, which pretty much reflects what’s happened in real life in the past five years. The film offers no debatable points, no what-ifs, no grey areas.
Instead of a warts-and-all account of India’s most powerful leader, what we get is an unapologetic fanboy tribute to Modi, says Gulf News. The film is a celebration of all things Modi.
Competing with it is action thriller India’s Most Wanted directed by Raj Kumar Gupta starring Arjun Kapoor which is overheated and undercooked, says Scroll. The 127-minute film is padded with songs in the background and montages of characters looking worried. The best bits are right at the end, when India’s Most Wanted sheds its ripped-from-the-headlines pretensions and settles for the grandstanding that is possible only in fiction. The manhunts ends as per schedule, not quite as tidy as imagined, and its heroics not as ordinary as they needed to have been.
The Times Of India is more impressed, calling it an earnest ode to the unsung heroes of our country — a story that deserves to be heard. It’s commendable how Gupta doesn’t fall for the staples — needless songs, glamorous female characters and jingoism. Kapoor is sincere but unable to engage you fully with the trials and tribulations of his character. He does little to uplift the film that solely works for its story. The crime drama holds your attention despite the odds, given the gravity of the events it chronicles.
For the Hollywood fans, American musical fantasy Aladdin directed by Guy Ritchie starring Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott and Marwan Kenzari comes to India this week. The Guardian says the adaptation is lively, colourful and genuinely funny – making only judicious tweaks to the original, it’s thankfully not a whole new world. Ritchie’s adaptation wisely does little except add human flesh to the bare bones of what was always one of Disney’s strongest stories. It still holds up as a tale whose central couple’s deceptions and entrapments and self-discoveries have a pleasing symmetry to them, and whose “it’s what’s inside that counts” morals are in the right place. That’s really all anyone wanted out of a new Aladdin: not a whole new world, just a slightly updated old one.
A movie like the new Aladdin isn’t shot — it’s generated, says Vulture. It’s set inside a matrix where the real and digital worlds are indistinguishable, and where actors (apart from the one marquee name, Will Smith) seem chosen for their resemblance to animated characters. In the old days, when stars — or their stunt doubles — danced along parapets and leaped over precipices, you’d admire their agility; here, you admire the seamless interweaving of real and fake.
Marathi drama Bola Alakh Niranjan starring Amol Kolhe and Siya Patil directed by Ghanshyam Vishnupant Yede can be given a miss unless you are a believer of mythological tales, says The Times Of India. It is good to see Kolhe moving away from playing historical characters. Watching him as an urbane engineer is a welcome change. Patil is sincere but the director who also plays a role, needs to up his acting game.
Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Telugu films Evadu Thakkuva Kaadu, Nagakanya and Lisaa, Kannada movies D/O Parvathamma and Weekend, Malayalam films The Gambler and Oronnonnara Pranayakadha, Marathi dramas Tandav and Judgment, Punjabi drama Chandigarh Amritsar Chandigarh and Bengali drama Durgeshgorer Guptodhon.