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bonfire near body of water during night time

By Himanshu

As we draw to a close tomorrow, i.e the 15th of August marks a historic 75th year since we gained our freedom and birthright of Independence. Here are a list of my favorite movies that deal with human tenacity, love and patriotism. Keep the flame of brotherhood alive within you at all times. Movies that I’ve seen are mentioned below.

A taut recounting of the brutal attacks: Hotel Mumbai, a review

I'm not usually one for movies that showcase dramatized versions of real events, but boy howdy did this movie change my mind. I'm sure you all are quite aware of the dastardly and heinous attacks that took place in November of 2008. That fateful few days had with it a pall of gloom and utter darkness on everyone's heads. For the first time in probably a very long time, we Indians stood by in solidarity and unity. Mumbai was set ablaze but ultimately only the strength of the humans spirit triumphed. This movie captures the horrors of the terror attacks that took place in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel specifically and how. It has it all. There are subtle undertones of suspense coupled with the palpable tension, owing to the plot and the sensitive subject matter, there is joy, there is heart and most importantly the showcasing of the collective sadness and broken souls who didn't just stand by and do nothing, they fought despite having all the odds stacked against them. The dialogue or the phrase from the movie -" Guest is god (Athithi Devo Bhava) is by far my favorite dialogue from the movie.

Intelligence agencies warn of terror attacks similar to 26/11

One noteworthy advantage was its stellar star-studded cast who has all given sterling, inspired and moving performances in their respective roles. From an impoverished hotel clerk named Arjun played by British-Indian powerhouse Dev Patel to Bollywood's gem Anupam Kher as the head chef Oberoi to even the tall Armie Hammer as a foreign tourist named David and even our very own nefarious Harry Potter baddie Lucius Malfoy aka Jason Isaacs as an irate Russian. They have absolutely nailed it.

The near perfect movie however, has a few flaws. The character foibles are scattered throughout the movie. That part or that slice of life aspect wherein a few of the major characters lacked depth could have been improved. So the film is based on real life events wherein the city of Mumbai was untimely and very unexpectedly a target for attack at its 12 major hot-spots, the most prime of them being the Taj Hotel ,owing to its luxuriousness and opulence. 10 brainwashed terrorists who are barely out of their teens orchestrate a series of mind-numbingly violent and viscerally terrifying attacks of damage to public property and manslaughter seldom seen in any event in history. This prompted me to write a review as it was something that needed to be told, the pain to be exchanged, the sorrow of all those stranded people fighting for their lives to be shared.

Anthony Maras, an Australian-Greek director has really enlivened all our inner human emotions to come to the fore with this one. The carefully planned genocide within the hotel has also been accurately captured without bringing in any unnecessary, useless romantic angles. Its masterful directing and a superbly crafted story-line which is in its essence very simple yet so heartbreaking. It really puts into perspective the demons residing within every human and also angels like the underdog of the whole movie-Arjun.

Very gripping from the get-go, the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks led to a growing abhorrence and loggerheads between India and Pak relations. By the conclusion of the movie, tears were all that I could let out. But also a sense of calm and joy for the sheer fortitude and resilience of the people who did whatever it took to survive, by hook or by crook was something worth capturing on celluloid. Kudos the director for churning out a masterpiece of a movie. It is a lot of things; it will keep you on the edge of your seat, leave you in splits at a few key comic moments, leave you gob smacked by the bloodshed and gore but also make you ponder on the fragility and the inherent vulnerability in human nature. If nothing, it acts as a motivational work of art that will leave you squeamish and morbidly disturbed by what occurred, but at the end of the day that is the very brilliance of Maras and his work. The terrorists played by practically a bunch of non-existent nobodies really make you hate and despise them which are just a mark of their excellent acting. Full props to them and also to the whole cast and crew for doing ample justice to a very gloomy event that practically stripped away all our faith in humanity. It makes you think and act. Sheer grace by Maras.


Ever since I dusted off my newfound blog which was lying in a corner dormant, I decided to write just about anything that caught my fancy. So gritty political issues and lengthy contemporary issues aside, here goes my movie review of Lakshya. I give you ladies and gentlemen Farhan Akhtar.

A multi-talented singer, actor and a director par excellence is all of just 47 years and has displayed brilliance in all his works and especially with this gut wrenching flick. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see Hrithik Roshan on the big screen wielding guns and in a slick, army uniform. It chronicles a really important message actually and that is:" Life is short, so make the best of it. You are the architect of your dreams, is what I feel and nothing is going to stop you from achieving it. Hrithik Roshan quite convincingly pulls off a never-do gooder slacker who is completely blasé about his life and has no clue what to do despite being in his 20's. We get to see the contrast in that his girlfriend is a firebrand journalist and a career-oriented person and that aspect is impressed upon throughout the movie. Boman Irani as the successful yet grounded father tries to impart the value of education but all it does is fall on deaf ears. There are ample hilarious sequences throughout the movie but that is not the takeaway. The casting choice could not be more perfect and thus makes this already benevolent film a must watch. Representation of oneself at the LOC and in the battlefield was something that became mainstream only after Lakshya, Border and various other Hindi movies that depict the heinousness that war offers, albeit in a gritty and realistic manner. Another asset to the riveting story line is the addition of The Quintessential Angry Young Man of the Hindi film industry as the vociferous Sergeant. Lakshya, in my not-so-humble opinion is a groundbreaking and the shift in his personality from a lazy good-for-nothing next door boy to a go getter is something that opened my eyes to the bombs that life drops on us and we gracefully accept because its life, plain and simple.

When he finds himself in a whirlwind to prove himself, he indeed does so by not just tempting fate but also the foes (the terrorists) that his regiment is pitted against. What follows is a cascading series of emotions that just break through like a dam overflowing with water. Perhaps all his character needed was a little impetus or a push to propel him to find some meaning in life. Inspiring and taut from the get-go, this movie proves that you don't really require the male protagonist running around trees and trying to woo his lady love in a very clichéd manner, but just an essence of a good story is enough to shake even the hardest of hearts. This flick will always remain a personal favorite of mine, although the cake goes to Hrithik's splendid acting, Farhan's direction is a marvel too. Kudos for this landmark movie, Farhan. Although the pace of the movie meanders like a river, nothing can stop the edge of the seat momentum that it makes up for in the second half.


Uri-invoke the josh in you:a movie review

Simply put, this flick is flawless. Be it capturing the trauma and bloodbath that occurred in Uri, an army cantonment base ensconced in Kashmir where a terror strike was done on the hapless Indians within that very camp. Turns out, a group of Pak militants scurried inside the army base, only to kill off a couple of our Indian brave hearts. Luckily, the martyrs that day were honored. Major Vihaan Shergill (Vicky Kaushal) aims to give the Pak militants a taste of their own medicine. He brings together a team of tenacious and resolute individuals willing to lay their lives down for their motherland and launches a preemptive attack on the rest of the Pak terrorists. This movie stood as an indictment of what the deaths of countless Indian army Jawans face daily on the LOC (Line of control). Truly heartbreaking. Not for the faint of heart, it is raw, gritty and bloodcurdling.

The direction is deft and on-point. The characters woven out are central to the plot of the story. Countless moments lead to surprise and awe. Vicky Kaushal aces it as an officer worthy of commanding a troop of thousands. He really has gotten to the skin of the character. His hawk-eye precision with his tools of the trade (grenades and weaponry), his very musculature alone that befits the role of an Army officer or also the mere mention that he emerges as a topper in the military academy makes your chest swell with pride. A very accurate war film that doesn't stray away from the very intangible aspect of human lives and human emotions is laudable.

Amazing clinchers are interspersed throughout the duration of the film that will leave the viewers wanting for more. Elements of humor to take away from the ominous tone were a noteworthy move by the director. Vicky's acting needs no introduction whatsoever. He impresses throughout with his never seen before avatar of a heavily bearded, fierce and agile Indian Army officer. With lilting background scores and lush picturesque locales, this is all just icing on top of a wonderfully baked cake.

Laden with great moments of action and redemption against an army that has wronged the Indian landscape for eons and eons, this blockbuster garnered huge critical acclaim for its inspiring yet powerful performances, superb dialogue delivery, and marvelous nuances of Army life that is portrayed.

Highly recommended. Do give this a watch and prepare to be star struck. Apt, divine and serendipitous- the journey of a Surgical Strike is something that needs to transcend the mentality of jingoistic fervor.

This movie surely did create history. How's the josh?


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