Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya

ASSA

 

This movie impressed me with its “first look” poster. I wanted to watch the movie when I saw the teaser. I couldn’t watch the movie while it was in the theatres and caught up with the moment it released on “Amazon Prime”

I ended up liking it so much that I saw it thrice in a span of 10 days. Naveen Polisetty was fabulous in the movie and it isn’t surprising that he helped in the writing department. Maybe the conviction in the writing touched upon the acting as well.

Not everything about the movie is good. The theme, the flow, the actors and the acting was good. Starting and the ending seem pretty rushed. It’s almost as if the director wants to take you to the protagonist being a detective. Till we get to the actual plot, one feels that the director has played all his cards. Once into the actual plot, director and the able protagonist shine.

In the initial few minutes, the comic writing shines through. It’s as if the movie wants to be a new generation Chantabbai. There is a hat-tip to Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock as well. The way the detective instructs his apprentice is a treat to watch. One scene where he differentiates himself from an LIC agent is rip-roaring.

Once they get to the plot, they don’t deviate from there. And we don’t feel a need for any relief. So engrossed are we that we don’t notice the absence of a romantic track, comedy thread or needless eulogising of the hero.

There is no “twist-a-minute” or a parallel track to lead us off on. There are three reveals in the movie. Revelation of who does it, revelation of why they do it and revealing who gets it done. While there are small hints the movie gives us, we fail to catch on it as it does not dwell on it.

This is a movie where every character was important to the movie, in one way or another. Heck, the location – Nellore – was also chosen with care. The native dialect was spoken by the protagonist and it seemed he did it well. This is a good thing as we can’t have protagonist being a native of Kakinada and speaking in Telangana dialect and vice-versa. Shooting in locations real-time gave the movie its charm. And so did the references to local dishes and places.

On the whole, Naveen Polisetty dominates the frame and he has able support from the other actors. It’s not a joke to pull the movie through without an established name in the cast. That, by itself, tells us how much the movie had us engrossed in the tale rather than the stars.

Verdict: It’s difficult to imagine an existing hero to pull this script off and at the same time it’s too demanding of a new actor to portray the role. Naveen does a fantabulous job

Image courtesy: 123telugu.com

Byomkesh Bakshi TV Series. Episodes 17-19

Episode 17: Necklace
Time Period: 1957
Plot of the case: A jeweller is stricken by arthritis and wants to deliver an order to New Delhi. He wants his son to take care of it as the value of the jewels is high. The next day they find that the package is missing. Since there are not more than three characters on whom the needle of suspicion hovers on, the case is tightly bound.

Episode 18: Amrit ki Maut
Time Period: 1958
Plot of the case: After a long time we get to see a mysterious case. A kid’s body is found with a bullet ensconced. There is an urban legend about a black horse and when another person is killed, all hell breaks loose. While the unravelling seems pedestrian, the suspense maintained till that point is thrilling. One of the better episodes in the second season till this point.

Episode 19: Pahari Rahasya
Time Period: 1958
Plot of the case : This episode takes place in Mahabaleshwar where Byomkesh Bakshi comes to a resort to investigate a murder. This episode is better than Amrit ki Maut and picks up slowly. There is deceit, sleight of hand and intelligent murderer.

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Jersey Movie Review

 

posters-jersey8

Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Ajay Jadeja, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sanjay Manjrekar …

Shantanu Sugwekar, Amol Muzumdar, Vanka Pratap, Jitendar Singh, Sanjay Raul …

The first set of names are of the people in the 1996 World Cup squad for India.

The second set of names are of the people who played well in the 1996/97 Ranji Trophy. Some of them, like Shantanu Sugwekar and Amol Muzumdar, didn’t even get a chance to represent India. Jersey talks about cricketers belonging to the second set of names.

***

The movie opens in 2019 when a book written by an author named Ramya is making waves in New York. It is the top-seller. It’s named ‘Jersey’. The movie then jumps back to 1986 when we are introduced to Arjun, the cricketer on whom the book is based on, is shown as a talented cricketer. Then the movie jumps to 1996 where Arjun is sleeping with his family in the living room, under a leaking roof. He faces lot of the problems that the middle class faced in those days – unpaid rent, growing debts and no income.

There is nothing horrid that happened in the 10 years. It’s not the story of those 10 years. He gives up cricket because he is not selected to the national team even though his name was in the papers the day before. He takes up a job in FCI and as luck has it, he gets suspended. He is dependent on his wife for money and he gets used to the domestic life by watching cricket all day and indulging his 7-year old son.

***

Arjun’s life changes when his son wants an Indian Jersey as a gift on his birthday. He moves from pillar to post to get the 500 rupees required for buying the “Jersey”. He even resorts to wanting to steal the money from his wife’s purse and gets caught in the bargain. The next few minutes after that are an indicator to the brilliance in Nani. He doesn’t talk when caught by his wife and reprimanded in front of people and his son. Shraddha Srinath excels in that scene where she brings forth her insecurities, fears and helplessness at their state. A little later, father and son have a moment with each other. It’s a challenge for you to stay unmoved after that scene. Even the stone-hearted people would shed a tear or two.

Some of the best scenes in the movie revolve around the father-son relationship. The change in Arjun in the ten years is his internalisation. Internalisation of grief, happiness, joy and helplessness. But, there is no internalisation when it comes to his son. He enjoys every moment with him, because in the entire world that surrounds him, his son is the only one that doesn’t judge him.

In a quest for the only thing that his son has ever asked him, the Jersey, Arjun falls back on the only thing he knows – cricket. While he wants to play cricket, people want him to coach. He does convince them of his abilities and finds his way to the final fifteen of the Hyderabad Ranji team. The celebration of Nani when he finds out that he has made it is special and it shows.

After that, it’s cricket matches, a stellar season and the climax.

***

Gowtam Tinnanuri, as a director, is at the top of his game in this movie. He makes everyone who watches it relate to the story in one way or another. Though you can predict the next scene, you can’t predict how brilliantly the actors performed. The actor’s performances give you a special high. None more so than Nani’s. When the movie’s title was announced, I wondered why would anyone want to name his movie, Jersey. After seeing the movie, one feels, there is no other title that could’ve been apt. His pain staking research is evident and there is one small glitch that might have been overlooked – Nike branded bats in 1996 didn’t exist. He teases us with scenes where we expect he would glorify the protagonist, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t fall for the temptation

It would be an injustice to say that this is Nani’s best. In my eyes, he is one of the best performers in the Telugu Film industry, if not the best. With every movie of his, he sets the bar higher. He has come a long way from being a director’s actor to being a director’s dream. He excels throughout the movie. There are a few scenes that stand as indicators to his greatness as a performer – the scene where he is drinking Badam milk while discussing luck with his friend, the entire birthday scene, the scene with Shraddha Srinath where he tells her that for the first time in ten years, he is getting angry with her. Check for his dialogue modulation there. What about the scene where he literally begs his wife for one final chance? And the scene preceding that ? His acting and the believability of his character is such that your eyes well up with tears regardless of his presence in the scene.

Shraddha Srinath doesn’t have as much to do as Nani and the actor who played his son. The undertone of her relationship with her husband is brilliantly conveyed in her own words to a colleague, “We are not like other couples. We fight, but we don’t shout on each other.” Look for her reactions when she catches Nani stealing from her purse.

The kid who played their son is another actor who does well. The father-son relationship plays out so bloody well. Nani and this kid, in different scenes, show us that we don’t need faces to emote. Words would’ve a similar effect. Look for the scene where he tells his father that he doesn’t need the Jersey anymore. That’s the scene where Nani also excels and tells him that the fight between his parents is not because of him.

Satyaraj, Pradeep and others perform well in the roles given to them.

Verdict: Watch the movie and watch it again.

Image courtesy : idlebrain.com

Byomkesh Bakshi TV Series. Episodes 14-16

Episode 14 A,B: Aadim Shatru

Time Period: 1955

Plot of the case: A rich publisher is found to be murdered on the night of Diwali. He adopts a son before the death and the question of property arises here. He has two vagrant nephews and a drunkard friend. Byomkesh goes about solving the case in a logical manner. There is a arms dealer involved in the story as well.

This is the beginning of the second season of the series. There is only the time period mentioned in the cases. Places are not mentioned like they were in the first series.

Episode 15: Aag aur Patanga

Time Period: 1956

Plot of the case: A bit of adultery makes it appearance in this episode. A rich man is found dead the day after throwing a lavish party. It’s found that his second wife is pregnant as well. The suspicion points towards a lot of people. Byomkesh needs to go to a place to find the antecedents of a few people.

It’s very difficult to judge the motive and the suspect in this case. The episode plays out well and the final reveal comes out as a shock for us.

Episode 16: Vansh ka Khoon

Time Period: 1956

Plot of the case: A man comes to Byomkesh with an offer to investigate his death after he is murdered. He also knows who might murder him but wants Byomkesh to reveal it. He is found to be murdered at the doorstep of his house. For a man with money and philandering ways, he might have a lot of enemies. There is a lot of digging that Byomkesh does but to no avail.

Finally, Byomkesh finds out the reason, motive and the murderer with the help of the birthdate of the murderer

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