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Patriots Day Comes On Too Strongly

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Patriots Day

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon

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Directed by: Peter Berg

Rating: ** ½ (two a half stars)

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Films about real-life incidents either come across as a watered-down version of reality. Or otherwise they take the opposite route. Patriots Day goes the whole hog. It is a big blown-up version of the incidents that shook Boston On April 15, 2015 when the city was rocked by multiple explosions.

Director Peter Berg designs the film as a high-adrenaline thriller. This is not such a bad thing when we consider that the message of love conquering terrorism could easily be trapped in tripe. Berg pulls the inherent melodrama  out of  its self-imposed cloistered world of schmaltz and drama and creates a watchable if not entirely riveting,blow-by-blow account of the hours after the explosion at the Boston marathon race when the city went on high alert and fought off panic with exemplary bravery and  restrain.

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The narrative follows the thriller ‘disaster’ blueprint. In the preamble we are introduced to various characters, all happy peaceful and in love with life. We know what they don’t. We know what is coming.  The life-changing impact of the explosions is never played down in the storytelling.

Berg allows us to feel the full force of the brutality and moral arrogance that underline all terror attacks.While  the quotient of predictability in the presentation never plays down the impact of the tragedy, some of the situations and characters  are way too sanitized and saddled with an artificial nobility to be anything more than prototypes of crisis and its management.

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Also problematic is Mark Wahlberg as the the Boston cop who battled the crisis in the most heroic way, lending the city of Boston his valiant pride that emblazoned the entire township stymied by  terror.Wahlberg is at best, an adequate hero of the crisis. He could’ve been a lot more. He chooses to be just functional in the ambience of exacerbated anguish. It’s like holding back tears at a mass funeral.The outstanding Kevin Bacon is even more turgid in the FBI’s agent’s role.The rest of the cast make do.

The backroom bickering among the authorities is designed with all the elegance of canines barking over their territorial domination.  There is an unevenness in the quality of humanism that the narrative tries to scatter across the crisis. While some episodes , like the one with the Chinese student’s car-jacking works with gripping efficacy, other post-explosion sequences exploring the politics and the back-room bickering over the politics of terrorism, seems manufactured in its exactness.

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What keeps the heart ticking in this true-life representation of  a terror attack is the sincerity of  purpose, punctuated by the finale when we see all the true-life heroes of Boston , some of them with limbs lost but infinite wisdom gained,telling us that in the final recking, it is love that conquers hatred.

This may be hard to believe, given presentday reality. But it’s an ideal we don’t mind encountering in our movies.Patriots Day does not fill our hearts with a surge of exhilaration. But it does tug at our heartstrings now and then and never allows our attention to stray too far away from the crisis on hand.

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Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

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Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

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Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

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This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

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Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

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Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

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Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

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Undekhi A Dark Compelling  Thriller Set In The Heartland

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Undekhi A Dark Compelling  Thriller Set In The Heartland 4

Undekhi  the  forthcoming webseries  from Applause Entertainment  and Sony LIV which  starts  streaming from July 10,   looks  like  the  kind  of   thriller  that  won’t let  us rest  easy until we see  the last episode. It is mounted  with  a  stress on growing pressure.

One  promo shows  a rotund  cop investigating  a gruesome  murder  in  a dense tribal area.The other promo  shows a politician gunning  down a dancer on stage  in front of  the public and  the  press.

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Wild  West  comes to the North. Undekhi is a thriller set in Manali, Himachal created for Applause by Siddharth Sengupta. It’s a gripping story that sees Harsh Chhaya making an  impressive comeback as a drunk Papaji in a super-rich amoral Punjabi  family. And Surya Sharma (Prince from Hostages) really shines as Rinku ,  the main bad guy and Papaji’s nephew. It’s got a terrific cast of other characters, many of whom we  all  recognize as names .

The talented  Harsh Chhaya  makes a debut of sorts  on the  digital medium  with Undekhi.

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Says Harsh, “I  have never played anything so wild and mad. I am looking forward to Undekhi, hope it works for the audience too.This is a debut in a sense that this is the first one I shot for the OTT  platform.But the other two I shot for after this was  streamed   before this one Out Of Love and  Rangbaaz, Phir Se.

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Pathaan Collects 55 crore nett in India On Day 1

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Pathaan

YRF’s Pathaan has apparently wiped out all previous records as it collected 55 crore nett in India and recorded the biggest ever Day 1 for a Hindi film. The total collections of Pathaan on Day One is 57 crore nett (Hindi – 55 crore and dubbed versions 2 crore).

It is the widest Hindi release of  all  time in India and also the highest grossing 1st Day for a   Hindi film.It is  also the  highest grosser  on the  first first for a  non-holiday release. Pathhan is  also the highest  opener for Shah Rukh Khan.

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Akshaye Widhani, CEO of Yash Raj Films, says, “It is a historic day for Indian cinema and we are humbled to see the love and appreciation that is flowing for Pathaan globally. For Pathaan to shatter records in this fashion on a non holiday, just proves that the theatrical business is here to stay, provided we make films that entice people to come to the cinemas to witness a never seen before experience that entertains them thoroughly.“

He adds, “We, at YRF, are thrilled with the start that the film has got across India and we are hopeful that Pathaan brings joy to cine-goers globally in the days to come! Pathaan is the fourth film of our YRF Spy Universe and we are thrilled that we have been able to elevate the cinematic experience of audiences with each film from this franchise. We humbly share this moment with all the stake-holders of the film who have given their blood, sweat and tears to give people a movie-going experience like never before.”

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