John Abraham

Madras Cafe Review

Director Shoojit Sircar’s latest – Madras Cafe, sees him teaming up again with actor/producer John Abraham after the successful Vicky Donor to bring a different story to life. This time, John takes matters in his own hands, as he takes centre-stage as the big and brawny Indian Army Officer Vikram Singh, who is dropped in the middle of a country in civil war. Set mostly in India and Sri Lanka, Madras Cafe depicts the tale of 25+ years of the Sri Lankan Civil War, which eventually resulted in the assassination of one of India’s ex-Prime Minister.

The events in the story demand the plot to be taken seriously, and Madras Cafe wants to be a lot of things. From a political espionage thriller, to a war drama, to even a conspiracy theory about the dealers of war, Madras Cafe does not shy away from the grim side of politics and war. It does not necessarily take any sides, or show a blatant support to anyone. The one opinion it projects however, is how humanity is completely destroyed when the wrath of war strikes.

With cinematographer Kamaljeet Negi’s lens sweeping the tropical landscapes of Sri Lanka and the Southern coast of India, Sircar expertly captures the ugliness of how a nation gets torn into pieces when its people go to war. Enter our hero Vikram, who is on a mission to “conspire” peace by dealing with the ones who are the centre of it. Turns out, things are more convoluted than it seems, and caught in the action are not only the neighbouring countries, but a hell lot more. With so many dramatic elements playing, Madras Cafe does get a bit confusing at times.

And yet, it somehow feels a bit inadequate in its storytelling.  The scenes where RAW officers are in a cabinet meeting, making the calls on what would happen on the field is reminiscent to many political thrillers. And yet, it lacks that extra oomph that would grip us. It often feels like the dialogues by Juhi Chaturvedi were instead written by an intern who was provided with an outline of the scene, and just wrote the first thing that came into their heads. It is blatantly obvious at times, sometimes obvious enough to make you cringe.

It is unfortunate to see a brilliant supporting cast such as Siddharth Basu, Piyush Pandey, and the Bongs from Vicky Donor to be undermined by these badly written lines. Having said that, Siddharth Basu does seem effortlessly natural in his role as the head of RAW. Thankfully, there  is no sexual tension explored between John Abraham and Nargis Fakhri’s character, however it did come a bit close. Fakhri is not as annoying here as she was in Rockstar, however her character makes me confused. Why would a war reporter (apparently intelligent and pretty attractive) go in a jungle full of sexually starved men, dressed like she was? All for the job eh!

Madras Cafe also sees the debut of News Reporter Debang as a “khabri”, and one can only laugh when he says with a deadpan face – “Ye meeting kabhi nahi hui”  (This meeting never happened).

For those who expected this to be a John Abraham version of Ek Tha Tiger, they would be utterly disappointed. Because our hero is a mere mortal, and not a Sunny Deol, who’d gatecrash the Jaffna border, and win the island back with a handpump in one hand, and a baby in the other. Abraham’s Vikram Singh is a helpless protagonist who is compromised by moles in the organisation, kidnapped, beaten, and who eventually ends up as a drunkard in Kasauli. If you are not ready for your hero to be that, you should rather catch the Chennai Express. John does seem to play his part well, and I think it is all down to a director like Sircar to cut down the theatrics and treat the story as how it should be. However, I do have a problem with the lead guy being treated as one, when it comes to fashion. There are several moments where it does look like a snippet from a shirt advert.

In conclusion, all I would like to add is that Madras Cafe is an earnest effort at telling the tale of the Srilankan civil war and its aftermath. However, it does fall short as a captivating movie, and it is entirely the writer’s fault. There are scenes which you can predict coming from a mile, and for a thriller, that just should not be. With scenes involving hacking code that will make you giggle more than having a “Whoa” moment, Madras Cafe could have been so much more. Instead, it is a fairly simplified version of one of the many espionage conspiracy political thrillers that we have seen.

Rating: A disappointing 2.75 stars out of 5.

Find more of Sujoy’s work on : OneKnightStands | Bollypop | @9E3K

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Madras Cafe New Images and Video’s

Whatever we’ve seen of Madras Cafe until now has been quite intriguing, it might be because John Abraham makes a savvier producer than leading man and because casting Nargis Fakri as a foreign war correspondent might actually work.

We received some new images and plot synopsis, which explains a bit as the movie itself was shrouded in mystery.

 

The political action thriller is set against the backdrop of the tumultuous and controversial Sri Lankan civil war of the 1990s. The film stars John Abraham as an Indian Army Intelligence Agent sent to Sri Lanka to break a resolute rebel group.  Once there, he meets a charismatic female journalist, played by Nargis Fakhri who is determined to uncover the truth about the civil war. Together the pair uncover a deeper, sinister conspiracy by a faceless enemy.

Madras Café releases nationwide on 23rd August 2013.

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Madras Cafe Trailer Breakdown

During Part 2 of Our Bollywood catch up Upodcast ft FilmiGirl and Getfilmy (click here if you haven’t listened to it yet), I accidentally mentioned Madras Cafe as one of the movies I was looking forward to. Luckily enough my co-host corrected me that I had in fact confused Shoojit Sircar (Vicky Donor) for Shimit Amin (director of Chak De India) and that Vicky Donor was one of my most hated movies of the year.

But looking at the trailer for Madras Cafe it looks like this definitely has the potential to be something to look forward to.

John Abraham’s production company is teaming up again with Shoojit after the massively successful Vicky Donor to bring audiences, what looks like a Military/Spy Thriller shrouded in mystery looking at the set up of the facebook page and website of the movie.

Johnny BamBam might be a producer than actor (even though this must be the best phase he has ever been). Casting Nargis Fakhri might be a risk but unlike most people I felt her appearance wasn’t grating in Rockstar. The poor girl had to bear the brunt of an overzealous producer and actor who after hyping her, dumped her pretty bad. It’s never a good idea to dub voices and Nargis’ voice and the disconnect with her mediocre acting ability was something that should have never passed the rushes by Imtiaz Ali. She was fine as the girl you fall in love with in high school but playing a globetrotting journalist might be something more up her alley, if those horrible interviews of her in glamour magazines are to be believed.

I despised Vicky Donor much more than Nargis Fakhri’s performance in Rockstar but Madras Cafe looks like it’s much more dynamic and engrossing as a movie. The genre classically doesn’t do too well in Hindi Films but maybe Abraham and Shoojit have honed into an angle we haven’t seen yet.

Here is the trailer for Madras Cafe and the poster. (the Trailer is from Yahoo! India which has a very annoying Vicky Donor Style ad inserted, I wonder it’s an annoying meta tie in)

 

Madras Cafe Releases in August, Let us know what you think of the trailer in the comment section below!

@asimburney

 

 

 

 

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Commando The War Within/ A One Man Army Trailer Breakdown

Vidyut Jamwal is an awesome dude, we had a great time chatting with him when Force was released last year and even then it was clear that this was going to be his break out role and not John Abraham’s flex fest (and I think the trailer has a shot that winks to him doing just that). The dude has been training in ancient Indian Martial Arts since he was a child and we bonded quite a bit when we spoke to him  (Personally it’s one of my favorite interviews so do check it out by clicking here) geeking out about work outs and nunchuks.

It has been a long wait since then till Commando -The War Within and after seeing the first trailer it seems Vipul Shah has hedged his bets by making this a low budget, low risk proposal where Vidyut’s action takes central stage and the supporting cast and even the heroine don’t really stand out. I guess Vipul is a bigger risk taker when he wants Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan to play Wembley rockstars?

The 2nd schmuck move by the producers is to give the title two side titles as they can’t seem to choose which one will suck more. Is it a War Within or is he A One Man Army? One makes it sounds like a viral infection and he other is just a contradiction and stupid.

I hate you Vipul Shah!

The main thing that really sets Commando apart from any other actioner is this:

He is LITERALLY going Commando on these stunts!

Apart from that those crazy jumping jack push ups he’s doing that I honestly have never seen anyone do! It almost remind me of Akshay Kumar’s training sequence in his debut Saugandh amped and jacked up to a 1000.

It does seem to be a trend that heroes are fighting bigger and bigger armies of goons and unlike the HimmatWala trailer with Ajay Devgan (who also has some martial arts chops as you may have forgotten Jigar and it’s Drunken Master rip off training sequences) Vidyut  actually knows these things.

 

The minor niggle I have is that the trailer containts all of the same stunts that he performs during his showreel stage shows as well as some he already did in Force, and the heroine Pooja Chopra a forer Miss India (really??) just seems completely bland to me.

 

This is going to be the Jamwal show all the way!

COMMANDO- THE WAR WITHIN is slated for a  March 2013 release.

@asimburney

 

 

 

 

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Race 2 Trailer Breakdown

Director Duo Abbas Mustan have been on a mission to prove that Hindi movies can be as slick, fast paced but also inane and uninspired as any the studio action movie from Hollywood.

 

It’s a template they’ve had quite a bit of success especially with the first Race which was a topsy turvy twistarama of a movie where everyone was looking uber hot except Akshay Khanna’s hairpiece. After the epic failure of Players (where Bobby Deol played a magician and Sonam Kapoor a computer hacker…nuff said?) they are back with fast cars, race horses, guitar riffs and Saif Ali Khan’s beard.

 

Here’s the trailer:

Some thoughts:

  • Who asked for this sequel to be made? (Except the producers)
  • The trailer is contending to set at least 2 world records: “the most mentions of the title to a movie in any trailer” (8 mentions in a trailer of 2.30 min) and ” most number of low angle shots” (every character)
  • Peedika’s Stylist has gone for the “neandhertaler chique” for her eyebrows
  • Will Jacqueline Fernandez’ voice dubbed by the same generic voice artist in every movie? Just learn the language already, no one minds and accent!
  • The trailer contains the absolute best lines the script writers could come up with, thinking if this doesn’t get butts in seats, then nothing will! (What does the line “Ghora bi hero banega”mean???)
  • John Abraham can’t throw a convincing punch to save his life
  • Also why did his pecks not get a separate credit as the main attraction?
  • Ameesha Patel…hahahhahahahhahahhaa
  • Anil Kapoor is bad ass as always, after all these years Lakhan still rules anything he is in!
  • How bad does the CGI and wire work look? That jump Saif does is thoroughly underwhelming and didn’t they blow up exactly the same cars in the previous Race?
  • And just to finish Ameesha Patel… HAHAHAHHAHA

 

Race 2 releases in theaters in january, there is no stopping it

 

@asimburney

 

 

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Ep 39 Part 2 Recent- Bodyguard, MBKD, Force, Mausam- and Upcoming Releases in Bollywood (Ra.One vs Don2) with FilmiGirl

Part 2 of our massive Episode 39 and of course we can’t have Filmigirl as a guest and not dedicate a whole episode on Bollywood!

Put your Snark Helmet as Filmigirl and Asim take a swing and dissect the late summer and early fall releases of this year.

Starting with one of the biggest hits of the year Bodyguard, we ask the question did it deserve it’s success? We quickly takie a detour to find Mere Brother Ki Dulhan– the movie where the hero is actually the heroine and will there ever be an serum invented to protect audiences from Ali Zafar‘s infectious charm?

Father and Song duo put everything they had into Mausam but what the hell went wrong with that movie (or did it even?) and  is John Abraham after his recent success a Force to be reckoned with  or did Vidyut Jamwal run away with the accolades?

We finish off with what else is there to look forward to? Rockstar? Desi Boys? Or will it only be about Ra.One vs Don2? We finally come clean about our issues with ShahRukh Khan, so if you ever wanted to hear what we really feel, listen to the episode below!

 

Of course we would love to hear form you so please do leave a comment!

For more of FilmiGirl, you can check out her blog or catch her on twitter!

@asimburney

 

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Ep 37 Vidyut Jamwal Interview Exclusive – playing the villain in Force

Force is this week’s big Hindi release and we had a chance to have a conversation with Vidyut Jamwal, the surprise package and debutant villain pitted against a very buffed up John Abraham, in the remake of South Indian Kaakha Kaakha which originally starred Surya and Jyotikha (find our review here).

 

Force is already getting rave reviews (our review will be up shortly) and this is probably due to a large part to Vidyut’s performance. And I am sure as soon as the ladies (and some gents-apparently 10-12% of the male population) will get a look of Vidyut’s six-pack, they will turn into goo.
Vidyut was raised in an ashram and has been training in various different styles of martial arts since a very young age so he is definitely a good match for John’s bike lifting shenanigans.
Check out some of the stunts he did for the media at a press event.

 

 

Source: Fox Star India
We had a very nice time speaking with Vidyut, he seems like a genuinely nice guy and has that gusto that new comers have, plus he complimented me a few times so that always gets you brownie points.

The interview happened on the phone so there are a few things that gets lost in translation but I am sure you will have a great time listening to our chat.
Let us know what you thought of our interview in the comment section below (or even better leave us a review on iTunes)

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Review Kaakha Kaakha (and what should be fixed for its Hindi remake “Force”)

So this 2003 cop drama starring Surya, Jyotika and directed by Gautham Menon was available on Youtube (probably temporarily so check it out!) on some extremely shady channel but with some funtastic “paagal” subtitles. Having lamented the fact that there is no proper distribution system set up for South Indian movies, making it impossible to be completely up to date with new releases. I take any chance I get to catch up with this flamboyant film genre. Releasing in September in a Hindi remake directed by Nishikanth Kamat starring John Abraham and Genelia. We analyzed the trailer in an earlier post, but now check out our review of the original after the jump! Read More

The Force Trailer: Surya-Ploitation Continues!

The Trailer for John Abraham cop drama Force has just been
released. Like Wanted last year and Singham releasing very soon, this is a remake
of a South Indian movie (Kaakha Kaakha). A couple of years before either of
these movies, Ghajini was remade by Amir Khan starting the trend of remaking
South Indian movies to a Hindi Film audiences and to mythical box office success.
Both Ghajini and Khakha Khakha originally starred south superstar Surya, a very
accomplished performer from everything I have seen of his, which admittedly isn’t
much due to the unavailability of South Indian DVD’s with decent English
subtitles (sort it out Tollywood if you want to compete with your Northern
brethren!) Now the question is why just importing Surya to Bollywood? He
managed a pretty menacing performance in Ram Gopal Varma‘s Rakht Charitra – 2 even
overshadowing Vivek Oberoi in some sequences.

If there is a language barrier (although I find the accent
charming) it’s nothing that a language coach can’t solve and it’s certainly
better than spending months with personal trainers and nutritionist to reach
the impressive physiques that seem to be a requirement to take on these role in
Bollywood.

Here’s the trailer: *Update this is a new trailer*

John Abraham’s dedication can’t be put into question
(especially as he had gained weight for his previous role making the Photoshop
laden poster above even more impressive) he doesn’t have a  huge fan following to speak of (none that I
can imagine lining up for an action movie) and I would argue Surya would be
able to bring in more people just from the South. I also wonder about John’s ability
to pull off a macho role like this…he just misses that masculine growl in the
few dialogues in the trailer.

Also I’m pretty sure he lotions up with Aloe Vera as soon as
he steps out of that pensive shower and books in a nail appointment.

Force releases in rumored for a releasing on September 16,
2011

Do you think this will be John Abraham’s breakout role? Let us
know in the comment Section below

Source: the always amazing TheDailyHoney

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