Indian Film

OMG! Action-packed Commando 2 opens on Friday, March 3, in Montreal!

Vidyut Jammwal as Captain Karanvir Singh Dogra in the film Commando 2: The Black Money Trail

Vidyut Jammwal as Captain Karanvir Singh Dogra in the film Commando 2: The Black Money Trail

In the summer of 2013, Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival showed an Indian action film called Commando. Fantasia fans loved it. (Me, too!)

The headline for my Montreal Gazette blog post was handed to me on a silver platter when I heard a (female) audience member exclaim “That’s the sexiest man I’ve seen in my life!” She was referring to the star of Commando, Vidyut Jammwal.

Jammwal plays a super-skilled, extremely fit Indian soldier who is captured and brutally tortured by another state, in some faraway outpost. Of course, he escapes his tormentors. I wrote that his “skills include, but are certainly not limited to: punching, kicking, stabbing, setting traps, swinging on vines, running up walls (or people) leaping off rooftops, cliffs and bridges, over cars or through the windows of their open doors, etc., etc.”

“He gives good glare, where the bad guys are concerned, but is also ready with great smouldering looks, when the heroine (Pooja Chopra) needs one. Multi-talented!”

The film’s subhead “A One Man Army,” was an understatement, if anything.

If ever a film was crying out for a sequel, it was Commando. And now. . .  it’s almost here! Commando 2: The Black Money Trail,  opens in Montreal (and many other places, I’m sure!) on Friday, March 3, 2017. Whoohoo! The film is about money-laundering on a massive scale, along with a double kidnapping in Malaysia.

Vidyut Jammwal in the action film Commando 2.

Vidyut Jammwal in the action film Commando 2.

Take a look at the exceptional action choreography in the trailer below. (More than 16 MILLION people have already watched it since January 23, 2017!) The action is even more impressive than what we saw in the first film. The leaps, spins, the tumbles! Good grief! How does Jammwal slip through that tiny window? He has been studying Kalaripayattu, a martial art from the Indian state of Kerala since he was three years old. That probably helps!

In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Jammwal said “Commando 2 will be the biggest action film in recent times.” “We created a new genre of action, where no cables and wires were used. It will be a visual spectacle.” I believe it! I’m also thinking, maybe it’s time to redefine the concept of a “chick flick.” We don’t necessarily need female bonding, singalongs, weddings, alcohol, flowers, fancy food or clothes, you know?

I usually avoid opening weekends, because the films often sell out and audiences can be too unruly, but in this instance. . .I don’t think I’ll have the patience to wait five whole days until (my unofficial name for it) “Cheapo Tuesday.”

Commando 2: The Black Money Trail, written by Ritesh Shah, directed by Deven Bhojani, starring Vidyut Jammwal, Adah Sharma, Freddy Daruwala, Thakur Anoop Singh, Esha Gupta, Adil Hussain, Suhail Nayyar.


Advertisements

Fantasia 2016 Review: Psycho Raman

Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays a serial killer in the Indian film Psycho Raman (also known as Raman Raghav 2.0) The fim is being shown at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays a serial killer in the Indian film Psycho Raman (also known as Raman Raghav 2.0) The fim is being shown at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal.

Psycho Raman (aka Raman Raghav 2.0) is one tense film. Ramanna is a serial killer, and actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui gives a bone-chilling performance in the part. He kills people because he likes to – men, women, children, it doesn’t matter, he doesn’t make any distinctions. The things that he says, and the look in his eyes when he says them, are extremely unsettling.There’s no telling what he might do next. And when he makes circles with his fingers and looks through them, as you would with binoculars. . .all I can say is Eeek! (The pose reminded me of the poster for The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer’s second documentary about genocide in Indonesia.) Ramanna takes his alias from Raman Raghav, a real-life serial killer in the 1960s.

The character is so disturbing that I felt uneasy watching him, as if my very presence in the theatre was some kind of approval for his (fictional) actions.

We see Ramanna swing a tire iron, and other weapons, but, mercifully, we don’t see them land on his victims. (And that’s just fine with me!) The guy is totally terrifying all the same – a perfect example of less is more.

Raghavan (Vicky Kaushal) is a crooked, violent, doped-up policeman, who got his position via family connections. The guy is so addicted and so callous that he snorts cocaine at the scene of a triple murder. One night, Ramanna sees Raghav kill someone for no reason. He’s convinced that they’re kindred spirits and wants to meet Raghav, maybe even work together? The film switches back and forth between their two worlds.

Ramanna keeps tracks of his victims in a little notebook. There’s no indication that Raghavan does the same, but I couldn’t help but wonder who had the bigger body count.

Like several other films in this year’s Fantasia lineup, Psycho Raman was well received at the Cannes Film Festival.

Psycho Raman (Raman Raghav 2.0), directed by Anurag Kashyap, written by Anurag Kashyap and Vasan Bala.
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Vipin Sharma, Amruta Subhash, Sobhita Dhulipala, Ashok Lokhande, Harssh A. Singh
127 minutes long, in Hindi with English subtitles.

See Psycho Raman on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, at 5 p.m., in the de Seve Theatre of Concordia University, 1400 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.

Montreal’s South Asian Film Festival begins Friday with Richie Mehta’s Siddharth

A scene from Richie Mehta's Siddharth, one of the films that will be shown at the fifth edition of the South Asian Film Festival in Montreal.

A scene from Richie Mehta’s Siddharth, one of the films that will be shown at the fifth edition of the South Asian Film Festival in Montreal.

The Kabir Centre will present the fifth edition of the South Asian Film Festival, beginning Friday, Sept, 11, 2015 with a screening of Siddharth, from Canadian director Richie Mehta.

Synopsis: “A working class father searches for his 12 year old son, who has failed to return after he had been sent to work in another town.”
In a review in Variety, Jay Weissberg wrote that the film was: “movingly handled. . .engrossing, multi-layered.” “Much of the film’s success lies in the excellent script and the superb performances. . .” Weissberg praised the work of Rajesh Tailang, as Siddharth’s father, Mahendra and Tannishtha Chatterjee as Siddharth’s mother, Suman.

“Mehta captures the noise and dust of the cities without the taint of Western poverty tourism, and he wraps things up on absolutely the right note.”

After the film, Richie Mehta will participate in a Q&A session via Skype.
SIDDHARTH (2013) 82 min, in Hindi, with English subtitles.
Friday, September 11, 2015, 7 pm.
Cinema De Sève, Library Building (LB-125),
of Concordia University. 1400 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Montreal (Metro Guy-Concordia).

A $5 donation is requested.