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Weak tale, but well laid out

aksar

Director: Anant Mahadevan
Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Udita Goswami, Dino Morea
5/10

If you are rich and married to an ill-tempered glamour girl who won’t divorce your money, what do you do' To douse her in kerosene is rather plebeian, so you hire a playboy photographer to seduce her into eloping instead. Only it doesn’t quite work out in the manner planned. Or does it'

Aksar belongs to the new genre of films where the thumping song-and-dance sequences merge with dark motivations of not-so-nice lead characters to create a taut psychodrama. Emraan Hashmi plays ladykiller with by now well-practised charm. Dino Morea manipulates with subtle changes of haughty expression. Only Udita Goswami appears miscast as a neurotic ex-star whose passions spin out of control.

A technically well-made film, with some superb cinematography, Mahadevan’s effort sustains interest with twists of plot and turns of emotion. Unfortunately, it relies on some muddled psychology and law, particularly towards the end, to convincingly claim that such things happen aksar.

Sudip Mallik

For saathis in the hall

mere jeevan sathi

Director: Suneel Darshan
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Karisma Kapoor, Amisha Patel, Maya Alagh, Alok Nath, Gulshan Grover, Ashish Vidhyarthi
4/10

Couples who wanna get cosy this Valentine’s Day, have no place to go but money and time to spend, can try Mere Jeevan Sathi. (a) ' it is a love story with names like Akshay, Karisma and Amisha; (b) ' it has some Valentine’s Day sequences that’ll justify seeing the film; and (c) ' the auditorium will be more or less empty.

But for the inquisitive this is a love triangle with Akshay awkwardly caught between Karisma, who goes all out to display every nuance of acting she knows ' from being the silent lover to the ambitious business tycoon to the love-crazy woman overdoing things completely ' and Amisha who’s sure to get on your nerves with her too-sweet-to-be-true and always-ready-to-please nature. Predictably, Akshay who’s supposed to be a musician, a rockstar, spends time submitting himself to the advances of his promoter Karisma and the rest of the time feeling guilty about it. A bit of a tangle there, but ends in one of them dying, obviously. The songs and the so-called villains bore you, but that’s only if you are watching. The lovebirds shouldn’t be bothered.

Madhuparna Das

What’s it about ' the barb or the wire'

Kantatar

Director: Bappaditya Bandopadhyay
Cast:
Sreelekha Mitra, Sudip Mukherjee, Rudranil Ghosh
4/10

Though a favourite with foreign festivals (the poster screams that the film has already been to five international fests), Kantatar could have done with a little more finesse.

Fifteen minutes into the movie, you are still left wondering what the film is about. War' Army excesses' Illegal migrants' Emaciated lawyers preying on women migrants'

Well, half an hour later, Sreelekha, an illegal migrant, comes trekking across the sandy stretch straight into the tent of a weatherman along the border, takes up residence, and leaves only after her shady past catches up with her and police take her away for possessing foreign currency.

What starts out to be a film on exploitation of women in a conflict situation ' in this case, cross-border terrorism ' ends up as a titillating drag. Sreelekha giggles so much and runs around trees so often that you are again left wondering whether she was portraying a woman with an identity, community, religious crisis or really enjoying herself flitting across relationships and borders.

Pallabi Biswas

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