Ashdoc's movie reviews

ashdoc

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Aapla manus

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'Aapla manus' means 'our man' or rather 'our person' in this gender non discriminatory era . It is produced by Bollywood star Ajay Devgan who appears in a very small role in the end . It is his first marathi film as producer . It unfolds as a thriller cum murder mystery but with an interesting angle about the complexities of generation gap between father on one hand and son and daughter in law on the other .

Sumeet Raghavan and Iravati Harshe play a modern couple . But their modern lifestyle has an aberration ; they live with Sumeet's father ( Nana Patekar ) like old style joint families . And the old man worries about the liberties of his daughter in law , just like old fashioned people are wont to do . He dislikes Iravati's coming late from her work and dislikes her having sent his grandson away to boarding school to get educated . He is a grumpy old man who is forever complaining about his daughter in law .

Iravati is hardly a woman who is going to be quietened by this attitude and gives back to her father in law verbally . This leads to a battle of words constantly between the two and caught in between is the son Sumeet . But one day a huge twist to this situation happens ; the father in law is found fallen from their apartment into the ground below .

Into the situation comes police officer Nagargoje , who looks uncannily like a younger and fitter version Iravati's father in law ; indeed he too is played by Nana Patekar . He accuses the couple to have instigated the old man to commit suicide . As the movie progresses the accusations change from suicide to murder charges and the murder charges move from one person to another .

So what game is Nagargoje playing ? What is his personal interest in creating twists and turns that turns the couple's life topsy turvy ? The answers are intriguing . But they are sentimental and emotional too , leaving you with a tear in the eye in the end .

The film is dominated by the formidable screen presence of Nana Patekar , and his sarcastic drawl rings throughout the movie . Without any loud dialogues , his powerful voice and acting create impact in the movie . Sumeet Raghavan and Iravati Harshe act appropriately too . Background music is decent but there are no songs . Photography and colours are okay .

The dialogues of the verbal exchanges between Nana and Iravati have been written by a talented script writer ; every sentence is dripping with sarcastic taunts at each other . Both persons have their good and bad points . But the director does take the old fashioned route ; tilts our sympathy to the old man in the climax . But that is what appeals to our sentiments....Indians are still a traditional people .

The idea of both the police officer and the old person whose case he is investigating being played by the same man does add something else to the movie . Both roles have played with aplomb by Nana Patekar . Without flamboyant drama or sensational background music , the film manages to hold attention due to it's clash of egos and lifestyles .

Verdict---Good .

Three and a half stars out of five .
 
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ashdoc

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Kuchh bheege alfaaz---


So now we are in the era of romance through the medium of whatsapp . Though only the heroine lives in the world of social media . Reason being---she is shunned in the real world because she has a disease called leucoderma/vitiligo which creates abnormal white patches on skin due to lack of melanin pigment . Of course , that does not stop her or rather it encourages her to go on blind dates with boys where she wants to see the boy's reaction to her appearance . And the reaction is photographed on mobile camera . If the reaction is funny then the photograph is used for creating branded memes ; yes Archana ( Geetanjali Thapa ) works in a firm creating them . She has a friend called Apu ( Shrey Rai Tiwari ) who has attraction for her . And she does look good wearing tiny shorts that expose her lovely legs .

As opposed to this , the hero Alfaaz ( Zain Khan Durrani ) belongs to the old world . He is a radio jockey who mouths beautiful old world poetry on radio and has a legion of fans among whom Archana is one . But he prefers to remain incognito and has not revealed his name to his fans . His creativity has been stoked by a romantic tragedy in his past , but his present life has the shadow of sadness brought about by the tragedy over it .

And don't you think the two need each other ? The melancholy hero and the girl rejected by many but in search for love....The two are brought in contact by a misplaced phone call and Archana likes Alfaaz's thoughts ( which are remarkably like the thoughts of the radio jockey she likes ) so much that she contacts him repeatedly . But it is only when she begins to use his poetry for creating memes that he gets really interested . For the world of social media is new for him . And they soon plan a date , even though they haven't seen each other yet and she does not know that he is RJ Alfaaz .

But before the two really get together , Alfaaz will have to confront his past tragedy and discard it from his life and move into the present . And so he goes to do that ; goes to the hill station of Shimla to confront and break away from his past .

The movie is produced by leftists most probably . The heroine's mother played by Mona Ambegaonkar has a past history of having studied at JNU and found her first husband there . And having eloped with her second husband ( heroine's father ) even though she was still married to her first . Is that what they teach you in JNU ? No wonder I am ideologically opposed to it .

But I was not opposed to the film , which I found to be full of old world charm even though it belongs to the era of social media . Though the touch of sadness was a bit overdone and there is a sad hang to the movie . But the romantic couplets spouted by Alfaaz do compensate for that and we find ourselves rooting for the romance to happen . And when it does , you do feel happy .

Acting by Geetanjali Thapa is good but Zain Khan Durrani is not fully convincing . Others act decently , especially Mona Ambegaonkar . Background music is decent too , and photography and colours of the movie are good .

Verdict---Nice .

Three stars out of five .
 

ashdoc

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AIYAARY

Aiyaary' means chameleon like---capable of changing appearance with every situation . That's what I learnt in the film . But director Neeraj Pandey is no chameleon and his films cannot change in style or appearance . His films from 'A wednesday' to 'Baby' to 'Aiyaary' are all in the same format . But it's a format that that is now running dry of new ideas from Neeraj .

Sure , the dose of high nationalism is there . The army spit and polish is there too . Scenes of crisply dressed people looking serious about their intent whether good or bad are there too . High tech gadgetry and latest guns and devices gives you expectations of a taut thriller . Hardly any scene shows the grime and poverty of India ; everyone has a exceptionally high standard of living .

But beneath the martial sounding music and high minded dialogues spouted from the mouth of the protagonists there is nothing . The manner in which the story has been presented is unduly prolonged and convoluted . A lot of unnecessary scenes shown to establish the strength of character of the heroes keep adding to the length of the film . And the film takes it's lesson of nationalism way too seriously but lacks substance .

Photography is good as always and music is patriotically good . But other than Manoj Bajpayee the others don't act well . Siddharth Malhotra looks too delicately goodlooking for a soldier . Both Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher are wasted . Rakul Preet Singh is gorgeous as eye candy . But she is a misfit for a patriotic sounding film .

Instead of what I was expecting ( tough soldiers killing enemies of the nation ) what I got to see was corruption in the army . Which is detected by a person ( Siddharth ) of a special team that is officially non existent but is for military intelligence . And he is so disillusioned by the corruption that he decides to desert the army and turn corrupt himself . But his superior ( Bajpayee ) is after him and chases him to England . But why does an arms dealer ( Anupam ) take enormous risk to help the superior ? And how come the girlfriend ( Rakul ) of the deserter get ready to give up everything and elope with him even though he has been fooling her by not even telling his real name ? Amazingly for such a clever person , his real name is revealed to her when his I card accidentally drops out of his wallet ; can it get more silly than that ? And the fact that exposure of the whole corruption hinges on the testimony of some obscure watchman ( Naseeruddin ) of a building is something that is unconvincing . Kumud Mishra the corrupt armyman looks like a buffoon rather than a villain and Adil Hussein's character looks like from Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible series of movies . Vikram Gokhale does look convincing as the upright army chief however .

The only thing that is believable about the movie is a media desperate for TRPs . But it will take a lot more than that for a film to impress me .

Verdict---Not impressed .

Two stars out of five .
 
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ashdoc

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Hostiles

Captain Joseph Blocker ( Christian Bale ) hates the Native Americans whom he calls savages . He has killed a lot of them in the past . And yet he is called upon to do the most detestable task for a man like him ; he has to escort a dying Native American chief named Yellow Hawk ( Wes Studi ) of the Cheyenne tribe back to his ancestral land after release of the chief from imprisonment . This journey will take them from fort Berringer in New Mexico all the way to Montana . The year is 1892 . The native American chief himself has killed a lot of people quite brutally in his days , and that makes the task doubly detestable for Blocker . But the orders are from the President himself and can't be disregarded on pain of court martial .

But by the end of the journey the captain is a changed man . He defends the native chief's right to stay and die on the land against other white men who believe that natives have no rights by fighting the white men with gunfire . And he helps bury the chief and his clanspeople who have died in the fight .

So how did the captain change ? The movie does not quite show any particular moment when his mind changes . But the dangerous journey in which both the Cheyennes and the party of troops escorting them have to fight numerous threats to their life and limb probably makes him a better man . Comradeship in intense circumstances has a way of melting people the way nothing else can....

On the way they encounter a devastated woman who has lost her entire family including her husband and children in a massacre by Native Americans of the Comanche tribe . Rosalie Quaid ( Rosamund Pike ) is at first scared on seeing the natives in the troop as they remind her of the natives who had killed her family , but she learns to accept them and they are on their way .

But violence continues to plague the group in the form of further gun battles with the Comanches and others . The fight scenes are brutal and the killings are realistic . There is no mercy shown in many of the situations . By the time the climax is finished many of the protagonists have died violent deaths . Only a few are left . And those few who are left are on the point of developing permanent relationships with each other . Yes , Blocker and Rosalie and the only surviving Native American little girl may become a family in the end . Thus the grim movie ends in a high point and on a note of optimism .

This is a progressive western different from the westerns of an earlier era which showed the natives are villains and whites as heroes . Here some natives are good while others are bad , similar to whites in the movie who may be good in some cases or bad in the other . Some characters in the movie spout dialogues about the injustice of the whites' treatment of the Native Americans . However this makes it a serious movie rather than an entertainer . Tilting towards the art form of movies though not completely . But even though it tries hard to be pro Native American , it does not fully succeed . The Native American characters are not well developed ; maybe the barrier is language as they cannot speak English well and we can understand only English . The characters of the whites are of course fully developed and both hero and heroine are white .

Photography is the hallmark of the film , with stunning scenes of black clouds in the sky in the monsoon and fog and mist as it rains later in the movie . In the earlier part of the movie we see glorious shots of the changing American landscape which is yellow in the beginning in the desert and turns greener with pine trees as we go north with shots on rivers being crossed in between . Acting is good by all actors and background music is appropriate for the situations . The characters in the film look hardy and increasingly weatherbeaten as the movie progresses . Yet both Rosamund Pike and Christian Bale look good . So does the movie .

Verdict---Three stars out of five .
 

ashdoc

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Three billboards outside Ebbing , Missouri

Review has spoilers

A woman approaches the businessman who has the rights to three Billboards outside Ebbing in the state of Missouri in US . She pays real money to have them painted with words provocative to Sheriff Willoughby ( Woody Harrelson ) . The words ask him to take action on the case of the rape and murder of her daughter , because nothing has been happening in the case after some investigation which reached a dead end . One of the billboards says 'raped while dying' .

The sheriff is outraged , his deputy is outraged , and indeed the whole town is outraged . That's because the sheriff is respected locally and also because he is dying due to cancer . But that is not going to deter Mildred Hayes ( Frances McDormand ) . When the local priest tries to coerce her into removing the billboards , he gets blasted off by a tirade by her about churchmen screwing altar boys . The leftists' opponent ( the church ) thus gets a lambasting , and God is brushed aside as nonexistent .

Earlier when deputy Dixon ( Sam Rockwell ) of the police station tries to get Mildred remove the billboards , he is shown his place by Mildred with taunts of being a black hating racist . From this point one has to assume that the rapists of her daughter must be white , even though they are not yet found ( and are not ever found in the movie ) . For it is obvious from the movie's tone that it is going to be politically correct and that demands a white rapist . Sure enough , a white suspect is found but he is not the daughter's rapist . Never mind , Mildred and deputy Dixon then set out to kill him instead because the deputy has overheard him boasting about a rape when drunk .

Participation in this killing is part of the redemption of Deputy Dixon ; redemption for being a black hating racist . We have to presume that he is racist due to verbal accusations flung on him mostly by Mildred . But scenes of him actually practising this racism are not really shown . That would have tarnished his image beyond redemption . But his violence is shown in a scene where he throws the guy who owns the billboards from the first floor after he has heard news that Sheriff Willoughby committed suicide by shooting himself by a gun .

At first we definitely sympathise with Mildred while seeing the movie . The lady is feisty and has tough words for anyone who tries to strike a verbal duel with her , or even anyone who doesn't . The dialogues in the movie are sharp and laced with dark humour that keeps in splits even in grim situations . But later her persona goes out of control by burning down the police station with petrol bombs after it has closed down in evening . She does not know that Dixon is there , but he escapes only to help her later even though he has got burns on his face due to the attack .

The director could have chosen to have a conventional ending by showing the man overheard boasting about rape as the real culprit . But the real culprit is never found , and the movie is thus about the effects of the rape on a very active mother and how she manages to shake up things in her town when she does not get justice .

There is some violence in the movie and foul language ; cuss words are regularly used . There is no denying that the proceedings are gripping . Background music and photography are decent , but it is in acting and dialogue delivery that the movie scores .

Verdict---Good .

Three stars out of five .
 
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ashdoc

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Red sparrow

Jennifer Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova , a Russian ballerina who has an accident due to which her career as ballerina is finished . Her uncle works for the Russian spy agency , and promises her that if she does a task for the agency then her ageing and sick mother will be cared for . But the task is not what Dominika thought it would be , and she is then forced to get herself recruited to be a sparrow whose task is to seduce people to get information . She however resists some part of the training for becoming a sparrow where she has to compromise her dignity for seducing others .

But her uncle ( played by Matthias Schoenaerts ) is there to seemingly further her career and she is assigned to Budapest the capital of Hungary to gain the trust of an American spy named Nate Nash ( Joel Edgerton ) so that he reveals the mole of the Americans within the Russian spy agency .

Nate Nash has come under Russian scanner because he risked his life to save the Russian agent working for the Americans by diverting attention to himself , thereby forcing him to flee Russia . He is a real gentleman as can be found in this deadly spy business , and do we even have to say that Dominika falls for him....he being the only nice guy she has met in years .

But she can't escape her fate of being a Russian spy and can't wiggle out of her job of finding out information from Nate , for otherwise the Russians will kill her mother in Russia . And so she is condemned to see unbelievable torture being met out to Nate....and worse , she is forced to participate in the torture . But she does try to help him as much as she can....God bless her loving soul...

But her Russian masters come to know of her contacts with the Americans due to an unlucky twist of fate , and Dominika is forced to undergo real torture herself . But inside her is still the will to survive , and the will to overcome to incredible odds stacked against her and not only go back to her normal life back with her mother , but also take revenge against her uncle who forced her down such a dangerous path . And will she be ever reunited with Nate , the man she loves ? Watch the movie for the answers .

The movie has many scenes of torture that are not easy to watch , and some of rough sex that make you cringe . The only loving scene is when Dominika makes love to Nate , but that is so short . The movie shows how dangerous and difficult is the life of secret agents , a far cry from the glamorous life shown in James Bond kind of movies . They may have to undergo gruesome physical torture , and women agents may have to compromise with their honour and sleep with strangers .

The movie rests on the acting of Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika , and she does prove equal to the task of carrying the weight of the film on her shoulders . She is beautiful and vulnerable and deadly as the situation requires . The action in the film is brutal and raw , and is not the routine slam bang kind of action found in action films .

Background music is decent , and photography and colours of the movie are good . Sometimes in the second half , the movies gets overcomplicated and difficult to follow . Barring this drawback , I found it an entertaining watch .

Verdict---Good .

Three and a half stars out of five .
 

ashdoc

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Pari : not a fairy tale

Arnab's ( Parambrata Chatterjee ) life is on the upswing . He is about to be married to the beautiful Piyali ( Ritabhari Chakraborty ) , whose warm outspoken nature seems to promise happiness after a shy withdrawn childhood that has been his lot earlier . But an accident changes his life . His father slams the car they are travelling in into a woman , who dies . The police search her house to find her daughter Rukhsana ( Anushka Sharma ) chained inside .

But the person working in the morgue sees that the dead mother is branded , and contacts the persons who he knows are into branding such entities . Those persons are led by professor Qasim , and their declared mission is to wipe out the cult of satan to which the dead woman belongs . She is a demoness whose mission is to perpetuate the cult of satan . And the professor and his group have destroyed the cult except the dead woman . Now it remains to kill the daughter , who is the last remaining demoness . The members of the cult and the professor are from Bangladesh .

However , the daughter Rukhsana sees the killers come for her and flees from the dog infested house she lives in to find refuge in the place in Kolkata where Arnab lives alone away from his parents . Sympathetic to her at first , Arnab tries to civilise her and give her some normalcy because he has seen her chained in her house . But he is unaware of her demonic propensities .

And do I even have to tell that the inevitable happens , and Rukhsana falls in love with Arnab . But what is important is that the love also makes her more human and turns her away from the demonic path that the ghost of her dead mother is urging her towards . But soon she becomes pregnant with Arnab's child . Will her mother's wish to continue the demonic cult be granted with the birth of the child , who after all will be the child of a demoness ? And what about Piyali , the fiancee of Arnab ? What is her role in all this ? Or will professor Qasim and his cohorts get to Rukhsana and destroy her before she gives birth to the child ? Watch the movie for the answers .

One must say that Anushka has taken a different role in her career with this movie , as she looks deglamourised and unattractive throughout the film . It is Piyali ( Ritabhari Chakraborty ) whose appearances I was eagerly waiting for throughout the movie , for her beauty is like a breath of fresh air in this dark and gory movie .

However the love of Rukhsana for Arnab and the transformation of her character is beautifully built up in the movie . You really feel sad for her , trapped as she is in this demonic form even though her heart is full of love . There are some real jolts of horror in the movie , but all interspersed with the sadness you feel for the souls trapped in this bizarre cult of perpetuating satan . The first half of the movie does not reveal as to who Rukhsana and her mother really are , and what is the purpose of professor Qasim to be after them . So a considerable part of the movie builds up suspense .

Parambrata Chatterjee looks vulnerable in his role as Arnab , and Rajat Kapoor looks coolly menacing as he carries out his rentless task of destruction of the cult . Photography is good , but colours are dark and surroundings dingy . Background music and songs are good .

Verdict---Decent .

Three stars out of five .
 

ashdoc

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Death wish

Paul Kersey ( Bruce Willis ) is a doctor who has a perfect family , including a daughter named Jordan ( Camila Morrone ) and a wife named Lucy ( Elizabeth Shue ) . Too perfect of course for the happiness to last long in an action movie . One day a group of burglars come to rob their house and one of them tries to molest the daughter , resulting in her defending herself and a shootout that kills the wife and leaves the daughter in coma .

Paul waits in vain for justice to be delivered by capture of the perpetrators of the crime . Meanwhile he needs sessions with his psychiatrist . One day he gets hold of a gun and becomes a hooded vigilante delivering his own brand of justice . He begins to stalk dangerous areas of his city Chicago and shoots anyone who he sees committing crime . This hooded persona soon becomes famous as the 'grim reaper' as videos of him shooting people ( but without a clear picture of his face ) begin to circulate on the internet . TV shows organise discussions on whether he is a hero or zero . Those wanting instant justice obviously root for him , making a sort of unknown folk hero .

But Paul has not been too careful with his methods and has exposed himself to danger of being caught by the police and being killed by the criminals whom he stalks . Especially those who have killed his wife and hurt his daughter are being shadowed by him and he is increasingly coming in their radar too . As if he cares....remember the title of the movie---death wish .

But one day his daughter wakes up from coma and Paul decides to stop his vigilantism to take care of her . Too late for that ; he has already killed some of those who attacked his family and the toughest and meanest among them is ready to strike back....the final reckoning takes place in a bloody shootout at Paul's house .

The movie's action scenes are good enough to be liked by fans of the bald action hero , and I have been his fan since the 'Die hard' days . Violent justice delivered instantly without any ado has the ability to warm the cockles of your heart like nothing else . Pistols and automatic weapons are fired with equal gusto by both hunter and hunted in the movie . Blood is spattered around in neat circles all around throughout the movie . The crunching sound of bones being broken and smashed is a regular in the film .

I wish it was the era of the eighties when such movies could be enjoyed without any guilt . However we live in an era where the sociopolitical ramifications of movies such as this are considered important . Can't we enjoy some action in the comfort of the theatre and then forget about it when we come out of it ? But no , the movie has come just after a recent shootout in USA and it shows the hero buying a gun from a gun shop and going bang bang without caring for the law . And the police cover up for him in the end and do not even bring him to justice !! He goes free....and the critics are not happy at the film for showing all this at the wrong time .

But if you take this movie as only for entertainment , then it delivers some good on the spot action packed entertainment . Bruce Willis is in his element here ; just like was not intending to cause trouble in the 'Die hard' movies but was drawn into the trouble in those movies , here too he is drawn into creating trouble in this movie .

Photography is decent and colours are okay in the movie . Acting by everyone is good enough .

Verdict---Good .

Three and a half stars out of five .
 
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Guynextdoor

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It's got Scott Adkins in though, so it should be interesting. I think he will have to turn it down to 20% to let Yen win.

Chinese martial arts movies have become crap form the time they started looking at themselves as representers of value. Nothing like the Drunken Master has come of them. Either they go heavily into CGI or they go heavily into self pity. I think I'll pass.
 

BMD

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Chinese martial arts movies have become crap form the time they started looking at themselves as representers of value. Nothing like the Drunken Master has come of them. Either they go heavily into CGI or they go heavily into self pity. I think I'll pass.
I actually like them even though I hate the Chinese government. But Crouching Tard Hidden Douche certainly fitted that description.
 
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_Anonymous_

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I actually like them even though I hate the Chinese government. But Crouching Tard Hidden Douche certainly fitted that description.
Those movies of the 80's were simple moral stories told simplistically, essentially for an unsophisticated audience who craved mindless entertainment for 2 hours in HK and similar audiences across the globe.

It's no wonder male adolescents high on hormones enjoyed them immensely and those middle aged farts who never really outgrew their adolescence.


The same is true for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon & movies influenced by it except for a complex screenplay when compared to the simplistic stories ( which isn't saying much) of a decade ago or earlier from the HK film industry and a big budget plus advances in CGI which were reflected in this film. Add exotica to it and you'd see why western audiences lapped it up - All adolescents, irrespective of their age.
 

_Anonymous_

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What could be just another action movie or just another movie about the drug trafficking in the US through it's southern neighbours turns into a deeply ambiguous inhumane & visceral exploration of both the trade and the people involved in it as well as those countering it.
 

Guynextdoor

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in reality it's not as shocking to people who are aware of ground realities. But it is a good attempt at engaging majority of urbanites into facing the real caste issues facing India. Performances are TERRIFIC....India has the best actors in the world hands down.

 

ashdoc

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Battle of Kosovo ( Yugoslav film )


This is a film made in 1989 when the state of Yugoslavia was still in existence , and it was made on the 600th anniversary of the battle of Kosovo . To those who know what happened later in Kosovo , the movie can give some insight into why Serbians hold the ground of that region so sacred---for it was literally strewn with the bodies of martyrs who laid down their lives for protecting Serbia .

1389---The high noon of Turkish expansion in Europe is yet to come , but already the tremors of their armies are being felt all over the western world . One block to their expansion is the medieval state of Serbia , and sultan Murad sets out to destroy the state with all the power of his terrible armies on the battlefield of Kosovo .

The movie begins with a lost man asking an old man as to where do two particular roads lead to--and the old man answers that today all roads lead to Kosovo , for that is where the fate of Serbia is going to be decided . And some people within Serbia itself have already decided that fate , for defeatism has crept in Serbian ranks and crooked people are even minting dinars ( Turkish currency ) anticipating the impending Turkish rule over Serbia . Earlier under emperor Dusan Serbia was a great power , but now it has been divided into fiefdoms where magnates rival each other for power . And these magnates are divided and cannot present a united front for defending it against the Turkish hordes .

One man however decides to fight out with whatever forces are available with him , and that man is prince Lazar---the chief magnate among all the magnates of Serbia . Some other magnates disagree with him and ask him to accept the suzerainty of the Turks , but his wife supports him in his resistance . For as some common people say , even if their suzerainty is accepted the Turks will force their Islamic religion on the Serbs and their forces will trample the land and they will kidnap young girls and even boys to fulfil their sexual lust . Serbs will have to kiss the boots of the Turkish conquerors and Serbs will have to become the slaves of the Turkish overlords . Prince Lazar wants to fight for Serbian honour even though he may lose his life in the coming battle , for only those who fight will be remembered by the common people for centuries as martyrs .

And the common people heed his call , for an army of more than 70,000 men collects to fight for their nation . But they are divided , for the leaders of various contingents that compose the army are divided . And anyway their army is outnumbered by the Turks , who have an endless horde of more than 160,000 men---all waiting like predators to pounce upon their prey ; there will be no mercy for the Christians as Serbia will be looted devastated and it's people massacred after the battle . As a girl lamenting for her fiance even before the battle begins says after the battle , there wont be any men left to marry and to father children after the battle . Catastrophe is beckoning....

At the last dinner before the battle begins next morning , one of the nobles ( Luc Brancovic ) who himself is going to abandon the army to it's fate and turn traitor accuses Serbia's finest warrior ( Obilic ) of having colluded with the enemy because Obilic has protected a turkish spy whose intentions he failed to recognise . Obilic is so incensed by the accusation that he vows to kill the sultan Murad himself on the field of battle .

As the battle begins next morning Obilic surrenders to the Turks by throwing away his weapon . As he is recognised for being Serbia's best warrior , the sultan asks him to come near to pay obeisance to him and the Turkish nobles ask him to kiss the sultan's feet . What they don't know is that Obilic has hidden a dagger within his clothing . As he comes close to the sultan , Obilic murders Murad by plunging his dagger into his abdomen . He is put to death by the sultan's angry soldiers . But Obilic has proven his loyalty to Serbia....

Immediately a rivalry opens between the sultan's two sons , and the elder son Bayazid has his younger brother treacherously strangled by a cord of silk . Bayazid is then proclaimed sultan and he takes command of the Turkish armies . The battle continues . At first the Serbs who fight bravely have made headway into the Turkish flank , but the treachery of Luc Brancovic seals the fate of the Serbian army as Luc flees the battlefield . Prince Lazar is made prisoner and too late he realises the loyalty of Obilic as he sees his head impaled on a pike . His own fate is the same , and a Serbian man volunteers to let one of his hands be cut by the Turks as price for taking Lazar's and Obilic's heads back to their people for a decent Christian burial .

Today it is Prince Lazar and warrior Obilic who are remembered centuries later by the Serbian people , for they were men of honour ; and while power on the earth is fleeting , the glory of having fought with honour is immortal !!

The movie is hampered by it's low budget , for it was produced by a medium sized European country and not by Hollywood with it's big bucks . So the battle could not be reproduced on a vast scale . Instead it is shown as a series of local actions . But acting by everyone is good and background music is decent . The emotions on every Serb's face as they face the impending catastrophe are authentic . The old sultan Murad is a picture of calm as he rentlessly carries out his sinister intentions , and he faces his own assassination by Obilic calmly too . In contrast , his son sultan Bayazid is haughty and arrogant as he carries out his task cruelly .

Those who like history ( like I do ) will be interested in this movie . I would rate it as okay .

Verdict---Two and a half stars out of five .
 
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ashdoc

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Dec 7, 2017
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Mumbai
Waterloo ( 1970 )

Waterloo movie's main achievement is the fact that it manages to win a bit of sympathy for the loser of the battle of Waterloo , Napolean Bonaparte . Inspite of him being a megalomaniac who invaded large parts of Europe , you do feel for the great man as he nears the end of his illustrious career as warrior .

The movie was made with Russian soldiers as extras , which reduced the budget as they demanded less pay than westerners and allowed for the creation of large armies of actual men rather than create them by special effects . That indeed is the special point of the film ; it really shows large armies of real men manoeuvring and skirmishing and clashing in battle .

The movie begins with Napolean surrendering before his enemies and being forced to abdicate to the island of Elba , but a wave of popular emotion in France brings him back to power . The scenes of crowds of French men and women cheering him are authentically portrayed . Marshals who have promised to keep Napolean in an iron cage are forced to accept him back and he forgives them generously because he needs them to command his armies . But his enemies led by the British are not ready to accept him as ruler of France and war is certain .

The British forces are led by Arthur Wellesley , a slim and cool person who is not ruffled by changes in fortune when battle is going on or when persons close to him are killed ; His own daughter's fiance is destined to be killed in the coming encounter . As news comes that Napolean is on the march , Wellesley coolly asks the ball dance that is happening to go on . He shockingly talks about his own soldiers as scum , but accepts before his wife that the scum are wiling to lay their lives for him .

The tension in the two camps on the night before battle is well built up , and Napolean has ill health because of the tension . The battle is all or nothing for him , and France is alone against the armies of Britain and Prussia . The Prussians are led by Blucher but are away and it is not certain whether they will arrive to impact the battle in time .

As the two armies confront each other , it is a grand spectacle for a connoisseur of war movies . The British are in red uniforms , the French are in blue and the Prussians are in black .Perfectly disciplined formations of men go into battle with drums beating and guns roaring and firing yellow flames and acrid smoke . The charges of heavy cavalry are well pictured , with masses of horsemen charging the battleground in ever increasing speed filling you with awe and the enemy with fear .

At first the battle goes in favour of the French as they manage to storm a well defended fortified position of the British , but when Napolean is taking rest his marshal orders a charge of cavalry without infantry support . The British infantry which is well dug in defends doggedly by making several square formations . However Napolean still manages to retrieve the French position and soon Wellesley is in dispair as he is staring at defeat . But the French marshal ( Degrouchy ) who was supposed to stop the Prussians sticks too rigidly to orders and does not follow their forces . This allows Blucher and his Prussians to arrive to attack the main French troops just when needed by their allies the British . The battle decisively swings in the favour of Napolean's enemies because of this and all is lost for him.....his troops however refuse the British offer to surrender and prefer to to be mown down by artillery guns to redeem their honour ; the final scene is full of pathos as the victor ( Arthur Wellesley---the future Duke of Wellington ) surveys the battlefield .

The movie scores in acting , and photography and colours are good . Background music is decent too . I would rate it three stars out of five .