Ivan’s Childhood – Movie Review

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky

Story: Vladimir Bogomolov

Cinematography: Vadim Yuosov

Screen play: Andrei Tarkovsky,Andrei Konchalovsky,Vladimir Bogomolov & Mikhail Papava

Production: MOS Film

Release date: 6th APril 1962

This masterpiece (1962) from Andrei Tarkovsky on the backdrop of second world war will make you fall in love with the movie from the very first scene. The movie was adapted from a story by Vladimir Bogomolov. Tarkovsky got the movie only because it was abandoned by a fellow graduate. He made the most of it and that too in his debut movie, tells a lot about the brilliance of the director. The film focusses on the lives of people crippled by the war rather than on heavy bombings and combats.

The story revolves around a 12-year-old boy Ivan (Nikolai Burlyaev) who happened to be a scout of the Soviet army during the fag end of the second world war. The boy has lost his family during the war. His mother and sister were killed by the Nazis and his father was killed at the border.  Although 12 years old, Ivan’s face depicts none of the innocence of childhood. He is full of anger and overwhelmed by the feeling of avenge. The war has torn away his childhood.

He just enters an army post and announces that he wants to meet the commander. After much persuasion, he was taken to the commander. They decide that he should go to an army school since there is no place for a child in war. The boy refuses to go to the army school since he wanted to continue as a scout. The boy’s stubbornness wins, and he remains as a scout with the army.

The life was hell in Russia during Nazi invasion. The director managed to portray the hardship of war through a few scenes interspersed with a series of dream sequences which took the movie to an altogether different level. There was hardly any scene which depicts a war or a combat. But it is in the air through out and you literally feel it. That shows the brilliance of the director. Brilliant acting and photography have added new dimensions to the movie.

The Photography by Vadim Yusov needs a special mention. The birch tree forests, the dream sequences, the final mission on marsh are a bliss to watch.

Dream sequences:

The boy’s past is revealed mostly through dreams which was shot brilliantly by the director.

The first dream sequence shows the boy strolling through the woods chasing butterflies indicating a happy past.  He tells his mother that there is a cuckoo in the woods. Suddenly he wakes up from the sleep into the dark reality of war.

The second dream sequence shows the boy and his mother taking a deep look into a well. The mother tells the boy that there is a star in the well. In the next scene the boy is shown inside the well trying to hold the water along with the star. Then suddenly the pail comes down amidst a lot of crumbling voices. Ivan cries out for his mother. The mother is seen lying face down on the ground next to the well.

The Third dream shows the boy travelling in a truck with full of apples. Suddenly it starts raining. For the first time we see a little girl, presumably his sister. The boy picks up the apples and holds it in rain.  Apples fall from the vehicle. Some horses appear and they start eating the spilled apples on the road as the vehicle moves by.

The fourth dream clearly indicates the death of the boy. Is it really a dream? The question arises if it is a dream then who is dreaming it since Ivan is already dead. It is an extension of the first dream where the boy was seen drinking water from a bowl on the riverbank. His mother smiles at him and leaves to draw further water from the river. She looks back and again smiles at him.  Suddenly we see the little girl we saw on the third dream running along the banks. The boy runs behind her. The girl keeps running faster. The boy increases his pace and outrun the girl straight into the shallow water where he almost collides with a dead tree.

The story also takes you through the love triangle involving captain Kholin, Lieutenant Galtsev and Masha. Critics have questioned about the romantic element in a serious cinema. It is a universal truth that even during hard times the human emotions remain the same. Moreover, the kissing scene remains one of the best scenes shot ever.

The final mission in marsh where the soldiers try to retrieve the bodies of scouts killed and put on display by the Nazis’ is brilliantly done and will remain etched in your memory. As the film moves to an unavoidable tragic end which wrenches your heart, you are left amazed by the genius of Andrei Tarkovsky.

The movie was well received the world over when it was released. It won the Golden Lion award at the Venice film fest. It had its share of critics, particularly from the communist press. But they were countered by none other than by Jean-Paul Sartre. Ingrid Bergman had to say this about Tarkovsky.

When I discovered the first films of Tarkovsky, it was a miracle. I suddenly found myself before a door to which I had never had the key, a room which I had always wished to penetrate and wherein he felt perfectly at ease. Someone was able to express what I had always wished to say without knowing how. For me Tarkovsky is the greatest filmmaker

Such a brilliant comment from the master!

A must watch if you love realistic movies. The current generation of film makers would do well to watch this movie and would be amazed by the ease with which a debutant  director had handled the scenes.

Full Movie with English subtitles
Nikola Burlyaev – Ivan
Valentin Zubkov- Capt.Kholin
Evgeny Zharikov-Lt.Galtsev
Stepan Krylov – Cap.Katasonov
Nikolai Grinko – Lt.col.Gryaznow
Dmitri Milyutenko – Old Man
Valentina Malyavina – Masha
Irma Raush – Ivan’s Mother
Andrei Konchalovskiy – Soldier

Manikarnika Movie review: Another failed attempt to cash in on patriotism

Manikarnika the queen of Jhansi is a disappointment to say the least. We all grew up hearing to the heroics of one of the key warriors of independence movement. Unfortunately the movie turns out to be another damp squib which fails to touch your soul. The movie tries to cash in on the patriotic sentiments of people, but falls flat on its face.

Image courtesy You Tube

The movie takes you through the journey of a child to the throne of Jhansi and her confrontation with the East India Company to salvage her kingdom. Rani Laxmi Bai’s name is written in golden letters in the history of our independence struggle, but the director fails to do any justice to the martyr’s short but glorious life. The movie is all about Kangana Ranaut. She is there in almost all the scenes from beginning to end. To be fair to her she did justice to the role.

Clip courtesy You Tube

The first half is devoted to Manikarnika’s childhood and her marriage to the ruler of Jhansi. The second half takes you through the palace treachery which catapults her to the throne of Jhansi and her battle with the British. The visual effects and the action scenes are ordinary. The dialogue penned by Prasoon joshi keeps harping on swabhiman and Mathrubhumi. The screen play by K.K Vijayendraprasad has nothing to rivet you on your seat. The characters of seasoned actors like Danny denzongpa and Atul Kulkarni were never allowed to rise above the mediocre.

The film leaves you exhausted. Why do we allow people to make such movies? It is time we passed a law to stop exploiting the stories of our great freedom fighters for commercial gains. If Rani Laxmi Bai were alive today she would have certainly pointed her sword at the makers of this movie.

Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Ankita Lokhande, Jisshu Sengupta, Zeeshan Ayyub, Danny Denzongpa, Atul Kulkarni, Khulbhushan Kharbanda

Direction: Kangana Ranaut & Murali Krishna Jagarlamudi

Producers: Zee Studios, Kamal Jain & Nishant Pitti

Release Date: 25.01.2019

Tumbbad – Movie Review

Tumbbad is a mysterious movie which is least expected from the Bollywood. No stars, no big names here, but the story turns out to be the star itself. The movie directed by debutant Rahil Anil Barve opens up a creepy mysterious world that has become alien to the Bollywood for quite a long time.

The film, based on a Marathi story written by Narayan Dharap, is set in a rural village in Maharashtra and spans over a period of three decades from 1918 to 1947. The plot revolves around the hunt for an ancestral treasure hidden in unknown recess in a dilapidated mansion.

Along with the hunt for the treasure the story takes you through the greed of mankind. The fear of uncertain and unknown lurk around through out the movie. The movie builds on the village legend that, Hastar, the first and most beloved child of goddess of prosperity tries to gather all the gold and grain which infuriate other gods. They attack Hastar, but the goddess hides his son in her womb and agrees to the condition that nobody worships Hastar anymore. Somebody in the village builds a temple for Hastar and worships him for the lust of the hidden gold which infuriates other gods who curse the village with incessant rain.

A young boy, Vinayak, sets his eyes on the treasure hidden somewhere in the mansion. His mother forbids him even to talk about the treasure as it is a cursed one. The family abandons tumbaad and migrates to Pune after the death of Sarkar (Local Zamindar). The mother makes the son promise that he will never set foot in Tumbaad again. But the greed for the treasure makes him return to the village after 15 years. Vinayak finds the Dadi still alive although in a skeleton form. He learns the way to the treasure from her and set her ablaze to give her mukti.

Vinayak becomes richer and richer after every visit to the mansion. His life style changes dramatically, he visits brothel and have a mistress. As the time goes by Vinayak gets older and finds himself unable for the arduous task of unearthing the treasure. He trains his son for the task. As the story progresses, the son become more greedier than the father and that leads to a catastrophe . The climax scene was brilliantly shot where the monsters kept coming one after the another that left Vinayak and his son helpless.

The film emphasizes that the human greed has no limit. The lust for money and women predominates the protagonist of the movie which eventually leads to his downfall.

Sohum Shah plays the lead and has essayed the role convincingly, but one feels he could have shown more emotions. His son played by Mohammad Samad was another notable performance. On the hindsight the movie could have been made much better. The director could have further explored the psyche of the main protagonist. The wife played by Anita Date was reduced to just another typical housewife.

India has a rich tradition of classical tales. It just surprises that how we ignore those gems and make sub standard movies. The credit goes to the director, Rahil Anil Barve for unearthing one of the gems. The film is beautifully shot by Pankaj Kumar capturing the drenched land scape and the “womb” of the goddess with equal aplomb. The movie is made on a meager budget of Rs.5 crore and reportedly collected around Rs.13.75 crore. It is a welcome relief from the pompous and chest thumping duds like 2.0, Thugs of Hindustan or a Zero. It certainly deserves a more wider audience.

Film Release Date: 12.10.2018. Now available in Prime video

Producers: Sohum Shah, Anand L Rai, Mukesh Shah, Amita Shah

Screen Play: Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Rahil Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi


No surprises here. As expected the movie failed to live up to the expectations. It is not even an average movie. It is a damp squib which insults the intelligence of the audience.

The story revolves around Bauua Singh (Sha Rukh), a 38 year old dwarf, a good for nothing fellow based in Meerut who does nothing but splashes his fathers earnings, roam around the city with his friends and obsessed with a Bollywood starlet, Babita Kumari (Katrina Kaiff)

A marriage broker sets up a match for Bauua with a space scientist Aafia(Anushka Sharma) who is physically challenged an bound in a wheel chair. After the initial altercation the two fall in love and decides to get married. A chance meeting with Babita Kumari and a kiss on the middle of the road change the course of the life of Bauua Singh.

On the weding day, Bauua is informed that he was selected for a dance completion and the winner will get a chance to meet Babita Kumari. He runs away from the marriage hall. He wins the completion and gets a chance to meet Babita Kumari. The life of Bauua changes forever. He becomes a part of Babita kumaris team and accompanies her everywhere. Another altercation and Babita Kumari throws him out of her home. He yearns to return to Affia, who is in USA and works for the worlds largest space research centre. Bauaa and his side kick packs their bag and fly to USA to meet Aafia.

Here onwards the director looses the grip and takes the story to preposterous level. The final slap on the face of the viewer is Bauua’s return from space after 15 years.

Zero turns out to be another disappointment of 2018 after Thugs of Hindostan and 2.0. The story is pedestrian, the plot is hackneyed, the direction is amateurish at the best.

To be honest, Shah Rukh, Katrina and Anushka gave their best, but the director failed to put up a decent plot and a convincing story line.

Anushka’s performance stood out and needs an applause. Surprisingly Katrina gave a good performance especially in the inebriated scenes’. Sha Rukh Khan once again proved that why he is still labelled as the king of romance. He exuded warmth and charm through out the movies. But he needs to choose his movies well. More than the movie he should choose the directors well. Otherwise he will be dethroned as the Badshah of Bollywood soon.

According to the trade reports, Movies has collected Rs.20 crore on the opening day, way below the expectations. Movie would well recover the initial cost because of the wide screen releases and the week end crowd. Even if it fails, the PR agents will prove that the movie is a hit by their constant feeds of inflated figures. At the end it is the public who are the losers.

Movie lovers in India deserves a better product Their intelligence should not be insulted. They have every right to sue the director Anand L Rai & Gauri Khan for refund of the money they paid for the movie ticket.

Zero- Another Dud From Shah Rukh Khan?

The much awaited movie Zero is getting released this Friday. Zero could very well turn out to be a major disappointment for Shah Rukh Khan. We have already seen two duds during the last two months, Amir Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan & Rajnikants’s 2.0. The former tanked at the box office while the latter is reportedly believed to be minting money. Rather the media wants us to believe that 2.0 is a major hit which sounds to be untrue.

The trailer of the movie has evoked mixed responses from the larger public. The story moves along the line of a typical Shah Rukh romantic movie. Only noticeable difference is that the hero is a dwarf and the heroine (Anushka Sharma) a disabled person. Katrina Kaif forms the third angle as the Bollywood heroine. The young generation is bound to ask what’s new and what’s different.

Sharukh has been doing the same role over and again during the last two decades. The last few films have been duds and failed to rake in the moolah even though the press wanted us to believe otherwise. In the meanwhile a bunch of young stars have come up in Bollywood and the younger generation relate with them more than Sharukh. Obviously the charm of the superstar is fading.

The trailer of the movie does not inspire much confidence. The film has also received a lot of flak for the technical gaffe of hero appearing as a dwarf in some scenes and a full blown adult in other scenes. That is unforgiveable given the kind of technical know how we have today.

The winter of 1993 saw the emergence of a new super star in Bollywood. Winter of 2018 could very well turn out to be a disaster for the ageing super star.