All posts by Nymphea Saraf

About Nymphea Saraf

An Engineer by profession, a romantic at Heart, a no nonsense critic.


This year in Hindi Cinema hasn’t been great for the makers and viewers alike. We have seen many hyped films which turned out to be let downs. Newton gives us a refreshing breather from the monotony.

Newton takes us through a day in the lives of people who have the responsibility of conducting elections in dangerous jungle terrains of Chattisgarh. Rajkummar Rao is Newton Kumar who takes up the challenge of presiding over the arrangements when one of his collegues backs out citing pretexts. The ever so eternal Newton’s apple finds place in the script when Newton Kumar bites on one whilst reading the election comminsion’s manual. He is earnest to follow the rules laid out herewith and though he isn’t not innovative himself, but looks forward to carrying out the directions given to him.

Aatma Singh, played by Pankaj Tripathi enters as the officer who is responsible for the security of Newton and his team and he tests the patience and integrity of Newton. His sole aim is to detract Newton from carrying out his duties at every turn. Newton and his team simply want to set up a polling booth in a government school in a far flung area and to register at least 76 tribals’ votes.

The screenplay written by Masurkar and Mayank Tripathi delves into the elaborate details of how India’s election system works and what makes it somewhat of a success even with the flaws in its execution.

Newton is a comedy with dark hues and has its moments of dread and thrills. It makes you realise our capability of bringing a positive change in our social fabric. Rajkummar Rao performs exceptionally well and we want to see more of him in mainstream Cinema.

In dealing with the mundane characters, the screenplay writers Masurkar and Mayank Tiwari touch upon vast subjects like tribal suppression, maoist mentality and prevalent corruption of our system that prevents its smooth running. Newton makes you review your contribution in building the nation even while it keeps you engrossed in the elections and their outcome. We have incredible Cinema on our hands right now and shouldn’t give it a miss.

P.S.: Newton is India’s official entry to Oscars this year.

My Rating: 4/5



Simran is to Kangana Ranaut, what Agent Vinod was to Saif Ali Khan; a vanity project. Sometimes stars get such a high in looking at themselves on screen that they want to overshadow all other actors, resulting in something like Simran. Simran could have been so much better, had it been an ensemble film rather than a one (wo)man show.

Having said that, we hardly have an actress of Kangana’s calibre in the industry at present and she does prove her mettle with her flawless acting as Praful Patel in this comedy-drama-heist movie, but films are and have always been a team effort and one single person simply cannot be the center of it all.

Praful is a divorcee who lives with her parents who clearly aren’t happy with her being divorced. She works in the housekeeping department of a five star Atlanta hotel but has bigger dreams and aspirations which drives her to the world of crime. It all starts with her trip to Las Vegas, where a chain of events drives her to a life of crime.

The film does start well and on a good note but loses all sanity and logic gradually. Simran tries to be a comedy, drama and thriller and ends up being none. Sohum Shah who enters as Praful’s future husband comes and goes unnoticed in Kangana’s shadow. The music is passable too and does nothing great for the film.

Hansal Mehta seems so overwhelmed by Kangana’s presence that he seems to have given up on efforts to keep the story on track and just to appease Kangana as the ‘co-writer’, lets the film suffer in the end.

You may give Simran a pass unless you are a die hard Kangana fan and absolutely can’t miss it. Kangana needs to understand that ‘having a vagina’ cannot be an excuse for all gaffes. Sometimes a little more hardwork and insight is needed rather than washing your dirty linen in public to make your movie work.

My Rating: 2.5

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Karan Johar films don’t usually fall in this league. It looks like he is trying hard to be someone he is not. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is confusing, soulless, torturous and plain stupid. Karan Johar has always been a filmmaker who may not have made epic movies, but his movies have been watchable and enjoyable and full paisa vasool till now. With ADHM, he tried to imitate Imtiaz Ali and fails miserably.

Ranbir Kapoor,  who plays Ayaan, looks lost and tries to get bits from his Tamasha and Rockstar characters into Ayaan, but ends up looking like he’s clinically insane. The female leads Aishwarya and Anushka play their characters very well, but even Anushka’s acting prowess cannot help the moronic twists that her character Alizeh is subjected to.

Fawad Khan’s role is inconsequential and absolutely not worth all the hullabaloo that was raised against him. Even reshooting the bits played by him would have been viable for the producers and wouldn’t have made any difference to the final outcome. Only Aishwarya and Ranbir’s chemistry gives a brief respite from the aberration that is ADHM.

In short, ADHM is a poorly written, badly executed and pathetically edited film and such films should actually be banned to save the audience’s sanity.

My rating: 1/5

Neerja – Power-Packed

I did not intend to see this movie but I am thankful to Bobby Singh from whose review and subsequent persuasion led me to watching it. At the offset,  let me tell you that by the end of the movie, most people in the hall were left in tears and you could hear sniffling all over.


The reason I didn’t want to see it was because I didn’t expect much from Sonam Kapoor as far as her acting skills are concerned. But she is good in the role of Neerja Bhanot, a braveheart, who saved many lives through her courage and presence of mind in the Pan Am flight hijack at Karachi airport in 1986. But the actress who really shines through is Shabana Azmi in her crucial and impactful role of Neerja’s mother.

It was her dialogue delivery and heartfelt emoting that left us all in tears at the sorrow, regret and above all, the pride that a mother would feel when her beloved daughter dies at the age of 23, but does so while saving hundreds of lives of people who are not even related to her but she does so for the sake of her duty towards the passengers and basic human kindness. This kind of courage through kindness does not come to many people but blessed are those, who do not even fear to lay their own lives for the sake of duty.


Neerja was not a soldier but what she did was no less than what a soldier would do. The best part about this movie is the plot and the treatment of the plot. Sonam Kapoor does not let her own personality overshadow that of the character she is playing, which is commendable and I hope she continues improving on her acting and more importantly her dialect and voice modulation.

The camera being a little shaky at the start, kind of gives you a headache but that stops when the actual flight scenes begin. The irony lies in the scenes where  Neerja is preparing for her first flight as the head of cabin crew and at the same time the terrorists are preparing to hijack the flight, and lacing themselves with guns and grenades. One wonders what does it all happen for. Are so many human lives worth being taken for the very God who has gifted them to us?


Watch this movie, even if you don’t like Sonam Kapoor because it is not about her. It is about the unflinching human spirit, love and compassion which is very nicely executed by Ram Madhvani.  I would again like to mention here the sublime and stellar performance by Shabana Azmi. Its her depiction of the emotions of Neerja’s mother that brings you to tears and makes your heart go out to the family that has suffered through the pangs of losing such an exemplary daughter.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Fitoor – Casting is the Villain

Before I start reviewing ‘Fitoor’, I must tell you that my judgement may be seriously affected, having read the book beforehand.  I have hardly ever found a movie that has lived upto the book it’s based on.


Casting is highly flawed,  right from Noor’s sister and brother in law to adult Noor and Fridaus themselves. But the young Noor is amazing and you wish that Katrina could emote as well as the young Firdaus. The first encounter between them and the Begum is exactly as Charles Dickens has written it and the beginning makes you anticipate that Abhishek Kapoor will do justice to the rest of it too. But, as I said before, the villain in this story is the highly flawed casting.


I feel Katrina has tried to emulate Gwyneth Paltrow from her 1998 movie Great Expectations, even copying her way of dressing at places, but there’s no comparison there too. I do not understand why she is incapable of working on her pronunciation!!  Millions of Indian youngsters learn American and British accents to work in US and UK call centers in India, and even when she is getting paid in millions, she isn’t competent enough to learn a Hindi accent! Surprising to see that a girl who can write so well in urdu, cannot speak it well!

It starts dragging as soon as Noor and Firdaus grow up, which is very soon. You can never find a flaw with Tabu, even if you tried but our real life Ms. Havisham, Rekha, would have made it more real, had she finished the shoot. Fitoor makes you wish that you had a fast forward button or at least sleep through the drag.


Ajay Devgan is good in the short part that he is assigned and Lara Dutta seems to be making one bad career choice after another, first with ‘Singh is Bling’ and now this. Considering her work in Chalo Dilli,  I am sure she is capable of better things than this. Aditi Rao Hydari is good in her short appearance as the young Begum too. Rahul Bhatt looks plain cocky.

Aditya Roy Kapoor looks like a prop in most parts. Fitoor is not bad overall, but lacks consistency in its treatment quality. Wish it was as good overall as it is in parts. You can miss this one as at the most, it will be a Snoozefest. I wish they had worked half as hard on the movie as they did on its promotional activities. I hope Abhishek Kapoor can revive his Kai Po Che and Rock On performance in his future projects. He sure has potential.

My Rating: 2/5