Munna Michael..... Just a passable affair!

Munna Michael follows the formula of musical films about disco dancers made during 1980s to the core. You know, the kind of films Mithun Chakraborty was identified with! Such films also provided ample scope for action. Dances were the mainstay of these films. Action and romance followed. But this time TV serials related to dance competitions replace the disco dancing.

An infant is left in a garbage dump. A dejected Michael (Ronit Roy), just thrown out of a dance group after being told he had passed his ‘best before’ date, is walking home drowning his sorrows in alcohol when he notices this infant. He brings him home and decides to tend to him. Not able to think of a name for him, he just calls him Munna (Tiger Shroff) who later adds Ronit’s character name, Michael, as his father’s name. Munna has an ear for music. As an infant, whenever he cried, all that his father had to do was to play music and the child would stop crying.

Munna takes to dancing from the beginning. He dances his way through the school and later, as a grown up, rules the clubs. But soon, after an influential lad loses to Munna, he is banned from all Mumbai clubs.

Munna moves to Delhi and it is time to introduce the baddies. Munna has an altercation with some goons. One of them happens to be the brother of Mahinder Fauji (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a big time land-grabber don of Delhi. Mahinder is supposed to be a strongman and, hence, his introduction is through a fight he is involved in with a bunch of musclemen.

Like all dons, Mahinder can’t bear his brother being defeated by anybody. He soon sets out to settle the score with Munna. When he spots Munna, he sees him dancing. Mahinder is impressed with what he sees. Mahinder can’t dance at all but it is his weakness because he is in silent love with Dolly (Nidhi Agerwal) who dances in a local hotel. He asks Munna to teach him to dance within a month. Because, Mahinder wants to dance with Dolly and impress her on Valentine’s Day. Munna accepts this impossible job since the money offered is good.

Meanwhile, the musclemen whom Mahinder had beaten up take him by surprise when he is alone and just when they are about to kill him, Munna turns up and saves his life. Much obliged, Mahinder makes Munna his brother.

Forty minutes into the film and it is time to introduce the girl. Mahinder takes Munna to see Dolly dance and later makes him his personal courier boy to deliver gifts and messages to Dolly. As usually happens in films, Dolly starts loving Munna. Wanting Dolly to be close to him, Mahinder offers Dolly the job to dance in his own hotel and also gifts her with a flat and a car.

But, Mahinder’s brother spoils things by trying to molest Dolly and she runs away to Mumbai. Mahinder asks Munna to find her. As expected, he finds her at a studio participating in a dance contest. Munna lets his dancing buddies form a group with her but keeps his dancing talents a secret from her.

As the dance competition is entering its final stage and getting no result from Munna, Mahinder lands up in Mumbai. On learning that Munna and Dolly are a pair, angry Mahinder wants to kill both.

The idea of making this into a love triangle does not quite work as both men, Munna and Mahinder loving the same girl. While one can watch dances, too much of same kind of action spoils the fun. There also needed to be some light moments.

The film is passable through its first part but after interval, it goes off road many times. It is a musical fine but a couple of songs mar the pace of the film. Director Sabbir Khan has earlier worked with Munna in Heropanti and Baaghi, but counting only on his two prowesses, dance and action is not enough. Editing needed to be sharper. Musically, the dance songs are good along with the romantic number - Pyar Ho.

Performance wise, there is not much to write about. While Munna dances well and is good in action, Mahinder is miscast. Dolly is passable.

On the whole, Munna Michael has not been received well and the reports mar its further prospects.

 Producers: Viki Rajani

Direcrtor: Sabbiir Khan

Cast: Munna Shroff, Mahinder Siddiqui, DollyAgerwal.

Lipstick Under My Burkha…….Of curtailed lives

More and more woman oriented films are being made and, most of them try to show the bolder side of the woman or try to get into the inner self of one. Not long ago, there was a film, Parched, which juxtaposed lives of three women from Rajasthan; the film was also directed by a woman director, Leena Yadav. The film dealt with miseries of these women and how they found solace from each other’s company.

Lipstick Under My Burkha takes up the cause of four women from Bhopal and scans through their aspirations and desires which they can’t air openly.

The film is about male domination and the patriarchal society. So here there are four women living under the same roof. That being a crumbling mansion owned by Usha (Ratna Pathak Shah). Not much has changed really since instead of men, it is her writ that runs in this house.

Usha’s subjects are Shireen (Konkona Sen Sharma), a mother of three with a husband played by Sushant Singh, who thinks a wife is meant only for sex and bear children; Leela (Ahana Kumra), owner of a small time beauty parlour in the locality whose sexual desires matter to her and the world be damned and where from she gets it is also immaterial to her; there is Rihana (Plabita Borthakur) who is neither here nor there stuck between her parents’ orthodox ways and her aspirations. Then, there is Usha, who has been discounted as an aunt because of her age. None thinks at her age she also could have desires, which she has.

The title is suggestive of the hidden desires of women like a woman hidden under a burkha. They are not aired, just dreamt about.

The thing with Lipstick Under My Burkha is that, it is a film about underprivileged small city women, not that big city women don’t suffer the same fate.

This is a performance oriented film and while Konkona Sen Sharma, Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur do very well it is Ratna Pathak Shah who hogs the limelight. The male actors are fillers.

Despite its limited and publicity it got during the Censor controversy, Lipstick Under My Burkha has limited scope at few upmarket multiplexes.

Producers: Prakash Jha.

Director: Alankrita Srivastava.

Cast: Ratna Pathak Shah, KonkonaSensharma, AahanaKumra, PlabitaBorthakur, Vikrant Massey, Sushant Singh, Shashank Arora, VaibhavTatwawaadi, Jagat Singh Solanki.

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