Saturday 28 November 2015


- Sidharth Sharma.

Tamasha- A beautifully crafted narrative uplifted by some brilliant performances! 

Cast- Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Javed Sheikh, Vivek Mushran, Piyush Mishra 

Direction- Imtiaz Ali 
Verdict- 3.5 / 5 
Every child is fascinated by stories, isn't it? Some simply listen to these stories, others live it! Tamasha depicts the journey of one such child- his aspirations, his love-life and the inner conflict that he faces. Will it be able to strike the right chord with the audiences? Let's find out. 

The movie depicts the journey of a free-spirited Vedwardhan Sahni (Kapoor), who since childhood is enchanted by stories. Years later in Corsica, he meets Tara Maheshwari (Deepika), a tourist who has lost all her belongings. Soon they bond up with each other, but decide not to reveal their true identity (coz what happens in Corsica, stays in Corsica!). Her one-week stay in Corsica brings Tara close to Ved. She starts missing him after returning from Corsica. But a few years later, faith brings them together once again in Delhi. The rest of the story deals with the 
complications they face in their relationship, Ved’s inner conflict and how they manage to tackle these odds! 

Imtiaz Ali showcases a simple story in an extraordinary manner. It is not merely a love story- it is about realizing your dreams and pursuing your passion. Many of us dream, but only a few of us dare to do it. And then one day, somebody makes us realize what our passion is. It deals with the social stigma of go-with-the-flow, rather than pursuing something different and ‘hatke’! The writing department deserves an applause for penning a script, which is so regular, yet so different! The screenplay has been brilliantly written and is quite different from the rest of the movies of this genre. It is medium paced, but never loses the grip. Infact, this is what forms the soul of the movie! The first half is chirpy and it gives the feeling of a ‘rom-com’. But it is only towards the second half that you realize that this movie has much more to it than just romance! The concept of storytelling works quite well to showcase the mindset of a nine-year old. Also, the repetition of certain scenes seems to be perfect to depict his monotonous life as a ‘Product Manager’. The second half is loaded with emotions, which have been layered perfectly to suit the mood of the movie. The post break-up scene is the most heart-touching scene of the movie. But certain scenes seem to be exaggerated and that’s disappointing! Apart from that, other aspects of screenplay seem to be alright! Dialogues are utterly suitable to depict a regular conversation and work in favour of the movie! 

After the debacle of ‘Roy’ and ‘Bombay Velvet’, Ranbir Kapoor is back with a bang! A natural performer, Ranbir simply nails it this time! He performs extremely well and does full justice to his role. It would be difficult to judge any scene as his best. Deepika Padukone is perhaps, the perfect choice for Tara Maheshwari! She delivers an outstanding performance this time! She has a great emotional appeal and her chemistry with her ex-flame is just sizzling! Javed Sheikh, as Ranbir’s father performs well in whatever screen time he gets. Vivek Mushran, as Ranbir’s boss performs well and adds to the humour quotient. Other actors lend their support quite well!! 

The Cinematography by Ravi Varman is impeccable! The scenes in Corsico have been brilliantly shot! Varman succeeds in capturing the mood of the film quite well, with just the perfect amount of lighting in all the scenes! Aarti Bajaj’s editing deserves a special mention. In a movie like this, where editing could’ve gone horribly wrong, Bajaj manages to depict every scene with just the perfect cuts and trims! The soundtrack by A.R. Rahman complements the mood of the movie! ‘Matargashti’ stands out among the rest! 

Imtiaz Ali’s direction is good but not perfect. He paints his canvas with the colour of emotions and that’s applaudable! But the film lacks mass-appeal. Otherwise, the film scores well in all other aspects! 

Final Verdict- A must watch for all RK-Deepika fans! Might not appeal to the masses!

GST - An Insight

- Naba Raj Chetri.

The much discussed GST (Goods and Services Tax) is again a political hotcake in the recently commenced winter parliamentary session . Considered as the single biggest  tax reform, it is supposed to simplify the multiple taxation system present in India.

What is GST?
GST is basically an indirect tax that brings most of the taxes imposed on  goods and services like central sales tax, state sales tax, license fee, entry fees,  under a single roof in the national level. In GST system both Central and State GST will be charged on manufacturing cost which will be collected at the point of sale. With its implantation manufacturing tax will dip from 28% to 20%, and service tax, which is at 14 percent will rise to 20%, but there will still remain a 2-4% benefit for the consumers and it is supposed to bring down all prices by 1.5-2%. Ease of doing business is supposed to be much stress-free as various hidden taxes will be eliminated.

The GST bill has been deterred for the past 15 years. In 2000 the Vajpayee government setup a committee headed by Asim Dasgupta, which had the task to design the GST model and overseeing the IT backed preparedness for its rollout.

In the budget speech of 2006-07 of P.Chidambaram, the proposal to introduce national level GST by April1,2010 , was mooted.

This Bill was passed in the Lower House on 6 May,2015, receiving 352 votes for and 37 votes against the motion. The Government tried to pass it in the Rajya Sabha but the house was stalled and the bill couldnot be passed.

This bill also comes with an equal share of advantages and disadvantages. Few of them are discussed below:

Advantages of GST
  1. It is a transparent tax, customer will know exactly how much tax they are paying. It reduces the number of indirect tax.
  2. Tax collection is expected to rise by 30-40% and growth rate is supposed to reach double digit figure.
  3. Biggest benefit will be that multiple tax will be done away with and brought under GST. Ease of doing business is better as there are no hidden taxes.
  4. The average price of consumption is supposed to decline by 1.5-2%.
  5. By decreasing the price of commodities, the domestic consumption will increase, resulting in more productivity and hence more profit for the companies too.

Disadvantage of GST
  1. Leaving out petroleum products, electricity and real estate as mentioned in some reports can hugely undermine the whole purpose of GSTs.
  2. Producer states like Maharashtra and Gujarat are opposed to the idea of GST as it is destination based consumption model.
  3. It requires strong IT(Information Technology) infrastructure at grass root level, which is essentially lacking in India.

Many previous deadlines for the implementation of GST has been missed, the present date of April 2016 as given by Narendra Modi led government is also likely to be missed and it may extend upto October,2017. The government has already awarded Infosys Rs.1380 crore contract for building and maintaining the GST technology. The Government is all guns out and willing to pass the present GST. With a little reform in card, GST could really be the game changer that Indian Economy had been longing for in a very long time.
 * The Data remains true as on 29th November, 2015; Readers are to keep themselves updated about changes in the Bill.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Sunday 22 November 2015

Spectre (2015)

- Utpal.

This Daniel Craig starrer can't decide if it's a Bourne film or a Skyfall rehash

Stars: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux 
Director: Sam Mendes
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller

Recommendation Level: 6/10

People had almost lost interest in James Bond when Die Another Day limped out of theaters more than a decade ago. The Bond films were becoming increasingly cartoonish and every subsequent installment became more of a drinking game than an entertaining and smart thriller. It took a rather special effort to turn it all around as Daniel Craig burst on to the scene with Casino Royale and followed it up with the slightly disappointing Quantum of Solace and the terrific Skyfall.

In the latter, Bond was brought down to his knees, things got personal and the hero, who usually deals with over the top machinery and ludicrous firearm technology, was made to fight against a daunting enemy with handmade weapons and a radio. It was also the most beautiful looking Bond film to date. Director Sam Mendes had well and truly found a heart in the Bond films, capturing the essence of what makes Bond so classy and giving him a genuine threat to deal with. Bringing back Mendes for the new film signaled some more quality entertainment.

Unfortunately it all comes undone in the new film Spectre. Since Mendes already dealt with humanizing Bond in Skyfall, this time the filmmaker gives us the Bond from the Roger Moore era. Which means everything that was ludicrous and over the top in Bond movies makes a grand return in Spectre.
From flying helicopters and planes randomly making an appearance, to driving fast cars while dodging bullets and calmly chit-chatting in the midst, the silliness of Bond is back in Spectre. But that’s not the biggest problem in the film – the real problem is that the film isn’t sure whether it wants to be: a Bond movie or a Bourne movie. Both are vastly different tones, which don’t really gel together when the film tries to swing between both.

Those who were looking for answers to many of the questions posed in earlier Daniel Craig Bond movies will be disappointed. We finally get to know the big organisation that’s been using all the previous films’ villains as puppets. The annoying part is, that’s all the story is about, there’s nothing else. We get to know Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) is the big boss, and we get very little info on how and why he became the villain of villains.

To capitalize on the ‘personal’ angle that Mendes milked so beautifully in Skyfall, this time too there is a personal vendetta but one that doesn’t make much sense nor does it seem relevant to the plot. It feels like the writers John Logan, Purvis and Wade just had to make it personal for Bond because it worked the previous time and generated money. The film therefore plays out like a product of a massive focus group discussion and cynical market research than a Bond movie made by a bunch of genuine Bond fans.

Post the Austin Powers movies, Bond films that take themselves too seriously often come across as ludicrous. The clichéd, overtly contrived torture weapon made by a sneering villain is laughably bad. More hilarious than that is the fact that such a big mastermind of masterminds forgets to check if there’s some small strap that Bond can escape with.

The much hyped Monica Bellucci cameo gets over in a flash and Lea Seydoux is quite embarrassingly hammy as yet another Bond girl who falls desperate in love with Bond after hanging out with him for two scenes.
While Craig is still as classy as ever, Waltz’s big bad villain suffers from the same fate as Cumberbatch’s reveal in Star Trek Into Darkness. Even those who can’t figure out his identity will be left cold as to what the purpose of positioning the villain as the unstoppable, invincible force was, especially with the ease with which he gets taken down in the end.

There’s a whole section where Oberhauser spends time in the shadows, whispering in people’s ears to maintain anonymity, and later simply prances around in bright light simply telling Bond all his plans – it just doesn’t compute. The only truly admirable aspect of Spectre is the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema – though even that pales in comparison to Deakins’ work in Skyfall.

Thursday 19 November 2015

Snehal Deb

Don't let the Darkness define you
Rather, Defy it and Move on...

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Swachh Bharat Cess- The way forward

- Naba Raj Chetri.

The February budget session of the Parliament made an announcement regarding collection of Swachh Bharat Cess @2% (later 0.5%)  to fund the ambitious cleanup project “Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan" launched by the Government of India (GOI) on 2nd Oct 2014, to clean roads, streets and infrastructure of the country. The government as part of the notification dated 6th November announced 15th November 2015 as the date from which provision of section 119 would come into effect ( Chapter VI, Section119 of the Finance Act 2015 contains provision for levy of Swachh Bharat Cess) the tax was fixed @0.5% as opposed to earlier announcement of 2%.

Before moving to the pros and cons of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the understanding of Swachh Bharat Cess is necessary here. Cess is a form of tax earmarked for a particular purpose, e.g.  Education cess. The Swachh Bharat Cess is a tax on tax, i.e. it is a tax of 0.5% on already taxed items, earmarked for bringing toilets and cleanliness to every household of the nation, as the statement from the finance ministry read “This is not another tax but a step towards involving each and every citizen in making contribution to SwachhBharat ”.The Swachh BharatCess is not leviable on substances which are exempted from service tax.

The taxation has garnered mixed reaction with a Hindustan Times poll (data as on 14th November) showing 52.29% people in favour and 40% against the cess, the rest being neutral.

The Cess was welcome across India uniformly.Indians across the country stood for cleanliness and hygiene; the government seemed to be keen to cut health care cost too by providing proper sanitation. Many Indians who returned from abroad were among the frontrunner supporter of this lobby. A clean, green India was the need of the hour for many, so a small contribution towards the cleanliness of a country was seen as a welcome, as they felt themselves very much involved in the project. The Cess will be properly earmarked for the ministry of Urban Development and ministry of water resources.

On the other hand the critics specially lead by India Inc. wanted deferment of the Swachh Bharat Cess as it would affect ease of doing business, and also it wasagainst the spirit of GST, which the government has been lobbying for. Critics also complain of the decrease in the budget of rural sanitation and compensating it with cess, thus bringing the overall picture of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” at the same level as earlier year.

The Swachh Bharat Cess at 0.5% is an additional burden to the common man and its implementation needs to be carefully monitored, as it is often said that “It’s not the lack of money but the lack in intention that deters a task”. It is sincerely hoped that instead of working on advertising big banners, ground work to keep India Clean is more effectively implemented.

      Let the slogan “Atithi Devo Bhavba” greets people coming to India with cleaner roads and greenery all around. Let the people coming to India feel a greater sense of welcome to the country.

Sunday 15 November 2015


- Snehal Deb.

Behind the serene face, a fear lies.
Fear that trickles and hurts but never dies,
Scrapping all goodness and habits,
It takes me into its deadly presence.
Screwing the nerves, bending the emotions,
There by making me devoid of true happiness.

The growing fear is on a war footing,
Glitches and problems, it creates all day.
The cause of loose motion was not food poisoning,
Strange symptoms and hair fall in an uncommon way.
Feminine think only they experience these fears,
Researchers have proven how we also shed such tears.

Not to mention those friendly enemies,
Take your time and treat you like dummies.
Of course good and helpful ones are there,
Busy in their lives and family welfare.
When the sun of your life goes down,
Lies and betrayal is what you find here and there.

The slaughter, that fear and loneliness can cause,
Much more than a disease can cause in its discourse.
“You shouldn’t be negative” is one of those sounds,
Heard and responded like “life’s full of open wounds”.
Let me still dedicate these two lines away from fear,
In optimism and positiveness for future hoping it stays dear.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

- Sidharth Sharma.
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo- The narrative is as outdated as the title!

Cast- Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Swara Bhaskar, Anupam Kher, Armaan Kohli
Director- Sooraj R. Barjatiya

Verdict- 2.5/5

For some people, change is constant. And the same applies to Sooraj R Barjatiya. All his previous releases- Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum Saath Saath Hai, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun, Vivaah etc, have been somewhat similar- high on ‘sanskaar’, family bonding and pure vegetarian romance! Does he continue this trend with ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’? Lets find out.

Yuvraj Vijay Singh (Salman Khan), the prince of Pitampura, is engaged to Princess Maithili (Sonam Kapoor). He is soon to be crowned as the king. However, his step-brother, Ajay Singh (Neil Nitin Mukesh) eyes the throne. With the help of his manager, Chiraj Singh (Armaan Kohli), he plans an attack on Vijay. Vijay survives, but is seriously injured. Enters Prem, Vijay’s look-alike, who falls in love with Maithili and reaches Pitampura to meet her. He is spotted by Diwan Sahab (Anupam Kher), who gets him to take Vijay’s place, while Vijay is kept for recovery in a safehouse. The rest of the journey shows Prem’s journey in the Royal Family, his love for Maithili and how he unites the entire family together. (SPOILER ALERT- Click here to read the entire story)

Rajshri Productions seems to be stuck in the 90s. An outdated narrative, a weak plot, poor characterization- this is what best describes the film! Also, it is not like the other Barjatiya films- it focuses more on silly twists and turns, rather than showcasing the sweet family drama, which is a trademark of Rajshri Productions. The screenplay is too sluggish and slow-paced.  As if this wasn’t enough, the film is loaded with dollops of songs, which slows down the pace even more! The film offers only a few sweet moments. The romance between Maithili and Prem has been well directed, but their chemistry fails to impress. The worst part of the movie is the stretched climax, which is extremely boring! The dialogues are too clichéd. But for a movie whose title is ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’, you can’t expect anything better!

Salman Khan has nothing new to offer with his performance. Out of the two character that he plays, I would rate Prem as the better one. But this Prem is not as good as the Prem of the 90’s! Salman has the charm and the charisma required to play the character, but his acting skills need fine tuning. Sonam Kapoor delivers an average performance. Swara Bhaskar, otherwise a fine actor, is let down by a poorly written character. Neil Nitin Mukesh has been miscast as Ajay Singh. His dialogue delivery is extremely annoying and he remains blank-faced throughout. Armaan Kohli delivers a robotic performance. It seems as if he is still suffering from the hangover of his previous film, ‘Jaani Dushman- Ek anokhi Kahaani’! Anupam Kher performs well in whatever little screentime he gets.

The movie is magnificient in terms of sets and costumes. While some scenes have been brilliantly portrayed, others needed a lot of improvement. The movie has a run-time of almost 3 hours, which could have been easily overcome with some fine editing. The soundtrack of the movie is certainly disappointing and none of the songs manage to impress.

Director Sooraj R. Barjatiya fails to deliver an entertaining family movie this time. He relies heavily on his male lead, rather than focusing on the script and the screenplay. He fails to recreate the magic that he had done with ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’. Not a great comeback, Mr. Barjatiya!

Final Verdict- Might appeal to the family audiences and die-hard Sallu fans. Others, stay at home and save your ‘dhan’ this weekend!