Godfather

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For the large part of the world unfamiliar with the star power of South Indian actors, the makers of Godfather have made trailers and posters with Salman Khan standing shoulder to shoulder with Chiranjeevi.

While Salman Khan, who plays an unassailable hit man with the name Masoom bhai, makes several appearances, everyone knows that his ‘masoom’ (innocent) role is little more than a cameo, designed to give the film a boost for the Hindi/Urdu-speaking world.

The ploy worked, for at the time of typing this review, Godfather plays at the third spot in Netflix’s Top 10 trending movies.

The South Indian production Godfather trending in the Netflix Top 10 is ho-hum, while the unapologetic, self-centred Goodbye is long-drawn out and induces yawns

For a film boasting such a title and star cast, one should expect bombastic immoderation stuffed in every nook and cranny of the story. And it does not disappoint.

After the death of the righteous, good-Samaritan chief minister PKR (Sarvadaman D. Banerjee), the 140-member political party, the media and the state are in complete disarray.

A power struggle ensues with the zealousness benefitting any South Indian movie. The chief baddie of the lot is the late CM’s son-in-law, Jaidev (Satya Dev), a sneak who has emotionally manipulated the CM’s daughter Satyapriya (Nayanthara) with his dependable good-guy act.

Satyapriya, a political major from college, doesn’t have political ambitions, but she will eventually agree to put her name in the ring for the seat of the CM because she hates the man who has the most chances of succession: Brahma (Chiranjeevi) — a mysterious man who suddenly appeared out of the blue six years ago, became the party’s treasurer and the only man whom the late CM confided in.

Brahma is a man of authority who believes in doing good. He runs an ashram for the needy and helpless, and fights off hundreds of goons when he needs to. He is also the late CM’s illegitimate son (which, of course, is the key reason his half-sister hates him), and, as is apparent to everyone in the province, he has an underworld background.

It is here that one remembers what the title is, and who Brahma actually could be.

For a story dealing with the corruptness of politics, we see an utter lack of political shenanigans in this long-drawn, moderately enjoyable masala film, that features two below-average songs.

The screenplay — an adaptation of the Mohanlal-starring Malayalam hit Lucifer — is nothing more than predictable moments one expects from South Indian cinema. We’ve seen better of course…not that it dissuades Pakistanis from making the film trend in the charts.

Written and directed by Mohan Raja (a writer-turned-director whose career is made up of remakes), Godfather is streaming now on Netflix. It is rated suitable for ages 13 and over

Goodbye

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As Goodbye lingers on, and its scenes continue to incessantly inject emotional background musical cues, one wonders: do goodbyes really take this long?

This 142-minute film from director Vikas Bahl (Queen, Shaandaar), opens with the character one despises the most: Tara Bhalla (Rashmika Mandanna), a legal eagle and party gal who has just won her first court case, and who, dutifully intoxicated, cuts her dad’s phone call multiple times while she boogies the night away.

When she regains a measure of sanity the next morning, Tara finds out that her father was calling to inform her that her mother had passed away.

Goodbye is a family portrait of whiney children — Tara has three other siblings, one of them adopted — and parents who might wonder where they went wrong. The painfully apparent angle of the story is less about the death of the mother, and more about the millennial/gen-Z way of perceiving death.

The enterprise reeks of the unapologetic, self-centred arrogance of a generation who thinks they know better, and to whom culture and family are of secondary importance.

Out of the cast, Amitabh Bachchan, who plays the patriarch of the family, and the hippie pundit played by Sunil Grover, give excellent performances.

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Minus the appeal of these two stellar actors, Goodbye is a ham-fisted, insincere endeavour, that should have been an hour shorter.

Also starring Neena Gupta, Pavail Gulati, Abhishek Khan, Sahil Mehta and Ashish Vidyarti, Goodbye is rated suitable for ages 13 and over, and streams at the No. 2 spot on Netflix

Published in Dawn, ICON, December 11th, 2022

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