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It would not be an injustice to categorize ‘The Fame Game’ as Madhuri’s show. The actress with a beaming 1000-watt smile made her debut in the OTT world with this mystery-drama series that went live on February 25. Overall, all the characters have aptly given life to the character they have played. In the skin of Anamika, Madhuri adorns a celebrity’s life and persuasively performs it. In just eight episodes, the series has highlighted a myriad of issues, including normalizing homosexual relationships. 

Nevertheless, a sense of perplexity exists in all the individual stories, which further gives rise to numerous unresolved mysteries. Despite all these, the most crucial factor is that the story threads such an engaging garland that you can not restrain from binge-watching. 

Scroll down to read how the characters and setup have given a sophisticated aura to the series.

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The Fame Game Review: A Thread Of
Mystery, Duplicity, And Hypocrisy

The Fame Game Review: Story

The Fame Game Review: Story

The series has an interesting hook – Anamika Anand, a Bollywood diva known for disappearing onscreen, suddenly disappears in real-life without any trace. It’s all about her disappearance that further triggers an investigation, portraying the complicated relations, insecurities, professional issues, truth, and lies. 

Adding on, it unveils the concealed, dark side behind the gaudy and alluring life of Bollywood stars and their families. 

The Fame Game Review: Cinematography

The Fame Game Review: Cinematography

The cynicism of glamour and flamboyance perfectly peeks out from the shades of reds in the color palette. The background music and songs dawn upon the slouching houses, extravagant vanities, and ceaseless fame. Exorbitant stage setup and picturesque locations leave no chance to present the authentic picture of the star life.

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The Fame Game Review: Hide and seek of deception

The Fame Game Review: Hide and seek of deception

The prominent striking feature is the whodunit factor. While on the cover, it appears to be the perfect family; on the contrary, it has secrets and lies. The roller coaster of suspense and thrill makes you binge-watch the series, thus making you eagerly await for the next season to unfold the mystery. 

Throughout the series, the scriptwriters have digressed the audience’s decision. Someone who seems to be the potential suspect in one episode turns out to be a red herring in the other one. Likewise, all the episodes juggle from the past to the present, just like it did move six months back, when Manav, Anamika’s lover, made an entrance into her life. 

The Fame Game Review: The Fame Game Cast

Without drifting away from the legacy she has been carrying, Madhuri once again owns the series and the screen. The setting, attires, and locations all laud upon the lavish life of the actors. The two kids, Lakshvir and Muskkaan, have promisingly played their characters. Manav Kaul and Sanjay Kapoor shouldn’t be left untalked; they indeed did justice to what they had been offered. 

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The Fame Game Review: Life of Secrecy

Anamika disappears one night while her phone and accessories are still lying in her bedroom. There seems to be no evidence of the atrocity that has happened. Like Anamika did not ever exist, everything is normal, and her disappearance made no difference. However, the entire family is a compulsive hoarder; they are hiding secrets, not only from one another but from the investigators too. All this marks down to the fact that the film industry is somehow fundamentally flawed. 

The Fame Game Review: Persisting stereotypes about women

Anamika, the protagonist, is depicted as an actress surrounded by professional burdens, financial problems, and the hard-hearted industry. Nikhil Anand, Anamika’s husband, makes terrible investments, while her mother Suhasini’s gambling adds to the financial burden. Does it end here? No! Anamika indeed had no right to make her own decisions. Her mother, Suhasini, leads the life of archetypal older Indian ladies. 

The Fame Game Review: The queer dimension

The Fame Game Review: The queer dimension

One of the prominent aspects highlighted in the series is Anamika’s son, Avinash’s character molded as a homosexual man. Here, comes to light the so-called star thing, where Avinash has a hard time accepting that he isn’t straight as in his belief it would hamper his image as a celebrity kid. It doesn’t end here, the things go worse when Nikhil learns about his son’s sexual orientation. 

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The Fame Game Review: The dual face

Anamika’s character shows how actors conceal their private lives under makeup while stepping into the spotlight on stage. It is indeed thought-provoking to realize that someone posing for the award function pictures in the morning vanquishes in the night. This sheds light on what a person reflects in the exterior; a potentially explosive ball of darkness might exist inside that individual. 

The Fame Game Review: Conclusion

Despite all these, the most crucial factor is that the story threads such an engaging garland that you can not restrain from binge-watching. However, you might have been suspecting the potential accused throughout the series, the ending leaves an unsatiated curiosity that makes you await for the next season.

The loud colors and brilliant staging is the appealing factor that makes this series worth watching. Let’s hear how the characters and setup have given a sophisticated aura to the series, according to you.

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Reviews

Amar Singh Chamkila Movie Review: One Of The Finest Films Directed By Imtiaz Ali

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Amar Singh Chamkila Movie Review: One Of The Finest Films Directed By Imtiaz Ali
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Amar Singh Chamkila is such an incredibly made film. Here’s the Amar Singh Chamkila movie review that suggests it could be one of Imtiaz Ali’s finest films.

The film sucks you in right from the first scene (though the staging and editing of the opening scene could have been done a little better, it isn’t a major drawback, but it is a little jarring to see, the film has some minor errors when it comes to continuity in the blocking and staging of characters, but that is only one of the two minor problems of the film). 

Amar Singh Chamkila Movie Review: One Of The Finest Films Directed By Imtiaz Ali

Amar Singh Chamkila Movie Review: Writing and Technical Aspects

The narrative devices used in the film are extraordinary. It is just so refreshing to see such innovative styles being used in the contemporary Indian space. The screenplay begins with a simple narrative device, i.e. the non-linear structure, it moves forward with interludes from past and present but right after that, Imtiaz and Sajid Ali change the course of this narrative device and what do we get?

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We are being presented with a narrative within a narrative and the story moves forward through a bunch of unreliable narrators who have their own thoughts and opinions on Chamkila, some are sweet while some are incredibly sour, now this is where things become even more fascinating!

Since they’re all unreliable narrators, Imtiaz and Sajid Ali employ a number of narrative devices within these two layers, ranging from the characters breaking the fourth wall, there are frame freezes, there are split screens, the concert sequences transition to actual photographs and footages, the film opens like a street play and moves backward for the song Baaja, transitioning to animated sequences and then to oil painted canvases and if that wasn’t enough, the film is then narrated in comic strips at one point! And all of it has been done with immense precision without being jarring or overwhelming for even one minute! Absolute genius.  

One can also love how the film, right from the onset strikes a critical distance from the character, and also constantly makes you aware that you are watching a spectacle (similar to what you may have seen in classic films like A Woman is a Woman, Persona and Blow Up). The film never portrays him as the “perfect” person but as someone who feels he doesn’t have the moral compass or the right to deem things as “correct” or “wrong” (subtly integrating caste issues and the plight of Dalits) and for him, survival is what matters.  

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Also, read:

Bade Miyan Chote Miyan Review: The Scriptless Experiment

Amar Singh Chamkila Movie Review: Gender Politics and Commentary

The film is never disingenuous with it’s treatment of the characters and narrative, objectifying men and women alike. The film captures the male gaze through Chamkila’s objectifying songs but it hits right back with the female gaze, striking the perfect balance of us, as people and as society. The socio-political turmoil surrounding Punjab becomes hauntingly connected with Chamkila’s life, so much so that Punjab starts resembling his tragic life. The film is hauntingly relevant even though it talks of events which have happened some 40 years back? 

Amar Singh Chamkila Movie Review: Music

A.R Rahman’s music along with Irshad Kamil’s lyrics cast a spell over you throughout it’s runtime, ranging from being fun, melancholic, raunchy, sad, contemplative, accepting and sometimes pure rage, all encapsulated wonderfully in the film. 

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Amar Singh Chamkila Movie Review: Performances

Diljit Dosanjh has wonderfully played the title role, he is very sincere with the part, you are right with him from the first frame and you do not see him as anything else but Chamkila. 

Parineeti Chopra has done a formidable job with her character bringing in the empathy and sensitivity that her character requires, she delivers exceedingly well. 

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Bade Miyan Chote Miyan Review: The Scriptless Experiment

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Bade Miyan Chote Miyan Review: The Scriptless Experiment
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At the onset, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan had everything a commercial Bollywood film would need, be it two of the biggest action stars of the country with Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff, a director like Ali Abbas Zafar who has had a great track record in terms of number when it comes to the action genre, one of the finest actors of this generation in the form of Prithviraj Sukumaran.  But despite having everything the makers would ever need, they forgot to consider the most crucial aspect of filmmaking—the Script

Bade Miyan Chote Miyan Review: The Scriptless Experiment

Bade Miyan Chote Miyan Review: Writing

The plot of the film is the same as that of films like Pathaan, Fighter, Khuda Haafiz and every other film of the genre. There is literally no addition to the plot, but there is one difference. The films that we mentioned at least had establishments in terms of character development or plot points, but this film fails to do this, too. 

Two buddying cops are on a mission to stop a supervillain who has nothing but vengeance in mind and well-equipped technology at his disposal to destroy India and make it a weaker country for its rivals. The premise may have looked interesting on paper, but the execution is lacklustre at best. 

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Starting from random explosions to characters revealing backstories without adding anything important to the story to random expositions about the dynamics shared between characters, which add nothing to move the story forward. 

There is an instance when a character travels to Shanghai for an extremely important “intel,” only to be told that “Something big is going to happen,” and that is that. 

Tiger Shroff’s character describes the character of Prithviraj as “Pakka virgin aur Psycho Hai”; in another instance, he says, “Yeh aadmi hai ya dandruff? Jaata kyu nahi?” the film boasts of many cringe-worthy dialogues such as this. 

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Also, read:

All India Rank Movie Review: Unconventional Brilliance

Bade Miyan Chote Miyan Review: Performances

It is shocking to see Tiger Shroff being more comfortable and confident in front of the camera than Akshay Kumar. One cannot help but wonder why Akshay Kumar delivers such monotonous dialogues or why he is so stale in the film. He mostly keeps a straight face, but it is sad to see his terrible comic timing, especially when it is compared to Tiger Shroff, who has done a better job than Akshay, that too in comedy or acting. But it is quite understandable because of the writing and pitch of their characters. 

Alaya F, Manushi Chillar and Sonakshi Sinha also have the same problem of being one-toned. They add nothing to the plot and are mostly mannequins. One may start to wonder why their characters were even integrated into the story or the screenplay, as they really did not have much to do. 

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Prithviraj Sukumaran would have been the saving grace of the film if he had more screen time or if his face had been revealed much earlier, neither of which happened. His face is concealed with a mask, his voice has been modulated to sound robotic, which makes it more jarring than terrifying, and he breaks into random monologues about a “pralay” every five minutes. Once the mask is off and you can see his face and expression, one can realise the missed opportunity that the makers failed to see. 

Bade Miyan Chote Miyan Review: Action

Action is the one thing the cast and crew of the film have been boasting about in promotional interviews, and it is safe to say that it is an absolute train wreck. The frenzied camerawork is enough to give you headaches, the moves and cuts are all over the place, there are no match cuts from one shot to the other, the set-pieces are not exciting at all, the action choreography is a mess, and there is incoherence in every frame of all the action sequences.  

Bade Miyan Chote Miyan Review: Final Thoughts

The film tries to sell us what has already been sold to us, on a much better platter, in a much better way, and there is absolutely nothing to look forward to in this film that may give you an adrenaline rush or make you excited for what is to come next, it is a disaster. 

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All India Rank Movie Review: Unconventional Brilliance

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All India Rank Review
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All India Rank Movie Review It Breaks All Conventions with A Narrative Never Seen Before

In his breakthrough directorial debut, All India Rank, writer, and lyricist Varun Grover takes you back in time to the years following India’s economic freedom to present an engaging and dreamy slice-of-life, coming-of-age story of a hesitant IIT aspirant.

With its quiet, strongly anti-formulaic, and scattered methods, All India Rank differentiates itself from the web series Kota Factory and Aspirants, as well as the film 12th Fail. It avoids typical techniques and avoids a simple climax by distributing creative animated interludes.

All India Rank chooses to keep the protagonist’s fate up to the audience to decide whether or not he qualifies for the examination while following the young boy’s annual journey as he studies (against his advice) for the upcoming IIT-JEE test.

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All India Rank: Plot, Trailer, Cast, Release Date And Reasons To Watch -  Spotlight Central

 

Plot

Vivek (Bodhisattva Sharma) is in a class of hopefuls when he hears something. However, we do not know for definite whether he believes it. At the beginning of the film, he is taken out of Lucknow to Kota so he can prepare for the IIT entrance exams. He’s an arrogant, awkward 17-year-old with a Walkman and an insulated thermos. “I have no aspirations,” he confesses an innocent teenager’s confession, unimaginable — then and currently — in aspiring middle India.

We follow over to his parents, who are saving money so that their child can study comfortably. His father, a low-level government employee, discusses the benefits of the best engineering degree: work, respect, and convenient living. There is a fourth benefit that he is unwilling to immediately point out: social standing.

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All India Rank trailer: A realistic take on the education system. Watch |  Bollywood - Hindustan Times

The story is just as it is about a child wrestling with the complicated calculations of life and education, added to by his fiercely passionate father – his mom is not only more accepting, but she is well-prepared to let the boy choose his direction in life.

All India Rank is a nostalgic depiction of an exciting decade in which India changed quicker than it ever had since independence.

Vivek comes across as genuine but lost, as children his age should be. He gets comfortable with two of his roommates and falls for clever, dedicated Sarika (Samta Sudiksha).

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In one scene, the entire group rides down to a riverbank to shoot the wind. Grover sets the setting with the sounds of nature and the group’s minor questions about themselves.

The turn of the century is still a long way off. Vivek isn’t the type of guy who likes speaking for himself. His racing emotions pull his focus away from the challenge at hand, and a couple of dismissive coaching center employees introduce him to attractions he had previously avoided. However, his father’s severe words do not leave him free.

All India Rank Movie Review: In Varun Grover's Nostalgia Laced  Coming-of-Age Drama It Is The Parents Who Grow Up More Than The Hero!

All India Rank refuses to employ the framework of ceremonies of transition films to depict Vivek’s quest for discovery. It breaks loose from the traditional genre tone.

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Instead of aligning with the audience’s expectations, it provides an immersive understanding of the influence the so-called “success” industry might have upon the minds of young people.

Performances

All India Rank Movie Review: In Varun Grover's Nostalgia Laced  Coming-of-Age Drama It Is The Parents Who Grow Up More Than The Hero!

Bodhisattva Sharma excels in his performance of the character Vivek. He has understood his assignment incredibly well and delivers accordingly. He beautifully manages to capture the plight of many, a problem still relevant to this day, the cut-throat competition of IIT-JEE.

What stands out especially are the moments when he is too scared to speak or express himself in front of his father, his eyes and body language convey his helplessness and fear.

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Samta Sudiksha has also done her job incredibly well with the role of Sarika. Samta Sudiksha portrays the determination and perseverance of Sarika amazingly. She is clever, intelligent, and extremely observant of her surroundings.

All India Rank movie review: Varun Grover makes a tender, crowd-pleasing  debut | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

The parents of Vivek, played by Shashi Bhushan and Geeta Aggarwal have also done a terrific job with their roles. Their roles are completely contrasted in nature which is why they complement each other well, Bhushan portrays the angst of the father while Chadda reverses it with her compassion. Vivek’s mother’s personality is quite distinct from his father’s. She and Sarika are both calming forces for Vivek. However, the complexities of numbers and the unresolved issues of the educational system far exceed the boy’s moments of personal pleasure.

Writing and Direction

Varun Grover, an Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) graduate, created this script about ten years ago; he’s worked before as a lyricist, stand-up comedian, and writer for the contract. In All India Rank, Varun Grover draws on personal substance, but the film also reveals his keen interest in historical study (there is a humorous mention of the fact that the initial IIT campus was originally a British jail).

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Educational institutions and academic stress have been well-known in Hindi cinema over the past ten years, particularly in detailed web series such as Kota Factory and Laakhon Mein Ek. As a result, the All India Rank experiences a little tiredness due to repetition. Many of the concepts and perspectives appear to carry over from previous releases.

Varun Grover’s expertise as a writer can be seen in his controlled style, which avoids showy theatrics in favor of a strict and considered narrative. The film neither praises nor mocks the IIT ambition, accomplishing a careful balance that speaks to the middle-class fears shared by many potential candidates.

All India Rank (2023) - IMDb

Technical Aspects

The sound design of Vinit D’Souza, paired with songs and background score by Mayukh-Mainak, and Varun Grover’s verses, quietly plays on the establishing indicators of India’s pre-consumerist popular culture and celebrates an essentially relaxed time which was about to shift significantly for the youngster at the core of the film as well as the nation in its entirety as it marked the 50th year of independence.

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Prachi Deshpande, the production designer, uses a variety of props and material elements to bring the decade of 1990 to life. You note Gabriela Sabatini posters in the hostel, glasses of Maza, video game stations, PCO booths, and the then-PM H.D. Deve Gowda’s mention on the wall and are immediately taken back to earlier times.

Concluding Thoughts

All India Rank is full of beautifully striking details that set it beyond the sum of all of its parts, turning it into a sensitive, universal tribute to a time of change. One should see it as it can take you somewhere rarely seen in Hindi films: a place where ideas, feelings, and barely expressed issues take priority over storyline and explanation.

All India Rank' movie review: Growing up with Grover

 

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Another of the film’s merits is that it manages to grab attention without controlling its audience. Rather than hammering audiences with a victorious story, All India Rank softly understands the flaws and frustrations that come with chasing the goal of success.

For those looking for a theatrical experience that goes over genre stereotypes, All India Rank provides an exciting story that makes an unforgettable impact. If you have any experience with its subject issue or aren’t, going to the theatre to see Grover’s directing debut is undoubtedly worth it.

 

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