Monday, November 14, 2011

Movie Review - Rockstar

If you are going to watch an Imtiaz Ali movie, you can be sure of two things

  • An unlikely love story which leads to a poor guy (the husband) ending up as the loser
  • Great Music

Oh no, make that three, how could I forget the beautiful Delhi locales.

Ok now time for the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good: Ranbir Kapoor, I mean, I never thought I would ever like this guy's acting; who made his debut with Sanwariya and went on to act in Azab Prem ki Gazab Kahani, but he really impresses in this one

The Bad: Sadly, Nargis Fakri, she is wooden in most of the scenes and when she is not, she is overacting.  And yes the length of the movie, some of the segments really seem stretched

The Ugly The Strange : Well the editing, really looks too ambitious, at times

Well Ranbir Kapoor is definitely the STAR in this one, ok make that co-star, with Rehman's  music turning out to be just as awesome.  About Ranbir first, his acting really says a lot about the potential that this guy has, I mean the transition from the innocent, vulnerable, insecure, wannabe Jakhad to the rebellious, impetuous, reticent Jordan speaks volume about the guy's talent; especially the sequence where his conversation with his manager by the roadside really brings out that bit nicely.    Only if Nargis Fakri, could have been a quarter as good as him it would have lent  a different depth to the character suffering from a terminal disease and Ranbir wouldn’t have been left shouldering the movie  alone. 

And what to say about the MUSIC.  A.R. Rehman comes out and shows the world what he is made of.  To be honest, the music sounded good initially but nothing too great and then it grew on me and after watching the movie, you just start appreciating it on a new level.  Aside from the usual, 'Sadda Haq' and 'Nadan Parindey' which are brilliant in themselves, do listen to 'Kun Faaya Kun', awesome song this one!

The storyline and direction of this movie are definitely like a breath of fresh air, especially in the way a love story has been treated.  However, I do have my grouse with the length of the movie and the unnecessarily longish bits.  Something that is interesting/strange about the movie is the editing.  It is, too radical and may leave the ordinary movie goer scratching his head at times, and sometimes seems to lend the movie a different depth. 

All said and done,
All in all, do watch the movie, irrespective of the reviews and feedbacks that you may get from others, because I believe this movie holds so much at different levels and you never know what may click with you.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Osama and Bollywood

Since everything today is about the death of Osama, what if the top directors of bollywood decide to make a movie on Osama, here is what it would be like...

Yash Chopra

The film will revolve around how Obama once romanced Osama's wife (in a shifone burkha, of course) in the Swiss Alps. And then when Osama realizes how he has gotten between their love, he decides to call Obama and give his life away.

Karan Johar

Pretty much the same story, but ending would be different. And then one day Obama gets a call from her, and she tells him where Osama is hiding. Karan will also name his movie, Kkya Kya Ho Gaya!!

Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Will skip the topic of Osama altogether and make a film on his mother

Ram Gopal Verma

There is no D-company connection of Osama, right?? So sorry, Ramu wont make a movie on this

Manmohan Desai (incidently this will also be the plot of Jeffrey Archer's novel)

The movie will be about how Obama and Osama were born to the same parents and then get separated during the Hawaian carnival or Dubai shopping festival. Once Osama is killed, his military chief brings him the locket that Osama was holding in his hand when he died, and it would have their parents' picture.

Subhash Ghai

This will show Osama breaking into a song and dance routine (Obama nahi Osama hoon mai, …..) and the closing sequence will have Subhash Ghai leading the assault force (yukkkkk)

Ashutosh Gowarikar

Well he will just make it so long that nobody will even bother to watch it

Aamir Khan

Will grow his beard for 2 years and then will go hide in Tora-Bora mountains for the publicity of the film.

Sunny Deol

You know the plot to this one, don’t you?? Well yeah, yeah !! Sue me for being predictable!! Sunny Paaji will go and rip apart all the handpumps in Pakistan until he finds Osama hiding beneath one of them.

Mahesh Bhatt

Finally Mahesh Bhatt will be able to cast paki actors wid a valid reason

Suraj Barjatya

...and Suraj Barjatya will show Bush, Obama, Osama and Saddam as part of a joint family living under the same roof with Manmohan Singh playing 'Prem'

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Tale of Three Cities - The Traffic Cop

There is a lot that you can tell about a city by looking at its traffic cops. The way he gestures the traffic to stop, and more importantly to move on, how he chides errant drivers, and last but not the least how he simply stands there holding his wireless set in his hand, it almost mirrors the way the entire city goes about its job and life.

Last few months on the job have taken me around the country, (Ok, if not the country but atleast the golden quadrilateral), given me an opportunity to observe the different ways in which various cities go about their daily lives, and how they influence the style of working of people in seemingly same types of jobs, for example traffic cops.

Take for example how they signal the traffic to keep moving; look closely at a Kolkatan traffic sergeant and it would seem as if he is gently coaxing the traffic to move on just like a shepherd guides his herd; calm, patient and poised. Move westward and the Mumbaiya traffic policeman would seem like a puppet-master who seems to be guiding the motions of the traffic like puppets, confident, business-like and in-control. Move up and try analyzing the motions of a Dilli police walla, and here you will come across someone who is rough, smacks of authority and impatient; it looks like as if he is slapping the vehicles from one side of the junction to the other.

Or maybe you might want to observe them when they are standing idly while waiting for a VIP convoy to pass. A Dilli police wallah, with his khakhi shirt barely tucked into his trousers (which he pulls up every now and then), who thinks he has seen (and will see) a thousand such cavalcades, and couldn't care less, stands there, scratching his crotch and waiting for the whole tamasha to get over as soon as possible. On the other end of the spectrum is the Kolkata traffic sergeant, dressed sharply in his all-white uniform and black boots, with sunglasses firmly in place, scolding errant jaywalkers who dare to cross the rope meant to hold back pedestrians. And then there is the Mumbai policeman who keeps a weary eye both on the halted traffic as well as the empty road, ready to snap a smart salute to the dignitaries travelling in the convoy.

Probably, a traffic policeman is not the right way to go about judging a city, or so a lot of people would claim; But is he not? I ask you, shaped by the combined behavior of each one of us who stops, and passes by a traffic junction, at times breaking the law, jumping the RED light, at times obeying it, moving on with the GREEN light, and sometimes flirting with it.

P.S: Before any motives or intentions are ascribed to the author, I would like to declare that I prefer to call myself a Dilliwala, have been in love with the city (if not its people) for as long as I can remember. Bombay (I prefer calling it that) is a city I respect (I don't think I can ever have a more intimate relationship than that with the city). And Kolkata is my latest crush, just can't stop gushing about anything and everything in this city.

P.P.S. - Didn't write about Chennai in this post, as the memories of the place seem to be fading away, expect the next blog post to be a 'Tale of Four Cities', once I come back from Chennai.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Movie Review - Dabangg

The Good- Almost everything. There is never a dull moment in the entire movie

The Bad - The opening sequence, it would have been better off as a flashback.

The Marketing - Before I talk about the plot or the technicals or the acting, I think it's more important to talk about the marketing of this movie. Very honestly, I don't think Salman Khan has done anything drastically different from what he has been doing for the last many movies of his. Just that this one has been very smartly positioned and established as a fun and light movie, and somehow Salman's one liners or gimmicks no longer look cheap or vulgar. And every possible effort has been made to connect Salman with his traditional fan base, be it through him donning the 'Gamchcha' or the extras wearing the 'Taqiyah' (traditional Muslim cap). I think what Abhinav Kashyap has done for Salman in this movie is equal (if not more) to what Barjatya did through 'Maine Pyaar Kiya' and 'Hum Aapke Hai Kaun'. Suddenly Salman is no longer the hero of the masses, he is much bigger, a true entertainer who makes light hearted movies for wholesome entertainment of the classes as well.

The Plot - Well, to clear a few things upfront, this movie definitely won't win the Oscar for the plot, but then the makers of the movie never wanted it that way. To the credit of the writers and the screenwriters there is never a dull moment in the entire movie, and I mean it, the ENTIRE movie. At places it does gives you the feeling as if things are running a bit too fast, but then that's the idea, to keep the movie short so as to keep the urbane audience happy with the short and light hearted stuff and give the 'Masala' punch for the audience of the heartlands. One must really give it to the director and the scriptwriter that the very same elements that have been used for time immemorial in Bollywood movies have been used again without the audience even realizing that they are being dished out similar stuff.

The Technicals - I think this is one place where the movie is nothing short of brilliant. Be it in the 'Action Sequences' which do give the impression of being a bit 'Rajnikant-esque' in their execution, or the background score where it seems the director has tried to put in a bit of the Scorsese element in his movie, all of it has been used in the ideal manner without giving the impression that it has been overdone or over the top.

The Acting - Well as I said earlier, what Salman has done in this movie is pretty much similar to what he has been doing for a long time, but somehow he just looks more likable in this one. And how can any review of this movie be complete without a mention of Sonakshi Sinha. I would be the first one to acknowledge that she doesn't pack in the oomph (no pun intended) unlike other current hotties in Bollywood, but there is something about her presence on the screen that makes her a treat to watch.

Verdict - I have never seen a movie twice, not on the big screen atleast, but this one is going to be an exception.

P.S.- It is not as if the entire movie is a light hearted 'leave your brains at home' stuff. There is a bit of political commentary in it as well if you listen closely to Anupam Kher's speech. And those familiar with politics of Uttar Pradesh will find that his character bears uncanny resemblance to Lalji Tandon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Movie Review - Lafangey Parindey

The Good - The umpteen number of smart ass comments throughout the movie, some of which are 'mildly entertaining' at best. However, I am sure the movie will go on to establish 'One Shot Nandu' as an awards category for Bollywood Awards.

The Bad- Abysmal acting, no story, and I could go on and on and on

The Ugly - The 'overenthu' guy who handled camera for this movie

The Plot - Plot, what is that? No honestly, I didn't even find as much as an iota of a storyline in the movie. Though I know that I said that this is a spoiler free review, but honestly I don't know how, even if I wanted, I could have told you anything about the movie that you haven't already guessed after watching the promos. Honestly someone should tell these kids who grew up on Manmohan Desai movies and thought that "Woaah, this is so easy, even I can do it" that it's not that easy to make a Masala movie. Masters of the art, like Manmohan Desai could do it, because they had a flair for it. It is not as simple as putting a Rahim Chacha in a frame and then a drunk Fernandez in another and a mosque in the background of a Matki-fod. And honestly I seriously have to say now that Aditya Chopra has become a 'One Formula Nandu'. Seriously Aditya give us something different, we are tired of the stuff being dished out to us in not so different formats.

The Acting - I think the director forgot to tell Deepika where she was supposed to act blind and where not; She just seems the same throughout the movie. She said in one of her interviews that she has not copied Rani Mukherjee and Kajol for this role, and guess what, she is right. Full marks girl, for your honesty. And well, Neil Nitin Mukesh was always a One-Shot-Nandu, he hasn't acted at all after 'Johny Gaddar'.

The Technicals- Well this is a serious request to all the Bollywood directors. STOP and I will say again, STOP giving your cameras in the hands of over-enthu kids who think that Body-Cams are still cool and would make audience go WOW. Sorry kids, hate to break your hearts, but that's just not true. And what's with this kid's obsession with yellow, I just cant describe it to you, everything yellow is just too bright and really stands out (in a bad way). Looks like this kid really misses his Jaundice days.

Verdict: Well, no surprise here that the movie is really really sad. The directory really tried to help the audience out towards the end when one of the characters says 'Achcha ye love story hai!!' thanks for helping us out there, dude.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Movie Review - Peepli Live

The Good - I think the best part of the movie is when you can't decide which part of the movie really stands out and deserves to be mentioned

The Bad - the "slightly" stretched last reel

The Plot : Even though it may sound a bit oxymoron-ish, but this movie stands out for the subtle nuances that it captures in all it's characters. Be it the gestures and husky voice of the English News Channel reporter, or the attempted alliterations of the Hindi News Channel reporter. Or the hapless and helpless DM-sahab, all the characters have been captured really well...

While some may say that the story isn't exactly taut, but then this isn't really a story driven movie, it's more character driven. While some of them may not really have too much of screen time, but still leave their impact, like the IAS officer..

The Technicals - Though the movie is so good in itself, that your attention is hardly diverted to the beautiful way in which the hinterlands have been captured, but credit must be given in the way the camera has been used to present the vivid shades of life in rural India. However, one thing which I have a grouse against is the overuse of 'Body-Camera' post Dev D in Indian cinema. Really guys, it is no more a novelty, so maybe you should move on.

The Acting - Ohh, the really tough part, as far as writing a review for this movie is concerned, because everybody has acted really really well. Kudos to the director for getting wonderful performances out of everyone, even the 'Extras'.

Verdict : I know the word has been used a bit too often, but I would still call it a 'Refreshing' movie, a must watch for lovers of Indian cinema.

Do Share your take on the movie, would love to hear your comments on the review. Feel free to share this post (through the buttons provided below), if you find this interesting!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Movie Review - Lamhaa

The Good : Different take on the hackneyed issue; great, and more importantly relevant research which comes out really well

The Bad : Sanjay Dutt, filmy sequences, climax

The Ugly : nothing really

The Plot
: Lamhaa is beautiful in the sense that the scriptwriters and director have taken a very bold stand and have not been afraid to offer an alternate view of the situation, quite in contrast to the one that we have grown up on over the years. However, despite all the bold moves, I guess the director still could not resist the filmy 'Press Conference' ending. The thing that is most admirable about the movie is the depiction of grey shades be it in the police force, the government or the military. The aspect is most beautifully captured towards the latter part where the director has really gone where no other director has gone before ( will not spoil fun for those who haven't watched the movie yet, but I am talking about the 'police action' at the very end). I guess after all this effort the least the director could do was to avoid the temptation of a 'Happy-Happy' ending. Another thing which catches the eye, in a not so good way, is how the director has picked up too many things and at times is left doing justice to these various aspects. As it appears, a lot of research has been done in the sloganeering aspect of the Kashmir movement which comes out really well. On the other hand, the dealing of the issue of flesh trade seems a bit ad-hoc and looks like it has bore the brunt of the editor's scissor.

The thing that really pleased me about the movie is that, it signifies the coming of age of Indian cinema, long gone are the days when movies were made at the behest of the government (read the times of L.B. Shastri and Manoj Kumar) or when the government really ran a tight leash on anything coming out of Hindi film industry (read Emergency). We really have come a long way from the times of 'Dehleez' when for the first time the words 'Sarhad paar dushman' were uttered to 'Sarfarosh' where the phrase 'padosi desh' acquired a name for the first time.

The Technicals : The cinematography is brilliant at places, whereas in the same breath it must be mentioned that at times one is left wondering whether it has been over-done to an extent. The area where the movie really scores is depicting that yes, there is an element of ordinary day to day life to Kashmir, that there is a Kashmir beyond the beautiful snow clad mountains, beyond the borders with the 'patriotic songs singing soldiers', there is an element of 'normal' life to Kashmir, the curfews, the stone pelting crowds and all. And another way in which the movie scores over similar movies made earlier is the aesthetics of 'war' and 'counter insurgency'. I guess it's a sign of maturity that we don't find cops running around with sniper rifles in close quarter combats. I guess Indian directors have been devoting time and effort to research more in this direction.

The Acting : My biggest grouse with the movie is Sanjay Dutt. Yes!! you heard it right, the supposedly biggest star in the movie is the biggest eyesore of it. Infact the few places where the movie seems to digress from it's realistic path to a filmy one is one where they try to justify Sanjay Dutt's stardom and give him hero like action sequences. On the other hand Kunal Kapoor is pretty convincing in his depiction of a former militant, whereas Bipasha Basu, in my opinion is the real 'Star' of the movie. She has done fabulous work in this de-glam role. And as for Anupam Kher, he proves yet again, why he is still counted as one of the doyens of Indian cinema.

Verdict: All in all, a good movie, good direction, decent acting on the whole. An interesting watch, I say, for the treatment of the subject.

All in all, 3.5 stars out of 5.

Do Share your take on the movie, would love to hear your comments on the review. Feel free to share this post, if you find this interesting!!