Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fashion Faux Pas

Madhur Bhandarkar’s fashion is boring, predictable and worth a miss. The director doesn’t even show shades of his Page 3 or other movies in this one. It’s just an ordinary film, with a 150% predictable storyline (assuming it had one).

Meghna (Priyanka) is a small town girl who dreams big, of becoming a super model. The film is all about how she (rather, did she ever) achieves her dreams. Shonali (Kangana) is the reigning supermodel. With a ‘kind’ support from the Sarin's (Arbaaz & Suchitra Pillay) and Alisha (Kitu Gidwani) Meghna scales new heights in the industry in no time, and her fall from grace to nothingness also happens as fast. She comes back to her parents, leaving her shattered dreams behind, who encourage her, this time, to find herself back, gain confidence and return to the industry and make it even bigger.

Priyanka Chopra has nothing to emote in the whole movie. She is the biggest disappointment. Kangana Ranaut has overacted each of her scenes. She would better take some acting lessons from someone, preferably not Arbaaz. Kitu Gidwani is the only gorgeous thing in Fashion.

The screenplay is weak, and the dialogues aren’t great. The movie stretches for 3 odd hours without any surprises or turning points. I could even predict some of the dialogues. Even before the characters say it, u know that he’s gonna say this.

Fashion has no comparison with Page 3. While the protagonist in Fashion finds that she has lost herself in the midway, pursuing her dreams, the one in Page 3 realizes herself and understands what she’s got to do towards the end. Fashion may even boast of being realistic and bringing out the behind-the-scenes from the world of modelling, but those were all things, I thought, we knew. It’s nothing new. What Page 3 gave us were chilling revelations.

Arjan Bajwa does justice to his role as the struggling model. He looks good and has got his acts right. The much talked about wardrobe-malfunction picturised on Kangana, is one high point of this film. The situation is very much justified and filmed to near perfection. All of us might remember the one-time-model-turned-beggar episode which were aired on news channels throughout, some time back. Now, here’s a sadistic filmmaker who re-enacts the whole story, in his own way, with good looking movie stars. Nobody goes to movies to see a dramatized version of reality.

All in all, fashion is a damp squib and watch it only if you find no better way to spend time. Definitely not a collector’s item. I would give it a 1.5 star rating.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A heart-warming story...

Welcome to Sajjanpur is a heart warming fable. Watching this movie one feels like having gulped a glass of chilled orange juice after being out in the hot sun for long. It is such a refreshing story, so simple in its narration.

Mahadev is the local village ‘letter-writer’. He writes letters for the literate and the illiterate of the village to earn a living. A wannabe writer, he adds his imagination and emotions into others’ letters. One day his school time crush comes to him to write a letter to her husband working in Mumbai. He manipulates the letters between them so as to win back his love from her husband, until he realizes how much the husband loves her. He proceeds to make amends for his misdoings and also gets one of his novels published later.

Shreyas Talpade’s acting abilities is all well known and the very fact that Shyam Benegal chose him for his movie is an award. But he does 100% justice to his role. I was rather happy to see Rajit Kapoor (Byomkesh Bakshi fame) back on screen after such a long gap, though for a very very small role.

A recommended watch. 

I saw it on A Wednesday...

A Wednesday is a must watch. Watch it for the message it gives. Watch it for the performances of the lead actors. Watch it for it inspires.

Mumbai police commissioner gets a call from an unknown number claiming to have planted 5 bombs in various parts of the city. The caller demands the release of 4 terrorists in Indian jails. The movie is all about the negotiations between the caller and the police commissioner. And then comes the twist in the tale. The caller asked for the release of the terrorists to get them killed. He represents the ‘stupid common man’, who has anger within him.  

Watch this movie for splendid performances from Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher and the surprise package Jimmy Shergill. Naseer’s acting is a textbook for budding actors. His dialogue delivery, body language are all just perfect and so real. Anupam kher is strong and confident as the commissioner, and carries off his role to perfection. Jimmy Shergil is the one to watch out for. He is intense and rough as the angry young police officer.

The movie might seem a bit impractical for some, but it is after all fiction. It keeps you glued to your chair and does not bore you for a single second. Only 100 odd minutes long, this movie is a must watch and a recommended collectors item.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Billoo Barber... and Other Stories

This will be the first time I am writing a preview of a movie, because I think I am the right person to do this.

A few months ago, I saw this beautiful Malayalam movie titled 'Katha Parayumbol'. Scripted by Srinivasan, the movie will find a place in the minds of folks who have watched it, for its sheer simplicity. Srinivasan plays Balan, a barber, whose childhood friend is now a superstar who has come to his village as part of a movie crew. The storyline maybe inspired from the Krishna- Kuchela fable, but make no mistake, this gem of a script will make you, cry, laugh and dance with Balan and his fellow villagers. With hilarious dialogues and comedy of the class you can expect from Srinivasan, this movie is a must watch for every movie buff...


Srinivasan is a writer who has always told stories that the common man wanted to hear, with which he could relate to. Just look at the movies he has acted in, or penned for, or even directed. Forget his acting skills; this person is a cinematic genius, a boon to the Malayalam film industry.


But the news that this beautiful thing is being remade into Tamil (Kuchela), Telugu(Kucheludu) and Hindi (Billoo Barber) makes me sad. Rajnikanth playing in the South Indian versions and SRK playing in the Hindi version. Take it from me, they are gonna make a mess of the script, with indications of change in the story line so as to have more screen presence for ‘Rajni Sir’, I’m damn sure this remake will be a cold blooded murder of the original.

Another remake in the offering from Bollywood is from Mallus’ very own Priyadarshan who has come up with ‘Mere Baap, Pehle Aap(MBPA)'. Although the original (Ishtam) directed by Sibi Malayil, was not one of the director’s best, it was a watchable movie.

Priyadarshan has a history of remaking Malayalam movies, that too not of his own creation, into Hindi and spoiling the whole soul of the movie. Just take a count of his Hindi flops of Malayalam super hit films. Why doesn’t he just give up...come up with something of his own in Hindi? Right from his early days in Bollywood, from 'Muskurahat', till 'MBPA', show me an original Hindi movie of his, and I will show you a dud.

Though SRK and Rajni fans will be eagerly waiting for their hero’s new releases, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that they do at least some justice to the original script.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Eternal Two Rupees...

There are times when you actually start believing in God; times when you really feel that there is someone up there who is looking at you, who really cares for you. I wasn’t an atheist, wasn’t God-fearing, until this day, after which I became God-loving...

** ** **

This happened seven years ago. I was doing my Pre-degree (12th class). This particular day, we had a strike, for some reason, in our college, the grand old Govt. Victoria College Palakkad. In Kerala, strikes are not something rare. You have a strike by one political group or the other at the drop of a hat.

And so, it was obvious that students went for tuitions so that they could cover their portions before the exams. That’s why tuitions were important.

On that eventful day, thanks to the strike, I was home an hour after I went to college. I spent the whole day, alone at home, watching TV and doing what I enjoy the most, sleeping. In the evening I had tuitions. And for all the right reasons, I couldn’t miss them.

In the evening when I was about to leave for my tuitions I found to my horror that I had no money, except for Rs. 2, with me. And those days, to go by bus from my place to the tuition centre, I needed at least 4 Rs; 2 Rs to go and 2 Rs to come back. And then what about our after-tuition snacks, then? (We used to frequent the Indian Coffee House and have a cutlet or an omelette which cost exactly Rs. 5)

I thought 'I can go to the city with the 2 Rs, go to my mom's office, get some money from her and come back. And snacks, for today, will take a back seat! ’.

Thus I went to the bus stop with only Rs 2 in my pocket.

At the bus stop there was this person who was from a courier company who wanted to know which side of the road he should stand to go to the city.

As both of us were to go to the same destination, I asked him to come along side me. By the time the bus came, we were good friends: we knew each others’ names, the count of family members and the name of the schools we attended etc.

At last the bus came, and when the conductor approached us for the ticket, this person said, ‘2 tickets to the city’!

I insisted on paying for my ticket and even tried to give him the money for mine. But he refused, saying, ‘it’s only 2 Rs!’

Of course, he didn’t know the value of 2 Rs as much as I did that day.

And soon, it was time for us to get down and we parted our ways, said good bye to each other.

I asked him again to take the money for my ticket, but he refused. At last I gave him a wonderful smile with thanks written all over it.

Even though I had 2 Rupees with me to go back home, I thought I will go to my mom and get some extra bucks from her. I headed straight to my mom’s office where another surprise awaited me. My mom's friend and colleague told me that she had already left in the afternoon as my aunty was hospitalized.

“U can go and meet her at the Nursing home”, she said.

‘Ok’, I said. 'Give me the money too!’ I said in my mind, and left for the tuition.

‘It was ok’, I thought, ‘I have 2 Rs with me and I could go home with it’.

So, after tuitions I headed straight to the bus station. “Why? What about our coffee house? ”, one friend asked. “I have to rush. Not today. ta-ta, bye”, I said.

I caught a bus back home. Inside the bus, to my surprise, my mom, my aunty and my two cousins were sitting. As it turned out, she was hospitalized and discharged and my mom was taking them to our home, so that she gets some rest.

Thus, this time, my mom paid for my ticket. And I reached home safely!

When I was changing my clothes, I took something from my pocket and put it in my old wallet, where I used to put all my coin and currency collections. It was the 2 Rupees currency with which I left home!!!

** ** **

Saturday, January 05, 2008

And you thought I...

And you thought I’ve stopped all blogging ?? Well, I didn’t get time all these days!! Its not that now I m sitting idle and have lots of time or that I m again promising to blog everyday, every incident and so on. It’s just that I watched the best movie of 2007. And how could I ever miss writing a review on that.

Taare Zameen Par - Cinema at its best

What an experience!! Yes, TZP is not just a movie, it’s an experience. It is one of the most touching films I have ever seen. A modern day classic. It will go down as one of the best in Indian cinema. I already read a review comparing TZP with Pather Panchali. Oh my!!! I m speechless.

This is one movie which could be given a rating of 5 out of 5. I ve no words to describe this movie, nothing to complain about. The performances, script, music, direction are all perfect. The story goes like this:

Ishaan(Darsheel) is a class 3 student who gets marks like 3/25, 4/25 in all the subjects. Punishments are regular for him, everyday, every hour he gets punished by his teachers. He doesn’t know how to write properly, read sentences, and do additions and to behave to others. Fed up of hearing complaints about him from his teachers and neighbors, his father sends him to a boarding school.

Ram Shanker Nikumbh(Aamir) is a temporary art teacher in this school. He realizes that ishaan is dyslexic and he has the patience to spend time with this kid and make him read, write and behave like other children: he is the one who finds out the 'young artist' in ishaan.

The movie ends with a soul-stirring climax with Ishaan becoming - not the best- but a boy who has improvements in every subject in school, thanks to nikumbh sir. Nikumbh is just an ordinary teacher. He’s not the likes of the music teacher in mohabbattein who can encourage his lover students to go for it! He’s not the coach who can make minnows, world beaters. He is just another teacher who understands his students; who loves children.

This was the first time I have seen the audience applaud a movie by standing up and clapping as it ended. Nobody moved from their places, perhaps nobody wanted it to end. People were all speechless!! I m sure there wont be a soul whose eyes did not water during this masterpiece of a movie.

Thank you Aamir, for such a great movie, and thank you for making me believe that movies could be this great. AK has taken Indian cinema to the next level.

Ah!!! The more I talk about TZP, the more I like it. Its is obviously a must watch, also it is a must buy, too!!

So, another year has gone by, and let me pick some of the best of this year

Taare Zameen Par and Chak De! India(CDI) are the best bollywood movies of 2007. Others like Guru and Black Friday are my picks for the best of 2007. Om Shanti Om and Namastey London were the best entertainers of the year. RGV ki Aag and Saawariya will be the disappointments of the year, though I haven seen the later. Other movies which were missed include Metro, Bheja Fry and Dhamaal. Jab We Met(JWM) was the surprise of the year, it gave us the future Mr. and Mrs. bollywood.

Deepika, Sonam and Ranbir will be stars to watch out for. All of them will share the debutante awards. Special Mention for SRK for having started real acting with CDI. Best actress will be Kareena for JWM. Best Director would be AK for TZP. Best music – Shankar, Ehsaan Loy for TZP. Best script Anmol Gupte for TZP. Child artiste Darsheel Safary for TZP.

Those were all my picks, my personal opinion, obviously inspired by Rajeev Masand’s Now Showing (CNN IBN) and a lots of other sources. Have a great year ahead!!!