Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Johnny Gaddar

I could simply review this film with a 3-word, "Watch this flick...!" (note the exclamation mark for effect...). But, that would not do any justice to what I am currently feeling 2.5 minutes after watching this movie.

This genre of movies comes as a complete refreshment amidst crappy self acclaimed laugh riots that seems to pollute the movie screen once too often these days. Sriram Raghavan pulls off a Guy Ritchie with this one. The best part of the movie is that it is not a 'whodunnit' thriller. We know all along who has done it, and the question is... how is he gonna get away...!

A brilliant follow up to his crisp hollywood-inspired Ek Hasina Thi, JG comes through as a lot more crisper in terms of editing, music, background scores and not to leave out the camera work.

The performances are credible, with Zakir Hussain and Vinay Pathak riding high. Neil looks the part a 100%, but his dialogue delivery is a major pull-back. I didn't expect anything more out of Rimi, so she is OK. Ashwini plays a brilliant role in the measly screen time allotted to her! The strength of the movie is the pace and the total lack of (melo)drama...!

The under-potrayal of emotional attachment of the protaagonist/ antagonist is a stronghold. For absolutely no reason you never hate this guy, in spite of the fact that he goes around killing people and disposing their bodies. And, this is probably what lubricates the little bit of brakes that movies tend to apply.

Music warrants a special mention. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (after a long time) strike a genius. Barring the brilliant title track you wouldn't ever want to hear any of the other songs a second time, and there in lies its beauty. You might watch the movie twice over and end up saying there was no song somposed for this movie! The bar songs, the 'item number' are composed to blend in with the scene to perfection. you hardly notice them. Credits to Sriram and SEL for the same. The title credits sets the tone and the pace for the rest of the movie. Editor Pooja Surti and director Raghavan take you through the rest of the movie without a single moment of boredom.

If this movie is anything to go by, Bollywood has a revisit to its 70s in the waiting...No remakes, just inspired originals... :)

Nonetheless, let me add...

Watch this flick!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I just did an absolutely redundant job of re-instating (as if he was ever de-instated, if there is a word like that...!) A.R.Rahman as my favourite most music director in this universe... listening to themes of the Deepa Mehta movie Fire... I would have told you how it feels...but, sadly, I don't know how to express music in words...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Maximum City

The diamond is but only coal...

Taking a deep breathed dive into the murky waters of the Bombay drain, Suketu Mehta delivers gold. Try as I may, to shrug it off as a brave attempt seems criminal. The brilliance of this piece of non-fiction stares you in the face, even when your mind tries to decide if this is not for real after all.

The premise Suketu sets up seems no lesser than a backdrop for any art-house cinema. Suketu Mehta is an American writer, who has come down to Bombay after a 24 year hiatus to write about it. As he introduces himself, and tries to get comfortable with plumbers fixing his electricity mains, he has set up for the reader a campus in which we live, but of which we know so less.

The way the book sets off, puts the reader off balance. The narrator, with whom we are just getting comfortable, has not even cleaned his desk at his new-found home and is already lunged into the commercial capital of the country of 'NO'.

He exhaustively covers four main ingredients of the Bombay which is often talked about in hushed tones or shown in Madhur Bhandarkar movies...Underworld (not the Satya- types where people go about man-hunting on seasons...!) Here he takes on some people living in your nearby slums, who might well be in touch with the who's who of the famed Mumbai underworld! His friendship lurks on the brim of him giving in to the temptations of power and you beginning to pray that he doesn't give into it. Next up, Bar Girls... he befriends one of them and lives with her, as literally as figuratively. You stare in to a mushy love-plot that nowadays haunt Indian directors who want to be stylishly off-beat. The human side of, yes the cliched human side of these 'self proclaimed victims' is subtly intertwined in the overall thriller plot. There are instances where the rawness of the bar girl comes bare out in the open like when she meets her father after a decade. Or when the underworld thug gets a new flat for his family and says he can't get stleep unless 12 of them are around him in a 10x12 room.

One statement where the slum-life profoundly manifests itself is, as put by the protagonist,... 'While in the slums, we never used to ask our children if they are hungry... because some one would have surely fed them!'

Then, Mr. Mehta takes a shot at sketching a wannabes life in Mumbai. As before he traces the daily life of a wannabe poet who has arrived at the Land of Golden Footpaths, away from his village up north. He runs away from home after deciding for himself that the first ray of moon and the diminishing seaside sun is what he has to write about, and not chemical equations. He again brings out in the open the hope that this darned city has on offer to the tens of thousands of villagers from around the country. The reunion of this wannabe poet with his father is another poignant moment in the book.

To round it off, Suketu peeps into the life of a Jain. Bombay, alone pays more than 40% of the nation's income tax. Jains, less than 1% of the population, pay around 20% of the nation's income tax!!! And these Jains, are a part of the commerce that is Bombay. Mehta dwells, somewhat irrelevantly into the life of a Jain, who is giving up worldly possessions to follow an ascetic life. Further, he follows the entire proces of how the family goes on to actually do it. The only relevance this holds to Bombay or rather Suketu tries to infer is the rich diamond business Jain population and the way this city tires the people. Personally, I thought he could have done much better if he had dwelt less on this, and probably painted something more of Bombay...

A book worth reading, that will make an impression... that shows you the darker side...you like Bombay for what it is...in spite of what it is! Something like Don Corleone... you like him not because of what he is but... because,

In spite of stating coal, it sells diamond...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Life in a ... Metro

Movie: Life in a ... Metro
Director: Anurag Basu
Cast: Pretty long... read on!

Rishtey, toh nahi
Rishton ki ... parchaiyan miley!

Yeh kaisi bheed hai
Bas yahaan ... tanhaiyan miley!

Pretty much setting the tone for the movie, Anurag goes a step forward from Gangster and delves into the daily 'affair' of the Metro-kars or should I daresay, Mumbaikars! Trying to get as close to realistic cinema as the subject would let him, the you-and-me types teenagers get the goosebumps when you over hear worried mothers behind you in the cinema say, 'Hope my son isnt...'

Performance wise, movie strikes gold, again! Much to the cine-goers delight, the level of performance at offer is on the rise, Metro being no exception!

Kay Kay Menon is on a streak where he is out doing himself every movie. Essaying the chauvinist role to near-perfection, he would have as well had the rest of the star-cast for dinner. Irrfan though comes close in hand, with his easy going, hey!-you-show-I-see kinda attitude. He has got the wittiest lines, which sort of took away what Sharman would otherwise have banked on. This new kid on the block though feels pretty much at home playing the perfect tail-chaser to his seniors. Shiney Ahuja seems to lose his sheen when trying to fit into unbranded lower middle class boots. He just hasn't got the looks, I feel... I mean, he looks so out of place in the Andheri-Churchgate second class compartment!

The ladies compartment, delightfully is not left behind. With each character being given enough character to pull through. Shilpa playing the troubled wife stuck in an 'innocent' love affair carves a niche for herself amongst the slightly better male cast. Konkona Sen, still to get a role that actually challenges her potential, does nonchalant justice to the '30-single-still virgin' character! Kangana, with a new fresh young look, looks good and with much of Anurag's effort seems passable! Kanagana, work on your voice and modulations!

The supposed 'surprise' package of Nafisa (she still looks ravishing!) and Dharmendra (Dev Anand has inspired a new generation it seems!) fails miserably. The on-screen chemistry (?) goes dud! The already so brilliantly entangled affairs would have been much more effective, only if Anurag had decided against taking breathers in the form of Nafisa and Dharam paaji.

What strikes gold for this movie is the fact that see-it-to-believe-it kind of entangled relationships actually seems believable! The on-the-face kinda attitude, though waved off by many a hand, leaves a kind of pinch somewhere, enough to set you thinking...

The music, though tailor made for the movie, seems to get on to you for the monotone adapted. The concept of the videos are good, but in excess, they test your nerves. James, the lead singer better learn at least one other expression if he has to make people bear his mannerisms! Lyrics are rendered well, songs move with the story and but for the all rock attitude, music does well.

The climax, a well known weak point for Indian cinema is handled in a Nagesh Kukunoor-ish style and serves mainly as an ending point than anything else...The build up to the climax also could have been managed better.

Overall, a certain one time watch, at least for the performances and some really good dialogues!

Go catch this flick!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bheja Fry!

New age Indian Cinema... low on glamor, high on quality! Laugh through the movie. Vinay Pathak and Rajat Kapoor put on a commendable performance!

Though, the movie is (sadly?) a rip of the French movie, Dinner Game!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Life Is Beautiful...

Well... I saw it at last...!

(Thanks a lot, Shetty and Narsi...)

Simplicity at it's best... Go watch it today!