on Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Story: Corrupt cop Chulbul Pandey ( Salman Khan ) needs to bridge the distance with his step brother, Makkhi (Arbaaz Khan) and stepdad, Vinod Khanna, on the behest of his mother (Dimple Kapadia) even as he needs to set his own house in order by marrying the potter girl (Sonakshi Sinha) who refuses to succumb to his charms. And if that's not enough, there's the local goon, Sonu Sood and the crumbling administration of the small town that is craving his attention too. Can Chulbul Pandey deliver? Movie Review: For anybody who wants to know what is the on-screen definition of Bollywood (read popular mainstream Hindi cinema), Dabangg is truly text book fare. It's loud, crazy, zany, exaggerated, larger-than-life, almost nonsensical, totally make-believe, comic book like, complete kitsch, generously peppered with the mandatory desi tadka (garnishing) of songs and dances that keep popping out of nowhere and is literally oozing with star charisma. Most importantly, it's not meant to make sense. It's only meant to entertain. And entertain, it does in overdoses. No, this isn't meant for people who are looking for different cinema. Nor is it meant for the viewer who likes movies to appeal to his head. Yet, for those who celebrate and serenade the `silliness' of mainstream masala movie lore and swear by its popcorn quotient, Dabangg is the greatest getaway of the season. Debutant director Abhinav Kashyap chooses to walk the road that makes a complete U-turn from brother Anurag Kashyap's edgy, hard-hitting, realistic cinema and opts for a signature tune that re-invents the age-old formula in aaj ka idiom. Plot-wise, the film might make you cringe with it's hackneyed tale of two squabbling step brothers who have the arduous task of keeping the great Indian family together. And guess who's making life even more difficult for the parivaar? Who else but the local goon (Sonu Sood) who tries to play one brother (Arbaaz Khan) against the other (Salman Khan). But all this brouhaha about a non-story is truly irrelevant, because there never was supposed to be a story in Dabangg. The only factor that was supposed to be there was Salman Khan, Salman Khan, Salman Khan...followed by some more Salman Khan. So just sit back and savour the star power of an actor who chooses to enunciate the role of a thoroughbred entertainer. Salman's corrupt cop act as Chulbul Pandey, playing Robin Hoodin a semi-rustic environment is so engaging, you are willing to forgive and forget everything else. As soon as you begin to realise the film hasn't moved at all in terms of story, bingo! There comes Salman swinging his bare fists around, ducking bullets, spewing mischievous threats and abuses, making eyes at his girlfriend (Sonakshi Sinha), creating chaos in his dysfunctional family and breezily breaking the rules with his brattish ways. And in case you still tend to get a bit restless, there is the Pelvic! Watch him gyrate in sync with all those uproarious tunes and you'll be down to your last coin, having flung all the loose change you have on chartbusters like Munni Badnam Hui....And finally, if you still want more, there's the shirt-ripping sequence, where our desi hulk gets to showcase his sculpted torso without having to unbutton it. It simply tears on its own! Now didn't we tell you Bollywood films have their own undefinable logic.... Dabangg is designed as a vehicle to showcase the star charisma of Salman Khan and the actor literally hits bull's eye. He has a ball on screen and makes sure you join the party too. Aiding him are two special factors: the excellent action choreography by S Vijayan (watch out for all of Salman's slow motion antics and the Matrix bends and leaps that are sure-fire taali-seeti fare) and the foot-tapping music score by Sajid-Wajid and newcomer Lalit Pandit. The locales of the film too are exotic and re-create the hinterland ambience that is becoming so popular in Hindi cinema today. Set in a small, sleepy, one-horse town in Uttar Pradesh, Dabangg creates an alluring canvas of decay and dissolution, even as it celebrates the ordinariness of the aam aadmi's life. In terms of performances, the show is definitely anchored by Salman Khan , but debutant Sonakshi Sinha too stands tall. As Salman's silent, shy, yet gritty girlfriend, she has great screen presence and a spontaneous charm. Bad guy, Sonu Sood too ends up as an interesting adversary to our local Robin Hood while Arbaaz Khan articulates the angst of the underdog brother. But hey, in the end, Dabangg is not about theory and analysis; it's only about the Zandu Balm effect of cinema: completely home grown, hybrid, purely desi stress-busting therapy. Period. A word about: Performances: It's a Salman show all the way. The actor is completely in command as the larger-than-life entertainer who knows all the rules of the Bollywood hero act. Newcomer Sonakshi Sinha too impresses with her spontaneity and spunk. Story: Now that's the weak link. Too hackneyed, this tale of sibling rivalry. Dialogues: They spring straight from the Hindi heartland and are street-smart, colloquial and sometimes silly. Cinematography: The small town has been created well with all its colourful disarray by cinematographer Mahesh Limaye. Action: Now that's the highpoint! S Vijayan's absolutely unbelievable stunts truly add to Salman's larger-than-life image. Music: Dabangg boasts of a great soundtrack by Sajid-Wajid, with a special number by newcomer Lalit Pandit: Munni Badnam Hui which is fast topping the charts as item number one! The fight between good and bad has been the fodder of many a Hindi film of 1970s and 1980s. In fact, it wouldn't be erroneous to state that these films dominated the cinema of yore and a lot of us, who have grown up on masala films/wholesome entertainers, will vividly recall the serpentine queues outside cinema halls and a mad scramble to book the tickets of those films. Hardcore masala films were relished with glee by the audience then.However, for some inexplicable reason, masala films became extinct or should I say, disappeared from the face of Hindi cinema over a period of time. GHAJINI and WANTED revived this genre, bringing back memories of the bygone era. Now DABANGG takes this genre one step ahead. Be forewarned. DABANGG is rustic, has loads of action, harps on the age-old mother-son and varied relationships [half-brother, step-father], eventually turns into a vendetta fare, has a number of songs placed smartly in the narrative [including an item number]... but the packaging is slick and polished. Sure, it's old wine, but packed in a brand new bottle, with a new brand ambassador [Salman Khan] endorsing this masalathon. Most importantly, it has Salman like never before. Breathing fire and venom, Chulbul Pandey aka Robinhood Pandey taps Salman's star power like no film has and the result is sheer magic. In fact, DABANGG stands on three pillars - Salman's star power, smashing stunts and super music. Final word? Salman fans, rejoice! You walk in DABANGG with 100% expectations and you exit with 200% gratification. Entertainment guaranteed. This film will create a pandemonium of sorts, a mass hysteria, crushing old records and setting new benchmarks at the box-office. Set in Uttar Pradesh, DABANGG is a story of Chulbul Pandey [Salman Khan], a totally fearless but corrupt police officer with unorthodox working methods. But even the most fearless at times face a tough fight with their innermost demons. Chulbul has had a bitter childhood. His father passed away when he was very young, after which his mother [Dimple Kapadia] married Prajapati Pandey [Vinod Khanna]. Together, they had a son Makhanchan [Arbaaz Khan]. Prajapati favors Makhanchan, which does not go down well with Chulbul. He decides to take control of his destiny and detaches himself from his step-father and half-brother. His sole attachment is his mother. However, after his mother's demise and an unsuccessful attempt to mend wounds, Chulbul snaps all ties with his step-father and half-brother. Rajo [Sonakshi Sinha], with her unique perspective of life, enters his world and turns life upside down. Chulbul starts to see life more positively and also gets sensitized to the value of a family. But his detractors, especially the dubious Cheddi Singh [Sonu Sood], have their own vested interests and emerge as spokes in the wheels, putting one brother against the other. Makhanchan ends up carrying out an act oblivious to the consequences. When Makhanchan realizes he has been used, he turns to Chulbul. Will Chulbul take his extended hand? Will the brothers be able to thwart their detractors? The job of a promo is to give a gist of the film and prepare the audience well in advance about what to expect when they saunter into an auditorium. The promos of DABANGG have sent the right signals to the audience about it being a paisa vasool entertainer. Let's face it, DABANGG has nothing ground-breaking to offer as far as its plot is concerned. We've visited similar stories in the past, but what makes DABANGG shine, and shine brightly, is Salman's star power, which camouflages the aberrations wonderfully. The darling of the masses has been cast in a role that his fans love to see him in, which explains why this film works from start to end. Like I pointed out earlier, DABANGG is special for two more reasons: S. Vijayan's stunts and Sajid-Wajid's music, with an additional song by Lalit Pandit. Talking of action scenes, Salman's introduction at the start and the fight-to-finish in the climax will send the masses in frenzy. To state that the action scenes are outstanding, especially the fight in the finale, would be an understatement. In the finale fight, when Salman's shirt tears apart and the rippling muscles and the bare-chest fight ensues, mark my words, it will lead to chaos at mass-dominated centres, especially at single screens. The climax will be one of the prime reasons for repeat viewing, for sure. It's difficult to accommodate music in an action film, but Sajid-Wajid come up with a melodious score. The title track, 'Tere Mast Mast Do Nain' and 'Munni' [composed by Lalit Pandit] are the icing on the cake. Director Abhinav Singh Kashyap is in his element. He's made an out and out entertainer with an eye at the masses and he succeeds in his endeavour. Doing justice to vintage formula is no cakewalk, let's not forget. Besides, the director stays away from going overdramatic while handling the dramatic and emotional moments. This explains why you don't exit the theatre with a spinning head. Mahesh Limaye's cinematography is perfect. I'd like to make a note of the editing [Pranav V. Dhiwar], which is super-slick in action scenes. Dialogue, especially those delivered by Salman, will be greeted with claps and whistles. Especially the one 'Itne chhed karunga'. Salman Khan is the boss, when it comes to playing to the masses. This film reaffirms this truth. The role provides him ample opportunity to prove his star power and he does it with remarkable ease. Let me put it on record. DABANGG is yet another landmark film in his career, besides MAINE PYAR KIYA, HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN, JUDWAA [tapping the funny side], TERE NAAM [tapping the emotional side] and WANTED. Sonakshi Sinha looks fresh, acts confidently and pairs off very well with Salman. Most importantly, she delivers the right expressions and is not overpowered by the galaxy of stars in the cast. Arbaaz Khan is efficient. He underplays his part well. Sonu Sood is electrifying, matching up to Salman at every step. In fact, the fight in the finale between Salman and Sonu is awe-inspiring. Vinod Khanna is excellent in a role that has grey shades. Dimple Kapadia is truly wonderful. Anupam Kher is, as always, good. Ditto for Om Puri. Mahesh Manjrekar doesn't get ample scope. Mahi Gill is alright. Tinnu Anand is effective. Murli Sharma is nice. Malaika Arora Khan sizzles in the 'Munni' track. On the whole, DABANGG is a full on entertainer with three aces - Salman Khan like never before, stylish action and super music. It's a foregone conclusion that DABANGG will open huge. As far as the business prospects are concerned, the film will set new benchmarks, so much so that DABANGG will be one of the yardsticks to gauge the level of business in times to come. Sure to fetch an earth-shattering opening, the film will create a pandemonium at the box-office, cementing the status of Salman Khan as the darling of the masses and making the distributors laugh all the way to the bank. It has Blockbuster written all over it!


on Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pulp Fiction (1994)

One of the early scenes in "Pulp Fiction" features two hit-men discussing what a Big Mac is called in other countries. Their dialogue is witty and entertaining, and it's also disarming, because it makes these two thugs seem all too normal. If you didn't know better, you might assume these were regular guys having chit-chat on their way to work. Other than the comic payoff at the end of the scene, in which they use parts of this conversation to taunt their victims, their talk has no relevance to anything in the film, or to anything else, for that matter. Yet without such scenes, "Pulp Fiction" wouldn't be "Pulp Fiction." I get the sense that Tarantino put into the film whatever struck his fancy, and somehow the final product is not only coherent but wonderfully textured.

It's no wonder that fans spend so much time debating what was in the suitcase, reading far more into the story than Tarantino probably intended. The film is so intricately structured, with so many astonishing details, many of which you won't pick up on the first viewing, that it seems to cry out for some deeper explanation. But there is no deeper explanation. "Pulp Fiction," is, as the title indicates, purely an exercise in technique and style, albeit a brilliant and layered one. Containing numerous references to other films, it is like a great work of abstract art, or "art about art." It has all the characteristics we associate with great movies: fine writing, first-rate acting, unforgettable characters, and one of the most well-constructed narratives I've ever seen in a film. But to what end? The self-contained story does not seem to have bearing on anything but itself.

The movie becomes a bit easier to understand once you realize that it's essentially a black comedy dressed up as a crime drama. Each of the three main story threads begins with a situation that could easily form the subplot of any standard gangster movie. But something always goes wrong, some small unexpected accident that causes the whole situation to come tumbling down, leading the increasingly desperate characters to absurd measures. Tarantino's originality stems from his ability to focus on small details and follow them where they lead, even if they move the story away from conventional plot developments.

Perhaps no screenplay has ever found a better use for digressions. Indeed, the whole film seems to consist of digressions. No character ever says anything in a simple, straightforward manner. Jules could have simply told Yolanda, "Be cool and no one's going to get hurt," which is just the type of line you'd find in a generic, run-of-the-mill action flick. Instead, he goes off on a tangent about what Fonzie is like. Tarantino savors every word of his characters, finding a potential wisecrack in every statement and infusing the dialogue with clever pop culture references. But the lines aren't just witty; they are full of intelligent observations about human behavior. Think of Mia's statement to Vincent, "That's when you know you've found somebody special: when you can just shut the f--- up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence."

What is the movie's purpose exactly? I'm not sure, but it does deal a lot with the theme of power. Marsellus is the sort of character who looms over the entire film while being invisible most of the time. The whole point of the big date sequence, which happens to be my favorite section of the film, is the power that Marsellus has over his men without even being present. This power is what gets Vincent to act in ways you would not ordinarily expect from a dumb, stoned gangster faced with an attractive woman whose husband has gone away. The power theme also helps explain one of the more controversial aspects of the film, its liberal use of the N-word. In this film, the word isn't just used as an epithet to describe blacks: Jules, for instance, at one point applies the term to Vincent. It has more to do with power than with race. The powerful characters utter the word to express their dominance over weaker characters. Most of these gangsters are not racist in practice. Indeed, they are intermingled racially, and have achieved a level of equality that surpasses the habits of many law-abiding citizens in our society. They resort to racial epithets because it's a patter that establishes their separateness from the non-criminal world.

There's a nice moral progression to the stories. We presume that Vincent hesitates to sleep with Mia out of fear rather than loyalty. Later, Butch's act of heroism could be motivated by honor, but we're never sure. The film ends, however, with Jules making a clear moral choice. Thus, the movie seems to be exploring whether violent outlaws can act other than for self-preservation.

Still, it's hard to find much of a larger meaning tying together these eccentric set of stories. None of the stories are really "about" anything. They certainly are not about hit-men pontificating about burgers. Nor is the film really a satire or a farce, although it contains elements of both. At times, it feels like a tale that didn't need to be told, but for whatever reason this movie tells it and does a better job than most films of its kind, or of any other kind.

The Namesake

title :The Namesake
actors :Irrfan Khan , Tabu , Kal Penn
directed by :Mira Nair

The film tells the story of an expatriate Indian couple living in New York. The story begins in early 70s. Ashoke Ganguly (Irrfan Khan ) marries a Kolkata girl, Ashima ( Tabu ) and they emigrate to the US. It takes some time for Ashima to adjust to the lifestyle of the west.

A few years down the line, Ashima gives birth to a son, Gogol, and a daughter, Sonia.

Thereafter begins the tale of slow but unreceding conflict within Gogol ( Kal Penn ), who finds himself torn between the western lifestyle in the American society all around him and the Indian culture in his home. His friends poke fun at his unusual name. Overtime, Gogol begins to dislike his own name and his traditional parents.

In order to find an identity of his own, Gogol changes his name to Nikhil, or Nick, and begins dating a white girl (Jacinda Barrett), thereby openly going against the wishes of his parents who want him to settle down with a Bengali girl.

On the other hand, Gogol's father Ashoke stands as a liberal minded man who sticks to his roots and his values without shunning the western culture.

One meeting with his father Ashoke begins to change Gogol's life. In the meeting, Ashoke explains to him why he was named Gogol, (after Ashoke's favourite author Nikolai Gogol). A tragic incident that changed Ashoke's life in 1971 prompted him to name his son Gogol.

The story then comes to a crucial point when Ashoke dies of heart attack, leaving Ashima alone and shattered. His father's death brings new realizations to the prodigal son. Now, Gogol begins to see and realize who he really is.

Irrfan Khan and Tabu are simply superb together. Irrfan gives a controlled, understated performance while Tabu is highly expressive even when she is not delivering any dialogues. Kal Penn gives a decent performance. Jacinda Barrett is competent.


UP :animated:
Directed by
Pete Docter
Bob Peterson

The movie focuses on 78-year old man Carl Fredrickson's (voiced by Edward Asner) life who always had a dream of going on a journey to South American to see the wilds of it. He buys thousands of balloons just to attach it to his house to float up in the sky. So, he starts with his journey up in the sky in his house with balloons attached to it. Suddenly, he's not alone and somebody's at the door while flying, it's a boy scout kid named Russell. He invites the boy with him on his journey to South America.

Just brilliant and simple story-telling, beautiful visuals as usual with Pixar, awesome voice work, funny and smart dialogue, beautiful score once again by Michael Giacchino & very, very enjoyable characters. Speaking of characters, the highlight of the film: Dug the Dog. A sort of "robot" dog that will have you have you in a lot of stitches each scene that dog is in and that was the case with me. Simply, one of the funniest characters Pixar ever made. Pete Doctor, one of the four Pixar directors (John Lassester, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird) who directed Monster's Inc (2001) needs and should get nominated for his clever, genius and smart directing of this but if Stanton didn't get the nods for (Finding Nemo and WALL-E) and Bird for (The Incredibles & Ratatouille) which they should of been, then the Oscars are making another HUGE mistake for not nominating this guy for this movie.

Up is the funniest Pixar movie, funnier than the Toy Story movies, A Bug's Life & Finding Nemo which were the funniest, in my opinion. The movie is not just hilarious, it's emotional and sad at times. Like WALL-E, it focuses on the character feelings but not as magical as WALL-E. Still, Up is full of emotional, fun and hilarious proportions.

yamla pagla deewana

Yamla Pagla Deewana is, more or less, modeled on Bollywood's age-old lost-and-found formula where a son is separated from his father in childhood. But for a pleasant change, the father and son do not have to wait till the climax and rather reunite within the first 15 minutes of the film. After that they remain together in almost every other frame of the film and (joined by the younger son) share great combined chemistry.

The film starts in a Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Ghum mode though with a 'disjoint' family setting. Canada based Paramveer (Sunny Deol) is estranged from his father Dharam (Dharmendra) and brother Gajodhar (Bobby Deol). When he gets a cue that they are in India, the banker comes on an extended break to Banaras in their pursuit ala SRK of Main Hoon Na . Without beating around the bush for a split second, the first person he meets in his motherland is his father and brother. While one doesn't mind the convenient and coincidental reunion as it gives way for early camaraderie between characters, a lackadaisical love story only delays the excitement in store.

By the time Gajodhar lures ladylove Saheba (Kulraj Randhawa), he is already separated from her. Paramveer decides to help him out. The story traces a DDLJ -meets- Haseena Maan Jayegi path as the brothers pose as prospective grooms for Saheba in the Punjab hinterlands. Saheba's band-of-brothers (headed by Anupam Kher) opt for the elder brother over the younger as the bridegroom. As everyone from Dharam to Paramveer's Canadian wife (Emma Brown) come into the scene, a comedy of error ensues.

Pretty much like the three Deols are given their individual trademark dance steps in the title track of the film, director Samir Karnik assigns each one to do what they are good at. So Dharmendra tickles your funny bone, Sunny breaks bones and Bobby makes no bones about playing the lover-boy.

The romance track in the first half is uninspiring and unconvincing and only slackens the pace. But the graph of the narrative soars in the second half as Saheba's Sardar siblings come into picture. While they are conventionally characterized as a bunch of authoritative and English illiterate countrymen, their antics and episodes are hilarious enough to keep you engrossed. Thankfully there are no sermons on sanskaar and culture of the country.

The humour is fortunately not slapstick and the gags vary from hilarious to humdrum. Instances like Sunny Deol's drunken stupor and its aftereffects have a sidesplitting effect while another where Dharmendra takes Bobby's proposal to the heroine (supposed spoof on a similar scene from Sholay ) falls flat. A short scene where Sunny hijacks an elevator makes no sense. Then again Sunny's exaggerated action sequences are senseless yet spoofy. The dialogues are as inconsistently comical as the screenplay.

The separation of the father-son is never ever detailed through a flashback account and remains restricted to just a verbal mention. That dilutes the lost-and-found formula to an extent. The mother accidentally talking to her younger son on phone in the climax is evidently a Manmohan Desai moment. A folk story account on some Mirza-Saheba adds no dimension to the storytelling.

Music clearly is the weakest link of the film with as many as half a dozen composers spoiling the broth. Other than the title track revived from the yesteryear film Pratigya , each and every song is absolutely lackluster. Cinematography is decent while action is intentionally larger-than-life. Editing could have been crisper.

The film clearly belongs to Sunny Deol who despite underplaying himself, delivers punches – both combative and comic, with perfection. Bobby Deol has a fresh appeal to his character and exudes enormous energy in his performance. Dharmendra resorts to buffoonery and occasionally looks jaded. But it's a treat to watch him perform with his sons. Kulraj Randhawa is charming but lacks screen presence. Sucheta Khanna as her Canada-loving cousin is exceptionally hilarious. Anupam Kher makes you laugh with his impeccable comic timing. Mukul Dev gets the best one-liners. Amit Mistry is funny.

Yamla Pagla Deewana employs formula but doesn't get formulaic. It has action and comedy but doesn't get slapstick. It brings together the Deols but not without a story. This one is an entertainer and not without a reason.


Producer: Aamir Khan Director: Ashutosh Gowariker

Starring: Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh, Rachel Shelley, Paul Blackthorne, Others

Music: A R Rahman

Lyrics: Javed Akhtar Released on: June 15, 2001

Approximate Running Time: 3 hours 40 Minutes


When you think of how many movies keep you engrossed for three running hours, the brilliance of Lagaan is evident from keeping your interest for all of its four hours (with an interval and some boring ads and trailors thrown in). It could have been a few minutes shorter - but that would be at the cost of detail, drama, humor, or perhaps a silent cinematographic transition. Different sections of the audience appreciate different aspects of a film - and a film that can please as many sections without getting on the nerves of another must be appreciated as a truly complete film. And in that respect, Lagaan is a perfect example of complete film, a classy entertainer, with superior technical execution - like Sholay (the only other comparable movie). The strength of "Lagaan" is in the people behind its making. Ashutosh Gowariker leads the way as a director first, and as much as the man behind the story and screenplay. Anil Mehta uses color and camera to bring out the mood in each scene. A period movie set in 1893 would rely on sets and costumes - but limiting the movie to one village called Champaner and nearby British Cantonment makes it easier on Nitin Desai and Bhanu Athaiya to successfully take you back by a century with none of the usual faux pas. A R Rahman´s background score combines with Anil Mehta´s visual brilliance for a strong audio-visual impact. The songs impress by themselves, and instrumental notes from the songs work brilliantly in the background track - that keeps you listening and appreciating it from the titles to the credits at the end. The songs blend into the movie with Javed Akhtar´s strong lyrics and are innovative choreography. There may be some whispers about the songs affecting the narrative but there is an audience that wants to see movies for the songs and choreography - and Lagaan manages the balance between narrative and song-and-dance well. About the cast, everyone brings life into their roles. Aamir Khan stands out - with his screen time to movie time ratio most likely to beat some of Kamal Haasan´s movies. Now, about the movie itself - it is a modernized presentation of four-decade old "Naya Daur". It is a movie about common men, led by a strong-minded individual to overcome resistance and differences in opinion - and standing their ground for a cause against a powerful opposition. There is a cause for a fight, there is a fight, and there is a moral victory in the end. This is the stuff that most good-over-bad and other moral stories are made of, but the details in the script of Lagaan make it work. The humor built into individual characters as Aamir Khan assembles a cricket team and respond to the challenge of the British General is most entertaining. At the cost of sounding sexist, some of the ignorant humorous descriptions of cricket amused me by how close it was to what some women in the house would say when all men are glued to the TV and households come to a standstill (often depriving the women of some boring TV serial). This humor is certainly a strength of the movie, blended most brilliantly into a serious and inspirational narrative. Full credit to the director, screenplay, dialogues, and the performers. About the story itself - it is incidental to the movie. Lagaan is more about spirit, inspiration, and cinematic brilliance rather than a story that will move you. And should I say, thankfully there is no marriage, no rituals and functions, and the stuff that most of 90´s were made off. The movie works at the level of spirit and inspiration, and not at some perceived lost cultural value in society - and most thankfully so. And to conclude this review - I must say Lagaan and Sholay, being two very different movies share a lot in common - in how complete they are. Think about this - what´s so common to these movies. Extra long movies, suppressed societies, domination through power, the spirit to fight, inspiring and building a team, humor and entertainment in a serious script, brown barren landscapes, strong people and characters, story of a single village, and we can keep counting ... So, here I am shooting off a feature by feature comparison of the two movies. Length and directions - Two "too" long movies - where the length didn´t bore you. Two directors, who got their formula right. Performances and characters - Sholay was easily better with a different genre of performers and more complete characters. Lagaan suffers from the typical "Kamal Haasan" syndrome - of centering around one character. The love story - If it were not for the Amitabh-Jaya love story of Sholay, Lagaan would be far superior with how the romantic angle never interferes or disturbs on the narrative. Creating a whole village - Two movies that successfully take you to a different society with pains, pleasures, and feelings that are not so common with what we associate with. Terror - Gabbar Singh scores and its an unfair comparison here. The British general is more about misplaced pride than terror. Humor - Lagaan wins, with humor being a part of its people - unlike Sholay which had parallel tracks and comic characters like "Soorma Bhopali" and the "Jailor". Visual effects - Technologies have evolved in 25 years, but the brilliance of Anil Mehta in Lagaan is still only comparable to what we saw in Sholay. Songs and dances - Lagaan scores with its songs, though R D Burman could undo all the brilliance of A R Rahman with one Mehbooba. Background music - It would be hard to tell the two apart in how well they served the movie. Climax - Sholay wins, for the stark and different end - and this is one weakness for Lagaan to be a little more cliched, heroic, and melodramatic. Yet, the climax of Lagaan has its moments and tries to be different in its own way. How often has a cricket match formed a climax (without getting so farcical as Chamatkar, Maalamaal, and the Dev Anand fiasco which incidentally again had Aamir Khan at the crease)? So - for those who still believe that Sholay is the best entertainer Hindi cinema has seen till date, here is reason to rejoice that Lagaan is comparable if not better.


Expecting an original film from the Bhatt camp is a Paap. Hey, get it the right way. i.e. Paap does seem to be an original story as for now (unless someone sneaks into a distant source). The story is a blend of an urban and a rural tale with the urban one getting as cliched as possible though the rural part has some captivating moments. The film opens with titles rolling aside a blunt beauty indulging in a passionate plunge in the mystique river of Spiti, a small monk dominated town in Himachal Pradesh. The religious head of Spiti gets a vision about his master's reincarnation in Delhi as a six-year-old boy Llahmo (Madan Bhiku), and Kaaya (Udita Goswami) is assigned the task to bring her back to the monastery. As typical Bollywood fate would have it Llahmo turns eyewitness to the murder of a police officer. Enter an honest cop Shiven (John Abraham) who turns saviour to the child and her lady guardian. Escaping from the murderer (Gulshan Grover) they move over to Kaaya's hometown. Injured in the escape Shiven is coaxed by senior monk Lama Noorbu (Denzil Smith) to stay back in the village much against the wish of Kaaya's father (Mohan Agashe). Obviously love blooms between Shiven and Kaaya. But then Kaaya is forced to quit all the worldly pleasures of life to join the monastery. Meanwhile the bad men drop in the village. The grand finale obviously leads to a happy end. In her debut attempt at direction, Pooja's passion to serve something different is visible throughout the film. But her portrayal of the conflict between the rural and urban lives turns out somewhat confusing. After a while the repetitive bantering turn sort of monotonous leaving the audiences puzzled. And just when one expects the director would contemplate something on the Lama reincarnation factor she leaves that aspect totally untouched. The pace drops occasionally and over that the heavy dialogues by Niranjan Iyenger adds a lot of melodrama. (Incidentally Iyenger is the same person who penned the light-hearted, humorous and witty lines of Kal Ho Naa Ho). As its strength, the film boasts of soothing music, a superlative background score and convincing performances. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's "Mann Ki Lagan" and Anu Malik's "Intezar" (the opening track involving the passionate plunge) are outstanding. The background theme pieces (which dominate a major portion of the music CD) add an engrossing impact to the proceedings. And full marks to cinematographer Anshuman Mahaley who captures the virgin eye-appealing locations of the Spiti hill station, 16500 mts. above the sea-level in Himachal Pradesh, with remarkable elan. It makes me wonder why some filmmakers still tread the Canada-Canberra path overlooking our local beauty. Abbas Ali Moghul's action sequence where Grover's sidekick is attacked in the grain storehouse is innovative. Some light-hearted scenes like the one where John milks a yak and rides a donkey turn out amusing. Akiv Ali's editing is satisfactory. Of the cast, John puts in maximum effort which is visible though his bare body parades in the extreme cold of the hill station. And man, the female of species can't stay much away from John (or is it the other way round). Paap too has its share of hot Paapi scenes. Debutante Udita Goswami conveys through her body language (pun intended). Mohan Agashe as a concerned father and Denzil Smith are impressive. Gulshan Grover plays his usual act. Child artist Madan Bhiku is expressive without gong overboard.


There have been very few great comedy films in the history of Hindi Cinema. Andaz Apna Apna happens to be one of them. The film is based on a very simple story of two poor young men (Aamir and Salman) who dream of becoming rich by marrying a millionaire's daughter (Raveena). Aamir and Salman Khan try their best to outwit each other and woo Raveena. The plot thickens when Paresh Rawal & Co. plan to take over all the wealth. The movie is well paced and very funny. Rarely does one come across a Hindi comedy which is both funny and intelligent. This is one of the few films with Aamir and Salman together (probably the only film!). Unfortunately it did not succeed at the box-office, and we might never see a film of this calibre again. Aamir Khan is brilliant in the film and has proved his versatility as an actor in this film. Salman Khan gives a very good performance as a dim-wit. Raveena plays a convincing role as a confused rich girl, and Karishma who is Raveena's assistant/friend is also funny. Paresh Rawal, Junior Ajith, Shakti Kapoor, Deven Verma, Jagdeep and Tiku Talsania just add to the flavour of the film! All in all, the best Hindi comedy ever made and I wish they make more quality films like this one. You will want to watch this film time and again.

P.S - For those of you who have watched this film, I also suggest Gol Maal, Chupke Chupke, Chhoti Si Baat, Naram Garam, Hera Pheri (old and new), etc.
Gandhi"The object of this massive tribute died as he had always lived, without wealth, without property, without official title or office. Mahatma Gandhi was not the commander of armies, nor the ruler of vast lands. He could not boast any scientific achievement or artistic gift. Yet men, governments, dignitaries from all over the world, have joined hands today to pay homage to the little brown man in the loin cloth, who led his country to freedom."

This quote is from the funeral scene in the 1982 film "Gandhi". Richard Attenborough directed this massive epic about the man that freed India. The film opens with Gandhi's assassination. The next scene, his funeral, is one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history. Attenborough managed to recreate Gandhi's funeral on January 31st, 1981, the 33rd anniversary of the actual funeral. It is estimated that nearly 400,000 people were on hand to be a part of the filming the recreation. This film was made before CGI (computer generated images), so the funeral scene is probably the last live action crowd of that magnitude that will ever be filmed.

Mahatma Gandhi's message of non-violent resistance is delivered in an interesting and enthralling body of art. This film has made and will make millions of people aware of the little brown man that took on the British Empire and won. "Gandhi" serves both as entertainment and an important historical record of one of the most important figures in history.

Ben Kingsley played Gandhi. He was the perfect for the role. He resembled the real Gandhi. He was young enough to portray Gandhi as a young man. He is a British actor that nailed the British influenced Indian accent. He is a wonderful actor that was patient and humble with such an important part. And he was a relatively unknown actor at the time, so the "big-time actor" persona did not get in the way of viewing the film. He did win both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best actor, for this role, which I agree he deserved. He became Gandhi.

The cinematography was outstanding. Attenborough filmed "Gandhi" on location in India. The scenes of India are spectacular, and India is very much another character in the film. This film is as much about India itself as it is about Gandhi. Attenborough shows the audience the people of India from its countryside to the vast city of Calcutta. It is suggested by Kingsley, on the DVD, that Attenborough had a difficult time with the elite class in India at the time of filming. They were against the making of such a film by an Englishman. Undeterred by their negative thinking, he persevered to enlist thousands of Indians to help make this film. Every crowd scene, he used real Indians from the area. Attenborough also won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best direction.

This movie is a must see for everyone. It should be required viewing in high schools, as part of History class. The fight against prejudice will forever be relevant. It is also a beautiful work of art. This movie is not tainted by the embellishment of Hollywood (see "Pearl Harbor" for that). Of course, it would have been hard to screw up a movie about such a great man.

Tanu Weds Manu -movie review

on Monday, April 4, 2011

                                                                  Tanu Weds movie

This is a movie has a a lot of promises , the way it is seen the promos ,  another romantic flick with inventive story telling and terrific performances .Unlike the past romantic flicks like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Jab We Met. There was something very refreshing about these films that was lapped up by the audience.
It begins with Manu (Madhavan) a doctor settled in London coming bride-hunting to India to fulfill his parents' wishes. That's how he meets Kanpur-based small-town girl Tanu (Kangna) and takes an instant liking to her. But she is in love with someone else and wants Manu to call the marriage off. The heart-broken doctor is yet to recuperate from the wound when he meets his dream girl again at his best friend Jassi's (Eijaz Khan) wedding. Tanu and Manu begin to get to know each other better. But her heart still beats for the man she loves. In typical filmi style, Manu decides to get them together. However, fate has other plans and that leads to the eventual climax and a happy ending.

Director Aanand L Rai (STRANGERS) begins the proceedings impressively. You soon get acquainted with the unpretentious yet strong Manu and the bindaas Tanu. The sundry characters especially, Pappi (Deepak Dobriyal) and Payal (Swara bhaskara) add life to the proceedings. Although the first half gets a bit wobbly before the interval, it's pretty watchable primarily because of Tanu's crazy histrionics.
The problem lies in the second half when the narrative takes the much traversed path of numerous past movies. It's a mixed bag of HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM, JAB WE MET and PYAAR TOH HONA HI THA. The predictable end is not a problem, the docile script is. There's not enough spunk in the storytelling. You never get to know why Manu is going out of his way for Tanu, when he knows her intentions (is it his unconditional love for her?). Tanu's character all of a sudden becomes soft, and thereby loses her charm. Even the humour quotient isn't up to the mark.

What's Hot- Where love stories are concerned, it's quite obvious that the focus has now shifted from NRI-Land to the heartland of India. And it's a welcome change. The first thing that strikes you about TWM is its incredible backdrop -- sweeping shots of Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Punjab and Vaishnodevi. Aanand Rai does a brilliant job capturing the essence of every city, making the setting just perfect for a love story of this genre. The narrative is simple and pleasing. Manu's pathos is adequately explained and justified. And Tanu's vortex of emotions is understandable and something you can identify with. The scenes between the lead couple are funny, poignant and have their own special moments. The songs are well placed and they don't seem jarring at any point. The Kajra Mohabbatwala sequence is a full-on winner. The film's highlight is the supporting cast -- Deepak Dobriyal, Eijaz Khan and Swara Bhaskar are brilliant. Watch out for Rajendra Gupta's volatile outburst that has been beeped for obvious reasons. Jimmy Shergill is striking in a new avatar -- he literally shoulders the entire climax. Kangna is very effective and free of any inhibitions. She makes the character of Tanu likable even with all its complexities. Madhavan is first-rate and finally gets a film that showcases his true potential.

TANU WEDS MANU is not completely bad and has its moments. The twist post the interval is deftly done. Some of the genuinely beautiful moments include the 'Jai Mata Di' scene in the beginning and Pappi conversing with Manu on the terrace.
And not to forget the foot –tapping ,bhangra and fun song which is seen in the promos 'Saadi Gaali ' is the saving grace of the  film according to me ,though not fully shot song and dance sequence as we normally get to see ,sung by Lehmber Hussainpuri .