Friday, April 29, 2005

mid-day bloopers?

What the heck? "Ram Gopal Varma’s Naina"??

Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi - Two Thumbs Up!!

Finally, watched Sudhir Mishra's Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi after missing it when it was screened by Collective Chaos!

And a lovely movie, it was!

Its great to see Sudhir Mishra, back in his elements, after a couple of off-shoots, namely, "Chameli" and "Calcutta Mail". This time he gifts himself with a wonderful script co-written by Ruchi Narain (who might direct a film soon executive-produced by Mr. Mishra) & Shivkumar Subramaniam.
Back to HKA. Its about three young people, Siddharth, Geeta and Vikram. Siddharth is born with the silver spoon and wants to change the corrupt system with his revolutionary ideas. Geeta is in love with Siddharth and unsure about what she wants to do, and follows the dynamic Siddharth with his revolutionary ideas. Vikram doesn't care a heck about the system and wants to climb up the economic ladder. But, he is hopelessly in love with Geeta. He argues Siddharth has time for this indulgence; but, not him. In this neat setup, echoing similarities with Yuva (Make no mistake, Hazaaron was completed much before Yuva), the movie explores the ideologies, politics, ambitions of the youth of the bygone era of the 60's and 70's. But the story is not about politics. Its a love story, which twirls alongside the political turmoils of the 1970's, serving as an allegory of role of Indian youth in yesteryears politics and more broadly, India. The actual historic incidents and happennings like the emergency period are kept in the backdrop of the plot. The way humour is strewn over the movie is commendable!

Sudhir Mishra doesn't eulogise the way of the revolution; all we see, initially, is a bunch of dopers and their political friends with communist leanings, discussing Marx, Castro, et al. That we find the path of Vikram most agreeable is inevitable and that has been the director's intention. Sudhir Mishra succeeds by showing things as they happenned. People who chased their revolutionaly ideas were either left disillusioned or lost their ideals and the writers do not mince their words on this aspect. That they chased such a quite impossible dream to change the world is by itself a fascinating subject; and is portrayed profoundly, and nostalgically too, by Mr. Mishra. Its the character of Vikram the audience are most likely to identify with; and the character is so seamlessly written that as the movie proceeds, we see his character develop much more than the cliched-selfish cardboard character we are being served with, in movies generally. In the process, its the other male protagonist, the idealistic Siddharth, who appears a bit too upright for the empathy of this generation, but true to those times nevertheless. Thats why we don't see the human side of him, with all its intrinisic flaws, until the very end, where he is left disillusioned and renounces his revolutionary ideas. There is a sequence, in which Vikram, hopelessly in love with Geeta, follows her to a village in Bihar, just to find that Geeta had come to meet Siddharth, who had joined a naxal group. And then, alongside a river, they talk.. That's a miniature setting of the whole story of the lives of the three. In an effort to pacify an angry Siddharth, Vikram says "Long live Revolution!" (with a bottle of beer in his hand; so is Geeta). There is a short silence and then they have a hearty laugh!

Among the onscreen performances, all the three protagonists Kay Kay Menon, Shiney Ahuja and Chitrangada Singh have given clean performances. The scene stealer, of course, is Shiny Ahuja, who as Vikram Malhotra walks away with the top honours. somehow, I felt he is going to be the most under-appreciated, after finding him and his character excellent in the movie. But, was more than happy to find most of the reviews, the precious little that are written, giving due applause to him! Other notable performances include Yashpal Sharma. Saurabh Shukla makes a special appearance.

My only minor grouse (in want of a softer word) is the full-blown use of English in the dialogues of the movies, unlike his earlier movies like Dharavi, Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin (the comparison being somewhat unfair as the settings are different). Agreed, that they are in Delhi, Siddharth can't talk both Bengali and Urdu - his possible mother tongues, and all that. Still, I feel more of Hindi dialogues between the three characters could have been added to make the characters more real. It seems Geeta had been made a south Indian just to be politically correct to assure that they can't get away with Hindi (similar to Mr. and Mrs. Iyer). It looks out-of-place, when Geeta talks to Siddharth in English, even when in absolute panic, after having spent around four years in Bhojpur. Hell, she even puts a few words of English (in clean British accent) into the policeman's ears knowing he would not get a bit of what she meant, but just to vent out her frustrations. Absolutely detailed characterization of all the revolutionaries, relatives, aunts, et al, with smaller screen presence, do not allow them to speak English and their Hindi/regional language befits their characters to T. Only that, the lead characters could have played it a bit less with the English dialogues. Was Mr. Mishra aiming at a wider audience by making it in English? Nothing wrong in this when all he is popular, in Bollywood, is for his substitute-effort in "Chameli".

The soundtrack, by Shantanu Moitra, featuring in the movie is classy with the qawwali number "Mann Yeh Bavra" sung by Ajay Jhingran and Swanand Kirkire being the best pick; "Bawra Mann Dekhne" (female rendition by Shubha Mudgal and male rendition Swanand Kirkire) also stands out among other tracks.

Easily, the best Indian film I have seen this year!!!
Or, am I forgetting any movie here? nope!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Search keywords pointing to my blog

Top 25 Keywords (via BlogPatrol) used for searches that pointed to my blog (nothing to brag about as far as the actual numbers are concerned :)):

Anurag Kashyap (Google) - 9
Vijay dan Detha Duvidha (Google) - 2
duvidha (Google) - 2
Michael Madhana Kamarajan Movie Review (Google) - 1
mumbai xpress (Google) - 1
pushpak based on hollywood movie (Google) - 1
pushpak tamil film (Google) - 1
rehan ansari 2005 (Google) - 1
sathi leelavathi (Google) - 1
singaravelan kamal crazy mohan (Google) - 1
tamil dvds bama vijayam (Google) - 1
Thirupaachi tamil Movie download (Google) - 1
trois couleurs (Google) - 1
Vijay dan Detha + Duvidha (Google) - 1
avvai shanmugi download (Google) - 1
duvidha film review (Google) - 1
Duvidha Vijay dan Detha (Google) - 1
Duvidha, a novel by Vijay dan Detha (Google) - 1
hazaaron khwahishen aisi pictures (Google) - 1
hazaaron khwahishen aisi soundtrack (Google) - 1
hazaaroN Khwahishen movie (Google) - 1
jyothika (Google) - 1
madhan's thirai paarvai (Google) - 1

So, I am doing quite some publicity work for Anurag Kashyap! The odd ones are of course, the one that says "Thirupaachi tamil Movie download (Google)" and "Jyothika" ( Crying out aloud:((( ). There was only a passing reference on that movie in one of my posts. At least, all the keywords are related to movies ;)

Friday, April 15, 2005

FDES ala Golmaal ala Thillu Mullu!

No time for a new post now. Caught yesterday's evening show and here is my comments on Lazy's blog.


i did a FDES (first day evening show) in typical Golmaal-Thillu Mullu style on Mumbai Xpress and almost felt the same way as Ram Murali did except for the Crazy-Mohan-absent-lament part. I feel the second half could have been done much better. First half was absolutely hilarious and all too good. Pasupathy excels! Also, Vaiyapuri provides able support in the first half. Detailed review later. Somehow feeling Hindi version is gonna be better with Saurabh Shukla (Santhana Bharathi role) and Om Puri (Nasser's role) rocking! Not that Nasser was bad. Somehow, they (Santhana Bharathi & Nasser) could not add pep to the second half.

Going for evening show of the hindi version today. brb!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The discovery that made my day!

I am loving Baradwaj Rangan's blog so much that I went thru more than 80% of his posts within half an hour, flat, during the day hours in the office, most of which were movie reviews. My first spontaneous thought was to download them right away, using some site tracker and save it to relish it for the rest of my life (hey, personal use only! "Relish", I said) :).

P.S.:- [On a more serious note,] I used to do the same for many film reviews/information available on the net during my college days, where in, I had limited access to the net and wasn't always connected. Thats a reason why I got reminded of site-tracking thing when I read this blog. I know it is illegal to use site-tracking applications coz of which I refrained from doing it. Now, since I have free access to the net, it is not even required and this might be the actual reason for the refrainment! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Another MMKR in the offing?

Honestly (and cynically), I don't think Kamal could have recreated in Mumbai Xpress, what he did in MMKR. He himself must be aware of it by now, if my prediction is for real. But, Kamal has been making lofty claims about the movie (here and now, here!) and he seems to be creatively much more satisfied with the movie than any of his recent comedies.
His quotes have ranged from,

With due respect to all my friends involved with that project, "Mumbai Express" is a different league of comedy. This is way above "Vasool Raja".
- in one of his early interviews about the movie.

After `Michael Madhana Kama Rajan,' this has been the most difficult screenplay to conceive.
in his interview with The Hindu.

But what I feel is that it's hard to get a performance when everybody does so well. Boman Irani is such a fabulous actor that if he does anything less than excellent, the audience will lynch him. So, leaving him out, if you look at Mumbai Xpress, the performances are unanimously far superior.
- in his interview with Rediff.

He doesn't generally do this. He did not say things of this kind for pre-release hype for any of his comedy ventures since MMKR (that he did'nt do it for MMKR was coz he didn't estimate exactly what a wonderful movie he had made along with his team!). He actually means it now! All the more, its directed (co-directed, should I say?) by Singeetham Srinivasa Rao who was behind the best comedies of Kamal.
Thats why I ve been excitedly talking about Mumbai Xpress and have high expectations on this, despite the absence of the genius of Crazy Mohan ( :(((( ) from Kamal's team; more expectations than any of the comedy movies he has done since MMKR!

When I say Kamal's team, I mean Crazy-Kamal writer-duo and the director (Singeetham in this case). Now, some peek into their works (qualitative! qualitative!)

1. Neither one of the three seems to have succeeded alone.
Singeetham - Little John (Singeetham's tryst with SFX).
Crazy Mohan - All duds except the delectable Poikkal Kuthirai (based on Crazy's drama "Marriage made in Saloon" and directed by K.B.) and Kadhanayagan (famous for its "Dubai" sequence!) to quite some extent, largely due to S. Ve. Shekhar's presence. Notable among these were Arunachalam, Aahaa (much praised one, though), Poovellaam Kaettuppaar, Ratchagan and Mr. Romeo. Other lesser-known attempts were Chinna Maappillai (Directed by Santhana Bharathi, a Kamal constant), Vietnam Colony, Thaedinaen Vanthathu (All Prabhu Starrers). Crazy tried his hand at screenplay as well for some of these movies.
Kamal Haasan - All his yesteryear comedies (err.. I mean 80's) and Singaravelan. None of them were written by Kamal.

2. The collaboration of the other two in the absence of Kamal Haasan was a mishit.
Crazy-Singeetham - Chinna Vaathiyaar, another dud with Crazy Mohan as the sole crusader.

3. The other two in the absence of Crazy Mohan collaborated really well in the past.
Kamal-Singeetham - Raaja Paarvai, Pushpak (Absurd quip: No dialogues. No Crazy. ;)).
Both movies were not pure comedies (I mean, humour for the sake of humour!).
... and now Mumbai Xpress.

4. The Crazy-Kamal duo without Singeetham were mostly partially successful. But, most of them ranged from reasonably good to occassionaly OK and weren't in the league of their works alongwith Singeetham. Exceptions were Sathi Leelavathi (notches way above the rest with a fine control on the humour), Avvai Shanmugi (largely because of the inherent set-up for fine comic moments and an ensemble cast with the finest line-up of actors in Tamil cinema, inspite of the absence of a fine director at the helm) which were real treats and not just reasonably good. PKS was immensely likeable in parts, with not much help from a very frivolous plot. Panchathanthiram, like Kaadhala Kaadhala, had sparsely scattered sparks of intellingence, but failed as a movie with its stagey setup and over-dependency on blink-you-will-miss-dialogues by Crazy and marked the saturation of the level to which Crazy Mohan's dialogues could help an otherwise ordinary movie.

5. And there is the fifth category with all the 3 present but
a. still were unable to deliver a patch of their earlier works in Kaadhala Kaadhala (it did have strokes of brilliance from Crazy Mohan), and
b. delivered Magalir Mattum, a very neat (not GREAT) comedy.

Disclaimer:- Though, this analysis does appear pointless, its for the reader to make his own conclusions.

P.S.:- Do check out the review (a tribute, rather!) of MMKR, a post by aNTi. The only comprehensive review of the movie, doing justice to the reviewed material, available on the web!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Anurag Kashyap!

There is one thing about which I wanted to post for quite sometime and got reminded even today morning before posting about Paheli.
It was about Anurag Kashyap. Its already an old news that Bombay High Court held the release of Black Friday till the 1993 bomb blast case verdict (WTF, gimme a break).
Now, I feel even Paanch might see the light on some day, but not Black Friday. The court has ordered that Black Friday should be released only after the 1993 Bomb Blasts Case is closed. Atrocious. I have never heard of (layman's view there; law pros can clarify) any such controversial/communal/riot cases getting closed. That sadly might mean, its curtains forever for Black Friday. Those who caught it during PIFF (through George and Ramanand) and other festivals are the luckier ones. My tryst with Anurag Kashyap still is limited to those movies he wrote.
He must be damn frustrated. It seems to be more of an instance of Murphy's law. There can be no possible words of consolation for him. But here's Rediff's note on him (seems to be a collection of all his current/old interviews with Rediff, esp. the bits about RGV).
Allwyn Kaalicharan and Gulal may also, probably, not get made :((. His reputation in the industry is also not all that fine, as his very honest opinions are, many a times, at loggerheads (and more loggerheads!) with the big names.

And now its Palekar!

The talk about Paheli has been goin on for sometime now. The movie is said to be based on Vijay Dan-Detha's novel (or short story?) Duvidha. But didn't Mani Kaul make Duvidha, the movie adapatation of the same novel quite long ago? wonder why there isn't no mention on that!
Though the synopses of the two movies seem to be the same, this one seems to be a very high-profile remake. Heard of some grand and colourful sets and great dance sequences elsewhere.

Now, tell me what's Amol Palekar doing here, after having made some very simple and sobre films!

P.S. :- I am still expecting Paheli to be good, This one is just a sanity-check if it is going the way Thakshak did, with the film's USP being something like Tabu's dance in "Rang De" song!