Best Films of 2013

1 Jan

Another year has gone by but this one has not been so productive for this blog. I say this because this post comes after 5 months of silence. To be fair 2013 has been more than productive on the personal front with a shift in location back to the capital city. And oh yeah I also got married this year (almost forgot). Still 5 months is a really long time and enough is enough. So here I am putting down my thoughts on my ‘Best Films of the Year 2013′. Continue reading

Man of Steel Movie Review: Man of Steel Is Very Brittle

16 Jun

superman

The most awaited film this summer is finally here and what an anti-climax it has turned out to be. I am rather mad because I have actually traveled 800 Kms and spent 3000 bucks to watch this film in English in a quality 3D theatre. It reminds me so much of The Amazing Spiderman which had so much promise and turned out to be a huge let down. Man Of Steel also falls in the same category. It is a super disappointment because of the no. of years we have been waiting for someone to do justice to this incredible superhero. We all had hoped that this wait was over with  Man of Steel as names like Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder were behind it. Not to be. Continue reading

Centenary for Indian Cinema, 25 Years of Magic for Me

5 May

Indian Cinema just completed 100 years and Bombay Talkies was released to celebrate the occasion. I am sure that for so many of us out there, cinema means so many different things like the 4 short stories of Bombay Talkies. Frankly, for most of us cinema means so many different things at different points of time in our lives. When I was watching the film I had short flashbacks of what films have meant for me at various points of my life. There were more flashbacks as I narrated parts of the film to my fiancee over the phone. So I decided to share the joy that films have brought in my life with the world (or actually, the handful of people who read my blog) Continue reading

Table No. 21 – Heartfelt Climax Makes It Worthy

5 Jan

“If you have the power to do something bad, does not mean that you should do it”

The year 2013 kicks off at the theaters with Table No 21, totally opposite to how the year ended in December with no brainers like Khiladi 786 & SOS, . Though films like Table No 21 mite not be ideal entertainment for most people (Judging by the business done by 786 & SOS) it is a film that should be seen for the right reasons. The promos of Table No 21 were excellent in maintaining the suspense of the film and even though the film itself does not touch any new heights in the thriller genre, it is surely packs a punch.

The film is about a couple (Rajeev Khandelwal & Tena Desae) who win a free trip to Fiji in some contest and have a great few days before they are approached by Khan (Paresh Rawal) who is the host of an online game show called Table No 21. What happens after that is something I cannot share without giving away the suspense so people will have to watch it.

The film suffers from a lot of problems like unreal dialogues, some extremely weird and shabby camerawork, a weak screenplay that takes too long for the suspense to build up. The script had the potential to become a big winner but unfortunately the inherent flaws never let it peak except in the end. Even then I recommend this film because it is a welcome in comparison to crap that gets made in the name masala entertainers. The high point of the film is its climax that takes you by surprise and hits you extremely hard. All the actors performed really well which is no surprise from  Rajeev Khandelwal in addition to Paresh Rawal who is just world class.

It can be said that the film is built solely to shock you with the climax but what the ending brings out is a message that needs to be seen, heard, acknowledged and acted upon.

“If you have the power to do something bad, does not mean that you should”

 Rating: 3/5

Chicken Khurana is Delicious

3 Nov

The last few years have offered a lot of quirky small budget films that hit the mark on most counts. Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana falls in the same bracket of Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye in terms of flavor and treatment. The film is about Khurana family and centers around the recipe of Chicken dish that only Daarji (Vinod Nagpal) knew how to make. Omi (Kunal Kapoor), a runaway, returns home from London due to money problems and is looking to get easy cash. When he gets back he is welcomed by most members of the family without pondering over the way he ran away. He reconnects with Harman (Huma Qureshi), his childhood fling who is mad as hell since he never called in the last so many years. Whether he manages to get hold of the recipe for Chicken Khurana or not is a question best left unanswered.

A film is also like a dish but a much difficult one to perfect. Even stalwarts can sometimes add more salt or spices and it loses the flavor that people long for. Keeping the same thought, Luv Shuv gets every ingredient spot on just like Khosla and Oye Lucky. If there is any problem, it lies in the the right amount of ingredient which is also crucial. The cast of the film is pitch perfect, I cannot think of anyone else who could play the role of Daarji and Titu Mama better than Vinod Nagpal and Rajesh Sharma. The other supporting characters also fit their roles perfectly. Huma Qureshi who was praised for her debut performance in Gangs Of Wasseypur 1&2 shows her range and is so believable as Harman. She adds the much needed spark to the romantic track of the film. Kunal Kapoor is effective but not memorable. Music of the film is no less than any cast member, it is very much a member of the film and would really be incomplete without it. Amit Trivedi yet again composes a score which carries the film instead of a selection of songs that fill in the gaps.

The film offers many delightful moments, none more than the ‘Kachcha Scene‘ which is hilarious. Dialogues are humorous throughout and Titu Mama gets the best lines. Art direction & costume are perfect. So what is that one ingredient that is little less than perfect? The script. It is a little too simple to captivate the audience for the entire duration of the film. The supporting track of romance is good but apart from that there is nothing else to support the track of the mysterious recipe.

On the whole, Luc Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana is delicious enough and a dish which should be tasted by all cinema lovers, whether you are vegetarian or not. It boasts of a dream cast, ample humor and great music to keep you company without staring at your watch, maybe just a little glance.

Rating: 3.25/5

Heroine – High Budget Boredom

21 Sep

Today I am sure of my strange equation with films made my Mr. Madhur Bhandarkar. I don’t think he likes me very much. I did not go to the cinemas to watch Chandni Bar or Page 3 and they turned out to be fabulous films. Post that I went to watch Traffic Signal hoping for another hard hitting film but I was so wrong. So next time logic got the better of me and I did not go to watch Fashion, which once again turned out to be an excellent film. Hope you guys are with me so far. In the morning I made up my mind (even though it was a last minute decision mostly coz I had nothing better to pass my time with) & went to watch Heroine, Madhur Bhandarkar’s take on a Bollywood superstar. As most of you would have understood, History repeated itself and bit me once again. Heroine is a painful watch with hardly anything new or even improved.

It starts of with one of Kareena’s most hard hitting looks from the film, tears rolling down her eyes, smudged makeup, red nose (a common site) going to the police station. However, I don’t think I can pinpoint where the film goes from there because it goes all over the place. The script has nothing new in it and everything feels like a dejavu of previous Bhandarkar films. On top of that my belief that Hindi cinema is also following the footsteps of Hollywood in coming up with edgy screenplays has been smashed. The screenplay of  Heroine is one of the worst I have seen in a long time. The film appears to be a series of broken down incidents with hardly anything holding them together.

I understand that controversies are a part and parcel of today’s creative industry but that does not mean Madhur Bhandarkar can just pick up any damn thing from the past, mix it up and put in front of us. The detailing that we saw in Chandni Bar, Page 3 & somewhat in Fashion has vanished altogether. What has replaced it is stereotyping of the highest order. Each and every character from the film either looks like a caricature of sorts (almost as if they are acting in a spoof ) or the characters are highly stereotyped, right from fashion designers to gossip columnists. You know you have got it all wrong when the audience starts laughing to scenes that have normal conversations with no humor. Music of Heroine also lets it down as there is nothing worth taking home here. Add to that the substandard artwork. Don’t make a film when you can’t shoot a simple scene inside a moving car without using effects on the outside. The set put up for the award function was a big joke.

There were only 3 good things about the film. One is Kareena Kapoor and even though she is extra-ordinary as the crazy, possessive, manipulative & vulnerable superstar, her performance is not enough to save the film that is surrounded by such mediocrity. The other two positive things about the film are the trailers of Talaash & Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khuraana. I had a blast while these trailers were playing.

 

Rating – 1.5/5

 

Kya Zinda Ho Tum?

15 Aug

Over the years a thought has come to my mind countless times but somehow I never got around to writing about it. How many people
do you meet who say “I am satisfied with my job”, one or two in a lifetime. Today a job is where you spend more time than even your home. What is also true is that most people are unhappy with their jobs. I have thought long and hard as to why this happens. Why is it so hard to find jobs that one would enjoy, be passionate  about, or be happy with? I am sure most of the people want such a job, then why can’t they get it.

The answer lies within each one of us, we just need to deep dive into our subconscious mind and take a peek. I come across people even from IITs and IIMs who are unhappy with  their jobs. Why I point out the colleges is because these are the most elite institutions in the country and passing out of such an institute not only gives you a much better chance to get a job than the rest of India, most times it also gives you the privilege to choose. Is the problem then in the factors that our decision is based on? Do we not assign a proper weight to passion or interest? Maybe. Let me give an example. There are so many people who would be shocked if someone told them that he/she left a job paying 75 grand/month for a job which pays just 50 grand/month.  I think a lot of people would call him/her crazy. “Abey thode din aur kar leta na kaam, acche paise toh mil rahe the”, “Itna bhi kya bura hoga, salary toh achi hai na”. Well I did it, and I don’t regret it at all. For me, passion will always weigh more than CTC.

Today we live in a world where we are judged 24X7. When we go to office, go for a meeting, go for a party, go out for coffee or even go to the kirana wala to buy bread n eggs. So what one values is how he/she is perceived by the world. Uncle aunty package poochenge toh kya batayeinge? MBA ke baad bhi itne hi paise milte hai? Saath wale toh keh rahe ki unke beta ka package isse double hai. I want to ask the saath walon ka beta, ‘Dude even with a package of 20 lacs, Are You Happy?’ Each and every person who steps into the world for a career is reduced to just three letters, CTC. Most poeple who ask don’t even know what it means. But, what they accomplish is to push people away from doing what they would love to, what they are passionate about.

Passion is what drives me and people who know me know that. One of my professors told me this story that became my inspiration for writing this. Once a baby camel asked his mother “Mom, why do we have a hump on our back?”,  the mother replied “So that we can store water for a long time”, then the son asked “But why do we have such huge feet?”, the mother replied “So that we can walk properly on sand” and then the son asked “Then WTF are we doing in the Zoo?”. If you are made for the desert, you belong in the desert. Another inspirational message for this piece came from a book written by Sir Ken Robinson, The Element – How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. He also has one of the most watched talks on Ted.com about how ‘Education Kills Creativity’. Its a must watch. I strongly believe that this problem would not have been so bad had education been a little different.

Basically what I am trying to say is Do what you Love, Its not that difficult. The first step to doing that is to get out of your comfort zone. (Yes even though we are miserable in our jobs, we somehow manage to be comfortable as it is routine). Remember what Joker said in The Dark Knight, “No one panics when things go according to plan”. If for some reason you think that’s not possible with your job then I suggest you find time to do other things that you are passionate about. Read, write, play a sport, catch up with friends. If you are packed during the week, find time on the weekend. If sports is something you like then getup at 6 and go play. I am sure you can find time at 6 in the morning. Unless you are happy, you are just wasting time and Farhan Akhtar rightly puts it in a film about living life. Toh Kya Zinda Ho Tum?

Dilon mein tum apni Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho, Toh zinda ho tum; Nazar mein khwabon ki Bijliyan leke chal rahe ho, Toh zinda ho tum; Hawa ke jhokon ke jaise Aazad rehno sikho, Tum ek dariya ke jaise Lehron mein behna sikho; Har ek lamhe se tum milo Khole apni bhaayein, Har ek pal ek naya samha Dekhen yeh nigahaein; Jo apni aankhon mein Hairaniyan leke chal rahe ho, Toh zinda ho tum; Dilon mein tum apni Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho, Toh zinda ho tum

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