Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
The full name was Rajdhani Express: Point Blank Justice. Now, as a token of respect for the eventual plight of all viewers, the full name was changed to Rajdhani Express: An Unsafe Journey. The full name now appears to be Rajdhani Express: In Search of Dignity
4 Passengers. The Elite. The Intellectual. The Consumerist. An Underdog (hint: Paes).
It is possible that the voice you hear for Paes is not his own (source). Another case of Celina Jaitley and Lisa Ray. Fret not. You're here for more than that. You're hear for the almost inevitable badness that the trailer promises. Prepare yourself by watching Ajay Jadeja's début in Khel: No Ordinary Game!!!.
He calls Leander Lee. His last name is Kohli. bahut lii!
If you're itching for a plot synopsis, try this. Meanwhile, ex-lawyer Ashok Kohli is already working on his next project, an adaptation of the Bard's The Taming of the Shrew.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
- Rani Mukerji goes down Vidya Balan lane and does her own Dirty Picture (with aplomb, gumption and enthusiasm)
- the first half works really well in setting up the oddball universe
- after the interval, SSH kicks in, unfortunately
- great showcase for Pune and Punekars (Sambhaji Bridge, Subodh Bhave, Satish Alekar)
- Hats off to Amitabh Bhattacharya for the lyrics (please, just listen to them really carefully)
- nice touch having the laavaNii backing dancers in savaa Daa.clar wield digital video cameras
- Finally a film that features a poster of Chashme Baddoor (in addition to introducing fandom for Farooque Sheikh and Deepti Naval and resurrecting the name Dhurandhar)
- A Bengali star plays a Maharashtrian girl who falls for a Tamilian played by a Malayali star (you can spot the accent when he speaks his lines in the second half) and gets her cue for Dreamum Wakeupum (this film's ooh la-la) from Silk Smitha dance with Chiranjeevi in a Telugu film called Goonda (you wonder why you've heard that name before? Surely, you've seen golii maar, the rip-off of Michael Jackson's Thriller): this is seriously twisted
- What's this obsession with the statutory warning about cigarette smoking? The opening has the English and Hindi warnings presented on the screen with Rani Mukerji reading them offscreen; this shows up again after the intermission; each time we see Meenakshi's chain-smoking (literally!) Dad, the statutory warning reappears at the bottom right of the screen: This is just as bad as those tickers marketing cigarettes in those videotapes from the Gulf in the 80s and 90s. Please, Mr. Ramadoss and ilk, stop it!.
- Sachin Kundalkar does really well expanding a story from ga.ndha into an oddball romantic comedy, but just needed some tighter editing and shuffling of sequences in the second half (ijjat paapaD, allthough quirky enough, just feels like a drag in its fuller form: it might have fared better intercut with another scene, waakaDaa could well have become the song for the closing credits)
- most awesome device that later goes unused: the voice of Vividh Bharati providing introduction to and commentary about the goings-on
- You can see Kashyap's universe growing in the references: John Abraham, Dev.D
- +1 for featuring The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction, Volume 2. Make that +2.
- subtitle goof: Azharbhai Chawl for Azerbaijan
- which part of Tamil Nadu was Surya's mother from? I thought I spotted some Malayalam in her Tamil
Saturday, October 13, 2012
- a gypsy's kiss (deep purple, perfect strangers)
- friends (led zeppelin, the bombay sessions (bootleg))
- a.Nkhiyaan (füzon)
- johnny gaddaar (shankar-ehsaan-loy, johnny gaddaar)
- ruu-ba-ruu (a r rahman, rang de basanti)
- kandisa (indian ocean, kandisa)
- drive (r e m, automatic for the people)
- four sticks (led zeppelin, the bombay sessions (bootleg))
- knocking at your back door (deep purple, perfect strangers)
- everybody hurts (r e m, automatic for the people)
- man on the moon (r e m, automatic for the people)
- help (deep purple, shades of deep purple)
Thursday, October 04, 2012
I got the feeling that I'd even watch each twice. Just like Kill Bill. I watched both parts twice. In the hall. Call me nuts. And I loved the soundtracks of both. Same here. Sneha Khanwalkar helmed what I think is the best, most original soundtrack of the year. I do not anticipate anyone mustering anything remotely close to this.
But alas. When movies like Paan Singh Tomar and Shanghai and your own That Girl in Yellow Boots (but neither Gulaal nor No Smoking) made it to the marquee here with ease, what stops something so much bigger? The machinery of releasing Indian films in the US seemed to have improved over the last few years instead of making obvious overtures to profit by importing mind-numbing product starring known names and stars of various candelas? Did Viacom want to release the two parts as a single unit (like Grindhouse) and test the limits of the patience of the fidgety Indian audience and the uninterested owners of weather-beaten theatres screening Indian flicks? I have no way of knowing. How long did Viacom plan to wait before sending prints (or packets of bits) over? After the last DVD bearing an illegal rip from a theatre has been sold? After the last torrent for these rips has been left without seeds online? I have no way of knowing.
What I know is that I am extremely disappointed. A few years ago, I'd envy my friends back home each time a smaller more interesting film hit the multiplexes (the saviours for such small films). Things seemed to be improving but now with this film, I wonder if we're heading back to those days.
If this is how Viacom 18 plans to treat their projects, I hope that you and other directors whose work I find interesting will find alternatives that will allow your films to reach a wider audience and generate more revenue so that you are not treated as financial risks. Even UTV (whose DVDs are unfortunately sullied with watermarks just like the rest of them) would do.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
- You update things. Not people. You are also a person. So stop asking people to update you. Ask people to simply "let me know." Stop offering to update people. "I will let you know" is a simple alternative
- You are not a batch processing system. You are not a terminal. You are not a text box waiting for data. So stop asking people for input. Stop thanking them for it. People offer suggestions, hints, advice. Take the appropriate thing and thank them for it
- The words gentle reminder can never be gentle for the reader. One could bet the universe that the person you sent that to is even less pleased to work with you than before. Try writing something that you would actually say to the intended recipient, if you had to pick up the phone and talk to him or her.
- Stop writing PFA or Please find attached. This is not a treasure hunt. This is not a request. You have attached something to your email, because you thought it would make your email more useful to the reader. Most modern email clients make it very clear to the reader that the email has attachments.
- Stop looping people into an email thread. There is no known meaning of the word that can explain what you are trying to do. Add their email address to the CC field of your email and explain clearly why you have added more people to the thread. Be nice.
- Stop asking people to revert to you. Here is a summary of the different meanings of that word. I hope that will explain why what you have been doing is funny, grotesque and rude at the same time. Respond and reply have not yet been excommunicated from the English language. Please consider these more appropriate words.
I wrote a post a few years ago about some other things that you may have ended up saying or using. If you can ignore the venom in the post, you may find some more useful tips there.
Consider also this site that serves up several samples of writing that you may find familiar. Although the site presents them for a few laughs, it can also serve an instructional purpose: if what you write in emails or what you say resembles any of the samples on this site, consider changing your ways.
Thank you for your kind attention. I remain, humbly yours, suffering in silence.
Saturday, September 01, 2012
Loosely translated, that's strip away the shell of my heart and relish the peanuts (roasted, presumably).
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Who would pick the name subversion? The word means an attempt to overthrow authority. It's also a nice pun on its purpose (version, my dear lost reader, version!).
Who would pick the name git? The word has only pejorative meanings.
And then you get mercurial. The word has both marginally complimentary and often uncomplimentary meanings.
Which brings us to ClearCase. Commercial. Bloated. What a deceptive name!
The moral? If it's got a sly name, it's probably better for you.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Saturday, June 23, 2012: According to NowRunning, the film is not playing anywhere in the US of A.
Did the producers and distributors of Teri Meri Kahaani (puke!) strike a deal with their associates to delay the release of Kashyap's opus so that they could get a few more dollars?
Did the irate masses of Wasseypur take over Congress and the Indian film distribution circuit in the USA?
नाम बोल! कह के लूँगा!
Sunday, June 10, 2012
I was thinking about all the attention to little details to embellish almost every scene. I was thinking about that ball bouncing into what should have been an otherwise serious hearing; I was thinking about the desperation in every pore and crease of Anant Jog's face. I was thinking about the chaos of protest, of impassioned mobs and of fervent futile idealism presented in the brightest hues. I was thinking about each song loaded with the sharpest lyrics in many months. I was thinking about the item song that fit so well in the narrative, that was interrupted (as it would have been in real life) by the appearance of a political biggie. I was thinking about Abhay Deol's accent and how it added the extra something to his poise and demeanour without standing out as an acting exercise. I was thinking about Emraan Hashmi turning a new corner and doing what might be his best work as the pornographer/video photographer with horrible teeth. I was thinking about how almost no character in the film really seemed truly white or truly black. You could understand the futility of those driven to ill deeds in the quest for something better than their wretched conditions. I could understand (and perhaps not stomach) the pragmatic path that some people had chosen. I also saw how justice could seem as rich as skimmed milk. I liked how the last time we see the hospital is introduced as a sound that makes sense later and then continues as a long shot tracking faces and ending with a tear.
This is a fine film worth every anna (or whatever the lowest meaningful denomination is today in inflated India) of your ticket's price. But this film is not going to entertain you in the least. You won't really enjoy the fervour of bhaarat maataa kii jay because it's after all a paean to dengue and malaria as well as to the Golden Bird of yore. You can't ogle at the lady sashaying and wiggling away in imported kamariyaa because the song is never allowed to stay long enough to titillate you. You don't have a 5-minute obligatory sad song running over a montage of sad people. You don't have jingoism making it easier for you to take sides. You just sit and squirm each time you laugh or smile, because you realise that it was no laughing matter at all.
And because this is hardly an entertaining film, I fear that Dibakar Banerjee's brilliant adaptation of a Greek novel that already sired a classic in 1969 will find few takers. It will get the good notes from people who cannot influence the masses enough. It may survive with a recommendation or two from the few that may have ventured to the cinema halls and picked this instead of Ridley Scott's compelling Prometheus or that execrable piece of dung called Rowdy Rathore. But it will not change the inevitable results this weekend: Prabhu Deva's latest directorial venture will surely triumph. And India will continue to progress.
Saturday, June 02, 2012
Guess what was missing? 3D glasses. Oops. Scramble! Confusion. Voila! A box of 3D glasses is procured and packets are distributed in two flavours -- one for kids and the others for the grown-ups.
The lights go dim again and the logo appears. Oops. We still have a problem. The 3D on screen does not mix well with the 3D glasses and what you get is a mix of blurs, offset contours and general distraction. Screen off. Lights on.
They finally go and fix the projector (presumably this was 3D streaming out of a 2D lens). The third time is a charm and everybody sits back to enjoy a fun-filled romp in 3D. Dreamworks does a great job with the colours. There are a lot of good jokes and sequences and Frances McDormand makes a great splash as the villainess of the piece. Some of the jokes clearly work only for grown-ups: there are jokes that just expect you to know things that only a grown-up would; there are also jokes that challenge what kids should hear and see. Pixar manages a better balance in this matter. The crew of the first two films is back, but the penguins don't get to show off much. King Julien XIII gets more to do and his sub-plot offered the most fun of all the sub-plots.
If you're a fan of Clerk, there's a sequence that will look familiar (No, I am not kidding!). This is surely just a wishful coincidence. The makers of this film can hardly be expected to have seen Manoj Kumar's cult classic.
If you're an Indophile, stay for the end credits and watch a long roll for the Dreamworks crew from India.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Bajpayee's character Jaswant Sisodiya is the big powerful baddie in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh. Our heroine Anju is here because her father is the Chief Medical Officer. Unfortunately Anju is also Sisodiya's keep and the family cannot escape thanks to constant guard by Sisodiya's men. All this sets the stage for a saviour -- our hero, chhoTe (Arjan Bajwa). Sisodiya dotes on chhoTe, because he is in debt to chhoTe's father, who cared for him and even went to fatal blows for him. chhoTe also happens to be rather hot-headed and this helps us with the obligatory fight sequences.
The fight sequences are not the only familiar element from mainstream cinema that you get. There's also the item song and the song to adorn the burgeoning of love (the lovely shiit lahar). Mercifully, except for the item song nobody else indulges in on-screen lip synching.
It's a pity then that Bajpayee still does not get enough of his due from the script. We all know how this is going to end and we are just waitign for things to unfold before the flashback ends. Yet director Maqbool Khan does not take advantage of the film's running time to explore our primary characters, and Sisodiya in particular. We always tend to see Sisodiya in the context of other players. It is to Bajpayee's credit, however, that even in such scenes where his character is likely to be lost in broad strokes, we get hints that there's more to Sisodiya than the clichés would have you believe. We can see that he cares for chhoTe; we never see him behave like a violent thug exercising his power and yet his love for Anju has taken ugly proportions. It's an unhealthy possessiveness. The impassioned retort near the end of the film gives us a chance to see what makes Sisodiya tick, but unfortunately it's two hours too late. You only have to look at Ronit Roy in Udaan for an example of how to do such a "bad" character right. Someone like Vikramaditya Motwane is what Bajpayee needs and not the slumming in Inteqam, the exploitative mess of Jaago, the regressive drama of Swami or the futility of an enterprise like this.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
I quit the Friday Night Movie Club years ago. Morning shows and matinees are more rewarding. There's also a second-run theatre hereabouts that I can visit to get a regular fix of the experience of "going to the cinema" -- and it also helps me wash away the sterile experience of the mainstream chains.