Monday, December 01, 2003

the rest of the thanksgiving weekend

Kiss of the Dragon (Sunday): There's the style of Luc Besson (who wrote the screenplay based on an idea from Jet Li) written all over this action flick featuring interesting action, sedate dialogue, and lots of slick panache and action.

Baghban (Sunday): A sad clichéd plot[sic] lent some respectability and pathos by a great performance from the Big B, Paresh Rawal and Lillete Dubey. Harish has already noted the little piece of writing trivia that elevates the end of the film. All the songs were FF-friendly. One must also note the faux pas in referring to the Booker Prize as the "Booker's Prize". Enthusiastic plugs for ICICI bank, Tata Tea, ZipPhone, Archies, Ford, New Wave Publishing. The only merit of Hema Malini's presence is her beauty despite her age (the fact that she looks more beautiful than her daughter -- see alter-post -- says a lot!). Madame Malini continues to grunt and gasp. The supporting cast stinks, although Salman Khan is actually restrained. The time is all screwed up in the film (I don't think this was intentional!!) -- after all how can Valentine's Day happen after Holi in less than 6 months?? Asrani looks interesting as a sardar, but his role is mercifully brief. Wonder why Salman's role was credited as "a very special appearance". What I took away from this film is loathing for our mainstream filmmakers, who have the money, but not the desire to expand the horizons of movies, and continue to dish out treacle tripe, knowing fully well that there are paying morons out there, who will continue to support their substandard endeavours.

Fatal Attraction (Saturday/Sunday): The big question I have is: with Glenn Close looking so ugly, why did Michael Douglas stray and be unfaithful to Anne Archer? Of course, I question the premise of this 80s take on the genre best represented by Eastwood's pioneering Play Misty For Me. This valuable addition to pop culture also overplayed (and hence made "trivially" famous) Puccini's Madame Butterfly. The special edition DVD includes the original (much better) ending, which is also discussed in Rachel Abramowitz's look at women in power in Hollywood, Is That A Gun In Your Pocket?.

Angoor (Saturday): This is another of those movies that I can never get tired of watching. There's Gulzar. There's Sanjeev Kumar (in fact, two of them). There's Pancham (although the film cut I manage to watch has only one song). There's Utpal Dutt, albeit in a very brief role. Guaranteed entertainment in this lively Hindi adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Comedy Of Errors, another film I remember having watched on Doordarshan.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (Friday): Lots of explicit nudity, onanism and sex in this "coming of age" tale. I last saw Gael Garcia Bernal in Amores Perros. Don't think I know anyone else in the cast. The film also managed to snag Frank Zappa's Watermelon in Easter Hay (which turned out to be a non-trivial ordeal, thus explaining the multiple acknowledgements during the end credits). Even if the explicitness worries you (I could argue for its uncomfortable closeness to guilty real-life pleasures), there's some cool dialogue and the contextualizing narrator's voice.

Mii nathuraam goDase bolatoy (Friday): Finally, finally, I manage to watch the play, albeit on VCD. This Pradip Dalvi-penned play faced boycotts when it was released initially, and the ban prevented me from watching it in Pune. Subsequent performances were less hindered, but sadly I was never able to catch one. I am quite sure that (as is usually the case) the people who were offended by the potentially anti-Gandhian stand of the play never actually saw it. This is a very honest presentation of historical events that might otherwise remain forever ignored in our sanitized history texts, and even embellished by Godse's ardent supporters. What we get, however is a glimpse of a very intelligent man driven by strong beliefs and convictions. And that makes his actions scarier, and also not so easily dismissable as "fundamentalist".

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