Kaminey!

Frankly speaking, I was very skeptical to go and watch Kaminey. That is not because of the fact that swine flu is rampant around here. But purely because of the fear to be disproved. I like the film maker in Vishal Bhardwaj. I have watched all his movies from Maachis to Blue Umbrella and none of them only once. But all of the movies either were made to show cast a purpose or pure adaptation of world class stories (or should I say themes) in Maqbool and Omkara. I knew Kaminey is neither, none.

Another reason of my fear of disappointment was Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. I like bothof them. I feel they are very talented and genuine actors. I didn’t want their film to flop. But eventually I went ahead and watched the movie. Thank fully I was not disappointed. Kaminey is a very very generic story masterfully crafted into an intriuing piece of work. Although I think the comparison of Vishal to Quentin Tarantino or Ridley Scott is a bit hyped, primarily because Vishal Bhardwaj is a unique film maker. Matching Tarantino is a herculean task. I think Kaminey’s filming has a reminiscence of ‘The Departed’ by Martin Scorsese more than any one else. Anyway, Let us come to the movie now.

kamineyKaminey is a story of two siamise twins Guddu and Charlie (played by Shahid). Both have a speech defect. Guddu stammers where as Charlie pronunces ‘S’ as ‘F’. Charlie is a small time goon who bets on horses, manipulates and earns his daily bread. He has a dream to achieve, to be a big time booker one day. One day he gets double crossed by his own jockey. In a bid to revenge, he lands up in a 5 star hotel to bash the conspirator. But time turns the tide and while running away from the opposition gang, he gets embroiled in a drug smuglling controversy involving a don and the corrupt narcotics department of the Police.

Guddu on the other hand is a ‘guy next door’ who works with an NGO, loves a ‘marathi mulgi’ Sweety (Priyanka) and hates his brother for all his bad deeds. The story book affair turns soar when sweety gets pregnant. They can get married and live happily ever after, except that Sweety is a sister of a goon turned ‘Marathi wadi’ wannabe politician Bhope Bhau (Amole Gupte). Now Bhope Bhau surely doesn’t like this and when learning that Guddu is from UP, wants to finish him off.

The happenings in 24 hrs from here on, the movie gathers unmatched speed. Charlie wants to sells the drugs so that he can start his bookie business. Bhope wants to kill Guddu and marry his sister to the builders son for party funds. Guddu wants Charlie to give the drugs to Bhope so that he gets his money for funding his election campaign and Guddu gets his girl. The narcotics department wants Charlie so that they can get hold of the drugs and deliver it to the Don ‘Tashi’. And Tashi wants to finish every one off, get the drugs, sell it to the Angolian gangster in exchange of the diamonds. Confused? He he…  🙂

This is what makes Vishal Bhardwaj a master film maker. Excellent narration, brilliant camera angles and deft editing makes Kaminey a wonderful treat to watch. I heard lot of people saying the movie could have been little less violent. But I think to make a movie of this genre, it has to be raw. The dark surroundings, back ground score and the crisp dialogues makes it even more appealing. No point in singling out one actor as every one have performed par excellence. Shahid and Priyanka’s chemistry is great (I so much wish if she could have been a marathi mulgi in reality). And the Industry might have got a new baddie in Amole Gupte.

Overall I will give a 3 and half stars to the movie. And this rating is purely on the basis of the way the movie is made. Had there been a brilliant story/ theme (a.k.a. Omkara), I’d have given 5 stars easily. Go and watch once if you haven’t and if you can tolerate raw action.

Movie Review: Love Aaj Kal is WOW

I’m no fan of story book romantic ‘Love stories’. (Yes I write love stories myself. But I haven’t read any and have no plans either.) I dont like romantic movies too much, except the likes of DDLJ, Noting Hill and Serendipity. But I adored both ‘Socha na tha’ and ‘Jab we met’. That is what made me believe that Imtiyaz Ali is a brilliant film maker. And that is why I wanted to watch ‘Love Aaj Kal’ as soon as it was released. I wasn’t disappointed at all!

I think we as a generation are slowly getting more casual about the relationships we have with each other. Most of my friends (almost all of them) dont stay with their parents. They have left the house for either education, job, differences with parents or for the pure thrill of it. We are getting more ‘friend’ly with our connects. Love affairs are no strange to it. I remember the college days and the first love (infatuation). I dont think we spoke commitment. But we were less casual. Alas, the times have now changed. The casual ‘no frills’ relationship is probably taking center stage I guess. Anyway, let us talk about the movie now.

love-aaj-kal‘Love Aaj Kal’ makes an attempt to build a bridge between the two aspect, that is committed love versus casual love and bind them together. (The bridge, by the way, has been brilliantly used). We have certain Jai (played by Saif) who is a protagonist of casual relationships. He doesn’t know what commitment is, he doesn’t want to understand and he doesn’t think it is important. Of course he is not a Casanova. Just that he doesn’t want to get into a lovey dovey relationship and then go through the grinds of possessiveness, greed, jealousy and all. He is ambitious and his career is very much his only focus. Meera (Deepika) is a cute little (by no means height) girl who wants to work for restoration of historical sights in India. She is dating Saif, without actually being committed or being in love. Life is a ‘happy-go-lucky’ circus for them, without having to carry the excess baggage of a relationship.

2 years pass by and then it suddenly changes. Meera gets her big break and decides to shift to Delhi. They both decide that long distance affair is not going to work and they happily break off. They both find love (rather entertainment) some where else. But are still in touch, without knowing what have they lost… or are going to lose. The realisation comes soon to Meera when she is getting married to Vikram (Rahul Khanna). Of course eventually you know the end is happy!

The story looks very generic, except that it has been brilliantly made. The movie has a very sweet and soothing feeling to it. It has been very well interspersed with the ‘committed’ love story of the 60s (Rishi Kapoor playing Veer Singh). Deepika is very adorable and her chemistry with Saif is exceptional. I wish the difference in their heights should have been more than the difference in their ages. That is well complemented with the music and the costumes too. I think Imtiyaz Ali has done nothing wrong here. The dialogues, the angles, the script… all is great. In fact, I liked the 60s love story more than the one he essayed here.

Overall Love Aaj Kal is absolutely fresh and new age. I dont know if this is the new age relationship mantra. But this can be a new genre of film making for sure. 🙂

Movie Review: Gulaal

Gulaal is raw. Gulaal is eccentric. Gulaal is charismatic and Gulaal is very effective.

With his genre of film making, Anurag Kashyap has garnered quite a few fans amongst all kinds of masses. I’m a guy who drives to a multiplex, eats at the malls and spends 500 bucks on movies over a weekend. On the other side of the road, there is a guy who travels in buses, survives on vada pav and watches movies in small theatres spending not more than 50 bucks. Gulaal is sure to strike both me and him.

Gulaal is a story of a young innocent Rajput Dilip Singh (portrayed by Raj Singh Choudhary) who enrolls for a course in law and gets embroiled into the dirty world of student politics. The movie is set in the backdrop of a fight for separate Rajputana region and how the student elections are used as a stage to launch the fight against perceived injustice by government of India. Dilip falls victim to a brutal ragging by some of his college mates. He finds a friend in Rannanjay Singh, an estranged heir of the royal family of Rajpur. But hings turn out to be sour when the ragging leader Jadwal (brilliant portrayal by Deepak Dobriyal) decides to turn the heat up on them. They are helped by the ‘Banaa’ or the unofficial senapati of the Rajputanas, Duki (Kay Kay Menon). Rannanjay decides to contest elections for the General Secy of university, but is murdered because of an old family feud and Dilip is draggged in. What unfolds is a story of love, lost families, betrayl, friendship and old rivalries for the coveted post of Banaa. The movie climax looks to be a derivative of  ‘The Departed’.

All in all, Gulaal impresses mainly because of its raw portrayal of the Rajputana movement and the life in a college campus, especially regarding elections. Kay Kay Menon is argualbly the best in the lot. But without doubt, debutans Ayesha Menon and Raj Singh Choudhary, Deepak Dobriyal and Piyush Mishra have crafted splendid unforgetful performances. Gulaal may not be a movie for masses, especially the Shah Rukh Khan fans. But it surely scripts brilliantly for the ones who enjoy hard core cinema in the raw format. Hail Anurag Kashyap! After Black Friday, No Smoking and Dev.D here comes another stunner from the acclaimed director. Go for it!

Kashmir Ki Kali

kashmir_ki_kaliMy movie reviews have decided to go down the wide memory lane now. Since there were no good or really bad movies released lately, the regular review post on my blog was searching for inspiration. Thankfully UTV fulfilled that drought by airing the Sharmila Tagore, Shammi Kapoor starer ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’.

Frankly speaking, I’m no one to review a film of this stature. KKL is an eternal love story. Set in the back drop of the lovely Srinagar, It is a story about a rich guy trying to woo a poor girl with his charm and demeanor. Rajiv (Shammi Kapoor) accidentally meets Champa (Sharmila Tagore) en route to Srinagar. He falls in love with her. They meet again later and the lovely cute love story begins to flourish. They indeed have opposition in Champa’s blind father (Dinu) who is a debtor to Mohan (Pran). Although the movie has its own share of twists and turns, it floors you with its refreshing beauty and subtlety. Sharmila Tagore is at her sweetest best. When this film was shot, she was just 17! She absolutely packs the punch with her stunningly beautiful yet sublimely sexy portrayal of Champa. Although not her first, but it was indeed her first hit movie. Shammi Kapoor exudes the right energy and charm very much required for this role. Their on screen chemistry of the couple is commendable. Hats off to the directing legend Shakti Samantha for making this movie.

What adds to the already beautiful movie is the soothing music and deft choreography. O. P. Nayyar is without doubt one of the greatest music directors we have ever had. He created the magic when we hardly had any technology in India. The songs like ‘Deewana hua badal’, ‘Isharon Isharon mein’, ‘Taarif karun kya uski’, ‘Kisi na kisi’, ‘Subhan Allah’ all are brilliant.

If you haven’t seen the movie, watch it today. Had I been a film maker, I would have immediately made my mind to re-create the magic of Kashmir ki Kali. It is wonderfully sweet!

Movie Review: Victory Defeated

Victory starring Harman Bawej, Amrita Rao, Anupam Kher and host of cricket stars from Brett Lee to Harbhajan, from Rohit Sharma to Sangakkara, Mike Hussey to Sohail Tanvir and Murlitharan was released today. ‘By chance’ I got a peek preview yesterday due to some lobbying. I rued my chances later thinking I should have watched ‘Luck by Chance’ instead.victory_banner

Anyway, the movie is about Vijay Shekhawat, a small town boy from Jaisalmer with starry eyed dreams of making it to the Indian team. He is shown to be struggling player. But his struggle is hardly shown. What the movie is stuffed with is a series of melodramatic sequences that actually keep you pondering whether to cry or laugh. For example, Vijay makes a heart rendering request to Dalip Tahir, the coach of Indian team, to give him a chance. Dalip melts, gives him a chance and our Vijay becomes a superstar overnight. Wow! Thankfully our current coach is a South African who will not understand Hindi. Had he been like Dalip, our team would have been full of emotional badshahs who cry when they cant hit a boundary.

As the movie progresses, our Dada or Azhar part two cracks three centuries in a row despatching almost every one to the boundry. Sigh! Obviously the guy is now lured by innumerable ad campaigns, glamorous world, money thanks to our baddie turned agent Gulshan Grover. No prize for guessing what happenes next. So when our24yrs old simpleton boy wonder is thrown out of the team, his gandhian father suffers a stroke. I understand. And now Vijay realizes all his mistakes, fights back his way to the team and claims a victory in a crunch game. His father miraculously recovers. My brain refuses to understand this.

Harman’s theme in victory is similar to Priyanka Chopra’s theme in Fashion. Small town wonders, strike gold in the big game, buoyed by success and corrupted by fame, fall from the pinnacle and rise from ashes like a phoenix. The only difference is, Priyanka is a better actress. One of the things why I didn’t review Fashion was the above theme. The lead actors seem to be too gullible. At the same time their quest or come back seem to be too easy. Fashion however scored much higher on the emotional quotient.Victory tries but doesn’t. (To be fair they shouldn’t have tried)

I have a policy of reviewing movies that are either too good or really bad. Victory, to be fair, hovers from trough to crest. Though most of the time it languishes at the bottom of my appreciation list. After Love story  2050, I think Harman has come a long I think way. Though he needs to polish his acting much more. His pairing with Amrita is cute, much better than his pairing with Priyanka. Others, including cricketers, have done justice to their roles. Sadly, this was not one of the best roles they were offered. So not their fault. I think Ajitpal Mangat, the director, should have done much better than this. He chose a story which has a mix of Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh’s cricketing life. And he chose to make a movie on India’s second religion. Much more could have been done if he could concentrate more on the game rather than the melodrama. (May be I’m getting biased because I felt Iqbal, Chak De India and Goal were much better movies… much better!)

Overall I would say Victory is an average flick. Go watch it if you have nothing  else to do, like I did.

Review: Slumdog Millionaire- I’m speechless

Slumdog millionaire is an awesome movie. In fact I’m a person of too small a stature to review a film of this quality. Hats off to Danny Boyle.

slumdog_millionaire_posterIts a story of a Muslim kid, a victim of the 1992 Mumbai (then Bombay) riots. He loses his mother to the rioters. However along with his elder brother, manages to flee, succumbs and gets away with life’s enduring and horrific experiences. On the way, he finds love and loses the girl too… this time to a treachery by his own brother. The rest of the movie is all about Jamaal Malik’s (played by Dev Patel) quest to find his girlfriend Latika (Frieda Pinto). As a medium he decides to take part in the famous gameshow (Indian version of who wants to be a millionaire) and goes on to win it. The film finally has a bitter sweet ending.

What strikes you most is the way the story is weaved around the questions asked to Jamaal on the talk show. Every answer he gives turns out to be one of his many experiences. Especially the ones when he is asked the question ‘Who wrote the famous bhajan Darshan de Ghanashyam’ or the one ‘Whose picture is featured on the US dollar note’. They take your breath away.

Performance wise, the movie belongs to Dev Patel and the other two junior Jamaal Maliks. The kid who played ‘Salim’ as Jamaal’s elder brother is also good. Rest, Irfann Khan as the inspector, Saurabh Shukla as the constable, Mahesh Manjrekar as Javed bhai (the don), Frieda Pinto as young Latika have done justice to their roles. Anil Kapoor as a cunning host of the game show is very refreshing and welcoming. Music plays a good part in the movie and all the background scores are really impeccable. After watching the movie, I have great respect for Danny Boyle as a director. Had I been a Film maker, I would have wanted Danny to direct all my next movies.

I dont know if it is going to be released here. I watched over an online stream. But in case if you get a chance, go and watch it. Its a must watch!

Dostana Sucks! It really does!

Aint no body like my Desi Girl.

Right! Because there aint no body like Priyanka Chopra, the only highlight of this otherwise reckless, pointless and vehemently vulgar movie. We aint no American Pie and this aint no Miami. This is Mumbai and we love our guys and gals the way they are.

dostanaTarun Mansukhani and Karan Johar’s Dostana takes a dig at the gay and same sex couples in US. The movie is a portrayal of two fool hardy young folks (Abhishek as Sam and John as Kunal) fighting to rent an apartment in Miami. They pretend to be a gay couple so that they can share an apartment with the sultry svelte Neha (niece of the owner) played by Priyanka). The film moves into a series of ill palpable jokes bound by an extremely loose script and very hazy story line. Our folks obviously fall for the girl in between, yet struggling to tell her for the fear of being kicked out of the apartment. Enter Abhimanyu Singh (Bobby Deol) as Neha’s boss and later the love of her life. What follows is even more sickening when these guys bring heaven and hell together to woo their girl back.

Dostana must have originally conceived to literally rip the funny bone, forget tickling. But it looses much of its plot with limited or no comic punches. Moreover there is too much flesh on display without making it sensual. Its actually sickening. Tarun probably saw too much of ‘Full Monty’ like movies and wanted to replicate them. But he’s got it all wrong. Absence of a good script adds to the wows. Some of the scenes have been very badly written. Especially John’s griha pravesh and then the absolute stupidity towards the end. Don’t play with our emotions Tarun, we have had enough. And you Mr. errr Whatever Karan Johar… uff! Forget it.

Amongst the positives, Priyanka probably is the only highlight. She’s looked sexy, she is likable and very pleasant to the eyes. Its so much contrasting to her ‘Meghna Mathur’ figure in ‘Fashion’. Priyanka’s come a long way. Abahy Deol is okay, Boman Irani and Kiron Kher in cameos are totally wasted. John has managed to show off everything (almost) expect going completely nude. Abhishek is a brilliant actor, but he is handicapped by a malnourished script. Background score and music is good but generic. Desi Girl is topping the charts and Jaane kyun is also good. Rest is forgettable.

All in all, I wouldn’t give it more than a 2 out of 5 that too purely for Priyanka and the songs. Otherwise Dostana Sucks!