Archive for the ‘A R Rehman’ Category

*** Spoiler warning: if you are planning to see Ghajini, don’t read this just yet… ***

After my previous comments on Rab Ne Banadi Jodi, and how I did not like it much, I have come across so many other opinions, many of which are far different from mine.

And now, as I start penning my thoughts on Ghajini, in the face of some flattering reviews and ratings that the film has received, and which I am not quite agreeable to, I am wondering:

– are the fans starved for good films, and anything that has Shah Rukh Khan or Aamir Khan, and meets some base level standards is like an oasis in the desert, and hence gets huge respect, anyway?

– or is it just me, and my expectations from films have become higher, and I am not quite impressed by mundane fair, no matter if it has names like SRK or Aamir, in the titles,

– or once a few reviewers write good things, there is a fundamental opinion base formed, and people tend to not want to be the odd ones out to disagree, and hence fall-in with the initial opinion??

Well, I am searing for answers to this, even as by now, you would have guessed, what I feel about Ghajini.

That it is certainly not as impressive as the reviews and the ratings are calling it out to be.

Again before plunging in to share the thoughts on Ghajini in particular, I must remark this trend in SRK and Aamir films these days. That perhaps out of the fact that they are so expensive as stars, and also because they usually have larger than life characters written for them, the rest of the cast in their films, is relatively obscure (read “cheap”). And the film still carries off, on their own names. Rab Ne, Ghajini, Om Shanti Om, Tare Zameen Par, even Lagaan, Rang De Basanti, etc. are a case in point. SRK has done Karan Johar films, where larger star casts have been packed in, but Aamir in particular, with the rare exception of Fanaa (with Kajol) has worked with lesser entities, more often.

Coming to Ghajini, its a gruesome, violent thriller in a way, and reminds me of Aamir Khan’s Ghulam. Using the medical condition of a type of amnesia, there is creativity in the manner in which the character tries to make best use of that partial and temporary memory to reach his goal of revenge.

Its perhaps the first time, where a film is named after the villain’s name! the name of the villain in the film! Strange choice, but I guess that is what sounded most unique, and they zeroed in on the same.

Aamir, as expected, delivers a power packed performance. That is only to be expected of him.

But there are too many questions that I could not find answers for, in the narrative:

1. When a CEO comes on a flight, from somewhere, does he have to have so many of his executives standing like servants, receiving him on the airfield?

2. Why does he commute with a cavalcade of 4 cars and executives, wherever he goes? Does Sunil Mittal do that? Does Anil Ambani do that? I find it very strange.

3. Okay, so he looks like being a large cell phone operator, aiming to become the largest. Does he, as CEO, still go to select every hoarding site that they are going to use?

4. Then when a hoarding site is decided, the CEO’s personal executive needs to go to that tenant’s workplace first, and then her home, to convince her, to allow them to use her place for the hoarding. And he has to repeat umpteen times that the CEO himself has sent him, for this purpose.

5. And like in Rab De, here too, the hero masquerades as someone else. He is a famous celebrity of sorts, being a big time CEO, but he moves around everywhere including for parties attended by ad agencies, and nobody recognizes him.

6. The heroine has never seen the photograph of the real CEO. Even though he is seen to be interviewed by television channels?!

7. A medical student gets so keen and interested in his story, that she ventures out knowingly, into the fortress of the violent villain!

8. Where the villain is said to move around murdering quite comfortably, when the hero reaches their hideout, none of the dozens of the villain’s men, nor the villain have a pistol available with them. Which is why the unarmed hero chases them all over and hurts them with his bare hands. Where is the ammo man?

9. How shoddily they show the villain with all his goons, get out from their cars, and this short term memory loss hero, and the medical student go on a piddly scooter, unarmed, and not even wearing a measly helmet! And then they stop right across of the gang, in a narrow alley, but no one spots them. Yeah, you have to believe this.

10. The villain who looks like a proper goonda, in the way he dresses, he talks, the people he moves about with, is supposed to also be a pharma company owner, of big time. Although he is otherwise involved in human body parts, he has been shown several times, inside his pharma factory and actually near machinery. Why is this necessary? Seems so out of place and unlikely?

11. Also this goon of a villain is called as a chief guest at a medical college function. And so that day, he dresses up in a suit too. What a charade?

Sorry..just too many questions that I cannot find answers to. A film can have 1 or 2 of such boo-boos, but having so many of them, makes it a questionable venture, for me!

The heroine Asin, gives a sincere performance, and also has a good screen presence.

A R Rehman delivers one of his average performances, at least by his high standards.

Oh.. there is one more parallel between Rab Ne and Ghajini. In both of these films, the hero has been shown to masquearade as someone else, for extended period of time, just to show his extreme love for the girl. What a coincidence. So is that going to become the default way of expression of love, when both Aamir and SRK are shown to be doing so??

All in all, an Okay film, at best.

– Sanjay

Saw these few movies recently.

Namastey London was the least impressive of the three. Having said that, personally I found it to be a reasonable ‘time pass’! Nothing outstanding in the storyline, but sufficient to not feel, ‘why did I pay Rs. 150 for this?’. Nothing more to say about this one.

I went to Namesake with a lot of expectation. Mira Nair. The hype. The pre-publicity. Tabu, Irfan, etc. Perhaps that was my undoing. The weight of the expectations. The film was just fine. In fact, I was quite engrossed in it. But I was hoping for something that was outstanding. Which this was not.

The story line and the screenplay shows the life of an NRI lost in some small town USA, lonely, away from home, going through the routine that is life there, moving from his small apartment to a big house, but remaining lonely all the same. While it was very true of the NRIs who migrated in the 1970s or thereabouts, and things may be a bit different now, they may not necessarily be a whole lot different. Especially if the shift is dramatic. Like someone from small town India speaking passable English, not quite accustomed even to the Indian urban culture, and suddenly finding himself in the melting pot of the US. The culture shock is depicted very well in Namesake. Then of course, is the search for identity that is represented by Kal Penn’s character, Gogol. That is very American, I would believe. An Indian having a pet name, even teased on it, may let it be, and go along with life. It is the American curiosity that embodies Gogol’s confusion and his striving to figure out why he was named thus, and therein, the entangled relationships are brought out. The Bengali culture is shown well, perhaps a bit overdone, if I may say so. Did Mira Nair have to show every known Bengali nuance, to prove the point that these were Bengalis we were seeing?!

The performances of Tabu, Irfan Khan and Kal Penn were top class.
All in all, a good film to see. I suspect though, that in this case, the story might well have come out better in the book, than on cinema. I have not read the book, but its my hunch, based on the nature of the story telling.

And that brings me to the last of the three films that I recently saw, Provoked.
A true story of Kiran Ahluwalia, of the UK. I liked the film. The story is moving, it creates a sense of tension. The life in a UK jail, the courthouse scenes, seem to have been captured very realistically. At the core, there is an interesting story – of the traditional Sikh woman, oppressed by her husband, bearing it for long, then getting into a sudden bravado and killing her husband, but repenting and remorseful at her act, feeling ashamed to even open out with her side of the story, but then with the help of her jailmates, seeing clarity of her life and her purpose, and fighting back, with the help of a social organization, and redoing her life, as a result. Definitely interesting. Jug Mundhra’s direction was excellent. I went to the film, also on account of seeing A R Rahman’s name as the music director. Well, its not a musical or music does not have a strong play in the film, but to the extent that it is present, its good, as can only be expected with A R Rahman!

Aishwarya Rai, who is the central character, could have done better. She does not emote as well, although the character gives her ample scope to do so. Perhaps someone else could have done better justice to the role. But in spite of this, the film leaves a mark. Worth seeing..