Archive for the ‘Movie Review’ Category

special26**Spoiler Alert: will refer to parts of the film here; if you intend to see it (“if you must”!), then you may like to not read this post!**

I started seeing posts about Special 26 from Friday. About how it’s such a great movie. And there were several, and they still keep coming. And some of those updates made me get to the theatre to see Special 26.

And as I have conveyed elsewhere, I found the movie to be “average”. And then I wonder what made people say that the film was so great?

Here are just some of the issues I have with Special 26:

  • The various capers that the group pulls off. Made to look so simple. Get a few rubber stamps, walk in, and walk out with cash and kind. And do so nearly 50 times, and nobody can sniff them out? Really? So you’d say that this was based on real-life incidents. So be it. You are not making a documentary. You are making a feature film. And so even if the original incident was just this simple (which I very much doubt!), you can still make it look a little more effort, a little more challenge? 
  • When filmmakers make films based on real life, can they not make some changes and make it look more real / interesting / believable? I saw it earlier in English Vinglish, where the Tamilian accented Sridevi had to play a Maharashtrian lady, struggling with her English. Why the hell could she not have been a Tamilian struggling with English? Likewise here. Even assuming that the real incidents by the fake CBI guys few years back were indeed so simply done, they could have added some smarts into the capers here!
  • I’m spoilt on this, perhaps. Viewing crime series like White Collar, Mentalist and others, you realise that planning a crime takes a lot of effort and planning and then you can still get caught. Man, wish it was as simple as Special 26 makes it look!
  • So, what was the reason these guys were doing all these capers? At the end of the film we are told that Akshay Kumar’s character had been rejected for a job with the CBI. First of all, is that motivation enough? Also right through the film, there are no hints that “he is getting back at them for what they did to him”. Nothing in terms of a revenge script or anything. And then, what about the other three? Why were they doing these? What were their motivations?
  • If money was it, why do we not see through the film, what actually happens to the money? For all the large hauls they make, where do those boxes go? The characters seem to go back to their washing clothes or walking through a crowded terrace of sleeping people! No hints of what happens to the money?! No need to tell us, eh?
  • What IS the deal with the guy washing clothes and being nagged by his wife? Or the other character walking through sleeping people on the terrace? Or Manoj Bajpayee asking his wife to put on a dupatta.. what’s with all that randomness? Aise-icch? Chalo theek hai..
  • And what about that large family of Anupam Kher? 8-1/2 kids or something? How was THAT relevant? Really..? And at the end, what HAPPENS to the kids? Do they all scoot off to Sharjah / Dubai? Or they are abandoned for the cops to grill?
  • So they go away out of the country? Permanently? If that is so, fine…
  • As regards the climax, again, it was too convenient, no? Couldn’t the real CBI not put enough people to follow the bus, follow any other vehicle that the team takes? Why are they viewing the hotel only from the top of the terrace with the binoculars and not from a lower level, to see that all of the gang have not boarded the bus?
  • The romantic interlude with Akshay was a waste, of course. But other than that, the film was just a flat, one caper after another. Nothing else. No other story or character development.
  • Since the director is the same one who made A Wednesday, there is certainly a huge drop in the quality of his work, from A Wednesday to Special 26…

Coming back to the title of this post. So with all these issues, it can still be an “okay” film. What is the explanation then, to the rave reviews that some are giving to Special 26?

A hint to the reason was found in one of the Facebook conversations on the subject. Where one wrote that “compared to the crap that we have been seeing, this was so good”!

Ok, that explains it then.

By constantly bringing down the quality, we have pulled our benchmark levels so low, that an average performance starts looking like an Oscar winner.. !

Ok, that must be it..

What do you say??

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Priyadarshan claims to have not ‘directed’ Aakrosh. He claims to have ‘filmed’ it. If you go by the titles…

Well, film or direct, he has made a good movie, and I enjoyed this power packed, action thriller!

A 10-30 pm show on a working day is a film’s challenge – to keep me awake and attentive. Aakrosh not only kept me awake, but it also kept me engrossed, right from the word go, and till the end. This speaks for excellent editing, where no scene was ‘wasted’. From making comedies, Priyadarshan makes an excellent transition to a reality inspired, action drama.

The story is inspired by the scores of ‘honor killing’ realities that one reads about in the papers. In places like UP, Bihar, Haryana, Delhi, Jharkhand, etc. All those stories make you aware that this is a reality even in modern day India. But for city folks like us, to get a close view of the reality, is shocking, to say the least. That some people in power can so easily take the law in their hands, not care two hoots for media, nor for the CBI or the Centre, and pretty much continue to live their lives, on their own terms, is unnerving. Is this modern India? And if so, why is it that way? Why have we remained these two distinct countries?

What works in the movie?

The story line is thrown open right at the outset. Not much ramble to take you to the core point.

Except for the one romantic song between Ajay and Bipasha (must have been an after thought to cover the box office?), rest of the scenes and the locales look very real.

Even the smaller characters have been developed well, and appear to be very realistic of that life.

Some great action scenes are shot. One awesome foot chase with Ajay going after a goon, is brilliantly captured. In his debut film, Ajay had put his two legs on two motorbikes, and standing on these two moving bikes, he had made an appearance. That was a great scene. In Aakrosh, he stands atop a running jeep, in similar fashion.

Ajay Devgan is a perfect natural for such roles. He has done many similar characters in the past, and does very well, here as well. Akshaye Khanna is good too. Bipasha has a small role. Not much to do.

Paresh Rawal returns to his naughty villain role types. And puts a smashing performance in that.

Overall, the film worked for me. This is the kind of cinema I enjoy.

And I reckon, you might like it too.. !

Yeah, really..life would have been just fine, if Sid had not been woken up, or Mukerji had not made this movie at all.

Or if Karan Johar had not gone grovelling to apologize and put up a big banner at  the beginning of the movie, with the apology. He would have retained self respect, and some of us may have not had to go through the flick!

But they woke him up. And Karan went to Raj’s feet and apologised. And the film got released. And I found myself in that seat watching the proceedings. Which did not really “proceed”.

In fact, they woke up Sid. But let the scriptwriter fall asleep. And because of which the same scenes kind of repeated, and the story seemed to be stuck at a point. If a viewer in the theatre had fallen asleep after the first thirty, there would have been no need to wake him up till the last thirty. He would have not missed anything interim!

So they say, it is a story about the coming of age of a rich spoilt brat kid. Much like Dil Chahta Hai (Aamir’s character, I suppose).

First of all, WUS and DCH should not be used in the same sentence together. Where DCH was a defining moment by a great filmmaker, WUS is not even a pretense. No seriously, if you must compare, think how it would have been, to just make a movie about Saif’s character in DCH. Without adding any more twists or turns. Saif’s character justified that 20% footage in DCH. Mukerji has made an entire film, WUS, out of that kind of a storyline. You get the picture now?

And if the comparison has to continue, lets speak about the music too. Both had Shankar Ehsan Loy. But just having the same music director does not ensure that same quality of music. DCH pretty much had an excellent, consistent score right through, with memorable songs that still come to your lips. WUS has a couple of short term winners, due to an aggressive push on radio, but I assure you, these will be forgotten in exactly 2 months, if not earlier.

In terms of the cast, its really just two people. Rest are furniture. That is the other problem with films like these. No development of other characters! Anyway, Ranbir will get slotted into these stupid roles, if he does not pick his films better. Guys like Imran and even Neel Nitin might steal a march over him, no matter his last name and pedigree!

And Konkona – really, if she must do crass commercial cinema, she can still find better roles than this one. Or why not stick to projects which allow her immense opportunity to showcase the awesome talents that she does have??

So you might ask me, ‘what about those great newspaper reviews?’. Well, I am convinced now, that if Karan Johar will go to the length of losing all self respect and go and apologize publicly, for a writer’s license in using the word “Bombay” instead of “Mumbai”, then what does it take to get a reviewer to write a favorable review?? Especially with publications like TOI, which have become advertorials all through, how much can it cost, to have a great review written??

The week before I had mentioned that if Salman Khan wanted to write a promotional press release, he could have not written a better one than what Avjit Ghosh wrote, supposedly as a review of ‘Wanted’. Likewise is the case, this week, for Avjit’s review of Wake Up Sid. Like a film and a filmmaker could do no wrong, and if there was a lifetime achievement award to be given, it should be given right now, to all the cast and crew of Wake Up Sid!!

A tad too flattering?? What say?

Caught a Sunday matinee show of Dil Kabaddi. And enjoyed it throughly.
It’s a modern day story of DINK couples (Double-Income-No-Kids). Especially related to the games people play in marriage (yes, the spouses.. with each other..), infidelity in modern day marriages, and especially the sexual interplay in marriages. A kind of adult topic, its been handled very openly for the first time.

But mistake it not for a serious arty movie or anything like that. In fact, its a helluva funny movie. Very enjoyable.

The cast is just perfect. All of them have done a great job – Konkona, Rahul Bose, Soha Ali Khan and Irfan Khan. Especially Irfan Khan. He’s amazing talent. Rock star material!

We saw it in a cozy 40-seater theatre (almost like watching in a large hall of someone’s home!), and it was pretty much filled with couples like us, and there was so much laughter all over. I guess everyone was seeing a bit of their own marriages in the film.

Highly recommended to all married couples. Go and have fun. And you will start seeing the funny side of your own marriage 🙂