Posts Tagged ‘bollywood’

When I read this article about Vishal Bhardwaj in The Mint (Lounge), I was inspired to share the following thoughts:

The highly successful, almost cult-like Bollywood film, “Deewar” has the hero playing a very serious, remorseful and strong character. Part of what he became as an adult was the consequence of what he experiences as a child, when his father is condemned as as thief and a traitor. But what hurts the most is the permanent tattoo that some of his father’s critics inscribe on his hand, and which reads “Mera Baap Chor Hai” (transation: “My father is a thief”).
The stigma of this inscription on his hand never goes, and which remains one of the reasons why almost right through his life, he does not even smile, and is always lost in thought, staring into space. It’s a tough life to live with a stigma of this kind.
I was thinking about all this, when I read about the Raju brothers spending the night with 40 other inmates, sleeping on the floor, and getting a toothbrush and toothpaste from the jail staff.
How the mighty fall?
They came to give themselves in, in their Mercedes.
They probably live in mansions, fly first class, have a horde of servants at their beck and call, have a police station named after their company, in short, have all riches that one needs. And good for a few generations too, I am sure.
And then what happens? Greed takes over. You want more. And you are willing to give up your values (assuming you had some to begin with!), you are willing to cross the line over. To make those quick bucks. To become wealthier. To amass even more fortunes.
That is what the Rajus did. That is what many others have done before them. The Ketan Parekhs, the Harshad Mehtas, the C R Bhansalis, etc. etc.
They believe they have enough money to get out of any soup. And perhaps they do have it. But the few nights of agony that they experience, treated as rank criminals, and their names bandied about as the scum of the earth, is a stigma that lasts a lifetime.
Maybe, it’s only a matter of time – a few days / weeks / months perhaps, before the Rajus go scot free. They would depend on the short public memory, and the power of their money, to manage this Houdini act.
But even after that, as their children or grandchildren go to school, or walk the street, there is always a chance that someone shouts behind them, “Hey, son of a thief..” or “There goes the grandchild of a crook”. That will never go away.
I am sure Ketan Parekh and family will experience that, I am sure the late Harshad Mehta’s family might be facing that, and the Rajus will also have that to worry about.
About that permanent inscription on their bodies, which reads that “they were thieves”.
That’s a hard price to pay. Especially when you did not have to!
A petty thief stakes his all, to do his make-or-break large theft, and he has little to lose, even if he is caught. On the other hand, the Rajus had enough to last a few lifetimes. Why did they have to do what they did? Not even the permanent tattoo removers will remove the stigma all over their souls, now.. !

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*** 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! Ghajini..is 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

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

For a change, went and saw Rab Ne Banadi Jodi, on Friday night, without waiting to read the reviews in the papers. After all, there had not been any big releases for a few weeks, and in fact, I had not seen any movie for a couple of weeks. So with SRK and the YashRaj banner, and Aditya Chopra being the director, there was enough motivation to venture into the theatre, without waiting to see what others were saying about the film.

Well, I wish I had waited for the reviews!

The film does not work. On any front.

So Shah Rukh looks different – an old 1970s poor man hero kind of look (well, the half of it, in this film). So should I be happy to see the change? Change is good. But it should still be a good change. This look looks awful, was grossly exaggerated and not entirely necessary at all. It was there only to contrast with the other look that the same character puts on, and we are to believe that the contrast being so stark, the wife of the character is unable to recognize the two as being the same person! Only for that reason, that simpleton look was grossly overdone.

The new heroine makes a fair debut. She looks cute like the so many new young actresses on Indian screens look these days – well, on television and on the larger screen. Anushka portrays a good Punjabi girl, a homemaker and yet a firebrand who can take on the world when needed. She has a good smile, but overall, she does not have many scenes to showcase her talent. We will have to wait for her next one, or there is a fear that she may go the Gracy Singh way. Cute debut but then disappearing into oblivion!

The fundamental idea of the film – of the hero trying to win over his bride and make her to love him – is just too thin, to be carried for 3 hours! There are no other twists or turns.

And the fundamental way that the hero attempts to do this, is quite incredible.

He changes his looks and appears as someone else, to woo his own wife. Now if the face and dress change can still be imagined – although it still does not get to me, that she will not recognize him – can anyone explain how a shy and introvert kind of person, can overnight, with a change of clothes, become an extrovert, who can be boorish in talk, who can be crazy, drive bikes etc.?? There is no explanation for the attitude changeover, while there is one about the appearance changeover.

As I said, the thread is too thin anyway, to run for a full length movie. No other sub-plots, no nothing. A Japan factor is added, for no reason at all. And does not make sense except for being a diversion.

The worst part is the end. The character that the hero takes on, and which he is not, woos the girl, and goes to the extent of professing his love. The heroine, married to the original character, is now in a quandary. If she accepts this other character’s love, she would be doing ‘wrong’.ย  And still she is tempted, as that ‘other’ character has been what she always wanted in a husband.

So why is the hero doing this? What’s the deal here, anyway?!

Ok, having said that, a “good” ending would have been, for the girl to ‘discover’ that these two are the same, and how selfless her husband really has been and what pains he has taken to make her happy.

But THAT does not happen. And I think, even in this thin plot, here is where Adi missed the one opportunity to make something out of the story.

Here, the girl makes her final call on staying with her husband, and not go with the ‘other’ character as she prays at the Golden Temple, and God gives her a vision that says that hubby is best for her.

That’s too weird.

Why not have her “discover” what her husband has been upto?

Here she finds out, much later. And that also because the husband goes out and tells her, in a way.. by dancing with her, instead of the flashy ‘other’ character.

This is the biggest loss in the story.

So are there any silver linings at all? Well, yes.

1. Vinay Pathak has a fun role, and does a good job. His stars are truly on the rise, and he keeps making the most of the opportunities that are coming his way.

2. It’s interesting to see small town Punjab life. We had seen villages, we have seen cities. This was in between. About the large houses there, about the cinema being a constant source of entertainment, about a “trade fair” being an outing for the family, and things of that nature. Interesting glimpse..

3. The songs.. they are hummable for a while. Don’t expect any of them to be remembered after 6 months also, but for now, there are 2-3 that can stay on your lips, even if its on account of the fact that these are bombarded at you, every few mins, on radio.

4. Finally, the last silver lining was seeing the preview of Ghajini while seeing Rab Ne!! Ghajini looks like a taut thriller, and from the looks of it, an Indianized version of The Bourne Ultimatum. But these are my impressions only from the preview. It may yet be something different.

YRF has a tremendous track record. Earlier, with all the films that Yash and Aditya directed and produced. And in recent days, with the great flicks that they produce for others as well, e.g. Dhooms, Chak De, Hum Tum, and scores of such ones. Aditya himself has a great track record as a director and a tremendous reputation as a film maker.

The last thing that Aditya Chopra needs to do is to direct such junk.

Aditya, tune Rab Ne Banadi… kyu Banadi, yaara??!