Posts Tagged ‘Hrithik’

** Spoiler alert ** : There is some mention of the storyline here, and if you do not want to get any such hints, and you do plan to see the film, then you shouldn’t read this blog post!

I have little memory of the old Agneepath. Except for the legendary dialog that spoke, “Vijay Dinanath Chavan.. aaj maut ke saath apna appintment hai.. appintment!”, there is not much else that I remembered of that film.

Yet, the new Agneepath brought back memories of the 1980s, and the angry young man genre that Amitabh lived and thrived on. And while that was good for nostalgia sake, the genre: a) is out of place in today’s age of style and panache, even in thrill, and b) has Amitabh written all over it, whether you like it or not!

That seems to be the movie’s biggest challenge to overcome.

With no decent film releasing in recent times, and with the Hrithik magic, and the Agneepath remake curiosity,  full houses were ensured on the first day, which happened to be a national holiday as well. Whether the initial will convert into reasonable sustenance of a couple of weeks or not, is questionable?

So let’s look at the good parts first.

It is an out and out action film. To the point of saying that it is one of the most violent Hindi films released in recent times. Lots of blood, knives, bullets, punches.. in short, gore. Now, I put this in the good part, and also in the bad, I guess. Good, because as pure action genre, it is power packed. But beyond a point, it gets to be a little much.

Priyanka in her small role, does a good spunky Mumbai chawl, bindaas girl. Like K3G’s Kajol was from Chandni Chowk!

Sanjay Dutt looks a menacing Kancha. Yes, after a long time, a Hindi film has shown a truly villainous look. Compliments to the visualizer of the look.

It is nice to see Rishi Kapoor coming up with a good performances, every now and then. Also good to see him getting nice, meaty roles.

Another old timer, Zarina Wahab is seen on screen after a long time. But her role is miniscule, with not much room to emote!

Katrina Kaif’s Cheekni Chameli had become a hit well before the release of the film. Unlike a lot of other item girls who do not put much energy into their dances, but let the movement of the camera and the glamour of the look (think Deepika in Dum Maro Dum) make it happen for them, one has to grant Katrina full marks for hard work. With a Brit accent, hardly being able to speak decent Hindi, if she has made it to the top today, it is not just because of her looks, but also because of the intense effort she seems to be putting into her work. This song is an example of the same.

My only worry about this song is.. no, my fear in fact.. that this will be played a lot at parties. And I shudder to see socialite women making the moves that Katrina makes in this song. Oh my God!!

Finally, Hrithik is fabulous as an action hero. Quiet, intense, angry.. he brings alive the Amitabh of the 1980s.

So that said, what are the minuses then?

The extreme violence for one. It gets to be too much!

Also that where the storyline is based, is certainly not contemporary, and would not quite qualify as ‘period’. And which is where it hangs in the middle, sort of. We don’t know whether to view it as a ‘now’ story – it isn’t – and whether to view it as historical – which again, it isn’t.

Rauf Lala peddling drugs galore AND doing human flesh trade openly in Mumbai, and the police being aware, but unable to do anything, seemed strange. Unless I have NO idea of what the real Mumbai was / is like?!

Also where the protagonist, the angry man looking for revenge, attempts to get sympathy / understanding from the audience, that he is killing many with his cocaine trade (while he is shown to release the girls from the flesh trade of Rauf Lala) is questionable.

Finally, the way I see it, for a movie that has anger as an undertone throughout, the anger itself is not very visible. The storyline is not developed that well, or the emotions do not come out that strongly, somehow. Unlike say, a Deewar, where Amitabh’s anger is permanent virtually.

So all in all, if you can tolerate oodles of violence, do give it a shot. And if you can’t, then you must totally avoid this one.

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I have too much respect for Ashutosh Gowariker’s work, to let his latest film pass. I mean, he’s the one who gave us excellent films like Lagaan, Swades and Jodhaa Akbar. So I was keen to check out Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey.

Which is why, when on the first weekend of the film, for a Sunday evening show, I found the theatre very sparsely filled, I realized that this one’s not working for him. At least at the box office.

And when in the first few minutes of the film, you see a two long pig tailed Deepika Padukone and her friend, singing a song, that looked like it came straight out of Ashok Kumar’s days (Ashok Kumar as a HERO, mind you!), I had my worst fears confirmed. That Ashutosh has probably got it wrong this time around. At least from the box office point of view. This is not going to work with today’s audience, for sure!

So before I write more about KHJJS, let’s take a quick peek at AG’s earlier work.

Lagaan was also a period film. BUT it had Aamir Khan’s magic. It had awesome music from A R Rahman (which was NOT period music!), and it had a sports story, where India beats England. This works! As a fictional piece of period movie, AG had the opportunity to use cricket for one, and let India win, for another. Those were great winning points, and which is where Lagaan went on to become the great hit that it became.

Swades was a great story too. Tugged the hearts of modern day India, and especially NRIs. SRK magic, this time. And it worked again.

Then came Jodhaa Akbar. Again a period film. Large scale sets. Phenomenal work by Hrithik and Aishwarya. Some romance, good songs again. All in all, impressive enough to score big. Very big.

Now coming to KHJJS, it is closer to Lagaan than any other of his previous work. But the story is real. Not that much drama (perhaps because it is real – you can dramatize fiction, but facts are to show!). And unfortunately, amongst all the actors AG has worked with, Abhishek is truly not in the same class. So the draw is not there, from the star’s point of view then.

The fact that it is a real story, one of the many in India’s struggle for independence, it is also a story where the Indian protagonist does NOT win (we don’t win, till we actually win in 1947 – all others were only attempts). So that is again what Indian audiences do not really like to see. Losing to the British!!

In the backdrop of these challenges – and I am sure AG would have appreciated these, even as he took on this project – it is a brave effort for AG to take on a story and a subject line of this kind. I would appreciate AG for this effort, then.

The story itself is amazing. From being a chapter in India’s long struggle for independence. A small city in Bengal, creating a serious revolt, with help of highly motivated school children and ladies. It was an outrageous attempt, in which they almost succeeded to win freedom, for that city at least! Would have been a fantastic victory.

Amongst other things, the film reinforced my respect for Bengalis, and their involvement in India’s freedom struggle. That the Bengali kids took umbrage in the British coming and taking over their football ground, and that hurt them so badly that they were willing to join the activists fighting for freedom, shows to me that character of Bengalis. One that takes no-nonsense, and fights for the things that they believe in!

Like I had mentioned after seeing The Japanese Wife, I love seeing the real small town India, its culture, its language, etc.  And especially Bengal. Like in case of The Japanese Wife, here too, it is a pleasure to see the life of old time, small-town Bengal. I especially loved all the names, with the typical Bengali sounds, and the general language itself, with its Bengali style.

I am not sure about the new new generation in India, for whom independence is far away. Whether they will appreciate this story or not. But we are the generation that did not have much TV in our childhood, history then was part of our entertainment dosage, especially the kind that was fed to us via Amar Chitra Kathas. For us, this story, a part of that Indian freedom struggle, should definitely be of interest.

I found the film to be thought provoking in that sense. Thoughts about how such revolutionaries emerged in various parts of the country. How the British abused power and gave birth to such rebellion. About the mind of a freedom fighter, and how he manages to rally people around him. How thankful we as a country are, to have had such rebellions, that ultimately created enough pressure, to lead us to our independence.

The film is long. Yes, AG falls too much in love with his work and his raw footage. And cannot make himself to cut out more of his work. And ends up making long films. This one is no exception. This could have been a little shorter though.

The music is purposely made to look old fashioned, like it is actually from the 1930s. That makes it tough for people to be attracted to it, today!

The support cast of the kids and other actors is fine. They do a sincere job.

The challenge is with the lead actors. Deepika does not have much to do. And she does not do it! She hangs around – she does not even have any seriously significant scenes, where she has to emote strongly!

Abhishek on the other hand, disappoints. In a good role, and a perfect platform to show his prowess. But he delivers a very average performance. He had a chance to showcase for example, how he has a magnetic effect and why followers throng to him. Well, followers do throng to him, but that is as per the story. We do not see why – he does not show us the reasons. In fact, he is very subdued. Even in crisis, when the entire band of his people are crestfallen, and have their heads hung down, he does not demonstrate any serious leadership, nor show the path and the hope for a better tomorrow.

Even if Surya Sen in real life was quiet, some dramatic liberties could have been taken here, by AG, and brought out the character to be a little more aggressive than what he has done here, with Abhishek.

In fact, to put it simply, and to compare, Hrithik had acted better with his face and head, in Guzaarish, than what Abhishek has done with his entire body, in this film!!

At this point, just to compare KHJJS with a classic from the same genre, in a way. Lets consider 1942, A Love Story. That was also set in the background of the Indian freedom struggle, but based in north India. The difference there was the fictional aspect, which allowed Vidhu Chopra to play around. To introduce the romance, the brilliant songs and music from R D Burman! And the great visuals of the hills. And most importantly, being fiction, it could again show a win, even if a limited type, against the British! Which liberty, a true story like KHJJS did not have.

With all that, for the lover of Indian history, for one to appreciate what our forefathers did and how they fought for us to get our independence, and for a generally decent film made by Ashutosh Gowariker, I would still recommend seeing it once!

The film has provoked my thoughts around freedom fighters in general, and I may share those in a separate post.

Confession: I am an ardent fan of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and my views may be influenced by this fandom and admiration for his work 🙂

He took us to the beaches of Goa in Khamoshi. And then to small town Saurashtra in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Both were still close to ‘reality’. I will skip Devdas, the one aberration from SLB!! From Black to Saawariya and now to Guzaarish, Sanjay Leela Bhansali takes us beyond reality. To sets that have a sense of fantasy about them, to places which are imaginary in nature, and yet not quite Harry-Potteresque..

So although Guzaarish is supposed to be based in Goa, it is a Goa that most of us may not be familiar with – not the house, not the people and their dresses, not exactly the beaches-and-feni Goa! So it may as well have been some European country.

But to me, this mystique about the location, is a part of the enigma of SLB. Harry Potter fans love the magic there, I love the magic of SLB’s vision, his fantasies, the mystical world he creates and shows us.

So the first thing I love about the film are the awesome visual effects. The detailing in the house, the wooden floor, the wall with the various frames, the ceiling with the frames and the mirror, the poster bed, the chairs in the room, the radio station with the old style equipments… creates an impact. Also the few outdoor scenes – the time they get into the car and drive by the countryside. The visuals are captured beautifully.

The subject matter itself, about euthanasia, generates enough debate and hence an interest in the treatment given to it. And all in all, it is a balanced treatment. For one who has been reduced to being a vegetable, the choice to die as much as he has the choice to live. Makes a lot of sense.

SLB gets some good performances from the supporting actors. His old favorite, Shenaz Patel, delivers a spunky performance. We have a surprise in the form of Suhel Seth. While we have seen him dramatize his TV shows, it is pleasantly surprising to see him convert that drama to real acting, in his role of Hrithik’s doc.

I have been disappointed by recent performances of Aishwarya. But back in the safe hands of SLB (after HDDCS), she comes up with a good performance, as the extremely devoted and dedicated nurse, serving Hrithik, for 12 long years!

But that brings us to Hrithik. And the film is all about him.

He is absolutely outstanding. Sad for all those actors who had good runs in films that came from January to November, 2010. Because they may have nursed ambitions of winning awards for the year. But late in the year, comes Guzaarish, and a Hrithik performance that is a class apart. Award-winning, stunning, masterful.

He emotes brilliantly, just with his face. Happiness, sheer joy, laughter, anger, depression, tenacity, fight.. these are all conveyed through the eyes and the twitching of the muscles of the face. Now that is acting.

And this is supported by some fabulous voice modulations while delivering the dialogs. He speaks in different tones, at different times. And which is part of his acting. When a dashing, action hero is rendered to ‘deliver’ his performance with just his face and his voice, all of that energy and skill comes to the fore. Brilliant may yet be an understated word to describe his performance!

The few flashback scenes when he is shown to be performing his magic tricks on stage, only remind us of the amazing physical skills that he undoubtedly possesses, the flexibility of his body, the fantastic dancer that he is! And he sings too.. a skill discovered in this film.

So as I said, other actors of this year, are only competing now for the second spot, in terms of the performance of the year!!

And of course, the film is finally all about the director. And as mentioned at the outset, I am a HUGE fan of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s. And he shows again, in this film, why I like his work so much. An absolute penchant for detail, striving for perfection, beautiful editing, getting excellent performances from his cast, all that makes him as good as he is. He conveys his vision beautifully.

And this time, he composes the music too. And does a great job for a first time. We are aware that in all his films, he participates deeply into the music creation. This time, he removes the middleman!! And wields the music baton himself, and creates some magical tunes.

Yes, clearly, I loved the film. And I would highly recommend it…

 

Can somebody help me here? I was never good at history. Are more wars fought over a “woman” than over any other issue? Yes, other issues on which wars could be fought are water, oil, territory, religion, etc. But more lives have been lost in wars and fights over women, I’d believe, than over anything else.

That being a fact, the basic storyline of Kites, the latest from Filmkraft, is not off the mark.

Normally I would have seen a big release of this kind on the Friday or the Saturday, of the release week. But as we had tickets to a fund raiser program, we were scheduled to see it on the morning of Sunday. And that unfortunately, was enough time, for a whole lot of reviews to come out. The “official” ones in media, and the many unofficial ones on Twitter and Facebook. And where I was already a little skeptical about someone like Anurag Basu (who has earlier directed films of a completely different genre, like Murder, Gangster, Life in a Metro, etc.) being able to pull off a cross-over international feel project like this, these early reviews had convinced me that this was going to be a disaster.

With low expectations I went and saw the film. And right through the first half, I was waiting to see the film drop off into randomness or boredom, as people had made me believe it would. But that never happened.

The film kept me engrossed right through.

The theme was simple enough. War fought over a girl. Which includes, as you’d imagine, romance, revenge, violence, etc. That part is simple and straight forward.

But what makes this a good film overall:

– the flow is smooth; going back and forth into flashbacks and now, is handled well

– the screen looks good all through. The sets, the locales in Vegas, Mexico etc. are good to see. The camera work is splendid. The colors are captured well.

– Barbara, though not exactly stunning, fits the role of the Latina beauty well. She emotes well, has a nice smile, and shows good chemistry with Hrithik.

– the length of the film is just right. There is no temptation to make it a typically longdrawn Bollywood style saga. At the current length of a little over 2 hours, it is taut enough to keep you interested.

A few questions remain, though:

– Anurag’s muse from his earlier films, Kangana Ranaut, could have been given some more space. I believe she’s one of the most underrated actresses on Indian screen. I loved her work in Fashion and in Life in a Metro. She’s wasted here.

– One miss: when Hrithik is unloading one car after another, in a moving truck carrying those vehicles, does the driver of the truck not realize anything afoot? Does the load not appear to get lesser suddenly? Don’t they have anything like a rear view mirror?? There’s mayhem going on behind them, with one car rolling off after another. And he drives merrily away??!

– And where does Kabir Bedi disappear at the end? Does he too not come fuming after these guys? Anurag does remeber to bring in Kangana for a fleeting moment at the end. Why not Kabir too?

But these few factors apart, I think its a good film. And the one big reason – obviously – for this is called “Hrithik Roshan”.

So I believe Hrithik can’t sing?! Or can he?

Because it appears that he can pretty much do EVERYTHING ELSE.

He looks good, he’s an amazing actor, and he dances like no one else can, on Indian screen at this time. He can certainly carry the entire film on his broad shoulders.

Kites is a good attempt to make an Indian film with very little India in it. Its good a good Hollywood-esque feel to it.

So why did the critics run it down so much? I really don’t know. Maybe it was a fundamental expectation mismatch. This is not Hrithik’s best. It is not the best to come from the Rakesh Roshan stable. But it is good. Worth a watch.

That said, would request Rakesh Roshan to return to directing Hrithik, for their home productions. PLEASE!!