Friday, September 4

Aren't Indians simply


Courtesy :

Saturday, August 22

My Review - Kaminey

At one point of time in Kaminey, there is a shot of Charlie(Shahid) with a revolver walking away from the camera on a railtrack and a shit scared Guddu(Shahid) running away with a guitar held close to his chest. You get the feeling that ah well...this is the end. And Baaam! It's not over. Not until a good 25 minutes of craziness, negotiations and violence.

It is this unpredictability and the brilliant brilliant writing which make Kaminey and its characters watchable. Immensely watchable. Kaminey is about twin brothers Charlie Sharma and Guddu Sharma, who hate each other's sights and how their lives get intertwined by a simple twist of fate or should I say a simple string of a guitar! :-) Charlie is a small time thug who dreams of getting rich 'through a chota shortcut' and Guddu has a panchayati raj type 14 year plan to settle down in life with his girlfriend Sweety(Priyanka Chopra). Apart from having a lovable ensemble of ganglords(Bengaali, African and Ladakhi) and corrupt cops(Lobo and Lele) from the Mumbai Police Anti-Narcotic cell, Kaminey has as one of its highlights Bhope Bhau, a 'Jai Maharashtra' spouting local politician, played by Amol Gupte, writer of Taare Zameen Par.

Kaminey is a treat to watch. Because it treats the viewer with some amount of respect and leaves it for him to see, understand and laugh. Reminiscent of the Coen Brothers in parts, Kaminey is both visually dark and emotionally entertaining. After enduring severe human rights violations in the form of a Ghajini and Love Aaj Kal (M not even counting the Kambakht Ishqs and CC2Cs), Kaminey gives you hope that there is still someone in Bollywood who can make rivetting, realistic and meaningful cinema (Apart from the Johnny Gaddaar dude).
Shahid and Priyanka come of age and its unlikely that they will be able to better this one in the near future. Amol Gupte is a revelation as Bhope and Shiv Subramaniam is absolutely hilarious as Lobo.

Ramgopal Varma used to say - I am the anti Yash Chopra. I am like the Al-Qaida and Yash Raj is the United States. I guess that mantle lies now with the wonderfully talented dialogue-screenplay-story writer, music director and director Vishal Bhardwaj.

The anti-thesis of Bollywood and the future of Bollywood is here. And he is awfome!

Tuesday, August 18

Karan Johar

Once said,"2.6 Billion people know Tom Cruise. 3.2 Billion knew ShahRukh Khan".

Apparently the latter does not include a US Immigration Official. wink wink...

Monday, August 3

My Review - Love Aaj Kal

I understand its difficult to make a Lagaan again. But Swades was almost there. Repeating a Dil Chahta Hai was always an uphill task. But Lakshya wasn't that bad. Munnabhai II seemed like a gone case. But with Lage Raho Munnabhai, Raju Hirani was the last man smiling.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, there was a trend in Bollywood. Boy and girl meet, fall in love and they are not able to decide. To be or not to be. NOT ABLE TO @#$%^N DECIDE???!!! Compounded their problems was the fact that there was always some 'ehsaan' from the 'friendz family' usually the girl's. This plotline was everywhere, Saajan, Dil to paagal hai, Kuch kuch hota hai, even the iconic Dil chahta hai.

Love Aaj Kal takes this stupidity even further. A day after their marriage, on their honeymoon, Vikram(played by Rahul Khanna, I hope he was handsomely paid) is left in the honeymoon suite by the bride Meera(Deepika) who wanders off in search of X boyfriend Jai(Saif). Meera darling here, is apparently 'still in the 90s mode'. She has been unable to decide yet again, the previous occasion being the day of the wedding, right before the pheras and after the jaimala. Phew!!!

B grade romantic comedies in Hollywood like 27 Dresses and Made of Honor are able to convey what Director Imtiaz Ali tries so hard to convey and falters miserably. So there are cliches(pyaar ek baar hi hota hai, she is the one - you don't know yet) and the mother of all - Meera is waiting in puraani Dilli for Jai dear in the end because 'woh apni galti maan ke waapas aayega'. GAWD!!!

The best part of Jab we met and Socha na tha was the breezy dialogue and what you get here is downright corny and unbelievable. Sample this from Jai in conversation with Vikram - Yaar, ho jaata hai, sab plan kar ke break up kiya tha, ab kya karun?

Deepika looks great but fails to deliver her dialogues properly, Saif plays Saif, the guy who is always confused, just like in Salaam Namaste, just like in Hum Tum, just like in Yeh Dillagi....etc etc. He is unconvincing as the young Rishi Kapoor. Rishi Kapoor is so-so, not having much to say. His love interest, the brazilian model, is cute and subtle. The song placement is awkward and the screenplay is confusing.

Love Aaj Kal tries to be both modern and conservative and therein lies its biggest flaw. And it makes Ghajini look better.

Thursday, July 30

And you thought Deshdrohi was brilliant

Trailer is even more mindboggling in the rashtrabhasha. I was unable to locate the video though. :-)

My Review - My Cousin Vinny

No one recommended this 1993 courtroom drama to me. Or suggested. Or Praised. I had never heard of it or maybe I had heard but then I thought "Joe Pesci with Marisa Tomei...not worth it man".

I managed to catch this one on Star Movies yesterday and found it to be well L O L. My Cousin Vinny is about Vinny(Pesci), who travels to Alabama along with his girlfriend Mona Lisa(Tomei), to defend his cousin(played by "The Karate Kid") and a friend who are wrongly accused of a murder. Vinny is not your usual lawyer. He is someone who has zero trial experience having taken six years and six attempts to become one. He fumbles, mumbles, fails to get enough sleep, fights with his girlfriend, lies to the judge and does every damn thing possible to defend his cousin.

While Pesci plays his character to a T and Tomei is brilliant as the sexy Mona Lisa Vito(she got an Oscar for this one), it's the writing and the courtroom sparring between Vinny and the prosecution lawyer that are the movie's highlights.

Not many films get the DESIBLAB 5 stars. This is one of them. Don't miss it!

Saturday, July 11

India's original angry young man

Gavaskar Vs Tendulkar?

You can keep arguing over this but I don't think you can underemphasize the importance and the sheer genius of this first little master's contribution to Indian cricket and Indian sport. The original fighter, the original 'Ganguly', the one who scored 13 centuries in 27 tests against the mighty West Indies, the one who took the battle to the enemy's post, the one who never ever gave up, one can go on and on.

To whatever he did and achieved, I can only say, Thank You Sir! Thank you very much indeed!

Wednesday, June 24

Let Sarabjit hang

Yep, that's what I believe in.

He was a spy. He was caught. And now they want to hang him. If we think he is innocent, we should well go the Israel way i.e. invade Pakistan, get Sarabjit, make history and alter some geography on the way. On the other hand, if we feel that we don't have the balls to do that, we could put this little charade on the fast track and hang this guy at least.

Thursday, June 18

My Review - 17 Again

After a long long time, I went to the theater to watch a movie. The choice was no doubt dictated by the better half. I chose to meekly follow as the reviews were satisfactory. There have been other films on the same theme, namely 13 Going On 30, which was a light, delightful, New Yorky comedy.

17 Again is about 37 year old Mike O'Donnell(played by Mathew Perry), leading a typical American life(pun intended) - job going nowhere, kids hate him, wife has filed for a divorce etc etc. Somehow he turns 20 years younger and gets a chance to/at redo everything. And everything he does - getting his daughter to break up with the college bully, teaching his son the tricks of the wooing trade and getting back with his wife. Assisting him in these tasks is his college geek buddy Ned(played brilliantly by Comedian Thomas Lennon) who falls for the college principal.

A nice and thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy. Don't miss it!

P.S. - Somehow the better half found the lead actor cute. I thought he had a bad boy look. Whatever...!

The man who never gives up

Arun Shourie once famously said in an interview to Swapan Dasgupta - I'm shameless. Nothing signifies that more than his piece here in the Indian Express. While the entire media has been singing praises of how Rahul Gandhi's dimples are the best thing to happen to India, Shourie Sir meticulously tears down the UPA's 100 day agenda. Worth a glance!

And since we are indulging in China bashing, here is DNA's Jagannathan with
his brilliant take on the rogue state that is China.

Saturday, June 13

My Review - 27 Dresses

Starring Knocked Up star Katherine Heigl, 27 Dresses is a funny and light rom com about a girl who is always trying to please everyone, has attended 27 weddings as a bridesmaid and is madly in love with her boss. As with all rom coms, the setting is in New York and there is a good-at-heart reporter who has to 'do' a story for which the protagonist suits perfectly.

The movie starts with a bang, slows down and ends merrily. Not bad for a lazy sunday afternoon!

Friday, June 12

Sunday, May 31

Something I agree with

A Top Ten list of hotties who should stop acting.

P.S. : Some of them are not even HOT!

A matter of choice

On the nomination of Meira Kumar for the post of the Speaker, Congress party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi makes the following statement.

Congress would be creating a historical milestone by opting for the first dalit woman speaker. In the past also, Congress chose the first woman PM, youngest PM, first woman President.

Great! History has been created again. By the Congress party's refusal to accept the fact that they were always a 'crowd around a family'. My only question to him is - Did you have any choice, at least in the first two cases?


Sunday, May 17

Its bad. But it ain't so bad!

And the mandate goes to The Congress Party esp Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi.

Looks bad? Isn't it? It took me exactly 48 hours to figure out that this 'has' happened and probably 'why' this has happened.

This is not a vote for the UPA. This is a vote for the Congress, overwhelmingly. All across the country urban or rural, there has been a wave towards the congress. And so strong has been this wave, riding on socialist and populist measures of the UPA regime, that it has been able to overcome the
non-performance of the Manmohan Singh govt.

Rahul Gandhi's positioning has been very clear. We are pro-poor whereas the
NDA is the party of stock brokers and the rich(Yep he actually said that) which is ironical. While the NREGA, reservations in higher education, Loan waiver took care of the rural voter(unemployed youth as well as farmers), the Jyotiradityas, Sachin Pilots, Milind Deoras and Sandeep Dikshits ensured that the urban voter connects with them. If you don't agree with me then kindly check out the margin of victories in Delhi and Mumbai of Congress candidates(a fact also mentioned by Swapan Dasgupta). So a combination of youth with a heavy dose of socialism did it for the Congress.

About the BJP, well what to say. Varun Gandhi, 'weak' PM, not supporting the nuclear deal and some other factors like MNS were the main reasons I feel. The congress had supported the BJP in passing many bills(including private sector insurance) during 98-2004. But the way the
BJP including Advani behaved in the nuclear deal was disgusting. Dunno about Modi. Even if he had any effect, the congress wave was too strong for him to withstand. He could hardly manage to hold on to his own seats in Gujarat.

Will they learn their lessons? I don't think so. Last I heard, M M Joshi was ready to take over any responsibility given by the party.(sic)

And now for the best part! Third grade politicians with ten to thirty MPs wanting to be PM have been resoundingly KICKED. So no Maya, no Mulayam, no Amar Singh(Sunil Bharti Mittal must be relieved), no Karat, no Yechury, no Pawar. Which means no statues, no ban on english, no moneymaking, no arm twisting, no dhamki-dena. For all these factors itself, this election has been worth it.

Lessons to learn from this election

  1. Youth is the key
  2. Negativity will not help
  3. Socialism is back
  4. Charisma is essential

Some other great columns on this verdict

Vir Sanghvi in HT
Tavleen Singh in Indian Express
Shekhar Gupta in Indian Express
S S Aiyar in TOI

Friday, May 15

Thursday, May 14

My Review - Syriana

If you are interested in the petropolitics and the violence of the middle east, if you are amazed why America never takes one step to reform the stone-age country Saudi Arabia is, if you wonder why Iraq was invaded, if you marvel at the fact that there are virtually zero democracies in the gulf region and if you wanted your own "How to be a suicide bomber?" guide, Syriana is the film for you.

Starring hollywood biggies like Matt Damon, Chris Cooper, William Hurt, Jeffrey Wright and George Clooney(who won a Best Supporting Oscar for this one and doubles up as the executive producer), Syriana is slow and confusing initially as you get introduced to a myriad of characters going about their jobs in a ruthless manner.

Harvard educated Prince Nasir(played brilliantly by Alexander Siddig) wants to reform his oil rich country by bringing in democracy and granting voting rights to women. Assisting him in his reform process is Bryan Woodman(Matt Damon), an energy analyst who is loosing touch with his own family based back in the US. Somewhere else, Robert Gates(George Clooney), a veteran CIA officer, is entrusted by the US Govt with assasinating Prince Nasir.

What happens next is something to be seen - sibling rivalry, corporate greed, preservation of national interest(read OIL), treachery, assasination attempts and the birth of suicide bombers. Syriana is an eye opener for those who don't know and a confirmation for those who do.

Don't miss it!!!

Monday, May 11

The NDA's masterstroke

Well great minds do think alike! The other great mind here is the inimitable Swapan Dasgupta, who writes

"The Narendra Modi-Nitish Kumar photo-op in particular was good piece of showmanship. NDTV was particularly agitated and made it appear that Nitish's main crime was to have reneged on an assurance to Barkha Dutt. However, I don't think that Nitish was too happy over being ambushed by Modi--such public displays are not his style."

Since this unspeakable act of communalism, doublespeak and treachery(pun intended) has happpened, NDTV is at it. As if Nitish and Barkha are committed to each other and having made a statement on a horribly biased news channel is treated as signed confession in the supreme court of India. Not that I believe Nitish will NOT move to the UPA if the numbers are with them, I am just happy at the plain simple fact that NDTV is bloody hurt.

Whoever conceptualised this(Was it Jaitley?) deserves a pat on the back!

On a totally unrelated note, is it just me or are Priyanka Gandhi's clothes really getting tighter and tighter as the elections are nearing the end phase?

Saturday, May 9

We must hit back

Says Vir Sanghvi. I have to say, Vir Sanghvi never fails to surprise me. Apart from Shekhar Gupta of the Indian Express, he is becoming one of the saner voices of the TOTALLY BIASED Indian media.

Pleasantly surprised!!!

Sunday, May 3

I knew nothing.....

I knew nothing about the Babri demolition - Says Kalyan Singh

Close on the heels of Kalyan Singh's confessions on the Babri demolition, some other notable public figures are readying their confessions. A sneak peek :-

I knew nothing about cricket - John Buchanan and/or Shilpa Shetty

I knew nothing about 'getting elected from the Lok Sabha' - Manmohan Singh

I knew nothing about socialism(read NREGS) - Sonia Gandhi

I knew nothing about hair oil, only gel - Shivraj Patil

I knew nothing about the flight to Kandahar and Jaswant in that flight - L K Advani

I knew nothing about Hindi - Pranab Mukherjee

I knew nothing about unbiased reporting - Barkha Dutt/Rajdeep Sardesai

I knew nothing about whose son I am - Sanjay Dutt

Kung fu Panda Redux

Glossing over the events which have happened over the last 20 days, I am reminded of that beautiful line from Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda.

"One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it."

Thursday, April 30

Rajnath Jee listens

finally. Remember this guy from good, old doordarshan?

Thursday, April 2

Finally Aamir apologises

Isn't this google ad priceless?

Wednesday, April 1

Where have all the speakers gone?

It's funny right! For the last five years we have had a spineless PM and a spineless govt.

In view of the above, I thought the BJP had it on a platter. But they are fumbling. There was a time they had the best speakers(Sushma, Mahajan, Jaitley and the best of all Vajpayee). And look at them now. Last saturday I was watching 'The Big Fight' and the topic was Hate Politics. Balbir Punj of the BJP, whilst facing NDTV Aunty Brinda Karat and Mani Shankar Aiyar, was not only fumbling, mumbling and doing a Sonia i.e. reading out from his notes in a live debate, his debating skills left much to desire. The media as such does not give them any leverage, we know that. Add to this, some stupid statements here and there. And some stupid actions, too.

If the BJP wants to, or should I say, needs to improve its image in the minds of first time voters, they 'have to' get some new anchors fast which means, simply, add some new products to its portfolio. They might be a little foolish like Manish Tewari of the Italian National Congress but they have to be fluent, presentable and debatable.

Rajnath Jee, are you listening?

P.S. - Where the hell is Arun Jaitley? I know
he is strategizing, but we need to see him on NDTV, Times NOW and CNN IBN day after day everyday taking on the likes of Sibal and Brinda.

Sunday, March 29

The story of my life

I understand that there's some problems
And I'm not too blind to know
All the pain you kept inside you
Even though you might not show
If I can't apologize for being wrong
Then it's just a shame on me
I'd be the reason for your pain
And you can put the blame on me

By Akon

Monday, March 23

My Review - Love Actually

You must be wondering - a rom com, with nine different stories and starring Hugh Grant?!! Is it me or something has changed? Well actually after watching the extremely witty Notting Hill I wanted to check out 'any other great works' of the said writer(Richard Kurtis) and Love Actually was the only unseen one on the list. (other ones being the Bridget Jones series). Incidentally, this is one of Grant's and Curtis' highest grossing films worldwide.

So what did I think of it? Better than Notting Hill. No. Wittier than Notting Hill. At some places.

The best stories are the ones with the aging rockstar(Bill Nighy) and his manager, the boss(Alan Rickman, the baddie from Die Hard) and the secretary and the stand-in body doubles. The story about the Prime Minister(brilliantly played by Hugh Grant) and Sarah(played by Laura Linney), who likes a fellow colleague at her office, have a good start but are not developed quite as well.

A highlight of the film is this scene where the PM addressess the media alongwith the President of the US. And for this reason alone I give this film 3 stars.

Needless to say the Bollywood copy of this film was the very boring Salaam-E-Ishq!

Friday, March 20

I wanna be the PM tooo

Dear readers and countrymen, here are the possible candidates for leading our great country into the 21st century.

1. L.K.Advani
If Manmohan Singh can work as the (remote)PM and
do a great job, why the hell can't I?
Claim to fame
Currently is on the
'I love Jinnah' & 'I did know Jaswant had a ticket' communities on Orkut.

2. Mayawati
If I can be
number one in corruption, why can't i get the number one job in the country?
Claim to fame

  1. Statues
  2. Corruption
  3. More statues
  4. More Corruption

3. Sharad Pawar
We need a Maharashtrian PM especially since we have
such a dynamic maharashtrian President.
Claim to fame
He is a Maharashtrian(Didn't I say that earlier?)

4. Jyoti Basu
The time has come to
rectify the historic blunder.
Claim to fame
His leadership. His vision. His age. His walk. His talk. His coverage on NDTV.

Tuesday, March 17

My Review - There Will be Blood

There will be blood is about the struggle and rise of Daniel Plainview(Daniel Day Lewis), a manipulative and eccentric oilman during the oil boom of the late 19th century in the US. In his pursuit of oil and wealth, he comes into regular conflict with Eli Sunday(Paul Dano, the elder brother from Little Miss Sunshine), a young preacher who is himself looking to make some easy money from the same boom.

Like all of Paul Thomas Anderson's previous movies(Punch Drunk Love and Magnolia), the narrative of the movie is slow. But that does not bother you because of the wonderful cinematography and some equally wonderful acting.

Somehow I felt that the film was more about Plainview's rags to riches story and subsequent loneliness than the fight between him the young preacher as suggested by reviewers.

Daniel Day Lewis, who won an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe for this one, gives a powerful performance as the eccentric Plainview.

Definitely a one time watch for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

My Review - Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder starts with a promo of Scorcher, an action film starring Tugg Speedman(Ben Stiller), ready with a gun and a baby(?!!!) to save the world. Then come the promos of Scorcher II, III, IV and V. In this hilarious satire-action-comedy partly written and wholly directed by Stiller himself, three actors from different genres come together to make a war movie. So Stiller plays Speedman(modelled on Stallone), Downey, Jr. is Kirk Lazarus, an australian actor(loosely modelled on Russell Crowe) who goes great depths to 'get into' the character and Jack Black is Jeff Portnoy, an actor who has done films like The Fatties(a take on Eddie Murphy) and is addicted to drugs. Speedman is desperate for a hit, Lazarus is desperate to be in character even between shots and Portnoy is desperate for cocaine.

The story is simple, the screenplay is apt and the satire is immensely enjoyable. Watch out for the scene where Lazarus(Downey) advises Speedman(Stiller) never to go full retard while playing a mentally retarded character. There are cameos by almost half of Hollywood including the much appreciated cameo of Tom Cruise as Less Grossman, the producer of the film.

I give it four stars and put it on my must see list.

Also See

Friday, March 13

I love the Third Front

The third front has been (re)launched with a new vigour and a new avataar, which will be pro-minority, pro-dalit, pro-OBC, pro-farmer and pro-poor(whatever that means).
What this means that some unemployed politicians dying to get some votes(and ministries thereafter) and prove their SECULARISM will get together at Deve Gowda's residence and watch him sleep. BTW, our former PM also has the ability to sleep with his eyes wide open. Don't believe me, check him out yourself.

P.S. - What the hell is A B Bardhan doing?

Thursday, March 12

What I learnt from Kung Fu Panda!

This very cute and very very inspiring film does not need a review. It is a must see film and a must have DVD. I don't know if its just the state I am in where the lessons from the film seem to be very apt and bang-on-target. While Rashmi Bansal and some other bloggers have come out with their own Management Lessons from Kung Fu Panda, here is what I learnt from this very 'awsome' movie.
  1. There are no accidents... : What is is meant to be and how it was destined to be. Do not regret.
  2. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present : Learn from the past. Do plan for the future but live in the present. I loved this line. Absolutely!!!
  3. No matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach : If a young boy is destined to be a scriptwriter/storyteller/director he will be one. He can't become a doctor. On a different note, if a young boy is meant to redefine music through algorithms, then no point forcing him to go to Indian Idol.
  4. There is no secret ingredient in the secret ingredient soup : To make something special, you just have to believe it's special. Love this thought! Totally!
  5. Hollywood not only makes great movies, they make the movies with the best messages too : The Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, A Beautiful Mind, Rocky, Little Miss Sunshine, Crash, Spiderman 1 & 2. Need I say more.

The only film which I give 5 stars. Highly recommended!!!

My Review - You don't mess with the Zohan

Adult humour is okay, but this movie about an ex-Mossad agent(played by Sandler) coming to New York and wanting to be a hairstylist is crass, crude and downright vulgar. Adam Sandler seems to be taking a lot of liberties first with Click and now with Zohan. The only bearable part of this very stupid film is the beautiful Emmanuelle Chriqui and the funny Israeli-Arab accent spoken by almost the entire cast.

For hardcore Adam Sandler fans only!

Tuesday, March 3

My Review - Scarface

I remember the first time I saw Agneepath. I remember the last time I saw it. I remember the dialogues. I know the scenes which I really like. I remember "Apun ka naam Vijay Dinanath Chavan, poora naam, maa ka naam Suhasini Chavan, gaon Mandwa".

Now that I have seen Scarface, I feel let down. Cause Agneepath is a copy, certainly not a scene-by-scene DVD copy like Zinda, but the concept, styling and character detailing has been lifted straightawayfrom the 1983 Brian De Palma crime drama about a cuban refugee's rise to the top of the Miami underworld.

Watching Scarface is a treat cause you get to see Al Pacino in full form; his volatile character being one of the highlights for this film. One also gets to see the 1980s Miami and a very young Michelle Pfeiffer.

Highly Recommended!

Saturday, February 28

I am back

Tired, lazy and groggy as one can be from a Goa trip which got extended because of reasons beyond control. Will get back to regular blogging soon.

P.S. - Meanwhile on the way to Goa and back I have discovered one of the greatest music albums ever made by a Bollywood composer. Yes!!! Dev D is the best (original)music to come out of Bollywood in a decade. Check it out, if you still haven't.

Wednesday, February 18

My Review - Notting Hill

This is such a funny thing. Just day before yesterday, my wife was telling me all about Notting Hill, how it's the most wonderful(est) romantic comedy ever made and how she remembers each and every line of it and how blah blah the time she had completed, I was off to sleep.

Coincidentally, it was playing today on HBO and I managed to catch it along with sandwiches and tea. An engaging first half , an innovative ending(though not an airport one), a little boring in the second half is how the movie sums up. The writing in some scenes is pretty amazing especially the 'apricot and honey' bit. Hugh Grant is cute as usual and carries the same expression throughout(Britain's Shahrukh, Julia Roberts is... well Julia Roberts.

Total ChickFlick. One time watch!!!

P.S. - An interesting fact is the this $40 Million movie made almost $350 Million dollars in total. That is almost an I, Robot. Also, this is Hugh Grant's biggest hit.

Tuesday, February 10

My Review - Rainman

My first introduction to Tom Cruise was in late 1990(I was 13) when I saw his poster at a friend's house. This girl was crazy about Tom Cruise. It was Cruise, cruise and cruise everywhere for her. And I thought huh, yeah he's good looking so what? As my passion for movies grew over the years, I consistently avoided Cruise's films based on this presumption alone. Not that I heard much about Rainman, Born on the fourth of July, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Color of Money etc but I did check out the Mission Impossible series but then that is more of Manmohan Desai kind of cinema. The only Tom Cruise movie I had heard about a lot was Jerry Maguire. So on a relatively sunny day of the cold Delhi winter season in 2003, I saw Jerry Maguire. And INSTANTLY became a Tom Cruise fan.

This little piece of history is important not because I am his die-hard-will-watch-his-movie-first-day-first-show fan but because Cruise has always been a fantastic actor.

In Rainman he plays Charlie Babbit, a car dealer who is in a bit of trouble and requires a substantial sum of money to clear his dues. Somewhere at the same time, he gets to know that his estranged father, with whom he never ever got along, has died. Expecting to gain something from this father's will,
he is surprised to learn that he has just left him an old car and donated his entire wealth($3 Million) to the mental institution where his autistic brother(Raymond/Dustin Hoffman) lives. Charlie kidnaps his brother and take him along with himself to meet his lawyers. Since Raymond is afraid of flying, they go by road from Cincinnati to Los Angeles. What happens eventually forms the crux of the movie. Although Dustin Hoffman is perfect(He won an Oscar for this one) as the autistic Raymond, it is Tom Cruise who shines as the icy cold Charlie Babbitt. His journey from being frustrated and irritated at Raymond's actions to a caring and protective brother is touching. The plot is simple and the storytelling is brilliant.

Highly Recommended!!!

Saturday, February 7

Dev D - First Reviews

Anurag Kashyap gets an average of 2.9 i.e. 3 stars.

Rediff - Raja Sen Review - 3.5 stars
Rajeev Masand - CNN IBN Review - 2 stars
Taran Adarsh - IndiaFM Review - 1 star
Anupama Chopra's Review - 3 stars
Nikhat Kazmi - TOI Review - 5 stars(huh??!!!)

Disclaimer : These are the reviews which I follow. The rest do not matter. Taran Adarsh's review is just for cosmetic purposes.

Thursday, February 5

My Review - Sex and the City

Caught Sex and the City(SATC) on DVD. The TV series ended on a very happy note with Carrie back with Big, Miranda settled with Steve, Samantha confessing(shockingly) to Smith and Charlotte getting a baby through adoption. My only intention was to see where would Michael Patrick King take the story next. Unfortunately, King fumbles and so do the girls(you can't really blame them, they are just following the script). Although die hard fans of SATC would love to see the girls doing their usual routine in New York, the plot is twisted and turned in the worst possible way to make it look like another chapter in their lives.

Dissapointing. Some things should just be left untouched.

Tuesday, February 3

My Review - Luck by Chance

After the dissapointments which came last year in the form of a Hancock or a Hulk, a Ghajini or a Rab ne(and please don't even get me started on the Tashans, Singh is Kings and suchlike), I was really looking forward to watching Luck By Chance(LBC).

In his review Rajeev Masand spoke about the opening credits sequence and indeed it is mindblowing especially the shot where Zoya's name comes. LBC is a part-serious part-hilarious look at the hindi fIlm industry. A place which is full of punjabi producers, kanpuria strugglers, overprotective divas, dumb stardaughters, selfish friends and manipulating magazine editors. Zoya Akhtar, having seen most of the behind-the-scenes action herself, narrates the story of Vikram Jai Singh(Farhan) and Sona Mishra(Konkona) beautifully. So you have Zafar Khan(Hrithik), reigning superstar walking out of a producer's film to play second lead in a Karan Johar movie, the flop actor(Sanjay Kapoor) of a big producer turning director, a yesteryear's actress(Dimple) scripting every move of her daughter(Isha Sharwani) to make her entry into Bollywood easier and the saddest but the funniest of the lot, producer Romi Rolly(Rishi Kapoor) who is trying to manage everybody.

There are cameos by almost half the fillum industry(Aamir, SRK, Abhishek, Vivek, Ranbir, Dia, Akshaye Khanna, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Manish Malhotra) including a brilliant two scene cameo of Anurag Kashyap as a (DVD copycat) writer. The pace is somewhat slow but the gags and punches keep you in the loop. The entire cast plays their part to a T but the highlight is Rishi Kapoor as producer Romi Rolly. He is funny, cunning and emotional at the same time. The only weak link I found in the film is Farhan(who is unconvincing in some scenes) and the music.

Luck by Chance is an exciting debut by Zoya Akhtar. Not to be missed.

Also Read

Friday, January 30

Best of the the 80s

On Rediff. I keep saying every now and then that the 80s were probably the worst time in Indian cinema. And when I look at this list which has Mirch Masala, Chashme Baddoor, Jaane Bhi Do yaaron etc on it, I feel like an ass.

Must see!

Wednesday, January 28

Isn't this

interfering in other countries' internal affairs? Especially when we as a country have always opposed Pakistan's interference.

Also read : Jug Suraiya on internationalizing Kashmir

Monday, January 19

Chandi Chowk to China - A lesson

For everybody concerned. I don't agree with the premise that content is the king in Bollywood. Om Shanti Om was unbearable in the second half. So were Welcome and Singh is King. And the less said about Ghajini, the better. In the business of movies, exclusivity is the key. A fact which was recognized by some superstars quite early. Aamir, SRK and Hrithik have restricted themselves to one film a year, which ensures if nothing else their movies get a great opening and hence break even. And more or less, their roles are different in every film even if they are low on content.

Aamir leads the way in this strategy. A look at his last five films(The Rising, Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, TZP, Ghajini) gives you an idea of the way he has built his brand. Even though The Rising was not a super duper hit, it got a great initial which made it to break even(an added fact was that it was Aamir's first release in five years). Every movie since Aamir has been getting a new hairstyle and the media has been lapping it up. He has been living his characters through the media. The media's limited access to him has only added to the exclusivity factor.
And the results are there for everyone to see.

Not many Bollywood commentors look at this fact but even SRK has been working on not more than two films per year. Since Paheli, he has not failed.

Akshay unfortunately has not learnt his lessons. His movies are neither high on content(Unlike Aamir's) and neither is he a great talker(Unlike SRK who visits every TV show and every reporter's house to promote his film). It worked for some time(Namaste London, Welcome, Singh is King) but now Brand Akshay Kumar is showing signs of cracking. Since any industry should not have a monopoly, a strong Brand Akshay Kumar is required to keep the Khans and Roshans in check. But the key question is can he salvage it?

Friday, January 16

Chandni Chowk to China - First Reviews

Initial reviews are not so flattering. Has this become the rule - big superstar, big film equals brain dead/mindless?

Saturday, January 10

My Review - Ghajini

You could say I spolied the fun myself by watching Memento a week before Ghajini released. But however intelligent Memento might have been, the association of a certain Mr Aamir Khan in this film always made me believe that if not anything Ghajini would have a plot aka storyline. Ghajini is a waste. Of time. Of energy. Of all those things which a cinegoer invests while watching a movie. And here is why
  1. Asin is overweight and irritating.
  2. The whole lovestory subplot(including the Sanjay Singhania bit) is impractical and stretches too far even by Bollywood standards.
  3. Aamir looks great with all that body shoddy and the hairstyle but why he gets into those Sunny Deol style screaming and shouting is something I did not get.
  4. I was hoping Murgadoss will concentrate and build upon the initial story as to when he starts tattoing on his body but no, the movie starts of with a ridiculous killing-with-a-tap scene; the buildup of whom is not clearly shown.
  5. Inspector Arjun Yadav - Who? Why? From where?
  6. The entire film has a distinct South Indian feel which ain't bad but it ain't no good either.
  7. The best part about Ghajini is Ghajini himself i.e Pradeep Rawat aka the guy who played the sardar in Lagaan. His haryanvi accent gave me some pleasure in three and a half hours of pure agony.

My nomination for the Worst Film of the year 2008.

P.S. : After watching the end credits roll, I sent a message to my dear friend - 'Is Rab Ne even worse'? Got the reply - 'Yep'.

Friday, January 9

Saturday, January 3

The Bollywood Roundup : Top films of 2008

The year 2008 has been bad, not only with the terror attacks all over India, the stock market meltdown and the slowdown but also terrorism spread from the likes of Mimoh, Tushar Kapoor and Harman Baweja. In a year when the biggies came out with Jodha-Akbar, Tashan, Race, Rab Ne Bana di jodi and Ghajini, you had chotu filmmakers coming out with Aamir, Mithya, Dasvidaniya, Dil Kabaddi etc. So amidst the gloom and the doom I present my best films list of the year.

Number 5 - Mithya
That Ranvir Shourie is talented actor is very well known, what was not known to us that a combination of Shourie+Vinay Pathak+Rajat Kapoor's wacky direction would be a dark comedy with a bundle of surprises. Watching Mithya I was reminded of a line from the Tom Hanks' starrer Forrest Gump - Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. The movie starts of on a wild note...goes slow in the second half and the ending well.. breaks your heart. Ranvir Shourie is brilliant and so is pal Vinay Pathak.
Rajeev Masand Review of Mithya.

Number 4 - Race
Having a plot which is as straight as a jalebi, Race is one of those typical 90's films of Abbas Mastan. The only difference being that you have more cleavage, mindblowing 'copied' music(as a certain Mr Pritam is the music director), countless twists and turns and jokes so silly that they make you laugh. Sample this line from Anil Kapoor - Ganna chusenge bolne main accha nahi lagta isliye bol raha hun ganna khayenge.

Movies are for entertainment and if you agree with that, Race is a total paisa vasool.

Number 3 - Aamir
Inspired from
the filipino film Cavite and brilliantly executed by debutant director Rajkumar Gupta, Aamir is an answer not only to the radical islamists in India but also to the current UPA govt, which undertook the Sachar comittee report. On being taunted that he was one of the lucky few, Aamir replies - "I was not lucky. I studied in govt schools and colleges, worked hard, got a scholarship and made my destiny on my own".

Number 2 - Jaane Tu..ya Jaane na
Movie Talkies called it "One of the coolest, warmest, hippest and funniest musical romantic comedy in years has arrived, and a new Khan is born." I would add 'funniest' and the remove the latter line. Jaane Tu is also an example of how great writing and great dialogues can make a simple film work. The gags in Jaane Tu are the funniest I have seen in any Bollywood film since Khosla ka Ghosla.

And the Desiblab Film of the year is...

Number 1 - A Wednesday
have reviewed the film previously. And there is nothing more to say that in a year when the aam aadmi was the mainstay of Bollywood, media and Madam Sonia, 'A Wednesday' is the perfect candidate for the film of the year.

Also ran - Jodha Akbar, Dostana, Ghajini, Dasvidaniya, Golmaal Returns, Fashion and Rock On!