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!