Category Archives: Movies

Spare us Mishra!

A group of people got together last week for a meeting somewhere in Delhi (I think) and at the end of it Sudhir Mishra proclaimed something to this effect…

Shahrukh in Swades was not a bad performance. There were other performances also which were good. But here is an actor (Saif Ali Khan) who is approaching a role in a different way.

Anyone with a conscience in that room would have wept blood. Well, if not at that statement, then at least during the next announcement.

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Overheard

Couple of pretty 18-somethings discussing ‘Batman Begins’ while exiting the cinema hall.

“In the other movies, he was dressed in the leather suit right from the beginning.”

“What other movies?”

“The other Batman movies.”

“Oh…Oh yeah, you’re right. Not this one.”

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Cut & Paste Inc.

Censor Board of India

The cut list (‘endorsement’) is expected to be displayed at a conspicuous place in the cinema halls. Non display of the cut list or copy of the Certificate is an offence. Even if the cut list is not displayed at the cinema hall, you can download the cut list from this website by clicking the button ‘search for a film’ on the Home page.

Thus Spake Our Celluloid Guardians.

And how they guard us…

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Villain Overdose

Thirupaachi

It’s vaguely amusing that Kollywood directors are trying hard to make Madras seem more like a Goonda Utopia. Almost like they wished we had our own Dawoods & Rajans to make ‘Company‘s about. But no, we don’t. So they overwork their imagination and create terrible villains. Total Narakasurs. But with fancier names like…’Sanniyan’ Sagade, ‘PanParag’ Ravi and ‘Pattaasu’ Balu (Indha Balu paesa maattaan, pattaasu thaan paesum). But, three villains? Like, are they, like, three brothers or something…like? Nah. Just three stand-alone goondas territorially terrorising Madras. Sagade takes care of S.Madras, PP Ravi gets North & Cracker Balls (P.Balu’s ghetto name) reigns supreme in Central. Nice. All the more henchmen for Vijay to bash up while grinding out fiery dialogues, his spittle making gentle arcs across the screen.

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On ‘Kana Kandein’

Kana Kandein

I’m usually too lazy to write movie reviews, and unless I need to vent, I try to stay away from it. So, yeah, this is not intended to read like a review. What persuaded me to make the post though was the portrayal of the villain by Mallu-boy Prithviraj. A lot was written about his performance in the movie, and he pretty much lived upto the hype I thought. The best scene in the movie, for me, was the one where he reveals his intentions to the lead couple. I cannot recall a subtler transition, in recent times, from good to evil in a span of under 10 seconds. No evil laugh. No menacing dialogues. No measured walk to the window to light a cigar(ette), and blow ominous smoke rings towards the ceiling, as he smirked and made a deliberate half-turn to disclose his plans. Instead, in the middle of a normal conversation, he flashes his usual disarming smile and bam! it’s all out there in the open. Of course, the audience is made privy to the fact that he is a crook from the preceding scene (could’ve been avoided, maybe?), but it still doesn’t do too much damage to the afore-mentioned scene. The movie in itself was not a bad effort overall. A different kind of plot brought together by an interesting screenplay. But yeah, Mallu-boy stole the show from Srikanth. No doubt about that!

PS: Moolai Thirugum is a beautiful composition – maybe Vidyasagar’s best effort in a long time.

Wah Ghai Wah!

Screw Richard Corliss, here comes the definitive Top 10 list of Indian movies. From India’s showman-entertainer-extraordinaire-moghul-saamrat, Subhash Ghai. Richard was a Dick for picking out just three Indian movies, and two of them in languages other than Hindi. Travesty! Ghai on the other hand does the right thing and picks Ten Hindi movies to figure in his Top Ten Indian movies list. Exactly the kind of narrowing it down approach that was sorely missing from the TIME list. And while Ghai could’ve easily put in atleast 8 of his movies in the list, and I mean very easily, he sets aside any kind of megalomania to only include his best of the best – Taal (Raga of Love, 3 hours of it). Aw! shucks…why did he have to do this now? Now I HAVE to get off work early today to watch Taal for the 63rd time. Curled up on the couch, sipping from my cup of Tazo Chai. Bliss!

Update: Vipul Shah, director of Aankhen & Waqt, comes up with his list of Top 10 Indian movies. I could’ve made a separate post for his choices too…if I knew who he was. To his credit, neither of his movies are featured on the list and he thought of Pather Panchali as an Indian movie.

Salim & Sons’ Mobile Theater

Salim and Sons

Some online articles and blog posts from over the last couple of years talk about self-made “film distributor” Mohamad Salim and his 107-yr old projector that serve as a mobile movie hall for the kids of the Calcutta slums.
And then, there are these latest photos from the Yahoo Reuters photo stream, that show (in all probability) his kid, Mohamed Ashraf, hauling around the same projector. No mention of Mohamad Salim though. But I guess he was just taking the day off to dig up fresh movie reels for his next on-street production.

Maybe it’s the long lasting effects of a Cinema Paradiso hangover, but it brought out the sap in me, and made me want to post about this.

Hand Painted Horrors

Kamal as Dracula

For anyone who finds the genre of Indian horror as fascinating as it is bizarre, HotSpot Online is a good place to start. And their ‘Eye Candy‘ section is possibly the best repository of Indian Horror movie posters that I’ve come across online.

There were some easily identifiable faces on the hand-drawn posters, like this one for Red Rose – the hindi version of Sigappu Rojakkal, directed by Bharathi Raja. Rajesh Khanna with his Gurkha looks was easy enough to identify, but the sexy girl in blue happens to be Poonam Dhillon. But posters like this one of ghost-hunting(?) superhero, Shiva-man, complete with mask, cape and the Trishul insignia, took some googling to find out.

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Voting Excess

While the Indian Blogosphere is lauding the appearance of 3 Indian movies on the TIME Top 100 list, excited desi readers have been flocking to the website to cast their own votes. And as of now, all 3 movies are in the Top 10 user-rated list. Not surprising really, if you consider the voting power of the Indian junta on the Internet. Two BBC polls in the recent past come to mind when Amitabh Bachchan was voted most popular actor of all time (they got that right, I’m sure), and Ilaiyaraja’s Raakamma Kaiyya Thattu was in the lead for World’s Top Ten songs for quite sometime until the Irish decided to set things right. I’ll be really surprised if BBC decided to run another such poll, especially if it figured an Indian personality (All-Time Worst Serial Killer – Charles Sobhraj beats Jack the Ripper by a million votes).

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See Her Die!

You can bet this promise will rake in an extra million for the makers of House of Wax. Will be curious to know how many show up at the theaters wearing this. And also, if the last words uttered by Hilton in the movie as she gets buried in layers of boiling wax will be – That’s Hot!.
In any case, Aishwarya Rai is in good company. Bollywood Star…Socialite Pornstar.

(this post made after a Bloggers-Meme told me I don’t qualify as one without the mandatory Hilton snippet)

Some Movie round-ups

Chandramukhi:
The first 15 minutes of the movie is what I’d like to call, “The Invasion of the Goose-bumps”. Serious fans of the original probably had a gala time pointing out the 1073 flaws in this remake, but all I could think was, “Thank God this is not a Baba“. In stark contrast to the cinematic atrocity called ‘Black’ where a former superstar disgraced himself with delusions of acting grandeur, his counterpart down south proved why he’s still loved by many. Cos’ he has no pretensions whatsoever about his acting skills and still believes in doing what he is good at. Agreed, ‘Baba’ was a slip-up, a gross error in judgement, but it only took him a movie to rectify that. Chandramukhi is one of those Rajini movies where you know exactly what to expect and if you liked it in the past, you’ll end up liking it again. The only complaint I had was the lack of a proper villain for him to riff with & exchange some of them biting one-liners. But hey! he’ll be back from the mountains soon for the next one. And we’ll still be here waiting, won’t we?!

The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
From what I’ve read, there have been two sets of audience reaction for this movie. The Douglas Adams who? crowd that either hated the movie or were fascinated by this whacky new sci-fi world. OR. Fans of the book who either thought it didn’t do justice to the book….or people like me who thought this is probably the best (or nearly the best) any film-maker could do justice to the book. So yeah, I liked the movie. Will buy the DVD. And hope for a sequel.

Black-ed Ham with Corn & Cheese

Black poster

This is in no way, a review. Rather, consider it a warning.

I really wanted to write “Spoilers Ahead”, but trust me, 2 minutes into the movie and you can start typing the script alongwith the movie. In fact, you might even come up with a better version. Something with a premise other than “Blind Girl, Old man with Alzheimers, and don’t forget the ham”.

In possibly the worst performance in recent times by an actor in a serious role, Amitabh Bachchan hammed his way to almost giving me an aneurysm before the movie was even 15 mins old. And this, while I was still trying to figure out which century the movie was being set in, and/or if I had accidentally messed up the DVD Audio setup and changed it to English. Cos’ you see, Amitabh had been dealing out one cheesy English line after the other, Pacino style, while contorting his face like a constipated monkey. Apparently, his character was supposed to be “eccentric” and this was his way of portraying it.

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Slashdot’s Guide to the Hitchhiker Movie

Excerpt from the excerpt:

“MJ Simpson, who has ‘been studying and documenting the life and career of Douglas Adams for more than 20 years’, has written a very in-depth review and plot analysis of the Hitchhiker’s movie.

At the time of making this post, the detailed/short review pages are not available. But a comment posted for the Slashdot post reveals what the review might have had to say.

“Really bad”
“vastly, staggeringly, jaw-droppingly bad”
“bad on a big scale”
“bad on a small scale”
“staggeringly unfunny”
“unfunny, pointless crap”
“an abomination”
“amazingly, mindbogglingly awful”
“a terrible, terrible film”

Now, THAT is a letdown!

Pixar’s Incredible Insides

Moriarty from Ain’t it Cool News recounts his visit to Pixar alongwith a host of other journalists. Pretty damn cool actually. After watching the 60 Minutes segment on Google, I thought their working environment was to die for, but Pixar scales new heights in employee comfort. Of course, my drooling at these photos would probably make more sense to those, who like me, spend the better part of their day in a dull, grey cubicle.

A lot of the animators decided early on that they didn’t want cubicles, so instead, Pixar found these groovy little cottages that they bought for them. Walking through the animation department is like walking through a neighborhood for dwarves. Lots of little houses laid out along “streets,” each one with an address on the door.
The animators also have lounges set up so they can congregate and relax, including a jungle-themed lounge with piñatas hanging overhead.

More details & photos can be found here.

Tidbit: For anyone who owns a Region 1 DVD of Monsters Inc., one of the Easter Eggs takes you to a “paper airplane contest” that Pixar held for its employees in the huge lobby you see in the photos fron Ain’t It Cool News.