Movie Marathon

21 07 2008

Nothing like a playing a lazy couch potato at home if you got the right company. Instead of wondering what I couldn’t do, I tried my hand at running a Movie Marathon to beat a little sickness. And my picks for the weekend movie show in the order of my preference are

The Princess Bride – Now this movie is a classic fairy tale cut straight out of Grandpa’s bedtime stories. What a beautiful blend of romance, fantasy, comedy and adventure! I guess what appealed to me was the sheer unrealistic setup that made my imagination limitless in expanse. The Cinderella story is complete with a beautiful princess named Buttercup falls in love with a poor stable boy Wesley, and when he’s captured by pirates, she’s chosen by evil Prince Humperdinck to be his princess bride. Sword fights, Lagoons with eels, Fire Swamps, revenge, miracles, giants and true love. I am glad I discovered this movie, for it enlivened my childhood for me, for a moment.

Finding Nemo – I am glad I watched this movie. Of all the animation movies that I have watched, I loved this one the best. This movie is a celebration of human spirit, faith and above all, love. One of those rare movies that tug your heart and make you think at the same moment. A single parent Marlin is overprotective of his son Nemo, and yet he haplessly watches as his son gets scooped away by a oceanic driver all the way to Sydney. Talks about life in troubled waters. Now Marlin, teamed with a forgetful Dory hazards Sharks, Jelly Fish and Angler Fishes to reach the Sydney harbor. In search of Nemo, his father Marlin discovers life and its meaning. In search of his Son, he realizes the true essence of love. By learning to let go, he discovers that the essence of true love is enveloping freedom. I just loved this movie.

Minority Report – The sheer reason I picked this movie is to watch how the hero interacts with huge chucks of data on a glass interface. A little work induced temptation. Yet, this movie is filled with intrigue, action, crime, Sci-Fi, mystery and makes one wonder about the possibilities of future. How interesting. Its the year 2054 in the movie Minority report, offers us a possibility of eliminating crime banking on magnifying visions, where as the recently released Bollywood hungama fisaco Love Story 2050 presents us with the possibilities of flying cars and talking teddybears! My concerns? None, I gave up on cribbing!

A Walk in the Clouds – After ‘The Princess Bride’, my heart longed for good old sweet movies of the M&B kinds and my friend recommended this one to me. the name reminded me of a totally illusionary romance, and what I got as a delightful surprise was a sweet love story. Another of those fairytale romances where a Paul befriends a Mexican lady and ends up playing the role of her husband for a day trying to be a good Samaritan. Mexican fields, Grape wines, serenades, romance and affection of the family slowly work out the magic as this movie proceeds to take you through a walk in the clouds.

The Illusionist: Intrigue, Mystery, and Thriller. An charming pursuit of a love by a magician in the most engaging fashion. The storytelling is exemplary and the movie is engaging from the start to finish. Love, Magic, Illusion, Treachery, all this and more leaves one with a pleasant surprise.

Spiderwick Chronicles: Another of those childhood fantasy fiction novels. Yet, it evokes those delightful memories of childhood exuberance, innocence and curiosity. Jared, Simon and Mallory find themselves in a different world when they shift to the rundown Spiderwick Estate. Jared finds a book that introduces him to the mystery world of magical creatures, which is filled with beautiful spirits, and terrorizing goblins. The way the trio navigates through the wonderland and rescues their family through the dangers of the dark creatures is charming to watch. Now, who said I can’t giggle like a child again and believe in the limitless possibility of imagined universe.

Just Like Heaven: Elizabeth Masterson, a workaholic doctor in San Francisco, gets into a tragic car crash and gets in a coma. Meanwhile,David Abbott sublets Elizabeth’s apartment for rent. Elizabeth’s spirit haunts the apartment and gets into an endless argument with David, as he alone can see her. Love happens whilst Elisabeth’s spirit tries to remember her identity and background. The sheer riduculousness of the story is compensated by the dialogues and the characterization. And I loved the roof top garden as well! 🙂

Million Dollar Baby: “There is magic in fighting battles beyond endurance.” And this movie captures it quite elegantly. Somehow, I always have longed for happy endings and fairy dreamy world settings and this movie packs a realistic punch. The champions should always be celebrated and there should always be love and joy in the end. May be that’s the reason why I couldn’t accept the ending of the movie that justified the choice of death by the fighter. Yet, sometimes it gets too tiring to fight for life. Sometimes all we long for is endless relief and limitless rest from the struggle. May be there lies a win in knowing when to give up. I grudgingly admit that despite the ending, I loved this movie for its sensitive portrayal of persistence and relationships.

What this tells me? One no brainer for me to ponder is that I really need new ways to amuse myself, and this is one of the palest that I could come up with. I sure enjoyed that little touch of variety to my couch potato weekend,and yet I guess I would be stiff bored to repeat this little experiment once again. 🙂


13 07 2008

Somehow I just loved this movie!

Its been indeed long time since I watched a Telugu Movie devoid of hyped up movie cast full of gusting hotheaded action. And how I loved it! The current Tollywood Industry doles out umpteen releases every week almost with reverence to quantity over quality, out of which I spot rare gems like this once in six months or an year.

Now, playing the spoilsport, let me unveil the plot a little. Abhiram (played by Sharwanand), a spoiled rich brat who saw the world through the glass doors, discovers a real life out of the window panes when he embarks a bike journey to get back his lady love Janaki (played by Kamlinee Mukherjee, my favorite :-)). Janaki, an orphan and a idealist who believes in playing the good samaritan dumps Abhiram, when she realizes that he couldn’t support or share her idealism or values. Abhiram takes off on his bike in pursuit of Janaki, who went on a doctor’s camp to remote areas, and thus comes in close contact with humanity. In pursuit of his ladylove, he discovers himself. By standing for friends and by fighting for what he believes, Abhiram discovers the essence of life, as the self realization dawns on him over the end of the long winding journey.

Now, the story is not just about breaking and making it up by the lead couple. This movie is a celebration of life, realization, introspection and humanity. Words would sure flat to elaborate the performance of Allari Naresh as Gaali Sreenu. Gaali Sreenu, a petty thief, teams up with Abhiram in his pursuit of love and shows him the real world in the hinterlands. With a serious theme that explores the divide between the ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-nots’, this movie packs an ample punch of comic relief that cheers one up while engaging the audience in serious reflection. Abhiram discovers life, death, friendship, honor, values, humanity, and loss over the journey and finds himself as a socially responsible citizen when he meets his destination of love.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to catch a meaningful Telugu Movie that does a great job of being an entertainer. Kudos to the new director Rama Krishna for this marvelous movie.

P.S. I read that this movie is inspired by ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’. I haven’t watched the original, and hence am clueless on whether this movie is a copy or an inspiration of the original. Yet, its a great movie with some natural performances to save it for keeps.

Caught In the Swirl Of Stardust!

24 06 2008

I never thought I would actually dedicate a thought to this movie ‘Saawariya’, on which I am still undecided on my reaction. I don’t think I would ever be able to take a stand on whether I loved the movie or hated it. That’s because I shared both these feelings in equal measure. Saawariya is a beautiful vision without imagination, a splendid fare of visual poetry without gravity, a charming seductress without soul and is filled with delusional love that is evoked by the lackluster admixture of scintillating idealistic dreamworld with the brazen harshness of reality. Yet, what remains with me at the end of the movie are those poignant and oddly affecting richly detailed visuals. Hence this post is filled with them.

When I look back, what often resonates with real life for me is the storyline though. Set in a dreamland (does any of those settings look anywhere near reality? ), the movie paints in richer intricacy, the pining of Sakina for the mystery love of her life Imaan, ignoring the starry eyed devotion she receives from Raj aka Saawariya. Sakina is cloyingly sweet, achingly hollow and an innocent manipulator who plays with the tender feelings of the eternally optimistic Raj while allowing him to cling to the delusion of her love. I couldn’t credit her with one identity for she plays the hopeless romantic perfectly pining for her illusionary love at first sight, whilst transforming herself as a coy temptress in the presence of Raj bewitching him with her innocent yearning for the love unattained.

Fused identities, conflicting ideologies, stark contrasts between the imagined universe and the dark reality, and the never ending fight between idealistic yearning and realistic possibilities: these are the Saawariya movie’s recurrent themes. Yet, though this movie feels like a piece out of a dream sequence, some of those characters feel so darkly real. Engulfed in perplexity, I notice so many Sakinas’ in reality much to my discomfort. People bartering dreams for materialistic pleasures are one extreme, whilst those trading realistic positive encounters of finding selfless love for the lure of illusionary and obsessive yearnings is another extreme.

Sometimes when I chat with my peers, I can often imagine them trapped in their own multi dimentional wonderland awaiting for their Perfect Soulmates. Princesses and Damsels in distress living in fairytale world, yearning for their Prince Charming to ride to their rescue and sweep them off their feet, often failing to acknowledge that life is happening around them. Sometimes its so difficult to identify which group they belong to: people who are in love or people who are in love with the idea of being in love. Sometimes the bubble of illusion, that they comfortably ensconce themselves in, wouldn’t equip them for the real life experiences.

Whenever we swap ideas on the things that are meaningful to us in life, we realize that we are goaded either by instinct or intellect. Life is all about tough choices and we all choose based on our own value systems. I just hope that the fairy tale romantic notions doesn’t spoil people at their chances of serendipity. The lure of nihilism is a dark temptation that envelops us if we dwell in dreams and forget to live. The wait may be on, yet, lets not forget that no one is perfect: me, you, and all those prince charmings and the knights in shimmering armour are armed with our own limitations and idiosyncrasies. We might as well be better of rescuing ourselves from those clout of dreams and the deep schism that the intersection of these virtual and real worlds present.

I can only seal this piece of muse by quoting from my favorite song from Pardon Dolly:

““Watching the girl I’m reminded
she’s quite a lot like me
Trapped in the suburbs of wonderland,
lost in her own fantasy
Somehow my heart never grew up,
no one ever burst my balloon
So here I am swirling in star dust
slow dancing with the moon”

An Aura Of Power..

21 06 2008

Sarkar And Sarkar Raj..

Recently I watched Sarkar Raj. This power packed sequel did compel me to watch the original Sarkar which has been in my to do list for long. I must say that SARKAR is an experience. Watching this movie did give me an insight into why Sushmita Dasgupta dedicated her book ‘Making of A Superstar’ to Ram Gopal Varma for making Sarkar. Ram Gopal Varma excels himself in carefully demystifying the aura of power that Amitabh Bachan’s image encompasses and utilizing it to the best of his advantage in crafting the role of Sarkar, a man who is a law onto himself and a parallel government in safeguarding common people’s interest. This movie is also a beautiful example of the brand Amitabh Bachchan that is carefully groomed over ages in Bollywood as the lonely angry young man to a power that grows beyond the system boundaries. This post is no review, for I suggest you all to check these movies with a huge bag of popcorn, for you feel little need for break while checking these power packed action dramas where people are clamoring for the ultimate supremacy.

Somehow, I felt a swell of pride in watching this Indian saga of power that stand as a stellar tribute to the legendary ‘God Father’. The weight and depth of the film lies in that closeup shots that capture the intensity of the actors, the soundtrack that blends well into the cultural fabric of the movie, and the complex plots that dexterously mix intrigue, loyalty, love, responsibility, honor and betrayal in exquisite detail. The power belongs to Bachchans indeed, yet the credit goes to Ram Gopal Varma. These movies are an experience in themselves. And I celebrated and cherished my moments with them. 🙂

The Making Of A Superstar..

28 05 2008

I can almost feel a few raised eyebrows now! I came across this book in the most unlikely fashion, during a short trip to Blossoms over weekend with a pal. He is the one who introduced me to ‘Almost Single’ and now to ‘The Making Of A Superstar’ by Susmita Dasgupta. I was expecting a prosaic tome filled with anecdotes and Bollywood gossip which I could skim through, and what I got was a well researched book on the evolution of Amitabh Bachchan‘s public persona with a keen insight into the Hindi Cinema.

Susmita presents a careful analysis of Amitabh’s roles in some of his epochal movies and tries to track the sociology of Hindi Cinema from the perspective of Indian Audience by tracing the evolution of Amitabh’s image from the angry young man of “Zanjeer”, the tragic antihero of “Deewar” and the entertainer of “Amar Akbar Anthony” to his more conservative turns in “Mohabbatein” and “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham”. She traces the evolution of Indian Heroes from the times when they martyred for social causes to the modern era when they became more focussed on personal pursuits.

I believe that the movies that are produced in any age are a mirror of the community thought process and the set of values they endorse. Popular film stars often represent the aspirations and dreams of the masses. Why do we watch some movies just because of star cast? It is because Stars have an image that extends across all the movies or ads that he is cast in. I remember those days of anxiety for Cadbury and Pepsi. when they went through quality issues, and Amitabh’s voice of authority restored them from their fallen grace.

Why is that some impressions last forever in the mind space? Why is that some movies go to attain ‘The Larger Than Life’ status? Why do we idolize some actors and share their emotions and trails? Not all feelings can be explained, neither can everyone explain the social significance of a movie. Amitabh’s cinematography is indeed engaging. What comes to your mind when you think of Amitabh today? A fighter against of all odds, a conventionalist or the angry young man of yesteryears. I think he is an exemplary example of a personal brand and the way he reinvented himself to a national icon over the passage of time is simply amazing.

I was amused by Laawaris (remember Mere Angane Mein?), shed tears over Sholey, enraged at Amitabh role in BOOM, chuckled at ‘Cheeni Kam’ and clapped instinctively for the divine justice that happens in the climax of ‘Aakhree Rasta’ (I was probably 12 then). Amitabh could don the role of a conservative disciplinarian, or play the dignified patriarch, or be the martyr for the underclasses, he remains close to my heart, and that must have been the secret motivation behind my reading this well presented academic research on sociology of Indian Cinema that traces the journey of Amitabh’s golden era with gusto.

Tashan, True to title..

2 05 2008

Al Style No Substance!

About ‘Tashan”, the less said the better. Ahem..For a person who never walked out of theatre in middle of movie, ‘Tashan’ offers serious temptation! Incomprehensible and supposedly phunny dialogues that are concocted by marring the beauty of English language, a terrible story line that makes Kareena gyrate between slut and savitri, Akshay Kumar handling scores of Don’s men ala Catwoman style, Saif’s character that’s added like an after thought in the second half: all this and more make you regret your choice of going through this movie. I couldn’t understand why Akshay kept on taking Saif along with Kareena when his presence was no longer needed. But anyways, one can survive this movie, only if they park their logic at the entrance while watching this movie.

My heart really blessed those courageous souls who left the movie after those supposedly eye candy scenes of Kareena and those couple of songs, “Chaliya” and “Dil Haara”. For those whose reason to watch the movie is “to check out the chemistry between Kareena and Saif”, its Akshay who gets the girl.

Don’t fall prey to weekend “I Am Bored” attacks and squander your time on this throughly useless and utterly forgettable flick. Its like having a salted mint, chocolate and strawberry combo ice cream together. Excuse my comparison, but after surviving the movie, my creativity quotient has hit abysmal levels!

Krazzy 4 Movie Review..

20 04 2008

A really crazy entertainer. I had such fun watching this situational comedy that paints this mad mad world in such a crazy splendor, that I couldn’t resist writing about it. Sans a glittery cast, this movie does manage to bring a smiling curve on your face.
Krazzy 4
The Krazzy 4 are the four patients of a mental hospital, who unite in their cause to find Dr. Sonali (Juhi Chawla) who is kidnapped by her husband for his selfish pursuit of power and glory. Arshad Warsi as Raja plays the angry young man to perfection. Rajpal Yadav as Gangadhar is amusing in his fight for Swaraj, Suresh Menon as Dabbo is cute and induces your protective instinct without any dialogues and Irfann Khan as Dr.Mukherjee is endearing in his maddening insistance for cleanliness. While these krazzy 4 are busy discovering their place in this maddening world, we are assured of a rollicking fun ride of life. Do watch it for some frothy entertainment and some foot tapping music. It made my sunday evening! 🙂