The Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de motocicleta)

US Presidential hopefuls take RVs, Che went on a motorcycle. The point is you need to go on a road trip to become a successful leader of the people

Ee Adutha Kalathu (Recently)

Strange and familiar make an appearance together for the first time in Malayalam cinema and the pair is a hit

Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl

Four feisty ladies, upbeat music and a handsome conman. Anushka gets Ranveer. Bollywood gets Parineeti

Das Boot (The Boat)

Best WWII film ever, in fact the best war film ever. In true German fashion, restraint is applied by shooting the entire movie inside a U-boat

Neelathamara (Blue Lotus)

Blue lotus shares the same stature of blue moon in Malayalam, so do good remakes. This one bucks the trend.

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Apr 27, 2011

Saat Khoon Maaf

Priyanka Chopra must have a very good manager or the girl has got brains. Her last few outings as a leading heroine could be considered as paranormal phenomena in a male-centric Bollywood. I go by the Merriam Webster definition of ‘paranormal’ – something that’s not scientifically explainable. Or how else could you explain Fashion, What’s your Rashee or this one I am attempting to review – 7 Khoon Maaf.

Fashion won her the national award for best actress, maybe she didn’t have to do much acting in that role being a fashion model herself, it was a strong performance nevertheless. Then comes What’s your Rashee and 7 Khoon Maaf – two movies in which the strong female character had to carry the bulk of the film and to my surprise Priyanka shouldered the burden competently.

I am not a big fan of Miss India being a platform for launching future Bollywood leading ladies, much like using the Kalathilakam award as a short-cut to becoming a Malayalam movie heroine. Whether I like it or not, both these have served as vehicles of entry to filmdom for many of our heroines.

When Priyanka Chopra launched her Bollywood career courtesy of  her Miss India title, there were several others attempting the same route – Yukta Mookhey, Lara Dutta and Celina Jeitley to name a few. I had thought Priyanka was not the typical Bollywood beauty and therefore will be ousted in no time. But time and Priyanka’s career management has proven me wrong and here we are at 7 Khoon Maaf.Adapted from a Ruskin Bond story. Susanna’s Seven Husbands and directed by Vishal Bharadwaj, 7 Khoon Maaf produces a slew of adjectives in my mind – in no particular order they are - odd, sensual, imaginative, remarkable, different, dark, comical and interesting.

With Vishal Bharadwaj you can always expect a movie a little off the beaten path, usually adapted from a literary work. It is nice to see Ruskin Bond’s work in Bollywood. But the one who really hit the jackpot is definitely the lady who has occupied most real estate in this review – Ms.Chopra. She gets to act with six different leading men – ranging from Neil Nitin Mukesh to Naseeruddin Shah.

Much of the charm of the movie is its story, the anticipation of who and what will the background of Susanna’s next husband and the next husband and the next.Like other Vishal Bharadwaj films, it is not what the mainstream Hindi audience expects and therefore I believe there will be more who won’t like this movie and than those who will. It didn’t do well at the box-office, had Mr.Bharadwaj been more money-conscious he’d have cast ShahRukh Khan as one of the seven, but then again would he agree to be 1 in 7 when he is really number 1 and only?

Apr 18, 2011

Four Friends

Four Friends is Aashayein, Malayalam style. Both are based on the same theme - friendships at the end of life. It is even more unbearable than its Hindi cousin.Jayaram, Kunchako Boban, Jayasurya and Meera Jasmin play the title characters. The film exploits every cliche associated with a terrible disease which does the villain's role, thus saving production cost and saving us viewers from fake stunts and related audio visual effects. It reaches a point when we'd realize that a real human villain would have been more bearable. Lots of sacrifices and money flow through the story line, which finally comes to a screeching halt a top a bridge in Malaysia (brought to you by budget airlines and cheap international air fares.) This movie forgot to include this statutory warning, "Friends don't let friends watch Four Friends, if they really care about their friends."

Apr 12, 2011

Let Me In

I am no sucker for vampires (pun intended.) Nor do I understand the identity crisis that afflicts New World people which is cured by them joining clubs like Trekkies, Pagans, Goths or the Twilight Series fan club. If I knew "Let Me In" was a story about a blood-sucking being I'd have stayed clear of it and I'd have missed something truly excellent.

From the director of Cloverfield, Matt Reeves, comes Let Me In, a Swedish vampire story/movie adapted for an American visual palette. It is supposedly a scene by scene remake of the Swedish movie, 'Let the Right One In', which kind of lives up to its original in most aspects, as per the reviews I've read.

It gives an interesting new perspective at vampires, young, refreshing and smaller than the classic Count Dracula original.If it was not so gory it could have been a kids' movie since both protagonists are tweens. An interesting movie, definitely worth a watch after midnight (timing is to set the mood.)

Apr 11, 2011

Udaan

Udaan must be Vikrmaditya Motwane’s brilliant debut as a director, Rajat Barmecha’s dream comes true as leading actor in a Hindi movie propelled by a strong script by Anurag Kashyap, but to me the revelation of the movie was Ronit Roy!

The last time I saw him was when I was a teenager and he was prancing around singing “First time dekha tumhe hum kho gaya second time mein love ho gaya, ye akkha india jaanta hai hum tum pe marta hai , dil kya cheez hai jaanam apni  jaan tere naam karta hai” –in Jaan Tere Naam. It was a peppy song, but very dated, the one that’ll definitely find a place in the ‘I am ashamed to admit I used to like this song’ list. Ronit Roy was a one movie wonder. In the almost two decades in between Jaan Tere Naam and Udaan Google has informed me that Mr.Roy had gone from being a jobless one hit wonder to small screen’s Amitabh Bachchan and an owner of an renowned private security firm. Lack of Indian TV signals in my part of the globe kept me blissfully unaware of all that, till Udaan.

Udaan is a neatly made coming of age movie from an industry that doesn’t make many coming of age movies. I wonder whether there are any autobiographical aspects to it. Gorakhpur, UP where Anurag Kashyap grew up and Jamshedpur, Jharkhand where Udaan is set, can claim geographic proximity in the greater order of things. Besides, like Rajat Barmecha’s character in the movie, Mr.Kashyap is also a product of boarding schools. Rajat Barmecha, got a role of a lifetime as a small town kid, Rohan, trying to find his own identity from under the shadow of his despotic father, Bhairav Singh(Ronit Roy.) 

There a few other small but significant characters played by Ram Kapoor, Anand Tiwari and Manjot Singh. A natural narrative, characters that audience can relate to and a great script contribute to the quality of the film. It does remind me of 80s art-house movies.

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