Jan 292017

This is India. A country with a special meaning to the word Family. We have many types of family setups in India. A nuclear family has its own set of living styles. It is small, it keeps to itself and handles its own problems. A large family meanwhile is totally different organization in chaos. It works on its own different set of rules and principles which are unlike a nuclear family. In a large family, all the members stay together with an important part to play in the smooth functioning of the family wheels. But what happens within a large family which has broken up to go nuclear, but is still bound together by a frail thread called relations? Ventilator, a Marathi movie depicts exactly that.

Though it’s a bit late for this, as I had seen it quite some time back, it’s never to late to log a review. Especially a movie with a region constrained viewership. And one never “wastes time” writing.

A renowned film maker, RK(played by Ashutosh Gowarikar) is called up from an important film screening to attend to his uncle who is hospitalized and attached to a ventilator, probably breathing his last. The hospital is filling up with the relatives, but many more are yet to come. The film depicts the various scenarios, intentions, agendas which pull the relatives to the deathbed of a relative who holds an important place in the family tree.The intentions could be to get the last glimpse of  the “alive him” or it could be a far more selfish motive of finalizing the property distribution. Whatever be the case, relatives start flocking the hospitals, and bring along their usual din. The lobby fills up with the relatives, grouped by intents, few chatting away discreetly while other announcing their presence to the world.

The immediate family members meanwhile are weighing their own decisions. The decision to pull the plug and let God take over or to keep the hope alive. They have to make it quick so as not to inconvenience other during the ongoing festival. But its a hard decision for the son to make, given the evidently strained relations between him and his father. The relatives add confusion to the matters. The doctor presents his practical point of view which doesn’t help much except that and ultimatum for the decision is set. He has support of the close relatives who have been in constant touch with him but the decision is his to take. His sister and his mother meanwhile cling to the thread of hope.

It all boils down to the final minutes of the movie, where the son is brought back to his senses through some poignant insight to his early life provided by his uncle. The decision is finally taken.

If you read again, the above, you will note that a renowned film maker is mentioned earlier, but with no worthwhile reference to him all along. That’s because he himself is not the center of the storyline though the story is loosely seen from his vantage point. It’s about the strained relations amongst family members. He himself has issues of his own and the events at the end of the movie help him solve those.

Priyanka Chopra in her in her production venture has managed to make a good one. Directed by Rajesh Mapuskar with another hit, Ferrari Ki Sawaari under his belt and association with other hit Bollywood movies like Munna Bhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munna Bhai and 3 Idiots, this film provides him with the crown he deserves.

This one deserves a 4.5/5.

Aug 252015

In my constant endeavour to watch good foreign language films, I have taken the support of subtitles to understand them, and I find myself comfortably placed to keep pace with the plot while carrying out the dual tasks of watching the movie and also reading the subs. The list of such movies may not be huge but I am very glad that I have not missed watching them. One such movie happens to be a Turkish one, and I wouldn’t shy away from it, especially since it had high ratings on IMDB. Mucize (am unable to home on to how its pronounced, though one website lists it as Mu-ji-za), meaning Miracle, is based in a rural Turkish backdrop with all their problems and pleasures, rolled and presented in to one.

The film starts with the transfer of a school teacher in to a remote village, a settlement rather, disconnected from the rest of the world save for the blue transport. A bus which stops two mountains away from the village since the government didn’t make any road further. The problems do not end when he reaches the village, baggage in his hands. The village has no school and all the efforts to wake up the administration to this fact are futile, largely due to the instability in the government. The children of the village are forever destined to illiteracy as the teacher thinks he is not up to the task. We live under the will of God for eight months(when it snows) and at the mercy of the government for rest of the four months. These words from the village elder, sums up the harsh reality of their community life.

But things change. And they change in a big way when the teacher and the villagers take up the task of building the school themselves. The education starts.

But there are other issues too.

The village chiefs son Camilo has fled to the mountains a decade back, from the fear of being caught for a murder he committed back then. His son and his wife wait for him endlessly. Is it time for him to finally come back and make peace with his destiny?

The youngsters in the community get married one by one, to a bride chosen by the elders. The bride selection ritual is quite interesting and funny at times(Apologies to anyone who takes offense here. I just meant that the scenes are funny and not the actual ritual). The groom humbly accepts the bride chosen for him. But how will such a pair fare?

The eldest eligible bachelor is handicapped and not fit for marriage as thought by his father. But destiny had another course written and the most beautiful girl is married off to the handicapped man, on account of a promise made by the girls father to the grooms father. Life gets difficult for Mizgin(the wife) and Aziz(the handicapped husband) as the community thinks that they are not a fit couple. Will this couple overcome the taunts and prove their love for each other or will they break apart. That’s what remains to be seen.

Finally, will the teacher fulfil his duty here, or will he fall short?

The location and the scenery in the film is breathe taking. Just like the dream getaway village. The dresses are colorful and the traditions rich. The film has a soothing effect on oneself.

Initially it seems that the movie is centred on the school teacher, Mahir. It doesn’t take much time to realise that the film is centred on the village and the villagers their culture and traditions, their humility,  their problems. The film is a kaleidoscope in to the life of the community and the individuals who make up the community.

My Rating : 4/5

Jan 092015

Reality is Ugly.

Anurag Kashyap’s endeavour to thrill and portray reality of life succeeds.

A kidnapped girl. Her father a struggling actor attempting to fulfill his weekly duty of entertaining his daughter. A mother unhappy with her second marriage. A stepfather/supercop whose constant desire to establish his superiority over others making the matters worse. The complicated history of these three characters. The fathers close friend who’s also his support during his hard times. The Mother’s smuggler brother’s desire for quick big money. The father’s new girlfriend. And the Police.

Everyone successful in botching up the girls rescue to the point of tragedy.

Life is not the beautiful “KK” soap they airs on television all along the day. Life is the misery faced by the characters in this movie. Misery, frustration, helplessness and wicked desires of proportions which compel everyone, including the father and the mother of the kidnapped girl, to try and gain out of the situation. There’s no one who really cares for the little girl. She’s on her own. Kidnapped. Left for dead.

This may be fiction. But it doesn’t get any real than this.

Anurag Kashyap gets full marks for this movie. So do the actors.

My Rating : 4/5

Aug 172014

A Lucky break from the un”entertainment” weekend.

Inspector Bajirao Singham, from Colva, returns as DCP Bajirao Singham of Mumbai Police. It was all about stopping the gundaraaj in Goa. In mumbai, its not all together a different scenario. Just some added complexity. Politics funded by black money belonging to self proclaimed saintly man, and the related criminal activities. All being taken care of by Singham and his team of vest clad policemen. And then there has to be the girlfriend(a new one this time) as usual to sing the songs and extend the movie to a standard 2 hours+.

Apart from lots of fireworks and lot more damaged cars(there’s something about Rohit Shetty and cars which is difficult to understand) there is also a new inclusion of “”Daya”. Yes the detective from the “famous” television serial CID. Along with all the police work in this movie, Daya also gets to break a door when Singham shouts out the now famous dialogue, “DAYA, DARWAZAA TOOD DO!!”. Most hilarious part of the film I would say.

Don’t lookout for any floor breaking music in this movie. Couple of unwanted romance songs and a Yo Yo Honey singh number at the end after the end of the movie.

I am not going to ruin the story for you since its not a suspense thriller. Its a simple entertainment movie and has to be viewed thus. This is not a must watch, but if you have finished your daily chores and have some time to spare before your evening walk in the garden and dinner thereafter, head over to the movies and let the action sink in. You may not be fully satisfied but you wont regret. Atleast while watching the movie, you will let Bajirao say the dialogue, “aata maazi satakli” instead of you saying it out in frustration.

My Rating to this film 3/5

(Its actually 2.5/5 but I give 0.5 extra to Rohit Shetty for not asking Bajirao to perform unimaginable, indigestible action sequences)

Nov 152012

I try to stay away from a movie as far as possible if it’s not a Hollywood movie. Not that I proclaim myself to be a person with good knowledge and understanding of movie making. Hollywood movies make up for their lack of storyline with their clean and colourful surrounding. Most important of all, I like the freedom they have to touch any subject with least,interventions from the, censor boards.
Bollywood movies rarely have sad endings which is not a real life scenario. In south movies there is less of a storyline and more of a Rajnikanth, Chirinjeevi,Mohanlal and the likes. Throw in a lot of foul language and your have a huge applauding crowd for north based movies. I’ve not seen any eastern based movies, except for the subject matter of this post.There have been exceptions in Bollywood in terms of the overall movie experience and I’ve rarely missed such movies.
Now to continue with the review. I would never have dared to watch any Bengali movie, had my colleague not told my the story in brief. Hemlock society was formed in the USA in the 90’s. Verbatim “its primary mission included providing information to dying persons and supporting legislation permitting physician assisted suicide”(source: wikipedia). The film revolves around a women with troubled past, recent breakup and a bleak future. She is stopped during her suicide attempt by person who explains her how her attempt would be unsuccessful and she would be left embarrassed, injured and may even face prison. He introduces himself to be a person from hemlock society, which could help her carry out her plan successfully. He enrolls her for a 3 day course which would teach her few sure methods of successful suicide.
As the story progresses, it becomes evident that the women is not ready to die and wants to stop the course. But the society wouldn’t let her go as a part of rules. What happens next cannot be revealed as it would ruin the plot for you.
Meanwhile the emotions in her family are pain to watch.
At certain points the acting by various actors in the movies seem lacking. But when the entire plot is revealed, everything fits perfectly. The cinematography is excellent with perfect closeups and mixing of sequences. No out of context dance numbers here. Just the plain soft songs with music pleasant to ears. Though I don’t understand Bengali, the subtitles were sufficiently clear.
Final say: a movie to watch.
Rating: 4/5

Jul 222012

Though very fond of hollywood movies, and the occassional Gangs of Wasseypur and such, I didn’t know until thursday that The Dark Knight was saving Gotham again. My ignorance or failure to read The Gotham Times. But I decided to watch it first day since I was very impressed by The Dark Knight, especially The Joker(Heath Ledger : may his soul rest in peace. Acadamy award for the best supporting actor?? Hell, he stole the show!!) Anyway, I didn’t have company for the first day show(no fun watching such movies alone) so I had to watch yesterday night 10:30.

If I was impressed by The Dark Knight, I still search for a better word then mind blowing for The Dark Knight Rises. For me The Dark Knight was mostly about the Joker than Batman. The Dark Knight Rises is about everyone. It Batman, Alfred, Blake(the R…n, you will know when you see the movie), Bane, Seline, Fox, Gordon. And everyone played their part.

Except for the overly emphasized voice of Bane, there were no flaws.

The buildup to the story is very good. The action/effects are not overly done. Action sequences to watch out for : the introduction sequence and the football field sequence. And of course, the one thing which I love to watch while just about holding back the screams and cheers: His Bike!!

A very fast paced movie in which Batman has to wake up his inner strengths to overcome the greatest difficulties and take the final decisions to save Gotham.

Cristopher Nolan at his best. After the death of Heath Ledger, I thought he wouldn’t be able to fill up the vacuum. But The Dark Knight Rises is a totally different story.

My rating : 8/10

(Note : Try to get seats in the centre. When you seat on the sides, the neck hurts the next day)

Feb 192012

I am not a professional movie reviewer. Hence the very infrequent movie reviews. But whenever I feel that all my friends should see a particular movie without fail, I sit down to write. No matter when the movie is released, I feel strongly that some movies should never be missed.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close(here I take the liberty to abbreviate it to ELIC since I wouldn’t want to type the name again and again), is one such movie which I saw recently. It’s a story of a young boy who loses his father in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. The movie starts with a very brief sequence of the thoughts of the boy, where he is confused about life after death and has a very interesting hypothesis about how it should be.

The story reveals a very special bond the boy had with his father. After the death of his father, the boy finds a key in a small envelope in his father’s closet. The envelope has word “BLACK” written on one corner and assuming it to be the name of an individual, the boys goes out in search of such person named Black, and a lock which the key opens. The boy is under the impression that it is some kind of challenge designed by his dad before he was dead, and believes that if the mystery is unraveled, he would be able to extend the moments spent with his father for a longer period of time.

During the course of his search, the boy comes in contact with variety of people, some who are helpful, loving and some quite rude and non co-operative. I would not like to reveal whether he finds the lock, or the person named Black, as the poignant moments of the film would be robbed of their essence. But the boy solves few mysteries along the way, and though it seems that he keeps on drifting apart from his mother, one moment of the film reveals how he actually comes closer to her. And how he manages to get over one big secret which has been eating him out all through this time.

ELIC is a standard 2 hour affair without any elements which would bore you. Though Tom Hanks has a very short role in the movie(he is the father of the boy), his role is very important for the course of events that unfold. Sandra Bullock, the mother, seems to adrift in the world of a mourning widow, oblivious to the what’s happening with her son. But the end of the movie portrays her to be a concerned mother. The boy, , has a major role in this movie, and though quite effective sometimes, his act seems lacking the essence. But the dialogues and the story makes up for that.

All in all, a good movie by my standards and I would rate it to 4/5.

Jul 302010

Right from the beginning you are glued to the screen. You won’t get bored, but will find every minute exciting. There are not much of those unnecessary dialogues. The plot is fast paced. The action sequences are few, but breath taking. The cast seems fit for their job. All in all, The A-Team is awesome!!

The plot is the same old one. If you had seen the losers, well, that’s the rough idea of the story. Army guys, framed and convicted for a crime which they did not commit, and stripped of their honor. This is their struggle to clean up their names. But with a team like this, we can’t call it a struggle. It actually manages to squeeze out some comedy during the movie, along with all the quick witted plans and fast paced action.

The movie starts with a sequence showing the formation of the A-Team in Mexico. Watch out for the breath-taking heavy action shots in the helicopter sequence. Then it fast forwards to the time when CIA brings in some trouble, of which it is unaware, for the team, in the form of a job. It involves confiscating minting plates for US currency(Being US, the trouble is always money, ammo, or drugs). The team lands in jail, and escapes with some help. Their pursuit for justice takes them to Europe, where the sequence involving a battle tank(I don’t wan to reveal what the sequence is) is quite extraordinary. When you see it, you say,”brilliant!!” And in the end, the action at the port, which feels a bit too much to digest(Of course, it’s hard to digest a barrel roll made by a helicopter).

A must see for all the action movie fans. And a must see at the theatres.

Dec 312009

I do not consider myself to be an expert reviewer. But this is the first time I have seen a movie in 3D, hence this enthusiasm.

Avatar is a well done movie. Forget the storyline. Its always the same every time. Either USA is in trouble, or we earthlings are meddling in to others affairs. Its the second case is here. This earns and average review for storyline. Of course, a lot of imagination has gone in to plotting the entire movie, with a blend good blend of real life and animation. But most of the points are earned by the visual treat that the movie offers through imagination in animation. I saw the 3D version, and I was not much impressed with the 3D effects. Of course, there was a depth to the image, but somehow I was yearning for more. Except for 2-3 sequences, the entire film did not fascinate me in 3D point of view. May be I had been over expecting, this being my first 3D movie(I mean the first 3D I have seen, not the first I made). Or may be I should have seen it at some other theatre.

Anyway, the film is quite entertaining, even with an average story, simply because of the graphics. A good watch for kid. And watching it one time would do no harm to anyone. Overall I would rate it 3 1/2 out of 5.

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