remains of a half-torn ticket

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Persepolis (2007)

Movie: Persepolis
Genre: Drama/Animation/Biography/War
Language: French | English | Persian
Director: Vincent Paronnaud
Marjane Satrapi
Writers: Marjane Satrapi (comic)
Vincent Paronnaud (scenario)
IMDB Rating: 8.0/10
Runtime: 96 mins

Persepolis is a Persian animated autobiographical by Marjane Satrapi talking about the political paradigm shift from the shah's reign to the orthodoxy Islamic scenarios and the chronological display of the Islamic revolution in Iran.

Animations are generally seen with a certain mindset. For me, I bifurcate them in 3 categories. One, amazing Disney/Pixar animations blended with mind-blowing story telling. Second, Japanese stuff, similarly creative with a very different outlook. Spirited away and grave of the fireflies being the two favourites, though there is a lot of series stuff around that has captivated the east and the west. In the third category I had put Waking life and similar movies. Persepolis does not automatically fall into any of these three categories, but it has an inclination towards the third, which makes it even more inevitable for me to discuss it here.

This movie is a very heavily content based movie and animation is just a medium being used to say the intended. But it's impossible to not discuss the phenomenal use of subtle aspects of animation. The movie mostly runs in black and white to imply flashback and that gives a certain structure to the movie. Though the animation may not be as fresh and creative like monsters inc. or surrealistic like spirited away, but still the very minimal display of everything makes it unique and impressive in its own kind. Handicapped by the black-and-white ambience, focus is used to a notably baffling extent. Overall, a very fine animation structure to keep you engrossed for the complete time.

I would have liked to see this movie as a real picture as much as I liked the animation. The journey of Marjane Satrapi talking about her mental buildup as a kid in the backdrop of revolution as well as her family’s involvement shaping up her thoughts. This followed by her adolescence and her individual dilemmas about love and relationships, her transit from Iran to Austria, her life in Austria and then transit from Austria to Iran. Her complete story is stitched to the plot in a very organized manner, something to love about this movie as the war and revolution could have played the role of plot-destroyer, which it didn’t.

A very strongly recommended movie for a strong story line and an amazing screenplay, a pretty simple but still out-of-box and intriguing usage of technology, handmade animations and camera fiddling, boundary less emotion portrayals and historical significance. And to top it all, an overall exhilarating experience. Another Persian gem!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Aamir (2008)

Movie: Aamir
Genre: Drama
Language: Hindi
Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Starring: Rajeev Khandelwal, Gajraj Rao
IMDB Rating: 7.9/10
Runtime: 95 mins

Aamir, story of a musilm doctor settled in London, who decides to come back to India post the uncertain situations there after the bomb blasts. He finds himself in a tricky situation when he doesn't find his family at the airport and then stranger things follow...

Bollywood has seen a lot of fresh cinema in last couple of years, and Aamir is one more addition to the list. Initially the movie reminds you partially of Colin Farrell starred Phone Booth, but as the movie unfolds itself it comes out to be even more thrilling and of more magnetic intensity. It is undeniable that this was one of the most captivating hindi movie I have seen, the plot is absolutely linear and there are no highs and lows, its unbent.

Aamir is Raj Kumar Gupta's first film as a director, before this he worked as an assistant director to AK for Black Friday, and there is a visible inheritence of terror inducing mentality. Other than that, the desperation of a new director was clear, the timely thrill and the non-repetitiveness. He has created the overall environment the way it should have been. He himself being the storywriter tells that the story is written the way it was to be shown. The scenes at the cafe, at the gulistan building, in the streets are well described and nicely placed. Though the climax could have been a little more organised than this, though it's a certain bold ending to the movie.

The protagonist Aamir is played by television star Rajiv Khandelwal and he does a decent job with this film. It was an easy static role, terrified and perturbed throughout the reel, and he does it well. Apart from a couple of excessive emotions, it was a job well done. The other guy in this movie is a person who is always on phone, very subtle role he plays, very monotonous, stringent kind of character. But his lines are pretty well written and suits him. 'Mughal yahi leke jaate the jang par'. There is one specific scene where he plays with a toy monkey and makes it work, he hits it once, twice, again and again, and eventually it falls. Pretty amazing metaphor used to imply Aamir's situation in the movie.

Another notable aspect of the movie is the background score. As soon as the movie finished, I had to look for this music director which sounded so familiar and it was. Amit Trivedi, he did an impressive work for dev.d and aamir was again a success for him. The music of the movie has a consistent smooth rythm with the flow of them movie and is not extravagant at any point of time. As per the songs, the song 'ek lau' that plays at the credit roll is amazing. One of the song that stays on your list at repeat for quite some time.

Overall, a beautiful and impressive movie. Specially with the kind of fresh people associated with it. Other than the beauty and thrill and the cinematic experience the movie says a few more things, the relegious extremism and unfortunate spacegoats. The movie starts with Aamir asking the officer at airport 'What if I was Amar?'. Aamir portrays an unavoidable dispute over religious tolerance and shows how extremism is absolutely blind and meaningless in today's context. A seeable and deep meaning attached. Peace.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Ramchand Pakistani (2008)

Movie- Ramchand Pakistani

Official Website - RP
Language- Urdu,Hindi
Country- Pakistan
Director-Mehreen Jabbar
Cast- Nandita Das, Shaood Alvi
Duration - 103 minutes
Tag Line - "He crossed one line and three lives changed for ever"

Here are we again transcending the Indian borders and moving to our neighboring contry Pakistan and reveiwing a innocent movie Ramchand Pakistani. This is the second movie reviewed by us in which a child is the main protagonist. First one was Iranian Children of Heaven

Great thing about the movie is, it is the first film from pakistan having hindus as main characters.

Its 2002 and after attack on Indian Parliament there are hostile conditions prevailing at India and Pakistan border.   Ramchand a 7 year old Hindu untouchable boy unmindfully crosses the line of control (LOC). His father follows him and both are held captive. Movie revolves around Ramchand, how he tries to cope with sudden and forced separation from his mother (Nandita Das), his country. They spend 5 years in prison and Ramchand's mother Champa fights the battle for her survival and prays for their return in Pakistan. This is not the story of only child but it talks about how many people from both the countries suffer in jail and their families wait for their return.

With this simple and straightforward story  the movie revolves around human bonding and evolving of Ramchand as he stays in jail for five long years. Film portrays the helplessness of the father and son in jail on one side and strong will power of mother to survive on the other side. Champa doesn't led anyone be sympathetic or pity her despite her situation. 

All the characters have given splendid performances but its the boy Ramchand who walks away with the glory. He converys poignancy and helplessness with ease. Love hate relationship of father and son is touching. The child has a pet bug which he plays with when he is angry, is likable. Another scene in which his father helps him in learning bicycle is beautifully captured. Ramchand shares a chatpata relationship with his child guard, the female warden. She detest him for being a untouchable but also grooms him. Scene in which warden ties a thread on his hand portrays the bond of motherly love that has developed between them.   

At times movie drags a bit . Nandita Das story of struggle and wait for her family could have been shortened. Prison guards are calm and prisoners accept their fate without ever complaining, this seems bit unrealistic but prehaps this is not what director wanted to show. She has portrayed human relationship in a perfect way.

Conclusion - Fine attempt with noteworthy performances , watch it for sure. 

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Smultronstället aka Wild Strawberries(1957)

Movie: Smultronstället
Genre: Drama
Language: Swedish
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Starring: Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin
IMDB Rating: 8.3/10 (Top 250: #130 )
Rotten Tomatoes Ratings:
8.8/10 (Tomatometer 94%)
91 mins

Ever someone tried to articulate the existential dilemma, and the quest to the unknown, from a lens perspective, Bergman it was! After watching the intense last scene of 'The seventh seal', it was inescapable to leave out on a more contemporary Bergman interpretation and hence 'The wild strawberries' had to happen.

The best thing about reviewing such movie is that one is not afraid of spilling out parts of plot that could spoil the movie for those who haven't seen them. So here is the regular dose of the plot: The movie revolves around an old Professor Isak Borg, a successful scholar who has insulated himself from all relationships and the human threads around. He decides to get isolated from them all and live with a housekeeper at a far away place. And when he has to travel to receive an honorary award after 50 years of medical practice, shaken by a demented dream he decided to take the road way where he introspects, looks into his past, his sulking and hitchhikes some interesting lads.

It would be an understatement to say that this is a wonderful piece of art. Said over and over again by a lot people, Wild Strawberries is an amazing display of the existential confusions and the traumatic fistfights that shakes the inner self of a person. How many times it happens that suddenly the philosophical part in you suddenly gets going and the flurry of questions make you feel devoid of reason for existence. Though based for an old professor who has seen it all, a lot of us will find some connection with the wild strawberries theme of dissociation and dispassion.

Traditionally, I read about a movie after watching it, what people feel about it, and specially if a movie is consider to be an out-of-the-world creation, it's always great to see different perspectives of people around it. A movie like wild strawberries creates only a dual-opinion set, there won't be a lot of people who will feel just 'ok' about it. Either you find firm lovers or apparently sleepers who are unable to stay up with the timely and intentional speed of the movie.

The initial 10 minutes of the movie launch a wonderful beginning, specially the dreadful dream sequence, something you would expect in a Bergman scene. Bergman conveniently uses death as a strong portraying tool (not as extravagantly as he did in The seventh seal where death is the protagonist itself) and switches swiftly between the two paradigms.

Talking about the characters now:

Victor Sjöström: The 'director' plays Dr. Isak Borg, the protagonist. Certainly a 10 on 10 performance. A straight face to life, never played so beautifully ever. His last movie as an actor and to sign off in a manner like this, commendable!

Ingrid Thulin: Plays a charming lady, smiling but upset about the hereditary loneliness of his husband and the rigid avoidance of her father in law. Pretty amazing work.

Bibi Andersson: Another Bergman regular, who is seen in dual role, both named Sara. Chirpy and tense. Bergman does have these bipolar characters in his movies, something peculiar about his movies.

A movie with graet performances and a very deserving classic tag, but while I continue to read about it more and more, it makes the feeling even stronger that this movie has an autobiographical essence of Bergman, this is certainly a strong reason to think on this story line and making something so deep and engulfing.
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Friday, May 8, 2009

Do Aankhen Barah Haath

Movie: Do Aankhen Barah Haath
Genre: Musical , Drama
Language: Hindi
Director: V Shantaram
Starring: V.Shantaram, Sandhya

I would not term the movie as a cult classic but Do Aankhen Barah Haath is a great movie. Directed by legendary director V. Shantaram who has given bollywood some of the great movies like Navrang, Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani , Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje and many more. He was awarded the Indian film industry's highest award, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, in 1985 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1992.

Adinath ( V Shantaraam himself) undertakes an experiment of rehabilitating six most dangerous criminals from his jail where he is a jailor. He takes them to a barren area and their task is to make the land productive again. Idea is that ploughing will give them a feeling of ownership, sense of community and pride which will help them overcome their criminal nature. Movie is an old version of Munna Bhai MBBS in its core sense i.e forgive others, dont raise your temper, be calm and patient, others will realize their mistake soon. Champa ( Shataraam's 3rd wife) also plays a beautiful role in the movie.

Champa emerges like a mirage in a desert , playing on a ektara , balancing a big basket having dolls and stuffed toys, on her head. Tied to her foot is a wheeled toy drum which gives music to her song and at times get stuck in between rocks and dry grass. Most of the times she maintains a demeanor which warns other to think twice before approaching her for any other purpose other then buying toys.

All the 6 prisoners do awesome acting, humor is used to carry forward the movie and its not mainly through dialogues but through acting and behavior. Seriousness of the prisoners some times depics innocense, many a times they are like kids of the Adinath behaving in the way a kid behaves in front of his father.


ए मालिक तेरे बन्दे हम
एसे हो हमारे करम नेकी पर चले ,
और बड़ी से टले ,
तांकी हसते हुए निकले दम
ए मालिक तेरे बन्दे हम

We have recited this beautiful song endless times as prayer in our schools. This was sung by nightingale of India Lata Mangeshkar in the movie Do Aankhen Barah Haath

Movie ends melodramatically and one is unable to digest. But positives far outweigh the negatives in this movie.

Watch it for:
  • V Shantaram
  • Good Standard of Acting of all the characters
  • To see how Gandhian philosophy was used in bollywood in 1950's
  • Songs sung by Lata Ji and Manna Dey
  • To see how prisoners were reformed.
  • Witty and Playful approach to visuals in film credit sequences

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Requiem For A Dream(2000)

Movie :Requiem For A Dream
Genre :Drama
Director :Darren Aronofsky
Language :English
Duration :102 minutes
Starring : Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn,
Marlon Wayans
IMDB Rank:64

Drugs, addiction, passion, pain, more, more, more, rewind. Have I completed what Darren Aronofsky wanted to say in requiem for a dream? Yes, I have. Period.

As per the tradition, we need to talk about the plot of the movie for a little while and as per habit I will use points to do the same:

1. Movie has 4 addicts to start with.
A. Old widow addicted of sugar and then diet pills.
B. Her young son Harry (Jared Leto), heroin addict.
C. His girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connely), another heroin addict.
D. Tyrone (Marlon Wayans), Harry's friend and partner in crime.
2. As clear from point 1, it revolves around their addictions and their actions towards it.
3. That's all I must reveal story per se.

This movie is a dark and depressing painting, painted using bright colours and on a beautiful canvas. Aronofsky clearly draws a line in this movie and bifurcates it in two surprising contrasts. In the left half, he shows colours, bright ones, ones which are more conducive to get attraction. But the real essence of requiem lies on the right half when the colours begin to fade and darkness begins to capture the screen and more dominantly, the mind. It's one of those movies which hits you hard irrespective of your inclinations towards your temptations, irrespective your presumptions for drugs and irrespective of any form of insulation towards the universe.

The strongest character of the movie is played by Ellen Burstyn, who plays Sarah, an old woman who gets a chance to be on TV and in an attempt to look thinner and wear her old red dress, she starts taking diet pills. Followed by her insane urge towards the moment of her life, she gets hooked to these pills to a killer level. And hallucinations beckons. There are a couple of moments, specially the refrigerator one, that leave you gasping in disbelief.

Jennifer Connelly's work is as awe-inspiring as rest of her movies. She looks pretty, scary, desperate, addict. Pretty much like Ellen, the toughest and most amazing part is during the end. There are difficult acts of desperation and sexual extremity which she does with visible perfection. Jared Leto has to share the protagonist space with the two women discussed above, but he has the most visible screen space.

One word for the soundtracks - terrific. Summer overture has continued to haunt every single time since the first time it passed my ears. Again, one of the scores that stick with the fabric of the movie correctly end to end. The soundtracks are composed by Clint Mansell and performed by the Kronos Quartet.

Another notable thing about the movie is some specific sections:
1. The subtle zippppp drug taking scene, zips you away!
2. Refrigerator scene.
3. Visual Design, Camera Work.
4. TV shows.
5. Harry's arm and the injection.
6. The lift
7. The EYE, the EYE, the EYE.
8. Jennifer Gang Bang and the "Marion Barf's" and the summer overture.

Some of them find this movie too preachy, too depressing, too hyped, too gross. We continue to respect the UAAC, but Requiem is a class act, its a terrific movie with a straight face which to an extent tells A is A. And while we discuss this, I feel it's time for me to revisit the movie for at least one more time. Kudos Darren!
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rashomon (1950)

Movie: Rashomon
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Language: Japanese
Duration : 88 minutes
Tagline: Who is the culprit .. the husband , the wife or the bandit?
IMDB Rank : 71

The film that introduced Kurosawa and Japanese cinema to rest of the world. As most of the cult directors have done bringing in films much before the time Rashomon also was before time, it gained attention in Japan only after it got rave reviews in western world . Rashomon was made by a reluctant Japanese studio and studio head even got his name removed from the credits. It won the Best Foreign Film award at the Oscars, it broke the box office record for a subtitled film in USA. Rashomon had first in everything, nobody has seen anything like that before. In fact I would say we have not many films of 3 self confessed killers and no final decision at all.

There is a woman who is raped and her husband killed. There are 4 viewpoints being told in a flashback by 4 eye witnesses : women, a bandit, husband ( telling through a medium) and a wood cutter. All the stories are mutually contradictory and its upto the viewer to determine who is the killer. Which story is true and what actually happened on that day ?? Its all upto the viewer.

Film opens with a heavy raining scene with two men sitting under a shelter. As I read at various places and two I have seen, Kurosawa has a knack of using the weather elements in his movies heavy rain in Rashomon, fighting scene in Seven Samurai , the intense heat in Stray Dog, the cold wind in Yojimbo, the snow in Ikiru, and the fog in Throne of Blood. These are all distinctive Akira's style.

Finding the killer is not the main goal, but its is to understand and ponder over the inability of humans to be truthful. It also focuses on relative subjectivity/objectivity of truth.

It prompts you to think on the below two questions :

Things appear to be true only at some times and not at others.
Things appear to be true only for some people but not for others.

Same story is shown 4 times from different view points and every time you feel more gripped to the movie and there is no single moment of dullness. In moments the camera angle will change forcing the users to reconsider again the version the story which they believed. And we believe every story what is being told because we are actually seeing it happen, and we all have learned believing that eyes never tell lie, but in reality we should also suspect what we have seen.

Each of the actor is superb Bandit is captivating and his laugh will unsettle you many times. Husband is shown as a weak character but its the wife who is the soul of the movie, in one story she is shown as submissive as a helpless victim in one she is seductress. I like the scene when the bandit ask her to come with him and she says she cant decide and tore the rope of husband indicating that two men need to decide. I will not delve more into the stories as it will take away the suspense, one watch is not enough for this awesome movie. I will have to watch is many times to fully understand the correlation between human and truth.

Rashomon is also famous for its awesome cinematography. Shadow of leaves and sunlight coming in between takes you really into the forest. Sequence of wood cutter walking through the forest is taken from various angles of camera. At times camera is on the face, at times upwards in the sky at times on the trees at times on the shadow. All these with soothing music make the normal walking in the forest engaging.

Viewer may not realize just after watching that he has watched a great movie. But after hours you will realize it is a masterpiece and you need to watch it again. Its a film to respect and admire then to enjoy. It will be one of the rewarding 88 minutes to cinema you have watched. If 50's was golden period of Indian Cinema I think it also holds true for Japanese Cinema also.
Movie to watch before you die !!!
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bridge on the River Kwai

Director:David Lean
Genre: War
Cast: Alec Guinness, William Holden
Language: English
IMDB Rank- 68

Indians associate war movies more with the mythological warfare as in the battle of Mahabharata in which arrows with mystical powers flow from one side to other. There are also horses and elephants and a row of walking soldiers taking orders from the senapati. Only in the past few decades we have moved to era of Border type movies having tanks and gun fires.Even in Hollywood most of the war movies are full of gun fires , battle tanks , strategies to bring down the enemy. But this movie Bridge on the River Kwai was different from all other and had very few cliches which we normally attach to a war movie.

The Bridge on the River Kwai is one of five films on this site that cover the tumultuous years of the Second World War. The others are Patton , The Great Escape, Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List. They are part of the larger History in Film web site that supports teaching history using popular films

Simple story; Col Nicholson wants to maintain the dignity of British army by making a great bridge and other party wants to destroy the bridge. Whole movie is around this magnificent gripping suspenseful story with beautiful picturesque scenic backgrounds. There are three main characters in the movie Colonel Nicholson, Colonel Saito and Shears.

Even though the film is a classic and is loved by many film fans but it caused considerable stress to real life Colonel Nicholson and river Kwai veterans as the incidents are grossly misrepresented. Real Colonel endured regular beatings when he complained of ill-treatment of prisoners, but as a skilled negotiator he was able to win many concessions from the Japanese by convincing them that this would speed the completion of the work. Behind their backs, however, he did everything possible to delay and sabotage the construction without endangering his men, and also helped organize a daring escape, at considerable cost to himself.

Colonel Nicholson
He carried himself through the whole film beautifully. He was loved by all his regiment men, he instilled faith in his team and through his negotiation skills was able to get the best for his team. He also made Saito men work in same environment and for the same time.

Colonel Nicholson: Now, there's another important decision that can't be postponed. As most of the British soldiers will be working on the bridge, only a small number will be available for railway work. So, I must ask you, Colonel Saito, to lend us some of your own men to reinforce the railway gang, so that the final stretch of track can be completed as quickly as possible.
Colonel Saito: I have already given the order.
Colonel Nicholson: We must fix the daily work quota for your men. At first I thought of setting it at a yard and a half, so as not to overtire them, but don't you think it would be best if we make it the same as the British soldiers? That would also create a healthy competitive spirit.
Colonel Saito: I have already given the order.

Colonel Saito
He is different, you will not find such a lenient colonel in a prisoners camp. He at times is crazy at Nicholson for accepting the punishment and at times in awe of the British colonel. You will hate him for what he is doing.

Cmdr. Shears:
I'd say the odds against a successful escape are about 100 to one. But may I add another word, Colonel? The odds against survival in this camp are even worse.
He manages to escape with sheer grit, luck and determination but later on the return to the bridge again is his only way to escape the bridge.

He has some fantastic dialogues like the one:

You make me sick with your heroics! There's a stench of death about you. You carry it in your pack like the plague. Explosives and L-pills - they go well together, don't they? And with you it's just one thing or the other: destroy a bridge or destroy yourself. This is just a game, this war! You and Colonel Nicholson, you're two of a kind, crazy with courage. For what? How to die like a gentleman... how to die by the rules - when the only important thing is how to live like a human being.

I enjoyed the lovely whistling tune known as Colonel Bogey March sung by the marching soldiers . Listen to it below:

Its not a movie review of a great movie. I just want to remind you of the great movie which you all must watch. What are you thoughts on this great movie??

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Ek Ruka Hua Faisla(1986)

Director: Basu Chatterjee

Genre: Drama

Language: Hindi

Starring: Pankaj Kapur, Annu Kapoor,

K .K Raina

If there was an era when the reel and real life were running parallel in India, it had to be the eighties. The times of Amol Palekar, Farooq Sheikh, Dipti Naval and Smita Patil. This was also the era of experimental cinema or I must say minimal cinema. One beautiful example of such cinema is Ek Ruka Hua Faisa. Directed by Basu Chatterjee, this movie is a scene to scene adaptation of a 1957 Hollywood classic 12 angry men and being an adaptation has its own pros and cons. But, one would agree that the Indian version deserves as many accolades as the English version.

The plot is simple, infact it gets clear during the narration in first few minutes

"मुलजिम पर कत्ल का इल्जाम है, अपने बाप के कत्ल का इल्जाम, कत्ल का जुर्म फौजदारी के मुकद्दमे में सबसे संगीन जुर्म माना जाता है, सारे बयां और गवाहियाँ आप सुन चुके हैं एक शख्स मर चुक्का है और दूसरे की ज़िन्दगी का फ़ैसला आप के हाथो में, अब आप पूरे मुकद्दमे की बारीकियों पर एक साथ बैठ कर गौर करेंगे और सछै पे पहुचने की कोशिश करेंगे, इस दौरान अगर कोई माकूल शक आप लोगो को नज़र आता है और दलीलों की कसौटी पर खड़ा उतरता है तो आप बेक़सूर का फ़ैसला दे सकते हैं और अगर मुलजिम को कसूरवार ठहराते हैं तो ऐसी सूरत में रहम की कोई सिफारिश मंज़ूर नही की जायेगी और मुलजिम फांसी के तख्ते पे जायेगा आप लोगो का जो भी फ़ैसला हो एक मत से होना ज़रूरी है मुझे उम्मीद है की आप सब पूरी संजीदगी और इमानदारी से अपनी ज़िम्मेदारी निभाएंगे धन्यवाद."

So that’s all about the plot, a jury of 12 guys from varied domains, talking about a boy who is supposed to be killer of his father. And the movie starts with 11 on one side and 1 on the other, and hence, they talk.

The most interesting part of this movie is the dialogues and certainly the performances (cinematography was certainly not the talked about aspect for this movie shot in one room), the 12 characters were absolutely in place. A few faces emerges out of the dozen, let’s talk about them in a little more detail:

Pankaj Kapur: Strong role and he fits it with comfort. I have gradually started praying this person after this movie, The Blue Umbrella and Dharm. Mr Karamchand Kapur will always remain one of the pillars of Indian cinema. A little surprising though that the world knows more of the chocolaty Shahid Kapur and not the phenomenal Pankaj Kapur.

Annu Kapoor: Ancient in his looks and natural in his act, this old man you see in these images is the great sa-re-ga-ma anchor Annu Kapoor. He has a few statements to make in this movie but his presence is felt with his peculiar dialogue delivery style and eagle-like observations.

K K Raina: Certainly the solidest character in this movie, because of the story and also because of the way this character is being played by him. He plays the gentle but unassailable rock in this movie.

S. M. Zaheer: You may not recognize this person by his name but as soon as you see him in a movie, you will recognize that person in a second. Another omnipresent character artist who fits in role of a logical person vis-à-vis K K Raina.

M K Raina: And here is general young guy who wants to see movies, funny character that sometimes enlivens the environment and irritates at times.

Remaining characters have their moments in the movie and it’s a must watch movie. In spite of being a copy, it is loved, admired and appreciated for its ingenuity and consistent performances. A review of such a movie makes one repeat the same words ‘must-watch’ again and again; it’s a movie you would want to see when you are fresh, in a mood to see some great acting and a no-nonsense act. If you are not in such a mood, be happy, bollywood continues to produce a lot of movies for you and they’ll be running all over the place. Unfortunately, not many movies like ek ruka hua faisla are made in these times.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mr and Mrs 55 (1955)

Director: Guru Dutt
Writer: Abrar Alvi
Starring: Madhubala, Guru Dutt, Johnny Walker, Lalita Pawar, Tun Tun
Music: O P Nayyar

Mr and Mrs 55 is one of the best comedy movies directed by Guru Dutt. Aar Paar and Chaudhavi ka Chand were light hearted , Kagaz Ke Phool was heavy and watchers felt themselves in a melancholic state. Mr and Mrs 55 on the other hand is a satirical comedy which is leaving a social message also. Message was against the increasing negative influence of western culture and decreasing traditional Indian values at that time. In fact the poster of the movie also conveys about the movie. It is divided into two parts in the first one hero is tying up madhu bala's shoe, depicting the western influence through the western attire. In the second part madhu bala in saree is touching guru dutt's feet. I am not able to decipher why the movie is titled as Mr and Mrs 55, one of the reason may be, it was released in 1955.

On one side there is Sita Devi (Lalita Pawar, aunt of Madhu Bala) who is increasingly feminist and believes in superiority of women over men. She even considers that women should not marry and become dependent on men. In fact they should remain free and single for ever. But Anita's dad has some other plans. He had left a will which is opened on 20th birthday of Anita and it decrees that Anita has to marry in order to inherit property worth 70 lakhs. If she doesn't marry then the property will be transferred to a orphanage.

Dialogue during the time will was read:
मेरी अच्छी बहींन में जानता हूँ की तुम मर्दों को कितना पसंद करती हो इसीलिए मुझे डर है की मेरे कूच करने के बाद और कमसे से कम तुम्हारे कूच करने तक तुम मेरी बेटी अनीता को कुवारा ही रखेगी इसीलिए ऐसे चटपटी वसीयत रख कर जा रहा हूँ
तुम्हारा भाई
Anita is excited about this legal binding and ask her friend Rajesh a tennis national champion for marriage. On the other hand Sita Devi is looking for a husband for Anita. Preetam (Guru Dutt) a out of job cartoonist who is unable to make both ends meets becomes the perfect target husband for Anita. Preetam is having a great friend in Johny Walker who is a photographer in a newspaper. He is a real friend in need and many times GD drops at wrong places at wrong time (when johny walker is trying to pataofy a girl) to take help from him. GD and Johny many times do a emotional atyachar on Johny mother (Tun Tun auntie) so that she give Preetam food and shelter and not ask for rent and money.

Preetam is hired by Sita Devi as a husband for Anita on 3 conditions. Preetam agrees to three condtions of not to see Anita after marriage, not to tell anyone about this marriage and give divorce when asked for. Preetam and Anita have become good friends, but that friendship is lost when Anita comes to know that Preetam is the hired husband for her.

Things turn bad when Preetam makes a cartoon of Sita Devi incarnated as chariot puller with Anita and Preetam as horses. She is fumed and on hearing ji haan ji haan to most of his questions she says that she will get the divorce procedure started. Here comes a true friend Johny Walker who gives Preetam idea to taking Madhu Bala away to his village. Anita is influenced by his sister inlaw and their interaction portrays to pros and cons of the increasing westernization. They had some lovely dialogues and Anita is slowly coming out of the shackles and learnings of her aunt. However on the other side Anita had called her aunt to rescue her. Preetam feeling that she doesn't love her fabricates evidence against himself with the help of Johny. Will they meet and live happily thereafter .............

I loved Madhu Bala, her cute looking innocent face really lifted the movies many notches up. She is smiling and chirpy and you fall in for the ingenuous face, her dialogues are natural and spontaneous. Is there any other movie of Guru Dutt and Madhu Bala together? They had a wonderful chemistry on screen.

One innocent looking incident takes place when Preetam and Anita chat in the park:
Preetam : अपने को तो रोटी ही नहीं मिलती
Anita : रोटी नहीं मिलती तो अप्प बिस्कुइत (biscuit) क्यों नहीं खा लेते
Preetam : अरे हाँ यह तो मैंने सोचा ही नहीं आप बड़ी होशियार मालूम होती है

Apart from good comedy, awesome acting by all the characters and brilliant direction by Guru Dutt which included use of shadows and closeups, movie had an outstanding music by OP Nayyar. All the songs are sung by Geeta Dutt and Mohd Rafi.

1. Dil Par Hua Aisa Jadoo
2. Thandi Hawa Kaali Ghata
3. Jaane Kahaan Mera
4. Chal Diye Banda Nawaaz
5. Meri Duniya Lut Rahi Thi
6. Preetam Aan Milo

I liked qawwali medi duniya loot rahi thi, though its not like yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai but still it conveys the message.
मेरी दुनिया लुट रही थी , और मैं खामोश था
तुकडे तुकडे दिल के चुनता , किस को इतना होश था

आँख में आंसू न थे , और जल रहा था दिल जिगर
रो रही थी हसरतें चुप-चाप था मैं बेखबर
कैसे आता होश में जो पहले ही बेहोश था
तुकडे तुकडे दिल के चुनता , किस को इतना होश था

कारवां दिल का लूटा बैठा हूँ , मंजिल के करीब
मैं ने खुद कश्ती डुबो दी , जा के साहिल के करीब
ये ज़मीं चुप -चाप थी, और आसमान खामोश था
तुकडे तुकडे दिल के चुनता , किस को इतना होश था

Must Watch for::
  • Madhu Bala's sweet and comic role. It was really sad for bollywood industry that we lost such a great actor at an early age. She died at the young age of 36.
  • Delightful and Social comedy which will keep the viewers glued to the screen.
  • Another gem of a classic from Guru Dutt
  • Johny Walker and Guru Dutt comic chemistry which i found to be best of the movies I have reviewed.
  • Brilliant Music by OP Nayaar , melodious songs sung by Geeta Dutt and Rafi sahabh, awesome lyrics of Majrooh Sultanpuri.
  • To know how society was getting influenced from western world.
  • After 9 years of movie released we lost Guru Dutt and later in 1969 we lost Madhu Bala at a young age of 36.
Duttilicious Movie indeed :)

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Straight (2009)

Here is a small review of movie which was lost somewhere in the heard of other movies.

Released on : 20th March
My Tagline: Delightful comedy
Starring: Vinay Pathak, Gul Panag, Siddharth Makkar, Anuj Choudhary and Rasik Dave and Ketki Dave.
Director: Parvati Balgopalan
Music Director : Sagar Desai
Lyrics : Subrat Sinha
Producer :Shripal Morakhia, Charlotte Wontner

Story's protagonist Vinay Pathak is having lots of apprehensions, confusion, fears about, is he a gay or a straight. Pinu Patel (Pathak) is running a successful restaurant GayLord in London , but the 30 year old is still a virgin. He reached close to loosing his virginity when he reached the mandap of his arranged marriage only to find that his to be bride has ran away with her boyfriend.

A wannabe stand up comedian Kamlesh (Anuj Chaudari) lands up as cook in the restaurant. On the same day Renu ( Gul Panag) is hired as a cashier on request of Pinu's friend. The two new recruits change the way restaurant used to work. Now GayLord is having food festivals, stand up nights, new interiors. Business is soaring and all three have become great friends now.
Confusion arises when Kamlesh lands a kiss on Pinu's lips after winning a lottery. Pinu now gets scared at the thought of being a gay. His foster brother Rajat (Siddhartha Makkar) gives him some cool advice like having a sexual romp with hot women. This leads to one funny incident over the other. There is dizziness, giddiness, fire in the house, blurred vision, inappropriate erection which is prolonged also. There are many comedy of events in which he tries to make sure he is not gay by trying to loose his virginity.

Gul Panag is adorable with her sweet role and she is looking stunning. Kamlesh the cook and standup comedian has done justice to his role and you will like him. Kamlesh character is very well written and if Vinay Pathak is the soul of the movie Kamlesh is the heart of movie. Vinay Pathak is making a mark of himself in doing very different roles, from irritating one in Bheja Fry to a quiet one in Dasvidaniya and now a role of a sexually confused male in straight. Rajat is good as well specially the punk a doodle do punk a doodle do act.

Movie has some superb dialogues and some very hilarious moments. Bollywood is getting braver day by day and we are swimming in untested water with ease. Straight has taken the gay concept in a meaningful way and the message is conveyed by sandwiching it between laughter and comedy.

I liked the movie and thoroughly enjoyed with my friends laughing out loud on Saturday morning. According to me the movie should have done a decent business, but couldn't probably because publicity was not done correctly. If you are targeting the multiplex audience and are short of budget you can always go for online marketing and other innovative ways of publicizing the movie.

Its really pity that movie flopped at the box office, please junta come out of regular dance masala love triangles types movies. Now we have got the directors who are brave enough to try untested waters but we are getting short of viewers to encourage the creativity.

Big movie critics have not given good ratings to this movie, maximum being 3 by Nikhat Kazmi. But I am sure my age group people will like the movie. Its a fresh movie with a new concept and is part of new wave of Indian Cinema.

Watch it and enjoy it :)

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kagaz Ke Phool

This is my small attempt in writing about a great movie.

I am into watching classics and right now I am enjoying the Guru Dutt's 6 classic movie pack. After writing my two words for Chaudhavin ka Chand, I am trying to write on another classic 'Kagaz Ke Phool'.

This 148 minute movie directed by Guru Dutt was a super flop at the box office at that time. As i read in wikipedia Dr Rajendra Prasad ( then President of India) walked out of the cinema hall offended. There were cases of stone pelting at few cinema halls also. These incidents demoralized Guru Dutt to a very large extent but he came back with a box office hit movie 'Chaudhavin ka Chand' and 'Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam' after Kagaz ke Phool. He never directed any movie after diaster of Kagaz ke Phool.It was only in late 70's and 80's this movie was given a status of cult classics in world cinema.


Suresh Sinha ( Guru Dutt) is a big director in bollywood now after giving a Hit movie Zordar. He is married to Geeta and they have a daughter named Pramilla. Getta and Suresh are living separately for the past 9 years as Geeta and her family doesn't approve of
bollywood line and think it as a demeaning to their status in society. Suresh goes to meet his daughter at her boarding where he is not allowed to met her as per orders from her mom. Suresh goes and confronts with his in-laws and nothing can be decided and they challenge him to go to court if he wants. He meets Shanti ( Wahida Rehman) and takes her as heroine in his next mega film. He start promoting her career and their relationship grows. Movie takes a turn when Pramilla meets Shanti and states to her that she is coming between her mother and father.
Shanti decides to leave the bollywood even though she had signed a seven year contract to do movies. This is second loss of Suresh Sinha, first one being loss of Geeta his wife. Pramilla grandfather's files a case against Suresh regarding custody of Pramilla. This is another loss of Guru Dutt and this breaks him, shatters him and devastates him. He starts drinking and looses interests in movie making. Will he come back will he get what he has lost ?...........Watch the movie !!!!!


Normally in movies we see action,emotion, drama, comedy etc but in this movie you will find pride, hope, overconfidence, pessimism, silent love, realism.
One may feel a deep sense of loss and may feel like leaving the movie in between but we should go beyond the loss factor and look for brilliance. Perhaps the movie came much before time as in 50's and even now we go to watch movie to enjoy and feel good not morose. This movie is all about loss and playing of Mhd Rafi's song ' dekhi jamane ki yaari' in the background heightens the sense of loss.
Are Dekhi Zamaane Ki Yaari
Matalab Ki Duniya Hai Saari
Bichhade Sabhee, Bichhade Sabhi Baari Baari
Kya le ke milen ab duniya se, Aansu ke siva kuch paas nahi
Ya phul hi phul the daaman men, Ya kaanton ki bhi aas nahi
Matalab Ki Duniya Hai Saari
Bichhade Sabhee, Bichhade Sabhi Baari Baari
Heavy movie is made lighter by Johny Walker, Though the role is not as comic as in Chaudvin Ka Chand which I wrote about earlier, but still he lightens up the mood by coming up at regular intervals.

Love between Shanti and Suresh is very beautifully depicted. Its silent and they convey their feelings for each other by regularly saying the dialogue "Hamne hamesha ek doosre ko samjha hai" This is not a dialogue but its conveying more depth here as compared to saying 'mein tumse pyar karta hoon'. Shanti is looking stunning just like in all other of her movies. She is a great actor and we are lucky to be seeing her in movies in 2009 also.

Suresh looses everything his daughter, his lover and he is mentally devastated now and has no interest in movies. His movies flops and this moment is captured magnificently. First (when Shanti is launched, her first movie)we will see the seen of a cinema hall jam packed and people applauding Suresh for his direction and in second half when he has lost all interest we will see the same cinema hall but now the feelings are different with Suresh crying, people rebuking and shouting him for making such a dud movie. This conveys the point which bollywood is all about 'every one salutes a rising sun.
Kagaz Ke Phool is persistent in its narration of Guru Dutt's tragedies and his acceptance of the same. One will wish that his tragedies may end and he should come back to his glory old days. And the climatic scenes of Guru Dutt will heighten the pain and sufferings.

Songs haunts me and you feel pained. S.D Burman Music and Kaifi Azmi's touching/haunting lyrics will follow you even after you have finished watching the movie. I had not listened many songs of Geeta Dutt but now i know why she is a legendary singer.

Finally, my 5 nutrients from the multigrain tetra pack called kagaz ke phool:
  1. A must watch for true movie fan.
  2. Watch it for it being released in the golden era of bollywood.
  3. Watch it for it being a highly intensive, thought provoking film.
  4. Though it was a commercial flop at that time but now its a cult classic.
  5. If the movie had been an hit it might have changed the course of bollywood.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

8 X 10 Tasveer

Here is my review of the latest movie released this week.

8*10 Tasveer

I went to watch this movie as it is directed by Nagesh Kukunoor of Hyderabad Blues and Iqbal fame and other reason was it had Akshay Kumar, who after a long time was coming in some action flick.

Akshay Kumar aka Jai Puri is a forest ranger working in EPS Environment Protection Service Canada. He lives separately from his parents, with his live in friend Aishya Takia (Sheila) because he is against his father Oil business.
Jai is possessing some supernatural powers using which he by looking into any photograph can actually go right away into that particular moment when it was actually shot. This power is very dangerous as he risks his life if he stays in the picture for a long time.

Jai's father dies in an accident which is termed as a natural death due to heart attack. But Happi Singh (Javed Jaffri) Happi with an I puts confusion in his mind that its not an accident but a cold blooded murder. Jai gets a picture shot just before his father death having four persons in it. Four character are his father, father younger brother, laywer ( girish karnad) , Adit ( business man). Jai starts search for his father killer by going into each character one by one and risking his life. Nobody believes him when he tells about his super power. How Jai is going to find the killer and what incidents he has to face while searching for the ultimate killer? You have to watch the movie....

Good Points:
  • First half of the movie
  • Beautiful scenic bacgrounds of the scenes shot in canada.
  • Performance of Akshay is different from what he got used to doing in his previous movies, i.e a funny innocent looking character. In this movie he is serious.
  • Few portions of Javed Jaffery role.
  • Decent music which is neither good not bad. Rap song in the end is great :)
Bad Points
  • Long Climax perhaps one of the longest stretching to almost 30 minutes.
  • Unconvincing reasoning of the climax which one is totally unable to digest.
  • Hardly any proper use of good actors like Girish Karnad and Sharmila Tagore.
  • When Akshay goes into the photograph repeatedly it gets boring
Movie is not that bad as many critics are pointing it. I would give 2/5 stars to it. Movie will make money as it will get the advantage of being the only multiplex release.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chaudhvin Ka Chand

Now I am starting the Guru Dutt festival. I am able to finally get hold of moser baer classic collection of guru dutt's 6 movies. We have watched so many bollywood and hollywood and other lauguages movies but we have not gone deep into golden age of bollywood i.e era of 50's and 60's. 

So here is the first one Chaudhavin ka Chand. Movie was super duper hit at that time. It came at a right time after Kagaz Ke Phool tanked at the box office and Guru Dutt lost some 17 lakhs in that movie. 17 lakhs is a gigantic amount in 60's.  It is one of the few films which is totally muslim centric i.e portraying the muslim culture.
Now a brief about the movie.  Its based in lucknow where Aslam (Guru Dutt), Pyare Nawab (Rehman), and Mirza Shaiza (Johnny Walker) are the best of friends. Pyare Nawab falls in deep love with one girl who he saws in market. She saw the same girl Jameela (Waheeda Rehman) during his sister's birthday bash and asks her maid Tun Tun to enquire about her. Tun Tun mistakenly thinks other girl to be Jameela and hence the misunderstanding starts.

Pyare's mother ask his son to marry a girl but since Pyare wants to marry Jameela, he asks his childhood friend Guru Dutt to marry her not knowing that she is the same girl Jameela. Aslam and Jameela get married and are enjoying the early days of their married life, but soon Aslam discovers that she is the same girl Pyare wants to get married to. Aslam is caught between his deep love for his wife and love to his friend Pyare to whom he is very much indebted as he has helped him since childhood.  You have to watch the movie to see how the love triangle will end ...

This is the movie which started the depiction of love triangles in bollywood movies. There after we have seen many movies based on love triangles whose base framework is same as in this movie. Wahida Rehman is looking stunning specially in the title song. I have watched that song 15-20 times now.  Song got the credit it deserved both lyricist Shakeel Badayuni and playback singer Mhd Rafi won the filmfare award for the song.

There are some loop holes in the script also the big one is communication between best friend. Even if Aslam was not able to communicate to Pyare he should have talked to Mirza (Liver).  I may have found it a loop hole as I have watched so many love traingles :). 
But if i go into the 60's I would surely have loved this movie.  

Watch this movie for seeing the love of Guru Dutt and Wahida Rehman. Some rustic comedy scenes by Johny Walker are great to watch . One can also watch it to understand and see how life was in 60's . See the movie for its treat to ear music. 
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Into the wild

Early days with this blog, so its imminent that I will come up movies I like to talk about the most and hence 'Into the wild'. And before we open the shutters for comments on someone not so open for them, let's have some lines said by him:

“The sea’s only gifts are harsh blows, and occasionally the chance to feel strong. Now I don’t know much about the sea, but I do know that that’s the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once. To find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions. Facing the blind death stone alone, with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head.” - Alexandar Supertramp.

I wanted to check what is the correct-est word that can be used to discuss the condition of the protagonist Christopher McCandless, played by Emile Hirsch, and all I can think of is 'tranquil - Not agitated; without losing self-possession'. This may contradict with the visible theory of losing his posession but nonetheless, it's the truth. For those who have not seen the movie, let me brief the plot a bit. Into the wild is a real life story of a graduate from Emroy University, who decides to abandon his possessions, his SSN, his money (some $24K) donated to charity and moves out, riding to Alaska just to live 'Into the wild'.

The core of this Sean Penn directed movie is 'Absolute Freedom' and the quest to find it. The movie has a few extreme moments when he moves into a complete nomad mode, he shots a moose dead, takes out his heart (correct me if i am wrong!) does activities with it and regrets it at the end of it. He tries to get all the wisdom from the books he reads (other than his delusive thought process) and gets the motivation to call things by their appropriate name; and then he’s off to the jungle weeds again, calling them by their appropriate scientific names. Moves to Mexico, water way, illegally. I think to provide a feel of the movie, it makes most sense to quote some talks from the movie

Christopher McCandless(him): You're just living, man. You're just there, in that moment, in that special place and time. Maybe when I get back, I can write a book about my travels. Wayne: Yeah. Why not? him: You know, about getting out of this sick society. Society! Wayne: [coughs] Society! Society! him: Society, man! You know, society! Cause, you know what I don't understand? I don't understand why people, why every fucking person is so bad to each other so fucking often. It doesn't make sense to me. Judgment. Control. All that, the whole spectrum. Well, it just... Wayne: What "people" we talking about? him: You know, parents, hypocrites, politicians, pricks. Wayne: [tapping Chris' head] This is a mistake. It's a mistake to get too deep into all that kind of stuff. Alex, you're a hell of a young guy, a hell of a young guy. But I promise you this. You're a young guy! Can't be juggling blood and fire all the time! [laughs]

him: Two years he walks the earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou shalt not return, 'cause "the West is the best." And now after two rambling years comes the final and greatest adventure. The climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual pilgrimage. Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitchhiking bring him to the Great White North. No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild. - Alexander Supertramp May 1992
him: It should not be denied that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations. Absolute freedom. And the road has always led west.


him: I'm supertramp.

[looks at apple]
him: and you're super apple!

Eddie Vedder injects more life into the movie, amazing music. The music sounds more beautiful because of its suitability with the flow of the movie and also because of its spontanity. Be it the provoking lyrics of 'society' showing disbelief, rather disinterst in society or the fluent and freedom-probing 'guranteed' or the-world-is-my-home themed 'no ceiling', the music is very appealing during the movie and also post watch.

Verdict: Again as I said in opening, a movie I love to talk about, and I strongly recommend. One of the 13 movies to get a 10 on 10 rating in my IMDB movie list. If you haven't yet thought about it, think and watch it before you get too old. Cheers Supertramp.

Image Source: Sfondi

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Friday, April 3, 2009

The Children of Heaven

Plan for a pair of sneakers.
This is one liner discription of the movie. Its all about the lost shoes of a seven year old sweet girl named Zahra. Her elder brother takes them to a cobbler for repairing and loses them on his way back. Sweet little Zahra asks about her shoes Ali tells her the truth. Both the children discuss the the plan in their only room by writing a sentences each on a notebook and exchanging.

To save themselves from thrashing of their father who doesn't have enough money to get a new pair of shoes they decide on a shoe sharing formula.

Zahra attends a morning school so she will wear the shoes in the morning and Ali who goes to a afternoon school will wear in the second half of the day. This pact leads to one adventure or the other as both the children try to hide the fact that they are having one pair of sneakers from parents and teachers.

Whole movie is seen through children eyes, which are painful many times but loving also. In the movie despite poverty, hardship and no economic stability life is sweet. Movie shows two sides of Iran a rich part having gigantic buildings, houses with big lawns and fruit trees and a poor part where people are facing difficulty in making both ends meet.

Movie has three stars Ali, zahra and pair of white sneakers which both the kids share. They both meet daily at half way mark to pass on the sneakers, but that solution is creating problems. Ali is reaching school late and Zahra also dislikes the sneakers. Ali finally decides the take part in a marathon race and win the third prize. Third prize award winner will get a pair of sneakers. And let me assure you all must not have seen a contest which is so full of drama, emotions, love after Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar cycling race. Will Ali come third or will he be first or not even win al all for this you have to watch the movie.

Children of Heaven portrays a different side of Iranian life which we are not aware of. We only know of nuclear reactors etc, but this life is full of love. Sweet love between brother and sister and how small Ali is ready to do anything for her sister.

One will feel for the kids as shots of Zahra running back from her school to meet Ali and give him the sneakers. Ali runs to his school very fast so that he is not late. One is near to crying when on running back Zahra's sneakers ( Ali's big sneakers) fell into a running stream.

There were two scenes which according to me made this movie outstanding. First is after deciding on a shoe sharing pact when Zahra says shoes are dirty and they should be washed. Washing of shoes is so loving to watch. Ali smiling, and his big brown eyes portraying a sense of relievement and Zahra rubbing the shoes with surf and forming the bubbles with foam. Both formed bubbles and fought with their bubbles. This particular scene portrays the love that exists between brother and sister. Other scene which Majid Majidi captures with full intensity is when both the kids spies on a girl who is wearing same shoes as Zahra had. They reach the girl's house and there they see something which makes them to drop the idea of knocking at the door.

Its a oscar nominated movie and one should watch it for seeing those scenes which we hardly seen in nowadays movies. You will not see such a strong love between a brother and sister, you will not see children studying so beautifully in any other movie. Watch it for Majid who is a legend in Iranian Cinema.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009


After watching Dev.d I was certain that Gulaal would be something worth a watch, and I was in there with a lot of expectation. 'Door des ke tawar mein ghus jaaye re aeroplane' had set the stage and I didn't know that it would be least intersting aspect of this movie when compared to everything else.

'ये महलो, ये तख्तो, ये ताजो की दुनिया, ये इंसा के दुश्मन समाजो की दुनिया,
ये दौलत के भूखे रिवाजो की दुनिया, ये दुनिया अगर मिल भी जाए तो क्या हैं?'

Based on this timeless prose by Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Gulaal is a hard hitter talking about students' politics in Indian state of Rajasthan. After watching this movie, I was tempted to know how people would react to it, and the world seems to divided in anurag kashyap bhakts(AKB) and the united alliance of apprehensive criticsm(UAAC), there are AKBs who had sleepless night pondering over it and there are UAACs who have felt it so difficult to appreciate the elusive elements used by AK. There are AKBs who fell in love with the serving of intented (or uninteted) pun and absolute humor on the face of dark realities and then there are UAACs who have side-glanced the metaphors to be too deceptive. But, i haven't found many who were not 'engrossed' in this process of falling into either bucket, nobody could be indifferent, nobody could be ignorant. I, being part of the AKB bucket without much confusion, was pampered. It was pretty close to a Sachin classic for me (Sachin fans would know the intensity of this comment). There were no loose moments in this movie once it started. But I have a feeling, AK is one director who is making movies more for himself than for someone else, while doing this he is trying to approach a group of people who are looking for something more than just a good time, a little more than value-for-money. He does pretty much the same with this movie.

Coming to the core stuff, the movie. Few quickies about gulaal:

1. Every character in Gulaal has his/her place. Every place in Gulaal has its character.
2. The whole movie is like a metaphor competition. Only two guys compete, one, Piyush Mishra(PM) and second, Piyush Mishra.
3. AK continues to hold strong with the female characters.
4. AK and PM duo sews up music perfectly in and around the plot throughout the movie.
5. KK Menon continues to be the love-to-hate and hate-to-love guy.
6. Amazing retro look at the Hello There place, and moustached jim morrison and John Lennon.

As I said, the characters have their places, every single one. I don't think there is a certain protagonist, KK is one main figure, which is more because of his image of being the important guy in all his films and also because of the power his character has in the movie. KK has been a great actor always, but almost all his roles are getting stereotyped in their own manner. The angriest middle-aged man of Indian Cinema. The second one is the poster boy for Gulaal, Raja Chaudhary. The actor who was not meant to be! He must be remembered more as the writer from Gulaal perspective. His role is pretty much linear throughout the movie, and has a contrasting edge to it at the end of movie. The most appealing of the male characters is Abhimanya Singh, thank the dialog writer or thank the director or just thank him. Phe(w)nomenal. The second most impressive character is the 'Goodbye Blue Sky' player, Floyd fan Ayesha Mohan. This has to be one of the best debutant performance ever. She holds on to her difficult role of a deceptive girl, and I love the last scene when Raja Chaudhary.....ahh spoiler. Jessy Randhawa impresses as much, 'Nihilism' makes her invisible and drugs gets her back to the scene.

The strongest elements of the movie (apart from the red neon lights I love) is the larger than life presence of Piyush Mishra. His acting, compositions, lyrics and poetry lay the base for a classic. It will be a shame if the great adaptation of sarfaroshi is not shared:

आजकल का लौंडा यह कहता हम तो बिस्मिल थक गए
अपनी आज़ादी तो भैया लौंडिया के तिल में है
सरफरोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारी दिल में है
आजके जलसा में बिस्मिल एक गूंगा गा रहा
और बहरो का वो रेला नाचता महफिल में है
हाथ की खादी बनाने का ज़माना लद गया
आजकल तो चड्डी भी सिलती इन्ग्लिशों की मिल में है

The basis of the movie, 'Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hain', comes up beautifully linked up with the climax of the movie and the song that plays at that moment doesn't sink easily, at least not in next 46 hours as per my current statistics. Discussing about this song and rest of the music deserves a new post and shall be deferred for this time.

Then there are metaphors and quotes which are the major aesthetical addons for this movie, would like to mentions some of the ones I liked:

1. Red-Faced sena, silently listenining to the senapati.
2. Brainwash and Najeebullah.
3. Ardhnari, the comedian. It was never made clear why we had that, but it had a presence all the time.
4. A: Paani saaf hai na B: Bisleri ka kuan khudwaya hai tumhare liye
5. Is mulk ne har shakhs ko jo kaam tha saupa, (samajh ke suno,samajh ke suno), us shakhs ne us kaam ki maa-chh-is jala ke chhod dee.
6. Withdraw dialog
7. PM's call to Bush talking about oil reserves.
8. haq se liya pakistan aur lad ke lenge hindustan, aur beech mein na aana warna le jaaunga rajputana.
9. Fauji Helmet.
10. Mere paas maa hai

There are many more, this is one of those movies one may need to see more than once to gradually digest and sink in.

My Verdict: A must see, for the rawness and ingenuity of Anurag Kashyap and Piyush Mishra, for the well drafted and well replicated performaces of the character artists and for the sake of motivating movie makers to make more and more of such films. A 9 on 10 from me.

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