remains of a half-torn ticket

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. 

continue reading»

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.
continue reading»

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

continue reading»

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!
continue reading»