VTV – Usually, love stories are meant to be just like this..

VTV is a fine product from Gautam’s stable. I would not say that ‘I loved it’ but I liked the way the love story was scripted and portrayed. I still feel that it is a classic that fell short by a whisker. But all said and done, an exquisite attempt from the talented filmmaker.

The plot, the soundtrack and background score (ARR sizzles with ‘Hosana and ‘Aromale’), the casting coup (except Mr. Simbu), the few occasional thumping dialogues (‘Why do I love Jessi when there are so many other girls to fall for’ is one of them) which otherwise would have been considered as pedestrian are some of the finest points in this intense, yet light hearted romancing saga. Gautam has done a good job in restraining Simbu from his usual antics but I strongly felt that somebody else could have easily fitted the bill, which could have given this love story, a more powerful yet subtle touch. Trisha is ravishing and her costumes are a revelation. But undoubtedly, it is a Gautam film all the way and he should get the credit for it.
This flick is definitely not without flaws, but I believe that realistic love stories penned with poetic lines and a painful dose of the same medicine is suppose to be embedded with glitches, hence I would consider them as pardonable. Murmurs are that whoever watches VTV claims the story to be his own and it might be a exaggerating theory that is doing the rounds for the mockery classes, but I sincerely feel that any person who has fallen in love and was not able to turn his story in to a designer book with intended chapters would be able to associate himself to VTV. Please note that all legendary love stories are failures and this was probably, Gautam’s biggest inspiration. And I firmly believe that each one of us, at some point of our lives, would have fallen for a woman. I guess that’s incentive enough to take a glimpse at VTV.
For those who have fallen in love and enjoy the painful repercussions, please go and watch VTV.
‘Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaya’, may be not.

Pyaasa (1957) – A Film By Guru Dutt

I am on course to fulfill my zest to take a glimpse at some of the finest films crafted in Indian cinema. Pyaasa definitely ranks amongst the top and I need to tell you folks that I just witnessed a work of a genius.

We all have heard, read and applauded the craftsmanship of Guru Dutt, but if we really have to take a glimpse of his talent, then you have to watch his movies. His script, the dialogues and the monologues, the melancholy that surrounds the apt story-line and mellifluous rendering of the divine words (Sahir Ludhianvi) by Rafi saab are just perfect. Pyaasa kept me glued to the screen for approximately 3 hours and even though it was not very positive frame by frame, but extremely thought provoking and inarguably, very intriguing and subtle. The casting was impeccable too. Waheeda Rehman looks like a deprived angel and Mala Sinha looks very beautiful.  Rehman as Mala Sinha’s consolation husband is impressively crooked. A young Mehmood was refreshing to watch and Johnny Walker was immensely entertaining.
I always wanted to watch Guru Dutt’s films (especially since I have heard and read so much about him) and Pyaasa proves that he was indeed a filmmaker beyond his times.

Rann – Intensity with Panache

I always watch RGV’s films with a sense of unpredictability. He is one of those few maverick filmmakers who can make an absolute gem one day and a disastrous dud on the next. Rann, fortunately, falls in the first category. And in the process, has ended up in creating a classic from his stable.

The very serious and sensitive battle of media, politicians and the middle men has been portrayed with an impeccable sense of responsibility and controlled aggression. The characters have shown discipline and have delivered their parts with conviction. It is not easy to make a film on a subject which is not only global, but equally invigorating, yet an enigma. More than the story, the treatment of the subject has been terrific (as is the case with most of RGV’s flicks).
Now, coming to the casting and technical aspects. Most of the cast is well etched but the biggest disappointment for me was Rajpal Yadav. He is a very talented actor, but off late, he has got in to the wrong side of the wall, I thought he was wasted in his role here, anybody could have done this, why him? I don’t think a film like Rann needs such characters to survive. Others are all their in frames and have done their job decently. Ritesh was restrained, Paresh Rawal was at his usual self and Sudeep was okay. The ladies of Rann were subdued (understandably) and though all of them looked ravishing, special mention for Neetu Chandra. It was nice to see Suchitra Krishnamoorthy on screen after a long time and Gul Panag was just about there. Mohnish Behl probably landed up on the role of his lifetime, and he comes up with a strong and arguably, the finest performance of his career. Last but never the least, I don’t think I have much to say about Mr. Big B. He was definitely towering above everybody else, and needless to say, comes up with yet another performance which could be touted as one of his most admirable. The last 30 minutes belonged to him and he proved why he is the Baap of bollywood.
In all, it was a film made with lot of sincerity and RGV is back after a series of not so impressive flicks. For me, Satya still remains RGV’s finest ever, but Rann is definitely up there with few others.

Avatar – A Series of Bizarre Occurrences..

Avatar for me was an extravaganza of superlative visual graphics and mind boggling execution of 3D technology. And with that, I am done commenting about all the good things about this multi million blockbuster.

Let me make myself very clear that fantasy has never excited me, probably I am too much in to the fraternity of realism and method cinema. Some commercial flicks do entertain me and I am fond of sci-fi thrillers, but this one was a bit too much for me. The entire episode of experimentation and belligerent entry in to the world of the ‘Pandora’ clan was fascinating, but not convincing. What unfolds after a dull beginning is the dramatics of the entire gamut of human desires, emotions and sacrifice. I admit, some of the action sequences were legendary and the 3D glasses did a world of good to all of us. But I still could not figure out what was happening.. At a given point of time, I started wondering if I was watching a pedestrian ‘Bollywood’ commercial potboiler. I also felt that it was a bit dragging in bits and pieces.
I know that most of you, after reading my review, would be cursing me for disliking one of greatest blockbusters in box office history. Certainly, it is. But I probably don’t belong to this genre of filmmaking and Avatar (& James Cameron) proved this point with a big ‘Y’.

3 Idiots – VVC & Raju churn out another classic from their stable..

Once in 3-4 years, comes a movie which touches our heart, tinkers the strings of emotions within us and breezes through our minds as sheer poetry. ‘3 Idiots’ is one such flick. Vidhu and Raju come back together after the ‘Munnabhai’ series and their films have just one thing in common. They create magic on screen. And ‘3 idiots’ has that charm written all over it.

Raju comes with yet another heart warming script and the screenplay is just perfect. College euphoria, friendship, emotions, wacky humour, candy floss romance. They are all hallmark of a Rajkumar Hirani film and ‘3 Idiots’ is filled with these stuff in abundance. Above all, in a very uncanny fashion, it raises a strong yet meaningful question mark over the authenticity and essence of the ‘Education System’ in our country. Right from take one, the message is loud and clearsubstantiated with significant instances and timely humour. Nice to hear nicknames like ‘Millimeter’ doing the rounds, especially after ‘Munnabhai’ happened to all of us.
The film has it’s own share of blemishes but treatment of the subject and the presentation rules the roost here. The entire ‘Aal Izz Well’ syndrome, riding a scooter and entering the hospital with a half dead patient and the landlord’s servant-genius-proxy-engineering-romancing the director’s daughter concept is all so bewildering, yet cutely acceptable.
It’s Aamir all the way, who comes up with yet another spell binding performance but the supporting cast has been equally brilliant. Sharmaan and Madhavan have given commendable performances as his buddies and Kareena is at her vivacious best. Boman excels as usual in his lisping role and the character named ‘Chatur’ (Unfortunately I missed to get the actor’s name) has been impressively irritating.
In all, a blockbuster from the word ‘Go’, 3 idiots has already become the biggest hit of the year and arguably, the best of 2009. Significantly, Raju is one of the few filmmakers in contemporary cinema, who has achieved commercial and critical success with amazing consistency. 
"Aal Izz Well" :)..

‘Unnai Pol Oruvan’ – A Classic that could not better it’s Original..

 
‘Unnai Pol Oruvan’ stands out for its excellent narrative mode and the powerhouse called Kamal Haasan. But let us not compare the two versions. As a matter of fact, they are quite different in their context and the treatment of their respective subjects. ‘A Wednesday’ dealt with the inevitable and the contagious phenomenon of Terrorism, with a Global Appeal. ‘Unnai Pol..’ was more in context of the terror spread in various parts of Chennai and Tamil Nadu. Quite understandable, for the script had to meet the needs of the local folks and match their flavor. That is where superlative actors like Mohanlal and Lakshmi are pulled in. The conversations between the two are sarcastic, but equally entertaining. I was quite disappointed with the support cast though. The police officers lacked the fervor and punch that was required for enacting such a powerful and crucial role. The involvement of the real CM’s voice could have been avoided, it sounded like a mimicry artiste was showcasing his expertise to gain footage. The background score was ordinary and the editing was convincing in most parts.
 
To conclude, ‘Unnai Pol..’ is all about guts, perseverance and above all, the true enigmatic portrayal of the ‘Common Man’.

‘SlumDog’ or ‘Millionaire’..?!!

I have been forced to publish this article of mine, thanks to the extraordinary ‘hype and hoopla’ created by Danny Boyle’s latest offering about a ‘Rags-To-Riches’ story, set in the background of the Mumbai’s slum dwellers.

I happened to see the movie yesterday and to be very frank, couldn’t garner many positives from the script, which in itself, I believe, is mutilated but not exaggerated.

To begin with, I must furnish a brief synopsis of what I felt about ‘SM’. An engrossing tale of a young guy from the slums who fights gangsters, nepotism and his own existence to win crores and subsequently his love, is appreciated. But I need to confess that the very treatment of the subject matter supercedes the technical aspects of the film. The flaws are extremely explicit. The greatest examples are the scenes where children in the slums suddenly switch to ‘English’ language and some people are made to speak the language, just for the sake of it. As someone who admires good cinematic values, this one reveals a lot less. I could feel that ‘American’ touch in it, which is, quite inevitable. But exploiting the grey areas, zooming them to maximum effect and portraying a nation’s values in negative shades, is something which is not acceptable.

All these shortcomings notwithstanding, there were couple of aspects which I liked. The way the answers of the questions in the game show and the guy’s upbringing in the slums were interlinked, substantiating the reason for him to know those answers, were impressive. The Cinematography was sharp, but at the same time, very piercing, to say the least.

Something which I just couldn’t digest was this particular scene where a young Jamal is beaten up by the locals after a tourist’s car was looted. The young boy says, “This is India for you.” And the woman reciprocates, saying “This is true America for you”. And then his companion pulls out his wallet and throws away some dollars to the boy. I would, rather, ask all my readers to comment on this. What did that imply? What was Mr. Danny trying to impart? I am just lost. I understand that there is a strong message conveyed in this. But was the context right? Even the scene where a younger Jamal rushes to Amitabh Bachchan for an autograph, with excreta all over him, was quite bewildering. I am still wondering about all this, especially when the entire world is going ‘gaga‘ over this movie and it is winning every possible award that it comes across.

As far as the casting and performances are concerned, I sincerely believe that some of our finest talents have been wasted. Irrfan Khan and Saurabh Shukla were hardly there. I had no clue what Raj Zutshi and Mahesh Manjrekar were doing in this flick. Anil Kapoor as the mysterious and egoistic host tried his best to be in his usual self, but had to deal with a script which was custom made. And the newcomers were decent. As far as ARR is concerned, Rahman’s genius is not new to Indians and predictably, the soundtrack and background score is outstanding. But I felt that he could have given this one a miss, especially after considering the script and editing. And I am sure that he doesn’t need a ‘Golden Globe’ or an ‘Oscar’ to prove that he is one of the best. Well, if it calls for something like ‘Global Recognition’, it could have better come through a more substantial and unbiased script. Moreover, for America, ARR’s music is new and innovative. For us, he is a household name. I guess that says it all.

I would love to see a movie winning plethora of awards, not just for entertainment, but also for a superlative script and a strong, yet appealing, social message,that’s endearing to one and all.

To sum it up, ‘SM’ could have been much better. For me, it doesn’t live up to the expectations. It’s a good attempt, but the manner in which the storyline and the charactors evolve, lacked authenticity.

Most of them are expecting that ‘SM’ will go all the way to win the ‘Academy Award’. If it doesn’t, I would be least disappointed.

Cinema: A Synopsis of Human Lives.

To start off, let me confess that I am a hardcore movie buff (that’s one of my known and disclosed passion) and the technical aspects of the film making business has always fascinated me. Every time I see a movie or whenever I ecstatic about a supreme cinematic experience, do I realize that it is, arguably, one of the most powerful medium of entertainment and communication all over the world. And pretty evidently, it has become an indispensable part of our lives.

Over the years, I have watched plethora of movies and possess a decent collection of some of the classics that I have enjoyed immensely. I am fortunate to have watched some absolute gems while some are not exactly convincing, to say the least. But I have always been a very positive individual and hence, would like to learn the good things from whatever I see and discard the negatives, if any.

One thing that I am convinced about is, that movies always depict our very own lives, directly or indirectly. They are a replica of our experiences in daily lives, with a pinch of exaggeration in it. But film making is also a human activity and it is a known fact that we as individuals, have a tendency to add more spice and salt to our depictions and performances, on stage or off stage. So, I guess, it is very natural that human nature reflects in ‘Cinema’ as well. But I am sure we all would agree that movies are inspired by human lives, great personalities (not always) and their subtle mannerisms. That’s why ‘Cinema’ exudes confidence and makes it so endearing, yet so powerful.

Great film makers, Legendary Directors, Entrepreneurs(famously known as producers) and Larger-than-Life actors. They all exist and survive due to the unique nature of human relationships and the complexities involved in our emotions. And that’s what I admire in ‘Cinema’. Personally, I like to learn something from a film and try to evolve as a person. I am not ignoring the commercial part of it or the entertainment part of it. How can I when I am so aware that ‘Cinema’ cannot do what it does without the Media, The ‘Glamour & Glitz’ that surrounds the ‘Tinsel Town’. And this aspect of it is universal. But inspite of all the commercial hoopla around, I still would prefer ‘Cinema’ as a motivating tool, as it is much more than all that. If 2 individuals become Superstars, there are 200 people behind them who make it happen. So I guess, it all boils down to ‘Hard Work’ , ‘Dedication’ and ‘Conviction’. It’s just that we get overawed by our celebrities, and prefer to ignore the dark and bitter realities, that unfold behind the screen.

I would sum it up by reinstating the fact that ‘Cinema’ is a reflection of Human Lives and not vice versa. We need to be intelligent enough to recognize this and appreciate quality stuff, we would end up admiring ‘Human Creed’ by doing so.

And I believe that I have tried my best, to adequately convey this message to all my readers :).