Saturday, January 31, 2009

Movie Time

Well, I watched a few movies which I have been wanting to see for a very long time.

1. The Pianist


A brilliant film based on a true story about a Polish Jew and his family during the beginning of the Second World War when Germany had invaded Poland. Adrien Brody's portrayal of the pianist is topnotch and he deservedly won an Oscar. The only hitch- no subtitles when the German officer speaks to him.

2. Kill Bill Volume1


Quentin Tarantino's fourth film but the first I have seen. I haven't watched Pulp Fiction as yet. It is about the revenge the bride plots after her whole family and her unborn child were butchered by professional assassins on her wedding day by Bill.The film has got style and Uma Thurman does some great stunts. The gory blood scenes were repulsive to watch but I liked the film. Have to see Kill Bill Vol2. before I forget the first.

3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


A beautiful concept mixing romance with sci-fi starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. Joe ( Jim Carrey) decides to erase everything about his girl friend Clementine ( Kate) from his memoery using a professional service offering the same after he learns that Clementine has already done so, but when he does that, he doesn't really want to erase her memories be that sweet or not-so- sweet. I think this would be Jim Carrey's finest performances and a nice change to see him in a serious role instead of comedy. Kate Winslet is brilliant as a girl whose hair colour changes with her moods. The film has been voted in top 100 best movies of all time. I loved the poem from which the movies' title has been taken. It is a poem by Alexander Pope.

4. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi


I had heard such horrible reviews from people that it is a bad film but somehow I liked it. Yes, the film is totally illogical but Shah Rukh as Surinder Sahni was great. Anushka Sharma is just passable and Raj, SRK's alter ego was irritating at times. Vinay Pathak as Bobby was good. It didn't turn out to be that bad. Haule haule, the film has grossed 180 crores worldwide!!

5. Welcome to Sajjanpur


Shyam Benegal's satire on the rural life is immensely watchable. The film had a take on a lot of issues- illiteracy, migration, widow remarriage, superstitions and politics. Dialogues are good. Performances are excellent. Shreyas Talpade, Amrita Rao deliver good performances, Ila Arun was brilliant and I forgot the name of actor who played an eunuch, he was too good. One of the best scenes was when he came to Madhav( Shreyas) asking him to write a letter to the collector asking for protection from the village goons who opposed his candidacy for the election. Benegal makes subtle comments without being preachy such as the comparison that an eunuch was able to sign where as the incumbent sarpanch's husband did a Angootha signature, that is why Shyam benegal remains India's finest film maker.
6. Aamir


Raj Kumar Gupta's contemporary story about a man caught in a difficult station is very different. Rajeev Khandelwal shows he is a great actor. Amit Trivedi's music was exceptional specially that song Ek Lauh Zindagi ki, no wonder his music in Dev D is getting attention. A good film.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Indian Of the Year

NDTV and CNN-IBN are bringing out their usual Indian of the Year Awards 2008. I also am giving my Indian of the year awards. Any sponsor would do :) Till then the awards are called PANKAJ Indian of the Year 2008 awards. You may not agree with my choice but here it goes.

1. Dr. Manmohan Singh for carrying out the nuclear deal with US and actually emerging out as a real politician.
2. Sheila Dixit for becoming the CM of Delhi for a record third time, especially in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks.
3. Omar Abdullah for taking a principled stand in Politics and being the CM of a very very complex state. Just hear his speech in the Parliament on the nuclear deal.

1. No prizes for guessing, Abhinav Bindra for bringing India's first gold medal at the Olympics, despite of the government.
1. First again,Saina Nehwal for being one of India's youngest and finest badminton players.
3. The King of Chess, Vishwanathan Anand for winning the World Chess Championship in Bonn.

1. Ratan Tata, for bringing out the NANO and for being a mascot for corporate India.
2. C B Bhave for his role as SEBI regulator. In the disastrous year for Business, I am not able to think a person who stands out in this category.

1. The channel COLORS for their out of the box thinking bringing great shows like Khatron ke Khiladi, Balika Vadhu and Jai Shri Krishna usurping Ekta Kapoor as the queen of Television. Bigg Boss 2 and Ek Khiladi, Ek Haseena were quite popular too.
2. Small budget films on the common man like A Wednesday, Amir, Mumbai Meri Jaan, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye.
1. M Annadurai and other scientists working on Chandrayaan- India's successful lunar mission bringing us in the elite club of space powers.
2. Prakash and Mandakini Amte for continuing the legacy of Baba Amte.

1. The musical genius, AR Rehman for putting India in the global map and enchanting global audiences with his score in Slumdog Millionaire.
2.Salman Rushdie for winning the Booker of Bookers for his exquisitely beautiful Midnight's Children.

The Indian soldier who continues to lay down his life for the country. The heroes of Mumbai- Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar, M.Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Karamvir Kang, Tukaram Omble, the NSG, the TAJ Staff, the announcer at Chatrapati Sivaji Station and so many many people who lost their lives in that horrific attacks of 26/11. The city of Mumbai deserves a special mention.The concerned citizen, clamouring for change in the system- all these people are and will always be our heroes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Short review: Oye Lucky Lucky Oye!

Oye Lucky Lucky Oye! is Dibakar bannerjee's second film after the brilliant Khosla ka Ghosla and he totally lives up to the expectations. It is the story of the eponymous 'Superchor' Lucky who can steal anything, even a dog! The film is witty and the one-liners had me in splits! The performances are brilliant by Abhay Deol, Paresh Rawal, Manjot Singh( the young Lucky, absolutely fantastic) and others including Archana Puran Singh, Bangali (don't know his real name). There is no story as such.However, the attention to details like houses in old Delhi, Karol Bagh,etc. is fantastic. The music is somewhat okayish. The film has its flaws but you do not bother as long as it entertains.The film could have been a superhit but suffered as it was released in the week Mumbai was attacked.

Rating ***

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Underdog Slumdog!!

I finally saw Slumdog Millionaire and I am cursing myself that why did I read the book first! It took the whole suspense out of it. Though the movie's screenplay is very different from the book Q&A and it is a great adaptation, I still knew most of the things. The plot of 'The Three Musketeers' and Latika as Jamaal's childhood friend doesn't exist at all in the book. Instead in the book, the hero falls in love with a prostitute Sapna when he visits a brothel and there is also a 'Sholay' type ending to the book with an element of a biased coin which was the defining moment of the book. Yes, there are limitations of a movie but the book was better. But still as an independent movie, Slumdog is a wonderful movie. The screenplay is absolutely brilliant. Danny Boyle's direction is excellent. The most beautiful thing about the film is the exceptional performances by the child actors. Dev Patel and Freida Pinto are good but clearly the child actors stole the show!! There is no doubt about it. The film exposes the darker side of our India, a Mumbai which we do not want to see. The horrific claustrophobic conditions in Dharavi, the world's largest slum are shocking. The community toilets, the huge mounds of garbage, the narrow alleys where sunlight doesn't ever enter, the chawls show a different face of India. The genius A. R. Rehman's great music score!! well, what to say about it. He deserves another post.I loved that tune which goes something like this 'Ring ring ringa, ring ring ringa, ringa ringa'. He has already won the Golden Globe, the first by an Indian and clearly a favourite for the Oscar. Shobhaa De in her blog made some comments that after Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali, the world's attention will shift to India. It is India's time. With Shah Rukh Khan being invited to present an award for the Golden Globe, it is recognition of the Indian film industry which makes the maximum number of films in the world.

I would have been more happy if an Indian had made a film of this type. It takes us a foreigner to show us the underbelly of Mumbai. But I still feel that the film is not a complete representation of India. It is just one aspect of it. Sometimes I feel the world doesn't want to see India's growth story, I may be wrong. They want to see it as a the stereotyped land of jungles. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga which was a bad book did not deserve the Booker in comparison to Amitav Ghosh's brilliant Sea of Poppies and Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence (which did not even get nominated for the Booker!).The White Tiger is also a story of a person from the Darkness, a euphemism which Aravind uses for poverty stricken villages. But no doubt, the film is great. Slumdog is the Underdog for the Oscars. Watch it. My rating ****.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Xatted + Fashion

I had my XAT on Sunday. The paper was tough, really tough especially the Decision-making part. They included negative marking of 0.25 for first six answers and then 0.5 for further incorrect answers. English was also pretty confusing. There was only 1 passage doable but rest 2 were really difficult. I loved the passages though. I will write it. They were beautiful, though I couldn't attempt the questions. I am writing one of the passages that I found to be very interesting.
Since power is itself a value, forms of influence which include power in their scope are usually themselves forms of power. The king's mistress, though she has only influence, not power, over the king, may have power over his subjects to the degree of that influence.Forms of influence based on power are themselves forms of power only if the scope of influence is included within that of the power in question.The king may exercise influence over standards of morality, say, by virtue of his power position, but he does not necessarily exercise power over morality.
Isn't it so thought provoking?
And the topic of essay was-'The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings, the inherent virtue of socialism is unequal sharing of miseries'.I wrote it and it was the only thing I was happy about :/ I wrote about sub prime crisis, vices of capitalism, the rise of China and India's mixed economy. Don't know that it was what they wanted but I wrote it and I liked what I wrote :/

I saw Fashion today finally. Had it saved on my PC since the last month. Its a good movie.I have been a fan of Madhur Bhandarkar's cinema since Chandni Bar. His Page 3 is one of my favourite movies. It is the story of Meghna Mathur (Priyanka Chopra), a small town girl who comes to Mumbai and has the dreams of becoming a supermodel. She although does not struggle much and easily displaces Shonali (Kangana Ranaut), the reigning supermodel and becomes as they say 'Show stopper'. However, success makes her arrogant and ultimately leads to her own fall, losing her self confidence. She then strives to come back again. When Meghna falls, one doesn't really feel bad as she totally deserved it. The screenplay is good. Salim Sulaiman's background score and music is also pretty good. I loved the song 'Marjava'. Well, people say Kangana stole the show. Not exactly. She had a very small role very similar to Geetanjali Nagpal who was found roaming on the streets of New Delhi.She was brilliant in the Wardrobe malfunction scene. It is Priyanka's film totally. She is there in almost every scene and gives one of her finest performances after Aitraaz. Mughda Godse was also pretty good. Almost everyone delivers a good performance- Samir Soni, Kitu Gidwani, Arbaaz Khan and Arjan Bajwa. However, the fashion industry shown somehow seems artificial. Not every fashion designer is gay but the film portrays it otherwise. Samir Soni however does not play the usual stereotypical effeminate gay but a more realistic portrayal. Finally Priyanka's return to form after four disasters in the year- Love Story 2050, Chamku, God Tussi Great Ho,Drona. My rating ***.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome 2009!!

I had written the previous post for today. But it is showing the date as 31 December, 2008. But I want to write something for today. I did nothing much today, kept thinking and sleeping :/ Was at home and did some work on the internet. My sister got GITA as a gift from someone. I was planning to by it but I don't need to now. I want to rea Mahabharta again. Read it in school last. But it is definitely as they say 'The Greatest Story ever told'. It really is. More on that in another post. Just about to finish The Kite Runner and it is a beautiful story. I love sad stories. Enough for today. Welcome 2009!!