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Thursday, December 03rd, 2009 | Author:

Gone With the Wind is the story about a Southern girl’s (Vivien Leigh) hopeless love for a married gentleman (Clark Gable). Set against the background of the shameful slavery trade and the tragedy of American Civil war, the film plays with Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), a roguish wealthy man from a Charleston’s family falling for the feisty and self-centered Scarlett (Vivien Leigh). Directed by Victor Fleming and based on Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind, this movie is considered one of the most popular epics of all time. But it is not without some serious criticisms. Charles Spencer reviewed this movie long back and wrote in The Daily Telegraph, “Soullessly efficient show merely feels like one damn thing after another, an endless parade of unexciting incidents that leaves the viewer feeling neither shaken nor stirred.” The way this film glorifies slavery is atrocious. However, this movie depicts some real art. In “What is Art” Leo Tolstoy writes, “There is one indubitable indication separating real art from its counterfeit, namely, the infectiousness of real art. It must transmit the simplest feelings of common life, but such, always, as are accessible to all men in the entire world.” I believe that Gone with the wind fits Tolstoy’s bill. Even the title of this film mirrors the artistic simplicity. (Four one syllable words with a poetic charm).

Rhett Butler is an exemplary scoundrel and I like him for what he is. Scarlett is a product of proto-feminist literature. She is a Machiavellian manipulator with a perilous charm and even the smart Rhett cannot help falling for her. Socially-conscious critics of films and literature always consider themes centering on women an inferior subject matter. I do not see any feminism in this movie, despite many reviews suggest the opposite. Butler tells to her girl “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” He might have realized the effect of ‘not giving a damn” to the woman who loves him until he loses her; more or less like Almasy’s mental predisposition in English Patient, a brilliant movie showing heady romance. Both movies are about tragic and doomed romance., still very different from each other.

Many people compare Scarlett and Rhett Butler to Rick and Lisa in Casablanca. But I would say this is no way close to that great movie in terms of spirit. Clark Gable is not a great gentleman like Humphrey Bogart. Bogart sacrifices everything. He says in many places that “I stick my neck out for nobody.” But he gives up everything for his lost love, even his livelihood and passion. He is a more gutsy man too. See his eyes when he tells the chief of Third Reich “I was running guns in Ethiopia.” When his girlfriend does not show up in the railway station according to their plan to get out of France, he is teary eyed. I could feel the warmth of the tears on my cheeks when I saw this movie. That is the power of love and the respect he shows to Lisa. A thorough gentleman he is. Unfortunately, I could not see any of these elements in Gone with the Wind, if these two films are compared for their romance. However, seen with a different perspective, I find some real love, and lost opportunities to show it, in Gone with the Wind.

I enjoyed this movie for its artistic simplicity. The film set a paradigm for an inverse presentation approach where even glory dooms to shambles and the real effect is a conclusion of introspection.

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 | Author:

Having watched this film last night, all I can say is that I wish life would’ve ended somewhere during the first 20 minutes of the movie. I wasn’t warned at all. It was a toss up between watching Kurbaan and 2012 and I thought an English movie would end sooner!!! Well, now I know better!!!

If you’ve seen the movie you’ll know what I mean when I say that I was hoping for a real earthquake or even a minor cataclysm to relieve me!!! It was like watching a Hindi movie that boasts the emotive prowess of Dharmendra, Pankaj Parashar and Kumar Gaurav, set off by the acting talent of Zeenat Aman, Poonam Dhillon and Ranjita. If you belong to my generation, you will know what I mean.

John Cusack is not only looking old and fat, his mouth is slowly shrinking into a full stop. The only time his face breaks into an expression is when he has to say really long words like “shifting tectonic plates.” After all, one can say “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE” while making sure you don’t crack the face paint at all. Try it – you can do it without moving your lips. And Cusack has perfected this technique.

The box office collections for 2012 finally moved me to watching the film. But the story line was more predictable than a B-grade Govinda movie. Let me give you an example. This massive volcano erupts and throws up hot ash and lava all over the place, always barely missing Mr. Cusack and company – just like the bad guys shooting at Govinda while he miraculously dodges each bullet.

The only thing unpredictable about the film was its length!!! And boy, was it long. When they stopped the film for intermission, I was surprised, to say the least. I had been thinking that we were almost done with all the quaking and flooding of the world. Imagine my consternation when I realized we were only half-way through!!!

The only thing the film has going for it, to be completely fair, is its amazing graphic artists. In fact, if we take out the actors and the plot, the special effects and computer graphics might make the film more watchable. All I can say is that the Mayans were wrong. The world will die of boredom in 2009.

Don’t complain – Now You Have Been Warned!!!

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Monday, November 16th, 2009 | Author:

Before some grand disaster in the form of Tsunami, earthquake, plague, hurricane, some pandemic or for that matter alien invasion, that can wrap up the entire civilization, we should start taking responsibility of what we do today. In the overall scheme of things, this post-apocalypse narrative could be a piece of fiction, but why should it stop us from not polluting the world anymore and taking a noble initative to plant few more trees. Save Earth

Finally end of the world- 2012 strikes gold at the box office on Friday the 13th, shattering the myth, cinema screens all across Delhi ran a sold out show this weekend. The film is about pre and post deluge imaginative mise en scène where three high-tech, state-of-the-art picked from the book of Genesis’s portrayal of the Noah’s ark headed ‘no-where’ to rescue remainder of the human civilization launched from the roof of the world. Roland Emmerich’s translation of the Mayan calendar prediction that world is coming to an end on 12-21-12 is massive blockbuster already. Scientist’s at NASA and elsewhere can corner the story as a piece of fiction but for the urban goer it is a future imagination running wild in your head sci-fi flick. Ofcourse the computer generated special effects team is to be blamed for this temporary deluge in our minds. Danny Glover does well to interpret, the whole cause of cataclysm which threatens to disembowel human race majorly the solar flares that burns up earth’s core to an extent that earth’s crust becomes unstable and shifts, violently, leading to mother of all, thousands of Tsunami like effects. Okay, all this story telling business, I am leaving upto the readers, because I have something else to talk about.

For me, the film had a lot of topical reasons to watch, the opening shot is in a mining field in the Eastern India (2009), where an Indian astrophysicist Dr. Satnam Tsurutani, played by UK-Indian actor Jimi Mistry, tips his fellow American scientist friend Adrian (Chiwetel Ejiofor) about a doomsday and reasons why he and others should start checking their clocks more often. Apparently, Madhu Koda, the Chhattisgarh CM accused of laundering millions of money from the Iron and copper mines undergoes intense interrogation by sleuths.

The earthquake scenes, in the film, the African-American president Thomas Wilson aka Danny Glover decides to stay in the Capitol Hill alongside fellow Americans. Whereas the Air force One, heads towards Tibet. Nobel Prize winner and current US president Mr. Barack Obama, is in China today to discuss peace and business, I guess.

In the film, Tibetans monks were shown getting back to the working mould to construct a ship read (Noah’s Ark). Last week, Dalai Lama, the supreme commander of Tibetan cause was asked to restrict his movements from Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) by the Indian government.

Does all that sound, funny? Maybe yes, I am not sure, but watching the whole of California sliding in the Pacific’s, the Yellowstone completely destroyed by an hydrogen-bomb-like explosion, LA skyscrapers twisting and tumbling like a pack of cards, the White House, engulfed by a fighter war ship, the Vatican crashing into the ground and finally gigantic tidal waves swamping the Indian peninsula is a visual treat. I am not a wise spender, I know that and I am working on that front, but I also do not contemplate spending 500 bucks at PVR near you. My paisa is wasooled.

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 | Author:

“Iss desh ko rakhna mere bachchon sambhaal ke.” You must have heard this song playing on radio or TV on August 15, October 2 or January 26. The patriotic song from the film Jagriti was sung by Mohd. Rafi. However, many people across the border hear this song playing on August 14.

A Rare Message to Pakistani Youth-1957

Somebody in Pakistan also sailed the same kashti to safety from the same toofaan. He also had kids, who were being appealed to. The only difference being that they were being told to rescue the mulq, not the desh. The lyrics and the music are exactly the same. While technically the Pakistani boat reached the shores before the Indian one, this composition is originally Indian. A Pakistani got, as Pritam would say, ‘inspired.’ It must be a time zone issue.

Wait a minute. Am I sounding like bashing a Pakistani? NO. I love the country and its people. With due respect to my national anthem, I declare that I enjoy the Pakistani national anthem more than Jana Gana Mana. However, I have no respect for people who project a stolen piece of work as their own – irrespective of their nationality.

By the way, there is another song “Sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamal”. That one became “Aye QaideAzam tera ahsaan hai ahsaan”. This was still creative, considering only the music was copied and Gandhi was replaced with Jinnah. The height of plagiarism, however, was in the video. In the Indian version, a handicapped student is singing the song. The disability of the Pakistani director is visible in his inability to think of something different.

 

Thursday, July 16th, 2009 | Author:
Harry Potter - The Half Blood Prince

Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince

The waiting of over a year culminated in my being able to get tickets for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince tonight – the first day it was released. The hours were difficult to pass and the day seemed to stretch unnaturally, keeping me away from one of the few things I am passionate about. Needless to say, when the movie started, I was all ready to stand up and hoot and clap. But I stopped soon enough. Did they say this movie was based on JK Rowling’s book, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince??? Ok, I agree, some of the characters were taken from the book but not the story. Being the generous person I am, I will agree to accept that the screenplay was loosely inspired by a dream the writers might have had after reading JK Rowling’s book.

The parts that make the book intriguing, the crucial aspects that all tie up together to form the last book, the experiences that made the Half Blood Prince who he was, everything was foregone to make a story that was full of computer gimmicks for children.

Don’t they realise that most of the audience would be of people who have read the book and have pictured the story in their minds and want to see how their own vision would be translated on screen? Let me give you a small example without giving away the story for those who haven’t read the book – a quiet Christmas at The Burrow was turned into a fight for one’s very life as half the Death Eaters turned up and burned the house down!!!! Why? How did that help the story except to showcase the prowess of the graphics team?

OK I get it now – the movie should have been called Harry Potter and the Half Trained Geeks – an advertisement on how far Britain has come when it comes to animation. It isn’t as though Daniel Radcliffe has finally taken acting classes and breaks into an expression at least in an odd scene here and there. So it couldn’t be about Harry Potter.

In short, I am appalled and amazed that JK Rowling would give her blessings to this movie and not take them to court. I want to. But then, I suppose, she doesn’t want her next book to be Harry Potter and the Half Paid Bills.

Sunday, May 10th, 2009 | Author:

One can’t be apologetic for being successful but, Is Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire truly worth getting 8 Oscars?

Remember Parinda? A Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s mega hit movie. If you will go through the movie again you will find Slumdog’s Jamal, his brother Salim and his girlfriend Latika is the replica of Parinda’s Karan (Anil Kapoor), Kishen (Jakie Shroff) and Paro (Madhuri Dixit) respectively, who rose from Mumbai slums. Parinda was even Indian official entry for 1990 Academy Awards in the best foreign film category but didn’t win the Oscar.

I was besides myself with joy when I saw A.R.Rahman getting 2 Oscars for the same movie but that very time one thing struck my mind that is Jai Ho (Slumdog millionaire song) the best song he composed ever? It seemed to me that those block heads are really carrying coal to castle because there are many A. R. Rahman’s songs which are well worth of an Oscar.

In the movie Lagaan The English were grievously in charge of Indian’s life in ruin. But when twist of fate occurred, pride hath a fall and the restrained Indians took time by the forelock and succeeded with new fangled English men in their own National game Cricket, it was really a shameful event for them. Lagaan was nominated in parallel with Amelie, No Man’s Land, Son of the Bride and Elling. Yet, self praise is no recommendation but many of us found Lagaan much better than any of these movies or even Slumdog Millionaire but, in the view of Oscar’s jury Slumdog was worth getting 8 Oscars and Lagaan not even for one. It’s difficult to say whether it is their decision or obstinacy. Even after the Oscar ceremony Ashutosh Gawarikar said “Americans must learn to like our films”.

Yet Slumdog getting 8 Oscars had already created much ado about nothing but in my view this matter should not really be hushed up. We really need to make Oscar’s jury aware that we are seeing through their tricks and the decisions they are holding with is that, all they like to see is vehemently distraught Indians living in inferno, which Danny Boyle has perfectly caricaturized in Slumdog Millionaire.

Saturday, May 09th, 2009 | Author:

A bunch of would be doctors beat up a nineteen year old fresher to death. An incident of Rajendra Prasad Medical College, Kangra, HP which shocked the nation can become an accident of the past, but the Supreme Court of India’s judgment is truly commendable. The court taking clue of “rampant alcoholism” at education places has directed counselling and de-addiction centres in all educational institutions as mandatory. Albeit how seriously we implement it is a different thing but what surprised me is the selection process of medical students. I have learnt that ragging is an accepted norm quite similar to a child being beaten up by his parents and not telling the world about it.

Quoting the father of deceased boy Aman from Delhi, Dr. Kachroo who said that people are usually indifferent to issues like ragging, unless something like this (death) happens. We do not realize that ragging leaves a scar on an impressionable mind. The cruelty meted out on student days manifests in some or the other ways. Rightly said Dr. Kachroo, I agree with you.

A complete degradation of values, I would say. Violence in any form leaves an indelible mark in a growing child’s brain and the actions are thrown in various ways. It can be the way he talks, the way he handles issues (at home or at work) or you can say it can affect his moral psyché.

Bullying or ragging – I accept is an old practice, but off late may be in the past ten years or so, the introduction of newcomers has taken a sharp turn (of course for worse). Victims suffer from long term emotional and behavioral problems, low self esteem and depression also. If I get inside the skin of a bully for a while I’d, I would say. ‘Once a bully always a bully’.

He may behave differently or sound unorthodox but his traits remain the same. A bully will be authoritative, envious and full of resent. A hazer (an American term of a bully) has insecurity combined with a hyper need to control or dominate peers.

Ragging is everywhere Army, Medical colleges, universities, schools, government offices, corporate blocks where violence is re-defined. Verbal assaults, fixated slang and rigid approach to life in general I’d interpret a bully. Do we need baggage? The court’s decision to separate drug users/ alcoholics from students and instate psychiatrist at educational institutions is the right approach to deal with this growing issue.

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 | Author:
Tag line of Nestle

Tag line of Nestle

Let’s start a self test.

Have you heard about Maggi?
How many of you have tried this humble dish at least once in your life?
How many of you like it?
Can you eat it any time when you are hungry?
Does the magical aroma of the tastemaker leave you asking who’s cooking?

If there are more yes’s then you are a self-proclaimed Maggi loyalist.

Despite loads of USP this humble snack contains Pickloo my friend adds, “this (Maggi) is going to ruin our traditional Indian eating habit” He gets infuriated, “It has no value addition, is this some kind of a food?”

His comment comes to me as a dasher, where in my mind I wish to put Maggi (at least for the younger and selective few from the older generation) as a national food. A national food? They have introduced a range to fit in the Indian bill such as Dal Sambhar, Chatpata, tomato, Vegetable Atta, Shahi Pulao, Bhuna masala, rice mania, Lemon masala apart from the extremely popular masala. Dry vegetables like carrots, beans and onions are also part of the growing strategy to penetrate deep inside the large undivided and hugely fragmented Indian market.

Are you wondering if Nestle has bribed me to write in favor of this? No, FYI Take this: the Maggi lovers at Orkut have 38, 251 and Facebook have 16, 252 members and growing. I am leaving that endless stream of bloggers and self-confessed Maggi lovers who have an online presence, I am sure that the numbers are astronomical at the offline world. For the meat lovers, Maggi, was basically a substitute ‘cheap Meat extract’. It also has over a 100 year presence in history and the origin lies in Eastern European countries – Switzerland, Germany and Austria were the first adaptors and random surveys shout ‘Indians are the highest consumers of Maggi’.

So what’s so special about Maggi? This humble 2 minute smacking item cuts across region, religion, caste, gender, creed, age and has remained a top choice for urban mothers and pampered children when it comes to that evening snack. Evening? We have really lived on this scrumptious food that’s easily available and cheap, an absolute delite for our unplanned breakfasts, impromptu dinners and planned brunches at various point of our lives. My friend Vikram previously had rebuked me to initiate any kind of experiments with Maggi-‘Milk Maggi’. But, my friend, I believe in this process and it is surely going to attract people some day.

What does it takes to have a bowl of it? Rs 10 and 2 minutes.Do you feel the same?

@ Pickloo is going to kill me

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 | Author:

It is intermission and I am still waiting for the story to kick off. Considering the movie was supposed to be about the most lively part of my city, it can’t get worse.

Filmed on the setup of andarun shahar, ‘Delhi-6’ is seen from the eyes of Roshan Mehra [Chchota B (when will he grow up?)]. While Mr. Siddhu Khiladi did a Chandni Chowk to China last month, Roshan moves from New York to Old Delhi with his grandmother (Waheeda Wasted Rehman) and an accent (that pisses you off throughout the movie). Don’t worry. I am not going to reveal the story. The film does not have one. So, AB(CD) and grandma receive a grand welcome from their neighbors, known and unknown. Director Rakeysh Mehra tries to repeat Rang De‘s mixing concept by playing with the backdrop of Ramlila, but fails to execute the magic.

However, what hurts the most is a false image of one of the most historic places in the world. From the very first scene, the area is depicted as a storehouse of chaos. Till the end, the film doesn’t go beyond narrow kuchas and cycle-rickshaws. In contrast to the title song that talked of the city as one with two hearts, the place appears heartless. In the last fifteen minutes, the script mentions (thrice) that the essence of the place are its people. I wish we could see THAT Delhi-6. The steadiness of Purani Dilli, which is much more appealing than its commotion, is not captured by the camera. Instead, the film repeatedly mocks the life of the city. The manner in which the screenplay turns into a spoof about issues like superstitions, mob mentality, family traditions and communalism is unbearable.

The lead actors add to the misery of the viewer. Pawan Malhotra (the younger Sharma), Vijay Raaz (thullaa) and Divya Dutta (Jalebi) put up good performances. Rahman’s superb music (that inspired me to go for the movie) is a misfit to the standards of the film. Don’t make a Kaala Bandar of yourself by going for the movie. Instead, I recommend spend 3 hours wandering on the streets of Delhi-6. Taste the real life of Old Delhi. With the delectable offerings, those 100 bucks will be more than paisa-vasool.

Rating:*1/2

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 | Author:

I read somewhere that “the year 2009 will be a golden year in Indian cinema”. I do not really disagree with his statement. This remark comes from one of the most proficient script writer turned film maker in today’s time.

At Dev D, Love, booze and court dance was subtlety replaced by Sex, drugs plus rock n roll. The plot of the film stood at Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s Devdas where a post colonial weak kneed, drunkard Zamindar spends the rest of his life in a menace. Unbelievable acting, by the lead protagonists and great music score by a rookie. This coke snorting, use for nothing fella, bundles out cash after cash. Visits Old Delhi’s underground garage and ultimately finds himself at peace with Vodka and Leni. I was fuming at the director that how he can make a film of this nature, the same time dumbfound to see actor Abhay’s performance, brain cracking. During the film and after the film (I was not able to watch the last 20 minutes, I left the hall) me within, was asking continuously, how can children or men for that matter be so restless, wayward, lifeless, careless and errant? I felt like straightening him up, with whatever means i can. I came to know that the other woman’s character (Leni) was borrowed from the infamous DPS mobile phone girl. However, nothing of similar nature happened after that, or maybe I don’t know. What is the point in making a full length feature film out of in hindi and dishing out for public consumption? People may disagree with my thoughts, don’t really care. Again, I should give credits to the director and the actor who permeated so well inside the skin of the character that he was able to emote, so well.

After what has happened at Mangalore early this month. I don’t mind watching Dev D with the factions of Sri Ram Sena. Rather I would love to hear what they say. Dev D should be a valentine treat for them.

In the end I would say, Dev D had everything but life.