Archive for September, 2008

If you are a Hitchcock fan and love watching his films then this is what you must watch as your next movie. Strangely, its not in any way related to Alfred Hitchcock but it can surely be called as a Hitchcock movie never made by Hitchcock. A fast paced thriller with a highly entertaining climax and impressive performances by the lead pair Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. The story revolves around a few characters who suspect each other and the screenplay keeps you guessing every 5 minutes with its engrossing sequences. The lead couple looks cute in their small fights and chases. In fact the film is so intriguing that you will find it tough to stop in between and would like to watch it in one go. Its undoubtedly better than the thrillers made even in the current times. One of the best mystery movies I have seen with a pinch of comedy and romance too. It’s sad that these kinds of light and entertaining movies are not being made anymore by the current filmmakers. Make sure this is your next watch if you are a fan of mystery and thriller movies.

Directed By Stanley Donen
Starring : Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn & More

Somehow I missed to include this masterpiece in my list earlier. But now as I see the “Unseen Footage” and the Making of this Epic, I am proud to call it an Indian Classic which also made it to the last final nominations for best foreign film eyeing on an OSCAR. Though it didn’t win but still the movie is worth watching for its innovative theme and superb performances from the entire star cast. And a special mention for the brilliant musical score by another Indian Maestro A. R. Rahman, who is making Indians proud all over the world. “Lagaan” is a result of collective effort by the entire crew headed by Ashutosh Gowariker, the director and Aamir Khan, the lead and the producer of the movie. There are very few movies made in India with the main subject being Sports and “Lagaan”, proudly stands tall in that list at the very first place. It is the really the creative vision of these two people which resulted in this not to be missed flick. 

You must have seen the movie but if possible do see the “Chale Chalo” Bonus Feature DVD on the making of the movie and all the deleted scenes and songs. The making shows all the pain and discomfort suffered by all associated with the movie. It shows the spirit and importance of a good team required for this kind of huge effort. And the climax of “The Making” relating to the disastrous earthquake in Bhuj, where the film was shot is shocking as many may not even know about it. If you loved “Lagaan” then you will love “The Making” even more. Just Go For it Now !

Directed By : Ashutosh Gowariker
Starring : Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh & many more
 

Shyam Benegal, one of the key names, who represent our Indian Cinema in the world. The man responsible for number of award winning meaningful films tries a different genre this time which is a very simple, easy going and fresh attempt. But it may be too straight and slow for the fast paced young audiences.

For his fans (including myself), this is a welcome change from the master of the medium and the maestro seems to be in a completely different mood this time. As a sincere fan, “Welcome To Sajjanpur” is not among best of his works, but it’s entirely a different kind of attempt from him which surely has moments of his golden touch.

The story is about a letter writer in a village, who writes letters for all the villagers and tries to put their feelings in his words. And at times this also leads to interfering in the personal lives of people. The plot is very thin and there are too many characters roped in. So as a result no particular character comes out shining except the letter writer himself. The film starts off easily with a much laid back pace and moves on as each character is introduced. It is more like the good old “Malgudi Days” and impresses as it unfolds stories about each one of them. But some sequences are pretty predictable such as the village elections and the rivalry among the contestants. 

First half is too simple and slow, whereas the second half picks up and generates more interest. The last 40 minutes of the movie are more entertaining and engrossing and the climax reminds you of Hrishikesh Mukherjee kind of cinema. At first it may seem that this is not a movie matching today’s fast pace of life, but as it moves on, it takes you in and after the last few minutes you feel that you liked it.    

Performances wise each and every character shines like a star in the sky and “Shreyas Talpade” is like the moon with the stars. Undoubtedly, this is his best performance after “Iqbal” and “Dor”. Amrita Rao, though has acted well but deliberately speaks like a village girl, where she gets caught. Rest all have done a fine job but since no other character has an upper edge provided by the writer so everyone is at par with each other. Musically, the title song is good but all the other songs should have been avoided.

In few words, it’s a simple and sweet movie, to enjoy as the gold old cinema from the golden era of Indian Movies. It may not be liked by the youth as it has nothing to offer to the Rock Generation. But it has the values which we find missing in the current times.

One Request for the viewers who are new to Shyam Benegal Cinema :

If you are watching this as your first Shyam Benegal flick then Please don’t make any viewpoint about the master from this movie. This a different genre tried by the master and it’s like he is chilling out after making some very intense and meaningful movies. I insist and request you to watch his “Suraj Ka Satwan Ghoda”, “Hari Bhari”, “Mammo”, “Mandi”, “Bhumika”, “Ankur” before reaching to any unjustified conclusion about Shyam Benegal.

Particularly a must see is “Suraj Ka Satwan Ghoda” where you will find most of the cast of “Welcome To Sajjanpur” doing a completely different act with the utmost conviction.

In the current trend of loud comedies, “WTS” might be too simple and slow for the young viewers but it has its moments to enjoy.

Rating : 2.5 / 5

First of all I wish to thanks “Mr. Ronnie Screwvala” for being a unique producer who has the guts to back up projects like “A Wednesday”. Secondly, Kudos to writer & director “Neeraj Pandey”, who brings a fresh & new tide in the vast ocean of Hindi Cinema.

“A Wednesday” is not a big movie, but it is many times powerful than all the 50-70 crores projects being talked about in the news. It’s a movie which shows the signs of intelligence and the art of film making flowing in the veins of our young directors. It’s a movie made with courage, with conviction and with a strong point to raise in favor of a common man.

Without giving away the main plot, the story is about confrontation between a man played by Naseeruddin Shah, who has planted bombs in the city and Anupam Kher, the Police Chief of the city.  In simple words it’s like fire between two stalwarts of our Hindi Cinema and they both make it just worth watching. I remember seeing two giants together on the screen last time in “Saudagar” (Dilip Kumar & Raj Kumar) and way back in ”Shakti” (Dilip Kumar & Amitabh Bachhan). And like those two movies, this one too satisfied my expectations to a large extent.

Though the movie starts with some predictable scenes of planting bombs in public areas. But after this weak start, the moment first phone call goes to the office of Anupam Kher, the film is straight away in the top gear and never looks back. The script is strictly to the point and that takes the viewer to the edge of his seat with every passing minute. Many movie buffs may judge the main twist post interval but even after you have cracked it, the movie still has the grip to keep you glued to your seats.

Performances have many surprises in store for the viewer. First of all, Jimmy Shergil is completely convincing and once again impressive in his act of an angry young police officer. The four terrorists and the entire supporting star cast has done a commendable job which makes you believe the unexpected happening on the screen. Cinematography and Background Music both completely support the vision of the director.

Frankly speaking, the script has its flaws like what happened to the bag planted by Naseer at the station in the start of the movie. But these loopholes must be (essentially) ignored to enjoy one of the most powerful film of this year.

The last 20 minutes need a special and standing ovation for both the director and the actors. The long, strong and impressive explanation by Naseer about his reasons is a kind of landmark in Hindi Movies. You will find each word, completely justifying our day to day experiences in life. You will feel that whatever may be the outcome, this man (Naseer) is somehow saying the right thing, which you may have felt at some moment in your life.

The worth praising fact about the movie is that it doesn’t take sides for any religion or its followers. There are references to some Hindu & Muslim characters, but they do not indicate any partiality on behalf of someone particular character. At many times, the silence of the actors, just says it all.

And the best part is that the director refuses to tell the real name of the man causing all troubles in the end. And the narration says that “If a name is given then it will lead to un-necessary conclusion, so let it be a common man who chose to fight for his own safety”. And that, in my opinion is the most unexpected and original climaxes you may have seen in a Hindi movie. A well written and fantastically executed climax scene, when both Naseer & Anupam shake hands and cross each other is simply excellent.

The two volcanoes of talent, Naseer & Anupam Kher have nothing to prove about themselves, but they do prove one thing…..that we are not making much films which can tap the talent available in the country.

Imagine Naseer in “Jaane Tu….” & Anupam Kher in “C Kkompany” after watching “A Wednesday”. You will surely understand what I am trying to say. I also remember “Nasser” & “Om Puri” together in “Maqbool” in the same context.

Coming back to the movie, “A Wednesday” certainly takes its place among the Top10 movies of both Naseeruddin Shah & Anupam Kher. And the director “Neeraj Pandey” is a talent to watch out in the coming future.

An essential Watch, even at the cost of a holiday from your work.

Rating : 4.5 / 5

You may not feel the way you felt after watching ”Dil Chahta Hai” but you are sure to feel good and contented to have something new on the Indian Celluloid. “Rock On” may not be a trend setter but it will surely act as a path opener for the budding film-makers.

Rock mania or Rock style of living have very limited takers in our part of the world. And that might be the reason the director doesn’t follow the hardcore rock styles but opts for a soft rock feel in the movie. But he does a fine and competent job, shifting from his acting to directing a movie he believed in. Abhishek Kapoor comes up with a movie which has a fresh appeal, a perfect script with perfect character sketches which are capable to hold even the viewers who don’t know what “Rock” is.

It’s about four friends and their rock band called “Magik”, their struggle to make it big, their break up and then their re-union after a gap of 10 years. Apart from the direction, the revelation comes from the acting department as almost every person in the movie has given a soulful and energetic performance, highly enjoyable and entertaining.

Purab Kohli as the Killer Drummer of the band comes up with a lovable and superlative act with his own unique comic touches. Luke Kenny as the keyboard player surprisingly gives a controlled & subtle performance, which is really appreciable. Arjun Rampal gives the best shot of his career, as the lead guitarist and he is surely going to surprise people who called him wooden faced. Critics would find it tough to criticize him this time around.

And now the man who was way above the expectations, Farhan Akhtar. Before seeing the movie I was having the opinion that Farhan has just tried one movie for fun and he was only satisfying his passion for music and singing with this opportunity which came his way. But he proved me wrong. Farhan is hugely impressive and convincing in his act of the lead singer of the band. He acts easily with no hassles at all and he is exactly like he was seen in the reality shows he judged. You may feel as he is your friend next door, having mood swings like we all have and nothing filmy at all.

The icing on the cake is the raw voice structure he has and his singing style. It seems that he simply doesn’t care about the details to be taken care of while singing. He sings brilliantly, screams at places, goes out of tune somewhere but he simply remains himself. And that’s the beauty of his un-comparable and fantastic realistic approach. At times he looks arrogant but that’s how his character is in the script. On the whole, with this fine attempt Farhan moves miles ahead in his career and would surely win many more fans than he had as a director.

Prachi Desai gives an impressive and lovable debut performance. She is sure to go places as she works harder on her looks and styling. Koel Puri in her short role is sweet. Every other supporting actor in the movie provides the required strength to the narrative and is worth praising. Director Abhishek Kapoor raises the bar of expectations and now his next venture will be highly awaited.

The movie is very close to being perfect with only few point of the minus side. Firstly, there is no Bass (Base) Guitarist in the band, who is considered as the backbone of a Rock Band. But that is only for the people who know the Band Requirements, otherwise this can be ignored. The only point where it lacked something is its music and lyrics. A musical movie with a rock background certainly needed more good & hummable songs with some more youthful and energetic lyrics. The concert song “Laundry Ka Bill” is good but the “Slow Love Song” lacked the depth. You don’t remember any particular song from this musical movie while walking out. The only thing you remember is the surprising Farhan Akhtar act and to some may be Prachi Desai.

In my opinion as “Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy” also have a good & healthy relationship with “Vishal-Shekhar”. They could have brought Vishal in, as he has the experience of being the lead singer of a rock band and has performed in the rock concerts for several years. May be he could contribute in the score and helped.

But keeping these thoughts aside, “Rock On” is a new and fresh experience for our Indian Viewers. It is a must watch for every youngster as it teaches the importance of your passions in life and the strength of a good team. It will give you power to follow your own paths and be responsible for them.

Rating : 3.5 / 5

There are numerous movies made on the cause of Terrorism and about the people behind the inhuman acts. But here comes a movie which emphasizes on impact of these happenings on people from different parts of life, rich and poor, brave and strong, young and old. And the sensitivity with which the consequences have been captured by the director is indeed commendable. Nishikant Kamat’s first Hindi venture is a  praise worthy effort, which shows you the aftermath of Mumbai Train Blasts and amazes you in the two hours of its narration.

There is a new trend catching up fast with the filmmakers in Indian Cinema, to take up 5-6 stories together and then telling the story from different angles with different characters. Naseeruddin Shah tried this in his debut directorial venture, then Anurag successfully adapted this in his “Metro” and you may recall many more movies made in the recent times with the same multi-plot structure.

But “Mumbai Meri Jaan” stands apart from these all both in quality and content. There are moments in the movie which are immensely realistic and the viewer can relate to characters he is close to. The script has some sequences which you may have thought of while watching the tragedies and their victims on news channels in your secured homes.

Like the story of Soha Ali Khan, which thoughtfully showcases the psyche of reporters and news channels, when they want to cash on each new tragedy and mis-happening on their channels. You may have also thought sometimes that how a reporter can ask a person who has lost his entire family about “How is he feeling?”. It’s simply inhuman to have such courage to ask such question to the victims. This question is answered when there is a twist in the story and the reporter Soha Ali Khan herself becomes the victim. She loses her fiancé in the blasts and then another reporter asks her the same question. That’s a brilliantly executed sequence with feel, depth and questions unanswered.

The best of the 5 main characters is Paresh Rawal, giving one of his finest performances as a police constable retiring in few days. Along with Vijay Maurya as his assistant both emote and act as real life characters on the street. They superbly show the pain and discomfort caused by the faulty system in their own different ways. Worth watching performances by both.

Madhavan, can be seen in his best ever cameo in a Hindi movie. People who may not be his appreciators would find it hard to ignore his fine act as a person who was there in the train but survived. Many would have faced the same trauma in days after, who were there in the trains at the time of the blasts.

The two masters Irfan Khan & KK are again at their best and they prove once again why they are considered the top among the younger generation. Irfan Khan is a treat to watch as a poor person who is thrown out of a Mall and takes revenge from the rich in his own unique way. KK gives a unforgettable performance as a strong person, who helps the blasts victims to reach hospital. After that day, he finds hard to trust any other person out of his cast and the sequence of his transformation has been canned impeccably.

Though the movie has its loose ends and it also has a Mumbai ambience which some may find tough to relate to. But still you cannot afford to miss it, if you love this medium of expression.

Together Paresh Rawal, Irfan Khan, KK, Madhavan & Soha Ali Khan make this movie worth watching for every single person who feels for his nation (East or West). A treat for lovers of cinema. A must watch in Hindi Cinema after a long time.

Rating : 4.5 / 5    

As it was a movie directed by Kabeer Kaushik of “Seher” fame, i was expecting much more than served. The promos were lacking the pull and so was the movie. It started off as a regular revenge drama when a child witnesses the murder of his family and then remembers it to take his revenge later on in his youth.

The child is picked by a naxalite group led by Danny and he transforms him into a sharp shooter Bobby Deol. The twist in the story comes when Bobby is chosen by the Intelligence Agencies to work for them. And thats it, no other novelty is there in the plot and there are   the same old sub plots of love and emotions seen several times before on the silver screen.

It is strange why the director selected this script, which had nothing new to offer and had no experimentation which was seen in his first movie “Seher”. Subjects on Police and Intelligence Agencies seem to be the favorites of Kabeer Kaushik. But this time he has not given even half of what was there in “Seher”.

Though the performance of Bobby Deol needs special mention but that goes unnoticed as the film fails to generate any interest. He shows improvement in his act as an extension to what he played in “Bichhoo”. But an entire talented starcast is just doing nothing in the film. Priyanka Chopra looks ravishing but has no characterisation to work on. Irfan Khan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Rajpal Yadav, Deepal Shaw are simply there doing their act unconvincingly. There are no relief moments as both Ritesh & Rajpal are given intense characters for a change, which sadly does not work.

Music also has the same feel of being unimpressive and Monty has just given a regular score for the movie. Action is good but the viewer gets an overdose of bloodshed. In the recent times, similar kinds of subjects have been seen earlier in “Contract” and many more.

So there in very less to offer this time by the talented director as his script lets him down.

Rating : 1.5 / 5