Archive for January, 2009

victory1

Harman Baweja and his “Victory” is the best example in the current times which proves that a God Gifted Golden spoon does not always guarantee you success in life. You have to earn it with your hard work and by making right decisions at the right time.

Harman Baweja, no doubt is a hard worker, a fine dancer and an actor in making but he is a victim of wrong choices made in the important initial years of his career since he chose two great disasters to start with. “Love Story 2050” was the first mistake made by him, which still gave him some appreciation for his work, but “Victory” is a more bigger blunder chosen by Harman which may result into serious problems for his future works.

The movie starts off with the echoes of “Chakk De India” and then gives us a view of the life lead by an overnight star in cricket. It tries to explain how money, power and fame can adversely affect the talent in a person. The movie has a message to give that you may get success due to luck or talent but maintaining that success needs even better talent and intelligence.

Sadly, this is the only good point about the movie as rest has nothing great to review. All the characters have acted as just another movie they have signed and the direction is too simple to extract anything special from any one. The main USP of the movie was the real Cricketers acting in it. But that only becomes the weakest point of the movie as all the Real Life Heroes are treated as junior artists and are not given the required attention and importance in their respective scenes.

Even the promos were unable to impress and bring all the cricket fans into the cinema halls. Till date except “Lagaan” & to some extent “Iqbal”, all other movies based on cricket have failed to hit the bull’s eye and same is the case with “Victory”. You still need a “Aamir” or “Shahrukh” to make a hit sports movies in India. Imagine the fate of “Lagaan” minus Aamir and “Chakk De India” without Shahrukh.

So I would not like to go in details for reviewing this movie as it has nothing to offer in any department and is big let-down for all associated with it.

This movie once again shows that to be a star-son or industry-born person is not always enough to make it big. The right choice of script and subject is the real backbone of success for any artist here. It happened with Sanjay Dutt when his “Rocky” and other initial attempts were not accepted. But he bounced back in his later years with huge critically acclaimed and hit movies. I hope “Harman” also hits back with new spirits and surprises very soon. My best wishes for him… 

Rating : 1 / 5

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luck-by-chanceIt is the directorial debut of Zoya Akhtar, who is from the talented Akhtar Family. She shows her talent in the direction and script department but sadly chooses the same old story of strugglers in Mumbai changing their attitude after getting a break with some luck. The execution of some sequences is brilliant, but the cliché plot turns the movie into an old wine in a new bottle.

It opens with Konkona Sen Sharma, as a struggling actress, who is waiting for the promises made by a producer. Farhan Akhtar is introduced as another struggler, just out of an acting school and is a friend of Konkana’s neighbor who is a theater artist. These are the characters trying their luck in Mumbai and waiting for the lady luck to smile at them any fine morning. Luckily Farhaan gets a lead role and then he changes with his new bright days of life, forgetting the people who helped him in his old times.

The same theme was also there in Ram Gopal Verma’s “Naach”. But here the difference is that though the movie is all predictable and based on an old plot, still it is well directed and superbly acted by the entire star-cast. Had there been any surprise element in the story, it could have been a far better venture for all. The movie moves at a slow pace and could be trimmed to make it more crispier but all performances are of top notch and some particular scenes are superbly written and directed by Zoya Akhtar. 

Konkona, as expected gives another fine & polished performance of her career, but the best shot once again comes from Farhan Akhtar, the actor. After the super success of “Rock On”, in “Luck By Chance” he proves himself as an established actor sharing the screen presence with veterans of the medium showing his cool confidence. He plays even the most complex scenes with an amazing ease and elegance. His change in style and walk after he becomes a star is superb. Isha Sharwani as Farhan’s heroine is cute and bubbly. She excels in the dramatic scenes with her onscreen mother and in the scene when she is in Farhan’s room at night.

Among the veterans both Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia have given one of their best performances and are highly enjoyable. Rishi specially is commendable as he cries and regrets being a producer in the industry running after stars of his son’s age for dates. Dimple as the diva of the past years and mother of Isha shows that she really was a diva in her own time. Juhi Chawla, Sanjay Kapoor and Ali give the right comic support to the ensemble.

There is a huge line up in the special appearance department, which includes, Aamir Khan,  Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Akshay Khanna, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee, Manish Malhotra, Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar and Shahrukh Khan. Among these Hrithik has a small role in which he shows why he is one of the respected and dependable star in the industry.

Hrithik has given two great scenes in the movie, one while he is talking to Karan Johar in a party and the second when he plays with the street kids while being inside his car at a road block. This particular scene with the street kids was the most impressing one from the director Zoya Akhtar and I rate this scene among the best ones I have seen in the recent times.

The next worth watching cameo comes from the King Khan, Shahrukh. In the few lines he speaks, he explains the life of a superstar and what one should not forget after reaching great heights of success. In this 3 minute scene, Shahrukh says it all and you are made to realize that this person truly deserves the position he is in at the present. 

Another merit of the movie is its dialogues by Javed Akhtar. He manages to explain the emotions of the characters without using any complex or tough words which make it more hard hitting. Cinematography captures the mood and ambience of the studio sets beautifully. The behind the scenes sequences of junior artists, spot boys and assistants are quite revealing and captured intelligently.

But the music of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy was below the mark. The trio sometimes comes up with such an outstanding score and at times surprisingly gives a very mediocre one like in this movie. Only one song “Sapno Se Bhare Naina” is upto the standards set by themselves.

Now coming to the most difficult part of my review, where I have to write that in spite of being a brilliant and impressive directorial venture, the movie becomes the victim of having an old repeated storyline. The viewer exactly knows what the story would be from the first scene itself and that takes away all the charm. We have seen the same plot many times before when one of the struggler becomes a star and his attitude towards life changes. It was there in RGV’s “Rangeela” too but he had added an entertaining touch of comedy to it.

Here in “Luck By Chance” the main drawback is that the movie definitely is capable of impressing the critics but it fails to touch the right chord with the main viewers. There is no relief element in the screenplay and things keep on moving in a very classy way. Even the humor goes over the head at times. Like the scene when Mac Mohan comes to distribute certificates to the Acting School students. He is asked to say his dialogues from “Sholay”. Now he says “50 Hazaar” which was his only dialogue in the movie and remains one of the hidden surprises of “Sholay”(and many may not have realized it). Now the humor in the scene will only appeal to the people related to cinema and its craft but for others it may be tough to understand. 

I was also surprised to see the scenes where Farhaan was making fun of the Theater and Theater Actors in the movie. Even if you don’t love theater, there are people who love it more than cinema and as a respect towards them and their art this should have been strictly avoided by the director.

So, if you see it from the eyes of a person coming to the theater for some relief and enjoyment, the overall impact of the movie is neither emotional nor entertaining. In the end I have to write that “Luck By Chance” is like seeing some well directed and well acted scenes put together without a touchy soul.

In other words the myth that movies based on movie making don’t work is true again. It deserves critical acclaim but may find hard to get a wider audience and acceptance.

Rating : 3 / 5

ijaazat-gulzar

While living the later years of his life, a lonely character suddenly meets a person (in a railway station’s waiting room), who was once the most important one in his life but had parted and gone onto living her own path, in her own way. What happens when two such persons meet, how they remember each personal moment they had lived and how they see the reasons of their separation once again with a new perspective. This is the subject of “Ijaazat”, a very intense, emotional and loving movie from “Gulzar”. The plot gets more enjoyable with two great artists Naseeruddin Shah and Rekha. Anuradha Patel completing the triangle also gives a memorable perfromance of her short career. And another main merit of movie is its music by R. D. Burman. In fact he has done a great job in putting the unconventional lyrics into beautiful compositions. And the songs blend into the scenes and narration beautifully. There are moments of silence in the movie which have a language of their own, and there are some well written one liner dialogue scenes, which are a treat to watch. Another not to be missed gem from the master film-maker, Gulzar. You are sure going to find this movie and its soundtrack both in the collection of almost every fan of bollywood movies.

Directed By Gulzar

Starring : Naseeruddin Shah, Rekha & Anuradha Patel

ar-rahmanghai

The title may seem to be confusing, but this article has got a surprise element for many of my friends here. Before coming to the main subject I would like to mention that this write up of mine is for true music lovers who can listen to a song and judge it without having any partial attitudes and preferences in mind. So it may find some opposition but if you have a good ear and understand music through your heart then you will like to agree with what I have to say here.

 

 

 

Firstly about Subhash Ghai’s relation with “Slum dog Millionaire” :

 

1. THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE SONG “RINGA RINGA”

 

 

If you listen to the first song of the Soundtrack of SM, “Ringa Ringa” then from the start itself you will find it like heard before. That’s because the song starts exactly in the same style as “Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai” from “Khalnayak” directed by Subhash Ghai. Surprisingly there are too many similarities in both the songs that you cannot ignore the inspiration angle here.

 

 

A. Both songs are pretty similar in music, rhythm and arrangement section. The starting notes and the chorus parts are almost same. (Ku Ku Ku turns into Rig Rig Ringa)

 

 

B. In both the songs, there are controversial lyrics sung by the main lead. In “Choli Ke Peeche” a girl is being asked about what is beneath her hot dress. And in “Ringa Ringa” the girl is explaining the pain & discomfort she is feeling because a small insect has gone into her dress.

 

 

C. Both the songs have two voices, one of the main girl and the other of an old lady who is asking the questions to the girl (with all those sounds of “Haye” & “Oye Hoye”).

 

 

D. Now the great one, both the songs are sung by Alka Yagnik & Ila Arun.

 

If you are a good listener than you just cannot deny that the song is inspired.  I think Rahman must have been given a brief that a song like “Choli Ke Peeche” is needed. That may be the reason he came up with such inspired track.

 

I am curious if Subhash Ghai has noticed all these similarities….I think he must have but is silent.

 

2. THE FIRST OFFER OF SONG “JAI HO”

 

 

 

 

A.R. Rahman has just given the music for Subhash Ghai’s latest movie “Yuvraaj”. And while making the music for the Salman Khan starrer, guess which song Rahman offered Subhash Ghai for the movie.

 

 

It was “Jai Ho” which was played to Subhash Ghai by Rahman, but he didn’t find it matching the western musical theme of his movie. So after Ghai’s rejection the song was played to Danny Boyle and his Indian Team. They selected the song for their movie and now the same song is nominated for the OSCARS in particular. Was it a miss by Subhash Ghai ?

 

No, I think we have a lot to share and discuss here regarding the music and song nomination of “Jai Ho” in the OSCARS.

 

 

 

 

A.R. Rahman music director of SM, is a person who I admire, love and consider as the National Treasure of our country. But as true fan, I have some reservations about the soundtrack of “Slumdog Millionaire” representing the huge Himalayan talent of our own Rahman in the west.

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I am proud to see A.R Rahman in the nominee list at the OSCARS and waiting for him to bring us the trophy home but deep in my heart I know that Rahman is much bigger talent than SM. He has given us more greater musical gems in the past and also consistently coming up with more appreciable projects, like in his latest “Delhi-6”. It’s not that SM soundtrack is not good but I really feel that there are more better works of Rahman which should have been nominated much earlier in the years gone by.

 

 

And that arguably makes me think that this nomination for the music is more due to the foreign associations of the movie and its director Danny Boyle who has a good track record in the Festival & Award Circuit. If the West has to know our dear Rahman in a better way, then they are advised to listen to other memorable soundtracks and albums from his repertoire.

 

 

Now I ask my readers here for a true music lover opinion :

 

1. Is the soundtrack of “Slumdog Millionaire” worth the nomination in OSCAR.?

 

2. Wasn’t “Vande Matram”, “Maa Tujhe Salaam”, “Rang De Basanti” and latest “Delhi-6” more better work of Rahman, capable of getting the nomination?

 

3. Why was Rahman not nominated till now, whereas he has given more superior soundtracks in the past if compared to the current “Slumdog Millionaire”?

 

 

 

 

 

4. Till now Rahman has been associated with many international project (like Andrew Lloyd Weber, Lord Of The Rings). Was the OSCAR Jury waiting for his association with a movie based on Indian Poverty to give him the deserved Nomination?

 

Now the million dollar question?

 

 

 

 

 

5. If the song “Jai Ho” was a part of “Yuvraaj” and not “Slumdog Millionaire” then would it have been nominated in the OSCARS. (Or even heard by the OSCAR people once!)

 

So I sense some funny games being played around but taking it in a positive manner, I am waiting for the picture of Rahman with the OSCAR on the front page of all newspapers in the world.

 

 

Proud of our Indian National Treasure – A. R. Rahman

 

 

 

Waiting for your views & comments… 

It is often said in our part of the world that the Western people are short of emotions. May be the material world proves it but this movie shows the soft side of the West. “An Affair To Remember” is bundled with tender loving emotions of two strangers who meet at a ship voyage and knowingly that they should not, but still fall in love. The lead pair has acted just superbly and you really fall in love along with them while watching this loving drama with a touch of comedy.  Some scenes are hillarious as well as lovable and are capable of winning over the viewers completely.

Though the Indian viewers will find that this movie was very poorly copied as Aamir Khan’s “Mann” but still they can enjoy it immensely. Aamir Khan & Manisha Koirala in the Indian version could not meet the excellence achieved by Cary Grant & Debrorah Kerr in this original classic. Few sequences of the film will linger on in your hearts for a long time. The brilliant chemsitry between the lead couple gives the movie a tremendous repeat value. A strongly recommended romantic movie for young couples and for the young at heart. Indeed “An Affair to Remember”.
 
Directed By : Leo McCarey
Starring : Cary Grant & Debrorah Kerr

raaz

Horror Genre in Hindi Cinema has improved and impressed in the last few years and we have now entered a new phase leaving behind the pioneer makers of horror movies in India, The Ramsay Brothers. Mohit Suri, the director of “Kalyug”, now comes up with his “Raaz – The Mystery Continues” and tries his skill in a different subject than his earlier movies. Though his direction is competent but the movie is not as convincing as his earlier ones.

First of all you cannot categorize “Raaz” as a horror movie, because it does not scare you enough. On the other hand it is a suspense thriller with a secret to unfold towards the climax. Though there are some spooky scenes with a story of a spirit taking its revenge, but you don’t feel scared or haunted while watching the movie. In fact the suspense and secret is quite entertaining but its not spine chilling which makes you sit straight with your jaws open. So it was not right on the part of its producers to promote it as a solid horror movie.

The story is about a girl (Kangna) who gets possessed by a spirit who wants to take revenge from his killers. Adhyaman is her boyfriend who does not believe in the supernatural and is also involved in the crimes done in the past. Emraan Hashmi is a painter who gets glimpses of the future sequences which are going to happen with Kangna, so he wants to help her out of it. Emraan is also related to the spirit and the revenge but is ignorant about it.

The movie starts at a very slow speed with all unwanted scenes related to the love affair between Kangna and Adhyaman. And it only catches up as Emraan and the supernatural theme is introduced. Story wise its not a novel theme but is handled well by Mohit in his first attempt in the Suspense/Horror Genre.

If you are not a fan of English & World Cinema then you may find many sequences worth watching and entertaining. But those cinema lovers who have got their dose of Asian Horror movies (Thai/Japanese) would find it all cliché and not good enough. Screenplay is tightly written towards the end but is quite weak at the start. Cinematography is fine with some good effects too.

In the acting department Kangna gets most of the marks once again after “Fashion”. She again is featured here as a ramp model but she is top rate as a scared girl. Her scene where she abuses the spiritualist/politician sitting in the first row of a fashion show is the best scene of the movie. You will be surprised to hear the language used in that scene impressively as it will shake you well on your seats. Adhyaman Suman is just ok with not so impactful with his dialogues and dances. He does a much better job towards the end as the villain.

Emraan Hashmi once again proves that he is quite capable of carrying a solo hero movie and can also bring in the crowds on the first day itself. The opening of this movie strengthens his creditability with the producers to more higher levels. He impresses throughout the movie more with his eyes and expressions. The movie is sure going to add more numbers to his fan following with his stylish new look. It was refreshing to see Jackie Shroff in a special appearance and he acted fine. Musically, “Mahi” song is already a Hit and the other tracks are also soothing to the ear while watching the movie.

One point which goes in favour of the movie is the depth with which “Mohit” uses the couplet of Kabir “Bura Jo Dekhan Main Chala”. The reference to these lines beautifully explains the trauma faced by Kangna in the end scene.

But the main point which works against the movie is that it is not a solid Horror movie as publicized by the producers. It is more like a Hitchcock suspense thriller with great sound effects and shocking secrets. There are certain unanswered question too in the movie, like there is no explanation given to the scene where Kangna insults the Politician in her fashion show (Why she did that?). If the script and narration was written more towards the horror factor, and more scary scenes then this could have been a big crowd puller. But for now it is just an Ok, time pass movie, which can be watched if you have nothing else to do for a few hours.

Lastly as per the tradition of Vishesh Films, “Raaz” is also an inspired movie with inspirations coming from more than one movie. The horror scenes (bathtub scene & the Well in the end) are inspired from “The Ring”. The hidden roof floor in the house inspired from “The Grudge”. The future prediction plot inspired from “The Final Destination” Series Movies. And the main secret of the movie which is told in the climax is inspired from Julia Roberts “Erin Brockovich where she is also investigating about the water of an area getting contaminated due to the Energy & Gas plant running nearby. Sounds Familiar….

Rating : 2 / 5

rahman-national-treasure

He is our own Mozart, our own Beethoven and our own genius who has made us proud winning the Golden Globe, and now sure enough of getting an OSCAR with not one but three prestigious nominations.

I am really happy, thankful to the almighty and proud to call Rahman our precious NATIONAL TREASURE. In fact now he should be treated equally precious as the KOHINOOR and should be given the priority and importance at par with our important national leaders.

I am confident he will bring us the first mainstream OSCAR and prove the Indian talent to the world all over.

But here, I would also like to mention that if you are an Indian Rahman fan and have heard the Soundtrack of “Slumdog Millionaire” then you must have felt that Rahman has given much much better tracks in the past to us than these.

In other words, A.R. Rahman is simply more taller and superior than “Slumdog Millionaire”.

May be the world will recognize his talent through this movie but they should all listen to other mesmerizing gems from the master as a must.

Personally speaking though “Slumdog Millionaire” has some good tracks but I rate Rahman’s following works more entertaining and impactful than this now world famous movie.

To name a few :

Delhi 6 (His latest splendid work), Jaane Tu Ya  Jaane, Jodhaa Akbar, Water, Guru, Rang De Basanti, Swades, Zubeidaa, Thakshak, Fiza, Taal, 1947 Earth, Dil Se, Rangeela, Bombay, Roja and the unforgettable, “Vande Maatram”.

All my fellow Indian friends would agree with me on this that Rahman is a more greater genius than “Slumdog Millionaire” and he is sure going to bring us the Golden Lady soon.

We all love you Rahman, You have made our presence felt in the West and we are immensely proud of you,

A.R. Rahman – Our National Treasure