Sunday, December 28, 2008


When I saw Lagaan, I thought this is the ultimate and one cannot do better that this. Then Aamir came up with Dil Chahta Hai and Rang De Basanti and I was in the same state – Nobody can do better than this. But, again to my pleasant surprise, he proves me wrong by coming up with Tare Zameen Par. This time also I was expecting Aamir to come up with something fresh, something different. But after watching Ghajini, I felt – Is this really an Aamir khan movie? How can he do such a bad movie which even a new comer in 80s would think twice before signing? The movie is by far the worst movie I have seen in 2008.

The only person acting in the movie was Aamir khan; the rest were overacting. The screeching body languages of the actors complemented the clich├ęd, needless, baseless and ridiculous dialogues. It appeared that no proper dialogue writer was hired for the film. The dialogues seem to be written by the spot boys and/or some struggling actor. Or it could be that a competitor exchanged every script before the shot. I am just trying to guess all possible justifications for such bad dialogues.

The actors, especially (Asin Thottumkal) Kalpana and Jiah, seem to be doing a lot of theatre these days. They looked completely oblivious of the camera infront of them. Nope, I am not complimenting them. They forgot the difference between theatre and motion picture. They were acing in the movie as if they were acting in a play where there is no microphone and they have to enact everything out to be double sure that the audience understand the sequence. Asin’s showing three fingers when talking about three ambassadors (now what’s wrong with that? How many fingers is she supposed to show?) reminds me of the song “Lambi Judai” where the ‘banjaran’ enacts the lyrics of the song.

Let’s take the plot now. Ghajini is introduced in the movie as the chief guest of a medical college fest. What kind of people do you expect to be invited as chief guest at a college fest? A scientist? A military personnel? An ex-student who is very successful in his field? A politician? No. You are wrong. This medical college has Gajni, a goon, as the chief guest! [BTW, a few of the readers said that he was introduced as a pharma giant. But this doesn't change anything. That pharma giant comes with gunman and himself carries gun!] This doesn’t end here. The host of the fest was a professor of the college! Script writer, did u ever go to a college fest or a college for that matter? Our script writer's fantacy doesn’t end here. He makes the professor, the anchor, ask the students to be silent when the chief guest, the goon, Ghajini was going to come. Lols.

Asin is cornered in the last of the go-through compartmenet of train by the gundas. Now she doesn't close herself in the bathroom which she had earlier done. But the muscle girl Asin opens up the shutter which separated two bogies with one hand very easily! Bravo. And guess what? There are military ppl on the other side! The director made even Aamir’s girlfriend so healthy. Sir, have you ever opened a shop’s shutter – which is opened and closed daily?

The end was even more hilarious. Aamir Khan has enormous strength. I particularly remember one sequence where he twists the head an ‘aadami’ of Ghajini by 180 degrees and he dies on-the-spot. Now when Aamir khan hits Ghajini, he does a lot of time pass where he could have killed him in just on go. This gives Ghajini enough opportunity to insert an iron pipe into Aamir’s stomach. But Aamir khan doesn’t die! He gets up and kills Ghajini. Now the best part, Aamir still remains alive and lives in an orphanage. I thought he required medical treatement or some rehab center but definitely not an orphanage. This hero-always-survives ending wouldn’t have been acceptable even in the 80’s.
I can keep going on about the pathetic treatment of each scene. Maybe, I’ll add it some other time.

The spiderman-types action/acting of Aamir Khan looked unwarranted. The action shown in the movie was too raw and unrefined. The action, nevertheless, was infected by the Rajanikanth-syndrome. The music didn’t really have any role to play. The songs were picturised in tollywood way. I remember watching a south Indian song where just the color of heroine’s dress changes automatically like disco light. Similar picturisation is shown here. This is okay. It wasn’t all that bad, if the other things were congruous.

The only nice part of the move was the flash back and the mild love story between Aamir and Asin. Yeah, that was the only thing in the movie which was not yelling.

If you have a colleague/classmate/neighbor who has been irritating you and you want to teach him a lesson, then gift him a ticket to Ghajini and you would have over compensated for his deeds.

- Cheers!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Telugu Rab Ne ...

Today morning one of my friends told me that Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is more like a Telugu movie. In Telugu movies, the hero can disguise himself by just wearing a small mole on his cheek and alas! nobody can recognize him. Per him, by just shaving his mustache off, SRK has Telegu-cinemaically disguised himself :) This reminds me of Tashan where the trio wears wigs and nobody could recognise them! Amazing, isn't it? Couldn't help writing about this Telugu Rab Ne ... I was, literally, ROFL. BTW, is this disguise is what they are referring to when they say "Magic of Indian Cinema"?

- Cheers!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

[This is for people who have seen the movie. I am not narrating the story of the movie here - rather sharing my after-thoughts]

Is there a Raj in each Suri? This is what struck me when I was watching the movie. Is it possible that a reserved person like Suri ever, no matter how hard he tries, be like Raj? But then I thought - there is this one self that we are, there’s this another person that we want to be and there is this third person that the world wants us to be. Our whole life goes in aligning ourselves with what we are, what we want to be and what others want us to be. Suri’s character was a depiction of this state. Raj personified what he ‘felt’ Tani wanted him to be. The Suri-from-Panjab-Power was what the world wanted him to be. And in between these two somewhere there was the real Suri.

It looks almost impossible how the same person can play both the roles (in the movie). How much can a person love someone so as to change to such an extent! Or was this what Suri always wanted to be at some corner of his heart – this just gave him an outlet? When, Vinay Pathak asks SRK to be Raj forever, SRK says that Suri cannot change (I don’t remember what exactly he said – but this is the gist if it). This shows the inertia – the importance he gives to his perceived image. Suri was always seen as an erudite, nerd person. That had become part of his self. He was ready to be a different person with a different name but was not ready to change himself as Suri – I know, this probably is too confusing and may not even make sense. These are my thought strung into words. The thoughts are way too sketchy.

Now let’s take the movie at its face value. The ending was too gripping. My mailbox was spammed with the story of the movie almost a fortnight before its release. Yet, till the last moment (almost), it was not clear how the movie is going to end. I found the movie's ending similar to Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam's. The heroine gives in to the sacrifices of her husband (in both the movies).

Acting of SRK was "A1" :). When I read the story in the mail, I was wondering how can Tani not recognize her husband! But considering the fact that SRK acted brilliantly in both the roles and also that they had hardly seen each other properly, it was well digestible. Vinay Pathak did full justice to his role. Anushka Sharma was good - the aesthetically shot scenes of hers were nice :-P

The music is good. The “aaa” (alap) which comes in between the song ‘tujhme rab dikhta hai’ looks like a direct copy of “aaa” (alap) in ‘aao huzoor – lounge remix version’. ‘haule haule’ reminds of Adnan Sami- Amitabh Bachchan song – ‘maula kabhi mujhe chhodna’. The choreography was good as well. ‘Dance pe chance’ could have been better choreographed given the lyrics and the situation of the song. Kajol looked amazing – perhaps, I am a bit biased here. Looks like there is some rift between Yash Raj and Amitabh Bachchan – ‘hum haii rahi pyar ke’ didn’t have any Amitabh Bachchan sequence!

All in all – the movie was a good watch. It, however, cannot be compared to a milestone like DDLJ. The movie is a typical bolywood masala movie with a dash of grayness. BTW, I was thinking shouldn't "ban di" be one word - "banadi"?


Monday, December 8, 2008

Raj Thackeray - An iota of substance

[The following is my response to the Raj Thackeray episode where he throws the non-Marathi low skilled labours off - It's copied from a mail i wrote on this issue]

I am not 100% against Raj Thackarey. There is some substance in what he's saying. But his course of action and, perhaps, his intentions are disgusting. The issue, indeed, is there. Not sure if Raj Thackarey had thought of it. It's something like this:

One part of the pond is "cold" - So the fish from that part of the pond goes to other parts of the pond. In that endeavor, knowingly or unknowingly, they make the other parts of the pond colder. Raj Thackarey is trying to remove the "cold" fish from the warmer part. But the solution is two-fold - (1) make the "cold" part warmer and (2) make provisions for native fish in the warmer part so that they are not affected just because some other part of the pond is cold. But doing (2) without one would be unjust to the "cold" fish. Doing (1) and (2) would be win-win for all. Hope the analogy is clear. If it's not clear, it's none of your faults :)

A good deal is always a win-win deal

- Think...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Paradise everywhere

Though, we may all agree that 9/11 gave terrorism a new shape, we must not forget that 9/11 was the ONLY major terror attack on the US. The Americans are safe as long as they are in their homes - as the terrorists have not been able to do them much harm in their homes. So, the terrorists target a Marriott Hotel in Pakistan or a Taj Mahal Hotel in India.

Please don't get me wrong here. I am not supporting/condemning the stance US had taken on terrorism. What i am saying is, irrespective of their stance, they are able to save their ppl.

For India, it's an utter Intelligence failure. For that matter, most terrorist attacks are due to intelligence failure.We like aping US in everything we do. We copy the way they talk, dress and eat. But we have not done a tenth as much as they have done to safeguard their ppl.

Terrorist attacks have become so commonplace that we are now on the verge of being comfortabely numb about it. Looks like we should rename all the cities to Kashmir.

- Think ...


Awfully predictable and chewing gum stretchable.

The movie is:

Okay - if you are in a bad mood (you tend to feel good about your intelligence as you correctly predict not only the next sequence but also the next dialogue) and wanna just laugh at the suckers.

Not Okay - if you really wanna watch a good movie.

Okay - if watch it at a single screen theatre or at home.

Not okay - if u watch it at a multiplex < Not worth Rs 200 >


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fashion - What??

There are two things you take back after watching Fashion – the first is the ubiquitousness of Nokia phones. Nokia phone is generally known for its sturdiness and high battery life. It is not perceived as a high-end phone. With Fashion, Nokia seems to be trying to change its brand image. The use of the Nokia phone by the high profile ppl in the glamour industry plays a good role in that. The Nokia ringtone played makes the statement all the more explicit. I personally hadn’t seen all those models (of Nokia phones) before. So, yes, I’d say it was a good advertizing strategy by Nokia. CCD also did good advertisement by positioning itself as the meeting place for the models – testifying its catch line, a-lot-a-can-happen-over-coffee. Given the ban on the advertisement of alcohol, Smirnoff took this opportunity to display its crystal clear liquour. Also, Diet coke was seen in between. Even, Habib’s didn’t miss this opportunity to advertize itself as the salon de la models

This is all I observed in the movie. Now, if this is all I observed, then it means there was nothing else to see in the movie. The story line was not only very week abut also very predictive. This is the worst thing a filmmaker would like his film (or story, in case it has one) to be – predictive. Madhur Bhandarkar seems to resting on his laurels. After films like Page 3, which are milestones of Bollywood, a rung of the mill movie like Fashion is least expected. Looks like Madhur is following Subhas Ghai not only by appearing in his movie but also by making an ordinary movie after some extraordinary stuff. The producers, Rahul (?) Screwwala and Madhur bhandarkar, seem to have made enough money from the above brands to cover the costs. I feel , a real measure of how good a movie is, is to measure how many times the audience looks at his watch. I looked at my watch at least 10 times. This is indicates how incapable the movie was to attract its audience.

But there was one good thing in the movie. Kangana Ranaut. This is the second thing I took back, Shee proved that that she is a really good actor. The sudden change in expression when she goes from the backstage, where she is drunk and doped, to the ramp, where she in no time bring attitude to her face, was amazing. She even looked like a show stopper. I started admiring her when Priyanka chopra becomes a model and does ramp walk. Kangana was far far better. She did full justice to the role. Great acting! Other actors were just okay. No other impressive performances.

Overall, it’s a waste of time to watch this movie. This time can be better utilized by killing flies and mosquitoes. Even if the only movie to compete with Fashion were Fashion (,i.e., the same movie), the former would have still lost to the latter :)


Monday, September 29, 2008

Welcome to Sajjanpur

If you have read my blogs, you’d know that I analyse critically the movies I see. I highlight the bloopers in the movie, and sometimes even suggest what could have been done to make the movie better. But this time I have no criticism and no suggestions. Welcome to Sajjanpur is a welcome respite from the senseless, meaningless movies releasing like people from projects in IT companies.

Welcome to Sajjanpur uses humor (as opposed to misuse, as done by a lot of movies these days) to tell grave realities of our society. Shyam Benegal, intricately weaves - a political saga, a child-widow problem, a human organs business, harassment of girls due to superstition and aspirations of an educated average village youth - by humour. Most comic sequences in the movie not only tickle you but also pose some thought provoking questions about the society we live in. The hegemony of the illiterate, Hindu MLA candidate, the helplessness of the Muslim opponent and the pains of the eunuch who finally wins the election – all points to the problems prevalent in the political space. Another heart throbbing story was that of a child widow who got a decent suitor. Both the families were more than happy with the relation but the couple was hung alive from tree by the society who took widow remarriage as a crime. The story of a woman whose husband goes to the city for work, not only describes the emotional trauma a woman (and more so a man) separated from her (his) spouse for four years go through but also hints at the organ-sale racket when her husband writes her that he is going to sell his kidney to buy a house for them. The most humouros of the stories, the story of a girl who was not getting a suitor because she was a “mangalik”, hints at the superstition of which our society is a victim. The girl, diagnosed as mangalik was prescribed to marry a dog born on a Saturday!

The movie ends in an overall positive note. The letter writer turns into a novelist. The manglik gets married (to this writer). Munni wins the election and is influential in the parliament (though Benegal doesn’t say whether the influence was good or bad). However, the hanging of the couple sensitizes the audience about the backwardness of our society.

I have purposely avoided using the names of the character or actor which played the roles. The characters represent average villagers – not only of Sajjanpur but of any place in India. All the actors did full justice to their characters. Sreyas Talpade, Amrita Rao, Rajeshwari Shachdev, Illa Arun, and all the others did an amazing work.

The music of the movie is good – not outstanding. The lyrics of the songs are really meaningful and add to the overall flow of the movie. I, especially, remember one song sung by the eunuch while campaigning. The song goes something like – “Pehle raja aye, phir rani aayi – ab munni jitegi”. It means – first there was the kingdom of “kings” – probably hinting at the Mughal rulers – all male. Then came the Queen – probably hinting at the British Queen and now Munni (the eunuch) is going to win.
If I still had to find one thing in the movie which I liked comparatively less was the dripping of nose instead of eyes of Illa Arun. But, still I think, it did good job in lightening the issue at hand. See, I still cannot find one clear “flaw”. The light but realistic treatment given to such heavy, grave subjects is really amazing. I had not seen such an amazing movie with such varied shades and colors in recent times – some part of the movie being painted with bright, cheerful colors, some with grim, dark ones and some with obscured colors whose myriad shades pose serious questions to the audience. You must have guessed by now (given the number of times I used the word ‘amazing’) that I found the movie, well, amazing :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rocking Rock-On

A shaadi-ka-song in a rock album – this is exactly what Rock On turned out to be. The switching of the storyline between the “rocking” past and the mundane present was brilliantly done. This aroused curiousity in the audience to find out what went wrong among the friends. The characters of the film were well-designed. I could, kind of, associate myself with KD or Aditya. Now, don’t get me wrong here. I don’t mean that I am as rich as Aditya/KD are shown – nor I was part of a rock band – nor were the characters inspired by me – I bet u didn’t see my name in acknowledgements. But, rock was an integral part of our college life - rock competitions during fests, rock performances during freshers’/farewell, rock songs played in gachhtolas and canteens. I was never and am still not into rock, but somehow, rock did get into me, though very little. And now, I am leading a corporate life where disco nights have taken over rock shows and cafeteria over canteen. Outwardly, it all appears great. But somehow, there is a yearning to go back to the good ole days. This was portrayed in both KD’s and Aditya’s character.

The movie went well , given that it was targeted for not-so-rock-savvy Indian audience who thinks that Boyzone in a rock band. It doesn’t get into the darker/harsher side of the rock genre. The music was good and went well with the story – kudos to Shankar Ehsaan Loy. The movie and the friendship did reminded me of DCH but then, any movie showing urban-contemporary friendship is bound to be compared to or associated with DCH.

But. the brain tumor thing was too much of melodrama – though not explicit. The movie could have been just about a rock band. Why does someone need to have brain tumor, of all the deseases? This was similar to the stand of the music company owner. When Magik won the Channel V contest and was offered an album , the audio company asked it to add a shaadi-ka-gaana to the rock album. C’mon, this is the limit. This is highly unrealistic. Given the era in which the movie was set, it unrealistic and irrational of the audio company owner to insist for a marriage song to a rock album. The company should have analyzed the taste of rock fans. Which rock fan would have bought that album if it had a marriage song? Also, which non-rock fan would have bought it if it had 7 rock songs? – This reminds me of the behavior of a lot of politicians! Similar to this shaadi-ka-gaana thing was the brain-tumor saga. This made the film lose it’s realistic treatment it was given before Rob’s tumor case. Also, the PJs cracked by KD do not go well with rock stars – I don’t blame the director/writer for this - as the kind of jokes rock stars crack wouldn’t have got censor certificate. Also, the “response” of the audiences shown in the rock concert was too made-up. No headbangs, no rock-on gesture by hands. Rock show is not complete without these. The director/choreographer should have visited at least one proper rock show.

Overall, I’d rate this movie 7/8 (in proportion to 7 rock songs out of 8 songs in the album and 1/8 of the film having the brain-tumor stuff. The treatment of the film is fairly realistic. The music is superb – goes well with the movie. The acting of each of the actors is brilliant. The screenplay is amazing as wel. You don’t feel guilty of wasting some 2.5 hrs. I’d say it’s worth spending not only for the ticket but also for cola and popcorn

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Lost Phone


I got a call from a friend, Samudra at about 10:30 pm asking me to join for a cup of tea at Gurdwara. For people who don't know, there is a very famous tea joint near the Elgin Road Gurdwara. People from far off places come here for a "bhand" of tea. People generally come after having dinner and it's normal to find crowd here till mid-night.

Getting back to the story, I said that i won't be able to join because i was home after months and wanted to spend some time with my family. But giving in to his persuasion, i put on a jacket and stepped out. The whether was chilly ( by Kolkata standards). I walked my way through the mildly foggy night to Gurdwara. I found Samudra and Anu, common friend of ours, both holding a phone close to their ears. I jutted in and greeted them with the customary, "Hi Guys". Samudra said that he had lost his phone - Motorola L9. I got a bit serious. Anu was casual though. He told me that the phone might have slipped out of his jacket in the cab, by which they came to Gurdwara. I asked some stupid questions, like, do u know the name of the driver/car number? Of course, he didnt know. And i bet most people dont remember the number of the cab in which they travel. That is the last thing one would like to remember ( think again).

I asked him to call up the service provider's (Smart) helpdesk to see if they can track the phone. But it wasn't easy. Neither I nor Anu had used Smart phone and didn't know the number through which one can contact the helpdesk from other service providers' connection. So i suggested him to call up any friend of his who was using Smart and ask him to call up the helpdesk and ask for the number. Anu, during all this, was trying to call up Samudra's phone, expecting (?) that the taxi driver would pick up the phone. Samudra, could not recollect number of any friends having Smart connection. Hasn't the technology made us worse? I used to remember at least 10 numbers before i got my first mobile. But after getting a mobile, i don't remember even the number of the person whom i call 10 times a day. Samudra called up one of his classmates, asking him to give him the number of their classmate having Smart connection. I forgot the names of both his friends (whom he called up and the other "Smart" guy). Samudra called up the other Smart guy and asked him to enquire about the helpdesk number.

Anu was still listening to the irritating "not reachable" message. Samudra, got his senses back and asked, out of formality, whether we wanted to have tea. I denied. Anu wanted to have one. He wasn't tensed. Finally, we got the call from the "Smart" guy who gave us the helpdesk number. Just forgot to add - Samudra, had gone to a nearby PCO to check if they knew the number but in vain (No wonder i forgot to mention it before ;-)). Samudra called up the helpdesk and after the usual long time, the customer care executive picked up and told that they cant help in anyway apart from barring the number. Period.

Samudra, then, called up his home. Well, a little flashback here. Before coming to Gurdwara, Samudra was near Purna Cinema. His parents had asked him to come home early for no specific reason. Samudra, in a holiday mood, thought of going for a tea-chat before going home. Back to current story. His dad, having faith is police, suggested that we file an FIR.

So, we took a taxi and headed towards the "nearest" police station. In the taxi, i narrated the incident to the Taxi driver (don't worry, i am not going to repeat it). We requested him to inform us if he found any co-taxi driver finding a phone ( of course, we exchanged numbers).

We, then, entered the police station. It was something like 11:15 pm. We again narrated the entire incident. The policeman asked if we remembered the car number. We said, we didnt. So, he said that how do we expect them to find the phone ( how true!!). He, nevertheless, asked us to write all the details and submit it to Kalighat Thana because the area where the phone got lost was under Kalighat thana's jurisdiction. This was heights. Anyway, we came out and decided to go to Kalighat Thana the next morning.

Meanwhile, we kept trying Samudra's lost phone. Suddenly, when were leaving the police station, the phone rang. Somebody picked up. Samudra said that it is his phone and had dropped it in the taxi. The person asked us to collect it at Forum, where he currently was. We asked him, about his car no, to which he didn't reply. However, he said that his name was Prem Chand.

We caught a taxi and headed towards Forum. We enquired each taxi there to check if it were "Prem Chand's". We kept asking taxiwalas which stopped there. We were there till 1 pm asking all the drivers if they were Prem Chand. One taxiwala, said he was!! We requested him to give back the phone. He was shocked. He seemed to get a bit nervous. He confessed that he thought that we are potential passengers looking for this Prem Chand driver. Finally, we thought of going to Kalighat Thana the next morning.

Next morning we reached Kalighat thana at about 10 o'clock. The moment i entered the thana i was overwhelmed with the vision I saw there. We were asked to be seated on a chair and wait till our turn comes. I observed, how different was a police station from the corporate offices.

First, the "babu" culture struck me. People spend too much of energy in useless (?) sycophancy. When an officer came, everybody, including the civilians sitting there, stood up leaving all the work aside. And saluted him. This might be showing respect to him, but i wonder whether it serves any practical purpose. I am a software engineer. In our office or for that matter in any of the IT offices, we don't see this culture. Work takes the priority. If I am in between something and my boss comes to my cube, i can, without any hesitation, ask him to wait till i finish the work. Even he would appreciate this. After all, our common goal is to get the work done. But here, the person (probably a senior officer) took more priority than the work!!

Second, i was simply amazed by the way the shelves there we hosting "files". I wondered whether they had ever heard of a device called computer? how would they find out a particular file from the "lot". Haven't they heard of anything called database? The truth seemed to be very different from what is projected. India is considered IT HUB. We, supposedly, seem to have an edge over other companies in the field of IT. But, here, in the police station, they still stayed in primitive way. We always crib about the police not doing it's work properly, blah blah... But have we ever thought of upgrading the infrastructure? ITising the police stations/system would certainly speed up the processes.

Third. In a time when we are talking of world as a global village with virtual cyber-continents, we have to run from place to place so that the information goes to the right blackhole. If we had an online FIR filing system, we would have filed the FIR that night itself. This wasn't a critical case. But had a critical case being delayed by hours because one had to go to the right police station, we can only imagine what could have happened.

Anyway, it was, i would say, a different experience for me!!

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