Friday, July 31, 2009


Imtiaz Ali once again proves that he’s a new breed of talented underdog director redefining the Bollywood cliché of romance with his skill of storytelling. After his fine debut “Socha Na Tha’ and hugely successful ‘Jab We Met’, he again back with another cool romantic film like a fresh breeze. What I like about Imtiaz is he always comes with a story where there are not many characters stuffed together like usual bollywood love flick; which gives ample space and screen time for lead players to perform. Second in his love story neither society nor parental plays villain role, instead its lovers who struggling with their own psychological confusion and if you scratch deeper that’s the main barrier difficult to overcome in our personal lives too.

The Movie portrays two love stories of different period. If the Present one depicts today’s Youth Love story breaking all the conventional notions of emotional romance, the past one depicts the flavor of local Punjab maintaining the legacy of ‘Sachcha Pyar’. It was quite difficult to entertain and still make the audience feel something different while witnessing both the love stories projecting different time zones but Imtiaz is a fine romantic story teller and he has done it. Same can be said about Saif Ali Khan who maintained his double act like a fine seasoned player. Deepika is launched by Farah Khan but discovered as fine actress in this one. She will surely start considering as ‘Director’s actress’ after this one. The chemistry between Saif- Deepika is brilliant. Thanks Imtiaz for not casting Kareena once again. Although Rishi Kapoor hasn’t share much screen time, he leaves a mature impression in the film as fine actor.

The film also score points in other departments too- fine cinematography, good editing and those wonderful peppy and cool one liners uttered by Saif. I’m desperate to know the name of dialogue writer!!! Pritam retains his magic with fine tunes like- ‘Dooriyan’, ‘Chorbazari’ and current chartbuster ‘Twist’. I must admit that after a long long time, I watch a Fresh New Hindi film which I would like to repeat watch.

It will surely refresh your weekend cinema hangout…


SUGAR (2008)

There are very few sports films which are so inspiring and yet ground breaking the cliché while portraying the individual frustration and self realization stage with such a realistic way as ‘Sugar’. It’s subtle, observant and full of life showing the ups and downs of local baseball sport star. Sony Pictures Classics are really paving platform for independent filmmakers who believe in deglamorizing Hollywood and made some out of the box films without promoting and selling Hollywood Star glamour and huge production. ‘Sugar’ is a low budget quality cinema of such fine light moments of a local underdog baseball pitcher.

Miguel Santos a.k.a. ‘Sugar’ is a Dominican Republic local baseball pitcher struggling to make it to the big leagues and trying to pull his family out of poverty. After long over due he got a major break to play into US. As he lend up at Iowa, he found himself dwarf by some shining professional trained players, hostile language and culture and lured by white chick and losing self control over the game in adverse circumstances. He begins self scrutinizing and ultimately makes a space for himself in the world around.

Unlike other Sport films, it doesn’t end with glorious winning match in the climax but rather reverse end. The most noticeable part of the film is its detailing showing the isolation and disillusionment and nervous breakdown of a junior minor league player while facing big league tournament, language barriers and other personal confusions of foreign lower middle class boy who land up in US Restaurant. The only thing he knows to eat is French toast unaware about the American difference among scrambled, over easy or sun side up eggs, unfamiliar with internet or using an ATM.
The film is quite slow in pace and almost in Spanish but sidelining these two hiccups; it’s surely fine and intentional film.

Ratings- 7/10

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


A gangster’s weak and meek son suffering with existential trauma works in Book store, serves his body to horny supervisor, preparing himself for stock broker exam in spare time, enjoying the company of cool babe and his boyfriend at night parties, slowly got crush on babe and next on his boyfriend. He loves both of them equally. An accidental chance of supporting his gay partner, he realized his own stand point in life but that cost him his mate’s life. Its really pathetic film which blew my head completely. There are very few films which I regret for watching and this is classic example.
Its moron film having the combination of ridiculous script, mediocre acts and really really bad direction. Duped by the title once again!!!

Absolutely avoidable.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009


While watching this film I remember a fine flute player who used to play some wonderful old tunes on crossroads at Ahmedabad years ago. He never begged on the road; just played his flute and lost in the oblivion of music with his closed eyes. At the end of the day, he got enough coins to stuff his stomach and sleeps on road. This was quite distant memory when I was a fresher in college. But Jamie Foxx moved me and made that memory sharp with his mind-blowing act as Nathaniel Ayers, a classical music prodigy, playing his violin and cello on the streets of LA while remaining homeless and sleeps near squalor of street. The whole world is changing around him since his childhood and what he all did is- ‘playing Beethoven’. With such a pure facial expressions and class act, I’m damn sure about his Academy Nomination in next Oscar.

Two wonderful actors Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx when combined together with heart warming abstract human story based on true facts, it’s simply the film you can’t miss. The film is a soaring emotional drama about the redemptive power of music.
Steve Lopez (Downey Jr.) is LA Times journalist who’s searching for a new story for his column and he discovers Nathaniel (Foxx), the man who plays violin on the streets and suffering from mental disorder. As Lopez endeavors to help the man, he forms a unique friendship that transforms both their lives. Both Foxx and Downey Jr. are in complete form and gave their topnotch performances. Its film you must watch for their chemistry.
However, Director Joe Wright and his screenplay writer could possibly make it more uplifting and progressive in scope but anyway that’s not a big deal when you have such touchy subject and graceful performances.

Although the film has garnered a lot of mixed reviews/opinions, I don’t like to scratch much about it like those pricky cynic critics who tarnish sometime a good film with their pseudo verbal blah…blah…blah… This is the film where our own experience counts in unique way and uplifts the human side in us.

“I’ve never loved anything in my life, the way that he loves music,” said Downey Jr. to his wife. So true in all of our case too!!!


Monday, July 27, 2009

LOVE ME IF YOU DARE (French) (2003)

Since childhood Julien and Sophie are in close terms with each other. For both of them everything in life is daring game whether pissing in Principal’s office or kissing on the top of stranger’s car on the road. They almost live in childhood even while growing young, until one day the boy proposed somebody else for wedding lock and Sophie plays the game again which no longer remains a spice of their life.

The plot of the film is quite flat but the treatment of the subject with their daring game exchange is what makes this romance engaging. Another reason to watch this film is Marion Cotillard’s fine act as Sophie. In French films we generally witness some abstract beautiful object plays pivotal role in the film and here it’s beautiful cylindrical tin box.
It’s not an extraordinary love story but certainly not mediocre one too. The end of the film is heartbreaking one and that’s the reason why I love to hate this film. Sounds like ‘juxtaposition’ but that’s what this romantic film is!!!


Sunday, July 26, 2009


Sooni Taraporewala, the screenplay writer of ‘Salaam Bombay’ brings the story close to her heart in her debut directorial venture. Its sweetest film ever made by the Parasi, on the Parasi, with the Parasi (but not probably only) for the Parasi. In most of the Indian Hindi cinema the character of Parasi community was used just to give a funny side kick manipulating his/her colloquial sweet tongue. It’s quite ironic to know that it’s Parasis who pioneered & introduced the Cinemas to the Indian audience in early 40s as Wadia Bros and till day it’s rare to get films reflecting their own culture and community. But here’s a film which portrays them as they are – intelligent, sharp, smart, hard working, gentle, loving and beautiful people whom you love to cherish as your next door neighbor.

The film is nothing more than the world of a little motherless Parasi boy (Jahan Batiwala) living in suburban Mumbai housing colony who’s constantly dreaming about the greatest soccer star Zinedine Zidane, the Big Zizou and chatting with her late mom’s photograph. Taraporewala has narrated the story from the point of view of innocent, sweet little boy. I also like the character of sweet and smart little daughter (played by Iyanah Batiwala) of Boman Irani who’s crazy about having puppy in home. To give the film realistic natural feel, Director has used almost Parasi in casting all the characters and everyone has acted their parts so lively and naturally, whether it’s Boman Irani, Imaad Shah, Zenobia Shroff or Dilshad Patel. She has finely utilized almost all available Parasi celebrities of India like Cyrus Broacha, John Abraham, Shiamak Davar. Jahan and Iyanah Batiwala are real discovery to watch.

If the fun is intelligent and satiric with loads of quintessential Parasi humor, the struggling and confusing moments of the characters are intense and subtle. Watch the episodic spark of humor lies between the clashes of two community members. One is great community reformer purist, PLO (Parasi Liberation Organization) leader and the other is his arch-enemy and the editor of near to extinction Parasi Newspaper. There are so many moments of emotional upheaval- the directionless youth seeking their own identities, bonding between two brothers, ethical Pressman and his loving family. Without making much didactic fuss about current day community problems, Director- Screenplay writer Sooni Taraporewala has tackled the film with mature treatment and yet made her directorial points quite strongly.

Must Watch of the year.
Ratings- 9/10

Saturday, July 25, 2009

HERO (Chinese) (2002)

I generally avoid watching Chinese martial arts films but watching this film gives me a different experience. Quite rarely we come across such artistic visuals in Chinese films. Director Zhang Yimou is famous Chinese film maker known for his use of color as narrative medium in his cinema. His debut film ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ was classic example in this case, which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at Oscar and won many awards and wide critical acclaim in various Film Festivals around the globe. Influence of Masters like Tarkovsky, Malick and Kurosawa is clearly visible watching his films.
Cinematography of the film refreshingly brought the palette of rich, intense colors on screen.

It’s an epic martial art film, scripted with Chinese Royal Myths in economical duration of one and half hour starring Jet Li, Tony Leung and many other Chinese assembled actors. The story is narrated in flashback that how a nameless warrior (Jet Li) killed three assassins who sworn to kill the King of Qin, the first emperor of China. Intermittently we see the discussion between the king and the warrior.

Apart of Oscar winning ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’, this is the second Chinese film which remained at # 1 position in US box-office. The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards in 2003 and it was the third film of Director Zhang Yimou which got nomination in the same category. Till day it’s regarded as most expensive and top grossing Chinese film ever made.


Friday, July 24, 2009

JASHNN (2009)

A young good for nothing dreamer who wants to be a big singing star… A compulsive drunkard sister who is running an affair with a married businessman just to maintain house (Is she today’s woman!!!)…Dreamer boy falls in love with a rich girl who is by default the sister of the same businessman… (low budget film hai…Director has to be economical in characters too and yep, bollywood audience always love to watch the cliché of Rich girl- poor boy romance)…Let the businessman cum brother become villain to tarnish hero’s dreams…add some current trend of rock band flavor with popular gana- bajana to secure collegian fresher audience and ho gayi fillum taiyar!!!

Can’t Vishesh films and Mahesh Bhatt think anything beyond this? How many times Bhatt camp repeat hackneyed trademark drama story packaged with different cast of newcomers in their low budget musicals!!! May be Bhatt Films don’t require the change as their lower budget production not only successfully gets the cost but fine returns from Friday opening collection and music, video and satellite rights.

Adyayan Suman not only looks horrible (with his curly hair) here, he acts horrible too with his unchanging expressions and stereotyped dialogue delivery!!! He’s the biggest mismatch of the film. Anjana Sukhani remains glamour doll as usual; what else heroine can do in typical commercial film. Thank god there’s presence of fine talented actress like Shahana Goswami. Infact I dare to watch this film after hearing a praise of her performance. She is fine natural actress discovered in ‘Rock On!!!’ Here too her act is natural and she maintained the mature poise of strong woman character even though usually there’s not much space for an actress like her in typical Bhatt film.

Ratings- 4.5/10

BANDINI (1963)

Bandini is story of Kalyani (Nutan), a young, innocent, well behaved and ever willing to help any one and she was in jail. How could such a pure woman committed a crime of murder and landed in jail? The young and handsome jail Doctor (Dharmendra) has soft corner for her and proposes a marriage but she does not respond. It is after Doctor left her, she revealed her past to kind jailor (Tarun Bose). What’s her past? Why is she in prison? Will she accept Doctor’s love? It would be insulting for such a fine artistic film if I reveal it all.

Nutan was Bimal Roy’s favorite actress and after ‘Sujata’ he repeated her here in one more memorable role of her career. There’s no second opinion that it’s out and out actress film.With all her natural expressions she gave simply her best performance of lifetime. She also won her second Filmfare in bimal Roy film. The film also have veteran actor Ashok Kumar and young Dharmendra and both of them maintained the grace of Bimal Roy film.

Even after so many years back the memorable melodies composed by S D Burman draws any Indian music lover into trance. The songs not only contained a part of script but enhanced the film’s emotional high too. The film bears special mention of three golden songs: “Mora gora ang lai le…” (Lata), “Ab ke Baras…” (Asha) and “O Jaanewale ho sake to…” (Mukesh). For the old Hindi film buffs its worth to note that its Gulzar’s first film as lyricist and he finely penned “Mora gora ang laile…”
Just like most of the Bimal Roy films, the film swept Fimfare Awards, winning 6 trophies for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Sound Recording, Best Story and Best B&W Cinematography. It also bagged National Award for Best Hindi Film.

Bimal Roy’s social reformist cinema once again successfully raised a question of setting an example of treating prisoners as human beings without being much didactic in tone. At the same time he presented a fine portrait of Everyday Indian woman on whose sacrifice our male dominated paternal society having its last laugh.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

SUJATA (1959)

Bimal Roy was deeply influenced by the social reforming theme based dramas of IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association) pioneered depicting problems of rural poverty and women exploitation. Roy was interested in linking class and gender themes and exploring ideology of womanhood and creating strong, individual female characters in his films. ‘Sujata’ and ‘Bandini’ are two such examples.

Compared to his earlier ‘Do Bigha Zamin’ which addressed social problems in general and wider way, this film is more subjectively addressed film of an untouchable girl who remained a part of Upper cast house and get second hand treatment. She remained a part of family and still unacceptable and excluded as untouchable girl. The film has few other flaws too. For example- the editing of the film fumbles in the absence of his loyal assistant Hrishida who became Director during the production of this film. The film bears routine melodrama of the period and predictable ending. The realistic and thought provoking ending reflected in his ‘Do Bigha Zamin’ was replaced by commercial happy ending in this film. Its too idealistic ending portraying evil of untouchablilty. The films made by Parallel Directors like Benegal and Ghosh reflected it more realistically.

With Roy’s this film Nutan gained the attention as a serious actress. She was quite dusky skin and considerably too tall to cast with usual actors of that era. I’m not big Nutan fan but yes I must say in this film she showed her natural flair of acting. Sunil Dutt also maintained his genuine and thinking man role.

As a commercial film maker Bimal Roy had no option excluding music in his film even though sometimes it didn’t fit into the context and synchronization but I must say most of his films bears classic scores either by Salil Chaudhary or Sachin Dev Burman.
S D Burman’s music is always timeless and he composed some finest songs like “Kali ghata chhaye…”, “Tum jiyo hazaro saal…” And How can we forget Talat Mehmood’s silky rendition of “Jalte hai jiske liye…” Its not usually Burmanda sing in his film composition as playback singer but Bimalda loved Dada’s voice and so Burmanda gave his rare Rabindra sangeet flavored- “Sun mere bandhu re…”

Ratings- 6.5/10

Monday, July 20, 2009


Highly inspired by De Sica’s Italian Neo-Realist film ‘Bicycle Thieves’, Bimal Roy made up his mind to make such a piece of unconventional realistic cinema rooted in Indian milieu. His loyal assistant and editor Hrishikesh Mukherjee came with brilliant script focusing the challenging threat of urbanization and industrialization in immediate Post Independent India guided by Nehruvian socialism. Director Bimal Roy made the whole film maintaining same Neo Realistic treatment of De Sica. That’s the reason why it bagged so much recognition and appreciation in International Film Festivals around the world during its time and still considered as one of the finest realistic film made much before Ray or Ghatak's classics. Though having different background and different parts, the film retained lot of similarity with ‘Bicycle Thieves’ especially portraying struggling father-son duo in the time of crisis. One can call it India’s first Neo Realist film which ends with unexpected sad ending.

After severe draught of several years poor farmer Shambhu and his family consist of aged father, wife and a son witnessed the joy of rain but soon joy turned into crisis as the Zamindar wants his two acres of land to establish a factory. Zamindar manipulates Shambhu by bribing the local official put him in crisis. In order to save his land, he has to earn hefty amount to return Zamindar’s debt. Shambhu and his son goes to Calcutta and struggle hard to earn money but accidentally lose all their hard earned money. Despite their hard struggle they can’t save their ancestral land which transforms into factory by the time the film reaches its climax. While its making, the producers desperately wanted to change this heartbreaking ending scene as audience of that time wasn’t ready to accept such a tragic realistic end but Roy remained adamant and the rest is the history. The scene is absolutely the moment which made the audience think hard about the future of poor Shambhu & his son and so many struggling peasant families like them.

Counting on performances Balraj Sahni gave possibly the best performance of his lifetime as poor struggling peasant pulling a hand rickshaw in the streets of Calcutta. His natural act still regarded as one of the finest act of his entire career along with 'Garm Hawa'. Nirupa Roy and Nana Palsikar are average but Child actor Rattan Kumar remained scene stealer just like Bruno in ‘Bicycle Thieves’. Apart of lead actors there are several surprising actors in the film who played small but noticeable roles. Comedian Jagdeep played the role of Boot polish Boy as a child actor here. May be it’s his first Hindi film as an actor. If I am not mistaking Mehmood also appears surprisingly in one of the scene of the film. Meena Kumari played a cameo role of a helping literate neighbor.

Bimal Roy bagged his first Filmfare Award as Best Director and continues winning Seven Filmfare awards as Best Director, must be a record unbroken! And along with this film, Roy made his own mark by setting a realistic social reformist Bengali cinema contrast with Mumbai’s pure entertainment oriented happy ending films of early 50s.

Ratings- 8.5/10


Here are TEN solid reasons why you must watch this All time classic of Bimal Roy:

# 1- Even after 50 years of its making, the formulae of the film still makes any bollywood film super duper hit (i.e- Om Shanti Om) and still the film remains unmatched touchstone classic in the genre of haunting Indian film.

# 2 - Apart from Bimal Roy’s other films this film remains the most successful film in his entire career in terms of appealing both mass and class audience. Nature always remains inseperable part of Bimal Roy films and it gives you soothing effect watching scenic beauty which plays pivotal role in the film to enhance the mood and tone of Director’s idea in all departments of film making. That’s the reason why it becomes the first film which swept 8 Filmfare Awards including art direction, cinematography, editing, dialogues, Music, Female vocal, supporting actor and best film.

# 3- Dilip Saab was at the peak of his career when he did this film and believe me he never looks so natural, handsome romantic dude full of youthful vibrant energy in any of his film after or before this. Among all of his melodrama oriented films, this film gives out and out different feel which you love to watch time and again. It also rest in my list of Dilip Kumar films where he gave the most natural and restrained performance without letting his stardom overshadows his acting talent. The others are – ‘Ganga Jamuna’, ‘Naya Daur’ and ‘Devdas’.

# 4- Vyjyantimala never look so beautiful in any Black and white frame and she confessed that it’s her personal all time favorite film. Strong women characters remained trademark quality of Bimal Roy films and he presented Vyjyanti as irresistible natural beauty with enigmatic mysterious character. Watching her in this is sheer bliss. Notice her fine facial expressions, the way she performs dancing moves in “Bichchuaa” song or the any romantic scene of the film gives you insatiable feeling to meet this mystery woman.

# 5- Ritwik Ghatak who later became an adorable name of Indian parallel cinema in the lineage of Ray and Sen wrote the script and screenplay of the film. The story never bore you even for a single scene throughout the film and kept the mystery of Madhumati and suspense of the story intact till the final climax. Many critics disagree with unrealistic treatment of reincarnation lovers but its more literary film than other socially realistic and relevant films of Bimal Roy.

# 6- The most immortal part and soul of the film is Salil Chaudhary’s finest melodious score for the film. Whether its composition of “ Suhana safar aur yeh mausam haseen…”(Mukesh) or Lata’s haunting solo “Aaja re pardesi…”, folk based “Daiya re daiya chad gayo papi bichchua…” or lilting and romantic “Zulmi sang aankh ladi…”, classic duets of Lata- Mukesh “Ghadi ghadi mora dil…” and “Dil tadap tadap ke keh raha…” or soulful Rafi number “Toote hue khwabon ne…” Salilda has scored a masterpiece of his entire career. The role of Shailendraji’s lyrics played pivotal role for its simple and yet soothing lyrics. Ab aisa Music kahaan!!!
Lata once confessed that some of the most difficult compositions she sang in her career rest in the account of Salilda. Even the use of western orchestra and ‘chorus’ in his music was unique and finely blends Indian sur and western taal in the most intoxicating way.
He got Best Music composer Filmfare Award that year for this immortal soundtrack.

# 7- The romantic chemistry of Dilip Kumar-Vyjyantimala gave some of the fine memorable films like Devdas, Gunga Jamuna and Naya Daur but this film remains immortal with the haunting plot of immortal reincarnated lovers.

# 8- The brilliant editing of the film was handled by none other than Hrishikesh Mukerjee who later on became refined and great Director and gave us so many classic Indian films.

# 9- Pran as villain Ugra Narayan raised a bar of a royal blood aristocratic villain with his cold trademark expressions and mannerism and he became Commercial Film Industry’s first strong villain who got hefty signing amount from producers. He is the first villain who established villain at par with hero of the film.

# 10- The film combined so many elements in a manner that had never been attempted before, let alone achieves so effectively. The haunting B&W spookiness, depiction of tribal customs and imagery, music which creates an atmosphere and finally an unexpected chilling twist at the climax.

Ratings- With given 10 reasons should I have to repeat 10/10!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

DEVDAS (1955)

Eight solid reasons why you should watch this film-

# 1- Nobody can deliver “Kaun Kambakht Bardasht Karne ke liye pita hai…” better than Dilipsaab. Period. Count his this scene or the ultimate devastating climax end of the Devdas, Dilip Kumar gave his sublime impression of acting for many actors to follow. Whether its Big B in ‘Sharabi’ or SRK in ‘Devdas’ all imitated the mannerisms of Dilipsaab to give perfect drunkard dialogue delivery. He brought ‘thehrav’ to the personality of self destructing lover, internalized the existential unbearable angst in the character of ‘Devdas’ and with this he introduced his unique brand image of ‘Tragedy King’. The way he delivered dialogues, with quaint tranquil and serene manners, the way he gazed wistfully at Paro when she visited him is all giving reflection of ‘Masochistic Romanticism’ (a lover who derives strange pleasure from sadness and destroying self).No doubt that he gave his best in this and won Best Actor Filmfare Award for this.

# 2- The film gain its momentum after the first 45 minutes and then it keeps absorbing me even though I watched this drama through the lenses of Sanjay Leela Bhanshali and Anurag Kashyap. Where Bhanshali’s version seems more about canvassing spectacular sets, eye-catching color cinematography and melodious music and Kashyap’s more about depicting experimental modern day doom; this one remains impeccable literary adaptation of Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay’s classic that followed the pathos, guilt, repentance and downfall of protagonist Devdas Mukherjee.

# 3- Believe it or not this is the third “Devdas’ Indian cinema has witnessed in 1955. The first version was made by Naresh Mitra in 1928 and the second one by P C Barua starring singer-actor K L Saigal. We all know about later two versions made by Bhanshali and Kashyap. Not only Indian Directors but audience too is obsessed with ‘Devdas’ films and that’s the reason enough to prove its timelessness.

# 4- Bimal Roy worked as a cameraman in PC Barua’s version of ‘Devdas’ in 1935 and after 20 years he stamped his own impression to this most tragic love story of the century. Apart of all other versions made before or after this one drawn into oblivion after the passage of time and the credit surely goes to Producer- Director Bimal Roy and combination of other artists of his team like dialogue writer Rajender Singh Bedi, Editor Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

# 5- It was debut Hindi film of Bengali actress Suchitra Sen and she left a mark of her own with her nuanced performance as ‘Paro’ with her beauty leaving audience in trance.

# 6- Motilal was an actor of caliber ‘A’; though he was often repeated himself in many of films of that time. He gave new dimenasion to the character of ‘Chuni Babu’ with his ‘shayarana andaz’ and moody happy go lucky gestures.

# 7- Classically trained dancer Vyjyantimala stole the hearts of the audience first time with her acting talent too enacting ‘Chandramukhi’ which paved a way of recognition to become a respected actor in the industry.

# 8- For the readers who fully read the whole review patiently and passionately.

Ratings- 8/10

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Inspired by the Hollywood hotchpotch of dark con comedies like ‘Lock, stock and two smoking Barrels’, Writer –Director Pankaj Adwani brings crazy time pass drama full of loud black humor. After watching this who believes that he is the same fellow who wrote light and funny screenplay of Kundan Shah’s film ‘Kabhi Haa Kabhi Naa’ which remains one of the fine light romantic film of SRK’s early career.

Dark humor is in abundance and it running through the film with implicated innuendoes left for the audience. Dialogues are punching (read vulgar) one liners and it gives you infectious humor with messy situations of almost all characters. What I dislike the most about the film is that even though having strong assembled cast (Kay Kay, Rimi, Anupam Kher, Chunky, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Yashpal Sharma & many more) Director used them as mere stand up comedians where there is no room for performance; the whole film looks more like a big farce and less comedy. Instead of performances we noticed loud overacting by Anupam Kher and mediocre acts by all others including fine actor like Kay Kay Menon.

In short “watch this at your own peril”. It really delivered a low grade product than my expectations. But it makes one thing clear that there’s really a shortage of genuine humor in bollywood right now.

Ratings- 4.5/10

Friday, July 17, 2009

LITTLE TERRORIST (Short Film) (2005)

After the screening of his debut film ‘Road to Ladakh’, Director Ashwin Kumar got elated but running 45 minutes long film is unacceptable in any short film festivals. As per the norms it should be consist of 15 minutes. So he decided to make other short film as per the stipulated 15 minutes time frame and made the touching tale of a Pakistani boy who accidentally crossed the border to get his ball from the other side of the fence and landed up in a small Rajasthani village. He was branded as terrorist by the army but treated as family member by a rustic villager and his daughter who helped him to get back in his own land.

The film was shot in 6 days with an inexperienced cast and the hired international crew recruited with the help of internet. It was official selection entry in over 130 film festivals world wide and won several International Awards and got nomination entry into Academy Awards in 2005.
However I watched a film called ‘Ramchand Pakistani’ last year based on same theme and subject but that film wasn’t so impressive. Ashwin’s this short film is not refined one but it surely creates some vibrations during its 15 minutes time frame. Ashwin’s work is surely impressive as he gave ample minute detailing even while making 15 minutes short film. I am waiting for his full length feature film in coming future.


ROAD TO LADAKH (Short Film) (2003)

In 2002 a young Indian film maker of Delhi visited Cannes Festival first time to get financial assistance and willing crew who love to work for his limited budget film. He didn’t get success. Without being dissipated he just googled and get the professional and talented crew from European countries willing to join freely which made him possible to complete this 45 minutes short film. Three years back its moment for Writer-Director Ashwin Kumar when he got Academy Nomination for his debut short film ‘Little Terrorist’ in 2005.

It’s mysterious tale of a feisty fashion model who got crush on a mysterious stranger during her road trip to Ladakh. The first 30 minutes were almost shot in ‘Road Movie’ with minimal conversation between the lead pair of Irrfan and Koel Purie, the rest of the climax is also predictable but not mediocre one. The most striking and strong point of the film is its beautiful and captivating cinematography by Markus Huersch portraying the heavenly landscape of Leh-Ladakh pass.

The film was shot just in 12 days with such a limited budget that all the cast and crew of the film including Irrfan and Koel Purie not only contributed their skills freely but also funded their travels to be apart of this film. There’s an intimate love making scene between Irrfan and Koel which is not titillating one but significant part of the script. Koel hasn’t performed something exceptional but Irrfan is again impressive with his vivid realistic tense expressions. The ending part is undoubtedly the most powerful scene of the whole film and that’s one more reason to watch this honest attempt of Ashwin.

Ratings- 7/10

P.S. - I’m eagerly waiting for Ashwin’s forthcoming thriller ‘The Forest’, starring Jawed Jaffri and Nandana Sen after watching its pulsating trailer. One can possibly catch it on ‘You Tube’ and I assure you it’s 100% better film than Ramgopal Verma’s ‘Agyaaat’.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


How about witnessing a simple and yet moving film with elemental spirit of changing seasons in its full circle!!!
Hats off to Korean film maker Kim Ki-duk for mystically using the changing seasons in a possibly simple and yet a fine symbolic and emotional way like witnessing a live fable. This is a film which you love to cherish forever in your film watching experience. The natural visuals and images of the film are so soothing that you fall in love with all of the places where the film is shot. Watching this film is really a refined transcendental experience for me and I assure you that it gives the same feeling if you have even a little bit side of aesthetic sense inside you.

It’s more a fine landscape portrait which completes the full cycle of seasons metaphorically set with the story of a monk searching for his destiny. In his lifetime he encompasses the journey full of its various shades of cruelty, lust, jealousy, violence until finally, he finds Peace within himself and the world around him. The story is told more with images and most felt and heard silence while keeping minimum possible dialogues or characters. Along with the changing of the season we also witness the changes of the boy monk’s various life stages- childhood, adolescence, adulthood and middle age. The high moment for me is the childhood part where he experiments his curiosity with fish, frog and snake and a fine practical lesson taught by his master where he meets natural repentance.

Cinematography is the ‘Soul’ of the film and the whole film was beautifully shot at the single place showing the changing of the season cycle. I still wonder has Ki-duk used CGI or realistic nature while showing those freezing frames of river, waterfall or spring in ‘winter’ part. The film is full of visual symbols focusing Buddhist Philosophy if you watch it with closer look.

Ki-duk’s films have received almost standing ovation and high critical acclaim at every International Film Festivals, including awards from Cannes, Berlin and Locarno Film Festivals. I would surely love to catch his ‘Crocodile’ and ‘The Birdcage Inn’ as soon as possible.

It’s not a film but a journey not to miss.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Hollywood’s two visual effects big bonanza were released this season. One is forth film of highly successful franchise -‘Terminator’ which is incomplete without Arnold and another is the second installment of successful ‘Transformers’. I haven’t seen ‘Terminator Salvation’ but ‘Transformers 2’ has delivered more than what is expected from it in the form of entertainment.

From beginning to end it has stunning visual effects to make you glued to the seat if you like CGI entertainment. It’s better than first part in visuals and action but not in other departments. What Director Michael Bay has made is yet again mediocre Hollywood product turning the most used to and hackneyed formulae of alien attack and question of Universal security. It’s more like watching crazy hotchpotch of MIB + Independence Day + The Mummy. Nowadays even Superhero films which used to consider as just ‘escape to fantasy’ are experimenting and transforming into something ground breaking. We have fair examples of ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Watchmen’. What Bay has delivered is no brainer popcorn entertainment to enjoy in air conditioned multiplexes.

In terms of great CGI its totally ‘Paisa vasool’ entertainment but don’t expect anything beyond that…


Monday, July 13, 2009


It’s smartly made film and different in its subject and presentation by the Writer/Director Tony Gilroy who gave fine corporate case thriller ‘Michael Clayton’. Here we have director who makes another film on corporate. Although this one is based on corporate rivalry and secret espionage to be a conglomerate giant. It’s not as serious or edgy as earlier ‘Michael Clayton’ but entertaining in all its bits and pieces.

The plot is based on the rivalry between two industry giant Multi National Companies and their owners who don’t miss a chance to kick one another and goes to any limit possible. Both of them hired their own smart heads for this. One is Ex- CIA officer (Julia Roberts), another is Ex-MI6 (Clive Owen). They have single mission to accomplish- Secure the formula for a product that will bring a fortune to the company that patent it first. Its game of messy double-cross, tactics and scheming.

Non chronological way of story telling handles the swinging pendulum of doubt running between Owen and Roberts. It’s not plot but the presentation which is in fine tuning. Both Julia and Clive seems average and their chemistry is not screen savvy. It would have been better if George Clooney has done the Owen’s part. More than lead pair, I like the act of supporting cast like- Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson. Both of them deserve a special mention here. The background score by James Newton Howard is awesome and it keeps your feet tapping.

Ratings- 7/10

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Here comes a film which I called the first Oscar worthy entry of this year. To make such a compelling and concerning war film by women Director Katharine Bigelow itself is an achievement. This isn’t a war film glorifying the action and pseudo patriotism showing firing guns and canon balls. It’s leading you beyond that. It’s precisely showing you the chaos of war in its real sense where anybody can be enemy and any object could be a deadly bomb.

The film begins with breath taking opening task of US army’s Bomb Defuse Unit Officer named Sgt.Thomson risking his own life to prevent the danger in Baghdad. His smart covering partner named Sanborn could not save his life. He got a new team leader Sgt. James who knows his duty as eagle. He is reckless at times risking his own life so often but he is smart chap who knows his task the best.
What particularizes the film is the ‘conflict’ in its real sense when dealing with the task of bomb diffusion. The film not only explores the part of physical danger but psychological tension prevailing in critical duty of the team leader Sgt. James and his right hand Sanborn.

If screenplay and direction is the mind of the film; cinematography is the heart of this film. The film is almost shot in documentary manner with apt use of every significant sound and silence it gives you absolutely different feel of watching a war film. Watch out the long and almost quiet sniper killing sequence and its chilling silence or squad’s dealing with a suicide bomber in the climax and you’ll know what I mean.

Jeremy Renner as Sgt. James is truly a new revelation as an actor and he’s also another reason why one should watch this film. It’s not exaggerated to say that one can count his entry in next Oscar nomination for best actor. It’s not big oratory speech or refined or provoking dialogue delivery but a temperamental attitude of his expressions and body language which makes his act noticeable. He seeks pleasure in otherwise dangerous duty of his job with a precision of professional specialist.

Without fail a mandatory watch of the year.

Ratings- 9/10

Friday, July 10, 2009


I watched this refined film on DD years ago and it was so touchy experience to watch it on Doordarshan when invasion of Satellite Channels has not ruined the meaningful entertainment world of Television and we get an opportunity to see some pure Indian artistic films and have some meaningful serials on Doordarshan whom my generation would love to cherish like- ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’, ‘Malgudi Days’, ‘Tamas’ to name a few.

If you think it’s another art house boring film than let me tell you that it’s one of the most interesting film that Benegal has made. For every middle class lovers of Indian small town the economic condition and caste system plays pivotal role in success. The film is a series of flashbacks narrated by a young man who witnessed the love story in his neighborhood several years ago. It’s a story of bubbly and cheerful girl of a small town who tried hard to fight against the conventional social and economic set up and ended up adjusting her life and accepting the situational conditioning. The most interesting part of the film is the way each part of the story is narrated with flashbacks and sharing of various interpretations in between the flashbacks by the narrator and his few friends.

The film was based on Dharamvir Bharati’s story by the same name with the assistance of NFDC and Doordarshan. Benegal has chosen so many shining National School of Drama actors and DD’s talented serial actors for this film without roping any senior art house actor except Amrish Puri. Some of them almost remained inseparable part of his films like- Ravi Jhankal, K.K.Raina, Raghuvir Chaudhary, Lalit Tiwari, Pallavi Joshi, Anang Desai, Rajeshwari Sachdev, Neena Gupta, Ila Arun and introduced a fresh and yet thinking actor like Rajit Kapoor whom we remembered as ‘Byomkesh Bakshi’. Even though its his debut film, he gave impeccably mature performance with all the intricacies.

I’m not sure whether one can get the film through torrents. Surprisingly I found the film in local video rental library where nobody except lunatic like me has hired it till day, said the owner.

Highly Recommended…


Thursday, July 9, 2009


Although it’s not Director Roman Polanski’s classic film, but film buff like me can’t avoid seeing his combination with Johnny Depp. He is always safe bet to play the shrewd, idiosyncratic and unusual characters and surely Hollywood’s unbeatable chameleon actor without competition. Polanski’s films always explore the internal crisis of the loner protagonist who is always occupied with the flux of the mundane world and carried away by his inherent and uncontrolled instincts whether it’s Nicholson in ‘Chinatown’ or Adrien Brody in ‘The Pianist’. He maintains the same Director’s idea with Depp’s character too but not in a refined classic manner.

Corso (Johnny Depp) is purely money minded professional who works for Book store, Press and Precious Clients. He helps his clients to find rare books and get his handsome cut. A client named Balkan hires him to search the original copy of the book titled as ‘The Ninth Gate’ which is regarded as Satan Lucifer’s oral confession to wake him up. He has to search the other two replica of the same book given by his client and verify the original one among them. During his search he encounters some unusual events which made his own life hell.

Polanski has kept the thrill factor running with gripping and interesting ‘What’s next?’ treatment. The wisest choice of the film is casting of Johnny Depp in lead.
It’s well made thriller which successfully maintained the interest of the audience till its climax. But the denouement of end part gave me cheating feel. I don’t know about the others opinion but I’m expecting better ending while watching Polanski film.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Just like earlier ‘The Da Vinci Code’ here too the film fell short than the original thrilling Best Seller Novel by Dan Brown. So, all those who have read the novel just like me would terribly miss the detailing of secret documentation, which is far tenser and intriguing than this moving picture. For the readers it would be lower affair not only because they knew the plot but because they wouldn’t find the excitement their mind dealt with or keeping imagination on roll during reading this another unputdownable best seller of Dan Brown.

This time the plot is trying to bridging the gap between the two biggest dichotomy of the world- science with religion. Both physical wonder of ‘Antimatter’ and secret brotherhood named ‘Illuminati’ are big enigma for us until we read Dan Brown or watch this film. Where the book successfully explains in detail about them; the film compresses it to capture moving action than detailing narration. Although Director Ron Howard has took some liberty from the novel and made the film straight tale without much conflicting the audience.

One shouldn’t be too critical when we have finest actor like Tom Hanks to act but I’m expecting some knock out film next time than continuing Robert Langdon installment. It would be preferable to retain smart French actress Audrey Tautau who has done Da Vinci than expressionless Ayelet Zurer. Ewan McGregor is again surprising one.
The major plus side of the film is witnessing all those significant historical buildings of Vatican City including glorious Sistine Chapel. The half an hour climax is just edge on the seat cinematic thrill.

The book is better but for if you haven’t read it than its better to watch it once…


Sunday, July 5, 2009

PAAR (1984)

We all have seen Bihar through the lenses of Prakash Jha in semi commercial ‘Gangajal’ and ‘Apharan’. Watching this film is more shocking to know the failure of Indian Democracy and Indira Gandhi led Congress Government who just witnessed the caste based violence in Bihar as bystander. It also shows the corrupt and reckless face of local police and ruling State Government who just expressed their fake grievances through their statements only. The film shows the naked dance of chaos in Bihar during 80s and carried on the journey in the heart of darkness. Even today where most of the MPs and MLAs bear unpardonable criminal records. Nobody cares damn about them because it’s not WE in Bihar. For us it’s just another regular News Headlines but what about the lives of all those innocent destitute people who still become victims of Caste based atrocities from ages??? The film fired many burning questions from very beginning to end. Don’t watch it, if you think Indian art films are just exposing dirty faces of our ugly reality. It’s better to have Hollywood and Bollywood escape routes because we need entertainment only.

Based on a short story by Samaresh Bose, ‘Paar’ is one of the hard hitting film made by India’s multiple National Award winner Director Goutam Ghosh. Along with the direction, he also held the helm of Cinematography, Music and Scenario of the film.
The film begins with massacre of poor local Harijan ghetto in the darkness of night in a village. A local outcast named Naurangia and his pregnant wife escape with others among dire circumstances. When the next morning the reporters visits the village and tried to scrutinize the reason behind the bloodshed. In a flashback of events we come to witness some hidden truths of history. Government had started Minimum Labour Wages Scheme for the daily wage labourers but Thakurs oppressed and exploited them with underpay. A local master who tried to help them getting their rights. But soon he got murdered and as a repercussion few Harijans along with Naurangia killed the son of Thakur.
On the other side Naurangia and his wife went to Kolkota in search for work. Unknown by the harsher reality of city life they struggled to get even food for a single meal. The Darwinian principle about ‘Survival of fittest’ seems life altering for illiterate outcast Naurangia and in order to get back to his village, he and his wife did what is unthinkable on all accounts. To get 20 Rs he and his wife have to cross the whole river leading 36 pigs. It leaves you thinking-‘Is life so much Painful?’

Naseeruddin Shah has done this film when he had already established himself as Indian Parallel Cinema’s shining name and what he and Shabana had done is simply unchallenging. Both of them got National Award for this film as Best Actor and Actress. The film also has few other fine Indian actors like Utpal Dutt, Mohan Agashe and in a special appearance Om Puri too.

Just like Neorealist film makers Ghosh has shot the whole film in natural light, even in the night scenes and make a kind of film which more and more seems realistic like watching documentary. The climactic river crossing scene is long and it gives you the feel of absolute Neorealistic impression showing natural struggle of unfortunate couple. The only loophole of the film is its faltering editing in the second half of the film which stretches us few repeated struggle scenes.
Among all gloom, Ghosh has also added few strokes of fun. In one of the museum visit scene, curious Shabana saw the skeleton of Dinosaur and a boor man replied that it was a giant elephant lived thousand years ago. If you watch it closely, you will see little sarcastic humor in the film.

Watching this require lot of patience and appreciation for this sort of cinema and so I would like to recommend it for the niche audience….


Thursday, July 2, 2009

BHUMIKA (1977)

The film remains one of the finest art house classic Indian film in every connoisseur’s favorite film list and one of the best by Shyam Benegal. Benegal also confessed in one of the film magazine interview that he took so much pain during the making of this film. The major problem was seeking a sound producer to finance this creative Bio-pic on the life of 1940s actress of Hindi and Marathi films- Hansa Wadkar. If you look at the titles of the film, it gives you the clue about the artists he associated with the film- Photography by Govind Nihalani, Shama Zaidi as art director, Screenplay by Girish Karnad, Pandit Satya Dev Dubey, Vijay Tendulkar and Benegal himself, along with Smita Patil (in her first major role and the film which convinced her to be in vocation); we have the finest performances of Naseeruddin Shah, Amol Palekar, Amrish Puri, Anant Nag, Sulabha Deshpande and many others.

Today the actresses of Indian film Industry with all their glamour and celebrity status rules the world, it was not the same era in 40s and 50s when it was utter shame for the woman to be a film actress. Social and family taboos of male dominated world compared them with ‘naachne-gaane wali bai’ (courtesan/prostitute). Bhumika is a film about: How a playful girl belong to poor and destitute family became a singer and actress and always struggles to prove her identity among male dominated world around. She tried to explore life among all four different males she encountered by chances and she searched a better companionship among each of them but failed and reached to a stage where there’s no arrangement to return. The only improbable and darkest part of the plot is Usha’s union with aged Vinayak Kale (Amrish Puri) while knowing he was married man and has a son.

I still surprise to know that Smita Patil was just 22 years old when she played such a character which demands much depth and introspection but she’s born to act and watching this film many of you will admit that it’s one of the best performance you’ve ever seen of any Indian actress.
From the beginning Marathi lavani dance to the culmination climax of the film Smita Patil maintained the grace in every frame which bags her first National Award for it. I have to confess that like Sanjeev Kumar, we lost a gem of actress Smita Patil at very young and tender age of just 31 years and still she lived all those diverse strong characters that will remain dream roles for any Indian actress and its undoubtedly proves the versatility of such a quality actress.

To use the framing of 30s to 50s time period of an actress, Benegal used the black and white cinematography, along with sepia toned color to portray flashback. Watch the shooting scene of child Usha when she visited the studio first time, Benegal created totally an authentic atmosphere of 40s Indian Film Industry in all minute detailing. He also took much pain to get monochrome colors in the image in the initial years of cinema; another technically sound example of Benegal’s genius. Opinions may differ but its my personal belief that Benegal was kind of director who made some finest artistic films without being too didactic or too harsh to create parallel cinema and that’s the reason why even today he can gift us fine film like ‘Welcome to Sajjanpur’.

It was really difficult Screenplay to accomplish on screen such naturally and so artistically and that’s the reason why it won National Award for Best Screenplay along with Best Actress. It also won Filmfare for the Best Film.

Must Watch is under statement here….


Wednesday, July 1, 2009


In a timeless city, a man with no name returns to the violent, brutal domain of assassins he left years ago. I seriously tried to decipher the purpose of the title and left with the eternal ambiguity. May be the director is also not sure about it!!!

I don’t have words to describe how bad this film is!! It’s again a kind of film to learn how to make a really really low budget bad thriller. There’s no room for characterization, no moving action, no acting and similarly no-no in rest of the departments. The first person narrative of the film is so tiresome and prolonged that I won’t catch a film starting with it for next whole week.
Another worse Hollywood product of the year…

Ratings- 3/10