Wednesday, March 30, 2011


‘I watched a snail crawl along the edge of straight razor. That’s my dream; that’s my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of straight razor…and surviving.’

Unarguably one of the finest film ever made on Vietnam War by American cinema. The film was one of the most ambitious and epical project of the man who gave us matchless gem like ‘The Godfather’ and luckily he made all his four greatest films during that decade. The foundation of the film including Kurtz character lies in Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’, 20th century’s one of the most thought provoking work.

During Vietnam War Captain Willard is chosen for a secret US military mission to terminate insane Colonel Walter Kurtz, once the man of impressive career and outstanding military record as special force officer of US army, now set himself as a local godhead of the jungle. Following Willard through the nightmarish hell journey we witness the horror brought by war and knows some of the unsound truths in much awaited Willard’s encounter with Col. Kurtz in the climax- the tour de force of the film.

Next to both the parts of ‘Godfather series’, Director Francis Ford Coppola achieved his excellence of craft along with brilliant work of his all cast and technical crew in the film. It opens with mind-blowing track ‘The End’ by The Doors, Oscar winning sound and cinematography which makes you feel grand for those aerial action sequences and sounds like an opera leading to striking visuals of unfathomable forest. It boasts of incredible performances from Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper and above all Marlon Brando in perhaps his shortest and yet memorable role of his career as Kurtz- the man who gives you philosophical high of the war-

‘I seen horrors, horrors that you’ve seen. You have no right to call me a murderer; you have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that but you have no right to judge me. It’s impossible through words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror…horror has a face…Horror and moral terror are your friends if they’re not than they’re enemies to be feared.’

The film is still applicable to US military’s moral Gestapo stand and the line uttered by Kurtz is still seems so relevant- ‘We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won’t allow them to write “fuck” on their airplanes because it’s obscene!’


Monday, March 28, 2011


‘I’m a Mujahidddin and I’m making a scene

Now you’s gonna feel what the boom boom means!’

Here is an absolutely underrated mind blowing British laugh riot of the last year loaded with four loose cannon Mujahiddin jehadis. Islam is cracking up in foreign shores and here’s bunch of four abroad living English speaking morons guided by another nerd trying to be Jihadi fighters. Omar, Faisal, Waj, Hassan are like any of those confused desi you can meet in London streets. They love rap music, counter strike and Hollywood action. They took solemn oath to sacrifice their lives for Jihad. To involve the moderate Muslims in Jihad they’re planning to bomb the mosque culminated in final climax at London marathon. From beginning to end, the film is all unimaginable fun loaded heavily with dark humor and screwball fun. They eat their SIM cards for anti surveillance, practice mock shooting while dancing on rap tune and even by blunder blow Al-Qaeda training camp with rocket launcher.

Their embracing glory is narrated and recorded on voyeuristic cameras and where wisecracking humor popping up in every scene you follow but what’s absolutely amazing is hearing those innovative desi Punjabi flavored slang lines popping up in between. It has brilliant chemistry between all four of them. Especially smarter ass Omar and confused forever Waj sharing swapping of brain and heart’s voice. Writer-Director Christopher Morris

A comic tour de force…Highly recommended.


Sunday, March 27, 2011


‘Never trust a woman who whistles for her own cabs.’

What’s the best use of Sunday afternoon than watching Woody entertainer! Old and experienced insurance investigator C W Briggs’ twenty years position is threatened by six months old gorgeous smart reporter Betty Ann Fitzgerald. They both hate each other from the very first moment but a magical hypnotism spell with the jade scorpion in a nightclub turned them into loving married couple on honeymoon for few fragmentary moments, the fragile fantasy broken within moments and they’re back to their rivalry in reality. But the hypnotism spell returns to Briggs at night with the caller’s magic word compelling him to jewel burglary. Next morning he wakes up to his usual self, unaware about his own crime investigating the robbery case. The cycle is repeated and poor Briggs snooping around Betty’s personal life. And there’s lot more things to watch forward.

It’s absolute fun to watch Woody is in his own films. He is in his usual self- an obsessive megalomaniac wisecracker supported by his boss played by Don Aykroyd and three pretty damsels-Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron and Elizabeth Berkley. The film has some of the finest Woody repartees i.e.-

Laura: I have a strawberry birthmark on my thigh. Want to see it?

C. W. Briggs- Sure, when can I take the full tour?

One can also witness Woody’s strong fascination for those classic B&W noirs here- private detective spying and investigating, damsels here in appearance and behavior resembles more like femme fatales, the film is shot at night with low key lights. Even Woody once told that the film was one of his ambitious projects. Like many of his films- he finely blended fantasy romance punctured by hard reality. ‘Constantinople’ and ‘Madagascar’ never seems so romantic and magical words!



A simple, moving drama about a shocking but mature couple and their families stuck in the phase of shifting seventies. It’s a situation here- a girl returned to home to introduce and inform her family about the committed man who’s not only black person but ten years older and a married man who lost his wife and a child in an accident. The surprised and shocked parents of white girl have limited hours to make their decision. Adding insult to injury, the black man’s parents turning up to the girl’s family for dinner invitation adding another baggage of tension for the couple and audience. Well, all is well that ends well but that’s not the point here. One has to watch the film for the sole reason how effective director and brilliant performances maintained the film's big message coiled so delicately into domestic and personal traits with simple, finely restrained and touching manner of drama.

The drama is not about just two families and four men but between two generations as well. It’s a domestic case of concerning and caring parents who’re very hard nut to crack trapped in their rooted conventions Vs the committed and liberal modern generation couple who’s ready to break the ice no matter what. Breaking the walls of deeply rooted mental inhibitions and social unacceptable thing was not easy to conclude within a few hours of a day like an ultimatum. It’s not easy task to carry such a conversation driven drama running with a slow progress but hates off to all the cast that it seems so convincing, probable and lightly entertaining on screen from beginning to end.

The performances are all so genuine and well abstained from melodrama whether it’s Sidney Poitier and Katherine Houghton or Spencer Tracy in his last role of career along with fine acts of all supporting cast but the most touching, natural and memorable act comes from legendary Katherine Hepburn as the mother of the girl in her another Oscar winning act; she still hold the record of winning maximum numbers of Oscars- 4 times! The lady even in her old age looked so lovely and full of grace. However I must admit that Tracy steals the show in the last ten minutes oratory. Along with fine drama, brilliant acts, its worth to mention brilliantly written unpretentious and simple dialogues which makes you move; the reason why classics are always joy to watch.

Highly recommended to all classic lovers.


Friday, March 25, 2011

MOON (2009)

An impressive, different and praiseworthy attempt of British independent cinema; Director Duncan Jones debut film ‘Moon’ is not just routine space mission meets catastrophe sort of sci-fi. It’s more a personal film about the existential dilemma of a man and his emotional vacuum 950,000 miles far away from his home and family. It begins with futuristic world where men found the solution of energy crisis in Helium3-the energy of sun, trapped in rock and harvested by machine from the far side of the moon which can serve the energy needs of nearly 70% planet earth. Anyway that’s just one note; the next thing we notice is a lone man named Sam Bell in his moon traveler. He’s on long haul contract of three years by Lunar Industries; missing his wife and child. He has only one companion- helper and a constant witness of his life on moon- a computer cum robot named Gerty. Anyway his contract is near to end but it’s during last few weeks on mission he started getting distracted by hallucinations leading him to an accident. He was survived but soon started noticing his clone like replica. Next is intriguing emotional and thrill drama till its end. Sam Rockwell is absolutely wonderful here and the film is completely on his shoulder from beginning to the end. In nutshell not an outstanding film but a film which demands your attention for its low budget high execution of independent cinema.



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DREAMS (Japanese) (1990)

"A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet." - Akira Kurosawa

A beautiful rainbow of several shorts made in form of one man’s dreams; the man here is none other than the Master himself. Each creative dream records the reflections of Master’s collective psyche of being fellow Japanese born in post war period and as the finest artist bringing confluence of western art with Japanese folklore, setting and milieu. Most of the dreams represent surprise and excitement towards climax with beautiful use of magic realism. Ah! Japanese literature is just unmatchable in it! So there’s ‘Crows’ where an amateur painter while witnessing Van Gogh’s gallery suddenly turned into the life and time of Van Gogh through one of his painting or ‘The Peach Orchard’ in which like a fable a crying boy witnesses his yearning to watch the orchard in its full bloom..

In some of the dreams Kurosawa corresponded his deeply rooted consciousness of post war- post nuclear explosion trauma and sensibilities along with nature’s constant threat in one or other form of natural calamities as indicated in ‘Mount Fuji in Red’, ‘The Weeping Demon’ or ‘The Tunnel’ where an army commander returning from home encountered spirits of a dead soldier and annihilated platoon coming out of the tunnel.

All Kurosawa fans know pretty well that nature seems so breathing alive in Master’s cinema but this one is absolutely pinnacle of what one can achieve in cinematic medium with camera and colors. More than part and parcel, Nature here is constant character in all of the dreams and this is the film where Master’s stroke of colors gives you a different aesthetic high. Must say it’s a visual poetry and portrays nature in its all shades of creation and destruction from bloom to blizzard, from fog to forest and from volcano to rain. If one pay close attention to all of the dreams it conveys the inherent message that how men keep on ravaging beautiful and blissful world of nature, turning lush landscapes to barren land for his own selfish purposes. The message articulated so wonderfully in the final dream of ‘Village of the Watermills’ showing us the surprising ideal world of nature where even funeral is celebrated as wedding. It’s the one I like the most.

Must say 'The cinema that heals'.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

KAGEMUSHA (Japanese) (1980)

The shadow of a man can never stand up and walk on its own. Can a shadow exist without the person? Kagemusha in Japanese means a shadow warrior. The film is based on sixteenth century war plot between two royal domains. A professional thief who looks like a replica of the dead king was chosen to perform the double to deceive the enemies and to protect Takeda clan. It’s not easy task to get into the skin of the king for three years especially when he has to remain unsuspected not only from enemy spies but also from his own family and fellow men.

‘Kagemusha’ was Kurosawa’s ambitious and lavish epical project which he wanted to make from long which he fulfilled with his Hollywood admirers and co-producers George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. Its three hours long in length and bears spectacular production design and stunning color cinematography. The dream sequence and brilliant background use of light, shades and florescent colors is aesthetically awesome. But I find the film very stretching one, shoddy in editing too average and less impressive amid all the AK films that I managed to watch till day. In form and presentation it looks like Kurosawa but not in the content and soul.


Friday, March 18, 2011

DERSU UZALA (Russian) (1975)

‘Man is very small before the face of nature.’

I do strongly believe that the great films and great literature made us think and transform us to a better human being in whatsoever small or large amount. Dersu Uzala is an enriching experience and an unforgettable film by the emperor of Japanese cinema, Akira Kurosawa. It is a simple, beautiful and moving tale of selfless friendship and unusual humanity and indeed a graceful comeback of the Master who attempted suicide prior to making of this when his last film’s debacle made him so pessimistic towards life. The film not only built confidence and reputation of the Master by winning Best Foreign Language Film Oscar but also appreciated all over the world by the audience and critics unanimously.

It begins with opening of 20th century where a Russian Military officer and his troop in their surveying expedition to Siberian forest met a strange old nomadic tribal hunter named Dersu who knew the forest like no other. Soon he became their helping guide. He’s such a rare and selfless man that it’s almost hard to find another like him on this earth. After saving the captain's life under heavy snowstorm one night, he became a good friend of captain. But the soon the mission ended and the captain and his troop caught a train bidding farewell to Dersu with hope to meet him again. The first part ends with this note.

They do meet again and this time the captain saved his life but Kurosawa’s point of the film lies in the last thirty minutes of the film. He shows Dersu’s helplessness to settle in the city of civilized men. He can’t sleep outside, cut trees, hunt animals; instead stayed in a room where he didn’t get enough air. ‘How can men live in a box?’ is a big question for him. It made all of us think about the contrast between the two lives- one led by the noble savage Dersu who worships nature with all innocence and simplicity in the lap of the forest as a hunter. Soldiers laughed at him as he considered everything around him as alive as human and had a talk with them like a spirit whether it’s the sun or a tiger. We feel the paradoxical underpinnings when he first time spared few days in city with his captain-friend’s family. It is civilized men of cities who draw lines of borders with their power and plunder the freely gifted natural resources and fixed a price for everything from water to wood and fruits to meat. They made rules for everything and categorized them in general as acceptable and unacceptable behavior. The satirical punch of the film came in the climax where we come to know whereabouts of the new gifted rifle given to him by the captain.

From fine wide angle landscapes to brilliant use of light, colors and shades, the film has aesthetically rich cinematography where nature is captured in all its moods and seasons like a sweeping poetry. My favorite frame is one where Dersu and the captain watching both the sun and the moon at dusk. Maxim Munzuk as Dersu is as unforgettable and natural character that it instantly became one of my favorite movie characters of all time. The only other actor whom I find as natural as him is Bruno S. in Herzog’s two masterpieces- ‘Stroszek’ and ‘The Enigma of Kasper Hauser’.

A touching elegy on human heritage.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

RED BEARD (Japanese) (1965)

‘There’s always some story of great misfortune behind illness.’

Red Beard is a tale of transformation about a young city doctor came to work in a non profitable clinic for poor rural patients run by a noble dictatorial doctor known as Red Beard. He’s proud, stubborn and radical yet well experienced doctor. The clinic soon became a prison for newly came apprentice. He tried to be a rebel, breaking the rules of clinic so that the Master might dismiss him. But his attempts turned futile when he was needed by the doctor to support him in handling many emergency cases. His encounters with an eye witnessed death, strange cases and relationship with a lady patient soon transformed him into an unselfish and responsible doctor.

There are few moving Kurosawa moments in the film is the one where the Doctor left the apprentice to witness the last breaths of dying man and in single frame he captured both patient’s painful gasping of last moments and the disturbing helplessness expressions of an amateur doctor witnessing first time the dying man and then one in the climax. The sublime relationship between a poor kid and a girl named Masae becomes the most touching one till it reaches the climax where along with other ladies, she keep shouting his name to well as per one of Japanese myth to save his life. Like many of his films, Kurosawa kept a surprising entry for his favorite actor Toshiro Mifune playing the doctor Dr. Niide aka ‘Red Beard’. For the most part of the story or screen time, he remained in a shadow; unpredictable in approach but a keen observer of human physique and mind. Like a Zen Master taking right decisions that transform his disciple-the new doctor.

Red Beard is simply a noble cinema by Master but compared to many of his masterpieces and other films that I’ve seen, this one seems weaker one on many fronts. It’s too slow, didactic and melodramatic and dragging one with duration of more than three hours. Among many of it’s subplots the one regarding the dying patient and his tragic love story seems quite dragging and melodramatic affair for half an hour; it would be much better if Master had used something less dramatic and yet moving transformative part here. Doctor’s fight with men at brothel is also improbable and then again stretching sickness part- first the girl followed by the young doctor nursing each other. The restraint and subtleness of his earlier masterpiece ‘Ikiru’ is quite missing here. Perhaps Master attempted too many sub stories here and so many transformations of characters; but he ends it so well where we see his genuine touch.

Among many of Kurosawa’s over budget cinemas, ‘Red Beard’ was too heavy investment both in terms of time and money; started with six months plan-ended with two years stretch. What is the saddest outcome of the film was that with this film it ended the 20 years long and 16 films together great actor-director combination. Toshiro Mifune, who remained inseparable force of his cinema suddenly turned his face to the Emperor and never turned back again. So what’s the reason? Here is what another legend and his long admirer-friend Satyajit Ray noted in his ‘Our Films, Their Films’-

“Mifune had signed an exclusive contract for 6 months and had grown a beard for the part. As the shooting dragged on, Mifune had to keep turning down offer after offer. While the film was in production, he did nothing to jeopardize its interests. But from the moment shooting ended he has been a stranger to Kurosawa, with no chance of rapprochement in sight…The fact that RB went away over budget was Kurosawa was cold not care less about. All that mattered to him was perfection, which he achieved in the film. The critics applauded the film. It also had a long run, but not enough to bring back the cost.”

Kurosawa deliberately took 2 years to produce ‘Red Beard’ so that his actors and sets had the necessary real & live effect that he wanted to portray. It’s with this film that AK became absolutely unbankable director by Japanese producers; the reason why it took 5 years to finish his next film ‘Dodes ka-den’. Checking his filmography one may notice that AK had made almost a single film a year since his debut. However unfortunately ‘Dodes ka-den’ turned out as the biggest flop of his career and under terrible shock Kurosawa attempted suicide but miraculously survived! Perhaps he was destined to live longer for his second spell. He returned with a bang- a Russian film ‘Dersu Uzala’ bestowed with ‘Best Foreign Film Oscar’. Will talk about it in the next post.

Ratings- 7.5/10

Monday, March 14, 2011

A.K. (Documentary) (1985)

Call it the 'making of Ran', a documentary about Akira Kurosawa or a just a film about film! A.K. is a documentary made and edited by Chris Marker, the man who made one of the brilliant short film in French I’ve ever seen- ‘La Jette’, edited with captured still images. One has to watch the short to know the impossible magic of still frames and masterly editing which can move you like never before.

For the viewers expecting life story or comparative analysis of Kurosawa’s cinema will surely disappoint here. Unlike routine documentaries, Marker deliberately avoided direct conversation with Kurosawa or any of his crew members; he portrayed the whole film as viewer who’s like an admirable fan watching the filming process of Master on set without letting his own presence felt. He wanted us to carry this direct experience to be on Kurosawa set rather than stretching it with routine interview with the legend. We notice the Sensei sits amidst a crew, calmly, almost invisibly, directing the many sections into the creation of perfection. We see Master’s command over many facets of film- guiding actors to instructing crew like a military commander. It focuses on many integral elements of Kurosawa's cinema highlighting on location shooting of 'Ran', i.e.-Speed, action, weather, use of smoke, rain and horses and his faithful technical collaborators ranging from cameraman, sound man, set designer and the presence of Ishiro Honda, who worked as assistant director under Master till 1947 and made landmark ‘Godzilla’, the film Kurosawa wanted to direct from long.

Recommended to all AK & Chris Marker fans.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

THE HIDDEN FORTRESS (Japanese) (1958)

After his experimental ‘Rashomon’, moving ‘Ikiru’, the definite macho film of lifetime ‘The Seven Samurai’ and Bard’s brilliant screen adaptation ‘Throne of Blood’, here the wind man of Japanese cinema attempted perhaps the most light hearted adventure film of his career, purely made to entertain the audience and pacifying the cribbing Japanese critics and press who considered him too westernized. He set the plot between two Japanese enemy clans- Yamanas and Akizuki. The film opens with two buffoonery gravediggers escaped from one enemy clan and noticed a reward informing about Princess Yuki of Akizuki, the sole survivor of clan. During their wandering journey they surprisingly get gold hidden in wood. Soon they meet the legendary and valiant Akizuki Samurai General Rakurota Makabe (who else than Toshiro Mifune!) and the princess hidden in mountain castle with loads of royal gold. By tempting and offering gold to the two gravediggers, Makabe and the princess starts journey to reach their destination passing through enemy lines.

As i said, it is not moving piece of cinema like many of his earlier or later masterpieces but an entertainer with exciting adventure journey with intermittent fun, and few fine action moments including that brilliantly executed spear duel sequence between Mifune and other General. Needless to say the perfectionist director’s grand production design and captivating camera work is worth to notice in almost any of his films. Like any of his films Mifune remained the scene stealer here too but what’s quite queer to notice is the way Kurosawa had executed funny moments from two unlikely idiots sharing almost equal or more screen time than even Mifune. Since their entry as film opens, they constantly bitching when together and yet crave to be with each other when separated. They’re smart and yet stupid at times. The best of fun moment lies in that exciting drama when both of them tried to escape with gold while cheating a mute princess and ended up joining from where they left.

Many of the scenes in the film remind me Huston’s classic ‘The Treasure of Sierra Madre’ where greed for gold turned the partners themselves into enemies; however Kurosawa reflected it all in a quite light vein highlighting the fun part than the seriousness. Watch it for the queer combination of fun, adventure and drama that inspired George Lucas’s spectacular successful enterprise ‘Star Wars’.


Friday, March 11, 2011

DRUNKEN ANGEL (Japanese) (1948)

‘Human sacrifice has gone out of style. Japanese make so many pointless sacrifices,’ said one drunkard angel. ‘You really gain your face when you put your life on line,’ said another drunken angel.

The title itself suggests some sort of social irony and it reflected in the movie’s two protagonists. Influenced by Dostoevsky’s fiction Kurosawa’s this quite early scripted-directed film is surprisingly the tale of not one but two queer drunken angels played by his long time stalwart actors- Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura. Though Kurosawa brought both of their talents best show in later films of his career, this one is quite a special one to notice how both of these actors won Master’s heart by making their presence felt in many of scenes here. We see the unusual bonding of love and hate on screen between a rough and temperamental Yakuza gangster patient and a compulsive drunkard but concerning doctor. The doctor diagnosed him TB patient and advised him to abstain from smoking and alcohol when the doctor himself was dipsomaniac. As the gangster realized the worsening symptoms, he visited doctor frequently and tried to follow his advice. But as soon as his former Boss returned to claim his turf, he started losing both his luck, lady and finally his life.

The film established two prototype faces of Kurosawa heroes- a macho with loads of guts and attitudes and a humanitarian fighting against all odds. It would be surprising to know that in the initial script Mifune had just small supporting role to perform but Kurosawa was so impressed by his debut act that he increased his screen presence almost equal to Takashi Shimura, who also remained the man to watch in many of his films including his arguably career best act in ‘Ikiru’. It seems that Kurosawa was highly impressed by Noirs of that era and hence we see the reflections in many of frames- the hopeless and seedy postwar Japan where people are frustrated in their approach towards life and identities took solace in booze, music and woman. The highlighted part is the big muddy and toxic puddle slowly turning into city’s most contaminated garbage sight inviting bacteria and mosquitoes to spread infectious diseases.

Not Kurosawa’s best but nevertheless worth watching classic to explore the great actor-director combination happened to the world of cinema-Kurosawa-Mifune. It was the first flower of their long collaboration that further presented us bouquet of 16 films together.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

HIGH AND LOW (Japanese) (1963)

A brilliant combination of finely crafted suspense thriller and brooding human drama from Japan’s legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. It’s an interesting beginning when any film begins with tension felt by its lead character. We see an ambitious and dedicated executive of National shoes, Mr. Gondo in baffling position.Unlike majority opinion for going attractive and inferior product in meeting with his fellow business partners, he wanted to make both trendy and durable shoes without compromising on quality. His dilemma and tension heightened further by a queer kidnapping of his own kid. Within moments he came to know that the kidnapper kidnapped the wrong boy (his servant’s son) instead of his own. The hefty ransom demand of 30 million is worth the life savings of Mr. Gondo; if he pay the amount, he’ll be bankrupt and so he adamantly refused to pay and informed the police instead. As soon as cops with a clever young inspector took the charge of the case, it kept taking the different turns. Does saving the income of your lifetime is more important than saving a life of a man? Kurosawa raised the pointer. Gondo convinced and changed his heart to pay the ransom and cops set the plan to nab the criminal but unfortunately the kidnapper is smart chap. Is it the Money- the only motive of kidnapper or it’s a personal grudge? The next is all edge on the seat thrill ride till its end.

Watching three inseparable actors of Kurosawa cinema is always a treat for all his ardent fans. Master’s favorite-Toshiro Mifune plays Mr. Gondo here along with fine supporting act by Tatsuya Nakadai as young inspector Tokura and Takeshi Shimura in a short cameo as Police chief. But more than that what’s surprising experience for me is the way Kurosawa treated the whole film, as I haven’t expected such an impeccable thriller from Kurosawa. The thrill and drama run parallel to each other for almost first hour on just a single setting reminds me Lumet’s ’12 Angry Men’ as there are many characters remained in frames for long time and making their presence felt in the narration. One may notice the rushes of Hitchcokian elements too in many of the scenes. The brilliant depiction of police surveillance and investigation pursuing to trace the kidnapper reminds me Fritz Lang and Melville’s matchless classics. There is a long scene where more than thirty cops gathered in police station on hot afternoon reporting their investigation duties and explaining every available clues and leads. And still amid all these, you’ll see the distinct humanitarian flame of Kurosawa throughout the film. I just loved the way he altered the whole film with the short conversation between Gondo and the criminal before the end. It makes you think hard about the criminal and possibly shift your sympathy too! Well, that’s what the touch of Master!

Need I say ‘Must watch.’


Tuesday, March 8, 2011


A compelling humanitarian film based on one of the factual ethnic blood massacre of African continent. Its film showing us the extraordinary courage and effort of an ordinary man to save lives of around thousand men in one of the most tragic and pathetic genocide couple of years ago. The warfare of hatred between Hutu and Tutsi reached peak when President of Rwanda was murdered by Tutsi rebel forces. The blind rage and aggression under Hutu power turned the streets of Kigali into bloodbath slaughtering Tutsi innocent civilians. UN Peace Keeping Forces remained helpless to control the diabolic face of ethnic hatred and the Hutu Radio kept poisoning the brain of Hutu civilians to destroy the ‘Tutsi cockroaches.’

The only ‘oasis in the desert’ is the man named Paul working as In charge Manager of Milles Collines Hotel in the city. He’s just upright family man who knows how to make powerful men and diplomats happy with offering finest scotch and cigars. His initial effort to save his family and close neighborhood Tutsi family-friends turned into humanitarian mission as situation become worst to survive. Soon the hotel became the HQ of around thousand Tutsi refugees and orphan kids coming from all walks of the city. The only hope for them is Paul and favorable support from one of the UN army officer. Somehow they managed to shift many of refugees to safe place but the news had spread to Hutu power much before they reached the destination.

The film is concerning humanitarian document made with an honest approach parallel to Spielberg’s holocaust drama ‘Schindler’s List’. Whether it’s Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo or any other actors, the performance remained so natural abstaining over dramatic effect. Though the film is based on factual details and it’s not a documentary film, it triggered many brooding questions about UN and other countries direct intervention to prevent and save the civilians from this bloody massacre. Well, its eye-opener to get the facts right; reading this FAQ on IMDB again pointed fingers towards colonial rulers who set the flame of discrimination between the two. Catch the following IMDB FAQ link -


Friday, March 4, 2011


The body, charm and certain amount of mysteriousness are the weapons used by usual femme fatales to conquest the men and their world. Bridget Gregory is something else! She’s the bitch with a load of attitude from the very beginning to the end. The men though aware of her diabolic double face, love to trap themselves in the enticing deception of her charm and schemes. The men here are mere pawns and slaves and Bridget knows how to use and throw them just like her smoked cigarettes. She loves bending rules, changing names and playing with people’s minds. She pissed off her hubby and ran away with his illegal drug deal money. Then she took shelter in a small town and ensnared a young man into her scheme to kill her own hubby.

The plot bears much resemblance with Billy Wilder’s classic noir ‘Double Indemnity’ which clearly inspired so many neo noirs to follow but the big reason to watch this John Dahl’s well made modern noir is the way Linda Florentino carried herself in entire film with spark and attitude of her own. Her cold blooded and raw ‘I don’t care damn’ attitude is just matchless to compare even with Kathleen Turner (Body Heat) or Sharone Stone (Basic Instinct) and she has done this without more frequently showing her skin. Watch her encounter with Mike in a bar or the climax where she changed her near to fail game with unnoticed phone call. I’m adding her entry into some of the finest and intriguing bitchy acts of screen.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


‘Cult cinema’ is not generally a word so often used for Hindi mainstream cinema and yet there comes films that we love to watch time and again for their exquisite uniqueness never seen or enjoyed before. The films are push forward to other cinebuffs and much after their release they become admirable nuggets for long time. We don’t forget ‘Andaz Apna Apna’, ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’ or ‘Bheja Fry’ so easily. But at the same time there are certain dark horses comes from B grader cinema like Kanti Shah’s ‘Gunda’. Here comes a film which was made in 2001 but unfortunately not released in theatres till day, it’s one more reason to give it ‘cult’ status. Writer, editor, director Pankaj A. Advani’s low budget ‘Urf Professor’ is without exaggeration the new entry in ‘cult Hindi cinema’; fully loaded with adult fun, black humor and characters hard to avoid.

The first 20 minutes into the film and you'll laugh out loudly like never before. It begins with voyeuristic camera recording of a just married couple’s bed room. On the first night of their wedding, they’re sharing their post marital affairs. After husband's confession of his two post marital affairs now it’s turn for that conservative, shy Indian dulhan to say her something. And as she opens her mouth, it’s blast for your ears to listen the nympho set loose who continues sharing her endless list of sex encounters!!! Pay your eager ears to the language-it’s treat as far as your adult sense of humor can take. The lines are clear inspiration from those cheap desi porn magazine stories.

Cut to that scene and you’ll see introduction of our unusual protagonist. He’s ordinary looking, flab middle aged figure suffering from asthma. He has some typical traits-loves Gujarati thali, frequently visits local public library and issue books on sex, regularly buys a lottery ticket from blind man and keep doing his job of contract killer. His close friend and partner in crime Hudda called him ‘Professor’! Next follows the scene of the movie which is in my opinion the best possible comic sequence ever written, filmed and acted in Hindi cinema with so perfect timing. We see the Professor aiming Mehta’s wife in swimming pool visible from a high rise room's window while meddling with two callers on single line; one is Mehta, masturbating in his toilet who gave him ‘supari’ and the other is the mediator Hudda struggling to handle messy affair between two parties. We don’t see neither Mehta’s wife nor swimming pool and yet those bikini humor made all of you laugh loudest for sure.

The movie takes you to all unimaginable dark humor- contract killer professor obsessed with book titles ‘Sexercises’, mess with winning lottery ticket, theft of Mercedez-Benz with bagful of bucks, a dead body make-up specialist in big trouble with dead body and it’s alive replica, a wannabe bollywood actor ending up as low budget desi porn substitute and many things to follow. Manoj Pahwa will remain in memory as professor and so are some of other fine casting consists of always amazing Yashpal Sharma along with Shrivallabh Vyas, Sharman Joshi, Antara Mali and Devang Patel. Along with director, they too added their fine share of timing and punches of hilarious fun.

Give jolt to your dark sense of humor because for routine hindi cinema comedy this one is truly tearing apart all conventional inhibitions whether it’s constant cuss words, porn mocking moments or murders and death tinged with dark comedy. I’m sure it’ll blow your minds away for full two hours from beginning to the end and after watching it you’ll say ‘Khatam ho gaya #%^#6#*’ Let’s watch it one more time!!!