Saturday, May 26, 2007

Another weekend, another flick!

The title of this post should serve as an indicator to what I thought of the movie. Nothing special, nothing extraordinary, nothing too bad tooo. Just regular bollywood masala fare served in a slick manner.

Shootout at Lokhandwala - Apoorva Lakhia's third directorial venture turned out to be a complete male movie. One that will set the adrenaline pumping, one that will be embraced by the masses for all its violence, bhaigiri and item songs and one that will be forgotten the moment it is out of theatres. Dont expect to see the DVD's make their way into filmbuff's collection! This guy is one lucky director who has friends in all the right places and in all the right circles! He ropes in Abhishek Bacchan with a ridiculous plot and makes Mumbai se Aaya Mera Dost - disaster. He sees a DVD of Man on Fire and ropes in the Big B to make Ek Ajnabee. Then he reads about the Lokhandwala shootout, offers ACP AA Khan a bit role in the movie in exchange for loads of info and makes a movie with a mammoth star cast.

There was no one in the movie who had any kinda depth to his character, no one whose character went beyond a few lines, or a few bullets to be precise. The director sure had no idea how to juggle his cast and so ends up making a very superficial movie. It will appeal to a lot of people though. I was reminded of how I enjoyed seeing 300 earlier this year. A raw action movie appealing to the male psyche purely on the basis of its awesome battle scenes. Shootout is very similar in this respect, it is a raw action movie, the action very gory, very bloody, very very basic. Even the corpses being dragged away had to be shown in full, blood trails and all. Two or three item songs, none too long, none that was necessary, though none that the masses would mind (thanks to Aarti Chabria, whose stint down south seems to have helped her). Some rousing scenes with Sanjay and his troupe and Viviek (or however else it is spelt) and his troupe walking across the screen to a thumping background beat are pretty cool.

Coming to the cast, Sanjay Dutt looks more like his usual gangster, what with the open shirt and gun sticking out, but is pretty neat. Suniel Shetty and Arbaaz Khan do not have much to do. Coming to the gangsta's Viviek does a bad job of going back to his Company days. Tusshar Kapoor must be feeling bad when he does not get a good role even in a movie co-produced by his sister. None of his sidekicks have much of a role to be talked about. Abhishek Bacchan, all I can say is he is a very loyal friend to have agreed to have done a blink and miss role for him. Big B must have done the role while he was sleepwalking or something.

Go see this movie if you enjoyed seeing 300. Pretty much the same a**- kicking, shoot to kill action. Good as long as it lasts...nothing that you will take home!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Metro - nomic!!!

A regular review of this movie, I some how found myself incapabale of writing. Everytime during the movie when I thought I could trash it, it rose from mediocrity to exalted levels, everytime I thought I could praise it to the heavens, it was pulled down to mediocrity by some cliche. So, I decided to just list out some of the vignettes that stood out in the movie, some moments that stuck with me long after the lights were switched on. Spoilers ahead, so be aware and do not blame me! Here goes a listing -

The entire Dharmendra - Nafisa Ali track, right from when Dharmendra takes the shortcut to reach the other platform, to the scene wherein Nafisa takes her spectacles off, puts them in Dharmendra's pocket and runs into the rain to the end that takes you by surprise, this was a track that needed some guts to pull off.

Sharman Joshi's flat situation - how the seemingly mundane Guptaji's and Sharmaji's have dual lives straight out of a young man's dream (my frnds are seriously contemplating getting a flat together!!!) to his discovery of who his boss is bringing to his flat and his final acceptance of his ladylove, it does not matter to him if she has been sleeping around earlier - the future is what matters is probably his chain of thought. Very well conceived.

The KayKay, Shilpa and Shiney track had a couple of stand out moments. Shilpa was at her best in the scene where Shiney takes her to his frnd's flat and the frnd walks in at an inoppurtune moment. The broken KayKay in the climactic scene was a superlative example of a person getting into the skin of the character.

The best of the tracks was the one with Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen...Sharma...whatever. Both of them were ur average everyday characters, bumbling, unsure and funny. It had many laugh out loud moments and they managed to elevate the movie to different heights altogether. Stand out moments include the shopping scene, the pre-interview scene in the office, the climax of course...

Sharman Joshi stood out on his own, Kangna Ranaut pretty much the same as in her other movies. Anurag Basu, after Gangster, proves that he is a good storyteller, one who has a definite idea of what he wants to say and who he wants to say it to. His target is the multiplexes in the Metros and he knows what the discerning audience wants to see. His ploy of getting in the Metro band for every song does get irksome after a while, but on the whole a rocking soundtrack and a different movie. Might not appeal to everyone, but if u r looking for a strong story backed by outstanding performances...this might just be your cup of tea!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

On a whim...

A beautiful song from Rahman's Vandemataram sung by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Join on Sunshine, Join on Blue Skies,
Sunshine breaking up, blue skies breaking up...(2)

Chanda sooraj lakhon taare, hain jab tere hi yeh saare,
kis baat pe hoti hai phir takraare.
Kheechi hain lakeere is zameen pe, par naa kheecho dekho,
Beech mein do dilon ke yeh deewaarein.

Duniya mein kahi bhi dard se koi bhi, tadpe tho hum ko yahaan pe,
Ahsaas uske zakhmon kaa hoke, apnaa bhi dil bhar bhar aaye roye naakiiii...

What are u waiting for another day another dawn,
someday we have to find a new way to peace.
What are u waiting for another sign another call,
someday we have to find a new way to peace.

Doorie kyon dilon mein rahe phaasle kyon badhte rahe,
Pyaari yeh jindagi hain pyaara jahaan.
Rishtein badi mushkilon se bante hain yahaan pe lekin,
Toot ne keliye bas ek hi lamhaaa.

Ishq dawaa hain har ek dard ki,
Zanzerein ishq hain har ek rishte ki,
Ishq saari hadon ko tod daale,
Ishq tho duniya ko pal mein mitaa bhi de,
Ishq hain jo jahaan ko aman bhi de....
Rounaq ishq se hain saare aalam ki........

Soulful lyrics (italicized part especially), rending rendition, brilliant orchestration, the song takes my breath away...

Thank you Rahman, for enriching our lives with such songs and sorry that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan did not live longer so we could have heard many more wonderful renditions as these...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Aata - impressions....

Decide what you want to make first. I think this is what all directors need to be told. Once you have decided what genre of film you want to make stick to your guns. Work on your script until you have a bound one in your hand and then go to the floors. Then make sure that the story you wanted to tell is not lost in translation. Once you have finished shooting your movie, make sure the publicity stills and trailers convey exactly what the audience is going to get to see in the movie.

These were thoughts that went through my mind as I suffered yet another insufferable summer flop. Aata - starring current heartthrobs, Sidharth and Ileana, came with all the usual hype about being different, being intelligent and entertaining and the other usual cliched statements. What surprised me was that the story was the rehash of a none-too-old movie that did not do that well itself (Gudumba Shankar). What propelled the director and the producer to use the same script is something that escapes my thought process. Added to that, Sidharth was majorly miscast in his role. Here is an actor who is known to underplay his characters and bring an intensity hitherto not seen to his roles. Now picture him in a role of a movie fanatic, who talks exclusively using dialogues or titles from all the movies he has seen since birth. Someone loud, overtly active and generally over the top. The movie lost half its charm right there. The villian is reduced to a buffoon for a major part of the second half and then suddenly the last part of the movie changes into something entirely different bringing in a social angle and all that.

This is where I say, decide what you want to make, if you are reducing a villian to a buffoon make a comedy of errors kinda movie and keep the tone light throughout. If you are trying to make a love story against an action back drop, keep the action intense throughout. Else your intended serious twists in the story line will become a cause for mirth for the audience and that is a never a good sign. The movie also suffers from continuity problems. No one was taking enuf care during the making of movie. There is one character that appears post interval - exactly four scenes this guy has - and his moustache turns from white to black to white to black again during those four scenes. Did the director not even see the rushes?

All said and done, Ileana looked hot, had no inhibitions and made up for some part of the movie. The first two songs were very good, but that is all there is to it. If you absolutely must see it, wait for a couple months and the DVD should be out in the market...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Hopefully there will be no Spiderman - 4!

I was one of those guys who got tremendously excited and was making arrangements to see Spidey - 3 on the first day. Took pics of the posters and it was the wall paper on both my mobile and my laptop. All this, inspite of being disappointed by the large amounts of mush in Spidey - 2.

3 belied my expectations completely. Three villians promised a veritable action feast and that was exactly what 3 was not. What I got to see was a mushy, sentimental story where no one wore masks...For god's sake, I wanna see Goblin with his mask, I wanna see Spidey with his mask. A partly torn mask is ok, the tearing of the mask signifies action to me, but Spidey tearing off his mask at the slightest pretext and Goblin just bothering with the mask for a fraction of a second that he appears was somehow disappointing. The masks are very very essential for the persona.

I understand that Sam Raimi wants to focus on the human side of the super hero - but my understanding is limited to half the movie's length. I would rather go to a mushy romantic 'chick flick' if I wanted to see what I got to see in Spidey - 3 for the longest time. And in the end, when the Goblin Jr. turns good, it was him all the way. He gets to deliver the most crippling blows to the villians of the piece, Spidey just about cleans 'em up later. And killing him at the end was saaaad, a regular movie goer would know that the moment he says 'friends I could give my life for' at the beginning of the movie. If spending more than $200 million on the movie justifies the inclusion of all these cliches, then make a cheaper movie, one where in you can remove the cliches and follow a slightly adventurous route.

If there is a Spidey -4, I would like it to be sharper - in terms of wit and action and have a lot less mush!