Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Singh is Kinng - Review

Read at http://sensiblegarbage.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blog Updates

Check out the review of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na at http://sensiblegarbage.blogspot.com/. Sorry for the delay folks!

Also, read the 'Senseless Garbage - The Matrix of Life' at http://sensiblegarbage.blogspot.com/ to sharpen your reading skills :-P



Monday, July 07, 2008

Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na

Friends, I am really sorry for not putting up the review of Jaane Tu in time on the blog. The reason is that nobody is willing to go and watch it with me :( I will try to watch it over this week itself. So check out the update at http://sensiblegarbage.blogspot.com in the next couple of days.


Friday, June 27, 2008

New Blog Up!

Read the review on The 3 Mistakes of My Life at http://sensiblegarbage.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Moving on..

Check out the latest blog entry - Football'ed' at http://sensiblegarbage.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sarkar Raj - The Review

Sarkar Raj was an eagerly awaited film. It was deemed to be Ramu’s comeback, rather fightback, film. There were rumors abound about the film being a platform for the Bachchans to show their Maharashtra love. The film scores on both these counts. Ramu is in form or should I say in his comfort zone in the film and he delivers. The Bachchans use the 70MM canvas to seek a place in the hearts of the Marathis who are supposed to hate them following the political outbursts against the first family of Indian Filmdom.


Sarkar Raj takes off from where Sarkar had left. The slickness is maintained and the pace at which the story moves grips you from the very outset. A foreign power company headed by Anita (Aishwarya) wants to set up a power plant in Maharashtra and for that it seeks Sarkar’s help. Shankar (Abhishek) believes in the project and despite the initial hiccups is able to convince people to welcome the power plant project. In the process he makes new enemies as well who decide to decimate him.

The build up to the intermission is quite good and the interval point reminds you of Godfather, the film Sarkar's initial inspiration. Just as Michael Corleone’s wife was blown up in Godfather, here, Tanisha is blown up. Post interval it’s revenge time for the Nagres as Shankar goes for the kill to avenge his wife’s death. Tensions build up and a contract killer is hired to eliminate Shankar. Shankar meanwhile is oblivious to the lurking danger as he is not able to gauge the larger conspiracy at hand. The result – he is shot dead!

The semi-retired Sarkar comes back to the helm to find the people behind the killing and has them killed. He figures out that a political game was being played by his own mentor to get the reins of power back in his hands. Sarkar foils his bid and shows who the real boss is. The climax is open ended to allow Ramu enough room to cook up another story to complete the Sarkar trilogy in future.

Now coming to the details or as I say, the dissection:

Acting: Amitabh Bachchan is awesome! Only he could have been Sarkar and he plays the character with supreme finesse. Junior B too got into the skin of the character just as well as he did the last time around. His death scene immortalizes his character. Thankfully there is not much drama and that makes it look more real. This is a good thing about Ramu and his films, they don't make death look like a fanfare as in typical Bollywood films.
Aishwarya Rai gets to play a strong girl but not that strong a character. She looks more of a 'spectator' than a 'player' in the script. Yes, the climax does augur well for her character in the third part, if it is made. Rest of the cast is ok. The touch that the actor playing an industrialist, Kantilal Vora, brings to his character looks obsolete and very filmy. Should a serious looking villain always have to indulge in some antiques like singing romantic hindi songs to bring out his wickedness to the fore?

Direction: Ramu is a master of underworld films. He delivers this time and that must have been a relief for him. He has his own trademark way of introducing characters and showing a vulture flying over the sky to denote the ‘lull before the storm’. The good thing about Ramu is his technical deftness, the bad thing – his repetitiveness!

Music: Amar Mohile is a veteran and has done a good work with the background score. The haunting tunes come back to you and the chants of ‘Govinda, Govinda!’ bring back the same aura that Sarkar-I had brought. Thumbs up for the score. The other songs are not good. They didn’t have to be, this film did not need any song. Ramu has intelligently played them in the background to break the monotony at times.

Dialogues: Intelligent but a bit too taxing at times. There were a few really good scenes with quality dialogues but at times they went overboard and gave the impression of being forced to give an overdose of intellect in the film.

As for the packaging, publicity and box office fate, they seem have been taken care of quite well. The film will be profitable and will go some way in resurrecting the declining power that Ramu once wielded through his ‘Factory’ that I have heard has shut down now. I hope better sense prevails on Ramu and he gives up his dream to rehash Sholay a second time.

Sarkar Raj is not an entertainer. You would appreciate it but not love it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Banned - Why?

I got this in a forwarded message recently. This MTV Ad, they say, was banned in the US after being aired once. Some sources also claim that it was not the Government but Viacom, the parent company of MTV that censored it as it offended viewers and corporate sponsors. The time of this Ad was post the 9/11 attacks. I cannot confirm the veracity of the forward but the picture ad is definitely thought provoking.
Even though I am convinced that there are far more serious issues that need to be addressed in the World than a war on Terrorism, but that doesn't make terrorism a less sinful act.
2,863 dead40 million infected worldwideThe world united against terrorism.It should do the same against AIDS
2,863 dead630 million homeless people in the worldThe world united against terrorism.It should do the same against poverty.

2,863 dead824 million undernourished people in the worldThe world united against terrorism.It should do the same against

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Jab We Met - Review

I had seen Jab We Met earlier but not at one go. So I never felt the urge to write something about it. This time I got hold of its DVD while on vacation and I loved it! I know that the review has lost its significance as it comes in a year late but I just wanted to talk about it.

Imtiaz Ali is one director who reminds you of directors like Hrishikesh Mukheji who made simple, light hearted but entertaining films. Jab We Met, like Socha Na Tha (Imtiaz’s debut film with Abhay Deol) has characters that are straight out of life. The dialogues are not filmy and story is the king.

Jab We Met has a lot of things working in its favor. A good story to start off with, an intelligent director and protagonists who share great onscreen chemistry. The film rode on the Shahid-Kareena break up story to become one of the top grossers of 2007.

Story: If you have seen both of Imtiaz Ali’s films, you would note that his stories have that element of ‘confusion’ playing a key role in the story. Socha Na Tha had Abhay Deol being confused about the girl he wanted to marry. Jab We Met has Shahid and Kareena helping each other overcome their respective confusions in different phases in their lives. You get engrossed in the story right at the beginning when Geet and Aditya are introduced. The lively pace at which the story moves keeps you interested. The only time I felt a slack was in the closing fifteen minutes of the film when Geet, Aditya and Anshuman return to Bhatinda and find themselves amidst the confusion where Geet’s family mistakenly takes Aditya to be Geet’s husband. I call that cinematic liberty but this is one point in this intelligently written film that irks you.

Direction: Imtiaz Ali is a director to watch out for. This reticent looking director explodes behind the camera and brings out the best from his lead actors. Kareena has been on the scene for almost a decade now and Shahid has been around for six years in the industry. But it is with this film that they have come of age. Kareena did have Omkara to boast about but the towering Saif Ali Khan as Langda Tyagi overshadowed everyone then. Imtiaz has raised the expectations manifold with this film. I just hope that he lives upto them.

Music: I hate to say this when it is Pritam at the helm but the fact is that the music rocks. I lost all respect for this guy when I got to know that most of his ‘original’ tracks were ‘inspired’. But that doesn’t take away the fact that he has good musical ears. This guy sure knows what the listeners would like. He keeps giving hits despite his trade secret having come out in the open. The tracks have distinct flavor. A couple of bhangda tracks and a few soft romantic numbers make this an extremely likable album. Pritam is from the same stable as our other popular inspired music directors Bappi Lahiri and Anu Malik. Hate him or loathe him but he is here to stay.

Acting: The film is about two people and the circumstances they are in. It was imperative that the actors involved showed that maturity in their portrayals. Shahid and Kareena do complete justice to their parts. You walk out of a theatre with strong macho characters in your mind. I am strictly speaking of the male audience for a reason here because it is Geet’s character that stays with you when the film ends. Kareena has deservingly won all Bollywood film awards this year. Shahid too has delivered a power packed performance. Something from Pankaj Kapur seems to have rubbed onto him.

Dialogues: Funny, powerful and original! The conversations between different characters in the first half generate mirth. The second half is not funny but the dialogues still make the whole affair very real and likable.

The negatives as I said are not too many and I don’t want to dig into those just to sound like a real critic. I feel that the film did lose pace in the second half and could have been trimmed a bit. But overall Jab We Met is an enjoyable experience. I am sure most of you would like it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Smile is Just a Curve on the Face :)

“Hi! How are you doing?”
“I am fine, thank you. You are looking as fit as ever.”
“Oh, thank you.”

The most difficult part of my existence has been my failure to come to terms with the basic requirements of acting civilized and desirable by following etiquettes. Again, I will put the blame on my Dad who at times quivers when someone reaches out to do something as insignificant as touching his feet. He doesn’t exactly bless them and that has got nothing to do with him not willing to. It's just that he doesn't feel comfortable doing such things at times. As with most of the traits that I have inherited from him, I have imbibed this ‘anti-social’ trait from him. The outcome is obvious, I am considered snobbish by many.

I understand that it is really not done to act as if you care a damn when a he/she greets you in the day but what if the act stems from a deep rooted disorder that refuses to get cured despite being diagnosed? As I read what I have written, I sense the monologue is turning into an apology of sorts. So, let me change the course and give you reasons why people like me behave the way they do!

1.) I see you everyday and I don’t think this morning is different either!

As logical as we are, the first thing that strikes my mind when I see a face that I see every morning is a realization that nothing much has changed since yesterday. I really don’t think my wishing people a good morning is really going to change things in their lives that day. So, why give them a false hope? If something good really happens, a handshake or a hug awaits them!

2.) What if?

Call it lack of strength in my smile, but I sometimes shy away from flashing the illusive smile with a “Hello! Is it me you are looking for” look because of the fear that it might get overlooked. It is self assessment that has taught me that I am no Brad Pitt who gets all the attention wherever he goes. There is every chance that the person I smile to doesn’t even notice that. It is the fear that the evil within me would chuckle out aloud that keeps me in check and I end up feeling that I have saved myself from inflicting an injury to my ego.

3.) Wooden face expressions

I have been told that I have a good smile. But the countable number of people who have said that don’t know that the efforts spent in creating that illusion is equivalent to a full day’s work out at the gym! The moment I hear a “Hi”, “Hello”, “Good morning”, I get jittery. The time span between someone saying a Hi and expecting a reply is so short that I end up managing at most a straight face with a faint hint of smile. The other person walks past me thinking that I tried giving him a cold shoulder. For God’s sake, turn around and check it out dude, the smile did come out even though it was 20 seconds late. It is plainly because of my wooden facial expressions that I have forever imagined myself as someone born with a passport to hell glued on his face.

4.) Words are priceless and smile doesn’t come cheap either

I find it hard to fathom how people who indulge in bitching about each other behind each other’s backs, share pleasantries when they come face-to-face. I also don’t understand why I should wish someone if I really don’t mean it at all. Before you jump the guns, I am not saying that this is the reason why I don’t generally wish people. But yes, there are people whom I am not too comfortable with and I don’t make an attempt to kiss and make up. It is another matter that I sometimes end up learning a lesson or two about “growing up” when some ‘supposed’ adversary comes up and clears the air.

5.) I am like this

There are times when people who know me well come to tell me that I act stupid at times and I hear them out with patient ears. But at the end of it all I feel that it really doesn’t matter if people I don’t know think that I ride on wheels of snobbishness that doesn’t tread the path of righteous conduct.

When you see someone not smiling back at you every time you see him, remember this post. It is genuineness afterall that stays with you when you meet or see a person. There are people who might not veil their genuineness in a perpetual smile to make it look endearing but 10 times out of 100 (I use 100 instead of 10 because 1 out of 10 made it sound exclusive!!), they just happen to belong to the ‘misfit’ class!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Race - The Roller Coaster Ride!

I finally feel like coming out of a hibernation period. I did not attempt to write anything for the past two months primarily because I was not getting any good thing to write about. Not that I have it now but then I couldn't have waited forever for that to happen.

A few days back I saw Race directed by the whitewashed director duo of Abbas Mustan. The promos were interesting and I was compelled to watch it. After 3 failed attempts to get the tickets, I finally managed to sneak a peek. Boy! It was a film that will remind you of a giant roller coaster ride that doesn't seem to stop. Now that the film is already 3 weeks old, I can take the liberty of spilling the beans and letting you know of the story, rather my interpretation of the story assuming that those of you who have not watched it do not intend to.

The story begins with an accident and then shifts to a derby ground. The story goes to a flashback and we see a stud farm where Saif and Akshaye (Khanna and not Kumar) live together. If this reminds you of Brokeback mountain, hold on - the first twist is here! Both these guys are brothers and are very strange to say the least. Saif on his part overlooks all attention he gets from his oozing with sex appeal secretary played by Katrina and Akshaye Khanna wears an ensemble of blue jeans, orange shirt, brown jacket, red shoes (Who says Govinda days are long gone!) and a wig but still oozes the confidence of a casanova. Didn't someone say that it’s not the exterior that counts? Saif lays all gayish connotations to his character at rest by getting an arm candy called Bipasha who plays an upcoming Indian model in South Africa at the age of 30.

The brothers are rich, thanks to a big fortune left by their Dad. Saif takes care of the business while Akshay takes care of the city's Daaru ka thekaas. At a party thrown in to celebrate Saif's homecoming after a near fatal accident, Akshay meets Bipasha and then has a heart-to-heart talk with his brother:

Akshay: If only I get this girl, I will have no reason to drink anymore.
Saif (thinking): Ek romantic song to ho jaane diya hota uske saath uske baad kehta ye sab :(

Akshay: Bhaiyya, get me married to her and I will quit drinking and become a good boy
Saif: If that makes you happy, I will play the Rajinder Kumar from Sangam and have her marry you. I am anyways too much into my romance with Kareena and she might not like it if I dance around with Bipasha.

The deal is sealed and Akshay beguiles Bipasha and all seems to go smooth when the story writer wakes up from his slumber and dishes out a twist. Bipasha is actually a runaway girl who has had a criminal past. Akshay knows it all too well and then he tells her about his plans to get Saif knocked off to claim the insurance of $100 million. Katrina meanwhile is relegated to play a demure secretary who has a stock line to deliver:

"Sir ye hain wo papers jinpe aapko sign karne hain"

To break this monotony, the Burmawala brothers plot to take Saif and Katrina to a pub where Katrina sings to woo her love. The lyrics go something like this:

"Bin tere sanam, is jahaan mein, bekaraar hum
dum dadam dadam"

Any guy could have fallen for that 'dum dadam dadam' part but Saif doesn't melt! You begin to think - Is his character gay after all?

The gripping story moves on. Akshay plots to murder Saif by throwing him off a roof top. Another twist is thrown in - Bipasha is still Saif's lover! And I did not tell you guys about that romp Saif and Bipasha have in the stud farm one stormy night (damn the cliches in a hindi film!!) because I want this blog to be 'U' certified. The twists go out of control as Bipasha switches teams at the last moment and helps Akshay throw Saif from the roof top.

Enter a Karamchand-Kitty incarnation in Anil Kapoor-Sameera Reddy. At 48, Detective Anil Kapoor is at his wittiest best as he mouths one double meaning dialogue after another to generate mirth. The subject of all his 'friendly' banter is Sameera whose job as a secretary is to maintain a record of Anil's daily dose of fruits. The detective takes up the case that seems more tangled than Andrew Symond's crop of hair.

Enter Katrina at this stage who now claims to be Saif's wife. During interrogation, she recites the songs that the two of them sang on their business trip to Cape Town. Strangely enough, though she has a British accent, the words used in the lyrics of the song she sang had an earthy feeling (sample these - batiyaan, saiyaan, jiya, piya) and that irks the sharp detective. He follows her trails. The audience is left agape when they see Katrina on a beach with, hold your breath, her brother-in-law Akshay Khanna! Anil Kapoor catches them red handed. Knowing that corruption is not the proprietorship of Indian police only, Akshay offers money to Anil and he gladly accepts saying - "Pehle fruits khaata tha, ab dry fruits khaaunga"

After the money exchanges hands, Akshay decides to bump off Bipasha. As she stares at death from close quarters, Saifu - the super hero makes a comeback and saves her. The audience is sent into a tizzy. "What the hell is going to happen now?" is the question on every lips and no one seems to have an answer. I chew my nails and wonder if this is going to turn into a ghost story. The experience of the directors comes into play at this point. In order to counter the low IQ of the audience, they decide to recount a step by step break up of a series of events to show how Saif was saved with Anil's help.
Akshay Khanna and Katrina Kaif are left with no place to hide so they engage Saif in a motor race to claim the property. I wonder if a horce race was more befitting as the initial setting was a stud farm. Anyways, the two step brothers go all out to race for a $200 million prize money (and you thought that only IPL is highly paying). Villainous Akshay plots again as he gives Saif a car that does not have brakes. While driving, Maryada Purushottam Saif jokes to Akshay saying that he too had a bomb planted in the car Akshay was driving. Akshay takes it a bit too seriously and ends up paying with his and Katrina's life.

Saif is the victor and he goes back with all the money and Bipasha in his arms.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mithya - Review

When I watched Bheja Fry, I really felt that one actor who was not given his due was Ranvir Shorey. He has been a brilliant actor and he finally shows here how good he can be. Every scene in Mithya revolves around him and you do get your doses of laughter and fun moments. The sad thing was that the theatre had around 40 people in all despite it being a weekend and the second day of the film. I was surprised to see that lukewarm response despite people knowing the fact that the trio of Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak and Ranvir Shorey were coming together again. Was it bad promotion? Shouldn't Arindam Chaudhari have spent more on promoting the film and cashing on the legacy of Bheja Fry? After all, this was a commercial effort and there was no harm in letting it be known. Another thing that can go against the film is that it will be compared to Bheja Fry and that doesn’t augur too well for this film commercially at least.

Rajat Kapoor is an able theatre director. His shows with Ranvir and Vinay have been huge hits and the intellect of this sensible director shows in the film. The comic scenes are really good but if you compare it with Bheja Fry (the comparisons!!), the dialogues lack the humor that Bheja Fry had.

The film is not offbeat. It very much treads the lines of a formula film and is supported by an efficient army of actors who carry the film forward. It builds quite well in a riveting manner. The scenes leading upto the intermission are gripping. Things begin to get complicated and stretched in the later part of the second half when the identity crisis of the Don/VK comes to the fore. Again, I am not saying that Rajat Kapoor could not handle it well. All I am saying is that the idea looks more theatrical than filmy. I am sure I would have liked it more if I had seen a theatre adaptation of this film because for a general film buff the end left a lot to be desired.

Ranvir Shorey is top class. I just hope that the industry rises to brace upto this fine actor and offer him roles of substance. He brings out the finer nuances of a struggler in the industry with panache. Vinay Pathak plays a goon and does not get any meaty scene. He plays the side-kick throughout the film. Naseeruddin Shah and Saurabh Shukla are the scheming Dons living under the shadow of Bhaisahab while Neha Dhupia plays Ranvir’s love interest. All in all no one really disappoints but neither do they look as if only they suited the part.

I did get bored in the closing 15-20 minutes of the film and my verdict for the film is – A courageous attempt that might not hit the bull’s eye, not even with the multiplex audience. Personally, I would any day spend my bucks to watch the team perform. You feel like an elitist just by watching them ;) I won’t call Mitthya classy or trendsetting but yes you can give it a shot.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Slap them..they're Bhaiyajis!

The “Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Visa” proposal for the self proclaimed Independent Monarchy of Maharashtra is hogging the limelight for the past couple of days. The crusader behind the whole move is the legendary Raj Thakeray. Raj Thakeray who? – The Bal Thakeray wannabe who is suffering from mental imbalance post a political rout in the last Municipal elections. The folks under attack are North Indians, more specifically the UPites and the Biharis, and I squirm on my couch because I am not sure if my visa application would be entertained by His Highness and his council of sickle wielding ministers (yes he said that they would welcome us with sickles) when I land in Mumbai some day in future.

Mr. Thackeray promises a lot in the times to come. At 40, the opportunities seem endless and he sure is exploring them with vigor hitherto associated with the likes of Hitler whom he personally admires. I wonder if the incidents of his men vandalizing taxis and beating the north Indian drivers black and blue were conceptualized to relive the glory of the Holocaust. You will in all probability find the comparison with Holocaust as skewed but let’s give the poor soul his moments of fame before he gets the treatment due for him in the aftermath of the “I suffer from verbal diarrhoea” act of his.

Now that the whole world is chiding him, let me offer him some support and consolations at the cost of betraying my fellow Bhaiyajis of UP and Bihar. I am mean and I do this so that just in case Mr. Thackeray realizes his dream of setting up the Independent Monarchy of Maharashtra, my application to gain entry into Mumbai is viewed favorably. But I don't think that it is going to help. Once the monarchy is established, he might even debar us from even applying for a visit. Who knows, we might just settle there!

Raj Thackeray has been an anti-nationalist and pro-regionalism, a fact endorsed by him on more than one occasions, though not as violently as he is doing it now. The verdict in the last Municipal elections stated it loud and clear that his notions did not find popular support. Instead of realizing that, Raj Thackeray has gone on the offensive to preach his silly ramblings just to get a foot-hold in Maharashtra’s politics. I feel he has reasons to act that way. Quite contrary to the perception that Raj Thackeray is a mass appeal leader, he does not have a base in the heartland of Maharashtra. He has never represented any constituency and the only reason why he rose was because he was Bal Thackeray’s nephew. For such a leader getting carried away from core issues that concern people is quite easy. Sensationalizing a non-issue has given him some quality air-time on all news channels and he can pat himself for getting that space because at the end of it all, this is the most that he could have got out of it. I wonder why he is not being arrested for disrupting the harmony and denting the pride of such a vibrant city like Mumbai. Haven't the scenes of Taxi drivers being beaten and Bachchan's house being pelted with stones done enough to tarnish the image?

The mess that he has created also ignites another fire that needs to be doused soon enough before it assumes "massive out-break" proportions. Biharis have been under attack in Assam and then the Delhi Chief Minister viewed us suspiciously only to retract later. We can’t overlook these problems and sweep it under the carpet saying that these were one-off incidents. Unemployment and problem of space is not a state problem. It is a problem central to the whole country. It is not as if people from Bihar and UP own acres of land back home and then move out to eat up the shares of people elsewhere. There is no law in the constitution that restricts their movement in India under normal circumstances. If you pride yourself in calling yourself an Indian, then you also have to respect what it stands for.

Cities like Mumbai and Delhi are the economic hubs of India. They got the attention that they needed and please don’t give the shit by saying that it was just the Mumbaikars or the Delhiites who made it happen for them. Bihar and UP produces more administrators (IAS officers) than any other part of India. These two states represent a huge chunk of the law making body – The Parliament and contribute to about 25% of India’s population. If you start to rub them the wrong way, there would come a time when they too would react and maybe more vociferoausly. Thackeray and people with similar thought process should remember that 1 out of every 4 Indian is a Bhaiyaji and there is no escape from them. So run while you can because the chances are that sooner or later it will be one of them who would come and hump you big-time ;)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Bad, The Ugly, The Villain!

“Fata poster nikla Hero!”. I sometimes feel that heroes are unduly celebrated in Bollywood. If it was not for that tobacco chewing, spitfire and cruel Gabbar, what use would the dallards like Jai and Veeru have served? Hindi film villainy has changed faces over the years and has held its own despite the fact that villains always end up being on the losing side at the end of it all. If you look closely, the villains can be broadly classified into a few subcategories. Here’s a take on that. Take it as my tribute to the Bad Men you never aspire to be.

Dirty Gabbar clones: They never bathed and carried a disheveled look. As social outcasts, they found solace in the ravines of Chambal or in some deep forest. Such a choice of habitat was intelligent. Nobody cared if they didn’t take a bath. Their gang comprised of human manifestations of wild boars. I don’t know how Ramu thought of casting a Rajpal Yadav as a gang member in Jungle. But then he also cast Fardeen Khan as the lead hero. So the answer is quite obvious – he wanted to prove a point! The Gabbar clones had strange taste buds. Some of them had a weakness for cabaret dancers while some of them were repulsive even in their taste.

To quote one from China Gate - “Mere mann ko bhaya, main kutta kaat ke khaya”

Nevertheless, they epitomized all bad things that you were scolded for as a kid. They stole, stayed dirty, passed lewd remarks and stayed outdoors all day. They are the more macho villains who used terror as their weapon to rule. Largescale deforestation and desire to share a community life probably spelt the doom for this class of villains.

Gaaon ka lala clones: These were real b******s. They lent the money to our hero’s family and then asked them to settle for a compromise.

Lala Dharmprakash: “Tumhare paas aur bhi bahut kuch hai dene ko”

The poor hero had to toil hard. The fact that he had a young and generally plump sister at home added to his woes. More often than not, the poor hero was framed and sent to a jail. The Lala then made life miserable for his family back home. The hero returned later to find his personal life ruined. He just had the memories of a Rakhi song his sister used to sing to find a reason to live on. The Gaon ka lala was finally crushed and the hero once again surrendered to the law to start life afresh. These Lalas started disappearing into oblivion once nationalized banks opened centers in villages and money lending Lalas became a thing of the past.

Safedposh Chor clones: “Saara sheher mujhe LOIN ke naam se jaanta hai”.

They smuggled and killed people while managing to stay in the limelight for all the right reasons. No one dared to imagine them to indulge in any wrong doing at least for the first 14 of the 17 reel movie.

IG to DCP Prabhakar: “Kya bakte ho Parbhaakar, Deen Dayal sheher ka izzatdaar insaan hai”

These clones enjoyed all pleasures in life. They had a bevy of revealing personal secretaries, they smoked imported cigars and went about living a flashy lifestyle that could make you mull whether it was really worth it to be righteous in conduct. These clones lost out to the underground and gadget savvy villains who aided by their firangi partners wreaked havoc in the society at large and the hero in particular.

Underground baddy clones: These clones operated sub-surface. They had a whole security system in place to track down any infiltration. As soon as any outsider entered their premises, 100W bulbs flashed and an alarm bell set off. The gadgets varied from the simple switchboards to complex electric-shock giving set-ups. Their state-of-the-art operation center was well equipped with a prison that housed the hero’s mother, love interest, long lost father, sister and all other character artists under one roof during the climax. The technology savvy villain was far removed from the do-naali toting Gabbar clones who moved on horses and lived in open air. The secret door to their hidden world was either behind a huge painting in a bungalow or some such place that one could never find out. It was only when the last scene rolled that Police was able to reach the place and arrest them all.

Mogambo Clones: The upgraded version of the tech savvy villain were their foreign counterparts who spoke impeccable Hindi and had vested interests in India. They had strange names though – Dang, Dong, Mogambo and Shakal to name a few. These clones operated from some la la land or from privately owned islands. They had their own army, a set of scientists and customs and rituals.

Hail Mogambo” – A soldier praising his leader as part of a customary ritual.

Not just the rituals, these international epitomes of treachery dressed exotically and had a handy one liner in their repertoire.

Dong kabhi wrong nahi hota” – Dong, when asked if his decision to let the gang of hooligans from India come and torment them in their privately owned country was correct.

With globalization came an end to their life on screen. The world shrunk, the boundaries merged and the audience came to know that there was no la la land.

Political goons: They were relegated to the backseat for most part of Indian film history. They often appeared as sidekicks who couldn’t survive till the last scene. However, for a brief period of time, they held sway in the industry. They had very social names but indulged in all possible anti-social activities.

Most of the times they had a shady past that was brought to the limelight by the once oppressed hero who sought vengeance. Again, these political goons borrowed their traits from the gaon ka lala clones in terms of debauchery. They were again the pervert lot.

Funny Villains: This brand is synonymous with the rise of Jeetendra as the “Tohfa tohfa...laaya laaya” superstar. These villains came to life owing to the wild and largely whacky sense of humor possessed by the south Indian directors. They kept goofing up but never fell short of creating trouble for our hero. The set up was mostly in a south Indian village painted as a north Indian one. The funny villains operated in pairs Father-Son or Thakur-Munim. They mouthed double meaning dialogues in abundance which can partially be acclaimed to the lack of knowledge of Hindi by the creative team that wrote dialogues. Sample one such dialogue that a villain used whenever he saw the heroine:

Aauu Lal.e.e.tha

Their era was short lived too. They disappeared overnight when Jeetendra’s supply of 30+ tablets was curtailed and he decided to hang up his boots

Suave Villains: SRK changed the complexion of hindi film villainy with his K..K..Kirrran avtar. True, Shatrughan Sinha and Vinod Khanna had started the trend quite early in their career and moved to play the protagonists, SRK was already a hero when he played the bad guy. These villains possessed tremendous IQ compared to the rest of the cast. They held the upper hand in almost the whole of the film until they were finally undone. Almost the entire breed of the current lot has played the suave bad guy once for a change. You name them, you have them – SRK (Darr, Anjaam, Baazigar), Akshay (Ajnabee), Suniel Shetty (Dhadkan), Amitabh Bachchan (Aankhein, Boom, RGV Ki Aag), Ajay Devgan (Khakee) and Hrithik and John (Dhoom series). The current trend is that if you haven’t played the bad guy once, you are not happening.

While at this I purposely left out the outright winners who appear in the B grade money churners made by Kanti Shah and Mithun Da. They deserve a special mention. Although times have changed in the hindi film industry, these guys were never affected by the mutations that hindi film villainy went through. Pick up any such film and they would be as interesting. The plots of these films has been Kubrickesque. You have to understand the undercurrent of the whole premise. Sadly, one life time is not enough for that! The story revolves around a village where these wicked souls rule the roost. The Pujari, The Thakur, The Politician and The Police Wala all meet at Thakur’s haveli every night plan out their next deadly move. By the twist of fate the hero also becomes involved. The goons either lay their hands on the heroine or the hero’s sister. Now starts the roller coaster ride. Either the victim or the hero (these are the two variations) turns into a bandit to avenge the wrong doing. One by one, the villains are trapped and then sent packing.

“Aye kafanchor neta, pujari ke baad ab tera number hai..fir mera..wo humein nahi chhodega”

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

BREAKING NEWS - The Saga Down Under!

"I am no monkey. Please don't call me by fancy names either. That's not on" - Andrew Symonds on being asked if he was a homo sapien.

This picture did Harbhajan in. Hayden and Symonds used this picture to convince Mike Procter how Bhajji chewed his hat to taunt Symonds. Indian camp on the other hand said that the proof was inconclusive. They cited that Bhajji's hands were busy tucking his shirt and since he already had a turban on his head, wearing a cap over it would have incensed his community back home. "Sikhs don't even need to wear a helmet in India for that very reason" - remarked Sachin in the meeting. However, Procter was convinced beyond doubt that Bhajji should go.

"It's all upto the almighty - the ALL-Mighty Aussies, I mean. They propose (appeal), I dispose (uphold their appeals). It is one happy setting you see. If you could take Sachin's Helmet Before Wicket in the right spirit, why create such a furore now? Rahul was anyways boring everyone out, wasn't he? I am 61, show me some respect" - Bucknor seems to be telling the Indian team.

"Mission accomplished. We played quite well indeed even though Indians made it simpler in the end"

"Waahe guru ji da khalsa, waahe guru ji di fateh. Not me again by God. Assi te sirf 'Maa Ki' bolya si..te us khote de puttar ne usse 'Monkey' samajh litta. Mainu bacha le rabba..aur comeback nahi hote mere se ab. Almight Father, holy be your name..bacha le mainu, don't put me to shame"

"Aggression is not cultivated. It's in there..in your whole personality. I am not Yuvraj or Dhoni going around with actresses and trying to look presentable everywhere. I can express..and I don't care if I wear my trousers 6 inches above the waist and don't get to endorse any clothing line. I deliver when it is upto me. Umpiring and Gamemanship aside, there is only one player in the team playing to win and you know who."

"We won the bout maite..That's how we Austraaliens plaaiye - hard and fair. Oiee feel that Bhajji is racist. What's the bid deal maite? Lehmann and Deano too were. And what about grassing the catch? Pup (Clarke) needed encouragment. We plaaiye for each other in Austraalia. Oiee just raised my finger to help him. Did oiee or did oiee not? " - Rocky Ponting after demolishing India and Australia's reputation as a World Champion side.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Taare Zameen Par - Review

As I sat through Taare Zameen Par, I struggled to come up with a befitting epithet for Aamir Khan. He might not be in the same league as the dazzling superstars of today who descend in dozens in the farcical award shows every year to get recognized for their crappy work. He creates cinema like no one does and keeps doing it time and again. He is an institution in himself. Aamir is legendary, he is Iconic!

If you thought that Lagaan was a once in a lifetime thing, he came up with Dil Chahta Hai and Rang De Basanti. Just when you thought that his ammunitions won’t last long, he came up with his mesmerizing directorial venture. Aamir lets the actor within him take a backseat to let the film be led by an eight year old kid. I don’t think even seasoned directors will have the guts to let go off an opportunity to cash in on Aamir’s presence on screen. But this guy does, his film is a gutsy effort that scores with the audience.

Now something about the plot. TZP has a message but it is not preachy. TZP has Aamir Khan but he is not the hero of the film. TZP is a film about kids but it is not a kids’ film. It talks about how we tend to overlook what we have to chase dreams in a result oriented world. A dyslexic child finds himself out of place in the real world. It is a story of his struggle, the world’s failure to understand his problem, his fight back and finally his triumph.

Getting into the individual strengths and weaknesses, let me start off with the positives first:

Darsheel Safary: The child can knock anyone out with his antics. He gives a seasoned performance. It is hard to believe that this kid who is all of eight years could display such a maturity in his performance. Everyone else looks like a support cast around him, Aamir included!

Direction: The best works of the year as far as my ratings go. Extracting such a poignant performance from a kid could be difficult but Aamir does it brilliantly. He deftly handles the subject which could easily have gone haywire to look like a documentary. The way he brings out some emotional moments look so special.

Story/Idea: Amol Gupte, as pointed in several promotional events has been the source behind the idea of TZP. The film does show his research on the subject. A very non filmy story that still holds its own and more importantly delivers in conveying the message in a pretty straightforward way.

Background Score: Very good background score that goes very well with the film.

Moments: Special mention of some very special moments from the film.

Scene 1: Ishaan begging his father not to leave home. The scene is not all that important but I still liked it. It captures the innocence of an eight year old kid who thinks that his father is all set to leave the house after he picks up a fight with a neighborhood kid. I found it straight from life and was reminded of one of my childhood experiences :)

Scene 2: Ishaan’s mother turning the pages of his drawing book in the song ‘Maa’. Touching! Watch it to feel it.

Scene 3: The one where Ishaan refuses to light crackers thinking that he will be saved from going to the boarding school.

Scene 4: Aamir Khan’s meeting with Ishaan’s father in the hostel where Aamir brings it to his notice that he too had a part to play in destroying his self confidence. I specially liked the way Aamir Khan made him realize his folly by describing how they felled trees in Solomon Islands.


Pace: Some people would find it moving at a slow pace in the first half. I personally feel that the build up was necessary at that pace but this won’t go down too well with everyone I am sure.

Loopholes in script: Some loopholes do exist. For instance, I couldn’t understand why Ishaan’s parents did not turn up to take their kid back when they got to know that he was in fact dyslexic.

Mother-Son bond: There is an entire song on that but the bond doesn’t come out all that well in the film. It would have served to have a couple of scenes to depict that.

When you watch this film, you will be reminded of faces from your school days - Good boys, bad boys and then of course yourself. The film is the boy’s journey from being an outcast to getting accepted. You’ll sure feel good.

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