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Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Annayum Rasoolum

I am wondering what prompted me to write again. Is it because it is a great movie, is it because it had a great story line, or is it because it had a great casting – No! No! No!. The movie was good although not great and it did have BIG names in the cast. What attracted me to the movie were the simple story and the central characters.  

The movie is about Anna & Rasool – two simple small town characters and the usual bunch of people around them. I am confused if I should call them caricatures or stereotypes. We have our dear Nelson Mandela PP (Sunny Wayne) in a toned down version as our narrator. He is an actor to watch out for. Rasool played by Fahadh Fazil, a sweet and innocent cabbie. He is non-corrupted and he falls in love with her at the first sight. Like any ‘poovalan’ in the world, he stalks her with a grin on his face day and night. Anna is a typical girl next door whose smile is wiped away by the tragedies in her life. She is a lady of few words (literally, maybe a trend followed from Thattathin Marayathu 😀 ). She resists the good stalker initially and then falls for him. But she is hesitant coz of the religious difference. Wait a minute! Haven’t I seen this story umpteen number of times – yes! Yet I enjoyed him following her from dawn to dusk, I did enjoy seeing reactions, I did enjoy him conversing with his friends etc.

What makes the movie interesting is the way the package is delivered to you. It’s the same old wine presented in a new bottle with exotic side dishes. Most of the characters are the ones you see in your daily life or have met before you. You recognize them. Be it his friends, his family, her family, the people in the locality. I also did like the movie because it never went as I anticipated and yet it didn’t disappoint me. The love birds don’t speak much, yet you feel them. Last but not the least the director has mixed all the ingredients well to give a good end product.

Having said so, the movie isn’t without flaws. It is slightly stretched and story has gaps here and there. I accept the story as it without asking any questions. It’s a good watch in comparison to the so called superhit blockbuster movies from the superstars. Last but not the least, good effort from the debutant director Rajiv Ravi.

I Hate Luv Stories Review

There have been two movies which released with high expectations – ‘Raavan/Raavanan’ & ‘I Hate Love Stories’. The former came from a proven stable, and so had high expectations and the latter although not comparable; did have a small amount of expectations on it. The expectations ought to be high. However, the public hated the movie but I liked it. Most of the arguments have been covered in this blog and this one. I am not denying the fact that there are no flaws in it. There are numerous numbers of flaws one can spot in that movie. Despite all that I loved the movie and so did I like ‘I hate love stories’. Let me re-iterate – Like not Love 😀 and I liked the movie because of the story only!

There is a saying that “Don’t judge the books by its cover”. However this movies title attracted me much and so did the beautiful soundtrack. However, I didn’t heed to it. I did wait for the feedbacks and reviews. Initial feedbacks suggested that it was trash. However later on I did get some good reviews. Not great ones though. I decided to see it on my own and make my own view.

It is a cliché movie, filled with obvious things. If you see the trailers, you get the complete story. It’s all about a simple girl falling in love with a jerk who doesn’t value love, despite her being engaged to ‘The Prefect Guy’ . No points for guessing that the guy also falls in love with her. What is the problem with the story? Well this is a little different. How come such a story filled with lovely songs is hated by all? The makers committed the same mistake that was done by the makers of ‘Love Aaj Kal’. Much bigger one this time! I would call it bigger this time because they didn’t learn from the mistakes committed in ‘Love Aaj Kal’.

The most essential and the core ingredient involved in making a movie are the actors. The casting director has done the same mistake here also. Wait! Is there such a concept in India? Well, I must say a big NO! This is the age when all the big studios of Hollywood are flocking to India. When will Bollywood grow up from the craze of Big stars! Imran Khan as well as Sonam Kapoor killed the movie. In case of ‘Love Aaj Kal’ it was just Deepika Padukone who killed it. This time, however there is company. This is not a movie that runs with great dialogues and sceneries. This is a movie that is all about subtleness and ‘feel’ factor. If the actors can’t impart that, then the movie falls flat.

The movie was devoid of faff and was straight to the point. The dialogues, scenes, setting and songs were ok. However the garnishing which is the important part was missing. It was not rocket science that was being shown. It is something that can happen to anyone including you and me. This is a movie that came from a production house that has slowly started moving from the cliché love stories. They have given us some good movies like ‘My Name is Khan’, ‘Dostana’, ‘Wake up Sid’. Forgive them for the ‘K’ series movies. I guess we can forgive them this time as it is the fault of the actors.

Coming to the supporting cast, there are only two (can be three) actors involved. The first one being Samir Soni, who is well known in soaps. He is also devoid of emotions and matches the lead actors in ‘hopelessness’. There is Samir Dattani as Sonam’s fiancé who is just about ok in the limited role. The star of the movie is Kavin Dave whom we know from the Sprite ads. He is the same as in the sprite ads, goofy. His role is limited but he catches the attention well.

That leaves us to the lead actors – Imran Khan and Sonam Kapoor. Both have god fathers and have films in their genes. Both are young. However, they have to grow a lot. They have screen presence, but once they open their mouth they cause terrible damage. They can’t emote nor can they deliver the dialogues properly. I have seen actors grow up over the time and becoming better. I would give them the benefit of doubt.

To sum up, ‘I hate love stories’ is a movie which is technically perfect. Good story, decent lines, nice locales and awesome music; which takes the score to 3.5 on 5.  The 2.5 of this goes to Punit Malhotra and his team. 1 complete point goes to Vishal – Shekhar for the wonderful and memorable music. However, the shoddy casting and the pathetic acting drags the rating down to 2 on 5. I would recommend you to watch this movie when you are free on cable or on DVD.

Final Rating: 2/5

Current State of Malayalam Film Industry

It’s a well known fact that Indians are crazy about three things: – Cricket, politics and Movies. I come from southern most part of the country where cricket is substituted by Football. I am no exception to that. Here communism still survives and politics is discussed with the highest amount of intensity. That leaves us to the last item i.e. Movies! Malayalam film industry is well known across India and have contributed the finest of the stars and artists. It has produced quite a lot of movies with CLASS. The movies with entertainment value are being remade in other languages by Priyadarshan and likes. However, I don’t wish to go GAGA over it.

After 4 months of break with Malayalam movies, I watched ‘Bodyguard’ with lot of eagerness and expectation. The movie was a topic of discussion even before its first scene was shot. It had a near perfect cast. Dileep and Nayanthara’s mention was more than enough. They were directed by the hitmaker Siddique. This also happens to be Nayantara’s Malayalam movie after long. I can’t find words to describe this movie. Calling it Trash would be belittling the word. My limited vocabulary doesn’t know any word lower than this. Mostly, we see a movie because of trust attached to the person(s) involved with the movie. I just had it in me that Siqqique will not fail and he did fail me. A starved movie fan gets stabbed in the back for the blind faith he had. Dileep seemed so serious in a wafer thin nonsense plot. Come on dude, you have to understand that people don’t want you to be serious and you have failed numerous times playing the serious guy. Learn something from it.

Disappointed and dejected, I took another chance and I saw ‘April Fool’. Well to keep it short, I was rubbing salt on my wounds. Again a hyped movie with an ensemble cast by Malayalam standards. Jagdish had worked hard to get it together. Do we need that line? It turned out to be a trashy remake of Bheja Fry, which in-turn was the remake of a French movie ‘Le Dîner de cons’. Remake or not, the Hindi movie was made in a nice way. The point to be noted here is that, a solid story with a film to refer couldn’t be made into a good final product. Movies don’t merely run by snob value! People have to stop marketing the movies by sheer star power!

If I were to ask an average movie viewer (not the hopeless fanboys) as to which was the last good movie (in literal sense) they watched; they will have to scratch their heads for long time to come up with an answer. Is this the same Industry which produced films that I watched during my childhood days? On various occasions, I’ve seen film makers blaming SOAP’s, piracy etc. Recently one of the superstars even blamed other language movies. Case of ‘Sour Grapes’? Indeed YES!!!!

One must always understand that it is quality that matters. Run of the mill “stories” don’t always work and so doesn’t the presence of a Super Star. It is always the presence of quality cinema that matters. I’ve seen movies like ‘Black and White Kudumbam’, ‘Duplicate’ which have seen moderate success compared to the much touted superstar movies. These aren’t great movies and also were released with movies from other languages, and were also victims of piracy. Yet they made some money. This just indicates that there are still viewers in theatres if you show them a good movie.  Guys! Are you all out of your senses and its high time you all wake up!

If I had a chance, I will first slap the director and then the producer for making such trash.  My next double slap will go for the actors who take up such trashy assignments. You guys are held in high regard and you have ardent fan following. Why abuse it? Costs of making films are rising because of the higher remuneration. Why the extra money? For the nonsensical fan clubs? In theatres these days, you see more of fan club posters than that of the movie’s! It is because of these guys that the movies recover the money. Gone are the days when the movies used to run based on quality; quality means better word of mouth publicity. Now it has totally turned to leveraging your fan clubs and fan followings. I’d criticized Thilakan when he spoke against superstar power and the abuse by fan clubs. I think now that he is right.

I hope they realize the drawbacks soon and comeback to the good old days. It’s high time you stop basking in your own glory.

– A Malayalam movie fan

PS: Thanks a tonne to Vidhyut S and Fatima for editing and making this readable 🙂

The Ugly Truth – Review

I am a sucker for Romantic comedies. Oh boy, I just love them. Ugly truth was one of the movies that stood up on my pending list. Was lucky enough to catch up on it! I won’t be able to give justice in writing a review to this movie. However, I shall give it a try. Like I say; a half-baked effort. 😀

The movie has the perfect ingredients. Katheine Hiegl is a wonderful actress whom I loved in Knocked up and 27 Dresses. Gerard Butler is wonderfully amazing in the movie 300. He took my by quite a surprise when he played a rather mushy and a charming person in P.S.I Love you. Well much of it has to be attributed to his Scottish accent.

Movie starts off with a control freak TV producer – Abby (Katherine), who has lots of conceptions or rather misconceptions about her Man. She is something a man doesn’t want to be with. Ridicules, argues, controls. OMG!!! Her hilarious nature can be seen when she goes to date someone and makes a fool out of herself over there. The chief suggests a change to her boring show by bringing in the crude and charming Mike Chadway (Gerrard Butler) into the show. She objects as usual. However, in the trial show the ratings skyrocket. Their Tom and Jerry journey starts. They keep on ridiculing each other and pulling legs.

Story takes a turn when Abby meets the hot next door doctor Colin (Eric Winter). Mike gives the helping hand and takes control over the situation. He guides her into the way Colin would want her to be. They get quite close on the way. They start liking each other’s company and even start appreciating each other. Proceeding further will get me the tag of ‘The Bloody Spoiler’:D

It is a movie where timing comic timing matter; which has been like clockwork. The movie has been packed with a lot of subtle sequences which brings about a laugh or a smile in your face. Other scenes are a laugh riot.

Katherine Hiegl & Gerrard Butler compliments each other quite well and their chemistry is awesome. The supporting cast has chipped in well. The way Butler handles the show is awesome and his revelations.

Scenes to watch out for: Team party scene, which reminds you of a scene in ‘Harry met Sally’; Climax; & the First show of ‘The Ugly Truth’.

Final Rating: 4/5

Up in the Air – Not quite in the Air!

Boredom has one of its cures in the form of Movies. Over weekend, due to the unavailability of any other movies, I happened to see ‘Up in the Air’. Not a movie I would have preferred to see on a boring weekend but rather in the confinement of my laptop. Took the tickets for the movie after a sumptuous meal of porotta and mutton. Just to say that, it makes you quite drowsy 😀 . Certain things that are not to be done before a serious movie. Anyways!

All I knew about the movie was the amount of nominations it gathered at the awards. George Clooney was nominated for the Best actor. This movie also had couple of other nominations. His role in the movie was that of a person who fires people. Oh boy, what kind of job is that! Well that was enough of a hook for me to watch 🙂

Movie starts off with the reactions of the people getting fired for whom you feel for. Our hero Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) gets introduced on an interesting question ‘ Who the fuck are you’ . A person that is close to the odyssey generation; although you don’t quite expect an old person here. . He loves travelling, being on air and prefers to be isolated. He flies 350k miles in an year. Can you even Imagine! It goes without saying that he doesn’t prefer to be grounded. He is suave and charming as usual. Does his job well (pun intended). Only family he has is sister’s and rest are one night stands.

He once meets on a trip, a lovely lady named Alex (Vera Farmiga) with whom a small relationship starts. His sister is nagging him to come to his niece’s wedding. There is a new brain in the office who came up with a wonderful plan of firing people via video conference to which Ryan naturally objects.

Will the new brain Natalie (Anna Kendrick) be able to implement? Will Ryan be able to convince her? Will Ryan complete his personal target of 10 million airmiles and get into that elite club? Will anything happen to Alex & Ryan?

On the direction part the movie is quite good. Visuals are not that splendid. The acting department stands out. The screenplay doesn’t grip you quite well. Couple of scenes in between is well-played out. Anna Kendrick gets you by surprise after you’ve seen her in Twilight series. Her nomination is well deserved. She has now proved that she knows how to act.

Nice touches: Scene where Alex & Ryan meets, Scene where Ryan challenges Natalie & the Rendezvous with the pilot.

Final note: It’s a movie that you can catch up on DVD. Just an average fair! Unlike the punchline ‘The Story of a man ready to make a connection’; the movie doesn’t quite make a connection.

Rating: 3/5

Welcome to the Wonderland

A sequel is in the wish list of any movie fan. Mainly because a good movie always keep you wanting for more. The thirst increases even more when it is a fantasy movie. ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is a movie that you would wish to have a sequel. A sequel made by Tim Burton is welcoming. Oops, I forgot the icing on the cake – none other than THE Johnny Depp. However, this time sadly he is just the Icing and not the cake. However the others make up for it.

Not many know that this movie is a sequel to the classic from Disney. I remember most of the people having a shock to have seen an older Alice in the trailer. Quick check at Wiki told me that it is a sequel not based on the books. People can relate is more or less to Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian.

Story starts off with the small Alice, who dreams of her sequences in the Wonderland and tell her dad about these nightmares. She innocently ask him is she mad. Her dad gives her a classic reply – “All the best people are mad”. Flash forward to the grown up Alice. Mia Wasikowska plays the role. A new comer who reminds me of Gwyneth Paltrow. She plays the role of Alice fairly considering the fact that she is cast opposite Johnny Depp. I must give her extra points for playing the role with confidence. Story starts with the Alice at her forced engagement party when the Rabbit once again distracts her to the Rabbit hole.

She reaches the Wonderland yet again, having issues with the expanding and shrinking potion. She has a task at hand. Inhabitants have huge hopes on her, and they debate if she is the actual Alice. Even she is confused on what is happening. Land is ruled by Red queen. No points for guessing she is the villain. She is fun to watch, a short lady with exorbitantly huge head. A lady walking with pride filled with insecurity and dumbness. Must say that Helena Carter as the Red Queen is splendid.

From the familiar faces, we have the grinning Cheshire cat voiced by Stephen Fry; Alan Rickman voicing the wisdom flowing blue caterpillar Absolem. Two familiar voices. Wow. The fat twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee are fun to watch. We have a goofy White Queen played by Anne Hathaway. She reminds you of Depp in Pirates in some scenes. Watch out for the scene where she makes the potion.

Our star of the day – The mad hatter. He is all the more quirky this time. His tongue never stops and you love watching him. He is considerate not to gain all the attention from the young Alice. Their relation is emotion filled this time and more mature.

I had seen the 3D version. I feel as if 3D has become the bare minimum requirement for a big budget movie. I hardly see any movie without 3D these days. Anyways I don’t mind it at all :D. My eyes love them J Nice set of visuals, reminds you of Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Hats of to Tim Burton, the writers and everyone involved. Wonderful job. Crip and to the point.

On the negatives, I would like to mention the weak climax and an End that you don’t quite like. As a Depp fan you wish, he had more screen time. 😀

This movie is worth a watch in 3D. Some lucky ones can watch it in IMAX 3D. I miss Hyderabad!!!! L

Rating: 4/5

My Name is Khan – Yes, Karan Johar also Khan

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol coming together is always the preferred couple for an average film viewer. Add Karan Johar to it, its like treat for them. Well this is the majority’s view. There is this minority crowd like me, who loathes him and his movies. Mainly because it is filled with cliché’s, candy floss, NRI life and USA. We can’t blame him also, because most of his revenues come from outside India.

However, this time there were lots of differences. The story was not set in a big city; there were no big families present; Not much glamour quotient; controversies before movie; not much campaigning (no, that was done by us and media: D); no jatka and matka songs; and last but not the least, it was about common people. It was about an issue, something we’ve seen and something we could relate to.

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol have given good performances before. However, Karan Johar has not delivered anything stellar. Kuch Kuch Hota Hain was during my school days. If I see it now, I will laugh at it. Kal Ho Na Ho was fresh, but I reduced marks because it was inspired from Anand. K3G was one big boring on screen soap opera. KANK – nice idea but totally lost it towards the end. However, MNIK is his first step towards good cinema. He has taken one strong step. This has been acknowledged by many including me. Hats off for the movie!

The movie takes cues from the tortures many Muslims and to a small extent Sikhs due to the aftermaths of 9/11. Starting in the sequential order, the story starts with a small family in delhi. Two kids and a mom. The lovely Zarina Wahab plays the mom. The elder son is Autistic and gets all her attention. The younger is quite brilliant and yearns for her mom’s attention which he rarely gets. Tanay Cheda plays the autistic child with ease. Zarina Wahab crosses the t’s and dots the i’s. There is an important message that she gives. “There is no hindu or muslim, there are only good and bad people”. She explains this in a subtle way. A scene to watch out for!

Years pass by, Little guy Zakir goes to US, settles there and marries. It’s the turn for Mom and Rizvan(SRK) to go there. Mom dies before that. SRK meets Mandira (Kajol) – a widow with a kid Sam in San Fransisco. No points for guessing that he wooes her. After all he is SRK 😀 even if he is autistic. They start living their lives together, Kajol starts her own business. Everything is rosey till 9/11 happens. Chinks start appearing one by one. Business closes down; Sam is subject to racial attacks etc.

Due to unprecedented turn of events Sam dies, Kajol blames it on SRK’s Khan Name and then SRK goes on a journey to prove that ‘Khan is not a terrorist’. That’s all from the story part.

The story is quite predictable, but keeps us glued till 3/4th of the movie. In the last quarter of the movie you will start feeling restless. The movie is filled with a good mix of laughs and emotional parts. KJo ensures that he doesn’t go overboard on these aspects. He is backed by an awesome technical team. Ravi K Chandran doing the cinematography. The visuals are splendid like it has always been in KJo movies. Nice dialogues and story sequence. The casting is also quite good. I feel that the movie could have been shortened by a little bit.

Music was given thumbs by everyone since its release. The move doesn’t waste much time on songs, and mostly it goes with the narrative.

Tanay Cheda puts in yet another good performance as SRK junior. Jimmy Shergil is ok as SRK’s brother. His wife played by Sonia Jehan, is a very good character. Makes her mark on us with the limited time she has. Parvin Dabas, Arjun Mathur & Sugandha Garg have also done their job as the reporters in the movie.

Kajol – I don’t have to tell anything about her. She is ravishing as usual. Lesser glamour quotient than usual and less bubbly.

SRK – The man comes with yet another credible performance after Chak De. It is evident that he has worked quite hard for this role. He appears a little aged in the scenes. Lot of ladies would be heartbroken at this. He is funny most of the times with his genuine comments. The character is inspired with an equal mix from Dustin Hoffman of Rain Man and Tom Hanks of Forrest Gump. SRK doesn’t match them, but he is quite good. This performance will be remembered as on of the few roles where he has actually acted. The only area where he loses out is when his SRK’ism takes over. 😀 Well that can be discounted.

Final Note: It’s an above movie which comes as a surprise from Kjo. The movie is filled with lots of messages. I would recommend everyone to watch this movie. Afterall KJo has learned to make a good movie and SRK is ACTING in it. Double treat J

Rating: 3.5/5