Friday, December 25, 2009

3 Idiots - THREE stars

Though Raju Hirani and Aamir Khan sound like a deadly combo to most people, I for one thought of it as an odd combo. So I did not set my expectations sky high and wasn’t too disappointed with the result. They somehow didn’t sound like an "in snych" combo [to me] to begin with.

The movie has a strong story line, well written script and very interesting though sometimes predictable twists.

Humor is one of the movie’s highlights, so what if oft heard and fwded jokes were used as anecdotes to heighten its humor value :)

Raju Hirani is a wonderful happily hopeful director, and hence there aren’t too many dull moments in this movie. And though the movie is long is doesn’t feel so.

The editing and overall look and feel of the movie is sleek

Kareena does a very good job, and looks ravishing

The movie has several angles to it which will look unnecessary at times but Raju Hirani does a good job of giving all of them a good context and respectable closure

This is the first time I felt Sharman Joshi had in him some acting skills; he has done a very good job of a simple role.

So why does this movie not deserve a 4 star rating?

Aamir’s character has been demi-god-ified in the movie. He opens his mouth and you can expect a bhaashan. He even lectures lecturers; such is his audacity in gyan baating! There is even one continuously playing song which is dedicated to him.

And there was no need to use Aamir for this role. Raju Hirani could have very easily used a promising new comer or a very young current rising star. Strangely everyone in the movie looks comfortable playing whatever they are playing, except Aamir. I am sure many of you won’t agree with this, but he looked like he was trying too hard to play a teenager and in that attempt his mannerisms looked more spastic than teenage! Everyone else has done a great job, Boman, Kareena, Sharman, Madhavan…everyone else expect Aamir. Aamir looks at ease only in the end when he is playing his age, or someplace close to it.

The music of the movie is very forgettable and sounds tedious & loud in most places.

A Lage Raho Munnabhai deserves a 4 star, and not this one.


The movie is surely a one time watch, mainly because in the end of the movie you feel like you have been well entertained and hence have received value for money.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Paa - THREE stars

• Amitabh has proven yet again, that there is almost no role he cant carry off elegantly, it takes courage to take on the kind of roles he takes on. The guy is truly timeless. He never once overdoes his uniquely different role [12 year old Auro suffering from a rare genetic disease] and captures your heart right from the word go. I can’t imagine how he dubbed for this role without making it look comical and overt.
• Director Balki has tried to send several social messages through this film, and they reach home only because he doesn't try too hard. Messages like 1. Women should have children and not go against their natural feminine grain else this results in uterus related and other complexes 2. Kids are not always cruel to kids with disabilities - given a nurturing environment they are actually very accommodating and compassionate. 3. The trials and tribulations of the rare disease Progeria 4. Vidya Balan's strong and positive retort to another mother's query on Auro's condition is a mini lesson in how parents of special children should handle such 'uns.
• Vidya Balan looks lovely, wears tasteful clothes challenging the media over hyped verdict that she has very bad taste in clothes. She acts decently, but I surely missed the ache she should have been able to convey behind her beautiful smile given the tough life she encountered. Her role was not very well written and could have been far deeper.
• Abhishek Bachchan might get conveniently ignored in this movie, given the stellar performance by his dad, but I hope none of you miss how brilliantly he has carried his role given its various shades - part shrewd, part sensitive, part practical etc. etc. He even looks good wearing the simplest of clothes, dressed mostly as a young politician.
• The movie does have its trying moments, Balki irritates with some unnecessary melodrama and some long winded totally do-away-able scenes like Vidya Balan's sudden outbursts and the last scene where Abhishek and Vidya take the ceremonial 7 pheras [circles] to please their son. In the cinema where we watched the film, a little kid sitting in the row ahead jumped and asked his mom "what happened to her NOW!??" when Vidya Balan gets into one of her sudden howling bouts! Also, the overly smiling Jaya Bachchan reading the credits in the beginning was avoidable.
• Music by Illaiyaraja definitely brought back memories of the engaging music he once used to produce, but I must say that in Paa they were sometimes inappropriate and loud in scenes which could have been made more powerful without any music at all. The main actors, big and small B could have been left to do the talking :)
• PC Sreeram's cinematography glows with fineness and carries the film like a caring father on its shoulders, no over the top techniques, just splendid support to good direction. It reminded me of the movie poster where Abhishek cheerfully carries Auro on his back, where Abhishek is PC Sreeram and Auro is the movie.
• The movie surprisingly has some very funny scenes courtesy Auro and his best friend Vishnu who hates his father
• Balki might have known a child of 12 years of age intimately, given that the portrayal of kids of that age is very believable
• I was happy to see Balki portray Vidya’s character as a medical professional who is doing well and not some hand to mouth self sacrificing mom
• Arundhati Nag plays the role of Auro’s grand mom nicely, but I do wish Balki had gone beyond just portraying her a an ever supportive, never frustrated grand mom – given that he had a seasoned actress such as her to work with
• Balki has made several attempts to make his movie a commercial success and I do think they work – the media v/s politicians conflict, the hopeful air, the humor etc.
• The movie rushes did no justice to the movie, I for one wasn't interested, thinking that it would be another movie about some serious human disability with all its sadness and scientific detail. Also, the people who have done Amitabh's make up have done an amazing job to make it look natural.

• So overall, Paa is a sure shot one time watch

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wake Up Sid - THREE stars

Another bullet pointed review because of lack of time ...
  • Young debutant director Ayan Mukerji has delivered a simple movie with unique style, one that captures the imagination of everyone who has experienced or seen the life of a teenager "up close and personal"
  • Looks like his days assisting Ashutosh Gawarikar [Swades] and Karan Johar [KANK] were not wasted, the movie is very well made for a first attempt. Ayan is definitely a good addition to the new band of directors in Bollywood
  • Ranbir Kapoor will floor you with his honest and subtle performance. You will be forgiven for assuming that he is an experienced actor who can say a million lines with just one look. He surely has the potential to be one of the best young actors in the country, just hope he chooses his roles carefully
  • Ranbir also looks good, once you get out of your mind the stark resemblance he bears to his parents. I remember suffering the same problem when trying to appreciate Saif Ali Khan's good looks
  • Konkona Sen has become such a consistently brilliant actress that one almost ignores her performance, and takes it for granted. She effortlessly breezes through the complicated [well written] feminine shades to the character she plays. But I must admit her roles and looks are getting a little predictable and monotonous
  • The movie is well balanced - everyday lingo used nicely, simple cinematography, nice story, supportive screenplay, non-intrusive music
  • Some of you might find it a bit slow, but according to me except for a couple scenes the movie is well edited and does not waste any time even though it is not fast paced
  • The fact that there are no unnecessary songs is a breath of fresh air in our songs clogged Bollywood universe, someone else in Ayan's place would have been tempted to add more songs given the various opportunities that arise
  • The movie has some hearty jokes, just don't miss them under the slightly irritating rattle n hum in Ranbir's voice [a sad reminder of his father]
  • Thankfully no attempt has been made to make Ranbir look like a hero, on the contrary he has loserly ways which are screen played cutely. Like in the scene where he begs Konkona not to throw him out
  • All supporting actors have done a decent job, including the actors who play Ranbir's pals and of course Anupam Kher and Supriya Pathak who play his parents
  • Am unable to rate this nice movie higher than this because it could have been a very high impact far reaching movie if only Ayan had whacked all the opportunities he created for himself eg. the article that Konkona writes in the end could have been made lyrical and ironic to make it more strong & memorable
  • All said, WUS is a lovely movie, definitely worth watching once. Do go for it, strangely it will remind people from all walks of life of at least something that they have experienced or seen

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kaminey - FOUR ftarf ;)

My first impression of Kaminey was that it was a good quality Hollywood movie wearing Indian clothes. If we have a chance of ever winning the Oscars, it will be Vishal Bharadwaj who brings it home for us. Do please remember that you read that here first :)

Vishal Bharadwaj’s style of movie making in Kaminey feels like it has been inspired by Hollywood movies like Pulp Fiction and others in its genre and even though you know that the style is somewhat copied, you’ll want to give him full marks for contextualizing the style and using it effectively. Vishal always gets the cinematography, music and screenplay right in his movies, so no surprises there. I must admit that the music and cinematography did remind me of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel.

Mumbai [slums, railway stations et al] has been shown like you would have seen in no other Bollywood movie. The slums etc. have not been used as props but are just naturally part of Kaminey’s multi pronged storyline. We Mumbaikars take the pace and energy of our city for granted, it is only through movies like this, that we realize how energetic it is and how it operates at break neck speed without too much breakage. The city has been captured objectively and wonderfully, from the eyes of a man born and brought up, up North.

I liked Shahid Kapoor’s acting for the first time only in Jab We Met, though I didn’t like the movie. I knew then that this guy will go places if he has even a slightly deep role and a good director. Vishal has catapulted Shahid into another league with Kaminey. Shahid’s lisp and stuttering sound very natural unlike all those Bollywood movies where a caricature is made of people with such speech impediments. He plays 2 very different roles with great skill and one does forget that it is being played by the same person. You actually suffer when he stutters and your heart goes out to him. Shahid will definitely walk away with at least a couple awards for this performance. One of the most memorable scenes in the movie is when a corrupt narcotics officer makes Guddu [Shahid] sing out information, to avoid his stuttering.

Vishal has also successfully stayed away from caricaturing characters, which must have been a herculean task given that this is a thriller with a shade of humor. Everyone has a reason to be where they are and the humor emanates from tricky situations rather than naught ;) . Even when Bhope the gangster politician teases Charlie [Shahid] on his lisping, it doesn’t sound condescending but actually sounds funny – all because Vishal makes everything fit into place very well.

I have never been impressed with Priyanka Chopra’s acting skills and have wondered how she laps up one award after another. I am aware that she is immensely popular, almost everyone I know likes her but I have never really been convinced of her acting prowess. She surprised me in Kaminey, looks like she too needs a thinking director to get the best out of her. She definitely puts a lot into her character and makes it look real and believable. As ever, she looks great so the guys don’t need to worry about her non glamorous get up.

Almost everyone in this movie has given a good performance. Amol Gupte [the brains behind Taare Zameen Par] who plays Bhope will dazzle you with his perfect rendition of a Maharashtrian gangster turned politico. The actors who play Bengali gangters also do a great job.

Vishal has also broken some stereotypes with this movie, it is not your usual Bollywood twins fare, and Bengalis who are normally some kind of artists in most movies are gangsters in this one! He has researched his movie and demonstrates well his knowledge of the Bengali gangs and their personality. Also, many languages are spoken in this film including Marathi, Bengali, Afrikaan and Portuguese. Though one can guess what is being said, I do wish he had provided subtitles everywhere for more clarity.

Looks like Vishal wanted to use the film medium to discuss the Bihari’s and UPites not welcome in Mumbai debate. He addresses the issue without getting preachy and by weaving it beautifully into the storyline.

So then why have I given this amazing movie a 4 and not a 5, you ask? According to me Maqbool is still Vishal’s best film, the only one worthy of a 5 star rating. Kaminey is fabulous but hasn’t attained the heights [depths?] of a Maqbool.

Also, I wonder if he has done more explaining than is required in attempting to make Kaminey a commercial success. His movies have always received critical acclaim, but have not exactly been jingling the cash registers. So he has tried some commercialism tricks like explaining scenes and using more than necessary songs. I think the movie could have been made crisper and tauter [and riskier?] eg., the title song could have very well been combined with the entire father dying explanation episode.

All said, do please go and watch this movie, you may want to watch it more than once. It has been strangely given an “A” rating even though movies with more adult content have slipped through the censors untagged [eg. Gajjini was given a U/A!!]. Don’t let the swine flu scare worry you too much, just carry a large handkerchief and cover your mouth and nose while you watch this superb movie :)

I feel Vishal would have taken more risks and would include more adult content if he weren’t making movies for the Indian film industry. He does sometimes seem like he is containing himself and showing only glimpses of what he would have otherwise dared to honestly show. This is a genuine hurdle that he and other filmmakers like him must be suffering, as creative people. Must be very hard for him to come up with winners like Kaminey given such constraints.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Love Aaj Kal - TWO stars

Before you growl and jeer at me for giving this popular movie a 2 star rating, let me provoke you further by confessing that I didn't like Jab We Met either! [this reminds me of another popular movie I didn't like long ago - Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, my husband and I were the only 2 people snoring in a festive atmosphered jam packed cinema hall].
It is not that I don't like brainless TP movies, I do watch some of them and there are some I have even liked eg. SRK starrer Om Shanti the point is, even if they are brainless I like them if they have a heart hidden somewhere...

If you are objective and hence are still continuing to read this blog then here is a longish bullet pointed review of Love Aaj Kal [LAK] :)
  • You might wonder why I went to see another Imitiaz Ali movie, not having liked his Jab We Met [JWM]. After JWM, I had seen Imitiaz's interviews and was convinced the guy would get better with every movie given that he comes across as being sensitive and very open to learning.
  • For all of you who didn't know, Imtiaz said in a recent interview that he himself is not a great fan of Jab We Met. So he and I do agree ;)
  • To be fair to Imtiaz, LAK is better than JWM [I can hear the boo sounds rising]...let me humbly admit that Imtiaz has improved since his last film
  • By now you must have heard of the highly talked about and loved break up party scene in the movie, it was very uninteresting, unfunny & unimaginative to say the least. Imtiaz admitted in the same interview that this was something that he would have liked to do differently had he the chance, I agree with him again! [he too (like me) found it amusing that people were going gaga over this scene]
  • Saif Ali Khan who acted brilliantly in almost all his movies since Dil Chahta Hai, was actually uncomfortable in some parts [of his non Sardar role] eg. when Rishi Kapoor starts narrating his love story to him in the airport, Saif looks ill at ease doesn't know what pose he should sport...almost like he can't believe he agreed to mouth such dialogues and carry such scenes. Or maybe he just can't be objective when he is also producing a movie in which he is acting...and it shows. He acts well otherwise through most of the movie, especially as the Sardar. He also has 2 meaty roles, so I won't blame him for making the [al]most of it.
  • Don't believe what anyone says about Deepika Padukone, she has acted very well, she looks lovely and has set some cool dressing trends with her simple yet sheek style. Unfortunately, she does not have a well thought through role to play, Saif and she share no chemistry whatsoever, and she cant really be blamed if the film itself is mediocre. I feel sad [for her] that she is part of a film which has turned out to be a smash hit, but she is herself getting lots of flak for her acting skills. Her real life beau [Ranbir] on the other hand had an exact opposite experience with Saawariya, if you recall :)
  • Rishi Kapoor floored me in Luck By Chance [LBC] and I was looking forward to seeing him again in LAK, but here he looks like he is not too serious about the role he is playing and is just filling in for someone else temporarily. I think Imtiaz has lifted 2 things from LBC viz., Rishi Kapoor and the template of the fabulous and apt LBC circus song -- mindlessly misplaced in LAK ofcourse
  • This review is incomplete if I don't mention the mystery girl who turns out to be a Brazilian model in real life...Giselle who plays Harleen in the film is fresh, charming and fits the role like a was smart of Imtiaz to keep her identity a secret till the movie had been seen by some of us at least [to see if we could figure out that she was not Indian, I guess]
  • The music of the movie is good, supplemented with some interesting, innovative dance steps. So Imtiaz does get some bits of his movies consistently right - music, cinematography, screenplay and some of the humor
  • So what is it that goes wrong?: His films leave me empty. I don't feel anything for any of the characters and a lot of his so called humor is do I say it...not funny at all. I do find a handful of his scenes good and even funny sometimes, but not enough to make me like the whole movie. Also his effort to copy paste everyday lingo into Bollywood style movie making is somehow not getting integrated properly and looks unconvincing. Others have done this with panache in the past.
  • Ahem, need I say more? avoid this movie if you can, see his interviews instead, at least they will give you some hope for the future...and in any case LAK will appear on Moser Baer and on TV sooner and cheaper than you just wait, don't spend pots in a multiplex -- that too on a precious weekend, please!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - THREE stars

  • A lot of people who have read the book, didn't like the movie. The movie has received mixed reviews. I saw it with a mini HP maniac not having read the books myself. Both of us loved the movie and wondered how someone who has read it [or not] can't love it.
  • For those of you out there like me, who haven't read any HP book, please understand the basics before watching an HP movie, like my little HP maniac says there is more to HP than magic. Magic is only the template JKR uses to drive home some age old philosophies, says she :)
  • There are many ways to interpret the HP series, 1. The victory of good over evil 2. How the process to achieve something is more important than the goal itself 3. How heroes don't always come announced or know of their powers themselves, i.e. anyone can be a hero 4. No amount of ESP devices can overthrow a good heart nurtured painfully with love 5. If you believe you are lucky you will behave like you are [Ron's match winning]...etc. etc. etc. All this must be difficult enough to put into a book in an honest way, imagine what it must be like to translate that into a motion picture. The movie stays very true to the spirit of the book, even I [someone who hasn't read the book] can confidently say that. It just has that authentic feel about it.
  • They say HP stories and movies are too complicated and dark for kids, but the fact that kids enjoy and swear by them is a clear indicator that kids can process complicated and dark things far better than adults can, simply because they have not been overpowered by staid education in the mind numbing lives of adults. The kids I saw in the cinema couldn't have been dragged out of there midway, even if there was a bomb scare. This was just TOO important to them. And I could clearly see why. The applause they gave when the names rolled on the screen created an energy you must experience to believe.
  • The story on which this movie is based is very dark and hence understandably the makers have tried their best to paint it [in most places] with cheerful teenage romantic antics, to make it less depressing. But JKR loyalists might find this a bit too much and unnecessary, they would have wanted the movie to remain as dark as the book. I guess the pressures of commercialisms would have forced the makers to choose this shift, given that the movie [unlike the book] has to cater to non HP readers too.
  • The scene where Dumbledore is killed is very well done, just like the rest of the movie - no over dramatization with time wasting tactics, every minute of this movie has been used well. I can only imagine what HP fans must have felt when they read about this scene for the first time, not knowing that it would happen, gosh!
  • How the director and script writers decide what to include and what to keep out of the film [and yet stay true to it], from a book of such stature, beats me.
  • Fabulous movie, MUST see...even for non HP fans/readers.

Hangover - THREE and HALF stars

Henceforward, for some movies I will give bullet pointed reviews -- not because the reviewed movies don't deserve any better but because I may not have found the time for a detailed review OR may have just found it good enough to write a review this way:

  • Fabulous comedy cum thriller which strangely manages to keep you laughing at the edge of your seat
  • No big Hollywood comedy names, hence it is fresh hilariousness
  • If you don't pay attention to the dialogues well, you may miss some diamond wits and will then need to see the movie again, which in any case is a good excuse to see it again :)
  • Avoid watching it with people who may be embarrassed by unparliamentary language, the film uses such language generously and unpretentiously
  • Don't remember seeing such a funny movie with a strong storyline, for a long time
  • I personally fell in love with the character played by Zach Galifianakis [bro of the bride-to-be] simply because he is bright and dim and hilarious all at the same time, reminds me of someone I know [you know who you are! :)]
  • The format of the film and the credits are very appropriate and interesting, kept simple and creative -- a far cry from the complicated, irritating templates used nowadays in the name of novelty
  • An absolutely MUST see!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Firaaq - THREE and 1/2 stars

Nandita Das has made sure through her directorial debut that she won't state the obvious , even if she is dabbling in a notoriously well known theme

Before you go to watch this movie with pre conceived notions about what a Gujarat pogrom movie should/would look like, let me tell you -- this one is different

The cinematography, art direction, music...just do their role of carrying a well written story with subtlety. They do not overwhelm you or take your attention away or distract you from the situation at hand. Ravi K Chandran has done a fabulous job with the camera, showing only as much as is required -- not more not less. A principle that seems to be the highlight of the film. Firaaq 's characters don't say or do any more than is required. The script, screenplay etc. don't ever insult the audience's intelligence, in fact a lot is left to our imagination and interpretation. Strangely most of us will still conclude/interpret it in the same way. I would say this is one of Nandita's biggest achievements with Firaaq.
Ravi K Chandran seems to get the mood of very varied movie themes right, every time. He is the same guy who cinematographed Ghajini, Jodha Akbar and Saawariya -- believe it or not.

There are many stories in this movie, all weaved together without much drama but with lots of sensitivity. Gory has been portrayed without the gore and without making you cringe in your seat. She has also done justice to all the stories she has brought together and has validated her claim that it is a fictitious tale about a 1000 real stories -- varied stories that cut across different ages, classes etc.

One wonders if both sides of the story were told adequately, but that is a healthy debate which the movie can trigger. Also I think we should grant her the benefit of the doubt that she showed more of the side that [in this case] suffered the most. So it is okay, I think.

The movie ends brilliantly, with an important child character staring into your eyes -- the meaning of this too will fire a debate, mind you. I don't know if Nandita aimed at triggering discussions/debates but that is one of the interesting by products of the film, surely. Try seeing it with a group of people and you'll know what I mean

A lot of research has definitely and rightly gone into a movie that handles a real life incident such as this, and it shows. You feel completely "in place" in Ahmedabad with details like the manner of speaking/accents done correctly...all this aptly supported by believable art direction and incidents.
Her attention to detail is so high and effortless, that you will miss it easily if you don't pay similar attention to detail :)

Paresh Rawal plays his role very honestly, and you will swear that he was the guy he was playing. And Shahana Goswami reassures you that her Rock On performance was not a fluke

A movie like this could have become preachy, gory, one sided, docu-like and hence boring...Nandita has risen above all these temptations and has come out a winner.

I was not impressed with Parzania, an earlier movie on similar lines...but let me assure you that Firaaq belongs to another league altogether.

Through their roles, Naseeuddin Shah and Deepti Naval remind you of the 80's when parallel cinema thinking actors like them regularly took simple roles to extraordinary heights. It will be difficult to forget Naseer's nonchalant line in this movie, "Insaan ne insaan ko mara"...not just because of the meaning but more because of the way he says it -- without any drama.

The movie also has its amusing moments like the scene where a group of angry young men dispute over who should get a gun with its solitary bullet and also sharpen the bullet to make it fit the gun.

Don't miss the symbolic shot early on, in the form of a "lotus" design on the front of the lorry carrying dead bodies.

I am consciously not branding this movie a docu-drama, because it is neither...simply put, it is just a MUST SEE. ONCE

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Little Zizou - THREE stars

A cute film about Parsis through the eyes of boy who calls himself little Zizou. You will enjoy and comprehend this movie more if you are familiar with the Parsi community.

One might easily misunderstand the movie theme through its rushes and ads and conclude that it is a sports film about a boy trying to be Zidane. Only one little thread of the movie story is actually in this space viz., little Zizou loves playing soccer, is obsessed with Zidane and wants him to come to India. There are several other angles to this movie about 2 different religious viewpoints within a shrinking community.

You'll love all the goings on in Zizou's life -- simple,well stated, and short.

The movie is interestingly captured with a format of illustrations connecting them to reel life. You won't find any great cinematography, music, art direction etc. etc. but you will find very simple takes on the everyday crazy events in and around the little boy's life.

Just when I decided Prateik Babbar [janne tu ya jaane na] was going to be the future thinking actor all of us have to look out for, we suddenly have Naseerduddin's son [Imaad Shah] jump into the scene with a bang. He has given a stellar performance before also.
He acts, speaks just like his father and yet has his own unique commendable approach to acting. It was like both Smita Patil and Nasseer had decided that they wouldn't leave an empty space after they left the Indian film scene!

The movie has some sensitive moments, some fun moments but you will be left wondering why there is no all encompassing strong storyline. The story moves from one place to another, yes they are all connected but one fails to hold on to any one strong theme.

One of the several funny moments, is a scene where you learn what password Imaad uses for his father hating blog...for security reasons I won't tell you what it is ;)

Director Sooni has also cleverly used famous Parsis for cameos, like Shiamak Davar, Gary Lawyer, even 1/2 Bawa John Abraham...and not to mention a picture of Zubin Mehta!

Boman Irani does his best as usual, one wonders how someone like him is not given more opportunities where he gets to carry the entire movie on his shoulders

There are some lovely scenes, like the Alzheimer's ridden old Parsi woman still dressing up for dinner in her "Hotel Mejestic" which is completely run down [but not for her loving eyes]. Or the scene where little Zizou explains to his friend on the Udwada beach, why she should not hate him. And a few others like these.

The movie is definitely not a MUST see, but I assure you if you do see it you will not regret it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Benjamin Button - TWO stars

Now I know why a 3 star movie like Slumdog won the Oscars -- it had serious 2 star contenders like "Curious case of Benjamin Button" to compete with

While the core idea, thought and in this case just that...a case...was wonders how far you can stretch a teeny weeny good idea...into a more than 2 hour film?...hardly!

Well you may argue that the length of a film is of no consequence for a good film and there hiddeth moi point [and there hides my point, for those of you who are single lingual...singlingual]

Tell me how far can great cinematography, performances, and other production values carry a very minuscule idea? It reminds me of the story "the emperor's new clothes", only this is like an exact opposite scenario to that...he was wearing all the finery in the world, but somehow he himself was not there

At the end of the movie you are left wondering...everything was great...but what?...WHY?...and more importantly SO WHAT?

Believe me if this movie was made in Hindi even with all its production finery, we would have laughed our guts out. Which my family and I anyways did...toward the end we began ad libbing funny Bollywood dialogues and laughed at our own jokes -- more than we have laughed for any comedy

The movie has everything -- war scenes, a hurricane, missionary miracles...but yet feels like it has nothing...maybe in Oscar jury language this means something!

Delhi 6 - TWO and a half stars

Was waiting for this to arrive as the promos just made you want to see it...even a solitary poster was Rakeysh definitely got the PR and mktg right

The first 80% of the movie is cute, beautifully connecting everyday events with one non everyday event. The music makes the ride memorable and like any other Rakeysh film the cinematography, art direction, screenplay are luverly

He has gotten out of AR Rahman a kind of music that sounds hip, new, cool -- which settles over the film like a sensual silky piece of cloth. The music will ring in your ears long after you leave the cinema hall

There is an unforgettable song which is an Abhishek dream sequence, the whole song is like a painting and captures exactly those events -- ones we would normally see in a dream which are a bhel puri of the happenings of the previous few days

Sonam Kapoor looks good and acts just fine. Some new actors don't go down too well just because they don't have a voice and diction to match other huge talents. But not this girl, she is a "complete" talented package. Watch out for her and remember you saw it here first.
Trust Rakeysh to make simplicity look gorgeous and aspirational eg. how Sonam was picturised

I also wonder who designed Sonam's salwar khameezes - lovely and simple using unusual color palates and designs

Abhishek was his usual cool self, the role seemed tailor made for him. He carried the American accent well, without over pronouncing and made it look effortless. His impromptu dance steps in the terrace song "gende ka phool" was also cool

And then we come to the last 20% and you just say...WHY OH WHY?
Why did Rakeysh have to suddenly jump into the "explanation" mode which not only explains scenes which could have very well been left to the viewers imagination but also goes on to "preach" about everything in between. The last 1/2 hour is quite unbearable and almost makes you forget the breezy and nice earlier bits. Even the normally cool dude Abhishek looked strange mouthing off preachy dialogues. He had the "am I really saying all these things?" look on his face throughout those painful scenes

AND I don't want to hear anyone say that if we don't explain "so called" symbolic scenes then Indian audiences wont understand it. I completely disagree

On another note, I also don't like people saying "audiences have changed" , such movies [eg. DCH, RDB, Chak De] couldn't be made in the 80s...I ask -- if the film makers were not prepared to take risks then the audience had to make do with what was available. NOW better movies are available and hence people are appreciating them. It is like saying India can never have honest politicians because we as citizens won't appreciate them. What choice do we have if we have to choose between thieves, dacoits and murderers?
Henceforward if anyone throws these arguments at you, you know what to say!

Dev D - FOUR stars

A cool new interpretation of the classic loser story. Anurag Kashyap gets everything right - the cast, the new avataar, screenplay, music etc. etc.

Abhay Deol rocks as the loser who tries to get a life. The new actors Kalki and Mahi are superb adding a "devil may care" panache to their roles that established actors can almost never get right.

The cinematography carries you into the psychedelic experiences of Abhay Deol -- all without your knowledge.

I particularly loved how Anurag has been successful in weaving songs into scenes not for song-and-dance reasons but he has used them instead of dialogues to explain a feeling/emotion - eg. what Abhay is feeling at a particular moment of loss etc.

Many movies have experimented with the "back and forth in time" sequencing of events and editing. Anurag uses this but how! You almost don't realize it and are gently glided in and out of it.

Anurag powerfully demonstrates male chauvinism and feminism through events and doesn't "tell" about them -- something many other directors would have been tempted to do

The movie is also bold and touches on topics and lingo not oft used in Hindi movies. It was refreshing to hear the cast speak like us normal people and not wannabe Hindi/Urdu poets

Just be careful, don't see it with someone who can't handle adult lingo or scenes in the presence of company

Anurag has also gotten the locales just right, they are SO believable

He has smartly and aptly used some recent real life incidents to modernize the plot and they don't look out of place at all

Though many of you may find out that there are scenes lifted from "leaving las vegas", you'll still love the movie -- it is a one of its kind movie. This goes to show that even when you plagiarize, as long as you remain within context and do it well, people will accept it

I just wish he had also gone ahead and explored the relationship between Paro & Chanda... I was not happy that the movie ended I guess, I wanted more

Luck by chance - FOUR stars

Fabulous movie by Zoya Akhtar, one wonders what their mother fed them [her and Farhan] when they were kids - I think it was a dizzying muesli of world movies :)

There are SO many characters in this movie and yet Zoya has been able to sensibly detail every one of them. Though it was very easy to turn a movie like this into a complete caricature of the film industry she has dealt with it with great sensitivity. It is not a spoof, please remember.

Farhan has acted far better than his attempt in Rock On. He is now going to give all young Hindi cinema actors a run for their money. First the directors had to compete with him, then actors - not fair at all.

As expected the movie has amazing cinematography, music, art direction and overall aesthetics. The circus song was painted with all colors and was yet music for the eyes.

Konkana acts like nobody's business and carries a "not always a winner" role fabulously on her very talented shoulders.

The ending is very profound and off beat.

All characters are fleshed out realistically displaying the black, white and grey within us.

Zoya has also indirectly paid tribute to the bounty that is available as locales for movies within India...a thumbs up for that too! :)

Review Rate Card

Why I decide to watch a movie depends on various things and merits a blog of its own.

The following is the rate card I will be using to review the movies:

FIVE stars [Excellent] - path breaking, standard setting, MUST see more than once CLASSIC

FOUR stars [Very Good] - almost a five star, but not there completely

THREE stars [Good] - worth watching once

TWO stars [OK] - try and not go

ONE star [...] - don't even go near a cinema showing it!

A rating I give in between any of the above has to be interpreted as such i.e. in between

Thus I'll share my experience of the movie with you which will be a "why you should" or "why you shouldn't" watch it.