Archive for the ‘movie’ Category

The Cannes Film Festival organisers banned Lars Von Trier, but had no problem in exhibiting the works of two Iranian directors banned by their own country!

Incredible as it may sound, the just concluded Cannes Film Festival while lionising two Iranian moviemakers, stopped from working because their country felt that they were antinational, went and banned a Danish director for a remark considered hurtful to the Jews.

In the first instance, Jafer Panahi and Mohamed Rasoulof have been under arrest of some sort in Iran, whose rulers feel that the two helmers have been making a kind of cinema that questions their authority. In the second, Lars Von Trier, celebrated for his Dogma 95 (that tried taking cinema back to its natural roots of no-props, no artificial lighting, etc) and a host of films, including Breaking the Waves and Dogville, was banned by the Festival in its concluding days, because he jocularly told a press conference that he was a Nazi and he sympathised with Hitler. He was declared persona non-grata soon after the conference, which followed the competition screening of his Melancholia.

Known to have been suffering from severe depression for some years now that forced him to stay in bed without wanting to even get up and fetch a glass of water, Von Trier has had this knack of getting himself into messy situations. In 2009, he presented Antichrist at the Cannes competition, and with some frighteningly distasteful scenes of genital mutilation, the movie raised uncomfortable questions.

Von Trier, who suffers from fears and anxieties, including the phobia for fl ying, talks of doom and the end of the world in Melancholia. One journalist after watching it called him a “psychic circus master”. The apocalypse tale that often plays out like a fairy tale did attract its share of boos as it did claps when its press show ended at Cannes. Despite an arresting performance by Kirsten Dunst as the film’s lead protagonist (she won the Best Actress Award on the closing night), a haunting Wagnerian soundtrack and an almost ethereal country house location, Melancholia often appears lifeless.

Dunst’s Justine has just married Michael (Alexander Skaarsgard), and the movie follows her as she goes for her reception to her sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her rich husband’s country home.

We soon realise that Justine is suffering from depression or melancholia through her strange behaviour that forces her to wander off ever so often from the evening’s ceremonial dinner. In an important way, Justine’s dark moods appear to be a forewarner of a planetary collision that is all set to wipe away life from the earth.

Melancholia in the end seems to be echoing its maker’s own depressive tendencies. And we have seen that all along — particularly in the way his female characters are written and portrayed. Right from Breaking the Ways to Dogville to Dancer in the Dark to Antichrist to Melancholia, his women have been shown as suffering souls, leading tortured and crucified existences. When the ban came at Cannes, (although his work was allowed to remain in the race), Von Trier joked again by saying that he felt a little happy about it, perhaps further irking the Festival and the Jewish community.

The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors & Their Descendants, an umbrella organisation of survivor groups, said: “This is a welcome action, which declares to the world that the suffering of victims is not a fit subject for mockery or casual self-promotion. The organizers of the Cannes Film Festival have eloquently taken a determined moral stand against cavalier expressions of hate and insensitivity to those brutalised by the Nazis — Jew and non-Jew”.

One man’s meat is another man’s poison. The Festival, which banned a renowned director apparently to respect the sentiments of Jews, did not think twice before smuggling in the films of Panahi and Rasoulof from Iran, where they are considered insensitive and unpatriotic. Here, the Festival deemed it fit to help these two men in their right to freedom of expression.

But Von Trier’s right to comment — and come on, that was but a silly joke — was admonished, and the punishment was unjustly severe. Now, you do not ask your guest — and Von Trier has been a close friend of the Festival head, Gilles Jacob, a Jew himself, and a darling of Cannes for years with several of his movies getting in there — to get out, whatever be the provocation. And this was far from serious, and in fact Von Trier’s Nazi remark produced laughs at the press conference.

The sheer duplicity of the Festival is disturbing given the fact that it did not think twice before getting the Iranian films clandestinely out of the country. Panahi’s This Is Not a Film may be the ultimate underground movie: made for €3,200, shot on digital video (and, at one point, an iPhone) and smuggled into France on a USB thumb drive that was hidden inside a cake.

Shot almost entirely in Panahi’s posh flat, (indicating that he is quite rich), the documentary chronicles a day in his life. Like most Iranian movies in which the line between fact and fiction is unclear, his work

shows him attending telephone calls, watching television and discussing a script (which may never translate into a film, at least not for a long time). His visitors or interrupters vary from a neighbor looking for a dog-sitter to a friendly, young garbage collector to his daughter’s large pet iguana.

Rasaoulof’s Goodbye, also made surreptitiously, about a woman trying to leave Iran, won the best prize for director in the A Certain Regard section.

Both films are just very ordinary, and if Goodbye won an award, I think it was more to do with the helmer’s plight in Iran rather than strictly its merit. Sometimes, the jury’s decisions are overtly political. Remember Michael Moore’s Bushbashing documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004 at Cannes, where the movie won the top Palm D’Or? That year, the jury was presided over by the American cult director and reported Bush-hater, Quentin Tarantino. Nobody really believed that Moore deserved the award, but well, then.

The Cannes Film Festival has always had this political kink, and as we all know it emerged in 1939 out of a political necessity. The French found the Venice Film Festival firmly in the grip of Fascists and Nazis, who were merrily rewarding propagandist cinema. The French, feeling suffocated and neglected in such an atmosphere, decided to have their own movie festival. Unfortunately, Cannes in its inaugural edition in 1939, had to draw the curtains a couple of days into the Festival when Hitler’s armies marched into Poland, signalling the start of World War II. It was only in 1946 that Cannes could restart.

In the late 1960s, workers’ and students’ agitations in France and elsewhere in Europe led to the Festival winding up prematurely. One of the agitators was the brilliant French critic and director, Francois Truffaut, who had then been debarred from the Festival for his scathing criticism of it.

He wrote that the Festival was encouraging third-rate commercial French cinema, ignoring artistic fare — a tendency that still persists. But all said and done, Cannes does make amends. Truffaut later went on to be a favourite of the Festival with many of his works screening there.

(Source: Gulf Times)

The much awaited film was out and I was more than eager to watch it. Not just because it was directed by Mani Ratnam, but also because it was shot simultaneously in two languages. Moreover, the beauty of Athirapally falls lingered in my mind and I could feel the sound of the waterfalls ringing in my ears whenever I heard the name. And here it is Raavan in Hindi and Raavanan in Tamil. Need not say that I liked the Tamil version. For the first time I watched both the versions on the same day. I would have not done that if it was any other movie, but I wanted to know which is the best and I feel the Tamil version is!

Veera aka Veeraiah, played by Vikram (Raavanan), rules every frame. He’s the backbone of the film. He is intensely loyal to his people and everybody loves him. He has a reason for every action.

Dev Prakash, played by Prithviraj (Rama), is dashing and handsome archetypal hero who is destined to destroy the evil. He’s an encounter specialist with 28 successes to his credit. He loves his wife and his motive is to reach Veera to avenge his wife’s capture. Ragini, played by Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan (Sita), a lovely glamourous doll. She loves her husband and exhibits her loyalty to him throughout the film. Gnana Prakasam, played by Karthik (Hanuman) is one of the few likeable characters. He drinks, jumps around, chatters incessantly, and though obviously belongs to Dev’s side, is absolutely fearless when it comes to meeting Veera on his own home-ground. Singarasu, played by Prabhu (Kumbakarnan) is Veera’s brother, who stands by him through thick and thin. Though he has little screen-space, he portrays the gruff toughie with a heart of gold. His job is to stay by Veera’s side, come what may. Priya Mani, in the role of Surpanaka, lives up to her reputation as she plays Vennila, the betrayed sister and the reason for Veera’s horrible rampage against the police. Mani Ratnam has given a twist to her role by portraying her almost like a heroine, and completely lust-free. Munna plays Sakkarai (Vibeeshanan), a brief role of a peace-maker.

What captures the mind is scintillating cinematography by Santhosh Sivan and V. Manikandan.

Vikram, carries the film on his shoulders, and touches us in the last 10 minutes. The vulnerability in his eyes shows us what he’s capable of, given the chance.

But after both the movies, I felt, we can take a Tamil director out of Tamil Nadu, but Tamil Nadu out of him. Mani Ratnam’s films are about the native culture and it is very difficult to translate them to other languages, especially to touch the hearts of North Indians!

Though many feel Raavan is a villain, there have been works which have portrayed him as the real hero. They have also shown the darker side of Rama, who killed Vaali and asked virtuous Sita to undergo an agni-pariksha! No one forgets that Raavan never seduced Sita. He became bad in the eyes of the world for losing his heart to a married woman. But think for a while, how many have not done that?!

Who had imagined that Sita could have like Raavan? Mani Ratnam visualised it.

Just feel like saying hats off to Aishwarya. This film is one of the most physically challenging roles she ever done in her career, and every time she stumbles through the river, jungle, or jumps off the waterfall, one has to know that she had to shoot the scene twice, once in Tamil and once in Hindi. Just incredible!

Raavanan soars, thanks to Vikram. Abhishek’s Beera, on the other hand, makes the right expressions and sounds, but doesn’t go beyond them. His act doesn’t seem that natural when we see Vikram doing the same role. Vikram’s performance is way way ahead of Abhishek. There is absolutely no room even for comparison. I think Ajay Devgan could have done justice to the role in Hindi.

Maybe I’m not the only one to feel that music appealed to me better in Tamil than in Hindi. “Kattu Sirukki” is hummable in Tamil than “Ranjha Ranjha”,  so is “Keda Keda Kari Aduppula” over “Kata Kata”,  and “Kodu Potta” over “Thok de Killi”.

When everybody was talking about Thamizh Padam, I couldn’t control myself from watching it. A nice and memorable spoof movie. The film plot parodies contemporary commercial films in Tamil cinema, mocking the stereotypical scenes.

The film starts with the spoof of the popular tamil film Karuththamma where Naattaamai (Ponnambalam) orders to kill a new born baby boy because they go to city, become a star and tell themselves that there are the next Chief Minister. If they don’t kill the baby, they will make them to watch Silambarasan’s movies a 100 times.

A person tries to kill the baby but the baby is saved by its grand mother (Paravai Muniyamma) who takes it to Chennai. I could not help myself from remembering Na Aana Is Des Meri Ladoo serial being aired in Colours channel.

The Baby then emerges as hero Siva (Shiva) who answers to the miseries faced by people around him, in a typically heroish manner. He always spends his time with his friends, Nakul (M.S.Bhaskar), Siddharth (Manobala) and Bharath (Venniraadai Moorthy).

Siva attacks some rowdies in a market who try to rape a girl and gives his intro by stretching his leg imitating from Chandramukhi. Gang leader Devaraj (Seenu), an imitation of Mammootty’s character in Dalapati, visits his assistants and discovers that they were attacked by Siva.

The next day, Siva visits Devaraj, who is dressed and speaks like Raghuvaran in Baasha. Siva shows him that he gets scared of his own friend, who is dressed and imitates Vikram in Kanthasamy. Devaraj runs away.

Then, Siva decides to kill Swarna, a lady rowdy, whom  he remembers by seeing the photo, like Surya in Ghajini.

Siva’s friend Siddharth tries to impress a girl by riding a cycle but falls down like Boys. Siddharth tells his friends that Siva met a girl at a bookshop and they tried to get the same book , Love and Love Only, but he realises that the girl is married, like Kadhalikku Mariyadhai. Not just that, I also felt that the scene is an imitation of Santoor advertisement.

Nakul’s father scolds him saying that the cigarette which he smokes, is the blood of his father, which reminds us of 7G Rainbow Colony.

She kidnaps a boy (Ayyappan) and tries to rape him when Siva comes to his rescue and makes Swarna slip on a banana peel and get killed.

Siva also falls in love with his classmate, Priya (Disha Pandey) and he first sees her on road where she fights a lady like in Mozhi, and Siva thinks love starts when the bell rings and lights sparkle.

He knows about her through her friend Sheela (Ammu) and tries first to reciprocate his love by telling I Love You in mike but does not tell similar to Mouna Raagam. She accepts his love because he performs Bharatanatyam and says that he had made a picture of her through the sweat and blood flowing on the floor through his body and ultimately creating a picture of a monkey which resembles Kadhalan.

Then, at a shopping mall, thugs of Priya’s father notice her with Siva and chase him through a subway which is an imitation of Run, though he outwits them by sticking a mole on his cheek.

Her father Kodeeswaran (Azhagu) is a politician and when he comes to know of her affair with Siva, he puts her under house arrest. She calls Siva on his mobile phone, which has Hutch ring tone and the Hutch dog follows him (remember Hutch advertisement?).

When her father questions him about his status as a person, Siva challenges him like Annamalai and becomes a millionaire within a 2.50 minute song and the father agrees for their marriage.

Then, Siva tries to kill Sankar (Delhi Ganesh) by doing some circus tricks which reminds us of Kamal’s Apoorva Sahodharargal. He tries to throw arrows on Sankar many times but doesn’t succeed. In the end, Sankar shoots himself with a gun.

Siva tries to kill another person (Mahanathi Sankar) with bulls, an imitation of Anniyan, but the bulls don’t obey him. The person laughs so severely and dies of an heart attack as a result.

During the marriage ceremony, a person sarcastically hints at the hero that he is a person who doesn’t know his own father. The hero, enraged, then sets on a mission to his native village ‘Cinema Patti’ to find his parents.

Siva and Bharath go there when he sees that a rowdy like Virumaandi gets arrested. He gets the way of Cinema Patti through a railway guard (Benjamin).

On the way, he meets Shanmugam Shanmugasundaram and knows the details about this village. He finally finds his father Mokkai (Periyardaasan) through a family song which turns out to be the English song “Michael Learns To Rock” number and “Someday someway”.

As a twist, he is also revealed to be a police officer who is on a role in an undercover mission to kill terrorists in the city, which is a spoof of Pokiri.

On the way to Pondicherry, he speaks about his police work to Priya. He seems to have sent a missile which backfired to the commissioner’s office which destroyed the building. As a result, he got dismissed. He then worked as a security guard, unable to give up his Khaki clothes. The commissioner calls Siva back to do the undercover operation but he rejects. When the CM of Tamilnadu and the PM of India request him on this, he rejects them similarly. Finally, when US President Obama requests him to do the job, he accepts because “Obama is his family friend”!

When in Pondichery, he sleeps and gets beaten by D’s assistants like Kaakha Kaakha. It is revealed that the people who were killed by Siva are the assistants of D. Siva kills another man with the bad odour of his socks.

Priya is kidnapped by D’s gang. Siva is admitted to a hospital. When one of the rowdies shoot Priya, Shiva suddenly wakes up and the doctor informs everyone of a “medical miracle”!

Then, even as the bullet travels towards Priya, he travels to the place where she is held, and saves her in the end, which reminds of Vijay in Thirupaachi.

On the way to kill D, he overcomes challenges using rubber slippers to escape from an electric shock, using a balloon to suck the air, walking on fire by using the karakaatam technique.

At last, he finds who is D  and is shocked to know that it is none other than his grandmother, who tells him that she had done all these to make him famous. Siva sadly arrests his grandmother and takes her to court.

Sundaram IPS (Meesai Rajendran) tries to shoot her, but Siva kills him. Siva is arrested and produced in the court. Shanmugam comes there and reveals that he is a CBI officer and he tells that he came to Cinema Patti only to follow Siva. Siva is also the part of this operation and so he left him and Siva killed the people only for the good of nation.

Judge (V.S. Raghavan) tells that he wanted to finish this case on date 21, but has a function at his home due to which he releases Siva and tells that he will be a DGP.

The film ends with Siva walking happily and a quote narrated by director C.S. Amudhan: “Even though his path is full of thorns and stones, he still walks, because walking reduces BP and cholestrol.”

When I heard about staging of the magnum opus Malegalalli Madumagalu (A Bride from the Wilds) by Kuvempu, I was more than excited to watch it. Not because it was a novel written by Kuvempu, but because it was a nine-hour long play to be played with four intervals at Rangayana in Mysore.

We had seen yakshagana or a village drama staged through the night. But this is something different as modern theatre has never witnessed such a fete of gargantuan proportions.

Getting tickets for the show was another adventure. I had to ring up many friends to book the tickets, but in vain and at last, dad had to ask his friends and connections to get us tickets.

I felt it could be a sort of nothing less than an adventure, as even movies these days have shortened their length and very few stretch till three hours. I had my own doubts if my dad he would be able to sit up through the night to watch it. But the play proved my doubts wrong and he managed to sit with me through out.

I had read the reports that the play opened to a packed house on April 23, to be staged on alternate days till May 11, and had to be halted for a while due to rain just before the first interval.

Rangayana had also organised Mahanatakakke Munnudi, a curtain-raiser on April 21, for its nine-hour theatrical adaptation of Malegalalli Madhumagalu, a classic by Kuvempu.

It was an adventure for director C. Basavalingaiah. The night-long experiment with 150 characters, 58 scenes, 48 songs, and 67 actors on four adjoining stages will unveil the 750-page novel that spans a century with no apparent centre or principal characters.

When we reached Rangayana at 9 pm, the play had just begun and four people from Arjun Jogi community were narrating the plot. People, a majority of them above 60-years, were too enthusiastic to witness the show.

Writer K.Y. Narayanaswamy has adapted the novel for the theatre. It might have been a challenging task for the writer to adapt the novel, as there neither a protagonist in the novel, nor does it have an end or a beginning. They had to explore a new way to narrate the story and they zeroed in on a myth of a lost ring from the Dharmasthala hundi. According to the myth, the ring from the hundi made its journey from one person’s finger to another person’s finger. Arjun Jogi, a folk form, uses this technique, according to which the narrator passes the ring to another who then continues with the narration, and thus the story is narrated.

Folk forms such as Arjun Jogi — predominantly found in the Malnad region and traditionally known for kidnapping married women — act as the principal narrators in the play, Sudugadu Siddharu, Yelavaru, Koravanji and Siddavesha narrated the plot of the play.

The stage was set for enacting the longest drama after Peter Brook’s Mahabharata in 1985, which was also a nine-hour-long venture. The stage shifted from the conventional rules and it was an attempt to break free from the rigid rules of being fixed to a place that governs the theatre.

The stage was set in the natural precincts of the Rangayana campus, portions of which have a forest-like ambience. The sets make use of the tall trees, thick bushes and the undulations, and an artificial pond.

As the action moves, so did the audience from one stage to another like Vanaranga, Dundukana, Puthani Vana and Rangadarshini. What was surprising throughout was people were busy searching for seats during all the four intervals and were hooked to the play.

Adding another feather to the cap of Rangayana is that the play was produced in a short duration, just five months, which is not an easy task, considering that British director Peter Brook’s mega play Mahabharata had taken 13 years of production!

Hats off to art director H.K. Dwarakanath who with some modifications, converted the Rangayana premises to look like the Malnad region and to depict the Malnad region might have been one of the biggest challenges faced by him.

The characters Gutti, Thimmi, Chinnamma, Pinchulu, Aitla, Kaveri, Anthakka, Devaiah, Mukunda, Range Gowda, Padri, Nagakka, Nagatte and others were just bewitching. Gutti and his dog Huliya keep coming in almost from the beginning to the end of the play leaving a deep impression on the minds of audience. The death of Gutti’s dog touches not only the characters, but also viewers.

The audience who have read the novel would understand the play much better and I saw few people wondering about the missing links. The novel is huge and there are too many characters, a few played by the same actors, which might have naturally confused the viewers.

The complex novel that depicts the conflict between tradition and modernity, Christianity and Hinduism, love and marriage, and the individual and society in the Malnad region in the 19th century ended with a positive note that Kuvempu himself noted in the preface that nobody is important and nobody is unimportant in the work. Definitely, Rangayana and the people behind the magnum opus have broken all records in modern theatre history. The play ended at 6 am and the characters were still meandering in the minds.

Many times I and my hubby have watched ‘The Moment of Truth’, an American reality show on TV. The truth sometimes startled us and sometimes we wondered what if it enters Indian television. And so did it happen. Star Plus channel began to air ‘Sach Ka Saamna’ (Face the Truth).

The questions asked by the anchor in the programme were startling. They ranged from simple to complex, simple because they are about our won life, complex because they are about infidelity, incest and other taboo subjects. We feel that those questions are not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition, especially keeping in view Indian culture and ethos. The answers can ruin relationships, ruin the lives of participants in future.

A polygraphic test indicates whether the answers are true or false. A false answer means an exit from the show.

Though as audience, we feel it is the world’s simplest show, one has to realise that it is still the most difficult game show as one has to speak nothing but the truth to survive through each level. Each passing level questions get tougher, more personal and increasingly edgy, putting the contestants and the family and friends in trouble.

On the very first day, host Rajeev Khandelwal grilled Smita Matai and extracted all truth from her. At the end, when she was asked if she wanted to have affair with another man without her husband’s knowledge, she said “No”. But the Polygraph machine termed her answer to be “False”, much to the shock and surprise of Smita and her family members, including her husband. Her husband looked dejected, while Smita kept claiming that it was not true.

It’s sure that participants can win a sum of Rs 10 million, but at what cost? Revealing personal information in public! How can money won in such shows bring about a positive change and help the contestants shed their baggage and lead a better life?

Many suspicious men and women among audience would be thinking sending their partners to the show to know the truth. But will they be able to tolerate the truth coming out in front of all? Will the relationship survive? Will a man or a woman accept that their partners had cheated or will cheat them in future? How many men will accept their wives if they come to know that they have had an affair (physical) with another man? I and my hubby had a long debate over the issue and he keeps telling me that past doesn’t matter if the woman is faithful in the present as well as in the future. Bury the past and look into the future. But how far is it possible?

I remember Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles here. Tess tries to confess about her past to Angel Claire before the wedding, but in vain. But after the wedding the first thing she wants to do is reveal everything about her past. But before she could confess, Angel confesses to her that he once had a brief affair with an older woman in London. When she hears the story, Tess feels that Angel will forgive her own indiscretion, and finally tells him about her relationship with Alec and about her baby Sorrow, who died within few days. Angel, however, is appalled by Tess’s confession and spends the wedding night sleeping on a sofa outside. Devastated Tess accepts the sudden estrangement of her husband as something she deserves. After a few awkward, awful days, she suggests that they separate, telling Angel that she will return to her parents. Angel gives her some money and promises to try to reconcile himself to her past, but warns her not to try to join him until he sends for her. After a quick visit to his parents, Angel takes ship for Brazil to start a new life. Before he leaves, he encounters Izz Huett on the road and impulsively asks her to come to Brazil with him, as his mistress. She accepts, but when he asks her how much she loves him, she admits: “Nobody could love you more than Tess. She would have laid down her life for you. I could do no more!” Hearing this, he abandons his whim of taking a mistress along with him to Brazil.

Not just in novels, many such incidents do happen in our life also. When men confess about their extra-marital affairs or their past affairs women, accept them open-heartedly, but there are very few instances where men have accepted women unconditionally. A man wants his wife to be solely his. He will not be ready to share his love. He wants to be the first and the last man in the life of his wife.

Under such circumstances, how can a man tolerate if his wife tells the truth that she had an affair or wants to have an affair, or is living with her husband only because of the children and not because of love?!

I still wonder why Vij went gaga over Kurbaan. He was very appreciative about Saifeena starred film which compelled me to watch it.

Avantika (Kareena Kapoor), a psychology professor in New York, comes to India to be with her ailing father. She joins Delhi University and meets Ehsaan Khan (Saif Ali Khan) a teacher teaching about Islam and its studies.

As expected the duo fall in love and despite reservations about Ehsaan being a Muslim, Avantika’s father agrees for their wedding, before both leave for New York to start a new life.

In New York, Avantika finds a job for Ehsaan at a local University. They start looking out for a house and Ehsaan doesn’t seem to like any of the houses. Finally, through an advertisement, Avantika finds a house which even Ehsaan also likes.

Their neighbours are conservative Muslims and they invite the couple for dinner. At dinner, she is taken away from Ehsaan into another quarter where the women of the house dine separately. The inmates of the neighbourhood seem to blindly obey Nasreen and her Bhaijaan. Salma visits Avantika the next day and asks her not to trust anyone. She reveals that her own life is in danger and she needs help from her friend who is a journalist.

Avantika meets Salma’s friend and seeks her help. Even before Salma could get any help, she is killed by the inmates of the house. Avantika is shocked to know that her husband Ehsaan is also involved with them and is in fact a terrorist.

Terrorists bomb the flight carrying the UN delegation and a few journalists, including Salma’s friend. Salma’s boyfriend pitches in to help Avantika later.

A series of bizarre events turn Avantika’s life upside down and drive her into a morass of emotions that spin madly out of control.

Avantika comes to know that Ehsaan was married earlier and had lost his wife and four-year-old child in Pakistan. Though they give reasons for being terrorists, nothing seem to convince Avantika. She feels very lonely and does not want to give birth to Ehsaan’s baby.

With the help of Avantika, the journalist joins the group of Ehsaan and goes ahead to execute a plan when a former colleague recognises the journalist. Hell breaks loose and the journalist shoots at Bhaijaan. Bhaijaan dies, not before calling Nasreen to execute the plan of bombing major places.

Ehsaan becomes wild when he realises that Avantika is also being used as a suicide bomber. Both he and the journalist, separately, go in search of Avantika and Ehsaan finds her and kills Nasreen before defusing the bomb hidden in Avantika’s handbag.

As the journey of evil is short lived, cops surround the duo and Ehsaan is fatally wounded. The most touching scene is when Avantika asks Ehsaan: “What’s your name, real name?”

The film ends with a tragic tone, death and terror, which of course has no end.

After watching the film, I could just say that the film has similarities with New York. Kareena’s role has similar shades to that of Katrina Kaif’s in New York. Both Katrina and Kareena play wives to husbands who are actually terrorists. Both try to mend the ways of their husbands, but in the course of time fail to do so and meet a tragic end. At least, New York offred a visual treat with its beautiful locations and I’m still wondering what did Vij find so capturing in Kurbaan!

Though I told Vij that I’m not interested to watch Love Aaj Kal, he was insistent that we catch the movie in a theatre with Rajeshattan and Viji. We really wondered after all, what did the hero and the heroine really wanted? Not just we four, even others present in the theatre screamed when Rahul Khanna screamed at Deepika Padukone and asked her to make it clear what she actually wants in life. Throughout the film, we were confused about what do they really want?

Jai Vardhan Singh (Saif Ali Khan) and Meera Pandit  (Deepika Padukone) strive to be different than run of the mill couples. So when their career takes them away from each other they decide to call it off for practical reasons. One of Jai and Meera’s regular hangout is a restaurant owned by Veer Singh ( Rishi Kapoor). Veer disagrees with the current generation’s outlook on love and relationships. He advises Jai against letting Meera go away from his life. Veer and Jai have polar views on love and relationship. Veer tells Jai about his ardent love for Harleen Kaur (Giselle Monteiro) back in 1965 based in Delhi. Meera and Jai never really get over each other even when Meera starts seeing Vikram (Rahul Khanna) and Jai is dating Jo (Florence Brudenell Bruce). As parallel love stories of Veer and Harleen and Jai and Meera realize that though lovers may speak and behave differently true love culminates into the same end in every era.
love-aaj-kal-8The opening scenes portray how Meera and Jai hook up, establish their relationship.

Meera’s character is well etched out depicting the outlook and approach of a modern day woman. Meera is a girl who carries her relationship with thorough dignity not once imposing her feelings or begging for commitment from her boyfriend. Later, she walks out of marriage, truly coming of age.

Veer and Harleen’s love story is cute with stolen glances, unspoken words and covert gestures.

While we were sure about Jai and Meera’s reunion, we had to wait till the end to know the fate of Veer and Harleen’s love story.

We had seen movies with flashbacks, parallel editing but Love Aaj Kal has parallel stories culminating into similar joyous climax.

For the first time, we saw something of a so called break-up party. Who knows people might throw a party to break up also!

It’s a feast to see some nice locations.

Passenger

Posted: July 29, 2009 in movie
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It was most unexpected for both me and Vij. When we reached Manoranjan theatre at 9 pm to watch Passenger, there were no people. When Vij asked at what time does the show starts, the person at the ticket counter coolly said: “We will start the film when people come!” We had gone all the way from MG Road to Mekhri Circle to watch that Malayalam movie.

We went for a small stroll along the road and went back after 10 minutes. We had lost hopes of watching the film and then came a Santro car with a couple and a small kid. The answer they got at the counter might have amused even those couples and the kid. The kid kept on eagerly looking at the gate to see if anyone else came to watch the film. Then came another car with four people. The kid was happy to see four more people and asked his mother: “Give me a five. People are coming!”

We stood wondering at the situation. If we had got seat, we would have just watched Hangover, but bad luck, it was housefull.

At last, the person gave the ticket. It was a small theatre which could hardly accomodate around 100-150 people. The person asked all of us to sit in the last row (supposedly balcony according to him). The rest of the seats were plastic chairs.

Three more people joined a bit later and totally, there were only 12 people in the theatre.

Sathyanath ( Sreenivasan), who works in a private company, has some strange habits. He travels from his native town to Kochi, where he works, by train. The moment the train crosses a bridge he dozes off. And he wakes up at a particular point. One day, after an over time duty, he wakes up and gets acquainted with Nandan Menon (Dileep).

Nandan Menon, who is an advocate, always stands for truth and justice. He respects the law and always thinks of the welfare of the people around him. Nandan Menon’s wife, Anuradha (Mamta Mohandas), is a television journalist. Nandan meets while heading towards a hotel room where he will be alone for the night, as his wife s away on an assignment, covering up a news story of a politician (Jagathy Sreekumar) that has been rocking the state. Anuradha comes to know the other face of the politician and escapes from the hotel with her laptop, which has the evidence. The politician kills the guy who helped Anuradha to get the evidence and put the blame on her and her husband.

Police are hand-in-gloves with the politician and look out for Anuradha. Menon is assaukted and kidnapped in front of Sathyanath in Guruvayur. Sathyanath rushes to help the lawyer whom he met in the train a few hours ago.

At last, he succeeds in getting the video taken by Anuraha published in television channel and help Nandan from the clutches of rowdies.

The movie is different from the usual “thrillers” in which an inevitably invincible hero fights against all odds and conquers evil. The story gives a refreshingly different perspective, that of a common man used to an uneventful life, who does not hesitate to jump into the strangest adventure in his life, out of compassion for another human being.

Australia (2008)

Posted: July 19, 2009 in movie

I wanted to see Australia not because it was a great movie, but because Hugh Jackman was in it. I saw and liked him when I saw X-men years ago. I became a fan of that guy and today, I saw the movie sitting for over 3 hours just to watch Jackman.

Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) travels from England to northern Australia to force her husband to sell his faltering cattle station, Faraway Downs. Her husband sends an independent cattle drover (Hugh Jackman), called Drover, to Darwin to fetch her. Lady Sarah’s husband, who was trying to sell 1,500 cattle to the military, is murdered before she arrives. Meanwhile, manager Neil Fletcher (David Wenham) is trying to gain control of Faraway Downs so that Lesley ‘King’ Carney (Bryan Brown) can have a monopoly in the Northern Territory, which will give him leverage with the Australian army. Fletcher claims that the murderer of her husband is an aboriginal elder with magical powers, ‘King George’ (David Gulpilil).

Childless Lady Sarah is captivated by young boy Nullah (Brandon Walters), who was born to an aboriginal mother. Nullah tells her that he has seen her cattle being driven onto Carney’s land. Nullah proves to Lady Sarah that Fletcher is a liar by showing her that the windmill, which Fletcher had deemed broken, is fully functional. Fletcher loses control and attacks Nullah, his mother and another aboriginal woman, forcing Lady Sarah to fire him.

Sergeant Callaghan arrives to try to take Nullah away, so Nullah and his mother hide from him in a water tank. One of the officers accompanying the sergeant tries out the water windmill, and Nullah’s mother drowns while saving him. Afterwards, Lady Sarah comforts Nullah by singing “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz. Nullah tells her that King George is his grandfather and like King George he too is a ‘magic man’.

Lady Sarah persuades Drover to take the cattle to Darwin for sale so that Faraway Downs can be saved. Drover, a white man, is friendly with the aborigines. He had married an aborigin, but she died after being refused medical treatment in a hospital because of her race.

Drover leads a team of six riders, including Lady Sarah, Drover’s aboriginal brother-in-law Magarri (David Ngoombujarra), Nullah, and accountant Kipling Flynn (Jack Thompson), to drive the 1,500 cattle to Darwin.
Carney’s men set fire to make the cattle stampede, and Flynn is killed. At the last minute, Nullah stops the cattle from stampeding over a cliff by using the magic learned from his grandfather.

Lady Sarah and Drover start loving each other. Carney’s men poison all the water sources along the cattle-drive route and still the group risks driving the cattle through the dangerous Never Never desert with the help of King George.

Nicole and Hugh

Nicole and Hugh

Delivering the cattle in Darwin, the group races them onto the ship before Carney’s cattle are loaded. That night, Lady Sarah and Drover attend a ball for the Children’s Island Mission, where she unsuccessfully attempts to make the upper class whites realize that half-aboriginal children belong to their mothers and not to the government.
Two years later, Lady Sarah, Nullah and Drover live together at Faraway Downs. Fletcher kills Carney, frames it as an tragic accident and marries his daughter Catherine Carney.

It is determined that Fletcher killed Lady Sarah’s husband and Fletcher is the father of Nullah. Nullah is drawn to perform a ceremonial coming-of-age walkabout with his grandfather, but is instead captured by the authorities and sent to live on Mission Island with the rest of the half-aboriginal children. His grandfather is thrown into jail, accused of murdering Lord Ashley.

Lady Sarah vows to find Nullah again, and begins working as a radio operator in Darwin during the escalation of World War II. Lady Sarah prepares to sell Faraway Downs to Fletcher, believing that it will aid her in gaining Nullah back. The sale is interrupted by the Japanese bombing of Darwin and Mission Island. Lady Sarah fears that Nullah has been killed.

Drover, who had quarrelled with Lady Sarah and gone droving never to return, hears that she has been killed in the bombing. In fact, the dead woman thought to be Sarah is Catherine Fletcher, who volunteered to take Sarah’s shift at army radio headquarters so that Sarah could go to Nullah.

Drover finds out about Nullah’s abduction and sets out with Magarri, Ivan, the hotelier, and the only member of the Children’s Island Mission to volunteer himself to help, Brother Frank, to rescue the children from the island.
When Japanese soldiers arrive, Magarri sacrifices himself to save others.

Lady Sarah and the inhabitants of Darwin prepare to evacuate on the last convoy out of the city. When Drover and the children sail back into Darwin, Nullah plays his harmonica with the tune of “Over the Rainbow”. Lady Sarah hears the music and reunites with the three.

Fletcher knows that Nullah is the one link that can relate him to a past that would ultimately ruin him. He also doubts that the boy must have cursed him. So he attempts to shoot Nullah. King George sees Fletcher from the top of a tanker just as Fletcher is about to fire and spears Fletcher through the chest just as he pulls the trigger. As Fletcher is dying, King George reprimands him for trying to kill his own son, and his magical grandson.

Lady Sarah watches as Nullah falls to the ground and Drover rushes to him. As Drover holds him in his arms, Nullah opens his eyes and smiles, revealing that the bullet was a blank.

Lady Sarah, Drover, and Nullah return to the safety of remote Faraway Downs. On the way back to Faraway Downs, King George calls for Nullah to go walkabout. Lady Sarah embraces Nullah and lets him go to his grandfather, who tells her that they will return to his land, and then looking at Lady Sarah, says “Our Land”.

Thomas Hardy has been one of my favourite writers and I loved almost all his novels since my degree. One among them was Far from the Madding Crowd.

Today, I saw the movie based on his novel.

Bathsheba Everdene (Paloma Baeza) is a beautiful young woman without a fortune. She meets Gabriel Oak (Nathaniel Parker), a young farmer, and saves his life one evening. He asks her to marry him, but she refuses because she does not love him. Upon inheriting her uncle’s prosperous farm she moves away to the town of Weatherbury.

A disaster befalls Gabriel’s farm and he loses his sheep; he is forced to give up farming. He goes looking for work, and in his travels finds himself in Weatherbury. After rescuing a local farm from fire he asks the mistress if she needs a shepherd. It is Bathsheba, and she hires him. As Bathsheba learns to manage her farm she becomes acquainted with her neighbour Mr Boldwood (Nigel Terry). On a whim, she sends him a valentine with the words “Marry me.” Boldwood becomes obsessed with her and becomes her second suitor. Rich and handsome, he has been sought after by many women. Bathsheba refuses him because she does not love him, but she then agrees to reconsider her decision.

That very night, Bathsheba meets a handsome soldier Sergeant Troy (Jonathan Firth). Unknown to Bathsheba, he has recently impregnated a local girl Fanny Robin (Natasha Little) and almost married her. Troy falls in love with Bathsheba, enraging Mr Boldwood. Bathsheba travels to Bath to warn Troy of Mr Boldwood’s anger and while she is there, Troy convinces her to marry him. Gabriel has remained her friend throughout and does not approve of the marriage. A few weeks after his marriage to Bathsheba, Troy sees Fanny, poor and sick; she later dies giving birth to her child. Bathsheba discovers that Troy is the father. Grief-stricken at Fanny’s death and riddled with shame, Troy runs away and is thought to have drowned.

With Troy supposedly dead, Mr Boldwood becomes more and more emphatic about Bathsheba marrying him. Troy sees Bathsheba at a fair and decides to return to her. Boldwood holds a Christmas to which he invites Bathsheba and again proposes marriage. Just after she has agreed, Troy arrives to claim her. Bathsheba screams, and Mr Boldwood shoots Troy dead. He is sentenced to life in prison. A few months later, Bathsheba marries Gabriel, now a prosperous bailiff.