Recursive Moondrampirai

It was Moondraampirai played in a loop. It was 50 First Dates. It had Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore starring. It had some pathetic dialogues like You are the girl for me and I’m the man for you. Still, it wasn’t boring. It was a light-hearted comedy. And above all it would make a great tamil film, if made without introducing anymore thaali sentiment.

The E.T kid is now a babe and she does the role with a perfect ease and full of grace. Though annoyingly loud, Adam Sandler does his Waterboy thing again. They only thing that didn’t gel with the movie is the Hawaiian backdrop for the movie. Its evident that the director chose a background like that to make the audience believe that the girl really didn’t have a chance to knwo the truth. On a city like Manhattan or even SFO, she could easily bump onto the truth of dates with the TV or the people around. Making her world smaller in this small countryside village, he was able to convince the audience. But the truth is that we aren’t used for a countryside romance from Hollywood. The last movie that I enjoyed with a similar setup was A Walk in the Clouds and it was nice then.

Not the kind of movie I would love to watch everytime but certainly more laughs per hour. Taking a guess on who would be flicking this movie in Tamil, I would say Charan(from his Jay Jay – Serendipity combo). And you ?

Crashed !!


Hemanth recommended Crash as we were sipping mocha at bucks. I went straight and added it to the top of my flix queue. Took it over to Ram‘s place to project it over a big screen and watched the crash happening one after another.

Crash has a fascinating screenplay. It isn’t unique. But still fascinating. 13 peoples’ life come in and go out of each others life on an unassuming day in LA. Most of the ‘come in and go out’ happen unexpectedly and that’s the screenwriter’s skill. Even as the movie runs as bits and pieces of incidents, its put together with absolute continuity and perfect harmony with other scenes such that no single incident seems better/worse than the other. These people who crash onto each other’s life are perfect strangers and belong to different races.

The movie talks about racism and post 9/11 anxiety issues which common people face in everyday life. An old meticulous Farsi shopkeeper who wants a gun to safeguard, a powerful attorney’s paranoid wife, a perfectly loving father who is victimized just because of his race, a chinaman caught under a truck for no reason and many more such good and bad people bump onto each others life. Scripting this movie could have been a tight rope walk. It’s easy with so much happening at the same time, the movie could seem like a collection of trailers. Paul Haggis, the writer-director of Crash seems to be a reputed TV series guy. I found that while reading about him after I watched the movie.

All the characters seem as important as the other and each one’s life changing event has been dramatised enough for the audience to relate with. The dialogues are provocative and blatant as required. With a studio producing the movie, these dialogues would have been dumped even during the pre-production. But it’s the same dialogues that makes one relate to the movie better. Independent films like these ensures a hope that movies can also be used for better purposes than entertainment. Movies needn’t propogate social ‘messages’ only through dialogues. They can be strong, subtle and might end-up on you as some kind of revelation. Someone watching the movie heart-of-heart will walk around their neighborhood looking for positives within people. And that’s a success for Paul Haggis.

aMangal Pandey

** There are no spoilers here or in any other review of Mangal Pandey. Whats written below as story is just history. So cool off and read ahead even if you haven’t seen the movie.**

Either they exaggerated a dude called Mangal Pandey, in my high school history textbooks or they just minisculed a great warrior in Ketan’s Mehta’s flick. Mangal Pandey falls short in every other area and gets sandwiched between classifications of mainstream masala flick and a artistic period movie. Rahman and Ketan Mehta fighting to walk away as weakest link of the movie title alongwith a host of other technical crew who have supported them in pulling down a movie of high expectations.

Or the whole of previous paragraph is an outcome of the arm chair critic in me, trying too hard in stopping me from enjoying this typical masala movie. Whichever be the answer, without Aamir Khan the movie wouldn’t have even deserved a mention. And we know that a fort called Aamir Khan can carry the weight of a movie effortlessly.

I’m surprised how the movie which was called The Rising throughout the production of the movie suddenly became to called as Mangal Pandey – The Rising. That’s probably when Ketan Mehta clearly saw he wasn’t making a movie on The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. He was just trying to document the history of a warrior called Mangal Pandey whose death triggered the Sepoy Mutiny. It was a personal account of Sepoy Mutiny’s trigger from the view of the man who kick started it with a handful of gunpowder and infinite dhill.

I completely upset not even by the movie but by A R Rahman’s background score. Nearly non-existing. While some songs were great to listen, they were not-so-well-picturised. Himman Dammija’s camera angles didn’t bring in the required grandeur. You might have to search for sensational sequences and be happy if you find a couple of them along the way.

With the Brits talking hindi more fluently that they wouldn’t have problem in repeating, Ek Ghaav Mein Ek Kisan Rahta Tha, like many southies. I have to admit the movie wasn’t boring at all. The screenplay was clean, the characterization however lacked depth. It had a potpourri of sentiments that a typical Indian movie need to be successful. From the mangal sutra, friendship, betrayal, romance and even a item number. If only it wasn’t called Mangal Pandey, I would have enjoyed it more. The yearning to enjoy a patriotic hero’s history stopped all that. Who’s to be blamed for that. Me, who drove 10 miles to watch it or someone who made it over the last few years.

A huge bunch of deceived souls eagerly await the next patriotic experiment. Why shouldn’t it be him ?

Lilliputian Reviews

Arindum Ariyaamalum – Hugely inspired from Mani Ratnam Flicks. Arya shines. Heroine couldn’t act. Yet again, Yuvan delivers. If only the climax wasn’t cliched…good watch.

Rear Window – A Photographer, a broken leg, a rear window and a homicide. Hitchcockian thriller. Engrossing.

The Ring – Urban Legend. Happens in Seattle. Good Screenplay, reminds me of a Stephen King book.

Rituparno Ghosh’s Raincoat is hanging on the stand. Yet to see !!

Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi

I had no idea what Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi was until I watched it. Srihari had written a review which I comfortably forgot to read. I heard him comment elsewhere about HKA being a good film and hence I wanted to watch it. Turned out to be sweet.

Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi a.k.a Thousand Dreams Like These, has Che Guevara, Beatles, Bob Marley, naxal movement, sex, politics and love in widely varying proportions. All these described and experienced through three people who lived in the post-independent India during 70’s. HKA can just me defined as Sudhir Mishra’s tribute to the 70’s generation. With Subha Mudgal’s opening song and those explicit politically charged lines on screen, I was certainly suprised that it wasn’t the kind of film that I expected it to be from the DVD cover.

Delhi. St Stephen’s College. Three people who meet here as friends, with just their emotional attachment in a triangular fashion, see the extremes of life by living life they choose too. After a decade, their lives changed beyond recovery, their love undying. Delhi was intellectually charged up at 70’s. Voices in need of reformation ended up being naxal movements. Many rich class college yuppies were moved by idealistic ideas and moved to villages for reformation. Sidharth is one such. With the corrupt political cloud over Delhi, one could just talk his way-up the career. Check-out Vikram. Then we have the girl. For the 70’s she is the educated, independent but emotional Indian woman. So we have Geeta. They follow life and it’s dark corridors only to finally end up with thousand dreams like these.

Sudhir Mishra’s portrayal of India at the politically charged 70’s era is something that I couldn’t relate to. Not many movies have tried to tread this way. With the cry for true freedom, political imbalances and the times of emergency forms the canvas of HKA. Without harping too much on the political issues, Mishra takes a tight-rope walk. He wins. He wins first for his intriguing, non-boring and highly charged narattive of HKA. Then for his casting skills. Kay Kay Menon as Sidharth, Shiney Ahuja as Vikram and Chitrangada Singh as Geeta are great finds for theie respective roles. Chitrangada Singh looks and smiles like Smita Patil. The kind of dark beauty we see in Balu Mahendra’s flicks. Kay Kay has a role that needs downplay. He does that with grace. Shiney Ahuja as the vivacious Vikram out performs others. The talkative role adds up to the personality. If only Mishra would have mixed the english/hindi in proportion, it would have been a rational move. There was excessive english even after the characters live in the deepest villages of Bihar, for nearly a decade. Could have been handled better.

Yet another gem among the heap of half-baked nonsensical hindi films made these days. If you get some leisure movie-watching time, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi is a good watch.

BTW, I also wanted to comment on Madhur Bhandrarkar PAGE 3 which was dubbed as a rare film of the year. All I wanted to say is that Page 3 is one among the heap that is mentioned in previous paragraph. It should have been directed by Shobha De. She has probably lived and written more about Page 3 people of Bollywood than anyone. What starts as good idea ends up as a pretentious movie that canont convert the original idea on-screen. The whole movie is sprinkled with skin-deep characterisation, party clips, neon lighted dance floors and low/no hip culture of the ‘happening’ bollywood. Madhur Bhandarkar’s earlier flick Chandini Bar was laudable. He should probably be highlighting Chandini Bar in his filmography. Page 3 is yet another sample of hazaaron bad films aisi.