jump to navigation

3 Idiots March 12, 2010

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

I love Rajkumar Hirani’s brand of “feel good cinema with a message”. I wish more young filmmakers made such films. This was a very well planned and executed film. It was thoroughly enjoyable and I’d love to watch it again. Kudos to Hirani and co-writer Abhijat Joshi, the cast (especially Aamir Khan, Boman Irani and Omi Vaidya), composer Shantanu Moitra and lyricist Swanand Kirkire (loved the Give Me Some Sunshine number). Since the film has received enough praise (and it has been a while), I’ll focus elsewhere.

If there is one thing I truly wish the film hadn’t done, it is the deification of the Rancho character. I mean, come on! In the past, Hirani carefully made his characters and situations idealistic without going over the line but this time he crosses it some.

Then there is the issue of credit to Chetan Bhagat. They did borrow the theme from his book (that doesn’t mean he deserves credit for the success of the movie) and they did tuck the name away in the end credits somewhere (did they feel like Bhagat was going to walk away with the credit? I’m sure Aamir gets the most credit even if Raju is the most deserving). So yes, I think the makers are clearly to blame for hiding his name.

And finally, I’ve always felt that it is hard to adapt a book for the screen and make it seem better than the book or equally as good for the readers. This is because when you read the book, you create this world in your mind. It is hard for anyone to recreate that personal experience. Another huge roadblock is the restrictions on duration that do not allow filmmakers to capture the content or the detail to the extent that a reader would like. So, whenever someone tells me that a film is not as good as a book, I never take them seriously because not everyone seems to understand or take into account the differences between the two media and the process and the limitations that come with the territory.

Having read the book, I had some mixed feelings while I watched the film. I had to consciously brush away the memories. In the end, they were two separate experiences, both of which I enjoyed thoroughly.

Advertisements

Ghajini January 4, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Nobody needs a review to decide whether to watch the biggest blockbuster of the year or not. But for those who haven’t yet seen this yet, it would do good to set your expectations right especially you have seen the original. If you haven’t seen the original then still please don’t go in expecting in some masterpiece like what it is made out to be.

Ghajini is more like a Bollywood viewer’s initiation into the world of South Indian action cinema. Thanks to the hype around this flick, everyone by now should atleast be aware of the plot – an anterograde amnesiac on a revenge mission – to be precise. Right from the title sequence, Ghajini for most part is a faithful scene-to-scene, dialogue-to-dialogue reproduction of the original. In fact for the portions not featuring Aamir Khan and Jiah Khan, they could actually have reused footage from the Tamil version and still no one would have noticed. What seemed to have worked well especially here are the action sequences. One section of the audience (presumably the exclusive Bollywood viewers) kept getting visibly excited whenever Aamir screams ala Sunny Deol and bashes up multiple guys at once. Those who didn’t seem too excited (including me) were (probably) thinking – ok…now we have to start getting used to this in Hindi too!!!

Aamir Khan – playing an action hero after a long time is great as long as he is bashing up people. When compared to Surya, he goes over the top sometimes – especially when he screams in anger. Surya was a lot more consistent in maintaining that bewildered and confused look throughout. But I couldn’t come to grips with loverboy Aamir (especially in comparison with Surya). Maybe he’s too old for this now and most importantly his styling for this part is hard to digest. He is supposed to be the CEO of a huge firm and he is dressed like a cross between a waiter, a bouncer and a bodyguard. It looks all the more ridiculous in those scenes when he is surrounded by his assistants all dressed in dapper suits. Asin again successfully reprises the part which really made her career down south. It’s one of those extremely crowd pleasing roles which still hold appeal on repeat viewing. Jiah Khan and Pradeep Rawat are alright.

In what is probably his most prolific year, A.R Rahman comes up with another successful score – though this would be of lesser significance when you compare it with his other soundtracks earlier in the year. Not sure if he actually did the background score because during the climactic sequences the theme which you get to hear sounds very familiar. The picturization of the songs is excellent nevertheless. There was also this huge thing about Aamir Khan rewriting the climax of the original for this one. If you go in expecting some drastic change/twist you’ll be sorely disappointed. It’s just been simplified to do away with the villain playing a dual role here.

Honestly, I was bored for most part as there is absolutely nothing in it to hold the interest of those who have the Telugu/Tamil version still fresh in their minds. For first timers planning to watch this, Aamir Khan playing the tough-as-nails 8-pack action hero should be good enough reason not to miss it.

Jaane Tu…ya jaane na July 5, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
4 comments

It’s a safe bet to define something as a “genre” when you’ve seen at least 3 films dealing with the same theme. Going by that Jaane Tu…ya jaane na very suitably falls into one I’d call the “Pyaar Dosti Hai” flick (courtesy: Karan Johar).

Call me immature if you want but I seriously cannot digest it when a guy and a girl who are “inseparable best friends” get the shock of their lives when someone suggests/suspects that they love each other. And then every few years comes a filmmaker who takes just about 180 minutes or so to make these “friends” realize that they really “love” each other and in the process (almost always) reaps rich harvest at the Box Office. For me, these really are pointless films but who cares as long as they entertain – and Jaane Tu… does a really good job at that. Abbas Tyrewala is probably the only screenwriter in recent times who many viewers actually recognize by name and he proves again why that is so. With a clever screenplay which makes use of every cliche in the book yet manoeuvring it around to deliver what undoubtedly is the smartest feel-good flick in a very long time.

Now let’s talk about Imran Khan….wasn’t all the hype around this film about him anyways! Again smart is the word to describe his debut. For someone like him, a mega-budget solo hero flick showcasing every ability he has would have definitely bombed. Imran much like Ranbir Kapoor has such a pleasing screen presence that you instantly take a liking to him. His deep voice is his biggest asset. Like every debutant, there are some raw edges but in a film and role like this they only serve to give that natural touch which is so essential.

The biggest shock I got in the movie was when Genelia utters her first lines. Since so many years, we’ve been used to seeing her regularly in Telugu flicks so getting to hear her real voice was quite unnerving at first. She does well though it comes across as a bit repetitive if you have seen her before. Among the other young cast Manjari Phadnis and Prateik Babbar are great. But on top of my list is Ratna Pathak Shah. It’s been ages since I’ve seen such a loveable on-screen mother. Also a huge round of applause for those very sportive cameos from Naseeruddin Shah, Sohail Khan and Arbaaz Khan. And we all know what A.R Rahman brings to a film…it’s redundant writing about it so I’ll skip that part except that new-find Rashid Ali is someone we’ll surely get to hear more.

For all its pointlessness and silliness Jaane Tu…ya jaane na made me leave the theatre with a big smile. Needless to mention producer Aamir Khan has another winner on his hands.

Taare Zameen Par – Every Child Is Special December 28, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
76 comments

There is a scene in Taare Zameen Par when the protagonist Ishaan (Darsheel Safary) runs away from school and loiters on the road for the whole day – for the fear of being punished for not having done his homework. I never did anything like that in school but keep doing it regularly once I started work. The comparison might not be warranted but this is just one of those scenes which made me relate to Ishaan’s plight in the movie.

On paper, this is the story of a kid suffering from dyslexia and how with the help of an understanding teacher he overcomes it against all odds. But honestly (and more importantly) this is an open indictment of our education system and parents…and their frenzy to produce “winners”. There have been films in the past like Bommarillu and Good Will Hunting which have tackled the issue of an individual’s own inclinations coming in conflict the rest-of-the-world’s perception of what is best for them. Taare is probably more timely and significant because it deals with a phase of life where one is hardly aware of a thing called “choice”/”interest”/”inclination” and so is very likely to shrivel and retreat into a shell (too young to understand that he/she is just different but not wrong)….when figures of authority simply pronounce judgements rather than trying to understand the problem an individual is facing.

The incidents involving the teacher-student interactions depicted in this movie are so relevant in today’s times when you get to see and hear on television at regular intervals innovative punishments like electric shocks being doled out to students. There are particularly heart rending moments like the whole initial boarding school sequence – set to the song “Tujhe Sab To Pata Hai Na Maa” which covey the unspoken emotions of a child separated from his mother when he most needs her. It’s been a long time since I had tears in my eyes (for the right reasons) when watching a film – No emotional manipulation here thankfully!

Aamir Khan and Amol Gupte (Writer and Creative Director) have crafted a wonderful film which hits you hard – whether you are a child or a parent/teacher. This film would not be complete without a special mention for Shankar Ehsaan Loy (Music), Prasoon Joshi (whose lyrics convey more than the actual dialogue in the movie) and the technical crew (for some great visual effects). Of course, above all this film could not exist without Darsheel Safary – who hardly speaks in the movie but his portrayal of the moods and emotions of an 8 year old kid are stunning to say the least. Aamir Khan in a supporting role delivers a heartfelt and wonderful performance – easily his best in recent times. Another supporting role which deserves special mention is of Tisca Chopra (who plays Ishaan’s mother).

Certain cinematic cliches can be forgiven here for this film is trying to say something more bigger. Thank You Aamir for Taare Zameen Par. I felt so much better after watching this. This is a movie which a child may or may not understand but one which every parent/teacher should watch to understand their child.