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Hero March 6, 2009

Posted by Sai in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Sometimes, you are stuck with the most godawful choice of recent Telugu movies. Sometimes, you are foolhardy and decide to try your luck. Sometimes, you are in such a generous mood that you try not to let anything dampen your spirit. Sometimes, there comes a time in life when you have to accept defeat. This is one such case.

So, Hero is the story of a …. well, let’s start from the beginning.


An honest anti-corruption bureau officer threatens to bring the hundred most corrupt people in the city to justice. This, he announces on a television channel post retirement. Now, he is the only one with the relevant information to brings these guys to justice. That makes it extremely easy for all the hundred concerned to get him killed with the suspicion pointing equally to another 99. What a dumba**! Yeah, Yeah, he gets killed by one of the hundred. Note that the film features only one of the hundred and I assume that the others don’t give a sh**.


A youngster arrives in a villain’s den (it looks like the same one that is seen in every film) wearing a helmet and bashes a lot of goons. At first, when the youngster enters, you think, “Hmm, the guy looks smart. Could he be Nitin?”. And then the youngster starts moving and shaking and all the awkward movements point to the one and only Nitin.


That was all a dream, apparently. His father, the police commisioner (Nagababu) wants to see him become a police officer. But his loud and supremely obnoxious mother (Kovai Sarala) wants to see him become a filmi “Hero”. She manages to make sure that he does not pass his bachelor’s degree that qualifies him for the job. We have to bear her antics for about ten minutes or so, while desperately trying to find something that can make you smile. No such luck.


A television discussion between the Cops and the Public. The Cops claim that the Public is responsible for crime. The Public claims that the Cops are dishonest and corrupt. And they continue to indulge in this poorly directed, lame, uninteresting and unrealistic discussion till the Home Minister decides to intervene. He decides that, as Cops are dishonest and the Public does not know what it is to be a cop, any honest citizen can apply to be a cop (and he apparently passes a Government Order just because he wants to).


The police academy sees all kinds of weird folk, none of whom can be classified as honest citizens, submitting applications including our very own “Hero” who wants to use the three-month training as a stepping stone to a future in films. Of course, it occurs to no one that the candidates should at least be evaluated for the only course requirement – honesty. Despite all evidence to the contrary in the case of everyone that shows up on screen, the forty worst candidates are selected to make sure that no one graduates from the course.


I did watch the rest of what is the most uniformly ludicrous crap that I’ve seen in a long time but I won’t bore you with the details. Lest I forget, let me also mention that this film features a cellphone camera that has a 5 kilometer zoom. I am dead serious!

If you are still reading and you have a feeling that you should never watch this film, You Are Right. Don’t!

P.S. The film is written and directed by G.V. Sudhakar Kumar, who has been playing a goon in telugu films for a long time now. It seems that this mild career diversion was totally unwarranted but he must really possess great persuasive skills considering that he got someone to produce this film. Hopefully, he can go back to being a goon. Apart from Nitin, whose career is going further into the dumps with every outing (trust Ram Gopal Varma to sign him despite his lack of success or skills), the film also stars Bhavana in a largely irritating role. But special kudos to composer Mani Sarma, who had to actually create a background score for this film. Imagine having to watch this over and over while trying to compose suitable music! Was he smart enough to thumb off this assignment to one of his assistants?

The Dark Knight July 19, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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The most awaited movie this summer finally arrives in theatres. Film geeks have been churning out post after post on the blogosphere awaiting its arrival and the phenomenon isn’t going to stop post-release. Almost every critic worth his salt has raved about it. If you thought Batman Begins was super, wait till you watch The Dark Knight. It meets all the expectations and then some.

A question that everyone is asking themselves is whether this is the best superhero movie ever. Before you go there, you might want to ask yourself if it is a superhero movie. Batman was always one of the most identifiable superheroes because he didn’t have real superpowers. In his two Batman films, director Christopher Nolan (who has dabbled in noir more often than not) has employed a dark tone and a lot of logic to make Batman feel very real. He continues that in this film, making it feel like a crime thriller more than a superhero movie. If we still were consider it a comic book superhero film, I’d say it tops my list (and that of so many more).

The film is centred around three major characters. Harvey Dent, the white knight of Gotham, who provides people with the hope that he can change things for the better. Batman, the dark knight of Gotham, whose work seems to have worsened the crime in the city. And finally the Joker, a psychopathic killer who terrorizes the city with his own crazy, unpredictable but believable motives for doing so. Will the white knight take Gotham forward? Will the Joker ruin Batman and Gotham? Can the Batman still stay incorruptible?

The screenwriters (Jonathan and Christopher Nolan, who’ve worked together on Memento and The Prestige) devise this film to take forward the story of Batman and Gotham. The film isn’t about superheroes. It is about criminals and crime fighters and how they affect each other. It is about the emotions, the motives, the psyche. It is about rules. It is about those who live by them and about those who follow none. The remarkable screenplay is driven around these ideas and not around the villains or their dumb ideas for world domination or the action sequences. Newer situations and conflicts are created, ensuring that the movie doesn’t feel repetitive (and that is always a problem for sequels). Everyone has a good reason for their actions. Everything is as realistic and logical as it has ever gotten in a comic book film. Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, Following, Insomnia) created a successful reboot for a dead franchise and he takes it a step further this time. His contribution to the film – the detail, the tone, the vision, the execution – is superlative.

I loved the designs of the vehicles, weapons and the sets the first time (production design by Nathan Crowley). They are even better here. Wait till you see the Batpod in action. I was totally blown away by its introduction in the film. The action sequences are also much better this time around. The Joker’s makeup is very natural and the extended lips create a great effect. But the best part is the visualization of Two Face. It could scare the shit out of many.

Christian Bale continues his wonderful work (I especially like what he does with his voice for Batman) in the role that opened many doors for him. The late Heath Ledger brings the Joker to life in a delightful performance. Aaron Eckhart is well cast as Harvey Dent and he very much feels like someone whom people can instantly like and put faith in.  Maggie Gyllenhaal is a suitable (many will say better) replacement (for Katie Holmes) for the part of Rachel Dawes, who is caught between the two knights (no, it isn’t a perfunctory love triangle). Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox play their supporting parts to perfection while Gary Oldman as James Gordon is just as convincing and even more integral.

Now, after all the praise the question still remains. Should you watch it? The answer isn’t a resounding yes. If you’ve liked Batman Begins and have caught a whiff of the hype, you’re probably going to see this (if you haven’t already) irrespective of my opinion. But there are others who didn’t like that film much. Some found it too dark. Some found that the action or entertainment wasn’t enough. Others found it complex. Maybe they expected a popcorn movie and ended up with something else. If you are one of those, I wouldn’t particularly push you to watch this.

P.S. As I eagerly await Nolan’s sequel to this film, I prepare myself to understand that it will be hard to top this. So, anything that is at least close to matching the original is good enough for me.