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Wake Up Sid October 16, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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It’s not very often that one gets to see characters portrayed with who you can identify with so closely. It’s another thing that instead of taking your protagonist through uncharted terrain you settle for putting him in the regular triumphant coming-of-age script – and that’s exactly why I felt a bit cheated with Wake Up Sid. That it’s an extremely well made film – there is no doubt; but then it could have been so much more – maybe I was a bit too impressed at the beginning that I forgot this is a product from KJo’s stable.

Sid (Ranbir Kapoor) is exactly the kind of guy who the rest of the “mature” world prods on to “wake up”. But Sid has other plans (or rather lack of them) and finds himself in a spot when after an unsavory incident he is homeless. Not for too long though, for Sid has found his way into newfound friend Aisha’s (Konkona Sen Sharma) apartment. You know the rest – it’s all about Sid waking up – to life and (surprise)….love! Debutant Ayan Mukherji has inherited his mentor’s visual sensibilites and has admirably taken a few taken a few steps forward when it comes to the writing. There are some really wonderful moments in the film – the best one’s being the emotional and confrontational scenes between Sid and his parents. The humor is also quite breezy but the best part is the superb cast.

Ranbir is just too believable as Sid which why you can so closely relate to his character. Konkona, Supriya Pathak, Anupam Kher also deliver praiseworthy performances. There are quite a few new faces like Shikha Talsania, Namit Das, Kainaz Motiwala and Jason Mehta who are very impressive. The funniest moment in the film (though unintentional) comes when you realize that Rahul Khanna gets to play the leading lady’s boss yet again (not to mention that he isn’t going to get her in the end yet again). Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy deliver yet another winning soundtrack which provides the perfect mood for the film. Wake Up Sid is a really nice watch but I do wish its plot was as real as its leading man.

Fashion November 2, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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The best thing about Madhur Bhandarkar’s films is that as long as you don’t belong to the group of people he is caricaturing – it is a no-holds-barred guilty pleasure trip for the viewer who gets to see folks on high pedestals being brought down mercilessly. Bhandarkar has successfully used this formula in each of his three previous films (Page 3, Corporate and Traffic Signal). This time his focus is the “Fashion Industry” which no doubt provides ample material (probably more than all of this previous films combined) which Bhandarkar is an expert at handling. And yes…he leaves no stone unturned as he throws light on the troubled souls, depraved lifestyles and what not! The director also could only sneak only at most a couple of gay characters in each of his previous films but it’s a dream come true for him and except for Arbaaz Khan (who plays the head honcho of a leading Fashion firm), every designer (without exception) is a homo.

Fashion traces the story of a highly ambitious girl Meghna (Priyanka Chopra) from Chandigarh, who against the wishes of her dad (Raj Babbar) comes to Mumbai with the dream of becoming a supermodel. As expected she finds out everything isn’t so rosy but still the whirlwind success she has goes to her head until everything comes down falling like a pack of cards.Through her journey we also witness the lives and troubles of other people she comes in contact with.

The biggest USP of Fashion is that a lot of real life incidents/people where it takes inspiration from – is the stuff which makes TRPs on news channels hit the roof. No wonder it is all the more interesting when you see it unfold on the big screen. And before you get all too enthused let me warn you there is a big BUT – I still find it hard to digest how the director absolutely loses track about what he wants to convey through the film. A litte comparison with his other films would do good here. Each one (Page 3, Corporate and Traffic Signal – to an extent) involves the journey of the protagonist through a certain industry/lifestyle who ends up completely disillusioned/victimized while the industry/lifestyle in question is laid threadbare. The way these films end was the most appealing part to me (but I know lot of people who aren’t comfy with abrupt, inconclusive and bleak endings).

At the beginning of Fashion you see that Meghna’s father is opposed to her being a model (which we assume is for the usual reasons) but when she ruins herself and comes back home the same guy is now encouraging her to not lose hope, take up the profession again and “fight back”. Almost all through the movie you see the Fashion Industry being ridiculed but the moral of the story at the end seems to be – as long as you don’t take success to your head everything is pretty much fine here – talk about U-turns! Even if you cannot ignore this hard-to-ignore fact Fashion still has Bhandarkar’s masala-realism stamped all over it and except for the somewhat prolonged penultimate portions it keeps you entertained.

There’s a huge cast (with known and unknown faces) but it’s the ladies who rule the roost. Priyanka gets a powerful author-backed role and she does full justice to it. Definitely should be the first choice of this year’s awards simply going by the screen time alloted to the protagonist. Kangana was born to play Shonali. I cannot imagine anyone who can come close to her with a role like this. There are a few sequences where even Priyanka gets to do a similar act – compare her and Kangana and you’ll know what I am talking about. Debutant Mughda Godse is very impressive. Given this is a Madhur Bhandarkar film – the over-the-top gay portrayals are expected and shouldn’t be a reason to cringe. The short background piece (Salim-Sulaiman) which keeps playing throughout is nice.

I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed watching this flick even though at the end I came out with a strong tinge of disappointment at the back of my head. Keeping this aspect in mind, go watch Fashion and I promise you won’t regret it.