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3 Idiots March 12, 2010

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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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.

Hello October 13, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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The good news first – In an interview prior to its release Atul Agnihotri promised to stop making films if Hello doesn’t work. So, I do assume he’s going to stand by his word. After the rocking “Bang Bang” number a sleepy Salman Khan is shown waiting in an airport lounge when from nowhere Katrina Kaif turns up and offers to narrate a story provided he makes a film on it. Since Sallu had a bad experience with his brother-in-law before he is absolutely hesitant to commit initially and even when he does later you can’t help notice the boredom on his face and wonder if he actually saw it coming. Even at the end of the narration when Katrina asks if he liked the story, out comes an embarrassing “yes”.

I haven’t read Chetan Bhagat’s novel but I remember a few of my friends telling me a couple of years back that it was one of the most overrated books they ever read. I think they were pretty much right. Even if you account for all the writing and directorial flaws, you still have to acknowledge the crappy source material which was the inspiration for this movie. We have two guys, three girls and one uncleji who are having personal issues which have taken a toll on their life. We are supposed to believe that these problems are so unique which no one on earth has had to endure before. After enough frustration in the office they decide to take a break and go chill out for a while when their car swerves accidentally and they are caught in a life or death cliffhanger situation. Just in time God makes a call on their mobile and gives them a pep talk (mostly made up from motivational self-help posters you’ll generally see in office buildings and hospitals). Following which everyone follows the never-before-heard advice and….miracles happen!

The most irritating aspect of this movie is the writer and director’s sense of misplaced superiority and partiotism. On the first day of a call-center training class people are taught (by presumably an American instructor) that an average 35 year old American has the intelligence of a 10 year old Indian kid. To prove this you see employees attending queries where a lady complains that her laptop isn’t working because she didn’t switch it on, someone can’t turn his vacuum cleaner off and another one is surprised that she can’t wash her bra in a dishwasher! The icing on the cake comes at the end when our call-center employees try to increase their call volumes to save their jobs – the less said about that instance the better! There are a couple of instances when Sohail Khan talks about how they are doing a favor to America by taking a call-center job. People actually working in call-centers should take extra precaution to make sure that none of their overseas employers watch Hello.

Despite being mostly moronic, the only thing which makes you sit through Hello are a few comic moments generated by Sharman Joshi (the pick of the lot), Sohail Khan and Suresh Menon (quite hilarious as the rapping “systems guy”). Sajid-Wajid’s tunes are good but they don’t help make the movie any better. Beware of Hello – you are better of without taking this call.