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Showing posts with the label Reviews

Attitude vs Aptitude

There are a lot of quotes on Attitude vs Aptitude but my favourite on this subject is this dialogue from the movie Chak De India Kabir Khan, the coach, explains beautifully - टीम बनाने के लिए ताकत नहीं नीयत चाहिए - you need 'attitude' (intention / sincerity) to form a team and not power (aptitude). 

Sanju was a huge opportunity lost by Sanjay Dutt!

I know its too late to post a movie review, the movie Sanju was released more than 10 months ago and honestly, I just happened to watch it because it was showing on TV yesterday. But I am writing this because I simply cannot subdue my ruth at the complete waste of opportunity the movie turns out to be and mainly for the lack of directorial ability from someone as adept as Rajkumar Hirani. Rajkumar Hirani is an excellent story-teller but more so, a director par excellence, as anyone who has watched Munnabhai MBBS would confirm. His first directorial venture was a testimony to how a saturnine subject can be presented in an entertaining manner, yet contain a social message. But with Sanju , Hirani has failed as a director - because he has stuck to his template for a subject which demanded an independent treatment and not paid directorial attention to what the subject demands. There are many posts online [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] which call out for the selective editing of Sanjay D

Animal Farm and the current political landscape of India

I've just finished reading The Animal Farm , and while it essentially describes conditions in USSR under Stalin just after the WW2, it can be generalised to any country or political setup a few years or cycles after a major change. It is not just a commentary on Communist or totalitarian regimes (or Stalin's period) alone, but also a general account of how every political system deteriorates over a period of time, after acquiring power. In specific, I think, it starts applying to present day India, now that the BJP has occupied the top slot in the pecking order displacing the Congress firmly and has bolstered its position for a near sure victory in 2019 elections following the thumping victory in 4 of 5 State Assembly elections. As the book prophesies , the current political order too is sure to corrupt as much as the previous UPA regime. This will happen probably in a decade or so of remaining the 'ruling class', tenably after Modi is replaced by another leade

PK - Movie Review

Watched PK today on Sony TV; I hadn't seen the movie when it was released. Firstly, I haven't been watching new releases of late anyway, secondly I had gotten bored of patronizing tone of Raju Hirani's movies. But on watching the movie, here are my thoughts. Overall, an average movie for 3 reasons: 1. Predictable story: the movie takes the same twists as Munnabhai MBBS, all the way down to the style and positioning of the climax. 2. Poor and unrealistic storyline; blatant directorial missouts. This is surprising as Hirani's previous productions have never had directorial missouts. The movie also lacks the depth of Munnabhai series; the sub-plots are poorly researched and realism which marked earlier ones is missing. 3. Blatant copying of the core concept from Paresh Rawal's "Oh My God!". Before I end, a praise for Anushka Sharma for her work; Amir doesn't need praise - he played the part well; the others were all cast in the same type of characters

New cinema for the new India

There is no doubt that Indian society has transformed in the past 2 decades and our cinema has transformed along with it - everything has changed. Indian movies are nowadays technically far superior, editing and conceptualization of sets etc are good, and finally story lines are far more mature (though many of them still continue to be copies of Hollywood counterparts). Nevertheless, Indian cinema continues to differentiate itself from Hollywood in that its essence is closely influenced by human relations, beliefs and metaphysical constructs (religion, love The latest two movies I watched - Morya (in Marathi) and Kahani (Hindi)- reinforced my belief that Indian cinema is transforming itself while maintaining that differentiation with Hollywood. Morya portrays the rivalry between two chawls in Mumbai in organizing the local Ganesh pandal festival - illustrating how the festival which was conceptualized a public organization by Bal Gangadhar Tilak to unite people against

Making India Work [contd.]

Read Part I (book review) here . We often criticize our bureaucracy of being slow and stubborn - frankly after working with them I realize that they are not so bad. These institutions are manned by more people who share the 'common man' space than those who form bourgeois - hence even they feel the need to decentralize governance and carry out reforms. But the number of stakeholders in the governance system in India is so humongous that matching everyone's expectations and changing the system monolithically is not an option. And its not just bureaucratic mechanization which make the system unmalleable to change, but also the complexities and uncertainties of real systems. As an example, take the case of an earlier experiment to create planned cities - Chandigarh. The experiment failed for reasons partly known partly unknown and on the contrary Gurgaon - an unplanned city flourished but still lacks some basic amenities like public transport [Read full case study here].

Making India Work [Book Review]

On my recent visit to traditional outfit store fabindia, I spotted the book by its founder William Nanda Bissel for sale and I being me could not resist buying a copy for myself. Making India Work is an ambitious attempt to dream a new India - but may be its a little too ambitious. Nanda Bissel talks about a complete revamp of the way India is governed - from its administrative divisions (46 Regions instead of 28 states) to the way ministries are organized and managed. It is quite easy for us to write off his ideas giving reasons like our politicians would never bring about such changes or because the bureaucracy would block all attempts for these ideas to succeed. However, I have more fundamental differences with the proposals being made in the book (while I also concede that I like a lot of proposals made by him). Before we jump to them, let me outline a few of his proposals in brief: National Division: Lots of proposals have come through for decentralization of power or in f

Idiotic times

3 idiots hit the theaters on the day I got married and is being hailed as the biggest grosser ever - while nowadays every new film which reaches even a decent box office milestone is hailed as the biggest grosser ever - 3 idiots is indeed a nice film. Raju Hirani has developed this very unique ability to transform real life into drama. Which is why I feel that the next movie Rajkumar makes should be on entrepreneurs . Now that India's most successful entrepreneur Dhirubhai is already taken (Guru), he could pick up a Kishore Biyani (Big Bazaar) or Sanjeev Bhikchandani ( But my personal pick would be Steve Jobbs or Bill Gates - the only problem being that these characters may not ring a bell with the Bollywood audience. Coming back to 3 idiots - there were a few scenes which I could relate to - one of them was the suicide scene, but its too vexing to talk about memories which it sparked. The other scene which touched me was where Sharman Joshi's character faces the in

Social Integration is the way to nation building!

I saw two movies today- Pride and Glory Road - coincidentally both of them focus on how the sportsmen overcame racial challenges.  While Pride focuses on a black swimming team from Philadelphia rising above competition and winning under guidance of a black coach; Glory Road is about a underdog basketball team from Texas (comprising of both blacks and whites) beating the champions Kentucky in national championship in spite of all hardships. While the coach in Glory Road ,  Don Haskins is not black himself - the story revolves round the racial undercurrents that he has to struggle against to retain the proportion of blacks in his team (7:5) and the repeated sabotage attempts that the team members have to face. Pride is more about how coach Jim Ellis must fight not only racism, but also protect his swimmers - most of them from poor background - from social evils which surround them. Both movies go a long way to tell the tale of how America as a nation has had to fight a long battle wi

The problem with Slumdog

This is not a review - I haven't seen the movie yet and probably won't ever. But given the brouhaha in the media about the movie, I know enough about the plot and the 'artistic appeal' of the movie, to write a blog post on it - or so I think :-P.  I am not one of those nationalists who feel offended because it shows slums, niether am I against realism. About the much touted scene where the protagonist, Jamal "jumps into a pile of shit just so he can run and get an autograph of his beloved Amitabhji" [ link ], I agree with MF Hussain (quoted from HT Cafe) when he says that it depicts our lives metaphorically that while our lives are draped in shit, we escape from reality through movies (ala entertainment, ala glamour). And reality must be shown - I regard Black Friday as one of the best movies ever seen. And why should we shy away form the fact that India has slums - well I would rather say proudly that we are ready to march ahead inspite of slums and in due c

RNBDJ Results - Aditya: Fail, Anushka: Pass, SRK: Merit List, Team: Pass with Grace marks

Just glance through the songs of RNBDJ and you can get a reasonable whiff of what lays inside the movie. Many hailed SRK as lucky when Yash Raj movies gave him his big break in Dar and subsequent super-stardom in DDLJ. But this time round, I must say Yash Raj is lucky to have SRK on their side to end their failed year at a successful note. If RNBDJ has pulled crowds to multiplexes, it’s only because of SRK - whether it is his performance in this movie or his overall aura which keeps audiences glued to screens across the globe - but SRK definitely is the only good thing which happened to RNBDJ [ Most reviews also say so]. The story is not a believable one, especially because of the speed with which the plot setting is breezed through (the bus crash and subsequent marriage). While the script is good, the scriptingstyle is too clichéd (well is it the first time someone has created a song parodying old bollywood cinema?) I didn’t expect Aditya Chopra would copy so blatantly and not even

Om Spoof Om

Start with the story of Karz, mix Do Anjaane's revenge plot into it and create a collage of Bollywood spoofs starting from a fake filmfare ceremony to a star-studded birthday party - that's what is Om Shanti Om for you. OSO is not a movie for the serious critics out there - it is as frivolous as the fake 'star party' and the array of nominations in the filmfare awards function. While so many people were upset at the portrayal of Abhishek Bacchan and Akshay Kumar as loosers, we must acknowledge, SRK made fun of himself and Karan Johar in Om Kapoor's nominations ('Rahul - नाम तो सुना होगा' - repeated twice for two different movies). The opening scene of the movie where SRK and Farah are in the audience of the song 'Om Shanti Om' is innovative, so is the linkage of the scenes involving Sooraj Barjatya and Govinda (when SRK and Shreyas Talpade advise him to drop the 'Ahuja' from his name), and of course the songs where Deepika dances around Su

Chak De!

Yes ... its true - after 13 years of expectations for a second world cup - WE HAVE WON the first ever Twenty 20 cup!! Don't worry I am not going to get into the same loop of 'we worked as team' blah blah .. there are better reviews of the match around. So better go read them ! I just want to point out one thing that irked me. My heart sank every time Sreesanth and Joginder Sharma bowled those beamers off the wicket which were either going to go as 'wide' or deserved the hardest hits!! And yet, at the end Dhoni said - "... I decided to give the last over to Joginder, who wanted to make a name for himself in international cricket - it did not matter if we won or lost!" Did it not really matter??? A billion people watching the match, sacrificing their precious times .. I saw almost the whole Mumbai rushing home early yesterday - and the Indian captain says 'IT DIDN'T MATTER!!' Yes, I agree that this team won because it went without expectations a

Chak De India

A marathi playing the role of a Chandigarh'ite, a Garhwali that of a Haryanvi, a Kerlaite that of a Bengali; isn't that the best example of National Integration? But even more, it is testimony to the script and direction of the movie - Chak De India! . Chak De India, indeed excels in both the screenplay and direction. The story of Mir Ranjan Negi, rehashed as Kabir Khan's tale is inspiring - but the way each character in the movie is etched, is what makes it even more interesting. Whether it is the brash Komal Chautala (played by Chitrashi Rawat), the bright striker Preeti Sabarwal (Sagarika Ghatge) or the no-nonsense Nethra Reddy ( Sandia Furtado ) - each character is believable yet far from being stereotypical. The story is based on the life of Mir Ranjan Negi - but the writer (Jaideep Sahni) has also successfully integrated issues like regionalism, groupism, and arrogance of seniors into it. Shilpa Shukla gets full points for her portrayal of the arrogant senior Bindiy

'The Foutainhead' - the movie

External Links: | Cross-posted on Movie Reviews | IMDB Entry . Its is not everyday that you watch a 1949 Hollywood flick - but when it is based on the famed novel - ' The Foutainhead ' - the period of the movie doesn't matter; the story of Howard Roark is as fresh and as inspiring today as it was 70 years ago. But watching a 1949 hollywood movie makes you remember those 'Black & White' cinemas we used to watch on Doordarshan in our childhood - Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar types! The dialogue delivery seems weird and melodramatic. If you have ever seen one of those Clint Eastwood ' Inspector Callahan ' movies, the dialogue delivery is in the same style, albeit even more accentuated. I would say that the performances are good - by 1949 standards. Gary Cooper, with the wooden dialogue delivery does a perfect portrayal of Roark and Patiricia Neal is perfect as Dominique Francon who is the detached from world but selflessly dedicated to Roark. Robert Douglas also

Rang De Basanti

Note : This is not a review of the movie but a related comment Blogosphere is full of comments and reviews on RDB - while most junta has liked the movie, there are some who haven't. Most of the anti-RDB posts point out major fact-flaws in the storyline/screenplay; 3 major ones pointed out are: 1. Criticism of an IAF pilot by the Defence Minister 2. Lathicharge on a peaceful procession by Police 3. Gunning down of 'College Students' by commandos Most people claim that a 'democratic' government will not indulge in such 'oppressionist' acts and the parallel drawn between the current government and British Raj is unjustified. After watching the movie I also had similar views, but a revisit to my own post , made about an year ago, made me realize that the comparison in the movie is not completely unjustified. A democratic government too can indulge in acts similar to the (said) oppressionist British Raj and if not RDB, at least these posts [ 1 ] [ 2 ] are to be b

Mumbai Darshan aka Bluffmaster

Just back from the night show for Bluffmaster. Actually, I sulked and whined through the whole movie for the utterly bad screenplay and too-much-gyan; but the end of the movie was as surprising as refreshing it was. Agreed that most plots are picked up from a few Hollywood movies (I don't recollect the name, but one movie which is used most, starred Michael Douglas) - but its not a plain vanilla remake and hence the effort is quite commendable. Technically too, the movie is quite refreshing. There's one more distinction that I would give the movie - of showcasing outdoor locations of Mumbai. Bandra Flyover, Buildings in Walkeshwar and Mahalaxmi, streets of Colaba, distant views of Nariman Point and Marine Drive are quite discernible as are few indoor albeit public locations like CCD (Cafe Coffee Day) - Carter Road and the Renaissance - Powai. No movie in the recent times has used locations in Mumbai so effectively as this one. The trend of using foreign locations seems to be pa

Mangal Pandey
The Rising

Any movie which is accompanied by lots of pre-release fanfare invokes a typical scepticism in me; so was the case with ‘Mangal Pandey – the Rising’. I had almost expected a larger than life character of Mangal Pandey and an overenthusiastic performance by Aamir Khan. But to the credit of the film-makers, Mangal Pandey is a classic yet real-life presentation. Mangal Pandey was just a cog-wheel in the revolt of 1857, albeit an important one; the first spark but not the fire; a common sepoy in the British Army and a religious one. And so is he depicted in the movie. Neither the storyline nor Aamir’s portrayal of the character project Mangal Pandey as a great soldier – moderately educated, devoutly religious and even non-progressive (as implied by his strong belief in Castiesm). The narrative and storyline are successful in depicting that Mangal Pandey got caught in the winds of controversy merely due to coincidence and not because he had some heroic traits in him. There are some hints to

The Fountainhead - by Ayn Rand

Most B-schoolers discover Ayn Rand classic during their MBA preparations. In fact it is probably a matter of prestige for B-schoolers to have 'The Fountainhead' as their favorite book. But I have met quite a few people who call 'The Foutainhead' their favorite just because everyone else does so. By doing so they go against the very philosophy that this book tries to teach. Such people are the living copy of the character - 'Peter Keating'. Relievingly, I have found many people who have a mind of their own and do not feel ashamed to confess that they either do not understand Rand or the book itself is complete bullshit! I just completed my 3rd reading of the book. I had failed to complete it 2 times and had to restart every time. After completing the book I felt that the core of the book is the testimony given by Howard Roark (the protagonist of the story) in the court at the end of the story. However, Roark's (or rather Ayn Rand's) ideas are so fundament

My Brother ..... Nikhil

The weekend is here and many of you must be planning to watch a movie. I saw ‘My Brother Nikhil’ (yes my own name too is Nikhil!) yesterday at R-Adlabs, Mulund. The movie is well made and does justice to the sensitive subject it deals with. Here’s a review of the movie from me. If you are not interested in my review here’s a link to a good professional review While Swades was a documentary presented as a movie/fiction, ‘My Brother Nikhil’ is a fiction presented like a documentary. It is a flashback narrative primarily by – Nikhil’s sister Anamika (Juhi Chawla), mother (Lillete Dubey), father (Victor Banerjee) and most importantly a dear friend Nigel (Purab Kohli). With dates appearing in the bottom left corner as every scene changes the documentary effect is so complete that sometime one wonders if this is indeed fiction or reality. Those of you who have seen ‘Phir Milenge’ will find this movie a better presentation in terms of depth a