Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rat faced superstar

The good thing about being a Tamil superstar is you will have a hysterical fan following. The bad thing about being a Tamil superstar is you'll have a hysterical fan following. On one hand you'll easily get the much needed hype for the opening. On the other hand you'll have to churn up the same product time and again.

I was in high school when Vijay came into limelight. He had this habit of remaking the small budget, romantic hits from Malayalam into big budget, picturesque Tamil. Onto the Malayalam formula he added the Tamil masala. There would be two women chasing the hero ( Vijay ofcourse ) . One would be a busty vamp always on short skirts, low cut blouse climaxing into orgasm on slightest excuse. The second would be a good natured, village damsel who will have no chance against our hero. But at the end Vijay will walk away with village girl, satisfying the Indian dharma .

Added to that there would be the usual cowdung - banana peel jokes and a bunch of idiotic cronies hanging on to him. Vijay wasn't handsome , strictly speaking.  There's a story that goes around that a production executive made fun of his 'rat face'. Still he resolutely carved a niche at his own terms thanks to his mesmerizing dance steps.

It was then the romantic Vijay shifted gears and moves onto the super human Vijay with the epic 'Gilli'. The movie was about a young guy who fights out the notorious bad guys to win his girl. Although Vijay scripted the success to his name, the honours have to be shared with the heroine and the anti hero who did a fabulous role. The movie turned out to be a jackpot for many associated with it.

Vijay decided inorder to hang on to his fame he will have to do the same thing again and again. Then followed a stream of homogeneous products. Vijay (or his fans) anointed him as the little prince. The movies started screaming his name. Later on he managed to get a doctorate added and thus became the Dr.Vijay. The bad guys would be creating havoc in the streets, when Vijay would coming in beating the living daylights out of them. Then the village babes would come out singing his praises. Rest of the story would be predictable. The only change would be the villain. He might indulge in black marketing in a movie, trafficking in next, money lender in next. Invariably he would be the MLA or a minister.

Vijay was riding on a steady wave when he found out the whole industry moved on leaving him behind. He started pulling in new directors  and technicians, perhaps a bit overconfident in his own abilities. The end result - his movies started sinking even before it came out.

But recently I watched his latest movie. The Tamil bad man spoke to the Arabic terrorist in Tamil and they understood each other very well. I just loved the part. He then steals some outfit out of a museum, which.strangenessly resembles a video game. In the end he turns a dark knight and chides the common man for expecting a saviour. Is it going to be another turn on the road.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Movie review - Paan Singh Tomar

It was on my brother's insistence we went for a less heard of movie burning some cool money.

Before we entered, the usher came and told us there was a technical snag and film will not be played. I was relieved of the refund when the manager came and told us all the technical snags are resolved and its being played in another screen.

Paan Singh is indeed a good film but certainly not great and not good enough for a Imax show.

The film came in with so little publicity. Hence people were taken in for a surprise. The story is about the Chambal dacoity told more appealingly compared to its predecessors.

The reason behind the dacoity is more due to neglect of the government towards Mr.Paan's days as an award winning athlete. The director goes overboard with it and many important and real reasons behind lawlessness are brushed aside. The camera work is very good especially in the race shots. We really lack an expertise in those.

There's a great opening. We may except a lot out of it.  Towards the second half the weakness in script gives away and whole plot fizzles out. There's  terrific performances from every character.

Hopefully the set designer will do some home work before his next film. The director has to be a little more careful with his script. He needs to do some heads on when he deals  on a social issue. The timelines are confusing too.

In short don't go for any take away from it . There's no steamy scenes or jokes or dances. Hence its not a weekend film too. There's not even much to write about

Monday, March 12, 2012

Movie review - Kahani (Hindi)

This was a week which remained faithful to Murphy's law - everything that could possibly go wrong , did go wrong. I got a slight whiff of cold while in Kochi. So I had to cancel my plans to meet up some pretty friends. Then I lost a month's earning thanks to faulty systems of IRCTC.

It was at that time my friend came up with a comment ' Vidya Balan is the Indian version of Meryl Streep'. As a hardcore Streep fan I wanted to check out. On the way home from the railway station, I got to see the poster of 'Kahaani'. I made up my mind to go for the movie.

And as luck would've it, my buddy called up and we made plans for a movie. It's a huge bore to go to a movie hall alone. Although he had ideas for a Mallu , I convinced him for this one.

But everything didn't go well exactly. It started raining as soon as I stepped out of house. I reached the hall completely drenched. To make matters worse, I had to choose a broken  seat. I heard Mr Murphy laughing at me from the corner of the dark hall.

My apprehensions seemed to come true, when the movie opened up with a very ordinary start. The acting (barring Balan) , lighting, frames, colour tones, handy cams seemed very much ordinary.
I feel the new age, city bred directors are losing their talent of wide frames. They are drawing too much inspiration from the 'city of god' and we have to end up seeing numerous roadside chaiwalla, mithaiwallah, crowded bus stands, railway stations. It used to enamor me , but I have reached the irreversible path of boredom. Hope atleast they try improvising.

The Bombay Marine drive was, once upon a time, crowded with Bollywood cinema shooting. Then recently they shifted the entire equipment to NewYork and London with plenty of chubby Punjabis cracking horrid jokes. Then they once again came back, but this time to the rich mansions of Delhi. Thankfully the director tried something new in Kolkota, the city which always carried a cultural and emotional baggage with it. It's so easy to arouse the cultural complex of a Bong. The Durga Pooja had offered an ideal chance for that. The story has festival running in backdrop. The director has also brilliantly portrayed the inherent laziness in a fast moving city.

There where signs of influence from English movies . It wasn't a Priyadarsanesque movie making where cinema is palgiarized frame by frame. You simply feel a deja vu on seeing some sequences.
The story and the plot is brilliant and orginal. Unlike any other Indian cinema there's no sudden diarrhea post interval. The story is very evenly paced. Still It's a glued-to - your seat kind of cinema. Thankfully, the music and song melodrama has also been avoided

When we deal with secret agents and terrorist attacks, there could have been more slickness. And the acting department too could have done a bit better.

Now coming to the star of the movie - Vidya Balan rocks the whole film world. She is an enigma. I am qouting a friend ' Awesomeness personified, beauty , grace, charm, orginal, surreal. Not so long back she struggled for a foothold in an industry ruled by plastic dolls. The low point being fashion disaster in Kismat Konnection and the Filmfare paparazi hunting her down for the so called senseless choice of clothes.

The actress in her has grown quite comfortable with herself. This has been showing in recent run of successful films. She has been doing films where she stole the thunder from her male counterparts. The ' Kahani' which has coincided with women's day and has brought in parallels with the feminine gods needed a powerful woman who could carry the film on her shoulders.

Vidya did make sure that the vengeful wife held her charms and grace to overpower her foe. There's no denial of feminity or It's weaknesses. I feel the narrative at the end could've been avoided so character remained an enigma . The Indian movie maker has to stop spoon feeding and learn from the international line of thought.

The body language and ease of emoting is a must watch and learn for any acting enthusiast. I came back home and picturised all our stars in that role, I felt Vidya is irreplaceable. Another irony is Bollywood used to import women who could 'act ' from Bengal to balance the silicone babes from the north. Now here we have a Madrasi setting the screen on fire in a movie based in Bengal.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hero of our times - 8

When the Israelis had the Gaza wall and the China its Great wall; and for the Germans the Berlin wall, we Indians had a wall to be proud of. He was not known for his architectural beauty exactly. But he came to be known for his grit and mental strength.

I was at school when I had this fantasy of pasting his newspaper cut out into my ID cards. No one thought it as cool. Because Dravid wasn't your kind of cool guy. He was a simple man on and off the field. Even his ads weren't flamboyant. Interestingly, he showed more toughness while in the middle than his compatriots who were tough boys in ads.

He belonged to a group who stood by their beliefs and principles when the entire team was sold out to highest fixer. He along with Sachin cultivated unquestioned reputation and the country which identified itself with the game had someone to be happy about.

He along with a handful of seniors (though not age wise ) had this onerous responsiblity to lead a young team out of sewage and salvage the pride. It would've been honourable if at least the world cup winning team showed the grace to acknowledge their contribution.</p> <p>In an age where success is confined to stats, Dravid's contribution was much more than the figures on a television screen.

My first memory is from England '99. The only three batsmen showed even an iota of international standards. Dravid and Ganguly came up game after game and he ended up as second highest scorer. He was not known for heroically chasing the targets. People preferred him getting out as the entertainment factor was low. But for a real cricket enthusiast Dravid was a joy to watch. The perfectly still head when the feet moved like a ballad was a revelation. Still without much aplomb he was careful to pace the innings.

That was a time when fitness was secondary in India . Running between the wicket was a comedy of errors where old men heaved themselves around while they were thrown down by agile fielders. But Dravid set out an example as he played all these years effortlessly running and fielding almost with no injury to his credit.

Certainly, Sachin might find his days lonely in the middle. Laxman might follow the retirement path soon. Laxman had to go through the most thankless career. I certainly feel Indians could have been a bit more respectful during the recent dark days in Australia. I didn't see any greater commitment from the so called youth brigade. How can it be justified when we say seniors ought to make room.

Besides , it might be the north - south divide which saw no support or analysis on Dravid or Laxman. When they sang praises for bludgeonin by Sehwag, we missed the silent stars on their pages. Besides the expert analysis and commentory on game has also become a rarity as it slowly moves into shorter and run plunder format.

I don't think many of the 'fans' will miss you. But Dravid, you'll always be my hero.

About Me

My photo
Shakespeare,Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln never saw a movie,heard a radio or looked at TV. They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. Thay were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.