Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Jai Ho Democracy

It's Not A Satire, It's A Shame

No stars

Mini Review:

What can you say about a movie that has a fine star cast but manages to kill each of your finer feelings within ten minutes? 

Main Review:

It's not just Adil Hussain and Amir Bashir who break the audience's hearts but Seema Biswas as well. When you watch them throw things at each other, you know this is not a satire. It is just pure drivel.

Om Puri gave us the creepiest scene of cinema ever when he snogged Mallika Sherwat's shoulder in Dirty Politics, so when you see him here, you begin to dread another scene like that but someone knocks him with a sculpture on screen and you clap, but only after you've thrown up that pent up puke into your neighbor's messenger bag. 

Satish Kaushik is a UP politician and Annu Kapoor is supposed to be a veshti wearing South Indian but they are such awful caricatures that you forget Annu Kapoor did such a wonderful job as Paresh Rawal's Urdu speaking neighbor in Dharam Sankat Mein.

The movie starts out as a minor crisis on the Indo Pak border and is happily blown up into a debate by politicians. You grit your teeth as you can see what is about to come a mile away. A glorious insult to the armed forces (on both sides) by turning them into caricatures with white enamel mugs.

Didn't the white enamel mugs die after those horrendous army movies of the 70s?

The film deteriorates into Indian and Pakistani soldiers getting drunk and the politicians beating each other silly. Not something you want to see unless you wish to never procreate.

We emerged from the theater feeling bad for all those actors who have been reduced to play such roles because it brings them lunch money. And numbed by people who must have patted each other's backs for having made a 'political satire'...


Review: Avengers Age Of Ultron. The Girlie Review

Wholesale Mein Hawtness!

Stars Hee Stars

Mini Review:

Be still my dhak dhak heart! Chris Hemsworth se le kar Chris Evans se le kar apna Bobby Downey Junior are all so hawt! Let the boys go, 'Ooh!' and 'Aaah!' over all the action scenes. I just had an Ogle Fest all on my own.

Main Review:

The theater was full of boys in shorts and Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man tees. As if wearing those tee shirts made them look hawt. None of those guys have half a bicep, let alone the looks. And their knobby knees, I don't even want to roll my eyes any more. So pathetic! And they talk in jargon which makes sense only to their comic book groups.

I admit, we girls have Iron Man on our phone-covers. But there's logic naa: should the phone slip from our hands and fall down, Iron Man will save it from cracking!

Anyway, this IMAX 3D is a pain. My eyelashes are so long the 3D glasses jammed against them make it tough to blink. But in this movie, blinking is not an option! Kya action hai! They are constantly jumping up into the air and coming down hard on the baddies, raising their arms making the ribs and the abs look fabulous each time...

Yes, there's that girl who's forever doing those boy things, desperate to get attention from the boys in the audience... What's her name? Black Widow. She's all right, I suppose, she wears leather pantsuit and all (works nicely because she is a redhead), but each time I imagine peeling that pantsuit off, I feel for my skin in this Bombay heat. Give me Megan Fox from that other action movie any day. Haan, her lipstick was awesome. But I cannot imagine having perfect nails after she fights like that. Uff!  

Speaking of awesome, in every movie Iron Man's suit gets better and even more awesome. He has some funny punny lines too. And I laughed, not because I wanted to prove that girls have a sense of humor, but because the nerdy boy with unkempt hair sitting in row in front of me snorted his fizzy drink all over himself. Itna bhi funny nahi tha, I thought. The other movies were more fun! Here Iron Man was being secretive and creating... Oho! Thor's body keeps getting more interest investment worthy. Chris! Chris! Chris! My brain was penning odes to his sculpted body. My best friend and I differ on whether he should wear those hair extensions, but either way, he's sachchi God like. Not in the spiritual sense, but all out orgasmic, 'gawd...Oh, gawd!' sense. I am telling you to watch him get into that pond... hmm... I seriously need to see that meant-for-girls moment again.

Oh, and that blonde fast chap, is sort of like the universal smiles-at-you-flirtatiously-at-the-gym guy. He has some great lines to share with Hawkeye. This time Hawkeye was disappointing re. His other life revealed was so, so-oh annoying. It's like realising that the hottest guy in high school married the class nobody. Anyway, I'm going to ignore him from now on. I like Chris Evans ka reaction. You will too. 

And you know I've not mentioned Hulk at all. That's because they make Mark Ruffalo speak funny. As though someone has forced him to chew marbles. Speaking of marbles, the nerds in the audience were going 'Ahaa!' as though sab kuch secret tha, and they discovered the Chitauri Infinity Stones. They don't know we girls love Loki so much we know that is the yellow Mind stone.

'Whaaaat is that?' You ask? Uff! Kab se I'm saying go see the movie. You'll love the action if your knees are knobby and hairy, and if you can arch your eyes and roll your eyes like Joss Whedan ki saari tricks maloom hai (yes, the poster wala slo mo action shot) then also watch the movie. And do throw leftover drinks on people who step out of the theater before seeing the heart stopping sneak peek...


Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: Mr. X

Mr.Xindia without Mogambo

1.5 stars

Mini Review:

Comparisons with Mr.India are natural and you wish there were a big, bad Mogambo for Mr.X to defeat. But it turned out to be a fun, corny take on something you have seen before. 

Main Review:

The heroine is too thin to do a sensual Kaate Nahi Kat-te Din Ye Raat, so they have a watered down (literally) kissing thing in the shower. 

That out of the way, let me go back to the original lament. There is no big, bad Mogambo who has big villainous plans. So the hero is merely doing the badla thing for people who made him do bad stuff. Give me missiles ready to go off and destroy the planet, give me colorful acid baths, give me hungry tigers ready to make a meal out of hero's mother and sister and unsuspecting villagers... But I digress.

This movie, offers you totally out of context dialog from Mr.India. Now imagine you are in an episode of MST3K where you watch Emraan Hashmi but the dialog is from the original movie... The crowd scenes, the mall scenes, the police Maruti cars are Indian, but the moment Mr.Hashmi and his thin girl get home, we are transported to 'foreign'. But as Mr.India says, 'Ghar... Ghar ke aage balcony...Balcony ke aagey garden...Garden ke aagey samundar!'

The special effects are 2015, so it's fun to see Emraan Hashmi appear and disappear. But after a while they forget what makes him appear and what disappear and that makes you laugh into your nachos and you spill salsa.

I wish this movie had not taken the whole revenge for the wrongful death thing so seriously. Mr.India was so much fun! This is all 'I want to kill them!' Get's tedious after a while because there are only 3 people to be killed and they're practically sitting ducks. So your mind wanders off into the weird science museum in your head, and you ask questions like: How come he is fully clothed when he's invisibile? How come the gun he's carrying is not affected by it? If he's nothing but vapour, then can he lift real objects? Can he make out? 

Then you laugh out loud when he's earnestly telling his girl that his life is now crap because he can't live a normal life, cannot have kids... and he's moved to a half shadow half light scene where the lower portion of his body is invisible! I'm sure they didn't intend this to be funny... But here I was, laughing so much the left over salsa was spilt again. 

Arunoday Singh makes for cute bad guy, but someone needs to tell him that he's not Hulk, and he does not need to stomp his feet quite like what he does during the last fight...

I'm sorry for the spoiler that he's the villain. But when one of the bad guys called Tiwari who drives a Mercedes suddenly starts speaking in Bhojpuri, you realise that this movie is now cornier than Kansas in August.

Wait for the movie to show up on your TV. I like Emraan's earnestness. But seriously, all the songs he sings in all his movies now sound similar. 

It's a very tiring 125 minutes spent. There are twists and turns to Mr.Xindia you have seen in so many movies before, you don't even need google maps to check.

And yes, there's no Mogambo. 



Mani Ratnam Makes Magic Again!

3 and 1/2 stars

Mini Review:

It's a simple love story. And it is tough to do simple. Especially when you have a jaw dropping filmography weighing you down. But Mani Ratnam and AR Rahman make such beautiful magic, you come away happy.

Main Review:

When was the last time you wanted to fall in love again after you've watched a movie? Not if you've seen plastic heroines faking seduction to gym built heroes in most - no, all - movies you have seen. Songs that draw attention to 'Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan' are really showing you barely covered arms (see the gesture at the start of the refrain, you'd be tempted to offer her a bar of soap!) and all that the women seem to want from the men is shopping and movies.

Not to take away from the popularity of these songs, here I was, watching a Tamil film aided by subtitles making me wish I could really, really understand enough of the language to comprehend the original lyrics. But the subtitles made me cry, 'I asked for water, and you gave me nectar'... touched my cynical heart and made my coffee salty...

AR Rahman's genius is also seen as his little son sings a prayer and Mani Ratnam's magical eye takes us sightseeing in Ahmedabad...

What is surprising is that both the hero and the heroine have real jobs. She is an architect and he's creating a computer game. I grinned to myself when I remembered beautifully manicured long nails belonged to Kareena Kapoor who is supposed to be a surgeon. (Remember that movie? No? Good! You are lucky!)

The dialog of the movie is like a game of ping pong. He (Dulquer Salmaan) says something wicked and flirtatious, and a normal heroine would say, 'Chhi!' to that. But this heroine (Nithya Menon) isn't any ordinary heroine. Her smile is infectious and her eyes are so full of mischief, she says something so wicked it stumps the lad! Now imagine that repartee in a Mumbai local... If you were a mami overhearing that conversation, mama would either have an extra spicy rasam served to him for dinner or you'd be burnt to cinders out of sheer jealousy!

I was jealous. Not just of the easy love they shared, but I wished I were younger and sharper and smart like the two leading young things. This movie shows how Freedom is not just a word, the two young people have actually tasted it. What it also does is make you fall in love with Bombay all over again. I may never ever feed pigeons, but I will take that double decker ride, that much I know.

Of course, in order to show Bombay as a thing of beauty, Mani Ratnam takes many many liberties with the geography (she's walking past the contemporary arts showroom and emerges from the subway near aram vada pau in CST). But who cares! You are stuck on the kissing song. Or stuck on Bhavani aunty (Leela Samson) and Ganapathy uncle's (Prakash Raj) love!

To tell you the truth, I forgave Prakash Raj all the awful OTT villain roles he has played in just about every movie we have seen, because he plays Ganapathy uncle so beautifully and I'm so tempted to tell you that I audibly sighed when I heard his definition of love. Imagine wanting to hug Prakash Raj as we have seen him in the movies... Go see the movie and you'll be a convert too!

This review has gone all over the place, I know. And I started by telling you it's a simple love story. It is. It just affected me in the way a trip to, let's say, the Louvre will affect someone who grew up reading about not just the about Mona Lisa, but Arcimboldo and Delacroix and Raphael and Michelangelo...

So just watch the film (preferably holding hands with someone you love). And if you watch it with similarly soppy girlfriends, or alone, then make sure you call the lads in your life and say, 'OK Kanmani!' even if they don't understand Tamil.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


So disabled people want to have sex, then what?

1.5 stars

Mini Review:

Kalki can act. But the story is so single dimensional, you realise the milk of human kindness inside you is all dried up. There should be more to disabled people than this need for sex, no?

Main Review:

Let's say you and I talked about our sex drive all the time, imagined anyone and everyone of the opposite sex was actually wanting to have sex with us when they but smiled at us as they crossed the street, if we constantly looked up porn sites, cheated on our lovers, we would have no friends left and we would be labeled as sex maniacs or perverts and a film made on us would be relegated to sleaze town. 

This film surely raises the uncomfortable question about the existence and acknowledgement of a disabled person's sex drive. But it cannot, should not be all that the movie is about, isn't it? 

Remember the delightful movie Yellow? The movie is about a little girl who is mentally challenged who loves to play in the water and goes on to win a silver medal at the Olympics for disabled people. Yes, it makes you uncomfortable when you wonder how it would be to have a disabled child at home, and how support comes from unsuspecting sources. The uncle in Yellow scores way more than Laila's mum and Khanum put together.

Here, you can see the effort the actor Kalki has put in, even if you have not seen tv and net clippings of 'making of', 'inspired by', you can nod your heads in approval. This is truly good acting. Heck, Eddie Redmayne got Oscar nominations for his stint in the wheelchair. 

What drove me insane was that the story was stuck on this one need for sex. Laila is desperate for sex. Nothing else. She gets a chance to study at NYU, and she reaches there with her mom who makes sure she has an attendant, and food and that she's comfortable. What does Laila do? Think of sex. You want to box her ears and say, 'We got it. Padhai karo!' And a logical part of you is asking: Wasn't your heart just broken by Nima? You came away to a foreign land to get over that heartbreak. How did you forget so easily?

There are some gorgeous mother-daughter moments: from combing hair to arguing to laughing together. But every time Laila calls her mom, 'Aai', you are reminded that Revathi does not look like Marathi mom from any angle. Why didn't they simply call her 'amma'? It wouldn't have taken anything away from the story.

That brings us back to the story. Laila and her sex life. She has found a lover who is also studying at the Uni. But we see a montage of the discovery of sex and togetherness as though it has never been seen before. Yes, the cynical bit inside your head reminds you to label it 'Festival Circuit: Award Bait' It's 2015 and a lesbian sex with a disabled person will still draw eyeballs. Never mind that 'Blue Is The Warmest Color' has still not found release in India.

By the time Laila's sexual bits turn into tears, you have no empathy left. You just want the selfishness to end. It doesn't. She's dating. Even though her clothes are so cute and her ear-rings pretty, you want to throw something at her for making her bereaved dad go through the drive and the carrying so she could look cute as she begins to love herself and drink Margarita with a straw. 

There should have been something more than sex to Laila. Maybe it would have been as good as Yellow. Maybe more people would have seen the film and not just lustful old men who want to nudge-nudge-wink-wink... 

P.S. I hated myself for thinking that she's going to touch her father inappropriately when he's grieving...


Isme Action Hai, Emotion Hai, Romance Hai, Drama Hai! 
Basically, Russell Crowe Ne Banayi Huyi Hindi Film Hai!

2 stars

Mini Review:

Hollywood is watching so many Hindi films, they are now making masala movies. The only thing that possibly redeems this khichadi movie is that it's a delectable visual feast. 

Main Review:

If you expect Rakhi to show up saying, 'Russell! Mere Karan Arjun waapas lao, we would not be surprised. There'd be Dev Anand of Hum Dono doing his Major Verma thing (here the Turkish Major Hasan) with Russell Crowe singing Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Halaat Pe Rona Aaaya...

There would be 'Aaankhon hee aankhon mein' between the gorgoeus Bond girl Olga Kurylenko and Russell Crowe. And if Bollywood had had held stronger sway over the story, we would see Olga's son pray a la Kuch Kuch Hota Hai...

This World War 1 story takes Russell Crowe to beautiful Turkey, and yes, there's a delicious scene filmed at the Blue Mosque. This scene does more for tourism in Turkey than any movie shot there. Speaking of the visuals, the colors of this film are so seductively rich, you will forget this is a war movie. The reds of the fez caps and the jackets, the emerald greens of the clothes, and the delicious light in which the scenes have been shot make even the khaki that the soldiers are wearing wonderful...

The heroine of this film is so gorgeous, you forget this is a war movie. You want to hold your coffee cup and ask to be served a strong, sweet brew...

But as a movie, everything that happens is like a jigsaw puzzle, there are no surprises, no googly that hits you smack in the face... It's a movie you might watch on a romance channel on a lazy Sunday afternoon or if dubbed with Hindi dialog, then on a comedy channel...

In spite of the predictability, Russell Crowe in his first effort as director creates such compelling visuals that you wish to wipe the beads of sweat off his bare back or feel hatred for the Greek bandits, something that Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Broken Horses could not do, despite the movie being Chopra's 10 the directorial venture.

Watch the movie when it shows up on cable... And I'll go look up romantic tales of coffee and Turkish women... 

Review: COURT

Jaw Drop! Court Chaalu Aahe!

3 and a 1/2 stars

Mini Review:

Just when you think movies have become formulaic, along comes a film that does not insult your intelligence, keeps you riveted to the screen, makes you pay attention, and makes your jaws drop as you watch judiciary in action. Watch this film.

Main Review:

They say that once you are caught in the rigmarole of courts and the law, you could spend a lifetime extricating yourself. In astrology too, they say that Saturn casts it lumbering, testing shadow only for seven and a half years (the 'sadhe saati'), but once you get on the wrong side of the law, there's no escape...

Keeping that in your mind, you watch the story unfold in the most non-descript court you have seen. So ordinary and so evil, you wish for the comfort of the courtroom theatrics you have seen in Hindi movies like Damini, Meri Jung, Shahenshah, Insaaf Ki Awaaz, Kanoon, Justice Choudhary, Vishwanath and more... You want lawyers to present evidence dramatically and with a flourish, you want to hear them say, 'Me Lord!' and yell, 'Objection!'...

There is, alas, no drama here. But you watch helplessly as the court insidiously chips away at logic and reason and takes cover behind the most ridiculous laws. You watch the law go after a folk singer with the same cruel certainty as a child's fingers would slowly pull off a dragonfly's wings...

Initially you are quite zapped by the aimless shifts from the goings on at court to something that makes you think, 'What the heck is this?' And then you get it! And you delight in the wickedness of the director. He is deliciously evil as he plays with your emotions and makes you get into every character's head and then turns you upside down when you see that the court remains inhuman even though the characters are all too vulnerable and like the person sitting next to you on the bus...

This movie could do with better subtitles. But the subtitles add to the ordinaryness of the days in the lives of the men and women in the justice system.

You must watch this movie simply because it is a unique piece of cinema. And also because it could happen to you some day...

Friday, April 10, 2015


Cover up. Seriously.

(you looking for a rating?)

Mini Review:

Breasts in feathers heaving, dialog dripping in double entendre, legs spread so far apart you wonder if she walks funny, and you'd laugh if you weren't puking into your popcorn upon hearing the faked orgasms...

Main Review:

There ought to be Rajasthani sand that should never really come out of their unmentionables is the thought as I grit my teeth (ha!) and watch as clothing begins to disappear from the leading lady (and the men on screen) before you can say, 'Sunscreen!'

It's a skin flick. Don't doubt that. 

She has breasts that are continental.
Insert orgasm sound here.
She has legs to rival Grace Jones in A View To A Kill
Insert orgasm sound here. And a grunt.
She has a body that contorts more than a yoga master.
Insert orgasm sound here. Call a chiropractor.
Her painted nails wander all over men's bodies.
Insert orgasm sound here. 
She's been reincarnated the story attempts to say.
Insert orgasm sound here.
Everybody is after her body, they say.
Insert frenetic orgasmic sounds here.
Between hearing orgasmic sounds attempt sarcasm: her acting is so bad, she needed to be born again and again until she can say a damned sentence right.

Sunny The Sleaze Leone might be a tad interesting had she covered up. Why would you pay 250 rupees to see body parts gyrating on screen AND compete with bodies like Rahul Dev who claim her body, her eyes, her color to be theirs when you can see it all and more on the net for free?

PS. Those orgasmic sounds are not made up. They are in the movie. Apologies for using the word 'Insert' so many times. As Sunny says in the movie, 'Agar asaan hota toh...' *puke*

Review: Dharam Sankat Mein

Brilliantly Written, Slips In Execution

2 stars

Mini Review:

There are two stars in this movie: Paresh Rawal and Annu Kapoor. Their interaction is brilliant. Everything else needs a God to save it.

Main Review:

An official adaptation of the British comedy 'The Infidel' Dharam Sankat Mein fails to make a strong argument against the religious rituals and practices as OMG did. Neither does it make you cringe (I did) or squeal with delight (other people) as PK did. It falls through the cracks in execution. 

The saving grace? Paresh Rawal and Annu Kapoor.

The two are neighbors, a little bit like Grumpy Old Men are thrown together because one needs the help of the other. It's a tough thing to swallow that all of a sudden Paresh Rawal actually asks Annu Kapoor for help and how quickly that help is given, but you are glad when you watch the whole segment unfold in front of you. Their friendship is so wonderfully shown, you are willing to forgive Annu Kapoor his role in Shaukeens. You are ready to forgive Paresh Rawal's lame caricature of a family and a role similar to his OMG avatar.

What you will not get over is Naseeruddin Shah hamming. Again. But as someone sitting next to me said, his last good role was the dead dad in Jaane Tu. He gets worse than his Sona Spa cameo here. Even in his supposed best Jaane Bhi Do Yaron, he was upped by Ravi Baswani and Satish Shah. He's awful as Neelanand Baba and chews up footage rapidly. The character is meant to be OTT, but hey, Mithun Chakraborty did a better job in OMG. 

So let's get back to the best part of the movie. The writing. You know you'd like to read the script because Paresh Rawal has brilliant asides so casually thrown in, you miss it because you were paying attention to the Pulp Fiction cushion in the room (how did that get in there?) 

You also love how Annu Kapoor delivers his Urdu zingers. In your head you practice saying,' Joseph aur unki jauza mohtarim jab jahaaz se jazeere par utare toh zalim jalaal apni zaleel soorat liye zanjeeron mein jakda khada tha!

I could go on, but the movie descends into a familiar mess of religious wrongs which are more platitudes than anything else. A desperate need to pacify rather than take head on issues that are promised when a Hindu man discovers that he is born of a Muslim mother. The conflict could have been greater than just a conversion ploy. The story demanded that the audience know Paresh Rawal's yearning to know his father who is still alive. The need seems so forced, you want to be like the wife and go away to her brother's house (go home and watch OMG on dvd). 

Murali Sharma as the mean maulvi does a great job. But his stammering end is not convincing enough. Paresh Rawal's lovelorn son is funny at first, but you pray Neelanand baba's larger than life cutout falls on his head. The others are simply predictable. And that's a terrible thing to do to your audience. I wish they had spent more time in 'getting to know weird and wonderful rituals of the other religions'... Maybe the time is still for the dull 'watan parasti'. 

The part time atheist in me loved Paresh Rawal's dialog,'Dharm chaahe jo bhi ho, topi zaroor pehnata hai!' That's brilliant, simply brilliant.


If it ain't broke...

1 1/2 stars

Mini Review:

So the story of Parinda has stayed with Vidhu Vinod Chopra for years and he remade it in Hollywood. The cowboys and Mexicans faux Western tries so hard, you wish he had friends who told him, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.'

Main Review:

Vincent D'Onofrio in a Nana Patekar role? You settle down for a five star cinema. The movie begins exactly as Parinda does. Night over cowboy country (In Parinda the night sky over Mumbai). Good, you think. And you hope for the same madness, the same violence, maybe more, because cowboys are sharpshooters and scenes with cool cowboys like the knife wielding James Coburn are etched in your brain, the same brotherly love, the same... What The Kabootars is that? They have begun speaking. Slowly and deliberately. Is this for real? Is this version of Parinda meant for ESL students? 

And then you wish to find solace in the moody visuals. But the super begins to bother you. 'Fifteen years ago' ... Since when, you ask. But you are distracted by Kishen, I mean, Buddy, driving a sedan. Where are the pickup trucks? What red-blooded American cowboy drives a sedan? Why are they driving SUVs like the mafiosos? Those are not 15 years old... But the movie theater they work out of looks at least a hundred and is located in Belen New Mexico  - a town used in the Johnny Depp starrer Transcendence. Now you are confused. 

The badly named Mr. Hench does not own horses, or a ranch or does illegal mining. He doesn't even accused of gun running, human trafficking or smuggling cocaine (something movies and tv shows set in the Mexican border towns have taught us). He just gets Buddy to kill 'bad' people.

You wish there was a rivalry like Moosa and Anna here with someone better than Buddy to defend Anna... Like Suresh Oberoi... But the Mexican Moosa is tame and his smiling henchmen who shoots polaroid pictures of dead men is so not convincing, you want to get into the frame and ask the Mexican Moosa why they aren't using their cell phone cameras?

Did I say cell phones? Yes, the cowboys bandits have cell phones. Don't ask. I was trying to like this Western Parinda. Dammit! The seagulls that fly in formation at the beginning of Pocahontas are more convincing. It gets worse when you think that the curly top violin playing American Anil Kapoor is actually the retarded brother. (Apologies for all intellectually challenged people.)

The interview scene is straight out of any musical audition you have seen on tv or in the movies. But nowhere do the auditioning characters say, 'Don't call us, we'll call you.' Jeeeeejus! Isn't that understood? Did firang Anil Kapoor expect to get the 'Ticket to Hollywood' and a hug from the judges? Come to think of it, a song even like that would have helped in making us feel better about the ghastly characters and the director's penchant for Americana.

An old fashioned tape recorder at the interview, the polaroid camera, the old movie theatre with a black and white film flickering on the screen in the background are pushed at us again and again to tell us how American the movie is. Not to forget the stetson... All at the cost of the story. You remember that even a kiddie flick like Home Alone used movie footage to propel the story forward. Here all these things are just a sign of the movie trying too hard. 

And they are still speaking as though English is alien for the audience. Boss, we have come to accept Salman Khan do the flamenco dance steps to Maria Maria, why shouldn't we accept Americans in Hawaiian shirts in Mexico? But we were promised Parinda, and we get this wannabe. Of course it doesn't 'pump up the jam' as the cool Khan would say it, but we love Govinda's footwork in this song. Desi isn't always bad, mister Chopra... But if you wish for a cowboy song to tell you that, here it is: If It ain't broke, Don't fix it

PS. You may not be a Nana Patekar fan but you gotta admit, his mad final act in Parinda is way better than Vincent D'Onofrio's pale imitation. 

PS. As Anna says, 'Dhande mein koi kisi ka bhai nahi' waise hee yeh movie Parinda ka bhai nahi, pale imitation hai...   

Friday, April 03, 2015


Dibakar Banerjee Ki Aankh

3 stars

Mini Review:

Very, very stylish whodunit, but in the tradition of Raj Khosla/Guru Dutt's CID. It's like a stew, cooked over fire for nine hours. Tad long but the details will delight you. 

Main Review:

It's a whodunit. So there are red herrings (should I say 'Ilish' since the movie is set in Kolkata?) and blind alleys and you want to be the one who has figured out who did it. But it doesn't matter because Dibakar Banerjee takes you on one heck of a tram ride through the Kolkata of the 40s. 

But before you book your Kolkata trip, here's some preparation. Make a list of people you would want to go to the movies with. Then delete the ones who claim to be sharper than the TV show with Cumberbatch and co. Ruthlessly delete from your list the liars who claim to have seen all 'noir' movies and read all detective books (even Surendra Mohan Pathak ones) and have seen the Rajit Kapoor TV show. Also delete the ones who want 'edge of the seat' excitement (send them to watch Fast and Furious running in screen 3). Keep those who want to enjoy the unraveling of a story without saying,'Mujhe pehle se maloom tha yahi khooni hoga!'

If your friends are like mine - too well read, too smart - then please don't feel sorry for yourself. Book that single ticket. You won't regret it.

I have given it three stars simply because I absolutely, positively hated the end and I do wish our filmmakers would stop being members of a fan club of a certain Hollywood director. It was teeth-grittingly over-done. The rest, aah the rest...

No other director can make you watch a slow moving tram from one side of the vehicle, show you (without getting inside the tram) what is inside the tram, and then also make you watch fascinatedly at the road behind the trams and the alleys even further. And this is just the beginning of the film. You are hooked by the time you meet Byomkesh Bakshy (I actually wondered why no one did to Sherlock Holmes what Ajit Bannerji does to Byomkesh when they first meet.) 

So there is a murder to be solved (oh come on! whodunit hai, murder scores over diamond heists any day), and you get pulled into watching people eat, live, sleep, wear dhoti the bengali way, pull the slatted windows shut without getting off the bed, wear shawls, watch cars and people navigate through Kolkata, watch Bakshy babu hold his dhoti to step aside and walk around garbage, watch college rec room events, stare at the railway canteen cup of chai and alu-bhaja (you will want to eat that big steaming wedge of masala potato which Byomkesh carefully pierces with his fork instead of the popcorn in your lap). 

When red herrings sidetrack the detective, you feel frustrated. When He's seduced into losing his logic, you want to step into the frame and help him. You also know that if you did, you'd be sidetracked by the things on the make-up table, the paan box, the kitchen, the people...

What a cast! Not one out of place. Sushant Singh Rajput and his unibrow are so believable, you instinctively trust him. Anand Tiwari is perfect, so is Neeraj Kabi. The other lodgers at the boarding house, the cops, the politicians, the femme fatale, the damsel in distress, the minor cast (the job hunter, the chemist, the factory guards, the gardener) are also memorable. But the coolest of the lot is the old cook and general dogsbody. He's a reminder of the family retainers that are fast disappearing -- always ready with a thali full of teacups, or alu-bhaja (french fries) -- those who know so much more than they let on...

There is an undercurrent of quiet humor that is ever present, and even when you are smiling at the factory guards you notice that Byomkesh is wearing the pants that belong to the coat Dr. Guha is wearing. You will also love how the servant steps over something towards the end of the movie. Smiles thus induced offer you relief from the consistent action. No, no! This is Kolkata, it is never fast and furious. But the director keeps you glued to the action on screen. Even if it is the lodger pleasurably sinking into the chair after eating paan.

Some will complain about a couple of far-fetched plot points, but it's a murder mystery being solved by a college dude... give yourself a break. Yes, the end was so annoying you want to take the katana and those cigarettes and slash and burn the fan club.

The end credits are beautifully done. Wait before you head out. Dibakar Banerjee ki aaankh for detail will make you a confirmed fan. And yes, I googled pictures of the femme fatale after coming back home. She's something else...

P.S. Sushant Singh Rajput is a good actor. And despite the unibrow the director has given the lad, he's droolworthy.