Tuesday, June 19, 2018

MUKTI BHAWAN (2017) - HINDI

A tragic-comedy film on salvation made masterfully.

I cant say this is tragic, it's more so a comedy because after a point in life we accept that the original destination of life is death and we wait for death. It's more about that realization in a subtle funny way. But it's not the story of the father who checks in Mukti Bhawan hoping for salvation but its more the story of a son who is torn between responsibilities. He has to fulfill the responsibilities as a husband and also must attend to his father as a dutiful son. Interesting I felt.

Acted superbly Adil Hussain as the son and Lalit Behl as the father, this film takes a realistic take on human emotions. How frustrating it is to be in a limbo for a human? Also, the affection between a father and son even when it's known that they are going to part with each other. These are talking points of this film and it handles them beautifully.

There are a lot of good things about the writing of the film. The dialogues are natural and there is a flow in conversations, there are noises in the background and they give a sense of the atmosphere. It's all beautiful and the performances just add to the beauty.

Technically, it's brilliant considering the budget and production constraints. The costumes, editing, sound design and the cinematography all gel well making this an adorable watch.

Thanks to the director and these actors who chose to be part of this film. It's a definite watch. a 4/5.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

TALVAR (2015) - HINDI

A provocative film that is made with honesty.

Crime and Punishment need to go hand in hand like law and order. The order follows Law and the Punishment follows Crime. Well, I was talking about the ideal world, in the real world, anything can follow anything. We are truly living in a chaotic messed up world and we continue to plead for justice and the right punishment, and we shall continue to do so for many more years unless we are all sane and follow the law in spirit and principle.

The film is about Noida Double Murder Case of Aarushi Talwar and the servant of Talwar's that is Hemraj. This case was sensationalized heavily by the media and indeed it shook many in the country. I was not interested in the original case until I saw this film and when I dug the details, I was fascinated and yet sad for the outcome of the case. Two individuals have been convicted based on circumstantial evidence and that is not right for the justice system in India. People cannot be convicted based on circumstantial evidence and I suppose recreation of circumstances is not accurately possible for humans as we outlive the moments so very easily. While I was sad about the case, I was happy with the film telling a story in a bold manner.

Irfan Khan stands out with yet another terrific performance. While each and every one has given an honest performance, I loved what Irfan Khan bought to the character. There is certain believability to his role and that in itself is worthy of applause.

The writing by Vishal Bharadwaj was to the point and the editing by Sreekar Prasad is precise. There is not a scene that is out of context or does not add any value to the narrative. It's a commendable effort in writing, editing and directing. Also, I loved the screenplay that brings into play perspectives and plays with the perceptions of the people than with the actual happenings.

All in all, it's a film that's worth watching multiple times and enjoy more often than not technically. Yet, it can't be liked so easily with content being strong and that is about grey shades of humans.

A 4/5 for me and thanks Meghna Gulzar for your faith in the content and the way you crafted it.

Monday, June 4, 2018

A QUIET PLACE (2018) - ENGLISH

A thrilling entertainer that despite a few cliches of a horror film, stood its own and gave goosebumps.

The concept is thrilling and even though there is no explanation given whatsoever of the time period, the location and the reason for the existence of some supernatural creatures. This movie drives through emotions of humans. There are extinct for survival, love towards family and purpose of existence. Also, it is amazing that it is set up in a weird yet believable backdrop.

It's taxing on the viewers, at least I felt it was taxing but fortunately it was deeply moving. This a thriller tied up with human emotions and it is the emotional content that engrossed me and kept me interested. I loved the screenplay and the editing they are married so very tightly that there is hardly any time left even for gasping. My crib is that this film has an interval in India. I hope Indian Theatres become sensible in understanding that the English films do not have an interval and it's for business in theatres, that the Indians have kept a window calling it interval.

The acting is superb by Emily Blunt and John Krasinski and the kids. The cast is just perfect, it has hardly 5-6 notable characters and each one adds to the plot. Apparently, it is John Krasinski's first feature film and this guy looks a veteran in filmmaking already, his craft is terrific, to say the least.

I fell in love with the film and this took me by a surprise and I am happy about it. A 4/5 for a terrific thriller of this year.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

RAAZI (2018) - HINDI

A measured and mature thriller that is free of any fuss.

It's been a long while since I saw a spy thriller that is based on history and in Hindi, I can't remember once since "Madras Cafe". Forget those "TIGER" movies, they are Salman Khan movies and not typical spy thrillers. So there is a dearth of compelling spy thrillers in Indian Cinema and here comes one and indeed this is a good one.

It is dramatic and thrilling all at once and yet the driving force in the movie are basic human emotions. Yes, patriotism is an emotion and it instigates the plot and after that, the human emotions of compassion, belonging, survival and pride take over and thus make it a more emotional film than a typical spy thriller. When I asked myself, how many times my patriotism was put to test, then the answer would be only when I see Sport. My patriotism comes to the fore when I see an Indian Cricket Match or Hockey or see Indian athletes in Olympic or world events. So apart from cheering our Indian sportspersons, my patriotism was never seen. Yet, when I see this film where each side wants to do something for their nation by serving through spies and military, my respect goes higher for them. I believe those who do anything for their family or for the nation or for the society at large have a better purpose of life than those who have individualistic goals.

To give away a hint of the plot, it's a film based on the book "Calling Sehmat" by Lt Commander Harinder Sikka. It's admirable how a book has been adopted without any voiceover or sensational background music. Even a patriotic song comes as the one that a teacher teaches school kids. There is no spoon feeding or preach about patriotism whatsoever and that is what I loved most about this film.

I am told that is indeed a True Story and there is authenticity in the film. Kashmir is not just about Pashmina silk or Dal Lake or Natural beauty. Kashmir is just another state in India that shares the border with Pakistan and Kashmir also has individuals who want to serve India. This aspect was something that touched me because we have often seen in films like "Roja" that even Kashmiris want freedom from India and while that is one point of view, Kashmiris fighting for India is another point of view.

Loved Alia Bhatt in the role of Sehmat Khan. I resisted watching this film in the theater as I was apprehensive if Alia could do justice but I was pleasantly surprised and now I am happy for making the right decision to go watch the film in the theater. Among the performances, I rate Jaideep Ahlawat's performance as Mir the highest and his dryness and composure added a lot to the character.

The editing was wonderful and the cinematography was just amazing. The most impressive of all the technical departments were costume design and production design. Just kudos for all those who put their heart out to make it look authentic and detailed. The dialogues are worth the money and are fulfilling. Just super happy to have seen a full-fledged Urdu film that has a lot of deeper meaning in almost every line. There is fun deciphering the dialogues.

Thanks to Meghna Gulzar and I am sure Gulzar Saab would have been proud of her daughter when he saw this film. I truly wish, she keeps rolling such wonderful films.

A 4/5 for this thriller that is for the intelligent and involved audience. I shall watch the movie multiple times for sheer dialogue.

Friday, May 11, 2018

OCTOBER (2018) - HINDI

A film that justified the tagline "It's not a love story, It's a story about love".

In subtlety lies it's grandeur, in small doings lies real love and life. This film is about love, loss, and life. How one man takes when his life changes due to an accident to his dear friend form the base for the plot line and the emotion is carried till the end.

All great movies have great characters and here there are two characters, one is Dan and the other is Shiuli. While Shiuli is the driving force for Dan's transformation from a casual guy to a man who has some purpose for his life, it's the metamorphosis of Dan that made me fall in love with the journey through the film.

Varun Dhawan has certainly come of age and this is the second film where he I witnessed his acting skills and I relished them (the first film was "Badlapur"). Banita Sandhu as Shiuli Iyer is impeccable in her expressions. She had very few words in the film and she let her eyes do the talking. Well, I confess I loved her work and she is a wonderful find and hope we see more of her talent in Indian films. Then there was Gitanjali Rao as

The winner here is the team of Juhi Chaturvedi and Shoojit Sircar. They took up an issue, blend this subtly and gave us an endearing film. Thanks to Shantanu Moitra for "October Theme" and the song "Manwa", these will be on my playlist for a very long time to come.

A 4/5 for a terrific slice of life from a very passionate filmmaker.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

MAHANATI (2018) - TELUGU

A biopic of a legendary actress well-made by a young team for this and the next generation.

Biopics are generally boring as they give us a glimpse of history which most of the audience have not been part of yet, there are gems that stand-out and this film is certainly a stand-out gem. When the life lived is legendary then the best effort must be put not to tamper with that and depict things as close to reality as possible. When drama is inherited the film blossoms but when the drama is fed externally, it falters and this film has a lot of drama within that it did not need any external source or force to build the same. Although the characters of Samantha (Madhuravani) and Vijay Devarakonda (Anthony) add some drama I believed they spoke for the audience.

The film begins on the note that why should anyone be interested or aware of the life lived by Savitri and the answer unfolds in the form of the film and yes it was worth knowing many aspects of her life which were told as fables by our grandparents and now seeing some of those fables on screen was a wonderful experience.

Also, biopics are biased and try to show the protagonist only in good light but this film justifies the fall of the protagonist beautifully. Even in her fall, I did not lose my respect for Savitri gaaru and she stood tall in my eyes. So a lot of credit goes to the writers and mainly director Nag Ashwin for the perfect balancing act.

Of all the departments, I was extremely impressed by casting. Keerthy Suresh has an uncanny resemblance to Savitri gaaru that took me by surprise, Keerthy Suresh perhaps shall win many many best actress awards for her performance. Dulquer Salman was perfectly placed as Gemini Ganesan. He did the dubbing very well and his Telugu accent suited the portrayal of Gemini Ganesan.

The cast is terrific. It has names like veteran actors Prakash Raj, Bhanu Priya, Divyavani, Rajendra Prasad and also the youngsters Srinivas Avasarala, Shalini Pandey, Naga Chaitanya etc.. while the biggest surprise was Mohan Babu as SV Ranga Rao. Mohan Babu gave a subdued and composed performance and it was a delight.

All my applause would go to Nag Ashwin and the producers Swapna and Priyanka for delivering a neat film that resembles yesteryears beautifully and yet has something to offer to the youth of today.

Thank you, Mickey J Meyer, for your background music aided well by violins of Sandilya (I knew that my dear friend Sandilya worked but he was not mentioned in the credits. The reasons are best known to makers) and many other musicians who gave a musical treat. The song "Sada Nannu" rendered by Charulatha Mani is my favorite in the album and will stay forever on my playlist.

My only crib, I wish a few episodes were cut and the song "Mooga Manasulu" felt out of place.

A 4/5 for a classic biopic on a legend.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

THE POST (2017) - ENGLISH

A film began slowly but has an ending that is relevant to the current times.

Freedom of Press has become extremely important as the nexus between media and politicians has increased and thus, political views are being preached through media and now newspapers have become mouthpieces of parties and most of the newspapers have given up on the idea of independent viewpoint. In these times, Steven Spielberg made a film that's historically significant and throws light on how true journalists used to be and how the press used to behave in the 1970's

A story that was triggered by one newspaper is taken as a lead by another newspaper and is indeed made the lead story. An issue was addressed sans drama and sensationalism and that's how journalism was in 1970's in America. That was what is now called as "True Journalism".

The writing was good and so was the directing, but I felt technically the film fell short in few departments like art direction, lighting and costumes and indeed the editing. I am surprised that the great Steven Spielberg let a few things off technically and certainly this is just there as one of his films but will certainly won't make the cut as one of his best films.

Having said everything, the film needs to be watched for it's intent and for terrific acting by Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks and a host of other actors.

A generous 3/5 for a film that talks about an issue and sets the right example in Journalism.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

STORKS (2017) - ENGLISH

A good film for kids, wish it was equally good for adults as well.

It has all the ingredients that will make a typical film work but it misses its heartbeat. The heart is in the right place but I wish the heartbeat too was rhythmic. It rises then stays flat and to rise again so that's the wave of the heartbeat of the film. It's likable but definitely not lovable.

The quality of animation is good as it is least expected in any animation film these days coming out of Hollywood. I dare say Animation Industry has become a parallel industry to the mainstream Hollywood and in Animation there are gem-like films. PIXAR is one of the finest places in Animation films while other studios have their hits and misses. Warner Animation Group, the producer of this film earlier made "The Lego Movie" which was fun but this film lacked fun. Yes, there are funny moments but they are not as many as anticipated in an animation film.

I am not wasting more words or time in reviewing this,. But for me, it was an average outing and I am going with 2/5.

PHANTOM THREAD (2018) - ENGLISH

This is the second collaboration of Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson after “There Will Be Blood” and I dare say another piece of art has been made by them.

This is a meditative film. Yes, I felt like I was transmitted to a space where I see very few happenings and hear beautiful music of Schubert and other greats. To say I was taken into trance may be the perfect way to put it. Yet, the ending was perverse at the same time provocative as well.

A mother wants a hyper active passionate and obsessive child to be falling ill at times to show her power and win his/her love. The mother is being mother there, I have no judgement yet it seems perverse from the outside as how is she making him weak and how the child is loosing his/her time towards his passion. Yet, from the view point of mother her act is completely understandable as only his weakness makes her powerful and the child would then realize the value of mother.

Mother is a metaphor in the film and that comes in the form of lover and that is more surprising. Paul Thomas Anderson chose a rather peculiar subject as he always does but depiction is fascinating.

This film definitely rewarded my patience but I am not sure if the audience these days are so patient as me and my friend Raghuveer (with whom I watched this film)

A 3/5 for a good film that provoked some perverse thoughts in my head.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

RAHMAN'S CONCERT IN HYDERABAD (2017)




Terrific show and the great Hyderabadi crowd made this a memorable experience.

Before I thank the GOD, ARR for his superb performance, I would love to thank the well-behaved people of Hyderabad. Hyderabadis love music and more so love ARR and it's proven once again.

My first ARR concert was on Feb 14th, 2006 at the same venue and the next was in Pune in 2009 and now I am attending my third concert of the GOD (I do not think there is any need for me to introduce the GOD).

I am writing this blog to treasure the experience

The songs (in the order of their play in the concert)

Nadaan parinde
Yeh jo des hai tera
Chinni chinni aasa
Matargasthi
Matakali
Tu hi re
Pedave Palikina
Sakhiya
Dil Se Re
Azeen o shehanshah
Chale chalo
Mohenjodaro
Tera bina - guru
Jo bhi main

There was a faith section in which below songs were played

Nammakamiyyara Swami
Arziyan
Patakha guddi

Rangeela took a special place as 3 songs were played

Rangeela Re
Spirit of Rangeela
Rehna Tu
Pyaar ye jaane kaisa hai
Kismat se tum

A medley of these songs followed

Tu bin bataaeyin
O bhavre
Paruvam Vaanaga
Jashn e bahaaraa
Chanda re
Saans mein teri
O ri chori
E ajnabi
Jiya jale
Aawaara bhavre
Ghanan ghanan
Mitwa
Mujhe rang de

Then, there was a small interval with Conquest between Percussionists - (Thaniyavarthanam)

Then, the concert continued with these songs

Randaali - 2.0
Tum Tak
Prema parichayame
Agar Tum Saath Ho
Phir Se Ud chala
Inna Sona Kyu Rab Ne

Mausam - Slumdog Millionaire
Konchem Niru Konchem nippu(tamil)
Rang de basanti
Main albeli
Tu bole
Chikbuk raile
Raga Dance (taal)


Mustafa (this was a crowd uniting song as almost everyone in the crowd stood and started flashing their mobile flashlight)

Urvashi urvashi

Humma humma
Kotta bangaru lokam (hindi)

It ended with "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire.

KSHANA KSHANAM (1991) - TELUGU

A classic and it remains so forever.

One of the finest films by controversial director Ram Gopal Varma, this stands out for the actress that is Sridevi. There couldn't be an appropriate time for watching this, as I watched it in  memory of Sridevi who shook India by her untimely demise. She has gone too soon and I can never fathom that I am existing in a world that's not deprived of Sridevi's existence. "Kshana Kshanam" is one of the finest acting experiences she would have had and as a viewer, this is one of the most happy experiences. To see Sridevi in a full blown comedy and yet fearful way was a delight way back in 1991 and even today, as I write.

The film is a cop-chase comedy with the protagonist Satya (Sridevi) being pushed into a scenario where is being chased down by villains for having details of huge sum of money. She meets a street thief Chandu (Venkatesh) accidentally and how they take on the villains and get hold of money forms the rest of the story. As a story it may not attract anyone on paper but the fun is in watching it.

Director Ram Gopal Varma became a great director, not by great stories but by handling the given concept at hand adeptly. His taking, his narration and the way he creates characters is something that only he could do. Paresh Rawal plays the role of the antagonist and the one scene where he plays a piano and asks for tune remains a classic even today. It is moments like these that have made this film great and it continues to stand tall in Telugu Film History.

Thanks to Sridevi for doing the role of Satya in a way only she could do. Also, special mention to Keeravani for some terrific music that he gave. I listen to the songs from the film every now and then and feel happy about the same. These songs shall be there forever on my playlist.

A 4/5 for one of the greatest Telugu Films.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

THE SHAPE OF WATER (2018) - ENGLISH

A beautiful fantasy love story that is as fluid as water itself.

The intrigue lies in the title itself. Does Water have shape? If not, then why the film is titled so? What has water got to do with a love story? Let’s pause for a while and indulge in watching this film. After the viewing, I am sure all the questions shall be answered.

Guillermo Del Toro is one of the few directions with a terrific imaginative power and the capability to weave those imaginations into a milieu of believable reality. At times, his visuals are more powerful than most of my dreams. His power of transpiring his vision into visuals is something that many directors feel envious about and I thank him because his vision has given a great visual treat in the form of “The Shape of Water”

This a fantasy love story and there is serenity in love. It’s unbelievable in physicality yet believable emotionally. I could understand why a mute girl could find love in a “creature” as against so many humans around. It is much deeper as I am thinking more about the film while I am writing about it and that’s the beauty.

Water has a lot of significance in the film and it symbolizes love making to an extent is what I strongly believe in the film. Eggs boil in water, then bathing in water, then drinking water and then cleaning with water, oh gosh, so many activities and indeed water is the source of life as they say in Spanish, “el agua la fuente de la vida” (Spanish is the directors native language).

Although, I got to know that film is a remake of a 1954 film “Creature from Black Lagoon” and the period of this film is set in the cold war of 1960’s, it’s theme I must say shall stand the test of time and this film needs patient viewing and I am sure all the viewers shall be rewarded unless who hates love itself.

A 4/5 for this love story.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

HINDI MEDIUM (2017) - HINDI

The terrific beginning paled out in the hurried ending.

I didn’t understand why a subtle film like this had to choose “Bhaashan” in the climax to make its point. I believe that the film could have explored other avenues to make its point. So, if I leave out the last 15-20 minutes which I felt was loud and over the top, the rest of the 100 odd minutes were delightful. There is a lot of drama that happens and the sarcasm was in the face and within the context. I liked the setting and the way the story was carried forward. The screenplay and dialogues deserve a lot of credit for this film.

The acting was top notch by the protagonists Irfan Khan and Saba Qamar. Irfan Khan proved once again why he is one the best actors in India. He stuck to the roles well that had to show variations as a rich man and a poor man who is struck in his core values and background. Also supporting cast was good and I take a special mention of Deepak Dobriyal who did a really good job.

The screenplay was fine and the dialogues were well written. The Delhi flavor was evident in the dialogues and their delivery by most of the cast. Also, this being an issue based film in school admissions, the tackling was done well until the end. I felt like the director didn’t know how to end the film and just hurried up a bit. I didn’t feel the climax to be organic and the speech fell out flat. Irfan Khan tried his best but he also couldn’t save himself from those paltry lines.

A 3/5 for a reasonably good watch. 

BHAAGAMATHIE (2018) - TELUGU

A good first half and a yawned climax made this film just watchable but it is Anushka’s performance that made us sit through the length of the film.

For all those expecting spine-chilling horrors, I warn that this is a mix of social drama and horror rather than a pure horror film. Most horror films revolve around a personal story and although for the most part, it seemed like it, once the truth unveiled, it became a social drama. The drama was shallow and did not have the depth to justify the horror and agony that the protagonist had been through all the while in the film.

I felt like I was watching “Arundhati”, “Chandramkhi” and “The Usual Suspects”. (My reference to “The Usual Suspects” might throw a hint on the so-called twist in film) The twists are well-staged but lacked the punch they needed to be memorable.

The film was set in an abandoned mansion, a typical setup for a horror movie, the plot lacked originality and some characters lacked depth. The climax was more or less made up and the moment a man is shown as god-like, our doubts start triggering and the predictability killed the enthusiasm.

Yet another tailor-made and author-backed role for Anushka who is the soul of the movie. Her performance was genuine and she seemed to have understood the nuances of the script and delivered a memorable performance.

A 3/5 for the movie and I must say, the director did the right thing by waiting for Anushka to do this film.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

LION (2016) - ENGLISH

An emotional drama where I wept happily and would love to revisit the film again.

The film is a real story and that's what made the emotions so overwhelming. "Heart-rending", "Heart-wrenching", "Tear-jerking" and many such words would be an underwhelming description of what this film is. This is the story of a boy who lost his family in his childhood and found them back many years later and thanks to technology for that.

The performances are terrific my the whole cast and I loved the special performance by the kid "Sunny Pawar" who played the young Saroo. His performance was full of life and hope. The way he cried, laughed and felt loved was extremely moving and yet realistic. I was so happy with his performance that I dare say, he is one the finest finds in acting from India in recent times. 

This being a film from Australian director with Hollywood production, I expected most of the dialog to be in English while to my surprise more than half of the film in Hindi. Also, most of the film seems to have been shot in India and it showed the real India, I mean the villages, the stone pickers and the lives of the poor. It was heartening and also heartbreaking such is the irony in India and it was captured beautifully.

The film was based in 1986 and then moves to 2008 and I was in awe of the production design. The coal engines of trains, the roads, the poverty in 1980's were depicted realistically with great finesse and detail.

Garth Davis is a director to watch out for, I feel he chooses the right subject matter and makes it believable. He kept the film rooted and authentic and that's where the film scored huge points. I hope to see more such hopeful films from this director.

A 4/5 for a movie that made me sob for a good part and yet made me happy at the end.

रात काट के

रात काट के कितने रात हुए 
खुद से ही न जाने कितने बात हुए 
ख़यालों में न जाने कितने मुलाक़ात हुए 
आपके प्यार में कैसे कैसे हालात हुए 
हर बात पे हस्ते है अब, ऐसे हालात हुए 
ज़िन्दगी में न जाने कितने पल सौगात हुए 
रात काट के न जाने कितने रात हुए   

मौत में भी यादें

एतबार न था हम कभी आपके प्यार को पायेंगे
दीदार न हुई आपसे, बस आस था कि हम मिल जायेंगे
आस पूरा हुआ मुलाकात से, तब से बातों में ज़िन्दगी गुज़ार दी
अब तो हम मौत में भी यादों को लिए जिये जायेंगे 

लफ़्ज़ों कि ताकत

लफ़्ज़ों कि ताकत ये है की, हर दर्द मिटा सके और हर ग़म भुला सके 
कुछ लफ्ज़ ये भी है कि, फूल को पत्थर बना सके और हसी में रुला सके 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

STEVE JOBS (2015) - ENGLISH

A film more about a father-daughter relationship than about Steve Jobs. 

I was surprised but I felt the film was breezy with terrific pace aided by great dialog. 

Michael Fassbender gave one of the finest performances of his career as Steve Jobs. He was ruthless, passionate and to-the-point. He did not put Jobs own ever and I firmly believed he would have loved Jobs personally to portray Steve Jobs the way he did. Kudos to the other cast and especially Kate Winslet who played the role of Joanna Hoffman. Kate Winslet was thoroughly professional, in demeanor, body language and the way she handled Steve Jobs and certainly, this is one of the strong performances of her career. 

Apart from performances, I loved the screenplay. Aaron Sorkin who gave a terrific screenplay with "Social Network" has given another fast-paced dialog oriented screenplay that started in haste and ended in whizz with no-much unnecessary scenes or drama. The film began with a denial and ended with acceptance (only a hint from my review). What the film is about, can be read in Wikipedia and other reviews but to see it is a treat. This is a tight must-watch screenplay. How 2 has passed off so quickly without giving space to blink and yet full of dialog. This is something I am wondering even as I write this blog. 

Danny Boyle has limited the sets to Apple Office and Apple Keynote Conferences mostly and yet and he has done a tremendous job in terms of direction. I would rather say, the screenplay helped him in a big way to just make actors emote to their lines and capture the ambiance through the camera. 

All in it's a fast-paced slick film made with terrific dialog and helped with good performances. But there is hardly anything we can take home about Steve Jobs except his reluctance in fathering a child and finally accepting that he is the father. 


A 3/5 for this and I thank Aaron Sorkin for giving another tech industry based screenplay that is actually good.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

ख़याल-ए-मजबूर

ख़याल-ए-मजबूर है हम और आप भी मजबूर
बेक़सूर रेहकर भी क्यों है, एक दूजे से दूर 
जुदाई का आलम कभी तो ख़तम होगा ज़रूर 
दुआ है बस इतनी की फिर एक मुलाकात हो आप से जान-ए-हुज़ूर 

मन्नत

मन में जो है, जब वो लफ्ज़ बनजाये तो राहत है 
जब कोई उन लफ़्ज़ों को ईमान से सजा दे तो वही जन्नत है 
हर लफ्ज़ में ख़ुशी पाऊ यही चाहत है 
हर लफ्ज़ किसी और को जन्नत दिलाये वही मेरी मन्नत है 

वक़्त नहीं

सवाल इतने है पर जवाब जान ने का वक़्त नहीं 
कोई हमे इस उलझन से बचाये, ये दुआ करने का भी वक़्त नहीं 
करे तो क्या करे, कहे तो क्या कहे 
लिख रहे है कुछ और इसे समझाने का वक़्त नहीं 
भागम दौड़ी ज़िन्दगी है, कुछ बया करने का वक़्त नहीं 

Monday, January 15, 2018

MUKKABAAZ (2018) - HINDI


This is really good cinema. The silver lining strikes again but this time with strong punches.

In most of my reviews, I call Anurag Kashyap as “Silver Lining of Bollywood” and he proves it again with “Mukkabaaz”. Last year there was a film on Boxing that is “Saala Khadoos” and we also had a good film on Wrestling as “Dangal”. Both of them had their own flavor but this film has the touch of one and only Anurag Kashyap. This film is not a success story. I never expect one from Kashyap as that is not his forte and I don't expect him to give us a biographical success story either. Even if he gives us a biography, it would be dark and raw.

The film is set in Uttar Pradesh and it has the flavors of Bareilly and Banaras both being blend well. The dialect, the body language of the people, the office environment everything is authentic and it's heartening to see the lower middle-class environment come to screen without any frills or drama.

The dialogues are amazing and the acting is sublime. Zoya Hussain nailed it as a dumb girl while Jimmy Shergill played the strong villain with ease and terrific body language. Ravi Kishan was brought in more so because of his background rather than his Boxing skills and he played his part well. Above all, the film belongs to Vineet Kumar Singh who played the role of Shravan Kumar Singh. I see a connection as he was born in Banaras and there seems to something to do with his nomenclature as well.  Vineet is terrific and true and I hope he will be an actor who will take Indian cinema many notches up. I appreciate Vineet's dedication and his writing ability as he is one of the co-writers.

The technical departments are all in great form and everything was coherent. The lyrics match the visuals and the sound matches the scene and that was amazing. The sound is what is terrific in all Anurag Kashyap films and this film is no different. Anurag amazes me each time with the choice of soundtrack and I love it.

Anurag Kashyap literally spits on politics in Indian Sports with this film. Although this is his most clean film, he showed how people are being falsely accused and beaten up for having cow meat, how casteism is in ruining our country and how the power of caste is being used. I loved the way he sarcastically used the line “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” - just loved it I would say. He basically knocked it out of the park with strong punches. I hope this film opens up eyes to Sports Federations and Authorities and they weed out the politics from the system and give us true champions.

Salute to all patriots of the nation and to all the sports lovers in the country. I hope this country learns it's lessons quickly and starts building infrastructure and becomes a great nation by acknowledging the true talent and giving opportunities for all those who aspire to make it big. We shall then be great winning awards and medals in International events like Olympics.

Loved the dialogue "Sapnon pe hag chuke ho, ijjat pe moot chuke ho, ab mooh pe thook do!!!" the sprinkling of humor is blended in the language itself than being forced in and that is organic.

A 4/5 for another gem from the man who makes cinema for cinema's sake. I doubt if this will be winning any awards or any monetary rewards but this is a must watch for those who love authentic Indian cinema.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

न मंज़ूरी

मोहब्बत तो ज़ाहिर था उनका, पर उन्हें इश्क़ मंज़ूर नहीं था 
मसरूफ़-ए-इश्क़ का कोई ज़िक्र क्यों करे जब वो मशहूर नहीं था 

एक शम्मा जला

एक शम्मा जला  आग़ाज़ की आस में 
रोशन करने इस अंधेरी दुनिया को 
जल जल के बुझने लगा तेल की प्यास में 
किसी ने परवाह न की उस शम्मे की इस दुनिया में 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

MCA (2017) - TELUGU

A mediocre film peppered with commercial elements.

It has nothing new to offer except that the protagonist is clashing with the villain not for his heroine but for his sister in law. There is a hero, a villain, songs with the heroine and a family the hero must save.

I liked performances of Sai Pallavi and Nani, and there is nothing much I can say about other aspects of the film.

I am not happy to be ending the year with this film. This year has been a good year for Telugu Films as we got films as varied as a commercial blockbuster like"Bahubali 2" and a content-driven film like "Arjun Reddy".

Overall, an average film with laughs few and far in between. A 2/5 for this. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

GRUHAM (2017) - TELUGU

A film for the horror lovers and a one made with standards higher than typical Indian horror film.

I am happy to have seen the film, although I do not watch or even like to watch horror flicks. I do not like horror films because they are basically illogical, they do not have anything to give the audience (except a few thrills and scares) and you do not want to take fear home from the theatre. So I have many a time avoided watching horror films. This year, I watched a few and among all those, I rate this film highly.

The ghosts are shown explicitly and unabashedly at free will right after 20 minutes into the film, we see the ghosts coming every now and then. They have been peppered all over the film and the writer or director did not hold back in any way to do a build up before the big bang. That is appreciable because they did not manipulate the script and they went with their gut and their courage and belief in their script must be appreciated. Despite, too much of ghost, the film was scary and thrilling and that is where the points were scored.

Technically, this is a much better film and the backdrop, the cinematography, the lighting, the art direction and the editing everything gelled well to make a good product. I liked the editing too especially the first half which was a breeze.

Siddharth is back with good content films which is what I thought after viewing this film. I also heard there would be sequels to this and hearing that I was disappointed because I am worried if at all, the sequels would live up to the high expectations set by this film. If they want to make it a franchise, all the best for them but their sequels may not have me as a viewer.

This film is one-time must watch but as many horror films, this also has a very low re-viewing value and that's why I may not see the film again. Having said that, it's a terrific experience in the theatre. So go watch it in theatre is what I recommend.

Of all the technical aspects, I loved the sound design and I am sure that aspect will win many awards in coming days.

It's a good horror flick that will satisfy the nerves of this genre fans. A 3/5 for this.

NOTE: This is a trilingual made in Tamil as "Aval" and in Hindi as "The House Next Door" as I watched it in Telugu, I named it accordingly.

Monday, November 27, 2017

COCO (2017) - ENGLISH

A terrific film that reminds us "Never Forget Family".

Pixar takes the bar higher each time and "Coco" is no different in that sense. Technically, emotionally and cinematically, the bar is set very high. I came out with a feeling that I must be back at the theatre again to watch this and also, very happy to be flowing tears at the end as they came out effortlessly.

Pixar's original films (not all sequels) generally take me on a philosophical ride and leave me there with a lot of food for thought. "Coco" once again touched those philosophical chords and made me remember my grandpa and grandma with whom I used to play when I was a child.

This film is set in Mexico specifically for a purpose. In Mexico, they celebrate "Dios De Los Muertos" that is the day of the dead. I have been in Mexico in 2010 and experienced the celebrations as a witness then. I was surprised by their family values and their belief system. I was not convinced then, how will spirits come and visit us. Although, it's a topic of faith and it depends on each individual, but I swear that for many many individuals who question faith also put family first and stick together as a family. This film is certainly about family than about faith. Faith is only a path to be good and do good. As long as there is Goodness in faith, it is fine.

Technically, PIXAR has again given us the best-animated film of the year. With 2017 nearly ending, I doubt there would be another animated film that is as good as this.

My vote goes for "Coco" go watch the journey of Miguel and yes, family first. A 5/5 for this.

Monday, November 20, 2017

THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS


AUTHOR: AYN RAND
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE: ENGLISH

“The Virtue of Selfishness” begins with these lines in its introduction

The title of this book may evoke the kind of question that I hear once in a while: “Why do you use the word ‘selfishness’ to denote virtuous qualities of character when that word antagonizes so many people to whom it does not mean the things you mean?” 
To those who ask it, my answer is: “For the reason that makes you afraid of it.”

Ayn Rand wrote those lines and this book is not about selfishness in the conventional way “we” use or think about the word— selfishness. I must agree that we as humans have a high judgmental tendency to form and adapt things according to "us" that is our way of looking at things, perceiving them and applying them and in a similar vein, we applied this to language and thus I believe the word "selfishness" became an antagonizing word.

We live in a world where we love labels. A girl and boy cannot be together without being labeled as "couple" yeah they either have to be boyfriend-girlfriend or get married, without which the world is confused. The society is actually like a kid who is shown a fruit and if the fruit is not given a name, then he is confused. So we got to be labeled "single" or "married", "Hindu" or "Christian" or some other religion or even "atheist". Yeah, the world loves labels and when someone questions the existence of labels the world freaks out. Thus, when the book is named as "VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS" I heard many people asking me the question why I am reading it in the first place and some suggested I should keep myself away from such demeaning thought process and for that very reason, I read the book. 

I am recently hearing a lot of religious factions propagating their own things and in all ways and means, I am afraid that I do not seek nor heed to the conventional thinking of practicing idol worship or any symbolism per say. Although, I do perform some minimal rituals I do not do them for any ritualistic orgasm more so for the people who feel happy when they get to know I do it. So I am "selfish" but not "selfless" as per my ethics, my happiness lies in others happiness and not in any ritual. So there lies the answer to the need for ethics. 

The book began wonderfully with the chapter "The Objectivist Ethics" and explains why ethics are an objective necessity against a subjective luxury. 

I quote from the book 

The avowed mystics held the arbitrary, unaccountable “will of God” as the standard of the good and as the validation of their ethics. The neo-mystics replaced it with “the good of society,” thus collapsing into the circularity of a definition such as “the standard of the good is that which is good for society.”

Also, I subscribe totally to this paragraph

It is not men’s immorality that is responsible for the collapse now threatening to destroy the civilized world, but the kind of moralities men have been asked to practice. The responsibility belongs to the philosophers of altruism. They have no cause to be shocked by the spectacle of their own success, and no right to damn human nature: men have obeyed them and have brought their moral ideals into full reality.

So, the world that we live in is filled with the terrorist of all sorts and they are not amoral but their morals are different and challenging and the responsibility lies with the philosophers than the executors of the acts. 
Thus, I believe this book although written in 1964 resonates even today and I firmly believe that Rand's philosophy is applicable to the current times.

In the next chapter that is "Mental Health versus Mysticism and Self-Sacrifice" that is written by Nathaniel Branden, he totally condemns the thought of self-sacrifice. When a mom says "I sacrifice my time to get my kid ready", then the question that triggers is does she want to be a mom who readies her kid or is she forced to do so?

From the book, I quote 

Do mystics declare that all they demand of man is that he sacrifices his happiness? To sacrifice one’s happiness is to sacrifice one’s desires; to sacrifice one’s desires is to sacrifice one’s values; to sacrifice one’s values is to sacrifice one’s judgment; to sacrifice one’s judgment is to sacrifice one’s mind—and it is nothing less than this that the creed of self-sacrifice aims at and demands.

Okay now I will stop quoting from the book, I already gave away 3 paragraphs and giving away anything more would not do justice for a book that is worth not just buying and reading but also keeping and referring frequently.

Ayn Rand is ruthless is making her point from start to end. She never gets carried away from the context and makes her point firmly and that is what is amazing about this book. Never did I feel out of place or context. 

The essays “Psychology of Pleasure”, “Man’s rights” are sheer genius. Although the former was by Nathaniel Branden and the latter was by Ayn Rand herself, they are extremely well written. Every essay has its coveted place and overall flow of the book is terrific.

Despite the bluntness, if read with a rational mind, this book would be acceptable and will be appreciated as one of the finest books on philosophy and selfishness along with Rand’s another book “Philosophy: Who Needs It”

She is one of the best writers of the 20th century and by far the most influential in my life. 


A 5/5 for this wonderful book.

My review of "Philosophy: Who Needs It"

https://braddugg.blogspot.in/2017/09/philosophy-who-needs-it.html

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

SICARIO (2015) - ENGLISH

A flick that cannot be missed.

It gave me thrills and chills that were worth every moment. Although the film is driven mostly by conversations between cops, the anticipation of what action will those conversations lead to was higher. This is an action film that is layered with the desires of characters.

This film is a satisfying, engaging inspection of the drug war with no specific format/rules, driven by superb performances. Benicio Del Toro is one of my favorite actors and he has done a superb job here. I saw Emily Blunt for the first time and I was totally taken aback by her meaty performance. Kurt Russell played his part nonchalantly and a true professional. Others did their job meticulously I must say. Even the Mexican kid who hardly comes for a shot did so well that I was convinced that all the action was real. Nothing feels staged or rehearsed. Kudos to director Dennis Villeneuve for making this film this way.

The opening scene begins with a capture trial and ends with an explosion, from that moment on the film was set to be driven by intensity. There is hardly a dull moment in the film and to say the least, most of the film was riveting. Screenplay by Taylor Sheridan is terrific. It leads from one scene to another beautifully and finally ends in a real conflict. Even the last shot, where a kid is waiting for his father to return had something to say.

Cinematography by Roger Deakins was spectacular. Yes, the scenes, they can be on road, in a tunnel or a conversation between characters, it was all done neatly and the camera never missed a beat. That's what made me engage more into the film. The sound design was par excellence, the shootings, the talks, the silence, everything was designed to drive the emotion. The technicalities are driven by emotions which in turn are driven by the film itself. And this immersion of each department into the film made this film special.

Of all, I loved Benicio Del Toro in the film. A 4/5 for a powerful film on drugs, cops and more.

About Me

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I firstly declare here that all the content written in the blog is exclusively written by me and I hold the copyrights of each and everything. Be it a poem or a movie review. Also, the videos or photographs I upload or attach are exclusively owned by me. This declaration is important in a world that seems so worried of piracy. The prime purpose of these blogs is to put my writings and photographs on the net. and well to start with.... I live in my mind, and existence is the attempt to bring my thoughts into physical reality, I celebrate myself, sing myself and I am always happy in my own company.....I am not the best in the world but I strive for excellence and thats what keeps me alive... Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself--Friedrich Nietzsche