Monday, December 26, 2011

DROWNED BENCH

A bench infront of my room in Tampa, Florida, USA. Loved the variations of green and water ripples.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

OUR HOSPITALITY (1923) - ENGLISH


One of the best trips and one of the earliest trips too in the most funniest vehicles.

Oh yes, this my most recent film and the second earliest film, I have seen (earliest being 1921 Charlie Chaplin's 'The Kid'). It has a whole range of vehicles from a cart, a cycle, a train, a donkey and a glimpse of Rocket prototype, all are too very funny to notice and our hero John Mckay (Buster Keaton) is even funnier. He is the shortest male character who runs and runs from the villains. 

This is not contemporary 1923 film but is set in 1830's and that in itself brought out a humorous production design and art director must have been laughing when did a cycle or a train design.

Everything is out and out funny and the moments just keep coming. His genius is written in most of scenes if not all. When vilains are searching for him, a waterfall saves him wow, can something be more creative than that to cover him. 

Buster Keaton has an originality that is very pristine that even Chaplin and Welles adored him for the way he carried out a film. That is very well shown in this film, selecting the time period make things look funny intentionally and the characters are so very stereotypical, we will not have sympathy but we will have a word that says, "let him have it". The one scene rather frame in which he expresses love to the heroine is enough to know how funny he was. 

Keaton stunts, I must mention are tough for in those days there was noting at hand except physical body which took a lot of strain and he did them all effortlessly (at least that is how it seems) and with a lot of courage, kudos to him in all terms. 

This film was remade as "Maryada Ramanna" in telugu which was a very disappointing and serious take for a film that is extremely funny.

All salutations to Buster Keaton.

For this, it's 4/5. Please watch if you haven't coz it may be the funniest trips you have ever done on screen.

Oh no, there is "THE GENERAL" for me which I will review later.

PAINTING BY SKY

Twilight, after sunset at Majorda Beach, Goa, India

Saturday, December 24, 2011

BRAVEHEART (1995) - ENGLISH


Titles, money, gold!! Slaves are made out of these not free men.

A dialogue that relates to all living today who aspire for the afore mentioned three. We are made slaves and most are in fact leading a life of slavery under the veils of freedom.

A movie that is like a cliched warrior story if you have seen Benhur, Spartacus and one thats designed Barry Lyndon may not be a good watch but this rises with a Brave Heart, the script has got all in it to make it a perfect piece of cinema that compromises a little but nevertheless, breathes it's heart out. It's one heck of war and period film that I would rate as a must see for costume designers, for art directors and for cinematographers who aspire to make a period film. And for all others, its a story that is of inspiration that's made with a courage.

To attempt to see such a long film in itself these days is an act of bravery I must say, coz we are men who don't have patience and who want everything steadfast. But all accolades to Mel Gibson who in nearly 3 hours has shown his passion and exemplified by showing glory. 

The Battle of Stirlington, or aWar of Filkark, those are war pieces that will stand the test of time in cinema history and may be regardes as a finest depiction of the gore the pain that war is. 

Acted supremely well by all,  this is easily one of the best textbooks of showing controlled emotion just with eyes at times. The music supplements the emotion and thanks to James Horner for the music that he gave. I have this movie in my OST collection too. 

Few scenes like the affair between Wallace and Isabella or the king throwing off Phillip may have been cut and even the length may not make everyone its admirer so a tad short and this will be easily watchable by many more is what I believe. But still,  a greatly made movie in all its near three hours running time. 

My rating is 4/5. Blu ray just made this one so better to see. Thanks to the transformation too.

DISPERSED LIGHT

Morning rays in a forest in Karnataka, India

Friday, December 23, 2011

IN HER THOUGHTS

The nuances I embrace on her thought
Shall be sheer joy in her presence
The cheers I relish in her sought
Shall be mere pain in her absence


I need her to be in me 
Even though she is far away
So I can be what I want to be
To sing her songs, in her love I sway


In her dreams, wish I shall fade
Before I do, in her loss
In her thoughts, wish I shall be
When I shall happily pass away

HUGE BREED

Cascade is what we try to do 
Escape, is what we end up with
Reveal, is what we cannot do
Steal, is what we wind up with


Stray into delusions we tend to
Stay in focus is what we pretend to
Right is what we all want 
Might is what we intend to 


To walk into life as an unknown
And then explore the mysteries
Is a quality that is seldom shown
By those, who shall be part of histories


To act, is what we shall not heed
To stay and relish is what we just need
To lead, there are very few
To follow, there is a huge breed

Thursday, December 22, 2011

THE WRESTLER (2008) - ENGLISH


To be alone in old age or to wrestle at that age which is more painful?

The Wrestler is for Mickey Rourke. He is Randy "The Ram" Robinson and he played not just with a big heart but with a big body that took a lot of pain. Mickey, along with the director Darren Aronofsky (know for showing pain on screen) took me to one of the most painful trips and made me roam if at times in blood then at times in tears. surely this to my memory is the most painful movie the earlier one being Requiem for a Dream by the same director. You cannot watch such films again and again coz they make you freeze and uncomfortable. I dare did it twice.

When Danny Boyle said he wanted to do a wrestler kind of movie, 127 hours was born. That's when my interest began and was shell shocked by how real the whole act was in this film. At the second watch, I say it's still the same feeling. My eyes became moist at last scene each time.

Writing is good coz it's a cliched tale but the way director had interpreted the whole thing is simply worth a watch. My salutations to Darren Aronofsky, one of the few men who shows us things as they are without fabricating them much.

I had not seen this movie in 2008 so cannot comment much on if Mickey should have got an Oscar as I did not see "The Milk" yet for which, Sean Penn won the award. But surely it was a performance of a lifetime and to bear it all was real tough job and Mickey simply was Randy The Ram in every frame. The climax again (I mean like his other movies) is left for viewers interpretation by Darren and I would leave it without much interpretation.

All my accolades to Darren for conceiving and telling a tale in the most painful way possible. And many more kudos to Mickey to having played it and it was a real resurrection for him too who was back as recently in 2005 after a hiatus of 15 years.

Technically, the sound design was awesome and the cinematography was just as expected, it was not over the board but could have been much better. The dialogues are very cliched so to say coz that's what the character is too, so no qualms there. The screenplay is superb and so is editing please see how both worked for a film like this. Over and above everything was the acting that was so very natural by everyone.

Thanks Darren for showing this to us. It's 4/5. But I am not sure if ever I will see this agony and pain again.

ANGEL OF INDEPENDENCE

A living statue in the heart of Mexico City, MEXICO.

LOOKING THE OTHER SIDE


THE CARETAKER ( A PLAY) - ENGLISH

An extract from the brochure, before I proceed with the review

On an autumn evening in London, Aston returns to his dilapidated apartment. With him, he has brought Davies, a homeless man who was involved in a fight on the streets. This unlikely pair struggles to understand each other, and as Davies gradually settles in and starts treating the place like his own house, tensions begin to rise. Mick, Aston's aggressive younger brother, initially sees this intruder as nothing more than a common thief. However, after both brothers offer Davies the job of caretaker, the situation becomes more and more intriguing.

The bottom line is "The Caretaker did not take care of the play well".

The caretaker played by Krishna Shukla did not seem to have deliver dialogues but just seemed to blabber. At times while shaking his legs and not knowing what to say and at times trying very hard to light a cigar pipe. I only wish he spoke well to convey what he wanted to the audience.

Directed by the UK based, Stu Denison his affinity and appreciation of language of UK and the way he wanted the whole accent to be UK English was very apparent and the actors tried too hard to stick with it. Specially by Krishna Shukla who was not so comfortable as I made out. Having said that, Tavish Bhattacharya as Aston performed exceedingly well and so did Rahul Premchander as Mick (Aston's younger brother).

Critiquing Shukla more, his body language seemed to have been trying to emulate the Charlie Chaplin's tramp and thus did not present an original Caretaker for me. Credit for extracting the way the actor performed must be given to the director, so I criticize Stu here.

Also, the sound design was not as good as yesterday's play "Being Eunuch". There were brief disturbances for good number of times and when the lights went off for a brief changeover, a music came which was not actually needed.

Having criticized Krishna Shukla and Stu, let me also appreciate Rahul and Tavish for their near spell binding performances. They were so very good each time they said a dialogue. Be it a lengthy monologue of Aston of how he became what he is now, or the kind of description and details that Mick shares, these two are seriously the best parts of the play.

As for the play, it's an absurd play or rather I will say, one that does not have a proper start or a finish. It's  characters too are extremely eccentric and so rare that most would never even encounter. But, the whole backdrop, the set in which the play takes place is very real. The set design was in fact very extravagant than needed, this could have been done by two beds and few things around instead of having a typical room is what I felt (but only after it got completed).

For nearly 2 hours, I did not even wink to see what I can make out of this play and trying to decipher what this play exactly meant, I could not take out a point. There were good things for sure but they were far too far for my comfort to call this even as a watchable. There were glimpses of the genius, like when Mick as Davies (rather Jenkins) his name and where he slept on repeatedly, but never a complete vision or sight of it.

I have no problem or inhibition about plays or movies that do not have a point as a whole, but to convey what each character wants to convey, let the dialogues be completely clear, to at least understand a few points. Specifically, dialogues by Caretaker have to be much clearer.

If other plays ended in a whiff, this seemed too long which I must confess is a reflection of how uninteresting the whole act was.

The most distracting thing was people popping out their SLR cameras to capture everything that went on stage. I hope the audience had better manners. Though cell phones were switched off for most part of this theatre festival, I could hear in this very play many ringtones, and even the crumbling of chairs, a real distraction.

Am happy to have watched these 3 plays and have learnt new things. Now, will make it a point to watch interesting or reputed plays.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

BEING EUNUCH (A PLAY) - HINDI

Before I begin reviewing what I witnessed today, let me write a brief extract from the brochure I got about this play.

Eunuchs (HIJRAS) are castrated males or transsexuals or hermaphrodites who have been rejected by their families. The existence of Hijra's can be dated back to the 9th Century BC. The word derived from the greek meaning "keeper of the bed". Hijras often live in close communities, setting up their own "family" networks of motherhood, daughterhood and sisterhood. All identify themselves as females. India is the only country where the tradition is prevalent today.


Nishumbita presents a play that tries to highlight the plight and agony of being a eunuch and tries to answer few of these questions.

Coming to the play, it's driven purely by acting. Shanno Nayak (played by Keshav Deepak) simply rules the roost and is one of the best reasons to go and see the play. Terrific acting and terrific carry of emotion and great variations, you have to control and then immediately blast out on stage, that is in front of a live audience which is a real tough thing.

It's a concept that most would shy away from watching, because sadly we are still under preconceived notion of being accosted even when Hijras come on stage. It's a sad notion but what makes this a very emphatic play is it's script written by Late Krishna Madhav and superbly acted by all the actors.

Beginning with the Hijra's history then their daily life, it's a story of how Bansi becomes Mona, a guy becoming a eunuch. The reasons of why he becomes one are not shown or spoken about. He just tells that he wants to become one. The life of a eunuch, what happens when they get on road and how people try to get rid them as quickly as possible.

Bansi, a guy comes to Shanno Naik's territory and her own Lanka where Shanno is the Raavan and confesses that he wants to become a eunuch, she has a background and a promise to help her friend Laccho, accpets his appeal after deliberations by her own girls and then makes Bansi as Rani.
Meanwhile, the life of Shanno's girls is shown in glimpses as to how they are treated when they go to beg, what they generally talk about when together. Now, rani gets a match and before the wedding she has to go thru Nirvaan (cut the male thing out) and then become a complete eunuch. She is named Mona, a complete eunuch. After her marriage, she is betrayed by the man, but nevertheless, persuades Shanno's eunuchs to seek other things in life and stop begging and that changes their life. (this is just a briefing of the play)

Acting by Ravi Raj as Govindraju, who claims to marry Rani (the hijra turned Bansi) was something that was out of place  and in fact the only point where it was not apt in terms of acting.

And the monologue by Preeti (Krishna Chaitanya) was a terrific one that demanded applause.

A note about the sound design, it was very well done, from a song at beginning to the climax, it was all very well constructed. And yes, it was Warriors of Heaven and Earth for the climax and an interlude, but it was all well made up and was sync with the scene. So thanks for making me delve into my past.

A word of appreciation for the director for getting all these together.

Few questions, that I would like to know answers are

1) Preeti vows to Yellamma (the God of Hijras) that she will destroy the whole clan that Shanno Nayak has brought. But though the clan almost collapses, never was Preeti shown as a reason behind it. If it was not to be done that way, the why let Preeti take a very strong vow?

2) As I have said, there was no reason shown as to why Bansi wants to become a woman and rather a Eunuch but Mona (as Bansi has become Mona) comes all guns blazing at the society and blaming society for the sole reason for her becoming a eunuch. Mona calling the society as a "Fucking Society" was completely uncalled for. Was she telling that society was the reason for eunuchs becoming beggars (of a different kind) as society has disowned them, or is that society was being blamed for becoming the reason for a man becoming eunuch, some clarification please. There was no justification shown for "how has society turned an evil into making eunuchs out of men". In fact, I must state, that when Bansi was asked if she was turning a Hijra by her own free will (at the time of Nirvaan) she says an emphatic yes which means that she has become one by her own choice and not by any other reason. So why was the society blamed?

Despite the shortcomings, it's a play that has completely enthralled me and I would recommend a watch simply for Shanno Nayak's portrayal.

Now, coming to the writer, Krishna Madhav Holagundi (I heard of this name only today), of whom I got to know that he passed away on April 18th 2011. Though I had no idea of him earlier, he seemed so very close to me. My eyes just became moist and there were tear drops once I heard that he was no more. This is unreal, a feeling for a man, whom you knew just today and that too posthumously. He made a play that did not move me but surely made me happy. After watching, I just came out with a feeling of having watched a movie that I would remember for long.

Monday, December 19, 2011

BUSINESS IS WAR (A PLAY) - ENGLISH

I wish I had a snap to put here.

It's my first play I saw in my life. Can you believe it, I never saw a professional play till date. At least I can't believe this.

Now, Business is war is a comedy play about an Advertising Agency called Cut N Paste and how the leader of it, George wins over clients. Acted very well by George (don't remember who played it), this is a good play for sure but it has moments of sluggishness.  It's comical but not satirical, it's imitable and in fact a few scenes are inspired from our very own Bollywood film scenes. Like women falling to give a tiffin box each to George. Even a few dialogs are typically filmy.

Writing is good by Deepak Morris and so is the direction by Riyaz Usman. But if acted well and had a few scenes taken care this play would have a real wonderful treat.

Coming to the name "Business is War" only one symbolism was shown in a dialog but there is no interpretation of the play like a Business being shown explicitly and how it is made as a war. The conflict here is not between one company and the other but how to win over a client by doing anything.

Few things are not in scope of a Play like Cinematography or Dubbing or even there is no cut and a retake. It's all spontaneous and the more you rehearse, the better it turns out generally. I knew these things earlier but got to see them just today.

So it was a happy one hour but I felt it could have been so much better. Most importantly, it was done by Infosys, an Indian Software Company and I hope something like this comes out in my organization too.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

THE LADY VANISHES (1938) - ENGLISH


Thrilling like a Hitchcock film but this has humor that's unlike Hitchcock.

Considered as one of his best movies, this movie is not as riveting as his other thrillers but still stands on it's own niceties to be called one good ride. Shot mostly on train, you do not know till half an hour into the film what this journey would be. There are people stuck, then they get on train and then the real fun begins. I am very doubtful of the beginning of the movie coz it was very long to bring to us the suspense unlike any of his other films.

What is this about, is a Lady who disappears  id way just to throw in as a surprise later and then again goes off. Based upon a novel The Wheel Spins, the wheels of train that are shown for symbolism and the wheels do stop for a very obvious ending (coz I did predict it). 

It's very well acted by all the characters. This was the very first movie I think where Cricket was discussed by 2 englishmen, I mean the earliest. The sub plots of a couple looking for divorce, of a Doctor and his case, of a Magician all are tuned into the script to make it more engaging. But the whole point of what this Lady does and where she is from and why is she so important are all questions that are so very underplayed. That's the trademark of Hitchcock "don't show the obvious ever, whats the point if you blow up the bomb that would kill the suspense". These acts fare very well for the movie and make it an interesting watch.

I had absolutely no knowledge of this and have watched it for the first time and it was a good one, if not a great one. I am very doubtful if I would revisit this. The best part I thought of this film was Sound design that captured the real sound of a moving train in the background and giving us the dialogue clear enough (dialogue was dubbed of course and the train sound was just added to it).

So far so good, a 3/5 for surely a good movie by the master of suspense. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

THE DIRTY PICTURE (2011) - HINDI


"If fruits are big, it doesn't mean they have to be tasty." One of the dialogues in the film goes very well with film.

Big films need not be completely great and small and mid-budget films need not be tasteless either.

Based on the life of Silk Smitha, this film takes a sneak peek into an actress life who got men rolling in 1980's in almost her every appearance (irrespective of the time she was on screen)

A few lines about Silk Smitha before I proceed with the review. A seductress by choice, she got the name and credit she earned in her own way when men were ruling the roost with action. She was not a forced actress, she did things freely and seduction was in her voice and in her every move on screen. The most memorable film of hers for me is  Sadma (Moondram Pirai in Tamil and Vasanthakokila in Telugu). So that's about Silk Smitha, the woman who was termed vulgar by the then hypocrites.

Now, coming to dirty picture. What it has is, Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment (not in the real sense) in terms of Vidya Balan.  I must say, she has single handedly given life to a lackluster script that has good dialogues but it suffers by too many unimportant small things being detailed.

Rajat Aroraa's many dialogues are noteworthy and if some are straight in the face, some are twisted with humour, for most dialogues I laughed. The good thing is that for most part the movie does not take itself seriously. Only in that last half an hour or so, it changes its point. From an entertainment queen, she is turned into something that brings the inevitable end. Did Silk Smitha die? Oh sure she did but the way she did was shown simplistically in the climax (I liked it), a great change for Hindi films where every climax has to be big and loud (as per a set norm).

Please spare Mr. Tusshar Kapoor and keep him out of any film please, he is a complete misfit. Nasseruddin Shah was his natural self. Emraan Hashmi, I must say had done his job well. Actually, I was very apprehensive watching an Emraan Hashmi film on screen because it would be complete waste of time. But here he did it well and yes his character was very liked by me, he played a hypocrite as a one who knows what's hypocrisy is all about. Now, the only reason for which you should watch this movie is Vidya Balan.

She deserves all the best actress awards next year. She exposed for the character while other actress expose to show themselves in the name of "script demands it". Here, we have a script that truly demanded what Vidya did and she came out in flying colors. All my appreciation to her. I shall now say, she is the best actress we have around and use her properly please and she will deliver extremely superb acting for sure. I would dare say, she is Smitha Patil or Shabana Azmi of today.

For the film, the editing and sound design please are two departments that I think are un touched and very bad that are a big let down. Art direction is very good and cinematography is mediocre. This script had a lot of scope for using camera but I believe camera was very minimally used. So all these, got the movie to a mediocre level. But, Vidya Balan covered most of the shortcomings.

As of today, I rate it 3/5 a movie a good one for Vidya Balan. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

PEEPLI LIVE (2010) - HINDI


Easily one of the best satires in a long time.

Well, will Natha die or not? what if he dies and what if he doesn't. What a way to capture things and the dialect of a small town story that we don't even consider news in our daily news. Making reporters as caricatures, his family members as helpless, politicians as the corrupt and Natha as a scapegoat for a well written satire is great. 

It begins with two farmers running around to save their land and in the end they lost more than that. Acted very well by all, even the grandma who sleeps on the hand made cot screams as if it's very natural to her. All over, naturality prevails in the movie which is really refreshing and surely we do not see many movies that show our villages as seen in Peepli Live in all their colors. There are many good thing with respect to the movie and it's one rare small piece that we treasure in our memory for a long time. 

I also, cheered Natha to be alive and fight against the system but its very mean of me to expect such a thing from a petty farmer who does not understand the system well. When people are talking politics, he just looks at eggs on the table. When he is being interviewed, he is so very enthusiastic to believe his death will bring glory.  

For Omkar Das Manikpuri as Natha, hail him as an actor and would love to see more of him, which sadly I have not been given a chance by our great Hindi Film Industry people who are behind glamour, money (for example take this year's Bodyguard, Mere brother ki Dulhan, Ra One or even the Dirty picture all movies I refrained from watching).

I would go with 4/5 for a movie that is satirical in a very good way and has an ending that still makes me think why farmers are shying from farming.

Monday, December 5, 2011

VIVAHABHOJANAMBU (1988) - TELUGU


Sorry, its a meal but not as great or as complete as Jandhyala's other movies which have been feast of characters. 

It took me back by many years technically again, very badly edited and very badly captured and the close ups make up is really irritable and we wish to have more long shots of few characters. When there were Blade Runners and Indiana Jones being made in Hollywood, we had parallel films in Hindi Film Industry and by this time other film industries have been emerging technically, but do not know for what reason, was this movie so very bad technically. Technically, I mean is editing, cinematography, sound design, art direction and the overall production design. 

Most Jandhyala's movies have eccentric characters and terrific dialogue but fall way short technically. Now, let me come to writing, this movie dialogue is as good as his any others but the characters are so very varied and the plot is so very little. The actual plot of Rajendraprasad also seems to be a sub plot and Veerabhadra Rao and Brahmanandam's story telling seems to be the main one. 

Too many diversions in terms of characters and each one is as eccentric as the other. If one sets up Anti Women Association, the other sets up Anti Man Association, if one revels in telling stories, the other enjoys doing yoga, if one earns money by deceiving others being a policeman, his wife tires all to make herself a record holder. Man, if I go on the list is endless. Even Hanuman has been made comical in this and when asked a question he says, "I just say something in Sanskrit and disappear whenever I encounter a tough question".  Silly in many ways, but innovative in few. It's really a tough job to judge Jandhyala's movies coz we remember, not the story but the characters. 

I very seriously think, he had a character in mind and used to weave a plot around him and then turn into a script,. Dialogues are original but the plot is age old is his formula for many movies. 

I will go with 2/5 for a movie that has characters but not  really great characters whom you can for long remember. The master gave us much better movies and many memorable characters than this film has. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

THE LION KING (1994) - ENGLISH


To live life like a king, we must earn the throne.

Fight for the throne, achieve it and then you are the king. That's off course the climax of the movie but to get there, it takes a lot. I have a few personal memories of this film. Watching it in Sangeet theatre, feeling like Simba when back home. When I watch it today too, I got the kid out in me and was reveling in those memories. It's a simple story, made very well and oh yeah great photography and terrific music. In fact this is more a musical than an adventure.

Before PIXAR invaded the animation industry and when there was Walt Disney at the helm, this film was the best ever animated film and it still is in many ways. This has 2D animation and is drawn with lines unlike the PIXAR 3D animation and is completely based out of drawings and a typical storyboard where every small move has to be drawn. It took a lot of pain to detail for sure but the tougher job is to put them all together and make it what it stands today.  Kudos to directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff and thanks Disney again for giving us a movie to vie for and woo for.

Technically, a great film and it's made greater by the cinematography, the quality of animation, the story that's about the making of the king, a commonplace story though but will work on an emotional level. 
Today, i found few silly things, but will give them away as they also seem to fall in place. One specific scene I liked is Simba walking with the king Mufasa to learn a few things, a father son thing that works.

It's 4/5 for a great animation feature with a universal story.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

12 ANGRY MEN (1957) - ENGLISH


Life is not something to be decided in five minutes. Let's talk about it.

Well, the most important movie in terms of format and and in fact the best movie it terms of dialogue. 
This movie is completely unconventional in format and it's setting. 12 men discuss a case in a room, weird for a movie isn't it. How long can you sustain drama with a case, that's the point. Extremely well written and well acted, this is in fact a testimony of writing. All films have to be driven by writing more than anything else. Simply shot, the dialogue makes up for everything here. 

There are many things that could have been shown like it happens in other courtroom dramas, that is I mean the whole trial, the evidences, the arguments. But here, the trial is over only the judgement of the jury is pending which is 11-1 from the word go and in all expectation should have been 12-0 in favor of guilty. Now, that does not make a good character of the man who stood out. That 1 man has to influence all the 11 others to become an outstanding man from a mere standing out person. And that is what exactly happens. 

Good, in every which way you consider.  If you see it once, and I am sure if you watched it once, you will mostly be convinced by my argument it's the most Simply made movie that is great in all aspects. 

Henry Fonda, must be appreciated a lot for producing this and giving the job of direction to Sidney Lumet as his first movie. Greatly written by Reginald Rose as a play and then for the movie. All the greatness pertaining to this movie should be credited to the mentioned three names. Thanks for everyone who was a part of this film and made it what it is today. This is one of the most important films of my life as it triggered a thought of why don't I make a movie set in a room and that's just live talk. 

Oh yes, I waited for the longest time to get a Blu ray of this, and was very happy again with the quality., blu-ray just rocks and thanks for the transformation.

It's 5/5 for a movie that has stood the test of time and will be as great as ever even many years later.

Friday, December 2, 2011

MUTYALA MUGGU (1975) - TELUGU


A family tale told like an epic.  An epic of a movie but has its technical shortcomings.

"Madisannaaka Kosanta Kala Posana Undala" 

This one line describes the movie, yes being humans we need to have some artistic taste or values to have some flavor in life. There are many positives in a movie that was taken in a time when country was in emergency trouble and was transforming itself a great deal. When I saw this today, I found some relevance today too coz stil we crib about basic things with so much availability around and have grave infidelity complexes even though its just a simple phone call.

36 years later if still there is a relevance then certainly it must be considered as an epic. Had it been made with better technicians like a good cinematographer and a better editor and a good costume designer and yes all of the above better art director, this could have turned out to be the best movies ever made. But taking into view the time it was made, it is sill avery good attempt. 

Of course, silly things like Hanuman helping the kids, Joginaatham (Allu Ramalingiah) being bitten by monkey and acting like monkey and the iem song if I may call so are absolutely mt needed. The Hanuman element only made it look like modern day ramayana and nothing else, 

Few dialogues "Ikkade undi pondi mamagaru, naaku mugguru pillalu anukuntaanu" are really tear jerking and just if they roll down, let them flow. No much comedy except for introduction scene of Rao GopalRao.

I am very happy overall but would have loved it to be better. It's 4/5.

Moral of the story 'Sifarusulatho Kapuralu Chakka Badavu" - "Married lives cannot be set right by others recommendations".

Saturday, November 26, 2011

MY CAMERA - THE WOMAN I LOVE



I wanted to thank Canon and its team for what they gave me. And it's an ode about my camera which is now the woman in my life. I walk, care and in fact sleep with it now. My camera is CANON EOS 7D, the best affordable camera in market that has a crop size APSC sensor (for full frame 5D Mk 2 is best). I took it solely keeping in mind its video capabilities as I wanted to make short films before I make a feature film and this has produced remarkable results as a few shots in my short film BABU KOSAM. This has all good qualities and is the most useful camera for short film makers. I love it in all ways and will have it by all means. I would upgrade to 5D on a day when my feature film is confirmed.

I have the below lenses :

EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6


I lens that I did not like at the beginning but now I started to like. It's range from 18mm to 135mm makes it a must have wedding photography lens and a terrific lens to carry around. All shots that I took in my trip HIMALAYAS to BAY OF BENGAL are from this lens. One example is this


EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6

Easily the most affordable zoom that has very good optics and delivers great picture quality. It surely has an astronomical difference when compared with 55-250 mm lens that I used earlier. Later on, the L series lens got released with same specifications and I would like to have an L series one day but the aperture is 4 minimum and 2.8, I would love that. Let's see if canon releases something like EF 70-300mm f/2.8 L.

One photo I took from this lens is,


EF 100mm f/2.8 L



This is my L series lens so exceptional quality is what I did expect and got it whenever I tried it, my close ups in BABU KOSAM are an example of that (though very limited) and this is one lens I will keep for my life and I absolutely love it. 

Look at the below example for this.


EF 50mm f/1.8 II 



My latest addition and though I wanted to go for another L series, the 50mm f/1.2 L which cost 80K. I went for this only for price which is just 6K and I hope it does well. Will add a pic to this later on.

Thanks CANON my enhanced my love for photography.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011) - ENGLISH


What a fun, what a ride and alas it ended so very quickly.

Mind you, this is a steven Spielberg film and he worked with Peter Jackson in production design. So this film has to be great or at the worst level good, and it indeed is great for me. No drama, no romance, rather no girl in the whole film actually. It's a straight adventure that is reminiscent of Indiana Jones in many ways. 

I remember collecting TINTIN pages from the weekly magazine THE WEEK and making it into episodes. Alas, I lost those pages but I found him back again with this movie. 

Every frame is picture perfect and is very well crafted. Be it the first scene of the look of ship through mirror or last scene of finding the treasure, every frame is top quality. With production budget that this film has and the brains that worked for the film, the minimum expectation is awesomeness in every scene and then it has to rise above the script to be called as a great movie. Now, if the first 15 minutes sounded bore then this film is not for you coz that was just the build up and basis for what lies ahead.

Once Haddock enters, he takes the film hed on and makes it an adventure worth more than our money and time. Haddock, the captain who has a very typical accent came out in the best form and better than what I ever imagined. Best lines of the movie were by Haddock while the reactions for them by Tintin were mostly innocent and at times hilarious. 

Though it's a great watch, I still cannot say it's a must watch for all those unaware of existence of tintin and you need to be really patient for great moments on screen to happen.

Best aspect was animation and yes, it is the best animated movie I saw all this year and this may well receive the best animated film oscar. I also loved the way camera moved and the way and the way sets were designed.

The best scene in a Bike feat, the way Tintin hung to the wire just on handles, awesome. I loved it a lot and it was a laughter riot in theatre.

I would go with 4/5 for Tintin, this movie has to be watched for Haddock more than Tintin.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

THE LOST WEEKEND (1945) - ENGLISH


Will he quit drinking even if he convinces so at the end of the movie?
Is this considered as a noir film or not? Rather, what is a noir film if this is not.
Don Birnam, why is he addicted and does he drink only on weekends or on weekdays (Monday to Friday) too?

These were the questions I was left with when I watched this film for the first time two years ago. I found answers and and am convinced after a third time watch.

Will he quit drinking Even if he convinces so at the end of the movie? 
Ans: Does it really matter.
Is this considered as a noir film or not? Rather, what is a noir film if this is not.
Ans: No this not a noir film
Why is he addicted and does he drink only on weekends or on weekdays (Monday to Friday) too?
Ans: He surely has an addiction even on week day too. Reasons for addiction does not bother me as they can be any.

Don Birnam (Ray Milland) is an addicted alcoholic who thrives on it and strives for it. His every emotion be it his joy when he finds a bottled or his fears, they are shown in extremely novel style in a time as 1945 where still a movie on alcoholism was a taboo and alcohol drinking was still not so much in films. I am sure, this film has stylized drinking in a way too. Made in an post World War 2 time, the film has to be looked at historically coz this has great historical relevance. 

Sure, this has all the ingredients of a terrific drama and exactly that is what it turns out to be. It is made uncompromisingly and very very compellingly. Till the very end, we cannot figure out where the movie can lead to. This could have gone anywhere in the climax and the climax is a bit hurried coz it hushes things and ends too quickly to my dislike. I wanted to be savored but had to swallow.

This has very strong characters (only 4 important though) and yet you easily sustain a 90 minute drama.

I really was happy and surprised to have seen this. It's 3/5 for a film that is good in all ways but still does not rise above to be called great.

Monday, November 14, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY (2007) - HINDI

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

A message of Mahatma Gandhi, the line that begins the movie is all about the very essence of it. As per records, it's a 2004 film but it is sad to know that the release of this was delayed till Feb 9th 2007. Such is our censor board and government that was afraid of releasing a film that takes names of all involved in 1993 Bombay (now Mumbai) Blasts.

Bravo Anurag Kashyap for directing this uncompromisingly with a vison that is so very rare in an industry like us. It's surely the most courageous attempt to make a film on an account of a real crime happened in 1993. More kudos to Hussain Zaidi, the original writer of the book who wrote actual facts and presenting reason for each doing of a character.

The film is about investigation's done by Mumbai Cop Rakesh Maria (Kay Kay Menon) that unravels the Mumbai blasts plot setup by the dastardly un human Tiger Memon (Pawan Malhotra). Everything about the film is purely raw and makes you not audience but a participant of the activities happening on screen, they make you feel as a bystander on a blast as a silent observer of an investigation.

Everything is right about this movie, the emotions portrayed by the accused Asgar Muqadam or Badshah Khan or those by inspector Dangle or MN Singh everyone brought life to the character they played.

Anurag, the director captured every emotion be it trauma or a feeling of guilt or even of triumph everything was brought out well. The screenplay goes so very intelligently taking you through the whole incidents and the cinematography and art direction transform you to an era that you will believe is Bombay of 1993 where there were no mobile phones, no communication channels as email. And yet, so much was to be communicated in so little time from dubai to pakistan to india's bombay.

The best scene for me was Dawood's entry. It lasts hardly a minute but the impact it made was terrific.

The music, oh my god he used it so very effectively be it a Bharam Bhaap Ke or a Bande ( a subtle message oriented philosophical song for end credits) or the whole background music, just beautiful may be the right word.

The monochromatic red interrogation scenes make you feel eery and present an insight to the minds of all those doing it. All are great dialogues and apt ones but the most impact making one comes from Kay Kay when he describes that the culprits are actually victims.

The editing had to be sharper coz at 2 hours and 40 minutes, the viewer may tend to slip off but this drama held me so very tight that I watched it for 3rd time without moving elsewhere. Be it a theatre or my computer, it just makes me sit and watch. This is how a gripping drama should be told.

I dare say, in last decade, I have not seen a movie more raw, more realistic and more dramatic than this.

When I first saw this film on first day in Fame Theatre in Pune, I remember that hardly 10 people would have seen this. Such is our appreciation for a movie that's easily one of the best made films. Having said that, so be it as long as there are movie goers who are passionate in watching films, this shall be remembered.

I rate this 5/5 and give it best film made from 2000-2010. How many ever may come and go. This shall remain in memory for a long time, if seen once. This is the kind of film we should be nominating for every foreign award including oscars. Sadly, our government has a different view on such films that are straight telling and bold.

Thanks all for making it the film it stands today and I will revisit this again later.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

MAYABAZAR (1957) - TELUGU


No other Telugu movie has transcended the boundaries of language as this film did and it goes on.

If there is one telugu film to refer to say that it is the all time great of all, then this film in every sense does justice to the statement. It indeed, is seriously the best film technically, culturally and aesthetically. Acting is one heck that makes it a must watch and so is the music that will be alive even 100 years later. I love many songs today too and the tiles of most songs are later made as titles for other films. Now, we can understand how loved the film was to every telugu movie goer.

The story is not as though a tale taken from Mahabharata but a fable written by the writer Pingali Nagendra Rao and also Nagireddi and Chakrapani (both Reddy and Chakrapni are founders of Chandamama magazine too) but nevertheless its based on Mahabharatha.

If I were to simplistically write then this is about out how a man helps a girl elope and gets her married to a dear relative of his own. But this movie is not that simplistic it's multi layered and comes out in many folds as we go about each character. What's more astonishing is that Ghatothkatcha (who is the main character of the whole film) comes an hour into the film and takes this film head on and gives us a really enthralling performance.

The movie is slow for today's times but perfect and infact you will crave for more after the completion of it. Such is the magic of this film, just terrific and enjoyable. The cinematography by Marcus Bartley (I suppose the greatest cameraman ever for Telugu films) is so awesome like we wonder how those scenes were made possible in 1957 when there was no CG or computer or any other equipment apart from a camera. Man, he must have been god to create illusions as they were shown in the film.

Everyone did their best from writing to editing to sound design to every aspect of the film. There has since not been a movie that can beat this in all departments in Telugu atleast.

I have both the Black and White and the Colour DVD's but I prefer to go with B & W. It's lengthier and pristine so that helps the magic live longer. Having said that, the colour conversion is done well and I was very happy with the fact that this film was being re released.

I bet, that most films made in those good old days of Telugu are much better and much relevant than the crap being made today.

I will go with 5/5 for this movie that will ever be called the best of all Telugu movies.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

ANBE SIVAM (2003) - TAMIL


Love is God. Truth is God. This film stands for love and truth.

Titled as Anbe Sivam (Love is God in Tamil) and as Satyame Sivam (Truth is God in Telugu). This movie is about 2 characters Anbarasu (Satyanand in Telugu) and Nalla Sivam (Sada Sivam in Telugu).

There is lot to speak about this film but I will put it all succinctly and I would like everyone to watch this film. Go through one of the most profound philosophical journeys of Indian films and it may make you feel happier, my very sincere request for every film viewer.

The journey begins amidst floods in Bhubneshwar and ends in Chennai. But how did they make and what have they learnt of each other. How did Nalla get scars on his face and what is love for each of these two protagonists. It questions a lot of beliefs and infact very authentically answers most of them. Most questions are by Anbe while most answers are by Sivam. There is a lot of metaphor hidden behing every thing in this film. Like the painting, Sivam does in an office. There is lot of hidden meaning which can be interpreted in multiple ways. But this is it, Truth is God and there is no so called God if there are no good humans. There is a god in every good human. Now, what is good, this abstraction is enhanced into objectivity by bringing in situations so important to each.

Now, acting is top notch by both and so is music (though it brings in a kind of Enigma feeling). Lyrics, I must say are superb for Tamil and even Telugu versions. My favorite line is this

TAMIL :
"aaththigam paesum adiyaarkeLLaam sivamae anbaagum
aaththigam vaesum naLLavarukkoe anbae sivamaagum"

TELUGU: 
"Aastikulaina hitulandariki sivame satyamata
Naastikulaina Snehithulaku Satyame Sivamanta"

I like it in Telugu, the meaning is:

For all those good theists, god is truth
For all my atheist friends, truth is god

I being an atheist, I believe more in human values than in traditions and the abhorrent customs set by our predecessors. I neither value them nor follow them but yes surely, I have highest respect for humans and their peace and happiness.

Technically, editing should have been better and cinematography had a lot of scope but camera was used very miserly to enhance beauty of scenes. Nevertheless, since I first saw it. I keep visiting this movie very often (say 2 times a year) and will continue to do so.

It's 4/5 for a movie rich in characters and philosophy and even subtle humour. Kudos, to Kamal Haasan, the genius who gave such a wonderful script along with Madan.

Monday, October 31, 2011

WHERE IS THE FRIEND'S HOME? (1987) - PERSIAN


Simplest of the stories can be told movingly if told with a good heart. 

I never watched an Iran movie and always refrained coz they are extremely sentimental is what I read about them and that kept me away from them. 

My premonition came true with this, it moved me in every way for the kid, when he ran through the streets to find out where his friend his, when he met an old man whom gave him what he should be, when he persuaded his mother to go out and return his friend a book, I can see that but my heart was always in the boy and with the boy, I wanted him to win and return the book.

The opening and ending are strange for me, coz the boy whom I thought is the main hero comes and goes in few frames but the whole story is about his friend but I would say it's this boy, who is seldom seen is the protagonist coz he drove the whole story while his friend was just running for him. 

Technically, this is not great coz camera is simplistic and there are no production qualities. Also, so much could have been edited out that is still a part of the movie. Like the way this boy persuades hi mother is itself 6 minutes. But it's neither slow nor boring coz of a stronger and a curious story. The dialogues I understood through subtitles seemed apt. Acting is terrific and I would give the boy a special gift.

I heard of this film, when my FTII (film institute ) friend referred this and I must say, this is a typical FTII movie, its an easy watch but hard to digest. I am better off not watching Irani movies coz I cannot just keep wiping off my eyes, i did that 4-5 times in this 75 minute film. 

Abbas Kiarostami, the director should be credited for all that he did and in fact he is now one of the very few heart ful directors who has a heart more than a mind.

It's 4/5 for a movie that moved me extremely.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

MALENA (2000) - ITALIAN


We grow up on dreams and then dream to grow.

Before reviewing this film I would share my personal account related to this. In college, adolescent movies, porn used to be discussed and when I was in one such discussion a friend told that he was fascinated by this movie. I downloaded it and privately watched it alone expecting this to be a very evocative and a sexual movie. Now it was all to my surprise, it turned out differently. A week later, I showed this movie to my friend Raghuveer.  Initially, he was interested in nude scenes (coz I got to know of this only through him) but once the film began, we both completed it. And after a week when I called him to know what he was doing, he just said, he was dreaming and thinking only of Malena. That was the impact. I got back to this 2 years later while in job but the reaction was the same by my other friend. Now today when I watched it, I was again satisfied coz this is one of the most compelling stories that stood out in time.

Hmm, to review this movie is a tough job for me coz it's difficult to judge what you love the most. I love Monica Bellucci thoroughly in the movie and while younger, fantasized about her the same way Renato did in the movie. It's a story of how cruel beauty is to self and how beautiful it is to the eyes of the beholder. Malena's only curse is she is beautiful in a village filled of demons. 

It is one of the most simple stories told and still it kept me going because the way camera works and each scene be it an adolescent or a court room fight, or even a dream sequence just made me feel something if at times happy then at times sad and in fact very angry. So each scene did move me, they touched me for sure and that's where the writing of the screenplay is a winner. Mind you, it is based on a short story and this can be anywhere and at anytime. Though based on world war 2 in Italy, the theme is universal, it's of abuse and how beauty is used.

A kid has a dream but is still helpless and most adults are powerful but devoid of compassion. While in movies, nudity comes as an X factor or for publicity it is very precisely used here to take the story forward and rather substantiate the theme. 

The music by Ennio Morricone grips you and empathizes with the characters emotions be it a chase on a cycle or a song La Amore, they are very aptly placed and used. The way camera moves tells you what the whole village is talking and what each character is about. The art direction takes you back to the time of world war 2. So everything is done well but acting by Giuseppe Sulfaro (son of the director Giuseppe Tornatore) is terrific. I think, since the director could not romance Monica, he let his son do just like a scene where the father takes the son to brothel when he realizes his son has grown up. And Monica is quite a revelation with silence she spoke a lot.

Spare the nudity please, if that was not there this could just be another story.

Thank you Tornatore for such a compelling film and thank you for showing Monica Bellucci as the ultimate beauty whom every man should crave for.

It's 4/5 for this one. Many may not like it but I will go with Malena any day.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

SHATRANJ KE KHILARI (1977) - URDU


If we are engrossed in one thing then it's good not to think of anything else.

I could have easily written that the language is Hindi, since the milieu of the story is from Lucknow and is mostly in Urdu and partly in English, I gave it accordingly. In terms of language, this fim is very unlike of any other Satyajit Ray film as most are Bengali. But in terms of authenticity it has surely Ray's vision and is up there to match up the standards.

Set in 1856 Lucknow, the story is about the last king of Awadh, it questions the ethnicity and the political will of the then british empire. Played by Amjad Khan who brings out a fine performance and in fact all the performances are just in place even the one scene of Farooq Sheikh where he gives a blank expression is also done very well.  I loved every actor here but Amjad Khan stood out for me as the fat bumpy king who is oblivious to everything apart from his personal indulgences.

Shot exquisitely simply in comparison to any period film, the film is very strong in drama and holds you to see if war will happen and it may disappoint you if you expected it to be a movie on freedom struggle. The pathos that the movie evokes does not bring tears to eyes but brings thoughts to minds, wasn't british so much better than such kings. 

Munshi Premchand, on whose story the movie was based is in fact one of the most sarcastic writers in hindi and his sarcasm is hidden, he laughs at a society that lives in oblivion and disowns everything but self interest. 

Coming to the title, it's very symbolic if there are two games that will make you forget everything else and will become an addiction the they are the playing card games or chess and this is what symbolises, our two main story tellers are addicted so much that even though there is a british army walking to capture Awadh, they play chess under the tree.

It's simple yet strong and very daunting memory of Satyajit Memory may be with you for a long time to come. 

It's 3/5 that is good. Our master Satyajit ray made many better movies

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

127 HOURS (2010) - ENGLISH


I am surprised that I did not yet write a review of this film that is true honest and uncompromising.

It's a bore, un engaging, we saw this many times, yeah he is triumphant but we lost our time. These were the words I heard most from those who saw it coz that's not what it is for me.

It is one of the honest stories I have seen all through last year and even as I saw it now, I could not hold myself from scratching my cheeks hard when the amputation scene came. It's one of the best voyages undertook and our hero Aron has not actually won it but he had to lose something to win life. And that something is priceless.

Aron is an adventurer who frequently ventures into the national parks of UTAH(that's one state of USA I missed last visit and in fact the state that has most national parks.) UTAH is known for it's very Red Indian life style, it's very lively people. But here, most of the movie is shot in canyon, the whole movie is shot in landscapes and specifically only one cliff in the Blue John Canyon.

The way it is shot is so very thrilling that I got everything for minuscule to a macro, just by camera movement.
The camera is everywhere, coz we get to know of the tape moving in the video recorder and the drops sprinkling inside the water bottle. Man, the camera work is a lesson to learn and will let us know how to make a simple movie interesting with such great work. Also, the shot has to be placed perfectly placed so I credit the editor for this for he had a very sharp scissor.

Major Credit must be given to James Franco who played the role of the real life star Aron Ralston. The scene in which Aron reaches for the sun light when he is stuck is so terrific and the emotions are so very well portrayed. I can see the pain and the joy at once.

Now, this is one of the very best Blu-rays I have and it's because all the landscapes, the slot canyons, the water jumps, the background music are made so terrific by two things. 1) Cinematography 2) Audiography.

Now, Danny Boyle who perceived this film and made it with conviction has to be praised for bringing out a triumphant story and triumph is actually what we crave for in every story we watch. If the whole of the movie did anything, it just touched me and moved me. Thank you Danny for bringing to light a story worth telling yet again to screen. Thank you very much.

It's 4/5 for a movie that's a must watch without a pause or a break.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011) - ENGLISH


Travelling on streets is good but travelling in time is marvelous.

I have heard of time travel in the film Shining but saw it happen one time after another in this film. Aptly titled, this film is about the mysterious life in paris that revels in nostalgia. It still has the fragrance of those great artists that adored this great city from a Picasso to Hemingway to so many.

Now there is our protagonist Gil Pender who loves the 1920's  and very fluidly travels to 1920 and makes connections with the artists. Actually, there is not much of a story, but everything pops up in between, there is an artistis desire, there is infidelity there is an envy about another man and there is love for multiple woman. But all of that said, it's a journey of an artist.

Oh, did I mention that this is a Woody Allen film, yes it is and its very Allenish. Now there can't be a movie without Allen so our hero Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is the Allen of the film who is very subconsciously driven and speaks out long sentences that make little meaning to others (but I could make out what he meant). He dreams, and when he realizes he seems so very lost, he does not know what to do and again gets lost. He just knows, he wants to stay in Paris. His every move evokes love for the great city.

The art direction if anything is superficial and I envy every bit of it coz the hollywood for every story have superb technicians and the way they use technology is simply superb. The cinematography is simple for few scenes like a chat between the characters and terrific when it has to bring paris alive. Yes, certainly Paris is a character of the movie and right in the first few frames I realized this and in fact those first shots were the best of the movie in terms of showing paris. Did I tell there is infidelity as common theme as in an Allen movie.

All through, I can see Allen and his hope for bringing out yet another film that says Art for Art's sake and he succeeds yet again and he cannot fail coz there is a protagonist so strong in him that we can vie for and woo for. We surely want him to simply follow his dreams.

It's a charming and an enchanting film nevertheless but it's not a story that we shall for long remember I believe. It did not engage me much in terms of screenplay or characterization to say so except for the enticement caused by the camera.

Hail Allen, I give it 3/5. A good one to go for sure.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

About Me

My photo
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