Sunday, December 28, 2014

UGLY (2014) - HINDI



A terrific film and as per me one of the finest works of Anurag Kashyap.

I am a fan of Anurag Kashyap whom I fondly term as the "Silver lightning of Indian Film Industry". There are films, there are movies, but only few carry some real stories that is devoid of the commercial norms of the industry. He is a true storyteller and for him cinema carries a reflection of culture. Most of his films have been a reflection of the society and Ugly shows the ugly side of our society. Also, I love him probably because he showcases the unspoken truths of our society. From drugs to lust to greed for money and power, he touches upon the dark subjects and that's what makes him stand out in the mob of directors.

Also, he fights for what is right, without thinking of the commerce and the monetary aspects. Though this film was showcased world wide way back in 2013, this film got released only now because he did not want the "Cigarette Smoking is Injurious" warning to be put whenever a character is smoking. He dared the government, health ministry for that, yet the film got released with the warning. I only hope that the government heeds and agrees that warning is not needed and is ineffective. I am a quitter of smoking, but I am for the removal of such stupid warnings that compromise with the integrity of story telling. They act as distractions to the cinephile and I being one, do not like them.

Coming to the film Ugly, it's beautifully captured and brilliantly put.  This one line reviews the film aptly. OK, if I have to decipher the film department by department I would rate Background Music, Cinematography and Screenplay as the best and a cut above the rest of the departments.

Vineet Kumar Singh as Chaitanya stands out for me amidst superlative performances by each and every actor.

This is a thriller that is too real to believe and it disturbs a lot of our corrupt minds that are filled with conventional wisdom and it puts a question straight to that very wisdom. This film does not provide any answers either and that's where the disgust is created. Yet, it's for a great cause and I hope films like this are appreciated. I know this film will not make as much money as many brainless movies have made, but it deserves a place above all the rest. This film is like music for film lovers who have heard cacophony for most part of the year. There is still a hope to look at cinema as a means of story telling and not as an industry that makes money.

A 5/5 for a near perfect film, I watched from Kashyap I since "Black Friday" and a hugely debatable and surreal"No Smoking". Just loved this film and Kashyap still stands firm with his beliefs and has not yet let down in ethics or values and keeps questioning them. Salutes to him for taking all the brickbats all these years despite making wonderful cinema in a hypocritical country like India.

I was only upset that I had to see the film online, as I am not in India, but would love to see in theater again to see how an audience would react to this. Have the audience become truly intelligent or just move on being dumb and falling prey to the commercial muck?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

KELLY'S HEROES (1970) - ENGLISH



Meticulous planning and execution leads to a successful treasure.

In life too, if we plan and execute meticulously, we shall end up with a treasure that's worth more than our own anticipation That's a life lesson to be learned from this. 

Now, the film is comical and I am surprised that an end to end war film that is devoid of any politics can be so hilarious. I am more so surprised about the dialogues and their delivery. Writing is exceptional but the acting is much more substantial than the writing. Those lines could have been bland, if not expressed well.

Clint Eastwood as Kelly stands out and the other one for me was Donald Sutherland as Sergeant Oddball. These are the most memorable performances of this film.

Technically, this is brilliant, the war seems real and the plot is inspiring in itself. Money drives the soldiers into greed and makes them heroes for their country too. There is an irony that's worth appreciating in the film.

This film is a proper commercial war film, that has songs, action, emotion, humor and above all war. It ticks off the word go and takes us through interesting turns to a happy destiny. I am all for such interesting bumpy rides and this film was that one.

Thanks to director, Brian G Hutton who made another wonderful film WHERE EAGLES DARE prior to this one.

A 4/5 for one of the most hilarious war films you may ever see.

INTERSTELLAR (2014) - ENGLISH


Its by far one of the most abstruse and absurd sci-fi film from an acclaimed director.

Christopher Nolan, is a director of great potential. His body of work speaks volumes of what he has done and what he has capable of. After all he is also a human being, and I suppose he has forgotten that humans have limitations. This film is illustrious of the limitation, which is that the director does not have an audience that thoroughly understands quantum physics.

I am a big lover of physics and was a faculty of the same for 4 years of my life. Yet, the dialogues were incomprehensible by me. I must admit my in-competencies here as quantum physics, time travel are something not in my sphere of thorough understanding. Yet, I must also admit that this is the first Nolan film, I felt bored. I dozed off briefly after 20 minutes in the film and it never ever happened in a Nolan film for me. 

Now, there are few comparisons I would like to draw with an earlier film of Nolan, that is INCEPTION. If Inception, was also equally incomprehensible in the first go, it made me rush to the theater to decipher what it was all about. While INTERSTELLAR is also incomprehensible in the first viewing, it lacked the drive to push me to see it once again. Indeed, I felt exhausted after a near 170 minutes. 

The performances were superb and Matthew McConaughey has given a terrific performance. He is more a father than an astronomer. Others were all appreciable too. The technicalities were brilliant but those were all on the expected lines, considering the scale of the film. What I am only disappointed is, the screenplay lacked Nolan's magic. Yet, there are moment of awe and the climax, indeed the final shot was surely my pick as it triggers some thoughts in the brain.

As per me, this is a lacklustre film form a genius of a director. More than anything else, I am just disappointed.

If you want to watch a great sci-fi film, there are many ranging from the 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY to the most recent GRAVITY. If you see this and feel this is great then I would congratulate your feeling. For me this is an exhausting lesson in quantum physics.

Also, a word about the IMAX where I saw this. The IMAX in Hong Kong is way below the quality I admired in Hyderabad, India. The screen seems much smaller, the audio is not upto the quality, the acoustics are not updated as per technology. I miss the IMAX at Hyderabad in these aspects.

A 2/5 for this film, For sure, you may neither love it, nor hate it but surely you cannot ignore it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

JUST SAY

Give up, give in, give a way
Come in, come on, go away
Sleep, creep, weep, but just say
That, I am for you and you are for me
So let's go out and play

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

GONE GIRL (2014) - ENGLISH


It's a brilliant film and one of the most cynical films made on marriage.

Marriage is one of the most toughest bonds of human race. To sustain that thread despite all it's finesse and yet it's shambles, there is always an inherent fear that a small knife may cut the whole thread. Marriage is one of the finest threads that was ever made, Now to go to any extent in marriage is also possible, but does any sane marriage involve self-murder, no and I can say that's almost impossible. All married ones beware before you watch this and those anticipating marriage, think again of the one whom you are going to marry. Marriage or rather a relationship with the person we love is going to thought through after seeing this in a theatre, I bet you.

Impossible is nothing for this director David Fincher who has made mind boggling films like FIGHT CLUB. He turns a simple story head on, adds a flavor that's so spicy that you may love it or hate but you just can't ignore it. He gives similar treatment to this film. 

You start understanding and decoding the story, it becomes something and then after few minutes if you think you have almost sorted it out, then again it transpires into something else. It's a tough one to call and I can only say, this is mind boggling stuff. Fincher is one of the few directors who can direct the film in a way that is deeply interesting and yet there are many layers involved into it. 

This is a very layered movie, like an onion as the layers are peeled, we seem to get to the core, but this is something more surprising, the moment we think we got it, we would have lost it. It tests the intelligence of the viewer and that's how this film has won hearts. 

I can safely say, this is one of the very intelligent movies that has come in recent times. I have not seen much of Rosamund Pike who plays Amy Dunne in this film but she is the true protagonist who drove the story all by herself. Just her portrayal as Amy has made her one of the finest actresses of this year. The rest of the cast has done a good job too.

A 4/5 for a must watch film and I request this has to be seen in theaters, let the naked truth be told brutally if need be. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

CHANDAMAMA KATHALU (2014) - TELUGU

An anthology film that shows a slice of reality in Telugu films, a welcome change.

This film is about multiple stories and many characters and each one has something to offer. Different life styles, indifferent attitudes, there are many things in this film but primarily each one here is driven by hope. Hoping that something will happen and make their lives better. 

Since this is an anthology of many stories, there is tough to derive a protagonist for the film but for me it was the writer. Poignantly, HOPE is what he ends the writing with. My favourite story is the one I related to, that is of Venkateswara Rao (Krishnudu) who is unmarried nearing 30. But I keep myself more in the shoes of the writer and was seeing the world in a similar point of view as his. A writer is one of the best observers of life, he observes, takes it all in, and puts it out adding his own perspective. The better the quality, the better writer you are. But quality being a highly subjective topic it's tough to judge what is good writing.  So to make it easy, what we like is good and what we do not like is not so good. 

Ok, coming to the film, it has got some really good production qualities. Firstly the ensemble cast is stupendous and the director Praveen Sattaru has to be credited a lot for roping in such a wide range of artists. Though I did not like a few actors, overall it's a tough job to put many good actors in one and he really did a fine job. 

The taking was different sans commercial elements and some real good writing of dialogues. Yes, most dialogues seem like cliche but they are well placed making it meaningful. The cinematography is commendable and at 2 hours and 20 minutes, the film seems breezy with so many stories. The culmination is debatable for a few, but for most it's convincing. 

A 3/5 for that rare non-commercial film that has to be appreciated despite it's flaws. I hope more such films come out in future.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) - ENGLISH

It's a film that began the great march of the sphagetti western cowboy films with a distinct style.

This film is not so great in itself when compared to other films of the same director Sergio Leone and even the actor Clint Eastwood. But it's instrumental in starting up the legacy of the Western films in a way that was not seen before. The cinemascope view, the stylish and less speaking man with No Name. The precise editing and the landscapes mostly set in New Mexico state or there about in America. The soundtrack that is signature guitar and has some strings and chorus of Ennio Morricone and brought him to Hollywood.

This film was made prior to the great film "The Good The Bad and The Ugly" and this film is great in it's own right. There were Westerns being made before this film too, but this set a precedent in style which was to inspire many film makers later and still continues to inspire. 

The format of the film as I have read in references follows Akira Kurosawa's "Yojimbo". Perhaps, the format was already present but Clint Eastwood certainly took this film to another level. There is lot of curiosity he generated whenever he had the hands on his gun, when he lit a cigar, when he rode the horse. clint Eastwood began a style that shall be there forever in cinema. The walk, the look, the minimal dialogue speaks a lot for itself. 

I loved the music of Ennio Morricone which is a big part of Sergio Leones films and this soundtrack is supreme. This film is only around 100 minutes and I suppose is the shortest of all other Sergio Leone Western films. So the editing is terrific too. 

A 4/5 for this great Western. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

GROUCHO AND ME

AUTHOR : GROUCHO MARX
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE : ENGLISH

The wittiest, funniest and the cleverest autobiography I ever read. 

You can read on Wikipedia page as to who Groucho Marx is but you must read this book to understand what a sense of humour he has. This is one of those books that seems more like a comedy movie than an autobiography. So little of his personal life is mentioned and so much of his personal experiences are fed which are mostly hilarious. 

This book is path breaking in terms of autobiographical-writing. This does not follow chronology as a pattern and flows freely with time.It does not boast of accomplishment and does not have any serious tone either. 

This is the only autobiography where the author does not seem to be serious and more-so pulling the leg of editor and even the readers at times. 

There are many Delaney moments (Delaney is the name Groucho uses to refer someone about whom he does not want to reveal). So a friend, a co-film producer they all are named Delaney. The name itself evoked laughter for me. 

Groucho Marx is one of the cleverest comedians of his time and he rates his fellow comedians like Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and others greatly. There is a sense of gratitude that this book brings. Also, there are umpteen hints of the state of economy of the country USA. Also, the hints of history like prohibition in america are fun. 

There is also something I learnt about love. Here are a couple of lines from the book

"I believe, however, that real love only appears when the early fires of passion have cooled off and the embers just lie there smoldering."

Let's turn the whole thing over to the master, G.B.S (Shaw to you), and I quote: "When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive and most transient of passions, they are required to swear they will remain in that excited, abnormal and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part."

It's funny, witty, charming and there is a profound smile all through and also there are enough laugh out loud moments. A masterpiece in itself from the master of humour. It's a 5/5. I wish this is taken as a sample to write autobiographies.

Here I am just giving a glimpse of Groucho in his own words in the book.

“I once asked, "Mom, why do you wear that tight corset and that silly wig? They're uncomfortable and, besides, everybody knows they're phony."

 "Julie," she would answer, "you don't understand. When a lady goes out for the evening she likes to look nice."

 "I know, Mom, but as soon as you get to someone's house you remove the wig and corset."

 "Naturally," -she replied. "I take them off because they're uncomfortable. But look how nice I look when I arrive!"

 I couldn't follow this logic, but to her it made sense.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

आपका नूर

शबनम को शोला बनाना शायद आपका दस्तूर है 
कहेंगे नहीं ज़ालिम तुम्हे, इस अदा में भी आपका नूर है

बेमदद मरीज़

इश्क़ में ज़ख़्मी हो कर जी रहा ये बेमदद मरीज़ 
इश्क़ कि दवा पिलादे हमें बनाकर अपना अज़ीज़

मेरी सीरत नहीं

प्यार को निभाने की आदत छोड़ दी तुमने 
पर तुम्हे ज़ालिम केहना मेरी सीरत नहीं 
इलज़ाम तो हम भी दे सकते है 
पर इतनी ज़ुल्मी तेरी सूरत नहीं 

आलम-ए-दर्द

हर शेर हमारा आज ख़ास है
आलम-ए-दर्द का जो एहसास है
इसे मिटने की आस मत रखियो
दर्द से ही निकलती मेरी हर साँस है 

ज़ुल्म-ए-उल्फत

ज़ुल्म-ए-उल्फत की सज़ा काँट रहा हूँ 
टूटे दिल के टुकड़े जमा रहा हूँ 
किसी को ऐसी सज़ा न मिले 
ये टुकड़ों को लेकर यही दुआ मांग रहा हूँ 

ख़ास वजह चाहिए

मेरी शायरी को हसीन मकाम चाहिए 
किसी के दिल में ख़ास जगह चाहिए 
अगर मर भी गए तो गम नहीं 
मरने के लिए ख़ास वजह चाहिए 

हैसियत ही कहा

इश्क़ की कदर न करो तुम,
तेरी हैसियत ही कहा उसे समझने की 
हम तो सही समझे इश्क़ को 
पर मेरी हैसियत ही कहा उसे पाने की 

किसे बया करू

सैकड़ो बातें है दिल में 
पर सुनाने के लिये धड़कन नहीं 
किसे बया करू इस उलझन को 
जब सुनने के लिये साजन नहीं 

नयी ज़िन्दगी की एलान

सन्नाटा छायी है मुकम्मल 
धड़कन थम गया और रूह है बेकल 
आज तो हम मौत में ही जी लिये 
एक नयी ज़िन्दगी की एलान होगी कल 

मिलकर जियेंगे कफ़न में

जश्न में हूँ आज, तुम्हे जो पानेवाला हूँ जीवन में 
लोग कहते है तुम मर गयी, हम तो मिलकर जियेंगे कफ़न में

आपकी तारीफ़

शायर बना दिया आपने मुझे,
पर आपकी तारीफ करने के लिए शायरी भी काम है 
कितने भी लफ्ज़ पेश करू,
आपकी तारीफ़ कर नहीं सकते यही तो ग़म है

प्यार के आगे

हसीन मुकदमा, सुहाना सज़ा, वफ़ा का मसलन 
प्यार के आगे सब छोटे है, यही केहता है धड़कन

अज़ीज़ को याद

अज़ीज़ को याद करके रोना भी एक मज़ा है 
जब अज़ीज़ ही न हो तो ज़िन्दगी एक सज़ा है

मेरी आलाप

न समझे आप, न समझे माँ बाप 
जब अज़ीज़ ही न समझे, 
तो मौत क्या समझेगी मेरी आलाप 

सन्नाटे में ख़ामोशी

क्यों नहीं चाहती हो पास आना 
क्यों नहीं चाहती हो संग रेहना 
वजह कुछ तो बताओ
मुश्किल है सन्नाटे में ख़ामोशी सेहना

Sunday, September 14, 2014

हुस्न का साया

सजे है फूल आँगन में 
बजे है शेहनाई धड़कन में 
छाया है तेरा हुस्न का साया मुझ पर 
मजे है सारे, ज़िन्दगी के दामन में 

FINDING FANNY (2014) - ENGLISH

For most people, love is lost not because it is said, but as it remains unsaid.

Expression is something that only humans can do with their words. Yet, many of us still do not express as freely as we are supposed to. There can be any number of excuses for the inexpressiveness of us, yet it is the most valuable thing we are losing without our knowledge. In reticence, lies ignorance and in expression lies innocence and life. I firmly believe this and I am so happy that the film is so much of expression and expressive people. The beauty and essence of an expression is lost there is slight thought before expression. Thankfully our director-writer Homi Adajania, does not seem to be so thoughtful and expresses very freely what he wants to. He has done a commendable job in keeping the film out of mainstream and yet has lured the mainstream actors smartly. For his smartness in casting alone, I salute him.

The technical aspects are wonderful. The cinematography is superb in capturing the beautiful Goan landscapes sans the beaches and the sea. The Goan culture is brought to the fore by his characters, their costumes and their lifestyles. So there was no need to pull in the streets, the markets, the beaches to authenticate the place. The production design was terrific as I thought it was a rich commercial film with the film being more life-like than cinema-like. I loved the costumes and everyone seems so colourful that the costumes in themselves speak about the characters in a way.

It's been a while since I have seen a good screwball comedy coming from India since "Andaz Apna Apna". This one is well made screwball comedy with 5 oddballs. Written extremely well, this film has some real cheesy as well as corny lines. To write witty lines, one has to be clever and I suppose the director was extremely good to write and even have those.

The film is not about the destination of anything but more about the journey and the journey here is endearing. One thing that has to be highly praised is the acting by the cast. Of all the 5 I loved Naseeruddin Shah. He was at his cutest best. Pankaj Kapur showed what he was made of. From luring to painting, he made me believe that he was a special actor. Dimple Kapadia seemed very natural in postures and in emotions, simply flawless. Now, the other two that is Deepika Padukone and Arjun Kapoor use the ample screen space and time they have been given wonderfully. I must say it's a treat to watch the film just for these 2 actors who have put their best effort. Thankfully this is an English film made in India, where I never craved for the Hindi Dialogues. The dialogue delivery is pretty awesome I must say.

Also, the editing by Sreekar Prasad (my favourite editor) has made this film look breezy in 93 minutes. 

It's a film that will linger long after we have come out of theatre, mostly for it's lines and some good moments. Having said that, it's not a film that will make me run and watch again. The repeat value is less. But for the first time you shall see, you will be smiling all the way through. 

This is not a laugh out loud film, but the one where we can be smiling from beginning till the end. A 3/5 for a definitely good film and I recommend this to be seen in theatres.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

अश्क़ों के सैलाब

बुने थे ख्वाब कई 
पर मिले अश्क़ों के सैलाब कई 
रो रो कर ऐसी हालत हुई अपनी 
अब आँसू बेहते नहीं, लगता है  
सूख गये जहाँ में तलाब कई 

सजाने की कोशिश

हिजाबों को सजाने में सब लगे है 
पनाहों को उठाने की कोशिश में हम है 
गुलाबों को तोड़ने में सब लगे है 
गुलशनों को सजाने की कोशिश में हम है 

मिले होते

खुशियों के ख़ज़ाने मिले होते 
सुहाने अफ़साने मिले होते 
अगर आप हमे मिले होते 
जीने के बहाने मिले होते 
ख़ुशी से आँसू बहाने मिले होते 
अगर आप हमे मिले होते 
हसीन अपने सिलसिले होते 
ताज़े ताज़े गुल खिले होते 
अगर आप हमे मिले होते 

Friday, September 12, 2014

THE GREAT DEBATERS (2007) - ENGLISH

It's a good film definitely but something that could have been much better. 

Racism is what this film is about I can say. But the debates are equally interesting. It's tough to debate on anything without having much knowledge about the topic. If we were to debate then we must have full knowledge of what we are talking about. The actors here have precisely done that, they seem to be in control of a good director and make us believe that they are fully aware of the topic of the debate.

Denzel Washington is the director and also acts in the movie and I am sure this was the toughest thing to do. To act is much easy than directing, but to do both and still make it good is terrific. I am happy that Denzel almost pulled it off with neat direction.

Yes, I have qualms from this movie. It's very nicely packaged but at the end leaves a void and leaves us with a wish of how much could this have been. I wish it was more about debates than about personal turmoil and conflict. There is a love story, a parent-child relationship and the relationship of teacher and students. Except for the love-story, the other things are fine. I wish still that this love-story that was between Samantha Booke (played by Jurnee Smollet) and Nate Parker (played by Henry Lowe) was not needed.

It's a film based in 1930's and the production design, the art direction have worked well. They are pretty decent and seem to take us through that period of 1930's. The cinematography was just good, but I believe there was lot much scope in this film and considering that film was made in 2007, I suppose full potential of camera was not used. My biggest crib is editing though, there are few scenes that I believe were not needed and cut have been cut. The second biggest crib is in writing, I suppose that the material given was good, but not enough to make an interesting movie. So, I think that's the reason why uncalled from drama and relationships had to be added up in the screenplay.

Surely, this is a good film, but some deep down thought and more focus on debating would have made it a great film. A 3/5 for a good film. For others, it's up to them to decide.

Monday, September 8, 2014

प्यार नहीं मुझ पे

न रहो यु खफा खफा अगर प्यार नहीं मुझ पे 
न सहो मेरी तंग को अगर प्यार नहीं मुझ पे 
न बहो बेवजह अगर प्यार नहीं मुझ पे 
पर कहो तो ज़रूर की प्यार नहीं मुझ पे 
तेरे लफ़्ज़ों की बारिश तो होने दो मुझ पे 

SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) - JAPANESE

The greatest Japanese film I have ever seen.

Firstly, I must admit that I have seen very few Japanese films. But I must admit that in grandeur and magnanimity, very few will match this film. Akira Kurosawa the master director made this magnum opus which I believe set a precedent in terms of various themes. 

Recruiting men for a purpose. A recruit romancing a local woman. A team taking up a task and accomplishing successfully with few sacrifices. These are just a few to name. This I believe is a film that has major influences from the far east to the far far west. Though made in Japan, there was a film called "Magnificent Seven" which was the remake of this film. That film was setup in the far far west where the Samurai were replaced by gunslingers. 

After watching this film, I can clearly understand what influences Kurosawa had on the likes of the film makers of later years from Steven Spielberg to Francis Ford Coppola to many Indian film makers.

The themes in this film are subliminal to the extent of conflict. The conflict is even greater and is perhaps one of the earliest conflicts that spans for more than an hour. The whole fight between bandits and the villagers lasts for as many minutes as you can see. Yet, there are many things that happen in that and is almost made a war-like situation. I really doubt even in war movies, real war was shown for this long and with such intensity. 

The passion shown by Kurosawa is surely unmatched. In terms of set-design, casting of actors, choreography of the conflict, the cinematography with so many cameras and the finesse in editing that shows each frame beautifully. He is one of the few asian directors who had that zeal and had that invested their whole lives in film making. 

Too much to learn from the first watching of this film and I am sure, I will revisit this film time and again to understand the composition of frames and many many things. From the beginning to the end this film is high on drama and has less comic content, except for the maverick Toshiro Mifune (Kikuchiyo), but the high volume drama almost left me breathless and kept me engaged all the way.

The writing is immaculate and the detailing is something that has inspired many film makers and will continue to do so. A 5/5 for one of the greatest films ever made.

सबको सिखाता हुआ सागर

लेहरों से बेहेकता हुआ सागर 
अंबर के पानी से भरता हुआ सागर 
शायरों को तड़पाता हुआ सागर 
कई दिलों को बेहलाता हुआ सागर 
साहिल को नये पानी से सजाता हुआ सागर 
चांदनी रातों में हसीन ख्वाब दिखाता हुआ सागर 
वफ़ा क्या है सबको सिखाता हुआ सागर

मन आया

आज फिर से लिखने का मन आया 
खोगए जो लफ्ज़, उनसे मिलने का मन आया 
वजह सोचो नहीं इस पैगाम का 
बस यूँही कुछ केहने का मन आया

THE GENERAL (1926) - ENGLISH


One of the greatest silent pictures ever.

It's a film that's mostly made on a train. The name of the protagonist is "The General". Well, the protagonist is non other than the train itself. So "The General" is the name of the train and not of our hero Buster Keaton who is named as Johnnie Gray.

The storyline is pretty simple, it's a lover's test to prove his love. He applies for a job in military during the civil war of 1860's and is rejected. His girlfriend thinks he is unfit. He must disprove this and win his lover. The train acts a protagonist and the binding force in their love story. It's the one that brings them together. How? Well, go watch the film and I am sure you will have a laugh out loud them. I recommend that it's a must watch and please do it with all your family together. 

It's a laugh riot and a meaningful one. There are layers to this, emotions, love and above all a cute silliness that can be embraced effortlessly. 

Buster Keaton performs all the stunts by himself and stands tall in each one of them. Considering the fact that this was made in 1926, the content is original and we have seen only films inspired by this and made many years later. So this is one of the first films made entirely on a vehicle and the trip is not just fun, it's funny, lovely and supremely wonderful.

I loved this film and will watch it many times over and will pass on to the next generation too. A 5/5 for one of the greatest films made in the history. There are many that will be made, but this will be the original.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

MISTER PELLAM (1993) - TELUGU


A wonderful Telugu film. Indeed, one of the finest in last 20 years. 

Bapu and Ramana (Mullapudi Venkata Ramana) are pioneers in presenting traditionalism of telugu people with subtlety. They earlier did it in films like 'Mutyala Muggu' and they have presented the same style here. Just because I can relate to the characters more than any other Bapu film, I love this film. 

Rajendra Prasad was an actor for the common man, and thus he suited the role of Balaji perfectly well. He was considered to be an actor whose primary skill was comedy and humour. But in this film, he evoked all emotions as needed. Aamani is simply superb in her role as Jhansi as a traditional woman with a modern outlook. These two as couple had wonderful chemistry and echoed the middle class subtleties beautifully.

The plot is very simple of role reversals of man and woman. Now to weave a story of a family around this and present it interestingly is a huge challenge. Bapu and Ramana have greatly succeeded in the challenge. Even 20 years later today, this film stands tall for the authenticity and simplicity of Telugu dialogues. 

Editing is wonderful and this film did not have a dull moment. Cinematography is apt. The costumes are just perfect be it for the mythological or be it for social characters. Even the acting by the two kids and a host of other characters is wonderful. The music adds moments of romance and even humour too. My favorite song is 'Sogasu Chooda Tarama' 

It's 5/5 for one of my favourite Telugu films.
And indeed a film that is pristine and I hope its untouched as it means respect. Thanks to Bapu and Ramana again.


THE THIRD MAN (1949) - ENGLISH


A terrific film that intensifies the suspense superbly and holds it till the end.

This is widely known as one of the greatest noir films. I would submit to that opinion too. Orson Welles comes late in the film and from then on, takes the film on its head. I can say that Orson Welles is flawless as an actor.  

It's a classic film that has all the ingredients to be contemporary as well. The soundtrack that uses only zither, the cinematography that seems grand and great, the production design that is immaculate are all superb. Especially the climax that takes place in the tunnel is one of finest moments in the history of cinema. Above all, the plot, the taking, the direction and the presence of a terrific Orson Welles make this a sublime thriller that we know, yet there are so many questions that are answered bit by bit. 

I will not say this is an edge of the seat thriller or that the suspense is so intense that it will make a viewer fall of his seat. But, I would say that is one of a thriller where we know many things, yet we are curious about the reason behind their happenings. Even now as I watched it, I felt it made now. The thriller element and the colour that is black and white might be a thing of the past. But the dialogues, the execution, the emotions, and even the fear which Orson Welles as Harry Lime depicts make the film as it was it made in our times.

Carol Reed the director must be credited for directing another director of the caliber of Orson Welles with such finesse. I have never seen Orson more vivid than I saw him in this film (I am not talking about films which are directed and written and acted by himself) in a film directed by someone else.

Kudos to all the makers and actors and also for those who have kept this film highly rated in the noir film.  It's the rating that has generated the curiosity and made me watch this. I am going with 5/5 and for sure, this one of the greatest films ever made.

शरारती को सलाम

रात आयी दिन ने लिया आराम छोड़ कर तुम्हारा नाम 
ये किसकी शरारत है, मालूम नहीं पर मैं करता हूँ उस शरारती को सलाम

ALL ARE TRUE

Your looks kill me
I am ready to die for you
Your lips seduce me
All the above said are true

एक आस है

कितना भी नफरत करो, तू रहेगी मेरी यार 
खफा तुम करो, हम तो करते रहेंगे तुमसे प्यार 
एक दिन तू समझेगी इस बात को, यही एक आस है 
दूर रहो नज़रों से, पर हमेशा तू इस दिल के पास है 

मेरी मेहबूब

न जाने तुम्हे किसने बनाया जो भी हो, बहुत खूब बनाया 
शुक्र गुज़ार हूँ उसका, जिसने तुम्हे मेरी मेहबूब बनाया

कहने से डरते है

बातें तो हम बहुत करते है 
पर जब दिल की बात आयी, तो हम कहने से डरते है 
बहुत समझाया दिल को 
पर अब तक समझ नही पाया, कि हम ऐसा क्यों करते है

तेरे ख़याल से भरी हुई

शर्म नज़र तेरी, होंठ गुलाल से भरी हुई 
नाख ऐसी की दुनिया के कमाल से भरी हुई 
गाल जलते है धुप में, लाल से जो भरी हुई 
दिल कबका पागल है, दिमाग तेरे ख़याल से भरी हुई 

THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD (1965) - ENGLISH


A terrific film on the cold war espionage that is shoot in an era of cold war and seems extremely real.

Perhaps, all this was real. Though this was an adaptation from the fiction novel of the same name written by John Le Carre. It depicts cold bloodedness and the brutality of the cold war era (1945-1991) when it was at it's peak in 1950's and 1960's. The writing is impeccable and sharp. To make a complex novel which involves many characters, most of whom are not in the scene but are mere references who will never be shown is a challenge in itself. We never know, who the actual Control was, the actual English spies were. 

There is a whole lot of verbiage that seemed new to me. Despite the fact that I have seen a similar film called "TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY" based on the same novel by the same novelist John Le Carre. I suppose Carre is a supreme writer of the cold war espionage films and his ability and detailing are unmatched. 

The acting is supreme by an ensemble cast led by Richard Burton. The cinematography and the production design were great and the style shall be replicated in many espionage films going forward too. But it's the writing and the acting above all that make this a must watch. 

I am happy to have seen this though years later. Also, I am intrigued more now by what have happened to those spies and what all went on in that era between, the british, the germans and the Russians. 

A 4/5 for this film. 

If interested please read my review of 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

MARY KOM (2014) - HINDI

A glorifying story was trivialised and fictionalised to an uncomfortable level.

It was a disappointment but not totally unwatchable either. It's a story where a small-town girl becomes a champion against all the odds. The odds are scattered and not etched out well. There seems to be no or rather little struggle in the making of this champion. So it was totally appalling to see such an inspirational personality being cowed down because of lazy writing and directing. I am not interested in her love story and the birth of her kids. I was more concerned with how she became a world champion, what it took and what did she go through. Surely there is no feeling whatsoever that this film evokes. Apart from generating a couple of laughs, this film actually made me feel nothing.

The film more or less seemed to be promoting products like Sugarfree and Iodex and other brands liberally and at will. I wish it stuck to content and story telling than these uncalled for promotions.

I thought that the precedent was set superbly by Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and films like these would take the mantle further by bringing us close to the lives of such athletes. If, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag to me is an inspirational film, this seems to be a like a page in the history, where scenes are written based on the material available on Wikipedia page.

Sad to say that this a Bhansali production and what is more saddening is that he is the creative director also. So his creativity comes up in set designs, dramatising things when not needed, bringing conflict just for the sake of it, and even making people stand for a national anthem in theater. I am primarily away from the likes of Karan Johar, Sooraj Barjatya and even Bhansali and I have gone to this film unmindful of the fact that this is a Bhansali production. No wonder, I returned home disappointed.

Priyanka Chopra does not look like Mary Kom, but looks more like a made up plastic fighter. She has not got into the spirit of the athlete itself. More than the actress, I blame the writers and directors for doing such a pathetic job.

This is your average fare, which can easily be missed. Any boxing fan want to watch a great boxing film, go for "RAGING BULL". For the average film going audience this can be tried for killing time mercilessly. A generous 2/5 for this.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

THE MAGICIAN (1958) - SWEDISH


Its a film I was disappointed with. 

The acting was overboard by  and the direction was wayward. I thought that the director Ingmar Bergman sought to offer us a mystique spell and took the help of Magic and illusions in this.
The visuals are nice but there is haphazardness in the placing of scenes. The characters seem to have been half baked and not fully evolve. There are not enough reasons presented as to why anything happens. The climax makes the whole film comical, gesturing that we can get away with whatever crime we did, if the intentions are for good.

It's not about the realities we live with but more-so about the imagination of director. I really if the story was about the magician or is it it about something else called the imagination of the magician. Why he goes after people who are not for him, how he gets selected suddenly by the king at the end? Questions left unanswered do not satisfy the hunger of watching this, and rather left me in lurch and disappointment. 

The acting was mediocre considering that it was Max Von Sydow, arguably a great Swedish actor who played the protagonist. I did not understand his angst nor did I get to know what the silences meant. The others (I do not remember their names) are just OK. 

The sound track is great, the guitar was used generously and creates the mood nicely. The cinematography was just right. The art direction is extravagant perhaps adhering to the need of the period in which the film was set. The editing could have been way better. The moments where Grandma speaks some lines could have done in a better way or better chopped off. 

It's an average watch and not a fully satisfying one for me. A 2/5 for this. 

दुनियादारी से रश्क

हमने ज़ाहिर किया और कबूल था उन्हें भी ये इश्क़ 
पर दस्तूर-ए-दुनिया से परहेज़ कैसे रोक पाते अपने अश्क़ 
रो रोके बिताये पल कई, और रोकर होगये आँखें खुश्क 
अब बैठे है हार कर, है तो है बस इस दुनियादारी से रश्क 
जो मेरी आशिक़ का दिल जीत गया, और हमे दिया सूखे अश्क़

Sunday, August 24, 2014

1 (2014) - TELUGU


Disastrous beginning to a year with this Film. I have no inhibitions in saying that only rot can come out Garbage called Telugu Film Industry and this is one of the dirty things.

A man who made a sensible feel good film last year makes an attempt at something different. Sadly he failed miserably.  Also, he failed me as an audience.

You can have a psychological problem but transferring that to the audience does no justice to view the film. The first half has so many uncalled for repetitive scenes that after an hour into the film I was scratching my head. Oh, god save me from the pain is what I was praying.in the interval break I was even thinking to quit the theater but stuck there to see what might happen. 

The second half is more confusing and it did bother me a lot. The good part comes only in the last 10 minutes where the protagonist Gautam (Mahesh babu) becomes emotional. 

The acting was purely OK by Mahesh babu who showed a range of emotions in his earlier films. Whenever the heroine spoke, my ears were cringing. Terrible her voice is and the dubbing artist could have done a better job. All others were merely OK.

Technically, cinematography is good but considering the huge budget of 60 crores, I am disappointed. Editing and Music just did not work for me. 

The screenplay just tried to be different and it does not do enough. It's lazily written and edited. It's purely a half hearted attempt. Else, who could have inserted an item song called 'johnny johnny yes papa' in London with the protagonist himself being a rockstar. 

A 1/5 just for camera work and the last minute emotional scenes else a pure zero for this. Telugu Film Industry you are capable of great stuff but you succumb to the needs of fans and hence give only dumb films. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (2014) - ENGLISH


Stylishly made fun film that is engrossing every moment.

It surprises for a good part of the film and that's the best part. From the time we enter the Budapest Hotel, it is an fun ride, the characters are interesting and have their own little stories that are comical yet emotional and thoughtful.

The story of lobby boy (Zero Mustafe) or that of Gustave, or of any character, they are not very great to say the least but are interesting. They all together shape up this well made set piece that is mostly confined to the setting of the Hotel. The acting by Ralph Fiennes is a treat and Tony Revolori as the lobby boy is a revelation. 

The interesting part of the film I found was the use of varied aspect ratio. It differentiates the time frames intelligently. Wes Anderson is a director who oozes out fun in his films. His films are more about fun and the camaraderie between the characters. The shots are slick, the art direction is generally awesome and the cinematography is superb. The film is very appealing visually and all his films thus far have been stylish. 

There is enough substance in this fun story There is action, chase, fight, enough drama and even suspense. It's all well stitched and made the whole film an engaging experience. Of course, the script is the hero followed by superb art direction of the hotel.

I am not sure, if this was shot on location or whether they erected a set, but it was just beautiful. The hotel, interiors, the painting of the exteriors and even the locales. 

This film shall be a 4/5 for the acting and the art direction alone. Thanks to Wes Anderson for giving us a good time at the movies yet again.

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (1997) - ITALIAN

A wonderful Tragicomedy on the most inhuman act of 20th century, the Holocaust of Jews.

How far can you go for your family is what the apt tag line will be for this film. From protecting the wife from inhuman creatures to protecting the innocence of his only son, Guido Orefice does it all for his family and even sacrifices his whole life for them.

Roberto Benigni is affable as Guido, a wonderful human being who knows to take everything with a sense of humour. There are turbulent times, the world has changed for him, he is put in the most awful circumstances, even he is caught and will be executed. In all the places, all he does is smile. It's heartening to see a man go through dire circumstances with liveliness and smile. But that tragedy that is to come is fatal and that's where hearts melt for the audience. A happy family is shattered for no fault of their own.

In the second world war, Jews were condemned as sinners and executed, it's on of the most insane things ever done, on this planet. Hitler will never be forgive for his sins for centuries.

The story is simple, the portrayal is wonderful, the art direction is superb and the other aspects are right. The 2 hours are fun for the first half and heart rending in the second. But all is well in the end. This film is simply beautiful.

Loved Roberto Benigni, his wife Nicoletta Braschi (she played Dora, the wife of Guido) and Giorgio Cantarini (he played the role of 5 year old Joshua, son of Guido). The other performances were wonderful too.

There is not a frame or scene that's boring or out of place. This film deserves a 5/5. Humanity means something, see this to know that. It's all about bringing smiles to others.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DROPS ON CAR GLASS

Rain Drops on Car Glass. Taken at Ananthagiri, near Vikarabad, INDIA.

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966) - ENGLISH

One of the greatest Western Films ever made that stands tall even today.

There is an element of thrill right form the first frame till the last in this film. Mind you, this has a running time of nearly 3 hours (177 minutes to be precise). Thus, the greatness can be attributed to the fact that this film keeps a viewer engaged for such a long time. I watched this film a couple of time before and was always awed by the technical aspects of this film. When I finished watching it just now, I was thinking how a small story can be made into a grand script and then into a magnum opus too. It takes the vision of a director and his team. Sergio Leone definitely had that.

The music is iconic from Ennio Morricone and the theme music is great and the soundtrack is just terrific. The cinematography which was done as a cinemascope film in the desert and wastelands of New Mexico state is just amazing. Technically this film is flawless I must say and there is a touch of greatness too. Yes, this is taking forward the good work done in an earlier film "For A Few Dollars More". But the grandeur is something that's enticing. 

The characterisation is slick and straight, it's not complicated but very simple. Good plays good and Bad plays bad while Ugly struggles to be something in between. Ugly is perhaps the most interesting character in the three who does a wonderful job.  Eli Wallach as Ugly is just impeccable.

Clint Eastwood, who plays the Hero is a master of style and he shows it here. With minimal dialogue and mostly through the looks of his eyes, he conveys a lot. From the way he lights his Cigar to the way he triggers his gun, his style is unmatchable and indeed inspiring. I suppose, his style is replicated by many actors later.

Sergio Leone, has given one of the best cowboy films indeed. Also, he has given one of the finest films in terms of characterisation, style, cinematography and music. I loved it and this film will be there and watched over by many generations. A 5/5 for this.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BOYHOOD (2014) - ENGLISH


One of the most rewarding films of the year.

Happy to be seeing this. But sad that it did not release in theaters. I suppose, in a country like us, we do not value art and films. Our theatre owners are not passionate enough about films that's why I suppose they do not release indie films like this in our country. Nevertheless I am super happy and have already seen this twice. For the first time yesterday night, in one-go and since morning taking breaks and understanding the conversations. Deciphering the text, subtext, context and reading between the lines. It's an awesome feeling I have now. Feel so enriched by this experience.

In life, we do one thing most and that is talk the second thing we do most is sleep. Now, I am a big fan of talk and it's very tough for me to hold back myself from talking. When the talk is this good as in this film, I love this. 

Now, what's the talk about. A dad explains an american tradition of giving back to the nature when peeing. A dad tells his 15 year old daughter not to get pregnant with her boyfriend. A 8 year boy learns of divorce through his mom's separation. And a teenager comes to terms with life and his passion for photography and art. Finally learns that it's the moment that seizes us and we can't seize the moment by itself. These are just fresh memories I have of this film which has given me immense learnings. 

The taking of this film is an epic to say the least. It's a film that was shot without any story or script for 12 years. They shot like 4-5 days each year based around a conversation and the growth of the character. It follows the growth of a young boy and his family from the age of 6 to 18. The same boy is seen growing and that comes as a wonderful transformation which we see happening on screen. Never have I earlier experienced such a real transformation captured on screen. So this is one of the toughest films ever perceived and one of the finest films ever conceived. 

The actors do not act they just live out their lives. They play the parts as casually as we would talk to a close friend without thinking much of the consequences. Damn, that is real fun. 

A 5/5 for this overwhelmingly warm film that is 2 hours and 45 minutes too short and quick. It tests the patience of those who are actually uninterested in life. But for the interested ones, this is life coming alive on screen.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

RAIN DROPS ON LEAVES

The monsoon rains, have left few drops on leaves. Taken at Ananthagiri, near Vikarabad, INDIA.

OLD TREE BARK

IN a thick forest at Ananthagiri, near Vikarabad, INDIA. A glimpse of a bark of old tree.

MONKEY

Monkey at Ananthagiri Hills, near Vikarabad India. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

BROKER (2010) - TELUGU

A well directed film that would have been so much better if the acting from protagonist was better.

R P Patnaik, the music director of Telugu Film Industry, dons the job of the director here and also acts as the main lead as a BROKER. Broker by definition is as below 

"A broker is an individual or party (brokerage firm) that arranges transactions between a buyer and a seller for a commission when the deal is executed."

Broker is an important person who acts as nexus between politicians and the common man in our social fabric. He is trusted as a person who can get the job done. Having said that, he gets it done for money, he needs money and as it was said somewhere "Money is the root of all evil" it comes to the forefront and determines every person's true nature. Money may not be the root of all evil but some evil I can say, but desires if driven by sole purpose of becoming rich through money is the root of all evil. 

Acting is done well but I would have been happier if someone else, perhaps a veteran like Rajendra Prasad or an experienced actor played the role. R P Patnaik is not an actor who can deliver the emotions needed in this role is what I strongly felt.

Thanks to the writers who wrote this film and much thanks to the director who is Patnaik himself. He took up a strong subject that is deeply entwined in the society and makes a very important point through this. His directional abilities are admirable and I hope I see more issue based films from him.

The acting of Kota Srinivasa Rao and Srihari stand out while others have done their job well. The other technical departments have done their job well. Above all, the story stands tall and it was well directed. 

A 3/5 for a film that is definitely worth watching and I am sad to know that a film like this did not rake in good money though it was critically appreciated. It shows how casual we are in knowing the realities of society and how unconcerned we are with the issues ailing our very own society.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

BOTTLE ROCKET (1996) - ENGLISH


What it is on the face value is a crime comedy film but what it actually is, is more fun.

Three friends want to do something big and quick even if it's illegal. They set out a plan execute it to failure, OK, if it's once that would have been fine but what if it fails the second time too. Is this a movie then, movies are not supposed to fail aren't they? Heroes should prosper and even if caught, they must escape and prove their innocence. This film has a different perspective than the above mentioned cliched trivial thinking.

It has got all the ingredients of a good fun film. There is a love story, a friendship, envy and even deceit. It's the flow of the story that makes it a good film and a cut above the rest. 

The performances are strong and believable, the editing is precise and the cinematography is good. Keeping in mind the meagre budget, this is surely a well made film with good production quality. The winner although is the story and the writing.  

This is the first Wes Anderson film and as a debut, he had done a fabulous job. A 3/5 for a film that is definitely good. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IDA (2013) - POLISH


A beautiful film on faith, freedom and force. 

It's the story of a nun who learns that she was of a different religion and explores the whereabouts of her parents grave along with a relative. The exploration speaks for itself and helps the girl Anna/Ida in understanding faith and life deeper. Anna as she was referred to, learns that she is actually Ida Lebenstein and even after understanding what she really was, she prepares herself to take the vows she wanted to take before.

After going through events that make her understand that life is much bigger than the veil she wore, she decides that she is not yet ready for that. Then, finally comes a point where she has to choose the life of a normal girl, that is get married and have family etc. She gets up and walks off wearing the dress she put off for a while. So the transition speaks so many things. It speaks I would say of freedom of the girl. Why should a girl be forced to commit something. Can a life be non-committal, can a life be drifting in faith. And as I was asked a question by my friend Raghuveer "How would a life be of a drifter, will drifters be respected?" 

Based in the early 1960's the production design is immaculate. The music which was sporadic left me haunting. The music made me explore John Coltrane and as I am writing this review, Naima of John Coltrane is running in the background. 

The cinematography is supreme and beautiful. It reminded me of a Japanese film maker Ozu whose framing was geometrically perfect. I love the use of black and white, it helps me stay with the characters and avoids being awed by the embellishments of colours. The composition of the frames is very important too. The close ups are framed at a low angle as if to let us know how small our face are, in the grandeur of things.

The performances were apt and the eyes of the protagonist Ida played by Agata Trzebuchowska were intriguing, I felt like her silence spoke a thousand words and there was a certain mystique which I fail to describe here. Also, Agata Kulesza who played the role her Aunt Wanda did a great job in displaying the much needed emotions. The film is hel by the relationship of Ida and Wanda and both the actors have justified their roles. They were well supported by the other cast to. The credit for the extraction of acting from a first timer who played Ida, must go to the director Pawel Pawlikowski. 

The editing is superb too, it cuts all the unwanted frames and I felt though it cut abruptly, as I understood it more, I felt it was organic and right in the context of the film. With 80 minutes, this film has some good moments that can haunt for a long time.

War comes and leaves some terrible things for us. It's difficult even today to believe the damage done to Jews in the World War 2 or to those lakhs of civilians who have died for no fault of their own. This film recalls those memories to tell a story that even today stands universal. 

Above all, it's a story of a lost child in search of identity. Kudos to the maker Pawel Pawlikowski and more power to his team and hopefully he brings out such films and also I hope he sticks to Black and White. I loved this and going with 4/5. Take time, watch this and trust me you won't forget the journey soon.

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