Film Reviews


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"When the system fails … a power will rise"

So begins the movie "Sarkar". This is seriously ironic. Ram Gopal Verma or RGV as he is known, is a reasonably good and racy director. But he himself went against the system with an iconic Sholay remake called Aag and it's variations (Sholay itself is a remake of a pulp western - Once Upon A Time In The West - the mother of irony of ironies!) and was since ostracized. Maybe RGV will rise… But with Sarkar, I cannot help but draw parallels with Trump. In May 2016, I wrote a small article on why Donald Trump will win. My focus at that time was the US form of capitalist advertising. Later, I read somewhere that Trump refused to pay the mass media for his campaigning and this turned, maybe for the better, to his advantage. Like many Bollywood styles of advertising bad news is also good news. Gleaned from many articles, I also got to see that this is a disturbing trend in the world. Arab Springs, Brexit, Trump. Singapore sailed very close with the Workers Party publicity in the General Election in 2015. Is the world trying to tell us something? Is this the rise of the ebb of the risen class? Or the rise of the unspoken for? Are the haves taking the have nots for granted?

On to the movie. Though RGV professes his inspiration from Godfather, I really wish he did not do a frame to frame beginning. But then, many Bollywoodies were notorious for frame to frame copies. BTW, Sarkar, as I understand, is supposed to also be based on Bal Thackeray. A very desi real life Puzoian Godfather. There was really no need to copy the filmy rendition of Puzo's Godfather. I am sure there were many stories that would have been true enough. That would have been really interesting to see, rather than RGV's rehash of another iconic movie. The rest of the movie is quite predictable. The director's love of underworld movies, the audience's love for all illegal especially power. Amitabh Bachchan is a delight. He is really aged good wine. "Pink" was particularly delectable. Though he has his crap laid out in some other movies. Abhishek Bachchan, his son, has naturally brooding and potential looks. But he is a lot like Rahul Gandhi. A legacy they inherited the looks of, but contrarian actions. If only a smart director knew how to capitalize his innocent Jaya Bhaduri eyes with his father's frown! But if wishes were horses, Bollywood would have had a real name to itself. Not a derivative of Hollywood.

The rest of the movie are the remains of a potboiler. The emotional parts are very predictable and the filmmaker could have done away with dragging it, but then you can take a director out of Bollywood, but you cannot take Bollywood out of him.

MS Dhoni - The Untold Story

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Sports movies are always a bigger gamble than the sport itself. Rare gems are like Rocky. However, having hated the Azhar crap, I had equal trepidations about MSD. But where it struck me was very basic – simplicity and sincerity. All difficult movies should adopt this approach. The flick was watchable. Sort of a dramatized documentary.

Coming to the actors, none of them have any calibre that makes them or the movie memorable. Not even the sidies. The main lead was chosen more for his appearance than his thespian abilities. There were times when he was so wooden I thought that was probably how MSD must have been in real life (MSD is very wooden in his post-match speech deliveries, the boys this, the boys that). But then again, where the acting called for … well … acting, it was still wooden.

Life is sometimes that simple. Either you have it or you don’t. If you do and it goes unnoticed, it is wasted. If you don’t and you try, you will lose it any which way. If you do and it is channelled, you will not only get there, you will be there.

Simplicity and sincerity works even if everything else is shit.

PS. Proud to see my friend Chatterji Shuchinto listed in the credits in Legal!


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Caught an ancient Bollywood movie. 1994. Not so new, right? Something in me wanted to see women emancipation. Remembered it was either “I spit on your grave” or “Zakhmi Aurat” or something. Thought I remembered Madhuri with a scene on forced abortion. Anjaam. That is how I happened to watch it.

Anjaam is an over the top movie. So if you like ham (for the idiots, it refers to acting), then watch it. Much “acting”, melodramatics, emotion, overacting, etc. Madhuri Dixit has done a real lot for woman emancipation. It is very obvious that she has no idea what she has done for modern day Indian woman, but if today’s South Asian woman is anything to be judged on her strength, it is because of Madhuri Dixit. Indian women owe her. Unfortunately, she is as caviar is to the slumdogs as tandoori chicken is to the nouveau riche. Completely incongruous. In the various videos like dance shows, Kapil Sharma videos, etc she came across as fake. In real life interviews, artificial. It is really fantastic to note how she is entirely oblivious to her power over the south Asian women masses. Perhaps that is her star quality which she lost. So long as she doesn’t know it now. Today, she is useless. But if she realises it now, it’s too late. We will never find another like her for a long time.

Then there is Shah Rukh Khan. Simply useless over the top pig actor (read ham). Never liked him. Never will. What caused the Indian masses to elevate him, I don’t know. Actually, scratch that. I know. It’s the Indian fantasy of sword and sorcery. Don’t mistake me. Even idiots from countries other than India adores him. Fascinates me. These idiots. Love for the unachievable. Love of others who reach where they can’t. He is, was and will be useless. But then again. I can never be him.

Enough of the Mads and the Khan. On to Anjaam. The concept is great. The movie, good. The power of women. The film making is crap. But the film is good. Bad editing. Too much extravagant histrionics (no redundancy here. If you know Bollywood, you know what I mean). Bad loud music. Over character development. Much waste of valuable of film rolls. The list goes on. There are very poignant moments and powerful scenes. Director seems to like theatre. Pity the director goes all over the place. Has some growing up issues it seems. But wish there was an eloquent scriptwriter and director somewhere that would have made a beautiful move really powerful.

The Legend of Tarzan 2016

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[The Legend of Tarzan 2016] on imdb

Madaari 2016

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A full length advertisement advertisement for Arnab Goswami. Unfortunately the worthy cannot sue for defamation (libel or slander) as the doppelganger was uncharacteristically silent in the climax.

Otherwise, the movie fails to inspire due to its predictability and indifference of the general Indian populace. The acting served somewhat as fillers and background characters merely attempted to create a sense of false urgency. Focus should have been on tightness of dialogue delivery and content.

Saala Khadoos

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… way better than Piggy’s Mary Kom

It is a simple film. I know references will be made to Rocky. It was after all an iconic film. A disruptor – in tech startup firm terms. What was delicious was Rocky lost his bout in the first film. That’s what made it big and an AA winner. But you cannot compare that to India. The first and last fight is not at all the ring. Like marriages, it works not because of the spouse, but in spite of the spouse. So did SK. It was about politics, you dolts, don’t you get it? Don’t review the boxing. Review the real story. It’s a simple film. The fact that it did not have the glamour element doesn’t detract you from the main theme. It’s a simple fish straight from the ocean that has been grilled on the side with two simple ingredients of salt and lemon. It lets you taste the freshness without the garnishes and unwarranted spices. It talks about a simple fight. A simple relationship. A simple loyalty. A simple love. It works. Even when the bruises and the left eye makeup fades in and out faster than a courtesan’s lover.

So this is more a review about reviewers. Having watched the former, I went to look for reviews of the same. The first review on google directed me to Indian Express. But on further investigation, the other reviewers (will not use the word critic as they give love a bad name) are the same. So there is this person called Shubhra Gupta. I don’t know his/her gender or sex and cannot keep typing s/he, so will jest refer to s/he as “it”. It reviewed both movies (For ease of your reference. See these two reviews side by side for yourself and you will see which side of the butt the reviewer liks. May their tribe die … Indian Express review and Indian Express review again. Gawd. Even the link directly says “PC does a good job. What is it expecting? Free @$#%@#%, free %*$%$# from Chops? Dream On! Four stars to you) It’s style of review is blasé, biased, bloated, in other words, merely bad. It’s review of Mary Kom tries to pay homage to … I really don’t know. It was cautious, made all the wrong noises in the right way. Or maybe the right noises in the wrong way. It stings Saala Khadoos (SK) heavily, but tiptoes like a butterfly around Mary Kom. Where the hell do these reviewers come from and where do they hope to go. Do they even know that if most people like yours truly didn’t search their reviews for research, their empty words resound even more hollow?

This is the problem with film reviewers. Their association with so called Bollywood and realising where which side of their bred is butt-ered. When there are nobodies involved, they are reeeaaally “critical”. But when there are stars are involved, they are oh so very careful. These are really very talented critics. They know how to sound critical to the plebians while pandering to the populars. I am happy I do not know nor care about the bollywoodies. It’s all about wood. All erection and no sensation. I hope I never know the BOOLLYWOOD STAARS, coz then I can say what I want without hoping for a speck of their spittle to fall on my parched ne(i)ther lips.

I also glossed over Rajiv Masand’s “critique” on SK as well, to be fair. If he was not so starry-eyed over his stars or longing for their validation of him, he would have made a half decent reviewer (or is that: critic). “I watch so that you don’t have to watch” – I think he said that. If that is not a cliché to his critique that most movies he watches are clichéd, I really don’t know what hypocrisy is.

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