Archive for the ‘Bombay’ Category

Conquer thy fear!

August 22, 2009

Review firft, bakwaaf later.

The new Bhard and hif Pulp

Vifal Bhardwaj, of courf. Kaminey is an   O u t f t a n d i n g   movie. We don’t get much clofer to Pulp Fikfon, no Fir! The ftory, af everyone knowf, if ‘pulpy’, and henf the comparifon to the fuperlative Quentin movie, which I have to watch a fecond time, to get it. And it if a ftory, nothing more. No preaching, no larger-than-life ftuff.

The very good ftuff:

  • Kaminey is intelligent, and goadf you into ufing your brain.
  • Kaminey is very, very fubtle and nuanfed.
  • Kaminey is very claffy, and unapologetic.
  • Kaminey ekfplainf nothing. It doefn’t need to.
  • Kaminey infults a lot of people, and lotf of kindf-of-people, with fineffe.
  • Kaminey haf got fome incredible mufic, and if arranged very beautifully through the movie. Quentin, all over again!
  • Kaminey, or rather Bhardwaj, haf an unbelievable eye for detail.
  • Kaminey haf a taut ftoryline, doesn’t fag at all.
  • Kaminey haf got the beft out of all its actorf, bar none.
  • Kaminey coverf a whole gamut of iffuf; corrupfon, drugf, mafia, brotherhood, friendfhip, love, cruelty, infecurity, obfeffion, helpleffneff, AIDF…; with much elan.
  • Kaminey coverf Bombay, like no one doef.
  • Kaminey is the beft embodiment of the can-do fpirit of the Fity, that I have come acroff.
  • Kaminey rockf!

The not-fo-good ftuff:

  • It if really irritating to watch it forrounded with people who cannot recognife claff, and apprefiate it.
  • Fwine flu. Mint fayf it’f going to make a net loff of 8-10 Croref, purely due to the flu. 😦
  • Everyone, including I, keepf comparing it with Quentin’f work, which if quite unfair. Thif if, really, af far af anyone would go, confidering the cultural differenfef.
  • It really needf a fanfite to collect, difcuff and diffect all the blunt, oblique and opaque referenfef in the movie. Anyone out there liftening?

The bad ftuff:

  • Are you daft?! Nothing here!

Very Fpecial Mention: Priyanka Chopra:

The Marathi mulgi in the movie. Almoft unrecognifable. No glamour, no makeup, but what beauty! And what acting! The timing, the ekfpreffonf, the dialogue delivery, the eyef, the nofe, the lipf, the workf! W O W! Thif if a performanf I can watch for agef! I had given up on her after her very irritating Kriff (heh! heh!). Confioufly avoiding all her movies or ignoring her role till now, it waf the only fore point for me af I entered the finema hall for Kaminey. A big thank you to Priyanka and Vifal Bhardwaj.

Ekfafperated at Fmita watching it in Chennai and reviewing it, and infpired by her comment, I conquered my fear and defided to watch it on Wednefday. A Ferief of unfortunate evenf made thif endeavour quite ufeleff. A chanfe phone call to another friend, and fuddenly, it was on! I watched the movie on thurfday evening, and liked it very much. There were a few disfconnectf in the fecond half (oh yef, very literally half), and I waf ftill wondering about thofe af I watched G. I. Joe (poffible review coming up) on Friday evening. The earlier group of friendf had finally muftered enough courage to go watch Kaminey, and didn’t like it! And worfe, I got raked over the coalf for my recommendation (until then, highly valued). Quite difturbed, I tried thinking back, and couldn’t recall half the movie! Defperate, I waf, until I came acroff the frefhly-minted review by Fpike (I’m really enjoying thif now!) here.  Well, why not! The Giant dropped everything, and headed to PVR for a rematch. And it turned out to be a very good defifion! Problem waf, Thurfday evening waf the end of a headache-filled fleepy day, and therefore not the beft frame of mind for Kaminey. You need to confentrate, or you’ll miff it!! Fref in the morning, it waf a Tour-De-Forfe for the fenfef! Pulp, pulp and more pulp! Referenfe after referenfe! Homage after homage! Fet-piefe by fet-piefe! Ekfpreffion by ekfpreffion! I caught most of the referenfef, and a lot of the nuanfef, and more of the fubtelty. Needf a third viewing!!

Go watch it! And keep an eye out for the bhawre, and the mulgi, and the fweaty armpitf, and the guitar, and the ghoda, and the kurteef, and the guitar piefe near the climakf, the loo, the trainf, the….

 PF: Thif poft haf been rendered unreadable in apprefiation of Babaji, who taught uf how to ufe f for s, sh, z, x,…way back in ’04. Thankew!

Tropic Thunder

August 20, 2009

Incoming! I thought, as I imagined Juhu beach being carpet-bombed, hearing explosion after explosion tear through the white-hot sky! I wondered also, if I am still alive, and why there’s no smoke, fire, screams. The explosions subsided after a good 15 seconds (!), and I woke up to the sound of pattering rain, at the ungodly time of 5:30 in the morning. Must’ve been some lightning strike! A quick check later, I pulled up a chair to the balcony, and enjoyed the thunder and lightning show for an hour. Then, as the rains abated, the sun came out, the car cleaner below started washing cars (quite redundant, I’d say), I realized I gotta get on my feet and face another day in the rut of the rat race…sigh.

Anyway, here are two photos taken from the same chair:

Sunset

Sunset

Morning

Morning

Mornin’!

PS: The movie was quite a dud, and did not merit a review. It was, however, funny in parts, and the one thing I liked about the movie was that I couldn’t recognize Tom Cruise till the end credits rolled!

PPS: The post was originally ‘posted’ on the morning of 20th August, but I foolishly deleted it while importing from Blogger. D-uh!

Disappointing!

April 17, 2009

About time. A whole month without a single post! But that’s not the only disappointment. It’s mostly this. The Watchmen, as those who know, know, is a cult graphic novel. This fine comic crossed paths with I in November ’07 when I could barely stand, and totally knocked me off my heavily-bandaged foot.

****SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read this if you haven’t read the book.****
(On the other hand, don’t read it even if you have. I am still learning how to review.)

It is a story of a world where America has won the war(s), disbanded its costumed superheroes, and is on the brink of war with Russia (or USSR? gotta check). The retired superheroes, most of them anyway, live with their own frustrations. Then, of course, plot and storyline get complex and complicated, the amazing artwork grows on you, all hell breaks loose, lots of people get killed or brutalized, and there is a grand scheme to take over the world, revealed in the end. Amazingly, it succeeds! And people move on! No payoffs, no retributions, no triumphant hero at the end, giving out feel-good, new-hope vibes (a la Superman-returns-from-the-dead, with a few million dead (in coast city, I think) in the background. Wonder if they’ll make a movie out of it.). People just move on! Incredible! Given the length of the comic and its bleak nature, you are positively tired by the end of it, just begging for a huge happy ending for it all where everything is right with the world. Not to be. I’ve never seen so many shades of grey in writing, ever. As a bonus, the novel has a story within a story, which a guy sitting at a news stand reads out of a comic book. This comic (which is rumoured to be coming on the DVD) makes the Watchmen novel look light-hearted! On the flip side, the Watchmen novel does oversimplify a lot of things, is heavy on rhetoric, and, as usual, there’s no world outside of the USA. The novel, however, is so good, it makes my rants seem childish.

****SPOILER ALERT Ends. Back to the movie!****

I get a call at 4:00 in the afternoon: Movie’s On! 7:35 PM show! I look at the watch and wonder: Office finishes at 5:30 PM. Gotta go Nariman Point to Andheri – SEEPZ – pick up friend – Powai! Madness! After some lying and begging, boss relents, and the giant takes off! A quick bath, and off to fight the traffic, first through Andheri, and then Powai. Surprisingly, contrary to my luck (more on that some other time), we make it with time to spare. Post a hastily-gobbled frankie, we plonk ourselves on the tiny seats (I’m a giant, remember?). The movie starts off with the credits shot in the style of old films (Friend said it was Hitchcockian. Well, he’s the expert; I have no idea.), which raises the sky-high expectations even higher. And then it starts off, almost panel-for-panel from the first page of the book. Panic! It’s a huge book! 12 volumes, no less! If he’s gonna do the panel-for-panel thing all the way, it’s gonna take a week! The director, fortunately, understands my anxiety, and moves on. And it starts going downhill from there. The first half, unbelievably, goes on at a leisurely pace, just introducing the characters! I say as much to my other friend, who got dragged into the movie because of me, bought the tickets, and was giving me a strange look. I hoped for a better second-half, and it was, but not by much. By the time it ended, I was actually embarrassed to look at the screen, just wishing for it to end. Time for bullets!

The Good:

  • The sex. At one point, I actually asked aloud whether the censors had been shown some other print of the movie. Well, it doesn’t have much ‘action’ per se, but the nudity is something which I have never seen before in any movie having a censor certificate, certainly not in a movie hall. I don’t know how they did it, maybe there’s a formula there similar to Anurag Kashyap films, to beat the censors. Anyway, it rocks!
  • The special effects. They were expected to be good, and they are.
  • The effort. The director, the actors, the technicians, everybody. It shows, and it seems like the story got too big on them. Which brings us to…

The Bad:

  • The director has tried to remain faithful to the story, and its depiction in the novel. Normally it is a good thing, but here it’s worked against the movie. It needed to be ‘re-interpreted’ maybe like the Bourne series.
  • The music, when I first heard it in a trailer, it was very good. In the movie, it gets disconcerting to hear it, and fails badly.
  • The dialogues, picked mostly from the book, are heavy on rhetoric and do not sound like a conversation. It is like a voice in your head reading them out of the book as you read. The dialogue delivery also falls prey to the same problem. In the comic, the frame is frozen, and one would mostly stay with the frame only as long as it takes you to understand the scene and read the speech bubble. Usually, this happens at considerable pace once one has crossed the first few pages, even for slow readers, because you are engrossed in the story and want to know what’s coming next. Unfortunately, in his quest to replicate the frames from the novel, the director does the opposite. Suddenly in the middle of the movie, everything pauses and the actor delivers his or her dialogue. This totally destroys any pace the movie has picked up till then. In fact, in the time it takes them to deliver it and get back to the story, you would’ve read two pages’ worth!
  • The book. Well, it is an excellent book, but as someone said once, it is un-filmable. The director has just proven him right. Some things are left well enough alone.

The Ugly:

There’s nothing ugly about Watchmen. I’m still a fan. 🙂

So, read the book, and watch the movie when it comes on TV and you have the time. (How can I forget, it is almost three hours long!). Sad.

In Remembrance: The Bookseller of Bombay

March 1, 2009

Although I knew he was unwell for a long time, this still shocked the hell out of me. I have been an admirer of Mr. Shanbag since I first heard of the Strand Book Sale at Sunderbai Hall, back in school. For a bookworm like me, it was paradise! Rows upon rows of beautiful books at unbelievable prices! I made it a point to go to every one of them in Bombay, for the last ten years, save one. Even to the tiny ones near Kaifi Azmi.

Whatever I knew of the man, I read in newspapers and on the Internet. I am not going to repeat all that he has done for booklovers in Bombay, and elsewhere. If you dont know, well, you ought to. Even in absentia, he became one of the very few people I respect, admire, look up to. Only once did I see him; in his bookstore, wandering and talking to visitors. There was something about him, strong, confident, and gentle, which was so awe-inspiring I simply couldn’t go up to him. To this day, and forever, it shall remain something I regret.

I shall truly miss you, Mr. Shanbag; it feels like I lost someone real close.

May you rest in peace, Mr. Shanbag.