Thursday, January 26, 2012


Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 26th January, 2012
Time : ~155 minutes
Director : Karan Malhotra; Writers : Karan Malhotra, Illa Dutta Bedi based on the film of the same name by Mukul Anand; Music : Ajay Atul
Starring : Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt, Rishi Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Zarina Wahab, Om Puri, Zarina Wahab, Kanika Tiwari, Arish Bhiwandiwala, Chetan Pandit

The story is built on the simplest of emotions, revenge. A young boy loses his father in the most horrific of circumstances, strung up on the flimsiest of evidence in his own village. For the next fifteen years the boy is driven purely by, focused solely on vengeance. Even at the cost of separation from his young sister & mother, who doesn’t approve of his methods.

I enjoyed parts of this film.

The first half was slick, fast moving. It seemed the hero was not just using brawn but was also playing Machiavillean politics in Mumbai’s gang wars.

I got the stylisation.
The way the grimy city of Mumbai is depicted, replete with art deco slums.
Or the tiny island of Mandwa, with picture perfect views
The way colour is shown to splash during Ganpati. And the entire city is lit up & everyone turns up in their finery during the festival period.

The way Sanjay Dutt is made to look, oozing menace from every bald pore (though found his dialogue caricature-ish).
The way Rishi Kapoor is given the Muslim makeover, hennaed hair, stubble et all.
I liked Priyanka’s brief role, understood in part her relationship with our hero, the man for whom love is always secondary.
I really liked Hrithik. With all his Greek God looks, finely sculpted body, there always does seem to be a little boy somewhere around him. He can be intense in one scene, all anger and bloodshed yet look extremely vulnerable the next, misty eyed and aching for a loving touch.

What I didn’t get was the overall story. The end left me disappointed.
So what was the grand master plan for the revenge, the one he’d been cooking for fifteen years ? The way things panned out, it couldn’t have been how he conceived or wanted it to be ?
What was his relationship with the one honest cop in the system, Om Puri ? Why was he willing to ruin everything to protect him ? And vice versa.
The way he eventually went about things, the entire bit about the gang wars, the part since he had grown up, seemed unnecessary.
And I don’t get how our heroes seem to transform into superheroes. Most men would die or be close to it when they’ve had butcher knives poked in and out, been shot at or been tossed about like rag dolls. Our heroes seem to simply draw strength from such experiences.

Its grim, colourful, larger than life, tragic, touching and brawny at the same time. Watchable. But I guess I was hoping for something more, an extra layer beyond the blood thirst.

PS : slightly shamefully, for someone who confesses to be a hardcore AB fan, I don’t remember much of the original Agneepath. All I can plead in my defense is that its his earlier work that I am more enamoured by and can describe scene by scene. Be that as it may, am unable to compare the two.


Rating : 8/10
Release Date : 26th January, 2012
Time : 115 minutes
Director : Alexander Payne; Writers : Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings; Music : Dondi Bastone
Starring : George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Mathew Lillard, Patricia Hastie, Beau Bridges, Judy Greer

George Clooney has a lot on his plate. His legal work, which he seems to take very seriously. His wife, who is in coma after a tragic speed boating accident. His younger daughter, who is in trouble at school and with some friends after some inappropriate remarks. His rebellious elder daughter, who’s in rehab, and doesn’t seem to enjoy being with the family. Some friends who turn out to be more his wife’s friends than his. And to top it all, he is a descendant of the Hawaiian royal family, the sole trustee of a large chunk of pristine land worth a fortune, and has to decide what to do with it while cousins with dollar signs in their eyes & the whole of Hawaii hover mercilessly around.
Its slow moving but what unfolds is a simple, touching, heart warming, histrionics free story. Lots to pick up on, if you read between the lines. What kind of upbringing do we want for our kids, what kind of inheritance do we want to leave for them ? How would we cope with betrayal ? Or loss ? How some women always remain daddy’s girl… Moments of humour are provided by the elder daughter’s Neandethral-esque boyfriend and the interactions with George’s father in law. The music is excellent, ethnic and enhances the film’s flavour.
I was transfixed by George Clooney. He seems to do such a wide variety of roles with ease, including being a pin up boy, a classic lead in the conventional sense. Yet he brings none of that to his persona when playing this very ordinary character, beset by ordinary problems. Barring of course the knotty land inheritance issue.
His elder daughter, played by Shailene, gets her part just right, 2 parts rebel, 2 parts concerned daughter and 1 part in need of comforting herself. The younger daughter is also able to cope with her character which needs cuteness, innocence and young adulthood in equal measure.
There is something charming about this film. Its about the common man, who has a shot at being very rich. About a husband who is wracked by guilt and betrayal within the cold embers of a dying marriage. About a father who is worried how he’s going to cope with two daughters. The last frame of the film was deeply reassuring for me. The way I would want it to be.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Good Night; Good Morning

Rating : 7/10 Release Date : 20th January, 2012 Time : 81 minutes Director : Sudhish Kamath; Writers : Sudhish Kamath & Shilpa Rathnam; Music : Gregory Generet Starring : Manu Narayan, Seema Rahmani, Vasant J Santosham, Raja Sen An unsuccessful pick up attempt in a New York hotel bar. An eight hour layover between flights. Drinks. Some drugs. New Year Eve. And a phone call that lasts through the night. Its witty, its romantic, its poignant, its rambling, its plagued by all the ills of a long mobile phone conversation (loss of signal, battery dying out) and most of all, it’s a very unusual yet plausible situation.
Manu, after being brushed off at a bar, is sufficiently intrigued to give Seema a call. She is in between flights and sufficiently at loose ends (and not sleepy) to be able to respond to such a call without calling the cops. The ensuing exchange extends to all possible topics, including simple ones like ‘whats your name’, ‘what do you do’, ‘what are your favourite fruits’ to more complicated ones like Bollywood, relationship with parents, girls, guys, past affairs and future prospects.
I liked the way the characters were built. Manu’s liking for melons (and face-saving knowledge of all their varieties), his inability to forget his past, his comfort in being a geek. Seema speaks like a lawyer, is aggressive, cant stand Bollywood stereotypes and is very comfortable talking about sex / nudity. In fact, even teases Manu for being unable to.
Both come across as self assured yet vulnerable. Romantic yet pragmatic. Funny yet empathetic. I liked the way Vasant & Raja provide some comic relief. Or some of the ‘imaginary sequences’ provide some relief to the conversation.
Possibly, there is a romantic inside all of us. A rebelliousness against being single. A desire to find ‘the one’. And, of course, the desire to be happy. Good Night, Good Morning, in part, explores all these aspects & desires and does it well. An interesting debut from Sudhish, look forward to more from him.