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Raanjhanaa

Raanjhanaa

Going by the rave reviews for the movie and this poster in particular, I took out some time to watch the film. For a weekday matinee show, the multiplex was rather crowded. A LOT of youngsters had come to watch the movie. In fact, for some unknown reason, I felt like the oldest member in the crowd, at least, till the lights went out. After that, it didn’t matter :).

I didn’t intend to write a movie review and frankly, this isn’t one in the real sense. Its just that, when I walked out of the theatre, I kept lamenting about how the female lead called Zoya had deceived the male lead, called Kundan, in the end. I haven’t been a fan of Sonam Kapoor, ever, and after this particular role, I vowed never to see her films again. But as I dropped cousin L back to her place (she had accompanied me for the movie) and drove on towards home, it struck me.

*BAM* !!

Wait an effing minute!!

Was I really sympathizing with the guy’s character? He, the uneducated, good-for-nothing cad who thinks nothing more of Zoya, other than being his rightful wife, irrespective of the fact that never once in the movie did she display anything more than a hint of affection for him.

Now, this is going to be a spoiler post, so if anyone of you hasn’t seen the movie yet and intend to, then kindly shut this browser window. I don’t wanna ruin your fun or prejudice your thinking 🙂

I’ll wait.

*tap tap tap*

Still here?

Al right. Let me start afresh.

A young boy has a crush on a neighborhood girl, of a different religion. He grows into a teen, the crush still exists. He stalks the girl, gets innumerable slaps and finally, the girl agrees to meet him alone. BUT, she clearly states that it isn’t because she has any feelings for him, its just that he was so consistent in his request that she felt bad about depriving him. For her, the meeting was nothing less than an act of pity.

In the said meeting, boy gets close to the girl. The girl, on finding that the boy had lied about his religion (he claimed to be a muslim, just like the girl), immediately shuns him and walks off. The boy wasn’t going to take it sitting down, so he stalks her some more, harasses her and one fine day, slits his wrist in her presence. When the girl cries out in shock and horror and hugs the boy, I could make out that it was because of compassion, and NOT love. Alas, the boy thinks otherwise. He thinks that he has made a pathway to her heart by his ‘heroic’ act.

The girl is punished for her PDA and sent away to an aunt’s place. Years later, she returns to her hometown, a much mature and educated young woman. We can see that she has grown up. But has the boy? Alas, apart from pining for his ladylove, Kundan has done nothing constructive of his life. He is still a street ruffian who runs odd jobs at Zoya’s place. Needless to say, she doesn’t recognize him when he makes googly eyes at her. For her, its just an errand boy hitting on her. Kundan tries his best to revive her memory, succeeds and when she gets friendly, starts stalking her again. All her laments , that she was never interested in him, fall on deaf ears. He wants her back and will go to any lengths to get her.

Some people say that Zoya used Kundan. As I see it, she asks for his help twice. Once, to get rid of a prospective bridegroom and the second time, to convince her father. Kundan could have refused both times, but he didn’t. He does help her, but takes it as his due that she is indebted to him for life. Even when Zoya tries to thank him, he rebukes her for rejecting him. So driven is he by his selfish sentiments that he wrecks one havoc after the other, all in the name of love.

Zoya loses a loved one because of Kundan and instead of moping in one corner or running into his arms, tries to channel her grief into supporting the political party of her departed fiance. One would have expected that at least now, Kundan will leave her alone. But nah!! He bulldozes his way into her college campus and then into her political party, reminding her every second of the humiliation and loss that she suffered at his hands? Was this, his way of redemption? It was a very poor implementation if that is what he intended!

Left with very little option, Zoya tries to get rid of Kundan, who had been clinging onto her like a festering wound, refusing to heal and let her be at peace. She knew the consequences of her actions and also publicly accepted her guilt.

Alas, we were left with sympathizing with the guy.

Why didn’t we sympathize with Zoya earlier?

Was it because the guy, in order to teach the girl a lesson for refusing his advances, hadn’t thrown a bottle of acid on her face yet? Well, he wasn’t a picture of peaceful devotion either. Beating up a female childhood friend? Check. Using her unashamedly for his selfish purposes? Check. Driving into the river on a bike, with Zoya, in a fit of rage? Check. Proposing marriage to childhood friend and then dumping her at the last minute? Check.

There is something really wrong about portraying a woman as evil because she chose to live her life on HER terms and not some street ruffian’s. Why didn’t we root for Zoya  right from the beginning? Can it be called a ‘sweet love story’, when clearly, it was more about harassment and ego? One man’s at that!!

In a country so full of misguided youth who believe that any woman who refuses their advances doesn’t have a right to live in dignity, do we need such cinematic ‘heroes’ who show the wrong way? Is slitting of wrists the only way of achieving love? Of protesting? Isn’t it an act of self-pity ? When Zoya does it, we can understand, her loss is much more grievous. But why does Kundan do it so frequently? With his frame, he cannot afford to lose blood at the drop of a hat.

Street-sexual harassment, or ‘eve-teasing’ is a serious crime. It has extremely serious repercussions on the victim. Kundan’s stalking of Zoya for 8+ years and her continuous denial of ‘love’ show us two aspects to this ‘love-story’. An unemployed youth, with nothing better to do, will indulge in fantasies, which for him, take the shape of truth, his truth. A woman who says ‘NO’, means ‘NO’. A ‘NO’ will never translate into a ‘Yes’, even after the passage of time.

I bet a similar ‘Kundan’ did this to Sonali –

sonali

Raanjhanaa gives out very wrong signals. The movie is making quite a lot of moolah….but I’m just worried about the impressionable youth who watch this film.

We don’t need such movies right now. Or ever.

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New Look —- Old Look

Going through rediff yesterday, I came across the just released poster (first look, they say) of Ranbir Kapoor’s upcoming movie “Rockstar”. Here’s the poster :-

Rockstar poster

Looking at this picture, can’t help but wonder if the inspiration came from this :-

Che Guevara

Remove the guitar and button up the trenchcoat and Ranbir might just as well look like this :-

Or is it just me who sees the similarity/inspiration?!!

😐



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Quite a mouthful, that title, isn’t it?!

I’ve been reading a lot lately (actually, Pre-Ramadan) and even watched a few movies (again, pre-Ramadan). I’m awful at reviews of both, so I usually don’t try. Only when a book/movie really takes up 80% of my attention span, does it get mentioned here 🙂 . So anyway, I was watching this movie ZNMD at a cousin’s place last month. The reason I stayed back to watch it was because the movie was by Zoya Akhtar, whose Luck By Chance remains one of my most favourite movies of all times. Don’t ask why though. I wouldn’t be able to explain 🙂

Another reason would be Hritik in Zoya’s movie and NOT having the lead role (both the movies were focused on Farhan Akhtar 🙂 ). There must be something about the pressure of being a lead actor I guess. Because most times I find that when an actor is cast against his type, when the onus of carrying a film does not rest on his gym-pumped shoulders, he gives a performance which is far more nuanced, and makes his character feel far more real. Case in point – Hritik’s role in Luck By Chance. A supposed cameo, but so effective. The expressions in Hritik’s eye in this movie are yet to be seen in another film! The haughtiness at the beginning, the smug look which eventually boils down to simmering resent, with a dash of jealousy and regret in equal measures! Wow! I guess this why I stayed back to see Hritik in a Zoya movie once again. And I wasn’t disappointed. At all 🙂

ZNMD is a beautiful movie. Not because of the road trip or the locales. Not because of Katrina or her Spanish friend (who looks lovely by the way!!). But because, none of the three leads carries the baggage of making the film a hit. They chip in with relaxed ease. Each actor doing his bit and then some. The eventual outcome is a movie we can relate to. There are no corny jokes and very few profanities. The one or two places they are used are justified! The movie touched the right chords in me and I enjoyed it thoroughly. What came as a gentle surprise though, was the song ‘Senorita’ sung by the three leads themselves. What a brilliant idea! It added so much to the charm of the song and the movie as a whole! In fact, I’m really liking this idea of actors singing their own songs ( and full marks to Alisha Chinoy for bringing out this issue into the open!!). Of the three singers, Hritik was definitely The Best! No second opinions there. Its a wonder how this speech-handicapped man not only mastered his stammer to spout urdu dialogues in Jodha-Akbar, but also warmed his vocals to belt out beautiful numbers! His 5-min monologue in Guzaarish is all the more appreciable because of the effort that must have gone into delivering it. This man is the epitome of hard-work I say. In spite of all his fame and fortune, he still takes an hour’s speech therapy session everyday. Btw, who else loved his English number in Guzaarish??

Anyhow, back to the song from ZNMD. I liked ‘Senorita’, because it sounded so unique and so fresh 🙂 . I’m still on the fence about Farhan’s singing talent (its the voice I guess. But he can string a note for sure !) . The shocker was Abhay deol ! But he was given precious little to do. The chorus was very well executed and thats why even all this time I find myself humming that song 🙂 . I think Zoya Akhtar is a director to look out for. This woman knows the tricks of the trade…but best of all, she knows how to do sensitive well. Very well.

Talking of Zoya, can’t help but remember this book called ‘The Zoya Factor‘ by Anuja Chauhan. I think I guessed the end in the first few pages itself. That it took another 500 for me to be proved right was a tad painstaking. Firstly, because I HATE cricket (sue me!) and secondly, because the female lead appears so daft! I really think we need to get out of the M&B mode (here in India, they term it as Chick-Lit). So all and sundry can see the sparks flitting between the leads and yet, they themselves are unaware of each other’s sentiments. Give me a break! Real women are seldom oblivious to the reactions of the opposite sex. And coming back to Zoya the director, I think I can now say why I liked Luck By Chance (and now ZNMD). Because the women in her films are not caricatures of their selves. They are real flesh and blood, the types who can say no to a relationship and be happy about it! That part in LBC where Farhan’s character seeks out Konkona’s character to ask for forgiveness and another chance at their relationship, was priceless!! Because I just couldn’t imagine what would come next. It was such a pleasant blow that instead of rushing into his arms sobbing with relief, Konkona’s character actually talks him into why it wouldn’t be a good idea to get together after all! Take that buster! If you think you can play hooky with today’s woman and get forgiven, you got another think coming your way! Redemption be damned 😀 . That the female lead could hold her head high and be proud of her choices in life was such a breath of fresh air 🙂 .

After watching ZNMD,  I’m not critical towards Katrina Kaif anymore. I never liked her before (too vapid for my liking) but ZNMD proved me wrong once again. KK’s character was real too. Not too pretentious and just enough charisma to hold her scenes well. In fact, all that I now want to do, is see Hritik crooning a love number for Katrina Kaif in a movie directed by Zoya Akhtar. I bet my last penny that I’d be there to see the First Day First Show First Row.

😀



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I had the good luck of watching Udaan with the BF yesterday. The family was out for a dinner party. They had taken SS with them. So that left me with only RS to worry about. The BF had brought a DVD of Udaan (which he said he’d heard a lot about) and we got down to watch it.

It was mind-blowing. The synopsis (as taken from imdb) :

After being abandoned for eight straight years in boarding school, Rohan returns to the small industrial town of Jamshedpur and finds himself closeted with an authoritarian father and a younger half-brother who he didn’t even know existed. Forced to work in his father’s steel factory and study engineering against his wishes, he strives to forge his own life out of his given circumstances and pursue his dream of being a writer.

The movie started off well enough, with the regular antics of teenage boys in a hostel. The friendships(which lay the foundation for an important role in the decision made by the lead towards the end) are not forced and come off naturally. The interactions between the boys are depicted in such a casual manner, it does not seem as though they are acting or reciting memorized lines. It all comes off naturally and beautifully. A word for the young actor Manjot Singh, who plays Muninder. This young lad was engaging enough in “Oye Lucky Lucky Oye” and even here too, he does  justice to his few minutes of screen space. Even when he’s not present on the screen (like the time Rohan calls him) you can feel his presence. This is one young man to look out for!!

Once Rohan comes back home, the movie takes a more sombre turn. Rohan now has to acknowledge the presence of a 6-year-old half-brother. He doesn’t remember much of his own mother, having lost her early in life. And it seems like a wicked twist of fate that even the young half-brother Arjun (played adorably by Aayan Boradia. See him in the video below. I couldn’t find a snap of his on the net 😦 ) loses his mother early and has to live with the awfully authoritarian father (played by a  goose-bumpingly evil Ronit Roy).

The way the brothers bond, or more importantly, how Rohan comes to accept and love the little boy are depicted so beautifully, one is left with a tiny little lump in the throat throughout!!

Ronit plays the authoritarian father Bhairav with such fierce intensity, it is difficult to differentiate between the actor and the character!! I always considered him as the typical  soap-opera-ish actor . But in this movie, he redeems himself. Once or twice, we are given glimpses of why exactly he is the way he is. A couple of references to his father and the way he was brought up was enough of an indication. But then, the same fate was borne by his brother, the much more cheerful Jimmy (played with wonderful constraint by Ram Kapoor) and one can surmise that Bhairav did not take kindly to the treatment meted out to him by his father. Maybe thats why, inspite of spawning two children, he prefers they call him ‘Sir’ rather than ‘Papa’ or ‘Dad’. This way, he can distance himself emotionally from his children. Though he claims to fulfill the material needs of his kids, the one thing he can’t give them is his love and acceptance. He takes Rohan on a run every morning, just to prove that he is physically superior in every way and intimidate the teenager.Little Arjun, meanwhile, is in silent awe (fear?) of his father. When Bhairav asks for his son’s forgiveness one night, one hopes for happier times ahead for the family, but then the next few scenes easily squash that hope.

Not surprisingly then, Rohan takes refuge in his imagination. He pens his thoughts beautifully and dreams of becoming a writer/poet (against his father’s wish of becoming an engineer). Some of the lines he writes are compiled in this video below :-

It might appear a little depressing to a viewer to find the boys being continuously at the receiving end of their father’s ire. But that is exactly what leads Rohan to make his final decision. Maybe his being a poet stops him from taking a more drastic action early on. Even when he is egged on by his new-found friends (a very likeable Anand Tiwari) , he doesn’t do anything rash. He is controlled and patient. And when the time is right, he makes his move. And we are all with him. That last letter speaks out his frustration, but not in such terms. Though it contains angst and regret, it also speaks of hope, of love, of family. And for those lines alone, it is worth watching the movie. The last scene, of Rohan and Arjun walking hand-in-hand is enough to make you reach for the tissue box.

Why are such movies not spoken about often? ? It was one of the best movie’s I’ve seen in recent times (maybe, TZP). The pace of the movie was initially slow, but then later on I realized that the pace was necessary . To make us absorb what was happening on the screen. To take in the expressions on the face of the protagonists, to read their eyes and the subtle body-language, which spoke volumes.

Throughout the movie, me and the BF could not help but rue that there can actually be such parents in this world. But then, we hear of much worse in the real world. This movie was reasonably milder in its treatment of the father-son relationships!! But what a narration!! And what performances!! It’s rare to see a film where each and every character puts in his best.

A special mention must be made for Rajat Barmecha who plays Rohan. This young boy with the puppy-dog eyes was the right choice to play Rohan. He displayed amazing sensitivity in his scenes with his brother and a deep vulnerability in the scenes with his father! The mother in me just wanted to envelop him in a hug and soothe his worries away!! And ohh…for some reason, I kept thinking that little Aayan looks a lot like my SS. In fact, I felt that SS would grow up to look a lot like Aayan. Which is a good thing, because, Aayan is just so adorable 🙂 !!

Do watch this movie people…its very rare that you get to see a well made movie. Full marks to director Vikramaditya Motwane. Keep it up VM, hope to see more such gems from you 🙂



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This one’s for nostalgia. For memories best NOT remembered. But it helps to face those demons once in a while. To get a reality check. And also, to thank the Almighty that we were not infected much with that virus.

In case you think I’m rambling, please stop.Halt.Desist.Retreat.

This post is best suited to people born before 1980, though I feel a few of you born till 1985 would be aware of the calamity I’m talking about.

For the record, I talk about the period in Indian Film industry, which stood between Rajendra Chaturvedi and Saroj Khan. The gap between a Habib Mirza and a Manish Malhotra.

Eeeyup!!

I talk about the outfits and dance sequences of films in the late eighties and early nineties.

When there didn’t exist a ‘stylist’ or even a ‘dress designer’. Instead, we had ‘costume’ designers. And as the word aptly says, the outfits were costumes, best suited for theatrical appearances. And since Cinema was an extension of theatre, the producers felt no harm in mirroring those outfits for 70 mm.

As for the dance….err…the less said, the better 🙂

Anyhow, there are loads of articles on the same on the net. And I don’t want to be another critic/reviewer of those styles. But I do want to be the one to share with you these priceless gems . Please take out some time and view these. You may either feel enthralled at how these people got away with it, or you can shudder and turn away, relieved that you don’t have any such ‘demons’ hiding in your closet. Or do you??

Hehe. Just kidding 😀 .

Check these out (to better absorb the outfits and dance, please set the video on mute. Let not the music interfere with your visual senses) :-

1) Sridevi-Jeetendra : Competing with each other!

Where do I start??  From the extreme match-much in the blue to the bird-wings-tiara-red-gold to the canary-yellow-monstrosity, what were these people smoking?? Who paid money for these creations? And WHY??

Was Sridevi sleeping when they asked her for a trial. Or was she just blinded by all that colour and glitter??

And coming to the choreography……hmmm….that particular step at 01:27  (and again later towards the end of the video) must not have been easy. Hell, by the looks of it, it’s not even a ‘dance’ step. What made the dance director incorporate it in this song? If it wasn’t the steps, it’s the awful synchronizing that eats at me. Even S and J are not able to match steps with each other. S definitely looks as though her skirt will rip off any minute if she tries to match steps with J (who, not surprisingly, jumps with much gusto!!)

Help me people, I’m at a total loss here 😦

BTW, kudos to S and J for actually looking happy performing that feat. That, my friends, is called ‘acting’ !!

2) Jaya Prada : Secrets in her cupboard

First, just ignore the caped crusader in the beginning. I have NO idea why he’s dressed like that, when its clear he’s reminiscing about frolicking on the beach with his lady-love. Dressed up for dreaming, I guess.

Coming to Jaya Prada……Aaarghh…. to think I actually liked her at one time. What was I smoking?!! That silvery, castle-tower on her head takes the cake. The faux-middle-eastern setting/clothing clashes oh-so-bad with the pseudo bharatnatyam dance!! They tried for fusion I guess, but ended up with a horrible, horrible mish-mash of unpalatable, squishy,semi-not-erotic number. Dont even get me started on the banjara look !!

3) Kimi katkar:Am glad we have no idea where you are 😐

Warning: Jewel-coloured-tight-shalwar-kameez-with-boots-frizzy-hair-puffed-full-sleeves-brocade-dupatta-alert.

Ahh…I see you took a peep. C’mon, confess. Confess that you were as stunned as I was at the entire ensemble. Govinda, we can ignore for now. He was (is) never known for being well dressed.

As for Kimi……kimi, kimi, what’s up with those outfits? Tell me frankly, you hate it, dont you? You were just a newbie in the industry and didn’t have much of a say, isn’t it?ISN’T IT?? If the purple one wasn’t fugly enough, you exchanged it for a pink one. Of the same design. And possibly same material. WHY?? Thankfully, the boots were missing this time!!

Coming to the dance people, do pay special attention to 00:25 and 02:00. What is it?? What is the idea behind those moves? And who am I kidding here? Hell. Watch the whole video and then wonder what the song was about.

I’m surprised there weren’t rounds of protests and demonstrations when these movies got released. I’m surprised these were accepted and *shudder* copied.

But for now, if my kids ever get hold of these movies and ask about them, I’ll simply lie about my age say I wasn’t around when this catastrophe occured. That’ll prevent me from being ridiculed (or so I pray 😐 )

On second thoughts, any idea where I can grab my copy of that blue dress Sri wears in the first video?? Its kinda captivating, you know, in a faux-royalty kind of way,not that I know any royalty who wears a blue hat, blue dress, blue bracelets, blue leggings and blue shoes. Or for that matter, anyone who wears blue like that.

Or maybe, I do 😦



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How did he DO it??

Saw a movie on DVD over the last few days.

Its called Hairspray(2007) (there’s the original which was released in 1988). I was skeptical about it until I found that it was set in America of the 60’s and the movie was a kitschy musical (I LOVE musicals. The last one which I adored was Chicago. Gosh!! That movie rocked BIG time 😀 . Back in those college days, I’d saved it on my PC and would play it again and again and again 🙂 ).

Hairspray is directed by Adam Shankman and boasts of a pretty impressive star cast comprising Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Zac Efron , and……… her :-

Edna Turnblad from "Hairspray"

She  is one astounding dancer. Do check out her moves in this video :-

At the first look, I thought it was Jennifer Coolidge in a fat-suit.

But I was wrong. It turned out to be John Travolta in a fat suit!!

Yup , people!!

That is our man from “Broken Arrow” and “Face-off”!!

I had no idea he could prance like that…. in heels!!  Now tell me, when was the last time you saw a guy (carrying excess weight ) dancing in heels as though he was born doing it?!!

This guy is terribly convincing in his role as Edna Turnblad , totally mimicking the nuances of a woman, that too, a mother (our Bollywood heroes need to take a leaf or so out of his book ).  Awfully commendable!! I’ve notched up my respect for this guy by a zillion degrees. The BF couldn’t believe it himself and it took some googling AND waiting for the credits to roll to convince him 😀 !!

Watch this movie if you ever get a chance 🙂

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Not flying high enough!

Was quite keen on watching Kites…but the reviews don’t seem to good.

If anyone’s seeing this movie this weekend, could you please let me know if it is worth the effort?

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