Wednesday, June 16, 2010
At the outset, it is obvious that there is some thought that has gone into the making of this movie. The sets are larger than life, one star face after another looks back at you for the first 10 minutes of the movie (some bigger and better than the others) and there looks like there is a coherent, if familiar, narrative running through the movie.
From the Mahabharata, there are 2 sides of the same family that are fighting each other for power in the upcoming state elections. The erstwhile leader of the political party suffers a stroke and instead of handing over power to his son Veerendra Pratap (Manoj Bajpai), he appoints his brother the leader of the party along with his nephew Prithviraj Pratap (Arjun Rampal) as the new General Secretary. This enrages Veerendra who demands that his Uncle give him the post of President of the party.
Upon finding himself ousted from the high seat of power, Veerendra finds an unlikely supporter, schemer and confidante in Sooraj (Ajay Devgan) a young man of the powerful Dalit community. Being a leader amongst his kind, Sooraj is guaranteed a voice as he is backed by his community and seems to have the fortitude to cause some change.
Drawing inspiration from The Godfather, Prithviraj welcomes home his younger brother Samar Pratap (Ranbir Kapoor) from across the seas. Ostensibly home to celebrate his Uncles birthday, Samar stays behind when as the battle lines are drawn and he becomes embroiled in the battle to win. The cherry on this side of the family is the presence of Consigliere Brij Mama (Nana Patekar). An advisor to the family, it is Brij Mama who runs the show from behind the scenes and puts out the fires when all hell breaks loose (which happens a lot). Indu Pratap (Katrina Kaif) plays Samar’s one sided love track.
There is a lot of slam bang in the movie, key member of families dying, murder most foul, alliances made and kept in the sake of winning and other such schmooze that one finds in Politically driven stories. Where this one works, is even when one feels like there are too many dramatic moments coming too quick, Prakash Jha drives home some more, and like a sledgehammer, does not stop till the movie ends. Yes it become predictable because it’s inspired from such popular works, but the effort the cast puts in to making it work in today’s time and context is commendable. Arjun Rampal is a tad off, trying a little too hard to pull of his ruthless look at times and stumbling into his uber-cool real life persona at others, Manoj Bajpai is commendable as the desperate-for-power-at-any-cost. Katrina Kaif is above-average at most time, coming into her own only in the last quarter of the film as the stoic widow. Ajay Devgan and Ranbir Kapoor are rather good in their respective roles, both serious, brooding and conniving at the same time but in different ways, but the star of this movie is Nana Patekar. The wily old fox comes off as the most natural looking character in the entire movie, his facial expressions saying things the screenwriter did not give his mouth to.
The editing is a little lax, running in at close to two and a half hours. The screenplay is good, and can be forgiven for its literary liberties. The direction is good overall, focusing on more or less the right things.
Looking at the number coming out after the first weekend, it looks like Prakash Jha has won this election hands down. Watch it, you could do worse.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
LSD opens up with an 80’s style Telemarketing-style trailer as seen on Doordarshan. So I sat in the hall thinking this might not be that bad. And boy was that the right call. This is a movie about our very real, very perverse fascination with reality drama. Set in 3 parts, each dealing with one of the title’s 3 nouns respectively, it’s a movie which uses the hidden/secret camera technique to full effect to titillate our senses.
The movie starts with love, a track about the very Bollywood style romance that Indians have lapped up from the early 90’s. The characters are simple, sweet and very much in love with each other. The soapy style affection we have to romantic films can be seen with the lead character’s fascination with “Adi Sir”, a reference to Aditya Chopra who delighted the country with soppy love stories exactly like the one featured in the track. Part 2 deals with Sex. Much talked about for the editing that the scene with the actual act has undergone, the message is still very much there and still very much “In-your-face” as well as “On-your-screen”. And with Dhokha, track 3 completes the triumvirate of with a neatly fleshed story involving the casting couch.
The success of this movie lies in the fact that despite being made for the big screen, Dibakar Bannerjee shuns sugar-coating the movie. This is a very real film which most people cannot associate with but have definitely heard or read about something similar. The brutality towards the end of “Love” is a shocking scene, one which will haunt you for a while.
Each track has its unique flavor, and it is the language used in each that grips you. Whether it is the father in “Love” openly spouting profanity or the lengths that the Editor of a news channel is willing to go to any length to get a story, this is a movie that thrives in being “real”. At times it feels like your watching an episode of Big Boss.
Each of the 3 tracks meet up and at some point in time, you will realize what a great job the man behind the camera has done to get them all to meet so seamlessly. It’s almost Tarentino-like.
A word for the crew – the screenplay is exceptional. Not once do you feel like the dialogue is crass. Yes there are expletives, but it’s the language that gives it that earthy, realistic touch. The editing is not far behind. Tightly cut, it’s a movie that does not meander, and that is real credit in this age of 120 minute+ dramas. The cherry on this handheld camera drama is the cast. Not one big name and yet all of them perform their parts with élan.
Shock therapy is fast gaining a following amongst Bollywood filmmakers. First it was Anurag Kashyap with his sequence of movies that culminated in the new-age Dev D. Now it is Dibakar Bannerjee who is following his footsteps. Love, Sex aur Dhokha is a movie that will shock you. It will cause a few of you to shudder. Some might even get angry that filmmakers treat their subjects and actors like pieces of meat. And that is precisely why you should watch it. This is the new age of films, and LSD is a great start.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Sadly however, this is far from the case. KCK fails simply because it never really knows what it should be. As someone who watched the movie, I’m equally confused. Was this a movie that was meant to be a thriller? Was it supposed to be cool? Was it supposed to deal with a sensitive psychological condition? At the end of the movie, I couldn’t really care less. I was happy that it was over.
Farhan Akhtar stars as Karthik, a meek, hard working nobody in a real estate company. So meek, that he takes it upon himself to ensure that the paperwork of the entire office is in order apart from doing any an all work that his boss piles on him. Deepika Padukone plays Shonali, a woman who comes to work at 1:00 PM, and does apparently no work. The track between Karthik and Shonali is as straightforward as it gets in a Hindi movie. Boy is meek. Boy likes girl. Girl is a hotshot. Girl is unaware of the existence of the boy. No great surprises in either of their lives until Karthik gets a call (just as he is trying to commit suicide) from surprise surprise, Karthik.
Karthik the caller gives all his gyaan to Karthik the listener. Inspired by these 05:00 AM calls, Karthik the meek transforms from himself into a super cool Karthik. Apparently, Karthik has been to an IIM and graduated at the top of his class, and then gone on to break all previous records of CA.
This is where you will start to laugh at the ludicrousness of the story. Not only is Karthik a super brain doing a rubbish job which is impossible, he also turns too cool too fast. The same guy who was insulted by his boss in front of the entire office can now go into his boss’ office and show him (an the rest of an office) to be complete imbeciles. He also spouts cool one word lines like “Chill”.
Unlike in most great thrillers where the butler does it, here we realize (much too late to care) that the culprit is the phone! I’m not going to reveal too much of the script to you, but suffice to say that the “twist” is quite lame. Karthik embarks on a blind journey taken quite too literally, but that too does not seem to help.
The acting is mediocre. Akhtar seems to be far better as the meek Karthik rather than the super cool one. Padukone continues to ham her way through performances winning audiences over with her assets more than anything else. The directing is ok, but the real hooter here is the editing. How long did it take to get to the point? Really, it should have ended in the first half. And when it does end, everything seems fine!
This is a movie that you should watch with no expectations. Do that, and you wont come out disappointed. Better yet, wait for the DVD.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Monday, April 20, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
I remember the first time I actually noticed him. Prep for SAADHANA ’08 was in full swing. It was another long hard day. Another one of those days when there was so much to do, not so much time to do it in and very few smart hands to actually do it.
It was rather late when we had wrapped up the day’s work. Us seniors went out for dinner followed by our usual loiter after and a couple of us were deep in conversation on the way back regarding what else, but sponsorship. Everyone had eaten. I clearly remember because he did the most unexpected thing then. He brought chocolates. For everyone. Well almost everyone considering that no one ever sticks to limits in our beloved school.
One minute I was talking about the possibility of a Design Partner and the next I’m being offered a Dairy Milk. No one had ever done that in a team that I had been a part of. And frankly for all the teams, boards and committee’s I’ve headed, I’ve never thought of getting them chocolates just for the heck of it.
It may seem like peas to you, but people who work for fests and symposiums at a college level know how stressed everyone get. Especially those at the top. And to be offered a chocolate for no reason at the end of a long day during prep is as unexpected as things come.
That was the day I had my first meaningful conversation with him. That was the day I realised that he was a 2nd Year student. And that he had also worked for SAADHANA ’07. “Imagine that”, I remember saying to myself. I decided to keep an eye on him. And he did not disappoint.
He worked as hard as anyone for SAADHANA. He then got stuck into INSIGHT at my request. And then into the DC. He is now more than just a junior. He is a friend.
I heard yesterday that he had met with an accident and that he was rather badly injured.
Here’s looking at you kid.