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December 30, 2010

Movies which have stayed with me - 3


2010 has been a really interesting year in Bollywood films. Most of the big budget and star studded movies have done miserably at the box office (and deservingly so!) and a few that made big bucks have NOT really been appreciated uniformly by the audience (My Name is Khan, Dabaang, Housefull and Golmaal 3 to name a few). However, there are some small budgeted flicks which i immensely enjoyed and can safely say they will remain with me in future. Here is the third list in the series... (Click here for the first and second list)

1. Love, Sex aur Dhokha

Directed by fearless Dibaakar Banerjee, it is a social satire on the impact of media on our lives. Threaded by three inter-related yet stand alone tales of Honour killing, MMS scandals and sting operations; each of them portrays emotions of love, sex and betrayal. The film is bold, but not beautiful...It is provocative, but highly disturbing. The sheer fact that it employs an entirely alien technology (as far as Indian movies are concerned) of hand-held or spy cameras to shoot an entire movie in itself brings a novelty in the execution of the script. But the brilliance of the movie lies in it's flesh and blood characters which you can so easily relate from your daily life, yet you shrug yourself when it comes to identify with them because they are in-your-face and spunky characters. One of the best written roles is a DDLJ fanatic, Aditya chopra inspired student filmmaker... who in his innocent love life never realises what a mess he has created for himself. However, my favourite character is an Indi-pop singer called as Loki Local whose fame to glory is an erotic song "Tu Nangi acchi lagthi hain" (later dubbed as Tu Gandi acchi lagthi hain). He is hideous, witty and at the same time you feel like hitting him, every time he comes on screen. But out of the three, the second story about a female employee who works night shift in a supermarket store is most polarising - you will hate it or you will love it, but i bet you can't really ignore it.The most brutal and honest scene comes when the girl is accused of being wheatish while throwing cold water on the plans of other male employee who have genuine feelings for her, but wants to sleep with her to make a quick buck....justifying the obsessiveness possessed by our society about fair skinned people being superior. It is one of the most daring and innovative script i have come across in this new age Indian cinema. 3 cheers to LSD for ushering a new dawn.

2. Udaan

without any doubt... for me, Udaan is best film of the year. A movie devoid of all the Bollywood film cliches and stereotypes, it's a coming of an age story of a 17 year old who has been thrown out of school, pushed into an engineering college without his wish and have to dealt with a rowdy father and a relatively unknown step-brother. Quite often in Bollywood films, heart is at the right place but gets horribly wrong in the execution. This movie was an exception, and what a sheer pleasurable exception it was. It is packed with so many "oh-i-have-done-that" and "oh-i-felt-like-that" moments that by the time it finishes, you are deeply affected by the sincerity and simplicity with which the emotions have been portrayed. At 140 minutes, it is a tad long but that is because it takes its own sweet little time in making you feel the claustrophobic conditions the main protagonist suffers, in turn hitting you in the gut and making your heart goes all out to him. My favourite scene in the movie is the one in which Rohan finally confronts his dad on why it is so important for him to become a writer and not an engineer. A word for Ram Kapoor and Ronit Roy, who stepped away from their typical TV stereotyped images to deliver excellent performances. And yes, not to forget the immensely enjoyable music by Amit Trivedi which actually acts as a soothing balm to the palpable irritation Rohan's character is put through. All in all, it's a movie everyone can relate to and for once, gives us an uncompromisable cinematic experience.

3. Peepli Live

A satire about the plight of farmers suicides in India, it tells a serious story with lot of heart and depth. Keeping a lighter tone, it never slips into diatribe tone, thus keeping the audience engrossed. Directed by TV journalist Anusha Rizvi, it takes potshots at every plausible personality in today's in-your-face TV. My most favourite character in the movie is the Hindi TV journalist Deepak who is never short of words when it comes to turning any non-sense thought into a sensational story. Watch out for the scene in which he instinctively put out a story based on excreta dawn on paddy fields, after Natha goes missing in mysterious circumstances. But the most well scripted scene is the one in which the so called superior English TV Journalist (played by excellent Malaika Shenoy), condescending to the Hindi journalists in general...finally admits to a local village journalist; it is not about the issue on hand, it's always about who gets the story first on the TV. It's an unusual story told in the most easy way out approach. Two words for Omkar Das Manikpuri who endears such child-like innocence in the character of the main protagonist, you are left amused and bewildered at his plight. He barely speaks in the movie, but his eyes tell 100 emotions all the way.

4. Do Dooni Char

Set in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi..it is a story about a middle class couple with 2 young kids who are trying hard to make an upgrade from 2 to 4, so what if it is from a scooter to a car. It has grace, elegance and a tehraav between the lead characters, which is so lacking in the movies these days (thanks to dead-brain comedies shoved down our throat every other week). Just like 2009's Rocket Singh - Saleman of the year, Duggal family portrays the virtue of basic goodness in our lives..to choose the difficult over the easy, to choose the right over the wrong way. There are some genuinely well written scene which chuckles the chords of your heart. Watch out for 2 scenes during the Duggal family's journey on the way to Meerut for a relative's marriage - one in which by without saying any dialogues, Neetu Singh coaxes Rishi Kapoor to have stuffed paranthas rather than simple ones and another one in which Neetu singh deliberately throws a tantrum seeing how the daughter-father duo keep fighting over which song to play in the car. There are some short comings - an irritating voice over by Duggal's daughter and a jarring background score...but even after these, it still remains highly watchable due to sheer pleasurable chemistry between the lead pair. It contains those small gestures out of Delhi daily life which I have been missing in movies for quite some time.

December 20, 2010

I expect nothing, I fear nothing, I am free.


Expectations from someone are just not few materialistic or emotional things you want from a person, they are also what you hope to give back to that very person sometime in the future -hopefully, if you are courteous enough. Expectations may form boundaries between people, it may also destroy those very foundations. However, expectations are the first step towards resentment in any relationship. Ironically, expectations are alway there from people; from sports personality to favourite writers, from movie actors to favourite bloggers, from parents to favourite friends. You cannot really escape from them, you cannot hide from them because ultimately one day they are going to hunt you down, trace you down from those loony caves... and will start hounding you like incredible creepy waves of nostalgia.

Expectations can be seen as either an enemy or a captor; as a public resource - tugged and twisted by the billboards of relationships or completely sottish as barflies, clinging on to a mundane life till you start feeling suffocated, drained, hollow from inside. At face value, expectations look all so laughably predictable, but after all the agonising pontificating thoughts, the doubts to meet them lingers on, inch by inch, column by column. Expectations to a relationship are the biggest puppets for pounding, they at the same time are the biggest assets to build it. Expectations make you drown adoringly into the eyes of a person as if the world has retreated beyond concern, yet they play the admonishingly self-righteous tune, just like all-knowing pompous pumpkins of the past.

Expectations from people can be chaotic and poorly choreographed as a Bollywood musical, yet they can soothe the fleeting line of questioning in tiny spaces of our brains so easily, it makes every gingerly made dance step of life an adventure in itself. Expectations make us prod, poke, peer, peek during the vicissitudes of this life journey; yet they may all fall hook, line and sinker in that ONE crucial moment of togetherness and wishfulness. Expectations are not instinctual "obligations" to perform in favour of your innate feelings, nor they are intense chemical reactions of your sexual hormones to cater to intimate cravings. They, in all fairness just dithers as a temporary need for solitude, they are just glamourised and labelled as a necessity for temporal happiness.

Expectations don't buckle you down in tense situations; they are like cheque-book-chasing-lawyers, always ready to defend the indefensible, always ready to give you a ray of a hope in an utterly hopeless situation. Expectations can be a fairy tale existence of love and harmony as portrayed in various facets of social communication circus we live in these days, yet they can be half evolved but still entailing all the benefits of a single focussed mind willing to stand up, and take on the world. I may be wrong, and usually am, but in my opinion expectations are the biggest garbage under the carpet of human emotions which we have always found difficult to shovel out to lead a happy, fearless and content life.