Movie Review: Chak De India

Update – Just realized that I had left this post in the draft mode! 🙂
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This movie should become a big hit. And you have to see the movie to understand why.

It’s a pretty drab script about a failed coach leading a substandard team to world cup glory, nothing less. It has 16 very very average to hopeless actors trying to support Shahrukh ‘Kabir Khan’ make this movie what it is. The music barring a few chords here and there can at best be called average. But the movie is nothing short of sensational. A perfect sports movie capturing the spirit of sportsmanship, the passion that being at the highest level requires, the agony of loss, the ecstasy of victory, the embarrassment and happiness of newly found fame, the jealousy between champions, and the lack of humility being the downfall of every sportsman.
The movie took me to the times when I used to take the field. Much as you know that this is just a game, and winning and losing are a part of it, only a sportsman can understand the pain of losing a game. The one thing I have never been able to understand about betting scandals is how someone can throw the game at the highest level. The honor, pride and emotions (in addition to the love for the game) are what make you play the game at the highest level. Maybe the money is too high and people do get tempted. But I am sure its difficult to implement the bet once you take the field. It must kill you as a sportsman.

Anyways, back to the movie, I think this movie is perfect film-making example. The Director does not depend on too many things/people to make a great movie. He just knows what he is making, and what he wants his actors to do, what his cinematographers to shoot. For this movie, I would give full marks to the Director. And to Shahrukh. Now, to tell you, I am not a great fan of Shahrukh. More often than not, I don’t like his movies. The candy floss romance from the YR table is just not me. I would anyday prefer watching a Gunda, Shivaji, Partner over a Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. But in this movie, its one helluva restrained performance, no hamming and you get a feeling that he must have played some game at some point in time.

The editing and cinematrography when it comes to the hockey match scenes is also good. Whats definitely worth mentioning is that unlike most of the hindi sports movies where bulk of the movie time is devoted to off-the-field histrionics, this movie is a humbly sports-centric movie and spends most of the time on the field (and training grounds). There aren’t too many people falling in and out of love, neither are they doing it for their father/mother. Everyone is playing for himself/herself and eventually, for the pride and honor of playing for the Indian team. That’s the winning sentiment.

And quite refreshingly, the way the cast is selected, at least most of them don’t look like jokers holding hockey sticks (remember Asif  Tariq (thanks Kuffir for pointing this out) holding the guitar in Kya hua tera waada? Or, Rishi Kapoor molesting the guitar in Dard-e-Dil dard-e-jigar? Or, more specifically, Amir Khan fooling around with a bat in Awwal Number?)

I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND watching this movie. And you can tell me that you were not able to feel the surge of emotions at different times.

Ahh.. and before I close the post – a song which is definitely worthy of mention – Maula mere le le meri jaan!! Beautiful, in the background, and extremely melancholic. You all must listen to this track!

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Music Review: Kailasa – Jhoomo Re

I have been listening to the latest Kailasa (Kailash Kher’s band) album, Jhoomo Re since morning. And a vote of appreciation is due. (Though I often reprimand myself for refering to Kailasa as Kailash Kher’s band. Its a group of extremely talented artists – Kailash Kher, Naresh Kamath, Paresh Kamath, Kurt Peters, Sanket Athale, Rinku Rajput, Sameer Chiplunkar, Debyajyoti Dutta (Jonqui), Sankarshan Kini and Tejasvi Rao)

In their new album, Kailasa continue from where they left “Teri Deewani”, their previous hit album. “Teri Deewani”, the title song of their previous album, continues to be one of the finest use of Sufi undertones amongst commercial albums of recent times. Jhoomo Re builds further and establishes the bands credentials further. Kailasa is definitely a band to watch out for.

From “Jhoomo Re”, TV channels are already airing videos of two of the songs – Ba Bam Bam, and Saiyaan.

Ba Bam Bam has a rustic feel to it and will probably be appreciated more by people who understand Lord Shiva worshipping better. I don’t know the technical word for it, but those who have heard devout Lord Shiva worshippers will understand the sound as well as the rendition of this song. It’s a song full of energy and mindless devotion. That said, I don’t expect the song to become a popular hit, much against its originality and feel.

The next song- Saiyaan, is in the same league as Teri Deewani and Dilruba. High notes, soulful, and extremely powerful, Saiyaan is a must hear for all you sufi music lovers out there.

“Hire Moti Main Na chahoon,
Main to chahoon sangam tera
Main to teri .. saiyaan
Tu hai mera

Tu jo choo le pyaar se
Araam se mar jaoon main
Aaja chanda bahon mein
Tujh mein hi gum ho jaoon main
Tere naam mein kho jaoon main…”

(from Saiyaan). Interpret it in as many ways as you like!

The other songs that I would definitely recommend are Chaap Tilak (Khusro’s classic work), Daulat Shohrat (with a liberal touch of Sufism), and Tere Naina (beautiful lullaby). Beyond these three, there is ‘Tu hi mera Jaan hai’ (rendered in Punjabi folk tone) and Joban Chalke (sung with a Rajasthani feel). The amount of amalgamation (of spiritual and regional flavors) in this album is just too good to resist.

Things to reach out for when you are hearing this album –

1. Multiple interpretations, just as you would when you read vintage Sufi poetry
2. The music arrangement – its an excellent mix of modern and traditional instruments. Also, watch out for the use of natural sounds.
3. Kailash Kher’s voice – to me, his voice stands for humility and purity.
4. Effective use of backing vocals to accentuate emotions.

Let me know what you guys think after hearing the album.

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