I see the wind blowing

Sometimes,
Sitting inside an airconditioned cubicle,
As I look beyond the tinted windows
I see the winds blowing, I see the trees dancing with joy
And a silent voice reminds me
Of the sun, the humidity, the pollution

The longing doesn’t subside

I see the irony of my quest,
Of happiness, satisfaction and things like that

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Movie Review: Shaitaan is a very well shot film. Go, watch it.

The name of the Director is Bejoy Nambiar. But, the movie is stamped with Anurag Kashyap all over. Not just the narration and the screenplay, but the visual treatment of the movie as well. Some extremely creative use of background score, rapidly zagging camera work, dark shots, shots in slow-motion, and some insane music. It almost feels like Anurag Kashyap is continuing with his ode to Tarantino, having taken a pause after Dev D.

I loved the movie. The premise is simple, but not so frequently touched in bollywood. Spoilt brats high on life and high on dope making a mistake which comes back at them in a multi-fanged manner, and some of them (the more spoilts ones) keep adding mistakes over mistakes, and in the end its an unresolvable mess (almost). Somewhere in the canvas is a righteous cop having a tough time adapting to the system, and another one who uses the system to his advantage. A commissioner who cannot but depend on the volatile righteous suspended cop for getting him out of the mess, and a cop friend who is right in just about the right balance. Since I am not here to tell you the story, I would leave it at this.

What makes the movie stand out is the visual narrative. Right from the initial sequences, and the pace at which a social misfit finds her group of homies, the baap ka paisa gang and their antics, rave parties, etc., to one of the most well shot sequences running a brilliant remix of yesteryear’s Khoya Khoya Chand in the background, and two parallel narratives on the screen running on slo-mo. I can almost feel like I have seen such a scene in an English movie before. But then, that does not take the execution credit away from Bejoy and Anurag. It’s a scene that will be run on loop many times by many people.

The ending leaves you with a bit of a cheated feeling. You wanted it to be a little more crisp than it was, but saying any more will risk revealing too much. Go and watch the movie and let me know what you think.

The acting department delivers. Rajeev Khandelwal as the estranged cop is brilliant. So, is Neil Bhoopalam as video gaming trying to fit in the group rich boy. Neil is becoming one of my favourite theatre-to-cinema actors these days (have you see Hamlet The Clown Prince? All in one? No One Killed Jessica?). Shiv Pandit and Gulshan Devaiya are well cast. Gulshan (KC) comes across as a spoilt brat with no regards for anything, but only till nothing goes wrong. Shiv as Dash is a revelation, playing a very restrained act. Kalki is fine. Not great, but not bad either. She needs to work on her hindi diction rather quickly though, if she wants to play a long bollywood inning. She might end up a Kangna Ranaut otherwise. In fact, the little girl playing Kalki’s childhood version deserves a mention, and so does the lady who plays Kalki’s dead mother. I have seen her in several plays (including Vagina Monologues), and she continues to impress me. In fact, Neil, Kalki’s Mother in the movie, Rajit Kapoor, and the guy plays Inspector Mawalankar are all good theatre actors, and its good to see AK giving them a chance. Rajat Barmecha (of Udaan) gets a little cameo as well.

Music is worth highlighting. Right from the excellent remix of Khoya Khoya Chand, to Pintya, Josh, Zindagi and several other background tracks (instrumental ones) used across the movie. Ranjit Barot, and Prashant Pillai should walk away with the best background score for this movie.

Movie has some quippy dialogues as well – kuch dost aise hotein jinhe aap raaat ke do baje bhi phone kar sakte hain, aur kuch dost aise jinhe aap sirf raat ke do baje hi phone kar sakte hain.

I will go with a 8 on 10 for this movie. Very well shot and executed, great music and background score, and some good acting. The only let down is the editing, which could have stripped about 15 minutes from the movie. Go watch it.

Review: READY is a concealed kick for Sallu lovers

There are few things that can help you sail through a movie as beautifully well as the energy of the crowd around you, at a theatre like Chandan Cinema (Juhu), cometh to watch the first day first show of a Salman Khan movie. In cities where Multiplexes offering the comfort of booking tickets online for 250 bucks or so, and with an increasing dearth of single screen theatres, a theatre like Chandan is not always thronged by the people that we go out dining with. But they love their cinema. And they make bollywood tick. For instance, when I parked the car, I competed with three autorickshaws for space. Those guys hadn’t booked the ticket online. They had come earlier to book the ticket from advance booking window. And they had come to see Salman bhai (how do so many of them have such a strong rapport with sallu). At 60 bucks for stall tickets, I don’t think they come inexpensive, but way cheaper than what you’d pay at the shiny PVRs. And they offer a lot more. It’s a place where suddenly bursting into a dance is not weird, nor is hooting/seeti maaroing or expert commenting.
Yet. Ready. Disappointed. And before you bring me down as a pseudo intellectual, I present my candidature as the lover of Dabangg, Gunda, All The Best as well as Stanley Ka Dabba, 3 idiots, Kanoon, etc.
Here’s how it happened. When I walked into the cinema hall (that’s the right word, not theatre), the crowd’s energy started at the same level as that of an India-Pakistan match with Tendulkar on song. Several trailers (Murder 2, Chillar Party, Singham) later, even a pedestrian initial credits/casting sequence was cheered for. Salman entered with Character Dheela, and a Katrina Kaif imitation Zareen Khan was gyrating to the latest chartbuster. So, what happened? In about 5 minutes, a barrage of guest appearances (Katrina Kaif.. sorry, Zarine Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan, Arbaaz Khan, Kangana Ranaut) are thrown at you. And for some reason, as I look back, those were the somewhat better 5 minutes of the movie. From that point onwards, the movie goes downhill. It has its occasional sparks. And they are bound to be there when you have Salman, literally, playing to the gallery. Half the dialogues are spoken to the audience, and have nothing to do with other people on the screen. People tried hard to cheer even the worst-est of things, to keep their hopes alive. Every now and then, Sallu would give people hope. Like Ajay Jadeja. But that’s match-fixing. You keep hoping for some of the Wanted and Dabangg awesomeness. But, it’s just a ploy to make you watch the entire goddamn thing. The crowd energy by the end of it all is at that level of surrender, as the point when Wasim Akram might just have taken a hat-trick to polish off the Indian tail. Yet, all is not lost. For Ready would have already recovered the bulk of money over the weekend. People have booked, hoping to see another National Award winning movie after Dabangg (how many “g”s did we have in there?). And I like that. Industry needs to keep trying these movies – just so that every once in a while there is a flash of brilliance. OR, just so that you appreciate other movies. I appreciate the existence of Akshay Kumar and Khatta Meetha, just because they make the rest of the world look like a better place.
The high point of the movie are the two songs (Character Dheela and Dhinka Chika), with DC coming up trumps, in the spirit of the movie. The choreographer (most likely Raju Khan) deserves credit for making a double footed Sallu look like he is dancing, while he is largely standing at just one place making an insanely cool twist with his hands. Almost like there are wipers in his pocket, set at speed 2.
The reason I am alive is – Salman. He is a star. Even when he doesn’t actually, he manages to show off his shirtless body. And then ask you – mazaa aaya kya? The movie is so full of star-juice-extracting one liners like – “jiske paas ho family ka support, use nahi kar sakta koi deport”, “koi to rok lo yaar”, “tumhara shauq poora karoonga”, “jeans ki fitting kaafi achi hai”, “jahan pakadna hai pakdo, jo karna hai karo” – you could have called the movie – Cornflakes, or, Salman Juice Stall, or something like that.
I don’t blame anyone. I blame myself. I went to see a Salman movie. I forgot that its an Anees Bazmee movie. The man with a magical sense of humour. The man who believes in a suraj barjatya world, where there should be at least 15 people in 90% of the movie. And they should all, usually, shout when they talk. Akhilendra Mishra (Kroor-Singh of Yakku fame), that guy I love (the boxing villain from Ghulam), Mahesh Manjrekar, etc. etc. They all shout. Bazmee – Don’t you ever buzz me again. If it ever in my power, I’d bring you down some day. From that place from where you keep throwing these rotten tomatoes at us, just for getting your personal laughter.
Ah. A special mention for Asin. She is beautiful. And she has a very expressive face. Someone, anyone, please give her some better roles to work with. I am sure if Tusshar Kapoor can get a Shor, and if Sunil Shetty (what’s the right spelling these days?) can get a RED, someone can give her a decent role, no?
Endnote – Don’t watch it if you are a pseudo intellectual. Don’t watch it expecting to see a Dabangg. Watch it if you love Salman’s style of doing things. Watch it if Housefull, Thank You, etc. worked for you. And extract as much value as you can through the 4/5 trailers you get to see, and the two songs. Sallu bhai – please avoid Anees bhai. I love your movies (of this genre), but I can’t stand that idiot’s movies.

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