Movie Review: Aaja Nachle…. Madhuri is back!

I have to write this post. Came back home a little while back after having watched Aaja Nachle. And have a flight to catch in an hour or so. So, best use of this one hour would have been to sleep. But then, I claim to be different!

Aaja Nachle re-establishes one of my firmest beliefs about Bollywood – Madhuri Dixit can beat the shit out of all current actresses with both her hands tied behind her back. She just rules the screen from the first shot. Its a Madhuri movie all along with good support from the other well cast actors. I think its a true entertainer of a movie.

A few of the high points of the movie –
1. Choreography – Boo to all those who tried to blast the choreography/music/dances of the movie. This is the best choreography I’ve seen after Devdas. Examples in context – 1. the choregraphy of O Re Pia sung by Rahat. First, its a beautiful song sung amazingly well by Rahat (thats hardly a surprise). Second, the song has beautifully used Ghunghroos in the background. The dancers seem to match the ghungroo ki jhanak perfectly. Madhuri has flawless movements and expressions in the song. The choreography has a classical base, which makes it a delight. Need more reasons? 2. Choreo of the title song – again, a phenomenal use of a talent like Madhuri. 3. Choreo of the long “nritya natika” towards the climax. I think that particular sequence just revives everything that a nritya natika (or, as the refined people would like to think about it – a broadway musical) should be. perfect use of props, individual positions, stage movements, and dance forms. I think the nritya natika on Laila Majnu is the high point of a movie which is all about dance.
2. Performances – Madhuri, undoubtedly, is the queen! But then, there are some refreshing performances by Vinay Pathak, Akshaye Khanna, Ranvir Shorey, Raghuvir Yadav, Yashpal Sharma, Konkona Sen, Kunal Kapoor, Irfan Khan et al. I think the beauty of this movie with a fairly average storyline lies in the characterization as well. The weakest characters in the fold are those of Konkona and Kunal, even though I think they have sleepwalked through their roles with consummate ease.
3. Music – Whatever people say, I think O Re Pia, Ishq Hua, Aaja Nachle, Show me your Jalwa.. all these songs will catch on very soon. Some have already, and some will now!

The enlightened will tell you that the story is weak, and there is an overdose of fantasy. Where does this dilapidated set get all the money and resources to set up such extravagant dances. I dont know. I dont care. The movie entertains. And the elite can go take a skywalk for all I care!

And yeah, just in case I havent given you enough reasons to watch the movie … My final.. nail in the coffin.. last straw to break the camel’s back… aakhiri hichki.. etc etc. argument is ….
GO WATCH IT FOR MADHURI!

Bollywood Gossip – Peeping Tom saw a certain Sonam Kapoor and a certain Ranbir Kapoor at Taj Lands End last night (Dec 3rd) having a noodly and dimsumy hot dinner at Ming Yang. Both were smoking. Since it was Tom Peeping, Sonam was looking extremely ravishing in a black tank top with her mid-riff well exposed with navel piercings and all. Tom wonders – is something brewing? er.. coffee?

Comment of the night – “Having seen her like this, I don’t think Bhansali was able to exploit Sonam completely during Saawariya!”

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Movie Review: Om Shanti Om

It’s a weird feeling to be writing a blog post after so long. Not surprisingly though, to voice my opinion of the haute news in town – Om Shanti Om. But that does not mean that I haven’t been watching movies lately. Its just that I have been terribly busy lately. Busy is not new for me. Terribly busy happens all the time. But this has been the worst possible spell ever of busy-ness. Saluja would have been proud to see me putting so many night outs. Something even Inductis could not do with such frequency.
Back to OSO, a tribute to the yesteryears (that part is similar to how Main Hoon Na was done) and an open admiration of SRK, is definitely watchable. You smile almost throughout the movie, but at the end of the movie, you have this weird expression in your mind which is that of your squint eyes staring at you and saying, “Well…..”.
Deepika Padukone impresses in her debut. She does what she can do really well – she looks gorgeous. However, she does what I did not expect a lot of – manage her way in the acting department.
Shreyas Talpade, as usual, is subtle and good. Kiron Kher, as usual, is loud but good.
Most importantly, SRK is, as usual, LOUD, hamming, but quite unusually, fitting. It’s a role that let him be – an over-actor, with an ease that can only come when you’re not acting!
The movie is a mish-mash of Karz, Madhumati, with plenty of spoofs (like The Great Indian Laughter Challenge), quite a few gaping voids (people leaving the hot shot producers to lie on the floor just when a mishap has happened), some great editing (I loved the shots where DP is dancing with Sunil Dutt (not Sanjay Dutt) and old-time Rajesh Khanna and Jeetendra, average to good music and a lot of masala. Comments on the industry cannot be missed – be it a Sooraj Barjatya searching for cliché dialogues, or the subtle reference to some star sons being superstars by virture of being star sons (read- Abhishek Bachchan), or the dominance of Khans and Kapoors in the industry. The best comment is when a director Partho Roy (reference to great Bengali directors) who has put in three cameras – one for Bimal Roy angle, one for Satyajit Ray angle and one for GuruDutt angle is suggested by Mukesh Mehra (Arjun Rampal playing a producer – Prakash Mehra?) – ek Manmohan Desai angle daal do, wahi kaam aayega! This definitely comes across as Farah Khan’s way of deprecating the industry/her comrades to create some laughters – just as dada (Subhrajyoti Ghatak) would do.
Story – Beaten to death reincarnation story, cameras panning in from all angles to remind the protagonist of his forgotten past life, a white-haired mother leaving no chance for cracking melodramatic monologues, a friend who’s grayed with the age and believes in his friend, a spirit who manifests just at the right time to seek her revenge, even as things are being kept as human as possible. A villain who conveniently commits a murder and leaves the country to return 30 years later where his past is waiting for him. Oh-so-convenient. Its not the story where the effort is put. The story is conveniently taken off from Karz, Madhumati (yeah! she thought I wouldnt notice!), chala murari hero banNe and the likes. It’s the screenplay and editing where the effort has been put.
Screenplay and editing – Good. Better than above average. Good comments, spoofs and humor.
Music – Ajab Si and Main Agar kahoon are definitely above average. Rahat’s Jag Soona Soona Lage is standard Rahat Fateh Ali Khan fare – soulful, nice, but wont make it as big as Saiyaan (Ta Ra Rum Pum) or Mann Ki Lagan. updated (11-Nov) – won’t make it as big as his previous songs (like Mann ki Lagan (Paap) or Jiya Dhadak Dhadak Jaye (Kalyug).  (Khan – Thanks for pointing out. My mistake!!)

Overall – Definitely watcheable once. Don’t go by my cribs. I think it’s a director’s movie. She has played it by her creativity which is weird and funny. And she has done a tremendous job of editing. Actors are fitting. Everyone fits. Even the over acting kkkkkk.. Khan. .. shahrukh khan.

and on that note -I do want to watch Saawariya. Despite the complete snubbing it has got from many reviewers. 1. Its based on Doestoevsky’s White Night. 2. It wont disappoint me on a couple of counts – Great camerawork and sets, and some great imagination.

Roundup…. No Title

Haven’t been blogging for a while, as the seasonal lethargy takes over. I can’t really blame it on anything else. Anyway, just a roundup of things/people/songs of note –

1. Television – I am in love with the 2 singing competitions on telly these days, Zee Saregamapa 2007 Challenge – Sangeet ka Pratham Vishwayud and Amul Star Voice of India. SVOI is going through a dramatic phase with Gajendra Chauhan ( the pioneer of such singing talent hunt shows) getting confused with his self created frankenstein. However, the singers to watch out for are Toshi Sabri (brought back into SVOI by popular demand, after being ejected on the basis of public voting), Harshit (SVOI), Amaanat Ali (SRGMP, an amazing voice from Pakistan) and Raja Hassan(SRGMP). Raja has the rusticness and purity in his voice, Toshi is probably the best trained and a sufi-genre singer. Harshit will make an awesome playback singer while Amanat probably is the most versatile of the lot, and will surely make a great ghazal singer if given a chance. His rendition of “Tujhse Naaraz Nahi Zindagi” yesterday (6th Oct) was plain simple awesome. The idea behind this long para on these people is to remind you guys that for every Dhoni who came out of Jharkhand, there are several who join Tata Steel on a small stipend! Please support, encourage and look out for these raw talents in the years to come. You can see the videos online here – SRGMP, SVOI

2. Music – 1. Main Agar Kahoon (Om Shanti Om) – beautiful romantic song with a very simple melody and another proof of how good Sonu Nigam is. Especially, when it comes to romantic songs, there are few who are as good. His voice has a certain yearning that others don’t
b. Yoon Shabnami from Saawariya  sung by Parthiv Gohil. A lot of you won’t even know who Parthiv Gohil is. Parthiv is the lost find of 1998 Saregama MegaFinal (youtube videos) (the year Sonu was still hosting the show,  Sanjeevani – another finalist, got a few movies as playback singers (such as Kareeb), and there were some truly amazing singers like Mohd. Vakil, Bela, Mukund and Sudeshna). An year or two after 1998 Shreya Ghoshal became the winner of Saregama. Anyway, Paarthiv had a very strong classical learning background and his rendition of songs like Ketak Gulab Juhi, and Dhanyabhaag Seva ka Awsar Paaya back in 1998 were wonderful. So, Bhansali has given Parthiv a break, along with Monty (the music director, who played some part in the background score of Devdas)
c. Songs from Manorama – 6 feet under.  From a collection of 4 songs (excluding remixes and versions), 3 belong to the category of very good to excellent. Woh Bheege Pal, Dhundhla jo sama bandha, Tere Sawalon Ke.. Try them out.

3. Movie – Johnny Gaddar is definitely my pick from bollywood. Bourne Ultimatum would be the hollywood pick. Johnny G is a wonderful movie which takes you back to the 70s thrillers where things just kept happening all through the movie. Director’s tribute to Vijay Anand and James Hadley Chase is visible throughout the movie. The movie could have been shortened by 15 minutes or so. But, but… its a wonderful movie to see on a weekend.

4. Books – Reading “Of Love and Other Demons” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez right now. Seems good so far, while being standard Marquez narration. Will update later.

However, just in case you got a feeling that this is what is keeping me busy.. Naah!  How many of you out there have lived out of a suitcase to get a house renovated. Working your butt off five days a week to reach home on a weekend (travelling usually in the middle of night both ways) to deal with tiles, cement, paints, designs and woodwork! Ugh.. its not easy!

Btw.. quick emotional outburst – Raikonnen has taken the pole. Hamilton has to wait. Vettel seems a driver to keep an eye on. The last couple of races are going to be amazingly interesting! 😀

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