Saturday, December 15, 2007

Of Ghosts, Prostitutes, Babies, White Nights and Trains

Life has been a little busy last few months what with sonny boy’s long list of extra-curricular activities, homework load, social obligations and traveling, my favorite pastime had taken a backseat. I missed out pretty much on all the new releases at the local Hindi movie theater in the past few months. So last week I went to the Indian grocery store and picked up almost half a dozen DVDs and spent the next two days subjecting myself to a marathon torture session of watching the following movies.

Laga Chunri Mein Daag: What the hell was the all about? It was so regressive that I kept cringing every few seconds. It was so hard to believe that Pradeep Sarkar who made the almost brilliant Parineeta was at the helm of this disaster! Rani Mukherjee is uneducated and vernacular and can’t get a job in big bad Mumbai…oh boohoo!! So she sleeps with the first creep who offers her a job in return of her services for a night. She could have done a lot of things after that…but no, she decided to take revenge by becoming a high class hooker!! I didn’t really get the revenge part…but in no time she brushed up her English and got herself a rather swanky pad with a view. Geez, how much was she charging and how many men was she servicing per day?? Its hard to feel bad for her when it looks like that she’s having a jolly good time in her pent-house, wearing designer clothes or flying first class to Zurich and cavorting around with Trademarks & Patent lawyer Abhishek Bachchan. I don’t know if my copy of the DVD was bad, but one moment Jaya Bhaduri was asking Rani Mukherjee to not to show up for Kankona’s wedding, and the next moment we see Rani and Abhishek dancing to a really cacophonous ditty at the wedding! What was up with that…did I miss something in the middle, huh?

Bhool Bhulaiya: Ok, now I’ve already called LCMD regressive…so what do I call Bhool Bhulaiya? Hmmm…let’s see. How about ludicrous?! This headache inducing, never ending, torture machine had everything that could possibly be wrong in a movie – each and every actor hamming their lungs out, the camera going crazy every now and then, the ear-splitting background score, crass humor, bad music in general ( except for the Hare Krishna Hare Ram number at the end credits)…the list goes on and on!! Akshay Kumar was completely, utterly, absolutely, unreservedly, wholly unbearable…even the usually reliable Shiny Ahuja let me down this time!! But I must admit that Bhool Bhulaiya was really funny at times, albeit unintentionally!! Vidya Balan hoarsely croaking while being possessed by a Bengali bhootni called Manjulika “Bodmaayesh, ami tor gola ketey rakto paan korbo” was so bloody side-splitting, that I forgot it was meant to be scary and not hilarious!!!

Heyy Baby: Oh my god!!! Is there even a word that would describe this god-awful excuse of a movie??!! There was not a single redeeming feature in this crass, loud, preposterous 2.5 hr comedy…absolutely nothing!!! Sajid Khan should go back to doing what he does best - hosting countdown shows on the idiot box and leave the film-making bit to the talented sibling!!

Sawaariya: Its really hard to believe that Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the man who made the lyrical Khamoshi could come up with a self-indulgent juggernaut called Sawaariya!! And I thought that Black was as bad as it gets! Its been a while since I've watched it, but I still remember the hauntingly beautiful “Le Notti Bianche” starring Marcello Mastroiani and Maria Schell frame by frame. SLB’s over-ambitious set designer Oomang Kumar created this strange Venice like place with over-sized neon signs juxtaposed against sometimes blue-gray, sometimes green-black buildings and a canal that meanders through the town ending at a giant Buddha face lit by a thousand lamps!! There is a Gondola (or may be it’s a Shikara) that glides through the wave less canal without the aid of any oars. There are more hookers in the town than residents and they all dress either in green or in blue and look like extras from 60’s Eastman color movies. A Muslim girl from a conservative family walks around the town in the middle of the night wearing low rise lehnga and backless choli. And it rains a lot during Eid and then it starts snowing!!

To top all these madness, there’s the lead singer of RK Bar who’s called Ranbir Raj who drinks milk and zombifies prostitutes by singing to them. He wears bowler hats and sailor pants so wide that he can hide at least 3 prostitutes in each leg. When he dances you want to call the doctor because it looks like epilepsy fit! That is Rishi and Neetu Kapoor’s little baby boy Ranbir, who also acts out SLB’s most ambitious homo-erotic fantasy on celluloid by draping himself in a near transparent towel and gyrating obscenely against a sunny window!! (Now I feel bad for Karishma Kapoor who got so much flack for appearing in swim suit in her first movie Prem Qaidi!) He’s earnest; I have to give Ranbir Kapoor that. But he neither has his father’s good looks nor his mother’s infectious charm and the poor boy was asked to ape his grandfather throughout the movie resulting in a performance that grates on your nerves!! Daddy dearest should immediately pack off sonny boy to some acting academy in New York or London and if funds don't permit, to Anupam Kher closer home to brush up on his craft.
Sonam Kapoor on the other hand was sweet and pretty and hopefully other directors will notice her nubile charms and give her better roles in future to prove her mettle! The girl definitely deserves a second chance.
Salman Khan in his brief appearance looked like a doped pedophile on the prowl. And Rani Mukherjee’s hooker with a golden heart act is staler than a two week old loaf of bread!!
Sanjay Leela Bhansali used to direct the songs for Vidhu Vinod Chopra once upon a time – remember the beautifully picturised “Kuchh na kaho” from 1942 a Love story? Even the songs from Devdas were well choreographed and shot. But something went terribly wrong in Sawaariya. It was like watching Subhash Ghai movie. Tacky, tacky, tacky!!!! Monty Sharma’s rather pleasant tunes were massacred by the director and his team of choreographers!! Unforgivable!!!

Om Shanti Om: First and foremost, I’m not a SRK fan. If anything, I dislike him a lot…a LOT!! So I find it very hard to say anything positive or good about him. But I’ll bite the bullet and say it….Om Shanti Om was a blast!!!! Total time pass, total paisa vasool. SRK sings, he dances, he fights, he cries, he moons, he flies, he wears his red underwear over his super-hero suit, he wears his designer jeans unbuttoned, he slathers oil over his newly chiseled torso and shakes his stuff till kingdom come, he hams till its not possible to ham anymore…and it works!! It bloody works!! Bottom line is you can love SRK or hate SRK, but you can’t ignore SRK ! Deeepika Padukone with her long limbs and dimpled smile couldn’t have asked for a better launch in Bollywood. Arjun Rampal was totally delicious as the bad guy even with that ridiculous moustache!! But the best thing about OSO is the awesome Art Deco inspired set by Sabu Cyril…it was like being in Miami…fantastic!!!! Kudos to Farah Khan…she knows how to make a masala movie…yenna rascala…mind it!!

Jab We Met: Socha Na Tha re-visited. I absolutely loved SNT…a sweet and endearing romantic comedy that introduced us to Abhay Deol and Ayesha Takia. JWM has ample shades of it, yet its every bit charming and engaging by it own merit. Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor finally get their chemistry right in their so called last film together. What I loved about it, is the natural progression of the story and the easy believable dialogues. Kareena’s character Geet, a loud motor-mouth Sikhni from Bhatinda could have easily been reduced into a caricature, but her charm is so disarming and her enthusiasm so infectious that you just can’t help but root for her. Shahid’s Aditya on the other hand goes from silent and brooding to best friend to prince charming in a smooth transition! Only if Imtiaz Ali could have done away with the whole extra-large Punjabi household and ganaa-bajaana part, JWM would have been a gem.

So here it is…six reviews in one post! None of these really merited a separate review and at the end of long weekend I’ve realized that I haven’t really missed out on movies as much as I thought I did!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Let it snow

This morning I woke up to the first snow of the season. It must have had snowed in the night...when I woke up all the roof-tops and lawns were coated with white powder. It looked so pretty…so pristine…as if nature just decided to hide all the ugliness of the world under the magical white blanket of snow. The weather forecast had predicted more snow and lo and behold it came down fast and furious in the afternoon covering everything.

What a beautiful sight!! Snow on the trees, snow on the street, snow on the grass, snow on the roof-tops and chimneys, snow on the cars parked outside! Snow in my hair and on my shoulder as I walk to my car my arms full of shopping bags; snow on my tongue as I try to catch the flakes by sticking the tip out; snow on my eyelashes as I look heavenwards and utter a silent thanks!

Tomorrow the rain will start and all the snow will melt. All that is beautiful and sparkling now will be the same old again.

Everything just seems to be insignificant right now
All that really matters is the magic from the sky
Let it snow
Let it snow
Let it snow...