Posted in AR Rahman, Movies - General

Delhi 6

I  should have been deeply moved by the inner sentiments of the movie that I just watched tonight. But instead, I walked out of the theater, not knowing quite how I should react. I think the narrative style of “Delhi 6” is what has made the movie work and not work at different levels. 

I had read a couple of bad reviews about the movie before I watched it..and even though neither of the reviewers gave away the climax, they had condemned the same. I have to admit that the climax was not my biggest disappointment in the movie.

Here are some factors that I liked in the movie:
1) The gradual construction of what ultimately would become the central character of the movie – “Kala Bandhar”. I absolutely loved ROM’s style of doing this.
2) Multi character script – It is very difficult to create several small scenes bringing out the essence of most these characters and to be able to chain them in some meaningful way. Although ROM eventually failed in how he connected these scenes thus failing to create a complete movie, the scenes worked individually in most cases and helped the characters establish themselves on their own and make their connectivity with the audience. Ashutosh Gowariker is another Bollywood director who could do this, but credits to ROM for this. 
3) Metaphors & Symbolisms – There have been some reviewers who thought these were too cheesy or too intellectual. But I loved them. Anytime, when the director does not underestimate the audience’s intelligence and does not overemphasize the story logic, the end result is always clean.
4) Of course AR Rahman. His BGM was scintillating to say the least. He is improving his ability to create a “sound” for every movie he makes and this one was a home run.
Now off to things I didn’t enjoy:
1) The whole Hindu-Muslim fight was too superficial to me. I think Mani Rathnam did a much better job in his movie…”Bombay” and this movie’s (Delhi 6’s) communal violence scenes didn’t make much impact.
2) The way ROM had used the songs. Although all the songs were used and most of the songs picturized were good, it felt as if there were stretches of time where the songs were placed pretty much back to back from one scene to the other.
3) Stringing the scenes together over a story line. ROM fell too short in this department. I am not sure if he got so caught up with his narrative that he didn’t realize this.
Now to the actors..
Abhishek had an easy role to play – His stereotypical NRI character was portrayed well nevertheless. But there was not a single scene that he carried on his shoulders and made us say “Wow”. Of course, it is unfair to compare RDB with this movie but this is another area, where ROM had the advantage in RDB. Sonam Kapoor played her part ok. Other than the lead characters, the rest of the cast played their parts extremely well. Special mention to Atul Kulkarni, Om Puri, Vijay Raaz, “Mamdu” and “Jalebi”!
The overall movie specially with the climax, to me, ended up being “Anbe Sivam” meeting “Bombay” in Chandni Chowk!

Posted in Miscellaneous

Nose Down

I can’t but stop thinking about the tragedy on Thursday..(02/12/09). What are the odds? Although, there may have been many who had a closer call, I think the very thought that it could have been you usurps me and makes me feel that there is no better thing to do than making the most out of “your” current moment. The fateful flight took off from the same airport on the same evening as mine did – When our NW flight landed in Detroit at 10:17 PM, that probably was the exact time when the Congen flight nosedived into a house near Buffalo. I had no idea about the accident till I got home and switched on the TV. Needless to say, my heart goes out to all the families and friends of every single person who lost his/her life.

Posted in Politics - General

Defining Hypocrisy

The consistent hypocrisy of conservative politicians in this country does not stop amusing me. My political leaning is as clear as rain water. Yet, even the most rational me can’t fail to understand why these folks deserve anything less than harsh caning & public humiliation. But unfortunately, RL didn’t get much of either of the above when he had his share of problems.
Here comes another story on Miss Coulter.

Wait, while we are at hypocrisy and right wing, how about this one? Mr. O’Reilly is another detesting TV figure and I feel he deserves nothing less than public ignoring him all together.

I wish I can rest my case here – But, we all know this is going to continue…

Posted in Movies - General

Naan Kadavul

There are film makers who like to make movies, just to be good film makers. Then there are those who not only want to be good film makers, but also sort of want to unburden themselves from certain miseries that have deeply troubled them. I feel Bala may belong to the latter category.

Here is a movie that fails to fall into any category that we, the Indian movie goers are used to. Yet, it uses certain cliched formulas of the movie game – songs, dramatic introduction of the protagonist, some melodrama, etc. Arya’s character (Rudra) is supposedly powerful, yet somehow fails to make the connection. As a movie maker, you want to make sure that your protagonist either gets sympathy or hatred from the audience as the plot thickens. But here in this movie, you seem to root for Rudra not because he is right, but because there is someone else out there who needs help and Rudra happens to be in the place. Of course, Arya had tried to play a very physically demanding role, but has had the luxury of not having to worry too much about his facial expressions, et al, largely due to the hirsute nature of his character. Yet, he does well.

The movie itself is about two entirely different worlds – both dark, ghastly, esoteric, highly painful and tumultuous, in their own ways.
The world of Aghori Sadhus is esoteric – Bala does well in focusing on that aspect. So much so that, if anyone who thinks of making a pilgrimage to Kasi (Varanasi) may think twice before doing it. I surely learned a thing or two about their (the Sadhus) beliefs and what they think they offer to the world. The other world – the world of handicapped beggars, couldn’t have been more pricking. I cannot think of any movie (in any language) that had such a focus on the crippling lives of a bunch of exploited beggars, ranging anywhere from 6 years to 75 years, gender and the kind of handicap no bar. This dark and painful world, full of suffering is portrayed so detailed in this movie, that you actually start wondering if it is sort of a fictional world. All the characters were probably played by real life crippled humans, that you want to scream at some point. Except the blind girl (Pooja). Pooja does an amazing job too and if she is any serious actor, this may be a turning point in her career too.

Morbid Melancholy has been Bala’s obsession right from “Sethu”. “Nanda” probably had less dosage of it, relatively speaking, while Pithamagan dealt with another dark world. This movie itself was packaged well..yet, I somehow couldn’t see the essence of the story being brought out properly. For me, an average movie goer, if I walked out the theater thinking of the world of crippled beggars only, then the very purpose of the protagonist’s character becomes irrelevant. And that to me, is not a success for Bala, the story writer. But Bala, the director does succeed so well and anyone who raised hue and cry over SdM projecting the dirtier side of India will have to hide behind their veils after seeing the dirtier side of India as projected in “Naan Kadavul”.

I am sure there are a few awards in the waiting for Bala, whose directorial vision overshadowed the original story writer’s, in this very rare breed of a movie, which we will ever get to watch on world stage.

Posted in Palin, Politics - General

Here comes one more…

My passions are ignited to write this post, thanks to Palin (again)..As long as we have these wild life hunters around, the environmentalists will never be able to sleep.
I am sure this is not a new form of hunting – Must have been around for years (The aerial Wolf Hunting)..But what bothers me is the fact that they don’t recognize this as infringing upon nature. After all, they are killing wolves in their natural habitat.
And to top it all, Palin has the guts to call the group that is protesting this form of hunting “Extreme Fringe Group'”.

So, that is my rant for the day – Palin represents the America that is getting marginalized by the day and has Rush Limbaugh ruling it ably supported by Palin &her cronies…(including Cheney). (Sigh!!!)

Posted in Cricket, Politics - General, Sports - General

Elevating one’s game

As I sit down quietly absorbing Bruce Springsteen sweat his way out of the NYC crowd during a 2005 concert, I decided to quickly reflect upon some game changers from this week.

1) Got to give it to the Republicans for sticking to their guns. No amount of bipartisan efforts from the new president was going to get them out of their conservative cocoon. The Stimulus package is definitely not an attempt to murder Capitalism but what they should understand now is that to get out of this disaster called Recession, there has to be concession and not some blind-folded – mantra chanting..! If I had a choice, I would shut down all radio stations broadcasting RL. Yes. The guy on dope…and who drips venom when he talks.

2) Still sticking to RNC, to quote one of my friends, “they have elevated the game” by selecting an African American chairman. I don’t much follow that party even though I keep in touch with the times. But I had not heard of this Lt. Gov. till the other night. I was laughing..Do they really think this is going to prevent the marginalization of the party? Specially, when a guy who thinks “bipartisanship is overrated”!

3) Superbowl tomorrow and I am one of the rare breeds in the country who give two hoots for the game. If at all anything, the NFL games are entertainment and that’s how they are marketed to the audience. I feel sad for those who think that American Football is a real “sport”…No offence, my football loving friends! Apparently, there is a chicken wing shortage in the country for this weekend..and that brought me a chuckle too. You know where I am going with this.

4) Australian Open at the Rod Laver arena – Quite didn’t follow the tournament as much as I would have liked to. Specially the epic Semifinal between Rafa and Fernando. I truly hope for Roger to make the climb this Sunday and equal Pete Sampras. He deserves it.

5) Cricket – Aren’t Dhoni’s men suddenly beginning to look a little clinical? Still nowhere close to how the Ozzies were till a year ago. But, consistency is some quality that they can get closer to inheriting. Talking about the Ozzies, just like the American economic dominance in the world is beginning to come down largely due to their arrogance, it is now time for the Australian Cricket dominance to start coming down for the very same reason. Great job SA!

I need to elevate my own game too. Did I tell you about the short movie I made for my company? It was great fun and has given me some confidence in taking the next step towards realizing one of my dreams. The movie is available in my company’s blog.