Sunday, August 02, 2009

Love Aaj Kal - For the Mango People

Liked the movie overall, but was mostly satisfied to see the small bits and pieces of trivia that were thrown around without much fuss. And in the end it all came together that's all.
Some observations -
What's with Imitiaz Ali and three-word movie titles Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met and now Love Aaj Kal
- Deepika looks and acts so much like early Aishwarya Rai (so there's hope for her yet!)
- Saif's looking too old in most of the Aaj scenes. He does rather well in his Sardar role, but Saif playing himself (or rather his Lays munching, Taj Mahal Tea drinking, Royale painting self) is too much of a bore. Bottomline, he'll do well in a period piece (e.g. Parineeta)
- Why take Rahul Khanna in for a thankless 2-line role?
- And why take stand-up comic Vir Das if all the funny lines are delivered by the protagonist himself?
- When was the last time we saw the iconic bharis (water carriers) of Kolkata in a movie....Cant remember. And them again at night (with lamps hanging) - nice touch. Infact the whole Kolkata episode was well handled, except the fact that it was totally redundant to the script. Harleen Kaur could have shifted anywhere, why not Gurdaspur or Ludhiana or even Chennai?
- Which area in Delhi is near to both the Red Fort and Qutb Minar?
- When Saif get mugged in San Francisco, the first person who comes to his rescue asks him 'Bangla Naki? Indian?' a nod to the huge number of Bangladeshi and Indian can drivers in Frisco. Another nice touch.
- Too much Yash Raj influence on the entire script. All the foreign locations were redundant and superflous. Saif and Deepika might as well have met in Pune or Guwahati and nothing would have changed. (Similar problem in Shaad Ali's Jhoom Barabar Jhoom)
- Harleen Kaur's character (played by Brazilian Giselle Monteiro) reminded me of Neha in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Kareeb. But was the Neetu Singh pay-off at the climax indispensible?
- And finally, loved the way the final meeting ws handled. They walk off together away from the crowds and then finally hug - very very unfilmy - But that's the "coolness" they are trying to show off right

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Funda"Mental"ly Similar

How are the two biggest movies of 2008 Ghajini and Rab Ne Ban Di Jodi fundamentally similar to each other?

1. Both are huge hits (Bah !! ...That's obvious. And after Satyam, who believes figures anyway?)

2. Both were hyper-hyped (Both Aamir & SRK have excellent publicity machines. End of question)

3. Both had new actresses (or is female actors the more politically correct term?) (Again, You can't depict a super-hero without a fresh face opposite him. It's about the im-balance, you see)

All of the above are true. But there is something even more fundamentally similar between the two.

In both the movies the protagonist suffers from some kind of mental disorder.

Yeah, I mean everyone in the world and their uncle knows that in Ghajini, Aamir Khan's character suffers from Anterograde Amnesia (Short Term Memory Loss).

But isn't it obvious that Shah Rukh Khan's character in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi also suffers from some form of dissociative identity disorder with some symptoms of schizophrenia also manifesting. Consider the symptoms -
  1. Characteristic symptoms: Two or more of the following, each present for much of the time during a one-month period (or less, if symptoms remitted with treatment).
    If the delusions are judged to be bizarre, or hallucinations consist of hearing one voice participating in a running commentary of the patient's actions or of hearing two or more voices conversing with each other, only that symptom is required above. The speech disorganization criterion is only met if it is severe enough to substantially impair communication.
  2. Social/occupational dysfunction: For a significant portion of the time since the onset of the disturbance, one or more major areas of functioning such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care, are markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset.
  3. Duration: Continuous signs of the disturbance persist for at least six months (link)
Didn't Suri/Raj exhibit some or all of the above characteristics.

Well if you ask me it is a pretty solid case.

So where does that lead us to?

Is Hindi Cinema finally growing up and embracing mental illness into the mainstream?

Or is it that they just don't give a damn as long as there are enough fools (like myself) who are willing to shell out money to watch the crap they dish out?

I think we all know what the answer is ......

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The"Raja-Praja" Ethos of India

Satyam Infosystems Owner, CEO and majority shareholder B Ramalinga Raju resigns as expected. Also as expected much controversy and comments follow - 

Rediff reports -
"Years after the foreign media wondered if Americans should be afraid of Ramalinga Raju more than Osama Bin Laden beacuse of jobs they lost to India, experts said on Wednesday the fear seems to have come true, although for a different reason.

Raju has certainly inflicted a huge blow to the India story on the global business arena and the companies across the world would be much more vigilant before engaging any Indian company for their business purposes," said an analyst.

Way back in 2004, American media had reported that it was not only dreaded terrorist Osama whom the Americans were afraid of, but Raju was a feared man too as millions of jobs were being outsourced to Indian companies like Satyam" [link]

The irony here is like Osama, Raju too may be able to escape the law.

The issue here is Corporate Governance. 

As pointed out here "the problem in the Indian corporate sector, is that of disciplining the dominant shareholder and protecting the minority shareholders, as it is vindicated in the recent Satyam case."

And in this case Mr. Raju is the end all and be all. Because he as majority shareholder misled the minority shareholders. Although he might brush off all allegations to his person, his attitude is endemic to people in power in India.

Be it politicians, industrialists, businessmen or for that matter anyone in any postion of power considers everything under them to be their kingdom. 

They "rule". 

They are the "Raja". The rest are the "Praja".

And their decree is the law. And if not then there is enough incentive provided to mould the law according to their needs. 

And the saddest part is that the Indian public wants it to stay that way.

And they say India is "free".

Ghajini - Bollywood Flashback

Ghajini is vintage 70-80's Bollywood, albeit 10-15 years too late. 

It's copybook revenge-masala fick with bits of "Memento" shoehorned in for the sake of modernizing it.

After watching the movie, I set out thinking - Would the movie have been any different if you just played around the cast with vintage 70-80's  actors a bit.

So here goes my take -

Ghajini - 1976
Sanjay Singhania - Vinod Khanna
Kalpana - Hema Malini
Ghajini - Shetty
Sunita - Neetu Singh

Ghajini - 1983
Sanjay Singhania - Mithun Chakraborty
Kalpana - Rati Agnihotri
Ghajini - Ranjeet
Sunita - Sarika

Ghajini - 1988
Sanjay Singhania - Anil Kapoor
Kalpana - Sridevi
Ghajini - Amrish Puri
Sunita - Sonam

Ghajini - 1993
Sanjay Singhania - Sunny Deol
Kalpana - Juhi Chawla
Ghajini - Puneet Issar
Sunita - Sonali Bendre

Well you could make the movie with exactly the same story and exactly the same everything else with any of the casts mentioned above ........ and the result would still have been the same.....GHAJINI...

Soort terrm maimoree looss