Avatar in 3D rocks

A visual extravaganza like no other. A must watch in 3D

Avatar is a 14 year dream in the making which takes you into its dreamworld

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On Sabbatical !

Slightly off my usual track of mind, so no posts ! Will be back soon

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Eagerly Awaited: 2012

Roland Emmerich and a topic of extreme interest to all doomsday believers across the world. Why wouldn't I want to watch it ?

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Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani


My friend and fellow blogger Roshmi says, 'high time you wrote another blog post". Unfortunately the movie I am writing about is Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. Unfortunate because prior to this I did watch the delightful 'Inglorious Basterds' but somehow did not get to writing about it. It is just a coincidence that the previous review is also a Ranbir Kapoor film

Movie watching and blogging has taken a beating thanks to a hectic work and social life but then one had to take a break too.

Ajab Prem Ki Ghajab Kahani is Rajkumar Santoshi trying desperately to recreate the magic of Andaaz Apna Apna. This is the take of a young Prem (Ranbir Kapoor) who is the president of Happy Club in a small town. His only job is to con people and spend time with friends. When he is upset he stammers. In comes Jennifer (Katrina Kaif) who believe it or not is a an orphan living with step-parents (yup, they still think that angle works in movie today !). Prem being the very helpful kinds does end up helping Jenny and yes, very predictably falls in love with her but is just unable to express his feelings for her (yeah, remember the movies of the early 90s).

Throw in a college sweetheart (Upen Patel), a rich businessman turned politician (Govind Namdeo), a noisy father (Darshan Zariwala), a goofy underworld don(Zakir Hussain)and a lot of songs composed by Pritam and what do you get ? You get a movie which has a few laughs, an extremely good looking Katrina who cannot act much, a very natural Ranbir and a movie that is too long and could have been far far better. Currently it is far from better.

Upen Patel should give up trying to act. Katrina Kaif should choose roles where she does not have to emote much and just has to look good. Ranbir Kapoor needs to chose better films. Rajkumar Santoshi (he puts in an appearance too) should watch a few more contemporary movies. We should be careful what we pay money for.

Is it worth watching ? Nope.

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Wake up Sid

Wake up Bollywood movie watchers. it's not everyday that you have a simple and yet delightful piece of entertainment.

'Wake up Sid' starring Ranbir Kapoor (as Sid) and Konkana Sen (as Aisha) is the tale of awakening of a young man. While this has been done and tested before right from the movies of the 70s, 80s and 90s, what Ayan Mukerji brings to you is completely believable, contemporary and realistic entertainment that takes you into the lives of two people.

The movie has some great dialogue which takes you right into it because it is so believable. the situations are so realistic. Yet, with all this realism the writer is able to provide you with an anticipation and therefore excitement of whether Sid will wake up and how.

The music is delightful, the performances are outstanding. Anupam Kher as Sid's dad and Supriya Pathak as Sid's mom put in their usual performance. I found the movie immensely likable because there will be at least one part in the movie which you will watch and sit back and say,'Hey, this happened to me'. This is why the movie relates to one and all. In a sense it takes a timeless theme of a young spoiled brat and takes you along on a journey of discovery. predictable, yes. Entertaining, yes

Is it worth watching? YES YES

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Dil Bole Hadippa

Saw this some time ago but missed out on writing about it. After watching the latest offering from Yash Raj Films your Dil does'nt exactly go 'Hadippa'. Yash Raj Films better look deep into their story writing department and make amends.

What 'Dil Bole Hadippa' does is, it gives you an average time-pass entertainer along the lines of WANTED. The tale is of a young Punjabi lass Veera Kaur (Rani Mukherjee) who wants to play cricket. There is a team whose owner Vikram Kapoor (Anupam Kher) calls his son Rohan (Shahid Kapoor) back from England where he plays cricket. It is his dream that the local team win the 'Aman' (peace) cup which is held annually between the local Punjabi team and a team from Pakistan. Unfortunately for Veera, the bias against women and the fact that it is a males only team forces her to dress up as Veer Pratap Singh. There follows the usual comic instances of mix ups with rohan falling for Veera and expecting veer to help out with the romance. Largely predictable, the tale does not do much. the only entertaining factor is Rani Mukherkjee, who looks fabulous and is absolutely adorable as Veer Pratap Singh. The rest of the cast puts in a standard performance. What makes sure that this movie does not rise above standard fare is the very basic story and unimaginative plot.


Is it worth watching ? Wait for it to come on TV.

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WANTED

This movie was awaited by many for various reasons. Produced by Boney Kapoor under his banner of SK Films Enterprises which has not done well since 'No Entry'. Directed by Prabhu Deva, the dancing superstar who was debuting in direction in Hindi with this film. The film is a remake of the Tamil and Telugu films titled 'Pokri' (which in English means hooligan). The main USP of the film is Salman Khan who has not had a great hit in recent times.

All these reasons and more made it attractive enough to go watch this flick. I must say I was surprised...pleasantly. The tale is of a toughie Radhe (Salman Khan) who gets embroiled in the Mumbai underworld war and ends up working for Gani Bhai (southie Prakash Raj) who is based out of Bangkok. Radhe is unbeatable and extremely violent. He mouths of one liners about his commitment and loyalty only to money etc. He falls in love with a young attractive middle class girl Jhanvi (Ayesha Takia) and their romance is threatened by Radhe's profession. Enter a lusty and corrupt police inspector Talpade (Mahesh manjrekar) who sets his dirty eyes on Jhanvi too. While the relationship and romance runs along amidst many an action sequence, incidents and situations force Gani Bhai to return to India and there follows a major twist in the tale bringing the story to its violent and fairly predictable climax.

The tale takes you back to the good old days of tough heroes who beats up dozens of villains single- handedly, the dancing hero and heroine who are transported in moments from one city to another continent for the dance, colorful underworld dons. In essence this movie is what we call a masala movie. It is honest and does not disappoint you. Salman Khan looks very energetic, fit and extremely suited for this role. Amazing taht at about the age of 40 he is able to do what he does. Ayesha Takia looks very good but appears a little too busty. Prakash Raj as Gani Bhai is absolutely hilarious and has done extremely well. His cold expression to his immediate hilarious turns are so entertaining that you cannot help but burst out into laughter. Mahesh Manjrekar is suited to the T for roles of lusty, perverted characters and he does that well in this movie too. The action is over the top but yet gives one a boyish glee while watching. The movie is pretty much predictable so while Prabhu Deva's direction is also good and the beginning of the movie reminds you of the one of the great movies on the underworld -Satya. There are a few action sequences where the camera is all over the place, but otherwise overall the movie is technically watchable. This movie is bound to turn the fortunes of Salman Khan, Ayesha Takia and Boney Kapoor (producer).

Is it worth watching ? Yes, for a taste of good old Hindi film masala.

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Unnaipol Oruvan



I had mentioned previously about the Hindi hit 'A Wednesday' being remade in Tamil. I had also shared some photos from the Tamil film here. Unnaipol Oruvan stars Kamal Hassan (as the common man) and Mohanlal (as the Police commissioner ) and a few others.

The story has been adapted to Chennai very well. The retired Police Commissioner starts with recounting the strange case of when one day he received a phone call. The voice at the other end of the call says there are 6 bombs placed across crowded places at Chennai and will go off at 6 PM unless his instructions are followed. Then begins a journey of wits and intense conversations between the faceless/nameless person and the commissioner. The demands are simple, 4 captured terrorists are to be brought to a certain spot. Add to the mix 2 cops. One a controlled family man and the other a tough, brutal loner. Will they all be able to find the caller and stop the disaster that could follow ? The briskly paced thriller is going to give your answer.

While I follow Tamil I am not conversant or fluent with it so I must admit I missed out on the full impact of the dialogues and nuances of the language. The Tamil film stays pretty much loyal to the original Hindi version with some modifications to adapt to Chennai and a few added scenes and dialogues including a slightly prolonged interrogation scene of a explosives supplier. Mohanlal, with his strong screen presence and subtle expressions puts in a powerhouse performance. I cannot help but compare this to the Hindi version so would feel Mohanlal did better than Anupam Kher in the same role. Kamal Hassan is strangely controlled and composed and thankfully does not run riot with just a self-serving role and performance. Naseeruddin Shah was far more powerful as 'the common man' but then I may have gotten carried away due to my familiarity with Hindi in comparison to Tamil and the fact that the Hindi version was released first.n The background score is by Shruti Hassan and does justice to the movie. Director Chakri Toleti does a good job. You will only admire the original storywriter Neeraj Pandey for creating a thriller revolving around 2 central characters.

Is it worth watching ? yes.

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Leverage does not leverage the viewer

The show which airs at 11PM IST on AXN does not have the punch. It's the usual thieves robbing from the thieves .

Nothing spectacular about it. run of the mill mostly.

Unfortunately

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Leverage on AXN


'Leverage' debuts tonite (9 Sep 09) in India on AXN at 11 PM. The creators of the show are Chris Downey and John Rogers. The storyline is about a gang of hi-tech crooks who steal from the wealthy and from the other crooks. It is a 2008 Tv series that telecasts in india in 2009 as usual :)

the trailer seemed interesting enough.

Is it worth watching ? Will tell you tomorrow

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India: 55th NATIONAL FILM AWARDS FOR THE YEAR 2007

The Directorate of Film Festivals (Ministry of Information & Broadcasting), Government of India announced the Indian national film Awards.

Some notable and well known names were Chak De India, Taare Zameen par, Dharm, Om Shanti Om, gandhi my father, The last lear, Jab we met which won in various categories.

'Kanchivaram' a Tamil film won best movie and best actor (for Prakash Raj). The film directed by Priyadarshan is about the town's silk weaver community.

You can view the entire list of winners here

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Wednesday in Tamil

If you are a Hindi movie goer you would have watched the brilliantly scripted and directed 'A Wednesday'. Neeraj Pandey debuted as writer and director with this Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher starrer. I loved this movie and you can read what I had written about it in Hindi Cinemas: Ups and Downs-A Wednesday

Now, the movie is remade in Tamil and is due for release soon. It is named -Unnai Pol Oruvan, I think and has Kamal Hassan in the lead role. I have shared below some stills from the movie. it looks very interesting indeed.







I got these pictures in an email forward and was unable to find any reference to it. The pictures carry a watermark which appears to be www.sify.com/movies. I visited the site but could not find reference to this movie so I acknowledge that the picture rights are with the portal or whoever the owner is and make no claim whatsoever on these pictures


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The Final Destination

This movie could be injurious to your health. Both your mental and physical health.

There, the cat is out of the bag. I have said 'injurious to your mental health' so you will presume it is a pretty crappy movie. But how could it be injurious to your physical well-being ? Read on and you shall know.

Directed by David Ellis, this is the 4th installment in the series. The series has had one film every 3 years starting 2000 and with each installment having the same name. I quite liked the first 2 parts. After seeing the 3rd part I have forgotten which is which. After watching the 4th I sincerely hope they do not make any more.

The plot and storyline is very similar to the previous film. A youngster has a premonition of an accident at a race track. The premonition is absolutely detailed and bloody gory. After this premonition he (Bobby Campo) saves his friends and a whole group of people. Unfortunately death has a list and if your name is on it, then you cannot escape. What follows is a series of premonitions, bloody deaths and race against time and death to take you to the ending of this painful movie.

Imagine seeing a racing tire come tumbling from the sky and decimating a woman and they actually show you the body. Imagine watching a lady who get a stone through her eye in front of her screen kids. The writers let their writing & imagination go wild in this direction. If you are able to sit through the movie (I put in an effort!) in a multiplex you are likely to bang your head in frustration against the headrest in front of you. Watch out. you will hurt your head and you have already paid for the ticket. This is why I said this movie is injurious to your physical well being too.

I do watch horror flicks and gory flicks but somehow this movie unsettled me and I think that's because it absolutely nothing to keep it together. The concept is old (after 3 movies previously), the actors were plain and so basically it falls flat. if Kambaakth Ishq was the worst Bollywood movie I can recollect in recent times, then The Final Destination is surely the worst Hollywood movie I will recollect in recent times.

Is it worth watching ? NO NO NO NO

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Quick Gun Murugun


Knowingly or unknowingly, all of us in India who watch cinema would have come across some aspect of the impact of Quick Gun Murugun. Originally part of a series of fillers by a music channel on TV in India, sometime in the early 90s the character has had a profound impact on cinema and TV watchers. Recently in Om Shanti Om, Shahrukh Khan potrayed a version of this Indian cowboy.

Directed by Shashanka Ghosh (who also directed the wonderful Waisa bhi hota hai part 2), the film brings to the big screen Rajendra Prasad as Quick Gun Murugun. Murugun, vegetarian Indian cowboy is killed by Rice Plate Reddy and goes to the 'Ministry of Death'. His petition to be sent back to earth is granted and he returns. But, 25 years have passed. The tale taht follows is the tale of Murugun's search and encounter with Rice Plate Reddy.

Leave your brains behind for this one. The movie is an extended version of the fillers we see in the whacky TV channels today. In that sense, while it quickly passes by on screen you do not have the feeling of watching a comedy flick. Only Indians would relate to this movie. It has a lot of nuances that relate to the day to day life of an average Indian be it the concept of vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants, or the traffic or concept of Maa (mother) etc.It is not really a spoof movie though there are numerous instances of other movies spoofed here. What this movie does do is that it reminds you of all the silly things in cinema and TV we have laughed at before we got too serious in our movie going and movie watching. The names of the characters be it Gunpowder, Rice Plate Reddy, Mango Dolly are hilarious. Incidentally this is the only 2nd movie I have reviewed after Quantum of Solace which begins with a Q.

Is it worth watching ? On TV maybe

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Troy again and more...

HBO Hits LogoImage via Wikipedia

Thanks to HBO, I get to watch some of my favorites like Troy again and again. I has posted this some time ago too.

This time though it sparked off some new thoughts thanks to my new blog which is focused on other aspects of interest to me like business and marketing.

What thoughts did the movie Troy spark off ? Read about it here.

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Blindness

Based on a Novel by Jose Saramago, directed by Fernando Meirelles (who directed the Constant Gardener) this movie is outstanding in concept and idea.

I caught this on DVD over the weekend and was shaken. The movie is about a epidemic of blindness that strikes people. When an Ophthalmologist (mark Ruffalo) gets infected from a patient his wife (Julianne Moore) pretends to be sick from the blindness too when the government quarantines the infected. The blindness instead of being dark lets people only see bright whiteness. With no cure in sight while the outside world goes through the usual motions, the viewer is taken inside the quarantine facility. Trying to leave the facility means sure death by bullet of the guards.

The quarantine facility becomes a reflection of our society and is like a mirror to the quarantine we all exist in. When the infected increase and the food rations start to dwindle the Doctor's wife is the only sighted witness to the human behavior that unfolds.

I found the movie to be deeply disturbing because, in a manner it shows us what we would be like if there were no laws and civilization as we know it lost its threads of order. When we look around and see all the strife, chaos and bloodshed in the world which is largely driven by individuals and groups, it only frightens us. The story is simple, to the point, well directed and well enacted.

The movie is not just an entertainer but is a wake up call for all human beings.

Is it worth watching? Definitely yes. It has some disturbing and graphic scenes so do not watch with your kids.


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Frost/Nixon

Directed by Ron Howard, the tale of the battle of wits between a talk show host David Frost (Michael Sheen) and the impeached President Richard M Nixon (Frank Langella) is an engaging watch. It will remind you of the Clooney directed Good Night Good Luck which had a tale of the TV host taking on the paranoid Senator McCarthy. It is unfair to the compare the two movies as both are good in their own right. Both are stories based on political upheavals in US history.

Frost/Nixon looks at the era which created a dubious milestone in US Political history. After Richard Nixon resigns his presidency over his involvement in the Watergate scandal, entertainer and talk show host David Frost, impressed by the huge TV audience that followed the issue worldwide wants to have an interview with the president and get to him to offer something of an apology and confess. With doubts on the business viability of such a telecast as well as the fact that Nixon is a shrewd statesman who has handled many a debate with ease, makes it an uphill task fro Frost. He has author James Reston Jr (Sam Rockwell), Political journalist bob Zelnick (Oliver Platt) in his corner.

The movie is a must watch because it gives you an insight into the American people and into the minds of one of the most controversial president's in US political history. As it says at the end of the movie, the one contribution of this scandal is that any political scandal thereafter would always have a 'gate' suffix. The movie is fast paced for a political drama and has excellent performances by Frank Langella and Michael Sheen. Kevin Bacon also appears in a supporting role.

Is it worth watching ? Yes. Definitely.

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Kaminey

Vishal BharadwajVishal Bharadwaj via last.fm


Vishal Bharadwaj, one of India's most talented film and music director's returns to the big screen amidst recession and swine-flu with an entertainer. Vishal's previous films Omkara (based on Othello), Maqbool (based on Macbeth) were dark character based screen scorchers while Blue Umbrella and Makdee were more focused on younger audiences. All of them had great characters, great casting and wonderful music.

Kaminey (which means scoundrel ) surprised me. Initially the film was slow and very localized, almost like a local feature and not a film made for national audiences. Then it took off. The tale is of twins Charlie, a gambler and hooligan and Guddu, a straight forward young man. The first half of the filom largely goes in introducing all the many characters and I say the film is surprising because you will remember all the characters. That is the magic that Vishal as writer, director and music director is able to bring with this film.

The film is predictable, yes, but then all the elements such as the music the character really make u enjoy this movie. The ending is highly predicble and yet immensely enjoyable. I really loved it. It reminded me of some my fav films of Guy Ritchie, Quentin Tarantino and the rest. The dialogues are nice and very very characteristic of the character. Priyanka Chopra as the Maharastrian girl who is pregnant with Guddu's child and also sister to a don turned politician Bhope (Amol Gupte) is refreshing and attractive. Amol Gupte, Tenzing Nima (as drug lord Tashi) are brilliantly cast. In fact I would boldly venture to say that the casting as a whole is perfect, right for the 2 drug enforcement cops to Tashi's assistants. The film mixes a lot of elements that only audiences in India would relate to such as the Maharatra focused politician etc.

I do not want to reveal anything much about the story as I want you to see it for yourself. When i listened to the audio music prior to watching the movie I wasn't too impressed except with the peppy 'Dhan te nan nan' but once I watched the movie every song seemed so much nice. Lyrics are wonderfully crafted by Gulzar. What makes this movie stand out is that all elements of this movie fit together so well. I will watch this one again

Is it worth watching ? yes yes yes

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The Darjeeling Limited


Watched this on DVD after having heard some good things about it. It is a tale of 3 brother going on a journey across northern and eastern India to meet their mother and also discover themselves a well as their bonding for each other. This movie has released in 2007.

The movie stars Owen Wilson, Adrian Brody and Jason Schwartman as the 3 Whitman brothers. They haven't spoken to each other in a year and each is at at crossroad of relationships in life. They now set off on a train journey to restart things. Directed by Wes Anderson, the movie is a typical depiction of India with the usual landscapes, temples, people etc. Overall the movie is slow, staid and passe.

The tale just does not hold you or allow you be in the place of the brothers emotionally. There is a thread of underlying humor which one may enjoy, if one hadn't been introduced many times to the person in a strange place story before. The actors put in as good performance as the script allows. The movie although disappointing could be watched on a slow Sunday afternoon.

Is it worth watching ? Maybe.

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10th Anniversary


Hurray for blogging. 'Blog' and 'blogging' celebrate their 10th birthday. What started off as joke has today become a lifestyle.

Read this wonderful article on Blogs and Blogging at livemint.com

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Cinema and Marketing


Both are areas of interest and both have a lot in common. Just some rambling on what I learn from both these written here

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Public Enemies

Some time ago I had posted on a few movies that I eagerly await (you can read it here). One of them released the last week. The reasons I had mentioned for 'Public Enemies' were - Directed by Michael Mann, Starring Johnny Depp, a story of the origins of the FBI.

Public Enemies scored on all 3 points and yet I was a tad little disappointed. Set in the 30s, the story is indeed of the manhunt for the Public Enemy, John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) by the then fledgling Bureau of Investigation (which would later become the Federal Bureau of Investigation). The movie also stars Billy Crudup as the young J Edgar Hoover. Since I was fascinated by the FBI and its tales courtesy a book I read when I was in my schooldays I was keen to see this movie. While there are certain parts devoted to the development of the bureau, like the scene where Hoover is criticized for not having made a single arrest personally, largely the movie becomes more a look at John Dillinger. There is an appearance of 'baby' face Nelson (Stephen Graham) and Pretty boy Floyd (Chatting Tatum) all marquee names in crime of the time.

The film attempts to portray Dillinger for the man he was and his personal life and love interest Billie (Marion Cotillard). Johnny Depp portrays the role with panache and style especially the smirky one liners. Take for example when he asks the cop- Where are they taking me ? when the cop says- Indiana, Dillinger (Depp) says- That's funny. There's absolutely nothing I want to in Indiana. There are a few light-hearted moments which are possibly authentic to the time but make us laugh now like the 'public enemy' message prior to a movie screening. Christian Bale as the modern special agent Melvin Purvis who is given the task of heading the field office in Chicago and take down Dillinger. The film gets to be unnecessary slow and I think that's where it loses out.

The sets, costumes and automobiles takes you back to the 30s. This, the depiction of life and crime in the 30s and Depp's acting are the the only things that give you your money's worth.

Is it worth watching ? Maybe, if you have followed the history of the FBI and the Chicago crime wave in the 30s.

John DillingerJohn Dillinger-Image via Wikipedia


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Love Aaj Kal



We all have our love stories & we all want them to be heard in some way or the other. From my experience of things love stories are generally happy or even if not then dramatic & thus they get made again & again by our film makers with different packaging each time.

So its time for Love Aaj Kal which seems to be Imtiaz Ali’s breezy look at contemporary love. The title itself has this impending need to say that its aaj ka zamaana & yeah we see love differently & it’s cool.

Well, Imtiaz has good actors portraying this aaj ka love story which is candy floss love ek practical angle mein. I specially liked the aaj ka lingo woven very well & applied as the spoken language of the quintessential youth. Set first half in London & later in the backdrop our very own dilli adds to the required magic touch to a love story.

So as they all begin this one does a quick rush of images then & now, saif ali khan (Jai Vardhan Singh) saunters in the elevator & a quick stop for the lady who gets in too. Cut to scene two, a hot looking Deepika Padukone (Meera Pandit) is sitting alone at the bar & Jai (saif) saunters in again with friends who want him to go approach the lone lady.

The conversation is refreshing & so much the youth or people who know the youth relate to. Jai at his coolest idiotic best says main pile nahi karna chahta magar & meera with her quick retort ‘so kyun kar rahe ho. I think this is a new addition to the mundane & growing old list of pick up lines for our dudes & gals. This hero heroine encounter unfolds rather uncharacteristically in the parking lot with a nudge here & one there, then the realization of how a silent parking lot, two young people in the car & the excitement of the first kiss is as much fun for the viewer as much for the on screen couple. The fact that Jai (saif) is giggling away hoping no one saw it is simply cute.

So this cute contemporary story moves on & Jai and meera can’t decide whether they are a couple or friends who seem to be having a lot of fun together. This comfort zone shouldn’t be unsettled with expectations and hang ups of a normal boy & girl seeing each other. So they chug along happily over black coffee & the fact that yuck how can you have black coffee.

Meera has to move to back to delhi to pursue her restoration interests, this new career goals that both the protagonists have is another reason to believe this is a cool tale of cool people. The typical facebook junta of instant retorts & smart one liners.

So now what happens to the status of this relationship like Jai would put it? Well they both believe & rightly so long distance connection doesn’t work here…..so to hell with the chat rooms, new statuses each day, sms or calls. So modern day relationships don’t work with modern day technology either. Yeh hue na kal ki baat! I especially like the wacky break up party which brings forth how soppy we get about relationships & lose sight of the time gone by which was fun afterall. In case of jai & meera the eternally lost couple this was a fitting break up.

Saunters in another saif cycling behind a petite harleen kaur (Giselle Monteiro), a hard core sikh. Enter a sikh restaurant owner Veer Singh (rishi kapoor). Imitiaz ali’s cinematic liberty of placing saif as the young rishi kapoor is unique. I guess that’s how the aaj & kal connect happens when you see the film progress.

So Veer singh has not doubt that love stories of today are frivolous, there’s no heart involved, the world has become too materialistic & the youth too practical. So the dilli ka tadka comes in with a lot of his views & opinions whilst he narrates his love story to a not so interested Jai to later a companion jai. My assumption is the black tea black coffee bond worked & did the cementing of this kal aur aaj ki dosti.

The novelty of the story is that how seamlessly this story of kal blends into the aaj & finally one concludes that love stories are all the same.

Meera in Delhi works on her frescos & jai dreams of joining the san Francisco’s golden gate foundation. Its uncanny how we in the contemporary world & specially this couple wants to restore & build things which the world will applaud but within them selves they lack the knowledge or the pulse that will help them restore & build this strong tie that lingers through the movie in their long distance conversations, in meera’s consultation of men to jai & jai’s achievement of finally moving on.

I only wish Imtiaz ali would have trodden on the path of long distance relationship & somewhere made his characters less confused & muddled in the head. Its one thing to say long distance doesn’t work & another of not realizing that it did & it just hadn’t dawned upon them. That’s the problem with being pseudo & all sorted is that we literally miss the actual touch & feel of people as if they were commodities.

So somewhere even if its fun with the trendy chor bazaari & we twist n twist n twist but fail to comprehend love, the couple seems flippant & specially meera lacks emotional common sense. She’s all agreeable & abiding to the norm of giving the guy his space, in turn seeming spaced out & scattered.

Imtiaz ali very skillfully skims the surface of addressing relationships, independence, career vs. personal front etc as this would then make the storyline prosaic. So to keep pace with the fun & frivolity the story moves well with the two of them stealing moments from their present life to enjoy dilli, sing songs & plan a new year’s eve together but with their respective partners in tow.

In contrast to this confused & honestly to me not in love couple the Veer & harleen love story even though rustic has the warmth of unconditional love far greater & deeper. So when Veer Singh all along the movie harps on true love evading the youth he only means that we are too cool or unattached to realize that a sense of belonging is not lack of space.

Anyway as the movie progresses & meera is faced with a proposal from her boss. She goes ahead with it, marries him, has jai attend the wedding too & then eureka on her honeymoon realizes this is not it. I mean you cannot be so clueless of your own feelings even if you were of the other person’s. This part of the script seems irreverent & made me think, gone too far with the humour bit mr director.

No use crying over it meera as our dude saif has finally landed his dream of golden gate & moved on once again, uff!

Jai is having a great time in his new job, great city swanky suits. Then why have the mugging scene in san Francisco where the thugs seem to want meera’s picture which he is tugging close to his heart. Beaten to pulp he realizes yeah man this is what is missing in my life! See its poetic justice i think, as this loose in the head couple needed either to be shaken up or beaten blue to realize there is something. So this is where basically the story or script falls short.

Deepika looks good & very much the contemporary girl of today. She is good in relating the emotions but falls flat in evoking any. Saif looks comfortable as footloose jai the ala cool dude, Dil Chahta hain idiotic syndrome but is far more convincing as a love struck Veer. Giselle couldn’t have been a better choice for the petite Punjabi kudi harleen.

Rishi kapoor sets the pace in evoking a reaction & he still has his charm on even with all that weight & looking like Neetu Singh’s father in the movie.

Love aaj kal left me confused too. As in I wanted to enjoy the movie & it rather should have been all frivolous or all sense. This mixture leaves me slightly disappointed, also Deepika & saif don’t match up even an iota to the chemistry kareena & shahid had & nor does the story to jab we met.

Nevertheless it’s a fun movie & don’t bother understanding it beyond the senseless wacky lines/dialogues uttered.

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Religulous

WowImage by andinarvaez via Flickr

Written and hosted by Bill Mahler, the documentary styled feature is directed by Larry Charles. You may not know Larry Charles. He is the same person who directed 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan' (2006) and also directed 'Bruno' (2009) both starring Sacha Baron Cohen. So you know where 'Religulous' is going. (Am watching Bruno soon too)

Of course Bill Mahler does not have the outrageous comic nature of Sacha but still does a commendable job in taking you through his revelation (pun intended, watch this feature and you will know why) of today's world religions. He meets various religious leaders, priests and takes you on a journey of faith. The feature is entertaining for the dry humor style that Bill maintains. Underlying that humor some serious questions are asked and it finally leads to a climax by which time you have gotten a view of the immense impact (adverse) that religions have has had on humankind.

Is it worth watching ? On a quiet Sunday afternoon, yes.


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Luck

Some time ago I had briefly mentioned this movie 'Luck'. If you recollect, I had mentioned that the trailers were impressive and seemed to show scenes from Intacto and 13 Tzameti and a whole lot of actors.

It happened to be my bad luck to have paid around INR 150/- to watch this movie. A movie which is all about Sunjay Dutt as Karim Moosa, the man with all the luck, walking impressively in slow motion. A movie where the word luck is used at least 350 times. A movie which in spite of being an action movie, has volume of dialogues like a mountain compared to the molehill of actual action. A movie where most dialogues are one-liners. A movie with vast inconsistencies.

By now you would have realized where I am going with this one. I really wonder how Imran Khan (as Ram Mehra) and Sunjay Dutt agreed to do this movie. This also stars Danny Denzongpa, Mithun Chakraborty, Ravi Kishen, Chitrashi Rawat and Shruti Hassan is introduced too. Shruti Hassan reminds me of the immaculately designed characters in video game movies- all looks, no expressions. Ravi Kishen does well as the psychotic criminal. All these characters in the game of luck have one thing in common- they are immensely lucky. Moosa hosts a high stakes gambling game where punters bet on people's luck. Most or all of the contestants are extremely lucky, they do not know it and have some compulsion to make huge sums of money. While this is supposed to be the theme of the movie, there are hardly 5-6 contests that actually take place. Rest of the time goes in spewing one-liners and the slow motion entrances of Sunjay Dutt.

Watch 'The Condemned', 'Intacto' and '13 Tzameti' and you shall get your money's worth 10 fold. The movie has some interesting parts and could have been so much more better with some deft editing and re-scripting. For example, the movie could have started with the 13 Tzameti copied scene and then taken us into quick flashbacks of the central characters. The movie could have been crisper and racier.Well, I am just suggesting although I did not get any of the budget used to make up this movie. Yes. backseat driving is easy and so is commenting on a movie somebody else has made.

Only the title song is worth a hear. The stunts look amateurish and it seems like a few scenes from Fear Factor were taken, put together, and a story built around it. The movie unintentionally provides some moments of fun and I hope the director is listening.

Imran Khan is impressive but cannot save this movie. Nor can Sunjay Dutt or the rest of the cast. The good things in this movie are - Danny Denzongpa's Ray Bans, The title Song, cute Chitrashi Rawat (remember the Haraynvi girl from Chak De and the agent from Fashion ?) Shruti Hassan in a Bikini, Sunjay Dutt's entrances and Imran Khan's screen presence. This I have given in order of importance starting with the best.

Is it worth watching ? It may be your bad luck. Watch this movie at your own risk.

A pachinko parlor in Tokyo, Japan







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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood prince

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07:  **UK TABLOID ** L-...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Some would have been eagerly awaiting this sequel. After having finished reading all the books, since there are no more books coming, the movie is the only thing to watch out for. I am not a major Harry potter fan, i admit. I have read the books once and frankly find too many character flaws in Harry for him to be an icon or idol for children. I somehow have this impression that he does not do much, fainting at opportune moments and things just happen around him.

Harry potter and the Half Blood Prince is a laborious and long installment of the franchise. With the hunt for the half blood prince, the building army of the dark lord you are treated to long dialogues, some intense special effects. The adolescence of the characters is made more evident through the romantic overtures and mushy parts.

To put it very briefly, it is only the last 15 minutes of the movie that really matter and only an ardent Potter fan will feel pleased sitting through till then. The direction is fine, the production is fine. the actors are good in what they have to do. Alan Rickman continues to stand out as Severus Snape. Actually I think Snape is the most interesting character and if you have read the last part (Deathly hallows) you will know why. In this movie, there is a little less of magic, more of hormones and some very special make-up. the absolutely delicious Helena Botham carter makes an appearance too.

Emma Watson is so cute and when I read rumors that she would quit acting, I shed a tear.
Is it worth watching ? yes, if you are a potter fan. if not, giving it a miss will not hurt you much

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Troy on HBO

Am watching Troy on HBO (India, 9 PM , Friday). Have lost count on the number of times I have watched this movie. Just love the action scenes. Eric Bana (as Hector) and Brad Pitt (as Achilles) tower over the rest of the cast. Love this movie.




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Transformers: Revenge of the fallen

The biggie this month. Part 2 of the immensely successful and popular Transformers (2007). Directed by Michael Bay, starring the talented Shia LaBeouf and the very attractive Megan Fox and the tough looking Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson, Transformer 2: Revenge of the Fallen rocked the Box office on release and continues to remain at the top.

The other biggest character in this sequel plays the most prominent, visible and noisy part. The character is none other than the US Armed Forces. The US Armed forces is all over this movie starting to end providing you one of the finest on screen displays of combat and weaponry in recent times.

The sequel continues from where part 1 ended. Optimus Prime and his buddies live among the humans with Bumblebee loyally staying in Samuel Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) while Prime and his buddies including some new ones like the Twins who work with Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel) of the US Army in combating all kinds of situations especially when the Decepticons (the bad robot guys for those who have not seen part 1) start making appearances. Some bureaucratic interference and fear of attack brings the story to a stage where Prime and his buddies are parting ways with Lennox. Meanwhile Sam has tried to put his adventures behind him and is moving to college. His attraction to Mikaela (Megan Fox) and his quirky roommate Leo (Ramon Rodriguez) seem to be the new factors in his life.

But all of that changes soon when the fallen (an old Decepticon who mentored Megatron) starts sending his minions to planet earth in search of something. With the AllSpark destroyed in part 1, what may they be after? Thereafter begins a race to find out what they are after and to find it before they do. The film is a bit slow with a lot of long dialogues giving background and history but in the 2nd half takes off into a pulse pounding ride of action. The action is multifold and in typical Michael Bay style, larger than life.

The US Army comes into play and you are treated to some spectacular explosions and some great CGI and robot fights. before I forget, John Turturro returns and is absolutely natural at making you laugh. He and Leo offer you some of the hilarious moments in the fill.

Megan Fox at Hollywood Life Magazine’s 7th Ann...Image via Wikipedia

This film is such that you cannot write much about it. You just got to go watch it. You will either like it or not like it. Let me tell you what I liked about the movie-I like that it is based on Robot characters (I have a soft corner for comic tales). I like John Turturro's performance. I like Megan Fox (she's hot !) and I love all the action and explosions !

Is it worth watching ? Well, maybe. For any comic story genre fan, it is a must see.

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Kaminey will come soon

Am looking forward to watching this one. Vishal Bharadwaj cannot go wrong and with impressive trailers, it does interest me.

PS: According to Boxofficeindia.com Kambaakth Ishq had a grand bumper opening of 90%-100% collections on day 1. This was about 10% less than that of Ghajini. This would be due to all the advance bookings but if it has to make INR 70 crores (INR 70 Millions) in the next couple of weeks it really needs to keep the going strong.



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Flashbacks of a fool

Caught this on DVD. IF you want to know why I think Daniel Craig is a highly underrated actor watch this movie and Layer Cake. He is a good James Bond but Quantum of Solace did no great addition to his quality as an actor.

Written and Directed by Baillie Walsh, the film stars Harry Eden (from Oliver twist), Olivia Williams and many other well cast actors. The story is of Joe Scott (Daniel Craig), a once successful and popular actor who has now lost his credibility, thanks to a hedonistic lifestyle. With an increasing sense of loss of value and loss of self, Joe Scott is quickly reaching a point of self-destruction and self-disbelief when he receives news that his childhood friend Boots has died. The news and his conscience/personal assistant Eve (Ophelia Franklin) trigger off a flashback to his younger days. The viewer is taken back to a small sea-side town where the young Joe Scott (Harry Eden) is growing through his confusing teen years with his mother, his aunt, his young sister, his mother's friend Evelyn who is trying to seduce him, his friend Boots and the young Ruth Davies (Felicity Jones) whom he is attracted to. The characters, their life engrosses you and finally a shocking incident occurs that bring you back to the present Joe Scott.

Joe returns to his hometown which has changed quite a bit. He meets the people, rediscovers their lives. he comes across his teenage crush Ruth. The entire flashback and his visit have a profound impact on Joe. This entire journey is the flashback of a fool. The entire journey is interesting, engrossing and in many ways touching.

The tale of innocence found lost and regained is a sure shot success formula, if done well. Some great direction, acting and dialogues make it worth a watch. Take for example, when Eve is settling Joe's phone bills and remarks, "Why do you have to dial a 976 line (phone sex) ? You are the Joe Scott, you can have any woman you want ?" and Joe says, "At least there I can be someone else". This single dialogues gives you an insight into the pressure beneath the success that has driven Joe to a decadent lifestyle.

Is it worth Watching ? Definitely.


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Inglorious Basterds, Sherlock Holmes, Public Enemies

These 3 are movies that I eagerly await and for different reasons.

Inglorious Basterds which premiered at Cannes 2009, is made by one of my favorite film makers, Quentin Tarantino (Writer & Director), stars Brad Pitt among others and is a tale of a group of Jewish American soldiers who are let loose on the Nazis to spread fear through brutal killing. This group of soldiers get infamous among the Nazis as 'The Basterds'. The film also stars the beautiful Diane Kruger. Expect a lot of gore, blood and dry humor. Watch the trailer! Awesome !



Public Enemies is the tale of the baby FBI and its manhunt for what it labeled its first 'Public Enemy Number one', John Dillinger (Johnny Depp). Directed by Michael Mann and starring Christian Bale along with a host of other actors, this film about the origins of the FBI and gun-toting robin hood like infamous heroes will be worth a watch.



Sherlock Holmes. The name itself is enough to make me watch this movie. Now take a look at the other names associated with it. Directed by Guy Ritchie, starring Robert Downey Jr (as Sherlock Holmes), Jude Law (as Dr Watson) the trailer seems to have all of Guy Ritchie's trademarks and would make for an interesting watch.

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Kambaakth Ishq

Kareena Kapoor as KaminiImage via Wikipedia


A lot of somebody's money just went down the drain, down a Hollywood drain I must say.

Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, a couple of good songs, a couple of good gags and a few supporting actors are the only good things in this movie. the movie is like a very expensive Titanic that is sinking without a trace.

The movie's storyline or what little exists of it is of Viraaj (Alshay Kumar) a stuntman in Hollywood, primarily working at Universal Studios. He is a womanizer and does not believe in the cocnept of marriage. He has two flunkies Tiger (Vindoo Singh) and Lucky (highly underrated Aftab Shivdasani). Lucky gets married much against his Mentor Viraaj's wishes to Kamini (the hot looking Amrita Arora). Kamini's friend is the model and doctor in training Simritha Rai (Kareena Kapoor) who also does not believe in men or in marriage. When Viraaj and Simritha meet, fireworks happens and there begins the donfall of this movie. Some stale gags and a few new ones later you begin to lose track of where the story is going. Brandon Routh, Denise Richards, Sylvester Stallone etc put in their appearances and obviously had a lot to do with this film's budget.

Sylvester Stallone in Sweden to promote "...Image via Wikipedia

The film fails mainly because of its lack of consistency in characterisation and storyline. This often happens when all the focus is on the stars. When that is the state of the story, I cannot comment much on direction. Take for example a tough gangster neighbourhood where suddenly there is an intact and working Parking meter with coins inside taht is used as a weapon in a fight or consider Kareena does not have USD 5000 but is shopping Gucci and other designer wear, also drives around a VW. Patchy screenplay only adds to the woes of this film.

The film has a great opening at the box office thanks to all the buzz since 2007 and the drought of movies after the producer-multiplex strike. Do not think the BO will hold too much hope though in the weeks to come, but then one never knows. Vindoo Singh does well as the sidekick but has a silly role to play. Aftab does not have much to do and is sadly underutilised. Kareena is hot (yup ! I do have a soft corner for this woman) and appears in the skimpiest of clothes you have ever seen her. Many scenes and sequences border on the titillating. Amrita Arora looks good and of course shows of her toned body in many a scene. In all, the movie seems to be a hastily put together mish-mash of different sequences, scenes and songs with some repetitive stock footage of Hollywood stars and a few guest appearances thrown in for good measure.

It is believed that this project was the dream of producer Freoze Nadiwala. His dream to have Hollywood actors acting in Bollywood film. Dream fulfilled. Sadly, it could have been such a better film to mark this remarkable achievement in cinema. This film reminds me of 'Tashan' (read about it here) which was another example of all style and no substance.

Is it worth watching ? Wait for it to come on TV I suggest. You decide !
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Kambakkht Ishq


I watch Kambakkht Ishq tomorrow. Supposedly made at a huge budget (what with a host of Hollywood stars putting in an appearance) this movie doesnt look too great. Am watching for a couple of reasons- Kareena, Akshay, Denise richards and of course to watch Sylvester Stallone saying - Kambakkht Ishq !

Will let you know if it is worth watching !

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New York


Trailers were impressive.

Cast was good.
Director Kabir Khan was credible (after the thoroughly enjoyable Kabul Express).
Written by Aditya Chopra (of DDLJ and RNBDJ fame)
Produced by Yash Raj Films
Music by Pritam

A very imaginative plot and storyline add to it. With all of this I expected an absolutely enjoyable thriller.

New York is the tale of 3 friends over a 9 year period. This period has its first 2 years prior to 9/11. The tale begins with Omar (Neil Nitin Mukesh) being interrogated by FBI Agent Roshan (Irrfan Khan) for his alleged terrorist links. The interrogation sets off a series of flashbacks where Omar reveals his days in the US of A from the first time he set foot in New York State University. He recounts his tale of meeting Maya (Katrina Kaif) and Samir (John Abraham). This leads you off into all those goody goody times that Yash Raj films are good at depicting with some good tunes by Pritam. The predictable then happens with Omar falling for Maya and Maya being in love with Sam. Then 9/11 happens and Omar chooses the time to go away.

The 9/11 and its aftermath has an effect on all their lives and the rest of the movie tries and highlights all of that. The attempt being made with this tale is that in tough times, tough measures and innocents pushed too far can backfire on a system. The tale also attempts to highlight the trauma and stigma that Muslims had to face post 9/11. It leads to a climax with decisions to be taken, decisions whether to put friendship above emotion, emotion above country etc etc.

While the film has its moments of entertainment, where it finally loses out is that it does not make you feel what they are attempting to make you feel. The scenes of torture and confinement may disturb you and in some case may anger you but what the film fails to do is make you feel the shame and the anger that the Muslim community felt as innocent victims of the 9/11 aftermath. So while the tale has its logic, it lacks the soul. It lacks the raw power to make you travel into the shoes of its characters. In the end, it becomes far too predictable and the characters end up becoming caricatures. The flaw possibly lies with the film's 2nd half. The first half entertains you and maybe even intrigues you but thereafter it largely becomes predictable.

It is indeed commendable for an attempt at this kind of storytelling, where entertainment is done with a purpose. That effort alone is worth it for a reason to watch this movie. Neil Nitin Mukesh puts in a stellar performance. Irrfan Khan does his usual stuff which is above average. John Abrham has been trying his best to act and frankly he has certain limitations with standard set of 4 expressions. Katrina looks ravishing and possibly puts in one of her best performances till date. I must add though that there are tons of technical flaws in the entire FBI and the action sequences. Possibly not enough research or not good enough consultants used to bring in authenticity to the background.

All in all, is it worth watching? Answer is maybe. You decide!
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Hit ya Flop


The ET Intelligence tracker puts 'Kal Kisne Dekha' at a super flop with only INR 13.5 Million collections

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Luck?


Happened to view the trailer of 'Luck' on TV and was stuck by its similarity to a couple of movies I watched. This movie has a huge star cast including Imran Khan. The movie appears to be a tale of people trying out their luck to win a bonanza with their life at stake.


The trailer seemed to have scenes very similar to Intacto and there seems to be a direct copy from the classic 13 Tzameti of the intense Russian roulette circle scene.

While Hindi movies are becoming more experimental and varied in story, some originality could help I guess. Anyway, lets wait for the movie to come out and then see...if it is worth watching.
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Upcoming flicks for you in India !

With the 2 month long Multiplex Owner-Producer tiff in India coming to an end, a whole slew of movies are up for relase. Here's a look at some of them:

12 June: Kal Kisne Dekha-Don't plan to watch. Although it is debut of Jackie Baghnani
19 June: PAYING GUESTS -Don't plan to watch
26 June: NEW YORK -Plan to watch, after all it is directed by Kabir Khan who did Kabul Express


3 July: KAMBAKKHT ISHQ-May watch. Its got Kareena and of course Akshay. Will he get back lost glory after the disaster of Chandni Chowk to China and 8x10Tasveer?
24 July: AGYAAT- Will watch. RGV is the reason
31 July: LOVE AAJ KAL-Will think about it. Not too big a fan of Saif-Deepika combo
14 August: KAMINEY-Will definitely watch. Vishal Bharadwaj directing it, what better reason do I need? 14 August: ALADIN-Will think about it

I am also hoping the following one releases real soon in India



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