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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