Band Baaja Baaraat

One more outing from the Yashraj camp, this time though…no big names and no claim to fame of size zero and appearance changes. Stars Anushka Sharma as Shruti Kakkad and New-boy Ranveer Singh as Bittoo Sharma.

The movie starts with Bittoo gate-crashing a wedding which has Shruti supervising the catering. A slightly heated argument and he’s head-over heels in love with her (How predicatbaly Hi-Fi - Hindi Film Industry). She shares her ambition to start “Shaadi Mubarak”, a wedding planning Businness (business). When asked to return to his village, he quickly decides to partner with her, just to avoid going back home to grow & harvest sugarcane. She is reluctant, quite obviously.

They start by assisting an established wedding planner, only to realize that they’re better off, being their own bosses. Buinness is set up and Bittoo conveniently has his living quarters right above the office. He lovingly makes adrak ki chai for his partner, orders dinner for both of them and even drops her home when they’re working late. He cannot reveal his feelings to her at any point as Shruti has already laid the ground rule “Jisse vyapaar karo, usse kabhi na pyaar karo” (You cannot be in love with your business partner). They soon fall into a comfort zone, organizing small budget weddings…and move onto the big league ones.

On the successful execution of their first big budget wedding, they celebrate with champagne and get drunk .At this stage, Shruti breaks her own laid rule,but a dilemma arises since he’s not sure if she’s in love with him. He attempts clarification and all hell breaks loose.

It goes to the extent where they break the partnership and openly tarnish each other’s reputation until a mega project forces them to work together. They do so despite their differences, with a promise that they will not tread on each other’s departments.

In this so called love story, the love declaration happens only in the end…with a confrontation and a confession..Yawn….. !! and obviously they live happily ever after.

What works:
Low-budget movie
In your face and raw dialogues…some that you would catch while walking in Delhi
No usual YRF candy-floss, Switzerland, chiffon sarees
What didn’t work:
Maybe the audience is not restricted to only one part of India
Music not very catchy, except one (Ainvayi Ainvayi). I don’t know why the item number was needed though
2nd half could’ve done with some crisp editing

Rating : 2.5/5 – One time watch only

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Fair Game

Directed by the maker of The Bourne Series, Doug Liman this movie maintains the same pace and feeling of an action thriller.
Based on the true life story of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, the movie is one more that looks at the truth and lies behind the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The Green Zone is one other movie that comes to recent memory but of course I am not comparing the two. This one is a political-spy thriller and really keeps you involved. The movie is based on the story that officials in Washington leaked to the press that Valerie Plame is a CIA Covert operations officer after her husband Joe Wilson, a former ambassador did an op-ed piece in the New York Times titled 'What I didn't find in Africa'. The op-ed essentially disputed the government's claim that raw material to Saddam's regime was purchased from Africa. This sets of a chain of events that lead to Valerie being left out in the cold and the many depending on her for safety and escape losing out.

The movie captures the journey of Valerie before and after the 'Plamegate' incident. The actors Naomi Watts (as Valerie) and Sean penn (as Joseph Wilson) remarkably resemble the real life characters to a large extent and put in easy performances. The story and the performances along with all the other material on this subject only make you ask yourselves- 'Was the Iraq war the biggest con job in history by the US Government ?' . What this movie does is make you ask this question. The answer is left to your own belief, political or otherwise.

The movie is well directed. It does not lose track or tempo and is intelligent enough to involve you without sensationalizing anything. Naomi Watts notably does a good job as valerie. Do not miss the real-life footage of the actual Valerie at a senate hearing, which appears when the credits roll.

Is it worth watching ? Yes

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No one killed Jessica

UTV once again brings to screen a gem of a movie. Directed by the immensely talented Rajkumar Gupta (remember the phenomenal Aamir ?) and with a star cast that does justice to the characters, No one killed Jessica is a must watch for Hindi movie buffs for many reasons.

First and foremost is the clever scripting that interweaves reality (the movie is based on a true incident. Do a google search for Jessica Lal murder) and fiction (all the dramatic sequences, dialogues and motivations). In essence you will find the movie engrossing even if you are not aware of the real-life murder case. The music by Amit Trivedi is pleasant and the background score is wonderful. Rani Mukerjee thankfully puts in a controlled and restrained performance. Vidya Balan has done a good job as Sabrina (sister of Jessica) has put in an effortful and not so natural performance. Rajesh Sharma (remember him in Khosla Ka Ghosla?) as the realistic inspector does a great job. Other than him nobody else really shines but just manage to put in enough to do justice to the movie.

The tale is of the murder of Jessica (Myra Karn), a model, working part time as a bar tender, and the subsequent fight for justice of her sister Sabrina (Vidya Balan) against the rich and powerful. While those of us in India familiar with the case would find the plot predictable it is the background score, the dialogue and the deft direction which keeps us engrossed. The film smartly depicts real life characters including president, primer minister, lawyers, politicians and page 3 personalities which most informed and aware Indians would recognize. Sadly the nuances of these characters gets lost on the informed and unaware viewer and therefore is bound to reduce the effect of the narrative.

Nevertheless, the movie is a lesson in film-making to the big budget commercial big names. A tight script, controlled performances, great background score all add up to a movie which is value for money.

Is it worth watching ? Yes.


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