25 Feb 2010
When I said I cannot stand romance flicks, I believed it was a simple statement. I feel it's a simple case of preferences which doesn't need any explanation, unless I'm missing something vital. If a certain X enjoys Mexican cuisine, red color, parasailing and war cinema, that's his take and he doesn't need to explain it to anyone, as I see it. But when I said I cannot stand romance (and, therefore, Bollywood) flicks, she thought I am insane (insantiy has relative definitions, yes). Therapy is a must, she felt. Assuming the role of the therapist, she prescribed: "five movies on weekend". And booked the tickets. Arguing was futile, I realised.
After the drought, the flood. Five flicks, then, it was. Thanks to reviewers among friends, I get to read comprehensive reviews of flicks as they hit the screen. So I put my take brief.
Ishqiya: Nice script and impressive performances made it a good watch. Given that realism is almost dead in Bollywood, such scripts are welcome. In the past few years, I remember only two good scripts (among the very few flicks I had watched, I must add) - Dor and A Wednesday. Naseeruddin Shah is, of course, the strength of the film.
OK flick, overall. Rating - 3.0 (on 5)
Rann: After a few forgettable flicks, Varma seems to rediscover his magic. A very contemporaneous script that dares to pose a serious question (which, like most others, is easily ignored and forgotten soon after one steps out of the cinema) about the regrettable condition and murky side of media in this country. Impeccable performance from Big B. For the strength with which his character holds to values, however, it looked unconvincing that he could be won over by a sly three-minute persuasive talk by his son. In contrast, the three-minute talk about the consequences of inaccurate reporting in Woody Allen's Scoop is more appealing. Keeping that failing aside, Varma surely dares to bare the ruthless side of media and politics. The last time one tackled this subject in Indian cinema was perhaps Ramesh Sharma with his masterpiece, New Delhi Times, in late '80s! (by the way, where is A K Bir these days?)
Varma can do better, though. Would be good if he gets back to his form soon. Rating - 2.5
3 Idiots: I may sound like an idiot when I say this, but I didn't quite get the movie. After pretending to take a dig at the obsession with success, it ends up glorifying success! "Don't run after success; strive for excellence and success will naturally follow; succeed nonetheless" seems to be the message. Ends remain the same; just change the means. Big shit. In that case, why belittle the unhealthy emphasis on success, in the first place? Obsession with excellence cannot be less destructive. The problem is not success, but obsession. I would have liked it if it showed Rancho as a school teacher or a shepherd, perfectly enjoying life in Ladakh. A regular formulaic flick. Aamir did a great job, though. And that gorgeous lake in the last scene!
I couldn't stand that "all is well" crap. With his kind of talent, I wonder why Vinod Chopra did not push for a better script. Whatever has happened to him after Parinda! Rating - 2.0
My Name Is Khan: Shah Rukh should never try experimenting. For, the character always goes into the background. A typical KJ melodrama that ostentatiously believes in "nothing is impossible" line. Reality is harsh and that's the way the world is. So why not tell me a story that is fair, even if unpleasant? Ever heard of any terrorist suspect getting out of a prison, and completely sane at that? One may say why not give it a chance in that it may be talking of that one exception? Fair enough. But, to be candid, the package had too many incredible things happening.
Joke no.1 - The film teaches Amnesty International a lesson or two about how to run their campaigns!
Joke no.2 - Shah Rukh does a Dustin Hoffman!
And I really wish they stop this fixation with 9/11. After all, they use it only as the backdrop. Why not a flick on the discrimination and injustice happening right here? Is it because it's too sensitive and could run into probs with the government and censor board?
Anyways, the flick gets 2.0
Avatar: With Titanic, my awe for James Cameron vanished. So I didn't expect much from Avatar, and it worked. A simple tale of forceful plunder of land and resources by the powerful, and the resistance of the natives. Put it on another planet for the sake of fantasy, generously use scientific references, throw in some superstition that befits primitives in a forest, and exploit visual effects to the extreme, and you get Avatar. "Sometimes all life boils down to one insane move", the protagonist avers and assumes the role of the saviour. A taut screenplay that's typical of Cameron, and absolutely stunning visual effects.
Rating - 3.0
When the run ended, I felt absolute relief and resumed reading the grim and gripping script that a friend is penning.