Category: Film Reviews

Can You Call My Bluff?

I’m not so sure you would. And that is the USP of the film “Bluff Master”. Some tricks a little too easy and some extremely well executed. There is one guarantee though, you will not feel cheated at the end of three hours. It is a thoroughly enjoyable affair unlike the review it got from the Times of India. I’m really surprised! Every stupid Shahrukh movie gets atleast three star-rating but the others receive two-stars despite being interesting? HT on the other hand gives it a nice review and yes I agree with the latter.

I’m not going to delve into the story much; by now everyone has a fair idea what it is all about. As always I’ll speak about the few things that I enjoyed about this movie. First aspect, the film carries an extremely slick look. The editing and cinematography is top-notch. I can’t recollect the last time Mumbai was shot so beautifully. The Gateway, the Fort area, the Navjivan building at Mumbai-Central, the view from Abhishek’s house; Mumbai has never looked so appealing. Abhishek’s house is also very contemporary. I simply could not get over the plasma placed in his gallery with a pink sofa; and the view of the Mahalaxmi race course behind. That was the best part of his house!

Ritesh Deshmukh impresses as the filmy geek and learning to be a con artist. He has some of the best comic lines and he does full justice to them. References to Ba and Komolika of the K-serials and the senior citizen and chavan prash lines he cracks to Boman Irani. He creates a laugh riot when he goes on his shopping spree along with Abhishek and later in the inane hospital scene; where Boman, Ritesh and Abhishek are all over each other.

Boman Irani over acts at times, but I’m such a huge fan of this person that I shall overlook that aspect. Nana Patekar is simply himself. On his entry, when he is worshipping himself in the mirror, when he sets up Abhishek-Ritesh, when he gets conned by the two, when he seeks his revenge and finally in the last scene. He is super-duper and this time he doesn’t get onto your nerves!

The guys playing Jassi and Omar do justice as well. Do I need to mention Priyanka? Well she does what she has been asked too. Look good, flaunt her figure and smile and cry! She is strictly ok. I don’t think there has been much difference by replacing Aishwarya with her. Fortunately her smile is not as plastic!

I loved the remixed old hindi songs used in the background at various scenes. They were so aptly put. I also liked the way the characters were introduced in the Kodak snapshot. It went well with the whole look of the film. The soundtrack is awesome. ‘Right here Right now’ is the ace of the pack; but you will find yourself swinging to the rest of the tracks as well. It is a must buy.

Am I missing something? Hmmm the star of the show. Abhishek Bachchan. What can I say?
I have been a fan of his since his debut and so forgive me for being a little partial now. He is getting better and better as every film goes by. He is looking extremely confident of himself. His dancing is improving, he rocks the engagement song. Only he seems to carry off those flowery shirts in suits. When he shuts up Ritesh either with his stinging taunts or slaps; there is élan and there is style. I won’t be surprised if he is in the running for the MTV Style Icon next year. He is super-duper hot in this film.
As the ultimate con man Abhishek pulls of his con on us once again or does he? 😉

I had a blast watching the movie, I think it’s worth a watch atleast once, though I would not mind going again. A comic and fun-film is welcome any day compared to the drab that is dished out 90% of the times! Full credit to Rohan Sippy the director and the scriptwriter Shridhar.

Go watch it…

  • I saw two extremely contrasting trailors: Rang De Basanti and Dosti. Rang De Basanti looks like the movie to watch out for next year. Dosti is one movie you would not want to waste your money on!
  • Can someone explain why Sanjay Dutt and Aishwarya Rai were given Special Thanks?

Fantasy comes to life…

I maybe late on the review but I had to write about it. The Fourth Potter Movie surpasses the previous ones in terms of everything: The Picturisation, The Acting, The Direction, The Graphics, The Magic, The Sets, The Grandeur and last but not the least, The Emotions of Joy and Sorrow. Don’t compare it to the book please. A book should never be judged by its movie. A three hour film can never do justice to a 700 page book or for that matter any book. How can it? But this movie atleast has tried to capture the most of it and credit must go to the Director, Mike Newell.

The opening haunting sequence of the old man‘s death by the just surviving Dark Lord is a hint of things to come. It is going to get scarier as the next movies come in and I’m not sure how many little minds will get to see it in the theaters. In India they might, not sure abroad. Then the movie shifts base to the Quidditch world cup, oh it felt like being at the Olympics. Though I wish they had shown some moments of the match. Sigh! After cricket it’s the one sport I’ve become crazy about and sadly I’ll never get to see one live. (Drifting away slightly I’m feeling pretty bad that I’ll miss the ODI at Mumbai on 28th Nov, and that too out of my own choice!!)

The next moment I enjoyed was the entry of the other two schools to Hogwarts, the unicorn driven carriage and the magnificent ship that arose from underwater. The sight was marvelous as was the revealing of the Goblet and the trophy. Dumbledore declares the tournament open and when Harry’s name is thrown out of the goblet, you heart goes out to him when he is scorned by one and all and almost loses his best friend in Ron.

There are many moments in the film you take away with you. (Quite a few humorous ones, especially with Mad Eye Moody around.)

  • The one where Moody turns Malfoy (He does look quite handsome though;-) Excellent casting!) into a ferret.
  • The one in the study room where Snape keeps whacking Ron and Harry in their heads and they simply refuse to learn.
  • The time when Ron tries on his robes for the ball. Oh they really do take the cake! What was Mrs. Weasley thinking when she packed them off?
  • Harry’s reaction when he sees the blooming romance between Olympe Maxime and Hagrid.
  • Fred and George trying to get their names into the Goblet. The twins are a delight and I think they have some of the finest brains.
  • The Yule ball is a hit, Hermione looks stunning and we get a first glimpse of the tension between Ron and her.
  • You get a first look into Dumbledore’s Pensieve as you tread along with Harry and Moody’s Mad eye drives you a little insane!

The tasks are well shot and the final task is scary and it turns even worst for Harry. I loved the portrayal of Voldemort’s transformation and Ralph Fiennes shines in his brief role. Looking forward to seeing him more, the portrayal of Voldemort could not have been more apt.

Snape is another favourite character in the series and I have been pretty impressed with Alan Rickman. He has little to do in this movie and I was a bit disappointed, but I’m sure as hell waiting for the Half-Blood Prince to hit the theatres, oh it is going to be one long wait!

I felt a tear roll down my eye when Cedric died, when his dad anguished in the loss of his dear son and when Dumbledore told his wards the truth about Cedric’s death.

The cast has done their parts well. Ron is my eternal favourite, the character in the book as well his portrayal by Rupert Grint. Emma Watson is her usual best and Radcliffe is maturing. I also thought the Patil twins looked beautiful and Cho-Chang is pretty as well. In all, the casting is pretty satisfactory.

But you enjoy the movie for Brendan Gleeson’s Mad Eye Moody and Ralph Fiennes’ Lord Voldemort. I think the casting director hit a bulls-eye!

I can’t wait for the next movies to come and if you are a Harry Potter fan don’t you dare miss out on this one. It is surely the best of the lot.

P.S: But my moment of the movie came from this little episode…

A couple of families had come along with their tiny tots. The interval post one-half hour into the movie came up and the youngest of those little ones,(she must be 4) said out aloud, ‘Mumma is it now recess time?’

Her innocent question and relating it to school break so cutely just about made my evening. Though I’m sure she must have enjoyed this long Harry Lesson much more compared to her school ones.

Cute little wonders, I wonder what happens when they all grow up?

Difficult, Not Impossible…

I know it is too late to blog about this. I finally managed to catch the movie over the weekend and I just had to write about it.

After all it was about cricket, after all it was about a fighter and it came from a director, whose works I have liked for the simplicity and reality they have depicted. Hyderabad Blues is an all-time favourite. Part 2 was okay, Rockford was decent, and I quite liked Teen Deewarein.

Iqbal comes up as his finest for me, as it dealt with a subject that is so close to my heart.

I will not write about the plot because everyone has already seen it. If you have been as unlucky as me to have not caught it for so long, don’t waste a moment and please see it! I was highly impressed by Shreyas Talpade. I’ve seen the guy in a few Marathi serials and honestly, I was never a big fan of his, but after Iqbal I’m in complete awe. So simple yet so powerful; no dialogues yet he conveyed every emotion, every expression to the tee. Such a joy it was to watch this fine actor!

You cried with him, you smiled with him, you jumped with excitement at his little joys, and you felt his anguish when he went through rejections. Yet, not once did you feel pity or sympathy because he was handicapped. That to me was the biggest winner scored by Nagesh Kukoonor. He did not glorify his handicap. It was one small hindrance and that was it. Nothing further. Neither the parents, nor his sis, or his coaches or team-mates thought it was a handicap. And there in lies the movie’s victory unlike Black.

Maybe, I’m being unfair by comparing the two. However, now having seen Iqbal, Black suddenly looks small in front of it. Black made you symapthise and pity the protagonist, Iqbal made you forget that the protagonist was handicapped. Black went on harping about the struggle and strife she faced cause of her handicap and how glorious she was in all that she did. Iqbal simply told you that no matter what the handicap, one can always excel if one wants to, provided one learns to fight and work hard for it. Success does not come easy; you have to pay a huge price for it.

Black felt larger than life, the whole set, the look, the magnum opus. Iqbal stuck to realities of life.

One scene, which I feel now stands out, is the one where Bhansali proves that miracles happen out of the blue. I don’t deny it, but even then and now it was very difficult for me to digest. How on earth does Michelle type 40 words in a minute, in a fit of anger, when till that very moment she was struggling getting 10 words per min? On the other hand Iqbal does not get the ball to hit the stumps when he faces the batsman for the first time between him and the stumps. He practices daily and then only gets it right.

I’m being a little biased as I’m no fan of Sanjya Leela Bhansali. I am not too much in awe of filmmakers who make larger than life movies. Karan Johar being another one!

Anyways back to the movie. Shweta Prasad and Pratiksha Lonkar played their parts well. I especially loved the way Pratiksha Lonkar tells Naseer with a huge smile, ‘Woh agar naumeed hua to main aapko jaan se mar daloongi’ (If he gets disappointed again I will kill you), and when Kamal the star of the cricket academy calls Iqbal ‘Behra Goonga Sala’(Deaf, dumb you jerk), Shweta Prasad walks up and says,‘Tum kitne bewakoof hon ke tum bhool gaye ki mein sun sakti hoon'( You are such a fool that you forgot that I can listen); and later she and Iqbal gesture to each other, leaving the arrogant Kamal to figure out their language!

Naseer was a delight, as he always is. Yours truly, had the privilege of seeing this fine actor in flesh and blood, perform in his Urdu home production ‘Ismat Aapa Ke Naam’. The crowds he drew, the applause he received and the laughter he created was mind-blowing. The country is blessed to have had an actor like him. What a natural! He does it with such ease that you can’t help but wonder how?

Girish Karnad, another fine actor was in fine form. He underplayed his character so well and with such realism, that you really landed up hating him.

Sadly the system does work that way, and most of the movie was what happens in reality. Life is not that fair. But the movie did highlight that there are ways to overcome the bureaucratic system, and you cannot hide or curb true talent for long. When one door closes there is another one that opens up, we just have to be aware to see the one that is opened. Just the way Naseer thought that all doors were shut when Iqbal did not make it to the team he went for, but realized that another one had opened when the selectors told him that Iqbal could get a look into the Andhra Ranji team.

I also loved the way Nagesh Kukoonoor touched upon the fine aspects of cricket. The Indian team could learn a thing or two from it. There is a fine difference when the batsman comes between you and the stumps, you can keep knocking off stumps all day long but once a batsman comes into the picture, if you fail to read his mind, you fail to deliver the same result.

Naseer’s advice to Iqbal, to think with your heart and play with your mind. To put the ball in the right place such that you make the batsman play to your strength. Learn to read the batsman’s mind, learn to anticipate his next move. Watch the batsman till the end and then decide your delivery at the last minute. Cricket is not merely played on the field, it is also played in the mind and that’s why strategy is important. The Chakravuyh concept in the film was quite interesting.

The way he ended the film was just perfect, the frame froze at the right moment. It is only for us to conclude the heights Iqbal sailed.

And to end it I felt, Iqbal was all about:

  • One man’s aspirations and his struggle to achieve his dream, the one thing he truly loved. No hurdles, no handicap, no disappointments would deter him from achieving it, for he believed he could, for he knew he had people around him who believed he could!
  • A mother’s strong belief and a sister’s faith.
  • A father’s struggle to make his handicapped son lead a respectful life. His realization of his son’s dream and the courage to accept his faults.
  • A man lost in his past, who finally found a reason to live, in the boy who aspired to be what he wanted to.
  • A man determined not to let the young boy to die a death like he did; a boy who had taught him to fight again.

True that many things in life are difficult, but they are not impossible, because even the word impossible says I’m possible:-)


Aashaayen …

Kutch paane ki ho aas aas
Kutch armaan ho jo khaas khaas
Aashaayen …
Har koshish mein ho waar waar
Kare dariyao ko aar paar
Aashaayen …
Toofano ko chir ke
Manzilo ko chin le
Aashaayen khile dil ki
Ummeedein hase dil ki
Ab mushkil nahi kutch bhi
Nahi kutch bhi

Don’t believe me? Go watch Iqbal and you shall!

I love the song, I simply love it! This one and Bavra Mann from Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi is playing continuously on my mp3 player.

P.S: Did any one of you notice, how the arrogant Kamal in the movie had an uncanny resemblance to India’s finest and most honest, sincere players: THE WALL! I think Kukoonor got it a wee bit wrong there:-(

LOC-Kargil…A Disconnect

I caught the movie finally on Sunday night on TV. I had missed it when it hit the theatres and every time later when it showed on TV.

I love war movies, watched quite a few foreign as well has Hindi films. All these films connect with you. You feel for their plight, you take pride in their victories and you cry when they die on the battle field defending their land. You get anxious about the plans they make, the strategies they draw, you cheer them, you pray for them, you sing along their songs which become almost an anthem for you. The films get you so involved that you feel you are living the war.

That’s how war films should be. Connect with the audience’s pulse and touch the heart. Not many war films have been made in India. Haqeeqat and Border are the ones that stand out. Prahar dealt with the Army but it involved fighting internal terrorism and corruption and till date it’s a movie you cannot miss! It was not an out and out war film but depicted the life of soldiers to some extent. I did not catch “Dhoop” entirely but parts of it and even that film connected somewhere.

LOC-Kargil did not! It just did not. The characters were never well defined because they were too many. The battles kept switching on and off and you lost the connectivity and continuity. Every soldier had the same story and actors did not have their heart in the characters they portrayed. They were going through the motions and there was no involvement!

It was a war that shook the nation. A war where India lost too many young soldiers. A war that was fought in the most difficult conditions. A war where Pakistan refused to acknowledge their own soldiers and whose bodies were abandoned, and who were given a respectful burial by the Indian army.

LOC-Kargil the film was believed to have captured that war so that it would reach thousands of people.

The film lacked sensitivity, emotion and just failed to strike a chord! Not a line stayed in memory, not a scene can be recalled, and not a song could be called an anthem. Recollect “Kar Chale Hum Watan Tumhare Hawale Sathiyo, Sandese Aate Hain”, LOC-Kargil had none!

Even news anchors put in emotion when they cover a war, how come J.P.Dutta failed so miserably?

Disappointed, most disappointed! LOC-Kargil had no soul, and when you make a movie without a soul, it will never go down in history as one of the greats! Too much indulgence in details and events probably ruined Dutta’s fine attempt.

The intention was noble, the heart just not there!

Bade & Chote Sarkar

Hubby & I finally saw Sarkar over the weekend. I’m not a film expert and I’m not gonna review it as it is too late to do that! This is my view about the film.
First of all it’s a must see. It is not as captivating as Satya or Company was; and that hass probably got to do with the fact that Amitabh Bachchan stars in the title role. The man overshadows everyone and everything in the film.
What I loved about the film was that most of the times Amitabh and Abhishek talk through their eyes and looks. I think that was brilliant. For a man who has been well-known for his voice and powerful dialogue delivery full credit to RGV for getting the man to convey through his looks. Tremendous.
The first 5 minutes are gripping, and yes it does slacken in between, but picks up pace once again when Abhishek takes over the reigns.
Kay Kay Menon is one of the top performers of the film who holds his ground in front of Amitabh. He has always been fine actor and this performance should bring a new lease in his career.
Subhash Nagre is an extremely controlled man, with not much display of emotions, aware of his hold on the “junta” and his force, and a man with tremendous self-belief in his actions. He is never overawed by anyone. But couple of scenes show the man’s humbleness despite his status.
  • The first time Abhishek returns home, you see only the “father” Subhash Nagre in Amitabh’s eyes, nothing else seems to matter. He is even more humbled when he returns home from the hospital to see a mob who is eagerly awaiting his arrival. He is humbled by their faith, the respect and the love shown to him.
  • Like any dominating father he would’ve banned Shankar’s love for Pooja and forced him into marrrying Avanti whose father, a dear friend of his , he had promised on his deathbed, that he would get the two married. Not only does he react calmly when his wife tells him about Abhishek’s decision but also makes Avanti understand.
He isn’t a “gunda”, an evil man, he is man with power who believes in doing what he thinks is right.
And Abhishek, well what do I say. I may sound biased but he really does excel in the role in the latter half of the film. As the quiet Shankar he takes charge, he changes, he understands the nuances of the game and makes his move intelligently along with Chander, Sarkar’s right arm.

He is finally coming into his own and getting into the angry young man mould that his father was well-known for. He pulls of these rustic roles really well e.g: Yuva, and now Sarkar. Few scenes where he stood out :

  • The one where he comes to tell his family that he has killed his own brother.
  • He goes to Swamiji who is about to tell him about the Gita, when he cuts him coldly stating I do not believe in god, giving the swami the choice to choose between God and him!
  • Finally, when he tells the CM that he should be expecting the CBI into his house soon, and the CM brags about how with his power he’ll be out of the bars in two days. Abhishek pauses, looks serenely at the CM and says, that’s exactly what I want, and walks out!! The CM does not know how to react!

Other actors in various small roles were excellent as well, especially the Rashid Guy. He hardly has any dialogues in the film but he says it all with his fearsome looks.

The background music was too loud but I liked the ‘Govinda, Govinda’ chant number. The only flaw in the film was Abhishek’s escape from Rashid’s hands, portrayed as too easy. 20 men firing at close range and not hit even once! Too filmi and a little hard to digest coming from RGV. But we shall forgive him for that minor glitch.

The film could’ve done without Tanisha & Katrina. Even RGV could not get any performance from them!!! Supriya Pathak as the troubled mother and calm wife played her part to perfection.

At the end of it all, if you are a Bachchan(Sr. & Jr.) fan , you can’t miss the Bade & Chote Sarkar. They are one hell of a riveting act together, assisted by some very fine performances!

Go watch it!

A Labour of Love…

After a long time (Thanks to our hectic schedules!!!), my hubby and I, finally caught a movie before its reviews were out. The music and trailers were impressive and I insisted we see Parineeta before the whole world does.

It’s a beautiful movie made from the heart. I’m not gonna delve into the storyline cause you must’ve read it by now umpteen times. The setting is Kolkatta of 60s, the sets, the costumes, the mannerisms of people, are excellent. Observe the small showpieces kept on Saif’s piano, that just about explains how much detailing has gone into the making of the movie and its backdrop!

The only hitch is the script and editing, the film drags a bit, and the last reel melodrama just about takes away the effect created by the movie. I think that could’ve been avoided. But, I think we can forgive Pradeep Sarkar and Vinod Chopra for that small error.

As for the performances Saif Rocks. He is the real hero of the film. He portrays Shekhar to perfection, his jealousy, his anger, his anguish, his love. Two scenes prove that he has grown and blossomed immensely as an actor. The first song of the movie ‘Suna yeh man mera, tune bandhan kyon yeh toda’ and the piano scene when he thinks of Lolita married with Girish. He is exceptional. Sonu Nigam sings wonderfully to express the pain, the sorrow, the hurt….The song is mind blowing.

Sanjay Dutt is a pleasure to watch. His presence in the film is soothing. Rekha sizzles in the ‘item song’. Oh she’ll give all these current girls a run for their money. Honestly, they are no match for the oomph she oozes. She is beyond 50?? Hard to believe!!!!

Vidya Balan manages to attract attention despite Saif’s rocking performance. She is beautiful. Lovely Indian looks and she acts well too. She has had a promising debut and I hope she picks up roles that do justice to her talent.

Rest of the cast puts in a good effort and you won’t be disappointed. The songs are exceptional as I had mentioned earlier and picturisation is even more impressive!

I think you should catch the movie atleast once.

P.S: Before the film started, there was a teaser from the movie ‘Munnabhai –II’. It involved only Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi. It was hilarious, can’t wait for the movie to hit the screen in Summer of 2006! It’s gonna be a long wait:-(

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