Archive for June, 2012

Supermen of Malegaon


Supermen of Malegaon
Release date: June 29, 2012
Directed by: Faiza Ahmad Khan
Cast: Shafique, Nasir Shaikh, Akram Khan, Farogh Jafri

Supermen of Malegaon is basically an inside view of the micro-filmmaking experience. Nasir has a strong affinity towards Hollywood, he admires their techniques and innovative methods through whatever he got to watch in his semi-video library. He’s made a film that parodies the classic Sholay, and names it Malegaon Ke Sholay. This time, he ventures to make a spoof on Superman. He symbolizes the films made in Mollywood, i.e. Malegaon’s filmmaking unit.

Malegaon enjoys its bereft remains of cinema and the entire town runs on the handloom industry. Probably, any other village with the impending issues of job insecurity and power cuts. Nasir gets his quartet of writers to make the story ‘as strong as possible’ and presents two contradicting styles in Akram and Farogh. The former believes in a commercially viable, action-impact brand of writing and the latter is the embodiment of the content driven, character loving philosophical style.

Akram multitasks as per the evolving needs of the inner workings. Akram plays the bad guy of the film, mixes sound, sings, dubs and shaves his head. Shafique is our finalized Superman with a frail bodyframe. He knows that this is just a small step in his long way to his imagined success. Nasir keeps reaffirming that the entire filmmaking scene is his hobby and not a career alternative because he doesn’t hope to sacrifice his own vision by working with a more hundred people. Each character has certain dreams and aspirations, to make it big in cinema or monetarily.

The entire filmmaking experience is delightful to say the least. It shows you the difficulties faced while handling the camera and collecting funds and small-time maverick ideas by the makers to incorporate maximum ‘flying sequences’ of the Superman, because, why else would the audiences watch a film titled Malegaon ka Superman (Malegaon’s Superman) – along with the under-developed social and psychological ideologies of the majorly Muslim populated place. A special mention to the couplets in Hindi-Urdu that exemplifies almost every village in India. Supermen of Malegaon puts forth a mix of social pathos and highlighting of ordinary Supermen living even in the most conflicted regions.

Supermen of Malegaon also shows you how cinema – even after hundreds of years – still remains one of the most emotionally releasing and stimulating mediums of harmless intoxication for the working classes and the oppressed. It is a shame how this gem of a piece waited for years before seeing the light of the projecting rays in India, even after going through various film festivals.

It’s depressing how the ever-smiling Superman, Shafique isn’t alive to see the adulation that he longed for. Supermen of Malegaon is not a regular experience, watch it while it lasts.

My rating: ****1/2 (4.5 out of 5)

The Amazing Spiderman

The Amazing Spiderman
Release Date: June 29, 2012
Directed by: Marc Webb
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Chris Zylka

One more time, we Asians get the taste of a hyped superhero movie before the Americanos. I reckon this to be some sort of a lab experiment. But who cares, we get to watch them first! Marc Webb had an unenviable task of creating the Spiderman brand afresh after the Sam Raimi trilogy ended a few years ago. There are changes in the original plot with an addition of a few characters, and the deletion of some.

Now, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is Peter Parker’s (Andrew Garfield) first love. Peter’s parents leave him with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) – what happens to them is a hidden story for him. Peter reaches high school and quite willingly steps up to the school bully Flash Thompson (Chris Zylka) never mind the beating, he gets his crush Gwen to dig him. Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) was Peter’s father’s associate and they had worked together on the Latent Decay algorithm that would eventually help them grow missing human parts. Peter’s transformation into the web-slinging, wall-climbing Spidey is somewhat a variation of the earlier versions that we’ve seen. Thereby providing that much needed ‘fresh’ lease of life.

We get to see a much emotionally evolving aspect of our indefatigable superhero, his longing for his lost parents and the draining romantic angle with Gwen inject a humane side to the teenage vigilante. Spiderman seeks help from ordinary human beings and even police – Gwen’s father, Captain George Stacy (Denis Leary). The young protagonist commits mistakes and goes learning on-the-job to protect the city from The Lizard’s menace. You don’t get the prolonged action battles at the climax or gruesome fight scenes to make the characters strong, instead, the natural loss of each character is highlighted to provide depth.

For this viewer, the action doesn’t cut in, nor the attempted establishment of each character makes a deep impact. Thus making the overall product unappealing and disconnected. The CGI, though limited, is visually enchanting in the form of Lizard’s skin and the realistic Spider webs. The background score is the stuff superhero films swing to. But the film, quite not much.

I, for one, would have liked to miss this conflicting rage of constantly growing and going nowhere fest. Spare it for the DVDs and the kids.

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 out of 5) 

Gangs of Wasseypur

Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1
Release Date: June 22, 2012
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Richa Chadda, Jaideep Ahlawat, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Piyush Mishra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Reemma Sen, Huma Qureshi, Pankaj Tripathi, Jameel Khan

La vengeance se mange très-bien froide – which means, “revenge is a dish best served cold” from French novel Mathilde by Marie Joseph Eugène Sue is perhaps the center-point of this magnum opus. The canvas is set for fluent masterstrokes for Anurag Kashyap and his meticulously selected creative team and cast alike. Gangs of Wasseypur is set in different eras, where the definition of revenge keeps evolving.

The opening sequence starts from a scene that has a significant futuristic importance.  Shahid Khan (Jaideep Ahlawat) goes against the tide in his village and bears the brunt of that sin, giving rise to an insane need of seeking vendetta from the wrongdoers of Shahid in Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai). Sardar knows what exactly happened and promises to not rest until he gets blood on his hands. Literally, and figuratively. Richa Chadda plays the role of Najma, Sardar’s wife, and she brings the same amount of confidence and ease that she did in Oye Lucky Lucky Oye as Dolly. Najma puts up with Sardar’s all habits with her own inane traits.

Tigmanshu Dhulia with his portrayal of Ramadhir Singh shows you a formidable villain under that director’s hat. Sardar’s indiscretions carry on and reach their peak when he comes across incredibly attractive and young Durga (Reemma Sen) who’s yet a virgin. Ramadhir hangs on to his powerful position while Sardar carries on with his domination, unaware of his intentions. Meanwhile, Sardar’s neighbors from his village seek his help to get rid of the newfound dominance of Sultan Khan (Pankaj Tripathi) from the Qureshi household. Here cultivates the ultimate combination of gory means to establish dominance and put the adversary down in the most gruesome manner.

Nawazuddin plays Faizal Khan , Sardar’s younger son. He’s that somewhat dull kid of the family. He sets his eyes on the strikingly vivacious Mohsina (Huma Qureshi) and plays out an interesting small-town budding romance between them. Gangs of Wasseypur leaves at a break-point where you can’t seem to get enough of the flowing storyline. Do not leave your seats until the end credits finish rolling out, that’s when you get to see the trailer for the next part.

With little scope to display his love for brilliant cinematographic spots with colored themes in the background, Kashyap makes the optimum use of every possible chance that he gets. Making the already binding plot more juicy and visually appealing. The running time could be touted as long, but not once did this viewer stare at his watch in dismay and pain. Gangs of Wasseypur could spoil you with all its seeming perfectness and excellent background scores that provide that ‘extra’ bit of push into the building thrill. No point in raving more about Sneha Khanwalkar’s haunting and well-researched musical compositions.

Jiya Ho Bihar Ka Lala gives you that great question mark at the end making you lust for more of this film. Kudos to the writers and everyone involved in developing the rust-free screenplay that is exhaustive and extensive at the same time.

Gangs of Wasseypur might be compared to the Godfather series and the likes, but it has surely redefined Indian gangster flicks. GoW is a must watch in every aspect.

My rating: ****1/2 (4.5 out of 5) 

Ferrari Ki Sawaari


Ferrari Ki Sawaari
Release Date: June 15, 2012
Directed by: Rajesh Mapuskar
Cast: Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani, Ritvik Sahore, Deepak Shirke, Nilesh Diwekar, Satyadeep Mishra, Seema Pahwa

There’s a difference between a feel-good film and an over-the-top mind numbing cringe fest. Ironically, the two types listed above are sold off as ‘feel-good’. Ferrari Ki Sawaari is somewhat of a pullback to the former type. Here is a tale that portrays a not-so-above-the-Parsi-poverty-line family, that is content with what they have & still believe in making it big.

Rustom/Rusy (Sharman Joshi) is a righteous man with his morality bordering on abnormal. While Rustom’s father, Deboo (Boman Irani) is a cribbing, grumpy old man who spends all his time by watching the TV on his couch. Rusy’s son, Kayo (Ritvik Sahore) is a talented young cricketer, but his grandfather isn’t much pleased about him playing cricket altogether. Between these conflicts, there is an opportunity for Kayo to break out into a major cricket training schedule in Lords, England.

What ensues this is a throwaway of a lot of entertaining characters doing their parts perfectly and fitting into the mould of the film in a fine way. Out of all, Babbu Didi (Seema Pahwa) comes out as one of the most endearing characters out of the entire ensemble cast. It’s a shame I can’t find her name anywhere. Not even on the internet! Sachin Tendulkar’s apartment guard (Deepak Shirke) and the chauffeur (again, couldn’t find the name) keep you laughing throughout their sequences. The influential father-son duo provide for the comedic melodrama.

The film is entirely based in Bombay, describing what parts of a car are sold in which part of the town, again, entertaining. Ferrari Ki Sawaari wins in bits and pieces and not a single moment tends to get monotonous or unappealing, except for the tad exaggerated depiction of kindness at the end.

Rajesh Mapuskar’s first directorial venture doesn’t give off a rookie feel, job well done. Major props for the casting and the performances of the protagonists along with the aforementioned ensemble cast. The script is elevated by a several notches because of all these binding factors.

Ferrari Ki Sawaari is a delighting watch for that old-school feel good experience, capturing powerful moments along the way.

My Rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5)

Shanghai


Shanghai
Release Date: June 8, 2012
Directed by: Dibakar Banerjee
Cast: Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin, Emraan Hashmi, Farooq Shaikh, Pitobash, Prasenjit Chatterjee, Tillotama Shome

Before I start this, as the film progressed in the second half, I heard a few carcasses mumble, “Kabhi experiment nahi karunga next time. Masala film hi dekhni chahiye thi.” (I shouldn’t walk in to serious films that revolve around a certain plot. I should have gone in for some song-dance rubbish.)
A minute later, one of them finally said, “Isse acha to Rowdy Rathore dekhne jaate the.” (We should have rather gone for Rowdy Rathore) That’s where I loudly grunted “Oh Bhenchod!” Five minutes later, everyone starts clapping at a line from the film. Vindication perhaps.

Let’s start rolling now. For a change, we see our frontal characters driven by a certain reason for what they do in this film. May it be personal vendetta, lust, love or simply anger. Shanghai goes on to show how actually how all of us become a part of a bandwagon, unknowingly, that could possibly steer into a dark abyss. The tone of the film remains subtle, right from the background score to the performances put in by the protagonists.

The editing is as crisp as a Sada Dosa. The characters’ self-reflective moments aren’t strapped with a thick voice-over, instead, there are pauses. The defining seconds that Shalini Sahay (Kalki) uses to think upon the foreseen deterioration of circumstances, or that small moment where T.A. Krishnan (Abhay Deol) goes back in his seat to take the morally right way or the idyllic path, this is how Shanghai works. Jogi Parmar (Emraan Hashmi) has perhaps one of the most layered and complex persona. You see him  dancing, videotaping and running. All with a blitzkrieg of ragingly different emotions.

Dibakar Banerjee assorts pieces of his script and puts together a boiling exclamation point, that could be deciphered as a question mark as well. The modern political debauchery is handled with the utmost irrelevance that it deserves. Nikos Andritsakis’s camera work and Namrata Rao’s editing get the hat-tips along with Abhay Deol’s perfect depiction of a South Indian. Again, he doesn’t go overboard, but he gets every detail right.

No bottom lines here, Shanghai is the winner.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5) 

Rowdy Rathore Review


Rowdy Rathore
Release Date: June 1, 2012
Directed by: Prabhu Deva
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, Paresh Ganatra,  Yashpal Sharma, Gurdeep Kohli.

The only way I could do justice to the film is by writing my review in rainbow colored font accompanied by jarring underlying sounds that could potentially cause bleeding from your ears. A mishmash collection of things from the ’90s that you’d like to forget (yes, a never-ending Kumar Sanu wedding song) along with a lofty, uninspiring plot is what this film is.

I’m trying to figure out what actually happened during the production meetings held between the makers.

Suit 1: Prabhu Deva sir, we all liked Wanted very much. Any chance of doing something similar with a different actor?
Suit 2: (Interferes) Everyone liked Singham as well, hope you can possibly incorporate some stuff from that.
Prabhu Deva: It must be in Hindi, right?
Suits unanimously: Yes, why else will we even convene a meeting!
Prabhu: Alright, I’m gonna take this film more down-South. We’ll have a lot of belly-button fixated shots. Long shots, close-ups. Doesn’t matter. But lots of stomach. Stomach is the new cleavage.
Suit 1: What about item numbers? Do you know any inexpensive alternatives to the mainstream heroines for that?
Prabhu: Reality show winner? Okay? Will add to the mass appeal.
Suit 2: Anything you say, sir. Keep it austere.
Prabhu: Fixed then. Let’s flip a coin now.
Suit 1: Sir, flipping the coin for deciding the tone of the film, or the cast?
Prabhu: What are you high on? I meant to do that about the script.
Suit 2: Oh, never mind, sir. We’ll just flip the coin about everything. So, when do I send over the check?
Prabhu: Let’s flip a coin for that as well.
Suits collectively laugh and walk into the sunset.

If you don’t get any of that, I’ll sum it up. The first half is as terrible as watching a cat trying to brush its teeth. The second half is your any South Indian masala movie-catalyzed with some 90’s moronic Bollywood trash. There are a few laughs & a rare item number with THREE superbly moving women (special mention to them, Mumaith Khan, Shakti Mohan and Maryam Zakaria) none of the performances are unforgettable. Entertaining in bits and pieces.

My rating: ** (2 out of 5) 

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