Move over Lucy, LSD has been hijacked by Indians

First with Khosla Ka Ghosla, Dibakar Banerjee introduced us to a typical middle-class Delhi family and their dreams, then he gave us Lucky, the Punjabi con artist who takes us through the different strata of Delhi society and now, he brings out three different stories about love, sex and dhoka (betrayal) that use the backdrop of varied Delhi cultures as a canvas on which this vivid picture is painted.
Dibakar Banerjee’s film links the movie camera to a CCTV and the CCTV to a spy camera via three different stories to tell us, we are being watched. He interlinks the stories wonderfully, without being too obvious or too intelligent. The stories are nothing different from what we once read in the papers, but it’s the way that they are told that captivates us. The characters, treatment and most importantly the background score and the music make this film awesome. Love, Sex aur Dhoka has a hidden agenda to shock you with this reality. Honestly, I wasn’t shocked at all.
‘The relevance would have been awesome four years ago,’ says the sister.
True that. Four years ago rich fathers had their daughters’ poor lover boys murdered, four years ago boyfriends were taking the country by the storm with recorded clips of private moments with their girlfriends and sting operations were oh-so-hot…
Today, sting operations happen, but they don’t really rock our world (they trend on twitter, I’ll give them that). MMS, CCTV footage scandals do happen, but they don’t shock us like they did back in the day and  four years ago, a father having his daughter and her lover killed was unthinkable or rather shocking to read in black and white.
In the last four years, media has desensitized us. We don’t dwell on these incidents, we see them, discuss them over coffee or in the train and we move on. We read about a businessman who had his Muslim son-in-law murdered, we discuss it for a few days and then the same businessman goes on to sponsor an IPL team owned by a Muslim. We read about a girl being attacked by a random man at Gateway of India, we read about a couple chopping up a man’s dead body into pieces and then we pick up our cup of tea and go about our business.
This film would have rocked the nation if it came out four years ago, but who would have put their money on a film that doesn’t have a definitive love story? Who would put money on a film that has ‘camera’ as a central theme? Dibakar Banerjee could get the funding for this film because of the success of his previous films. And the censor board passed this film, because we are an audience that won’t get disturbed by such stories.
I love the film for the way it tells its story, for the music and for the sheer joy of seeing Dibakar Banerjee’s ability to use the right aspects of different societies existing in Delhi to tell a story. It deserves its credit for being a good film for that reason. There’s no social change or awareness that it will bring about. Don’t dream honey, worse has already happened.
And for a change it’s good when real life seems an exaggerated version of reel life, and not vice versa.

Look Who’s Calling

All I knew about ‘Karthik Calling Karthik’ before I entered the movie hall was that it’s about a loser who turns his life around. I fell in love with the opening credits, and then, the film just sort of rolled.
Karthik is a hard worker, but his work’s never noticed or appreciated. Karthik’s life is made up of an angry, domineering boss, indifferent coworkers who take credit for his achievements and a frustrating landlord. The fact that his lady love, Shonali, never notices him and is dating his coworker, doesn’t exactly make it all a rosy picture.  Things change when Karthik decides to stand up for himself and confront the boss. Karthik, has lost everything he had, but then a phone call shakes up his life. He manages to turn his life around and emerges a winner. He has a great job, a big pay packet and the love of his life is now his girlfriend. But who’s this Karthik who has been calling Karthik?
That’s the premise of the movie. The plot cleverly unfolds, although through the first half, you are convinced it’s all predictable. I was convinced that the whole movie would be about Karthik rising up and proving he’s not a loser. But I was mistaken.
The strength of the plot lasts only if the audience doesn’t know what to expect next. Therefore I won’t say anything else about the story. But I will say this, it grips you, makes you impatient even.
Farhan Akhtar is a brilliant actor and he’s proved it on prior occasions but Deepika really surprises you with a sincere effort to emote.
The loose ends get tied up in a rather clichéd manner toward the end and the epilogue is rather unnecessary. But all in all, I found the film entertaining and totally worth a watch…
My verdict: 4.5 on 5…

Review: Delhi 6

Ram Leela, NRI returning to the country, exuberant India and all that made me think Delhi 6 was going to be Swades revisited. But the soundtrack enthralled me, Sonam looked awesome, Abhishek seemed to look cute and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra was directing it. In my books, those were good enough reasons to be excited about a film. A million phone calls, super nagging messages and an annoyed friend were put on the line to acquire the tickets to the first day last show. ‘Don’t go! It’s a bad movie.’
‘Abbe acchi pikchur hain dekh le!’
‘Its random’
‘You will fall asleep!’
And in spite of all this, I maintained my excitement and plonked myself in the cushy seats.
And I wondered if signed up for a sightseeing trip to Chandni Chowk!
There’s the madness of Delhi, the soul of Chandni Chowk and all that, but you hope in the heart of your heart that all this is leading somewhere, that all this is building up to something. After all when Prasoon Joshi, Kamlesh Pandey and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra have written the film, you want to shut that little voice in your head that says ‘Kya ho kya raha hai?’. I couldn’t keep that voice shut for long.

The director clearly indulges himself in nostalgia, trying to recreate his Delhi and he struggles to form a medium to give out a social message. He ends up doing the former much more effectively. You find it hard to take the intense moments of the film seriously and certain metaphors are so downplayed that they are lost in the exuberance of ‘Delhi 6’.

Performances are awesome. Right from Waheeda Rehman who brings a sparkle to the screen to Sonam Kapoor who seems fresh and real, the cast keeps you enthralled.

But there were too many moments where I looked away and tinkered with my phone or laughed on better friend’s jokes (his jokes weren’t awesome, so you know). In my humble opinion, the second half of the film is much better (however absurd). Its fast paced, things happen, characters react and the story attempts to go somewhere. But sadly, it says in the confines of Delhi 6!

‘So random the movie is! I still am confused what the end meant,’ said the sister. Last I heard, the makers were confused about the ending themselves. We can see why!

Verdict: Watch only if you have the time and patience. Definitely a let down… I remember walking out of Rang De Basanti with a dazed feeling. I remember thinking about the characters for at least a week after I saw the film. I doubt Delhi 6 will have 1/10th of that impact on me.

…Hmmn

I never knew what love was (not that I know now!) until I saw Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge! The day I watched the movie I fell in love. The guy was Raj, Raj Malhotra. It was the magic of the film and the magic of SRK.

Of course, the love of SRK has made do some crazy things including buying a car he endorses (Santro is zipping still and nobody’s complaining, so get that judgmental look off your face, NOW!).

Since the last two years, my singledom has been a cause of worry to all and when they ask me, my answer is, ‘No guy’s swept me off my feet!’ and I go into a dreamy smile and silently tell myself, ‘except SRK!’

People noticed this and started telling me I needed to get over SRK if I was to ever notice any other guy around. After all who can hold a candle to a superstar, right? So in my set of resolutions for the year 2009 I made a list of things for my ‘get-over-SRK’ mission. Here’s what I needed to do to stick to it.

  1. Not grin dreamily everytime a song related to Shah Rukh appears on TV/Radio or wherever.
  2. Avoid longingly looking at his pictures in the newspaper
  3. Stop buying the products he endorses (If they r awesome, as they mostly are, I will still buy them)
  4. Give up on dreaming about him randomly.
  5. Stop talking about how he’s the right one, he’s taken, so me being single is all fine!
  6. Stop looking for him on all airports, trains stations etc.

So yeah I have pretty much stuck to it, until my Goa trip happened. On the trip, nothing made me smile like a line or two from ‘Ruk Jaa’. I couldn’t stop analysing how he’s a ‘smart’ brand manager and not a repetitive actor and I realised that the man is a source of great joy in my life!

So yeah, I am not giving up on him. I will love him. And btw, I am now following him on twitter. So, any hopes of me getting over the S man are officially down the drain!

PS: Driving 650 kms in a day can bring out a lot of inane thoughts and somehow the fatigue gives you the freedom to say it out loud!

The Magic’s Gone

Anybody who knows me knows I eat, live and breathe movies. I enjoy an abstract French film as much as a grand Chinese picture. I dig dramatic sci-fi films as much as I adore romantic comedies that make you weep and smile at the same time. But when it comes Indian cinema there’s a different magic. It’s like speaking your mother tongue. It comforts you.

Once a year, when Shah Rukh Khan movie releases, I am all dreamy eyed. I love the man, have loved him since his TV (Circus) days. The so called ‘purist’ cinema lovers might sneer at me for saying this but I think Shah Rukh is talented and smart. He can do offbeat cinema (remember Anjaam, Maya Memsaab and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa) and he carries off being the quintessential ‘Rahul’ who dances in Swiss valleys with a chiffon clad woman. Smartly enough, he’s realised that the way to the heart of the masses is through these dreamy ‘Yashrij’ish romances.

Of course, now that he’s been labelled the ‘King Khan’, he’s moved away from the typical romances and explored different genres of cinema. I believe that two of his best performances have been ‘Swades’ and ‘Chak De India’. In Swades he played the NRI who comes back to India and rediscovers his love for the ’Motherland’ and in Chak De he plays a fallen Hockey player who coaches an all girls team to play at the World Cup.

These off beat roles of his made me love the actor so much that with the promos of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, I nearly jumped out of my seat with excitement. I couldn’t wait to watch Shah Rukh play this simple man with a moustache, when we all know how far from this character the real SRK is. The tagline for the Aditya Chopra movie promised us an extraordinary love story and as a girl who grew up watching Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, I believed it would be. In fact, for a long time I haven’t felt the magic at the movies.

As I settled into Rab Ne… I waited for the magic to strike me but… nothing. The story talks about how love can be beyond appearances and there’s this guy who just loves his wife. But, something’s missing! Something about the story is unconvincing.

You might say most Yashraj films are illogical and unrealistic but that’s ignored because there’s a certain dreamy haze that surrounds the movie. Rab Ne… tries to have a dreamy haze and yet attempts to give slight ‘realistic’ references. I drooled over the simple man Suri’s true love for his wife and the confused Jat ‘Raj’. He’s over the top, he hams and yet you like him. But eventually you start yawning. The story moves at an excruciatingly slow pace and you end up wondering where the love is. It almost ends up being a Balaji serial type of a love story.

So yes, every couple has an extraordinary love story, and this one had an extraordinarily boring one! Somebody please bring the magic back in films… until then, I’m settling for the Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge DVD.

Golmaal Returns but disappoints

Golmaal, both the Amol Palekar as well as the recent Ajay Devgan one, is synomnymous with a laugh riot. So when a sequel to Rohit Shetty’s laugh riot Golmaal is released on Diwali, you walk in expecting to be tickled to laughter. Nah, you won’t laugh. You’ll barely manage to giggle a bit.

The story is pretty straightforward and it’s the silliest murder mystery (sans any mystery). What adorns this silly story is the interesting characters. The ever suspicious, telly soap lover Ekta (Kareena) or her Tharkee husband (Devgan) and the super awesome as dumb Lucky (Tusshar) are the pawns that make this silly story happen even. Their performances keep you glued to the madness.

The jokes are just silly at times but the actors pull the cart through. There are way too many digs at the film industry. Parody on Black returns, constant slamming Balaji, Ajay Devgan’s monologue using the titles of his films and endless references to Golmaal I are deviced by the director to ensure a laugh riot. He just about manages it but in a mediocre fashion. I found myself itching to laugh like I did with the first movie, but the movie just didn’t give me the chance to.

The digs at the film industry are way too internal and at times the joke’s just missed by the audience. For example, the protagonists’ names, Ghai and Santoshi. I was the only one who gave out a single spurt of laughter in the theatre. But by the end, I found myself giggling a lot. The comedy sort of grows on you.

I really enjoyed Tusshar’s performance. I think there are just two films that bring out the best in him. Golmaal and Golmaal Returns… So yeah, Tusshar, keep your trap shut and tolerate your sister being ridiculed.

Umm… I don’t think I have anything more to say about the film.

Watch it only if you have absolutely nothing to do and if you have a couple hundred rupees to spare. Actually donate it to charity and wait for the DVD to come. When the DVD comes contact me and I will tell you exactly which bits to watch!

Eccentric Saturday!

After a hard week, one always enjoys hanging out with the family. I do immensely because I rarely get to see them. So, yeah W, RK and family are in town, and as usual RK was super excited about going film shoot observing at Film City. His enthusiasm is awesome, actually the whole family’s enthusiasm is like awesome! So three Mumbaikars, two Punekars and a whole bunch of Londonkars packed themselves in two cars on a bright Saturday morning and headed straight to film city. It was hot, humid and all sad shootings were happening. But that did not deter RK who hung around a few sets and spoke to a few people.

I was standing in the shadows wondering why do we have such a low quality tv industry! The actors look anything but good, they can’t act and the stories are the same, nonsense. There’s no variety.

And to top it all, there is no infrastructure as such within film city. WK couldn’t help but compare it to the awesomeness of Universal Studios. That’s exactly when I thought, hey, there was this talk about making film city a Bollywood tourist destination. Whatever happened? Just another government plan that must have fizzled out!

Of course after a lavish seafood dinner at Gazalee, I wanted to curl up in my bed and nap before I headed for my dance class and that’s when Sneha’s SMS shook me up. Yet another blast! I mean what is going on with our country. I can’t help but think, what is the terrorists’ goal in blowing places up and killing innocent people?

Some say they want to make their presence felt and want the government to take notice especially while making some policy decisions. But what does it achieve? Yes people are terrified, the government starts to act responsible (literally acts) and a few arrests and encounters happen.

All a Hindu hears is that a Muslim was behind the bomb blasts. All a Muslim hears is that he is being racially profiled and the government is after their race. It creates a wider rift between the two communities that are trying hard to overcome riots, fallen Masjid and Mandirs yet to be erected. The political parties, meanwhile, use the terrorist attacks to condemn each other or to further their chances of getting votes in.

The government remains unfazed and we, the citizens, get shaken. In our country, which is home, we cannot leave home and be sure we will come home safe. We cannot help but be petrified about what’s to come next.

I hate watching the news and seeing a blast or an act of violence in the name of religion. And what I hate even more is the fact that these incidents are becoming a regular feature in news. I dread switching on the news these days, because it tells me that our society, the Indian society, is crumbling.

PS: after I sorted these thoughts out, I went out with family, and then went drinking with Omu and Nanu. It was after a long long time that we got to hang out. The chaar chand on our get together was the sighting of an UFO! I’m not kidding, we saw random lights flashing in the clouds late in the night…