Friday, July 24, 2015

15 signs you're an incurable film buff

1. You plan your social and work life around movie releases; it's near impossible for anyone to see you on a Friday evening because you're at a movie theater.

2. You've seen a movie all by yourself (many times!) on theater.

3. You HATE to miss the beginning...

4. The only kind of marathon you know or have ever participated or championed is a movie marathon! (How many movies have you seen back to back? Tell me in the comments below. Let's see who makes a record!) 

4. You google every film (good or bad) after watching and read every review out there!

6. You could punch someone in the face (without a hint of guilt) for talking over the phone in a theater.

7. You're a walking film encyclopedia.

8. You can manage to manoeuvre every conversation towards films and throw in film trivia that lesser interested souls can't care less about. 

9. If you meet someone who is obsessed with the same movies as you, she/he becomes your BFF instantly.

[Source: Cosmopolitan UK]
10. If you love an actor or director, you make a list of all their films and ensure you watch each one of them.

11. Offbeat or mainstream, action or romance, classic or animated - you dig all kinds of films.

12. Netflix knows more about your likes and dislikes than your loved ones.

13. If one of your favorite movies is on TV, you HAVE to finish the movie no matter where you started. 

14. You regularly quote lines spoken by fictional characters in real life, and get disappointed when people don't get the reference.

15. Who let the kids out? As much as we all love them, we know they're best left at home!

I'm sure there are many more. So, over to you! Let's keep the list going in the comments below.
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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bajrangi Bhaijaan Review

Somewhere between Wanted, Dabangg - Salman's signature style (that had come to define him/his image in the recent past), I had missed the innocence of his initial films like Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun. Bajrangi Bhaijaan brings back that innocence but in an avatar not witnessed before. Bajrangi is no hero here fighting goons. He's a god-fearing, upright, honest simpleton. His simplicity and childlike guilessness charm you.

Life takes a turn when he bumps into a five-year-old mute Pakistani girl who has been separated from her family. The film trails the journey of this simpleton uniting the girl with her family, her homeland.
The film is a complete entertainer with drama, comedy, romance, traces of action, and oodles of melodrama. Ten minutes into the film, there's a dialogue "koi toh nek banda hoga khuda ka jo hamari beti ki hifaazat karega." (I am not sure I worded it verbatim). But the point is, dialogues like this and instances that seemed deliberate and contrived for effect had me thinking this was a missable film. It proved me wrong.

The reasons you should watch Bajrangi Bhaijaan far outweigh reasons you shouldn't. Salman Khan's performance (his best, till date) anchored this film to its emotional core but BB would have been incomplete without the adorable child actor Harshaali Malhotra, who turned 7 last month and our star reporter Chand Nawab (Nawazzudin Siddiqui ;-) (I remember watching a hilarious video on YouTube some time back of the Pakistani reporter his character was inspired from). Siddiqui is a goldmine of acting. His character adds another dimension to the film, pacing up the story further.

For a girl Harshaali's age, I was astounded by her ability to emote and evoke the kind of response she did. The maturity with which she handled her part and the restraint she exhibited were commendable. Kareena was swell in her brief role.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan pulsates with a heart and has a story to tell. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. Much like Salman summed it up - It will leave you with a smile, with tears in your eyes. Don't give it a miss!

Have you seen it yet? Let's talk about it in the comments below! You can also connect with me on facebook and twitter.
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Friday, June 26, 2015

RAJ: Aditya Chopra's Love Trilogy

After our DDLJ post, I started to re-watch the only three films directed by Aditya Chopra.
In Bollywood, love is a given. It is the foundation of every blockbuster. Without a love story, the characters have no motivation. No likability. No impact on the audience. And a hero who doesn't love can't save the world. He can't fight 100 thugs without a scratch. He can't survive after taking 5 bullets.
A hero who doesn't know love can't be a hero.
And if you have lived in India in the last two decades, you may have noticed (or will notice post readin this) that the words "hero" and "love" have been moulded into one idea: Raj.
Aditya Chopra introduced the idea of Raj to the world in 1995 with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. DDLJ's Raj is the ultimate lover. He will do anything for his love. But he has one condition, one ingredient that makes him Raj: he will always do the right thing. Whether that is to respect the girl's parents' wishes, or saving (read: not killing) the bad guy who is trying to steal his love from him. He is a man every women (presumably) would want. With this Raj, and with DDLJ, Chopra set up the benchmark for love stories.

So, a quick survey about DDLJ (with answers due to the one-way-ness of this discussion) :

1. Is it the greatest love story ever told?
2. Is it possible to make a better complete story (one with the right blend of action, drama, comedy, good music, and romance)?
3. Is it possible for the person who masterminded this film to make an even better love story?

The answers:
1. Yes.
2. No.
3. Yes, but let me explain.

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Importance Of Being Earnest (2002)

Between films and theater plays, it is the former that has to compete with reality. A play, from beginning to end, looks artificial, unreal - the set, the lack of a fourth wall, etc. The audience is not seeing it through the eyes of a specific character nor are they focusing on a single actor. Everything is given to the viewers and they choose what to see. Recreating a play originally written for the stage into a film, is like making a huge jump from artificiality to reality. On stage - the artificiality, the fake background, the overemphasized and loud manner of speech cries out "this is not reality" or "you will not see this anywhere else". On screen – the setting is real, the houses are real, the entire city is recreated to almost exactly as it might have looked it 1890s; everyone and everything on the screen is forcing the viewers to believe in their world. This makes the story real.

The Importance of Being Earnest, the film directed by Oliver Parker (who also adapted other works by Wilde for the screen), in my opinion, is a faithful representation of the play written by Oscar Wilde. When you see the film on screen you are transported a century back in time. The play was written in late 19th century and set in the same time period too. The film was made more than a hundred years later. The audience had changed. No one talked like they did in the play anymore. The world of the play no longer existed. Everything was recreated and the result was praiseworthy. The entire cast is exceptional in their roles and the city of London looks beautiful.

Bringing a play from the stage to the screen gives room for a lot of things. On stage it is the words, actions, expressions, and emotions of the actors that make the play. On screen it is all of those things, as well as the locations, that are used to tell the story. In the play there are only three backdrops (something usual for a play) - Algernon’s apartment in Albany, and the other two at Jack’s country house. The film, however, could not be limited to just three locations. The director takes us to several sites; splitting conversations across days and different venues, something done obviously to be faithful to both the lovers of the original play as well as regular film watchers.

There are a few changes or modifications made to the story by the director. By making the male characters older (from late 20's to late 30's), the director aims to highlight Wilde’s concept of immaturity being amongst those unmistakably considered wiser by age. By further increasing the age difference between the men and the women of the story the director is trying to reinforce the fact this story is a satire of romance. Gwendolen’s tattoo of ‘Ernest’ displays her childishness and immaturity, as well as her passion for the name of Ernest. Similarly, Cecily’s diary’s pages coming to life with the appearance of Algernon as her ‘Prince Charming’ gives visual references to the thought processes of young girls of the Victorian age.

Jack’s real name, a twist in the film, made a lot of sense to me. It brought a whole new meaning to Jack’s last line about how vital it is to be Earnest - it indicated how Jack needed to be everything but Earnest to be Ernest. The director's take as a whole makes sense to have that ending, and comparing only the endings is out of question. I am uncertain if the opposing ending makes a difference to me, but I do know it makes the film a twisted adaptation of Wilde’s play.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

An evening with the star cast of Roy

...After a small cameo in pk (his only film to release in 2014),  Ranbir is back with 'Roy'.

He, along with Jacqueline, Arjun Rampal, director Vikramjit Singh, was at Dusit Devrana, Gurgaon to promote his film releasing Feb 13, 2015! Exclusive pictures inside...

Interview to follow...

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

15 films to watch out for in 2015


After working with Amitabh Bachchan in Cheeni Kum (2007) and Paa (2009), renowned ad filmmaker and director R Balki will be back with Shaamitabh starring Amitabh and Dhanush this February. Mahesh Bhatt, Karan Johar, Anurag Basu, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Rajkumar Hirani, wife Gauri Shinde, Javed Akhtar, Boney Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor would be seen in brief roles in the film.


Ek Hasina Tha director Sriram Raghavan will swing into action with this thriller starring Varun Dhawan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Yami Gautam next month. After playing fun, lighter roles in SOTY, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya; Main Tera Hero, it will be interesting to see how Varun Dhawan melds into this aggressive, dark character.


Directed by Oscar-winning Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic, backed by Anurag Kashyap and starring Emraan Hashmi, Tigers is based on the true story of a salesman with an MNC in Pakistan. The film opened to much applause at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Margarita, With a Straw 

Director of the controversial and critically-acclaimed 2005 film Amu, Shonali Bose is back this time with Margarita, With A Straw, the only Indian film to win an award at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Lead Kalki Koechlin plays a rebellious young writer affected by cerebral palsy.


Film critic Karan Anshuman is working on his debut directorial venture Bangistan, a comedy starring Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat, playing rival, blundering terrorists on a mission to change the world. Produced by Farhan Akhtar's Excel Entertainment, the film releases in April.

Bajirao Mastaani 

The much-speculated Sanjay Leela Bhansali film announced way back in 2003 will finally see light of day this December starring Ram Leela cast - Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra.


After the hugely successful Queen, director Vikas Bahl is now working on a destination wedding film, pairing Shahid Kapoor opposite Alia Bhatt. Produced by Kashyap's Phantom Films and Dharma Productions, Shaandaar will have Karan Johar play a cameo in the film.

Bombay Velvet 

Neo-noir period drama is being touted as the biggest collaboration of B'wood and H'wood (backed by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle). It took Anurag Kashyap nine years to finally get this going. Some of it has been shot in Sri Lanka, to recreate the Bombay of the 50-60s. Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka will be see in lead roles, while Karan Johar will make his debut with it, in a negative role.  Originally scheduled for release in 2014, the film will finally release in May this year.

Jagga Jasoos 

The director-actor duo of the 2012 blockbuster Barfi will be seen again in Jagga Jasoos, another Ranbir Kapoor film that was scheduled for release last year. Anurag Basu had initially wanted Katrina to play Illeana’s part in Barfi. His dream pair and real-life lovers will finally be seen together in this one, after 5 years.


After a dry spell in 2014, Ranbir Kapoor will finally wind up the year with his fourth film releasing December (third film Roy releasing in February), opposite ex-beau Deepika Padukone and directed by Imtiaz Ali. And with him at the helm, this has to be one of my most awaited film of the year.

Byomkesh Bakshi

Be it as the carefree, boy-next-door Ishaan of Kai Po Che, confused lovesick Raghuram in Shuddh Desi Romance or the devoted lover Sarfaraz Yousuf in a brief role in pk, Sushant Singh Rajput has already proved he’s here to stay. He took home all debut awards in 2013. Taking a make-or-break leap into an unexplored territory, in his still-early filmy career, the actor is sure to up the ante with this Dibakar Banerjee film. Another award in the offing? ;-)


Another Dibakar Banerjee film (co-produced by Aditya Chopra) to watch out for this year is Titli, directed by Kanu Bahl (who co-wrote Love, Sex Aur Dhoka with Banerjee), starring Ranvir Shorey. Titli was the only Indian film selected to compete at the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival.


After the rib-tickling Vicky Donor and espionage thriller Madras Cafe, Shoojit Sircar will be back with a drama comedy Piku, which deals with a father-daughter relationship. Some bits of Piku, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone, were shot 10 minutes from my house which is another reason I’m so excited about this one. It’s another story that I missed the shoot coz I only found out about it a day later :p

Dil Dhadakne Do 

After Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Zoya Akhtar will be back with Dil Dhadakne Do, which revolves around a dysfunctional Punjabi family on a cruise trip, featuring an ensemble cast - Ranveer Singh, Anushka, Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar & Anil Kapoor.


After the not-so Happy New Year, Shahrukh will be back this year in FAN, where he’ll play a double role - the superstar himself and his look-alike. Produced by Aditya Chopra, FAN has been directed by writer-director duo of Band Baaja Baraat - Maneesh Sharma and Habib Faisal. The film is slated for release August 14, 2015.

Did I miss something? Which films are you looking out for in 2015?

Let's talk in the comments below! You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter :)

Happy 2015!
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

pk (2014) - Review

pk follows director Rajkumar Hirani's signature template - formulaic, longish, with the regular song and dance routine (which by the way doesn't break the pace), homing in on a social message that rings with the masses. This time Hirani makes a commentary on the religious beliefs that mold our identity as individuals. The premise isn't much of a surprise after the recently-released religious satire OMG. But Hirani narrates his story in the most gripping, entertaining way. The humor is mostly subtle, dialogues incisive and with Aamir Khan's perfect timings, pk is easily one of the better films of this year. The film has its OTT moments (mostly in the second half) but those are passable in the commercial scheme of things.

While the first half is more about the protagonist - (an alien, whom most earthlings choose to address PeeKay/tharki for his absurd, mystical ways) - coming to terms with life and getting his way by as an inhabitant of a faraway planet, the second-half is more about him coming to terms with the obscurities of these earthlings - their individualities, their beliefs, even their language (He can't figure for the life of him, for instance, why humans would say they love chicken and still eat it). That's the unaffected innocence pk brings to this film which Aamir embellishes further with his perfected skills and experience.

For all the hype that surrounded the film before its release, it's a relief pk turned out the way it did and equally relieving is the fact that not every big actor banks solely on his star power to run a film. Aamir's hard work shines through in every frame.

Except for her egregiously ample lips, Anushka Sharma is a pleasure to watch and a delightful change from her usual super-hyper chirpy self. I wish pk had more of Sanjay Dutt (With the number of days he's out on a parole, Hirani could've easily managed that ;-) His comic timings are unmatchable. I particularly loved the song Tharki Chokro. Their moves are adorable.

Musically, it's Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra's best album after Kareeb. And a DVD for keeps!

Have you seen pk? How did you like it? Tell us in the comments below or you can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Ending (2014) - Review

Happy Ending takes a jibe at the cheesy romcoms, breaking away from the rhetoric at times while still giving in to the same rhetoric many a times. Despite the aberrations, it's the kind of film I wouldn't mind watching again. It's witty, often refreshing and effortlessly manages to keep you involved.

I Hate Luv Storys tried a similar spin, spoofing romcoms, but failed miserably. It's too insignificant to even merit a comparison with this one.

Saif Ali Khan here is pitch-perfect as Yudi. He balances minimal dialogues just as well as letting expressions take over, when required. Most times, he can just leave it to his face to do all the talking. And my my, Yudi cutie pie (like his beyond smothering girlfriend calls him) is getting hotter and younger by the day! (I'm hardly embarrassed to admit here that having watched the film along with the star cast may skew my opinion about him :P)

Kalki Koechlin is brilliant as the annoying, nagging girlfriend. Illeana D' Cruz too holds sway as the budding writer and a secure woman, confident in her skin. Ranvir Shorey plays the oppressed, hen-pecked husband to the hilt. Govinda brings more comedy to this romcom and for fans, there's even a dance number with his signature moves and expressions. Preity Zinta's short appearance brings back happy memories of her last outing with Saif and my muchly favorite - Salaam Namaste!

You'll see flashes of a lot of other Bollywood romedies (Bachna Ae Haseeno, Wake Up Sid) but Happy Ending is definitely a one-time watch and for Saif fans, a DVD for keeps!

Are you planning to watch the film? Or seen it already? Let's talk in the comment below. You can also get in touch with me on Twitter or Facebook.
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