The Common Man Speaks

29Jan/112

Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji Review

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Omi Vaidya, Shazahn Padamsee, Shraddha Das, Shruti Haasan, Tisca Chopra

Director: Madhur Bhandarkar

Music: Pritam

Producers: Kumar Mangat Pathak, Madhur Bhandarkar

Rating: * * * 1/2

After earning a name in movies based on serious issues and women oriented films, director Madhur Bhandarkar tries something altogether different in Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji as he steps on to a romantic comedy. Questions started doing the rounds whether Bhandarkar will succeed in treading on a path where he has never put his feet before. However, in Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji, Bhandarkar proves that if one has the right vision, talent and determination, one can succeed in any genre.

A not-so-happy Naren is getting divorced from his wife (Rituparna Sengupta). In order to kill loneliness during this tragic time, he shifts to his old house and finds two roommates, Milind Kelkar (Omi Vaidya), a conservative Maharashtrian and Abhay (Emraan Hashmi), an out-and-out playboy.

During this time, Naren falls for his new office colleague June (Shazahn Padamsee), Milind finds love in RJ Gungun Sarkar (Sharddha Das) after a chance meeting with her and Abhay enters into a relationship with an elderly woman Anushka (Tisca Chopra). How Naren and Milind try to complete their love story and how Abhay’s life takes a dramatic turn forms the rest of the story.

Although the story and the situations appear filmy, Bhandarkar adds life to the proceedings by adding some realistic touch to various scenes (for which he is known). The screenplay (Bhandarkar, Anil Pandey and Neeraj Udvani) and Sanjay Chhel’s dialogues play a vital role in keeping the interest alive and giving some good rib-tickling moments.

Special mention should be given to the climax, which, thankfully, is way different from other numerous romantic comedies and the one which surely brings a smile. In fact, the climax plays a pivotal role in making Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji special.

On the flipside, Emraan Hashmi’s love story with Shruti Haasan is far from convincing and appears half-baked. Also the plot looses some grip in the second half but the last 30 minutes and, as stated earlier, the climax make up for everything.

Pritam’s music suits the film perfectly. Abhi Kuchh Dino Se, which is already popular, Tu Khwab Hai and Tere Bin are melodious, pleasant and also have repeat value.

Ajay Devgn once again shows why he is one of the best actors in Bollywood. He plays a man with middle-aged crisis with maturity and sincerity. He displays intenseness in serious scenes and is also good with his comic timing. It’s tiring to see Emraan Hashmi play a bad guy again and again. However, taking nothing away from the actor, it should be said he plays his part with perfection.

After a memorable act in 3 Idiots, Omi Vaidya’s next performance was keenly awaited. Omi doesn’t disappoint his fans as he presents another lovable act. His funny dialogue delivery, unusual expressions as well as his act in emotional scenes is sure to impress all.

Shazahn Padamsee suits the role perfectly although she sounds childish at times. Shraddha Das shows promise and looks fabulous. Shruti Haasan is average in a role which is much less meatier than other two ladies. Tisca Chopra plays her part very well.

Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji is easily one of the best works of Madhur Bhandarkar which has a chance of impressing youngsters as well as grown ups. At the box-office, the film has a chance of clicking.

23Jan/111

Unsung Heroes Of 2010

I wanted to write a post about those films which I liked the most in 2010. But as I made a mental list of it I realized almost all of them are films which didn’t attain box-office success or critical acclaim which they so dearly deserved. So, I thought of coming up with a list called the ‘Unsung Heroes of 2010’. They truly are according to me.

Rann: Perhaps the only movie which exposed the nexus between TV news channels and politics and that too with a riveting story and an intense script. Unfortunately the pro-song and dance audience gave a cold shoulder to this one for being too serious. Even a superlative lead performance from the great Amitabh Bachchan wasn’t enough to even make this well made effort from Ram Gopal Varma even an average success.

Karthik Calling Karthik: One of the rare psychological thrillers to have come from Bollywood, Karthik Calling Karthik managed to churn out a suspense tale which just nobody could predict and one which keeps us glued throughout. It also had a mature and convincing act by Farhan Akhtar. However, Vijay Lalvani’s brilliant debut both as a director and a scriptwriter wasn’t noticed at the box-office.

Red Alert-The War Within: The film for which I feel bad the most! Ananth Mahadevan’s intense and flawless dark thriller brings to light the issue of naxals with an outstanding act by Suniel Shetty that can silence his critics forever. One cannot expect such films to be blockbusters but one can surely expect the class audience to take a look at it which didn’t happen. It’s also disheartening not to see Suniel Shetty’s nomination in any of the annual film awards.

Aakrosh: Those who have seen Aakrosh will agree that this is one of the best works of Priyadarshan. But how many of us did see this? Despite some great performances from a well known star cast (Ajay Devgan, Akshaye Khanna and Bipasha Basu), a famous director, a well publicized product and finally, a well crafted faced paced thriller, it only received ignorance from the audience.

Rakht Charitra (Part 1 and 2): Although it was a portrayal of late Andhra leader Paritala Ravi’s life, director Ram Gopal Varma made sure the film appears interestingly dramatic and highly impactful. It is understandable that a film with such brutal violence didn’t click at the box-office. However, I find it unbelievable that Vivek Oberoi’s career best performance and Surya’s sensational and mind-blowing debut weren’t nominated at a single awards ceremony.

I don’t mind if ‘no-brainers’ work wonders at the box-office. But I more than mind if all wonderfully made serious films or films based on hard-hitting issues go un-noticed (forget box-office success) and get a kick on the back. Well, because of this trend, we can see only films like House Full, Dabanng and Golmaal 3 becoming superhits. And it looks like the dirty trend is going to continue in 2011 too. So, see you again for a similar post after a year as I am sure there will be a number of well made serious films in 2011 too that will have similar fate.

21Jan/1114

Dhobi Ghat Movie Review

 

Ratings: * * * 1/2

Cast: Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar, Monica Dogra, Kriti Malhotra

Director: Kiran Rao

Music: Gustavo Santaolalla

Producers: Aamir Khan Productions

 

The city of Mumbai has been explored on celluloid by filmmakers almost ever since Bollywood or Hindi film industry came into being. Debutant director Kiran Rao explores the same old city yet again but in a manner which makes her work stand apart proudly from other films based on Mumbai.

Rao makes her unconventional methods clear right from the very first scene as she narrates the story of four individuals, Arun, a lonely painter, Shai, a banker from New York who is in Mumbai on a sabbatical, Munna, the dhobi and Yasmeen, a newly married woman. The four characters cross each other’s paths as the city slowly emerges as the fifth character.

Rao succeeds very well in capturing utter realism as the four characters go through various experiences. The events, interactions, reactions, emotions and the narration submerge us into a world which we cannot label as fiction even though it is. The way the four characters subtly enter each other’s lives and become an integral part in such an unusual manner is something to watch out for. And considering this is Rao’s first film she deserves kudos for the direction as well as the writing.

Having said that, the film has limited chances of appealing to the masses because of the documentary feel it gives sometimes. The pro-entertainment folks might even find it difficult to digest this flick, which is ideal for film festivals. But this should not surprise the makers as Rao makes it clear from her story and her way of narration and filming that box-office or mass success is not she was looking for.

Aamir Khan plays a quite, shy, loner painter with ease. He shows a very different side of his and succeeds in speaking with his eyes and expressions. However, because of the nature of the character, the performance might not satisfy some of his diehard fans.

Prateik Babbar gets into the skin of his character and displays a flawless act. He leaves behind a tremendous mark as he displays different states of his mind with maturity. Debutant Monica Dogra fits in the role of an NRI perfectly. Although she struggles with her Hindi but that is understandable considering her character. She also has the looks to astonish! Kriti Malhotra doesn’t have much to do other than narrate but she manages to impress.

Even though Dhobi Ghat is not something that will blaze the box-office, Kiran Rao has reasons to be proud of her entry in Bollywood. It’s moving yet pleasurable; simple yet memorable!

8Jan/118

No One Killed Jessica Review

Cast: Rani Mukherjee, Vidya Balan, Myra Karn, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, Neil Bhoopalam, Rajesh Sharma

Director: Rajkumar Gupta

Music: Amit Trivedi

Producers: UTV Spotboy

Ratings: * * * 1/2


Not so very long ago, the infamous Jessica Lall murder case united the whole nation in the fight to nail the culprits. Almost everyone is aware of the incident and its consequences. So, if a filmmaker tries to portray the whole issue on celluloid right from scratch till the end when the culprits are convicted, it requires much more than dedication. Thankfully, such dedication is visible in Rajkumar Gupta’s No One Killed Jessica, a film that successfully blends the apathy of Jessica Lall’s family, protest and unity of the nation and more importantly the height of corruption in India.

The film focuses on how Sabrina Lall (Vidya Balan) struggles to get justice for her deceased sister Jessica Lall (Myra Karn), who was shot dead by Manu Sharma (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub), (who is named in the film Manish Bhardwaj) and how she is helped by TV news reporter Meera Gaity (Rani Mukherjee).

Apart from directing the tale with sincerity, Gupta also achieves perfection in the very vital task of writing the screenplay and dialogues. Vital because in such real life cases the writer has the mammoth task of making sure that the proceedings don’t appear like a documentary or a docudrama and Gupta succeeds in that as he narrates the real-life story while keeping in mind the elements needed for a feature film. The filmmaker, who debuted with the critically acclaimed Aamir is here to stay.

The film doesn’t merely show how Sabrina struggled to get justice. It also gives a strong message of how the citizens should make sure that justice is done. Having said that, it might not be appreciated by those folks who are hungry for entertainment as in some portions it just lacks a strong punch.

Although there isn’t much scope for music, songs Dilli Dilli and Aitbaar manage to fit well in the plot and have a lasting impact. Music director Amit Trivedi once again does well.

Both Vidya Balan and Rani Mukherjee give one of their career best performances. Vidya portrays the helplessness of Sabrina Lall with utmost maturity. The way she struggles and moves from pillar to post is sure to move everyone.

On the other hand, Rani is impeccable in a never-seen-before avatar of a foul-mouthed bindaas journo. This performance of hers deserves thumbs up and will surely be talked about forever. Although Myra Karn doesn't have a full fledged role, she impresses in her debut and shows a lot of confidence.

Debutant Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub does very well in the difficult role of the culprit. Neil Bhoopalam, another debutant, also impresses. The film also contains first rate performances from the supporting cast.

No One Killed Jessica has a strong chance of having a Rang De Basanti effect on the masses. It will rely strongly on word-of-mouth and would succeed if that happens.

6Jan/111

Musical Train Journey

I have heard people say that music has no language although I always doubted it. In 2001, when I boarded a train for Jaipur from Mumbai Central station, I didn’t have an iota of idea that I would start believing in the saying. Many a times some pleasant experiences have happened with me in the most unexpected situations. This was one such instance.

When our train entered the territory of Rajasthan, I was all excited and eager to reach Jaipur. Just an hour or so before reaching the final destination, an usual sound startled me when I was busy appreciating nature during the journey. Initially it irritated me as I don’t like being disturbed when my eyes are fixed outside the window during a train journey. I saw it was some small time performer playing a musical instrument in order to raise money (I will never call him a beggar).

After half a minute of or so, I realized I started liking the sound. Then came the big splash! The man playing the musical instrument started singing. Within seconds my whole attention was hooked onto him as I was damn impressed by his voice and style.

The passion with which he sang, the pain and anguish in his voice, his dedication, all sent me... (to read the remaining part of the article, please click on this link - http://www.mumbai-localtrains.com/2011/01/guest-article-music-on-rails.html)

3Jan/110

My Blog’s Performance in 2010

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here's a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

 

In 2010, there were 33 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 57 posts. There were 135 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 11mb. That's about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 22nd with 83 views. The most popular post that day was In a Civilized Society… .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, en.wordpress.com, orkut.co.in, google.co.in, and twitter.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for male and female symbols, male female symbol, male female symbols, female symbol, and sindhutai sapkal.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

In a Civilized Society… December 2009
7 comments

2

Haapus (Marathi Movie) Review June 2010
10 comments

3

Mee Sindhutai Sapkal Review November 2010
6 comments

4

Zenda (Marathi Movie) Review January 2010
2 comments

5

Ringa Ringa (Marathi Movie) Review March 2010

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