The Common Man Speaks

29Jun/120

Maximum Movie Review

Director: Kabeer Kaushik

Producer(s): Vainteya Films

Writer(s): Kabeer Kaushik

Cast: Sonu Sood, Naseeruddin Shah, Vinay Pathak, Amit Sadh, Mohan Agashe, Neha Dhupia, Swanand Kirkire, Rajendra Gupta

Music: Amjad Nadeem, Devi Shri Prasad

Rating: * * *

Plot: Encounter specialist Pratap Pandit (Sonu Sood) has climbed the ladder of success much quicker than his senior counterpart Arun Inamdar (Naseeruddin Shah). This has ignited a fire of jealousy inside Inamdar who starts using unfair tactics, including the misuse of people in power, to bring Pandit’s successful world crashing down. Who will bite the dust in the end? It is said that the film is based on a true story of encounter cop Pradeep Sharma.

Review: Director Kabeer Kaushik made a successful debut with his well written, engaging cop drama Sehar (2005). Maximum, his second venture also does justice to the same genre. But unlike his debut flick, this one turns out to be only for the admirers of the serious cinema courtesy a slow narrative and a lack of commercial value.

Kaushik has given a lot of onus on realism with respect to the conversation between the characters and live locations. Deliberately the sub plots are kept incomplete on few occasions without proper focus in the narrative. This works well in presenting a real-to-life picture but it will surely put-off the entertainment-hungry crowd. Naseeruddin Shah’s entry surely adds more life to the proceedings.

Thankfully, the rivalry between the two cops isn’t highlighted with this use of those clichéd dialogues where one character tries to rubbish off the other. Instead, it is nicely woven in the narrative. The proceedings are interrupted due to the forced item number ‘Aa Ante Amlapuram’. But the interval point nicely takes the story forward.

The post-interval portion has a good number of interesting incidents but after a point of time, the narrative becomes dreary. A number of scenes having some unnecessary dry discussions between few characters are largely responsible for this. But lastly, the way the final twist is presented is deceiving even though it doesn’t appear surprising. This leads on to a climax which, although not impressive, is quite descent. But one has to say that the plot could have used better in creating more thrill and drama.

Due to the nature of the subject, there isn’t any scope for songs. ‘Aa Ante Amlapuram’ is the only track that is actually used from the album. But it would have been better if the original south Indian song had been retained as the lyrics of the Hindi version appear juvenile. Krishna Ramanan’s camerawork suits the nature of the flick. The live location scenes, mostly involving local trains, are well shot. A particular background tune (Daniel B George) which appears throughout the film adds good effect to the narrative. The editing (Lionel Fernandes) is simple.

With this performance, Sonu Sood yet again proves his acting prowess. He lives the character of a tough cop perfectly with proper dialogue delivery and portrayal of different emotions. Naseeruddin Shah gives an honest performance. Although his fans would expect him to be more expressive but the nature of his character was such that he had to speak more through the eyes and expressions. Vinay Pathak gives an earnest performance as a north Indian politician.

Amit Sadh, in the role of a journalist, surprises with a mature act. He deserves more films. Neha Dhupia does well but her character doesn’t have much to do except mouth those age-old lines expected from a middle class Indian housewife. Mohan Agashe leaves a mark while Arya Babbar is strictly okay. Lyricist Swanand Kirkire makes his acting debut and surprisingly does well! The supporting cast including Rajendra Gupta, Murli Sharma, Ujjwal Chopra are likable.

Overall, Maximum is an interesting cop drama but the treatment makes it watchable only for a niche section of the audience. This fact coupled with a very low publicity makes sure it has no chance at the box-office.

29Jun/120

Maximum (Hindi Movie) Box-Office Prediction

Director: Kabeer Kaushik

Producer(s): Vainteya Films

Writer(s): Kabeer Kaushik

Cast: Sonu Sood, Naseeruddin Shah, Vinay Pathak, Amit Sadh, Mohan Agashe, Neha Dhupia, Swanand Kirkire, Rajendra Gupta

Music: Amjad Nadeem, Devi Shri Prasad

Analysis:

Star Value: Maximum is blessed by some quality performers like Naseeruddin Shah, Sonu Sood and Vinay Pathak. However, there is no star value as these actors don’t have the capacity to draw audiences to theatres.

Hype: There is just no hype for the movie as promos have not managed to impress that much. The way they have been crafted might be the reason for it not making heads turn. The makers have failed to promote and market the movie properly.

Music: The scope for music isn’t much in such films. The item number ‘Aa Ante Amlapuram’ is somewhat known but it has not impressed the audience.

Prediction:

Maximum will get a low opening at the box-office. Even if the film manages to impress a lot initially, it won’t have much effect on its performance. With Rohit Shetty’s Bol Bachchan releasing next Friday, it looks like Kabeer Kaushik’s cop drama might be a one-week wonder.

29Jun/120

The Amazing Spider-Man Box-Office Prediction (India)

Analysis:

Star Value: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone aren’t considered stars in India. However, it’s the character of Spider-Man that is the real star capable of pulling audience to the theatres. And due to Irrfan Khan’s presence, there is an added interest in the movie in India.

Hype: The first promo of the film created tremendous hype for the film when it released. From then, the excitement for the movie has just increased. Irrfan’s presence has also helped in creating the hype.

Music: Being a Hollywood film and that too of a superhero genre, there is no scope for music. But anyways, such films don’t need music for becoming popular.

Prediction:

Considering the box-office scenario of Hollywood films in India, The Amazing Spiderman will surely get a very good opening. Dubbed in Hindi and some regional languages, this is the first Hollywood film to open with over 1000 screens across India. If the movie generates positive response initially, the decision will turn out to be a killer. However, its collections might drop after a week when Rohit Shetty’s comic caper Bol Bachchan releases.

27Jun/120

Will Jindal become next Kasab?

As expected, Pakistan has denied terrorist Abu Jindal, who was captured by India from Saudi Arabia for masterminding the 26/11 attacks, to be a national of their country and have even rubbished off all the proofs that India has against him. BJP leader Yashwant Sinha rightly said that even if you feed proofs in Pakistan’s mouth, still they will not accept it.

What is more surprising is the way Pakistan keeps on denying all terror evidences that India provides against their countrymen while our government fails to do much. For a long time, they even denied Ajmal Kasab being from Pakistan. As this is been happening since years, can’t we resort to some stricter methods while dealing with Pakistan when it comes to terrorism? But all we get is some spineless statements, mostly from our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has become a master in it over the years.

But the bigger question is – Even if Jindal is proven guilty, will he ever be punished? His dear friend and co-terrorist Kasab was seen carrying out terrorist activities by everyone and was even proved guilty but instead of punishing him ASAP, we have been showering crores of rupees (from the taxpayers’ pockets) on him as if he is India’s special guest.

Last year the US entered Pakistan by hook or by crook and killed the person who attacked their country – Osama Bin Laden. On the other hand, we have not been able to do any harm to Kasab despite him being in our custody! Looking at our governments indifference and, I dare to say, pro-terror attitude, I won’t be surprised if Jindal becomes India’s yet another special guest after Kasab, even if it indirectly means mocking the 26/11 victims and the people of India!

(This post is against terrorists from Pakistan and the government of that country. I have respect for the common people of Pakistan, some of whom are also my internet friends.)

23Jun/120

Mantralaya Fire: How prepared are we for emergencies?

Apart from the inability of the fire department to combat the Mantralaya fire, we have also been criticizing the authorities for not training their staff to cope with the emergency. But the big question is – Have we – professionals working in various sectors – ever received any training in our organizations to deal with such emergencies? In other words – How many organizations regularly train their staff for such disasters?

After the shamefully tragic incident of the fire, I recalled in the offices I have worked so far, I have never been trained for such a thing. In fact, I can’t even recall anyone even mentioning an emergency like a fire breakout. I even asked some of my friends (mostly working in private sectors) whether they have received any such training. Strangely, all answered in the negative except a friend who works in a bank.

(Article continued after picture.)

Picture courtesy - Ibnlive.in.com

It seems we don’t consider it important since incidents like a fire rarely occur. This is quite understandable as we are only concerned about finishing our tasks before deadlines. But one should remember that at the end of the day, staying alive is the most important thing.

In a city like Mumbai, hundreds of commercial complexes are crammed with thousands of offices. A thought of a serious fire breaking out in these complexes sounds scary considering thousands of untrained staff having no idea how to cope up!

It’s high time we consider the Mantralaya fire as a wake-up call and start mock drills. Let’s not wait for more fires to erupt!

22Jun/120

Gangs Of Wasseypur Review

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Producer(s): Viacom 18 Motion Pictures

Writer(s): Zeishan Quadri, Sachin Ladia and Anurag Kashyap

Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Piyush Mishra, Richa Chadda, Reema Sen, Jaideep Ahlawat, Piyush Mishra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi

Music: Sneha Khanwalkar

Rating: * * ½

Plot: Set in the lawless land of Wasseypur in Dhanbad, the film narrates the tale of Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpayee) who is hell-bent to avenge his father Shahid Khan’s (Jaideep Ahlawat) death. Shahid was killed by Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) in a battle to lead the coal mafia.

Review: Anurag Kashyap started the genre of unconventionally dark films in Bollywood. Irrespective of whether his films score at the box office, he has always been adamant in sticking to the genre. His latest offering Gangs Of Wasseypur follows the legacy of typical Kashyap films. Its promos triggered high expectations. But thanks to the off-track writing and the filmmaker’s desperate attempt to showcase his unusual style, the final product turns out to be an average fair with few wonderfully conceived moments and great performances.

The director and the writer should be lauded though for some creatively intelligent scenes in the first half. The idea of jumping to the flashback after the initial encounter works very well. A good foundation is laid by the way the story and the warring saga between Sardar Khan and Ramadhir Singh are built up. Some historical events are also smartly woven in the tale. Manoj Bajpayee’s entry adds fuel to the proceedings for it gives rise to a good number of thrilling as well as dark humorous moments. Despite some dullness, the first half provides descent satisfaction.

The post-interval portion maintains stability but soon loses focus. A number of sub-plots and too many characters create complication as well as confusion since they have nothing or very little to do with the main story. In addition, Kashyap’s over-indulgence of his unconventional style further hampers the narration. Obviously, this makes the film painfully lengthy. Although the climax creates some excitement for the second part of the movie, it is not entirely convincing.

But it is difficult to understand why a simple revenge saga needs to be told in five hours (this movie plus it's sequel)? Considering that the second half of GOW Part 1 has hardly any story to tell, it looks like an adamant decision.

It is necessary to mention that the film is not for the fainthearted. The violence and gore presented is rarely seen before in an Indian film. This can be disturbing and depressing for many, especially since it is used unnecessarily at times.

Sneha Khanwalkar’s music fits the nature of the film perfectly although there was no need for these many songs. ‘Keh Ke Loonga’ and ‘Womaniya’ are the tracks that go well with the narration and bring a smile. Cinematography (Rajeev Ravi) is flawless except in few portions where the hand-held camera gives a documentary-like feel. Editing (Shweta Venkat Matthew) should have been tighter. The witty dialogues and the background score deserve special mention for they keep you engrossed when the script is going haywire.

It can be said that Gangs Of Wasseypur is Manoj Bajpayee’s return to the big league. He brilliantly carries the film on his shoulders as he plays an unusual character in an applaud-worthy manner. Easily one of his best acts till date! But it is Tigmanshu Dhulia who turns out to be the surprise element. The filmmaker, who is making his acting debut, gives a thoroughly mature performance as Ramadhir Singh. He should surely continue acting! Richa Chadda’s amazing act will prove to be a turning point in her career.

Piyush Mishra portrays his flawless acting skills. Reemma Sen showcases the oomph that was necessary and provides a descent act. With a realistically mature performance, Nawazuddin Siddiqui once again proves he is one of the finest young character actors currently. Due to his powerful act, Jaideep Ahlawat is remembered despite the small length of his character. The rest of the supporting actors (Mukesh Chhabra, Rajkumar Yadav, Jameel Khan, Vipin Sharma, Zeishan Quadri and many more!) play their parts with perfection.

Overall, despite being high on performance, Gangs Of Wasseypur suffers from over-indulgence. At the box-office, the film has a chance at the urban metros mostly.

21Jun/124

Wanna get noticed? Start abusing!

Music is something which is considered sacred or divine, especially in the context of Indian culture. Judging by the kind of effect music has on our minds, it can be said that listening to music is a spiritual activity. Needless to say that due to this, like all art forms, music should also be respected. So, when this sacred art form is reduced to a medium of hurling abuses, it becomes disturbing. Very disturbing!

Although songs like ‘Ishq Kameena’ (Shakti – The Power) erupted long time back, there wasn’t really a threat of such songs becoming a fad. Even the abuses used in it weren’t eyebrow-raising.

But the recent development in the abusive genre of songs has left me wondering as to where the hell are we heading! Last year, there came ‘D K Bose’ where the lyricist smartly got away saying that it is just a name! But even a half-intelligent individual can easily guess from the way the name is repeated that the intention was to repeat a foul word again and again. But still, I thought such instances won’t happen regularly.

However, just a couple of days back, a friend of mine gave me a link of the ‘Hunter’ song from Gangs Of Wasseypur. The high level of double meaning behind the lyrics raised a doubt in my mind as to how our so-called Censor Board allowed the song to pass! But there was more shock in store.

I had barely finished thinking about the ‘Hunter’ song when the makers of the movie Jeena Hai Toh Thok Daal released the promotional song of their movie called… hold your breath… ‘Mooh Mein Le’!!! Not just that; the lyrics of the whole song are violently sexist! Now, I started wondering whether there is any Censor Board?

Unable to react much after listening to it, the only question that popped in my mind was how further low these filmmakers can stoop to get their film noticed by polluting music with foul language! Is there any level left? Well, your response and reaction to it will determine that. If the audience continues to welcome such songs like they welcomed ‘D K Bose’, be ready for further pollution of music!

Listen to the songs ‘Mooh Mein Le’ and 'Hunter':

 

20Jun/120

Teri Meri Kahaani Box-Office Prediction

Director: Kunal Kohli

Producer(s): Kunal Kohli Productions, Eros International

Writer(s): Kunal Kohli (Story, Screenplay and Dialogues) and Robin Bhatt (Screenplay)

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Neha Sharma, Prachi Desai

Music: Sajid-Wajid

Release Date: June 22, 2012

Analysis:

Star Value: Despite acting in some successful films and being a young heartthrob, Shahid Kapoor’s star power has somewhat decreased due to the failure of his last few films. Priyanka Chopra on the other hand is one of the most successful and admired young actresses currently. Since both young actors are cast opposite each other after their alleged real-life break-up, the star value of Teri Meri Kahaani is high.

Hype: The promos of the movie have garnered just an average response. And despite a large number of promotional activities, the hype is not as high as expected. This is very surprising for a Shahid-Priyanka starrer.

Music: Although the film has some decent numbers like ‘Mukhtasar’ and ‘Humse Pyar Kar Le Tu’, the music of the movie hasn’t become that famous.

Prediction:

Teri Meri Kahaani will get an average opening, which is surely below expectations. It is very important for the movie to get a very positive initial response if it has to be a winner at the box-office. If it doesn’t, no need to mention its fate. It will also face a firm opposition from Gangs Of Wasseypur, which has managed some pre-release excitement.

20Jun/120

Gangs Of Wasseypur Box-Office Prediction

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Producer(s): Viacom 18 Motion Pictures

Writer(s): Zeishan Quadri, Sachin Ladia and Anurag Kashyap

Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Piyush Mishra, Reema Sen, Jaideep Ahlawat, Richa Chadda

Music: Sneha Khanwalkar

Release Date: June 22, 2012

Analysis:

Star Value: Although Manoj Bajpayee is remarkable performer, he isn’t the kind of a star who could pull audience to theatrse. Considering the rest of the cast, we can say the star value for Gangs Of Wasseypur is low.

Hype: The quirky promo with witty humour has been appreciated by the audience. The makers have done well in promotions and marketing. This has created good hype for the movie.

Music: Unusually rebellious songs like ‘Jiya Tu’, ‘Womaniya’ and ‘Hunter’ have managed to impress and have helped in publicizing the film.

Prediction:

Gangs Of Wasseypur will surely get a descent to good opening. If the film manages to impress initially, it will once again bring Manoj Bajpayee in the big league. It has a chance at metros as well as small centers. It will face some opposition from Teri Meri Kahaani but that won’t bother the producers much as there is not much hype for the Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra starrer.

19Jun/127

An institute running since 4500 years?

Over the last few years, it is noticeable how education has become a shoddy business in India. With these coaching classes and the so-called international schools charging a bomb, it has become clear that the primary motto of these institutes is only money! This is proved further when one notices the business-like manner in which they function as well as behave.

Naturally, to make huge bucks, these institutes do everything to attract consumers by making huge claims in their advertisements. But one coaching class ad which I came across today jerked me out of my chair. In the ad, (on the front page of a leading daily) the institute has actually made fun of itself by a claim which cannot be described in words. What else would you say when they claim to have ‘4500 years of teaching experience’?

Yes, you read it right (see picture below). In the rat race to acquire maximum number of students, are they trying to prove that they are running these classes ever since humans came into existence?

 

As I have never seen such a thing before, I decided to call them up. Here’s the audio recording of my chat with them: -

 

And this is the transcription of my chat:-

Me: Today I saw your ad in a newspaper where you have claimed to have more than 4500 years of teaching experience. How is this possible?

Executive: This is possible because there are more than 200 teachers in our institute for the commerce stream. If we total up their teaching experience, it goes up to 45000 (!!!).

(The executive went far ahead than the ad by mistakenly mentioning 45000 instead of 4500.)

Me: But if you mention in this way without any explanation, one might feel your institute is running since the era of Mahabharata.

Executive: Do you have any other query?

Me: No. My query was only about your ad as it has becoming a laughing stock.

Executive: We are just paid for our work. (Said something that sounded like this.)

 

While all this sounds very funny, it's sad to see the difference between education institutes and publicity-hungry film stars reducing.