Monday, December 31, 2007

Tare Zameen Par

Directed by Amir Khan - these words set high hopes in me. Having got an opportunity to watch it in the big screen with my dear friend without worrying about entertaining my 2 year old (thanks, B!) , I instantly grabbed it. I came out of the theatre extremely contented - having done what I love to do - watch quality movies in theatre,especially Indian movies and enjoy every moment of it.

It is a very different theme - it is about a third grader Ishaan who is suffering from Dyslexia .Typical Indian father does not try to find out what is causing his son to fail in 3rd grade repetitively and forces him to go to boarding school. The boy is creative and can do excellent paintings, but this not viewed as of any use to practical life by the dad. Looks like mom is nice, but is helpless because Ishaan is not showing any signs of improvement in studies. Ishan stops expressing his feelings totally and becomes a quiet loner in the new boarding school.

Art sir Amir Khan enters the school, he spots Ishaan and recognizes the symptoms right away - having gone through all the pain Ishaan is going through, in his own life. How he turns Ishaan around emotionally and academically is the rest of the story.

Plus Points of the movie
1.Excellent direction by Amir
2.Excellent acting by the boy ( I would give credit to Aamir also for this for envisioning and crafting this character )
3.Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy compliments the story so very well. This is how music and songs should be.
4.Lyrics are so beautiful and have expressed the boy's feelings accurately.

Scenes that made special impact
1.Ishan's shudder when the car door closes when he is dropped off to boarding.
2.Amir's meeting with Ishan's family and the dialogue about how the boy disguises his incomptence in the form of naughtiness and how even that outlet got crushed in the boarding school.
3.Amir's lecture on geniuses who had learning difficulties and the name he privately mentions to Ishaan ...'ek aur hai jo itna famous nahin hai..' and you think he is going to say Ishaan and he says Nikumbh...
4.The shot when the painting Amir made is revealed - I could not control my tears.
5.When Ishaan wins the first prize, how he comes and hugs was moving, to say the least.
6. All the communication from the boy to Nikumb is poetic.

1.Why does not Ishaan tell the parents that 'akshar naach rahe hain' seriously? I mean, he is old enough to describe the symptoms, isn't he?
2.After a point in the first half, it felt like the movie is dragging, ok, come to the point, that is what we want to say then!

Issues like this are small and can be forgiven completely - because the movie conveys the intended message quite beautifully! A must see!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Satham Podathey!

Having seen Mozhi, seeing PrithviRaj on the DVD cover and seeing Vasanth's name as director made me grab the DVD. I felt I am so lucky to get the DVD so early and I was sure it is going to be a great movie!

The movie started and it was really impressive - how the character of Nitin Satya is introduced and how he gets married to PadmaPriya. The viewer is taken aback by surprise and shock to learn from Nasser that this guy is a member of Alcoholic Anonymous and that he used to be an alcoholic to the extent that he turned impotent. He has even murdered a kid by accident due to drinking and driving.He lies to Nasser that he married a girl who also has issues and cannot become a mother.

Nitin's acting is genuine. His character has been crafted very well. It really shocks you all the time how he manipulates her feelings and deceives her by playing innocent. She forgives him and all his deeds based on just one thing - he is honest and he is open about everything and he has never done anything bad by intention.

One day, as expected, she has to come to know of the truth too Nasser only and that happens when Nasser makes a routine 'Alcoholic Anonymous' call to Nitin's wife to see if she is being treated well or not. She explodes to Nitin and he for the first time, is in front of her, with all his secrets revealed. She divorces him.

OK, up to this point, everything is fine with the movie. From this point on, the story is predictable and the way things are told is not convincing to the viewer. Prithiviraj, is Padmapriya's brother's friend. He wants to marry her - there is NO PROPER FOUNDATION laid (that's the term me and dad often use) for this desire. Just by hearing her history, he decides that he can marry her. It is interesting to watch PrithviRaj helping her and finally she likes him and they get married. All is well...well now you can PREDICT that the old husband is going to enter their lives. From this point, the whole movie is artificial and stupid. Totally predictable and totally unreasonable!

PrithriRaj, PadmaPriya and Nitin have done well as actors. Music by Yuvan Shankar Raja is catchy. Well, I was just regretting how the first half was built nicely and how the second half was complete trash. All we felt at the end of the movie is disappointment with the story and direction. Could have been a much better piece of art if crafted well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hey Babyy

Have you admired someone on the screen when he/she was a novice and you knew right away that this person is going to be a huge success? Have you, after some years,stumbled upon his new commendable work and told yourself 'I knew this was going to happen'! You feel like you are the director who spotted the talent in the person and brought it out and you are proud of him as though you are the Balachander for Rajinikant or Kamal! If you are not laughing reading these lines, I am sure you have felt the way I feel sometimes about some celebrities.

One such person is Sajid Khan! Years back, when I was a working spinster, I used to enjoy watching Superhit Muqabla and laugh out aloud when Sajid Khan compered.He was never afraid to humourously comment on any actor and he spared none. He appeared in another show regularly - I would wait each week to watch these shows and admired his sense of humor. I would compare him to S.Ve.Shekar or Vivek for the boldness on commenting on people.

I had heard of the movie 'Hey Baby' with a similar story line as ThoovalSparsham in Malayalam. Seeing Sajid Khan's name as the director was quite promising. And I started watching the movie. It was a hilarious movie which made me laugh out loud more than any other movie recently. The diaper flying out and landing on Akshay's face is not one that would make me laugh, though!

Songs are catchy. There is a melodious song 'meri duniya tu hi re' with a nice humming. 'Dil Da mamla' is an absolute hit for any dance party. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are the music directors and have done a nice job.

Akashay,Ritesh and Fardeen Khan are the 3 bachelors. Vidya Balan is gorgeous.It is definitely worth watching more than once - to understand all the hidden jokes completely.

Congrats to Sajid on his first venture as a director! Wishing him many more!

Vettai Aadu Vilayadu

I have been waiting to get hold of this DVD since a long time. The movie got released in 2006 and you can see this is too late for an ardent Kamal fan to watch his movie. I had not read much about the story line, so it all came as a surprise to me.

What struck me most is the violence in the movie. The screenplay is well done. The whole movie was so gripping - shocking me with the characterization of the devilish duo - the two mentally corrupt boys who are the villains of the movie, yet like heroes since the story revolves around them. Kamal is the police officer who chases them and tracks them down. It did not feel too much like a Kamal movie, it is the thriller story and the direction that stand out more than Kamal. He has carried himself very well as a police officer and has done a good job by not overdoing anything. The part with Jyothika was good too.

I started watching the movie with my son, but soon realized this is not kid stuff at all. I coaxed him to go to sleep and put both the kids to sleep and literally ran back to resume the movie. I sure could not sleep without finishing it. I enjoyed the movie as a whole.

What it left behind in me was the feeling of how vulnerable we are in the world. This world could be full of many such people like the two young men - who seem like they are dangerous perverts right from birth. All we can do to be safe in this world is to pray God to keep us away from such characters.

All songs are nice. Harris Jayaraj should receive the credits for that. I have byhearted the songs by playing them over and over in the car.

Worth watching once!Preferably after the kids are asleep.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Chak De India

OK. I like Shah Rukh Khan. But I am not the kind who will blindly say that if he is in a movie, it is great. This movie is REALLY GREAT!

Story begins with how the star player of Indian hockey , Kabir Khan, loses the world cup match to Pakistan and is blamed of match fixing. His whole life changes and he absconds from the world of Indian hockey. 7 years later, he comes back determined to make India's Women's hockey team win the World Cup. OK, now dont be a pest and ask where he was for these 7 years and why he suddenly decided to comeback as a coach should let go somethings..and enjoy the movie..

Here is his team - girls from different states of India - different cultures, different languages, focussed on their ego and the state they represent - far away from the idea of team play. This is a totally new challenge - 'jo nahin hoga wohi to kar dikhana hai' - that is Kabir's point. The committee has no hopes with the Women' s team and even rejects permission to represent India in the World cup.

How Kabir struggles to bring them together as team is portrayed very well. Each girl has acted well - special mention goes to to the TomBoy girl and the girl who gives Kabir the hardest times by being egoistic and non cooperative. I am not going to elaborate the story here. Please do watch it for the well written script and wonderful screenplay. No junk songs, no slapstick comedy. Shah Rukh has played so well as Kabir by underplaying emotions, I should say. No overacting this time. Kudos to the director for crafting Kabir's character the way it is without trying to glorifying him. He had a done a good job with building each girl's character uniquely. Enjoyed it when the 'tomboy' girl asks 'saree pehnnna zaroori hai kya' when they are in the welcome reception.

I was reminded of 'Jo jeeta wohi Sikander' even though the theme in that movie was cycle race at school level. It is compared a lot to 'Lagaan' where the sport was cricket, but I do not remember a lot about Lagaan.

Above all, the feeling of patriotism that fills you and thrill and suspense you feel each minute of the hockey game are the success of the movie. If you get goosebumps on many scenes in the movie and would feel like shouting out 'Chak De India' with those girls, I would consider you a normal Indian!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Very different theme. Karthik (PrithviRaj, son of Sukumaran , Malayalam actor) is impressed by the boldness of Archana (Jyothika) who beats up a drunkard on the road who was abusing his wife. It is only later that he finds out she is deaf and dumb - and is impressed by the way she expresses that fact proudly and casually to the nurse in the hospital. He falls in love with her and constantly thinks of how she must be perceiving this world. He tries to experience what she feels and so fills cotton in his ears deafening himself.

I loved the part where even though she cant listen to music, she catches the beat/rhythm and tries to follow it when cutting her vegetables . The scene were Karthik gives her the musical experience by placing her hands on the speaker and conducts the music was a totally innovative idea.

I have always liked PrakashRaj and he is extremely lovable in this movie. He has handled his role very nicely and I enjoyed the humour throughout.

Jyothika has done a splendid job of portraying the difficult character - when she expresses her fears of getting married and having a kid with the same conditions as her.

The director (debutant, right?) has done an great job of doing justice to this unique theme. He has also made each character in the movie memorable and crafted them with their unique characteristics.

Songs were superb (Vidyasagar's music). 'Sevvanam selai katti' was the first one to catch my attention and after a while, I moved to 'Katrin..' by the male singer. It is melodious and has me tapping my feet - and I do love the part where 3 of them stand on the black and white stripes on the road and play an imaginary piano on it. This CD is playing in my car more frequently nowadays. Lyrics are wonderful too - but after a while I felt it is the same concept in all the songs over and over.

A must watch movie. One of the best movies in Tamil cinema this year.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rajamanikyam - Superb Comedy!

This wont be a super long post. I just want to briefly record the satisfaction and the 'clear mind' feeling that I experienced after watching this Malayalam movie starring Mammootty. I have heard so much about this movie being a super hit and really funny. I had lot of expectations - I should say that in spite of that, the movie did not disappoint me. I could not help laughing out loud after hearing Mammootty talking in Trivandrum dialect.

It was like watching the movie 'Sivaji' where once Rajini (hero) starts scoring victories and there is no stopping him. Even though in real life, it is impossible for anyone to be that lucky. Who can deny the fact that, in screen, when a super star does that, there are no questions asked, you just enjoy it. Once Mammotty starts blasting dialogues (not the Suresh Gopi way, but it a very humorous way in Trivandrum language), it just gets better and better.

The real hero is the script and the hilarious dialogues. And the choice of super star Mammootty who is generally not accepted to have the capacity to handle a comedy role. He has disproved all such allegations in this movie. He has done equal justice to sentimental scenes as well. First half moved so quickly and was more funny than the second half.

I am going to watch it at least 2 more times, to grasp all the fun in the dialogues I failed to capture fully the first time.

Definitely worth a lightens your heart!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Piya Ka Ghar

Picked up this DVD from the local Indian store for the following reason. I still remember how much I liked it way back when I watched it in Doordarshan. I was sure that it would still bring back the same feelings of watching a quality Hindi movie with simple people in it.

It is the story of a young village girl who grew up pampered by her rich uncle and parents. She gets married to a young man from a joint family living in a chawl in Mumbai. You can imagine a chawl as this multi storeyed flat structure with more people in each apartment than it could possible accomodate.The rent is cheap so the families living there could not think of moving elsewhere - that is all that they can afford.

Malti(Jaya Bhaduri) finds it hard in this house with someone or the other always intruding the privacy. Ram (Anil) wants to get to know her and talk to her, but she can never be herself in those surroundings. The movie humourously walks you through the struggles Ram goes through to steal a private moment or two with his new bride and how each such plan fails. He gets tips from his friend as well as elder brother. They all get out of the house to let Anil be home with his wife, but here comes a guest. Elder brother suggests to Ram that he should get away for a whole day with his wife.

That is what they do. After roaming around Mumbai with 'Bambai shehar ki chal main tujhe sair kara doon' song in the background, Anil tries to get a room in some hotel as suggested by Bhaiya. That is what Bhaiya-Bhabhi had discovered as a solution to the same problem. But how that lands them in an embarassing moment and how that ruins the day is shown very nicely.
At the end of the day, Malti tells her husband that she needs to move to a new house. Or she wants to go back to her village for a break from all these troubles and Ram has no choice but to agree.

When they come back home, they see Malti's uncle raising a tantrum seeing the size of the house they are all living in. Malti is also overcome by emotion seeing her uncle that she bursts into tears. Uncle vows that he will take her back home. Ram's mom requests him to leave her behind for just one more day and he agrees.

The next day each person in the family contemplates on how to prevent the uncle from taking the Bahu back. Bro and SIL even come to the decision of living separated for some months away from this house so Malti gets more space in the home. Parents in law decide to go on pilgrimage for some months so Malti can have more privacy. Neighbours/friends who are always playing cards in this home arrange for money so that Ram can get a rented home.

Seeing all this, Malti is touched - Mumbai homes have less space, but the hearts of the people who live there are much bigger. When uncle comes to take her away from that home, she tells his she chooses to live there. When everyone is ready to leave the home just so she can live there, it is just not right to reject their love and go back to the villa in the village. When there is closeness in hearts, the lack of physical space in the home does not bother her anymore.

JayaBhaduri in her best plays the role of the youing girl.Anil Dhawan is the handsome bridegroom. Songs are good and melodious - especially "Ye jeevan hai Jeevan Ka Yahi Hai Rang Roop'.

Simple movie with a beautiful message.