RAM LEELA: When I first heard of “Rowdy Rathore,” I wondered what on earth Bhansali was doing producing a film like this. The answer, evidently, was gearing up for the wretched “Ram Leela,” a Romeo and Juliet story that seems quite uninterested in romance, preferring the “goliyon ki raasleela,” that is to say, the IDEA of a place where people shoot up shit at the drop of a hat. Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh keep talking about love and lust, but they suggest about as much heat as ice cream
Archive for the the good Category
As one awaits with anticipation the new product RAAVAN from the God of Images/Visuals, Mr. Mani Ratnam, one’s mind and heart are enveloped by nostalgia—the nostalgia of being audience the first time to another masterpiece by the same helmer: ‘Dil Se.’
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Normally I come back from a film, make myself a cup of tea without milk or sugar, and write about it furiously while the adrenalin is still high. I like to write like a lover than a critic. But It has been more than 24 hours since I saw Ram-Leela and I still haven’t got the nerve to write about it. There was so much happening in the film, visually, aurally, in terms of narrative, in terms of character, with allusions to so many myths, so many traditions, with such wild experimentations in choreography, with spoken words; throwing up so many ideas, about love, about war, about gender-politics, about power; that it was impossible to take it all in one viewing, let alone write about it. But I have wrapped up all pending work, made myself large cup of Kashmiri tea, and I am going to give it a try.
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If you’ve long wanted to see The Mahabharata on the big screen, and could get any actor you wanted, this is the post for you: fire away in the Comments section! Many thanks to Raj5 for the suggestion (I’ll add my picks later) — Qalandar.
thanks to Pradeep..
thanks to Aamirsfan for the additional image..
You know you’re in the presence of a legend when the audience, which has been eating out of your hands so far, begins heckling you when your questions run longer than they should. It is a sign that the audience will not be satisfied until they see and hear as much as humanly possible from the man they came to see. That the audience firmly believed that every moment Amitabh Bachchan spent silent on stage was a moment of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they would never get back. If TEHELKA Editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, who hosted the session, had ended it at the scheduled time, there might have been a mini-riot. Wisely, when the bell rang, he immediately assured the crowd that the talk would go on.
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thanks to Bliss..
If Adoor Gopalakrishnan had his way, India would celebrate the centenary of Indian cinema not this year, exactly 100 years after “Raja Harishchandra,” the first feature film made in India, but in 2055. For Mr. Gopalakrishnan, 72, one of India’s finest film directors, the birth of Indian cinema began in 1955 because it was the year that Satyajit Ray made “Pather Panchali” (“Song of the Little Road”).
“Pather Panchali” revealed a kind of freshness and originality from an Indian filmmaker that hadn’t been seen earlier, in India or abroad. Its camerawork, spontaneous and innocent acting, particularly of Apu and Durga, the siblings at the heart of the story, and lyrical pace made the world take notice of Indian cinema. “Pather Panchali” won a special prize as the best human documentary at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956.
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thanks to Ami..
If there is an Indian cinema celebrating the coming of an ominous nightfall, it should be the dark Tamil comedies that enthrall millions of viewers across this state. One does not know whether to call it an aberration, anarchy or a result of political dysfunctionality. Eight years ago, I called the cinema of Tamil film directors M Sasikumar and Bala ‘the celebration of disgust’, a sort of carnival enacting the slaughter of anything that connected the South Indian even remotely with Tamil chauvinism. They belonged to a generation that cheered a Bollywood singer called Udit Narayan, who ruined every possible Tamil lyric that was written for him. Tamil audiences, in turn, danced with scores of Hindi film actresses who could never get a word of Tamil onscreen even edgeways. ‘Gaana songs’ nurtured by lumpen underdogs for funerals and communions became the melodic anthem even at discos in Chennai.
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Robert Donat in The Magic Box, 1951
a fine piece from Scorsese and these passages particularly connect with some of the ‘debates’ on this blog:
“So not only do we have to preserve everything, but most importantly, we can’t afford to let ourselves be guided by contemporary cultural standards—particularly now. There was a time when the average person wasn’t even aware of box office grosses. But since the 1980s, it’s become a kind of sport—and really, a form of judgment. It culturally trivializes film.
And for young people today, that’s what they know. Who made the most money? Who was the most popular? Who is the most popular now, as opposed to last year, or last month, or last week? Now, the cycles of popularity are down to a matter of hours, minutes, seconds, and the work that’s been created out of seriousness and real passion is lumped together with the work that hasn’t.
We have to remember: we may think we know what’s going to last and what isn’t. We may feel absolutely sure of ourselves, but we really don’t know, we can’t know. We have to remember Vertigo, and the Civil War plates, and that Sumerian tablet. And we also have to remember that Moby-Dick sold very few copies when it was printed in 1851, that many of the copies that weren’t sold were destroyed in a warehouse fire, that it was dismissed by many, and that Herman Melville’s greatest novel, one of the greatest works in literature, was only reclaimed in the 1920s.” Read more »
In retrospect, albums like Delhi-6 seem to have inaugurated a mellow phase in A.R. Rahman’s career. The last few years have given us a number of albums (Kadal and Raanjhana the most recent of these) to confirm the impression that the master has, where the subject gives him rein, shifted gears: the qawwalis have become more reflective (contrast “Arziyan” (Delhi-6) with “Noor-un-Alaa” (Meenaxi) from a few years earlier); the love songs increasingly suffused with a murmuring longing (“Moongil Thottam” (Kadal)), and even a jazz bent (“Aaromale” (Vinaithaandi Varuvaaya)); the sounds a bit less ornate, but just as rich. Maryan is in this vein. It is leaner than Raanjhana (Rahman’s most recent Hindi composition), and if two of the lighter tracks are far more trivial than anything in the latter, at its best (which is to say in its four slower songs) Maryan is more reflective, almost unsettlingly so: you really miss it when the music stops playing. This is, quite simply, Rahman’s best Tamil album in years for any director not named Mani Rathnam. Read more »
EXCERPT: “Ghosh knows his audience well, and he plays on our fascination with the actual world of film stars by embedding aspects of it on screen. He casts a real-life mother-daughter pair, Aparna Sen and Konkona, at a time when Bengali curiosity about the latter’s potential as an actress was very high, and yet does not make them play themselves—Aparna’s character, Urmila, is a housewife who has nothing to do with the cinema. Ghosh inserts into the film snatches of conversation that seem perfectly natural between Urmila and Titli, but also pick up on the film-going public’s innate tendency to compare star children to their parents. My friend Sandip thinks it’s incredible that a mother as beautiful as you had a daughter like me, Titli says guilelessly to Urmila, to which Urmila responds in a protective motherly fashion, “Eto sundar mishti meye amar” (Such a sweet, pretty daughter I have). There is also the near-perfect casting of Mithun Chakraborty as Rohit Roy, with the character’s life story drawing judiciously on aspects of Chakraborty’s own biography—his growing up in poverty in a refugee colony, his unusual status as a Bengali hero who made it big in Bombay films. Read more »
Himesh Reshammiya has been awfully low-profile these days. Quietly we hear he has negotiated for the remake rights of Shekhar Kapur’s 1983 classic Masoom which starred Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi as a couple grappling with the reality of an illegitimate son in the husband’s life.
The tear-jerker had melted hearts across the nation immediately establishing Shekhar Kapur as a formidable filmmaking force.
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Over the last few years, my interest in contemporary Hindi films has plummeted; perhaps my move to Bombay has played a part in my diminished engagement, as no longing for home, no desperation for a whiff of its scent clouds my vision. Largely, though, it is a function of the increasing soullessness of the industry’s “mainstream” products (and the films are increasingly products rather than embodiments of a living tradition), and also because the “off-beat” films themselves are often formulaic, intellectually timid and irredeemably – there’s no other word for it – bourgeois once one gets past the edgy attitude. Old habits die hard, however, and I still end up watching many – I just don’t enjoy the experience as much as I used to, even if the thrill of anticipation as I find my seat in the hall and wait for the film to begin, hoping for trailers to delay the moment of gratification, and my willingness to give myself over to the experience (until the film itself jars me out of attentiveness first), remain the same. Through it all, very few films surprise me – and not in the sense of plot twists (I hardly ever guess those, being much more likely to live in the present of the scene before my eyes, as it were), but in the sense of taking me somewhere I hadn’t expected to go, or showing me a glimpse of something I hadn’t expected to see. That I expect these from cinema at all reminds me that I’m not yet jaded, merely disappointed.
Raanjhana surprised me. Read more »
LINK – Dave Kehr
Alfred Hitchcock (in foreground, pointing) directing “The Mountain Eagle” (1926), a silent feature presumed lost.
Alfred Hitchcock may be the most famous film director who ever lived — a favorite of both the pleasure-loving public and theory-addled academics; the subject at once of bizarre biographical fantasies (now available in both book and movie form) as well as of some of the most significant critical thinking of the last 50 or 60 years.
Most of his films remain easily accessible through home video, whereas the work of many of his contemporaries has been allowed to sink into commercial obscurity. Thirty-three years after his death, his image is as instantly recognizable as that of Chaplin or Einstein. Like them, he has lent his posthumous prestige to an Apple computer campaign.
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** Mild-spoilers that don’t come in the way of movie-viewing experience**
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YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA worked on the strength of the three Deols and comedy. The sequel looked like much of the same with an increase in tempo as far as the gags go.
YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA 2 is much of the same, with an increase in gags. The films plot is less than coherent, and runs more along the lines of the CARRY ON films from the UK. The film is backed with gag after gag revolving around the trio with jokes that range from the ludicrous to the absolute crazy.
Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgeralds timeless novel THE GREAT GATSBY stays true to the themes of the original, but as expected, adds a remarkable amount of visual flair and panache in its storytelling.
Luhrman is quite easily one of the most interesting directors in Hollywood today. His visual perfection is unmatched for the most, and though he tends to over indulge at times (very similar to Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Bollywood), his storytelling acumen coupled with the performances he extracts from his cast have become his signature.
The basic plot of the movie remains intact (I won’t give that away for those who haven’t grown up with the novel, I was introduced to book in 5th form English). but its the treatment that makes the movie standout.
The movie can essentially be broken down into three acts, the first act is almost perfect as we’re introduced to the lifestyle of Gatsby, bit by bit, we get to learn about whom he is, how he lives, while the actual Gatsby is shrouded in absolute mystery. The introduction of Gatsby catapults the movies graph, and from there through to the second act, the movie is simply remarkable. The second act again picks up the graph further, however it’s the third and final act (albeit the films darkest moments) which fail this from becoming an absolute true blue classic.
IF YOU ARE FROM THE NORTHERN PARTS of the nation, or if most of the movies you watch are in Hindi, you may not have heard of K Balachander. You may have seen the films he made in Hindi, though—Aaina, Zara Si Zindagi, Ek Nai Paheli, and, almost certainly, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, which was one of the biggest blockbusters of the 1980s. Then as now, a filmmaker from Chennai did not usually find himself splashed across entertainment columns, though Balachander did see his name in national papers when he won Indian cinema’s highest honour, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for the year 2010. I thought I would write a book about him. After all, this was the man who launched Rajinikanth’s career. He shepherded an adorable child actor named Kamal Haasan into adult roles. And yet, despite the ubiquity of stars in his movies, South Indian audiences went to see “a K Balachander film”, which was often about women, often about tangled relationships. The director was the draw. He was an auteur in the truest sense, leaving his unmistakable stamp all over his creations. From the way, for instance, he handled his heroines, you could make a case that he was as drawn to the feminine mystique as he was repelled by it. He had to enshrine women. He had to punish them. I felt he deserved documenting.
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Ayan Mukherjis first film WAKE UP SID was a fairly decent coming-of-the-age thriller with a lot of heart and soul.
Ayans next venture is a more refined film than the first one about the choices we make in life, and the cards we’re dealt. Ranbir Kapoor plays someone who wants to see the world and travel. His expectations of life are driven by excitement and adventure. Deepika Padukone plays a conservative girl who loves a life of stability. As expected, the two fall in love, and the choices they make unravel the rest of the story. There’s also Aditya Roy Kapur (hot of the success of AASHIQUI 2) and Kalki Kolechin with a highly spirited and comic performance. Farooque Shahikh and Tanvi Azmi make an appearence as Ranbir Kapoors parents.
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