Thursday, February 22, 2007

Khosla ka Ghosla - A movie review

As promised in my previous post, a review of a more cheerful movie. But again, don't look here for the plot :)

My first impression of the movie - funny, yet subtly showing us how limited choices we have in our dealings with the big bad world outside. Some facility for "tit-for-tat" looks the most promising wa to get back at more powerful people.

Boman Irani - As I said previously, he is one of the best actors around, probably will rank as one of the greatest. In this movie, he is the perfect "landshark", the typical specimen of the class. Looks cheerful, but there is always an undercurrent of menace, seething below the surface. Just put a pebble in his way and you bear the full brunt of his anger.

Again, he is also a fanatic "devotee", seeking to bribe even God, through his piety! Enjoys all things money can buy, but believes that land is the one thing that will never lose value. How true in these days!

Anupam Kher - Actor par excellence, he is a perfect match for Boman. You can immediately substitute your father in this role - has worked hard throughout his life to build his own house, has many dreams about it and waiting for them to come true.

If you are as normal hearted as most young people, you cannot hold back the faint glint of tears at Anupam Kher's "father" - he wants his children to do well, but still is protective when they don't "shine". He wants to be as a friend to his children. He wants his children to stay with him, but is ready to let them go if it makes them big in life. Behind every tough-looking father, there stands a tender-hearted man, who is afraid that being gentle always makes his children go wrong. Tremendous.

Parvin Dabas - Typical IT guy, wants to be big in life - going to America. But like all of us, has too strong ties to hearth and home. Torn between ambition to be something and his family and lover who need him, he has our sympathies.

Tara Sharma - "Girl next door" suits her. Not a drop-dead bombshell like other heroines fit only for running around trees when the hero wants, she comes across as a normal, good-looking girl, who is modern, but still shy enough to wait for the guy she loves to make the first move.

Navin Nischol - he has been around too long for me to talk anything. A veteran, he carries off his role with ease. As a run-down actor who has seen glorious days, you can understand how he feels when he has to act like a rich guy. To be on equal terms with the paranoid Boman is not a laughing matter and Navin plays the role of a frightened, yet determined man to perfection.

The crew - cinematographer, editor, screenplay, dialogues - complement wonderfully the director (Dibakar Banerjee). It really takes guts to produce such a movie - no big stars - just a story that takes place hundreds of times every day across India, an excellent cast and crew and some really wonderful story telling ability from the director.

Although they are two completely different movies, the two movies I have reviewed so far - Being Cyrus and KKG - are two offbeat movies that somehow have my complete admiration. Acting, Direction, Story are completely different from run-off-the mill Bollywood movies - but more importantly starting to make journeys inwards into the minds of people.

We now have producers and directors and yes, more importantly actors, with courage. that I applaud.

Finally, I have to place on record my admiration to the "Man of the movies" - Boman Irani. Hats off.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Being Cyrus - A Movie Review

I am stuck in Germany where the only English TV channel available is BBC News where the code for the news ticker is written below:


Before you start looking for the comment field (you humans are hasty, as Treebeard would say), let me tell you what this has to do with a movie review. Everything, indeed. The only source of any entertainment is the Internet. But you can only browse so many sites till it becomes boring. then what? Movies. Aha.

With some trusty software, I now can download and watch some of the movies that I missed while I was in India. "Being Cyrus" was one of them.

My first impression is "what a classy, dark" movie. Although the plot seems to have been lifted from Hollywood [May the story writer forgive me if I insulted his intellience, but history...], the film surpassed my expections in every sense.

I knew Saif Ali Khan was a good actor, especially after Dil Chahta Hai and Hum Tum, but this film is a landmark in his career or a turning point in his career or "anyone of the most inappropriate cliches" as he would say in the movie.

His entire mind is opened to us, the grim reality staring us near the climax, where all your opinions about everyone in the movie turns. There are no "completely pure" heroes and heroines around, no song and dance routines, no dishum-dishum - just a terrifying look inside a dark mind. A mind that nevertheless seeks to understand its role in the world.

Boman Irani, as has become a habit with him, is outstanding. As Farookh Setna, he epitomises the thousands of men, with big ambitions but no talent, who think being loud and violent is an achievement!

Naseeruddin Shah, is slightly disappointing, although it is his role that is to blame. As a great artist who is lost in art and in his earlier glorious days, he is the only truly innocent character. Dimple Kapadia, as Katy or Katie (how does it matter!), is simply too good. Although she keeps complaining about Shah being dirty, it is she who is always scrtaching her itches, in more ways than one :). Her ambition to be someone (she only dreams of being great), and how that ambition is exploited is the plot.

If you thought I was going to tell you the plot as it is a movie review, let me tell you that I have re-defined the term. I promise though that this film will make you queasy, uneasy and thinky (ok, I made up that one!).

Not for the faint-hearted, this movie, especially for those who think the world is either white or black. There are many shades of grey in between and the various characters fall in those shades. Just everyone's selfish attempts to inject happiness into their otherwise miserable lives, but no one knowing the right path.

One thing I can say - Indian Cinema has genuinely matured. If anyone talks of Bollywood as revolving around Shahrukh Khan or Masala or whatever, watch this movie first.

Now, time to go to bed or rather as Mr. Setna or Cyrus would say, "Whatever be the result, the king and the pawn go back into the same box." Whatever I write and you read, we have to go to sleep at the end of the day. Ciao!

Psst: There is another review about a more cheerful movie coming up. So Cheer up!

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