Friday, June 30, 2006

This is not a Review

20 things not to do in a movie:

1. AMOUNT = PRINCIPAL + INTEREST does NOT constitute an IQ test. Please refer to a textbook on general psychology to figure out what constitutes an IQ test.

2. If you are making a movie on a superhero, dont make him do stunts like running faster than a horse, Mithunda runs faster than electricity to save his sister from the electric chair without claiming to have gotten any powers from aliens.

3. Have a random female who does not look good play your heroine who goes for para gliding and then crash onto a tree top only to be rescued by the hero. All that is fine but the random female emitting a series of "feline sounds" that would make you wish that you were actually listening to "Tera Tera Sooroor" by Himesh Reshamiyya who has a nose for these things is a frightening proposition.

4. Random females who para glide with so much make up that you wonder whether she was not better off following the example of her "most admirable living woman" Mother Teresa.

5. Have a species who is the random females companion who looks and sounds so irritating that you wonder whether it wasnt better for the villain to make an early entry and boil her in a vat full of castor oil before feeding her to his pigs.

6. Have the random female emit cacophonous sounds on twisting her ankle that it makes you suddenly realise that the "Old lady in the CL of IIT Kgp sounded melodious".

7. Have a heroine who looked great in her time and still looks good play the grandmother of the protagonist and somehow force her to act in the way that the Big B did in that @#&^@*#^ of a movie called Black.

8. After a serious bit of miscasting make her wash clothes so many times with the detergent brand displayed so prominently so many times that it makes you wonder whether there isnt more significance attached to it. Like maybe the grandma is a drug addict who compulsively has to have heroin which she conveniently stores in her detergnet pack to fool her MENSA club potential grandson.

9. Have the random female say "Krishna tumhe English aati hai", in the process making all guys who have that name a huge inferiority complex. I could hear a groan "Damn that explains why I am still single, the gals think I am an illiterate, uncouth guy who does not know English".

10. Have the random female and the companion wear such skimpy clothes to their office that it makes you doubt whether the real casting couch exists not in the film industry but in the offices of the news channels.

11. After having an irritating species for the companion(IC for irritating companion) get someone who is 10 times as bad to play the random females(RF) boss, and you think of the punishment in #5 above and immediately feel sorry for the pigs.

12. Not having enough money to make the movie, which leaves one at the sponsors mercy and then you suddenly have RF,IC eating the sponsors chips almost all the time. (For the discerning electrical engineers there was no pun intended in the above statement).

13. Have 5 songs too many. (For the numerically and arithmetically challenged this movie had 5 songs).

14. Have a person whos played some excellent roles in the past including a novice photographer and a cricket coach to play the villain.

15. Make him appear in such a mop of grey hair that you begin to wonder whether the joke really is true about grey cells all coming out with the grey hair. I mean why the hell would such a talented actor play such a stupid role.

16. Dont ever make the villain "The chairman of the biggest IT company in the world, Techtotronix". (Far too close to Tektronix in my opinion).

17. Dont make reporters interviewing the aforesaid villain come up with statements like "Your contributions to the field of wireless communications are immense. Because of your work computers have become handheld, we can now watch cricket matches on mobile phones". (Unfortunately I happen to work on this field which didnt really help matters).

18. When you want to give the villain a abnormal streak please come up with something more imaginative than the villain mouthing what the next days news reader would do beginning all the way with "Breaking News". Instead of giving the villain a psycho streak it gives him a comic one.

19. While making a movie about a superhero, dont wait till the second half of the second half of the movie for the hero to become the superhero. Making him romance RF for the first three quarters of the movie only makes matters worse.

20. Dont have grand reunions of the Great Indian Family at the end and then make the superheroes father make transmitters that emit "The sum of all vibrations in the unvierse - OM" to attract aliens, that makes you realise exactly what Jagjit Singh is talking about in this Ghazal :

"Jeete Rahne ki Sazaa de Zindagi ai Zindagi
Jeete Rahne ki Sazaa de Zindagi ai Zindagi
Ab to marne ki dua de Zindagi ai Zindagi".

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fear the Hairy Fairies

If only we were talking about these.

To properly review a movie, it requires one of two things: that you really like it (and presumably, it is a great movie, rather than a pile of bat droppings that went unsold at the weekly fertilizer fair), or that you really hate it. Hatred is an underrated force, the kind that can move mountains and collapse buildings. Pure clean hatred, and glowing anger are usually an indicator that someone succeeded in doing something valuable to them (and pissing off everyone else, but that is a different story.) If a movie inspires neither emotion, it tends to be almost impossible to hate, and impossible to dislike either. The barriers are too high for successful tunnelling in either direction. In this respect, I would actually claim that hatred is a positive emotion.

Now this movie, which stars Paresh Rawal and his two lapdogs as the band of bumbling brothers who pull off a sick jape or two while simultaneously trying to channel Guy Richie, inspires one emotion. Actually, it inspires a lot more than that: The initial song-and-dance sequence demonstrates, a little too graphically, that some (all, probably) actresses are courageous, to actually allow themselves to be photographed at close-range. Or maybe photographed at all, particularly if you end up sitting in the cramped seating of the forward rows of a relatively large-screened theater whose projection devices are run by a deaf operator. However, this is digression.

The fairies in this case are the bloody-minded overspending lapdogs, and the owner of the lap, all of who get involved in a complicated plot to retrieve money they had stolen from "Ocean's Twelve" (the story was stolen from O12, and the money in "Hairy Fairies", I mean.)

The short of it is that they invest in the Great Indian Bull Market, which invests in the unnamed foreign Military-Industrial Cartel (in the words of the Bipshell Bong herself. Er, bongshell, but you get the idea), which is of course known to double its investors contributions in 7 days. Unfortunately for all of them, a peace or two happened, the bull went bear (in some shady nudist club or other, it happens to the beast of us), and they (and the people they borrowed from) are all suddenly looking at well, a flop?

Meanwhile, the busy investor was busy discovering the difficulty in converting a thousand-rupee note into smaller fragments without cutting it -- which is considered a heinous crime by all and sundry, even if its a fake note -- in the pleasantly unpleasant company of the other bongshell. This would have provided an amusing diversion, were it not for the fact that the movie itself is an amusing diversion for the terminally embalmed and fatally decomposed victims that archaeologists dig up every now and then, getting cursed in the process.

Much complications ensue, that involve:

  • dance bars which seem to be all dance and no bar

  • stereotyped villains

  • monotyped villains, who cross-dress (as cops also, that is)

  • a chimpanzee

  • a painting of Shivaji that gets desecrated

  • a toy rabbit that swallows diamonds, presumably with the daily recommended quantity of roughage (thus, of course, ensuring that Guy R's other movie is also copied from)

  • a circus

  • high-jinks and hijacks, acrobats and airheads

  • a lot more diamonds than can be expected to fit in a pouch that size

  • moral lessons

  • sartorial lessons, particularly on the inadvisability of wearing pink and simultaneously giving Himmy the Ham a chance to not breathe through his nose

  • while on songs, do you dream in audio? dolby, no less?

  • did I mention pink? purple? yellow? green?

  • and Himmy the Hammer? Who sings, not exactly like MC Hammer, but like the mosquito orchestra I train to serenade me while sleeping - they weigh much less than headphones, you see. And of course, the lack of visual distraction that might prevent people from noticing the agonies of torture they are suffering.

The prize of course goes to the comments overheard "The first half was good, but the second half was too complicated", and "those three are fun, but the side characters spoil the movie"

Since some people seem to feel that I have a negative attitude about movies, let me state that I look carefully for positive aspects, as the proactive synergy required for positive thinking requires a wholly partial fully distributed approach.

And the positive? The creative instincts of the filmmaker (may he go forever unnamed, so that no blasphemous words be uttered to despoil the peace) did not dare to tamper with LS2SB's ending.

Monday, June 26, 2006

gods, capital letters and capital punishment.

All things dull and ugly,
All creatures short and squat,
All things rude and nasty,
The Lord God made the lot.

Each little snake that poisons,
Each little wasp that stings,
He made their brutish venom.
He made their horrid wings.

All things sick and cancerous,
All evil great and small,
All things foul and dangerous,
The Lord God made them all.

Each nasty little hornet,
Each beastly little squid--
Who made the spikey urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did!

All things scabbed and ulcerous,
All pox both great and small,
Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
The Lord God made them all
-- Selim, at "the board"

For all the theists and monotheists offended by the above, do take the time to reflect that it is true: The ahwk needed enough room to carry the damn mosquito in it[1]. Informal histories report that the statutory pool of sewage to ensure that particular pair's successful breeding was warmly welcomed by the rest of the animals. This may have been the first recorded instance of political myopia (save the pwetty bwoodsuckersTM) causing long-term damage.

I devoutly hope that the polytheists are not offended by the above poem. After all, one set of polytheists does not have a god for lords, and the other set has snake (and jackal) gods.

But too much of these godly deviations can take up the whole post, which, despite the fun it affords, is not exactly what we aim for. So without too much more delay, we dive into:

Journal d'un cure de campagne (1950)

A movie that gives a deep insight into the above poem, as well as its original version. While the title does not need translation, those who think it refers to the famous article in the Non-Ahngleeish Medical Journal about the healthful effect of Dom Perignon 1950 will be disappointed.

This movie is about a young (and ill) priest who goes to his first parish, and promptly proceeds to solve all the problems that the local parishioners face. Unfortunately, some of them regard his approach as being theoretically unsound, and not amenable to use by number-crunching machinery. The rest of the movie continues this theme, and finally finishes by finishing off the priest (ill, you remember?)

One technique that Bresson abuses is the device of someone telling the priest something, and the movie proceeding for some time before the audience discovers what that was. Hey, it was made in '50, when this was probably a radical departure from 'standard' linear plot evolution. It is probably unfair to the man to consider it as a cheap attempt to add suspense.

This movie is, by the way, religious. In the words of someone else, you will like this movie, if this is the sort of thing you like.

[1] To bring this story within the bounds of all most modern fiction, maybe what the ark carried was the DNA of some unicellular organism?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kaa ho, Seth?

[uneditors translation of the above statement, made in a dialect marred by a mouthful of chewable carcinogen: "Death, where is thy sting?"]

Damnation (Karhozat)

Movies shot after the 60's should stick to colour. If not, it tends to give them a look that sometimes may wildly succeed (in spite of my initial objections), but more often than not, give the movie the look of a low-budget horror film.

Take this one, for instance: award winning and much tarred-and-feathered director, nameless (and anyway unpronounceable) cast, and in the end, the movie leaves you with a sense of -- but I'm jumping. Some amount of suspense is required.

So, the basic premise: it's the cold war, advisors say the analysts say that the golden age is just over, and production of minerals is at an all-time automated high. Ore cabs sail blithely over Notown, Communeastern Europe on their way to be processed into arms to continue the (Mexican) standoff. None of which actually matters, since the movie has nothing to do with weighty world events, except that the constant buzzing of the cabs provides background music to nonexistent conversations.

Enter into this, a solipsistic bar-hopping hero who spends his remaining time looking out the window and wondering why his calculator says that 178212 + 184112 = 192212, when he knows pretty well that the old man said it wouldn't.

Unfortunately for his peace of mind, the woman he stalks in whatever spare time his other occupations leave him is married. So he gets her husband a job, smuggling some unnamed material from a certain Khan, A. Q. to a nameless third power, via the long way (scenic trip, you know. Much easier on the tyres.) The aim being, of course, to convince the woman that he is capable of doing a lot more than just proving Fermat wrong.

A few thousand parties and bar-hops later, he takes the sensible step of informing the local CIA office that the husband (now safely returned from transporting his valuable cargo) actually smuggled something he shouldn't have to an undesirable destination. This masterstroke reduces him to conversing with dogs, who are the only company he has who don't actively bark back at him: naturally, he can bark a lot louder. Than the dogs, that is.

Oh, how could I forget the Oracle, making her first appearance here, as a woman whose hair went white because of the shocks that dealing with such heroes gave her? Her tendency to quote wildly inappropriate passages from holy books?

For a noir movie that pretends to not explain the meaning of life, the universe and everything else, it is the sort of slow-moving caterpillared plot-less egregious excuse for entertainment that would put a chess game between two rank (and smelly) amateurs playing underwater to shame. Anything else, however, is beyond its limited capabilites.

An imdb reviewer says "[the cameraman] Medvigy uses light like Ennio Morricone uses music." Quite true. It's overused, repetitive and the sort of thing you tend to carry in your mind for a very long time after watching the movie.

Now where's my Mithunda movie? I want my mithun movie! Dhormendro in "Garam Veer" doesn't quite cut it - warm beer is for the ancient Britons only...

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I had almost decided that this movie was not worth a review. But then when Megha decided to blog about it, I thought I would be doing a dis-service to all the insane people who read this blog.

Well review is gonna be short. I watched it on Friday night intending to watch a proper time pass 36 China Town, but zee Innovative Multiplex guys decided to become zee innovative and changed all the movie timings. And I had to end up watching this movie. Only when I saw that the director was Kunal Kohli (who by the way copied Hum Tum from When Harry Met Sally and left out what was in my opinion the best scene, yeah the one where Meg Ryan fakes it) did I realise that after Trimurti this was my worst choice ever.

The Movie starts off well though, what with Kajol playing a blind girl unpretentiously, such a refreshing change from the overacted-ultra-mega-giga-hamming-ooh-I-am-so-blind-look-at-me-fighting-to-behave-normally role that Rani essayed in Black. And of course the first song "Chand Sifarish" (excellent bass guitar and thankfully no nasal himesh to ruin it) and all the excellent shayaris did hold my attention for some time.

Theres the hot friend (forget her name, though I wonder whether Aamir did a Akshaye Khanna from "Dil Chahta Hai" by falling for the older woman). Just to remind me that its a mediocre Kunal Kohli movie yet again we have Kiron Kher (whose immortal lines in Hum Tum were : "nikke nikke bache tatti kar rahe hain road pe, mazaa aa gaya") whose only aim in life seems to be to get her daughter screwed by a "shehzaada" (roughly translated a prince who is straight), and yeah did I mention Aamir in a vain effort to build some strength in his forearms lifts Kajol(who by the way looks great and for once in a movie is not shouting in her high pitch irritating voice) in his hands and walks on some train tracks(Me wishing that the Shatabdi Express comes along the rails and Aamirs legs get stuck in one of those joints in the rails) and that at the end of the first half Kajol is voila not blind.

Then it all goes awry. Finally I guess I found why Indias population is so high, all it needs is for Kajol to get screwed once by Aamir and soon enough theres the kid later on (She was not only blind but DUMB as well you see). Tabu plays some kind of anti-terrorist-crack squad leader. No wonder imdb does not have her in the credits. Coz she and the whole squad of hers is really a crack. All in all the second half is tortouous the only saving grace being the last song "Tere Haath Main".

Please stay home and watch this movie being shown yet again on Zee cinema rather than risk Fanaa. Fanaa is seriously Fun-naaaah.

P.S : There was one redeeming feature for me, the fact that I ended up sitting next to a colleague who wanted to whisper coochy-cooes to his fiancee all through the movie but his bad luck that me and my friend made life tough for him till he bought enough samosas in the interval to stuff our mouths up during the second half. And also did I mention that to de-stress myself after this traumatic experience of watching Fanna I went home and watched Lara play an accomplished 69 in his penultimate ODI at Trinidad and Tobago. His six off Bhajji and two inside out lofted drives over cover off Powar made the day er night for me.