Thursday, January 25, 2007

Go For Guru

Guru reminded me my analog design classes. After discussing a high gain Common Emitter amplifier for half the course the next half would be dedicated to something called "De-generation" so that the high gain can be stabilised.

Guru fits the description perfectly, the first half is excellent Mallika Sherawat's role as a belly dancer notwithstanding. One could almost term it path-breaking since Bollywood is usually not known for making movies that are biographical in nature which dont portray the protagonist as a born-angel-society-turning-him-into-mafia-don or a-honest-do-gooder-never-again-to-be-born-on-earth.

Gurukant Desai is an entrepreneur and an unapologetic one at that. In the first half of the movie Guru starts from a small town boy with dreams into one who has pursued them and is halfway there to achieving them. The cinematography is excellent. There are some scenes that stay with you for long, Guru shaking a few shells in his hand with one of Istanbuls mosques in the back ground, Guru and his future-brother-in-law climbing a set of stairs to the top of a temple, and an excellent one just before the interval where Guru and his wife after having a fight are standing on two opposite sides of the road and a tram passes right in between them capturing the poignancy superbly.

In the second half Guru goes on to become the owner of Indias largest company not always following the law. And a newspapers editor is out to get him. He uses a young news reporter Shyam Saxena who is equally ruthless and uses distorted versions of the truth to purse his vendetta against Guru.

But the second half quickly de-generates like the emitter amplifier with an entirely avoidable song, an un-necessary character called Meenu (just to show the soft side of Guru) and a speech at the end which has so much hamming in it that you are left tearing your hair out in frustration as to why a movie that promised so much has to suddenly revert back to the old corny dialogue delivery that pulp Bollywood movies are famous for. (Guru comparing himself to the Mahatma, give me a break) The only saving grace is yet again the cinemtography, an excellent take from the top of a much older Guru and his wife lying on a bed in the small house from where it all started. Some other scenes that stand out in memory are the way the board meetings of Gurus company start from a small maidan to in the end a huge cricket stadium, and where a Taxi Driver tells Guru he could not have done wrong since he could get three of his daughters married by selling Gurus company shares.

The performances are quite simply put excellent. For once Aishwarya Rai playing Gurus wife does not shed bucket loads of water each time something goes wrong. An admirably restrained performance from her. Abhishek delivers a power packed performance, but why the sudden urges in the middle of the movie to try and mouth dialogues a-la Marlon Brando in Godfather or a swagger like Al Pacino!! Mithunda plays a great role as the only upright editor who dares to oppose Guru. Modelled on RP Goenka, Mithunda delivers yet another spell binding performance. Madhavan essays the role of Shyam Saxena with aplomb. And then there is a whole range of support cast that does quite well.

The cinematogrpahy of Rajeev Menon is excellent. And of course when A R Rahman composes music for Mani Ratnam there is bound to be magic and it is true for this movie as well.

Guru is definitely worth a watch, but dont expect too much in the second half of the movie.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Free Verse: Worse is Free.

From a listing of the top 20 cliches of the newspapers of the great vaat-er land comes this tarnished (dis)inspiration:

We wish to ensure a level playing field
if you are in the red,
so that, at the end of the day
you will, time and again,
be found in the black
rather than become a fly by night
thing that requires a last-ditch effort
leaving no stone unturned.
We await the eleventh hour
with bated breath
thinking: better late than never.
You watch those who rushed to the scene
cry all the way to the bank
and then call it a day
as time is running out
before we can up the ante
then happens a freak accident
in hot pursuit
of facts shrouded in mystery
that ensure survival of the fittest.

The cliche distribution itself is present (as an image) on some other blog, so do search around to find it. It's a lot more impressive than (one more) proof of my insanity.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Murder in Milan

Unfortunately, I don't remember whether Agatha Christie ever wrote anything with this particular title. No matter, since Patricia Highsmith did write a similar piece that promptly (or not, in this case) got converted into that thing the twisted writership of this blog really likes: a reason to remember and revile another antibiographical waste of nonbiodegradable DVD. And unfortunately, for the same reasons, too (Kate Hep... err, Cate Blanchett not being one of among them.)

The Talented Mr. Ripley[1]

Mr. Ripley is the untalented nonentity who believes that it is better to be a fake nobody than a real one (though he does achieve both extremes rather rapidly) unlike his better performances as a ludlum hyperhero, or a dumb pickpocket, who were probably too uncultured to consider such solipsistic syllogisms.

On his way to nobodyness, Our Man in the Mothballed Suit manages to commit murder, perpetrate mayhem, and generally make life unbearable for all those doomed to sit through this generally awful waste of two hours, that should have been better spent studying John Hinckley's reasons. Better murders too, since they do not have to contend with razor-sharp oars.

To be fair, The Talented Mr. Ripley might actually be a good thriller, if you can get through the parts that make you yawn, the parts that make you wish you had the editing scissors (if not a fast-forward button) handy, and the parts that make you wonder what a thriller actually is.

[1] To increase the ratio of weird google hits to weirder ones, we
'ereby hembark hon ha program to scatter hour 'aitches habout.