Friday, September 28, 2007

A Panoramic review of Manorama -- Six Feet Under

Long long ago there was Veeru and not too long ago he gave birth to Prof Ajoy Chokorborti who mouthed these immortal lines to the ISI chief in the greatest spy movie in Hindi cinema history :

"Do baat"
"Ek tum godha ho"
"Doosri baat, yeh Amreeka hai Pakistan nahin jo godha
sadak pe ghoomta hai"

And then was born Ajoy Chokroborti's brother. Now chota chokroborti who also goes by the popular name Abhay does not have it in him to pull off movies about love stories of spies. But what he can do is play off beat characters like trying to catch the last local train with the highly improbable occurence of a former Miss India who has grown fat for company, a "marriage fixer" or a super hero married to a super heroine.

He pulls off another role as a complete loser in life (mirrors the life of the author of this post, except no one publishes my stories and I do not have a wife who has two absolutely fabulous dimples) in his latest movie. We for sure appreciate the characters he chooses to play.

We have already mentioned one of the female leads, the other one is played by the ever droopy Raima Sen.

The story of the movie revolves around the loser when one lady approaches him to take photos of her husbands peccadilloes. The reason she chooses him is that in a small town a writer is considered a detective (On the lines of in the land of the blind a one eyed designer is considered a project lead). His book that sells exactly 200 copies and sinks without a trace has a cover design more reminiscent of James Hadley Chase rather than a Conan Doyle or a Agatha Christie. Now go figure why either the loser or Mr Chase are popular among women.

And as he takes those photos life as he knew it goes for a toss. People out to bash him, stelaing his bike prompting him to take his old rampyaari a.k.a scooter out. Plus in between he almost manages to have a live in relationshsip with Raima Sen. The story has more twists and turns than the hips of the item bomb in a number and does manage to hold your attention till the end. Unlike other movies in this genre which end up in either a moral lesson which one stops appreciating after third grade or everything is shown to be hopeless with "the-bloody-system-is-rotten-to-the-core", this one leaves you with a pleasant feeling. Though it is supposed to be a thriller, the movie is a slow moving one and grows on you. More in the Le Carre class rather than Forsyth one would say.

The cinematography is quite good except that maybe they should stop doing stuff from the Ram Gopal Verma school of filming where every scene is done with a "look-at-me-I-can-copy-from-the-best-when-it-comes-to-technique" philosophy. One would think that with greater experience the director would leave things more understated and subtle.

There is just one song in the movie which is just about right for this one. But definitely could have done with a much better sound track. Considering the movie is based in Rajasthans desert one has the scope for a really great theme, am thinking what Tarantino would have done.

Before we forget, the guy who played Mr Pignon in the hindi version of Dinner game also has a role and speaks Hindi with an impeccable Marwari accent. Special marks to him for swallowing his whole breakfast in one gulp everyday.

All in all you are much better off watching "Manorama Six Feet Under" rather than sitting at home with nothing else to do and end up watching "Six Feet Under".

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fanny and Alexander (1982)

Long ears ago, when cranial hair was ample, and optimism had not yet made its entry into the red list, we had this great opportunity going forward of getting to study in a hot, dry, cold, and wet place north of the Tropic of Cancer. Given the natural tendency of such places to accumulate dubious characters, we had to run into our esteemed cricket-mad fellow fowl fellow. (Who, you will notice, has not commented on the boys in light blue finally managing to thrash the boys in green black and blue without excessive punctuation.)

Much mayhem involving assorted bits of Silicon and chunks of Gallium nitride followed, the details of which are elided as far as possible to spare your tender years. The central result of this, however, was that yours truly was pressurised (in one case, literally) into watching some true gems of Bollywood, such as the incomparable trinity of Cabby Khushi Cabby Gum, Bog Boon, and some indeterminate shaw rooke starrer whose name had mercifully receded into the dim mists of memory, even if the resulting trauma had not.

Anyway, the purpose of boring the lot of you to tears was to set the stage properly for the introduction of a much better family movie by that master of cinema, Ole Bergman. Without (too many) side trips, we therefore proceed into a review of Fanny Och Alexander

It's a family movie, just another family movie. Instead of cricketers dreaming about their family before hitting themselves on the head, we proceed into a Christmas celebrations of three generations of Ekdahls at the turn of the last century. We meet the hypertensive Oskar, the philandering Gustavus Adolphus, and Professor Carl, all of whom form a part of the intricate tapestry that is this movie, along with their mother, their kids, and the rest of the household.

Seen with a jaundiced eye, it is just the story of Oskar's death, his wife's (a card-carrying member of the party of svensk blondsk that make Bergman's movies watchable most of the time) remarriage into a rather doctrinaire religious family, and the subsequent end of that marriage, all seen through the eyes of young Alexander, her son. However, it is the sort of storytelling with the little details (Hamlet and kind people, anyone?) that make this an enjoyable movie - its length notwithstanding.

Irony might be...

Someone who says:

If she is particular about manners, there is a good chance she will be particular about grammar. Please revise your old copy of Wren & Martin.

Following that right up with:

They [i.e. multiple such points as the above] are only the necessary condition. Not the sufficient condition.

Leaving aside the fact that it's been a long time since I looked inside W&M, relying on the old ear to tell the difference, aren't we short an 's' or two? Oh well, you only get what you ask for.

The rest of the blog is hilarious (and definitely not work-safe), so parts of the null-set that is the readership of this blog might enjoy it.