Monday, 31 October 2011


2011 by Jayam Raja - Tamil movie

Rajnikanth, I believe, is the ultimate mass hero from India. Which other contemporary Indian hero can ensure full  houses in cinemas as far as Japan and Russia. Within India itself, I havent seen any kind of mass hysteria related to one single super star, that can surpass Rajni's. Though his recent movies tries in someways to be different from the previous release, in the 80's and 90's all Rajni movie had a typical format. All over India, many other actors seems to have tried to replicate it, but I dont think anybody was as consistent as Rajni. Vijay, I believe, would be the Rajni of the future. It is told that many new-wave Tamil directors have approached Vijay with their different scripts, but Vijay was not interested. He always want to stick to his entertainment formula of comedy+love+family sentiments+songs+action, based on no brainer scripts. He still gave some of the best entertainers (Thullaatha Manavum Thullum, Kushi, Gilli, Pokkiri) in the last decade, which were not run of the mill no brainer stuff. For a couple of years, Vijay did not manage any big hits and there were news that he will now try to do different kind of movies. Velayudham is the first movie since, but it is an absolute no brainer actually.

Here again, the movie has a made up role fit to produce a super hero on a no questions asked story. Love, family, comedy and action all can fit in. Considering the fate of his past movies, Villu and Kuruvi, Vijay is brave to come back with yet another one. But there is some difference here between those stupid movies.In spite of all the pot holes and disadvantages, Velayudham is a good entertainer, if one is not bothered about other things.

Velayudham, if we keep our brains outside, is sheer entertainment and the credit should go to the director for sure. In fact, many comedy scenes are not anywhere close to the typical hilarious scenes of Vijay hits. Nor are the songs or dance sequences. But the movie still manages to keep an interest and entertains. Sure, this movie is not for the educated and thinking Indians. It is definitely aimed for those majority poor who wants some fun at the end of a hard day and sure they are entertained.

And Vijay is simply nice. This is definitely not his best entertainer. But his charm is too good to be ignored and  together with an understanding director, he pulls off a successful entertainer in Velayudham.

An out and out Vijay movie for the mass. I am happy Velayudham seems to be the biggest hit in South India, among the Dipawali releases. But how I wish Vijay will do at least one different movie in a year. Here is a man with talent, who chose not to use it for the sake of the ordinary people. 

Friday, 28 October 2011

7 aam Arivu

2011 by A R Murugadoss - Tamil movie

Murugadoss made a dream debut in Tamil with his Ghajini. He carried this success to Bollywood too remaking the same movie, and even bettering it by improving the original climax. I thought that was a very good gesture from his side, recognising mistakes and improving. Ghajini, of course was inspired by Memento. It is sure that Murugadoss is a fan of Hollywood and he gains lots of inspirations from the west. It is normal for people to expect a lot when this talented director joins his favourite star actor, Surya, again. This time, it is not possible to say that Murugadoss is directly inspired by any single movie, to my knowledge. But he has sure understood the Hollywood mantra of fear and disaster.

If this movie came in without the first 20 or 25 minutes, when movie dates back to many centuries, it would have still passed out as an average Indian entertainer, which have tried out the above Hollywood mantras. Here Murugadoss have picked up a kind of virus induced fever, which had its origin before 1600 years, to create the fear factor. And just like in Hollywood, he has picked a villain from a different country. Obviously China is a good choice, as there are heated debates as to whether China could be a real friend or if we should treat them as an enemy. I really felt Murugadoss did a Hollywood here and he does just ok. The plot is not quite strong and sounds bit silly too.

But it is the first 20 or 25 minutes which makes and kills this movie. These first minutes, are truly brilliant. It is in this part we are taken back to 1600 years, when Bodhi Dharma travels from India to China. Each and every single frame in this part is truly brilliant. I felt proud watching those scenes to be frank.
And in the negative, these 20 minutes gives us a very big hope that this movie is going to be a truly brilliant one. Unfortunately not. Even if the movie was released only with the first 20 minutes, as a short film, it would have been excellent.

When the movie comes back to the contemporary period, as mentioned earlier, it tends to be just ordinary. Lots of songs, at least couple of them are completely unnecessary, typical scenes which are reminiscent of similar Hollywood and Indian attempts and what not.

But even in between, there are some exceptional factors:

The Chinese villain, who has this ability to control the mind of others is one of those. As somebody wrote, A Hero can be as great as the villain only. So here Murugadoss has created an exceptional villain. And the Chinese actor who did this role is brillaint too.

An action scene, when the villain makes many motorists to try and kill the hero and heroine, I would say is the second highlight of the movie. I dont even know how long this scene was, as it was so nicely executed. A scene which will guarantee adrenaline rush. Brilliant.

There are so many moments, scattered through out the movie, which let us have a peak at the talents of Murugadoss. With a very good script, this director can do wonders. I really liked the way in which how he showed the killings done by the Villain, without showing anything at all.

The performance of Surya. It is like a multiple role for Surya and what an actor he is. His charm is incredible and he really can act. Both as Bodhi Dharman and Arvind, he was brilliant.

A scene where the heroine argues for Tamil language. I think, this could have been scripted and shot better, but the message clearly comes out. It was still a very good attempt.

It is a pity that this movie turned out this way, as an ordinary entertainer. Blame the brilliance of the beginning scenes may be, or blame the script and director for not thinking and planning over time.

I hope Shahrukh Khan watch this movie. There is so much for him to learn from it, may it be acting or execution or characterisation or what not. I think, Amir Khan might definitely want to remake this movie.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

RA - One

2011 by Anubhav Sinha - Hindi movie

It has been really long that I have tried to watch a Bollywood movie on the very first day. I would not even try to watch it unless its special. But for my wife, I had to book for RA- One. I had watched Rab ne Bana di Jodi too, only for her, in theatre. Normally I would not have. I do not like Sharukh as an actor, even if he is very sincere with his over acting. Nor do I consider him as a great box office sure bet. If yes, Swadesh, his very best movie yet, would have been a big success. I did like his Dilwale Dulhaniya..., Yes Boss and Chak De, which were good entertainers. Because of all the hype around RA- One and also because of the news that Sharukh wanted to make something even better than Enthiran, I did think this would not be a real disappointment. But I am afraid, this might be his worst movie ever. Compared to this movie, if any one dares to term his My Name is Khan as a classic, I will not blame him.

Like Amir Khan, Sharukh too seems to be obsessed in earning the credit of the western world. Most of the techinicians behind this movie are from Hollywood. And even the story, characters, moments, settings everything are in bits and parts taken from previous Hollywood sci-fi hits. And as always in Bollwood, half of the movie takes place in London. Still, inspite of being a Sci-fi one, the plot and the script fails to create a story logic, fit enough for a fantasy entertainer at least, is one of the major reasons why this movie disappoints.

The first 40 or 45 minutes of this movie is nearly a punishment. It is like watching any run of the mill Bollywood flick. Terrible experience. It gets slightly better after that, but nothing as to keep us engaged without wondering about the absurdity on the screen. Even the highly money absorbed special effects and visual effects are not consistent through out. They are really good for certain scenes, but there are at least few where it looks just allright. This is true even for the rest of the production values. There is a sheer lack of consistency. Even the huge amount of grains on the silver screen was an unpleasant surprise for such a huge movie. Add to it that the real encounters between the two game heroes, RA One and G One, is not that excellent or mind blowing for this kind of a movie. Especially the final end, to the super villain, is too poor to make any kind of excitement or adrenaline rush, forget any WOW feelings.

And the ways in which the writers have tried to evoke some laughter is pathetic, absolutely pathetic. I wonder what the western audience will think about Indian cinema, watching this highly promoted movie.

Stupid characterisation,(I will not be surprised if some South Indian critics will criticize the writers for making a clown of a South Indian character), which is epitomised by a widow who easily goes into a party dance few days after losing her husband and a school child who yearns for a super villain!!! And terrible performances as well. Even Sharukh Khan, who normally overacts just enough for us to not to laugh at him, doubles it out. This is definitely his worst. Only Arjun Rampal keeps calm, but he doesnt have anything to emote.

If Sharukh wanted to make the biggest modernised movie in India, with lots of production values, Special and Visual effects and all CG, then I am sure he has not even managed to reach the excellent levels set by Enthiran or Magadheera, both of which were also much better entertainers in all ways.

It is said, Sharukh pumped in more money and effort to this movie, after watching Enthiran. Obviously he wanted something better than a regional language movie. I cannot imagine, what would this movie have been, if it was completed before Enthiran

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Potta Potti

2011 by Yuvraj - Tamil movie

To my knowledge, Lagaan was the first Indian movie based on sports. I remember watching a movie in Doordarshan decades back, which had Deepti Naval as a teacher, with Football in it but if I remember well, Football was not the major theme in that. Following Lagaan, there was Chennai600028 and Chak De. Lagaan is my favourite of course, but of all these three movies Chennai - 8 was the real difference. That was quite a different effort which clicked impeccably. The climax simply was too brilliant and funny too. Sure, I would agree with those who would to like to believe that Chennai -8 or Chak De would have never happened if not for Lagaan. And now there is a new director using Cricket again. What more, he even uses a former Indian cricketer, Sadagopan Ramesh, as his hero. But Cricket is not the main character here, even if the movie ends with a match.

A typical Tamil village. Two cousins are vying to marry Ranjitha, who owns almost the whole village. When there is no way out, Ranjitha agrees to marry the cousin who will win a cricket match. There is nobody in the village who has any clue about cricket. One cousin kidnaps Ramesh, who was just driving through, to coach his team. The other is helped at first by a fake coach and later by a professional. 

Sincerely, there are no pretexts here. The whole aim of the movie is to provide some fun. But the film has done it in a simple and genuine way. Casting is simply brilliant. Kodaivannan, one of the cousins, who is always dressed in a bloody funny way and with his typical ordinary looks (I doubt if he will be offered such a role in any other Indian language movie) is a real master act in casting. The director picked his own assistant director, R Sivan, for the role when he could not find anybody for the role. And he was absolutely brilliant. And each and every actor, except the heroine may be, is a perfect cast who did their jobs to the best. And it is a really beautiful performance by S Ramesh. I really hope he will get more roles. He sure can act and he does have a flair for comedy too.

PP is full of hilarious moments, sometimes too simple and sometimes really too good. The movie lose its pace a little bit in the second half. And it is sure that the director didnt care much to shoot the cricket match in its glory. It is the build up to the match which was important through which he has created the fun. I just felt that if he had put in more effort and care, PP would have been a brilliant movie. Some changes here and there in the script and the movie could have been a master piece entertainer. Glad that it still was a success.

I would like to congratulate the Tamil moviegoers who make sure that such small movies get some respect in the box office. This is definitely what prompts more and more young directors to come up with different themes in Tamil. 

Monday, 24 October 2011


2011 by Anjana - Tamil movie

Most prominent Malayalam movie directors can be seen down playing the success of Tamil movies. I can understand their worry, when even female directors from Tamil are able to make better movies, how can they not down play the success of their neighbours.

Two brothers are nearly orphaned at a very young age and is been taken care of by a foster father. The elder brother works hard for his younger and also the daughter of the foster father. The younger brother also has a very close friend, who desperately wants to save a girl from a brothel. For this he gets into a drug deal and just for the sake of the friend, the younger brother is with him. Nothing works as they planned. 

Mostly the story is quite routine, but is really nice how this old story is changed for the modern times. In fact the script has so many issues tangled in like a web. The fate of a brother who unknowingly kills his mother, who lives for his brother, the friendship between the two friends and the girl, a father who works as a pimp in the same neighbourhood but is kept away by the elder brother, a lady local thug running the drug deals, the friends relation with a brothel girl. I liked very much how the script was able to hold all these together.

And the director, Anjana, has done a very good job too. She has not tried to go over board actually, has kept a kind of overt subtlety to every thing around, and there is a kind of realism every where. And through that very first shot and the end one, I would say, she really had given a real female version for a puzzle in the script, which would have normally been a different matter with other directors. She could have still done without one or two of those songs though.

Climax was really nice, except that it looked like both the brothers had pre planned what to do with their father.

Performances from all actors were brilliant, and so was the cinematography. I was especially impressed by Karthik Kumar,  who is so used to play a brilliant rich/middle class boy. What a difference from the typical stuff.

I am ready to wait for the next movie from Anjana. 

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Kokuhaku - Confessions

2010 by Tetsuya Nakashima - Japaneese movie

Seldom will this happen to me. I watch a movie and I am quite impressed. I do not have any questions about the brilliance of the movie. But I am not yet quite clear about certain aspects. I would want to watch that movie once again immediately. Normally I am so concentrated watching a movie, so I still do not understand why and how this happens, some times. May be my IQ is so low or what. anyways.

A grieving mother, who lost her very young daughter, is in her class room. She announces that she knows the two students who are responsible for the death of her daughter. She definitely has revenge in her mind, which she announces to the class. 

Frankly, a movie cannot be more different from this. The movie progress through many confessions, including the teacher, and it is simply brilliant. It is absolutely a brilliant movie.

However, I do have some doubts, which I am sure is not the problem of the movie, but mine that I got confused between two names. Of course, even those two main children, their faces looks very similar for me, I am confused. So I really am going to watch this once again as early as possible.

But anybody reading this, be assured, this movie is bloody brilliant. It can be very disturbing and it is really a kind of dark movie, even if it is all about the revenge of a mother. I would say, it is a must watch that except for some factors, this movie has elements which are universally valid and important.

And the cinematography is too brilliant. And I cant help wonder, how all these teenage students managed to give this kind of a performance on such a complex plot. Asbolutely brilliant. 

Friday, 21 October 2011


2010 by Doze Niu - Taiwaneese movie

Obviously I cannot recognise between Taiwaneese and Mandarin. I looked at this movie only as a Chinese one. But many has placed this movie among one of the best Chinese movies in 2010.

80's. Monga is a region in Taiwan which has so many mafia bosses. There is a rivalry between the two prominent gangs here. A college student, without any prior intentions, has to join one of these gangs and ends up in the thick  of gang wars and even ends up meeting his biological father. 

It would be absurd to rate this as just another gang war movie. It is not. It is not anything like Godfather too. But it is all right to think about this one like Goodfellas and similar movies. There is something very special about this movie which makes me think so. Some of the early moments of the youth team, including the moment they discuss their dreams, and the realisation by Mosquito, about the kind of real violence involved, his relation with the prostitute girl and all is really brilliant. The climax especially, is superbly brilliant, that it can even compete with some of the best artisitic and classy movies.

The movie seems to have been made to give an epic feeling, I guess. I did think that it is slightly longer, but on second thoughts, I am not sure about that. The whole story, even if it happens only in a short span of time, does give a classy epic kind of feeling. Those scenes between one of our guys and the girl in the brothel is simply classic. Almost everything about this movie, especially the cinematography and the music, is more than excellent and may I repeat, the climax is brilliant.

If this was a hollywood movie, I am sure it would have got universal acclaim. Most people I know, have seen Goodfellas or Casino or similar movies. But almost all of them would never be seeing Monga. It is just a pity. 

Thursday, 20 October 2011


2005 by Phil Morrison - English movie

Another night when I wanted the movie to end before the Champion league match, so yet again had to go for a Hollywood movie. But this time, it was quite different. This movie is more European than American, for its cinematic values.

An art dealer has to travel to a village to meet an eccentric artist. She takes her husband along who is actually from the same region and decides to go to his family. In his family, she meets his parents, his brother and his pregnant wife. 

I must confess, I never expected this movie to be so good. I picked it because of Amy Adams. But it is really really a different movie. One movie which I will place almost in the levels of A love song for Bobby Leong, which is still more dear to me. But, what makes this movie a very special one is the character Ashley, the pregnant daughter in law in the family, played super brilliantly by Amy Adams. To be frank, I liked her as a charming actress, but I never thought she was such a good actor. This is an incredible character, the overtly romantic, overtly extrovert and silly and nice Ashley, who happened to decide and pick on her life partner at a very early stage of her life, at high school. Slowly she finds him changing, changing to a very strange person with no care for her or no exhibition of his love for her that she seems to have decided to become a mother at a young age, on the hope that seeing the baby she will get her loving partner back.

Let me repeat, I was awe struck by the character of Ashley and the performance. Beyond words actually. I dont know if I ever felt so sorry for any character in an American movie. While watching Il Postino, we feel for our silly postman. But the feeling we have for Ashley is even more in a sad way. It is hard to believe that we will find this kind of girl or wife in a western world. Ashley is in a situation, where 99% of western women will simply walk out of the marriage, but she behaves more like an Asian. There is a shot of Ashley touching herself, when her uninterested husband, both sooo young, is in the next room. That scene was so moving. And her hope that he will change for good soon, made me even sad.

For the rest, each and every character in this family is quite different is what makes this movie very special. I dont think it made clear why and how Ashley's husband changed so, though. So was the reaction of the elder son at the end, driving back to the city. He looked so nice with them, expecting his wife to be nice and concerned to the family, but his reaction as he drives back is baffling though.

On Cinematic qualities, this movie is anything but Hollywood. It is more like a European movie actually.

Beautiful and heart touching movie. And brilliant for Amy Adams. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Leap Year

2010 by Anand Tucker - English movie

I had to pick up a movie, which would finish in time for the kick off for the Champions league football matches.  All other movies I had, looked lengthier and hence had to pick this one, which looked like a typical Hollywood romantic comedy.

Anna flies to Ireland to propose to her friend on a  leap day. By Irish traditions the man should never reject this. Due to bad weather, she has to take a long ride from a coastal village in Ireland to Dublin and Declan, the owner of a small pub, agrees to take her. 

I will be lying, if I will say that this movie was not entertaining. It is typical of every other romantic comedies and we can easily see what happens next consistently. But but.. there is a very simple and interesting way of humour in the movie, which will keep us engaged. In fact, there are so many nice funny moments for 2/3rds of the movie, till it reaches those final moments when those typical realisation moments in r.comedies happen. In spite of some of those fun looking quite made up, I still could laugh. And the three couples kissing at the dinner table in a B&B, was definitely the best moment in this movie for me. That was really nice and lovely.

Amy Adams is full of charm and is the major plus in the movie. I am especially glad that she does not go like many other Hollywood actresses in the mid 30's, trying to bring down the body weight there by ending up looking quite defigured, with high cheek bones. She looks gorgeous I must say. Matthew Goodde as Declan also is charming.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Des Hommes et des dieux - Of Gods and Men

2010 by Xavier Beauvois - French movie

There are times, when I watch a pure artistic movie and I would find it too intelligent or too much artistic for me. Either I would end up not understanding it or I would find it really bohring. Des Hommes... was suggested as a very serious movie and I was sure what to expect. But I must admit, I was really flabbergasted/brilliantly terrified by this one. A movie all people belonging to all religions across the whole world should definitely watch.  This movie is all against stereo typing or hate mongering or making judgements. Absolutely Brilliant.

Somewhere in Algeria, there are nine monks in a Christian monastery, which is located in a muslim village. The villagers considers the monastery as the branches and themselves as the birds, describes how each depend on. Then during the Algerian civil war extremist forces start killing all foreigners around and the monks too have to be afraid. 

Till the end of this movie, I did not have any idea that this was a true story. Towards the very last scene, we are quite sure what is the fate of the monks and we feel quite sad and then comes the end credits briefing what exactly happened and I was quite grief struck. I felt like I should not have known that this was a true story.

This is truly a master peice, I would say. With the synopsis I expected it to be a very slow and serious movie. And it sure is. But I salute the script and the director to make it as engaging as any thriller movie. There are no elements befitting any entertainer or thriller and the movie actually has a very spiritual back ground. There are even lots of prayers and hymns, which normally I would hate to listen to. But in this movie, they are used so wonderfully. The nine monks and of course the few villagers who gains prominence in the script are so wonderful characters that we get really engaged. The faces of all those monks are still etched in me.

I wish everybody watch this movie. Not just for a great cinematic presentation of a true story, but it is more than that. It shows how normal and peaceful life could be between different religions, even in their serious religious forms, co existing, unless there are outside elements who can infringe into their co existence. The makers of this movie deserves lots of praise to not picturise even a single Muslim, other than the extremists, as somebody who is against the monks. And there is dignity offered even to an extremist here. The scene when the extremists arrive in the monastery and negotiating with the monks, is so brilliant, kind of spine chilling to be frank.

I would rate this as one of the very best movies I ever saw. Everything about this movies is so brilliant, the script, the director, the camera and all the other technicians, each and every actor....

I am so glad I saw this. 

Monday, 17 October 2011

Veeraputhran, The Legend

2011 by P T Kunju Muhammed - Malayalam movie

May be because of its location, Kerala has never really experienced the real travails of war or any disastrous calamities. Even during the freedom struggle, there was not any notably prominent episodes that occured in Kerala, except for a strike for temple entry for all, which really got the whole nation behind it, or which was really  inspired by historians. Except for a minor exceptions (for national prominence) Kerala was always away from anything serious, war or freedom struggle or whatever it may be. It could be argued that this could be one reason why Malayalam movies have never managed a really good attempt which touched the plots of war or freedom struggle. The only one movie which, I think, portrayed anything seriously was Meenamaasathile Sooryan, by Lenin Rajendran, which was in the 80's. We have not managed even a good movie on the famed Punnapra Vayalaar strike. Only small fractions of population were affected by any such strikes or riots, must be the reason, why we never make films on such serious issues, or why any of our film makers have ever been inspired to make such movies. Mohammed Abdul Rahman was a prominent freedom fighter in Malabar, who inspired many Keralan poets, but it took so long for a movie to be made on him.

The movie goes through the events between 1921 and 1945, during which this legend rose into prominence in North Kerala. 

I always have felt, Malayalam movies lack something to make good period or historic movies. In all our history, we have got only very few, really few number of good period movies. I consider only Vaishali, Perundachhan, Oru Vadakkan Veeragaadha and Parinayam as good period movies from Malayalam. Except for the recent Urumi, all those movies happened in 80's and had the same person, M T Vasudevan Nair as the script writer, is more than interesting. Actually, none of them had anything to do with freedom struggle, though Parinayam dealt with a very serious issue during those years. But even M T's attempt at creating a period script, based on freedom struggle, I would say was a failure with Pazhassiraja. Kaalapaani, by Priyadarshan, was an attempt too, but failed inspite of getting the looks of a period movie right. But that was the only movie, which got the technical side right. All the tehcnical aspects and the looks of that movie really had a period feel.

Veeraputhran, is yet another proof that we lack something, when it comes to making good period movies. The movie is based on a novel, but the script fails very badly, or during its conversion to the script, the writer failed in picking up or setting up scenes, which could offer importance or cinematic value. The first half of the movie hence is really horrible. Only the second half manages to evoke some interest, but I would sincerely say it does not do justice to the legend of Abdu Rahman Sahib.

Most parts of the movie has only the quality of amateur drama to be honest. The director wants to touch into the personal life and interests of Sahib is sure, but the scenes all look misfit, just like square pegs in a round hole. Add to it, his idea to put in few songs, it looks really terrible. I was really disappointed to see one song especially, picturised between Sahib and his wife, which was an absolute misfit for this kind of a movie.

But inspite of all its drawback, I would still give a big credit for the director for just one aspect. Narain performs the role of Sahib, and even if the script does not demand any extra ordinary performance, Narain seems to have put his heart into it. Yes, even without any need to put a varied lot of facial expressions, especially with his body language, Narain seems to have imbibed the persona of Sahib and personally I found he did justice to the character. I felt like looking at Sahib, rather than a popular actor. So kudos to the director and actor on this aspect.

Otherways, I am sorry to say that the movie was very disappointing. 

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Yasamin Kiyisinda - The edge of heaven

2007 by Fatih Akin

I would have never looked for this movie if not for Soul Kitchen. It looks very simple, how one movie leads to another, very interesting and special I would say. Some times the director of a movie leads me to his other movies and some times its the actors. I am glad, I can keep finding new movies without any break.

Ali, an old Turkish immigrant living in Germany meets a whore, Yeter, and ask her to live with him, for a pay. His son Nejat, a University professor, even before he can air his opinion about the situation, has to take Ali to hospital, because of a heart attack. He softens up to Yeter, when he comes to know that she has a girl in Turkey for whom she lives for. Ali accidently kills Yeter and Nejat wants to find and help Yeter's daughter in Turkey. This takes him to Turkey. At the same time, Yeter's daughter Ayten is part of a Turkish resistance group and has to flee Turkey, to Germany. She meets Lotte, a university student, and soon they have a great relationship. 

It is really impossible to explain all the feelings we go through while watching this movie. Of course, not with my writing inabilities. What a great movie, which is more like two or three stories running at the same time.

A brilliant script in fact, in which all these main characters who are in search for the other, Nejat for Ayten, Ayten for Yeter, and even the later searches by Lotte and her mother , all cris cross at some point, but without any knowledge of the others, except us the viewer.

Simply put, this is a truly brilliant movie which tells us so many stories of so many interesting and different characters, all in a single story. Everybody, Ali, Nejat, Yeter, Ayten, Lotte and her mother, all remain etched in front of our eyes, long after the movie is over.

The script is brilliant, but the director is superbly brilliant. I understand why many people consider Fatih Akin as one of the most promising director in Europe. Brilliant cinematography too, yet another example of shooting without telling the presence of the camera.

The movie has dialogues in both Turkish and German, as the story happens in both nations. I thought its mostly Turkish. Whatever, language doesnt matter for cinema, is quite a sentence, watching this movie. 

Friday, 14 October 2011

Shor in the City

2011 by Krishna DK & Raj Nidimoru - Hindi movie

It is very rare that I feel happy at the end of a Bollywood movie. I really do not understand why Bollywood did not look proud about this movie. They always seems to promote some really stupid movies which is very unIndian. Here is a real Indian or Mumbai one from Bollywood.

5 characters in Mumbai city. Tilak publishes pirated books and sells them on the street and has two close friends, Ramesh and Mandook, who live on petty thievery. Sawan desperately wants to be selected in the Under 22 cricket team, so that he can start a new life with his girl friend whose parents are presenting a groom every day to get her married immediately. Abhay has just arrived in India and starts a small business. 

All these characters are linked some ways through the petty underworld thugs and the movie climaxes on the Vinayak Chathurthy festival day, when the first 4 are part of a horribly stupid bank robbery and the last wants to get rid of the petty thugs who has taken all his peace.

For so many aspects; the realism in the plot and settings which is rarely present in Bollywood, the vividness of the 5 main characters who are all some how linked together in the plot through the 3 small time thugs, for all those petty acts by the first three, the brilliant humour which is omni present and for a very fitting climax, I found this movie really good, a simple but wonderful entertainer. It is excellent because it does not follow the typical extra vagant methods of Bollywood, keeps it simple and genuine and still manages to entertain us. And the movie has a brilliant pace that we never feel that it has taken so much of our time. Its like the movie starts and within a second it finished.

There are so many hilarious moments in this movie. Some of this moments look really naive, but I found it really funny. And actually the writers are taking a real poke at the ways and psyche of the Mumbai society.  And some of the moments between the thugs and Abhay is quite shocking and chilling too.

The performances are truly exceptional. It is only very rarely that we feel the power of performances from a Bollywood movie. And especially Pitabash Tripathy as Mandook was brilliant. Each and every moment involving this actor was really really wonderful. Finally after long time, am able to see a new actor from Bollywood, who can act without acting.

This is a truly wonderful movie from Bollywood, but such a pity movies like this do not get the attention it requires. Every Bollywood movie which pretends, is marketed so well, but a true Indian movie from Bollywood is not. What a pity. I hope Bollywood will feel proud about this movie rather than about Shaitan or Delhi Belly.  

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Tangshan Dadizhen - Aftershock

2010 by Xiaogang Feng - Mandarin , from China

Watching a nicely captured emotional moment, occassionally I can feel tears in my eyes. But it is rarely that the tears flow down. Watching this epic disastrous family saga, I was not feeling tears, but I could feel tears flowing down like rivers. I dont remember the last time when this occured to me. A hand kerchief is a must watching this movie, I bet even the ultra hard hearted would cry. It is actually Hollywood who makes the most movies on disasters. In fact it is their best selling plot. They are the masters in inducing fear and making money of it. But I can hardly pick a Hollywood disaster movie with a real heart. Of course, there was a Titanic. But after watching T D, I could not think about a single movie which can match this one. A family saga out of a disaster.

The 1976 Tangshan earthquake had killed more than 2,40,000 people. A young mother lost her husband and soon has to chose between her twins, as only one could be saved from the rubbles and finally chose for her son and soon moves to the refugee camp. The girl, who could hear very well the decision of her mother, however is alive and is adopted by a military couple who were in the rescue team. The movie is about the next 32 years, when the girl and the boy grows up, seperately. The girl with a real hatred for the mother who chose to not have her, and the boy with lots of love for the mother who though alive, mourns her husband and girl every day.

'God - You Bastard' - screams out the mother towards the skies, in a brilliant shot, when she finds her husband and daughter dead. If I have to chose the best heart felt moment from all the movies, I might chose this one. That was such a stupendous moment and is like a pre cursor of an epic movie. The first 20 minutes is all about the 1976 earth quake and this has been so brilliantly captured, as good or even better than any Hollywood movie. But therein, starts the real movie and it is all about a family.

Of course, even in that first 20 minutes, there are so many moments which are so brilliant, emotionally. But what follows is a like such a beautiful family story. A mother who has lost everything except for a young boy who lost his hand. A little girl, who is adopted by a loving couple from the People's Liberation Army, who finds it impossible to forget the words of her mother - save my son - and hence decides to not go back to Tangshan any more, inspite of the insistence of her foster father. The son, who grows up with the mother and the foster parents of the girl are there too, but its the two female characters, the mother and the girl who makes this movie a real family saga. And the love for the family is so much an important factor in this movie, from all the characters except the girl who have this hatred for her mother. The son's love for his mother trying to get her the best of comforts at the old age, the love of foster parents to the girl and vice versa and especially of the mother who does not want to move out of Tangshan, in the belief of her husband and daughter's soul finding it difficult to find her is so beautiful. The latter especially is so touching.

As the movie progress, all would definitely wish for a reunion of the family and the movie does exactly the same. But the journey towards it goes on like a real family epic. And that final reunion is so moving and emotional that I am sure, I will cry, even if I watch it again. I am sure I am going to watch this movie again.

The whole 32 years is told in a fast pace and it definitely looks like the director asked for some extra work from the editor. I sincerely felt, some scenes could have been more elaborate. How many movies can give us this feeling actually. In TD, there are more than a couple of scenes where we wish we could have had little bit more. The meeting of the brother and sister after 32 years, for one example. I specifically liked the idea that the reunion of the brother and sister happened at another earth quake site, in 2008.

Just because of the above, I am sure, there might be many who would argue this movie could have been much better as an epic movie. I too think, this movie could have been lengthier, but I am extremely satisfied with what I saw. The beauty and the epic nature of the story is so brilliant and beautiful that it can help us forgo any negatives. For me, there are hardly any negatives. Brilliant script and director, brilliant in the technical aspects including the CG which is pure world class and top brilliant performances by all in the cast except the white guy who came as the husband of the girl. It is ok, because he hardly has two scenes.

Just another moment, when I sincerely wish India starts releasing movies from across the world. Right now we only go for Hollywood. I know so many people who boast about watching international movies, but actually hasnt seen anything out of Hollywood. And for many Chinese movies means the Jackie Chan movies of the 80's. I am confident now that China has made a big leap into the modern world of movies and are right now making world class movies, may it be entertainers or artistic ones. For all movie lovers of India, I hope India will soon globalize as far as Cinema is concerned and start releasing movies from across the world. It is such a pity our people dont get to see such epics as Tangshan Dadizhen. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Quelque chose a te dire - Blame it on Mum

2009 by Cecile Telerman - French movie

Most of the time in our family movies, love and caring is omni present between everybody. There is always caring, smiles, laughters, concern and what not between every member in the family. Only very rarely have we picturised family lives in a different ways, close to reality.

The Celliers family is from the high class. A retired millionaire father, a house wife mother who have everything that money can buy, two daughters and a son who is running a sinking business. The elder daughter meets a police officer, who is just bohred with his married life. And a secret, which is unknown to the children unfolds. 

The secret in the family is nothing novel and is nicely brought out. But I could not help thinking about the movie Secrets & Lies. But otherways, this movie is very different. The relation ship between the parents, the 3 children and the wife and children of the son, all folds out in a very natural way, but all along presenting us a kind of uneasy feeling which is there between all the family members. Nobody there is happy for sure except for the pretentive mother, whose character is quite devlish.

The relationship between the Police officer and the daughter and also his wife is quite interesting, but the beginning of the relationship was a bit unnatural. The script concentrates on the view point of the man, but I couldnt help wonder about the feelings of his wife. What is her view on their bohring relation ship. I felt really sorry for this woman.

This is quite a dramatic movie. Nothing great, but there are brilliant moments through out which shows the competence of the script and director in bringing out exceptional moments and performances. Charlotte Rampoling as the rich housewife, steals the show anyways. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Soul Kitchen

2009 by Fatih Akin - German movie

I came across this movie hoping it to be a food movie. It wasn't. But it did not disappoint even otherwise.

A guy who runs a shabby restaurant, hires a talented cook under some extra ordinary circumstances and finds some business. He is also having difficulties dealing with his girl friend who is working in China. 

Zino, the Greek origin guy, definitely manages a lot of sympathy from the viewers, how all things go against him, even losing his girl friend and even his restaurant. But there is a bit of laughter behind, which mean the movie is quite entertaining at the same time, in unusual way though. And it ends up nearly like a romantic comedy, with some intelligence.

A good watch from an interesting young director. Performance from the whole cast is exceptional. 

Monday, 10 October 2011

Engeyum Eppothum

2011 by Saravanan - Tamil movie

A friend of mine, a movie buff as much as myselves, is a typical Keralite in the fact that he looks down upon Tamil. He called me after the very first show of Indian Rupee, hailing the revival of Malayalam cinema with yet another great movie with a message and what not. He is interesting because he is typical of the average Malayaalee attitude towards Tamil cinema. He has seen each and every Malayalam movie but he would not do that with Tamil, inspite of boasting as a movie buff. Like most other Malayaalees, he has a specific criteria to decide which Tamil movie to watch. Either it has to be associated with Kamal haassan or Mani ratnam or it should be a Rajnikanth movie (obviously only to laugh and look down upon) or some of the big movies starred by Vijay or Surya, again to just insult these  hard core entertainers as stupid. And recently he has also included Gautham Menon to the list of Kamal and Ratnam. He would not have seen Aadukalam or Mirugam or Angaaditheru and many others if not for my insistence. And he has clear pre conceived notions about the quality of Tamil movies that he is happy to not watch them and still criticize them. And even when he watch  a movie like Aadukalam or Kalloori he simply only wants to nit pick or will say that all these Tamil new age directors are inspired by the 80's Malayalam. He is yet to watch Engeyum Eppodhum and I doubt he will. I had love to know his comments on this one though. I am sure he will be jealous. It is unbelievable that Tamil cinema manages to bring in new directors, one after another, who are all coming out with an incredibly brilliant debut. Saravanan, doesnt have a single dialogue in this movie about his message, but by the end of the movie the message is quite clear with immediate impact. Ranjith can take a point or two from this director on how to get a message across without lengthy dialogues.

One bus going from Trichy to Chennai and a second going from Chennai to Trichy crash each other.

India can top the list of countries infamous for rave driving. And the message in this movie is just that. But just showing an accident cannot make an Indian movie. So Saravanan creates four adorable characters and shows their moments prior to the bus ride, nicely entwined with the bus ride. The result is a nice love story of two couples, ending up on a fatal bus ride.

There are four brilliant characters here, Amudha and Gautham form one pair who met in Chennai. Manimegalai and Kadhiresan form the second pair who meets in Trichy. I cant help rave  about these characters, especially the female characters. Amudha is a typical Indian girl, naive and scared about strangers just like any small town girl arriving into a metro city. Manimegalai is what makes this movie very special. How did Indian cinema had the guts to portray such a female character. A really brilliant female role. I simply wish we will have more writers making characters like Manimegalai, that it can even prompt more ordinary girls to be bold and get out of their silly and helpless image. I salute the man behind this character. Absolutely brilliant and necessary. Some of her acts, like the blood test, is what our women should follow when they are thinking about finding a life partner. I sincerely hope, may be I am being naive here, more and more girls watch this movie and take a cue from Manimegalai rather than Amudha. Amudha is typical of our ordinary girls and this should be our past. Manimegalai should be our future.

The kind of simple and effective humour which accompanies the relationship of these couples is so refreshing and brilliant. If not for the occassional splashing of the accident scenes, we would completely forget that this movie is about a road accident. Yes, there is no surprise about these accident and what is going to happen with the hapless passengers. Inspite of that, it keeps us engaged is not a small feat.

At least some might find the emotional scenes a bit over board, but I am afraid it isnt. Tamil culture is overtly expressional and I found all those scenes quite allright. The director just stuck to the normal ways of his people, rather than making something to please the film festival audiences.

I sincerely salute the makers of this movie. A brilliant movie with a needy message. All the more the character of Manimegalai is definitely the need of the hour, when more and more girls are easily cheated in the modern day gadget world. Manimegalai is what our girl should emulate, rather than being naive like Amudha.

Excellent performances by the 4 leading actors, Jai, Sarva, Anjali and Ananya. Ananya gives us lots and lots of laughter in the beginning and the others too. But I would give my award for Anjali. Her 'I love you' is the best in dialogue delivery in the recent times, for me.

I am really really happy about this movie and wish everybody will watch it, especially our girls and women. Often movies and characters have a direct effect on the ways of our youth. I sincerely hope Manimegalai will influence our young girls.

Well, I cannot help think about Kalloori now. There is a strange similarity in both these movies is a glitch though. 

Indian Rupee

2011 by Ranjith - Malayalam movie

Ranjith definitely is considered a reliable director for Malayalam cinema. I will always sing praises of his Kaiyyoppu and Paleri Manickyam - oru paathira Kolapaathakathinte kadha. Then there are also movies like Praanchiyettan and the Saint, Nandanam and Thirakkadha. Unfortunately though, each and every Ranjith movie is built around certain aspects of Malayalam culture (except in Thirakkadha), which will turn the movie as difficult to comprehend for a foreigner or even an Indian out of Kerala. Ranjith looked very unhappy when Paleri Manickyam and Praanchiyettan, the latter especially, didnt get much accolades in the national awards. The reason is quite clear. His movies are built around genuine Malayaali life with all its subtleties, intricacies and extravaganzas, which are all expressed via dialogues, which only an average Malayaalee can understand. It is impossible to blame those outside Kerala for not giving due credit for Praanchiyettan or Paleri Manickyam. For anybody who does not know Keralan life very well, these movies would look very ordinary. Ranjith has again picked up a plot, which is quite contemporary and ordinary for a Malayaalee.

Two young men are dreaming to make it big in real estate business, as their only hope to climb the ladder to getting rich. Overnight they make some money and when they dream even bigger, they are forced to see the other side of getting rich. 

I can only say that Indian Rupee is a very good average movie. Nothing big nor small. Considering that this is made by a director who gave us movies like Pranchiyettan and Paleri or even Kaiyoppu, Indian rupee is just an ordinary fare. But it is quite simple enough and never goes really overboard that we can give it a very good pass. Nothing more or less. I wish Ranjith looks higher up than Paleri or Praanchiyettan.

Ranjith does try to look into certain aspects of contemporary Keralan life, like the malaise of arranged marriages cherried by dowry and also the urge to find easy money by todays youth. The formal is touched upon by few dialogues only, but it does receive good attention. The latter seems to be the main point behind this movie. One could argue that may be he tried to bring out the infamous ways of real estate brokers and their mal practices to fore through this attempt, rather than pointing out fingers at the greed of our youth. From all what I read, I thought Ranjith aimed for the latter. Eitherways, we have two predecessors in the recent past.

Ividam Swargamaanu, dealt nicely with the mal practices of the real estate mafia to some extent. And Maaya Kannadi (by Cheran in Tamil) portrayed wonderfully the urge of the youth for easy money. Maaya Kannadi definitely is a much better film as it had a beautiful story based on two working class youth characters, well etched out, trying hard to get rich.

Lets forget about all this and just think about Indian Rupee. It is quite simple and is devoid of many routine spicy factors, with a plot which looks very different from the ordinary. Excellent performances by Prithviraj, Thilakan, Tini Tom and Jagathy. And a simple and supportive camera work from S. Kumar (for me Kumar sir is the specialist in Malayalam to give the available light feeling).

So basically it looks refreshing, but is still not devoid of run of the mill cliches. Like the arrival of a friend from the Gulf, when the hero is in need of urgent money and few other things. Some of the characters, like that of Achutha Menon (Thilakan) and the retired doctor in Merkara (Revathy), looks quite vague and strange. And I would also say it was absolutely unnecessary to add two songs in this movie, one of them was horribly picturised too. When will we have a hero who cannot sing or is afraid to take huge decisions like agreeing to make 1 crore rupees in a few days. This is especially strange because at one point the hero is described by his own mother as somebody who doesnt have even Rs.30 in his valet. But somebody is ready to offer him 50lakhs. Anyways..

I wonder how much would this movie help to rise the career graph of Ranjith. For an artiste of his calibre, I would say, either his graph is stagnant or even it has dipped slightly. For, Indian Rupee is no where near Paleri Manickyam, which inspite of its climax glitches looked brilliant. Indian Rupees is just a simple good average movie.

Sunday, 9 October 2011


2011 by Nishikant Kamat - Hindi movie

Kaakka Kaakka, for me, together with Drohkaal, is the best Police movie from India. It was an absolutely brilliant movie from the entertainment sectors of Tamil movies, which was like a trend setter. Never before had a hero of few worlds felt so superb and macho like Surya as Anpuchelvan IPS. I saw that movie about 4 times in theatres itself and so many times on a dvd. I still remember the reaction of a girl from New York, who looked shocked by the unexpected sheer quality of machoist heroism from an Indian regional language movie. For her the stupidity of Bollywood was all what meant till then. When I knew that Force was inspired by KK, I was sure that would be pathetic. I would not have seen it, if not for a review here which mentioned it was allright with some plus's. Well....

Once the movie was over, I tried to think as if I had never seen KK and if I would like Force then. Well, I would have found it slightly ok movie, compared to routine Bollywood. Thats all. Because all those typical things which makes Bollywood bohring is still very much there in Force. This inspite of having a director who gave two nice movies in Dombivali Fast and Mumbai Meri Jaan. It is as if, Bollywood simply cannot look at things in a simple and ordinary way. Most things has to be told in an over board or exaggerated way. Quite frankly, an Autorickshaw in an Indian regional movie will change to a luxury car in Bollywood. like wise. ...anyways lets forget about such things but still. Anybody who is not clear about the meaning of Overboard, only just have to watch KK and Force and it would be perfectly clear, I guess.

It is nice to see that the title credits KK as the inspiration for the movie. But therein, lots of changes has been made into the scenes and structures. These changes only makes the script a typical Bollywood one, if not for the basic plot. I could not find a single aspect which was bettered from the original, except for the production values. At least when Ghajini was remade into Hindi, the ordinary climax in Tamil was changed to a better one, which turned out to be the only betterment from the original.

The hallmark of KK, was its machoism (with some very cute romantic interludes). A kind of hero whom we would love to be a fan of. Almost all the scenes of Surya in KK, had a very specific impact, which was brilliantly managed by the actor, director, camera man and editor, an impact which would make the viewer immediately worship and believe in the hero. That team work is missing here and add to it the lack of acting powers, it looks horrible. Of course, I never expected John Abraham to overtake Surya with his acting, but he just ends up as a good looking chocolate guy. The only two actors who looked good in their roles were Mohnish Behl and Vidyut Jamval. The latter especially would look perfect, for anyone who has not watched KK.

So many of those thrilling scenes from KK, has been recreated here without its real charm, may it be the attack by the villain at the ACP's residence or the ACP facing the acid test of the bad guys or even simply that scene towards the end when the ACP walks out of the hospital. In KK, this last scene, when the ACP pulls  his shirt and walks out of the hospital, it was so brilliant and heroic and one reason for the success of that scene was the team work between the actor, director, camera and editor. Here this looked absolutely horrible. Anyways, thats the case with many other scenes too, including the ones between ACP and his girl. Even the charm of Genelia cant help it out. Inspite of being an out and out action movie, KK also had brilliant music, which was so nicely picturised too. The same music director works here too, but the result is really poor.

I simply do not understand why movies had to be remade after all, in India. Will it not be better to show the same movie, dubbed or with subtitles. At least, that could help in little ways to bring our different states and its people together. May be..


2011 by Prabhu Deva - Tamil movie

How can a director who made a movie like Pokkiri, a wonderfully entertaining entertainer, stoop so low. This level is so abysmal considering the fact that Prabhu Deva knows something about the movie world from his very childhood.

A run of the mill entertainment story with a hero, heroine, sister, police and villain.

This is just old wine in old bottle, just the label designed with new elements though. It looks stupid even than some of the 90's movies.

I simply do not understand what this movie will do for the career graph of Vishal or Prabhu Deva.
At least, just like it happened with Engeyum Kadhal, at least I expected some nicely shot song sequences. But Prabhu Deva disappoints us even in that segment. There is only one song - the 'right' number-  which is worth listening or watching too.

Absolute waste of time it was. 

Les aventures extraordinaires de Adele Blanc - sec - The extra ordinary adventurs of Adele Blanc-sec

2010 by Luc Besson - French movie

It is true that I am almost convinced about the superiority in cinematic prowess of the French movie industry. But just like even Usain Bolt making a false start, any movie industry can make bad movies of their own.

A popular writer, in early 20th Century, has to cure her twin sister and sets out on an adventurous mission. 

A full fledged fantasy which is picturised as stupidly or even more stupid than similar Hollywood movies. In fact this one is even poorer than ordinary Hollywood fantasy flicks. I never thought even French actors can act badly.

A real waste of time. Feels like asking, Tu et Brutus... 

Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis - Welcome to the land of Ch'tis

2008 by Danny Boon - French movie

It is impossible to ignore all the talks about the good and bad about the North and South of France. Just like the English will talk about weather, the French would easily jump into discussions about the North, South stereotypes. In fact, we find such stero types in all countries. The small state of Kerala, even, have its own long list of stereo types between South and North. However, it is surprising that (to my knowledge) such things have never been used as a plot for movie in India.

Philippe is working in South of France and is being transferred to the North. His wife sees him off, as if he is going to a dreaded land inhabited by monsters, speaking a special French which is full of Ch'tis. 

Can there be any better way to make a movie on such sterotypes, within a nation. I would doubt it. This is brilliant, simply for the plot, for making a nice story around it and also for its brilliant execution with humour as the icing on the cake.

The movie is full of hilarious scenes, but we can always find something behind those scenes. Just like Philippe realises the hollowness behind the stero types, we too know that often we simply believe and follow many news or beliefs without any proof or personal experiences to support.

I am getting into a fan of David Boon, not just as an actor, but also as a brilliant director. He is definitely one of the best contemporary comedians of French cinema. But to conceive a movie like this and being a director and playing a second most prominent part in the movie is no ordinary feat. It is difficult to chose whether David excels as a director or actor. But for that maestro performance, I am forced to pick him up as an actor, with all respects to his talents as a director.

This is an absolutely brilliant comedy. It is just a level above the usual comedies just because of its plot. A must watch, should I say. 

Rien a Declarer - Nothing to declare

2010 by Dani Boon - French movie

Past week was so busy. I could watch my movies, but it was impossible to find time to even write a word about them. I could not even check news about Messi or Barcelona during all these days. There are still lots to do, but I thought I should post about my movies, at least a few words before I forget the movies or even their names.

I was lucky to have travelled by road between France and Spain. During that drive through the Pyrenees, I was quite attracted by the quietness and emptiness around the French - Spanish international border. Now, I am able to watch a movie which is built around such an international border which was made worthless by the formation of the Chengen visa and Euro.

French Belgium border. A Belgique customs officer naturally hates his French counterpart, but his sister is in love with the French. Soon the border is to be dissolved and a combined force to check smuggling is formed and both have to work together. 

A simple and entertaining comedy with a good plot. There are typical cliches here and there, but altogether it gives a lot of good laughs. The movie does tend to be routine towards the end, but it is not possible to ignore many laughs it provided till then.

Dany Boon himself and Benoit Poelvoorde excells in their roles as the officers.

Overall a good comedy, but nowhere near the typical French classics.