March 23, 2009
While Abhay is still being interviewed, Bobby also talks about Abahy, Abhay's "pet" name and the possibility of them being in a movie together. Seriously, Bobby just needs to find a decent movie which can show him off properly. Its time. I feel all positive re: him after he has told us of Abhay's name within the family, "Dimpy" (because of those ever loving dimples? aww) and Abhay's cartooning skills.
Also, see: other than welding and dating, Abhay has also been attending Indian-related events in NY :)
March 19, 2009
There are of course movies that attempt to saddle both the commercial and the art house, like Shiva (1989), which made such a strong impact on moviegoers that it was made in multiple languages, and even remade by its director in 2006 (albeit to disastrous results). Shiva is violent, underscoring the criminal and political underbelly of Indian universities, and works, despite the lead, Nagarjuna looking old enough to be a professor. There have been other movies since, including Haasil (2003) and Dil Dosti Etc (2007), but neither of these did much for me. And then there was Gulaal.
Like other university politics movies, there are multiple characters here with multiple back stories- and yet, each character is well etched, and before the end of the movie, you get a sense of what makes each one tick and why.
The movie opens with Kay Kay Menon, extolling the virtues of a self-governed Rajasthan state to a crowd of his followers in a secret hideout some- and while his ideologies are extremist and clearly criminal, Kay Kay's personal charisma drives the character and can lull you into clinging to his every word, as his followers do, among them Raja Chaudhay.
But we started in the middle it appears- the movie goes into flashback, recalling to us Raja Chaudhary's move to this University. He comes to town and decides to live in a bar with Abhimanyu Singh, a scion of old royalty. Raja's first attempt is to seek residence at the university hostel, but he is ragged there and badly, and thereafter resigns himself to living with Abhimanyu. The ragging scenes are pretty graphic- be forewarned.
Abimanyu introduces Raja to the local politico, Kay Kay.
But Ayesha ain't done yet- she seduces Raja, then Kay Kay in order to gain that precious university general secretary seat.
But Raja is in love- and he gets good and mad and decides to go on a shooting spree, before getting shot in the end himself. Ayesha and her brother get the social status they want- and don't seem to care very much how they got it.
And that's the movie- is it worth a watch? Definitely- each actor outdoes himself, even if the story isnt quite as satisfying in the end. Even now, I am ambivalent about it: there are both Highlights and Rants enough.
1- The music- especially the crazy mujra which is more of a commentary on American and international politics.
2- Kay Kay Menon- you will not empathise with him, but you will be compelled by him- he is that good.
3- Mahie Gill- is strong in her small role. She is struggling for survival, using any man avaialble to move up. She coerces and whines well- especially her plaintive "main Tabu jaisi lagti hoon na?" (I look like Tabu, dont I?)- which is true of course.
4- The use of the ardhnarishwar (a half man-half woman, from Hindu mythology) creature who slides in and out of the frame in Kay Kay's home- very surreal, and powerful symbolism. I enjoyed the interaction of the real with the unreal.
5- Raja Chaudhary isn't a brilliant actor, but he wrote this with Anurag, and has done a pretty decent job in the story telling.
6- Abhimanyu, Piyush, Aditya- these men have had far fewer applauds than they deserve. I definitely want to see more of their work.
7- I appreciate the fact that there was no unnecessary preaching. The director allows the viewer to make up their own mind regarding what they are seeing. That we are a product of our own decisions, good and bad, is underscored without beating us on the head with it.
1- My biggest rant is that I couldn't empathise with anyone in this movie- everyone gets their just desserts. Maybe I wasn't supposed to empathise with anyone, but that makes the movie harder to watch.
2- A lot has been written about Jesse Randhwa in the movie. I didn't see the brilliance though- she acts the same way in real life as well: the same walk, talk, the same drugs. And so it was more of a case of perfect casting, not perfect acting. Knowing her professionally prevented me from buying into the character, but I am being too critical as usual- she did what was needed.
3- The use of Gulaal (red powder used in Hindu ceremonies and in the festival of Holi, among other things) seems a bit forced- it could have been integrated better into the movie- but I am nitpicking now.
4- I'd have really liked a bit of a back story about WHY the ardhnarishwar character skulks about Kay Kay's house- who was he? It is obvious that Kay Kay's uncle Piyush is very fond of him- is he his friend/lover/child? Maybe it was explained and I missed it. It definitely bothers me that he wasn't explained enough. The symbolism may lie in the fact that politics may employ sexuality as a tool, but eventually, politics, like the ardhnarishwar is essentially asexual.
March 18, 2009
I thought I'd pick five of my favorite Shashi songs- NO sad or emo songs here: specifically the kind that I'd dance to on the fake-pretend Shashi party that'll go on in my head all day today.
#5: "Le Jayenge" from Chor Machaye Shor. Zippy and happy, with Shash and Mumtaz- high energy indeed! I need to have house parties like this, where my guests and I dance in perfect, unrehearsed sync...
#4: "Ni Sultana Re" from "Pyar Ka Mausam"- what can you say about this song? flirtation in a picnic- with all the hair flicking and flinging your heart could desire. If you didnt love him already, this song would compell you to love Shashi. Cuteness galore.
#3: "Dilbar" from "Haseena Maan Jayegi"- not a huge fan of the song, BUT- we get TWO hair-flicking Shashis in 1 song- THAT is movie gold!
#2: "Waada karo" from Aa Gale Lag Ja- partying on skates, apparently the quintessential 70s accessory of choice. Shashi and Sharmila-lovely. Shashi and Sharmila on skates- divine.
Drumroll to #1: The tiny "typewriter" song that is less a song and more a song-let from Bombay Talkie, with the lovely Helen and Shashi in dripping brilliance. So profound and so fun- exactly what the Shash means to me!
Party to The Shash tonight- you know you love him!
EPIOGUE: Huge thanks to Gebruss, who posted this wonderful Shashi video on you-tube- its the happiest song ever, from a movie that is comedy gold: "Pyaar Kiye Jaa." I couldn't include it in the 1st lot 'cos I didn't have the video, but its wonderfulness would edge out #3 on the list easily. Thank you thank you ever so much!
March 15, 2009
Also, read this piece. on Bollywood leading men, and the title just ticked me off: "Time to Hunt for New King of Bollywood"- really??? Because SRK has had a couple movies that haven't done well, there is a search for a "New King"? Aamir's and Hritik's consistent hits obviously haven't affected the writer's judgement. Akshay Kumar apparently never made the list, despite only 1 flop in a barrage of movies. Neil, Ranbir, Shahid, Abhay and Emraan are referred to by their lineage and not by their body of work, which I doubt any of them would appreciate. And any of them is expected to step into this supposed vacuum- which I am not even quite certain exists. [sigh] That's more than this article deserves, so I'll just stop right now :)
March 12, 2009
And yet, the Dev who changed them all, pays tribute to the last Devdas (2002).
There is of course the figurative: Unlike the novel, in the 2002 movie Chandramukhi (Madhuri) and Paro (Aishwariya) meet, even dance together. In Dev D, the Paro (Mahi) and Lenny (Kalki) sit accross each other in a train to Chandigarh, and exchange pleasant little nods.
Later, Lenny is obsessed with Bollywood songs (who isnt?)- and when Chunni asks her what name she has decided on for the prostitution business, she is watching Madhuri on TV, dancing to Maar Daala from Devdas (2002)- and she decides to be called "Chandramukhi" after her.(incidentally, Kalki talks about her Devdas love here).
Still later, Dev stumbles in Pahargunj, and is met by Chunni for the first time. As they enter the underground pub where they will do "relay" shots, they are greeted by this SRK poster at the doorway (shop front shutter).
So Anurag too succumbs to the popular Bollywood-references-within-a-Bollywood-movie syndrome, but in a very clever way of course. Were there other Devdas 2002 references in the movie? Perhaps, but I at least will have to watch it again, more analytically, before I can tell.
PS: Anurag Kashyap's next, Gulaal comes out tomorrow- but apparently it wont be showing in any Indian theatre near me. Sadness. Please give a shout out if you hear of it playing in the OC.
March 10, 2009
Aside from that, I am seriously suffering from lack of Abhay news- maybe I can just go rewatch all his movies again- yeah, sounds like a plan.
Unrelated, but interesting: Anil may be appearing in 24- I normally dont watch that show, but if he is playing, I am watching, I am watching.
March 9, 2009
#1- Ijazat: Shashi Kapoor.
The first one that comes to my mind the minute I think of great Bolly cameos. He looks gorgeous, he speaks volumes in a 1 sentence and with those gorgeous eyes.
#2- Teesri Manzil: KN Singh
Such a brief visit, but he looked like he was really having fun. Salman's dad also shows up for a bit.
#3- Gumnaam (1965): Helen
Who can forget "Kitty Kelly" and her purple and white swim suit, so gracefully worn and so brightly done? Just wish (as always) that she had stuck around a bit longer...
#4- Dharavi: Madhuri Dixit
She is Om Puri's fantasy- and offers welcome respite both for him and the viewer from the harsh realities of the surrounding Dharavi, that threatens to swollow us into its grime along w/ Om.
#5- Welcome to Sajjanpur : Divya Dutta and Ila Arun
They both have really brief roles, and are amazingly effective, funny and high impact. Both lovely, both talent powerhouses.
Alright now, what are your favs?
March 6, 2009
Keep in mind, he has been shot lethally (almost) by those same people as he is saying/dreaming/hallucinating this.
Title: Delhi 6
Cast: Abhishek Bacchan, Sonam Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Om Puri, Divya Dutta, Prem Chopra, ....... everybody including the proverbial kitchen sink.
It started well. And had great visuals. And was about Delhi- what could go possibly wrong? Despite warnings from a very reliable source, I had to see this. And I found that with every stroke of genius that the movie displays, it also displays significant flaws at every step.
Abhishek lives with his parents (dad: Hindu, mom: Muslim) on the East Coast with his grandma Waheeda. She is diagnosed with cancer, and wants to go back home to Old Delhi (her old zipcode of 11000"6") to die. Since his parents left the city due to tensions from their inter-religious wedding, they don't want to go back, and Abhishek must take grandma home.
Which is all very nice, except Abhishek doesn't sound like any Indian boy who was born and bought up in the US. He sounds like a Indian boy who has spent maybe a dozen years in the US, and speaks accented English, but remarkably clear Hindi and Urdu.
And so they land in Delhi, met by the absolutely adorable Rishi Kapoor (who is looked more adorable than ever, the older he gets). They are escorted to good ol' Chandni Chowk with all the charm as was expected, and though I may sound skeptical, I was truly enthralled. The cameos were perfect! The imagery was great! This was fun!
And then Abhishek settles into Chandni Chowk with grandma- only after one serious setback and blessings from a roadside cow(!), her illness is mysteriously and entirely forgotten for the remainder of the movie.
And he falls in love with the ethereal and gorgeous Sonam Kapoor- only there is no real "aha" moment- we don't really know why they fall in love- because she is pretty? because they are both- there???
And the Ramlila, which somehow goes on for the duration of the movie. It definitely seemed longer than the traditional 9 days which are allocated to the event.
And the director weaves in the alleged humanoid monkey episode that happened a few years ago in the city.
SPOILER ALERT: If you havent seen this, skip to "Highlights" below.
For no reason at all, Abhishek decides he must jump from rooftop to rooftop , crazy fashion mid movie. In classic masala style, this is really a foreshadowing towards the end of the movie, where he actually wears a "monkey-man" suit and does so.
Which makes no sense- he wears the suit to pursue and stop Sonam from leaving town- couldn't he just have spoken with her during the day, wearing a regular outfit? Riots are on in Chandni Chowk, and yet he decides the best way to stop Sonam is by wearing a costume that's sure to get the crowd riled up?
So he gets shot real bad, and DOESN'T die, because of "love."
This from the same guy who directed "Rang De Basanti."
Highlights & Downers:
1- In the opening scene when she is diagnosed with cancer, Waheeda calmly cuts a betel nut with a traditional sarauta (beetel nut cutter) which bought me to tears instantly: my own grandma did the same action often every day, and died of the same disease. Its hard to call this a "highlight," but it really pulled me into the story, and made me sit when I wanted to walk away later.
2- The supporting cast and the leads are beyond doubt brilliant- perhaps the best casting in a very long time. And yet, the movie fails them.
3- I have an inexplicable urge to hug Rishi Kapoor- very very very cute. I wish I had an uncle like that. Or Grandpa. ANYBODY. Everyone deserves some Rishi Kapoor in their lives, I've decided. Also some Waheeda.
4- Contrary to what I've heard from other reviews, I don't belekive that this is a homage to Delhi- old/new/any part. Its a fantasy, composed of what the director would LIKE to remember of Delhi (oh that sounds harsh, isn't it?). I almost suspect that he has forgotten what Delhi was like, and would like it believe that this was it- it happens to a lot of folks who move away. Don't get me wrong,I love Delhi, and I love Chandni Chowk, and visit every time I am back there, but its hard to buy into the fantasy of Abhishek believing living in Chandni Chowk's crowds, dirt and smells to be the best thing ever. There is a reason why non-resident Indians, when they move back, DON'T move to Old Delhi- there are better parts of the city. It would be like moving to LA and choosing to live in South Central- why would you do that? OK- rant over.
5- The Ramlila play in the background was surreal-ly lovely, the metaphors were perfect. And yet, it gets messed up when in the end of the movie the director gets super preachy on us. His "Rang De Basanti" has a message to- I get that, I appreciate that- but here it goes on and on forever, and that kills it.
6- Divya Dutta is lovely- that woman has so much talent in her its really amazing.
7- Just not convinced by the Abhishek-Sonam romance- which is pivotal to the movie, but just doesn't come together for me at all.
Conclusion: It isn't bad, but I'd suggest lowering expectations and waiting for the DVD.