Harry Potter and the half blood prince – Movie Review

harry potter and the half blood prince wall high definitionI was quite adamant to see this movie on IMAX and in 3D and not in some ordinary theatre. What surprised me was that the booking of the movie opened last month on the 15th. Yes, you read it right! That is when the enormity of the mania hit me. And to make things worse, the seats of the first week’s shows were filled within seven days! Yeah! Harry Potter is Britain’s Rajnikant.

*I don’t know why but I just imagined Harry wearing his glasses in Rajni’s style. Uff! That’s dizzying!*

Anyways, back to topic. So, how did I manage to get the tickets, you may ask. Well, none of my flatmates are remotely interested in Harry Potter series. Yeah! I know! Just don’t get me started on this. Its as if they have just been freshly transported from Mars. And, then I decided to go alone. Believe me searching for a single ticket is much simpler because there are always one or two single seats left here and there. And, so, I booked my sole ticket on the 1st of July.

I haven’t read the books. Now wait a second before you raise your eyebrows and widen your eyes. Its always better this way. A movie can rarely compete with a book. So its always good to watch the movie and then read the books. That way the movie won’t disappoint you. And that is why this movie was not at all disappointing.

The first 15-20 minutes of the movie are in 3D. So, if you have a 3D theatre near your house, its worth watching the movie there. Its amazing! Although frankly speaking, I don’t understand why the whole movie was not in 3D? Atleast the climax should have been.

Now, coming to how the movie was.

The trailer of the movie might have given you an impression that its a very fast paced and dark movie. Apparently, itsharry potter and the half blood prince wallpaper not. Infact, this might be the only movie of the series which was devoid of an over-doze of wizardry and action. It was more like a prelude of the sharp twists and turns which are about to come in the last two movies. I had a feeling that the director deliberately played it down. The climax was subtle, not rising to the chilling crescendo it reached in the previous installments. It was like the lull before the actual storm begins.

There was more romance in the movie. The kids acted well! The sets were beautiful. I loved the scene where Ron is kissed by Lavender Brown, much to Hermione’s distress. She walks away and sits in a stairway and Harry comes and sit with her. She had birds fluttering over her head whom she throw towards Ron as darts. Then, there was this scene where Harry gets a smack on the head for saying – “But I am the chosen one!”. There was definitely a substantial amount of humor, love potions and weird coloured glasses.

No. The movie was not boring. It had its own pace and you start enjoying it after some time. The story dwells into Voldemort’s past when he was a student at Hogwarts, the creation of the Horcruxes, Draco’s secret plans and Ginny’s and Harry’s love story(which started sooner than that in the book, they say) and the death of you-know-who. And yes, the tussle between Ron and Hermione continues with Lavender playing the third angle.

Not the most brilliant of them all, but worth watching none the less. And, oh yes, I missed the animated creatures. There were none except for a huge dead spider!

Rating – 3.5/5

Directed by – David Yates

Official Website – http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/harrypotterandthehalf-bloodprince/

Monsters vs Aliens

monsters-vs-aliens-posterA movie review of an animation film is the last thing you could expect out of me. But this movie is special, mainly because I wanted to watch something crazy this weekend and secondly because this is MY FIRST 3D MOVIE!!!!

Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is a happy girl who is about to get married to the man of her dreams when a meteor hits her(not metaphorically, but actually) on her wedding day. She starts glowing green and grows into a 49 feet giant. Labelled as a monster, she is captured by the military and shifted to a secret facility designed specially for monsters captured all over the world. There she meets Dr. Cockroach who is a scientist with the head of an insect(Hugh Laurie), a prehistoric fish-man (Will Arnett); Bob, a slimy indestructible monster (Seth Rogen); and Insectosaurus, a huge bug who stands 350 feet tall. Susan is heart broken and dreams of getting back to her normal life. 

Meanwhile, an alien ship commanded by Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) comes to an alarming proximity to Earth who sends a giant robot to find out the meteor piece that landed on Earth because it contained a valuable substance. The military is not able to control it and thus the monsters are let loose to fight the giant robot. What follows is a roller coaster ride of the fight between the aliens and monsters and how the monsters defeat the enemy.

The movie had a handful of funny sequences and it will always keep you engrossed.  There is a sequence where the President of the United States goes to talk to the alien robot. He climbs a lot of stairs to reach the big eye and there is a keyboard lying there on which he starts playing the tune from “Close encounters of the third kind”, thinking the robot might respond to it. When he does not, the president remixes the tune which further aggravates the robot. The missiles which they fire on the robot had “E.T. go home” written on it! 😆

Another piece of advice. If possible, watch the movie in 3D. This is the first movie which has been produced in real 3D instead of converting the movie in 3D after it is finished. The 3D graphics are mind blowing and you are going to love it. There are scenes of outer space and fight sequences in the alien spaceship which can be truly enjoyed because of the 3D effect. I would give it an extra half star just because of that. Watch the trailer below and you will know what I mean!!

On the down-slide, the movie is very predictable. Well, you can almost guess the story from the name. But then all cartoon movies are like that. 🙂 

Rating in 2D – 3.5/5

Rating in 3D – 2star2b2star2b2star2b2star2b/5

Official website – http://www.monstersvsaliens.com/

A to Z of Bollywood Movies

When I did the A to Z of movies tag, I was accused of being an “Angrez” because none of the movies which I listed were from Bollywood. Well, I did that deliberately! 😛 I have watched more Bollywood movies than anyone can imagine!! Secondly, I must admit that this is the cruelest tag I have ever come across. Most of the time, I felt like Sophie who was asked to choose between her two children. How could I choose between DDLJ and Dil Chahta hai or between Mirch Masala and Mera Naam Joker? 😦 Here goes the list and for more details on the movies, click the movie name.

A : Abhimaan(1973)

A classic in every sense. For me, its impossible to choose a favourite song from the movie. All of them are masterpieces. Brilliant performances by Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan. I have heard that Jaya Bachchhan studied Lata Mangeshkar very closely for the role. There is one scene in the song “teri bindiya re”, where Bindu enters the party and stares at the couple. You could actually see the pain in her eyes.

In the same league : Anand, Angoor, Aradhana, Anokhi raat, Aandhi, Aakrosh, Alaap, A Wednesday.

B : Bandini(1963)

The best of Bimal Roy. A beautiful original story and amazing performances by Nutan, Ashok Kumar and Dharmendra. And can anyone forget “Mera gora ang laile” and “O re manjhi”? And those of you who don’t know, “Mera gora ang” was the first song penned by Gulzar. 

In the same league : Bawarchi, Black, Bobby, Buddha mil gaya.

C : Chupke Chupke(1975)

One of the best comedies India has ever produced. The forte of the movie was its simplicity. There is so much one can write about this movie. The songs, the performances and the beautiful story. Remember that Keshto Mukharjee scene? Or the way Dharmendra says “Jijaji”? And the “T-O” to hota hai to “G-O” gu kyun nahi hota scene? Or the title song and “ab ke baras saawan main”? A lovely evergreen movie. 

In the same league : Chameli ki shadiChoti Choti Baatain, Chashme buddoor, Chak De India.

D : Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge(1995)

This alphabet was quite tough as there are many noteworthy movies starting with this one, but then the heart won over the head. 🙂 I don’t remember the number of times I have seen this one. What I really liked about the story was that although Raj and Simram never said anything to each other when they part ways after the Euro tour, still the guy had the courage and conviction to come after her to India. Pyar ho to aisa! A movie which never fails to warm my heart.

In the same league : Damini, Deewar, Devdas, Dil Chahta Hai, Dil Se, Don, Do beegha zameen.

E : Ek Duje Ke Liye(1981)

When Raj kapoor saw the movie, he told the Director, K. Balachander that the end left him disturbed. The director told him that if this is the case then he has achieved his goal. The movie had a kind of innocence and yes, it was disturbing. While watching the movie you want everything to fall in place at the end but the climax leaves you in a state of rude shock. And the songs were just perfect. All of them.

In the same league : Eshwar.

F : Fiza(2000)

The movie flopped but I consider it a well made movie. There were some very touching scenes in the movie like the one just before the interval where Fiza meets her brother and the climax. Great songs, a good script and some heart warming performances by the lead actors. 

G : Garam Hawa(1973)

One of the most sensitive movies made on the plight and dilemma of the Muslims left in India after the partition. The movie gave Balraj Sahni his last major role in a Hindi Movie and started the career of Farooq Shaikh. 

In the same league : Ghayal, Guddi, Godmother, Guide.

H : Hum aapke hain kaun(2004)

Recently I saw the movie again with a group of friends and enjoyed it. I still can’t get over Madhuri walking down  the stairs in that purple saree. 🙂 It was a historical movie for Indian cinema and the kind of records it set are unmatched. There were stories about people travelling long distances and watching it hundred of times! The Euphoria was unbelievable.

A close second : Hum dil de chuke sanam, Hum hain Raahi Pyar ke, Hum Tum, Hum Dono.

I : Ittefaq(1969)

One of the greatest thriller ever produced by Indian cinema. It was a movie ahead of its time and was a sharp deviation from what Yash Chopra normally directed. Rajesh Khanna was seen in a role very different from what people were used to. Making a movie without songs was also something unheard of back then. If you haven’t watched it yet, please do. 

In the same league : Iqbal, Ijaazat.

J : Jaane bhi do yaaro(1983)

The unparalleled dark satire. If someone asks me about my faintest childhood memories of watching a movie, then its watching this movie in a theatre with my parents. There are so many scenes which I will count as my favourites, but the best one was the Mahabharat scene at the end. 

In the same league : Jaane tu ya jaane na, Jab we met, Jis desh main ganga behti hai, Jewel theif, Jodha Akbar, Julie, Junoon, Jo Jeeta wohi Sikandar.

K : Khoobsurat(1980)

I don’t think that anyone except Rekha could have done that role. The forte of the movie was its simplicity, well that was typical Hrishikesh Mukherjee. I love this guy for what he did to Indian cinema. Some of the very few successful Bollywood movie where the Heroine was the Hero.

In the same league : Kaagaz ke phool, Kabhi Kabhi, Kabuliwala, Kalyug, Khamoshi, Khosla ka ghoslaKoshish, Kranti, Kuch Kuch hota hai.

L : Lagaan(2001)

Its a modern day classic. The third Bollywood movie to enter the Oscars and maybe the only movie where the audience completely forgot that they are not watching an actual match. People cheered in exactly the same manner in which they would have cheered in an actual match. THAT is the magic of cinema, that is how the lines between the reel and real gets blurred. 

A close second : Lekin, Lamhe, Lok Parlok.

M : Mirch Masala(1985)

This movie has been an all time favourite. If you haven’t seen it then run and grab it. After watching the movie, what remains with you is the climax. Its so sudden and powerful that you will end up having a bewildered laugh. A brilliant cast which included almost every actor from the parallel cinema of the 80s except Shabana Azmi. A must watch!

In the same league : Maachis, Madhumati, Mr and Mrs Iyer, Maine pyar kiya, Main Zinda Hoon, Majboor, Mammo, Manthan, Maqbool, Makdee, Masoom, Mera Saaya, Mr. India, Mother India, Mera Naam Joker.

N : Naya Daur(1957)

A very socially relevant film of its time and a huge success. And what beautiful songs!!! Did you know that Madhubala was supposed to play the role which finally went to Vyajanthi Mala? This is another movie which had a nail biting climax. This is the second movie after Mughal-E-azam which has been colorized and released again.

In the same league : Naya din nayi raat, Neel Kamal.

O : Omkara(2006)

Surprisingly, the movie was a bigger hit outside India. The colourful language kept the family audiences away. The “Ch” swearword was frequently used(even by Konkana) and was a bit of shocker initially for me too. Thank God I did not see it with my parents. The movie was an interpretation of Othello by director Vishal Bhardwaj. And whenever my mom watched the song “Beedi jalai le”, she goes – “No one but Bipasha could have done this!” 🙂

P : Pyaasa(1957)

What should I say about this movie? Its a masterpiece with evergreen songs! Jane kya tune kahi, Jaane woh kaise log the and Hum aapki aankho main are my absolute favourites. And who can forget “Sar jo tera chakraye”. 🙂

A close second : Padosan, Parichay, Prem Rog, Paying Guest.

Q : Qayamat se Qayamat tak(1988 )

The movie which gave us Aamir Khan. Come to think of it, there are too many Aamir Khan movies in this list! I love the tension which the movie creates. You want things to be all right and start believing that, when the climax just stunnes you. Another well made love story with 100% unadulterated evergreen songs.

R : Rang De Basanti(2006)

This was one of the best movies which came in this decade. Its a movie which made everyone “aware” and “awake” and had a visible influence on the youngsters. For me, its one of the very few movies which made me cry. 🙂 There is a scene where the belongings of Ajay(Madhavan) are brought home and his mother opens the door. Then there is another one where DJ breaks down in front of Su after the protest at India Gate. These two scenes always make me cry without fail. 🙂 I consider it a movie which made me more responsible.

A close second : Raincoat, Ram aur Shyam.

S : Sholay(1975)

In the present, can you even think about a movie which can run on a theatre for 5 years? To say anything about Sholay will be quite inappropriate. Its the best masala movie India had ever produced. And its the only movie which had so many memorable charecters. “Yun Ki” my favourite will be Basanti because hamain zyada bolne wale log bahut pasand hain. 😉

In the same league : Saaransh, Sahib bibi aur ghulam, Seeta aur geeta, Satte pe satta, Shatranj ke khiladiSree 420, Silsila, Sparsh.

T : Taare zameen par(2007)

This movie was a huge gamble. It broke all the norms of a typical bollywood movie and still worked. It gave us a ray of hope that yes, Bollywood has not gone completely bonkers. The movie raised a question mark not only on how we treat special children but how we treat children in general. There is a line in the movie which goes something like this – “Agar race jitne ka itna hi shauk hai to breed race horses dammit! bacche kyun paida karte ho?” Perfect!

A close second : Teesri manzil, Tere ghar ke saamne.

U : Upkaar(1967)

I consider it Manoj “Bharat” Kumar’s best movie. Its a cult classic which highlighted the difference in values of the Indian and western society. And, yes, we still hear “Mere Desh Ki Dharti” on 15 August blaring from the loudspeakers! 

A close second : Umrao Jaan.

V : Veer Zaara(2004)

The eternal love story! I loved this movie and saw it twice on the theatre. Everything from the  songs to the story to the performances was beautiful. I loved Kirron Kher’s and Divya Dutta’s role and also the small cameos by Amitabh Bachchhan and Hema Malini. The best scene was when Saamiya goes to Veer’s village and finds Zaara there, teaching girls. And there is another one where Veer reads the poem in the court. 

A close second : Vaastav, Vidhataa.

W : Waqt(1965)

The third Yash Chopra movie in the list. Its a story of a family separated and reunited by destiny. A multi-starrer and a huge hit of 1965, this movie too had all the typical Bollywood masala. I was very young when I saw this one and the earthquake scene really shook me up! 🙂 And, yes, “Aye meri zohra jabeen” is still played during marriages when the oldies want to dance. 

A close second : Woh saat din.

Y : Yuva(2004)

I could never understand why this movie didn’t work!!! Somehow Mani Ratnam’s movies don’t work in Hindi. “Dil se” was a masterpiece and even “Guru” was great but somehow they were never a big commercial success. Yuva had a very good storyline and some fabulous performances and sometimes I could never understand how movies like “Singh Is King” work and movies like “Yuva” don’t. 😐 

A close second : Yaarana, YalgaarYehi hai Zindagi.

Z : Zubeidaa(2001)

The movie had a very novel fee to it. I loved the way the story unfolded in flashbacks. Rekha’s role was the best in the movie while this is easily Karishma’s best movie of her career. When you watch the movie, you will realise that how a good background score can completely raise a movie to an entirely different level. A must watch.

A close second : Zanjeer.

That’s it!! And if you have not seen the 120 movies I have mentioned above, then you are not a true blue Bollywood movie buff!!! 

The A to Z of movies

Another tag!!! 😀 And as interesting as the previous one! Lallopallo and Poonam tagged me to list an alphabetical list of my favorite films, one for each letter of the alphabet. I am doing this tag purely for Hollywood movies because including Bollywood movies here would be like comparing apples and oranges. I might do the tag again separately for Bollywood movies. 😉 If you want to know more about the movies listed below, just click on the movie name. Here goes the list :

A : As good as it gets(1997)

An obsessive-compulsive, misanthrope novelist, his favourite waitress and his gay neighbour take a trip to Baltimore which change their lives. A flawless witty script and equally flawless performances by the lead actors makes it one of the most memorable movies I have seen. Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt landed up with the Best Actor and Actress Oscars for their performance in this movie. A close second : Annie Hall.

B : Before Sunrise(1995)

One of the most romantic movies I have ever seen. Jesse, a young American, and Céline, a young French woman, meet on a train and decide to get down at Vienna. They spend the rest of the night walking down the streets and knowing each other. Come to think of it, the movie is nothing more than two people walking and talking, but its mesmerising none the less. A close second : Babel.

C : Chocolat(2000)

Vianne, a young mother, arrive in a small French village with her daughter and opens up a chocolaterie. The effect of this new addition to the village on the local people and the scheming, angry Mayor which is further fuelled by the appearance of Gypsies is the story of this excellent movie. The movie was nominated for several awards including 5 Oscars. A close second : Cast away.

D : Driving Miss Daisy(1989)

Winner of 4 Oscars out of the 9 for which it was nominated, Driving Miss Daisy is the story of a a Jewish lady(Miss Daisy) and her Old nigger driver(Hoke). The movie explores the relationship between the two characters amidst the racist and prejudiced background of the American society. Jessica Tandy became the oldest actress to win the Oscar for Best actress at the age of 80 for her portrayal of Miss Daisy. A close second : Dr. Zhivago.

E : Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind(2004)

One of the very rare Jim Carrey movies which I liked. Emotionally withdrawn Joel and Clementine meet up in a train and strike a relationship. What they don’t realize is that they are former lovers who have fallen apart in their relationship earlier and had their memory erased. A beautifully created movie with some excellent visuals and a great story which won the Academy Award for the Best Original Screenplay. A close second : Erin Brokovich.

F : Fiddler on the Roof(1971)

The movie follows the story of Topol,  a Jewish milkman in the village of Anatevka in Czarist Russia in 1905. As times change, Topol gropes through the fact that his daughters want to get married with the men of their choice and not the one chosen by the matchmakers. The movie had some memorable songs like “Matchmaker”, “Do you love me” and “If I were a rich man”. A brilliant and delightful movie to make you smile. A close second : Forrest Gump & Fargo

G : Gosford Park(2001)

The movie is set in 1932 in an English country house where a group of wealthy Britisher and American gather for a shooting weekend. Its a murder mystery which creates the drama and tension between the characters above the stairs and below(the servants). It was nominated for 7 Oscars including the Best Picture. A close second : Good Will Hunting.

H : Hotel Rwanda(2004)

One of the most powerful and hardhitting movies of our times. It is the story of the hotelier Paul Rusesabagina during the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 in which an estimated 1,000,000 people were killed by extremist militants. Paul saved many people by giving them shelter in a hotel. A must watch. A close second : Harry Potter and the prizoner of Azkaban

I : It’s a wonderful life(1946)

The film takes place in the fictional town of Bedford Falls shortly after World War II where George Bailey, a man who is on the verge of committing suicide on Christmas Eve is saved by his guardian angel, Clarence who is sent to help him in his hour of need. Its a feel good movie and makes you realize that things could have been worse. A close second : Into the wild.

J : Jurassic Park(1993)

Steven Spielberg gave us the thrills of our life with this movie. I still cannot forget the euphoria this movie generated across the globe. A masterpiece in its own right. A close second : Juno.

K : Kramer Vs Kramer(1979)

Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep came together in this courtroom drama which tells the tale of a couple getting divorced and the impact it had on their only son. The movie won the Oscar for Best Movie and inspired our very own Akele Hum Akele Tum. 

L : Lost in Translation(2003)

The movie follows the story of an aging actor Bob Harris and Charlotte(who is the wife of a celebrated photographer) who meet in the city of Tokyo. Both of them find a companion in each other when they are struggling with the cultural shock of being in an alien city. A close second : Life is Beautiful.

M : Moonstruck(1987)

I fell in love with Cher when I saw this movie. Absolutely hilarious and romantic, this movie got Cher her well deserved Oscar for the Best actress. I loved the way she says – “Snap out of it!!” and “Where is the ring?”. A movie I can watch a thousand times over. The movie was nominated for 6 Oscars. A close second : My sassy girl

N : Notes on a Scandal(2006)

A chilling performance by Judi Dench as an old History teacher(Barbara) in a school who is drawn towards another new teacher(Sheba) and befriends her. Barbara when realises that Sheba is in love with a student, ends up tormenting and blackmailing her. Great performances by Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. 

O : Out of Africa(1985)

A 1985 film based loosely on the autobiographical book by Isak Dinesen published in 1937.  The movie depicts the events during 1914–1931 concerning European settlers and the native people in Kenya. The movie went on to receive 28 Movie awards including 7 Oscars. A close second : One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest.

P : Pan’s Labyrinth(2006)

A 2006 Spanish fantasy film which depicts the story of Ofelia during 1944 Spanish civil war, who meet many strange and magical creatures to complete her tasks given by the Faun to save her pregnant mother. One of the most enchanting fantasy movies I have ever seen. The movie was nominated for 6 Oscars. A must watch. A close second : Pretty Woman.

Q : Queen, The(2006)

The movie encompasses the upheavals in the British Royal family and the public reactions after Princess Diana’s death in the car crash in Paris. It all happened when Tony Blair was just elected and the movie depicts how he convinced the Queen to give in to what the public was demanding and the transformation the Queen went through during the tragedy. 

R : Roman Holiday(1953)

The first Audrey Hepburn movie I saw. She was the epitome of beauty and completely did justice to the princess’s role thus earning the Oscar that year. The rebel princess, a reporter after a sensational news and the comedy which follows. Does that ring a bell? A close second : Rainman.

S : Sophie’s choice(1982)

A 1982 drama film that tells the story of a beautiful Polish immigrant, Sophie, and her tempestuous lover who share a boarding house with a young writer in Brooklyn. The movie is famous for the scene in which Sophie is asked to choose between her two children. The film got Meryl Streep an Oscar for her touching portrayal of Sophie. A close second : Schindler’s List.

T : The Shawshank Redemption(1994)

This movie based on a Stephan King novel follows the story of a young banker named Andy who spends two decades in the Shawshank state prison and his friendship with Red. A great movie by all standards. The movie was nominated for 7 Oscars and heads the IMDB’s Top 250 films. A must watch. A close second : The Silence of the lambs.

U : Unforgiven(1992)

A Western directed by Clint Eastwood which tells the story of  William Munny, an aging and retired gunslinger living in a desolated land with his two children and who takes up a  job years after he had given up killing people and turned to farming. A dark movie that deals with the uglier aspects of violence and the myth of the Old West. The movie was nominated for 9 Oscars out of which it won 4. 

V : Vanilla Sky(2001)

One of the most puzzling moves I have seen in recent times. The ending itself has four interpretations. Despite all that, I liked the plot because for the first one hour, you won’t understand a single thing. Everything starts making sense in the second half when the climax again throws you off track. I love this movie because of the roller coaster ride it provided. A close second : V for Vendetta.

W : When Harry met Sally(1989)

A romantic comedy based on chance encounters between the lead pair and exploring the question “Can men and women ever just be friends?” You can still find people who are obsessed with the film and yes, our own HumTum is based on this movie. And how can anyone forget the “I’ll have what she is having” scene. 

X : X men(2000)

Of all the movies in the X Men series, I think the first one was the best. Its a fight between the good mutants and the bad ones but like all superhero movies, its a visual treat.

Y : Y Tu Mama Tambien(2001)

Its a 2001 Mexican film in Spanish about two teenage boys who take a road trip with a woman in her 20s and what follows. The film has the present day Mexico as its background and has some explicit sexual sequences. It is the closest you can take cinema to reality. 

Z : Zodiac(2006)

A psychological thriller based on the true events associated with a serial killer named Zodiac who was active in Northern California in the 1960s. Zodiac has never been captured.

So, this marks the end of the meme. I would like to tag Priyank, Reema, Smita, Liju and Nikhil to do this tag.

A Wednesday – Movie Review

There are some movies which make you stand up and clap. Movies which stand out as examples as to how powerful the medium of Cinema can be. Movies which symbolise our times and go down in the history as cult movies. A Wednesday is one such movie.

Quite frankly, when I woke up this morning, I was not even aware of the existence of such a movie. Since there was no other choice available and since Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah were heading the starcast, I thought of giving it a try (Even though my family was quite skeptical about the movie). By the time we came out of the theatre, we realised that our doubts were quite baseless.

In my father’s words – “Its a long time since I have seen such a meaningful movie.”

I actually jumped out of my skin because I don’t remember the last time he said this about a movie.

The movie traces the events of a Wednesday when Prakash Rathod(played by Anupam Kher), the Mumbai Commissioner of Police gets an an anonymous call demanding the release of four dangerous criminals responsible for bomb blasts across India. The caller (played by Naseeruddin Shah) warns the Commissioner that if the demand was not met, he would be forced to trigger five bombs which he has planted across Mumbai. Prakash Rathod is someone who is not ready to give in so easily to the demands of a fanatic and dispatches a team of his best men to track down the man. The caller is always a step ahead and the Commissioner realises that he cannot put the lives of so many people in jeopardy. He handpicks two of his best men, Jai Singh (played by Aamir Bashir) and Arif Khan (played by Jimmy Shergill) to hand over the four terrorists as demanded. The “Caller” on the other hand is keeping track of the police activities using a news reporter (played by Deepal Shaw) whom he sends after the police. 

What the audience gets is a thriller of a dimension which has not been seen in the Indian Cinema since a long time. Its not a conventional Bollywood movie because there is no hero. There is only a cast. Neeraj Pandey should be given a pat on his back for a brilliant screenplay. He does not waste any time in building up the well defined no nonsense plot. He does not slow down the tempo of the movie with meaningless songs or long stretched sequences. The movie has less than 2 hours of running time and is very well edited by Shree Narayan Singh. 

Anupam Kher is brilliant in his role as the Commissioner who despite being on his toes because of the threat does not lose the focus. The rest of the cast including Aamir, Jimmy Shergill and Deepal also have very believable roles.

A special word for Nasseruddin Shah. I think he deserves an Oscar for the performance. Its not the loud, over the top performances which we generally identify with. Its crafty and subtle. Yet it leaves an everlasting impact. And don’t miss the climax in which he delivers a set of dialogues which will give you a terrible gooseflesh and tears at the same time. The climax is so unexpected that it would be a good idea to put a tape on the mouth of any person who tries to tell you about it before watching the movie. 🙂 It will catch you completely unaware. 

Don’t miss this movie. I recommend it very strongly. 

Rating – 4.5/5

Director – Neeraj Pandey

Official Website – A Wednesday

Rock On – Movie Review

Some old photographs in a box – forgotten friends and dreams – a compromised life – success without happiness – a chance meeting with an old friend and nothing to talk – picking up the pieces of an unfinished story – that’s Rock on.

Many of us have gone through such feelings, when we have lost our most dear friends because of reasons beyond our understanding. When we pick up old photographs of those lost friends and find them meaningless and meaningful at the same time. What a time it was!! Did all that happened in this birth? Somehow, that is where this movie connects. Infact, that is why movies like Jaane tu and Dil Chahta Hai connected. All of us saw ourselves right there on the screen.

Rock On is a story of four friends who create a rock band called Magik. Aditya Shroff is the lead vocalist (played by Farhan Akhtar) who pens down unconventional poetry and give the band a unique voice. Joe is the lead guitarist (played by Arjun Rampal) who is very idealistic and does not believe in compromising with his principles or music. He is talented but does not know how to do the lobbying. Kedar Zaveri or K.D. is the drummer (played by Purab Kohli) who is the sole successor of a family of jewelers but prefers his drums to the suffocating family business. He is the joker of the gang and the most lively character in the movie. Rob is the keyboard player (played by Luke Kenny) who is the most level headed member of the band, someone you can rely upon to resolve the problems in minutes.

Everything was going fine and the band won the Channel V contract for an Album when the Band disintegrated and the success story died before its inception. The four of them went their own ways forgetting each other and leading a life which they never wanted to lead till Aditya’s wife (played by Prachi Desai) meets Kedar by chance ten years later and then comes across some long forgotten photographs of her husband’s life about which she was completely unaware. And thus starts the uphill task of the band’s reunion.

Rock on does not have the flamboyance of Dil Chahta Hai but is more grounded in reality. It does not reaches the standards set by DCH but is very believable in its own way. Yes, you can draw parallels but then you can do that with 99% of the movies in Bollywood. The movie works at many levels. The strings of your heart will be stirred.

The movie does not belong to a single actor. All the four lead actors never leave the skin of their roles. Arjun Rampal shows a maturity which was unexpected while Farhan is able to bring out the subtle difference in his character during the ten year span even though this is his first movie as an actor. Although he is the most successful of the four members of his band after the split, he is still angry about the way his life has turned up and it shows in his strained relationship with his wife. Prachi is the surprise package of the movie. She acts like a seasoned actress and it does not look at all that this is her first film. The scene in which she tells Aditya that she is pregnant is her best. Shabana Goswami Koel Purie as Joe’s wife is also perfect in her role of a frustrated woman who has to give up her dreams to run the business of her failed husband.

On the negative side, the movie picks up pace in the second half and does not have much of a comic dose which seems to be quite essential for the Indian audience(specially since they are lapping up crude movies with 15 over the top comic sequences). Also the movie trudges too close to the abyss of a typical Bollywood movie towards the end and it is on the verge of loosing its unique identity.

The music composed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is very apt and suits the mood of the movie like a glove. And the concert at the end of the movie will want you to get up and dance. A good story, crazy music, well etched roles and good acting. What else do we want?

Directed by – Abhishek Kapoor

Rating  – 3.5/5

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Book Review

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,

Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.

While I was reading The Kite Runner, I wondered how much pain the author himself had to go through in his life to write this story? Its said that you can’t understand the pain of another human if you have not been through the same situation yourself. Each and every word of The Kite Runner made me realize how much pain and anger must be pent up inside the author. And then I read “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. The Kite Runner was not a book and neither is A Thousand Splendid Suns. They are outlets, vents to tell the world about what happened to the Nation which was once so prosperous and happy. They are outlets for people to know the story of a nation destroyed by its own people.

The story revolves around Mariam and Laila. Mariam is an unwanted child born out of wedlock and lives with her mother in the outskirts of Herat in Afghanistan. Her wealthy father visits her at times. When Mariam is 15 she visits her father’s home against everyone’s wishes. She ends up being married to Rasheed, a widower in Kabul who expects a son from her. When she fails to deliver a baby, she is faced with verbal and physical abuses. Laila, on the other hand, is the daughter of a High school teacher. She had two brothers who are killed in the fighting against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Laila is in love with Tariq, her childhood friend. Things take a bad turn when the civil war comes to Kabul after the victory of the Mujahideen and Tariq leaves Kabul with his parents and Laila is left pregnant and an orphan after her parents are killed in a rocket attack. She lands up in Rasheed’s house and agrees to marry Rasheed for the sake of the child. Mariam is now in Rasheed’s house for more than a decade now and resents Laila but fate has something else in store for the two women.

The most beautiful part of this book is the way the relationship develops between Mariam and Laila. By the time Laila becomes a part of the household, Mariam has endured too much at the hands of Rasheed to bear his second wife. Soon after Laila gives birth to Tariq’s daughter, both the women realise that they are sailing in the same boat. The book is also a story of a nation in transition. It encompasses the political upheavals and what the people went through when the Russians finally left. It tells the story of a beautiful dream which turned into a nightmare. If Hassan was the unforgettable character in The Kite Runner, then Mariam’s doleful life will leave a lump in your throat in this book. And there was one feeling that never left me while I read the book – This could have happened to someone…

Comparisons with Khaled’s earlier book is inevitable and I agree that A Thousand Splendid Suns does not have those kind of twists and turns but it has the same quality which The Kite Runner had. It turns you into a more compassionate, a more understanding and a more humane human. It makes you understand that you are blessed in every sense. And, it makes you understand that there are people out there who deserve a life similar to yours.

Rating – 4.5/5

Author – Khaled Hosseini

Best of Bollywood in 2007

Its awards season again and Bollywood came up with quite a number of choices in 2007. And yes, this list does not contain Om Shanti Om. The last time you heard the name of this movie on this post was in the previous line. It also does not contain movies like Welcome and Partner as I can’t understand such movies. This year the keyword was – Different. A story which does not follow the trends, where character building is important than putting a dance number to pull the crowds.

Chak de india

az_b81290_chak-de-india_chak-de-india.jpg15 August would not have been better. As I sat in my seat waiting for the movie to begin, I had my own apprehensions. By the time the movie ended, I pinched myself to make sure that I have actually seen something like this and was not dreaming. The movie was path-breaking in the sense that it opened a new door, a new thought thread which could lead to different movie ideas. It also made a loud point that – Yes, you can have an entirely new plot and don’t need to rehash older plots again and again. Two thumbs up for the daredevil Shimit Amin.


Taare zameen par

437px-taarezameenpar.jpgI can bet that this movie can bring tears in the eyes of the most stone hearted person. As the song “hai na maa” started, there was hardly anyone in the theatre who was not crying. I consider this movie as a ray of hope. Its a tight slap on the face of the directors who say that we make movies for money and thus have to cater to the likes of the public. It woke up everyone to the power of the medium, to the fact that a movie can carry a message which can change so many lives. There are so many NGOs which try to spread awareness about dyslexia, but what this movie did in 15 days, the NGOs were not able to do in 15 years. Thanks to Aamir Maverick Khan, the director.


Jab we met

414px-jab_we_met_poster.jpgAahhh!!!! the DDLJ of this decade…as I call it. In a span of 10 years one such movie comes which somehow redefines love, underline the fact that a simple movie can be entertaining, the fact that a subtle plot and characterization is required for filmmaking AND the fact that love stories can still be told differently. The only problem as I see it is that this year there is no competition for Kareena in terms of Awards, but Shahid will be having a tough fight. Ironically speaking, this is the Biggest hit of the pair after the breakup. Both of them will be seen again in Satish Kaushik’s Milenge Milenge in 2008.


Cheeni kum

414px-cheenikumpos1.jpgThe promos of this movie were so compelling that I had to see it. Again I found it very different and daring too. Its not easy in India to showcase a romantic movie with such a dimension and get away with it. If I let go of the over extended ending, I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. There were so many scenes like Paresh Rawal forgetting to zip his trouser after Amitabh tells him that he wants to marry his daughter and the one in which Tabu makes Amitabh run so that she can check his stamina and the one in which Zohra Sehgal keeps asking Amitabh if he went to the gym or not.


Namaste London

413px-namasteylondon_poster.jpgThis is the type of comedy I can understand. When the filmmaker try to find fun in real life situations and not by making actors vomit out loud and foolish PJs. The surprise package of this movie was Katrina Kaif. I didn’t knew she could act but somehow she surprised me and the role was tailor-made for her. Another hit in Akshay Kumar’s kitty which already includes Heyy Babyy and Bhoolbhulaiya from this year’s list of hits and thankfully Himesh gave some decent numbers after a loooong time. “Teri yaad” and “Rafta rafta” were way above the unbearable category of songs Himesh churns out these days. 🙂


Life in a metro

800px-metrohindifilm.jpgToo many cooks may spoil the broth. This is what came to my mind as I went for this movie. But the dish was made well and served well too. So many plots but well woven and well shown. Whether it be Dharmendra, Shilpa Shetty, Konkana Sen Sharma, Irfan Khan, Kay kay, Shiney Ahuja, Kangana or Nafisa Ali, everyone had a well etched character to play. The music was composed by Pritam Chakraborty who surprisingly popped up with his band in each song. grrrrr….



guruposter.jpgMani Ratnam splashed his talent in Hindi movies after a long gap. Its generally hard to show the life of a person in 3 hours as the director have to jump years, but it somehow worked in advantage for this movie. Abhishek and Aishwarya looked good together, specially as the older couple. 😉 Vidya Balan, Mithunda and Madhavan were perfect for their roles and the songs fitted like gloves. The love story between Vidya and Madhavan was heart wrenching and you actually feel sad for the couple. And thank God someone gave apna Mithunda a “Role” after ages.



424px-provoked.pngThe real life story of Kiranjit Ahluvalia was well crafted. The public opinion was not too good but somehow the movie stayed with me after I saw it. What Kiranjit went through made me realize that even a smallest person can change the course of the future. Aishwarya was able to bring out the growth in the character from the time she accidentally murders her husband to the time when she faces the judge at the end. The scenes between Kiranjit and her cellmate Veronica were the best in the movie. Nandita Das was as usual great in her cameo.


Bheja fry

bheja-fry.jpgAfter Khosla ka Ghosla, Rajat kapoor again shined in Bheja Fry. There were no big stars in the movie but it stood on the plot and the cast assembled. Sarika was seen after a long gap and she is still pretty(sigh!). Milind Soman looked like he had just returned from some deserted island where he was marooned from the last 5 years. It was not the usual kind of film, was short and crispy and that is why it was enjoyable .


Aaja nachle

Aaja NachleI can’t let go of this one. 🙂 Madhuri’s comeback movie was something I was looking forward to from a long time and I was not disappointed at all. Again, a different movie and a great group of actors accumulated, whether it may be Konkana Sen Sharma, Rajat Kapoor or Kunal. The play at the end was unexpectedly well picturised. No matter what the public opinion may be, the movie was worth the wait for me. “Mohini” still rocks. 🙂


Heyy Babyy

425px-heyybabyyposter.jpgInspired from the 1987 hit comedy Three men and a baby, Heyy Babyy had something for everyone. Thankfully Sajid Khan’s debut as a director was not as “over the top” as his sister’s. The movie had good performances by Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan and surprisingly Fardeen was also seen “acting”. 🙂 Angel was very cute and adorable and held the movie together in the first half till Vidya Balan makes an appearance. The movie had some foot tapping numbers by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy. A crowd of heroines made guest appearance in the title track and Shahrukh appears in “Dil da mamla” which is the highlight of the movie. All in all a complete package entertainer.


Bhool bhulaiya


After being made in Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu, the script finally reached apna Bollywood. I went for this movie after people started praising it. Yes, it was spookily surprising. Till the entry of Akshay Kumar the only holding factor was the ghost, but after his hilarious entry, Akshay takes the movie to an entirely different platform. The climax of the movie is a revelation. Just watch out Vidya Balan in the climax and you will surely get gooseflesh. The song towards the end where Vidya imagines herself as the dancer Manjulika is one of the best picturised songs in recent times.


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