Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dor (2006) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 4.9/5

Cast: Gul Panag, Ayesha Takia, Shreyas Talpade
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor


In simple words it is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen in my life. Tight script, a story that has no loose ends, immaculate direction, beautiful locales, simple dialogues, and to top it all off brilliant performances by the entire cast makes Dor a must watch. I have seen this movie once and will see it many more times in the future just to digest the small details that I might have missed during the first time around.

It is the story of love, loss, friendship, trust and above all honesty. It is the story about how two unrelated lives come together. Zeenat an independent girl lives in the hills of the beautiful Himalayas married to Amir and waiting his return from Saudi where he works as a truck driver. While Meera a naive village girl lives in a joint family married to Shankar also waiting for her husband to come back from Saudi where he is working to settle the family debt. But what they both receive is the twist in the story that brings them both together.

Shankar dies in an accident and Amir is facing death sentence being accused of Shankar's murder in Saudi. Zeenat has a mercy petition document in her hand that needs Meera's signature to relieve Amir from the death sentence, but she has no idea where or who Meera is. Boldly with just one photo of Shankar Zeenat leaves her hill country to the desserts of Rajasthan looking for Shankar's wife Meera. Meera on the other hand has lost all her rights and freedom that was hers once since her husband death. She is now living the life of a widow at a very young age banished from fun and frolic.

Zeenat with the help of a young impostor (Shreyas) hunts Meera's house down. On approaching Shankar's parents she gets spat on and kicked out of the house. Not giving up hope Zeenat befriends Meera by meeting her in the temple everyday...While Meera's father in law is trying to sell her to an out-of-town contractor for money...

Does Meera sign the papers when the truth is revealed? What happens to Meera's future? Please watch the movie and you will not be disappointed.

The casting for the movie is brilliant. Ayesha as the young widow with a big heart is portrayed so well by this young actress. Her acting prowess is exposed to the highest degree in this movie. I have seen her movies in Telugu and Hindi and this is her best till date. The innocence in her eyes, the sadness, the need, the love, everything is expressed in a very convincing way. Gul playing the role of Zeenat has provided us with some brilliant performance showing determination and poise while trying to give life to her husband who is sitting on death row.

Shreyas is a brilliant actor, nothing new about that but his role as the impostor brings in the lighter moments of the movie. He is spontaneous and very funny. Nagesh Kukunoor as the out-of-town contractor is very convincing as the bad guy as I was really mad at him for a long time after the movie. Girish Karnad as the father-in-law mad at his daughter-in-law is also portrayed very impressively.

In all this movie is a brilliant package with great acting, direction, stills, location, and above all an impressive story and this would most certainly be my pick for Oscar next year!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Elavattam (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Navdeep, Sheela, Suhasini, Vijaykumar, Shubalekha Sudhakar
Director: Raja Raajha
Music: Mani Sharma


The story is a rehash of what has been done in the past many times. This is my idea of what the director must have thought...To make a movie with lots of sex to sell the movie but then to get the attention of decent audience use the sex to teach a lesson to youngsters. Nice idea but the execution went sourly wrong. The story is banal and so is the screenplay and dialogues. The songs are also not so lingering and on the whole an average fare.

A college that had never had any gold medallist finally gets one in the form of Navdeep. Everyone wonders why Navdeep always received police security to college and he goes on to explain his flashback...

Navdeep and Sheela are in the same school and they are at loggerheads with each other. One rainy night Navdeep is exposed to the concept of sex and then he gets physically attracted to Sheela. Which of course turns into love in due time!

Sheela's is the daughter of a rich landlord (Vijaykumar). She has a sister who is married to Babloo (this is what he used to be called when he used to act in Tamil serials). Babloo is a rogue in the disguise of a nice guy. He is secretly planning to marry Sheela so that all the property owned by Vijaykumar comes under his control. When Vijaykumar discovers his plot Babloo kills Vijaykumar and dons the role of the head of the household.

On discovering Sheela and Navdeep on the bed in their house he gets mad and tries to kill Navdeep. The district collector Suhasini with whom Navdeep is already acquainted helps get Babloo arrested and thrown into Jail. She also gets a promise from both Navdeep and Sheela that they will both study and pursue a career before giving in to physical attraction which may also be infactuation at such a young age.

Honestly I don't see why Navdeep receives police protection every single day of his college life when the bad guy Babloo is behind bars! The whole story is under a wrong premise. I am not sure I even remotely enjoyed the movie. It is very sensual in parts and certainly not for family viewing...trust me when I say this as I saw it with my mother and it was thoroughly uncomfortable! Even if the story is not new a lot of movies have something different that makes the movie interesting (for example the movie Run) but this is plain boring! So avoid it if you have anything better to do. But I must give credit to both Navdeep and Sheela for very decent acting. I honestly believe it was not their fault for choosing to act in a below average movie!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Me and my Penicilin!

My childhood is full of things I did that I laugh about now...I feel sad for my parents who had to put up with it...Here is one more of such incident!

I had the chronic cough for over a month or more and the doctors at BHEL township hospital decided that they would have to inject me with penicilin to get rid of it. I think the dosage was two shots a day for four days. One in the morning before school and one in the evening after school. As most of you know that every penicilin shot starts with a test (think it is called Manto's test or something)...So mom and I were at the hostpital one evening sitting in line to get my test. I was positive that I will fail the test and would not have to go through the eight shots of penicilin.

The nurse came in poked the needle into my arm and then put a cirlce around where she had poked. She told me that they will let me sit for half hour and see if anything happens inside the circle. I was so positive that after having successfully managed to flunk so many subjects in school I can fail this one with ease...

tik tik tik tik...the time moved on slowly...and at the end of half hour the nurse came back and told me that I have successfully qualified for their penicilin injection program and that I would be stepping into the injection room to expose my tushie for the shot!!! I panicked and showed signs of running away...but mom held me tight and got me inside the nurse's room. I started crying, and when the nurse came close to me with a swift movement (Rajnikanth Style) I kicked the nurse in her stomach with one leg and pushed my mom away with my hands and ran outside the hospital to save my bottoms!!!

For the first time ever in my life I walked alone and that too all the way from the Hospital to my B-Sector home and I would have just been six or seven. I was positive that my dad would be proud of me for having ducked my injection...It took me more than half hour to reach home and at that moment I was selfish and did not care about my mother's anxiety of loosing her daughter at all. I got home and knocked the door to my house and dad opened it. First think he searched for mom. The minute he knew I had walked home alone he was mad and I could see it. He did not say much till he let me inside the house and then I got a nice dressing down! I was devastated...my dad! my dad scolded me, so many times in previous situations my dad had saved me from receiving injections but now he was mad at me!!!

Mom came in and more praises were showered on me and the next morning I was sent to the hospital with both mom and brother and an extra nurse waited at the door. I once again tried to wiggle my way out but then I was pinned to the bed by my brother and mom and I cried now out of humiliation that I was finally made to undergo the ultimate torture from a syringe! And this memory is fresh in my mind. I can remember the flooring in the hospital some sort of dark gray with black and white spots and green curtains with nurses in white pinafores and funny hats running around with their long socks and white shoes...Grrr....

But few things have changed I still hate injections more than anything in my life!!! I am scared of them and I will do anything to avoid them!! Even when they draw blood from me for tests it takes a good nurse three turns before she can get the needle inside my arm! I have great reflexes!!!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Godavari (2006) - Telugu Movie Review

Ranking : 4/5

Cast: Kamalinee Mukherjee as Sita Mahalakshmi, Sumanth as Sriram and Neetu Chandra as Raji
Director: Shekar Kammula
Music: K. M. Radha Krishnan

Cinema can be two things. It can either be a fantasy portrayed on screen or can be reality bought to light. A director should be clear about what he wants. If he is confused then the final outcome is also not great. But if the director knows that he wants to direct a fantasy movie and goes about doing it with great screenplay, setting, story, camera, music, etc then the movie is beautiful. Godavari is a fantastic fantasy. Beautiful scenery, some great acting, and a very simple story backed with a good screenplay and dialogues. The music is also soothing but the background score reminds you sometimes of AR Rehman's Thiruda Thiruda or his older movies. In other words I liked this movie and would strongly recommend others to watch it. Family viewing should bring no embarrassment to anyone.

Sita is a very pampered and spoilt child who wants to achieve something on her own in her lifetime. She is a free spirited independent girl raised to live her life in her own way. Due to pressure she agrees to marry a guy her parents had chosen for her but gets frustrated to realize that the guy had rejected her. So in anger she packs her bags and leave to see Sita-Ram marriage in Badrachalam on a house boat called Godavari on the river Godavari.

Sriram is an US-return software guy who wants to do something for the people of India and hence comes back to India to join politics. He wants to marry his cousin Raji who is also his best friend but her father thinks otherwise and gets her engaged to an IPS officer and the marriage is scheduled to take place in Badrachalam. The entire wedding party is booked to travel on the house Boat too.

Sita and Ram meet in the boat. Sparks fly but nothing is uttered. Before it is uttered there are small confusions and tensions and the story takes a small twist and eventually ends in a happy note. Sorry for giving away the ending. Like you anticipated anything different. It is a Golti movie for the love of GOD! and that too a romantic one!

So in conclusion, a simple predictable love story that is done very nicely. Kamalinee Mukherjee to me seemed to have matured as a Telugu actress in this movie from her performance in Anand. She is cute and adorable and portrays her character to perfection. Sushanth on the other hand seems to lack energy but maybe that is his role in this movie. He can try and do better in his next movie. Neetu as the confused cousin of Sushanth has done a great job too. Her confusion is portrayed very aptly. And last but not the least, the animated talking dog Kotigadu is simply the BEST! He is cute, adorable and funny and not overdone one bit also.

Go and watch the movie if you have not done so yet!
So I got Tagged...By one of my real real good friend. In fact I guess he is the only friend I am in touch with since Primary School...Here are the questions...

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4.

All I have is an Architectural magazine near me and on line four it talks about some architects work!

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can.

Thanks! My back popped!

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?

I saw a golt movie last night on my TV but thats not watching TV is it?! So I remember watching South Park before going to sleep on Wednesday night!

4. Without looking, guess what time it is?

9.15am

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?

Not bad the time is 9.29am. I guess I keep a watch on myself!

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

People chattering away in the back...things I don't care about and things I don't want to hear.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?

Just came into work dude! and wont step outside till 5.00pm to go home and clean up the mess in it!

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?

Movie preview for Vattaram on rediff.com

9. What are you wearing?

Blue jean, white shirt and whitish pinkish nike sneakers

10. Did you dream last night?

I usually remember this but last night was clear. Slept like a baby!

11. When did you last laugh?

This morning.

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?

Loads of drawing sheets that I have worked on with my boss and colleagues for a recent high-profile presentation. They are beautiful!

13. Seen anything weird lately?

Not that I remember...and if it is weird I usually try to forget it.

14. What do you think of this quiz?

It is short and simple. Easy!

15. What is the last film you saw?

Godavari. A telugu movie last night. I strongly believe that only telugu movies can convey simplicity and feel-good feelings so nicely. It is a must watch movie for the romantics.

16. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?

A kick ass car and and a nice plot of land to design and build my own house in my own style! Hopefully it makes it to some cool architectural magazine (for good reviews okay!).

17. Tell me something about you that I dunno.

I have been learning Bharatanatyam for more than a year now and will be giving my first performance on Nov. 11 in Irving, TX!

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?

The weather in India. Make it more conducive to progress. Water should no longer be a concern for people! (Spoken like a true Madrasi!)

19. Do you like to dance?

Love it...

20. George Bush.

Nothing.

21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?

Radha, Anushka (combination of Anu + Girish), Shakthi

22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?

Anush (same), Surya

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?

Yup...but always dil chahtha hai India!!!

24. What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?

Waddup Dawg!

25. 5 people who must also do this in their blog.

Why 5 when I can name 7!!!

Seashells (Who writes like a poet! Wait he is one!)
Satyam4U (a lover of golt movies who attempts to talk in Tamil :))
Megha G (My best pal!)
Kasi and (A dude who shares a common interest with me...MOVIES!!!)
Manjesh (Who desperately needs to update his blog! Lazy Bottoms!)
And of course Sammy!!! (The greatest guitarist and singer ever! GO MASUM!)
Ashutosh! (The funny dude!)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Disco Skirt

It was one of my brother's birthday, don't remember which ones it was, but my parents always bought all three of us a new dress so that we don't feel left out. For all our major shopping needs we would go to Trichy town from our BHEL township as the township did not have a great variety of stores and they were sometimes expensive especially for clothes. So mom, dad, my brothers, and I boarded a DCTC (Dheeran Chinnamalai Transport Corp. Why do I remember this dude? Weird I guess!!!!) bus to Main Guard gate and shopped there. We always clubbed a visit to the market to get veggies on all our trips to town and also a Tutti Fruti at Summer House near Teppakulam.

So the thirteen plus kilometer journey started with both me and my elder brother feeling nausea and lying down on my mom's lap. On reaching town we got off and walked long before we started our clothes shopping. Both the brothers got shirt and trousers in a jiffy and finally it was my turn. I should have been anywhere between 8 or 10 and had no sense of shopping or idea of seller-smartness.

The guy threw on the counter two identical two piece dress (blouse and skirt). One had a pocket in the skirt and the other did not have it. My mom innocently asked him what the price were. He said one of was Rs. 300 and the other was Rs. 400. My mom was now mad and she asked him why the other was Rs. 100 more. To which he quickly replied that it was a "Disco Skirt" and so it was expensive and it was in "pashion" (fashion).

All my little ears heard was "Disco Skirt." Now who would not want a disco skirt? Seriously, would you want to be telling your friends that you have a disco skirt or would you want to tell them that you have an ordinary one? So I told my mom that I want the disco skirt. She looked at me sternly and said no, you are getting the other one and it was better than the disco skirt.

I screamed and said I wanted the disco skirt. My mom squeezed my hand and said I will get the other one. Now I was mad and I started screaming, crying, and also asked my mom why she was squeezing my hand. Then the dirty shop keeper took advantage of the situation and told my mom, "get your daughter the disco skirt." My mom was furious at my behavior and my dad intervened on time to put an end to the drama and bought me the "Disco Skirt." Now I thought everything was good...at least I was happy...until we left the store and started walking towards the market.

Dad silently walked ahead with my brothers while my mom gave me the scolding of my life which I remember till date and never argue with her while she is bargaining. My mom explained to me how she would have bargained with the shop-keeper and gotten me the Disco Skirt for Rs. 300 itself but for my stupidity we had to pay the full price!!!

At that age I thought I was right but looking back today I would do the same thing to my daughter. My wisdom comes from experience and from my mom who scolded me but not with bad words but with her extensive shopping knowledge and I thank her for that. This does not mean that I never did any foolish thing again and embarrass my parents...of course I did and I will write them down too in due time!