Categories
cinema cinema: hindi genres oddments reviews Uncategorized

The Man Who Became His Mother

ki-and-ka_640x480_51451807578

Railways.

Yes let us begin with railways.Last week when the Gatiman Express was launched and proved to be only ten minutes faster than the quickest of trains we already had, I groaned. That’s it?

MORE FASTER!!!!!

Kabir from Ki and Ka would have been amidst those who would have complained about the ever reducing experience of the rail road or how forms of transportation seem to be converging based on just one parameter: speed.

Ki and Ka is one of the most well written films in recent history, it pays to notice that their back stories don’t seem like one liners scribbled in the corners of a script; but that which actually lends character.

A standing testimony to “two good characters and it’s a movie!”

Since we have already begun with railways, let us stick with Kabir; the one who is seen crying for his dead mother in transit, no he is not the spoilt-Singhania (Bansal actually) heir but a deeply sensitive man who misses his mother whom he feels has been thoroughly under recognized for the work she has done.

So we have a mama’s boy, trying to tell the world(and his father, no mainly his father; world comes later) that home making is an under appreciated art and that women almost daily have been denied of this credit while their men work away to corporate glory which has historically been called ‘work’. If women are truly the pillars to a man’s success, then in real time they are rusting only.

Kabir also likes trains, ‘likes’ here is a severely subtle description.

Son thinks he is continuing mother’s good work (also the story of Psycho, oops!) and combines his mother’s passion with his own (art meets art) and what we get is a dinner table served by a locomotive and a bed room that resembles an 80s waiting room (wow), see layers. A really fleshy character, i mean fleshed out character.

An act of God, in Bollywood land.

It would also help to notice that Kabir also thinks, his actions are driven by thinking.

arjun-kapoor-kareena-kapoor-ki-and-ka-train-still1

Pillars (stambh)

Kia doesn’t want to be a pillar, she wants to be a CEO; at first she does seem like the one who would do anything to get ahead, and her back story is not as detailed as that of her better half and depends entirely on how Kareena(brilliant) plays it, she is genuinely curious and visibly tired of meeting the same old men who are seeking pillars, so meeting Kabir on an aircraft was indeed godsend.

Good movies are about two people talking and they become better when what they are talking about is more interesting than who is speaking those lines, the first set up in Ki and Ka is genuinely engaging. The characters need not be yugapurush-es( I dont know the stri-ling equivalent of yugapurush) when they are created and any sort of character development that happens during the course of a movie is like the well mixed flavored popcorn that one encounters when one reaches the very end of the basket.

Ki and Ka is a modern film for a truly modern audience, does it play around with stereotypes? Yes, but only to get to the point, I could not see this as a regular gender/role reversal film, I felt the film had risen above these problems; because it would have become a Ramany vs Ramany* episode otherwise.

To further strengthen my point, the problems that Ki and Ka puts forward are solved without much issue or drama.  This film is not about career driven women trying to not have a baby without guilt because this problem gets solved within minutes.

Films are a reflection of what our society is or what society is moving towards, there could be people like Kabir out there who needs a Kia to function and there could be many Kias running away from becoming pillars and yearning to be architectural structures of beauty by themselves. (Kia ends up becoming the CEO of a construction company, nice touch there)

Ki and Ka is not about role reversal and it is definitely not a broad comment on man and woman, but an intimate look at two individuals post marriage. This is not about who gives up what or which profession is better; this Ki and Ka is actually Yin and Yang.

A well made modern film for the modern Indian, hopefully should inspire more Kis and Kas in real life as well.

Also officially now Arjun Kapoor is my favourite Bolly hero, the kind of restraint he brings to a character that would have become a caricature is absolutely magical.

Hey! Yes, they take the train back home, so finishing with railways as well.

The End.

PS

*Ramany vs Ramany a tamil sitcom on recently married couples.

 

 

Categories
cinema cinema: hindi

THERE IS SOMETHING IN THE WATER

https://i1.wp.com/media2.intoday.in/indiatoday/images/stories/talaash-350_101812072223.jpg

TALAASH (2012)

We walked in, just in time to catch Reema Kagti’s name being flashed with the grim yet jazzy “Muskaanein Jhooti hai”; the song which also accompanies a certain TV spot of the film which has a full mouthed and in night gown Kareena dancing to the song in a jazz bar with revolving doors with all the movie’s characters, evoking the both the Bombay of the past and the classic Hollywood thriller, which is what it intends to do.

The night club song does not feature in the film, meticulously shot and high on style, it has no place in the film but then gives you an idea of what to expect from the film.

Which makes me wonder, whether little said the better is the right approach for a thriller?

Aamir Khan plays Inspector Surjan Shekhawat, who is assigned the case of a dead Bollywood actor, whose car crashes into the Arabian sea, but like any protagonist in a quest, he has his own problems which began with the drowning of his son. The inspector has internalized his problem and along with his disturbed wife Roshni (Rani Mukherjee) paint a picture which resembles the first few minutes of ‘En Bommakutti Ammavukku’, the pain of losing a child to water, ultimately ties itself with the case of the drowned actor.

An interesting subject for a thriller, but the writers do not seem to be interested in strengthening the process of investigation but more on establishing the pain felt by its protagonists, it is also to be noted that the inspector is not shown as fast thinking Indian Sherlock Holmes but a very human Mumbai Police officer. This makes the storyline or the case involved look simple; which is how probably real cases work. There need not be knots within knots just to prove the prowess of an investigator, I totally agree but the point of ‘big reveal’ is lost if you can see the ending from long distance. So that is perhaps why, I couldn’t take much from the film or to say it in other words Talaash did not create the effect that Yuddham Sei (also a film with a troubled police officer) had on me.

Or because the tagline of the film is, “the answer lies within” it should be seen not just as a thriller but also a sort of personal struggle. It is quite impossible to discuss the story further without giving away much of the plot.

And yes it is amazing how Zoya Akthar and Reema Kagti went from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, that itself warrants Talaash a watch, also there is Kareena Kapoor and Nawazuddin Siddiqui(Two more reasons).

<click on the picture above to listen to the song, yes technology>

Categories
cinema cinema: hindi

OUR MAN FROM SAROJININAGAR

While I try desperately to come up with a title which references a another spy film, the extensive research tabs on my browser count up to five, if only Sriram Raghavan would also write his own review he would have come up with titles, multiple variations of ‘Never say never again’. But he keeps it simple here, a direct reference to a 1977 film which I know I can watch entirely on you tube.

But why do the directors take so much trouble in showing us from where they get their ideas from?

Agent Vinod begins with a Sergio Leone-esque dry land, where our man is captured in a rogue Afghan prison, much like the opening of Golden Eye in which Bond plays buddy cop; in Agent Vinod there is Ravi Kishen who keeps popping up acting more like Kato more than Sean Bean, so they prepare to give him a special appearance credit along with Gulshan Glover who walks in white like a man who has come get back some loaned money.

A Russian don gets killed and with him a secret known to the secret world as ‘242’ changes hands, our man who walks into RAW headquarters and has fleeting joke with an Indian Moneypenny is briefed briefly about the same. Thus begins his crash cruise through the world aided by an attractive Pakistani agent(Kareena Kapoor) going by many names. Will thewarring countries come together in saving the world? Or will they lose themselves in the process?

Reading through what I have typed in so far, I seem confused as to how approach in writing a piece on Agent Vinod.(I detest the word review, and how could a personal opinion be passed off as judgement) Should I indulge in length about the ‘Raabta’ sequence a clear homage to Scorsese or should I take a few critic like jokes on the wig of Ram Kapoor or the pony tail of Prem Chopra?

I truly enjoyed the film, with my minimum understanding of Hindi seventies pop culture I think I managed quite well, and I cannot speak on behalf of those who grew up on those films.

That brings us back to the original question of in-jokes and references/homages. Some things worked out quite fine, like calling a character after Indian model and Star Trek voyager Khambatta or the ‘Rakkamma Kayyathathu’ playing in the background while Vinod bashes up a Tamil, sometimes it doesn’t work or I hope to appreciate at a later age, Chaplin playing on the big screen at Riga. Wait was it Morocco? Through the course of the film Agent Vinod so many countries that you wonder that the makers will have trouble creating countries for the sequels (like Kamal and Sujatha attempted with Salamia in the much under-seen and derided Vikram).

Sometimes length is an issue.

As for the acting, I thought it was quite good considering the subject metter; Saif blends in as Agent Vinod and Kareena is adequate in the emotional scenes. Nobody expects Daniel Craig to accumulate nominations for playing Bond, so we should leave it at that.

And I take this opportunity to pass on some fact as advice to Sriram Raghvan, not that he doesn’t know. Here goes:

The man who made New York New York ultimately went on to make Goodfellas.

Sometimes you hit, sometimes you miss. It is OK.

 

 

Categories
cinema cinema: hindi

Of Cubes and Colours

Ra.ONE

I would wish to start abruptly, just that i am undecided on how much should a movie be promoted. I could have written a paragraph, but i will choose not to. The promotions can in no way affect your product, the thing it can do is bring people to the theatres. The working title of this blog was :Kind HARTS and INTERNETS.
just in case you wanted to know. 

 The increase in  gimmicks as purists call it may  be due to the rise of one Mr.Salman Khan. Like the Khan himself, we are also clueless how he manages to break industry records with films like Ready and Body Guard.

Coming to our Khan, i.e. the Khan in this film has not had a release since My Name is Khan and it might help to remember that the Salman Blitzkrieg began immediately after that and I am right in thinking that I was not the only one who was irritated by the constant promotions of Ra.ONE. I actually thought it would be quite a bad film and went without much expectation.

Ra.ONE (following the tradition of Goldfinger, Octopussy by naming the film after its antagonist) begins in contemporary London.( like most Hindi films)

Prateik Subramanium, the only son of Tamil game developer Shekar Subramanium is quite ashamed of the uncool-ness of his ‘Appa’ (pause), here I would like to take some time on the portrayal of South Indians up North; although we have stood up together for the same national anthem all these years Subramaniums and Ramamurthys are not looked upon greatly and they have a certain tendency to think that everyone below Hyderabad are idly sambar consuming Brahmins, so when the main character is named Subramanium there is not much reason to celebrate but only an excuse to loop in more idly sambar jokes(‘Now it is time for a South Indian Coffee break, that means we resume work only tomorrow’ says Shekar).

But the laudable thing here is a major Hindi film with a Tamil protagonist; we must also notice that none of our (tamil) films have heroes named Ajay Rathore or Rahul Singhania, the last time I noticed a North Indian name here was Yousuf Khan who was Vijaykanth nemesis in one of his many trips to save India (‘from Kashmir to Kanyakumari’that itself seems like a good title for a Captain movie).

<Continues>

So Shekar wants to create an impression on his son and assigns to himself and his sinking company (Baron Games?)to develop Ra.ONE(clever wording there, SRK) an indestructible villain, which he hopes will make him closer to his bad-ass son. Sonia his wife, looks pretty and sits at dining table conversations where Shekar quotes from V.Shantaram, it is obvious that she loves him and my reasoning is confirmed when they discuss condoms.

Where there is a villain, a hero is not far behind. G.ONE created is created as an exact opposite to Ra.ONE . He may not have the might of Ra.ONE but he does have a good HART, the battle between the good and the bad, makes the rest of the movie.

 

The concept of a Super-hero in India is not entirely local; we have always lived-off the fantasies of creators at the DC and Marvel offices and have often been awed at their films. It is only understandable for SRK wanting to play super-hero in a land where heroes are worshipped as Gods and thanked for his restraint as to not playing God in the same. SRK does well, both as the man who could never park a car and as the guardian angel from the gaming world made of blue cubes.

The film is visually stunning (I saw it in 3D) and I can safely say that graphics and special effects are put to good use, not the trashy ‘Dangerous Dave’ types which are visually affecting and embarrassing usually seen. A lot of work has been done to provide a quality super-hero movie.

Ra.ONE may not be a (to use an often used phrase) watershed in Indian Cinema, its inspirations are clear for us to see (Terminator 2, Iron Man and in its own way Endhiran) and uses many ploys of already seen blockbusters are understandable and forgiven assuming they were taken as points of reference, Ra.ONE sets out to do what it was made for; in spite of the hype and SRK’s insecurities. Ra.ONE is an honest film with proper casting and already popular music. The voice of Akon suspiciously fits the virtual creation it dubs for, and already the public are hailing with having a better pronunciation of the Rashtriya Bhaasha than Katrina Kaif. 

Then there is Kareena Kapoor in a wafer thin red saree, there is something mysteriously good about it. Must be the color.