Monday, April 23, 2012

Filmy Shilmy: Smokers’ Corner: The thin red line

When Omar Shaikh was arrested and sentenced to death in 2002 for the kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal correspondent, Daniel Pearl, in Karachi, many Pakistanis were shocked. But what was there to be shocked about?
Shaikh had well-known links with a number of clandestine jihadist organisations and had already been jailed in 1993 by an Indian court for entering India and taking part in the kidnapping of a number of foreign tourists to raise money for the so-called ‘Kashmir jihad’.
Shaikh was released in 1999 when jihadists hijacked an Indian airliner and negotiated Shaikh’s and others’ release from Indian prisons. The surprise was triggered in most Pakistanis when details of Shaikh’s personal background emerged after his sentencing. It had to do with the fact that he belonged to a well-to-do urban middle-class family and had studied in prestigious British schools and at the equally prestigious Atchison in Lahore. Then he’d gone on to get a degree in economics from London School of Economics.
Till then jihadists and extremists in Pakistan were largely believed to have come from poverty-stricken or tribal backgrounds.
Shaikh’s links with extremist terror outfits quickly called for a reassessment of the way terrorism’s demographics were understood. After Shaikh, more cases have emerged in which the arrested or killed extremists have turned out to be members of educated middle-class families.
But though this phenomenon may be relatively new in the spheres of terrorism involving Islamists, it was first fully realised during the spat of left-wing terrorism witnessed in the United States, Germany, France, Greece and Italy between the late 1960s and the early 1980s. In spite of the fact that the terror outfits operating in these countries were supposedly striving to overthrow capitalism and impose communist regimes, almost all of their leadership comprised young people with college degrees and having urban middle-class backgrounds.
Sociologists pointed at the deep social-political fissures that took place due to the rampant cultural and economic changes that had been taking place in the West after the Second World War as one of the main reasons behind the phenomenon. Middle-class youth in Pakistan was also radicalised, especially after the enigmatic end to the 1965 Pakistan-India war. But even though radicalisation too was largely leftist in nature, it remained focused in the politics of street agitation and on campuses.
Shaikh was not exactly the first known well-to-do Pakistani middle-class youth to have got embroiled in the more militant aspects of radical politics. That honour goes to a group of young Pakistanis who were collectively known as the London Group.
The group was a study circle formed in London (in 1969) by Marxist Pakistani students studying in colleges and universities.
There were about 25 such students in the group who used to meet to discuss various left-wing movements and literature. They also began publishing a magazine called ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ that (in 1971) had to be smuggled into Pakistan because it was highly critical of the Pakistani military’s role in the former East Pakistan. The magazine helped the group to forge a relationship with some Baloch nationalists who invited the group members to travel to Balochistan and help the nationalists set into motion some education related projects.
After the loss of East Pakistan in 1971, the populist PPP had formed a new elected government at the centre, whereas the leftist NAP was heading the provincial government in Balochistan. In 1973, the PPP regime accused NAP of fostering a separatist movement in Balochistan and dismissed it. In reaction, hordes of Baloch tribesmen picked up arms and triggered a full-fledged guerrilla war with the Pakistan Army.
About five members of the London Club decided to quit their studies in London, travel back to Pakistan and join the insurgency on the Baloch nationalists’ side. They were all between the ages of 21 and 25, came from well-off families and, what’s more, none of them was Baloch. In fact they were all from Punjab. They included Najam Sethi, Ahmed Rashid, Rashid and Asad Rehman and Dalip Dass (a Pakistani from a middle-class Hindu family).
Asad Rehman, Ahmed Rashid and Dalip Dass were the three who escaped into the mountains to join the Baloch tribesmen, whereas Najam Sethi and Rashid Rehman stationed themselves in Karachi to raise funds and awareness about the Baloch cause.
Each one of them believed that the government’s move against the NAP regime was akin to the establishment’s attitude towards the Bengalis of the former East Pakistan.
The young men’s parents all thought their sons were in London, studying. It was only in 1974 when the government revealed their names that the parents came to know. The three men in the mountains took active part in the conflict, facing an army that used heavy weaponry and war helicopters that were supplied by the Shah of Iran and piloted by Iranian pilots.
More than 5,000 Baloch men and women lost their lives in the war that ended when the PPP regime was toppled in a reactionary military coup in 1977. Dalip Dass and Najam Sethi were arrested. Dass was later killed and his body was never found. Sethi, after he was released, went on to become a successful publisher, journalist and political analyst.
Asad Rehman remained underground till 1978 before departing for London. Ahmed Rashid also escaped to London and today he is a respected author. Asad Rehman accompanied the Baloch leaders who went into exile to Afghanistan in 1979 where they were looked after the Soviet backed regime in Kabul. He returned in 1980 before going back to London, this time to escape the right-wing dictatorship of Ziaul Haq. Rashid Rehman took up journalism as a profession.
It is unfair really to equate the radical enthusiasm of the London Group with that of men like Omar Shaikh and others like him.
Just like some middle-class young Pakistanis who fought a guerrilla war against the Soviet army in Afghanistan, the London Group too fought a war against an army they thought was unjust. Never did these young radicals take their war to the civilians to bully the state; nor did they indulge in gruesome acts of slaughtering innocent people in mosques, shrines and markets. It is a thin line, but a line nevertheless.

Smokers’ Corner: The thin red line

Monday, January 23, 2012

The enigma of Talaash – Reema Kagti’s next with Aamir Khan

Talaash trailer!

Talaash "holographic" "moving" ??  poster:

Notice the "Answer lies within" - this squarely hints at a psychological drama!

Everything about this film is shrouded in smoke – Dhuaan was a very apt early rumored title that has now been changed to Talaash. Written by Reema Kagti (director of Excel Entertainment’s Honeymoon Travels) and Zoya Akhtar (writer and director of Luck by Chance and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara), the film boasts of an interesting cast with Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor (last seen in 3 Idiots) but also includes Rani Mukherjee. Rani and Aamir were last seen together in Mangal Pandey years ago!
So what to we know about Talaash? The earlier Dhuaan suggests events clouded in mystery, fog. Aamir plays a cop named Surjan Singh Sekhawat and Kareena is called Sunaina, and is allegedly a sex-worker (as per Mid-Day). In a recent interview with Verve magazine this is what we learnt:
….. Kagti has been refining her suspense drama about a police investigation in Mumbai with Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukerji as the cast. Slated for a 2012 release, the word on the street is that the real star of the film is its script.
“Zoya (Akhtar) and I thought of the story and co-wrote it. We do a lot of writing together. We’re also best friends so it’s fun and there’s a huge comfort factor. All our creative arguments get resolved by who can bang her laptop harder on the other one’s head,” she says, grinning wickedly.
So is she intimidated to be directing an institution like Aamir Khan? “I’m not fazed at all, just extremely grateful to Aamir and the producers for this opportunity to make a film in a really nice way. Aamir has got a lot of foresight and is very interested in the well-being of the project. I really appreciate that and don’t see that as interference. Having said that, even if the situation gets challenging, I like challenges.”
There was to be an underwater shot in Mumbai but as per Wikipedia it was moved to an undisclosed water studio in London:

Read more HERE

Monday, November 28, 2011

Clockworks, Automata and the Silents – the magic of Hugo!

A dazzling array of gears dissolved into the streets of Paris, and a single gear turned magically into a roundabout, and just like that for me Hugo went from the realm of near animation to reality. The teeming Gare Montparnasse is well endowed with clocks that all keep working on precisely oiled and turned gears. Making them keep perfect time is an orphaned boy called Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), who lives in the forgotten spaces between the walls of the train station. Hugo’s father (Jude Law), a clock-maker and museum employee, is dead, and his guardian, a drunk uncle who is responsible for keeping the station clocks running, has been gone for days. Between stealing a meager daily meal, avoiding the lame station agent Gustav (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his ferocious doberman who are constantly on the lookout for vagrant orphan boys, stealing clockwork parts from the toy stall owner Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley), and keeping the innumerable near inaccessible clocks running, Hugo leads a busy life. But it does have a singular purpose – that of fixing an automaton his father had found in the museum. The automaton is child size, extremely wide-eyes, metallic, and is supposed to be able to write and draw when fully functioning. Hugo is helped by Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), the adopted daughter of Papa Goerges and Mama Jeanne (Helen McCrory), and in turn Hugo introduces her to the movies, particularly those of George Melies.

Read more HERE 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rockstar reviews! 2.5/5 However, in its initial build-up, informed with a robust sense of quirky humour, Rockstar shows a fair degree of promise. Ranbir Kapoor, as JJ, makes a go for it with infectious intent. He gets the lingo and diction right; the gawky gait is delightfully apt.....Sadly, the narrative, lacks the substance that a film as long as this would have needed to sustain itself. will swoon over Nargis, and the fairer sex will find Ranbir's transformation irresistible, and forgive the fact that his fingers don't move at all like someone who has been playing the guitar since childhood. Or that throughout the movie he plays variety of gorgeous electric guitars without a cable -- or a wireless device -- attached to any of them. That's like trying to drive a car without fuel 4/5 But while good acting is always an incentive, it’s a director’s vision that makes a film truly watchable, and Imtiaz deserves credit for trying his hand at something different from what the mainstream churns out every week. And for bringing back the one aspect sorely missing from Hindi films lately -- music.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bollywood’s ‘Ra.One’ - reviews

Reviews of Andrew Hehir: 

Pick of the week: From dazzling dance numbers to post-"Matrix" action, "RA. One" showcases Bollywood's confidence 

A year of relentless hustling, hype and expectations inevitably numb achievements, whatever they are, into the obvious. You wish to figure if this was worth this much fuss.
economictimes Gaurav Malani: On the Indian superhero scale, G.One is certainly way ahead of its Krrish counterparts but still miles behind Robot. Nevertheless Ra.One qualifies for a 'one' time watch. J Hurtado: There was a fear that writer/director Anubhav Sinha had bitten off more than he could chew with Ra.One.  Sinha is a director with a couple of minor successes and a couple of flops on his record, so taking on a project of this magnitude was a big risk for everyone involved. I'm happy to say that in my eyes, he's succeeded in a grand and captivating way. As I said, this isn’t a film that embraces tomorrow as much as it celebrates yesterday, and its most remarkable achievement may be that, with one foot tentatively toeing the future and one stuck resolutely in the past, it didn’t end up peeing all over itself. Pratim Gupta:Ra.One is one of those lavish five-star buffet spreads where there’s something for everyone but not everything for someone. The game is risky but the playing too safe. The dream’s not dead but it doesn’t flicker back to life as often as G.One’s H.A.R.T. does. Kirk Honeycutt: India’s first attempt at a superhero movie is both vigorous and emotionally fulfilling within the context of Bollywood traditions. Rajiv Masand: 2.5/5 What's missing from 'Ra.One' is a sure-footed director's touch. Anubhav Sinha fails to bring all the elements together, and while this superhero film has plenty sound and fury, it's sorely lacking slickness. I'm going with two and a half out of five for 'Ra.One'. Like the spaghetti and curds concoction that Shah Rukh digs into in an early scene, 'Ra.One' is clearly an acquired taste. Rachel Salz: But if the storytelling disappoints (shocking!), the film mostly doesn’t. It relies on action and effects and Bollywood’s trump card, star power, to carry the day. This is Mr. Khan’s movie, and once he sheds Shekhar’s droopy locks, he shines as the deadpan, action-hero robot with digital snot and smooth moves on the dance floor.

Gulfnews - Manjari Saxena:
In all, a fun movie to catch and will definitely run full house during the Diwali weekend – making it a very happy Diwali for Shah Rukh Khan.

bollywoodhungama - Taran Adarsh:4.5/5 It's not merely a great looking film, but also has soul, which is so essential to strike a chord with the avid moviegoer. As for the business prospects, RA.ONE is sure to shatter all previous records and set new ones, in India as well as internationally.

emirates247 - Bindu Suresh Rai:  All said and done, Bollywood’s advancement in FX and special effects is a boon for 'Ra.One', which heavily relies on the technical expertise to carry the story forward in the second half. 3.5/5 Here's a movie the Hindi film industry can be proud of. "Ra.One" can be touted as the first Hindi film that blends the elegance of Hollywood with Indian sensibilities. 3.5/5 The movie is completely made in Indian (Desi) style, made on par with Hollywood standards. If you are expecting something like Transformers or Inception then, the movie is not for you.  Go watch it as a common Indian who usually stays away from Hollywood movies. 4/5 RA.ONE is the most ambitious, most expensive and the most technologically complex Hindi film ever made. It pushes the envelope further. It's not merely a film, but an experience, an event. It's a film that will rewrite the textbook of computer graphics in Hindi cinema.

timesofindia - Nikhat Kazmi: 3.5/5

Stardust: 3.5/5 Shah Rukh Khan has done a superb job in the flick in terms of acting and chasing sequences. The film is a visual treat with top notch computer graphics and other use of high- tech gadgetry. The film has raised the bar further for superhero flicks.  It is certainly better than anything bollywood has offered so far and is more in consonance with standards of Hollywood.

deccanchronicle Khalid Mohamed: 4/5 Undoubtedly, the extravaganza belongs to Shah Rukh Khan. He’s ultra- high on energy and on infecting the viewer with his distinctive brand of tongue-in-chic chutzpah. Why the four stars? you may cavil. Answer: why not? Here’s a technical accomplishment with as much heart as hardware. Aniruddha Guha: 3/5 As Shekhar's wife, Kareena does little than preen at the camera in sexy outfits. Rampal scorches the scene with his screen presence. The kid Armaan, as Shekhar's son Prateik, who learns the importance of siding with the good against evil, is charming despite the awful hairstyle.  Which brings us back to the film's best dialogue: "Raavan kabhi marta nahi". So then how can the good one ever be victorious? Oh well, we have the sequel to figure that out.

indiatoday Kaveree Bamzai: 3.5/5 Shah Rukh throws himself about, vaulting up and own buildings, leaping through the air and even landing on his feet with Kareena Kapoor in his arms. In the face of such indefatigable energy, we surrender. Go on, Shah Rukh, give it a rest. In the words of your superhero, you did good.

ibtimes Ralle Shele: Director Anubhav Sinha deserves all the accolades for making such a good film. He brought the best in Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal and child artiste Armaan Verma. He did everything right from direction to screenplay to action sequences. Music by Vishal-Shekhar is also cool with songs like 'Chamakchallo', 'Dildara' and 'Raftarein' going down well with the music lovers.

ndtv Saibal Chatterjee: 3/5 As a vendetta saga, RA.One might be right up your alleyway. It delivers more than your money’s worth in terms of pure entertainment. It is impressively shot, technically good enough to pass muster and the hi-jinks drama has the pace to keep tedium at bay.  What you see is passable, what you hear is enjoyable, but what you take away is insubstantial. Rachit Gupta: It’s not very polished but it’s more than acceptable. In fact, had the storytelling been stronger Ra.One could’ve been a classic. Sadly it’s not but it is an enjoyable sci-fi and CGI fiesta that will transport you to a world of kooky fantasy and video game heroes.

Senegalese-American musician Akon is reportedly recording a song for the soundtrack of the upcoming Bollywood superhero action film Ra.One, starring Shahrukh Khan. It’s rumored that Akon will also make an appearance in the film.

The Grammy-nominated singer will join the ranks of other Western music artists who’ve contributed to Bollywood films in recent years. American rapper Snoop Dogg performed on the title track of Singh is Kinng in 2008 and Australian pop star Kylie Minogue performed a song in Blue in 2009.

In Ra.One, Khan plays a software engineer who becomes a video-game hero and combats a virtual monster he created. Indian actors Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal also star in the film.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How I spent Friday night, watching middle-aged wannabe Casanovas – Rascals

Take a Deewana Mastana story, twist it a bit so the third guy has a more active role in the film. Take two middle-aged leading men who have lost all sense of maturity, and throw them in with two young girls who are not afraid to strip down to their skivvies at the least provocation. Add lots of references to films past, gags using blind men, disabled men, and ethnic stereotypes, give up any pretense of having a coherent story or logic and you have a David Dhawan film in the 2000s.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Putting the math into baseball – Moneyball

The word baseball loses you about 50% fans as women do not care for sports, math loses you 25% of the remainder as sports jocks are not very cerebral people. Adding Brad Pitt into the mix gets 25% of the women back! But Moneyball proves that it is possible to make a smart film that stays true to the source material, and by eschewing real math and replacing it with occasional flashes of spreadsheets on screen, also make it crowd-pleasing. Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland Athletics. He describes his team as “There are big market teams, then there are the poor teams and then there is large gap and then there is us!!” Without any money, having just lost three of his best players, he is scrambling to put together a team that can play. That is when Peter Brandt (played by Jonah Hill) comes on board and things start to change for the Oakland As. A team of misfits that are supposed to do the job, are put together. But the team manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman) refuses to buy into the big vision of Beane. Finally Beane guts the team to leave Howe with no other choice.

Read more HERE

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Forthcoming releases to ring out 2011

Here is what is left for us to view:

Mausam - Pankaj Kapur directs his son and Sonam Kapoor in a love story across time.  Other than a long time in the making, a Veer Zaara hangover, and Shahid's ridiculous mustache, the movie does have some decent songs and curiosity associated with Pankaj Kapur's debut as director.

Speedy Singhs - Akshay Kumar produced this film directed by Robert Lieberman and starring (the only name of note) Russel Peters and many other no names.  All reports say this is a certified dud.

Force - Nishikant Kamath's direction, John Abraham and Genelia D'Souza starring in an action drama that looks like John's muscles are doing most of the acting.  Music is by Harris Jayraj but it has not made many waves yet.

Rascals - David Dhawan directs Sunjay Dutt and Ajay Devgn playing bad boys with teh ever incomprehensible Kangana Ranuat.  Music is by Vishal Shekhar.

Ra.One - directed by one Anubhav Sinha, and produced by Shah Rukh Khan, this one promises thrills and CGI action in 3D. Kareena Kapoor costars as the red saree clad Chammak Challo.  Music is by Vishal Shekhar.

Ladies v/s Ricky Bahl - directed by Band Baaja Baraat phenom Maneesh Sharma, this one stars Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma.  Expect fireworks!

Rockstar - Imtiaz Ali directs Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri in this rock music extravaganza.  Music is by A R Rahman, and Sadda Haq and Kun faaya Kun are already making waves.

Don 2 - Farhan Akhtar sheds his actor avatar and dons the director's hat for this sequel to the 2006 remake of Don.  This one promises a unique story and boasts of Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra in the cast.  Music is by SEL, and this will close the year out in a grand style!

Tell us how you think each of them will do critically and at the box office.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

All those W(AK)OW moments – Asha Bhosle in concert!

On the spur of the moment I made the decision to try my luck at the Flint Center where Asha Bhosle was supposed to be singing, along with Sudesh Bhosle. We rushed madly through traffic, arrived late, were told only cash could be used for ticket purchase and the ATM was out of money please! After everyone turned their wallets and pockets inside out we had enough money to get middling good seats, and walked in to see Asha ji on stage, spotlighted, in a baby blue bejewelled saree, talking of how RD Burman asked her to sing a song, which she was unsure of ever being able to do. It was for a Nasir Hussain film, and a bet was on between Nasir and RD about whether Asha or Rafi would do a better job! RD won and the song was a lusciously mad number Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyaar Tera with the signature hyperventilation in the mukhda. She started to sing and the clapping and dancing in the seats and out of the seats began! Magic was ON stage and I was viewing it. (Thankfully NO male accompaniment, just pure Asha magic!!). We were told to not do any video photography - so to invoke the magic of Aaja Aaja, I post here the original version from Teesri Manzil:

The concert was an amazing blend of anecdotes, outstanding music from talented and very competent musicians, some male accompaniment from Sudesh Bhosle (more on that towards the end), and Asha Asha Asha in full charismatic and flamboyant mode. She was magical, had the range, the power and that indefinable "sexiness" that made her THE voice of all the sexiest songs in the 60s and 70s!

The acoustics at the Flint Center did full justice to the magic of her vocals. But this was no staid behind the podium singer that her sister is known to be, that is when she is not wagging her finger at you in annoyance if you so much as stir from your seat! Asha was a dynamo, constantly in motion, constantly swaying, and moving to the music, and sometimes breaking into dance steps that flashed her diamond wristcuffs with dangling strings of glitter! She quipped - now that I am 76 years old, and neither in heaven nor on earth, but somewhere in between, let me dance if I want to, who cares!!! And dance she did, evoking the magic of Helen and Bindu and countless other cabaret dancers of the movies! Age sucks all of us into its maw, but I have to say that that day watching Asha ji dance as she sang was a sublime experience, nothing short of magical!

She sang most of her iconic songs, to cheers and claps and sing-alongs and encores! She mentioned that her audience included those who had bunked school and college to see her films (and were now in their 40s and 50s) and those who simply had listened much much later! That described the demographic at the concert rather well. The songs included Chura Liya Hai, Ek Main Aur Ek Tu, and the first half ended with O Haseena Zulfon Wali - sung to a crowd that was mostly on its feet in nostalgia and ecstasy!

After a break Asha ji came back, this time in a stark black Sari, glittering in the spotlights! She recounted how she and Kishore Da prepared for singing Jaane Jaan, she gleeful as she had sung it before in Bangla, he glum and struggling with the notes! Then there was Dum Maro Dum, and the classic WAKOW song. Sudesh Bhosle displayed his excelle mimicry talents by singing all the male voices in Hum Kisi se Kum Nahin - RD Burman, Rafi and Kishore, and then Asha ji chimed in and danced away in the number. The concert rightfully closed with Piya Tu Ab to Aaja from Caravan.

Trolling Youtube I did find one video from this same concert in Phoenix, a short clip, but it give a flavor of the concert, the magic, the moments.

Read more hereHERE

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The song, romance and dance is no more – Shammi Kapoor dies at age 79

Suffering from kidney failure, in and out of dialysis, Shammi Kapoor retained a joy for life and living till the very end. The joy he brought to each and every tole on camera was what made him an unforgettable hero. He danced, he romanced and gave a face to the smooth and silky voice of Rafi Saab. His dance moves were never choreographed, but an upswelling from within of how he felt the music. The light of fun and joy is gone, but not forgotten. While I can watch any Shammi movie anytime, some of the songs I love the most are so good they are worthy of repeat watches. Here are my top favorite ways to remember Shammi ji:
In O Haseena Zulfon wali watch Shammi Kapoor match up to the siren Helen:

Next up is Aasman se Aaya Farishta, Shammi Kapoor in a bathrobe makes sure Sharmila in a daring (for the time) swimsuit goes practically unnoticed!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kishore Kumar - musical genius

It is the birth anniversary of Kishore Kumar, a day worth remembering for all lovers of music.  Born 4th August 1929, Kishore was never a trained singer.  His biopic mentions that he once got badly injured as a child, cried very loudly for several days, and that "opened" up his vocal chords!  It is one of those injuries that changed Indian music forever! 

He started his film career as a comic hero in many films, where his costar was Bhagwan.  It was films like Chalti Ka Naam Gadi, Nayi Dilli and Hum Sab Ustad Hain that established him as a comic hero of some repute.  But his heart was in singing and he dabbled in it, until he was finally discovered and established by Sachin Dev Burman as a playback singer.   His early tunes were magical, and best when he gave voice to himself:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The gentle mellifluous genius – Jaidev!

On his birth anniversary, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite compositions from this master. The winner of three National Awards for his compositions in the films Ankahee, Gaman, and Reshma Aur Shera, he also composed the music for Harivanshrai Bachchan’s Madhushala. Trained under Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, his music always went back to his classical roots. His first break in film music came under the Navketan banner and he came into his won from Hum Dono onwards.
It is really hard to pick a few favorites, but I’ll try. My first favorite is from Gaman sung by Suresh Wadkar:

The second one, sung by the incomparable Asha Bhosle, is from Hum Dono – the song and the voice are to die for:
The third is from Mujhe Jeene Do – a luminous Waheeda dancing on a mirror like floor, and a dacoit (Sunil Dutt) mesmerized by her singing and dancing:

See more HERE

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rafi – Tum mujhe yun bhula na paaoge!

He died 31 years ago but his songs are immortal and give me joy even today! For all the fans of Rafi – here is a film made on his life, it contains great commentary, and wonderful video footage! Enjoy!

View more HERE!

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara continues to surprise and polarize

Hosted by
What started out looking like a Spain tourism ad to some, a Dil Chahta Hai redux from the promos to others, was described by the maker as NOT that as most of the film is spent driving in a car, was slated to tank badly at the box office, have a short life span and be yet another yuppie wannabe film, has now taken on some legs at the ticket windows and continues to delight many viewers into its third week.  The usual gang of reviewers ranged from panning it solidly to loving it unabashedly.  Then we had this salvo fired by none other than Baradwaj Rangan:
I did not review Zoya Akhtar’s multiplex hit Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara for this paper – and I didn’t have to. I’d already reviewed Wake Up Sid in 2009, where I wrote, “It has all the weight of a television commercial showing sad people transforming into happy people in the course of thirty seconds, which is to say that nothing ever seems to be at stake… Everything is frustratingly preordained.” And, “But these bits of growing up are tucked away into inconsequential corners of the film, in song montages and the like, so we’re mainly left with the incessantly happy-cheery story of a boy and a girl getting together after a series of extremely minor hiccups. That’s not a bad way to spend a couple of hours, sure, but how you wish a few dashes of reality had been allowed to temper this unrelentingly feel-good fantasy.” The heft of a television commercial. The minor hiccups. The feel-good fantasy. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara has it all.
Mr. Rangan went on to mock the audience favorite Rock On! (though I must admit that I found it underwhelming):

Read more here!