Sherni (2021) Movie Review: Man vs. Wild

Right in the middle of the movie, Nangia, played by Neeraj Kabi, delivers a lecture in a seminar on how development and environment does not go hand in hand. Hence, we should strive for a balance, where both can coexist, exclaims Nangia.

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Friends: The Reunion (2021): A Candyfloss Get-together

It has been 20 years since I graduated from high school. We wanted to have a reunion of few close buddies who are still in touch. The last such reunion we had was in 2019, when a pal from Canada and another from Australia were visiting India during the year-end holiday. Of course, soon Corona virus hit us and we all were trapped in our homes.

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Short Film ‘Infected 2030’: Fear & Loathing in the Pandemic

As the title suggests, the movie is set in the future 2030 AD, where people are struggling with a virus for which there is still no cure. The short film starts with a couple, in a high rise in Mumbai, overlooking the Worli Sealink, where the wife Shivika is lying infected in the bed, while hubby Manik does the daily chores and takes care of her.

It’s a very depressing tale where the couple has zero interaction, as Manik places the breakfast on her side table and just leaves, while Shivika is cooped up in the room that’s covered with plastic sheets, from wall to wall. It probably means that, the plastic is disposed off every few days, and fresh ones placed, so that the doors, walls, windows and ceilings remain clean. That itself paints a grim picture of how life would be, if we are not able to find a cure for the current pandemic which has clenched the entire globe.Continue reading “Short Film ‘Infected 2030’: Fear & Loathing in the Pandemic”

Radhe (2021) Movie Review: Old Wine in an Even Older Bottle

Some stars have made careers out of making “masala” entertainers, like Rajnikanth, Mithun, Akshay to some extent; and audiences don’t really care for reviews or others opinions on their movies, since they want to watch unadulterated entertainment. Our most wanted bhai’s movie, also falls in this category.

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Stowaway (2021) Movie Review: Space, Time & Moral Dilemma

I had read couple of accounts in newspaper of how stowaways used to cling onto the wheels of the airplane or hide someplace in the cargo containers of ships, and sometimes in toilets; just to escape from whatever they have been facing. It was never for thrill of it, but always for a specific need like illegal emigration to better pastures.

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The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review : God Sees The Truth But Waits

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

There is never a wrong time to watch the right movie. And I am not just saying this because I saw the movieThe Shawshank Redemption a decade and a half after it was made, I am saying it because its a movie that everyone should see. On hindsight, I feel that its a good thing that I saw the movie at a time when I would be able to absorb more of it than I would have been able to, had I seen it when I was 13 yrs old. But at that age, I did read a story by Count Leo Tolstoy, as a part of our ICSE syllabus, called God Sees The Truth But Waits. Although the gist of the story by Tolstoy, Rita Hayworth And Shawshank Redemption story by Stephen King notwithstanding, is the same; but the movie achieves what the story does not. The movie is the ultimate example of hope against reason, happiness against murkiness and victory of the human spirit against all odds.Continue reading “The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review : God Sees The Truth But Waits”

Prasoon Joshi: A 'GULZAR' In The Making?

prasoon-joshi
Woh noor ka jharna hai
Main pyaas puraani
Maine aankh se ghattak liya
Uss husn ka paani

Usse takte takte takte umar guzaaroon
Koi aur khayal jo aaye jhat se utaaroon

Ishq karoon ya karoon ibaadat
Ikko hi gal ai..

These wonderful lines from the song Mera Yaar of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, pushed me into re-posting an old piece of mine, along with a few updates.

When I look around at all the lyrical mockery that’s happening and all the poetical gimmickry, I wonder what will be the fate of lyrics in cinema, going ahead. Its not a very happy picture, let me tell you. Barring a few new generation of lyricists like Amitabh Bhattacharya & Irshad Kamil, I don’t see much talent around.

Now, coming to the crux of the post; although we do have lyricists who churn out a few good songs, they all lack depth and versatility. That’s where my search begins for a ‘gulzar’ of the next generation. A lyricist/poet who can write sensitively, with sublimity, with progressive ideas and write on innocent situations as well as controversial stuff, who can make your blood boil as well as cool your senses, who can write about society at large as well as for the individualistic/common man, who has knowledge of historical events and keeps pace with contemporary issues. If we see the growth and maturity of Gulzar, we would all be befuddled by it. Starting with Mera Gora Rang Lai Le to Mera Kuch Saaman to Aye Zindagi Galey Laga Le to Tujhse Naraaz Nahi Zindagi to Goli Maar Bheje Mei to Fatak; his range is unfathomable.

The only person who comes to my mind, who can carry forward the legacy of Gulzar, or who can write Gulzarian lyrics seems to be Prasoon Joshi. The talent that he has displayed through his variety of work is impressive. In fact, quite a few times his lyrics sound like its from gulzar’s school of thought. The lyrics like Maa from TZP and Khoon Chala from RDB have that distinctive Gulzar touch. Let me pick a few more works of Prasoon which seem to be the silver-lining around the dark clouds of movie lyrics.

Arziyan from Delhi-6:

Written as a quwalli, its a prayer with a lot of heartfelt thoughts. The first two lines in itself conveys the pathos of the soul. Face is the mirror of the soul; if the soul is wrankled, so will the face be. There is nothing more to explain than the expression of disdain written all over the face

Arziyaan sari main chehre pe likh ke laaya hoon
Tumse kya mangu mein tum khud hi samjah lo

He goes on to explain how people have gotten all their wishes fulfilled whenever they have approached him. The thirtsy ones who asked for a drop have received an ocean of blessings etc. I do not wish to translate it, it loses the feel. Just read it :

Jo bhi tere dar aaya, Juhkne jo sar aaya
Mastiyan piye sabko, Jhoomta nazar aaya

Pyaas le ke aaya, Dariya woh bhar laya
Noor ki barish mein bheegta sa tar aaya

 Toot ke bikharna mujhko zarur aata hai
Varna ibbadat wala shaoor aata hai

Sajde mein rehne do, abb kahin na jaunga
Abb jo tumne thukraya to sawar na paunga

Sar utha ke maine to kitni khwahishen ki thi
Sar jhuka ke ek pal mei maine kya nahi paya

Really sublime!

Rehna Tu from Delhi-6:

When I first heard the song, I mistook it to be a love-song and I imagined AB Jr singing this for Sonam Kapoor. But I was pleasantly surprised that the song is dedicated to Delhi. That was a stroke of genius, where even Delhi is made to sound like a dilruba and jaaneman who is not supposed to change for anything.

Rehna Tu Hai Jaisa Tu
Thoda sa dard tu Thoda Sukun

Tujhe badalna na chahoon Rati bhar bhi sanam
Bina sajawat milawat Na jyaada na hi kaam

The character of Delhi is brought out very well and the spirit of romance is all over the song, sample these lines:

Mujhe teree barish mein beegna hai ghuljana hai
Mujhe tere lapat mein jalna rakh ho jana hai

I would like to make a mention of the song Dil Gira Dafattan, which has been written with immense feelings and emotions. And we also had Masakali which is such a fun number. So, in one album he packed a punch with such variety and depth of thoughts. In fact, in Delhi-6 he also co-wrote the screenplay which means he not only understands the medium but has also gained fine grip of it. He is looking to expand his horizons and we can expect some good story/screenplay out of him.

 

Maa from TZP:

I don’t get moved that easily, but this song creates the magic which can melt a stone. A beautiful peice of poetry, a dedication to every mother that echoes the sentiment of every child who has been showered by mother’s love.

Mai kabhi batlata nahi
Par andhere se darta hoon mai maa

Yun to mai dikhlata nahi
Teri parwah karta hoon mai maa
Tujhe sab hai pata hai na maa

Mom knows everything, mama’s boy, mom knows best and so many other phrases come to mind. But most of all, I recall what Mother Teresa said that God created moms so he could be everywhere.

Jab bhi kabhi papa mujhe
Jo zor se jhula jhulate hain maa
Meri nazar dhoondhe tujhe
Sochun yahi tu aake thamegi maa

Unse mai yeh kehta nahi
Par mai seham jaata hoon mai maa
Chehre pe aane deta nahi
Dil hi dil mein ghabrata hoon maa
Tujhe sab hai pata hai na maa

His delving into child psychology and coming up with such gems shows us a glimpse of his sensitivity and emotions. The ease with which he brings out those feelings is amazing.

Kholo Kholo from TZP:

I chose this song only to highlight the playful lyrics that Prasoon can come up with. This not only establishes his range but also the imagination that he is capable of.

Kholo kholo darwaze, parde karo kinare
Khute se bandhi hai hawa, Milke chhudao sare
Aajao patang leke, apni hi rang leke
Asaman ka shamiyana aaj hume hai sajana

Tu dhoop hai chham se bikhar
Tu hai nadi o bekhabar
Beh chal kahin, Udd chal kahin
Dil khush jahan, teri to manzil hai wohi

His handling of situation with such creative thoughts is beautiful. Prasoon’s lyrics in TZP is commendable because it shows the understanding that he has of children. Of course, he must have been guided by the sensitivity of Amole Gupte; but yet, to come up with such poetic lines is sheer genius. In fact, the title song of the movie and the Bum Bum Bole are songs which are at perpendiculars with each other, but Prasoon writes them both with such ease without ever losing the message in it.

Khoon Chala from RDB:

A call for revolution, a call for change, a call for new enthusiasm and a call for blood akin to what Bose once said – give me blood and I will give you freedom. Echoing those very sentiments are these wonderful lines.

kuchh kar guzarne ko khoon chala, khoon chala
aankhon ke sheeshe mein utarne ko khoon chala
badan se tapak kar, zameen se lipatkar
galiyon se raston se ubharkar, umadkar
naye rang bharne ko khoon chala, khoon chala

It brings out the pangs of revolt beautifully. Everytime I hear this, I get goose-bumps. It makes me sit up and think about how we take things so lightly instead of speaking out against it.

khuli si chot lekar, badi si tees lekar, ahista ahista
sawaalon ki ungli, jawaabon ki mutthi sang lekar, khoon chala

The movie demanded such lyrics, such pain and the subsequent actions that follow. Prasoon has very effectively described a revolt with such less words which actually translates to a whole lot of ideas.

Lukka Chhupi from RDB:

Another ‘mommy’ song but in a ballad format, sensitively written. The innovation in the song is the fact that its an ode from a dead son to his mother, which hasn’t been done before.

Luka chuppi bahut huyi, saamne aaja naa
Kahan kahan dhoondha tujhe, thak gayi hai ab teri maa
Aaja saanjh hui mujhe teri fikar
Dhundhla gayi dekh meri nazar aaja na

The manner in which the son, who is no more, describes the nether world is awesome.

Kya bataoon maa kahan hoon main
Yahan udney ko mere khula aasmaan hai
Tere kisson jaisa bhola salona
Jahan hain yahan sapno vala
Meri patang ho befikar udd rahi hai maa
Dor koi loote nahin beech se kaate na

The mother’s concern for the son and the son’s free-spirited reply makes for an enigmatic listening. This is one of the best songs to be written, not many people realize the beauty of it.

Teri raah takey aankhiyaan jaane kaisa kaisa hoye jiyaa
Dheere dheere aangan utre andhera, mera deep kahan
Dhalke suraj kare ishara chanda tu hai kahan

A couple of more songs worth mentioning are the Khalbali and Pathshala. While Khalbali brings out the angst in the youth and the boiling passion to do something, Pathshala describes college fun times and those moments of frolic and playfulness.

Let me quickly list a few more songs that would bring out Prasoon’s versatility and paint a bigger picture of his wonderful thoughts and imaginations. Two songs from Ghajini stood out, Guzarish and Kaise Mujhe Tum Mil Gayi. The two songs are written for different situations, but both are nice.

In Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic, he has written Seedhi Sapaat Zindagi which has some nice similies and Lazy Lamhe which is a totally fun song. And how can I forget the Chand Sifarish  from Fanna which was a light hearted romantic number. Now this takes me back to his songs in the movie Hum Tum where he wrote Ladki Kyon Na Jaane Kyon to Chak De Saare Gham to Gore Gore Se Chhore and finally to the romantically poetic title song of the movie.

Even in a drab movie like Teri Meri Kahani, he was able to come-up with gems like Mukhtasar Mulaaqaat Hai, and a few good numbers in the movie Break Ke Baad

gulzarWhile I refrain from comparing Prasoon to Gulzar, I do believe that Prasoon has the pen with which he can put across creative thoughts and myriad ideas. If Gulzar is the clear stream of reason, Prasoon is a trickle of that spring, if Gulzar is that blazing sun of heated thoughts and words then Prasoon is a spark of those ignited flames, if Gulzar is the peak of serenity and calmness then Prasoon is but a hillock belonging to the same range of mountains. I just wish he continues to write, write well and touch people’s lives with his writing. I am ending this post with an ode on Prasoon using his own words …

naam -o-nishaan rahe na rahe
ye caarvaan rahe na rahe
ujaale mai pee gaya
roshan hua jee gaya
kyon sehte rahe
ruu-ba-ruu roshni hai

 

How To Steal A Million (1966) Movie Review

A heist movie made in 1966, I was not sure it was a very good idea. But I watched it only for Audrey Hepburn, she is so beautiful and fabulous, I just adore her. The movie was set in Paris and was a romantic comedy laced with the heist drama which forms the crux of the movie. It was a very well made movie for 1966, the romantic lines were very good, as were the comic sequences.

Audrey Hepburn was wonderful in the movie, playing Nicole Bonnet, daughter of an artist who indulges in creating fake paintings and sculptures. Charles Bonnet is the artist in question, who not only makes fake art work but also auctions it for huge amount of money which only the rich and wealthy can afford. Nicole makes efforts to convince her dad to go no further in this, as its fraught with danger.Continue reading “How To Steal A Million (1966) Movie Review”

Subhash Ghai: The man who was once Bollywood's Showman

Subhash Ghai, the showman of the industry, is now not-to-be-seen anywhere (i.e till he recently announced his return to direction with Kaanchi). The man who gave a string hits like Vidhata, Hero, Meri Jung, Karma, Ram Lakhan, Saudagar, Khalnayak, Pardes, Taal; and then suddenly he lost the magic touch. Continue reading “Subhash Ghai: The man who was once Bollywood's Showman”