Bhavesh Joshi Superhero Movie Review: Vigilantism 101

What does it take for somebody to stand up and raise their voice? What would make an ordinary man, accustomed to playing a cat and mouse game with the system, finally say enough is enough, and decide to fight back, irrespective of what happens to him? And if, and when, he actually does fight back, can he fight fairly, against a system that’s rigged to win 99.9% of the time, a system that he has only encountered bits and pieces of, but never truly encountered or experienced?

Continue reading “Bhavesh Joshi Superhero Movie Review: Vigilantism 101”

Madaari Movie Review: Why not stay with Irrfan and his haunting eyes? Revolution could have waited.

If only a gifted actor and a promising idea could guarantee an engaging film – Madaari would have gone down as a winner. But alas, gifts and promises are not always a precursor to happy endings. Are they? And in that sense, films and relationships have so much in common.Continue reading “Madaari Movie Review: Why not stay with Irrfan and his haunting eyes? Revolution could have waited.”

Rocky Handsome Movie Review : Superman? Batman? Naw, John Abraham!

Maybe it’s just me, but then there is something really charming about a man in black suit going around assassinating people like its a part of his daily routine. When Director Lee Jeung-beom made The Man From Nowhere (2010), little did he know that the film would be ripe for an Indian remake. Thankfully, Director Nishikant Kamat and Ritesh Shah (Screenplay/Dialogues) don’t mess too much with the original material and serve it right back to us in India as Rocky Handsome. What works for them is John Abraham fits right in as the lead and also produces an otherwise not so masala film as the trailers would have shown. And ahoy, Rocky Handsome turns out quite a good watch on a weekend where you have a largely disappointing magnum opus releasing with it. Continue reading “Rocky Handsome Movie Review : Superman? Batman? Naw, John Abraham!”

Drishyam (Hindi) Movie Review: Looks can be deceptive

Drishyam is an official remake of the Malayalam film by the same name. I haven’t watched the original so I wasn’t biased (positively or negatively) before watching this one. The trailer of the film was fantastic and the film looked promising. Thriller isn’t a genre that Bollywood delves into quite often. Even when it does there are a handful of films which are executed to deliver the punch, Kahaani being the sole exception I feel. But we haven’t had a “Sixth Sense” or a “Saw” wherein we the climax will leave you flabbergasted. I had to watch the last five minutes of both these movies again and again in awe and astonishment about what just happened. So does Drishyam come any close to any of these? Read on to find out.Continue reading “Drishyam (Hindi) Movie Review: Looks can be deceptive”

Drishyam (Hindi) Movie Review: Much Ado, Little Impact

Drishyam is like a steam engine that runs out of steam right before it is about to reach the destination. Enough tension is built, a few thrills are thrown in between but the finale is rather underwhelming and somewhat predictable. The fact that I could pre-empt Nishikant Kamat’s ‘ace in the pack’ well 15-20 minutes before the climax, left me with a bad taste in the mouth.Continue reading “Drishyam (Hindi) Movie Review: Much Ado, Little Impact”

Lai Bhaari Movie Review: Old Wine in an Attractive Tetrapack

The year 2013 saw Duniyadari smash all Marathi box office records, only to see history repeat itself in less than 6 months with Timepass going a step further in the beginning of 2014. We always hear about filmmakers either interested more in the aesthetics and artistic nature of their films or filmmakers who are more interested in how successful their films turn out to be. And there’s that select breed of filmmakers who manage to straddle both Worlds comfortably. But what would you say about a film that is created not as just a creative vehicle, but more like a product with multiple stakeholders backing the same? Imagine a deliberate attempt to create a successful product life cycle, with the product being a film in this case. Well whether you are with me so far or not, I am sure the rest of the post will surely put things into perspective.Continue reading “Lai Bhaari Movie Review: Old Wine in an Attractive Tetrapack”

Inspired not 'Plagiarised'

Since time immemorial, the malaise of plagiarism is very prevalent in Indian Film Industry especially in Bollywood. We have more than often seen directors (read Sanjay Gupta, Mahesh Bhatt etc amongst others) stealing films frame by frame and passing off as their own.  However certain minor changes are made in the script. So that when their theft becomes public, they can defend themselves by saying that the particular film is inspired not copied. And they have those minor changes to defend their (false) claims.

However there also have been times when the director has truly taken an inspiration from a certain film and has made an effort to make a film that is quite different from that respective film.  Here’s looking at some films that fit the above mentioned description.

Dombivili Fast/ Falling Down

Falling Down directed by Joel Schumacher features Michael Douglas as an ordinary American citizen who, frustrated with the flawed system sets out to violently fight the same only to end up as an anti hero

Similarly Dombivli Fast directed by Nishikant Kamath tells the story of Madhav Apte played by Sandeep Kulkarni who plays an average Mumbaikar. Frustrated with the problems faced in his day to day life such as corruption, bribery etc. He sets out to fight the same only to meet with a tragic fate.

Though the basic plotline of the film is similar to Falling Down, Kamat has taken enough care to make adequate changes in the script. By tackling issues such as bribery, corruption, water scarcity, pathetic conditions of people travelling in local trains etc. the film becomes much more identifiable and identifiable with the Indian audiences especially those living in Mumbai. And for this reason alone, this film deserves to find a mention in this post.

Nishikant Kamath even went on to remake Dombivli Fast as Evano Oruvan in Tamil with R.Madhavan in the lead.

Kaminey/ True Romance and Snatch

In the film Kaminey, director Vishal Bharadwaj (VB) borrowed subplots from films such as Snatch and True Romance and made a nice amalgamation of it.A couple (Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra) while trying to elope get stuck in a drug racket involving a stolen consignment of drugs. This was very similar to the situation faced by the lead pair in the Tarantino written movie ‘True Romance’ directed by the late Tony Scott. The couple is being pursued by a dozen odd shady characters who want to lay their hands on that particular consignment of drugs. The situation is somewhat similar to the dozen odd shady characters that are in pursuit of the stolen diamond in Snatch.

However VB adds another unique subplot of a pair of twins (Shahid Kapur and Shahid Kapur) who hate each other but have to depend upon each other to save their lives during their worst crisis. Vishal Bharadwaj nicely mixed all the three subplots to give us one hell of an entertaining movie. Despite taking inspiration from the above mentioned movies, Kaminey stands out as a unique and well made film.  That is due to the fact that VB has taken care to make in the film in his own style rather than copying Snatch or True Romance blindly. This is why one doesn’t see flashy editing patterns like those used by Guy Ritchie in Snatch. Although unlike Bharadwaj’s earlier films, Kaminey bears a much more stylish and slick look.  Apart from extracting a brilliant performance from Shahid Kapoor, the writing of Vishal Bharadwaj and team results in a dozen odd memorable characters that stay with you even after the movie has ended. Such as Bhope Bhau (Amole Gupte), Sweety (Priyanka Chopra),Mikhail(Chandan Roy Sanyal), Inpsectors Lele (Hrishikesh Joshi) & Lobo (Shiv Subramaniam) amongst others.

Chachi 420/Mrs Doubtfire

Mrs Doubtfire featured the versatile Robin Williams as a divorced parent who disguises himself as a female housekeeper so that he can get to spend time with his children who are staying with his ex-wife.

Similarly Chachi 420 featured Kamal Hassan as a divorced father who disguises himself as an elderly female caretaker so that he can spend time with his daughter who stays with his now ex-wife played by Tabu.

However Kamal Hassan has added enough subplots and masala that helps the film to acquire a local flavor and also adds to the overall comic moments of the film. The film nicely shows the relationship being developed between Tabu and Kamal Hassan prior to them getting married. The film also featured quite a few versatile actors who featured in some superb roles such as Amrish Puri – the arrogant father in law of Kamal Hassan , his lecherous assistant played by Om Puri and Paresh Rawal as Kamal Hassan’s shrewd landlord amongst others. These characters were not present in Mrs. Doubtfire. Moreover Kamal Hasaan has nicely weaved these characters in the main story and hence their subplots don’t stick out as sore thumbs in the movie. In fact it only adds to the fun quotient of the film. And this shows the amount of hardwork Kamal Hassan and his team have put in the film. This results in the film turning out to be a tad better than Mrs. Doubtfire.

Before directing Chachi 420 in Hindi, Kamal had starred in Avvai Shanmughi a Tamil version of the same film directed by K.S Ravikumar (Dashavatharam)

City on fire/Reservoir Dogs

City on Fire directed by Ringo Lam features Chow Yun Fat as an undercover cop who infiltrates a gang of robbers who are planning to carry out a  jewellery store heist. Quentin Tarantino used the same storyline in Reservoir Dogs and made an entirely different film.

City on Fire focused more on the moral dilemma and test of loyalty faced by the undercover cop.  Whereas the entire conflict in Reservoir Dogs is focused on the identity of the undercover cop which is unknown to the audiences till the end.  And what you get is a kickass film which etched Tarantino’s name permanently in the minds of moviegoers.

Munnabhai MBBS/Patch Adams

Patch Adams tells the true story of Hunter Doherty who is a doctor and a social activist apart from doing many other tactivities. Robin Williams plays the role of Doherty who used many unconventional methods (including making them laugh ) to cure his patients which found a lot of criticism from the medical fraternity. Raju Hirani used this as one of the many subplots in the endearing Munnabhai MBBS in which a gangster (Sanjay Dutt) vows to become a doctor to avenge the insult his parents endure at the hands of an egoistic dean of a medical college (Boman Irani).

Ghajini/Memento

The cult film by Christopher Nolan tells the story of a person suffering from short term memory loss (Guy Pearce) who uses his body tattoos and notes to hunt down the killer of his wife. Director A.R Murugadoss used the same storyline and made Ghajini adding a lot of elements such as love story between the protagonist and his wife, action etc thereby making a complete a masala entertainer.

I  also wanted to include Dasvidaniya in which a terminally ill Vinay Pathak makes a wish list of things he wants to do much like Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman from The Bucket List. But apart from the basic plotline( which could be a mere co-incidence) I didn’t find any similarity between the two films hence I refrained from mentioning the same in the post.

It would be good to hear from you all about some more films which could have been added to the list.

 

Highpoints of Marathi Cinema

The year 1999  saw the re-emergence of Marathi cinema. After facing some rough times, this film industry was slowly coming back to form. It all started in 1999 with the hit film Bindhaast that saw people coming back to the theatres.

The year 2000 saw a lot of new things happening .The first 24-hour Marathi entertainment channel apart from DD’s local Marathi channel was launched. That was Zee Marathi and it aired a lot of quality content. Thereafter, the Marathi film industry was also slowly coming back on its feet.Continue reading “Highpoints of Marathi Cinema”

FORCE is relentless!

Right from the casting I had major inhibitions about this project. John Abraham taking over the role of Suriya, Genelia in Jyothika’s role. It all felt very odd and totally unthoughtful on part of its makers. Then one day I see the Khwabon Khwabon song shot like a routine music video. It immediately took me back to the original, which was uniquely visualized and executed by Gautham Menon. Though super tacky, the way the song is thrust at the beginning seemed strangely effective in retrospect. The concept is simple and clear, the hero down and out, about to die, but then the memories of his wife give him the drive and energy, and this is almost literally put on screen.Continue reading “FORCE is relentless!”