Sunday, December 23, 2012

Righteous Anger, Wrong Methods?

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Why do all protests in India border on anarchy? Why is there no proper direction or channelization of people's anger? And why aren't the concerned leaders not responding?
Is justice required only for this case... isn't it time the protest be towards rooting out this evil? Is everyone going to happily return home when these men are punished... does it mark an end to all crimes against women?

And it is weird that we blame Congress for inaction... no political party in their time has been prompt in trying to root out this menace. Congress or BJP or any other politcal party have been equally irresponsible. In fact, some factions of politics like the Hindu Jagarana Vedike have molested women in the name of religion and Indian culture. 

It is time we protest to make permanent changes and not fight for temporary or individual solutions. People are brave enough to take to the streets and endure the police lathis... then why not for a properly led, thought out cause and not just by impulse or because of pent up anger.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Talaash - Review


Talaash - Movie Poster

Writing a review about a movie that is a suspense thriller is like treading a mine-field… one has to be extra careful to not let out anything that might ruin the suspense for others.

In any case, here is my opinion about the latest Aamir Khan production – Talaash.

Talaash is a suspense thriller that sets the tone right from the opening sequence and slowly builds the suspense up frame by frame. Slowly… really slowly we move forward in the story of a police officer who works day and night to solve the case of a suspicious death all the while battling a few demons of his own.

I am not gonna dwell much in to the story or plot-line because it would be a giveaway.

The movie is not bad… nor is the story. Did I mention the movie was slow? Yeah… that is where the threads start to unravel. A suspense thriller should take up a faster pace or risk having half the audience deduce the climax and the other half of the audience guess it long before the movie actually reveals it. With the length, we in the audience had enough time to analyse and evaluate all the main characters of the movie and dissect situations in it which led to us arriving at the outcome before the movie intended a revelation. Also, the almost 20 minutes’ interval in the movie (which might be the movie-hall’s fault) did not help.

Aamir is his usual good performing self… no issues with his police inspector fighting personal issues act. Rani Mukherjee as Aamir’s wife is good. Kareena Kapoor is onscreen torture… considering it is the second time she is playing a hooker in a movie, one would expect a decent performance. Her Chameli wasn’t bad… but her Rosie is extremely artificial and grates on your nerves. The supporting actresses playing other hookers do a much more believable job.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is excellent. He seems to get better with every movie he does and that sure is a great sign.

The casting of the movie seems to include big Bollywood names just to keep the public from figuring out the story by just eliminating the less famous actors… since some of them are wasted in the movie.

The music of the movie is something I enjoyed… there are no unnecessary item numbers and songs that disrupt the already slow pace.

Overall the movie is worth a watch. And considering the alternatives are stuff like Son of Sardar and Jab Tak Hain Jaan… Talaash is anytime a better option… and definitely one of the better movies of the year.

I would rate it a 3.5 / 5. Do sit back in your chair and relax… nothing edge of the seat here.

Life of Pi

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Life of Pi - Book Cover

The book Life of Pi by Yann Martel is an interesting book. Though written as a fantasy adventure of sorts, it has underlying spiritual and somewhat philosophical undertones.

Life of Pi - Movie Poster

The movie of the same name by Ang Lee does not explore that aspect of the narrative. Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’ is solely a CGI supported fantasy adventure which though beautiful to watch feels more suited to a young audience. It lacks the emotional depth of the book and the humour in it. 

The actors have all done a great job. Irrfan Khan as present day Piscine Molitor Patel is every bit the endearing Indian guy with a hint of oriental mystique. The younger Pi is played by Gautam Belur and Ayush Tandon. The main hero of the movie is Pi in his teens and is played by Suraj Sharma, and he does a great job. Tabu plays his mom, Gita Patel and Adil Hussain, his father Santosh Patel… both seasoned actors deliver convincing performances.
Of course, the Bengal tiger as Richard Parker is quite a find... majestic and elegant! :)

Contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe and what the movie also stresses on, the story is not just about the adventure that results from a shipwreck in which the tiger and the boy are thrown together in a lifeboat to battle it out and survive the journey back to civilization.
This is where I felt there is a huge disconnect between the movie and the book. As you read the book, you feel the inherent need in the boy to keep his faith up in the face of diversity… and not just for survival. For a boy who chooses to embrace three religious faiths and does not have them conflict in his mind, the shipwreck and being alone on the lifeboat is a call to a different sort of faith which is tested in a fierce manner.

In the book, Richard Parker (the Bengal tiger) can talk. The conversations Pi and Parker have are an integral part to understanding the nature of the story. In the end, when the true story is narrated by the boy after being rescued, we understand his need to have escaped into a realm of fantasy where he projects his thoughts on to the tiger as its speech and how he grows up in the short span of 227 days from a teenage boy to a man of strong spiritual belief and practical understanding of the world even while he was totally cut off from it. The communication between Pi and Parker underline the refuge the boy finds in fantasy and escapism when he is suddenly made to face the unexpected wrath of nature and the brutality of humans. In the end, even after survival… that is the story he wants to believe himself… and what helps him to still hold on to his belief in God.

By completely excluding the conversations the boy and the tiger have from the movie, it is put at a disadvantage… the movie is not able to get any deeper than the genre of fantasy… albeit, a thrilling fantasy.

Life of Pi is a technically brilliant film with some really good acting and breath-taking cinematography… The ocean sequences are exquisitely beautiful and India looks lovely and real unlike the usual western concept of a poverty stricken, slum riddled land… which is quite one-sided and extreme a viewpoint. 

But, the movie lacks the true soul of the book.

I would rate it a 4 / 5… movie magic
And a 2 / 5 for not truly capturing the essence of the book.

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