Monday, January 30, 2006

Rang De Basanti (2006) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 4.85/5

Cast: Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Kunal Kapoor, Siddarth, Sharman Joshi, Soha Ali Khan, Alice Patten, Atul Kulkarni
Director: Rakeysh Mehra
Music: A.R. Rehman

If you want me to describe the movie in two words...Simply Superb or Watch it...

The story is about four kids who do not want to share any responsibilities of the countries fate realize what their fore fathers had gone through to get the freedom and embark in their own struggle...The only difference...They are not fighting against an invader but their own people (Their family and leaders).

Sue (Alice Patten) comes to Delhi with the help of Soniya, India to make a documentary on India. On her attempt to recruit actors she is met with disappointment meeting the students of Delhi University who obviously have no knowledge of the cautioners past. She befriends Soniya's friends, DJ (Aamir), Karan (Siddharth), Aslam (Kunal), Sukhi (Sharman), and Soniya (Soha) for her short story to portray the roles of India's freedom fighters. Later she also adds Laxman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni) to her cast. Laxman Pandey is a fierce patriot and a fanatic Hindu and therefore hates anything that is against India or Hinduism.

It is very difficult for all of them to relate to their characters as they do not know what really each of the freedom fighters had to go through. They show little or no interest and indulge in mockery. Laxman Pandey is the only one who has any idea about the freedom struggle and plays his role with conviction. But the problem is Laxman and the group of friends hate each other which drives Sue nuts and she is unable to progress with her production. Almost giving up she decides to leave after an altercation between DJ and Laxman. DJ convinces Sue to stay back and complete her project and that he and his friends will help her see it finished.

Meanwhile, Ajay (Madhavan) Soha's fiance, an Airforce Pilot and a very close friend of the gang dies in a MIG crash near Delhi. He gets blamed for rash piloting when in reality the mistake was with the flight itself and not its pilot. Enraged by the accusations Ajay's friends and mother take up to a peaceful protest and get under the lathi of policeman due to orders from political powers.

Angry and frustrated at the injustice meted to their friend and friends mother who is in coma in the hospital the youngsters take law into their hand and deal with the government and corrupt forces.

This is a real touching movie...The link between the present and past has been well portrayed. The evoking of patriotism by a foreigner is also very well done. The movie is a surefire tear jerker. Everyone has acted very well...The dialogues are also powerful and so is the action...It is not pedantic and neither does it make you feel guilty but just wakes you up.

you know what?? No review will do justice to this wonderful movie...So please go and watch it.

One line comments on the actors:

Atul Kulkarni: My favorite actor, piercing eyes and amazing screen presence and personality.

Aamir: Too old to play a college student even if he had graduated five years ago.

Siddarth: Too cute and amazing cool factor.

Madhavan: When are you going to loose the paunch (thoppais)?

Kunal: Handsome and a good actor too.

Sharman: Very naughty and cute too.

Soha: Finally she has started to act and you might be able to ignore her long nose.

Alice: Real cool...Angrezi Mem Desi Mein...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Aathi (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking : 3/5

Cast: Vijay, Trisha, Nazar, Manivannan, Seetha, Prakash Raj, and many others!
Director: Ramanaa
Music: Vidyasagar

Aha! Another Vijay movie...I am sure no one expected anything new from this one...Well mostly ya...Same old story and same old action from Vijay. Vijay needs to do something different at least now...For the past few years all his movie, Thirupachi, Thirumalai, Gilli, Sivakasi, etc. Have been pretty much same. Nothing new and his acting is now getting redundant...So redundant that you can feel and see in your minds eye what he is going to do next.

Anyhoo...Trisha wields the knife killing a corrupt police officer with the help of her uncle Nazar. Vijay and his close knit loving family (dad Manivannan, mom Seetha, and sister) move to Chennai to encourage Vijay's education. Vijay and Trisha meet often and many times at the city library and their friendship develops into love...

Trisha and her uncle plan to kill two henchmen of RDX a feared rowdy in the city before they get rid of RDX...But Vijay also has plans for them and gets rid of the henchmen before Trisha does. During one of the murders Vijay's family sees him chop the villains head off in the middle of the road...Now how he escapes from the law...That we should not question...Because it is a Vijay (Illayathalapathi) movie.

Vijay then explains how RDX had wiped out his entire family that lived in what is now the City library and he was now going to take revenge on all of them. Vijay takes revenge on RDX and then unites with Trisha finishing the movie with a happy ending...

Okay...Now it is a familiar plot...Fine! But what about the stunts? Unbelievable...Really...Vijay's shirt is burning strong in the back...Our man does not bother about it...He keeps on hitting the villain and then he moves his hand in a rapid motion and the fire stops...The shirt just barely burnt for the 45 second exposure to strong flame...Good use of graphics...Really convincing fire...But hello...We are not dumb!

The confrontational dialogue exchange between the villain and Vijay towards the end is real good. I felt it was powerful, effective and also funny. Trisha needs to show more emotions...Her face is pale and lacks expressional variations.

The movie once again is in no comparison to good movies like Kanda Naal Mudhal or Thavamai Thavamirundhu...But you can see it once...If only the violence was lesser...All actors wanting to shed their loverboy image to become action heroes can only lead to violent movies...

Monday, January 23, 2006

All The Fight Stunts!

We are still not in the eighties. We know that it is not real, everyone knows that it is not the hero but the Stunt man who is performing those unbelievable actions scenes or the rope that is making these hero's fly from one place to other! (Note: None of these movies are released as Sci-Fi or Fantasy movies...They are Really trying to depict real life...At least that's what the director claims!)

Every Hero wants to project himself more powerful than the other. When one hero does something atrocious the other tops him by doing something even more ridiculous. Let us not forget the power dialogues preceding all the fight scenes...WHY?? No wonder when you see a hero in real life you think..."Huh! This guy in reality is so small?"

Beyond a certain point is just gets boring...I wish I could forward all the fight scenes and move ahead cause I know the way this is going to end...No Surprise...Hero wins...All villains dead or groaning in pain! There is no such thing as a one man hero and depicting one is just taking advantage of the movie goers time and money.

Fine! You want to prove that the hero is almighty and strong like Hanuman and can kill 30 villains without getting hurt! Agreed...But what about the excessive use of violence, hand cutting, head flying??!!! Do we really need to see all this to get the essence of how bad the villain actually is?

Why can't we just make simple movies, movies that do not have to necessarily depict hero's as superhero's. Movies that we can enjoy and not have the heart and stomach feel sick. I want the movies that Mohan acted in to come back...The ones of Sivaji, Gemini, to come back...Even MGR's (his fight stunts were amazing but never gory!) but stop the prototypical movies being made by Vijay, Ajith, Simbu...

Mulatchi naal ela kooda vidala adhukulla ivanga ellam dialogue pesaranga! STOP THIS!

Paramasivam (2006) - Tamil Movie Review with Spoilers

Ranking: 2/5

Cast: Ajith Kumar, Laila, Prakash Raj (PR), Jayram,
Director: P.Vasu
Music: Vidyasagar

Ajith Kumar almost 35, started his career long time ago with the movie Amaravathi. He was young and cute and went unnoticed. Then he came back with Aasai - A good hit and he has not turned back since...Well at least until he became fat and started acting in crappy movies. Really...He is a Supreme Star with a Thoppai also running in several directions when he hits the villains...

Now he is back...Lean and Mean...Also old! He looks tired and haggard and he desperately needs a hair cut. His build really looks better now that he has lost all his stomach flab but the face???!!!

The movie starts with a bomb blast in Coimbatore showing all burnt and charred bodies for a very long time...Gross! A good cop, Rajesh who had predicted that this might happen a few days before the incident and gets killed by his colleagues. Prakash Raj (PR) is asked to handle the case of the bomb blast. He takes Ajith's help to uncover the terrorist ring under the advice of an ex-cop (Nazar). Ajith is in jail for killing five policemen to avenge his father's death. PR fakes Ajith's death and gives him a new identity.

Ajith is sent to live in PR's house in Ooty where Laila and her family are also living as tenants. Ajith unable to see Laila being tortured (because she is crazy) by her step mom offers to marry her paving way for a couple of duets!

Meanwhile Jayram (the mallu guy) is a CBI inspector who is in hot pursuit of Ajith's whereabouts. Don't know what purpose his role serves but he is also there and therefore I had to mention it here.

Now Ajith kills a villain leading to a swamiji villain who leads to real Pakistani villain (Musa Ali...hahaha). Now that Musa's identity has been revealed he gets worried and takes cover inside PR's boss's house before he sets the bomb off during an International IT meet in Chennai.

Climax scene...Total tension...Ha! You would think...But the whole scene is so stupid that it is funny! Ajith who takes a room and stays in a hotel next to PR's boss's house tells Laila where is going to stay (do assassins or people on a mission do this??) who in turn tells it to Jayram (really we don't know what he is doing in the movie). Now PR smartly alludes all the terrorists one by one and gets them killed by Ajith (Man are those terrorists dumb). In the meantime Jayram is knocking on Ajith's door...Ajith smartly escapes and starts chasing five terrorists who are human bombs...

Now you would think that terrorists dress discretely...But not our dudes...They all wear black in black bikes with black helmets and travel in a gang. Now Ajith our professional bike racer tries to show his talent in that department. Most boring fight scene ever...To save a hundred innocents Ajith kills a hundred innocents...So much for protecting India! Although he does save the IT meet and India's image to the world.

This is another thing that surprised me...How does one travel between Chennai and Ooty in a matter of hours? Anyhoo after finishing his duty of tracking the terrorists Ajith runs to Ooty to take Laila and run away from PR after learning that PR wants to kill Ajith. Ajith is running, PR is chasing...Finally they all meet...Climax...PR lets Ajith to live and also gives him a passport and visa to go and live abroad with Laila...More climax...Jayram comes and tells STOP! Only to give a big lecture and let Ajith go...I still do not understand what purpose Jayram served!! I do not even understand the purpose of the whole movie so I will let Jayram go!

Conclusion: Boring movie, boring story, total nonsense, total waste of time. In a normal Indian movie you try to forget an essential element called logic and enjoy the movie...But this one is just way too bizarre to give it any allowance. So sorry Ajith...You are in good form but your movie still sucks...So maybe it was not your physique that was affecting your career after all...It could have been your bad choice of story.

Badra (2005) /Saravana (2006) - Telugu/Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3/5

Cast: Ravi Teja, Meera Jasmine, Prakash Raj, Deepak
Director: Devi Sri Prasad
Music: Boyapati Srinivas

No Telugu person can convince me that Ravi Teja suits the role of a final year college student...Leave alone a college student. He nowhere resembles a college student to start with. Reality Check...He is old and should never again do a role of a college student.

Now the story...Same old, same old! Ravi Teja in the title role is a college student who falls in love with his best friend's sister on seeing her on a DVD. He decides to accompany his friend to his village after college to meet Meera Jasmine (Anu in the movie) who is coming back from London.

Ravi comes back to his house on the day of his sister's engagement with Meera on his tow shocking everyone in his family. His family takes good care of her until one of his uncle talks ill of her. His father keeps calm until one day he sees Ravi hurt and lost on the street after Meera Vanishes. On questioning Ravi tells the flashback...

In the village Ravi meets Prakash Raj his best friends brother and learns that he is a warlord in the village fighting a dispute that has been going on for ages between two families. Prakash Raj wants to put an end to it. A lot of fun filled moments for Ravi Teja and Meera Jasmine before Prakash Raj approaches Ravi Teja asking if he would marry his sister. But before this news could be passed on to Meera Jasmine her whole family but for her is wiped out by the enemies. Ravi kills one of the prominent members of the opposite gang thereby earning their wrath.

The villains chase him to the city of Hyderabad where Ravi Teja resides and try to harm him and Meera...How Ravi and Meera escape from them forms the rest of the movie.

What do you think? Seen it before? Trust me you have! It was called Okkadu in Telugu and Gilli in Tamil. Now this movie is also remade in Tamil by none other than our little super star Silambarasan and Jo. I can so see Simbu mouthing power dialogues like Ravi Teja. The only good thing is Simbu is younger and does not look bored like Ravi Teja did.

The comedy is pretty decent in the movie and the way love develops between Ravi and Meera has been shot well with good humor. I wish that the violence was less and I did not have to see a hand being cut or a head rolling (trust me they were not necessary to make things clear!). The music is neither hummable nor memorable.

Meera has acted her role very nicely. She is a nice actress...But is she pretty or cute?? Debatable! Ravi Teja...Need I repeat myself! I seem to be writing this one to many times for most of the movies being released...." If you have nothing better to do...Then watch this movie...Else save your time for better doing better things in life."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Udhaya Geetham (1985) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 4.5/5

Cast: Mohan, Revathy, Lakshmi, Anand Babu, Sendhil, Goundamani
Director: I need to watch the movie again to note this
Music: Illayaraja

This movie was released sometime around 1985...So around twenty years ago...But even today it is more fun to watch than movies like Aaru and Majaa...Wonder why they cannot make movies like these any more. Not only is this movie a memorable but so is its music. I was watching this movie for a second time after twenty years and I still remembered most of it. Ask me the story of any recent ones...The stories today seem to contiguous.

Arun (Mohan), a prominent singer is in jail with a death sentence looming over his head. He meets Shanthi (Revathy) during one of his concerts and is followed by her on many occasions into the jail and outside too. He shows nothing but animosity towards her behavior and keeps pushing her out of sight. But Shanthi is persistent and does not give up either.

Leela Chowdry (Lakshmi) is the newly appointed Superintendent of Police for the Madras Central Jail and is merciless. However Shanthi with her smartness talks Leela into getting her married to Arun. Arun also agrees to it after a lot of thought and deliberation. Leela arranges for the wedding to take place in her home.

During their first night Shanthi drives a knife into Arun's stomach and explains that she is none other than the sister of Anand (Anand Babu) whom Arun was accused of killing. Arun and Anand sang and danced for a music troupe before Anand's murder. Arun explains his side of the story in pain and proves his innocence to her. Shanthi realizing her mistake now starts to set things right.

The story has an amazing comedy track. If you remember earlier Sendhil and Goundamani comedies (this is much before Chinna Gounder) you will surely remember jump lingam, thengai la bomb, naina, the rogue tree swami, and so on. Looking back it seems like even Goundamani did some sensible comedy (like what Vivek is doing now) back in the eighties before kicking Sendhil became his norm.

Mohan a hero who has delivered so many hits in his hey day is forgotten now...Only the music from his movies are remembered. I cannot say that he was as good as Rajni or Kamal but in his own way his movies were entertaining and had at least 80% assurance of making it in the theatres. Plus all his movies had some of the best music composed by Illayaraja. I think he might have been the only Tamil actor who could not speak Tamil but still made it big with dubbing. I also don't know how many of you remember Anand Babu, comedian Nagesh's son, as far as I remember he was one of our own Tamil Industry's first disco/break dancer. It was nice to see him do some of his moves in this movies. He was a decent actor lost in the annals of movies just like Mohan. Revathy and Lakshmi are good as Shanthi and Leela chowdry.

The movie is really good and worth watching if you can get hold of the DVD and like most movies from that era it is rated for family viewing. So enjoy watching our very own Mohan holding his trademark Mike on a stage...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Oka Oorilo (2005) - Telugu Movie Review

Ranking: 3/5

Cast: Tarun, Saloni, Raja
Director: Ramesh Varma
Music: Devi Sri Prasad

The movie is total time pass...From the beginning of the movie you know that there are only two this movie can end and it is how it does. So we can say that it can be a bit boring if you are the kind who expects thrills and chills in a movie.

Lalitha (Saloni) moves into the village where Ravi (Raja) and Seenu (Tarun) are living. Seenu and Lalitha become fast friends which makes Seenu jealous initially. Though over time the three kids become inseparable until Ravi's family moves to Hyderabad. Seenu and Lalitha grow together becoming real close friends. They are always together and even go to the same school and later college.
Seenu's Aunt (Nirosha) an NRI settled in America tries to get Seenu married to her daughter. She tries to poison Seenu's father and kick Lalitha out of the picture but Laliltha's and Seenu's commitment for each other holds strong.

Friendship paves way to love for both Seenu and Lalitha. One of the guys in the college jealous of their relationship tries to harm Lalitha and Seenu. This leads to Lalitha loosing her father who is her only family. Seenu's aunt takes advantage of the situation and plans to leave to America with Seenu the very next day. On hearing this Seenu elopes with Lalitha to Hyderabad.

As luck would have it Ravi rescues Seenu and Lalitha from the perils of big city and takes them home. Seenu a rich kid, pampered all his life has no aim in life and has no intention of working either. Lalitha convinces him to work but her attempts are futile. Out of guilt Seenu leaves for Vizag...What happens next?? Take a wild guess? Like I told you...Only two things could happen...

The village beauty on the banks of Godavari are postcard picture perfect but it seems like there are no other houses in the village but for a set of Lalitha's house and Seenu's. What are the directors thinking?? That someone can get a visa to go to America the very next day they please to? Come on...Get a life...At least tell that a visa application will be submitted the next day instead of saying "Seenu will leave for America the very next day."

Acting: Seenu's and Lalitha's character portraying one of lazy rich kid and a responsible girl are etched out very convincingly in the first half that lays a very solid foundation for the second half of the movie. Both Tarun and Saloni have a very good on-screen chemistry and have both acted out their parts very well. Raja, first time I am seeing him, has also done a good job and not only that he is also handsome!!!

The music is like any other telugu movie...A little beats and a little melody...Ok!

On the whole you can watch this movie with your family, very simple and a happy-go-lucky movie. I still like the way Telugu movies capture village beauty...Lush green fields and wide water bodies...hmm....So if you have nothing better to do then you can bank on this for decent entertainment.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Kastooriman (2005) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5.0

Cast: Prasnna, Meera Jasmine, Sarat Babu
Director: Lohitdas
Music: Illayaraja

Prasnna and Meera Jasmine go to the same college and are at loggerheads on more than one occasion. Prasanna is an introvert and Meera is not. The individual characteristics of both the characters are etched very nicely and are also portrayed aptly.

Prasanna who is assumed to the son of a very rich film producer in actuality is a pauper. His father, Sarath Babu, was a very rich producer at one time but gambled away all the family's savings. Prasanna's family is in debt beyond redemption and everyone is banking on Prasanna to get them out of the mess. Even their poverty and desperation is shown in a very light manner thus taking away any gloom...At least until this part.

On the other hand Meera's life is not so peachy either. Her sister is married to a police constable and have a daughter together. Meera's sisters family along with her sister's mother-in-law live with Meera and her mother. Her sister's husband is interested to take in Meera as his second wife. Meera who is against this goes through a lot of emotional torture and also sees her sister and mother go through physical and emotional torture from her brother-in-law. Meera is the sole bread winner of the family. She works as a nurse at a few houses and goes to college at the same time.

In spite of the misunderstandings and quarrels Meera helps Prasanna in a very tight situation thus bringing them both together. Meera helps Prasanna who tops the University to pursue his IAS education in Delhi.

In the meantime Meera's BIL still tortures her and now starts hounding on her for talking to Prasanna. The beating and verbal abuse is now a regular occurrence. Also, Prasanna comes back from Delhi to realize that his father has already engaged him verbally to one of his debtors daughter.

A slight twist in the tale and the movie ends...

A decent movie, may be watched with the whole family...A little scary at times, especially the role of the Police Constable's mother and her verbiage...But for that the movie is very nice. I would not watch it if I am in a happy mood cause it did bring out a tear or two on more than one occasion...

Prasanna has really molded himself into a decent actor over the past few years. Apart from comedy he can also do serious roles and he carries the character very well on his shoulders. Meera Jasmine, well she is a National Award winning actress...But still her overacting and childish acting gets on your nerves at times. If you look past that...Then it is okay. Sarat Babu a veteran in such roles is good as usual. The mallu actor (I am guessing) who was the police constable...Was Great...He really scared the crap out of you...It was because of him that I could empathize with Meera's character...

Anyhoo...The movie is very watchable...much better than many others that have released over the past few months.

Ratings by outbrain