Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - English Movie Review

Rating: 4.8/5

Cast: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Frida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Irfan Khan, Saurabh Shukla
Director: Danny Boyle
Music: A R Rahman
Story: Based on Vikas Swarup's Q & A

Plot: A street dweller makes it to the hot seat on "Who wants to be a Millionaire," in India. The cops take him to interrogate and find out if he is cheating on the show. From him they hear a tale of loss, jealousy, love, hatred, murder and much more that can make you cringe and which helped him answer all the questions. The boy does not want the money, all he wants to do is find his lost childhood love.

Review: The first fifteen minutes of the movie makes you cringe, at the pain that is inflicted on Jamal (Dev) as well as the pain and misery that Jamal has been through in his childhood. The movie does not dwell too much on any sorrow, it has a pace to maintain, so it keeps moving on in a fast pace. Which also helps us not get tied up to one event and sink in its sorrow. Until after the movie is over you are not wasting time pondering on every single detail but when you walk out of the theater everything hits you. That is the beauty of the movie, you actually remember everything.

In some way, most of the Indian viewers will find most of the story predictable, not in terms of how the kid answered the questions but the plot. We have seen many Indian movies with similar background storyline, but the amazing part is the narration, the screenplay that makes the movie powerful and unique.

Sitting in the big theater you wonder, is this what the world thinks of India? big slums and kids being sold off to be made into beggars? Is this what the world is going to see? But then you also feel that the director has caught the essence of India that only we know and no one else, at least until now.

Synopsis: Jamal Mallik (Dev) is on the hot seat and Anil Kapoor is asking him a question and he seems to know it all. The chaiwala knows everything and is one question away from winning the grand prize. Jamal is watching himself on TV as the cop (Irfan) is questioning him on how he figured the answers for the questions out, considering Jamal has had no formal education. Irfan is confused how a slumdog is able to answer the questions while doctors and MBA's have failed.

Jamal is hoping that his childhood live is watching the show and he is hoping to reunite with her through the show. If I by chance reveal any more than this, then you would not enjoy the movie much, so go and watch the movie and enjoy it. It is one of a kind.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ramchand Pakistani (2008) - Hindi Cinema Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Nandita Das,
Director: Mehreen Jabbar, Syed Fazel Hussain, Maria Wasti, Noman Ijaz
Music: Debatyoti Mishra

From the time the movie began and almost until more than half of the movie I kept expecting to see something very bad happen. Thankfully that was avoided and

it made the film watchable. If you are looking for pace and twist and turns then this is not the movie for you, but on the other hand if you are looking for

a one line story with simple narration and decent acting which at times can start becoming a drag then you might probably enjoy this movie. I have to

definitely commend the acting by all the cast members including the little boy playing Ramchand. The background score is simple and the locales where the

movie has been shot is rustic.

The story is about a Dalit family that lives on the border of India and Pakistan. The village is so small that even the luxury of watching TV or radio on a

daily basis is not available to everyone. Most of the villagers are living blissfully ignorant about a war ranging between the two countries. During these

troubled moments, a little kid after having a childish tiff with his mom accidently crosses the border from Pakistan and enters India. Promptly he is

abducted by the sepoys who are guarding the border. The child's father also wanders into the border to bring his son back also only to be abducted by the

Indian sepoys too.

Dad and son are in the Indian jail and the son sees the dad getting beaten and tortured to prove that he is not a spy. Both of them share a large room with

other criminals and those who are also falsely accused of being spies or such. The kids goes through a transformation and you can see the father trying his

best to keep his child innocent and far from the corruption that jail cells see. The child finds a caretaker in a lady cop who tries to give him the basics

whil keep him at a bay because of his caste.

My worst fear was that they might show some gruesome scenes (like what you saw in Chandini Bar) with the kid and I kept trying to look away but thank god the

director sheilded us from all those kind of information. Do the kid, his dad and mom get united? For that you will have to watch the movie.

The acting in the movie is impeccable, it is truly an art movie and not for the ones who crave commercial masala. The story like I said earlier is slow and you need a lot of motivation to watch it. I even stopped to wonder what the purpose of the movie is, considering there is nothing dramatic or drastic in the movie after the first 10 minutes. It is like a movie that was shot on a webcam placed on the boy and then edited to consolidate four years into 2.5 hours. I am not impressed with it but it can definitely be seen once when you have absolutely nothing better to do.

Dostana (2008) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 4/5

Cast: Abhishek Bacchan, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Bobby Deol
Director: Tarun Mansukhani
Music: Vishal-Shekar

First off, for those who think this is a rip off a "I pronounce you Chuck..." I am sorry but it is not. The concept is similar but the story is not. The movie is funny, right from the word go. Definitely seems to be the fantasy movie the K.Jo would enjoy making considering there are more scenes that expose John A's rear than we see Piggy Chops. Even though actually have Piggy wearing only the shortest of short skirts and shorts, the camera always seems to land on John's well toned chest or his butt...and of course there is a scene where John gets wet in the rain wearing a white shirt...If this K.Jo had a choice probably he would have made this movie with just John A in it.

Anyways, enough of that and moving to the story...Neha (Piggy) owns a posh apartment in Miami and is looking to lease two rooms to girls only. Sam (Abhi) and Kunal (John) are two bachelors who are trying to find an apartment in a short time and they keep bumping into each other all the time. Realizing that they both have a common need for an apartment and after falling in love with Neha's apartment they decide that the only way to move in would be to fake gay.

Right from the time Sam and Kunal meet, the movie starts rolling and you are always at the edge of your chair laughing. The love story of how Sam met Kunal, or when they are introduced to meet M, Neha's boss M (Bomman), or when Sam's mother (Kiron Kher) lands in Miami to see if her son is really gay, and her departure back to London is so well entwined into the film that it is brilliant.

Usually a K.Jo movie formula is like this, the first half you roll on the floor and laugh, the second half right after the interval you are crying your heart out waiting for the movie to end...but thank god since this movie was only produced by K.Jo I am glad that the first 3/4 of the movie is hillarious and the typical cheesy, corny, annoying parts of the movie are short and crisp and shoved to the end.

So continuing the review, Sam and Kunal being straight fall in love with the obviously hot Neha who is oblivious to it and instead falls in love with her new boss Abhimanyu (a stone faced Bobby). Abhi seems to suffer from facial paralysis and you cannot see any emotions from his stone face. Happiness, anger, sadness, excitement all looks the same. He is the only annoying factor in the entire movie and we could have probably had Akshay or someone else in that role.

This comes as a shock to Sam and Kunal who are already fighting each other over Neha. The rest of the movie is goes about how Sam and Kunal try and foil the love budding between Neha and Abhi. What happens? Watch the movie.

This is definitely a fun watch. The movie is very cool, and set in uber modern times, but certainly not one you will watch with mom and dad. It caters to both gay as well as straight community as you get to see loads of John A stripping down to undies at the blink of an eye and you rarely see Neha fully clothed. I absolutely loved all the dresses she wore though I am pretty sure they will look good only on girls with good figures but I am sure that I can carry a saree off better than her. The only saree she wore in the movie was vulgar and annoying and she herself did not look comfy in it.

Did I talk about the music yet? No...so here it is, even the music and its choreography is hillarious. All the songs are catchy and funny and they do not slow down the pace of the movie. I love the "munda satta dol chadgaya..."

Anyways, enjoy the movie and if you don't let me know why.

Ratings by outbrain