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Rang De Basanti (2006)
Mohe Tu Rang De Basanti....(Colour Me Yellow)
Warning: This is not a movie for he faint hearted or for escapists looking for brainless entertainment.
But if you belong to neither of those categories then this one's for you. As a viewer, I didn't know what to expect from the movie. Sure Aamkir Khan was known for quality cinema and all but Mangal Pandey had come as a huge disappointment and I was thinking that this would follow the same lines. Thankfully, I was wrong.
One of the most different movies ever seen on the Indian Screen, it is a novel experience for the average moviegoer. One cannot really categorize this movie as Action or Romance or Patriotic etc. However, it falls under one category perfectly: Cult. This movie is sure to achieve Cult status especially among the youth. It has scenes from the lives of Bhagat Singh and other Revolutionaries (the sepia tone give it a really authentic feel) as well as the state of the current youth. But what really makes this movie stand out is how it makes a successful comparative study between the Incidents and Events in the Lives of our Pre-Independence Heroes and the Lives of the Modern Youth of India. As this comparison is brought out (especially in the Post-Interval Portions), it makes your skin crawl. Also the climax is an exhilarating experience though it will meet with diverse reactions.
The Story: Sue (Alice Patton in an extremely commendable role) is a British girl who wants to make a movie on Indian Revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad on the basis of the experiences of her grandfather who was an Officer in British India. Due to shortage of money she convinces a mix bag of college students and slackers to act in her movie (Aamir, Siddharth, Sharman Soha Ali Khan, Atul Kulkarni and Kunal Kapoor. While making the movie, she becomes good friends with them and even gets smitten with D.J. (Aamir).
Now these guys have a friend who is an Air Force Pilot (R. Madhavan) whose MiG crashes due to its faulty parts. The entire group is devastated. What angers them further is the Defence Minister's (Mohan Agashe) accusation that the pilot was an amateur. But what really pushes them to the edge is when the Police attacks their peaceful protest march ruthlessly not sparing wither man, woman or child. They decide to take revenge....By killing the Defence Minister.
When they succeed in their endeavour, they are shocked to find the Minister being called a Martyr ad being awarded the Bharat Ratna. They decide tat the country needs to know the truth. For this, they take over an All India Radio Station to announce the truth over the radio. What follows is the tense climax that keeps the viewers guessing till the very end.
Analysis: The movie has been treated in a very contemporary manner. The dialogues have been penned beautifully. The script is tight. If the first half is filled with light moments then the second half has its share serious scenes. The Punjabi Dialogues come as a breath of fresh air.
Apart from the main story, there are a number of sub-plots that are included that raise many issues. Be it the views of a Hindu Fundamentalist about Muslims or the views of a Muslim of the treatment given to his community in the country, it makes the viewer think. There is also the love story between Soha Ali Khan and R. Madhavan as well as the controversy regarding the faulty parts in the MiG airplanes purchased by India and the money made by selfish industrialist (Anupam Kher...wasted) and Ministers.
The Music is Excellent. After a hiatus we see A.R. Rahman in full form. The Title Track gives the viewer a sense of elation and the colourful picturisation leaves you wanting more. Also other songs like 'Tu Bin Bataye', 'Paathshala', 'LukaChhupi' and 'Roobaroo' leave an impact on you.
Full Marks to Rakesh MEhra for the treatment of the subject. There are a number of scenes that give you chills like:
1) D.J.'s breakdown at Sue's house after returning from the hospital. 2) Madhavan's last remains brought to his house for his mother and friends. 3) Atul Kulkarni's delivery of the poem 'Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna' as Ramprasad Bismil. 4) the Jalianwalah Bagh Massacre sequence with replacing the Defence Miniter for General Dyer to explain its contemporary relevance.
However, what really makes this movie a true accomplishment is the performances. All of the above would be non-existent if it wasn't for the stellar performance given by the entire cast. Aamir Khan is excellent as the care free Punjabi, but he doesn't steal all the attention. He is supported by equally riveting performances by Siddharth, Kunal Kapoor, Sharman Joshi and Atul Kulkarni. Soha Ali Khan is a revelation compared to her prior films. Her breakdown on hearing of Madhavan's death is one on the most amazing scenes from the movie. Alice Patton is equally good. Her Hindi is sure to strike a chord with the Indian cinegoers. Also, absolutely amazing performances come from Waheedaji and Kirronji. Both lend brilliant support to the movie.
One the whole, this movie is a novel experience. A definite recommendation to every youth of India as well as the World. It is a movie that gives you fodder for thought. Also, it is one of those few movies that actually lives up to its tagline: A Generation Awakens.
The biggest disappointment of 2004
Where do I begin? Well, I am a great fan of the Harry Potter series. I have read it entirely around 4 times! Prisoner Of Azkaban was one of my favourites (The other is the 4th one). So, when the movie released, I naturally went for it First Day First Show. But I was let down badly.
The movie started with a bang. The scenes with Aunt Marge and the Knight Bus have been handled with care. Everything went on well till Harry reached school. The pace of the movie dropped dramatically. The interest was lost. Alfonso Cuaron has done a good job as a director, if not a flawless one. The FX are gr8. The main performances are superb. But the script is a major drawback.
Steven Kloves has done a pathetic job while adapting from the novel. Anyone who has not read the book may even like the movie. But for those who have read it and loved it, they will be thoroughly disappointed as I have been. The movie just does not sustain the hype.
The biggest problem is that many loopholes are left in the story that are sure to catch the viewer's eye. For example, how did Sirius Black escape from Azkaban? Or why did Snape hate Lupin and Black so much? Why did Snape hate Harry's father (which should have been answered in the first part itself)? Don't they have exams at Hogwarts? Why did Harry think that his dad saved him from Dementors? Why was his patronus a stag? The list is endless.
Another problem are the parts missing from the movie. The parts where Harry hears his mum's scream (which gave me goosebumps when I read the book) are not shown well. The Quidditch Final is absent wherein Gryffindor wins. Characters like Cedric Diggory and Cho Chang are absent. They will play a very important part in the 4th and 5th part. Dumbledore is reduced to nothing. The fight between Ron and Hermione over Scabbers is badly executed. The part of Buckbeak's hearing is badly presented. I thought dementors glided in the air, not flew. The friendship between M/s. Moony, Padfoot, Wormtail and Prongs is not even explained. The climax is weak. The explanation given by Black and Lupin is not satisfying. The humour is missing. Such crucial elements from the book are missing.
Gary Oldman does an atrocious job in portraying Sirius. Even the character is badly sketched (again...bad scripting). Sirius was to be a hardened man when he escaped from Azkaban. He was supposed to be everything that Gary Oldman's character in the movie was not. David Thewlis as Professor Lupin does not impress. Peter Pettigrew is horrible. However, Emma Thompson did a wonderful job as Professor Trelawney. She looks exactly like Trelawney.
All in All, PoA is a product which looks pretty but lacks substance. In the H.P. series, this is definitely the worst. Even Day After Tomorrow is better, which is saying something. One sometimes wonders, how could J.K. Rowling have let this happen.
For those who have not read the book, I give it 6/10, but for others, it is 3/10.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Could have been brilliant, but...
I had been reading a lot of bad word for this movie over the past two weeks. Just about no one had a single good word for it. However, I was adamant that I would watch it. I loved ID4 and did not mind Godzilla. So as soon as it released I went to see it.
First the plus points! The special FX are by far the classiest I have ever seen. Everything from the tornadoes in LA to the floods in NYC is a visual treat for the spectator. The scene where Lady Liberty is frozen is stunning. Full marks to Emmerich for that.
Secondly, Dennis Quaid delivers a decent performance. I had never liked him much. But, he is good in this movie. Jake Gyllenhaal is cute, but hasn't got much of a role to talk about. Sela Ward as Dr. Lucy Hall is excellent.
But only jazzy FX and good performances cannot make a movie great. The movie's greatest fault lies in the script. Emmerich the director is let down by Emmerich the story - writer. There are a lot of questions left unanswered in the movie. For example, why the sudden global warming? Moreover, why does it suddenly stop in the end? Dennis Quaid's analysis show that the superstorm would spread throughout the world and cause a new ice age. Then, why does it stop and clear at the tip of the United States. There are some other questions. The director could have added another 15 mins. to explain these plot holes.
Another problem is that it is too predictable. One can guess the next scene very easily. The backbone of ID4 was the witty oneliners and the well defined characters. Sadly, these qualities are absent in this venture.
All in all, DAT succeeds at some points but falters on others. Don't expect sense and logic. Do not expect a ID4 and you will not be disappointed. For FX lovers like me, do not miss the movie at any cost! I give it a 7/10.
Main Hoon Na (2004)
Entertainment At Its BEST!!!
After the not-so-impressing promos and posters, one doesn't expect much when walking into the theatre to see Main Hoon Na. But Farah Khan makes a sensational debut in direction with the movie. Main Hoon Na is a 3-hour rollercoaster ride. It has everything in the right place. It has Action, Comedy, Romance and all the other ingrediants in perfect proportions.
The story is Indian. But the packaging is western. The movie is not recommend for those who think while watching movies. It has a touch of those movies of the 70s where content took a backseat and entertainment was all that mattered. The presentation of the movie is one of its key asseets.
Another asset is the music. Anu Malik's score is easy on the ears. What compliments the songs is their picturisation and placement. The title track and 'Chale Jaise Hawayein' are the picks of the lot. The tributes to R.D. Burman are clear and effective. Production is grand. Sabu Cyril does a fantastic job with the sets. Allan Amin's action is top notch. Specially the scenes in the beginning and the climax have been executed with panache. Though some of the effects are a little hackeneyed, they are better than most Hindi movies. Abbas Tyrewala's dialogues are sure to earn him another nomination next year. With this he proves that Munnabhai was not a lucky chance.
Now to the performances! Shah Rukh gives yet another fine performance. Like wine, he gets finer with age. Also, this movie should shut those mouths which said that he could not do action sequences. His stunts in this film will surely multiply the number of his fans. Another great performance is that of Sushmita Sen's. In fact, people here are calling her 'Discovery of the Year!' Never has an actress looked so ravishing in a sari. Zayed Khan also gives a decent performance. Amrita Rao is another rising sun. Her performance is sure to be noticed. In the smaller roles, Kirron Kher, Kabir Bedi and Nasseruddin Shah impress.
In one word, Main Hoon Na can be called a 'must-see'. 10/10