Saturday, January 26, 2008


The blurb at the back of the cover reads.."A witty, romantic and very dangerous love story about chance meetings, instant attractions and casual betrayals.CLOSER..."
I've not seen a film as candid as this.Quite an unusual film, about people, walking in and out of each others lives.It takes the viewer some time to warm up to the film, as it starts off as abruptly it ends. So there are no explanations or flashbacks about the characters, its just meant to be like you've known them forever.There are too many jumps in time.Just four principle characters entangled in each others web of life, no sub-plots, not too mushy,the film is quite straightforward. The film is a little of everything- Dumb.Erotic.Romantic.Funny.Chaotic.Strange.

Of the four actors, Natalie Portman as the stripper does a really good job.She's beautiful, especially in the closing scene. Clive Owen as the desperate dermatologist is good.Jude Law as the aspiring writer and Julia Roberts as the Photographer just look too constipated.Director Mike Nichols honest take on relationships,love,infidelity makes for quite a watch.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Taare Zameen Par

Amidst high-budget movies,snazzy promos,superstars and a bare butt-one Mr.Aamir Khan quietly but boldly walks in with 'taare zameen par'(stars on earth) and proved that for this once the big bang came after the stars.It left such a big impact.

There was no better way to start a new year!Frankly,i walked in thinking it was just another one of those children's movie where the hero takes the spotlight with the oh-i-am-so-kind-i-love-kids portrayal and walks away with the superstar adulation.Boy was i surprised to know that Aamir Khan was playing second fiddle to the show stealer Darsheel Safary(Ishaan Awasthi in the movie)-the most perfect casting of the century.

Mischievous Ishaan is paying his price for being a little different.He suffers from Dyslexia.His parents and teachers, taking it to be adamant carelessness, give him a tough time.Ishaan runs to his creativity for help.His imagination takes him places.He looks at things and sees beauty.His fingers do wonders with paints and crayons but not with pencils and notebooks.

When the entire world is at the peak of writing him off as an incapable idiot,the wonder teacher walks in.Ram Shankar Nikumbh,well portrayed by Aamir,enters dramatically mid-movie.He empathises with Ishaan and what happens later is practically fantastic.

The movie,with its blatant mockery of the cruelly competitive world gives us the paradox which is Ishaan.He is everything,every small beautiful thing which is snubbed in a world which wants only material profit.Ishaan is the intellect that cannot be found in report cards.

What i liked about the movie was that,it did not use the word 'special' to denote disability.That word was used only to show that every child had a talent to call their own.

Moreover,no character looked out of place and there was not one unwanted scene in the movie.

Kudos to Amol Gupte,the writer and creative director.He did most of the paintings too.And of course,the maestros-Shankar Ehsaan and Loy!And hats off to Prasoon Joshi for such imaginative lyrics.

Full marks for Taare Zameen Par.It starts off with a few good laughs but please take along a bunch of napkins.I guarantee you there are no cheap emotional stunts to melt the glaciers in your eyes.This tugs at the right strings.

Anoodha Kunnath

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Man and his music...

They call him by different names-all hailing him sky-high as the greatest composer of India!
His style, the various nuances he employs to whistle in a freshness, the numerous new voices he introduces to bring in a hitherto unknown variety and vibrancy-every little aspect of his music makes him one great beam of inspiration to anyone!

Who else can make your smile take a deeper curve?
Or evoke that single secret tear vent out all the grief that lay hidden within you?
Where else does genius and repose come together?

Oh! The man! His music! A.R.Rahman! Ah! Uttering his name gets those secreted violin strings in your soul to start playing a lovely tune!

Be it any language, any banner-his music transcends barriers and transports us to a totally elevated plane! It is a 'high' that you experience, every cell in your body dance; your mind seems relieved of its worldly care!
The whole feeling of listening to his compositions bring random disconnected images to your mind- the first bloom of spring, a whiff of lemongrass, a burst of crackers, a stroke of paint on an empty canvas, paper boats on a puddle of water, the first smile of a baby, the elation of success, the gurgling sound of the brook, the chilling silence of a tomb, the darkness that is partner to death, the magical whirl of the cosmos!

Untainted by the vulgarity of the world!

The sudden background bursts of sounds in his music shows the intricate mesh he weaves to create the tapestry of the song! A pluck of strings, a beat of drums, a slow purring of wind in the throes of the flute... ah, to have been born during the times of this maestro is to be able to get short-lived tickets to utopia every once his music plays!

And to that man, who relentlessly continues to inspire us, lend meaning into his and our lives through his unblemished creations, here's wishing him all the happiness on his birthday!

May the force be with him!

Don't look away...........

for what shall i wield a dagger, o lord?

what can i pluck it out of

or plunge it into

when you are all the world?

— 10th century Indian poet and saint, Devera Dasimayya

When Mr. and Mrs. iyer released in 2002 it somehow just failed to generate any interest in me. Thought of it as just one of those other Indian English films, made by some foolish director. Saw bits and pieces of it, and completely forgot about it.Until two years ago, when they showed it on some vague channel(which ceased to exist). I just had to watch it. I remember being glued to the television watching the movie late into the night, in spite of the annoying ads which appeared every five minutes.I would have seen the film at least another 3-4 times, and till date it remains one of my favorite Indian films.

Watching the movie times and over, I've always discovered something new in it. Like the second time I saw it, I was completely bowled over by Konkona Sensharma's stellar performance.Or certain little nuances in the film...Everything is so intricately woven into one another. Or even the saying by the poet, which appears in the beginning of the film, which I was quite ignorant about, till recent, thinking it was just pretentious,and wanted to sound profound.
At heart, the film is just a love story.Two people on a bus journey, falling in love during times of violence.Every scene in the film is underlined with some form of religious-political element, which sometime seems a little over-done.Maybe, it was meant to be an undertone, but somehow just sticks out.For that matter, even some of the English dialogues, they just don't sound natural.Very theatrical.But otherwise, the film is brilliant.Rahul Bose gives a very restrained and understated performance as the liberal Muslim wildlife photographer.Some really good acting by the supporting cast as well, especially Bhisham Sahani and Surekha Sikri, as the old Muslim couple. Has so many layers to it, only seen or noticed after multiple viewings.Goutham Ghose captures the Himalayan foothills,with his beautiful photography. Zakhir Hussain's music just flows with the film.For the kind of issue it addresses, Mr. and Mrs. iyer will be relevant any given day.

Arvind Caulagi