Thursday, September 20, 2012

Barfii...Kuchch Meetha Ho Jai

          Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D'Cruz,
 Rupa Ganguly, Akash Khurana, Jishu Sengupta
Direction: Anurag Basu

If I have to box the story I will say it is a romantic comedy, a love triangle...but then saying so will generalize the for the moment I will say it is a beautiful movie. 

As it has been common knowledge, the hero has hearing and speech impairment, and the heroine has autism. But haven't we seen such movies earlier, be it Koshish (1972) in which Sanjeev kumar and Jaya Bhaduri had hearing and speech impairment, or in the recent past Black in which Rani Mukherjee is visually impaired, or Tare Zameen Par in which Darsheel Safary suffers from dsylexia. In each of these movies an effort has been made to draw sympathy towards the characters. 

This is where Barfii is put it in Priyanka Chopra's words, it is not to arouse any sympathy from the audience,  it is just a story of two individuals with disabilities.

google image
 It is a simple story based in Darjeeling, the movie begins in early 70s and ends in the current day. As the name suggests the story is about Barfii (Ranbir Kapoor), he was named murphy by his mother but over the years the name changes into Barfii. Barfii has hearing and speech impairment, and Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra) has autism, that means the lead actors have no dialogues. But inspite of this the movie tells the story of their lives and their love effortlessly. And there is Ileana D'Cruz, who comes to Darjeeling and falls in love with Ranbir. But the twist is she is engaged and doesn't know whether to listen to her heart or not.

Ranbir effortlessly transforms in to Charlie Chaplin, there is a scene where he takes his heart out and puts it at the feet of Ileana D'Cruz, which she kicks playfully. But Ranbir would not give up, so he follows her into a restaurant, and this time he presents his heart on a platter along with flowers. 

There are many scenes which can be picked for their sheer brilliance. The movie is a montage of beautiful scenes captured brilliantly on camera and sewn together with crisp editing. Be it Priyanka Chopra's jealous for Ileana which is shown in subtle ways, where she stares at Ileana's waist and later tries to have a look of her waist in the mirror. Or Ileana who transforms into a Bengali married women with elan, the way she carries her saree and the way she walks, every bit adds to the character.

 The movie is full of life, there isn't a moment where one will find it dragging. All the actors have contributed to make it a perfect entertainer.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Call Me Don

Movie: Don 2
Directer: Farhan Akhtar
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani, 
Lara Dutta, Om Puri, Kunal Kapoor

Don 2 is SRK’s style statement. The way Dhoom 2 was overshadowed by Hrithik Roshan, so is the case with Don2.  Those of you who watched Don 1 and liked it will like Don 2, those who did not like Don1 will surely like Don 2.
The movie begins with a narration in SRK’s voice, he gives you a recap of the movie Don 1 and what has happened in Don’s life thereafter thereby setting the stage for Don 2.
The plot goes somewhat like this, the Don having conquered the Asian drug market is now planning to take over the European market, and this has ruffled too many feathers. Various mafia gangs have started combining their efforts in a bid to eliminate Don forever, and the trap is laid.
It’s time for Don to make an entry and he makes the grand entrance in the Bollywood style driving his motorboat through a picturesque lagoon of  Thailand. Little did the Don knew that people are vying for his blood, but even if he knew it would have hardly made any difference to him. What follows is an action sequence where the Don slaughters the attackers with such agility that even the Superman would have fumbled, welcome to bollywood here the hero has a larger than life persona and highly developed senses which he uses to his advantage.

Now it’s Roma (Priyanka Chopra) turn to make an entry, she is working with the Interpol and her aim in her life is to put Don behind the bars. And then there is Om Puri her mentor who decides to ‘retire hurt’, he has only one regret that in his career spanning over 33 years if there was one criminal whom he could not put behind the bars was Don. With heavy heart he hands over this responsibility to Roma.

But Don being the magnanimous one comes and surrenders just a few minutes after this conversation as if he knew what was going on in Om Puri’s life. While Roma arrests her no one tries to find out what made Don surrender.

Now begins the actual plot of Don 2, Don surrendered so that he could break out of prison along with Vardan (Boman Irani, his enemy). Vardhan agrees to come along, rest of the movie revolves around how Don plots and executes the plan of stealing currency printing plates from one of the central banks.

Performance wise SRK is at his best, Priyanka gets very little space to show her work, Lara was convincing in the limited space, Boman Irani and Kunal Kapoor did a fine job of supporting cast, it was Om Puri who was wasted, that role could have been done by anyone.
There are few loopholes but again considering it’s a Hindi-masala movie those can be overlooked and coming to the songs the lesser said the better. Treatment of the story is good (there are enough of twists and turns), editing is crisp, dialogues are catchy, beautiful cinematography, and some reasonably good action sequences make it worth watching.

My favourite dialogue: Don tells Kunal Kapoor, “Don’t call me sir, bahut sareef sunai deta hai, call me Don.”

Life Is Stranger Than Fiction

It is said don’t judge a book by its cover, but there are certain books which live upto their cover page…The cover page of  Nine lives I bought in 2011 had eyes of a Kannur dancer wearing a red head gear with silver serpent heads on it, a very intriguing picture exuding immense energy.

That's the cover of my copy
The look said it would not let me keep the book down without finishing it, it would stare back at me to remind every single day that the nine chapters based on nine characters needs my attention.

What is fascinating about these characters is that they are not fictional, they are real people just like us, but as I navigated through the chapters the line delineating facts and fiction blur, every chapter left me with a collage of images which look stranger than fiction.

I could not continue reading two chapters back to back...I would leave the book for a day before I began a new chapter every time. It felt as if I would be denying every character its due if I moved on to the next immediately.

William Dalrymple talks about nine different characters following different paths but there is a common thread running through each of these characters, all these characters have immense faith in life irrespective of the path they have chosen for themselves. And somewhere on the way all of them have found their share of happiness.

The author takes the reader through the travails of a Jain nun, a Kannur dancer, a Devadasi, a Rajasthani epic singer, a Sufi, a Buddhist monk, an Idol  maker of Tanjore, a Tantric practitioner, and a Baul singer.

For example, in the Singers of Epic chapter he talks about an Epic Singer Mohan Bhopa and his wife Batasi. While a small part of the story is about Mohan, rest of the story revolves around the history and evolution of bhopas-the singers. The detailing and the attention to nuances makes it fascinating.

He has covered the length and breadth of India and has brought to the fore the stories behind many of those characters whom we know superficially, the story of their lives we never bothered to find out because to us they seemed too trivial. Each of these stories shows a different India, an India caught in a time-wrap, a country where different worlds co-exist side by side, visible worlds which remain invisible.

The finesse with which he intertwines the story of practices and the lives of practitioners leaves you mesmerised and you are simply gripped by the narrative.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Delhi Belly

Director-Abhinay Deo
Producer-Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Ronnie Screwala and Jim Furgele
Starcast- Imran khan, Vir Das, Kunal Roy Kapoor, Shehnaz Treasurywala, Poorna Jagganath, Anushka Dandekar and VIjay Razz

Delhi Belly was a laugh riot I thoroughly enjoyed the movie…it was fully “paisa wasool”, although I questioned my sensibilities how I was not put off with the use of toilet humour and dialogues interwoven with expletives. What made it interesting was the situational humour unlike the humour seen in other movies which are forced into the storyline along with background laughter track

What was good about the movie was crisp editing and sleek pace, and the very few songs which were run as the background score instead of the hero-heroine being shifted to the foreign locales with a blink of eye and, dancing and singing with each other or many a times with a bunch of accomplices.

And the bad part was there was nothing new to the script, have not we seen story of mix-ups umpteen number of times- people being caught up for wrong reasons and trying to sort it out.

But performance wise, the villain Vijay Razz, cartoonist and bespectacled friend of Imran- Vir Das, and photographer Kunal Roy did a good job…of course the landlord, jeweler, parents, ex-husband of special correspondent, pop singer played their bit with aplomb to keep the storyline running.

Coming to the lead Imran Khan is definitely trying to shed his chocolate boy image and has done things which none of the commercial heros have tried so far. And last but not the least Poorna Jagganath the new found by Aamir Khan imported from Los Angeles, looked far younger than her age and played her part with finesse.

So that was Delhi Belly full of MC, BC and many more idioms used by the hero and his friends generously…though I wonder why no one uses BaapC and BhaiC???

Saturday, May 15, 2010

In between stations

I have been travelling alone since time immemorial and during these journeys I met many curious people. I have come across many curious uncles and aunties, curious men who fall somewhere between the late twenties and late fifties who try to gel inspite of my cold response. Of course to my relief at times I do find kids-the ones with whom I gel really well as they are the only ones who belong to the category 'you get what you see'.

I have learnt not to mingle with strangers at the same time travel without getting restless and bored, I always carry novels which are atleast as thick as the best available encyclopedia, which I use as a means of self defense as soon as I sense that people are getting ready to start their 'let's know' session. I try to give an impression that I am lost in the world of magical web created by the words. While I enjoy reading I also keep a tab on the happenings taking place around me.

I wonder why people are so curious to know about strangers and especially if it is a single woman, people just cannot control their urge to inquire. Most of the times I have succeeded in discouraging people to start a conversation by using simple defense mechanisms like giving cold stares and holding onto ‘my encyclopedias’. But there are some curious passengers who believe in ‘never say die’ motto.

I remember one such incidence, when I was the only woman travelling with seven male co-passengers out of which six mid-forties-shady-looking men were a group. on day one, they tried their best to start a conversation-but with my state-of-art devices I defeated them. 

On day two, they started encouraging the male co-passenger who was not part of their group and was seating beside me to start a conversation….but to their bad luck I overheard them whispering. So I realized that I need to device an ingenious method this time to ward off the evil. Thanks to advances in technology and the network connections which follow wherever you go, I dialed a friend’s number and started a conversation which was not very loud, but loud enough to be heard by the guy sitting beside me. My friend on the other side asked, “How are your co-passengers?” To which I replied,“People can be so shameless, even after you give them all indications that you are not interested in having a conversation, they still keep trying.” To my luck the mid-thirties guy on the next seat who by now was almost ready to invade my guarded territory had some social sense, so on hearing this conversation he was somewhat embarrassed and decided to retrace his steps. Thank God!

Well I had a couple of good experiences also with uncle and aunties who were nice enough to start a conversation not out of curiosity but because it's a long journey and it's always good to have people around to share thoughts.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Death Penalty

‘An eye for an eye would leave the whole society blind’- M K Gandhi.

Then what is the solution? How should justice be meted out to the victims and their families in the case of heinous crimes such as murder and rape? Whether the death penalty should be given or not remains an ongoing debate, with people for and against it, with their set of reasons. Many questions arise. Do we really need death penalty? If so, then what are the criteria to be taken in to consideration?

In many cases, the crime is planned with clear precision and executed with cold blooded perfection. In the Dhananjoy Chatterjee case, Chatterjee had raped and murdered a 14 year old girl. The girl was mercilessly battered and raped and finally strangled with the rope of a swing that broke her voice box. Chatterjee was kept in Alipore jail and it took 14 years for the judiciary to pronounce the death sentence. It must have taken great courage and perseverance on the part of the victim’s family to pursue the cause for 14 long years.
The Supreme Court of India ruled in 1983 that the death penalty should be imposed only in “the rarest of rare cases”. Capital crimes for which death penalty can be given are murder, gang robbery with murder, abetting the suicide of a child or insane person, waging war against the government, and abetting mutiny by a member of the armed forces. In recent years the death penalty has been imposed under new anti-terrorism legislation for people convicted of terrorist activities.

Even in the case of such crimes, why capital punishment? The accused can be sentenced to life imprisonment and can be provided with professional counseling. In India life imprisonment is only for 14 years and once the accused is released there is no guarantee that he will not go back to his old ways.

In America the judicial system seems less concerned about the mental state of condemned prisoners and courts are willing to execute them as in the case of the child killer, Westley Alan Dodd, who was mentally unstable. In many other cases the defendant's habits are unlike a normal person. The typical psychopath is often a person of above average intelligence and whose violence is planned, and emotionless. And this kind of tendency is incurable and poses a severe risk to society. In such cases imprisonment is pointless, as it would remove the criminal from the society only for a specific period of time. In such cases when the crime requires planning and the potential criminal has time to think about the possible consequences, death penalty can serve as a deterrent.

In Singapore people know precisely what will happen to them if they are convicted of murder or drug trafficking - this concept is deeply embedded into the sub-consciousness of most of its people, acting as an effective deterrent.

It is difficult to say whether the same set of things will be applicable in the Indian context or not, as there are obvious cultural differences between the two countries.
The most important aspect that needs to be taken into account by the judiciary is that no innocent person should be executed as there is no way of compensating them for this miscarriage of justice. 

However, in case of terrorists, awarding death penalty would not solve the bigger problem. In fact in most cases terrorists prefer the death sentence, as it would help them escape rigorous interrogation. 

In many countries such as America and India, a prisoner can be on a death row for many years awaiting the outcome of numerous appeals. Their chances of escaping execution are better if they are wealthy. They often try to evade the punishment on grounds of false psychiatric disorder or use plea bargaining. 

Such unlawful practices are bound to raise questions regarding the capabilities of judiciary. Therefore, at times death penalty is important to make people realise the value of life and strengthen their faith in the judiciary system.