Cine Freaks Bloggers  

Posted by Vee

It was nothing less than a Nonsensical Attyachaar seeing the Star Screen Awards. Ashutosh-Sajid feud, Akshay’s sacrifice reeked of two-facedness and in due course the secret which almost everyone knew was out in open. That year after year the awards go to a good number of unworthy ones, that they are already decided in the closed bed-rooms of people with power, money and high libido, long before the premiere show sometimes. Few deserving ones do get nominated (percentage would be negligible) to bring about a balance (all pretense) but the deserving ones never win. Filmfare Awards are the Oscars of India they say, (much above the National Awards) that I guess has reached a ludicrous stage.

It was after the Star Screen Awards and getting acquainted with the nominations of upcoming Filmfare Awards that I decided to come up with my own version of Awards. Why not? I might be a small fly and my appreciation might not be acknowledged in open by people whose movies, performances and contribution to the cinema I enjoyed in the year gone by. But that doesn’t dissuade me. Is it worth? For me, yes, it is. Do not we talk of changing the structure when we see the immoral events around us and do not few of us stand up and indeed bring in the change? So, that’s what I am doing.

The idea was put off by few in all possible ways, in a roundabout way to right on my face calling it useless. What is the purpose? I would be lying if I say not for a moment I was discouraged. However, after initial hiccups, here I am to announce the launch of Bloggers edition of awards.

Yes, it is by us and it will be for the best. Let’s welcome and honor the best. I would need support from fellow Bloggers in making this a success.

I approached few of the fellow Bloggers. To my surprise, they all readily agreed. Well, not exactly :). Reema, Poonam and Vimmuuu are helping finalize the categories and nominations. Nikhil is roped in for anything and everything related to promotion. Smita is supervising the overall job and is strictly kept out of ‘Categories and Nominations’ decisions for obvious reasons. After all who wants to see Salman being nominated in all the categories? And finally, this would not have been possible without a friend who pushed me to go for it, a friend who requests to be anonymous. I wish I could say ‘as of now’. I hope he changes his mind. He is the brains behind the name given to the awards (with our feedback) and he designed the poster for the awards. And soon he will be done with the award badge.

Work on Poster, Badge, Categories, Nominations is in progress and will be released soon. Keep watching this space for more.

Review of Delhi-6 and The Rant  

Posted by Vee

This is almost a review. Definitely not elaborate and spoiler-full like my earlier ones but a quick one as I do not have much time on hand.

Rakeysh ‘RDB’ Om Prakash Mehra. What an ensemble cast. Delhi. Chandni Chowk. Mysterious script. Sonam Kapoor (Oooohh). A.R. Rehman. 20th Feb. First Day First Show. Intermission. Bantadhaar. End. Sab Satyanaash.

ROPM is back to (aks)quare one. IMDB says Genre is Comedy/Drama. They couldn’t have said it better. It’s a comedy. Almost whole junta was laughing by the end. The last time was when Junta hooted for poor Drona, his ghodi, his dushman (KayKay), his angrakshak (Priyanka). Trust me, even CC2C was saved of hooting. Probably no one was expecting anything out of it unlike D-6.

Not going deep inside the story and plot because till end I could not find a single rational storyline, not even parallel one, not eve an askew one. NRI returns to Chandni Chowk from Amrika with his ailing grand-ma (her last wish). The boy definitely like any firang desi is amused at everything. The traffic jams, cows giving birth in middle of the road, padosi behaving, interfering and yak-yakking like family members, the narrow lanes adorned with gazillion shops. Almost everything. His NRI mind is looking for an identity in the chaotic assembly. He is confused soul. So much so that by the middle of the movie he imagines one whole song where Amrika and Delhi are mixed. Watch it to believe how grossly that was shot.

The infamous ‘Monkey-Man’ that created a menace in Delhi few years back is the central character. Others are just supporting cast. Great performers but sadly irritating after some point of time. There are so many characters that director is busy introducing them right till the end. Zoya recently showed truck loads of them but you can identify them and remember them in LBC. In this case, you get assaulted. There is nothing that you carry when you walk out. Music? Yes, to an extent. The music no doubt is outstanding one, this truth is already established. But, the songs are placed so absurdly you almost feel sorry for A.R. Rehman. ‘Rehna tu’ in particular (which is a soft romantic number) will disappoint you the most.

ROPM tried to preach us the lesson of unity in diversity but he failed. Abhishek and Sonam’s much talked of chemistry is invisible. Bilkul thanda, barf jaisa. It is sad to watch artists like Sheeba, Supriya, Om Puri, Pavan Malhotra, Rishi Kapoor being wasted. Mass assassination. And the preaching that every human has monkey inside along with the god doesn’t go down well. I did not feel for any character or situation. Waheeda’s stubbornness of not returning to Amrika gets a jolt when her grand-son yells at her and she gets teary-eyed. I did not feel sympathetic towards her. Abhishek gets shot. I did not care whether he lives or die. Sonam who looks gorgeous in any outfit is totally wasted. She gets to howl again like Saawariya in the end and this time it’s for real yet I did not feel anything for her. Few scenes here and there brings in some moments but then that’s long forgotten by the time you try to finally listen to Mr. Director and look for monkey inside you. But it’s too late by then and the show is over.

I have nothing more to add to this. I will probably discuss or say more if someone writes a review. This was just ‘almost-a-review.’ I give Delhi-6 1.5/5.

I am done with my nom de plume ‘Oxy’ and back with my actual one, ‘Vee.’ Those who wish to call me Oxy are welcome to do so. However, I prefer Vee.

Btw, Baba Sehgal is back to what he does best. ‘Oh, Sexy Mama’ a hip hop number by him for Madhavan starred ‘13B’ is my current fav. Listen to it. Awesome. Sushmita’s ‘Karma Aur Holi’ is ready for release. Click her to watch the song ‘Holi Aayee’. And click here for Gulaal's Rana Ji song. Funny lyrics. “Jaise Durr Desh Me Tower Me Ghuss Jaye Re Aero Plane, Jaise Har Ek Baat Pe Democracy Mein Lagne Lag Gayo Ban, Jaise Sare-Aam Iraq Me Jaake Jam Gaye Uncle Sam, Jaise Bina Baat Afghansistan Ka Baj Gaya Bhaiya Band." Haha.. too good.. Mahie Gill doing mujra after Paro act.

Lastly, watch my space for the upcoming ‘Bloggers Awards to the Best in Hindi Cinema – 2008’

And The Winner Is...  

Posted by Vee

Reema. Wooyay. Applause, Claps, Trumpets, Gun-Shots, Red Carpet.

The answer is: It's the flower of Guava (or Amrood in Hindi) tree.

So, the floor is now yours Reema for the next 'Riddle Me This'.

P.S. After Dev.D, Anurag is ready with his next offering 'Gulaal'. Click here to watch the trailer. Oh Gosh!!! What A Trailer. Jack and Jill went up the hill, To fetch a pail of BHOSADI-KA! (I will clarify later that I am not saying 'what a trailer' for that phrase in particular). Watch it to believe what Anurag is made of. 13th March, there I wait for you.

P.S.1 - Read Shobhaa's this entry and my comment there (4th comment). Don't I make sense there? Isn't she losing it completely these days, Brains I mean!!!

P.S.2 - My 'twin brother' is celebrating his 28th Birth-Day today. And I am damn excited about it. So, no more rant and it's fucking party time.

Riddle Me This?  

Posted by Vee

One day I was reading Chammak Challo and she had uploaded an image and asked the readers to guess what it is. I cracked it and as per the rule I am supposed to post something that others have to guess.

Here is the Riddle:

You have to find something stranger than strange and, post it on their blog within the next two weeks.

The quiz remains open for at least 1 day and at the most 2 days.

The person who guesses it correctly gets the torch and is the next host for Riddle Me This.

If the person who guesses correctly is the previous host, then that person will get to pick someone to pass the buck to from all those who made a guess.

And so on.

Please use the fabulous logo, also designed by Manisha, and link back to the host who passed the baton on to you.

Please do your best to keep this alive. Just think of how much fun it will be!

Here is the image for you guys:

Tell me what it is. Now don't just say flower :). Photograph Courtesy: Dev and Dev, No, you cannot participate.

The countdown begins.

Review of Dev.D  

Posted by Vee

Those who have followed the lives and works of makers like Sriram Raghavan, Sudhir Mishra, Shimit Amin, Hansal Mehta, Onir, Anurag Kashyap will know that these makers have always taken risk. Few succeeded, few did not and others were labeled self-centered psychopaths (read just Anurag). Isn’t every artist/actor/director/producer? Didn’t we just see that in LBC? But Anurag has been subjected to all kinds of brickbats since he made ‘No Smoking’. I loved his ‘Black Friday’ immensely and was excited about NS like hell. I did not understand it first time. I spoke to few filmi friends, discussed and went for repeat watch. This time I liked it. I became fan of Anurag.

Dev.D unlike his NS is not a self-indulgent cinema but yes, it definitely shows the pain and anguish the man has gone through in this industry. He vents out his fury through Dev; A man in search of salvation after screwing up his love life. The movie in all departments takes Indian Cinema a few notches higher. Watch it to believe that it is nothing less than a Nolan or Fellini or Scorsese. We have our answer to west, east, middle, left, right, up, down. And the answer is Anurag Kashyap.

I usually do not go with the disclaimers. However, here I would wish to say that if you are an escapist, ignorant, and fragile then skip the movie and this review as well. Others read on.

As we all are aware by now that Dev.D is a contemporary take on Sarat’s celebrated novel Devdas. Bimal Roy (sticking to the book) and SLB (a bit twist by arranging a full fledged meeting between Paro and Chandramukhi) have given their versions. Anurag’s version in actuality is a convincing mockery of SLB’s version. There are four to five direct and countless indirect references to SLB’s version. From a Sonapur and Kolkota, the movie shifts to picturesque sarson-ke-khet of Punjab via 'London' to neon-lit Pahar Ganj in Delhi. A rich father who threw Devdas out of house in earlier spoils him rotten in this by justifying to mother, “Tumne bachpan me bigada, Mai jawaani me bigad raha hun.” The two ladies who had a cheesy confrontation of ‘Devdas loves you more’ exchange just a strange ‘Hi’ here and both proclaim ‘Dev doesn’t love anyone.’

The real protagonist of Dev.D is Amit Trivedi’s music and background score. His 18 songs aptly placed throughout recite the story. You can almost call it a musical. I have never experienced something like this before where you can almost feel that you do not need dialogues, the songs says it all. Anurag himself confessed sometime back that Amit’s music was so impressive that he changed his script to rationalize and credit Amit’s work. Welcome to new-age Bollywood. Times are changing. Those who understand and believe in lucid and rational cinema know that SLB’s Devdas was a ridiculous movie with idiocy written all over it’s frames and the essence lost in its grandeur. Chuck it. Embrace brand new Paro, Chanda and Dev.

Dev (Abhay Deol) is sent to London for studies. The only motivation for him to return is the nude pics of Paro (Mahie Gill) which she diligently scans and sends after having a steamy internet chat with Dev. ‘Dhol yaara dhol’ begins and Paro is cheerful with dreams of a good life ahead. Dev is back. His elder brother is getting married. ‘Hikknaal’ and ‘Maahi Mennu’ (the two Punjabi numbers of the lot) steps forward the story along with Dev’s and Paro’s failed attempt to sleep with each other. Misunderstanding follows and Dev insults her, tells her to stop dreaming that she can get married in his family (aukaat nahi hai teri) almost calling her a slut. Dev’s father in fact is keen on making Paro his bahu. What an irony!!! Anyways Paro’s father gets her married to much elder Bhuvan and just before her marriage Dev realizes he was at mistake and not her. But it’s too late, gulps down full bottle of Vodka, vomits and falls with a huge thud in front of the baraat. What an ‘Emosanal Attyachaar’!!!

Enter Lenny (Kalki Koechlin), a class XII student in Delhi. She is a cheerful and smiling girl who is dating a visibly very old to her boy. She does stuff to him, goes on bike rides with him, and is not apologetic about it. ‘Yahi Meri Zindagi Hai’ background score tells her story. The boy makes MMS. The girl is made fun of. The family is shattered. They leave country but the ghosts do not. Lenny gets into argument with her father when he says that he indeed has seen the clippings of her doing the stuff to boy and asserts she knew what she was doing. “How could you watch, fucking coward? I am your daughter.” Father kills himself, mother abandons her. She is left alone to be picked by a pimp and later gets into prostitution. Yahi Meri Zindagi gives way to ‘Ye Kaisi Kaisi Aankh Micholi Khele Zindagi.’ Lenny makes course for Chanda (Chandramukhi). Chunni (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) gets her client but also makes sure she finishes her education. She is taught the nuances of the profession (master-slave, phone erotica et al) in the mid of passing the board exams. ‘Paayaliya’ takes her into the new world; she has killed her ghosts. She has moved on. Dev enters her life. Dev, who by now in the guilt of losing his love is an alcohol chaser, pills popping, self-centered wreck mocks at Chanda’s show of compassion. “When in pain, it’s good to talk” she says. “What do you know about pain?” he replies. He leaves her place and goes back to his earlier histrionics. The ‘rock version of Attyachaar’ shows Dev wandering on streets, hiking between Delhi Metro and buses. When legal bars close, he ends up elsewhere. The dancing trio mocks at him, ‘Meetha Sa Chadha Hai Bukhar’ becomes his state of mind, he is ‘Pardesi’ in his own mind. He tries to find out ‘Saali Khushi’ which is lost. He calls Paro. Re-enters Paro. Content with marriage Paro to whom he desperately wants to make love to and requests to be loved back mocks at him too, “Tum kisi se pyaar nahi kar sakte. Tum sheeshe se shaadi kar lo.” What a scene it was when she makes him see the reality, “Itni mat peeya karo. Kisi se itna bhi pyaar na karo ki baaki cheeze nazar hi naa aaye.” She is clear, she doesn’t need him anymore. She shows him his aukaat, leaves him infuriated more than before. Welcome to new-age women. What a rip-off to Aishwarya’s self pity in earlier version.

He is lost again. ‘Nayan Tarse' does the same. He is having a trip. He drinks more. Chunni follows him, wants him to come back to Chanda (after all Dev is loaded). Dev gives in, back to Chanda. Chanda with her new ‘Dil Me Jaagi’ beat goes out with him; they share steaming Momos, jump into swimming pool, talks about her pain. “Half of the country downloaded the clipping, had fun out of it and they turned back and called me slut.” Dev shares his pain. Chanda agrees to Paro’s stand. “You can not love anyone.” I have moved, she has moved. You move on ending with calling him a slut. Dev leaves her again, gets into drunk-driving-killed-seven-people fiasco. His father dies. He goes to the funeral; brother ignores his presence, gives money to settle the court case. Dev doesn’t return to Delhi. ‘Duniya Gol Hai’. He blows away the money too. He is completely broke, sleeping on the road next to dog, sees a speeding car hitting the wall. The man dies. ‘Abhi bhi wakt hai’. He traces Chanda, finds her at steaming Momos joint. She takes him in. He confesses that he never loved Paro in true sense as he never saw her carefully actually and accepts he indeed is a slut. ‘Ek Hulchul Si’ marks the happy ending with duo having a bike ride.

The movie has Anurag’s style of film-making stamped all over it. The first half is radiant, full of life as we slowly gets introduced to the characters. It’s the second half that would blow your mind off. Each and every person can comprehend the happenings. The third plus after Amit’s exceptional music and Anurag’s characterization of the trio is Rajeev Rai’s photography. The movie gets dark in the second half with almost the whole second half shown in neon-lit streets and bars. The concept is by Abhay Deol which Anurag wrote along with Vikramaditya Motwane to give it a position of a formal script. Nikhat Azmi of TOI who surprisingly gave it a 5 star rating (surprising not because it doesn’t deserve but cuz Nikhat finally acknowledged good cinema) says for Abhay: Manorama-6FU and OLLO were just trailer, Dev.D is the class act from Deol. Not that the movie/Abhay needs her approval. Anurag had limited audience so far, but now the audience will multiply. Anurag has given Bollywood which is decomposing day by day a boost. And Abhay is the real star-baadhsah-king-ace or whatever those titles are called that few stars keep calling themselves with. One says 'I am King', then other replies, 'So what? I am Ace' for which third smiles mockingly at both of them. But it's Abhay for me and for many fans who find him the torch bearer of coming-of-age cinema in this country.

P.S. It is A rated but it is not porn as the belief of few goes. It’s not even soft-porn as the belief of many goes. It's a contemporary, on-your-face, blunt, straightforward and extremely engaging cinema.

P.S. 1 – I have seen it twice so far and will go for few more dekko. That’s what an excellent piece does; every time it throws up something marvelous.

Take A Bow Anurag  

Posted by Vee

The wait was over this morning. If we address the prior versions of Devdas as classics, then Dev.D is no lesser. In fact, I would call it a modern classic. I am yet to recover and put my thoughts coherently to write a detailed review. As of now, I would just say it’s an excellent cinema, with exceptional music and first class performances by all three leads. It’s a mind fuck journey with no cliché, anonymity and self indulgence. Ten on ten to this or in our terms 5 stars.

‘Paanch’ never saw the daylight. ‘Black Friday’ which is a cult classic in DVD circuit was out on DVDs long before its theatrical release. ‘Gulaal’ has been in making for 7 years now. And we all know what happened to ‘No Smoking’; the movie was brutally raped. I and many of my friends loved the movie though and have had countless mindless discussions on it. Anyways, a flop is a flop. Anurag Kashyap was given unimaginable names after No Smoking. He was jinxed as director. He was asked to stick to screenplay and dialogue writing. The man in his own words took chance with Dev.D and he made the movie that will go down in history as a classic. Take A Bow Anurag.

P.S. The review will soon follow.

Review of Luck By Chance  

Posted by Vee

It’s in the blood. That ‘creative bug’ with which we are often arranged a meeting in all promising ways gives the impression to belong only to the Akhtars and just them. Father kept us amused all these years; Son led the way with his ingenious intelligence and now daughter rounding it off ‘The Three Musketeers’ with her brave, brutally honest and matter-of-fact cinema. Zoya Akhtar, who was being cast as 'Extra' in few movies before including Kama Sutra (cuz she chose that), writer of 'Migration', a 20-Minutes movie based on AIDS awareness produced and directed by Mira Nair, and elder sister of producer-director-actor-singer-anchor Farhan Akhtar captures the quintessence and obscurity of Hindi Film Industry (HFI) like never before. There were many pieces which imprisoned the good old HFI and there will be many more (Inshallah); nonetheless Zoya’s mental picture will be the one to surmise for. The two recent illustrations ‘Om Shanti Om’ and ‘Fashion’ gave the broad feel of industry to the lay viewer whilst ‘Luck By Chance’ (LBC) not only gives the imminent sense to it but also portrays it in the most unapologetic mode.

The beginning credits of ‘Oye Lucky Lucky Oye’ with yesteryears ‘Pyaar Pyaar Pyaar, Chahiye Thoda Pyaar’ giving out the details of people involved with the film was my current favorite till I saw LBC’s ‘Ye Zindagi Bhi’ doing the same. Oh, I fell in love with the movie that very moment. Seeing the straight, dismal faces of all those unnamed and unaccredited people; chai-wala, khaana-wala, security guys, spots, extras, poster-wala et al along with getting notified with the cast and crew was just the right element to set the temper up for close to three hours of beautiful cinema awaiting ahead. Farah Khan did something like that in the end credits of ‘Main Hoon Na’ but I was so disappointed by the end already that I did not care.

But of course the story was already few minutes in presenting struggling female protagonist Sona (Konkona Sensharma) sucking up to Chaudhary, producer of Pinki Productions (Alyy Khan; ex of Pooja Bhatt in real life for the uninitiated) when the beginning credits started to sway me. Credits end and you see Aamir Khan in first frame and some 20-odd other biggies (playing themselves) of industry all the way till the end when same struggling female protagonist now fairly better off and unambiguous of the goings around sums up one of the elating endings ever.

Another struggling actor Vikram Jai Singh (Farhan Akhtar) befriends Sona, sleeps with her, and gets ‘lucky’ by chance to get the lead role opposite Niki Walia (Isha Sharvani), daughter of former time’s superstar Neena Walia (Dimple Kapadia) in Romy’s (Rishi Kapoor) home production ‘Dil Ki Aag’ directed by younger brother Ranjit (Sanjay Kapoor). The said lead role refused by the iconic Zaffar Khan (Hrithik Roshan) lands up in Vikram’s lap after Zaffar gets ‘lucky’ by chance to bag the two-hero role in Karan Johar’s movie despite having shot song (Baawre) and few scenes for ‘Dil Ki Aag’. And not to forget the altercation between Sona and Chaudhary which inadvertently turns blessed for Vikram.

Vikram’s egocentricity, Zaffar’s bashfulness, Sona’s fate of ‘being deprived of’, Neena’s manipulations, Nikki’s murkiness confrontations with mother, Romy’s overriding craze, Ranjit’s inane filmmaking and equally cynical approach of many others form the basis of this star-studded film. Be it the opportunist attitude of Maasi or struggling friends of Vikram, or the writer friend of Sona, everyone is doing whatever they are doing for a price. ‘Nothing comes free’ is conveyed or rather shouted from the rooftop.

Each and every character here can be put on pedestal and dissected. Zoya’s story and screenplay is of top class and hardly is she seen making a gaffe of the status the characters are in. On one side you have Saurabh Shukla’s ramblings on how to act complimented with visiting actor Mac Mohan’s deliverance of his famous ‘poore pachchas hazaar’ dialogue from Sholay and Vikram’s shaking the hips on ‘Bachna aae Haseeno’ that keeps your mood radiant about all that coming ahead, and on the other you see Karan Johar’s proverbial observation on ‘how-an-outsider-becomes-a-star’, SRK’s profound advice on ‘not-to-forget-those-who-remembered-you-when-you-were-no-one’ to Vikram after latter embracing stardom, Neena comparing her initial days to that of her daughter’s & subsequent outburst to the editor flooded with colorful language will smack you on your face.

But the one who steals the show on screen (outside of it, it’s Zoya) is the man who should be seen more and more as long as he can be. That’s Rishi Kapoor. The only word I can think of for his performance is ‘divine’. The man is in complete control of what he is delivering. Forget his ‘Hum Tum’ and ‘Fanaa’. LBC is the one he will be remembered for years to come. I somewhat felt uncomfortable seeing Farhan in emotional scenes. I mean the guy has an image (more so after his ‘Oye, It’s Friday’) of someone who is naughty, cool and at-ease. And seeing him act out gloomy ones makes me sore. It’s futile to say how Konkona was as she has gone beyond scrutiny of her performance long time back. Her close-up shot of walk on the busy street with hair flowing before catching a taxi in the end reminded me that of Natalie’s in ‘Closer’ though a lot superior closing. Yet, Rishi Kapoor was the best thing that could happen to LBC by god.

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