Monday, June 21, 2010

Movies, music, and all that jazz

Disclaimer: I know zilch about movie making. These reviews are only my perspective. Why I think I am good enough to do this? Because I have spent truckloads of money religiously watching first day first shows/ the same movie many times over, hardly ever pirated (I don't steal Hindi movies), for as long as I can remember. This is not a review maybe, this is what I wanted to see and didn't and vice versa.  Do yourself a favour, don't let my unaccounted for opinion change your mind about watching or not watching a movie.
If someone ever blamed me for supporting Bihari roots, I will not be able to say anything in rebuttal. And as things go with me, when I like a place/ person, I like everything about them. Not almost everything. Everything. And yet, I did not like Rajneeti. I had very high hopes from the movie - with Ajay Devgan and Ranbir Kapoor and Manoj Bajpai and Prakash Jha, I couldn't not have high hopes. But apart from the fact that every character had its shades of grey, I found the movie pretty much pointless.

One, the violence was over the top. It was way too far from reality, and from a movie like this I don't expect anything short of brutal reality. The dialogues were extremely corny at some places, e.g. when Arjun Rampal and Ranbir Kapoor's mother tells Ajay Devgan that he is her eldest son. Nobody in India uses words like "jeshth putra" any more. No, not in Bhopal, even less in Bihar. Apart from the shades of grey, there was nothing about the characters that was real or well thought out. I did not see any reason for Katrina to be in the movie, or Ranbir's American girlfriend. Manoj Bajpai constantly looked like he was trying too hard. To start with, a crisp white kurta and pyjama would have made him look a lot more like the party head's side kick son who was not getting the right deals in life. What he wore made him look like a pimp, or a Bihari/ Uttar Pradeshi/ Bhopali businessman's sidekick, and not exactly like a politician. Remember Sadhu Yadav?

Then of course is the whole mish mash of MP, UP, and Bihar. Stick with one state please, in spite of such stark similarity in these three states on so many counts. There was a lot of inconsistency in the theme, more in the acting. Let's just say the acting was bad.

Ajay Devgan looked every bit the character he played - the idealistic (?) minority leader who wanted to bring about change at all costs. I think he should have received a tad bit more screen time than the extremely annoying Manoj Bajpai.  Ranbir Kapoor. Is. Good. Arjun Rampal is good poster material. Let me be harsh and just say it - he can't act for peanuts. He is repetitive, flat, and very, very good looking. Oh and I mean the last bit as a compliment. He looks like a dish, I just don't like to see him talk/ act. How he made magic in Rock On and failed misrably in this one all over again is beyond me. Who do I blame for this?

It was of course extremely annoying that every single woman in the movie got pregnant. And way too easily at that, if you know what I mean. Talk about coincidence, timing, sheer luck, or whatever!

For me Rajneeti was a very Madhur Bhandarkar-ish attempt at portraying reality - unnecessary violence, too many steamy scenes, a sufi/ classical Indian number, a couple of pretty, glamourous women, dressed down, and an item number or two here and there. Jha ji ne iss baar thoda disappoint kar diya.

2.5 on 5 for me - 0.5 each for the shades of grey, Ajay Devgan's character, Arjun Rampal's good looks, and Mora Piya. The fact that the seats in Fame Lido, Bangalore are grossly uncomfortable, didn't help the cause at all! And I still don't know whose side I am on - Ajay Devgan's team or Ranbir Kapoor's team - I guess that was the point. I generally don't dislike Hindi movies, but the last entire year has seen me disappointed a lot of times. Is someone listening?

In the spirit of Father's Day, I finally saw Well Done Abba. And considering how simple the theme was, how low budget the movie looked, and how none of the actors were of the big league, I couldn't help comparing it with the disastrous hype around Rajneeti. Well Done Abba was a refreshing change from morbid reality AND Karan Johar's NRI dreams. Boman Irani of course is a rockstar in his own right - Well Done Abba was a double dose of brilliance with him. I even liked Samir Dattani (in spite of a his fairly flat acting skills - the boy has the cutest smile!) and Minissha Lamba. It did seem like Shyam Benegal/ Ashok Mishra had a little bit of a problem with Biharis, if you see how Ravi Kishen's character is woven around marital sex (and not sleazily outside of it, mind you :D). But nobody can play a Bihari like a Bihari, and Ravi Kishen takes the cake. Bharbhara ke baawdi bhar gayi, and this is just a example. The real star of the movie, of course, is Boman Irani, his Hyderabadi lingo, his absolutely unassuming and endearing honestly and resolve. I even loved the music of the movie - unpretentious, real. Especially Hum toh apni bawadi lenge and the peppy Meri banno hoshiyaar. The latter had me wishing the music of this film had released before my wedding :-) The movie did seem to drag a little towards the end, with the political drama mish mash. But overall Well Done Abba was a refreshing change. Best watched on DVD though. For me!

I have been listening to the soundtrack of Raavan the last few days. I am not supremely excited about the movie - Aishwarya Rai and too much wildlife. Mani Rathnam not withstanding. But the music I quite like.  Gulzar and A.R. Rehman - it sure doesn't get better than this. Especially Beera. The song has this zing that had been missing in movie sountracks for a while now, a one off Ishqiya not withstanding. I like how Beera makes me feel the song was written for me - chhede jo beera ko, dhama dham dham dham! I leave you with the video.

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