Monday, October 10, 2005

Oscars.. le entree' de Inde..

Ohk ok.. my french sucks.. pardonne moi..

So the FFI or whatever the film body is called.. who cares, decided that the Official Indian entry to 2006 Oscars would be PAHELI.

Well, most of the time people roll off their opinion about such matters without having seen all of the other movies also in the fray.. me too, but for once I have actually watched ALL of the movies that were in the top bracket and were in contention. So thereby I derive my right to opinionate on the said matter.

First all the movies that were in contention.. Ok the hindi ones only:

Paheli, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Page 3, Black and Iqbal.


Lets start with the what was the favorite to reach LA. Sanjay Bhansali walked away with all the critical acclaim and public hysteria over this hard hitting, gritty tale of a blind-deaf girl and her teacher.
The pros:
- A different movie. Good to see people like SLB moving away from mush and back to the what appeals his own heart.
- Amazing cinematography. Real amazing camera work. The blacks, the grays.. the shadows.. the works..
- The little girl who plays the young Michelle. She rocks..
SLB went truly overboard here. He is a very talented director and very intricate in his homework. That shows here, but his script which demands people to be shocked at the young child's plight is manipulative. Close camera shots, violent shrills and loud scenes marr the otherwise amazing screenplay. AB, the most versatile indian actor, overacts more than what would have sufficed. On the whole, the film wants to manipulate you to be shocked.. to be sucked up into a wave of sympathy .. towards the movie.. more than what you feel for the girl and her teacher.

It wouldnt have made the cut at the Oscars.. Too loud for their taste. And they can see through the manipulations. Simplicity is the key. Also the added issue of being called a copy of The Miracle Worker didnt help its cause.


Nagesh Kukunoor at helm. Expect a story well told. This one is..
Simplicity is the key here.. A touching tale of a deaf/ dumb boy who dreams to play for the Indian cricket team (unless Saurav has a problem with him). A nice lilting story, without too many sub plots and really well told. The peripheral characters are all well chosen. Girish Karnad, Naseer, Iqbal's younger sister.. everyone. Quality product.
But its just not the right choice for the Oscars. Its centred around cricket a wee too much. The story is quite predictable.. I mean everyone knows the kid is gonna make it. A terrific watch.. but I would pack it for the Oscars. BTW, if you havnt watched Nagesh Kukunoor's Teen Deewarien.

Hawaaron Khwaishien Aisi

HKA, made by Sudhir Mishra, the one of the art house realm, is a very complex movie. The kinds you need to watch multiple times to uncover its many layers and nuances. Its something to dissect over many a screenings.. pref watching alone. A portral of 3 friends coming and going apart during the Emergency. Its more about relationships than is evident. Again well directed, gritty and morose. Its highly unpredictable the way it moves swifting around the 3 major characters. My personal opinion is that I didnt connect with either of the three characters to really feel for them. All of them are very complex beings and although very real, they dont really bond too well with the viewer. I know its meant to be that way. But just that donest make it love this movie. It must have been a strong contender for the jury and I dont know their reasons why they could not select it. I too wouldnt have..


Well so this one won. Ok let me start with the vibes it generated before its release. Amol Palekar, core art house guy directing a film with SRK-Rani and co. on a Rajasthani folk tale. Sounded too good to be true. A mix of both the worlds. Perfect. Thats the reason I still watched it after hearing its horrible reviews. Maybe I wanted to find out by myself, what went wrong if it did. Well, SRK won. It isnt best of both the worlds. He just swung the scales on his side. Amol doesnt infuse any life into this one. There are no layers to uncover here. A straight forward tale of a ghost falling in love with a village girl. The folk tale was supposed to be about how this girl gets to choose about her life for the very first time. But, we dont see Rani like a helpless poor woman. She looks soo lavish, so independent, soo much in command throughout that this tag line flops. Maybe this one told 30 years ago would have connected better with people. The cinematography is very slick.. too slick to my liking for a folk take. The screen play is just too cooked up and altered to what could have been really worthwhile. I know Amol realises that himlself and he is probably as surprised about the jury decision as all of us.
The Jury chose this as it is a folk take, something the Amreeks relate to us Indians. And with a masala camel race thrown in the middle the jury dreamt maybe they could pull it off. Sorry, but this one is gonna miss the cut there in round 1.

Page 3

You must have guessed by now. I kept it away for last, because its my choice for the Oscars. Its one compelling movie well told. Madhur Bhandarkar of Preetii Jaiin fame, directed this take on the the glamour world. This is a satire on the cosmetic lives of the 100 famous people who live to show off in the next big bash. Perfectly timed with what is happening all over the world today, what with wannabes like Mallika Sherwat and Co willing to go all the way to become celibrities. Moreover its a global phenomenon, with US right at the top. Being a celibrity is like an ambition quite a few people nurture. This is a hard hitting take on the concept, and there is never a dull moment. Bhandarkar is not the one with cinematographic visions. His strength is compelling stories about Human weaknesses... He captures it perfectly. Good strong acting from everyone. No major starring roles in this one. Its a commentary on the sordid state with a pinch of salt. Dark humour for us indians alien to the concept. I would liked to see this off to the Academy awards. They like a compelling story well told. Its both.. and to top it all, it connects with people across national boundaries.

So until next time, lets hope the Academy goofs up and we see the Stuttering Khan waving the Golden statuette.



Mom-Dad here... = nice weekend !

Mom came in here last monday nite. And Dad came in friday nite and its been a rocking time since. Truly marvellous to have them here.. Just incredible.. or like the Yankees roll out all the time "AWESOME.." ,-)

So I had a nice weekend. Showed (off) dad and mom around the new MS Campus.. and both of them were mightly impressed.. well, the campus is for sure an eye opener :D

It is nice of MS to let you get your parents to work. You can show them around the place peacefully.. and no one minds..

Sunday, we also went to the Birla Mandir and Charminar.
Now Birla Mandir is one nice place here in HYD. Atop a small hillock overlooking the entire city, its a peaceful and nice temple devoted to Lord Vinayak. The wite marble all over the place remains soo cool even if its a little on the sunnier side. I love to sit on the white marble after the visit to the main temple and just rest around there.

Charminar was like it always is.. crowded... brimming with people. But its a different place and you have to have that kind of sensibilities to enjoy its environment. In short, not the kind of palce everyone would enjoy. For a change I didnt... Just too congested that day for me.

We also went to the HussainSagar Lake in the evening. Now thats something to wonder about. For a big time change, a placid nice lake has been developed by the government to something much more than its potential.. and it feels good to think that an Indian state government dint screw it as most of you expect them to..
They have a nice well done roads all round the lake, which lights up in the evennigs and is apty called the Necklace road.. maybe a picture of it here someday. And on one side of the lake they have developed an elongated Promenade.. entwined between lawns and foilage. Beyond it, there is a food court, which overlooks the lake. Truly faaantaaastic...
.. if only the people around can resist from getting rid of their waste right there on the walkways...

So, in all a nice loong weekend.. the kinds that stretches into the Monday and just refuses to let go.. :(