Archive for the ‘Movies’ category

Copy Cat Aamir?

January 15, 2010

This post is not a rant or a post in the true sense of the word. Its rather a verbal manifestation of my disappointment with the so called ‘perfectionist’ of our times. Especially after Lagaan, I thought Aamir Khan is one of those people who does sensible movies and is also a sticker for perfection. At the time of Rang De Basanti, the preacher in Aamir Khan showed its face when he said on NDTV, “You be the change, you be the politician, the youth should change the system… blah blah” I thought it was a lame way to market a film that was nothing but fantasy. I mean seriously, isn’t it just a dream to be able to kill politicians at will? I guess he refused to come out of the I-will-change-the-system mode and its evident in 3-idiots.

Inspite of this, I loved Taare Zameen Par for its simplicity in portraying the mind of a young child and his battle with the much-criticized education system. But after doing a little research, I realise that perhaps none of what Aamir churns out of his kitty is original. Though, the character of Ishaan Awasthi was (shall we say) ‘inspired’ by Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes fame, I didn’t think Aamir, the debutant director would actually lift scenes cut to cut from the classic comic strip.

The Maths test/quiz that Ishaan takes in the film is a straight lift. Take a look at this:

While, the one above is a direct lift, the two pieces below can be called ‘inspirations’ – one where Ishaan fights the shower in the bathroom (Calvin fights rain) and two where he just leaves school one day, and that followed by parents’ meeting with teacher and principal:
And as I toyed with this idea of whether these scenes are really inspired from C&H strips or could they be a mere co-incidence, Dhananjay brought this book titled ‘Thank You, Mr Falker‘ to my notice. Here’s a synopsis of the story –
Quoting from the site:
“Patricia Polacco is now one of America’s most loved children’s book writers and illustrators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. Her classmates made matters worse by calling her ‘dummy’ and ‘toad.’ It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha’s dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we.”

I am thoroughly disappointed at what Aamir and Crew seem to be doing. This hurts me because I loved Taare Zameen Par and most of all, I am a big big fan of Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes. The copying streak seems to have continued with this year’s so-called great film, 3 idiots.

And talking about 3 idiots, here are a few copied moments –

1) The ‘why didn’t they use pencils instead?’ question by Rancho
2) When the three friends go searching for Rancho you see a man clicking snaps of burqa-clad women
3) When the prof refuses to accept their papers, Rancho mixes them with the rest

With not-so-stringent Plagiarism laws in our country, and with people raving about Aamir ‘Perfectionist’ Khan, I guess movies like 3 idiots will continue to enjoy the acclaim and awards. And the media will continue to call him a ‘great.’ I guess my friend said it right. “Aamir Khan uses the media as shoes.”

It doesn’t make for great screenplay when you just physically manifest old idioms like ‘putting the toothpaste back in the tube’ and copying internet jokes and forwards. The least he could have done is to give due credit to the source. I don’t thing it would have taken away anything from his film. And since he hasn’t , I guess Aamir should join the league of people who think ‘we are born too late in the world to do anything original’ and his movies (at least these two) should be listed here.

Update: Just found that the C & H ‘inspirations’ have been covered here and here


Jodha Akbar – My Opinion

February 27, 2008
For starters, I must confess that I am a fan of Ashutosh Gowarikar… I loved Lagaan and Swades and the latter left a deep impact on my mind.Most of all, the goodness in Ashutosh’s films is what appeals me. His films are usually very honest and render the message straight off; no pretensions, no hyped-up stuff. Or So I thought. But in this movie, he tries to, in fact, hype  the sets, the jewellery, etc. by panning the camera through them. Jodha Akbar has its own positives like the music, a few well-shot scenes , etc.

Some good ones like the one in which Akbar (Hrithik) fights with an elephant – elegantly picturised; war scenes have been done very well – massive, mostly copied though; also romance scenes between Akbar and Jodha – I have always loved the way Ashutosh portrays romance – both in Lagaan and Swades, romance between the hero and his girl is pure and beautiful; he never pollutes such scenes and they never turn into vulgar-skin-showing-feeling-up-each-other types and that is exactly what I like about them.

The background score, music and choreography are very satisfying; very apt to situations in the film. I simply love Rahman’s composition of Khwajaji; Azeem-o-shaan shehenshah was beautifully choreographed, though more like a school drill its vibrant. Rahman is the only drastically versatile music composer we have today. He dives completely into the genre of the film and brings out some gems like these. What a contrast, in say, a Rang de Basanti and Jodhaa Akbar.

Somewhere Ashutosh has digressed with the script. The movie turns out to be more about glorifying Akbar rather than being a love story. The entire thing about bringing out Akbar’s greatness and humility overshadowed the main theme of the film – the love story.

Notice a major contradiction in Akbar’s character too. During the film, one gets a feeling that Akbar was very patriotic towards his sar-zameen, Hindustan. He says he cannot leave Hindustan at the mercy of any Tom, Dick and Harry and mouths more dialogues to that effect. This clearly shows how much he is in love with Hindustan and therefore is a patriot.
But we must remember that he was also a ruler which means he was greedy for more and more land; he wanted to rule over entire Hindustan. The contradiction in the character comes herein – a patriot never wants to rule a nation, he just wants it to be free; which means Akbar is not patriotic (as shown in the film) but is just possessive of something he owns. So, for him, Hindustan is more of a trophy (that he would want to win over) than a land that he loves and can make sacrifices for it. Though, I don’t know whether this part of Akbar’s character wasthe director’s imagination or Akbar was really like that.

Hrithik cant play a character role like that of Akbar. Prithviraj Kapoor as Akbar seems to have got etched in my mind. That look of pride in his face, the elegant king-like walk, the erect shoulders and the bitterly eyes speaking volumes; all this was certainly missing in Hrithik. He did his usual Dhoom 2 walk everywhere.

All in all an OK film. A period film after a long while… Watch it at least once.

Not exactly a Review

May 21, 2007
An anthology film or portmanteau – French (multiple stories culminating to one climax) is Life in a Metro. The movie out shows an air of dryness and dullness because of flawed story writing. The story gives an appearance of insipidness. The result of few relationships seems hasty and floundering. Fuh-get-it! I don’t even think there’s a story at the first place.

Shilpa Shetty gives a decent performance and Kay Kay Menon plays to perfection the-guy-you-would-love-to-hate. Dharmendra-Nafisa Ali track seemed very forced and contrived, especially because of the shabby treatment their dialogues were given. Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma playing comic relief is refreshing! They keep the mood light whenever the other characters start taking themselves too seriously, giving the required impetus whenever the pace begins to slacken. Don’t even want to discuss Kangana and Sharman. I seriously think they need ‘acting treatment’(whatever that means…)

The appearance of the Metro band from nowhere at constant interval is annoying and are forced doldrums. Pritam is pathetic! All the songs sound like they have been composed by a wannabe Rock band which would have been tolerable but for the picturization. In an attempt to avoid lip-synching they go completely overboard. Three men – none of whom have seen a comb or a razor in their lives, but know a lot about greasing curly locks – coming at me like objects do in a 3-D show, in every single song. I almost thought they practically reside in those streets of Mumbai. A very contemporary begger’s band, I guess! Not done! Even in the name of fashion.

Cumbersome climax
I think the writer got pretty much bored at the end of it all. Just wanted to finish it off some way or the other. Overall a pointless film. Like this friend of mine quipped, “ye movie kyun banayaa??”

What was it that Shikha (Shilpa Shetty) threw in a box on the road? Was it a letter in a mail box? If it was, why was it not in an envelope? And anyways, if they were not going to bother telling us what it was, why show it in the first place?

Amol (Dharmendra) crosses railway tracks by jumping platforms. When he climbs onto the other platform, he does so like he is climbing a 6-inch step! A 60 year-old climbing a platform without support of his hands, when he needed support to jump down?

Why is Shikha (Shilpa Shetty), the wife of a senior officer at a BPO, commuting by bus?

Amol tells Shivani (Nafisa Ali) that he is terminally ill. And before asking what was wrong with him, she asks him how long he has to live. Is that really the natural flow of questions?

Was the Ranjeet-Neha (Kay Kay & Kangana) relationship a year old or two years? At one place they mention one year and at another two.

Was there a specific reason why Amol wrote his diary in Urdu?