Thursday, December 29, 2005

Movies I've liked and hated this year

LIKED
> Black: for its compositions, its starkness and because it was different from average Bollywood fare
> Page 3: for its realism, and because we could all identify with it to a great extent. Wish the production quality was a bit better though and it could have done without the cameos from Dolly Thakore etc
> Bunty Aur Babli: For not being judgemental and putting cons at the forefront; presenting them as real people with feelings. For the honest ending (Babli to Bunty: "If I make any more achar here with your mom I'll die of boredom"), for the fun and the music and the outrageous cons. For UP.
> Main Meri Patni Aur Woh: Again, for UP and for the way Lucknow and small-town India in general has been captured. For the way Chandan Arora shows small-town mentality with all its flaws, its nuances and for giving Rajpal a platform to showcase his limitless talent. For the simply, sweet story and how it's held together and how one man's complexes almost cause him to ruin his picture perfect marriage and life.
> Iqbal: For the acting, for the story, for the music. In its unpretentious way, it probably said more about the 'triumph of human spirit' than Black. For Shreyas Talpade, a real find.
> My Brother Nikhil: Again, for the acting (Victor, Lilette, Juhi, Sanjay, Purab), the story, the narrative and the sensitivity. Took Phir Milenge a step further. Brought tears to my eyes. Debutant director Onir did a great job.
> Sarrkar: More than the chemistry between dad and son, I liked the taut narrative, the pace, and Big B's expressions. He's done a role like this after a long time and he's damn good at it. Abhishek finally came into his own but Kay kay was absolutely brilliant as the errant son.
> Parzania (not released yet): You have to watch this film. Based on the Gujarat riots, it is about a Parsi family which loses their son. Starring Naseer and Sarika, it is really touching and makes you hate the fact that we call this a civilised world. Raj Zutshi and TV actress Sheeba Chadha were also good as was the boy, Parzaan Dastoor. Directed by Rahul Dholakia.
> Parineeta: Transported me to a different world and a world that I am rather familiar with. Saif and Vidya were both very good and their acting kept the story together. Wasn't a completely brand new story but presented very well. Somehow I didn't find the 'wall' scene as jarring as most people; I thought it was meant to be symbolic and of course physical at the same time.
> Raincoat: Because Aishwarya was actually tolerable and did a good job. Because Ajay was good and because I love the story and how it was literally just a one-room, one-set story and said so much. I thought the narrative was captivating. I also liked the back and forth from present to past.
> Kaalpurush (Bengali): Because it was about how in today's day and age women no longer need to measure themselves according to ideals set by men but how men are increasingly finding themselves measuring up or not measuring up to how the women in their life want to see them. It was a story of a failed father and a failed son (in the eyes of the two wives) and how the father can never comes to terms with his failure and therefore keeps his distance from his son, but how the son comes to terms with and tells his wife that he's not a failure just because he doens't get a promotion or because he tolerates her knowing she's having an affair and that he's not the father of their two kids. Because she thinks this makes him a failure doesn't actually make him one. Mithun, Rahul Bose and Sameera Reddy were all good. Directed by Budhadeb Dasgupta. Loved the portrayal of Kolkata and of the West Bengal countryside.

HATED
Garam Masala
Shaadi No. 1
Paheli

DIDN'T MIND
Bluffmaster
No Entry
Kaal
Dus
Yahaan
Kya Kool Hain Hum - (ho-hum)
Salaam Namaste - (ho-hum)
Musafir - only because of Sanjay, otherwise it was pretty much below average.

I'm sure I've forgotten many, so please feel free to add.

8 Comments:

Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...

Interesting films. Havent seen many of these, but going market-by-market, and if my eyes arent playing tricks on me, I'd say this.

Black, a global-market film, has superlative art direction as you observe (unlike Iqbal's relatively raw hardhit resilience), but the question is whether Sanjay Leela Bhansali manages any real payback without kind hearts from Cordova Spain to Toledo Ohio sniffling at the portrayal.

B&B, the Indian market blockbuster of 2005, proved both the power of draw-em-in marketing and the trustworthiness (!!) of the market (relief, relief... it aint a perfect market, but it sure is fun, fellas, if game for song n dance after a long judaaee). Unjudgmental - well put, GSB, perhaps a new generation openness. Cons to the forefront, ha ha, you bet. Shaad Ali Sehgal got the current market spot on. And dancing. Way to fly!!

Shabd, the niche-within-niche-market film of the year, showed that there's space for abstract, sanity-challenging cinema that perplexes more than it resolves. Leena Yadav grapples with the toughest part of it all, and sometimes just the nerve deserves a salaam of appreciation.

29 December, 2005  
Blogger Nims said...

I have to agree about Raincoat - I think for the first time, I actually enjoyed Aishwaryia's performance. You actually saw the character on screen and not Aishwaryia. Ajay Devgan was the best, as always.

It was such a different film, and I enjoyed the experimentation of having it all happen in one day, one set etc. much like Chameli. These types of narratives don't distract the audience and one can really concentrate on the performances and the story as a whole.

But looking at your list, I also realized how much movie-watching-catching up I have left to do!

02 January, 2006  
Anonymous Bubbly 10 Aashiq said...

Can anyone remember any brand placements in any of these films? No? That is good, I think.

Raincoat has strong undercurrents of eroto-emotional electricity, with Ashariya's eyes almost as expressive as in DDLJ. Parineeta had less powerful eddies, but the "wall" climax gives the film its lasting effect.

But they did not match other films on soundtrack, which is what actually leaves the lifelong emotional impression. I would name three soundtracks that will play long after Ash's blouse is forgotten, for a long long time...

02 January, 2006  
Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...

If Black and B&B deserve another go, Parzania and Munich deserve a first viewing. But what takes so long for these films to get to the halls?

And halls, I might add, are still the best option. Gives you a sense of wider audience response (though if you're into catching the year's-biggest-hit for pulse-taking purposes, it is advisable to watch it twice, in halls located at different ends of town).

04 January, 2006  
Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...

And when does the film Crash come to India?

31 January, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if they had awards for film posters, Veer Zara would win, I reckon

25 February, 2006  
Anonymous Khayal said...

You took my "shabd" away, anonymous, but I think Yash Chopra has a better understanding of workable/plausible story endings than Leena yadav does, and that explains the box office difference (and even award jury acclaim actually, Black and B&B took it all).

04 March, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, you've a great eye for the truth, and a great heart for somehow honing in straight to the heart of an issue without getting affected by an information overload surrounding it...stay in tough with yourself, don't let this city take that away from you, it almost always does, as you being you will discover in a few months/years of being here...it's nice to have come across your blog...will you tell me what made you write a blog? and what makes you do it regularly? just curious...

25 April, 2006  

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