Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Regarding '2 States': although the book so cliché and toes the expected line, it is an awesome read. I mean the one liners in the book will definitely make you smile and also the writing style of Chetan Bhagat is simple yet mesmerizing. Definitely worth a read. Expect a detailed review later.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I have been really surprised by Dan Brown’s regression since his ‘Angels and Demons’ days. I have always maintained that Dan Brown is a very average writer. However, his first couple of books (‘Angels and Demons’ and ‘Da Vinci Code’) though weakly written, were taut thrillers with intrigue and suspense which more than made up for his weak story telling abilities. However his next couple of books (‘Deception Point’ and ‘Digital Fortress’) were absolute disasters. And his latest offering ‘The Lost Symbol’ follows his regression pattern with a very weak story and clichés.
The story in the book is really formulaic with an improbable plot. Washington DC is the center of the story with Masonic connections. The story follows Robert Langdon who, on behest of a call from his friend Peter Solomon lands in DC to find out that the call was made by a scheming villain in search of some hidden secrets. The book then follows the typical Dan Brown formula: a threat to mankind by a ruthless individual who wants Langdon to solve some scripts and clues to get to his destiny. I mean, haven’t we all read the same thing in ‘The Davinci Code’ and ‘Angels and Demons’?
Another thing which the book does is undermines the intelligence of its central characters. Now, we all know the Langdon is a brilliant professor and all. But how can he be so naïve that he flies out to DC after just speaking to his friend’s secretary without any confirmation from Peter. To top it all, he also gets the capstone, supposedly because Peter needs it!!!!! Also, Katherine Solomon is a brilliant scientist. Yet, she does not care to take back ups of all her work done so far. Also, she trusts someone who she has hardly met and lets him into her supposedly ‘most secretive’ lab who no one else has access to! The CIA director cannot comprehend a way to stop Langdon from escaping! Why would the villain not kill Langdon and Katherine once they have helped him decipher the pyramid? Also, why does Brown always need to pull off romance out of the hat in all his books? It is so cliché and reminds me of typical Bollywood movies where romance ‘does’ have to be a part.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Currently in the process of reading 'The Forever War' by Dexter Filkins. So far the book has been an amazing experience. Will let you gus know once am done with it.
I happened to see ‘Wake Up Sid’ a few weeks ago. Although the movie lacked a very concrete plot, there were many riveting sub plots which made the movie a great watch. The screenplay, flow of the story and direction by rookie Ayan Mukerji were absolutely first class. However, what makes the movie really worth the dollar is the lead pair of Konkana Sen Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor brilliantly supported by the other actors. We all know the Konkana Sen Sharma is an amazing actress. But I think the revelation of the movie has been Ranbir Kapoor. With an author backed role, Ranbir Kapoor has come into his own and given a smashing performance.
Ranbir Kapoor as ‘Sid’ is a young and delinquent son of a rich industrialist (Anupam Kher) who is completely aimless in life without any motivation. He takes his easy going life for granted and his life basically revolves around partying and enjoying with his friends; his only passion being photography. However, with all these fallacies, there are certain characteristics of Sid like his love for friends, zest for life etc which make him loveable. He meets Aisha Banerjee (Konkana Sen Sharma) at his farewell party and they soon hit it off in spite of having contrasting personalities; as different as chalk and cheese. Aisha is a free spirited and self confident individual who has come to Mumbai (Bombay) to live her dream of becoming a writer. She lands up with a job of Editor’s assistant at a very well known magazine where she meets Rahul Khanna who is her boss whom she is immediately attracted to.
Sid’s reactions after failing in his final exams create a rift between friends and him. This also leads to him leaving his house after a bitter fight with his father and he lands up at Aisha’s place and starts living with her. Still used to the carefree lifestyle, Sid does not adjust to his new life and this creates tension between him and Aisha. Certain events after that make Sid take a step back and circumspect his life so far. He realizes his follies and starts a career in photography at Aisha’s magazine. Slowly but surely, he makes up with his friends and more importantly his family. He moved out of Aisha’s house and goes back to his parents’ place where he soon realizes that he loves Aisha and his feelings are equally reciprocated.
The movie is very much a metro centric film with Mumbai being at the centre of the whole movie. I am sure any youngsters who have watched this movie will instantly relate to Sid’s character. It takes us back to the era when everything was fun, when there were no responsibilities’ partying with friends took precedence over college and studies. It depicts a life which I am sure most of us have lived and enjoyed. It also takes an eagle’s eye view on the differences between the older generation and the Gen X.
It is not only the theme of the movie which makes it exciting. The characters play their roles to perfection. Special mention must be given here to Sid’s friend Lakshmi (Shikha Talsania) who has given a commendable performance. Anupam Kher and Supriya Pathak as Sid’s parents are believable and act well. But then that is expected of these veterans. Rahul Khanna is wasted in the movie and does not get any screen space to show his histrionics. The music of the movie by Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy is melodious with ‘Ek taara’ deserving a special mention.
Although the first half blows you away, the movie does have a little slack in the second half but then in the overall scheme of things, the movie is brilliant. The direction is as said; top notch. Ayan Mukerji packs a punch with most of the scenes which hit you hard. There is a subtle softness in Konkana’s character which is well depicted by the director. Ditto with Ranbir’s confusion with life and his escapist attitude. There are a few scenes in the movie which are amazingly well enacted and directed. Some of the special mentions here would be: Ranbir’s reaction to his failing the exams where you can see the pains he is going through; Ranbir celebrating Konkana’s birthday; Ranbir and Shikha’s scene at Konkana’s house; Konkana’s perseverance about getting Rahul Khanna to read her story; Ranbir going to meet his mother where they share a heart to heart.
All in all, this is a Ranbir Kapoor movie and he has done full justice to it as urban, suave Sid. A definite must watch for young and old alike. The best part about the movie is that it does not give a judgmental view on any generations. It just takes the views of each and lays them before us giving us a choice to decide the pros and cons of the views.
Lastly, as someone who has lived the best part of his young life in Mumbai (Bombay), I can definitely confirm this. BOMBAY ROCKS MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
What is really like about Crash is the way each character in the movie depicts and emotes their thoughts in a clear yet subtle way. From Don Cheadle to Shaun Tobb to Matt Dillon to Ryan Philippe, all of them played their roles without being over the top. And the best part of all this is that the actors play roles which you would least expect them to. Be it Shaun Tobb’s pain and anguish over his shop being ransacked or the confused Sandra Bullock’s hatred for men of color or the 2 black guys’ take on racial discrepancy in LA or the young girl’s innocence over the magical cloak or a mom’s take on her two sons albeit mixed with confusion and blind love strikes a chord somewhere within you and leaves you with indelible thoughts.
The basic plot of the movie consists of 5-6 stories that come together at the end. The movie starts with Don Cheadle and his partner’s car hit by an Asian women. While the women are fighting over the matter of fault, Cheadle walks over to a scene of crime where he eventually finds out that it is his brother who has been killed. The movie takes place in about a 24 hour time period and racism plays a role of paramount importance. The complexity of the movie comes from characters’ tangled lives and world. The way each character is developed over the movie obliterates any preconception we have about it. Each of the character in the movie undergoes a metamorphosis of some sort which leaves them with an unsettling thought about their existence. Some scenes in the movie simply take your breath away. Be it the way Terrence Howard fights his demons about being black, Matt Dillon’s relationship with his sick father, Ryan Philippe’s helplessness, Carlos Pena and his daughter’s scenes, Cheadle’s grief or Sandra Bullock’s and her maid’s relationship which eventually makes Bullock realize her own fallacies; each one has a message and enacted brilliantly by the actors.
What makes Crash all the more enjoyable is it brilliant soundtrack. It is absolutely mesmerizing and goes with the flow of the movie. The cinematography of the movie is top notch too. Camera shots at various angles with close up of the characters with their expressions and the overall shots show more emotions and speak more and better than any dialogue.
The thing that would is the eventual winner is its editing. Brilliantly edited scenes do not allow any let ups and the flow of the movie is just breathtaking. Never in the movie will you find lags between scenes and there is no break whatsoever. The editing is a magical and maintains the balance of the movie without it getting crappy. No wonder Hughes Winborne won the Oscar for the editing.
All in all, a brilliant movie which takes an honest look into the racism prevalent in society with a subtle message for hope. It is definitely a controversial movie which will evoke mixed responses within masses. But as far as I am concerned, the movie definitely deserves all the praise and awards which it received. The acting, music, editing, cinematography and characterization make this movie definitely worthwhile. Simply put, a must see for all movie buffs!!!!
I would be doing random reviews of movies/books/restaurants etc on this blog. Hopefully I can hit a chord with some readers and get their inputs about my blogs and style so that I can improve going ahead!
So, let the games begin!!!!!