Category — Movies
Over the years I’ve come across a lot of books that have been made into movies, and since I read a fair bit I usually land up reading the book before the movie. Asked off my head I can’t think of even one movie that out-shine’s the book (Life of Pi might be the exception when I see it, since I gave up on the book after 3 pages); though maybe if I give it some thought some book might just pop up.
With the thought of comparison on my head last week I came across ‘The Help‘, a book I read in 2011 and then watched as a movie last year. It’s a movie I liked so I’d watched it a few times and now I couldn’t remember what were the differences between the movie and the book. There’s no better way to sort this out then to read the book and watch the movie, again. That got me started on reading the book again last week.
Growing up when I got to the age of idolizing romance, there was no better ideal than Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. I read the book repeatedly until in my dreams I was Scarlett and there stood Rhett before me. But as I grew up the book became more than a romance and one of my favourite characters became Mammy. She was loving, caring, the perfect mother alternate. She loved Scarlett truly knowing all along just who Scarlett really was. At that age of course I didn’t have any understanding of colour and being brown myself helped.
In college I took up a 100 hours course on American Literature and there discovered Afro-American writers, musicians, speakers and more. (I wish I could have just said Black Writers, I know its politically incorrect and all that but I love my colour and am all patches and colours of brown; however that’s a topic for another day). I read about life as a slave, the fight for freedom, for equality, apartheid and more and I saw Mammy in a very different light suddenly.
Kathryn Stockett’s book ‘The Help‘ is just that, the voice of Mammy telling what life was on the other side of the fence. I love the book and at some places I tear-up every time reading about how inhumane we can be to people who are also human. The book’s a wonderful read just the way it is, I just wish it had really been written by an Afro-American. If you haven’t read the book yet, this book is a must read!
The Help isn’t a small or thin book and considering this time I wanted to compare the book to the movie I was reading quite slowly and mentally making notes. I finally finished the book a few days back, after a whole week (the migraines did not help). It was time to watch the movie and with Che being away, it was the perfect day to concentrate and watch a movie. I switched on the the computer, opened up notepad to make notes through the movie and settled-in to watch.
But I didn’t land up using the notepad at all and not because there were no differences. There were tons of differences. Shortening a long story like the Help into two and a half hours isn’t easy, and to still keep the core of the story I guess things have to change a bit or rather quite a bit. But I must say none of the changes take away from the story. The core and crux remains and the changes only add to the telling. The movie is also a must watch! It makes you sit up and realise that life isn’t all Gone With the Wind.
But I have to stick with what I set out to do. I have to chose between the movie and the book. Well my choice is…, the award goes too… Yeah, alright, ok, I’m cutting it out. I would still choose the book over the movie. The book has so much more in terms of the story and drama but if you aren’t a reader, watch the movie you’ll definitely appreciate it.
Have you read the book and watched the movie? Which did you prefer?
January 31, 2013 2 Comments
It’s been a while since a Tamil movie’s songs have struck and stuck with me. Not since Roja and Alai Payude have I hummed a song without understanding a word of what was being sung. But over the last couple of weeks I’ve repeatedly found myself humming Chithirai Nela from the movie Kadal. The song’s just stuck in my head, so I decided today to look up the meaning of the words and my choice couldn’t have been more perfect.
Music by AR Rahman, Lyrics by Vairamuthu and Sung by Vijay Yesudas, Chithirai Nela is a beautiful lullaby about the first moon of the New Year, about rising from the ashes and reaching to the sky. A father sings to his child to try walking, to stand tall and walk to the sky. He sings about the good in everything that happens, the silver-lining; from affliction come deep poems and from losses knowledge. He sings to his child to be strong and face tomorrow with self-confidence. There is only one New Year’s Moon, just as there is only one of everything else, everyone is standing alone but he exhorts his child to walk, to walk towards the sky.
I love the song even more now that I know what it means, it just resonates with my soul and so reminds me of the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling. I remember reading ‘If…’ for the first time years ago; I could so see Rudyard Kipling swinging in a hammock with his son and giving him life advice. ‘If…’ has been a poem I had tried to live by and I love going back to it over the years for a bit of motivation. Chithirai Nela touches that spot. It’s ‘If…’ set to music.
Kadal is a Mani Rathman movie with Arvind Swamy set to release on 1st of February 2013 and I’m looking forward to it. A romantic thriller the movie is about the life of Christian fisherman and the role faith plays in their lives. This should be an interesting watch, definitely worth first-day-first-show
BTW Chithirai Nela isn’t the only stand out song. Almost all the songs in this movie are awesome. A.R. Rahman spinning his magic again finally. His work hasn’t shaken me up so much lately but this one has that thing that Rahman is known for. Don’t miss ‘Adiye’ in the list, it has this absolutely surprising jazz influence that will make you sit up and listen. A fisherman song set to jazz; you rock Rahman!
Have you heard any stunning sit-up-straight music lately?
January 18, 2013 No Comments
Yash Chopra an icon of Indian Cinema passed away on Sunday and there have been eulogies and articles galore written about him since then. Not wanting to do the standard biography but yet appreciate his work, I thought I’d make a list of my favourite YRC films through the 50+ years of his work.
You can read more about Yash Chopra and his career here.
Waqt (1965) – Waqt was one of the first multi-starrers in cinema with Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Sadhana, Balraj Sahni, Madan Puri, Sharmila Tagore, Achala Sachdev and Rehman – That’s a lot of big names!
The story is about how time can change situations. Sahni plays a well-to-do businessman with three sons. He does not believe in fate and mocks it at a birthday party. Soon after the family gets split up in an earthquake. The movie is about what each character goes through over the years before they unite again.
Famous Dialogues: Jinke apne ghar sheeshay ke hon, woh dusron par pathar nahi phenka karte (Those whose own houses made of glass do not throw stones at others) and Jani, Yeh bachon ke khelne ki cheez nahi, haath kat jaye toh khoon nikal aata hai (This is not a child’s plaything. If the hand is slashed, blood oozes out)
Popular Songs: Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu sung by Asha Bhosle, and Ae Meri Zohra Jabeen, sung by Manna Dey
Kabhi Kabhie (1976) – This is a story of estranged lovers Amit and Pooja who fall in love in college but go on to marry other people. Amit marries Anjali and Pooja marries Vijay. Years later Pooja’s son Vicky falls in love with Pinky – Anjali’s illegitimate daughter from a pre-marital relationship. Pinky gets to know about her birth mother from her adoptive parents and tries to get close to her. This sets off a chain of events that brings the old flames back together as friends.
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Raakhee, Neetu Singh, Rishi Kapoor
Popular Songs: Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar sung by Mukesh, Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein sung by Mukesh and composed by Khayyam, with lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi
Silsila (1981) – Two brothers Shekhar and Amit lead independent lives with Shekhar in the Air Force and Amit a struggling writer. Shekhar falls in love with Shobha while Amit woos Chandni. Both brothers plan to marry together but disaster strikes and Shekhar is killed in a plane crash, leaving poor pregnant Shobha devastated. Amit takes pity on Shobha and marries her, and writes to Chandni to forget him. A heart broken Chandni marries Dr. Anand. Shobha loses her child in an accident and with no child in the picture Amit and Shobha drift apart. Then Amit and Chandni happen to meet and they rekindle their romance secretly. They decide to go away together and live happily ever after but destiny has one more play in store for them and Dr. Anand’s plane crashes making them go back to the crash site and face their spouses.
Aside: By the time of this movie there were rumours about an affair between Rekha and Amitabh. The triangle of Jaya, Rekha and Amitabh in Silsila fueled the rumours even more.
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Jaya Bachchan, Rekha, Sanjeev Kumar, Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Popular Songs: Rang Barse Bhige Chunar wali lyrics by poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan sung by Amitabh Bachchan, Dekha Ek Kwaab sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar, and Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum sung by Amitabh Bachchan and Lata Mangeshkar
Chandni (1989) – A woman centric film Chandni is the story of a girl Chandni who is wooed by Rohit. For Rohit it is love at first sight and he relentlessly woos Chandni to date him and finally they get engaged to be married against Rohit’s family’s wishes. One day while trying to impress Chandni by throwing rose petals at her from a helicopter, Rohit falls and is hospitalized. His family blames Chandni for the accident but when Rohit also blames her she cannot bear it and leaves to start a new life in Mumbai. In Mumbai she gets a job with a travel agency. Over time the head of the agency Lalit falls in love with her and Chandni agrees to marry him. Rohit in the meantime has undergone treatment and regained use of his limbs. One evening he turns up at her doorstep. Chandni now has to choose from two men.
Cast: Sridevi, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna
Popular Songs: Mere Haathon Mein by Lata Mangeshkar, Main Sasural Nahi Jaaungi by Pamela Chopra, Chandni O Meri Chandni by Sridevi, Jolly Mukherjee and Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki by Suresh Wadkar
Lamhe (1991) – Viren travels to Rajasthan where he meets Pallavi and falls in love with her. However she is older than him and loves another man Siddharth. Viren is hear-broken but when Pallavi’s father dies he arranges their wedding to fulfill the dying man’s wishes and leaves for London. A year later Pallavi and Siddharth die in an accident leaving behind a baby girl Pooja. Pooja is brought up by Dai Jaa, Viren’s governess in Rajasthan. Viren visits India for Pallavi’s death anniversary and brings Pooja gifts but doesn’t pay her any more attention. Years later he meets her and is shocked to see that she is a splitting image of her mother. Pooja falls in love with Viren who she calls ‘Kuwarji’. As the movie progresses Viren has to come to grips with his loss of Pallavi and Pooja’s love for him.
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Waheeda Rehman, Anupam Kher
Popular Songs: Churiyan Kanak Gayee sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Ila Arun, Kabhi Main Kahoon sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Hariharan, Mhaare Rajasthan Ma sung by Moinuddin
Darr (1993) – Darr is a romantic psychological thriller about an obsessed lover and all he will do to get the girl he loves who is already engaged to another man. What makes this movie stand out is the levels of obsession, Shah Rukh Khan’s portrayal of an obsessed lover and how he is not a villain but a revisionist hero.
Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Sunny Deol, Juhi Chawla, Anupam Kher
Popular Songs: Tu Mere Saamne by Udit Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar, Jaadu Teri Nazar and Udit Narayan
Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997) – Is a story about three dancers in a musical dance troupe. Rahul who does not believe in love, Nisha who believes that love is friendship and Pooja who believes that some somewhere is made for her. Rahul and Nisha are best friends and Nisha secretly loves Rahul but doesn’t manage to tell him. When Nisha hurts her leg, Rahul is forced to find another lead dancer and stumbles upon Pooja dancing. Pooja agrees to join his troupe and over time they fall in love. But Pooja is promised to Ajay who is in London. Ajay returns to India and Rahul is heartbroken when he learns that Ajay is Pooja’s fiancé. He changes the end of his play to match his devastation. However things change on the night of the play.
Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Karisma Kapoor, Akshay Kumar
Popular Songs: ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’, ‘Are Re Are’ and ‘Koi Ladki Hai’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan, and ‘Le Gayi’ by Asha Bhosle and Udit Narayan
Veer-Zaara (2004) – The story is set against the backdrop of conflict between India and Pakistan, the unfortunate love story of a Squadron Leader Veer and a Pakistani girl Zaara from a rich political family of Lahore, who are separated for over twenty years. Saamiya, a Pakistani lawyer, finds Veer in prison, and on listening to his story, tries to get him freed.
Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukerji
Popular Songs: Tere Liye sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Roop Kumar Rathod, Main Yahan Hoon by Udit Narayan, Do Pal sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Sonu Nigam
How many of these have you seen? Do you recommend any other Yash Chopra films to me?
October 24, 2012 3 Comments
Gangs of Wasseypur part 1 released on 22nd June 2012 but Che and I were busy winding up and packing to leave for Thailand so it was almost impossible for us to see the movie. Now imagine our delight when we got back a month later and found that one of the multiplexes was running part 1 along with part 2. This was not to be missed so off we went to a back to back screening of the two parts of Gangs of Wasseypur.
These are hindi movies so as it is they are long but with two parts they are beyond longer. That said there is no part of the two that you will not enjoy. Anuragh Kashyap delivers again with a set of movies that are not to be missed.
There is a lot of violence in the movie but even that was fun to watch. Jeez did I just say I enjoyed violence? Well, yes I did. It was tastefully done and went with the story.
The story is set in Wasseypur near Dhanbad in North India. This part of India has got tossed around between states and that has had an impact on its people. Wasseypur has a large population of Muslims of two different castes and the story is about a vendetta between the two with a third benefiting from it all.
The actors have done a good job in portraying the characters. The women in the movie are shown as strong women and have a role to play. They are not just there for scenic purposes. I loved watching Nagma played by Richa Chadda as she berated her husband and stood by him too. There is a domestic scene between Sardar and Nagma as she vacuums the house that is just adorable. Then there was Moshina played by Huma Qureshi who has character and style.
Don’t miss these this set of movies and preferably watch them back to back as there is a lot of detail in part one that helps you understand part two.
Aside – Overheard in the toilet during interval – ‘Kya bakwas film banate hai aaj kal’ ‘What rubbish movies they make these days’. This has kinda become my test for movies. If people think its rubbish it might just be good. After all people want to watch mindless movies these days where you can come to the theater leaving you intelligence behind at home. Not necessarily a bad thing, I watch mindless movies too but then I wouldn’t watch an A. Kashyap movie on a mindless day!
October 2, 2012 No Comments
Continuing on our Oscar run, we watched three more; my favourite – Hugo!!
This one’s just amazing. It blew my mind and I saw it in 2d. Can’t wait to see it in 3d. The characters are sketched very well, there’s a balance of positive and negative in each character. They all seem real and believable and loveable.
The movie is about Georges Méliès, a man who saw dreams that were way ahead of his time and made movies of them. A lot of the movie is based on the true life of Georges Méliès.
I’ve seen a few Scorsese’s movies but this one just takes it to an all-new level!
Midnight in Paris
This movie I’d like to watch again. There’s a lot of little things I’m sure I missed out on. The story is about a writer Gil who goes back in time to Paris in the 1920’s. Here he meets the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Picasso… The movie goes to and fro from the present to the 1920’s as Gil makes sense of his life. It was nice to see Paris through the late 1800’s to present day…
I needed to watch this movie again since I slept half away through it the first time. The sleep didn’t have to do with the movie though just a tired me.
On second watch – It was an OK movie but it did bring out interesting situations and people dealing with it. The equation between father and two daughters as they to know each other is well done. An OK movie.
March 10, 2012 1 Comment