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Friday Review: Piku (The Movie)

Release: 8 May 2015 (Worldwide)
Language: Hindi
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Actors: Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Moushumi Chatterjee
Music composer: Anupam Roy
Cinematography: Kamaljeet Negi

***Disclaimer – This post maybe a little lost and rambly as I’m still in movie mode. 😀 ***

I’m still undecided on what to make of the movie Piku. It is about nothing and yet is about so many things. I’m still mulling and thinking about it all.

Piku is about Piku, a 30 something girl who is short tempered, blunt, out and loud spoken, stubborn, irritable and a hand-full to manage. She is also soft hearted and caring though.

Piku lives with her 70 year old father who has constipation. His day to day life revolves around his stomach and the toilet. His wife had BP issues before she died, hence he also has a BP OCD. A cranky curmudgeon, he has his awesome moments too.

When the old man falls sick and demands to go to Calcutta, Piku takes leave to go with him. Her fathers idiosyncrasies lead them to take a road trip rather than travel by air or train.

Rana owns a transport company where the drivers refuse when Piku asks for a cab. She is a difficult customer and no one wants her. Left in the lurch, Rana volunteers to drive Piku, her Dad and his man Friday to Calcutta. Rana, of course does not know what he is signing up for when he turns up to pick them up.

It is at about this point that the movie starts to pick up a pace. The first part of the movie is all about setting up the characters of Bhashkor and Piku as this sanki, dysfunctional father and daughter pair.

Travel, as it often does, opens new facets of Piku for Rana and he gets to know her better. The instances of stalemates and clashes on the journey get him to understand Piku better and he builds a rapport all his own with Bhashkor.

The movie explores the mind of a girl who wants to live life on her terms but also wants to take care of her father. A girl who has not married because no man wants to marry a girl with a 70 year old child.

Pike believes that parents take care of us as children and we have to take care of them when they become children again. She is frustrated and yet loves her father a lot too.

The movie is a piece of everyday life. A glimpse into our dysfunctional families and lives. Our relationships, extended families and the joys of being together.

There are no dance numbers and no running around the tree scenes. Romance is not the hero of this film, constipation is. The music is a part of the movie and is nice on the ears. I particularly liked the Journey Song and Lamhe Guzar Gaye.

Amitabh Bachan has done an excellent job of being a constipated old Bengali man, though at some points he overdoes it and the stomach just seems too big and artificial. Deepika Padukone has acted well and seems to be proving repeatedly lately that she can act. Irrfan Khan was as always good. Moushumi Chatterjee though was the treat for me, she’s still got that bubbliness I remember of her acting.

This movie is a no-brainer feel good movie with a non-sappy end. There’s no ‘And they lived happily ever after’ here. Yet if you look below the surface, Piku has a lot of layers and take-aways.

Definitely worth watching!

 
P.S. – Day Four of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.

May 8, 2015   No Comments

Movie Review: O Kadhal Kanmani or OK Kanmani

Release: April 17, 2015 (India)
Language: Tamil
Director: Mani Ratnam
Actors: Dulquer Salmaan, Nithya Menen, Leela Samson, Prakash Raj
Music composer: A. R. Rahman
Cinematography: P. C. Sreeram

After Mani Ratnam’s last movie Kadal which Che didn’t like and I didn’t land up watching, I was looking forward to this one. With O Kadhal Kanmani it would be decided which way Mani Ratnam’s career was going. Was he going to make a comeback into movie greats or fade away into the world of wannabes.

OK Kanmani is at the surface a simple love story. Boy meet girl in dramatic circumstances. He then next sees her at his best friends wedding and love blossoms, only it’s still in budding stage. A few dates follow and next thing you know they are living-in.

Yep, living-in is the new normal and we now talk about it openly in our movies. All is well until the boys brother and sister-in-law visit. Then girl gets told off for living in sin and boy is living in denial or the belief that his brother and S-I-L know nothing.

Girl turns out to be a heiress and her mother puts boy behind bars in Arthur Road Jail to see if he is good enough for her daughter. Suddenly in the midst of all this both girl and boys dreams materialise. Girl gets opportunity to study in Paris and boy gets job posting U.S.

They have to choose, either dreams or love. But there is also so called mid path. Boy tells girl he wants her to chase her dreams, to do all she wants, go where she wants, and all that spiel but only after she marries him.

So, they get married, go their separate ways, and then come back together and make babies. The perfect love story if you leave every iota of your intelligence at home. Hey, I’m not being insulting, I’m serious. I enjoyed the movie, but then again, I didn’t have high expectations, I wanted a random entertainer and most importantly I don’t speak Tamil. 😀

Me Likey:

(Those few things I liked.)

I enjoyed the music, and some songs like Kaara Aattakkaara and Mental Manadhil I’m still humming. I also enjoyed Malargal Kaettaen and Parandhu Sella Vaa was a very interesting mix of music.

Dulquer Salmaan was a sight for sore eyes. A cutie who constantly oozed sexiness. Nithya Menen was the female equivalent of that. The character that I liked the most though was Prakash Raj. With each movie of his I watch lately I’m falling in love with the man a little more.

Irky Things:

(That which irked me a lot.)

1. This funda of getting married before you can doing anything, especially anything fun. After the live-in scenes, I was starting to think that finally here was a movie that wouldn’t culminate in wedding bells. But no, no such thing happened. Instead they reinforced that societal requirement of signing a sheet of paper.

2. One of the supporting characters has Alzheimers and the movie was doing a good job of showing that it was about and the love and care an Alzheimers patient needs, until suddenly you realise that’s just a part of the story to allow the hero and heroine to have more time for cliched yucky dialoguebaazi where they exchange sappy dialogues.

3. There were others too but I’ll round off this list with sappy cliched dialogues. The ‘Will you take care of me when I’m old’ type dialogues have been done to death and should be put to death soon. Especially in a movie where initially the girl and boy come across are strong characters that do not believe in marriage.

Summary:

(The short and sweet of it.)

All said and done, the movie had it’s moments and I enjoyed it. There were a lot of scenes that made me smile and even laugh. I also so wanted to pinch Dulquer Salmaan’s cheeks and say ‘choo sweet’ many a time. 😀

Mani Ratham it seems has not lost his touch completely, but he definitely needs to find more of it before he can make Roja or Bombay again.

Did you watch it? What did you think of it?

April 26, 2015   No Comments

Book V/s Movie Review: The Help

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?

Buy the Book: Amazon | FlipKart
Buy the Movie: Amazon | FlipKart

January 31, 2013   2 Comments

Movie Review: Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1 & 2

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!

Read more about the movies here –
Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1
Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2

October 2, 2012   No Comments

Catching Up with the Oscars – 2

Continuing on our Oscar run, we watched three more; my favourite – Hugo!!

Hugo
*****/5
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
****/5
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…

The Descendants
***/5
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

Catching Up with the Oscars – 1

We’re just done with the Oscar’s so we’ve been trying to catch up with some of them. Here’s the one’s we’ve seen until now.

The Artist
*****/5
In the time of digital hi-fi si-fi ‘The Artist’ stands out. A black and white silent movie it steals the show. The story is about the relationship between a top silent actor and a up-coming actress. The movie is set in the time when cinema was transitioning to talkies and deals with how life changed for artists back then. It’s a beautiful movie and the actors have done an amazing job. I which actors today would emote as much as this. This is a MUST WATCH movie!!!

Moneyball
****/5
I’ve played baseball in school as a kid but what can I say, I’m Indian so I never really understood the craze for the game in America. And then I watched Moneyball. The movie brings new perspective to the game. I was hook though the movie wondering what Beane would do. Worth watching!

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
***/5
For some very weird reason that I can’t recollect right now we decided to watch this old 1964 Oscar movie. It’s a funny movie no doubt but we gave up half the way. At some point it felt like a drag. Have you watched it? What did you think of it?

March 9, 2012   No Comments

Movie Review: Bol by Shoaib Mansoor


Bol is one of the movies I’ve watched recently and really enjoyed. This is one movie you must watch.

Bol is the story of a family in Pakistan – a father, a mother, 7 daughters and a transsexual son. Through the story Shoaib Mansoor explores various angles of life in Pakistan and Islam. The movie released in June, 2011 and became the highest earning movie in Pakistan in its first week of release.

The need of a son – the girl child just isn’t good enough
The family has 7 daughters because the father wants a son. He doesn’t think its right for a woman to work outside the house and hence keeps trying to have a son. He finally gets a transsexual son Saifi, who he is ashamed of and keeps hidden away. The women in the family love Saifi but to his father he is only a reminder of his failure. The daughters are shown to each have talents and are good at what they do – but their talents are never recognized by the father only because they are women.

Inequality
Shoaib brings out the inequality between men and women at various times. The father is allowed to do just about anything but he has rules for ‘his’ women. They are not allowed a life outside the confines of the house. They are required to show him respect and loyalty but these rules don’t apply to him. He does not require to earn more to feed the children he is producing by the year, rather they have to find a way to live in what he gives them. Finally after a few children born dead the eldest daughter intervenes and gets her mother operated. The father being a Hakim or doctor does not see what his wife is going through with each child birth, he believes ardently that God Giveth so he Provideth.

Twisting Islam
The teachings of Islam are questioned in the movie. The father, a Hakim and a learned man quotes scripture in all he does but he twists the meaning to suit his requirement at that time. He does not approve of his daughter marrying a Shia Muslim but goes ahead and marries a Kanjar (dancing) girl in his need for money. The way the common man blindly believes in religion is also shown when the Hakim marries Mina the dancing girl. The Kanjar offers the Hakim money to impregnate his daughter but even though its not required the Hakim marries Mina to reduce his guilt of infidelity and promiscuity.

Transsexual Pathos
Saifi, the transsexual son does a good depiction of the pathos of being born different. He is loved by the women even though they are not happy with him being a transsexual but his father sees him as a mistake, a hit to his ego and a personal insult that he is not good enough. Saifi in trying to win his fathers heart finds work painting trucks but is raped one day while the master isn’t around. He comes home and tells his family who are stricken but to his father this is his fears coming to life. Rather than console the traumatized child, the Hakim sees his image being blacked in society and kills his son.

Modern Vs Old Pakistan
The movie shows two generations and types of people. The young and the old. The liberal and the conservative. Shoaib shows the way the thinking is changing in Pakistan. The movie itself speaks a lot about the people of Pakistan today and what they want as their future.

An apt name for the movie ‘Bol’ or speak in Urdu as it speaks at so many levels. This movie like I said earlier is a must watch!

February 8, 2012   No Comments

Starting the Year At The Movies

This year just like the books I’ve read I’d also like to list and rate the movies I’ve seen. Over the years I’ve watched a lot of movies but can never remember them all. This would be a good way to document them.
This year started with the Movies – we watched 3 movies back to back on 1st Jan – The Adventures of Tin Tin, Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Mission Impossible.

The Adventures of Tin Tin
****/5
I watched this in 3D and absolutely enjoyed it. I can’t wait for the sequel. I’ve always loved Tin Tin and enjoyed the cartoons that would come on TV. I even have them on VHS tape 😀
Tin Tin in the movie turned out to be a great looker but I felt Captain Hadock had something missing. Maybe it was his nose that I didn’t like.
The movie is packed with action and there isn’t a boring moment.
We discovered something accidently too – for a 3D movie the front row seats are the best!

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
****/5
I enjoyed this movie though I think I’d need to watch it again to grasp all the nuances. Be warned this movie needs your full attention or you won’t be able to tie up the loose ends.
It’s a detailed story of finding the traitor in the highest levels of the British Intelligence. There are 4 suspects and it’s a tale of elimination to arrive at the traitor.
A Must Watch!


Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol
***/5
As always Mission Impossible is a full action masala. movie The movie is made well and should be watched on big screen. The visuals are stunning.
I was very excited about seeing the Burj Khalifa scenes and they didn’t let me down.
A good watch if you’re looking for a mindless masala movie. 😀

January 25, 2012   No Comments