Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mutant Space Conductors from hell....

Beware!! its their day.their night.They have taken over!! Soon you too will be overwhelmed...

ok.. that was a super lame attempt at trying to be like a b grade horror flick..What i wanted to write about was the ultra rude conducters you come across in the buses of delhi these days.I remember an article in week a couple of months ago that classified delhiites as among the rudest ppl in India.I did not believe that one bit.I was in trivandrum,homesick as hell and no one was gonna tarnish my good memories.But today and yesterday when i had to escort a friend to an interview in noida i came across two of the most vile people i have ever laid eyes on.
Yesterday,on the 355, the guy was unshaven brute of around 27.He talked in the most pedestrian manner, leering at passengers and acting like an all around idiot.He made a guy get up from the conductor seat,a very innocent looking guy who didn't even protest.He then went on to announce his supremacy, by smiling triumphantly around.He also went on to scold a passenger for resting his arm on the window(kitni baar bolu? tera haath koi udaa le jaayega).The meek passenger complied.Ok he was doing his duty but the way he bossed around, i had a good mind to give him a piece of my mind,but i restrained myself.
today ,again on the 355( is the problem with the number?)a conductor made a passenger get up and that too rather rudely.I wanted to stand by the passenger, a ticket entitles you to a seat.its the conductor's courtesy to stand up for a passenger.He argued that he had to shout out through the window.Couldn't he do that through the door??he made a timid passenger get up for a lady,while the ladies' seat was way ahead.But when a poor family of farmers got in he was unconcerned about seating the concern for the poor ppl eh??He then went on to have a little nap while his asst did all the collecting.This guy too ,made me wanna hurl punches and swears.But again the coward in me prevailed.
The rude conductors seem to be only in the blue lines not in the DTCs.I have seen some very menacing conductors over the years.One guy was so fat he occupied two seats and bellowed at passengers ,promising to come to their homes and collect if they did not buy tickets.But there are also wimps who even accept "Staff hai" from school kids.I believe they should go through some basic etiquette course.Anyone can become a conductor,isn't it??.there is no min qualification.Well ,its time there was some...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why I hate Priyadarshan

They say ultimately everyone is a good person.Everyone has a good heart and it is outward appearances and wrong choices that make a person seem bad,evil or an asshole.Maybe so, but there are several guys whose guts I hate.And that too with passion.There are people who I have known in school and in college(thats you ananth) whose very existence disgusts me.Mr.Priyadarshan , famed director is one such person that I hate.Why?for one reason and one reason alone.His blatant and flagrant ,unacknowledged plagiarism of Malayalam films.
He is not a bad director by any stretch of the imagination.His films are taut,well directed,inscrutable, and the guy has honed his skills to near perfection and he knows what the public wants.He started out with comedies and many mallu's( i hate this term,mallu,i find it derogatory) swear by them.My friend Jimson points out that the Mohanlal-Priyadarshan combo of the late 80s early 90s was instrumental in Mohanlal's position today.But I differ in opinion.I believe it was the Sathyan Anthikad-Mohanlal combo that started the trend of social comedies in the first place that led to his iconic rise.Anyway,he was going on fine with slapstick comedies with comic titles, that without doubt delivered ,and how.He had a string of hits one after the other that cemented his position as an able mallu(here we go again) director.In fact he directed Chitram the mega blockbuster of Mollywood.I dont resent his work in fact I am rather fond of several of his mallu films like Vellanakalude Naadu,Dheem Thariktia Thom,Chithram,Mukunthetta Sumitra Vilikkunnu ,Kilukkam,Midhunam,Minnaram etc.These are all rather good films that make for excellent viewing with the whole of the family.He directed Aryan and Abhimanyu two crime dramas that excelled in their portrayal of Bombay underworlds and had great acting by Mohanlal.His Kaalapani was released all over India and no one can deny its greatness.If he is such a good director then why the backlash?
Because he set out to remake the true,incomparable comedy gems of Mollywood without even acknowledging the immense genius and talent that went into their creation.It all started with him remaking his own film, Chitram as Muskurahat.I donno whether it worked or not but he proceeded on to select the best Mollywood had to offer and blatantly copy them.He realized he was onto something,a rather simple way to mint money.He remade Kireedam( my father's all time fav flick) as Gardish.He went on to remake several of his own earlier comedies too,( for which I have no love,so excused)Then came the real stinker.He remade Maanarmathai Speaking as Hera Pheri.It was a super hit, showcasing the comic excellence of Paresh Rawal.He acknowledged Neeraj Vohra as the writer.Bullshit!! It was a frame by frame remake with all the jokes spot on repeated ,even the dialogues weren't spared.When asked why he did not direct the sequel (Phir Hera Pheri)his reply was that he did not like working on the same material twice.His nerve!! Then he went on to remake the sequel to Maanarmathai Speaking ,Ramjirao Speaking as Bhagam Bhag.No reluctance there huh?But his greatest transgression was desecrating Godfather.He remade this one as Hulchal which was a very hurried up affair,without giving time to let the story sink in.The original ranks among my all time favs.Now hes out once again with Dhol, a remake of In Hariharnagar.Isnt anything holy anymore??The trailer had I and my friends ripping out tufts of hair from our head... even the way the songs were shot has been copied.Next up is also a remake of the magnificent Malayalam thriller/comedy Manichitrathaazham as Bhul Bhulaya...He is making so much money and no one(except us mallus) realizes that he is not bringing anything new to the screen.OK, granted he copies, and that too frame by frame, could he not acknowledge the genius of auteurs like Sathyan Anthikad,Rafi Mecartin and the insuperable Siddique-Lal.I cannot hold myself back when my north Indian friends say he makes great comedies...
Arjun:God please make him stop.I promise i will be a good boy...

You wont be smiling when yu hear the box office returns of CHUP CHUP KE

Trivia 1:A ball hit his left eye when he was young,shattering his dream of a career in cricket.That also explains the glasses.
Trivia 2:he is married to Malayalam actress Lizi,.. lucky bastard.

PS: God, I was just kidding about the good boy part.. take care up there...

Monday, June 18, 2007

JBJ:A waste of 2 hours 10 minutes and Rs.55

There are films that make you wince in disgust.That make you realize what Sudhir mishra is crying about over at,That make you wonder why in St.Pappillon's name did the director become a director.That make you take notice of the roof and walls of the theatre, that make you wanna puke(?), just get out.. run.. and save yourself from the atrocity that is the movie..
JBJ finds itself a comfy,cosy spot in this category.Shaad Ali (the director)was OK before, Saathiya was a safe, frame by frame remake of Alaipayuthe, and BnB did capture the small town life in India,quite decently.i guess he is showing his true colours huh??Insipid,dull,boring,did I eat dinner? are some of the adjectives that come to mind.The flick is about Ricky Thukhral and Alvira Khan( from Lahore)who both meet at a station while waiting for their respective fiances(Birmingham se aa raha hai..)..Conversation starts boiling and slowly a mutual attraction develops.But they are reluctant to express their attraction since they are already committed.The twist? they just made up the committed part to appear uninterested to each other..Now they have to somehow express their love,but both curse their luck that the other is engaged.They agree to meet at a club with their fiances.So they hire ppl who look like bobby deol and Lara Dutta to act as their finances.Doesn't sound that bad??well it would seem Mr.unwary viewer,it would seem.It was difficult to sit through the first half.and in the second half i found myself playing with the baby in the front seat.It is an utter waste of time.You should be glad i told you the story and saved your 50 bucks,In fact each of you send me Rs.10 from the Rs50 you saved,for the service I did to you.The charcters are so unidimensional and stereotyped that it makes DD soaps appear oscar material.And my god what an utter waste of talent the Big B is .He appears as a gypsy-boot wearing,guitar weilding singer who randomly bursts into "Jhoom barabar Jhoom' along with a posey of unsuspecting dancers.You should see some of the faces he has to make in the name of cinema... his Antics at the end when there is a stupid usual suspect type revelation( its nothing, believe me) is cringe inducing.
So why was this film made?When there are beautiful stories waiting to be told about boys uprooted from their hometowns and send form one place to the other??One word,com padre.. Business.Mr.Aditya Chopra is a shrewd, cunning,super villain in hiding.He has realized that any piece of crap wrapped in shiny,bright colours and catchy tunes can hold people sway.It can promise safe returns if not grand collections.And that is what he has set out to do.This is what has been happening all along in Bollywood.My God, I think i see the light.It s all so clear now,so profound.I can see beyond the glamour and the false,momentary attraction of mainstream cinema...

PS1:I am glad rochynne didn't like the film, and Gaurav man,whats wrong with you.. the film sucked big time..

PS2: the only silver lining were the songs.Great songs really.And they also show some scenes in Delhi, so that too...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ten Films I am really looking forward to

These are some of the films from 2007 that i am really excited about.Some of them have been released , i just haven't been able to see them,while some are yet to.Here we go..( in no particular order)

1)Live Free or Die Hard

John Mclane is the ultimate action hero( along with Dutch from Predator) and Bruce Willis is the ultimate action star.He is the go to guy for thrillers.Die Hard happens to be among my favourite films , and i liked the sequels too(especially DH3:WAV).The trailer looks smashing good.The downside?Director Len Wiseman previously made the Underworld films, though exciting in concept i found the films to be a big bore.But Mr.Willis is showing great faith in the director and even offering to return for a fourth sequel if the director returns.Yippee-kayyay MF....

2)28 Weeks Later

I love zombie films and the follow up to 28 days later ,a film that had me drooling over it looks real good.The trailer is promising and the film promises more zombies and more people eating ...

3)I Am Legend

OK heres the story:Will smith is the last man on earth.every other human has been exterminated by a virus,the thing is they don't stay dead.They return as Vampires.So Smith hunts them during the day while at night has to defend himself against them.Millions of them...

4)We Own the Night

I live for thrillers.Put an ordinary,reluctant man in an extra ordinary situation and see how he reacts.They have to be my favourite genre.The film is about a night club owner from a police family who overhears a plot to assassinate his cop father and bro and must race against time to save them.It stars Joaquin Phoenix,Eva Mendes,Mark Wahlberg and Rob Duvall.I thought Wahlberg was gr8 in The Departed( rocking flick!!)plus the title is soo cool!!

5)The Kingdom

A FBI forensic team is sent to investigate the bombing of an American colony in Saudi Arabia.Though the trailer starts off rather lame,it picks up as it goes along.. The eclectic cast is another plus..

6)The Lookout

I absolutely adore Tom Gordan-Lewitt,right from his 3rd rock from the sun days..hes grown up to be a fine actor and this film once again with an interesting plot line promises to deliver.It also stars Jeff Daniels and the beautiful Isla Fisher.

7)Music and Lyrics

I like Romcoms that are not dumb or lame.I loved Kate and Leopold... hated the piece of crap that was Failure to launch.This one has good leads,which is very important in a romcom.Hugh Grant was brilliant in both Notting Hill and About a boy.Drew Barrymore..i have nothing against her, except she isn't that good looking nowadays.

8)The Simpsons Movie

The Simpsons is one of my all time telly shows.I have been watching it since i was a child and when i wouldn't get all the jokes.They say its past its prime, and now is not the time for the movie version..maybe but 1.5 hrs of Homer ,Bart and everyone else from Springfield cant be bad.It cant be bad at all...

9)Shoot 'Em Up

A fun filled action ride ,a good hero, a gr8 heroine and an excellent villain.Clive Owen,Mrs.Bellucci and Paul Giamatti star in this film about a reluctant guy who is out to save a baby, while being hunted by a group of assassins,the trailer has me sold.


Danny Boyle directed the afore mentioned 28 days later.Plus this film has been receiving gr8 buzz all around.The traileer is cool withan excellent soundtrack.Cillian murphy( who was also there in 28 days later) stars along with Michelle Yeoh,Chris Evans and the scintillating Rose Byrne.I am totally on board...

Ok i am gonna add 2 more to the list, i almost forgot about them

11)30 days of Night

Well you know that vampires only come out at also know that there places like Norway where the sun doesn't shine for months.Mix those two facts together and you get 30 days of Night.Josh Hartnett and Mellissa George defend their town against an attack of vampires during a month long darkness.

12)Eastern Promises

A History of Violence totally rocked my world and when i heard that David Cronenberg was teaming up with Viggo Mortensen again, for his next film i was excited as hell.The film follows a midwife investigating the death of a teenage girl at childbirth only to run into the Russian mafia.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I remember a day...

Right now it is about to rain.It is the threshold point.any time now the clouds will burst and it will rain like theres no tomorrow.This is my favourite kind of day,time.The sky grey with clouds,a cool breeze blowing,leaves somehow greener than usual,and an overall cooler climate.I love it!You wish it never rains,you wish it stays the same forever,but it wont.Just like everything in life,this too shall pass...
I remember , a very similar day ,way back in 2003,couple of days before i was to set off for kerala.My father would often set me out on errands on this day i had to drop off two cheques,one application form and then go meet my friend Abhishek Roy.The clouds were at their fullest and somehow the roads seemed empty save for my blueline bus.Seated next to me was sadhu/sant type guy who was conspicuously spotting ear phones.As the bus swerved into the outer circle of CP thunder cracked, and simultaneoulsty something came under the tyre of the bus for it screeched for some distance .The sadhu/sant and i looked at each other ,alarmed( we were the only occupants of the back seat of the bus) but no one else seemed fears allayed I looked out the backdoor as the sights of many street vendors whizzed by.The wind was blowing,it was cool,comforting.I got off at Regal,and headed to the Karnataka Bank to drop off the cheques( My father somehow seems to have an account in each and every nationalized bank in the country).That done i headed over to my school , where i was to meet AB.He was standing at the bus stop and should have been fuming at me-i was quite late- but it was too good a day to be angry.We went to the nearby JCC where i had to drop off a form.We walked the 300 m, and were discussing who was going where-we had all recently passed 12th- and how the end of days was looming ever close.AB stopped and said perhaps we may never meet again..It rained at that precise moment....all i could do was smile sheepishly..God I have known this guy since i was a kid.. and plenty of others like him..My life was headed for a change.. Big time change... Realization seeped through me like 4000Watts of current... I don't remember what we did that day or where we were headed to.. but it was the last of many similar days...

PS:i do remember eating chole bhatura at Bengali Market, later on..

PS2: somehow that time finds parallel to my last days in college..

Saturday, June 2, 2007


The photo tells it all.That is pure anger that you see in his eyes.Rightful indignation!!
Sathya is the story of an angry young man,played excellently by Kamal Hassan.He is the quintessential youth of the 80s..unemployed,clerk/teacher type father, unmarried sis,lives in a chawl and is constantly attending interviews.He is frustrated with life, angry at how his efforts are going unrewarded and all the more weary as the day to day problems keep mounting.So one day when he sees a gunda carrying out a vasooli, he just snaps.And when sathya is angry there is no stopping him ,come storm or thunder.he then goes on to lash the gundas ,helped by his lackey friends.this makes him notorious in the colony.he takes it upon himself to clean up his locality, as gunda upon gunda is sent to thrash him up.He takes on all,until one day when his friend is murdered in daylight and the killers are let go for lack of witness.He becomes helpless and is soon approached by a politician asking him not to waste time tussling with small fry.he tells him to take the problem at the roots.The politician,Dandapani asks him to help him squash , the main bad guy of the city and a fellow politician.Sathya goes on a clean up drive sabotaging and thrashing the bad guy and finally gets hold of enough evidence to put him away.He hands it to dandapani ,triumphant that his efforts bore fruit.The next day he is astounded to see dandapani join hands with the bad guy.He was playing him all along.This makes dear old Sathya angry, very angry.You wont like him when he is angry!!
Its told in a gritty no holds barred way.the fight scenes are well shot and very realistic.That is the driving word here.realistic.You could say Sathya is a forerunner to the hardcore films RGV churns put nowadays and it still holds it own today though a tad too long.I strongly recommend it.

Fav scene:
1)when he realizes that his friends murdered will be let off cause no witness came forward, he decides to take matters in his own hands.As soon as they are let off, he proceeds to give the 3 of them the thrashing of their lifetimes.well shot .Theres a moment where he looks around for a weapon.,picks up a brick,decides against it as he spots two sticks.armed with those he strikes.Classic.
2)the fight scenes really stand out.The climax where an injured Sathya, going to take out the main bad guys, that scene is also quite good,

Trivia:You will find the same film in Hindi,only its titled Arjun and stars Sunny Deol,who does a surprisingly good job as well.As soon as Sathya started I guessed it was the same story.
Hmm.. it appears Arjun is the came out in 1985 wile Sathya in 1988.It also happens to be the debut of director Suresh Krishna,who after exhibiting real talent went on to direct genuine pieces of turd like Baba,The prince and that Zayed khan flick,Rocky:the rebel

PS:JSS stands for Job Seekers Society,of which Sathya jokes ,is a member

Friday, June 1, 2007

I was meant to live in the 80s

My father once told me how deserted the roads were in delhi when he first arrived there in 1984.There were very few cars and several roads would be downright empty.There are several scenes in Chashmebadoor which prove the same.The only cars you see are the ambassador and the premier padminis.Where did all those flashy foreign sedans go, the ones you see in the movies from 70s.there is not one of them on indian roads now.Anyway when i picture this in my mind its as if i have seen it before,as if i have been there.It is nostalgia for something i have not seen or experienced.How is that possible.It also happens when I see all those great movies( John Hughes is god) from the 80s.Somewhere in my mind a voice says" those were real good times".The music, the fashion the culture,the lingo everything about that time was magical.You will meet lots of people out there who bemoan the loss of that time and many more will tell you, that the 80s was the best damn decade ever,period.Is it this continuous barrage of "yeah 80s" that ignited this flame of nostalgia in me.I thought a lot about it and came upon the most likely conclusion.
I am the rebirth/avatar of someone who was living it up in the 80s.Seriously, there was some talented 20 year old who was having the time of his life ,when he tragically met with his death.I am still figuring out how he died ( I like to think of an assassination plot ,coupled with plot to rule the world, but who am I kidding) or what is the unfinished agenda he left behind.Meanwhile i have started an active research into the rebirth phenomenon.I thought Bollywood would be a good source but most of it does not make sense.But there are a couple of good shows on Discovery.Click here to read why rebirth makes sense

"Yaathra" Vs "Athu oru Kanaa kalam"

In 1985 Balu Mahendra directed "Yaathra" a romantic-tragedy starring Mamooty and Shobhana.The film begins with a bearded Mamooty asking for a lift from a school bus .He asks if he could sit by the window.After token song and dance by the children,he tells them he is an ex convict who was just released from prison.His crime? Murder.Flashback to a clean shaved Mamooty arriving at a hill station(arunagiri) to take up a posting as the forest officer.There he is swayed by the beauty of the village belle,Shobhana and utilizes the entire first half in courting her,in the midst of green hills and tall trees.He finally decides to marry her but before that he has to go and invite his only family ( a friend and his mother).As he sets off he promises to return in 3 days.You realize then and there he wont.He lands up in jail after accidentally murdering a constable.The second half details his tribulations in jail under a strict warden and sympathetic jail mates.Cue: husky voice singing sad songs sans orchestra.The film takes on a melancholy undertone from here on.Shobhana visits him in the jail and tells him her hardships.He cant bear to see her rot away waiting for her.He writes her a letter to never come see him and to forget him.He doesn't meet her when she comes for visitation and tears away her letter without reading it.Somehow she conveys to him that she will always wait for him and always light a lamp for him at the local shrine on the day he is released.Return to the present.Its after 7 years or so that he is let out.His stop is about to arrive.Will Shobhana still be waiting for him.The children and the teachers all pray that there be a light at the shrine.He looks out the window,as does everyone.....There, in in the midst of hundreds of lamps is Shobhana standing alone,teary eyed.A haunting tune plays in the background as the lovers are reunited.the children continue the song they sang in the first half as the credits roll.

Pardon my blunt description but the film is actually quite good and nicely shot.There are several scenes that stand out ,powered by the touching background score(Illayaraja at his best).The film shows how the world of two lovers, falls apart in an instant.I don't know what it is but Balu Mahendra's film have a magical quality to them.They play out slowly but hold you captivated with the story and the performances.The scenery always plays an important role.Many of his films have been shot at hill stations.They all seem to have certain hue to them ,so that you can easily identify a Balu Mahendra film.
After 20 years,in 2005 he came out with "Athu oru Kanaa kalam" i don't know what the title means, but i am guessing" That magical age/time".It stars dhanush and priya mani.I rented the film specially because it was a BM film.But around half through you realize that this is a remake of Yaathra.Whether intentional or not,it too has two lovers separated when one accidentally commits a murder and and goes on to suffer hardships in jail.From that point i lost all interest in the film and skipped forward to see how it ends.I could cite scenes and plot points but take my word it is the same with some minor too is told in flashback even features the same jail as in Yaathra.There is a scene in Yaathra where Shobhana comes to visit Mamooty in jail for the first time.When he is told that he has a visitor,he runs to her.the scene is shot beautifully, and mamooty shows everyone why he became an actor in the first place.Dhanush on the other hand could not hold a candle to the master ever heard of shit on a stick?Well dhanush is the stick.It is a wonder he became a hero.Whats that ? His father is a producer.No wonder he became a hero.
To a person who has not seen yaathra and who is ready to take a film without too much of nitpicking, "Athu oru Kanaa kalam" may come of as a semi-decent flick,especially the second half which is tailored to make you weepy eyed.It hints at a sad ending but goes onto reunite the lovers.But for me the film was disappointing.I just wish BM could have made something original.If i wanted Yaathra i would go see yaathra, why watch an inferior product?