Movie Review – Shuddh Desi Romance (2013)

shuddh-desi-romance-2013

When I saw the trailer of this movie, I thought there was something rustic and peculiarly attractive about it. And since Parineeti Chopra was one of the leads, I hoped it’d be a fun watch.

But as most high hopes do, this too shattered.

Haruki Murakami in his book Kafka by the shore says “Nobody wants to read a book without a conclusion.” And this one line sums up the whole experience of watching this movie. There just isn’t any meaning, reason or conclusion to it. The inclusion of the song “Ati random” is probably totally justified.

We’re greeted by Raghuram (Sushant Singh Rajput) who’s a tourist guide but moonlights as a fake baarati. He mooches off of gullible tourists in the colorful markets of Jaipur and in his spare time, under the patronage of Goyal saab (Rishi Kapoor), he gatecrashes weddings. Life’s all hunky dory till he sets off to his own wedding. Once there, his jittery nerves get the better of him and then begins a roller coaster ride as we encounter his on again off again romances, his utter immaturity and his fear of commitment.

As the movie inches forward, whatever hopes you had of it, slowly start to fizzle. And as soon as the second half begins, even the fizzled out hopes turn in their graves. An illogical, impractical and a confused storyline makes you want to ask the director why exactly did he want to make the movie in the first place.

The only thing that salvages this “don’t-know-what-I’m-doing” saga is Parineeti as Gayatri. Even though she reprises her role of a bindaas babe from her earlier movies, she still has that effervescent charm about her. Sushant as Raghu in SDR hasn’t been able to cast the same spell as Ishaan in Kai Po Che did and his performance can best be described as passable. What sticks out as a sore spot though is Vaani Kapoor as Tara. Her role is unnecessary and her acting is disappointing and borderlines on irritating. She tries really hard to mimic the style of Parineeti Chopra & Anushka Sharma but the “i-don’t-give-a-damn” attitude just doesn’t suit her sophisticated model look.

Well, another movie added to the ‘disappointment’ list of 2013. Watch it only if your girlfriend insists or you have time on your hands that you need to kill.

Movie Review – Satyagraha (2013)

Satyagraha

There was a lot of hype generated for this flick given it’s inspiration from Anna Hazare and his movement, but the movie disappoints in more ways than one.

For a movie that names itself Satyagraha, it does not inspire or evoke even an iota of patriotism. And what startles more is that a movie which boasts of heavyweights like Amitabh Bachchan, Prakash Jha, Ajay Devgn and Manoj Vajpayee could be so insipid and dull.

What could’ve been an epic drama and though provoking tale, turns out to be a forced effort what with shoddy acting, confused storyline, unnecessary songs and zero passion (literally and metaphorically). Amitabh Bachchan dons the same old ‘parampara & adarsh’ hat while it seems Ajay Devgn has totally forgotten what it’s like to act in performance oriented movies after starring in the likes of Son of Sardar, Himmatwala and Bol Bachchan belonging to the current favorite genre – “idiotic action comedies”. Manoj Vajpayee is the only saving grace though even he hasn’t been given enough opportunity to save the sinking ship. Kareena Kapoor Khan looks like she was perennially waiting for pack-up so she could get back to her blissful married life. And well, Arjun Rampal and Amrita Rao don’t merit any mention.

The story doesn’t need telling as we were witness to it on all national news channels. The real movement was way more exciting and had us much more invested than this movie could – the marriage of fiction and reality needs to be dealt with skillfully which somehow wasn’t done despite Prakash Jha being at the helm of it all.

And what’s supremely interesting is that even after 100 years of cinema, Bollywood still hasn’t learnt the real color of blood. It definitely isn’t pink. Watch it only if you must!

Movie Review – Half Nelson (2006)

It is a critically acclaimed movie that explores the life of a History teacher, his unconventional friendship with one of his students and his troubled personal life.

Ryan Gosling plays the history teacher who has unconventional ways of teaching the subject which makes him gain the acceptance of the students (mostly Blacks & Hispanics) in his class.The movie shows his drug addiction, troubled past and ties with his family.

After a 13 year old student discovers him doing drugs in the girls locker room, they begin an unlikely friendship. Both have troubled personal lives and find solace in each others’ company.

The pace of the movie is very very slow and requires a lot of effort to keep awake. It’s difficult to understand the reason behind the critical acclaim or the IMDB rating of the movie except Ryan Gosling’s acting as a history teacher.

Give it a miss unless you love ruan Gosling, like super slow movies or need a catalyst for sleep.

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 7.4/10
  • The film was shot in 23 days and finished one day ahead of schedule.
  • The film’s title “Half Nelson” refers to a wrestling hold in which one arm is passed under the opponent’s arm from behind to the back of the neck.
  • Although it was produced and shot in New York City, the Toronto band Broken Social Scene is featured prominently on the soundtrack. Broken Social Scene even recorded some original music for the film.
  • The Dan Dunne character was originally written to be in his mid-thirties. However, the filmmakers changed this to accommodate Ryan Gosling’s age. Gosling was 25 years old at the time of filming.
  • Was originally made as the short film Gowanus, Brooklyn (2004), which won an award at the Sundance Film FestivalShareeka Epps and Karen Chilton reprise their roles as Drey and Drey’s mother. Matt Kerr, who plays the substitute teacher Mr. Light in this film, played Mr. Dunne in the original short.
  • Rachel McAdams came to visit the set during the filming of the bar scene. Running low on bar extras, to help the producers out Rachel hopped in to help make the bar look busy. Her scene never makes the final cut.
  • The school used in the film (with the bright “Neon Celery” and “Key Lime” colored classroom doors), was painted by students from the school through an innovative nonprofit youth development program called Publicolor in NYC.
  • Dan picking up the cat before going into Frank’s house was unrehearsed. Ryan Goslingsaw the stray cat during the filming to the scene, and picked it up. Because Dan’s cat died a few scenes before, the filmmakers thought it was perfect for the film and put it in the final cut.

Movie Review – Marion Bridge (2002)

This film explores the bond between 3 sisters from a troubled family.

It all starts when Agnes (one of the sisters) arrives back home, where her 2 sisters already stay, to tend to her ailing mother and also to come to terms with her troubled past and start life afresh.

The other 2 sisters are not very happy on her return as they believe that she always disrupts their normal lives. This starts the process of all of them revisiting their childhood and remembering how happy they used to be as children. Various secrets surface, fights ensue but the fact of their mother’s impending death binds them together.

The pace of the movie is very slow and it requires real patience to sit through the whole movie on a lazy afternoon. Can give it a miss if you are not very fond of slow emotional movies.

Trivia:

Movie Review – Veronika Decides To Die (2009)

This movie is based on the novel by the same name by Paulo Coelho. Now I haven’t read the book so instead of the comparison, I will focus only on the movie.

Well if you are looking for some fast paced movie then this shouldn’t be on your watch list. It is a very slow movie and sometimes unbearably so. It is about a woman who has everything that one asks for, for a comfortable life, but still wants to end her life. She makes an unsuccessful attempt that lands her in a welfare correctional centre where she is told that she has a few days to live due to damage done to her heart by the overdose of pills. While there, she discovers happiness and starts her life afresh.

Acting by all the characters is ok, nothing extra-ordinary. In fact everything about this movie is average. The only thing that really saves this movie is (that is if you manage to keep up till the end) is the twist in the end.

I wouldn’t really go far as recommending this movie to anybody but you can watch it if you have nothing better to do or are a fan of Coelho’s work (though he disappoints with this story).

Trivia: