Dev-D…What a movie. No, it’s not futuristic. Instead, this movie depicts modern day love stories. Behavior of people like you and me who fall in love. And then manage to screw up their lives in a unique way. I was mesmerized by Dilip Kumar’s Devdas and I had cried (yes cried) through Shah Rukh Khan’s Devdas. This one, however, steals the cake for me because Abhay Deol’s concept is my concept. I thought I was done with “sentu” (Sentu- short form for sentimentality) stuff. It’s my way of dealing with downturns in life- Drink,
dope and die.
What made me watch this movie? You really want to know? My coworker, emailed me .mp3 file of X-Rated Version of “Emosional Atyachaar”. I haven’t been able to sing this song ever since without silently muttering lines like “Hai poora ka poora mind fuck yaar…tera emotional atyachaar” (Translation- Your emotional torture completely fucks my mind). A piece of advice: Don’t listen to it if you are not well educated in Hindi gaaliyan. By the way, why is it okay for people to abuse in English and not okay for people to abuse in Hindi? A person is “cool” if he abuses in English. A person is a bloody gawaar and ghaati if he abuses in Hindi.
The movie sticks to the basic story line of Devdas- Devdas and Paro are childhood friends. Devdas is a rich and misbehaved kid who is sent away to London by his father (fondly called “Sattu”). Dev returns back to Chandigarh, India after what seems like almost a century. He romances with Paro amidst sarso ke kheth and lots of hoopla (Older brother is getting married). Devdas manages to lose Paro and land up in Chanda’s (Chandramookhi) haveli.
The story line actually has a lot of “twists”- Devdas’ sis-in-law is no bitch. Devdas’ dad, Sattu, is quite a decent man himself. And for a change, he doesn’t hate Paro. And Paro’s a Jatt who doesn’t shy away from abusing men or admitting her sexual fantasies. Dev, on the other hand, is the biggest Male Chauvinist Pig (Long form for MCP) of all.
Paro’s character is probably my favorite. I liked her because her role explores the characteristics that define a modern woman. A woman who is strong enough to explore her own life and to break away from societal stereotypes. She is from a typical middle class family. She’s well educated (college topper, of course) and yeah, sexually frustrated. Only in India women are not allowed to be sexually frustrated. She doesn’t shy away from sending her long distance boyfriend a nude picture of her upper body. In fact, she has more balls than any man- she clicks her pic using a film roll camera, gets it developed at a film camera store, manages to ignore store owner’s perverted looks, goes to a cyber cafe (yes, they are still called cyber cafes in India), scans the image herself after abusing the cyber cafe guy and emails it to Dev. After Dev returns to Chandigarh, she asks her admirer, a servant of the house, his room keys- “Dev is back!” The servant of the house, unfortunately, professes his love for her. He manages to convince Dev that Paro is a top quality slut. Paro doesn’t look back and gets married right off the bat to a Punjabi guy who is rich and the father of two kids.
I fail to understand how men trust others more than their women. He dumps Paro and drinks and dopes to death (well, almost). Dev’s “friend”, Chunni babu (dressed in a green shirt and red tie), takes him to Chanda, who is actually quite young. An eighteen year old girl who helps guys get off over the phone by seductively talking and moaning in Tamil, English, French and Hindi. Chanda’s character is quite interesting- She is the famous woman who was involved in Delhi’s MMS scandal. Her mom kind of disowns her and her dad kills himself. With nowhere to go, she lands in a modern day brothel. She wears jeans and a tee shirt, rides a cool bike and goes to college when she’s not being a commercial sex worker (CSW).
Dev and Chanda actually fall in love and live happily ever after.
The reason I really like this film is because it celebrates womanhood- you can choose to be either Paro or Chanda. The director, Anurag Kashyap, explores different angles of a common woman’s life. He shows how women are actually much stronger than men in many ways. Paro moves on pretty quick. Dev doesn’t. He, in fact, chooses to meet Paro’s sister-in-law (who has a thing for him) to get back at Paro. He spies on Paro using telescopes. He calls her at 11 pm at night. And in a fit of emotion, tells her that he still loves her. Paro brings him back to Earth and shows him the reality- that he’s had his chance. Very briefly, the movie also talks about the importance of having safe sex. How it is never embarrassing to get yourself tested frequently and to request for a condom.
People make mistakes and they move on. Each experience makes you into the person you are. Oh, and our lives never come to a complete stop for anyone. We can always pick up the pieces and create a new mosaic. What society construes as acceptable in one part of the world might not be acceptable in some other part of the world, but this doesn’t make your truth or experience any less significant than mine.
Abhay Deol, as Dev-D, gives an outstanding performance. I haven’t seen any of his movies. This is my first. I really hope this won’t be my last Abhay Deol movie! He’s so different compared to his cousins. I also hope to see more of Kalki and Mahi Gill. Both were spectacular.
Found this meme on Lallopallo‘s blog and got instantly tempted to draw up my list. I’m supposed to make two lists- each in a different language. I’m fluent in only four languages (English, Hindi, Bengali and Marwari), but I listen to a variety of stuff because music really has no language. I’ve come up with my “Indian” list here.
I’m a big fan of Sufi music. I have a big list of Sufi songs that I enjoy listening to. And some old Hindi movie songs. As per the rules, I’ve restricted myself to only ten here. No particular order.
#10- Tujhse Naraaz Nahi Zindagi from the movie Masoom- Gulzar’s lyrics brings out the pain and joy in your heart. Literally. Beautifully sung by Anup Ghoshal and composed by the maestro R.D Burman.
#9- Wedding Qawalli by A R Rahman- This is from the noteworthy show Bombay Dreams. Can’t get more Sufi than this. Sukhwinder Singh is the singer. I don’t really like him, but I think he’s done a wonderful job with this one. You can listen to it here on Youtube.
#8- Silli Hawa Choo Gayi by R.D Burman and Lata Mangeshkar- This is an old song from the movie Libaas, which I haven’t watched. I don’t know when I started liking this song. Not sure if you’ve heard of it, but I go nuts every time I hear it. I’d written about it a long time back.
#7- Tere Bin Nahi Lagda by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan- The man who has given us some of the best Sufi numbers is no more with us and it is almost a tragedy. This is my favorite Fateh Ali Khan song. I’m sure you have heard/seen this song before. It used to be a hot favorite:
#6- Yeh Lamhe Yeh Pal Hum from Lamhe- Maybe it has something to do with the deserts of Rajasthan. Maybe it is Sridevi or maybe it was the controversy that engulfed this movie in the early 90s because of the unconventional theme. I’ve been a big fan of this movie and its songs. This one is my clear favorite.
#5- Gurus of Peace by A.R Rahman and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan- Too good to be true. This is the best thing to have ever happened: two legends of music coming together to give us some of the most unforgettable melodies. You can listen to this song here.
#4- Piya Haji Ali by A.R. Rehman (Movie: Fiza)- I love this area in Bombay. And I love this song too. Didn’t like the movie much, but I haven’t been able to get over this song!
#3- Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le by Ilayaraja (Movie: Sadma) I’ve been searching for the Tamil version of this song. If anyone knows, please leave me a comment or write an email.
#2- Pachai Killigal by A.R. Rehman and Yesudas (Movie: Indian)- Kashtiya Bhi Ladh Gayi from the movie Hindustani for Hindi movie goers. I prefer listing songs in their original dialects, unless I’m unaware of the origin, that is. I rediscovered this song a couple of months ago on Youtube. I’d almost forgotten this movie’s soundtracks. Kappaleri Poyachi is a close second. I actually like all the songs from this movie. Difficult to pick a favorite.
#1- Bombay movie theme music by A.R. Rehman- One of the best OSTs I’ve ever listened to. I don’t think I can ever get tired of this one. I’ve been listening to it ever since the movie came out in early 90s. I really liked the movie back then and haven’t watched it ever since. I’ll try to watch it in Tamil this time (with subtitles of course).
Like you can see, I have a big A.R Rehman hangover. It has nothing to do with Slumdog Millionaire or his Oscars. I’ve always been like this since I heard the songs of Roja as a kid. My mom knows it all too well. I wish I could meet him once. I don’t know what I would do, seriously. I love his voice and his music. I can’t imagine anyone else singing the songs that he does. Hard to find someone who is more down to earth than him. I planned to write my favorite English songs too, but I lost track of time writing this post and listening to some songs. I’ll be back with Part-II soon. (sooner than four months for sure).
P.S- I have to have to mention this song by Pankaj Udhas that I really love- It’s called “Chandi Jaisa Rang Hai Tera”. Here’s the video:
Lallopallo tagged me for a movie meme a couple of days back. I started off by writing a blog post, only to realize that I am wasting my time. No, not wasting my time doing the meme, but wasting my time re-listing all movies that I’ve mentioned in the Cinema page of my blog. But thanks to this meme, I’ve made a couple of adjustments: I have removed the categories (Action, Drama, Foreign, Documentaries etc.). Categories restrict the art of movie making. At least that’s what I feel. A movie is so much more than just drama or action. Instead, I’ve re-arranged the movies that I like based on their first names (A, B, C, D…etc).
Lallo, I know you wanted me to add why I liked each movie. I’m sorry I haven’t done that because it’s difficult for me to sum it up in a couple of sentences. I have linked each movie to the IMDB page, which gives ample information (the movie outline, main characters, quotes etc.). In any case, IMDB does a better job that I will ever do. Some of these movies have been previously reviewed on my blog and I’ve inserted the links next to the names of the movies.
I’m not tagging anyone particularly. Anyone who wants to take up this meme is free to do so.
Absolutely loved this movie! The first part of Slumdog Millionaire was extremely good and actually has a very Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay kind of touch to it.At one point, I felt that by the end of the movie, I’ll probably walk out with a heavy heart. The second half of the movie is a little less intense…if you know what I mean. Overall, it’s a good watch for sure. Dev Patel plays the main protagonist and has done an amazing job.
Not sure if the movie will win an Oscar nomination or a win. But you never know! People are saying that it might win an Oscar. A.R. Rahman, the music composer has won a Golden Globe nomination. I love the OST of the movie, O Saya. In fact, I’ve listened to it more than 20 times in one evening. Yeah, I’m a bit of an extreme case. You can listen to the song on my tumblelog.
I watched this movie in an independent theater here and was pleasantly surprised to find the theater PACKED! There is this one scene in the movie where the main actor, as a child, falls into a pile of shit, and runs all the way to Amitabh Bachchan to get his autograph! The entire theater was roaring with laughter. I was no exception. The scene was very well crafted. Kind of silly, but it did the trick!
Anil Kapoor as the game show host is quite bearable. Nothing spectular, but good enough. Irrfan Khan was definitely a surprise element for me. I’m a huge fan of his and loved him in movies such as Maqbool and The Namesake.
Danny Boyle has made a phenomenal breakthrough by directing this movie Bollywood style. You won’t even know that the director is not Indian! I liked the fact that he showed the slums of Mumbai with an uplifting tone. Whenever Indian slums are shown in International movies, I always get the feeling that the movie makers are trying to cash in to India’s poverty. However, this movie is quite an exception.
I would like to think that this is the story of a boy who wins “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” because he’s lucky and because he knows how to differentiate between right and wrong. His circumstances are not stellar, but he knows how to get by his day to day life. And of course, were it not for the love of his life, he wouldn’t have done anything. The movie has a very strong undercurrent of love and loyalty. If I write more, I’ll give away parts of the plot. But you’ll know what I’m talking about once you watch the movie for yourself.
Within the first five minutes of the movie, Hindi slangs such as “Chutia” and “Madarchod” will make you feel completely at home. While Indians like me laughed out loud, Americans clearly missed the joke. Weird that not all Hindi dialogues (especially the slangs) had English translations…which brings me to this- I wish the director had let the dialogues remain in Hindi for most part. The 20-80 Hindi: English ratio didn’t go down very well with me and I’ll tell you why. First off, even I had trouble understanding the English accent used in some parts. Not sure if British/Americans etc. will understand. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t! Dubbing all the dialogues in Hindi (with English subtitles) would have given the movie an authentic feel. I didn’t like the way some of the dialogues were delivered. Dev Patel, however, was excellent with his Indian English pronunciation.
The movie has been released in the US with limited prints- it seems like the Producers were having trouble finding enough distributors.
It is a feel good movie towards the end. Not sure if this was a conscious decision made…but it seems to work this time.
The Other End of the Line claims to offer more insight into the lives of call center workers and how they struggle to merge their Indian and American identities. The movie stars Shriya Saran as the call center worker, Jesse Metcalfe as the guy on the “other end of the line”, Tara Sharma as Shriya’s confidante at the call center, Anupam Kher as Shriya Saran’s father, among other stars.
The plot of the story is not very realistic: Shriya is helping Jesse Metcalfe (high flyer, advertising business, hot, suave, good looking) sort through his credit card bills which have gotten over blown because of identity theft. Jesse, instead of canceling the account (under real-world-ideal-scenario) continues to use the card. Shriya calls him up every time she sees a charge on the account, to make sure that it is legitimate. Now, come on! Which call center employee is that good? I would really like to come across such a loving sales rep. Instead, I cringe every time my call is picked up by a call center employee. Shriya Googles up Jesse and realizes that he the rich, unattainable guy. All this while, she hides under the name of one “Jessica” and purports to be from San Francisco. Jesse asks her out on a date. Shriya turns him down initially. But you see, she’s also under going a personal crisis: She’s getting married to a mumma’s boy! To escape from her marriage woes, she decides to take up Jesse’s offer, hops on Air India and arrives at San Francisco! When she sees Jesse for the first time, she doesn’t have the nerves to go up to him and tell him the truth. Instead, the director makes them collide in a hotel lobby, fall on top of each other…Bollywood ishtyle. What follows next is a lot of song and dance, long walks on the beaches, and no touching please!
Finally, Jesse comes to know about Shriya’s true identity. Tempers fly, lots of bad mouthing, Shriya gets back home, ready to marry mumma’s boy. But America has taught her some stuff: Live for yourself. Do things that make you happy, blah blah. She goes to the boy’s house and tells him exactly that (as if it’s a sin to do things that make you happy). She breaks off and resigns the rest of her life to her call center job. She’s soon promoted. Jesse flies to India to woo her and everyone lives happily ever after.
Anupam Kher has been completely wasted in the movie. All he does is worry about his daughter and repeat cliched dialogues (“Stop acting americano and worry about your family also…you need to marry that guy for us”). Tara Sharma doesn’t have much of a role, except play the agony aunt. Shriya Saran acts well, even though the movie doesn’t really offer much. I suspect she took it up hoping that this would be her claim to international fame. Jesse looks hot.
If I were to go by what’s shown in the movie, then call center employees have weekly classes where they are taught the difference between Wendy’s and McDonald’s burgers, where they are taught American slangs, how to tackle abusive-spoilt-rich-American customers (exact words used) and are also kept up to date on Hollywood gossip. Indians have been portrayed as hard working…people who tolerate all the abuse. Americans have been portrayed as ignorant, rich spoilt brats. Oh, and all call center people start from New Jersey (callers from this region abuse the most) and then work their way to the West- San Francisco etc.
The most unrealistic part of the movie is the fact that Shriya’s Indian accent is weird- she doesn’t even pronounce words like “familiar” and “accepted” properly. But her American accent is amazing! I’m sure that some of her foreign accent would rub off on her Indian accent too. This discord between two accents is something that I don’t agree with at all. Any Indian who stays in the US can tell you that much: The way you pronounce certain words changes and it is not even possible that you’ll pronounce “possible” as “phhhoosibl” in American accent” and pronounce it as “paw-sibbble” in Indian.
I saw an American family sitting towards the back of the theater. They seemed to be enjoying the movie. My friend and I hated it. Then there was this other Indian family sitting right in front of us who couldn’t stop laughing either. Apart from us, I didn’t see anyone else in the theater.
You can easily give this film a miss.
I loved this movie because I’d gone with zero expectations and only wanted to watch Ranbir Kapoor. And boy, was he hawt! Couldn’t have asked for a better Independence Day gift. The movie as such doesn’t make sense. It’s a fun ride and watch it only if you can leave your brains behind. You’ll see Ranbir romancing with three women at different points in his life. It’s only after Deepika dumps him that he realizes how bad he’s been to his previous girlfriends- spoke ill about one, and left one at the marriage alter. Next, he goes back and tries to ask for their forgiveness. Soon, Deepika falls in love with him and everything is hunky dory.
Minisha Lamba’s acting needs a lot of improvement. She over-act almost everywhere, and for some reason, looks too old. But her character was really interesting- a girl who loves the movie DDLJ (like me) and has watched it 17 times! (Like me, again!). So she’s on this Eurorail tour and hopes to find her “Raj” and picturizes everything from DDLJ-Raj-Simran type angle.
Bipasha Basu looks sizzling! She plays the part of an upcoming model to the hilt and we couldn’t have asked for more. Deepika Padukone looks so pretty. I can’t believe that she’s only 22. She plays the role of a simple Indian girl who works as a cab driver during night time and as a cashier at a grocery store during day time to pay off her B-school tuition. She’s independent. And she doesn’t want to get married! In almost all the scenes, I really feel that she’s done a better job compared to Ranbir.
Ranbir with his chocolate boy look is simply adorable. It’s so difficult to not like him. He has done an amazing job in almost all the scenes, especially the title track “Bachna Ae Haseenon” that’s played during the name casting of the movie.
It’s a fun movie that can be watched for plain time pass. Don’t expect anything else! Oh, and I can’t stop listening to “Khuda Jaane”.
Rating: 5.5/10 +1 bonus just for Ranbir (eye candy)
I went “offline” in the sense that I completely stopped blogging. It’s not that I got bored of it or anything…just had a lot of other stuff lined up and didn’t know how to prioritize. Thank you all for reading and commenting. It feels nice to be missed. I’m sorry for not keeping in touch though. I can really disappear if I want/need to.
The WordPress page’s layout has changed- quite a bit. Just noticed it a minute or two ago, when I was trying to log in. I wasn’t even sure if I’ll be able to guess my password at one go. Yes, it’s been that long. I started on this new job about three months back and it’s been an uphill battle to try and wake up by 7 am and be in office by 8 am. I’m proud of the fact that I’m almost always on time. And what is my job related to? IT of course.
My folks came over from India for a couple of weeks. I finally took my long, impending trip to New York City. I so wanted to watch Woody Allen perform at Hotel Carlyle. Lallo, you can be happy now. Good enough reason to visit NYC again. I could write pages and pages about my trip. Unfortunately, I really don’t have the words. Some of the places that I visited- Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Queens, Soho, Liberty Island and The Status of Liberty, Ellis Island, Empire State Building, Wall St, 5th Avenue (did lots of “window shopping”), ate Brooklyn style pizza in some Italian restaurants, walked by foot and traveled by the famous subways all the time, ate honey roasted almonds, learned how to read the complicated subway map, Trinity Church, Ground Zero (site of WTC) of course. It’s only when you are in Manhattan that you realize how easy it is to fall in love with this city and New Yorkers. Woody Allen, this trip was for you.
Also heard that J.K Rowling is releasing “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” for everyone. I’d already predicted this, in fact. Who’s buying the $100 leather bound version?
I did some movie watching too! My top favorites are The Dark Knight (9.5/10), Turtles Can Fly (9/10), Terminator 2 (9/10), and Omkara (8.5/10). And finally, I bought the entire collection of Decalogue by Krzysztof Kieslowski off Amazon.
Now for some NYC pics-
Last weekend was fun! I finally got to watch No Country for Old Men and the new Kamal Hassan movie, …
No Country for Old Men was an interesting watch. Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin were outstanding. The movie really deserves an Oscar. It’s creepy in a good way. Anton Chigurh is probably one of the scariest killers ever seen on the big screen and I can’t think of anyone other than Javier Bardem who could have done a better job.
Dasavathaaram is the first Tamil movie that I’ve watched, thanks to English subtitles. It was a major disappointment in my opinion. There was no script! Looks like the director just came up with something at the end moment, in order to justify ten Kamal Hassan’s.
List of disappointments:
Kamal Hassan’s acting was very subpar. I think he should leave commercial cinema to Rajnikanth.
More time was spent on make up compared to anything else. Not that the make up was any good! The make up looks more like a pancake. In so many scenes, Kamal Hassan could hardly move his head.
The graphics were completely screwed up.
The action scenes were very unrealistic.
The actress, Asin, was quite annoying! She plays the role of this typical village girl, who is extremely pious and only cares about her God. In every single scene, all she does is talk about God and nothing else.
There were quite a few scenes that talked about the caste system, and the color of the skin, that didn’t go down very well with me. I’m not sure if this was even required.
Way TOO long.
All in all, $16 down the drains.
The best way to make a come back is to write about movies! And I happened to watch Sarkar Raj in the theater today. Before I write about my thoughts regarding the movie, let me thank you all for emailing and leaving me lovely comments. I really missed blogging- reading your blogs, writing and reading comments. And a lot seems to have happened while I was away- Nita‘s blog pictures got stolen by Hindustan Times, Nova’s blog got a face lift, Ish’s results came out and he passed with flying colors- these are the changes that I can remember for now. But it’s good to see that things are otherwise just the way I left them! So, I’ll try and play catch up with your posts and comment. Thank you all for sticking with me.
Surprisingly, I liked this movie quite a bit. And I haven’t seen the prequel- Sarkar. This being the first movie post Ash-Abhi’s historical wedding, I decided to give it a try. Plus, I’ve always liked Ram Gopal Verma as a director (even though he has made some very embarrassing movies like RGV ki Aag etc.). The plot of the movie is quite simple- Amitabh and Co. are people’s Gods and they do what’s best for the people of Maharashtra, even though it might mean killing his own son, who stands on his way of achieving his aim.
Aishwarya Rai plays the role of a CEO of an international energy firm and wants to construct a power plant in Maharashtra. She seeks the help of Sarkar (Amitabh Bachchan) and Shankar (Abhishek Bachchan). What follows is a lot of blood shed and power politics. Tanisha Mukherjee also has a small role, as Shankar’s wife. But she’s conveniently killed off a little before the interval, to make way for Aishwarya’s and Shankar’s love story.
Let’s talk about the positives first. Thankfully, no songs. The direction was quite tight in almost every scene. Abhishek Bachchan delivers yet another power packed performance. Tanisha looked really pretty, even prettier than Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Please don’t hate me for saying that. The dialogues are long and windy, but they go well with most of the scenes. Amitabh Bachchan is his usual self- neither too good, nor too bad. He delivers his typical straight-face-better-than-thou type of performance.
The negatives now- I know that Ramu probably tried to get creative with the lighting and his camera angles. But he’s not Wong Kar Wai or Krzystof Kieslowski. He spoiled some really good frames because of this. Most of the times, I was trying to move my head in different directions, trying to see the actors’ faces. But of course, I couldn’t do it because you see, that is what the director doesn’t want you to do. Probably the actors had a bad bout of acne and told Ramu to hide half of their faces?
Aishwarya Rai failed to impress me, despite her designer suits. She looked less like a CEO and more like a model. Even role wise, she doesn’t really have much to do in the movie, except for serve as a dummy in almost all the scenes. She’s just there…to listen to the men rant. And try to look pretty, with tons of lip gloss and kajal to go with it.
The background score could have been much better. There is this particular number called “Govinda Govinda” that keeps playing during every serious scene. The speed at which the chanting of the word “Govinda” increases can only be compared to the speed of your treadmill ramp.
Despite these idiosyncrasies, the movie kind of works and is definitely worth a watch. I’m quite choosy when it comes to Hindi movies and I would say that this is one of the better ones out there.