The Insult – Review

The InsultProbably one of the best viewings that I have had in a long time. This Lebanese gem was nominated in the Oscars in the foreign language nominated category.

I would go to the extent of saying that this movie deserves to be in the classroom of all aspiring filmmakers. Whether it is the story, screenplay, directing or the acting, it excels in every front.

The screenplay is perhaps one of the best I have seen.

While the story if of Lebanon in the 70’s, when the country is flooded with Palestine refugees, it is a universal story that perhaps is as relevant today as it was then.

Forty percent of Lebanon’s population is of Christians and Palestinian refugees comprise of ten percent of the population.

A forty something mechanic, Tony Hanna, a right-wing Christian with a pregnant wife, is watering his plants in the balcony. The water from the plants, seeps through the gutter pipe, installed illegally on to the road on some construction crew. The foreman, Yasser Salameh [solid understated acting and winner of best actor in 74th Venice film festival], observes the pipe and offers to fix it. However Tony, slams the door on him. Why he slams the door on him, is something that you realise later in the movie.

Yasser still goes ahead and fixes it. Tony sees that the pipe is fixed, and he breaks it. Yasser sees this and calls him a “fucking prick”.

Tony is infuriated and demands an apology. Yasser’s boss tries to mediate, and convinces an reluctant Yasser to accompany him to Tony’s garage and make him apologise. Tony’s TV in the garage is on, a right wing speech to throw out the Palestinians is being aired. Tony rants and tells Yasser “I wish Ariel Sharon had wiped you all out”. On hearing this, a seething Yasser punches him in the gut and leaves without apologising.

The above is followed by a top-notch legal courtroom drama, that gives rise to riots in the streets of Lebanon, which however both the leads do not wish to happen. They in fact admonish their own lawyers, to not to humiliate and bring personal things out in the open in the court.

Today we see the same happening in our country, with hate speeches swaying our public and dividing them in the middle. Perfectly normal people do not think twice before uttering rubbish and spoiling relations.

The insecurity felt by the majority and the helplessness felt by the minority, especially if they are refugees, is perhaps highlighted the best in this movie, through a petty fight that escalates into a personal and political fight between two communities in a nation. Sounds familiar ?

This is one movie which perhaps with it’s content will always remain prevalent. I will definitely be watching out for director Ziad Doueiri’s filmography.

 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Well.. What do you say about a movie, which you are aware is already a worldwide blockbuster.. Let me tell you. Lacks soul totally.

A big letdown, yet maybe a big hit among children because of the fantastic CGI work. Yes it is a seat of the edge thriller, if you still enjoy being scared by loud dinosaur roars and excellent sound design.

Nothing much to say about the actors here, whether Chris Pratt or anyone else.. wonder what is Jeff Goldblum doing here apart from announcing another sequel..

The story is paper thin.. Owen and Claire are out to save the dinosaurs from extinction due to a volcanic eruption, and no wonder they are tricked into going there by a villain who intends to sell the dinosaurs worldwide as “trainable” war soldiers. Rest is boom and bam ! #JurassicWorld #FallenKingdom

Good for a family weekend where you child will be staring the screen and you will be short of popcorn throughout the movie..

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Veere Di Wedding.. Review

Take a bow Shashanka Ghosh!

How wrong I was.. Had absolutely made up my mind, that this would be some preachy feminist movie, but thanks to the paid trolls I watched it.

It is definitely not preachy, but presents the new generation as they live their lives today. The fact that this movie was certified adults, shows how intolerant our system is. Sad, even Prasoon Joshi felt compelled to certify this movie as for adults only. We hear much worse language on TV!

All the four actresses are superb, led by Kareena who is wonderfully restrained and underplays her role as Kalindi who is commitment phobic. Swara plays to the gallery as the loud, risque and brazen Sakshi Soni, a character meant to shock with her language and dialogues. Sonam is fantastic as a divorce lawyer and comes into form in the second half of the movie, you may find her sexy just uttering the dialogue “Hello Bhandari” 🙂 Shikha Talsania is awesome as Meera too.

You may tend to compare the movie to ZNMD, but I think the ladies have done a fabulous job thus the movie is as good as ZNMD if not better – but definitely more believable.

Music is zany and in tune with the happenings but will not be chartbuster like ZNMD soundtrack.

The movie will definitely shock the prude in you, but be ready for a change, the fact that the movie is a blockbuster proves it. This is not “chick flick” and it should not be branded as one.

Instead of Adults, the movie should have been UA, we definitely need an autonomous censorship body that works independently and not succumb to any political pressure. We need a censor chief with balls.. as the ladies in the movie would say.

5 stars all the way !

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Raazi..

Meghna Gulzar’s choice of subjects is excellent, especially at a time when Bollywood is welcoming new content. Though Talvar would still rate as her best, Raazi does not disappoint.

“Mein To Ab Wahe Ke Hoon Jahan Mere Ghar Wale Hain” – says Sehmat [Alia] in a scene, it is left to the viewer to decide where her loyalty lies.. The movie is not about India Pak, but does not succeed in showcasing the futility of war if that was the intention.

There would be many such undercover agents, and the movie is kind of biography of one such agent, adapted from a book called “Calling Sehmat”.

In certain scenes Meghna succeeds in creating the tension when Sehmat tries to spy on her father in law.

Alia definitely delivers a convincing Sehmat, with the innocence, grit and patriotism and fear of a novice agent. The supporting cast is also fantastic which lifts the movie.

It is however the pace and the too easy to infiltrate an enemy family story that lacks the punch.

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Modi Mania in London

Agree or disagree with him, but you cannot ignore #NarendraModi. Just caught up with his interaction with #PrasoonJoshi which was telecast on almost all news channels.

While the questions and answers, have been heard before in his speeches, if there is something that our politicians can learn from him is perhaps the spontaneous oratory. It is this very oratory and mastery over language which has spellbound the nation.

It was Mann ki Baat, telecast from the Westminster hall, UK. Very invigorating, inspiring and good to hear. Though we wish that the ground situation reflected the same.

The fact is that there is no alternative leader in the opposition, and Rahul Gandhi has no following among even Congress workers, a fact that the Congress Party headed by his mother continues to neglect.

While a win in 2019 is a definite possibility, Modi needs to ensure that his colleagues in BJP do not spoil the party by their arrogance and outrageous communal and at times bizarre statements.

Apart from the focus on rural india, there is a also a burgeoning middle class which is also the highest vote bank and it is this middle class that the BJP needs to pacify to win with the same margins in 2019 as they did in 2014.

Let’s see where the ships sail…

 

 

A tragedy called Indian politics

India is simmering over the rapes, committed in J&K, UP and Assam and elsewhere. And yet if one sees the indian tv channels, one is nauseated by the constant throwback to the sins of the past by each and every party, whether it is #RSS, #BJP or #Congress or another.

The talk of justice eventually veers to religion, caste or even abuses among the so called panelists on the TV channels.

The PM, probably one of the most secure in terms of numbers, and yet so insecure that he seems to be on a constant campaigning for his party. His party’s members, many of them so called spiritual leaders or “sadhus” or even petty criminals are absolutely not afraid of the judiciary and continue to spew venom.

The opposition, Congress namely, is devoid of any leadership and depends on a young man clearly clueless of what ails his country. His speeches and statements are mocked at or turned into memes. His spontaneous statements leaves one incredulous, wondering whether his party leaders are deaf or what. Clearly if he is the leader, Congress is doomed, a fact that would be welcomed by many.

The fringe political parties, totally based on caste politics, continue to hold sway in certain pockets of India and is sure to ride piggyback on BJP’s divisive politics.

The extremely horrific and tragic rape of a 8 year child #Asifa in J&K #Kathua in temple premises, and of Unnao #KuldeepSinghSengar including the death by torture of the father of the girl, exposes India’s tragedy of having a healthy democracy and yet the fear of the authority.

Equality is professed and yet cities are divided in terms of petrol prices, LPG rates or infrastructure…

Apart from this, even after having voted the current government, one is trolled by blind moronic bhakts, for asking a simple logical question!

However I still have faith in the judiciary, though in india it is always delayed.. yet served.

Hope for the best…

 

AAP & DOWN – Mayank Gandhi

When I bought this book, to be frank, I thought it would be a dry tale or retelling of the rise and fall of AAP as a political party. Because who doesn’t know of AAP and Arvind Kejriwal – the visual media has done and keeps doing it post mortem almost on a daily basis. Every mistake of a AAP leader, is sure to be on prime time.

However to my pleasant surprise, this book is not only of the movement called Aam Aadmi Party but it is a semi-biography of Mayank Gandhi himself and from his enthusiasm of doing something for the nation to his disappointment with his icons, whether Anna Hazare or AK, it is a reflection of every volunteer, every citizen who saw a silver lining on the dark political clouds of India but now feels cheated, disappointed and devoid of any enthusiasm or nationalism anymore.

It is a frank as-is account of AK vis-a-vis AAP. But at the same time, some of the examples given where it seems AK tries to manipulate or is depicted as a shrewd strategist, one also feels what other options did he have – for all our respect for gandhian ideals, we know that Gandhi would have been an abject failure, if he had to deal with today’s Indian politicians. #MayankGandhi #AAP #ArvindKejriwal

The biggest flaw of AK here is his failure to recognise the real leaders and his true comrades and also his failure to communicate convincingly to his party leaders of why he did so to each and every decision he unilaterally took.

The chapter on Anna does not come as a surprise though, as the author himself observed, Anna with his simplistic approach towards politics could never be the leader of a political party and perhaps no one knows this better than Anna. He uses his charisma, respect and stature to mobilise people support against issues and I think for this only reason we need to thank him.

The party’s imminent downfall is apparent in an chapter where in a PAC meeting, a member uses the names of Prithviraj Chauhan and Mahmud of Ghazni as an analogy. One can observe the delusion that power brings on lesser mortals.

While the author’s contribution and perseverance in projects such as Global Parli deserves a salute, his writing at times conveys a self defeat, of being let down by his leaders. This is a natural human reaction, but it would be a tremendous loss to the nation and to its citizens if we lost leaders such as Mayank Gandhi to pessimism.

A very transparent, in your face account of the revolution that was not to be, do not miss it, it is a must read.

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