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.

 

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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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Padmaavat – Review

The master storyteller Bhansali is back with an visual extravaganza. And now you wonder what the hullabaloo around the movie was for ? This movie is probably made only for the Rajputs to gloat and celebrate.
Apart from the fact that after Bajirao, probably Bhansali made up his mind to make money by making opulent high on visuals movie, the story here is limited – limited to the Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s fictional account of the same name Padmaavat.
Taunted by his queen, Raja Rawal Ratan Singh goes to Singhal to get pearls and brings home another queen Rani Padmavati. #DeepikaPadukone looks ethereal and is probably the only actor in the film who emotes and acts.
Save one or two scenes, #ShahidKapoor is stiff like a dead log, as if he is overwhelmed by #Padmavati and Khilji.
The lusting #RanveerSingh as #Khilji is enjoying himself, no doubt about it and plays to the gallery. But more than his acting, his screen presence does the job, the make up artist deserves full credit. His eccentric cruel dark king act, may be the only thing that audience may look forward to on screen. #Padmaavat
The 3D version is absolute trash – and you will even find the credits difficult to read or focus on the scenes.
You will forget the songs once you are out of the theatre.
As for the idiots who were protesting – remember if one religion has a cruel Khilji it also has a kind Mehrunissa, and if another religion has a Padmavati it also has a corrupt high priest traitor Raghav Chetan.

Qarib Qarib Singlle

I probably would not have seen this movie, but for accidentally reading a very offensive review of it on rediff.com, it left me so surprised that I made up my mind to see it.

And I am glad I did. It is a refreshing story of mature love, which focuses more on the conversations between a widow and a unlucky in love, successful in later life entrepreneur. Mind you, this is not a art movie, the conversations are simple, not heavy and credit to the top leads that their acting makes it very watchable.

While #Irrfan we all know about, it is #Parvathy a well known Malayam star, who for her debut in Bollywood is excellent. Credit to the director for casting her. Hope we see more of her.

Irrfan’s character Yogendra Kumar Devendranath Prajapati aka “Viyogi” is an endearing role and perhaps one of Irrfan’s best. It is really difficult to rank his roles – Maqbool remains my favourite.

There are only 3 songs but excellent ones especially JAANE DE by #AatifAslam and the fantastic rustic KHATAM KAHANI by #NooranSisters that made me feel like catching the next train to my fav Rajasthan..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGnplPaW1dw – Jaane De

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlAi7Vu5Ewc – Khatam Kahaani

Don’t miss it..#QaribQaribSinglle

qarib qarib

The PROMISE – 2016

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Though being a history buff, I had no clue of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turkish Empire. But this movie compelled me to read some material on the same, and perhaps will do so for sometime.

Terry George, director of Hotel Rwanda, has delivered a fantastic semi-fictional tale of Love, Friendship, Patriotism woven around the Armenian Genocide by the turks, which they continue to deny till date.

This is a period movie set in the 1915, when the sun was setting on the Ottoman Empire. The detailing of the period is bound to leave you speechless. The Cinematography is first rate.

Oscar Isaac outdoes all the brilliant actors in the movie as Mikael Boghosian, a medical student who aspires to study and serve his village but for which he has no money. He agrees to his father’s idea of getting engaged to a girl from his village and for which he will get dowry of 400 gold coins that will support his travel to Constantinopole, present day Istanbul, to study medicine. He promises his wife to be, that he will be back soon.

Mikael’s Uncle in Constantinopole, supports him. His Turkish friend Emre Ogan, son a Turkish General and a rich man, looks up to him as a mentor and classmate in medicine school and always helps him out. Christian Bale, as Chris the american journalist is in the city too, meticulously reporting on the political movements of the turkish empire. His girlfriend, Ana, is the dance teacher to the kids of Mikael’s uncle. And thereby begins a story of a love triangle, familial duties, unrequited love, friendship and loyalty irrespective of religion or nation.

Each and every supporting actor is brilliant, but it is Mikael and Ana’s love story and more than the same, the Armenian Genocide which will haunt you and the so called Superpowers of the world who turned a blind eye towards the same.

Don’t miss it at any cost !

The Lost City of Z

large_large_ik3ebv7J18fs6cHkmu91oxz7EGtJames Gray’s 2016 release turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

This is not a adventure movie, but a movie of youth’s unrealized aspirations, which at a later age turn into obsession with the desire to achieve the same as fast as possible. Along with achieving the same, there are dual responsibilities of managing a family, maintaining a career to provide for the upkeep of the family and tackling the politics at workplace that come along with it. Sounds familiar doesn’t it ?

The movie is based on the awesome true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who along with his young son went missing in the amazon jungles during early 20th century, trying to search for a lost city which he named as Zed [Z].

During an initial exploration, he finds ancient pottery and signs of an civilization which was more advanced than the western civilization, which is of course scoffed upon by the colonial British of the times. His struggle [Note this was early 20th Century], and desire to reach the lost city despite the dangers of the Amazon, is what the movie is about.

Charlie Hunnam immerses himself in the role of Percy Fawcett and you cannot imagine anyone else as Percy. He carries the 2 hour and 20 minute long movie on his shoulders along with a very competent ensemble of supporting actors, especially Robert Pattinson in a surprise character role. The camera work is excellent and Amazon Jungles are the star of the film, the dangers, the excitement of what lurks in those jungles and the so called savages that reside in it.

The movie is not a thrill ride or a adventure movie, and the pace may be slow for some however it is definitely a one time watch, and the story is sure to linger around you for quite some time. I was impressed enough to do more research on Percy Fawcett on the web post watching this movie. Intend to purchase the below book on which the movie is based.

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Hacksaw Ridge – Review

Imagine that a person volunteers to join army during war to serve his nation and at the same time also has vowed that he would never pick up a gun to kill someone but serve only as a medic to help fellow soldiers.

Such stories of real heroic valor usually die as unsung heroes but it takes the caliber of a Clint Eastwood or in this case Mel Gibson to direct and bring to screen the story of Desmond Doss, who single handedly, without picking up a gun saved 75 lives at Hacksaw Ridge.

Mel Gibson may have had a tough time fighting his internal demons, but there is no denying the brilliance of this man, whether it was Passion of the Christ or the Apocalypto. Like Shyamalan who excels at horror/thriller genre, Mel shoots war scenes like no one does.

Andrew Garfield, the spidey, is Desmond Doss here, a simpleton who knows his priorities and decides to stick to them – even if means narrowly escaping a court martial. The horror of world war 2, the sacrifices of such soldiers along with an underdog’s incredible story of bravery will overwhelm you.

Yes, Mel Gibson is back and thank god for that.

#HacksawRidge #MelGibson #AndrewGarfield #Oscars2017

Hacksaw Ridge Movie

The Salesman – Review

About two decades back, I had got an invite from a friend to attend a Iranian film festival, which if I remember correctly was at Y.B.Chavan auditorium.

The simple storytelling, excellent focus on characters enacted and some astonishing realistic acting left me spellbound. It helped that I remained in touch with two iranian pals, who recommended names such us Makhmalbaf, Majidi and Darius whose masterpiece Leila was one of the movies at the festival.

The Salesman, has deservedly got an Oscar for its director Asghar Farhadi. Two actors, husband and wife, who are forced to vacate their apartment as it is about to collapse, are offered another accommodation by a friend and another colleague who is part of the drama that they are acting in.

However the colleague, fails to inform that the particular place was earlier occupied by a woman of doubtful character. What happens later, reveals the director’s genius of presenting a drama with focus on human psychology, so called values and emotions.#Review #Oscars2017 #TheSalesman #AsgharFarhadi

The Salesman

SPLIT by M.NIGHT SHYAMALAN – a review.

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WOOO !! Shyamalan is back in form..

What a thriller, it had me by the guts throughout mostly due to James McAvoy disturbingly realistic performance.

In fact the plot of the movie is linear – Kevin suffers from DID – Dissociative identity disorder also more commonly known as multiple personality disorder for which there is no conclusive treatment yet in medical science. Shyamalan takes this concept, to another level in a very well written screenplay but it is James McAvoy who burns the screen like no one else did before and keeps you on the edge of the seat throughout the movie.

Kevin kidnaps three girls and holds them hostage in his bunker or hideout. It is the interactions between him and the girls which forms the major part of the movie and what could have failed miserably but for JAMES McAvoy.

There is a scene in the movie, when one of the timid and milder personality called “Heidwig” talks to one of the kidnapped gitls and tells her that he likes to listen to music and dance in his room, which has a window. The girl, whose flashbacks reveal that she was strong and intelligent as a child too, immediately asks him to take her to the room so that she can watch him dance in order to get a chance to flee through the window.

James McAvoy outdoes himself in the particular scene, the way he dances and his facial gestures will send shiver down your spines. Out of all his identities, his 24th identity is the most dangerous and comes later in the movie.

Check this movie out to see a great actor thoroughly enjoy and have a blast at what he does best. Sure to be considered as a cult classic performance post few years..

After multiple flops. Shyamalan is back and Yes, Do Not Miss the twist in the end !