hot off the cold press – Dev D movie review!

ok, so i FINALLY watched Dev D, and it was way better than i expected it to be, though i already high hopes. The standard Devdas story has been rewritten to be more relevant in this day and age with wholesale substance abuse replacing the plain old alcohol abuse and a more grungy, seedy (i hate to use the term realistic cause i have no idea) brothel setting for the latter parts as oppssed to the much more romanticized versions in the previous versions. I dont want to go over the story too much, but the performances by everyone are amazing. Mahi Gill broke my heart as Paro, and Kalki Koechlin made me fall in love with Chanda, which is as it should be. The surprise, again, is Abhay Deol who brings out in me a smidge of compassion for Dev(as opposed to thinking the jerk deserved what he got). Abhay is possibly among the best actors in commercial cinema these days, leaving his more famous cousins in the dust in terms of acting chops.

the use of the soundtrack (previously gushed about here), as well as plenty of visual effects never before seen in an indian movie combine to make the movie a very good experience overall.

overall lesson – life doesnt always offer a second chance, but do take it when it does…

2 in one review – compressed for quicker reading

Slumdog Millionaire – great beginning, happy ending, tedious middle parts. dialogue would have served better in hindi, didnt feel authentic enough in the second half thanks to dev patel’s sudden british accent. enjoyable, sure – worthy of the hype? – no. rehman’s music is especially disappointing, he’s done way better. check out music of delhi 6 for something better.

Luck By Chance – driving message of the film is that fortune favours the brave. a quite interesting take on the bollywood movie machine, done with a lot of love by the new generation of one of the industry’s more famous couples. plot is well written though worn in parts, but the performances of the ensemble cast make it work well despite the occasional patch of boredom. watch out for rishi kapoor, konkona sen and the brief cameo by hrithik roshan – oh and farhan akhtar does a good job himself. music is quite good too.

Dashavataram – DLDS* Movie Review

So lately, I’ve been actually going to movies instead of watching them on the TV. One of the most-hyped and possibly most innovative mass-market Indian film of the year is called Dashavataram. The story is similar to something that Michael Bay would make, or at least as close as you can get in Indian cinema these days and it cost a boatload of money to make.

For the non-Indians/Hindus in the audience, the title Dashavataram literally means ’10 Incarnations’ and is a reference to the mythological 10 incarnations of Vishnu. In the movie, it is Kamal Haasan who is playing 10 different characters including the the hero(an Indian biotech scientist in the USA), villain(an Ex-CIA hitman), a Japanese Sensei, a couple of (fictional)historical characters and even George W Bush. The movie is quite long by Hollywood standards, but about average for an Indian movie.

Let’s start with the low points:

1) 10 characters is too many. If not for the title, there would have been no need for 3 of the characters
2) Casting: Apart from Kamal, most everyone else puts in a disappointing performance
3) CGI/ VFX: Despite a huge budget, it was clearly not enough. Except for the first few minutes and then at the end, there is plenty of laxity in the effects department.
4) The Female lead: would have probably been better played by Kamal Hassan again.
5) The Violence: well, you may say, it’s an action film but I didn’t expect this quantity of violence and to be honest, gore, from the movie. But be warned there’s plenty.

Let’s get to the good stuff:
1) 10 characters, 1 guy: great concept, great execution(with the caveats mentioned above). I suggest you watch the movie solely for this performance.
2) Scripting/Screenwriting: Well done overall. The pacing is superb and the overall plot is well managed. Of course, there are some holes and some parts that require a mountain of salt to be swallowed(that’s a pun you’ll get if you watch the movie)
3) Did I mention Kamal Hassan’s excellent acting performance? It was really good.
4) The parts of the movie which attempt to perform social commentary are put together without going into a preachy mode.
5) Someone had to do it. The effort put into such a huge production(By indian standards) hopefully raises the bar for future action movies. This is a great relief since the other ‘hollywood-esque’ movie this year bombed miserably.

If it’s playing in a theater near you, do go watch it. It’s a great summer movie overall. I wouldn’t recommend taking your kids to it unless they’re at least 15-16 years old.

*DLDS = Day(s) Late, Dollar(s) Short

In which I enjoy myself enjoying myself

I ditched the stupid emus and went for This Movie instead.

first an aside:

Dear Deepika,

Wow. just WOW.


PS: if this is the first time you’re reading, i don’t capitalize that much. just so you know how WOW you were, and you are. but then you already knew that.

Ok. let me compose myself…

done. now, the movie. never has such a big in-joke been made in bollywood. total film-fan movie, and i have to thank everyone involved in not insulting my intelligence by having any pretensions of a strong story. i cant find any flaws besides lots of product placements, esp. the brand endorsements for Ms Padukone and Mr. Khan. however, that’s probably all the agents’ and studios’ insistence.

to sum up an already short review: full credit to director Farah Khan for
a) flexing her bollywood muscle in getting all the top stars in on the act, especially the whole filmfare thing. brilliant!
b) staying true to bollywood spirit
c) not letting King Khan overshadow everyone else(something she managed admirably in her previous film as well)
d) making what is probably the first ever meta-bollywood movie.
e) making me laugh my ass off for nearly 3 hours.
f) making me fall in love with Deepika(as noted in the letter above)
g) not letting King Khan overshadow everyone else while extracting a very very tempered performance.
h) giving almost all her crew a scene or two in the movie.
i) remaking Karz in such an awesome way
j) making Arjun Rampal actually you know, emote! (i kid because i love)

Rating(for bollywood fans/buffs): Go.See.Now! Multiple times!!

Rating(for brainiacs/intellectuals/rest of the world) meh.