Sunday, February 24, 2008

Desi craze: always make an evening of it

There might come an unfortunate time in one's life when one might behold a sight so ghastly or have an experience so traumatic that you know that it will take a lifetime of therapy and prayers to restore you to the whole being that you once were. For me last night, it was sitting down to watch Jhoom Baraber Jhoom

I had sworn after seeing the preview that I was not going to watch the movie come what may but when you borrow Indian movies online from a company like Desicompany, you are typically at their mercy when it comes to what they include as your free flick. Thus, I opened my package to find that they had deigned to provide me with the opportunity to waste almost two hours of my life on this film. I cannot even begin to describe the waste of acting real estate that this movie was.
I mean, what was Abhshek thinking? And what did Preity Zinta imagine was going on? And I don't know what Hindu deity I have to call on for divine intervention because I need someone to explain in great detail what Amitabh Bachan was doing in the general geographical location of where the film was being shot. What went wrong at Yashraj Productions? If they were trying to give an inexperienced writer and producer a chance at the big time, I applaud the thinking but to waste all that money on such a poorly constructed script and an even worse off combination of acting was a bad business investment if I ever saw one. At least, I was sure no Nigerian filmmaker, even on their least budget would have come up with this and that made me feel so much better.

The night was however salvaged by Shahrukh Khan. Now, I am not necessarily one of his greatest fans as I consider him a more commercial actor than an artistic and diversified one. But he came and made my night in Chak De, the feel good and inspirational movie about the Indian women's hockey team.

The cast is refreshingly unknown and earthy. The music was wonderful and the suspense in the game scenes were just appropriate that even though I had a good idea how the movie was supposed to end, the plot took me on a few turns that made me think that maybe my assumption was wrong. I wished I could have met the characters in real life and at one point the ridiculous thought popped into my head that maybe, I could join a sports training camp. Then after seeing what they had to go through, I changed my mind. I think I am going to watch it again. SRK was amazing but most of all, so where the girls who made up the cast of the hockey team. I did not even know that there were oriental looking people of Indian citizenship....shows you how much I know about the country.

Then I finished up the night (or morning) with Rani Mukerji in a movie that touched so close to home in its simplicity and honesty that I was near moved to tears. No, the movie was not soo great but the story, i understood implicitly of a family where the man lives in the misplaced glory of his past and the wife is left to shoulder the burdens of keeping up appearances. I understood implicitly the daughter who flees to the city in search of a means to save her family from ruin and in the process herself is led to self ruin in a society that does not care that it rips its underdog to pieces while it indulges itself. And the hypocritical and pretentious image it projects.

No, this movie will win no awards no break in no new ground as far as contents go. The story is too familiar and has been well played out b4 but it was still a delight to watch
I have loved Rani since Chori Chori and will continue to do so. The cast was well selected and once again, I was reminded of why I am no longer watching anything Aishwarya Rai-Bachan does since she married the man of my dreams, Abhishek.

It was a good night.

Jhoom: Don't even waste your time or that of your enemy if you have one. G-

Chak De: you might find that you want a copy on DVD. B+

Laaga Chaunari: You should see it. C+

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Post medical woes

After an entire week of eratic health issues, I was able to sit up to immerse myself once again in public media and television was one of my first treats. Last night, I sat and watchedmovies on cable. Back to back.

One was "Bernard and Doris" a fable created out of the controversial relationship between Doris Duke, one time richest woman in the world and her irish born butler, Bernard Lafferty.
The movie starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes was aired on HBO and with most things that network produces, I told myself that I was not going to miss this. Plus its trailer indicated that it would be my kind of flick and so propped up on the reclining chair and unsuccessfully trying to shut out other sounds, I took a deep breath and began my plough through the movie.

And a plough it was. It started off slow and had I not had a complete and utter devotion to Sarandon and anything she touches, my sock clad feet would have hobbled my exhausted frame away from the living room or my finger would have pressed the forward button to change the channel. Somehow, the director/ writer/whoever-was-responsible-for-the-whole-shebang-in-the-first-place decided early enough what direction the movie was to take and I found myself sitting through to the end.
Sarandon playes Doris Duke, the woman who inherited from her father at the age of thirteen in the early 21st century a fortune totalling close to 100 million in wealth and assets and the film takes place at around the last stage of her life, in her late seventies, when Lafferty is introduced into her life as her butler. This man whose intentions, past and sexuality is debatable to the very end, suddenly rises through the ranks to become her most trusted confidante, so much so that she choses him as a travelling companion on one of her endless worldwide trips that takes up to a year. Upon her death, he is made trustee of her fortune and at the end of the film, you cannot help but ask if that was his intention afterall.
The film shows their relationship completely different from what was actually reported in the press at the time of her death with Lafferty being portrayed as a more siniterious character. Most of scenes were in her home and thus the cast was not expansive but enough to give you some idea of how the woman lived in a world where she trusted no one and where everyone and everything had its price.
Not too bad a flick to see. If it had come out in the theatres, it would have tanked and so HBO was as brilliant ever to present it free on cable. I'd see it again, after I am through with my homework or something.
Grade: C+. I mean, Sarandon is in it and her wardrobe is gorgeous.