Sunday, August 11, 2013

C'hhh'ennai 'Y'express

(I actually have a page dedicated to movie reviews but since I am not able to write reviews regularly, I thought of putting this one as a blog post)

Today I had a true South Indian treat - one was the lunch at a new authentic south indian restaurant Madhuban that was so authentic that it reminded me of my grandmother seriously (not in the Hindi sense of 'naani yaad aa  gayi' - :p) - her coconut chutney, her tomato paste-type chutney and her dal chutney: yes there are too many chutneys and powders that we South Indians eat :)

The second one was the movie "Chennai Express"...well, I feel so nice that I am familiar with and am able to follow and relate to the most prominent regional languages & cultures of our country - South Indian (any of the 4 states), Gujarati, Bengali. Hindi is of course well known to me by virtue of the push that my family had on me to learn Hindi in my school. And hence, am able to enjoy the sarcasms depicted around these cultures in our Hindi cinemas & shows.

I read 2 types of reviews of this movie Chennai Express before going & watching it - one was the newspaper's critic review which sounded good & genuine & gave the movie 3.5 stars. The other one was a viewer review that gave the movie a 1 star. I didn't expect too much out of the movie because of the following:
- I could not relate to & imagine Deepika Padukone doing any justice with the Tamil accent
- I could not tolerate any movie of Rohit Shetty apart from his first Golmaal (that was a fantastic movie)
- I thought he would bore with long scenes on blowing up cars and other nonsensical things

The movie started on a very high note I must say, especially with the comedy and Shahrukh Khan's acting. The entry of Deepika Padukone was good and funny, the scene was not dragged too much and the fun elements that were put in the movie which usually Farah Khan uses in hers were good like relating dialogues & scenes to SRK's earlier movies in a funny way...were good, apt and unexpected. Deepika Padukone has become a very good actor I admit - I liked her a lot in 'Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani', they say she acted very well and had a good role even in 'Cocktail', I just disliked the fact that Saif Ali Khan was looking like an uncle of the two girls and hence can't resist the movie. Her Tamil accent was surprisingly good and more than the accent, her typical south indian-like hand & face movements while talking were very well practised. SRK's acting and especially the punches with the confusion with Tamil were too good. Half the movie was in Tamil, the clothing etc was entirely South Indian, it can very well be declared as a Tamil movie - the only thing is in Tamil land, they will miss the fun of contexts to the other Hindi movies. I loved the music by Vishal Shekhar, the two songs lungi dance and 1-2-3-4 song - the typical element of the non-stop random movements all through the song was genuinely South Indian. Such a film actually can be dedicated to Rajni Sir and so his virtual presence was justified completely :) The cinematography was good, choice of scenery was very, very good. The only thing I felt about lungi dance is that the two actors were a bit sophisticated for such a song & probably that sophistication could not do complete justice to the steps for such a song!

What I thought was missing in the movie was there was no single instance of the mention of the word 'aiyyaiyyo' or even simply 'aiyyo' :) The word had many instances in the movie to fit itself perfectly well - like for instance when the couple had fled as narrated by Deepika, the instant reaction of the villagers a South Indian would expect is this.

Anyone who does not have a touch or have not experienced a flavour of South Indian culture will not be able to appreciate the film. I guess the 1-star rating to this film is by one of those :) I feel very sorry for the fun they miss in life! The film definitely deserves at least a 3 from my side.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bollywood & us!

Sometimes I think what would it be if there was no Bollywood! (its not cinema, its Bollywood that I am particularly mentioning here)

For a thin layer of the society, it may be just any other source of entertainment and may not be so important. But imagine the innumerable people in our country who are probably just alive because of Bollywood. I wonder how many live because Rajnikanth is there! How many people must have become left-handed just because Amitabh Bachchan is! How many people must have learnt or taught their children some form of classical dance because Sridevi or Hema Malini are! Of course things have changed a lot since the actual 'cinema', but somewhere it is these emotions within our country that make the country special and very different from the rest of the world. Could totally depend on the sheer mass of population that tends to just 'emotionally' admire these stars with no logic. I was named 'Sridevi' after the actress that is admired by 3 generations in our family - my grandparents admire her for the 5-year old girl who played a role in the old Telugu black & white movie named Chanakya (Akkineni Nageswara Rao had also enacted in that movie). My mother loves her eyes and especially her saree look with that long plaited hair - like the character 'Anju' in the movie Chaalbaaz. I obviously like her too - I particularly like her acting and I thought she looked wonderful & her best in the movie Chandni. The 3 stories of the movie Bombay Talkies (except the Karan Johar's) were amazing depictions of the impact of Bollywood on the society. I love what the scene with Nawazuddin Siddiqui closing his eyes after his little accomplishment conveys silently! I can totally understand the murabba story, that last twist was fantastic, my mouth remained open during those 10 minutes of climax :)

The passion with which movies were made especially till about 3-4 years earlier before the cinema took a bit of a changing turn is something that particularly interests me. The passion with which the movie 'Hum' was made. It is interesting that even then actually the difference between the leading male star and leading female star was quite the same as it is now. Probably because at that time information dissemination was so limited that one could not actually find out how old a star was :) I was watching this video of Simi Garewal's 'Rendevous' show in which the Bachchans came, they talked about the accident of the BigB during the Coolie movie and how he was in coma and almost died, he was reborn all over again is what they say. I just wonder how many normal people's lives came to a stand-still during those days of Amitabh Bachchan being in coma! No wonder the crowd gathering before the hospital after he came alive again and went out. A colleague tells me that the news headlines every day at that time were saying that we were losing the superstar.

The legendary movie 'Sholay' - Ramesh Sippy's newspaper interview on the occasion of the centenary film festival said he had made the movie with no violence actually seen. The change of the scene is what conveyed the violence - like the Thakur's story narrated after the Holi song and Gabbar saying 'yeh haath humko de thakur' and the change of scene with his shawl flying off. Similarly Gabbar pressing the insect in his hands and the change of scene with Sachin's dead body :) What --- a -- thought, I felt! What passion! What involvement! And that's what makes a movie legendary it is like you don't make a viral ad, it becomes viral by itself - it is the passion that makes it viral. Infinite number of TV shows even now recollect those moments, mimicking the styles of Shatrughan Sinha, or BigB, or Pran or Rajesh Khanna or anyone - how much one misses of not being able to follow & admire these shows/programs/acts I wonder, I am one of the fortunate ones thankfully!

I love recollecting the suspense of which movie would be played on that one Sunday evening, or which language movie (our family used to wait for a Telugu movie) would be played on the Sunday afternoon after that news for dumb & deaf! I even remember my grandparents 'listening' to the movie 'Bawarchi' on the 'radio' !!! - I am sure some small towns & villages have this fascination even now! The music, the dialogues (arrey oh pushpa!! or 9 lakh ke haar ke liye 12 lakh ke aansoo!! or one of the latest '....arfi'), the dialogue delivery - the entire thing about making you sit for 2-3 hours and make you "FEEL" emotions & the drama that are being played on the screen! - Commendable. And how we all carry those emotions back home and drive ourselves motivated through our lives basis those emotions is far from being logical! But that's the reality, and how amazing is this reality!

Some classic music pieces in the praise of Hindi cinema (of course you can look up for many more on YouTube):
Aap ki nazron ne samjha
Aaj puraani raahon se
Mujhe naulakha manga de re
Kasme waade pyaar wafa sab
Lagi aaj saawan ki phir woh jhadi hai