Skip to content

FR 10 – Samar Khan’s SHAURYA (2008) – “A Few Good Men” in Kashmir

May 2, 2009

Mad Professor Marks: 7 out of 10

Ok, yes, this is a remake, originality is truly scarce in Bollywood, but then again, at least it is a remake which turned out to be a truly good film.

“Shaurya” is Hindi for “valour”. SHAURYA, Samar Khan’s second film,  revolves around the lives of two close friends, Maj. Siddhant Chaudhary (Rahul Bose) and Maj. Aakash Kapoorboth (Javeed Jaffrey), both lawyers in the Indian army. Aakash’s future father-in-law puts him onto a prestigous case in Kashmir to boost his career and Siddhant talks his friend into getting posted there with him. As it turns out the ambitious Aakash becomes the prosecutor and the easy-going Siddhant the defender of Capt. Javed Khan (Deepak Dobriyal) who is accused of having killed his commanding officer.

Siddhant gets into trouble on the very first day when he gets fooled into giving away confidential data by journalist Kavya (Minissha Lamba) who boldly uses it to make news. For that Siddhant not only receives a serious blasting from the superior authorities, Kavya also made him realize that a human life lies in his hands and he has not even researched the case thoroughly. This is the beginning of a change in Siddhant’s personality which creates a certain distance to former best friend Aakash and ultimately leads him to a court showdown with Brigadier Pratap (Kay Kay Menon), a highly decorated officer with a narcissistic obession for power. What makes things even more difficult is that the accused Captain remains silent.

The stunning performances by Kay Kay Menon and Deepak Dobriyal and good performances by Rahul Bose (MR. AND MRS. IYER, TAHAAN, BEFORE THE RAINS, DIL KABADDI) and Javeed Jaffrey go hand in hand with a solid direction.

Advertisements

FR 9 – Yash Raj’s RAB NE BANA DI JODI (2008) – Small town Serenade

May 2, 2009

Mad Professor Marks: 6.5 out of 10

Woah! Never ever could have imagined that I am rating a Sharukh Khan movie higher than an Aamir Khan-starrer! Anyway, as in 2007 both had a really good film in the theatres (TAARE ZAMEEN PAR and CHAK DE!), Dec 2008 brings us Aamir all biceps and SRK in a highly emotional romcom directed/written by Aditya Chopra with lyrics by Jaideep Sahni. This film produced by Yash Chopra is a typical Yash Raj production supplying high-pitched emotions for nearly 3 hrs. Sharukh Khan was reportingly quite nervous before the release, not surprising if one considers this not a cool and hip flick like Dhoom 1 & 2 or Golmaal 1 & 2. It is rather an old-fashioned film about shy and introverted husband who finally succeeds in winning the heart of his wife Taa. Austrian friends of mine saw it and were delighted “that such movies are still made”. You will either love it or hate it!

SRK is shy, introverted, and kind-hearted Suri “I work for Punjab Power”, a nerd and clerk par excellence. By matter of circumstances Suri and Taani (newcomer Anoushka Sharma), the pretty daughter of his former professor end up getting married in an arranged marriage according to her father’s last wish and arrive after a hasty wedding at Suri’s ancestral home in Amritsar.   While his good nature leads Suri to treat her with exceptional care and patience, he is too shy to express his feelings. Suri’s best friend, a barber called Bobby (VINAY PATHAK!!!) functions as a comic sidekick and does so very well.

As Taani starts taking dance classes, Suri takes help from his friend Bobby to become an all-new and cool bigmouth Raj, Taani’s dance partner.

RNBDJ is definitely a film for the villages, for the big masses of India and less for the hip urban crowds of colleges and IT companies. It mirrors a lot of Indian traditional values and culture and takes you on a colorful rollercoaster ride of typical Yash Raj entertainment. At the Box Office it did exceedingly well.

All in all an ok-experience.

FR 8 – A WEDNESDAY! (2008) – Naseeruddin Shah’s bomb threat

May 2, 2009

Mad Professor Marks: 7 out of 10

After 12 yrs the duo Anupm Kher and Naseeruddin Shah  returns to the screen, here with Anupam Kher as an about-to-retire Police Commissioner narrating a sequence of events that unfolded on a particular Wednesday and with Naseeruddin Shah being a calm and dignified terrorist having placed five bombs at sensitive places all over Mumbai on just that very Wednesday.

Neeraj Paney’s debut as director/writer is one of the several films which came out of the Bollywood film industry in the last three years and is so atypical for everything Bollywood stands for. A WEDNESDAY! does not only prove that there are young filmmakers creating intelligent and engaging  films but also that there is an audience for these breed of flicks out here!

Must-see!

FR 7 – TAHAAN (2008) – A boy with a grenade

May 2, 2009

Mad Professor Marks: 6.5 out of 10

Santosh Sivan is a filmmaker of int. reputation having received much critical acclaim overseas for THE TERRORIST (1999) and BEFORE THE RAINS (2007). Coming from a cinematographer background with nearly 40 feature films incl. Aishwara Rai-starrer BRIDE & PREJUIDICE (2004), DIL SE… (1998) and ROJA (1992) to his credit, the now-director, cinematographer, writer, producer returns with TAHAAN to a genre which he has already explored and mastered 1997 in his directorial debut HALO – the children film. While HALO’s aesthetic sensitivity and the authenticity and simplicity displayed in performance, direction & story put Sivan on the world map next to Iranian master Majid Majidi, TAHAAN explores the life of the young boy Tahaan (Purav Bhandare) in the mountains of Kashmir where he gets entangled in a net of military forces, poverty and terrorism. Sivan has succeeded in capturing the film’s world through the eyes of the young innocent boy and it all starts when Tahaan’s mother is forced to sell all her belongings, jewellery as well as the family’s donkey Birbal who was given to Tahaan by his father. Tahaan’s father is missing due to unknown reasons since several years. Tahaan’s mother is unable to speak and the film does not tell us if this physical handicap is a result of losing her husband or if she is dumb by birth. Tahaan sets out on a journey to bring his donkey back. Letting the donkey given by the father go out of his life, would be like giving up the hope that his father will ever return…

The film premiered at Cannes and features a solid cast including Rahul Bose, Anupam Kher, Sarika, Rahul Khanna and Victor Banerjee.  Although it offers a point of view on the Kashmir conflict not yet seen on the screen, the filmmaker sometimes seems too consciously try to create an artistic masterpiece, so that the narrative did not flow as natural and effortlessly engaging as with HALO or Majid Majidi’s CHILDREN OF HEAVEN.

FR 6 – GHAJINI (2008) – Hair Style & Six Packs

February 28, 2009

Mad Professor Marks: 5 out of 10

Hindi-Film GHAJINI (2008) is the remake of South Indian film GHAJINI (2005) which again is loosely based on Christopher Nolan’s dark master piece MEMENTO (2000). For those who have seen Christopher Nolan’s film and appreciated its brilliantly structured clockwork of flashback-dramaturgy, please do not compare the two film, it is simply not possible.

Aamir Khan spent one year working out in the gym to display his six packs at carefully designed parts of the film (all the time) as he is super-rich, handsome but unfortunately brain-damaged Sanjay Singhania who suffers from anterograde amnesia, which he contracted from severe head trauma during an attack with a metal rod. This renders his brain unable to store new memories. Formerly the CEO of one of India’s largest Telecom firms, he is now dependent on a system of notes, polaroid photos and messages tatooed on his body, to get through the day and most of all to accomplish to revenge the death of his murdered bride-to-be Kalpana (South Indian actress Asin).

Read more…

FR 5 – DASVIDANIYA (2008) – The Comedy of Bureaucrats

February 28, 2009

Vinay Pathak as Amar Kaul

Mad Professor Marks: 7 out of 10

Vinay Pathak is an actor to be looked out for. After starting off as a VJ and acting in films like WATER,  KHOSLA KA GHOSLA or Yash Raj’s AAJA NACHLE,  he performed his first main role in the comedy hit BHEJA FRY (2007). Now he is back with DASVIDANIYA, an introspection into the world of bosses and clerks, office tables and pencil sharpeners, oppression and conformance. Vinay Pathak is Amar Kaul, a 37-year old acounts manager, a man people do not notice, would hardly be able to recognize on the street after working in the same company for most of their life. In work he gets bullied by boss Dasgupta (Saurabh Shukla) and at home he takes care of his partially deaf mother (Sarita Joshi).

Read more…

FR 4 – Married to a Dog – Shyam Benegal’s WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR (2008)

January 22, 2009

Mad Professor Marks: 7 out of 10

Young woman Vindhya Pannawali (Divya Dutta) is dressed up as a bride and seated next to the holy fire. A marriage ceremony is about to begin and its purpose is to neutralize Vindhya’s bad karma/luck/whatever as her mother is obsessed with the idea that her daughter is amangla/unlucky. Thoroughly humiliated Vindhya argues with her mother Ramsakhi Pannawali (terrific Ila Arun) how she can do this to her. As the groom arrives, a small white saturday-born dog wearing a golden turban and a light-brown dhoti, unnerved Vindhya runs away and we witness a marvelous scene as the superstitious mother holding the groom in her arms plus the entire marriage party chases her through the streets of Sajjanpur.

Read more…