Category Archives: About Movies

Did Karan Johar do the right thing by apologizing to Raj Thakery?

Many theaters in Pune and Bombay (Mumbai) had to take down the recently released Karan Johar produced film Wake up, Sid when some MSN (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) stopped its screening for using Bombay instead of Mumbai. Bombay was changed to Mumbai back in 1996. Before the British the city was called Mumbai.

Before proceeding further, please give your opinion on this issue using the poll given below.

Many, including Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, has said that Karan Johar shouldn’t have apologized to Raj Thakery and given in to his gundaraj. I feel he did the right thing. So much is at stake when you make and release a film. The problem in our country is that you will find people a-dime-a-dozen who will tell you what you should do and shouldn’t, but when it actually comes to standing by your side and taking on the onslaught they conveniently disappear.

The thing is, you can either be a crusader or an entrepreneur. For Johar, they can shove the name up their asses as long as they let him run his movie. It’s like being mugged in a dark alley (actually our entire country is becoming like a dark alley); you don’t confront the gang of muggers or try to talk sense into them. You simply hand over to them whatever you have and move in with life. Losing your life over small things is not worth it. People like Raj Thakery and his goons are like those muggers. If they are happy with a paltry apology, big deal, you shouldn’t lose your sleep over it. Give it to them and move on. People won’t even remember this after a few days.

But then, you may ask, doesn’t it encourage them to commit further mischief? Yes. Too bad. We ourselves have made our society like this by continuously choosing wrong governments election after election. Raj Thakery and such are socio-legal problems and they have to be dealt at the police and political level. You cannot expect (and shouldn’t) Karan Johar to leave everything and start a campaign against Raj Thakery just to prove a point. All he wants to do is make films and earn profits, which is quite a legitimate aspiration. Instead of urging him to stand up to Raj Thakery and his goons, people themselves should organize a campaign and show Raj Thakery his true place.

A. R. Rehman, Slumdog Millionaire Get the Oscars

AR Rehman
A. R. Rehman

Finally, the Indian movie and music talent gets recognized by the International audience, screamed almost all TV news channels and people are falling over each other to get sound bytes from various artists. Aside from all this cacophony, I’m not sure about A.R. Rehman, but Slumdog Millionaire did deserve the Oscar. A.R. Rehman is good, in fact the best among the current lot of Indian music directors but as some commentators rightly said, we have had exceptional music directors and singers, it’s just that, previously there was no international exposure for them.

Insaf ka mandir hai ye

My Guruji had asked me to learn this song so I was listening to it while having breakfast. The rendition brings tears to your eyes. The same goes for the performance, especially by Dilip Kumar. Madhubala, his wife, wants him to enter the temple, but there is some guilt inside him and the guilt stops him from coming face to face with god. You can actually see the emotion in the way he moves forward and climbs up the stairs. Great acting.

Ugly Aur Pagli is a ditto copy of My Sassy Girl

We saw My Sassy Girl (with English subtitles) a few months ago. It’s an excellently made Korean romantic comedy about an engineering student and a girl who has just broken up with her boyfriend. The script, the acting, and the actors looked so fresh and innocent. So yesterday it was a big shock when I exclaimed “It’s a My Sassy Girl remake” even when Mallika Sherawat hadn’t shown up even once, while just beginning to watch Ugly Aur Pagli. They have so blatantly copied the movie, frame by frame, that you can make out the moment the guy’s mother (one of the first scenes) yells at him on the phone. We were so put off that we stopped watching the movie after 15 minutes.

Of course there is a big difference between the original actors in My Sassy Girl and the stale-looking Ranvir Shauri and Mallika Sherawat in Ugly Aur Pagly. Ranvir Shauri no-way looks a young engineering student and Mallika Sherawat over-does whatever she’s trying to do. I really recommend that you watch My Sassy Girl because it’s one of the most original romantic film scripts.

I wonder how much the script writer of Ugly Aur Pagli got paid for “writing” the script. If it’s this easy to become a successful Hindi script writer, I can give them 10 scripts every week after downloading them from online script archives.

Kung Fu Panda is our favorite these days

Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda

I accidentally downloaded the promo of Kung Fu Panda for my three-year-old daughter from YouTube and ever since then it has been a regular part of our staple diet of videos while she is having her food. Eventually we had to get the movie and this is the first movie she ever watches (she watches it whenever she wants to watch something on my laptop) for more than 30 minutes. But she insists that only those parts be played that show the panda. The rest of the movie has to be fast forwarded. Oh yes, today in the morning she also found that scene funny when Tai Lung, the main villain escapes from prison because there is lots of sound and action.

Kung Fu Panda is an out and out Americanised version of a Chinese story and that is why most of its characters are slightly funny, slightly silly and slightly philosophical; this is an existential dilemma most of American animation characters go through: they desperately try to be funny, clumsy, and innocently, fumblingly, callous. But all in all it is an extremely lovable animation film.

Po is the fat, clumsy panda who works in his father’s noodle shop and dreams of becoming a Kung Fu fighter. When he hears that a ceremony is being conducted to choose the Dragon Warrior to save the Valley of Peace, he desperately wants to see the event but something or the other happens and he cannot enter the Palace Square. After lots of tries, he ties scores of firecrackers around himself and somehow lands in front of the master tortoise who declares him the Dragon Warrior. Everybody, including master Shifu (who currently trains everybody) is shocked. Nobody believes that he can become the Dragon Warrior, but the master tortoise. Master Shifu had already been preparing five great Kung Fu warriers: the Tigress, the Monkey, the Snake, the Crane and the Mantis, and he expected one of them being declared the dragon warrior.

Believe in yourself, is the central message of the film.

Before transcending to the heavens the master tortoise convinces master Shifu that he will believe that he can turn Po into the Dragon Warrior. Shifu eventually accomplishes that and then Po defeats Tai Lung.

Dustin Hoffman (Shifu), Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Jack Black (Po) and Jackie Chan (Monkey) are some of the Hollywood stars who have given their voices to the animation characters.

The metamorphosis of Po into the Dragon Warrior is not very convincing and this is the biggest shortfall of the film. The great 5 Kung Fu warriors had been training since they were kids and the Panda surpasses them just as Tai Lung breaks jail and reaches the Valley of Peace. In trying to render an American hue upon the characters the filmmakers have succeeded in making almost all characters look unsure and stupid, even master Shifu who is supposed to have reached the pinnacle of his spiritual consciousness. The scriptwriter certainly hasn’t worked hard on the script otherwise he or she should have devised some way to make things look more convincing. Other than that, for kids it’s a great film. Vasu simply loves the adorable Pandai (she calls him like that).