Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cry baby

Sensitive people don't let comedy come in the way of a good, long cry.

This is because there's nothing quite like crying in this world. There is nothing else so suitable to such a wide range of emotions: you have tears of happiness. of joy. of sorrow. of exasperation. of pain. of even plain old drunkenness. Every occasion has its own set of tears to bawl with.

Sensitive people such as I appreciate this sophistication. And when life doesn't present sufficient tragedy for us to weep over, we make do with comedies.

My earliest recollection of crying over a film is My Fair Lady. Right from the word go I felt miserable for Eliza Doolittle and her scum-of-the-earth bad accent, both fighting a losing battle against the dictatorial Professor Higgins, a man who's money and proper R's made him superior to the world at large.

Then there was Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron; need I say more? Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani were as unprepared for their ordeal as Campa Cola for Coke. Yet they never give up - not just running and hiding but even giving impromptu speeches when the situation demands. Unfortunately, it is all a journey towards giving up. Unlike any other Bollywood movie, the villains here don't die, they don't even feel any remorse nor get any punishment. It was a sad day indeed.

And now there's Wall-E.

The opening scene starts easy enough. A robot is assembling square blocks the size of an ice-box each together. It appears to be a garbage disposal unit; day up, it heads out to the landfills, ingests rubbish, mashes it to pulp and hey presto! - it has a square lego piece to build with. A robot seemingly working in the dumps.

So far so good, the scenario is acceptable to my tear ducts.

Then the director decides to make Wall-E semi-human. I find it, ... no, He, has quirks like mine. He loves the sun. He collects rubbish with the least inkling of interesting-ness in it. He does up his home with that rubblish, and lots of lights to boot. He even has a pet he adores whom he sternly commands to stay put and out of trouble.

And then the art director decides to go grander. And I see Wall-E's handiwork. A building. No, two buildings. No, five... and more.. it's a whole city and rising! Skyscrapers all around, all made of recycled blocks, all Wall-E's work!

There are no other robots, no humans in sight. In fact, there's no living thing save one (the pet) in the world.

Turns out my poor little Wall-E is lonelier than Kim Jong-il at the White House. As an aside, he's as cute as Hugh Grant - and with all the acting skills intact.

Sooooooo... my tap turns on. And things only go downhill from here.

I know, I know, Wall-E's a love story. With a happy ending. And funny situations. I really ought to laugh! But a beaten-up Hugh Grant in love about to die is not a pretty thing to behold.

Anyway, should you meet Wall-E yourself, go to a theatre with a big screen. This one's really larger than life and doesn't deserved to be aquished on a DVD.

And don't bother with taking a handkerchief. Few people are as sensitive as I ;P

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

There are others also like this only...

Being a patriotic Indian, I am pleased to be getting all those forwards discussing about Indian English. It is lovely to be getting welcomed, little by little, into proper usage.

[To you snooty St Stephen pass-outs, for your kind information, already words like ghee, tandoori, pakora, paisa, loot, dacoit and other Indian culture is being exported into Oxford dictionary. Basically, We rOcK mAn!!!]

But I am also being scared ki this inclusion is setting a bad precedent for the rest of the world. The reason is because: Chinese English may also become acceptable one day, no?

Just the other day, I had gone for a picnic to Shek O beach and this is what I found:

I am hoping against hope that "Beware of the stairs!" from the building where I put up, and "No dog fouling" from my road and "Don't Climbing" from the swimming pool we use do not make it to India one day.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Khuda Ke Liye // In the name of God

Khuda Ke Liye comes with the baggage of a thousand good reviews and various critic awards. Naturally, all this fawning makes me suspicious [I mean, Taare Zameen Par was good, but didn't floor me as everyone promised].

So I made no effort to see it till friends sort of bullied me one fine weekend. And as I saw the scenes unfold, my only thought (when I wasn't lost in the movie) was: Unbelievable!

--Can this really be Shoaib Mansoor's first directorial venture?
--Did I really remain glued to the TV for nearly 3 hours and not realize it?
--How on earth did they weave in every debate point, every angle there is on Islam and fundamentalism - and yet avoid turning into a hotch-potch, boring documentary?

Yes, Khuda ke Liye is every bit as beautiful as everyone's swearing it to be. Go see it!

The story revolves around two brothers who start off as a famous music-loving duo. But their paths diverge soon enough - Sarmad (Fawad Khan) turns fundamentalist under the strong influence of Maulana Tahiri (Rasheed Naz). Meanwhile, Mansoor (Shan) enrolls for music training in the United States and falls in love with his classmate, who's white and a US citizen.

Then 9/11 happens and you shudder wondering which of the various victims on-screen has the worst lot. That's all the story I am willing to tell you.

Casting is fabulous. First and foremost, Rasheed Naz mesmerizes in his villain's role - what a voice! His dialogue delivery will convince you about the power of words and the potency of brainwashing.

Both brothers deliver believable, moving performances as do Iman Ali and Austin Sayre, their better halves. No one hams, throws hysterics or overacts - and believe me, there was every opportunity to!

Nasseruddin Shah gives a superb monologue in his guest appearance act.

Shooting aesthetics and production quality are world-class; no wonder audiences across the world are watching.

Music is great / okay depending on what your taste is. The screenplay certainly uses it as an anchor in some parts - and I love the metaphorical scene where musicians from across the world join in on a song. A bit of we-shall-overcome hope variety, but that's fine by me!

Yes, there is some minor (direct) preaching in the movie - but as I agree with most of it (no, not all), that's fine by me too.

Few movies are must-see in my rating chart - this one makes it to the list effortlessly.