My Thoughts

Archive for the ‘Bollywood’ Category

Couple of days back I was watching our legendary film director K Balachander (KB) on an interview on NDTV-Hindu. Balachander has always struck me as a person who has very naturally transitioned to the modern cinema and has not be caught in a time warp like few others from his generation. He has been pretty gracious in appreciating work of current directors and has often publicly praised them in the media. KB also was the first movie director who forayed into satellite television. He produced and directed various down to earth, high quality television serials.

His serials had the realism and were never over the top. So that brings me to the current topic, when the interviewer asked him about the current television scenario, he said that news channels are more interesting to watch than the mega-serials and reality shows. I kind of agree with him. If you think, aside from the sports channels and News channels, the rest of the programming can be categorized into, movies, serials and Reality shows.

The mega serials are over the top, hard to believe and mostly a cry-fest. The reality shows contrary to their name has hardly any realism and movie shows are well, movie shows. The advent of reality shows in Indian television has eaten into the primetime for most of the TV channels in India. The shows look like scripted and rehearsed with no realism. They are also sometimes inappropriate and not a “Watch with the family” types. So let’s look at what the news channels bring to the plate. They have the same star interviews, news around the world, debate shows, showcase sports and other talents across India.

To be frank I feel that a channel like NDTV-Hindu has much more interesting programming compared to probably a Sun TV or a Sony TV. The news channel interviews do not use the regular superlatives to introduce an actor, like probably a Karan Johar does on “Koffee with Karan”. The interviews are much more interesting to watch and actually give a better perspective of the person than watching them on a regular entertainment channel. There are few exceptions though like Star Vijay which has much more balanced programming. Having said that I believe that to each their own and respect individual preferences.

But do I enjoy watching a NDTV-Hindu more than a Sun TV? Yes I do and I totally agree with KB sir. He also said that he would be directing another television serial pretty soon and I am sure that he will bring the necessary realism to television which has been missing altogether in recent times.

Super Star Rajinikanth gives one of the most compelling performances in the recent times in Endhiran/Robot

I was able to catch Super Stars Endhiran over the weekend and it was a mind blowing experience. It was fantastic that the movie release in the city I reside as not many Tamil movies make their way to the theatres here. We were anyways prepared to drive couple of hours to watch the movie in Chicago if need be. We reached the theatre about 30 minutes prior to the screening and once we entered the movie hall realized that we were about 20 minutes too late as all the seats were already taken.

We were left with only the front row but fortunately just before the movie began we were able to grab couple of seats in the second row. Thank god for that as the first row seats would have left me and my wife with terrible neck pain. So after that was sorted out, the movie began to a full house with the fans screaming when Thalaivar’s name appeared on the screen. The movie was surrounded with great hype as it was touted as the most expensive movie in India and also brought together Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai for the first time on Silver Screen.

The movie totally lived up to its billing and we had a blast watching the same. Our Thalaivar’s performance as the scientist and the “Robot” Chitti was fantastic and the visual effects were stunning to say the least. After a long time Rajini was able to play a character with negative shades in a movie and his performance was simply amazing at that. Aishwarya Rai did her part well and so did the rest of the cast but this movie was all about Rajini and Shankar. Even the Oscar winner A R Rahman had to take a back seat.

First of all Shankar has to be appreciated for attempting something of such a magnitude and for making it work big time. It’s all good to have lots of money to play with but to make it work is completely a different thing. Shankar has achieved the same with flying colors. The last 20-25 minutes of the movie left us all speechless with the special effects. Shankar has definitely pushed the bar as far as Indian movies go. I am not sure if anyone can ever surpass the extravaganza that is Endhiran/Robot.

Well this piece will not be complete without a word on the brilliant performance by Rajinikanth. It takes a huge courage for a super star like Rajini to act in a movie which has the script and the director at the helm. At no point in the movie did you feel that this was a Rajini movie. After a long time we saw Rajini the actor take over Rajini the super star. Rajini for sure has earned himself more fans through this movie. His performance as the Robot was special and his subdued performance as the scientist suited the character brilliantly. All in all brilliant movie and will be a milestone in Super Star’s already glittering career. As the Super Star himself said at the audio launch, “Endhiran is not a movie but a cinematic experience”.

I am not sure how Shankar or Rajinikanth are ever going to surpass this in the future. People are going to expect a huge deal from the director in his future projects and I am not sure how he is going to beat this success. Sivaji was big but Endhiran is bigger and for sure is going to smash all box office records across India. Leaving all the minor negatives aside, this is one Indian movie to be proud of. The criticism that the movie is tad long and is inspired from many Hollywood flicks is something I don’t agree with. Every director while making movies in such a magnitude goes overboard sometimes which is acceptable.

Every ambitious movie made around the world can be accused of being a tad long and there are always few scenes which could have been done without. As far as the claims about the movie lacking logic, it does not hold water in a Sci-Fi fantasy flicks. What can be logical about a movie which begins as an imagination in the first place? What was logical about a matrix or an Avatar for that matter? When you start a movie as a fantasy the directors imagination takes over and his creative instinct drive the movie, so the sudden requirement of logic in a Sci-Fi movie is laughable to say the least.

The there are the claims that we have seen it all in the Hollywood movies already is something again should not be held against the director. Hollywood has been making Sci-Fi genre for over 40 years now, so any movie made in that genre is for sure going to resemble one of them. That should not take away anything from Shankar for making one of the best movies technically from India. Just compare this with other Indian movies and tell me how many directors have ever thought of attempting anything even remotely close? The movie is a brilliant attempt and needs to be encouraged for the excellent vision of the director and for the compelling performance from our own superstar.

Finally the long awaited Endhiran audio release took place in a grand manner in Malaysia yesterday. Lots of prominent Kollywood stars graced the occasion and the most important part of the evening was that the official Endhiran trailer was screened at the function. The trailer was breathtaking and the visuals in the trailers were amazing. Aishwarya Rai Bachan and Rajini combo was looking cool on screen. Aishwarya was looking much better than in Ravana/Ravanan.

It seems like a movie which will be different to the other Rajini movies and I am very much looking forward to its release. Our Super Star as the scientist was rocking and looks very young. Good news for us fans is that the movie will grace the theaters in September. I am sure that this movie will be a major hit and will be another feather in the cap of Rajini/Shankar/Rahman combination.

My Name is Khan was a good effort from Karan Johar

After the hype generated for “My Name is Khan” by the Shiv-Sena threat and SRK himself after he got detained at the Chicago airport for questioning, I thought to myself what could be so different about a Karan Johar movie? But after watching the movie yesterday I was pleasantly surprised. I never liked Karan Johar type of movie making. His movies are monotonous and his hero worship of Shahrukh Khan often gets on my nerves.

This movie though was completely different from his other efforts in the past. The movie is heavily inspired by “The Rain man” where Dustin Hoffman had played the role of a person suffering from Autism brilliantly. Shahrukh has copied the mannerisms of Dustin Hoffman to perfection and also speaks and behaves exactly like Raymond (Name of the character Hoffman plays) of Rain Man. His repeating of some sentences, avoiding eye contact and also the way he walks are heavily inspired by Dustin Hoffman.

Even though MNIK (My Name is Khan) also has a Tom Cruise sort of brother for Shahrukh’s character, but the similarity ends there. This movie is mostly based on the 9/11 tragedy and one man’s endeavor to meet the president of United States to say “My Name is Khan and I am not a terrorist”. So this movie is about an Autistic Muslim man (Shahrukh Khan) who wants starts off in search of the president of USA after his step son’s death.

The movie on its own was very good and the lead actors performance was very nice. Jimmy Shergil as Shahrukh’s brother was absolutely wasted in a role which seems to have been created just to get the protagonist to US. Shahrukh as Rizwan Khan was absolutely brilliant and has carried off his role with élan. Kajol though doing a good job, has played a character which she has done before on numerous occasions in Karan Johar movies.

The others in the movie are just adequate and do their roles as required. Karan Johar as a movie maker has surely made me change my opinion about his capabilities and I hope that this marks a turning point in his career. Shahrukh also has gotten away from his stereotypes and has tried something different which he had not done since Swades. Overall MNIK is a great effort. Even though the movie suffers from certain clichés associated with Indian cinema, the overall message doesn’t get lost in the same.

I never thought I would ever say this about a Karan Johar movie but I definitely liked this one and I hope that this is his foray into meaningful cinema.


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