Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Movie Marathon

Internet problems and "a routine" (for a change) have kept me from the blogging world, for what seems like months, not days. The crazy routine apart, I'd been using my internet-free hours as a chance to catch up on a long-list of some must-watch movies and some random ones: The Great DebatersGhajini, RNBDJ, The Accidental Husband, Taken, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire. It was an unusual run. I can't write off a single one of these, except maybe RNBDJ, for the simple fact that it is stupid and has an irritating lead actor! For a very deserving review, see Tazeen's blog.

Ghajini - Aamir Khan is as flawless as an actor gets. People may argue that Shahrukh is an extremely over-rated actor and a rather monotonous one at that (I agree) or that Amitabh Bachchan is all about the voice (I disgaree), but there has hardly ever been vivid criticism of the first big Khan on the block: Aamir, and understandably so. He is not only a commercially bankable star but a critically acclaimed actor too. He was honoured by the Oscars for his debut venture with Lagaan, as a producer, and in the capacity of a director for the classic, Taare Zameen Par while it continues to go places. It is quite natural then, for people to want to talk about Ghajini. The verdict of cinegoers has been "outstanding". It has been declared the biggest hit of an otherwise sombre 2008 for the Mumbai film industry. However, and unfortunately, the script seems to have its weaknesses. For one, it is predictable most of the time; for another, the climax of the movie converts the protagonist, Sanjay (Aamir) with an extremely overtoned body, into a superhero; machismo is a given by now. The accuracy and speed with which he alone fights bouncers hurling themselves at him is fun to watch - as he continues to walk, floating punches, left, right and centre - but hard to believe...till he reaches the man he's out go get all along: Ghajini. This, the man who requires protection by tens of ghundas eventually gives our superhero a fight for his life. Typical.

The Great Debaters - Denzel Washington probably is to Hollywood what Aamir is to Bollywood. So quality is to be expected. The movie is based on a true story of a black professor in 1935, urging his negro students to discover their worth, and prove their mettle through the world of debating. They're even pretty good at convincing you to resort to civil disobedience, so you need to watch this movie for a very powerful experience. The team goes on to argue for equal rights for blacks, coming up with astounding debates, white college after white college, to the point that Harvard recognises the power of the suppressed and invites Tolson's (Washington) cadres over for a final match. From the civil war (where blacks were burnt alive by mobs of white chauvinists) to the times of Obama...

Slumdog Millionaire - Talking of mobs, Slumdog Millionaire raises the issue of Hindu right-wing mobs attacking the Mumbai slums, oscillating a similar response - one of an uprise - from the victims albeit the story of one Jamal Malik. Read Id's and Haq's blogs. The movie just won a Golden Globe, as did A. R. Rahman for his music for the movie. The maestro has given great music for SM, but his genius is so much more evident in scores given in the past, so two words, "Well Deserved!"

Revolutionary Road - Talking of the Golden Globes, this movies too was a candidate for the best motion picture award. The best one won, however. But Revolutionary Road is a very off-beat, unconventional kind of a movie, and admittedly, takes time to grow on you. I had written it off in the first 20 minutes, but I'm glad I hung on. Don't watch it for its commercial value, because its got none! It brings together, Leo and Kate (who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress), for the first time after their eternal encounter in James Cameron's Titanic. Quite obviously, a second epic romance is not to be expected!

Taken - A very good entertainer on any given night. Liam Neeson keeps you on the edge of the seat for the entire 90-odd minutes of the movie. A spy. An abducted daughter. And the French connection! I must resort to some cliched appreciation: There is never a dull moment.

The Accidental Husband - If you've enjoyed movies - and continue to urge for light-hearted flicks - like One Fine Day, Only You, My Best Friend's Wedding et al, then this one won't disappoint. Machos would do better to steer clear!

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

35 comments:

Anas Imtiaz said...

The list is fine...but ghajini sux...i still regret wasting three hours over that!

Saadia said...

O really! That's a first. I certainly do not think it deserves ALL the attention it is getting, but it definitely deserves a lot.

How do we know said...

oh wow! u have been watching a LOT of films. I didnt like Ghajini at all though. Holes in the story of an Aamir Khan film is so not acceptable!

Id it is said...

Good to see you back!
I've seen only two of the ones you mentioned, but i think I'm ready for "The Accidental Husband' in the midst of the frenzy that accompanies the beginning of a new year! Thanks for the link Saadia; Slumdog Millionaire appears to have clicked with movie goers it appears...

Onkar said...

Good reviews. I have seen Ghajini and RNBDJ. I liked both. I find Shahrukh a very natural and energetic actor.

Tazeen said...

I will have to agree with Anas here, Ghajini sux big time. The heroine was so irritating that if she was a real person, I would be rooting for ghajini to kill her, just to shut her up. I did not even see the complete film, left the cinema in the middle.

The Accidental Husband was about as inane as it gets. I mean what is wrong with Uma Thurman, after doing films like Kill Bill and Great Expectations, she has resorted to Accidental Husband and My super ex-girl friend. Oh how the mighty fall.

R. Ramesh said...

hey..gud blog yours...congrats..

Saadia said...

Anas, How-do-we-know and Tazeen, so the verdict is out. You guys think Ghajini was an utter shock. Strangely, it continues to ravage the box-office. Holes in the story? Yes! But Aamir said explicitly that this was a commercial movie he'd be doing after a long time. So I guess 'commercial' means 'flaws' for people looking to find logic. Also, he was only involved in the project in the capacity of an actor.

Onkar, Shahrukh is a mega-star and an entertainer, but he has very monotonous and irritating shades of acting. But then again, that is my opinion.

R, thank you!

Razz said...

You should see Valkyrie if you like watching WW2 movies or if you can stand Tom Cruise :)

Saadia said...

Noted! And I can do more than just stand Tom Cruise. He was my childhood sweetheart, after all!

Saadia said...

Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan rubbishes Slumdog Millionaire. Typical!

Anas Imtiaz said...

A film with a star is always a hit in India. I watched Om Shanti Om, and it was terrible. But I knew it would be a hit in India. Same is the case for this movie. And Ghajini is so full of medical inaccuracies :D

Sujoy Bhattacharjee said...

There is cinema and there are flicks. Guess, Ghajini falls in the second category.
But as log they rake in the moolah, everything is fine.

And what is the LK Advani ad doing here? Ah! The ironies of life.

Saadia said...

LK Advani ad? *shocked* That's google for you!

Saadia said...

Slumdog Millionaire could only have been made by a westerner

Aviral said...

i don't agree with you that SRK is irritating. he's the best in the industry....as far as ghajini is concerned, it was a loooong, boring and unrealistic.

R. Ramesh said...

when u do find time, drop in at global-madrasi.blogspot.com

Id it is said...

Thanks for the links Saadia.

R. Ramesh said...

highly honoured by yr comment saadia..do keep visiting my blog and I have decided to do the same on yours, with or without invitation..haha..good luck friend

Hopper said...

Hmmmm... interesting post... have been wondering lately what the function of the actor is???

How far does the actor grove into the meta (as opposed to the meat) of the movie...

I'm interested mostly in the making of movies, and not so much in how their received... and so I'll ask this question in a whisper...

Would it really matter who the actor was in the film?

Or is it the creative personalities that produce the movie that block out the artistic space???

Do you like David Lynch films (have you seen Mulholland Drive?)

Anywho... just hopping through...

Hope these words find you well...

JP

R. Ramesh said...

Saadia..well, inspiration can come from any quarters..why not bond movies? hahah

exquisite said...

quite a moviethon u got there

i'm seriously not into indian movies... Ghajni as far as i ve heard is a poor ripoff of Memento...

Saadia said...

Aviral, you are an SRK fan like so many others, and that's okay. Ghajini is unrealistic...okay! And what about RNBDJ? ;-)

Ramesh, I enjoyed your blog a lot. And please do keep coming back!

Exquisite, as opposed to box-office meters, people here seem to hate Ghajini, much like you. But then, I am not surprised. Lamhe was a flop, and everybody I know, loved it!

Saadia said...

Hopper, the philosopher, hmm... :-)

My two cents: The actor matters, yes; but to what extent, is debatable.

Bad acting should ideally harm the output quality of the film. But we've seen SRK achieve so much, despite his poor skills. He brings star power to his movies, which almost certainly gift it success at the box-office. But if you're looking for critical acclaim, then I don't think acting prowess can be compromised.

Saadia said...

Actually, now that I've let my genius thoughts respond to your whisper, it seems, whatever the motive of the film-maker, the actor matters to a fine extent - critical acclaim or commercial success.

R. Ramesh said...

saadia hi..thanks 4 yr encouragement..have tagged on to your blog as a follower..reciprocity would be a morale booster..take care..and tomorrow first thing i want to introduce you to my colleague ansar salim from multan who asked why i had no visitors from pakistan..

Id it is said...

...to join the ongoing discussion, actors add nuances to stories that are at times unforeseen by the story writer, and this brings in a twist which adds zest to an otherwise predictable tale. A good example would be Peter Brooks rendition of the Indian epic Mahabharat. The actors brought in a whole new dimension to legendary characters in the epic. Then there are numerous examples in Shakespearean theater where each Macbeth and Othello bring in a different flavor to the story.
...an interesting thread Saadia, and sorry for intruding.

Saadia said...

Haha. Ramesh, it'll be an honour.

Id, yours are of the more valuable inputs, so keep them coming. The Shakespearean example helps drive your point home. I'm awaiting Hopper's reaction, if he/she is still around.

Jadev,India said...

First word about Slumdog millionaire..mobs..Hindu-right-wing? R u kidding me? I thought it was a movie about brutality of begging mafia.I couldn't digest the movie for the only reason that, the poor slum children speaking accented English.I just couldn't enjoy the movie coz of that;it took away the realism of the movie for me. I just can't help commenting that saadia profile photo looks awesome.
-A "Hindu" ring-wing nutjob

Saadia said...

O my! What did I do!!! You seem to be a Bachchan fan, or like-minded, at least.

hfm said...

Slumdog's really good but I think you watched another film with the same title.
I thought it wasn't about love which has no boundaries, despite living in the slums and enduring seperation from his lover, Jamal comes through all odds and goes on the show.
Maybe that's just me watching it differently.
:|

Saadia said...

Seeing things from a different angle, and an interesting one: Oscar Wrap: Slumdog and the Old Dogs

Saadia said...

Slumdog Millionaire, an Oscar Favorite, Is No Hit in India

Saadia said...

I read this piece on the net, and my thoughts went to The Great Debaters again. Interestingly, nobody commented on that one, in this thread. Has anybody seen it?

Rhett said...

I quite liked Sluumdog myself; albeit in what are called 'chiched scenes', reality was portrayed -- be they the Mumbai riots or other issues -- and for that alone, I could respect the movie. But it also succeeds to pull at your heart-strings.
BTW, this is the first time I am reading someone from Pak reviewing an Indian movie. Good to have come across our blog. You are very pretty.