Monday, August 30, 2010

Slumdog Millionaire - Not So Rich

It came, it ran, it conquered. But in all honesty, what was Slumdog Millionaire all about? Yeah, I know that it won a bunch of awards, was adapted from an award winning novel, the award winning director was celebrated to a ridiculous extent overseas and A.R.Rahman brought home the glory that Aamir Khan had only a glimpse of back in 2001. But having heard amazing things about director Danny Boyle and the film, I finished watching it on a Sunday afternoon and was left feeling somewhat empty. Yes, there was suspense. Yes, there was romance. But I felt like I've seen better from the likes of our own Mani Ratnam and Karan Johar.

Now no-one can deny Boyle is a competent filmmaker as his previous works have proved this. Personally, I have not read the book "Q & A" by Vikas Swarup or seen Boyle's other films. So on face value, what I can say is that suspense and brutal honesty are what keeps the audience interested. But that vital cord that is makes the audience feel for our hero, Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), and heroine, Latika (Freida Pinto), is missing. In fact, as Jamal replays events of his life to prove that he's not cheating on India’s version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire", I spent more time trying to digest the unfathomable circumstances than understanding his "love" for Latika. Yes, you can step in and say “It’s a movie”, but, when a movie wins that many awards, I feel it should stir something inside when you walk away from it.

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this film. As mentioned, the brutal honesty of the story and the backdrop of the slums of Mumbai is both visually engaging and disturbing. The director succeeds in using the suspenseful storytelling to keep the mind thinking on how the events of the past formulate to the present. Where the film falters is the heart line. As the story is intended from Jamal's point of view, one can understand his feelings. As they say, love is blind. But beyond a few lines, the intensity in which Dev excels at conveying, is somewhat lost in Freida's Latika. In fact, the emotional attachment (or rather detachment) you feel towards Jamal's brother Salim (Madhur Mittal) is stronger than that of Latika. The children in the cast however, seem to overtake their older "selves" in flawless emotion and raw appeal that is sadly from their own life experience.

It would ridiculous to write a review without mentioning the Man of the Music, A.R.Rahman. Now, I have been in love with since his initial days of Roja so naturally I go into psycho-dancer mode when I hear his music and this one is no different. The only complaint I have is with "O Saya". Was A.R.Rahman supposed to say anything or was that left to M.I.A, who does it well in the unique style she is now famous for. So as I finish up, I will say that this is definitely a movie worth watching but whether its worth all the hoopla it created, that I will leave to you.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Wanna Dance With You..

There are just some songs that make you want to get up and dance.. these are a few of mine... As always will keep updating as I go..

There are some songs that dont need to be fast paced but get your foot tapping anyway. Khushbu from Naattupura Paatu

Prabhas has always been ridiculed for his dancing skills but I dont complain .. :)
Kajal and Prabhas from Darling

I don't know what it is but I've always thought Anushka was super good-looking and talented. And with Prabhas (for Billa), double treat!!

I would kill to be able to move like NTR Jnr. So cool! With Mamta in her debut Telugu film, Yamadonga.

Now I know her outfits can be scary at times but this girl Mumaith Khan can move. She openly admits to always say yes for Prabhas because they have superb chemistry and he's so nice. (Yogi)

I think I should have called my Prabhas collection. But its just he has some really good numbers in his filmography. This is the one that started the Mumaith- Prabhas craze.. (Chatrapathi)

Yes its a freemake but the are soo cool together Salman Khan, Govinda and Katrina Kaif in Partner

Song Rocks but choreography could have been better but still... :)
John, Arshad and Bipasha in Goal

Salman Khan and Malaika Arora Khan.. Hot hot hot... Phew!

Maybe its the surprise in the middle .. Akki, Ritiesh, Vidya ..and SRK!  (Hey Baby)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Odd One..

I have been called this by some not so friendly people on more than one occasion. Whether it was in primary school where I was the only Sri Lankan (and there weren't any Indians to confuse me with). Or when I was the only Sri Lankan that had a below 75% average in high school. Isn't it funny though, how so many people conform to the "norm" just so they don't get picked on. Like I've said before, I practically changed the way I behaved so that people would stop calling me a nigel. But in the midst of changing my own personality, I grew into someone I liked to be. 

One of my colleagues has always baffled me on how much trouble she got into when she was younger. One thing though I always noticed was how she and her friends were never the ordinary bunch. Given that pretty much all of her friends were guys, fights and general boozing up is a common factor amongst these episodes. One of the events she told me about was nothing special but maybe considered odd. However I found it amusing. It was when she and her friends went to play Bingo. As you may or may not know, Bingo is generally a game played amongst the elderly so while they were quite nonchalant to winning a game, my colleague and her associates found it quite exciting to be winning Bingo. I asked her why they went and she simply replied that it was fun. Picking an item you want when you win and if you win, squealing at the top of your lungs! If you don't, choose another. The general atmosphere was simple but still fun. The part I found it quite amusing was when she described an occasion where the rules had changed and an elderly gentleman next to her told her she won Bingo.

Another girl that I went to school with had an acute obsession with Garfield. Now I say acute because you literally walked into her room and from the rug on the floor to the bedspread to the curtains, EVERYTHING was Garfield. She was smart, quick-witted, funny and got a long with most people but it was this obsession that defined her. I know some people believe that everyone has a phase when they are kids but I have heard from this girl since and that's not the case. I remember one time that I had given her a stuffed Garfield doll for a present that my mum had bought from the markets. She smiled when she got it but she left it my place since she was over for lunch. Initially I thought it was accidentally but when she kept doing it, I got the picture. Turned out she couldn't tell me to my face that it wasn't a "proper" Garfield toy. It wasn't coloured right...? I actually had to find this out from a common friend and since then avoided Garfield as a present for her. The common friend questioned why I was still friends considering her behaviour but I guess I found that just to one odd thing out of so many good ones. Needless to say I kept "oddball" Garfield to myself.

But is it really all that bad being "odd"? A few people I know have commented on how bullying in schools are at all time high. The general perception is if you dont do what everyone else does, you are not cool enough. Stepping away from school, the workplace is much the same. Although people are targeted in a much discreet manner. As long as the work got done, everyone is fine. Its hard to find a balance , I guess but one thing II know is that as cliched as the phrase itself is, no-one is perfect and those who care about you will not expect you to be. They may expect more from you than you think you can do. But I tend to find, my family/friends only push me because they know I can do better.

"Pagalodhum Vinmeengal Hoi, Parkindra Kan Vendum Hoi
Kannavodu Khaargalam Hoi, Nannaigindra Sugam Vendum Hoi"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Naan Mahaan Alla - Almost

If you were expecting a feel good film from Karthi, a grand re-entry to Tamil Filmdom by Kajal , or a rustic yet poetic film from Suseendran (Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu), don't. In fact, whatever expectations you have about this film, I suggest you leave them at the door. Granted its not a path-breaking storyline, but in it, you do see a freshness that Suseendran started in VKK and has continued in a different genre, proving that he is a promising story-teller.

The film starts off simply with a group of 5 college goers playing soccer but quickly changes shade to show the darker side of these boys. On the other side of town, we meet Jeeva. A simple guy with a rose glassed view on life and generally sees the positive side of people and situations. Nothing amazing happens during this phase but none the less, quite amusing to see Karthi once again show his flare for comedy while he remains in control to not make a caricature out of his character. Anywho, just as our hero gets his wake up call and begins to see the reality in life.. Boom! Change again. Then Boom again! Before he knows it, our hero's life has no resemblance to how it was. While I don't want to give away the story, a simple way of saying it would be how a normal human being. No radical ideals, no major goals.Just your boy next door, gets pushed into dealing with a rare situtaion and how he this changes him. 

As mentioned before, Karthi is lovably casual in his comedy with his trademark "local" essence. He then switches gear to a tortured soul that is out to get answers. Somewhere along the line, he seems brings back a bit of Paruthiveeran. But still, believable and had almost everyone in the theatre hall in splits or crying. Kajal hasn't got much of a role in this as well so I'm hoping she is still looking some good projects in Tamil too. Jayaprakash however, got the vote from me. Honest, simple and realistic portrayal of a doting father without the cinematic tackiness or looking like a sentimental fool. A special mention must be made about the SCG- Sinister College Goers, who all are apparently newcomers. Each has a part but they put in their 2 cents worth.

Personally, I dont favour movies that have a strong blood quotient but Suseendran succeeds in manipulating the mind by not actually show that much blood but more rather letting the mind fill in the blanks. With stunning cinematography and in tune re-recording, you laugh, fear, cry and be merry on cue to the director. However, its not perfect and I believe there were quite a few dragging bits in the first half but it picks up again post the interval with several scenes being depicted within "hours" of occurrence. On the music front, unlike recent releases, Yuvan was strictly ok in this (I have yet to get over Paiyya/Awara)

All in all, its not your typical love story nor is a path-breaking story. However, it is simple and well made and if you like suspense, then do take a look.

Who's Online