Showing posts with label Drama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drama. Show all posts

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Jigarthanda, fulsome

For those who do not know what Jigarthanda is, here's a little intro. Jil Jil Jigarthanda is a rich milk-based drink that owes its origins to Madurai city. It was apparently popularized by Muslim community, there. It is similar to Falooda though different!

As far as the movie goes, it is anything but similar. Unlike the drink, the movie is not sweet. A little, maybe. But it is certainly rich. It is more similar to the dishes that are served in the legendary messes of Madurai - hot, spicy and rich. Meat served with loads of blood.

The story is about a young movie director being asked to make a gangster movie. In search of an original and true script, he lands in Madurai to find out more about the subject - Assault Sethu. On a side note, Madurai needs some serious PR as its image as a city of goons, rowdies and murders now precedes its otherwise historic and religious glory.

Coming back to the storyline, the young director faces many a difficulties to get acquainted to the gang leader. But when he does, the gang leader readily agrees to share his story. Trouble comes when upon rejection, young director's amour instigates Sethu to don his own role in the movie.

The movie then is about the trial and tribulations of the young director and what he does with the opportunity that is provided to him. One of the most important part in the movie is the dialogue between the young director and the old shopkeeper who also once aspired to be a film director.

The movie is again a testimony of the fresh talent that is now populating Kollywood. Karthik Subburaj has served a different fare after Pizza, which was equally delectable.

I must say that just like Simbu, I don't like Sidharth much. But should admit that he has done some good offbeat movies in the recent past. Though in my opinion he still is a limited actor but is doing well within those limits.

Bobby Simha on the other hand is very impressive. He seems to have taken his role in Neram to a very different level in this movie. He is one of the best talents in Tamil film industry, today.

So is Karunakaran. The comedian is immediately likable.

Lakshmi Menon is good. Must say that this girl proves to the world that one doesn't have to be "beautiful" to be successful in the film industry. She has chosen her movies quite intelligently.

Bottomline? Go watch! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pannaiyarum Padminiyum, Possession

This movie will certainly make into the Best Tamil Movies of all times list. Even if it doesn't, it will remain one of the very best that I have watched.

Is it Vijay Sethupathi who is creating such opportunities or is he leveraging them? Whatever be the case, midst the usual hero-oriented flicks, his movies guarantee that we get to watch a flick where story is the central character.

Pannaiyarum Padminiyum is a beautiful portrayal of life of people set in the "other-India". The India where people may not have access to internet and my blog. It is the story of an old Premier Padmini car, and the lives and emotions of people whose lives it touches. The movie is about our love and possessiveness. Even for inanimate objects! But mostly, it celebrates love.

It reminded me of my obsession with our first washing machine that we bought several years ago. After the installation, I sat in front of the machine for the full cycle of washing which usually lasts for an hour. I was so enamored by the rolling of the drum. I mused at detergent in an upper tray mixing with the water that came from the backside of the machine. I loved watching the tumble of  the drum, and the games that the mix of detergent and water played with the cloths. I waited for the final spinning and the machine coming to a halt. You see with automatic washing machines, one has to wait for sometime before the doors can be opened. Those few minutes of waiting felt like eternity. But that wait was worth it as the doors opened to a heady perfume of washing power in the warm misty air.

Now this went on for sometime before I lost interest and found other things to keep me amused.

In the movie though, the old car keeps bonding people and brings more love. The love story of the old couple intertwined with the car is a treat to watch.

This movie could take you into a nostalgic trip of your own. At the end of the movie, I was in tears. The tears of happiness on having watched a good movie. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street, Self Help

Long ago, when I was employed with Twenty Twenty Media, I along with few managers attended a Time Management training program. That was my first exposure to the world of life management and personality development. Before getting into the tricks and tools to manage time better and become efficient, the trainer who was a Russian lady introduced us to the concept of different pies in the circle of life.

  1. Health 
  2. Wealth 
  3. Social 
  4. Spiritual 
  5. Family & friends 
To lead a holistic and meaningful life, one has to look at life as a sum of all the parts. One could also find these lessons in self help books such as Road Less Traveled, Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, First Things First et al. Not that I have achieved any balance, in fact far from it, but just the awareness of the pies can help bring sanity. That's for the majority of normal people.

Based on Jordan Belfort's biopic The Wolf of Wall Street it is about his spectacular rise and fall. It is the story of a man who focused only on one pie - Wealth. Jordan's life is filled with his passion for money and entertainment. The movie can give you nausea.

Is it a bad movie? No, absolutely not. There are amazing performances. Leonardo is brilliant. I loved Mathew McConaughey in his cameo appearance as "guru" who probably "shapes" Jordan's actions.

Once you have seen the movie, also read this very thought provoking article by Sudhish Kamath in The Hindu on "WHY DO our films toe the moral line?

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Darkness, In Good Light

Recently I went to a school as a volunteer. The task was to talk to students there and mentor them. Since it was my first time, I decided to sit with other mentors while they spoke with children. Though I don't consider myself an expert in English language, I decided to help a young Muslim girl with an essay she had written on Joy of Giving.

It needed bit of editing which I helped her with. While reading it, I was quite impressed with what she had written. I can't vouch that it was original thought. But that such a young girl used it aptly in the essay was commendable. Not the exact words but this is what she had written.

"...We often say we don't have anything to give to others. We have smile, which we can offer to others. We have love that we can share with others."

That exactly is what In Darkness is about. The Polish movies is based on true incidents. Set in Lwow, the story is about the transformation of a man. From a burglar and sewer maintenance worker to a man with a noble heart, Polish Catholic Socha agrees to help out a group of Jews fleeing persecution by Nazis by hiding them in the sewer. He extracts a price for his services.

Being a man without much education and sophistication, he is not moved by any great principles. Money is his only criterion to help. As he helps the families, at some point, he under goes a transformation. A person who doesn't like Jews to start with has a change of heart. He risks his life to ensure their safety. He becomes part of his extended family living in the sewers and participates in their sadness and happiness. In this process, he loses his friend. He frowns upon his daughter. He discovers Jesus was a Jew. At some point, he forgets his motive to make money.

But what is impressed me more was the perseverance of human life. Imagine living in sewers for 14 months. When the circumstances force, the human life adapts. In fact, there is even a child delivery!

Out of the three movies that I have seen with similar backgroud, World War 2 and persecution of Jews, this one is the best. The other two were - Schindler's List and Sophie's Choice. They were good, too. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gravity, Death in Space

Death is the only certainty in this world. And we are scared to die, almost all of us.

While everyone has to die their own death, dying alone with no one around you feels more cruel. What if you are let to fend for yourself and fight to keep yourself alive? With all the odds stacked against you.

How would you feel?

Gravity is about the fight for survival of an astronaut stranded all alone 600 kms up above mother earth. A mission that goes wrong leaves Sandra Bullock fighting one disaster after another that seem to be attracted to her like she is a magnet. Does she survive is the story. The movie is brilliant from the perspective of the way it has been shot. Will remind you of the film that is played at a planetarium.

Why are we so scared of death? In this movie, Sandra Bullock, in fact, has nothing to look forward to. While reasons could be obvious, why do we feel for the characters who die a lonely death? Is it because there is no chance of their bodies ever getting a burial or cremation? Is it that they do not get a chance to say a good bye to their loved ones? Or because they probably have no opportunity of seeing their loved ones before life is sucked out of them?

While I did like the film and felt very bad for George Clooney, I probably thought it wasn't as touching the other two movies that I have seen with pretty much the same core - Castaway and Life of Pi.

Tom Hanks' brilliant performance that moves you in Castaway takes you on an emotional roller coaster as he tries to survive and connect with the rest of the world. While Sandra Bullock has just one day to ensure that she survives, Tom Hanks has to find ways to kill his days and also try surviving. From a sophisticated urban professional to a cave man in an isolated island, he has to acquire new skills and keep himself sane. The most touching scene in the movie was when he loses his only friend in the island while he attempts to survive.

Life of Pi on the other hand is spiritual. About God. Yes, it is also about survival of young Pi Patel at sea. If loneliness and sea were not enough, he also has to deal with Richard Parker, "ferocious tiger". He discovers God and himself in his quest for survival.

In terms of visuals, Gravity and Life of Pi are delightful treats. But probably Castaway is more emotional and painful fare.

Death is the only certainty in human life. Be it on sky or land or water, we have to face it. And we have to fight for our lives, till the very end. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lunchbox, satiates

Lunchbox serves a very different meal to film goers used to Indian masala diet. This despite the fact that this movie is like the Maanga Pachadi, a dish made with raw mango, jaggery and neem flower, that my mother makes for Tamil New Year. It has all the tastes. And just like my mom's preparation the movie is more on the sweeter side. The Pachadi is supposed to be equally sour and bitter in addition to being salty.

The main ingredients of the movie? An old widower on the verge of retirement accidentally starts receiving lunchbox from a depressed housewife and the depressed housewife is trying to gain her husband's attention by cooking delicious meals (believing the way to a man's heart is through his stomach). The lunchbox becomes medium of correspondence between the two. 

Before I go further, there are other side dishes served along. There is a young raw accountant trying to get the attention of his manager, the old widower. Then there are two old ladies stewed in pain. One turns into a sugar syrup despite her husband's condition while the other becomes dry and burnt due to her husband's state. 

So coming back, the correspondence which starts as a way of killing each other's loneliness, soon turns into love. The relationship seems like perfect mix of spices, each bringing what the other wants. Soon the practicality sets in and the old widower is unsure. 

The movie entertains in all parts. The interaction between the housewife and her helpful invisible neighbor, and the young recruit vying to get the attention of his superior adds zest. 

Like water which despite not having characteristic but important for any dish, the Mumbai dubbawallas and the local contains the plot. 

But what the dish really delivers is love. Love served to the old man, who otherwise is cold and emotionless, makes him give love back to the unknown lady, children in the neighbourhood and an inept subordinate. Love given to a depressed lady gives her hope. 

Lunchbox is a good fare. Despite being an Indian movie the spices seems to be light. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Udaan, Parental Guidance

Mata Pita Guru Deivam!

This was something that I had heard from my parents often when I was a kid.

Indian culture and mythology is full of lessons in respect for parents. School books reinforce it. There is enough literature and other content which has depiction of parents as strict disciplinarians.

But when in Udaan the psychotic Father instructs his son to call him Sir, just like a junior would refer to his senior in college during ragging days, I thought it was a bit too much.

But then movies are often inspired by life, it is said.

The wristwatch stands testimony to the tyranny that is being passed from one generation to the other in the movie. With your own parents being the biggest influence and with no proper education on parenthood, it is only but natural for a human being to imitate what has been experienced.  

Actually the movie is not as much about the son who suffers, but it is about the father who is caught up with the old-world child rearing. Though he appears callous, there are scenes which have subtle expressions of love for his children. The tormented soul is never able to break the shackles, though.

A very different movie which not everyone will be able to appreciate. Since, I have my own experiences to refer to, I am able to appreciate what has been portrayed.

There are some nice performances. Especially, the tiny younger son!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hannah And Her Sisters, A Mess

Must say, this wasn't all that funny for a Woody Allen movie. Not that it wasn't, but it was slightly more serious but not uncomfortably heavy.

I think when Woody Allen thought about the script, he was under depression and had many thoughts running in his mind. The movie has many themes, each quite suitably handled by the actors.

Hannah's husband Elliot gets entangled in a relationship with her sister, Lee. He seems to have lost it for Hannah because of self-sufficiency and resentment of her emotional strength (picked from Wikipedia). Lee, herself, is living-in with a reclusive artist, Frederick. And seems like she has lost it for him as she doesn't feel equal.

Then there is the third sister, Holly, who is not too sure what she wants in life. She is contemptuous of Hannah despite the financial dependency.

The only comic relief in the entire set-up is neurotic Mickey, Hannah's ex-husband. Of course, Allen plays that role, so you can be rest assured that he is funnily irritating. Now, his part in the movie explores life, death religion and spiritual awakening.

It is a typical Woody Allen movie, albeit a bit serious.

Monday, June 28, 2010

'Crash' Course On Racism

Directed by Paul Haggis, Crash was release in 2004. The subjects mirrors the reality of life. Discrimination and the divide in the society. A strong lacing of Racism that intertwines the lives of all the characters in the movie. Brilliant!

There are these two young black boys who are on the streets to teach the white a lesson. Mugging, car jacking. It doesn't seem that they themselves would have been subjected to racism, but are skewed by legacy effect.

There is a District Attorney who like a good politician wants to keep his vote bank intact. Going an extra mile to ensure that 'minorities' are happy. His wife on the other hand is very uncomfortable with the minorities to the extent that she despises them.

A cop who finds it difficult to get his father, suffering from Urinary Tract Infection, treated thanks to a very unaccepting black HMO administrator. Upset, the cop molests, in the name of enforcing law, a black lady right infront of her Director husband.

The Director, though black, has grown to be accepted by the 'white' society. His wife unable to bear the humiliation caused to her, chides him that he has forgotten his 'roots'.

Then there is this Persian family (not Arab). With a probable risk of their store being looted the man buys a gun. When the locksmith advises him to change the door instead of complaining about lock, he abuses the person only to find that his shop has been looted in the night. As insurance company rejects his claim sighting negligence, he wants a revenge on the locksmith.

The locksmith probably has been a criminal, though reformed now. He is very attached to his family, his daughter in particular. They have recently move out of a bad neighbourhood but the daughter is scared of the experiences. I loved the scene where the father to comfort his daughter tells a story about fairy and invisible impenetrable cloak.

And then there is this black detective who while being successful professionally loses his mother's love as he is not able to find his younger brother. While he is upright, he does make compromise for personal reasons.

Despite so much of intertwining, the plot is very clear and the movie moves symmetrically. I told Savitha after watching the movie that while the movie was good, it wasn't great. But overnight the movie grew on me. Having written a blog on racism, myself, I realized that I wasn't wrong in my observation that everyone practices discrimination, in some form or the other. Our experiences as an individual or as community defines our actions. By the way the movie isn't negative. In fact, it is very positive. It's about human behavior.

Watch it and feel it!