Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ooh La La: THE DIRTY PICTURE is here!

Rating: ****
SMASHING is the first word I had on my lips upon seeing the first rushes of The Dirty Picture's promos with a delicious Vidya Balan... and yes, I am a girl talking about a girl here, but let me make a bet that the seductiveness this chick exudes in the film does fit with every guy's fantasy.
At the centre of The Dirty Picture's plot is Silk Smitha (played by Vidya Balan), an actress who was an ultimate sex symbol in 1980s south Indian cinema. The lascivious star was a sizzling element of more than 400 Malayalam and later on Hindi Bollywood films, one of which was the famed Sadma, starring opposite Kamal Hassan and Sridevi. Smitha's success was short lived despite the wide array of films she left as her heritage, given that she passed away in 1996 at the young age of 35.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

BOL Review: Immersed in Lollywood

BOL review by Diana (Italian Cinema Hindi Blog)

Rating: ****

Bol allows us to immerse ourselves in Lollywood (Pakistani cinema has not been spared the suffix borrowed from Hollywood, taking the first letter of the capital city, Lahore, which is the main stageof the Pakistani film industry).

Zainab (Humaima Malik) is in prison, having been convicted of murder. Before she is executed she requests to be able to tell her story. She is the eldest of five daughters of a very modest family in Lahore. Her father, Hakim Sahib (Manzar Sehbai), is the sole breadwinner, whereasthe family's women remain confined within their home without being given the opportunity to study or tobecome independent, thereby becoming a financial burden. When the family finally sees the arrival of a much-desired male heir, the midwife confides in Hakim and reveals that the baby is a hermaphrodite.

A central theme in Bol is sexuality. In a conservative and repressive society, sexuality is seen as a taboo which often results in sexual phobias, morbid, violent or abusive behavior.
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Friday, November 11, 2011

ROCKSTAR: A Rebel Sings

When Imtiaz Ali's film Rockstar released its first visuals and music, I was taken by expectation. Jab We Met is one of the Indian movies I always end up recommending to friends who are not Bollywood viewers, in the hopes of engaging them to watch more. I was therefore wishing that this new film would bring back the Imtiaz Ali I had appreciated, soon recommending Rockstar to friends I gathered could get bitten by the Bollywood bug.

First and foremost... and beyond any thoughts on the film itself, Rockstar is showcases how Ranbir Kapoor's acting keeps stepping a notch up with every film of his. I have seldom found an actor in India whom I like to watch if only to observe how his/her acting is evolving with each new character. And if there was still any doubt, the camera in this particular film truly says "Ranbir is the guy"!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

RA.ONE: The Next VFX Generation - Review

Shah Rukh Khan's dream film is finally out after much expectation this Diwali 2011.

The story of Prateek, a young boy who loves to play video games and how one of these games is brought to life is a concept that, according to director Anubhav Sinha, was born six years back when he watched a commercial that featured two children using a remote control on a human being. The original idea and Shah Rukh's dream of making a film that would cross all boundaries through the bold use of VFX resulted in developing a script about a superhero that, as Khan has explained, "saves mankind from Ra.One's (a new era Raavan) torment".

Ra.One has mainly created buzz prior to its release not only thanks to its all star cast and star cameos (Priyanka Chopra, Sanjay Dutt and none other than the legendary Rajnikanth) but also because it features visual effects and stunts that are absolutely new to Indian cinema and is an ambitious project that has seen huge collaboration between Indian and international teams. A visible example to the audience is that of the Ra.One soundtrack, which was composed by Vishal-Shekhar and includes the participation of internationally acclaimed singer Akon for two of its songs, "Chammak Chalo" and "Criminal", in accordance with a sporadic crossover musical trend in Hindi films.
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Friday, October 14, 2011


Both films pulled audiences to the ticketsale counters. Both offer solid and modern entertainment this autumn season.

Mere Brother ki Dulhan is a youthful and pacey tale of the search for the perfect modern day liberated bride, incarnated by Laila (Katrina Kaif) who lives to drink and have fun. It is utterly refreshing to see Katrina Kaif as a full-out rebel, even though her acting still requires developing her individual style more as she somehow often seems to emulate other successful actresses of yesterday and today... She is however very commendable in her role and, as a woman, I have to salute her for not being stick thin but still looking fresh and beautiful. Who wants to be size zero, I say indeed? 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

MAUSAM Stolen Moments of Romance

"Mausam"... When I heard the title of Pankaj Kapoor's maiden film, it brought back memories of Mhd. Rafi's "Aaj mausam bada beimaan hai" and therefore images of traditional romantic movies...
Mausam is a love story spanning the four seasons of its hero and heroine's lives: Harry, a Hindu Punjabi boy, and Aayat, a Muslim Kashmiri girl. The first season is that of their encounter as teenagers in a small village of Punjab. As the two fall in love and the audience watches them grow their lives enter season two. The drama and pain of separation makes their love grow deeper as they mature in season three and finally season four sees both lovers come together.

At a time when most male star actors are working on appearing as young as possible and oozing their sex appeal, 6-pack abs, and stunts in action films, Mausam brings back the innocence of youthful romance with Shahid Kapoor who has stepped from being promising to stunningly talented, whether he is conveying naughtiness, reservation or the pain of a lost love.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

AARAKSHAN: Watch with Reservations

Prakash Jha's new film, Aarakshan, touches upon the controversial subject of caste and has done so in such a straightforward way, according to three Indian states (Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh) that they have banned its screening, fearing that it might spark bouts of communal violence. Other measures taken in order to ensure safety in relation to the film, have included providing special protection in certain movie theaters where Aarakshan is being screened, as well as protecting the film's well-known actors.

Aarakshan's setting is in a school in which Amitabh Bachchan, the principal, must face the delicate issue of   caste-based quotas. The controversy started once the first look of the film was launched. However, even if the film does indeed allude to Aarakshan at some point in the beginning of the story, the rest of the script is less concerned by it as it develops into a critique of education in India.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011


Zoya Akhtar knocks it out of the park with her second film. This fresh and full-of-life movie has breathed new zindagi into Hindi cinema much like Dil Chahta Hai did back in 2001. This delicious adventure takes place in Spain and was beautifully filmed in additional locations such as Egypt and India.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

DELHI BELLY: I rate you [like I love you]

'Delhi Belly' might not be doing the due rounds of Nepali cinemas but it sure has traveled to other exotic destinations! Paris and its quintessential commuting work routine had me a bit dizzy this week until - lo and behold - I discovered a silent film release that would force me to unwind... As I scroll through Internet cinema timings at the local French café I come upon the word "Delhi" on my screen... I wonder if a cinema is scheduling an art-house movie about India but immediately see the word "Belly" on the side. I squint. "Delhi" plus "Belly"?! A suburban cinema in Paris is showing a film I never imagined I could watch on the big screen! Abhinay Deo's 'Delhi Belly' has crashed Paris and has me scrambling to the nearest subway station! Cinema hall, here we come!

As I reach the cinema, nine huge posters announce Hollywood fare and my wallet's target is nowhere to be seen. I stand in queue and ask the cashier for a ticket to watch 'Delhi Belly'. The cashier begs my pardon and for a second I ask myself if I should have pinched myself when I saw the film announced on the Internet. I repeat the name of the film and the cashier looks through the list of films currently showing before actually realizing that a film called 'Delhi Belly' is scheduled. I pay my ticket and hurry to find all seats empty, but thankfully, a few minutes later a small audience starts trickling in. We are a handful of foreigners sitting with a merry group of NRIs, carrying packaged samosas and all. The place suddenly feels like home.

Rewind a couple of years earlier. Of all three films Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao's production house was preparing since 2008, 'Delhi Belly' has been the closest to my heart and the expectation to see it never waned even after a box-office smashing '3 Idiots' or a subtle 'Dhobi Ghat'. I had not seen 'Delhi Belly' but yet knew it would be my favorite film of all three. Now is the chance to see if my expectations were correct.

Sitting in that Paris cinema, the small audience gets the feeling we are members of some exclusive clique. A bunch of connoisseurs ready to savour a treat that is only meant for the duly initiated...

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

THANK YOU reviewer says "No, thank you".

Akshay Kumar has always been an actor I yearned to be able to love on screen. Time after time, I watched his films hoping he would deliver his talent as smoothly as I remembered him in for example  Namastey London. One film after the other, I came out of the spectator experience thinking “All right, maybe next film”…

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that he is an unparalleled martial arts action hero and that most of his films are supposed to be light mainstream entertainment. I also know how huge his fan base is and the law of the majority has indeed motivated me to keep attempting to love his work.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

DEV ANAND's HUM DONO: A Walk in the Clouds

Hindi cinema today has its set of glories. Current producers, directors and even stars have nevertheless grown up and nourished their creativity on yesteryear’s Hindi films. The likes of Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Bharat Bhushan and of course Dev Anand defined what cinema was to become and what a son, a husband, a lover and simply a man was all about. Likewise, Nargis, Madhubala or Nutan incarnated the ideal of feminity on the silver screen for generations.

In a renewed effort to bring back the glory days of Indian cinema in all its splendour to audiences today, ‘Hum Dono’ has been released in its colour (rangeen) version at multiplexes throughout the country and abroad.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Unforgettable RANG DE BASANTI: A Retrospective Review

Forget mainstream Bollywood, forget candy floss, forget boy-chases-girl-chases-boy around trees... As adorable as regular fare from our favorites at Film City may be, 'Rang de Basanti' takes each and every member of the audience on a totally different ride and upon each viewing I say:


Last week, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's groundbreaking film was screened before its cast and crew in honour of its 5th anniversary (26th January). Several fans of the film across the world also celebrated the occasion by parking the RDB dvd in their drives that week and I am happy to have joined them.. There is a saying that claims "there is no place like home" and that is exactly how I felt as I re-watched one of my all-time favorite films, not only from India, but from around the world. Yes. This is a film I bought several times in order to distribute copies to friends and of course purchased the special edition with a "gem disk" that features Mehra's ultimate commentary. I could never get enough of it!

For those readers who are Hindi cinema newbies and therefore not familiar with what all this justified fuss is about, a brief synopsis follows the trailer below (purple text).

Sue (Alice Patten), a young film maker from London sets to shoot a film about India's freedom fighters based on her grandfather's diary (a British jailor in India during the pre-independence struggle). She hence flies to Delhi and finds whom she believes are the 6 perfect actors for her film. After hesitatingly accepting to participate in it, all 6 youngsters embark on an awakening journey that will shift their view of their country and will make them act upon it together in order to change a corrupt status quo.

Monday, January 24, 2011

DHOBI GHAT: a personal review of fleeting moments

First things first, I have been an arthouse and world cinema buff for years and had one thing in mind this week: to watch Kiran Rao's debut movie 'Dhobi Ghat'. It had been presented as a niche audience movie, she was compared by the press to  Mira Nair and nothing sounded more promising than spending an evening in the company of Rao's view of Bombay.