Ghajini Review

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ghajini_hindiAamir Khan, besides being one of Bollywood’s most intelligent actors, is also a genius when it comes to marketing his releases. (Remember the impossible to miss Jaane Tu… hype?). But while JTYJN was pitted against the unimpressive Love Story 2050, Ghajini had no lesser than SRK’s first venture with Aditya Chopra since DDLJ to compete with. Obviously then, Aamir was over-indulgent when it came to the promotional campaign for his solitary release of the year.

The pressure to deliver only increased for Aamir when SRK’s supposed magnum opus, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, nearly tanked.So has Aamir pulled it off once again? Yes and No if you ask this reviewer. Yes – if you expected Aamir to deliver an action film, the likes of which you rarely see our side of the world and a thumping No – if you expected this to match Christopher Nolan’s Memento.

Let’s first look at the positives: Straight off the bat, one must give director AR Murugadoss a pat on the back for the style in which the whole movie has been shot. Be it a song sequence in the middle of a desert or a chase sequence in the narrow lanes of Mumbai, the man captures both with unexpected ease. The action scenes in particular are a sight to behold. Not since RGV’s path-breaking Satya, has Bollywood witnessed such borderline over the top yet thoroughly disturbing violence.

That however was expected. The fact that the leading-lady, Asin, would turn out to be instantly lovable and thoroughly watchable was totally unexpected. Playing Aamir Khan’s ever-talkative beau, Kalpana, she charms the audiences in a way Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla once did and lightens the otherwise sullen mood of the film. Alongside Saba Azad’s performance which was the saving grace of Dil Kabaddi, her’s is the best female debut of the year in Bollywood.

AR Rahman, as is characteristic of him, delivers a cracker of a soundtrack to cap what has been a golden year for him. And finally, Aamir Khan only further proves what a gem of an actor he is. The same man who had us in splits with his fake amnesia act in Andaz Apna Apna, appears menacingly scary this time around with actual anterograde amnesia. While we’re at it, let’s not take anything away from Pradeep Rawat, who impresses within the constraints of his stereotypical 80s villain role.

The only one who fails to impress despite being given a role that changes the course of the movie is Jiah Khan, who is rather annoying to be honest. Also disappointing is the way director AR Murugadoss almost takes for granted that the audience knows how his amnesia-stricken leading man hunts for clues and instead spends all his time developing the love angle between Aamir and Asin. Ghajini , as a result impresses at the start but loses its way in the middle before finally gripping the viewer in the last 30 minutes or so. Given the fact that the director wasn’t impressed with the last half-hour of the Tamil Ghajini, that last statement may not be such a bad thing after all.

In the end, though this movie does not live up to the pre-release hype, it’s quite an entertaining watch for at least 2/3rds of the way. Just suspend your imagination a bit and try not to compare it with Memento!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What the Ratings Mean:

0 – Terrible Beyond Imagination
1 – Mostly Pathetic
2 – Strictly OK
3 – Good
4 – Very Good
5 – Bow Down and Worship!

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Horrorscope 2009

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Personally, I have no faith in horoscopes. But I understand some of you still do. So in order to change that, I present to you the Horrorscope for the year 2009. Remember, if you have a bad feeling about the year, you’re probably correct! Happy New Year!

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Capricorn – If you haven’t celebrated your birthday already, there is a great chance that you will before 19th Jan.  You may or may not find true love this year. It’s a fifty-fifty chance to be honest.

Your lucky colours this year are fluorescent orange and magenta. Well, not really, but once you’re dressed like that, it can’t get any worse!

Aquarius – It may seem like the second month of the year is flying by too fast, but that’s just because February has 28 days!Good news and bad news for those of you who have been trying to get a promotion – you will get more responsibility and work longer hours…only you won’t be financially compensated for the same.

Your lucky colours this year will be shades of gold, yellow, bronze, green and violet-purple. All of this of course is pure speculation.

Pisces – You will be presented with many opportunities to make unexpected financial gains this year. Keep reminding yourself that end of season sales are bad ideas!  True love will come knocking on your door…only to find that you aren’t home.

Your lucky number is the square of 435667 multiplied by the cube-root of 6.34. We suggest you invest in a 12-digit scientific calculator soon.

Aries – Pay close attention to mundane details this year. Brush your teeth twice a day and wash your hands after you use the toilet. And remember, if it burns when you pee, its probably something serious. This public service announcement was brought to you by Just Pazz!

Taurus – You will feel optimistic and vibrant throughout the year. Unfortunately, no one gives a damn. Accept this harsh reality as soon as possible. You will meet your soul-mate in the month of May. Sadly, he/she is already taken. Don’t bother with lucky numbers and colours, this year is going to be one of your worst. On a brighter note, this won’t be THE worst.

Gemini – You will meet an attractive person from the opposite sex on a popular social networking site. A week later, that person will reveal to you that he is in fact a fat 45-year old uncle in an open relationship. We suggest you abandon Facebook at once. 

Wear a cyan-striped, fuchsia shirt  with lilac coloured pants every Monday. This won’t change your luck, but it will at least brighten everyone else’s Monday!

Cancer – You will suffer from at least one common cold this year due to an unexpected change of weather. Your boss will finally grant you that much-awaited vacation…only he will pronounce it as ‘lay-off’. Around the second half of the year, you will meet your soul-mate. Unfortunately this is the same 45 year old uncle we warned Gemini about.

Your lucky colour is white, but everytime you wear it, a crow will poop on you.

Leo – Besides weight gain, acne and unexplained hair growth, you will also make a small financial gain in a game of housie. Do not trust  Irrfan Khan , lifetime prepaid sucks. You will travel a lot this year. Unfortunately your boss will not pay you for conveyance. Embarrassing details that have been hidden and forgotten may resurface this year. Destroy your Xth standard slam-book at once!

Virgo – Plan a surprise for your loved one…dump him/her! A promising money-making scheme will present itself this year. Let us remind you once again that the pyramid scheme is a scam!  If you are in two minds about a particular situation, you’re probably wrong on both counts. The colours of the rainbow, especially if worn together will prove lucky for you .

Libra – You will be determined to make a difference at work with your enthusiasm and optimism, only to fail miserably. We suggest you continue to half-ass your job. An old flame will return to your life resulting in exciting romantic encounters. Unfortunately your partner will catch the two of you in the act and dump you on the spot. Try and avoid Taureans,  they’re going to have a miserable year.

Scorpio – There is a strong possibility of a change of residence after the bank seals your flat. You will develop a nasty rash in an unmentionable place which will seriously hamper your sex life. Be sure to use your ointment!

Your lucky number is the sum of your phone number multiplied by the exact value of pi.

Sagittarius – Finances will be good as long as you stay away from the stock market. A guest from a foreign land may visit you. This may also be an exotic virus with no known cure. A stray hicky will blow the lid off your secret relationship. Pay attention to what comes out of your nose ,your lucky colour is phlegm green

Madagascar – Escape 2 Africa Review

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madagascar-2-posterThe year 2008 so far has been an absolute treat for fans of animated movies with top-notch releases such as Horton Hears a Who, Kung Fu Panda and Wall-E.

But the year hasn’t ended yet and what is about to come next is probably the most anticipated animated movie of this year – Madagascar– Escape To Africa.

The first installment of this series took the fans absolutely by storm in 2005 thanks to brilliant voice characterizations and a novel concept.

The second installment, I’m glad to report is absolutely crack-a-lackin as well!

When we last left off, the New York Zoo Escapees : Alex the lion (Ben Stiller/ lovable leading act), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock, / better than last time), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett-Smith / Incredibly funny especially during love scenes) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer/ Shades of Ross) were still marooned in Madagascar.

Part two begins with their farewell celebrations courtesy King Julian (Sacha Baron-Cohen/ first-rate performance once again). The wily penguins somehow manage to resurrect a ruined plane to near working condition and pretty soon Air-Penguin sets off on its maiden voyage.

An unscheduled landing (read ‘crash’) later they are left stranded once again, this time, in the heartlands of Africa, where the city-bred posse encounters its own species for the first time.

Things seem peachy at first with family reunions and new-found love, but soon the story predictably takes a turn for the worse. And so once again its upto our unlikely heroes to save the day.

But don’t be fooled by the simplistic plot folks, Madagascar 2 is a laugh-riot all the way.

Not unlike last time, the tongue-in-cheek take on The Lion King continues and so do the hilarious misadventures of King Julian, Mort and the penguins.

What really makes this movie work however, is its ability to blend the best from last time with equally funny new material, which is a rare feat for a sequel.

The animation is even more life like and Will.I.Am tunes too significantly add to the laughter quotient of this movie. What we have as a result is a wholly satisfying, consistently funny, crisply packaged sequel, which tightens up the loose ends of the first part.

With at least one more sequel still to come, Madagascar looks all set to join the likes of Shrek and Ice-Age as the one of most successful animated series ever. You better ‘Move It’ and watch this one!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What the Ratings Mean:

0 – Terrible Beyond Imagination
1 – Mostly Pathetic
2 – Strictly OK
3 – Good
4 – Very Good
5 – Bow Down and Worship!

Dil Kabaddi Review

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420px-dil_kabsddiBollywood’s ability to convince the junta that “Hamari film hat ke hai”, is something that never ceases to amuse me. Friday after Friday, the same inane, formulaic plots are rehashed, repackaged, re-released and yet somehow, the audiences rarely seem to spot this. The same can be said for Dil Kabaddi. At face value, this may seem like a very ‘forward thinking’ sex comedy, but if you just take a moment to ask yourself whether you’ve ever seen a multi-star,sex-comedy about polygamous middle-aged couples before, it becomes all too clear that the ‘Hat Ke’ technique has been put to use once again. True, Dil Kabaddi has a slightly meatier script than it’s counterparts such as Masti and No Entry, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a better movie.

The movie begins with a cringe-worthy argument between Mita (Soha Ali Khan) and Samit (Irrfan Khan),over the lack of sex and romance in their marriage. It is here that one is introduced to the theme of the movie ‘Aaj kal hum karte hi nahi.” Next up, we are introduced to Simi (Konkona Sen-Sharma) and Rishi (Rahul Bose), who also seem to be facing a similar drought in their marriage. And in this way,it becomes strikingly clear within the first few scenes itself, that one is not going to witness anything revolutionary in the next two hours or so.

Precious screen time that should been used in character-development, is instead criminally wasted on juvenile, slapstick humor. As a result, characters who could have evolved beautifully in their own unique ways are never allowed to break out of their pre-determined ‘Friends Character’ pigeon-holes. Mita is a career-driven, cleanliness freak much like Monica, while Samit isn’t too far from Chandler’s clumsiness either. Rishi, the dull, uncool professor who has the hots for a student half his age is obviously Ross and you don’t need to be a rocket-scientist to figure out that Simi, who cant keep her eyes off the hot new guy at work (Rahul Khanna), is Dil Kabaddi’s version of Rachel. What’s worse is that there is absolutely no chemistry between the couples and no camaraderie between the characters. When Payal Rohatgi, as a sleazy, airheaded, desperate for attention aerobics instructor, Kaya, is added to the equation, the movie touches a whole new level of annoyance.

Things however, could have been a whole lot worse had it not been for a standout performance by Irrfan Khan. The man steals the show every time he’s on screen, and was the only reason this reviewer was able to endure this movie. For that alone, I give this movie one star. Add another half star for attempting to use theater techniques such as making the characters talk to the camera and for Saba Azad who convincingly plays, the wild-child Raga. That’s about all this movie deserves.

Consider this a one-time watch if words such as ‘Sports Bra’, ‘Condom’ and ‘G-String’ still make you giggle, otherwise run in the opposite direction if someone offers you a ticket to this one.

Rating: 1½ out of 5.

What the Ratings Mean:

0 – Terrible Beyond Imagination
1 – Mostly Pathetic
2 – Strictly OK
3 – Good
4 – Very Good
5 – Bow Down and Worship!

An Open Apology Letter from Ramu…

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My Dear Fellow Citizens,

I know that an apology has been due from my side ever since Ram Bhopal Burma Ki Aag. Mummy-Promise, I had all intentions to write an apology letter but khallas…I mean alas, I never got the time to do so because of the busy shooting schedule of RBB ki Aag – The Sequel (Coming to a theater near you in Dec.2009). Before you get me wrong again, I am not here to promote my movie, I am here for something almost as important, I’m here to apologize for tagging along with our CM Alasrao Deshmukh to the Taj and the Oberoi.

Now doubt me if you may, but I am not writing this under pressure from anybody. It’s something I felt I needed to do as a responsible human being who is answerable to his own conscience. That, as far as I’m concerned is the Satya! None the less, I still need to answer all of you as well. I’m sure all of you must be wondering why the hell was I there at Terror Tour of the Taj and the Oberoi, which, quite frankly, was none of my business.

Well, let me tell you how it all began. A couple of days ago, I received a call on my cellphone. After quickly ensuring that it wasn’t a distributor calling to ask for his money or one of the usual wise-asses who keep hurling abuses at me ever since Aag came out (Yes I have list of your numbers you bastards!), I picked the call up. The nice, friendly, sweet talking girl on the other end asked me “Sarkar ke ban ne mein aap involved the?“. I immediately replied “Of course of course, I was the mind behind Sarkar! Not once, but twice, and if I get support again, I’ll make it once more.” The girl seemed to be pretty happy when she heard this and told me that she would like to meet at the Taj. Now usually, I don’t entertain requests like these, but these days I’m on a creative hiatus (read ‘jobless’), you can say its some well-earned time off for myself (read ‘totally jobless’), also I haven’t had the time to go to the Taj in a while you know (read ‘broke’). So I agreed to meet the girl.

Only when I reached there did I realize that she was not a female fan who had invited me for a date. She in fact was the CM’s Head PR person. Apparently, the CM told her, “Jisne bhi Sarkar banane mein help kiya, usko Taj bulao!”, and she thought he was referring to my movie, Sarkar. Poor girl, I won’t blame her. That was a very hit movie after all!

So you see it was all just a delightful misunderstanding! Now I know what you’re thinking, “Why didn’t Ramuji know about the terror attacks in Mumbai?” Well, folks, do you really think I’ve read the papers, or watched TV or even made any contact with the outer world after my last two movies? I know, all of this could have been avoided with a bit of common sense on my part, but hey, I’m the guy who has made movies like Darna Mana Hai, Naach and Darling! I mean seriously, do you still think I have any sense left in my head?

I guess I have to just admit it now. There’s no where I can Rann! So here goes, *ahem * Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m sorry, I totally Phoonked up! I mean I don’t know what else to say here, I’m like totally Nishabd! Just yesterday, everything was Mast, but all thanks to one silly little mistake, the people are hunting me down as if its a Jungle out there. But as Kaun, I mean Akon sang, “You Can Put The Blame on Me”. Sorry once again folks, I’ll try and be more cautious about the Company I keep next time.

Yours Apologetically,

Ram Bhopal Burma.

P.S. Sorry for shamelessly inserting all my movie-titles in this letter. It’s a part of my Contract! There, that’s all of them!

Mumbai Floods The Gateway

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Nearly four years ago, protesting against the government became the in-thing after Rang De Basanti showed how apathetic youngsters took things into their own hands and started off a revolution.
Last Wednesday, 10 young men stormed into various hubs in our city posing as martyrs. A week later, I’m proud to report that the city has  risen up with all its fury, instead of curling up into a ball and saying ‘Chalta Hai’, or insensitively moving along citing ‘Spirit of Mumbai’. And I don’t mean the Sreesanth-brand of rebelling without a case. I mean, actual, coherent agendas and clear thought.

Today in the land of ‘Hota rehta hai’, something ‘happened’. And I can assure you, I have never witnessed a gathering of this sort in the city before. Well, okay, if you include the T20 World Champion Indian Team’s calvacade was huge as well and displayed similar ‘unity’, this certainly cannot be compared with it. if anything, this was louder and angrier!

I have to admit, I had serious doubts about what a forwarded SMS could achieve. Even more so, when I heard that about 10000 people would be attending this rally. In all probability, this was going to be a circus, where people would shout, push, shove, trample on each others toes and go back home with even lesser faith than they came to the Gateway with. But something told me to give this a chance before I wrote it off. And so, we headed to Colaba, like thousands of other Mumbaikars did today.

When we reached the Gateway at around 4.30 pm, the place was  starting to fill up with a couple of hundred people already there armed with home-made banners and cameras. A few tourists here and there took pictures of the crowd before zooming onto the charred window panes of the Taj and snapping away. Some students from Khalsa College too had turned up, but all in all, the gathering didnt even seem like a shadow of what it had been built up to in the papers. As time went by however, the people started to trickle in. Volunteers in black tshirts reading ‘Enough is Enough’ formed a circle right next to the Gateway and set up a pedestal in the middle, awaiting their speaker. Elsewhere, the junta started their standard fare of ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ and the likes through their broken megaphones.

Witty banners then started to emerge from all corners. While some lampooned RGV saying, ‘Aapne do Sarkar banayi aur aaj ek aur sarkar girayi.Thank you!’ others took a shot at all politicians in general suggesting a possible ban on dry-fruits. Mumbai certainly had brought their funny-bone along today, but the ire of angry citizens was yet to be witnessed.

It didn’t take long for the angry Mumbaikar to show up though. In fact things almost took a turn for the ugly when more people seemd to be shouting Anti-Pakistan slogans than anything else. But as the sun set, the real Mumbai began to rise. As soon as the clock struck six, the trickle of people became a raging flood. Hand-made signs gave way to full size flex hoardings, broken megaphones were replaced full-throated screams, and within no time, one could witness the tricolor as far as the eye could see.

Mumbai had woken up, and it was angry! The crowd got denser and the protests got louder and louder. Things however, didn’t show any signs of getting out of control at any point of time, as could be seen on the relaxed (and proud) faces of those who were posted there to protect us. I in fact had the privelege of speaking to one such unnamed unsung hero from our Police force.

This was no rifle-wielding NSG commando, he was an ordinary constable with a lathi, the kind we see everyday and pass by without a regard. At first, he just made small talk with us about what college we came from and where we lived. But soon, he told us about how he was posted outside the Taj for four straight days, about how the stench inside the Taj was so unbearable now that even he didnt have the courage to go inside anymore, about how he and his fellow men took on the AK-47 wielding terrorists with their lathis and lived to tell it, and how he wished he was suitably armed to at least take one of them down. The man had neither age, nor the odds in his favour, but he was there, and he was not complaining! And for that I salute him with as much respect as I would salute an NSG commando.

By the time we began to wade through the crowd to make our way out, the protests had a reached a crescendo. There were in fact more people going in than coming out. Those who couldn’t go inside were perched atop trees and lightpoles and some even hanging out of their balconies and terraces! And this was the scene more than half the way to Churchgate station.

I don’t know whether we created history today, or whether this will be the beginning of a change that will shape this nation. I don’t know if this random, mish-mash account of my experience makes a difference to anyone. But for once, I feel like I’m a part of something that might just work. In fact with the elections around the corner, anything is possible. For now though, all I can say is ‘Kudos Mumbai!’And lets hope for the best.

A Death I Shall Not Mourn!

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You lie motionless
As the people gather around you,
Unable to comprehend
That you will not rise again,
And walk,
And run,
And fly,
Before your raw wounds
Have a chance to heal.

Hoping against hope,
That you will shake it off
And move ahead,
So fast,
That everything behind you
Will seem like a blur.

Until they realize,
That this is truly
The end of the road.

That you have gone away,
Never to come back.
Not today,
Not tomorrow,
Never!

That your time has ended,
That you are No more.

The acidic tears
Scar their faces,
As they bid a final goodbye to you.

While I laugh over your death,
Remorselessly.
Good Riddance!