Dhoom 3 Review

 

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Review of 2013 Bollywood Film Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya and Starring Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra and Katrina Kaif. Link Here: http://ourvadodara.in/dhoom-3-review-2

 

Om Puri, Juhi Chawla Hit It Big – To Work With Oscar Winner Helen Mirren In Spielberg Produced ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’

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Actor Juhi Chawla

Bollywood has been even more welcoming towards foreigners in the past few years. No doubt, high-budget mainstream Bollywood films have always been fetishistic towards foreign flesh, usually white guys from any corner of the world (‘if you’re fair and lovely, you are right. Foreigner and white? Even better!’), be it Germany or France or America or Russia or Poland or Chzekhoslovakia. A German friend of mine told me once his two buddies were approached by a casting director while on a trip to Mumbai. Too bad they chose to sleep at the wrong time – it would’ve been the best mememto ever once they returned to Munich.

 

Anyway, speaking about the contribution of foreigners in Indian cinema, notable names pop to mind (some are part-Indian): the shimmering, sexy item girl (although the term ‘performer’ would be more appropriate in her case), diva, vamp, the evergreen Helen, the daring action heroine Mary Evans, popularly known as ‘Fearless Nadia’, Salman’s former flame, the plastic beauty who’s sometimes pretty, Miss Katrina Kaif, the bubbly American dancing queen Lauren Gottlieb, who won the fifth season of the reality show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, shone in a Remo De’Souza film titled ‘ABCD’ and then came runners-up in ‘Jhalak Dikhla Ja’, the desi Dancing with the Stars (in which she was the contestant! I still couldn’t digest this part – didn’t anyone peruse her profile?), straight out of Barbie’s factory Elli Avram, a Swedish Green actress who first snagged a role in the mediocre Mickey Virus (and didn’t amount to much) and then entered Bigg Brother’s Indian counterpart Bigg Boss (and spent her days quietly until her eviction after a considerable time; guess the ‘If you’re silent in a reality show, you’re useless’ rule doesn’t apply to firangi babes), to name a few: “Phew!”.

 

Lesser known facts: Prem Sanyas, a silent film on the life of Gautam Buddha made in 1925 was directed by Franz Ozten, a German director. Well-known fact: stars like Shahrukh Khan, Manoj Bajpai and (disgraced has-beens like) Shiney Ahuja got their training under Barry John, a British theater director and actor who’s established his acting studio in Mumbai. Another British actor, Jennifer Kendal married Shashi Kapoor and acted with him in a number of films and also without him in a few memorable ones like 36 Chowringee Lane.

 

Dutch actress Sippora Zoutewelle chose an alternate path by opting for television serials over films. She now plays the lead role of (Take a guess. There’s 96% probability you’ll get it right) a firagi bahu in an Indian family; the serial’s also titled ‘Firangi Bahu’ and is currently running on Sahara One (my advice: if its foreigners you want to see, you better watch them in better things. Oh well, you’re never gonna listen, are you?). Alexx O’Nell, ex-husband of television starlet Shweta Keswani also has a good track record: an opportunity to shake a leg at ‘Nach Baliye’, a few films both in Bollywood and in the South (saw a poster featuring him during my internship at a Chennai multiplex) and now a role in Jhansi Ki Rani.

The whites (be it American or Russian or even a Swede) are usually kept to play baddies who’re more than willing to humiliate ‘those bloody Indians’ and grab their land, or to learn some Indian dance moves and perform as backup dancers (who remain absent for the rest of the film, and so you’ll basically watch a movie set entirely in India that’s sporadically invaded by white men and women turning out of nowhere during song and dance sequences). African-American actors are usually seen less; the last time I remember seeing one was in Fukrey where the guy played a boneheaded henchman. A couple of films give surprisingly meatier, more layered roles to foreign actors. For example, the character of Sue in Rang De Basanti doesn’t just play Aamir Khan’s love interest but is also a pivotal force for furthering the plot; in the film, she plays a director who comes to India to shoot a film on the life of Bhagat Singh. I also loved Mehdi Nebbou’s performance in English Vinglish because he’s given an actual, truthful character to portray, something foreigners seldom get in Bollywood.

 

Now, the East also has a few achievements to boast of. We’ve had esteemed actress Shabhana Azmi working alongside legendary Shirley Maclaine in Madame Sousatzka. We’ve seen Amrish Puri as a demonic thuggee opposite Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Irrfan Khan and Tabu played husband and wife in Meera Nair’s The Namesake as well as Ang Lee’s Oscar winning Life of Pi. Dev Patel and Freida Pinto became a household name after their appearance in Slumdog Millionaire; Pinto has gone on to work with the likes of Woody Allen, Michael Winterbottom and Tarsem Singh, while Patel has worked in Shyamalan’s disastrous The Last Airbender and John Madden’s charming The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. And Roger Ebert was so bewitched by Aishwaria Rai’s beauty in The Mistress of Spices and Bride and Prejudice that he called her the ‘most beautiful woman on the planet’ in both his reviews. It should be noted that a number of foreign films featuring Indian actors in major roles are usually made by Indian-origin directors. Indians rarely get the best parts, and the only way they can gain recognition is by shining in supporting roles or working with an Indian-American/British director. Archie Punjabi did a wonderful job in ‘The Good Wife’ and deserved the Emmy she won in 2010. Now we wait to see whether an Indian’s talented or lucky enough to win the Oscar (i.e. in the acting categories. We’ve already seen Bhanu Athaiya, A.R. Rahman and Satyajit Ray honored with the ‘naked glimmering golden guy’ for Costume Design, Original Music and Lifetime Achievement Respectively)…

 

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Actor Om Puri

Well, it could happen next year. Oscar winning British actress Queen Elizabeth II, oh I mean Helen Mirren, is going to team up with Manish Dayal, Om Puri and Juhi Chawla for the film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’, based on Lasse Hallstrom’s novel of the same name. The film is about a displaced Indian family settled in the village in France which decides to open up an Indian restaurant just hundred feet across the street from a Michelin-star French restaurant. Om Puri has already worked in foreign productions such as East Is East, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Code 46 and British Television dramas ‘White Teeth’ and ‘Second Generation’, while Manish Dayal has done guest appearances as well as played recurring characters in shows like 90210 and Rubikon. Juhi Chawla, on the other hand, is working for the first time in a Hollywood film. Fortunately, she may have a strong team to back her up. This includes not just the cast, but also the producer and director. Lasse Hallstrom, the director, has made a number of music videos for ABBA. His achievements in cinema include ABBA: The Movie (duh!), What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules, Chocolat, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, Salmon Fishing in The Yemen and (the poorly made) Safe Haven. The producers are big: there’s TV mogul Oprah Winfrey, Hollywood royalty Steven Spielberg and billionaire Indian business tycoon Anil Ambani. Here are a couple of things spoken about the film: Om Puri speaks of his experience working with Helen Mirren. He says he ‘fell on his knees (when Mirren entered) in front of her and confessed he was a fan’. He also speaks of his satisfaction watching the film’s rushes. Manish Dayal, who plays the protagonist Hassan Haji, hasn’t made a statement about the film yet.

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Hundred Foot Journey’s Producer Oprah Winfrey (left) along with British acting icon Helen Mirren

Whatever the outcome, its still a welcoming change to see collaborations that transcend national, cultural, ethnic boundaries and stereotypes slowly slipping away. I don’t usually appreciate films which stamps traits on characters based on their nationality. Not every Russian is a cold-blooded Commie with ties to the Mafia. Not every African American has to be cantankerous and oafish. Indians aren’t always doctors or scientists, and not everybody is unsporting towards ethnic jokes; many urban Indians in fact can handle jokes at their expense. And not all Americans and Englishmen are racists and white supremacists.

 

 

Bullett Raja Review

Bullett_raja-207x300My latest job for the site ourvadodara.in. Click the following link to read my review of 2013 Bollywood Film ’Bullett Raja’, AThigmanshu Dhulia Film Starring Saif Ali Khan, Jimmy Shergill, Gulshan Grover, Sonakshi Sinha  : http://ourvadodara.in/bullett-raja-review . Also, do visit the site for any updates about Vadodara life. I shall henceforth post the latest Bollywood & Hollywood Movies releasing in cinema halls in Vadodara on http://ourvadodara.in/

Shringaar (Make-Up): A Day In the Life of A Woman

 

Spark Plug Films and Rotary Club of Baroda Present Shringaar: A Day In the Life of A Woman, A Two Minute Short on Street Harrassment. This has also been posted on the Facebook Page of Ourvadodara, the Vadodara-based portal where I submit reviews of Friday releases. Check it out.

Here is a transcript of the entire short, including a translation of the poem spoken in Hindi in the first minute of the short.

 

Shringaar (Make Up) : A Day in the Life of A Woman

I put on makeup

… they stalk.

Apply kohl to my eyes

… they humiliate.

Wear lipstick

… they leer.

Wear a dress of my choice

… only to be denuded by their eyes.

How can I call them men – when they sell-off their manhood on streets?

You don’t dress up for them. So why stay silent about them?

Staring at you

‘Accidently’ touching you

Pinching your bottom

Brushing past you

Whistling and honking at you

Making passes at you

Following you

Exposing themselves to you

Pissing in front of you

Masturbating in front of you

Can Lead To

Threatening You

Attacking You

Molesting You

Raping You

Speak up and Raise an Alarm.

Call the police, speak to your parents, teachers, friends, colleagues or boss.

Do anything but don’t stay silent.

Naari (Women) against street harassment.

 

 

 

 

 

Insidious Chapter 2 Review

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My seventeenth job for the site ourvadodara.in. Click the following link to read my review of 2013 Hollywood Film ’Insidious Chapter 2’, A James Wan Film Starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Bryne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey : http://ourvadodara.in/insidious-chapter-2-review. Also, do visit the site for any updates about Vadodara life. I shall henceforth post the latest Bollywood & Hollywood Movies releasing in cinema halls in Vadodara on http://ourvadodara.in/

 

Goliyon Ki RaasLeela Ram-Leela Review

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My sixteenth job for the site ourvadodara.in. Click the following link to read my review of 2013 Bollywood Film ‘Goliyon Ki RaasLeela Ram-Leela’, A Sanjay Leela Bhansali Film Starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Supriya Pathak, Abhimanyu Singh, Gulshan Devaiahhttp://ourvadodara.in/goliyon-ki-raasleela-ram-leela-review . Also, do visit the site for any updates about Vadodara life. I shall henceforth post the latest Bollywood & Hollywood Movies releasing in cinema halls in Vadodara on http://ourvadodara.in/

Krrish 3 Review: The Target Audiences For Krrish 3 are Indian Children Below 13 and People Addicted To Disprin Tablets.

My fifteenth job for the site ourvadodara.in. Click the following link to read my review of 2013 Bollywood Film ‘Krrish 3’ Starring Hrithik Roshan,Priyanka Chopra, Viveik Oberoi, Kangana Ranaut: http://ourvadodara.in/krrish-3-review . Also, do visit the site for any updates about Vadodara life. I shall henceforth post the latest Bollywood & Hollywood Movies releasing in cinema halls in Vadodara on http://ourvadodara.in/

Mickey Virus: It isn’t a crashing bore, but it’s neither smart nor exciting enough to work as a thriller. Strictly for TV viewing.

Mickey_Virus_Official_Poster_2013-207x300My fourteenth job for the site ourvadodara.in. Click the following link to read my review of 2013 Bollywood Film ‘Mickey Virus’ Starring Manish Paul and Elli Evram : http://ourvadodara.in/mickey-virus-review . Also, do visit the site for any updates about Vadodara life. I shall henceforth post the latest Bollywood & Hollywood Movies releasing in cinema halls in Vadodara on http://ourvadodara.in/

 

Diva Review: A French Film By Jean-Jacques Beineix

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Grade: A / 80%

 

Synopsis: Jean-Jacques Beineix is too talented to allow any slip-ups to happen, and even if there is one, its done with great style and panache.

 

Cast:
Frédéric Andréi as Jules
Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez as Cynthia Hawkins
Richard Bohringer as Gorodish
Chantal Deruaz as Nadia
Thuy An Luu as Alba

 

Diva begins and ends with traditional romantic sequences having a lyrical quality reminiscent of classical Shakespearean love story. In the beginning, you have Jules, a young postman, entering a towering hall to take his seat in the third row from front and watch with bated breath as a magnetic black opera singer named Cynthia Hawkins slowly takes the stage and belts out an astonishing rendition of ‘La Wally, Act One’; after the show ends, our hero, enchanted by Cynthia’s breathtaking beauty and voice, hands her a bouquet and gets her autograph. She’s very warm and cordial, unlike the perception we hold for ‘divas’ usually, and asks Jules whether he liked her performance, and also about his moped; he corrects her, saying its not a moped but a mobylette, a miniature moped. ‘A mobylette!’ she utters, then smiles; before he’s able to say anything else, he’s pushed aside by ‘one of those socialite friends’ (b****!) of hers. The film ends with (spoiler alert) the two characters slow-dancing to Cynthia’s music, the same one sung by her in the beginning.

 

In between, however, Diva is filled with a prostitution racket, pistol-wielding hit-men, Taiwanese gangsters and a dose of action-thriller sequences, all seamlessly knitted together, forming its first loop right from the beginning, and making intricate patterns as the film progresses. All through the performance, while our mesmerized hero is transfixed by Cynthia, he is simultaneously recording her performance secretly on his professional-quality Nagra recorder; the singer, who’s 32, hasn’t made a single recording of her performances, reasoning that ‘Commerce should follow art. Art should NOT be made to follow commerce’. Girl’s absolutely right here! This illegal tape recorded by our naivete hero, whose intention was to take the copy to his garage-cum-home and play it day and night, is wanted by two Taiwanese gangsters who intend to make bootleg copies of the tape. Another problem arises when an ex-prostitute named Nadia Kalonsky puts a tape containing a shocking testimony exposing a high-ranking policeman in the carrier of Jules’ mobylette before getting stabbed to death by two fearsome hit-men.

 
Our Jules temporarily hands the tape to one Alba, an alluring young girl who stays with a 30-plus man who goes by the name Gorodish; the relationship between the pair isn’t known and the only clues offered include a shot of the guy sitting in an open bathtub in one scene and solving a maze in another, which isn’t enough to take a call on the two. The book by Daniel Odier, on which this film is based, includes these two characters on recurring basis so if anyone’s interested in getting a copy, he/she can find it here. Both the tapes constantly change hands through the course of Diva but it isn’t hard to keep a track so long as you don’t take that damn phone and keep texting like Madonna did during the screening of 12 Years as a Slave. And the most unexpected things happen at the right time to clear up the mess; Jules is one lucky sonofabitch!

 

 

English: Jean-Jacques Beineix

Basically its the assemblage of unlikely elements in Diva could’ve made it a sub-standard Bollywood film in the wrong hands. I’m not kidding here; many Bollywood films are known for placing together an assortment of stock characters, situations, genres and music without achieving a right balance that is perfectly palatable in totality to the taste-buds. Jean-Jacques Beineix is too talented to allow any slip-ups to happen, and even if there is one, its done with great style and panache. The film, as Wikipedia describes, follows a colourful, melodic style termed ‘cinema du look’, which gives a preference to style over substance and focuses on young, alienated characters said to represent youth of Francois Mitterand’s (longest serving President of France who served as leader of Sociality party between the years 1981 and 1995) France. Just watch how his camera sways in mid-shots and extremely long-shots as Hawkins performs her concert, as if the camera’s under the spell of her golden notes. Then there’s the talked-about chase scene, hailed by Mr. Ebert as deserving enough to be ranked along-with the all-time classics, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, ‘The French Connection’, and ‘Bullitt’. Here, Jules rides his mobylette down the subway stairs, then inside a train and then up the escalator, while trying to evade the two hit-men.

 
The colour scheme used in the film is noticeable,though not overpowering. There’s a dreamy blue light on Jules as he listens to Cynthia for the first time. Cynthia’s white gown looks extremely elegant draped on her dark and beautiful skin. Her home is decked up in bright yellow shades. There is an extended shot of a light-house for no symbolic purpose except to highlight the compositional balance the shot achieves. The sound of tinkling piano as Jules and Cynthia get closer to each other easily succeeds in creating a mood of amour.
How do you feel at the end? ‘You like the film, you really like the film!’

 

Escape Plan Review: Middling prison affair. There are way better films to catch this week. Keep this for TV viewing, all you Stallone and Schwarzenegger fans!

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My thirteenth job for the site ourvadodara.in. Click the following link to read my review of 2013 Hollywood Film ‘Escape Plan‘, Starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger : http://ourvadodara.in/escape-plan-review . Also, do visit the site for any updates about Vadodara life. I shall henceforth post the latest Bollywood & Hollywood Movies releasing in cinema halls in Vadodara on http://ourvadodara.in/