Movies

Supertraits of Superstars – my thoughts

WP_20140225_001Author – Priyanka Sinha Jha

Blurb –

Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Vidya Balan, Karan Johar. Each of these celebrities are adored and looked up to by millions who aspire to emulate their success stories. But what is it that separates them, and other Bollywood stars, from the rest? Which is that one defining trait that makes them stand out, and how can you benefit from knowing it?  (more…)

LOOTERA ……. stole my heart

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Are you writing a story? Yes.

Is there a boy in it? Yes.

Is there a girl in it? Yes.

Are they in love? No.

Are they about to fall in love? Don’t know.

Lootera is a ballad that touched all the right chords of my heart and I shed some tears too…..not because of how it ended but because it is what love is & should be. It touched me in a way very few movies has ever had. It’s a love story that has many layers. It is a story which says love can also be as grim and grey as snowy evenings. And that life itself can be as frail as autumn leaves.

It is like poetry in motion. The story is simple, subdued ….it’s like someone painting a landscape ….of love….in its own sweet time…..every stroke of paint being applied with no urgency to finish it….and the story takes its own sweet time to whisper love in your ears & awake it in your hearts! You want to fall in love…. just because it’s so pristine and surreal.

 In Lootera love happens at first sight, at least for Pakhi, the daughter of a zamindar, who lives a sheltered life under the wings of her doting father. Pakhi is a young, naïve dreamer whose heart is first stolen and later broken by a man, Varun, posing as an archeologist. Love, fleeting at first and then full-blown and physical, blossoms as furtive glances, frequent dinners, car rides, informal painting classes & asthma attacks, allowing the two to explore each other’s feelings.

 Pakhi Varun were very different from each other. Pakhi is at times shy, revels in stealing glances and gazing at her beloved. She was impulsive too & had weaved a dream world of her own around her whereas Varun was someone who had his emotions in control no matter what the situation was, he seemed quite realistic too. He is soft-spoken, respectable & was full of chivalry. He had this smoldering intensity in his eyes at various occasions, which said a lot more than his words could. At a point when he had to make a choice, he did not shy away from putting his gratitude towards his uncle, who had raised & taken care of him as an orphan, in the forefront as against Pakhi’s love. But even then they fell in love….they were destined to. There isn’t really anything substantial that happens to warrant an intense relationship between them.

Kaagaz ke do pankh leke uda chala jaaye re
Jahan nahi jaana tha ye wahin chala haye re
Umar ka yeh taana-baana samajh na paaye re
Zubaan pe jo moh-maaya, namak lagaye re

 But falling in love is not easy. When Pakhi confronts Varun, and begs him to acknowledge that he also loves her, he keeps quiet. Love is not easy for him. There is too much holding him back and he cannot say yes even if it is just to please Pakhi.

Patte jo shaakhon se toote
Bewajah toh nahin roothe, hain sabhi..

Even the sweet bond of love shared by indulged Pakhi and her doting, zamindar father was heart touching. How he equated her importance for him with the parrot that had the King’s life in its heart was heart touching for me. For a father, his daughter is always his princess & his life is hidden in her well-being.

 Later in her life, Pakhi’s inner turmoil, when she was torn between her love for Varun who was also the cause of her loving father’s heartbreak and eventual death, was painful. The pain percolated from the screen to my heart.

Mujhe chhod do mere haal pe
Zinda hoon yaar, kaafi hai!

Hawaaon se jo maanga hissa mera
To badle main hawa ne saans di
Akelepan se chhedi jab guftagu
Mere dil ne aawaaz di
Mere haathon, hua jo qissa shuru
Usey poora toh karna hai mujhe

Qabr par mere sar utha ke khadi ho zindagi
Aise marna hai mujhe!
Kuch maangna baaqi nahi
Jitna mila kaafi hai

Zinda hoon yaar, kaafi hai!

The best scenes in the film don’t have dialogues, in fact there are no catchy lines that any of the characters say—the lighting and cinematography used are breathtakingly beautiful without ever seeming odd or out of place in the story or setting, the music propels the story forward along with the brilliant acts of the supporting casts. The details of the era were, also, carefully looked into. The antique oil lamps & candle stands, the hand-pulled ceiling fan, Chinese cutlery with intricate designs, well dressed & well groomed men & women, drinks after dinner as they sat for a sessions of poetry, theatres, radio playing songs which resonated the entire household, ….all of these created the mystique atmosphere of the film. From the rural landscape of Bengal to the sun rays spreading all around to the pristine white snow in Dalhousie to the last leaf on Pakhi’s tree, everything was aptly picturized. Subtle & slow is what defined everything.

Lootera is the kind of film you will remember long after watching it. I would love to go back & watch it again & savour all the moments it had that touched me to the core. An absolute must for those who love romantic films or are romantic at heart. This film is a gem!

My favourite scenes from the movie:

  • Pakhi playing with the switch of the light when electricity reaches her place for the first time. Her eyes & the smile on her face reflected her innocence.
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  • Pakhi’s first glimpse of Varun from the window of the driver’s seat. Her eyes said it all…… love had happened to her … at the first sight.
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  • Pakhi and Varun are sitting by a tranquil lake. There are silences and whispers in their conversation. There is no romance between them, but the promise of it exists. They are seen sharing their dreams and long conversations. Pakhi confesses that she wants to be a writer, spinning stories in her Dalhousie home. Varun, in turn, has the soul of an artist and wishes to paint a masterpiece someday in a place near Manali.
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  • The glance that Varun gives Pakhi when she says that she will teach him to paint, if he does not know how, because in order to keep the class going on one has to teach the other. She reveals that she can paint landscapes well except for leaves and then he ends up painting some funny leaves. The scene is so endearing.
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  • In her quest to stop Varun from leaving, Pakhi reaches his room at night. The scenes that follow are so aesthetically done. Nothing is evident but then you understand it all.
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  • In one of the flashbacks, Varun is seen sitting on the bed, after their night together & Pakhi scribbling on her notebook writing a story. The way he gazes at her as she writes, is so much full of love. And then he whispers questions to her which she enjoys answering. It is scene that melts the heart.
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  • Varun telling a sick & dying Pakhi (wearing dark circles under her eyes, untidy hair & a pale face), who questions his intentions, “Haan, aaj kal itni haseen jo lag rahi ho tum”.
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  • Varun trying to put up the leaf he has painted on the tree in spite of his injury and Pakhi’s realization when she realizes the reason behind the last leaf not falling down.

………………..and many more…..

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Images: Google

Movie buff (Part I)

I love watching movies; the genre does not matter as long as it’s not over-the-top and irritatingly mindless. Also, watching movies is one of my time-pass activities during the weekends.

Today I am writing about a few movies I watched in the recent past (in no particular order) and liked them for reasons of their own.

1.      The Reluctant Fundamentalist:-

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Right from the time I saw the trailer of the movie I wanted to watch it and one fine Saturday I and my movie-going partners went for this movie.

This Mira Nair movie is an adaption of the book authored by Mohsin Hamid with the same name. Though the plot is in the backdrop of post 9/11, it is very different from movies made about this incident. It’s about a Pakistani man Changez Khan (brilliantly portrayed by Riz Ahmed, who left me mesmerized) who succeeds to live his American dream, complete with a gorgeous artist girlfriend, till the attacks of 9/11, when he faces reality check.

The movie shows what the protagonist had to go through while living in America prior / during / after 9/11. Racism has been hinted in the movie in a subtle way. Changez felt wronged by the treatment meted out to him by the Americans because of his religion. In his job, he is not judged at all owing to his religion and he continued to step up the ladder under his appreciative boss. However, due to certain incidents he decides to leave everything and return back to his homeland.

The film shows that not every one of them who had been wronged picked up weapons or bloodied their hands. It says that terrorism is not an issue that can’t be resolved; it does not justify extremism under any circumstance; it does not sympathize with the ones who had picked up weapons after being wronged…… The monologue at the end is what the movie is all about.

My take away from the movie would be that revenge can never be a solution and we all should strive to make better the lives of our as well as the ones around us, simply ignoring all kinds of negativity.

2.      Bombay Talkies:-

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Indian cinema (Bollywood) had completed 100 years of its glorious existence. We Indians celebrate & worship cinema in spite of the fact that at times it is over-the-top, larger-than-life. For every emotion and occasion there is a befitting song. 🙂 And so, to mark this milestone, four directors got together to offer movie lovers a potpourri of 4 stories; each of them portraying the influence of cinema on an Indian.

The movie starts with that of Karan Johar, and coming from him the story was a surprise. The plot is about a married man who had kept the truth about his sexuality under wraps and kept the desires of his wife unfulfilled. And then enters a gay male friend of hers and before they realized, their lives were turned upside down. This story deals with homosexuality & at the same time, also that music can fill the emptiness in our hearts.

Next it is Dibakar Banerjee who along with the other genius, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui left me spell-bound. The story is about an ‘aam aadmi’ who had big dreams but lacked the zeal to seek them with hard work & perseverance. The story was kind of poetic & ended with capturing the magic of a child’s smile.

Post intermission, Zoya Akhtar transports us to the world of young fantasy & also asks the question whether we should dream for ourselves or as per the approval & the conventions laid down by our society. The story is about a boy who would rather be a dancer and move his body like the on-screen Sheila than be a footballer as his father wants him to be. After being hit by his father for dressing up like a girl, he decides that some dreams are to be kept a secret & should be revealed only at the right time. The story gives hope & happiness.

The final story is by Anurag Kashyap in which he both criticizes and celebrates cinema. It was witty & hugely entertaining. The God-like stardom of Amitabh Bachchan glorifies the glamour & the naivety of his fan adds the reality check. At the end, the story gives us a lesson. A masterstroke by Anurag backed up with a brilliant performance by Vineet Kumar.

The icing in the cake was the song at the end of the movie where most of the top shots of Bollywood came together (I missed Salman Khan, though :P). It could have been much better but nonetheless they made an effort. 🙂

3.      Life of Pi:-

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It is an adaptation of the book authored by Yann Martel by the same name. The story is about a boy struggling to survive in the middle of a sea, along with ‘Richard Parker’, a Royal Bengal Tiger & trying to come in terms about his relationship with God. Along with the story, I was captivated by the visual effects of the film, especially the ones in the sea.

The main character Piscine Molitor Patel, who changes his name to Pi to escape the ridicule of his classmates, was a curious boy and from his childhood days he was attracted to religion & the meaning of life. He rejects his father’s rationalism & creates a personal mix of Hinduism, Christianity & Islam. His family ran a zoo in Pondicherry & in certain turn of events, they decide to relocate to Canada. As the family set sail in a ship with the zoo animals, a terrible storm leads to the shipwreck & Pi was left stranded in the sea on a lifeboat with the Bengal Tiger. Both of them managed to survive for 227 days in the sea braving storms, hunger, a carnivorous island & many other challenges.

The film ends with 2 versions of the entire incident & leaves it up to the viewers to decide which version they would prefer to believe.

The film is what Irfan Khan (who played the elder Pi, narrating the story) had said, “Its cinema at its best”. 

4.      Makkhi: –

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This movie in an animated action film about the revenge of a super fly & it conveys the message that bad karma hits back & that revenge come in all sizes. 😉 When I saw the trailers flashing in the TV, I was amazed. I was like, who would want to watch a movie about a house-fly? But soon everybody talking about it, I decided to give it a go.

The main plot is a love triangle between Jaani, a small fireworks maker, Bindu, a micro-artist and Sudeep, a business tycoon. Jaani is in love with Bindu and she shies away from expressing her feelings for him. Sudeep falls in love with Bindu & when he comes to know abou Jaani, he murders him mercilessly. And from here the story takes an interesting turn. Jaani is reborn; but unlike typical rebirth stories, he is reborn not as a human but as a housefly!

Some moments of the movie made it an even more fun watch, like – Sudeep insists on carrying an insect repellant in one hand all the time, Sudeep wrapping himself up like an Egyptian mummy so that he can sleep peacefully at night away from the buzzing of the fly, when the super-fly is attacked by a lethal spray, one can actually spot the chemical rinse off its body, etc.

For me the film worked because it was creative and the makers made a mundane run-of-the-mill story appealing, with some brilliant performance by the antagonist, the animation & the background score. Things from a housefly’s perspective was very well thought of and shown with brilliance. The first few scenes when Jaani reincarnates himself and reborn as a fly and discovers the world and surrounding around him is awesome. As the plot progressed I was busy cheering for the fly.

 Do share your experiences / opinions about these four movies if you have watched them. I would love to hear them. 🙂

Image courtesy: Google