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The Pursuit of Happyness January 25, 2007

Posted by Priyanka Varma in Biography, drama, LAN, Reviews.

The Pursuit of HappynessI haven’t watched many movies of Will Smith. But was really impressed by his acting talent in ‘Hitch‘…Will Smith in the cast motivated me to watch ‘The Pursuit of Happyness‘ and I was really stunned by his and his son Jaden Smith‘s performance. Will has given his best performance to date but his real-life son, also his reel-life son, in his debut has acted superbly beyond expectations.

Will Smith is on the road to Oscars as he has been nominated for the ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role’ for the movie. I haven’t watched the performances of the other nominees(Nominees for Oscar 2007) but still I personally feel that he should be awarded for his stunning performance. The best part of the movie was exceptional acting by Will, who allows the audience feel every emotion that he goes through, be it sadness, desparation, relief or “happyness“.

The Pursuit of Happyness is a movie inspired by a true story of a homeless single father and his son trying to live their dreams. Will Smith plays Chris Gardener, a salesman struggling to sell bulky scanners to make ends meet for his family. His wife in discontentment splits leaving him and their son Christopher(played by Jaden Smith) to look after themselves. The life becomes difficult – when he loses home, have to sleep in homeless shelters and even in train station bathrooms eventually landing into a non-paying internship in a major stockbroker firm that is very competitive. .With his intelligence and hard work he manages to fulfill his dream of being happy and giving themselves the life they truly deserved, despite all the obstacles.

The storyline doesn’t have anything exceptional – its a rags-to-rich story. The movie basically deals with how people live and survive. Gives an inspiring message – “Follow your dreams with a fierce determination“.

You must watch the movie to admire the perfect performance given by Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith who has also done a natural acting.

Kudos to the performance of the Smiths!!!!


Pinjar January 23, 2007

Posted by Priyanka Varma in drama, LAN, Reviews.

Based on the novel by the well-known writer Amrita Pritam, Chandra Prakash Dwivedi‘s debut film shows the true reality of the Partition of India in 1947.

The Partition of India in 1947 has been the most widely-explored themes in Indian Cinema. Many films like Gadar, Hey Ram, 1947 Earth are set against the backdrop of Partition and the communal violence but Pinjar offers slightly different by focusing on the plight of women who were the victims of Partition. Pinjar deals with the practice of abduction of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh women, by the men of religion other than theirs and were forced to marry these men. These girls were not only forced to marry their kidnappers but were also made to change their religion to that of their husband’s. Even if the girls were lucky enough to escape, their family didn’t accept them so as to protect ‘family honour‘.

The protagonist of Pinjar is Puro(Urmila Matondkar), a Hindu girl who is kidnapped by a Muslim man Rashid(Manoj Bajpai), on the eve of her wedding with Ramchand(Sanjay Suri), in order to take revenge of the kidnapping and rape of his aunPinjart by Puro’ s uncle. Puro suceeds in escaping but is rejected by her parents on returning home. While Puro is forced to turn Muslim and married to Rashid, wedding celebrations continues as Trilok(Priyanshu Chatterjee) is married to Ramchand’ sister Lajjo(Sandali Sinha) and Puro’sister Rajjo(Isha Koppikar) to Ramchand’s cousin. Puro’s brother Tilak outraged at the attitude of his parents is the only one who tries to find his sister and longs for her. Meanwhile as Puro struggles with her situation, the partition of India takes place. There is an outbreak of riots which forces Hindus in Pakistan to leave their home and move to India and Muslims in India to move to Pakistan. During this Lajjo gets kidnapped by the Muslim men. The rest of the story concentrates on the meeting of Lajjo and Puro and the still lingering love of Puro for Ramchand. Finally, Puro has to make a difficult choice between a life with her kidnapper or begin a new life with Ramchand and her family back in India.

There are some moments which really are heart-wrenching – when the parents are reluctant to accept their own daughter Puro back assuming that this will taint their honour and leaves her alone, Puro’s desperation to regain her old identity by rubbing the tattoed Muslim name Hamida on her wrist, Lajjo and other members of Puro’s family’s insensitivity.

Urmila Matondkar delivers a good performance as Puro, but at times the emotions seem to be forced. Priyanshu Chatterjee’s character as the concerned brother searching for his sister is well-performed and Sanjay Suri as the idealistic Ramchand offers commitment to his role. Good performances by Lillette Dubey, Sandali Sinha and Kulbhushan Kharbanda. But it is Manoj Bajpai who walks away with the honours for remarkable performance as Rashid. Ishaa Koppikar has nothing much to do.

A must-watch movie but a li’l long in duration with some insignificant scenes like depicting Seema Biswas as a mad woman….

After 60 years of Independence, one tends to forget the pain and the struggle that our forefathers must have gone through. Its the kind of film that really leaves a mark and makes you think about that phase of history and how much people had to suffer. Brings out some lesser-known and unbelievable realities of history………..

The Insider January 18, 2007

Posted by Priyanka Varma in drama, History, LAN, Mood: Thrill me, Reviews.
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“60 Minutes” investigative television newsmagazine on CBS is popular for responsible reporters and producers uncovering the truth before its audience. Many topics center on allegations of wrongdoing and corruption on the part of corporations, politicians, and other public officials. The show has been praised for landmark journalism but also got involved in some controversies. One of the controversies was when it aired an interview with Jeffrey Wigand, ex-VicePresident for R&D dept. of the tobacco company Brown and Williamson(B&W) with altered content and deleting some of the important evidences against B&W.

Michael Mann‘s The Insider is based on this true story. The movie starts with Jeffrey Wigand, played by Russell Crowe, being fired by the CEO of B&W . But before being thrown out he is ordered to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to receive his severance pay and benefits. The Insider60 Minutes ” producer Lowell Bergman, played by Al Pacino comes across Wigand and after too much prodding Wigand tells him that B&W was involved in enhancing the effects of nicotine in cigarettes.

Despite the discontinuance of his severance pay, death threats and attacks on him and his family and breaking marriage, he agrees to go for Mike Wallace, played by Christopher Plummer, interview and reveal the evidences against the tobacco company. Unfortunately, the CBS corporates decide not to air the controversial interview for the fear of being sued by B&W.

The second half of the film shifts from Wigand to Bergman as he fights against CBS to have Wigand’s story heard and made public while Wigand takes the job of a Chemistry teacher in college. Bergman has to struggle alone because Mike Wallace also doesn’t support him.

Russel and Pacino has given a wonderful performance. Wigand is an interesting character who makes the right decisions amidst the troubles he faces. He puts everything at stake to bring out the truth. Pacino as Bergman has proved that he is an excellent actor. Christopher Plummer is also excellent as Mike Wallace.

The movie was a great success because of the good plot, strong cast, superb dialogues and a skilled direction. The film also has a strong message that “Always be with the truth, no matter what the cost “. It also comes out with the message to all smokers and non-smokers that “Smoking can endanger your health“.

And also Hats off to the power of Journalism!!!

Guru January 16, 2007

Posted by ujj in drama, love stories, Mood: sweet, music review, Reviews.

Sometime back whenever a very talked about film hit the screens, a small number of us went toGuru watch them with the objective of critical analysis and to look for and note minute technical or edit slips that others would have missed. In effect anything that would give us something to tell the world about the film, something the world will not get to know from other sources. It took a long time and money to realize that by doing so a lot of us were missing the main idea of Cinema. Together with this realization came the idea of a blog and this blog combines the two ideas. Main idea of cinema, which in my opinion is featuring a story in a it appeals to the masses, and frank opinion about a film without getting into jargaon. I say this because some dozens of reviews of Guru do this. They either tell you the plot and period, or get into an absolute microcosmic detail like the camera shots and synchronism.

I will not to do this, cause Ive learnt it the hard way not to. Ill tell you why I think Guru is Abhishek Bachchans best performance so far after Yuva and why in my opinion we will get to see plenty of Aishwarya and Abhishek in years to come (in films I mean). Mani Ratnam may not concur with it but its a fact that Guru is inspired from the life of Dhirubhai Ambani. The parallels are many. First Gurubhai comes from a village in Gujarat, next he goes to Turkey, Gurubhais first love is cloth and then silk and eventually polyster and if that wasnt enough. An unparalleled event in the history of Indian industry, the meeting called by Dhirubhai Ambani in a stadium full of shareholders. For me its enough to consider it an adaptation of his life. The story isnt the best aspect of the film, the script however has a constant pace. It doesnt rush at places and slows down other times, it just maintains its quite a low pace throughout the film. This pace is what makes it important for the dialogues to be great if not extraordinary and that they are indeed.

apne 5 minute diye the, maine sadhe char minute mein hi ye sab khatam kar diya..yahan bhi 30 second ka fayada. ise kehte hain business

main baniya hoon saab, baatein bhi kanjoosi se kharch karta hoon

mujhe na shabd sunayi nahin deta

ek shirt ek pant , ek sala aur ek biwi lekar is sheher main aaya tha aur aaj…

Abhishek Bachchan is something to really look for in the film. There are some who say that besides him theres not much in the film, but to be honest I couldnt imagine putting anyone else in place of Aishwarya in the film. Simply because she didnt get overshadowed by this larger than life image of Gurubhai and didnt end up merely being one of his supporters but rather provided a strong backing that even Gurubhai couldnt have done without. Mithun Chakravorty appears after a long time on screen doing a well suited role of a Bengali newspaper chief editor. Madhavan and Vidya Balan pay cameos but theyr really good too.

Aishwarya Rai makes an entry similar to the one in Roja with the song Barson Re Megha Megha. At that point Dil hai chota sa comes to mind. A R Rehmans music is something I cannot comment upon. Same applies to lyrics of Gulzar and when the powers combine… The last sequence of scenes take place in a courtroom where come cases are registered against Gurubhai. It suddenly reminds us of the last few scenes of Aviator. Abhishek Bachchans acting is at its best at this point. Well to say it in a few words, this film works. Its a little slow but works. Definitely not allowed to miss on the large screen.

Babel January 15, 2007

Posted by Priyanka Varma in drama, LAN, Reviews.
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The Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga has come up with their latest movie Babel after Amores Perros and 21 Grams. Babel has the same intertwining story structure as the previous two, but this time it spans the globe to capture the lives of the families in Morocco, America, Mexico and Tokyo. BabelIt is a film with the settings in different parts of the world, a multicultural cast and the characters speaking Japanese,French,English,Spanish,Berber Arabic and even the Sign Language by a deaf-mute girl.

Babel, which has been nominated for the Golden Globe Award, ties together four parallel stories that are eventually revealed to be linked to one another.

In one story we watch Brad Pitt’s Richard and Cate Blanchett’s Susan, an American couple on a trip to Morocco where Susan gets shot and Richard struggles to save her life stranded in a remote village.US authorities sees this as an act of terrorism. In another, there is a Moroccan kid who shot her carelessly with the hunting rifle given by his father to help keep the jackals away from his herd of goats. In America, we watch the tourist couple’s kids with their immigrant maid, Amelia (Adriana Barraza) getting into danger while returning from her son’s wedding in Mexico. In Japan, the movie shows a 16-year old Japanese deaf and mute Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi), living with her father(Koji Yakusho), coping with the suicide of her mother and loneliness in her life. Broken and desperate for a meaningful relationship she thinks that exploiting her sexuality would get people’s attention towards her. This story also connects to the shot as the Japanese father is connected to the gun that shot Susan.

The filmmakers have succeded in weaving these stories together while exploring the depth of the character and relationships – whether it be of American couple, the Japanese deaf-mute girl with her father or the nanny and the couple’s kids.

If you are mainly interested in Pitt or Blanchett – they only appear intermittently as the film has many other characters and stories. The performance is excellent, from the non-actors to Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal. But the performance of the Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi , playing the deaf-mute girl, was amazing and far surpassed Pitt and Blanchett.

A great movie overall but the only complaint is the unnecessary story line that takes place in Japan which seems to be connected with other stories just for the sake of doing. It is a little detracting from the central theme.