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Maachis January 12, 2007

Posted by ujj in film makers, Mood: serious, Reviews, Screenings.
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According to IMDB, this is Gulzars most personal film till date and so it seems. Gulzar, a manMaachis known more popularly for his lyrics, understands and portrays human emotion like noone else, the plot and the dialogues of Maachis seem to highlight this fact. Maachis is the story of the aftermath of the 1984 anti Sikh riots, following the assasination of Indira Gandhi after operation blue star, where young Sikh men and women were taken away by desperate police officials for questioning about the various extremist groups operational in Punjab at the time. One of the important notions displayed, is the irony, in which terrorists are born out of supression of the authorities that exist for protecting them.

Superb acing performances by actors like Chandrachur Singh, Tabu and Om Puri do justice to the brilliant plot which narrates the becoming of a few young men, unhappy with the system, into extremists. Unlike Rang De Basanti, this film actually makes a lot of sense and is much more mature than a group of angry collegians shooting out. Tabu and Om Puri got national awards for this film. Maachis is a typical example of film-noire.

The songs are simply beautiful. Chappa Chappa Charkha Chale and Chod Aye Hum Wo Galiyan are to this day one of the most popular songs, not just in Punjab, but the rest of the country too. Gulzar known for portraying complex emotions into 5 minute songs, has done a great job in making a standard length Hindi film. The film is not the best or the most accurate political description of the 1984 riots aftermath but it doesnt aim to do so. It aims to show the case of families that suffered then and that it accomplishes very well. Its perhaps one of the most simple and yet popular films of the Indian film industry. Should’nt miss an opportunity to watch it, in a group if possible, its one of those films that rise to become universal, its complete effect takes over you, if you’re in a group.

Enemy at the gates December 18, 2006

Posted by ujj in action, LAN, Mood: serious, Reviews.
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Enemy at the gates is one of those films at the end of which either your dead or your alive. Either your truley madly deeply in love or betrayed by your bretheren. Either you’r a young kids dead body hanging on the pole or you’r a mother unaware of her childs death, either way your one of the characters of the film. If theres ever a film that sucks you in, this is bloody well one of them.
Its the true story of Hitlers attack on Stalingrad (1942) during the second world war. Vassili Zytsev is a young man brought up in the ice covered hills of russia, taught shooting by his grandfather. At a time when retreating soldiers were considered as traitors and shot by their own countrymen, Vassili brings in something that motivates the dead spirit of the red army. He brings in hope. He becomes a hero when people desperately need one. He single handedly snipes a large number of Nazi personnels and trains many more to be like him.
An experienced sniper of the Nazi army is called to end the Vassili story. Through some insider information, he knows exactly where hes going to be and waits for him. A battle begins between two sniper rifles and two pairs of eyes that dare not blink. Sounds exciting enough? if not then its my fault. If you’r a war films lover, you ought to see this one to be called one, if not, well its a good time to become one. A must watch for people interested in the red army history, the fact that its a true story make it all the more fantastic. A scene where one sniper can see the other through a mirror is just brilliant. The sets are great and flawless. If youv seen some war films, youd know how foolish editing can destroy a great film. Highly recomended.

technorati tags: enemy at the gates, film review

WATER by Deepa Mehta October 24, 2006

Posted by Priyanka Varma in LAN, Mood: serious.
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Water – The third film of the elemental trilogy after Fire and Earth by Deepa Mehta. Like the two movies this also delves into the social traditions of the Indian society.
Set in 1938, it says about the plight of the widows in the city of Varanasi. The movie starts with an 8-year-old girl Chuhiya(played by a Sri Lankan girl) getting widowed.Her wedding bracelets are struck, her head is shaved and her parents leave her in “widows house” in Varanasi. After this the movie is basically the experiences seen through her eyes. The women, of all ages, in the ashram are draped in white with shaven heads forced to spend an ascetic life. Chuhiya meets several elderly women, including the fat, domineering ashram head Madhumati;a beautiful young woman Kalyani(Lisa Ray) and a quiet,thoughtful, religious woman Shakuntala(Seema Biswas).Yes its the same Seema Biswas of the Bandit Queen. Kalyani, who is allowed to have long hair, is a source of income for the ashram as she is sent as a prostitute across the river Ganges.
The movie has its part of humour, dance and music when Kalyani and Chuhiya dance around the room during the rain showers, celebration of Holi in the ashram or the romance between Narayan(John Abraham) and Kalyani. Narayan is a foreign-educated follower of Gandhi who falls in love with Kalyani but their love doesn’t have a happy ending as Kalyani suicides drowning in the Ganges when she realizes that it was Narayan’s father where she was forced to visit as a prostitute.
The actors from the little Chuhiya to the old Madhumati are most accomplished,but the essence of the story is Seema Biswas.She is a woman who has faith in the old traditions but has tremendous inner strength and conviction. We can see in her eyes when her life is changed and challenged by Chuhiya and the prostitue. Although she has been ostracized as a widow, she desires to initiate a change. She has hope for the future which brings the movie to an end.
Apart from the good performances, the movie has a witty dialogue, a nice serene music and the beautiful cinematography.

The Motorcycle Diaries August 18, 2006

Posted by ujj in Mood: serious, Reviews, Screenings.
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che

A 23 year old medicine student moves out to discover the world on a banged up bike with his friend. The film follows the development of the young man’s political views and the making of perhaps the most iconic revolutionary figure of the latter half of the 20th century. The young man was Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

The film does not barrage you with political ideas or theories; it grows on you, soaking you up. That is exactly the way such movies ought to be. Beautiful cinematography and the background score (won Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song) adds to the atmosphere. Acting is first rate. Garcia Bernal after ‘Amores Perros’ lives up to expectations portraying ‘Che’ in an understated yet powerful performance. The supporting cast also performs admirably.

It’s easy to get preachy in a film like this. But Walter Salles (the director) doesn’t get carried away. You ought not to miss this one. Also, grab the book (of the same name) from the library.

Review by: oranjee