Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Shaurya (2008)

Ok, we all love Few Good Men. I presume so does the director Samar Khan. So what does he do , presents an " original " Bollywood with a watered down plot , melodrama , a love angle which no one ( including the characters ) is even remotely interested in , a clich├ęd Hindu- Muslim communal issue at the crux , songs at the most inappropriate moment and a over simplified look at war crimes. So much for Samar's Khan " Shaurya ".

Despite all this thankfully the movie is saved to an extent by the performances and dialogues. Kay Kay is no Jack, but still holds his own. His scene tutoring Rahul Bose on nuances and finer aspects of single malt to the rum & coke generation is one such instance. Javed Jaffery in a role sans any slapstick comedy is refreshing to see. Deepak Dobriyal as the accused delivers a silent yet powerful performance and thankfully never does the full throated cry of injustice. Amrita Rao is cast in an interesting cameo and mouths one of more memorable dialogues of the movie where she rues the fact that now her husband is dead, she can’t even legally separate from him. Rahul Bose is no Tom Cruise, but considering my expectations of him are very low, he does pass muster. Minisha Lamba as the screeching over the top journalist sticks out as a sore thumb.

Watch a-re run of Few Good Men any day; else watch an abridged, fast forwarded version of Shaurya on DVD.

The Lives of others

Nothing is sacred , nothing is private .

Set in 1984 , when the East German secret police - the Statsi didn't believe in privacy and monitored the country's population, Lives of others directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck won the best foreign film Oscar for 2007 .
The movie's plot revolves around the Statsi captain Wiesler ( Ulrich Muhe ) who is entrusted with spying on Georg Dreyman , a playwright by profession and suspiciously loyal to the government . The cultural minister Hemf wants Dreyman out of the way since he lusts Dreyman's girlfriend actress Chirsta Maraia . Weisler engulfed by the lives of these others , begins to internalize their lives since he doesn't have a life of his own . There he crosses the line and everything is personal from there on .

The premise is so rooted in the pre-wall Germany , but the actions , repercussions and the way the move unfolds sucks you into submission immaterial of the language and the setting .

Its a movie of silences, Weisler is all alone and doesn't have a soul to talk to given the secret nature of his job. There are no monologues helping us decipher what is going through in his head and the decisions he makes . The ending when it does come , makes his "meaningless" existence , worthwhile and leaves us rooting for the film . A must watch.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Five Point Someone

Chetan Bhagat's Five Point Someone
Directed by : Nikhila Kesavan
Performed at : Rangashankara , April 13th , 2008
A Madras Players production presented by Evam

This Sunday , I watched Five Point someone at Rangashankara . The audi was completely packed with many of them were scurrying around for tickets till the last minute . The play was not advertised and Evam relied merely on word of mouth and their database to get in their crowds . It does really reflect well for the group and their ability to attract audiences.
I had read the book , a while back . Didn't particularly think highly of the book . I guess my college life was too close and personal, that the book didn't seem to do much justice in portraying the fun and magic of those years and came across as a cliched exercise . Will not delve too much into the synopsis of the pay , since almost everyone i know has read the book. Very simply put, its the travails of three IITians in the four years they spend in college and end up with a 5 point something grade .
Now the play in itself was a good adaptation . The best part was the chemistry between the three main characters ( Alok , Hari and Ryan ) . Alok played by Sarvesh was the pick of the lot , Hari was endearing , while Praveen conveyed the cool , rebellious attitude of Ryan well . Uttara as Neha also stood out in the male dominated play and the professors were the perfect nightmare of any student . The way the professors addressed the audience as their classroom was interesting and the minimal use of props and sets ensured that our attention didn't waver from the characters on stage . The play was a little too long and could have been shortened.
Ok , this is where i would differ from most of the members in the audience . The play literally had the audience in splits and the laughter levels often reached a crescendo . I didn't find the play all that funny and often found myself squirming and shifting uneasily in my seat in midst of the peals of laughter . While , the actors in themselves did a good job , the play could have been a lot tighter. The lights were merely functional and the music baring the opening Floyd track, didn't not register at all .
Overall , a decent attempt worthy of a more muted praise and response ,
but I am in a minority .