Monday, June 30, 2008

Doubles, Triples and Quadruples (2008)

I admire Evam, even envy them. Karthik Kumar and Sunil Vishnu decided to quit their cushy corporate jobs to pursue their dream of a career in theatre .For the last four years they have been doing a very good job of regularly bringing in quality theatre. Thanks to my friends, I have had a chance to meet them and really like what they do and how they go about it.

Over the weekend at Rangashankara, Evam premiered their newest production -Doubles, Triples and Quadruples- a collection of short plays. The choice of plays was eclectic ranging from comical, to new found/ long lost loves, bizarre and portrayal of urban angst.Nothing wrong in that, but to convincingly shift from one mood/ setting to another, everything about the play needed to be absolutely top notch.

The lighting was haphazard, dialogue delivery not comprehensible at places and some of the performances left a lot to be desired. The acts that did work, included the newly married couple (Karthik and Kalyani) effectively bringing out their trepidations and doubts at the threshold.Albert & Sue (Sunil & Kalyani) “meeting “outside their counselor’s office having spent weeks observing each other seemed real and the foursome on the phone had the entire audience in splits. The rest were amateur in their portrayal and it almost seemed like an attempt to pack in as many emotions as one could in the 2 odd hours.

However Shakila Arun was an exception as she shone through all her performances. A truly versatile artiste who morphed effortlessly as she portrayed a 13 year old, a prostitute, a counselor and one scorned in love.

The interludes, which had the actors coming on stage to do a monologue was an interesting break between the plays which gave an insight to the actor’s personalities. Karthik Srinivisan’s confession of his first love and why it remained unfulfilled was truly endearing.

The collection of plays was compared to a wine drinking experience, packing in several emotions and culminating with a high. Definitely that didn’t happen for me, but sincerely hope like the wines, they do get better with age and more shows. Karthik and Sunil do need to live up to the high standards they have so wonderfully set for themselves.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


The reviews raved about the movie, was more than effusive in their praise, and was touted to be the best debut in ages for both the director and the lead actor. If only they hadn’t!

Aamir is a different film, with a very interesting premise. It covers a day in the life of the main protagonist Aamir, who is manipulated completely by a man on the other side of the phone. It realistically portrays Mumbai's underbellies and the helplessness of the man is brought out aptly by the well known TV actor Rajeev Khandelwal. However the movie takes way too long to make its point and the leaves too many key questions unanswered. Why is Aamir the chosen one? Why do things pan out the way they do?

The reviews made my expectations sky rocket. Yeah a decent attempt for sure, a masterpiece, not really.

And do try and get hold of the soundtrack, stays long in your mind after the movie is over

Sarkar Raj ( 2008)

Let me set the context right. My previous Hindi movie was Tashan, I was one of the few really unfortunate ones who endured RGV Ki Aag on day 1 and thought Sarkar was highly overrated. So obviously I walked into Sarkar Raj with low expectations.

The film like the first part is swamped in sepia tones, odd camera angles, and a loud background score. Every character spouts ‘profound’ lines like: “You cannot make an omelette without breaking an egg" and some not so profound ones about the thin line of difference between betrayal and misplaced loyalty.

The movie despite all this worked for me. The script was brave enough to keep the unpredictability factor high, the coming together of the jigsaw puzzle and the individual motivations of the characters made it an interesting watch. With extreme close ups dominating the frames, the performances had to match them. The A family or is it the B family is competent with the father proving again that he is the bigger B.

And finally RGV. Post his obituary being virtually written all over town , he is back delivering what he knows best and while the reviews have not been unanimously favorable again , the initial box office trends show that he has a hit on his hands .Watch out for Contract & Phoonk . The RGV factory has started churning again.

Monday, June 02, 2008

21 (2008)

A "real" life story of the 6 MITians who along with their professor outwit the casinos of Vegas in the 90's, by counting cards and improving the odds of beating the dealer in Blackjack. Spacey is effective as the mocking, shrewd leader of the pack, Jim Sturgess is charming as the poor Boston kid who needs the monies desperately to get into Harvard Med and an attractive Kate Bosworth makes up the love angle .

The movie got me to google and wiki on blackjack & counting cards, but it stopped way short of dealing a winning hand. The movie skims across the card playing to a great extent, and what these kids did different with the card counting. The second half seems too contrived. Jim Sturgess's character crosses over to the other side, realizes his folly, Spacey is conveniently made a "villain" and a long pending score is settled.

The moral of the story is sung over the final credits by the Rolling Stones - 'You can't always get what you want' & you feel exactly the same about the movie too.

Indiana Jones and the kingdom of crystal skull (2008)

After almost 20 years, Indy returns to the screen. I used to love the Indiana Jones movies. Remember watching them with bated breadth, the wild chases, cheerfully exciting, bizarre, goofy, dry humor and the quest for impossible goals in unthinkable places. If adventure had a name it would be Indiana Jones.

The latest installment has all of this and more, but like Indiana says it is “same old, same old". It’s not a feeling of pleasant deja vu, but more so a jaded one. The magic is missing, or maybe im hitting a mid life crisis!

Can I have short term memory loss; I just want to remember the earlier three Indies!