Tuesday, March 27, 2012

King and Commissioner

Sunday morning 9:30 special show at Ampa Skywalk Mall in Chennai - practically housefull - movie starts like a Jerry Bruckerheimer movie with special agents, signals, encryption, hacking, intercepting signals, terrorism training camps and other stuff.

The movie brings Suresh Gopi and Mammooty on screen together their mission to save the life of the Indian Prime Minister played by Mohan Agashe.

You have the usual Pak-bashing, the corrupt police-officers, the king-maker Godman played by Saikumar with great aplomb. The NSA head who aspires to be the PM - a whole bunch of characters.

There is no element of suspense as we know who the good guys and the bad guys are. As a trail of corpses lines up - the IAS and the IPS officer unravel the mystery :)

The movie had great promise and deliver say till the last 15 mins. A predictable fight in an abandoned warehouse. Never realize why the Pak major decides to enter into an arm-to-arm combat with our heroes when he could have just taken out his gun and shot them.

No songs so the pace of the movie never falters.

This could definitely have been much better if the suspense element had been retained.

The movie and the villains deserved a better climax :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

There is something sacrosanct about flashbacks - tools used in cinema to reveal the past - first love, the dacoits massacring the family and decapitating the patriarch, the hit-and-run- accident on a lonely highway, the heroine's shady past, the auto-driver hero who was a don.... the list can go on endlessly. The premise being the flashback is the essential key element which takes the story forward - culminating in the hero getting the girl and (or) avenging the death of his family.

In "Kahaani" - Vidya Balan's next quest for a whole bunch of awards - the flashback takes the viewers for a ride but overall a truly engaging cinematic experience.


For a movie that starts with the close-up of a scared white mouse which is forced to inhale a white liquid and eventually gasps for breath and dies - Kahaani sure does grip your attention and forces you to remain glued to your seats.

Cut to the Kolkatta Metro - Kalighat station - jam-packed train school-kids, a lady with an infant and her mother and other travellers and a frantic man in a black leather jacket hunting for a bag. What does the bag contain? The lady attempts to leave the train as the infant is hungry and is crying for milk - the lady's mother tries to stop her stating that the bottle of milk is in her bag and opens it.

Freeze-frame - next shot all occupants of the coach are dead!

Two years later - Kolkatta International Airport and enter the heavily pregnant Vidya Venkatesan Bagchi from London in search of her missing husband Arnab Bagchi who had come to work in the National Data Centre and never returned. She reaches Kalighat police station narrates her story and fixes the station computer as well. The immensely likeable Inspector Satyaki also called Rana - "Kolkattaey shobhar dui nam ekta asli naam aur ekta dak naam" Everyone has an actual name and a pet name by which they are called in Kolkatta - drives her to Mona Lisa Guest House. This is where Arnab stayed and used to speak to her during his stint at the NDC. The guesthouse owner Mr. Das says that Arnab never stayed here.

Next - Vidya visits NDC and speaks to the HR Manager and shows her their wedding photograph the HR manager says that no one named Arnab worked there. Later in the day she sees the photo and keys in a name in the employee database - Milan Damji. She is restricted access to the information. She is informed that the IT manager Tyagi is on leave and she would get all details the next day once he is back to work. The HR manager calls Vidya and asks her to meet at Mocambo Restaurant for lunch - on an aside if you ever visit Kolkatta do dine at Mocambo :)

She says that the photo is similar to that of a former employee Milan Damji who quit one fine day two years ago and on the day he left there was a huge hunt for him as many people came looking for him. Our suspense heightens as Vidya persuades Rana to take her to Arnab's kaka's house in Thakurpukur and also his old school - both places draw blanks and no one knows anyone named Arnab Bagchi.

While all this is happening we are introduced to a dull dry middle-aged slightly pot-bellied LIC agent Bob Biswas who is reprimanded by his boss for not meeting his sales targets. He gets an MMS which has an image of the HR manager from NDC. Bob visits her and kills her - Bob the dull fat man is a contract killer - what a twist!

Slowly a web of lies and deceit emerge - who is Arnab Bagchi and who is Milan Damji? Are they the same person? What about the Metro attack? Why did Bob kill the HR manager who sent him to kill her? Is Vidya who she claims to be?

Loads of questions that I will not answer here to do justice to the script and the story :) Go watch the movie - it's worth a watch. If you don't have a boy-friend or girl-friend to accompany you to the movie :( remember "Jodhi tomar shath keyu na aashe to tumi aekla chalo re aekla chalo re :) - If no one comes with you go alone :)

Great cast - everyone does a good role, the climax is the ultimate twist, the kid who plays Vishnu who brings hot running water deserves a special mention for his infectious smile. Mr. Khan second-in-command IB also impresses and reminds me of Irrfan Khan.

Full paisa-vasool and great to see the sights and sounds of the city where I was born and I miss so much :(!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

When the Millennium Trilogy got translated into English - the mammoth size of the first book with an intriguing cover was too tempting for me to resist buying it. I bought it at the Chennai Book Fair at a 10% discount. I finished the book over three days - essentially seven hours of reading on my train-ride to and from work.

It was undeniably good the next purchase was buying the remaining two books.

The books have been successfully made into movies in Swedish. When David Fincher was named director for the English version - I was really happy after Se7en and Zodiac David Fincher has been a firm favourite. Please note I have not seen his earlier movies that cemented his name as a man who could muddle your mind with his movies like - Eraserheads. Daniel Craig after a pathetic show in Quantum of Solace and The Golden Compass redeems himself to an extent as Michael Blomkvist the journalist.

The movie belongs to but one character like the books - the girl - Lisbeth Salander - a hacker / researcher par excellence - a thin and frail girl with body art, rings, and openly bi-sexual a ward of the state because she attempted to kill her father when she was 11. Naomi Rapace truly deserved an Oscar for this role.

The movie is about bilionaire Henrik who wants Michael to investigate the case of a missing girl Hannah. How Michael and Lisbeth solve this case and uncover a serial-killer who sexually violated women forms the crux of the story.

The movie is technically banned from a theatrical release in India as far as I know because of nudity and disturbing behaviour on screen. It's a shame but well torrents abound and you know where to go to get the DVDs be it Palika Bazaar, Chor Bazaar, Burma Bazaar, Singapore Plaza, Chandini Chowk etc...

Watch the movie......
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