Ship of Theseus

August 5, 2013 at 9:08 am

Yes. I am back. And what better than a movie review to start things off with. And what better movie than “Ship of Theseus” for this occasion.

For those of you, like me, who did not know about the Ship of Theseus or the Theseus Paradox before this movie, here it is:

…is a paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object.

Source: Wikipedia

And as a logical extension to this question, within the purview of the paradox is this: “…if the original components of the object are taken and used to form a new object, is the new one same as the earlier object?”

I don’t think there is an answer to this yet. The movie also raises this question and leaves you with a further quadrillion thoughts.

Review: Bombay to Bangkok

January 21, 2008 at 8:20 am

Nagesh Kukunoor is back. There is an automatic association with sensibility when you think of NK’s movies. None of his movies could be labelled as ‘typical Bollywood stuff’. NK compelled us into thinking that he was always going to maintain his track record of making good movies. And the best part was that he made us think out of the genre mindset. We, his fans, always thought any movie by NK will be worth every penny we pay for the ticket. Unlike some famous directors who sometimes don’t deliver but faithfully attempt several genres. NK’s track record has been impeccable. Has he managed to keep it up? Or has he let us down? Is it possible that the Shreyas-NK combination fails? Let us find out.

Click here to continue reading.

Back!

January 8, 2008 at 12:45 am

I have been away from blogging for almost 3 months. Lot of things crept up and I had to deal with each of them individually as well as all at once. Not exactly a crisis, but just a situation that required that I managed my time better to carry out new activities by cutting out the old and dearer ones like blogging. Anyways, am back now. I expect myself to get back to regular blogging gradually.

Watched this movie ‘Taare Zameen Par’ twice already. I think it’s a movie worth watching on the big screen. Don’t watch it for Aamir, don’t watch it for Darsheel (the kid), watch it for the issue that it handles – dyslexia. The way the society looks at it or rather overlooks it in the race to be the best. As Nikhumb (name of Aamir’s character in the movie) says, “Agar race main daudaana hi tha, tho breed race horses damnit, bachche kyon paida karte ho?” (If all you wanted was someone to run in races then breed race horses, why give birth to children?) The movie is a fantastic take on how we as human beings want our children to fall into the framework that the society has derived and push them, knowingly or unknowingly, into it. I am in love with the movie. And recommend that everyone watches it. On my scale it is a * * * * *

Coming to what I am, and the rest of the country apparently is, following now, almost obsessively, the Indian tour of Australia. The Sydney test was a fatal blemish on the so far good resumes of Benson and Bucknor. I think they will meet the same fate as Darrell Hair did. In my personal opinion, the ICC needs to atleast ask for an explanation of their decisions. But what has happened is there for all of us to see. Their explanations can almost be anticipated. “I didn’t hear the nick because of the crowd”, “I didn’t think it was necessary to check with the third umpire because I was sure that Symonds’ foot was inside”, and so and so forth. So, what is the solution to this? Nothing. We must stop venting our anger on these umpires and just carry on as if it was a bad day at office. That will really put us up there as the only team to have played in the ‘spirit of the game’.

And the ‘monkey’ issue. I agree with what Steve Waugh says. It is a culture issue. Here, in India, we just can call anyone a monkey and that wont mean anything offensive on the contrary might be taken as a jovial remark and laughed away. I think what Symonds wants here punished is the ability to talk back to him. He admits to having provoked Bhajji and Steve Waugh says that Australians always thought that he was the easiest to get a response from. So, what we are seeing here is actually a well-laid trap that Bhajji has walked into. I am not getting into whether he said “monkey” or not, all I am saying is that the Aussie players could have very well evened the matter out on the ground itself, as they usually do, rather than crying out to the umpires and the match refree about it. This act of ganging up against a single player of the opposition combined with the royal ignore that Sachin got during the hearing simply points towards the disrespect of the opposition team down under. And I don’t know who the legal counsel was for Mike Procter. He/she must have been sleeping during the hearing. There is something called conclusive evidence that needs to be produced for a decision that extreme to be taken. Obviously, they haven’t heard about it. Neither has anyone. So, what’s the fuss all about? Just carry on.

Here is what the Indian team should do now. Play the practice match at Canberra and the Perth and Adelaide tests. I don’t see them winning at Perth going by the tradition of bounce that the pitch has. Adelaide has been a happy hunting ground for India and we have done well there. Maybe we should look at coming back with a 2-2 scoreline but if it was not Perth in the way I would have said we could do it. But still, with these kind of things running at the back of the players’ minds I don’t think we will be able to avoid a 4-0 whitewash either.

News just trickling in suggest Bucknor being pulled out of Perth test. That should increase our chances by 50% ;-) Am just being nasty here. The nature of the pitch is going to be such that we will have a tough time negotiating it rather than thinking about umpires and such. We should include VRV Singh and drop Ishaant Sharma for this test. And maybe try to get Pathan also in at the cost of Jaffer. That would widen our bowling and batting options as well. I feel sorry for Jaffer if this happens, but then we need to have our best bowlers at Perth. We need to get Australia out for less than 300 in any one innings if we want to stand a chance of winning.

And if the board decides to abandon the tour, for whatever reason, then it would be the saddest thing to happen. According to the ICC, Indian board will have to pay USD 2 Million for not abiding by a pre-signed contract. Well, it should be the National honour on which the boards makes a decision and not money. It already has a lot of it! :)

Review | mungAru maLe

August 8, 2007 at 3:29 am

One of my dear friends, Rohith with whom I have been fighting tooth and nail here, forwarded a mail to me saying ‘mungAru maLe’ was releasing in Chennai at a theatre called Casino. Casino is a theatre where all regional language movies are usually released. It is not a theatre you would generally want to go to. Cleanliness and sanitation are the last things on the theatre authority’s mind. Anyway, paying Rs. 50/- per ticket is something I am happy about though. And while paying such a paltry amount (paltry, considering the ticket prices elsewhere) even expecting a cushion on the seat seems too much!

Coming to the movie, it is a bag of cliches. Rich spoilt brat falls in love with beautiful(?) girl. It is love at first sight. The girl is already engaged to a man who saved her father’s life. The ending is something that is not cliched and that’s what makes you leave the theatre with the feeling of “Hmmm… good end to an otherwise drab story”. And trust me, apart from the end there is little else that you can appreciate. The title song is extremely melodious catchy otherwise the music is passable.

Rajni fever

June 19, 2007 at 11:25 am

Yes, you guessed it right. After Rajni mania, it ought to be fever. What else do you expect? There is some magic stuff that Rajni does that sweeps us off our feet!

Ok ok ok. Let us come to reality. Our trusted mechanic, a former mechanic of the Superstar, helped us get tickets to the second day night show at Baby Albert theatre in Egmore. So I actually got myself to watch Superstar earlier than I thought.

A tale of two Traffic Signals

February 7, 2007 at 11:14 am

Venue: Teynampet Traffic Signal, Chennai

Listening to: Some vague programme on Radio City, 91.1 FM

Who is the only Indian to have participated in Formula One Car Racing? a. Karun, b. Narian Karthikeyan. Please sms “Rang your answer (a or b) followed by your name, location to 7007″ to win exciting prizes!

I looked up at the signal timer and saw that I had another 60 seconds to pass. I took the mobile out of my pocket and sms’ed “Rang b Aditya, Ashoknagar” to 7007. The signal turned green and I proceeded.

My strategy was this: Radiocity is the only channel that anchors all its programmes in half-tamil and half-all other languages and hence the tamil audience would not be interested in the channel. Rather the more important fact would be that Radiocity plays songs of all languages – Tamil, Hindi and English and hence its listener base would be that much lesser than the tamil channels. And added to this is the fact that Radiocity is the newest on the block and hence is trying to catch up on listener base. So, I thought I had a chance of winning that exciting prize! And so did I!

Exciting prize = two tickets to ‘Traffic Signal’ at Seasons (new theatre in Sathyam multiplex) 10.15PM show. Like my wife said, this was ‘a tale of two traffic signals” 

And here’s the review.

GURU | A Review

January 12, 2007 at 4:16 am

“My father advised me not to dream. Dreams never come true. But I saw a dream”, says the deep baritone of Abhishek Bachchan with ‘Jaage hain’ track trying its best to make its presence felt through the background. Thus begins the movie with high expectations considering the starcast and the infallible Mani Ratnam.

Gurukant Desai (Abhishek Bachchan) is the son of a teacher belonging to Idhar village in Gujarat. But Guru is a failure at studies and has made big plans to go abroad to work. His father though never believes in the ability of his son. Guru is amazingly ambitious and supremely confident about his abilities. So he joins Shell in Istanbul, Turkey, selling oil cans and does very well in that job to merit a promotion within 3 years. When offered the promotion, Guru refuses saying, “Agar main idhar achcha kaam kar sakta hun to khud ke liye kyon na karu!” (If I can work so well for some foreign company then why not work for myself?). He leaves the job and returns to his village to pursue dreams of setting up his own company.

A review | Don

October 31, 2006 at 5:35 pm
Well, almost a good movie!

Farhan Akhtar tries an Indian James Bond but why did he have to choose a script of an old Indian blockbuster for this purpose? Maybe he consulted his father Mr. Javed Akhtar to write such a script and he said why not pick up one from my old tried and tested ones! And in 2006, you are treated to a film that is based (well, almost!) on a script written in the late 1970’s.
“Don 2006” is stylish and is twisted and convoluted beyond the recognition of the 1978 Don. Any resemblances to the original should be considered purely coincidental in fact. That’s the way in which Farhan Akhtar has adapted the script. Any comparisons to the original will only make you feel worse having watched Don 2006.

 

So, let’s steer out of comparison mode but not totally. The story, atleast the major part, is based on the Don 1978. Don is caught by police (DCP) and replaced with a look-alike “Vijay” to infiltrate the group and pass on information to the police. Then in a rare turn of events, the DCP dies and Vijay is left alone to fight it out all alone. So far so good and even Don 2006 sticks to this. Well, almost!

Farhan Akhtar brings in his intellect here. He hasn’t considered the Don 1978 script to be sacrosanct. He has made massive changes to make it interesting. And succeeds to an extent too. But then, it raises so many questions in your mind that when you are out of the theater you are busy debating certain things with everyone around you that you are not exactly thinking whether the movie was good or not. Now, I don’t think that’s the way one would want to end this movie after so much of effort to make it more interesting.

The Kareena cameo is not choreographed well enough. Farah Khan can do good work to party songs and dance numbers. She is not your person to do “seduction” numbers. I mean Kareena danced like she wanted to make Don dance with her and not sleep with her! The Farah Khan ability comes out very well in the “Khaike pan banaraswala” song combined with Shah Rukh Khan’s energy, the song is a pleasure to watch. (Utterly out-of-situation, but as Farhan Akhtar says, “Don would be incomplete without the song” and I agree)

The movie could have been shot better. The blurry look doesn’t help the slick image that Farhan wants. Paris (the action sequence to introduce Don was shot here. Why? You ask? Because Don is an international criminal!) was shown in such a hazy light that I was rubbing my eyes to believe what I had seen! If you want the movie to look slick then please hire a good cinematographer. A Ravi K Chandran or a Santosh Sivan would have done very well. Who is Mr. Mohanan? All people with names ending with “N” don’t make good cinematographers! (P.C. Sriram for example) The worst piece of cinematography I have seen is of that sequence on the Petronas Towers.

The editing, the scenes jump from one to another. Especially the scene involving DCP, Don and Roma where revelations are made and suddenly next scene is Don is in the school. Looks like a rearrangement of scenes in the hindsight. It is definitely a very amateurish attempt to cover up the twists and turns. At many other places too, the movie jumps. Not at all a good sign of editing a movie. If I had to rate editing alone, I would have given it zero stars.

The direction, considering the potential of Farhan Akhtar, could have been better definitely. Personally, I didn’t like the way he had characterized “Don”. Don is a womanizer (that tilted head with winged hands caricature of the ballet rehearsal at Paris was enough to establish that) and he drools over girls dressed in bikinis. He is a courier boy who goes to deliver his own stuff to seal business deals. He is a criminal wanted by the Interpol and only 5 cops including two old cops are on this search. The police have no photo of the enemy (Vardhan) of Singhania (Don’s boss) but have a shot of Don with which he could have entered a modeling contest (Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahi, namumkin hai tho Vardhan ko Don bhi nahi pakad nahi paaya! Ab uske bare main socho!) Finally, Don is a small-time arms dealer who grew big because of the disintegration of Russia. Why is this required at all?! If he could have worked on his characterization a bit more, such stupid things wouldn’t have been necessary to convince us of the gravity of the situation. Anyways, Farhan Akhtar fails completely in characterizing Don – his main character, but succeeds in keeping us glued to the seats till the eternally long movie ends. (Is there some rule that all SRK movies need to extend beyond three hours or something like that?)

The music of the movie is a highlight that keeps us interested. Mainly because the songs are recycled from the past and made to suit today’s sound. But I have a problem with the title song. Shaan’s voice sounds too hollow to be a Don’s voice. A voice with slightly more gruffiness in it would have done the job better. Maybe Shankar Mahadevan himself should have moderated his voice around a little bit and sung. Naresh Iyer would have been a great choice for this song. The background music is catchy. Giving the movie a James Bond feel is the background music.
The stunts and the special effects department could have done better in the Air drop sequence or for that matter the Petronas towers sequence. Both of them fall flat. Like “Lakshya”s war sequences most of the stunts here fall flat. First, because there is not a strong enough concept behind it and second it is shot badly. Very badly. An out-of-context thought here: What was the white villain doing in the prison and the aeroplane? Why was he required? To tell us that Don is an international criminal? Why couldn’t Farhan Akhtar move away from the clichés (that usually surround a Salim-Javed script) and give us a convincing version of the original? Well he tried. And it worked. Well, Almost!

Shah Rukh Khan does his part. After “Swades”, he has tried a non-mushy mushy movie for which we should nominate this film to the Oscars. There is no trembling voice here. No smiles and teary hand-waves showing ‘tatas’. Probably, not having seen him in such a role for a long long time I thought he was about to change into the Karan Johar wardrobe any moment. No slow motion running. (He would be dead in that case! LOL!) Good pair of coolers he wears. Makes quite a style statement by wearing his tie inside. The only person who could have carried all this off was Govinda. Sad to see SRK substituting for Govinda. But no, credit where it is due. SRK isn’t as irritating as he is in his other movies. And so he has done his part.

Let me not talk about other performances as I would tend to disclose the plot in that case. Let me just say that Bomman Irani is not wasted while Om Puri is given nothing short of shit. Priyanka Chopra is pleasant. Kareena tries in vain to be sexy and dies in the process. Arjun Rampal limps his way for a fight scene with SRK. The cast is irrelevant in Don. Well, almost!

Rating: ***

Legend:
*Stay at home
**If you have the time to kill, go ahead, but not recommended
***Watch if you are a film buff!
****Go watch it on the big screen!
*****Don’t miss watching this one on the big screen! Avoid piracy!

About Champions and Narcissists

October 23, 2006 at 1:47 pm

So far…
Yet another dismaying performance from England. After all the talk about Ashes and the build-up to it, they caved in so meekly that you were left wondering if it was an Australia-Zimbabwe match. Now after the NZ-SL and Eng-Aus matches, the average of the teams batting first has come down to 190. Must be an all-time low for a tournament on the Indian sub-continent. It must be something to do with the pitch. These teams cannot continuously take the average down.

Tomorrow’s match…
SA-SL. It’s a quarter final for SL. If they lose they will find themselves on an early flight to Colombo while If they win, then they will have to wait for the Pak-NZ match on 25th and Pak-SA match on 27th and hope that Pak beats both NZ & SA. Instead of getting into more confusion let me just say the group is still open.

For the SA-SL match, I am backing the Sri Lankans yet again. Motera is a pitch that is traditionally known to take some pace in the beginning and spin later on. If that happens and SL win the toss and elect to bowl, then they are set for a victory. Handling Murali on the turning track with a dew-covered ball is going to be impossible for the inept SA batting line-up. Anyway, as Sidhu says If “ifs” and “buts” were “pots” and “pans” then there would be no tinkers! (If anyone knows what it means, do let me know. I used it because it sounded good! But I know that it talks something against this compulsive use of if’s and but’s to predict one’s own desire as the most practical outcome!)

And yesterday…
I watched this tamil movie called “Vallavan” which has Silambharasan acting and directing the flick. For the first time in my part-time career as a film critic I have come across someone who is more narcissistic than Kamal Hassan. Now, I don’t want all of you to pounce on me and say it is good to be a little narcissistic that’s when you can do great work. Well, I totally agree to that and for that I will quote every Kamal Hassan movie as proof (except maybe “Alavandan”).

Now coming to Narcissism gone haywire, welcome to the world of self-acclaimed Little Super Star Simbhu. He is mad. Crazy. Demented. He has just shot this movie to imitate Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan and prove to himself that he is a divine combination of both of these. Also to take dirty below-the-belt potshots at S.J.Surya. [I am now shaking my head thinking of how Mr. S.J.Surya will now react to these!] “Vallavan” has been made so that Simbhu may kiss and fondle his ‘supposedly’ real-life sweetheart Nayanthara (who is stunningly beautiful after losing that extra flab around her waist!). I don’t think she even allows this guy with an oversized head near him otherwise! Why was sweet-faced Sandhya needed? And why was Reema Sen made to look like a tramp even in a school dress? I pity producer Mr. Thenappan for investing on Simbhu and totally support him if he hasn’t paid Simbhu 40% of his fees. This movie will not run beyond the first 4 days and there is a possibility that Simbhu’s house maybe stoned after this!

Even scenes with potential are spoilt in the name of some non-existent style. For eg., the scene where Simbhu walks upto some guy (who looks like he has fallen off from some RGV Factory’s movie set) and advises him on how love should be treated and induced in a girl by love but not threatened. One thing I didn’t understand amidst the hundreds of screwed up things in the movie is: Why do the sidekicks always make this puking sound while being pulled around by the rope after being hit by our Little Super Star (my foot! little super star!)?!! I am actually surprised he didn’t name it “Simbhuvan”!

To top it all…
I watched this movie in a drive-in theatre in Chennai.

  1. For starters, this guy doesn’t seem to have a cap on the capacity. He will allow as many cars as possible. And they will park themselves wherever they find it comfortable. There is nobody guiding these cars and I guess he never stops issuing the tickets.
  2. The canteen is of no use. He has bhel-puri, cutlet, paneer roll and veg roll. Period.
  3. I agree that as a theatre you have no control over lights that are lighting up the background behind the screen, but please switch off those lights (Ladies Toilet lights, canteen lights, etc.) or atleast find some way of covering it up so that it doesn’t disrupt the cinema-viewers experience.
  4. Can you please strictly check the cars of those coming into the theater for alcoholic drinks? The car next to us was having beer and smoking away to glory. It (Beer can smell awful and the smoke made it claustrophobic) made our experience much worse than Simbhu intended to.
  5. The sound system is pathetic. The Auto Drivers’ Stand next to my house hired better speakers for their Ayudha Puja celebrations. The frequency of sounds generated by your speakers would have been better intercepted by owls and bats! Save us, we are human beings!

Sathyam Cinema wins hands down on all accounts!

Same problem

October 6, 2006 at 11:05 am

(Photo Courtesy: E-paper of The Hindu)
This review has a striking similarity with mine! I take it as a compliment that my review was on the same lines as this one. Thanks Mr. Sudhish Kamath! ;)
—————

(Photo Courtesy: E-paper of The Hindu)

Well, yet another problem. Looks like the government has something else against the corridor. Not enough windows (of opportunity to make money) I guess!