Thursday, November 01, 2007

5th Asian Film Festival

The 5th Asian Film festival kicked off yesterday in pune with the screening of 'Poet Of Wastes' by Mohamad Ahmadi.

The festival is supposed to cover the best of Asian cinema in recent years along with tributes to directors like Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman.

Poet Of Wastes:

Poet Of wastes is a story of an optimistic young man in Iran who dreams of becoming a poet,but due to lack of opportunities and rampant unemployment ends being a street cleaner. In course he gets involved with an old poet,whose life is in danger and a lonely woman who is desperately trying to get visa to leave the country after the death of her fiance.

The film scores well on cinematography with some great shots like the one below.The scene shows the girl,disappointed,returning from the embassy, while saber(the protagonist) waits for her on a street that is covered with leaves. As she enters,saber cleans the path by sweeping the leaves right and left,and all the while looking down with his face filled with joy.

The film also highlights the major problems of the country like unemployment,Brain Drain and lawlessness.

There's a conversation between the poet and Saber which goes like this:

Saber: I know you are a poet.Are you famous?
Poet: Don't you see my photo on milk bottles,I am a cow. I am a cow which eats grass and gives milk,and has stayed here while all others have left.

Overall the movie is pretty decent and much better than what bollywood is offering these days.

P.S: The Festival poster at top is of the movie Baran by Majid Majidi,hope to see that movie during the festival.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Of Widows and Puppets

Long time ago there was a widow, with a very famous black and white centre parting, a widow who was once called a witch and a mother of a country, a mother who was probably controlled by her son, and a son who didn't want other men to have their sons. The widow installed a Cambridge educated puppet on the nation’s highest post.

The widow, who was mother of a country, with the help of the puppet, gave birth to a child. The child saved her seat and gave her lot of power over her other child, the country.

Today there’s another widow, a widow who was once called a goddess and a freedom fighter, a widow who before becoming a widow was married to a widow’s son and a widow,who unlike her mother widow,once gave her seat to get power. The widow today, is in process of creating and repeating history. She is installing another puppet on the country's highest post.

But this widow, also Cambridge educated, with a black and almost white centre parting, is cleverer. She doesn’t have a seat but she has strings and puppets, so although she has gained everything, she’ll never lose anything.

Perhaps a lot of the older widow has leaked into the present widow and a lot of Salman Rushdie's midnight's children has leaked into me.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Long Tail effect!

This is something very interesting.The Long tail effect has some mind boggling applications,a theory which proves the amazing potential of Web 2.0 and how fast it is growing.

This page provides a better explanation in the context of web 2.0 than wiki. Come to think of it, sometimes when it comes to providing explanations of tech terms wiki isn't that great probably.

Also check out Netflix.Seems quite an amazing business strategy.Why isn't this in news :(

Currently reading: Kafka on the shore.Got to read something by Samuel Beckett,probably this.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Good things that have happened to me recently

1. I finally managed to see Children of Heaven by Majid Majidi.I am yet to come across such phenomenal display of acting by ten year olds. Simple script, absolutely wonderful direction.

2. I finally found Salman Rushdie.

3. Rushdie is getting better as I read.

4. I am probably losing weight :D.

5. Trying to kick the butt

Friday, June 01, 2007

Whose 'about me' is that anyways

Found during one of many random profile hopping on orkut.

about me: check out my testi's....i think thats enough...:)

Can you guess the sex?.

Fine, I am being a pervert and you cannot read Rushdie without breaks,but I almost damaged my spleens laughing on that one!

Why short forms please?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Movies that I am dying to see.

I think this post will be edited and re-edited for many days to come. For some days I have been thinking of making a list of movies which are rated high on imdb(greater than or equal to 8) or which are criticall acclaimed with a great plot and are not in imdb top 250. Most of these films are foreign.

Another subset of this list would really be the movies I am dying to see,dying because I am not downloading and can't do that for atleast 2 months now. Also there is no sweet bastard in this world who would do that for me. Third and may be the foremost reason is that I have ample of time courtesy Daler Mehndi,who is going to sing in my college;my lack of ambition and bad career prospects( I am surely joining IT now).

ok,Lets start with the list,as I said this post might remain at the top for some days to come as I don't think its feasible for me to finish the list in one go. Secondly I am not giving any links and some foreign titles have been translated into English. Films which are there in top 250 have a star against them and lastly the list random and not sorted. The serial numbers do not signify any kind of rating.

1. La Dolce vita
2. La Strada
3. Nights Of Cabiria *
4. Hidden Fortress *
5. Dersu Uzala
6. Yojimbo *
7. The Deer hunter *
8. Raging Bull *
9. Chungking Express
10. Fanny and Alexander
11. Through a glass darkly
12. The sea Inside
13. A man for all seasons
14. Ulysses' Gaze
15. Band of Outsiders
16. Breathless
17. Farewell My Concubine
18. Wild Strawberries *
19. Barry Lydon
20. Singing in the Rain *
21. The Bicycle Thief
22. The virgin Spring
23. Meghe Dhaka Tara
24. Children Of Heaven
25. Day for Night( God French new wave)
26.The Exterminating Angel( Surrealistic cinema,when?)
27.Aguirre: The Wrath of God
28.Phantom of Liberty
29. Katha( I have seen parts of this movie,want to see it again)

Thats it I am tired as of now,more later.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sophie Scholl- The Final Days

I just saw Sophie Scholl- The Final Days. Throughout the movie I just found myself saying two things; What grit and what clarity of thought.She was of my age(21) when she was executed;I wish I could have that clarity of thought.

Two things come to my mind,one related to something I read in a review at Imdb. I can't site the source but the comment goes as follows.
True heroism, like martyrdom, must be imposed by fate, not sought.

I don't know about heroism but true martyrdom should be imposed and not sought for personal glory.

The last rebel movie I saw was 'The motorcycle Diaries". Although it was a good movie,but I didn't like it much because I can't convince myself to follow the cult of Che` Guevera. True revolution,I believe, always seeks peace and never violence. Sophie Scholl I guess would now stand as the best rebel movie for me till I come across a better one.

This quote truly sums up the reason why I revere her. Source [wikipedia]

Playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag stated in Newsday on February 22nd, 1993 that "It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the 20th Century... The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me. I know that the world is better for them having been there, but I don't know why."
I also wanted to draw a comparison between a scene at the end of the movie and a scene at the end of an Indian movie called 'The legend of Bhagat Singh',based on life of Bhagat Singh,but I after I had written most of the post,my gem of a pc restarted and I had to write from the last auto draft position.

Anyways to sum up Sophie Scholl is much more humane and less melodramatic. It focuses more on Sophie's believe in her ideas and her conscience.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Boy doesn't he look like a film maker,thats Jean Luc Goddard,one of the greatest in the French New Wave cinema.

And I am stuck here with mid-sems now,haven't seen any of his work :(

Thought of applying to FTII yesterday :P.

Monday, February 19, 2007


I finally managed to see Patton and I knew I won't be able to write a review for the movie even before the first half was completed. I don't know why but I haven't been able to review movies which touched me;movies like Ran,Pather Panchali,Nuovo Cinema Paradiso and now Patton. Yesterday during my NMIMS gd,quoted Ingmar Bergman.Here's the quote

Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.

Variant translation: Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.

I think in some way I am experiencing,what he thought.

About Patton only thing I would say is, that George C Scott is brilliant,I loved him in Dr.Strangelove and he has exceeded my expectations in this one.

Although George S Patton might kick me for this or might smile in acknowledgment but I guess its good to keep your mouth shut,when you are not good at it.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I was never through with giving stars to movies,never understood them and those reviews in times.Anyways I just saw Eklavya,here's a small review.Eklavya by the way is a character in the Mahabharata.

Shot in all splendor and awe of Udaipurit is a treat to eyes,with modern film making techniques and some graphics adding the final touch .Good editing and some great cinematography make movie the technically very sound,but the catch in movie making is that scripts and plots are its basic foundation and eklavya's script is pretty trite for that matter.

But Vidhu Vinod Chopra is not a man you could just write off so easily, he definitely is a brave filmmaker I would say. There are two brilliant scenes in the movie which I'd would like to talk about, although as I had already mentioned the movie itself is quite a treat to the eyes. There's a scene where Eklavya shows his magic with accuracy,when throws his dagger to cut a tinkle bell tied to pigeon's legs without hurting the pigeon and catches it when it falls back,doing all this while he is blind-folded.Pigeons have long been in Chopra's movies,may be from parinda.

The second one is the dark scene where Eklavya avenges the death of his Rana and there's absolute darkness in the hall for three minutes,experimentation like that is definitely commendable.Of course finally just one song is a great relief,a transition I hope to see in more hindi movies.

I am not too gung-ho about Amitabh's performance,I was watching Toshiro Mifune's acting in Rashomon again today before I went for the movie,though it would be incongruous to compare the two performances, I would say I don't find anybody in our industry who can come up with a performance like that. Amitabh surely sets high standards in Indian film industry but after watching so much of world cinema,I don't rate this one as something out of this world.

As for eklavya I would say go see it once,the shots look good on big screen,but dont expect too much out of the script.

By the way just for sake of mentioning, now that I have started devoting pretty less time to blogging and as writing is not something that comes to me naturally I know my posts wont make any great pieces of literary work. If blogging is to serve purpose , it would be to help me refine and collect my thoughts and probably serve a future reference to me,of what I have done in my life.

Just came across this weird but brilliant photograph by Philippe Halsman based on painting by Salvador Dali.This photograph was in someway an inspiration for the poster of silence of the lambs.The butterfly in the posters for the movie appears to have a human skull at its center. However, upon close inspection, this "skull" turns out to be at least three naked women (clearly seven in some versions of the poster),much similar the photograph by Halsman.Another great photograph by him is portrait of Einstein looking very sad and this one of Monroe jumping, from his famous series on celebrities.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Movies that I saw recently

Here are the some of the movies that I saw recently

1. Sunset Blvd: Gloria Swanson is amazing,this will surely barge in my all time favorites list soon,the opening shot is amazing and ofcourse Gloria,just can't help talking about her,pity she missed an oscar.
2. Nuovo Cinema Paradiso: Young toto is wonderful,touchy and emotional storyline.Great movie and an awesome soundtrack
3. Water: Some real heart wrenching scenes
4. Pan's Labyrinth: Good movie,but fantasy is surely not my cup of tea,but reality and fantasy are nicely inter wined in the movie
5.Hero: I like japanese action more,those jaw dropping,newton defying stunts just don't impress me much.Movie scores very well on color theme effects, direction and the scale and aura of the some shots.

I will surely write more about Sunset Blvd one of these days,just not in the mood to write much.

Currently reading "What should I do with my life",by Po Bronson.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Amores Perros

Amores Perros which roughly translates as Love's a bitch,is an example of a portmanteau film.It has three sub-plots that are connected by a car accident,a theme that is borrowed and adapted in Indian scenario in Mani Ratnam's Yuva. To Mani Ratnam credit the subplots in yuva are completely different and well suited to the Indian scenario.Anyways lets talk about Amores Perros.

Amores Perros is the mainstream debut of Alejandro González Iñárritu the director of famous films like 21 grams and Babel, which has been nominated for this year's Oscars in the best film category.

Reality they say is stranger than fiction,it bites. You are stung by Amores Perros, a feeling which I also got while watching Cidade de Deus and Hazaron Khawishyein Aisi .All three movies are based on poignant realities in the third world countries in which they are set.The armed robberies and broad day light murders in Mexico city as shown in Amores Perros or the teens in Rio de Janero with Uzis and .22's in their hands controlling a drug racket as shown in cidade de deus or the backwardness of Bihar and naxalite movement of the 70's as shown in Hazaron Khwasihein Aisi,form harsh realities of these countries. But at the same time,the plots in Amores Perros entertain and keep you glued

The subplots of Amores Perros are not as strongly inter wined as in Yuva,the accident connects all three plots, otherwise baring a few exceptions the three stories have their own directions. But to directors' credit the plots are very subtly connected by the underlying themes of love,violence and dogs. The characters in the subplots commit adultery,live by vanity and resolve to violence and in end undone by it,something that gives the movie its moral dimension. One character of each story is betrayed in love or in some way loses love.

Dogs also link the three stories,Ocatvio(Gael García Bernal) uses his dog to earn money through dog fights,Valeria's(Goya Toledo) pet dog in the second story forms a very important of her life,may be as a companion and is later in some way a cause of her doom and El chivo(Emilio Echevarría) in the third story cares for stray dogs which are his companions in exile.

To elaborate these themes more specifically I would have to reveal the plot,which I don't want to may be because of my laziness or may be because I don't want to write stereotype reviews.

Amores Perros stands out for its great direction, beautiful underlying themes and a fierce and poignant portrayal of realities. The accident sequence is quite amazingly shot,but the same seqeunce albeit not particularly well shot, looks more grandiose in Yuva, probably because of the Howrah bridge.

In drawbacks, though it might be rather viewer specific,in the end you can't help but wonder what was the ultimate fate of the characters that were built in front of you.Though I would I say it is very viewer specific,an emotional viewer like an Indian might feel this more than a European viewer. But I felt that director implicitly but clearly draws the fate of characters,its just the matter of perception.

Viewer perception is important ploy in movie making,brilliantly used by Akira Kurosawa in Rashomon. In fact the power of viewer perception was proved in this brilliant experiment known as the Kuleshov Experiment.

I also saw Ran and Pather Panchali and was deeply moved by both of them. Ran would now stand out as of one best movies of all time in my list. I would write a review for Ran when I see it again.

Pather Panchali should be regarded as one of best debuts in the world, one of the best examples of Neo-realistic cinema. Ray's debut film I think puts him among the greats like Kurosawa and Hitchcock. I would comment more on Pather Panchali and Satyajit Ray's cinema,after I finish watching the Apu trilogy.

In other news I feel its quite a blot on country's rich claims of a sustained democracy and freedom of speech,when great films like, Water by Deepa Mehta, are nominated for Oscars in the foreign film category as Canada's entry. Fims like Parazania and Black Friday based on controversial subjects have problems on their release.Parazania has a grim future in the Gujarat, with bajrang dal already issuing a warning,it might be banned in a few days.

All men are equal but some men will always be more equal.

Monday, January 15, 2007


The best time to write a movie review and especially of a Hindi movie is just after you have seen it,so here am writing it for guru after the night show.Finally I managed to see a Hindi movie after a gap of two months,of course during the gap I saw more than 30 non-Hindi movies(non hindi counts English,German,Japanese,and italian),anyways lets talk about guru.

Guru:Guru is a drama quite faithfully inspired from the life of Dhirubhai Ambani and the fact that the movie has reached the mainstream makes it obvious that it is eulogising from the start but then Dhirubhai was a man who deserves it.

Good things first,its great to have a script that smells Indian and is not a foreign lift,not many tweaks, quite faithfully follows Dhirubhai's life right from his days of struggle back in Yemen(ofcourse dancing with Mallika Sherwat hardly shows struggle) to his tussle with Wadias and the media campaign against him led by Ramnath Goenka and his Indian Express.

Abhishek Bachchan is good, his wide grin comes very close to Dhirubhai's,he tries to imitate his dad's accent at times and is wonderfully successful at it,on the whole the elan of Gurukant Desai does give that feel of Dhirubhai Ambani.Mithun Chakraborty also gives a good performance. A.R Rahaman does churn out a few good numbers like the song that introduces Aishwarya Rai and the title number.

The final reference made to Gandhi has an important point that the laws made by the government are not always correct.It is widely known that our economic system had serious flaws pre liberalisation,license Raj was seriously detrimental.The fact that Dhirubhai Ambani was genius at tweaking it and many other numerous legislations doesn't entirely make him a hardcore sinner.Through his promotion of the equity cult he brought wealth to shareholders and that is a glaring truth.

Now the bad things,with a huge chunk of revenue coming from music sales and the fact that songs in films is a trademark of bollywood cinema and a necessity for its million viewers makes sure they can't ever be left out.But there placement,spacing and number can always be taken care of,two songs in less 10 minutes into film is not appealing at least to me.

Cinematography surely lacks,shots aren't that great,something that is a hallmark of great directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Akira Kurosawa.Goofs and anachronisms can be easily found, like disappearance of Guru's white hair during songs and its consequent reappearance.

But on whole some good performances and a fascinating storyline does favor Guru a watch.

Here some other articles related to Dhirubhai Ambani that find reference with the events depicted in the movie.

1.His famous Battles.
2.Another article by rediff on his life.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Considering the extreme time constraints(?) and my inevitable laziness,I have decided to write small reviews rather than writing long posts and then never continuing the trend,so mostly from now on I'll just be writing the things I liked(or disliked) about the movie,instead of following a general reviewing pattern.

Lets start with some of my present favorites.

1.Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb: People say this is Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece,although I am not sure of that, may be because this stands out as the only comic offering by the director but this is definitely one of the best political satires I have ever come across even better than the Great dictator which was my previous best in the genre.Anyways its not fair to compare movies even if they are of the same genre.

The plot of the movie is very simple,it is the brilliant direction and some great performances that infuse life in the movie.Kubrick is brilliant with the character profiles,from the president, his generals and the ambassador are so very close to the reality. I think it is the character profiles which make the simple plot so interesting and give the film that eternal feeling so that you enjoy it even after more than 40 years of its making .

I especially like the character profiles of Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper(sterling hayden) and Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson(George Scott) which are quintessentially found in military. Ripper a paranoid,high-esteemed brigadier who thinks warfare and national security are far too important and complex matters to be left to the politicians. Turgidson on the other hand is an over confident sycophantic sceptic,easily capable of misleading the leader.

There are some shots like the ones in the President's in his war room discussing with his generals,Hayden in his office delivering with a cigar in his mouth,which are absolutely brilliant. Peter Sellers' has a triple role in the movie as the president,captain Mandrake who is Ripper's executive and as Dr. strangelove.His performance as Dr. strangelove is definitely commendable.Another great thing about the movie is the background score, the instrumental of "When johnny comes marching home" played whenever during the plane shots just tops as the cream.

For the cast,plot and other details click the movie title link.

Here's something interesting, while watching movie I felt that I have heard the background music of the movie before in a hindi movie,so when I was searching for the same I came across two wonderful sites which catalog plagiarism in hindi movies.

1.Bollycat catalogues plagiarisms in hindi movies.
2.itwofs catlogues plagiarism in hindi music.

So as I suspected the music has been lifted by Rajesh Roshan. Here's the link on the same site

The Phoenix

It's only the phoenix that can rise from its ashes,there must be something unique about it,isn't it,for not everyone can be a phoenix.

So,what's cooking?
Last sem of my dubious engineering carreer, with the end of a rather tumoultous year in my life.This sem would solely devoted to my passions:movies,quizzing and books.To say that I have watched loads of movies in last few days would be an understatement,it would be more appropiate to say that I have been living movies for past few days and have been pretty fortunate to have come across the best.Here's a small list,lets hope I do manage to come out with some reviews.

1.Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
2. Faboulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain
3. Rear window
4. Rashomon
5. Seven Samurai
6. Der Untergang
7. The Pianist
8. City Of God
9. 12 Angry men
10. Kabuliwala
11. Being John Malkovich

Let's see if I can complete the imdb 250 this sem.