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.