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Disappointing, Debauched, Manipulative, Subtly by crafty persuading audiences
I wasn't in India during the famous trigger-happy media frenzy sensationalized Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj 2008 double murder case of Noida India, thus watching Talvar movie was a first time exposure on what actually could have happened. On the promotional campaign the Director Meghna Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj reiterated in every channel interview that they have presented the facts as it is without taking sides and leaving in the end for audience to decide. Such claims added immense credibility and interest for me to see the movie.
But I was thoroughly disappointed.
Obviously, by the wrong claims made in promotion by them (they should not lie and fool the people) because assuming they showed just actual facts (as them claim) the main purpose of the movie was clearly to show the parents were wrongly prosecuted due to blotched up police investigation (the movie shows that very effectively). The script, screenplay, writing, dialogues, casting, background score, using one- liners effectively (always in favor of Talwars), slight tinkering of events (that no one knows what happened except what they show on screen) here and there, (to favor the Talwars). The movie was not only manipulative but intrusively playing on the psychology of audiences by misusing the power of cinematic medium. I found the movie serving the same purpose as the frenzied media the difference was timing and intent. Clearly the purpose of the movie was questionable.
It was well documented and no one can deny the way police messed up the crime scene and investigation and thus CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) was brought into the case.
But just use some intelligence and say that the first CBI team led by Ashwini kumar - Irfan Khan (who is shown as a drunkard, emotionally devastated with a broken marriage and divorce, a mobile phone gamester with short-broken attention spans, a violent investigator using beatings and torture, whimsical to the extent of beating the police officer with a stick, attacking a colleague in official premises) how can he be believed? On one side, the police churned up the theory of claiming parents as murderers without evidence is it not possible that after seeing the inadequate forensic and investigative report Ashwini kumar would have had presumed and decisively pursued to build evidence to prove parents were innocent and there servants were murderers? It is possible !
Casting was very important - what impact would it made if the role of Ashwini was played by an unknown actor and Irfan was casted as head of second CBI team. The audience perception would have had swayed to what the second team would say. Additionally in the movie Tabu was paired with Irfan to build another by-plot of hero-heroine to lend authenticity to Irfan's character as hero. Whatever hero says must be true- is the message audience takes back home. Very manipulative.
Last 12 minutes the movie focuses two CBI teams facing and arguing each other in a room trying to convince each other about which investigation is true. This is another ploy by writer Vishal Bhardwaj to get away with the real court scene (which was fact of what actually happened in arguments) and replace it with a fictional scene and presented distorted debate instead of real one. Obviously court would have looked into much details the arguments of both parties the defense and prosecutors teams. Close observers of cinema tactics who are really intelligent would immediately question this Why the Director/ Writer duo should do such a thing and get away with showing at least 5-7 minutes of court arguments that lead to parents prosecution. Very disturbing when the pseudo intelligent critics and reviewers applaud such a crafty and bogus manipulation.
There are rumors as claimed by a Director Manish Gupta who made another fictional movie 'Rahasya' inspired by Aarushi murder case, that the Talwars had approached him to make a movie showing them as innocent, and when the Director didn't agree they wanted to ban the release of the movie.
The producers & production services is unprecedentedly (never seen ever before) using the print media of a leading national daily to promote sway the readers and audiences with two page paid news-coverage for four continuous day since release of this film. Says a lot about what is the intent to push the content of the movie. Is there anyone behind leading this?
During the whole movie I found numerous instances where I clearly saw how the Director and writer are mis-leading the audiences rather than giving unbiased and factual evidence. I would not go into details of each instance, but will close this review by highlighting the last scene where it is shown the parents entering the jail after being found guilty by the court and the manipulative sad back-ground score playing stating parents are innocent and this is what should linger in the minds of audiences who walk out of the theatres. Debauching!
I am skipping discussing acting, direction, cinematography etc. due to lack of space.
I am disappointed with his lyricist Gulzar's daughter and I have no doubt but to question the integrity of the duo Director Meghna Gulzar and screenplay writer Vishal Bhardwaj. Apologies and sorry!
If I had heard them saying in their TV interviews that the movie is shown in favor of Talwar parents, I would had certainly rated this movie 6.5, but now...
(Rating 4.5 out of 10)
Brutal depiction & Cringing violence of law
When I saw this movie, throughout the movie I was cringing within myself, living in this obnoxious violent world that uses law, morals and intelligence doing crimes with impunity. God forbid to be exposed to such type of hidden violence of our society that may be reeling out injustice to thousands of innocence people on daily basis. It gave me a couple of sleepless nights and broad daylight nightmares.
Court is a simple story of a retired school teacher and folk singer dalit political activist Narayan Kamble (a real life activists Vira Sathidar played brilliant) who is arrested for a bizarre accusation of 'abetment of suicide' of a sewerage worker because of the lyrics of the passionate folk-activist-songs he sings. The court drama is set as real and as impassionate as possible with sporadic peeks into the pragmatic personal lives of public prosecutor Maharashtrian lawyer Nutan (Geetanjali Kulkarni natural accent / diction and typical advocate performance) and Gujarati defence lawyer Vinay Vora, played by producer of the movie Vivek Gomber, and lastly presided by the superstitious judge Sadavarte (Pradeep Joshi) who is seen dozing on a park bench as the end credits rolls by.
The crippling monotony and lack of empathy for innocent, embedded with bureaucratic procedures and archaic court law makes a dark comedy satire of the times we live in.
Brilliantly written, visioned and directed by Chaitanya Tamhane inspired seeing films of stalwarts like Krzysztof Kieslowski and Jia Zhangke. Director Tamhane took nearly 3 years to complete this project researching, writing and executing. And that shows in each frame and character enacted. Nearly 1800 people were auditioned from which mostly non-filmi people were selected, who in turn also helped in production work at the set. The laborious tasks of perfect pitch at times took them to shoot some scenes 50-60 retakes.
Static shots by cinematographer Mrinal Desai add us being part of the setting of the court-room drama with each scene mounting our frustrations by leaps and bounds.
Ten minutes prior to the actual ending when the court is adjourned Director Tamhane closes the shot with a dark screen as a prelude to building anger within the sensitive audiences for what is next to come the judge enjoying with his family and friends at a picnic during his vacation. Tamhane pushes the mirror of reality and slaps the audiences on its face to be aware of the unseen violence that goes on behind each scene of joy and pleasure, dance and songs.
It leaves such a deep impact that next time one sees people happy and jumping, one is un-mistakably not going to forget the terror some of them might have left behind in invisible people's lives.
I would strongly recommend everyone, especially students of law, interns, lawyers, advocates, magistrates and judges to see this movie and do some serious introspection on their role in perpetuating legal forms of crude violence through their professional careers that may impede justice especially for those who are innocent.
Lastly, kudos to Vivek Gomber to have trust, faith and backing such a wonderful script and believing the director's vision to bring life to a master piece, that should be a compulsory viewing for every cinema- lover.
A subtle but frightening and deeply disturbing brilliant masterpiece fascinatingly portraying honest violent satire of Indian judiciary and our modern society!
(Rating 8.25 out of 10)
This is the third movie of Austrian Director Michael Haneke I watched. AMOUR (Love). It won the best foreign film Oscar. Michael 's direction is many times compared to Alfred Hitchcock. His movie Funny Games is the best example of building mysterious tension. The other movie I had seen was Piano Teacher which was also exceptional in understanding unexplored sexual fantasies of a woman. Amour on other end tells the story of an old couple's Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and George (Jean-Louis Trintignant)'s life. Starts with police breaking in their apartment and finding Anne's dead body. The movie goes ahead with a flashback when Anne and George come back from a concert. With time, Anne slowly loses her abilities and is struck with a paralytic attach on right side and after getting treatment in a hospital is confined to bed and wheelchair. The movie is about the struggle of old couple in a big Paris Apartment, where 3 times in a week a nurse comes to help Anne, otherwise George is the one who has to take care of bed-ridden Anne. It is a mirror to the audiences on loneliness, old-age, helplessness, slow process of decay and death in human body. Brilliantly executed. Though slow and not a flavor for everyone, especially those who are not sensitive towards the fact that one day, they too will become old and face old age.
Both Emmanuelle and Jean-Louis have acted brilliantly and taken the whole film on their shoulders. Direction is top class. There are moments that make you cry. After Anne gets paralytic attack I saw the rest of the movie with praying hands.
There is brilliant musical score especially on piano. It has won 80 international awards and additional 83 nominations showcases its appreciation and acceptability in the type of movie it is. Essential for movie buffs who like good movies.
(7.25 out of 10)
Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015)
Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Tanu Weds Manu Returns (TWMR)
Since I saw the trailer of TWMR I had shared the link with all my friends and family with excitement. There are a few things in any small glimpse of trailer or poster that catches your fancy, and TWMR did just that.
After the general debacle of film industry applauded Bombay Velvet last week (16 May 2015) - where most critics associated with film industry had given half hearted average or positive review while other movie critics gave confused reviews (appreciating the technicality of movie making and giving average rating) or negative reviews - everyone was keen on the fate of TWMR.
I personally was not expecting an all positive critics review opening weekend, but the film opened mostly with positive reviews. I made my way to the theaters to catch the movie.
The movie starts where Tanu Weds Manu (TWM) ends and immediately jumps four years later in UK with their marriage itch separation scene, where Manu (Madhavan) ends up in a mental asylum and Tanu (Kangana) flies back to India. Later on insistence of Tanu, Pappi (Deepak Dobriyal) brings back Manu from UK to India. Tanu goes back to her usual mercurial behavior of TWM - meeting her old flirtatious lovers, especially Raja Awasthi (Jimmy Shergill) and making new lovers, especially tenant in their house who is also a lawyer (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub). Manu catches a glimpse of a Haryanavi athlete Kusum (Kangana in double role) and follows her, ultimately falling in love with her, and going to her home with a proposal of marriage. When Tanu knows about it, she lands up with Raja (who was this time supposed to marry Kusum) and members of Tanu, Manu, Kusum's family. What happens after that forms the rest of the story.
Before I say anything else the movie belongs to Kangana Ranaut as an actress, and more so to the character of Kusum, who steals the show from Tanu and wins the hearts of audiences with her gritty, earthy, simple, gender empowering straight-forward, athletic persona and Haryanavi accent. Kangana as Kusum is so endearing and into the skin of the character that all the other characters though well written and acted Kusum wins all accolades and medals of this movie.
Equal credit to Director Aanand Rai what progression he has had from small time TV assistant to TV show Director, to small budget movie director to giving three consecutive hits (TWM, Ranjhaana and now TWMR, which will be a sure hit) and to writer Himanshu Sharma who has contributed with story, screenplay, dialogues. These duos were also behind the three hits mentioned above.
The pace of the movie is fast, the dialogues and one-liners given to each character are winners and worth it's clap, whistling moments, and roll over laughter from audiences. The script is laden with big pot holes, the setting is rustic, the editing jarring at times, the story jumps and sometimes does not make sense but unlike Bombay Velvet which excelled in technical department and yet failed as a movie, TWMR though with countless technical flaws excels as a movie experience.
Regarding other cast, Madhavan has affable presence by carrying his goody shy self with ease. Deepak Dobriyal gets an author backed role as Madhavan's side-kick friend and gets the best one-liners. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub excels in his short role as a romantic lover of Tanu. Jimmy Shergill's terrorizing persona looked shades below TWM.
I would like to specially mention the recreation and wonderful picturization of the Geeta Dutt sung Aar Paar movie song "Ja Ja Ja Ja Bewafa ". The music by Krsna Solo is catchy and fits well with the situation and flow of the movie. I liked the songs: Ghani Bawiri, Banno, 'Old School Girl' and 'Move on'.
There are two occasions of preachy speeches in the movie.
Yet it is Kangana Ranaut as Kusum, that is the ACE of the pack. There are no words to praise enough her acting prowess and again thanks to Aanand Rai for keeping faith and belief in Kangana and giving her such a power packed role, which Kangana delivers with a punch.
In the end my last word - Our heart goes out for Kangana as Kusum for her innocence, honesty, grittiness, straight-forwardness, the aspirations of young town girl, her pride, dignity, women-hood, empowerment and her feelings of first love. It left me teary eye every time she came on the screen.
A once in a life-time role and character that will go into acting schools and Indian cinema history books as a classic!
My rating (7 out of 10)
Only for sensitive liberals
I saw WOMB movie. It is not the movie for all people. It is not a movie for weak hearted. It is not a movie for religious bigots. It is not a movie for normal people who can't think beyond mind...
A 8 year old girl comes on a vacation to her grandfather's house near the beach. She makes friends with a boy of same age. When she departs, the boy promises her to come and see her off, but never comes. After ten years the girl comes back and meets the boy. In love of the boy, she has waited 10 years. In 3 days the boy dies in an accident in front of the girl. Her life's desire to be with the boy remains unfulfilled. As it is a futuristic movie, there is a possibility that she takes of cloning he boy in her womb. What happens after that forms the remainder of the story.
Is it ethical? Is it moral? Should science allow cloning? The ending is something that not many (only a few) will digest. For weak heart, narrow mind, conservatives, it is hard to see the movie.
So the question is are you liberal enough to at least see the movie? A different story?
I liked it. Story was original and unique. Eva Green as the main protagonist is able to portray the character of 18 years to 35 years. And Matt Smith plays the role of Thomas (who dies in an accident) and Rebecca's son Tommy with great ease and energy. The writer, director Benedek Flegraul has done a wonderful job in tackling a taboo sci-fi subject on conveying the romantic emotional turmoil of characters involved into cloning. Special mention of cinematography by Péter Szatmári - it was outstanding.
If you are sensitive, and liberal to the core, this movie is for you.
(7 out of 10 stars)
Gone Girl (2014)
Gone Girl - Good Execution rendered with Pot Holes
By Raj Doctor
The movie was consistently rated 4 or 4.5 out of 5 by most critics. The IMDb rated it quite high at 8.5 out of 10. The Director is David Fincher of Seven, Panic Room, Fight Club, Zodiac and Social Network fame. Gillian Flynn (resembling a bit the movie actress Rosamund Pike) the author of the 6-million plus copies sold "Gone Girl" was on New York Best sellers' list for more than 10 weeks. Does it get any better not to see this film?
David Fincher has made movies on various subjects and is considered master of adapting books and novels into movies. It might be his phase of life where he wanted to explore couple relationship and he found an apt book through Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl.
The story Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) discovers his wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) missing, and reports to the police. Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) investigates the case and the audience is taken into exploring the case clues that somewhat point to Nick's hand in the disappearance of his wife. In flashback it is shown Nick having relationship outside marriage and having bad temper thus becomes the unassuming suspect in the eyes of police, audience and to some extend Nick's twin-sister Margo (Carrie Coon) who supports Nick in every way. Just around half-time we know that Amy is alive, and she is the one who has orchestrated the disappearance act to take revenge on unfaithful husband Nick. How Amy returns back to Nick forms the rest of the story.
The movie is surely about issues around modern couples and their relationships within marriage. Not one partner is true there are lies, cheating, hate, deception within their interaction, yet they are together.
Ben Affleck is effortless and does not have to do much in terms of acting, and yet he justifies his role and the mystery around his cheating character. Amy Dunne plays a very contrived so called referred (in the movie) as sociopath and she brings much nuances in her role with her expressions to understand what goes in her mind. The remaining star cast is okay. Kim Dickens role as a detective reminded us of Fargo's Frances McDormand, but Kim's role did not have that much depth.
The first hour of the movie is just a built up and slow. Nothing much is happening. The second half picks up and holds attention.
I could not fathom why a wife should go to such an extend to take revenge of her husband by enacting her own disappearance and murder? (Sociopath?)
I would not say that there was anything wrong with the film's execution. I have read that Director David Fincher has been very faithful at the adaptation of screenplay which is also written by the authoress of the novel - Gillian Flynn.
I think there is a problem in the plot of the novel itself. It may be well written and surely liked by people as it is a best seller. But there are BIG pot holes in the story itself. I would not dwell into it one can read the IMDb hated reviews to understand those.
Ending is one point that is discussed and debated a lot but I do not find it worthy to discuss much. It is this - husband and wife continue to stay together within the marriage knowing each other's dark sides.
Overall, the movie was okay. Well directed but bland. As what happens now a day to most of the movies it is over-hyped and under-delivered. I found Gone Girl suffering from that psychosis. Nothing amiss if you miss seeing it and nothing to give such high rating!
(Rating 6.75 out of 10)
Katha Sangama (1975)
Katha Sangama - A must movie to watch to study Puttanna cinema
Because no one has reviewed this title on IMDb, I thought of writing a review of this masterpiece of Puttana Kanagal.
Puttana Kangal is respected for his master touch of weaving emotions to the mundane story is such richness that allures audiences to accept and empathize with each and every character and story he narrates.
Katha Sangaman is such an example. It was a unique attempt (in 1975) by Puttana to present three contemporary literary stories by young Kannada writers in one film. He structures the movie with an introduction of Kannada Sahitya (literature) and prominent writers through ages. Establishing that he introduces three author one by one - of each short story to present the theme of the short film that would unfold. Puttana selects three stories as follows: First is Hangu, it is about a up-right university professor who is in a dilemma when a contractor tries to bribe him to pass his son for attaining a college seat in the face of his sick child who requires immediate medical treatment. The contractor extends all his help to the professor who has no way but to be servile under obligation for the sake of his son's life.
Second is Atithi, it is about a hostel warden lady (B Saroja Devi) who looks at her past while comparing the lives of young girls staying at hostel with hers. As a young independent thinking, liberal girl studying in college Saroja is being wooed by our hero (Kalyan Kumar); but in feminist mood declines the offer, and later in life while serving as a hostel warden gets aware of her loneliness in her stern disciplinarian outlook as independent feminine.
Third is Munithaayi, it is about a simple villager blind girl (Aarati) who is saved from teasing by a good man (Gangadhar) staying in a nearby village, who later offers to marry her. Aarati's trouble starts when Gangadhar trusts a wayward youth as younger brother to safeguard Aarati when he has gone for work. The wayward youth along with a local goon (Rajnikant) first, invades the privacy several times of the blind girl by watching her take bath, and later conspires to rape her, and later blackmail her. In final distress Aarati informs Gangadhar who forgives her, as it was none of her fault. The goons run away from the village.
Each of the three stories offers a moral question to the audience bribery, feminism and exploitation respectively and makes audiences think. The acting of all the cast is superb. Puttana has the perfection to present the movements of characters, dialogues, flashbacks and music of his stories brilliantly. Cinematography - at many places is not good due to over-exposure of the film.
One who wants to get introduced to Puttana's cinema and feel his range should watch this film. A must.
(Rating: 7 out of 10)
Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da (2011)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
I had not followed the schedule of film festival, but when mention of screening of Turkish movie came in newspaper, I got interested. After knowing that it is directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Three Monkeys fame) I surely got excited and checked whether it was to be re-screened? It was. Thus I went to see it.
The Director Ceylan had impressed me thoroughly with his earlier movie Three Monkeys, by its unique narrative structure, still camera, minimal dialogues and picture perfect images. I was not able to sit through his earlier film Climates (but I wish to see it again now!).
The film is about a team of 10 state officials - mainly Doctor Cemal (Muhammet Uzuner), Commissioner Naci (Yilmaz Erdogan), Prosecutor Nusret (Taner Birsel) and their entourage of driver, police, lieutenant, diggers plus 2 criminals suspects (Firat Tanis and other) who set out in the evening to search of a burial place of dead body of a person killed by the suspects, in rural landscape of Anatolia. The team travel unsuccessfully from one location to another, taking rest in the night at a remote village where they are served dinner by the Mukhtar (village head). Morning they re-start their search and finally find the dead body, and take it to the town where a post-mortem of the dead body is done.
There are a few sub-plots that unfold in layers of Prosecutor's story about (probably) his wife's suicide; Commissioner's story about his sick son & his experience about crime where he says In 20 years invariably he has come across a woman's role as a root cause in all crimes he has investigated (anti-feminist!?; the suspect story about his son; the Doctor's story about his divorce; Mukhtar's story about his village problems and about his daughter (Cansu Demirci); the dead person's wife's and son story.
The movie was mentioned many times over that it is tediously (painfully) slow which I did not find because the movie allows audience to get involved with the characters. The narrative is not straight. It requires audience's attention and involvement.
A few things about the movie it is a murder mystery, where the hint of mystery is unfolded in the last 5 minutes. I would not reveal it, but as a hint - from the beginning closely watch the Doctor's character who unravels the mystery during post-mortem. Brilliant! A few scenes that require mention car headlights in long shot beaming amongst the Anatolia hillock, the journey of a freshly fallen apple (from the tree) down the hills to the stream, the magical scene of Mukhtar's daughter serving tea, (WOW!) and the last post-mortem scene. There are also various streams of dialogues that are very intriguing to render the characters.
Ceylan has come to age with this cinema. He has his own style of cinematic narrative, that many on commercial diet may not digest; but he has this thorough knowledge of cinema as a medium. Read Ceylan to understand how he has evolved as a director: "The placement of how high a camera should be depends on the straight lines one sees on the screen." Thespianique! Ceylan started with a team of 1 person in his first film (himself) to progress a team of 14 technicians in this film. No need to say more. Acting of all cast is brilliant! It is Ceylan show all the way! Watch it.
(8 out of 10)
Bangkok Dangerous (2000)
Nicolas Cage is always a reason for me to go and see any movie is the star.
This movie is about an assassin / hit-man Joe (Nicolas Cage) who is hired to go to Bangkok and assassinate four people who are bad. Joe befriends a local pick-pocketeer Kong (Thai actor Shahkrit Yammarm) to help him with odd jobs. In the beginning, Joe keeps a distance with Kong, but later becomes his close friend. Joe also falls in love with a dumb pharmacist. When the big villain kidnaps Kong in the end, Joe goes to rescue Kong, but in the end along with killing the villain, kills himself too.
The Pang brothers made their BIG directorial debut in Hong Kong with the same movie in Thailand in 1999. This is their better and improved international version of the same story and same title with Nicolas Cage as their brand ambassador for international market. Do they succeed? I would say NO because throughout the movie I felt as if I was seeing an Indian movie of 1980s. The story the characters, the events, the love story everything was so clichéd, that I was bored.
Nicolas Cage also could not lift the spirit of the movie. He looked old and haggard and mumbled his way through this deadpan character. Though I should say, he put a sincere effort.
The print of the movie was intentionally made high contrast, dark and blue, as if to give international look (?), but it looked very amateurish. Most of the movie is also shot in dark that too makes it unpleasant viewing.
I would recommend the movie only if you are a great Nicolas Cage fan or Action fan or Thai person. For everyone else - a movie that one could skip without a blink.
(Stars 3.25 out of 10)
I am a die-hard fan of movies Indian movies to be more specific not so much of Shah Rukh Khan since his magnanimous rise to super-stardom when he has started preferring to work with his self selected friends and directors. After seeing the promos of RA one and with the knowledge that Red Chillies - Shah Rukh Khan production house Producer/wife Gauri Khan - has spent nearly Rs 135 crores (the costliest Hindi film), I knew I would go to see RA one and pay my contribution to the effort that has gone into making this film something different.
RA one trailers conveyed a super-hero film like Superman, Spiderman, Batman etc. Exciting to say the least especially when Shah Rukh's last film My Name is Khan was released nearly 18 months back. Those 18 months saw the rise of other star powers Salman, Ajay, and Aamir who ruled the box office in getting phenomenal record breaking collections. Shah Rukh Khan knew the comparison, burden and the expectations. He made sure that he dished out every form of Hindi entertainment mas-ala to matches his star aura and expectations.
RA one is a story of a South Indian Tamil programmer Shekhar (Shah Rukh) working in UK - developing video games. He lives with his wife Sonia (Kareena) and their son Prateek (Armaan Verma). Shekhar, to please his son, develops a video game with its villain RA one (as in its evil personified to the Indian religious legendary figure of Ramayana - Raavan). Things go wrong when the virtual avatar of RA one comes out and takes real form to pursue Prateek - its virtual game rival aka Lucifer. In search of Lucifer (Prateek) RA one - kills Shekhar and his friend and colleague Akaashi (Tom Wu). Here enters the pro-to-type of virtual game world Super hero - G one (as in Jeevan meaning LIFE in Hindi) who is destined to fight RA one. The family Sonia and Prateek go back to India with G one (Shah Rukh again). RA one (Arjun Rampal) follows them to India. What happens Is RA one able to save Prateek, forms the remaining story.
RA ONE has everything that would serve many taste technically superior graphics, good acting by all cast, interesting story outline, great conceptual super villain, popular Akon number (Chammak Challo), world class stunts, a bit of Shah Rukh styled low wit comedy (sexual and a looking down take on South Indians) thrown here and there, some emotions to serve family palate tributes to the genre of super heroes including Rajnikanth (as Chitti of Robot).
What it scores low is its script, screenplay and direction. Translating an interesting plot to celluloid is not easy, weaving a thread to needle in audience's emotions is where it fails, a poise of relief on screen where one sits back with involvement, not all musical numbers are up to the mark, most are out of place and does not take the story forward. RA ONE as a super villain does not fetch kudos in creating that aura of greatness like Gabbar, Mogambo, or even a small timer Ghajani did. Each sequence is great when seen stand alone, but as a whole it does not serve the expectations we would have ordered for.
I had gone to see the film with friends who seemed to be die-hard fans of Shah Rukh and Indian movies; I had gone to see the film in a single screen theater where 90 percent of the audience were probably from Shah Rukh fan club. So the thunderous uproars whenever Shah Rukh did something in slow-mo or a picture perfect pose or a one-liner - were adding up to the lack of what was going on the screen.
Shah Rukh has worked credibly he is a great actor and shows his versatility in each frame. Kareena is able as Shah Rukh' wife and picks up right moods and entertains. Armaan as Shah Rukh's son is very good. Arjun Rampal does not get enough screen time and space to show any histrionics. All the other cast are passable. Satish Shah as Indian neighbor does what he has been doing throughout his career loud comedy! Guest appearance of Sanjay Dutt and Priyanka Chopra. But the thunder is stolen by a cameo by Rajnikanth as Chitti from Robot.
Production values by a team of eight producers are excellent. Music by Vishal Shekhar is okay Chammak Challo is fantastic a big high point of the movie! Cinematography by Nicola Pecorini is of international standards. To mention here, that I did not like the digital camera prints. It does not give that earthy feel and depth of other movies we normally see. Editing is fast paced (as in most new movies) and does not allow the audience to dwell or settle in the proceedings. Art, Costume and Makeup departments have done fabulous jobs.
Worth mentioning here are the Chammak Challo song, the entry of G one, cameo of Rajnikanth, the shot of RA one in front of the burning effigy of Raavan. Big letdown is the last fight of G one and RA one in a virtual world platform of video game format. Rural India wont like it!
There is an obvious take of several sequences and ideas from Rajnikanth starer Shankar's ROBOT and other Hollywood super hero films we might have seen.
See it if you are a tech freak or a Shah Rukh fan, you would love it. Others can wait for the TV / DVD release.
(Overal Rating: 6.25 out of 10)