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Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2003)
A treat of a film
A real breath of fresh air in Indian cinema, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi is a very real, earnest, crackling-with-life portrayal of what it (apparently) was like to be a college student in Delhi in the late 60s and 70s with the opposing currents of Marxism and (indira) Gandhian totalitarianism. Intertwined with the ideology and the politics is a love story of three people, who start off with different ideas and whose ideas criss-cross in the course of the film. Superb direction, vibrant cinematography, slick editing, lovely music and superlative performances from all three protagonists make for a thoroughly satisfying cinematic experience. The surprise package is Shiny Ahuja, whose model-boy looks belie a prodigious acting talent. Both Kay Kay Menon and Chitrangda Singh deliver superb performances with Chitrangda looking stunning throughout. People say she looks like Smita Patil, I wouldn't know. While the film is not without its faults, including the occasional stilted dialogues and imprecision in the narrative, the overall effect is good enough to make you forget these. Watch this and get high!!
PS. I also have a quibble with the way 5.1 sound was used quite ineffectively when it could have been much better employed in many scenes. But it's churlish to complain about such things in a treat of a movie!!
Kala Pani (1996)
Priyadarshan's magnum-opus is one of the finest depictions of pre-independence India that i have ever seen. In this moving cinematic spectacle, Mohanlal essays the role of Govardhan with elan, while Prabhu acts as a perfect foil, with the supporting cast also doing a commendable job. The cinematography is breath-taking, and the screenplay and editing are top-class. Being one of the first Indian movies to use DTS technology, it has been used very effectively in the movie. The plot is brilliantly crafted, and the ending is superb. An absolute must-see.