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Shaitan (2011)
I hated this movie, and here's why....
16 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Apart from the marketing, which portrayed the film like a hip, fun, new-age, youth oriented Indian film, there's so much that I found wrong with this movie that I wouldn't know where to begin.

First of all, the marketing was kind of misleading, as the film spends far more time on youth- demonization that one would expect. However, that too would have been acceptable if the film had a clear point to it, or perhaps one single strong storyline as its backbone. However, it's muddled with unnecessary subplots that have no relevance to the main story, and seem to be thrown in 'just because', and the film goes through more changes in tone than Nokia phones have over the last decade.

If I were to somehow find and isolate what could be called the main 'plot' of the film, it's about a bunch of youths who get involved in a car-accident that leads to the death of.... well it's not clear who dies or how many people die, but they're driving a scooter when they're run over by the car that the kids are in, and then they try and cover the whole thing up, but a corrupt cop asks for a gargantuan sum of money to keep quiet about it.

You see, that in itself forms a coherent story, yet the film opens with some hint at a sub-plot about one of the kids' insane mother, a sub-plot that's touched upon only briefly and almost at random throughout the rest of the film, and then spends a good 30-40 minutes showing nothing but the extravagant and edgy lifestyle that these kids live, something that shouldn't have taken longer to show than the length of an average music video. And that's pretty much what the movie felt like until the accident about 40 minutes in, a music video. Flashy images set against music, and NOTHING else.

Of course that isn't the only sub-plot that brings this movie down. Somewhere along the way, we're introduced to a cop, who from I can assume, was supposed to come across as the edgy, living on the borders of the law type badass law enforcer, but came across as mentally unstable in a sort of uneasy way. The first thing we see him do is push a guy from a floor's height, and then beat up a guy HE happens to be bribing. And then the film starts to focus on his love life but barely touches the surface of it. And I don't mean his love life is mentioned, entire SCENES are devoted to the relationship between him and his wife to absolutely no consequence.

The film gets very preachy at times, straying away from the story to show police corruption, time consuming divorce formalities and even a short scene about rikshaw drivers refusing fare, all of which seemed to belong in a different movie altogether.

Oh and for the sake of having a shootout, the cop is sent to investigate the disappearance of a German tourist named Claudia Jones (which doesn't sound German in the slightest), a woman who is meant to be blonde, as stated in the PREVIOUS SCENE, but is played by an Indian girl with dark hair. Oh and the cop also stops machine gun fire with a MATTRESS.

But I'm getting off topic here. The sub-plots keep creeping up here and there but are never fully explored as they have little or nothing to do with the actual plot, which takes far too long to get set into place, and even as the film's events begin to unfold, there are some absolutely appalling changes in tone that almost seem random, if it weren't for the fact that I got the indication that the camera angles and scenes had been thought out beforehand, and then the 'story' was added in later. And the characters ended up seeming more like one- dimensional characters than anything else. It seemed like the writer/director threw in every cinematic idea he has ever had into one film.

The only positives I felt this film had were 1) Neil Bhopalam (Zubin), the only actor who seemed to have any sort of grounding, while all the others were either devoid of the slightest hint of emotion or shouting and crying like the sky was falling. He was at the same time entertaining and engaging, but the script didn't do his talent justice. And 2) The cameo appearance by Rajat Barmecha of Udaan. Not because it was an especially great performance, or necessary at all for that matter, but because it reminded me that films like Udaan still exist, so all hope for youth-oriented Indian cinema isn't lost just yet.

All in all, I felt it was a film that promised a lot, but in the process of trying to deliver too much at once, failed to deliver any thing at all. All style and no substance, Shaitan is one of the most disconnected films I've seen in recent memory, and will be remembered as nothing more than a severe disjoint between content and execution.

A film being well directed is pointless if it's a bunch of well directed nothing.
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Probably the worst movie ever made.... Don't miss it!
6 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I'm going to be straightforward here.... Ada is terrible. If you decide to watch it, don't expect anything remotely good. The plot (if one can call it that) is muddled and inconsistent, the acting is pathetic, the writing is unrealistic, and the film tries to be so overly moralistic at times that it's laughable. I really have no idea what someone like A.R. Rahman was doing scoring a film like this. He didn't do a particularly good job either.

The terrible plot follows Ayaan, a young Muslim boy who is shown to be at times saint-like, caring for his widowed mother, but at times a gangster who loves to interrupt poker games, guns-a-blazing. I'm not exactly sure why, but it all has something to do with his dead father's cryptic advice about life, which shows up in the film so often that you question whether or not the director has any clue of what he's doing at all.... Come to think of it, that was just one of many things that made me question the director.

There's a terribly cheesy and unnecessary love story carefully nestled into the inconsequential and largely irrelevant plot. The only decent actor in the film has about ten minutes of screen time. And by the films close, it'll probably leave you wondering whether this film was actually meant to be a film, or a gigantic parody of some good film with the same story which clearly never existed. Oh, and did I mention that the movie is terrible?

But to be honest, I enjoyed watching, albeit for how bad it was. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. In fact I'm really close to calling it Bollywood's equivalent of 'The Room'.... In short, one of the worst movies ever made, but make it a point to go for it with a few of your buddies, and you'll definitely have a good time.
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The Social Network: The Film Of Our Generation
29 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It's hard to decide where to begin talking about a film like this when there are so many aspects to touch upon. Let's go with the subject material first. Partially based on the 2009 novel 'The Accidental Billionaires', after a series of distinctly Facebook-esquire trailers, The Social Network gained the reputation of being "the Facebook movie", or "the movie about Facebook," and to those who know a little bit more about it, it's most likely "the movie about the creation of/legal battle over Facebook."

Well technically, that is in fact the premise of the film.... But that isn't what it's really "about"

Aaron Sorkin's witty screenplay is immersive, to say the very least. Was it down-to-the-letter accurate about the facts and events? Probably not even slightly. But I don't think I've ever seen a film which so skillfully takes the un-truth and presents it as reality....

From the get-go, we're given an insight into the personality of Mark Zuckerberg, a character within this cinematic world created by David Fincher. We're soon introduced to his best friend Eduardo Saverin, played by Andrew Garfield, and a host of other characters played by a set of brilliant young actors. Characters who either love one another, hate one another, and even envy one another.

All young. All connected. All people.

And this is what The Social Network is really about.

Our generation. You. Me.

The screenplay follows the events leading up to the creation of facebook, alongside the two law-suits filed against Zuckerberg a few years later. This rare then-and-now narrative simultaneously tells multiple perspectives of what took place, just as the entire chronology itself is more of the writer's perception. Hey, if you want to see things exactly as they happened, go watch a documentary. This is narrative cinema.... and of the highest possible quality.

The film itself is presented in a rare fashion, its cinematography reflecting its ever-changing yet ever-constant tone, and focuses not only on the various people involved in the events it follows, but the intricacies of the relationships between them. These people are presented in such a realistic and complete way that I wish that I could actually meet these versions of them. Written with the dual purpose of narrating a story while following a number of characters, it flows quickly and energetically, but at the same time, it involves you in each and every single moment, no matter how pleasant or devastating. Every performance was pitch-perfect, and immensely impressive, especially considering the complexities of the characters. Their actions are at times commendable, and at times despicable. They can be loved and hated. They are exactly as they should be.... Real.

Filled with irony, humor, moral ambiguity, and unrelenting intensity, The Social Network perfectly mirrors the media age, an age in which people are at the same time both removed and connected, and is an important film for our generation.

In fact, it's not just a film. It's a statement. How many of us would have really anticipated that a movie about Facebook would be the film of the year?

Yes, you heard me. The film of the year.
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Inception (2010)
Inception; Christopher Nolan's masterpiece?
15 July 2010
Dom Cobb leads a highly skilled team, specializing in stealing secrets from people's minds by entering their dreams. When they are hired by a mysterious businessman, Cobb finally has a shot at redemption, but not before achieving the near impossible. Rather than stealing an idea, they must do the complete opposite: Inception. Planting the seed of an idea.

Inception has a multi-layered plot, quite literally in fact. It focuses on the emotional journey of its lead character, Cobb, but at the same time thrusts the audience into multiple levels of action packed story- telling, very distinct from one another, but all finely connected. It has been described by critics as "a film that rewards intellect", and I can assure you that it is exactly that. Director Christopher Nolan challenges the audience to keep up, and rewards those who can with a breathtaking spectacle, one that has the capability to leave you awestruck. The best part about it is that while you may feel you need to watch it again to be able to fully absorb the experience, chances are, you will probably want to.

Christopher Nolan brings his unique vision to the screen with the help of a star-studded cast, including the likes of Leonardo Dicaprio (The Departed), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days Of Summer), Ellen Page (Juno), Marion Cotillard (Public Enemies), Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins), and Michael Caine (The Dark Knight), as well some amazing photography by long time collaborator Wally Pfister. The thrilling music in the film is provided by none other than Hans Zimmer, who was also set the mood for Nolan's previous film, The Dark Knight.

While it may seem simple at its outset, Inception is an extremely complex film, delving deep into the subconscious of the human mind. Technical brilliance and visual splendor have rarely blended together as beautifully. The emotional depth and explosive action complement each other perfectly, delivering a film that is at the same time both heart- wrenching and heart-pounding. It's a film that manages to engross you with its complexities, yet comes together seamlessly, and will have you at the edge of your seat, quite literally from start to finish.

Inception is magnificent.
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