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Karthik Calling Karthik (2010)
An Indian movie worth watching
Indian cinema seems to be finally advancing to the next level. After "3 idiots" this movie is a second very good Indian movie I've seen lately.
I liked the format of this movie. The movie was basically split in two. And they've fitted a lot in both halves. It was not even the half of the movie that I thought it is coming to a close. The first half seemed to be a romantic comedy centered on the classical BS of "you can be what you want to be". The geek falling in love with the resident beauty, whom he never talked to, seemed a bit cheesy, but by the middle of the movie it was sentimental enough. The first half provided a good setting for the second half.
*********SPOILER******************** The best of the movie comes in the second half. By this time you are convinced that Karthik calls himself in some imaginary or mystical way. Because of the reviews I've read, I was led to believe that he was calling himself from future. The calls were very beneficial to Karthik and were surprisingly right on every issue. So you get to trust the person, that calls, as does Karthik. Overall you identify with Karthik a lot by this point. So when Shonali tells him that she cannot marry him, because of those calls, you feel, just as Karthik, that she betrayed his trust. You might also be surprised to see the caller turn against Karthik. When the mystery of the movie is finally revealed the movie is basically over. Karthik comes to the point where it all started and then suddenly comes a happy ending, "Big surprise". Overall his experience was very believable and helps people understand what Karthik is going through. It is particularly important in Eastern societies where such people are frowned upon. It was nice to see Shonali to stick with him after all. ************************************
In the end it was an interesting movie with some good messages.
I think the movie showed that the long format of Indian movies has a lot to give. I am not sure why Indian movies are longer. Maybe Indian viewers have always demanded more viewing time for their money and now they are used to it, or maybe they just have a better attention span than American viewer. In any case I think it is a good alternative to the Hollywood formats. Too often Hollywood directors have to cut good material to fit the movie into a time frame.
Anyway this year might become a turning point for Bollywood thanks to films like this. It might be that Indian viewers are finally ready to watch these kind movies. Which is a good news because Indian cinema has a lot to offer. They finally can combine their experience in cinematography with nice stories. Up until now I mostly just watched the song clips from Indian movies, and there were only a few Indian movies I could suggest for others to watch. A rise of Indian cinema would be very handy considering the state of Hollywood cinema.
The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)
There was a time they made nice comedies
It's not a comedy from start to finish but there are many moments to make you laugh and smile. The romance and drama part of it was very good too and that's what this movie so good. There were moments both sentimental and funny at the same time.
These days workplace situation is way ahead of what it was those days but it is interesting to see to how we came to where we are now. Besides many other countries still have many problems depicted in the movie.
It deserved being nominated for the original screenplay Oscar even though it was a comedy. There were some good messages too. Like, you don't need much money to be happy.
**************SPOILER*************************** Unfortunately they spoiled the message by having the wedding on a cruise ship.
Visually it was beautiful. The movie is staged in a very scenic location on a small lake in the mountains. It never goes out of it. And I counted only eight characters throughout the movie. There is very little dialog and I am not even sure there were any names mentioned. The film shows four different seasons for different stages of life. There were also different pets for each stage and according to director different emotions. I would like to believe that I had learned something about Buddism by watching this movie. It was very interesting to see how master taught the student throughout his life and the relationship between the two.
In the first stage the student is a cruel little boy that tortures animals. His master teaches him compassion. By the second stage the student turns into a nice teenage boy. But the he falls for lust. Master tells him that lust brings desire to possess and that leads to murder. Yeah, right? Student leaves the temple and takes the Buddha statue as if taking a part of the temple with him. But by that moment I already felt that he would come back to become a monk and to continue the circle just like the title implies. In the third stage student comes back. He had murdered his wife in jealousy. He is in anger and pain. Master had warned him but student had to learn the lesson the hard way. Student almost kills himself but master stops him. Now it is time teach the student finding peace. And he does. The student is peacefully taken by the police. Before, it would not be possible to take him away alive. When they take him away the master seems to hold their boat mentally, he does not want to let the boy go maybe knowing that he won't see him again. But master lets the boat go and waves his student goodbye. At that point it seems that the master has achieved the highest level of mental capabilities, being able to telepathically move objects. And then he kills himself. In the fourth stage the student comes back as a man in his middle ages. He starts living in the temple, finds there a manuscript on physical exercises and starts practicing, as if master still teaches him a lesson even after he died. Then a woman with a closed face leaves a small child in the temple. This stage ends with the student monk tying a stone to himself, like he did to the animals he tortured when he was a kid, and climbing a hill. When student monk was punished as a kid for torturing animals, master monk told him that the pain of those animals would stay in his heart for the rest of his life. Who would guess that he would be right? It was like another lesson master was teaching to his student. Maybe by doing this the student monk was finishing with his student life. Now he would need to become a master himself. The final stage of the movie is spring again. A scene very similar to the one in the first stage. A master monk and a small boy, a student monk. The student monk is played by the same actor as in the first stage. There really was no need in bringing another actor for the role. And having the same person perform the role enhances the feeling of the circle. The student monk is teasing the new pet, a turtle. He must be taught. The master monk probably knows what to do. The final lesson he learned from his own master must be how to teach.
The path from student monk to master was not straightforward. He left and saw the world outside and he came back. One can only guess that his master might have a worldly experience of his own.
The movie might make people think about the stages of their own life and how each stage shaped them.