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Saawariya has made me Baawariya
I just watched Bhansali's rendition of Dostoevsky's White Nights and I have to admit what a visual treat it has been. From the costumes, to the dialogues, to the sets and settings
the whole film is superbly done. But one aspect of the film that thoroughly enthralled my pallet is Ranbir Kapoor's acting. This latest addition to the Kapoor Constellation in the Bollywood galaxy signals a refreshing breeze of change in Indian cinema. His soulful eyes are reminiscent of Raj Kapoor in 'Mere Naam Joker'
The happy-go-luck protagonist that spreads joy and laughter to the whole world but is left alone to wipe his tears of sorrow. The man that feels happy by providing other people with joy. His yodellings are a dead ringer for Shammi Kapoor's wild "Junglee" ways in the snowy and green valley's of Kashmir
YAHOO! The omnipresent umbrella in the film that symbolises the bond between the lover and the loved one has hints of 'Sri 420', in which Raj Kapoor professes his love for Nargis under a similar umbrella during the monsoon downpour. And to further the familial references there is a showing of Mughal-e-Azam in the film, where Prithvi Raj Kapoor plays the all-powerful Emperor of Hind
A force to be reckoned with that will see to it that the young lovers Salim and Anaarkali do not consummate their love. Mise en abîme. Sonam Kapoor's Sukeena (Nastenka) is a tad forced at times and could have been acted better
But the other female lead of the film was played to perfection by Rani Mukherjie. Gullabjie, a rose with a thorny temper is scintillatingly portrayed. Her shimmering costumes and the witty/snappy tongue is a delight to watch. Saawariya has made me Baawariya. A must see. 8/10.
Rang De Basanti (2006)
Exhilarating, Electrifying, Lamentable, Awakening...Rang De Basanti
Words fall short when the time comes to parlay my emotional state in order to describe the film. What starts as a breath of youthful exuberance, matures into an impassioned flame of truth only to be snubbed when the flame blazes in all it's glory. This is a kind of cinema that shakes a person to its core.
We begin with a look to India at the time of The Raj, and are introduced to an English jail officer guarding the Freedom Fighters of Hind. Form there beings the tale of Sue in modern times, who is wanting to make a documentary about the Freedom Fighters of Hind and her Grandfather the jailer in charge of the Freedom Fighters. Sue goes to India to translate her Grandfather's personal diary and interaction with the Freedom Fighters into a documentary. She finds the actors to play the respective Freedom Fighter, right under her nose, in the group of people whom Sue befriends while living at a University in Delhi where Sue had been invited to stay.
Events unfold and the lines between the story of the historical documentary and real life being to blur. What remains in the end is a sight to be beheld. This is a tale to the fight to death, so that the truth and justice can be upheld. "Inqilaab Zindahabaad! Long Live Revolution."....Mohe Mohe Tu Rang De Basanti.
Ying xiong (2002)
The Emperor and the "4" Assassins"s"
A myriad of colours and poetry in motion, this film (presented in Kabuki/Peking Opera style employed via flashbacks) shares a basic plot with numerous folklores of ancient China where brave warriors (who can use blades of grass as swords) and assassins (who are honourable) are abundant.
The movie opens with the audience being introduced to NAMELESS, an orphaned police prefect of Qin province who is going to attend an audience with Warlord QIN for having subdued one of QIN's archenemies...the assassin SKY. For this he is bestowed with land, gold and the Warlord's respect in the form of tea with QIN at 20 paces. This is highly rare as no one is allowed within 100 paces of QIN for fear of assassination.
In the following scene, NAMELESS is having tea with QIN again but this time at 10 paces for having killed BROKEN SWORD and FALLING SNOW. BROKEN SWORD and FALLING SNOW are the duo that stormed QIN's palace three years earlier with intent to kill QIN, but BROKEN SWORD abandoned the mission at the last instant when his sword sliced a small section QIN's skin on the neck.
What unfolds after that, I'll let the viewers watch and digest. A definite must-see with thought provoking messages embedded in the plot that is revealed to the beholder in delicious layers. 9 out of 10.
I actually rented this film because of Rahul Bose. He is quite the actor and has done rather well for himself in the "Art Cinema" genre of Bollywood with film's such as, Mr. & Mrs. Iyer; Everybody Says I'm Fine to name a few.
But I was mildly surprised with Kareena Kapoor's acting capabilities. I always pictured her as the scantly clad, self-absorbed and bitchy "poo" from the film "Kabhie Kushe Kabhie Gham" (A movie I unfortunately sat through....my solace...I only saw it half-way) and thought of her as another shallow 20something actress. She fits the role like a glove and the film is cinematically appealing to the palate as well. Shot in the monsoon drenched locales of Bombay with catchy songs (Bhaage Re Man, Sajna Ve and the female rendition of Jaane being my favourites) reminded me of good times spent in Bombay.
The tale begins with a snippet into Aman Kapoor's (played by Rahul Bose) life. He is a 30something financial analyst of sorts at one of Bombay's Banks (or something along those lines). A party is being thrown for him as he has successfully completed some sort of merger. Aman is prosperous, he charges around RS. 10,000 per hour for a private consultation, but is not the partying sort. So he ends up leaving the bash and drives around Bombay until his car stalls at Fountain in the red-light district (notoriously known to be a place frequented by whoremongers and is a place where whores and their pimps reside). As it's a stormy night, business is dull. This is where we are introduced to Chameli, a whore played by Kareena.
Our protagonist Aman and Chameli get involved in conversation. What is the result of this association? I shall let the readers watch and find out.
The film is presented as a narrative with Rahul Bose being the storyteller. As I stated before the film is delightful as it give us (it certainly did me) insight in to the reality of the shanty & shady areas of Bombay, but in a more subtle way when compared to movies such as Chandani Bar or Market. This film is the meeting of two very different yet distinct methods of filmmaking in India...the commercial (sing, sing...dance, dance...trees...snowy mountains) and the Art House (movies that touch socio-political issues and raise questions/arguments). A meeting that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Now I rarely watch Indian films, as most of them turn out to be a waste of three hours, but I highly recommend this film to viewers. I give it an 8.5/10.