Reviews written by registered user
manoj-aryan

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32 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Woody Allen movies greatest boon of all, 22 November 2011
10/10

n the opening of the movie, a voice-over ponders over the how luck plays crucial part in life than one hates to admit. How a tennis ball hits the net at pivotal moment in a match and how an inch will decide the victory or loss. This philosophy is going to come back later, we know in the Woody Allen's Match Point, a story of lust and luck.

For the first time Woody Allen leaves his beloved Manhattan and sets this one in London where Chris (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) moves from a small town as tennis instructor at a high class club. He has given up career in tennis because he admits he has the talent but not the focus. We believe him. He is sort of guy who will take the shortcut to success and avoid the hard word. He is befriended by an upper class lean bloke Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode) who acts entry point to a world of wealth and luxury. They bond over common love for opera where he meets Chloe (Emily Mortimer) Tom's sister, who can't take her eyes off Chris. He plays his cards well without coming off as desperate and is on his way up the ladder where easy money is.

Trouble enters in form of a sultry siren Nola (Scarlett Johansson), a struggling American actress and Tom's fiancé. They meet at party in Hewetts' country house over a game of TT. Jonathan Rhys Meyers's searching, cold, calculating eyes are set on her the moment he sees Nola. They later meet after Nola blows off another audition and goes to a bar to vent the steam. At this moment, after a few drinks conversation gets more direct. These are two outsiders in the world they are about to commit. Nola says he is going to do good unless he screws the whole thing by making a pass at her. Their flirtatious talk back and forth are some of the best screen verbal foreplays in movies.

Chris: "So you are aware of your effect on men?" Nola: "Men always wonder I would be something special" Chris: "And are you?" Nola: "Well, No one's ever asked for their money back"

They are going to have an affair, on and off sort which leads to a tragedy which involves a murder. Thanks to the trailer it's not like am giving away anything.

It's debated Woody Allen made come back with this film which is partially true. This is Woody's one of the best works, his personal favorite. This is polished assured work from the man in top form making his frame as lustful and glowing as the characters in them to deliver its cynical themes. They are blissfully free from his influences and reference talks and stays close to the ground without losing any Allen incisiveness in dialog. Movie a pleasure, an entertaining drama deals with the nature of lust, its consequences (pointed self-reference would be Allen's own Crimes and Misdemeanors) and third entirely new angle luck, which gives this movie its final splendid kick. It is Allen's imagination and cruelty of fate movie finally settles on. Although almost playing out like a well-structured play but in terms of cinema it is a well disguised darkest film noir you will ever come across

Dhobi Ghat (2010)
6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Mumbai Diaries, 16 November 2011
8/10

We are at an art gallery in a painting exhibition. Appropriately low key. City is Mumbai. Kitu Gidwani is manager of the whole thing and announces artist decided to make an appearance and should say a few words. Artist Arun (Aamir Khan) is visibly reluctant presence facing the crowd or art-lovers whatever says in man-of-few-words fashion that it's a tribute to people from different states and raises a toast to Mumbai, "To my muse, my whore, my beloved…."

Kiran Rao's debut film also a tribute to this bustling city of millions where four characters randomly run into each others' lives and make an impact. Like us meeting people and our story meets their story, vice- versa and streams go on. At the same gallery amongst the attendant an American NRI on sabbatical Shai (easily find of the year, inspired casting) meets Arun. Art talk, smoke, alcohol mix well. Fingers touch, so does the bodies. But the night-after ends badly because of Arun being asshole finding it difficult to say simple words 'not looking for something serious'.

There is a dhobi guy Munna (Pratiek, natural brilliant) who Shai befriends. She from another world treats him well, equal, goes to street photography with him to Nagapada, Machali market etc which is of course local to him. This boy, a wannabe actor (Salmaan being his idol) falls for the girl of course in the course, but never crosses his boundaries. They belong to different worlds (for society different classes) he and she both knows. Their odd, tender love-story or story, unsullied, forms the core of the Dhobi Ghat for me. There is definite chemistry between them. But never spoken of. Captured in gestures. Stolen yearning glances. Half chances. Even obvious finale burst out is still with no words. There is a beautiful night scene shot in rain where Shai and Munna have a drink at her place, later she falls asleep, air is electric, boy is tempted, leans for a kiss, backs out at final moment, leaves.

Meanwhile on other thread Arun looking for inspiration changing homes stumbles into few video tapes, sort of video letters of a recently married and migrated girl previous tenant of the flat Arun is living. Her name is Yasmeen (Kirti) and tapes are addressed to her brother back in her home town describing city from her eyes. He is hooked, possessed by these tapes, like porn her manager taunts. We don't blame him. Scenes in these tapes are almost poetic. We literally see how innocence is crushed in this endless city which swallows, sees everything from great successes, glamour to horrors of the fate, people.

All the principal characters are kind of chasing other. Munna chasing Shai, Shai-Arun, Arun-Yasmeen and Yasmeen her dream in city (which is fifth character in the movie). We go after things most try to attract us, evade us. And it's city like this which can shelter such diverse characters with desires, caution secrets, waiting to be discovered, fulfilled, hurt.

Lensed on slick, clean canvas and dream background scored by Gustavo Santaolalla movie is shot guerrilla-style on location minimalist approach, low on budget, rich in content. In this character driven piece ninety six minutes no interval (finally nice to see some arts winning over commerce) eventually everyone will get some kind of closure or otherwise. Just like in real life. Their stories are scripted like in a diary, aptly titled Mumbai diaries told soulfully by its sensitive director. Lovely.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
In This Life, 22 July 2011
10/10

Trio with their deep sea diving instructor (Katrina) having dinner. Arjun (Hritik) has just overcome his water phobia that day. When asked he is sure, "Ab Koi Dar Nahi. Jeene Ka Bhi Nahi". Imraan (Farhaan) jokes, "Oh, Ek Hi Doobaki Me Zindagi Ke Saare Raaz Khul Gaye"(one dip and all mysteries are unlocked). Arjun asks Imraan to come closer, breathes in and exhales and whispers, "It's quite simple you know.... bas saans lete raho"(You need to just keep breathing). Above everything else Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, speaks language friends speak. The close ones I mean. The ones make life fun. Know your secrets and fears. Movie gets it. Slam dunk. The right tone developed over years of chemistry and history. "Three Musketeers" reunited for a bachelor trip in here definitely have all that. Zoya Akhtar's smart, first-rate writing and its humor carries this breezy flick fluidly giving us these characters with their idiosyncrasies and baggage discovering few things, resolving few unresolved issues, facing their fears and giving us many many moments to cherish along their journey. And the pleasure of ZNMD is just hanging out with these amigos on their adventures in their sojourns, their soirees.

Groom to be is Kabir (Abhay) engaged to Natasha (Kalki). With a geeky glasses and somewhat sensible head over his shoulder you sense, he keeps the bunch harmonious, at least tries to. Arjun (Hritik, in his best performance), typical "corporate slave" (after money all the time), "whore" (always thinks of career), no-ones' type (three holidays in a year). He is angry intense one. His plan is to earn till 40 and then retire. Laila (Katrina) asks, "How does he know he will live till 40?" True. Seize the moment my friend, she tells him opening a world full of other wondrous stuff. Third is goofy Imaraan, clown of the group played phenomenally by Farhaan Akhtar. His Clark-Kent job is ad copywriter who also is a closet-poet and a bohemian. Together they three form a delectable diverse group.

Their bachelor trip is the pact they decided in their youth where two has to participate in adventure sport chosen by each. Everyday ennui will sure get shot of adrenaline no doubt stunningly breathtakingly shot scenes in Spain. Beautiful lush perfect backdrop. These in company of each other let it go and come out exhilarated or peaceful at the other end. Each venture is bookend by Imraan's profound poetry. "Aankhon me hairaaniyan lekar chalo to zinda ho tum". Fabulous.

There might be flaws in this movie. I am not at all interested in knowing them or will not go looking for them. I'll leave it those who want to miss what this wonderful wonderful film has to offer. Cheers!

Guzaarish (2010)
2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Magician's last act, 20 November 2010
6/10

"I love God, father. That's why I am 'dying' to meet him", says Ethan Mascerenhas (endearing Hrithik) once a celebrated magician, presently a quadriplegic RJ who inspires thousands through his show also penned a book titled 'learning to fly' in his conditions; now seeking grant from the court about appeal of his own mercy-killing. He is on dialysis, his liver is malfunctioning, his condition is only worsening and so his suffering. He wants it to end, with dignity. He even launches a radio- show calling 'Project Ethanacia' for votes from his audience gathering public support so that court will have to listen to his plea.

He is looked after by Sophia (Aishwarya holding her end fiercely) who is more than his nurse, gets heart-broken when she reads about the plea from newspapers, expresses her disturbance overtly. Her duty is more of devotion while he is more connected to her than dependent. Unspoken intimacy we know. Despite him paralyzed neck-down her presence adds strong sexual undercurrent to the film. Their odd romance takes up only a portion of story which I wished would have been sizable later.

Amongst other smaller characters populate Ethan's life are a lawyer friend Devyani (Shernaz Patel), a caring doctor (Suhel Seth) and an aspiring magician Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapoor) whom Ethan agrees to mentor shares a wonderful scene with Hrithik where he teaches him to create paper-snowfall by rubbing palms together out of wet tissue. Ethan once a master perfomer watching this with wide smile and content eyes in the moment confesses, "It's the applause I miss the most Sophie." I wish there were more of such deeper side of his. There are other beautifully shot magical acts we witness through flashbacks from Ethan's glory days also playing foils to his now crippled state.

Its director Bhansali is known for working on grand scale where I had my reservation in case of Devdas or Saawariya getting lost with overdoing but here he paints vast canvas with broad stokes and aesthetic mania which takes most of our awe where you sense the grandeur of imagery in nearly every frame. Blue and black dominates the palate with stark contrast of red whether in Sophia's lips or scarf. Location is Goa where Ethan lives in mansion like house which will allow director for adding more touches like Italian sculptural art. But the euthanasia case which is movie's subject is the weakest part making most of the later half of film, fails to convince you any which way. I was disappointed when film stopped being sensitive and got sentimental. Still their is enough magic in this to pay you a visit.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Once upon a crime, 3 August 2010
6/10

Philosophies of two principle characters defines them. Sultan Mirza (Devgn) repeatedly quips, "Jab Dost Banake Kaam Ho Sakata Hai To Dushman Kyu Banaye?" (why make enemies when you can work out by making them friends?). More of Godfather philosophy. He is a smuggler alright but never peddled anything more than goods like gold. He divides Mumbai in five territories not to make rivals within themselves. each enjoying their part of share, less harm more harmony. Cash keeps flowing in. He is a wise fellow and already Robin Hood like local figure.

Second one is of malicious Shoaib Khan (Hashmi), a small-timer dreaming big, "Zindagi Ho To Smuggler Jaisi, Saari Duniya Raakh Ki Tarah Niche Aur Khud Dhue Ki Tarah Upar". He may lack wisdom of his master who took him under his wings but not brains nor ambition and has plenty of greed. Power hungry kind. His blood is always up. He smirks at territory marking, "Mumbai hai ya Draupadi?". He is unscrupulous and corrupt who smuggled not only gold but drugs, guns, started contract killings and emerged as most powerful threats, wanted by Interpol and whose net worth is in billions today.

I liked Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, Milan Lutharia's 70′s retro mafia flick more of origin story of a master and his protégé alliance and their fall out. Based on Haji Mastan (disclaimer denies that though, more of a wink) and Dawood Ibrahim. Haji was kingpin of Mumbai smuggling syndicate who went into politics eventually while Dawood transformed it into sprawling organized crime citadel. Loaded with one-liners (so much so it hurts sometimes), heavy style and filled entertaining performances feels like the right kind of cinema director had in mind. Gangster lifestyle streams in front of us where nylon printed shirts was in fashion, Mercedes logo entered frame before vehicle, clippety-clop race- courses were gambling hang outs, booze, smoke, glamour parties sporting dance numbers (they chose who else than great RD Burman) evoke that period faithfully.

It also makes room for some old-fashioned romance. Mirza woos bollywood starlet Rehana (Kangana), Shoaib solicits neighbourhood girl Mumtaaz (Prachi). Apart from the romantic angle it brings out their lead characters itchings. Rehana complains "Log pine ke bad romantic ho jate hai aur tum flashback me chale jate ho" while he broods over his tormenting past when he used to be dock-worker. She suggests there should a film on you which will be instant hit, a homage to Amitabh Bacchan's Deewar. Shoaib on other hand drinking hard can't swallow low life at any cost he clears to Mumtaaz. While Hashmi pleases in his flashy role, Devgn plays his role with simmering intelligence. Worth your ticket's money.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Nifty edgy filmmaking, 2 August 2010
10/10

The source material for the new film by Roman Polanski may not be by any stretch a great book (by Robert Harris). Some may say it is just run-of- the-mill political thriller. But what Polanski, at his best, master of paranoia made something extraordinary in his latest small, scaled, smart noir The Ghost Writer. Mood is set in very first night shot of a ferry in the rain with pulsating background score, an abandoned car in the middle of the road, a corpse is washed out at the shore. That body is of former ghost writer of former Brit prime minister Adam Lang's (very good Pierce Brosnan) memoirs. Lang is clearly based on Tony Blair and his relationship with US and Bill Clinton presidency. Ewan McGregor steps in his replacement (his character is never named) who will be paid handsomely but need to finish the half finished manuscript in a month on a private isolated island Martha's vineyard in US where Lang is currently living where he is greeted with Lang's Assistant Amelia (Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City) who might be his mistress and his flinty wife Ruth (Olivia Williams) who plays significant role in his political career.

Even before landing on the coast uncertain writer starts seeing things just like with Johnny Depp in Polanski's Ninth Gate. Manuscript being snatched, odd faces. Polanski creates grim atmosphere using palate of gray, blue, black and hostile characters with cloak and dagger. Things starts to look strange and soon stranger. Ocean, rain, air feels menacing; even its sense of humor where author increasingly gets trapped in and nothing seems going his way. In one scene where he introduces himself to Lang as "Hi, I am your ghost" and Lang is pulled back not amused. Lang's past comes in the spotlight for war crimes and whole island turns into a crisis war room kind place and things start to unravel while writer soon starts to discover or stumble on the mysteries, conspiracies those are starling pushing him deeper in grave danger or in his own grave.

This is old-school thriller rarely made these days without a false note. Sense of paranoia and dread is not only in its lead but induced in the audience, a rich rewarding Hitchcockian experience till end and it has one of masterful last shots in movies. A minor classic. Seek out this ghost.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Con ideas can change your life, 12 May 2010
5/10

Film opens with voice-over by its hero Karan (Shahid) detailing its period. 1994, India, Bombay. He jokes that time it was Bombay and not Mumbai where he explains word FM meant Finance minister and not FM radio, cell phones existed only in science fiction, Mumbai-Delhi calls used to cost 90 Rs and not 90 paise over STD. This is the setting where we see India wasn't this free market and custom-duty was a bitch. I remember Anurag Kashyap blogging that story always needs its milieu. This one has got it.

Boy is from typical working class with father whose life he doesn't want live of 25 years sitting behind same desk. Fresh graduate topper believes gains of his efforts should be entirely his own and not of his boss or firm. Soon he devices a scam and gathers his crew to help the con. He is smart for sure. An idea to get away with custom duty. They buy foreign stuff cheap at Bangkok. There is a twist in the shipment which you better catch on screen. Then make phony scene refuse to claim the shipment leaving it in custom warehouses only to buy it back at customs auctions without custom duty now, so at scrap prices. Profits are huge.

Con is successful and crew is happy. Love-interest perky, bold, wannabe model Bulbul Singh (Anushka) with slang (f off) who while kissing hungrily inside car warns Karan, panting, this is not serious to which guy replies that should be my line yaar. Their romance connects well. Other two are rather two dimensional ones can be summarized – one is womanizer (Veer Das) other one is drunk (Chyang). Foursome makes good company till first half of the film. Really good.

But all is not always ends well. It's kind of perennial screw up, filmmakers continue to botch the second half of a promising film. Turning a fun-con into boring predictable morality lesson. Shifting story to US where new cons, more success, then success getting to head, egos, fights, alcohol, aiyaashi, inevitable break up. Protagonist learning lessons hard way. Papa don't preach or do it well.

When they stop having good time, how can we? Audience slowly realized film is sagging. "How much more is left?", someone asked sitting behind me. She was right though. But still for its better half it's not all bad company.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Camera dekh raha hai!, 25 March 2010
8/10

Dark and disturbing. Dibakar Bannerjee's cams hand-held, close circuit and string operation spy in his latest experimental and phenomenal outing titled Love Sex aur Dhoka are not passively shooting images. They are probing for human behavior, capturing human actions sweet, selfish, sinister, savage. They form the conceit of the three loosely interconnected stories (Ameros Perros style) which contains all the elements of its title love, sex and deceit (dhoka).

It begins with fairly simple at surface a naive teenage romance between poor guy rich girl who at a film institute. Boy is from scheduled caste (special case) . Girl's father is filthy rich marble tycoon and a filthy man. Guy documents his love story, idolizing 'Adi sir' (Aditya Chopra) and calls his girl 'Simaran'. Influence of pop culture is high in our or any society. Honor killing vaguely lurks around the corner.

Second one of three I thought is the most remarkable involves a MMS scandal. A security camera is installed in a shop. Apart from spotting shoplifting and other offenses it opens doors to quick cash to some by selling the footage of occasional shootout in the shop or couple making out sometimes more than that. An attendant in this supermarket (best performance in this natural acting talent lot) ends up as victim. Color of her skin (not fair) makes her behenji type but also easy to trap. Guy really falls for her in process of vicious manipulation eventually succumbs to frailty and chauvinism.

Third one though a familiar case of casting couch the sting operations and exposes but underneath deals with relationship between the victim, her exploiter and her helper (a reporter) which ends on a tender note.

We live in voyeuristic world. These tales often shocking are inspired from this very world. Film portrays its festering ramifications evident around us. Director behind has previous credits Khosala ka Ghosala and Oye Lucky Lucky Oye under his sleeves. He is a consummate player. LSD is a great follow up. More ambitious yet moderately scaled. I always see people nag from all corners that we make same crap over and over again. Now for films like these audience should make an effort from their side. This is solid instance of what sharp mainstream cinema should be. Don't be scared by "experimental" tag. Contraption is brilliantly executed. This is unflinching, stark, uncompromising, unsparing look at the contemporary society.

0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Killing her tactfully, 17 March 2010
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sunny a hothead brave-n-big heart cop's life is not so sunny. His wife is bedding his step brother. Time for Gadar. Isha is vamp wife. His brother shows off his bod and likes it dark, wears shades in the house. Both douse the lamps and bite each other under velvety covers whenever dutiful husband gunning down mob and planning surprise party for lovely wife. To make matters worse, in field one day Sunny is paralyzed waste down in a crossfire. Brooding in wheelchair he finds out the wrong side of the better half and schemes right plan to kill them of course. If you think I am giving away the plot then you need help. Promos screaming that from rooftops already. Paaji's plan is apparently flawless. Hatched and executed to look like an open and shut case of self defence. You sit up for awhile till question mark of how is resolved. Irrfan is buddy cop smells something is fishy. His conscience forces him to stand up against his pal. Working harder than rest of the cast, taking the film seriously. Konkana moves visibly uneasy as lawyer of our hero. Courtroom drama follows with predictable dalilein and underwhelming Sach Ka Saamna type lie detector test. There is no moral inquiry either. All just stretched out from an episode to make a movie. Pick up Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder or Allen Pakula's Presumed Innocent from video library instead.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Part hit part missed call, 4 March 2010
6/10

John Houston's Maltese Falcon (1941) has a memorable scene. Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade creates quite ruckus outrageously shouting at the "Fat man", breaking a glass for the effect snapping he means business and giving him a deadline. He walks out with a grin on his face facing audience happy with the bluff-show he put up just in there. Protagonist Karthik is no Sam Spade. He is shy and reserved, quite a loser in life. But after a 5 am call his life is turned upside down. He walks in the office, floors his boss with his worth, bags the job, money, new luxury cabin, position and then like in the same vein as Bogey chortles with the getaway and so are we.

Before this transformation we meet him as a sad figure for sure. We see him being bullied then fired by his boss. Alone on his birthday with zero social-life and unnoticed by his long crush (Deepika, gorgeous presence) after years of working in same office. He tries to commit suicide. A call saves his life. Strange thing voice identifies himself as Karthik. Spooky? Yes. It changes his life. All things negated earlier are now reality. Call becomes his secret. Central conceit of the film forms its title.

Film is pitched in as a thriller, a psychological one and when romance of story dominates and marks the peak moments, it's not a good sign. Frankly, conceit is weak and guessed before I got in my seat. Lurching in second half movie never tightens its grip on audience. Still it sparks with witty moments not to forget this an attempt which tries to divert from the conventional cinema.

A word for Farhaan. He established himself as one contemporary breed of directors who makes urbane and smart mainstream films is definitely emerging as promising actor. He made his acting debut with Rock On! followed by a brilliant feat in Luck By Chance. He is like James Stalwart to me. Understated and striking.

For him alone I can recommend this film but honestly overall it's partially worth. So final verdict – Rent it.


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