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Watch with lesser expectations, 6 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Very mild spoilers.

This is the first time I've caught a Scorsese movie in theater, that too a non-biographically styled modern one remade from 'Infernal Affairs' (which I haven't seen yet).

'When I was your age they used to say you could become cops or criminals. What I'm saying to you is this... When your facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?' the Frank Costello's pretty much summarizes the movie.

There were 2 unusual things which was'nt a part in the previous Scorsese movies I've seen (Casino, Goodfellas, Aviator): 1. The movie had a contemporary setting (few years back is contemporary too ;) ), and I did quite miss the antique settings in this movie, especially the soundtracks.

2. It had a feminine key character, the rest of them (except Sharon Stone in Casino, who probably would'nt give you the feel that there was a female character) appeared in roles that were'nt important to the plot.

Being a remake, I would'nt delve into the plot although it was one the strong point. The screenplay and dialogues were typical Scorsese sprinkled with dry humour, guns and loads of blood spatters. Jackie boy, Leo, Mark Wahlberg were the ones who stealed the show. Like Reuben says in Oceans 11 'What am i saying. You guys are pros, the best' :) The only source of disappointment was Matt Damon, he still looked kind rookie-ish. I could'nt make out if was scared or not from his facial expressions (which his role required him to do). Maybe thats why Marty assigned him to be Sullivan and (thankfully) not Costigan. Leo on the other hand had lots of scenes to his credit: his first meeting with the counsellor, a couple of scenes after Queenan dies are some i can think of.

Overall, I would'nt place this movie in the 'Best of Scorsese', but certainly recommend all mafia movie lovers to watch it (with lesser expectations).

Apaharan (2005)
9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A near excellent movie, 11 December 2005

A couple of things I knew before seeing the movie were:

* It was based on the Bihar kidnapping (industry ?!). * ..and Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgan and Bips acted in it.

Point 2 was the prime motivator, a serious subject sounded even better :).

The characters in the movie are not something new to movie watchers. An aspiring son, an idealist father caught in a cruel world of the good, bad and the ruthless. The story is told in an elegant fashion without any sleaze or exaggerations. At no point of time does the movie glorify a character to make them look larger than life. Falling a genre of crime/drama, more focus is laid on the 'Clash of Titans' than on blood spatters and gunshots (there were a few, but way less than you would expect).

The characters were a perfect fit and the script made sure they don't get too focused as well. Nana Patekar who plays Tabrez Alam had that subtle ruthlessness written in his eyes was simply a class act. His dialogues were short and powerful. His character is a lesson modern day villains need to learn. Ajay Devgan (one of my favorites :) ) shows a lot of versatility as an innocent, aspiring, angry, calm and broken character of Ajay Shastri. The scene where he refuses to 'run away from reality' was the pick of scenes. Bips did'nt have much to do, I thought she'd play something similar to her role in Footpath and turns out more like Katrina's in Sarkar. Ajay's father character was good, but not the perfect, executed what he was sent out to do. If Amrish Puri was alive today, I wish he have played the father character.

One more feather to the cap, there are no songs and no romantic scenes, so if you are a 'Mills and Boons' fan..stay away ;) .

The movie has a few flaws too, not that it disturbed the flow, but kind of looked odd in such a well made movie. Ajay's friends involvement in the kidnapping did'nt look believable at all. Nevertheless the movie had many positives to still hold it high.

Overall A 40% script, 40% performance, 15% violence and 5% flaws is one step short of perfect and three steps ahead of very good. Needless to say me liked the movie, the only sad part was I could'nt understand all the dialogues. I would see it again if I get a version with subtitles.