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Archive for the ‘Movie & Book Reviews’ Category

“I can be easily tempted”

Yeah, inspite of my initial aversion, I ended up watching Don! And grandly – a hundred and twenty bucks which I thought were a sure save! But just one comment before I move on with the movie itself – young parents, nursing toddlers that aren’t sufficiently grown ups to be left alone at home watching HBO Saturday Nights or Zee MGM Night Fever (I learnt they still blur ’em? :D), should kindly (I beg, I plead, I’m on the ground beneath you!) avoid catching up with latest flicks in theatres! Or may be pay more for a pirated DVD-Rip from Palika Bazaar! Or even more and get themselves an exclusive showing if too desperate! Just don’t understand! No cinema lover can possibly enjoy his/her movie if they happen to be within decibel range of a crying baby! And boy! They should thank God they are born cute! Or foeticide outside the womb (by effortless strangulation) would be much more common!

All right so King Khan can disappoint your terribly subterranean expectations with him, with his acting, and proven performance! He can be good even when he’s not crying! And Farhan Akhtar, after all has some good direction experience (Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya)! Yep, ladies and gentlemen, I feel bad at having to chew my own spit, but yeah, Don-2 is good!

The first half or so might be a totally unadulterated copy from the original, but is dealt with nice effectiveness nonetheless. You can’t just shut yourself and say SRK has no class or he fakes it! I thought it was smart golf from him, the way he swings himself and delivering a villanious dialogue simultaneously. The cinematography is great, some interesting techno effects add to Don’s stature, and Malaysia is breathtakingly beautiful in itself! He gets more glamorous, drives a Mercedes SLR, changes lanes on a Kuala Lumpur road from under the belly of a huge road carrier to evade the police (which if you’ve seen the movie, know is not the police), has more gadgets attending to his rescue (like automated explosive laden shades), he seems to have more martial-art in his armoury which he uses quite often, even with Priyanka Chopra!

Oh yeah, Priyanka Chopra. Obviously like the original, Don is an overwhleming protagonist in this one too. However, you’ll definitely remember some Roma after you’re back from the movie (eh ..and you are a male)! Zeenat was forgettable in the first one, Priyanka’s not! Yep, Farhan knew what people expect (like a swimsuit, or some cleavage, or long bare legs in close up) from a Don’s arm-candy and a potential love-interest, and he packages it nicely, saving it from qualified vulgarity. I thought I always knew, but he made such good show of it, that I’m confirmed on Priyanka’s pronounced upper lip since the day before, and she smiles a lot in the movie!

The reel narrative holds itself throughout. Except may be in the end when there’re a lot of Pandora’s boxes popping themselves out, in negative shades mostly, which is probably the reason critics and Indian audience have mostly given SRK’s Don a humiliating thumbs-down! There is nothing like a happy ending, the Don surfaces as THE resurgent Don in the last few minutes (in a cleverly directed manoveur I must say): Priyanka ends up the biggest loser, no love, no revenge! Boman Irani in a contentious role of a wannabe ganglord, in the warp of some Police bigshot is brilliant as usual. Arjun Rampal fits just right, when he hits, you know it’s gonna hurt, and it does to whoever gets it! Kareena, eh! lets not talk about her! Ok, stepping into Helen’s shoes demands some homework! The loose flesh gyrating itself as she tries to seduce SRK, weirdly cut vamp costume, the vicious look of the eyes even when it’s not expected – yikes!

But despite minor glitches hither-thither, Don-2 is a decent product, a one time see, and a must see if you never watched Big B’s Don. It’s simple, don’t let the sheer brilliance of the classic Don hang on your psyche as you enter the hall (something like stop thinking!), and Don ’06 won’t disappoint you!

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Wrote this for the institute publication. Unabridged reproduction here was inevitable!

I must have probably never understood the most fundamental divergence between an Indian novel and its international twin. Well, till the time I laid hands on Maximum CityBombay Lost & Found, by Suketu Mehta. The author is a fiction writer and journalist based in New York City, and is in love with Bombay, the city he had grown up in. It’s a suitably rationalized literary argument that he spent seven impossibly long years to produce an almost thoroughgoing account of notionally the maximally famed megapolis of the country!

Speaking of the basic difference, it is reflected obtrusively in the fashion a book is structured. In the sense that when Suketu writes about ‘Jogeshwari’ the slum and its inhabitants that range widely from criminals to prostitutes to decently well-off middle class, all with instantly recognizable Indian names, you seem to have an immediate connection with the thread of the text. You happen to possess a better memory of the cited local/national events and people then Dan Brown’s ‘Louvre’ or ‘Langdon’.

Anyway, avoiding further digression I’d rather comment on the book itself. If I had to make it really short, without much ado, then I’d qualify Mehta’s stuff to be a brilliant produce. That most of his readers might not be residents of Bombay is purely inconsequential once you begin registering. I thought the text was reasonably informative as well, in particular when he talks of Bollywood – the truth behind movie-production (by the way Mehta co-wrote Mission Kashmir with Vidhu Vinod Chopra) and the veritable issues with actors. Or Bala Saheb Thackrey and his doubtfully contentious role in Mumbai politics, specifically in the ‘93 riots. Most instructive of all is his insider’s view on the underworld and the dance bars in Bombay. Mehta chose narration by picking real characters from the who’s who and the sub-common flock infesting the city, adding a certified dash of definite realism to his matter. He talks of the astronomically phenomenal land-rates in the city, which can effortlessly dwarf property values in most of the country’s elite societies. Of the amazingly resourceful police force, that ranks second only to the Scotland Yard in terms of proven effectiveness. Of girls from dance bars who earn lacs in single nights, courtesy the scotched men (some filthy rich, some paupers from the street who have no more than five bucks to drape on the girl on stage who’s at her seductive best), who seem to find celestial consolation after a hard day at work in the dark alleys of the night life in Bombay.

Maximum City is a mythical eye-opener on some of the meriting obvious panorama of the daily life, but which is mostly overleaped in hideous concealment. On some level, the book need not reflect on the people and psychology of Bombay at all – it could very well be a warranted chronicle for each one of us, geographically hundreds of miles from the protagonist city. And on the other level, it’s a gripping story of a city that lives on its own, everyday amidst the bustle that would eclipse ten metropolis’ together!

I’d admit the sheer captivation Mehta’s impressive account weaved on me, despite the monstrous six hundred odd pages on fractional A4 that I just couldn’t keep it down! I’d additionally qualify this as an irrepressible must-read (obviously assuming myself to be holding a valued opinion!). You should not regret the little effort and time excused for this enamoring Pulitzer finalist!

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