Talking Movies

Talking Movies
Talking movies

Thursday, 25 December 2014


A young, almost naked, doped-out man (Siddhant Kapoor) dances wildly to loud music, with currency notes hanging out from his undies.The camera moves in such a way that you can feel his numb state.In his delirious trance, he is so deaf and blind to his surroundings that he does not see a team of cops, a foot away from him. Senior cop, Bose (Ronit Roy) has his gun raised, ready to shoot. He is an explosive mix of rage, despair, frustration and determination. The trapped guy stops in amazed horror at the sight of Bose.
The scene ends in a perfect anticlimax.
The sequence reflects the insanely, disturbing subtext that haunts and dictates the film, Ugly, every brutal second of its 128 minutes length.
The money crazy actor, by the way, is Shakti Kapoor’s son, and even creepier than the dad’s screen avtaar.
Ugly, written and directed by Anurag Kashyap, is relentless in its pursuit of all things, bad and ugly in human relationships. After a phenomenally lengthy and grossly violent saga of gangster family generations in the eastern hinterland, Gangs of Wasseypur, Kashyap explores a simpler drama between five immoral characters on the mean streets of Mumbai.
The characters are as twisted as they can be.
Rahul (Rahul Bhat) is a failed actor,desperate for a role. His ex wife, Shalini (TejaswiniKolhapure) is an alcoholic who only bothers about her ten year old daughter, Kali’s well being, when Rahul takes her out. Shalini is a housewife, kept almost captive by an indifferent and controlling second husband, Shaumik Bose (Ronit Roy). He is a cop who keeps tabs on her by leaving a guard with her and tapping her phone. She walks around the house like a corpse forced to live.
The film begins with her attempt at suicide. A strange, cacophonous soundtrack sets the disruptive mood.
Rahul picks up Kali for their regular outing but leaves her alone in his car, to go for an audition. Kali goes missing. Chaitanya, (Vineeth Kumar), his best friend and shady casting director, joins him in his panic driven hunt for Kali.
An engrossing chase sequence (Kashyap’s Black Friday and GOW also have memorable chase scenes) ends up with a suspect dead.
A typically indulgent and humorous, long exchange involving ‘daddy calling’ and cell phones, follows in the police station, between a cop (Girish Kulkarni) and the two complainants. Soon, Kali’s step dad, Bose, enters the screen with a brutality and a force that shakes up both the concerned dad and the plot. Old and bitter college enmity comes to the fore. Dirty consequences lead to several many dead and mean alleys. Every turn leaves you glued to the theatre seat. The unruly locations of Mumbai and faces of minor characters like the local suspect’s aunt, make the film look uncomfortably real.
Some unnecessary diversions related to a character, Rakhi (Surveen Chawla) and her husband, dampen the screenplay’s raw edginess. Further complications come with Shalini’s greedy brother, Siddhant’s involvement.The film gets so entangled with each character’s petty and personal agenda that you forget that amongst the dirty guns, there is also a soft target: Kal. Perhaps this is deliberate and symbolic of the selfishness driving the characters.
Within the genre of dark thrillers, Ugly is a fine film. The deeply fascinating first half, however, leaves you asking for a balanced grey rather than a bleak black hole. This might have helped bring in the otherwise lacking emotional quotient.
Needless to say, both the casting and the acting surpass excellence. Girish Kulkarni as the over smart cop; Vineeth Kumar as the unpredictable friend as well as a foe; Rahul Bhat as the frustrated and vengeful guy and Ronit Roy as the angry but righteous husband; each are a treat to watch. Tejaswini and Surveen have less screen time but make their presence felt.
Ugly is an engrossing thriller with some fine scenes and great twists. Watch if you can handle twisted,morbid characters,too. Just leave behind all notions of morality.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Anurag Kashyap on Let's Talk Movies with Gayatri Gauri

"All my films are a little indulgent."Watch Anurag Kashyap talk about his fear of stars, his 'mirchi' side and his upcoming film, Ugly.

Friday, 19 December 2014


Raj Kumar Hirani’s films are entertainingly preachy and clever, cinematic versions of Chicken Soup for the Soul. That’s a given. What makes them all unanimously popular are the endearing lead characters and their own lingo.Munnabhai MBBS’s “Jaadu ki Jhappi” and 3 Idiots’ “all is well” have firmly made their way into every cinema goer’s dictionary.
Hirani’s heroes are basically quite formulaic. They all have a heart of gold which makes you simply fall for them. They come armed with a dozen ways to entertain, to make you laugh and without exception, make you cry. They are all gurus in the guise of Aamir Khan (of late) who leave behind a much-needed message so powerful, that it draws claps from the audiences, without fail. In PK, the line that did the magic was,” kaun Hindu, kaun Musalmaan, kahan hai thappa, dikhao”.
By now, you must have guessed the subject that the PK team kept a mystery. The entire secrecy game and gimmick, right from Aamir Khan’s nude poster to the release; made it quite tiresome. But thankfully, Aamir’s performance, made up for the silly big ears and wide, saucer eyed look.
So the speculations were right .Aamir does play a nameless alien who acquires the name PK (drunk) because of the kind of questions he raises about God. His Bhojpuri dialect has the most bizarre explanation that involves some hand holding with a prostitute. There are several such unbelievable glitches that run through the screenplay. Yet, the ongoing thread of strong sentiments of the perception and corruptive business of religion, makes one overlook the liberty taken in storytelling.
The film opens to Anushka’s voice telling us how PK lands on the sands of Rajasthan, from a spaceship. A shiny, big, blue locket around his neck, is his only accessory. The locket is his remote control, which he can use to call the spaceship to get him back. He belongs to a planet where there is no need to cover the naked body or to lie. A local guy robs his locket and runs away. PK wants his remote control back. Once he has learnt how to speak and dress (starting from a jacket and ghaghra to Rajasthani turbans to unmatching shirts and pants found in ‘dancing cars’), he lodges a complaint with the police. He is told by one and all that only God can help him. PK now starts looking for God, which brings him to the journalist, Jaggu (Anushka Sharma) looking for a ‘breaking news’ story better than that of a depressed dog.
When she spots PK, he is wearing colourful clothes, several rudraksha malas and a bright yellow helmet, hoping to be noticed by God. His bizarre appearance catches her interest and soon his childlike innocence, implausible stories and hard, honest questions, draw her into helping him find his remote control.
Hirani’s favourite, Boman Irani is less interesting as Anushka’s boss, than his previous two films. A couple of his bum jokes fall flat. A throwback to a previous Munnabhai movie, besides a charming and old Sanjay Dutt is the involvement of masses through the media, while PK and Jaggu do some preaching and arguing on the approach to God. PK comes up with a ‘wrong number’ explanation in order to fight against the belief system spread by the likes of Godman Tapasvi (Saurabh Shukla). Incidentally, Tapasvi is also the villain in a brief love story between Jaggu and Sarfaraz (Sushant Singh Rajput).
Some nice songs with great lyrics… “love is a waste of time”, “bhagwan kahan hai tu” and “chaar kadam”, complete the sweet and relevant theme.
Aamir Khan, takes only the first two silent minutes of the film, as walks and runs in the buff; to make a place in one’s heart. His remarkable ease of slipping into childlike innocence is more instrumental in involving you into the otherwise repetitive and over simplistic film. Anushka Sharma’s equally empathetic response to him, is a delight to watch. Her emotional response to a discovery in the end, is touching in particular. The scene, though, is straight from Love Actually.
PK with its few flaws, does dial the right number that reaches the heart. A special appearance in the end, will even make you whistle.

Thursday, 4 December 2014


Likh rahe ho ya kaam kar rahe ho?” says a woman’s derogatory voice on the phone.
The young, meek, half sleepy man on the other end, is trying to relieve himself. The attempt is successful in spurts, depending on how the early morning conversation goes.
It ends with him getting dumped. After all, Dulal (Naveen Kasturia) is a good for nothing boyfriend
This scene in Sulemani Keeda,(means ‘pain in the ass’) sets an urban, casual tone of the film which has travelled across a few film festivals before getting a theatrical release.
Dulal and his friend, Mainak (Mayank Tewari) are struggling film writers who go around knocking filmmakers’ doors, peddling their script titled ‘Sulemani Keeda’. Predictably, they get lectures on life philosophy  from Mahesh Bhatt and can’t get past the gatekeepers at Yashraj (“unke bhai Uday chopra se mila do”…they still try) and if they get lucky, they get a polite reply from actress, Amrita Rao (she is better when she plays herself).
When the duo are not struggling, they are trying to get laid. Book shops are a regular haunt. And that doesn’t help much when Mainak happens to pick up a book on erectile dysfunction.
Things turn hopeful when the duo meet a B grade film producer’s 35 year old son, Gonzo Kapoor (Karan Mirchandani, excellent) hoping to be launched in a film that has shades of “Tarkovsky with orgies”. A visit to his dad’s farmhouse follows. The idea is to think “out of the box”. Gonzo wants a “story without a story”.
How Gonzo does get exactly that, is worth waiting for. The eventual outcome (hint: hero is called Bulbul Chingam) is a telling comment on the current state of Indian cinema.
While the central plot is sketchy and predictable, the film relies heavily on the characters and the hilarious dialogues. Mainak who looks the part (played to perfection by Mayank Tewari, also a writer himself) is the hustler willing to fit himself in any part of “the box”. His efforts to be funny and charm women, are a perfect counterfoil to the more sincere and poetic Dulal who doesn’t mind doing headstands to impress a sweet photographer, Ruma (Aditi Vasudev of Do Dooni Chaar). Dulal is someone you meet all the time. Dreamy and sometimes delusional when in love, he thrives on words but is as lost in life, as any wannabe writer. All four actors-Naveen, Mayank, Aditi and Karan are extremely well cast and lift the film several notches up with their natural and spontaneous acting.
The story reminds one of yesteryear’s Adhaarshila (1982) starring Naseeruddin Shah, in its realistic portrayal, casting and the use of low budget locations. Adhaarshila too revolved around struggling filmmakers and their real world filled with reel dreams.
Debut writer and director, Amit Masurkar displays potential and courage in exploring a subject that’s non commercial by nature. In his own words, this is a ‘Versova Indie’, which pretty much nails and limits its scope in format and reach.
Sulemani Keeda is a riot in parts; great in one-liners, but a letdown in plot. Bollywood insiders may relate and derive plenty of redemptive pleasure. As for the rest, watch for its earnest and refreshing attempt.