Item Song of 80s – Yeh Din tau Aaata Hai

Today every 2nd hindi film has an Item Number, which usually involves the film’s heroine or some other special dancer / model/ actress or all of that to gyrate to a fast rhythm dance track mainly to lure the hero/ other character of the film. The song usually does not have much relevance to the actual film’s plot although the makers do try their best to fit the song in the narrative of the film. The song is mostly an up tempo, fast beat song with lyrics being little important.

Of course this tradition of Item songs is nothing new and existed long back in our films. Here is one of the track I heard today,  of course have heard it multiple times in the past and enjoyed it too. Today, while hearing it once again, I realized that this was almost an Item song in the film with no actual connection to the film’s story, although it involves the lead stars only but the song is the film’s Item number.

The song in question is ‘Yeh Din tau Aaata Hai’ from the 1983 film Mahaan starring none other than Amitabh Bachchan in a triple role and featuring the best item girls your money can buy in the 80s, Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi. This song features Big B and Parveen Babi dancing to the rocking  R D Burman tune. The song is sung by Asha Bhosale and R D Burman himself and is a fantastic upbeat number in true sense. You cannot but tap your feet to it.

Asha Bhosale’s catchy voice is matched by RD’s perfect tone and the music is a mix of Arabian and Indian tunes with generous dose of Disco to match the 80s theme.

Enjoy it once again..This song would clearly give Munnis and Sheilas a run for their money, even today.

First Trailer – Dil to Baccha Hai jee

Maybe its because Monday but when I saw the trailer of this film , my first impression was to Like it. I could be wrong and this film could be another slapstick comedy but somehow I think this might be different comedy.

The film is ‘Dil to Baccha Hai Jee’ by Madhur Bhandarkar starring Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi and Omi Shukla. Maybe its just another rip-off from some hollywood film.

Here is the promo..

Guzaarish – Beauty sans Soul

Guzaarish is the new ‘art painting’ created by Sanjay Leela Bhansali starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. In making this film, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is inspired from opulent drama sets and Broadway musicals and is also clearly inspired from various international films like ‘The Prestige’ and the ‘Sea Inside’. The films storyline  and plot is taken mainly from the above 2 films.

Hrithik Roshan plays a magician who meets an accident and becomes quadriplegic from waist down. Aishwarya Rai is the nurse who takes care of him for 12 long years. Hrithik’s Ethan Mascarenhas is a survivor, fighter and doesn’t give up on life and becomes a Radio Jockey inspiring people, advising them about life and freedom and fun all the while being on a wheelchair. But then one fine day he decides to appeal to the court to allow him to die, justifying mercy-killing for someone like him who has suffered enough. The basic plot is alright but is clearly inspired from various sources and this plot is stretched right from the beginning to the end. There are other unwanted sub-plots such as a rival magician, Aishwarya Rai’s bully husband, Hrithik’s assistant and so on. They have nothing much to contribute to the main plot.

Nothing is original here, not the story, not the situations. The setting is a remote palatial home somewhere in Goa, straight out of a drama or perhaps remainder of the director’s past venture ‘Black’. The sets and the clothes and the acting everything looks artificial. The setting is Anglo-Indian and characters are undefined including ridiculous Nafisa Ali as mother, who stays away from Hrithik for the reasons nobody knows. Then there is hyper Jennifer Patel as the lawyer who behaves more like a school principal. She is certainly a stupid lawyer. Aditya Roy Kapoor is simply there because he is the producer’s brother and his afro hair cut and speech makes him look like a ‘south bombay yuppie’ more than a Goan magician. Suhel Seth as doctor takes the cake though. He is completely lost and a crying Suhel Seth evokes laughter in the audience. He was perhaps missing Arnab Goswami to argue with. The entire film, its sets and characters and ridiculous trial in court looks fake. The quadriplegic issue is almost ridiculed here. The film is like a body without a soul.

The only thing that  lifts the movie a bit are some scenes and the lead actor. What can one say about Hrithik Roshan who puts his heart and soul and whole body behind the role of a person destined to be in the wheelchair for life. He is intense and at times over-intense but he is the saving grace of the film. Aishwarya Rai is actually ‘good’ as compared to her other roles and is infact quite well cast in the nurse’s role. Other actors like Nafisa Ali, Makrand Deshpande, Jennifet Patel have little to do. Aditya Roy Kapoor as the young magician is okay in a limited role and looks quite amateurish, perhaps a better actor would have done the role in a mature way and Victoria’s Secret girl Monikangna Dutta is hardly noticeable. Chemistry between the lead pair is quite nice though like most of their past films done together.

Coming to the director, why oh why does someone as talented as Sanjay Leela Bhansali does this over and over? He creates a beautiful art form but then it doesn’t have life in it. He creates artificial world of his own and there  is absolutely no connect with today’s audience.  You feel bad for Hrithik’s character at the start but by the end of the film there is hardly any sympathy for him, one doesn’t feel like crying even when he is about to die. The feelings are all artificial here and the director is trying too much to evoke sympathy. The director is trying to create one masterpiece after other  without realizing that audiences are seeing through his work. He is trying to show-off his technical skills, which must agree are great to look at, but he has forgotten one basic ingredient in his past few films and that is entertainment. There is seriously no entertainment in his past few films including this one. You do not have to make a dull,boring movie if you are tackling a serious disease, you can make it heartwarming and interesting, prime example being ‘Taare Zameen Par’ which dealt with Dyslexia in a positive way.

He is also the music director, screenplay writer, story writer and whatever else that comes to your mind about film making. The music is average and you hardly remember a tune once the movie is over. In fact some of the songs are actually harsh and hurting to the ears. He goes into unwanted detailing at times which are clearly not needed. What we needed was a simple story, more realistic, more touching our heart. Clearly the filmmaker is in his own little narcissist world.

My Ratings : 5.675/10 –  Beautiful but slow and a blatant copy. Body minus the soul.

P.S. Watch ‘ The Prestige’ to understand the world of magicians, its a masterpiece.

Books I Read- The Girl who the kicked Hornet’s Nest

The third book of the Millenium Series by Swedish author Steig Larsson is titled ‘The Girl who kicked the Hornet’s Nest’. This book is the concluding part of the trilogy and continues right from where the 2nd book ended.

At the end of 2nd book of the series lead character Lisbeth Salander is found, by journalist Mikeal Blomkvist,  with a bullet in her head. The story continues in the hospital where Lisbeth and her father both are mortally wounded. The story continues with both of them recovering and her father being killed by a section of Swedish Secret Police. There are pages after pages dedicated to investigations and inquiries related to the cases involving murders, Lisbeth’s past and ‘Millenium’s research into secret section of the Swedish Secret Police. The story culminates with the trial of Lisbeth and to be honest is bit predictable about it. The end of course keeps you wanting for more, but you know there isnt going to be any more in this series.

This book is perhaps the weakest of the 3 and is a bit letdown as the story does not move forward much and meanders at times in the plots and sub-plots of investigations and research. There is even  a sub-plot involving  Erika Berger’s stalker which is completely irrelevant to the main plot. There are at times far too many characters and most of them doing same kind of things researching and investigating and chasing someone. There are bad guys in the form of a section of Swedish secret Police, then there are good guys in the secret police and then there is regular police with its share of good guys and bad guys and security agencies and the magazine’s own research team. It does at time get confusing with ultimately leading to nothing substantial in the plot. The main character of Lisbeth for the most time in is Hospital and is not doing much. The reader craves for Lisbeth and there is not enough of her in this book at least not in the first 600 or so pages. The last 150 or so pages deal with the trial of Lisbeth, which at times does get interesting but is shown in very caricaturish way.

The story ends with some unexpected action in the end and a happy conclusion although I doubt if the author had any thoughts of terminating this series this way. I am sure the 4th book was in the pipeline for this series, sadly the author passed away unexpectedly after he finished writing the 3rd book.

The main problem for this book as I see is that it does not have anything fresh to say, it doesn’t have a new mystery and is simply a continuation of the mystery of the 2nd book, which was more or less wrapped up in the 2nd book itself. The reader does feel bored at times as there is too much of talks and not much action and certainly very less of Lisbeth. Also you cannot read this book without reading the 2nd book,as the story continues from it. The 1st book was quite independent that way.

The character of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist stays with you even after the book ends and you certainly crave for more and want to know what happened to their lives, especially Lisbeth. Although this book isnt the best to finish the series, one still gets engrossed reading in it and never wants it to finish.

My Ratings: 8/10 –  Slightly weaker than the first 2 books but you HAVE to read it to know how it all ends.

P.S. I have read about rumors that there IS a fourth book,  written by Steig Larsson before he died and finished by his long time lover but is currently under dispute between Larsson’s partner and his parents. Perhaps one day it would come out !!

Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows -Part 1- Sets up nicely for the Big Finale

This weekend, Teen Wizard will conquer the global box office with latest film the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, the first half of the big finale of this mega-blockbuster series.

It has been almost a decade since the first Harry Potter movie  aired. The first two Harry Potter movies released in India 5 months after its global release. It was April 2002 when we left our few months old son at home and saw the first Harry Potter film in the theaters. Today, our elder son (almost 9) accompanies us to the Harry Potter franchise’s latest edition, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.  In between we have had 7 mega succesful books read multiple times and 6 movies. We still cannot get enough of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter series of films, at least the last few parts, have becomes darker, grittier and more serious than say the first couple of films. As the kids in movies have grown and the story has taken serious turn, the films have become darker too. The Harry Potter books are full of such amazing details and plots and characters that it is impossible to showcase everything in 3 hour film medium. The directors have made great effort to put in as much as they could in those 3 hours but not everyone has succeeded.

I for one didn’t much like the idea of makers splitting up the 7th book into 2 different movies to be released 8 months apart. But I guess they had their own reasons to split up the book and money being one of the crucial factor amongst that. It is like reading a book half way and then waiting for 8 months to read the later half of the book and even pay extra for that !! I feel, they could have made a 4 hour epic and round it off all together.

Coming to the current film, the director David Yates who also directed the 5th and 6th part previously, continues with same tone. This part is the continuation of the story from the 6th installation when Harry’s guiding force Dumbledore dies and Harry is left with a task of finding out the remaining Horcruxes and capture the deathly hallows to defeat and destroy the evil lord once and for all. This film is different from others in a way that the familiar setting of Hogwarts are missing and 3 leads Harry, Hermione and Ron travel to all sorts of places in the quest for the horcruxes and the deathly hallows. The film is full of chases and comprises of long actions scenes and different settings. The film of course has amazing special effects, some real awe-inspiring scenes and is exciting to say the least. The snake sequences are quite scary and so are the chases thrilling. It has its emotional moments too with the dance between Harry and Hermione and Ron’s jealous dreams and wild imaginations. The animation to explain back story of the 3 brothers is beautiful. But attention to detailing is somewhat missing in this part. The film slows down a bit in some parts but that was expected as the book itself slows down in certain chapters. The film ends bit abruptly but of course it has set it up very nicely for the last part to deliver.

Apart from the 3 leads most other characters and minor plots get side-tracked including Dumbledore’s back story, Grindelwald’s back story and many other small incidents.Most characters make appearances in few scenes. It is mainly Harry, Hermione and Ron who shoulder the burden of this part. This film covers almost 2/3rd of the seventh book and thus leaving just 1/3rd and possibly some new things for the last movie.

The very minor problem I see with the film is that unless you have read the book it would be almost impossible to follow whats happening in the larger sense of the story and plot. It is indeed confusing for those who are not familiar with the plot. Plus the darker tone, the dialogue heavy scenes and slow pace later and unexplained ending would be slight deterrent for people who intend to watch this as just another Harry Potter film. We had to explain a few things to our son though, he hasn’t yet read the books but is familiar with the plot lines thanks to video games.  The movie is clearly not for Non-Potter fans and non-readers of the books are advised to stay away. But of course for those who have read the books it is a joyous ride only with a slight disappointment of waiting for the grand finale in next July. I personally enjoyed the whole movie and didn’t even feel bored in the not so exciting parts in the middle.

As characters Harry, Ron and Hermione played by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson respectively have grown from tiny kids in the first movie to full fledged teenagers now. As actors the 3 have grown to become big stars in their own right. Danielle was born to be Harry Potter and Rupert Grint finally gets to do some serious acting apart from being funny all the time and Emma Watson is a superstar in the making, if only she continues to act in films. The interaction and understanding between the 3 leads is superbly captured. In other characters Helena Bonham Carter as evil Bellatrix Lestrange is haunting and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort is evil enough but doesn’t have much to do in this part. Several other characters make small appearances in the film.

In conclusion, this film was a great ride for me and I intend to watch it once again to enjoy it more. and as I said before unless you have read the books and familiar with the plot, you might not appreciate the film fully. However I am highly biased when it comes to Harry Potter films.

My Ratings :  9/10 –  Must watch to watch the setup for the grand finale to follow. Unmissable for Potter fans, be prepared for the big one next July. Non-Potter fans might be disappointed.

P.S. Did anyone else noticed the sub-titles ?

Sheila ki Jawani – Tees Maar Khan – Item Song

The Item number from the year end release Tees Maar Khan called ‘Sheila ki Jawani’ featuring Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar. The song is sung by Sunidhi Chauhan and music is by Vishal-Shekhar.

Katrina Kaif gives her best possible jhatkas to woo the audience in this item number. In my opinion she is still not match for the ‘Munni’ song though.

Dhobi Ghat – Theatrical Trailer – BEST Promo in a long time !

Here it is. The Theatrical Trailer of one of the most awaited film of 2011, Dhobi Ghat. The film directed by Kiran Rao stars Prateik Babbar in a central role ably supported by the box office magician Aamir Khan. Its a love quadrangle you have never seen before. The film has been appreicated already in various International Film festivals including Toronto International Film Festival in early September 2010.

The promo is one of the best one has seen in recent times an the background music is haunting enough to make you watch it again. The Intoduction of 4 lead characters of the movie is brilliantly done. Cannot wait for this movie. The movie releases on January 21, 2010.

Cars 2 Trailer – The film I am eagerly awaiting

I am a die-hard fan of most Disney-Pixar movies beginning from Toy Story and Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. and last years’s Up. But one film which I consider closest to me is ‘Cars’. It is THE favorite movie of not only me but even my full family and we have watched it at least 40-50 times!! Yes its true. We know the story frame-by-frame. The characters of Lightening Mcqueen and Mater are two of my all time favorite characters.

When plans to create a sequel to Cars was announced few years back, I was bit sceptical to be honest. I was worried about Pixar creating a sequel for the sake of it and perhaps ruining the characters. I considered the original Cars movie as PERFECT and I could not imagine how they could imrpove upon it and better it.

I have seen teasers for the sequel to be rleased in June 2011 and today saw the first trailer where the plot is expanded to cover the entire world and there is a spy mystery angle thrown in it. There are new characters and cars and good old Mcqueen and Mater. Going by the promo it looks that all my worries about the sequel will not be true and it would turn out to be even greater film then the original. Fingers crossed.

Till then.. watch the trailer of Cars 2

The Social Network – Become a Fan !!

Anyone who’s reading this review has a Facebook account,  well almost. Most of you would be aware  of what Facebook is and how it has changed our lives , at least a part of it in last few years. What started as a simple site about matching profiles and finding the ‘hottest’ girl on Harvard Campus has become a huge Internet giant with an approximate membership of over 500 Million people. If facebook were a country then its population would be 3rd behind China and India. Need I say more.

The Social Network is a movie based on the book ‘Accidental Billionaires’  (Here’s Link to my Review) written by Ben Mezrich. The story covers the life of young Harvard students Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Sevrin and how a simple college project became a worldwide phenomenon. It of course tells the story from the ‘other’ side i.e. not from Mark’s perspective but from Eduardo’s perspective who not only feels cheated by Mark but filed lawsuit against Mark to get what he claimed was due to him. Zuckerberg at age of 25 is the youngest billionaire in the world today and his meteoric rise thanks to a ‘project of vengeance’ is remarkably shown but as they say every rose comes with a thorns.

The movie by David Fincher is a masterpiece in art of storytelling, brilliant script,  witty dialogues, excellent acting by the leads and even supporting cast. The movie is an interesting exploration of the events that has led up to the most influential invention of today’s generation.  The movie lets the user decide on which side they are, it makes the user think. Mark’s character is shown to be arrogant and nerdy and introvert and eccentric genius and selfish at times yet its in a way sad and sympathetic. The character of Mark is shown in such a way that you feel sorry for the guy and angry at him at the same time.Mark Zuckerberg in spite of making a tool to involve 500 Million people is still a loner in the end of the movie and the last scene where he tried to befriend his ex-girlfriend makes you feel sad for the guy who has everything in the world at his feet but doesn’t have a friend to share it with.

Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg gives an Oscar worthy performance and Andrew Garfield as Eduardo matches him. Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker (of Napster fame) is excellent and watchout for Rooney Mara ( linked to the Millenium Series movies) as Erica Albright in a brief role.

The only minor issue with the film is that its highly talkative and fast moving with several flashbacks which unless you are familiar with the story or have read the book is at times difficult to follow. The film has some real witty dialogues  and  jokes but they are more relevant to an American audience than the Indian audience. Sadly, the film is not surprisingly running to empty houses as Indian audiences are not used to watching quality Hollywood cinema and prefer action and CGI effects to a real story !!

My Ratings :  8.5/10 –  Drop everything and watch this gem and Answer this – Would you add Mark Zuckerberg as your friend on Facebook?

Sherlock – BBC Drama – Magnificent !!

BBC recently produced ‘Sherlock‘ a three part mini-series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective character Sherlock Holmes but set in modern times and not the 19th century. The mini-series stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. The three 90 minutes episode were shown on British Television in August 2010.

This Sherlock Holmes is set in today’s world and Sherlock Holmes not only uses his extraordinary powers of deduction but also uses mobile phones, text messages and GPS signals to solve the mysteries and he also has a website. He has kept some of the things oddly similar to the great writers novel though including the address where Sherlock Holmes lives, 221 B Baker Street.

In the first episode, “A Study in Pink“, along with Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes solves the mysterious case of the Serial Murderer forcing his victims to commit a suicide.

The 2nd episode titled “Blind Banker” deals with murders happening in different parts of London where the killer leaves cryptic symbols similar to ancient Chinese script. The interaction between Watson and Holmes is quite wonderfully enhanced here.

In the 3rd and final episode of this season titles “The Great Game” Holmes solves more than one cryptic murder cases in game guided by a bomber only to be outsmarted by the ultimate arch-enemy Proffessor Moriarty in the end. The end leaves you hanging and wanting for more. The 3rd part shows the brilliant side of Holmes as he solves one case after the other in quick time. The camaraderie between Holmes and Watson with the slight hint of gay undertones is again wonderfully shown.

The series is brilliantly shot with great production values and great casting. Benedict Cumberbatch not only looks the part of Sherlock Holmes but  have to admit that even surpasses Robert Downy Jr.’s portrayal in the movie version of Sherlock Holmes. Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson is fantastic as well.

This television series is one of the best written, acted and directed in recent times. The three episodes this season have not satiated the users and thankfully BBC have green-flagged another 3 episodes to be released next year.

My Ratings :  9.5/10 –  Catch it on DVD or Online Streaming Sites, TODAY !!