Why Oscars were big fail ?

Oscars are an annual party to reward the best of the Hollywood cinema. It is a glitzy affair featuring biggest of stars and Hollywood big shots walking down the red carpet. The nominations itself are much hyped about a month back and then the actual award ceremony is one of the biggest event ever and highly covered by television networks.

This year the Academy decided to take a chance by giving the prestigious job of hosting to two young stars James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Both big stars in their own way as Oscars wanted to attract the ‘younger demographic’ as they say. But the efforts of James Franco and Anne Hathaway fell largely flat, their jokes were simply amateurish, the drama was like a school play and they were generally off-key. They were so unbearable at times that moment Billy Crystal or Oprah Winfrey came on stage people were hoping that they would take over the hosting. The line ‘Sajid Khan would have done a better job’ says it all.

The ceremony itself felt long and boring with nothing exciting happening for long period of time. Most of the awards were a no-contest and were almost decided long back. There were hardly any surprises there too and whatever surprises were there, they were more like a shock. The Box office successes are very rarely rewarded by the Oscars and mostly the drams and tragedies win the bigger prizes and this year the case remained the same. ‘Inception’ , people’s favorite and box office conquerer was largely ignored in bigger categories and it was awarded the technical awards mostly to compensate for that. Most people expected ‘The Social Network’ to win one of the bigger award that of best film or best actor or best director but it didn’t win any of those. Toy story 3 was suppose to win the best animated film award even before the nominations were announced.

Thus there were hardly anything worth looking forward to. There were no controversies either, with the trouble brewing in the Arab world we expected lot more Political statements as well from the nominated big-wigs and winners but there were hardly any interesting speeches. There was no wardrobe-malfunction either  🙂

All in all it was a dull and boring award ceremony. Hopefully next year we’ll have better hosts and more deserving films would win.

Luther – Crime Drama – Dark & Bright

Luther is a Crime Drama which was aired on BBC last year. It had six episodes of one hour each. Luther starred Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson.

Luther is a police detective who is specialized in solving complex murder cases with his unique psychoanalysis and deducitve skills. But he is also a complex personlity and is a cop who does things mostly his way by bending the rules and crossing the lines. He is also temperamental, emotional and loses self control easily. He is both the good guy and the guy with grey shades. He could have very well been the bad guy with his criminal mind but is not.

The series starts with Luther being suspended. He ultimately returns and accepted back in the team. His colleagues Ian Reed, Justin Ripley and boss Rose Teller welcome him. He immediately has to deal with a complex double murder where he finds the enigmatic Alice Morgan, played superbly by Ruth Wilson. Alice is a prodigy astrophysicist and a witness to double murder of her parents. Alice’s is the most intriguing character and the relationship between Luther and Alice in itself is worth watching the show. They are both very similarly brilliant yet very different.

Later in the series Luther solves several complex cases of murder, kidnapping, smuggling etc. at most times with help of his colleagues or even Alice. There is the additional drama of Zoe Luther, ex-wife of Luther, played by Indira Verma who decides to move on with Mark North. Luther is extremely possessive about his wife, loves her yet has to let her go.  This parallel track of Luther’s wife and her lover is also very interesting and at times is key to the development of overall story.

By the end of the 6 episode first season, Luther is on the other side of the law, his ex-wife is killed by  his old colleague who further is killed by Alice on insistence of Mark. The viewers are left high and thinking about what next. Luckily BBC has sanctioned 2 episodes of 2 hours each for later this year to take the story forward.

The series works on the principle that the audience is made aware of the criminal, murderer right at the beginning itself and the drama is in the way Luther and his mates discover the evidences against the criminal and ultimately catches him or her. Luther is a great character, although the character is quite similar to many cop characters we see on TV or in movies yet it is differently portrayed by Idris Elba. The grey shades, the changing temperament and the controlled anger which later unleashes is nicely captured.

Technically, the show is brilliant just like most British shows which as I think are vastly superior to its American counterparts at least in giving a laid back and well developed script and characters.The series is shot mostly in and around London and city’s landscape is shown and used artistically in the show. The story of Luther’s life moves slowly along with the cases he solves. At times it seems far too easy the way he solves crimes and gets clues just by interrogation and on hunches just like Sherlock Holmes would but Idris Elba makes it believable. The show is dark and intense at times with lot of blood and gore and violence too yet its is bright and brilliant mostly because of acting,  great casting and chemistry between the leads and a moving storyline. There is hardly a dull moment in the hour long episodes.

My Ratings – 8/10 – Do watch it for fine acting by Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson and some compelling crime drama.

And here it starts.. World Cup 2011

19th February 2011 and its the first match of the World Cup of Cricket 2011 being hosted in India, Sri Lanka and Bangaldesh.

There is enough material about the world cup on the internet, television, radio and wherever you go. So no point mentioning the details like who’s playing whom and when and who is the favorite and who is the underdog.  We all Indians want our country to win like most other cricket fans from their nation.

This is my 8th World Cup beginning from 1983 when I was 9 years old, so technically I was a toddler during the first one and a bumbling 5 year old during the 2nd. I remember the 3rd world cup, known as Prudential World Cup. I remember watching the Finals LIVE on Doordarshan, interrupted by ‘Batmya’ at 7.30 pm and ‘Samachar’ at 9.00 pm but it was a memorable night when India lifted the cup, although honestly I now have a very vague memory of that night but enough to feel proud of witnessing history.

1987 was a heart breaker when India lost to England in the semis and i remember the pin-drop silence walking out of the Wankhede at the end of that match. I was there and do not want to remember it. 1992 was the best format where every team played every other. I remember breaking my home window grill when India lost to Australia and our batsman did not take the match tieing run when it was available. I remember running home from my final board exams to watch the semifinals and i remember the 2 deadly in-swingers Wasim Akram bowled in the finals.

1996 was watched with friends either at a different freinds house every match and India Australia match in Wankhede is memorable, not only because it was an electrifying atmosphere but also because the manner in which all our freinds procured the tickets withstanding lathicharge from police. I had my arm swollen for a week. The semifinal loss was the worst though and I stopped watching after stone-pelting started.

1999 world cup has mixed emories with superb victory over Sri Lanka and Pakistan followed by ugly losses against Zimbabwe only to lose badly against South Africa and Australia

2003 was of course the best so far with India doing really well, Nehra’s 6 wickets in Durban and Sachin’s 98 against Pakistan are 2 of the favorite matches. The loss in Finals made me hate Australia and Ricky Ponting even more and I continue to dislike them.

2007 was blink and miss and literally I missed it as I was travelling during both of India’s losses against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Both times I was in the train, night journey with matches being in Caribbean I was checking scores through cell phone and SMS’s only to discover that India was losing and the world cup was over before it started.

Now its 2011. This one is huge. Its at home and as mentioned above all of us have high hopes for India to win it. This also is Sachin’s  ( hopefully not) realistically last world cup. He is the guy who has defined ODI cricket and it would be a Billion people’s dream come true if he were to lift the world cup on his home ground on 2nd April, 2011.

My elder son is about the same age I was in 1983. Maybe the history would repeat itself. Fingers Crossed.

Dum Maaro Dum – Killer Promo

A film whose title is ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ set in Goa, dealing with drug trade … What a tribute to the legendary song  from Dev Anand’s Hare Rama Hare Krishna !!

It  stars Abhishek Bachchan as cool Narcotics Cop. The movie also stars Bipasha Basu, Prateik and Telugu star Rana Daggubatti. The movie produced by Sippy films and Fox is directed by Rohan Sippy with story by Shridhar Raghavan and Music by Preetam. The movie releases 22nd April 2011

Here’s the first look, it looks classy and that background score is full of ‘dum’

Kochi Indi Commandos – What ???

The 10th IPL Team Kochi has finally come up with a name. Wish they had remained as ‘Kochi IPL Team’ instead or ‘Rendezvous Team’ as called by the owners. But now they are called ‘Kochi Indi Commandos‘ !!!

What does that even mean ?? What kind of silly name is Indi Commando. The team has been making all kinds of mistakes and errors and controversial things. Their team selection involving Sreesanth, Ravindra Jadeja was bad enough. Then they wanted Ganguly which they couldn’t get. They have all the discarded KKR players and now this.

Here is their Team Logo

This looks like an amateur Powerpoint Work. What a silly design !!

This team  has no future !!

Atlas Shrugged – Trailer

Here’s a Movie I never knew was being made and its about to be released on 15th April 2011. The movie is based on Ayn Rand bestseller ‘Atlas Shrugged’. This movie is the first part of the 2 part series.

Based on Ayn Rand’s epic 1957 novel, ATLAS SHRUGGED PART ONE plots the collapse of American society after “men of the mind” (thinkers, industrialists, scientists, artists and other innovators) go “on strike” and vanish. Taylor Schilling plays the powerful character of Dagny Taggart, a railroad heiress. The first part is about discovering ‘Who is John Galt?’

Here is the trailer.

Zen – Classy and Cool TV Show

I have always enjoyed the laidback and high quality approach of British Television towards its drama shows and generally any TV program. I happen to come across the drama series ‘Zen’ ,  a cop detective show based on the Aurelio Zen detective novels by Michael Dibdin. The novels are about a super suave cool Italian Police detective. The series is in English and hence all the characters speak in English and not Italian but that apart the mini-series which had just 3 episodes of 90 minutes each is worth every minute spent watching it.

Zen is about Aurelio Zen played by Rufus Sewell who is the Italian  Police Detective. The current series was based on 3 books namely Vendetta,  Cabal and Ratking. The show was adapted to television by writer Simon Burke and directed by 3 different directors.

In Vendetta directed by John Alexander, Zen investigates a high profile murder in a remote village where the accused has confessed the crime and later retracted with all evidences pointing to him. He is under pressure from the Police Chief to get the clinching evidence against the accused and also under pressure from influential politicians to find the real murderer. There is also another criminal who is on a revenge spree and out to kill Zen. Beauty is in how Zen skilfully and with a cool mind resolves the issues, solves the case and extracts benefits out of all that but not for his own self. Zen is a committed, non-corrupt police detective separated from his wife and attracted towards’s his chief’s assistant Tania played by Caterina Murino.

In Cabal directed by Christopher Menaul, Zen investigates a suspected suicide of an aristocrat which he thinks is a murder. He is pressured by his chief to close the case as soon as he can and the minister pressures him to get to the roots of it and declare it a suicide. Zen has other ideas as hi pursues the secret organization known as Cabal. This episode also sees the romantic track between Tania and Zen developing further. Zen is a loner and stays with his mother and is separated from his wife while Tania is seeking a divorce from her husband. The romance proceeds as the case of suicide and murder is resolved again smartly by Zen. This episode is slightly loose and perhaps the weakest of the three. There are several loose ends which perhaps might lead to further plots in future episodes.

The third episode called Ratking directed by Jon Jones, Zen get a new police chief who hates the sight of him and he is being trusted to negotiate with kidnappers of a wealthy industrialist by the minister himself in spite of the new chief disliking the idea. He manages to negotiate with the kidnappers and also unearths the devlish nature of the family of the kidnapped man. Romance with Tania proceeds further and they almost live- in together now. Tania’s husband tries to kill Zen but shoots himself and Their lovelife is at a stage where both decides to have a future with each other only after taking sufficient precautions. Zen manages to solve the kidnappping case and motives and also manages to oust the Police Chief and getting the old chief back, who is recovering from a heart attack. The series ends with Zen as an ‘acting police chief’.

The entire series is shot on locations in Italy and has a real laid back style of filming. The show being 90 minutes, it has enough time to establish plot, characters, locales and show us the beautiful countryside of Italy. Rufus Sewell is tailor-made for the job of Zen and looks classy and cool detective in sexy Italian suits but almost as vulnerable as the kid-next-door when it comes to matters of relationships. Caterina Murino –  one word-  Sizzling –  she as Tania Moretti is simply perfect as Police Chief’s assistant and Zen’s love interest. You wait for her to come on screen and you cannot take your eyes off her when she is on screen. Her chemistry with Zen is superbly captured. There are several supporting characters including Zen’s colleagues and friends , his mother, his ex-wife, police chief and minister and his assistant, almost all British and they are superbly cast. The acting by every character is top-notch.  BBC’s strict quality requirement makes this show top-class and worth every minute of its watch. The show is set to return with further 3 episodes in the coming year. Can hardly wait for it.

Here is my vote for cool and classy British cop show over noisy, action driven American cop shows. Get the DVD, view it online, download it, whatever, just do not miss it.

My Ratings – 8.5/10 –  Brilliant Television,  Rufus Sewell as Zen is ‘The’ detective you want to be and Caterina Murino is a dream come true.

Cricket World Cup 2011 – Who’s your Favorite?

Dhamakedar Song – Sadi Galli

Here’s a dhamakedar song from upcoming film ‘Tanu weds Manu’.  The song ‘Sadi Galli’ originally is a Punjabi song sung by Lehmbir Huseinpuri. This song is re-mixed and adapted for the film by Krsna. What makes it special is the up-tempo Bhangra beats and nasal voice. Its going to be super-hit in every Wedding, Sangeet, Baraat kind of scenario. Totally dance-able. The film features Kangna Ranaut and Madhavan but in this song watch out for Deepak Dobariyal and his rap-chik dance steps.

Enjoy the song.

Chargesheet – Trailer !!!!

This has my vote for one of the most awaited film of the year, it is none other than Dev Anand’s CHARGESHEET !!!!

Here is the first Exclusive look of the trailer. The quality of trailer isn’t perfect but then when you have a Dev Anand film, quality isn’t a virtue we are looking at. The film stars, well of course-  Dev Anand, Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff and well some others. It hardly matters who the hero-heroine are. Watch out for cameo from Amar Singh talking on 2 telephones simultaneously and the title song is mind blowing !!!

This is one movie I can hardly wait for. After all its written, scripted, directed and acted by Dev Anand.