Cashback – Time Freezing

Cashback is a little British film released few years ago. It was originally a short film nominate for the Oscars, which it didnt win. The film was expanded later to make a full fledged romantic comedy by the director Sean Ellis retaining the same caste and literally adding backstories, flashbacks, character stories to enhance the plot.

The film is about a budding artist Ben Willis who undergoes a painful breakup with his girlfriend and just cannot stop thinking about her. He keeps thinking about it and just loses sleep at night. He simply cannot sleep and then decided to use the extra night hours by working at a supermarket. There he encounters various characters and meets Sharon. He realizes how time means different things to different people.  How everybody just plays the time and does their own thing to pass time. How his colleagues fool around the supermarket and boss does inane things and Sharon doesn’t look at the time so that it passes faster. He begins to admire Sharon but his mind still cannot concentrate on his work and just meanders along. In this he develops the ability to freeze time or he imagines to freeze time where he can then just walk around people who have paused, especially beautiful women, admire them, strip them and paint them.  He begins to start enjoying his time-freezing act and then he begins to like Sharon more and more and begins to ‘not remember’ his ex and then finally when they kiss, a bit awkwardly, he finally connects more with her and then  he sleeps for the first time in weeks. There is of course that misunderstanding and getting back the lost love, like a standard rom-com. By the end the two leads are shown to be together having frozen time and enjoying the romance.

In between the film has lot of side-stories about various colleagues of Ben and his past and his earlier crushes and his slightly mental boss and his casanova friend. But mostly its about Ben. His voice over throughout the film makes it special and interesting. His ability to freeze time is a dream of every person I guess. As we say ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ and the director shows this superbly when he introduces Sharon as just an ordinary girl whom you wouldnt give a second look and then slowly she beings to appear more and more beautiful and glamorous in the film as Ben falls for her and begins to like her. The movie is entirely from Ben’s eyes and what he sees and feels. Its about how he deals with lost love and finding love.

The film is a light romantic comedy and although it involves time freezing, it isn’t a science fiction. But the film is a different kind of romantic comedy then what we see dished out regularly from the Hollywood. The film has lots of nudity and foul language but it is advised to watch the unrated film to truly understand that the nudity shown in the movie is not for the sake of erotica but is shown as an artist’s viewpoint on his subjects. Only an artist can admire true beauty of a woman. The film is technically brilliant too and is beautifully shot, especially the scenes in which time and characters freeze and Ben moves around. The movie is a visual delight and also the soothing voice over gives it a warm feeling.

The actors are not well known but Sean Biggerstaff does a wonderful job as Ben Willis and Emilia Fox as Sharon is quite adapt too. Michelle Ryan as Suzie is shrill and doesn’t have much role but to shout and create confusion. Other supporting actors are nice and believable too.

My Ratings – 8/10 –  Watch it for the beautiful and different take on romantic comedy genre. The director is one to watch out for.

Love and Other Drugs – Hard Sell

Love and Other Drugs is a recent movie starring Jake Gyllenhall and Anne Hathway directed by Edward Zwick. It is a movie which starts of a romantic comedy and becomes a serious romantic drama by the end with themes as varied as Phamaceutical Marketing, Parkinson’s disease and the mismatched but free-spirited couple who cant help falling in love.

Jake Gyllenhall plays a marketing guy who can sell anything to anyone, especially if that anyone is a woman. He is a natural charmer, smooth talking casanaova who doesn’t hesitate to bed his customer and undercut his opponent to sell. He is a Medical Representative for Pfizer trying to sell anti-depressant drugs to the Doctors and trying them to prescribe his drug over the rival’s more successful one. He meets Anne Hathway suffering from early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease,  a free spirited woman who is perhaps the first one not to fall for him. As it happens the two gets attracted towards each other and have endless rounds of sex and fun but are wary of commitment or their own reasons.

The film starts of with a fast pace and shows the cut-throat pharmaceutical market of prescription drugs in America and how doctors and medical representative gang up for their mutual benefits. The film changes tracks into a romantic drama and concentrates on the sex-affair between the leads and onset of Parkinson’s disease in Anne Hathaway’s character Maggie Murdoch.  Jake Gyllenhall’s Jamie Randall tries his best to get a cure for the incurable disease and helplessly falls in love with her but Maggie does not want anyone’s support in her life. The launch of sex-drug Viagra propels Jamie as one of the leading and most popular medical rep translating into a promotion to Chicago. But he realizes how much he desires Maggie, Jamie lets go that and in the end the couple is seen to be living together.

The film is strictly okay for a one time watch and promised lot more in the first half but settles into an ordinary romantic drama by the end. Anne Hathaway acts powerfully and is completely uninhibited. Jake Gyllenhaal perfectly suits as the charming, smooth talking casanova sales representative. The movie is quite well shot but feels slightly longer and dragging by the end. The movie has some real strong and bold sex scenes and situations and its safe to assume that this movie would never release formally in Indian theaters.

My Ratings – 6.5/ 10 –  Watch it for sizzling chemistry between the leads and a nice inside view of the murky pharmaceutical market of America

Dum Maaro Dum – Title Track

Here’s the much awaited song ‘ Dum Maarao Dum’ from the upcoming film titled the same. The song is actually called ‘Mit Jaaye Ghum’ and features Deepika Padukone and is set to a remixed version of the original classic tune. The song was released during the India – South Africa game in the ongoing World Cup Cricket at Nagpur

The song set in a smoke filled bar, looks okeyish and Deepika looks hot enough to be called ‘item girl’ now. Hopefully it will do what it is meant to and draw the audience in the movie hall.

Here it is..

Tanu weds Manu – Shaadi North Indian Ishtyle

‘Tanu weds Manu’ is a small budget movie releasing in middle of the Cricket World cup but inspite of that getting fair amount of patronage and positive reviews. The movie is directed by Aanand Rai and boasts almost of a fresh unknown crew and caste.

Its an Indian story with Indian characters, small town settings and music thats as earthy as it can be. It stars relatively under appreciated Madhavan and Kangana Ranaut along with host of ensemble characters. The story is more or less like many other films when boy likes girl, the girl likes someone else and then the boy wins over her by the end. Here the girl is portrayed by Kangana aka Tanuja Trivedi from Kanpur and the boy is Madhavan aka Manoj Sharma, an NRI doctor from London. We expect the NRI doctor to be all modern and the Kanpur girl to be sedate and shy but the scenario is totally reversed here with Tanu the firebrand, bindass girl representing the modern India and Manu the shy gentleman.

The movie is shot in real locations of Kanpur ,Kapurthala, Lucknow and Delhi and it shows. The characters are very real and the importance given to detailing of various things is very impressive.  The characters walk and talk Hindi but the little difference in dialects and accents in Hindi spoken by a Punjabi or a Bihari, a Delhite or a true blue UPite is subtly captured in the language. That detailing uplifts the movie and makes it cut above a normal Indian wedding film.

The movie has some superb character artists portraying various roles.  Special amongst them is Deepak Dobriyal playing Hero’s best friend role to the tee and winning our hearts. Eijaz Khan as the Sardar friend is quite apt too. Jimmy Shergill is nice and almost steals the show but has small role. Special Mention to Swara Bhaskara, the beautiful girl who portrays Kangana’s best friend who looked charming and acted superbly too. How we wish she was the heroine of the movie !! Speaking of which the film belong to Ms. Kangana ‘accent’ Ranaut and Madhavan.

Madhavan as I said before is very under appreciated perhaps for not having conventional Bollywood look and physique but he is a fine actor and this role is tailor-made for him. You can say Kangana is both perfectly cast and a total miscast in the movie !! She is perfect sas the rebellious girl, representing modern India, brash and abusive and rebel for the sake of being rebel, however we all cringe at the time she opens her mouth. Her dialogue delivery is horrible and perhaps the single biggest negative factor in the film. She is born and brought up in India, is a north Indian and yet she cannot get her Hindi right !! This is inexcusable. She has an image of playing roles of mentally disturbed, drug addicted, lunatic modern woman. Here she tries to fit into the role of middle class, small town Indian girl but without letting go her earlier image. If only she could improve her Hindi and dialogue delivery she could be one of the top stars.

Overall the movie is a pleasant watch, although it does get dragging in the 2nd half and tries to be a ‘Jab we Met’ and all that. The music is rustic north Indian with mix of UP and Punjab sound. ‘Sadi Galli’ is a big rage already.

My Ratings – 7/10  Watch it for true blue North Indian Tadka….