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.

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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.

Band Baaja Baraat – Refreshingly Good

Yash Raj films have been known to produce romantic movies and musicals and NRI romances and wedding videos in the name of films since last few years. Since the advent of DDLJ some 15 years ago it has been doing so and it has been searching for its next DDLJ ever since. Exceptions to this theme have been far and few. Somehow in these last 15 years they have been making the same film over and over with different variations, stars and music. It was relying too much on big shot stars, big directors, big music to make their movies sail through which did work few times but bombed most times. The unreal world of YRF films was crashing and they were not realizing that. The premier bollywood studio, which once never failed at box office, was giving duds after duds and was considered no longer the same powerful studio it once was.

With Band Baaja Baraat, they have managed to break few shackles. The film is a surprise for everybody including I think the bosses of YRF. To begin with the film is set in middle class Delhi and not London or New York. The characters and settings of the film are real, believable and that is a welcome change from Raj and Rahuls we are used to see. The film has a definite story and a decent plot line moving the story. Above all the film has two really good actors who fit the roles perfectly. The movie is a model on a how a romantic comedy needs to be made.

The story is simple and is about a middle class Delhi girl and a roadside Delhi romeo coming togather as business partners as wedding planners. Their meeting is accidental however they join forces together to launch ‘Shaadi Mubarak’ a wedding planning agency set in middle class Janakpuri of Delhi. The initial part of film is breezy and takes you from one wedding to another and slow and steady rise of the duo’s company and making even the simplest of wedding as grand and memorable. The company grows and so does the dreams and the leads graduate from middle class low budget weddings to high society ‘farmhouse’ weddings as they call it in Delhi where budgets run in crores. They succeed with their zeal for hard work, honesty and dedication. Till about the midpoint of the film when the conflict arises the film is real fast moving. The conflict point is not a villain or money or fights but strangely it is love.  The romantic scenes and the love scenes are done in a very non-conventional way, which makes it look and feel real.When the leads fall in love they break the first rule of their ‘binness’ that to ‘never fall in love with your business partner’.  The 2nd half is bit slow as compared to the first and some of the things are quire predictable but still fun to watch. The fights, tantrums and problems which arises from the conflict continue right till the end where of course like true YRF style the leads make up and everything is hunky dory. The finale seems bit stretched but you never feel bored. Do not miss the end credits.

In spite of certain predictive nature of the story it makes you watch it and enjoy mainly because of real life situations, some original hilarious scenes, smartest dialogues you’ll see, wonderful and breezy direction, superb production values with an eye to detailing you are not used to see in mainstream Hindi movies and on top of all the 2 leading actors.  Anushka Sharma as ‘Shrutti Kakkad’ lives the character like she was born to do this. Its her third film, incidentally all 3 with YRF, and she is a revelation as an actress. She is uninhibited, can act well, dance like a breeze in most natural way and makes you feel for her in emotional scenes. Of  course the real surprise packet is new boy Ranveer Singh as ‘Bittoo Sharma’. The guy is unconventional in looks but is a sheer delight to watch on screen. His dialogue delivery, sense of comic timing, dancing and acting skills make you root for his slightly roguish but innocent character. He is the true blue Delhi boy we have been looking for. This certainly is a dream debut for him in a role tailor made for him and I wont be surprised if he wins the best debut actor prizes in most award ceremonies next year.

Before the film released when I saw the promos I didn’t think much of the new actor with his unconventional look but I have to say that I was wrong and I shouldn’t have been prejudiced. Incidentally last time I was prejudiced and then later changed my mind after a film released was during ‘Kaho na Pyaar Hai’ almost a decade ago !!

The film is a true representation of what North Indian weddings and the debut-ant director Maneesh Sharma has captured the true essence of both middle class and high society Delhi. Special mention to dialogues by Habib Faisal for capturing the Hindi tone and words that only Delhites would use. This is the kind of original earthy writing and detailing which has been missing from many of our recent films. The supporting actors are cast so well that they do not look like actors but straight out of a Delhi colony. The music by Salim-Suleimaan is apt and the numbers are foot tapping and makes you want to dance in the aisle. ”Ainvayi Ainvayi’ is for the song of the year and will be a surefire hit in every wedding from now on.

The film is made in very moderate budget and most of the money has already been recovered from Satellite an Music rights so whatever the film earns from box office is a bonus for the producers. The movie surely worked for me and we enjoyed the late night show in middle of a working week and were surprised to find the hall almost full. Nothing works like word of mouth publicity and positive critic reviews.

My Ratings – 9/10 for the sheer North Indian energy and the lead actors. Best rom-com of the year.

P.S. My only worry is that after the success of this film YRF has got enough money now to make few more Uday Chopra films !!!

Khelein Hum Jee Jan Sey – Theatrical Trailer

Here’s the first look and theatrical trailer from Ashutosh Gowariker’s next movie ‘ Khelein Hum Jee Jan Sey’ starring Abhishek Bachchan as revolutionary Surya Sen and Deepika Padukone as Kalpana Datta. Sikander Kher also stars. The movie is based on Manini Chatterjee’s book ‘Do or Die’ based on Chittagong Conspiracy of the 1930s.

The movie looks sharp and seems to be well made and detailed like most of Ashutosh Gowariker’s films. Abhishek looks like he can pull off the role of Surya Sen, he’s got the intensity and the fire in the eye.The movie has the look somewhat similar to ‘Lagaan’.  Finally a movie which wont be totally brainless. The movie releases on December 3, 2010.

Golmaal 3 – Trailer

Here is the official first look of another Diwali release, Golmaal 3.

Golmaal 3 is directed by Rohit Shetty.starring Mithun Chakraborty, Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor, Arshad Warsi, Tusshar Kapoor, Shreyas Talpade, Kunal Khemu, Ratna Pathak, Johny Lever, Sanjay Mishra, Vrajesh Hirjee, Ashwini Kalsekar, Murli Sharma, Vijay Patkar.

The trailer looks similar to the first 2 films, all set in Goa with same set of  actors and even the supporting cast returns with similar looking roles. Added bonus being Mithun Chakraborty to the mix.The first 2 films were quite succesfull at the box office and perhaps this one would be too, being a Diwali Release and a fun filled comic theme.

Little Known Actors and Characters of Sholay

Sholay as we all know is the biggest blockbuster Hindi cinema has ever seen. Released in 1975, the movie created box office history and its actors and characters are well known even today. Characters like Thakur, Gabbar, Jai, Veeru, Basanti, Kaalia, Sambha, Soorma Bhopali, Jailor etc. are household names and a stand up artist is considered incomplete unless he has some of these characters in his acts.

Sholay has affected the lives of every Hindi cine-goer and the actors and characters are popular even today

But apart from these mega characters, there were quite a few lesser characters made immortal by character actors and junior artists. These actors and characters were small yet so overpowering that it was very difficult for most of these artists to come out of their ‘Sholay’ character in films they did later. Some of them still continue to play their respective  characters even today, 35 years after the film release.

A. K. Hangal played the character of Blind Imaamsaheb who loses his son Ahmed played by Sachin. A.K. Hangal has repeated his Imaamsaheb act in several other films after Sholay and almost copyrighted the blind-father act in Hindi Cinema. Keshto Mukherjee, Asrani and Jagdeep played Hariram Nai, Jailor and Soorma Bhopali respectively and they went on to repeat their acts in many of the film later to come.

Satyen Kappu played Raamlal , helper to Thakur, assisiting Thakur in virtually everything he does. ( Numerous jokes on that – not to be printed) . Mcmohan’s Sambha act and Viju Khote’s Kaalia act still haunts them in almost all of their subsequent films. Leela Mishra played the perfect Mausiji and repeated her loving chachi, mami, bua, maa act in films to come. Jalal Agha danced and played banjo in the most famous son of the film and was known more for that than any of his innumerable films to follow.

Little know artist Mushtaq Merchant was the luckiest actor of all, he got to do 2 different roles in the film. First as the train driver and then as the Parsibawa whose Bike the Jai-Veeru duo steal. Mushtaq went onto play many such insignificant characters in almost all his films and repeated the parsibawa act quite a few times. Small time comedian Birbal played role of a prisoner with half cut moustache. Even he repeaed this half moustache act in many of the films to come.

Apart from the above there were many small characters in the film made memorable by small time actors and character artists. I still remember Om Shivpuri playing the Policeman, Helen as the Gypsy Dancer, the actor playing the arms supplier Heera, Iftekhar playing Jaya Bhaduri’s dad and many more.