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Review: Slumdog Millionaire

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Director: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandon (co-director)

Starring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Irrfan Khan, Anil Kapoor.

Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy

Music by: A.R.Rahman

Now we all know how much buzz this movie is creating right before its Indian release and no one needs an introduction about the movie, especially after it swept the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards. With the Indian release date set at 23rd January, the movie is sure saving tons on promotion as literally every news channel I surfed today ended each bulletin with a 10 minute show on Slumdog’s run at the Golden Globe. Also, the movie’s musical is highly anticipated after A.R. Rahman became the first Indian to win a Golden Globe for his music in the movie.

For starters, this movie is different! Not like anything you might have seen from Hollywood. The movie explores deep into 18 year old Jamal’s (Dev Patel) journey from the slums of Mumbai to being the star of the nation after being one question away from the jackpot prize money on the famous Indian TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati. Before the moment arrives for him to answer the final question, Jamal is arrested on suspicion of cheating. The police inspector who interrogates him is played by our very own Irrfan Khan!

The show’s host, who in reality was Amitabh Bachchan, is played by Anil Kapoor. Incidentally, the very first question asked is one about Amitabh Bachchan. As he continously defies expectations by answering questions that not many scholars would find answerable, we get to peer into the life of Jamal and how he rages an eternal battle to wrest his love Latika (Freida) from the scum of Mumbai’s slum-bred dons.

The actors don’t particularly have a lot of screen-time and the movie is basically shown through flashbacks. Though its a very nice movie, I was heavily let down after watching the movie, basically ‘coz I expected too much from it in the first place. And that was before the Slumdog Millionaire fever had swept India. I’m sure people will find this movie extraordinarily nice, though deep down everyone who felt the pre-release frenzy will feel let down.

But one thing is for sure, A.R.Rahman is the God of modern day Indian music. No doubt about that. Hats off to that guy for the wonderful music given in the movie. But what I have seen from the Hindi trailers is that probably some additional Hindi songs have been added to the Indian version, Slumdog Crorepati. But that’s still just a doubt. Anyways, watch this movie at least once, do not miss it.

I’ll give it 8/10.

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January 12, 2009 Posted by | Movies | , , | 3 Comments

Happy New Year!

So we’ve bid adieu to 2008 and the new year has been ushered in. I’ll keep this post precise and wish a very happy new year to all my friends and their families! Put the last year behind you and live 2009 to the fullest!

Cheers!

January 1, 2009 Posted by | General | | Leave a comment

Review: Ghajini

Directed By: A. R. Murugadoss

Produced By: Allu Arvind

Starring: Aamir Khan , Asin Thottumkal, Jiah Khan

The hype surrounding this movie was huge and I was one guy who really wanted to see this movie as soon as possible. But after watching it finally, to say the least, this movie is a complete dead-brainer! A movie filled with so many loopholes that it could fill the Grand Canyon, action so drub that it would remind you of the South Indian flops of 10 years ago and the goons so old-fashioned that you might wonder whether this movie was really made this year.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Aamir Khan and make it a point not to miss any of his movies and after watching Memento, I had really high expectations from the movie. But all those expectations came crashing down to the Earth after watching this movie. The plot centers around a man who has Short Term Memory Loss, a condition that prevents him from making new memories as he forgets things after every 15 minutes. Sanjay (Aamir) loses his lover, Kalpana (Asin), when she is killed by Ghajini, the high ranked owner of a pharmaceutical company. Though Kalpana dies on the spot, Sanjay gets severely injured on the head while trying to save her and the injury results in Anterograde-Amnesia, a condition where he loses all his memory and is unable to make new ones. Sanjay then sets out for revenge, by collecting facts and clues about Ghajini and noting them down on Polaroid photos and tattooing them on his body.

Now, as I said earlier, the loopholes come in plenty in the movie and you can virtually see the ‘Made in South India’ watermark on the action sequences! What happens when 10 men round up Aamir Khan to beat him up with their menacing looking rods and chains? You guessed it, all of the 10 end up on the floor with immense pain delivered by Aamir’s karate chops and kung-fu kicks. What happens when the owner a small-time pharmaceutical company kills tens of people within days? Yes, nothing! What happens when you’re hiding in the closet from a group of goons searching for you? Your phone starts ringing, obviously! I really thought Bollywood had grown out of it! These things quite sum up the entire plot of the movie. And there were couple (or maybe even more) action scenes that make you laugh out loud at their impossibility and patheticity! Watch it if you are an Aamir Khan fan and you might be less-disappointed.

This movie adds to the already long list of Bollywood’s big budgeted movies of 2008 that failed to make an impact, though it seems it will also be the highest revenue earning movie of the year. It has already raked in Rs 90 Crore within the first 5 days of its release!

Anyways, I’d give it a 4/10.

December 31, 2008 Posted by | Movies | , | 3 Comments

Total Recall: Top 10 Movies of 2008

Now, we all know that 2008 was a year of big movies, including some really big sequels. So, here is a post in which I recollect the best of the best that 2008 had to offer in film. So the countdown begins here!

10 ) Burn After Reading

The Cohen Brothers returned after the Academy Award winner No Country For Old Men with this hilarious dark comedy. Though the plot’s a bit complicated, it offers good laughs, with great performances by Brad Pitt and George Clooney. The movie tells the story of a former CIA Agent (John Malkovich), his wife (Tilda Swinton) and her secret lover (George Clooney) and two gym emplyoees (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand). A CD containing highly classified data from Malkovich’s CIA Files, secretly extracted by his wife falls into the hands of Brad Pitt while his colleague becomes fast friends with George Clooney. The rest is pure comedy! 😀

9 ) Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na

This could be termed as the typical Bollywood movie, but with a difference. A fresh breath into Bollywood, an industry that’s almost rusting with dead-brainers these days. The movie centers around teenage liveliness and loveliness. Marking the debut of Imran Khan and first lead-role for Genelia D’ Souza, this Abbas Tyrewala movie twisted the age old Indian taste for love stories and mixed it with well-delivered comedy. The only low-down? It’s just a one-time watch.

8 ) Iron Man

Probably the first big Superhero blockbuster of the year. Based on the comic book series by the same name, this action-packed movie set new standards in the superhero movie genre. Robert Downey Jr.’s performance was impeccable and the movie automatically won over many critics’ hearts. The movie is tells the story of Industrialist Tony Stark, a giant in the weapon manufacturing industry, whose illusions about war get shattered when he is abducted and asked to create a WMD to be used against his own nation. He then takes the cover of the Iron Man and tries to put an end to everything that he was once the center of. Amazing movie to say the least.
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December 27, 2008 Posted by | Movies, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Review: Yes Man!

Yes Man Poster

Director: Peyton Reed
Producer: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Jim Carrey, Terrence Stamp, Zooey Deschanel et al.
Based on the book The Yes Man by Dannie Wallace.

This was a not-so-big release in India during the Christmas Week, but it was one that I didn’t want to miss. Jim Carrey’s return with a well made romantic comedy was good enough to mark his return to form.

The movie premises on the story of Carl (Carrey), whose monotonous life changes for good when he is encouraged to say ‘Yes!’ to every opportunity that comes to him, by a motivational speaker who hosts a group every week to preach about the greatness of the word ‘Yes’. The concept revolutionizes his life and soon, he finds himself getting over his ex-girlfriend, learning to play the guitar, bungee jumping and even finds a new soul-mate. The movie follows Carl, as he enjoys his new found life and how he copes with it the drastic change in himself.

In all, its a funny movie, with Jim Carrey’s charisma making you laugh everytime he shows up. Great supporting roles by Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper and Rhys Darby too. With an innovative script, this is a must watch for all Jim Carrey fans. But for others, I would suggest waiting for the DVDs to come out, for this genre of movies does not feel different in a movie theater compared to the DVDs.

I would give a 7/10. One of the best comedies of the year.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Movies, Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Merry Christmas!

Here’s wishing everyone a merry X-Mas! Enjoy and get soaked in the holiday spirit. Live the last week of the year to the fullest and spread the cheer around.
Also, with the last few days of the year around the corner, I’m thinking of doing a ‘Total Recall’ post, recalling my memories of the year and also posting things that one should remember the year 2008 by. It would basically have things like the top movies, best music, events to remember or the people who made it big in 2008. Hope to do that soon, but well, only if time permits :P.
So, wishing you a Merry Christmas once again and hoping that you have a good time.
Cheers!

December 24, 2008 Posted by | General | | Leave a comment

26/11: My Take on The Mumbai Attacks


I really wanted to write a post on the Mumbai Attacks much earlier, but due to my exams, I couldn’t. Well today marks one week after the attacks started off in the financial capital of India and much has been said about the incidents, a lot of introspection done by everyone who could have helped curb the tragedy, the plot uncovered and what not. So, I don’t want to go into the details of the exact incidents but wish to speak my mind as to what I think of the whole situation.

Slap on the Face for The Indian Intelligence

As soon as the terrorists held two of the biggest hotels of the nation captive, the first thing that probably went though everyone’s mind was- How could a strike of such large magnitude have been missed by the Indian Intelligence? Just how could a dozen terrorists swim across oceans and rivers in steamboats and hold a whole city under siege?

Well, actually, it turns out that Indian Intelligence did not miss any of the information. That is what is even more astounding! India had almost every last detail of how the attack was going to be held and there were even warnings on the day before the attacks took place. But the bureaucrats of this nation love sleeping, and sleep they did! My say is that these irresponsible officials should be sent packing this very moment! We need to look after the security of a billion, for Heaven’s Sake and if these are people who are assigned this task, we might as well take a knife and stab ourselves. But not all is the Intelligence’s fault. Yes, they did not act timely and appropriately to the threat, but when they did forward their concerns, there was zero co-operation from the Maharashtra State Government! What sort of leaders are they! The Navy Chief in a press-conference yesterday said that the information received from the IB was not something they could act upon and that they should have sent better information! Crap! How’s that for partnership!

We Need Answers!

As citizens of India, I guess we all have the basic right to safety. If such a major incident could happen under the noses of the Ruling Party (don’t want to get into politics here), then what hope is left with the common Indian? And we might have given ourselves false hopes had this been a first attack of its kind. But no!! 6 major cities attacked in 6 months! Jaipur, Delhi, Assam, Kashmir, Mumbai… the list never ends! Its scary to think of the depths of the oceans we’re swimming in. What we first need is a Government which can answer to the public. We don’t want diplomats repeating in nasal voices the same old lines about “bringing the guilty to justice” and “condemning the dastardly acts on innocent lives”! When I heard that the Prime Minister was going to address the public on national TV during the attacks, I really did not have many hopes from him. But the monotonous nature of his speech let me down, nonetheless.
What good is a Home Minister who does parrot-talk every time innocent people are massacred in the nation. The sense of deja-vu never ends with these rusted ‘leaders’.

Take Out Those Camps Across The Border

Now this is one part that I’m sure every Indian has a voice on. More than a 1000 people killed this year in terrorist activities in India and we still find it a doubt whether or not to remove those militant camps in PoK. Our neighbours want a never ending list of ‘evidence of their involvement’. Kargil ’99, Red Fort and Parliament ’01, Delhi ’05, Mumbai ’06 and now in ’08. We have shown the world everything there possibly can be to prove that its ‘Pakistan’ that reflects in everything related to terrorism in India. The ISI funds, the ‘banned’ organizations like Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar and others train and the Pak Govt supports!
Any self-respecting nation’s leaders wouldn’t have had second thoughts of taking over ever single piece of weed that flourishes under such animals after so many provocations! But here we are in India, still taking permissions from the super-powers and try to convince Pak that it was they who killed, when they know that fact best! Who the heck is anyone else to tell us what to do in such situations!!?? We take out any and every threat to the peace of this nation and I don’t think we are answerable to ANYONE in the world!
But let me make it clear! We do not want a war against Pakistan, we want a war against the terrorism of Pakistan! And May The Lord Be With Us In This Fight!

Wake Up From Thy Slumber, India!

We obviously cannot forget what has happened, but we sure can learn from it and make sure this doesn’t repeat itself. And this time the reaction from the masses is different. The youth are taking up the cause to the streets in candlelight protests across the nation and Indians worldwide are feeling an anger and frustration they haven’t felt in recent times. The Media has played a responsible role so far, too! Usually, terrorist attacks make 2-day news in India. But The Mumbai Attacks are still fresh in the minds and hearts of everyone. The internet is buzzing with voices! Major changes are being made in the political arena, sending us rays of hopes that times are changing for the better. Though it is sad that it takes 350 lives and 700 casualties for our nation’s eyes to open, it is better late than never.
The Security Forces, on whom only a fraction of the required amount is invested for training, need to be bettered. The nation owes an eternal debt to all those ATS, NSG and Police Officials who laid down their lives for the nation.
One also feels disgust towards figures like Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh, who conveniently invited son Ritesh and director Ram Gopal Verma to tour the Taj, as if some party would be organized there. Also, Mr RR Patil, who had the guts to say that ‘such small incidents keep occuring in big cities’. The Kerala CM, Mr VS Achutanandan, had the mettle to say that had it not been Maj Sandeep’s house, not even a dog would have turned up at the residence of the slain hero’s parents. Meanwhile, Raj Thackrey kept up his good work by promptly asking his wife to send an SMS to all her friends stating that all the victims and rescuers were Marathi. Talk about Patriotism!
Keeping the negatives aside for a moment, this one attack has united Indians more than ever, I feel! This is the momentum we need to carry for this fight against terror go ahead. Many have set the ball rolling and it is now upto us, in whatever small way, to never let this flame die off!
Proud To Be An Indian.
May All Those Who Died Rest In Peace.

December 3, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Review: Quantum of Solace

Name: Quantum of Solace
Directed by: Marc Forster
Produced by: Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
Starring: Daniel Craig , Olga Kurylenko , Judi Dench and Giancarlo Giannini
Release Date: 31st October, 2008 (UK);14th November, 2008 (USA); 7th November, 2008 (India)

Ok, so here goes. The 22nd Bond Movie of the James Bond Franchisee released in India a week before the USA release. At first look, it might sound really striking and even I wondered how this could be possible. The reason is simple. The film was slated for a November 7 Worldwide Release. But in August, it was announced that Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince (considered a rival release for QoS), which was set for a November 21 Worldwide Release, was postponed to a July 17, 2009 release. Thus, QoS releases were spread over over 2 weeks. The British date was made a week earlier, on 31st October and the US Release was delayed by a week on 14th November. This allowed the distributors to market the film over the Fall blockbuster Thanksgiving holiday weekend. In countries where film revenues would not be affected much due to lower audiences (i.e. India), the release was unaffected.

Back to movie now! This movie is a full-on action packed flick. But that’s where it loses its track, too much emphasis on the roofop chases and car crashes than the actual Bond Matter itself. Daniel Craig makes a marvellous performance as James Bond and the overall acting is good.

In the previous movie, Casino Royale (2006), the central theme was terrorism. This one focuses on environmentalism. The movie starts off from where it left in Casino Royale and depicts James Bonds’ new avatar as an emotionless killer who is hell-bent on avenging his lover, Vesper Lynd’s death. Bond also has to stop the merciless Dominic Greene’s plans to take over the water resources of Bolivia. Bond literally transforms into a killing-machine, oft against the wishes of MI6 itself.

There are a lot of changes from the previous Bond movies as well. Olga Kurylenko, the Bond Girl, has too-little screen time in the movie, though her appearances are not wasted. The martini’s neither shaken nor stirred and the most amazing absence is of the ever-green dialogue: The Name’s Bond, James Bond. Also, the issue of overtaking Bolivia’s Water Resources is not given its due importance.

But overall, though different from its predecessors, the movie is a good one. One can watch it for the high-adrenaline stunts or the great acting. Its just the script that dissapoints.

My Rating: 6.5/10. Certified Good.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Movies | , , | Leave a comment

Happy Diwali!!

Here’s wishing every reader of this blog a very happy Diwali!! Have a blast today! Burst a lot of crackers, but play safe with them. May you have a great year ahead!
Cheers!

October 28, 2008 Posted by | General, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Review: Google Chrome Web Browser

The big launch!! Google’s very own web browser to compete with the likes of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox! Released yesterday, I downloaded my copy this morning and have just one word for the Beta Version- Wow!
You’ll love it from the moment it starts. For beginners, it copies all your major settings from Mozilla Firefox / Internet Explorer, like your bookmarks, your password settings among others, so you don’t need to waste an hour or so configuring it to your needs. At first look, it looks a bit blank and simple, just like the Google Website. But don’t get fooled by the looks. The speed is 3X compared to what Firefox gave me and 5X to IE! Once you start using it often, it shows the web pages most often visited by you on the right side as soon as you open Chrome! The bookmarks are there as well, making navigation difficulties a thing of the past!

Adding and editing bookmarks is similar to the function in Firefox. Its the best Browser for Gmail (and other Google services) users! No crashes in Gmail! The Gmail and Orkut pages would hang or at least slow down my old computer ever so often, but Chrome’s got no such issues! And there always is a guarantee that this is a product from one of the best software industries in the world.
This one is going to be a giant killer in the web browsing market! Google took 1 year of research work to finally come up with this BETA Release. Microsoft and Mozilla beware! This thing is going to be the next big thing! Already creating ripples in the virtual world, Chrome was a silent release (unlike the hyped Firefox 3.0 release, which I didn’t find much different from Firefox 2.0), but I guess its not got even one rotten review so far! Go for it, you wont regret it! That Firefox update can wait guys!

Download Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/chrome

September 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment