Monday, April 26, 2010

T D Dasan - A whiff of fresh air

Saw this jewel of a movie just now. It is a rarity these days, watching a simple movie, that is made by people who believe that images makes a movie, not dialogues. A brilliant effort, only doubt is how many will watch this. The movie deals with lot of matters from adolescence to protest against corporations to problems faced by a single mom and a lot more... Still nothing is overdone, causing a lot to be imagined by viewers themselves.

Movie starts with a letter arriving at the residence of a budding filmmaker in Bangalore . A letter written by a small boy to his father who ditched him and his mother years back. The film maker's daughter tries to find the real addressee, the boy's father, but fails. She replies the letter disguising herself as the lost father. The kid, when receives the reply, believes that his father is writing them. The ripples these letters creating in their life is far more than his mother can handle. When the film maker knows what is happening he is at a dilemma. There is also a subplot where the filmmaker plans a movie based on the letter and that forms a movie inside the movie.

The director has made the movie multilayer-ed creating a sub story for every one involved, but there are no flashbacks or other gimmicks. Some bits of dialogues or some facial expressions gives us hints but gaps are left for us to fill. This makes all the characters 3 dimensional and believable.

The actors are a fabulous treat to watch especially Shweta Manon as the boy's struggling mother who don't know to express her love to her son. The kids have done a great job. The movie can be likened to the another of my favorite under-rated Malayalam movie- Ormakalundayirikkanam (There should be memories), which is also about a child, but targeted at adults.

Director Mohan Raghavan has delivered a movie that puts behind most of the Malayalam movies released recently leagues away. Only worry is if such movies are not the future of Malayalam movies, it is soon history.

Friday, April 23, 2010

5 Worst ripped off Hindi movies

Plagiarism was always existing in hindi movie industry. Even the biggest hit of hindi - Sholey, was inspired by many westerns like Magnificient Seven and For a few Dollars more. Or Zanjeer was inspired by Dirty Harry. But these days it is rampant to such an extent that when any good movie is released people are on the lookout of its original. Like Bheja Fry or Acid Factory which where lifted from some sources so difficult to trace that it may be a surprise to the makers that it was eventually unveiled. Here I am trying to put forward 5 Hindi movies that are inspired by Hollywood movies and made a mess out of them, the worst rip offs that I have watched. Opinions are mine alone and any difference of opinion is welcome to be expressed.

  1. Kaante from Reservoir Dogs: Sanjay Gupta's Kaantey was a decent effort, I agree. You may even like it if you have not watched the original. The direction was good and performance was top notch by Bachchan and gang. But when compared to the shrewd brilliance of Reservoir Dogs, it is a wasted efforts. It stands dimetrically opposite to the film making style of reservoir Dogs.

  2. Daddy Cool from Death at a Funeral: Death at a funeral is a British Black comedy that is sharp and tickles the right bones heavily. It is crude and non apologetic, still very enjoyable. Its Indian version Daddy Cool by InderKumar is crude and thats all...

  3. Padmasri Laloo Prasad Yadav from A fish Called Wanda: Such a great comedy converted to a silly buffoonery exercise of 3 hours. A test on patience.

  4. Choclate from The Usual Suspects: Mother of all Rip offs. So bad.

  5. Road from Hitchhiker 2: Copying is bad, copying from a b- movie is superbad, what to call copying from the second part of a b-movie?

I considered adding Ghajini from Momento to the list but then felt that it is not a total rip off, only some concept was stolen and the makers have put in good effort on script and plot. So decided against it.

Other side:

Case of a bad hollywood movie copied and made watchable :

  • Musafir from U-turn: U turn was a sick and depressing movie with Sean Penn and Jen Lopez, but Sanjay Gupta ripped it to make Musafir, which was not a great movie, but a watchable one when compared to original.

Soil and Dust

After a long time read an article in Malayalam weekly magazine Mathrubhumi Azchappathippu. These days I feel that there is a clear deterioration in the quality of this wonderful assortment of best articles written in malayalam. The essay that I read was written by Anand.

I read a novel by Anand way back in 1995, when I was a ninth standard kid. It was Marubhoomikal undakunnathu- The origin of deserts. It went highly above my head then but I was really intrigued by the difference in narrative. I had read Kafka at that time, without comprehending much of course. This novel had made a similar feeling in me then. Afterwards when I read his Govardhante Yathrakal (The journeys of Govardhan) I was awestruck. It was a different reading on Indian history. His novels are a thinking man's treat.

But I started a real liking to this man's writing when I started reading his essays on various affairs. He calls a spade a spade. After Godhra when all where condemning Hindu terrorism, Anand took the stand that just like Hindu fanatics, Muslim fanatism is also a reality and should be attacked equally. You cannot imagine how the idealism ridden thinkers and cultural readers of the time attacked Anand. Still he was not apologetic.

So today I read his latest article titled Mannum Podiyum- Soil and dust. It starts with a little known natural calamity happened in middle of 1930s in Texas state USA- The Dust Bowl. In Texas or the Great Plains, there was a time when 3 ecological elements coexisted peacefully. The aboriginal Indians, Bisons and Grass. The arrival of Europeans caused the extinction of all of them- Indians where massacred, Bisons where poached in Millions and ate, grass lands where destroyed and cultivated in large amounts. Within two generations, nature struck back. Due to continous farming the top soil lost its fertility making it dusty. The heavy wind naturally blowing in the area raised the dust and massive shifting of top soil through air happened. Around 450 million tons of top soil was displaced. It was a tragedy of gigantic proportions making millions houseless. The great depression in 30s was an aftereffect.

Anand describes the political and economic side effects of this events that lead into Depression and finally into two world wars and various social reform movements in USA making it a superpower that it is now.

He suggests Rajasthan became a desert by a similar process but one that took more time. The process of farming of Wheat in this region, where Sindhu river is canalised for the purpose of making Rajasthan green can cause a similar situation.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Long time no see!

Its months since I have posted something here... Its OK since I dont have any voracious reader waiting impatiently to read my scribblings... I hate long gaps but I feel too dried up of ideas these days... Really. But I can put up some better show on my Twitter page. May be because there I can simply unleash my mind without much ado.
But I still love my blog...I am not going to abandon my brainchild even it is suffering from some acute brain damage.
So my non existent reader, wait... be patient and thy patience will be rewarded (most probably).