Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rockstar Movie Review - aka WTF Just Happened!

If you've already seen the movie and somehow liked it, then don't read on. If however, you saw the movie and got mind fucked by the random trash on display, then I hope my words do justice to your anger and disappointment.

This year end, we've had three hyped up movies - Mausam, Ra. One and Rockstar coming out back to back and turning out to be incredibly bad movies. Let's focus on Rockstar.

The trailers promised an awesome visual and musical treat. The music release thankfully gave Rehman fans what they were promised, but the movie sadly was like watching a disaster unfold. The first twenty minutes were fine, barring the lousy performance by Nargis Fakhri, an epic casting fail by Imtiaz Ali. She is actually 32 yrs old, playing a Kashmiri girl attending a Delhi college and she totally does not look or act the part. In fact in several scenes she seems to be aping Katrina Kaif's acting (i.e. non-acting) skills. There's a lot of humor in those first twenty minutes, which succeeds in entertaining the movie goers.

Then comes a lot of epic bullshit. The director/editor chooses layers of flashbacks for a story where a linear narrative would've sufficed. By the end of the movie, one gets to watch the same footage of Ranbir and Nargis on a bike travelling in Kashmir, at least half a dozen times. WTF!

Some major pain points that I have with this movie are as follows:

1. The movie trailers that usually setup one's expectations from the movie showed a very different viewpoint from what the movie actually turned out to be.

2. Ranbir's character, who at one point in the movie is shown to be ridiculed by some existing Rock band for his lack of charisma, all of a sudden is being sought after by 'Platinum Records'. Why? No explanation.

3. The reasoning for him being thrown out of his home is so trivial, and the thread with him and his bhabhi who's 'chipakne vaala' behavior is an unnecessary thread which goes nowhere.

4. His altercations with the media and the cops are totally contrived and make you feel no sympathy for the lead character.

5. The scene where Ranbir is arrested by the cops in Prague is shoved in so randomly that one is pissed off with the director. Here's what the audience gets to see. Nargis is sleeping at night, when she hears an alarm sound off. She rushes downstairs and gets out of her house to watch her husband point a gun at Ranbir. This, by the way, happens just a brief while after the husband and his family encourage her to partake in a music show with Ranbir and everything seems hunky dory. Definitely a very bad build up for a gun-pointing sequence.

6. The song Sadda Haq was touted as a rebel's song, in the movie there is no rebellious act that Ranbir does. Not a single one. His altercations with the cops are a direct result of him skipping out on shows he was supposed to play at or trespassing into Nargis' home in Prague. The Free Tibet (with Tibet being blurred) flags seem to have no consequence to the story. Neither are the random images of Kashmiri's raising their fists when the song is played. It just seems shoved into the story to make one feel like the character is a major rebel and the people are connecting with him.

7. This one single scene got a unanimous WTF sigh from the entire crowd at Adlabs: Bang in the middle of the song Sadda Haq, Ranbir stops singing and walks right into the middle of the crowd. The following words are exchanged (probably not verbatim, but close enough):

Jordan (Ranbir's Rockstar name): Bahut samay pehle, is jagah ek jungle hua karta thaa. Us jungle ko hataa kar yahaan ek shehar banaa. Us vakt ek parindon ka jhund ud ke chalaa gaya. Kya kisi ne un parindon ko dekha hai?

Audience: Nahiiii!

Jordan: Main un parindon ko dhoond raha hoon!

Audience: Yaaaay!

Then the rest of Sadda Haq plays on!

Another WTF moment! The guy is basically a gifted musician who has a fucked up love life. That's it! He isn't looking for any Parindaas in the whole god damn movie. He's just running after a girl who is massively confused about her own relationships. Why the fuck was that scene shoved in for no reason apart from trying to put in pseudo intellectualism into the movie!

8. Some more WTFs in the movie. At the end of the movie, when one finds out that Nargis is dying from some disease, there is a male character who mostly seems like her dad, but then turns out to be her doctor! Nargis' sister initially turns up at Ranbir's show when Nargis is on the verge of dying and gets the two of them close again. That leads to Nargis' health improving. Then, Nargis and Ranbir have implicit sex. She returns home and after some time goes into coma. Ranbir then gets a call from Nargis' sister asking whether he impregnated her sister. By this time, I saw about twenty people walk out of the movie.
Ranbir then walks out of another show without performing and arrives at the hospital. Where the sister, who until now was a major supporter of Ranbir in Nargis' life, says some random dialogues like "Tum zindagi bhar jalte rahoge" and other over the top lines as he is taken away by the police (for bailing out on yet another concert, not for any rebellious act). He also gets into rows with the media, when they ask him questions about his relationship with Nargis, who they know is a married woman. He thrashes some media dude. Again, no rebellion going on here.

The movie ends in a major WTF climax, where there is a montage of songs that Jordan plays on stage. Including one in which he imagines Nargis with him on stage, at which time the audience gave a reaction that reminded me of the scene in Kites where Hrithik jumps into the ocean to find Barbara Mori swimming to him in a bridal dress. It was that fuck all a scene!

Then, without any explanation, you get to hear Katiya Karun, for the billionth time in the movie with Ranbir and Nargis on the bike in Kashmir followed by the text "Written and Directed by Imtiaz Ali". Just in case you forgot whom to blame while walking out of the movie hall.

Now for the few things that were good about the movie:

1. Ranbir's performance. He was awesome in a fuck all movie. His expressions, attitude and screen presence were all amazing.
2. A R Rahman's background score. Simply stunning.
3. The cinematography.

That's about it. The thing about Rockstar was that everyone was trying their best to like the movie, but it just kept going downhill after the interval. Anyway, what's done is done. Those three hours of my life are never coming back. But in case anyone from Bollywood is reading this, please try and not fuck up movies with stellar star casts and production values. This year has been filled with hugely hyped up movies turning out to be utter bull shit. The only movie that set expectations right and then lived upto the hype was Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara! More of the same, please!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rockstar Music Review

If a movie is titled Rockstar and the music credits go to A R Rahman, one has extremely high expectations. A lot of people say that A R Rahman over the past year or so has not been scoring music that is expected of him. I would agree, however even stuff that is not his best, is way better than the trash the others come up with.

The trailers of Rockstar were out a few weeks back and we were teased with tiny bits and pieces of what promised to be awesome songs. As the weeks leading up to the music release passed by, 'promo versions' of the songs were released. Hopes of millions of Rahman fans surged. And now, at long last, the music has been officially released. The verdict is: FIVE STARS!

If you haven't bought the album yet, please do so. This one deserves your money, don't go to a Pakistani website and download the album, it's disrespecting the genius of Rahman. Anyways, now for the business end of the music review:

The following songs are outstanding in an overall great album:

1. Sadda Haq - In-freaking-credibly awesome! The song has parts that are surreal, it is that good. The lyrics by Irshad Kaamil are farily impressive, the guitar work by Orianthi is phenomenal and Mohit Chauhan is brilliant right through the song. Sure shot winner for Best Song and Best Singer.

2. Kun Fayakun - It's one of those songs, you thank God you were alive to hear. I don't know think any other music director would experiment as much as Rahman has in this song. It has several threads. There's a segment between the 20th second and the 35th second of the song which goes back to the qawallis of the old days, but then the track and the tempo changes completely to what we hear of the song in the promo. The next thread of the song is when the guitar enters the qawalli along with the return of the harmonium, it's pure brilliance. After which the song returns to the chorus thread of Kun Fayakun.
But thats not the end of the song, we get to hear a completely different thread in the song which ends with the most random guitar chord progression which one would never ever expect in a quawalli, but Rahman pulls it off. This thread then beautifully ties back to the main chorus. By the end of the nearly 8 min song, you wish there were more threads. It's more than one song, its several songs in one with the base of a qawalli.

3. Tum Ho - My favourite song of the album, with Mohit Chauhan defining the meaning of longing with the first twenty seconds of the song. A beautiful composition that's surely going to be on my iPod forever.

There are several other songs in the album, which are incredibly good. The final one minute of Kateya Karoon is exceptional. Parts of Sheher Mein are brilliant, I can go on and on about bits and pieces of the other songs which are pure gold, but I won't go into each song explaining which part is awesome. Just get the album and a pair of headphone that can do justice to the music and lose yourself in the most brilliant album of the year. It'll sweep the awards this year.

There was this amazing comment I read on Youtube - "All the dislikes on the songs of Rockstar are by the other music directors"

I can not help but agree, how much they must envy Rahman; sure they can spin-off hit tracks every once in a while, but they do not posses his ability to push the boundaries of music. Thank you God, for giving my generation, A R Rahman!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sucky ads - Rant for the month

Dear ad-makers,

PFB a set of crappy ads you folks have been coming up with in the recent past:

1. A super crappy ad about a old hag who realizes after about 50 years that some Kantilal had made out with his chic and wants to take revenge, by breaking Mr. K's teeth. He says this to his teenage grandson. What a kick ass grandpa-grandson bonding moment!
The grandpa then finds Mr. K thanks to a social networking site accessed by his grandson's 3G device. They head off to take 'revenge', where the 'tharak max' grandpa gives a peck on the cheek to Mr. K's wife (without checking if she was his wife, in my twisted spoof version of the ad Mr. K will have the last laugh by telling 'tharaki grandpa' that the woman he kissed was his 'bai')

Tharaki grandpa then runs way past his grandson, jumping with joy, giving you the feeling that the ad could also be a confused 'musli power' type product ad.

2. Random guy asks a flop movie star a question, "Why is India's population so high?"
What follows is the most idiotic explanation of all time.
Apparently, when power cuts occur, men suddenly realize the lack of entertainment in their life due to the T.V. set not functioning. They then give 'havas' looks to their wives who comply and eventually get pregnant. Lo, behold, India's population explosion.
How do we prevent it? Condoms? Nope, just give everyone a particular brand of 3G service and then as the ad suggests, 'biwi se 3G'. They'll start watching porn on their mobiles all night and all is well.

The first ad is just downright stupid, the second is an insult to one's intelligence and a downright insult to women, shamelessly objectifying them as entertainment.

There are several other irritating as hell ads on TV, especially the one with the fat-ass with a beard who mouths a Hindi expletive every-time he watches sports in HD.

Such wannabe ads are increasing day by day, one wonders if ever intellect will make a comeback. TV shows had become unbearable years ago, the only time one watches TV is for sports and now even that experience is being destroyed by loud, insulting ads.

Dear ad-makers, you are the last hope of a generation that is in danger of abandoning the TV. Please don't assume that just because Delhi Belly became a hit, we want to hear abuses. Please don't try to make some non-funny ad seem funny by putting in fake laughter in the background (an insult to anyone who has seen Seinfeld). Please give us some proof that you haven't run out of ideas!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Just watch it!

There was a time I would watch a movie and write a review, but now there's so little time and so much to do. So here I am, having watched "Super 8" and "Scott Pilgrim Vs The World" over the weekend asking you to just watch them both!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Why Facebook defeated Orkut

You remember the days when people would count the number of scraps on their Orkut scrapbook. Some loser coders had even written code to "increase your scraps". People who used it were as dumb as the folks who actually open the "increase your size" type spam emails. Those were the glory days of Orkut. Communities of Sachin and Rahul Dravid constantly abusing each other and spamming the hell out of each other.

Then Facebook arrived, initially Orkut wasn't much affected, then the tide began to turn. By the time Orkut changed their entire look to mimic FB, you knew who was winning the war.

Now all the business related aspects aside, the real reason why FB won over Orkut was because of profile pics.

Most female junta on Orkut, would put up useless images like flowers, cartoons, cute babies etc as their profile pics but FB users would invariably put up their real pics.

Now one reason according to me for this change was, in FB the tagging process would allow anyone to upload a group photo and tag people. This would then make chics think that, what the hell, we're visible on some pics as it is, why not put up real photos on FB.

That is when the tide turned. All of a sudden you had everyone putting up their real pics on FB. Rarely would you find people with flowers or cute baby pics as their profile pics.

The one demographic that got totally bowled over by this feature was the 'letchers' who are a sub-category of the larger demographic of the 'perverts'. Any commercial venture has to win over this particular demographic if it wants to capture a market. Especially when it comes to utterly useless items like social networking sites (like Facebook) or deodorants (like Axe).

Earlier a pervert had to go through a lot of effort to get a good look at his favorite hot chic, now all one needed to do was go to Facebook, hope for some common friends and a not-too-protected profile and that's it. That is when Orkut went into life support and finally passed away sometime last year.

In a few years if you mention the word Orkut, people may think it was some extinct bird closely resembling an Ostrich. But at one time, it was the most frequently visited site for most college going folks. There may come a time, when I write a similar article on Facebook, but that would happen only if FB forgets its most loyal demographic - the loyal, humble pervert!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

We are the champions, my friends!

India, won the World Cup! We actually did it. One feels blessed to have seen this huge, monumental achievement by the Indian Cricket team.

This is a long long post, but I write this today on my blog, simply because somewhere down the line, a dream of mine has been fulfilled by a team which has my favorite cricketer as its batting mainstay and today the country as a whole can celebrate a dream come true.

My memory of cricket started with the Hero Cup match where Sachin Tendulkar bowled the over of his life to defend 6 runs against South Africa, but those were hazy memories, my real memories started from the 1996 Cricket World Cup, the India Pakistan Q/F match is etched in my memory, Ajay Jadeja hammering the hell out of Waqar Younis and Venkatesh Prasad showing Amir Sohail his place after the batsman lost his mind and gave TV channels, footage, which will embarrass his great grand children in the future.

But then I remember the 1996 World Cup Semi Final, against Sri Lanka. A brilliant fifty by Sachin and then the disaster that followed. I came very close to crying that night. I was too small to wonder, when India would get a chance to win the World Cup.

Post the 1996 World Cup, another major memory is of the 1998 Sharjah tournament. I remember being in Nainital on my summer vacation, watching Sachin Tendulkar create magical innings in two consecutive matches. He batted like a man possessed. He produced two of the finest innings one can witness. It was then that I became a life long fan of Sachin Tendulkar.

Then came the 1999 World Cup. It was one of the most lack luster World Cup performances by one of the most lack luster Indian teams. A team which had mostly mediocre players and a few budding greats like Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. Barring the victory against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, there was nothing much to talk about.

Then came the 2003 World Cup, India played some exceptional games, especially the one against Pakistan. One man stood out in the run chase, Sachin Tendulkar. He played the kind of innings, the greatness of which, cannot be valued in runs or the strike rate. Anyone who saw that match live, would know that the tag"Master Blaster" was owned by Sachin Tendulkar. That team was one of the strongest teams that India had in a long time.

Javagal Srinath was asked by Saurav Ganguly to come out of retirement for that World Cup and he did a fabulous job. I sincerely felt that India made a huge mistake by leaving out Anil Kumble from the 11 for the World Cup final. The bowling let us down that day, Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed very early and the run chase was just not on. Back then, it was already 4 World Cups for Sachin, the 2003 team was pretty strong, we just could not beat Australia.

Then came the 2007 World Cup, India went in with a team that promised a lot, but we got knocked out in the league stages itself. It was a shattering experience for Indian cricket fans. There is this footage of Sachin, Rahul and Anil Kumble; watching the proceedings; stunned as India collapsed and exited the World Cup!

What followed was carnage. People calling for Sachin Tendulkar's retirement. Ian Chappel famously wrote that "If Tendulkar had found an honest mirror three years ago and asked the question; "Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the best batsman of all?" It would've answered; "Brian Charles Lara." If he asked that same mirror right now; "Mirror, mirror on the wall should I retire?" The answer would be; "Yes."

As a Sachin Tendulkar fan and a supporter of the Indian Cricket team, I could not believe the things that people were saying at that time. Saurav Ganguly during that time said in an interview, when asked what he feels when people say that Sachin should retire he said "Log paagal ho gaye hain!" He actually said that.

Then came the turnaround of the decade, Sachin Tendulkar would go on to outscore all his contemporaries in terms of runs and centuries, the number of matches that India went onto win was insane. The ODI series in Australia being a fine example. It was our first ever ODI series win in Australia, one man scored a Century and a brilliant 90 odd in back to back finals. It was Sachin Tendulkar.

In 2010, the most unbelievable thing happened on a very normal February afternoon. The first ever double century in ODI men's cricket was scored, by, Sachin Tendulkar. The ardent fans, who had never doubted Sachin Tendulkar's greatness were vindicated. But even then, with 14 months to go, there was talk of whether he would retire without a World Cup medal in his cabinet.

It was a tough call, no host country had ever won a World Cup. The Indian bowling line up was not rated very highly, barring a phenomenally improved and brilliant Zaheer Khan and the not-in-the-best-of-form Harbhajan Singh.

India made it through the league stages, with more questions than answers, some disastrous collapses against England and South Africa, cost the team a win in both games. Zaheer's brilliance against England, resulted in a tie and his heroics against South Africa did not save the game, but gave a lot of hope to his fans for the remaining games. Another thing in common in both games was that one man had scored brilliant centuries, Sachin Tendulkar. In many ways, Zaheer was the bowling spear head and Sachin, nearing 38 years of age, was still our batting main stay.

Then came the most amazing 3 matches that India has played. The Quarter Final, the Semi Final and the Final of the 2011 World Cup. India on the back of some great bowling and significant batting contributions from the famed Indian batting line up, overcame the Australians. Ricky Ponting's century went in vain.
The win against Australia resulted in an epic Semi Final, India versus Pakistan. India had a record of winning all World Cup matches against Pakistan, one man was involved in all those games, Sachin Tendulkar. That man was dropped 4 times and survived the closest LBW review you will ever see followed by an extremely close stumping chance to score 85 runs, which turned out to be the highest score in that match. One would wonder if the good karma Sachin earned by walking in the previous games had caused so many lives to be granted to him in a semi final innings. India overcame a brilliant 5 wicket haul by Wahab Riaz to post a fighting total to defend. As was the case in all the past World Cup games between India and Pakistan, India won.
Shahid Afridi was extremely gracious and warm in his presentation ceremony talk. It was a nice touch to a closely contested game.

There was a lot of irritating talk of match fixing etc after the India Pakistan game. The lives given to Sachin and then Misbah's slow scoring rate during the run chase etc.

But all that talk was put to rest during the final of the World Cup, between India and Sri Lanka. People talked about Sachin's 100th International century. I worried about the result. Memories of 1996 haunted most of the fans of my generation.

What followed was one of the best World Cup finals ever. Sri Lanka scored 274 and India needed to chase down 275 to lift the World Cup at home. Only 2 times out of 9 had a team won the World Cup chasing. Never had a host team won on home soil. Sehwag got out without a run on the scoreboard. Hopes of millions sunk. Then came a flurry of runs from the blade of Sachin Tendulkar, hopes started to rise. Those hopes were short-lived, he made a mistake and got caught behind. At 31 for 2, there were very few who can claim not to have had a passing thought of a nightmarish situation, where India folded up for less than 150.

Then came some rebuilding by Gambhir and Kohli, just when things looked like they were settling, Kohli fell. Such was his disappointment that the man did not remove his pads and stood in the player's balcony for the remainder of the match, whether it was out of superstition or whatever the reason was, it showed how crucial victory was for even a member of the team, whose part in the game was effectively over.

Then came, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. I will be honest, I always had some issues with MSD. I felt that the man was simply lucky and got more than his due. I also was mad at him because Chennai Super Kings beat Mumbai Indians in the IPL final. But I sincerely swear, I have not seen a more commanding and critical knock by any captain in my lifetime than the one played by MSD. And man, if you are reading this by some miracle. I apologize for every thought in which I wrongly criticized you. You are truly a legendary captain and an all time great player. The man basically came in with a look on his face that personified determination. He looked more determined to win the World Cup, than he did during the T20 final or the IPL final, both of which he won.

There was a moment in the game, where someone commented that the game was basically boiling down to a face off between two wicket keeper captains. The big difference was the determination. MSD fought like a man who would wrench victory from fate's grip. Just by looking at him, one could sense that India would go onto win. In the course of an hour and a bit, he played an extra ordinary innings under pressure to eventually give India a comfortable victory in the World Cup final.

There was no swan-song for Murali, neither the 100th century for Sachin in a World Cup final. But there was a World Cup medal for him and World Cup for a billion. Against all odds, this team defied history, statistics, Sreesanth's bowling and a host of other challenges to win a World Cup.

Sachin Tendukar, aged nearly 38 in his 21st year of cricket can claim to be a member of a World Cup winning team. The man still ended up as India's highest run scorer in the World Cup. One quote sums up the feelings on an entire generation of Indians -
"Sachin carried the burden of the nation for 21 years. Now it's our turn to carry him!"
- Virat Kohli


This photograph, is one of my favorites. It has two legends, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble. These two men, held up Indian cricket's flag high, during the darkest periods in the 1990s. Their heroics are worthy of song and one feels privileged to have witnessed the 10 wicket haul by Anil Kumble against Pakistan and the 200* by Sachin Tendulkar against South Africa, two of the most monumental individual achievements by any Indian bowler or batsman.

Kudos to MSD, blessed are we fans to have had the privilege of having a legendary batsman and a legendary captain of the World in the same cricket team.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Yeh Saali Zindagi - Movie and Music Reco

This is not a movie review, it is a recommendation! Go watch this asap, don't even bother reading reviews.

2011 has started off in an awesome way in terms of movies from the Hindi film industry. I saw Dhobi Ghat and liked it. But when I saw it, I knew most people would not like it simply because it is not the mass entertained kind of movie.

I was expecting the same when I went for Yeh Saali Zindagi and to my surprise it turned out to be an awesomely entertaining movie. The late night show was housefull and people were clapping at dialogues and laughing at every witty line.

I wont go into the storyline but all I can say is, I am sure you will like this movie. It is a must watch. Irfan Khan gets the perfect role, he underplays it to perfection. Chitrangada Singh is so beautiful that you can actually believe that a man would go to the extent that Irfan goes, for a woman like that. She acts pretty well too and is a treat to watch in each frame.

Saurabh Shukla does really well in his role and his timing is amazing. The movie has so many bit roles that are given to very talented actors that you wish the movie was longer and one could see more of the other characters.

The real credit for this movie should go to Sudhir Mishra. He has made a brilliant movie, really entertaining for all audiences. The male and female characters in the movie are all super interesting and every second of the movie is worth watching.

The music, is perfectly used throughout the movie. The best songs of the movie are 'Dil-Dar-Ba-Dar', 'Kaise Kahein Alvida' and 'Yeh Saali Zindagi (Duet)'.

Please go and watch this movie if you haven't already. It is totally entertaining and fun.