Sunday, September 28, 2008


I have always liked Adam sandler movies. He has a innocence about him that is only rivalled by his comic timing. Detractors might point out his relatively modest budgets and limited cast. The promos got me to the theater on a weekend and alone.

The film is about Zohan, a unbelievably gifted Israeli solider, with immense physical strength (The special effects are good). He is bored with the unending low intensity operations that he has been carrying out for the Army and wants to follow his dream of becoming a hair dresser in America.

The movie is about how he fools army into believing he is dead, leaves for America and his making it big in America- in his own inmitable ways. The film is laced with lots of sex jokes, ribaldry of the highest order, pokes fun at the Arab Israeli dynamics and then puts it in perspective with them being similer immigrants in America. While the film seems to play on a simplistic solution to a very complex problem, it makes a hilarious proposition to moviegoers. If you are a woman, be willing to shed some delicacy back home and come prepared for some in your face crude gimmicks.

CAUTION: Middle aged women are goign to laugh their guts out, so wear a garb to hide your identity.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Pardon me for any oversights that might occur by virtue of my having watched the movie over seven days back. The tickets were bought by a friend of mine and i did manage to reach just in time for the show. The knowledge that the film is by Shyam Benegal did surprise me. The narrative is through the eyes of a villager who completed his education before returning to the village. No, he did not get educated in some swanky college of Mumbai but a near by town in the hindi heartland. The language has a tinge of bhojpuri but makes perspicuous understanding. The first half of movie is entirely about weaving the pastoral lifestyle and the rustic ways of indian villages. A love story or two take birth with the depravity of changing social mores contributing to their hues. The sequences almost seems repetitive and one almost wants to jump into a break. And it does happen.
The second half gets more intense with political rallying, a murder here, a heart break there, some sacrifice and then it heads towards a relatively unimpressive ending.
I expected more from the film but having said that the film is dotted with some flawless performances most notably being the role of Shreyas Talpade. Every one else contributes well enough. watch the movie if you have nothing else to do on the weekend.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stinking 'Sreedhar Theatre'

I am not too much of a historian. Nor am I a social scientist or someone with a degree in demographic and social studies. But I do take the credit for having a cosmopolitan view by virtue of having spent most of my younger days in south India despite being from far reaches of the young fold Himalayas.

Kerala has been a place with tremendous ironies for me. While I admire the cavernous houses for their spaciousness, the unique greenery of this state that evinces awe and envy to an outsider, I am also put off by the overly irascible demeanour of the shopkeepers here. I have been to several small restaurants and found them to be very neat and clean. The tinted glass doors and the stainless steel paraphernalia of the kitchen are as inviting as poker faced waiters are uninviting. It however is, in many way, a welcome change from what we are treated in most parts of the rest of the country. It is this fact that has forced me to write about the piteous state of the Sreedhar theatre in Cochin.

Cochin is the biggest city of Kerala and poised to become a tier II IT hub in the near future. Real estate prices are sky rocketing to dizzying heights as is the urban landscape of this city with high rises along the Cochin channel. This scenario makes the absence of a multiplex that much more pronounced. I wonder where all the keralites go to entertain themselves. While it is not unusual to see the higher end luxury cars frequent the roads of this city I am often forced to mull over the supposed destinations these belles attired in gracious sequins.

Now with out digressing any further, I would like to stake my claim for the crux of the matter here. I was out the other day to see a movie at the famous Sreedhar theatre which is situated at a prime location of the city next to the famous GCDA complex. While getting a ticket was not too difficult, the random way of allotting seats in the theatre did surprise me to no end. I found a couple of the couples in fact lying to people about the seats next to them saying that their friends were expected which in fact never happened till the end. I have watched movies in much smaller towns and much less civilized areas but never have I come across such organised chaos as was being displayed at what is arguably Cochin’s best theatre. Well, the worst was yet to come.

As the movie interrupted for a godsend break and I found my way to the toilet to relieve myself, it turned out my date with a horror of a bathroom. The stench welcomed me over twenty yards away and as I went closer the urge to pee seemed to subside in the fetid milieu. It truly was a toilet that should make any well meaning malyali put his head down in shame. If there was a foreigner in the theatre that day, I would have turned red with embarrassment. I am sure this in not the kind of toilets that we would like to see in the ‘God’s own land’. The kind of people who visit this theatre often drive in Pajeros and Skodas to the tiny parking space that exists outside it. A look around the ticketing area and you would spot at least a dozen millionaires. The people who come often come sporting ‘Police’ glasses and attired in luxury brands. And this is what they put up with.

How much does it cost to build good toilet in the land where the numbers of cars on road exceeds the number of two wheelers? Would it mean an increase in ticket prices by five rupees? So be it. Show me the toilet of the house I want to rent and I will know how the rest of the house is likely to look.

I am terribly disappointed with the governance of the Sreedhar theatre and the average Cochin Movie goer. I wish communism meant more the just strikes and bandhs. I have known malyalis for their pride and self respect. This toilet seems to tell me the other side of the story.

PS: I have steered clear of other topics such as Crowd behaviour in the theatre

Review of the Film "Rock On(Hindi)”

Cast: Farhan Akhatar, Arjun Rampal among others

Co Directed and produced by Farhan Akhatar

The film begins with a Hinglish rock song and begins creating the picture the director envisaged. The opening scene is well crafted. As the film progresses we come to know of lives that four men who seem to be socio-economically apart but are on a similar plane as far as their personal lives are concerned. While one is living a limited marriage, another is living on his wife's pay, the third is inefficient at his father’s enterprise while the fourth is doing nothing and seems to be in the most unenviable state. Two of the four are married and one has a kid as well. The film creates two parallel sequence of events which are temporally 10 years apart. While the style is catchy, the plot gets slow as the film approaches the one hour mark. From then on, the movie gets slower and the whiff of freshness that it began with, begins to wear away and you suddenly are looking forward to the intermission.

The film picks up pace in the second half as the reviews that got me to the theatre seem to vindicate themselves. The ensuing hour manages to snatch back a lot of grace. Almost all the scenes are flawless; the one that seems out of place is where Mascaranes and co hop across Mumbai in half a minute.

Do go for the movie, if you like good individual performances and flowing screenplay. But avoid it if you are looking for a gung ho, upbeat party time movie. This one's more intense that you would have thought.

Kudos to all the actors for a good job done.