Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Wednesday - Dynamic

Sometimes you come across a movie that shakes you a lot, and which leaves a promise that there is a space for movie making that is different from the standard cliches, or romances, or manufactured tragedies. 'A Wednesday' is a movie that I got around to watching much after the movie was released, and I was thoroughly impressed. You may not agree with everything that the movie propounds, but you cannot be but impressed by the pace of the movie, by some superb acting from the various stars, by the ability to leave you sympathizing with a person who directs acts of murder, and eventually admiring the director, Neeraj Pandey, who dared to make a movie with no main female lead in a romantic situation, and most of all, a movie without any songs.
The movie certainly was not a rich action sequences laden movie such as 'Singh in King', but given a choice, I would rather watch a movie like 'A Wednesday'. This was a movie that gained extremely from word of mouth, colleagues who had seen the movie gave enthusiastic reviews, and I would do the same if somebody asked me.

Hindi Movie A Wednesday (released in 2008)

Without revealing the end, the twist in the movie as well as the impassioned speech by the bomb maker comes at the end of a gripping movie, and keep you on your seats till the final credits come to an end. The performances by Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Jimmy Shergill and Deepal Shaw are all first rate, and the fact that they are able to make their presence felt in such a short movie (1.5) hours makes the performances even more creditable. The movie also introduces the concept of a backlash by the 'stupid, common man'; all of us who live in a city and go to our work places, and some of whom die in bomb blasts that happen in our cities.
The movie is about the flashback by a retired police commissioner of Bombay, Prakash Rathod [Anupam Kher]. He remembers an incident that happened in the space of 4 hours, on a normal weekday afternoon, the details of the incident not being present on any file or records (only in the memory of those involved). He gets a call from an anonymous caller about bombs kept in the city at different locations, and for defusing which, 4 Muslim terrorists in police custody needed to be rounded up from their separate locations. The caller, Naseeruddin Shah, situated on the top of a building, almost like a picnic, makes the police believe in his story when he discloses the location of a bomb right in the police station next to the police headquarters.
Anupam Kher gets complete authority from the Chief Minister to handle the negotiations, and gets down to business. He is obviously dealing with a person who knows how to conduct himself, defeating attempts to track his details. Eventually, inspite of a crack team and some fast police work, spear headed by a hot headed police officer (Jimmy Shergill in a great role), Anupam Kher is forced to follow all of the directions he is given, till the time that the terrorists are transported to an air field in Juhu. If you have not watched the movie, you should watch it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Drona - disappointing

I was reading an article in a magazine last week, and it was talking about the forthcoming release of Drona. The article raved about this being a highly acclaimed technical movie, with an incredible amount of hard work and technical effects thrown in, and I was eagerly anticipating the movie. I managed to cajole the spouse and parents to see the movie along with me, and even though reviews were out by that time and did not promise much, I still went along. Bad decision, I should have believed the reviews.
Drona is a movie about a secret as old as existence, from the Hindu mythology where the Gods and Demons (asuras) churned the seas a long long time back, and one of the secrets that emerged was the elixir of ever-lasting life (amrit) which would make the owner live forever. In order to keep it away from the demons (you would not give anything so powerful to the demons), it was decided that there would be a set of warriors who would forever protect the secret of this 'amrit', and they and their descendants would be called 'Dronas'. In addition, there would another set of warriors to protect them. And here is this 'Cindrella' in the shape of a man, who has been terrorized since childhood by a horrid foster mother, who would suddenly discover that he is the 'Drona', and then go through mysteries aided by a beautiful protector. He would fight the evil monster who killed his father, and save the secret.

Drona 2008 - starring Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra

What a fantasy. Imagine the story with its deep magic, mystery, and special effects that would make this movie on the class of a Peter Pan, or a Harry Potter, but the movie failed miserably to do anything in this regard. The movie did not have much of magic, it had a fairly comic villain who would repeat a phrase so many times that you got sick of it, you had not too much good music, not much of action except for a car chase, a scene on a train, and a couple others, but there was something missing. Somehow the picture was not gripping enough, and even though I was forcing myself to not be overall critical right away, there was just not enough excitement.
For all this, I don't lay too much blame at the heads of either Abhishek Bachchan, or Priyanka Chopra (for her, it was a big role, pity it did not work out), or the criminal display of Kay Kay Menon as a shallow (not much cunning or mystery in him) magician who was also a demon (he just did not look or act like a demon, more like a normal villain who knew some magic). Most of the mistake I would lay at the door of the Director, Goldie Behl. There was not enough guidance about how to make this movie, sparkle, where even a movie like Krrsh, with its limited story, was still gripping enough with some good action. Jaya Bachchan was totally wasted.