Good.One & Bad.One of RA.ONE

Disclaimer : I am a huge Shah Rukh Khan fan. He is GOD. PERIOD! It’s very difficult for a devout fan like me to critique a Shah Rukh film. First, because I don’t know any thing about film making. Second, I unapologetically and hopelessly find something positive in whatever he does.  But I am also NOT one of those fans who feel the film shouldn’t be bashed because everyone has worked so hard for the film because EVERY ACTOR works hard for his/her film.  I am NOT one of those elitist & snooty self styled critics who think bashing every Hindi film is “cool”.  Neither I have the courage nor do I have the talent to make a film. So let’s NOT call it a review!

BAD.ONE!  

It’s an old saying that ‘Excess of any thing is bad’ and this is exactly the issue with RA.ONE. The film with it’s aggressive marketing campaigns promised TOO MUCH & this is where it fell. The film promised to go beyond where Krrish & Robot went and it does go! When you talk about the special effects, VFX & stunts RA.ONE probably offers the best any Indian movie has ever seen. But it is the shoddy writing that lets it down and doesn’t allow the film to pick up at any point. The story is so weak that one makes you wonder why Shah Rukh even agreed to do this film. The film could have been much better & would have taken Indian Cinema to a different level altogether had the writers kept their thinking hats on their heads and wouldn’t have taken the audience for granted.

The jokes, comic scenes are crass, vulgar & cheap and to top it they are NOT funny at all. Like three girls in the game are named – Uski Lee, Chus Lee, Sabki Lee or the scene in which a gay airport security guard is turned on by G.One’s body piercings. I felt like banging my head! And if this was not enough you have the stereotypical homophobic & racist jokes which are the final nail in the coffin. Shah Rukh promised a family movie but you don’t understand how exactly all the boobi, condom & crotch talk really fits the bill.  Shah Rukh never did this. And as a fan I am annoyed!  Then you have the much talked about cameo of Rajinikanth which makes you feel the desperation with which the makers wanted the film to work that they introduced a STUPID & USELESS cameo. Or the blooper where Shekhar is given a Christian funeral but the very next scene shows Kareena with a ‘Kalash’ near some river. Are we *that* stupid?

The film also tries too hard to make the audiences believe that it’s a film which deals with scientific realism & great amount of intellect is involved. But sorry Anubhav Sinha just because you use nonsensical words like H.A.R.T (Hertz Amplifying Resonance Transmitter) or Random Access it doesn’t mean you have made a SCI-FI film .  There is NO science in the film. Also, the  pace isn’t fast enough for a super-hero action flick. There are only 3-4 sequences which make you sit up & notice the amount of effort put in. And I blame it entirely on the director. Anubhav Sinha such a waste you are!

GOOD.ONE!

If RA.ONE is watchable despite it’s flaws it is because of Shah Rukh Khan. The extravaganza belongs to Shah Rukh Khan. His performance as Shekhar & G.ONE stands out and the hard work is visible on screen. His sheer presence and energy makes you forget everything else. And with every fight of his came whistles & claps! Shah Rukh as Shekhar might be caricaturish but charming. And he is equally convincing as the robot/video game character G.ONE. His charm overrules anything & everything!

We are OKAY with Spiderman climbing buildings effortlessly & Superman wearing his underwear over his tights. We are OKAY when the pretentious & self proclaimed intellectual Aamir Khan bashes up ten goons , suffering a memory loss. We are OKAY  when Salman Khan does the most awful & sad films. But we have problem with the fight between G.ONE & RA.ONE where cars fly around them. Why this holier than thou attitude with Shah Rukh?

FACT is that Shah Rukh could dream. And he was able to make it real. So what if it was flawed? He ventured into something where no body else did. He could have done another rom com at a lesser budget with a guarantee that it will work but he chose to follow his dream of making the first Indian Super hero film. He tried to raise the level of film making in India & to an extent he succeeded.  And Shah Rukh like your film says “Haan Farishtey Hote Hain” Thou are one who got the world talk about India & it’s technological advances . 

And I end this post by quoting Pratim D Gupta ~

“Don’t lose heart King Khan. At least you still dream. Hope some day others will join you… and Bollywood will be as one.”

Look what Hollywood had to say about it  The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times

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MAUSAM brings back the “old world” romance into Hindi cinema

Right from the time the first poster of Mausam came on the front page of a national daily I somehow knew that I will like this film. The look, promos, music all seemed good. But more than this; for me the very reason to watch Mausam was that one of the finest actors in the country was wearing the director’s hat. The name Pankaj Kapur was enough! And now that I have seen the film I will say that I was not disappointed. It’s NOT a flawless film and much has been written about it so I write why you should watch Mausam!

Mausam is an old-fashioned story of love, separation and reunion told with charm & elegance. Mausam takes you back to the golden days when there was innocence in romance.  The love story between Harry & Aayat unfurls in the small town of Punjab and the conventional way in which love flourishes between them is pure magic. It’s a beautiful journey which makes you think that where has this pure romance gone from our lives.

The vintage love story travels from the rural ‘Genhu ke khet’ in Punjab to the lush green meadows of Switzerland & Scotland. It transcends geographical boundaries and also leaps beyond time zones. It proceeds through stolen glances and unsaid words (Aayat & Harry never say ‘I love you’ to each other). Shahid’s boyish charm, Sonam’s coy femininity; their unexpressed feelings makes you ponder that pure romance has disappeared not only from movies but also from real life. Mausam has its share of some wonderful moments which arouse every emotion in the inner core of human hearts. Like the scene where both Harry & Aayat express their feelings through hand written notes. In the age of SMS & E-mails Mausam makes you realise that technology might be cool but it is so impersonal. Or the scene where Sonam sings ‘Abhi na Jao Chodh Ke’; eyes do all the work in this scene. Beautifully done. The magic of silence! Rain has never failed to cast a spell on the 70mm screen and in Mausam also the protagonists lie down under the pouring clouds and express their love on a rain soaked terrace. And if this is not enough you have the usual sweet and salty jealous moment  in the film when Harry calls Aayat but her cousin Akram picks up the call. Also, the scene when Shahid frantically runs into the snow to meet Aayat because he cannot wait for the next train which leaves in another hour. One might laugh and say ‘Yeh Zyada Ho Gaya’ (One of my friends said that). I replied *This* is called TRUE LOVE!

You can call me old fashioned but if tomorrow I fall in love I would any day prefer to write a letter rather than type a message.  Give MAUSAM a chance as it infuses the nostalgia and brings back the “old world” romance into Hindi cinema!

Karan Johar – My best moments from his cinema

Since this is my first blog post on my first love – Hindi films I thought it should be on the man whose cinema I admire; I breathe; I live – Karan Johar. Over the last decade he is undoubtedly one director who has churned out blockbusters. Johar debuted with Kuch Kuch Hota Hain, a romantic comedy in 1998 which won several accolades and set the cash register ringing. India got its new age young director who was very soon going to make Indian films popular worldwide. He thereafter directed another blockbuster Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, a family saga which created waves in both national and international markets. He hardly fails to impress people.

Karan Johar is surely the one who took Indian films outside India. His films apart from doing well in India do exceptionally well across the globe. The respect, the accolades, the success he enjoys globally no Indian director in the present enjoys. He may not be the finest film maker for many but for me his cinema is magical. He is a master when it comes to romance. He is class apart.

In this post I pick up my personal favorite scenes from his cinema spanning from 1998 to 2010; from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to My Name is Khan.  It was a difficult task for me ; given my love for his films; I tend to like every moment!  But I try to pick up the one’s which moved me really.

 

1. KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI

An all time blockbuster which launched Karan Johar into the industry. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is a heartwarming beautiful love story of best friends. The performances, camerawork, storytelling and extensive musical numbers all energetically colorful. It is classic romantic cinema.

 

~ The Rain Dance

The drops of water falling from the sky have never failed to cast a spell on the 70mm screen.Dancing in the rain has been an integral part of Indian mainstream cinema. In fact rain has been the most over used entity in any romantic scene in hindi films but there are very few scenes that touch your heart and this particular scene is indeed one of the BEST. Shahrukh and Kajol literally create ‘magic’ on screen when they come together. The sparkling drops of water makes for a passionate setting to incite some sizzling chemistry between them. The background music is beautifully within the scene. It’s the rain that causes all the commotion in this poem of love. Watch out for that one moment when Shahrukh holds Kajol’s Saree and Kajol turns back.

 

~ Rahul & Anjali meet again

The scene where Shahrukh and Kajol meet after 8 years. Shahrukh and Kajol make this scene so special because of their very ‘natural’ acting. Awkwardness has never been depicted so beautifully.  There is a silence but their eyes speak. If you ask me; I wept buckets in this scene 🙂

 

~ Bench Scene

One of the most moving, intense and well-crafted emotional sequence in the entire film. Starting on a lighter and a comical note it delves into an emotional note and Karan has directed it so beautifully that you can’t hold your tears. Watch out for the moment when they both secretly make a wish after seeing a ‘toot-ta tara’ . My personal favorite dialogue is when Kajol says “Ghar Badal diya tha” to which Shahrukh says “Rishte bhi badal diye the kya”?

 

 

2. KABHI KHUSHI KABHI GHAM – It’s all about loving your parents……

With Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham Karan Johar proved that Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was no flash in the pan. Handled with utmost sensitivity, the subject slips between emotional sequences to dramatic confrontations to light moments with utmost ease and their are scenes which remain etched into your heart. This is a film with celebration in its heart: the musical routines are triumphantly lavish, boasting pounding dhol percussion and gorgeously fluid choreography. A mother’s heartbreak prompts her son to reunite the shattered clan in this family drama.

 

~ Reunion

The scene towards the pre-climax, shot in a shopping mall, when Jaya Bachchan and Shahrukh meet after a gap of nine years. Probably, the most emotional and moving scene in the film.  The beauty of this sequence is that there are no dialogues ; the emotions are expressed through eyes and kudos to Jaya Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan for pulling off the scene so well. Watch out for the moment when Shahrukh tells that he is a father now and points out towards his son. EXCELLENT !!

 

 

3. KABHI ALVIDA NA KEHNA

Few writers have such solid control over their screenplay as Karan Johar does. The characters in KANK are confused, complexed, and they’re hurting as hell. But still there is something about the way Karan portrays them on screen that you end up empathizing with the central characters Dev & Maya. Only few can actually understand  the intricacies of narrative and I am amongst those few and KANK remains my favorite Karan Johar film. He matured as a director and showed everything that’s wrong in modern marriages. His characters may still wear P.E.R.F.E.C.T. designer clothes but they’re all grey. KANK broke new grounds in Indian cinema by taking on a taboo subject in the subcontinent: a wife’s infidelity. Karan Johar rejects entrenched Indian beliefs about marriage and infidelity, and challenges the notion that wives are happiest if they remain blindly devoted to their husbands until death.For the record I have seen it more than 15 times and I can watch it again, again and again !!!

 

~ Bench Scene

The scene which defies the stereotypical definition of “love” in hindi films and says great friends don’t necessarily make great lovers.  The dialogues between Dev and Maya are penned down smartly. Watch out for that ‘moment’ when Maya makes Dev realize that he is not happy with his marriage. Simply Superb !!!   “Kabhi Kabhi dosti mohabbat ki jagah le leti hai aur phir mohabbat ke liye jagah hi nahi rehti”

 

~ Love Making Scene

The scene where Dev and Maya take their relationship to a next level and you realize that it’s real passion, real love that makes a great marriage. They are unfaithful but you can’t help empathizing with them.They seem “correct” to you.  Watch out for that moment when Maya cries while making love and Dev kisses her tears. Also, the scene when camera focuses on their wedding rings. Take a *bow* Karan Johar.

(Ignore the video title please )

 

 

4. MY NAME IS KHAN

My Name is Khan is surely one of the most talked about films in the recent times. Much because of the legendary team of Shahrukh-Karan-Kajol coming together after 9 years and also because of the political unrest surrounding the film.  MNIK is skillfully directed by Karan Johar and with an evocative score by Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy, “Khan” jerks tears with ease, while teaching lessons about Islam and tolerance.  The message of “My Name Is Khan,” an effective exercise in Bollywood high emotionalism, there are two kinds of people in the world, good and bad, a distinction more important than any other differences, like those between Hindus and Muslims. There are some films which NEED to be made and this is surely one of them. The film makes an important point and it NEEDS to be heard.

 

~ Kajol accepts Shahrukh’s proposal

Rizwan is undeniably the best thing about My Name is Khan and it very hard for you not to lose your heart to him. My personal favorite is the lovely scene in which Kajol accepts his proposal. Watch out for the moment when Shahrukh blushes and his face turns red when Kajol says “Marry Me”. He is a charmer and undoubtedly the KING OF ROMANCE.