REVIEWS by Hilath
I should mention my views on some movies, including Avatar in 3D, which I saw in Bangalore, India, last week:
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG:If they put their minds to it, Disney can make a traditional 2D animation classic and again they have proved it. Wonderful sets aside, the only drawback now for me is that I begin to realize that I am somewhat now not too comfortable with blatant sentimentality (such as Rose declaring to Jack “You jump, I jump” in Titanic which was nothing quite like the “I see you, You see me” concept offered by Neytiri to Jake Sully in Avatar).
KARTHIK CALLING KARTHIK:
If you don’t raise your expectations too high, this Farhan Akhtar-Deepika Padukone vehicle is quite engaging considering the schizophrenic nature of the movie. Don’t scold me now because it wasn’t me who spoiled the movie for you. It’s the title of the movie in case you didn’t notice it. So even though I am only giving it 2.5 stars (above average), the film is so unusually presented I think it’s worth a watch if nothing else is showing at a cinema near you right now (if there is a cinema near you in the first place).
IT’S COMPLICATED:Coming from writer and director Nancy Meyers (who made that hilarious romantic comedy for the oldies Something’s Gotta Give), what more can we expect. Alec Baldwin has re-invented himself as a comedian from “30Rock” and Meryl Streep delivers an equally sensitive and comedic performance. The premise offered by “Divorced…with benefits” is just outrageous.
3 IDIOTS:Easily the best Hindi film to date.
And when I say that, it is quite the compliment because this is the first time that I comfortably sat through a 3-hour Hindi film, WITHOUT lowering my high expectations, and even when it ended I wanted it to go on.
I wanted that EXPERIENCE like when I watched the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire: I wanted to feel India… to feel Ladakh … to feel the mixture of pain and joy that define the Indian – and the Indian way of life… In fact me and another friend now planning to go to Ladakh at least within the next two years after seeing 3 Idiots :)
Writer and director Rajkumar Hirani has perfected what I call a tight and taught screenplay (instead of tricking the audience into staying for three hours to make their perception of ‘value for money’ delivered by putting in unnecessary, dragging scenes) and from this film, I finally came to recognize him as one of those few humans who has managed to wake up and see life and the world from purely a philosophical and existential level.
And when I say that about a mainstream, commercial Hindi film, I’m saying a lot. No wonder many of my friends and relatives now say that for them too 3 Idiots, starring Aamir Khan, the most versatile actor for me in Bollywood, is the best Hindi film ever. They watch it repeatedly they claim. One of my friends on the Bangalore trip watched it three times at the cinema and if we had more time I would have gone a couple of times as well because it’s the kind of satisfying experience you want to go on and on.
MY NAME IS KHAN:It is surprising that 20th Century Fox logo appears when presenting the film but the Hurricane Katrina set in Georgia, USA, looked so childish and fake. Now compare that to the flooding scene in 3 Idiots which look most real.
The only reason why I gave this Shah Rukh vehicle 1.5 stars (above worse) instead of just 1 star (the worst) was because (aside from its big budget), Karan Johar as a director fails to handle new terroristic material as he has been all his life usually more comfortable handling more straightforward and romantic material. Heck, even his produced comedies like Dostana (even if that film hadn’t been his subtle coming-out movie) was more enjoyable.
And in My Name is Khan, Karan pulls out the Ultimate Twist. I say the ultimate, if you can understand that what happened next will be the most shocking thing for a serial follower of Bollywood Hindi film industry like me :P
[SPOILER ALERT BIG TIME]
When Kajol finally appears but SRK was only a little too late before she manages to drive off in a taxi without seeing him, which was quite the devastating emotional high-point of the movie, I was totally expecting for the calming and soothing theme of (Karan’s first, and also closeted-homo-film, if there’s such a thing) Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to settle in: “A-aa-aa-a-aa-aa… A-aa-aa-a-aa-aa… (repeat many times)”…
Karan has obviously lost focus if he forgot his signature, no.
Sad to say, in order not to climb into bed disappointed that night, I had a listen to (before sobbing off into a disturbed sleep) the recurring sad theme from the DVD of Karan’s second but first bi-movie Khabi Pussy, Khabi Bum (Hindi title: Khabi Khushi, Khabi Ghum which in Na’vi language literally translates into “Sometimes Happy, Sometimes (Great) Sorrow”. I had to insert that ‘Great’ because the Na’vi people only experience eras of Great Sorrows whenever some Sky People invade their planet.
The only reason why I recommend people, who may have a cinema near you, to still go see this movie is because (for the first time) a star of such power as SRK has openly declared his support for Co-Existence among religions. And he declares himself a moderate Muslim who hates Taliban and what they stand for. This is a good message for humanity at this time as countries like Maldives are being slaughtered by the invisible conspiratorial force of Wahhabism and it’s totally legitimate child, the Taliban.
So, hail to Karan, SRK and Kajol for telling us this powerful story.