Saturday, January 26, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty - Movie Reviewed

157 Minutes packed with intense drama, thrill and tension....Kathryn Bigelow executes a brilliant account of the events since 2003 that lead to the eventual capture of UBL. A movie that must be seen and experienced....a movie that justifies being the highest rated film of 2012.

For a movie based on real life events it is kind of tough to talk about characters, however what we can do is talk about the acting. Jessica Chastain plays the amazing Maya....a CIA officer obsessed with one and only one thing - Capture of Usama Bin Laden. Jessica plays her part superbly....the nervousness, the growing confidence of a CIA officer as she matures from being a rookie to a Pro and the anxiousness that she faces as the operation unfolds. Limited dialogues, yet powerful delivery...she does an excellent job at playing the central character.
Jason Clark plays officer Dan - doesnt get much screen time but plays his part effectively. His opening sequences of torturing Ammar....his switching from good cop to bad cop...all excellently portrayed. The movie may be surrounded by controversy and debate on whether it promotes or discourages torture...irrespective...Dan does what he is supposed to with conviction.

Alexandre Desplat composes an apt and subtle background score. The movie primarily unfolds with natural sounds and minimal background music, but where appropriate, the music helps in building the tension.

A nerve rattling the navy seals
 carry out the operation.
The movie makes you forget where you are and with whom you might be sitting. Those 157 minutes engross you and at the end you suddenly realize that you were just watching a movie. Kathryn Bigelow deserves two thumbs up and a pat on the back for executing the script so intensely and building the emotions so strongly. The point at which Abu Ahmed finally is followed to the compound or the part where the navy seal officers prepare to fly to the compound in Abbotabad....make your stomach turn. A tiring yet satisfying movie experience. You can finally connect to that navy seal officer who says.... "I killed the third floor guy"! :)

I rate the movie 4.5 out of 5. You feel the anxiety that Maya feels, you feel the emotional drain that she feel that tremendous victory that America might have felt...on that dark Zero Dark Thirty!

Monday, January 21, 2013

BeenO Awards

Its fun isn't it? To turn around and look back at what was.... 
But whats even more to turn around and give an additional pat on the back to those who have done a good job and helped make our lives a little bit better, a little bit more enjoyable and have given us one more reason to smile - back then when they did it; now as we remember it and in the future when we might reminisce over it.

With a plethora of awards out there, I figured there'd be no harm in having my own little awards as well, especially given that different people have a variety of choices and they may not be satisfied with the decision of all the awards juries....

Here's offering you one more perspective... the Been-O-pinion Awards, or the BeenO Awards for short.

With all my love for bollywood music, I'd like to start with the music awards -

Category 1 - Music

Song of the Year....and the nominations are: 
  1. Chinta Ta Ta (Rowdy Rathod)
  2. Mashallah (Ek Tha Tiger)
  3. Jee Le Zara (Talaash)
  4. Challa (Jab Tak Hai Jaan)
  5. Pani Da (Vicky Donor)
  6. Chikni Chameli (Agneepath)
  7. Halkat Jawani (Heroine)
  8. Who Dekhne Mein (London, Paris, New York)
  9. Pungi (Agent Vinod)
  10. Anarkali Disco Chali (Housefull 2)
  11. Pareshaan (Ishaqzaade)
  12. Tumhi ho Bandhu (Cocktail)
  13. Daaru Desi (Cocktail)
  14. The Disco Song (Student of the Year)
  15. Hukkah Bar (Khiladi 786)
  16. Fevicol Se (Dabangg 2)

The above list is not only nomination but also expected to serve as a guide and reference to you of all the amazing songs that you hear throughout the year. Going forward, the nominations will be reduced to 6 or 7 max. 

And the award goes to........... 

Challa - Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Next up....

Best Lyrics....and the nominations are:
  1. Gulzar (Challa)
  2. Ayushmann (Paani Da)
  3. Javed Akhtar (Laakh Duniya Kahe)
  4. Sawanand Kirkire (Ashiyaan)
  5. Amitabh Bhattacharya (Aahatein)
  6. Arko Pravo & Munish Makhjia (Maula, Jism 2)
And the award goes to........... 

Javed Akhtar - Talaash

Next up....

Best Singer - Female....and the nominations are:
  1. Niti Mohan (Jiya Jiya Re)
  2. Shreya Ghosal (Jhalla)
  3. Shalmali Kholgade (Pareshaan)
  4. Shilpa Rao (Gutakh Dil)
  5. Hamsika Iyer (Raabta)
  6. Sonu Kakkar (Yeh Kasoor, Jism 2)
And the award goes to........... 

Niti Mohan - Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Next up....

Best Singer - Male....and the nominations are:
  1. Rabbi (Challa)
  2. Ayushman (Pani Da)
  3. Nikhil Paul (Kya Karoon)
  4. Arijit Singh (Raabta)
  5. Sonu Nigam (Abhi mujh mein)
  6. Vishal (Jee Le Zara)
And the award goes to........... 

Rabbi - Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Next up....

Best Background Score....and the nominations are:
  1. AR Rahman (Jab Tak Hai Jaan)
  2. Ram Sampat (Talaash)
  3. Mickey McCleary (Shanghai)
  4. Sneha Khanwalkar & Piyush Mishra (GoW)
  5. Pritam (Barfi)
And the award goes to........... 

Sneha Khanwalkar & Piyush Mishra - GoW


Best Composer....and the nominations are:
  1. Pritam (Barfi)
  2. AR Rahman (Jab Tak Hai Jaan)
  3. Ram Sampat (Talaash)
  4. Amit Trivedi (Ishaqzaade)
  5. Pritam (Cocktail)
  6. Amit Trivedi (Ek Mai aur Ek Tu)
And the award goes to........... 

Pritam - Barfi

 Category 2 - Movies

This year no doubt has been one where bollywood has churned out the most number of films in terms of variety. We had some mad comedies, some extremely intelligent scripts, some daftly executed screenplays, some brilliantly performed roles, and some very differently written and told stories. 

Without any further delay lets start....

Best Story....and the nominations are:
  1. Talaash
  2. Kahaani
  3. Vicky Donor
  4. Barfi
  5. Shanghai
  6. Oh My God

And the award goes to........... 

Oh My God - for uniqueness in concept and bold storytelling

Next up....

Best Screenplay....and the nominations are: (Warning: I may not be the best judge of screenplay but from what I understand about it, I base my decision)
  1. Talaash
  2. Kahaani
  3. Gangs of Wasseypur
  4. Paan Singh Tomar
  5. English Vinglish
  6. Ek Tha Tiger

And the award goes to........... 

Kahaani - For constantly keeping the audience engaged and brilliantly enabling the execution of a simple story into an edge-of-the-seat thriller.

Next up....

Best Actor in Supporting Role - Female....and the nominations are:
  1. Anushka Sharma (Jab Tak Hai Jaan)
  2. Richa Chadda (GoW)
  3. Illeana (Barfi)
  4. Huma Qureshi (GoW)
  5. Yami Gautam (Vicky Donor)
  6. Kalki Koechin (Shanghai)

And the award goes to........... 

Illeana - For being the one of the few non-mute characters in Barfi, yet expressing everything through her eyes and facial expressions.

Next up....

Best Actor in Supporting Role - Male....and the nominations are:
  1. Anu Kapoor
  2. Zeishan Quadri (Definite, GoW)
  3. Emraan Hasmi
  4. Rishi Kapoor
  5. Navazuddin (Talaash, Kahaani)
  6. Tigmanshu Dhulia (GoW)
And the award goes to........... 

Navazuddin - For being a true revelation throughout 2012  only outdoing himself from Kahaani to GoW to Talaash! 

Next up....

Best Masala movie from 100 Crore Club....and the nominations are:
  1. Rowdy Rathod
  2. Ek Tha Tiger
  3. Jab Tak Hai Jaan
  4. Agneepath
  5. Housefull 2
  6. Barfi
  7. Bol Bachan
  8. Dabangg 2
And the award goes to........... 

Ek Tha Tiger - For being able to strike the right balance between thrills, entertainment and mindlessness! This tiger roared loud and clear at the B.O.!

Next up....

Best Actor - Female....and the nominations are:
  1. Vidya Balan
  2. Sri Devi
  3. Kareena Kapoor
  4. Priyanka Chopra
  5. Pareeniti Chopra
  6. Katrina Kaif 
And the award goes to........... 

Vidya Balan & Priyanka Chopra - For rising and shinning beyond the stereotypes of the "bollywood heroines" and giving a fierce competition to other amazing performances nominated in this category!

 Next up....

Best Actor - Male....and the nominations are:
  1. Aamir Khan
  2. Irrfan
  3. Ranbir Kapoor
  4. Manoj Bajpaiee
  5. Navazuddin
  6. Hrithik Roshan
  7. Abhay Deol 
And the award goes to........... 

Ranbir Kapoor - And there could be no doubt in it...while Rockstar might have taught him how to perform....Barfi comes along and shows him what the importance of a performance is! Hats off!

 Second Last award....

Best Director....and the nominations are:
  1. Anurag Kashyap (GoW)
  2. Tigmanshu Dhulia (Paan Singh Tomar)
  3. Reema Kagti (Talaash)
  4. Sujoy Ghosh (Kahaani)
  5. Anurag Basu (Barfi!)
  6. Kabir Khan (Ek Tha Tiger)
And the award goes to........... 

Anurag Kashyap - A story as simple, a screenplay as complex, a list of characters as exhaustive, an execution as brilliant....! While this might be the toughest award to decide upon this year....yet...I think the captain who could steer this boat for 5 hours without ever letting it sink....takes the cake! 

And Finally... The Last award....

Best Movie....and the nominations are:
  1. Gangs of Wasseypur
  2. Paan Singh Tomar
  3. Talaash
  4. Kahaani
  5. Barfi
  6. English Vinglish
And the award goes to........... 

Talaash - A movie that delivers everything in the right proportions satisfying all your expectations while not meeting them ever and yet delivering the best performances of the year through super tight execution and engrossing yet not too indulgent thrills!

Thats all folks....thank you for staying with me....hope you enjoyed the list of nominees and hopefully the list of winners too!  Please do leave your feedback.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bollywood Roundtable 2012: Hosted by MK

Bollywood Roundtable 2012: Hosted by MK

This is exciting, since this is my first guest post. Even better doing it on my friend's blog.
The one thing that is common about my friends and me is our love for movies and the fact that we follow Rajeev Masand for his reviews. I thought a "Bollywood Round Table 2012"(Masand inspired) would be the best way to express our love for Indian Cinema.
The roundtable features 4 friends including "Been" himself on what we thought about Bollywood in 2012 and what we look forward to in 2013.

What was your favorite movie of 2012?
MK: I am on the fence between Barfi and Kahaani.....
Been (B): Talaash. A tough pick given the number of amazing movies we witnessed this year, nonetheless....for the overall package...i'd hand this to Talaash...good job Excel Ent., A productions and Reema Kagti!
Abhijit Sovani (AS): Wow what a tough question. I don't remember another year with that many good movies that we had this year. While Shanghai, Vicky Donor, Kahaani, gangs, Paan Singh, English Vinglish, Barfi were truly beautiful movies, I have to go with Talaash, as nothing satisfies me more than going into a movie with huge expectations and coming out with the satisfaction level having exceeded that initial expectation. Talaash was one such movie
Rohith D'Souza (RD): 2012 saw some great movies. With great difficulty I will have to go give Gangs of Wasseypur 2nd Place. Talaash for me was more than a movie and was my favorite in 2012.

Who was your favorite actor/ actress of 2012?
MK: Ranbir/Vidya or Priyanka
B: Ranbir/Vidya or Priyanka
AS: It has to be Ranbir hands down. He did not have a single dialogue damn it and his range of expressions seems limitless. He is exceeding his own high standards and even Aamir Khan quoted on Rajeev Masand's show that he wanted to learn from his performance. For actresses it has to be Vidya, Priyanka and Sridevi.
RD: Irrfan Khan offers us a reminder of his blazing versatility in Paan Singh Tomar. Best Actress is none other than V(B)idya Balan in Kahaani.

Which movie/ actor surprised you the most?
MK: Vicky Donor hands down. And so did "Oh My God", which proves that good movies do not need big budgets just a good story.
B: Movie: Vicky Donor - didnt expect anything from this in fact thought it'd be yet another sleazy comedy but what a movie!
Actor: Nawazuddin....what an actor! First time appreciated him in Kahaani, loved him in GoW and then absolute respect Talaash.
AS: Oh so many surprises! If I have to chose someone it has to be Sridevi. Yea, Nawazuddin is there but I had read about Masand singing his praises before watching his performances so not surprised by what I saw. But Sridevi after all these years completely caught me off guard with how good she was.
RD: Emraan Hashmi in Shanghai. He pulled off a great performance to my surprise.

Which movie /actor disappointed you the most and why?
MK: Cocktail- I think the movie would do better being one of those K serials. Utter Rubbish!
B: Movie: Agent Vinod - Promising premise, great director, talented actors but the script and editing slacked big time. Actor: Saif Ali Khan - His performance in cocktail was just too bad, add to it that he produced such a lose scripted movie!!
AS: Thanks to Masand I can't think of a movie where I went in with some expectations and got disappointed. Maybe that's cos I didn't watch agent Vinod or Cocktail :-) 
RD: Having directed great movies like Johnny Gaddaar & Ek Hasina Thi, Sriram Raghavan in Agent Vinod was a big disappointment.

What would you want to see in Bollywood in 2013?
MK: I honestly wish some directors would stop thinking the audience has no brains. Movies with rich stories and performances. Agree with B focus on script and not nonsense.
B: Movies with focus on scripts, performance rich and mature characterizations - eg. Vicky Donor, Talaash, GoW, Kahaani. And some slick entertainers too like Ek Tha Tiger (only that according to me was good entertainment in 2012 and JTHJ to an extent)
AS: Yes continued focus on good scripts. And I want to see the return of good comedies. Like besides Vicky Donor did we have a genuine good comedy ? Much to my peers unwarranted chastising, I did watch Houseful 2 and which I thought had its moments but was still a bad movie. I want the next Andaz Apna Apna and I know the talent is there but the problem is that public accepts anything for entertainment and the producers are more than happy to oblige. Hey more than 100 Crores, they are businessman after all. That's why I want directors who can produce both a beautiful product and rake in the mooolah and I am happy that such directors are there!  
RD: More movies based on true stories (Can’t wait for Bhaag Milkha

What is the one trend you would wish would stop in Bollywood?
MK: Item numbers and the so called "slap stick" comedy. Both are useless and actresses need to learn to act than be cheap bar girls.
B: Definitely item songs! It's enuff! And song sequences. Songs sequences should be done like how it was done in Dil Chahta Hai or Talaash.
AS: Agree with MK for so called "slap stick" comedies. They turn out more of "slap in my face" comedies. However one thing I have noticed is that even the worst of such movies have some funny scenes. If only there were presented in a well connected way throughout the movie giving us a beautiful product. These movies are more like a bad cake where you just enjoy eating the cherry! We want the whole cake to be good damn it!! 
RD: I think songs should be only situational or a background score like the one we had in Life In A Metro... Don't like actors lip sinking to great songs sung by amazing artist....

Final words: Well I guess in the end what we all want are good movies that know how to entertain and satisfy the soul. 2012, was one of the best years in Bollywood indeed; with amazing stories and performances. I would like to thank B, AS and RD for their views and some clear Masand fanfare there from AS. 

MK blogs on her lifestyle blog mklivinlovin

2012 Movies Round-Up

Bollywood - 2012 in Review

So the new year has begun...if there ever is a time to turn back and have a quick glance at what is is precisely this time of the year! 

This year has seen some great movies, some even greater movies and some outright crazy "keep-your-brains-at-the-side" movies come out of Bollywood. The year could be possibly coined as the year of Masala Entertainers or year of most Unconventional Cinema. While they might seem as two ends of a spectrum, lo and behold... Bollywood has done it all in one year, simultaneously!

While the awards will go to a selected few, and award ceremonies will be restricted to nominating only 5/6 or 7 in each category, we on the other hand have no restrictions or constraints in our opinions. So lets be honest, whether some of us luved Dabangg 2 or hated Kahaani, we all love to express our bollywood opinions...and are my picks for the year.

Bollywood at its Worse 

Movies (Month-wise)

  1. Players (this would probably be at top even if this list wasn't chronological)
  2. Ekk Deewana Tha
  3. Tezz
  4. Department
  5. Teri Meri Kahaani (Kunal used to be a film critic once, what happened?)
  6. Cocktail
  7. Jism 2 (I'd like to exclude Sunny Leone for looking so divine in the movie! ;)
  8. Shirin Farhad Ki to Nikal Padi
And these are just the movies that I have seen and disliked. There are others if I were to go by word of mouth and matter of my opinion - like Joker, Dangerous Ishq, second half of Ishaqzaade etc.

Bollywood at its Best

Movies (Month-wise)
  1. Agneepath (must add, that it lacks the substance and character dimensions of the original, but great performances and decent script)
  2. Paan Singh Tomar
  3. Kahaani
  4. Vicky Donor
  5. Shanghai
  6. Gangs of Wasseypur 1&2
  7. Ek Tha Tiger
  8. Barfi
  9. Oh My God
  10. English Vinglish
  11. Jab Tak Hai Jaan
  12. Talaash
The good news I presume is that the good movies outnumbered the bad movies. There are a few other movies that were decent to watch like Agent Vinod (partly, though a tighter script and more tighter editing would have been great!), first half of Ishaqzaade, Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Chakravyuh, etc. 

Bollywood at its Masala Best 

  1. Ek Tha Tiger
  2. Dabangg 2
  3. Rowdy Rathod
  4. Housefull 2
  5. Bol Bachan
  6. Son of Sardar
  7. Jab Tak Hai Jaan

& Worst

  1. Joker
  2. Cocktail
  3. Raaz 3
  4. Khilaadi 786

So thats my movies round-up. Will do a separate post for the brilliant performances that we witnessed this year too. 

2013 looks quite promising as well...and lets hope out list of "Bollywood at its Best" grows significantly and outperforms the "Worse" ones once again!

Enjoy your movies...! :)