Saturday, October 26, 2013

Shahid ...a shaheed indeed!

The Real People:
Directed by Hansal Mehta
Written by Sameer Gautam Singh, Apurva Asrani & Hansal Mehta
Edited by Apurva Asrani
Music by Karan Kulkarni
Raj Kumar Yadav as Shahid Azmi
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as Arif Azmi
Prabhleen Sandhu as Mariam Azmi
KK Menon as War Saahab

At a Glance:
An important story told very well through some amazing and maybe surprising performances. It moves at a fast pace and yet captures the key milestones in the life of Shahid Azmi effectively. The story's pace is no doubt hampered, now and then, especially in the second half, but the talented Raj Kumar keeps you engaged throughout. The court scenes are riveting and very realistic, unlike what we are used to by indian movie and TV standards! 

The People of screen:
Many characters but one central character....similarly, many great performances but one phenomenal actor! 
Raj Kumar Yadav as Shahid Azmi. What an actor! After having proved his worth in the brilliant Kai Po Che earlier this year, Raj Kumar takes on the challenging role of the title character here. From the early days to the finale, Raj Kumar portraits the various changes and conflicts that Shahid went through. Facial expressions, body language, dialogue delivery, everything is perfect and brought out in front of the camera with full conviction.
Mohammed Zeeshan as Arif Azmi. Not sure if I have seen him in any Anurag Kashyap movie earlier, but he sure does not seem like a newcomer. Meatier role in the first half and a few scenes in the second, this actor surely knows how to express emotions through his acting. Great job done!
Prabhleen Sadhu as Maryam. Another actor who may not have done many or any movies in the past, but gives a very good performance. Not the conventional glamorous heroine, but in fact a very real and undoubtedly convincing Mrs. Azmi, Prabhleen gets into the skin of the character and gives only her best in every frame that she is in.
KK Menon as Waar Saahab. What can anyone say about the immense talent this guy possesses! It is a pleasure watching him deliver dialogues. A very short and indeed a special appearance, and yet...important enough to be mentioned as part of this review!

The Experience:
Perhaps not a movie that requires you to be in the movie theater to enjoy, but definitely a movie that you should want to see without any delay (and therefore going to the theater would be a good idea). The pace of the movie is brisk and the writers don't spend too much time on any specific incident. The movie is firmly carried and must be credited to Raj Kumar's brilliant performance and is very convincingly supported by the remaining cast. There are emotional moments beautifully captured and there are brutal incidents that make you feel sympathetic. While the movie does anger you towards the actions of the lawmakers (not only in India, but also the general stereotyping that happens across the world today), it solemnly tries to depict the dilemmas of the judicial system as well. In the end, the movie is a biopic of a man who was a hero for many and whose story required to be told to the world...and Hansal Mehta does an amazing job at doing just that! The opening and closing lines resonate in your mind long after the movie is over, "By giving me injustice, my God taught me to love Justice".

I rate it 4 out of 5. Despite its faltered pace at times and some gaps and questions that it leaves unanswered, this movie is very well made. It should reinstate our faith in bollywood filmmakers and in our society - There are still some people who insist on swimming against the tide...and end up in places where no one has before. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gravity - You gotta experience appreciate it

The Real People:
Directed & Edited by Alfonso Cuaron
Written by Alfonso & Jonas Cuaron
Music by Steven Price
Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone
George Clooney as Matt Kowalski
and thats it! :)

At a Glance:
Wow! If there were a more appropriate word to describe this movie, I would be more than happy to use it but for now...I think you get the message loud and clear!? No coms obstruction? No static? Houston do you copy? Wow....I'm still stuck in the movie.

The People on screen:
Two characters and billions and billions of stars...thats the real canvass of this movie! The third and most pronounced character is that of the guy who is sitting behind the camera and calling the shots. So here we go...

George Clooney as Matt Kowalski. The man who makes every girl go aaah...and ooh, gives a great performance all suited up and visible partially through the astronaut's helmet that he wears. His character is brief, yet convincing and breathes the soul into the movie. His presence is felt from the beginning till the end.

Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone. When I went in, I knew the movie was mainly about two characters lost in space but for some reason had assumed that Clooney would steal the show. Coming out of the movie....whole different story! Sandra takes over completely and perhaps gives a performance as never before. With literally limited space and one constant stressful circumstance, she delivers a brilliant performance, through her body language, voice expressions and tense facial expressions.

And finally the last two characters....Alfonso Cuaron and Space. While the two protagonists give great performances, the movie is really about daft execution and attention to detail in creation of this masterpiece. This talented filmmaker exploits the premise of the story, i.e. space, perfectly and makes you almost believe that the earth has drifted away from under your feet during those amazing 90 minutes!

The Experience:
Gravity is not a is an experience. If Avatar was a movie which defined/redefined what 3D should be....this is the movie that defines/redefines what IMAX 3D should be! Engaging from the first amazing spacial view of our beautiful planet to the last scene....the movie is as much thriller as it is a human story of survival and as much an inspirational story about experiencing life. Hats off to the cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, for creating a visual treat of this magnitude and a round of standing ovation for Alfonso for fusing these amazing visuals into a beautiful experience, which is much much more than sheer special effects and colorful images of space. There are many aspects about our life here on earth that we take for granted, this movie makes us realize the importance of quite a few of those - friction, air, feeling of earth beneath our feet, etc.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5. A satisfying, thrilling, learning and value for money experience at the movie theater...a rare occurrence where all of these are experienced simultaneously. Eventhough I felt disoriented after I got out of the theater....I know for sure...that this one hell of a ride...that you must not....let go! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 the nearest theaters now!

The Real People:
Directed by Ron Howard
Produced by Ron Howard & Others
Background Score by Hans Zimmer
Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt
Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda
Olivia Wilde as Suzy Miller
Alexandra Lara as Marlene

At a Glance:
A cinematic achievement. Its like watching a real race but with a many more better angles and views and lot more background story on the racers. 122 minutes literally zoom by and movie never really pauses, makes pits stops or falters from start to finish!

The People on Screen:
Dominated by the two male leads....the pace at which the characters are developed and the impression they leave is applaudable.
James Hunt played by Chris Hemsworth. The perfect depiction of charisma and confidence of a champion and of a stereotyped pro racer. Chris makes it swift and simple for the audience to relate to his attitude towards life and passion for racing. His cheerful expressions compete with his performance in the more grim and serious parts of the movie making it hard to choose where you like him better as an actor. I guess throughout.

Niki Lauda played by Daniel Bruhl. His straight forward and confident attitude make you believe in him all through the movie. This brilliant performance by Daniel conveys the message loud and clear within the first 15 minutes of the movie...that Niki Lauda was out there on serious business. He ensures that you establish a love-hate relation with the actual Niki character, never knowing whether to love and respect the man that he was or get annoyed by his frankness! A class A performance that contributes in a big way to feeling satisfied after watching this movie.
Suzy and Marlene played by Olivia Wilde and Alexandra Lara, respectively. The girls play an effective role in this narrative that solely focuses on its male protagonists. Olivia looks stunning in the movie and Alexndra looks great too. 
The Experience:
A super fast paced movie that gives you no time to think or find any flaws in its narrative. It makes you just sit back and enjoy the ride! Although there are some very disturbing scenes, but their effect on you only goes to prove how amazingly this movie has been executed. There are few but very good dialogues, and the final conversation between Hunt and Lauda gives all the substance that a a typical racing movie would not have (unless you are watching a Disney movie which intends to give the kids some life learnings). The race sequences are guaranteed to take you to the edges of your seats and there are some well-timed special FX (which take you through the engine and pistons of the F1 car)added into the story that makes you one with the racers, their cars and the full-on pressure! 
I rate it 4.5 out 5 for brilliance in execution, maintaining an absolutely engrossing pace and presenting such great performances on screen. If I am not mistaken, this is perhaps the best hollywood movie that I have seen this year, thus far. I have reserved 0.5 points just so that i may be able to give an opportunity to other movies coming up to win over this winner of the year so far!! This one MUST be watched in a theater...Today...rush rush Rush!